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Derailed Part 7
Posted By: Dispraiser<dispraiser@netzero.com>
Date: 1 October 2003, 12:57 AM

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      The Warthog accelerated as if driven by the strength of our will, and plunged forward as would the symbolic stake of Covenant power to the heart of this fear wrenched planet. Sparks tumbled in the air, their thunder none other than the roar of their conception within the barrel of the Warthog's dancing chaingun. Lances of tracer fire spilt rivers of blood as the Warthog drove from target to target.

      I stood behind the chaingun, watching, satisfied, as trails of gunfire shredded my targets. An unlucky Grunt wasn't as fast as his friends while running from crater to crater, and proved Darwinism correct as a hole the size of a baseball materialized in his chest. For a brief moment I thought about releasing the trigger, but soon realized that even if I wanted to I probably couldn't. It was hardly me fighting anymore, but instead my will to survive, and my hatred for the Covenant. The Warthog skipped over another hill and slid back into the driver's control as we turned to kill the survivors of the last attack run. An Elite, once the intimidating monster of nightmares was now nothing more than another target. It was odd that though I continued heedlessly on my march to death a hail of bullets preceded my every move, streaking forward like the fiery breath of death. I chuckled as the Warthog barreled over the body of a Grunt.

      The battle continued incessant for nearly fifteen minutes before we finally reached the true site of the Human's last offensive stand. Dozens of Warthogs, APCs, BAPs, Scorpions and Arachnid tanks marked the firm defensive lines of the Human bunkers. The ground was littered with pieces of fallen supply convoys, bodies, and the soil was wet with the spilt blood of fallen friend and foe alike. The Warthog drove into the small opening between the piles of sand bags and trenches, and parked in a large pit, established to use as cover from enemy snipers. Above the orbital batteries fired out of Awwek again, the red trails disappearing as the bolts left the atmosphere, though faith soon sheen its rewards, a brilliant flash in the sky as a Covenant ship was destroyed. I prayed that this was symbolic, and even in this time that faith was so hard to see, there was a god watching us, waiting to help us strike down our foes. I cursed myself for lacking faith and began to dismount the Warthog. I jumped from the Warthog and began to look for a superior officer, though I saw none. It seemed like the Marines didn't have a plan for this battle, just to sit still and fight back. A simple plan, but not a good one.

      "I was part of the light reconnaissance group when our vehicle was ambushed. Two of our group disappeared, and I lost McAvy, my original gunner. Shartenay, the guy you saw was wounded in the same ambush. It was like they were coming from everywhere, sir."

      "You know what's going on better than I do, can you tell me anything about how we're going to get back to Awwek? These nukes are for them."

      "Well, I figured we'd stop here and ask our commanding officer. Looks like he's gone though, don't know when he'll be back, if ever."

      "Alright, do you think you can get a dropship for us?"

      The driver laughed. "You think that any pilot could, or would make it to this place? We're ten miles out form Awwek, and from what I've heard the area around Awwek is nothing but a sheet of Covenant."

      "So, all we can do is drive? Damn... Think we could get a little convoy, a few Warthogs maybe? We could use some troop carriers to speed up the progress. Ammunition is also a little tight, and having some more rifles and grenades would help, lots."

      "I'll see what I can do. No promises, but I think I can get us some Mathean Kraftods." He said. I grinned, I loved those things, though I hated getting shot by one.

