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Tin Cans: They Stand Alone
Posted By: Andres<andres_vera2000@yahoo.com>
Date: 29 September 2006, 9:38 am

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Thirty Minutes Earlier

Lieutenant Gustav was down, boiled alive in the turret of his APC. There were only a bunch of Marines left, if any, and the enemy seemed an endless horde. They were deep in the suck, no matter what they did to them Covenants, it was utter chaos. The sound of battle could be heard everywhere and his heart rate was to the roof. "What do we do, what do we do, what do we do?"
       "Calm down Chuck," said the Corporal to the Marine next to him. Both where back to back behind a tree, in the opposite tree line was the second squad, the only thing keeping the Jackal Phalanx on the road on check, pinned down by small the few small arms that remained from second squad, who had dodged to the left side of the road once the APC was taken out.
       The animals had formed a shielded husk of plasma shields that prevented the bullets of the Marines to hit the beasts. Still, they could not move, as any slipup on the formation of the shields could make a small gap between shield, and thus, a bullet trap.
       "How the fuck can I remained calm Clark?"
       "I don't know," he turned his face to his right shoulder and said. "Stop being a pussy I guess."
       The Marine next to him laughed. "Roger that," he noted. "But who is in charge?"
       He popped six rounds in two bursts into the Phalanx and then reached for the transmitter on his neck, "this is India-seven-three, anyone copy?"". There was no reply, yet he knew someone was alive. Between them and second squad was the burning hull of the APC, they had to retreat at least six meters to have a them in their line of sight. "OK, this is what we do," he told his mate. "You are goanna crawl six feet, to that second tree, there you will hold and cover me, we do that till we see second platoon."
       Chuck nodded, his eyes filled with fear. "OK, on your mark."
       "What the fuck do you think this is, a movie, when I star shooting the crap out the bastards that's when you move."
       "Bastard," he said as the MA5B let out twenty rounds towards the enemy, the traced rounds striking the shield, deflecting harmlessly of the Phalanx. Chuck reached the tree and turned around, rifle shouldered and knelt. "Go!"
       Clark stood up and that was the end for him. The Phalanx commander had seen the movement, had opened a gap between his shield and the others, so it could get a clear line of fire on the Jackals, it put six pistol rounds on the Marine in two seconds, the plasma causing a large puff of smoke and a flame on his buddy's back.
       "No!" said Chuck, his hand extended as far as he could towards his friend. "Damn it," though he and chuck went back, a while back he had to get his shit together. He bounced back immediately from his emotional bottom, just as he was trained to do, and popped a full magazine into the Hoplite.
       He turned around and ran five full feet, his back slightly crouched, and then dropped prone. He saw on the opposite side a Marine aiming a SMG at him, the Jarhead realized he was friendly by nodding and giving a thumbs up.
       "Who do you have left?" he shouted, his face turning read by the effort of getting through the machinegun fire and plasma screeches.
       "Six plus sergeant Evans!"
       "OK, then he is in charge!"
       "He is in bad shape, its you Lance Corporal," he heard, shitless.
       He regrouped again, barely. "OK then, wait for me there!"

Gunnery Sergeant Neil Atwood wiped his hands with a white handkerchief, shoved it into his jacket pocket and closed the hatch. "There is nothing wrong with the engine," he told the pair of Marines standing guard at the gate. He removed the straps of the long bench that troops used to sit down on the troop compartment. "It has to be ignition, the FRG must had fried the connections and wires, damn it."
       "So what do you think we should do?"
       "I have to get under the hood," noted the Gunny.
       "What the fuck Gunny?"
       "Out of vehicle, between the tracks beneath the hull," uttered the Gunnery Sergeant. "That's the only way I'm goanna get this can rolling."
       "But with that maniac out there you will be exposed to him."
       "It," said Perez, "they are beasts not people," the Marine added. In previous wars men faced men, there was a sense of certain pity when killing a human enemy, for whatever reason. Now the Marines were fed with the anger of billions of souls taken away by the endless onslaught.
       "Corporal Wellington, man the minigun, my life is on your hands."
       "Aye sir," said the Marine as he left the semi opened ramp towards the bubble turret.
       "I'm going out."

