Posted By: SPARTAN 232<email@example.com>
Date: 29 February 2008, 7:28 pm
0245 HOURS, OCTOBER 17, 2632 (MILITARY CALENDAR)
ABOARD COVENANT CRUISER UNMOVING FAITH
INTERSELLAR SPACE, SECTOR Y-366
David's alarm sounded in his Mark VII helmet as the status indicator of his shield dropped to nothing. Without hesitation, he rolled to his right and tucked into an outcropping in the ship's wall. Joseph slid into the slot next to him. He looked at David and said through a private COM,
"This way's too heavily guarded. Black squad is rallying in the hangar. Orin's bringing the Pelican in for us. It's going to be close!" Just then an incoming COM flashed on Joseph's HUD. He activated the link and heard Jen, Black squad's leader,
"Orin's ETA: 1:30, hurry."
"I've got David, we're coming!" Joseph turned to David, a mission timer now appearing on his HUD; 1:26.
"Come on, we gotta move it!" Joseph hit one knee and swung his assault rifle around the corner, "Go!" David ran back down the hall and turned left at the end, taking cover behind the corner. Deftly he flipped his weapon, an MA5C Assault Rifle, around the corner and loosed a burst catching two exposed grunts across the chest. They fell backward, bluish-green blood oozing from their wounds. Joseph ran past, tapping David on the shoulder. David rose and followed Joseph down the twisting corridors that were the Covenant Cruiser Unmoving Faith. Joseph halted in his tracks as they came around the last bend that should have opened up into the large hangar. Instead of being met with the sight of the cruiser's enormous hangar, they only saw a blocked off doorway. Somehow the Covenant had used an override for the door systems breach they had used to keep the doorways open. Not good. The sound of fast approaching grunts reached David's ears and he about faced to meet the new threat appearing on his motion tracker. Five red blips appeared, followed quickly by ten more. David readied a fragmentation grenade and glanced at Joseph who was now looking for an alternate way to the hangar. The first grunt rounded the corner and jumped in surprise. David threw the grenade, which hit off the back wall and bounced into the hallway containing the rest of the red blips on his tracker. The grenade detonated sending shards of bone, meat, and metal flying through the hall. Grunt blood splattered the walls and the first five contacts disappeared. That was strange; it should have killed the rest too. David tightened his grip on the MA5C and waited. The dots drew nearer until it seemed they were just a few feet from him. He remembered the Covenant cloaking technology and sprayed a few rounds which cut through the air and struck the wall ten meters away. The dots passed right where he was kneeling. Then it occurred to him. They weren't in front of him, they were above him. David looked up just as a swarm of drones dropped from a ventilation shaft. He emptied his MA5C's magazine with well-aimed shots that dropped nine out of the ten drones that had flooded the hall. The last drone fired a plasma pistol at David. The green balls of plasma sizzled by his head, causing him to move to his left. He dropped his weapon and reached up, grasping the drone by its back leg. The drone panicked and dropped the plasma pistol, struggling to get away. David scooped up the pistol and trying to bring the drone down, yanked on its leg. The drone, being an insect however didn't have the strongest of appendages and instead of dragging the drone down, he merely ripped its leg from its socket. The drone flittered up and back into the vent. David turned to face Joseph, who had already come upon the same idea he had. David slammed a new clip into his MA5C.
"It'll be a tight fit but I think we can pull it off." He glanced at his HUD; 0:38. It would have to work. The duo climbed up into the cramped quarters of the ventilation system and began to crawl slowly in the right direction. They were forced to disable their shields to fit through the tight spaces. This would spell disaster if they met another group of drones in the vent but they were out of options and they had a lot better odds against a few drones than an exploding ship.
