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Tin Cans: Grunts part II
Posted By: Andres<andres_vera2000@yahoo.com>
Date: 14 September 2006, 11:27 pm

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The moment his eyelids opened he was in the middle of a fight. Assault rifles and plasma guns barked and screeched so loud they deafened the Marines and Grunts alike. In all the chaos he merely had enough time to hear the last words uttered from Lance Corporal Pardo standing by the aflame APC that was once his home, "They are ripping us a new one!"
       A plasma bolt smeared over the pavement and found his exposed face and he collapsed lifelessly on the ground. "Shit," said Gustav quickly recapitulating what had happened. His Mech team had been part of the Regimental Reconnaissance Team with four PCs and two Scorpion tanks, he had lost a tank while taking out a Wraith and lost a second to enemy fire prior his blackout when something big struck his APC.
       What had caused the blackout? Well, he had no idea, but he was there, there was a fight and he had to win. It was not a matter of pride, he simply had to make the Covenant pay for what they have done, not only to him, but to all humanity.
       "Give me a SITREP!" he shouted at a Marine in a fetal position right next to him.
       "They are all over us!"
       Gustav frowned, nodded and bit his lips. "That ought to sum it up," he swung his head right and saw his Marines, first squad, pinned down on a ditch nest to the road by enemy fire coming somewhere across the smoke screen. If his gut was right, there was only one kind of Covenant beast able to fire accurately across a smoke screen; Motherfucking Elites. "Platoon Sergeant Stevens?"
       "Lieutenant," said the sergeant sliding into the ditch next the burning APC from across the road. "Your orders?"
       "We need to get first squad out of that fucking ditch. Where are the heavy gears?"
       "We lost them, they are inside the M1116," the sergeant ducked just in time to avoid the plasma radioactive shell that struck the APC again.
       "Its official," Gustav uttered. "We are facing Elites."
       "So what do we do."
       "That bubble turret on top of the PC seems fine," he said staring at the APC next to him. "And the fire-retardant BDUs ought to work."
       "It's a fucking oven in there," said the PSG between machinegun bursts. "I'll do it!"
       "OK, the fire suppressors are in the commander's station if they are not on you should turn them on," the Lieutenant ducked as an accurate burst of bolts passed above his head. "Shit."
       "Roger that sir," the platoon Sergeant stood just to be cut in half by a long, green beam.
       "Hunter!" shouted a random Marine, of first squad, making the entire pinned down group to cut and run.
       "No!" shouted Gustav with his hand raised vertically, to no avail. His men were butchered in three quick seconds.
       "Goddamn it!" shouted second squad leader in the opposite side of the road. He turned around, facing third and fourth squad on the forest that flanked the road. He ordered second squad to form a column setting his right hand flat. He had to keep them safe, inside their ditch while he prepared third and fourth squad to suppress the enemy with only their small arms, not an easy feat to do, specially when dealing with Elites.
       In the hole he was in there were two other Marines, the crew of the APC, both in a prone position still as a rock. "You two, its time to kick some Covenant ass."
       They both looked at him unbelieving their ears, eyes and gut. The Lieutenant Stood up , dragged the first one with him –making the second marine follow him- and ran across the road, right next to the burning APC. "You," he said tapping one of the Marines in the shoulder. "Go tell third squad leader to prepare to flank the enemy on my command." He turned around and tapped him on the back, "You are with fourth squad tell them to spread through the forest and prepare for an enemy flanking attack.
       He took a deep breath and relaxed every member and organ in his body, including his pounding heart. He turned to face the inside of the PC and ran across the unbearable heat. He had only fifteen seconds before the fire burnt past his Battle dress Uniform and armor, including his face plate, he reached the VC station and used his hands to find the correct switch for the fire suppressors. There, with his ring finger he removed the safety cap, and switched it on with his thumb.
       Cold air suddenly whizzed inside the PC and he knew it was safe to ignore the blisters in his body. He grabbed the twin handles of the minigun and pressed the twin buttons, sending hundreds of bullets towards the Covenant and the incoming fire ceased immediately.
       In ten full seconds the Marines ran across the side-ditch of the road and disappeared into the foliage. He had saved his men, but he could not save himself, the bright plasma green FRG penetrated the hull once again ending the life of Lieutenant Gustav Oleg.

