Assault on Lyon, Prologe.
Posted By: Andres<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 24 February 2005, 4:59 PM
The Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle skimmed over the river.
"Fence in," the pilot reported as they entered hostile airspace. The Navy ensign controlling it from the carrier Germany disabled the autopilot.
The mission was simple, asses the Covenant defensive capabilities on the city of Lyon and attack a building in order to evaluate the reaction by the Covenant. Satellite recon was out of the question, the Covenant had shoot down everyone the UNSC had stationed over the planet, a large plasma ball launched from a mobile gun, this time the UNSC took another step, and deployed a highly stealth drone.
"There it is," said the Lieutenant Commander in charge of the mission, the massive city was visible in the screen, massive skyscrapers on downtown, the large Lyon river crossed the right side of the city, near downtown, several bridges crossed it, it was a beautiful sight.
Not for long.
"Right," the Commander took a deep breath, "activates the FLIRS."
The Forward Looking Infrared Systems began scanning the outskirts of the city.
"Clear," said the ensign.
"Uh-uh," reported the Commander shortly after, there was something odd, a large return of heat from what looked like a ridge, and everyone in the room noticed it.
"Zoom on that," said the Commander as he moved closer to the screen, placing his hand on the chair of the ensign chair.
The ensign pressed a button on the digital screen, and then rolled a knob forward, the digital magnification on the camera showed something none of them ever imagined.
"Dear god," said the Ensign as he uploaded the image, the image was so clear and vivid that someone threw up behind the ensign as they watched the images closer, the ensign struggled to avoid it, and succeeded barely.
"ONI warned us about this, common grave," said the Lieutenant Commander, right next to him a Captain nodded, he was the ONI attaché for the mission.
"I would guess just over five thousand," said coldly, the Commander.
"Deeper into the city, turn right, head to downtown," ordered the CO.
"Roger," the aircraft swung right.
"Sir, the drop ships are over downtown," warned the pilot.
"I know," he said with a sarcastic tone, "let's do a countdown," ordered the Commander.
The fleet had learned something, Covenant spotting equipment was in a way, equivalent to the humans.
Something again caught the attention of the pilot as the stealth drone approached downtown, flashes.
Warning, Electronic transmission detected. The digital voice reported as the drone Electronic Warning Receiver detected something.
"Covenant chatter on their comm. ignore," said the Commander.
"Sir, its something else," said the electronic officer right next to the ensign, "I have FM transmissions on the ground!"
"On speaker," said the Commander calmly, every one in the room listened carefully to the speaker phone.
"...Pierre I need and RPG to take out the tank!" said one voice.
"Yes I know! But I'm busy they are attacking the church!" said apparently the Pierre fellow.
"I can't move until the tank is taken out!"
"Oh my god, they are ours," said the commander, excited chatter was barely audible in the room.
"I think we can do them that favor, can't we?" said the Commander uncharacteristically exited.
"Roger, we are going to take that Wraith out," said the Ensign as he grinned, "we are going in hot". This, in a way, was great news, there were civilians alive, and they were fighting for their lives, and for what it seemed they were fighting hard.
He didn't knew if it was the hissing sound of the wind or the sound of rifles going of that helped him to find out where he was, there was unbearable heat was the other factor that bothered him in his sleep. What really awaked the freedom fighter was a hand that slapped him, he then remembered, he was not asleep, he was not hearing wind, he was stunned and passed out.
"Pierre is that you?" asked a very familiar voice.
"Yes Francois, what happened?" asked the former Police officer.
"A tank destroyed the church," said comrade, Francois.
"How are the rest of the men?" asked Pierre as he looked around, a large hole was on the roof of the holy structure, his comrades lay cooked on the rubble of bricks and rocks, he was in the control room, he was saved only by the door that separated the command post, a former priest office, and the main building.
"Cooked, we have to get out of here, the aliens are coming!" said the battle wearied men in front of him, his face was covered with blood and dust, it showed no expression, his outfit was a combination of police and civilian clothes. He was the leader of the remaining humans in the city, or at least whom they knew were alive. He helped Pierre up, the former priest office was partially destroyed, the two men hurried out the room, entering the main hall of the destroyed church. There were three men shooting from the windows to the incoming aliens.
"Oh my god Pierre you are alive!" said the voice of an old friend, Francis who fired her .22 semi-automatic rifle at the two hundred Grunts who charged over the rubble of once a great avenue of the city, the massive buildings that the road ran through had collapsed or where on their way to do it, the street thence was filled with bricks, tubes, rocks, glass and of course trash, and lots of it.
"We need to retreat, this ground is lost my dear friends," said Francois as he placed a large home made bomb under the rubble at his feet.
"Yes friend lets go," said Pierre as grabbed the rifle from the hands of the carcass of a dead fighter, the commercial version of the MA5B.
