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Chapter II: Battle of New Mombassa
Posted By: J-117<gjm_25@yahoo.com>
Date: 3 January 2007, 4:14 am

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Chapter II: Battle of New Mombassa

0930 Hours, October 20, 2552 (Military Calendar)
Sol System, Earth's Upper Atmosphere, Kharkenov's HEV

Sergeant Kharkenov felt his bones rattle as his Human Entry Vehicle dropped into the Upper Atmosphere of Earth. He noticed through the small square viewport that the tall-tale flames of re-entry were burning the HEV. He could hear the outermost layer peel off as the heat took its course on the HEV. He then felt the heat inside the HEV. He hoped to whatever deity existed that this would not be his final drop.

Ten percent of all ODST casualties were caused by the failure of the HEV during an orbital drop. It was why most people viewed the ODST's as insane, they would have to be to be willing to risk their lives in a small pod that either burned up entirely or malfunctioned in some other manner. Then again, it's what made the ODST's so appealing in the first place to Vladimir: they got to do crazy things that no other human being would even dare doing, and it was because of these crazy things that the Helljumpers knew that they were the best.

Vladimir felt the temperature rising still; he also felt the drop slow a little. The pod's internal temperature could rise to 37 degrees Celsius (98 degrees Fahrenheit), and the drop speed was slowed down by the friction with the atmosphere of Earth itself. He could still hear the layers of ceramic peel off from the heat. After what felt like an hour, but was actually several minutes, the drag chute at the back of the HEV deployed, slowing the pod considerably. That along with retro-thrusters on the bottom of pod caused it to decelerate enough so that the impact wouldn't be as life-threatening.

Vladimir checked the altimeter located in upper right corner of the pod. There was only 1000 feet left, and by now, only the final layer was left of the pod. Vladimir prayed that it would hold when the final impact came. Several seconds he got his wish when the HEV impacted Earth at thirty feet per second. The impact as always jarred his very soul with a heavy thud. The explosive bolts exploded the hermetically sealed door to the pod. Vladimir get out, his bones still rattling from the impact.

"Well that was fun" he said with a grin. He looked around and saw the other pods in his squad land, and seconds later their doors popped, revealing their cargo. They were near some crates and behind them was a downed Scarab, a Covenant weapons/mining platform; it leaked Plasma Coolant. The rest of first platoon landed in other sectors of his area, out of sight. His COM blipped.

"This is Lieutenant Strayer. Listen up First Platoon. It looks like we've landed at several key points that would allow the Covies to flank our Marines protecting the bridge. That bridge, gentlemen, is our only way of transporting armor to Mombassa proper, where the Covenant ship is." Vladimir tried to confirm the report, but the downed scarab was blocking his view.

"We need that armor to reach the city or else we lose the first battle of our world. It is imperative that we hold these points, any questions?" There were none. "Good luck then Helljumpers, Strayer out." The Helljumpers turned a hard left and went down an alley. He saw crates around him, and the tops of several surrounding buildings blown off. They moved forward, down a short ramp, and came at the rear of a medical tent. Vladimir saw a medic tending to four Marines.

"Seems like you've taken some casualties Marine" Vladimir stated. The medic turned around and faced Vladimir. There was a grim, somber look on the Medic's face.

"You would think that we'd be able to cure burns by now, considering how long we've been fighting this damn war; but no, all I can do is give them biofoam and painkillers" the Medic replied. His eyes told Vladimir he'd seen hell and there was defeat in his mind.

"What's your name Marine?" Vladimir asked.

"Corporal Alda sir, 524th Marines; judging from your outfit sir, I'd say you're Helljumpers?" Alda was looking at the 105th ODST Division patch on Vladimir's right shoulder. It was a red shield, with a skull as a flaming comet, mouth opened and eyes ablaze in a hellish manner, with 'O.D.S.T' in black letters and 'Drop Jet Jumpers' in a smaller font below it.

"That'd be correct Corporal, who's in charge around here?" Vladimir inquired.

