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Shadow Ops II: Chapter Five
Posted By: Agent Shade<cthompson013@hotmail.com>
Date: 19 December 2003, 3:00 AM

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Chapter Five

"Fire emergency thrusters! Hard to port!" The tanks of trihydride tetrazine and hydrogen peroxide positioned along the hull of the cruiser, exploded through the port side tubes, blasting the Blade of Wrath directly out of the way of a Covenant Frigate. The small, but powerful vessel appeared out of Slipstream space, exactly where the Blade of Wrath had been a few seconds ago. Captain Brian Hayes was nearly thrown out of his seat as the two high explosive chemicals mixed. He sat up in his chair and faced the forward view screen.

"Target Devilhorn missiles on that frigate, fire when ready" he ordered the weapons officer, Lieutenant Elliott, whose hands flew across his data console. The six pods positioned on the port side hull opened and let loose several hundred non-nuclear missiles that smashed into the energy shield around the Covenant Frigate. Slowly, the ship turned and plasma began to collect along its hull.

"Incoming plasma torpedoes!" Lieutenant Nixon, the communications officer cried out.

"Lieutenant Scott, get us out of the way. Recharge the MAC cannons" Hayes ordered. The navigation officer, Lieutenant Scott, decelerated the ship, and then used the starboard emergency thrusters to completely blast them away from the plasma torpedoes which were sent in their direction.

"Shield status?" Hayes asked, referring to the Frigate's shields.

"Weakened sir" Lieutenant Elliott said.

"Target the MAC cannons and fire when ready" Brian ordered. Lieutenant Elliott nodded. The two Super MAC turrets positioned along the sides of the UNSC cruiser slowly turned and fixed their vision on the Frigate, which was gathering additional plasma energy. The two turrets let loose two three-thousand-ton shells at the Covenant ship. The first round not only wiped out the shield, but the resulting shock explosion ripped apart the ships hull, breaching several decks. The second round smashed straight into those damaged decks and gutted the frigate. Slowly, it spun out of position, leaking plasma, internal explosions emanating from the hull. Brian grinned at this, but realized the fight was not over.

A Covenant Destroyer and two additional Frigates sat in a geosynchronous orbit over Vivec, firing pulse lasers and plasma torpedoes at the UNSC Nordic and the UNSC Hammer. The three vessels looked like giant whales, but were whales with teeth. Very large teeth. The Nordic fired their starboard emergency thrusters, pushing them out of the way of several rounds of plasma torpedoes at them. The Hammer wasn't so successful. A combined plasma torpedo attack and pulse lasers struck the destroyer right in the middle. The entire mid-section of the ship exploded, ripping the Hammer into halves. Slowly, one half came flying at the Blade of Wrath, which was maneuvering to attack.

"Starboard thrusters!" was all Captain Hayes screamed. Another bang sounded throughout the hull and the Blade of Wrath moved aside from the wrecked ship. Pieces of metal and armor scraped along the hull, but otherwise, the damage was minimal. The Nordic slowly began to pull away, joining the Blade of Wrath which was flying into the battle. Captain Hayes didn't blame the Nordic captain. He was outmanned and outgunned against the three vessels.

"Sir, UNSC Daedrea is on their way over to assist" Lieutenant Nixon reported, pressing a hand to the earpiece he wore. Brian nodded at this, but then focused back to the battle.

"Lieutenant Elliott, target the Covenant destroyer with both Super MAC guns. Have our Devilhorn missiles and regular MAC turrets target the flanking Frigates" Brian said quickly. Not only did the Blade of Wrath have two Super MAC guns, but two of the regular MAC guns that most UNSC frigates used nowadays were positioned along the top and bottom of the cruiser.

"Targets are locked, MAC guns are hot, all safeties removed" Elliott reported.

"Fire" Hayes breathed. The entire ship shook violently as she fired all her weapons. The two Super MAC rounds hit the destroyer's shields, which was blasted closer to Vivec's atmosphere. The pilot compensated however, by breaking orbit and coming straight at the Blade of Wrath. The remaining salvos of MAC rounds and missiles slammed into the frigates, whose shields were weakened by the attacks.

"Order the Nordic to focus her fire on the frigates, re-arm our weapons and target that destroyer" Hayes yelled. Pulse lasers charged along the Covenant ship's hull and fired. The Blade of Wrath shook as her armor was slowly melted by each shot. Several views screens were filled with static Plasma torpedoes quickly charged along the Covenant destroyer's hull and were fired straight at them. Brian stood up.

"Mr. Scott, divert all power to the thrusters" he started to say.

