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Roughneck Two-Zero Chapter 4: Paintings - Cheap!
Posted By: Anthony Coronado<killa_snypa7@hotmail.com>
Date: 7 April 2002, 10:00 pm

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0821 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, in orbit above Eclipse, Refitting Station Alpha Gamma, Deck E

The Heavy Cruiser, Blademaster, gracefully pulled into Deck E, on the glossy metallic purple colored spherical refitting station, Alpha Gamma. Outside, a dozen Super MAC guns rotated in all directions, searching for signs of Covenant warships. Forty Magna MAC guns orbited the planet. With half the reloading time of the Super MAC gun, and twice the range, it was dangerous. "Sir, our reactors have been pushed to the max. We need to dock to cool down, rearm, and refit. The hole on the starboard side has been leaking nitrogen sense we were struck by that Pulse laser cannon fire." Lt. Dominique informed Captain Young. "Lt. Bring us in to Deck E, we will receive refitting. I want five thousand Archer missiles onboard A-SAP. I want those shields to be operation before those Covenant return. What's the MAC status?" "Sir, MAC guns have overheated. It will take twenty six hours for them to cool, unless we get some coolant onboard A-SAP." "Damn it! Then get that coolant onboard! I want those reactors up and running within an hour. We need to be in system patrolling." "Aye, sir. Get some coolant up here in Deck C, Engineering. Get twelve drones out on the starboard side and repair that gash in the armor. Anything else sir?" "Yes, a cup of Joe would be great." "Aye, sir." A large hole appeared in space. A black hole. No, it wasn't that. A Halycon-class ship, the Galador, into view as it "vaporized" out of Slipspace. The vessel resembled very much like the Pillar of Autumn. "Spartan, what is the status on that ship, the Galador?" Captain Young asked his ships 'smartAI.' His AI, Spartan, took great interest in Spartan-117. His AI even choose too 'wear' the MJORNIL armor suit. His AI choose its name also. That's what was wrong with smartAIs. They had too much of a free mind, and were too smart at times. Spartan's sage green armored figure appeared on the deck. He spoke in a deep voice, exactly like Spart-117. He was addicted to him, and knew things that even the highest ONI spooks didn't. "Sir, the Galador escaped Reach and jumped to Torance. They jumped away from Reach before orders to jump to Eclipse were given. They have jumped to Eclipse to refit. Their Archer missile supply is completely depleted. Their coolant leakage rate is incalculable. A large gash has been placed on it, obviously from a plasma torpedo. She is a Halycon-class ship. She has been in the Navy for a long time. Longer than the Pillar of Autumn. She was one of the first Halycon's to drop from the decks, and is the last to survive. She is piloted by Captain Hutchings, and is unequipped with an AI." The Galador slid right up next to the Blademaster and docked on Deck E. A dozen or so repair drones immediately jettisoned from the station and began to repair the vessel. Archer missiles began to be hauled into the ship. Another dozen or so drones left the station and began work on the Galador. They wanted her in fighting condition. "Sir, you coffee." "Thank you Dominique. That will be all." "Aye sir." Captain Young, a young and spunky captain, sipped at the hot liquid, and felt a burning sensation as it ran down his throat. He watched as two dozen drones ferociously worked to repair the Galador. Within twenty minutes, the large gash in the side of the ship that stretched from Deck C to E was repaired. The Galador and Blademaster silently jettisoned from the glossy metallic purple station and slid silently from the station. Being a Heavy Cruiser, the Halycon-class ship was faster and lightly on foot. She began to gain speed and pull away from the Blademaster. As she pulled away, Captain Young saw the ships name, Galador, inscribed and smeared on the gray-brown paint of the vessel. A large, black empty appeared in space. A large, purple, hybrid whale and warship vessel slid through. "All hands man your battle stations. Repeat, all hands man your battle station. Covenant forces are reentering the system. Firing squads, report to your designated air locks and be ready to repel boarders." Spartan bellowed over the COM channels. Red lights twirled around inside the ship. "Bring the ship up to combat Alpha, Spartan." "Will do Captain." "Activate Cole Protocol Article Two. Destroyer all nav-bases and triple check to