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Outlaw six: Countermove
Posted By: Andres<andres_vera2000@yahoo.com>
Date: 18 May 2006, 12:21 am

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1912h, January 21, 2529 (UNSC Military Calendar)
Taurus System, UNSC Inner Colony Controlled Space
On the town of Saint Paul, Westwood

The seventy-eight Civil Affairs Company had not a single member with a combat Military Occupation Specialty. They were mechanics, docs, drivers and techies. They could shoot and salute, by the lacked training. Yet, they had survived over a hundred hours of continuous operations against the Covenant.
      They were real heroes, but poor soldiers. Still, sitting randomly in the courtyard one could see that what they lacked in skill, they replaced it with pure, raw experience. They packed old MA5Bs, M-6Cs and near obsolete machineguns and little explosives. Overall, a good addition for the squad. Sitting against the wooden door of the convent was their leader, a Corporal that used to be a Colonel, chucked down a glut of rum from a small, square shaped metal bottle. "Its been a long week."
      Ricardo nodded, sitting right next to him. "I have been three times here, and I hate it."
      "It is not so bad, just dull" said the old man. "I live just by the corner."
      Ricardo turned his head violently to face the old man. "You live here? You where here during the evacuation?"
      "Yes," said Corporal Robert Ambrose.
      "Why didn't you said so in the first place."
      The Corporal turned puzzled to see him.
      "I'm looking for the orphans."
      "Well, they must have taken their chances on the wild," said the old man.
      "They can't be."
      "Hmm," the old man turned partially to his left, facing Ricardo. "There were rumors of a secret place inside the church, where kids used to play."
      Then, Ricardo remembered something of his times on the orphanage. The Lieutenant snapped to his feet, turned around the corner and breached into the chapel, where the communion was still there, the wine was missing.
He turned around and walked behind the altar where a hallway led him to a religiously decorated office fully carpeted with ornamented blue, with a red cross on the center. He knelt with his right knee and grabbed the thick knife holstered on his ankle. The Lieutenant had luckily spotted the irregular fold of the blue carpet at under the main table. Ironically he had been looking for it for the past fifteen minutes. He shoved the thick blade into the small opening between the carpets.
      He pushed the knife to the right and slowly the blue fabric begun to rise. Ricardo shoved his fingers between the small opening between the wooden trapdoor and the carpet and pulled upwards to a new room.
The Lieutenant placed the battered helmet on his head and turned on the Night Vision. There. On the corner of the empty room he spotted a figure, human undoubtedly. "It's OK."
      The figure disappeared in a dark hallway. "Wait!" before he realized he waked carefully down the path the figure had disappeared into the darkness. A bell rang and he was involuntarily on the ground.
      "You damn scum are not going to get pass me!"
      "Damn woman, I'm on your side."
      "Thou shall not cheat me with your tricks."
      The frying pan began to smash harmlessly against his armor as the crazed man began to attack again.
      "Hey listen!" again, this time against his head, painfully. That was it.
      The man collapsed after the kick to the foreleg and found a clod pair of gloves on his neck. "Calm down sir, its ok. My name is Ricardo Nunez; I'm a member of the UNSC Marines. I'm here to help you."
      "Oh my god!" the man cried out, literally. His eyes flickered on the night vision system as tears began to leave his emotionless eyes. "Is this true?"
      "Indeed," Ricardo released the grip of the fat fellow. "I was informed that around one hundred orphans were left here, I'm here to extract them to safety."
      "Oh, the orphans, yes, we have orphans. But they are not all here."
      The man was crazed out; at least that was the impression by the way he expressed himself. A symptom of being underground by far too long. "Where are them?"
      "Boyo, I don't know. We have some here, but not all. Come, I take you to the orphans," the man turned around and began to run. Surprisingly fast. "Hurry up sir."
      The fat, super quick man, led him to a door, or what remained of it. He knocked the door twice, then one more time and whistled.
      "Password, that is," he smiled.
      Why does he speak like that? Ricardo thought as the door slowly opened. A small figure appeared behind it.
      "Oh my god!" cried the nun.

