Posted By: Aleks G.<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 30 March 2007, 8:21 pm
A warning klaxon blared as the Burning Sparrow took another hit, the ship was built like a brick house but no amount of armor could take this much of a pounding. A hole opened near engineering in the ships belly, by the aft section, and atmosphere vented into the cold empty vacuum of space. The ship shuddered as the venting air angled it toward earth in a nose-down position. On the dorsal camera, near the bow, a covenant ship turned toward the Sparrow and charged its main guns. Blue plasma ringed the leading edges of the ship's plasma turrets as they aimed at the drifting Battle Cruiser. The captain glanced at the screen, his eyes were cold and blank, and he didn't expect to see the end of this battle. The ships engineering room, and therefore the engines, were completely destroyed, and the ship yawed sideways venting radioactive coolant into space. This served as a calling card to all of the covenant ships in the area, a big easy target to shoot at. The ship rolled to port as the captain ordered his ops console manager to fire them; he wanted to be nose to nose with the covenant cruiser when it fired. The engines were destroyed, but the small "station-keeping" thrusters weren't, and the captain abused their power to line up with the cruiser. The quadruple Mini-MAC's under the ship charged to full power, despite regulations limiting them to a maximum of three per charge, the captain didn't believe that the regulations were written with a situation like this in mind.
The bridge dimmed down to only necessary electronics, which were the view screens, and targeting computers, and they filled the cramped metallic room with an eerie blue glow. The ship jerked back as the MACs all fired simultaneously, another frowned upon act in the book of regulations. The four Ununhexium Composite rounds hurdled through space, propelled by some of the most powerful magnets in the universe, and traveled across a few thousand kilometers with devastating speed. The rounds all struck, one after the other in the ships nose, the covenant cruiser reeled backwards as the ultra-dense rounds punched through its shields, armor, and its inner decks, literally gutting the ship from stem to stern. The other ships witnessed the destruction of their own ship and all advanced on the battle cruiser. The captain unbuckled his strap and addressed his crew,
"Attention bridge personnel, under Cole Protocol Section 8 we are self-destructing and abandoning this ship, everyone leave your stations and head for the bridge escape pod."
One by one the men stood and left the bridge, and as his First Lieutenant walked past, the captain grabbed his shoulder and spun him about.
"I need you to help me," The captain said to Lieutenant Lesyk, "I want to leave a nice fireworks show behind on this ship, and send them all to hell" He pointed at the screen, which was now filled with covenant cruisers and single ships. The lieutenant ran to a nearby computer and quickly tapped controls; he wiped sweat off his forehead, and typed faster.
"Security overrides on the Shivas have been removed, now for the Archer missiles
there, the reactor is redlining now, it should detonate in time with the Shivas, and the missiles will fire right after we leave in the escape pod. It's going to be a hell of a show if we live to see it." Lieutenant Lesyk stood from the computer and saluted the captain, "It's been a pleasure to serve under you sir."
The captain returned the salute, spun on his heel and ran for the escape pod hall. The captain was never a strong runner, but an excellent tactician, the only battle he hadn't won was still happening. His first Lieutenant sped past him easily; as if he were standing still, and made it to the door at least 30 seconds prior to his superior officer. A young woman stood at the door, her weapon at ease, waiting for the captain, she allowed him to step in then quickly followed him, sealing the pressure door behind her. It closed with a hiss and the pilot waved his hand toward the sign on the ceiling of the cramped metallic tube. The sign read: "Sit Down, Shut Up, and Hold On, Fasten your diapers ladies and gents, this is gonna be a wild ride" The pilot, Officer Adam Depenau, laughed as he put the acceleration handle to the Maximum throttle position. The M-684 "Killer Bee" escape pod buzzed its engines like an angry hornet as it accelerated out of its launch tube. The captain had just put on his safety belt, and he thanked God it had connected the first time, or he would have met a cruel fate against the back panel of the escape pod when it accelerated away from the doomed ship.
The captain looked through the window, along with the rest of his fascinated bridge crew, at their ship's last moments. At least a dozen ships horded around the Burning Sparrow, and were caught in a massive explosion that swallowed at least 4 enemy ships whole, and nearly halved many others. Single ships swarmed, suddenly without leaders, and charged for the escape pod. One of the Seraph fighters made the mistake of flying in front of the small pod, and learned why it was called the "Killer Bee". The twin .50 cal. Rotary guns tore through the single ship and ripped through it's pilot, killing him instantly, the Seraph wobbled in space for a moment before veering off it's path and exploding in a ball of blue fire and shrapnel. Other seraph's grouped behind the small craft and readied their weapons. One of the Archer missiles that Lieutenant Lesyk had fired from the ship flew into their battle group and blew them all apart. Tiny chunks of molten debris spattered the rear of the escape pod as flaming pieces of single ships sent gobs of burning metal spinning in every direction. The pod rocked as waves of overpressure from the missile washed over it. The pilot swore as he jerked the control yoke sideways, trying to overcome the ships rolling inertia. The tiny pod wailed an alarm as it came into close proximity with Earth's atmosphere; the pilot squelched the beeping alarm with the quick press of a button then summoned the calculations and vectors screen to safely enter a planetary body.