Captain Regatta had two problems, first was the recent reconnaissance flight by the Banshee and second was the unbelievable harsh battle taking place somewhere on his left flank. "What do you think, sir?" asked the RTO.
       "FUBAR, always FUBAR."
       "What do we do."
       Marcus shook his head and took a sip from his canteen, then took a deep breath. "You know, I don't even know your name."
       "Logan sir, Private First Class Logan Dorian sir."
       "I used to be on the reserves, once a year I would join the corps in a space ship of some kind and train with them."
       "Sir, what do we do?"
       "I never thought I'd be in the suck, not like this."
       "Sir," said Logan. "Please tell me what to do."
       "I want you to find me ten volunteers," ordered the Captain. "Then bring them to me."
       The RTO smiled in relief, "Yes sir."

Gunny Atwood cranked the engine on an a small whiz began to be heard inside the vehicle, he closed the underhood of the APC and grabbed the MA5B on his right side, rolled to his belly and began to crawl outside the underneath of the vehicle.
       "Corporal Wellington?"
       "All clear sir!"
       The Gunnery Sergeant elbowed his way out and looked to both sides. Indeed it was all clear. He knelt and pounded on the ramp twice. It dropped open to see a Marine aiming a rifle at him. "Never can be too careful."
       "Afraid you are right private," said the Gunny. He entered the APC and closed the ramp behind him. "Now where do we go?"
       "I don't even know where we are."
       "Wellington, about face," the corporal stepped on the right pedal and the right track began to roll to the starboard side, ninety degrees and then stopped. "Fucking A, give me a system's check."
       "Electronics are all fried," he said covering half the systems in the vehicle, from Navigations to fire control. "But the vehicle is operable, the turret is half assed, we are going to have to make it turn manually."
       "Roger that, Gunny."
       "Where do we go?" asked Perez.
       "Well you guys say that the rest of the squad dodged, right?"
       "Affirmative," noted Wellington.
       "Lets go there then."

"Fuck," yielded Chuck as another explosion rocked the earth next to him. He was covered only by a thin tree and its small branches. "Fucking fuck."
       Second squad had retreated five feet then all hell had broke loose. The Covenant had made a push on his flank, the right side of the road, to try to break his back. Now he was pinned down by five Grunts and an Elite, which he knew, were toying with him. They could easily maul him, bad, yet somehow they stood their ground. Firing their weapons at him and lighting on fire everything that surrounded him. "Second squad?" There was no reply, he was on his own.
       He pulled a cylinder from his harness and pulled the pin and rolled it next to him. Chuck waited for the smoke to form and then knelt, pulled the trigger of his rifle till the arming lever snapped forward and then up. Then turned around, crouched, and began to sprint towards the rear. Suddenly a false sense of safety enveloped him, it was ended by a burning sensation on his right but cheek.
       He fell on the Ground in time to hear the soar laugh of an Elite standing just a feet away from him. He turned around in time to see the seven feet figure standing in front of him, it's four jaws clenched in a semi-smile. It was his end. He knew it, and wouldn't run from it. The beast gazed at him for a second, wondering what to do with him.
       It all ended swiftly, there was no time for a "life before your eyes" moment. It ended in a bright blue light.

The perfect shot. "The pink mist", when the high velocity round hits the target, the blood of the victim splashes out in small portions making the effect of a small piece of mist. In this case, however, it was a purple mist.
       "Fire, fire," there was a single second pause that seemed an eternity, the sniper took a deep breath and closed his left eye, the red dot of his crosshairs on the center of silhouette of the target, "fire," said the worn out spotter.
       Without thought, remorse or pity Corporal David Evans pulled the trigger out of his long .45 cal rifle, the recoil stopped cold at his feet as his body absorbed the impact. ONI was many things, most awful but some good. One of the good things was a detailed report of the Elite's personal shield, it described exactly its weak spot, the waist, just bellow what a Human would call a bellybutton.
       The bullet found the weak spot perfectly and penetrated the shield of the blue Elite without any delay, destroying its inner cavity and it only stopped only on the back shield. The pelvis was shattered expelling blood and gut in every direction. "Too late," Evan whispered as he thumbed the safety on.
       "Yeah, poor guy," the spotter turned around, faced the ten men and gave an OK sing.
       "Go," said the sergeant leading them. Two Marines got up from behind the hedge, rifles shouldered muzzles pointing forward and moved towards the downed the Marine. They were followed in the same file by the rest of the Jarheads.
       They reached the limp body of the Marine and checked for an absent pulse. "Anyone alive?"
       They all opened fire at the same time. The Zealot appeared out of the smoke of the grenade of the fallen Marine, their bullets sparkled harmlessly out of the invisible shield. David thumbed the safety off and pulled two on the Golden Elite.
       The Marines dropped their empty magazines at unison and open jawed stared at the beast in front of them. The beast had taken over two hundred bullets and it remained still, walking slowly, each step bringing it closer to the Marines. It was sudden, unexpected and border lining a miracle, the beast torso was cut in half, and they all heard it at the same time, it was a minigun, 7.62mm and a powerful diesel engine.

