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Worth Fighting For; CH 3: Boot
Posted By: DevilsInjector<mj-power@hotmail.com>
Date: 23 February 2009, 4:21 pm

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1001, November 30, 2545 (Military Calendar)
UNSC Military Reservation 01478-B, AKA "Painland",
Planet Reach

      "Hello ladies, this area you are currently in is "Painland", and I am your Sergeant, Isak Howe," the man was of average height, African descent and had a very thin face, a scar ran from his right temple down to the right corner of his mouth. The most unusual feature, were his eyes. They didn't seem to blink. "You will address me as , and nothing else, at least not until you are real soldiers, then you can call me, whatever the fuck you scrawny sons of bitches want!" A man down the line raised his hand. "What is it?" Howe yelled at him.
      The man had a hard time keeping a straight face. "Have we ever met sir?" he yelled, "You look a lot like my mother!" He was obviously trying to make a joke, no one laughed. The sergeant walked up. "No, we have not met," He was a hairs breath away from the mans nose, " I would know, I always tend to remember little scrawny bastards!" The man stood a little straighter and his jaw tensed.
      Howe walked to the end of the line, and looked at Arther. "I like the looks of you, what's your name?" Arther stood straight and yelled, "Recruit Arther H. Conlin sir!" Howe nodded and walked away. "Okay ladies, lets double time it to the playground, don't worry, it wont take long!" His voice was different, as if he was overly enjoying himself. The drill sergeants brandished stun batons, and herded the recruits along.
      Well it did take long, 7 miles to be exact. And by the time the recruits reached the playground, they were winded.

      The playground was not what the recruits had expected. Of course they didn't expect swing sets and slides, but not this. It consisted of sandbags, low dirt walls, trenches, and a big hill at the end with a bell on top.
      "Okay, get into your squads," yelled Howe. Arther walked to the front of his squad. "Alright guys, I'm not trying to play leader, but we most likely have to work together here." They all nodded, and a smile broke across Charlie's face. They all turned towards the sergeant, who had pulled out a pistol. "Maggots, this is your standard UNSC sidearm." He walked a little closer to the smart mouth from earlier.
      He pointed it at his chest and pulled the trigger. Red blossomed from his shirt. The recruits yelled and ducked. "And THAT recruits, is TTR. It works with Nano-fibers you have in your fatigues, and it stiffens you right up," A smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, "We have a sniper out there, and he has TTR rounds. You on the other hand, have nothing." Arther looked back at his squad, the only one who looked nervous was Timothy. "You, need to ring that bell, now move maggots!"
      Arther ran up and slid behind the first set of sandbags. His squad was right behind him. "Okay we need to move one at a time to cover, I don't want anyone getting hit." Charlie moved around to the edge of the sandbags.
      A recruit from the other squad ran out, winced and fell backwards, TTR spattered over his shirt, and down his stomach. Charlie looked out, spotted cover, and ran. He made it. Arther tapped Ashley on the shoulder, and she too ran. She made it as well. Timothy slinked up, darted around the sandbags, and tripped as he ran. A round caught him in the shoulder, and another in the gut. He fell to the ground. Arther reached out and dragged him back. A drill instructor walked up and waved a baton over him, the fabric slackened. They pulled Timothy off to the side. Raphael, and Andrew darted out at the same time. They made it as well. Arther looked up, and saw the muzzle flash. He ducked back. To his left he spotted the pistol Howe had set on a stump. Arther ran, grabbed it and ran to his squad.
      "Okay, I know where the guy is, I'm going to draw his fire, hopefully keep him pinned down while you run." The squad nodded. Arther ducked out and fired at the sniper, the shots went wild, but no fire came. Bet you weren't expecting this. Arther crouched behind a log. He stood and brought the sights down onto the sniper. He pulled the trigger and saw a blossom of red; the rifle fell down the hill. He ran to catch up with his squad, and he rang the bell.
      Howe walked up the hill. "Get up there and give our boy a hand," ordered Howe. A drill instructor jogged up and pulled the sniper away. "Good job, better than the other squad anyway." Arther looked down the hill and saw the other squad. They only had two people left, and each had an arm or a leg-hanging limp, courtesy of TTR. "I was waiting for someone to do that, you're the first Arther," said Howe, "Nice shot." With that, he turned and walked away.
      Arther looked around, and couldn't but help feel proud for his squad. They all gave him a slap on the back. Howe turned and yelled towards the group, "Lets go for a jog, its time to hit the sack!" Ashley ran down the hill, followed by Charlie, Andrew and Raphael. Arther took off after them

