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Shadow Ops II: Chapter Six
Posted By: Agent Shade<cthompson013@hotmail.com>
Date: 20 December 2003, 10:33 PM

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Chapter Six

The sound of shouting and commotion was not something Sergeant Colin Thompson wanted to wake up too. His eyes snapped open and he sat up straight, like a vampire waking up inside a coffin. However, Colin's pistol was up and he looked around the tent he was still in. Lieutenant Owens was gone, along with all of his gear. The entrance to the tent was unzipped and flapping around in the morning breeze. Colin shivered slightly as the wind flew inside. He quickly slipped his combat black jumpsuit on over his undergarments, and then quickly attached his armor. He was outside of the tent, still buckling armor up in a matter of five minutes.

Colin squinted as the warm sun shining above beat down on him. The grass was soaked with dew and it sparkled up at the sniper. He put his black hat on, and then looked around the colony. Sergeant Johnston, Corporal Kreutz Kamp and another marine were near the main entrance, trying to close the large gates and seal them up. Along the wall, Corporal Dela Cruz, McConnell and Bishop were keeping watch, standing on the catwalk that ran along the barrier. Colin turned to see Lieutenant Owens approach him.

"Good morning sir" he said. Owens nodded at him.

"Got a problem Shade" he said. Colin raised an eyebrow.

"What is it?" he asked. Owens pointed to the ground behind Colin. The Sergeant turned and gasped at what he saw.

Private Marleau and Private Jameson both lay on the grass near the small fire they had tried to create yesterday evening. The blood from their bodies had stained the grass and even one of the tents. Colin knelt beside Marleau and flipped his body over. The marine's neutral expression on his face greeted Colin as he lay on the grass, belly up. Colin noticed a large hole on the left part of the man's chest. The hole was big enough to be a bullet wound, but there was no sign of an explosion of blood that would've followed the shot.

"Stab wound?" Colin asked the Lieutenant. Owens didn't answer however.

"Everyone on me! Scout, stay up there for now, keep watch for anything suspicious" he yelled around him. Everybody besides Corporal Dela Cruz left what they were doing and marched to the Lieutenant. Corporal Bishop knelt beside Colin and began to inspect Private Marleau's body. Everyone else stood beside Owens, who looked down at the medic.

"Explanation Corporal?" he asked the man. Bishop looked up at the Lieutenant.

"Stab wound to the back sir, drove right through his heart. The major cause of death here was he bled internally" he recited.

"How do you know?" Sergeant Johnston demanded. The man seemed rather upset at the lose of his two marines.

"The body was found slumped forward, belly down, indicating that when the blade was taken out from the body, force was applied to probably the private's back, forcing him down, in order to take the knife blade out. When the blade was completely out, the blood filled up his lungs and Marleau died while falling forward. Also, the hole here on the man's back is bigger than the one on the front. There is also more blood on his back, then on the front. It looks like a perfect clean cut, but the blade being taken out of the wound only made it worse and allowed blood to escape" Bishop explained. Colin was still kneeling beside Bishop and pointed at the wound on Marleau's back.

"What's that?" he asked. The sniper pointed at what looked like burnt skin that was surrounding the whole wound.

"That tells us who did this. Those burnt markings are from dried up plasma. We only know one race in this universe that uses plasma. The Covenant" Bishop said. Lieutenant Owens nodded.

"Makes sense, but what about Jameson there. His death seems a bit more aggressive or something" he said. Bishop stood and moved to the nearly headless corpse of Private Jameson.

"Well, obviously when the killer was discovered by Jameson, it didn't want to be found, so it prevented Jameson from screaming. He could've been stabbed in the stomach, and still would've been able to scream. So, the killer pretty much ripped his throat apart. Wind pipe, esophagus, everything, Jameson couldn't scream and therefore couldn't raise the alarm. The burnt skin marks are also evident around the skin, indicating some sort of plasma blade" Bishop said. The medic stood and covered up both bodies with a medical blanket. Lieutenant Owens looked down at the prone figures for awhile. Sergeant Johnston's hands were bawled into fists.

"When we gonna get those sons of bitches" he growled. Owens shook his head.

"We are only a team of eight, and I'm willing to bet you there are more than a few hundred Covenant soldiers out there. We'll wait for reinforcements" he said. As if on cue, Corporal Dela Cruz ran towards them from the defense wall.

