halo.bungie.org

They're Random, Baby!

Fan Fiction

A Marine's Tale by pj-NYkr90



A Marine's Tale: The First Days
Date: 18 July 2003, 9:10 PM

Saturday, September 12th, 2551

      The Marine Corps is recruiting again. I have seen it plenty of times, their little posters and flyers, pamphlets and stands. I always checked the pamphlets out. They tend to be interesting. But what really bugs me is the fact that they 'false advertise'. The pictures depict soldiers in immaculate armor with great food, equipment, and weapons. But from what I read in the papers, we don't have what they say we have. But this time, the pamphlet interests me.
      "It is by no means enough that an officer of the navy be a capable mariner. He must be that, of course, but also a great deal more. He must be a gentleman of refined manners, liberal education, punctuous courtesy, and the nicest sense of personal honor."
John Paul Jones
      In all reality, the Marines are the Navy's ground forces. So, we all kind of belong to the Navy. But anyhow, if the service is getting so desperate as to start using very, very old quotes, then they must be very desperate. So this'll be the one that gets me to join the service.
      I walked to the nearest recruiting station and talked to the gentleman there. "Yo, how do I join?" The man there was pretty old, old enough to be my dad. And the uniform barely fits him. He looked at me and explained, "Check in the box in where you want to serve." He coughed a little, snuffed and then hocked a luggie to his left. Eventually, he commenced his speech. "Then fill out the form, and you're ready to go." "When do I leave," I asked. "Fill it out quick enough and you'll get the next ride," he replied. "When is that?" "Twenty minutes." "Thanks."
      I picked up a form and pulled a pen out of the cup there on the table. I took a seat on the bench and then read the form over. I looked it over and read the list. Medic, Rifleman, Sniper, Driver, Reservist, Pilot, Officer, … The list went on and on. I read until one finally interested me. Special Forces. I checked the box and turned the page. They asked a lot of irrelevant questions, like, where did you go to school, what is your skin color, what was your lowest grade, a bunch of stupid shit like that.
      The bus pulled up as I finished. I'm not gonna bring anything with me, not a thing. But, now that i think about it, I didn't even tell them to cut off all of my utilities. Now that sucks. I got on the bus, which was in steel clad coloring. The rows were full of people. Black, Caucasian, Hispanic, Oriental, Indian, everything. It's the biggest conglomerate of people I've seen on a bus. I walked down the aisle and found an open seat next to a black man. "Hi," I said as I introduced myself. "Wazzup?" "Nothin'," I replied. "What'd you sign up for," he asked. "Spec Ops," he replied. "Oh by the way, I'm Dunbar, Ryan Dunbar." "Oh, cool, I'm Jon Bynam." "Well, I guess we better become friends, cause I in with you dude." "Sweet. You ever shot a gun before man?" "Yeah, but it was only a .22. Believe me, they suck ass." "Yeah, I know. I shot a .50 cal, and that had a really weak kick man." Bynam and I continued our talk when I remembered that I had to call the utilities and get them cut off.
      "Hey dude, you got a cell phone, PDA, somethin' like that?" "Yeah, I got a cell-phone, here, one sec." After a minute, he dug up his cell-phone, a Nokia. I pulled out the little thing you talk into and dialed. I raised it to my ear and heard, "You are out of area." I waited too long apparently. "Man this sucks." I handed the phone back to him and then leaned back into my seat. I'm gonna have to pay for these utilities even though I'm not using them. He leaned back too. "I'm gonna go to sleep," he stated. "That sounds like a good idea." So we both fell asleep in our chairs.
      I woke up when the driver started yelling and cursing at us, telling us to get off 'his fucking bus'. We got off and then walked over to a collection place where we stood for about five minutes. We were apparently at a base 'cause there were MPs and fencing all over the area. "Look a his rifle man." I turned and saw this one MP with a long barreled rifle, scope, bipod, the whole nine yards, I mean, the whole enchilada. "What kind of ammo does it use," I asked the guard. "5.56mm soldier. This is the newest rifle, a Remington-Colt HPM-6B. Very nice." "Can I see it?" "You'll get to see one soon enough, it's the new standard." "Please dude, I've only fired a .22 before man." "He ain't lyin' man, he's weak as hell," said Bynam. I glared at him very quickly. "He looked around and said, "Oh fine…" Before he could finish, I was over there and aimed it, got a feel for the gun. I aimed at a bird's head. "Just don't fire it. That thing doesn't have a silencer and if the boss-man sees me letting you fire, he'll get pissed. "Just one shot dude." "Wai…" "Thanks." I gently squeezed the trigger. The bird instantly fell to the ground. The guy looked at me…so did everyone else. "Holy shit."
       "Boy, Robinson, what the fuck is you doin' lettin' that goddamned newbie fire a thousand dollar rifle at bird. Man, boy, what the fuck is you. Get the fuckin' rifle back." I turned around and handed it to him. I'm in deep shit and know it. "Nice shot by the way I might add." "Thank you sir," I replied stunned. I thought he was gonna get mad at me. But, alas, I think too soon. I began to walk back to the group when he stated, "Where the fuck you goin' son? I ain't dismissed you damnit." The group started to laugh at me a bit; You know the way sixth graders jest a kid cause he got told by the teacher. I turned around and he started talking again. "Boy, drop and give me twenty." I did. When I got back up, I was breathing heavily and then turned to leave. "I didn't dismiss you yet ass fuck. Get the hell back over here." I turned around and then listened to him. "Where'd you learn to shoot boy?" "Boy Scouts sir." Hey, what can I say, you get to shoot rifles and bows and arrows and then finally you get to camp out in the wilderness. But that was a long time ago. "Ah, we got a Boy Scout in the group (with emphasis on Boy Scout)," he said. I replied quickly, "Yeah, and it'll be the Boy Scout that saves your ass when we get into the fight. That's all I got to say." I gave him a quick salute and then walked away.
      This time, he put his hand on my shoulder and then pulled me back. I grabbed his hand, twisted it behind his back, and pushed it up. Then, quickly, I raised my right arm and put it around his neck, then, my left went to his forehead. I had him in a headlock. "Third degree Black Belt, you don't wanna do that again." I wouldn't have released him for another minute, but, I just happened to notice that five MPs had their rifles pointed at me. "Okay," I said as I gently laid him on the ground and put my hands on my head. "Detain him damnit!" His face was as red as an apple. I turned to look at Bynam as they grabbed me and cuffed my hands. He was shaking his head but informed me, "We'll get you out man." So, my first night is gonna be spent in the brig.




Sunday, September 13th, 2551

      I woke up on my concrete pallet. I looked at the sun that was coming from the barred windows. I took a piss in the toilet, which looked like hell, was clogged, and moldy. The MP came by while I was brushing my teeth with my finger. (There is no way in hell that they'll be able to get me to brush my teeth with that used, green toothbrush) "Com'n man, you're outta here." "Whadaya mean dude," I questioned. But now that I think about it, that's a really stupid question to ask. They're letting me run free and I'm asking why. How retarded. I ran out of the building and to the barracks where the rest of the guys were.
       When I reached there, I stood next to Bynam. He was in a group that looks a lot smaller than the other group. "Why are they there, and we're here?" "We special." "Oh." Before I got to go any deeper into conversation, we moved towards the large ship docked at the Helman's Spaceport.
      "How did I get out of their dude." "Well," Bynam replied, "I'm somewhat of a lawyer. He touched you first and I simply played on the fact that you were defending yourself." "Cool. What kind of ship is it?" "Which one, that one." "Yeah, that's the only one I can see here." "Oh, it's a 'first class' freighter, the Antaries."
      We got aboard, got situated, and then immediately departed. The Captain informed us that we are off to 'boot'. So, Bynam and me are going to play a game of poker for a while. I've got five hundred bucks from initiating, basically, when you join, you get five hundred greenbacks. Well, it's time for me to waste all of my money in a time-wasting game.



A Marines Tale: Getting the Feel of Things
Date: 20 July 2003, 9:27 PM

Friday, September 18th, 2551

      It took nearly five days to reach the base that we are to train at, St. Hope. The ride wasn't all that bad, but it was long and tiring. We had about twenty drills. They wanted to start training us early. They told us that we would be happy to have the experience later on. They kept us on our feet all week, asking us questions when we woke up at 0400AM in the morning. If we got it wrong, they'd make us do ten pull-ups. If we couldn't do that, they'd make us run the length of the ship twice. I have had to do that three times in five days. Mind you, this is all done while we're groggy in the morning and just waking up. They say, the mind is what keeps you alive, not your weapon. So, we need to get ready to be 'powerful thinkers'. I better get used to being hurt and being painfully beaten.
      I've won fifty bucks in my poker game. I lost twenty in the first round and then won seventy in the last. I am happy sortta. I'll have enough to pay for a couple of months of utilities. This sucks though. How could I have been so stupid, so na´ve to join. I didn't even get to say goodbye to my parents. Well, I have to move and get the stuff that I do have like my uniform and toiletries into my only suitcase that I had to buy from the Corps. Life sucks a lot. The ship is stopping now so that means we got about ten minutes to get ready and packed before she docks and we gotta go shuffle off to Buffalo.
       "Warning! Warning! Enemy forces in the area! Move to the armory, gear up, and move to the nearest dropping vessel! I repeat…" Well, I guess not. My little break just has to be cut short now doesn't it. Now that I think about it, maybe I'll meet up with Bynam in the armory; the only friend I have here. I run down the hall in some Marine issue fatigues and an A-undershirt. In about a minute, I reached the armory. There were a bunch of armor-sets and bangles, but none of the new assault rifles. That sucks. I pick up a chest-plate and back-plate, strap on my shoulder guards and shin guards. I pick up a helmet, plug in a PDR (Personal Data Recorder), and finally, a beloved assault rifle. I look the MA5B over and stroke her sleek panels. For the first time in my life, I have my very own gun.