make sure not one database has been left." Spartan holstered a MA5B, and knelt to a crouch. He glossy green figure shimmered in the holopanel. All onboard the bridge could hear the familiar click of MA5Bs being loaded. It was Spartan, he acted as Spartan-117. He looked around the bridge, alert. What a ham, Captain Young thought. "Commander Love, what is the status on those MAC guns?" "Ninety percent and rising, captain," Spartan replied. "Archer missile pods?" "Locked and loaded. I have a firing solution on the nearest Covenant frigate, sir. Fire when ready?" Spartan asked. "Fire shredder MAC rounds. Take their shields and blow em to hell with a salvo of two hundred Archer missiles right to the bridge." "Aye, sir. Locked and loaded, firing solution is designated the bridge." "Fire on my mark. Three, two, one. Mark!" "MAC rounds away!" "Fire Archer missiles!" "Archer missiles away." The three shredder MAC rounds from the Blademaster impacted. The shields shimmered silver. They died. Two hundred Archer missiles impact. Boom. "Status?" "The frigate is disabled, sir." "Leave it for the Supers and Magnas. Give me a firing solution on another Covenant ship." "Sir, a Covenant super ship, much like the one seen at Reach, has entered orbit. Pursue?" "Affirmative. Spartan, change course to bearing 0173 and ready MAC round, shredder. Arm Archer missile pods A1-Z20. Let's blow that ship out of the sky with everything we've got." "Sir?" "Just do it Spartan!" "Aye, sir. The ship is twenty thousand kilometers away. The Magna MACs have the range. Why not let them take it out?" "Spartan, just do it! That ship's armor is unsurpassed by any vessel in both fleets. If we don't take it out, then the Magna's will finish the job." "Aye sir. We have a firing solution for the bridge of that Super Carrier. MAC guns are at 78 percent charge." "Fire now!" "Sir?!" "Fire now Spartan!" "Aye sir. Firing." A barrage of one thousand Archer missiles launched from the Blademaster. It's whole stock. "Fire the MAC guns." "Aye sir. Firing." A Magna round went right in front of the Blademaster. It continued to fly at light-speed, hit a frigate, the Heavy Round went through, and impacted another frigate. The second frigate exploded, the round exploding on impact. A Super MAC round impacted the first, demolishing it upon impact. Dozens of lightning-white bolts flew about, destroying Covenant vessels with ease. "Impact in five," Spartan reported. The first of three MAC rounds hit the Super Carrier. Its shield flickered, and held. The salvo of one thousand Archer missiles impact seconds afterward. The shield flickered a metallic silver, and faded. Not on Archer missile got through. "Sir, two Magna rounds are approaching the Super Carrier and are going to impact in five. Thousands of Seraph fighters are jettisoning. Most will be destroyed by the Magna rounds, but we will have to mop up." "Launch the Longsword interceptors." "Aye, sir." Spartan opened a COM channel and ordered in a deep voice, "All hands man your stations. Prepare to be boarded. All fighter pilots, launch your Longsword interceptors in five minutes. We have incoming Seraph fighters to contend with." A hundred and fifty pilots rushed from to their Longsword interceptors and revved their engines. Their clamps descended, and they took off into the black void of space. The Magna rounds impacted the Super Carrier. One sliced through the shielding, and the other passed through and hit the vessels hurl. Its impact thrust sent the vessel spinning twelve thousand kilometers away. Another two Magna rounds erupted, in succession of a couple of seconds. They impacted the hull, leaving a hole the size of a football field and half in the hull. Three seconds later, another two Magna rounds impacted the vessel. Seraph fighters began to pour out like ants. The COM channel crackled. "Phoenix One-engaging-enem--sighted-twelve-o'clock-" the link went dead. "Sir, communication with the Longsword interceptor groups has been severed. They are out of range of contact." Captain Young sighed. He had lost sight of the Galador during the fray. Two more Magna's rounds impacted the Super Carrier, puncturing holes in it like it was Swiss cheese. Super MAC rounds blazed all around. Frigates, Destroyers, Cruisers, and even a Super Carrier couldn't escape the wraith of Magna and Super MAC rounds. "Sir, the Covenant fleet is retreating. Pursue?" "Negative, return to Station and Deck E for refitting. We need to re-supply." The fleet sustained not one lose thanks to the Magna and Super MAC rounds. The Covenant were very unhappy.

