Fort Underworld Pt 1
Posted By: K. Beitzel and J.B.<email@example.com>
Date: 9 June 2010, 3:09 am
Author's Notes: This was originally just a little bit of practice for the both of us, but it turned up something worth sharing. Please let us know what you think, take the time to comment and provide feedback, we really appreciate it.
This was written in a Role Playing forum, but we feel it works well as a story once put together.
Fort Underworld by K. Beitzel & J.B.
The Pillar was grounded and the Covenant were now swarming over the anomaly, aptly dubbed "Halo". Small clusters of UNSC personnel were scattered throughout the installation, most of which were searching for more survivors; others chose to hole up in the mountains within small fortresses carved out by ancients.
One such fortress; hidden beneath frosted peaks and shrouded in fog, had not seen any sign of Covenant life for over a week. Beyond the main entrance was a braid of tunnels, virtually undetectable under the ice and stone which led to two large sections hidden beneath the ring's surface, where it was warmer.
Most figured it was close to some kind of reactor or boiler room. Some ventured deeper to investigate, only to find locked doors.
There were enough provisions for at least another week and a half in the caves, but scouts often did not return from above the fog.
Alexis was certain the CO was just sending the weakest to their deaths.
She looked up from her boots to watch yet another marine leave for the surface, uttering a small sigh. She wondered when she would draw the short straw. She leaned against a crate of scrap metal and stared at the roof. It was so peaceful under the peaks, so hard to believe that on the surface, there was a war going on.
There was a soft hiss from the double doors as a marine emerged from the locked sub-sections.
"Rodriguez, your shift."
Alexis stood straight, "On my way," she paused in front of a man thumbing through a pile of reports, "Sir, I don't know how long we can keep that thing down there.."
Sgt. Richardson, the man left in charge of 'Underworld', looked up from his makeshift desk, "Then get rid of it. We don't need more mouths to feed down here."
Alexis rolled her eyes, she didn't know why anyone captured it in the first place. "Yes, sir."
"While you're at it, find out if it's edible. I heard they taste like chicken." Richardson added with a smirk. Alexis hoped to God he was joking.
Sergeant Major Decker was already standing next to the captured Jackal's room when Alexis arrived. He crossed his arms and tapped his fingers on his shoulder impatiently, as if he was becoming anxious in the absence of something to kill.
"Heard Richardson talking about eating this thing. Don't think he's seen it then, eh? Little bastard's a twig, even for a Jackal." He nodded towards the room behind him. "It's sleeping right now. Didn't want to, but considering the blood loss and the fact that I had to whack it about with the old rifle some before it'd stop trying to cut my throat out for bringing it food, I think it's body got the final say-so."
Decker hefted his MA5C and pulled back on the bolt to make sure a round was chambered. It never hurt to be careful.
"Anyhow, what's the word? We're not killing this thing, and we're not eating it either. ONI would shit themselves if they found out we iced a tier-three asset, and I don't want to be on the receiving end of that. You wanna look at it, look all you want, but try and kill it and I'll put a 7.62 UNSC in your skull quicker than lightning. Same goes for Richardson.
"Besides, shouldn't we be more worried about figuring out what's what? When's the last time we heard from Keyes or Cortana? I hate fighting blind. Tends to get you killed really quick, and I don't have any intention of dying here."
Alexis listened to the soft hum of the installation for a moment, and wondered why none of these Forerunner structures had steps. They were forever coming across ramps.
She snapped back to attention when Decker cleared his throat loudly.
"No, Sir. No word yet."
She looked past Decker to the small doorway, thumbing her belt absently. "Any idea on what's further down? Does the Jackal know anything?"
Decker shook his head. "Nah, don't think so. Not like we can tell anyway, unless it secretly speaks English or you have a translator who speaks bird. Personally, I say we run a few sensor sweeps of the catacombs ourselves, maybe snake a few optical cables down. Whoever built this place didn't just make a giant storage fortress for nothing, and since we're doing something between jack and squat right now, my curiosity is starting to get the better of me."
Decker's gut emitted a slow, mournful groan.
"My appetite's starting to get on my nerves too. Did that incompetent little prick of a Sergeant in the other room make contact with everyone else yet or not? I've got some extra supplies I always bring with me, but nothing more than a couple days' worth." He began playing with a loose round as he spoke, his boredom becoming very evident.
"I'm almost starting to hope we get attacked. Always wondered if the big ones taste like calamari."
Alexis smiled and shook her head, she would never get used to the small talk with the men in the UNSC.
She unslung her rifle and leaned against the wall, "It's unsettling isn't it? The tranquillity." Decker grunted in agreement.
She rubbed her shoulders against the warm corridor wall and added, "It makes you wonder why nobody else is coming near this place. Can they not find it? Are they not looking?" she glanced toward the door behind Decker, "Or are they avoiding it?"
Assault fire cracked from the upper levels, followed by yelling, catching the attention of the two marines below.
"Get that shit out of here! Now!" Richardson's voice rang through the chamber.
Alexis caught a glimpse of the happenings when a crewman triggered the sliding doors above. A flash of grey and tan, and the doors closed once again.
She jogged toward the door, "I'll be right back." she called, "Make sure bird brain stays asleep."
The double doors opened once again, revealing the mayhem. There was what looked like an un-armed and un-armored Elite leaping about the chamber, hiding behind the men and women to avoid being shot.
It also appeared to be eating something..
"Kill that wretched thing!" Richardson barked. Alexis noticed his desk was a mess, and his cigar wasn't at its usual resting place. The Elite passed Alexis and the smell of tobacco filled her nostrils. She stifled a laugh, disguised it as a cough, and waited for it to pass again, being sure to have the door behind her open.
"Come on kid, let's go." She muttered, tracking it with her eyes, "Sergeant! Heads up!" The Elite ploughed into Alexis' body, taking her breath for a moment as they slammed against the wall. Alexis used the momentum of their bounce to force the young Elite into the hallway, and down the ramp. They tumbled end over end until they reached the landing at the bottom where she kept a firm grip on the creature's neck and right arm.
There was some commotion upstairs, and Richardson emerged at the doorway, "The bloody squid took my last cigar!"
Alexis laughed softly, still catching her breath, "Do you really want it back, Sir?"
"Hmph." Richardson turned away from the hallway, obviously indifferent to what Alexis and Decker did with it, "My fuckin' desk! Alright get cracking, I want this place spotless in 20 minutes!"
The Elite uttered a gurgle and a hint of fear surfaced in its eyes.
Alexis looked from the Elite to Decker, "Still wondering if they taste like calamari?"