"I'm guessing Staff Sergeant O'Conner is sir. He's right up front" Alda responded, pointing outside the medical tent. Vladimir looked beyond him and sure enough there was O'Conner, staring to the front of his area, not moving. They moved away from the tent and Vladimir approached O'Conner. O'Conner did not seem to hear Vladimir. Vladimir tapped his shoulder. O'Conner spun towards him quickly, with a scared look on him.

"Jesus, you scared me…Sergeant, thought you were Covenant for a second." Vladimir took a hard look at O'Conner's face. He had the typical thousand-yard stare of one who was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Mark opened a private channel with Vladimir.

"Sir, that look is never good, I suggest we dump him somewhere, he's only going to get in our way" Mark said. Vladimir took the comment in stride.

"Staff Sergeant O'Conner, I'm Sergeant Kharkenov from the 105th. We're taking over this operation, mind telling me what's been happening here?" Vladimir questioned.

"My regiment, the 524th, was tasked with holding Old Mombassa, while the other two regiments in my division were defending New Mombassa and the Industrial Sector." Vladimir remembered the map of New Mombassa that he looked at during the drop down. In the north where they were at currently was Old Mombassa, the original town; southeast over Mombassa Bridge, was New Mombassa, where the Space Elevator was; to his east was the Industrial sector and the docks, where civilians were currently being evacuated. O'Conner continued.

"All was going well for a while; we had several engagements with infantry, but nothing we couldn't handle. Then the Scarabs came. They wiped out our armor and defensive positions. So for the past hour we've been falling back to position after position, getting closer and closer to the bridge. Finally, about fifteen minutes ago, a wing of Longswords came in and was able to down the Scarab that's in our rear. We suspected that the Covenant in there were still alive but we haven't seen any activity."

"Yes we saw the Scarab" Vladimir interrupted. "Alright O'Conner, I want you to take whatever men you have left and your wounded and fall back towards the bridge. We'll cover you." This brought a small smile to O'Conner. Mark opened a channel.

"But sir, what about Strayer's orders?" Mark inquired.

"If what O'Conner says is right, then we have several Scarabs heading towards the bridge. The only way we'll be able to combat them is if we gather enough firepower for one fell strike" Vladimir responded. Mark nodded, he understood. Staying where they were was suicide and worthless, at least on the bridge they might be able to take an effective stand, and buy time for the Armor to get through.

"How do we get to the bridge?" Bryce asked. Vladimir pointed towards a large black door about twenty five meters in front of them.

"According to city plans, that's a highway entrance that loops around to the bridge." Vladimir turned away and pointed at the bridge, which was a klick away forward and to the right. Bryce nodded. There was a sudden squawk from their coms.

"Staff Sergeant, this is Corporal Dietz in the warehouse; the Covenant are cutting a hole in the wall!"

"Dietz, this is Sergeant Kharkenov from the 105th, O'Conner is taking the wounded back to the bridge; I advise that you go with him as well."

"Acknowledged sir, alright men, we're falling back to the bridge!" The signal stopped. The Helljumpers proceeded forward and around a corner where the warehouse was; he saw the Marines were exiting through a large double-flap door. Vladimir could see a quarter-circle red mark, where the Covenant were cutting through. There were large stacks of crates to his left and two to his right.

"Alright men, we don't have that much time, so let's get these crates into position." They kept the two crates on the right where they were, which offered a frontal view of the wall. They also moved what crates they could on the right into a mirror position but eight meters farther behind. The crates were heavy, being three feet long and wide and five tall, each weighing at 150 kilos. They were able to get two sets of crates behind the forward crates, which would offer a leapfrog retreat back to the highway entrance some twenty-five meters behind them. First team was on the rear crates, to their left and eight meters ahead was second team and Vladimir, and to their right and eight meters ahead was third team. A perfect circle was cut into the rear wall of the warehouse and it fell.

