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Third Marines, Harvest Campaing: Chapter Three- The Woods
Posted By: Andres<andres_vera2000@yahoo.com>
Date: 14 January 2005, 5:30 AM

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5 August 2531, 0613
United Nation Space Command
Dijon Colony, Epsilon Eridani System
Galilee Continent.
Lyon woods

      Private David Bradley signaled the Ok to move. The woods were dense and thick, and the heavy rain landing on their helmets was the loudest sound to be heard. Sergeant Gus Anders acknowledged the order by nodding. The Marines were to investigate what happened to a platoon of Helljumpers in the woods, and had walked through one-hundred meters of dense forest, their search silent and deliberate.

      He raised his fist, lowering his elbow, ordering the party to stop and cover; he scanned the thick forest with his goggles secured to the rail on his helmet, and he saw the movement ahead. "Possible contact," he whispered into the comm. Set.

      Bradley cloud swear he saw something moving two-hundred meters away, and no matter what, he had to deem it as a threat. He turned around, placed his eyes in front of his eyes, then moved his hand gently away from his face, indicating that there was no contact anymore. Sergeant Anders looked at the Private, and turned his head slightly right, signaling for Bradley to open the formation a little. They resumed walking, covering fifty more meters, keeping low enough that they were almost crawling. The clearing came into sight, and Bradley pointed ahead for others to see.

       "Psst!" The Sergeant whispered. Bradley turned his head around again, staring at Anders. The Sergeant moved his head forward this time, ordering the Marine to walk forward to the edge of the clearing. Bradley crawled, and once at the edge of the clearing, he turned around, looking at the sergeant. He placed two of his fingers in front of his eyes, then signaled to the UNSC patch in his chest, then made a slit throat movement. There were UNSC troopers Killed In Action in that clearing.

      Anders checked for contacts, then crawled to Bradley's position. He lay next to Bradley, then looked to were the Private had signaled, he spotted the body of a Helljumper; dead on the earth, the soldier's right arm gone. The rest of the platoon was not in sight and still missing. "Go stealth Bradley. Move there." He signaled to one of the HEVs.

      Bradley crawled slowly through a grassy terrain towards the drop zone, which was a creek. He reached the first Human Entry Vehicle and knelt down, covering himself behind it. The Marine slowly leaned out and peeked around the inanimate object. "Oh God..." His stomach turned upside down.

      Bradley turned his to face his superior; staring directly into the eyes of the Sergeant "Its clear, Sarge. You may not want to see this." Said the Marine, the disgust in his voice too obvious

       The sergeant walked slowly out of the woods, running low as his training dictated. He reached Bradley's position, the entire platoon, or what remained of it, lay in that slaughter pit. Some of the Helljumpers were cut in half, some had burns as if someone had punched them with a torch. The creek carried the blood away, a horrible picture all together.
      "What the hell do you think happened here?" He asked, resisting the urge to throw up.
       "Beats me," Anders replied. The Sergeant turned around suddenly, sensing movement among the plants behind them. "I think we better bug out, we're are not alone. Bradley, grab their memory chips. ONI will want them for sure." The rifle in his hands went up to the direction of the movement.

       "Roger that, Sarge." Bradley replied solemnly. He started to check the dead troopers, removing the memory chips from their bloody helmets.

      Crack. Something stepped on a stick.

      The training took over. Bradley dropped the helmet he was checking, and moved to some cover on the side of the creek where they came from; entering the forest with Anders right beside him.

       Just as they did a volley of red and green Plasma erupted from the opposite side of the creek. They were lucky enough and jumped fast behind a tree, a huge root protruding high enough to cover them. "Whooo, wooo juh..." A high pitched voice screamed at them on the opposite side of the creek.

       The Plasma charges continued to hit the tree, tearing away and leaving deep marks. The other red and slower would stick like a needles and detonate with a light explosion, sending splinter-like objects everywhere.

       "Oh man, we're in it deep." Bradley said as he aimed his rifle over the root, using the camera on the muzzle to see the area ahead without exposing himself.

       "I sure hope you are not implying we are in deep shit." Gus said as he armed a grenade that he pulled from his harness, pressing the arming button until the grenade blipped, then pulling the trigger button; it was alive now. Bradley was feeling panic sweep over him as needles and charges pounded down on their position, but the Sergeant was keeping cool with the hell that surrounded them.

       "Make ready Bradley, suppressive fire on my mark... shoot!"

