The Flood: A Force to be reckoned with (Part 6)
Posted By: crashedwarthog<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 25 January 2004, 11:24 PM
~Authors note~ I would like to point out now, that the first two large paragraphs are meant to be fragment, and the grammar is supposed to be screwy. Please dont point this out in the comments section. Thank you =)~End Authors note~
Temporary Marine CQ on planet Retina. Natural cave formation. Structure deemed acceptable for operations. Previous recorded events: Loading...
Pillar of Autumn arrives in the Threshold system, engaged in battle with the Covenant Armada. After the crew being successfully evacuated, Captain Keyes, Jacob, lands the P.o.A on the surface of the ring world, later know as "Halo". Captain Keyes is captured, and kept prisoner on the Covenant ship, the "Truth and Reconciliation", but is later saved by Spartan Joh...FFW--...........engaged with a parasitic alien species now known as the "flo...FFW--..........blew up the P.o.A's engines, escaping in a longsword fighter, before the resulting explosion destroyed Halo, and is believed to have destroyed the Covenant Armada of battleships as well. END OF DATA
Searching for history: Fire team "Gamma" Marine Corps. Recorded platoon events since engagement with Covenant on the P.o.A at 09:48 hours: Loading...
Fire team "Gamma" ordered to secure airlocks on deck 8, by A.I construct "Cortana". Miscalculation by A.I results in fire team "Gamma" not engaging the Covenant. Covenant board deck 7. Fire team "Gamma" awaits orders...FFW--................. Deck 8 is sealed off, due to hull breaches. Fire team "Gamma" enters life pods and after disengaging, one life pod is destroyed from Covenant fire. Two large chunks of metal crash into the other two life pods, sending them both off course and deep into space...FFW--...........crash landed on planet known as Retina (RE-TEEN-AH). Planet air deemed breathable by scanners. Higher concentration of oxygen then that of halo. Bird like creatures sighted and recorded. Fruit wielding trees deemed edible by scanners...FFW--..........ash landed resulting in a minor earthquake. Covenant party engaged by fire team "Gamma", resulting in loss of marine, Pvt. Casey, Peter. Marines return to CQ. Covenant forces land on the surface in dropships and...FFW--.........Connors orders "Gamma" to aid Covenant in their battle with the "Flood". Marines return to...FFW--............END OF HISTORY: New history recorded every hour.
Present orders: Loading...
Marines ordered to move inside CQ for cover.
END OF PRESENT ORDERS.
Time: 18:46 hours...Accurate.
Sergeant Connors stopped playing with the safety switch on his M90 shotgun and looked up at the entrance to the cave from where he was sitting. There, a marine sentry worriedly called over one of his mates, and told him to look into his binoculars. Sergeant Connors watched as the marine shoved the binoculars away and swore. The marine ran to Corporal Alexander, who was leaning against the wall, cleaning his sniper scope. The marine whispered in his ear. The Corporal's eyes widened, and he told the marine to get back to his sentry post. Corporal Alexander looked straight at Sergeant Connors, and walked hurriedly over to him.
"Sir, the sentries report a flight of banshees coming our way."
"Good Lord. EVA?"
"2 minutes, Sir," Corporal Alexander replied.
"Okay, that's..." he thought up in his mind as he looked outside at the stationary machine guns, "...just enough time to get everything inside. Issue the command."
"Yes Sir." Alexander complied. He saluted, turned, and switched on his radio, as he walked away.
Over the marine's comm. layout, Corporal Alexander's deep, calm, educated, and Australian accented voice could be heard.
"All marines, a flight of Covenant banshees are on their way to our position. You know what to do men, get everything and everyone inside the cave now; we don't want to give away our position if we don't have to. Move out!"
Sergeant Connors couldn't help but admire Corporal Rhys Alexander. He was always calm in the heat of battles, and always fought valiantly, and with a clear head. He knew when the enemy was too much to handle, and always followed orders, as did every marine under Connors' command. Corporal Rhys was extremely well respected among the entire Marine Corps, and he was supposed to be promoted to Sergeant on the P.o.A, along with 4 other Corporals, who fought heroically on Reach. But of course there was no time for that, when the problems escalated for the crew on the P.o.A when they came out of slipstream.
Rhys was a sniper of the highest quality, one of the finest marksmen in the Marine Corps, and he had the medals to prove it. Although most snipers weren't too well liked among the regular marines, Rhys was. He always carried his MA5B AR with him, and more often than not, he used it instead of his sniper rifle. He just liked the feel of full automatic fire, and the scene of Covenant getting chopped up by the bullets. This aggressiveness killed him over 30 Covenant soldiers, not including the ones downed from his sniper rounds. He was an Australian, and was a descendant of one of the Australian W.W.I 'Gallipoli' soldiers. The Australians had fought with extreme courage and aggressiveness in that battle, and from then on, that was what Aussie soldiers were renowned for, aggressiveness. Rhys had explained later, that the only reason the Australians had lost that battle, was because of the ignorance of the British high command.
Rhys had told Connors all about this, since they had been friends ever since they met each other when they joined up to the Corps. Sergeant Connors (who was then a private) took an immediate shine to Rhys, and as they shared rations, and helped each other out at every chance, they got through their training with shining colours. Connors thought to himself that if only one marine got off this planet, he hoped it was Rhys. Connors pulled himself out of his daydream and addressed the situation. Marines were moving about quickly, but orderly, getting everything out of sight.
As soon as everyone was inside and everything was packed away, they turned all the lights off, and cleared everything away from the entrance. 30 seconds later, the marines heard the screaming of the banshee's engines go over their little cave they called their CQ.
After roughly 5 minutes of listening to the banshees making passes across the valley, and after a further 3 minutes of waiting in silence, Sergeant Connors was sure the coast was clear. He ordered Pvt. McCauley and another marine regular to make sure the banshees had left, and weren't just nearby. After being reassured of his team's safety, he ordered everyone to get back to their positions and set up their base again.
"Corporal," Connors called.
"Yes sir?" Alexander replied.
"I don't like being a trapped rat, and I'm sure you don't either."
"No sir, no one likes it. I looked at every man's face when those banshees were flying overhead, and they all were worried and stiff as a brick. Even Andre'."
Connors looked over at Pvt. Andre' Pattarnis. He was mute. He couldn't talk at all, ever since a plasma bolt hit him in the throat and upper chest, burning his voice box, in the battle on Reach. After the medic who was working on him filled his wound with bio-foam, the bleeding veins were cauterised, and he was saved. The medic had no solution to how he survived, except it had something to do with "not hitting anything vital", as he had put it. After he was taken to the P.o.A, when Reach was trying to be evacuated, he was checked over, and he turned out fine after they patched him up, so he continued to serve in the Marine Corps, learning to 'talk' by original marine hand movements.
After wincing to himself at the pain that Andre' must've felt, Sergeant Connors spoke suddenly and quietly. "We're going to attack the Covenant ship."
After a few seconds pause, Alexander replied, "Yes sir." a sound of agreement in his voice.
They both watched as the five or so marines set up the camouflage tent over the top of the machine guns, so that if any Covenant ships were in orbit, (and now they knew there was, since The Odyssey was in no shape to send out banshees), they wouldn't see their machine guns and other equipment.
Alexander turned to face Sergeant Connors and stood straight. "Awaiting your orders sir."
Outside Covenant ship: "The Odyssey". Port docking bay door / 19:13 hours
Manatee, the golden elite, watched as the veteran elite tinkered with the control panel to one of The Odyssey's port docking bay doors. After the flight of banshees had been sent out to find the humans, his commander, Jolé, had ordered him to lead a team of 25 troops of his choice into The Odyssey and save it's crew. Jolé had explained that they had lost contact with the bridge, and that they needed to know what was going on.
"Expect the worst, my friend," were Jolé's last words before Manatee shut his comm. unit off.
Suddenly, the large plasma door flickered, went bright, and then disappeared. Manatee ordered his force to move in and take up defensive positions. As the last grunt knelt down on one knee behind a comm. box, a jackal in the corner of the room started choking. All eyes in the room watched as the thin shield bearer sank to the ground clutching it's throat, making a horrible hissing, gagging sound that sent a shiver up Manatee's spine. It was then that the large elite noticed the green gas-like substance emanating from the vent in the corner where the jackal was standing. He recognized it instantly; the spores that the flood vented into the air to slowly kill any enemies. "That jackal must've taken one hell of a deep breath", he thought as his gaze wandered back jackal, which was now twitching on the floor.
As Manatee raised his plasma rifle to put an end to this 'distraction', the jackal started shaking violently, scratching itself and clawing at the ground, screaming words of agony in it's native tongue. It managed to get itself to its feet, breaking its left arm doing so. Manatee winced as he looked at the sharp bone protruding out of the jackal's skin. A grunt and two jackals went over to help it as Manatee and the rest of the squad just watched, barely thinking about the present danger that was looming all around them, just concentrating on this bizarre occurrence.
Just as the grunt put its paw onto the jackal, the jackal screamed and clawed at its chest, scratching its armor. A large purple bump emerged on its chest, and its face started turning greeny-brown. All of a sudden, the jackal exploded sending purple and green ooze all over the two jackals and the grunts. All three of them screamed as they started to get lumps all over their bodies. They started clawing at themselves, screaming out for help. After a few seconds, they too exploded sending more fragments of bone and showers of blood over the docking bay floor. Manatee's mandibles dropped. He had never seen, or heard, anything like this ever happening.
A veteran elite roared and pointed and the now moving ooze. Manatee grabbed a plasma grenade and threw it at the ooze that was creeping along the floor in the direction of the squad. The grenade blew and burned the ooze into a crispy, flaky, and thankfully stationary stream of blood.
Manatee tried to find some kind of explanation for what had just happened, and finding none, he ordered his troops to move towards the only unlocked door in the bay. As they proceeded up the ramp, the jackals began to talk amongst themselves, grieving for their comrade, and shit scared from what was now never going to leave their minds.
As Manatee walked behind his force, one of his elites fell back next to him.
"Sir, that jackal must have taken a very deep breath in. I've seen troops die from spores in the air, but not that way."
"Yes Gantamee, I agree. I've seen them die too but never like that. I've heard however, that flood warriors seem to thrive, and fight much faster and smarter in high oxygen areas. Since this planet has a higher oxygen level than halo, do you think that the spores could be more effective here than on halo?"
"Yes sir that could be it. I'm willing to take any explanation as true after seeing those troops explode."
"Hmm," Manatee breathed out loudly, in a deep tone, "Tell the troops to stay away from the vents. These flood have obviously adapted quickly, and there's no telling what new surprises await us on this forsaken ship."
"Yes sir, they will know."
Manatee watched as Gantamee pushed through to the end of the group and spoke up, telling the troops their orders. It was over 20 decks to the bridge, and since elevators had many vents in them, he wanted to stay away from them. He had been warned to stay away from sector 3, and the two sectors above and below it, since they were in complete flood control. There was a service way around those sectors so they would use it, hoping the flood hadn't completely taken over that as well.
Suddenly, a report came in over the troop's comm. units.
"This is sector 20. We are taking heavy flood resistance from front and behind! We can't hold them off! We need re-enforcements! Sector 20 to anyone do you copy!"
"Sector 20 this is Field master Manatee. We are troops from the New Beginning. We are in sector 2 now, what is the fastest route to your location?"
"Umm, err, the elevator is the fastest route, Field master. However if you're thinking the flood spores will be venting into there, we fixed that. I won't go into detail now, just get up here as fast as you can!"
"Copy that sector 20 we're on our way. Manatee out."
Manatee ordered his men to get into the elevator, and 12 troops had to stay behind until it came back down. Manatee, 5 elites, and four jackals got into the lift and ascended towards what they all thought was their demise. As the door opened on sector 20, a flood corpse fell through and onto the floor. It was burned to a crisp and steam was still trailing off of it.
"Manatee to sector 20, where are you located?"
"We're around the corner from the lift, field master, we'll move to your position now."
"Copy that," he switched off his comm., "Send the lift back down for the others."
A jackal pressed the switch and laughed as the flood body was ripped in half as the doors closed and the lift descended.
"Good to see you're alive, what is you're name and rank?"
The tall elite from sector 20 replied, "I am Forta, the ships' commander's assistant. I guess you'll want to know what happened here."
Manatee looked around the room at all the black plasma burns and bullet holes, and then at the Covenant and flood bodies lying all over the floor. The door to the lift opened again, and the other 12 troops got out and stood at ease.
"They attacked after the commander took back sector 19. You see the commander was fed up of the flood gaining so much ground, so he decided to attack them himself with the two squads holding out at sector 19. After he radioed me back informing me of the situation, just before he shut his comm. unit off, a large force of flood attacked the bridge. He mustn't have heard anything, so we didn't get any help. They bashed through the doors, and I and 5 other elites escaped. We joined up with sector 20 and 21, and what you see here is what's left of us."
Manatee looked at the tattered group, 7 elites, 4 grunts and a jackal including Forta.
"After we regrouped with sector 20 and 21, we decided if any re-enforcements came, we'd need them quickly, so we blocked off all the vents in the elevator, but something happened."
Manatee knew what it was straight away, but he decided to wait and see what Forta thought of it.
"One of our jackals, well, exploded. He was patching a vent when he started choking and gagging, and..."
"He started scratching himself, his head turned greeny-brown, and a large purple lump appeared on his chest," Manatee finished. "The same thing happened to one of my jackals in the docking bay we entered."
Forta's confused face turned to an understanding one as Manatee finished what he was saying.
"Yes, I believe it has something to do with the high oxygen levels on this planet, the combat forms seem to fight better here than on halo." Forta said, seeking Manatee's approval.
"Yes, one my elites and I came to that conclusion as well. Did any other troops explode?"
"No, just that unfortunate jackal Field master."
"Well did anyone touch the ooze that came from the explosion?"
"Yes, a grunt and one my elites inspected it, then after they touched it, it started moving so we fired upon it and burned it."
"Where are these two troops??" Manatee yelled at Forta.
"The elite was killed and the grunt is over there," Forta pointed at the grunt who was leaning up against the wall, "Why sir?"
"Two jackals and a grunt were showered by that ooze when the jackal exploded, and they got spots all over their body and they too exploded. I believe our little friend may do the same."
"What do you suggest we do?"
"I'm afraid he must be killed Forta, we cant have any more troops dying that horrible way."
"Alright Field master. But how can we kill him without spilling any blood and getting ooze on ourselves?"
It was cruel, but it had to be done. As Manatee walked past the grunt, he cut open its methane tank with a plasma knife. The grunt slowly choked, not understanding why it had to die. Manatee was sad at such a waste of a soldier, but reminded himself it had to die. As Manatee walked back and signaled for two grunts to take away the body, Forta began talking again.
"We didn't kill all the flood that attacked us, they just retreated a few moments after I hailed for help. But now that you're here, we want to try and find the commander and his two sector squads. If he's dead we have orders from him, or I have orders, to initiate the self-destruct sequence."
"I'm afraid our commander wont allow that, Forta. He specifically said that under no circumstances must we blow the ship. I'm sorry if that was your commander's last wishes but that's just how it goes."
"That is fine with me. I'd hate to see this ship surrendered."
"As would I" Manatee replied, "Where would you like to start?"
"Well I would like having the bridge back, but the commander is more important. We should proceed to sector 19 and search from there."
"Alright, I'll gather my troops together and get them to take point, your troops seem tired," Manatee motioned towards the group of grunts who were wheezing and trying to keep their heads up.
"Very well, we'll watch your backs."
"Are your weapons any good?" Manatee enquired.
"Well they'll hold out until we get to sector 15, there's an armory there which I believe the commander was heading to."
"That's a start at least. Lets get moving."
After they had gotten organized, they set out down the corridors, heading for the armory. As they walked along at a steady pace, they watched every shadow, every crevice to make sure they weren't caught by surprise. They moved in unison and formed 3 groups, 2 of 12 and one of 10 troops. They moved through sectors 20 through to 16 engaging little resistance, mostly just stray infection forms and a combat form every now and then, but it was when they reached the hallway to the armory in sector 15 that they all froze.
Manatee swallowed back the bile that was rising to his four-pieced mouth. His eyes were watching the top of the doorway, which had been ripped open and thrown to the ground. He was watching a drop of blood that was slowly getting bigger. It suddenly dropped down into the chest cavity of an elite, which had been burnt, then ripped open obviously by a combat form. It was missing a mandible and the other three were all broken and hanging loosely. The elite must have been dead a few hours, but it was still bleeding fairly heavily. The purple trickle of blood streamed through the little pattern that the floor made and ended up trickling through the door and into the armory. Manatee's gaze ventured into the armory, where a sickly dripping sound echoed.
He walked into the room, and was almost knocked over by a foul stench that seemed to cling to him. It was a smell that was familiar to him, the smell of rotting, burnt flesh. There was a fire burning in the near center of the room. Suddenly, a small flicker caught his gaze in the corner of his eye. He looked around to see a huge amount of blood and chunks of body parts and limbs in the corner of the room. There was a large mass of gore, which seemed to be a body. Manatee walked over to it, and saw the thing that had caught his eye.
The gold armor still had a shine to it despite the ridiculous amount of blood still flowing onto it from what seemed to be a mouth. The part of the nametag was still showing, but the rest was covered in blood. It read: 'Kavamee Kavamitus', Manatee wiped away the rest of the blood, 'Commander of "The Odyssey"'.
"Yes field master?"
"I found your commander."