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Shadow Ops II: Chapter One
Posted By: Agent Shade<cthompson013@hotmail.com>
Date: 10 December 2003, 11:27 PM

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Chapter One

"Fire in the hole!" Private First Class Daniel Tucker unpinned the fragmentation grenade that he hung onto and tossed it over the trench wall. A heartbeat later, the muddy ground rumbled, as the grenade detonated, sending shrapnel and body pieces into the trench. Daniel stepped up onto the firing step and peered over the wall. Twenty meters across the blood-stained grass was a small army of Covenant soldiers charging towards them. The PFC reached for his assault rifle and loaded it quickly. The other marines around him stepped up and raised their own weapons over the trench wall. Daniel shouldered his MA5B assault rifle and fired. Immediately, all the marines inside the trench fired, tracers and projectiles flying into the Covenant lines. Grunts and Jackals fell to the ground, along with the odd Elite, but the others simply jumped over their corpses and kept on running. Daniel's entire body shook as swept his gun back and forth, the ammo counter slowly reaching 00. When the gun was empty, Daniel dropped it and picked up a nearby SMG 900. The private shouldered the weapon and looked up at the trench wall. The Covenant approached the edge of the trench, looked down into it and fired their weapons. The marines backed off from the firing step and fired up at the Covenant. Covenant soldiers fell into the trench dead, while marines fell backwards and into the mud, their skin burning from the plasma. A marine beside Daniel was hit in the leg by a plasma round. He fell to one knee, before getting two more times in the back and neck. He slumped into the mud, his gun falling beside him. Daniel killed the Covenant standing over him with his machine gun and then picked up the dead marine's SMG 900. He hoisted the two bullet hoses and fired at the Covenant standing to his left. Rows of Grunts and Jackals fell inside the trench, as Daniel continued to fire. An Elite roared, but its body shield disappeared, exposing itself to the bullets flying up at him.

Suddenly, the remaining Covenant soldiers all jumped into the trench. Marines around Daniel dropped their guns and raised their fists, as Grunts, Jackals and Elites tackled marines and beat them to death. Daniel turned around and fired at another Elite. A group of Jackals brought their shields up and were about to shoot at the private, but Daniel unpinned another frag grenade and tossed it. The three aliens were blasted backwards from the resulting explosion. A Grunt knocked Daniel to the ground, and attempted to choke him. Gasping for air and trying not to sink in the mud, Daniel reached up and ripped off the Grunt's gas mask. It immediately flipped off the private and slowly suffocated to death. Daniel stood up, wiping mud off him. He was about to grab his weapons again, when he heard a mighty roar from down the trench line. Looking up, he watched a marine fall to the ground in halves, a Gold Elite standing over him, its plasma blade in the air. The Elite saw Daniel and roared again. The Private quickly scrambled for his guns, but the Elite jumped high into the air and landed on them. It roared again and swung at Daniel, who dove backwards into the mud. He stood up and grabbed his pistol. As he raised it, the Elite chopped the weapon into pieces. It then used its other hand to smack the private in the face. Daniel fell and landed beside a dead Grunt. As the Elite stood over him, screaming another battle cry, Daniel looked at the Grunt and noticed a single plasma grenade on its belt. Several marines shooting at the Elite distracted it long enough for Daniel to grab the grenade and activate it. He stood up and slammed the device onto the Elite's back. The great warrior let out a grunt and turned around; trying to see what was on its back. Daniel ran and dived into a large crater that had been created inside the trench. He covered his head and curled into a fetal position as the grenade detonated, vaporizing the Golden Elite. Purple blood and a small explosion of plasma fire washed over Private Tucker. The marine stood up after a few seconds, grinning to himself.

With their commanding officer dead, the remaining Covenant soldiers in the trenches attempted to run. As Grunts and Jackals alike tried to climb up the mud covered trench wall, the marine survivors shot at them with whatever weapons weren't buried under the muck. Daniel picked up a nearby assault rifle and sprayed a group of Grunts rushing at him with bullets. The first two Grunts fell over dead, while the second two ducked and returned fire. Daniel crouched, avoiding several plasma rounds and fired in controlled bursts. Two marines ran up behind Private Tucker and helped him kill the last two Grunts. The three men then moved up and down the trench, assisting surviving marines and killing any Covenant that remained. There was a sudden silence as the last Grunt let out a small wheeze and fell over dead from a bullet wound. Daniel stood still, the end of his rifle smoking. The two marines with him sighed deeply and sat down on the firing step.

"Jesus, that was bad" one marine said. Private Tucker nodded.

"What company you boys from?" he asked them.

"Both from Charlie company, you?" the other marine said.

"Beta. Private Tucker" Daniel said, holding his hand out.

"Private Graham" said the marine, shaking Tucker's hand. Daniel looked at the other marine, who nodded and shook his hand.

"Private Mackenzie" he said.

