A Marine's Tale, Chapter 1:
Posted By: The Meep
Date: 20 December 2005, 3:04 am
Private First Class Michael "Mikey" Lowitz started to dream again. He was 14 years old (Earth time, 19 years old Prion time) at his home in Prion City on Prion 1. He was enjoying his first kiss with his high school sweetheart, Angelina. Suddenly, Angelina was an Elite that rapidly yelled a battle challenge.
"Cryo pods one through fifty-eight thawing out; occupants showing normal vital signs. They'll be revived within thirty minutes."
Not having his MA5B he reached for his pistol holster but found only his baggy jeans pocket. Panic started advancing on the edges of his mind. The Elite was angry and growing bigger and bigger.
"5 minutes till their awake. Prepare for Slipspace re-entry! Grab a handhold!"
He turned and ran but bumped into Sergeant Johnson who told him to go back and fight it. He turned around only to see the hoof of the Elite. It was as big as a skyscraper! Then it promptly stepped on him.
Mikey stirred and groaned. He wasn't some goop on an Elite's hoof. He was waking up on the Pillar of Autumn. It was just a dream, a lousy, good-for-nothing dream. He sat up remembering he had been in cryo tube, a.k.a. the Freezer.
He looked around and saw several dozen others in his outfit sit up sleepily. It didn't seem to bother him or them that they were all naked.
"Alright, everyone please get up and move to the showers and changing room. Dress in full battle outfit, arm yourselves, and report to Cargo Bay Alpha Tango. We got Covies boarding this ship right now as I speak and YOU need to repel them."
Mikey, along with the others, double timed it through the showers, changing rooms, the armory, and into Cargo Bay Alpha Tango. Over the loud-speaker Mikey heard Cortana saying "Attention all combat personnel. Please report to your action stations. Fifth Platoon, secure airlocks on Deck Eleven. Fourteenth Platoon, rendezvous with 22nd Tactical at Bulkhead Charlie 14."
As Mikey walked towards Sergeant Johnson, he muttered to his pal Gruno Palksy "You hear what's near here? Out there in space?"
Gruno said "Hell yeah. Covie bastards."
"No, it's something else. From what I've heard, it's a giant ring out there."
"Uh-Huh. This may sound ridiculous but people are saying it has ground, plants, air, just like Earth."
"OK, now you're just pulling my leg. Maybe Sarg J will give us some more details."
"I hope your right. I want somewhere to run if the Aut-"
"You heard the lady. Move like you got a purpose!" It was Sergeant Johnson. Mikey quickly stepped in line, 2 down from Johnson.
Walking down between the rows, he gave his usual speech. "Men, we led those dumb bugs out to the middle of nowhere to keep 'em from gettin' their filthy claws on Earth. But, we stumbled onto somethin' they're so hot for, that they're scramblin' over each other to get it. Well, I don't care if it's God's own personal anti-son-of-a-bitch machine, or a giant hoola hoop, we're not gonna let 'em have it! What we will let 'em have is a belly full of lead, and a pool of their own blood to drown in! Am I right, Marines?"
"SIR, YES SIR!"
"Mmmmhmmm, damn right I am. Now move it out double-time!"
As he jogged away, Gruno came jogging up next to him. "We're designated as combat team Bravo 11. Gotta love these new helmets with those green plate projector thingies."
"Where do Bravo 11 personnel go again?"
"Um, I think stairwell Sierra 4."
Fortunately for the still groggy Mikey, stairwell Sierra 4 was only a floor up and a couple of meters of hallway away. Unfortunately, the stairway was already held by a couple of Grunts and an Elite. Mikey's squad leader, Lotus "Fairy" Hudson, saw them before they saw her. She pointed at the Covenant, made a fist, and opened it quickly. Florence handed her a frag grenade. She pulled the pin and lobbed it at the Grunts. It landed right in-between the feet of a red Grunt, who yelped in surprise and reached for the frag grenade. Before he recahed it, it blew him and his squad to Covie Hell.
Fairy yelled "Take up defensive positions at the stairwells! Get two men up top to cover the blast doors!"
Gruno and Mikey opted for little holes on the sides of the bottom stairs that provided a lot of cover and a wide field of fire on the bottom part of the stairway. Perfect.
No sooner had the squad settled in than an Elite and five Grunts came through the blast doors. Guy Anderson and Ingrid Port opened fire with their MA5Bs, mowing down the Grunts. The Elite roared a battle cry and lobbed a plasma grenade right onto Ingrid's shoulder where it became attached like a Marine to a bottle of beer. She screamed, dropped her assault rifle, and ran straight at Guy, screaming for him to yank it off. Seconds later it detonated.
The squad, momentarily shocked at this morbid beginning, leaped into action and slaughtered the Elite with their Assault Rifles.
Keyes came on over the loudspeaker. "Combat teams on decks five through nine, fall back to secondary defensive positions."
A minute and 8 Covenant casualties later, Keyes made another announcement. "Ops personnel on decks nine through twelve, report to evac stations now."
2 more squads of Covenant made their way onto the upper landing and Mikey found himself engaged once again. Suddenly, a 7-foot, half-ton, alien-blood covered man in iridescent armor came through the doorway, ran up the stairs, and massacred all the Covenant that Mikey had been shooting at seconds earlier. Several plasma bolts hit the huge man but were repelled by a shield very much similar to an Elite's.
Then, just as quickly as he appeared, he was gone. Another command from Keyes came over the loudspeaker but he was too busy thinking about the titanic man to hear it. Another mob of Covenant brought him back to reality and he was back in hell again, fighting for his life.
After what seemed like hours, but were actually minutes, Keyes made a final announcement "Combat teams Alpha through November, pull out to nearest evac station."
Fairy, limping from a frag grenade shrapnel wound, called out "That's us. Prep for evac, DOUBLE-TIME!" As Mikey looked at his devastated team (only 5 of the original 12 had survived), he thought that for someone named Fairy, she was tougher than some of the ODSTs. Mikey watched as Fairy, with tears in her eyes, took the dog tags of all the fallen and closed their eyes. The tears set him back slightly. He had never seen her cry before. He hoped he would never have to do that.
As they ran through the corridors, Mikey thought about Ingrid's family, who she had loved to talk about. He thought about his own family who had been massacred by plasma bombardment on Prion 1 while he was visiting Reach. Now Reach and Prion 1 were gone, but he was still here, and he would make those Covenant bastards pay for every injury they had made on the human race.
Then , encountering little resistance along the way, they finally made it to a lifeboat. They jogged onboard, strapped up, and launched out into the inky void. Sitting at the very back alongside Gruno (Who had his hand blasted off by a needler round), Mikey craned his neck to see who else was onboard. He was surprised to see Sergeant Johnson and another Sergeant with a scarred face he wasn't familiar with. Through the cockpit, he saw the ring world come into view and was surprised the rumors were true. He also saw several Covenant cruisers hovering over the surface, which was a carpet of browns, blues, whites, and greens. That must mean that there are plenty of Covies waiting to welcome us. Good place to start payback time. Muttering to himself so softly, he wasn't sure he said it at all, "Man, this sucks."