Desperate Hope (part one)
Posted By: Gasman<email@example.com>
Date: 8 July 2005, 3:27 am
"Get to the Pelicans "
Hundreds of Marines began to sprint across the muddy field, their individual footsteps kicking up clumps of dirt. Streams of plasma raced past them in almost concentrated bursts. The Pelicans at the middle of the field were waiting nervously for the Marines to arrive, plasma ripping their hulls to shreds. The first wave of marines reached the pelicans and got hastily aboard. The next group arrived, and more after them. They piled into the dropships and filled them until they were hanging off the back. When the last man had stepped in they all lifted off from the ground in unison.
"What the hell, move men, move, they wont wait forever," Captain Allen Welsh yelled to his men. He peered out at the body strewn field and realized with horror that he was too late. The Pelican dropship were lifting away rom the ground, their hulls gleaming with plasma bolts. Two of the privates from allen's remaining twelve man squad sprinted into the open field. "No, hold up," Allen yelled to no avail. The men were cut down in bloody puffs of smoke. Their bodies were melted before Allen's eyes. He averted his gaze back to the Pelicans.
Their ascent wasn't going well. The majority of the dropships were smoking, flames spewing from the twin wing engines. The marines in back were clearing out, jumping the ten foot gap with resulting leg injuries.
The first Pelican to crash was a terrible sight. It veered to the left and slid sideways on the air before hitting the ground at an angle and ripping off the left wing. The aircraft sat there for a few seconds before erupting in a large orange fireball. The explosion melted the hulls of two other Pelicans and they both started to fall. One of the freshly lit Pelicans gained some air, but to no avail. It exploded in mid air. The other crashed nose first into the dirt, spilling men and supplies across the field.
His pelican was taking a light beating but it was enough to bring it down. He had been optimistic about the extraction but now saw it was hopeless. PFC Josh Simpson stared out the open back with horror. Easily 20 feet below, the field was blazing. The crashed hulls of Pelicans littered the field, along with brutally limp bodies.
Suddenly, the Pelican shuddered heavily and started to nose down. The pilot yelled something back to the terrified marines but couldn't be heard over the wailing alarms screams and the metal twisting and melting. To Josh's mounting horror, a large hole began to sizzle through the wall opposite him. The men strapped in front of the wall were burned alive, their corpses lay seared to the metal seats. Plasma bolts streamed through the open gap and burned holes through the roof. The Pelican was just short of falling apart.
Josh turned his look back to the ground again and was surprised to see trees. The field was replaced with a forest of black pines in the cold dark air. The pilot must have pulled them out of the hot zone. We're gonna make it Josh thought to himself. A smile crossed his tired face and was quickly wiped off. The Pelican started falling to the right again. Much heavier this time. Through the plasma melted gap in the right side Josh could see trees rushing up to tear the ship apart. He closed his eyes and listened to the terrible groan of the treetops grinding against the side. Branches snapped and metal tore. The ship lurched forward to a stop and he passed out.
Allen watched as the Dropships were cut to ribbons and silently cursed to himself. There was no escape now, he lost his radioman hours ago. They were all alone.
Where the hell am I? Josh awoke with a slowly but paintfully pounding headache. He raised his arm up to his forehead and felt that his helmet was gone. Blood trickled over his hand and he groaned loudly. "Josh, is that you man?" Someone said nearby. Josh opened his eyes. What he saw was terrible. The green metal of the Pelican was twisted in a demonic-like statue of metal. The tangles of wire and netting gave it an oddly lifelike look. The twisted points of the torn hull reached out with an eerie finger like pose. But that wasn't the worst part. The worst thing was the bodies. Thrown throughout the "inside" of the crashed aircraft were the mangled corpses of marines. Arms, legs, torsos, it was all scattered across the wreckage, some not connected to anything. Blood lay splattered across everything. Josh looked down at his own body and saw it was covered with red as well. He felt no pain except in his shoulder however. Turning his arms over he discovered only minor gashes and cuts. He got off lucky. "Josh, talk to me damn it," Someone said again. He turned his gaze in the direction of the voice and saw the badly beaten face of one of his friends, Bill Stevenson. "Nice to see ya man, is there anyone else?" Josh asked.
"Yeah, we've got three men on perimeter duty, it wont be long before those Covies come to find us. Grab yourself some gear and we'll find a place for you."
"How long have I been out?"
"It's been about thirty minutes since the crash, be glad you passed out, I had to watch it." The last word trailed off and Josh saw a tear begin to form in Bill's eye.
"It's alright," Josh said quietly. The two men hugged.
Allen Welsh looked out at his men's tired faces and almost collapsed. The men looked like skeletons, they hadn't eaten in days, their eyes were sunken in, and their beards were gray with hair. Allen knew he had to get them going, he began his speech. "Men, we are going to die if we stay here...It's a cold hard fact but there's nothing we can do but wait for them to come for us if we don't move. I know you men have fought hard for the past few days, we deserve to get out of here. Unfortunately, we are Marines, we get the hardest situations. However, as Marines, we must get out of them as well. We don't need the damn Dropships, we need no one but ourselves. Lock and load men, we're gonna get out of here."
"Sir?" A Corporal asked from the back.
"Well, I didn't know whether to say anything, but I saw a dropship make it's way over the trees, it was obviously going to crash, but-"
"What are you suggesting dipshit?" someone in the back asked. Allen recognized the voice as Sergeant First Class Michael Burton.
"Well don't' be a fucking asshole Mike, it's our only chance, we need those supplies, and man power if possible," a private replied.
"Fuck, man, this is heavy," Michael said. He stared down at his feet.