       Bradley knelt, his head now barely over the root, shooting the rifle in full auto.

       "'Nade out!" The Sergeant knelt and threw the grenade towards the incoming fire, falling a bit short, yet the effect of the blast was heavy enough that the exposed aliens were hit, the screeches of pain from the aliens proving that point.

      Bradley checked the digital screen that showed the ammo status, and he was out. "Loading!" He yelled above the incoming fire as he opened a pocket in his combat gear, grabbing a magazine, taping it in his helmet, and then slamming the magazine into the breech, the rifle locking and loading automatically. "Loaded!" reported Bradley, the processes taking just over three seconds.

       "Cover fire!" ordered Anders again. Bradley fired another magazine into the woods as Anders threw a second heavy explosive grenade.

      The Sergeant took cover again. Two blue flaming spheres came from the opposite side of the forest, they landed two feet from Bradley and he looked at them, stunned. Anders, however, knew exactly what they were. He grabbed Bradley by the shoulder and dragged him away fast enough to avoid being killed, the root being destroyed by the bright blue explosion. The Marines took cover behind a rock two meters left from the tree, Plasma chasing them down and hitting the rock, heating it until it became unbearable to handle.

       "Bradley we need to get out of here. I'll cover, you move."

       "Not yet, Sarge." He replied shakily. He threw another grenade; this was a fragmentary one, and it landed right in the center of the source of the incoming fire. More barks and growls screeched through the forest, one of the mutant dwarfs flew out of the opposite side, landing in the creek, its body being dragged away by the current; Bradley thought it looked like a ugly, small elf. He snapped those thoughts away as three grenades landed in front of the rock, and the Sergeant pressed Bradley's head into the ground, again saving his life.

       "We're getting out, scaled retreat. You go first, move!" Ordered Sergeant Anders. Scaled retreat consisted in one member shooting a magazine, the second member retreating five meters and holding ground, and once the first member emptied his magazine, he then retreats and taps the second member on the shoulder, and the second empties his magazine and repeats the process.

       The sergeant showed the barrel of his rifle over the rock, pulling the trigger, releasing sixty rounds in ten seconds. Bradley retreated behind a tree seven-meter away. "I'm here!" he said to the Sergeant, and Anders began moving back towards him. "Loading!" he said has he tapped Bradley in the shoulder, falling back ten meters in a hole. Bradley squeezed the trigger, emptying his magazine, retreating and repeating the process. It seemed like dozens of Grunts were chasing them.

       "Loading!" Bradley said again as he continued the process, passing the Sergeant's position. Bradley opened fire into the Grunts that were under thirty-meters away, the bullets hit the line formation, ripping apart the first Grunts in his line of sight. They were now in the middle of the creek, shooting randomly into the general direction of the Marines. "I'm falling back!" Bradley ran into the Sergeant's position; he didn't know that three Grunts had a clear sight on him.

       The sergeant noticed the plasma bolts that were heading for the Marine, he tackled him with his foot.

       "This is no times for joke, Sarge!" he turned his head, staring at the man who was holding his right arm, just over the elbow. "Sergeant, you took one in the arm!" Bradley screamed as he rolled into cover, noticing the burn from the wound.

       Anders turned around and fired on the Grunts, which were now closing to twenty meters away. "Don't worry, Marine! Retreat for God's sake!"

       Bradley ran the best part of a dozen meters to the rear; he knelt down and set the butt of the rifle on his shoulder, aiming into the front. He saw the Sergeant fire his rifle in full auto, stopping some of the Covenant cold dead, and the remaining Covenant responded in kind, firing their weapons in a suppressive style while throwing two Plasma grenades to the Sergeant's position. He ran back, passing Bradley and gently touching his shoulder. Bradley pulled the trigger to cover Anders, but the explosions of the two grenades threw him out of place, landing disoriented on the earth.

       "Wake up, Marine!" The Sergeant opened fire, attempting to give time for Bradley to recover. Bradley stood shakily, completely dizzy, and ran past Anders, punching him in the shoulder.

       "You better hope I die here Marine." The Sergeant was reloading at the time.

