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Fan Fiction

Roughneck Two-Zero by Anthony Coronado

Roughneck Two-Zero
Date: 3 April 2002, 12:20 am


The Covenant threat now looms over Eclipse. Roughneck Two-Zero has beat off wave after wave of Covenant in Cote d'Azur on Reach. They were pulled out before the mythical Spartans armed and detonated a HAVOK Tactical Nuclear Warhead in the sewage systems. Before Reach was glassed, the Pillar of Autumn and her precise cargo, Spartan-117, jumped into a randomized vector, per Cole Protocol Article One. They were never heard from again. The Covenant gave chase after this lone ship, and gave the Fleet optimal time to evacuate Reach of all 13 million inhabitants, and all UNSC personnel and jumped to Eclipse. In defense of Eclipse, one third of the populace volunteered for active duty. On Reach, Roughneck Two-Zero was demolished. Only twelve of the original 50 remain. Few replacements have come, and when they do, the members of Roughneck Two-Zero try not to get too close; most replacements die within two drops.

Chapter I: Dude, your colon sucks

1630 Hours, January 2, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, HQ "Delta Storm"

"Men, our frontlines are collapsed. We're going back in." A low moan and groan filled the room. "The 7th is at risk of being overrun. We're going back in to fill the 'bulge' that has been placed in the line. We leave in twenty minutes. I have Blue and Zeus has Red." The members of Roughneck Two-Zero left the briefing hall and headed towards their armory. They grabbed MA5B standard issue assault rifles, M6D pistols with 2x zoom, Jackhammer missile sytems, M90 shotguns, fragmentation grenades, and SC AM sniper rifles with 10x zoom. The soldiers placed their gear on their locker tops, popped the locker open, extracted their body armor and matte-black insulator suits. They inserted there bodies into the suits and began placing their body armor on, a process which would take fifteen minutes. The double-doors and the end of the armory silently slid open and in walked Reco Johnson. "Nike, Anubis. Go grab two Hogs and meet us top side at the dropships." "Sir yes Sir." Nike and Anubis rushed out of the armory and ran down the hall. They came to an eleator and walked in. Anubis tapped a holopanel and the elevator slowly descended. The elevator descended two stories into the heart of the mountain which was "HQ Delta Storm." The elevator opened up to reveal a cavern in the mountain about a kilometer in length and almost twice that in height. Rows of Warthogs, Pelicans, Scorpion MBTs, Longsword interceptors and gear lined the walls and buildings. Nike and Anubis proceeded towards a Guard Station and under went intense retina, taste bud, finger print, and brainwave tests to verify ID. They were admitted and walked over to a pear of Warthogs that lined the edge of a wall that numbered eight Hogs. The two engines hummed and roared to life as the Warthogs slowly pulled out of the parking spaces. They drove to the far edge of the cavern towards a door that lead to an elevator. The hu-normous doors slid open and the Warthogs slowly proceeded to advance upon the platform. The platform ascended the two stories to the surface. The two meter thick Titanium A doors slid open to reveal two parallel rows of Pelican drop ships.

They attached their Warthogs to their designated Pelicans and boared the two Pelicans. Reco Johnson watched as Blue team boared their Pelican and Red climbed oboard their separate Pelican. He then looked at the rest of the teams board their Pelicans, and thought of there families, although he had never meet them. Some of them would never return. Reco climbed oboard his Pelican and noticed his technician, Gizmo, was fidgeting with his seat straps. Reco leaned over and yanked the straps out of Gizmo's hands. He thrust one end of the strap towards the other and clamped then tight. Gizmo looked up and caught a glimpse of his tattoo. It wasnt exactly "his" tattoo. It was the Squad's Insignia Tattoo, much like the ODSTs. The tattoo was called "Hammer Down." It depicted Thor's hammer slamming into a unkown target. Running parallel to the tattoo, written in Chinese calligraphy, were the words "Hammer Down," hence the name of the tattoo. Reco looked over his squad. "Hey, Ares! How do you feel bro?" Reco inquired. Ares looked up, startled, and replied, "Like ####." He looked at Nike. Nike saved him on three occasions. Reco couldnt say enough about him except that he owed his life to him. He looked over at Jimmy Izanagi. Izanagi holstered his yard long Sniper rifle. He had killed many Covenant with it. It was stained with their blood. Athena was one of the fastest in the squad, aside from Nike. She also had one of the best aims, but was steady enough to wield a Sniper rifle. Reco and Thor grew up together, went through basic together, and were lucky enoguh to both be placed in Roughneck Two-Zero. Zeus' squad consisted of Zeus, Hades, Isis, Apolo, Zethus, and Anubis. The flight of Pelicans slowly ascended and propelled towards the action. It would be ten minutes till they arrived.

1658 Hours, January 2, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, approaching LZ Alpha

Red hot plasma bolts sliced the air. The plasma stuck its target, a Pelican drop ship. The armor plating melted and formed into molten slag. A salvo was 5 blue orbs were launched into the air. One nearly destroyed Red team. 186th ODST, Gold team, however, wasnt so lucky. The blue orb struck the Pelican, and it immediately tail whipped. Flaming corpses were catapulted from the Pelican. Just more dead. Just more chaos. Ares stomache lurched. He, like many tohers, including Reco, had seen to much. Too much death. Too much pain. Too much fighting. Too much blood. Too much everything. The eleven remaining Pelicans slowly descended towards the ground. "Touchdown! Go go go!" Blue teams Warthog dropped a few feet before hitting solid ground, and they immediately ran for cover. Blue team escaped the Pelican without any casualties. This was not the case for Red team. Hades jumped out of his seat and onto the ground. Almost simualtaneuously, three plasma bolts struck him. Two in the chest, and the last in the head. A hole the size of a quarter dollar dominated his forehead. The rim of the hole sizzled and bubbled. Zeus pounced upon the limp body and flung him in the Pelican. They too ran for cover.

Reco ducked behind a rock. Three plasma bolts of inferno passed by his foot. "Hello no. Oh Hell nah! You did not... just shoot that green at me!" Reco charged out of hiding place, ducked, tucked and rolled and crouched right under the Grunt that had shot at him. He placed his muzzle under the Grunts throat and fired a three round burst. The Grunt fell over backwards and dropped dead. Blue team, flanked by Red, Yellow, Green, and Black advanced towards a five foot barrier of earth. The slumped on the barrier and ferociously dug a "window" to have a better view. They laid down suppressive fire in the direction of which the plasma bolts came from. The Covenant and Human forces were both hunkered down fairly well. Nike hopped into his Warthog, with Athena riding gunner. He launched off the barrier and raced for the Covenant lines. A flight of Banshees took off from the "base" that the Covenant had provided for themselves to oppose the formation of Warthogs. Ten of the fifteen Banshees were immediately shot down by the 50mm cannons on the Warthogs. Ares grabbed his chaingun and began to spray spiradic fire into the air, desperately praying to hit a Banshee. One Banshee dove at Nike and Athena and fired a Fuel Rod blast. The impact impaled the Warthog and sent it tumbling into a roll. Athena was thrown from the gunners position and was crushed under the weight of the Hog. Two Roughnecks down. Nike took cover behind the Warthog and periodically poked up and fired a few rounds. "Lets go! Red team, cover us! Lets get Nike and Athena out of there!" Reco lead the charge into no mans land. He ducked behind a boulder that was large. Fifty meters away. "Stay here, cover me." Blue and Red teams took up positions behind rocks and fired widlly, laying down suppressive fire. Reco ran from cover and ran for the over turned Warthog. Reco was struck with a round of plasma, as was Ares, but kept moving. Thirty meters. He began to limp but kept running. Twenty. Ten. He dove behind the Warthog as a salvo of plasma passed his body. He grabbed a packet of bio-foam from his pocket and placed it in his wounds. "Ares! Get over here! Blue and Red, lay down cover! Now!" Ares dropped his weapon and began to run. Despite his wounds, he ran fiarly fast. He must have patched himself up with some bio-foam also. With the combined strength of Ares, Nike, and Reco, they managed to overturn the Hog. Reco took the dirvers seat, Nike limped over to the passangers, and Ares hopped into the gunners. "Pull back Red! Pull back in ten Blue!" "Roger that Sir." Red gradually pulled back to the barrier, followed by Blue.

2300 Hours, January 2, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, LZ Alpha

The black of night was upon the battle field. The faint glow of plasma was all that illumated the blacker than black night of Eclipse. The faint hues of green, blue, and purple were beautfil, yet dangerous. Reco managed to bury Athena and Hades befor dusk, and they were given a soldiers burial. Many hough it was wasteful of munitions to give tham a twenty one gun salute. Reco didnt care what the ODSTs or other Marines thought. Athena and Hades were like family to him. Bodies strewn the ground, Marine and alien. The stench was awful. Reco sent out a patrol with ten drums of Lotus Anti Tank Mines. They were given strict orders to "miantain radio silence, and operate under infrared." Given the situation, that order was obsolite. A dense and heavy rain drenched the battlefield. Thor placed a wet hand up to his face. He couldnt see it. "Reco, I cant see a thing." "Be quite soldier." "Sir, I can see a damn thing and I can smell them." "Dead bodies smell. Now be quite soldier." "Sir, I can smell them. They are creeping up on us. Get some illumination out here." "If i get illumination, will you shut up?" "Sir, yes sir." "Get me illumination. Coordinates are 05.000172146.006. Repeat, illumination, coordinates 05.000172146.006. Over and out." A barrage of three flares were propelled into the ngith sky. A faint hue of green enveloped the battle field. Not ten meters from the barrier, a whole division of Grunts, cannon fodder, and formed up. "Fire at will!" The whole line opened up, ripping into the lines of Grunts. Some Grunts ran, feeling that all was lost since they no longer had the element of suprise. Most stayed... to their deaths. Zeus pulled out a bandalier of grenades. He pulled the pin of only one. He flung the bandalier into the lines. The grenade blew up, causing a massive chain reaction. "Artillery! Previously establish coordinates. Repeat, I need artillery at previously established coordinates." A salvo of artillery bombarded the Grunt lines. Ten seconds later, another one struck home. The Covenant were in deep ####. One Grunt even knew it, and yelled out, "Awww! Deep ####!" and ran away, only to be tore down by Ares' chaingun. A steady stream of fire had been exchanged for a good minute. "Cease fire!" The lines gradually ceased fire, and as the smoke cleared, no Covenant was seen.

Roughneck Two-Zero Chapter 2: Rent-a-Wreck
Date: 3 April 2002, 3:33 pm

0321 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, In orbit around Eclipse, onboard UNSC cruiser Blademaster

"Sir! The Covenant are retreating! Pursue?" "Ensign Lowell, set course for 180 and pursue that destroyer. I have studied their tricks. Do not let them jump to Slipspace. Get me one hundred and ten percent on those engines! Lt. Dominique, arm Archer missile pods A1 through F7. I want MAC guns on shredder rounds, three rounds. Cut them down before they get to Slipspace." Ensign Lowell and Lt. Dominique replied "Aye sir," in unison. The Blademaster lurched to starboard, and the Archer missile pods opened. Captain Young knew he was going to launch a barrage of five hundred missiles at the ship. The Blademaster know faced the Covenant ship, Huntress' engines. He planned to use the MAC guns to rip the shields apart and blast them to Hell with a barrage of Archer missiles. He had studied the Covenant tactics. Whenever they withdrew, he knew they would come back in force. If he could down this ship down, it was one less ship to worry about later. "MAC guns at ninety-two percent charge. Climbing at two percent per thirty seconds. Archer missile pods A1 through F7 prepped and armed. Ninety-four. Ninety-six." "Fire on my mark!" "Ninety-eight. One hundred percent charge!" "Fire! Hold Archer missiles!" "Aye sir! Firing! Number one MAC round running normal! Number two hot and straight! Number three away! Impact in ten!" The first of three shredder MAC rounds impacted the Huntress' engines. The first round hit a shield. It held. The second it. The silver shield shimmered and faded. The third impacted, launching the Huntress into a wild tailspin. "Fire those Archer missiles!" "Aye sir! Missiles away!" "Starboard camera! Main view screen!" The starboard view appeared in the main view screen. A barrage of five hundred Archer missiles impaled the screen as they streaked towards the Huntress. The failing shield could do nothing to save the Huntress from a fiery death. The Huntress lurched as a catastrophic explosion dominated it. Five hundred Archer missiles impacted the engines, disabling the ship. A disabled ship could still fire on the Human Fleet. Captain Young wanted a dead ship. "Arm Archer missile pods X1 through Z10. Bring that ship down!" "Aye sir. We are locked and have a firing solution! On your mark?" "Negative. Fire at will." "Affirmative. Missiles away!" Another barrage made the Blademaster lurch back and forth. The Archer missile raced towards their target. The blunt of the attack hit the ship in the engines and the starboard-port side. Plumes of red fire engulfed the ship's engines, and it slowly drifted towards the surface of Eclipse.

