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ODSS Chapter 8
Posted By: Firerwolf<triss2008@yahoo.com>
Date: 11 September 2011, 3:13 am

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Kathleen checked over her gear one last time, making sure it was all there. Her team was doing the same thing before leaning back into their pods. The SOEIV pods made it much easier to follow right on the heels of the Covenant attacks. They would be dropping out of slipspace any minute and when they did the ODSS would be dropped onto the planet. Hopefully when they got there, there would be someone left to save.

Kathleen leaned back in her pod, closing the door. She double checked her HUD, being sure it and the VISR system was working. When all status lights turned green, she contacted the bridge. "Staff Sergeant Spartan one-one-three reporting ODSS ready to drop."

"Copy that Sierra-one-one-three. Drop in one minute." The communications officer was cold and distant as always.

Kathleen made sure that her radio was set to the team channel. "Be ready for hell on the ground. That means gas breathers, birds, and whatever else they decide to throw at us."

"I'm sure they'll have stationary guns. What else can they throw at us?" Luke didn't seem all that worried.

Peter seemed a bit annoyed. "Don't ask a stupid question like that. They might just answer it."

The ODSS hadn't had that much actual contact with the Covenant. They'd only been fighting them for about a month and a half, and most of the contact had been with grunts and only a couple jackals. Grunts were easy enough to kill, even easier when they were scared. Jackals were only a little harder to kill than the slightly shorter aliens. Peter could pick off snipers with ease, and as long as you could get past the energy shields of the others, their skulls caved in nicely. Still, there were so many of them, and soldiers were dying at their hands.

She shifted a bit, uncomfortable. The higher ups had insisted she wear different armor from her soldiers. They called it Mark IV MJOLNIR battle armor. It made her stronger and faster, like she needed it. Kathleen personally hated the armor. All her soldiers wore the signature ODST black body armor and here she was in her giant olive green MJOLNIR.

The light in her pod turned from red to green, and the world fell out below her, drawing her pack into the world. She watched the other pods follow soon behind her own pod. The shark-like Covenant ships hung in the air as she fell, reminding her of her enemy and how different they were from anything else that humanity had ever fought.

Kathleen looked down at the planet that she was hurtling toward. The surface was partially scorched already and she only hoped that there would be someone, or something to save. She'd seen planets that had been what the UNSC called 'glassed'. The life burned from them by fire from above like they'd been smitten by an angry god. She supposed that was sort of what the Covenant had been going for, the feeling that this was the work of a god, not mortals.

She hit the atmosphere and the slight rise in heat that she was used to was absent. The tech had mentioned something about climate control systems in the suit; seemed they worked. She looked out, glad to see all 11 of the other pods breaking through the atmosphere successfully. She closed her eyes, waiting for the final thud.

It didn't take long for the bone shattering hit. In this armor, though, it was dull as the armor took most of the impact. Kathleen quickly released her hatch, stepping out onto the soft sand of the Biko beach. Her M7S scanned the area before she ran out across the field. Yellow dots appeared on her motion tracker as the rest of her team followed toward their target.

There was a long list of targets that they were hoping to reach, though she doubted they'd get to half the list before the Covenant started glassing the planet. The first target on the list was a large building that quickly came into view, and from the looks it was going to have plenty of Covenant inside.

Kathleen skidded to a halt, hidden behind one of the burnt up cars that had been parked outside of the building. "What we got?"

Peter looked over each and every level. "I've got jackal snipers on three floors. Carbines, not the beam rifle kind."

"Turrets out front, little bastards manning them." Pat spoke quietly, though their voices couldn't be heard outside of their helmets. "Both are alert and awake."

"So, business as usual." Tobias chuckled to himself. "So what's the plan Sarge?"

"We find whoever's in charge and we shoot them in the face." Kathleen checked over her weapon and plotted out their next course of action. "Are the snipers on all sides?"

There was a long pause as Peter moved around the back of the building to check. "Yep, full 360."

"We're going distraction. Tym, Peter, and James will stay out front. When I give the signal, they'll snipe the front jackals and destroy the turrets. In the commotion, Alpha Team, Edward, Emily, Luke, Matthew, and I, will break into the back right side of the building. Beta Team, Tobias, Pat, David, and Max, will break into the back left side of the building. Each team will kill all threats." Kathleen gave the orders as quickly as she could and the teams all flashed their green lights.

The teams moved into place behind, being sure to hide from the sniper jackal's sights. Once they were in place Kathleen flashed her green status light. She didn't hear Peter's shots, but the snipers in the rear of the building turned. Less than a second later, there were two bangs as the shades in the front were destroyed.

With the snipers distracted, Kathleen's team crossed the distance between their hiding spot and the building. She easily leapt though one of the broken windows on the ground level. The four thuds behind her assured her that her team had followed. They moved through the building, their VISR systems making it easier to navigate the unlit halls and rooms.

They moved from room to room, dispatching any grunts or jackals they found, painting the rooms a nice mixture of blue and purple blood. Most of the enemies were caught off guard enough that the marines didn't fire their weapons, choosing rather to slam their guns into the alien's skulls. Kathleen had to admit it was a satisfying feeling to crush a Covenant's head. As far as she was concerned, they all deserved to have their faces caved in by having something forcefully slammed into their heads. Marines and ODST had died to the creatures and their energy weapons. Every dead alien meant one less plasma pistol firing at the soldiers that would follow her team.

They easily cleared the first five floors, filling the halls with the sounds of crushing skulls and fearful cries of grunts. The soldiers really only had to worry about the jackals that were partially occupied with trying to get the grunts to stop running away.

They did hit a problem when they reached the sixth floor. The aliens on this level must have heard the noise below and had been ready for the marines. Kathleen ducked back into the stairwell just in time to avoid being hit by a large blast of energy from an overcharged plasma pistol. The green ball hit the wall, leaving a large burn mark on the once clean white wall.

