Colour Me Purple - Part 1

**Colour Me Purple**

Part 1

[These stories were co-authored with DawnCharger. The number of hours they have had to spend convincing me that a better way to write a line was actually my idea :stuck_out_tongue: Some of the characters are ones we play in game, eg Alpharius and Faolán, The rest are persistent NPC’s that we use in many of our stories and RP’s. We hope you enjoy.]

=== Somewhere in the Prefecture of Laconia, Greece ===

PO3 David Smythe stands for a few moments just staring at the nameplate: “Master Chief Petty Officer Alpharius Hyperon’’ He grimaces at the sheet of paper in his hand; the intelligence is way out of date despite the team only receiving the damaged laptop less than a day ago. Not great, but better late than never? Bracing himself, Smythe knocks politely at the Chief’s door and waits for permission to enter.

He steps inside and salutes, then hands Alpharius the intel. “Sorry to disturb you Master Chief, but I thought you might be interested in this. It’s from an intercept that came from Egypt—some of it is still heavily encrypted, but the timing coincides with the Orochi loss of one of their base camps about two years ago and a number of their better … umm, assets.”

The Master Chief nods for Smythe to continue, and the junior Petty officer points to the top of the sheet. “This part of the intercept is a printout of the final series of personal bio sign transmissions from at least three Orochi recovery teams.” His finger rests over the words No Bio Signs Detected.

“They seemed to have had a very bad day,” Alpharius comments.

“You said it, Chief.” Smythe decided not to think too hard about what happened to the recovery teams and continue. “The next is a garbled but reasonably clear transmission from Base Camp Charlie indicating that biological samples had been dispatched by drone—and that the drone went rogue, disappearing into the sands.”

He points out another detail further down on the report. “The last section is a signal that came from the same area, almost immediately after the base camp was neutralized. We don’t know who sent it, but I think it must be from those that caused the Orochi their losses. Apologies, but we have no idea what this means.”

++ Singing in the Rain - AnBQTZ470ask2410 – Uncle ++

Smythe was not quite sure what to expect from the chief—questions, further details, action items in play—but definitely not silence.

Alpharius frowns at the garbled message, his eyes racing over each line as if watching a tennis match or hunting for a code. Probably the latter, given the nature of the report. After almost five minutes, he does a double take at Smythe.

“Sorry, I forgot you were there.” He pauses. “Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Let me know if there are any developments.” He salutes Smythe, who returns the gesture and departs.

+++

Less than 72 hours passed before PO3 Smythe finds himself standing outside the Master Chief’s door once again. No matter how many times he comes here, he can never shake the feeling of waltzing into the lions’ den in naught but his boxers.

Being granted leave to enter he steps in, saluting smartly. “Sorry to disturb you again Master Chief, but after our last meeting I tasked Seaman Jones and his team to go through the intel from the Egyptian region in question. There’s not a lot, but this caught their eye and I thought it might interest you.”

The Chief takes a sheet from his hand and reads it over; it is a list of various happenings in the very unstable region, with three examples in particular highlighted.

Two were reports of terrorist attacks on the indigenous Bedouin; both attacks, separated by many miles, shared a number of tangential similarities. The most glaring being that rather than just destroying the inhabitants and the camps, the accompanying photos showed very little damage to the goods and chattels. Except they’d obviously been searched.

The third was a transcript gleaned from a captured Orochi tablet: Bravo actual reported that their assessment of target bravo niner was blocked by an unexpected interaction with some dangerous fauna. Two KIA, three mauled.

paw print indicates canid. Number’s unknown.

“Correct me if I’m wrong,” the Chief says, “but that looks too big to belong to anything native.”

Although the culture of the 3rd Aegean Fleet was diametrically opposed to the dog-eat-dog ranks of the 5th North Atlantic, it was still one where those who shone advanced. Smythe was many things, but certainly not stupid—one of a variety of reasons as to why he’d worked so hard to be transferred to the Aegean. He’d realized that the Master Chief would pick up on the paw print, if only because of its sheer size.

“That seems to be the case sir,” Smythe answers and directs the Master Chief’s attention to a second sheet of paper with detailed close-ups of different paw prints.

“These tracks measured about 7.5” long and 5.5” wide. Jackals and the like are way too small, but even a South African Boarboel would only have a print half that size.” Smythe notes the approval in the Chief’s eyes as he continues presenting. “The largest wolf species known is the Mackenzie Valley Wolf, Canis Lupus Occidentalis. Its paw print is still at best two-thirds the size of this specimen, so at most about 5” by 4”. Further, they’re native to Alaska and Canada.”

“So even if a local zoo lost track of one there’s no way this could be it.” The Chief frowns at the pictures for a moment, then nods. “Good work, Petty Officer. Keep digging–especially for photos, I want a copy of anything that crops up.” He picks up a small, secure phone that looks several years more advanced than anything on or off the market and starts dialling.

Smythe salutes and turns to go, leaving the Chief to his work–he only forgets to formally dismiss him when it’s important, and the last time that happened was…

Smythe shivers and puts the memories from Kaidan out of his mind. That Charlie Foxtrot had not been worth the payday…

Next: Colour Me Purple - Part 2

First in the series: The Past Holds The Answer

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