The Wrath Of Earth's Children
Posted By: Conrad Lauf<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 10 April 2004, 2:33 AM
The master-chief poked his helmet around the boulder, and ducked back as plasma bolts whistled into the rock, sending chipped stone everywhere.
Ok. So he hadn't killed the elite after all. He pulled a frag grenade from his belt, pulled the pin, and threw it into the clearing around the corner. He heard the audible clink as it struck the barren rocky ground, and charged out from his hiding spot, assault rifle blazing. He had deliberately thrown the grenade so that the resulting smoke formed a protective barrier, shielding him from the eyes of the enemy.
Through the haze he saw the shadowy outline of the elite, and focused all fire on it. When he was about three metres away it saw him, and brought up its plasma rifle to bear on him. But it was too late. The master-chief was already upon it, and brought up the butt of his assault rifle to connect with the elite's chin. As he staggered back, the master-chief grabbed the elite by the throat, drew a pistol, held it to the elite's temple, and pulled the trigger. He grimaced as purple blood splattered up onto his visor, and dropped the elite's still-warm body to the floor. He reached for his helmet-integrated microphone, and spoke two words: "Bunker secured."
The cruiseship Icarion's communication master Leradial replied, "That is incorrect, master-chief. I've detected a Covenant dropship inbound to your location. It contains four hunters, and six elites. A heavy assault squad. But don't worry, I've already sent out a Pelican containing seven marines with M90 shotguns, M19 SSM rocket launchers and a warthog. A Heavy Demolition Squad. They should be there in two minutes approx, well before the Covenant squad arrives. Over."
Within thirty seconds the master-chief could hear a distant humming of jet engines: within one minute he could see the Pelican in the distance, skimming swiftly over the mountainous landscape towards him. It arrived, and gently touched ground, and delivered its squad. Then, with a billowing dustcloud, it soared off into the sky. In its place was a squad of men standing around a warthog, all armed to the teeth. From out of their midst strode a man wearing flak armour, sergeant's stripes and carrying a shotgun sheathed in a back holster and an M6D assault pistol, which was sheathed in a thigh holster. He looked about in his late forties, although it was hard to tell in the fading light. He said, "Master-chief, we are at your service. We are now in your command."
"Very well. We have about half an hour until the Covenant dropship arrives. That is, we have half an hour to prepare a little surprise for the Covenant squad."
* * * * *
It was dark. Very dark. And in the cliff area around the bunker compound stood the master-chief and the squad of marines, three of which were already seated in the warthog. In the distance the master-chief could see a purple light, which was generated by the dropship's engines.
"Here they are. Ready your weapons! And remember, give 'em hell!"
The marines on foot readied their rocket launchers, while the marine mounted on the 12.7mm minigun on the back of the warthog gripped the handles firmly, sweat running down his face, not from fear, but from anticipation of the upcoming battle.
The dropship touched down, and now the master-chief could see lumbering armoured figures descending from the ship's cargo bay.
"Pick your targets," the master-chief said, raising his assault rifle to his shoulder.
"FIRE!" he yelled, and let loose a hail of lead bullets, picking off an elite straightaway, its face torn apart. The marines armed with rocket launchers fired, their weapons discharging missiles with a hiss, which impacted against the dropship's hull, tearing open the steel like paper. It veered off, its engines destroyed, and smashed into the rocky floor, sending up a geyser of stone and dirt. The master-chief watched as the sergeant picked off an elite, its chest blown out by lead pellets from his shotgun. The warthog roared into life and the gunner let out a yell of fury, his minigun sending a solid wave of bullets smacking into a hunter, the barrage of lead keeping it upright for minutes after it had died. The warthog now went into action, screaming of the mark, its tyres spinning so fast they were already a blur, and it shot off the edge of the cliff, crushing an elite under its bulk as it landed in the central clearing.
The master-chief ran towards the nearest elite, and killed it as it came at him, and he leapt over its body on the run. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a marine blown off his feet with the force of a plasma shell impacting against his chest. The master-chief scooped up the marine's rocket launcher as it fell at his feet and hefted it up onto his shoulder, and squinted through the crosshairs. High up on a cliff in front of him was a hunter, its cannon charged up, ready to fire. The master-chief ducked back as it released a plasma bolt which blew a three-foot in the ground in front of him. The master-chief leapt back out, while the hunter reloaded, carefully took aim and…
Missed as he was jolted forward by the shockwave of the dropship's fuel tanks detonating. Horrified, he looked up, and saw the missile smash into the cliff-edge below the hunter. The rockface cracked and fell apart, and the armoured behemoth fell five metres onto the ground below. It quickly recovered from the fall, and charged at the master-chief. The master-chief ran forward, and leapt at the last second, clear over the hunter as it swung its shield up in the attempt to disembowel the master-chief. As he landed he drew his pistol, spun around and fired at the exposed orange flesh on the hunter's back. It collapsed, and lay in a puddle of orange-yellow gore. The master-chief looked up around him, and saw that the warthog was running down a retreating elite and hunter. The warthog slammed into the side of a boulder, crushing the elite against the cold rock. The master-chief saw the last standing enemy, a hunter running at him. He saw the minigunner bring his weapon around, but knew he would be too late. The hunter was going to kill him and there was nothing the master-chief could do. He was just too exhausted to defend himself now. All he could do was watch the embodiment of death run towards him before it-
Collapsed to the earth, the left side of its face blown away by a spray of shot. The master-chief turned, and saw the sergeant standing there, his shotgun on his shoulder, still smoking.
"Now," he said with a grim smile. "Let's do what we came here for."
* * * * *
The master-chief placed his hand on the 'Commence Launch' pad on the bunker's central computer, and pressed down lightly, which made the sirens go off, warning anyone outside that the anti-planetary missile was about to be launched. The missile was designed to rid hiding human troops of any enemy forces trying to enter from the outside, and was capable of wiping out anything within a fifty-kilometre radius of the bunker. The marines called it the MOAB, or Mother Of All Bombs. And it truly was. This was why the Covenant forces wanted to steal it, for use against humanity. To wipe out entire cities.
With a rumble and screech of steel grinding against itself, the missile rose from the ground, mounted on a ladder-life launching apparatus. The unnaturally-calm recorded voice of one of the bunker's female crew, began blaring out of speakers, telling all personnel outside the bunker to evacuate the vicinity immediately.
Suddenly, through the slitted window of the bunker, the master-chief saw the missile burst from its launch pad, sending smoke and burning light in every direction. Within five minutes it returned to the ground with a scream, detonating upon impact. The humans gripped anything they could, as the world around them shook and collapsed.
After the flames and debris stopped falling from the sky, the master-chief and the four remaining marines pushed up against the door, which had buckled from the missile's explosion. With a screech it gave way, and the humans burst into sunlight, and looked about them in silent awe.
The landscape around them was leveled, and blackened. There was no signs of life, apart from the burnt severed claw of an elite, still gripping the bunker's door handle, that had tried to get into the bunker just before the missile hit home.
It had been a tough day for humanity.