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Shadow Ops II: Chapter Ten
Posted By: Agent Shade<cthompson013@hotmail.com>
Date: 12 January 2004, 4:14 AM

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Chapter Ten

~*Author's note*~

School sucks. Sorry this took so long...

~*End note*~

As the Shadow Ops II squad disappeared into the jungle, Sergeant Major Reynolds was forced to focus on the task at hand. Although it saddened him to see extremely useful soldiers go off into the jungle, most likely to their deaths, he still had an entire colony of marine forces to evacuate. He turned around and walked back inside the command tent, walking towards the technician who Sergeant Thompson had threatened.

"You okay Simmons?" Reynolds asked him. Tech Officer Bryan Simmons looked up at Reynolds and nodded.

"Scary marines" he muttered. The Major shook his head.

"Those aren't marine's son, they were the Shadow Ops II squad" he said, correcting the tech officer. Simmons made no emotion and simply listened to his radio that was in front of him. Reynolds decided to avoid the subject.

"What's the status on the evacuation?" he asked him.

"Alpha Colony was just finished evacuated sir. All marine forces at Gamma Colony were extinguished, there's nothing to evacuate there. That leaves just us. This poses good news and bad news" Simmons explained.

"Go on" Reynolds said, narrowing his eyes.

"We can get a fast response from the fleet, they'll send down a fleet of Pelicans and transport ships. However, there is one snag. The Flood obviously realize that we are the last cluster of humans on the planet and are focusing all their forces over here" the technician said.

"Not good. How much time do we have?" Reynolds asked.

"Best guess, twenty minutes before their first groups of combat forms find the colony and attack us" Simmons answered. Reynolds nodded and looked away. He sighed.

"Have the platoon leaders assemble their forces inside the colony and await the arrival of this threat. I want Lotus mines set up around the main entrance and throughout the interior of the base" he said. Simmons nodded and began relaying his orders. Reynolds turned around, stroking the facial hair that grew around his chin.

"Would take too long to load up the crates of guns and ammo, but then we're just giving the Flood more weapons for them to use" he muttered to himself. Simmons turned around.

"Fifty Pelican dropships are inbound sir, estimated time of arrival half an hour" he said.

"At your guess of the Flood's arrival, we'll be holding them off for around ten to fifteen minutes. Not good" Reynolds said. Simmons nodded sadly.

"Yes sir" he said.

"Okay, we won't bother loading the equipment and weaponry onto the Pelicans. There's not enough for the Flood to give to all of their forces on this planet. When the Pelicans land, we'll just load up the marines and other non-indigenous personal" he stated, lowering his hand from his face. Simmons nodded.

"I agree sir, passing on your orders" he said.

"Good work Simmons. When the Pelicans come here, announce to everyone we're leaving, then get yourself out of here" Reynolds said. The tech officer nodded.

"Yes sir. Good luck" he said. They exchanged salutes, and then Reynolds walked out of the tent, marching towards the small courtyard of the huts and houses of the colony. The platoons of marines who had been sent down to the colony were gathered in their formations, receiving their orders from their commanding officers. As they listened, they gathered weapons, ammunition, grenades and other weaponry to use. The Major grabbed a M90 Close Assault shotgun, taking additional packages of shells for the weapon. A M6D pistol was already holstered to his left hip, five extra magazines for it. He turned around to watch the marines finish up their debriefing and move into positions. As they did, the Major activated his radio.

"Marines of Omega Colony, this is Sergeant Major Reynolds" he began. All movement stopped and eyes turned to stare at Reynolds as he stood looking over them all. "Retreating is not cowardly gentlemen and ladies. Wasting all of these valuable lives in a wave of death and destruction is stupid. In this situation, retreating is smart. The enemy is too powerful and they have too many. It would be foolish for us to stay here and fight to the last man. We are needed all over this universe, and we must continue on fighting for Earth" he yelled, pacing back and forth and staring at everyone with a glare of confidence.

"Major Kerr had stated that today is the day when we find out who's afraid and who isn't, who runs and who hides. In reality, we are the ones running for a good cause, but in our hearts, we are not afraid and we will not hide from an enemy that believes they can mess around with the human race. Live to fight another day marines, let's kick some ass!" Reynolds finished off his speech by pumping his fist into the air. The marines responded with a huge roar of approval, clapping their hands and punching the air like Reynolds was.

They then broke the applause and moved faster, setting up Lotus mines and getting into defensive positions for which they could shoot at whatever approached them. Reynolds stood behind a small hut, facing the main entrance where he expected the Flood to march through at any second. Marines ran back from the destroyed gate, looking behind their backs to make sure the Flood didn't try to shoot them from behind. Reynolds heart raced. It had been five months since he had been fighting the Covenant on the front lines. After his promotions, the Sergeant Major had been put in charge of a company of Long-range Artillery vehicles, which were always placed at the back of every engagement force. It saddened to see all the marines dying up ahead and he was powerless to do anything. Now he was ready to do some good. He was ready to fight and die for the Corps and for Earth.

