Stranded at Home Part 3
Posted By: Dispraiser<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 30 January 2003, 7:00 pm
The man from the convoy stepped towards me. I couldn't see him, his face masked by the thick layers of clothes that coated him, all tan with only little glass covered holes for his eyes to see out of. He said through a mechanical filter, "State your name."
"Jim Kahn, 43rd airborne, and--" he clubbed me in the back of the leg.
"Yeah, why, what are you?", he hit me in the face and the gut before I could even attempt to dodge his blows.
He turned to one of the other garbed desert man and began to ramble something in another language, probably Farsi, the native tongue of this region of Lunar 4. I could pick out that he used UNSC one too many times for me to be comfortable with what he was saying.
I spat some blood on the ground, the spit quickly evaporating on the hot desert sand-beds. His superior, from what I could tell replied, and walked away. The man turned around and clubbed me over the head with a staff he carried.
I woke up to a dark, rumbling room, inside one of the transports they had. A guard stood leaning against the door with a wooden staff, maybe an item of some clan significance and an assault rifle hanging from his neck. It wiggled loosely and he didn't look to be the best suited for the role, seeming young and inexperienced. The autumn colored sand slipped in through a crack that ran along two of the sides of the room and showed a tiny slit of the yellow desert sky. Mark lie over on the other side of the transport, one of his legs amputated, which was to be expected considering the damage that it took in our crash. The guard turned attentive to me as I began to sit up. He yelled something at me in a foreign dialect and still seemed amazed that I didn't understand. He kicked me in the side and watched as I rolled twice over to the side of the craft. He shouted something at me again.
"I don't understand you, can you tell me what you are saying in English?"
He turned his head, probably using basic English skills to decipher what I had said. I said something wrong, and he kicked my again. I fell to the ground, him having hit me in the diaphragm. I wheezed for a second, unable to breathe, but quickly shuffled to get back up, I couldn't let him see that he was wearing me down. He slid a leg back and prepared to kick me but stopped suddenly. Wrinkling his forehead he looked down to me, "Speak English?" he said slowly as if he were saying the words for the first time.
"Yeah, yes, I speak English. Ca you get someone who speaks English?"
He sounded out the word someone and stored it in his memory, probably to go ask for someone English speaking. He shouted at me again and left the room. I wiped some blood out of the corner of my mouth and crawled over to Mark. He lie unconscious on the ground and wore bloody gauze on both legs. He looked to be dead, and if he hadn't have been in such a lively position, sitting rather than lying, I would have assumed him to be dead. His face was pale the moon, and his joints all hung limp. I set a hand on his shoulder and wiggled him. He woke slowly and faced me.
"It was all a bad dream, right, tell me it was--" he looked at his leg and saw that it was not.
I calmed him quickly, trying to get him to stay calm and quiet. "Yeah, this is a nightmare come true. Who are these guys, and why do they hate the UNSC, do they realize that we are fighting to save this planet along with their asses!"
"They are called the Neo something, maybe the Neo Covalent or Neo Covenant."
"What? I thought you were passed out." I replied, wondering how he knew what they were called when I did not, and I had seen one while conscious.
"Earlier one came in and beat me around, they asked me a lot of questions."
"And what did you tell them?" I asked, it was instinct to do so.
"Name rank and serial number." He replied. He had told them only the necessary, he probably withstood plenty of torture to keep everything secret from them though how much it mattered even I doubted.
"Good work. So how did you figure out their name?" I asked.
"One of them mentioned something, like this was the retribution of the Covenant, the loss of this planet, and something about Spartans, do you know if any were here?" he replied, in a usual sense asking more than he was answering.
"No, the only Spartan-II's have never been to Lunar 4, it's too far away from the inner colonies." I replied, hoping to get a straight answer out of him.
"Ah, well anyway, one mentioned that their Neo Covenant counsel would be electing a leader. They also mentioned the name Spartan-III many times, probably just a slip up, but still something to look into. Have you ever heard of any Neo Covenant terrorist organizations?" he replied, asking much more than he was answering again.
"I think, but I thought we destroyed their last roots years ago. This is a pretty large group of them to be around after the fall of Matheus Marx, could they have been the Brotherhood, or maybe the ASA."
"No, if they were from the brotherhood they would all have dyed their hair white, and if they were from the ASA their weapons would be red, there's no telling what they are really. Maybe just a community that has skipped out on their taxes, right?"
"Well, it doesn't matter. We have to get out of here, have you noticed any guard rotation?"
"Do I look like I'm in any condition to be running away? They took my leg last time they came in here!"
"Wait, don't you mean amputated?"
"No, I mean took-" There was an awkward silence following his reply. The silence filled the air, interrupted only by the violent roar of the engine. I heard the familiar hum of flapping wings, followed by the appearance of a nimble Goxine. It fluttered into the car and hummed around for a minute, taking our attention off of our current captivity and onto it. A Goxine bite can be a nasty medical condition, and one that a prisoner would never survive through. The door slid open to reveal a flexible hallway constructed of a ribbed rubber tube. A different, bulkier man set foot in the room, a rifle in hand and a toothpick extending from his mouth, probably the real interrogator. Mark wiggled away from him, an even paler appearance to his face, and brought on more terror.
