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The Log
Posted By: Odin of SoS.<kavika86@yahoo.com>
Date: 9 July 2005, 1:31 pm

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      Sergeant Ackerman peeked over the log he was using as cover and fired his MA5B on cyclic. A pair of Grunts dropped, another pair opened fire. Ackerman took cover. The green plasma from the Grunts' plasma pistols burned holes deep into the tree. If the tree wasn't four and a half feet thick, Ackerman would have been dead by now.
      Corporal Butler lobbed a grenade over the log towards the Grunts. He was rewarded with a sharp squeel, followed by a low thud resounding through the ground. Trees were lit up in the night. Smaller trees, snapped and fell. He could see shrapnel rip into the larger trees behind his position. Half the foliage on the other side of the log was gone. Butler looked to his right at Sergeant Ackerman and smiled.

      Sergeant Ackerman looked at what remained of his squad. The Marines of second platoon, Fifth Force Reconnaisance Company were as hard as they come. After the last few weeks, even they were close to breaking. They're mission to assassinate the Grand Field Master that was leading ground operations on Earth was completed. On their way to the extraction point, their Pelican was shot down and now they were stranded until another came.
      Ackerman looked to his right at the twelve remaining Marines. He looked to his left at Corporal Butler, then at the six bodies lined up neatly on the ground. His eyes wandered skyward and found the moon. He sighed, checked his ammo counter and replaced his near empty magazine with a fresh one. The ammo counter read full.

      "Jakobsen, tell me you got HQ on the horn." He said it without even looking up.
      "I can't raise em Sergeant. There must be some interference with the satellite."
      "Yeah, like maybe a Covenant armada." They all let out a soft chuckle. "Everyone, COM check." Ackerman growled into his throat mic. Twelve growls came back through.
      "Well, at least squad COMs working." Jakobsen smartly remarked.

      Ackerman knew what was coming. He knew that the Covenant had their position marked and they were on the way, in force. The last four patrols were nothing compared to what was coming. He knew that if he didn't get a Pelican soon, they were dead. They had no support whatsoever. Very few people even knew they were on this mission. It was secret to even some of the highest brass. Human leaks were few, but they were there.

      "Corporal Hopper, Horstman, Banister, come here." The three Marines maneuvered around their squad leader. "Hopper, take your team, push east and find us a better position. Keep in constant contact. Report any activity you see, stay low. Swift, silent, deadly." They smiled and Hopper's team moved out.
      "Corporal Butler, take your team west, do the same."
      "Roger that Sergeant." Corporal Butler pressed his mic to his throat. "Pirates! We're moving out." Four more Marines stood up, let out a low "arrr", and followed their team leader.
      Corporal Butler's "Pirates" were the ones who got the kill earlier that day. They were Sergeant Ackerman's best team.

      Fifteen minutes later everything was still. There was no noise at all. Not from the Marines. Not from mother nature. The wind didn't even blow. Hopper and Butler had been checking in every two minutes. It was as though the woods they were hiding in was vacuumed clean of all other life.

      Ackerman's headset chirped on and recieved static for a brief second.
      "This is Echo-Four-Hotel, up with four." Corporal Hopper whispered through the COM. "No new position identified. No activity."
      Ackerman pressed his throat mic and whispered, "Solid copy team two, keep looking."
      "Arr, this be the Pirates." Corporal Butler chimed in, "We be seeing no new settlement. All scalliwags are present."
      Sergeant Ackerman smiled and pressed his mic. "Roger Butler, keep moving."
      "Hold on," Butler whispered through the mic. "Wormuth did you see that?" He was talking to his team. "About twenty meters ahead of you, by the rock."
      "I don't see anything Corporal."
      "Keep a lookout for...right there!" Corporal Butler opened fire.

      Their squad leader was helplessly listening through the COM system.
      "On your right Trinidad!" Gunfire rattled through the headphones.
      "There's three by the rock Corporal!" The roar of Elites came through and the volume of gunfire increased.
      "I got one! They don't have shields!"
      "Shit! A sword! Behind you Engelken!" Engelken's sceams were heard as he died.
      "Wormuth get back over here! Fire to the right of it Yogi!"
      "I got him. Two more by that tree!"
      "Which tree idiot! Where's Trinidad?" An explosion sounded and everything went silent.

