The Marine, the Rebel and the Sangheili: Morning Raid
Posted By: QuantumSheep<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 11 March 2009, 1:18 am
Lyssa had been sitting quietly for most of the trip, deep in her own thoughts, thinking about the past day's events and what could very well happen today. There was a chance she could very well die today; there was always a chance when you were in the marines. Anything could happen, she knew that well enough. Having been in the marines for over a decade, she had gotten used to the feeling of impending death that came whenever she was sent out on an operation like this one, she had learnt how to put it to the back of her mind and concentrate on the task at hand.
She glanced at the rest of her squad, trying to figure out what they were thinking. Corporal Walther was sitting with a neutral, but noticeably solemn expression on his face, Lyssa almost able to hear his heart thumping quickly in his chest.
Hawker was quietly muttering under his breath, the cross on his necklace held tightly in one hand as he muttered a quiet prayer. He didn't seem too worried about what was about to happen, he never seemed to be, confident that God would protect him.
Reynolds was sitting quietly, not looking either worried or happy, instead holding a combat knife in his right hand and twirling it about every now and then. He seemed to be masterful with the implement, something of which Lyssa found no surprise in learning.
Layman was sitting quietly, almost with a grin on his face as he checked his rifle once more, slid the bolt back and letting it click loudly back into place. He noticed the way Lyssa was looking at him and grinned at her, as if eager to start killing.
Lawrence, on the other hand, was suffering from an uncontrollable shaking fit of his left hand as he held it on his thigh, trying to make it less noticeable to the others. Nobody else had seemed to notice yet or they had and just didn't care. Lyssa didn't really care, just as long as his nervousness didn't endanger anybody else.
Kilgore stood in the middle of the Pelican's passenger area, casually chewing on a toothpick and humming quietly to himself. He glanced at the camera crew of three, frowned and turned to face the rear of the Pelican. The rear ramp had begun to extend, revealing the smoking rebel compound as they descended towards it.
Several of the metal and plastic structures that had once been part of the depot were now flaming hulks, dark smoke billowing into the air and creating a dark cloud over the compound.
"Okay squad, get ready to disembark!" The pilot's voice sounded through the passenger area, Lyssa immediately standing up as the Pelican descended towards the ruined compound. Already the distant reports of automatic rifle fire could be made out amongst the ruined structures and the smoke, bullets pinging off the Pelican's armour.
Lyssa looked at the others in her squad who had already begun to stand up, bringing their weapons to the ready. From what Lyssa could see outside, the Shortsword pilots had overdone their job, having laid waste to more than they had needed to. The problem was that there still seemed to be plenty of rebel soldiers entrenched amongst cover out in the compound, firing away at the Pelicans.
Lyssa ignored the shooting as the Pelican came to about half a metre above the ground. Bullets were pinging off the interior of the Pelican and regardless of this; Major Kilgore casually stepped outside, disappearing from view as he did so. His camera crew followed, disappearing from sight as well.
It then took Lyssa less than a second to issue her first proper order of the day.
"Go, go, go!"
The squad began sprinting out of the Pelican, Lyssa following closely behind, planting her feet on the sand below. Ahead she could make out a few flashes of automatic weapons fire coming from amongst the ruins of a metal building, the rebels there having taken cover near a crate filled with ammunition, allowing them to fire away crazily.
Dirt and sand kicked up around her feet, Lyssa running for cover which came in the form of some metallic crate. She could already see the other marines from other Pelicans running out into the firefight, a few getting cut down from concentrated rebel weapons fire.
Lyssa was almost to the crates, able to see Reynolds there, his rifle raised as he fired towards the entrenched rebel soldiers, attempting to suppress their positions. Adrenaline surged through her as she felt bullets hit the ground around her, sand flying up from the impacts. What happened next was a bit unexpected.
Somebody shouted the word, she couldn't tell who, but she glanced in the direction of the rebels who were in cover about forty metres ahead and managed to catch a glimpse of the incoming rocket which was leaving a smoking white contrail behind it. It went past her by less than a metre but was at such an angle that it hit the ground behind her. She barely heard the explosion since it went off so close to her, the force of it knocking her flat into the ground, leaving her dazed and with a high pitched ringing in her ears. She was only just barely aware that the back of her
armour was burning from the heat of the explosion.
She raised her head, the ringing in her ears droning out everything else as she slowly climbed back up, kneeling on the ground, unable to concentrate on anything in particular, her senses a mess from the explosion. Around her the hot yellow-white streaks of bullets whizzed by, a marine ahead of her copping one in the face and falling flat into the ground. A grenade went off a safe distance to her right and pieces of shrapnel came raining down all around, almost like confetti, getting stuck in the sand around the centre of the explosion. She felt a sticking pain in the lower of her back, burning almost which she had always known to be there since the missile explosion but now only causing her some grief.