       "Boy, what the hell you doin' daydreamin' with a fuckin' gun in your hands. Man, you gotta get to gettin'. Shape up boy and get to the damn DV!"
       The ship's Sergeant Major isn't the nicest dude in the galaxy. He was scarred up and has a messed up beard.
      "You heard me ya stupid fuck; Move!" I pick up a handful of grenades and three extra clips. My sidearm, which I always have handy, is strapped to my leg and contained in its holster.
      The DV isn't much different from the Bumblebee except in the fact that it was used in force deployment as a dropship would be used. When quick, rapid, force-deployment is needed, we look to the DV. But unfortunately, it can only be used within a planet's atmosphere. I got into DV-A6, and here is where I meet up with Bynam. He has a big smirk on his face…and a M19 SSM Rocket Launcher in his lap.

       "What's up with the gun dude," I ask.

      "Man, we're gonna need to have some fun aren't we," he replies.

      "Hehehe." I pull the seatbelt straps down over my shoulders and think to myself about my first contact with the Covenant. I have no training, any way of knowing what to expect; I don't even know what they look like and what they're called. I'm about to say a quick Hail Mary and hope for the best.
      I could feel the power of weightlessness take over. It felt good. My hair, what little of it I have, flew in all directions like static electricity had shocked me. My stomach flew up into my throat. I'm having fun somewhat. I've always liked heights and flying. I thought about my family on Earth. I hadn't seen my mom in two years. The first thing that I'm gonna do when I get to the base will be E-mail my mom and dad. But I have other things to think about that are more important, much more important, to think about now; like the inevitable battle that is right before me, right in-front of my eyes.

       "We've got about another minute Ryan," states Bynam.

      "Yeah, I know man."

      "You scared?"

      "Yeah, just a little."

      "Me too man. Our first time out, no training, no support, against a tough and determined enemy."

      "Man, now that you say it like that, it makes me feel like we ain't got no chance."

      "Hehehe! You're probably right dude. Let's face it; we're you, untrained, and undisciplined. We're all gonna die."

      "Well, we can only hope for the best. I mean, if it's our time to go, then God'll let us go. Then, we will meet our creator."

      "That sounds...um...Okay I guess. I've always wanted meet God."

      "Alright, we're about to go in. Let's brace up!" The pilot informs us that we need to get ready to hit the ground. Sounds like fun.
      Turbulence rocks the DV a little but not enough to throw her into a mountain or anything…I hope. Pinging and ponging from rain hits her hull as I'm sitting here gets to be annoying. It's like a time bomb is ticking down to the very last seconds. I look out the windscreen and see ground very close. We hit the ground hard and quick. A lot harder and quicker than I anticipated. But we all react quickly. I unbuckle the belt and stand up first. I run to the door and open it. I run out, rifle poised like a snake ready to unleash its deadly venom. I scan the terrain and see nothing move around. I signal for the others exit the DV. Most of the other guys are already out, but a few remained. We form a defensive perimeter around the DV and wait for the others to come down, seeing as how we were the first to leave the ship.

      "Where do you think they are," asks one of the recruits behind me.

       Another replies, "I dunno."

      "Look, over near that hedgerow! They're here!" I turn to see where the guy is pointing at and then see it. A plaster wall, about only two feet tall, is providing cover for these bastards. We all turn and unleash hell on the hedgerow. Bynam fires two rockets and then kneels to reload. We all stop at about the same time to reload, because we all started firing at the same time, roughly. But then I hear sounds behind me. I turn and see rifle barrels sticking out of a bush. They all start firing. I duck and dive for cover behind the DV. Bullets ping off. I'm scared shitless. I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die. But no. Not yet.

      "Die you bastards!" I prime and toss a grenade in the threat's general direction. Before it explodes, I run into the brush.

      "Let's get'm!" I hear voices behind me. But they sound oddly human. I run like hell to get out of the area. Briars scratch my face. Thorns pierce my skin. Ivy burns my face. I reach a clearing and see a small stream. I run to it. Upon further inspection, I see that it is deep, not wide. I go in.
      This water is cold as hell. I'm in awe that it hasn't frozen over. There are little fish swimming by me. And, now, a foot is in the water. The thing looks down at the water, seemingly stunned that it was that deep…and then, it sees me. I have to survive. I grab the thing's leg and drag him down. I punch him twice in the face, underwater and then knee him in the gut. Using a strategy seen many a time in spy movies, I raise him up above the water line, then put my arm around his throat. There are two others on the shore. They are stunned at my sudden appearance. I let a hail of fire hit the things. They are tall and weird looking with weird rifles and blue skin. The two of them fell. I take out my pistol and whip the one in my grasp over its head. I continue on.
      My instinct tells me to turn around and save my friends. But, I don't wanna die. But it's my duty. I turn around, and head the other way. I read the gun's ammo count and see that I have only nine rounds left. I release the clip and reload. I hear a stick crack behind me. I turn and try to spray the area behind me, but I'm hit in the face with a rifle but.

      "Gottcha!" I can't see anymore. I feel hands touch me. I'm about to go. I black out. I feel no more.

Two hours later…

      I wake up on a cot and with a gargantuan lump on my forehead. Then, a familiar face looms over my head.

      "Hello my track running friend," greets Bynam.

      "Yo to you too," I reply. "What time is it?"

      " 'Bout, 1853PM. Well, you got the best score."

      "Confused man, whadaya mean dude?"

      "In the exercise man, it was all an exercise, a training course."

      "You mean, that was all fake, just make-believe?"

      "Yep. They all were ODSTs in some costumes of Covies."

      "Okay, now I'm pissed. Alright, what was my score, and what happened to the guys I shot, and what happened to you guys?"

      "Right, score…um…30, 10 for each 'Elite' you 'killed', and 50 for your evasiveness. The guys you shot are just out for a while; you shot 'em with stun rounds. And as for us, we got shot up with stun rounds. You got bashed in the head with a rifle."

      "Oh. All right, so, where do I sleep? Oh, lemme guess, the barracks?"

      "The only cot left in the barracks actually."

      "Right, well anyway, where do we find out what we're supposed to do?"

      "Just what I was waitin' for ya ta' ask. Get up."

      "Man, that's wrong, I get bashed over the head and now they want me to get up."

      "No, what's wrong is you bailing on us like that man. Now com'n dude." I rise from the cot and walk over to the door. Not to my surprise, I see everyone standing at attention in front of the CO.

      "Nice of you to join us Private Dunbar. Now would you like to get in your ranks?"

      "Yes sir." I walk over to the ranks and get in one with fewer people; Bynam trails close behind.

      "Nice job out there today Dunbar. You've just made Corporal. Now get in front of the line."

      "Yes sir." I walk to the front of the line. The man at the podium is black and is wearing sunglasses. He has a black beret on his head, the symbol of a Helljumper. He is short and stocky with the build of a bull. He looks to be a promising guy.

       "For those of you who don't know me, I'm Staff Sergeant West, I'm in charge of the training at this godforsaken base. You will go through rigorous training in the next few weeks. There will be physically, mentally and morally straining. Starting tommorrow morning, you will train from dusk 'till dawn for two weeks. No sleep, well, maybe a couple of hour's worth, but no where near enough for any normal man to get by on. But you're not normal men, now are you. Helljumpers, are not normal men, my Helljumpers are Gods. Can I get a ho-ah Sergeant?"

      "Ho-ah Sergeant," we all reply in unison.

      "Now, get some chow, get a lot of sleep, and make sure you have all of your gear next to your cots, 'cause tommorrow morning, we will not budge. You ain't got a rifle, then you gonna be punchin' my Gods. And my Gods will not hesitate to kick your asses. Is that clear? Lemme get a ho-ah Sergeant."

      "Ho-ah Sergeant!"

      "You're dismissed!" The crowd disperses and we all head to the cafeteria. I need somethin' to eat. I'm starvin'.

      "Ryan, race ya to the cafeteria?"

      "You're on!" I ran towards the cafeteria closely trailed by Bynam, then following, now leading, then following, then side-by-side, then, following him. He beats me.

      "Money," he states, while motining his hand the way one does when they want something.

      "Aw, hell naw man. We ain't agree on any money!"

      "So, it's implied." We argued the night away.


