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The New Reach Campaigns Chapter 8
Posted By: Gasmask
Date: 16 October 2002, 7:24 pm

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        October 21, 2997
        Colony of New Reach
        Empire City
        9:52 A.M.
      Chancellor Veloram paced his office, looking at the man standing in front of his mohogany desk.  The corporal was standing erect, giving his report about what happened at New Orleans Revived.  A high security prisoner had escaped, and a heavy armory was destroyed. This was not working.  He had to do something. He had to kill someone.  The corporal.  Yes, that was it.  He would take this out on the corporal. He reached inside his desk, and pulled out a covenant sword.
   "Do you know what this is, son?"
    The corporal paused for a minute, then said, "I believe it is one of the energy swords that the Covenant elites used. But how..."
    The chancellor waved away the question with his right hand. "Ancient history, corporal. I would like you to have this weapon."
   "Really, sir?" The corporal's expression was shocked.
   "Really, son.  I want you to have it through your heart."
    Suddenly, the chancellor's appearance shifted.  Too late, the corporal realized what he saw was a hologram.  Before him stood an elite, tall and strong, in shimmering armor.
  "If we cannot exterminate your race, we will enslave it the way Communism did."  The elite's speech was gutteral. The corporal only looked on it terror as the warrior leaped over the desk and brought the sword through his body. The corporal lay dead.  Once more, the elite's appearance shifted, and he looked like a man again.
      Steven looked out of his dropship's hatch.  He saw mountains flash by, rivers, and lakes.  This was a beautiful world.  And it was time to take it back for the UNSC.  They were going to attack the capitol city of Empire.  A voice crackled over the speaker system.
     "Five minutes till drop off, gentlemen. I suggest you lock and load your weapons."
    The Spartan was glad the pilot gave them the warning. Just enough time. He had Mike and Stephan put on his team, along with nine other marines.  The vehicles would be dropped off later, whenever they were called for.  Steven reviewed the intelligence briefing in his mind.  Chancellor Valorum. Head of the USSSR on this planet, and a key figure in their political system.  He was the last one left, really.  Besides his officers, most of the other figureheads were gone. Just a few more.
      As the dropship zipped closer to the objective, Mike rolled his head from side to side.  He was still a little stiff, and his Spartan armor didn't help that too much. He took a few deep breaths, then loaded his assault rifle.  He cocked it, and the display screen came to life.  He put ten more clips in his pack, then sat back.  Might as well enjoy what was left of the ride.  He scanned the faces of his team members, trying to read their emotions. Fear, anxiety, excitement, they were all there.  The only one he couldn't read was Steve's. If only a Spartan could see through his friend's helmets.  That might help them to sympathize with them a little bit more.  But there is not to be any sympathy in war, really, he thought, just the spilling of blood.  He thought, not for the first time, how simple his life had been before this conflict.  He just did what he was told, no questions asked.  Now, he was tired of war. Tired of orders.  Tired of conflict.  Soon, he told himself, it will all be over.
    Kr' Nelka arose from his chair.  He hated his job.  He hated being with these humans.  He wanted to enslave them, not just order them around.  But that was his assignment, and he could not deviate from it. His alter-ego, Chancellor Valorum, had been killed earlier so the elite could take his place. Surprisingly, the Chancellor had put up a pretty good fight.  That was what Kr' Nelka longed for.  To once again be at war with humans, not stuck behind some desk ordering them.  He exhaled deeply, then exited his office, his peripheral vision contorting because of the hologram around him. He went out into the street, a cigar in his mouth.  If these humans did one thing right, it was the cigars. Most Covenant scorned anything to do with human culture, but Kr' Nelka enjoyed the occasional cigar.  It was quite challenging to blow smoke rings, and he tried often.  He puffed away, making his way leisurely down the street.  He finally found the place.  He went down a dark alleyway, then opened a manhole.  He descended down into the muck.  He powered down his shield, turned on his beamsword, and turned the shield back on.  The hologram's power was getting low, so he turned it off.  The sword illumitated the walls with an eeire blue glow.  His path twisted and turned until he finally found the place he was looking for.  It was a humongous barracks, filled with grunts, elites, jackals, and brutes. Most were sleeping, but a few saluted the elite admiral as he went by.  He went to the far end of the barracks, and walked through a shroud.  A priest sat in his hoverchair, looking down on the admiral. 
    "Well, Kr' Nelka. You have come as I requested."
    "Yes, Shrnek.  What was this you needed to see me about? I do have a race to enslave, you know."
    The alien priest only smiled.  "Yes, my friend. I know.  I was wondering, have you heard from the high council as of late?"
   Kr' Nelka frowned. "No. What is it that you have hidden from me, you brencha?"
   Shrnek's face contorted with rage. "You are to respect your religious leaders.  Even admirals have a duty to our gods, you know."
   "Yes, I know. So, what is this thing you have called me for?" The admiral continued without apologizing.
  "The High Council has deemed fit that these humans most probably will not be able to serve us for long, seeing as they have short life spans.  They have deemed fit that we should destroy them."
  Kr' Nelka smiled. "I will do it." He turned and left the priest's presence. Out in  the barracks, he called, "Arise, my brothers! It is time to bring swift wrath upon these puny, pitiful humans! Let us strike with all vengance! Arm yourselves! Let none survive!"
      "Go, go, go!"
      Steven jumped out of the dropship as it landed outside of the city. All of the forces moved up, and infiltrated quickly.  But something was wrong.
  "It's too quiet," Mike said, "Where is everyone?"
  "Hold on a second," Stephan said, "Do you smell something burning?"
  "Move up," Steve said, shotgun searching for targets, "But stay alert. This could be a trap."
   They moved through the streets cautiously, jumping at noises. It was completely desolate.
  "Maybe they evacuated," a soldier suggested.
  "But they didn't know we were coming," another said.
  "Something is burning," Stephan said, "And it smells like a barbecue gone wrong."  There was a few moment's silence, then there was a call from a marine in the center of the town square.
  "Bodies! Bodies everywhere! All human, burning in a pile! Let's get outta here!"
   Just then, everything went wrong that could have.  Doors flew open, and plasma shots and superheated needles ejected from alien barrels.  This wasn't the work of Communists.  This was the work of the Covenant.  They had survived. 
   "Fall back to extraction point Beta! We'll hold these Covenant bums off from there!"
  Shots flew back and forth, grenades were thrown, and bodies hit the turf, never to stir again. Profanities were uttered, and laughter came from the alien's sick mouths. It was brutal. Steven had never been so enraged or scared at the same time.  He fired his shotgun into any enemy who came within range, and he blasted off grunt's heads, and jammed the butt of his weapon down on jackals.  He spun, and caught a brute in the head, and fired twice into its throat.  While the alien was gasping for breath, Steve continued to fight.  He took down alien after alien, killing elites, grunts, brutes and jackals.  He blasted into a hunter's gullet, and it fell to the pavement, its orange blood seeping everywhere. Steve looked back at his men, scrambling into vehicles that pelicans had dropped off. Now the tide of the battle was turned. A scorpion blasted into the throng of aliens, and their bodies were scattered. Men fell, and blood stained the grass black. Finally, after two hours, it was over.

To be Continued.