0324 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, LZ Alpha

Isis caught a faint glimpse of something moving in her scope. She tracked it for a few steps and fired. She saw a metallic silver shield flicker and died. She saw a limp body fall over backwards. Just one more notch to add to her barrel when she got back. Her and Izanagi had a little competition going on. They kept track of kills, but only Elites that they got. She had forty something, but was too tired to count. She pulled her eye away from her scope and looked up. The rain had stopped, and the black of night was quickly fading. She could now see stars. It reminded her of evenings on Earth, where she was born. As she gazed at the stars, she saw a huge explosion in the night sky. A ship lurched and rolled. The Covenant destroyer, Huntress, slowly descended towards the surface. It was engulfed in flame as it plummeted through the atmosphere. The Huntress gained speed, and shards of armor were ripped clean off the hull as the friction built up and tore the ship to shreds. The Huntress gained incredible speeds, and smashed into the planet. A plume of dust and smoke a mile high arose from the planet. Circuitry and sparks of electricity erupted inside of the ship. Flames engulfed the interior and scorched the control panels. Almost all of the nav-banks and weapon controls were destroyed upon impact. Taking the scene in in instant, Isis quickly placed her eye to her scope once again. She tracked a movement. Fired. A Grunt fell. Damn, that wouldn't count. The Covenant Task Force quickly ducked their heads back into the trenches and bunkers that they had constructed for cover. A heavy bombardment had battered the Covenant forces all night. No matter how much they wanted to sleep, Roughneck Two-Zero couldn't sleep because the bombardment. The lines had been continuously harassed by flights of Banshees and Ghosts. They were quickly taken down by an air strike by a pair of Longsword interceptors. Over head, a flight of ten Longswords flew over head, streaking towards the Huntress. They circled the crash sight and then returned to base. Nothing was alive, at least not outside.

Roughneck Two-Zero Chapter 3: Five more minutes Mommy
Date: 6 April 2002, 3:49 pm

0456 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, LZ Alpha

Dawn was swiftly approaching. The black night sky was quickly fading into colorful hues of orange, red, and yellow. The twin suns of Eclipse rose simultaneously, scorching the planet as if inside a baking oven. A flash flood of light enveloped the landscape. With very few trees, there was virtually no escaping the harsh temperatures. Blood shoot and tired; Roughneck Two-Zero got zero sleep or rest. In the distance, the faint whine of Power Cores powering up could be heard. "To arms! I repeat, lock and load. Be ready for anything." Reco ordered is men to be ready for anything. The stench was now becoming unbearable. At least a thousand Grunt bodies strewn the field, all from the last nights kamikaze raid. Through the night, men, weapons, vehicles, and medical supplies had been brought. Casualties and WIA had been air lifted to the nearest field hospital, five miles away at HQ Delta Storm. Reco pulled a pair of heat seeking binoculars out of a nearby Warthog. He walked over to the barrier and knelt down. He lay prone on his stomach, and belly crawled up to the edge of the earth barrier slowly. He placed the binoculars on the top of the barrier, and placed his eyes to his binoculars. He scanned the horizon, looking for the smallest trace of movement near the Covenant lines. A shot rang out. A body fell behind a rock. The sniper, Reco wasn't sure who it was, Isis or Izanagi, obviously had a better vantagepoint where they were embedded. Reco placed his binocs next to his body and retrieved his MA5B.

"Anything sir?" asked a Marine, his voice shaken beyond recognition.Reco let out a sigh and replied, "Nothing. Nothing at all."

Another shot rang out. Reco quickly retrieved his binocs and saw a ground fall limp to the ground. The Covenant were a no show. Something was wrong. They had not been seen except a few Elites that stupidly showed their head. "Delta Storm, this is Roughneck Two-Zero. Requesting Air Strike on target code name Urgent Fury. Repeat, requesting Air Strike on target Urgent Fury. Roughneck Two-Zero, out." "Request denied, Roughneck Two-Zero. All Longsword interceptors are engaging the Covenant in other sectors of the planet. Hold tight, we'll get you some cover A-SAP. Over and out." The COM link went dead.

"Damn it. Well boys, looks like we're on our own. We have no support fire from over head, it looks like were gonna have to sit it out.""Sir, we dead. We're dead. We're dead. It's lost man. We're not gonna make it." A young soldier, Apollo, whimpered in self-pity."Why Apollo! If you weren't in my squad, I'd shoot you for treason. Now shut up and man your post." Reco replied, stamping any threat of treason or mutiny out.

"Nike!""Sir?""I want you to assemble a recon team. Scout out the area of the crash landing of that vessel. I want as much information as possible. Damage to the super structure. Environment it landed in. Anything and everything. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT engage Covenant forces in the vaccinate unles necessary. Report back at 0600. I want you here if we need it. Extra fire power, you know how it is." A smirk over came Nike's face. It wasn't about that. He knew that he had saved the CO, and was proud of the fact that he did. He knew it was about getting bailed out again, just in case. Nike turned away and headed down the line. He grabbed a pair of relief Marines and jumped into his Warthog. He turned the ignition as the engine roared to life. He headed towards Red. He got out and proceeded to walk to Zeus. "Sir, I have orders from Reco to assemble a recon team. Requesting permission to use men from Red." Zeus gave Nike permission, and Nike walked down the line towards Anubis and told him what was going to go down. Anubis concurred and picked two Marines. He jumped in his Warthog and the pair sped away towards the smoldering wreckage of the Huntress.

"Nike, we are a kilo and a half away from the Covenant ship. We are approaching on the port side. GPS detects no movement in the area. It appears that the wreckage is a scrap heap, and its been severely damaged. Beyond repair to be exact. It has been charred and destroyed. Hopefully, just hopefully, the nav-banks have been saved." The chances of the nav-banks being intact to slim to none-minimal at best. "Lets step it up then, shall we Anubis?" Nike asked as he stepped on the gas. He looked at the speedometer. 68 and rising. It was rising at a relatively slow pace; the bumpy ground was making it extremely hard. Nike broke formation and took point, with Anubis trailing at six. The barren landscape was gradually changing to a lush, dense forest. It was heaven, and by all means, it didn't compare to the beauty of Halo, but it was half-decent. The road, or rather trail, was becoming narrow and muddy. The lead Warthog, racing ahead of the trailer, launched off a small jump. The Warthog got some air, and landed on solid ground. 500 meters and closing. The once lush, dense forest was opening up to a barren, dry, scorched landscape again. The ground was golden-brown, and a mile long trail of black ash trailed a ship the size of Delta Storm. The ship was rather odd shaped. It looked like a hybrid between a whale and warship. The destroyer was at least a kilometer and a half in length. Its engines had been totally destroyed. The bow of the vessel had been crushed like aluminum can. It was totally crumpled and was smashed beyond recognition. A gapping hole was left in the starboard side; at least fifty meters in height and thirty in length. The ship was charred black, blacker than the past night. The twin suns drenched the ship in light. Numerous small holes about ten meters big dotted and littered the vessel. Fires blazed about in side. Ashen black bodies covered the ground. At least two thousand Covenant troops had been aboard the craft. Circling around the ship, Nike and the rest of the recon team couldn't help up notice the gapping hole that dominated the starboard side. A fifty-meter piece of slag blocked the entrance ten-meters from the opening. Maybe after the Bulge, they could retrieve the nav-banks from the vessel.

"Anyone got some C12?" Anubis asked over the COM link."I got some sir." A Marine in Nike's team replied over the link."Okay, here's what ya do. Toss that block of C12 at that wall. Make sure it sticks or you get it right next to it. Then let us get fifty meters away and then detonate it. We may need the nav-banks later on.""Roger that." Nike drove the Warthog as close to the Huntress as possible. Nike swerved right and skidded to a halt. The Marine now faced the vessel. He pulled his arm back, and thrust his arm forward, hurling the block of C12 at the hole in the starboard side of the craft. The block of explosives landed on the wall. "Let's get out of here." Nike drove off, followed by Anubis and his team. The Marine turned around, pulled a detonator out of the glove compartment, and pressed the button on the top. A huge concussion shook the ground, sending the twin Hogs swerving in both directions. A two thousand-degree heat wave followed. Static sounded over the COM link. "Reco to Recon One, come in." "This is Recon One, what is it Reco?" "Get your asses here now! We need assistance. We are under massive Covenant assault. Repeat, report to LZ Alpha A-SAP." "Roger, let's move boys!" The two Recon teams sped up, and made the two-kilometer distance in two minutes flat.

0512 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, LZ Alpha

A flight of fifty-five Banshees circled over head. Twenty-two chainguns, mounted or handheld, opened up on the flight. Small arms fire, Jackhammer missile systems, and small arms fire also opened up. Within seconds, twelve Banshees exploded into a blaze of death and hell. The flight formation broke up, no longer attacking in coordinated lines. The line of remaining Banshees turned around and headed straight for the line. The line of five Banshees that assembled the line to assault the Humans formed into a "V" formation. The lead Banshee fired a Fuel Rod blast and let loose with a three round burst of inferno. The two Banshees on the left and on the right followed suit. A few Marines got caught in the radius of a Fuel Rod Cannon and were destroyed indefinitely. The lead Banshee was opposed by a platoon of Marines and was blown to smithereens. The two Banshees on either side swerved to the left. They doubled back and proceeded to do the same thing again. All the while, an army of Covenant advanced on foot. A loud roar erupted in the distance. A trail of white smoke was seen overhead as a pair of Banshees exploded. The pair of Banshees slowed, and plummeted towards the ground. The pair of Banshees, flaming death from above, slowed and skidded to a halt, although not before running a Marine over. Ares bolstered his Jackhammer, put his eye up to the 2x scope, and fired. Leading the Banshee, the Elite piloting the craft, decided to pick a fight with a missile. He lost. The twin barrels changed, and Ares dropped his Jackhammer. He lunged for his chaingun, and unloaded a belt into the air. The firefight between the Banshees and Marine ground strike forces raged for five minutes. Twelve KIA reported. The remaining Banshees retreated, only two survived the onslaught. A quick, but short sigh of relief overcame the line. They leaned backwards, their back lying on the barrier. Their faces faced the Covenant Main Task Force. They faced an enemy on two fronts. Reco grabbed his radio transmitter and quickly spoke into it. "God damn it! We are being attacked on two sides, repeat, possible danger of being over run! Requesting Air Strike! Repeat, possible danger of being over run! Requesting Air Strike, coordinates are 06. 0001483509.07. Acknowledge?" "This is Delta Storm. We have a flight of Longsword's that have just returned. They are prepping for rearming, ETA five minutes." "Jesus Christ, we are being over run. We don't have five freaking minutes!" The COM link cut, and Reco began to pump lead into hordes of Covenant that approached from his front side. He looked over his shoulder, as his line continued a steady stream of fire. A plasma bolt struck his uncovered back. A jolt of pain and shock overtook his body. "Awwww! Damn bastards!" He continued to look over his shoulder. A huge explosion shook the ground. The Lotus Anti-Tank Mines were keeping the Covenant in the Bulge at bay. "Nike, and Anubis! Get those Warthogs on the move! We need the fire power!" "Sir yes Sir!" They yelled and jumped into one Warthog. Nike took the helm and Anubis gunnery. Nike drove right into the Covenant lines. Anubis continually fired right in front of the Warthog. Grunts and Jackals were torn apart, and ripped to shreds. Some looked like Swiss cheese after they died. A blue orb sailed through the air. It stuck to the right front tire of the Warthog. "Holy ####!" Nike yelled and ejected from the vessel. Anubis followed suit not a second later. The craft exploded, flipping the vehicle "head over heels" over their heads. "Scorpion MBTs, fire on the advancing Covenant Main Task Force. I want as much support as possible, so I can concentrate my men on the Covenant Secondary Task Force in the Bulge." Reco ordered. "Roughnecks! Concentrate fire in the middle of the Bulge. Those Lotus' wont hold off the line forever! Fire on my mark." The first shell from the Scorpion Tanks impacted in the middle of the Covenant lines. "Mark!" The lines opened fire, tearing apart the staggering Covenant that were being ripped apart by the Anti-Tank mines. Reco charged into the line of Covenant Main Task Force. He reached for this bandoleer, grabbed a grenade, activated it, and flung it in the lines. He pulled out his MA5B and let the lead fly. He pumped three rounds into a nearby Grunt, and it feel over, dead. He fired another burst into a pack of Grunts. Another Grunt feel dead, and then he went all out. He went full auto on the pack, blowing another couple of Grunts away. He looked at his computer screen on his MA5B. Half empty. He knelt down, fired another burst of fire into an unforeseen enemy. He heard a few squeals. An Elite appeared out of the smoke. "Ares, a little help!" "Roger that Sir!" Ares turned around and fired a dozen rounds of his 40mm into the Elite. His shield flickered a bright silver, and dead. Reco charged, pulled out a knife, meleed the Elite, and gave him a "bear hug," simultaneously thrusting his six inch knife into the Elite's chest cavity. "Auggg Aww!" The Elite bellowed, and Reco twisted the knife. He then thrust it upward, slicing through numerous inner organs. He pulled his blade out, and let the Elite fall limp. He licked the blade, and spit out the blood. It tasted like crap. Reco heard a roar in the distance. It wasn't a Scorpions, Pelican's, or Warthogs. It was a Longsword interceptors. "This is Phoenix One, inbound to LZ Alpha. Repeat, this is Phoenix One, inbound to LZ Alpha. All friendly soldiers clear the area. We will drop ordinance here," a NAV point dropped on every Marines eye piece, indicating the drop point, "and clear out any remaining enemies with 50mm Autocannons. "Roger that, thanks for the assist." The flight of Longswords approached from a distance of forty miles away. They made it in a minute flat. The flight came in low and hard. They passed over the field, making sure no friendly troops were in the vaccinate. Their thrusters cleared the smoke, revealing Reco. "All friendlies clear the drop zone. Repeat, all friendlies clear the DZ." Reco ran for all he had. The flight passed over again, dropping their packages of prizes for the Covenant. The flight dropped at least a twenty tons of ordinance on the Covenant forces. A hole the size of a Halycon-class cruiser was left in the lines. The remaining Covenant forces retreated back to the safety of the underground fortress that they had compiled into the mountain nearby. They repeatedly strafed back on forth, ripping through hordes of Grunts, Jackals, and Elites. "Hey! While you're at it, take care of that hu-normous bunker in the middle of the Bulge." "Will do! Ungrateful bastards. They didn't like their gifts." The flight passed the line, and dropped a twelve-ton bomb right smack dab in the middle of the bunker. It was ripped to shreds and shards of shrapnel into the air. "Status report." Reco ordered. "I'm good," Ares replied over the COM link. "A-okay," Isis answered. "Operational," Anubis informed the team. "Zeus is good." "Izanagi is one hundred percent." "Apollo, couple hits, but I'm good." "Zethus, functional." "Thor here, I'm alive." "Gizmo, I'm here." "Nike? Report! Nike, damn it. Status." "Reco, I think we lost him," Zeus replied to Reco's frustration. The Lotus Anti-Tank Mines were keeping the Covenant at bay. "Anubis, grab that Hog. Zethus, you have Gunner. Red team, your part of Blue. We act as one now. We are taking too many KIA." "Yes Sir," the team replied in unison. Reco opened a Com link to the lines. "This Roughneck Two-Zero, we are advancing into the Bulge. We are eliminating the Covenant. We have found a Covenant destroyer at 09.00001284356.010. Proceed there after we clear the Bulge." Reco ordered, and then switched to frequency 140.85 to contact Delta Storm. "This is Roughneck Two-Zero. We are proceeding to advance upon the Covenant. Requesting reinforcements to secure the LZ and area around the LZ. The Covenant are embedded deep within a mountain in the vaccinate. We have discovered a Covenant destroyer, downed in space around Eclipse. We will advance upon it, and we have sent recon there. We will retrieve anything that is intact, nav-banks, weaponry, anything. We will then return to Alpha, and advance and destroy any and all Covenant threat. We will need a HAVOK tactical nuke to finish the job. Over and out." "Okay, ladies, let's move out." The line on every side moved in, suffocating the Covenant in an "anaconda" style attack. Several Warthogs charged the bunkers and trenches, and continually strafed and harassed any Covenant that stupidly poked their head up for a look. "Black team, flank left with Yellow. Red is now with Blue, and we hold the right flank. We will advance in a frontal assault formation, along with Green and Silver. Watch our backs White team." "Roger that, will do." Blue team advanced ahead of the rest, preparing to advance in frontal assault. They formed into a fixed "V" formation, as practiced so many times in combat training exercises.

