Taking Tritus Part Two
Posted By: Dispraiser<email@example.com>
Date: 18 December 2002, 9:38 pm
“Calm down, there has to be a rational explanation for this,” I began to fumble with his broken leg, knowing that I could not move it or he would risk injury as the Commander tried to calm Hagan, who was unspeakably confused by this. He was not one to anger or confuse, and the monster had done both. “It could have been that you just clipped it, or something. I‘m saying that some of the rumored Covenant ‘Special Operations Elites’ have taken at least twenty rounds to the chest, they could easily be down here”
“Yeah, right, those are just something that people made up to scare others, I want an explanation, and now.” Said Private Hagan. I caught a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye. He was looking pretty scary, veins. On his neck bulging to sizes that almost met the size of his eyes, which were also considerably larger than usual.
“Alright, maybe you missed, I mean, we were all scared, and no one was ready for combat, you had no time to think or to aim--”
“Bull shit! I am a great shot, you all know that! I didn’t miss. I never miss!”
“Well, I’m out of explanations then. I still think that it was a Spec Ops Elite.”
“The blood is red!” He waved to the crimson puddle behind him. “Elite blood is purple! It was human or some new Covenant. Either way, we have to organize some hunting parties to capture it!”
“You mean kill it, look at what it did to Carsons and Techinak. We want revenge! We have to avenge their deaths!” shouted Markson who had formerly been a quiet man of few words.
“Calm down,” said the commander, “We only have a few more hours to wait here until we are--”
“Are picked up? Yeah, in black bags! This thing is killing us one by one, and at this rate none of us will make it out of here unscathed, we have to do something about it now!” shouted Hagan.
“Calm down, no one is leaving in a body bag from here on out, we can kill it, just give us the chance. If it is something that is alive, we can kill it. It’s a law of nature, it will die, and we will make it do that within 5 hours, and we will all make it out of here alive, but first, we have to get the power to work. Two of you, take the door, and the others help out with Williams.” Said the commander, though the rest of us was only one. Our numbers were too thin now with three casualties. “Caleb, how is Williams?” Thank god, the first name basis is back!
“A fractured leg, he is in shock, but otherwise fine.” I said while continuing to give him some painkillers and standing up to get something to create a splint. Because the Covenant don’t use projectile weapons, most of the things inside our medical kits were designed to treat burns and blood loss, not broken bones. I put a hand around a metal pole on one of the parts of the reactor that was used as a railing and pulled on it. I pulled the first time with no results, the second, however, ripped it off the wall. I set the hollow pipe down on another nearby railing and held the other side in my hand. Lifting one of my legs I stepped down near the middle and bent it so that it was only half its original length. Walking back over to the place where Williams was resting I grabbed some of the bandages, wrapping them around his leg and the splint. It was the best I could do, but he was still near to immobile. I slapped the side of his cheek lightly to wake him up. His eyes opened for a second, just long enough for me to say, “You’ll be alright” and for him to smile before passing out again.
Williams stood, leaning in the corner weakly on the makeshift crutches that we had created. I stood cleaning the barrel of my gun. The commander finally finished fixing the reactors at twice his expected ETA. We had five hours till extraction, and things were getting tense. No one had spoken in the past half hour, and though the mood was much brighter with the power back, I doubted that anyone would talk soon. It was too tense perhaps, but no one knew what to do, or even what we were fighting, so everyone was mad at someone, using them as a scapegoat. The commander wanted to break the silence for at least a half hour, but didn’t know what to say. I could tell by the way he nervously tapped his foot. I finished cleaning my gun and lowered it, the commander taking the opportunity to speak. “This. This thing. It’s playing war games with us. It has wounded one of us to slow us down. Killing us one by one, it wants to fight us as a source of fun. I want two parties, one get Williams to the elevator and wait there for extraction. Top floor if possible, and if the elevator comes up without us radioing in, brace for an assault. I want Markson and Hagan with Williams, take our heavy weapons. Caleb, Johnson, with me. We’ll try and frag the monster down here. If we call you down, meet us in the infirmary wing because we should have a special friend to dissect. Alright people, let’s move, Caleb, you’re our point man this time.” The commander yelled. His friendly attitude must have been impaired by the stress from the current situation, or his realization that we would need to be more serious if we wanted to make it out alive.
I quickly scurried to the door and raised the rifle so my eyes just barely cleared the top of the gun and prepared to march down the hallway. We were almost finished sealing off the room to assure that the power couldn’t be disabled again by welding the door shut. A minute or two later, the silence was all but broken. I was already prepared, however the others of my hunting party were still gathering the munitions they needed. Secretly I knew this was a suicide mission, for all we knew, there was nothing down here and we had all been affected by some kind of bends that made us hallucinate or something. “I’m ready, bravo team, you all locked and loaded?” I asked. Bravo was the team that would hold the evac zone with Williams, and we were Alpha, the team that would kill whatever was down here.
“Bravo, ready for extraction preps. Move out!” Hagan yelled militaristically as he began to run down the hallway. Snaking his gun and face around the corner he yelled “Clear, move!” and the rest of his men followed, Williams with his crutches and resulting limp.
