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War on the Home Front, Chapter 2: The Invasion
Posted By: Anthony Coronado<killa_snypa7@hotmail.com>
Date: 30 December 2002, 5:00 am

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      The small air armada descended towards the earth at increasing speeds. The tranquil ride became turbulent the moment the ship entered into the Earth's atmosphere. Underneath his helmet, the Master Chief began to sweat uncontrollably. The ship began shaking violent, rocking from side to side. "It's getting too hot!" The voice was soft, and broken up. The pilot attempted to pull up out of the incredible gees being pulled, but with no avail. A loud bang could be heard. Cortana uploaded a diagram of the Albatross, and the Chief immediately saw a large, red blinking portion of the ship. The intense heat from reentry had caused some considerable damage. The heavy armor plating had been tore off.

      "ETA thirty seconds!" the pilot chimed in. "Lock and load boys. Let's kill some Covenant motherfuckers!" John's HUD told him who it was. It was the ranking officer of the company, a Corporal Matthew Milloy. "Ten seconds!" The Marines unbuckled their harnesses and stood up. The middle walkway between the two rows was wide enough to accommodate two soldiers. John sensed the ship slow down. Evidently, the ships thruster mechanisms were similar to that of the Pelicans.

      The ram lowered, and the stream of soldiers poured out, firing controlled bursts, spraying the area with overlapping fields of fire. The company John had accompanied quickly formed into an Echelon formation. John thumped out of the transport, and was overwhelmed by the bright sunlight. The fleet's ships had some sort of repellent on the windows that reduced brightness.

      John hustled towards the side of the transport. Two rams on either side of the transport lowered, allowing the vehicles on top to unload. Something hit John in the back. He looked at his health meter, just a nick. But he noticed something. No heat. It wasn't a plasma weapon. With lightning fast reflexes, he looked behind him. A couple of low-lying bunkers were armed with an M243 Heavy Machinegun, and were spraying the battlefield with thousands of slugs. Unusual, he thought, the Covenant wouldn't even think of touching a Human weapon, much less fire one. The Master Chief could hear the irreplaceable sound of soldiers crying for their mothers.

      John rushed up the ramp, threw a Marine out of the passenger seat of a Warthog, and told the driver to drive. The driver slammed on the gas, and launched the vehicle out of the cargo hold. "Get us as close to those bunkers as possible!" he yelled, over the noise of combat. His voice was drowned out by the familiar sound of M41 LAAG fire. The earth began to rumble as human artillery began to pummel the battlefield. "God damn it! This isn't friendly fire! The Covenant are shelling us with our own weaponry."

      The roar of jet engines harassed the battlefield as they strafed the enemy position. John caught the faint contrail of a SPNKr as it shrieked towards its target. The followed the missile as it detonated upon impact, destroying the heavy bunker. A secondary explosion drowned the horrifying sound of death echoing out of it out, possibly munitions catching on fire and exploding. The explosion sent shrapnel and debris into the sky, only to hurtle to the surface with deadly effect.

      The driver zigzagged in and out, dodging artillery fire. A few Warthogs, forming a phalanx, joined the Master Chief. They raced towards their destination, spewing shells all over the enemy positions. An artillery round caught an unfortunate Warthog that hadn't kept bobbing and weaving. The vehicle was propelled backwards, blowing up in a hail of shrapnel and debris. A lone Dagger fighter jet whizzed by overhead, littering the ground in front of the Warthogs with seventy-millimeter rounds.

      Six tracers zoomed by overhead, ending in a half dozen blossoms of fire and death. John looked back to see a dozen or so Scorpion MBTs racing behind them. The Marines had gotten brave and came out from behind cover and were slowly advancing across the battlefield, sustaining horrendous amounts of casualties. The machine gunner stopped firing for a split second. "Holy shit!" John now saw what the gunner saw. A formation of Scorpion Main Battle Tanks, accompanied by a dozen or so Warthogs. Screeching by overhead was a formation of Comanche escort fighters. The formation let loose a maelstrom of fire, killing the gunner of the Warthog adjacent to John's, and the driver in his vehicle. The Master Chief forced the corpse out of the vehicle, and transited from the passenger seat to the driver's seat.

            The gunners returned fire, no matter how impossible the odds were of hitting the aircraft. The gunners returned their attention to the approaching phalanx of vehicles, spraying the area with fire. A thunderous roar was heard as the Scorpions fired their main cannons at the Master Chief. John broke formation to dodge the projectiles, and gave his friends the opportunity to return the favor. A spread of a dozen ninety-millimeter HE rounds was fired back. Two enemy rounds impacted two tanks, destroying one, and disabling the other from movement, but it wasn't out of the fight yet. The returning favor knocked out one hostile tank, while rendering two others helpless. The gunners retrogressed their guns to meet the returning Comanches.