Roughneck Two-Zero Chapter 4: Paintings - Cheap!
Date: 7 April 2002, 10:00 pm

0821 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, in orbit above Eclipse, Refitting Station Alpha Gamma, Deck E

The Heavy Cruiser, Blademaster, gracefully pulled into Deck E, on the glossy metallic purple colored spherical refitting station, Alpha Gamma. Outside, a dozen Super MAC guns rotated in all directions, searching for signs of Covenant warships. Forty Magna MAC guns orbited the planet. With half the reloading time of the Super MAC gun, and twice the range, it was dangerous. "Sir, our reactors have been pushed to the max. We need to dock to cool down, rearm, and refit. The hole on the starboard side has been leaking nitrogen sense we were struck by that Pulse laser cannon fire." Lt. Dominique informed Captain Young. "Lt. Bring us in to Deck E, we will receive refitting. I want five thousand Archer missiles onboard A-SAP. I want those shields to be operation before those Covenant return. What's the MAC status?" "Sir, MAC guns have overheated. It will take twenty six hours for them to cool, unless we get some coolant onboard A-SAP." "Damn it! Then get that coolant onboard! I want those reactors up and running within an hour. We need to be in system patrolling." "Aye, sir. Get some coolant up here in Deck C, Engineering. Get twelve drones out on the starboard side and repair that gash in the armor. Anything else sir?" "Yes, a cup of Joe would be great." "Aye, sir." A large hole appeared in space. A black hole. No, it wasn't that. A Halycon-class ship, the Galador, into view as it "vaporized" out of Slipspace. The vessel resembled very much like the Pillar of Autumn. "Spartan, what is the status on that ship, the Galador?" Captain Young asked his ships 'smartAI.' His AI, Spartan, took great interest in Spartan-117. His AI even choose too 'wear' the MJORNIL armor suit. His AI choose its name also. That's what was wrong with smartAIs. They had too much of a free mind, and were too smart at times. Spartan's sage green armored figure appeared on the deck. He spoke in a deep voice, exactly like Spart-117. He was addicted to him, and knew things that even the highest ONI spooks didn't. "Sir, the Galador escaped Reach and jumped to Torance. They jumped away from Reach before orders to jump to Eclipse were given. They have jumped to Eclipse to refit. Their Archer missile supply is completely depleted. Their coolant leakage rate is incalculable. A large gash has been placed on it, obviously from a plasma torpedo. She is a Halycon-class ship. She has been in the Navy for a long time. Longer than the Pillar of Autumn. She was one of the first Halycon's to drop from the decks, and is the last to survive. She is piloted by Captain Hutchings, and is unequipped with an AI." The Galador slid right up next to the Blademaster and docked on Deck E. A dozen or so repair drones immediately jettisoned from the station and began to repair the vessel. Archer missiles began to be hauled into the ship. Another dozen or so drones left the station and began work on the Galador. They wanted her in fighting condition. "Sir, you coffee." "Thank you Dominique. That will be all." "Aye sir." Captain Young, a young and spunky captain, sipped at the hot liquid, and felt a burning sensation as it ran down his throat. He watched as two dozen drones ferociously worked to repair the Galador. Within twenty minutes, the large gash in the side of the ship that stretched from Deck C to E was repaired. The Galador and Blademaster silently jettisoned from the glossy metallic purple station and slid silently from the station. Being a Heavy Cruiser, the Halycon-class ship was faster and lightly on foot. She began to gain speed and pull away from the Blademaster. As she pulled away, Captain Young saw the ships name, Galador, inscribed and smeared on the gray-brown paint of the vessel. A large, black empty appeared in space. A large, purple, hybrid whale and warship vessel slid through. "All hands man your battle stations. Repeat, all hands man your battle station. Covenant forces are reentering the system. Firing squads, report to your designated air locks and be ready to repel boarders." Spartan bellowed over the COM channels. Red lights twirled around inside the ship. "Bring the ship up to combat Alpha, Spartan." "Will do Captain." "Activate Cole Protocol Article Two. Destroyer all nav-bases and triple check to make sure not one database has been left." Spartan holstered a MA5B, and knelt to a crouch. He glossy green figure shimmered in the holopanel. All onboard the bridge could hear the familiar click of MA5Bs being loaded. It was Spartan, he acted as Spartan-117. He looked around the bridge, alert. What a ham, Captain Young thought. "Commander Love, what is the status on those MAC guns?" "Ninety percent and rising, captain," Spartan replied. "Archer missile pods?" "Locked and loaded. I have a firing solution on the nearest Covenant frigate, sir. Fire when ready?" Spartan asked. "Fire shredder MAC rounds. Take their shields and blow em to hell with a salvo of two hundred Archer missiles right to the bridge." "Aye, sir. Locked and loaded, firing solution is designated the bridge." "Fire on my mark. Three, two, one. Mark!" "MAC rounds away!" "Fire Archer missiles!" "Archer missiles away." The three shredder MAC rounds from the Blademaster impacted. The shields shimmered silver. They died. Two hundred Archer missiles impact. Boom. "Status?" "The frigate is disabled, sir." "Leave it for the Supers and Magnas. Give me a firing solution on another Covenant ship." "Sir, a Covenant super ship, much like the one seen at Reach, has entered orbit. Pursue?" "Affirmative. Spartan, change course to bearing 0173 and ready MAC round, shredder. Arm Archer missile pods A1-Z20. Let's blow that ship out of the sky with everything we've got." "Sir?" "Just do it Spartan!" "Aye, sir. The ship is twenty thousand kilometers away. The Magna MACs have the range. Why not let them take it out?" "Spartan, just do it! That ship's armor is unsurpassed by any vessel in both fleets. If we don't take it out, then the Magna's will finish the job." "Aye sir. We have a firing solution for the bridge of that Super Carrier. MAC guns are at 78 percent charge." "Fire now!" "Sir?!" "Fire now Spartan!" "Aye sir. Firing." A barrage of one thousand Archer missiles launched from the Blademaster. It's whole stock. "Fire the MAC guns." "Aye sir. Firing." A Magna round went right in front of the Blademaster. It continued to fly at light-speed, hit a frigate, the Heavy Round went through, and impacted another frigate. The second frigate exploded, the round exploding on impact. A Super MAC round impacted the first, demolishing it upon impact. Dozens of lightning-white bolts flew about, destroying Covenant vessels with ease. "Impact in five," Spartan reported. The first of three MAC rounds hit the Super Carrier. Its shield flickered, and held. The salvo of one thousand Archer missiles impact seconds afterward. The shield flickered a metallic silver, and faded. Not on Archer missile got through. "Sir, two Magna rounds are approaching the Super Carrier and are going to impact in five. Thousands of Seraph fighters are jettisoning. Most will be destroyed by the Magna rounds, but we will have to mop up." "Launch the Longsword interceptors." "Aye, sir." Spartan opened a COM channel and ordered in a deep voice, "All hands man your stations. Prepare to be boarded. All fighter pilots, launch your Longsword interceptors in five minutes. We have incoming Seraph fighters to contend with." A hundred and fifty pilots rushed from to their Longsword interceptors and revved their engines. Their clamps descended, and they took off into the black void of space. The Magna rounds impacted the Super Carrier. One sliced through the shielding, and the other passed through and hit the vessels hurl. Its impact thrust sent the vessel spinning twelve thousand kilometers away. Another two Magna rounds erupted, in succession of a couple of seconds. They impacted the hull, leaving a hole the size of a football field and half in the hull. Three seconds later, another two Magna rounds impacted the vessel. Seraph fighters began to pour out like ants. The COM channel crackled. "Phoenix One-engaging-enem--sighted-twelve-o'clock-" the link went dead. "Sir, communication with the Longsword interceptor groups has been severed. They are out of range of contact." Captain Young sighed. He had lost sight of the Galador during the fray. Two more Magna's rounds impacted the Super Carrier, puncturing holes in it like it was Swiss cheese. Super MAC rounds blazed all around. Frigates, Destroyers, Cruisers, and even a Super Carrier couldn't escape the wraith of Magna and Super MAC rounds. "Sir, the Covenant fleet is retreating. Pursue?" "Negative, return to Station and Deck E for refitting. We need to re-supply." The fleet sustained not one lose thanks to the Magna and Super MAC rounds. The Covenant were very unhappy.