"It sounds like our best chance at any kind of rescue. Who knows, maybe the radio is intact, we could call for support," Allen waited a moment then continued, "Lock and load men, it's time to leave."
Josh looked at the defensive "perimeter" and grimaced. The three men surrounding the wreckage were spaced evenly out, each had metal strips and dirt piled up to make a small bunker. Guns were laid out beside them with full clips, readily available. One of the "bunkers" had a stationary machine gun casually thrown on top of it. Bill staggered over to it and started loading ammo into the gun, the man beside him gripped the handle and tested the sights.
In Josh's left hand he held a Shotgun and in his right he gripped the now ancient MA5B assault rifle. In his waist he had stuffed a small SMG. In a bag across is shoulder he had squeezed multiple clips for the various weapons. He walked over to a large pile of wreckage and threw the weapons and supplies on the ground. He laid against the cover and fell asleep.
Five minutes later he awoke to screaming. The men were screaming unintelligible lines at each other, Josh took them all as the same however, the Covenant had arrived. He gripped the assault rifle and peeked above his pile of rubble. Deep in the trees he could see grunts and a few Elites approaching the crash site from the South. His side. The machine gun opened fire and the Covenant opposition ran for cover. Josh squeezed a few rounds off and ripped a grunt to pieces. He took cover as plasma bolts streaked past his head. He leaned back up and fired short burst into the darkly lit forest. Grunts fell and Elite's shields spiked bright white light.
He swung around with his rifle when he felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Bill, he was holding a bag of grenades. Tossing one to Josh, he tore the pin off another and hurled it into the night air. It landed at an Elites feet and sent it flying into the trees in a purple-blooded flash of gore. Josh chucked his and took out three grunts. He grabbed his rifle again and squeezed the trigger. CLICK. He ejected the magazine and slid a new one in it's place. He exposed himself above cover again and Killed the final Elite. The humans collapsed in exhaustion.
Allen heard the gun shots and felt many emotions well up inside of him. The first was relief, relief in that Marines had survived. The second was of sorrow, Weapons fire meant opposition, the crash site could be overrun.
They marched on in silence, no one wanted to speak.
Josh walked across the pine sprinkled forest floor. In the brush to his left he caught a gleam of pink. He walked over and picked up a Needler. He dropped it into his bag of Alien guns and it joined the four other plasma pistols and three rifles of his collection. On his belt he had attached two stolen plasma grenades and a small blue object which he couldn't begin to find the purpose of. He started walking back to the crash site and his attention was jerked to a sound from his left. It was a sound of raspy breathing and metal. He kicked the bushes away beneath his foot and saw a badly injured Elite. The alien looked up at him and Josh jumped back. The two beings stared at each other for a short time and Josh saw into it's eyes...his eyes. In them he saw sorrow, up until this moment, Josh had considered the Covenant as animals with guns. What he saw in the eyes frightened him, it was oddly human. The Alien's hand reached jerkily out, it was covered with purple blood and missing a finger. Josh reached out and took it in his own.
The weary squad continued through the forest. The men passed under the trees like ghosts, the determination on their faces made them unstoppable. They would soon be put to the test.
A blue light illuminated the forest around them. Plasma erupted from seemingly all directions and the Marines were cut apart. The man in front of Allen was seared in half by what could only be Needler rounds. His blood splattered Allen and he fell in a heap.
"Asses in the dirt " Allen screamed. The men fell to the ground and started firing in all directions. Allen quickly saw that the fire was coming from ahead of them and yelled, "concentrate your fire on the front " The sound of the rifles firing was deafening. Allen lifted his BR55 rifle (commonly known as the "battle rifle") and scoped in on the trees ahead. In the darkness he could only make out three grunts and one Elite but he knew there would be more. They had to get around them.
"Aaron, flank left. Stephen, flank right. Suppressing fire " he screamed. He sat up to his knees and threw a Fragmentation grenade. The blast was deafening. He looked to his left and then his right to see that the men were moving. They were, and they kept sprinting until they were a good way around the opposition. Aaron and Stephen opened fire from the sides and caught the Covies off guard. This was his chance. Allen stood up and made a pumping motion with his fist toward the enemy.
"Attack " He yelled. The Marines and him sprinted toward the enemy, weapons firing the whole time. A plasma grenade hooked to the chest plate of one of the men and he went berserk. The Marine fell to his knees and began trying to rip the armor off. Before he could even get his hands around it he was engulfed in a bright blue explosion. Allen turned his head and continued running.
"Do you hear it?" Bill asked.
"I do," Replied Josh. The gunfire was extremely loud in the still of night. He thought he could hear a man yelling.
When the battle was over, Allen did a check on his remaining manpower. The remaining Marines were Mike, Aaron, Stephen, himself, and a Master Sergeant whom he didn't know, his name was Kendall. The men gathered the remaining supplies and continued on.
"Josh. Yo, Josh. Wake the hell up."
Josh opened his eyes and saw orange morning sunlight shining through the trees and into the clearing made by the Pelican. He looked around him and saw that the other marines were already up, he was the last one to wake. Again. He got up and stretched his legs. Very stiffly, he walked over to the crashed hulk of the dropship.
The rain from the night before had washed the majority of the blood into the ground. The bodies however, remained. Alongside the twisted metal lay the body of the Elite from the night before, he couldn't bear to leave it laying out there. His comrades gave him a lot of crap about it, they would never understand.
"Get the fuck out here " One of the Marines yelled. Josh pivoted on his left foot and nearly tripped before running back into the clearing. He dove beneath his spot and waited. Bill rushed up beside him and poked his head above the metal heap. "Marines?" Someone yelled in the brush. Josh stood up and waved.
Five tired looking marines stepped out of the brush and toward the defenders.