Mark looked through the Oracle Scope of his S2-AM Sniper, his sights set on the red-armored elite, which stepped through the hole first. The crosshair was on its head. He squeezed the trigger, sending a 14.5 mm AP round through the Elite's skull. The back of its head exploded from the force of the round. Carnage ensued.

Max unloaded his SMG in bursts at the series of Grunts which went through the hole next. Each burst proliferated each Grunt with three to five rounds. One Grunt exploded after the rounds hit its methane tank. The explosion threw the Covenant bodies away from the hole. An Elite dove through the explosion unfazed, it rose up and fired a burst of plasma from its Plasma Rifle. The plasma flew over the heads of second team. Bryce and Vladimir fired from their rifles and hit the Elite's shields, which caused a shimmering blur for a second, and then the rest of second team joined in the fire. The Elite collapsed under the intensity of the fire, pock-marked with rounds.

Plasma started to flow through the hole and Covenant came out, with covering fire protecting them. Two Elites ran to the remaining crates on the left, and blindfired over the top of them at the ODST's. The Helljumpers attempted to fire back, but there the Plasma overhead was too thick.

"Fallback! Leapfrog formation, and keep low!" Vladimir ordered. First team crouched farther and ran to their left towards a wall adjacent to a series of generators, behind that wall was the Highway entrance as well, which was open. Second team fell back towards first team's position, as third did to second. The ODST's recommenced their fire at the Covenant which was spreading out of the small hole in wall with the rage of a tidal wave.

"Wahlen! Are they gone?!" Vladimir asked over the roar of the battle. Mark stole a glance right towards the medical tent, it was empty.

"Roger that!" he replied. "Fall back to the highway!" Vladimir ordered. They fell back once more, covering each other with grenades and rifle-fire. PFC Spencer Wilson was running to the final wall near the entrance when a burst caught him in his left leg. Spencer fell down as the plasma ate through his suit.

"Ah shit, my leg!" he swore. Max ran to his downed team member with plasma fire all around him. He reached Spencer and grabbed his arms, dragging him back towards the wall. Vladimir looked on in awe as he dragged Spencer several meters without any plasma hitting him. He reached the wall miraculously, he pulling Spencer to his feet.

"Thanks sir, I thought I was a goner" Spencer said, up on his feet with a slight gimp.
"Next time, you haul ass faster Wilson, understand?" Max said with seriousness in his tone. Wilson nodded.

"Enough grab-ass Helljumpers, let's move to the bridge!" Vladimir said. Mark sneaked a peak around the corner of the wall. The Covenant were fast approaching their wall.

"Shit! They're on us!" Mark shouted. The Helljumpers hauled it down the ramp that was the highway entrance. Wilson was having trouble catching up with a gimp leg, so Max and PFC Joe Bartley, another third team member, carried Wilson on their shoulders; all the while having a mob of raging Covenant hot on their trail. Vladimir turned around and set his sights on several grunts, killing them all. Bryce fired on a trailing Elite, unloading his magazine while back-pedaling, the Elite succumbing to its wounds. Max and Joe blind-fired their SMG's while carrying a hopping Wilson.

The ODST's reached the bottom of the curving ramp, and proceed left, up an incline, which would lead them to the bridge. They ran, continuing to fire sporadically at the gaining Covenant hoard. They were halfway up when PFC John Mueller tripped, nearly falling. Vladimir and Mark grabbed him and helped him up without losing a step. They could feel the heat of plasma fire nearly hit them. Vladimir thought that they would not make it, feeling each plasma bolt come closer and closer, when he jumped through the entrance of the bridge, along with his men.

The ODST's crouched and turned, unleashing a wave of fire on the Covenant. Marines from the bridge ran up and joined them. The combined fire soon quelled the tide of Covenant, forcing them to retreat from whence they came. At soon at the least Elite ran out of Vladimir's view, he rose slowly, tired from the intensity of that battle. He looked up and saw two Warthogs approaching; both were the troop carrier design, with the same cab as a normal hog but with a flatbed in the back designed to carry twelve Marines. On the flatbed where two seating benches; several bars that curved from one side to the other, designed to hold a rain tarp, and on the rearmost bar was a M247 GP Heavy Machine Gun - .30 Cal. It was the same one stationed in the rear of Pelican troop bays.

