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Attack on Installation 06, part 4
Posted By: Jake Trommer<wedgefan@comcast.net>
Date: 16 June 2008, 5:17 pm

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Attack on Installation 06
Chapter 4
Halo Installation, Tharidanis System, 2553

      Admiral Brett Harsoth stood on the bridge of the cruiser Berlin, contemplating the tactical board. At his side was the stocky Lieutenant Freyyr, his aide, and the grim Captain Joseph Kline, the leader of the Berlin's Marine contingent.
      Kline shook his head. "The Covies are falling back, but it won't be long before they return."
      Harsoth shrugged. "Let 'em come. When they do, we'll just smoke 'em like we did the last time."
      The Marine looked incredulously at the naval officer. "Sir, are you crazy? I'm down to a little more than three-fourths unit strength, the majority of your security volunteers were killed, and we still don't know whether the recon Longswords got our message back to Earth."
      The Admiral looked at Kline as if the Captain were a child spewing gibberish. "Relax, Captain. Admiral Hood will be on his way before long. In the meantime, I want the trenches reinforced. Divert personnel from ship's security if you have to. We're holding this position, come Hell or high water."
      Appropriately enough, that was when the Flood Combat Forms of what had once been Ensign Konstantin's security troops dropped out of an air vent and onto the bridge.
      Kline was a veteran of war. Not a veteran of anti-Flood ops, but a veteran of war. That was why he only paused for the tiniest fraction of a second, then yanked his M6D from his holster and opened fire.
      Admiral Harsoth, on the other hand, had been having nightmares regarding the Flood ever since the failed mission to capture an Infection Form for research. That was why he froze stiff, and was knocked unconcious by a blow from an ex-security guard.
      Kline shot the Combat Form in the chest. The Infection Form nestled within exploded, and the thing dropped to the ground. The Marine Captain knelt down to look at Harsoth.
      "He'll be okay," concluded the Captain. "Doesn't look he has a concussion or anything." Kline turned to face Lieutenant Freyyr, who wore a shocked expression. "Get him down to medical, Lieutenant."
      Freyyr hesitated, realized now wasn't the time for inter-serivce rivalries, saluted, and did as Kline ordered.
      The Captain once again diverted his attention to the tactical table. He immediately emitted a loud swear. At the bridge crew's questioning glance he barked, "They're coming! I want all available security personnel to the trenches. Lieutenant Freyyr has command of naval ops when he gets back. Let's move!"
      As the bridge crew scrambled to their tasks, Kline jammed on his helmet and raced for the trenches, eager to be back where he belonged.


      In the trenches, the Marines once again braced for an attack, jamming clips into weapons, and calibrating helmet displays.
      This time, however, the atmosphere wasn't nearly as grim as it had been before. Kline knew that was no doubt attributable to the Scorpion tank platoon holding position just behind the trenches. If the Covies got into a standoff, the tanks would act as artillery. If the aliens charged, the tanks would push them back.
      Providing anti-infantry support once again was a line of Warthogs, with their chainguns facing the area the Covenant would be coming from. Each gun was manned by a Marine or a Navy volunteer.
      Kline, gazing through a pair of binoculars, spotted a flash of purple, and knew the fight was on. "Alright, people, here they come. Don't fire until we know what they're up to."
      A series of comm clicks provided the Captain with acknowledgements. No one was talking now.
      Gunnery Sergeant Fredericks, the NCO who had assisted Kline during the raid on the ringworld's control room, leaned over. "Sir, up the mag on your binocs. I don't think they're shooting at us."
      Kline did so, and spotted a mass of grey and yellow things attacking the Covenant. "Shit," said the Captain. "The Flood. Just what we needed."


      Major Domo Jara 'Soromee was in trouble, and when a Sangheili admitted that, you knew the situation was bad.
      The Major's file of six Kig-Yar, twelve Unggoy, and three Minor Sangheili had been ordered to serve as the vanguard for the attack. The Unggoy had, as per military doctrine, taken point. They had advanced ten meters when the attack had come.
      The only warning 'Soromee had gotten was a shriek of "Parasite!" from the Unggoy's leader, and then the Flood were upon them. Energy sword ignited, 'Soromee had slashed left and right, hoping to save his men, but it was a lost cause.
      First the Kig-Yar had been taken, vanishing under a horde of Combat Forms. Then the Unggoy had been jumped by a phalanx of Infection Forms, mutating into horrific, pulsating monstrosities.
      So now it was just down to 'Soromee and his three Sangheili.
      "Major!" came the cry of one. "We must pull back, or the Parasite will kill us all!"
      'Soromee slashed the chest of a Combat Form, denying the request as he did so. "No. Our orders were to clear the way, and we shall do so."
      The same Sangheili spoke again. "Sir, we've lost all our support troops, we are running low on ammo, and---" The babble was cut off as the warrior's shield's failed. A single Infection Form grasped the opportunity, and jumped onto the soldier.
      'Soromee reached for his plasma rifle, but it was too late. Flood flesh was already sprouting across the warrior's body. The Major ran his plasma sword through the Sangheili, hoping to stop the complete mutation. Belatedly, 'Soromee knew the warrior had been right. "Warriors!" he shouted. "We must fall back, and alert the Field Master of this danger!"
      When 'Soromee received no reply, he had to make a decision: stand and fight, and likely be infected, or run, and lose his honor.
      'Soromee stood and fought. His blade was like a whirlwhind, bisecting an ex-Sangheili here, popping an Infection Form there. And when he finally went down, the area surrounding his corpse was literally piled high with Combat Forms.


      "Wow," said Kline.
      "Yeah," said Fredericks. "Wow."
      Kline clicked on his headset. "Looks like that was just a scouting party. Stay sharp. The main thrust could be coming at any minute."
      And as the Captain sent that transmission, he had a feeling that that minute would be very, very soon.