"Joseph! The Pelican's here, you and David are all that's left. Hurry," Jen's voice was calm yet he could tell things were getting hotter by the amount of weapons fire that came through the COM line as she spoke. It seemed like an eternity but they finally reached the access panel to the hangar. The mission timer on Joseph's HUD was blinking: 00 in red. With his fist, Joseph punched out the access panel and viewed the hangar for the first time since departing to find David. His ears were filled with the sounds of battle as five Spartans clad in black armor fought from the back of a Pelican drop ship. The buzzing of drones wings echoed down the vent; apparently legless had gotten his friends and they weren't happy. Joseph slithered out of the vent and dropped to the cat-walk two meters below. David pulled the pin from a grenade and dropped it behind him before tumbling out of the vent. It exploded and the buzzing of wings ceased behind them but they were faced with a new dilemma
getting to the Pelican. There were jackals lining the same cat-walk they were on as well as two sets of grunts working to set up two shade turrets on either side of the hangar. Down below, grunts and brutes were hiding in the shadows, unleashing lethal barrages of plasma and spikes at the Pelican and its drastically outnumbered defenders. The shades were a problem, a big problem. They would rip the Pelican to pieces if they weren't taken care of soon. Even these new Pelican II's with their reinforced titanium battle plate and advanced plasma cooling technology couldn't withstand a barrage from these cannons for a large amount of time. The Spartans' shields flickered back to life as three surprised jackals turned to face them. The first tried to raise its beam rifle at Joseph, was caught by a burst from David's assault rifle, and slinked to the floor. The second dropped its rifle and pulled out its plasma pistol, activating the portable arm shield at the same time. Joseph ran forward and tackled the shielded jackal, crushing it beneath the weight of his armor. The third jackal turned and started running away down the cat-walk. David let fly another burst from his assault rifle that punctured the jackal's spine and the body tumbled over cat-walk's rail. This caught the attention of a group of grunts who quickly spotted the Spartans and raised a warning to their comrades. Jen's voice came over the COM once more,
"Where are you guys?" Joseph motioned for David to throw a grenade at the closest shade on his mark.
"Inbound," he replied, before nodding to David. At the same time he threw one of his own grenades at the second shade. David's grenade was a perfect throw, what you would expect from the demolitions expert of Black squad. It exploded near the base of the turret killing the gunner and two other grunts. It also blew the rounded seat and protective casing loose and it toppled over the railing and landed on a charging brute below, crushing him under its weight. Joseph's grenade, on the other hand, bounced of the turret and began to spiral toward the hangar floor, detonating in mid-air. A fragment caught the gunner through the skull killing him instantly and several more pieces wounded another of the shade's crew, however, the gun remained intact. Joseph didn't stop to watch the effect their grenades had. He gripped the railing with one hand and swung his legs over. He crashed to the floor and rolled over once coming up on his feet, already running. Ahead of him, brute spikes were lodging themselves in the Pelican's reinforced plates and superheated plasma washed over the hull. He sprinted at full speed for the back hatch of the Pelican, not stopping to look back. Despite the speed he was traveling, some well placed shots from a plasma rifle hit him and his shield indicator slowly slid down. The Spartan was completely focused on making himself run as fast as was physically possible. So focused, in fact, he never noticed David's green mark on his motion tracker stop moving. When he was close enough, he dove forward into the back of the Pelican.
Jen saw what happened to David. Seeing that Joseph's grenade had missed its mark, and also knowing that the shade would kill them all if not taken care of, he paused at the top to lob another grenade across to the other cat-walk. This throw was dead-on and rendered the turret useless. He then jumped down and started to run. The enemy however saw him and he was an easier target than Joseph. Not only was he behind and not as far but he was also a slower runner than Joseph. It seemed as if every Covenant being had completely ignored everything else and was intent upon destroying this Spartan. His shield was useless against the amount of firepower that was thrown at him. The shield dissipated quickly and he tried to dodge incoming fire. This, he was particularly good at. He had the fastest reaction time of anyone on Black squad, and most likely the entire class of Spartans. As the projectiles flew from either side he ducked, slid, and jumped over most of them. Then without warning, a brute jumped out behind him and unleashed a salvo of spikes. David never saw them coming and they were soon protruding from his abdomen as he slumped face first to hangar floor. Joseph executed a roll into the Pelican as Jen leaped out and landed on the floor.
