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Shadow Ops, Chapter 8: End Game
Posted By: Agent Shade<Agent_Shade13@hotmail.com>
Date: 1 July 2003, 2:55 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 (assault, red team)
Master Sergeant John "Dusk" Henderson (assault, blue team)
First Sergeant Paul "Specter" Howe (demolitions, blue team)
Lance Corporal Colin "Shade" Thompson (sniper, blue team)
Corporal Fredrick "Spirit" Owens (medic, red team)
Corporal Daniel "Wraith" Clarkson (support, red team)

      Well, Chapter 8, the last one in the Shadow Ops saga, hope you all enjoy it

~*End note*~

      The entrance to the holding cells was more than fifteen feet tall, and when the old
titanium doors groaned open, Lieutenant Pearson calculated that it was around twenty feet
wide. Three Scorpion tanks, exactly side by side fit perfectly through the entrance, following
a small group of Warthogs and a single Covenant Ghost. Behind the first three tanks, Field
Master 'Favlor commanded the two Shadows given to them, followed by the other three
tanks. Pearson jumped into the side seat of another Warthog and nodded at Corporal
Clarkson who had jumped into the gunner's seat. The ODST sitting in the driver's spot,
turned the key and the engine of the big jeep roared. Their 'Hog skidded forward along the
sandy ground and fell into formation behind the remaining three Scorpion tanks.

      Their combined force of Humans and Covenant had successfully made it through
the mines that the marines of Outpost Sierra had created in a large desert that apparently
stretched on for miles. Along the way down into the mines, they had lost several marines
and Covenant troops, since the Flood combat forms had a habit of jumping out of the
darkness and striking with their deadly tentacle whip. So far, Pearson felt they were lucky
to have made it this far, and he prayed that their luck would hold. They were now entering
the hardest part of their mission.

      This wasn't the first time they had encountered Flood on a planet out in the
Andromeda galaxy. According to library data files, Human forces had encountered Flood
resistance on at least eleven other planets in their current system. In most cases, the
marine forces allied with the regional Covenant team, yet when they had defeated the
Flood, the two superpowers would start fighting again. Pearson was praying that wouldn't
happen here. He felt there was a strong chance nothing would happen, since he had seen
many Covenant troops help out the marines and vice versa. Still, Pearson was worried.

      They sped down a large hall, dotted with odd blue and purple markings. The only
light given off was from the headlights of the human vehicles. They drove down this single
hall for a few minutes, before reaching another door. As the large convoy stopped and
waited, Pearson got out of the Warthog he was in and ran to the front. He found the 'Hog
his sniper was in, ordered the marine in the back to get out, and manned the 30mm LAAG
chain gun. When it was confirmed, the marine had found Pearson's old 'Hog, the
Lieutenant gave the go-ahead, and the large doors in front of them parted. Pearson heard
the driver of his Warthog gasp.

      The Human-Covenant convoy entered an enormous room. It was oval-shaped, and
Pearson couldn't even begin to calculate how big it was. The convoy stopped in the middle
and took a moment to look around. The room was lighted by individual spot lights
positioned on the walls as they sloped up to the top. Pearson noticed a large metallic
catwalk that ascended in a spiral up the wall. Spread out along the catwalk as it moved up
were doors. Pearson could tell that many of the doors were opened, but he noticed some
that weren't. He swore to himself for that last train of thought.

      The doors that were not open, opened, revealing hordes of Flood combat and
carrier forms. The sound of their gurgled barking filled the room. The Flood sighted their
enemy and began sprinting down the catwalk toward them. Pearson's jaw hung down for a
second, before he swivelled his chain gun to face his enemy and keyed his radio.

      "Open fire!" he roared. The Scorpion tanks fired first, sending six tungsten shells up
into the air. The explosive uranium slammed into parts of the catwalk and walk, ripping
apart the old metal and blowing up dozens of Flood forms. Pearson began pressing his
thumbs on the two individual firing triggers, and setting lose thousands of bullets onto the
Flood. The rest of the Warthogs did the same, and the air around them was filled with
bullets and the odd high-powered uranium shell. Pearson noticed that from this distance,
the Scorpions were the most effective. He stopped firing for a moment, then activated his
radio again.