The hundred and eleventh Marine Division had tree regiments on the right flank, to on the center and two on the right, 1-22, 2-22 and 3-22. Two Heavy Regimental Combat teams and one Light, Mechanized Regimental Combat Team at a mountain bed. Each had an area of operations that stretched across the fields, now wastelands, of battle. In which the only highlights on the irregular plains were two large mountains on the left. That's where he was right then.
       When he arrived on planet his orders were simple, to delay the Covenant until reinforcements arrived. It had proven a deadly task. He had led his men into battle with two hundred vehicles, now only thirty two remained after two days of combat operations. He had failed as a division commander.
       Now his job would be simple, to play his last card. Admiral Kennedy had managed to sneak one tank battalion into the area by airlifting them in a storm, something that had earned him the Colonial Cross. Now, as simple as that, it was just a matter of where to hit the Covenant.
       The Covenant had snuck up on him twice, advancing on full gear on his position, bathing with fire his troops, and then retreating. Now, he would do the same.
       3rd Regimental Combat Team, 22nd Marine Strike Team had preformed poorly except for a brave few who had secured the mountain bed. Now it was time for redemption. Standing on the rustic tent just before the tree line six Officers and fifteen NCOs listened carefully at the words of Mark Wenzel. "We need the hill," he said eyeballing the commander of 3-22. It had been his mistake that cost nearly his entire Regiment, if he hadn't pulled all his artillery resources on the hill to achieve victory. He had attacked the hill with three companies and chickened out once the first vehicle was destroyed, leaving a platoon alone at the bottom of the hill, who took the bottom part of the mountain. "We need specifically the road so we can move the armored battalion across the mountain to hit the Covenant rear."
       "Sounds harder than it will be." Said the Regimental commander. "We will assault the hill after the tanks and MFVs will flatten it, resistance should be minimal, once we reach the mountaintop we will form a perimeter and wait for the tanks."
       "Sure," whispered Captain Marcus Regatta.

"A Marine and his rifle!" said sarcastically Mike Wellington. "How about an Elite and his fucking sword?"
       "They are pussies."
       "Right on Gunny!"
       "Well, that son of a bitch has been trying to charge on us and we have put like two hundred rounds on him and he still keeps coming every five minutes."
       "We'll get him next time, you have my word on that."
       It had been an odd day, first the Covenant Knocked Out the APC, then they surrounded it, and then, it got freaky. The Covenant pulled out, after having the three Marines pinned down for a few hours. The Jarheads pondered for a few minutes on what to do, but then, it arrived. A Gray armored, impervious to small arms by its energy shield Elite. It had stalked the Marines for two hours now and they were on the verge of breaking. To add to the Marine's paranoia a raging battle a few hundred meters away had ceased and, to their grief, they had not sighted a single friendly unit.
       "Lets just cut and run," said Perez. "Get out of here before it comes back again."
       "Yeah, lets retreat, like the Marines we are," said the gunny, sarcastically.
       "No seriously, I have no idea if we can stay in this tin can much longer."
       Suddenly the sound of rifles barking and plasma weapons screeching went off in the forest. "Those are our guys," said the gunny. "We ought to try to get to them, get ready to move."
       Yes, gunnery Sergeant.

Major Magalllanes could not bear the eyes set on him by his officers and NCOs. Their deep gazes punctured his skin and caused him a pain a plasma rifle could not. He had faced the Covenant in a game of chicken and had blinked. Still only for a handful of officers in his staff the reason was not known.
       He had saved the Company, and perhaps the battalion, from total, utter destruction. Nevertheless he had left a platoon of Marines behind and that, was unforgivable not only from his men, but for himself. Grieving aside, at the sunup of a new day he had been given new orders. "The goal," said the Battalion Commander, "is to secure the road at the mountain bed so we can, well, secure the road that cuts the mountain in half."
       "Lion one-one," said the Magallanes on his radio. "Passing checkpoint alpha."
       He had gone thoroughly through the phases for mission planning. First he had to negotiate the terrain; he had three platoons of infantry covering the woods as the oval shaped MFVs flanked it as the road was "beyond the red line," where the Covenant lines started; in other words, his Marines would have to circle the mountain to get to their objective, for the most part with Covenant eyes on them. The infantry would hold the line as the sixteen vehicle company moved in a convoy bordering the treeline to the assault position on the woods across it.
       Second he would use his infantry as his main assault force, using his MFVs and .50 cal turrets of his APCs to suppress the enemy, then came the surprise.