       "Don't worry, Sarge, I have your six." Bradley was now covered behind a tree, and the Sergeant retreated. "Loading!" He said as he passed Bradley, who opened fire on the Grunts. He turned around, and began to run. "Loading!" He said yet again, as he grabbed a magazine from his belt, tapped it on his helmet and slamming it into the breech, the action loading the bullet into the chamber. Although the bullets had the same concept, they were far more advanced from the rounds used in the "old" days, the smoothbore barrel was specially designed for the APFS; they were not stabilized by rifling in the barrel, but rather by folding-out fins at the end of the bullet. He passed the Sergeant and missing his shoulder, but the Sergeant opened fire anyways. "Loaded!" Bradley informed.

       Bradley knelt seven meters behind the Anders, aiming forward. He scanned the enemy formation through his scope, he spotted a new type of creature, this one looking like a bird. This thing is ugly. Bradley didn't wait for the Sergeant to move, and centered the reticule of the ACOG on the chest of the bird and he pulled the trigger, the bullet leaving the muzzle at fifteen thousand feet per second. He was hoping for a kill, but before the round hit the bird opened a medieval style energy shield, preventing his kill.

       "Sarge, move!" He said almost with authority.

       The Sergeant ran towards Bradley, the bipedal lowering it shield and shooting its weapons. One plasma bolt hit Sarge on the back, partly being absorbed by the body armor, and kept running, passing Bradley and taking cover behind a tree. Bradley fired the whole magazine into the creature, its shields deflecting the bullets. He turned around immediately and ran to Anders, loading another clip. As he ran the ten meters from his retreating point to the Sergeant, one Plasma charge hit him in the shoulder.

       Bradley screamed in pain and fell into cover behind the tree. The Sergeant opened fire on the Covenant forces, keeping them form advancing too quickly.

       "You know, Sarge, when the Plasma hit me I screamed, and you took one up your ass and didn't say a thing. I guess you are used to getting burned by the rear!" The joke helped Bradley get his mind of the searing pain in his shoulder.

       The Sergeant laughed with Bradley, then looked over at him, taking a serious face. "Joking time is over, let's die like men." He finished off another magazine into the Covenant.

       He made the signal to throw a grenade, and Bradley grabbed one strapped to the harness and pressed the arming button, throwing it blindly around the cover of the tree. "Good shot, Marine!" The Sergeant reported with satisfaction.

      "It's all talent, Sergeant." Bradley said, almost with pride, wincing at the pain coursing through his body. The throw was pure luck, but the screeches of death from the Covenant squad didn't distinguish between luck or skill. The Covenant screams of panic gave the two injured Marines some satisfaction as Plasma continued to rain down upon them.

       "If you want to live, go. I can't keep going." The Sergeant placed his rifle over his chest. "I can only slow you down now."

       "Nah, Sarge, you'll get out of here." Bradley said, trying to sound convincing despite the empty feeling in his gut.

       Bradley placed the rifle of one of the roots, using the camera on the sight to aim at the beasts; five of the creatures fell in surprise to the sudden fire.

       There were at least thirty of them now, some were moving to flank, the rest of the creatures keeping them pinned down, there was no way out.

      The Lieutenant had heard the entire racket. He, Thomas and a Helljumper ran to assist the Marines inside the woods, leaving Monique in the warthog. They ran in a close line formation, crisscrossing through the vegetation to get to the fight while the two Marines were still alive. They knew they had reached the Marines position when bolts of plasma skimmed around them, not necessarily aimed at them.

      The Lieutenant screamed into his head set. "Sergeant, where are you?"

       The voice of the El-Tee reached both pinned down Marines, creating a feeling of hope in the hopeless Marines. "Pinned down behind a tree, a little over one-hundred meters from the drop zone of the Helljumpers. We are both hit, we have at least thirty echo tangos right on top of us, and some of them are on a flanking run. We need some cover fire."

       The fight had been going for ten minutes already. The Lieutenant signaled his men to halt as he located the Marines pinned down. He moved his fingers to his eyes, then raised his thumb, that means he spotted friendly. He scanned again, spotting a mixed squad of Jackals and Grunts moving to the right flank of the Marines, he analyzed the situation just as he been taught, two Marines pinned down by a superior force, a group moving to flank, with apparently superior fire power. He turned around looking at his men, he then signaled the Marine and the Helljumper to suppress the enemy, one magazine, then advance three meters simply fire by moving his fist forward, then signaled forward and opened his hand. The Helljumper had his MG-7A1, a variable bore diameter submachine gun, specially designed for the Helljumpers, it had a custom designated marksman sight, a M-243 grenade launcher and a especial drum magazine that cloud carry any kind of ammo and that was the main feature of the gun, you cloud fit any kind of ammo just by selecting the caliber size in a digital screen on the receiver, he had a .40 cal ammunition. The three Marines opened up on the covenant squad flanking, the hail of fire make them take three casualties, all of them grunts, the Jackals faced the incoming fire with their shields, deflecting the bullets of the Marines. Everton, the Helljumper fired his forty millimeter grenade launcher into the Jackals, his sight laser range finder and fire control system gave him the proper elevation, he elevated the grenade launcher pulling the trigger, the HEDP round struck the shield of one of the Jackals, exploding, the Jackal immediately disappeared from view, the explosion killing it and two more of the Jackals, the covenant squad screamed a combination of panic and anger. Once the Marines depleted the magazine they slowly advanced forward, reloading and shooting again.

