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Mobuto - Part 1 of 2
Posted By: Steve<eaglesalltheway2@yahoo.com>
Date: 11 July 2006, 2:34 am

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      Sergeant Marvin Mobuto had been cut off from Alpha Base for over four hours, and he was in the midst of what he was sure was his last battle, in a hell hole somewhere on this god-forsaken ring. As the recoil of his assault rifle jammed into hands, he reflected on what was probably the last day of his life: He and his squad had been sent on a routine reconnaissance mission. But, about an hour into the patrol, things became far from routine.
      Mobuto didn't know precisely where the fire came from, but, before he knew it, Giorgio and Reynolds were hosed up and down with blue plasma. The Sergeant picked a direction and started to fire his assault rifle. A likely looking bush caught the brunt of his fire, and an Elite's personal shields flared.
      In the haze of the swamp, the two and a half meter tall silver outline of the alien stood out against the dark, engrossing jungle, and what remained of his squad could now direct their fire.
      Unfortunately, its shields did not fail until after it threw the grenade that attached to Collins' knee. In a futile attempt to take the Elite with him, Collins charged it. When he came up short, his blood was sprayed all over the front of the Elite's black armor. The effect of the grenade bought the warrior enough time to dive behind a thick tree trunk and wait for his shields to recharge.
      Mobuto had just looked over top of the boulder he had dived behind for cover to see that the Elite was now gone. Its black armor allowed it to blend into the marshy environment perfectly. It could be anywhere. Hell, it could be behind him.
      With that thought, he wheeled around, saw nothing, and quickly turned around again. His squad was crouched behind cover, weapons leveled, awaiting an order. Using hand motions, Mobuto signaled that he would flank around the left side, while the rest of his team would provide cover.
      In a careful crouch, he moved from tree to tree, stepping over twigs and plants to avoid making a noise. His boots sank into the soft moss and waded in the ankle deep puddles that dotted the area. Mobuto's dark eyes cut through the fog, searching for a shadow.
      Suddenly, an electric whoosh was heard over his right shoulder, and it nearly made his heart stop. A lump formed at the pit of his stomach when he finally realized that the noise had come from behind his squad.
      He had just enough time to stand, turn around, and yell, "Behind!" before Jones and Valdez were cut in half in a single swing. The blue-white blade made several more swoops and arcs before coming straight down on Corporal Manning. The dead Marine's MA5B strobed twice, then ceased. Lacey and Dowling opened fire on the Elite, their shotguns blasting holes in the tree it now ducked behind.
      Seeing his chance, Mobuto primed and lobbed a grenade towards the tree. It hit the round surface of the tree and bounced slightly away from its target. This meant that the Elite's shields were only peppered with shrapnel, instead of being engulfed. It did, however, flush out the Elite, and forced him to move away from his cover. It scrambled to a nearby rock, narrowly avoiding two shotgun blasts.
      Mobuto still had its flank, however. He was out of grenades at this point, though, and was forced to use his assault rifle, which was less than accurate at this range. He fired in short, controlled bursts. The dirt around the Elite started to kick up, and the tree soon became pocked with bullet holes. Its shields took a cluster of the 7.62mm rounds and failed. The three-round burst after that hit him in the shoulder, causing the Covenant soldier to warble in a mixture of pain and anger.
      Realizing it had very little options at that point, the Elite drew its Plasma Rifle with its free hand, still grasping the deadly energy sword with its other hand. It sprinted from its cover and ran straight at the two Marines. The humans fired simultaneously. Lacey's shot was high, sending pellets over the commando's shoulder. Dowling's aim was a little low, but still managed to hit its left thigh. The Elite stumbled and fell forward, firing its Plasma Rifle into the dirt.
      The Marines pumped fresh rounds into their M90's and shifted their aim. The Elite rolled to its right just as they fired. Once again, Lacey's shot was off and it blew the ground apart where the alien had previously been. Dowling's shot barely grazed the wounded warrior's back, causing minimal damage at best. As the Marines racked their shotguns, the Elite rolled behind another tree.
      Sergeant Mobuto charged ahead, feeling the exhilaration that came with closing in on a kill. Adrenaline surged through him, and he maneuvered to his right to get a clear shot.
      "Give me some covering fire!" he yelled into his mike. Almost instantly, a shotgun blast bit away at the tree the Elite was behind. Right after that one, another was shot. The alternation of their shots allowed for a constant rate of fire, keeping the Elite effectively pinned until he himself could get a good angle at it.
