Shadow Ops II: Chapter Nine
Posted By: Agent Shade<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 29 December 2003, 6:37 AM
Just like at Gamma colony, the sun slowly rose over the tree tops, spreading its light over the ruined Omega Colony and its war-torn surroundings. Sergeant Colin Thompson was not standing on the catwalk and overlooking the battle like he had done last time. Instead, he was on his hands and knees, gathering up the bodies of the dead and laying them down in a line. He picked up the corpse of a Helljumper Corporal and carefully set him inside a body bag that Corporal Aaron Dela Cruz held open for him. As he zipped it up, Colin quickly reflected on the night of events.
Omega Colony, though in ruin from the battle, was still in UNSC hands. The outer wall was covered in plasma burns and the front entrance that had been blown wide open by the Covenant would take several months to repair at least. Teams of engineers from the UNSC Wilderness that had sent down from orbit were working on repairing the wall and bringing it up to full protection. The houses and huts inside this wall were all intact. A few had several plasma burns on them, while others were covered in the blood of humans and the Covenant. Other than that, the colony was intact.
Major Kerr's group of Helljumpers had been reduced to twenty-four surviving troops out of three hundred fifty. They only had four operable Death Walkers, and one that had run out of ammo. The huge hulks of the DWs had been lifted out of the battle area and placed in a clearing behind the colony, along with the piles of Covenant and Flood bodies. The stench rising from that area was absolutely unbearable. Even Thompson couldn't help but cover his nose.
Scans and patrols of marines had proved that the entire Covenant division of troops were dead and the Flood had disappeared inside the forest. This brought up another issue. Although Colin and the other Helljumpers had seen Lieutenant Owens and Major Kerr get taken by the Flood, Colin did not see them perish. The Sergeant had seen with his own two eyes the Flood subdue the two humans and wrap them in tentacles, preventing them from escaping. They were out somewhere in the jungles of Vivec, the Flood present with them. Colin was already planning on getting them back.
He stood up, surveying his surroundings and sighing. There were still dozens of bodies that still needed to be put into bags. Colin was done however. His hands were covered in blood, he felt light headed and sick to his stomach. Corporal Dela Cruz was totally white as he lifted the body bad near him and walked back to the small graveyard of these bags. Colin followed, wiping his hands off on his fatigues. He helped Dela Cruz, and then marched over to a small command tent that had been erected by the reinforcements of marine soldiers. Corporal McConnell and Kreutz Kamp were sitting out front, both of them smoking at cigarettes. As Colin approached, they both stood up and saluted. Thompson returned it. The sight of the two big men still alive and looking well was a relief to Colin. He would need their help.
"Scout, get Spirit and bring him inside. You two, come with me" he said. Corporal Dela Cruz turned and rushed off to the row of medical tents, where the screams of marines could be heard. Death and Feuer walked into the tent, following Thompson. Three large tables had been set up, loaded down with radio equipment, maps, data reports and food. Colin could feel his stomach growl at him as he looked at a sandwich being eaten by a technician. He marched towards the little man, who looked up at Colin.
"Yes Sergeant, can I help you?" he asked. Colin nodded.
"I need this radio" he said, looking at the large communication box that the man was working at. The technician shook his head.
"I'm sorry sir; this radio is relaying field reports from our patrols out in the forest. I need it to record these reports and give them to the Captain" he said, biting into the sandwich. Thompson growled. He grabbed the sandwich and tossed it aside, before lifting the little man off his chair and bringing him to his face.
"Back off and let me use the radio" he whispered, his tone of voice filled with venom. The technician squeaked and nodded, stepping aside. Colin took a seat, and put the headset onto his skull.
"Keep an eye on him" he muttered to Death and Feuer. The demolitions and heavy weapons expert turned and flanked the technician who gulped and looked away from them. Thompson moved quickly, connecting the radio to FLEETCOM. He received a ping and spoke into the microphone.
"Shadow Ops II squad calling UNSC Blade of Wrath" he said. Naturally, there was a silent ten second pause, before a voice entered the two speakers on Colin's ear.
"This is Communications officer Lieutenant Nixon of the Blade of Wrath. We read you Shadow Ops II, what do you require" the Lieutenant replied.
"Lieutenant, this is Sergeant Thompson, I must speak with Captain Hayes, it is very urgent" he said.
"I'm sorry Sergeant; the Captain is currently in his quarters and demanded not to be bothered. Can I possibly help you?" Nixon replied. Colin gritted his teeth. Why was it no one was helping him.
"Lieutenant, get me the Captain or I will personally see to it that I slit your throat wide open on the deck of that ship. Things are extremely fucked up down here" he growled. A small sigh could he heard on the other end.
"Yes Sergeant, relaying this line to Captain Hayes" he said. There was another ten second pause, before the tired, rough voice of Captain Brian Hayes entered the speakers.
"Sergeant Thompson, this better be good" he said. Colin could tell he wasn't happy, but Colin wasn't happy either.
"As you know sir, Omega Colony is secure; therefore our squad has completed its mission. I would request further orders, but I need permission from you to conduct a mission of our own" he said. A pause of five seconds followed.
