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Fan Fiction

Halo: Standing Firm by Xzilen

Halo: Standing Firm Part I
Date: 24 November 2002, 3:46 pm

[Authors Note: This is my first attempt at submitting any fan fiction. There may be a few discrepancies in this story, but I attempted to keep that at a minimum, checking over the story quite a few times. I have part two on its way (its already started) and will post it if part one gets any readers interested at all. I would appreciate any feedback or comments. Thanks!]
Oh, and one other note. Halo belongs to Bungie... Not I... Just a small disclaimer...

1130 Hours, November 16th 2552 Military Calendar.
In Orbit around Ralon III

The Covenant have won. Captain Carl Lipton, commander of the UNSC Frigate Lazarus recalled being told by a junior grade officer whom had informed him of Reach's fall.
How Lipton wished he could forget about it.
      More than one hundred and forty UNSC ships destroyed. Three repair stations to waste. Hundreds of Longswords lost. The shipyards! The Spartan II's. And worst of all... Millions upon millions of lives gone as the Covenant ruthlessly glassed the planet.
      They had suspected a traitor after the Circumference incident, only tightening their growing fear.
      He had heard stories passed on by the few survivors of the battle that a lone Halcyon class cruiser had made an impressive attack on many of the Covenant ships, even taking out what seemed to be their flagship. How a Halcyon managed to do that was beside him, for last he knew, they were being lined up be scraped by the UNSC. But whatever it was, the survivors also told of how the cruiser had gone into Slipspace, drawing away almost the entire remaining Covenant ships with it (which from Reach was not a tremendous amount after the fight that the Human race had put up).
      Lipton paced across the deck with his hands clamped behind his back. The only positive things that had come out of the whole experience in his eyes were that after the battle, UNSC forces managed to recover some Covenant wreckage after regrouping with the main forces of the UNSC and finishing off the few remaining covie ships that remained at Reach to clean up. ONI had then been able to study those and upgrades were supposedly on the way.
      Oddly enough, no Covenant attacks on human held colonies had been reported since the Halcyon made the jump away from Reach, it was almost as if the covies were sidetracked with other matters.
      Lord knew that Lipton had seen his share of war. Thirty six years of age, seventeen of them wasn't even close to enough experience to know just how the human race was going to survive against the seemingly unstoppable might of the Covenant army. War against other humans always brought death and horror, but all the past wars among humans, even the uprising in the outer colonies seventy years ago that cost millions of lives, was nothing compared to the war against the Covenant. Lipton himself had survived four engagements with the Covenant, an impressive mark for any human.
      Still I have to remain vigilant Lipton thought. We aren't going to beat this enemy unless we try our best. We must stand fast.
      Looking through the view port, Lipton watched as his ship floated by the two orbital MAC guns in position around Ralon III. The planet that twenty two million people, six million of which now consisted of military after masses flocked to dedicate their lives to try to save their race.
      Unfortunately, massed against the Covenant, many did not have that long of a life to dedicate to fighting. Lipton had heard stories of whole regiments just being slaughtered, and one could not forget about the glassing that the Covenant did to planets, even with their own troops downside.
      To try to protect from just such a disaster, the Lazarus had around six hundred marines aboard, alongside three scorpion tanks, four pelican dropships, three Longswords, and eight LRV's, all ready to deploy for ground operations in a hair's notice. Of note were the twenty-four Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODST) that were stationed aboard. The ships space power was impressive as well. Being a rather newly commissioned Frigate, the UNSC had pulled no short stops on the Lazarus. Three and two thirds meters of Titanium A Battle Armor protected the ship, two feet more than the standard issue of six months ago. The armament consisted of two MAC guns that could each fire two rounds in succession, three nuclear missiles, 1 Shiva remote Longsword nuclear fighter, 25 triple auto cannon emplacements, and 38 Archer missile pods, with plenty of spare missiles onboard.