I turned around and faced the commander. “Let’s follow precedent, you guys all locked and loaded?” I asked.
“Yeah, so, where do you think we should start our search?” the commander asked.
“I have no idea. But let’s just do a circle around the perimeter of the facility. Lets make a ton of noise too, it should draw it out when we pass near. After we need to shell it out, and try to hit it with as many bullets as possible. It’s relatively simple, but it’s the best I can think of.”
“Good enough Caleb. Caleb, point, I’ll take our six, Johnson, cover Caleb.” The commander ordered, acknowledging my plan. I took point and led the others forward with a wave of my hand. I took a right at the next hallway and pressed my back up against the wall, sliding along it to the end. I thought I had heard something. Readying my lucky rifle, I raised it across my chest and nodded my head off to the side signaling them of the status. Slowly leaning around the corner I saw a little girl and boy, probably six. I comfortably stepped around, alerting them. As they turned I saw that they had short necks, slightly enlarged eyes, and both were carrying a facial structure that labeled them as nothing more than five though their height could easily place them among the ranks of the seven year olds. They were both also wearing an army fatigue, the fatigue flopping idly as it hung loosely off of the tiny children.
“What are you kids doing down here?” I asked. I wondered myself, how did a pair of freakish kids get into this base dressed in military fatigues? They both stared at me for an eerie amount of time. Slowly stepping back I heard the noises of Johnson and the Commander talking as to why I was talking about a kid. Stepping around the corner they realized that I was talking to a real boy and girl. The boy had an almost inquisitive stare on his face, and a few bullet holes in his fatigue near this abdomen. Raising my rifle I asked, “What are you doing down here? Who are you?”
The commander, raising an arm to try to get me to lower my rifle failed as I brushed him aside, “What are you doing Caleb? Those are just a few kids, probably as scared as us!”
“Nope, look at the ones chest.” I said, the commander quickly raising his rifle.
“What the hell? Are you two AWOL? Oh my god. You mean.. It’s one of them?” he too raised his rifle. Suddenly a series of chirps and groans came from the two of them, they were both sounding like dolphins. Suddenly they both sprung forward simultaneously. Johnson discharged a few rounds towards the male, and knocked it off to the side. The female however landed on the commander.
“Commander!” I shouted, grabbing my gun by the but and charging at the thing on the commander, smashing the front of my gun against its skull. Knocked off of the commander it raised a hand to its forehead, covering a large cut. The boy was behind her standing up. Chirping a few more times the female nodded and the male ran away. I grabbed the commanders arm and yanked him to his feet. He spat up some blood and readied his rifle again. Johnson fired a dozen more rounds at it as the commander and I ran away. Johnson then turned and began to run. As I checked behind me I saw the boy run around the corner with two rifles in his hand and toss one to the little girl. The little girl leveled the aim and fired down the hallway at me. I dropped to the ground though no shots hit anywhere near to me. The commander extended an arm for me, but I looked up, grinned, and lay back down, playing dead. He quickly continued to run onwards, down the hallway. The girl ran off, maybe to hunt the others while the boy readied his rifle in a combat stance and paced quickly down the hallway to my body. Crouching, his head still looking towards the last place where the commander was he reached down to grab my ammo. His first mistake. I chuckled opening my eyes and held the gun up to the bottom of his head. Unloading a half dozen rounds into its head was apparently lethal, it collapsed limp. This was a trick I learned in the Yakuza a while back. Just to make sure it was dead I shot it in the face a few more times. I graded the area near its armpits and dragged its body into a storage closet, locking the door and taking the gun. We could kick down the door when we needed to, so I also barred it shut. I picked up my radio and sat down outside the door. “Commander, are you ok?” I said, the radio replying by beeping as it shut off allowing him to reply.
“Fine, we lost the thing. We think, you?” He asked. I looked over at the body I had. It was near to decapitated, the top half of its head missing, its facial structure also decimated. It was too bad I had to make such a mess of it, but it had to be done.
“Yep.” I said, “I got it too. I’m sure that it’s dead. Can you guys get down here and check it out?”
“You got one!?!” he asked, astonished at the result of my ambush. “I would have never thought, I hesitated to leave you behind because, frankly, these things are pretty damn close to immortal. Well, we’ll be there as son as we can, the storage closet near the place where we first encountered them?”
“Yeah. It’s inside with me. Come quick, who knows what these things are.” I said.
“Alright, we’re on our way. Just sit down and wait, see what you can tell from the body. We should be there within a few minutes.” Said the commander.
“Rodger, I’ll bunker down here. Get here quick though.” I said before shutting down the radio. I thought for a second. The extraction teams should probably know about this too. I turned the radio back on. “Hello?” I heard some noises from the other end of the radio as someone grabbed the radio. I could hear the hum of the elevator in the background as well. “Hmmm? Is this the commander?”
“No, it’s Caleb Mitchell, are you guys still ok?”
“Well, we caught one of those things. I killed it. It’s a little kid, must be six or seven. But you should have seen it. Hagan, right?”
