0456 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Dawn was swiftly approaching. The black night sky was quickly fading into colorful hues of orange, red, and yellow. The twin suns of Eclipse rose simultaneously, scorching the planet as if inside a baking oven. A flash flood of light enveloped the landscape. With very few trees, there was virtually no escaping the harsh temperatures. Blood shoot and tired; Roughneck Two-Zero got zero sleep or rest. In the distance, the faint whine of Power Cores powering up could be heard. "To arms! I repeat, lock and load. Be ready for anything." Reco ordered is men to be ready for anything. The stench was now becoming unbearable. At least a thousand Grunt bodies strewn the field, all from the last nights kamikaze raid. Through the night, men, weapons, vehicles, and medical supplies had been brought. Casualties and WIA had been air lifted to the nearest field hospital, five miles away at HQ Delta Storm. Reco pulled a pair of heat seeking binoculars out of a nearby Warthog. He walked over to the barrier and knelt down. He lay prone on his stomach, and belly crawled up to the edge of the earth barrier slowly. He placed the binoculars on the top of the barrier, and placed his eyes to his binoculars. He scanned the horizon, looking for the smallest trace of movement near the Covenant lines. A shot rang out. A body fell behind a rock. The sniper, Reco wasn't sure who it was, Isis or Izanagi, obviously had a better vantagepoint where they were embedded. Reco placed his binocs next to his body and retrieved his MA5B.
"Anything sir?" asked a Marine, his voice shaken beyond recognition.Reco let out a sigh and replied, "Nothing. Nothing at all."
Another shot rang out. Reco quickly retrieved his binocs and saw a ground fall limp to the ground. The Covenant were a no show. Something was wrong. They had not been seen except a few Elites that stupidly showed their head. "Delta Storm, this is Roughneck Two-Zero. Requesting Air Strike on target code name Urgent Fury. Repeat, requesting Air Strike on target Urgent Fury. Roughneck Two-Zero, out." "Request denied, Roughneck Two-Zero. All Longsword interceptors are engaging the Covenant in other sectors of the planet. Hold tight, we'll get you some cover A-SAP. Over and out." The COM link went dead.
"Damn it. Well boys, looks like we're on our own. We have no support fire from over head, it looks like were gonna have to sit it out.""Sir, we dead. We're dead. We're dead. It's lost man. We're not gonna make it." A young soldier, Apollo, whimpered in self-pity."Why Apollo! If you weren't in my squad, I'd shoot you for treason. Now shut up and man your post." Reco replied, stamping any threat of treason or mutiny out.
"Nike!""Sir?""I want you to assemble a recon team. Scout out the area of the crash landing of that vessel. I want as much information as possible. Damage to the super structure. Environment it landed in. Anything and everything. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT engage Covenant forces in the vaccinate unles necessary. Report back at 0600. I want you here if we need it. Extra fire power, you know how it is." A smirk over came Nike's face. It wasn't about that. He knew that he had saved the CO, and was proud of the fact that he did. He knew it was about getting bailed out again, just in case. Nike turned away and headed down the line. He grabbed a pair of relief Marines and jumped into his Warthog. He turned the ignition as the engine roared to life. He headed towards Red. He got out and proceeded to walk to Zeus. "Sir, I have orders from Reco to assemble a recon team. Requesting permission to use men from Red." Zeus gave Nike permission, and Nike walked down the line towards Anubis and told him what was going to go down. Anubis concurred and picked two Marines. He jumped in his Warthog and the pair sped away towards the smoldering wreckage of the Huntress.
"Nike, we are a kilo and a half away from the Covenant ship. We are approaching on the port side. GPS detects no movement in the area. It appears that the wreckage is a scrap heap, and its been severely damaged. Beyond repair to be exact. It has been charred and destroyed. Hopefully, just hopefully, the nav-banks have been saved." The chances of the nav-banks being intact to slim to none-minimal at best. "Lets step it up then, shall we Anubis?" Nike asked as he stepped on the gas. He looked at the speedometer. 68 and rising. It was rising at a relatively slow pace; the bumpy ground was making it extremely hard. Nike broke formation and took point, with Anubis trailing at six. The barren landscape was gradually changing to a lush, dense forest. It was heaven, and by all means, it didn't compare to the beauty of Halo, but it was half-decent. The road, or rather trail, was becoming narrow and muddy. The lead Warthog, racing ahead of the trailer, launched off a small jump. The Warthog got some air, and landed on solid ground. 500 meters and closing. The once lush, dense forest was opening up to a barren, dry, scorched landscape again. The ground was golden-brown, and a mile long trail of black ash trailed a ship the size of Delta Storm. The ship was rather odd shaped. It looked like a hybrid between a whale and warship. The destroyer was at least a kilometer and a half in length. Its engines had been totally destroyed. The bow of the vessel had been crushed like aluminum can. It was totally crumpled and was smashed beyond recognition. A gapping hole was left in the starboard side; at least fifty meters in height and thirty in length. The ship was charred black, blacker than the past night. The twin suns drenched the ship in light. Numerous small holes about ten meters big dotted and littered the vessel. Fires blazed about in side. Ashen black bodies covered the ground. At least two thousand Covenant troops had been aboard the craft. Circling around the ship, Nike and the rest of the recon team couldn't help up notice the gapping hole that dominated the starboard side. A fifty-meter piece of slag blocked the entrance ten-meters from the opening. Maybe after the Bulge, they could retrieve the nav-banks from the vessel.