"Medic!" shouted someone along the perimeter.
       "Damn, they sure came in hard this time," said Marcus as he adjusted his helmet, "I heard some shots this time."
       "Me too," noted the RTO.
       "Those guys are as good as dead." Captain Marcus Regatta had changed. Dorian knew the Captain little, but he knew the war had affected him somehow, all the death and destruction had finally caught up with him.
       "Why?" said Dorian.
       "Those Banshees have a IR sensors, they surely picked up something this time," the Captain reported with no particular feeling in his speech, only in his facial expressions. "From the damned muzzle blasts."
       "Do you want me to-"
       "Shh," ordered the Captain. The three birds flew by low this time their plasma cannons centered on the ground they passed right above the treetops, dirt plumes rising ten feet into the air. They went vertical and disappeared in the sky. That was the cue.
       "Damn it," noted RTO. "The Jamming is getting stronger."
       "That's the trigger, they are coming," said Marcus, immediately shaking off any unnecessary attitude. "OK," he turned to face Dorian, "first platoon is goanna be the first to be hit, they have the MG team, they'll be OK, and we'll be OK as long as they hold that particular stretch of road." Marcus was thinking out loud.
       "Your orders sir," asked Dorian.
       "Go to first platoon, tell them to hold the perimeter at all cost," he grabbed the shoulder of the Marine before he left. "At any cost. Zero retreat."
       Immediately a illumination flare went up on the perimeter, friendly as far as he could tell, an everything went back to the suck. Immediately the blasts in the two-four-seven's chambers could be heard towards the north, where first platoon was. "Party time."
       He stood up from his position inside the road ditch and crouch-walked to the shoulder of the road, he turned around forty five degrees to his left and stared at the long stretch of pavement. He had to reach second platoon, if not, they would have no idea of what to do. Normally he would lead his troops from a fortified CP, with radio, digital maps and good XO and NCOs to advise and follow him.
       The Captain had lost his XO the first day of battle, he was inside his vehicle when a Covenant wraith shot struck it. His Company first sergeant was god-knows-where, and his gear was all fucked up. As marines called it was FUBAR, or Fucked Up Beyond Repair. No, he had to fix this, the whole damn thing. But first he had to reach second platoon.
       He had been shot twice, once on the job as a police man and once accidentally by a nervous Shore patrolman. It felt like if a bat was rammed into you by a two hundred and twenty pound men and then a sting, a deep sharp sting.
       This time however there was a small heatwave and then, a simple drop on his knees and a burning sensation on his shoulder. He collapsed completely. The last thing he heard was "corpsman".

Corporal David Evans had a particular skill only common of snipers. He had a six sense, a particular feeler in his brain and senses. It had tingled when he got the order from the Gunnery Sergeant to enter the M1116. Something on his back, moving. He immediately turned to face the source of the movement, he was next to the APC's ramp, rifle pointed and ready to fire.
       "What is it Evans?" asked the spotter who immediately went prone after seeing his shooter move to a tactical stand. "There is something on the woods."
       "You sure?" asked the Sergeant in command of the ten Marines.
       "Yes sergeant," he said, still staring at the woods.
       The sergeant pointed at two Marines and then pointed his right palm to his right, silently ordering both Marines to run to the ditch. The two Jarheads ran across the road, passed the shoulder of it and jumped inside the ditch, they crawled to the top of the ditch and aimed their rifles towards the forest. Then, unexpectedly raised their rifles.