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Soldier Girl: Part 11.5 - Breach
Posted By: Adam Stark<Xvash2@sbcglobal.net>
Date: 19 June 2009, 9:26 am

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Soldier Girl: Part 11.5 - Breach

He looked up as the engines rotated and ignited, propelling the Pelican towards the base. The entirety of first platoon was now dead, missing, or wounded, but now he had the high ground, and a fresh set of soldiers. First thing's first, though. Austin walked over to his XO, Major Antwone, who was the man in charge of intelligence and all that came with the field. The major saluted as the commander approached. James quickly returned the salute.

"Major Antwone, why did nobody inform us the Innies were in possession of heavy artillery pieces?"

"Sir, the last sweeps were made twenty-four hours ago, they could have been moved in s-"

"I'm not buying your bullshit, major. I'm demoting you to captain. You're relieved of your duties. Now get out of my sight, and send someone more capable on your way out."

"With all due respect sir, I don't think you have the authority to demote me, you being Navy."

"Did you not just hear me? Get the hell out of here you incompetent retard, don't you realize you just got an entire platoon wiped out? If I can't do it, someone else will. Now go." Antwone mumbled to himself as he turned and walked towards a captain who was making conversation with his men. Antwone said nothing, only pointing back to the commander. Finished here, the once major hopped on one of the remaining Pelicans and flew off, shrouded in disgrace and self-loathing.

Captain Ramirez double-timed it over to the commander, quickly saluting. Antwone returned it.

"Major Antwone told me to report to you, sir?" inquired Ramirez, his words soaked in a misty air of anxiety and hesitation.

"You're the new XO. Round up two squads and have them board the express elevator to hell." Ramirez nodded, understanding the slightly humorous reference to the freight shaft that descended to the facility. Ramirez organized the troops and ordered them to enter the elevator car. Well, it wasn't so much an elevator car as it was an open platform. It was a rather antiquated installation, constructed back in 2502, and signs of aging were already beginning to show on the shaft's structure. The platform squealed slightly as it was stressed under the weight of the soldiers, and Commander Austin was no help as he boarded behind them. Austin gave the signal, and the captain started up the lift. The squads gained speed quickly, rushing down the shaft of the installation, a hole hollowed out almost a mile below the planet's surface. The commander switched out magazines in his battle rifle, checking the weapon for any potential faults, before moving to the front of the platform.

"Alright men, listen up," shouted Austin at the top of his lungs, only somewhat audible over the rushing noise of the falling elevator. "When we hit the bottom clear out as fast as possible so we can get this platform back up to the surface and get more troops down here. I don't care if you gotta walk into a wall of bullets, just clear off the elevator. Understood?" The reply from the squads was a resounding "Oorah!" Austin nodded and checked his gear once more. No loose ends, no cracks in the armor. Just a battle waited.

The brakes on the elevator slammed tight, slowing the platform whilst showering the shaft with a storm of sparks. The occupants steadied themselves, bracing for a hard halt. Austin pulled a flashbang from his vest and pulled the pin, holding the spoon down, just waiting for the elevator to stop. It slowed, slowed, and then stopped, only to have the squads find themselves facing a blast door.

"Steady, steady!" shouted Austin, holding for the blast doors to open. When they did, it was an agonizing pace, the two halves pulling away from each other at a snail's pace. When the gap was wide enough, Austin tossed in the grenade, pulling back as the device detonated. He looked through and saw several Innies inside, disoriented from the blast, trying to shake it off. Austin shouldered his rifle and gave the command to fire at will. He squeezed the trigger, firing three rounds, dispatching the rebels he hit. He was the first through the doors, quickly taking cover behind a stack of crates. The Innies soon erupted in fire, picking off the second batch of troops to step out of the elevator. There just wasn't enough cover to be had in the corridor, and as a result, all but nine of the twenty got off of the platform alive.

Lead zinged overhead as Austin struggled to stay in cover, squeezed behind the boxes with several other troopers. He radioed the surface, telling them to call the platform back up. No response, they must have really been far underground for the radio to not reach the surface. He crawled on his back towards the platform, and kicked the control panel with his boot. No budge from the elevator. He kicked it once more, leaving a bootprint outlined in dirt on the wall. It worked the second time, and the platform began to rocket up the shaft, carrying the bodies of the fallen soldiers who didn't even have time to take a step forward. A dismembered forearm fell from the platform as it shot up, removed from the body as it had hung over the side of the platform. Austin couldn't help but stare. It seemed to be such an oddity in the moment, a clean slice through the skin and bone. The rounds zipping past him disturbed the mental freeze, and Austin focused once more.

He wasn't in the greatest of positions. No room to maneuver, and an easy target for a single hand grenade. They had to get moving before the next two squads came down or else it the end result would be something similar to what often happens to fish in barrels. He looked over at Captain Ramirez, who was grasping his arm, blood seeping through the cracks between his fingers. Ramirez looked back at Austin, shaking his head, squinting as more rounds flew overhead. For Austin, this position seemed eerily familiar.