       "Bradley, Anders. Get over here, we are pulling out!" The Lieutenant walked forward enough for distract the Covenant from targeting the Marines.

       "Hurrah sir!" said the sergeant as he stood with the help of Bradley, they walked away, limping slowly as covenant fire trained on them.

       "Hey mother fuckers! You failed to get me!" Said Corporal Everton, of the ODST as he walked forward, shooting his machine gun, standing fearlessly in the open.

       Bradley and Anders started their retreat; passing Thomas and the Lieutenant, then turning around, aiming their weapons at the covenant's direction, preparing to provide cover, the lieutenant and Thomas started the retreat, the Helljumper however stood his ground and shoot, a wrong thing to do in this kind of situation.

       Bradley wondered if it was vengeance or something tactical that made him stands suicidal like that, the trooper ceased fire, took a lotus mine and set it aiming to the plasma fire, it had a motion tracker on the tip, it was a sound tactical move from the Helljumper. He then ran, the Marines were about twenty meters ahead of he when he started to run, yet he out ran them all after only seven seconds.

       "You want to die this far from home? Run Marines!" He said, standing his ground, shooting at the Covenant, buying the Marines more time as the Covenant ducked avoiding the incoming fire. They kept running, the helljumper joining them after a few seconds, they continued their rather disorganized reatreat, eventually ducking for cover, replenishing energy, they had run over two hundred meters at full speed, and they were tired, mainly from the nervousness from the fire fight, they cloud not stay at their cover spots place for more than a few seconds, since the plasma fire would heat their hiding places.

       "Marines, suppressive fire one magazine then pull out" ordered the Lieutenant.

       The Marines killed over five grunts with the suppresive fire, the Covenant however didn't stop in their quest to kill the Marines, even with the high losses.

       One of the little bastards in the rear of the Covenant advance activated the lotus mine; an explosive charge was propelled out of the canister, exploding over the creatures, sending shrapnel all over the area, killing twenty of them, wounding twice that number.

       "Move!" Ordered Miller. Bradley was the slowest one, the sergeant even with his injured but cloud run faster. The Covenant was getting closer, the Jackals had left the grunts behind, using their high speed to gain ground on the Marines. Bradley cloud sees the edge of the forest was forty-meters away. They cloud or cloud not makes it, the helljumper stood again.

       "Helljumpers all the way!" The fanatical tone in his voice was disturbing, even for the faith full in the corps, the Marines. The fanatical devotion of the Helljumper maked a difference, the Jackals had to open their shields and hide behind them to avoid the turrent of bullets, the time this action bought gave the Marines the time they needed, exiting the forest.

       "All of you get down". A familiar female voice called over the comm. channel.

       They all threw them selves to the ground as hundreds of 30mm bullets hazed over them, heading for the Covenant, the Echo Tangos were ripped to pieces by the powerful shells, detonating everything they hit, the corpses of the covenant creatures starting to pile. "Get over here! We have to blow out!" Dominique demanded. The Marines boarded the vehicle. The Lieutenant however stopped, turned around and headed again for the forest crossing the Helljumper as he exited the woods, the exchange of plasma and led still happening.

       "He's gone mental!" Said Thomas as he fired his rifle.

       "Covering fire." Ordered the sergeant calmly, as he pulled his side arm from the holster in his thigh.

       All the Marines shot, the taboo zone been the lieutenant. The lieutenant grabbed one of the dead jackals in the pile, and dragged the thing out of the woods and into the vehicle. As soon as he got in the rear of the vehicle with the bird the sergeant floored the pedal.

