The Last War, Chapter Two: Futile Pleas of Help
Posted By: Agent Shade<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 11 August 2003, 4:48 AM
The Last War, Chapter Two: Futile Pleas of Help
The distant sounds of gunfire and explosions woke up the unconscious colonel who lay in the destroyed helicopter. Daniel Conrath's eyes opened immediately. I'm alive, holy shit, I'm alive he thought, looking around. The glazed over eyes of Tech Chief Brian Hayes stared back at him. Conrath gasped at the sight and struggled to get away. The seat belt that held him in place snapped and Conrath fell. He had been dangling in the air, since the helicopter had landed, flipped right over. He landed on top of a marine's prone figure and quickly stood up and backed out of the chopper. Everyone inside was dead, either from the explosion or from the crash. Why was he the only one alive? He knew that all the military helicopters had reinforced armor that protected its occupants from nuclear blasts. He crouched low and checked the bodies around him. Tech Chief Hayes's neck had snapped, probably from the crash. The other technicians and scientist from the research facility had met similar fates. Three of the marines were dead; however, there was one that still had a pulse. Conrath knelt beside him and shook him.
"Hey! On your feet soldier!" he yelled. The marine's eyes snapped open and he sat up. His eyes darted back and forth and he looked at the colonel.
"Colonel Conrath? What the fuck is going on here?" he asked, obviously not caring about military protocol. Daniel knew that was the last thing to worry about now.
"I can explain that later, what is your name and rank?" he asked.
"Corporal Elliott Fitzgerald sir" he said, shaking his head. Conrath nodded, and then raised his head as a nearby explosion caught his and the Corporal's attention.
"A battle? What the hell?" Fitzgerald said, standing to his feet. Conrath walked through a large hole in the side of the chopper and gasped.
The sky was filled with thick black smoke. Fires from nearby cities light up the horizon. Flashes of light appeared from more bombs going off and clattered gunfire filled the air. Conrath squinted and shielded his eyes from the fires. He could feel an intense heat overcome him and knew that the radiation was starting to take affect. He turned to see Corporal Fitzgerald standing near him.
"Mother of God" he whispered. Conrath turned.
"We don't have much time Corporal. The radiation levels are high in this area, we need to get underground. Grab some weapons and ammo, and let's start walking" Conrath said. Fitzgerald nodded and walked back inside, grabbing a MA7B Battle rifle, along with as many ammo clips as possible. Daniel walked back to the body of Brian Hayes and pried the briefcase he still held in his hands. He entered in the code and it snapped open, revealing a large weapon in it. He grabbed it and held it in front of him, marveling it at it. It was an EMP rifle, invented at the research facility in case one of the Xenocides didn't follow orders. It fired a single beam of EMP electricity which would fry a Xenocide's systems and kill it. He was battery operated and relied on the charge to fire its beam. However, the Colonel only had four spare EMP batteries, so he would have to conserve his ammo. Conrath also pocketed a standard M6D pistol, five extra clips of ammo along with it. He stripped off the Kevlar armor worn by the dead Marine sergeant and strapped it over his uniform. He nodded at the Corporal, who was scanning the horizon with his binoculars. Conrath stood near him.
"Can you think of any military depot or installation close to us?" he asked. Fitzgerald lowered his binoculars.
"We are more than half way to Washington, the local highway starts just east of our position. If you ask me sir, the city is closer, I was positioned in California before all this started to happen" the man said. Conrath nodded.
"All right, let's move out, if we maintain a fast pace, we should get there within the hour" Conrath said. Fitzgerald nodded and shouldered his battle rifle.
"I'm with you sir, and I would appreciate an explanation as to what's going on along the way" he said. Daniel nodded.
"You'll get it, let's move." The two men began a steady jog off to the east towards the highway, which would lead them to the city of Washington which lay in ruins.
"RPG! Hit the dirt!"
"Medic! I need a medic!"
"Hold on, someone get a fucking medic over here!"
"Stay with me marine!"
"Incoming!" The sounds of a war filled the Lieutenant John Savard's ears as he crouched low behind a chunk of concrete that had fallen off a nearby building. He peered over the edge and could see five Xenocide soldiers advancing on their position, double SMG 900s held in their robotic hands. He raised his assault rifle and fired a sustained burst at them. One of the huge behemoths turned and fired at his position. Savard quickly ducked as bullets pinged off around him. His XO, Gunnery Sergeant Coulter lay dead beside him, half of his body gone. He looked around him as more bullets flew around him.
"Colbourne! Where the fuck is Colbourne?" he roared at the marines behind him. A single man crawled over from the parking lot and crouched near the Lieutenant's chunk of concrete.
