The Last War, Chapter Four: The Survivors
Posted By: Agent Shade<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 19 August 2003, 5:00 AM
The Last War, Chapter Four: The Survivors
The arrival off the Spartans brought a lot of hope to the survivors. The Longsword fighters landed inside Mount Pelagic's hangar and the Spartans greeted everyone. However, the celebration was quick. Immediately, the leaders of the Spartan series met with Colonel Conrath and General Taylor. They then discussed their plans, inside the control room of the facility.
"Well, to start off, welcome to Mount Pelagic" Colonel Daniel Conrath said, nodding at the four Spartans standing around the table. They nodded back. General Taylor walked inside and took a seat next to Conrath.
"It's good to have you guys here, and I would like to thank you more, but we have a large matter to discuss" he said, pulling his chair in. The Spartans nodded and listened.
"Data became self-aware. It realized what we were trying to do to it and prevented itself from being destroyed. It's locked us out of its system. We can't shut it down. Data launched over two hundred nuclear missiles, mines, bombs, et cetera. They landed in all the capital cities of the various countries on this planet, completely wiping out the city and its inhabitants. There are the odd scattered survivors who were underground or in a nuclear blast shelter, but there are few of them. Xenocide forces are all over the world, destroying smaller population areas and taking out the survivors in various cities. Even if people were able to evade the Xenocides, they wouldn't live much longer" Colonel Conrath began.
"The atmosphere is so filled up with smoke, it's covered the O-Zone layer, blocking out the sunlight and filling the air with methane and carbon monoxide. Along with that, the radiation levels all over the planet are incredible. There are patches of radiation-free spots, but they are filled with smoke. We are guessing that within the hour, no one on the surface of this planet could breathe. If they could, they would eventually die from radiation poisoning. This planet had become an intoxicated planet, unable to sustain life" General Taylor finished. The Spartans listened quietly and didn't say anything. Eventually, the leader of the Spartan IVs; Matrix, nodded.
"What are the plans?" he asked. Conrath nodded back at him.
"First things first, we have an hour to gather as many survivors as possible and get them here. That means, taking what ships we have and exploring the cities around us, looking for marines, civilians, anyone. Gather them up and bring them here to this facility" he said.
"This facility isn't the biggest Colonel, how would we fit them all in?" asked Nemesis, the leader of the Spartan Vs.
"Actually, there are tunnels that start in the hangar and lead down into additional storage areas and another hangar deeper inside the mountain which we will use. Sadly, I don't expect there will be many people alive, but we are still going to get as many as we can" he answered. Nemesis nodded.
"Then what?" he asked.
"Well, we still have a large number of hackers and technicians here who helped created Data. Under the command of Colonel Conrath, they will begin trying to hack into Data and stop him. While they do that, the rest of us make our presence noticeable" General Taylor said, grinning. "That means, attacking Xenocide patrols, destroying their base camps and factories, anything that will make us a nuisance to them."
"Wouldn't we want to avoid that?" asked the leader of the Spartan VIs, Shade. General Taylor raised an eyebrow.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"When starting off a resistance like this, going kamikaze on Xenocide forces will only anger Data. Since it knows were we are hiding, it would send non-stop amounts of Xenocides to kill us" he said. Taylor leaned backwards in his chair.
"Amounts of Xenocides like that would be difficult to fend off" he said, scratching his chin. Shade nodded. "What do you suggest?" he asked.
"Once we've gathered survivors here, we need to spread ourselves out. Use abandoned military bases underground and in mountains. That way, once we start fighting back and a base of ours is breached, we have a fall back point and not every single survivor is taken out" he said. Taylor listened and nodded.
"You're right, good idea. However, we need to focus on this rescue operation first
he said. Titan, the leader of the Spartan IIIs leaned forward.
"Sir, there is another problem; what do we use to destroy the Xenocides?" he asked. The Spartans looked at the two men. General Taylor looked to Conrath, who grinned and reached for a briefcase beside him. He brought it on the table and opened it, revealing to the Spartans a gun, similar in design to the MA5B Assault rifle, but did not have any ammo clips. Instead, large battery packs were positioned around it.
"This gentlemen, is an EMP rifle, created for one purpose; to put down a Xenocide. We made some of these while making the Xenocides and Data. We were afraid a Xenocide would disobey Data and if it did, we would use these against it. I've already used it once and it works quite well" he said.
"Wow" whispered Nemesis, running his hand along the barrel.