0849 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
Epsilon Erandi System, Planet Eclipse, LZ Alpha

Roughneck Two-Zero advanced in a fixed "V" formation, flanked by Marines and Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. Debris and body littered the ground. They cautiously advanced, kneeling down to one knee to stay as low as possible. They advanced swiftly and silently, with the baking twin suns beating down on them. "Commander, we are a half a kilometer form the Covenant lines. Their command bunker has been destroyed, but they still have lots of fire power." "Yes, I know Thor. Just keep your eyes open and your finger steady, and you'll come out alive." "Ye- yes, sir." "Men, take any and all Covenant technology such as weaponry and nav-banks that you can get your hands on. Those ONI spooks need to do some tests with it." Ares grunted, he hated ONI. They kept everything. For instance, ONI kept the fact that they knew an asteroid would strike Earth until 882 years before it would happen. It was such BS. They advanced further, not meeting any hostile forces. "Sir, up ahead, approximately twenty meters, is the Covenant strong hold." "Roger that, clear the trenches first. Then disable any emplacements that you see. Systematically take out any hostile forces, Elites, Jackals, Grunts." "Yes sir," the team answered. Reco approached the trench, with his MA5B point down upon the trench. He saw no hostile forces, and looked to his left and right. Nothing. He lifted his left hand up and held up two fingers, and pointed left twice. His left "V" advanced towards the trenches. He switched his MA5B to his left hand, and did the same again. The right part of the "V" advanced, and stopped at the trenches. "Go." They jumped down into the trenches and systematically searched the trenches. The members of the original Blue team(left "V") advanced left, one after another. Ares at point, Thor at six. Nothing. Red team(the right "V") advanced down the trenches to the right, Zeus in point, Reco at six. Nothing. "Advance forward towards the center bunker." Both teams advanced. On an encrypted channel, Reco ordered halt. Covenant emplacements and Grunts patrolled. "Take out the emplacements, then the patrolling Grunts." "Roger." Zeus, Reco, Ares, and Thor pulled a fragmentation grenade out. They counted to three, activated the grenades, and threw them at separate emplacement Shades. Three, two, one. Four explosives detonated, sending dust and dirt into the air. They charged the bunker, and plugged a few clips into some patrolling Grunts. There was one entrance to the bunker. Red advanced from one side, Blue the other. The merged at the entranceway. Reco held up a clenched fist. He crouched down, and entered, looking from left to right, looking for any signs of hostile forces. Nothing. He was beginning to thing something was wrong. If there were patrolling Grunts, there had to be enemies inside. Reco held up a hand and point with two fingers towards his right side. Ares advanced. He then pointed to his left. Zeus advanced, but not without checking his six. Then Isis, then Izanagi, Zethus, Apollo, Gizmo, and then Anubis. Nothing was to be seen. They advanced a little farther. They came to a doorway in the bunker. "Gizmo, get up here. The doors locked. The Covenant didn't want us in here. Open it up." "Sir, I need a TAG85." "Okay. Anubis, run up topside and see if you can find someone with a TAG85." "Aye sir." With that, Anubis charged out of the bunker. Reco and the rest of the squad crouched low and hid in the shadows. Anubis reached topside, and ran to the nearest ODST squad. They always carried everything. He reached one, and it turned out they were the infamous 34th that was dropped in the night before. He asked for a TAG85 and