Zanzibar: The Waterworks-Chapter 15
Posted By: 343 Salty Beans<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 21 July 2004, 6:31 AM
Author's Note: Bonus for you...the last chapter's shortness and my delay for writing it- this only means you need a second chapter. If you're wondering why you don't understand this, you skipped a chapter...there's another one further down the page. Enjoy.
John burst through the hatch and came face-to-face with an Elite. It roared and tried to draw its rifle, but John swept its legs out from under it, then brought the butt of his rifle down on the alien's chest cavity. Its shields flared, and then broke. He aimed the carbine down and drilled three holes into the Elite's chest; it died with a scream.
The Spartan threw himself sideways as a grenade from a Brute screamed past and blew a chunk out of the wall. Two rounds from Linda's rifle hit it between the eyes, and it keeled over and hit the floor. A fuel rod hit its corpse and cooked the meat as it went flying over the balcony.
This was too much havoc. Grace spun and nailed a Hunter in its soft back, then hit an Elite with three bursts. Williams' squad concentrated on one Brute and managed to put him down before he could utilize his weapon. Another slug whistled past and showered John with debris.
Linda was a machine, drilling one Brute after another. She reached for another clip, and discovered there weren't any. She desperately cast around for another weapon, then yanked a Covenant sniper rifle out of a dead alien's arms.
John waited for the carbine to cool and sidestepped as a Brute sprinted towards him. He ditched the Covenant weapon and whipped out his sub-machine gun, put it in the Brute's belly, and pulled the trigger. The ammo counter rapidly went down as the beast staggered backwards from the force of the rounds. A click and a flashing symbol on his HUD told John his weapon was empty. The monster in front of him stretched to its full height and readied its slug thrower.
Grace was grappling with a Hunter, and the ops squad was pinned down by an Elite. "Linda!" he barked. "I need assistance, where are you?!" A blue white needle answered his plea, penetrated the Brute's skull, and detonated. The resulting explosion pulped its entire head.
John shakily reloaded his SMG. "Thanks, Red-Two."
John turned, put half a clip in an Elite, then shoved it off of the jutting structure. It screamed madly and tried to land the fall, but ended up splattering the front end of a shadow with purple gore.
One of the SpecOps members took a hit and momentarily flashed into view. He had almost ducked behind a pillar, but a Hunter bashed him into the wall with its shield. Williams' team took their revenge in full as bullets flew out of nowhere and cut the beast's spine.
Linda hit the last Brute, and it fell to the ground with a wet smack. The balcony stoically sat drenched in blood, both human and alien, a testament to the awful battle that had taken place there.
Linda's voice broke the silence. "Red-One, we have a situation. I think they know we're here."
John swore. "Patch it through, Linda." A small square appeared on his HUD.
Grunts, Jackals, Elites, Brutes, and Hunters all poured into the structure, weapons unholstered and glowing. Each one seemed eager to score a kill. John swore again, knowing it wouldn't help. Their time had run out...they had to blow the place.
Williams took the pack and stealth unit from his fallen comrade, then laid his brother-in-arms' hand on his chest. He wiped a tear from his eye, then stood at the ready.
John patched over the Team COM channel. "Listen up, everyone...we've got to move. The Covenant are combing the structure to locate us. We've got to rig this place to blow, then get out of here. Any questions?"
One of the operatives raised his hand mockingly. "And just how the hell are we supposed to do that?"
Cortana chimed in. "Pardon me, Master Chief, but I think I have a plan. Some of the Covenant abandoned their vehicles and entered the structure with the rest. Linda can use her camo belt to get a Shadow and hide it away, ready to pick us up and get out of here."
"Linda..." John started.
"Already on it," she replied coolly.
John and his team marched through a hatch, looking for resistance. There wasn't any. "Team, I need all the explosives you have. We can rig them in the ammo dump with Grace's equipment and get out. Cortana, will it set off a chain reaction?"
"Affirmative," she replied. "The heat should be enough to back up the plasma conduits and cause a massive overload. The explosion will be enough to bring down this cavern, and the human reactor Spartan-104 and his team are currently working to get to. I've already sent them an encrypted burst transmission to get out ASAP."
Williams cut in. "Pardon me, Master Chief, but I think it's time to explain my real objective now...Admiralty be damned." He hefted his fallen operative's pack and pulled out a HAVOK tactical nuclear mine.
John halted immediately and pointed his Carbine at the SPO. "Explain. Now."
"The Admiralty wanted us to detonate this place anyway. We expected the Covenant would come to this place, and ultimately we could strike a deadly blow to their ground forces."
He means that Ackerson wanted them to blow it up, John thought to himself.
"Anyways, our mission was to plant this baby, set it for remote detonation, and get the hell out of here. We hadn't, however, expected you...guys to show up."
Cortana interrupted. "But with this facility down, the MAC platforms would cease to function. And the UNSC needs those up, no matter what. Why would they destroy them?"
But John already knew the answer. "They don't expect to win this," he whispered. "They're giving up and evacuating the planet. And Ackerson wanted us to go down with Earth."
John knew their time was short. He could already hear the thundering footsteps of a thousand bloodthirsty aliens. He began jogging down the hall, then slowed down to allow Williams' men to keep pace.
"Officer Williams, I want you to plant that nuke as soon as you get to the dump. Then Red-Three will set it for 10 minutes...enough time for us to get the hell out of here and to the nearest evacuation point. Cortana, punch me a hole in Ackerson's channel and let me have a chat with him."
"Working on it," she replied. Then she switched to an encrypted channel. "However, there are two parts to your plan that I don't understand.
"First, getting out is going to be a little tough. The Covenant will have swarmed the lower levels. The only way to evac is by jumping."
John concentrated on a Jackal, then put it down as he sped past. "That's exactly what I plan to do. And the second?" After he heard the answer, he wished he hadn't asked.
"Shadows have a five-passenger limit. Either we find another way, or one person gets left behind."