A Rough Beginning Part 2
Posted By: Covie Armada<email@example.com>
Date: 2 December 2003, 6:40 PM
Castle walked out of the briefing tent. Third Squad was being sent on a rescue operation into the icy wastelands due west of the camp they now rested at. The squad members lost in the battle at the structure after their pod had crashed had been replaced so the squad now consisted of ten men once again. Their replacement sniper/scout, a man of Mexican descent, walked up to him and extended a hand. Castle shook it.
"Pedro Garcia, Private. You are?"
"John Castle. You ready for the mission."
"As ready as I'll ever be, I guess." Pedro cast his eyes around the camp. "When do we head out, I wasn't at the briefing. I was helping service a couple of Warthogs."
"Well, the guys we're going in to rescue said they had overwhelming numbers of Covies surrounding their position, so we're heading out in about a half hour so we can get there before Covie reinforcements do to see if we can break the siege and evacuate the squad."
"A half an hour! I'd better tool up. I'll see you in the armoury man." Pedro sprinted off to the armoury tent. Castle took his time. When he arrived, Sergeant Harrison was also in there as were the other three new members of the squad. Castle walked over to the table on which the MA5Bs lay and took one up. He took up an ammo belt and fastened it around his waist. It had space for three ammunition clips and four hand grenades. He slipped three clips into the belt and a further two into his thigh pockets, and then walked over to other tables collecting four frag grenades and clipping them to the belt, and then taking an M90 shotgun. He jammed two boxes of shells into the thigh pockets on his other leg. He was ready. He left the tent. The squad formed up. Twenty minutes later a Pelican lowered itself to a metre above the ground and hovered. The ten men leapt on board. Castle took a seat by the open rear doors and looked out. The land was grassy and flat for several miles and then suddenly gave way to ice and snow. The soared over a forest and then the structure came into view beneath them. The pilot's voice crackled over the com.
"Ready boys, I'm taking us down now. We're gonna land on the structure...what the-oh shit! Banshees inbound-I have to pull us out..." the voice trailed off as she returned attention to the controls, diving and skirting to the left, but she wasn't fast enough. Several fuel rod cannon shots impacted with the side of the Pelican, smashing up the cockpit and igniting the engine.
Castle held tight as the Pelican buried itself in the top of the structure.
The men in the Pelican awoke to six pairs of eyes staring at them. It was the remnants of First Squad. One of the men, the First Squad Sergeant, Sergeant Vincent, helped Sergeant Harrison up from his place on the floor. Castle stumbled from the wreckage. It looked as though everyone was okay, apart from the pilot, who was slumped and burned in her seat. Garcia stepped out of the Pelican holding his head.
"God damn it that hurt man!" the Mexican said before leaning against a wall. Castle looked around. It was like the structure they had encountered after their crash. In fact it was exactly like it apart from one noticeable thing: there was an entrance into some kind of catacombs at ground level that was set into a smaller structure fifty fifteen or twenty metres from the main building. He walked over to one of First Squad.
"What the hell's in those catacombs?"
"Say what?" the Private replied.
"Down there. What's in those underground passages?"
"Oh, got you. It's just a passage leading down to one big room full of all these Covenant computers. Like a control room I guess. When we first went down there there was a bunch of elites down there. One had just been doing something on one of the computers. We guess that he's the one who called for reinforcements and that's why we're under attack now. We've just been using it as an armoury."
Castle walked away from the Private and over to the wall Pedro was leaning against. He made sure his MA5B was loaded. He was about to lean against it too, but then Sergeant Harrison called for their attention.
"Okay marines, I want you to set up a defensive perimeter. Castle, Jennings, you guys get down onto that smaller building's roof and act as early warning. Corporal Connell take Garcia and another man of your choice and set up a scout position on the hill up there," Connell and Garcia looked up where he was pointing, "and give us a report by radio every twenty minutes. The rest of you men set yourselves up at intervals all around this structure, ground level and up here. And keep a keen eye out. Move people." The men split up and headed for positions.
Castle sat with Private Jennings, one of their replacements, on the smaller structure well into the night. They checked every few minutes to see if anything was moving. It was Jennings' turn to do this when he caught something darting from tree to tree out in the forest.
"Hey Castle, what do you think this is?"
Castle got up from his seat on the floor and walked over, looking out into the forest to where Jennings was pointing. He saw nothing at first but then a yellow circle burst into life. A Jackal's shield. He was about to call it in when eleven more yellow shields ignited. Green glows began to emanate from the left of every shield. Their plasma pistols were overcharging.
"Hit the deck!" Castle yelled and Jennings and he took cover behind a tall barrier with wide gaps in for shooting that encircled the top of the smaller structure. Jennings began to return fire after the initial volley of overcharge shots passed over them or crashed into the stretches of barrier they were crouched behind, while Castle called the enemy presence in, but by now everybody must have known about them.
"Got one!" Jennings shouted as one of the Jackals fell, but he was shut up as a standard green plasma shot hit him in the arm, knocking him back.
