(Scene begins up in the clouds. Squadron 1337’s pelican dropship cuts through a thick layer of clouds. Through the mist, a large cliff-side base is revealed. It bears similarities to Squadron 1337 but is far more fortified, and spacious. The Red and Blue squad bases are spread out over a few hockey arena-sized metres with a large Watchtower in the middle. There is no underground bunker like at Squadron 1337, it all appears to be housed within the Watchtower.)
(Incoming transmission through the radio to Squadron 1337’s pelican dropship)
???: Identify yourself. You are entering UNSC airspace.
Dex: Who are you calling an un-sk?
Lincoln (to Dex): Seriously? What is that?
Dex: Back home, an un-sk is like a small rodent.
Leeroy: He said U-N-S-C; as in United Nations Space Command. You know, they guys who outfitted us and dropped us in the canyon.
Dex: Oh…well I guess I’m only slightly less offended now…he was a little rude.
???: Come again, soldier. Identify yourself.
(McCloud steps up to radio)
McCloud: Sorry, soldier. This is Captain McCloud. Captain Mendez gave us these coordinates.
???: Acknowledged. You are clear to land.
(Cut to show a helicopter landing bay unfolding from the Watchtower, as hangar bay lights pop out and begin to glow red to assist in guiding the landing. McCloud spots two soldiers standing in the bay, one wearing Dark Blue armor with White trim, and the other wearing Red armor with Purple trim, which McCloud recognizes as Ruby, otherwise known as Captain Mendez)
(Lincoln lands the pelican dropship on the landing bay, as the two soldiers walk across the bridge to meet the Squad. The pelican’s rear hangar door opens, and the soldiers of Squadron 1337 disembark)
Ruby: Thank you for coming, McCloud.
McCloud: Thanks for having us.
(The dark blue soldier holsters his rifle, outstetching his arms toward McCloud)
Santos: Well if it isn’t the elusive Ralph McCloud.
(McCloud holsters his rifle, embracing Captain Santos in a hug)
McCloud: Santos, it has been far too long, my friend. How’s it hanging?
Santos: A little low and to the left, I’m afraid to say.
Johnson: Ha! I can relate.
McCloud: My apologies. (turns to his Squad) This is Captain Ruby Mendez of 12-68, and Captain Santos of…where were you stationed?
Santos: Freelance. I consider myself a drifter. Sailing the open seas, finding work in unexpected places.
Ruby (to Santos): Tell them where you were stationed last.
Santos: New Alexandria. Not as a soldier, but as a chef.
McCloud: Still cooking, eh?
Santos: A master chef doesn’t go too far without his trusty cutting board and a clean set of knives, Ralphie.
(Higgins leans across to Rose)
Higgins: That’s it…I’m calling him Ralphie now.
Ruby: We’re glad to have you all staying with us. I’m sure I will eventually learn all of your names. McCloud’s already told me a little bit about each of you.
Dex: What about me?
Ruby: Oh yes, and you must be Dex.
Ruby: I-I’ll be keeping my eye on you.
Dex: Well I’ll be keeping my eye on you too, miss.
Ruby: Okay. (turns around and starts walking back across the bridge, with McCloud, Santos and the rest of Squadron 1337 following behind. She leans across to whisper to McCloud) He’s the oddball, isn’t he?
McCloud: I don’t think that’s the word I used to describe him, but yes.
(Cut to ground level of Watchtower. Four soldiers are standing at the front entrance, awaiting everyone’s arrival)
(The purple soldier leans across to address the Turquoise, Orange, and Black armored teammates)
Arden: I’m so excited. I can’t wait to see Ruby’s friends.
Reed (turquoise soldier): Me too.
Franklin (orange soldier): You guys are lame. She’s just bringing in more mouths to feed.
Webb (Black w/ Red trim soldier): Yeah, and your mouth is already big enough.
(other three laugh)
Franklin: Can it, Webb! I’ll kick your ass.
Reed: Simmer down, Franklin. You’ll give yourself an aneurysm.
Franklin: All I’m saying is that our squad is already crowded enough without her bringing in more foot soldiers to loiter around the base.
Arden: What are you talking about? Have you even looked around our base? We have so much land. And plenty of room in the bases.
Webb (to Arden): You don’t understand…Franklin’s taken it upon himself to hog the entire top floor of Red base. He pushed three twin beds together…and he sleeps with the sniper rifle.
Franklin: I’m not hogging the sniper…it’s MY sniper.
Webb: It’s the base’s sniper. I didn’t see your name on it.
Reed: Guys, stop fighting.
Franklin: Leave it to the broad to choose the pacifist side.
Reed: Wow, Franklin. Sexist, much?
Arden: Guys, they’re here!
(Soldiers stand at attention, as Ruby and the rest of the group approach)
Ruby: At ease, soldiers. Let me introduce you to Squadron 1337. I’m sure you’ll all be acquainted soon enough. As for quick introductions, Blue squad consists of Private James Arden and Private Stacy Reed.