"Glad to meet you. Guess it's time we try and clean this mess up" stated Tucker, looking at all the bodies in the mud. Marine and Covenant corpses alike were sinking in the mud, lying on top of one another, their blood seeping through the day old muck water. Tucker now knew what it was like back in World War One and sympathized for those soldiers. Trench warfare was awful. Tucker's boots were drenched with mud and water had soaked his soaks. He wiggled his toes and could feel raw skin peel away. His entire uniform was drenched in blood and mud. It was also very cold.

Tucker looked up and down the trench. He could see small groups of marines going through the dead and grabbing weapons. Tucker took a knee and flipped over a marine corpse. Although the corpse's head was gone, the uniform ranking was clearly seen. This had been a Lieutenant. Tucker searched the body and found a combat radio. He wiped the mud off and turned it on.

"This is Private Tucker of Beta Company. Colony Gamma is secure, request reinforcements and medical supplies. We've got a lot of wounded down here" he said into the speaker. There was a long hiss of static, before a voice replied.

"This is the UNSC Nordic, we copy and are sending down reinforcements" the voice said.

"Roger Nordic, Tucker out." Daniel put the radio in his pocket. He looked at Graham and Mackenzie, who were pulling bodies out of the mud and onto the ground above the trench. Daniel bent down and picked up the dead Lieutenant. He ignored the stench of the corpse and put him on the grass. Underneath the man was a Jackal, which Daniel simply ignored and pulled out a dead Private. At first, the body didn't move. Daniel pulled hard, and the body popped out of the mud. Tucker held back his vomit when he saw that the corpse had no legs or waist. He looked away and literally threw the remains of the body onto the ground.

"Pelicans!" Private Graham suddenly yelled. Daniel looked up and could see the familiar outline of ten Pelican dropships flying low over the horizon. He gave both Mackenzie and Graham a lift out of the trench, before pulling himself out as well. He and the other surviving marines all walked to where the Pelicans were hovering on the ground and beginning to land. As they walked, Daniel took note of how many marines had climbed out. They originally had around two hundred men, consisting of Alpha, Charlie, Beta, Echo and Able companies. Now, it looked as if they only had thirty or so marines left. At least half of that number was wounded marines; being carried to the Pelicans Tucker winced at this.

The five companies made up the 105th Infantry division for the Blade of Wrath battle group. They had been sent to Gamma Colony, here in the Vardenfell system. The Colony was located on a jungle planet called Vivec. Although the UNSC had been pushing the Covenant out of their territory, a small Covenant task force had altered their course and had come to this system, in hopes of conquering it. The Vardenfell system hadn't been discovered by the Covenant, even when they had found Earth and began attacking it. The UNSC was considering retreating here in case Earth was destroyed, but it didn't want to reveal its location yet and also planned on defending their home world. Sadly, the Covenant were lucky to find it and had already glassed two planets. The Blade of Wrath battle group was extremely lucky to arrive and help protect this planet.

The Covenant had begun their attack on Gamma Colony yesterday afternoon. The division was successful in defending the colony on open ground, then after the Covenant retreated; they began to dig their trenches. While this was happening, night had come and it was raining extremely hard. The sentries couldn't see anything until it was too late. A Covenant plasma mortar tank bombed the trench lines, killing a dozen or so marines and wounding even more. Daniel remembered an air strike of Longbow bombers take out the tank, but then the Covenant charged. The first two waves of enemy soldiers were killed, but the battle lasted eight hours, leading them to morning. Daniel had never killed so many Covenant in his life. The death toll by then was catastrophic for both sides. Marines fell backwards off the firing step in the trench, screaming in pain and falling into the mud. In the middle of the open valley field, the wounded Covenant soldiers screamed in their language for assistance. Once the second wave was killed, it was as if the Covenant took a break, because there was absolute silence for ten whole minutes. This allowed Daniel to get some breakfast and a drink. However, when he finished, the third and final wave attacked. By now, the amount of casualties was too high, and the Covenant were successful in getting into the trench. Daniel was still amazed at how they were alive now and walking to the ten Pelican dropships.

The troop bay ramps opened, revealing more marines. They had to have been the 156th Armored Warthog Division, since each Pelican sported an M12 LRV Jungle Warthog. Daniel could recognize the camouflage painted all over the all-terrain vehicle. The jeeps were detached from the Pelicans, while a team of medics climbed out of another dropship, helping the marines carry wounded men and women inside the troop bay. Eight Pelicans were filled with wounded marines, some of them already dead. A selected few, including Daniel, were picked to go in the last two dropships, and transported to the battle group up in orbit. Tucker took a seat near the back of the last Pelican dropship, and watched the other selected marines climb in as well. Private Mackenzie sat across from him. The young marine laid his head back against the wall and closed his eyes. Daniel's eyes fluttered. He had stayed up for a week without any sleep, fighting off Covenant forces back on Earth, but it seemed that all the fighting was getting to him. He had only fought one day and yet he was exhausted. The troop bay door closed suddenly and Tucker could feel the Pelican lift off from the ground and accelerate into the air. He didn't both looking through the window. This was one place he did not want to go back too.