The ringing was at its peak now, so looking around, almost dumbly, she could see the rest of her squad in a ditch ahead, Layman and Hawker firing their weapons while the camera crew filmed from behind. Lawrence was crouched behind a crate, his eyes closed as he swore quietly under his breath, bullets ricocheting off of the front face of the crate.
She was now only just barely aware that someone was yelling at her, seeing Reynolds crouched in front of her, yelling at her but to her there was no sound coming out. She looked at him for a moment, trying to figure out what he was saying, the ringing in her ears beginning to die down, allowing her to make out some of what Reynolds was shouting.
orders, Lieutenant?" Reynolds shouted, almost annoyed at the lack of an answer he was getting from her, "what are our orders, Lieutenant? We're pinned down, for fuck's sake!"
Lyssa, with her hearing now returned, took in the situation around her, noticing that most of the marines were either dead or pinned down. She picked up her rifle which lay in the sand close to her and gave Reynolds a stern expression. It was time to actually get her mind on the job, which would prove hard considering there were bullets flying all around her and the others.
"You see those guys up ahead?" She asked, nodding in the direction of the muzzle flashes from amongst the ruins of the portable office. Reynolds nodded; ducking down slightly as a grenade went off several metres away, knocking a marine onto the ground. He looked back up at her.
"What about them?"
"I want you to go around their right flank and take them out," Lyssa said, ignoring the explosion and keeping her eyes focused on Reynolds, "I'll provide cover fire, just gather the squad and make your way past whatever buildings remain so you're in a good position to fire. Once they're down we'll press forwards."
Reynolds nodded, heading back to where the rest of the squad was sheltering in the ditch. Lyssa ducked behind a stack of metallic crates as the rebel's weapons fire came frighteningly close, the Lieutenant managing to quash all her fears about getting killed. Rather, she reached down to where the now dull throbbing pain was, finding that her hand came back sticky with her own blood. She sighed; the inconvenience of getting wounded was something all too common for her. Right now she knew there was adrenaline surging through her system; almost blocking out the worst of the pain entirely but once this whole firefight was over it would start hurting a lot more, especially since she could feel a metal shard inside the wound. She would deal with it later, when there wasn't much risk of her getting shot or blown up.
Reynolds gathered the others, leading them past Lyssa and towards the set of mostly intact metal shelters and sheds that were down the right of the compound. So far, the other marines were slowly edging their way forwards but weren't doing very well, getting pinned down behind cover for prolonged periods of time. Lyssa would fix that; at least she hoped she would.
Watching as Reynolds and the squad started for the nearest shelter, Lyssa crouched up slightly so she could see above the crate in front of her; bring her MA2B Carbine to bear. She caught sight of the muzzle flashes and even less so the rebel soldiers themselves, clad in armour plating similar to what she wore but more concentrated on the chest than anywhere else. They were typical desert soldiers, raging from the lowly Privates that had their heads protected from the desert conditions by layers of wrapped cloth and goggles so they could see and then there were the higher ranked Sergeant, these guys with no headwear but varying degrees of body armour.
Lyssa brought one of the soldiers into her sights, only just able to see the guy, this one a Private, headwear and some plating on his torso. She fired, feeling the rifle kick back against her shoulder slightly, seeing down the sights that the rebel was still firing away, the bullet having harmlessly gone by the rebel. Lyssa swore quietly under her breath and decided she would just do what she had said: suppress and not kill, unless she was lucky enough to score a hit on one of the rebels.
Lyssa began squeezing the trigger rapidly, firing away at the group of rebel soldiers, seeing the soldiers themselves duck back into cover, the amount they were firing decreasing. Reynolds and the others were now down the right flank, taking cover amongst the ruins of a portable office as they found a decent position from where to open fire on the now exposed rebel soldiers.
Lyssa's rifle suddenly clicked on empty and she ducked behind cover, the rebels having seen this and coming back up into firing positions, spraying away with their rifles, bullets pinging loudly off of the crates she hid behind.
Ejecting the spent magazine and inserting a new one, she heard the rifle give a satisfying click and so managed a glimpse around the side of the crates, watching as Reynolds, Walther, Layman and Hawker opened fire on the rebels from their exposed flank, cutting the group of soldiers, silencing the rebel guns. Even from where Lyssa was, she could see Lawrence hanging back behind the rest of the squad, seemingly refusing to fire his weapon. That kind of behaviour was bound to get him killed but Lyssa knew from experience it was hard to change someone like that, so she decided she wouldn't bother.