The ship warmed as it entered the atmosphere, as friction quickly started to generate heat around the speeding pod. The tiny craft blew through a cloud layer, fire now licking at its leading edges, and alarms constantly screaming warnings of changes in oxygen density, speed, and the "glide slope" angle, which helped slow the pod for a safe landing. The captain looked toward the front of the craft, the woman who had followed him inside sat directly next to him, and he could see her crimson red hair peeking out from the bottom of her helmet, she turned back to face him, then turned back to the front window. Directly across from her was a nervous Warrant Officer, Scott Trapp, who had been in a long-term relationship with the young woman, and was extremely jealous of anyone, even if they just talked to her, he had almost been discharged from the USNC for his behavior. The man was jittery; he had never taken well to flying, especially something this small and weak. He glanced at the young woman and smiled, then looked back at the captain's Second Lieutenant, David Frost, who sat calmly staring at the ceiling. Warrant Officer Trapp asked the lieutenant how he could be so calm, considering the situation they were in. Lieutenant Frost answered with a simple response,
"We can't control what's going to happen, why worry about it?" He was exactly right; all of their lives were directly in Officer Depenau's hands, and the young man up front knew it. Nobody else said anything, instead they all silently prayed to themselves, mostly to God, but one man had always prayed to Satan in times of need, and he had always got the job done right. That was Warrant Officer Burton; the captain had been friends with him since he could remember, and even then, Richard was a Satanist, he never let it interfere with his duty, however, so Captain Gingras appreciated having a very skilled and undoubtedly lucky man on his team. Richard looked at the captain, his eyes burning with the glow of anger; he had always hated the covenant more than anyone else, and was willing to lose his life to kill a single Grunt. The pod came down to 5000 ft. and the pilot spun around in his seat to address his passengers,
"The LZ is hot, you guys might wanna secure your guns, there's some bad shit going on down there." The officer laughed and activated the airbrake fins, the ship jerked and slowed to a manageable speed. Adam put his foot to the floor on the reverse thrusters, the ship slowed to about 30 k/ph and rammed into the ground belly first. The pod rolled on its back and slid through a covenant gun emplacement, killing several Grunts and a Brute. It kept sliding on its back and finally ground to a stop right in front of a clutch of Marines.
The door on the back of the pod burst open and the bridge crew piled out. The marines took cover behind the belly-up pod and opened fire on the advancing covenant. Brutes roared in anguish as bullets penetrated their bodies and tore their organs apart, Grunts screamed as the large caliber guns plucked them off their feet and hurled them to the bloody grass. A young man with spiky black hair grabbed the captain's hand and towed him behind the pod; he went back for the lieutenants as well. The Captain gasped and drew his M6-9D, and stood, his long barreled pistol swept over the pod and kicked back as he fired at a nearby grunt. The .45 caliber bullet thundered as it left the weapon's elongated barrel and tore through the Grunt's midsection. The man who had dragged him to safety saluted, the captain returned the salute and spoke over the staccato report of gunfire,
"Thanks soldier, name and rank please" The man responded quickly, like a machine.
"Shaun Merritt, Sargeant Major, sir" The man had a light, but noticeable, British accent and as he spoke, he snapped up the rifle and shot another Grunt. The covenant was advancing, and everyone was forced to pull back toward a deep canyon. There was a forest nearby that could be used for cover and the large group ducked and ran for the relative safety of the tree line. Plasma scored the ground behind them and marines near the back of the group screamed as they were put down by bolts of blue fire. Warrant officer Burton dropped to his knees when a radioactive round caught his shoulder, he was a stone's throw from the tree line, but he would never get there. He spun and lifted all four grenades from his belt; he primed all of them and ran towards the advancing alien army. Plasma bolts splashed his body, but his anger fueled adrenaline kept him going, he jumped and landed on a brute, he placed a grenade in its mouth, then hurled the other three in random directions. He grinned at the tree line, and was engulfed by a ball of orange fire as the grenades all detonated at once. Screams of pain and terror increased as the aliens tried to figure out what had just happened, by then, the marines had regrouped, and they stood up from the brushes
and opened fire.