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Shadow Ops, Chapter 7: The Mine
Posted By: Agent Shade<Agent_Shade13@hotmail.com>
Date: 27 June 2003, 4:18 AM

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~*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/demolitions, Blue team)
Lance Corporal Colin "Shade" Thompson (sniper, Blue team)
Corporal Fredrick "Spirit" Owens (assault/medic, Red team)
Corporal Daniel "Wraith" Clarkson (support/radio, Red team)

~*End note*~

      "Bravo 213 to Lieutenant Pearson, come in please"

      "Roger that Bravo 213, I read you"

      "Sir, we are on approach vector delta nine and coming in hot. Where do I park this bird?"

      "We've managed to obtain Outpost Sierra. The hangar on the far right side of the base is open. Move in and drop off the package inside"

      "Roger that Lieutenant, Stormwing inbound"

      Lieutenant Pearson clicked his radio off, and then activated the hangar com system.

      "Pelican dropships on approach open the doors" he said, his voice blaring through the speakers placed throughout the large hangar. A single marine ran to a large control panel near the doors facing the Lieutenant. He lifted a small lid, and pressed several buttons. There was a huge screeching noise as the large doors that led out into the jungle, opened. Lieutenant Pearson walked forward, and watched as two Pelican dropships flew in low on the jungle canopy and arched their way inside the hangar. Bravo 213 hovered near the ceiling for a few seconds, before slowly descending to the ground, the dropship's engines sending dust and dirt flying all around. The troops positioned around the descending dropships all held up their arms to shield their eyes. Eventually, Bravo 213 and its sister Pelican stopped, hovering exactly ten centimeters off the ground. The troop bay hatches opened and twenty human soldiers leapt off each Pelican, and ran to the Lieutenant who waited for them.

      When the last human trooper had jumped off the troop bay, the Pelican's lifted off back into the air, and zoomed out of the hangar. Pearson gave his thanks to the pilot of Bravo 213, and then turned to face the soldiers walking to him.

      The fleet had seen fit to send the Lieutenant forty Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. Lieutenant Pearson was sure that his men were confused as to how forty humans could fit into two Pelicans. It then came across Pearson that those weren't Pelicans, but were the UNSC's newest addition to its air fleet.

      They were called Angelwings, and were a lot better than the frequently used Pelican dropships. Pearson had read the statistics briefly. Same design as a Pelican, but the troop bay had been enlarged to hold twenty humans. The armor was the fleet ship standard; Titanium-A. The Pelican's only had Titanium-B, which was quite ineffective to plasma fire. The Angelwings also had two 40mm LAAG chain guns on the two stubby wings that stuck out of the troop bay. Also, placed right on the nose of the Angelwing was a 90mm HV (High Velocity) canon, equivalent to the one on the M808B main battle tank. It could provide excellent air cover for infantry forces and was made for battle/transporting.

      A single ODST trooper saluted to the Lieutenant. Pearson returned it and the big soldier stood at ease.

      "Sir! Master Sergeant John Cunningham, commanding officer of the "Iron Raiders" reporting for duty, sir!" he yelled. Cunningham was all military. The hat of a Sergeant strapped on tight, polished armor and boots. Clean face and bald head. Pearson nodded.

      "I'm Lieutenant Alan Pearson of Shadow Ops 1. Welcome to the jungle Master Sergeant Cunningham. We're just waiting for our Covenant reinforcements to join us, and then we'll be on our way. You and your men can just relax for the moment. We haven't had a Flood attack in the last two hours" explained the Lieutenant. Cunningham nodded at Pearson, gave another salute, and then walked towards the other marines who were gathered with the surviving Covenant troops. Pearson watched them for a moment, before turning to see Field Master 'Favlor approach him.

      "I just received word from Ship Master 'Gunamee. Covenant reinforcements are inbound" he said. Pearson grinned at his.

      "What are we getting from your fleet?" he asked. However, 'Favlor only clicked his mandibles at the Lieutenant as a sign of respect, then walked off to introduce himself to Master Sergeant Cunningham. Pearson stood their, rooted to the spot, then looked outside.

