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An Unggoy Life: Chapter 23: By The Gods...
Posted By: CrazyGrunt<thomas-hoskins@comcast.net>
Date: 12 September 2005, 11:05 pm

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Helsreach, Alpha Dock

      Lovu climbed silently to the top of the lighthouse on the end of the pier at Alpha Dock.
      The lighthouse was basically a steel tower with a huge searchlight on the top.
      When she reached the top of the lighthouse, she lay down prone and surveyed the harbor with her Beam Rifle. The Ork sub was anchored in Beta Dock. She suddenly noticed the massive plume of smoke coming from the Plasma storage area in between Alpha and Beta Dock.
      She maximized the visual enhancer on the Beam Rifle and scanned the storage area. Seeing nothing, she returned to surveying the harbor. Then she saw it.
      Another Ork sub had risen from the water. It moved with the stealth of an Ork, because it's loud engines could be heard from the top of the lighthouse. But Lovu could see the rotting stuff covering the sub.
      "It can't be," She muttered. Then she tried to raise Nugga on the Comm.
      No luck. All of the Comm channels were still being jammed.
      Lovu turned and looked back through the scope at the second sub as it docked next to the first Ork sub. She zoomed in as the sub's door opened.
      An Ork-sized being stepped out of the sub. He began to walk toward the storage area. It seemed to be walking in a strange gait. Upon closer magnification, Lovu saw that the Ork had been infected by the Flood. It was very likely that all the Orks on that sub had been infected by the Flood.
      Lovu crawled back to the ladder and climbed down as quietly as she could.

      Holi stumbled as she walked in what she hoped was the direction of the militia HQ. As she got to her feet she checked her methane rebreather's supply gauge. It was half full. If she didn't find help soon, she'd die from suffocation due to lack of methane.
      A sound made her turn around. To her utter horror, a tidal wave of Flood Infection Forms was coming at her. She turned and ran. Unfortunately, she tripped over a loose power cord, and then the Infection Forms were upon her. The last thing she saw before she blacked out was an Infection Form burrowing into her breasts. She screamed.

      "Burn in Hell!" Thomas yelled as he threw a Plasma Grenade into the face of an Ork that had reached the final trench. The grenade exploded, and the Ork dropped dead.
      The 5th Platoon had been retreating from the last trench for over and hour. The Orks had been keeping the ODSTs on the run ever since the Speed Freeks had shown up on their red warbikes and warbuggies. A few ODSTs had managed to get a warthog up and running, for all the good it did, which was annoy the foot-slogging Ork mobs until a warbike squadron destroyed it.
      Thomas turned and continued running toward the open gates of Tartarus. He saw Krystal a few yards ahead of him. She had dropped her gun and was running flat out to the gates.
      Out of the corner of his eye, Thomas saw a Ork running in Krystal's direction, and it was carrying a Burna, an Ork flamethrower. If she was hit by that flame, it would incinerate her in five seconds.
      "Zeta One, HIT THE DECK!" Thomas yelled over the Comm.
      Krystal immediately dropped prone on the sand. The Ork fired the Burna, and the majority shot over her. Some of the flames hit her back armour, evaporating it in four seconds.
      Thomas fired a burst from the Battle Rifle at the Ork's head. It bounced off the bulky armor plating on it's shoulder, but it was enough to get it's attention. The Ork turned in his direction, and thomas sprayed it with another burst to the face from the Battle Rifle. The shots caught it right above the nose slits and between the eyes. The Ork groaned, then toppled over.
      Thomas ran to Krystal's side. The entire backplate, and the back of the kevlar jacket she wore, had been burned off, so only her skin was protecting her body.
      "Get up," Thomas grunted as he lifted her off the ground and draped her left arm over his shoulder, "We're almost there."
      "Go on without me," she moaned, "You'll never make it in time."
      "I am not leaving a wounded soldier behind," Thomas said firmly, "Zeta Two! Get yer ass over here and help me get your commander to the safe zone! Omega Three! Omega Six! Cover our asses now! On the double, Men!"
      Zeta Two sprinted over and garbbed her right arm. The two of the others kept a covering fire as they half-dragged, half-carried Krystal to the gates.
      The gates were a solid meter of Titanium-A, so they would be fine once they reached it. That is to say, if they reached it at all.
      Twenty yards away from the gates, Thomas saw Omega Six take a Slugga round to the left leg. There was nothing he could do, though, because he was already carrying Zeta One. He glanced back, and saw Omega Three help Omega Six get up. Together, they steadily walked backwards toward the gates, still keeping a cover fire for him.
      He glanced back a third time and saw a mob of Stormboyz, Ork jetpack squads, flying toward him on their rocketpacks, some flying out of control and meeting their doom when they crashed into the ground. The lead Ork carried two Sluggas, and was firing them at the other ODSTs headed for the gates.
      "You keep going," Thomas yelled above the sound artillery fire, "I'll hold them off for ya!"
      True to his word, he heaved Krystal off his back, and let Zeta One drag her back to the city. He turned around, and unshouldered his Battle Rifle. He fired a burst at the lead Stormboy, and one of the bullets connected with his rocketpack. The Ork spiraled out of control, and crashed into the ground a few feet away. The resulting explosion knocked Thomas on his back. He looked up and scanned the sky for another target.
      The Stormboyz were having difficulty reaching the gate anyway because they were being torn apart by machinegun and plasma fire.
      "What the Hell?" Thomas thought out loud, and looked back toward the gate.
      A hundred warthogs poured out of the city, folowed by fifty Shadow transports, and sixty Ghosts running escort. the Warthogs picked their targets and opened fire. The Shadow transports were retrieving the wounded ODSTs from the trenches, while the Ghosts provided cover fire.
      Thomas stood up and broke into a run. He had to get to the gate. Five yards from the gate he saw Krystal and Zeta Two lying on the ground. He hurried over and checked Zeta Two's vital signs. She was in bad shape, but she'd live if she got inside.
      Thomas shouldered Krystal and Vicky Kolbels, and carried them into the city.
      He saw the medics come running toward him. He smiled, then collapsed from exhaustion.