The five men exited the church by the altar, behind the confessionary and then onto a beautiful clean garden, that had not felt the impact of war on it.
It would not last for long.
They walked through a road made out of rocks through the garden, Pierre enjoyed the sight of the garden, the most beautiful thing he had seen since the invasion, in witch his entire family died. Then they heard a familiar sound, plasma fire from an alien tank coming from the rear of the church, they had to avoid it, Pierre pushed Francois, forcing him to run right, and then pushed him, again forcing him to jump forward, just in time.
The large ball of plasma struck in the center of the garden.
Again the feeling of that had come just a while ago came, he was lost, Pierre was passed out and shocked by the explosion. The resounding sound of the detonation roared in his ears, it was unbearable. He had to react faster, he slowly opened his eyes, scanned around, the Covenant had destroyed another thing he found beautiful, the garden. Still dizzy and shocked, he looked for his friend Francois, who he found next to him unconscious, yet the other fighters were ok, and were walking to aid them.
Even with the confusing sound of the explosion, he did make out a sound, the Covenant tank that had fired on them before had broken through the wall of the Church. The massive vehicle swung around, firing its plasma beams to the other fighters who tried to escape. They didn't succeeded, they were cut by the high velocity beams, after they dropped, the vehicle kept firing, securing the kills, angering Pierre more. After that the vehicle scanned the surroundings, rotating over the ground still halfway inside the church. Behind it Grunts cloud be heard by their distinctive voices. The Covenant had breached the lines, and were going to exploit it, fast. There was still one thing that Pierre and Francois cloud use, the explosive charge buried under the rubble of the church. It would not be enough to destroy the tank; though it would be enough to kill the Covenant behind the tank. Pierre grabbed a rock in the garden right next to his head, he used it as a leverage to crawl to Francois, once there he rolled Francois on the ground until they were head on and then searched the pockets in his police issue jacket.
"Ja-Ja-Ja," laughed what was undoubtedly and Elite.
Pierre turned his head around, a scarlet Elite stood on top of the tank, its energy sword unleashed, staring at the helpless humans. Pierre yet knew there was only one thing he could do, he turned, He knew he had no chance against the Elite. He had only one more job to do, his final effort for the war, and revenge, to detonate the explosive charge buried under the church, he turned around, and rechecked the pockets, he found the radio transmitter in the chest pocket, he had little time, as he felt the footsteps as the Elite approached.
He turned around to face the beast, its jaws opened like a flower, and I thought I had an ugly smile, thought Pierre as he smiled back, he showed the detonator to the Elite, the four jaws contracted, and it knew exactly what the device the human showed.
Oh no, though Pierre, there was a malfunction in the detonator. The Elite smiled again, it rose it's sword over his head, he was going to kill Pierre.
The Elite however stopped, its very sensitive ear listened something.
He heard the hissing sound of a Small Diameter Bomb dropping from the sky-
"That's a kill!" called the Ensign manning the controls of the drone.
The commander watched the screen the smoking wreckage of the tank.
"Boom! Watch the secondary!" the building in witch the tank hid had detonated completely, a secondary explosion not expected by any in the room, too heavy for an SDB.
"Flash transmission," called a Spaceman Apprentice in the back room.
"Read it," said the Lieutenant Commander.
"We are to remain on station sir, the Jarheads are moving in."
The evening sunlight reflected of the rocks, passing through the buildings landing on the park that was now a dump of bricks and trash. It was once a forest inside the city, now it was burned, shelled, corrupted by war. The fourteen year old ran through the rubble inhaling an exhaling deeply, irregardless that it gave his position, the plasma fire that trained on the retreating men was taking its toll; only five fighters remained out of the original forty one, and the huge slope they were moving up slowed him. The boy who's stamina ran out stopped and took cover behind a rock on a slope in the park, his breathing audible, perhaps, to the chickens, the street name of the resistance to the Jackals, the snipers who had become a nightmare to the untrained and most importantly unaware humans that had taken up arms against the Alien onslaught.
Why dam it, thought Fabian, he had done everything he cloud to survive this far, this was not fair. Francois had ordered them to hold a building at all costs, the building was a perfect observation post for the covenant advance on the area, they cloud see the direct highway that led into the aliens landing zone, where twenty immense drop ships hovered by the skyscrapers. They reported to their leaders through a phone wire, untraceable for any electronically spotting devices, but the aliens, somehow, had traced it. During the night Special Operation Grunts infiltrated the building, killed everyone inside except he and other eleven lucky ones.
The temperature around him suddenly arose, Fabian knew what it was with out seeing it, a large ball of plasma, characteristic of an overcharged plasma pistol passed over his head, hitting apparently a rock just twenty meters up the slope.