Next up:
A Marine's Tale: Boot



A Marine's Tale: Boot
Date: 23 July 2003, 11:38 PM

Saturday, September 19th, 2551

      I feel her warm embrace in everything around me; her hug is like the air around me, warm and soothing. She is my best friend. She has been for years. I bolt up from the cot and find myself awake in a cold sweat. The warm air of the swamp flows through the barracks freely; the door is open, merely a group of strings waving in the air. I scan my surroundings and see nothing but the smog of swamp air. That's what else I forgot. I forgot to tell her I was leaving. Shit. I get out of bed and pull on my fatigues and other various items. I guess I can put on my armor, we'll be woken up soon. I slip into it and strap it on. I pull out my assault rifle from the rack. I walk out of the barracks and into the steamy, muggy, and humid swamp air.
      I look and sees that the cafeteria lights are on, the cooks busy making food. It's probably not for us. That would figure. But after taking a closer look around, I see that the Radio (I guess it's a radio station) station is open. Two guys are standing out the door, each with a piece of paper in their hands. I sling my rifle over my back and head on over. One guy is a short Hispanic dude; the other is an oriental guy, quite tall as well. I get in line behind them.

      "Corporal, you can get in line in front of me, sir! Oh, by the way, my name is Emanuel Sanchez. I'm in your squad, sir."

      "Thank you, sir. I'm Corporal Ryan Dunbar. So, where might you be from Emanuel?"

      "Sigma Octanus IV dude. Lived there all of my life sir."

      "I'm from Earth."

      "Whoa, the motherland. Dude, you are like a savior."

      "I doubt that. Who are you writing to?"


      "My mom, she's very sick, and I at least want to tell her I live her before she dies."

      "Damn, man, that must suck ass," I reply. I begin to feel emotional. That's one sad fuckin' story. It makes me feel I take things for granted.

      "I'm writin' to my girl. She's back on Earth too. I can see her now, her wavy blonde hair, he emerald green eyes, and her full, red lips."

      "What's her name?"

      "Katrina."

      "Man, I just may wanna go out with her, the way you describe her."

      "Watch it man, that's my girl."

      "Oh, yeah, right."

      "Alright, well, I'll talk to you later."

      "Yeah, see ya later man, bye." I walk forward when the oriental dude left. I pulled the seat out, and feed the letter into the transmitter device, and walk away. Sanchez moves forward and does as I did. I walk back to my barracks. I look at my watch and see it says 0345AM. Fifteen minutes left till our reveille. I lie down in my cot and rest. I'm not going to get much more sleep. I know that. But all the sleep will count.
       As soon as I closed my eyes, I opened them, it seems like at least. The Staff Sergeant enters, followed by a couple of ODSTs. I wake up quick for I see that they have shock-rods. I'm not in the mood to get shocked by a big guy.

      "Being prepared are we Corporal, what were you in, Boy Scouts or somethin'," questions West. He apparently sees that I'm in my armor.

      "Yes sir, I was," I reply.

      "Well, we'll need your experience in the field later. Alright, gather your men Corporal, and we'll be outside."

      "Sir, yes sir! Alright, first squad, lets go." The squad responds with a series of moans and grunts; No one wants to get up this early.

      "Com'n guys, let's go." No one rises, let alone takes me seriously.

      "Goddamnit you stupid fucks, get the hell up before I put a round in your skull!" The barracks go quiet pretty much immediately. Everyone, even the Sarge, looks at me.

      "You'll make a fine leader one day son, just don't kill 'em this early," states West.

      "Thank you sir." My squad begins to rise up, with a new sense of respect for me. They know I mean business and I'm not gonna take their shit.

      "Alright, let's get suited up and armed. We'll get formed up in the courtyard ASAP. You have five minutes."

      "Five minutes sir? With all due respect sir, that's a little short isn't it, sir," asks one of the soldiers.

      "Four minutes, Soldier." I'm beginning to be a prick. Sure enough, in a couple of minutes, my squad is ready.

      "Alright, follow me." We walk outside and form up in our ranks. We were the only team outside. Sergeant West climbs up onto the stage and gets up close to the podium. He hands his Sergeant Major something and tells him something in his ear.

      "Troops, attention," he bellows over the courtyard. We stood still and at attention. He walks over to me and hands me a folder. "Distribute these."

      "Yes sir." I pull out the folder's contents and hand back all but one packet. I place the folder between my armpit and body, and then flip through the packet's pages. Pictures of grotesque aliens (think they're aliens) fill the pages as well as statistics. A purple turret-like thing is on one page, something that looks like a plane, occupies another page. A tall, warrior alien, like what the ODSTs were dressed up as, was grouped with a smaller shielded alien on the third page. Then a hover-bike thingamajig and a short fucked up little bugger are on the last page.

      "These, are your enemies, troops. These are the bugs that have killed so many of our own brethren. You will see plenty of them around. But, when you do, you won't stare. You're gonna put two in it's chest and one in it's head. Can I get a ho-ah Sergeant?"

      "Ho-ah Sergeant!"

      "Now, 'cause ya'll got up so early, you're gonna leave for your training early," he says. My squad, including me, get irritated at this. But I always think too quickly.

      "…And, ya'll gonna get some real food. This'll be the last real food ya'll have for the next two weeks. Your suit's auto-feeders, they don't give you anything tasty, just enough to get ya by. You can take my word for it. Now, go to the cafeteria, fill up, and then you'll leave an hour before my gods are released. Unlike the others teams; hurry up 'fore I change my mind! Oh, and Corporal Dunbar, you will report to my tent as soon as you're done. Understood?"

      "Sir, yes sir."

      "Sergeant Major, dismiss the troops."

      "Troops, dismissed," barks the Sergeant Major. We are all happy over this new revelation. My team scurries quickly over to the cafeteria and loads up on chow. I put an egg and sausage sandwich on my tray, get three milks (I love milk…if ya catch my drift), and some cereal. Spotting Bynam, I walk over, and pull up a chair.

      "Hello."

      "Hey, Corporal."

      "Wazzup, the food good?"

      "Like it is in the school cafeterias back home." I take a huge bite out of the sandwich, chew, and swallow.


      "Tangy, sorta. Yours?"

      "Beefy."

      "Well, looks like we got a full schedule up ahead of us. I was listinen' in on the Sergeants talkin' and one of 'em said somethin' like two-fifty klicks."

      "Damn. That's a lot."

      "Yeah I know, so in order to finish in two weeks, we gotta do somethin' like…12 miles a day….no….about 18 miles a day. That's about 1 1/3 mph, but then we have to calculate enemy resistance, terrain, weather, pack weight. Shit. Too much to think of."

      "Dude, we are not in school anymore. Don't overheat your brain before we get to kill somebody." I look at my watch and note that the time is 0432AM. We've got about thirty minutes left until we depart, that'll give us an hour to get at least two miles hopefully away from the Helljumpers.

      "I gotta go talk with Sarge. Be back in ten."

      "No prob man; I'll just help myself to your cereal and sandwich."

      "Touch my food, I'll shoot ya." Bynam chuckles to himself as I advance on the Sarge's tent. I'm about ten feet from it and he comes out to greet me.

      "Corporal, I've got something for you."

      "Yeah, what is it?"

      "Mission objectives, estimated enemy resistance…"

      "Estimated, what is that supposed to mean?"

      "I'm supposed to make this op as life like as possible, is that clear?"

      "Sir."

      "May I continue?"

      "Yes sir."

      "Now, as I was saying, maps, available support, supply drop locations, intell, everything you'd be supplied in an actual op." West hands the package to me and pats me on the shoulder. "Good luck son."

      "Thank you sir." I salute and walk away. I look around the base for the last time and then jog to my troops. I go to my table and put the milk cartons in a small storage pack at my side and then bellow over the team's noise, "Troops, attention." Their noisy bickering and conversations cease immediately. They all look my way and then stand at attention.

      "We are going to get the hell outta here in a few minutes, so get ready. Make sure you have everything and meet me over there," I say as I point to a fountain near the camp's exit. Several troopers are already ready and they meet me over by the designated meeting ground. In a minute, they are all in front of me. I am proud to be in command of a branch of a highly prestigious organization. I will take my position seriously.

      "Alright, everybody ready?" I am answered by a series of yes's, grunts and moans.

      "Okay, with that cleared up and out of the way, let's move."

       We begin to march out of the camp and into the Rorbae Rainforests and beyond.

An hour later…


      I view the map and see that we are to be coming up to a Pelican Deployment base. A perfect opportunity to take advantage of this training mission.

      "Emanuel, can you come to the front of the line for a sec," I order over the COM.

      "By all means sir," he replies as quick as asked.

      I signal for the squad to halt and everybody, except for Emanuel, stops. Emanuel comes up on my right half crouching and jogging at the same time.

      "Sir, you wanted me sir?"

      "Yeah, lemme get the compass for a second."

      "Here sir," he says as he hands me the compass. I put it up to the map to see if we have the right bearing. Yes, it's right. Due north!

      "Alright, Emanuel, make sure we got nobody slackin' off; we're makin' good time now, three hours ahead of schedule, we don't wanna screw it up."

      "Yes sir."

      Now that I know we're on the right track, I know that we can move double time. I signal for them to speed it up as we get under way. This may be my first mistake. I begin to notice a break in the forest's lines; maybe this is the base. We continue running. Two bullets whiz past my face.

       "Everybody down!" I see tracers coming from every direction. Fuck. We're screwed.

       "Argh!" The first casualty. A round hit my gunner, Private Alan Deere, in his arm.