"Yes, your mission is complete. I'm assuming this has something to do with Lieutenant Owens?" the Captain asked.
"Affirmative Captain, he and Major Kerr have been captured by Flood forces and are in their custody. I request permission to take the Shadow Ops II squad into the jungles of Vivec and search for them" he said.
"Sergeant, I agree with the fact that I would do the same thing if I was in your position, but I'm not. We've got Flood activity all over this god damn planet. Two problems arise. The first one; Lieutenant Owens and Major Kerr could be absolutely anywhere. Tracking them is impossible; we have no way of confirming if they are alive or their destination. Secondly; the Marine Corps requires your assistance. As I said, the Flood existence on this planet is huge. Whatever Covenant troops were left, are now dead. We know from planetary scans that they are massing more of their forces and planning to strike. We need you Sergeant" the Captain explained. Colin closed his eyes and braced his head with his hand. Things were more than fucked up. In a matter of hours, even minutes, they would all be dead. He looked up from the floor.
"Then I suggest sir that you abandon the planet and let my team go and find our two missing combatants" he said.
"That is absolutely crazy Sergeant, you know as well as I do that you would not survive a good two hours down there. How would you track Lieutenant Owens?" Hayes said.
"Have you heard anything about a Private First Class Tucker, first name unknown?" Colin asked.
"Negative, fill me in" the Captain answered.
"When we first landed here, we found a group of marines from one of the Pelican dropships that had been sent in here earlier. Five marines alive, five dead and one missing. That one missing was Private Tucker. Myself, Corporal Dela Cruz and Corporal Bishop underwent a scouting mission per orders of Lieutenant Owens. We found Private Tucker in the jungle. He seems to be under the influence of the Flood. Although his physical image hasn't changed, his body has undergone a transformation, allowing him to summon these two plasma blades out of his wrists. His also extremely strong and has the jumping abilities of a Flood form. He was the one who captured Major Kerr and Lieutenant Owens. We can follow his tracks that are no doubt in this mud covered ground" Colin explained. There was a pause as Captain Hayes digested this information.
"You're bullshitting me" he declared
"No sir, this is no lie. You could come down here and question every single Helljumper survivor. They saw him order the Flood to attack us" Thompson said.
"That's crazy. It can't be" Brian stammered.
"The Flood threat is unavoidable. You could send down a division of marines and they would get slaughtered. The Flood have more troops than an entire Corps. Evacuate the planet and let us find these two men before they are killed. With only five of us, it won't take us long to move through the jungle. We're the Shadow Ops, we've faced worse conditions than this" Sergeant Thompson said. Another pause followed.
"Okay Sergeant, you win. I'm not saying that I believe this Private Tucker, but you are right about the Flood. We'll evacuate the planet. Inform Sergeant Major Reynolds your orders and then equip yourself with whatever weapons you'll need. I'm giving you a window of opportunity Sergeant. We can't sit in orbit all day and wait for you. If we do not hear from you within the next twenty-four hours, we'll assume you are dead and destroy the planet" Hayes said. Thompson nodded to himself.
"Roger that Captain, thank you" he said.
"Good luck Sergeant. Hayes out." The signal was terminated immediately. Colin stood up and looked at the technician that was shrouded in the shadows of McConnell and Kreutz Kamp.
"Where is Sergeant Major Reynolds?" he asked. The tech looked behind him at a man that was approaching them from another tent. He wore a full combat fatigue uniform, which brought out the white goatee around his face. His brown eyes glared at Colin.
"What is the meaning of this? State your names and rank soldiers" he growled, referring to the technician being held by Death and Feuer. The three men saluted.
"Sergeant Thompson, Corporal McConnell and Corporal Kreutz Kamp. We're from Shadow Ops II" Colin said. Reynolds's expression softened and he returned the salute. He glared down at the tech.
"Leave us" he said. The technician nodded and ran out of the tent, looking over his shoulder with fear. Thompson heard Death smirk.
"We apologize for that sir, but we required orders" Colin said. The Sergeant Major nodded.
"Not a problem, I understand. What's the scoop?" he asked.
"Vivec is being evacuated" Colin said. Reynolds's eyes went wide.
"Excuse me? We just got here, time to do some good" he said, ignoring Thompson's statement.
"The Flood have more troops down here than an entire Corps of marines or Helljumpers, Major. The battle group could send down thousands of troops and they'd just get slaughtered. We know, we've fought them before. The Covenant have already experienced this fate. They had several divisions of troops down here and now they are all dead" Colin said. The Major's eyes were filled with anger and sadness. Thompson understood. It must've been several months since he had seen battle, stuck at the sidelines and giving battle orders to his Captains. Although being a higher ranking officer was honorary, the individual had to say goodbye to their combat life. Colin sympathized, but only for a few seconds. He still had a mission to consider.
"Well, I'll get back to that later. What about you guys?" Reynolds asked.
"We have a twenty-four window of opportunity. We are remaining here and are going to search out Lieutenant Owens and Major Kerr" Thompson declared. Reynolds grinned at this.
"Wish I could help you guys out" he said.