      "All vehicles, follow me. Scorpion tanks hold position" he ordered. He clicked his
radio off, then patted the driver on the back. The marine revved the engine, and they sped
off to where the sloping platform started. The Flood were moving fast, and as Pearson's
'Hog parked itself, the Flood rained down upon them. Pearson began firing his chain gun
again, ripping apart dozens of them, and as the rest of the convoy parked around him, the
Flood were slowly pushed back. Carrier forms erupted, killing their own, and sending
dozens of infection forms out onto the metal ground. Pearson's attention however was
focused on the leaping combat forms. He did not see the infection form that crept up
beside their Warthog and grabbed hold of the marine sitting in the driver's seat.

      The moment the screaming started, Pearson stopped firing. The driver howled with
pain, and jumped out, thrashing about and running around in circles.

      "Get off! Someone get it off!" he screamed horribly, as the Flood infection form
taped into the man's spinal cord. Lance Corporal Thompson, who was sitting in the side
seat of Pearson's 'Hog, stood up, and fired a single bullet. The round smashed into the
marine's head and out the other side. The marine fell, and the Flood infection form
popped. Pearson knew that what Thompson did was the right thing. Better a quick and
easy death than a long and suffering one. Pearson was about to show his support, when
several Flood combat forms broke through the interchanging lines of fire and landed on
several Warthogs. Pearson turned his chain gun around, and watched an infested Elite
land on top of Warthog several feet away. It lashed out with its whip, and the driver flopped
out of the 'Hog, blood flowing from a gash in his head. The man in the side seat stood,
whipped out a stolen plasma grenade and attached it to the Flood, which swung its whip
around, and sent the gunner flying backwards. As the marine jumped out, the Flood
realized the glowing blue orb on its back, and chased after the marine who had put it on it.
The man screamed, then stopped as the Flood erupted. The resulting explosion engulfed
both of them. Pearson fired at another Flood which landed behind them, then felt pain go
up his back.

      At first, he thought it was an infection form, but then felt the object causing the pain
retract, then come at him again. However, Pearson jumped off the back, rolled and fired
two rounds at the chain gun. The Flood form standing near it fell off it, falling into pieces.
Pearson began retreating back, as more and more Flood forms appeared. Thompson
jumped out, planting a single grenade under the 'Hog, then bolted after his Lieutenant. As
the Flood swarmed around the vehicle, it erupted, sending the forms flying. Pearson
jumped into the side seat of another Warthog and was about to fire, when he stopped.

      The Scorpion tanks rolled forward, each firing another tungsten round at the
beginning of the platform. The remaining Flood surrounding it, disappeared in an explosion
of flame, smoke and pieces of metal. There was a moment of silence, then Field Master
'Favlor ordered them all back into formation. Pearson realized that this was just one of
several holding cells, and they had to get going. The 'Hog he was in lead the way out of the
holding room they were in and traveled in another hallway, to the next one.

      After at least an hour of exploring three additional holding rooms and killing off
loads of Covenant, the remnants off the convoy arrived in the last holding room. However,
as the vehicles fanned out, Lieutenant Pearson knew that this was no ordinary holding

      A large, cylindrical, pulsing white core, throbbed out energy in the back of the room,
and Pearson could make out a few scattered Flood combat forms, walking around it.
Pearson raised his field binoculars and realized that many of these Flood forms were
injured. As he continued to watch, he witnessed the wounds on the Flood forms' seal up,
and also witnessed arms and other limbs regrow. He lowered his binoculars, and ordered
his team to open fire. They fired a few bullets each and the Flood surrounding the core
dropped. The convoy then moved forward, and they all jumped out of their vehicles to
observe the core.

      From what Pearson had seen, it was some sort of rejuvenation core and healed
wounds. The Lieutenant waited a second, to see if the pain in his back would go away,
then realized that it wouldn't. This core obviously only healed Flood forms. He sighed at
this, then looked around. This particular core room was much like the other rooms they had
encountered, however, this healing core pulsed near the middle of it.

      "Are we done? Can we go?" Dozens of marines and Covenant began asking
questions like these. Pearson looked over at 'Favlor, who shook his head. Pearson
nodded, but thought some more before he made a decision.

