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Shadow Ops, Chapter 3: Close Encounters
Posted By: Agent Shade<Agent_Shade13@hotmail.com>
Date: 20 June 2003, 12:52 AM

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Shadow Ops, Chapter 3: Close Encounters

~*Author's note*~

      Just so no one gets confused, here is the Shadow Ops 1 squad...

Lieutenant Alan "Shadow" Pearson, Squad leader (assault, Red team)
Master Sergeant Jonathan "Dusk" Henderson, second in command (assault, Blue team)
First Sergeant Paul "Specter" Howe (assault, Blue team)
Corporal Colin "Shade" Thompson (sniper, Blue team)
Corporal Fredrick "Spirit" Owens (assault/medic, Red team)
Private First Class Daniel "Wraith" Clarkson (support/radio, Red team)

~*End note*~

      "Shit, grenade!" A shimmering blue plasma grenade appeared out of the bushes to Lieutenant Pearson's left and landed on the back of one of Corporal Strom's marines. Before the marine even had time to think, First Sergeant Howe jumped on him, peeled the grenade off, and through it back into the bushes where it came from. There was a loud explosion, followed by four Covenant Grunts flying over them. Immediately, all hell broke lose.

      Four teams of Covenant Jackals and Grunts appeared out of the bushes where the grenade came from. They had the Shadow Ops and the marines surrounded. Pearson threw his MA7B battle rifle over his shoulder and grabbed his MA5B assault rifle. He rolled to the left, avoiding a volley of plasma, and then fired off a sustained burst at a Grunt, killing it.

      "Corporal Strom! Find cover!" he yelled, switching targets and firing at three Grunts moving towards Corporal Owens's exposed back. The Shadow Ops were temporarily split up and Pearson took command of the men near him. Private Clarkson was reloading his SMGs, while Corporal Thompson covered him. Clarkson finished, and Pearson motioned him forward.

      "Wraith, cut them down, Shade, come with me, we'll flank them" he said. Clarkson stepped out onto the path and let loose dozens of bullets on a link of Jackals protecting several Grunts. Quickly, the Lieutenant and the team sniper waddled their way through the bushes and came up behind the Covenant team. Pearson slammed his assault rifle into the back of one of the Grunts, and then opened fire on them. Thompson did the same, breaking the spine of a Jackal. Clarkson held his fire and redirected the last of his rounds to the Covenant around the other three members of Shadow Ops. Pearson watched the last four Grunts retreat into the bushes, only to be blown up by a grenade thrown by Master Sergeant Henderson. They all reloaded and scanned the area around them. The Lieutenant did a count. Everyone was alive.

      "Move out! Corporal Strom! Let's go" he yelled, ushering everyone down the path. Shade sprinted the whole way, in case Covenant reinforcements came. The Marine Regulars were able to keep up, which Pearson was happy about. However, this happiness faded quickly.

      Up ahead, Corporal Thompson had stopped. He did a double take off to his left, and then literally back rolled off the path and into a nearby ditch. A blast of super hot green plasma smashed into the area he had been standing a second ago.

      "Fuck, cover fire!" yelled Pearson, raising his assault rifle and firing random rounds into the bushes. The rest of his team formed around him, and fired as well. Shade was slowly backtracking towards them. Suddenly, a large bolt of charged up plasma struck him and he fell. Pearson swore, tapped Corporal Owens on the back, and then moved forward, yelling for more cover fire. Lieutenant Pearson and Corporal Owens rushed forward, and jumped into the ditch. Owens began to assess their sniper, while Pearson did his best to cover him.

      "Corporal Strom, find cover again. Dusk, set up a perimeter around us. Kill those sons of bitches" he ordered into his radio as he reloaded. The other three members of Shadow Ops 1 fanned out along the edge of the ditch, staying low, since the Covenant hiding in the trees were firing wild shots. It was obvious that they were all rookies. Pearson strapped his helmet on and activated the visor's X-Ray vision. Immediately, the trees and shrubs surrounding him disappeared and were replaced by a green grid. He zoomed ahead a few meters and spotted their attackers. Five Grunts, three Jackals and an Elite were hiding in a ditch similar to the one he was in now. One Grunt was propped up against the wall of the ditch, holding a fuel rod canon. The Elite was crouching beside him, the other three Grunts behind him activating plasma grenades. The Jackals were the only ones actually out of the ditch. They hide behind their shields, firing random shots at them. Pearson grinned and put his helmet away. He unpinned a fragmentation grenade and activated his radio.