      "Butler report!" Ackerman screamed over the COM.
      "Sergeant, we made contact with four invisible Elites. Engelken's down and Trinidad's missing."
      "Are there anymore threats Corporal?" No response came through. "Corporal Butler! What is your situation?"
      Static came through for a second, "...shit." Corporal Butler's COM went dead.

      Sergeant Ackerman looked west just in time to see a distant eerie green glow fade away. His eyes grew to size of dinner plates.
      "Corporal Hopper, get back here immediately." He said over squadCOM.
      "Already on my way Sergeant. We're just...shit!"
      Sergeant Ackerman cried on the inside. He knew they were already gone. He listened again, helplessly.

      "Horstman pick Banister up, we're not stayin for this fight!" The staccato of automatic rifles were close to Sergeant Ackerman's position.
      "I got him Corporal, let's go!" Sergeant Ackerman could see flashes of blue and orange through the trees. A blue explosion lit up the area. Another orange explosion flashed.
      "On your right Corporal! Shit! Shit! Banister you fat fuck!" Team two's COM went dead.

      Ackerman started to tear up. He looked at the six bodies to his left again. "Contact!" was shouted. Rifles spat death, hate, and discontent.
      He just sat there, behind the log. Thinking, remembering the events of the last few weeks.
He reflected on their efforts to track down their target. Remembering Wormuth falling down a hill and landing in the middle of a Grunt patrol. That set them back a few days. Remembering how the "Pirates" draped a Jolly Roger over their target's body. Grimacing at the thought of the Knight that killed a third of his squad. He was snapped to by Jakobsen.

      "Sergeant! I got HQ on the radio!" Jakobsen forced a handset into his hand and continued firing.
      "HQ, this is Romeo-one-two-five. We need extract now! Grid bravo-golf-four-five-niner-niner-eight-six!"
      "Ackerman, this is Lieutenant Colonel Ryan. Don't worry, I'll work up some Pelicans for you." He was extremely relieved to have his battalion commander working on it.
Ackerman checked his men. Only five of the nineteen men he came with were still standing. He stood and fired a burst into the treeline, only to have twice the volume of fire return.
      "We can't hold out much longer sir!" He lobbed a grenade over the log waited for the explosion. A low thump vibrated the ground. He stood up and fired until his magazine was empty. His bolt locked to the rear and his magazine automatically ejected. Ackerman took cover and reloaded. Jakobsen dropped next to him, with a four inch hole in his face.
      He picked up the radio, "Colonel Ryan you got to get us out of here now!"
      Lieutenant Colonel Ryan came back, "I won't let you down son, I won't let you down."
      Another Marine dropped clutching his arm. "Goddamnit sir! How long do we have to wait? I've lost fifteen men already!"
      Plasma fire whizzed over his head. The tree they were taking cover behind caught fire as the Marines were firing.

      "Marines! We are leaving!" Ackerman emptied another magazine as his last four Marines took off through the woods. He slung his empty rifle, picked up the radio, and took off after them. His Marines made it to the designated LZ and took cover behind various trees. They opened fire again, covering Ackerman. He slid into the prone next to one of his Marines. They were all firing furiously. The Covenant were lighting the night sky up with plasma. Blue, green, pink, and orange crisscrossed through the woods like a fantastic light show. Ackerman grabbed the radio again.

      "Sir! They're lighting us up like a firestorm!"
      "This is Colonel Ryan, You've got to get my men out of there now!"
      "We don't have clearance to go behind enemy lines sir!" A pilot responed.
      Ackerman stopped firing and looked at his men again. Batista was leaning against a tree firing his pistol with his only working arm. Clark fired wildly with his Battle Rifle. Balthaser was holding Koller in one arm and was firing his pistol with his free hand. Tears ran down the side of Ackerman's face as he picked up the handset and calmly spoke.

      "They're not coming for us, are they sir?