"There were two problems. The gun has a charge of one hundred and when it runs out, the gun is useless, which is why I've had several of my technicians adapt these battery charges which act as ammo clips for the gun. Once the current charge is out, you slam a new one in and keep firing. The second problem was the rate of fire. Originally, the rifle fired a single beam of electrical magnetic energy, however, as the beam continued, it would overheat and the weapon would be useless for a certain amount of time. That is why; I've had my technicians change it around. Instead of a single beam, it fires short bursts of EMP bolts, much like a plasma rifle; however, the rate of fire is slightly slower. That is because the gun has to recharge continuously to produce the EMP energy" Colonel Conrath explained. Matrix nodded at this.
"How many do you have?" he asked. Conrath's face dropped slightly.
"Thirty-three" he whispered.
"Shit" said Nemesis, shaking his head. "That's not even enough to arm our Spartans with..."
"I realize that Nemesis, which is why I've kept a large compliment of Covenant weapons. Although they aren't the best, plasma works a lot better than lead bullets" he said.
"Good thinking, we also found plasma weapons were better than our weapons during training" Shade said, nodding at Daniel. There was a moment of silence as the Spartans each took a turn holding the EMP rifle. Finally, General Taylor stepped forward.
"I hate to break this up, but there are people out there, being killed or coughing to death. We need to get going" he said. The Spartan leaders nodded and rushed out of the control room, saluting to the Colonel and the General briefly.
Titan rushed after the other three Spartan leaders, still digesting all the information he had just heard. The part that scared him the most was how roughed up Earth was. Two hundred nuclear weapons detonated en masse. It would bring any man to his knees. In some ways, Titan didn't even want to fight the Xenocides. They had fought them in training, to see who was better and the leader of the Spartan IIIs had lost three of his Spartans during it. He knew how powerful they were and didn't wish to see that power again. However, he knew he would have too.
The Spartan leaders reached the second barracks, where their Spartans were waiting. They all stood at attention as they entered. Each leader saluted and stood in the middle of their small semi-circle they formed around them. Nemesis spoke first.
"Earth has been hit by over two hundred nuclear weapons. Smoke is clogging up the atmosphere and draining all the oxygen. Radiation levels are high. Normally, we wouldn't go out there, but we have too" he began. Matrix nodded.
"There are still survivors out there. Marines, civilians, et cetera. The amount of people we have here is around ninety-four, not enough to launch a full-scale resistance against the Xenocides. We need to find these survivors and get them."
"We'll be splitting up according to our series. Each Spartan series will spread out to the nearest city and look for survivors. We'll use the facility's compliment of Pelicans, Longswords and their Stormwing Helicopters to get around" Shade said. Titan stepped forward.
"Spartans, we have about an hour before the air will become impossible to breath and the radiation will kill anything. We have to move quickly and we need to gather as many people as we can. Suit up, go to your series leader and let's move out" he said. There was a low cheer among them as the Spartans moved about, strapping their armor on. Eventually, shouts of what weapons they were to use began to fill in the room. Nemesis held his hands up.
"Quiet!" he roared, his deep voice causing everyone to freeze.
"Our regular weapons will not work against the Xenocides. Lead bullets have no effect. The techs here have created thirty-three EMP rifles which are the most effective gun we have that can kill a Xenocide. If they all get used, were stuck with arming ourselves with Covenant weapons. They are more effective than our own weapons" Shade explained. The Spartans nodded at this to their leaders and to each other. They then gathered around their individual leaders. Titan looked at the twenty-four Spartans who stood around him. He smiled. They had been the longest living series and were the closest. He was proud of every one of them and wished they all didn't have to go off fighting again. Over the years, he had become so close to them, they were like family to him. They already were in training, but this was different. Titan knew he was getting too attached to them, and he was warned not to get close, but being with the same people for over four years, he couldn't help it. He nodded at them all.
"You've heard our orders. Let's get this job done quickly. Follow me to the hangar" he said. Titan turned and marched out of the barracks, receiving nods from the other leaders. His Spartans followed wordlessly. They walked briskly down the left side of the large hall, ignoring the marveling looks from people walking in the other direction. Titan held his head high. He had received these looks before and every time, he wanted to stab the eyes out of every person staring at him. He was able to control the urge, but it wasn't easy. When they reached the hangar, his fists were clenched together.