For a man who had flunked in battle, he sure made a bold plan. As an infantry commander Regatta could see the brilliance in Magallanes plan. A simple plan, but bold. On his CP, basically a frontal assault on the enemy rear's.
       Marcus signaled at the first platoon commander and slashed the air forward with his palm vertically, the young Lieutenant, grass reaching his shoulders of his crouched body pointed at two team leaders and gestured them forward.
       The Marines stood up and, as expected all hell broke loose. A dozen Grunts opened fire, the squeal of their rifles audible through the forest.
       "Contact!" called his Marines. "Eleven o'clock!"
       "Jackhammer them," ordered the Captain, immediately, a few meters to his left a plume of smoke ignited horizontally propelling a missile towards the foliage were tiny green beams came. The warhead struck a rock, igniting the fuse and exploding the ten pounds worth of plastic explosive, sending the ring of tandem shrapnel in every direction immediately killing every one of the grunts.
       "Beautiful," said Marcus staring at the unwavering Marines of first platoon advancing, zigzagging through trees with the grass at their hips. Once the shockwave of the explosion cleared, the screeches returned.
       "Third platoon, platoon vee, forward, tell the guys that third platoon is to remain put at the center."
       His Radioman repeated the orders and the first two squads of second platoon moved forward, leaving the third and fourth behind, thus forming a flat bottom V. They moved quickly, covering their flanks waiting for the Covenant counter move.
       "Wort, wort, wort," suddenly a Shade turret lit up the forest on the opposite side of the woods, that and three plasma turrets lay hell down on the Marines.
       Staring through his thermal binoculars he saw the location of the Shade, perfectly hidden and camouflaged with vegetation. "Tell third platoon to put a base of fire on the turrets and the two-four-sevens on the Shade," he paused to watch sixty muzzle blasts erupt from the grassy, sending yellow tracers in every direction.
       "First platoon reports heavy casualties."
       "Patch me through to Major Magallanes."
       The RTO threw him the handmike of the radio and he ducked. "Lion one-one, copy over?"
       "Roger, you guys ran into some serious shit up there, over?"
       Marcus frowned his anger while shaking his head, "Yes sir, I recommend we withdrawal."
       "Negative, continue your attack, I have a surprise for them."
       Marcus threw the handmike back to the RTO, stood up and watched the spectacle in front of him. His Marines were being attacked by all sides by superior weaponry coming from three different places, he had three platoons, time to work.
       He turned around to face his crouched RTO. "C'mon I see first platoon holding, if they do that we have a risk of getting flanked."
       "Oh, I see," said the RTO. "Your orders."
       "Call third platoon, tell them to send a squad over," he turned around, bolts smearing around his position. "Call the machinegun team, tell them to switch one hundred meters to the right, I have a feeling the Grunts will charge that way."
       "Zebra, one three…"
       Then, the Marines arrived, "Captain, sir," said the Sergeant leading them crouched, the tall grass covering him to his head.
       "Get up, we are going for a walk." Marcus pulled out his holstered forty five and and began to walk, his stomach turned around and his heart pounding, horribly. He had heard stories of Marine commanders showing absolutely no fear, anguish or horror to the atrocities they witnessed. He had never expected him to be one of them.
       He walked heartbeat by step towards first platoon, a place where no tree stood unharmed, all of whom were either prone or a casualty, and shouted. "Lieutenant Evans?"
       "Yes sir," called a voice on the grass haystack that was to his right.
       "We have to resume the attack," calmly noted Regatta to his men as he crouched besides him.
       "But sir I have fifteen KIA, I lost my platoon sergeant and we have them on a ditch sir, a fucking trench-like ditch."
       "Calm down," he told the terrified Marine, "we will get through this," Regatta uttered with a skin penetrating doubt on his mind. "I will order third platoon to faint a frontal attack, at that point I want you to hold wait for them to halt and then attack to the right, flank them, probe them, do whatever you have to do but find a weak spot, I will leave this squad to form a base of fire on the Shade," the Lieutenant nodded slightly. "Then Second platoon will do a pincer movement on the Shade, once we take out the gunner I will frag it."
       "Understood sir," said the Lieutenant crouching and gripping his rifle tightly.
       "You'll be fine Marine."
       But he would never be the same, he knew he had send the men to their deaths by making them flank. He would never be the same. By ordering the platoon to flank he knew he would trigger the Covenant response to everything, a charge of Grunts. That was why he had ordered the MG team to switch to a right position, so they could cut through the little beasts as they charged.
       On third's platoon area was a Lieutenant barking orders at every Marine in his platoon, he was calmed down by the Captain's arrival.
       "Sir!" shouted the Lieutenant at the Captain. "Sir, we are awaiting orders."
       "We have two squads ready to roll forward."
       "Not yet Marine, not yet."