"Pelicans inbound!" he yelled. The eight humans ran to the colony entrance and observed a cluster of Pelican dropships slowly descend to the ground, their troop bay ramps opening. The ships circled around and lowered themselves to the ground, allowing the marines sitting inside to jump out. There were a lot of them. Colin couldn't count them all as they marched towards the colony, one marine leading the way. The lead marine stopped in front of Lieutenant Owens and saluted. Owens returned it.

"Lieutenant Owens, Shadow Ops II"

"Major Kerr, Bravo Company" the marine said.

"You boys from the Daedrea sir?" Owens asked. The Major nodded.

"Part of Daedrea's Helljumper Regiment. We got orders to help secure this colony down" he said.

"We better hurry sir, we've run into a slight snag" Owens said. The Major raised an eyebrow, but then nodded. He turned to the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers behind him.

"Set up a perimeter inside the colony! Platoon leaders with me! Move it people!" he roared. The marines let out a roar of approval and stormed into the colony, while Lieutenant Owens, Major Kerr and three marines went to the small tent camp that the Shadow Ops had set up.

"Forgive the appearance sir, we're just roughing it" Owens said as he sat down on one of the logs.

"We've had worse" Kerr chuckled. He then motioned to the three other marines who sat around him. "These are my platoon leaders. Lieutenants Conrath, Reece and Andrews" he said quickly. Lieutenant Owens looked over at Colin.

"Shadow Ops II sniper and second-in command, Sergeant Thompson" he said. After greetings and salutes were exchanged, the Lieutenant motioned to the bodies of Marleau and Jameson.

"Those two marines were killed last night sir. From what our medic was able to obtain from the wounds, it was done with a plasma blade. We believe the Covenant are in the area" he started off. Kerr took a moment to look at the bodies, before turning back to the Lieutenant.

"They were sentries?" he asked.

"Yes sir" Owens said, nodding.

"How come you guys are alive? Usually the Covenant simply wipe out any resistance, then set up a base of some sort" Kerr asked.

"Well, that's something we can't figure out. Another problem, our scout, Corporal Dela Cruz, couldn't find any tracks, or any signs of movement in the grass that would indicate a Covenant presence" Owens remarked.

"Invisibility?" asked one of the Platoon lieutenants.

"Possibly, but Covenant tracks can still be seen, I've seen them myself" Owens said. There was a moment of silence as they all sat there on the logs, looking at the ground. Lieutenant Owens shifted uncomfortably.

"The colony is obviously empty, which could mean that the Covenant already came through this area. Because of the fact that nothing was destroyed and we have taken up a presence here, I believe they are returning to finish what they started" he said.

"Wouldn't think they have anyone left to send into battle. Not after Alpha Colony" Kerr grumbled.

"What happened at Alpha sir?" Owens asked.

"We won obviously. The Covenant used a division or so of troops to try and take that colony. Loss of life is severe, for both sides. We lost two battalions of Marine regulars, that's over two thousand men. Lots of our vehicular companies were destroyed. Half of the colonists were killed by artillery. From what I heard, Alpha Colony is pretty gone. Although the Covenant retreated, the damage done to the colony itself can't be repaired. They will probably be heading to either Gamma Colony or here" Kerr said.

"Which would make sense to destroy Omega Colony before we can beef up it's defenses" Colin said. Major Kerr nodded.

"Indeed, however it looks as if they have already found us. The Daedrea expected this. We've been given orders to protect the colony for an hour or two until they clean up Alpha Colony. Afterwards, they'll be sending some battalions and brigades to Gamma Colony. We'll be getting troops from the UNSC Carnage which had just arrived while we were leaving" the Major explained.

"Sounds good. You're in command Major, what are your orders?" Lieutenant Owens asked.

"We brought down some equipment with us. Let's get some defenses set up here" he said, standing up. The small party of humans walked to the main entrance, which was surrounded with marines. Colin looked to where the Pelicans had settled down earlier and could make out ten large boxes on the ground. The entire marine company walked alongside them as they walked to the large crates. The Major took out his pistol and fired once, destroying the lock. The entire crate fell apart, revealing a new "toy" that the UNSC had obviously crafted.

"Ever seen or heard of this Lieutenant?" the Major asked. Owens shook his head.

"No sir. What is it?" he asked. The Major walked up to the large walker.

