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Scuttling the Eternal Damnation (Part One)
Posted By: Matthiasthe14th<Sturgeonsurgeon1984@yahoo.com>
Date: 8 July 2006, 8:53 am

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0487 hours, November 11, 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Xenophon Military Facility, Roma. (Covenant attack of Earth.)

      "Alright, men and women, obviously we're in a serious fix." General Harver stated.

      The general stood in a small room with a stainless steel floor and pitch black ceiling. Besides the two guards at the door, there were four others in the room, all decked out in ODST combat suits. They dutifully nodded to the general's stating-the-obvious opening line.

      The first, STS-31, or Matt, as he was called, was about six-two, twenty-seven years of age, lean, and naturally—handsome. He was the quickest of the four. His dark brown hair was longer than regular soldiers were allowed to have, but it was more than plausible that Harver had conveniently been lax on that rule for all of them. The General never was responsible, and nobody knew how the man got the job.

      The second, twenty-two year-old Jimmy, was about five foot eleven, build like a brick outhouse, and had short blonde hair that stuck up at odd angles. He had been a champion weightlifter in every military establishment in which he'd spent over a month. His codename was more on the cool side for him, since it came "first" in the number line; codename STS-19.

      Sabina STS-22 was of Russian descent, five foot ten, twenty-four, with jet black hair and piercing blue eyes that really unsettled the guys. She was trained as an urban sniper, and took great pride in that fact. After all, urban snipers are the best, according to her. Despite all the rigorous training and skirmishes she had gone through, she was still as beautiful as ever, never plump, chunky, and fat like Matt and Jimmy constantly teased her about being. Her personality was solemn, and while most thought her totally void of emotion, her close friend knew she had a soft spot in her heart for romance, and, really, for Matt.

      This "close friend" was Jessie, her sniping partner. Jessie was also tall, almost as tall as Matt. But the striking difference was that Jessie was not a guy, but a girl. To couple that with her flaming red hair, her young age of twenty-three, and her outspoken nature she was a very noticeable woman. She was always speaking her mind, and in turn, always had enough room in her mouth for both feet, and perhaps some more. Despite all this, she managed to keep her codename, STS-25, under wraps from most people.

      "You see," Mr. I-know-the-Covenant-are-attacking-and-it's-as-if-you-don't continued, "the Covenant have finally found Earth, and are pretty much creaming our forces all over space." Everyone nodded. "Now I called you here because of a certain Covenant cruise stationed above New Athens. From what our regional A.I could tell us, its name is the Eternal Damnation, and believe me, it's one of the more formidable ships we've seen. Hence the name, we believe. Now—."

      Jessie cut in so incredibly disrespectfully that the other three gaped at him in shock. "But sir, what do you want us to do about it? Break in and pilot the thing?"

      "First of all, shut the heck up when I'm talking. I could have you court martialed for that behavior, but this mission relies too much on you. Second, no, nothing as crazy as that." Harver reassured her. "We simply want you four to place a bomb in it and make sure it won't be removed until detonation."

      Jessie's eye twitched. "So," Harver went on, "I'm appointing Jimmy to be the squad leader here. The rest of you will do what you do best, but following him. You also get an A.I. to access the ship's capabilities, but unfortunately, you don't have the ability to communicate with it until then, due to a lack of interface in your helmets, which, by the way, are a new model designed to withstand a good round of plasma at close range. You get to choose your own weaponry, as well. We have some that are. Any questions?"

      Jimmy raised his hand meekly. "Uh, yeah, I do, sir. First, are we really this expendable? Second, do we have any other mission to occupy ourselves with? You know, one that doesn't guarantee our grisly death? Because we're not Spartans, and we aren't exactly up to their level anyway. This kind of seems like suicide. Plus, are you saying that you want us to stay on the ship until it explodes?"

      Harver frowned. "I label you 'Not a team player.' Actually, I've decided that Matt will be the squad leader. Matt, please get your team in order, and get their gear in armory 46-C. You'll be moving out at 0530 hours."

      "Yes, sir!"