      Three months. It seemed like years. Arther had joined the UNSC three months ago, and hasn't looked back yet. Today was yet another – of many – TTR squad runs. Arther pulled the charging lever on his MA5B assault rifle (standard issue for UNSC infantry) and drilled a burst into the hem of sandbags surrounding the base of the bunker.
      The game was Capture the Flag, and he didn't plan on losing. "Charlie," Arther yelled, "Suppressing fire, give me and the squad some cover!" Charlie nodded and leaned around the 'Hog, and opened up. A yell, and some of the fire stopped. "Alright squad," said Arther as he stood and turned around the 'Hog, "MOVE!"
      Ashley sidled past him in a low hunch, firing in short bursts, with Raphael and Andrew trailing behind her. Tim stood and tapped Arther on the shoulder; Arther started to move. He fired a short burst at the prone form of a sniper. TTR puffed, and that fire stopped. Arther un-slung his sniper rifle and crouched.
      He looked down the scope, sighted on a soldiers chest, and pulled the trigger. He dropped like a stone. A scream to his left broke his attention, and caused him to turn and look. Ashley lay face up, with a TTR smear on her helmet. He ran over, and knelt next to her.
      He scowled and called Timothy – the squads other sniper – to him. "Tim, haul her out of here," Arther ordered, "And give me and Raphael some cover, we're goin' for that flag!" Tim nodded, and pulled Ashley away.
      Arther turned to Andrew, "Give us some cover and try to stagger it from Charlie's, we don't want you reloadin' at the same time." Andrew nodded, and slammed a fresh magazine into the rifle with a satisfying clack.
      Arther looked at Raphael and nodded. "NOW!" Charlie and Tim opened up, and TTR blossomed along the sandbag trim. Raphael vaulted the sandbags and ran towards a downed tree. Arther slid behind the tree as well.
      "Okay," Arther said, "We need that flag, or Howe will have our asses." Raphael nodded, and that glazed looked dropped through his eyes. It was the look he got when he set his mind on one thing. There was a lull in the suppression fire, and Raphael took his chance. He hadn't looked ahead though. A lull in fire meant the other squad could fire back.
      Three members of the opposite squad stood, and sighted on Raphael. A full-auto cloud of TTR rounds engulfed him, and when the cloud dissipated; Raphael lay twisted in the dirt. Then the fire picked up again.
      Arther threw his MA5B and sniper rifle on the ground, and un-holstered his HE pistol. He popped up, shot a man in the head, and took off towards the flag.
      He reached his hand out blindly, felt the cold of the metal pole, pulled up, and stumbled back towards Raphael. He grabbed the "wounded" man by the collar and started to drag him. Two sharp pains in his left leg, and his movement slowed. Then one in his left arm. He dropped the flag, and fell to the dirt.
      Arther pushed Raphael in front of him, and grasped the end of the flagpole. TTR kicked up dirt around him, painting the scene a dreary red. His fatigues were hardening fast. Another sharp pain in his back and he started to seize up. TTR disabled the extremities, as much as need be. The hits to the arms and legs weren't necessarily "lethal".
      But any to the sternum or back, and you were in trouble. Arther pulled himself to his knees and leaned into the throw. The pole twirled javelin style, and dug into the dirt next to Charlie, who jumped back. Arther fell over top of Raphael.
      Charlie climbed the side of the Warthog and shoved the end of the pole into the hole in the bed of the LRV.

      Arther stiffly fell down on his bunk, and let out a sigh. "We did good today," he said, "Just watch your fire, and make sure you have more than one man firing at a time. Call "reload" when you switching mag's, and be in communication with your other squad members." Charlie stood and laughed, "We've heard it twenty times Arty." Tim looked up from his magazine and flashed a smile, then went back to reading.
      Arther looked around. Raphael stretched his legs and arms and almost rolled off the bed, and Andrew started to laugh. Raphael was a small guy, maybe 5'11 and 120 pounds, and along with Andrew (6'3 and 203 pounds of muscle), was the joker of the squad. Timothy was a different story. He'd first enlisted to prove to his dad that he wasn't gay, but now his dad just thought he was a creep for enlisting. Timothy didn't like that all that much.
      Frankly, Timothy didn't like much of anything. He hardly laughed, but when he did, people laughed with him. He looked like a wimp, but when the shit goes down, there might not be a better person to depend on, except maybe Howe. Arther slumped back into his pillow, and drifted off to sleep.