McCloud (to his Blue Squad): Leeroy, Johnny and Dex – the three of you will accompany Arden and Reed back to base and get yourselves settled in.
Ruby: And of the Red army we have Private Reggie Franklin and Private Simon Webb-
McCloud (to his Red Squad): Lincoln, Rose, Higgins and Johnson – you will join them and get settled in.
Ruby (to all): Meet us back at the Watchtower in two hours. The three of us will brief you on our next steps. Dismissed.
(All the Squadron soldiers depart to their separate bases)
(McCloud turns to Ruby and Santos)
McCloud: You think they’ll settle in alright?
Ruby: The Blues will be fine…I’d be more concerned about the Reds.
(Cuts to Squadron 1268 Red base main level)
Franklin: The four of you can share the spare room.
Lincoln: A little tight, isn’t it?
Franklin: Not my problem.
Higgins: Do you guys have any food?
Franklin: You just got here.
Higgins: We haven’t eaten in a while.
Webb: We’ve got plenty of food in the fridge upstairs.
Franklin: Just don’t touch my stuff.
Rose: Okay dude, take a chill pill.
Franklin: Listen…Ruby may be okay with all this, but I didn’t sign up to babysit a bunch of new Reds.
Rose: And we didn’t ask to be babysat by any stubborn Reds, either. So lay off!
Johnson: Why don’t we drop our stuff and go for a walk? I’d love a tour of the place.
Webb: That’s a good idea! I’ll show you around.
Franklin: Count me out…I’ve got to polish my sniper.
Webb: Come on, man. These guys are going to be staying with us for a while, you may as well try and get to know them.
Franklin: I’ll do it on my own time, thank you Simon.
Lincoln (to Franklin): It’s Franklin, right?
Franklin: That’s right.
Lincoln: Listen bud, we’re not here to cause any trouble. If anything, I think you’ll find that we’ll work well together. You seem like a pretty capable soldier, so if we’re going to be stationed here for a while, we’ll need to all be on the same page.
Franklin: Thanks for the lecture.
Lincoln: Wasn’t a lecture…just food for thought.
Franklin (sarcastically): Well thank you for that.
Webb: Okay, let’s get going.
(Webb leads the Red squad of Squadron 1337 out of the base, as Franklin stays behind, watching from the doorway)
(Cut to Blue base. Arden and Reed have finished giving the Blues a tour)
Arden: We’re so excited to host you guys. I was just telling Reed how sweet it’s going to be to have new roomies!
Dex: Ooh-ooh! Can we stay up late and read comic books under the bed sheets? And eat popcorn? And watch late night movies?
Arden: I’m not much for comics…but I’d be down for some popcorn.
(Dex turns to Leeroy)
Dex: Sorry Leeroy. This guy’s my new best friend.
Reed: So what happened to you guys?
Johnny: Gordon Grady and his forces ambushed us.
Leeroy: We’ve just been going through a ton of changes…and I guess we’ll need to adjust to this one too.
Johnny: Yeah…Leeroy has trouble coping with change.
(Leeroy clears his throat, nudging Johnny)
Leeroy: What happened to doctor-patient confidentiality?
Reed: Hate to break it to you dude, but your tone seemed to suggest what Johnny just said.
Johnny: Yes exactly, thank you.
Reed: No problem, hun.
Dex: I’m bored. Can we play scrabble?
Arden: Do we have scrabble?
Reed: No, we have Yahtzee.
Dex: That works!
(Cut to Watchtower: Santos, Ruby and McCloud are sitting around a table in a meeting)
McCloud: It’s great that you’re letting us stay here for a while, but we certainly aren’t planning on overstaying our welcome.
(Santos and Ruby look at each other)
Santos: Ralphie, I figured I should tell you this…but I quit my cooking job last week.
Santos: Grady and his forces came looking for me.
McCloud: They did? (turns to Ruby) You didn’t tell me this.
Ruby: It wasn’t my place to say anything.
Santos: Anyway, I phoned up Ruby, asked her if I could crash here for a while. Eventually, I found myself working around the base. I became something of a coach to the soldiers here at 1268. And that’s when Ruby asked me if I could stay here full-time.
McCloud: What are you saying?
Ruby: McCloud, you and your team don’t have a home to go back to. Grady’s already tracked you down, knocked on your door, and thrown a frag through the window. He’s whittling down defenses…he wants to catch his prey in the open, and take them all out.
McCloud: So you want us to stay here…and fight alongside you?
Ruby: There’s no sense in fighting this battle on separate sides of the galaxy. We’re only stronger when we work together as a team.
McCloud: It seems like a lot to take in…I don’t know how the team is going to feel about this.
Ruby: Just say yes…because regardless, I’m going to be telling everyone the same story in under an hour.
(McCloud sat back in his chair, and begins to think)
END OF EPISODE 18