      "Good. Alright, briefing is over. Sorry I couldn't give you more information, but you'll have to find a way into the beast yourself through a gravity lift of something, maybe. We'll provide the explosives, so there's no need to worry about that. Here's the A.I.—your responsibility, Matt." The general handed Matt a thick metal disk encasing glowing blue crystalline structure.

      "Thank you, sir."

0504 hours, November 11, 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Armory 46-C, Xenophon Military Facility, Roma. (Covenant attack of Earth.)

      Matt and the rest of his team entered the armory. The room was about four hundred feet long, with racks of weapons down the whole length. The first thing they noticed was that many of the weapons were much different from the regular ones they were used to.

      "Hey! Check this out!" Jessie called as she rummaged through the guns. "It says 'HSR-12 automatic shotgun! I've never seen one of these before. Here, I'm going to test it really quickly."

      There was a sickening pause as everyone looked at her with horror. She returned their stares with a confused expression. "What? What's all the—Oh, I see. No, don't worry, I'm actually going to test it on the official target this time. Really."

      Jimmy gave her a disbelieving look and resumed his original study of the weapons, but Matt had to see that she would really do as she said she would. Sabina simply glanced at Jessie, then holstered an S2 AM silenced, something that definitely might come in handy.

      As Matt and Jessie made their way down to the target range, Sabina leaned over to her teammate and said, "Jimmy, these weapons are amazing! Look at this: Since when did we have silenced sniper rifles, besides that incident with the uprising in Texas? And automatic shotguns? I swear I have never seen one of those before. It's kind of sad, really."

      "I agree." Jimmy mused. "But we rather need this kind of weaponry, anyway. Looks like the General finally got some sense stabbed into his head."

      "I doubt it. It was probably his secretary's idea."

      "Good point."

      The discharging of the HSR-12 suddenly reverberated throughout the armory. It didn't really have a high rate of fire, perhaps one hundred forty shells a minute, as Jessie was quick to point out. But what it lacked in speed was definitely made up for with power and noise.

      "What the frickin' heck?" Her outraged voice echoed up the hall. "This isn't automatic! It's so darn slow that a dang blind grunt could meander my way and frickin' pummel me to death before I had a chance to pump another round in it! Crap!"

      Jimmy ignored her banter and decided that a rocket launcher was always useful, no matter the mission, so logically, it must be useful on this one. He hefted one gingerly, collected the ammo, and grabbed an M7 SMG on the way out, making sure to take a pistol with him as well.

      Matt shrewdly relieved Jessie of the shotgun and gently pointed her in the direction of the S2's and pistols. I think I'll take this, he thought, looking at the HSR-12 in his hands. He picked up several containers of shells and loaded them into his backpack as he made his way back up to the entrance. He also secured an M6D pistol in a holster on his thigh, put on a belt of grenades, and took hold of a BR55.

      Jessie hefted all her equipment onto her shoulder, the same type that Sabina had: S2, M6C, K9 Optical Enhancement mechanism (which was simply a telescope with just about everything needed to be able to see clearly in the dark, and even detect enemies through walls with thermal imaging. With that package came several bonuses, too.), and a string of grenades. On cue, the loudspeakers blared General Harver's baritone. "Attention, nineteen, twenty-two, twenty-five, and thirty-one! ETS in five minutes. Make your way to flight bay 24-F immediately and board pelican Delta-9."

0526 hours, November 11, 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Flight Bay 24-F, Xenophon Military Facility, Roma. (Covenant attack of Earth.)

      Protecting their eyes with their arms from the constant blast of dust and air, STS team clambered into their pelican and took their seats. As they strapped themselves in, they noticed a squad of marines reciprocate their movements in another pelican on the other side of the bay. Dang, I hope they're coming with us, Matt thought, sweating profusely.

      "STS team," came the distinctly male voice of their pilot over the helmet comms, "I am your pilot, Delta-16. Delta-34 will be carrying Charlie squad, who will be accompanying you to the target, if they can survive the LZ. If anybody can. I believe you'll also find the H&E in the locker to the left of the cockpit door. Try not to forget them on the way out."

      "Ten-four," Matt acknowledged.

      The two pelicans gracefully rose into the air and up through the seemingly never-ending vertical tunnel, following the enormous train of spotting lights to the surface.