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Outlaw six: Mortars
Posted By: Andres<andres_vera2000@yahoo.com>
Date: 15 April 2006, 9:08 pm

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The air-raid alarms were invented to warn citizens in time for them to hide, if possible, in the event of an enemy strike. By the time the sirens went hollering, Sister Marie Natalia was shopping for fresh groceries in the town's market and it took only a few seconds for the entire place to come down in panic.
      What was once a warm, calm full evening became utter chaos in every possible way. She was tripped pushed, jumped and rolled over before she could reach the convent, orphanage and church. "They are coming!" shouted one of the children. But then, as chaos reached the breaking point, a miracle occurred. White plumes, contrails and hundreds of planes waved off the attackers, for the first time. As she watched the spectacle on the air –contrails and explosions- she arrived at the church with her strong heart pounding.
       Next, as she got into the church she went directly for the Orphanage where she was the headmistress. She, as a member of the territorial guard, divided the kids into two groups. One, the ones that could get evacuated which left in a hurry. Then she was left with the cubs, she knew of one place, only one where they would be safe; as soon as she hid them she exchanged her tunic for a jumpsuit, grabbed the MA5B she had carefully hidden in the attic and made her way into the airbase, fifteen miles away on a paved road where she saw a few Longswords crash-land on the countryside.
       In thundering move, ignoring all pre-flight protocol and crew chief, she hopped into the cockpit of the C705A interceptor, which the ground crew had already prepped, and rolled down the tarmac. "Control, this is panther five," she said as she made a right turn on the auxiliary runway towards the main strip. "Ready to take off."
      The nun pushed the throttle forward, pulled the elevator and the bird was on the air. She immediately joined the air battle where hundreds of aircrafts were flying in combat. To the naked eye they looked like a flock of crows flying without direction.
She had never seen Seraph, and, to be honest, it wasn't an impressive aerodynamic design. She waited for a good tone from the heat-seeker beneath her wings and shortly after said "Panther seven fox two!" The Ripper ASRAM struck the teardrop on the rear end, it caught fire and shortly after disappeared in a fireball.-
      If Marie thought that the ADF would win the battle, she was definitely wrong. Within two days her entire squadron, group and base were destroyed. "Today's mission," said the CO, "is an armed recon patrol over Saint Paul." The nun spine tingled, "One ODST unit went haywire and are mopping up Covenant up there."
      "Why?" asked Marie
      "Rescuing some orphans left behind," the sister smiled.

There was something mysterious in the fields that lay before Saint Paul. A small whizzing sound of some kind Ricardo had heard before. He raised his right palm up slowly, and when he lowered it, the six armed and armored men hid from view on the prairie, beneath the tall grass. They stopped all movement. Lieutenant Nunez turned his head and looked directly into the eyes of a Corporal. Both of them immediately identified the source of the sound.
      The Specter is the Covenant's heaviest vehicle, which ironically glides like a feather over the air. It sent an air wave that plated the field. Igor nodded, pulled out his last satchel charge and peered through the darkness with his tiger-like eyesight.
Ricardo gave a sudden no, hugged the mud and covered his head with both his hands, avoiding the traced bullets that smeared over the squad. The forty mike-mike bullets struck the ground several hundred times. One of the long twenty three millimeter arrows penetrated the turret of the transport vehicle, infighting the plasma generators and causing a massive explosion on the open field.
      "Who the fuck was that?" asked Igor rolling towards the Lieutenant.
The Elites jumped out of the flaming vehicles after their plasma generators came on fire from a 40mm round. The Specter blew up – in a haze of blue and red light- and sent hazardous beams skimming through the air, hitting the crater were the troopers were hidden.
      Igor crawled at his Lieutenant; rifle lazed at his arms, shouting something in his native tongue. "What's going on sir?"
      Ricardo shook his head, and popped it above the grass careful not to attract attention. "Seven o'clock! Jackhammer is the key!" he bellowed pointing at one trooper with a wide launcher hanging on his back who immediately armed and aimed it, popping his upper body over the grassfields.
      "Hold!" barked Igor just in time signaling a single finger with his right hand: friendlies.
The ODST turned to face the direction of the source of the 40mm rounds finding a single turret loitering over the grass; an APC for sure. Slowly jumping out like gators, their figures emerged over a slope show exhibiting several plasma hits on the sides. If Ricardo had a guess, they were part of some unit in charge of the invasion.
      The surprise came when the crew buttoned. On the vehicle commander's hatch was a large black man, as thick as though he could benchpress the cannon of a Wolf Tank.
      "Found us a ride Lieutenant," said Woods as the second vehicle came to a stop right next to the first vehicle. "Found Moore and De Cabello too."
      Ricardo frowned; finally hell had been replaced with a faint shred of hope. "Lets re-arm and regroup in the town," he said with anxiety on his voice.
      "Sir," said Woods helping the Lieutenant up to the hatch. "We saw something strange, a whole load of them dropships to the north."
      "Yes Lieutenant," said the mysterious trooper.
      "Take the shot and the spotter," the Lieutenant climbed into the vehicle, "and do your thing."

