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Operation False Prophets, Chapter Eleven: They're Everywhere!
Posted By: Ian Barnes<panzerschreck15@netscape.net>
Date: 1 May 2002, 12:18 am

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    John unholstered his M6D pistol, gripping the titanium weapon in his left hand. and MA5B-G in his right. He was thankful for his immense strength. He could hold an assault rifle with a single hand, and still shoot with accuracy that was unmatched by any other UNSC Marine, aside from Kelly.
    Kelly gripped her MA5B-G, and loaded a grenade into the chamber, then slapped a clip into place.
    A green light flashed in John's HUD. Kelly was ready. They advanced down the hallways of the 'Fire of Reach.' Several crewman, having only several weeks of firearms training, ran screaming down the hallway coming from the opposite direction. John's keen ears managed to make out a few random words of the terrified crewman's ramblings. John thought it was funny, comparing the crewman to himself. Two completely different ends of the spectrum.
    Up ahead, a explosion tore through a section of the wall, and Covenant streamed through. Gray-armored Special Forces, Elites. John took up position on one side of the wall, and Kelly on the other.
    The Master Chief popped around the corner, loosing a grenade into the midst of the aliens. The grenade settled for a moment before exploding among the Elites, sending them flying everywhere, but shields still intact. Several Elites were thrown against the wall with such force, their shields died from the impact leaving them defenseless. John and Kelly swung around their corners, and pumped several of the Elites with fully automatic weapons fire, the staccato crackle of the weapons drowning out the aliens' screams.
    Several Elites remained, trying to take some time to let their shields regenerate. Kelly flicked her firing selector to the grenade launcher, and incinerated the remaining Elites.
    Kelly and John both loaded another grenade, and advanced down the hallway. The Spartans reached a fork in the hallway, and decided it would be best to divide up, and meet later. The two warriors moved in opposite directions, both of them headed in the direction of weapons fire.


    John dove and rolled, coming up directly in front of an Elite. With one hand, the Spartan lashed his assault rifle into the stomach of the creature, and it doubled over. Then with a brutal crunching noise, John brought his pistol down on top of the Elite's head. Armor and bones were pulverized. Blood oozed onto the deck as the Elite's limp body collided with the floor. John kept moving, running through hallways.
    He rounded a corner and found a herd of Grunts marching his way. The massive group opened fire, and multiple hits drained the Chief's shields drastically. With his right hand, John let a grenade fly from his assault rifle, and the explosion decimated all but two of the Grunts, then several well placed bursts of armor piercing bullets finished off the rest.
    John keyed his COM with the Captain, and watched as more Covenant streamed off boarding craft. The Chief ducked behind a wall as the Captain's voice crackled in.
    'Yes, Chief?'
    'What's the status of evac?'
    'Shuttles are being sent into orbit right now. No more than ten minutes. I suggest falling back towards the bridge.'
    'Yes, sir.'
    John headed back the way he had come, and tried to get a connection with Kelly. She was still there.
    'Kelly, the Captain has given us orders to fall back towards the bridge.'
     A green light in John's HUD flashed. John noticed his MA5B's ammo counter was at two rounds. He ejected the clip and slapped another into place as he walked; right by a Covenant boarding craft. Just as he was about to cock the weapon, an Elite commander sprung from the shadows, knocking John over like a bowling pin. His MA5B clattered to the ground.
    The merciless alien brought its plasma rifle to bear and fired. John pushed himself off the ground and out of the way of the plasma, then countered with a fierce kick which knocked the weapon out of the alien's hand. In retaliation, John lashed out with his alloy-reinforced fists, first a right, then a left. The blows glanced off the alien's shields, and electricity crackled.
    The Elite reeled, and forced a stiff kick into the Chief's stomach. His shields took the brunt, but the force of the kick threw him to the ground. John's shield's still held up, barely. Only a hair's breadth remained.
    The alien marched over, and raised its large, hoofed foot, and prepared to stomp downward. In a blur of motions, John performed a sweep, tripping the alien, and at the same time, unholstered his pistol. In seconds, their roles were reversed. John brought his pistol down hard, and the Elite's shields died. Now lying on its back, the Elite roared in fury just before John pumped a trio of armor piercing rounds into its brain.
    Retrieving his MA5B, John ran back to the bridge, from that point on, completely uncontested. John thought he had gotten lucky there, another few seconds, and John might have had a hoof print in his helmet. Kelly got even luckier.


