Frontline 17: Jackals on patrol
Posted February 4th 2007
This is Radio WRKX broadcasting, and boy we're really deep into enemy territory today. In our latest report from the Halo war zone, fearless WRKX reporter Suzie has taken the gravity lift up into the bowels of the 'Truth and Reconciliation' and made her way towards the brig, where she's come face to face with a pair of patrolling Jackals just outside. I wonder what these beaky jokers have to say. Bringing you the best from the frontline as always, it's your one and only Radio WRKX. Take it away Suzie…
Suzie: So, welcome to the show guys.
Jackal 1: Don't mention it. Wow, me on the radio! Can't wait to tell the rest of the gang.
Jackal 2: Hi mom!
Jackal 1: Yeah don't worry about him too much Suzie. He's good for a bit of pacing around and whatnot but don't expect much else.
Suzie: I'll keep that in mind thanks. Talking of pacing around, you seemed to be doing a lot of that when I found you.
Jackal 1: Oh absolutely. And we've got it down to a T if I do say so myself. Sometimes we'll go up the corridor there, sometimes we'll go down to the end there, and…
Jackal 2: Sometimes we'll go down into this little bit here.
Suzie: That one's not much of a bit though.
Jackal 1: No that one's a pretty short trip, but never mind, it all adds to the variety.
Suzie: And what's all this pacing for, actually?
Jackal 1: Ah, we're guarding the brig Suzie. See?
Suzie: Looks a bit dark in there.
Jackal 1: Yeah, some of the Grunts fancied a snooze so they turned the lights off. Dozy little blighters.
Suzie: And there's a fearsome looking chap prowling around at the far end. Is that a sword he's carrying?
Jackal 1: That's right Suzie. You wouldn't want to mess with him. He'd lop your microphone off if you so much as look at him funny.
Suzie: Golly, I won't be doing that then.
Jackal 1: Plus there's a couple of big guys with plasma rifles. See 'em?
Suzie: Um, no, can't say that I do.
Jackal 2: Exactly!
Jackal 1: Cloaked. Now you see 'em, now you don't.
Suzie: Wow, neat trick. So, with all you lot guarding the place, you must have someone pretty valuable in there eh? Who've you got?
Jackal 1: Ooh can't say Suzie. Top secret. Hush-hush. That gold fella would probably slice my head off if I told you.
Jackal 2: It's Captain Keyes!
Jackal 1: Oh great. Way to go, beak-brain! So much for that little secret. Bye-bye head. I'd really grown quite attached to this beak as well.
Suzie: And quite a corker it is too. You could have someone's eye out with that if you turned around too quick.
Jackal 1: Well shucks, that's mighty good of you to say so Suzie.
Suzie: Don't mention it. But not to worry, I don't think he heard your friend's little indiscretion. We'll just keep it between ourselves and the listening billions eh?
Jackal 1: If you wouldn't mind.
Suzie: Not at all. So, you've got some top brass in there eh?
Jackal 2: And some other filthy human scum!
Jackal 1: No offence intended.
Suzie: And given that it's coming from a pair of oversized chickens with dustbin lids, none taken. Still, I imagine you might be getting a visit from some of our filthy human scum Marines pretty soon. Are you sure you'll be able to stop them?
Jackal 1: No trouble Suzie. They won't even get close. Me and my buddy here will spot them a mile off, thanks to all this pacing.
Suzie: Pacing which allowed me to stroll up at a leisurely pace and tap you on the shoulder.
Jackal 2: Heh, that was a good one Suzie. Almost leapt out of his armour he did! Got him bang to rights.
Jackal 1: Look, I was just adjusting my beak-guard alright? It won't happen again.
Jackal 2: It might though. And your beak-guard is still out of whack.
Jackal 1: Your whole face will be out of whack in a minute pal…
Jackal 2: Huh, just trying to be helpful.
Suzie: What might be more helpful though, is if you kept an eye on that long corridor up there. Rather than, say, turning your back on it and walking slowly towards these dead ends with the locked doors.
