We Are Brothers
Posted By: DEM Ravager<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 27 October 2006, 7:42 pm
Chapter 2 continuation
Morelis had counted thirty. Two U.N. aid workers, including his wife, thirteen Civil Policemen, and fifteen civilians. Almost all of them had sustained some kind of injury in the fighting. Those that hadn't were heavily fatigued. David was loathe to make them walk.
"David," Alyssa said sharply, and the marine glanced at her. "Help me with her, please."
Morelis strode towards Alyssa, putting his helmet on. She and the civilian doctor Andrew were standing over a small stretcher with a girl in it.
A wave of nausea and pain hit Morelis's stomach; it wasn't the grisly sight that disturbed him-he was used to that- but rather the fact that it had been inflicted on a girl not even twelve.
Grenades had torn open her ribs, and bone and flesh protruded. She had taken serious blood loss, and her dark skin was matted with sweat and blood. Her elbows were carefully propped up on her chest, where her flesh was still intact, and her hands trembled violently.
"Keep her steady," Andrew said, his low voice trembling slightly. "You, soldier, please." He nodded towards Morelis. "Please keep that help your wife."
They hoisted the stretcher up and began moving the girl back through the hall. Walking over dust and plaster, the four of them moved gingerly. Morelis could hear the sound of shuffling feet and aching moans from within the treating room
They moved into the lobby, and set the girl down on the desk. Morelis motioned for Brewer to move forward and do a sweep of the street outside. He raised his C77 and moved forward cautiously.
Morelis pushed the safety off on his Battle Rifle and held it at his hip. "We'll all move together."
"I really think we should stay here, where it's safe," Alyssa said, "but we do need those supplies."
"We're not staying," Morelis barked immediately. "There's a dropship coming for us, and more of my men at the checkpoint. Trust me; you'll be safer with us."
"I can't remember the last time I could trust you, David." Alyssa smiled warmly, touching his arm playfully. Dave couldn't help but grin; he hadn't remembered the last time he had seen his wife since being commissioned back into the army.
Morelis jerked his rifle up and fired a three-round burst. The glass shattered; Alyssa and Andrew instinctively ducked.
The Jackal that had been watching in the window lay against the wall of the next building over. Purple blood and brains trailed down the brick wall.
"Oh, no," Morelis said, lowering his rifle. Brewer appeared inside; a puzzled and alarmed look was on his face.
"Sir?" he said, his face hard. "What's going on?"
"No, the Covenant is here! A Jackal scout, watching us through the window. Bloody bastards! They're here, the invasion has begun!" Morelis slung his rifle and clasped both of his hands on top of his helmet, pacing up and down along the lobby. He stopped short and linked to Lt. Price on his comm.
"Lieutenant, this is Major Morelis, over."
"This is Price, sir. Jeez, we thought your were dead, major. You hadn't said anything for a while, and once we saw the first dropships landing in your sector, we figured you and Brewer were gone."
"Nevermind that," Morelis said. "What's the status at Checkpoint 4?"
"Everything is alright, sir. We had cleared out the warehouse, and returned back to the checkpoint. We've seen none of the Covenant by our position, though, sir."
"And what of our ride out of here, lieutenant? Has Avery gotten on the horn?"
"Negative, sir. Should we stay put here?"
"Listen to me, Price," Morelis said, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Get the men to reform the defensive perimeter. We've got the civilians, and we're on our way back. Get Corporal Hartman to link up with General Stetman and get us a way outta here. Morelis out."
He switched off the link and turned around; the civilians and CP were watching him closely, fear and anxiety in their eyes. He noticed that one of the women was about six months pregnant.
"You there," he said, pointing at the pregnant woman's husband, a tall dark man in his thirties. "What's your name?"
"Gamba, sir." He saluted proudly. "This is my wife, Jamila. She will need to be in a proper hospital soon."
"I see that," Morelis replied. "But for now, you come over here and help with this girl. She needs someone to carry this side of the stretcher."
"Yes, of course." Gamba, with his intense dark eyes and firmly set jaw, moved towards the injured woman. Alyssa looked up at Morelis with concern.
"We're moving to Checkpoint 4, everyone," he announced loudly. "Separate into three different groups. Civil Police, form a boxed shell around those who are unarmed and keep your intervals. Let's move it."
He waved his hand at Brewer, and the two marines led the way out of the clinic.
Walking together, Brewer said, "You're wife? Never knew you got hitched, sir."
"We were married six years ago. When I was called back in for active duty, we sort of had an unofficial divorce. Wasn't pleasant. She wanted to go help with the war in any damned way she could. And I wanted her to stay put, keep her job as a nurse in Los Angeles, and have kids whenever I would get back."
Morelis sighed and ran his hand through his hair. He said, "The strangest thing about this job is the loving and hating it at the same time. I've often wanted to retire, move back to Scotland, and settle down. But whenever I even consider it, I get a sick feeling. And that's because I'll always be a jarhead, no matter what I do. It's bred into us peoples."
Morelis shrugged, and exhaled deeply. He glanced behind his shoulder; the Kenyans did very well following simple commands. Dr. Lazarus had joined Alyssa, Andrew, and Gamba in moving the stretcher.
"Wait here," Morelis said, motioning for the others to stop. He checked his motion sensors on his HUD. Friend-or-Foe tags registered three unknowns approximately fifty meters away.
Raising his battle rifle, Morelis peeked behind the corner of a run-down hair salon. Sure enough, three black grunts were moving in their direction.
"Hit their methane tanks," Morelis said to Brewer, who was clasping his rifle readily. "And prepare yourself for the smell."
They moved out of cover and fired short bursts at the trio. One of the grunts shrieked, and threw his arms up. The methane tank exploded, and he was thrust into the building next to him, head smashed against the brick.
The next few rounds took out the strike team, and Morelis signaled the CP. The group started moving back up again, and they quickly humped their way down the street. Most of the market district was empty, but shelling and gunfire could be heard in the distance. Most of the fighting was likely to be held in the Residential District.
"Brewer," Morelis muttered, "check that laptop of yours. See how our boys are holding up."
Brewer nodded, knelt down, and fished the computer out of his rucksack. He brought up the screen with the UNSC Marine transponders, and saw that all of the marines were holding up.
"They're good," the captain said. "I can't tell their status from here, though."
"Jesus help us," Morelis sighed. "We're going to slow. We need to quicken the pace." He jerked his arm forward, shouting at the civilians, "HURRY IT UP! NO SLACKING, DAMMIT!"
They slogged through the abandoned streets, encountering virtually no resistance. The market district was dead, and any life that had been in it before was gone. It had become a ghost town.
"Just around this corner," Morelis shouted, pointing forward. "We're almost there!"
Gamba, Andrew, Lazarus, and Alyssa were exhausted from hauling the stretcher girl around. She had gotten paler, and her condition looked hopeless.
They turned the street corner; Morelis could see Price and Hartman standing outside on the second level. Hartman was shouting furiously into the radio, and Cpl. Ferrer waited patiently on his gun. On the rooftops above, Cross was waiting with his sniper rifle.
"At last," Morelis sighed. "ALRIGHT, EVERYONE INSIDE! GET WHATEVER SUPPLIES YOU NEED! I'LL TRY TO GET US SOME EVAC A.S.A.P."
As Andrew began translating, the marines entered the outpost. It looked like Avery had brought back some extra ammo, weapons, provisions, and medical supplies. As a matter of fact, there was so much there that Morelis doubted that Avery had even planned for a return trip.
"Godspeed," he said to the pilot with a whisper as the first of the civilians lumbered into the outpost.