A surprise attack was a sudden, quick and violent assault on unaware enemy forces. The Lieutenant had got it right but, as that law of physics dictated, to every action there is a reaction. The Covenant was reacting, forming up for an assault on the town itself and, even if the mission had been successful there was no time to celebrate.
      "Variable," said Ricardo into the black headset, connected to the SATCOM antenna by a curled wire. "Radio check, over."
      "It's no good sir," said Xu. "Until a satellite goes by we have no chance of getting a reply."
Ricardo looked at the cloudless sky. "Without clouds there is no chance of a lucky atmospheric bounce."
      "Sir," said Woods bursting into the room. "They are coming."
      Ricardo quickly left the room and before his eyes was the Covenant, forming up just beyond the eye-can-see. "Three hundred of them."
      "And two-five of us," finished Igor. "It's going to be a goddamned slug fest." Excited, the tall trooper saluted and left towards the inside of the room at the Church's balcony making everyone but Ricardo chuckle.
      "I got eleven Helljumpers and fourteen children, not only that but we have only six Jackhammer missiles."
      "Ever seen what plasma does to concrete?" asked Ambrose, joining the small group of soldiers. Ricardo nodded, slightly shaking his body after remembering Tormenta III. "It will be as bad for them as it will be for us."
      "I suppose it could get like a small piece of Hell."
      "Feet first!" called every trooper over the comm.
      "Why do we have to say feet first," said Commons. "I never land on my feet, but rather on my ass, never had an HEV drop with my feet first."
      "We stripped the vehicles down," said Woods referring to the two Gator LRVs. "We left the forty mil mounts on but stripped the 9.72mm Hotel-Mike-Gulf."
      "That is heavy machinegun for you none trooper types."
      "Right," said indifferently Woods, "and we rigged every building in the outskirts with Charles four."
      "Where did we get C-4?"
      "Hmm," Ricardo walked away down the stairs. "Right." He had formed an organic troop of soldiers and Helljumpers divided into groups of three. He had six groups and two heavy machineguns which were operated by two right over the end friendly lines.
      "Sir," called a random soldier. "Corporal Ambrose wants to talk to ya'."

Ricardo knew one thing, when regarding explosives –of any kind- Igor was a genius. He also was certain about a second thing, against the Covenant there is not, under any circumstances a first line of defense. All in all, it was the second and third line of defenses that counted, the rest, meat for the grinder.
      Regarding why he was in the tube of a sewer looking for a shaft with an ancient corporal, he was ignorant. He simply followed the old man, NVGs on, across a large pipeline beneath the city water tower. "You see," said the Corporal. "I used to be a plumber."
      "Correct," said Ambrose. "Two months ago, I went to Helix city to check a problem with the sewer system.
      "We have a way out, underground." The Corporal towards a small shaft, thirty centimeters wide just bellow the water treatment plant of the town.
      "I can't even fit my shoulders properly through there."
      "I know," said Ambrose, "but you do have explosives."
      Ricardo nodded, immediately comprehending the Corporal's master plan. "Everybody!" screamed the Lieutenant, "get your headsets on."
      Immediately ten Helljumpers, thirteen soldiers, a pilot and a crew chief pressed the ear-receiver tightly to their ears, from their positions around the village. "I'm goanna make this short, we have a way out for the orphans, its underground and nasty."
      "I'll go for that, like that place at Reach!" bellowed Commons.
      "Roger that," replied Woods, "now shut up."
      "It's a shaft, about thirty centimeters in diameter which leads to a sewer that goes to Saint Mary, five miles from Helix City."
      "With any luck it will be easy and the town is still in friendly hands," noted Ambrose.
      "Roger," replied one of the soldiers. "How do we know if it still is?"
      Ricardo nodded to himself, as he had waited for the question. "Helix City is the center of the highway network that connects every city in the continent. Saint Mary is still only two miles away from the closest highway," Ricardo took a deep breath. "Its easy."
"Gold team," the statement was immediately responded with a "Hurrah." Ricardo pointed at corporal Ambrose. "You are with him."
      "Sniper team, take a rooftop nearby the gutter we will be using, get eyes on."
      "Roger," the two-men-team nodded, turned around facing the long street and began a brisk walk.
      "Woods, take gold team and face the Covenant forming up on the north."
      "Roger that."
      "Igor, you have any spare explosives?"
      The Corporal nodded. "But I want to keep them for when the shit hits the fan."
      "No," replied the ell-tee. "We need to breach the shaft to form a tunnel."
      "Hurrah," replied Igor excited. "And where is this place?"
      "The far side of the town to the south, Corporal Ambrose will handle the transportation there."