       "Fire all over," I yell. We spray bullets all around the ambush site. These hellish fighters are relentless. I prime and toss a grenade in the general direction of most of the sound. New idea. "Smoke 'em up guys!" I see the explosion, though it's only a stun grenade, and a guy fly out of the brush. Two more grenades fly their way and another enemy is downed. I see that this firefight is pointless. There are too many hiding in the brush for me to notice.

       "Gery, get me the Jackhammer," I yell over the sounds of battle.

       "Gottcha." Gery rushes over to me, bullets flying over his back, and hands me the Jackhammer. I aim it at the brush and let a round fly. Several men run out of that area, though their little run is futile, and the rocket hits. Three men go down, and two are lurched forward several yards. Two other enemy troops make a break for new cover and are quickly put down by my team's fire. "Alright, let's go!" We move out with a lot more caution. Bynam comes running up to my side and hands me a rod shaped device.

       "This is how they knew we were he," he states as he hands me the contraption.

       "What is it?"

       "A trip mine. They wait, we trip, they attack."

       "The base must know now, we gotta go faster. Bynam, take an advance team, two others, and see
it there are anymore of them."

       "Yes sir." We advance behind the shield of the advance team. Bynam picked up two more of them. He saves us two more battles. We reach the base in record time. West is one step ahead of me though. The Pelicans' fuel tanks have been drained and the security is hiked up.

       "Gery, again, I need the Jackhammer."

       "Roger," he says as he hands me the rocket launcher. I aim it at the fuel below one Pelican and let it rip. The fuel explodes and vaults the dropship in the air. The enemies are distracted if but only for a second, and we open fire. Hot plastic (these are stun rounds you know) rain down on the enemy. Most fall. Few stand to contest our rage, but we cannot be stopped. My squad and me run down the hill and make defensive positions around the nearest Pelican. Emanuel grabs a fuel pump and places it in the tank. He loads it up on fuel.

       "Who here knows how to fly?"

       "I do sir," replies the tall oriental man from the Radio Station.

       "Then get this show on the road and you'll be PFC!"

       "Yes sir!" He goes into the cockpit.

       "Let's load up troops." The squad got into the bay of the ship and strapped in. I feel the ship take to the air. This op is going over as soon as it began.




Friday, October 2nd, 2551

      We were really good off. But we didn't see the bastard with the rocket launcher. He hit the Pelican's engine and then we went down. Don't get me wrong, we did go a jump in our schedule, but, we paid for it; we have two guys injured, and all of us are bloodied up. This is one day till we are scheduled to end the op, but with all of our injuries… I just don't know. We reach the northernmost ridge. This is beginning to be hell on me and the men. We have to rest yet again. Everybody is tired. So am I. I hope we don't die out here. Oh shit, there's another one…


Next up:
A Marine's Tale: First Encounter



A Marine's Tale: First Encounter
Date: 5 August 2003, 10:21 PM

Author's Note: Sorry it took so long guys. Hope you enjoy it.




Saturday, October 3rd, 2551

      "We're really close Corporal." Emanuel informs me of our position every couple of minutes. This will hopefully be the last time he has to inform us because we are right there. We can't wait much more. The damn bastards have met us everyday for the past five days at our re-supply points. We've been without fresh water for five days. We need to get past their lines.

      "Gery, how we doin' on rockets?"

      His COM fuzzes back, "Not so good, two, four at the most."

      "Alright, well, you and Emanuel go check the front and make sure not of the Covenant notice us. When you're in position, tell us."

      "Roger" I order the rest of the squad to hold there position and wait. Bynam comes up and pats me on the shoulder.

      "What?"

      "What we gonna do now Corporal?"

      "We're gonna end this."

      "Good, cause I'm hungry." In a couple of minutes, Gery calls in.

      "Sir, we are in range, there aren't that many, but sir, it seems like a trap."

      "Alright, let me and the rest of the guys get up there and we'll find out what's goin' on. Alright you guys, follow me." Closely followed by my team, I advance up the hill and see my reconisance force. There are many switchbacks. They are tiring. You see what your goal is, but you can't get there for an hour. And the slopes are too steep to climb up directly. It takes us ten minutes to get up the hill and where my Recon Force is.

      "Ok, Gery, tell me where they probably are."

      "Um, well, most of them are probably in that area over there, there's sandbags and crap nearby, so once we trip one of those thingamajigs, then we'll get attacked. Then, another group is probably over there by that thicket. And the last group is probably on the trail up ahead."

      "A'ight, well, let's get the word out to the team and then we'll attack." Emanuel uses his COM to tell everybody the possible enemy positions. The others form up next to the others and me.

      "Okay everybody, I need you to cooperate with me here. Yao, Bynam, on my order, smoke up the target near the sandbags. Deere and I got the thicket, and you two, fire at the trail up ahead."

      "Roger," they all reply in unison. We all level our rifles and then wait for my order. I raise my support hand and put up three fingers, then two, then one, then none.

      "FIRE!" The bullets fly towards their targets. I prime a smoke grenade and toss them towards the target. It bounces three times and then releases its toxic fumes. I hear coughing up ahead and then hear people fall down in the brush. Sticks crack under the pressure of the Covenant's 'dying' troops. I hear the two rockets from Gery's Jackhammer hit something metal. Camouflage covering flies off a Scorpion tank and reveals her body and a giant barrel. One shell flies and hits a tree in our rear. No damage, but then, her 7.62mm chaingun opens up and keeps us down while she readjusts her aim. I hear the Covies moving towards us. I can't get only so close, then give up.

      "Let 'em have it." My team rises and gives the advancing troops hell. I prime and toss two more of the smoke grenades. Gery fires his last two rockets at the tank and we watch in joy as she explodes. He throws the Jackhammer down and then raises his SMGs. .45ACP rounds pound the opposition's armor. Bynam pulls out his pistol and then starts firing at the oncoming force. They must have two hundred of those guys coming at us. Deere lets the 'Covenant' have a lot of rounds right in their gut. I pull out another clip for my assault rifle, load it in, and resume firing. The bastards just keep on coming. They're right in on top of us. If you've ever seen one of those movies about the Civil War, that's how it is. I mean, they are right here in front of this. We have to use our guns as melee weapons. So now, I'm just swinging it like a baseball bat. You'd think that they would get injured, but not really. They got so much armor, it just feels like you got shot with Kevlar on, like blunt trauma. They still get knocked out. The last remnants of their force are falling to our blazing guns. We advance forward and make our way down the trail and to the last leg, the end.

      "I can see the base Corporal," states Deere. It's another trap, I know it's gonna be another trap.

      "Alright, guys, everybody, let's lock and load, make sure all of your guns have a fresh clip in it okay." I hear everybody eject their old clips and put in a new one. Out with the old and in with the new. We reach the outskirts of the base. I can see that they are ready for us. They have machinegun emplacements and two tanks this time. We're in for it. But we must finish this op. Our victory lies in crossing the 'finish line'. We don't need to beat them, just cross the line.

      "Okay, We're probably not gonna make it outta this one guys. But that's not our objective. Our objective is being changed…by me. We're gonna take out as many of those fuckin' bastards as we can in our charge. I know you're all tired, angry, deprived of sleep and food, but we've got that little bit of space to go till we cross that 'finish line'. We will prevail, because ya'll my Gods. We ain't no pushovers from little snotty colleges. Do you read me?"

      "Loud and clear sir." They reply loud and clear. You know that they're tired and hungry, but they don't show it. We start moving in as close as possible before we start firing like madmen. I see Gery has his Jackhammer poised to strike.

      "Gery, drop it after you get the first two rounds off, then whip out the SMGs," I order.

      "Yes sir."

      "Deere, you move it up first, you've got the biggest gun out of all of us. Gery, you flank Deere until your JH is out, then, move it up, washing them out from side to side. Bynam, Yao, You pop off a couple of smokes before we advance. Then, you take the right flank. Emanuel, you're on my ass okay."

      "Yeah," they all reply after my little speech. Bynam and Yao prime and toss several smoke grenades at the 'Covenant'. Some start to fall from unconsciousness from the tear gas. Deere and Gery move up. Both rockets fly after their targets, the Scorpions. I hear the rocket launcher drop and then the little buzz of the greasegun. Two assault rifles begin their deadly dance and a heavy machinegun starts roaring out little bullets. More of the 'Covenant' begin to fall. Emanuel and my advance begins. We start to let the 'Covenant' have it. We reach the tanks and have to climb up them. They provide little disturbance in our victory charge. But by the time we make it over the tanks, the 'Covenant' begin to rally their assault against us. Plastic bullets start to plink against the armor plating, but not all of them. I hear a shout of pain come from my rear.

      Bullets start to hit Emanuel all over. He falls. I stop dead in my tracks. And begin to turn around. Bullets whip past me and start to get really close. I hit the dirt. Now, I ponder the situation over in my mind, while firing off, concentrated, regulated bursts of fire. I can't leave him. But I have to survive. But he's a friend. I can't leave him out here to 'die'. But who's more important, the leader, or a rifleman. Both are equally important. But Emanuel is just as young as me. He has to live his live out to it's fullest.