Platoon leader 2nd Lieutenant David Strayer was in the driver seat of the first one, with second squad in the second one.

"Hop in first squad" said Strayer, looking at Vladimir and his men. Vladimir rode shotgun while his men were in the back. They drove across the bridge into New Mombassa.

"Sir, what about our orders to defend the bridge?" Vladimir inquired, looking in the side mirror as the Marines stationed at the bridge disappeared over the hump of the bridge.

"Sink set us new orders. Since we don't have the firepower to take out the Scarabs, protecting the civilian evacuation has been deemed priority." Strayer said, reaching the tool booth of the bridge and driving through.

"But sir, what about the Marines on the bridge?" Vladimir asked, feeling some slight guilt because he already knew the answer.

"Only two of the nine rifle companies are left in the 524th. They've been deemed expendable to give us enough time to protect the civilians." Vladimir thought about this; 260 plus men that were being sent to their deaths. Strayer spoke next as if he had read Vladimir's mind.

"There's nothing we can do for them now, except to proceed with our mission." Vladimir knew he was right, if Marines had to die so that a bit of humanity could be saved, it was worth it.

"So what is our mission sir?" Vladimir asked.

"Second Platoon was able to capture the Liwitoni MagLev Train Station near the Authority Route. It's the fastest way to reach the last civilians, who are at the docks in Section 14" Strayer said as their Warthog turned right onto the Authority Route. The next several minutes were quiet as Vladimir thought of the fate that they had condemned on the Marines. It was horrible, but necessary as their lives would doubtlessly save hundreds of civilians from the hands of the Covenant.

Vladimir was still pondering when he noticed some movement in his peripheral vision. He looked at the side mirror and saw two Banshees five hundred meters behind them and at least fifty meters high in the air. One was on their Warthog and the other on second squad's. He chinned his COM.

"Men, we got—"

"Already on it, sir!" PFC Andrew replied. He got up from his benched and manned the M247. He gripped the bolt and pulled it back, loading a .30 caliber round into the chamber from the ammo drum on it's right. He set the approaching Banshee in the circular sight and thumbed the triggers. He did not notice the slight recoil as .30 caliber rounds erupted from the barrel firing at five hundred rounds a minute. The opening stream of rounds missed the Banshee on the right, as the Banshee barrel-rolled to the left. Andrew cursed and adjusted his aim, cutting a swath horizontally towards the Banshee. It flew up in a loop-de-loop and as it reached the apex of its loop, it barrel-rolled to the right.

"Goddamnit! Whichever split-lip is piloting that banshee is trying to be a smart little bastard" Andrew grinned as he continually tried to adjust his aim while the Banshee would roll away, and fire a few shots of plasma to no avail.

Vladimir sneaked a peak out of his side of the cab and looked at the Banshee hounding second squad. He saw green energy collecting across the two plasma emitters on the front of pilot's capsule, as watched as a Fuel Rod bolt of radioactive plasma launched itself at second squad's 'hog. The bolt impacted several meters behind the 'hog, but the concussion of the blast was enough to lift the back end of the 'hog half a meter into the air. It landed with a loud thud and the Warthog continued on its way. He guessed nothing had happened to them, because a steady stream of fire was still coming out of them.

Andrew was starting to worry about his ammo supply. The M247 only carried a thousand caseless rounds, enough for two minutes of sustained fire. He started to fire in bursts. He was getting pissed at the evasive tactics of this Banshee. He then got an idea. He fired to its right, and he saw the right thruster brighten, and barrel-roll to the left.