"We've hit trouble on the sixth floor." Tobias' grumbled something over the com. Kathleen couldn't make out the words but she knew that it was some sort of curse.

"Same here, damn jackals have a barrier made of their shields." Kathleen glanced out. "Have they seen you yet?"

"Don't think so. They seemed to be distracted by something." Tobias peeked out from his own position. "What's the plan for getting through them?"

"We'll have to make them give us an opening. Alpha will blast them back, and when they give the chance Beta will finish the job." Kathleen took one of the grenades from her belt. She lobbed the grenade at the feet of the jackals, and the explosive force of the grenade caused the jackals to stumble back. Luke and Kathleen moved out of the stairwell and fired. Rounds ripped through the jackals, causing the second line to turn to the new threat, shields now up to protect them from the bullets.

"Now!" Kathleen shouted to Beta team. She and Luke slipped back into the stairs as David and Pat moved out of the opposite stairs and opened fire on the jackal's unprotected backs. Purple blood splattered the shields as the rounds found the unarmored flesh of the aliens. The marines gathered in the center of the hallway in front of the doors that the jackals had been protecting.

They were just about to break down the doors when a force behind the metal threw them apart and out toward the soldiers. The bulk of a seven foot tall alien slammed into Matthew, forcing him against the wall. The alien was like nothing they'd seen yet. Its four-pronged mouth spread wide as it roared in Matthew's face, trying to crush him with pure force. David opened fire, but the bullets were deflected by an energy shield that surrounded the entire alien. It dropped Matthew, moving forward, and in a second rammed into David and sent the marine flying. The soldier was pinned to the ground by the weight as the alien grunted out something in its natural tongue.

Kathleen charged forward, slamming into the alien. It turned, righting itself to keep on its feet as it faced the enemy that dare attack it. It charged at Kathleen and she met it half way, surprised to find that the alien was just as strong as her. Even with her enhanced strength from the armor, she was finding it hard to hold it off. The two struggled; each trying to get the upper hand against their enemy. Kathleen couldn't seem to find an opening. The new alien wasn't just showing strength but strategy.

The loud blast of a shotgun resonated as Tobias fired point blank at the alien's chest. The shield flickered and then died, leaving the enemy vulnerable. Kathleen took her chance, pushing the creature away and drawing her M6C. She fired half the clip and the rounds tore through the creature's head and neck, splattering purple blood in a halo behind it.

The alien finally fell to the ground in a lifeless heap. Kathleen stopped to catch her breath and examine the alien. Even with the enhanced armor making her stronger and faster, the alien had been on par with her, and it was unsettling. The idea of her soldiers trying to take one on hand to hand was even more unsettling.

"What was that thing?" Edward looked down at the dead alien, nudging it with his foot to be sure it was dead.

"I don't know, but I'd have to guess that it was in charge. Damn, think the thing might have bruised me up some, or a lot." David coughed as Luke helped him up from the ground.

"How do you know that it was in charge?" Emily moved over to Matthew to check on him. The soldier was still gasping for air and trying to calm himself down.

"Well, I can easily crush a grunt's skull. Do you think that something that could have crushed my skull would take orders from a grunt or jackal?" David put up his hands, challenging her to come up with some logic.

"They might if they weren't smart enough to be able to take the lead." Emily smirked behind her helmet.

"Yeah, but that thing ambushed us. That doesn't really say stupid to me." Tobias moved over to them to join the conversation. "I say we just hope there aren't any more of them."

Kathleen finally managed to snap out of her thoughts. "Enough chatter, there's more work to be done."

The team nodded, and they left, leaving the new-found alien behind. They'd have to make a report about it later, but for now they had to worry about the rest of the buildings on their list.

They spend the rest of the day trying to clear all the buildings, and had gotten less than half-way through when they were called back, and had to watch helplessly as the planet was glassed.
Kathleen stood in Saran's office, her mind still on the lost planet. How many had just lost their home? How many had lost their lives there? Most importantly, how could she make the covenant pay?

Saran sat behind the desk, watching the footage of the earlier encounter with the elite. He looked lost in thought as he watched the footage in silence. Kathleen wondered what was on his mind, though she doubted that he would tell her unless she needed to know.

Saran didn't move his eyes from the images that were still playing. "And you only found one?"

Kathleen nodded, and Saran sighed. "All right, you and your team get some rest. I want you to be ready for some more of these if you find any. I'll make sure ONI gets this." Kathleen nodded and left, leaving Saran alone. Once he was sure she was gone he turned to the holopad in his office. "Maria."

An AI flared to life, her avatar filling the room with pure white light. "How can I help you Gunnery Sergeant?" She smirked and stood up a bit straighter. For an unknown reason she'd chosen the form of a woman wearing knight's armor. Every AI had its own look, though for many of them the choice of appearance was something rather personal and made no sense on the outside.

"Please erase all copies of this video." Saran motioned to the footage of the elite that was now paused, showing the alien crushing Matthew against a wall.

"Sir, shouldn't this be passed on ONI for analysis?" Maria frowned, unsure she had heard the Sergeant correctly.

"All information about the ODSS is top secret; therefore, sharing this with ONI would allow them to know of the ODSS and cannot be allowed. Besides, if they've met one I'm sure it won't be long until the other Spartans meet one." Saran tapped his finger on the desk. "Now delete it."

"Yes, sir." Maria paused for a moment, and the video he'd been watching vanished from the screen. "It has been done."

"That's all for now." Saran waved his hand, and Maria vanished, leaving the room feeling oddly dark. The Gunnery Sergeant leaned back in his chair, feeling unsure of his actions. He was following orders but that didn't make him feel better.