received one. "Sir, also- We ran into a locked down, that's what we need it for. May I request addition support, preferably a squad?" "Alright son. Hey, Owens! Grab a squad and follow this character, they need some assist." Ordered the graying and aging 34th leader. "Sir! Yes, sir!" Hey acknowledged and followed Anubis back to the team. "Sir, we've got a TAG85. As well as some addition support. The 34th." Anubis explained to Reco, while at the same time handing the TAG85 to Gizmo. The team, along with the 34th, stood guard and watched as he placed the TAG85 device on the door. He pushed a green button, hacked into the control panel, and opened the doors. The 34th watched, not letting there guard down, as the doors slid open, and reveal nothing. Reco lifted a hand and clinched a fist. He advanced in to the hall, and knelt next to a metal pillar. He raised his hand again, clinched a fist, raised this index finger, and pointed to a pillar parallel to his position on the other side. The first of 34th squad advanced. Reco mimicked the process again, until Ares, Anubis, Zeus, and Zethus were with the 34th squad on the other pillar. He had Isis, Izanagi, Gizmo, Thor, and Apollo under his command. The hall was dark, and narrow all at the same time. "Flashlights on." Reco ordered, and twenty flashlights blared one, engulfing the hall in light. The walls were smeared with blue blood like a painting expo. The Grunt leaders of the kamikaze raid the night before returned, and were slaughtered for their defeat. Twelve Major Grunt bodies dotted the hall. They were killed for their insubordinate leadership. The twenty stealthy silhouettes advanced under light. The next door was the one. The motion tracker on their eyepieces were off the hook. There was easily fifty of them. A 34th ODST trooper radioed back to his command, "This is 34th Squad Delta Gamma, we are assisting Roughneck Two-Zero. The motion sensors are off the scale. Requesting addition reinforcements. Out." "This is Alpha Gamma, additional support is en route. Two platoons are inbound. Hold position until they arrive." "Roger that, 34th Delta Gamma out." The ODST trooper killed the link. The hallway went silent. "Flashlights off. Infrared-heat sensors only," Reco ordered. The hall went dark again. The twenty members of the team were greeted by two platoons of ODST. "Anyone got some more C12?" Anubis asked. "Negative," was the reply by every member. "Anyone up for an old fashion game of baseball?" Anubis questioned. Reco answered, "Why the hell do you wanna play baseball at a time like this?" "Hold up, and watch." Anubis grabbed a grenade from his chest and said, "Give me five seconds of cover. All angels." The troops lined up in a semi-circle around the door. Half the members on one knee, the other standing up. Every angel would be hit by a shot. Anubis tapped the control panel, and the door popped open. A Grunt popped up, looked like a deer caught in headlights, and was cut down by full automatic gunfire. Anubis activated the grenade, threw it, and closed the door. The concussion was felt through vibrating shocks in the ground, but no sound was heard. "Zeus, Ares, Thor, and I are up front. Everyone else cover our six or flank us. Systematically take down any Covenant, Elites, Jackals, Grunts." Reco ordered. Reco, Zeus, Ares, and Thor formed a line in front of the door. The 34th and the other members of Two-Zero took up flanking, and covering positions. Reco tapped the control panel, and the door slid open again. He looked at his computer display on his assault rifle. Half empty. He used too much in the five seconds that they covered Anubis. No time to reload, he thought to himself. Reco, Thor, Anubis, and Zeus crouched, to stay low and to give the men behind them a good shot.

A line of ten Elites popped out from behind some pillars and over turned crates. They charged. The Marines opened up with full automatic fire. Plasma scorched the air. An ODST fell, hit in the forehead by plasma. The dark room was lit up by plasma and tracer fire. Two Elites, struck in the head by nonstop full auto fire, bellowed in pain, and reeled back, dead. The Marines and Elites converged. They locked into hand-to-hand combat and melee strikes. Reco pulled his six-inch blade, and charged an Elite. The Elite tried to melee him, but Reco used his MA5B to block the blow. The embraced the Elite, and thrust his knife into him. The Elite collapsed, and Reco emptied his half-clip into the Elite's exposed belly. Another Elite charged at him. He ducked, rolled, and reloaded his MA5B all in a matter of seconds. "I've gotcha dumbass," Reco yelled in triumph. "Awww! Hahahahah!" The Elite taunted. They charged, Reco held down his trigger until it ran dry. He must've been wearing an over shield. Aw shit, Reco said under his breath. "Stupid infidel Human. You cannot escape my wrath." It bellowed, pulled his arm back, and thrust it at Reco. "Huh? What? Sorry, I wasn't paying attention. Why'd you say?" Reco taunted. A white streak flew by at incredible speeds. It impacted the Elite's temple. Its limp body fell over, collapsed, and clumped in a heap. Reco, having not enough time to reload, grabbed a plasma grenade that the Elite dropped. He picked it up, activated it, and hurled it at a Grunt. "NoOoOo! Get it off! Get it off!" It screamed, and ran around in a circle. A flash flood of blue light washed over the room, and vaporized the Grunt into oblivion. Along with it, it took two Grunts, and one Elite. Not bad for one grenade. A plasma bolt raced passed his left ear, inches away from death. Adrenaline pumping, he instinctively dove to his right. He knelt, tore his empty cartridge out, threw it on the ground, reached into his belt, grabbed another, slammed it into position, and primed his rifle. He got up, ran into the open, dove, and fired a five round burst into an enemy that he couldn't see. "Frag out!" Someone yelled, and by his accent, Reco could tell it was Zeus. Reco ducked, and instinctively covered his head and neck. A large concussion followed, climaxed by several bodies sent sprawling in all directions. A loud, nonstop automatic fire concluded the firefight, with Ares raking back and forth into the enemies midst with his chaingun. "Cease fire!" The firing ceased. "Status report!" "Ares, I'm good." "Gizmo, operational." "Isis here, I'm good to go." "Zeus, couple nicks and dings, but I'll be good." "Izanagi, I'm from Okinawa." "Funny, real funny," Reco answered to his humor." "Thor here, who's next?" One by one, the team of twenty men gave their status report. Only four men had been lost, all ODST troops, either from a burst of friendly fire, plasma, or grenades. "Gave any grenades, weapons, or databanks you guys can find. We're moving out." Reco ordered, pointing at a door at the far end of the room. Grenades, weapons, and bodies dominated the ground floor. Blood stained the walls, and soiled the soil. Gizmo walked to the center of the room. A computer console was located in the middle, perched up on top of a platform that had been erected in the center. A semi circle of holographic panels covered the center. "Damn, I wish I had an AI at a moment like this." An ODST trooper scaled the ramp leading up to the control center. He walked right up to Gizmo, and pulled a small cylindrical chip from his helmet. "A specially made AI for use ODST. We carry everything you know," he spoke to Gizmo. "Thanks," Gizmo said, while retrieving the chip. He placed it into a slot, and a holographic image appeared in the center of the room. The AI wore black, baggy pants, a black leather jacket covered a navy blue shirt. He had long, metallic black hair that covered his whole head. Two six-inch long 'blades' of hair covered his eyes. He held a two sheaths on his left thigh. In the twin sheaths, he carried to two two-yard long samurai swords. "Damien, access the Covenant BattleNet. Retrieve anything. I'm talking anything. Weapons, weapons research, troop movements, battle plans, strike teams, anything," the ODST spoke to the AI. "Yes, Master. It may take a couple of minutes sir." The AI replied. Damien closed his holographic eyes and concentrated. Two tension filled minutes passed. "I've got it all. Weapons, weapons research, troop movements, hacking codes, hacking software, translations for languages, radio frequencies, everything sir." "Good." Gizmo retrieved the cylindrical chip from its slot, and Damien's body flickered and died. "That's it, now lets get out of here." Reco ordered. "Lock these doors when we leave. No Covenant gets out." They left the battle hardened rooms and halls, and returned topside. Human patrols paraded around the trenches, looking for anything suspicious. "Roughneck Two-Zero to all teams. Pull back. Repeat, pull back. We have accessed and retrieved the Covenant BattleNet. Pull back to LZ Alpha. Two-Zero out." Reco killed the link, and radioed HQ Delta Storm. "This is Roughneck Two-Zero. We have retrieved valuable information. Uploading it to your hardware right now. Requesting Air Strike at LZ Alpha to finish the job and make sure no Covenant lived." "Great job Roughneck Two-Zero. Request granted, pull back to secondary LZ and prepare for dust-off in fifteen. HQ Delta Storm, over and out." "Let's move boys! We've got high flying bombers, and their gonna bust these trenches wide open. Pull back to secondary LZ and get ready for dust off."