Fort Underworld Pt 5
Posted By: K. Beitzel and J.B.<email@example.com>
Date: 21 June 2010, 12:16 am
As her fingers dashed across the display, Hyla added, "Try not to draw attention to yourselves. That door is locked down with a very complex code. Short of blowing it apart, they aren't getting in here very quickly."
Alexis picked up the sidearm Hyla discarded, holstered it, then prepped her AR for battle. "I dare say that these things are attracted to movement, or sound." She whispered. "They all woke up after we popped the chamber, the shockwave must have travelled through the mountainside, and if it's smell.. well, we're covered in enough gunk to cover it."
There was a muffled cry from outside, followed by metallic pounding from behind the door. One after another, the Flood broke their limbs on the metal in an effort to bring it down.
"Well, at least we know they can't decrypt door codes," commented one marine.
The Flood continued for at least a minute before the commotion outside subsided.
"You think they gave up?" another marine whispered.
Alexis shook her head, warningly. There was no way these abominations would just give up.
Another cry bellowed from the neighboring chamber, deeper and more powerful.
The door buckled as if struck by a wrecking ball, then a long, chitinous blade cut a gap in the metal. Alexis jumped clear before the bladed arm slammed into the wall beside her. "Everyone get back!"
The marines opened fire, spraying the behemoth with lead. It raised its blade arm threateningly, seemingly unaware that it was taking fire, then opened up, spitting infection forms all over the floor.
Alexis hosed them down quickly, then reverted back to the tank, which was now trying to squeeze through the gap. "Focus on that thing! Don't let it through that doorway!" Alexis called out, "Hyla! We need an exit!"
"Working, just hold on a little longer.." the elite replied through gritted teeth.
The Flood juggernaut unleashed another wave of infection forms before punching a second hole in the door. It had enough leverage to remove the metal completely from its bearings, then tossed the hunk of metal at the nearest two marines, crushing them easily into the floor.
"I'm trying!" Hyla snapped back. She slammed her hands on the console in frustration, "Dama! ACTIVATE!"
The console flashed white, and displayed a new screen, 'Drones Active: Cleansing Protocol Initiating'.
Three panels slid open on the surrounding walls, glowing brightly from inside. One of them gave a high pitched whine, and from it came a metal drone, somewhat resembling a curled up spider. Two more came from the adjacent ports.
Hyla looked back to the display, 'Cleansing: 0% - Quarantine Active - Please Stand By...'
The drones turned toward the oncoming Flood, smoothly, chittering to one another. One of the drones flexed its 'arms', considering the tank form for a moment, then shot a hot beam of fire right down its throat.
"Get down!" Decker threw Walters to the ground as the alien drone scorched the infected abomination that had made it's way into the chamber. "Hey, squid! Wrong button!"
Hyla continued to tap at the panel as she growled. "These constructs are friendly, human. Make the most of them while I take down this lock system."
Decker fired off a rapid string of obscenities before resting his LMG on a turned-over crate and adding fire to the maelstrom. "Fire! Fire everything! Kill that son of a bitch!" The creature wailed under the torrential, combined fire of Marine and machine alike as it stumbled backwards, then collapsed near the entrance. Alexis and the two Marine survivors let out a whoop as it twitched twice before falling silent for good. The celebration was short-lived, however.
"Ammo check!" Decker shouted as he dropped an empty box magazine before kicking it across the floor and snapped a fresh one into place.
"Two full mags left, Sarge, twenty-two rounds left on this one," Walters reported.
"Mag and a half over here, sir," said Pvt. Nichols.
"One and change, then my sidearm, sir," Alexis called out.
"Great, more enemies than ammo," Decker mused as he fed the ammo belt into his M247's chamber. From down the hall, more of the ravenous parasites and their hosts could be heard swarming towards their position.
His headset suddenly buzzed to life. "Echo 412 to Cliffhanger Zero One, you boys still ok down there?"
"Negative Echo 412, this is Cliffhanger Actual, we've taken extreme casualties and are attempting to transport a Tier Three out of the hotzone, can you assist, over?"
"Affirmative Cliffhanger Actual, we're about...uh...four minutes out from your position and nearly bingo on fuel. Echo 351 is on standby and prepped to provide fire support. Be sure to check IFF beacons before coming up; it's going to get hot and it's kinda hard to see who's who down there."
"Damn," Decker muttered. These things were all giving off the same IFF signals as they were. Going up with them on meant they'd all die - either from friendly fire or from creatures that were once friendly.
"Negative on that, Echo 412, fire on any target transmitting a valid UNSC IFF signal, I repeat, fire upon any and all targets who are transmitting valid IFF signals. No time to explain, you're just going to have to trust me on this one."
