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Welcome to Shatella - Chapter 3
Posted By: Beep<Mbassos@gmail.com>
Date: 27 November 2004, 4:35 AM

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      There were two marines in total, three if you counted the Sarge, and as Hawkins crashed into them, he threw himself against the meagre cover they had found amongst the ruins of an apartment courtyard.
      He heard the heavy, thumping footsteps of the Hunters moving in for the kill, and they were trapped like rats in a sewer, with time running out. He glanced up, it was getting dark, they had to take this bastards out before it was night; fighting in pitch darkness was considered suicide on Shatella.

       "Okay marines I want you to lay suppressing fire on my command" Hawkins was so close to the Sarge, he could smell his cigar-ridden breath as he talked. "Give me cover fire, and I'll try to offload a sniper round into one of these behemoths, and bring him down."
       There was acknowledgement nods all round, as Hawkins stepped behind Sarge and huddled with the two marines, on the left side of the wall. They looked tired, worn-out, probably fighting hour's on-end, just trying to survive.
       Hawkins glanced to the right, and saw Sarge pressed back against the wall, hands tight on his sniper rifle. It was at this view he noticed just how pale, Bison face was, his eyes like chiselled ice, a man who had lost it all in battle and had nothing to lose.
      While the wall didn't offer much in the terms of protection, it did allow them to flank both Hunters from the left and right, and Hawkins held his magnum, ready for the order.

      "NOW" Bison shouted, while throwing one hand forward. Hawkins and his marine companions reacted. Hawkins stepped to the left, outside the cover of the courtyard wall, but what he saw next was unexpected.

      It was silent. No Hunters to be seen, only the bodies of marines who had died trying to bring them down before them. The courtyard was quiet, the only sounds, gunfire coming from nearby skirmishes.
      It was getting hard to see, the night was upon them, but surely two giant figures don't disappear into nowhere.

      "What the hell" Hawkins glanced by his side to see one of the marines, looking about, waving his battle rifle in the air; unfortunately for him, it was his last words.

      A humongous, metallic shield came out of nowhere and smashed the private's ribcage, his internal organs shattering from the brute strength of the Hunter's swing. His body flew five metres through the air like a rag doll before hitting the ground with a thump.
      "Behind us" the second marine screamed as he turned firing off his battle rifle erratically.

      Hawkins saw the second Hunter emerge from the shadows, fuel rod cannon charging. He didn't have time to think, and dived as a steady bolt of super heated plasma blazed its way through the courtyard, illuminating the darkness of the night.
      He scrambled to his feet, picking up the departed marine's battle rifle in one fluent action. The Hunter was ten metres from him; Hawkins lined up the battle rifle, held his breath and pulled the trigger. The trio burst ricocheted of the Hunter's heavy combat armour, as he charged, metal shield raised ready for the swing.

      Hawkins closed his eyes and prepared to die for the second time today, but his guardian angel prevailed; a sniper round echoed through the darkness and entered the exposed region of the Hunter's lower torso.
      The Hunter hit the ground running; orange blood splashed its once gleaming blue armour. Hawkins turned to see Sarge materialize from the right, dropping his sniper rifle and pulling a sub-machine gun from his back. It was only then that he remembered there was a second Hunter to contend with.

      Hawkins saw his last living marine companion hiding amongst a pile of rubble, the second Hunter furiously bashing at the hidden marine with his shield.

      After smashing the first marine the Hunter had turned his attention to his next victim, unaware he would have to play a game of cat and mouse.
      Something was odd however; the Hunter had stopped worrying about the trapped marine and was staring at something. It was motionless, and at first Hawkins thought he was going to turn his attention towards himself, but then he realised it wasn't him it was staring at, but his fallen bond brother.

      The Hunter wailed, lifting both arms, in a flail of anger. Bison stepped over Hawkins's downed body and walked directly to the Hunter.

      "Sarge what the hell are you doing" Hawkins cried, but Bison continued his pace. The Hunter turned from the rubble, saw Bison, and lifted his shield in a berserk frenzy; its razor-sharp back needles tingling with rage.

      It sprung forward, landing with an earth shattering thud, and brought his metallic shield vertically down on Bison's head.
      Bison was too fast, and effortlessly side-stepped the blow. The shield sliced through the air before crashing into the ground sending dirt and gravel flying, as Bison manoeuvred towards the Hunter's back.

