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Felix was looking down his DMR rifle scope and let the visor of the stealth armor advance his ability to see across the makeshift base these soldiers had going. The base was coming along decently for a UNSC standard base and no proper transport out of here. Usually, these ships had at least a secondary form of transportation off the planet or at least a mongoose. He saw a Mantis active and scanning the perimeter entrance with a man in deep blue armor, so at least one thing was familiar and protecting these guys. Who was driving it, or was it an automated Mantis with build in AI programs? Hopefully whatever was inside it either didn’t have its scanners up or didn’t deem him a threat because of how far away he was. Hopefully.

The men in armor right below the canyon walls weren’t really all that abundant and quite hard to spot if they were out and about. Who knows what kind of technology they had scavenged from that jackpot they had been riding in, and perhaps spelunking through the wreckage is where the others are at instead of out in the open. It would explain the lack of numbers outside. For a while, Felix had seen only four members lurking and being active around this crash site camp; the members in different colors of Mark VI armor not exactly matching any descriptions in his head that he could remember.

Blue Team didn’t have a dark red guy, and the warrior known as Caboose wore a Mark V helmet. Hm. Best to keep watching for a bit longer as not to miss anything. Kimball would withhold his paycheck if she found out he just left them be without proper surveillance and a chance. Also… his side of this civil war needed men anyways, so even if they weren’t the Reds and Blues of prophecy he could at least recruit them.

But they had been shot out of space by that large machine like all the other’s, but the ship was mostly still intact so something had gone wrong if whoever was shooting it actually aimed like they had.

He had been sent out here to investigate said crash that the New Republic had seen from orbit on their radars. Those radars were lifesavers, even if they were old and faulty in their own ways, but it had saved a lot of men from being abandoned after they got shot down before they could leave this planet. Heck, Felix had been saved after he had gotten the S.O.S from the New Republics old base they lost long ago to the Feds. Being shot at like that had made Felix all the more suspicious about his predicament but at the time, had been too busy crash landing to deal with the proper questions.

Now, he had time to slow down and watch.

Maybe. He has never been good at standing still and planning perfect little strategies that work out for everyone in the end. He usually winged his--no. No, he used to wing his problems. Before he found out just winging a solution got him in trouble if he wanted to win. He had enough scars to prove it.

But not enough scars to back down. He wasn’t going to stop until he was dead, or until he killed Locus first and foremost. Then, he could probably retire it being a gun for hire got boring without him.

His radio buzzed and he looked where the location ping was sent from. Across the way, on top of the canyon in a sniper's belly down position on the rocks, was one of the Rebels he had been sent out with for scouting the wreckage in hope of finding a few survivors and supplies. And his men actually blended in well with the beige and green striped armor across the canyon’s top wall, he’d say. It’s good he trained them well when Kimball had assigned him this team as backup, he wasn’t just going to have anxious teens at his side.

Hopefully, there’s enough for us to actually do some good with.” The sniper grumbled over the radio and he saw the man scoot forward a bit to peak lower than before. He was nearly atop the base the bright blue and dark red soldiers had been in earlier, so he wasn’t getting a clear shot of who was here. “Any soldiers below?”

An older sounding female opened comms and unluckily, he knew she didn’t have a rifle to scout through like her teammate. Her sight was kinda bad as is but she had a hell of a foresight and steady hands. It's a shame she was scared of blood, she’d make a good medic. But she was on the far side by a base with red paint and bad decorum, and facing the spire that blocked her sight of the men currently outside. “Negatory. All I see is a mantis outside of the spire in the center.

Felix sent a message ping over the comms channel, and small indicators that latched onto landmarks for his teammates to see. After his teammate had pointed out the solar communications tower, he marked it in their huds and got a gasp from the sniper when it was dubbed and scanned as UNSC Field Standard Communications Tower (Solar).

Energy? As in, electricity and power?” The sniper asked and his partner hummed across her comms as well.

Man, these guys were talkative across comms. Felix had half a mind to silence the whole channel, really his whole mind wanted to shut it down. It was distracting enough he lost track of the baby blue and yellow soldier after it had talked to the dark blue soldier, based on the mantis following him he must be the leader… but that didn’t sound right. Which army was this? Was this UNSC soldiers or Project Freelancers reject soldiers? He really hoped for the latter, but the former is just as okay. As long as they don’t have a pacifist.

Sir, do we go down and establish communications?” He heard from the opposite post of their resident sniper, and it was their youngest member on the team. His accent was unplaceable with how muted with trying to sound as… American as everyone else, his words.