Seeing the two soldiers talking and sharing was something of an oddity. The Helljumper, of course, wore a thick and complex array of armor and vests with a sighted, compact weapon. The second soldier was younger, had no armor, a basic MA5B and a simple cap to wear. Yet the latter had been in hell and survived where hundreds of more prepared soldiers had not lived.
      "Seventy-eight Civil Affairs unit, right?" asked Ricardo, amazed to be the least.
      "That is correct," said the elderly corporal George Watson wearing a mauled uniform and a worn cap. Ricardo breathed while looking at one of the young soldiers, mud stained face and a mile long look that burned through the ODST's famous armor.
      "Since when did Civil Affairs get APCs?" said Woods standing on the Vehicle Commander's station just above the VC's station.
      "Since the invasion began," said one of the Privates of the 78th pulling security at the hatch, a draftee of only fifteen days of forced service.
      Ricardo nodded; "Its great then."
      "We are amber on ammunition," said Corporal Ambrose stroking his beard, referring to the low amount of ammo his team had.
      "There is ammo on the DSV," said Ricardo immediately one step ahead of everyone in the conversation.      "And there might remain something on the convoy." Suddenly a soldier chucked his head on the rear of the vehicle.
      "Sir, we have contact with the sniper team."
      Ricardo smirked at the timing. "We go there then."

Igor, a Lance Corporal, was the ranking member of the three men team. The task, simple. Reconnoiter the location from where at least a dozen horseshoe shaped craft had taken off. He was with scout snipers but man, did he had the best job.
      In a Helljumper assault team there were pounders, shooters, machinegunners and spotters. He was a spook just like he was before the war, a spy, an assassin of some sort for the office of Naval Intelligence.
      The small orchard provided a faint cover but decent concealment for the three men to watch over the enemy base, or the beginning of. Hundreds of bossed Grunts carried and hurled crates all along the eye-can-see.
Still his target of choice was an empty vehicle, a Specter, carefully parked alone in the open by the edge of the base. The Elite which operated the wheel less vehicle stood by it overwatching the Grunts that were setting up a Shade turret.
      "Sorry," said Igor screwing a silencer into the muzzle of his submachinegun. "No turrets for you then."
      "If we hit them and get discovered," noted Eyeball.
      "Any of you know how to operate a Specter?"
      Both men shook their heads. "Well I do."
      The sniper and spotter nodded, "Cool then."
      "Follow me in ten seconds, when you get out of the grosse wax the Elite," Igor pulled out his knife. "Put a hundred bullets on the mother."
      Igor exited the grove invisible thanks to the dull light that had replaced the fiery glow of the evening. His knife –custom made at Reach- was on his right hand, blade pointing downwards. Somehow his shiv had found a neck from a guard Grunt who walked clueless on the tree line.
Suddenly he felt the hizzes in the air. The MA-5Hs of the two troopers were going of killing the Elite's shield and taking its life. Igor pulled his silenced sidearm and made a run for the parked vehicle, bathed in purple blood. He took down three Grunts and jumped inside the vehicle and found himself on a hitch.
      How could operate the vehicle? Simple enough, it immediately lifted from the ground and he grabbed the T rudder. He turned right and accelerated to the grove, attracting attention from the aliens immediately. The two troopers jumped on in a hurry and the Specter turned to the good side at least for the time being.