      The Outpost was positioned right on the edge of the jungle. To the right off the base was the lush, dense jungle, and to the left was a field of rolling sand dunes, with odd vegetation scattered among them. The entrance to the mines was a large hole in a huge hill made out of brown rock and dirt. From the schematics Pearson had uploaded from the outpost computer, the layout of the mine was quite simple. Starting from the entrance, it just spiraled downwards, much like the design of a screw. It was intended to dig the mine several miles deep (5.7 to be exact), however, Pearson suspected that they hadn't even reached two miles. His thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of screaming. He looked up and realized that it wasn't screaming.

      True to its name, the Banshee's were heard before spotted. Pearson saw four Banshees flying in circles near the entrance to the hangar. Pearson was confused as to what they were protecting. His question was answered by two Covenant Phantom dropships that flew in and dropped off forty Covenant soldiers, two Covenant ghosts and two Covenant Shadows. The Phantoms dumped their loads quickly, and then took off, out of the hangar, the Banshees right behind them. Field Master 'Favlor walked forward from the gathering in the corner of the hangar and saluted to a black-armored Elite, who saluted back.

      "Field Master, I am Yuan 'Kilomar. Your reinforcements await orders" the Elite growled, its mandibles clicking and spreading open like a grin. 'Favlor smiled, and then motioned to Pearson.

      "This is Lieutenant Pearson. I and the Lieutenant are in charge of this operation. For now, you take orders from me, but if something happens to me, you will take orders from the Lieutenant" he said. The red-armored Elite saluted to Pearson, who saluted back, Covenant style. He then assessed their new reinforcements.

      Most of the Covenant reinforcements wore the black armor of the Special Ops. He counted thirty Special Ops Covenant. They were a mixture of Grunts, Jackals, Elites and Brutes. The remaining ten Covenant were made up of five Covenant Hunters and five Covenant Grunts. Pearson could only assume that the extra Grunts were meant to pilot the Ghosts and arm the canons on the Shadows. Lieutenant Pearson looked at the Covenant reinforcements once more, before yelling at everyone to assemble on him. The Human-Covenant forces made a thick circle around the Lieutenant and 'Favlor. Pearson couldn't even count how many were under his command. He guessed somewhere close to one hundred twenty. Pearson cleared his throat.

      "Welcome to Outpost Sierra. As you know, the tides of war have changed dramatically and we find ourselves allying with what was our enemy, but is now our friend. I and Field Master 'Favlor are in charge of this operation. Depending on what race you are of, you either take orders from me or him. If something happens to one of us, you take orders from the other one. It is as simple as that" he began. There was little motion in the crowd around him. Pearson continued.

      "A few kilometers away is the cause of our problems. This Outpost is positioned on the edge of a jungle. Beyond this outpost are rolling hills of sand and rock. There is a specific hill out there in that desert, which has a large hole in it. This marks the entrance to a mine, which the marine forces here at this Outpost had dug out." Pearson tapped his foot, and several of the armored tiles beneath his feet moved apart, and a holographic projector appeared. It showed the image of the desert floor, then hill with the hole in it, and starting from that hole, a spiral that lead into the depths beneath. Pearson looked up from the holographic projection.

      "This is a rough layout of the mine. It is shaped as a spiral, much like the one on a screw. The original plan was to dig 5.7 meters into the planet, however, data layouts have told us that the spiral only reached this far..." Pearson said. As his voice trailed off, the projection of the spiral shortened to more than half. There was a murmur of chatter, then silence as 'Favlor glared at everyone. Pearson continued.

      "Right here, where the spiral stops is where we are expecting that the miners encountered the Flood. However, another possibility is that they just had to stop digging, because the Flood emerged from a hole somewhere up here" Pearson said, pointed at various positions on the projection. Suddenly, the floating, rotating computer picture disappeared, and the projector retracted back into the ground. Pearson looked around at everyone.

      "We suspect that the Flood holding cells are large oval hallways that lead to huge spherical rooms, much like the other holding cells we've found on other planets. Our mission is to infiltrate this mine, find the entrance to the holding cells and take out the Flood inside. Field Master 'Favlor..." Pearson put his hands behind his back and let the huge gold Elite beside him finish off their briefing. 'Favlor's mandibles clicked together as he began speaking.