"Aaaaaa!", the familiar smell of burning flesh filled the surroundings after the scream.
Oh no, another dead, thought Fabian. He looked over the rock he was covering, he scanned the surroundings, he cloud see the tiny forms of Grunts making their way through the rubble to the general direction of the humans, he had to get out.
Fabian looked around, a fighter, whom he had only seen once crawled to the position where the plasma bolt hit before. He waved him to move to his position. Fabian took another look behind; the Grunts were still far away. He then crawled up the slope, reaching the rock where the soldier was, there the burning corpse of another fighter lay.
"Hallo boy, this is really bad, don't you think?" asked the older men, who looked like sixty years of age, yet still showing youth in spirit.
"Yes sir," said Fabian with a trembling voice, at that point Fabian realized something, he was unarmed.
"I'm not armed," he took a deep breath, "we need to leave this place," said Fabian with a tone similar to the crying one.
"Oh no boy, I have a better idea, this reminds me of an incident in my previous days with the Marines, don't worry," said the older men.
The two fighters hid under the rocks, watching the column of aliens march up. It had been a good idea by the old men, to hide under the rocks instead of running, they had heard through the night how their friends were hunted down by the Covenant, other than that they knew one thing, a major battle was taking place through the city for the past two hours.
"Fabian, it is time to go," said the elder with a gentle, comforting voice.
"Why? Its safe here," said Fabian.
"That is exactly why, our friends are fighting, and we are hiding," said the older men.
"Oh," said Fabian shamefully, "where do we go?"
"The church area, there was a good fight there last I hear, lets hope we make it in time."
"Don't move Fabi, we are there," said the elderly man, who aimed his old bolt action rifle at something through the broken window, they had taken a shortcut through the sewers and then into the basement of the building, they walked through a stair to the house, that was devastated, there was not a single unbroken item in the living room the rectangular shaped room was filled with bullet holes, two sofas and one chair were at the center, facing a TV console.
"Do you see anything?" asked Fabian.
"No... wait..." said the Elder man as he ducked.
"Two people, one seems injured... one is carrying the other," informed the older men as he moved inside the living room.
Fabian moved behind the elder, he watched how ruined was the city, the two men walked over a pile of bricks, exiting a destroyed building.
Pierre helped Francois move, his leg had been needled, a deep wound punctured his right thigh and the battle had been lost and the church area had been lost, they were, simply stated, screwed. The ironic way they survive was both lucky and grouse, the burning carcass of the scarlet Elite that tried to kill them covered them from the rubble that landed everywhere after the massive explosion.
"I can't move," said Francois.
"We need to keep going my friend," Pierre knew they had to rest, but not here.
"I'm serious, I'm sitting down," said Francois in a decisive tone.
"Ok, let me help you," said Pierre as he assisted his friend to sit on a large brick.
"You are welcome," Pierre took a deep breath, and collapsed on the bricks, "I'm tired also," said Pierre as he sat next to Francois, taking a deep breath. They were very lucky, in a way, to be alive, by know everyone in the church area was dead, their families long gone, their past know buried in rubble and dead.
We may not be lucky after all, thought Pierre.
"Where the hell are we?" Pierre as he lay down.
"It seems 6th Avenue, I can't tell, they city has changed so much," said Francois.
"Oh yes my friend," Pierre stretched his leg, then lay down again, he looked at the sky, it was only beautiful thing in view, his eyelids slowly began to get heavier, he closed his eyes, he couldn't even fight it, he fell a sleep.
Two rifles aimed at the teenager, the two battle wearied men reacted swiftly, ready kill the youngster.
"It's me! It's me!" said Fabian as he backed away from the two men.
"We almost killed you," said Francois.
"I could have killed you, you were sleeping in the open... we are at that house," Fabian signaled to the less damaged house in the opposite side of the street.
"Fine," said Pierre as he helped Francois up.
Pierre and Francois sat on the sofa; they relaxed every muscle in their bodies. Francois leg rested on a puff, the elder men checked the large wound in his leg, pouring one of the oldest disinfecting remedies in history, rum.
"It burns, ah?" asked the elder men.
Francois nodded, saying nothing, bighting his own lips avoiding screaming from the tremendous pain on his thigh.
"Have a sip," said the elder men as he threw the bottle to Francois chest. The man grabbed the bottle that slid in his chest; he then drank the content to the bottom.
"Now I'm happy," said Francois.
"I see something," said Fabian as he aimed Francois MA5B rifle out the window, scanning the rubble outside the building. Two buildings front side had previously collapsed on the street, something had moved speedily over it. The movement and shape was characteristic of the chickens.
"What?" asked the elder men as he and Pierre ran low through the living room to the window.
"Chicken I think, by the rubble at the end of the street," said Fabian.