0849 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, LZ Alpha

Roughneck Two-Zero advanced in a fixed "V" formation, flanked by Marines and Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. Debris and body littered the ground. They cautiously advanced, kneeling down to one knee to stay as low as possible. They advanced swiftly and silently, with the baking twin suns beating down on them. "Commander, we are a half a kilometer form the Covenant lines. Their command bunker has been destroyed, but they still have lots of fire power." "Yes, I know Thor. Just keep your eyes open and your finger steady, and you'll come out alive." "Ye- yes, sir." "Men, take any and all Covenant technology such as weaponry and nav-banks that you can get your hands on. Those ONI spooks need to do some tests with it." Ares grunted, he hated ONI. They kept everything. For instance, ONI kept the fact that they knew an asteroid would strike Earth until 882 years before it would happen. It was such BS. They advanced further, not meeting any hostile forces. "Sir, up ahead, approximately twenty meters, is the Covenant strong hold." "Roger that, clear the trenches first. Then disable any emplacements that you see. Systematically take out any hostile forces, Elites, Jackals, Grunts." "Yes sir," the team answered. Reco approached the trench, with his MA5B point down upon the trench. He saw no hostile forces, and looked to his left and right. Nothing. He lifted his left hand up and held up two fingers, and pointed left twice. His left "V" advanced towards the trenches. He switched his MA5B to his left hand, and did the same again. The right part of the "V" advanced, and stopped at the trenches. "Go." They jumped down into the trenches and systematically searched the trenches. The members of the original Blue team(left "V") advanced left, one after another. Ares at point, Thor at six. Nothing. Red team(the right "V") advanced down the trenches to the right, Zeus in point, Reco at six. Nothing. "Advance forward towards the center bunker." Both teams advanced. On an encrypted channel, Reco ordered halt. Covenant emplacements and Grunts patrolled. "Take out the emplacements, then the patrolling Grunts." "Roger." Zeus, Reco, Ares, and Thor pulled a fragmentation grenade out. They counted to three, activated the grenades, and threw them at separate emplacement Shades. Three, two, one. Four explosives detonated, sending dust and dirt into the air. They charged the bunker, and plugged a few clips into some patrolling Grunts. There was one entrance to the bunker. Red advanced from one side, Blue the other. The merged at the entranceway. Reco held up a clenched fist. He crouched down, and entered, looking from left to right, looking for any signs of hostile forces. Nothing. He was beginning to thing something was wrong. If there were patrolling Grunts, there had to be enemies inside. Reco held up a hand and point with two fingers towards his right side. Ares advanced. He then pointed to his left. Zeus advanced, but not without checking his six. Then Isis, then Izanagi, Zethus, Apollo, Gizmo, and then Anubis. Nothing was to be seen. They advanced a little farther. They came to a doorway in the bunker. "Gizmo, get up here. The doors locked. The Covenant didn't want us in here. Open it up." "Sir, I need a TAG85." "Okay. Anubis, run up topside and see if you can find someone with a TAG85." "Aye sir." With that, Anubis charged out of the bunker. Reco and the rest of the squad crouched low and hid in the shadows. Anubis reached topside, and ran to the nearest ODST squad. They always carried everything. He reached one, and it turned out they were the infamous 34th that was dropped in the night before. He asked for a TAG85 and received one. "Sir, also- We ran into a locked down, that's what we need it for. May I request addition support, preferably a squad?" "Alright son. Hey, Owens! Grab a squad and follow this character, they need some assist." Ordered the graying and aging 34th leader. "Sir! Yes, sir!" Hey acknowledged and followed Anubis back to the team. "Sir, we've got a TAG85. As well as some addition support. The 34th." Anubis explained to Reco, while at the same time handing the TAG85 to Gizmo. The team, along with the 34th, stood guard and watched as he placed the TAG85 device on the door. He pushed a green button, hacked into the control panel, and opened the doors. The 34th watched, not letting there guard down, as the doors slid open, and reveal nothing. Reco lifted a hand and clinched a fist. He advanced in to the hall, and knelt next to a metal pillar. He raised his hand again, clinched a fist, raised this index finger, and pointed to a pillar parallel to his position on the other side. The first of 34th squad advanced. Reco mimicked the process again, until Ares, Anubis, Zeus, and Zethus were with the 34th squad on the other pillar. He had Isis, Izanagi, Gizmo, Thor, and Apollo under his command. The hall was dark, and narrow all at the same time. "Flashlights on." Reco ordered, and twenty flashlights blared one, engulfing the hall in light. The walls were smeared with blue blood like a painting expo. The Grunt leaders of the kamikaze raid the night before returned, and were slaughtered for their defeat. Twelve Major Grunt bodies dotted the hall. They were killed for their insubordinate leadership. The twenty stealthy silhouettes advanced under light. The next door was the one. The motion tracker on their eyepieces were off the hook. There was easily fifty of them. A 34th ODST trooper radioed back to his command, "This is 34th Squad Delta Gamma, we are assisting Roughneck Two-Zero. The motion sensors are off the scale. Requesting addition reinforcements. Out." "This is Alpha Gamma, additional support is en route. Two platoons are inbound. Hold position until they arrive." "Roger that, 34th Delta Gamma out." The ODST trooper killed the link. The hallway went silent. "Flashlights off. Infrared-heat sensors only," Reco ordered. The hall went dark again. The twenty members of the team were greeted by two platoons of ODST. "Anyone got some more C12?" Anubis asked. "Negative," was the reply by every member. "Anyone up for an old fashion game of baseball?" Anubis questioned. Reco answered, "Why the hell do you wanna play baseball at a time like this?" "Hold up, and watch." Anubis grabbed a grenade from his chest and said, "Give me five seconds of cover. All angels." The troops lined up in a semi-circle around the door. Half the members on one knee, the other standing up. Every angel would be hit by a shot. Anubis tapped the control panel, and the door popped open. A Grunt popped up, looked like a deer caught in headlights, and was cut down by full automatic gunfire. Anubis activated the grenade, threw it, and closed the door. The concussion was felt through vibrating shocks in the ground, but no sound was heard. "Zeus, Ares, Thor, and I are up front. Everyone else cover our six or flank us. Systematically take down any Covenant, Elites, Jackals, Grunts." Reco ordered. Reco, Zeus, Ares, and Thor formed a line in front of the door. The 34th and the other members of Two-Zero took up flanking, and covering positions. Reco tapped the control panel, and the door slid open again. He looked at his computer display on his assault rifle. Half empty. He used too much in the five seconds that they covered Anubis. No time to reload, he thought to himself. Reco, Thor, Anubis, and Zeus crouched, to stay low and to give the men behind them a good shot.

A line of ten Elites popped out from behind some pillars and over turned crates. They charged. The Marines opened up with full automatic fire. Plasma scorched the air. An ODST fell, hit in the forehead by plasma. The dark room was lit up by plasma and tracer fire. Two Elites, struck in the head by nonstop full auto fire, bellowed in pain, and reeled back, dead. The Marines and Elites converged. They locked into hand-to-hand combat and melee strikes. Reco pulled his six-inch blade, and charged an Elite. The Elite tried to melee him, but Reco used his MA5B to block the blow. The embraced the Elite, and thrust his knife into him. The Elite collapsed, and Reco emptied his half-clip into the Elite's exposed belly. Another Elite charged at him. He ducked, rolled, and reloaded his MA5B all in a matter of seconds. "I've gotcha dumbass," Reco yelled in triumph. "Awww! Hahahahah!" The Elite taunted. They charged, Reco held down his trigger until it ran dry. He must've been wearing an over shield. Aw shit, Reco said under his breath. "Stupid infidel Human. You cannot escape my wrath." It bellowed, pulled his arm back, and thrust it at Reco. "Huh? What? Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. Why'd you say?" Reco taunted. A white streak flew by at incredible speeds. It impacted the Elite's temple. Its limp body fell over, collapsed, and clumped in a heap. Reco, having not enough time to reload, grabbed a plasma grenade that the Elite dropped. He picked it up, activated it, and hurled it at a Grunt. "NoOoOo! Get it off! Get it off!" It screamed, and ran around in a circle. A flash flood of blue light washed over the room, and vaporized the Grunt into oblivion. Along with it, it took two Grunts, and one Elite. Not bad for one grenade. A plasma bolt raced passed his left ear, inches away from death. Adrenaline pumping, he instinctively dove to his right. He knelt, tore his empty cartridge out, threw it on the ground, reached into his belt, grabbed another, slammed it into position, and primed his rifle. He got up, ran into the open, dove, and fired a five round burst into an enemy that he couldn't see. "Frag out!" Someone yelled, and by his accent, Reco could tell it was Zeus. Reco ducked, and instinctively covered his head and neck. A large concussion followed, climaxed by several bodies sent sprawling in all directions. A loud, nonstop automatic fire concluded the firefight, with Ares raking back and forth into the enemies midst with his chaingun. "Cease fire!" The firing ceased. "Status report!" "Ares, I'm good." "Gizmo, operational." "Isis here, I'm good to go." "Zeus, couple nicks and dings, but I'll be good." "Izanagi, I'm from Okinawa." "Funny, real funny," Reco answered to his humor." "Thor here, who's next?" One by one, the team of twenty men gave their status report. Only four men had been lost, all ODST troops, either from a burst of friendly fire, plasma, or grenades. "Gave any grenades, weapons, or databanks you guys can find. We're moving out." Reco ordered, pointing at a door at the far end of the room. Grenades, weapons, and bodies dominated the ground floor. Blood stained the walls, and soiled the soil. Gizmo walked to the center of the room. A computer console was located in the middle, perched up on top of a platform that had been erected in the center. A semi circle of holographic panels covered the center. "Damn, I wish I had an AI at a moment like this." An ODST trooper scaled the ramp leading up to the control center. He walked right up to Gizmo, and pulled a small cylindrical chip from his helmet. "A specially made AI for use ODST. We carry everything you know," he spoke to Gizmo. "Thanks," Gizmo said, while retrieving the chip. He placed it into a slot, and a holographic image appeared in the center of the room. The AI wore black, baggy pants, a black leather jacket covered a navy blue shirt. He had long, metallic black hair that covered his whole head. Two six-inch long 'blades' of hair covered his eyes. He held a two sheaths on his left thigh. In the twin sheaths, he carried to two two-yard long samurai swords. "Damien, access the Covenant BattleNet. Retrieve anything. I'm talking anything. Weapons, weapons research, troop movements, battle plans, strike teams, anything," the ODST spoke to the AI. "Yes, Master. It may take a couple of minutes sir." The AI replied. Damien closed his holographic eyes and concentrated. Two tension filled minutes passed. "I've got it all. Weapons, weapons research, troop movements, hacking codes, hacking software, translations for languages, radio frequencies, everything sir." "Good." Gizmo retrieved the cylindrical chip from its slot, and Damien's body flickered and died. "That's it, now lets get out of here." Reco ordered. "Lock these doors when we leave. No Covenant gets out." They left the battle hardened rooms and halls, and returned topside. Human patrols paraded around the trenches, looking for anything suspicious. "Roughneck Two-Zero to all teams. Pull back. Repeat, pull back. We have accessed and retrieved the Covenant BattleNet. Pull back to LZ Alpha. Two-Zero out." Reco killed the link, and radioed HQ Delta Storm. "This is Roughneck Two-Zero. We have retrieved valuable information. Uploading it to your hardware right now. Requesting Air Strike at LZ Alpha to finish the job and make sure no Covenant lived." "Great job Roughneck Two-Zero. Request granted, pull back to secondary LZ and prepare for dust-off in fifteen. HQ Delta Storm, over and out." "Let's move boys! We've got high flying bombers, and their gonna bust these trenches wide open. Pull back to secondary LZ and get ready for dust off."

Roughneck Two-Zero Chapter V: HardCorps
Date: 14 April 2002, 10:29 pm

0921 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, HQ "Delta Storm"

     "Get me FLEETCOM online ensign," Lt. Garcia ordered. "FLEETCOM online Lt. Garcia." The weather face of Admiral Michael Stanforth appeared on a holographic monitor, "This better be good Lt. Garcia," he bellowed. He ignored the remark, and replied, "Sir, we are requesting an Air Strike from Roughneck Two-Zero at LZ Alpha. Our Longsword interceptors are on routine patrols in other vectors. Requesting the use of the MAC guns, sir?" "What are the coordinates?" "Sir, coordinates are 05.0001923722.06." "All right, tell them to clear out. One of my Heavy Cruisers, the Blademaster, has enough vehicles for their usage. I'll contact them and give them the message. I want minimal safe distance, no friendly fire." "Sir, they are at minimal safe distance and awaiting backup. It seems that one of your ships in orbit downed a Covenant ship. We are sending in a recon team to investigate and recover any technology." "Lt. Garcia, radio Two-Zero and tell them to watch their asses. One Heavy Round coming up, sit tight." The link died, and the Admiral's face vanished from the monitor. "HQ Delta Storm, come in Roughneck Two-Zero." "Rough Two-Zero here, what's the news?" "Admiral Stanforth is providing some cover fire. He is also contacting the Galador, and telling them to send some wheels and men down there. They can only send in about three hundred out of their one thousand Marines and ODSTs onboard. Covered fire should be there in five minutes. Over and out." "Roger that, Roughneck Two-Zero out." Five minutes passed, and a metallic, lightning white-blue projectile struck the Covenant Bunker that they had infiltrated minutes before. A bluish radiation covered the ground surrounding the Bunker. A defining roar of engines could be heard. Clouds were settling in, and the silhouette of a Battalions worth of Pelicans descended through the atmosphere. Every second, the Pelicans seemed to become larger as they neared. The Pelicans slowly descended at LZ Alpha, chopping up a ten-meter radius of dust. Equipped with a dozen Marines and either a Warthog or Scorpion each, the Pelicans hovered over the barren landscape for a seconds, and their engines cut out. The Pelicans "thudded" on the soft earth, and deployed their vehicle and the loading ramp lowered. They closed it so the vacuum of space wouldn't suffocate the soldiers. Dozens of Marines charged out, and formed in a single file line out side of the drop ship. Reco and Zeus walked over to the Marines, and greeted them. "Soldiers, welcome to Hell. Half of your Battalion will go with us, and the rest of you, your with him," Reco pointed to a fit soldier in the distance. "You guys stay and garrison that mountain," he said, and pointed towards a mountain six kilometers away(ten miles). "Fall out!" The Marines from the Blademaster snapped a crisp salute, and Reco and Zeus returned the gesture. The men either climbed into Scorpion MBTs or Warthog LRVs, while the others followed Reco and Zeus as they walked towards Two-Zero. "Meet me at this point in five," Reco ordered to his half of the Battalion and Two-Zero. He uploaded a NAV point to their HUDs and walked calmly to the marked position. Five minutes later, two rows of vehicles and one hundred seventy men huddled inside a tent. "Who's the ranking officer here?" Reco inquired. A mysterious voice, unknown to Reco, replied, "You are sir." "Very well. For those of you from the Blademaster, I am in control, as with my XO Zeus. You answer to us, and us only. Do this, and you may live. Do not, and be faced with death, or a court-martial. Is that clear Soldiers?" "Sir, yes, sir." They answered in unison. "Very well," he said as he pulled out a pointer. "Here we are, and there is Objective: HELLFIRE," he said as he pointed at two objects on a holopanel, indicating LZ Alpha and the Covenant ship, Huntress. "Here is Objective: HAMBURGER HILL." He pointed to the mountain six kilometers away from LZ Alpha. Some of the ODST and Marines remembered Hamburger Hill, Vietnam. That mound of dirt chopped up men like minced meat, hence the name, Hamburger Hill. "We will assault HELLFIRE and take any weaponry, databases or anything Covenant that can be studied. Is that clear?" "Sir, yes, sir." "Dust-off in ten. Dismissed. Isis, Thor, stay." The men exited the tent, and Reco spoke. "Isis, your fire power will be limited in the confined spaces of that Covenant ship. You stay here and watch HAMBGURGER HILL, as will you, Thor." "Aye sir." Isis walked out of the tent, and gathered her gear. Thor stayed. "Sir, permission to speak candidly." "Granted." "Well, sir, why do you treat me like a baby?" "Walk with me Thor," Reco started, as he walked out of the tent. They were forced to squint at the blinding light of the two suns until their eyes adjusted. "Thor, I treat you as a 'baby' because you are not only my friend, but my brother in a way. Being older, I am obligated to protect and oversee your safety. I cannot and will not see you get hurt.