Silence soon encumbered the colony, except for the small shouts coming from the command and barrack tents as other marines and technicians began to pack everything up. However, their noises were soon drowned out by the sound of drumming and the shaking of the ground. Reynolds was nearly knocked off his feet as the earth beneath his feet trembled violently. Soon, the familiar sound of barking and roaring could be heard, and through the forest emerged thousands of Flood combat forms, charging towards the colony entrance. The sight of them almost froze Reynolds with fear, but he shook it off. He wasn't afraid and he wasn't going to run and hide.

"Stand by mines!" he yelled to his marines. A total of twenty Lotus anti-tank mines were buried around the main entrance, which the Flood were moving through. Reynolds waited two heartbeats as the main line of Flood passed through the destroyed gate and into the colony.

"Detonate!" he roared. The ground beneath the Flood exploded and lifted the combat forms into the air, followed by fireballs and smoke.

"Activate the Spiders!" Reynolds quickly yelled as dozens of Flood corpses fell onto the ground. A new weapon which had just been released throughout the army, Spider-XI mines. The explosives of the mine were inside four small legs that were attached to a centre piece. A small camera was placed on this centre piece and tracked movements in the ground. When it detected something that was hostile, it popped out of the ground and rushed at the threat. When it had found the threat, it would jump high into the air and latch itself onto the hostile, exploding afterwards.

Twenty small Spider mines burst out from the ground and scurried towards the advancing Flood forces. They leapt off the ground and latched onto the limbs of the Flood, exploding afterwards. The resulting detonations caused more dirt and corpses to be thrown up into the air. As the smoke and debris cleared, it showed more combat forms still charging. They passed the gate and ran at the marines.

"Fire at will!" Reynolds roared, firing his shotgun at the closest combat form. Strobes of light appeared all around the Major as the marines fired, their weapons flashing brilliantly as they released bullets into the Flood forces. Several dozen fell from the first volley, followed by an additional dozen. A group of Jackhammer jockeys positioned in the middle of the courtyard fired, sending several dozen 108mm rockets into the Flood. Their bodies were blown backwards in pieces as each rocket smashed into either the ground or a combat form and exploded. As the jockeys reloaded, fragmentation grenades landed among the Flood, detonating and blasting them in all directions. Effective though it looked, it didn't stop them and they kept on coming. Reynolds's firing finger was already growing numb as he fired twelve fresh shotgun shells at the Flood.

Several combat forms slowed down their pace and levelled captured Covenant and Human weapons, firing them at the marines. Bullets and plasma bolts pinged off the ground and houses around the marines as they found cover, avoiding the shots. One marine took a bullet round to his chest, then a plasma bolt to the head. He fell backwards, knocking over another marine, who was hit by three plasma bolts. Reynolds backed away from the advancing forces, still firing his shotgun wildly. A marine beside him fell forward dead, his face covered in blood and brains. The shotgun in the Major's hands stopped firing. He swung it over his back and took out his pistol, firing at several combat forms who were running at him, tentacle whips swinging at their sides. As they fell, bullets pinged off the hut that he stood around, forcing the Major to drop to the ground and use the small scope on the pistol to fire. Two combat forms wielding MA5B assault rifles fell dead, but hundreds more took their places, firing their weapons.

Screams were all around Reynolds as he reloaded both his weapons and began to fire them again. Within the first ten minutes of the fight, over thirty marines were either dead or wounded. The rocket jockeys fired again, but their position became under fire. Two marines wielding the massive launchers fell backwards from bullet wounds to the chest and stomach. As the others reloaded, another rocket jockey took a bullet round to his head. As he fell forward, the death grip that he had around the launcher pulled the trigger, sending a single 108mm rocket into the ground. His body and the bodies of seven other marines disappeared in an explosion of fire and smoke. Blood and body pieces scattered everywhere, followed by other marines who had been blasted into the air by the explosion. The remaining eleven rocket jockeys split up, firing their rockets still.

As the Flood continued to advance, Reynolds could hear the faint roar of Pelican dropships. He looked up into the grey clouded sky and could make out the small outlines of thirty Pelican dropships appear out of the shade and descend to the colony. As they flew over the courtyard, the pilots fired their auto canons, ripping up the bodies of several Flood forms who continued to advance towards the marines. Reynolds couldn't help but grin. He stood up from the ground and began to rush towards their landing zone, firing his shotgun wildly as he ran.

Only ten of the dropships were able to land, since there wasn't a lot of room inside the colony for all thirty. The remaining twenty dropships continued to fly over the Flood forces, firing whatever weapons that were onboard. Several crew chiefs jumped out of the back of the Pelicans that landed and ran towards the battle, yelling at marines to fall back. Reynolds helped take command and gathered up a group of thirty marines, who climbed into two Pelicans. The remaining eight were loaded up with technicians, radio equipment and several crates of weapons and ammunition. As they took off, ten more Pelicans landed and stood by to pick up passengers. Reynolds activated his radio.