      "Bynam, cover me!" By this time, the 'Covenant' have reached their disabled tanks and started trying to hit me. Most fell down, 'dead', off of the tank because of covering fire from the rest of my squad. I try to get up, and stumble. But I try again. This time I'm running on all fours to Emanuel. I pick him up and put him over my shoulders, like in a fireman's carry. I about face and hear Bynam yell, "Cover him double time!" I run faster than I ever have in my entire life. I dodge bullets and adrenaline kicks in. A sharp spike in pain causes me to go down. But I don't stop. I'm on my knees. There's only ten feet left. I'm startin' to go. My peripheral vision is blacking out. I can just barely see Bynam and Deere moving out from the left before the peripheral goes completely. I feel two more rounds hit my arms. Emanuel collapses onto my head and I hit the concrete headfirst.

Four Hours later…

      We won our battle. Yao and Gery ended up pulling all four of us in. We all got upped a rank. I'm a Lance Corporal, and everybody is anywhere from Private to Corporal. So now, we are going through Target Acquisition, Stealth, and Close Combat. I'm up for the first shoot. I level the S2 AM Sniper rifle and aim at the moving targets that are two hundred feet away.
*COUGH*
The barrel spits out it's first round and it hits. I reposition and aim at the second target.
*COUGH*
Another round flies toward its target. The round hits with such force, that the 'head' of the target is ripped away from the rest of its plastic body. I turn in my firing pit and aim at two guys that are popping up and going down.
*COUGH*
One round blows down two guys. Then, I see a 'Commander' target, made of solid titanium as to replicate a Covenant shield. I aim at it's weak spot, the center of it's head, roughly a centimeter above the centerline of your head. I squeeze the trigger.
*COUGH*
The round shoots straight through the target's 'head'. The drill instructor looks at me in astonishment.

      "Goddamn son. You're a fuckin' sharpshooter. Two with one, the 'Commander' down in one shot, and two other high ranking targets. All your shots are right through the head, between the eyes, three centimeters above the 'nose'. Now, I got one goddamned question for you son, where the hell did you learn to shoot?"

      "Boy Scouts sir. I got lost out in the woods on night with only a .22cal. I got hungry, and well, there was a bear. I put all eight rounds I had through that things skull and eyes, and he died, when I cooked the bear, they found me because of the smell."

      "Well, good shootin'," he states as he writes down something on a sheet of paper. I get out of the seat and eject the shells, hand the rifle to the next guy in line and then, walk over to the Stealth Training Center.

      They put me in a little chamber where all of the sound made inside of it, stays inside of it and is amplifies as well. So, you have to make your way across it without making too much sound. This is all done with full combat armor on. I reach my first obstacle, a five-foot drop onto metal grating. So I stop, turn around as if I am about to fall backwards, and then easily let myself down slowly. I touch the grating and then crouch again. I move to my next obstacle. A five-foot high climb. I need to climb it slowly and then get up without making too much noise. This proves to be a challenge. I make my way up, straining my biceps to pull me up slowly while I have to hold myself up straight and still for several seconds. I get on my knees, relax for a second, and then get up on my feet to scan and see what my next obstacle is. Several chains are hanging from the ceiling and are surrounded my shards of glass. I carefully walk forward and then, walk around the dangling chains, then over a pile of glass, and then around the next set of chains a glass. I finally complete this task. That was a real test. Then, I see the final obstacle. Dead bodies. I guess that when I do kill Covenant troops, I'll have to walk over them silently and try not to make too much noise. So I walk over blood and then notice that it is making noise when my feet lift up off of the sticky residue. So I now, I'm trying harder to avoid their blood. I nearly trip over a Needler. Thank god I don't. Now, that I've crossed the final obstacle, I am happy and relaxed. I climb slowly up two stairs and open the door silently as I can, just in case they are still testing me. I meet with the instructor and he shakes my hand.

      "Good job son. That's the best test we've had so far. You made less that one total decibel of noise while you were in there!"

      "Thank you sir."

      "Your welcome, kid, incredible job." So no I'm really happy. I bring my gear over to the barracks. Now, my last test; Close Combat. I stroll over to the facility and two guards quickly greet me. They open the door for me and then shut it as soon as my body is through the door. I see two guys, younger than me, trying to take down this guy on a wrestling mat. He lifts the guy on his right up over his head and then slams him down, pressing his shoulder into his chest. The guy on the right, is coincidentally, Bynam. He doesn't go down without a fight. He trips the trainer and then leaps on top of him. He gets about three hits in him and then is brutally kicked off and then speared into a wall. Ouch. The trainer stares them both down but neither tries to get up and contest his psychotic assault. Though he's drenched in sweat, he walks towards me as if he's going to take me on. He wipes some of the sweat away from his eyes and then shakes my hand.

      "Good job dude. You kicked my ass out there on that op. You can go back to your barracks. You've passed already."

      "Who are you, because I don't remember beating up anyone like you before."

      "Oh sorry, I'm Sergeant Maddox Brooks. I've worked here for a couple of years, but you smashed my head into that giant tree on the tenth day when you were supposed to get supplies."

      "You, ah, um…sorry about…you know…um…sorry."

      "It's cool. You were just doin' your job Dunbar."

      "How'd you know my name?"

      "Uniform name tag."

      "Ah." The trainer walks back away from me and sits down to meditate. Bynam gets up and walks over to me. I fall down and start laughing hysterically after seeing how bad of a lump he has on his head. It looks like the Eiffel Tower, of better yet, the Empire State Building.

      "You think that's funny you little bastard? I should kick your ass man."

      "Man, I'll jes slam your head into the wall again heheheheh!"

      "Funny man. Real funny." After that, we hear a giant rumble in the distance.

      Two guys but in the door and yell, "INCOMING!!" Two blue flashes could be seen through the door that the guards came in through. Maddox jumps up from his Indian-style seat and rushes over to a door marked, PERSONEL ONLY. He takes out his pistol, blows the doorknob off the door and with a powerful kick, crushes the door in.

      "Over here damnit. Get a weapon guys. We got Covies comin in.!" I did so really fast. He tosses me an MA5B, a real one this time, not a training version, and three clips closely follow it. I try to put a clip in only to find out that one's already in there. I wait for Bynam to meet me at the door and then move out.

      "Alright, Bynam, my armor is in the Barracks, and so is yours, that's our first objective. Then we'll meet up with the rest of the defenders, a'ight?"

      "Yeah." We make a break for it. I see what must be plasma bolts flying over my head. The greens and blue almost make the situation peaceful, but when I see one of the freaks firing the bolts, I take a break from peace and jump into reality. I pump four rounds into one of the short Grunts. It screams while neon blood gushes out of its wounds. I see two Marines fighting off several Jackals. I see some opaque sphere on the ground and pick it up.

      "Bynam, what's this?"

      "I dunno, try pushing those two little things on the side," he replies while firing bursts of rifle rounds.

      "Okay," I say as I push the things in. It glows a fluorescent blue and I'm not in the mood to get burnt. I toss it at the Jackals. It bounces off the shield of the keystone Jackal. They halt, turn and try to run. The poor bastards are catapulted forward and land. Their limbs stay airborne longer. The Marines turn and salute us. I salute back. We move forward some more. We then stumble upon the jackpot. There are some sort of Covenant crates and weapons behind our base. It seems to be serving as a rally point for the Covenant wounded. Twenty Grunts are lying on the ground with blood gushing through them while their Elite superiors walk around them. I prime one of the spheres and signal for Bynam to do the same. We toss the things into the fray and then watch as the poor assholes try to get up and out of the way. They fly into the air and blood rains down on the Elites. I kick one of the crates over and then start laying it into them. Bynam fires the rest of his clip into a Jackal's shield. He draws his pistol and then fires at the Jackal's pistol hand. Two of the Jackal's fingers fall off. It lowers its shield and then notices the fault it has made. Two 12.7mm rounds go straight through the Jackal's head.

      I hear a buzz coming from our left and then see the trees shake violently; I can barely be heard over the sounds of war. I can make out purple silhouettes.

      "Bynam, down!" He ducks down just in time. A Ghost flies right over where his head would have been. I lay the last of my assault rifle clip into the one that went over Bynam's head. The anti-gravity generator blows and catapults the Elite drive from its reigns. HAHA! I'm a good shot. Bynam crawls over to where I am. He ejects his old assault rifle clip and then inserts his new one. The second one turns and fires on the crates in which we seek refuge.

      "We're gonna die out here man," I state pessimistically over the hum of plasma fire.

      "Hell no man, we're too young to die," jousts Bynam.

      "I'll miss you brother."

      "Ditto homes, ditto." We sit behind the crates for ten minutes. More Grunts, Jackals and Elites are brought in for medical attention. I know that we're gonna die out here. We're drastically outnumbered. But I won't die without a fight. I turn around, and then using the crate, I support my rifle to fire it. I pull the trigger, but nothing comes out. I turn and look and then see that the safety's on. I flip it to automatic but then a plasma round from the Ghost and a round from the Elite roast the sides of my hair. I fall back.

      "Shit! Don't fuckin' die on me brottha! Don't die. Shit!" I lean up, groan, and then start to laugh.

      "Holy Mary, sweet mother of Jesus, you're alive man. HAHA! You're alive! I like your do."