      Still, Lipton knew that the Covenant had the better ships. His wouldn't stand a chance against the Covenant unless his ships and crew, and most importantly, himself could outthink the enemy.
      Taking a few steps around with his hands still cupped behind his back, Lipton took pride in the diligent working of his crew. He knew the times could not be easy on any sane member of the human race, and the way that the people aboard his ship held themselves together was truly a site to marvel on.
      At the very moment that the thought finished passing through his mind, a deck officer approached him hastily. Lipton knew merely by looking at the shuffling of the young Flight Officers' feet that he wasn't going to like the news.
      "What is it Ottoman?" Lipton inquired before the fresh-faced Flight Officer had time to say anything.
      Flight Officer Geneva Ottoman ran a hand nervously through her short-cropped raven colored hair before speaking. "Sir! Fleetcom has sent forth a warning. A survey station has detected the so called slipspace anomaly again" Ottoman paused and bit her lip for a second before finishing "It looks as though five Covenant ships are en route"
      Years of commanding kicked into play and Lipton immediately stiffened up, sending orders in all directions. Sending Ottoman back to her post, he took the slip she had in her hand and read the coordinates on it that the Covenant were believed to be entering the system at.
      Though only a Frigate Captain, Lipton ranked higher than the Destroyer Lancer's Captained and higher than the Frigates Reagan and Whisperwind's Captains, all ships of which were stationed with in the system.
      "Inform the Reagan, Whisperwind and Lancer that we need them to rendezvous at our position ASAP." Lipton ordered his comm. officer.
      "On it now Sir" Corporal Dan Nillenway, the comm. officer replied, all the while betraying no emotion in his facial expressions.
      Spinning on heel, Lipton turned to face his XO, 1st Lieutenant Angelo Marquez. "Get me the military headquarters on Ralon III, I need to speak immediately with the General."
      "As ordered sir" Marquez answered as he tried to raise HQ on the Radio.
      The few seconds that it took to raise Ft Hillenbrand might as well have been an hour to Lipton with the situation at hand.
      "Captain Lipton, your XO didn't sound too happy when he reached us a moment ago. What's the matter?" A voice that Lipton recognized as Brigadier General Jeffery Hollis asked with a bit of concern in his voice.
      Hollis had long been aquatinted with Lipton. Since the Battleship Sting Hive and the Cruiser Sentiment of Jericho had been recalled to defend the Sol system, Lipton was placed in command of the Naval forces around Ralon III. Hollis remained in control of ground operations appropriately, but it was in space where most battles were fought.
      On a daily basis Lipton and Hollis had been discussing what to do if a Covenant attack did take place on Ralon III. They had implemented weekly drills for the planet side people and had even managed to build a second orbital MAC Gun with the limited building supplies they had, for most of their mined resources were immediately shipped off for use at the UNSC's Central command's discretion.
      "General Hollis, excuse me for skipping our usual greetings my friend, but we have five Covenant ships inbound, ETA is in less than a half hour. The Reagan, Lancer, and Whisperwind are all inbound and should arrive in about eighteen minutes." Lipton took a breath before continuing "I must ask that you launch ground side Longswords, mixing up the greens with the experiences, and get the ground forces ready."
      "Acknowledged, I'm going to devote a third of the troops to getting the civilians ready to evacuate, the others I'll have get ready for any possible ground attack, especially at the fusion reactors" Hollis answered.
      An awkward moment of silence passed before Lipton broke it.
"Good luck" Lipton said having to muster up everything he had to say it steadily.
      Hollis paused for a briefly before responding "You to."
      With that, Hollis cut the transmission.
Hollis took a deep breath, exhaling it slowly before standing up and preparing to issue orders.
      If the man upstairs granted a miracle, the Covenant would be defeated in space without a problem. But the way things were going for the UNSC in space; it would probably take more than a miracle for that to happen.
      "Johnson" Hollis barked.
      "Y-yes sir?" Johnson asked, taken back by the sharpness in Hollis' voice.
      "Call up all available troops, we're to prepare for Covenant attack... This is not a practice run"

