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Zanzibar: The Waterworks-Chapter 10
Posted By: 343 Salty Beans<hockyfreak5@yahoo.com>
Date: 26 June 2004, 7:04 AM

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Author's Note-Yes, I know this one is a little short. Sorry. I'm busy here, since our family is remodeling and I'm getting paid :-). Anyway, I thought the cliffhanger at the end was good, so I'm gonna stick with it and hope you guys don't mind the shortness. It's a series, anyway! Either go back and read the other ones, or complain to me at hockyfreak5@yahoo.com, or in the comments section. Also, I hope you guys note a little clue to the storyline in the last sentence. Enjoy!

      Fred advanced through another corridor. Each step he, Kelly, and Will took brought them a little closer to the reactor, but also brought more Covenant to resist them. Covenant bodies littered the floor behind, with blue and purple ichor painting the walls and ceilings.
      A trio of Grunts, two Jackals, and an Elite stepped through a hatch ahead, spotted the Spartans, and sent a greeting full of plasma down the hallway. The Spartans hunkered down behind a few crossbraces.
      Fred keyed Blue Team's COM channel after the barrage of fire had died down. "Three, two, one...go."
      Fred stepped out with his battle rifle's autozoom activated, as Kelly brought hers, and Will his double SMGs. They returned the salutation with a hail of lead-three pinpoint shots penetrated the Grunts' skulls from Fred's rifle, and a three round burst from Kelly's took out one Jackal. The other dropped behind it's shield. The Elite managed to fire a few stray bolts of plasma before Will's dual weapons hammered through it's shields and tore apart it's torso. Kelly sprinted forward, dodging hot bolts of energy, and brought the butt of her rifle down on the last alien, crushing it's skull and deforming it's shoulder.
      Fred was about to step out and continue when another group of Grunts and a Jackal burst through the doorway. Kelly dropped her battle rifle and spun, unholstering her automatic. Three controlled bursts brought down two Grunts, but the third one hit her with a fiery plasma shot, and the fourth unlimbered a grenade. The Jackal sprayed more energy madly, precipitously draining her shields.
      Fred brought down the fast firing Jackal, and Will squeezed a shot around his teammate, killing the Grunt with the grenade. The other dimunitive alien froze, and Kelly hosed it with bullets. It hit the hatch with a satisfying splat.
      "Kelly! Get out of there!" Fred barked, and with good reason; the plasma grenade hissed vehemently, with its brothers surrounding it. If the explosive started a chain reaction, the whole hallway could come down on their heads. Kelly legged it down the corridor, then rolled into a side passage, just in time.
      The grenade pulsed, then exploded. Soon, two, then four, then seven blue clouds of hot plasma burst into existence, weakening and powdering the concrete supports that held up the roof.
      Time blurred as the roof began to cave. Fred dove....

      John sidestepped and put a three round burst through a Grunt's pointy head. It writhed on the floor, then was still. Another Grunt and two Jackals rounded the corner, and John heard an Elite roar as it raced through a side cave to join the battle. Linda dropped the two Jackals in less than a second; Williams and two of his men hit the Grunt with a spray of SMG fire and more bursts from their battle rifles.
      John noted that all the aliens they were killing were dressed in SpecOps black armor; Not good. They tended to be tougher and more experienced than normal ranks. However, they still died, which was the only opportunity he and his Spartans needed.
      The Elite, also decked out in black, roared and fired a shot from his plasma rifle. That was the only shot he got. Linda stepped in front of the bolt to protect the ONI team and fired two pinpoint rounds at the creature's face. It's head separated from it's body and splattered onto the floor. The body itself twitched once, then fell forward. Purple blood stained the sandy floor of the cave.
      The Spartans continued forward, meeting medium resistance. So far, it didn't look like the Covenant inside were alerted of the team's presence. Let's hope it stays that way, The Chief thought as he blasted a team of Grunts into pieces with his SMG.

      Cortana sat in the recesses of the Chief's mind, watching him work. The Spartans were doing extremely well, especially with their enhanced Mark VI armor. The Black Ops team supported, but little help was needed. The green-clad soldiers were amazing, picking off anything that moved before it could squeeze off a shot. And with Cortana jamming the Covenant's communications, she doubted they would be alerted of the Chief and his team until they entered the cavernous space where the reactor was located.
      She still had a scale to balance, though. Ackerson continued to selfishly develop private technology for his team only. He was a weight that was annoying, and needed to be countered.
      Cortana accessed his personal notepad from the backdoor she had left in it before the destruction of Reach by the Covenant. She skimmed through personal files, private records...ah. There it was. A list of secret accounts Ackerson had built from his skimping of money off of ONI budgets.
      She bypassed the UNSC bank countercode without trouble, and wired all the credits in the accounts to the war effort. The UNSC accountants would find a large anonymous donation in their records next month. She left an electronic footprint of Ackerson's notepad on the data, and covered her own tracks by scrambling the code designating her own footprint.
      Then she slipped into "The Hive's" budgeting system, a less-protected branch of the UNSC databanks. She planted an algorithm into the layers of code that determined Naval budgets. Each month, a percentage of money would find it's way from Ackerson's branch to what was left of Dr. Halsey's group. Again, she left the IP of the Colonel's personal palmtop, then erased her footsteps as she left.
      Satisfied, Cortana extricated herself from the systems, passing as a routine credit transmission on the way to a private company. Then she returned to the task at hand: getting herself-and the Chief-out of the Waterworks alive.