"Why the hell didn't I think of that before?" he said as he fired to its left, and watch the left thruster brighten. He then swiveled the M247 to the left quickly and fired a ten-round burst in the spot where he hoped it would land. Sure enough, the Banshee barrel-rolled as he fired and landed in a spot to meet ten .30 caliber rounds in its face. Andrew saw the rounds impact the front of the Banshee and watched as the banshee fell to the ground, exploding as it hit. Andrew looked away for a second and saw its remains tumbling on the Route, trailing far behind them. He turned to the left and aimed the machine gun at the Banshee still trailing the other Warthog. He fired a sustained burst and smiled as the rounds hit the Banshee on its left flank. It wobbled for a second, allowing the other 'hog's gunner to fire across the front of the Banshee. It too, exploded and fell to the ground in pieces. A short cheer went up in both Warthogs, satisfied by their success.

The Warthog's turned right onto an exit and went down a short ramp and through an entrance door into the Liwitoni area. In front of them was a small garage which connected to the only road in the small area. They went onto the road, went past a decommissioned truck, and stopped at a spot with the tracks and second platoon to the right. The ODST's got off the 'hogs and greeted second platoon.

"Damn glad to see you Strayer" Second Lieutenant Arthur Pearce laughed as he shook hands with the first platoon leader.

"So am I Pearce, why don't we get this show on the road?" Strayer replied, as the doors to the MagLev Train opened.

"Ladies first" Pearce said. Strayer shot him a harsh look and muttered under his breath as first platoon boarded, then second platoon. Pearce went up to the driver's cabin and set the stop to Section 14, pressing the autopilot button as he left the cabin. The train moved slowly at first, then gained speed as it moved along the Magnetic Rail towards its destination.
Vladimir sat alone and looked out the window as locales passed by him at fast rate. The slow bumps of the train ride made him relax as he stared outside, as recessed memories swelled to the surface.

0730 Hours, August 30, 2552 (Military Calendar)
Epsilon Eridani System, Reach, Orbital Defense Generator (ODG) B-214

Vladimir ran with his MA5B Assault Rifle in his arms, slamming his shoulder into the remains of a warthog, as plasma flew over his head. Behind him was his faithful squad, defiant to the Covenant onslaught. They attached themselves to other cover in the immediate area. The Covenant had come out of nowhere, ambushing the UNSC ships in orbit along with the Mark V Orbital Defense Stations. The ODST's had been training at a nearby Military Reservation while orders came by. All UNSC infantry were to protect the ODG's powering the Defense Stations at any cost. The Covenant had sent wave after wave of troops against them, and resources were wearing thin among the men.

"Push forward, men!" Vladimir ordered, as he leaned out of cover and fired at an Elite that ran across the pock-marked battlefield towards them. Bryce joined him as their combined fire brought the Elite down. They ran out of cover and crouched into a 'roadie run,' running as fast as they could to the forward bunkers in an attempt to push back the Covenant advance. Plasma whizzed by overhead as Bryce dove into the bunker, which was nothing more then a small trench with a M247, and a façade of Titanium-B armor in a half-square. Bryce came up and saw another Elite firing at some unseen target. He held down the trigger, sending rounds into the Elite's back. It fell forward under the force of the fire and fell down, dead.

Mark got out his M6B Magnum and fired at several Grunts in the trench, killing them all with expertly placed headshots. PFC John Mueller manned the M247, loaded the chamber and fired at a herd of Jackals advancing under shield cover. The machine gun mowed them all down. The other men manned positions on other side of the M247 and unleashed hell upon the Covenant. The steady streams of fire were affecting them, but it was only a pinprick in the approaching hoards. Vladimir's COM flowed with voices from every direction.

"Sir, where the hell is that air strike we requested?!"

"My men are dying here, we need reinforcements!"

"We got a breach in Alpha's sector!"

"We're being overrun! Fall back!"