1214 Nov 16th 2552.
In space around Ralon III.

      The Reagan, Whisperwind, Lancer, and Lazarus stayed a bit out of the gravitational pull of Ralon III as to allow themselves the best maneuvering possibilities that they could get while still being able to protect the planet.
      Behind the four capital ships swarmed about one hundred and fifty Longsword fighters, and one remote controlled half-kilometer metal plate that was built as a "shield" craft.
      The greener Longsword pilots were kept back, ordered to prevent as many Covenant landing craft from touching down as possible if the Covenant tried to invade.
      Hopefully, they wouldn't have the chance.
      The two orbital MAC guns loomed over the planet, charged up to face the incoming threat of the Covenant. Just one round from these guns could destroy a Covenant ship. The orbital MAC guns at Reach had supposedly been responsible for the destruction of at least half of the Covenant fleet that had been there. They would do their job. The problem was making sure they were able to stay that way.

      "Lieutenant Mallen, are the MAC capacitors at 100%" Lipton asked as he ran a final shakedown of his ships operational capability at the time.
      "Yes sir, and our thirty five Archer missile pods are armed and ready with the safeties on, nuclear missile is in tube, Shiva remote Longsword is prepped and auto cannons are loaded and ready." Mallen responded while keeping his eyes on his screen.
      "Good, contact the other ships and have them on full standby, our unwelcome guests should be arriving shortly." Lipton answered while staring out the main view port, a look of grim determination on his face.

End Part I

Halo: Standing Firm Part II
Date: 27 November 2002, 1:54 am

1220 Nov 16th 2552.
On Surface of Planet Ralon III.

Groundside, hundreds of soldiers were scrambling about. Countless amounts of training had led them to get some semblance of order, even in the situation that now plagued them.
      The reactors for the orbital MAC guns and astrophysics library were heavily defended, the later even having high explosives attached to destroy it if the Covenant were to get inside. The navigational data had already been destroyed but in an attempt to make an ambush point on the Covenant, they had still made it look as though it was still intact.
      Other places yielded protection, camps that had been set up before were occupied and Civilians were being prepared to evacuate if needed.
      Among the soldiers on the ground was Kyan Tracknowski, a man who had been fighting against the Covenant for four years of his life. At only seventeen he had been in his first engagement with the Covenant as a Stinger tank driver.
      Now a Scorpion tank commander, he lined up just behind a tree line on a hill near one the entrance to one of the underground fusion reactors, camo net masking his presence.
      Beside him lined up twelve other Scorpion tanks, and four older modeled Stinger models. A few jungle warthogs lay about, two with missile launchers replacing the usual M-41 LAGG Chaingun on the back.
      Alongside were many marines and army troops, with a varied armament. Some lay down flat with the new battle rifle, but even more kept to their MA5B assault rifles, a few with grenade launchers in place of the flashlight, not wanting to get rid of a weapon they knew as well as a long time lover. Still, others had Jackhammer launchers and a few perched themselves in trees with sniper rifles. A few soldiers even brought shotguns in case the covies charged at them.
      All marines carried the M6D .50 Caliber pistol with a 2x smart link scope, and frag grenades.
      If any soldiers were to survive an engagement, it would probably be these guys. Another group was out directly protecting the fusion reactor, they had LRV's to try to flee in, but they were really there to make sure that the Covenant didn't find it "too quiet" and suspect the ambush in place for them.
      Kyan scanned the area around him, recognizing marines and other army soldiers. He knew that today, many people would die but he only prayed that the deaths wouldn't be human.

