0921 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
"Get me FLEETCOM online ensign," Lt. Garcia ordered. "FLEETCOM online Lt. Garcia." The weather face of Admiral Michael Stanforth appeared on a holographic monitor, "This better be good Lt. Garcia," he bellowed. He ignored the remark, and replied, "Sir, we are requesting an Air Strike from Roughneck Two-Zero at LZ Alpha. Our Longsword interceptors are on routine patrols in other vectors. Requesting the use of the MAC guns, sir?" "What are the coordinates?" "Sir, coordinates are 05.0001923722.06." "All right, tell them to clear out. One of my Heavy Cruisers, the Blademaster, has enough vehicles for their usage. I'll contact them and give them the message. I want minimal safe distance, no friendly fire." "Sir, they are at minimal safe distance and awaiting backup. It seems that one of your ships in orbit downed a Covenant ship. We are sending in a recon team to investigate and recover any technology." "Lt. Garcia, radio Two-Zero and tell them to watch their asses. One Heavy Round coming up, sit tight." The link died, and the Admiral's face vanished from the monitor. "HQ Delta Storm, come in Roughneck Two-Zero." "Rough Two-Zero here, what's the news?" "Admiral Stanforth is providing some cover fire. He is also contacting the Galador, and telling them to send some wheels and men down there. They can only send in about three hundred out of their one thousand Marines and ODSTs onboard. Covered fire should be there in five minutes. Over and out." "Roger that, Roughneck Two-Zero out." Five minutes passed, and a metallic, lightning white-blue projectile struck the Covenant Bunker that they had infiltrated minutes before. A bluish radiation covered the ground surrounding the Bunker. A defining roar of engines could be heard. Clouds were settling in, and the silhouette of a Battalions worth of Pelicans descended through the atmosphere. Every second, the Pelicans seemed to become larger as they neared. The Pelicans slowly descended at LZ Alpha, chopping up a ten-meter radius of dust. Equipped with a dozen Marines and either a Warthog or Scorpion each, the Pelicans hovered over the barren landscape for a seconds, and their engines cut out. The Pelicans "thudded" on the soft earth, and deployed their vehicle and the loading ramp lowered. They closed it so the vacuum of space wouldn't suffocate the soldiers. Dozens of Marines charged out, and formed in a single file line out side of the drop ship. Reco and Zeus walked over to the Marines, and greeted them. "Soldiers, welcome to Hell. Half of your Battalion will go with us, and the rest of you, your with him," Reco pointed to a fit soldier in the distance. "You guys stay and garrison that mountain," he said, and pointed towards a mountain six kilometers away(ten miles). "Fall out!" The Marines from the Blademaster snapped a crisp salute, and Reco and Zeus returned the gesture. The men either climbed into Scorpion MBTs or Warthog LRVs, while the others followed Reco and Zeus as they walked towards Two-Zero. "Meet me at this point in five," Reco ordered to his half of the Battalion and Two-Zero. He uploaded a NAV point to their HUDs and walked calmly to the marked position. Five minutes later, two rows of vehicles and one hundred seventy men huddled inside a tent. "Who's the ranking officer here?" Reco inquired. A mysterious voice, unknown to Reco, replied, "You are sir." "Very well. For those of you from the Blademaster, I am in control, as with my XO Zeus. You answer to us, and us only. Do this, and you may live. Do not, and be faced with death, or a court-martial. Is that clear Soldiers?" "Sir, yes, sir." They answered in unison. "Very well," he said as he pulled out a pointer. "Here we are, and there is Objective: HELLFIRE," he said as he pointed at two objects on a holopanel, indicating LZ Alpha and the Covenant ship, Huntress. "Here is Objective: HAMBURGER HILL." He pointed to the mountain six kilometers away from LZ Alpha. Some of the ODST and Marines remembered Hamburger Hill, Vietnam. That mound of dirt chopped up men like minced meat, hence the name, Hamburger Hill. "We will assault HELLFIRE and take any weaponry, databases or anything Covenant that can be studied. Is that clear?" "Sir, yes, sir." "Dust-off in ten. Dismissed. Isis, Thor, stay." The men exited the tent, and Reco spoke. "Isis, your fire power will be limited in the confined spaces of that Covenant ship. You stay here and watch HAMBGURGER HILL, as will you, Thor." "Aye sir." Isis walked out of the tent, and gathered her gear. Thor stayed. "Sir, permission to speak candidly." "Granted." "Well, sir, why do you treat me like a baby?" "Walk with me Thor," Reco started, as he walked out of the tent. They were forced to squint at the blinding light of the two suns until their eyes adjusted. "Thor, I treat you as a 'baby' because you are not only my friend, but my brother in a way. Being older, I am obligated to protect and oversee your safety. I cannot and will not see you get hurt.