0931 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, LZ Alpha

     "Soldiers, you have your orders. You have the training. You have the weapons. Let's go out and kill some Covenant. Remember our motto; Stealth, Swiftness, Silence, Precision, Honor. Uphold all of these and live. Let's move out." A dozen Marines ran to every Pelican drop ship. Three Marines ran to every Warthog. Five to every Scorpion MBT. All together, the total man count climaxed at one hundred and ninety-two. "Let's go ladies!" Reco's scrunched the ground, kicking up clouds of dirt as he ran for his Pelican. Hums became defining roars as Warthog LRVs, Scorpion MBTs, and Pelican drop ships revved up. The six Warthogs formed into a Delta Formation, or a "V." The six trailing Scorpions made a Theta Manuever, forming into a straight line, one right next to the other. A whirlwind of dust and smoke filled the air, it was like a smoke screen. The twelve Pelican drop ships ascended, hovered for a split second, changed direction, and maximized the thrusters. A column of silver glints in the distance rapidly approached the vehicles. Cloaked under a barrage of dust, the Pelicans dropped into the thick layer. Undetected by radar, satellite, or motor detectors, the Covenant thought it was merely a small recon team, not a full scale "invasion" of sorts. The twelve vehicles laid siege to the Huntress. Any moving thing outside and inside its walls would be wasted. With the smoke screen fading, the Pelican drop ships drifted to the surface. The Marines jumped out, and rushed for cover. They witnessed a massive leviathan. The Huntress was ten stories tall, and poke-dotted and rattled with holes the size of Scorpion tanks. Covering the top most holes, portable shields blocked all visibility. Over turned crates also littered the gashes, occasionally an over turned crate with a portable shield on top. There was Covenant activity in the vicinity. Simultaneously, a catastrophic maelstrom of plasma fire erupted from the "windows." Plasma scorched the air. Chain guns and cannon fire blasted, laying waste to anything they could see. Projectiles pinged and ricocheted off of an unknown titanium alloy. A dozen or so Marines were caught uncovered, and were ripped apart by plasma and an intensive, inferno heat wave. It was like Omaha Beach, Normandy, 1944. Anything visible was a target. Anything that moved was fired upon. It was a bloody, no mercy, take-no-prisoners kind of war. Eight men from Roughneck outfit, along with a couple Heavy Weapon Specialists from an unknown ODST company took refuge behind a boulder. Plasma glowed bright purple next to the rock. Granite rock and earth turned scorching hot, and virtually melted before their eyes. "Okay, ladies. Those two plasma cannons are gonna rip us apart." Reco looked at Ares, then at the other man hefting a Jackhammer Missile System. They nodded. "Five second cover fire. On my mark- Mark!" Reco and eight of soldiers popped out from behind the boulder, sporting their blazing guns, and laid sporadic, suppressive fire all over the place. The two Heavy Weapons Specialists ducked and rolled out of the line of fire a split second later. In succession, they emptied both barrels out in three seconds flat. Four rocket projectiles screamed forward, piercing the air around them. Two detonated upon impact with one Shade, the two others with the remaining Shade cannon. "Izanagi, get into that Pelican and get airborne. We need that SC AM Rifle in the air, picking any moving target off. Go." Izanagi ran from the crowd, and jumped onto the nearest Pelican. The pilot looked backwards, through the open door for ventilation. Izanagi gave the pilot the thumbs up, and jabbed them sky ward, telling her to get into the air. The pilot took the bird up to one hundred meters, and Izanagi began laying waste to any moving Covenant he could distinguish between the holes. The Marines and ODSTs began playing a deadly mix between hide-and-seek with tag. They ran and hid behind rocks, they get tagged, and they're dead. The all too familiar smell of plasma and burning flesh was unbearable. "Frag out!" A Marine in a separate squad yelled, as he chucked a grenade into a hole the size of closet. A red flash sputtered, and a body flew from the gap. Reco grabbed at his belt, retrieved a grenade, and held it up. The eight men with him at the moment jabbed a grenade also. They activated it, and threw it. All nine grenades struck a different target. They exploded. Screams were heard. Shade gun turrets overturned. Bodies catapulted outward toward the advancing Human lines.

     A massive salvo of cannon fire erupted. Six holes became scenes of death, destruction, and smoldering wreckage. This cover fire paved the way for Roughneck Two-Zero and her sister companies. They charged the Huntress en masse and took refuge at the mouth of the thirty-meter gash in her starboard side. "Anybody got a lot of C-12? If we detonate a Shiva, we destroy the whole northern continent. We take it out guerilla warfare style." Twenty men raised their hands, all holding satchels of C-12. "Okay ladies, here's what we do. Put a block of C-12 in every room that you find. Every single room. Every hallway. Everywhere that we can place it. You five," he pointed to five men holding C-12. "Your will Alpha Gamma." He pointed to twenty men, all holding MA5B assault rifles. "Top level. You five," he pointed to five more, "with Delta. Fourth floor. You guys, with Bravo, third floor. You seven, with Charlie. Second level. Roughneck Two-Zero and you six, we have main level. Encounter Covenant, strike swiftly and with deadly force. Recover any thing that you can find. Weapons, shields, nav-banks, everything. Go!" Reco charged into the downed vessel, and turned his light on. He dimly lit the dark hallway. He crouched low, swiveling his MA5B left to right, up and down. Sparks sparked. Flames flared. Gas lines leaked. Creaking sounds could be heard when they stepped, as if the craft was going to split in two. He pointed to a dimly lit corner at the end of the hallway. A man ran to the spot, and placed a C-12 satchel there. They moved on. Charlie, Bravo, Delta, and Alpha Gamma split away from Roughneck Two-Zero. They proceeded along the outer rim of the hull, placing satchels in rooms and in hallway corners. Reco heard footsteps, and looked back. There stood Thor. "What the hell are you doing Thor?" "I heard you guys needed some C-12, so I jumped into a Hog and tore over here. Besides, I didn't want to miss the party." "Where's the C-12? We're out." "Back at my Hog, hold on." Thor rushed outside, and returned with a crate of C-12. "Enough explosives to blow up that bunker at LZ Alpha, eh Reco?" "I suppose so. Just gimme the damn explosive charges so I can set 'em up." Reco placed one satchel in every room and hallway that they passed. "Sir, a holopanel." Gizmo called out. "I can't make out the transcripts. I am having a hard time distinguishing these hieroglyphics. I am barely scratching the surface of understanding their language." "God! Damn it Gizmo, start hacking into that panel before we get company-" Gizmo began to rapidly tap on the holographic panel. After thirty seconds, after barely getting into the hacking software, Reco interrupted. "Screw it Gizmo! We've got company! Let's go! Put some C-12 on that! Let's move move move!" Reco grabbed Gizmo by the arm, and charged down the hallway. The hallway came to an abrupt end. The turned around and formed two lines. The first crouched, and the other stood. The hallway at the end was pitch black, and even an Elite wouldn't be able to see them. Five seconds later, a patrol of three Elites rounded the corner. The turned to face Roughneck Two-Zero, and was blinded by a flash of red light. A barrage of automatic fire from ten Assault Rifles opened up, tearing through one Elite, knocking off it shields, and littering its body with one hundred bullet. The two remaining Elites charged, and one drew a plasma saber. The light projecting from the object put a faint hue in the hallway. The Elites charged, and swatted at the Humans. A Marine was hit on the crown of his head, and crumpled. The fellow Elite, saber in hand, slashed at a Marine. The Marine was impaled, and twisted, literally, inside out. The elite charged Thor. It withdrew its massive arm, and thrust it downward. The saber pierced Thor's chest cavity, and killed him upon impact. The Elites were tore up by Assault Rifle fire, and crumpled in a heap of reddish-purplish blood. "God damn it! Damn you Thor, why couldn't you obey orders? Damn you!" Reco yelled out in frustration, breaking his promise to protect Thor with his life. He feel to his knees, and began to bawl his eyes out. "Reco, we have to keep moving. We need you now, Thor is gone. Wipe him from your memories, he's gone. Reco! Us, we, and the others, we need you." An ODST trooper caressed Reco, trying to calm his sobbing, before attracting anymore Covenant attention. Tears streaming down his face, he got to his feet, lifted Thor's lifeless body up, slung him over his shoulder, and grabbed his radio. "All teams, this is Reco Roughneck Two-Zero. All teams, come in." "Roger that, come in Roughneck Two-Zero." "Finish placing your charges, we're getting out of here." "Roger that." He killed the link. He walked outside, and set Thor on a rock. His team followed close behind. "Give me your ammo." "Sir?" "Give me your ammo! That's a direct Order" The members of his team gave Reco their ammo. He reloaded his MA5B, placed the reserve ammo in his belt, and charged into the ship again. He ran down the hall, took a left, ran twenty meters, took a right, and ran straight for one hundred meters. He came to a door that had strange symbols inscribed over the doorway. To the Covenant, the writing meant, 'Warning: Troop Barracks. Enter at your own Risk.' Not knowing what it meant, he pushed a blue button on a holo-panel to the right of the door. The door slid open, revealing a one hundred twenty-meter long cavern inside the ship. One either side of the cavern, were one hundred cells, almost like a brig. They were all sealed shut, closed with a purple transparent shield. Approximately fifty breast looking things hung from the walls. Here and there would be a couple Grunts sucking on them. One Golden Elite patrolled back and forth at the far end of the cavern. It seemingly protected a holographic control panel. At that moment, Reco wished he had a Sniper rifle. He would have to do. He looked over his armaments. He had two fragmentation grenades, one plasma grenade, and about six thousand rounds of Assault Rifle. Enough ammunition to take out much of the enemy resistance. He brandished his pistol, and put a silencer on it. He took aim, and fired. Then again, and again, and again. Four shots, four Grunts dead. He then took aim at the Golden Elite. He fired three times at its head. The shield held, and the Elite charged, plasma saber in hand. The Elite charged, gaining three yards every step. It was time. He pulled out his plasma grenade, and hurled it at the Elite. Reco watched as the blue orb sailed through the air, and tagged the Elite right on his nuts. Reco smirked and giggled as the Elite tore furiously at his crouch. Three, two, one. Boom. No more Golden Elite. The transparent shielding evaporated. Several Grunts slept in each cell, but at least two Elites, Blue and Maroon, stepped out, plasma rifle at the ready. Reco pulled out a fragmentation grenade, and threw it at a pack of four Elites. The explosive charge detonated, killing three. The four was left unshielded. Reco fired a quick three round burst, aimed square in the forehead. The Elite fell dead, blood slowly oozing out of the exit wound. Four down, forty-nine to go. Plasma burned the air, projectiles pierced it. The traveling plasma lit up the room on it way to the target. Reco held down the trigger till his finger went numb. He looked at the computerized sightings. Gone. He ducked out of the way, and tapped the control panel. The door slid close. He reached for his pocket, extracted a magazine, jerked the empty one out, slammed the fresh cartridge in, and primed his weapon. He pulled out another fragmentation grenade. He tapped the control panel, the door slid open, and he threw the grenade. He placed his now empty hand of the stock of his weapon and began spraying the room. The grenade exploded, and the reaction was a chain reaction four plasma grenades. Five Elites were killed by the initial blast. Two more were tore down by Reco with his automatic fire. Half-gone. Reco was hit once in the chest, and twice the right leg. He staggered, and blood seeped out of the wound. One grenade left. Reco pulled out his pistol, and held it tightly with his left. He would use the assault rifle with the right.