      "Sir! Covenant forces have exited slipspace three hundred thousand kilometers out" A crewman shouted as cool as he could.
      Captain Carl Lipton almost wanted to backhand the man but restrained himself, understanding the guy would get right back in line as quickly as he had fallen out of it.
      "Noted Corporal. Nillenway, open a channel to the other ships."
      Nillenway nodded and promptly carried out his order.
      Lipton looked at the view screen hastily, analyzing what he saw. Fleetcom had underestimated the Covenant numbers by three. A cruiser, two destroyers, and four frigates made their way towards Ralon III. Lipton hurriedly made his decision on plan of attack.
      Flicking on his comm. channel he ordered "Orbital MAC Guns, target a Destroyer each, all ship fire MAC guns at the Cruiser."

D       D
F   C   F
  F   F  

      Lipton swallowed hard. The destroyers and cruiser were farther back in the lines than the Frigates, but he knew they were countless time over more deadly. He knew it may not take THAT many MAC rounds to destroy the cruiser but he figured some shots may miss and they couldn't take a second salvo from the cruiser.
      "All ships, fire on my mark."
      Plasma started charging up alongside the Covenant ships, most notably on the cruiser and destroyers. The Covenant ships also released their single ship fighters.
      Dozens of tear shaped Seraphs streaked towards the human ships. A few squadrons of Longswords moved out to intercept them.
      "Ready..." Lipton gave one more second for the targets to get closer. "Mark!"
      The Lazarus bucked lightly as four MAC rounds were hurled from the ship. The Lancer launched four heavier rounds while the Reagan and the Whisperwind each threw out two. Two super Mac rounds shot out and raced at the destroyers.
      The Covenant responded by launching their plasma. The remote plate was immediately brought up to shield the human ships and guns from the Salvo. A second later the Super MAC rounds reached their targets. One destroyer got hit directly in the center of its bow, an "eye shot" as many in the UNSC referred to it as. The round tore through the front of the ship and made its way out the back. The other destroyer was hit directly in the hull and spun out of control, back away from its comrades. The ship based MAC shells hit next, the Lazarus's coming first. Two were complete misses, but the other two hit, bouncing off the shields. Following that the Reagan's rounds came, hitting, taking down the shield and damaging the hull slightly. The Whisperwind's rounds missed, but one hit a Frigate in its path. Finally, three of the heavy MAC rounds launched from Lancer hit the unshielded Covenant cruiser. One tore right through it, gutting it, while the other two slammed into the ship hard.
      The cruiser tumbled and rolled, secondary explosions overwhelming the craft.
      The plasma arrived shortly thereafter, ramming into the shield plate, enveloping it like a flare, melting the plates and making the metal deformed slag.
      Seraph fighters and Longswords were exploding all around, hardly noticeable to anyone other than the pilots out there in the single person ships.
      The frigates continued getting closer, acting as though they didn't care about their losses. Plasma again roiled up on the sides of the ships,, and drops ships and landing pods were launched.
      "Reagan and I will take the damaged frigate, Lancer and Whisperwind, you guys take the one to the far right. Orbital MAC Guns, target the ones to the back." Lipton said with tightness in his voice.
      The other ships acknowledged the order and pivoted to carry it out.
      "Now remember guys, break off immediately after firing, you don't want to be standing still so that the Plasma may get you like a hunter gets a sitting duck."
      The Covenant let loose their plasma again, this time it was aimed at the Super MAC guns.
      MAC Guns went off again. The super MAC rounds sped towards their targets, cut through their targets like a butcher's knife through hut butter. The ship based MAC rounds soon thereafter reached their targets. The ship targeted by the Reagan and Lazarus blew apart with five Mac rounds hitting it. The other covenant frigate took only two hits and managed to survive.
      Lipton watched in horror as the plasma soared towards the MAC Guns, for he knew that if they were to fall, Ralon III was a lost cause.
      Two dozen Longswords decided not to let that happen though. They pulled up height wise and created a screen in front of the plasma. Lipton immediately recognized what they were doing... giving Ralon III a fighting chance. He tried to remain stoic as he saluted.
      No human eyes witnessing the events could help but wince as the Plasma impacted against the fighter screen, destroying every one of the ships, even going through it, though extremely weak. It hit the MAC guns but did little damage at all.
      In anger, the MAC Guns spat their response, a two round salvo that was two times over what was needed to destroy the Covenant frigate. The frigate, like the fighter pilots, faded from existence.
      Turning his attention to the Covenant landing craft, Lipton ordered the Lancer to help three squadrons of Longswords mop up the remaining Seraph's with its AI controlled auto cannons. As good as his ship's gunners were, Lipton knew that the AI on the Destroyer would prove to be much better. Ordering the other two remaining Squadrons of Longswords, along with the Reagan and Whisperwind, Lipton concentrated on taking the craft out.
      "Mallen, arm archer missile pods A1-A4 and target the cluster of dropships at zero bearing two point four. Fire when ready." Mallen nodded and after quickly making a few calculations shot off the archer missiles.
      "Missiles away sir."
      Thirty-six archer missiles soared from the Lazarus on a race to reach the Covenant ships. Plums of fire appeared as the missiles found targets. Five Covenant ships started to fall to the planets surface; all fire already extinguished by the vacuum of space.
      The attacks on the landing craft continued, Longswords flew by shooting their missiles and their auto guns roared as they made passes on landing craft. The Reagan and Whisperwind followed Lazarus's lead letting loose Archer missiles as well. Over a hundred landing craft and dropships were destroyed but still, many got through.
      "Those frigates must have been designated for troop transport, hell our Frigates don't even carry an eighth of what those did." An Ensign commented with some need to state the obvious.
      Lipton let loose a deep breath and after pausing for a moment he broke the silence. "Nillenway, inform the Marines... they have company."