"How many?" asked Pierre as he checked the chamber of the rifle. It was fully loaded.
"I think one... or that is what I saw, I don't know," said doubtfully Fabian.
"Ok," said the elder men, "we need to be sure." The three of them knew exactly what was to be asked after.
The elder men, with no doubts, nodded. Both Pierre and Fabian respectfully bowed their heads in apretiation.
The elder men grabbed his old, yet reliable, bolt action sniper and hunting rifle. "If you hear shooting, take Francois to the basement," said the elder men, "don't fight unless you have too."
"Ok," said Pierre, "I will give you my rifle, it is better than yours sir."
"Not to worry, the rifle does not make the Indian." That comment made Pierre felt uncomfortable, he had shown his lack of experience in war.
The old men crawled up the street, over the rubble of the parallel building where his friends did, this building was completely collapsed, both floors only rubble now. He moved carefully, scanning the surroundings every ten meters.
In the buildings at the end of the street, two Jackals, with their sniper rifles, lay prone, aiming down street. The weird thing was that there were only two of them, alone. Not characteristic with the battle tactics the Covenant used. Easy targets.
The hissing wind through the cabin was pleasant, the situation was not, the assault Pelican skimmed over the fields. The corporal sat on the rear door of the craft, his legs hung on the sky, no nervousness troubled him, his mind was at peace, this was for what they trained for, and what they signed up for. The One-Oh-Third "Assassins" ODST Platoon flew on three Pelicans, the orders simple, to move into Lyon and relieve any human forces. These Helljumpers were lucky, they were on QRF at the time the order came in to scramble, and relieve friendly forces engaged inside the city. No one knew who it was, if it were special Operations that had infiltrated or civilians didn't matter, they would go happy into the fight.
"Hey Everton, you Ok?" asked Private Pryor.
"Yea," answered. This would be Everton second unit since he arrived in planet, he was the only one with combat experience against Echo Tango. His platoon had been slaughtered in the battle in the Lyon woods, it was payback time.
"FUBAR," said the pilot of the Pelican, a weird word for a Navy pilot to use.
"What is it?" asked Everton.
"The city," said the cold voice of Sergeant Evans.
Everton turned his head and looked at the open cockpit of the craft.
The city was destroyed, smoke raised almost everywhere inside it, fires on every major building. It was FUBAR. The Covenant had bullied the civilians inside the city, now it was time to level the score.
From: UNSC Germany, Office of Naval Intelligence reconnaissance Squadron.
To: Head Quarters, First Marine Division.
Distribution: Classified, only HHQDiv.
1.- 0703h (SMT) reconnaissance flight from Carrier Germany SCV over the Objective Delta Mike discovered surviving civilians engaged with Covenant Forces.
2.- By directive MarCom 1204 available Marine units are to advance to target and relieve engaged human forces.
Colonel Dan Harley closed the display of the computer screen; the briefing room was full of officers from different ranks, this message was a sing of hope, that it might not be too late. In the mind of Dan Harley it was. Estimates from intelligence came in, eighty per cent casualties, the remaining twenty percent variables between alive and DOA, ninety seven percent infrastructures damaged or destroyed, all basic services, from electricity to water at zero output. The survivors on the city would not hold on for long, this forced the Marines to launched an unprepared assault, the order came at the time when the main units were refitting, a worse time could not be picked, even by the Covenant.
He looked at the digital screen on the circular table in the middle of the Tactical Operations Center; the darkened room was in a way, a large computer station. A large number of glass screens and individual computers surrounded the epicenter of the room, the tactical map in the circular table.
"Sir, Helljumpers are just over the river, two and a half clicks from the city, heading for target area," said a young operator who controlled the computer on the screen. The "target" was locations were a large fight was taking place, the insertion method, rappel, not a preferable tactic in the ODST community. The platoon of ODST would be followed later by Task Force Lyon, a combination of different units, all from third Marines. Two battalions strength now.
"Contact, light AAA over the city, Bombswords engaging now."
The massive, thick, red plasma fire streaked upwards, a surprise that spared both Chickens. The elder men frustrations were, indeed, justified as the two Jackals survived, he covered behind a rock as soon as the guns fired, he cloud not see them but knew exactly where they were, by the parallel street. That explained why the two Jackals were alone in the destroyed building, they were protecting something, a gun. The plasma tracers headed all to the sky in a random pattern. He knew exactly what they were.
Oh finally, the UNSC is coming! I have to leave to tell the others..
He crawled back to the house where the friends hid, through the same rubble, slowly covering him self with everything he could. It was a slow crawl.
"It's me," whispered.
"Come in," said Pierre as he lowered the rifle and moved away from the window.
"What's going on," said Fabian as he aimed his rifle out the broken window scanning for threats. A roar of a jet answered the question. The UNSC is coming.