       "Alpha CP this is lieutenant Miller. We are bugging out, we have a specimen. We are headed to the south via North West." Reported the lieutenant as he relaxed on his chair, pulling a cigar out of his jacket pocked, lighting it and smoking it

       Bradley looked at the dead Jackal. Is this the threat we are facing? This couldn't be it, this is too easy.

       "I think we are done here". Said Dominique.

       "Not quite, six o'clock". Said Thomas.

       Two vehicles hovering three feet from the ground were chasing them fast. Dominique needed no orders, he pressed the buttons on the chain gun shoot at the incoming vehicles, the tracers found one of them, they bounced on the chassis. A part of the chassis was torn apart.

       The vehicles fired both of their plasma weapons, four rows of blue beams headed for the warthog. The vehicle got hit in the rear, the plasma melted the rear bumper, and it slowly started to burn through the metal plates.

       "Hang on to your seats". Said sergeant Anders.

       He rolled the vehicle right, it slided over the muddy terrain, he wheeled left , the plasma splashing through the grassy terrain, overshooting the trayectory of the beams.

       "This is Miller, we are been chased by Covenant vehicles, we need help ASAP!"

       "Roger lieutenant, you have two warthogs inbound and friendly air coming in, keep in touch."

       The warthog climbed a hill; they jumped 15 feet in the air. The vehicle suspension made it feel like 5 feet. Bradley grabbed his assault rifle and shoots the enemy vehicles, to no effect, the vehicle was moving to fast for a good aimed shot. The warthog took a hit on the axis holding the wheel, it crumbled and the vehicle rolled in the ground.

       Bradley awoke with his head against the ground, he looked around, and Thomas was lying there with a trail of blood on his head, slowly advancing to his face, he was still alive as he was breathing. Bradley stood disoriented shaking his head trying to shake of the dizziness. He spotted the sergeant standing in the open firing his pistol at the incoming vehicles as they passed next to him. The sergeant moved and took cover right next him behind the wreckage of the Warthog.

       "Marine, lets try to bug out. We'll bring reinforcements and get our buddies out."

       They stood up and ran through the field hopelessly trying to avoid a certain dead, expecting the hot plasma to kill them, the vehicles however didn't try to shoot, they instead attempted to roll over them, the creatures driving enyoing them selves. One of them headed right into Bradley, if it hadn't been because of sergeant Anders he would have died in that field, he pushed him away, saving his life again, the vehicle however slammed into the sergeant. He was dead before he hit the ground five meters away. Bradley ran towards him, hugging his dead body crying not worrying about his life anymore, the battle stress and the dead of a friend, brother of his drill instructor, this was too much. The second vehicle headed straight for him, it aimed and fired right in his direction, he miraculously overshoots the Marine. Bradley grabbed a grenade from the sergeant body, pressing the arming button, keeping it pressed until a blip confirmed that the contact fuse was engaged, pressed the trigger and waited for one of the vehicles to attempt to slam him, the two covenant vehicles turned around, and headed straight into him, he threw the grenade into the vehicle nearest vehicle, throwing him self to the right, running into the warthog for cover. The grenade exploded in its chassis, the vehicle lost its hovering capability and hit the ground.
The driver got out walking a little shaky, he then looked straight into Bradley, it was nothing like enemy in the woods, it was taller than him, looking like a human, he growled in a voice that resembled one of the monsters in the movies. He grabbed a weird looking weapon, he aimed at him with a smile on his face. He grabbed my assault rifle and aimed right into his chest, he then pulled the trigger at the same time as the beast, one plasma blot hit him in the arm He threw my self into the ground, a burst of his rifle hitting the creature in the chest. Its shields deflecting the punch, he lay in the ground holding his arm, the creature walked slowly to him, straight to him. No fear, no regrets, he knew that's were he will die, not fearing the enemy. The second covenant vehicle stopped next to the human like creature, the driver getting out of it, talking in the deep voice to his pal. They then aimed their boomerang like weapons into the Marines.

       Bradley heard something familiar, a roar of an engine. A Pelican! It appeared behind the covenant, its 50mm chain gun ripping apart both of the covenant creatures.

       The craft hovered around looking for new threats, as there were none it landed next to the Warthog. Five marines unloaded assisted the Marines, one of them stood next to Bradley as he cryied with the body of his dear friend in his hands. "FUBAR." Said the Marine, placing his hand on Private First Class David Bradley, he stood and carried the body of the sergeant him self to the Pelican. He would never forget him.