"Here sir!" Sergeant Ian Colbourne nodded at his friend. Lieutenant Savard pointed to the Xenocides.
"Get some fucking explosives on them, I want them taken out" he roared.
"Sir, this platoon wasn't equipped with M19 SSM Jackhammer rocket launchers sir! The frag grenades don't even dent their armor" the Sergeant yelled back.
"Is there any type of military support around?" asked Savard.
"Negative Lieutenant, I think we're all that's left." Lieutenant Savard cursed and looked around. His team had been in charge of guarding the parking lot of the U.S. Pentagon in Washington. Whatever nuclear weapon hit them struck the heart of Washington and completely leveled every building. At the time, most of Savard and his men were in the parking garage of the Pentagon, which was protected from the blast, however a large handful of his men had been on duty near the entrance to the lot itself. When Savard and his men had waited for the fires to die down and gone out to find them, they found nothing but ashes and a few pieces of carbonized bone. Then the Xenocides came. There was originally a team of ten of the monsters, but the marines who were in charge on internal security in the Pentagon came out and assisted them. They were able to kill five of the Xenocides, but the remaining five launched Jackhammer rockets at their position and completely ripped apart the internal security marines, leaving Savard left with sixteen marines. From his count, he had around ten remaining.
"We've got to get out of here" he whispered to himself. Since the beginning of the battle, they had been pushed back to the main entrance to the building. He had seen several marines make a run for it, but get cut down from bullet fire. They needed some sort of distraction. But what? He knew that none of his men would be willing to sacrifice themselves so the others could get away. They were all very selfish. Savard looked around.
"I need four men willing to come with me and set up a distraction" he yelled at his men. Not a single hand went in the air. Colbourne however nodded.
"I'm with ya" he said. Two big privates decided to volunteer as well.
"We set up a distraction, so we can get the wounded in the Pentagon and seal the entrance. Once their inside, we make a break for the garage and get in that way" said Savard. The three marines around him nodded. Savard turned to face the other marines who hadn't volunteered.
"When these Xenocides stop firing at you and focus their attention on us, get inside the Pentagon and seal off the main entrance" ordered Savard.
"Roger that sir, good luck" acknowledged the Corporal. Savard turned to his men and reloaded his weapon.
"Let's go!" he yelled and stood up, firing his assault rifle full auto. Colbourne and the two privates followed suit and ran after their leader, firing their own weapons. Lieutenant Savard had never run so fast in his entire life as he sprinted around the Xenocides and headed towards the garage. The marines with him caught up, but didn't bunch together and fired their weapons. Lieutenant Savard watched Corporal Harris and the others grab what they could and rush inside. One of the Xenocides turned and fired at them, killing three marines, but the others were successful in getting inside. Savard nodded, and then felt his weapon stop firing. An empty clip fell out of the chamber. Colbourne and the others ejected their old clips and got out new ones. Savard shook his head and picked up speed.
"Screw reloading, move to the garage!" he yelled, ushering his men inside. They followed, firing their pistols as suppression fire. They reached the entrance to the garage and began running down the spiraling path into the depths below. The Xenocides chased after them, reloading their own weapons. Their speed was incredible and they entered the garage in a matter of seconds. As Lieutenant Savard stopped at a corner to make sure his men got around okay, he could see the Xenocides appear and fire at him. Fuck, they're too fast he said to himself and sprinted after his men. They reached the bottom floor of the garage and began to weave around the pillars that held up the ceiling. The cars in the garage weren't destroyed, since the blast wave hadn't reached down below. The Xenocides reached the floor and slowed to a jog, firing their weapons as they continued to chase them. Savard felt bullets fly off the pillars he ran by and car alarms began going off as they were hit by the projectiles. Savard could see a door which led to a stairwell.
"There, stairs!" he yelled, leading the way. His marines changed direction and followed him, pausing quickly to fire at the Xenocides. The bullets pinged off their battle armor that had covered their MJOLNIR suit when they first appeared. Savard grabbed the door and opened it, holding it open for his marines. He fired off a few rounds, before slamming it shut.
The door led to a small lobby. While Colbourne and one of the privates held the door in place, Savard and the other private grabbed several benches and stacked them in front of the door. Colbourne found a metallic chair and jammed it under the knob as it began to turn. They stepped back as the door rumbled. Luckily, the door itself was a concrete steel substance and couldn't be broken easily. The metallic objects that were stacked behind it helped with holding the door closed. The marines sighed in relief and Savard rushed to another door which led to the stairs. The four men began climbing them, two at a time, until they reached the main floor. Savard grabbed the knob, but it wouldn't turn. He pushed on the door, but it didn't move. The marines with him tired, but it didn't budge. Savard listened and could hear whispers coming from the room behind.