      I continued looking for a command post, wandering the base randomly, though I found only a makeshift armory, which I plundered for ammo, and a medical tent. Inside I saw a dozen of the civilians in our escort, and two of the surviving ODSTs. Marcus, wounded, was getting his leg patched, and Samuels cradled a broken arm, an injury he suffered in the crash. A cut dragged along his face, perfectly straight through a blackened cheek, the explosions of a thousand bullets leaving only the single mark on his face. We were the lucky ones... I looked at the ground in shame, blaming myself for the befouled operation, and searched for the commander of the operation. A large blue bolt sliced across the horizon towards Awwek, and shattered into a brilliant explosion. The air above the camp became a blinding blur of light, brighter than the sun and I was beaten to the ground by the bolt's heat. I scrambled to my feet, as did several dozen others and scrambled to reload my weapon. I didn't know what was going on, but having a loaded rifle made me feel more secure. The light was around a hundred feet above the camp and fading. It appeared to be a contrail from a large plasma bolt. Hurried battalions of soldiers crossed the camp and I ran back to the medical tent to hurry Samuels and Marcus n a desperate attempt to get to the Warthog. I didn't wait for them, as I ran to the Warthog's former resting place. It was gone, however, and the nukes were missing within it. A moment before I cursed myself for losing it the Warthog roared, driving defiantly into its former resting spot, this time a duo of trailers in tow.

      "Climb aboard sir, we've gotta get out of here!" Martes shouted. A squad of Banshees flew overhead, very low. Plasma gunfire tore across the ground as the dive bombing monsters tore defenseless Marines to the ground. The wounded, the innocent, it mattered not to the vile creatures; only that we died. I screamed and fired into their ranks as a half dozen V shaped formations met heavy flack fire. "Sir, we've gotta go! We don't have time for this! Get in and get the civilians into the trucks, as many as we can!"

      Disappointed as I failed once again, I shuffled to gather the civilians, waiting, terrified, backs to the wall. "Everyone, get into the trucks, get in the trailers! Let the women and children in first, some of you will have to hang onto the sides of the truck!" I shouted. I don't know if anyone heard me over the roar of the gunfire and aerial fighters dancing above, but most knew to run for the Warthog. They began to climb aboard the Warthog, and I ran for the passenger seat. I sat down, and felt the blood of the former resident of the seat. It was the first time I had felt human blood as cold as this, and it was chilling to realize that so many had died, and now lie as cold and lifeless as the bloodstain. A red bolt crossed the sky, roaring louder than the previous and heading in the opposite direction. The Warthog drove from the trenches just in time to see a spectacular explosion in the horizon. A Covenant cruiser struggled against the explosion, trying not to lose its ground. It seemed as if that brought an answer to my former questions, the blue bolt was from the Covenant cruiser. The bastards had tried to sneak in alongside the city... That probably meant Awwek was probably faring pretty well. The Warthog sluggishly accelerated, though it was towing well over the recommended capacity with around 50 civilians and soldiers in the back along with a ton of munitions. I turned to the driver and asked him what weapons he had found.

      "Well, sir, I think I did pretty good. I got us a few crates of bullets for every imaginable rifle, a duo of sniping rifles, a brace of jackhammer antitank rifles and around fifty other assorted rifles. I got a dozen Kraftods too."

      "I love those things." I replied.

      "Well, generally when the name translates into Mathean to be literally forger of death we tend to like the rifles. Those things are brutal though."

      "Trust me, I know..." I briefly remembered the pain of one of the rifles five blades spinning a path out my neck as two others exited from my hips.

      "Heh, a veteran of the last world war I see. Well, here's the update, that blue flash scared the hell out of everyone, but it looks like that should be the only one. God knows what the Covenant are planning next, but they're having one hell of a time getting into Awwek. They want to get into it, but they can't bomb it from space, the orbital guns are keeping em all back. The last one you saw was their attempt to trick us and destroy the city. I don't know how much damage it did, but the red bolt you saw was an MAC bolt from the cannons. The one slug is as big as a small naval destroyer. Anyways, this is a good thing for Awwek, but a very bad thing for us. We need to get to the city, and the Covenant are out of options. They've lost a half dozen starships to the city and have only hit it once or twice, and it seems like they aren't doing much to kill the real threats. However, this is not a good thing for us. We can't use the MAC cannons on foot soldiers, hence the huge ground battles you're seeing. We have to force our way through the mainstay of this battle to get to the city. As for our luck so far, we seem to be doing good. All we can do is hope..." I frowned instinctively. Another person using prayers to forgive their weakness. I looked at Martes. He forgot his seatbelt...