0931 Hours, January 3, 2553 (Military Calendar)/
"Soldiers, you have your orders. You have the training. You have the weapons. Let's go out and kill some Covenant. Remember our motto; Stealth, Swiftness, Silence, Precision, Honor. Uphold all of these and live. Let's move out." A dozen Marines ran to every Pelican drop ship. Three Marines ran to every Warthog. Five to every Scorpion MBT. All together, the total man count climaxed at one hundred and ninety-two. "Let's go ladies!" Reco's scrunched the ground, kicking up clouds of dirt as he ran for his Pelican. Hums became defining roars as Warthog LRVs, Scorpion MBTs, and Pelican drop ships revved up. The six Warthogs formed into a Delta Formation, or a "V." The six trailing Scorpions made a Theta Manuever, forming into a straight line, one right next to the other. A whirlwind of dust and smoke filled the air, it was like a smoke screen. The twelve Pelican drop ships ascended, hovered for a split second, changed direction, and maximized the thrusters. A column of silver glints in the distance rapidly approached the vehicles. Cloaked under a barrage of dust, the Pelicans dropped into the thick layer. Undetected by radar, satellite, or motor detectors, the Covenant thought it was merely a small recon team, not a full scale "invasion" of sorts. The twelve vehicles laid siege to the Huntress. Any moving thing outside and inside its walls would be wasted. With the smoke screen fading, the Pelican drop ships drifted to the surface. The Marines jumped out, and rushed for cover. They witnessed a massive leviathan. The Huntress was ten stories tall, and poke-dotted and rattled with holes the size of Scorpion tanks. Covering the top most holes, portable shields blocked all visibility. Over turned crates also littered the gashes, occasionally an over turned crate with a portable shield on top. There was Covenant activity in the vicinity. Simultaneously, a catastrophic maelstrom of plasma fire erupted from the "windows." Plasma scorched the air. Chain guns and cannon fire blasted, laying waste to anything they could see. Projectiles pinged and ricocheted off of an unknown titanium alloy. A dozen or so Marines were caught uncovered, and were ripped apart by plasma and an intensive, inferno heat wave. It was like Omaha Beach, Normandy, 1944. Anything visible was a target. Anything that moved was fired upon. It was a bloody, no mercy, take-no-prisoners kind of war. Eight men from Roughneck outfit, along with a couple Heavy Weapon Specialists from an unknown ODST company took refuge behind a boulder. Plasma glowed bright purple next to the rock. Granite rock and earth turned scorching hot, and virtually melted before their eyes. "Okay, ladies. Those two plasma cannons are gonna rip us apart." Reco looked at Ares, then at the other man hefting a Jackhammer Missile System. They nodded. "Five second cover fire. On my mark- Mark!" Reco and eight of soldiers popped out from behind the boulder, sporting their blazing guns, and laid sporadic, suppressive fire all over the place. The two Heavy Weapons Specialists ducked and rolled out of the line of fire a split second later. In succession, they emptied both barrels out in three seconds flat. Four rocket projectiles screamed forward, piercing the air around them. Two detonated upon impact with one Shade, the two others with the remaining Shade cannon. "Izanagi, get into that Pelican and get airborne. We need that SC AM Rifle in the air, picking any moving target off. Go." Izanagi ran from the crowd, and jumped onto the nearest Pelican. The pilot looked backwards, through the open door for ventilation. Izanagi gave the pilot the thumbs up, and jabbed them sky ward, telling her to get into the air. The pilot took the bird up to one hundred meters, and Izanagi began laying waste to any moving Covenant he could distinguish between the holes. The Marines and ODSTs began playing a deadly mix between hide-and-seek with tag. They ran and hid behind rocks, they get tagged, and they're dead. The all too familiar smell of plasma and burning flesh was unbearable. "Frag out!" A Marine in a separate squad yelled, as he chucked a grenade into a hole the size of closet. A red flash sputtered, and a body flew from the gap. Reco grabbed at his belt, retrieved a grenade, and held it up. The eight men with him at the moment jabbed a grenade also. They activated it, and threw it. All nine grenades struck a different target. They exploded. Screams were heard. Shade gun turrets overturned. Bodies catapulted outward toward the advancing Human lines.