Jackal 1: Dear me Suzie, you've got a lot to learn about Jackal tactics. We've trained for years at this stuff. What's-his-face here has a Diploma in Basic Guarding from the Cacklewood College of Beaky Practices, and I myself have an Advanced Degree in Pacing Techniques from the Beakdale Institute of Higher Patrolling. So I should think we know what we're doing thank you very much.
Suzie: I see. You fellows certainly take this stuff seriously don't you?
Jackal 1: Oh yes indeedy. You name it, we've trained for it. Ah, the memories come flooding back when we think of our college days. What were some of those courses again?
Jackal 2: 'Skulking For Beginners', that was a good starter for me.
Jackal 1: And very good you were at it too. 'Intermediate Rolling Practices', that's one I remember. Dizzy work, but satisfying. What else?
Jackal 2: 'Standing Around Looking About A Bit' - I always like a spot of that.
Jackal 1: Who doesn't? That's pretty much a fundamental in the beak business. 'Retreating with Shield Overhead', that's another good one.
Jackal 2: Yeah, I use that a lot! Then there's 'Grenade Recoil-In-Horror Methods'. Still waiting to use that one, glad to say!
Jackal 1: Yeah it's probably a bit of a once-only job that one Suzie, but we like to do things proper. Oh, and not forgetting my personal favourite, the ever popular 'Pointing 101'.
Jackal 2: You said it brother! Heh, those were the days.
Suzie: I had no idea your training was so extensive. Well, I take it all back about the pacing; I surely can't argue with educations like that!
Jackal 1: Damn straight.
Suzie: But I've an idea that a certain seven-foot cyborg might.
Jackal 1: Oh he doesn't scare us Suzie. For starters we'll give him a darned good pointing.
Suzie: Oooh, nasty. You think that might do the job on its own?
Jackal 1: Possibly, possibly. But if it doesn't, we've always got our trusty shields and these toasty plasma pistols. We'll zap his freaky tin hide though the little gaps in the shield here, see?
Jackal 2: Yeah, zap him up good!
Suzie: Aha, the plan unfolds. Pointing and zapping.
Jackal 1: That's right, the full works. Whaddaya think?
Suzie: It's a fearsome plan alright; not many could stand up to that sort of beaky treatment. But I think he's got a bit of shielding himself mind.
Jackal 2: Well I bet it's not as good as ours, so there!
Jackal 1: 'Fraid he's right Suzie. You can't beat Covenant technology and tactics.
Suzie: Well I'm pretty sure he's beaten it a few times already. In fact I've seen it myself, and if he shows up I wouldn't like to be in your shoes. Or hooves.
Jackal 1: Huh, even if he gets onto the ship, there's no way he'll get out of the grav-lift room alive. Got about a dozen crack squads all ready to pour into the place at the drop of a hat.
Suzie: Ah yes, actually I had first-hand experience of that when I beamed up. There was quite a kerfuffle.
Jackal 1: So we heard. Heh, sorry about that Suzie - someone really should've sent a message up in advance to give the chaps a bit of warning. I mean, you've got to understand that these guys are primed and ready to charge out with guns at the ready.
Suzie: Although, they didn't really charge out, as such. More of a slow dribble to be honest; first through one door then another. Quite haphazard it was.
Jackal 1: Gah, are those doors playing up again? Someone really ought to get those sorted. Damn things are supposed to open together and we all pour in at once. Still, at least we've got the right idea in principle. We'll pounce at the first sniff of incursion by stinkin' Earth forces.
Suzie: Or roving reporters armed with little more than a microphone, in my case.
Jackal 1: Heh, you can never be too careful. Still, I suppose we were just a tad overzealous there.
Jackal 2: And it's not as if you're stinky like those Marines of yours.
Jackal 1: Oh no, not nearly as stinky. That's something I noticed straight away once I'd ducked behind my shield. "I don't know what the hell this is that just tapped me on the shoulder," I said to myself, "but it sure isn't stinky". In fact now I come to think of it, you smell like flowers or something.