The Pelican's engines started to grow louder than died back down to a hover as Shannon Orin, the pilot, realized Jen had jumped out. Equipped with a sniper rifle, not quite the ideal armament but it was what she was best and felt most comfortable with, Jen sprinted for David's body which was now slowly crawling forward. A group of five brutes gathered around the crawling body some kicking at it in a mocking manner. Finally, one clad in gold armor knelt, reached down, and gripped the back of David's head. The brute let out a roar, ready to crush the Spartans skull. Just then, Jen fired the four rounds contained within her Sniper's magazine. The first bullet struck the kneeling brute in the head, passing cleanly through its temple and out the other side. The second round punctured its muscular neck lodging itself deep within. The last two rounds each found separate targets, the skulls of two other blue armored brutes. The three tumbled to the ground. The last remaining brutes turned and with angry roars let out a salvo of red hot spikes as they charged forward at this nuisance which had robbed them of the pleasure of killing their latest prize. Jen tensed as the spikes began to fly toward her. Reaching over her shoulders, she pulled out a set of M7 submachine guns and began to drop to the ground. The brutes couldn't adjust their aim as she fell to the floor. She hit the ground; both smg's blazing and slid right between the pair of charging brutes. Jen came up standing behind them and emptied the rest of her mags into their exposed backs. One of them toppled over, the other seemed to shrug it off, turned, and let out a ferocious roar. Thinking quickly, Jen threw her smg's as hard as she could at the brute's face. The first was batted harmlessly away by the brute's outstretched paw, but the second struck him squarely in the face, momentarily stunning him. Jen used this window of opportunity and lunged forward, striking her armored fist into the brute's skull. The lifeless body slumped to the floor and lay in a heap. Jen's glance shifted to the Pelican. It was still their. That was good news. Smears of plasma and muzzle flashes danced across her reflective visor. She was brought back to her senses as she had to dodge out of the way of a charged plasma bolt that had flown from up above on the cat-walk. A grenade flew from her hand; bounced off the wall, and landed at the feet of a jackal who just so happened to be the culprit. The grenade detonated, leaving nothing to see but smears of blood on the wall. That seemed to be ever so common in her line of work. She reached David's body and passed her biosign reader over his body. He was still there, barely. Quickly, Jen put her biosign reader back and hoisted David's body over her shoulder. Even with the extra weight she managed to keep up a good pace back to the Pelican.
Joseph replaced another magazine from his MA5C with a fresh one. Jen was working her way back to the Pelican, holding David with one arm on her shoulder, and shooting an M6G magnum pistol with the other. The hangar's door was closing and the brutes and grunts were closing in around the Pelican; if they didn't leave soon they weren't going to leave at all. Jen reached the Pelican and passed David's body back as she reached out and grasped a handhold on the Pelican's interior. The Pelican's engines roared to life as it began forward motion. Suddenly, a pawed hand reached out and grasped Jen by the ankle. She tried to yank her boot free but the brute's grip was too strong. The brute pulled and she stumbled backward. Joseph reached out his hand trying to catch Jen's but her fingers slipped out of his grasp and she tumbled back to the hangar below. The Pelican shot forward out of the hangar just as the doors shut behind them, missing crushing them by inches. Orin's gloved fist slammed into the dash of the Pelican. An angry tear streaked down her cheek.
"Spartan-240 to Lambda, come in Lambda!"
"Roger," replied Orin.
"We're all set! Awaiting evac,"
"Roger that, bringing her around now," Orin angled the Pelican in an upward arc, bringing it around to the other side of the Covenant cruiser. Steven glanced over,
"Vince, set those charges, Helen, get that wall breach ready."
"Charges set," Vince nodded to Steven.
"Ready," Helen said, backing away from the wall of the cruiser.
"Take cover, Helen, on my mark detonate the wall breach
The Green team Spartans hunkered behind low walls and outcroppings in the ship for cover.