1305 Hours November 16th 2552 Military Calendar.
On Planet Ralon III near fusion reactor I.

      Kyan grunted as helped push up the last barrier. He had left his tank to help the Marines and army men set up camouflaged barriers to provide cover if and when the Covenant attacked. He was relieved that the cities had been evacuated so orderly, but disturbed about the fact that the Covenant had been shown via satellite transmissions, to be moving towards Fusion Generator I.
      That either meant a traitor or the Covenant had some way of telling where energy feeds were coming from. He pushed both thoughts from his head.
      As he climbed back into his tank he sighed. He wasn't even afraid any longer. The human race had never come to appreciate life until recent years, but it was almost as if it was too late.
      None the less, Kyan wasn't going to allow the Covenant to take the Human race down without him kicking and screaming the whole way.
      He recalled former holy wars. Ones done between humans though. A particular incident that jumped to his mind had been a group of radical Muslims attacking America, still the heart of Earth, taking down what had been trade centers that stood proud, and even damaging the military center of operations. This had all been done even though the majority of America believed in the same God but had a different book.
      All this death because their "god's" will it Kyan thought. Well why don't we do them a favor and send them to where their god's belong.
      It was stupid to fight and destroy another race because of religion.
      Still, Kyan held the cross around his neck closer to his breastplate. His god didn't ask him to commit genocide, but he himself would love to spend from now through his golden years methodically snapping the necks of one covie after another.
      "Satcom to team F27, Covenant contact imminent, be prepared" Kyan heard over his radio.
      There were no good lucks spoken. There was no need for it. They knew that they had to perform their duty and any personalizing may take away from the ice cold precision they would have to keep. Once again, Kyan sighed... and waited.