      He took a moment to survey the remaining troops. Many of them were exhausted
and he could see some laying down in the Warthogs, or just standing against them. Many
of them had racoon eyes. The Covenant Grunts were low on methane and he could hear
their methane rigs wheezing as they breathed slowly. The Jackals whined a lot, but the
Elites seemed fine. Pearson then made his decision. He motioned for 'Favlor to come to

      "Get a group of Elites who are willing to stay here and defend this place" he merely
said. Although he could tell 'Favlor was confused, the big Elite didn't ignore Pearson and
choose five Elites who weren't complaining. 'Favlor quickly nodded at Pearson, who turned
to look at everyone.

      "We've made it to the center, my congratulations to you all. This is where we part.
Although we've killed the Flood down here, there are still tons up there on the planet, and
even if we are successful in killing most of them off, the survivors will just find their way
back to this core and heal themselves. That is why, we must destroy the core and to do so,
means leaving a few people behind to defend the HAVOK nuclear mine that will be planted
here" Pearson began. A lone ODST stood up from the 'Hog he relaxed in.

      "Why do people need to stay behind? What is there to defend the mine from?" he
asked. Many others around him agreed.

      "Like I stated, there are still Flood forms that are up on that planet. Many of them
most likely know that their healing core is in danger, and they will send everything they got
at us. That is why, only a select few will remain behind, while the others will get back to the
Outpost and call in for evac" he explained.

      "How do you know the Floods are coming?" the same ODST asked. Pearson
lowered his head.

      "Because I've seen it happen before and I do not wish for it to happen again. Myself
and Field Master 'Favlor are staying behind, as are the Shadow Ops 1 squad and five
other Elites, which 'Favlor has chosen. The rest of you, will get onto a certain number of
vehicles and get yourselves off this planet and at the same time, get evac ready for us" he
said. No one moved, no one breathed. Pearson looked at them all, then nodded.

      "We will only need a few vehicles to stay behind, the rest can be used by you" he
said. Master Sergeant Cunningham, leader of the Iron Raiders was about to protest, but
Pearson's cold stare made him check his motion and nodded.

      "Tenn-hut!" he roared. The marines and ODSTs saluted, as did the Covenant.
Pearson nodded at them all, and saluted back. They then went about securing the vehicles.
Many of the people not staying, left their weapons behind, which Pearson was grateful for,
since he was low on shotgun ammo. He asked for three Scorpion tanks, three Warthogs,
the two Shadows and one Ghost to remain with them. The rest of the vehicles were then
loaded up with the remnants and, under the command of Master Sergeant Cunningham,
zoomed off toward the exit to the core room. Pearson watched them all do a twenty-one-
gun salute, then turned his head as they disappeared behind the closing doors. He
surveyed what was left.

      His Shadow Ops squad remained loyal to him and each of them supported his
decision. The Elites stood silent, arming themselves with shotguns. Pearson then went
about setting up some sort of defense system they could use.

      As a first line of defense, he placed one Scorpion tank, one Warthog and one of the
Shadows nearest to the entrance. Behind that, he had a second line of defense, the exact
same number of vehicles, except instead of the Shadow, he had the Ghost positioned
there. The last line of defense was exactly like the first, but it was positioned near the
starting of the platform that sloped up and around the pulsing core. If things got really bad,
which he expected they would, they would abandon the vehicles and move up the platform.
The last person standing would detonate the mine, no matter what. The defenses were
mostly 'Favlor's doing, yet it was his idea to use the platform. After they set up the HAVOK
mine and Pearson strapped the detonator to his belt, the air around them went quiet, and
they waited.

      They didn't wait long. The ground beneath their feet began to tremble. Pearson
thought maybe it was an earthquake, but when the doors that lead into the core room
began to get banged on, he knew it wasn't an earthquake.

      "To arms!" he roared, grabbing his shotgun and rushing to the first line of defense.
He jumped into the side seat on the lone Warthog, Clarkson in the back. Master Sergeant
Henderson jumped into the Scorpion tank, and the rest of the squad seated themselves
onto the large platforms along the side of the tank. One of 'Favlor's Elites manned the
plasma turret mounted on the Shadow, and the rest of the Elites took up positions around
the second line of defense. Pearson could feel his entire body firm up as the doors began
to open. He could hear the Flood before they started to pour into the room. The first Flood
form that stepped into the core room was blown away by a tungsten uranium shell. The
Flood behind the now dead grotesque form were blown away by the blast, and the others
were then cut down by LAAG fire, plasma fire and shotgun fire. Pearson had his MA5B
assault rifle out and was pouring rounds at the Flood as they squeezed through the crack.
As he reloaded, he knew that this battle wouldn't last long and could only hope that their
evac would come soon. After more groaning, the huge titanium doors parted, and the
Flood poured into the room.

