Posted By: Andres<email@example.com>
Date: 21 January 2007, 7:53 pm
Harvest was awful, a nightmarish beginning to the war of wars. It had been as shocking as it had been swift. Two hundred million vanished in a second, a long, deafening last heartbeat that was heard even in the most remote sectors of the UNSC controlled space. What was even more dramatic was not the slaughter, but the riddle that it ensued after a small task force engaged the alien ship. After all communications had been jammed, onboard Artificial Intelligence constructs foiled, a short message was sent through all channels, both encrypted and regular, a message so scary and strange that even the most aggressive naval commanders were baffled. "Your Destruction is the Will of The Gods, and we are their Instrument."
Before the Office of Naval Intelligence could figure out which enemy were they facing, a large fleet shipped out to retake Harvest. Six frigates and two destroyers engaged in open space an alien ship, tonnage according to a large carrier. After hours of battle, the UNSC won, at the loss of two thirds of the fleet.
For the next month, the fleet was pounded on, ravished by the unending horde of enemy ships. ONI determined that the force was alien after just a few days. As the extraterrestrials advanced through space, rarely coming across any opposition, as the fleet approach changed from battle to evacuations. The combined effort of the Marines and the Fleet saved a large amount of in the last ten days of the beginning of the war.
As the killing machine roamed unopposed on open space, only few naval commanders dared to run interference. Then, after one Admiral found the Covenant at the right place and the right time, the advance came to a crushing stop when they found the planet Andorra, in the Falais system. Andorra was the largest military garrison in the outer colonies. The alien force attacked the garrison with a handful of ships; just to be defeated by the land based missile batteries and nuclear silos. Then, something that had never occurred before happened, the aliens committed ground troops. The invasion fleet moved out of the killzone, dispatching only a few, small troopships.
Just before the dropships arrived, a new message was received by the UNSC garrison in the planet, "Our forces will eliminate you vermin, no escape will be allowed or mercy given, you are doomed. This will be the fulfillment of our Covenant," a second later the dropships disappeared out of the radar screens, appearing surprisingly just over the stratosphere. They landed on a large empty field, exactly where the Colonel would have wanted to.
The aliens were taunting him, daring him to attack rapidly on them. That was the only explanation why the ETs landed in an open field, right next to his Marine regiment. It was both tactically and operationally a mistake to pick that LZ. How could a race, so advanced, so brilliant, so brutal could make that mistake? It wasn't his job to second guess the enemy; his job was to kill it and he was happy to. His Marines had not left the planet since the war started, and they were eager for battle.
The troopships remained just inside the Regiment's killzone, hovering just a few feet over the surface, boldly daring him to act hastily. Colonel Mike Francis was just behind the hill the only cover between his Marines and the extraterrestrials-, his tank Regiment was laid up half a mile side to side from him, just formed up on the bed of the slope. On the rear there were a dozens of Marines deploying in their battle positions, running from side to side, waiting for the command to act. He was fearlessly sitting down in the passenger seat of a Warthog, in the open field, handmike on his right cheek, hearing orders and commands between the low level officers as he watched the battalion in front of him to set into position.
Mike spun into action as soon as everyone was in position. He had prepared the assault of three tank and one Infantry Marine Battalions to pincer the LZ at the same time. Slowly every company commander checked in position, everything was in place, then he uttered, "Red seven, ready that fire mission in at my command, over?" he asked the MarDiv artillery batteries just seven miles behind the front lines in a firebase protected by an infantry battalion.
"Roger Romeo six, we are ready to fire at your command." He had ordered his forces to engage the Covenant on the move, all but the infantry on the front, while the pogues covered the mechanized forces incase a retreat was called for. He watched his PDA, he was up linked with his Forward Observers, who had eyes on the ships from a grove that was near the massive LZ. There were four of the oval shaped crafts, they were purple, had ugly looking wings -all in the rear with the nozzles- and several "things" that looked like three barreled weapons. All in all he was glad to get rid of them.
He placed the handmike right next to his ear, and said, "Red seven, fire for effect on pinpointed locations Zebra and gold."
"Roger, fire for effect on Zebra and Gold."
"This is going to be exciting," said the Colonel with a loud chuckle, then turned his head around and found in the horizon dozens of flashes as the batteries cleared their 155mm bores.