A massive salvo of cannon fire erupted. Six holes became scenes of death, destruction, and smoldering wreckage. This cover fire paved the way for Roughneck Two-Zero and her sister companies. They charged the Huntress en masse and took refuge at the mouth of the thirty-meter gash in her starboard side. "Anybody got a lot of C-12? If we detonate a Shiva, we destroy the whole northern continent. We take it out guerilla warfare style." Twenty men raised their hands, all holding satchels of C-12. "Okay ladies, here's what we do. Put a block of C-12 in every room that you find. Every single room. Every hallway. Everywhere that we can place it. You five," he pointed to five men holding C-12. "Your will Alpha Gamma." He pointed to twenty men, all holding MA5B assault rifles. "Top level. You five," he pointed to five more, "with Delta. Fourth floor. You guys, with Bravo, third floor. You seven, with Charlie. Second level. Roughneck Two-Zero and you six, we have main level. Encounter Covenant, strike swiftly and with deadly force. Recover any thing that you can find. Weapons, shields, nav-banks, everything. Go!" Reco charged into the downed vessel, and turned his light on. He dimly lit the dark hallway. He crouched low, swiveling his MA5B left to right, up and down. Sparks sparked. Flames flared. Gas lines leaked. Creaking sounds could be heard when they stepped, as if the craft was going to split in two. He pointed to a dimly lit corner at the end of the hallway. A man ran to the spot, and placed a C-12 satchel there. They moved on. Charlie, Bravo, Delta, and Alpha Gamma split away from Roughneck Two-Zero. They proceeded along the outer rim of the hull, placing satchels in rooms and in hallway corners. Reco heard footsteps, and looked back. There stood Thor. "What the hell are you doing Thor?" "I heard you guys needed some C-12, so I jumped into a Hog and tore over here. Besides, I didn't want to miss the party." "Where's the C-12? We're out." "Back at my Hog, hold on." Thor rushed outside, and returned with a crate of C-12. "Enough explosives to blow up that bunker at LZ Alpha, eh Reco?" "I suppose so. Just gimme the damn explosive charges so I can set 'em up." Reco placed one satchel in every room and hallway that they passed. "Sir, a holopanel." Gizmo called out. "I can't make out the transcripts. I am having a hard time distinguishing these hieroglyphics. I am barely scratching the surface of understanding their language." "God! Damn it Gizmo, start hacking into that panel before we get company-" Gizmo began to rapidly tap on the holographic panel. After thirty seconds, after barely getting into the hacking software, Reco interrupted. "Screw it Gizmo! We've got company! Let's go! Put some C-12 on that! Let's move move move!" Reco grabbed Gizmo by the arm, and charged down the hallway. The hallway came to an abrupt end. The turned around and formed two lines. The first crouched, and the other stood. The hallway at the end was pitch black, and even an Elite wouldn't be able to see them. Five seconds later, a patrol of three Elites rounded the corner. The turned to face Roughneck Two-Zero, and was blinded by a flash of red light. A barrage of automatic fire from ten Assault Rifles opened up, tearing through one Elite, knocking off it shields, and littering its body with one hundred bullet. The two remaining Elites charged, and one drew a plasma saber. The light projecting from the object put a faint hue in the hallway. The Elites charged, and swatted at the Humans. A Marine was hit on the crown of his head, and crumpled. The fellow Elite, saber in hand, slashed at a Marine. The Marine was impaled, and twisted, literally, inside out. The elite charged Thor. It withdrew its massive arm, and thrust it downward. The saber pierced Thor's chest cavity, and killed him upon impact. The Elites were tore up by Assault Rifle fire, and crumpled in a heap of reddish-purplish blood. "God damn it! Damn you Thor, why couldn't you obey orders? Damn you!" Reco yelled out in frustration, breaking his promise to protect Thor with his life. He feel to his knees, and began