      "Fire in the hole!" he yelled. Behind him, Owens covered up Colin, while the other members retreated into the bushes where the marines were hiding. Pearson threw the small explosive, and then covered both the team's medic and sniper. There was a sustained blast, followed by the screams of Covenant. Pearson was the first one up.

      "Shadow Ops, move!" he roared. He then charged into the bushes, firing shots with his pistol. He reached the Covenant position and did a quick assessment.

      The Jackal's were dead, two of the four Grunts were dead and the Elite was wounded. Henderson, Howe and Clarkson appeared behind him. Without evening thinking, they executed the survivors, and then headed back to their medic, who was finishing up with Colin. No sooner did they get back when more trouble came. This was a big problem though.

      A Covenant vehicle, they called a Ghost zoomed around the corner of the path and stopped. Immediately, twin bolts of plasma flew around them, and Pearson and his team were forced to hit the dirt. Along with the Ghost, a team of Jackals and Grunts appeared. They all fired over their heads, preventing any of the Shadow Ops from firing at them. Pearson crawled back into the ditch and was followed by everyone else. He hoped the marines were okay.

      "Corporal Strom, come in" he said into his radio.

      "Roger that Lieutenant, I'm here sir" said the young private. Pearson breathed a sigh of relief.

      "We need a distraction Corporal, and you and your marines are it. Toss a fragmentation grenade into their ranks, then fire random bursts of rounds in their general direction. We'll do the rest" he said.

      "Confirmed Lieutenant, we're on it, out" replied the marine. Pearson flipped himself over and peered over the edge of the ditch. A heartbeat later, a frag grenade landed right behind the Ghost and exploded. Pearson grinned as the vehicle's hover system and fuselage exploded, and the burning wreck flipped over once. The Elite piloting it was thrown right into the ditch the Shadow Ops were hiding in. It gave a startled roar, and then looked at them. Private Clarkson smiled at the huge field commander.

      "Hi there" he said. The Elite turned to look at him, but Colin whipped out his pistol and fired off one round, which drove right through the Elite's head. The Covenant leader fell forward, blood gushing out of a large hole near its left mandibles. Pearson grinned again.

      "Move out!" he yelled. The six Shadow Ops appeared out of the ditch to find Corporal Strom and his marines standing behind the wrecked Ghost, grinning in success. Strom saluted.

      "Lieutenant Pearson sir! All Covenant whipped out" he said. Any normal field officer would start yelling at the private for disobeying a direct order, which in this case was to stay down and not raise a weapon. However, Pearson was grateful for their help and returned the salute. They all began to form their usual formation, but the Lieutenant stopped them.

      "New plan men. The path is unsafe. The Covenant has obviously planted ground sensors throughout the area and is monitoring our approach. Time to say hello to the wilderness gentlemen. Form the line in the forest. We'll stay close to the path somewhat, so we know what direction to go" he explained to them. They all understood the logic behind the Lieutenant's plan, then walked into the wet jungle forest. Pearson nodded at their sloppy line, and then looked at their sniper.

      "You good Shade?" he asked. The sniper nodded and hefted his battle rifle. Pearson grinned.

      "Move out then" he said. Their pace started out slow, but eventually, they were jogging lightly through the thick jungle foliage. Pearson was right about the ground sensors and their new way of approach to the outpost. Along the way, they passed at least two individual ambush teams, all equipped to take out a small group of humans running along a jungle dirt path. They stayed close to the path naturally, so that they wouldn't get lost. It was when Corporal Thompson stopped and held a fist where Pearson was glad they were in the jungle and not on the path.

      The dirt path they had been following from the start led to the Outpost, but on the way, the Lieutenant remembered seeing a somewhat large valley of low grass from the Pelican dropship. He was under the impression it was once farming land, but was now turned into a strategic position for a Covenant base camp. Large equipment boxes and plasma shield barriers formed a rough circle in the middle of the valley. The odd Shade gun turrets dotted the perimeter. Pearson borrowed Thompson's sniper rifle and zoomed in onto the camp.

      There were five Shade gun turrets and each one had around three or four shield barriers placed around it. The actual operators weren't in them, which surprised the Lieutenant. Large purple equipment packages provided the camp's users with cover if under assault. What Pearson noticed next, puzzled him.