      Up the hill came the first wave of Covenant. Grunts, the Covenant fodder that they never seemed to run out of.
      Armor piercing bullets immediately reached out to offer the first greeting, all seeking to be Death's messengers to the Grunt's.
      Normally, firing and alerting the people in the back that they were to meet resistance was a bad idea. But the marines were to look as though they were in too much panic to think.
      Some grunts dropped and a couple more got hit, but the rest stormed up the hill in a mad charge.
      A grenade launcher thumped and a few grunts were thrown like rag dolls into the air when the 60mm HE round landed in their midst. The marines started falling back, firing their weapons as they did so. A few more grunts dropped, but by then, the vulture like Jackals had started to lay down cover, using their shields as protectors for the forces of the Covenant army. Green plasma and needles flew through the air in return fire and Marines started dropping. The rest ran and hopped into the passenger or Gunner seats of Warthogs. Any wounded marine who couldn't make it on their own were left behind. Many of those waited for the enemy to get close before dropping a grenade at their feet, taking themselves and some enemy with them. Chain guns chattering, throwing bullets at the Covenant.
      Wraith tanks and ghosts hovered up the hill.
      Kyan tensed a little bit. He saw what looked like Covenant "Elites" and the gigantic "Hunters" ONI had only recently classified those races, and it was now time for his team to spring into action...

      Part III will be coming soon... Hope you enjoyed it. Once again, hope to see feedback posted thanks!

Halo: Standing Firm Part III
Date: 13 December 2002, 11:27 am

Authors Note:

Sorry it has taken so long to get this posted, I don't have microsoft word anymore since I just revamped my computer into XP, hope you like this one. I'll start on Part IV in Study Hall on Monday :)
Feedback is appreciated.