"Well, well, well, f it isn't a few of the UNSC damnations. So, did they stamp both of you out of the factory as well?" he asked, a natural sounding English accent flowing fluently from his lips. His voice actually sounded as if it had been speaking English longer than I. We paused for too long and he decided to punish one of us, Mark. He walked slowly to him and placed a hand gently on the stud of a leg he had. "Answer me Marine." He pressed harder. I saw Mark shudder and clench his teeth as the force and pain increase together. He screamed aloud as the man pressed even harder upon his wounded leg Mark screamed some more before passing out from the pain, flopping to the ground, again looking more dead than alive. The man stood, realizing that further torture was of no use and kicked Mark in the ribs before turning to me. "Do your friend's screams loosen your tongue?"
"Nah, he was my worst enemy. He owed me at least a small fortune alone." I lied.
"You try my patience! Tell me, where is the SP--" suddenly the transport rocked, accompanied with the roar of an explosion. An alarm light began to spin rapidly. I could hear more explosions and screams in the distance. Some gunfire, both in the distance and near, sounded as a small battle began. "Damn! Why did they choose now to attack?"
The man quickly ran out of the room, and I moved at an equally brisk pace to Mark. The side of our car suddenly exploded inward, throwing me against the far wall as it rolled onto it's side. Some shrapnel hit me, and I was cut in a few places though none were very severe. Some more explosions hit nearby, more dust and rock flying overhead. I tried to pull free from my rope bindings, but to no avail. Another explosion roared behind the car and I could hear stones hitting the side of the APC we were in.
A body thumped to the ground, or rather the wall of the APC near to me. His rifle, which was intact, would come in helpful, given of course that I could get free from my binds. I quickly discovered that struggling against the binds was futile and searched the enemy soldier for a bayonet or combat knife. I flipped him over and found one on his belt, and I slid it out quickly beginning to saw through the rope that bound me. I grabbed a canteen off his leg and unscrewed the cap, dumping it on Mark's face. He coughed and sat up, awoken by the water I had poured on his face. He looked around bewildered as another few artillery shells exploded nearby. Some gunfire barked in the distance continually after every one of these bombardments, and it seemed as if hundreds of rifles were being fired at once.
"What's going on?" Mark shouted, having just woke up in the middle of an attack.
"Sounds like an artillery regiment just opened fire on this column. Here, can you give me a boost, I need to roll this cart back over!" I yelled, grabbing pack of grenades from the terrorists dead body. He crawled over to the middle of the transport, where the hole in the side was directly above him, and rolled onto his back, holding both of his arms straight up. I stepped on them, and felt his weakness. The blood loss and missing leg was taking a larger toll on him than he probably knew. He lifted me to the top of the car, and I finally got a chance to see the battle outside. I held my body up and saw the battle. A few other cars in the convoy were on fire, and most were damaged in some way. An Arachnid tank near to me fired a Standard Tank Warhead at a nearby dune. Atop the other dune was a few dozen Marines and a standard BAP battalion of 6 Units. I hurled a grenade down the terrorist column and watched it explode, killing a nearby terrorist. I grabbed another grenade and dropped it at the base of the transport I was in. I dropped down to the ground as the grenade detonated, flipping the car upside-down. My ears rung after the explosion, but I was able to grab Marks hand and the terrorists gun to escape out of the hole in the side of the transport. I leaned out to check for any nearby terrorists, finding only one. I fired a burst of gunfire in his direction, hitting him with none, but encouraging him to run away. I gestured for Mark to follow and ran out of the transport, but in the opposite direction of my terrorist sighting. Leaned around the corner, checking for anyone and found another terrorist. I shot him in the back twice and watched as he fell to the ground. I grabbed his gun and tossed it to mark, who, if nothing else, would carry it for me. I took the rifle and sent it around the corner, firing along the nearby carts without aiming at all. I heard a scream, and leapt around the corner, firing in the opposite direction, seeing at least a dozen terrorists before an artillery shell hit their position. The only problem of my current situation: that the Marines atop the hill would think that I was a terrorist and would shoot me if I tried to get to them and shell me if I didn't. I shuffled back behind the car and ran along the column to the front end of it. I noticed the decreasing bombardment. One of the cars near to me exploded as I ran by, hitting my side with a few small pieces of shrapnel. Mark kept up with me only because he was leaning over my shoulder. Following another set of explosions, the gunfire ceased on my side, which was, actually, my enemy's side. Maybe if I yelled to them that I am on their side- But I'll bet there are plenty of terrorists who have tried that before. I dropped my rifle on the ground and continued to run, knowing that being disarmed would only help my chances of survival. I stepped in between two of the carts and saw a trio of Marines. They fired at me, but I ducked back until they ceased to fire.
"Wait! I'm on your side! Jim Kahn of the 43rd airborne division. I was shot down in the Saar region!" I yelled.