The confusing din was playing hell with him and everyone else. It seemed that there was no chance that they would be able to hold back the Covenant from the ODG much longer. Vladimir closed his eyes, forcing the voices out. He took a deep breath and opened them, looking down the sights of his AR, and squeezed the trigger, sending bursts into Grunts and Elites. He stole a glance to his left, watched the bunker on the left take a direct hit from a Wraith's Plasma Mortar. He heard men screaming and watched the bunker melt. He saw one men struggle to stand, his face literally melting off onto his disintegrating hands. The world slowed to a snail's pace for Sergeant Kharkenov.

"Get out of here! Fall back!" he yelled, his words seemed slurred and slow, as if he was talking underwater. They moved out of the bunker and fell back, chaos ensuing all around them. He heard a deep rumbling and looked up, witnessing several Longswords flying overheard and past him. They all turned around as they watched the bombers drop their payloads onto the Covenant. Fireballs sprang up everywhere, but the effect only lasted several seconds. The Covenant continued forth, unfazed. Vladimir looked up again and saw Pelicans landing in the rear, evacuating.

They all ran as fast as they could towards the Pelicans, their troop bays deployed and bases of fire covering their approach. They could hear the plasma sizzle past them as they jumped over barbed wire and trenches, over bunkers and craters, until they reached the Pelicans. They all got onboard as the Troop Bay door closed. They flew out of there fast, rising towards the heavens.

Vladimir felt a steel ball drop in his stomach as Plasma impacted the ground where they just were, glassing the area. Turbulent winds rushed forth across the battle plains and the temperature rose, compacting the Atmosphere and disintegrating any building in its path.

"Oh my—sir, is that—?" Mark asked.

"Yes Mark… Reach is gone" Vladimir replied, melancholy. He shut off his COM. He was glad no one could see his face behind his visor. Tears ran down his face. The Covenant had taken everything from him: his family, his love, and now his home for the past couple of years. It was here that he was indoctrinated into the ODST's. H would make damn sure that every single Covenant would pay for their crimes, even if he had to do it himself. His hatred of the Covenant became a true part of him, as much as his hair and eye color. He looked at his other squad-mates in the troop bay, no doubt feeling the same thing he was. Well, he had lost nearly everything; at least he still had this family.

And nothing would stop them from their victory.

"Sir? Get up sir, we're here" Mark said, shaking Vladimir awake. Vladimir sighed at the memory, but remembered what he had to do. He got up and exited the train. They were at the Section 14 station, under the road leading to the docks. They ascended a flight of stairs and opened a door into a tunnel. They got onto the walkway and marched the short distance to the docks.

Amassed in front of him were several hundred civilians, climbing down ladders into the boats that would lead them to their safety. The civilians stretched all the way under the bridge which mantled the statue. It was some sort of circle with rectangles jutting out of it. One could fly through the hole in the center with a Banshee if they wanted too. To his right was a somewhat complete building. To his right and forward was a half-finished building. They're seemed to be many half-finished buildings around here; there was even a bridge with a section missing, which led to the only other entrance into the area. Strayer and Pearce assembled the platoons.

"Alright men, here we are, at the end of the road. It is here that we make our last stand in the city. Our duty is to get the last of the civilians out of here. We are to cover their exit. The good news is that we have the tools necessary" Pearce said. There were three warthogs with M41 Light Anti-Aircraft Guns attached. Each could hold 3-5 men depending on the crowding.

"Bad news is that we have a large force of Covenant on the way. Intel confirms a Wraith tank along with several Spectre's, and Ghosts. All in all, we can count on ten vehicles with fifty-plus infantry. We don't have much time, so let's get to work men" Strayer said. Orders were issued and the ODST's prepared for the assault. The three 'hogs were placed in key positions. One overlooked the entrance to the area from the other side of the main bridge. Another was able to get into the hallway on the right of the entrance, which linked it to the building where they found the 'hogs, which was the first building right next to the docks. The last was placed on the bridge with the statue, it overlooked most of the area and could send cover fire to cover any exit, however there was no cover in the area. One hit from a Wraith and that would be it for the 'hog; the remnant of second squad, second platoon, got to man the 'hogs.