    After Kelly received the order to return to the bridge, she ran into a full squad of Elite Commanders, wielding plasma swords, accompanied by two Hunters. Her adrenaline spiked, and her anger flared. Her memories traveled back to Reach. One of her fellow teammates had been cut down by one of the menacing aliens. She remembered how the Spartan had screamed as the energy blade lanced right through their protective armor into the soft flesh, instantly vaporizing the marine's internal organs.
    Kelly remembered how only moments after the Spartan dropped, she had lost it, hurling herself onto the alien, pummeling it with her weapons, and then after it was dead, mutilating its body with pounds of lead from her MA5B. If only she'd spent that time helping her other teammates, more of them than just her might have survived. Her face, although masked by her helmet, turned bright red from anger, both from herself, and the aliens who stood down the hall.
    In that battle, she'd thrown out years of training in self-control and discipline, for what? A mindless vendetta which had festered itself in mere seconds?
    She vowed to herself to always stay in control of her emotions, especially in battle.
    The squad of Covenant hadn't noticed her, and that was good, but they were headed toward the bridge, and that was bad. Setting her MA5B down, Kelly hefted her Jackhammer, and loosed the first rocket at one of the Hunters bringing up the rear of the squad. It turned just in time to see the rocket slam into its armored body. Kelly let the second rocket fly at the other Hunter, and watched it connect as well.
    Two Hunters were down, and that left five Elites, all wielding plasma swords. She had only her MA5B. It would have to do.
    The enraged aliens charged. The hallway was a hundred yards long, and the Covenant were closing the distance fast.
    Kelly flipped her firing selector to the grenade launcher, and pulled the trigger. The grenade hurtled into the midst of the Elites and detonated. But the aliens didn't even break stride. Kelly procured her last grenade and loaded it, primed the grenade's chamber and fired again. The second grenade sent a blast through the squad of Elites, and their shields died.
    Flipping the firing selector back to bullets and set to fully automatic, she opened fire.
    Molten lead sped towards the Elites. Bullets pinged off the Elite's armor, but others connected, and drove into the flesh of the aliens. Four Elites went down, blood spattered on the walls, and oozing onto the deck. Kelly adjusted her aim toward the last Elite and opened fire. She squeezed off one round, and it penetrated. The round found its way into the Elite's stomach, but the Elite only flinched momentarily, then kept coming.
    Kelly continued to hold the trigger, but the firing pin clicked. She glanced at the ammo counter. Empty, and no time to reload. She glanced around and saw the body of a dead marine lying ten yards away, but there was no time.
    The Elite leapt through the air, and landed right in front of the helpless Spartan. The sword would cut her down before she could even throw a punch.
    The alien growled, and sliced in a horizontal motion. Kelly instinctively ducked as the sword passed over her head by centimeters.  The alien released its grip and the sword flew down the hallway just as a loud bang resounded through the hallway. Kelly sat, crouching with her eyes shut tight. Several seconds later, she stood and opened her eyes. She was in a hallway, with a dead Elite lying at her feet. She was alive.
    At the opposite end of the hallway stood a green statue, still and focused, a smoking M6D pistol gripped with both hands. It was the greatest sight Kelly had seen in her entire life.
    Kelly began loading another clip into her MA5B, as John waved to her down the hallway, motioning for her to follow him.
    As Kelly ran past John, he gave her a confident pat on the back, then followed her. They entered the bridge, and found the troubled Captain observing a grid of the ship. It displayed which areas had been completely overrun by Covenant forces. Almost the entire ship. Only the deck the Spartans were on was still Covenant-free. The Captain shifted his glance to space, and observed a shuttle speeding toward the 'Fire of Reach.'
    'The shuttle will dock with us in one minute.' Thor informed the Captain.
    Captain Wilkins cut in.
    'Chief, we need to move to the shuttle bay so they can pick us up, we'd better get moving.'
    Thor once again spoke up.
    'Captain, I recommend initiating the self-destruct on the ship, make sure no Covenant survive.'
    While the Captain was reluctant to destroy such a fine ship, especially when it wasn't terribly damaged, he couldn't risk letting any Covenant get to Earth.
    'Do it.'
    Thor started the countdown timer, and the Captain unplugged Thor. John was suddenly reminded of Cortana. He wondered why she had been so quiet, then he remembered he was going to keep her, then decided it best for her safety to leave her with Stanforth.
    John, Kelly, and the bridge crew followed Wilkins to the shuttle bay.
    Seconds later, the shuttle zoomed into the bay, and landed. A hatch in the rear of the ship opened, and all the weary men and Spartans, ran aboard. It lifted off, and accelerated back towards Earth.
    John stared out the window at the two immense ships, intertwined like rope, just before plumes of fire erupted from the ships' hulls, bursting into one giant cloud of flames, radiation and electromagnetic storms.
Thinking to himself, he knew what came next. They had beaten the Covenant back, Earth was still intact, and they still had possession of the Prophets. Now the UNSC must follow through with the next step of the plan which would bring the ultimate reward: Peace. But John's mind still turned like gears, devising a plan should the negotiations succeed, a plan which would drive a stake into the heart of the beast, and leave it writhing on the ground.