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Death Served Best Ice-cold - Part 1
Posted By: Conrad Lauf<conniesworld_aka_hell@hotmail.com>
Date: 7 October 2004, 11:34 PM

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Author's Note: Sorry I haven't been in the Fan Fic section for ages, but I've been heavily involved in Fan Art. I've already sent in two pics, and am currently working on one that acts as an illustration for this Fan Fic.
As always, criticism about this story is welcome, as long as its constructive.
Oh yeah, and Gorki is a real place. At least, it is according to the thirty-year old globe I looked at.
P.S. This story is set during the early stages of the Covenant invasion of Earth. All weapon stats are taken from the Halo Library site.
Now, on with the show!

LOCATION: Russian wilderness
TIME: 1800 hours

The D77-TC Pelican slammed into the snow, its hull torn open by a still-fizzling green bolt of plasma. Instantaneously the squad Fire Team Poseidon traveling inside the rear bay leapt out of the downed troop carrier, their silenced MA5Bs up against their shoulders.
Half an hour ago, their Pelican had been hit by a Hunter on the ground as the UNSC troop carrier flew low over Moscow, and rather than land in the middle of a massive firefight in Russia's capital, Poseidon's sergeant had ordered that they try and land near Gorki, a town to the west of Moscow, and one of the remaining eight human-held locations in the country. However, a blizzard had blown up suddenly, and the Pelican had overshot Gorki by about thirty kilometers. To make matters worse, the Pelican's last communications report had told of a small Covenant armada heading towards Gorki.

With machine-like precision the Marines spread out throughout the winter forest in which they had crashed, making sure that their unexpected arrival had not alerted any Covenant in the immediate area. To a spectator, the Marines' trench-coats and combat armour painted in standard camouflage grey and white splodges rendered them almost invisible. Had they not been carrying black-grey MA5Bs with silencers, or moving rapidly through the dead forest, no-one would ever know they were there.
"Tomahawk, is there any sign of Covenant forces from where you stand?" asked the squad's sergeant, Hank "Silhouette" Larson, adjusting his helmet-integrated microphone.
"No sir."
"All clear here sir."
"Nothing here sir."
"Not a trace sir."
"No sir."
"No targets in sight sir."
"Ditto sir."
Satisfied that no Covenant had seen them land, Larson told the seven Marines to report back to the crash-site immediately. While he waited for them to return, Larson once again checked his HA871 battle rifle.

A weapon new to UNSC arsenals, the battle rifle was, in Larson's view, one hell of a lot better than its older version, the MA5B assault rifle. However, the HA871 was not yet in mass production, and so there was only enough of the rifles to be supplied to sergeants and any UNSC personnel who were of a higher rank.

Larson chambered a round and drew back the cocking hammer as the sharp sound of the snap of a twig cut through the silence of the clearing of the crash-site.
Larson spun around, the battle rifle raised against his shoulder. He lowered it however, as he saw his squad's sniper, Mike "Shadow" Jenkins stride silently into the clearing.
"Sir, I just checked the surrounding area beyond the usual twenty-metre perimeter mark, and I found out something interesting.
"We are, in fact, on top of a plateau, whose edge is a sheer cliff fifty metres high. In other words, unless we can get that Pelican working again, we're pretty much fucked."
He pointed at the smoking wreckage.
Larson thought for a moment.
"Shadow, do we by any chance, happen to be carrying any abseiling equipment?" he asked.
"Yes sir, it was in a steel crate with us in the rear bay. I'll go get it."
Shadow disappeared into the twilight darkness near the pitch-black outline of the Pelican, his SRS99C sniper rifle held warily in his hands. Shadow didn't need to have a flashlight to see where he was going.

All Marines in Larson's squad were equipped with state-of-the-art night-vision goggles that clipped neatly into place just below their helmets' visors. They didn't even need to be taken off. The goggles had hinges along the tops of their rims so that they just swung up whenever the user desired.

Suddenly Larson heard Shadow swear loudly. He jogged swiftly to where the Marine was. The sniper was crouching on the ground, his rifle cradled loosely in his arms. Larson saw, to his horror, that an imprint was clearly outlined in the snow. It looked as though the crate had been thrown out of the Pelican and been skidding along the snow in a straight line. The two Marines followed the dead-straight trail. Right to the edge of the plateau.
"Oh, shit," muttered Larson as he realized what had happened.

When the Pelican had hit the ground, it had been sliding at an angle. While the Marines had been strapped to their seats by safety harnesses, the steel crate containing the abseiling gear had been flung clear and had gone over the cliff-face.

Shadow raised his sniper rifle to his shoulders as he leant over the edge. His right index finger pressed rapidly down on the zoom button, and Shadow nodded slightly.
"Yeah, I can see it. The crate's split open, and the crap inside's thrown all over the place."
Larson straightened as his microphone crackled into life.
"Sir, we just caught sight of an Apparition heading this way. Looks to me like it's patrolling the area. And having a hell of a time fighting the blizzard," reported Gerard "Zeus" Leipowitz.
"How far away is it?"
"About twenty miles, and coming towards us at top speed - about twenty miles per hour. This gives us one hour in preparation."
"Ok Marines, meet back at the clearing immediately! This ain't no walk in the park anymore ladies. This situation has just got a whole lot more dangerous!"

As always, I hope you enjoyed the story.
Expect the second part in the next couple of days.