Derailed Part 3
Posted By: Dispraiser<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 31 August 2003, 5:16 AM
I stepped into the control room of the train, pulling my helmet off and setting my rifle to the side of the train. I sat in the engineer's seat, and watched as the other ODSTs gathered along the sides of the train car, each removing their helmet and portions of their armor to get more comfortable.
"Score, us 1, damn monsters 0." Samuels said emotionlessly.
"Think it's 1 on 1 mate." Sellers continued, his English accent skewing his words, "They got 64 of our civilians and Dust."
I looked at my feet, disappointed in our loss. "Well, at least we succeeded in the mission." I said, almost solemnly. It was my job as leader to make sure that my pain did not show to the soldiers under my command.
Suddenly, almost taunting us the radio sputtered to life, "ODSTs, nice word defending that train..."
"I doubt you contacted us just to tell us that we did our job. What's the catch?" Samuels said with his usual, unvarying voice.
"Nothing good, son. Awwek is a big city, and well defended being a costal city. Unfortunately, it is also the hotbed of the latest Covenant attack. Three destroyers have descended from orbit and taken positions around the far side of the city. They began to deploy troops an hour ago, and now we have a siege on our hands. I hate to say this, but Awwek it not going to last. Awwek could take one cruiser, maybe even two, but three cruisers is a death sentence. Activate your brakes, get a Pelican to pick you up and get the hell out of the area. You can get to the bunker in the center of Valley Gemini. With your help they can ward off the invasion and maybe depress their lines enough that they will pull away from Awwek."
I walked to the front of the train and told the engineer to hit the brakes and turn around. "Anyway, the trouble we have is all in the front that they chose to open. They attacked by land. Awwek, as you know is a very well defended city because it is a costal city, and the threat of an attack from the West was great, so they created huge guns along the coast. The land on the other side, bar only entrances to the city are relatively undefended. Luckily, the great wall is holding them out for now, and defenses are amassing. It doesn't look good nonetheless."
"Sir, Mr. Warner, we are having some trouble with your orders." The engineer said. I walked toward the front of the train. "Well, look out that window at the plasma scorched area. That was our brake sir."
"What about other brakes?"
"What other brakes?" the engineer replied quickly.
"Is there anything else we can do to slow down?"
"Nothing besides turn off the engines and kick it in reverse as best we can, but going from full speed to reverse would kill the engines... Even so, at our current speed we won't be stopped fully even at Awwek. This is a fast train that generates almost zero friction. It is half of standard length and some of the train is missing. Sorry, sir, but I have no idea what to do."
"Well... You can pray."
I walked into the crew compartment, the radio continuing the babble on, I spoke, interrupting the radio, "I regret to inform you that this little joy ride is coming to an end. The brakes are out."
The ODSTs stared at me in disbelief, Samuels spoke first, "Out as in working out of all expectations?"
I sighed, "Nope. Out as in dead. One of the Banshees took the brakes out apparently, and we are on a collision course with the front lines of a Covenant siege."
"God I love this job... Well, looks like we've got one hell of a ride before us. I say we brave the risk of death and barrel into the Covenant lines full throttle, and if they stop us, what've we lost?"
"Our lives. I don't see what else we can do though." Samuels said, "How long would it be until we hit their lines?"
"No way of telling. The only thing more fluid than this train's hull is the Covenant attack force. They are extremely mobile, and could come down on the train as soon as an hour from now or as late as tomorrow. We could miss their attack patrols completely as well." The engineer said.
"Well, we'd best get ready then. Tell the passengers to sit down and under no circumstances stand up. God knows how our luck will hold out, we need them all seat belted in with air cushions to make sure they live. I would also like you to gather all of the survivors and move them to the front cars. Detach the back ones. Get the nukes padded and in the front of the train. This is going to be a rough landing."
"Oh hell... I'd like to say that I said this mission was a bad idea before we left! Didn't I!" Mitchels shouted. I chose to ignore him and left, beginning to prepare for a rough impact, and planning on sleeping until then.
I awoke in the middle of the ensuing night. There was a perfect tranquil silence in the train, and I wondered what had awoken me. Suddenly I felt an unimaginable horror that I found in this silence. I slid the shade up from the window and peered outside. I could see a gradual curve in the track that extended to the horizon. At the horizon I saw lights that lit the night sky and turned it to an artificial day. Blue and orange flames scarred the sky, and vicious arcs of artillery and tracer fire flooded the night sky, piercing it with the acute evil of war. The car had no smell, but for a moment my eyes were flooded with the horrible memories of warfare - the stench of melting flesh, the horror of knowing that I could randomly die at any moment for no reason, the pain of watching my friends die at the hands of foul monsters, and the burning sensation of hatred for life as everything you once knew became death. My silent torture ended suddenly as I snapped to attention and noticed that my hand was on my sidearm, and that a cold tear ran slowly down my face. I didn't want to fight again.