"Anyone got some C12?" Anubis asked over the COM link."I got some sir." A Marine in Nike's team replied over the link."Okay, here's what ya do. Toss that block of C12 at that wall. Make sure it sticks or you get it right next to it. Then let us get fifty meters away and then detonate it. We may need the nav-banks later on.""Roger that." Nike drove the Warthog as close to the Huntress as possible. Nike swerved right and skidded to a halt. The Marine now faced the vessel. He pulled his arm back, and thrust his arm forward, hurling the block of C12 at the hole in the starboard side of the craft. The block of explosives landed on the wall. "Let's get out of here." Nike drove off, followed by Anubis and his team. The Marine turned around, pulled a detonator out of the glove compartment, and pressed the button on the top. A huge concussion shook the ground, sending the twin Hogs swerving in both directions. A two thousand-degree heat wave followed. Static sounded over the COM link. "Reco to Recon One, come in." "This is Recon One, what is it Reco?" "Get your asses here now! We need assistance. We are under massive Covenant assault. Repeat, report to LZ Alpha A-SAP." "Roger, let's move boys!" The two Recon teams sped up, and made the two-kilometer distance in two minutes flat.
0512 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
A flight of fifty-five Banshees circled over head. Twenty-two chainguns, mounted or handheld, opened up on the flight. Small arms fire, Jackhammer missile systems, and small arms fire also opened up. Within seconds, twelve Banshees exploded into a blaze of death and hell. The flight formation broke up, no longer attacking in coordinated lines. The line of remaining Banshees turned around and headed straight for the line. The line of five Banshees that assembled the line to assault the Humans formed into a "V" formation. The lead Banshee fired a Fuel Rod blast and let loose with a three round burst of inferno. The two Banshees on the left and on the right followed suit. A few Marines got caught in the radius of a Fuel Rod Cannon and were destroyed indefinitely. The lead Banshee was opposed by a platoon of Marines and was blown to smithereens. The two Banshees on either side swerved to the left. They doubled back and proceeded to do the same thing again. All the while, an army of Covenant advanced on foot. A loud roar erupted in the distance. A trail of white smoke was seen overhead as a pair of Banshees exploded. The pair of Banshees slowed, and plummeted towards the ground. The pair of Banshees, flaming death from above, slowed and skidded to a halt, although not before running a Marine over. Ares bolstered his Jackhammer, put his eye up to the 2x scope, and fired. Leading the Banshee, the Elite piloting the craft, decided to pick a fight with a missile. He lost. The twin barrels changed, and Ares dropped his Jackhammer. He lunged for his chaingun, and unloaded a belt into the air. The firefight between the Banshees and Marine ground strike forces raged for five minutes. Twelve KIA reported. The remaining Banshees retreated, only two survived the onslaught. A quick, but short sigh of relief overcame the line. They leaned backwards, their back lying on the barrier. Their faces faced the Covenant Main Task Force. They faced an enemy on two fronts. Reco grabbed his radio transmitter and quickly spoke into it. "God damn it! We are being attacked on two sides, repeat, possible danger of being over run! Requesting Air Strike! Repeat, possible danger of being over run! Requesting Air Strike, coordinates are 06. 0001483509.07. Acknowledge?" "This is Delta Storm. We have a flight of Longsword's that have just returned. They are prepping for rearming, ETA five minutes." "Jesus Christ, we are being over run. We don't have five freaking minutes!" The COM link cut, and Reco began to pump lead into hordes of Covenant that approached from his front side. He looked over his shoulder, as his line continued a steady stream of fire. A plasma bolt struck his uncovered back. A jolt of pain and shock overtook his body. "Awwww! Damn bastards!" He continued to look over his shoulder. A huge explosion shook the ground. The Lotus Anti-Tank Mines were keeping the Covenant in the Bulge at bay. "Nike, and Anubis! Get those Warthogs on the move! We need the fire power!" "Sir yes Sir!" They yelled and jumped into one Warthog. Nike took the helm and Anubis gunnery. Nike drove right into the Covenant lines. Anubis continually fired right in front of the Warthog. Grunts and Jackals were torn apart, and ripped to shreds. Some looked like Swiss cheese after they died. A blue orb sailed through the air. It stuck to the right front tire of the Warthog. "Holy ####!" Nike yelled and ejected from the vessel. Anubis followed suit not a second later. The craft exploded, flipping the vehicle "head over heels" over their heads. "Scorpion MBTs, fire on the advancing Covenant Main Task Force. I want as much support as possible, so I can concentrate my men on the Covenant Secondary Task Force in the Bulge." Reco ordered. "Roughnecks! Concentrate fire in the middle of the Bulge. Those Lotus' wont