      "Fall back!" ordered Pearson immediately, jumping out of the Warthog and rushing
to the other one behind him. As the Shadow Ops squad retreated, the lone Elite in the
plasma turret did not. As the Elite was jumping out of the turret, a 102mm Jackhammer
rocket slammed into the Shadow, blowing apart the front of it, and sending the lone Elite
flying into the nearby wall. Pearson was at the second Warthog again, a remote detonator
out. He watched the Flood crawl around the old Warthog he was in, then pressed the
detonator button.

      Before he had retreated, the Lieutenant had placed a non nuclear Hades mine. The
Warthog erupted, as did the Scorpion tank. Henderson had done the same for the tank.
The destruction of both vehicles however, barely dented the Flood's numbers and more
kept coming. As Pearson fired, he realized that most of the Flood attacking them were
combat forms. He couldn't see many carrier forms, which worked to his disadvantage.
Normally, he would target the carrier forms around the Flood. When the carriers erupted,
they took out the Flood surrounding it. An idea dawned on him. Where the Flood getting
smarter and learning from their mistakes? His idea was answered by a plasma grenade,
thrown by a Flood form, than landed on the Ghost, one of the Elites was driving. Roaring a
battle cry, the Elite went kamikaze and drove straight into the Flood. The grenade
exploded, taking out the Ghost and the Flood around it. Pearson swore out loud, and
planted another Hades mine to the Warthog he sat in.

      "Fall back!" he yelled again, running to their last line of defense. The squad moved
quickly, as did the remaining Elites. They armed themselves with the last of their vehicles
and starting firing again. Pearson was about to detonate the Hades mine, when his mouth

      The Flood were giving the abandoned human vehicles a wide berth. At their range,
Pearson's mine wouldn't kill a single one.

      "What the fuck?" he whispered, then kept on firing his nearly empty shotgun. It was
true. The Flood were getting smarter and learning. And sure enough, as the Flood closed
in around them, Pearson knew that this battle would be over soon. He didn't bother planting
a mine in the vehicle. He merely ordered them to fall back again. As Pearson ran for the
platform, his squad running around him, he realized one person was missing. He turned.

      Corporal Clarkson was still firing the 30mm LAAG chain gun at the oncoming
Flood. If he didn't get out fast, Pearson would lose his support expert.

      "Wraith, get the fuck out of there! That's an order!" he yelled. However, Clarkson
couldn't hear him. Suddenly, as the Corporal gritted his teeth together to stop them from
falling out of his mouth, the chain gun stopped firing bullets. Clarkson swore, and was
about to get out, when a plasma grenade soared from the Flood horde, and landed right on
Clarkson's chest. Corporal Daniel "Wraith" Clarkson, Shadow Ops 1 support expert
looked at the grenade.

      "You have got to be kidding me?" he said. The grenade detonated, and Clarkson's
question was answered. The explosion of the plasma grenade took out the Warthog
Clarkson had been in. The heat wave struck the frozen Lieutenant, who held his hands up
to cover his face as he was blown backwards. Pearson was hauled up by Henderson, who
looked at the burning Warthog.

      "Fuck! Come on Lieutenant" he yelled. Pearson nodded quickly and followed his
second in command. The two of them sprinted after the rest of the group, who had
stopped, to open fire at the Flood swarming around below. As Pearson ran, he watched a
single Flood form leap up, and grab one of the Elites by the head. The two of them
plummeted to the ground, the Elite screaming horribly. Field Master 'Favlor was almost
alone, save for one last Elite. The two of them tossed plasma grenades, then kept moving.
Henderson and Pearson reached the others, who were tossing fragmentation grenades at
the Flood. First Sergeant Howe unslung his Jackhammer rocket launcher.

      "Go guys! I got ya covered" he roared, loading two rockets into the tube. Lieutenant
Pearson nodded, then motioned the rest of this squad to move forward. Henderson lead
the way up, and Pearson slowly brought up the rear. He turned to toss a frag grenade, then
watched Howe for a moment.