      Bynam continues to ramble on about how I survived. I feel my hair and notice that I have no hair except in the middle. I've got a mowhawk. "Thanks dude," I reply, "That's the last time I try something that stupid again. We sit there talking about our live for a while and then I hear a growling noise coming from my right. I hear two people yelling hysterically and then the noises of occasional gunfire. In a couple of seconds, I see the trees on my right collapse and a Warthog with Emanuel in the driver's seat and Deere in the gunner's mount appears. The 'Hog' hits the Elite, severing his head and then catapults the Ghost into the air. The Elite driving is then wedged between a rock and the Ghost. Deere starts to cut down the Covies in the rally area. Then he hops down and comes to our aid.

      "I thought you guys could use some help. Hop in guys, we got cleanup duty Corporal," yells Emanuel.

      "Roger that," I reply. I see the tires then notice that they must have run down a bunch of Covies because the tires look as if they are naturally blue. I hop in the passenger's seat; Bynam hops on the rear fender and locks himself in place with a restraint. We begin to move and soon enough we see more Covenant. It's another hour before the area has been cleared up. We have prisoners. Several Grunts, a Jackal and two Elites, one supposedly the field commander. We are all celebrating our victory, especially the newbies. Bynam and me are awarded a citation for psychotic bravery, the kind they need in the ODSTs. We are all happy that our first encounter is a victory.

      We are having a barbecue tonight. The grill is getting ready. The meat is brought in on a Pelican. The pilot also has a surprise for us. According to him, it's a morale booster. A package of letters. I even get one. Sod does the rest of my team. I follow Bynam over to a set of lawn chairs. We sit down and read them.

      "Who's yours from Ryan," inquirers Bynam.

      "My girl, yours," I reply.

      "Mom."

      "Ah," I say as I open the letter. I begin to scan the lines. But it's the first that makes me yell…



Next up:
A Marine's Tale: Vengeance is Mine



A Marine's Tale: Vengeance is Mine
Date: 27 August 2003, 6:41 PM

Author's Note; Jeze, this took a long time. Well, between getting a new Xbox to play Halo on, my birthday, and getting grounded, there wasn't much I could do. Anyway, hope you like it. (Note, I'm still grounded…)




Saturday, October 3rd, 2551

      "So lemme get this straight Ryan, your girlfriend is dying," questions Bynam.

      "Yes! Now if you don't mind damnit, I don't wanna talk about it right now," I reply. Emanuel walks over and then hands me a chicken wing.

      "Wanna a chicken wing," he asks. I tank the wing and chuck it.

      "NO! I DON'T WANT YOUR CHICKEN!!!" If you can't tell that I'm pissed, then you have problems. I need to see her before she does die. My girlfriend has caught a serious disease. I forgot what it was, but I don't really feel like reading the letter again; it'll just intensify the pain. I get up and start walking towards HQ. Deere runs up to my side and hands me a package of sorts. It doesn't have a stamp, probably because of the fact that it may be laced with coke.

      "I've had enough bad news for the day Deere, I don't need anymore." I drop the package on the floor...and I hear a jingling sound. I quickly turn to pick it up and under my breath, I mutter, "Please don't be what I think it is." I pick up the letter and open it. Into my hand, falls a Crucifix. I fall to my knees and then put my hands to my face. I start bawling. I cry like crazy. First, my girlfriend is dying, and now, I find out that my grandfather, the one who took care of me from birth till I was eighteen, has died. He told me that when he died, he'd give this necklace to me. Deere walks over to me and then pats me on the back.

      "It's gonna be okay man, it's gonna be okay."

      Gery walks over, picks up my letter and hands it to me, "There's something else in there."

      "Thanks," I say as I take it. I pull it out and then read it. It's the will. I begin to read it. There are only three things on it; one, he loves me; two, that everything he owns is in my possession; and three, that he wants me to kill as many Covenant bastards as I could. I crumple it up, get to my feet, and then continued on my trip to HQ. The rest of my fire team follows me. Yao comes over to us and then asks me, what's up. We spill him the news and gives me his condolences. We reach the door and I let myself in. Commander Riley seems surprised.

      "Oh, yeah it's you, good job today," he commends.

      "I need out, sir," I say in complete disregard to his compliment.

      "What!? No, that isn't possible, the Covies are planet side now, and they are gonna attack again."

      "Only for a couple of days, sir. I've had relatives die sir," I contest.

      "Lemme think about it Corporal, and if I'm in the right mood, then we'll discuss that, are we clear?"

      "Crystal clear, sir."

      "Dismissed." I turn around and exit the room. I kick the garbage can that's right next to the door and start to curse under my breath. I'm pissed. I miss my grandfather badly, as he was the only real father figure I had in my life. My real father is a deadbeat. He left my mom when I was young. She didn't have enough time or resources to take care of me, so my grandfather opted to take the challenge. My father still saw me…about once a year; But not enough to even make me love him the way father and son always do. An hour later, Riley gives me permission.

      "Dunbar, you can go, but you gotta take one more guy with ya. The Longsword is too complex for just on Marine to fly."

      "Thank you, sir," I reply. So now, I get to tell my girlfriend I love her and that I'll miss her and go to my grandfather's funeral. I walk over quickly to Bynam and tell him the good news.

      "Great dude, can I go?"

      "Sure man. Just be quick, I gotta see her before she dies." I a minute or so, Bynam comes back with a duffel bag full of his clothes and stuff. We head over to the landing strip and get the keycard for Longsword fighter 11A. I run up the ramp and almost shut it on Bynam's head. He gets really pissed at me for this one.

      "Ya could've killed me bro'! Watch out," Bynam yells.

      "Yeah, yeah," I reply in a carefree manner. I run to the front, slide the keycard in the ignition and then press the buttons on the card. The Corps must think we're incompetent. On the MA5B ammo pouches, it tells you were to pull the tab out from, as if it isn't obvious. On the rocket launcher it tells you which way to hold. I mean, who in the hell would hold the thing backwards? I tried to once and I couldn't reach the grip. But the buttons on the keycard help because I don't know how to pilot one of these. But an actual USN pilot would. Anyway, who cares? I'm going to get to see my girl one last time before she dies.

      In a matter of minutes we're in the continuing abyss of space.

      "What are Earth's coordinates," ask Bynam.

      "How the hell should I know man, I mean, I'm in the Marines to shoot, not to fly around willy-nilly," he replies in an aggravated voice.

      "Okay, fine, leave a brother hangin' in the wind like that. I'll find out on my own." I tap a couple of buttons on the panel and then find the coordinate-data arrays. I access the arrays and then Earth's coordinates.

      "Got it, okay, so here we go." I enter the coordinates in the Slip-space coordinate intake and then press the button. I hear the drives go on, and then they cut off.

      "What the heck is going on," I ask with a tone of fear in my voice.

      "Look doufus, your supposed to switch the safety of," Bynam replies, trying to act like he's smarter than we he really is.

      "Well, ya could've told me that earlier, but thanks anyway," I reply.

      "You are welcome grasshopper," he replies sarcastically. "When you snatch the stones from my hands, you will have become a true man."

      "Right, and that would mean that you are a total jackass because you couldn't snatch stones from my hand if you even tried."

      "Really, okay. You wanna put a bet on it?"

      "Fine, how much, a hundred?"

      "Cool with me, okay so where's the stones."

      "Okay one second." I punch the Slip-space drive and then go back to the Armory. I pull out a magazine and then pull out ten rounds. I go back to the pilot's chair, hold my hand out with the bullets in it and then wait for him to grab it. He tries a couple of times and misses them. On his third try, he gets half of them.
      "See, I told you I could get 'em."

      "Yeah, but see, you only got half of 'em and I kept twenty-five. So the way I see it, is that you owe me $250 bucks."

      "Screw that. Let's just call it even man."

      "Yeah, okay, but I'm only doin' this 'cause you're a homie."

      "Fine, fine, I owe you one man."




Tuesday, October 6th, 2551

      We reach Earth a couple of days later. We had the cryo-tubes on a timer for the estimated amount of time it would take us to get to Earth. I crawl out spit the filmy stuff that keeps you alive out of my mouth and then get some clean clothes on. Bynam meets me on the bridge.

      "Wazzup," I ask.

      "Nothin," he pauses, yawns, then continues to say, "jes drowsy."

      "Yeah, I know what ya mean man." We reach the outer preliminary scan centers. This is where are troubles begin.

      "This Scanning Station R, comply over," fizzles the COM.

      "How the hell do I speak to them man," I ask Bynam.

      "Why should I know dude, I'm here to help out, not to know anything."

      "Where's the speaker dude? Help me out man!"

      "I repeat, comply to station or we will be forced to fire, over."

      "Is that it man," shouts Bynam.

      "It's worth a try," I reply pressing all the buttons near and on the small console. As we get closer, I can see two cannons rising to the occasion.

      "Shit, where the hell is it man!!"

      "There," bellows Bynam pointing to a series of knobs and frequency displays.

      "Yes," I say as I walk over to and pick up the communicator thing.

      "Hello, this is LS11A, coming in for leave, over," I reply with a sigh a relief. I see the guns lower.

      "We made it man."

      "Roger, permission to go into the atmosphere, where is desired landing zone?"

      "New York, East Islip District, Housing Complex 7A."

      "One moment."
      After a brief pause, the COM replies, "Two facilities are open, make your way down and chose either."

      "Thanks," I say. We fly in and land on a pad closer to my house than the other.

      "I got some business to take care off, so you can go to Joe's or somethin' and I'll meet ya there, alright?"