     He popped out of cover, and aimed at the near Elite's head. Three rounds took the shield down, and then he ripped it open with a ten round blast from his rifle. The Elite fell dead, knocking over an Elite behind him. Reco looked down, and saw a plasma grenade. He reached down and picked it up. He set his rifle on the ground, put the pistol in his right, and the plasma grenade in his left. He dove from one pillar to another, firing three rounds in succession. He recoiled, landed one his left knee, and popped back up. He flung the grenade at the ground near an Elite. It blew up, and a leg flew off. It was Reco's time to shine. He popped out, and fired the rest of his clip at the incoming horde. Another plasma round caught his shoulder. He staggered, but kept his feet. A trio of Marine, obviously that followed Reco, entered the room. The threw grenades, and fired three round bursts into the enemy lines. The three grenades blew up, and killed six Elites. Ten more were unshielded, and the three Marines fired. Reco charged the pillar that he left, and picked up his assault rifle and exchanged clips. He pulled out his last remaining grenade, and hurled it at the enemy. The grenade exploded, and a cloud of smoke blocked their vision. He charged from his pillar, and charged at an Elite. He unloaded thirty-five rounds into one, knocking its shields down, and killing it. The three Marines reloaded, and pursued Reco. The four of them, combined, using their heads, proofed to be a little too much for the Elites. Several Elites split up and ran. They were tore down from behind by automatic fire from four separate assault rifles. Fifteen Elites left. One of the Marines pulled a grenade, and threw it. It exploded, and killed three Elites. Twelve to go. Reco was forced to reload. He crouched, exchanged magazines, rose again, and fired twenty-two rounds into an unshielded Elite. He picked up a plasma grenade. He threw it, and hit an Elite in the foot. It ran, or more like hopped, to its buddies. It exploded, killing it and three other Elites. The three Marines, covering Reco, unloaded simultaneous clips. They knocked down two shields, and killed an Elite. Reco reloaded, and fired twenty rounds into the unshielded Elites. They feel, dead and lifeless. Reco, not bothering to reload to finish the last Elite, simply charged it. He hit it in the jaw with the butt of his rifle. The Elite reeled over backwards. "Thanks. Got any C-12?" Was all Reco said. "I've only got one left." The Marine took out the satchel, and placed it on the ground. "Thanks. Let's go." The four soldiers left the room, not bothering to police weapons or take body counts. Reco and the Marines retraced their steps back to the thirty-meter gap in the wall. The entered the blindly sun light. "Place two satchels here and there," Reco said, pointing to either side of the hole. Two Marines ran over to the spot, and placed their explosives on the wall. "Let's move out," Reco said, as he walked over to his best friend, and lifted his lifeless body. He walked over to a Pelican, and placed the body on the floor. He then proceeded to a Scorpion tank, and said to the commander, "When we are half a kilometer back to Alpha, turn around and fire at the entrance. It should be enough to detonate the satchels and destroy the ship." He left without the commander being able to say a word. He walked over to a Pelican. His scuffed black boots kicking up dust as he walked, and climbed into the Pelican.

Roughneck Two-Zero Chapter VI: Hamburger Hill
Date: 21 April 2002, 7:39 pm

1013 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, Covenant destroyer Huntress

     Reco grunted, and cringed as he climbed into the Pelican drop ship. He looked at his shoulder, arm, and leg. All blackened, as if scorched by a firestorm. He had blue and red blood splattered on his armor and face. He yawned. He hadn't gotten any sleep in almost sixteen hours. He closed his eyes as the Pelican lifted up. He sighed. It was a sigh of relief, and sorrow. He had lost too many good friends during the war. His morale had dropped a mile from that, and the fact that they were loosing almost every ground engagement. The fact that they got replacements cheered him up- at least a bit. He opened his eyes and looked out of the bay door. A smoldering wreck lay in distance, about to become a crater a quarter of a kilometer wide. The column of Scorpion Main Battle Tanks halted. Their turrets spun around on a dime, and faced the Huntress. They fired. The Huntress flashed a blinding white light, and was exiled from existence. "Sir, we've got boogies on our tail," the pilot spoke over the intercom. "Alright Marines, engage on sight." Reco watched for any signs of danger. He couldn't see any; at least he couldn't see where they were coming from. A formation of a dozen and a half fighters approached the formation, backed by the suns, making it almost impossible to see them. It was an old World War I trick. So the Covenant did know more about us than we thought, Reco thought as he finally caught a glimmer in the sun. "We've got fighters boys, seven o'clock high, approaching via sun block." "Roger that." The dozen men in the Pelican opened up on the fast approaching fighters. When they got within range, the Marines could see a metallic silver shield flicker. The six Warthogs, and six Scorpion MBTs opened up on them, along with small arms fire from every Pelican crewmember. The formation split, and started targeting individual Pelican drop ships. "God damn it! Those aren't no God damned Banshees. We've got Seraph fighters on our asses!" Reco opened a COM channel to Delta Storm. "This is Roughneck Two-Zero. We are leaving the crash site and are being pursued by enemy forces. Say again, we are being pursued by enemy air patrols. Requesting assistance from any available Longsword interceptors in grid fourteen by twenty three. Acknowledge?" "Roger that, Longsword interceptors are being dispatched as we speak. Out." The link was killed, and Reco returned to firing his weapon to no avail. Two Seraph fighters were pursuing one Pelican drop ship. The Seraphs opened up with a salvo of plasma blasts. The open bay doors were targeted immediately, and three Marines inside were tore apart in their seats. The Seraphs turned to face the thrusters, and shot them to hell. The thrusters caught fire, and the Pelican immediately plummeted the one hundred feet to the surface. The Pelican nose dived, and crumpled upon impact. The three remaining survives were jettisoned from their seats, flew twenty yards, and fell to the ground, dead. Twelve seconds later, it blew up. A column of black smoke rose from the wreckage.

     A Seraph fighter turned towards the Pelican that Roughneck Two-Zero was in. Reco held down the trigger, along with Anubis, Ares, Zethus, Apollo, and Izanagi, who just fired round after round into the fighter. A roar of engines could b heard in the distance. It wasn't Covenant. It was Human. A flight of twenty Longsword interceptors steadily approached the combatants. The Seraph that pursued Roughneck Two-Zero fired one last shot. The round hit Reco in the chest, and was thrust into unconsciousness. The Seraphs engaged the Longsword fighters. Twelve Longswords were lost. The twelve Seraphs fighters were routed out. Some would have thought it a fair exchange. It wasn't. Every Longsword held four men, compared to the two of the Seraph fighter. All together, it equaled forty-eight to twenty-two. Not a fair exchange.

1248 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, Field Hospital Hope, Five miles from LZ Alpha

     Reco woke from unconsciousness to a numbing feeling. He looked up to see a green tent over head. He looked at himself, and saw that he wore a white night gown. He looked to his left, green. He looked to his right, his matte-black insulator suit and gray armor lay in a table. A pain singed through his body, overwhelming the numbing felling. He screamed out in pain. A nurse, wearing a short, white skirt, walked in. "Is there a problem?" She asked as she approached the Lt. Commander. "Where's the General?" He asked the nurse. "He'll be with your in a second," she said as she walked out of the room. Reco watched her ass all the way out of the room. Damn, I'd like some of that, he thought. The General walked in the door, interrupting his thoughts. Every instinct in him told him to salute. He rose, lifting his body up about three inches. He cringed and moaned at the pain. "Stay down," the General said. "Good work. I am sorry about your friend, Lt. Com. Johnson." Reco remember all about the past, the good, and the bad times. The worst was when he lost him. The General paused for a moment, and then continued. "Son, you have done a great deed to your country, and your home planet. You faced impossible odds, and routed out forty-nine Elites. For that, you are being awarded the Citation of Courage. For your wounds, the Purple Heart." The General walked over to the spot where Reco lay, and stretched out his arm. Reco accepted, and shook his hand, while saying "Thank you." "Uh, sir. There's one thing. When can I return to my men?" "Son, your wounds haven't healed. It will be at least three days to week before your combat ready." Reco sighed. "Sir, will all due respect, the Marine Corps is my life. In my career, I have shared traditions with my men and myself. But there is one tradition that needs to be upheld to the end: Honor. Please, sir, my men need me out there, not in a field hospital cot. Let me return to my men, and fight." The General was taken aback, and had to ponder the request. After a tense two minutes, the General spoke: "Alright son, suit up. There is an available Warthog outside. Operation: HAMBURGER HILL starts in twenty minutes. You can make it with best speed." "Thank you, sir." Reco cringed and tightened his teeth as he tried to rise from his bed. He sang the Marine Corps Band theme song in his head to take his mind off the pain. He took his legs, and swung them over the side of the bed. He stepped down, and took a heavy first step. He moaned. The nurse returned. Reco waved her away. He staggered. The nurse rushed to his aid, and helped him to his insulator and armor. He slipped in the suit, and began putting on his armor. It took him ten minutes, with the help of three technicians. He picked up his helmet, placed it at his side, walked out side, proceeded to the armory, grabbed a M90 shotgun, just in case it got up close and personnel, an M6D pistol, an MA5B assault rifle, and four fragmentation grenades. He slapped in a clip of ammunition in every weapon, and inserted twelve eight-gauge rounds into the shotgun chamber. He slung the shotgun over his back, placed the pistol in a holster, and proceeded out the door, pointing his MA5B in the sky. Slung over his chest was a bandoleer of four grenades. He walked to the nearest Warthog, placed his M90 shotgun in the glove compartment, and set his MA5B on the passenger's seat. Before he started the engine, he thought, 'Hell, I don't deserve any kind of medals. Citation of Courage or Purple Heart. I could've got myself killed unless it was for those three mysterious men clad in gray. That was blind stupidity, not courage or bravery.'

     As there was no formal "parking lot," Reco simply put the vehicle in first gear, and slammed on the accelerator. He switched to second, third, fourth, fifth, and finally to sixth. By that time, he was already going one hundred twenty kilometers per hour. His tires gripped the earth, and kicked up gravel, earth, and dust all over the area. He headed for an armed checkpoint. He wondered why they bothered having a guard, when all the men should be out fighting the Covenant. He tore through the wooden gate that blocked the path. The gate turned to splinters, and unaffected, Reco kept on truckin'. He looked at his watch, five minutes. He was already four miles away from the base, and he kept going. He hit a creek bed. The tires spun, and the vehicle fishtailed, swerved, and launched out of the dry creek bed. Reco stomped on the accelerator, now well exceeding one hundred and fifty kilometers per hour. Half a mile. He could see the mountain in the distance, six kilometers away. Up ahead, rows of Scorpions, Warthogs, and Pelicans lay assembled, ready for action in a moments notice. Reco headed right for the Warthogs. About twenty yards away, he slammed on the break, and fishtailed to his right. The vehicle came to a halt, perpendicular with the other Warthogs, exactly three feet away from the one to the side of it. Reco left the engine running, popped open the glove compartment, retrieved his M90 shotgun and picked up his MA5B assault rifle, and exited the vehicle. He slung the shotgun over his back, and held his MA5B across his chest with both hands. He walked over to the nearest tent, where crowds of Marines were bickering on the plan. As Reco approached, a hush fell over the men. One man immediately recognized him and yelled out, "Hey, that's Reco! The crazy bastard." Reco cracked a smile, he had to admit, he was crazy back there at the crash site. "Ok, listen Marines. No more crackin' jokes or jacking around. We've got a mission to complete." He walked over to a board, and used his MA5B as a pointer. "Here's HAMBURGER HILL, six kilometers east. Here we are. We will be inserted a kilometer out from the base of the mountain. I will command the frontal assault, lead by Roughneck Two-Zero and the 33rd ODST Task Force. The 68th Delta Force will be inserted at the top of the castle, via two Pelican drop ships. The mountain is honey combed with tunnels and chambers. The flanking assaults will be lead by the 52nd, 551st, and 9th Armored Divisions. This is a daring plan here, but if we can achieve surprise, we might have well have won already. Gather weapons, preferably an MA5B and an M90 for face-to-face action. We will be in a confined space, that means no explosives unless nessecary. Dismissed." The Marines and ODSTs filed out of tent, and went to their individual tents and barracks to retrieve weapons and the like. The men assembled into three parallel lines of equal numbers. Reco paced in front of them, as he gave them a final pep talk. "They've got looking for a fight. They've slaughtered innocence people. And they want to kill you too. Now lets return the favor and get them before they get us. Fall out!" The Marines and ODSTs broke lines and rushed towards their Pelicans, Warthogs, and Scorpion MBTs. Roughneck Two-Zero followed Reco as he calmly walked toward a Pelican drop ship. He climbed in, followed by his teammates. He looked as if he were ready to give his life up for his men, and he always was ready to do it. He would take any bullet, jump on any grenade, or do whatever it took to make sure that his team got home, alive. As soon as the Pelicans lifted up, a pounding hit the mountain and the kilometer of fields around it, came from four batteries of 105mm howitzers.