Suzie: Ah, that'll be the 'Jasmine Musk'.
Jackal 1: Well whatever it is they ought to issue it to your troopers if you ask me.
Jackal 2: So they don't go about stinkin' up the place.
Jackal 1: Yeah, 'cause that can be really distracting when we're zapping 'em to pieces.
Suzie: I had no idea it was upsetting you so much. Well I'll be sure to put in a word to the military for you when I get back, but frankly I think it's a long shot. I'm no expert, but offhand I'd say that smelling like flowers is some way down the usual Marine agenda. Not very Marine-like at all in fact.
Jackal 1: What's wrong with it? I wouldn't mind it.
Suzie: Well I've got some with me if you want to try it out. Here you go - just point it where you want and press the top.
Jackal 1: No trouble.
Suzie: Ooh, actually not in the…
Jackal 1: HHHCCCCCKHH! Mmmm… hey not bad Suzie! Very tangy. Bracing, you could say.
Suzie: Yes, I'm pretty sure I'd find it quite bracing too, taken orally.
Jackal 2: I want some as well!
Jackal 1: Here I'll do it for you. Beak open wide!
Suzie: Well that's not really how you're supposed to…
Suzie: Oh whatever.
Jackal 2: GACK! Wow, that's good stuff.
Jackal 1: And your breath is a big improvement.
Jackal 2: You too. Hey, this is going to make patrolling with you a lot more bearable. Because I gotta say, and I may not have mentioned this before, normally you smell even worse than the humans.
Jackal 1: That's funny, I always thought the same about you. Hey Suzie, can you get us more of this stuff? I reckon it could really go down a storm in Jackal circles. We could make a mint. I'm hearing the advertising slogans already: "Jasmine Musk - because you're a Jackal".
Jackal 2: Or maybe "Jasmine Musk - brings out the fragrant Jackal within".
Jackal 1: Not bad, not bad. Any more?
Suzie: "Banish that beaky breath with the musk you can trust".
Jackal 1: Wa-hey, I think she's got it!
Suzie: Glad to help out. I'll see what I can do about getting more for you. Is it just the Jasmine Musk you want?
Jackal 1: You mean you've got other flavours?
Suzie: Oh yes, lots of other… er… flavours.
Jackal 1: Oooh, I can hardly wait. A mixed delivery it is then!
Suzie: Would you like to keep that one in the meanwhile? I think it's good for a few goes yet.
Jackal 1: Much appreciated. Gosh, I wish all humans were as nice as you Suzie. Most of the ones we meet tend to be a lot more… how can I put it…
Jackal 2: Shooty?
Jackal 1: That's it, yes; a lot more shooty. It's like they've just plain got something against people with beaks.
Suzie: Surely not. And besides, you've both got such tangy-fresh Jasmine breath now, I bet they'll just want to walk up and have a nice chat.
Jackal 1: You think so? None of that shooty business? Wow, that would make a real nice change. I'm not sure I'd know how to cope with that - don't think we covered it in college.
Suzie: 'Nice Chat With The Enemy Soldiers 101'?
Jackal 1: No, that's not ringing any bells with me. How about you buddy?
Jackal 2: I'm drawing a complete blank.
Jackal 1: Hmmm… maybe our training wasn't quite as thorough as we thought it was.
Suzie: Well, here's hoping you get to meet up with some of our guys real soon so you can try it out. Just give them a friendly wave and I'm sure they'll be only too happy to give you a little greeting of their own.
Jackal 1: Will do Suzie - thanks for the tip.
Suzie: Don't mention it. Meanwhile I'd better let you get back to your busy pacing now or that gold fellow might be coming out here to lop your beaky heads off after all, which would never do. Mr Jackal and Mr Jackal, thank-you for your time.
Jackal 2: And thank you Suzie!
Jackal 1: Wonga!