There was a loud clang of metal on metal, followed by the unbearable screeching sound made by virtually impregnable alloys scraping against each other. Sparks flew as Emile slid nimbly down the lopsided rooftop and rolled, changing what had been a fall into an attack plan. The Meta was sliding after him. He kicked against the raised edge and intercepted the Meta, and they both started rolling down together. The Meta emitted an enraged, strangled noise, while Emile gave a wild cry and kept pounding at his enemy's vulnerable torso. A few swift punches popped the Meta's shields and gave Emile the opportunity to make fist-shaped indents on the Meta's chest plating. Unfortunately, Emile's shields were down too; all the Meta had to do was punch his visor once, and it cracked. Then they both flew clear of the rooftop and slammed into the snow, half-buried and still fighting.
"They'll keep at it until one of them is either dead or incapacitated. Though given both of their histories, dead is the likely option," Carter grunted. He pointed at Church. "Give the sniper rifle to Jun. Emile needs our help."
"Hey, I don't share this," Church growled. "Just because your dumbass sniper was stupid enough to lose his own... hey!" He glared as Jun walked off with the weapon, having merely wrenched it from the cobalt-armored soldier's grip.
"He wasn't asking you to share," Jun said coolly, crouching and sighting through the rifle's Oracle scope.
"We're not simulation troopers. We're Spartans. You may have our armor and abilities, but that doesn't make you one of us," Carter told Church, who was glaring daggers at them all. "The most you'll do is get in our way unless you cooperate and follow my orders."
"I'm the leader of Blue Team, bi-" Church began ominously.
"And I'm the leader of Noble Team," Carter returned, standing at full height and towering somewhat over the other man. "Which makes me your commanding officer in this situation. Are we clear?"
"Clear as piss," Church muttered.
"Good." Carter checked his tacpad and his brow knitted just a fraction. Still no comms. "Kat better hurry up with those repairs. If we're going to win this, we need that tank fully operational."
"I think this is the best plan ever," Grif said cheerfully, leaning against the cave wall.
Six watched Sarge's immobile form with sharp eyes. The blow she had dealt him wasn't meant to cause any long-term damage, just to knock him out for a good while. She had pulled rank on them all and assumed temporary command of the Reds, and no one really seemed to mind.
"Emile's out there by himself. No telling what he's gotten himself into by now," Jorge mused. "Now that we've got that obstacle out of the way, we should probably move out."
"And leave Sarge? I mean, he's annoying as hell, but... we've kind of gotten attached," Simmons protested.
"Yeah. It's like having a tapeworm, but you've named it and appreciate how it keeps you thin, and suddenly getting it removed is emotionally painful," Grif snarked.
"We're not 'leaving' him," Six said, sighing. "This cave is practically a hop, skip and a jump from Red Base. He'll find his way back."
Everyone's attentions turned to the radio Simmons was fiddling with. "Hey! It's working! Looks like the Meta's comms disruptor doesn't affect our shortwave radios!"
"That's Tucker," Six realized. "He sounds upset."
Jorge took the radio from Simmons. "You're coming in loud and clear, over. What's the situation?"
"Freaky... black and red guy... fighting... Meta!" Tucker's voice came in patchy, with static blocking out some of his words. "Need... help! Chick... injured!"
"He's talking about Kat." Jorge scowled. He tried to reply, but the radio fizzled out again, and he shoved it at Simmons. "Fix it!"
"I'm trying! I'm trying!" The distraught simulation trooper frantically sorted through a bundle of wires. "It's not as easy as it looks! The disruptor pretty much fried all the useful components!"
"We'd better go." Jorge slipped on his helmet and picked up the rocket launcher. It looked smaller than normal when he held it.
"Do I have to come? I mean, someone should probably stay and look after Sarge, right? You know, in case his skull was fractured or anything. Just in case," Grif said hopefully.
Six pushed an assault rifle into his unwilling arms. "You've just been volunteered," she said with a smirk. Grif made an unhappy noise.
"What about me?"
Donut was sitting up, wincing as his bandaged torso pulled. "I mean, I got a little cooked, but I can still shoot."
"You'll stay," Six replied, tossing him a pistol. "In case there's trouble. You'll find frag grenades in that case over there."
"How come he gets to stay and I have to go risk my neck?" Grif whined.
"Because that's your job," Jorge growled, and Grif shrank back a little.
"Never mind what I said earlier. This is the worst plan ever," he muttered.
Six picked up Sarge's shotgun and pumped it. "Alright. Let's roll."