"Uhh...roger that, Cliffhanger Actual. We'll go weapons hot on footmobiles tagged as friendly. Be there in three for extraction to Exodus Base, Echo 412 out."
Decker turned back towards his squad just in time to see the alien finish deactivating the security lockdown. "Nicely done squid," he said. "Everyone, we've got friendly birds on the way, but they're going to fire on anything chirping friendly. Kill your IFF tags, stick close, and be ready for anything. God knows these damned things are going to follow us up. Let's move!"
As if on cue, more of the creatures began swarming into the room, and Decker's voice was drowned out by gunfire once more.
Alexis backed up toward the elevator, tossing aside her wasted AR, "Rifle out!"
Hyla picked up a downed sentinel and fired a beam of light into a straggler, slicing it into pieces, "Use this!" the elite called, tossing the weapon to Alexis. "All of you, make haste! I only have a small window of time before the reboot is complete!"
A deep groan resonated from the elevator shaft as the ancient technology came to life.
Alexis looked from the elite to the rest of the marines, "Get over here, on the double!"
The last few bullets slammed into the doorway, sending a chain reaction along the line of infection forms, but the break in fire allowed an infected marine push its ugly head through the gap.
"Yes, Ma'am. I'm working on getting some additional cover fire for your comrades." Alexis was shocked that the elite responded so calmly. "But I can not stop the lift, anyone left behind will not have a second chance."
Alexis nodded, and readied herself, holding tightly to the sentinel weapon, "Let's make sure these marines get to evac then."
"Yes, Ma'am." Hyla grinned, slamming a command into the console.
Four more sentinels emerged from the overhead ports, each picking targets and opening fire without a hint of hesitation. A fifth came from the elevator shaft above, decorated with gold plating and elegant Forerunner glyphs.
"Whoa.." Alexis looked over the sentinel major, but after receiving a warning look from her CO, she snapped back to the battle, "Alright! Let's show these sticky fuckers who's boss!"
The lift rumbled underneath their feet, ready to begin its ascent. "Uhh.. never mind. Marines! We're outta time, get over here! Move, move, move!"
"David!" Alexis called, "For Christ's sake, are you coming or not?!"
Decker started backpedaling as he fired into the oncoming swarm, turning to aim at new targets as he dropped them. Backing up towards Pvt. Nichols, he slapped him on the shoulder.
Nichols emptied what remained of his magazine and sprinted towards the elevator as Decker continued pulling back. "Move!" Decker shouted as he tapped Walters' shoulder as well, signalling him to break from cover.
"Any day now, Sergeant!" he heard Rodriguez call from the lift. Decker turned and began running as his M247 ran dry. "Shit!" he growled as he detached the magazine, slapped his last mag into place, and fed the ammo belt back into the weapon. Still running, he quickly looked over his shoulder to see how much distance there was between him and the horde.
A long, whip-like arm greeted his gaze.
Decker fell to the ground in a heap, his weapon loudly clattering across the floor and onto the lift. Stunned but still conscious, he stood up and barely had time to dodge the creature's second swipe. He grabbed his combat knife from it's sheath and stabbed quickly at the monstrosity's arm, spewing pus and coagulated blood across the ground. Behind him, Decker could hear Rodriguez fumbling with his LMG, trying to line up a shot. "Don't shoot, God damn it!" he yelled as the alien charged again. "Alright you bastard, let's dance."
Decker ducked under it's arm as it lashed out, circling behind it. He gave a sharp kick to what was once the back of the creature's knee, causing it to fall as he smashed into it's back and plunged his knife into it's spinal cord repeatedly. The mutated Marine wailed in agony as it lost motor functions in it's lower body - a cry cut short as Decker's boot crushed it's throat before he stumbled the last few meters towards the lift.
Rodriguez handed Decker's LMG back to him as he slid his knife into it's sheath. "Thanks for holding that," he said as the lift whirred to life and began to ascend. "Now let's get the hell out of here."
"Aye, Sergeant." Alexis replied with a slight grin, "All opposed can jump ship."
"At this speed it will take us some time to get to the top floor, I will try to convince some of these sentinels to come with us in case there's anything waiting for us further up."
"If not, I still have this." Alexis burned another flood form in two.
Hyla frowned, "I suggest you save your energy, Ma'am. I am willing to chance that the weapon alone only has a limited lifespan."
The sentinel major broke off from the others, making a beeline for the elevator shaft. Just as the gap closed behind it, the sentinel made it through. It pushed past the marines and nudged Hyla away from the console.
"I hope it's calling its buddies to help out.." Alexis grumbled.
Hyla scowled, "Be glad we got what we did. They were already spreading their resources thin enough. Under less stressful conditions, perhaps I would be given the chance to examine one."