            Two Archer missiles streaked towards the Comanches from their right side, impacting and destroying one, while sending another violently, and uncontrollably, into a tailspin. The unfortunate plane impacted the battlefield and blew up upon impact. The three remaining enemy aircraft turned towards the new threat, five friendly Dagger fighter jets. It occurred to the Master Chief that the Covenant were very adept at handling foreign weaponry. It was odd though, not one single plasma projectile had been fire.

      Two columns of electric blue light impacted an enemy fortification behind the enemy. The building exploded, hurtling fallout and debris everywhere. The MAC round's splash damage destroyed a Scorpion and three Warthogs. The remaining enemy forces returned fire again, with a salvo of ninety-millimeter rounds. The tanks behind John returned fire. The weaponry fired by the enemy destroyed three tanks, and the return fire two. The Master Chief raced aware from the fight, attempting to circle the enemy and catch their backsides. It was a familiar tactic, and the enemy mimicked it. John caught one Warthog on its broadside, and the gunner tore through the vehicle. That was when he got close enough to see the enemy. The enemy wore light gray armor, had a green reticule over the right eye, and had human colored skin.

      "Holy shit, we're fighting humans!" With his augmented eyesight, the Master Chief could see some sort of bar code on the soldier's neck. Cortana filled him in, "That bar code on the soldier is the same tattoo that the soldiers on the asteroid base in Chi Ceti had. Evidently, Colonel Watt has come to back to Earth with his renegade army."

      A rogue missile contrail impacted one of the Scorpion MBTs, detonated, and destroyed the tank, as well as an escort Warthog. Bullets pinged off the hull of the Warthog. The gunner traversed his weapon to get a shot at the enemy. The heavy machinegun ripped through soldier's torso and chest, puncturing the kidney, lungs, intestine. In dying vain, the soldier squelched out a couple hundred shells, before his limp fingers let go of the trigger. The Master Chief turned around and raced towards the bunker. He slammed on the brakes, hopped out, grabbed his pistol, and ran towards the bunker. He slide into the opening of the bunker, grabbed a conveniently located SPNKr. John rushed outside into a trench connecting different bunkers, turned to his right, and ran into a squad of enemy soldiers. The closest soldier looked up at him from his perch and attempted to squeeze off a round. The Master Chief put one in his chest and another in his face. The soldier managed to pull the trigger, but fired behind him into his squad mates as the force of the first round knocked him off balance. Friendly fire tore into the next guy's hamstring.

      The soldier attempted to stay standing. The Master Chief delivered a swift blow to the soldier's stomach. The soldier leaned over, gasping for breath.
      John came crashing down with a right elbow, breaking his spine. The third soldier knew he was coming, and unloaded a burst into John's stomach. His shield took the blow. John grabbed the soldier's neck, pulled down, and pushed up with knee, breaking the soldiers nose. "That'll wake you up in morning." "No more time for horse play, Master Chief." The remaining nine soldiers emptied their clips. Only half of bullets hit the shield, and John returned the favor with a barrage of his own. He emptied his only pistol clip into the first five soldiers. He reloaded with lightning fast speed, pulling the trigger twice, ripping the life out of two hostile soldiers. He rushed the next, who attempted to fight him off. He grabbed the man's fight and crushed it like an egg. With his right leg he delivered a blow to the man's mid section, and watched as the man crumpled like tin can.

      The remaining soldiers, having just enough time to reload, fired their weapons. Not one bullet hit the Master Chief, as the soldiers were firing with their eyes closed. He fired twice, beheading two soldiers. The remaining soldier turned to run, and John was on him like a rabid dog. The soldier took one step, and he lived no more. The Master Chief had seized the soldier, and snapped his neck. From the elevated trench, John had a clear shot at the tank's weak point, it's rear armor. He loaded 102mm charge into the launcher, and squeezed the trigger. He watched as it sped towards it target, effortlessly destroying it. He quickly reloaded, and fired a secondary round at another tank. John didn't stick around to see the fireworks. The Master Chief ran towards the third bunker. He saw a pair of soldiers lying on their bellies, hacking away at the advancing Marines. Feeding the guns were another pair of soldiers, and a fifth stood near the back of the bunker.

      The Master Chief holstered his pistol, sneaked up behind the nearest soldier, and silently snapped his neck. John grabbed the shotgun slung around his back, and in quick succession, put four shells into four soldiers. He searched the bunker, and found two satchel charges. The Master Chief chuckled to himself, and thought, I love blowing things up. He left one in the bunker, and placed the other in the remaining bunker. He returned to the original bunker, looking for a detonator. "Detonator, where the hell is the detonator." He searched the soldiers. Here we go, he thought silently. John hurried outside, hurtled the trench, took off towards his Warthog, jumped in, and raced back to the frontline. When he reached friendly territory, he fishtailed, turned around, and pushed the detonator. The two bunkers exploded, sending debris, and a couple charred bodies into the air.

      "Cortana, radio back to the Conqueror that we have successfully invaded the target zone, and are engaged by rogue human forces. Tell them, lead by Colonel Watt."