The plan was to force the Covenant to move to its left, down the pathway into the half-finished building in the center of the area. There it would meet ODST's, booby-trapped spaces, and fire from around the sector. From there they could deal with the rest of the vehicles. Vladimir's squad was on the third floor of the building adjacent the target, overlooking the surrounding walkway of the target building. Mark smiled.

"This ought to be as easy as shooting fish in a barrel" he laughed.

"Don't count on it Mark, you never know what Covie has up his sleeve" Bryce replied, amused. Mark shot him a look, then focused his sight through his Oracle scope on the entrance, they were about to come any minute now…

Right on cue, the entrance door melted in a flash and the Wraith tank went through the new hole.

"Damnit, they got smart!" Max said. Usual Covenant Battle Doctrine had the infantry go first, and the vehicles behind them; and not vice versa. The Warthogs paused for a second, confused, but opened up on the Wraith anyways. The .50 caliber rounds made dents in the Wraith's armor, but they were too small to incur any damage. The Wraith turned towards the 'hog on the bridge, as if annoyed by the Warthog, and fired its Plasma Mortar. The large ball of Plasma traveled in its arc as the Warthog was turned into reverse.

Time seemed to slow as everybody watched on helplessly as the plasma ball impacted the ground in front of the Warthog. The splash of heat caused the front of the 'hog to melt, and the engine morphed into slag. The ODST's inside were far enough away only to get slight burns, although black marks appeared on their armor. They ran away from the Warthog, falling back to secondary positions next to the bridge.

The Wraith then turned to its left, looking straight at the other Warthog. The Warthog stopped firing as the men inside scrambled to get out. The Wraith fired again, disintegrating Warthog and all things inside. The infantry started to come through next to the Wraith and walked out almost cautiously at first, then sped up. They spread out over the area.

"Sir, we have targets from our position, requesting permission to fire" Vladimir asked Strayer, Seeing Covenant walking onto the walkway of the target building.

"Open fire in three…two…one…Fire!" Strayer ordered. The ODST's opened up, unleashing an ambush onto the suspicious Covenant. The Covenant on the walkway were pinned down by Vladimir's squad up in their nest while they were flanked from behind by first platoon's second squad. Second squad met with fire on their rear flank by Covenant waiting in a room which opened up onto the walkway; this room was also on the entrance's right side. Second squad hunkered down, pinned in the exact same spot that the Covenant they killed were in mere seconds ago.

"Give them cover fire men!" Vladimir ordered, rising out of his cover to fire upon the Covenant in the room by the Covenant entrance. He squeezed his trigger, pinning an Elite and saw in his peripheral vision as Second Squad fell back on the walkway and ran towards Vladimir's position, then turned right, and lay against a wall overlooking the Covenant's position. The squad leader nodded at Vladimir, he returned it and looked forward. The Wraith was looking right at him. It fired.

"Move out!" Vladimir shouted, turning around to face his men and hauling some of the crouched ones up to their feet. He turned around to see the Plasma Mortar impact his position. The building ate up most of the blast, but the concussive forces knocked him back several meters. He slammed into the ground hard, but was miraculously unharmed. Mark helped him to his feet.

"Sir, are you alright?" Mark asked.

"Yea, this is starting to get a bit old though" Vladimir responded, both laughing. They descended the stairs to the second floor, turned right and then left into a hallway that was adjacent to the target building. This afforded them a flanking view of the walkway between the target building and the Covenant position. Second squad stopped firing on the position to reload, and the Covenant took the lull in the fighting to charge Second Squad's position.

Vladimir's squad opened up on them. A few of the Covenant were knocked so hard by the surprising fire that they fall off the walkway, falling ten meters to the dirt floor below. The Covenant turned towards him and returned plasma fire. Vladimir and his squad ducked behind cover, as Second Squad fired on the now re-flanked Covenant. The Covenant attempted to fall back but was annihilated by both sources of gunfire.