"Shadow Ops, welcome to Vardenfell." Sergeant Colin "Shade" Thompson sat in the UNSC Blade of Wrath's main debriefing room. The new Gamma-class cruiser was the newest in the fleet. Although Colin didn't know the exact details of the ship, he knew it sported four Super MAC guns and some Covenant weaponry as well. It was a pure power house and also explained to him why the Covenant weren't successful in glassing the planet they orbited. Admiral Jonathan Baker stood at the end of the long table, nodding at the six members of the Shadow Ops II squad. Lieutenant Owens looked up at the Admiral.

"Glad to be here to serve Admiral" he said. Baker bowed slightly to Fredrick, and then pointed at an active holographic image in the middle of the table. It showed the planet that they know orbited around. Colin remembered gazing at it while they were docking with the cruiser.

"This is Planet Vivec gentlemen. There are four human colonies down on the surface; Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Omega. Total population, around one hundred thousand. It's a jungle planet, filled with all kinds of vegetation" the Admiral began. The image changed to show a bird's eye view of Beta colony. "The Covenant had destroyed Beta Colony first. The colony was burned, all civilian life extinguished. They are currently focusing their attention on Gamma colony. Luckily, we got here just in time to stop them. Alpha colony is secure. Omega colony is a question mark. Because we have no satellites in this area, we cannot confirm the situation of Omega colony," continued the Admiral. Whenever the officer said one of the colony names, the image would change to show a picture that was tipped in different angles of that colony. Baker stood straight.

"The 105th infantry division suffered heavy casualties this morning after their trench lines at Gamma colony were attacked by three waves of Covenant forces. We've pulled them out for now and have the 156th Armored Warthog division in there. For the time being Shadow Ops, I'm going to have you transferred to Gamma Colony. We have reports of another Covenant attack to be imminent. The 105th infantry division will be merged with the 106th infantry division, which we're sending down there with you. You'll take your orders from Colonel Paul Fitzgerald, who's down there now. Questions?" Baker said.

"I'm assuming there are weapons down there at Gamma colony?" Owens asked. Baker nodded.

"We sent down supplies with the 156th Warthog division and we'll be sending more down with you guys. Anything else?" No one had any questions. Baker stood straight again and grinned.

"It's good to have some help out here, you boys are a relief to see" he said, nodding at every one of them. They knew that the Admiral meant what he said. Vardenfell was a somewhat new system that they had inhabited a few years ago and progress in building everything up slow. There were a lot of innocent lives on these planets and saving them was a top priority for the battle group.

"Teen-shun!" Owens yelled, standing up and saluting. Colin and the other four men stood quickly and saluted the Admiral, who returned it.

"Pelican's will be leaving soon. Good luck Shadow Ops" Admiral Baker stated. Colin turned around and followed everyone out of the debriefing room. Owens led them down the hall, where he walked through a large set of doors. The docking bay was bustling with movement, as marines climbed inside troop bays, and technicians helped secure supply crates to the tails of Pelicans. Other groups of marines carried stretchers with wounded and screaming marines laying on them. Trails of dry blood marked the floor and gave the air a bad smell. The Shadow Ops squad went to a small armory station at the top level, where they grabbed their weapons of choice. They had been wearing their camouflage combat armor since their arrival, and just needed some weapons. Colin grabbed an MA5B assault rifle, with eleven extra clips of ammo. He slung a S2 AM sniper rifle over his back and also grabbed a combat marine helmet, which he fastened to his head.

A showered, clean Private Tucker sat inside the back of an empty troop bay. He, Private Mackenzie and Private Graham were the only ones inside. Tucker had only gotten two hours of sleep. He was more awake then before, but his eyes still felt heavy. He was also in a very bad mood. Lieutenant Warren had informed him and the surviving members of the 105th division that they would be heading back down to the planet with the 106th infantry division. The last thing Tucker wanted to do was return to those mud trenches and fight in another bloody battle. As he sat there, six figures, dressed in camouflage combat armor and carrying an assortment of weapons climbed inside their troop bay and sat down on the seats. Tucker looked up at them and realized that four of them were Corporals, one was a Sergeant and one was a Lieutenant. They didn't have any division insignia or any type of mark that indicated where they were from. The Lieutenant looked over at Tucker, who saluted. The man returned it.

"Problem Private?" he asked.

"Just a question sir. Who are you guys?" he asked, looking at the six men who were now staring at him. The Lieutenant shifted in his seat and pointed to a rectangular patch on his left shoulder. The patch was a single dark grey star, placed on a black-colored background.

"We're the Shadow Ops" he said.
By: Agent Shade