The other marines were pushing forward from cover to cover, marines clearing out the portable offices by throwing grenades in through the doors or windows before charging in themselves and killing anything inside that wasn't already dead. The rebels themselves were holding their ground, very rarely falling back and seemingly fighting to the death.
Lyssa started forwards, moving from cover to cover, coming to the set of portable offices and shelters that ran down the right flank, noticing the large amounts of supply crates under some of the shelters. There was one set in particular which wasn't labelled but were all marked with 'IMPORTANT' labels, although God only knew what was inside them.
Cautiously making her way past a few noticeably empty portable office, empty because the doors were wide open and they had large holes busted in their sides, Lyssa was only slightly surprised when a pair of rebel Privates came charging out of an office ahead, the two running for the nearest cover which came in the form of a parked Jeep. Lyssa steadied her aim and fired a few quick shots, both rebels dropping suddenly, tumbling a short distance from their own momentum. Satisfied with her work, she continued, passing some more shelters where crates and other types of containers of supplies were kept, finding her way to where the rest of her squad were, and firing their weapons at some unseen targets.
Lyssa stepped amongst them, finding that a large, but scorched, open area was before them, having once been some sort of landing strip. The Shortswords from earlier had left it with scorched, blackened craters and had laid to waste the few cargo transports that had been parked under flimsy, now flattened, metal shelters. Rebel soldiers, a few dozen of them, were scattered across the landing strip and amongst nearby tents and shelters, firing away at the marines which were working their way down the left and centre of the compound.
"What's the situation?" Lyssa heard herself asking, although she was more intent on finishing the job than anything else. Reynolds was the one to reply, still in his usual calm manner, although Lyssa had sensed a bit of frustration when he had been yelling at her earlier.
"They ain't giving up their ground, that's what," Reynolds said, Lawrence coughing loudly behind them as he managed a glance over at a charred rebel corpse, the victim of the Shortsword attack earlier. Lyssa ignored Lawrence and the corpse, surveying the heavily defended zone ahead of them, catching sight of the marines on the other side of the compound pressing forwards.
"There's a whole bunch of important looking offices beyond this landing strip but we can't get to them," Reynolds continued, glancing at Lyssa, "what do you say we do, Lieutenant?"
"We'll make our way around the side, like we've been doing," Lyssa said, starting back in the direction she had been going, the squad following behind in a staggered formation, "those offices would hold the intelligence we're looking for, so it's our job to get inside them."
Ahead were a set of shelters and a bunch of marines, using some barrels as cover as they fired wildly and swore loudly at the rebel soldiers taking cover inside the large, desert coloured portable office ahead. The windows were open and every now and then would be the report of automatic weapons fire in the open window, bullets bouncing off the barrels the marines were hiding behind.
One of the marines, a man with a slightly foreign accent, was manning a thirty calibre gun mounted on a tripod which itself was mounted on top of the barrels. He was the one doing the swearing as he strafed the weapon across the windows, forcing the rebels inside to take cover.
Lyssa made her way behind the group, the rest of her squad scattering throughout the vicinity behind varying types of cover. The marines barely noticed her arrival, much more intent on finishing off the rebels inside the portable office. There was one thing that Lyssa thought of that would probably end their predicament that they obviously hadn't come up with yet.
" She began to speak but she was interrupted when the soldier manning the mounted gun, a Gunnery Sergeant by the look of the insignia on his uniform, spoke aloud.
"We ain't got no grenades," he said, his voice tinged with what sounded like a Western European accent, she couldn't be too sure. Accents weren't her specialty although now that she thought about it, he did sound sort of
Austrian, maybe German.
"What if I said I had some?" Lyssa asked, the Austrian continuing with his shooting, punching holes into the office but not actually hitting the rebels inside.
"Den I wood ask you to throw one through a window," the Austrian continued, pausing in his firing of the mounted gun as he began to reload. As soon as he stopped firing the rebels retaliated, muzzle flashes filling the open windows and bullets pinging against the metal barrels. The marines there ducked, Lyssa doing the same, as her squad opened fire from their positions behind them, although Lawrence seemed hesitant, taking longer to react than everyone else.
Something fist sized and oblong shaped landed close to the marine on the Austrian's far left. It only took one look to realize what it was, a rebel inside the office having managed to through it out of the window. The Austrian shouted and the marines abandoned their positions, Lyssa diving to the side as the grenade went off. There was a brief instance of deafness but this time Lyssa's hearing and her other senses recovered faster, although something red and sticky landed on her back, making her grab hold of it. It was stiff but squishy and so lifting it up and getting back on her feet, making sure to duck behind the set of barrels in front of her.
The stiff and squishy object was now in full view and she almost dropped it with surprise when she saw what it was. It was the arm of one of the marines, torn off at the elbow so that red and ragged strands of flesh hung from where it was once connected to the rest of the marine's body. Lyssa dropped it, letting it fall to the ground, suddenly feeling queasy.
For a moment she thought it was the arm of the Austrian but she saw him, the sole survivor of his group now, climbing back up onto his feet and brushing himself down. Now that Lyssa could properly see him and not just the side of his face she could see that he had well chiselled features and a rather bulky frame, built of muscle and not fat. He grinned at her, revealing near perfect white teeth. He lost that smile when the rebels inside the office opened fire, the Austrian searching for sight of his mounted gun but finding that it had blown up along with the barrels it had been mounted on.
Lyssa ducked behind her set of barrels, the Austrian running towards her and leaping behind them. While he was recovering, Lyssa reached for her waist and retrieved a standard fragmentation grenade from there, pulling out the pin with her thumb and throwing it towards the office. It passed through one of the open windows and disappeared inside, its arrival followed by a few shouts before there was a sudden boom! Part of the office exploded outwards, fragments of plastic and metal flying out of the epicentre of the fireball, the rest of the office being knocked either way and literally falling apart, like a badly constructed house of cards.
The Austrian, by now, was up on his feet, admiring Lyssa's handiwork. Walther had stepped up from out of cover and towards the ruined office; his rifle raised as he surveyed the damage done to the office, seeing that no one inside had survived. He breathed a sigh of relief and lowered his rifle, glancing back at Lyssa.
"Well, that worked out well," he said with a slight grin. Lyssa shrugged before remembering something important, pointing towards the severed arm as to bring the Corporal's attention to it.
"Corporal, do me a favour," she said, Corporal Walther giving an uncertain expression, "pick up that arm and find out who it belongs to."
With the rear ramp open Leon could take a good look at the compound, with smoke billowing from the buildings that had been destroyed in the Shortsword strike, many of the others still standing. The landing strip in the middle of the compound was pockmarked with craters, both big and small, rebel soldiers scattering throughout the smouldering remains of the compound with squads of marines pressing on them from the other side. There were several garages down one side of the landing strip, mostly intact and closed shut, as if the rebels were hiding something inside.
Leon knew he would find out soon enough but decided to concentrate on that task at hand, holstering his CM23 sidearm and readying his assault rifle, his training beginning to take over as the Pelican descended.
Unsurprisingly, the rebels amongst the portable offices below noticed them coming and so opened fire, the sound of bullets hitting metal ringing about the Pelican. Leon remained unfazed, as did Kyla, the Pelican coming to about half a metre off of the ground, allowing them to disembark.
Leon was the first out, his rifle at the ready as they landed on the sand close to a line of portable offices and shelters. Kyla followed him out and the pair broke up, Leon heading for cover which was in the form of a parked rebel truck, Kyla taking cover behind some crates outside one of the offices.
The sounds of nearby shootouts were quite noticeable in the silence that followed, the Pelican that had brought the Spartans to their destination taking off and flying away. The rebels up ahead, a large group of them, had lost track of the Spartans and were slowly moving their way forwards, Leon able to see an officer leading the group, this guy wearing only light armour and an officer's cap which denoted his rank in the OCPLF.
Leon leaned around the side of the truck, bringing the officer into his sights. His training had taught him that if you had trouble killing something, it was better to think of it as something that wasn't human, since it was far easier to kill something that was different to you. Leon, however, would have no trouble killing any of these rebels, human or not, because of what they did to him and his squad last December.
He managed a glance at Kyla, saw she was laying low, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. The rebels were slowly moving forwards; looking around cautiously, as if they knew there was somebody around here somewhere but didn't know where. Whoever had come out of that Pelican had disappeared like some sort of ghost.
This was the way Leon liked it, knowing that it was better to bewilder your enemy so you could gain the advantage over them. He brought the officer into his rifle's sight, taking a deep breath as to steady his aim, knowing that as soon as he fired his position would be revealed so he knew that he couldn't stuff this up. Kill the officer and it was very likely the others would go into disarray, although Leon wasn't too sure, he didn't have much experience fighting the OCPLF. The way they were fighting the marines on the other side of the compound, refusing to fall back, obviously showed high levels of discipline.
"Spread out," Leon heard the officer say, stopping and giving the signal to his squad to scatter. The group did so, and Leon seized the perfect opportunity to fire.
The rifle bucked back slightly but he kept it controlled, part of the officer's face disappearing in a spray of red. The officer twirled slightly where he stood and then fell into a heap, going down like a sack of potatoes. Kyla opened fire with her submachine gun, strafing the weapon across a pair of the rebels, cutting them down and letting them drop to the ground in the same sort of way their officer went.