      "Right."

      "Oh, and you better take this," I say handing him a pistol. He stares at me and I simply reply, "Rough neighborhood nowadays." He shakes his head in understanding and walks off towards Joe's. As for me, I walk off to the hospital.

…through the eyes of Jon Bynam

      I walk forward down the street and then view the place that Ryan talked about, Joe's. I move up to the door and then open it. To my surprise, it's rather clean for the neighborhood it is in. As the door opens, one of those little bells jingles and the people siting down, eating waffles, grits and, bacon turn to look. I hear one of them mumble, "No wonder we're losing this war; they're letting these guys off on leave in the middle of combat." I don't really care, I'm on Earth helping a friend. I take a seat and start reading the menu. After about five minutes, a waitress walks up and stares at me.

      "On the house Corporal," she states and walks away. I stare at her (not a bad body, I might add) and wonder why she did that. I'm a Corporal, but I don't have my name tag on. I turn around and see if anyone is standing behind me.

      "Where in the hell did you come from man," I ask Ryan in wonder.

      "My grandpa's house," he replies.

      "Who was that," I inquire.

      "My girlfriend's sister."

…through the eyes of Ryan Dunbar

      I hold the Winchester-Colt Pistol that was once my grandpa's tightly in my pocket. Jon has eaten, but I can't. We're about to see my girlfriend. It's easy to watch it and learn about it…death I mean. But when it happens to you, so close to you, you feel it more. It burns your heart to see someone so close and important to you go. But she hasn't gone yet; there's still a chance for me to say goodbye, and how much I love her.

      We reach the front desk and are quickly rushed through to the Delivery Room. Now why in the hell are we going here…well, there's only one reason why that I know of. My girlfriend is having a baby. I run in to see the baby half way out. I walk over to the doctor and ask him if everything is gonna be okay.

      "Well, you're the father, and we've proven that by a shit-load of DNA tests and crap. But it's still unsure if she'll make it. The disease was just a false alarm"

      "Thank you," I reply, collapsing back into a chair and then sighing, then crying.

      "God, Thank You," is the only phrase that I manage to mumble. There truly is a God. After the baby is out, I walk over to her and talk.

      "Hey, how are you doing," I ask.

      "I'm fine," she replies in a weak and hoarse voice.

      "Well, get some rest, okay."

      "Okay, I will."

      "I love you." She falls asleep as soon as I finish my statement. I begin to exit the room when I see my father.

      "Hey, son."

      "What do you want?"

      "I wanted to congra…"

      "Shut the hell up, dad. This is the first time in what, four years since you've even talked to me? You don't even deserve to be on this ground near me. And how do you live with calling me your son; you weren't there long enough for me to even know you." I walk right past him and then Bynam closely follows. My dad turns around with tears in his eyes.

      "You don't have to like it but no matter what I'll be your dad! You remember that son, you remember that..." I keep on walking not the least bit phased by his little speech. I'm in no mood to even care about him right now.

      "Don't you think you're being a little harsh man, he is your father man. He brought you to this world and you don't even thank him for that little bit," states Bynam.

      "Ya know, you're right. But it was his responsibility to take care of me when he gave me the privilege to live here. So who's in the wrong here?"

      To my surprise, Bynam replies, "Both of ya'll." I turn back and stare at him.

      "Ya just don't get it man, do ya."

      "Yeah, actually I do. Treat thy father and thy mother with respect, and your life will be fruitful; one of the ten commandments."

      "Screw that." I walk away and to the docks, Bynam closely behind me. We board the Longsword and depart Earth's gravitational pull.




Wednesday, October 7th, 2551

      I am jolted awake from my sleep in the cryotube, as is Bynam. We jump from the tubes to hear the blaring of alarms. WTF is all I'm thinking. I hurry to put on clothes and then rush to the bridge. I look out the front windscreen and then see several Seraphs heading for us. Plasma bolts head straight for us.

      "Shit," says Bynam as he joins me on the bridge. They don't fly this far from their mothership, I think to myself. When the thought enters my head, I quickly hit the evasive maneuver button. The Longsword continues to fly around crazily, dodging plasma all over the place. In a couple of minutes, I hear a horrendous screeching noise.

      "What's that man," I yell."

      "Look," says Bynam looking forward and seemingly awestruck. I turn to see the shimmering shields of a Covenant cruiser, but no cruiser. Then, all their power must have been pushed towards keeping the shields active because all of a sudden, this huge mass of purple appears in front of us. It must have been cloaked. Several of the Seraphs start shooting at us but miss and hit the shields. More power drain. Now, the shields are draining. I turn and look at Bynam; he does the same to me.

      "Shit," we both say in unison. The shields finally fail, and all the power and force built up behind us shoot us forward. We crash right through the hull of the cruiser and then fly through the windshield. The lights on board are dark. We have to get off the ship. I turn around and tell Bynam to follow me. We jump through the windscreen, which is now broken and head back to the armory. I pick up an MA5B; some magazines for my Grandpa's pistol and the assault rifle and then sling a shotgun over my shoulder. I also get a bandoleer of grenades. Bynam picks up the other assault rifle and a GPMG-90 (General Purpose Machinegun). We both don the extra armor packs and begin heading down the hall. I see the door, it's been reactivated I guess because they're using backup generators. But I don't have too much time to think about it because the door opens when we get within its sensor's vicinity and two Elites with searchlights see us. I draw my shotgun and pump lead into the first's gut and then smack the second in the head with the shotgun butt. Bynam finishes it off by pouring about twenty holes the size of quarters in him. We continue on and spot a contingent of Grunts. I prime a frag and then toss it into the center of the group. They look to bee too tired to care. They notice too late. Several fly up and hit the ceiling so hard they stick. I can hear the hoses that bring methane to their lungs hissing as the air exits the tube and the Grunts as they wheeze for air. I run forward and finish off the rest. This is beginning to feel good. I'm getting my vengeance for my Grandpa's death. This is the way he would've wanted it. We head forward until we notice some of the doors ahead of us opening, but nothing there.

      "Cloaked Elites," Bynam states, readying his GPMG for the battle to come. It's not gonna be easy, but we have to get off this ship; and fast…


Up next
A Marine's Tale: The Covenant Ship and a Nearby Planet



A Marine's Tale: A Covenant Ship and a Nearby World
Date: 21 November 2003, 3:03 AM

Author's Note: Guess who's back? Back again? Pj-Nykr90 is back again. I am very tired from writing and it took a long time to write this story but it is well worth the wait (I hope). Enjoy!




Wednesday, October 7th, 2551

      Turning on my light for better view of the Elites, I level my shotgun and remember that I still have some grenades. I roll a frag down the hall and see the distorted area that the Elites cluster in. Then, I see how truly cruel the Elites are to their minions. One of them pushes two other Elites in front of him and I see as they explode. The sacrifices die in a horrendous flash of light and metal. They appear out of nowhere and fall to the ground, their limp bodies losing blood.

      Momentarily, we can see the other Elite, enveloped in its golden yellow armor. We act on the spur of the moment, firing shotgun and machinegun rounds into its armor. Bullets ping off the shields, but they flicker and finally die. Seemingly resilient, the psychotic Elite charges us in a last ditch effort to survive. We gun him down quickly.

      "Police their weapons Jon, and I'll cover you from back here," I command

      "Oh, yeah, put me at the trigger and get me fucked up. A'ight, I see how you are," he replies, jokingly. He gets up from his crouched stance and advances on the dead bodies. Then, he sees something. He does a combat roll and starts shooting a Covie up with machinegun rounds. I hear the unmistakable barks of Grunts. I can tell that several fall, for anybody can hear their envirosuits clank as they hit the deck boards. Lowering my assault rifle from my shoulder, I run up to give Jon as much support as I can.

      "Nice of ya' to join me," he says.

      "You know me; I love parties," I reply. Two Grunts run into the hallway to their left while another takes cover behind a Jackal's shield. I prime a plasma grenade and toss it into the hallway. A Grunt screams and then runs for cover as he sees the blue luminescent sphere soar over the space between us. It hits the Jackal's shield and falls to the floor in front of him. It turns to run. Seeing is folly, I level my MA5B and plunge half a clip into its back. It turns to look at me with its glazing eyes, then trips to the floor. I fire at two Grunts trying to reinforce the position. Their blood quickly floods the area. I read my ammo count and see that I have three rounds left. I put the last burst into the wall, eject the old clip, and jam another in to take its place.

      Bynam turns to me with a sadistic smile and says, "This is fun."

      "Very," I say back as I assume my position firing on the hallway. Eight Grunts roll up on our position and immediately begin to over charge their plasma pistols. Two of them have needlers. They start firing a clip at our position. I remember from our training to avoid them almost last second so that they have no chance of readjusting to hit us. When the needles are about a foot from me, I jump to my left behind the refuge of the wall. Little purple flashes go off all along the wall. I hear moans of agony.

      Bynam lies on his back, obviously, in pain. I can see several purple explosions go off on him. 'Damnit', I think to myself. I toss several frogs into the hallway.

      "I'm comin' for ya' buddy," I scream as I run across the hallway. I hear several overcharges being released. I turn see that four overcharged plasma bolts hit the wall. I look at Bynam's bloody face. Red liquid and saliva leak from his mouth and from holes in his armor.