A pile of Covenant weapons lay in the center of the room and along the wall behind them were EMP rifles. Each of the Spartan leaders got one, as did five others who belonged to their series. The rest went to the marines forces going on the rescue mission. Without a single word, the Spartan series split up and went into their designated ships. Titan was lucky enough to get two Pelican dropships. He split his team up and they jumped in. Titan got in the lead one and he looked around the troop bay. The Pelicans had been altered a lot since he had last seen one. He could tell that the troop bay was a lot bigger and the armor was better. Sadly, this particular Pelican had no weapons, but the other one did. Titan strapped himself in and signaled to the pilot they were ready. They lifted off the hangar floor and flew out into the darkened sky.
"See you later guys" Titan said to his fellow series leaders. They acknowledged him as there ships flew off in a different direction. Titan sat motionless for a few minutes, watching the surface below go by. He turned to the front.
"What's our destination pilot?" he asked.
"We get to explore Washington itself" the pilot replied. He could tell by his tone of his voice, the pilot wasn't looking forward to it.
"How good are the scanners on this dropship?" asked Titan.
"Not bad I guess, why?" asked the pilot, turning to look at him.
"Do your best to stay as high as you can and use the scanners to find survivors. That way, we don't have to comb the streets" he said. The pilot grinned and nodded.
"Makes sense, thank you sir" he said and their dropship flew up into the air. Not a second later, the pilot's console began beeping.
"That was quick; we got a spot of survivors located near some sort of bank. Jesus, it's a lot" he said. Titan looked down and could see a large rectangular structure that hadn't been completely destroyed. His hopes sank as they lowered in closer and he could see Xenocides swarming around the building.
"Go near the back, I don't see any Xenocides there" Titan ordered.
"You got it" the pilot answered and they descended into the city. Titan unstrapped himself and got ready to leave the dropship. The Spartans with him did the same.
"Touch down, we'll wait here for the survivors" called out the pilot. Titan nodded and jumped out, following his Spartans.
"Go go go!" he yelled at them and they ran into the bank via a large hole that had been blown into the wall. Titan went in first, his weapon up. He activated his helmet's flashlight and looked around. They had entered the vault room of the bank. Dollar bills and coins lay all over the place. He stepped over the bags of money and reached the large vault door which had been blasted open. It led to a fire scorched hallway. He could hear sounds of gunfire up ahead and a lot of shouting. He picked up his pace, his Spartans following him. The other group of Spartan IIIs remained with the dropships, not only protecting them, but helping any survivors that came to them. Titan reached the end of the hallway. A blasted open doorway led him to the lobby area of the bank, where flashes of gun fire and projectiles flew everywhere. Titan poked his head out and could see marine survivors hiding behind the tellers and desks, firing random shots at six Xenocides walking into the building. Titan brought his weapon up and fired. The butt kicked back against him and the nozzle of the gun glowed, shooting out a single bolt of EMP which struck one of the Xenocides. Electricity danced across the surface of the machine. It stopped firing for a second and jolted around. It was able to fight it off and continue to fire, but Titan drilled two more rounds into it and it exploded.
Titan moved out of the doorway, firing more rounds at the Xenocides who turned to him. The Spartan behind Titan also held an EMP rifle, which she used and took out two Xenocides. The rest of the Spartans came and shot plasma at a single Xenocide. After a few seconds, the Xenocide fell over backwards, completely knocked out. The last two Xenocides each received blasts of plasma and EMP. They fell over and seized to exist.
Titan turned to look at the survivors gathered in the lobby. Majority of them were marines, but he could see a few civilians. The marines had their weapons up.
"What the fuck are you?" one of them demanded. Titan held his hands up.
"My name is Titan, we are Spartans" he said.
"What's a Spartan?" asked another marine,
"The enemy of the Xenocides" Titan answered. There was a small cheer from the marines and they greeted them. Titan didn't have time for celebration however.
"Let's go, there are dropships out back, we need to look for more survivors" he said. A marine grabbed him.
"Titan, sir, we are all that's left of Washington's habitants" he said. Titan's eyes went wide and he counted the survivors. Forty-one.
"Holy shit..." he whispered.
"Sorry sir, the Xenocides were really strong" he said. Titan shook his head.
"Don't apologize soldier, let's get out of here" he said. The marine nodded and they moved. The survivors formed a single file line and moved through the bank, into the vault and out the hole into the Pelican dropships. As Titan ushered them through, his COM link beeped.