The remaining trio of rebels started running for cover, now completely aware that they were in trouble. Leon and Kyla opened fire, the rebels going down within seconds, tumbling this way and that from their own momentum, almost like rag dolls. The pair of Spartans exchanged glances and Leon gave the signal to move ahead, Kyla watching his six.
With the rebels down, there were still plenty of portable offices and shelters to check out. Rebels were known for dirty tactics, at least from what Leon had read and heard about them. They would play dead, hide for hours, waiting for the right moment to strike. Playing dead was one thing Leon wanted to be sure about, carefully checking the bodies of the rebels they had just taken down, seeing that they were all genuinely dead, only slightly relieved they wouldn't be getting back up again.
There were about five of the grey-green portable buildings, these ones mostly intact and lined up neatly, although the ground near them was marked with varying sized craters. Desert camouflage netting was set up to cover the buildings and walking close near them, Leon could see that they were being used as a substitute for tents where the soldiers could sleep, although these ones were vacant for obvious reasons.
The main objectives rung in Leon's mind as he scanned the compound, taking note that there were a few larger, but not entirely intact, structures ahead. The remains of a caravan type trailer, this one being used as a communications centre, lay outside a large tent-like structure, part of which had been damaged by the nearby detonation of a rocket from one of the Shortswords. That damaged part was flattened and torn, blackened by the heat of the detonation, a pair of rebels standing guard outside the entrance of the partially demolished tent, remaining oblivious to the nearby firefights.
Leon gave the signal to Kyla to stop, stepping ahead by himself as he came to an intact Jeep, obviously belonging to the rebels inside the tent. The pair of rebel NCOs waiting outside didn't immediately notice him, nor Kyla, who had crouched into a darkened blast crater, surveying the situation before them.
Two guards outside, Leon assumed that most likely they were there because something important was happening inside the large tent, probably the command tent for the compound from where the head officer kept everything in the compound running. That meant he (or she, there was no way for Leon or Kyla to know) could still be alive and could be in that very tent.
Capturing someone like that would aid the fight against the rebels immensely, even if the officer wasn't willing to talk. There were always ways to get someone to talk.
Leon glanced at Kyla, signalled her to come to where he was. She did so, crouched, creeping forwards and glancing about every now and then, making sure the area was clear. She stopped behind the Jeep with Leon and the male Spartan nodded towards the tent.
"What do you think they're doing out there?" He asked, although the answer was obvious.
"We should check it out
"Damn right we should," Leon said, interrupting her mid-sentence. She didn't seem fazed by it and remained silent as Leon prepared a quick approach to the tent. He signalled towards the left flank of the tent, obviously for Kyla to go along.
"You go along the left flank, I'll come in through the front," Leon explained, "I'll take out these guys. If there's anyone inside the tent, we have to apprehend them, not kill them. We only kill them if it's absolutely necessary
"You won't shoot them, will you?" Kyla asked; a hint of amusement in her voice. Leon kept a straight face, although he knew what she meant.
"Only if I have to," Leon replied, Kyla starting on her way to the nearby shelter, taking cover amongst the crates stacked underneath. Leon got to work on the task at hand, watching as Kyla stealthily moved from shelter to shelter, keeping out of sight of the exterior guards at the tent.
Leon took a look around, figuring that the portable offices on his right would make the best cover. Crouched, he moved behind one of the portable offices, making sure there weren't any soldiers around. There weren't, most of them preoccupied with fighting the marines that were pushing into the compound from the other side, so Leon had a relatively clean route to the tent.
He got to a position about twenty metres from the exterior guards before one of them glanced around and caught sight of him. In one fluid motion Leon had his rifle up at his shoulder and fired a few rounds, both rebels falling to the ground abruptly, not twirling about in romanticized ways but merely falling into a heap and not getting back up.
Leon began running towards the entrance, his rifle raised as a rebel soldier stepped out of the entrance flaps, pistol in his hand as he scanned the immediate area. He saw Leon coming but the Spartan was much quicker on the trigger, merely firing a single round and feeling some slight satisfaction when part of the rebel's face disappeared in a spray of red, his body crumpling onto the ground and kicking up some sand which floated in a short, wispy cloud around the body before diminishing within a few seconds.
Leon arrived at the entrance of the partially intact tent, forced his way through the green flaps and entered the tent, finding the interior relatively intact save for some fallen ceiling and wall beams at the damaged area. A lone rebel, this one in full officer's garb and female, her dark brown hair tied back in a low ponytail, was frantically typing away at a keyboard at a desktop computer which was on a battered silver desk, seemingly oblivious to the Spartan's presence. Leon raised his rifle, noticing that the readout on the computer's screen mentioned something about "transferring files", something of which he would have to take a closer look at later
"Hold it right there, lady," Leon barked, a sly grin forming at his mouth. The female officer paused in her work, Leon almost able to feel the fear in the officer as she slowly turned around, her hands close to her waist. Leon noticed the pistol holstered on her right and the hand that was close to grabbing it.
"Don't try it," Leon said bluntly, the woman's hand coming away from the holstered pistol. She managed a sharp movement with her left hand but Leon didn't catch the extent of the movement, instead putting his finger closer to his rifle's trigger.
"Hands up lady, the game's over," he said, watching as the silent rebel officer slowly raised her hands, "don't even try any fancy stuff
He saw something clenched in her left hand, dark green and oval shaped. She had a malevolent grin on her face, as if she knew she had foiled his attempt at apprehending her. Leon dived to one side as the grenade in her hand detonated, the explosion thundering through the interior of the tent, blowing a hole through the structure's ceiling and throwing Leon onto the ground, sending smoke and dust into his visor, rendering him dazed and blinded.
He regained his senses and rolled onto his back, raising his rifle into the cloud of smoke and dust but knowing there wouldn't be anything left. A few charred red chunks were scattered around what remained of the tent's interior, although there weren't many of them compared to the amount of scorched computer parts left lying around, the desk nothing but a metal sheet lying half buried in the ground.
Getting back onto his feet, Leon looked around the ruined tent, noticing a small blackened crater through the rubber matting where the female officer had been standing; one charred severed leg lying a short distance from it. He shook his head, not because he felt any pity on the rebel, he was far from that. He was shaking his head because they had just lost two vital forms of intelligence: the officer and the computers. He stepped over to what remained of the computers, bending over to pick up what remained of the desktop, merely a hulk of metal and circuits which were charred and blackened beyond repair. He heard footsteps ahead, looking up to catch sight of Kyla, who was had entered the tent through the newly formed hole in the side of it. He couldn't make her features out behind her visor, but he could tell she was a little annoyed.
"I gather things didn't go according to plan?" She asked, managing a slight tone of amusement.
Leon threw the useless hulk of circuitry to the floor and managed a glance at the crater where the officer had been standing. He hadn't been expecting a mere rebel to prefer to die than be captured, but then again he had never really had many previous encounters with these OCPLF types in the past.
"It certainly didn't," Leon replied, kicking the useless hulk of circuitry to the side.
The smell of gasoline and various other fuels, both environmentally friendly and not, were thick in the air, a mix of petroleum and burning ethanol creating some sort of pungent, hybrid smell which hung around the air of the compound, Lyssa inhaling the smell through her nose as she and her squad moved their way past a few tents, heading down towards the crater marked landing strip where the majority of the fighting was now taking place.
The muscular Austrian marine whom Lyssa had encountered earlier was now tagging along with the squad, a high calibre assault rifle in hand as they moved their way through the compound in a staggered formation. The Austrian's name was Quentin Limburg, a Gunnery Sergeant and specialist in heavy weapons. Apparently his squad were all dead; save for one whom Limburg hadn't seen around and had assumed him to be dead as well. Whether this guy was dead or not didn't particularly matter right now, their job at this time was to secure the compound and recover any intelligence they could find. So far they had been doing a reasonable job, at least in Lyssa's opinion they had.
Passing by a flaming rebel corpse, set on fire thanks to the remains of the gas barrels nearby, Lyssa raised a hand in a "stop" motion, the squad behind stopping and spreading out while Lyssa surveyed the landing strip ahead. They were at one end of it now, able to look across at the landing strip and the adjacent structures in one whole. Unclipping a pair of binoculars from her waist, Lyssa brought them to her eyes and peered through the lens, zooming in on the group of marines at the far end who were fighting it out with an equally large group of rebel soldiers who were taking cover amongst some shelters across the strip. A few mostly intact sand coloured garages were down the right side of the strip, about halfway down the strip itself, probably containing rebel vehicles. None were open and would be the best place to look for any hiding rebel soldiers, although there were plenty of rebels at various positions of cover on the landing strip, a pair of them having set up a mounted gun on some crates, firing away at a small squad of marines across the strip, pinning the marines down.
Lyssa lowered the binoculars, clipping them back onto her waist belt. She turned to the squad and gestured them forwards, pointing over to the garages and then the rebels manning the mounted gun.
"We're going to those garages over there," she said, turning to Hawker who was standing at the front of the squad, sniper rifle in hand. "Hawker, before we go, I need you to stay here and provide some covering fire," Lyssa said, "take out the two machine gunners first while we move around the edge of the landing strip."
Hawker nodded, stepping up to the stack of crates that Lyssa was standing behind and readying his sniper rifle, bringing the compact WS2500 up to his shoulder and peering through the scope. He muttered something under his breath, Lyssa unable to hear what it was exactly but guessing it was something to do with God as he fired, twice, both rebels at the mounted gun falling down.