"Too late" the navigation officer said.

"Hang on!" The first plasma torpedo smashed into the Blade of Wrath's starboard hull. The armor boiled and burned, slowly melting and exposing the interior of the ship. Brian was knocked backwards in his chair by the explosion. The lights flickered once, before returning to normal. Several crewmen running by were thrown to the floor. A console spat out sparks onto officers and the floor. Smoke billowed from its damaged system. However it wasn't over yet.

The second plasma torpedo hit the starboard Super MAC turret dead on, destroying the weapon and damaging internal decks. Lieutenant Elliott's console exploded in his face, blasting him backwards onto the flooring. The ship listed to port from the resulting explosion, throwing Brian and other bridge crewmembers to the ground. Another console near the back of the bridge erupted, showering crewmen with debris. A bulkhead suddenly exploded, engulfing several men and blasting them to the other side of the bridge. Slowly, the Blade of Wrath began to spin out of control.

"Bring us about! Secure the ship!" Brian began yelling as he tried to stand up. Lieutenant Scott was wrestling with his controls as the ship continued to turn. The flooring beneath him suddenly exploded, lifting the Lieutenant out of his chair and onto the upper level of the bridge. Cursing, Brian crawled to his console, avoiding debris that fell from the ceiling. He lifted himself onto the chair and fired the port emergency thrusters again. The tanks were automatically filled up with the corrosive and deadly chemicals after every detonation. The resulting explosion stabilized the ship, but she continued to drift.

"Bring the engines back online!" Brian roared. Lieutenant Campbell, the engineering officer, slowly raised herself to her console, after being knocked backwards.

"Our main two generators have been knocked offline, bringing the third one up" she yelled. Control soon returned to the ship. Brian fired the engines, bringing power to twenty percent and began the slow process of turning the Blade of Wrath around. Chaos inside the bridge soon vanished. However, they were a wreck. Fires were everywhere, smoke billowed from holes in the wall and where consoles had been. Brian returned to his chair, breathing heavily. Medical teams carried dead or wounded crewman out on stretchers. Brian was left with two bridge officers. Lieutenant Scott and Elliott had been taken to the medical bay.

"Get some replacement officers in here" Hayes yelled. Lieutenant Nixon returned to his console and relayed the Captain's orders. Soon afterwards as officers returned to their computers and began system checks, two men stepped onto the bridge. Hayes looked at them.

"Navigation and weapons gentlemen" he said. They both nodded and parted.

"Lieutenant Jacob at Navigation" Jacob said.

"Ensign Taylor at Weapons" the Ensign reported.

"Lieutenant Jacob, rotate the ship, bring us back to Vivec" Captain Hayes ordered. As Jacob began maneuvering the wounded cruiser, Brian looked at Lieutenant Campbell.

"Damage report" he asked her.

"Casualties reported all over the ship. Communications dish is gone, armor rating down to fifteen percent. We've lost all of the Devilhorn missile pods and one Super MAC canon. Other than that, I don't know much else" she said without looking at Brian. Hayes nodded and watched as the planet of Vivec came into view.

"The Covenant Destroyer is still nearby, she's heading after the Daedrea" Lieutenant Nixon said.

"Lieutenant Jacob, set an intercept course. Ensign Taylor, bring all our MAC guns to full charge" Hayes ordered.

"Sir, we're going to need more energy to charge the MAC rounds. We're only running on one engine" the young Ensign said.

"Divert all power necessary, take it from life support if you have too" Hayes said. Taylor nodded and worked at this console. Slowly, the Covenant destroyer came back into view, firing pulse lasers at the Daedrea. The UNSC Daedrea was a Marathon-class cruiser, one of the only ones in service today. She was equipped with three MAC guns, and around fifteen Devilhorn missile pods. Two squadrons of Longbow and Longsword intercept fighters were also at her disposal. From what Brian could see, the captain of the cruiser was simply using his missiles and MAC rounds.

"Status on the destroyer's shields" Hayes said.

"Long range scanners have been knocked out. Out shorter range scans show that they are probably down to around forty percent" Lieutenant Nixon guessed. Brian nodded.

"Ensign Taylor, fire when ready" he ordered. The Blade of Wrath fired what weapons she had left. Three MAC rounds slammed into the destroyer, wiping out her shields and scarring her armor.

"We don't have enough power to recharge the MAC guns, at least not yet" Ensign Taylor said.