"Jennings!" Castle yelled and began to fire. By now all of the marines this side of the main structure were firing on the Jackals. Three more were cut down, but the shield wall the Jackals had formed with their portable shields was resisting most of the bullets. Sniper fire began to ring out from the top of the hill as Garcia opened fire, taking out a further five Jackals before the remaining two Covies began to retreat. The marines relaxed, all except Castle, who ran across to Jennings and patched up his wound. Respite was short-lived however. A salvo of plasma shots hit the side of the smaller structure and a squad of ten Red-armoured elites charged out of the forest. Castle left Jennings in cover and moved into a better position, from which he began to fire. His radio hissed at him. It was Sergeant Harrison.
"Holy shit, son, you're soaking up a hell of a lot of fire. They must want that control room." Evidently he had been informed, Castle though to himself, "I'm gonna try and get you some backup over there. What's your status?"
"I'm okay, but Jennings is hit."
"Okay soldier, hold tight."
Again the sniper fire started and everyone on Castle's side of the structure opened fire. Three of the elites were cut down easily; the others took a LOT of killing. None escaped alive.
Castle looked over at the semi-conscious Jennings.
"I think its over for now, man, but keep your head down." He was right to give the warning. A volley of plasma pistol shots scorched his structure walls and some shots flew over it. He looked around the stretch of barrier he was crouched behind. There were easily fifty grunts pouring out of the forest towards him.
"Ohhh shit." He muttered quietly and began to fire. He heard shouts and looked around. Two marines from Third Squad, Jackson and Harvey, both privates, both part of the original squad, were running towards his structure. It looked as though they were both going to make it, but then a plasma grenade thrown by one of the grunts latched onto Jackson. Presence of mind made him run towards the grunts and away from the squad. The grenade exploded, killing Jackson and twenty of the grunts. The sight shocked Castle, but he was pulled back into reality as a shot narrowly missed his head. Harvey was now beside him.
"Grenade!" he cried and dived across to the other side of the structure. Castle looked over and then back and saw the plasma grenade just in time. It detonated harmlessly as he rolled out of the way, dragging Jennings with him. Coming up into a crouch, he fired a series of bursts, cutting down five grunts before taking cover once more.
"Thanks for the heads up!" Castle shouted over to Harvey. Harvey nodded in return.
Sergeant Harrison jammed a fresh magazine into his MA5B and looked around him. Jackson was out of the game permanently as was Sergeant Vincent from First Squad and two other marines. Three more were wounded, including Jennings. It wasn't going well needless to say. Suddenly a sound was heard behind him and a scream of pain. A dead marine flew past him. Harrison turned to see a disturbance in the air moving towards him, and a hovering plasma blade. The gold elite was visible for a second before swinging its blade. He raised his rifle preparing to fight to the death.
Pedro scanned the area through his scope. He saw the gold elite flash into view and took the first shot he could as he saw the plasma blade swing at the Sergeant's head. He scored a perfect head shot, exploding he elite's head. It fell. Harrison spared Pedro a nod and then turned back to the main battle. Pedro began firing once more on the grunts assaulting Castle's position.
On the other side of the structure, Private Andrew Martial of the original Third Squad raised his M90 shotgun and looked around from his ground level position and caught sight of something huge moving through the woods. In fact, now he could see two. A green glow, larger than that of a Jackal's overcharge shot was visible in front of one of them. He realised what it was too late. The fuel rod shot hit the rock he was standing behind and the splash damage covered his weapon arm and left-hand side of his face and chest. He fell backwards clutching and screaming in pain. Another fuel rod shot flew past, hitting the top of the structure this time. A death scream was heard and a dead marine from First Squad fell to the floor beside him. He slipped into unconsciousness.
Marcus Briers heard Martial scream and saw the fuel rod shots from his own ground level position. The Hunters emerged from the forest. Briers knew how to dispose of them. He placed his M90 on the ground quietly and then drew his M6D pistol. He activated the 2x zoom and then levelled it at the orange-coloured weak spot. He fired. The explosive-tipped round buried itself deep in the exposed weak point and went off, killing the hunter instantly. The other looked around, and the second pistol shot aimed at it deflected off its shield. Briers ran from cover as the fuel rod cannon fired and dived behind another rock as his original cover was hit. He aimed and fired four pistol shots at the Hunter's weak spot. One missed, three connected. The Hunter went down. He heard a thud and shuddered. He smelt scorched air. He looked over his shoulder and saw his marine uniform burnt and in tatters. He slumped forwards. Rolling over, the plasma rifle shot in the back of his shoulder only now beginning to burn, he levelled the pistol and shot the red-armoured grunt in the head. It fell forwards, its face caved in. Many more were behind him. He shouted a warning, but was unheard. The plasma fire was heard however. Two assault rifles opened up from the top of the structure, probably loaded with shredder rounds judging by the way the grunts didn't just fall, but were torn apart. Briers dragged himself back to his original cover and took up his shotgun. He checked it was loaded and then opened fire on the grunts.