"They are called Death Walkers or DWs for short. They stand around ten feet tall, five feet wide. The cockpit is basically the body of the walker. It's large enough for one person, and is completely crafted out of titanium. The cockpit window is small, exposing the pilot from the chest and up. The window itself is made out of some sort of strong glass material that I don't know about. I think these are used on the windows of UNSC ships. Two legs are attached to the bottom, two arms along the sides. The DWs are armed with four 50mm chain guns, two on each arm. They also have two racks of Argent V missiles, one located on each arm. These are extremely effective for mowing down infantry and taking out Covenant vehicles at large distances" the Major explained, patting the Death Walker he had opened. Lieutenant Owens grinned and nodded his head.

"Excellent sir" he said. Major Kerr returned the grin, and then turned to his marines.

"Let's get these things unloaded and inside the colony. Move it apes!" he roared. There was a rush of movement behind Colin as the marines began opening the large crates, revealing nine additional Death Walkers. The cockpits of these walkers were opened and marines helped other marines climb aboard. As the DWs were sealed up, the pilots turned the small engine and grabbed hold of two joy sticks positioned on the small computer console in front of them. The Death Walkers came to life, moving away from the crates they had come from and began slowly walking towards the colony entrance. Colin noticed that as they walked, the entire cockpit swiveled around, scanning the area all around them.

"Impressive. Death and Feuer will have a field day with these things" he said to Lieutenant Owens. Fredrick grinned and nodded to Colin.

"They sure will" he said, walking with Colin back to the colony. Major Kerr could be seen standing near the entrance, issuing orders to his platoon leaders and several other marines.

"We'll seal up this entrance completely. Not making the mistake of using trenches and foxholes. Reinforce this gate with metal, wood, anything that will keep it closed. Post our troops along the wall, they'll shoot down at the Covenant as they're charging in. The Death Walkers will be gathered in a circle around the entrance, in case it happens to fall open. If it does, the Covenant will be walking into a huge cross fire" he stated. Grins were exchanged the marines gathered around the Major. "Get moving maggots!" he suddenly yelled. The marines snapped to attention and ran off to do their tasks. Lieutenant Owens walked up to the Major.

"We still don't know if the Covenant are in the area sir" he said.

"I already have a team of scouts being prepared to move out into the jungle and see if there is a nearby enemy position" Kerr said, pointing to five marines.

"Sir, allow some of my team of scout the area out. With all due respect, we are better trained for such a task" he said. Major Kerr faced the Lieutenant. It looked as if he was going to spit in his face, but Kerr nodded.

"Understood Lieutenant, send them out whenever you wish, but be advised, we are sealing this gate soon" he said. Owens nodded and turned to Colin.

"Take Scout and Spirit, be back here within the hour" Owens ordered. Colin nodded and jogged towards the small circle of tents they had set up the other night. He grabbed his Shadow rifle and MA5B assault rifle, then stood and grabbed his radio.

"Spirit, Scout, on me" he ordered. Dela Cruz ran down the catwalk ramp from the colony wall, slinging his battle rifle as he ran. Corporal Bishop emerged from one of the tents, buckling up his armor and grabbing his weapons. Colin nodded at the two of them.

"Going on a little scouting mission, see if there are any Covenant in this area. We'll be out for no longer then an hour, so don't pack too much" he said quickly. Colin looked at a small map that he had been given of Omega Colony. The jungle faced the colony entry, while behind it was an open valley, dotted with clusters of bushes and some trees.

"We'll explore around inside the jungle. The open valley doesn't seem like a good idea for an assault by the Covenant. Scout, you lead the way. Spirit, you bring up the rear. Questions?" The two Shadow Ops members shook their heads. Colin slammed a clip of 7.62 armor piercing rounds into his assault rifle and shouldered the weapon. He nodded at Scout, who turned and began jogging towards the colony entrance, which was surrounded with ODSTs, trying to seal it up. The trio passed through the gate and moved into the tropical forest. Upon their entry through the vegetation, Corporal Dela Cruz slowed down and began walking slowly. Colin's hawk eyes scanned all around him. Everything was quiet, except for the muffled shouts coming from the colony. As they moved deeper into the jungle, the sounds disappeared and were replaced by silence. Colin would hear the odd jungle animal like a monkey or birds make a sound, but other than that, it was deathly quiet. Slowly, the three Shadow Ops members continued to move in to the jungle, searching out their enemy.