      Thomas woke up in one of the medic huts inside the city. He looked around and saw that he was lying on one of the stretchers, but he was in good shape, as far as combat-ready. He swung his legs off the stretcher and stood up. As he walked around the hut, he saw men and women being tended to by medics and the civilians assisting the medics.
      Thomas looked around at the ODSTs in the hut, but didn't see Krystal. When he asked the medics, they said she was in the next medical hut. He nodded, and jogged out in that direction.
      Upon finding that particular medical hut, he found her.
      Krystal was lying on a stretcher facedown. Her entire back was wrapped in bandages from the burns she had gotten in the battlefield.
      "You survived," Thomas said in a cheerful tone, then stated, "After we get off this rock, you are so getting promoted."
      "Yeah, I wish," Krystal smiled weakly, then turned over and tried to get up, but the medics forced her to lie down.
      "Don't worry Krystal," Thomas grinned, "They're airlifting civilians and the wounded out of the city and sending them to the Pilliar of Autumn II. You'll be safe there while we retrieve every other civilian and soldier off this god-forsaken rock."
      Krystal nodded, and closed her eyes as Thomas walked off.

      The Master Chief grabbed a Ork by the neck and threw him into the swamp, where the alligator-monster gobbled it up in three seconds. The Master Chief turned around and continued firing into the Orks with his Battle Rifle. He shot a Slugga Nob through the head, and it dropped dead. All the time, the Chief was slowly walking backwards.
      Suddenly, the Orks looked up. The Chief followed their gaze and saw Pelican flying toward him, guns blazing. The Pelican flew down in front of him, hovering two feet above the ground.
      "Get in!" Sergeant Johnson yelled from tail gunner's seat, "We lost Death Mire to the Orks five minutes ago. We're leaving NOW!"
      The Master Chief climbed aboard, and the Pelican flew away from the last military stronghold on Armageddon Prime.

      Lovu ran towards Nugga's position, with the Flood hot on her trail. She had seen a Sangheili become infected, and saw the process of how these Flood mutated their hosts in a matter of seconds, whereas it took the Flood on Installation 004 twelve hours to mutate the host body, and 005 it took five minutes to mutated the host body. She had to escape, because this information was vital to ONI research.
Lovu turned, and fired her Plasma Rifle into the the tidal wave of Combat Forms literally clambering over one another to get to her. The plasma hit the lead Combat Form in the head, which was a mutated Ork, and the Combat Form stood still. To Lovu's surprise, the Ork brain gained control of movement. It reached back to its neck, took hold of the Infection Form's sensory appendages, and yanked the Infection Form out of its neck. The sudden separation from the host's spine killed the Infection Form instantly. The Ork blinked for a few moments, then turned and started running for the city gate.
      Good thinking, Lovu thought, and tossed a Plasma Grenade into the mob of Flood forms. She continued running toward the wall, not waiting for the grenade to explode.

      Nugga watched, puzzled, as the Orks that had been assaulting the city defenses started retreating. A cheer ran through the 99th Battalion. He heard a slight panting noise behind him, so he turned around.
      Lovu stood there, panting. She was covered in entrails of some sort. Nugga squinted, and realized with horror that those were Flood entrails.
      "Flood," Lovu gasped, "Approaching…from…harbor…thousands"
      At that point she collapsed from exhaustion.
      "Tell the defenders along the wall to head for the spaceport," Nugga instructed the Sangheili Field Master.
      "But sir," The Field Master inquired, "We were victorious. Why do we need to abandon the city now?"
      "The parasite is here!" Nugga replied heatedly, then with authority, said, "How dare you question my orders! Do it now!"
      The Field Master spread the word, and soon all the defenders of the city had left by Pelican, Shadow, or the old Covenant Dropships. the only one who remained was Nugga, who, with one last, sad look at the city, got in a Seraph and left the city. He tracked the convoy's movements, and followed them. The entire convoy was headed for space, in the direction of the Pillar of Autumn II.