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Forever - Adeus Ex Machina?
Posted By: Dispraiser<dispraiser@netzero.com>
Date: 4 January 2004, 8:06 AM

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Forever Adeus Ex Machina

       I smiled. My rifle cracked and a bullet leapt from the end of my rifle, contacting a Grunt's shoulder. Bullets sparsely traveled alone, though, and soon blue blood blossomed from a half dozen impacts across the Grunt's frail body. It twisted in the air before drifting lazily to the ground. I stood and ran across the rubble to the fallen Grunt, kicking its body to confirm its demise. Satisfied that my rifle had ceased his life I leapt over his body and slid from the mountain of cement boulders. Some of the smaller rocks followed my descent, as well as a plume of dust. I shuffled around the remaining base of the building to the next corner. Nervously, I peered around the end of the block. Convinced that my survey of the area couldn't unearth any hidden foes I continued to cross the street, nearly trotting. After I successfully walked to the next block I heard nearby gunfire, accompanied by the orange glow of humanity's projectile-based weaponry.

      For a moment I considered cowering and simply turning back, but I was compelled by what duty and honor lie within me to help my fellow man. Full of valor and pride I charged around the corner. Bullets whirred in the air, dancing with plasma bolts to form a beautiful and deadly spectacle. A wounded soldier hobbled past me to escape the battle, and I remembered the infinite costs of the art ahead. Keeping first at a safe distance, I began to fire at misfortunate Grunts that were so unlucky as to have exposed their head or one of their limbs. Eventually, after around four kills, I was noticed by the enemy.

       I ducked behind some crumbled cement and steel. My back pressed to cold concrete I tried to consider what to do next. I tried as best I could to ignore the gunfire passing over my head in either direction, and to reload. When we were in training I hadn't realized how hard it would be to reload when I was trembling in terror. Within a half minute I had managed to reload, and carefully exposed my forehead and eyes from cover. The enemies who had begun to proceed towards my position was busy killing the last of the original Marines in the area. The pack of mixed Covenant continued down the street, through the intersection at the start of my block and into the street between the buildings to my left and right.

      I started to scramble to my feet to flee. I managed to get a half step from the boulder before tripping. I peered over my shoulder as an Elite's head poked over the rubble. It stared at me for a brief second, and growled hatefully. I crawled pitifully away from the foul beast, nearly crying. Suddenly the windows in the building across the street from my position exploded in gunfire. Literally dozens of ODSTs repelled from the fifth story windows, and the second story had rained glass and hot lead spontaneously. The Elite's shield cracked as gunfire splashed across it.

      First, the Elite spun to face its assailant; arrogantly expecting the shield to hold. Its foolish overestimation of safety cost it, however, as a stream of bullets shattered the shield and plunged into the Elite. It toppled onto the rubble, purple gore popping into the air. As it fell, emotionless, beady black eyes stared upon me. I watched the last of the Covenant die at the hands of the ODSTs and hit the Elite in the stomach with my rifle's butt. The Elite yelled in pain. Gloating, I spun my rifle. I pressed the bloodsoaked butt against my shoulder and took aim at the Elite's chest. I deliberately depressed the trigger, and watched as a dozen bullets stole the Elite's life. A careful smile crept across my face, before I began to help the ODSTs look for surviving Humans to help, and surviving Covenant to slaughter. As we finished searching the bodies another Covenant patrol emerged, this time two Creeps. The long, bus-like craft hovered across fallen rubble and bodies alike as it continued to battle us.

       The Marines were the first to fire. ODST machine-gunmen killed one of the Creep's gunners and several passengers before the craft managed to pass into our block. Most of the ODSTs in the street had managed to run to cover, but the remaining half dozen were slaughtered at the hands of purple lances of plasma. As they fell, I stood behind the bloodsoaked boulder and began firing. I peered nervously through a trembling scope, firing at the driver of the closest Creep. Sparks fountained from dozens of impacts with the metal, a manifestation of my inaccuracy. However, two lucky bullets managed to plunge into the pilot. The limp Grunt body fell from the Creep, crashing to the ground besides the Creep. Disorganized Covenant panicked and leapt from the fallen Creep. As it toppled to one side it crushed almost half of the passengers. I continued to fire at enemy soldiers, though after many dozen shots I realized my Magazine had been empty for most. The ring in my ears left my senses blind to reload. I noted this weakness, and continued to drop behind the boulder and reload. As my hearing came back an explosion cracked on the other side of the cement boulder. My ears rang, and I was sprayed in a purple mist. A twisted Elite's body was hurtled over the rock. Most of the beast tumbled to a stop before me. I suddenly wished I had a grenade or two. I rose from cover and killed a Grunt that was within two yards of me. Only a few muzzle flashes scattered loosely throughout the street indicated surviving Marines. The surviving Covenant of the crashed Creep were-for the most part-nonexistent. The other Creep was still fully operational, and had dispatched all of its troops. The turret atop it rained fire on a stranded group of Marines, who hid behind a melting cement barrier. I fired two magazines into the turret, though it wasn't till the last half dozen that I managed to vacant the vehicle. The Marines behind the rock waved a short thanks, before diving back into combat against a dispatched team of Elites. A few Grunts began to fire towards me as well. I dropped behind cover, and slowly, tactically killed two Grunts. As I slaughtered a third Grunt I was rewarded by the shouts of a dozen of Marines.

       Some hurtled their helmets, rejoicing. Others simply yelled thanks to the sky; thanking god for their victory. I simply grinned, knowing that I had been called to duty, and fulfilled my requirements. In the simplest possible fashion I collected my ammo and continued walking down the street.

       Silently I wondered to myself...
       Deus ex machina?
       Not with my luck...