The blue meteor flashed through the skies. The source of it, if they guessed it right, was a plasma mortar, the most powerful weapon known of the Covenant. The cheap alternative to a nuke.
      Ricardo already had a plan involving the Specter vehicle, the enemy base and three Elite corpses were part of it. "No wonder they had the thousand Apparitions flying around," said Woods.
      "They are going to get it hard between the buns though."
      One of the soldiers of the civil affair units, standing by the vehicle frowned as if he did not understood ¡. "That means we are going to fuck them."
      Pinto, Igor, Commons and Woods. The Lieutenant smiled. "Think anyone had tried this before?"
      "Nah," said Igor adjusting the carcass of the Elite on the drivers sit. "Woods would have heard about it."
      The black man chuckled. "A man likes his gossip."
      Ricardo got serious, "Clean, fast and hard."

Scout snipers from the squad were doing their job, over watching the checkpoint on the main road that led into the Covenant base. "One Grunt on the Shade," said De Cabello.
      "Roger," said Moore thumbing the safety off the silenced MA-5H and marking the range. "Gold team, go."

The Elite weighted easily the same as a race horse and Igor, who sat bellow the carcass, was very much uncomfortable. The Specter had three major seats, the driver, Igor, the passenger, Pinto and the rear end. In the cramped compartment were three troopers, Woods, Commons and Ricardo.
      "Gold team, go," Igor twisted the T shaped wheel and the vehicle raced forward. Ricardo had mapped the whole thing. There was a security checkpoint, two hundred meters of open terrain and then, the mortars. The massive, circular weapon stood on a tripod contracted three mechanic arms and formed a plasma bolt that rocketed away. They lay very well secured by Shade turrets. Easy stuff, infiltrating a Covenant base with a Covenant vehicle.
      The vehicle reached the checkpoint and a Grunt guard made his way into the vehicle. At first, they didn't realize the silent headshot on the Shade gunner. Ricardo jumped out and waxed immediately the guard.
      Several muffled sounds noised through the air and six Grunts were KIA. "Breach," said Ricardo into the radio headset strapped to his head. "Go." Suddenly two Gator vehicles opened up on the horizon on the base, creating a response of fire to the APCs. The Covenant infantry maneuvered towards the source of the fire a single vehicle approached the plasma mortars unnoticeable to the Shade turrets firing on the perimeter of the three things.
      "Go!" Ricardo pulled the pin of a smoke grenade and threw it just a few feet from the vehicle. The gray smoke formed a screen for the soldiers.
      Woods immediately jumped to the beam machinegun on the rear of the vehicle, aimed it at the unaware Shade gunner and opened fire. Immediately, kneeling next to Sergeant aimed the custom sight of the M-2342C grenade launcher on a second shade and pulled the trigger shattering the turret and Grunt.
      Amidst the chaos, it was all going very well. Ricardo nodded at Igor who threw a small oval shaped bomb on the nearby ground.

The variable geometry wings of the C-706A swung open, the bomb bay doors on them opened. The GBU-2212X bombs lowered with their pylons and the mission found a glitch. "Holy!" said the nun. The three mortars immediately went up in a single blast. "Command-Panther six, target on fire, over."
      "Good work, now get the hell out of there."
      "That's the problem we didn't do it, someone on the ground did."
      Ricardo immediately stopped running; he had heard two voices over the radio frequency on the SATCOM UNSC E-Band. It was Igor who pulled him inside the vehicle.
      "Any allied units this is Outlaw six!"
      "Oulaw six!" babbled someone on the radio frequency,
      "Copy, I got intel for you… oh no!"
      Suddenly Covenant soldiers fired hundreds of green, blue and red beams soared through the air, taking a chub out of the wing of the aircraft and it disappeared in a grove -after a loud explosion-.