Halo: Ressurection
      Part III

      A scorpion tank fired it's cannon and a 90mm HE aimed at a wraith tank flew out, missing the tank and hitting a group of Covenant Jackyls, blasting them into all different directions.
      Assault rifles spat casings as Marines held their fingers on the triggers. A warthog with an Arden short range missile rack let loose with two missiles. The Ardents streaked towads a wraith tank and exploded, taking the tank with them.
      Kyan concentrated his tank's machine gun fire at taking out the grunts, while saving his tank shots for the larger targets.
      Two sniper rifles cracked, and an Elite fell. A Wraith tank got a grip on what was happening and made the first move on the Human forces in the tree line, letting loose a shot. A group of Marines panicked, seeing the plasma mortar was coming their way, and scrambled to move. The mortar shot landed right on top of them, blowing boiled body parts around.
      Kyan decided that the Wraith tanks were by far the biggest danger, being able to shoot over the barriers that the Marines had set up. He swivled his tank gun and drew a beed on a strafing wraith tank, he fired the cannon and was rewarded when the Wraith rocked with the impact of the shell. Unfortunely, it remained intact.
      Another mortar hit a Stinger tank, the outside boiled red for a second then cooled back to blue. The Stinger got off a round at the wraith tank that Kyan had shot at, destroying it, before another mortar round hit it.
      Kyan sighed, the Stinger tanks, while outdated in their armor and light infantry support capibilties, had a better gun in their 152mm cannons. The UNSC had lowred their production due to the Scorpion's lower cost, and better all around capabilties, including superior speed, armor, and light infantry support capibilties.
      He also knew that they were going to get slaughtered if they didn't do something about the Wraith tanks. He flicked on his comm and spoke hastily.
      "Unload the ardent missiles, we can't take much more abuse from those Wraiths!"
      Being the superior officer in the battle, Kyans orders were immeditely carried out. A dozen Arden missiles took flight from one of the warthogs while using the multiple targeting system. The missiles were able to target six different wraith tanks and they all headed on a quick course towards each.
      Kyan smiled, the Wraiths would be history any second now.
      The missiles suddenely exploded in the air, causing Kyans heart to skip a beat. The Covenant must have had some kind of electric device that caused the missiles to destroy themselves, but at the moment Kyan didn't really care to speculate, he cared about taking out the damned tanks as soon as possible.
      "Fire the remaining missiles off, we'll have to do without backup ones" Kyan said as smoothly as he could into his comm channel.
      A few seconds later, five more wraith tanks went up in flames, unfortunately the remaining one let out another blast, this time aimed at the Ardent carrying Warthogs. The shot missed, but did hit a patch of soldiers, causing instant death and their metal plates that they wore for armor to bubble.
      A Stinger swiveled, bringing its 152mm cannon to bear on the Wraith. It fired, delivering the knockout blow to the Covenant tank.
      Even with the tanks gone, the team still had a problem on their hands, there were so many Covenant left, including the atrocious Hunters, who were tearing Marines apart with their fuel rod cannons. Marines fired round after round at the "blue armored bastards" but the things kept coming, bullets pinging off their armor. A pair of Marines lobbed a couple frag grenades, both landing relatively close to a Hunter. The grenades went off, causing a large explosion, sending shrapnel in all directions. But the Hunter barely slowed down, and even emitted what sounded to be a chuckle.
      Another Marine stood up behind a nearby barrier, Jackhammer in hand. The Marine brought the Hunter into his smart link scope and squeezed the trigger, moving back slightly with the recoil. A trail of condensation followed the 102mm Rocket as it sped towards the hunter. The Hunter turned just in time to raise its shield, getting driven back by the rockets force. Still, it stood, shocking the Marine that fired at it. Angrily the Marine fired again, this time the Hunter couldn't raise his shield, his left arm hung loosely at his side. The Rocket slammed into the Hunter, whom never rose again.
      "Teach him to chuckle" the Marine muttered bitterly.
      The Marine stood, eyeing the dead Hunter for a few seconds longer, too long in fact, as Covenant Plasma rammed into him, dropping his lifeless body to the ground.
      Tank guns roared again, shells reaching out towards other Hunters, each like a finger of death, eager to touch and cut the life away with its scythe. Four more Hunters crumpled, but the Covenant were making progress up the hill.
      Kyan knew they couldn't possibly wait any longer, he radioed to the Engineer's channels. Taking a deep breath, and waiting a few heartbeats more, he said "Blow the hill."
      The hill seemed to expand as explosions ripped from the ground, remote detonated mines being set off.
      Countless Covenant went down, but the remaining kept coming.
      Even Kyan was starting to feel panic take hold of him. "Christ, they refuse to stop."
      Casings from thousands upon thousands of bullets littered the ground and more joined them as the Marines swept their rifles back and forth across the Covenant ranks. Shotguns roared as some Covenant made it near the barriers, pushing the aliens back.
      Kyan cursed aloud, the Covenant were inside a zone, where he wouldn't be able to hit them without hitting some of his own men.
      Another pair of Marines dropped to the Covenant plasma and a few were ripped open by the pink needles that some of the Covenant shot. A Marine screamed as a plasma grenade attached to him, the Marines knew that there was just about no way that the Grenade could be removed in time. Thankfully, the Marine gathered his wits extremely quickly and jumped over the Barrier, charging into the Covenant ranks before detonating.
      Even above the gunfire, the squeals of surprised Grunts could be heard as Warthogs veered in behind the Covenant line, trapping them in a hail of bullets from their chainguns, and the Marines at the tree lines rifles and own chainguns.
      The marines that had played the role of diversions earlier had returned. Even with their original ranks down by a large percentage they hadn't left the fight completely, instead returning and sending spurts of morale through the Marines who had started fearing that the Covenant would never die.
      By the time it was over, the battlefield was an absolutely horrid site. The smell of burnt flesh put a stank in the air that fouled the senses of anyone lucky enough to still be there. Body parts were strewn everywhere and blood actually formed puddles in places that it didn't soak into the ground.
      Kyan tried to feel sorry for the dead Covenant, but he just couldn't. They were aggressors who showed no sympathy to humans, never offering an option of peace or surrender. Sadly, Kyan was beginning to feel nothing at all anymore. He had long lost contact with friends he grew up with, all of them either now dead or one at one of the other few remaining colonies.
      The colonies, the thought of what the Covenant did their made Kyan's blood boil. Some Colonies had barely been around long enough for a generation to grow up on them.
      Never before had war been about survival to this degree. There had been wars about freedom, wars for economic reasons, wars to overthrow Governments, but never to stop ruthless slaughter such as this. Never had people needed to fight just to keep alive as species.
      Kyan grabbed his pistol and climbed out of his tank. Only five Scorpion and two Stinger tanks remained. Nine tanks lay in smoldering wrecks.
      "Lieutenant Tracknowski, our casualty is sixty two percent at the current estimate, General Hollis is recalling us once reinforcements arrive to take our place" A Private who's arm was in a sling and face was caked in dirt informed Kyan.
      "Understood, lets get ready to move out, but stay alert"
      Kyan passed by a cargo truck where bodies of Marines were being hauled in. Another one was being loaded with Covenant weaponry that had been recovered. The truck's contents would most likely be loaded on a small cargo freighter and shipped back to Earth for ONI to study.
      An assault rifle and battle rifle cluttered a short burst each, two marines finishing off some near dead Covenant. Kyan yanked out his radio. "Try to take some alive soldiers."
      "But sir" a man on the other answered "they never ga.."
      Kyan cut the man off, "Just do it, interrogation equals information, try especially hard to get a few of the Elites, Jackals and Grunts will do, but the Grunts seem to know as little as we do."
      The Marine paused before responding, letting out a soft sigh "...Yes sir."