      Suddenly, a loud, agony-laden scream was heard over the com channel. It was Dowling's voice, and it sounded like he was in trouble. Mobuto glanced back at the two soldiers. Although it was hard to tell in the mist, it looked like two more Elites had jumped from the ten meter high plateau behind them and landed in their midst.
      He shouted, "Get down!" over the com, and he opened fire on the Elites. He saw them flinch as armor-piercing bullets pierced them, but did not see their shields react. Were they deactivated? A different kind of Elite, maybe?
      As he pondered that, he saw Lacey get whipped in the chest and sent flying a distance of eight meters before landing awkwardly on a tree stump. Dowling was no where to be seen, but, wherever he was, Mobuto doubted he was alive.
      He fired the last nine rounds in his assault rifle at the Elites and ducked down to reload. He had just expelled the spent magazine and pulled out a new one, when the black Elite fired a burst from his plasma rifle over his head. The leaves of a plant by his side were burnt clean off. Mobuto reflexively jumped backwards from the incoming fire, and accidentally dropped the new magazine. He cursed, and reached behind himself to retrieve another one.
      The black Elite kept firing, only the whines from it were getting louder, which meant only one thing: the bastard was charging.
      Mobuto quickly loaded his MA5B, cycled the bolt, stood up and started running, firing his gun behind him as he ran. His goal was a fallen log five meters away. The Sergeant mumbled swears for the lack of traction the ground provided and willed his legs to move faster than they were going. Blue plasma streaked over his head just as he vaulted over the log and landed on a knee. He stood up and fired the rest of the ammo in his rifle at the charging Elite.
      The bullets had a scattering effect being fired on full auto, and most of the bullets were absorbed by the swamp. Two bullets impacted the Elite, however, and it grunted in response, but it did not slow its mad dash. Its jaws opened wide, revealing rows of sharp, tiny teeth. Its coal eyes had a hint of fiery red in them. The arm that held the sword was stiff at its side, having taken three bullets to the shoulder. Violet blood oozed out of the wounds in its chest and leg, and the Elite held the overheating plasma rifle out to the side.
      Time slowed as the distance between the Covenant Elite and the Human Marine dwindled. Mobuto's hands moved from his ammo belt to his rifle, a fresh clip being slammed home. In one fluent, trained motion, the Sergeant moved his hand from the back of the rifle to the bolt, slapping it forward. The ammo counter changed from zero to sixty.
      His eyes locked with the desperate Elite's. There was only wild determination in its eyes. Mobuto saw nothing else. He didn't see the swamp, he didn't see his rifle, he didn't see anything. All he saw were black eyes staring him down.
      His finger was already wrapped around the trigger and a simple impulse from his brain twitched the finger.
      The gun fired, spat out a burst aimed squarely at the Elite.
      But the commando was hammered out of the way before the bullets hit. It fell forward and to the side, collapsing in a heap two meters to Mobuto's right. His bullets instead impacted one of those shieldless Elites that had killed Lacey and Dowling. Green blood and white, rotted flesh was blown out of the exit holes.
      The monster bent over slightly, but stood in place. The human's eyes darted from the thing to the Elite, who wasn't moving, then back to the thing.
      If it was an Elite, it was an Elite that had spent far too much time in this swamp. It had a sickly beige skin color, with tentacles and jarred bones puncturing it. Its head was thrown over its back like a scarf, and its jaws were locked open in an endless, silent scream.
      But, after years of fighting, Mobuto had developed the habit of shooting anything that wasn't human instantly. So, that's what he did. He continued to fire, his weapon on full automatic. The thing's limbs flailed then came off. Its leg was blown off, forcing it to fall over. Believing it was dead, Mobuto ceased fire.
      But, just as he began to reload, the monstrosity turned over and began to crawl towards him using one arm. Its pace was slow, though, which allowed the Marine Sergeant to properly reload and fire another half of a clip into it.
      Once he was certain that it wasn't going to be getting up, he moved around the log to the now dead commando Elite. As he walked up to it, he saw its eyes staring back at him, only now they had lost their red gleam. Now, they looked glassed over, and lighter in color.
      Angry at this son of a bitch for killing his entire squad and angry at himself for allowing it to do so, he fired ten rounds into its face, splashing purple blood onto his pant legs.
      After a few deep breaths, he calmly reloaded his rifle and began to send a message to Alpha Base.