      "Damn," I say as I pull a medpack from my satchel. I pull out pain relief sedative and bio-foam and prepare to give him first aid. I check his pulse, which happens to be dangerously low. I hear something laugh behind me. Picking up my assault rifle, I turn to see a crimson armor Elite with a plasma rifle aimed at my head. He says something in Covie and then laughs again.

      "Think its funny," I say reaching around my back for a plasma grenade. Then, to my surprise, the Elite says something in passable Human.

      "Yoo are Marrineee, right?"

      "Yeah," I say.

      "Well, then, comm withe meee."

      "Fuck you bitch." Two more come up behind him with assault rifles. Why would Elites use assault rifles of all things. Their plasma rifle is three times as good. Then, an Elite in blue armor, holding a sniper rifle, walks up to the other two.

      "Corpsman, get theze man sum meedikal attencion."

      "Roger." As the blue armored Elite walks closer and closer to me, I grow more and more uneasy. I begin to pull the plasma grenade out and shove it onto its face. But, then, it takes its hand and pulls off its helmet...to reveal a human face.

      "What the hell is going on here," I yell. The other two pull off their helmets to reveal human faces as well. The one in red armor pulls off the arm guard to reveal a tatoo with two swords crossing eachother over a shield. 'Semper Fi' is written in a ribbon to the top while ODST is on the bottom.

      "We're ODST," he says, "and those damn COM links make us sound like fuckin' retards."

      "Well, I can see that buddy, but how did you manage to get a hold of that armor?"

      "We're jes' that good." I envy them, but one day, I will be one just like them. Hey, hey, hey, I'm in ODST training as it is right now.

      "Okay, so where do we go now." The Helljumper was preoccupied with a headset inside the helmet, blubbering words and commands into it. I wait for him to respond. I takes him a while, but he answers.

      "Blow this ship to bloody hell and then evac," he replies.

      "Ah, jes' what I've been waiting for, to get blown up." We get up; two Helljumpers walk up with Elite armor, blue, and hand it to me.

      "I don't know where to start putting this on," I exclaim.

      "That's why we're here," they say back. After a couple of minutes, I'm strapped into a Covenant battle suit with shields and communications. We continue down the hallway, carrying Bynam in a stretcher, and reach a large room, raised in the center with several computer panels and a commander Elite in it. He looks down at us and seems to be stunned for us to be carrying a human in a stretcher. He runs down to greet us and then looks at the ODST in red armor.

      "Yhw uoy tel eht Human evil," he inquires. Not wanting to blow our cover, the ODST just shrugs his shoulders. "Yhw od yeht evah Human yrnopaew?" Pondering the question, I reply to him in his native tongue. "Srinevuos. Siht Human rof erutrot."

      The happy commander replies in his native tongue, "Ha, sey, ew lliw evah nuf htiw mih!!!AHAH
AH!"

      I reply back to him, "On, eh si rof em ot evah nuf htiw."

      The smile quickly disappears from the commander's face. "Uoy lliw od revetahw I llet ouy ot od, ttogam!"

      This insults me, so I reply, "EID!" I throw a plasma grenade onto his helmet. He runs into a group of sleeping Grunts and his head explodes in a bright blue flash. Bits and pieces of his head land on my visor.

      "What the hell did you jes' say dude," asks one of the ODSTs.

      "I told him to die. Now let's find the reactor room."

      "Yeah," they reply as the group moves out in search of the reactor room. In several minutes, we come across a group of Grunts. we brutally gun them down and take their weapons so we look less suspicious. Then, a Jackal patrol comes across our path. I take one's shield and beats his skull in with it. The other, we shove a frag grenade in his mouth and send him on his way. His head explodes and we all laugh at his misfortunes.

      When we reach the reactor room, we leave two ODSTs to guard Bynam, and the rest of us charge the room. Two Elites stand guard over the controls. We take grenades and smoke them out of their little station. I fire a burst of plasma (I had since switched into several Grunts waking up from meditations and head towards the control station. I run up a ramp into a small cramped room with holographic panels and view screens scattered all over.

      "How do I work this thing," I yell over the noises of battle to the ODSTs.

      The commander ran up behind me and squashed a Grunt with his foot.

      "Thanks bro, but ya know how to work this?"

      "Yeah," he says shoving me out of the way and beginning to push buttons.

      "I thought ya said ya knew how to operate these things," I say.

      "I do, these things are fragile. Push a couple of button combinations and you'll get it to say what ya want it...." He is interupted by a COM unit that says , "Fles-Tcurtsed Ecneuqes Detaitini; Ytnewt Setunim,"

      "What does that mean," he inquires.

      "It means we need to get the hell outta here. There's no need to blow the reactors now, cause the ship is about to do it for us."

      "How long," he asks.

      "Twenty Minutes." Bynam, obviously woken up by the intercom, comes into the reactor room as the battle dies down.

      "What's up man? Have a good rest?"

      "Yeah, no thanks to your fighting," he replies pulling bandages off. In aminute, we strip the armor off dead Elite.

      "Take this man, we'll need it." He puts the armor on and then we set out for the launch bays. The ship is in a tustle. It's crew is hurridly running around, trying to get off the ship because of its new turn of misfortune. We run in a group and follow a commander Elite. He will most likely know where he is going. I over hear him and several of his comrades talking about a 'Prophet', 'Forrunner' and a 'Phantom'. When he comes to a wall next to the launch bay, he waves his hand infront of it and then, an active camoflauge system deactivates to reveal a door. He runs through and we follow.

      "Yhw era uoy gniwollof su," asks an Elite.

      "Ew emoc ot epacse."

      "On," he replies, "ton htiw em."

      "Woh tuoba sey," I say as I signal for the team to arm their weapons.

      "Yase, won. Tub uoy lliw ton teg yawa thiw sith, Flood scum."

      "Thaw si a Flood," I ask. "Llet su erom dna ebyam ew lliw tel uoy evil."

      "Enif. Eht Flood era a citisarap ecar. Yeht ruoved gnihtyreve."

      "Gnirb su ot eseht Flood, dna ew lliw eraps uoy."

      "KO," he says with a chuckle, as if we will never make it. "Wollof em." We board his ship and flex cuff him to the passenger's chair. I take the pilot's seat and fly the ship out of the bay. We all take off our helmets and the commander seems stunned, too stunned for words.

      "Woh...woh...who did uoy nrael ym egaugnal, Human," he asks.

      "M'I tsuj taht doog." Bynam looks at me.

      "No, really man, how did you learn it that fast?"

      "Everything they say is bacwards, compared to what we say. Hehe. That's what 10 years of honor classes does for ya." I fly the ship into the atmosphere of the planet.




      Planet side, Emanuel Sanchez, Alan Deere, Yao Kinzieng, and Gery Howard sat on the ground next to their command post. They look up into the sky to see a purple vessel flying towards them.

      "Holy shit, Gery blow 'em to hell," orders Emanuel.

      "A'ight," he says as he levels his rifle.

      "Wait a minute," bellows Yao. "There're human life forms detected aboard the ship."

      "What!?! What are ya talking about," asks Alan.

      "Humans are aboard that ship as well as a single Covenant.

      "Ah," replies Gery as he uncocks his rocket launcher and lays it on the ground.

      "Let's meet the ship at the LZ.

      I can see several the familiar faces of my friends from the cockpit and I begin to get distracted. I loose control of the ship and we feel it going in head-first for the ground.

      "What the hell are you doing," yells the ODST commander.

      "What the hell are they doing," yells Emanuel. I struggle to regain control but my efforts fail. We hit the ground and send up a wave of dirt and rocks into the air. The stuff begins to settle on the ground and Emanuel's squad comes to search the ship for suvivors.

      The Elite known by his comrades as 'Ayumammae, prepared to escape. He could feel as his blood dripped down his hands but I am not an animal, he thinks. I am a Covenant warrior meant to rule over this lesser species. Using his brute strength, 'Ayumammae breaks his bonds and raises from the seat. The Human who knows his language is rousing as well. He mustn't let him live. But, 'Ayumammae hears voices outside the doorway, that of a Human. He has far more pressing matters to attend to than seeing this Human die; the gods will see to it that he is finished.

      The door opens and Emanuel sees an Elite in yellow armor. Lowering his shoulder, 'Ayumammae charges the line of Humans. Emanuel feels weightlessness takes command over his body. He hits the ground with a thud and his back sears with pain. Alan whacks the Elite in the head but, it continues on. Gery and Yao teams up on him and knee him and punch him. Yao lowers and clips him. 'Ayumammae raises and tries to continue on. And, he breaks the blockade. He runs into the forests that encompass the base. He has accomplished his mission, he has escaped.

      I rouse in time to see him escape. I hit the ground and then raise to chase him. But it is too late. Then, Emanuel turns on me. My Elite armor deceives him.

       "Hold up dude, it Ryan!"

      "Oh yeah, then prove it." I raise my hand to take off my helmet and all I get for it is a bullet shot into my chest. The burning pain fills my body. Then, I hit the ground, wheezing for breath and in severe pain. My helmet falls off.

       "Holy shit, he was tellin' the truth! Ah fuck! Shit! Get the doc Alan! Check the others! Help!" I begin to fade out and then, I finally black out.





bungie.org
brr!