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A Pilot's Life: Chapter 4- Desperate Battles
Posted By: Captain Rasc<Rasculia38@cox.net>
Date: 24 October 2003, 12:50 AM

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"Here we go again!" I thought as the tank crashed out of the tree line and into a wide field. On the far side of the field, surrounded by large rocks, a group of ten Marines was fighting a losing battle against a swarm of Covenant. There were a pair of mortar tanks nearby us, and they were pounding the Marines long distance. I keyed the intercom and spoke. "All right ladies dismount. I'm going after the tanks and you don't want to be riding shotgun with me if I get hit."

The Marines clambered off the tank, and crouching low in the grass made their way towards a squad of Jackals setting up to try and flank the Marines in the field. Meanwhile, swung the turret around and centered the targeting brackets over the closer tank. I hit the firing stud with my thumb and the felt a rumble run through the tank as the heavy cannon fired. The tank had been facing away from me, and the shot drilled through the tanks thin armor. The internal detonation of the shell blew open the top hatch and sent the tank drivers remains sailing out. Smoke billowed out of the hatch and the barrel of the gun. The tank dropped to the ground with a thud. The second tank, now aware of my presence, side slipped behind the burning tank while the cannon reloaded. Unable to see my enemy, I simply gunned forward and ran into the dead tank. It was smashed flat under the treads of my much larger Scorpion tank. The second tank, having nowhere to hide, fired a shot point-blank at me. The shot was ill aimed, and it reflected off the armored turret without doing any damage. I returned fire and the shot hit the barrel of the tanks gun just as it prepared to fire. The explosion melted the barrel, and the tank tore itself to pieces when its own shot detonated inside the barrel.

Meanwhile Evans and his men had reached the Marines, who were now down to seven. They were currently under attack, but were now holding their own. I turned to head that way and lend them a hand, but a shot exploded against the side of the tank, giving me other things to think about. While I had been focused on the tanks, a Hunter had crept near, and had now begun to fire his fuel rod gun at me. Unable to fire due to his proximity, I opted to run him over. He tried to dive out of the way, but I swung the tank sideways. The tank collided with him and he staggered, and was then crushed to death under the treads of the tank. I then swung about and lurched forward towards a trio of Elites and some Grunts that were charging towards the Marines. I fired, and the shot exploded right in the middle of the running aliens. The blast sent the Grunts flying in every direction, and shrapnel cut two of the Elites in half. The second Elite turned and ran towards me. He pulled out a grenade, armed it and dove under the treads, sacrificing himself to take out the tank.

Acting fast, I hit the emergency hatch release. The hatch shot open immediately, and I literally jumped out of the tank. I took off at a dead run, trying to distance myself from the explosion. The blast was monumental. The shockwave lifted me up and sent me flying 15 feet. Luckily, I landed without serious injury. The whine of a high-powered engine filled the air, and I turned to see a Pelican drop ship touching down next to the nine remaining Marines. They all scrambled to get aboard. One of them went down when a stray plasma bolt hit him in the leg. The Pelican, fully loaded began to liftoff without me!!!!!! Shouting and waving my hands, I ran towards the craft. It was hopeless, and the craft pulled up and away, leaving me behind.

I continued to run, figuring that I could fight better from the safety of the rocks. When I was about halfway to the rocks, an Elite began taking potshots at me from across the field. I pulled out my pistol and fired blindly in his direction, causing him to duck to avoid the shots. That gave a few more seconds to get to the rocks safely. I barely made it to the rocks as plasma fire blasted the dirt all around me. For a moment I had the distinct feeling that I was being toyed with. I forced that from my mine as I moved towards a small open clearing within the large rocks. There were two Marines there, both dead. An assault rifle lay on the ground next to one of the bodies. I picked it up and checked to see if it was loaded, it was. All of a sudden, the other body moaned. He wasn't dead after all. I ran over to the Marine, crouching next to him and pulling out a first aid kit from my pack. "Where are you hit?" I asked him.

"Left leg," he said, wincing in pain, "Just below the knee."
"I'll have you fixed in a jiffy," I said. I quickly bound the wound, then gave him a shot of morphine. I then handed him an assault rifle that lay nearby, along with some ammo. Then we sat there and waited. It wasn't long before I heard voices approaching, chatting idly. Obviously, the two Elites weren't expecting any trouble. They were quite surprised when they walked into the clearing and saw two armed humans there. Their surprise didn't last long, as we cut them down with long bursts from our guns. Unfortunately, the sound of the shots brought swarms of Covenant running.

A pair of Jackals stepped into the clearing and I cut them down with two short blasts. Five Grunts leapt out from behind the rocks across from the wounded Marine. He cut two down as they turned towards me, and I got two more as they turned back towards him. The last Grunt was torn to pieces by a lethal crossfire from our two guns. I reloaded my gun just as two more Elites entered the area. I let of a burst that caught one of them high in the shouldered, spinning him around as he dropped dead. As I turned to fire upon the second Elite however, a powerful blow t my shoulders sent me flying. A third Elite had snuck up behind me and hit me hard in the back. The blow knocked me across the small clearing. I landed hard, my head hitting a rock. Pain flashed through my skull and my vision swam. I rose slowly, and I was just in time to see the Marine fall unconscious when the second Elite clubbed him upside the head. I swung my rifle up and let fly with a burst that cut down both of the aliens where they stood. Two more Elites came charging in and I managed to cut one of them down with a wild burst of gunfire. I tossed aside the now empty gun and pulled out my pistol as the second Elite fired his plasma rifle. I shot him six times in the head and he fell, his gun still firing. One of the shots hit me in the arm, and I dropped the pistol with a curse. More aliens entered the clearing. "Come and get me you bastards!" I shouted at them, charging forward in a suicidal rage. I fought like a madman, but there were too many of them and I was soon overpowered. I felt a heavy blow to the side of my head, then I felt nothing as darkness claimed me.

* * * * * * * *

I regained consciousness much later. I sat up slowly, shaking my head to clear the continuous buzzing sound. I took a look around. I was in a box shaped room that was about 15 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 18 feet tall. The ceiling, walls and floor were made of a strange green metal that I was unfamiliar to me. One side of the box was open, but across it a pale blue energy field flickered across the gap. Across from me, on the other side of the room, I could see another room like mine, occupied by another human. In the area between the cells, I counted five sleeping grunts and one Elite Major pacing back and forth. A tell tale shimmer in the air also belied the presence of at least one cloaked Elite.

Getting slowly up, I staggered towards the energy barrier. The room had eight Holding cells in all, four on each side. In the room I counted about eighteen Grunts, two Elite Majors, at least two Cloaked Elites and one Elite Commander, clad in gold armor and carrying a plasma sword. Shaking my head, I hobbled back to the wall and slid to the floor. As I sat there, watching the guards pace back and forth, I heard a voice coming form the room next to me.

"Hey buddy," said the voice, "You awake?"
"Yeah," I whispered back, "But I dunno how long that'll last; I got one hell of a headache."
"It'll pass. By the way thanks for helping me earlier. I thought I was done for."
"Well, I was screwed anyway, so it didn't really hurt to help."
"Yeah, but you sure as hell got guts though."
"SILENCE!" bellowed one of the Elite Majors. He had overheard us and now stood outside my cell. "Do not speak unless asked to do so human scum!"
"Whatever you say squid head," I growled back at him.
"Fool," he growled, then pressed a button on his wrist. The barrier between us collapsed. I rushed towards him, fist cocked back to punch him, but he blocked it and backhanded me. I stumbled backwards and he followed me, landing two quick punches in my mid-section. Some of my ribs cracked under the blows and pain shot up my side. I fell over backwards, gasping for breath.

"That will teach you to respect me you infidel," he laughed at me. He turned, and began to walk out of the cell. I struggled to my feet, and lunged after him. Just before I hit him, he re-activated the barrier. Unable to stop I slammed full-tilt into the electric shield. A surge of energy shot through me, and the next thing I knew I was laying on the floor on the far side of the cell from the barrier. My whole body ached, and my head pounded. My vision slowly faded, and I felt nothing more.

I came to again, lying on the floor of the cell. My headache was gone, but it had been replaced by a dull ache in my side. I sat up quickly, and pain shot thru my side, causing me to gasp in pain. Wincing, I stood up slowly. I stretched my legs a little, and then I noticed a tray had been placed in the cell. On it was a bowl containing a gray gelatinous substance. Next to it lay a small cup filled with something that smelled like motor oil.

"No way am I eating this," I muttered. Just then, the barrier deactivated, and the Major stalked into the cell.
"I would recommend that you eat," he said, "You'll need your strength to survive interrogation." He hoisted me bodily to my feet, and fastened a pair of cuffs around my wrists before leading me out of the cell. He turned towards a trio of Jackals standing nearby. "Take him to Chamber C."

The Jackals nodded and one of them shoved me towards the door. I stumbled and started walking. We left the chamber and stepped into a hallway. I was taken down the hall to another door. It opened to reveal a large chamber. It was a monochrome gray and was lit only by a pair of lights overhead. In the center was a chair fitted with restraints. On the far side of the room was another door.
I was pushed into the chair, and one of the Jackals fastened the restraints. Then all three walked over to the door thru which we had entered. One of them tapped a button on his wrist-gear twice. Immediately, the other door whooshed open and the Jackals snapped to attention as an Elite Commander stalked into the room. He ignored them, instead focusing his attention on me. He eyed me for a moment then spoke.

"I have some questions I need you to answer," he said in surprisingly good English, "Cooperate, and you will find your stay here far more pleasant. However, if you don't cooperate and you can be assured that the remainder of your life will be painful and unpleasant. Do I make myself clear?" I didn't reply, so he moved on.
"What can you tell me about this?" he asked, showing me a holographic image of a Knife-class fighter, similar to the one I flew.
"Nice picture, can you give me a copy?" I said.
"Wrong answer." He growled. Then he hit me hard on my side. I cried out in pain as the blow struck my already cracked ribs.
"Now, I will ask you again..."

The next few days passed in a painful blur of interrogations and beatings. I did manage to break a corner off my meal tray. When the Grunts that brought me my food asked what happen to the tray, I told them that it had been like that when I got it. The Grunts weren't smart enough to tell that I was lying, and they left it at that. I spent the day sharpening the piece as best I could. The next day, the Major again came to the cell and put the binders on me. The three Jackals again took me out of the room into the hall. When we were halfway down the hall, I reached into my side pocket and pulled out the metal piece. I faked a stumble into the guard on my right. He shoved me the opposite direction, and as I moved sideways, I brought the sharp edge of the metal up and drove it into the head of the guard. He gave a cry and fell as blood spurted from the fatal wound. Not I spun around and kicked out, catching the guard behind me full in the jaw. The blow dropped him temporarily out of the fight. I dove on the last guard as he tried to bring his pistol around to target me. The blow caught him of guard, and the pistol dropped from his hands. I swung my bound hands around at his head. The blow missed his head, instead hitting his throat. The power behind the swing collapsed his windpipe and he started to choke. I grabbed his shield and whirled around, just as the guard I had kicked fired his pistol. The shots hit the shield and almost shorted it out. Before he could fire again I stepped forward and swung the shield like a weapon. The blow knocked him to the floor, and I followed up by bringing the shield down on his head, crushing it. I dropped the shield and stood there for a second, catching my breath. I bent and retrieved the binder control mechanism from the Jackal I had stabbed. I tapped the button that deactivated the binders, and they faded away. With my arms now free, I scooped up one of the plasma pistols. I then walked to the door that led to the interrogation chamber. It whooshed open as I approached, and closed behind me. I walked over and crouched by the opposite door, the one that the interrogator came through. After I charged the pistol to overload, I tapped the button on the control pad twice. The door whooshed open and the Elite stalked in, then halted in surprise when he saw that the chair was empty. Before he could act, I fired the overloaded pistol into the back of his neck. The powerful shot blasted through his shields and burned through his neck. He dropped to the ground with a whimper.

"Serves you right asshole," I muttered. I walked over and searched his body. I found two plasma grenades and a plasma rifle. I dropped the pistols in favor of the rifle and also took the two grenades. I then went back out the door to the hallway. Seeing the hall clear, I proceeded down to the door to the brig, intent on freeing the other humans.