"Run them over Lieutenant Jacob" Brian growled. The officer grinned and nodded, accelerating the ship to its max speed power. The destroyer was completely oblivious to the oncoming cruiser until it was too late. The bottom of the Blade of Wrath's surface skidded along the destroyer's armor, before penetrating the interior and ripping through the ship's hull. The Covenant ship accelerated, but because of the size of the Blade of Wrath, more armor was ripped open, exposing more levels inside the ship. The Blade of Wrath continued digging through, slowing down slightly to add to the damage.

"Ensign Taylor, arm a Shiva nuke. Target the exposed decks inside that ship" Brian ordered. The man nodded and relayed the orders to have a warhead loaded into a firing tube. He targeted the large hole that they were creating in the destroyer's hull.

"Ready sir" he stated. Brian waited however. They emerged from the destroyer's hull and began to speed away, as she slowly turned, ready to return fire.

"Shove it down their throats Ensign. Fire!" Brian ordered. The small nuke flew out of a launch tube and accelerated to the Covenant destroyer, which was venting atmosphere.

"Get us out of here!" Brian ordered. Lieutenant Jacob pushed the small generator to thirty percent, breaching the red line, causing Klaxon alarms to blare. The Shiva nuke smashed straight into the exposed decks of the destroyer. The Covenant ship became an explosion of bright white light, blinding the Captain and the bridge crew. A small shockwave spread out from the core explosion, which twinkled brightly at them. The Blade of Wrath shook as the explosive wave flew past them, damaging the hull. Slowly, the white light died down and the Covenant destroyer was nowhere to be seen. Brian sighed and leaned back in his chair.

"Helm, take us back to Vivec" he ordered. A combination of port emergency thrusters and the acceleration of the red-hot engines turned the Blade of Wrath around and allowed her to slowly drift towards the jungle planet.

"What's the status on the remaining Covenant ships?" Brian asked as they slowly approached.

"The UNSC Nordic was able to destroy one of the frigates, but the damage on her is huge. Her armor all along the starboard side of the ship is basically gone, all melted away. The frigate is still firing pulse lasers, which is blasting the Nordic away from Vivec and to one of its moons. From what the scans say, she's still taking power from her primary and secondary systems to bring the weapons back up" Lieutenant Nixon reported.

"What about the UNSC Daedrea?" he asked.

"She's just arrived sir. The frigate is trying to retreat" Nixon said again. Brian sighed again and slumped in his command chair.

"Looks like the battle is over" he muttered.

"The UNSC Daedrea sends their compliments and also some repair supplies sir" Lieutenant Nixon said again. Brian nodded.

"Damage assessment?" he asked.

"Communications is still down. Navigational dish damaged. We were able to repair three Devilhorn missile pods. Armor rating remains at fifteen percent, down to around four centimeters. Docking Bay One is gone" Campbell reported.

"Gone?" Brian asked.

"Plasma melted the bay doors, sucked everything out. Some crewmen are being assembled to make some repairs on the secondary doors, so that they can actually close" Lieutenant Campbell said.

"What about what was inside the bay?" Brian asked again.

"Everything's gone sir. Pelicans, ground vehicles, other warfare equipment. We've got reports that three Companies of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers were all killed" Campbell said.

"What about Docking bay two?" asked Brian as he stood up.

"Still intact, but there's not a lot in there. Few Pelicans, couple of platoons of Marine Regulars, nothing we can fight a war with" the engineering officer said sadly. Brian sighed again.

"When communications is fixed, contact the UNSC Carnage and have them head over here. Also, tell the Daedrea to supply our ground forces planet side with reinforcements if needs be. I'm going to retire for now. Fix this ship people, I want it back to operational status within six hours" Brian ordered, standing and walking out of the bridge. He saluted to his bridge officers and other crewman while walking out. Six hours gave him two hours to reflect on the battle and an additional four to either sleep or fill out forms for possible replacements.

"This is the UNSC Daedrea calling the Shadow Ops II squad." Sergeant Colin Thompson looked over at Lieutenant Owens, whose radio was blaring the message that the sniper had just heard. The Lieutenant dropped his pack and took out the radio.

"This is Lieutenant Owens of Shadow Ops II, go ahead Daedrea" he said into the small headset.

"Lieutenant, this is Captain O'Neill. To start off, we're having some problems up in orbit. A Covenant assault force attacked the Blade of Wrath and the other two destroyers that had been here. Currently, the UNSC Hammer was destroyed, the UNSC Nordic is crippled beyond repair and the UNSC Blade of Wrath has been greatly wounded. We haven't heard anything from the Blade of Wrath because their communications is down, but if you need some form of reinforcements, contact us, we'll send you what we got" the voice said. Lieutenant Owens nodded.

"Confirmed Captain O'Neill. We'll actually need a platoon or two of marine regulars here at Omega Colony when you get chance" he said.

"Roger Shadow Ops, we'll be sending down a platoon of Helljumpers, but they won't be there tonight. Having trouble on other parts of the planet" the Captain said.

"Roger, good luck up there."

"Out." Lieutenant Owens put his radio away, then stood up, looking at his team and the four marines they had discovered along their journey to the colony.

"Reinforcements on their way" he said. Colin turned to look at the colony they now stood in. It was dark, since the sun had gone down two hours ago, leaving the stars and one of Vivec's moons to provide a source of light. The empty buildings and huts around them gave the atmosphere a sense of fright and horror. No one moved, no one spoke. Not a single colonist could be seen either in the colony or in one of their homes. It was as if they had all suddenly vanished. Baskets of food lay scattered along the ground. The wind picked up and papers that were gathered on a hut flew all over the place. It was a ghost colony. Colin gripped his sniper rifle tightly. He looked towards Omega Colony's main entrance. He froze.

The outline of a tall shadow could be seen along the ground, just near the right side of the gate entrance. Colin faced the entrance, but the shadow suddenly disappeared. The sounds of trees and bushes being moved around could be heard afterwards. Colin was about to turn around to tell Owens, but the Lieutenant's vision was facing the entrance, where the shadow had been.

"What the fuck was that?" Corporal McConnell whispered. Colin realized that everyone had noticed the shadow and where all staring at the empty entry. Lieutenant Owens shook his head.

"We'll set up camp here for the night, post two sentries though" he stated, dropping his pack to the ground. Slowly, the Shadow Ops and the four marines began to set up tents and build a small fire, hoping the night would pass quickly. Their camp consisted of eight UNSC issued combat tents, set up in a circle. In the middle of this circle was a small fire that the marines and Corporal Kreutz Kamp were trying to get going, before heading to bed. Colin zipped up his tent entrance, and then crawled to the far side, propping his head onto his arm. Lieutenant Owens lay on the other side of the tent, his back turned to Colin. Slowly, the sniper's eyes began to grow and heavy and he fell into a deep slumber.

Meanwhile, from the wall that surrounded the colony, the invisible figure continued to observe the humans, unseen and undetected. It turned and jumped to the ground, running in between the colony's structures. Two marines sat around the fire, chatting silently with each other. The figure quietly crept in closer as the two marines yawned and one began nodding off to sleep. His partner however punched him and the two of them were awake again. The figure continued to move about the camp, until it was right behind one of the marines.

Private Marleau took a long sip of his water and then tossed the empty jug aside. In front of him, Private Jameson stared into the fire, his eyes glazed over. Marleau shook his head. The idiot was trying to fall asleep again. He leaned forward and poked him. Jameson looked up at Marleau, glaring.

"Damnit man, I want to get to sleep" he growled. Marleau laughed.

"Not on my watch buddy, you aren't leaving me alone out here" he said. Jameson rolled his eyes.

"Afraid of a little shadow?" he asked the Private. It was Marleau's turn to glare.

"You were freaked out just as I was" he said. Jameson shrugged.

"Perhaps, but at least I don't show it. You fucking pissed you pants" he said, laughing.

"Say something like that one more time and I'm gonna knock your fucking head in" Marleau growled, balling his fist. Jameson patted his arm.

"Relax dude, I'm just kidding around. I admit, I was scared too. Feels as if we're being watching by something. I've been feeling this since we first landed and ever since that Tucker guy disappeared. Someone or something is stalking us. I dunno what it is though. Wish I did" Jameson said. Suddenly, the Private gasped, his eyes going wide and he fell off the log that he was sitting on.

"What?" Marleau asked. Jameson raised a shaky finger, pointing behind Marleau. He was about to turn around, when a knife of some sort was driven through his back and popped out of his chest. Marleau felt the blade sink into him, felt his warm blood leak through his armor. His eyes rolled into the back of his head and he slumped forward. Jameson was about to scream, when the figure that had killed Marleau, stood and jumped on top of the private, the fire going out as it flew at the marine. It raised its large dagger and stabbed it through Jameson's neck. The private gurgled and coughed, spitting up blood and choking on the object placed in his windpipe and esophagus. Although it was completely dark inside the camp and the figure seemed to have put their fire out, Jameson could make out a pair of yellow eyes glaring at him. He eventually went limp, as the dagger penetrated the back of his brain stem. The figure wiped the blood off its blade, and then ran off into the night, returning invisible and vowing to return.

By: Agent Shade