to bawl his eyes out. "Reco, we have to keep moving. We need you now, Thor is gone. Wipe him from your memories, he's gone. Reco! Us, we, and the others, we need you." An ODST trooper caressed Reco, trying to calm his sobbing, before attracting anymore Covenant attention. Tears streaming down his face, he got to his feet, lifted Thor's lifeless body up, slung him over his shoulder, and grabbed his radio. "All teams, this is Reco Roughneck Two-Zero. All teams, come in." "Roger that, come in Roughneck Two-Zero." "Finish placing your charges, we're getting out of here." "Roger that." He killed the link. He walked outside, and set Thor on a rock. His team followed close behind. "Give me your ammo." "Sir?" "Give me your ammo! That's a direct Order" The members of his team gave Reco their ammo. He reloaded his MA5B, placed the reserve ammo in his belt, and charged into the ship again. He ran down the hall, took a left, ran twenty meters, took a right, and ran straight for one hundred meters. He came to a door that had strange symbols inscribed over the doorway. To the Covenant, the writing meant, 'Warning: Troop Barracks. Enter at your own Risk.' Not knowing what it meant, he pushed a blue button on a holo-panel to the right of the door. The door slid open, revealing a one hundred twenty-meter long cavern inside the ship. One either side of the cavern, were one hundred cells, almost like a brig. They were all sealed shut, closed with a purple transparent shield. Approximately fifty breast looking things hung from the walls. Here and there would be a couple Grunts sucking on them. One Golden Elite patrolled back and forth at the far end of the cavern. It seemingly protected a holographic control panel. At that moment, Reco wished he had a Sniper rifle. He would have to do. He looked over his armaments. He had two fragmentation grenades, one plasma grenade, and about six thousand rounds of Assault Rifle. Enough ammunition to take out much of the enemy resistance. He brandished his pistol, and put a silencer on it. He took aim, and fired. Then again, and again, and again. Four shots, four Grunts dead. He then took aim at the Golden Elite. He fired three times at its head. The shield held, and the Elite charged, plasma saber in hand. The Elite charged, gaining three yards every step. It was time. He pulled out his plasma grenade, and hurled it at the Elite. Reco watched as the blue orb sailed through the air, and tagged the Elite right on his nuts. Reco smirked and giggled as the Elite tore furiously at his crouch. Three, two, one. Boom. No more Golden Elite. The transparent shielding evaporated. Several Grunts slept in each cell, but at least two Elites, Blue and Maroon, stepped out, plasma rifle at the ready. Reco pulled out a fragmentation grenade, and threw it at a pack of four Elites. The explosive charge detonated, killing three. The four was left unshielded. Reco fired a quick three round burst, aimed square in the forehead. The Elite fell dead, blood slowly oozing out of the exit wound. Four down, forty-nine to go. Plasma burned the air, projectiles pierced it. The traveling plasma lit up the room on it way to the target. Reco held down the trigger till his finger went numb. He looked at the computerized sightings. Gone. He ducked out of the way, and tapped the control panel. The door slid close. He reached for his pocket, extracted a magazine, jerked the empty one out, slammed the fresh cartridge in, and primed his weapon. He pulled out another fragmentation grenade. He tapped the control panel, the door slid open, and he threw the grenade. He placed his now empty hand of the stock of his weapon and began spraying the room. The grenade exploded, and the reaction was a chain reaction four plasma grenades. Five Elites were killed by the initial blast. Two more were tore down by Reco with his automatic fire. Half-gone. Reco was hit once in the chest, and twice the right leg. He staggered, and blood seeped out of the wound. One grenade left. Reco pulled out his pistol, and held it tightly with his left. He would use the assault rifle with the right.
He popped out of cover, and aimed at the near Elite's head. Three rounds took the shield down, and then he ripped it open with a ten round blast from his rifle. The Elite fell dead, knocking over an Elite behind him. Reco looked down, and saw a plasma grenade. He reached down and picked it up. He set his rifle on the ground, put the pistol in his right, and the plasma grenade in his left. He dove from one pillar to another, firing three rounds in succession. He recoiled, landed one his left knee, and popped back up. He flung the grenade at the ground near an Elite. It blew up, and a leg flew off. It was Reco's time to shine. He popped out, and fired the rest of his clip at the incoming horde. Another plasma round caught his shoulder. He staggered, but kept his feet. A trio of Marine, obviously that followed Reco, entered the room. The threw grenades, and fired three round bursts into the enemy lines. The three grenades blew up, and killed six Elites. Ten more were unshielded, and the three Marines fired. Reco charged the pillar that he left, and picked up his assault rifle and exchanged clips. He pulled out his last remaining grenade, and hurled it at the enemy. The grenade exploded, and a cloud of smoke blocked their vision. He charged from his pillar, and charged at an Elite. He unloaded thirty-five rounds into one, knocking its shields down, and killing it. The three Marines reloaded, and pursued Reco. The four of them, combined, using their heads, proofed to be a little too much for the Elites. Several Elites split up and ran. They were tore down from behind by automatic fire from four separate assault rifles. Fifteen Elites left. One of the Marines pulled a grenade, and threw it. It exploded, and killed three Elites. Twelve to go. Reco was forced to reload. He crouched, exchanged magazines, rose again, and fired twenty-two rounds into an unshielded Elite. He picked up a plasma grenade. He threw it, and hit an Elite in the foot. It ran, or more like hopped, to its buddies. It exploded, killing it and three other Elites. The three Marines, covering Reco, unloaded simultaneous clips. They knocked down two shields, and killed an Elite. Reco reloaded, and fired twenty rounds into the unshielded Elites. They feel, dead and lifeless. Reco, not bothering to reload to finish the last Elite, simply charged it. He hit it in the jaw with the butt of his rifle. The Elite reeled over backwards. "Thanks. Got any C-12?" Was all Reco said. "I've only got one left." The Marine took out the satchel, and placed it on the ground. "Thanks. Let's go." The four soldiers left the room, not bothering to police weapons or take body counts. Reco and the Marines retraced their steps back to the thirty-meter gap in the wall. The entered the blindly sun light. "Place two satchels here and there," Reco said, pointing to either side of the hole. Two Marines ran over to the spot, and placed their explosives on the wall. "Let's move out," Reco said, as he walked over to his best friend, and lifted his lifeless body. He walked over to a Pelican, and placed the body on the floor. He then proceeded to a Scorpion tank, and said to the commander, "When we are half a kilometer back to Alpha, turn around and fire at the entrance. It should be enough to detonate the satchels and destroy the ship." He left without the commander being able to say a word. He walked over to a Pelican. His scuffed black boots kicking up dust as he walked, and climbed into the Pelican.