Lyssa started out onto the landing strip, the squad following, Limburg tagging along from behind, a rebel soldier up ahead turning his attention towards them but tumbling backwards when Hawker fired, a bullet punching a hole through his chest and sending him tumbling into a nearby crater, kicking up sand and dust as he went down. Lyssa and her squad came into cover around the side of one of the garages, Lyssa trying the handle on the door in the side but finding that it was locked. The sound of an explosion caught the group's attention, sand and dirt flying upwards in a column as some sort of explosive shell landed close by, punching another crater into the landing strip.
Peering around the edge of the garage, Lyssa could just see the trio of rebel soldiers manning a portable mortar down the other end of the strip, protected from the marines across from them by a barricade of sand bags. The mortar fired again, this shell landing a lot closer and sending sand and dirt into Reynolds' face.
"I think we should get to cover," he said, stepping around the side of the garage, peering around the other side and towards the rest of the compound. The sound of the mortar firing caught the group's attention once more, the shell landing a short distance from Reynolds, knocking him over and into the sand, dirt and sand raining down onto him as he swore loudly. Lyssa gave the signal for the squad to scatter, pointing to Walther and Limburg, giving them the signal to stick close to her.
Lyssa stepped back from the side door of the garage, hearing the mortar fire again, this time the shell landed a short distance behind her, the force of the blast knocking her forwards and into the door, the door itself breaking off its flimsy hinges and falling into the garage with her on it. Lyssa lay dazed for a moment, taking a look around the interior of the garage, finding that it was mostly dark, the only source of light being a small window close to the ceiling which was sending sunlight straight into her face.
She became aware of several rifles trained on her, able to make out the silhouettes of about four rebel soldiers of varying outfits as well as the silhouette of a Jeep parked inside the garage. She remained lying there; knowing that standing up would be a rather silly thing do to, especially since the sound of rifles firing came from behind her.
The rebels were shot down within seconds, blood spraying out of a variety of hit locations as they went down, their bodies making subdued thumps on the floor of the garage. Standing up, Lyssa brushed herself down, her injury from earlier managing a painful throb through her as she turned around and looked at both Walther and Limburg who were standing in the doorway, rifles raised and the barrels smoking.
"You're losing your touch, Lieutenant," Walther said, lowering his rifle, Limburg doing the same and managing a wry smile, revealing his pearly white teeth. Lyssa bent down and picked up her now sand covered rifle, shaking the grains loose and checking the magazine.
Losing her touch? What was that supposed to mean? She wasn't sure, but maybe Walther was indicating that maybe she wasn't as good as she used to be. What would he know anyway?
Turning around, Lyssa surveyed the mess inside the garage, noticing that the interior was mainly bare save for the Jeep and the rebel corpses. Turning back around, she pushed her way past Walther and Limburg, coming back outside and finding the rest of the squad scattered amongst the crates and other junk that was available as cover.
"I think we should take care of that mortar," she said, hearing the weapon fire again, the ground shaking slightly as a column of dirt and sand exploded upwards to her left, a few metal shards landing in the ground close to her. She ignored the fact she could have just been killed then and peered around the garage, seeing that the marines further down the landing strip were slowly forcing their way ahead, having killed a few of the rebels that had engaged them.
She turned to her squad, noticing that Layman was missing. She swore quietly, looking around for the Texan but unable to see him at first. Looking back down the landing strip she saw him, only a short distance away and crouched in a crater, his rifle raised as he fired away at the few rebels up ahead, scattered amongst the craters. What the hell was that guy doing? He was going to get himself killed like that. She shook her head but directed the squad out onto the landing strip anyway, once again telling Walther and Limburg to stay with her as they want around the back of the garages.
Another complication arose from the fact that the next garage had opened up and from what Lyssa could see there wasn't just a group of rebels inside but a multi-purpose field gun, a rugged, scratched looking weapon that was usually transported via truck and trailer. There were three rebels manning the weapon, all protected from fire by the large shield that was part of the gun itself. The weapon looked to be the outdated 77mm variant, often found being used as an anti-tank weapon in battle. Right now though, the rebels were employing it as an anti-infantry weapon, the rebel with the binoculars who was part of the gun crew pointing over to the marines further down the landing strip, the pair manning the gun itself slowly turning the weapon to point towards the marines.
As soon as it was obvious what they were doing, the rest of Lyssa's squad that were taking cover amongst the craters and rubble strewn across the landing strip opened fire, bullets being deflected by the large shield, the three rebels ducking behind it as they started loading the weapon.