"You can sir. We require a lot of equipment" Thompson said. The Sergeant Major nodded and began to walk out of the tent.
"Follow me" he said over his back. The four men marched through the entrance to the command tent and went out back, where the barracks of the five hundred Marine Regulars had been set up. In the very middle of the camp of tents was a large gazebo, which was much like the command tent, except open to the environment. Crates stacked high were inside it and even outside, along the ground. Several Marines were cracking opening these large boxes and revealing rows of weapons and ammo. Colin couldn't help but grin. Reynolds stepped aside and held his hand out to the ammunition tent.
"Indulge yourselves" he said. Saluting the man, Thompson followed Death and Feuer inside. He grabbed his radio and clicked it on.
"Spirit, Scout, meet us at the ammunition tent. We've got a new mission" he said. Corporal McConnell walked over to the large crate that revealed SMG 500s. He grinned and grabbed two. Thompson however stopped him. He grabbed one of the sub machine guns and put it away. Still hanging onto one of the weapons, McConnell gave Colin a questioning a look. The Sergeant addressed both he and Kreutz Kamp.
"I want both of you to take Jackhammers as backup weapons. How many extra rounds, you decide, but a minimum of four will be needed" Colin said. Nodding the two men grabbed the big rocket launchers and slung them across their backs. The extra rocket cases were stuffed inside their combat packs. Because of the heavy weapon over his back, Death could only hang onto one sub machine gun, instead of two which he often did.
As they grabbed extra ammo for their weapons, Colin picked up a M90 shotgun. He looked over at a S2 AM sniper rifle. He went to grab it, but remembered that the 14.5mm slug that it fired was absolutely useless. Thompson didn't know how, but it had no effect on Flood forms. Instead, he decided to take a SMG 500. As the Sergeant slung the bullet hose over his back, Corporal Bishop and Dela Cruz marched into the tent. Colin motioned behind him to the stacks of ammo.
"Grab a shotgun and one backup weapon. Take lots of ammo" he said. The two men nodded and joined Kreutz Kamp and McConnell. Thompson walked out of the tent, his belt and pack filled with ammo. He took a seat on the dirt and waited for his comrades. As he did, he did a quick reflection of the Flood.
The Sergeant had told Captain Hayes that they had faced worse conditions then over one hundred thousand Flood forms. That statement wasn't exactly true. Both he and Lieutenant Owens had faced worse conditions. As for the rest of the team, this would be the first time that they would be hunted by the Flood. Flashbacks of the holding cells deep inside Vegas IV went through his mind. He saw the tanks, warthogs, ghosts and shadows that they and several Covenant Elites had used to try and shorten down the amount of Flood. He remembered the large door that lead inside the core room opening, revealing millions of Flood forms. He remembered retreating up the catwalk that circled the whole chamber. He saw Corporal Clarkson explode from a plasma grenade, First Sergeant Howe blow himself up with a frag grenade. He saw the single Jackhammer rocket that had killed both Master Sergeant Henderson and Lieutenant Pearson. This would be slightly different; however the enemy was the same. The same enemy that had destroyed the Shadow Ops I squad. Colin however would make sure that they didn't destroy the Shadow Ops II squad.
He cocked the shotgun in his hands and stood up as the four elite humans under his command walked out of the tent, slinging weapons over their backs and loading the ones in their hands. Everyone except for Death held onto a M90 shotgun. Corporal Dela Cruz had chosen a MA5B assault rifle as his back up, while Corporal Bishop slung a SMG 500. The big Jackhammer rocket launchers were strapped across Death and Feuer's back diagonally, transferring the weight all over the body. Their packs were only filled with ammo, which didn't weight a lot. Hopefully, they would be able to move fast through the forest and avoid Flood patrols.
"Shadow and Major Kerr are out there somewhere gentlemen. We have twenty fours to find them. If we do not contact the Blade of Wrath within that time frame, we're dead. Like the Major had said, today we find out who is afraid and who isn't, who runs and who hides. We've proven to the enemy that we are not afraid and aren't hiding. The Flood have no emotion and they would rather die then run away. We face combatants that are equal to us mentally and overpower us physically. This is an impossible battle and mission. But that was what we signed up for. This is what we were trained to overcome. Let's not prove everybody wrong. Scout, find Private Tucker's tracks. Everyone else, fall in, let's hunt down these assholes and show them what we're capable of" Sergeant Thompson growled. Grins were exchanged with each other and the four men saluted the Sergeant. They moved in a single file line, not bothering to say goodbye to anyone. As they exited the gap in the wall which had been the entrance, Colin turned to see Sergeant Major Reynolds staring at him. The man saluted Thompson, who squared his shoulders and returned it. They held the salute for a few seconds, before Colin looked away and followed his team into the jungle. They were alone. They were surrounded by the enemy. Reinforcements we're leaving the planet. Colin grinned as he raised his shotgun and looked around the jungle. He felt right again....
TO BE CONTINUED
By: Agent Shade
If the amount of mistakes that you find is numerous, please keep in mind that like most authors, I rushed this. I was behind in my chapters and wanted to catch up quickly. Please enjoy...