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The Devil's Maw: Part 3
Posted By: Conrad Lauf<conniesworld_aka_hell@hotmail.com>
Date: 16 August 2004, 9:45 AM

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The interior of the Covenant cruiser The Everchosen of Kahn was deathly quiet, save the soft clink of armour striking against steel. One of the Hunters turned, and began to patrol in the other direction. Its partner froze, and stared at the grav-lift pad in the centre of the room, which began to emanate a pure white light which grew brighter and brighter with each passing second. When it cleared and the Hunter regained its vision, it found itself staring down the barrels of a very big gun.
"I'd hate to..." muttered Argave, depleting the firing mechanism of the chaingun. It exploded into life, and the Hunter staggered backwards under the solid punch of armour-piercing rounds that pushed it towards the wall behind it. It tried desperately to raise its shield, but was too late.
Argave turned the turret around, and yelled, 'Shit!" as the Warthog was thrown over by the force of a fuel rod gun charge. He dove from the back of the LRV, only just missing being crushed by its bulk.

Argave pushed himself to his feet, only to be thrown back by the alloy shield that connected with his stomach. He rolled to his feet, using the inertia of the push to throw himself back upright.
As his feet hit the floor, Argave drew out his M6D, aiming straight at the Hunter's gut, which pulsed with adrenalin-pumping fluid underneath thin orange flesh. As the pistol spat out the rounds of semi-automatic fire, the Hunter groaned as it was killed by ammunition that normally would have tickled it, had the rounds hit its artificial armour.

Argave cautiously aimed the chaingun around the room, checking for any other guards. When he was certain he hadn't raised the alarm, he leapt off the back of the Warthog, with his MA5B already loaded and the safety switched off.
He headed towards one of the automatic sliding doors that provided an exit from the room, with the nav-point showing an orange triangle almost north of his position.

The Manreaper Pack Leader crouched down, and examined the spoor on the floor. He scratched off a small piece of mud and raised it to his thin nostrils and inhaled sharply. A second later, he had straightened up, pulled his midnight-black hood over his armoured head and unslung his twin blackened blades. He knew the spoor well.

A few moments later, the hallways of The Everchosen of Kahn were bustling with flittering shadows as the Manreaper pack made their way towards Argave's location. In a matter of minutes they would reach him. And then they would kill.

Argave ducked into the darkened hallway back as the radar on his HUD suddenly went haywire, with red dots appearing and disappearing rapidly all around him. Argave well knew that the radar's radius was fifteen metres, and he practically ripped his combat blade from his sheath as he saw a dot appear right on top of his location...

The robed figure dropped silently from the vent above the human, its scimitar raised above its head for the killing blow. As it reached him, however, it was skewered by the sixteen inches of cold steel that was plunged through its stomach. Argave flung the lifeless corpse to the ground, and spun around, his MA5B held ready in one hand, his combat blade in the other. The hall was deathly silent.

He crouched slowly, and picked up the ornate Covenant blade. To his surprise, it was ultra-light, weighted slightly at the end of the curved blade for ultimate swinging power. Argave knew straight-away that this blade was meant for hacking. He dropped his combat blade, eschewing the comparatively clumsy human self-defense side-arm for the perfect Covenant close-combat weapon.

Argave swore as a chorus of bellows and roars greeted him as he foolishly stepped over a trip-beam. Against the lurid pink floor, the primitive security device was all but invisible. He instinctively dropped, his abnormal SPARTAN reflexes saving his neck as the Manreaper behind him lodged his scimitar in the hallway wall. At that point, Argave realized the true power and sharpness of the blade in his hand.

Another assailant dropped from an over-head vent, swiping out at Argave's gut, who parried, and kicked out, feeling his metallic boot crunch into alloy alien facial armour. He thrusted, digging the curved blade up into the Manreaper's ribcage, pushing up until the tip burst through the skin next to the Manreaper's collarbone. Argave twisted, and the Manreaper screamed in pain. He performed a stop-push, allowing the twitching corpse to slide off the scimitar's length.

He spun around; his MA5B's barrel lodged in the open throat of yet another Manreaper. Argave cocked his head slightly in mock sympathy, and squeezed the trigger. Instantly the assault rifle shuddered in Argave's grip, and within a heartbeat bullets were tearing through the back of the Manreaper's skull and into the chest of its companion behind it.

Argave sprinted down the hall while there was a short delay in the onslaught of Covenant assailants, running to an automatic door, almost hopping up and down with impatience for the doors to slide open. What he saw next almost cost him control of his bladder.

To be continued in Part 4!

Author's Note:
The Manreapers are a special unit I created for the Covenant forces. I won't go into detail of their background, but basically they are the assassins of the Covenant. They are Elites in black hooded robes, eschewing armour in favour of stealth. The use blackened scimitars, about forty inches in length.
For more information on Manreapers read my poem entitled:
Kahn's Manreapers - A Poem

Oh yeah, and I know this story is short!