      0300 November 19th2152
      On UNSC Frigate Lazarus, in orbit around Ralon III.

      Captain Carl Lipton rubbed his eyes. He had set a three and a half hour sleep cycle for the Lazarus's main bridge crew. He knew he should have made it longer, but he wanted the best available crew on the bridge whenever possible, if/when the Covenant attacked again.
      All his people were compenant, but he knew the main shift was among the best in the entire fleet, they were diligent, professional, damned good at what they did. Above else, they knew how one another operated, they were quick, and trusted each other.
      Out to the port, a few Longswords kept formation, the pilots would be relived and the ships rearmed soon. The craft still had ammo, but weren't filled to capacity.
      Walking to the bridge Lipton called for a weapons status check.
      "MAC Capacitors at 100% still per your orders sir. Archer missile pods closed, but ready to open on your command. "Archer missile pods have been reloaded. Autocannons have 100% ammo." Marquee, Liptons XO answered.
      Taking a long drink of bitter coffee, Lipton caught up on his messages. A congratulation from Admiral Jan Tanith, and a message from ONI concerning salvage crews coming awaited him.
      "Rotate the Longswords and inform the others to do the same"
      "Aye Sir" Nillenway replied, stifling a yawn.
      Kyan took his time to read over the ground war report. Nothing of the Covenant remained down there that was operable. A small convoy of ships had left to head to Earth with Salvaged Covenant technology. The army and Marine forces that had been stationed on the ground-fighting end had taken heavy casualties. Out of the one million troops fighting, fifty nine percent had been killed or wounded too bad to fight for a long while. Another ten thousand soldiers who had helped evacuate the main cities were killed or wounded as well.
      He admired what those men had done, fought of a Covenant invasion force. Not since Sigma Octanus IV had that happened.
      Best of all, two elites, a jackal, and a grunt had all been taken alive. They were the first Covenant to be captured in a long, long while, and even before, it had only been a few grunts.
      "Sir" Nillenway called"
      "Yes Corporal?"
      "UNSC High Command reports that they regretfully inform us that they can not be sending us reinforcements" Nillenway said with bitter disappointment clearly visible in his voice.
      Lipton was taken aback. Not by UNSC's refusal to send reinforcements. Heck, he had expected that his request would be denied, but Nillenway hardly ever let his feelings seep out while on duty, He shook his head, knowing that it would pass.
      "Acknowledged, thank you Corporal."
      Lipton knew his men and women under his command would continue to watch over the planet dutifully, from the next inevitable Covenant attack.
      They would do their duty well. Of that, he was sure of.