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The Tides of War Part 1 "As the Dust Cleared" Chapter 2
Posted By: Corbantis<ssrm3@lvcm.com>
Date: 10 February 2002, 5:17 am

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Chapter 2

(40 minutes Before the Evacuation of the UNSC ship Pillar of Autumn)
0820 Hours, August 30, 2552 (Military Calendar) /
UNSC Pillar of Autumn, Unknown Space Region

İİİİFirst Sergeant Daniel O'Connor was just returning to his squad in the barracks quarters after having a hearty meal in the mess hall when the first klaxons began to sound aboard the Pillar of Autumn. The ship wide comm. system loudspeakers clicked on, and the ship's AI, Cortana, spoke. "Attention all combat personnel. Please report to your aptitude stations." The AI paused, then began to speak again "Fifth Platoon, secure airlocks on Deck Eleven. Fourteenth Platoon, rendezvous with 22nd Tactical at Bulkhead Charlie 14." The AI paused again, then continued, "This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill."
İİİİDaniel cursed under his breath, and ran the rest of the way to his squad. "MOVE PEOPLE!" He yelled at his Platoon. "Okay, we're going to double time it to the armory," he paused then added, "Move it Marines, go, Go, GO!" They all hustled to the armory on their deck, their boots clanking on the hard metal floor of the ship in unison. Once they reached the armory, everyone spread out and quickly gathered their weapons. Corporal Harris Mann, Daniel's second in command and friend, tossed him a MA5B assault rifle, and grabbed one himself. Daniel pocketed some clips for the rifle in his utility belt, as well as attaching four grenades to the left side of the belt. After seeing Harris holster a M6D pistol and some clips, Daniel did the same.
İİİİJust then the loudspeaker came on again, "Attention all personnel. We are re-engaging the enemy. External and internal contacts imminent." The AI announced. Harris looked at Daniel and grinned, "Damn Covenant, do they always want to get their asses kicked?" Daniel released the safety on his rifle, loaded a clip, and pulled back the loading bolt with a Cha-Chink. "Guess so," replied Daniel. He turned to the entire Platoon. "Okay people, lock and load; let's kick some ass." The marines stared at him. "You heard the lady, lets move to our stations, double time!" They resounded a loud "YES SIR" as they all ran out the door to their positions.
İİİİOnce they reached the corridor they were assigned, they all stopped and lined up into a double column formation. Daniel began to walk between them as he spoke. "Remember to stay alive, aim straight, and..." Daniel paused and looked at all of them as he reached the end of the double column of his Platoon. Damn, probably half of them would die, he thought to himself. "Give'em Hell Marines!"

(30 minutes Before the Evacuation of the UNSC ship Pillar of Autumn)
0830 Hours, August 30, 2552 (Military Calendar) /
Covenant Boarding Ship, Unknown Space Region
En Route to UNSC ship Pillar of Autumn

İİİİOnboard one of the Covenant boarding craft heading to the Human ship Pillar of Autumn, Sub-Commander Vocreke Domai was scared. He was a grunt just like the others around him. Only five feet tall, Vocreke had only a minuscule, red armored suit on that was also an environment suit that simulated his planet's nitrogen based atmosphere. He felt like he couldn't breath, even though his breath mask was working.
İİİİHe was a commander grunt, but he only earned his rank because he managed to run away enough to stay alive to be promoted. The only weapons he possessed were a plasma pistol and a few plasma grenades. He knew if he got out last, he might be able to hide somewhere safe.
İİİİ"Aieeee!" Vocreke and the other grunts shrieked, as the ship jolted from making contact with the human ship. "PREPARE TO BOARD ENEMY SHIP." Said the pilot elite in a guttural voice. Vocreke grasped his weapon, and as the doors hissed open, let everyone else pass before entering the battle...behind a thick, metal crate of course

(17 minutes Before the Evacuation of the UNSC ship Pillar of Autumn)
0843 Hours, August 30, 2552 (Military Calendar) /
UNSC Pillar of Autumn, Unknown Space Region

İİİİSergeant Daniel O'Connor pressed his back against one of the bulkheads of the Pillar of Autumn as the Covenant fired their deadly plasma weapons at him. The Covenant were swarming the marine forces on this deck, deck seven. Daniel strafed to the bulkhead opposite to the one he was just behind, spraying the aliens with suppression fire. "Is that all you got!!" Yelled one of Daniel's marines as the soldier tossed a fragmentation grenade at the Covenant troops. The explosive detonated with a loud "BANG" that splattered blue blood onto the floor. Daniel was firing on some Grunts when the captain came onto the ship wide loudspeaker. "Combat teams on decks five through nine fall back to secondary defensive positions."
İİİİDaniel took out two of the Grunts before ducking behind a fortification he and his men had set up earlier. He raised himself up and fired at some blue Elites when they tried to advance on his position. Once he was back behind the fortification, he activated his squad's comm. channel. "Marines, fall back, you heard the Capt'n, Move!!!" Just as he yelled his order, one of the Grunts chucked a plasma grenade at where Daniel was, it stuck to the floor near were he was squatting. "CRAP!!" He swore as he ran and rolled away from the grenade. The explosion almost got him; he felt the heat from the blast on his back.
İİİİDaniel got up and ran with the rest of his men down the corridor. Once they reached a bulkhead with the blast doors open, they went past and Daniel slapped the button on the wall to close the doors. The doors sounded a double beep as they hissed shut, and locked with a "clunk". The loudspeaker came on again, it was Captain Keyes. "Ops personnel on decks nine through twelve, report to evac stations now." His squad hurried to their secondary position, and once there, ducked behind more fortifications they had set up. Daniel leveled his weapon toward the corridor they had just come from. Other marines did the same. A loud explosion rocked the entire ship again, and the captain came on the loudspeaker again. "All hands. This is the Captain. Prepare to abandon ship. Combat teams, repel boarders until Ops personnel are away. Good luck. Keyes out." The shuffling of feet could be heard coming from the corridor. "Here they come, Marines!!" Daniel yelled as the aliens rounded the corner and opened fire.
İİİİBurning plasma seared the titanium fortifications Daniel and his men were crouched behind. "Fire!" Daniel yelled, he raised up along with the others and opened fire at the Covenant troops. Armor Piercing rounds tore through a line of Grunts that were standing in the open. They fell to the ground, blue blood flowing from the holes in their bodies. While Daniel and his squad were fighting the aliens, the captain came on the loudspeaker again. " Combat teams Alpha through November, pull out to nearest evac station." Daniel's squad was Combat team Victor, so his men kept on fighting.
İİİİOnce they had killed the initial Covenant attackers, the captain came onto the loudspeaker again. "Combat teams Sierra through Victor, prepare for evac." That was all Daniel had to hear, he began shouting orders. " Okay Marines, fall back to the escape pods, Go!" They nodded and all ran to the bumblebee escape pods. Once they reached them, they separated and boarded the ships. The bumblebee's rear hatch doors sealed, and once Daniel, Harris, and six other marines from his squad had seated and strapped themselves in, the pilot of the bumblebee yelled a question back at him and his men. "Y'all ready?" Asked the female pilot of the bumblebee. "Yeah get us outt' a here!!" Replied Daniel. "Eye, eye sir." Said the pilot as the bumblebee jettisoned with a thud from the Pillar of Autumn. "Going for minimum safe distance." The pilot said as the bumblebee accelerated toward the ring world they had found. The pilot angled the pod towards the ring. And as the Pillar of Autumn accelerated towards the giant edifice as well, Daniel just hoped they would survive this...