      Paul Howe was success in firing two rockets at the Flood. He grinned to himself as
the 102mm rockets blew half of the Flood coming at him back. Suddenly, as he was
reloading the Flood charging up the platform opened fire with the assorted weapons that
they held. Immediately, dozens of bullets smashed into Howe like hail stones. He
screamed, dropping his Jackhammer into the depths below. Paul stood there, dozens of
projectiles smashing and exploding into his body. He let out several screams of pain, then
dropped to one knee. The onslaught of firepower stopped, and the Flood continued their
charge. Paul knelt there on the spot, blood pouring from his mouth and wounds, pooling on
the surface below. He was shaking and twitching as the pain increased. His knuckles were
white as he clenched his hands into fists. Paul looked up and watched the Flood approach
him. Still alive, he turned to look at Lieutenant Pearson who was firing at the Flood,
screaming his name. Paul gave him a weak salute, then collapsed. He lay there, his life
beginning to darken. As he slowly began to fade away, Paul grabbed a single Hades mine
and detonator, then without evening thinking, he pressed the firing button.

      Lieutenant Pearson watched horrified as Howe's prone figure turned into a ball of
flame and smoke. The explosion ripped through the platform, causing many of the Flood to
fall off. Pearson looked away, and sprinted after his team, tossing a frag grenade at the
Flood still charging after him. As he ran, he could see the last of 'Favlor's Elites running
toward him. However, a Jackhammer rocket fired from below, smashed into the wall under
the platform, sending the Elite into the air, a trail of blood and flame in its wake. Pearson
fell backwards momentarily, then stood, feeling his skin burn from the heat. He jumped over
the large opening in the platform and ran after everyone. His team had stopped
momentarily, and he could see Thompson and Owens using their MA7B battle rifles to pick
off the Flood coming after them. Henderson knelt near them, looking crestfallen, as did
Field Master 'Favlor. Pearson had no words of comfort to offer them. He patted both of
them on the back briefly, then ordered everyone to keep moving. 'Favlor however did not.

      "You guys go on, I will hold them off here. The detonator must not fall into the hands
of the enemy" he said. Pearson was about to protest, but the big Elite pushed him away.

      "Go! We're wasting time!" he roared, pulling out a shotgun and plasma sword.
Pearson stood up, then motioned his team to run. He watched as 'Favlor let out a huge
scream, then rushed down the platform, firing the weapons he held in his hands. 'Favlor's
shotgun blew apart Flood forms in twos and threes. His plasma sword ripping apart others.
His shields flared as several combat forms struck him with their whips, but he did not stop.
He tossed his shotgun aside, and drew a second plasma sword, then ran into the Flood,
hacking away with them. He continued to push them back, screaming with anger and pain
as he killed more and more Flood. Finally, a single Flood form lashed out with its tentacle
whip, and ripped 'Favlor's head off. The headless Elite stood frozen on the spot, until the
Flood forms pushing him off the platform and continued up the platform.

      Pearson watched 'Favlor's body plummet to the ground far below them. He swore,
but kept on running. He was now done to three members left of his Shadow Ops squad.
Clarkson and Howe were dead. Pearson began to worry as they reached the top. He
turned to see the Flood relentlessly pursuing them. Pearson unpinned his last
fragmentation grenade, and tossed at them. He watched satisfied as it detonated, creating
a large gap between the front of the Flood movement and the back. He then hurried to
catch up with his team, who were approaching the end of the platform. The three of them
stopped when they reached the edge and turned to look at Pearson who slowed down to a
trot as he approached them. He took a moment to look down and didn't look down again.
They were so high up, it made Pearson afraid of heights. Normally, he never was, but upon
looking down at the swarming masses of Flood below, he would never stand on a tall
structure again. He heard gun fire around him and knew that it was time. Henderson and
the rest of his group began firing their weapons as the Flood approached. Alan Pearson
crouched among them, firing his nearly depleted shotgun.

      The dead Flood began forming small towers as the Shadow Ops killed more and
more of them. Pearson reloaded the last four cartridges into his shotgun and fired two of
them immediately, killing three Flood rushing at them. As he was about to fire the last one,
he heard the roar of engines, then the sound of automatic gun fire. Pearson turned around
and grinned.