     Longsword interceptors strafed the mountain and anything that moved with Hellfire missiles and 50mm autocannons. Smaller field artillery pieces like the 95mm and 100mm also bombarded the countryside, tearing up the earth and sending it in the air. This is it, Reco thought, the battle that will decide who takes Eclipse and who takes death. The Warthogs would be the heads of the spear, charging the barriers with fast and mobile harassment from all angles. The Scorpions would come next, under cover of massive Air and Artillery Cover Fire. They would lay siege to the stronghold, and would follow by a rapid advance of infantry on foot. As soon as they reached the entrance to the lions domain, the 68th Delta Force would land on top of the mountain, secure any weapons, hold the top of the mountain, or advance downwards and hook up with Roughneck Two-Zero and 33rd. Either way, it was a gamble, but if it worked, it would catch the Covenant by surprise. They would scatter and run in the midst of the Marines, and be toe down by overwhelming numerical odds. The Warthogs began their harassment of the Covenant, weaving, zigzagging and doing whatever it took to confuse and destroy them. Two lines of Scorpions, twenty in a line, followed suit. The artillery hadn't been zeroed yet, and so some artillery shells came dangerously close to destroying a few Scorpion MBTs. Overhead, the formation of Pelicans broke up. Six stayed in formation, heading for the entrance to the mountain. This was Roughneck Two-Zero, and 33rd. Two fell behind, the 68th Delta Force. Four headed right, four left, and four circled around the back. These were the elements of the assault teams. The artillery bombardment halted as the Pelicans neared one kilometer from the mountain. The remaining elements of the assault force continued their approach. Reco jumped out first, followed by Zethus, Anubis, Ares, Izanagi, Apollo, and Isis. Another Pelican included the ODST troopers that helped Two-Zero in the trenches, they were now part of Roughneck Two-Zero. The remaining four Pelicans, the 33rd, descended, dropped their load, and headed away into the horizon. Reco lead Roughneck Two-Zero into a hazy-fray of firefights right up to the base of the mountain. At the mouth of the mountain, Reco took the right side of the entrance with Roughneck, while the 33rd leaned up against the rock to the left. A Marine pulled a fragmentation grenade, spun around, and chucked it into the doorway. A concussion reverberated through the rock wall and ground, rattling a tooth out of one mans mouth. Reco held up a fist, counted to three with his fingers, spun around, and raked back and forth, laying down suppressive cover fire. He held the middle of the doorway, while Zethus, Apollo, and the rest of Roughneck Two-Zero charged in low to the ground, on Reco's right side. Exactly parallel to them, the 33rd did the exact same thing. Apollo and Zethus on one side, with two 33rd' s on the reverse side laid down a base of fire. The entered in, and came to an immediate hallway. Anubis, Zeus, and Ares came from the back of the line, and crouched right in front of Reco. One 33rd came to his left, with Isis to Reco's left. With the front line crouching, and Reco, Isis, and the 33rd member standing, it created a phalanx position. Reco looked at Isis, Isis returned the gaze. He smiled, she smiled. The lines slowly advanced, with the rear lines raking back and forth, searching their six and above their heads for any signs of hostile movement. A light blue body lay sprawled on the ground. The back of its head lay black with soot, and the temple blown out of its skull. A Marine walked over to the Marine that threw the grenade, and asked, "Hey man. Where's HE at? I wanna join up." The Marine pulled out a grenade, and handed it to the curios Marine. "Give it a try." The Marine placed it in his pouch, and continued to observe the predicament that they were in. They were in a large circular room, with four doors. The odd thing was that it was right after the entrance. "Okay Soldiers, listen up," Reco talked aloud, so everyone could hear him. "Two-Zero is coming with me, we are going topside to link up with the 68th. 33rd, your staying here. Hold his area to the last bullet, last man. Over turn those crates and anything that can provide cover, and place them in a circle in the center of this room. Over those doors like glue, no Covenant activity in this room." "Sir, yes, sir!" "Move out!" Reco walked towards a doorway, M90 Shotgun in hand. His HUD eyepiece told him that they had to go through seven stories of hostile environment just to get to the surface. The doorway opened up, it was an elevator. It revealed a Black Ops Elite clad in light blue armor. Reco pumped a shell into its shield, whilst it took the blunt of the attack. The Elite raised its arms, pleading for mercy. "Hey Zeus!" "What's up?" "Should we have mercy on him?" "Nah, they mercilessly slaughtered millions of us. Kill it." "Ok." Reco walked up to it, placed the muzzle of his shotgun right in the middle of its forehead, and squeezed off a round, squelching any possible resistance out of the creature. The company boarded the elevator, and Gizmo tapped the control panel. They stood tense for about forty-five seconds, until the elevator halted, and hurled them into a guns-a-blazing firefight. A platoon of Special Ops Covenant held off the 68th Delta Force at the top of the mountain. The Covenant were flanked by four Shade plasma cannons, one stationed at each corner of the "roof top." Two Shades rotated, and faced Reco and Zeus squarely in the forehead. Reco squeezed the trigger, with hundreds of pellets hitting the Grunt in the body, killing it at point blank range. Zeus threw a grenade, it exploded, catapulting the Shade turret over the edge of the mountain. Ares holstered a Jackhammer missile system on his shoulder, and let one rip. The missile pierced the air, a defining roar could be heard as it raced towards the helpless light blue Grunt. The Grunt hopelessly tried to bail from the deathtrap, but was struck by the rockets splash damage, giving the Grunt third degree burns, sizzling its innards upon impact with the ravenous fiery death. Zethus, Apollo, Gizmo, Anubis, and Isis charged out of the elevator, and began firing into the platoon of Covenant. They were met with the favor. Zethus was struck in the gut by a pair of salmon projectiles. After a few seconds, they exploded, scrambling his organs. His face immediately began to pale, due to lose of blood. "Medic! Medic!" Zethus screamed at the top of his lungs. "Man down! Man down!" Reco yelled as he ran towards Zethus, placed his M90 Shotgun on the ground beside him, grabbed the exposed area between his shoulder pads and collar bone, and drug him out of harms way. "Your gonna make it," Reco comforted the departing Zethus. He had to lie to him, he didn't like it, but he had to. Zethus departed from life, leaving behind a wife and a one-year-old daughter on Earth. Reco took it all in in an instant; Gizmo fired blindly into the mass of Covenant bodies, while hiding behind a pillar; Anubis charged the Covenant, getting struck twice by plasma, he collapsed, and tried to crawl for safety; Ares fired desperately into the lines with his chain gun; Isis began to nit pick at the Covenant from the safety of the top of a pillar that she scaled; Apollo threw a fragmentation grenade, killing two Grunts and an Elite; the 68th Delta Force was being over run. He had to do something. He left Zethus, ran towards his M90 Shotgun, picked it up, and bum rushed the Covenant. He was followed by Zeus, who also bolstered an M90 Shotgun. Zeus was struck by a plasma round, but kept running. He put five rounds squarely in a Grunts forehead. Reco charged an Elite, primed his rifle, shot once, and Gizmo finished him off with an explosive round right in the temple with his M6D pistol. Gizmo, with replenished courage, charged with Reco and Zeus. They collapsed on the exposed Covenant, and gave them a hard time. A white streak appeared right next to Reco's right shoulder. He looked back to see an Elite with a round right in his eye, and Isis smiling at him. He gave her the thumbs up, and returned to firing his shotgun. Apollo, awe struck by the death of his comrade, Zethus, charged at the Covenant with blind rage. He empty a whole clip into an Elite. Zeus finished it off with one round right into its neck. The Elite collapsed, clutching his neck. A golden Elite charged the 68th Delta Force. It swung its plasma sword and impaled a sergeant, hurling it over the edge of the mountain. Reco charged at it, cocking his shotgun, fired, cocked it again, and placed his rifle at the back of the Elite's head. Grunts panicked, and Elite's yelled in anger. Zeus, Anubis, Apollo, and Ares kept firing, tearing up Covenant by the pairs. "Order the surrender!" Reco yelled at the Elite, "Or I blow your head off, and kill them anyways!" Reco yelled at his men, "Cease fire, I want everyone to hear him!" The firing stopped, and the Elite spoke. "Ghole tur'ase!" It yelled, "Cease fire! Surrender!" The remaining Grunts, Jackals, and Elites dropped their shields and weapons. "Apollo, Zeus, police their weapons." "Roger." Zeus and Apollo held the Covenant at gunpoint, while gathering their weapons.

     Reco opened up a secure COM channel so that they couldn't hear him, and said, "Kill them." Zeus, Apollo, and Ares began placing round after round into the Covenant. Grunts began screaming in pain and despair, pleading for mercy. "Cowardice fools," the Golden Elite yelled. "What? What did you say? This is war you moron, not a game. Speak again, and I'll kill you!" Reco slammed his muzzle deeper into the Elite's skin, drawing a dark purple blood. "No you wont. I am your only lifeline. If you want to die, kill me. If you want to life, spare me." "Why should I? I could simply kill you and blow this place to hell, and screw every one of you bastards. Now walk!" Marines and Covenant bodies strewn the ground. Out of two dozen 68th that had been deployed, only eight remained. Reco spoke to them, "If you want spare ammo, now is your chance. We are heading back down, and we will rendezvous with the 33rd." "Roger that." They gathered ammo, and Reco reloaded his shotgun, while Zeus held the Elite up. After he was finished, he took him back, and headed for the elevator. "Don't try anything stupid. There's a dozen and a half of us, and one of you. Give me your plasma grenades." The commander Elite handed them over, and Reco held on to them, rather than throw them over the edge. A status report appearred on Reco's HUD eyepiece. The 9th, 52nd, and 551st had been decimated, and the 33rd hadn't reported in. "Holy shit," Reco whispered to himself. "Get in the elevator, we've got company!" Reco rushed towards the elevator. The other half dozen men filed in behind him, all with their weapons pointed at the Elite. The doors closed, and the elevator descended. The doors opened at the bottom, and displayed a sight that Reco as well as every one else wouldn't forget. Marines had been mercilessly slaughtered. Bodies lay strewn against walls and the floor. A streak of blood drizzled down the wall, and dipped down a Marine's face. The 33rd had been demolished. Just then, the Com channel opened up. "This is Delta Storm, Operation HAMBURGER HILL aborted, repeat, operator aborted. Delta Storm is in danger of being overrun, repeat, all units return to Delta Storm! What the- Awww!" The radio operator had been killed. "You prick!" Reco screamed, and pumped a shell into the Elite, splattering blood and chunks of bones against the walls. "All elements, pull back, we've got some pest problems at Delta Storm. Mission compromised! Pull back!" The Marines filed out of the mountain, hopefully never to return. Before exiting the entrance, Reco noticed a scripture inscribed on the wall. It read: "You have come to my castle, and you will not leave. The Gods will prevail, and your infidel lives will be crushed." Enraged, Reco stormed out of the "castle." With that note left behind, he knew he would return in full force. He would crush them, and their petty dreams of universal dominance. He would kill them by himself, he knew it. All the elements of HAMBURGER HILL and be slaughtered, and Reco obligated himself to avenge each and every one of them.

Roughneck Two-Zero Chapter VII: Let The Gun Do The Talking
Date: 10 May 2002, 1:09 am

1314 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, LZ Alpha

As Reco climbed into the Warthog conveniently parked near the entrance to the mountain, he began to ponder what the inscription meant. "You have come to my castle, and you will not leave. The Gods will prevail, and your infidel lives will be crushed." What the hell was that supposed to mean? It meant that the Covenant brass was mad, and they wanted vengeance. They would get their vengeance. The artillery bombardment had halted, no air cover was provided, and the sky had darkened to a mix of indigo blue and midnight black-the odd thing was, it was only an hour after noon. Plumes of black smoke and fiery columns rose from the ground almost like a distress beacon. Pelican drop ships, Warthog Light Reconnaissance Vehicles, and Scorpion Main Battle Tanks had been decimated, and were smoldering scrap heaps. He continued to ponder this as he drove off, trailed by his comrades-in-arms.

"Guys, we're going home. It's gonna be hot, so trigger fingers itchy and ready to go." Ares looked to his left, and looked into Reco's icy cold eyes. His eyes did not waver, and his star was merciless. It alone could kill a man. The Warthog's began to skid, as if on ice. The ground was a deep orange and red, glassed over. The vehicles had no traction, and the only thing stopping it from moving would have to be a building. He drove right into the nearest building, and the vehicle halted. He hoped out, and got back on the radio. "Reco to all teams. Commence assault on Delta Storm. Repeat, commence assault on Delta Storm." He killed the link, and walked into the open. The horizon was blurred by the burning of structures in the distance. The rest of Roughneck Two-Zero stealthily followed Reco, right up into the entrance of the base. The doors had been welded shut. "Damn it!" "Now what boss?" "Death From Above," was the reply. What and the hell was that supposed to mean? Reco walked over to a ladder, and began climbing. "Oh." The team followed, and assembled on the 'roof' of the main building. Reco knelt down, pointed at his eyes, and then pointed at a spot on the roof. There was a sunroof. Against regulations. He walked over towards it, and fired five rounds into it, shattering it into a million tiny fragments. He jumped down, followed by Zeus, Ares, Gizmo, Apollo, and the rest of the men. "We need to get to the hangar. From there, we get extra arms, ammo, and then go into the heart of the complex. The control room. We have to destroy the complex. Gizmo, destroy any nav-databanks that we come across. And I mean any." They walked unopposed into the hangar. The doors opened up, and reveal a large cavern. It was crawling with Marines and Covenant. It was going to get dicey in a few seconds. "Holy shit-traitors. Okay, change of plans. 68th, you guys are going with Apollo and Gizmo. Destroy in and all navigational databanks. Kill all opposition. Human and Covenant! That's a direct order. Roughneck Two-Zero, we go into the belly of the beast. Move out." Apollo, Gizmo, and the 68th moved off to destroy any navigational databanks, while Reco along with Roughneck Two-Zero hunkered down in a fixated position. In all actuality, it was just a bunch of overturned crates. Not much of a fixed fortification, but it had to do. Isis crawled alongside Reco, and placed her scope into a small slit in between the crates. "Aim for the heads. Marine leaders, Elites, Jackals, mud sloggers, Grunts. Fire when ready." Isis nodded silently, and opened fire. She hit a captain squarely in the forehead. Good choice. He had been ordering the Marines around, were telling the Covenant what to do. He slumped down, drowning in his own blood and because of a fatal wound. Not a moment later, Reco and Ares opened up, cutting down three Marines in a maelstrom of lead.