“Yes sir, this is Hagan.” He said.
“Alright, remember the one that you tagged with a few shots?”
“I remember that son of a bitch, did you get him?”
“Yeah, just for you. Six bullets stuck in his side. Nice work.”
“Wait, a little kid and he took six shots and didn’t even die?”
“Yeah, we don’t know what it is, but I am contacting the LFC to find out. Whatever the hell this thing is we should have known about it before they sent us down here.”
“Right, well our team is half way up the elevator shaft, so we should be fine. Just make it out alive guys, but now that you killed it, aren’t you ok?” Hagan asked, clearly misinformed regarding their numbers.
“No, we IDed another target in Tritus. We have no idea how many there are, but we should be up in just a while. Chances are that now what the LFC knows something is down here they will let us extract.” I explained.
“Right, we’ll send the elevator down for you.” Said Hagan.
“Rodger.” I said, turning off the radio again. Grabbing the box that I had o carry the long range transmitter I began to set up the tiny dish. Finally setting it up I called out for our command team. “Command team, do you read me?”
“Yeah, we have your signal. What’s happening down there, the lights were out for a little while.” Asked a clearly misinformed captain. I had no idea how far out of the loop he was, so I decided to keep quiet regarding out special friend.
“Can you connect me to the LFC?” I asked. Even if he said no, I would still talk to them, it was just a matter of how quickly I can convince him that it is necessary. It all depended on to what degree he followed rules. The LFC is usually busy with “important” business like all the political crap, which never turns out to be much more than whether to build a new school or not.
“Nope, the LFC is on some important business right now.” He replied. It was expected, but I had a plan to talk with them.
“Alright. How close are you to them?” I asked.
“They are right behind me at the counsel table. Why?”
“Well, ask them about some kids we found. See if it gets their attention away from this… important business.” I said. I hoped that this wasn’t that secret of a project so that none of them would know. I did a good job sounding cryptic though… I could really be a guy in a black suit and tie if I wanted and do the governments dirty work… I scratched the bottom of my chin thinking of all the things I could do.
“Ok, I’m back.” The man said
“Well, Counsel Ginkog wants to talk to you.” He said.
“Well tell Counsel Ginkog,” Ginkog was a well known name around the counsel, the military director and a real stubborn man. It might take some interrogation to get him to talk about that this thing is. Or maybe if I threatened to go public, “to get his ass over to the phone and tell me what I am fighting down here!”
“Fighting Lieutenant?” He asked, I hesitated, about to talk when he said, “You know what? Don’t say it. Just don’t say it. Here, here is Ginkog.”
“What is it Lieutenant?” asked Ginkog in his naturally deep voice. He had thirty years of decorated military service behind him and showed the mental scars openly, “I should hope this isn’t a call for an autograph or something, because I am a very busy man--”
“Too busy to take care of your own kids?” I asked, hoping that would be clear enough to alert him if he was in the loop, and cryptic enough to keep him out if that was the case.
“Look, who do you work for, the Press? That was just a little thing, and I swear I am paying child support. You can’t tell anyone!” he said. It looks like he needed a little more clarification.
“No, some kids on Tritus.” There was a long silence.
“I told them to call off that experiment years ago!”
“Wait a second, experiment?”
“Yes, to make something special. Something that really could be all it could be. It saw more failures than successes, so I had it cancelled, a real money drainer, cost trillions of credits a year. But listen, the kids you saw, what did they look like?”
“Well, they were armed and we think they killed a few of our men. Get this, they snapped their necks. Not many people can do it they way they did, and up till now, we hadn’t even seen it. But this one took about ten shots to the side and walked away unscathed. What are these things?” I said.
“Were they tall?” he asked
“Yeah, they were, about two years ahead of usual judging by their facial structure.” I said replying to his question.
“My god. They finished it.”
“Finished what? Some experiment? Nothing can take bullets as well as these things. No experiment could make kids snap peoples necks.”
“This one could.” Another silence, “I want you and your men out of there immediately. An extraction team will be departing in 30 minutes. I want you to destroy the elevator to Tritus after you leave, do you hear me?”
“Wait, but I still have more questions!” I yelled.
“As I said before, I am a very busy man, and I have no more time to waste with you.” He said. I could tell he was putting up a show for the counsel to make it look like nothing special was happening. “And good luck.” He said discreetly. The phone he was using clicked as he shut it off. I sighed. We were clearly in over our heads. I collapsed the satellite and slid it back into its case. I then put that into my field backpack that had my munitions as well as many other things in it. Which reminded me of something, I was hungry, and so was my gun. Slipping another magazine into the rifle and throwing the other one to the side I grabbed a ration and quickly swallowed the food. Dropping the wrapper I crawled quickly over to the body and inspected it some more. I left the remainder of the head alone and instead searched its fatigues for anything that might clue me in as to what these are. I flipped over its right arm to find a tiny barcode on the bottom of its wrist, but other than that, nothing out of the ordinary. It also looked to be much stronger than me, and that was some feat. Its muscles were infinitely powerful from my basic observations, and I was almost surprised that it was so powerful, despite having such a light frame and young age.