"Fire in the hole!" yelled Helen, clicking down on the detonator. A large explosion rocked the ship. Suddenly there was a loud roar behind them. A pack of brutes stood in the doorway each wielding a spiker. Steven popped up and let out a burst from his BH55 Battle Rifle at the leading brute,
"Take em!" All of Green team's small arms opened up on the brutes, which now dove for cover behind anything they could find. Grunts poured in the door followed by a group of jackals and another pack of brutes. One of the brutes lobbed a spike grenade into the air, sailing for Vince's position. Helen looked up and saw the grenade heading for Vince; she jumped forward towards him,
"Vince!" He ducked out of the way, the grenade missing his head narrowly, flying into Loren's back. Helen slid between Vince and Loren, yanking the grenade from her back and throwing it back at the brute who had tossed it in the first place. It struck the brute in the torso just as it exploded, ripping him to pieces. Blood trickled out the holes in Loren's back, but was soon filled with the biofoam, being injected by the armor. The wave of Covenant forces had been thoroughly thinned but a pocket of grunts and a single brute remained, putting up a stubborn resistance. Two well coordinated grenades on either side, trapping them between, were sufficient to eliminate the survivors. Steven's motion tracker picked up another group of enemy forces moving towards their location, this one twice the size of the previous one.
"Anytime now Orin," Steven said. The drop ship raced into view as it came over the top of the cruiser. The Pelican swung 180 to face the gaping hole in the cruiser. Its engines flared and it began to race forward towards the opening. Steven heard a loud "whumpf!" Something had just launched out of the cruiser. The Pelican drew nearer gaining speed. Suddenly, a purple shape shot up out of nowhere heading straight for the Pelican, a Seraph fighter. Beams of plasma shot from the front of the fighter, streaking through space towards the oncoming Pelican.
Sweat beaded on Shannon Orin's forehead as the Pelican drop ship rocketed towards the large cruiser. Suddenly, a Seraph fighter launched out from the cruiser on a direct intercept path for the Pelican. Orin's eyebrows narrowed, she kept the Pelican heading straight for the hole in the Covenant cruiser. Beads of light gathered at the nose of the Seraph as the first beams of plasma raced towards the Pelican. The plasma washed over the titanium plates of the Pelican. Orin angled the Pelican down, heading straight for the Seraph fighter. More plasma struck and washed over the cockpit, she could feel noticeably the change in temperature as the cockpit heated from the plasma. The Seraph pilot seemed not to care if it crashed into the Pelican. At the last possible second, Orin punched the fire button releasing a space anti-ship mine, a.k.a. an A3 SASM. She performed a right barrel role and pulled up at a sharp angle. The Seraph tried to swerve away from the mine but its proximity detonated the mine, destroying the Seraph. The explosion rocked the Pelican as it climbed back up towards the hole in the cruiser. Below, Orin saw doors on the side of the cruiser open, revealing a squadron of five Seraphs. She knew she wouldn't stand a chance against five; she would have to hope she could reach the Spartans, load them up, and activate the new Shaw-Fujikawa drive to get them out of there in time.
The last Steven saw was the Pelican plunge straight down towards the Seraph before a brute nearly cleaved his head off with a large blade on the back of what they called a Brute Shot. He ducked and rolled under the blade, coming up behind the brute. The brute spun to face him and threw its weapon away. Steven dropped his as well; he was out of ammo anyway. The brute lunged forward, swiping with one paw. The paw caught Steven across the jaw and spun him backwards. His shield indicator started flashing red as he climbed back to his feet. The brute was right behind him swinging again. He caught the blow with his right fist and swung a left towards the brute's face. The brute ducked under the punch and grabbed Steven's right arm with both its own arms. It began to try to bend the arm backwards. Steven kicked out with his left leg taking the brute by surprise. His boot struck the brute's knee but much to his surprise the leg didn't break. It did however incur a large amount of pain causing the brute to let go of him and howl in a mixture of pain and anger. Steven dove into the brute's chest, knocking him to the floor. The brute rolled over on top of him and struggled to get its arm free from Steven's grip. It finally succeeded and raised its fist high into the air. Steven's arms were pinned beneath the brute's weight and he couldn't move anything. The fist began its downward descent toward his face, just as the butt of an MA5C slammed against the brute's temple. The stock of the gun shattered on impact but also killed the brute mid-swing. The body slumped to the side and Steven saw Helen standing over him. She reached out her hand and grasped his, pulling him to his feet. Only a handful of Covenant forces remained, and those that did were rapidly falling back down the long corridor. The room was littered with spent shell casings and bullet ridden bodies. Steven was proud of his Spartans, not one had fallen during the conflict, though several had sustained minor injuries. He pulled his smg from his hip in case of another attack.