      "We suspect that the mine is huge and that three Scorpion tanks," 'Favlor pointed to the huge behemoths behind him. "Are capable of traveling through this mine side by side. Because of this, we have asked for extra vehicles, which is where the bulk of the power of our small army here comes from. We will travel in a quite simple formation. These Scorpion tanks will be in the middle of our group. In front of it, we will have eight Warthogs, one Ghost and one Shade. Behind the tanks, seven Warthogs, one Ghost and one Shadow. Those who cannot get onto a vehicle will jog among the formation. We would transport us all over there by air; however, both of our fleets are incapable of giving us dropships, since they need them all for the battles taking place elsewhere. Once we find the holding cells, we will stay in the formation as specified; however, we will shorten it down if we have too. Questions?" said the Field Master, finishing the debriefing. Master Sergeant Cunningham raised his hand.

      "The main purpose is to wipe out the Flood, or wipe out the holding cells?" asked the big marine. Pearson looked at the marine.

      "Accomplishing one of those objectives will accomplish the other. If we destroy the holding cells, we destroy the Flood inside them, thus killing off the Flood infection" he said. Cunningham nodded and fell silent. There were no more questions asked. Pearson nodded.

      "Well, let's get this show on the road. Drivers and gunners, get to your vehicles. We've already specified who will be riding the vehicles. Those who aren't gather near the hangar entrance" he yelled. Some of the marines and Grunts cheered. Everyone else merely ran to their tasks.

      Before Pearson knew it, the hangar was filled with sounds of engines rumbling and people shouting. The armory rooms positioned around the hangar where alive with moment, as marines passed out shotguns and other effective Flood killing weapons to the Covenant and to their comrades. Lines of troops rushed out to the vehicles around the room. Warthogs filled up with marines, rolled out of their parking slots and took up position near the entrance of the hangar. Scorpion battle tanks rolled out of their dark slots and allowed marines and Covenant alike to jump onto the huge platforms over their treads. They then slowly rolled into the middle of the Warthog formation. One Covenant Ghost, Field Master 'Favlor driving it, parked itself right in the front of the formation. The other Ghost went to the back, while the two Shadows, filled with Covenant soldiers, fitted themselves around the tanks. Everyone else stood around the vehicles. Before going to his Warthog, Pearson looked for his team.

      Master Sergeant Henderson sat in the gunner seat of one of the Scorpion tanks. First Sergeant Howe sat on one of the platforms off the same tank, Jackhammer launcher out and ready. Lance Corporal Thompson sat in the side seat of one of the Warthogs near the front of the formation, his battle rifle in his hands. Corporal Owens decided to run among the vehicles, and Corporal Clarkson held onto the massive 30mm LAAG chain gun on the back of a Warthog, grinning. Pearson jumped into the side seat of one of the Warthogs near the front as well, and then made a funnel motion with his hand, looking at everyone. With that single motion, the entire formation of combined vehicles slowly drove out of the hangar and into the scattered jungle. Pearson realized that this jungle vegetation around them didn't last long, and they were soon driving on sand, one of the two suns beating down on them. Pearson turned and could see the Outpost and the jungle shrinking behind them. Large rain clouds hung over the jungle and the Lieutenant could see lightning bolts flashing out. Soon, the jungle disappeared and Pearson turned to face the front.

      After a few more minutes of driving, his radio beeped and Corporal Owens's voice came through the Pearson's earpiece.

      "Spirit to Shadow"

      "Yes Spirit?"

      "Sir, an ODST sniper reports the sighting of the mine entrance, and a somewhat large Flood armor gathered around it" said Owens. Pearson cursed.

      "Roger that Spirit, notifying the army" he said, then switched frequencies.

      "This is Lieutenant Pearson, the mine entrance is just ahead, and however, a large Flood army seems to be guarding it. Everyone, prepare for battle. Under no circumstances is a vehicle to stop driving. We drive over these Flood bastards if we have too. Out" said the Lieutenant. The air around the formation became tense as they got closer and closer to the mine entrance. Pretty soon, everyone could see it and got more worried. Suddenly, his radio beeped again.