      It was obviously some sort of structure no human had ever seen before. A half cylinder lying with the round part of it up looking at the cloudy sky. On closer inspection, the Lieutenant could see some sort of sliding door that parted open in two ways. He took a stab at it and thought maybe that the cylinder structures were tents, used by the Covenant. He didn't even know if the Covenant slept. He knew Grunts, did, but those structures were pretty big and could definitely hold two or three Hunters. He shrugged off his thoughts, and then started to look for the camp's personnel. From his position, he could hear laughing and shouting and a bit of screaming coming from the camp. This made him worry and he shifted position slightly. He still couldn't see a thing. He put the rifle down and noticed the large tree beside him.

      "Dusk, Wraith, give me a hand here. I need to get up this tree" he said. The two largest members of the team slowly moved forward and gave their Lieutenant a boost up. Pearson had been taught how to climb. When he was in training, he had climbed large mountains, bigger than Everest. He found a reasonably good spot, unsung the sniper rifle and zoomed into the middle of the camp.

      "Holy fuck" he whispered. A group of around five or six marines and technicians had been gathered into the middle of the base camp. They were inside what looked like a large plasma cage. Lines of active plasma danced into the air, connected together in a circle by poles. The Covenant in the camp were around this cage, hooting and barking at the trapped humans. They were being tortured. He could see two dead technicians, one dead marine and another marine badly wounded. He then watched one of the plasma lines shoot out and zap the wounded marine. The man's chest exploded with blood, and he fell backwards without a scream. The Covenant's barking, or laughter as the Lieutenant thought, grew louder as the other humans screamed and begged for mercy. Pearson quickly put the rifle away and climbed down the tree, where he called everyone, including Corporal Strom's marines to him. He then explained his plan.

      "All right, this is going to be our home tonight. We've been running for almost three days without sleep. Normally, I and my men could go on, but I know how much the marines need rest, so this is what we are going to do. The base camp personnel consists of Grunts, Jackals, a few Elites and Brutes, so this won't be a walk in the park. Shade, post yourself in the tree that I was just in, it offers excellent coverage of the whole area. Do your best to take out the Elites and Brutes. If you see any Grunts make a run for the gun turrets, take them down. Wraith, you and the marines will be our distraction. Post yourselves grid nine by twenty and when Shade starts shooting, you start firing into the camp. Now, the rest of us will be waiting at grid twenty by ten. Wraith, when you confirm that most of the Covenant in the camp are moving in on you, we will charge into the camp and hopefully catch them off their guard. A three way assault, I don't see how this can go wrong. Questions?" Corporal Owens raised his hand.

      "What if Covenant reinforcements approach?" he asked. Pearson nodded at Shade.

      "Shade is our owl. If he sees any reinforcements, he will tell us by shooting off a flare gun into their general direction. Got it?" answered Pearson. Owes and Shade nodded. Suddenly, screaming could be heard and everyone went tense, and searched for its source. The Lieutenant stopped them.

      "In the middle of the camp, a group of marines and technicians are being tortured to death. The Covenant are gathered around them like it's a game" he growled. He could tell by his men's expressions that they were pissed. Pearson didn't wait another heartbeat.

      "Get into position, wait for my signal Shade" he said. They all saluted and dispersed. Henderson, Howe and Owens stayed with their Lieutenant. Pearson slammed a fresh clip into his assault rifle and nodded.

      "Let's do it" he said. He turned and moved to their designated spot. The Lieutenant had his helmet on and had marked their waiting spot with a NAV point. He and his team reached their spot, crouched behind the surrounding shrubbery and waited.

      "This is Wraith, we're in position, awaiting the go ahead to open fire" Clarkson reported. The Lieutenant stood and could see his sniper waving at him. Pearson nodded.

      "Shade, open fire. Wraith, wait five seconds, then open fire" he said, and then crouched back down. They steady sound of sniper shots rang out through the jungle and the Lieutenant could hear the screams of Elites and Brutes. Suddenly, large amounts of gunfire could be heard from the opposite side of the valley and the screams of the Covenant was drowned out by it. From his position, Pearson could see Covenant running around all over in a panic. At first, the Covenant didn't know where the source of fire was coming from. However, when one of Corporal Strom's marines stood and tossed a fragmentation grenade, they all homed in on Wraith and the marines. Suddenly, Dan's worried voice entered Pearson's earpiece.

