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Zanzibar-The Escape: Chapter 16
Posted By: 343 Salty Beans<hockyfreak5@yahoo.com>
Date: 30 July 2004, 8:19 PM

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      Author's Note: Okay, sorry about the wait on this one. First of all, I'd like to thank Louis for putting up with my ignorant questions after the section went down. Second, I'd like to thank Wado for being an awesome guy and helping remake the section. Third, I'd like to thank all you people for feedback I've gotten.
      As for sweet buttery goodness (aka more Halo fan fiction), copy this link into your address bar. It's the HALO FICTION SOURCE! HOO-AH!



      John nailed a stunned Grunt with the butt of his SMG as he raced down the corridor and put ten rounds into another. The glowing nav marker on his HUD said that the ammo dump was behind the next hatch. He took the door in one stride, hit three Jackals, and finished off the handful of Grunts with his carbine.
      The ops team skidded to a halt behind him. One of them gave a low whistle. "Man, Chief, when you want something done, it gets done." He heard a murmur of agreement from the other two unaugmented soldiers.
      He ignored the adulation and strode over to the racks of clips, weapons, magazines, ammunition, grenades, and other objects for causing general mayhem. "Team, load up. I want a full combat load on everyone. SpecOps, get ten clips each for your battle rifles, plus two each for Red-Two's sniper. Grace, grab a rocket launcher. I also want everyone to get at least four grenades. Williams, set up that HAVOK. Hurry...we don't have much time." The thundering footsteps of the thousand vengeful aliens behind them testified to the last statement."
      John grabbed a plastic ring carrier and snapped a half-dozen frags into it, then slid it into his armor's thigh slot. He also grabbed a new battle rifle, and gladly ditched the Covenant carbine. After a double handful of clips into his ammo sack, he grabbed an extra sub-machine gun in case he needed some heavy covering fire.
      Williams inserted the activation card into the nuke, then gently placed it near a pile of foaming C-12 high explosive. "Nuke's warmed up and ready to go." Grace moved in, and in a few seconds, had wired the timer to it and set it for ten minutes.
      The footfalls grew louder. John knew they had to move now. "Cortana, get me a marker for the nearest balcony overlooking the river that hasn't been overrun by the Covenant. Linda, on my mark, bring that Shadow around."
      Grace held up a fist, then set a Lotus anti-tank mine for proximity near the entry hatch. She nodded, started the timer on the nuke, and then the ill-matched team sprinted madly for the NAV marker that appeared on their HUDs.

      Fred finished off a Grunt, then put the butt of his rifle into the exposed side of an Elite. Kelly poured bullets into the Elite that roared defiance, until Will managed to squeeze a trio of bursts around the Spartan into the alien. It wailed and fell to the floor, blood leaking out of its chest.
      Fred was about to advance when a message scrolled across his HUD, courtesy of Cortana.

Burst Transmission, 0830, to Blue Team

Imminent chain explosion. 99.9% chance will bring down Forerunner facility and human reactor complex. Recommend mission abort and high-speed exit to the nearest Warthog. Proceed to exit marked on HUD. Estimated twenty-five minutes before detonation.

End Transmission

      Fred scanned the document, then froze as adrenaline coursed through his system. Two NAV points appeared on his visor-a blue, 500 meter stretch to his left that marked a garage, and a green one that marked the exit, a good five kilometers away.
      "Team, we've got a situation. We're aborting the mission and getting out of here." He relayed the transmission to them. "Will, do you think you're able to sprint?"
      Will tested his weight on his left leg and grimaced. "Negative."
      Kelly nodded, then moved forward and administered a few milligrams of polypseudomorphine to kill the pain, and some dermacortic steroids to give him the strength to make it. Will straightened up, nodded, and they set off at an astonishing pace. The place was about to blow-and they didn't intend to be anywhere near it when it did.

      The Chief impatiently jogged along, letting the SpecOps team keep pace. He knew the Covenant would catch up to them if they didn't hurry; the Lotus mine exploded, and confirmed his fears.
      He slowed down, allowed two of the men to pass, then raced forward and scooped them up. He clicked his COM three times, and heard Grace do the same to the remaining operative. The black-clad soldiers yelped in surprise, but John ignored them and stepped up the pace. The objective was one hundred and fifty meters away.
      One hundred.
      Twenty. A plasma beam seared past.
      There. He dropped the ops, primed two frags, and let them loose. Grace unslung her rocket and fired two 102mm shaped charges into the hatch they had just come from. It shook like a thing possessed, and gore sprayed out. Two seconds later, the frags detonated and sent body parts flying. Williams' men alternated fire into the hatch, ducking out and reloading their SMGs when they ran empty.
      "Williams, get your men into that river ASAP!" barked John. The SPO let off one final clip of ammo, then dove into the water below. "Linda! Get that Shadow down here on the double!"
      John primed another grenade and hurled it into the hatch. It responded by vomiting limbs and alien meat. The hatch to the right burst open, and an Elite roared. Grace swiveled and dumped a rocket into that opening, too. "Time to get out of here. Grace, let's move!"
      She shook her head. "Negative!"
      John understood...she had overheard the conversation between him and Cortana. He tossed her his frags and plasma sword, then paused. One of the last Spartans was about to die. He saluted, then flicked her a shining, silver disc, with a head on one side, and an eagle on the other. She slapped it back into his palm and gave him a hardy shove towards the edge. "GO!"
      He almost hesitated. He wanted to die here, die with his sister-in arms. But his training made it clear...she was a life spent, not a life wasted.
      He flung himself off the balcony, and managed to get one last glimpse of Grace dropping her SMG and firing up the plasma blade. Then he fell.

Grace sprinted forward and swung the energy sword like a machete, hacking into the horde of screaming aliens. They screamed and fired back. Her shield bar blinked empty, and she felt the burning plasma puncture her armor, but she didn't stop. The blade was a blur, slashing and burning into the Covenant forces. She felt her body weakening, and the hilt of the sword fell from her grasp. She knelt, coughing up blood, and fell to the ground on her stomach...in front of a Covenant Hunter. It grunted, crushed the hilt beneath it's heel, and brought its massive boot back up.
      Grace spotted a bandolier of fallen plasma grenades. This one's for you, Li, she thought. She primed two frags, rolled them into the pile, and whipped the SMG out of it's holster. She screamed, firing wildly at the sole of the massive boot. It fell...then the whole world winked out of existence.

      John hit the water like an armored cannonball, then hauled himself onto the riverbank. A soggy Williams and his crew were waiting in the Shadow. Linda was manning the gunner's position, waiting for John. He hopped into the driver's seat, then looked up one last time at the precipice above him. A massive explosion shook the structure, and the entire balcony crumbled. Grace had used her final action well. He banished his sorrow into the back of his mind and threw forward the throttle. Grace had given her life to save theirs...and he intended to fulfill his part of the bargain now. He had to get out alive.