"Corporal Harris?" he yelled. A muffled voice answered.
"Lieutenant Savard?" John grinned.
"We were successful in the diversion, the Xenocides can't get in, please let us in" he said. They movement in the room beyond and the door slowly creaked open. Savard could see weapon nozzles pointed at him, but were quickly put away as Savard walked in. Harris grinned.
"Good to see you sir" he said, saluting. Savard returned it.
"What's the situation?" he asked.
"We've sealed off all the doors leading from the garage and the main entrance. There is a detachment of security guards in here who have helped us find rooms for the wounded. We're just holding out here for the moment" he said. Savard nodded and walked to the main lobby. It was really quiet and a few marines had taken up positions around the main entrance. Savard peered out a small window.
"Fuck, they got reinforcements" he said as a Pelican dropship lowered to the ground and unloaded ten more Xenocides soldiers. He heard his men behind him cursing. Savard turned.
"All right, let's stay here and hold them off. We might be here for awhile, so let's maintain a constant watch. Who knows what these things are capable off" Savard said. His men nodded and dispersed around him, reinforcing the blockade around doors. He stood among them, wondering how the hell this had all started.
Colonel Conrath and Corporal Fitzgerald slowed down and stopped as they reached the destroyed city of Washington. According to Daniel's watch, they had been running for two hours or so. Even Corporal Fitzgerald was out of breath. "I was never a good runner in basic" he stated, leaning back. They both needed water, but from the quiet, fire burned street around them, they knew they wouldn't get what they wished. Fitzgerald turned to Conrath.
"Do you think the Xenocides are here?" he asked. Conrath looked down the street and could see several bodies that lay on the ground, covered in bullet holes.
"Yeah, they're here" he said, standing up. He looked around him, listening for any type of movement. The wind picked up and scattered dust and ashes. "We've got to get to the Pentagon" Conrath said. Fitzgerald nodded and led the way down the street. They started jogging as the wind disappeared and a scary silence fell over them. Every shadow looked like a huge Xenocide holding a weapon of some sort.
The two men reached the Pentagon several minutes later, out of breath again. The heat in the city was so intense; they could barely breathe standing still. The amount of smoke in ash in the air didn't help also. Conrath grabbed Corporal Fitzgerald's binoculars and peered towards the main entrance to the Pentagon. He was happy to see it was still standing, but wasn't happy to see a group of fifteen Xenocide soldiers gathering around the main door and banging on it.
"Looks like some marines were able to seal of the entrance" he said, watching the Xenocide's futile attempts at opening the door. He handed the binoculars back and raised his EMP rifle.
"Okay, that battle rifle is absolutely useless against these things. I'll need you to provide me with a decoy of some sort, which will allow me to get behind them and use this" Conrath said. Fitzgerald nodded and grabbed hold of three fragmentation grenades on his belt.
"Got it sir" he said. Conrath nodded and began sprinting down the side of the street facing the Pentagon, hoping the Xenocides wouldn't hear him. As he left, he heard Fitzgerald unpin a grenade and toss it. A second later, it detonated near the entrance to the parking lot.
All fifteen of the Xenocides turned to see an explosion of rock and shrapnel fly into the air. They looked around, searching for the source of fire. Fitzgerald quickly tossed another one, and then left his position. The Xenocides began walking into the parking lot, scanning around. Conrath was right behind them now. The battery charge blinked 100 at him, meaning his rifle was ready to fire. He stopped in front of a piece of concrete, raised his rifle and fired.
The weapon kicked back against his shoulder as it charged up and fired a continuous beam of EMP at the Xenocides. Three of them shook uncontrollably as their systems overheated and melted. They fell and the others turned. Four more fell quickly through as Conrath strafed them, swinging his weapon back and forth. The battle armor surrounding one Xenocide melted and the shield sparked and dispersed. The last Xenocide froze on the spot, electrical beams sparking out of it. Conrath walked forward and kicked it over. He then waved over at Fitzgerald, who waved back and jogged towards him.
"That was incredible sir," he said as he approached, "That weapon kicks ass."
"Thank you Corporal" he said, nodding at the compliment. He glanced at the battery charge and cursed. It blinked 37. Conrath shook his head. "Let's see if the marines will open this door."
The two of them climbed up the blood spilled stairs and Conrath politely knocked on the door. Naturally, no one answered. Daniel knocked again.
"Who is it?" a voice asked.