      "This is Sergeant Marvin Mobuto, does anyone read me?" There was only static. "I repeat, this is-"
      Something akin to a whip whacked him in the back, broke the titanium armor plate on his back in half, and sent him flying forward into a rather large puddle, which was slick with the blood of the black Elite.
      Although his muscles protested, he scurried out of the water, turned and fired wildly, his eyes blurry. He could barely make out the outline of something moving, so he fired, and when his ammo was expended, he dropped it and drew his pistol. The powerful slugs shook his shoulders when he fired, and the recoil soon made him very disoriented. The outline was still moving, and when Mobuto felt his back press against a rocky wall, he knew he was screwed.
      The last bullet in his pistol hit the beast's lower left leg, and it wilted over. This gave the Marine a second to wipe his eyes and allow him to see his attacker.
      It was indeed another rotten Elite, although, since these things killed the commando Elite a second ago, it was safe to assume that these things were not Elites. Still this one bore a striking resemblance to the former monster, and therefore needed to be killed.
      Since he was out of ammo, the Sergeant stepped over the downed zombie, which lay practically at his feet, and began to stomp it to death. The first stomp sent a green, thick, moist spray out of a hole around its neck, and a crunching sound could be heard, as well as a soft, wet, spongy sound. The second stomp was in the same spot as his first, and he got the same reaction. As he lifted his foot for another stomp, the creature grabbed his ankle, and threw him three meters away.
      Mobuto landed hard on his shoulder, and thought it was dislocated, until he moved it out from under him and flexed it. Luckily, he still grasped his M6D, which he quickly reloaded. The thing rose up, and turned to face the Marine. This provided a bigger target , which allowed him to shoot it six times in a row, then three more times when it was down. He then properly stomped it, until it was no more that four inches off of the ground.
      He found his assault rifle and reloaded it. He then started to walk to the spot where Lacey's horribly mangled body lay. It was then he noticed the little balls of flesh that jumped and scurried over the hill from which the monsters had come from before. Two latched onto Lacey's body. Mobuto watched only for a few seconds more, as the balls ate the dead Marine's body, then started running.
      He didn't really know exactly where he was going, but he knew he wasn't going to stay there. As he ran, he reached up to grab his radio attached to his shoulder, and noticed that it was missing. The latter engagement had ripped the radio from his shoulder, and left it back in that mess. Screw it, he thought. I'm not going back there to get it.
      After ten minutes of running, he came upon a weird looking structure, covered in vines and other forms of overgrowth. It was then he noticed the shadows of at least twenty of those zombies in the distance, all coming at him.
      Without hesitation, he fired on them, watched one of them collapse, and was then forced to reload, backpedaling as he went. The idiots started to bunch, allowing more bullets to collide with their grotesque features. Two more were killed, and two more stumbled, but did not stop. That still left over a dozen of the incoming creatures very much alive and very angry.
      Reload. Backpedal. Two more creatures down. Reload. Backpedal. Three more creatures down. He was in the process of loading his last clip and cursing himself for dropping that full one earlier, when one of the surviving monsters leapt four meters into the air, and landed directly in front of him.
      It knocked the rifle out of his hands and he tumbled backwards, tripping over his own feet. He brought his sidearm out of its holster while still on the ground, and scrambled backwards in a crab walk, firing as he went. The nearest monster fell under the well aimed fire, as did another one rounding the corner.
      But now they had him. His magazine was empty, he was on his back, and they were only three meters away. It was over.
      A beast hurled itself into the air and was at the apex of its jump when a lancing beam of orange fire speared it and followed it down to the ground. Several more beams appeared, each selecting individual targets and burning them down to the ground. As the chaos raged, Mobuto was able to look at his guardian angels. They appeared to be robots with angular wings and an oblong shape. They had turrets on the front, under a blue light, which shot out a powerful beam of fire. He didn't know where they came from, and he really didn't care.
      He took this respite to reload his pistol with his last full magazine. Just as he stood up, yellow strobes appeared around him. He felt light-headed for a second, then felt nothing, then felt everything all at once as he was whisked away to what he believed was the top of the structure he had seen a minute ago.
      Another robot floated before him, only this one was spherical, and had a large blue light at its center.
      "Greetings. I am the Monitor of installation zero-four. I am 343 Guilty Spark. Someone has released the Flood. My function is to prevent it from leaving this installation. But I require your assistance. Come. This way."
      Mobuto wanted to ask a lot of questions to this robot, but was unable to, as rings of pulsating yellow light encircled him and he felt light-headed again.