Austin tossed a grenade down the corridor and listened for the blast. A shockwave hit them, but he shook it off and emerged from behind cover, unloading his rifle downrange. Innies ducked behind cover at the end of the corridor, hiding from the commander's bullets. The marines followed behind Austin, staggered in formation as they swept down the corridor, suppressing the rebels with a hail of gunfire. The lights flickered in the hall as the ceiling above rumbled, signs of explosions in the facility. They reached the end of the corridor, where it diverged into three different passages. Austin signaled for the marines to hold up there, and assessed the situation. Nine marines plus himself, and two of those soldiers were wounded.

"Ramirez, take that wounded corporal and head back to the elevator. Send the reinforcements down this way, and get yourself patched up. You've done well." Ramirez nodded, slightly wincing in pain as he tightened his grip on the M6C he held. With only seven marines now, Austin faced a dilemma. Attack now, catch the Innies while they prepare their second line of defense, or wait for backup and risk losing more men and women. No, he had to finish this now, even if it took his life to do so. "Gather ammo from the dead, we're pushing on to their command center." The soldiers broke position and rummaged supplies from the bodies of the dead rebels, finding mostly MA5 magazines and M/7 rounds. There was a surprising lack of hand grenades on the corpses, something which puzzled Austin briefly. But no need to focus on it, he had to get moving.

"Marines, form up on me!" he shouted with vim and vigor as he began moving down the corridor clearly marked "Control and Communications", an obvious choice for a headquarters. Austin raised his rifle, peering just over the scope as he crept down the corridor. It was quiet in the facility, only the hum of air scrubbers and rustling in the distance, no distinguishable noises. They turned a corner and found themselves at the blast door guarding the entrance to the communications hub. Austin tried the manual handle with no luck. He turned to the corporal behind him, who was obviously experienced in explosives, as he had a loose bundle of det. Cord hanging from his pack. "Corporal, get this door open."

"Yes commander," was the immediate reply as the corporal knelt in front of the door and mounted a spoofer on the lock. He punched in a few numbers on the keypad, but the door gave no response. "It's locked up pretty good, sir. It might have been welded on the other side; I'm going to have to blow the door."

"Go ahead, corporal. Do your thing. Marines, step back and take cover." The remainder of the squad pulled back in the hallway, around the bend of the corner as the corporal affixed every explosive he had to the blast door. He armed the bomb and pulled back, holding the detonator in his hand.

"Door's ready to blow, sir."

"Do it." The corporal hit the button and detonated the explosives. The ensuing blast rocked the base, and immediately clouded the corridors with debris and dust. The blast knocked Austin from his feet, and he struggled to get back up, still a bit dizzy from the blast. "You didn't tell me it was going to be that big, corporal."

"Sorry sir, it's a blast door, I used everything."

"Yeah, yeah. Get moving, into the breach!" Austin gathered his rifle and lead the team forward, only to find the blast door having been moved slightly. They would have to crawl through a small rupture in order to get to the other side. Austin tossed him rifle through and crawled through, finding himself in a wrecked room, papers loose throughout, electronics fried. The blast had really taken a toll on this side of the door. Two Innies entered the room, guns drawn, but hesitated for a moment, giving enough time for Austin to retrieve his weapon and fill the pair full of lead. They must not have seen him covered in dust on the ground, he mused. "Come on through" he yelled to the other side of the door, now that the room was clear. Too eager to wait, however, he pressed on, expecting the marines to quickly follow. He shouldered his weapon, aiming down the sight, proceeding with caution instead of speed. Two rebels jumped out, but were swiftly put down at the hands of the commander. He stepped passed the dying soldiers and entered the control room.

A lone man stood over a holographic projection table, viewing a depiction of the facility's layout. The room shook as Austin stepped forward quietly, dust falling from the concrete ceiling. Austin remembered his orders he was given when he first took the post on the planet, only months ago. Yet still, it had seemed like years of the same, monotonous fighting. But his orders stood. If anyone were to encounter the leader of the Insurrectionists on the planet, they were to terminate the leader with extreme and immediate prejudice. Austin was tired. His hands ached, his head pounded with every beat of his heart. He was done with fighting these rebels. James squeezed the trigger, removing significant portions of the man's head with three accurate bullets. It was done.

"Give it to me straight, Ramirez."

"First Platoon is done, and most of second was CasEvaced back to base from cleaning out the remainder of the facility. "

"What about that one girl?"

"What girl, commander?"

"The one from First Platoon."

"From what I saw, she had gone into cardiac arrest while they were loading her onto the Pelican. She won't make it."

"Yeah, and they also said the Insurrection would end when the Covenant came. Well, we're still fighting here, Ramirez. How's that arm doing?"

"Good, commander. Well, good for a bullet wound I suppose. Didn't hit the bone, just a quick in-and-out hit."

"I just got word in from Command; they want me back with the fleet. I guess finishing off these guys finally got me some attention."

"That's great, commander."

"Ramirez, I don't know who will take over the outpost here, but I've put in a recommendation for you."

"Thank you sir, it's an honor."

"And one more thing," said Austin as he removed his helmet, running his hand over his buzzed hair, "blow the facility. Command said it was obsolete anyways."

"After all of that fighting, sir?"

"Do it, Ramirez. Now. The people of this planet deserve a little fireworks show."