"Echo 256 to Titan." It was the dropship pilot.
"Titan here, what is it?" asked the leader of the Spartan IIIs.
"Xenocides forces have been dropped off a few clicks away from our position, closing fast" he said, his voice filled with worry.
"We're on it" Titan said. He signaled to the Spartans with him and they ran ahead to the dropships. Several of his Spartans were crouched around wreckage, weapons up and pointing at a group of individuals walking towards them. Without warning, they fired.
Bullet rounds flew around them. Two marines helping a young lady into one of the ships fell over from bullet wounds. Titan rushed to them, ordering his men to return fire. Plasma flew back at the Xenocides, but they walked forward, flinching slightly at the plasma, but still firing their own weapons. They looked like nightmares, advancing on them. Titan fired his EMP rifle and watched one go down. He quickly assisted the other wounded marine, and then rolled, avoiding volleys of bullets aimed at him. The Xenocides began targeting one Spartan at a time. The shields on Spartan 232 disappeared and he took several rounds to his chest and head. The Spartan fell over, blood flowing from his cracked visor. Titan looked away and helped more people into the ships.
"This is Echo 256, we're filled up" reported the pilot.
"Get out of here" ordered Titan, firing more EMP rounds.
"But sir, we can't leave you behind" said the pilot. Titan watched another group of Xenocides get dropped off by another Pelican dropship. He shook his head.
"We'll defend the other dropship, don't worry about us" Titan answered, firing more EMP rounds.
"Good luck sir, and thank you" the pilot said. Titan saluted the dropship and helped the last of the survivors into the dropship. Suddenly, a Jackhammer round flew through the air and struck several garbage bins two of his Spartans were hiding behind. They flew backwards, blackened and covered in each other's blood. Titan whirled around and watched another Jackhammer round fly at them. He dove forward as it flew over his head and erupted on the bank wall. A marine and two men were obliterated in the explosion and another marine was wounded. Titan stood, running to the wounded marine.
"Take that Jackhammer out!" he ordered. The Spartans concentrated their firepower on the single Xenocide, which fell over. Just as it fell, it fired another round, which blew up two more Spartans running to a wounded Spartan. As Titan helped the wounded marine in, another marine appeared in the hole.
"Some people aren't going" he yelled. Titan rushed into the bank and without a word to the old lady and her daughter, he picked up the lady and ordered the marine to do the same. They carried the two outside. The old women shrieked as bullets flew around them. The marine carrying the daughter took a round to the head and fell backwards dead. Titan moved quickly, dumping the old lady into the troop bay and running back to the daughter. As he did, several rounds struck him in the back and his shield bar began beeping an alarm at him. He ignored it and grabbed the women. He lifted her, feeling his shield disappear and a bullet hit him in the leg. He grunted and nearly fell over. The women screamed, but he didn't fall. He limped to the dropship and put her inside. Two more rounds hit him in the back and he fell against the ship. Alarms blared in his suit. He stood up and yelled at the dropship pilot to leave. As it slowly accelerated into the air, several more rounds caught him in the leg and torso. Titan coughed up blood and he fell to his knees. Finally, a Xenocide fired its sniper rifle and the single 14.5mm round struck Titan in the chest.
The Spartan III leader stopped moved and more blood flowed from his mouth. He could feel the bullet fly through his body like a red hot razor. It punctured his lung and he began to choke. Slowly, Titan began to fall forward. He looked around him and could see his Spartans meeting similar fates. Titan however had one last duty. He couldn't let these Xenocides chase after the dropships. Strapped to his thigh was a single HAVOK nuclear mine, which he unstrapped and slammed onto his ruined chest. He felt hot tears flow down his face as he activated the bomb. He only had five seconds to look around. The dropship above him left. The people were safe. Titan closed his eyes and fell forward, his life dimming to nothing. Before he hit the ground, the mine detonated.
Titan and his remaining Spartans disappeared in a blast of flame and destruction. A small wave spread out and knocked over buildings and smaller structures. The bank fell to the ground; the Spartans around Titan were vaporized. The Xenocides stood for a few seconds, confused, then the large blast wave hit them and they fell apart. Washington was now completely destroyed, but the survivors were free.
Shade looked up from the wounded marine he was attended. In the distance, a large mushroom appeared and the ground shook. He activated his radio.
"Nemesis?" he called.
"Wasn't me" replied the big Spartan.
"Titan?" No one answered.
TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade