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To Hell And Back- Chapter 2: Lock And Load
Posted By: CovieKilla<dandaman_10@hotmail.com>
Date: 26 July 2004, 7:02 AM

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      Battle cries echoed in the distance of Washington. Birds slowly began to chirp as the sun rose to begin a new day. Lombardi woke up and groggily rubbed his eyes. His back ached from sleeping on the uncomfortable cot the entire night. He shrugged off the pain and looked for Colin.

      Colin was still sleeping on the cold floor like a baby. Lombardi gave a little chuckle and rose out of the cot. He slapped Colin's face to wake up the marine.

      "Get you ass up, we have some work to do." Lombardi ordered. Colin woke up, startled by the contact Lombardi had issued. The two of them got up and went to get something to eat.

      The bunker was bigger than Colin thought it was. The room they slept in was big enough for four officers, but only had one cot inside, forcing him to sleep on the floor. The bunker also had a pantry full of canned and frozen food, a kitchenette and a single bathroom. The two stood in the kitchen, eating a bowl of cereal and recently expired milk.

      "So what happened between you and the 205th?" Colin inquired as he slowly sat down to his bowl of cereal.

      Lombardi elevated his spoon full of corn flakes and shoved the contents into his mouth. Satisfied; he swallowed and replied to Colin,

      "The Covenant wiped the whole platoon..."

      "What? How did they do that?"

      "We were finishing off the last of the Covenant during the Battle of Oregon. We thought we finished them off, and then they came out from all corners. There were too many too kill...I was the only one to escape alive."

      "The corps didn't reposition you?" Colin gawked.

      "The corps never came to get me... I was left to fend for myself. I decided that if they don't give a rats ass about me, I'm not going to give a rats ass about them." Lombardi spat.

      "But the corps has never left anyone behind. Why would they make you lucky number one?" Colin asked flatly as he lifted his spoon of cereal and let it plop back into the bowl.

      "Because they thought we were all dead. I had no radio, no way to contact 'em... To this day I don't understand why they never swept by, in search of any survivors..." Lombardi began to trail off.

      "Oh..." Colin quietly sympathized as he slowly stirred his share of breakfast. An uneasy quietness slowly settled in.

      The two finished their awkward breakfast and changed into their uniforms. Lombardi wore the same armor from his encounter with the Covenant Banshee earlier. The armor was stronger than Colin's because it was designed for orbital insertion. He clipped on his helmet and turned on his Heads-Up-Display. Colin slipped into his uniform, which smelt foul from being worn constantly without wash. He casually snapped on his helmet and knocked the sides playfully.

      "Lookin' spiffy." Colin commented as Lombardi met him at the armory. Lombardi responded with a simple nod. "So what's going on? What are we going to do today?"

      Lombardi pivoted and sat down at a small round table behind him. He placed a map onto the table and began,

      "See that X? That's a Covenant compound about 20 clicks South of here. It's also our target. Our primary objective is to get into the compound and plant three C-12 Shaped Charges around its perimeter. Once all three are in position, we retreat and detonate them from a safe distance. First, I will examine the area from a distance and set up a distraction, gathering attention. You will have a limited amount of time to plant the charges and escape. If we're lucky, we can plant the charges and detonate them before the Covenant even know we were within the area. Any questions?"

      "Yes," Colin stared blankly at Lombardi for a moment. "How the hell are we going to plant the charges without being spotted by a Covenant patrol?"

      "Simple. I'll cover you while you plant the charges." Lombardi calmly replied.

      Colin turned around and gave a sarcastic laugh as he rubbed his forehead. He turned back around to face his companion.

      "You're kidding, right?"

      Lombardi eyed Colin fiercely. "Do I look like I'm kidding?"

      "You really think I'm that homicidal!? I'm not the same Colin you knew five years ago!" Colin argued.

      "Colin, listen to me. Remember back in 2556 when we were both in the 506th?" Lombardi calmly began.

      "Yeah, what about it?" Colin replied in the same loud tone as before.

      "Remember the Siege of Everett? We were almost left alone to wipe out all those Covie bastards." Lombardi added.

      "Oh yeah..." Colin's tone slightly became softer.

      "Who covered you from the distance while you wasted them up close?" Lombardi asked flatly.

      Colin closed his eyes tight for a moment and gritted his teeth, knowing the answer. "You did..."

      Lombardi nodded in self-approval as he slouched back in his chair. His lips twitched as he began to smirk. "Lock and Load" The two stepped toward the numerous shelves and began to gather their equipment.

      Lombardi reached over and took the variant of the SRS99C Sniper Rifle, the SRS99C-S2 AM Sniper Rifle. He slid a fresh magazine into the weapon until he heard the satisfying click; he then threw it over his left shoulder. Along with the sniper rifle, he grabbed four fragmentation grenades, and two smoke grenades in case the duo needed to make a quick exit without being spotted.

      Colin picked up the M90 Shotgun and two small ammo cases, which held twenty-four shells inside each. He tossed a couple of shells and cocked the weapon. He grabbed four fragmentation grenades, three C-12 Shaped Charges, two Lotus Anti-Tank mines, and a combat knife.

      The pair turned towards the exit hatch, guns loaded. If the Covenant hasn't been to Hell before, they will be there soon.

      Zorn 'Kalamee exited his sleeping chamber and joined his unit waiting outside. He controlled the unit, issuing orders, and ensuring everything was executed perfectly. Within the group was 'Kalamee, two Jackals, and Three Grunts. The group stepped outside to the perimeter of the Covenant compound. 'Kalamee took a long whiff of the air outside, and nodded to the Elite sitting outside keeping guard at the front gate.

      'Kalamee's armor shimmered as the sun's reflective rays bounced off of it. In his hand, he clutched a Covenant Carbine, and eyed his surroundings. Nothing but clear skies, sounds of plasma fire, and a few birds chirping. Seemed like today's patrol would be easier than 'Kalamee thought.

      The group circled the outside of the compound once and ensured everything was secure. 'Kalamee sighed in relief and slouched a little. Beginning to casually walk, he and his troops began to circle the compound once more. 'Kalamee's radio suspiciously clicked on and a soft whisper could be heard. He listened closely,

      "See you in hell..."