Splitting Up is the ninth chapter of Red vs. Blue: Strikedown.

Splitting Up

"Well, Iowa. I'm ready to get this mission over with," said California, loading up her pistol. "Psi, I need you to upload the virus for shutting down the dome shield down into this data chip." California took Iowa's arm and inserted a data chip into the wrist pad.

"Of course, I will have it finished for you in a moment," said Psi as he began uploading the virus.

Iowa gave a look of confusion to California. "Why do you need to have the virus uploaded to a chip?" asked Iowa.

"Because you're going to need Psi to get the files for those weapons downloaded since it'll be a lot more complicated than uploading a virus to their shielding system."

"No, I mean why do you need the virus uploaded to a chip in the first place. I can just have Psi load it into the system."

"Not from the room containing the data files," said California. California looked over her pistol one final time, placing it back to her side.

"Wait, so you're suggesting that we split up? Why?" asked Iowa. He didn't look or sound happy, not that either could see each other's face.

"Well," uttered California, "It'll take longer if we tackle each part of the plan one step at a time. Besides, what's your problem with this anyway? We'll get it done in half the time. So what's the big deal?"

"I just don't want what happened to Hawaii to happen to you too!" Iowa blurted out. It really wasn't what he wanted to say, but that's what came out.

"What do you mean, what happened to Hawaii?" asked California.

"When I was out on that mission with Hawaii, I was the one who suggested that we split up to finish the mission quicker. Had I been there with her, she might not have dissapeared. I just put too much trust into her ability"

"Oh, so you doubt that I could actually do this, do you?" said California as she crossed her arms and gave a less than pleasant look to Iowa. He was actually glad that they were wearing helmets for once. It kept him from being completely terrified.

"No, I just don't want to see anyone else suffer whatever fate that she did," said Iowa. Once again, not what he wanted to say.

California reached over and grabbed Iowa sharply by the wrist. He closed his eyes, expecting her to lay one straight to the middle of his visor, but she tapped his wrist pad. "You done with that yet Psi?"

"Virus upload complete." California reached and pulled out the data chip, looked it over, and inserted it into her own armor. "Remember, we will only have a 45 minute window to get out of this place after you upload the virus to the system before the shield shuts down. After that, the UNSC will likely comence with destroying this place, regardless of if we'rv actually escaped by then."

"Thanks Psi, I'll be sure to keep that in mind." California let go of Iowa's wrist, and began walking torwards the door. "You better be ready to get out of here by the time I get back since you won't need as much time getting to your room and back. If you're not, then I might just leave you behind." California opened the door that she was heading out, but turned and tossed a silenced pistol to Iowa. "Just in case," said California in a rather dark tone as she walked out.

Iowa was sure he heard her mutter something under her breath that sounded pretty negative. He sighed, removed his helmet and gave himself a facepalm. "Stupid," muttered Iowa. Psi's hologram appeared.

"Sir, at whom was that comment directed at?" asked the A.I.

"Myself," said Iowa. He knew that Hawaii wasn't the most experienced when I came to sneaking around unlike California, so comparing what happened with Hawaii to what could happen to California wasn't the most complimenting thing he could have said.

"Is there anything I could do to help you? I'm sure that you two will be able to talk it out," stated Psi. Iowa shook his head and Psi returned to the wristpad.

"For my sake, I hope you're right," replied Iowa. He had never known California to get legitimately mad at anyone before, much less himself. Sure, they might get into a silly arguements, such as who got the last soda. In these, she would just hold him down and tickle him until he gave in. No, she was genuinely angry with him this time. He could only express relief that she had decided not to let him join the two unconscious guards behind him in an afternoon nap.

Iowa attatched the pistol to his waist, put his hemet back on, and peeked out the door he would be heading through. He only hoped that this fight wouldn't tear a rift between the two. After all that had happened in Iowa's life, losing his closest friend would be the blow that killed Iowa's spirit.

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