"Marines! Fall back to the Pelican landing zone!" he yelled. The message was heard by all. Groups of marines who were closet to the Flood stood up and ran backwards, firing their weapons to provide their own cover fire. As they did, additional marines ran after them. They all gathered around the Pelicans and continued to fire at the combat forms, who took over the small spots of land that were abandoned and continued shooting. Several marines were shot in the back as they ran.

Reynolds gathered together one hundred of his marines, cutting his defensive forces in half. Groups of ten marines jumped into the Pelicans and awaiting lift-off, shooting out from the troop bay as they waited. As the Pelicans took off and the last ten dropships began to land, the remaining hundred or so marines hunkered down and continued firing as the Flood advanced. One marine unpinned a frag grenade, but took two plasma bolts to his chest. As he fell, the grenade also fell. Another marine went to cover it up, but it still exploded, killing him and two others nearby.

Two Flood forms suddenly appeared out of the force and fired their Jackhammer rockets launchers that they carried. Both flew over the heads of several marines and slammed into one of the landing Pelicans. The first rocket detonated along the dropship's hull, but the second flew straight through the troop bay and slammed into the cockpit. The Pelican exploded from the inside and crumpled to the ground. The marines who had been climbing into the troop bay were blasted out of it by the fire and smoke that exploded.

Reynolds turned away from the destroyed dropship and focused on getting the rest of his marines inside the remaining nine dropships. The other twenty Pelicans were soaring around above them, firing their weapons down at the Flood.

"Sir, we don't have enough dropships!" a nearby marine Lieutenant yelled. Reynolds paused from firing his weapon and turned around. The nine Pelicans were filled up, leaving around twenty marines left. Reynolds slung his weapon and ran over to them.

"Cram yourselves into these ships. Sit on someone's lap if you have too" he yelled, grabbing a marine and shoving him inside the Pelican. The other men complied and climbed aboard the troop bay, sitting on the floor, or even standing. One marine even stood inside the cockpit.

Another volley of Jackhammer missiles flew at them, narrowly missing one of the Pelicans. Reynolds looked around him. All of the marines were on the dropships. He quickly dashed inside one of the Pelicans and sat on top of a marine Private.

"Get us out of here!" he yelled at the pilot. There was no answer, but the troop bay ramp was slowly raised from the ground, closing the marines inside from the colony. Reynolds looked down at the private he was sitting on.

"How you doing?" he asked. The private laughed and saluted.

"Excellent sir" he said. Reynolds grinned and grabbed onto the wall behind him as the Pelican activated its accelerator engines and slowly hovered above the ground and into the air. He wanted to relax, but the marine's boney legs he sat on prevented him from doing so. He finally stood up and hung onto the handholds above him, looking out one of the windows as the battlefield he had fought on disappeared. It felt good to be back and fighting again. He had been away from it for too long.

However, his thoughts turned to the small team of five elite humans wandering through the jungles of Vivec. Now that he and his marines were off the planet, they were on their own. He hoped that he would be back in that jungle soon.

The silence that surrounded the Shadow Ops II squad was broken by the sounds off roaring engines. Sergeant Colin Thompson held up a fist and looked up through a parting in the tree canopy above him.

A large formation of around thirty Pelican dropships flew over their position and disappeared into the afternoon sky. Colin felt happy that the marines were no longer at risk down here on the planet. However, he now felt extremely worried. The Flood's main source of food was gone. This meant they were next. Thompson turned around and stared at the four other Shadow Ops II members.

"We're on our own now gentlemen. The Flood will be all over us in a matter of no time. Let's pick up our speed" he said. Before giving the order to move, Corporal Dela Cruz, the team's scout walked over to him.

"The tracks are getting harder to read because of all the vegetation here, but they stretch on for a few more kilometres. The geological data that we got shows a clearing in the forest up ahead" he said. The Corporal was holding a data pad in his hand, which showed the layout of the region they were in.

"That's where we got dropped in" Colin said. Aaron nodded.

"The valley is only a kilometre or so wide. If we're lucky, we'll find the Lieutenant there. If not, I'm out of ideas" he said. Thompson nodded, wishing he didn't hear that Scout was out of ideas.

"Lead us on Scout" he said, motioning to Spirit, Death and Feuer to follow. Scout nodded and unslung his Close Assault Shotgun, bringing it up to his shoulder. He then began jogging off through the jungle, the other four members behind him.

Although it was still early in the afternoon, the sun began to disappear behind dark grey clouds that covered up the sunlight and plunged the jungle into darkness. Slowly, the familiar sound of thunder could be heard, which followed flashes of lightning. Rain came in lightly at first, hitting the leaves of the tree canopy, but as it sped up and came down harder, it broke through the leaves and landed onto the jungle floor. In a matter of minutes, Colin was soaked with the warm rain and sweat at the same time as he followed Dela Cruz.

Slowly, the sounds of barking and odd squishy noises filled the air around them. Although the team didn't see anything, the Flood were still close and had obviously picked up their scent. Colin glanced down at his data pad. They still had around a half an hour of running to do. Thompson shook his head and stuffed his pad inside one of his pockets on his uniform. The next few hours wouldn't be fun for them...

By: Agent Shade