"Colonel Daniel Conrath and Corporal Elliott Fitzgerald wish to enter this building" he said.
"What happened to the Xenocides?" asked the voice.
"They are dead" Conrath said simply. He could hear movement and heavy rumbling coming from the area beyond the door. It then peeked open and an assault rifle appeared, pointed at Daniel who smiled at the marine. The man opened the door completely and saluted.
"Sir!" he said. Conrath returned it.
"Name, rank?" he asked.
"Lieutenant John Savard, I've assumed command of the internal security platoon" the man said. Conrath nodded.
"Good to know there are some people here still alive, may we come in? The Xenocides will send backup" he said. Savard nodded and stepped aside. Daniel walked in, saluting at the marines who stood around the door. They parted, allowing him into the lobby. Savard closed the door behind him and had a group of marines re-create the blockade. Conrath turned.
"Any idea if the control room here is still operational?" he asked. Savard shrugged.
"We haven't even bothered to check sir, we remained here to make sure the Xenocides didn't come in" the marine replied. Conrath nodded.
"Well, they're gone now, come with me, let's see if anyone else in this building is still alive" he said. Conrath, Savard, and two other marines, one of them a Sergeant moved deeper in the facility. Corporal Fitzgerald remained behind to help with the blockade. As Conrath lead the way, Savard rushed forward to catch up.
"Begging your pardon sir, but what weapon are you holding?" he asked. Conrath smiled and offered it to the Lieutenant.
"It's an EMP rifle, sadly, it's the only one. They were created back at the lab in case a Xenocide failed to carry out orders given to it from Data" he said. Savard marveled at it and offered it to the marines behind them. He then looked back at the Colonel.
"Sir, what's going on? Why are the Xenocides attacking, why did a shit load of nukes wipe out this city and many more?" he asked. Conrath shook his head and as they stepped into an elevator and headed to the bottom level of the building, Conrath explained everything. When they reached the bottom floor of the building, the Colonel was done explaining and Savard and his marines were in shock.
"Jesus" Savard whispered as they stepped out of the elevator and walked through a darkened hallway. There was a door up ahead, but out of the darkness, two figures appeared and blocked the way. They held battle rifles and had them raised.
"How are you?" a voice demanded.
"Colonel Daniel Conrath, head of science division in the Mount Pelagic lab" he said.
"Lieutenant John Savard, Pentagon internal security" the Lieutenant said.
"You are not the leader of the internal security forces" a second voice growled.
"Lieutenant George Brown was killed in combat, I assumed his position" Savard said. Conrath heard the figures in front of them sigh and walk forward, revealing them to be marines.
"Thank god, we were afraid you were Xenocides" one of them said. Conrath was relieved as well. "Private First Class Jamie Larson, this is PFC Alan Bishop" the marine continued.
"Good to see people down here are alive, are their people in the control room?" asked Conrath.
"Ye sir, we were posted out here because of classified information being passed around or something" said the Private Larson. Daniel shook his head.
"Come with me. At this point in the game, there is no such thing as classified information" he said and walked to the door. He opened it and stepped in the Pentagon control room.
The room was a square. In the middle were two rows of computer consoles facing each other. On the walls behind them were maps of the building and various indicators on them. A few technicians sat at the consoles, and a group of Top Brass officers were gathered around them, checking system data. Everyone in the room stopped and turned.
"Colonel Conrath!" a voice said. Daniel watched General Don Taylor walk forward, a smile on his face. The two men shook hands. "Good to see you are alive Daniel, are you okay?" he asked.
"Thank you General, I'm okay. This is Lieutenant John Savard, your knew head of internal security here" Conrath, motioning to the man. Savard saluted and Taylor saluted back. Conrath continued. "May I inquire as to what is happening around the world?" he asked. Taylor nodded and motioned to a large screen on the wall.
"Data launched nukes on major population centers all over the world. Moscow, Beijing, Toronto, you name it, it used everything. Now, divisions of Xenocide troops are spread throughout the urban areas, killing people in smaller cities and finishing off survivors in the nuked cities. We're getting pleas for help all over, but the military garrison here is gone. We have pockets of marine forces scattered all over the place and completely cut off from the Pentagon or any other secure area. From my understanding, this is the only secure area on the face of this planet. Conditions are worsening. The smoke from the nukes has just covered the atmosphere and radiation levels are so high. In a matter of days, maybe hours, not a human soul on Earth could stand on the surface, without dying from smoke inhalation or the radiation" he said. Conrath couldn't believe the crisis they were in. He had an idea of what to do, but it wouldn't be easy.