      "Spirit to Shadow, Flood army is moving" Owens said hurriedly. Pearson growled.

      "All personal, hold position, I repeat, hold position. Let the bastards come to us" he said, then readied his shotgun. Master Sergeant Henderson radioed the Lieutenant.

      "Sir, Flood army sighted, they are within range of Scorpion tank battle canon" he said.

      "Roger that Dusk, open fire, kill them all" he ordered. Not even a heartbeat passed, when the tanks fired their 90mm tungsten shells at the Flood army closing in on them. Even from his position, Pearson could see bodies go flying, but the army kept coming. The Scorpion tanks were able to fire two more volleys of shells, before the Flood army was too close to fire.

      "This is Wraith, Warthog's opening fire" reported Corporal Clarkson. Pearson's ears rang as fifteen LAAG chain guns started turning and letting loose dozens of bullets per second in the Flood. Pearson cursed as again as the Flood kept coming. They were to close. He activated his radio again.

      "All vehicles, break and attack, break and attack!!" he yelled, then tapped the driver of his Warthog, who revved the engines and sent them straight at the Flood. The other Warthogs and Ghosts around them did the same; however, the Scorpion tanks and Shadows didn't move. The two Shadows maneuvered themselves slightly and took up position around the tanks. The infantry that were stuck walking stood in between the tanks, firing off rounds into the en masse. The tanks would fire the odd shell into the army when they saw a huge gap. Pearson's Warthog and two other Warthogs flanking them drove around the army, along with the other vehicles, successfully surrounding the Flood. However, the Flood did not give up. They started firing their weapons at the 'Hogs and Ghosts and Scorpions. Pearson could even see Jackhammer rockets fly out of the mass of Flood, but miss their moving targets. The Lieutenant was reloading his shotgun, when the gunner of the Warthog in front of them took several rounds to his body, and fell off the chain gun. He flew straight at Pearson's Warthog, and bounced off the wind shield, bones breaking. Pearson winced, finished reloading and continued to fire. The marine who had been forced to squish himself in the back of the Warthog in front of Pearson, stood and strapped himself into the back of the 'Hog. However, no sooner did he get in, when a Jackhammer rocket smashed into the LAAG chain gun and exploded. The back half of the 'Hog exploded in a ball of smoke, flame and blood. The remains of the Warthog slammed into another 'Hog, which flipped over and skidded along the sand, crushing the driver. The surviving three marines ran towards the Scorpion tanks, firing rounds into the Flood army.

      Pearson tossed two fragmentation grenades, and then realized that they were winning. The Flood army was slowly being reduced to nothing. The last bit of damage they were successful in dishing out was blowing up a Warthog's front tire, sending it flipping into the air, spiraling over another Warthog and landing right side up, its occupants in the sand around it. Finally, the last Flood dropped dead, its tortured body in pieces. At that moment, the vehicles which had been driving around the ex-Flood army stopped and several occupants got out assessing their own casualties. After a few minutes, Pearson received word that they lost around seven marines and eight Covenant. Two Warthogs destroyed and one no longer useable, since the one of the tires was gone. They quickly reformed their formation and reached the entrance to the mine within minutes, encountering to more resistance. Pearson knew they didn't have to stop, and let Field Master 'Favlor in the Ghost in front of him continue into the depths of the mine.

      The Lieutenant could feel the ground beneath the 'Hog descending. The lights which the outpost marines had placed up weren't working, so they had to rely on the light given off by the 'Hogs and Scorpions. Pearson checked a computer layout of the mine and was able to calculate that they had reached the halfway point of the mine. So far, all Pearson had seen was a few bodies of dead marines and Flood, and some destroyed vehicles. Other than that, they had encountered no resistance.

      Pearson's thoughts betrayed him, and without knowing, groups of Flood leapt out of the darkness and landed among the ranks of the formation. Pearson could hear screaming all around him and ordered everyone to stop. He jumped out and was bumped by something. He turned his flashlight on and saw the deformed head of an ex-marine looking at him. The Flood combat form leaned back, about to whip him, but Pearson brought his shotgun up and fired, blowing the ex-marine into two. He then keyed his radio.