"Report?" Captain Brian Hayes walked back into the bridge of his cruiser, the Blade of Wrath. Lieutenant Campbell looked up from the engineering console, looking a bit happier then she was six hours ago.

"Communications is back online, our navigation dish is fixed, and the engineering crew was able to fix eleven of our eighteen Devilhorn missile pods. Engine generator one is still offline, but the other two are operational. We can push the Blade of Wrath to sixty percent of her engine power. Part of the Daedrea's engineering crew assisted ours in welding some additional armor plates to the heavily damaged sections of the ship. Armor rating is at thirty percent. One of our Super MAC guns remains destroyed, but all other weapons are functional" she recited. Hayes nodded.

"What about the Nordic?" he asked. The UNSC Nordic had taken the most damage out of the two ships. Brian looked out the view screen and could see the dead ship still floating towards Vivec's moons.

"All remaining personnel were evacuated to the Carnage sir" Lieutenant Nixon, the communications officer said. Brian turned around.

"The Carnage? What about the Daedrea?" he asked.

"The UNSC Daedrea has reported that she is loaded down with the wounded from planet side. Seems the battle for Alpha Colony was a bad one" Nixon stated. Brian lowered his head. If a cruiser like Daedrea was filled up with wounded soldiers, Alpha colony was probably defenseless. He looked again at the view screen and observed the UNSC Carnage, a Galactic-class war cruiser, just like the Blade of Wrath. The Carnage was the Blade of Wrath's sister ship, except she wasn't wounded from battle. Her thick armor shined brightly as the light from the sun reflected off its hull. The only difference between her and the Blade of Wrath was that she had given up several Devilhorn missile pods and a few centimeters of armor in order to have a third docking bay constructed for her squadrons of Stormwing attack fighters. The ship itself just spelled out "power" to any onlooker.

"Has Daedrea used up all her military divisions?" Brian asked.

"She just finished sending her last platoon of Helljumpers down to Omega Colony. Most of her forces were directed to Alpha" Lieutenant Nixon said. Brian remembered the mission at Omega Colony. He would worry about that later.

"Order the UNSC Carnage to supply Omega Colony with some reinforcements. What is the status of that colony anyway?" Brian asked.

"From what Daedrea reports, the Shadow Ops II found the colony intact, but all the colonists were gone, assumed dead. They're just preparing her defenses" Nixon reported. The Captain nodded.

"Keep on the repairs. I wouldn't be surprised that if the Covenant attack again, they'll bring more than a few frigates and a destroyer. Order the UNSC Wilderness to proceed here to Vivec ASAP" he said, turning to walk out of the bridge.

"Sir, radar contacts bearing; 045 mark 105, range; 200 Kilometres" Lieutenant Nixon cried out. Brian whirled around and rushed to his console, looking at the read outs.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Dropships sir. Covenant dropships, descending to the planet" Nixon breathed.

"How many?" Brian asked. Nixon typed at his keypad and a large figure appeared on the screen.

"Over two thousand" the Lieutenant said. Brian looked up.

"Helm, power up the generators! Take down as many of those bastards as you can!" he yelled. The Carnage and Daedrea seemed to have realized this fleet of dropships also. The two large cruisers slowly moved closer in their orbits, using their archer missile pods and hull chain guns to take out several off the dropships. However, they had acted too late, and before the Blade of Wrath could join the fight. At least a thousand dropships had landed on Vivec's surface. Brian stared down at the planet below, his mouth wide open. He looked to his communications officer.

"Lieutenant, I want you to send every god damn marine, every piece of military equipment that we have on this ship, down to that planet. Take everything, load it onto what dropships we have left and send them to the planet" Brian said slowly. Nixon nodded and began relaying the orders. Brian sat down in his command chair, breathing slowly.

"Also, tell our forces below, they've got company coming" he said.

"Yes sir" Lieutenant Nixon answered.

"Go to battle alert"

Corporal Dela Cruz held up a fist. Immediately, Colin froze, ducking low to the ground beside the scout master. Corporal Bishop was behind the sniper, covering his six. Colin looked up at the Hispanic man.

"Scout?" he whispered.

"I feel like we're being watched or something sir" he whispered back. Colin stood up, looking around the forest.

"What do you see?" he asked.

"Well nothing sir, but I can hear something moving behind us. I've been hearing this same sound since we first arrived here, but I merely thought it was the rest of the squad. But since I can hear more then two pairs of feet walking in this jungle, I'm beginning to worry" the scout said. Colin was looking all around him, squinting carefully. However, he could only see green leaves, trees and bushes. There was no sign of life.

"We've been gone long enough. Let's head back for now" he said, turning to leave. Without warning, a shot rang out in the forest. Colin whirled around and ducked, just in time to avoid a plasma bolt that flew past him.

"Covenant!" Corporal Bishop screamed, raising his assault rifle and fired off a few rounds. Colin crouched up and fired his assault rifle blindly through the woods. He looked beside him at the unconscious form of Aaron Dela Cruz.

"Spirit!" Colin yelled, still firing his assault rifle. The medic lowered his weapon and knelt beside the knocked out man, feeling for a pulse and checking the man's face.

"Put into submission. What the fuck?" Bishop said, looking up at Colin, who stopped firing. Suddenly, Corporal Bishop was slowly lifted off the ground. Colin looked up at him with shock.

"Shade!" Bishop screamed. Like a doll, the medic was tossed easily into a tree, where he fell to the ground, unconscious. Eyes wide open and shaking heavily, Colin turned around to look at the spot where the medic had been sitting. It was empty. There was no one else in the forest with Colin. He stood absolutely still and tried to shut out all the noises around him. The sniper could definitely hear something walking around him. He could hear leaves being stepped on and branched pushed aside. It was coming from behind him. Colin grabbed his assault rifle as he could hear the pace quicken. He whirled around and fired.

A figure materialized out of nowhere, wearing a marine combat uniform and a glowing plasma sword sticking out of its wrist. Colin looked up at the figure's face and realized who this man was.

"Private Tucker?" he asked. The marine stared down at Colin with a neutral expression. His eyes were glowing yellow and the plasma sword coming out of his wrist didn't look natural. His skin had also turned blue slightly, and he seemed a bit more bulky then usual. There were also holes all over the man's chest and stomach. Colin was about to speak, when his chest and stomach began to twist and squirm together. The bullet holes from where Colin had shot the marine disappeared and the bullets themselves fell onto the ground around the sniper. Colin looked up at the man, horrified.

"What the fuck are you?" he asked. Private Tucker suddenly grinned and took a step back. Still smiling, he bawled his fist and punched Colin in the face. The force of the blow was like nothing the Sergeant had ever felt. Pain shot through his face and his entire skull shook. He was thrown backwards, over Corporal Dela Cruz's body and onto a rock, where he slipped into unconsciousness. The last thing he saw was Tucker, turning and disappearing again.

"Shade, this is Shadow, please respond....God damnit Sergeant, respond!" Lieutenant Owens threw his radio down on the grass in disgust. His good friend and second in command had disappeared. He should've been back an hour ago, yet he was not present inside the colony. Owens watched as the colony gates were closed completely and supported with wooden and metal beams. The gates had also been reinforced with armour plating from the houses in the colony. It would hold until reinforcements arrived. Major Kerr approached the Lieutenant, wiping sweat from his face.

"There, that will keep them out hopefully" he said, panting. Owens nodded.

"Impressive sir" he said. The Major looked up at Fredrick.

"Any news from your scouts?" he asked. The Lieutenant bowed his head and shook it. Major Kerr stood straight.

"If they come later on, several of my marines have some rope which they can use to pull them up over the wall" he said.

"Thank you sir" Owens said, smiling and saluting the Major. As he returned it, a marine rushed over to them.

"It's the Blade of Wrath sir" he said, handing the microphone to Kerr. The Major took it and clicked the small device, holding it to his mouth.

"This is Major Kerr of Bravo Company" he said.

"Major Kerr, this is Captain Hayes of the Blade of Wrath, we have a serious problem" came the voice of Captain Brian Hayes. Owens realized that he sounded scared.

"What is it sir?" Kerr asked.

"A fleet of around a thousand or so Covenant dropships were successful in getting past our scans and penetrated the atmosphere. You've got at least a brigade or a regiment of Covenant troops heading your way" the Captain said. Major Kerr opened his mouth to respond, but the sounds of screaming, explosions and gunfire prevented him from doing so....

By: Agent Shade