"Sir, we can't stay here, the Xenocides will just send more divisions and will probably blow up this building. We need to gather what forces we have and head back to Mount Pelagic. From there, we can try and delete Data, and hold off any Xenocide attack force that attacks" he said. Taylor nodded.
"I'm aware of the fact that we can't stand here, but how are we going to get back to that mountain and how are we going to hold them off. Bullet fire has no effect on the monsters" he said. Conrath grabbed his EMP rifle from Lieutenant Savard.
"This is an EMP rifle sir and quite frankly, it's the only weapon on this planet that can kill a Xenocide. There is a large amount of these weapons at the lab in Mount Pelagic. Once we get marines these weapons, we have a fighting chance at surviving here" he said. Taylor marveled at the weapon.
"I forgot all about these. It kills Xenocides?"
"I agree with you about getting to the lab, but getting there is going to be a problem. We can't walk there, radiation levels keep rising and the smoke continues to block out the atmosphere. I don't know of any type of hangar here" Taylor said, scratching his beard. Behind Daniel, Lieutenant Savard spoke up.
"I know of a secret hangar here sir, it's under the parking garage" he said. The people surrounding the Lieutenant turned to look at him. Taylor nodded at him.
"Is it easy to access?" he asked. Savard nodded.
"Yes sir, I actually helped built it. There's a sewer hatch in the bottom level of the garage which leads to a ladder. Climb down the ladder, there is a small opening and two elevators. They lead to the hangar. From what I know, there are Pelican dropships, attack and transport helicopters, and two Longsword intercept fighters" he said. Conrath nodded.
"We'll take it, I don't know about you sir, but I'm getting out of here before we are overrun" Daniel said. General Taylor nodded.
"We're with you Colonel. Give us a few seconds to gather a few supplies and send out a couple of SOS signals" he said. Daniel raised an eyebrow.
"SOS signals? No one here on Earth can help us" he said.
"Exactly, no one on Earth can help, but there might be people out there in space who can help us. We'll send out a couple of distress signals. I can protect them so Data can't intercept them and all we have to do is pray someone picks it up" he said, typing in a few commands into a computer, while the people around him began to pack things up. Conrath nodded. They knew a lot about Data and could lock him out of various systems if they wished. The Colonel read the person message for help the General was sending.
To any UNSC forces this message gets to, Earth is under attack. Xenocide forces have bombed major population areas and are wiping out the survivors. Large pockets of military resistance are going to Mount Pelagic near Washington were we plan to coordinate a resistance against them. Casualties range in the billions, the Xenocides are overrunning our forces with no mercy, and we need help. Please hurry
General Don Taylor, Pentagon control room
Conrath nodded and watched several coded transmissions expand out into the space surrounding Earth. He prayed someone would find them. Taylor nodded and walked towards the door.
"Let's get out of here, Lieutenant Savard, lead the way" he ordered. The humans filed out of the room, making sure everything was shut down and took the elevator to the bottom level of the garage. The marines positioned in the lobby were already there and had a single door opened. They rushed out into the garage, sweeping the area with their weapons and followed Savard who stopped in front of a sewer hatch located in the far corner of the garage. Along with the help of several marines, they removed it and gazed down into the depths below. Savard led the way down and helped the others. The small area which lead to the elevator could barely fit them all and Savard began taking groups of people in the elevators and down into the hangar. Colonel Conrath and General Taylor made sure the wounded went first before them and assisted the technicians got in as well. Savard returned and motioned for the marines to go next. Both the elevators returned, and the last bunch made their way down into the hangar.
The doors parted and Conrath walked into the hangar. It wasn't very big, but it was big enough to hold a certain amount of transport vehicles that could carry all of them. Conrath and Taylor began splitting up their marines and technicians into all the vehicles so that they didn't leave any behind. Technicians clambered into the pilot seats of Pelican dropships. Marines took command of the helicopters and Longswords. Savard ordered the four Pelican dropships they had to carry four M12 LRVs which were parked in a small area beneath the air vehicles. The Warthogs were brought out and each Pelican took one. Conrath rushed to the small control room in the hangar and opened the main door. He then rushed to one of the Longswords and closed the door behind him. The convoy of vehicles began filing out of the hangar and sped off to Mount Pelagic, leaving the smoldering city behind. As they went, they were able to pick up groups of marines stranded in the outskirts of the city. They reported more groups of marines struck, but because the risk of getting shot down was so high, General Taylor would make sure they would come back once they secured themselves in the laboratory at Pelagic. As they sped off, Conrath stared out a port hole and gazed at the city, then looked up into the smoky clouds as the last patch of stars disappeared under a blanket of smoke. He prayed that someone would get those SOS signals.
TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade