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A Pilots Life: Chapter 5-The Jailbreak
Posted By: Captain Rasc<Rasculia38@cox.net>
Date: 29 October 2003, 12:17 AM

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Everyone had always told me that my impulsiveness would get me in big trouble one day. They were right. Without stopping to formulate a plan, I pulled out the two plasma grenades and opened the door. I activated one of the grenades and tossed it through the door at the nearby Elite Commander. He started to shout, but then the grenade went off and blew him apart. I quickly tossed another grenade into the chamber, and it stuck to a startled Grunt. "Get it off! Get it off!" he screamed in panic running around helplessly. The grenade detonated, killing the Grunt three other grunts. The explosion must have hit another grenade, because there was a second explosion that killed one of the cloaked Elites and five more Grunts. Out of grenades, I pulled out the plasma rifle and sprayed some shots at a trio of Grunts off to the left. Five of the shots stopped in midair, accompanied by and anguished roar. The cloaked Elite that had been standing nearby materialized as he fell to the ground with two smoking holes in his chest. I fired more shots as I sprinted into the room and this time, the shots hit their intended targets. The three Grunts dropped to the ground, smoke rising from their wounds. I fired again and this time the shots hit their intended targets. I scrambled behind a nearby pillar as plasma bolts from one of the Elite Majors hit the floor next to my feet. I leaned out and sprayed some shots at him, but he too ducked behind a pillar and the shots missed. I now had a big problem. If I didn't get rid of him soon, he would be able to sound the alarm, and I would undoubtedly die. I fired more shots at him and this time, a few connected and his shields collapsed. He returned fire, and one of the shots hit the plasma rifle, making it useless. I dropped the rifle and picked up a plasma rifle from a dead Grunt nearby. I charged the pistol and let fly, aiming to the right of the column. The shot went straight, then curved sideways as it homed in on the Elite's heat signature. There was a cry from behind the pillar, and the Elite fell out from behind the pillar, his chest gone. The few remaining Grunts lost their nerve and tried to run out the door. I cut them all down quickly. The remaining nine Grunts tried to make a run for the door. I cut them down as they tried to open the sealed door.

I waited a full minute, and when nothing moved in the room, I slowly stepped out from behind the pillar. I walked cautiously to the far end of the room. I approached the control panel for the cells, and after scrutinizing it for a while reached to deactivate the cell barriers.

"LOOK OUT!!!!" The shouted warning sent me into action and I quickly ducked sideways. I wasn't quite quick enough however, and the Elite Majors fist clipped the top of my head, sending me reeling. He started to follow up but I was ready and I blocked his punch with the plasma rifle. I brought my leg up in a kick that connected with his midsection and he doubled up as the air woofed out of him. I swung my plasma rifle towards his head, but he anticipated me and dove forward. His head caught me in the stomach and I was knocked down, the plasma rifle flying from my hands. He swung brought his fist down hard, but it hit the floor as I rolled sideways out from under him. I kicked my legs out and managed to trip him up as turned towards me. He toppled over as I sprang to my feet and dove for a plasma pistol on the ground nearby. I got my hands on it and rolled on my back to fire. The shot missed, and before I could fire again he kicked the pistol out of my hands then he slammed a fist into my stomach. The air rushed out of me and my vision swam. I had just enough wits left to block his next blow. I butted him in the face with my forehead and he cried out and rolled off me. I scrambled unsteadily to my feet, pain flashing sharply across my stomach. As he started to rise, I lashed out with my foot, catching him solidly in the ribs. He dropped back down, as I continued to kick him over and over again. I kicked him over and over again, shouting obscenities at him.

"Calm down man," said one of the Marines, "He's dead."

I stopped kicking the guard and looked at him. He was dead all right, his mouth hung open and his ribs were broken in so many places that his chest felt like jelly. I walked away from the corpse and went over to the cell control board. I hit the button and the barriers faded away, freeing the Marines. They came tumbling out of their cells, laughing like a bunch of school kids. A Marine jogged up and saluted, then asked if I was all right. I recognized him as the Marine I had bandaged up in the field just before I was captured. I told him I was fine. Then I turned to the rest of the Marines.

"All right guys, we're not out of this yet. Everyone grab a weapon and get ready to move out." The Marines obeyed and armed themselves with the pistols, rifles, and grenades of the dead guards. When they were all armed I told them to fall in. They lined up and stood at attention. I walked slowly back and forth in front of them. I then stopped and said, "Okay, I think I have a way to get us out of here. If we can get to a drop ship I can fly us out of here. Shoot anything that moves and we'll get out of here in one piece."

With that, we ran out the now unlocked door into the hall. A pair of Elites were preparing to charge in just as we came out. We opened fire on them at close range, and they went down hard. Turning right, I lead the Marines down the hall towards a bend at the end of the hall. Rounding the corner, I collided with a pair of Jackals. I jumped backwards as they cried out in surprise.

"LET 'EM HAVE IT!!" I shouted. All the Marines opened fire and the two Jackals dropped to the ground, there bodies riddled with plasma scoring. We charged forward and through another door. Plasma fire erupted from down the hallway, and one of the Marines fell when a shot evaporated his head.

"FIRE IN THE HOLE!" shouted one of the Marines. He chucked a plasma grenade down the hallway. It detonated, sending the Elite flying down the hall. We charged around the junction, then took cover from a pair of Jackals that were at the far end of the hall. I leaned out and sprayed fire back and forth over their shields. The energy surge was too much, and the shields shut down. The other Marines opened fire, burning the two aliens down.

We passed through ha door and stepped into the bridge. The Marines spread out, firing on the move. The surprised bridge crew was quickly wiped out, though the Elite Commander did manage to decapitate one of the Marines before he was killed. We left the bridge and charged down another hallway. We quickly dispatched the five Grunts standing in the hall, and we moved unopposed into the docking bay.

Plasma fire erupted from the far end of the bay, and the Marines returned fire, ducking behind the crates stacked by the door. While the Marines covered me, I deactivated the clamps holding one of the drop ships in place. I dropped onto the top of the shuttle and climbed into the cockpit. I familiarized myself with the controls, I charged up the plasma turret. I sprayed fire back and forth across the Covenant while the Marines clambered into the ship. When they were all aboard, I shut the doors and gunned the engine. I started to fly out, when an energy barrier appeared, barring the exit. I swung the turret around and fired at the flight control station next to the hangar opening. The blast melted the station and blew up the field generator. With the barrier gone I gunned out of the hangar into space, weaving back and forth to avoid the gunfire directed at us. I aimed the ship towards the planet below and shot away from the Covenant craft as it scrambled fighters after us. The fighters mercilessly assaulted the craft. I returned fire with the plasma turret as I attempted to evade the shots. I wasn't very successful at evading the shots, but my sustained fire destroyed three of the fighters. The last one was smarter, staying slightly above the drop ship, where the turret couldn't hit him. I tried to roll, but he easily stayed out of my line of fire. I pulled up, as if to try to loop away from him. He followed the maneuver easily. What he hadn't expected was the sudden dive that brought him into my line of fire. A trio of shots from the turret burned all the way through the fighter, which suddenly flared into incandescence. With the fighters gone, I brought the drop ship around and headed down towards the surface of the planet below.

* * * * * * * *

"That's not good," I said to no one in particular as the drop ships engine began to cough and rattle. Red lights started flashing across the board, and even though I couldn't read the script, I knew it was bad. I cut back the throttle to prevent the engine from exploding from stress. I turned on the intercom and spoke, "Fasten your seat belts. I'm bringing her down and it may get a little rough."

The bulky craft was dropping rapidly and starting to roll to port. I wrestled with the controls and managed to correct the roll. I aimed the dying craft towards a flat, snow-covered field. I brought the ship to a hover in the center of the field, and was about fifteen feet above the ground, when the engine cut out. The craft dropped straight down, slamming into the ground. The craft jolted hard, and the sound of tearing metal. I punched the intercom on and said "Oops, sorry about that guys."

"You better be sorry," one of the Marines grumbled loudly. I laughed and punched the intercom off. After hitting the button that opened the two side hatches, I climbed out of the cockpit and dropped to the ground. The snow was almost waist deep, and the air was freezing. I turned as the Marines clambered out of the craft. They were unhurt, except a couple with bruises from the rough landing. One of them approached me, he stopped and saluted. "What now Lieutenant?" he asked after I returned the salute.

"Well, the fleet has run, so we won't have get any help from them. There should be at least one command shuttle down here and survivors off wrecked ships. We need to locate the command shuttle, and work from there. But where would the shuttle be?" He started to answer, but was drowned out by a high-pitched howl. We looked up as a pair of Banshees flew overhead. They turned around and came back, planning to make a strafing run on the bunched up Marines.

"SPREAD OUT!!!!!!" I shouted as loud as I could. The Marines scattered, just as the Banshees fired. Their shots missed, melting the snow and further destroying the drop ship. The Marines fired as the Banshees flew past. Several plasma bursts converged on one of the Banshees, and it spouted black smoke. It plummeted out of control and slammed into a hillside and exploded. The second Banshee decided to exercise the better part of valor, and flew off in the other direction.

"As I was saying," the Marine spoke again, as if nothing had happened, "We don't need to find a command center. All we need to do is find a long-range transmitter, then we can broadcast a distress signal."

"Good idea, but where would we find something like that?"

"Your guess is as good as mine sir," he
replied, "but we could just pick a direction and start searching."

"Whatever works," I said. Then I turned to the Marines, saying "All right ladies, lets move out. We're going to go look for some friends." I pulled out the plasma pistol from my pocket, and after checking to make sure it was undamaged. I turned and started marching through the snow, heading for a nearby hill. The Marines followed closely, and we soon reached the top. I looked around, and spied something interesting. Below, built into the side of a hill was some sort of structure. It was hard to tell from the distance, but it appeared to be unoccupied. I turned to the Marines and said "Okay, that's our destination. We need to move fast and careful. Keep your guns ready, and yell if you need help."

"Yes sir!" the Marines said. With that, we moved down the slope. Guns always up, we leapfrogged from tree to tree and rock to rock, staying as low as possible in the snow. The only sound was that of the snow crunching underfoot as we silently listened for the sound of approaching engines. When we were about halfway to the structure, we heard a steadily growing whine of high powered engines. As one we dropped into the snow as a drop ship passed overhead. When it was gone we got back on our feet and continued forward. We reached the structure quickly and stood with guns ready in front of the entrance. Not wanting to speak, I held up to fingers, and pointed forward. Two Marines moved in, staying low as we covered them with our guns. When they signaled all clear, we moved in behind them. We searched the small room, and moved into the next one.

The room was big, and the walls were lined with computer consoles. Most were off, but a few of the screens and controls were lit up. Strange looking lights hung from the ceiling, and the floor was made of a strange looking alloy. At the far end of the room there was a pair of closed doors. We moved in cautiously again, hugging the walls. We checked between and behind all the computers. However, the room was empty. Feeling somewhat safer I turned and spoke to the Marines.

"All right," I whispered, "One of you stay here with me. The rest of you guys check behind those doors. When you are through searching, or if you encounter any hostiles, come back here."

"Yes sir!" They whispered back. Then four of them went of to search the remaining rooms, while the last soldier remained behind with me. I turned towards one of the active consoles and said "All right, let's try to figure out what sort of place we are in."

I walked over to the console and looked at the screen. The writing was strange, written in what looked like a child's attempt at Covenant script. I tapped a couple of buttons and the screen changed, projecting what appeared to be a map of the structure. According to the map, the doors led down hallways to a pair of large chambers. From what I could see, the chambers were storage facilities, and one of them contained an elevator. "Interesting," I said, "I wonder where it leads to. Wherever it goes, I think I'll lock it down and wait till we contact the command shuttle before investigating. I turned to the Marine and told him to follow me. I then went through the door the Marines had entered earlier. I jogged down the hall and stepped into the chamber. The Marines spun about as I walked in, guns ready.

"At ease gentlemen," I said, "I have found out something interesting." I told them about the other chamber, and the elevator. "I believe this facility is neither human nor Covenant, but that it belonged to a race that was here before us. Furthermore, we will lock down that elevator and wait till we contact the command shuttle before searching down there. In the meantime, check these crates for food or anything else we might find useful. We are going to stay here for a while and see if we can find out anymore about this structure."

I turned and left the room. I walked through the door, across the computer chamber, and through the other door. I stepped into the room and walked over to the elevator. I found the controls, and after fiddling around with them I managed to lock the elevator down. I then returned to the main chamber. The Marines had found some food and had brought it into the chamber. They also brought a few crates that contained a variety of human and Covenant weapons. I swapped my plasma pistol out for a shotgun, and also got a couple of ammo cases. When we had all armed ourselves, we sat down on the empty crates and ate some of the food from the crates. It was a bland, gray paste that was similar to the food back in the brig. We were hungry though, so we ate it despite its unappetizing appearance. When we had finished eating, we set up a guard system. Two men would be posted in the entrance chamber, and one more would be up in the computer chamber. The remaining three would either sleep, or explore the computers and the supply rooms. The guards would change every four hours, giving the other Marines a chance to rest. After setting up the system, I lay down on the floor to sleep, my shotgun lying nearby.

* * * * * * * *

Four hours later, the three men on duty woke us up. I stood, feeling much better after getting some real sleep. I grabbed my shotgun and went into the entrance chamber. I walked into the entrance chamber, accompanied by Corporal Jones. We stood together behind a hastily erected barricade, chatting back and forth. After about two hours however, we stopped talking and just sat there, looking outside into the night and listening for movement. Time seemed to crawl by, and I was beginning to get sleepy. I was starting to nod off, when the sound of snow crunching underfoot snapped me wide awake. I stood up, peering out into the darkness. The steps continued, and we soon heard voices, more than one, approaching. We looked out, and I could barely make out the dark shapes against the snow. As they came closer, I could see that it was a pair of Grunts, speaking to one another in English and looking quite lost. As they neared, I could understand what they were saying.

"I don't think this is the right way, it doesn't look familiar"

"I know it isn't the right way, but it's getting cold and we need some shelter, and this is the only shelter around."

"I don't know, I think we should..."

"We can't do anything else. We will freeze to death soon if we don't get out of this cold." They continued to talk as they walked towards the entrance.

I singaled Jones not to fire. He nodded in return and we both crouched lower behind the barrier as the two aliens approached. I heard footsteps coming around my side of the barrier. One of them stepped suddenly out from around the barrier. He stood there for a moment, but before he could speak I stepped forward and crushed his skull with the butt of my rifle. He dropped to the ground with a groan. The second Grunt tried to run, but Jones tackled him before he got far. He grabbed its neck in two hands and twisted hard. The neck broke with a snap and the unfortunate Grunt went limp. The Marine stood after he relieved the Grunt of its weapons. I did the same, then we dragged both of the bodies outside and buried them in the snow. We went back inside and I wiped away the blood while he ran to inform the others of what had happened. He returned shortly after, looking excited.

"Sir! Private Johnson thinks he's found the transmitter, he's going to broadcast a distress signal." He said excitedly.

"Good. Go back in and get the others. Have everyone but Johnson and Lathier come out here, in case the Covenant detect the transmission and investigate."

"Yes sir," he said. He turned and ran back into the structure, then returned shortly afterward, accompanied by three of the other Marines. I put them in position and instructed them to remain undercover and to wait for my command before firing.. A few minutes later, Johnson and Lathier joined us.

"I sent out a distress call," said Johnson, "and I got a response from a Pelican that is nearby.
Unfortunately, the Covenant picked up the signal and they will be here soon."

"Good work, now get undercover. Wait for my signal before firing." I took my own advice and ducked behind the barrier next to Jones, my heart pounding.

The whine of engines from outside heralded the arrival of enemy drop ships. Their turrets swiveled towards the structure as settled to the ground and dropped off their load of troops. The enemy soldiers approached cautiously, weapons ready. Peering around the barrier, I could make out four Elites and twelve grunts. When they were within ten yards, I rose and gave the command, "Fire!"