      Hawkins from the ground watched with disbelief and awe, as Bison dodge the Hunter's razor needle back spines before pulling up his sub-machine gun and jamming the barrel into the Hunter's exposed orange skin at the rear.

      "Swallow this, you bastard" Bison was like ice, no emotion, no remorse, no mercy, as he gritted his teeth and pulled the trigger.
      The Hunter howled as the point blank sub-machine gun blasted its way through the Hunter's back region. Orange blood sprayed freely, splattering against Bison face.

      The Hunter waved both arms frantically, before falling to the ground, its back ripped to shreds by the sheer force of the gun's velocity.
      Bison ejected the empty sub-machine clip, and threw the gun to the ground as he bent to retrieve the rubble covered marine. He was battered and bruised by somehow still alive.

      "Get up" the Sarge commanded before walking off into the darkness of the courtyard. Hawkins jumped to his feet and ran over to the marine. He was still lying there catching his breath, as Hawkins extended a hand to help.

      "Thanks" although on his feet the marine was still recovering from his near death experience.
      "The name's Rico" he managed to sputter out between breaths.
      "Private Hawkins" was the reply.

      It was near pitch darkness, the night came with a chill; the nearby skirmishes calming down. Nights in Shatella always came with the eerie silence of war.
      Both marines stood in the centre of the apartment courtyard, Bison in the corner, back turned, cigar in hand.
      "Marines hold this perimeter; I'm going to see if I can radio in Command." Bison turned to face both marines; his face grim as always.

      Hawkins crossed the courtyard, battle rifle in hand. It wasn't a large space, square in shape, roughly twenty by ten metres. The apartment block which towered high over the space, had been blasted with Covenant fire and was no doubt a key reason why so much rubble and destruction remained on the courtyard below.
      The courtyard itself was quite a secured area, with high cement walls surrounding the perimeter, the only two exclusions was a blasted wall, where they had originally entered and an entrance way that lead into the ground level of the apartment block.
      It may have been secure but the courtyard was a mess. Bodies of marines lay, amongst the two Hunter bodies, red and orange blood mixed around the surrounding. Hawkins could still smell death within the perimeter walls.
      He passed Rico, who had his back up against the wall, still recuperating from his encounter with the Hunter earlier on. Rico was short, and lacked a physical build, his tired brown eyes matching with his brown buzzcut.
      Hawkins wondered how long he had been fighting for, because by the look of his face, it looked like he was going to crack.

      Bison returned, emerging from the blasted gap in the wall. His facial expressional dismal; the same it was when he left.
      "What's the go Sarge, are we getting out of here now" Rico voice was desperate.
      "There's not going to be any evac son." was the reply.
      Rico opened his mouth in disbelief, even Hawkins face was filled with surprise. The initial plan had always to go into Shatella, push the Covenant out in twenty-four hours and evacuate immediately. Things went bad however, there was more Covenant then expected.
      "What do you mean there's not going to be any evac, there's always evac, where is the God damn evac." Rico dropped his rifle and slid slowly down the courtyard wall.

      "Command has stated that the Covenant now controls total air-space around Nerul, there's no evac or reinforcements coming to Shatella." Bison spoke sternly, his ice cold personality in full force.

      Hawkins tried to remain calm, but he couldn't. He knew those ONI assholes had screwed up, now they were trapped in a destroyed city, waiting to die. Their efforts had been in vain, so many lives lost, yet the Covenant would still walk out with what they wanted.
      "We're screwed man." Rico lay slumped, he was in total break-down; no doubt he had seen too many die by the hands of the Covenant.
      Hawkins walked over to the Bison. "So what's our objective now Sarge?"

      "To stop the Covenant from finding what they want."

      "You've got to be kidding me" Rico cried out "We're three men against a Covenant platoon, we are screwed...SCREWED."

      Bison walked where Rico was slumped and pulled him to his feet by his armour.
       "You listen to me marine, if the Covenant find what they want, they are packing up and Glassing this planet, then we're all dead, so quit your bitching, we're are going to survive and we're going to make it out alive." He dropped Rico, he hit the ground stunned.
      "Hawkins if we're going to make it through the night I want that 50-cal machine gun set up, pronto." Bison pointed at discarded heavy machine gun, lying next to a dead marine, who unfortunately didn't get a chance to use it.
      "We could be the only human life in this city marines, but I'll be damned if I'm going to lose more men to these alien bastards." Bison now shouting with raw hatred in his voice.
      "We have been cut off, but we will get off this rock.... marines welcome to the new Shatella."