      An Angelwing, the newest addition to the UNSC army, flew low into the core room,
searching for survivors. From the markings on its tail and wings, Pearson knew it was
Bravo 213; "Firebrat"

      "Lieutenant Pearson to Gunship Bravo 213, we're up here Firebrat" said Pearson
breathlessly into his radio. The Angelwing ascended upwards, firing its 40mm chain guns
and High Velocity Canon. It stopped, so that the cockpit of the gunship faced them.

      "How you doin their Lieutenant? Just let us turn around and we'll pick y'all up" said
Firebrat. Pearson nodded, and then turned to fire the last round in his shotgun at a Flood
wielding an active plasma grenade. The Flood form dropped, the plasma grenade
detonated, and the Flood force coming at them were dead. However, Pearson could see
that another force was coming after them. He whipped out his M6D pistol, activated the 2x
scope positioned on the top of the barrel and fired off some rounds. Lance Corporal
Thompson did the same with the remaining bullets in his MA7B battle rifle. Owens and
Henderson helped direct the Angelwing to a secure position. Pearson paused to reload
and saw Master Sergeant Cunningham and four ODSTs jump out of the troop bay and
assist them. The leader of the Iron Raiders grinned.

      "Your pickup is here sir, time to go" he said, firing his shotgun at the approaching

      "My team goes first Master Sergeant" Pearson said, motioning to the three last
members of his team, who were helping out the ODSTs. Master Sergeant Cunningham
nodded. Pearson turned.

      "Dusk, Shade, Spirit, in you go!" he yelled. Corporal Owens went first. One ODST
remained inside the troop bay and helped the field medic in. Owens sat near the edge of
the bay, still firing his own battle rifle. The ODST reached out for Thompson, grabbed him
and pulled him in.

      Suddenly, a hail of bullets and plasma projectiles struck the ship and the Angelwing
lurched. Thompson, who was still hanging into the ODST, fell off the platform, and hung
there, dangling in mid air, as the gunship turned to fire at its enemies shooting at it.
Pearson turned.

      "Thompson, hang on!" he roared, not caring about their code names. The big ODST
grabbed hold off both hands, and pulled. However, as he pulled, a single needler round
flew at him, and stabbed right through the space between his neck and collar bone armor.
The ODST let out a gasp of pain, then the needle exploded, blowing out a part of the man's
neck. The dead ODSTs grip disappeared, and slowly, Thompson began to fall. Luckily,
Owens lunged forward and grabbed one of his hands. The ODST fell out of the Angelwing,
disappearing into the depths below. Owens was slightly stronger and pulled the sniper into
the troop bay, exhausted. On the platform, Pearson breathed a sigh of relief and directed
the Angelwing to its original position again. Thompson lay in the back of the bay, breathing
heavily, and Owens stood ready to receive more people. Pearson and Henderson were
both occupied however, as the Flood continued to come at them. One of Cunningham's
marines took a round to his shoulder, then had a plasma grenade land on him. He was
about to scream, when Master Sergeant Cunningham pushed the man off the platform. As
the marine fell, the grenade detonated and vaporized his body. No sooner did that happen,
but an ODST fell from continuos plasma round blasts. That left one more ODST next to
Cunningham. Pearson wasn't aware of Owens who was screaming at him to get in. As
Pearson turned to get in, a fuel rod canon blast slammed into the side off the Angelwing
and the ship staggered away again. Owens dangled out of the troop bay for a moment, but
pulled himself in. Pearson was about to help the gunship back into position again, when
Henderson screamed out.

      "Oh shit!" The moment Pearson turned, it seemed that time stopped and Pearson
was living in that moment. He could see two Jackhammer rockets flying at their position.
Henderson stood there, pointing at them. Master Sergeant Cunningham, and his last
ODST were firing at the Flood. Pearson couldn't believe what was about to happen.
Slowly, time seemed to speed up. Pearson winced and closed his eyes . . .