Lyssa caught a glimpse of what type of shells they were using, able to tell by the red circle underneath the tip: anti-infantry shells, the type that exploded on contact and send hundreds of metal pieces flying in all directions, slicing through armour and flesh. Being shredded wasn't a pleasant way to die so Lyssa decided that since they were in the best position to take it out, they would be the ones to do so.
She turned to Walther and Limburg, the pair keeping neutral expression as she pointed in the direction of the gun. Another mortar shell exploded nearby but there was no time to take any notice of it, they just had to take the gun out.
"We're going round the back," she said, starting around the side of the garages, Walther and Limburg following as they found their way to the back of the garage containing the gun. Just as they got there the gun fired, blowing away a pair of marines that had been taking cover behind some crates, razor sharp metal shards raining down around the blast area and shredding their way through another marine unlucky enough to be caught in the shower.
Lyssa, Walther and Limburg stopped by the manually operated door, this one in the back of the garage as they prepared to attack. Lyssa was the one to have a go at the door, kicking it in and breaking it off of its flimsy hinges, the door slamming down loudly inside the garage. The rebels manning the gun hadn't heard the noise, busy placing another shell into the weapon. Lyssa merely raised her rifle, felt a surge of adrenaline shoot through her and squeezed the trigger. Blood sprayed against the back of the gun, the rebel spotter spinning about where he stood as Lyssa kept the trigger depressed, Walther and Limburg stepping inside and standing alongside her, doing the same with their rifles. Once Lyssa's magazine ran empty did she order them to stop shooting, taking a moment to admire their handiwork, the three rebels having been literally shot to pieces, chunks of ragged and torn flesh where the bullets had impacted. It was payback for killing the three marines, that's what it was. And to Lyssa, it felt good.
It ceased feeling good when a familiar voice broke her concentration, causing her to look out through the open garage door and at the three figures crouched outside, one of which was holding a camera and intently filming the carnage.
"Good work you three!" Kyle exclaimed, "That'll make a great addition to the documentary! No need to censor it, hell no
Walther gently nudged Lyssa in the side and whispered to her.
"How about we kill them? Make it look like the rebels did it
Lyssa shook her head. As annoying as the camera crew was, she really didn't feel like killing them. Besides, there would be too many witnesses in the form of both marines and rebels.
"Don't look at the camera!" Kyle said, a hint of frustration showing in his voice as Limburg's eyes moved to the camera lens but quickly away again, "just act natural! Keep fighting!"
Lyssa turned around, Walther and Limburg following her back through the now wide open doorway and back outside. By now the other marines had forced their way across the landing strip, now onto clearing out the tents and other structures in this half of the compound. Lyssa felt some slight relief when the camera crew lost interest in them and went on to film a group of marines who were throwing grenades into the portable offices and tents, blowing the temporary structures away and charging inside to clear out any survivors. As far as Lyssa, Walther and Limburg could tell, the battle itself was almost over. The smell of burning fuel and other materials was as strong as ever, especially since a marine wielding a flamethrower came running past, stopping out the front of a small green tent and squeezing the weapon's trigger, a long stream of orange and blue flame shooting out, the marine coating the front of the tent with it, almost as if he was painting something. A rebel came charging out of the tent, himself on fire, as he ran around frantically, screaming and shouting for someone to put out the flames.
Lyssa suddenly felt exhausted, stepping over to a pair of dark coloured barrels and slumping against them, feeling the pain from her shrapnel wound earlier getting worse. She winced as she tried to ignore it, trying to concentrate on something other than pain. Rather, she started watching the clean up operation take place around her, the flaming rebel being gunned down by a marine and his rifle, his flaming corpse falling onto the sand, lifeless and free to burn to a crisp. The rest of Lyssa's squad arrived just as Walther and Limburg sat down themselves. She was annoyed at Layman for leaving the squad like that to do his own thing, but he was alive and so were the others in the squad, including Layman, who slumped against some metal crates outside a nearby tent and went pale, as if realizing the extent of what just happened.
Distant sounds of gunfire rang out from other parts of the compound, surviving rebels still intent on fighting it out with the marines to the last one. Lyssa doubted that any of the rebels were captured, all of them preferring death than capture. A pair of medics milled by and Lyssa raised her hand, shouting at them for a little help. The pair stopped and quietly and quickly argued over who should help the woman, the one on the left, a young looking guy who didn't look any older than twenty-five, came running over, helping Lyssa up and directing her to where the aid station had been set up.
While Lyssa sat and the medic tended to the wound she had received, first attempting to remove the metal shard in her lower back and telling her that any more to the left and it would have severed her spine, the Lieutenant began wondering just how many marines had been killed this morning and wondered even more so if the benefits of taking over a compound such as this outweighed their losses. She somehow doubted that, though.