Zeus opened up, cutting down a patrol of Grunts without wasting half a clip. Reco still said he should've been a sharpshooter, but Zeus liked being in the hot spots, the intense situations, the driver's seat, where he was in control. Isis picked another target, this time of Covenant descent, and lodged a 14.5x 114mm APFSDSDUI (armor-piercing, fin-stabilized, discarding-sabot, depleted uranium, incendiary) round right in its brain-not only did it kill instantly, it exploded too, adding a nice "touch" to the kill. Zeus, with one hand on the trigger, and another on a grenade, lobbed the HE into a phalanx position of Jackals, flanked by Marines, shielded by the Jackals. It exploded, killing four of the Jackals, and twelve Marines. The remaining Jackals staggered and fell away, weak skinned backs exposed to the ruthlessness of Reco's MA5B. Reco fired, and placed lead in nine of the Jackals. Blood dripped, and seeped onto the ground. A Marine began firing upon the fixed position from a Warthog, and Ares discarded his chain gun and took up his Jackhammer Missile System. He fired one round at the Warthog, and another at a group of Grunts. The Warthog exploded, and sent the lifeless body of the Marine into the air, and flung it thirty feet away. Isis acquired another target, fired, and placed a round through a Marine, and into the head of an Elite. She was immediately countered by a hail of lead from a couple of Marines and an Elite. Lead pinged off he shoulder plate, and bounced off harmlessly. Reco took up her defense, and placed twelve rounds into a Marine, and one round into the head of another. Zeus aimed at the Elite, and placed three rounds into its shields, and Reco finished it off with four in the neck and chest.

"We've gotta get to the vehicle bay! Cover us Isis! Take out the Elites! Move move move!" Reco left the cover, followed by Ares, and Zeus. Isis kept up a steady stream of fire, flanked by Izanagi who began to take down Elite and Marine alike. Reco ran from cover, dodging bullets between crates and debris, and repaid the favor to any hostile force stupid enough to oppose him and his men. A plasma bolt streaked out of no where, and caught Zeus open chested, away from cover. Reco fired madly into the direction of the enemy fire, and fell on Zeus. He covered him from enemy fire, while at the same time dragging him into cover. Zeus got to his feet, and with no apparent bleeding, staggered on. A HE grenade landed just a few steps away from Reco. Act fast or die. He wanted to live, so he kicked the grenade seconds before it exploded. The shrapnel caught him open, as well as with Ares. "We've gotta keep moving!" Reco, with shrapnel wounds in his feet and hands, trudged on into the hangar. He climbed into a tank, and closed the hatch. Ares, and Zeus climbed on the treads and Reco powered up. He kept his trigger finger down, firing hundreds of rounds a second into the oncoming hordes of Covenant and Human bodies alike. He fired his main cannon, and demolished a bit of the stiff resistance. Bullets pinged off the titanium alloy armor, and Zeus and Ares kept up a stream of fire to cover Reco's ass.

Zeus and Ares jumped off the tank as a grenade landed feet in front of them. They ran behind the tank and hid, while the titanium armor shielded Reco from the blast. "Climb on, and let's get the hell outta here!" Reco fired his main cannon again, and took care of the last men. He climbed out, with the intention of leaving his own mark. He approached the wall, drew his combat knife, and inscribed:

"To find sanctuary in the enemy is treason. You have entered my castle, and you will not leave to see the light of day again. I give you my word."

Reco then lumbered into the tank, and began destroying Warthogs and Scorpions. He left the remaining Longsword interceptor intact, and radioed to the 68th.

"This is Reco Roughneck Two-Zero. Come in 68. We have the hangar, a bird, and a lot of dead bodies. Oh, also, a Shiva II Nuclear Warhead. I was thinking of celebrating by having some fire works and some Nuclear Winter Fallout. What do ya guys say?" "I say hold your ass. We're coming."

"Lets go!" Reco climbed into the Longsword, accompanied by Zeus, Ares, Izanagi, and Isis. "Any of you know how to fly this bucket?" Isis stepped forward, and powered the craft up. The doors opened at the far end of the hangar, and in ran Apollo, Gizmo, and 68th, carrying behind them a body. They climbed in, as Reco walked out. He went under the hangar into a hidden room under the floor, and activated the Shiva II nuclear warhead. Fifteen minutes. That would give them significant time to get airborne, into the atmosphere, and onboard a ship for some answers.

He ran out of the room, climbed onboard the Longsword, laden with ammo and crates, and sealed the door shut. The Longsword powered up, left go of the binding clamps, and sped off into the air.

Roughneck Two-Zero Chapter VIII: Unwanted Guests
Date: 5 June 2002, 12:11 am

1349 Hours, January 3, 2552 (Military Calendar)/

Epsilon Erandi System, in orbit above Inner Colony Eclipse

"Sir. Sir." Reco looked up; startled. He had been pondering every since they had entered orbit and the nuclear warhead detonated. He pondered such things as 'Why would the Corps trust the enemy?' and things like 'Why would the Corps truth an enemy, nonetheless the Covenant.' He intended to find some answers. "Yes?" "We have established communications with the Heavy Cruiser Blade Master. They have granted clearance to land on Deck C on Hangar A." "Bring her in." "Roger."


Reco walked briskly down the hall, and stepped into an elevator. The elevator rocketed up; images passed by him with lightning speed as he was taken to the bridge. The elevator came to a gradual stand still, and Reco walked out. He walked over to a nearby Marine on duty, and inquired, "Soldier, where is the bridge." The soldier escorted Reco to the bridge. As he entered in, he immediately noticed the presence of double guard and everyone was tense. Reco sensed uneasiness, and radioed to Zeus, "Meet me in the mess hall. Fresh armor and ammo for everyone. On the double; I think something's going down." As Reco approached, the captain turned to greet Reco. "Reco, Roughneck detachment I presume." "Correct." The captain reached out his hand, and Reco generously took the gesture. "That was some impressive stuff down there Roughneck." "But- how did you know what happened?" "I've got connections." "Sir, if I may intrude, what is with all this security. I know we are at war with the Covenant but double security? Shouldn't the security be on duty in other sectors of the ship?" "Well, we have the most advanced AI on this Heavy Cruiser." "Well, can I ask this: Why is the Corps helping the pigs?" "That, my friend, is a new task. They were spies, pretending to aid the enemy. They were trying to gain the Covenant's confidence, board a ship, find the home worlds, and then relay the information back to us. However, the forces you encountered down there at Delta Storm were defectors. From now on, the defectors neural implants will turn red, indicating that they are enemy. We are waging a two sided war, against ourselves and the enemy." "Roger that. Thank you." With that, Reco turned on his heels and walked into the hallway.

"Where's the mess hall?" "Right this way Sir." The escort soldier took Reco down a hall, and into a large room. The room was lined with overturned tables and chairs. Ares tossed a couple clips of ammo to Reco, at the same time ejecting the wasted one and placing an extra in the chamber. "Stand by to engage the enemy. All fire squads man your battle stations. Stand by to engage the enemy. All fire squads man your battle stations." The automated emergency warning blared over and over again. "This is it boys!" Reco proclaimed. The whole of Roughneck Two-Zero charged the barricade as one, kneeling down, guns placed at their shoulders, ready to take on the enemy.


A large green hole formed in the emptiness of space. Very slowly, a shape emerged from the catastrophic site. Instead of one shape, it was twelve different shapes. One Carriers, three Destroyers, four Prowlers, and four Battleships. "Weapons, charge the magnetic accelerator cannon. Arm Archer weapons pods A through F for the first volley. F through P for the second barrage. Unlock one Shiva II. Standby for the other two. Ready the Longsword interceptor squadron, full load. Communications, Get the admiralty on the forward view screen." "Admiral Stanforth is on the view screen sir." The weathered, graying face of Admiral Stanforth appeared on the forward view screen. "All members of the UNSC Sector Three Fleet, I am sending your AI constructs your fire paths. First barrage of Archer missiles to strike the shields and destroy them. Then rapidly fire your MAC rounds, followed by the second barrage. After the firing of the first barrage, reload swiftly and look for your targets."

The Blade Master was designated to fire upon the Carrier, along with the Heavy Cruisers Sharnhorst and Bismarck. "Arm the point defense guns. Get those birds in the air. Weapons, fire first barrage when ready." "Firing, sir!" The first barrage of the Blade Master, flanked by the barrages of the Sharnhorst and Bismarck rocketed away, forcing the ships to shudder with the recoil. The Archer missiles streaked towards their targets with lightning speed, impacting the vessel within twelve seconds. Fire blossomed along the ships shields, eventually knocking it down. A few Archer missiles broke through, hit the ships hull, or hit stray Seraphs that broke formation. About twenty Archer missiles broke through the shields, and hit its target. "Fire the MAC round." "Firing." The ships lights faded and died as the MAC round drained the ship of its power. Simultaneously, the Sharnhorst and Bismarck also fired. "Sir! Inbound plasma torpedoes three o'clock!" "Initiate emergency thrusters, engage with point defense weapons. Seal all air locks!" "Roger that! Initiating emergency thrusters! All air locks sealed!" The plasma torpedoes struck its target, eventually melting the titanium A battle armor on Deck F to a petty ten centimeters. "Fire the second barrage!" "Inbound Seraph fighters sir! Initiating point defense weapons!" Several hundred streaks of red shot of in a massive volley, encouraging the Seraphs to break formation, scatter, and become easy targets for marauding squadrons of Longsword interceptors. "Sir! We've lost contact with Corporal Lovell and the Longsword squadron!" "Damn it!" "Sir! Inbound troop transports! Port side! The point defense weapons are handling the situation but they can't hold 'em off forever!" "All right! Sound the alarm! Boarding parties eminent!" During the chaos in the bridge, the second barrage hit home, ripping apart the alien vessel and breaking its spine. "Sir! Inbound plasma torpedoes! Point defense weapons on the job! Engage emergency thrusters?" "Do it!" The ship lurched as the emergency thrusters tossed it hopelessly into a new vector.

"Sir! Armor plating disintegrated on Decks F, G, H, and I!" "Fire the nuke. Destroy those bastards!" "I'm on it! Shiva II away!" "Set its trajectory to 0382541-2914-0IN!" "Roger. Trajectory set to 0382541-2914-0IN!" A white contrail followed the nuclear warhead as it slowly drifted in space, motionless in the vacuum of space. A white glare followed, pursued by a soundless explosion. Concurrently, the remainder of the Sector Three Fleet let loose a barrage of Archer missiles and MAC rounds. The force of the nuclear explosion and the magnitude of the barrage incinerated the Covenant fleet.


A squad of Marines backed up, firing as they went. Red-hot plasma streaked by, visible to Roughneck Two-Zero, waiting to pounce on unsuspected enemies, from an open door. "Aww!" a soldier screamed in pain, and ran for his life. "Hold your fire!" Reco yelled to his men, "Wait for the Marines to get behind the barricade." A half-dozen Marines charged from the hallway, running full tilt at the barricade, and hoping over it as they went. "Fire at will!" Reco yelled as he saw the first sign of Covenant movement out side the mess hall. A barrage of lead cut down the first dozen of Grunts that foolishly waltzed into the hall. They screamed in pain as they ate the lead like breakfast. A dozen Jackals entered the room via a door opposite the room. Ares instinctively threw a grenade, trying to catch their unarmored backside. The grenade "harmlessly" bounced off their shields, and lay at their feet. The stupid idiots looked down as it exploded, and were rocketed to the ceiling. Their bodies fell limb to the ground, whilst the blood on the ceiling stayed put. A platoon of Grunts and Elites went forth to the slaughterhouse. The line of men ducked down, giving away nothing but a hand and weapon for the Covenant to shoot at. Reco grabbed at a grenade on his bandoleer, primed it, and tossed it over his head. The heat of plasma gradually died down as the Covenant forces were tore down.

"How's everything elsewhere?" Reco inquired on the radio. "Fire base Zulu, everything under control." "Fire base Alpha, same here." "Fire base Delta, roger that." "Fire base Bravo, it's a little dirty here, but we're good."