      Corporal Fred Owens shouted at the pilot of the Angelwing to get back into position
when suddenly, an intense wave of heat and flame blew at him and he went flying at into the
troop bay. He looked up and watched two 102mm Jackhammer rockets slam into the
platform where Lieutenant Pearson and the others had been standing seconds ago. Bits
and pieces of metal and shrapnel slammed into the gunship, and Owens covered himself
as an even bigger wave of heat slammed into him. He could feel his skin burn as the heat
wave hit him. He let out a scream, then stopped as the wave of intense heat disappeared.
He looked up and could see the huge crater, which marked the spot where the other
members of the Shadow Ops squad had been standing moments ago. Owens was about
to scream out in anger, when a Flood form leapt forward from the platform it stood on and
landed on the troop bay. The infested marine looked around and spotted Owens, standing
there. It stepped forward to smash him with his whip, but Owens reached out and caught
the tentacle before it hit him. The smell of the Flood was terrible, but he adapted to it and
held the Flood form back. He reached for his sidearm, and felt nothing. Cursing, he kicked
out with his feet and the Flood form fell backwards. Owens quickly ran to Lance Corporal
Thompson's prone figure, reached for his pistol, but the Flood form lashed out successfully
and ripped a hole into Owens' armor. He screamed, whirled around and without thinking,
slammed his fist into the infested marines' grotesque face. The head of the ex-marine
exploded, but the Flood kept coming. Owens stood there, helpless, when suddenly, he
heard pistol shots coming from behind him. The Flood form staggered backwards, then
Lance Corporal Thompson rushed forward and slammed his boot into the Flood forms
screwed up chest. The combat form fell out of the troop bay and down to the ground below.

      Thompson turned and grinned at Owens, who smiled, but stopped. The Angelwing
was leaving and the crater which had once been Lieutenant Pearson and Master Sergeant
Henderson disappeared, as the gunship carrying the last two members of the Shadow
Ops 1 squad left the core room, and sped off through the hallways and through the other
holding rooms. As they left, Owens watched the Flood forms still running toward the core
room. He couldn't believe the amount of Flood that covered this planet and was quite
happy as the amount of Flood lessened as they reached the mine and picked up speed.
Owens took out the detonator Pearson had handed to him, and as they reached the
exit/entrance to the mine, he pressed the firing button.

      Far below, in the depths of the Flood holding rooms, the HAVOK nuclear mine,
which had been placed right in front of the pulsing healing core exploded. A tidal wave of
flame, shrapnel, and explosive gases flew through the corridors, vaporizing the Flood still
running through it. As the Angelwing accelerated away, the desert floor began to crack,
and large columns of fire blew through them. Slowly, the entrance to the troop bay closed
and sealed shut. Owens looked out one of the side windows and watched the planet
Vegas VI fly past him. All over the surface, the planet's crust began to crack and boil.
Flame and smoke burst through them, igniting everything around it in flame. Owens
watched as the jungle he had fought in for several days became nothing but a smouldering
waste land of fire. However, the view of the jungle eventually disappeared, and Owens was
awarded with a view of the armored hull of the Gamma-class battle cruiser, the UNSC
Hyperion. The Angelwing floated through the huge hangar doors, then hovered on the spot.
As the large titanium doors closed, the Angelwing descended to the floor and shutdown.
The troop bay door opened, and Owens and Thompson stepped off and onto the cold steel
flooring off the hangar. Medical teams rushed to them, as did the Captain of their vessel.
Captain James Craywell saluted at Owens and Thompson, who returned it. The Captain

      "Well, who are you boys?" he asked, obviously thinking that Shadow Ops was dead.
Owens looked at Thompson, then back at the Captain.

      "We're the Shadow Ops sir" he said.

      The UNSC Hyperion picked up the last of the Angelwing gunships carrying dozens
of marine divisions, then turned hard to port and began to accelerate out of the system, the
rest of its fleet, and the Covenant fleet right behind her. The alliance that went on at the
planet, spread out throughout the Andromeda galaxy and soon spread to Earth and the
Covenant home world. The two races allied and began to purge the universe off the Flood
infection. And it all started with a six-man team, going on a scouting mission. Lance
Corporal Colin Thompson and Corporal Fredrick Owens were both promoted. Lieutenant
Owens became the leader of Shadow Ops 2, and had Master Sergeant Colin Thompson
as his second in command. Shadow Ops 2 participated in nine out of thirteen Flood
purging missions, completing each of them. Section Thirteen continued training Shadow
Ops, until the Spartan-IV series came out, at which time, the Shadow Ops were no longer
needed. Section Thirteen was destroyed and no one ever spoke of Shadow Ops again.

      Thank you all for reading my story. So long...

By: Agent Shade