"Rounds complete." It took a fraction of a second for the broad whistles of the rifled shells to reach the Marines who cheered, some of them jumped, as the shells headed for the alien ships. Immediately the FO's sight became a bright light that blinded the cameras. Slowly the flash was switched to a large spectrum of dust, at the same time a tremor began to be felt on the surface. The shelling lasted for fifteen emotional seconds, in which the sky was lit up like daylight. As soon as the last flash ended nothing remained to be seen, only an immense, cloud covering where the ships used to be.
He switched the display to IR, it turned immediately turned green, with shades of black; there was nothing to be seen. "OK, let's overrun them," Francis uttered the other two men in the car and placed the handmike back into his right cheek. "Guidons, Guidons, this is Romeo six, attack, attack, attack!" the engines of the Scorpion tanks roared like a perfectly coordinated orchestra and the vehicle began to roll past the slope of the hill. The fifty tanks disappeared behind the hill, guns deafening every man behind of the slope even the Colonel and his staff that were fifty meters behind Hill 492.
"This is Romeo niner, we are rolling, no opposition so far."
"Roger that niner," replied the Colonel. It was then, when his tanks had disappeared from slope to slope that a flicker on one of the digital screen caught his attention, the dropships appeared out of the blue, green glows beneath them. A loud, electric buzz resonated through the battlefield, and before the Colonel has time to talk through the radio receiver it was too late. The Regiment disappeared in the blink-of-an-eye, the shivering gray tanks vanishing in a flash of bright light that rose over the opposite slope of the hill, turning the dark, cold night into a sunny day.
The dismounted Marines vanished behind a mist of fire and the APCs disappeared blast-by-blast. The secondary explosions raised sixty feet into the sky disappearing under the canvas of light that was covered the sky beneath its own mantle of fire. Then, as the explosion faded the radio squawked, "lYou cannot defeat us human, die a vermin's death," the Colonel unwillingly let go the radio transmitter, which landed on his lap. It took two seconds for him regroup himself. He grabbed the handmike again and placed it on his ear. "Adjust fire, suppression, Zebra and Gold, fire!"
But by that time it was too late. His head snapped up after his ear caught a small, whiz in the air, and it seemed he was the only one who could hear it. They were right on top of the Marines, but somehow they escaped their eyesight. Then, too late, he spotted them,. The crafts were purple, had two ski like landing trains and were semi oval, they appeared skimming the hilltop. Immediately they opened fire, hot plasma exited something bellow their cabins, the blue tracers streaking in a perfect, parallel flight paths as they cut down the Marines in the open. Mike counted ten pairs of tracers, but saw only two of the stealthy crafts in the night sky roaming above the Marines, appearing and disappearing out of view.
"What now sir?" asked the driver of the 'Hog, both hands on the steering wheel.
"Hammer that pedal," said the Colonel. "Now!"
The driver, a young PFC, stepped on the gas with all his strength, the car began to roll and skid on the wet ground. He could not lead his men; he had only one remaining job, to warn the Regiment of what had happened and rally his men in the retreat. He rolled the steering wheel to the right and the car slid to the right. It reached sixty miles per hour in three seconds, leaving the battlefield soon after that.
It took twenty minutes for the Warthog to reach the CP, by passing the second echelon of the Regiment purely infantry- and the logistical trains a hundred trucks and LRVs-. The CP was a large mobile outpost defended by a dozen M-247 and two AT Warthogs. The vehicle passed between two piles of sanbags, where two Marines looked at him incredibly preoccupied. The morning was soon approaching and an orangeish mantel was just above the horizon to the north. Waiting for him at the entrance of a command tent was an unusually tall officer arms crossed and a very expressive look on his face. The Colonel unhorsed immediately, and entered rapidly to the tent with the other officer. "Comms are jammed sir. We have heard nothing from Division or the rest of the regiments. What exactly happened out there?"
"We bounced them with everything we had," said the Colonel gulping several ounces of water from his canteens. "And we didn't scratch them. We only have fourth battalion between them and us, and if they did that to a tank battalion, I don't want to know what will happen to those boys."
"Third Regiment got wiped out too when they moved on another LZ, not only that there are reports that there are some invisible creatures that are causing all kind of havoc down at the Samaria silo."
"Shit, any contact with troops?"
The Major shook his head. "No, whatever they are doing, they are calmed about it, only ships so far."
"What about air support?" asked Mike.