Before he could answer, his surveillance tech picked up chatter from the broken up makeshift base and he enhanced the audio. There was a small electric static buzzing in his head as the audio in front of his enhanced, the programs getting tunnel vision on the bobbing head of the bright blue armored soldier.

He heard, “Siri hang up!”

The cry carried across the canyon and into the advanced surveillance hardware of his UNSC standard S Variant armor. It took him a second but he compared them to the files he’d read about documentations on the Blue’s of Blood Gulch. It had to be the Lavernius Tucker, you can’t just fake a voice as distinct as Tucker’s. He was 89% sure of that.

He pulled back his surveillance tech and dropped out of scoping as he let out a shaky breath. Legends… were actually here. Obviously shot out of the sky exactly like Felix had but this time, much worse for them, but much better for the people here who needed supplies. He let his shaky breath even before turning on his comms for the first time in a long while.

His mic sent a small static roar in his ears as white noise of the open comms bleed in. He spoke, still a bit gastly compared to usual. “Holy shit. It's actually them.”

“‘Them? Sir which do you mean?” Their sniper asked, obviously hoping for the best.

I think it's the Reds and Blues, I see the one known as Tucker and I think I spot Caboose near the mantis…” Their youngest member said, a bit of hope cracking through his voice.

He was about to inform them that they should provide a plan of action before they just decide to rappel down or yell something to get them spotted by the mantis--which has not been confirmed to be operated by AI or person--when he heard a branch break never to him. Felix was on a ledge, and the fact that the small ledges he used to get here were nearly above him made his extremely paranoid. He whipped his gaze up to see the flickering of near black familiar armor slowly turn invisible across the great yellow evening sky, his muscle memory to shoot at it first and foremost barely being halted by fear of the mantis range of scanners.

“Oh no.” He breathed, his voice carrying across the white noise in his helmet as he remembered his team very much is listening in.

Sir, what is it?” The sniper asked, deep voice more concerned then stern now. It really didn’t fit him but what could Felix do?

Sir, I’m detecting and spotting movement coming from the ship to the makeshift base.” Their field doctor says before quickly adding, almost like something had suddenly changed. “Grenade thrown, grenade--wait what…

“What grenade? What did they throw?” Felix asked as he put his hand on the wall behind him and scanned the canyon wall for things to climb and land on as he went down to ground level. His jetpack enhancement was too noisy so he’d save that for a desperate climb once he’s down and found a way out of here.

It’s a grenade in the shape of a square and its pulsing orange and black. They just squeezed it and threw it, and a bunch of scrap metal came out of nowhere. Parts of a larger project, I think.” She said and hummed as her radio cut out for a second. “--s not very bad or anything. I spot a Red and Pink soldier talking at base. A brown one far away. Orange with the cubes throwing them and running away, probably for supplies.

Before his team could respond, he cut in brashly. “Good, great. Tell me which one’s the farthest from the ground?”

The… brown one. About fifty kilometers away and talking to a… rock?” She said, confused. “But sir, I don’t think--

“Then don’t. Just watch for any movement that’s unnatural or any Federal armor, who knows if we’re beat to at least spying on them.” Felix hissed and turned off his radio, the static in his helmet going away and being replaced by the full brunt of the sounds of nature and wind breaching the canyons edge above him.

Should he tell them about Locus? They probably have questions about why he had changed so suddenly, but his fake demeanor was slipping like a sharp knife through butter. He could pretend to act as a team with these three for a long time, but there was only so much he could put up with. With his men, with the New Republic, he could last a lifetime acting like their wellbeing was the next best thing for him. But Kimball and Locus saw the ugly side of him often. Locus knew about it all but Kimball… It was a surprise she had figured out he was after something, but it wasn’t a surprise she had called him out on his fake care for others.

She had told him his care wasn’t fake. But he knew himself better than she did, and yeah, it was fake to an extent. He would remember all the blank armored faces that stared at him daily when they died from Fed gunfire, yeah Kimball. Sure. He didn’t even know his own squads names, he had made himself forget each time they told him. He could manage with their code names in the field just fine. Felix or Sir, Sniper, Medic, and Recruit. It just made it easier.

He grabbed the wall and pushed against it when he saw a small cropped out part of the wall and descended after he pulled his momentum back and took a large leap of faith, hand letting the wall go to stabilize his landing in case he overshot.

He made it. Now, he just had to reach the ground and camouflage himself until he meets the brown soldier at a cave crop by the Red Base. Lopez, presumably.