      "Shadow Ops, on me" he ordered. Shadow Ops 1 materialized out of the darkness, providing cover for the Lieutenant, as he ran up the line of vehicles. He strapped his helmet on and activated the night vision on his visor. Immediately, everything around him light up. Groups of marines and Covenant were crouching around the 'Hogs and Scorpions, using their flashlights or any other type of light to take out the Flood. Pearson watched one particular Flood jump up high, and as it fell to he ground, it lashed out with its whip at a marine holding one of the 30mm chain guns on the back of a Warthog. The marine gave a yelp, and fell off the 'Hog, dead. Pearson shot the Flood form as it charged at them, then ran towards the back of the vehicle formation, as the Flood had emerged from small holes in the ground and were assaulting from behind. He and his team crouched low, firing their shotguns. Pearson and Henderson paused to throw a frag grenade each. Howe turned and fired a Jackhammer round at a Warthog, which had Flood forms crawling all over it. The 'Hog exploded, sending the Flood around it flying. As Pearson fired his lat cartridge, he realized they were wasting time here. He finished reloading, and then started running back to his 'Hog. He keyed his radio.

      "Everyone! Back into formation. We're wasting time here, we've got a mission to complete" he yelled, jumping into the side seat of his Warthog and killing a Flood form following him. The response was quick, and the vehicles around him light up again and engines rumbled. A different marine driver than before, turned the key to their 'Hog. Pearson glanced at him, still firing his shotgun.

      "Go, go, go!" he yelled. The marine revved the engine and the formation started moving again. Most of the infantry that had been running were now on vehicles, and from Pearson could see, virtually no one was running on the ground.

      The Flood didn't give up though. Those that had survived chased after the formation, firing shots from the various weapons they held. Several marines on the back of the 'Hogs fell off them, dead. It was then, as Pearson finished reloading again, that they reached their destination.

      As they rounded another bend, the formation came across a wall. However, in this wall, was a large door, that was open. Standing around the door, were several Flood forms. Pearson gasped, when he saw three Jackhammer rockets shot out of the darkness around the door and smash into three Warthogs, blowing them up on the spot. The Warthogs behind them smashed right into the ruins, and formation of vehicles became disarrayed. Pearson's Warthog came to a stop and he jumped out, tossing a frag grenade as he landed on the cold, hard ground. The other members of the army began getting out as well, and defending their position. The Flood moved in from the front and behind. 'Favlor, who had abandoned his Ghost, split the army up into two parts. Pearson commanded one team, which engaged the Flood around the door to the holding cells, while 'Favlor and the others took out the Flood that had been chasing them down the mine. Pearson and his Shadow Ops formed a firing line, from which the soldiers under his command stood by and firing their weapons into the Flood that came at them. Dozens of them fell dead, but others kept on coming. A single Flood remaining that held a Jackhammer launcher. It was able to fire off one last round, which struck the ground between two Warthogs. The all terrain jeeps spiraled away from each other, in smoking ruins and collided with the other 'Hogs parked around them. Pearson and his team split up and flanked the remaining Flood. With a few shotgun blasts and one well placed frag grenade, the last of the Flood were killed. 'Favlor and his team joined them, the Flood they were supposed to kill, dead.

      Pearson did a quick count. Overall, they had lost nine Warthogs, leaving them with six. One of the Ghosts had been destroyed, and they had lost less than half of their soldiers. The "Iron Raiders" had seven ODST troopers KIA. The Covenant Special Ops had lost nine of their group. Corporal Strom, who had been promoted to a Sergeant by the Lieutenant, reported around twenty or so Marine Regulars dead. Pearson accepted this. Despite some of their heavy losses, they had managed to reach the entrance of the holding cells with more than half of their army. The mine had been a difficult obstacle, however, they overcame it. Pearson slammed in a few more cartridges, then looked up and keyed his radio.

      "All right, we're half way there people. Saddle up, let's get ready to move..."

By: Agent Shade