The Pelican roared into view once more heading straight for the ship. It was flying at full speed, trying to outrun a group of Seraph's trailing it. The ship cut its throttle and spun around, now facing the attacking Seraphs. Its momentum continued to carry it towards the cruiser at an alarming rate. The engines kicked back on and worked to stop the momentum it had built up. Nevertheless, it was still flying at a high speed as it hurtled through the hole in the ship. The Pelican slammed into the rear wall of the room, throwing all of the Spartans to the ground. The engines sputtered once then died again. Steven could feel the ship shake as three of the Seraphs couldn't pull away in time and crashed into the cruiser's hull.
Brute voices filled Steven's ears as they bounded down the corridor towards the room. Quickly, he threw the last of his fragmentation grenades down the hall and scrambled aboard the Pelican. In the back, along with his Green team who had already loaded up, were six Spartans in black armor. Each was unconscious in their seats from the impact. Steven raced to the front of the Pelican and slid into the cockpit. Orin's harness had snapped and she lay slumped against the dash. Steven shook her awake,
"Get us out of here!"
Shannon's head and chest hurt but she shrugged it off and eased back into her seat. Her hand ran over the controls, flicking switches here and there. Lights sprang to life and the cockpit was now illuminated by a red light. Damage alerts filled the screen. She clicked these away and started the engines. The Pelican roared to life and slowly started to ease forward. A red hot spike broke through the wall and embedded itself several inches from Orin's head. Small arms fire echoed through the drop ship.
"Hang on! This is going to be a bumpy ride!" She slid the throttle forward and the Pelican shot out the hole in the wall. The Pelican's wing clipped the side of the ship, tearing part of it off and spinning the Pelican around in circles. Shannon fought to regain control of the drop ship. The pedals shook and the joystick was vibrating uncontrollably. Finally, she brought the ship under her control and started to head away from the cruiser.
"Ready when you are!" she yelled.
"Hit it, Vince!" called Steven. Vince clicked the control on the remote detonator. Shannon switched the cameras to aft view and they watched as the Covenant cruiser burst into flames. The two Seraphs who had missed crashing into their own cruiser were enveloped by the rolling ball of flame. The flame dissipated and all that was left was a field of scattered debris floating lazily through space.
Steven glanced around, only six Spartans in black? He looked at their arms none had the red band painted around the bicep or the thigh of their armor. The leader was missing. He again crept forward into the cockpit and looked at Orin,
"Where's Jen?" Orin only looked at him and shook her head slowly. Steven returned to the troop holding area and sat down in a seat, strapping his harness around himself. Shannon was a good pilot, possibly the best Pelican pilot in the entire UNSC. Usually, they didn't last long on high risk operations such as these, but Shannon had been Black squad's pilot for over two years. Now, she was only nineteen but she knew what she was doing. She had managed to live for this long as the Spartans' pilot which was a lot of credit in its self, but besides that she had been awarded several medals for bravery in action. She was just as much a part of them as any other Spartan. Shannon was always on the ball, nothing could shake her; in combat she was like a machine, nothing could stop her from completing what had to be done. Even so, Steven could tell she was shaken by the loss of SPARTAN-211 Jen. Jen was Shannon's closest friend among the Spartan's and Steven hoped she could still perform as well as she always had. She was a natural at flying and this was all that could have possibly saved her this long. Any lack in concentration on her part and she would have been killed many times. Some have it, some don't. She definitely had it, but now he wasn't so sure. He was going to make sure she was given a long break from active duty.
A large, shrill sound filled the air as the Shaw-Fujikawa H4 Slipspace Drive activated. Steven cinched his harness tighter. The Pelican parted space and rocketed for Sol.