The Wraith turned towards second Squad's position. A look went across Vladimir's face, but then changed as the Wraith exploded.

"What the hell?" said Max, perplexed by what could have occurred; both platoons did not have any M19 SSM Rocket Launchers. A voice came in over the COM.

"Turns out one of the civilians had an antique rocket, what are the odds of that?"

"See if you can scrounge some more up Jim, for the other vehicles" replied another voice. The other vehicles popped into view from the entrance, unleashing plasma in all directions. The remaining Warthog fired back, unleashing a torrential stream of .50 caliber fire onto the entrance, downing several of the single-piloted Ghosts quickly. The Spectre's fired back, the Plasma Cannon on top unleashing hundreds of plasma rounds per minute. The Warthog drove off its perch, driving down two short flights of steps onto the road that lead to the main bridge.

Vladimir's Squad watched the Warthog stop and rev its tires, then let go, driving fast up the ramp that lead to the space where the bridge would be. It flew, and unleashed round after round at the surprised Covenant Vehicles. A Ghost on the left of the 'hog fired up at the 'hog in its midair flight; the fire impacting the rear axle of Warthog. The back end of the Warthog exploded, sending it end over end into several Ghosts and a Spectre. The garbled mass collided and exploded in a bright flash of plasma. Nothing would have survived that blast. That left one Ghost on the dirt floor in the middle of the area, and another Spectre beside it.

The ODST's moved forward into the target building and descended several flights of stairs onto the ground floor, only to come face to face with the Ghost, and its Elite pilot having its smug grin slapped onto its face. A sharp crack ensued in the staircase, and the Elite's now headless body dropped to the floor, the Ghost sitting down onto the ground. The barrel of Mark's Sniper Rifle smoked.

"And that, my friends, is called payback" he remarked with a smile.

"Remind me not to get on your bad side" John said, as the ODST's exited the target building, with the Spectre's back on them. Mark fired on the exposed gunner, killing it. The Spectre turned around, now gunner-less, as the ODST's opened up their guns on it. The side passengers died quickly, the driver taking a little bit longer. As the driver died, Vladimir turned his COM onto the Company channel so that everybody in the vicinity would hear him.

"All hostiles destroyed." You could hear the cheer from the ODST's in the area as they celebrated their hard-fought victory. Strayer and Pearce assembled the men quickly.

"Good job men, we won without any civilian casualties. Although we have lost a few of our own…Let this day not be forgotten amongst the men who fought here, and amongst those who have died" Pearce said, as the men muttered a quiet 'Oo-rah' in honor of their fallen brethren. "Pelicans have been called. We're leaving New Mombassa. We'll be re-deployed shortly so don't hold your breath. Dismissed" Pearce remarked.

They did not have to wait long for the Pelicans to arrive, and each squad boarded their own. As they flew away from New Mombassa, Vladimir stood up to address the men.

"While the day may not be over yet, I just wanted to say that I am damn proud of each and every one of you. You've outdone yourselves time and again, and I am proud that to have the privilege to serve beside such men of courage, duty, and honor…Yes, we have lost New Mombassa to the Covenant, but rest assured we will be back, two days, two weeks, or two months from now. We will come back." Vladimir sat back down, receiving a pat on the back from Bryce.

"Good speech sir, I think I vouch for the men when I say that we're glad to have you with us."

"Thanks McDermid. I really appreciate it—"

"Holy shit, what the hell is that?" PFC Joe Bartley interrupted. Everyone looked outside. They all watched hopelessly as the Covenant ship hovering over the city punched a hole into the atmosphere. The Covenant Assault Carrier was making a trip into Slipspace inside the atmosphere. The Nitrogen in Earth's Atmosphere collided with the nothingness of Slipspace and created a chain reaction as the Covenant ship and a human frigate passed into Slipspace.

A humming occurred that grew louder and louder as a ball of chaotic energy ate up New Mombassa. It expanded and kept on growing, and growing.

It approached the Pelicans….