      "Wraith to Shadow, Covenant distracted, move in!" he said. Pearson didn't even answer. He stood, and sprinted into the valley, moving towards the camp. He raised his battle rifle and fired off a few rounds at a group of Grunts hiding behind one of the "tents." Pearson didn't stop and kept running. He and his team reached the perimeter of the camp, and had to stop momentarily to pick off a larger group of Grunts and a few Jackals. They were taken completely by surprise and didn't fire one shot. Quickly, Pearson maneuvered his way around the structures and found his way to the middle of the camp. A single Elite and two Jackals stood near the plasma cage and we're firing into it. Pearson watched a technician get hit in the face with a plasma bolt, then fall, dead. Quietly, the Lieutenant moved in behind the Elite and took out a Kevlar battle knife he had in his suit pocket. He raised his arm back, and then cleared his throat. The veteran Elite turned, and gasped. Immediately, Pearson swung his arm forward and slammed the knife through the Elite's body shield and armor and punctured its head. Blood began flowing out of the Elite's mouth and it let out a small gurgle, before slowly falling on the Lieutenant. Pearson didn't even grab the Elite and stepped aside. The rest of his team came into the middle and shot the Jackals, turning to see what happened to their leader. Pearson whipped the blood clean and ordered Owens and Henderson to get the humans out of the cage. He motioned for Howe to follow him, and then they headed for Daniel and Corporal Strom's marines.

      They reached the edge of the camp and literally had to step over the towers of Covenant bodies that lay on the grass. Shade was picking them off easily, and Clarkson was cutting them down to nothing. Pearson fired one bullet at a wounded Jackal, and then ordered everyone to cease fire. Four Grunts, one Jackal and one Elite were all that remained of the base camp defenders. Private Clarkson and the marines stepped out of hiding and stood around them, along with Pearson and Howe. The Elite growled, and then nodded at the others. They all dropped their weapons. This surprised Pearson, since he knew that most Covenant didn't like being taken prisoner. Oh well.

      Pearson stepped forward, kicked the weapons aside, and then ordered Clarkson and the marines to usher them to the middle of the camp. They got back to the cage, where Owens and Henderson were having a tough time opening the thing. They had found out how to turn off the plasma lines, which killed the men, but there was still a solid line of plasma blocking them. They stepped aside and let the Elite unlock the cage. The plasma beams disappeared and the humans all rushed out of the middle and collapsed on the ground. Owens ran to them, and Pearson looked at the Elite.

      "You think this is funny? Do you?" he asked the Elite, who didn't move and merely glared at him.

      "Glare at me all you want, it doesn't make a difference. You can't kill me, you don't have a weapon. If you try and kill me, my men will kill you. Tell me, why have you taken over the human Outpost here and set up a defensive pattern throughout this jungle?" he asked. Naturally, the Elite didn't move, nor did his comrades. Pearson shrugged.

      "Fine, suit yourself. Wraith, put them in the cage" he said. The Covenant prisoners were pushed into the cage. Pearson bent near one of the poles and activated the torturing plasma lines. He grinned at the Elite, who seemed to be worried. The plasma lines came online and one of them immediately struck the lone Jackal, decapitating it. On of the Grunts squealed and ran into a dozen of the plasma lines. The Grunt itself melted in its armor. Pearson left them to die, and then walked over to the rescued humans. One marine stood and saluted.

      "Sergeant Ian McKinney sir, thank god you guys are here" he said. The Lieutenant nodded and returned the salute.

      "What's going on here Sergeant?" he asked. The Sergeant went into a story of a mining operation going on near Outpost Sierra. He then said that one day; they lost contact with the mining fields. They had sent marines teams to investigate, but they never came back. The next day, the Covenant came in large numbers. According to the Sergeant, the marines fought for around one hour, before they surrendered. Most of them were apparently killed, but the Sergeant said that he and his men were sparred, except for now. The Lieutenant didn't interject at all during the story and listened. He finally nodded.

      "So, what the hell are the Covenant doing here? Why did they suddenly show up and take over the outpost" he said. The Sergeant shook his head.

      "I have no idea sir" he said. Before they could continue, a blue flare was shot into the air and it landed where the Lieutenant's hiding spot had been before they charged into the camp. Pearson could here Colin firing off rounds. He started to reload his battle rifle.

      "Saddle up everyone, form on the left side of the camp, we got company" he yelled. The rescued marines picked up Covenant weapons and followed the Shadow Ops and Corporal Strom's marines to the edge of the perimeter on the left. Pearson crouched near a shield barrier, raised his battle rifle and opened fire.....

By: Agent Shade