hold off the line forever! Fire on my mark." The first shell from the Scorpion Tanks impacted in the middle of the Covenant lines. "Mark!" The lines opened fire, tearing apart the staggering Covenant that were being ripped apart by the Anti-Tank mines. Reco charged into the line of Covenant Main Task Force. He reached for this bandoleer, grabbed a grenade, activated it, and flung it in the lines. He pulled out his MA5B and let the lead fly. He pumped three rounds into a nearby Grunt, and it feel over, dead. He fired another burst into a pack of Grunts. Another Grunt feel dead, and then he went all out. He went full auto on the pack, blowing another couple of Grunts away. He looked at his computer screen on his MA5B. Half empty. He knelt down, fired another burst of fire into an unforeseen enemy. He heard a few squeals. An Elite appeared out of the smoke. "Ares, a little help!" "Roger that Sir!" Ares turned around and fired a dozen rounds of his 40mm into the Elite. His shield flickered a bright silver, and dead. Reco charged, pulled out a knife, meleed the Elite, and gave him a "bear hug," simultaneously thrusting his six inch knife into the Elite's chest cavity. "Auggg Aww!" The Elite bellowed, and Reco twisted the knife. He then thrust it upward, slicing through numerous inner organs. He pulled his blade out, and let the Elite fall limp. He licked the blade, and spit out the blood. It tasted like crap. Reco heard a roar in the distance. It wasn't a Scorpions, Pelican's, or Warthogs. It was a Longsword interceptors. "This is Phoenix One, inbound to LZ Alpha. Repeat, this is Phoenix One, inbound to LZ Alpha. All friendly soldiers clear the area. We will drop ordinance here," a NAV point dropped on every Marines eye piece, indicating the drop point, "and clear out any remaining enemies with 50mm Autocannons. "Roger that, thanks for the assist." The flight of Longswords approached from a distance of forty miles away. They made it in a minute flat. The flight came in low and hard. They passed over the field, making sure no friendly troops were in the vaccinate. Their thrusters cleared the smoke, revealing Reco. "All friendlies clear the drop zone. Repeat, all friendlies clear the DZ." Reco ran for all he had. The flight passed over again, dropping their packages of prizes for the Covenant. The flight dropped at least a twenty tons of ordinance on the Covenant forces. A hole the size of a Halycon-class cruiser was left in the lines. The remaining Covenant forces retreated back to the safety of the underground fortress that they had compiled into the mountain nearby. They repeatedly strafed back on forth, ripping through hordes of Grunts, Jackals, and Elites. "Hey! While you're at it, take care of that hu-normous bunker in the middle of the Bulge." "Will do! Ungrateful bastards. They didn't like their gifts." The flight passed the line, and dropped a twelve-ton bomb right smack dab in the middle of the bunker. It was ripped to shreds and shards of shrapnel into the air. "Status report." Reco ordered. "I'm good," Ares replied over the COM link. "A-okay," Isis answered. "Operational," Anubis informed the team. "Zeus is good." "Izanagi is one hundred percent." "Apollo, couple hits, but I'm good." "Zethus, functional." "Thor here, I'm alive." "Gizmo, I'm here." "Nike? Report! Nike, damn it. Status." "Reco, I think we lost him," Zeus replied to Reco's frustration. The Lotus Anti-Tank Mines were keeping the Covenant at bay. "Anubis, grab that Hog. Zethus, you have Gunner. Red team, your part of Blue. We act as one now. We are taking too many KIA." "Yes Sir," the team replied in unison. Reco opened a Com link to the lines. "This Roughneck Two-Zero, we are advancing into the Bulge. We are eliminating the Covenant. We have found a Covenant destroyer at 09.00001284356.010. Proceed there after we clear the Bulge." Reco ordered, and then switched to frequency 140.85 to contact Delta Storm. "This is Roughneck Two-Zero. We are proceeding to advance upon the Covenant. Requesting reinforcements to secure the LZ and area around the LZ. The Covenant are embedded deep within a mountain in the vaccinate. We have discovered a Covenant destroyer, downed in space around Eclipse. We will advance upon it, and we have sent recon there. We will retrieve anything that is intact, nav-banks, weaponry, anything. We will then return to Alpha, and advance and destroy any and all Covenant threat. We will need a HAVOK tactical nuke to finish the job. Over and out." "Okay, ladies, let's move out." The line on every side moved in, suffocating the Covenant in an "anaconda" style attack. Several Warthogs charged the bunkers and trenches, and continually strafed and harassed any Covenant that stupidly poked their head up for a look. "Black team, flank left with Yellow. Red is now with Blue, and we hold the right flank. We will advance in a frontal assault formation, along with Green and Silver. Watch our backs White team." "Roger that, will do." Blue team advanced ahead of the rest, preparing to advance in frontal assault. They formed into a fixed "V" formation, as practiced so many times in combat training exercises.