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The Battle For Gu're'lah
Posted By: Conrad Lauf<coffeecare@ozemail.com.au>
Date: 12 April 2004, 9:27 PM

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"And when I reach the Pearly Gates, to St. Peter I will tell: 'One more soldier reporting sir, I've served my time in hell."

Gu're'lah - Flood infestation World - Level 2 Technology

SERGEANT Toombs emptied another clip into the oncoming horde of Flood-infested Covenant. Their skin was riddled with disease and mutation, most of which made them stronger. The leader of the swarm, a Burly Elite holding a plasma sword in a tentacled arm, howled, firing an MA5B assault rifle at the front line of marines. Toombs' platoon had been posted here as a distraction for the Flood, whilst a battalion of brother marines were deployed from within the Flood's ranks. The platoon only had to last another half-hour. But it was a losing battle, and Toombs did not know how much longer they could last.
Slamming another magazine into the assault rifle, he sprinted, the top half of his body parallel to the stony ground, behind the cover of an M808B Scorpion tank, confident of its protection. It let rip with its 90mm HV cannon, taking out the Flood's heavy support on top of a hill. It rolled forward, and Toombs ran to stay behind its armoured bulk. He strafed sideways, holding onto his assault rifle's trigger with both hands, and commando-rolled to the safety of yet another Scorpion tank. He poked his head around the side of its treads, and had to clamp his hand over his mouth to keep from retching.
The Flood had reached the marine line, and were plunging feeler-like appendages down over-powered marines. As he looked on, a marine staggered back, choking with the feeler of an infected Jackal. Suddenly, and with horrible violence, the taloned feeler burst out through his Adam's Apple, and the Jackal promptly dropped the already-dead marine.
Toombs drew out his pistol, and with two head shots sent the Jackal sprawling onto the ground, its jaw-bone clearly exposed. Toombs now threw a fragmentation grenade into the midst of the Flood, sending bodies in all directions. But by now his reinforcements had arrived.
From the mist behind the marines Toombs could see the silhouettes of thirteen Spartan warriors, each armed to the teeth with assault rifles, M90 shotguns, frag grenades and Warlock combat knives They were part of a specialist team known as Floodhunters. They were trained in taking pain that would put a marine out of action for months, and had perfected the art of close combat. In the mist Toombs could see the outline of a Pelican ascending back into the clouded sky.
Without a word the Spartan warriors broke into a run, already loading their shotguns. With awesome ferocity they plunged into the thick of the fighting, swearing oaths of vengeance and bloodlust, splitting open heads with shotgun butts, plunging combat knives through green-grey chests. Then Toombs saw the most terrifying thing he had ever seen. Four infected Hunters, all in a row, were approaching the human line, already firing fuel rod cannons into the UNSC ranks. Within an instant seven marines were blown off their feet and slammed into the rocky cliff behind them. But the Spartan warriors had already focused all shotgun fire onto them, and suddenly the Hunters were faced with a challenge.
The leading Spartan, Chief Beliasus, savagely head butted a Hunter, and as it fell back he drew out a combat knife and slashed its throat. With a groan the Hunter slumped to the floor, its lifeblood already spreading around it in an orange puddle.
By now the horde of Flood were taken down to about fifty warriors, not including the remaining two Hunters. The Scorpion tank had run out of 90mm HV shells, and was peppering the Flood with its 7.62 armour-piercing pintle-mounted machine gun. At the same time, however, a Warthog was doing drive-bys on the Flood, sending them into confusion. An infected Elite was hit at speed, its spine crushed, and it slid under the tyres.
Chief Beliasus calmly shot a Hunter in the back with a blast from his shotgun, spun around, and slammed its butt into the face of an Elite. By now the Flood were only worried about the Spartans, and swarmed onto them. Toombs could hardly see them now, only the fact that the Flood were still fighting something told him they were still alive. Now the Warthog was driving at any Flood that came towards the Spartans, who were holding out for the time being. Toombs' squad were all but gone, only he and an assault marine had survived.
In the midst of the melee, Chief Beliasus was starting to become exhausted. Only he and two other Spartans were still alive. Even then, out of the corner of his eye, a Flood plunged its feelers through the visor of a Spartan warrior, who promptly fell to the ground. By now Beliasus' shotgun had run out of ammunition, and he was forced to use his assault rifle, firing with one hand, slashing out with the 16-inch long Warlock knife, cutting through alien flesh like scissors through paper. And the strange thing was, he actually enjoyed this kind of fighting. He always thought that although anyone could shoot someone else from a distance, it was a true skill to best someone in the art of close combat.
With a click his assault rifle ran dry, clean out of ammunition, and now Chief Beliasus dropped it, crouched down, picked up a dead Spartan's combat knife, and now became a living shredding machine. Whirling around, he plunged a blade through the protruding forehead of a Jackal; with the other, he slashed upwards, letting its innards spill out onto the ground. He was covered in scratches and wounds, but felt nothing, only hesitating to call for aide.

Toombs thought, "Oh, screw this. At least I'll be doing something."
He broke into a sprint, firing at the Flood in an extended burst. The rest of his squad followed suite, charging into the combat.
Meanwhile, Chief Beliasus was weakening. He knew it was only a matter of time before the Flood overcame his armour. Suddenly he realised that the outer layer of Flood were falling back. Soon he was able to realise what had happened. The marines were pulling the Flood off the Chief with a combination of shooting and melee attacks. The Chief laughed with relief.

Five minutes later, Beliasus stood atop a pile of bodies, his armour cracked, and in some places, torn off. In one hand he held a Warlock combat knife, in the other, a banner bearing the symbol of UNSC, a picture of earth on a shield. In one swift movement he plunged the sharpened banner pole into the body of a Hunter, and stood up, surveying the battlefield. In the distance the marines had already begun burning alien corpses. Another squad were carrying away the dead or wounded marines; another were searching for any human weapons that may be of further use. Resources were too scarce to be wasted these days.
It had been a hard-won battle, but for now the planet of Gu're'lah would be safe from the predatory eyes of the enemy.