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Fort Underworld Pt 2
Posted By: K. Beitzel and J.B.<nthrosptn@hotmail.com>
Date: 14 June 2010, 8:53 am

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Author's Note: In hindsight, Riko (the jackal) is pretty useless, but he is the secondary objective in the mission I suppose.

Decker stormed out of the room to see Richardson's command center in chaos. Marines scurried about as the Sergeant screamed at them to get his "office" reorganized. Decker grabbed Richardson by his neck and slammed him into the nearest wall.

"YOU! We're all trying not to STARVE to death here, we have enemy combatants on-site, and you're worried about your God damned DESK?" Richardson was unceremoniously thrown to the ground as Decker pointed at two Marines entering the room, rifles scanning the area for hostiles. "You two, you're with me. Get some flexcuffs and stay sharp. Alexis, hold that damned thing down, we're on our way!"

A few minutes later, the Marines had the Elite restrained and unconscious, courtesy of a sharp smack to the face by Decker's assault rifle. He turned to face Alexis as he ran a hand through his hair, smoothing it out. "Any idea of where that squid came from? Doesn't look like it was trying to infiltrate our position, but you can never be too careful around aliens. For that matter, what the hell are we going to do with it?"
Decker paced back and forth down the hallway, flexing his fingers as his adrenaline rush slowly subsided. "I know ONI is going to want this one for sure, even more than that Jackal. Looks different too - non-combat garb, not as big as the bastards we kill for our day job. Of course, getting it out of here relies on us surviving long enough to actually get extracted. What do you think?"
"Maybe it's just hungry? It had a good feed on Richardson's cigar before I caught it." Alexis nudged what was left of it across the floor, "As for where it came from, I know about as much as you do, but look at this." She brought up a small display showing friendly tags in the area, "There's us.. then there's the elite." There was an extra blip in the room they were standing in, "It must have been the thing taking marines on the surface, it's been undetected this whole time because it's been holding friendly tags. God knows what it did with them, I can't see anything beyond the upper chamber on my scanners."
Alexis frowned slightly, "It has no blood on it.. well, no human blood. Either it's a clean killer, or those marines are still alive somewhere."

As she came to, Hyla wished hard that she would wake up back on her shuttle, no Humans and no Covenant. She opened her eyes, blinking against the light of the room. Her brain was swimming, her vision half-purple from a bleeding tear duct, the voices above her muffled by a concussion.
The small room was warm and vibrated softly beneath her, almost alive. She tried to sit up but the butt of a rifle pressed firmly to her shoulder, keeping her in place.
"Good morning sleeping beauty." Alexis leaned on the rifle a little, "How's your head?"
Hyla's head rolled to face the other marine, he was the one who hit her. He did not kill her. He saved her life.
"Hey, Decker, I think it likes you." Alexis grinned.
Hyla looked back to the marine holding her down, "Gaar.. ma.."
"Excuse me?"
The elite thought for a moment, recalling what she had learned, "Food."
"Figures." Alexis removed her rifle, switching out for a sidearm as she reached into her pack for some jerky. As it was removed from the pouch, the acute meaty smell made Hyla's mouth water. "You can have this.." Alexis said, dangling it over the elite's head, ".. if you answer our questions first."
Hyla's stomach growled audibly. She looked back at Decker, hoping he would show her another mercy and give her some food instead.
"Ask this thing if it knows what's going on out on the ground. And for that matter, ask where she got the IFF tags. If there's Marines out there in the cold, we're not going to leave them." Decker nodded towards the door. "I'm gonna go deal with Richardson."

By the time Decker got back up the ramp and into the main room, Richardson had already settled down back behind his desk. Decker kicked his chair as he came in. "Hey, asshole, officer on deck. Be glad I'm not in the mood to be picky right now."
Richardson shrugged a bit and continued to puff on his cigar, apparently unshaken by Decker's recent abuse.

"Anyway, you finish those scans of the catacombs I asked you for?" Decker asked. Richardson leaned forward and laid out a sheet of paper on his desk. "Not much of interest, Sergeant Major," he said. "Well, except this." Richardson pointed at a small figure under the readout for the lowest floor, three stories below them. "There's something down there. Appears to be organic material of some kind."
"Some of ours?"
"No way, they're below body temperature. If it's ours, they're dead, and the dead don't move. Personally, I say we investigate. I think Pvt. Rodriguez can probably make a breaching charge to open the door so we can get a look around without damaging what's inside. Hey, maybe it's edible."
Decker smirked a bit. "That'd be nice, wouldn't it? A little foreign cuisine never hurt anyone. Sounds like a plan, we'll get moving once she's done interrogating the squid."
"Glad to see you're not opposed to the idea, sir. I'll round up a squad of volunteers to assist you. Oh, and uh, no hard feelings, Sergeant Major."

Decker chuckled as he went back towards the makeshift interrogation room, pointing a finger back at the young Sergeant. "Hey, that's MY line."

Alexis stood straight as Decker re-entered the room, "Sir. This elite claims that our scouts are alive, or were when she last saw them. She says they're in another chamber parallel to this one."

Hyla stood, with some difficulty, and bowed her head to Decker, "You are the Merciful Decker. I give my respect to you and hope to receive yours as well."
"She asked who you were.. my apologies, sir." Alexis burned with shame that she had slipped her CO's name to the enemy. In her defence, this elite didn't seem like any she had seen captive before.
"It also forfeited this IFF tag." Alexis handed it to Decker, "Ensign Geoff Kensington. One of the first to escape the Autumn. She killed him before we managed to get to his escape pod. Must have missed it on our initial head count."
Hyla stepped forward, but Alexis cut her off, "Please.." she stared into Decker's eyes, ".. I ended his suffering. He was wounded, broken in many places. No feeling in his lower half.." she looked down remorsefully, ".. he.. begged for death."

Decker clenched the dead Marine's tags in his fist. "You kill my men, kidnap my scouts, and ransacked this garrison? And you have the nerve to call me merciful?" he snarled as his patted his M6C's holster and closed the short gap between himself and the Elite. "I ought to ice you where you are. Count yourself lucky that someone else has more important plans for you." He quickly cocked his right arm and slammed his fist into the alien's face, causing it to cry out in pain.
"Of course, that won't stop me from exacting a little vengeance for the dead," he hissed. "The dead can't speak, and their murderers don't get to speak for them. Their comrades do, though. You know my name already, now remember my face. If they're lucky, it'll be the last thing the rest of your race ever sees. But for now, I think we're even. Just remember that sometimes, mercy is only an excuse to extend punishment."

Decker turned to face his subordinate, who was clearly shocked his violent outburst against a prisoner of war. "Alexis, get this damned thing out of here. Throw it in one of the empty rooms and lock it down, and meet me on the entrance to the lower catacombs in five. Bring explosives and some ammo. God knows what kinds of uglies we might find down there."

The room became very cold as the muffled yelling of the Merciful Decker faded away.
Hyla had tried to make them see. She wasn't like her brethren, these Covenant beasts. She didn't even know what this Covenant stood for, only that she was hated deeply for it.
Hyla dropped to her knees.
She couldn't let herself succumb to sorrow. She was still alive, but this didn't keep the tears from welling in her young eyes.
Hyla looked over at the beaten Kig-Yar, half-crouched with claws poised and teeth bared, "I'm certain you're aware, I am of little threat." She tried to keep her voice as elegant as possible, "I am Hyla Ra'onu. What do I call you?"

The jackal only hissed in reply and dropped into another fevered sleep.