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A Marine Named Peters: Veni, Vidi, We Got Our Asses Kicked
Posted By: GLADIATRRR3000<gladiatrrr3000@hotmail.com>
Date: 28 November 2004, 11:25 PM

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       The doors were starting to glow. The Flood were sentient, but that doesn't make them geniuses. Sure, they could have pulled the doors open, but why do that when you can melt them?

       Karls stood there, staring intently at the growing red circle spreading from the center of the door towards the outer rims. He stared down at the ammo reading on the small monitor on his MA5B, saw it read in the 50's, and looked back up. Rodriguez had pulled back some marines to help with the fight, but Karls knew it didn't matter. A medic had dragged the corpse of Peters towards the back of the group. Karls didn't notice what the medic was saying, but it was obviously important enough to make Rodriguez help carry him.

       The doors were turning white now, and heat could be felt from where they were standing. It was the most light they had seen in almost an hour in this makeshift hell. Karls could hear growling on the other side of the door. His heart started beating faster, and adrenaline, constantly flowing for almost a week now, made him ignore some of the smaller cuts and bruises on his body.

       A few shots were heard from the other side of the door, the distinct whine of plasma rifles. Then, there were more. For some reason, however, the door started cooling, albeit very slowly, turning back into a bright red. That meant that the plasma fire was pointed back instead of at the sealed gateway.

       Another marine noticed this, too. "What's going on? Why aren't they trying to get through the door anymore?"

       Silence answered, and it answered loudly.

       After a few moments, more loud growls and plasma fire filled the air. A loud SWOOSH! Tore through the sounds, and the distinct SPLAT of Flood corpses hitting the ground echoed through the ship. A grenade went off, blowing a small section of the door off. A marine went up to it, shoved his shotgun into the hole, and pumped several shells into the hallway beyond.

       The marine screamed as an Elite hand, a real Elite, not a mutated Combat Form Flood, pulled the gun out of his hand. A garbled English voiced came through the notch in the door. "Let us in, and we swear on our honor you will not die by our hands."

       Karls walked up to the door. "Who's there?" He said, anger and sarcasm filling his voice.

       The Elite half-roared, half-sighed, and reached for something on his belt. Karls and the unarmed marine backed off as a plasma sword hissed to life and cut I bright red line through the door. Several Grunt fingers stuck through the crack and pulled each half outwards.

       Every marine, with the exception of the unarmed one, put the Gold Elite in their sights immediately. The unarmed marine reached for a grenade, but the Gold Elite grabbed his arm, pulled it towards him, then pushed him back, knocking over a pair of marines.

       "As of now, you are our only allies." He said, apparent anger filling his voice. "You are the closest things to an ally. Our leaders have abandoned us, and our dead are seeking retribution for our sins. We have noticed your weapons are somewhat... more efficient at the cleansing of the Flood, and we are offering you... a trade."

       Every marine's mouth opened wide. "Wait- why aren't you killing us?" Karls asked.

       The Elite turned and looked at him. "Your squad, if you could call it such, has killed more Flood than my ex-unit. I have decided that you were an asset to several small battles we have fought, and that is reason to let you live for a short while longer. We will give you your lives in exchange for your weaponry."

       Karls looked at another Private, who shrugged in return. "Well, we aren't really in-"

       Rodriguez stepped over one of the marines still struggling to stand from before. "That's up to me to decide. You're telling us to give you OUR weapons, and in exchange, we might survive. No deal."

       The Elite sighed. "Very well. I offered you safe passage, and you declined." He turned and walked away. To the Grunts left standing he said, "Kill them."

       Before half the Grunts could lift their weapons, dozens of bullets tore through the air, pocketing their small bodies with bloody craters. Of the 15 Grunts that entered, the 2 who were already outside the room were the only to survive. "Well, that was pointless." Karls said.

       "Agreed. Everyone, let's continue to the hangars." Rodriguez barked.

       Low on ammunition, the Marines, only about 15 left now, slowly crept their way towards the NAV point. So far, since the incident with the Elite, no Flood had detected them. The NAV marker was only about 500 feet way when a single infection form was spotted, gliding across an adjacent hall on it's tentacles. Someone shot a 3-round burst at it, and it popped, sending ribbons of flesh into the air and splattering a small amount of green blood onto the walls. Everyone held their breath, knowing that where ever one Flood was, the rest were there too. Hopefully they had been quiet enough to evade the rest, but obviously they were not.

       The next hallway down, about 50 feet, split into 2 directions, both of which shot out Combat Forms life a faucet turned on. Ceiling panels behind them burst open, and infection forms rained out. No one waited for Rodriguez's order to fire, but under the circumstances, she was not annoyed in the slightest.

       Karls grabbed a grenade off of a fellow soldier's belt, pulled the pin, and tossed it down the hall. It landed behind the first wave of Combat forms, exploded, and pinged shrapnel around, popping several more infection forms and tearing ex-Elites to shreds. The marines in the back were having a slightly harder time, trying to coordinate firing patterns so they wouldn't all reload at the same time and give the infection forms a chance to overrun them.

       Rodriguez ordered the small group to slowly move forward, trying to get to the hangar bay. The marines in the back crouch-walked backwards, and one of them tripped trying to do this difficult task. As he fell out of the small circle, a fellow marine grabbed his collar and attempted to pull him back while firing, but couldn't do both things at once. The fallen marine tried to stand, and took friendly fire in the chest. He stopped for a second, stared at the hole in his ballistic armor, and grimaced. He fell backwards, and an infection form stuck a small spine through the bullet wound and burrowed it's way into his torso. Just as his skin was turning a dark green color, Karls turned and put a burst of bullets into his dead comrade's stomach, popping the small squid-like creature, which also caused the man's intestines to burst out.

       So far, they were able to keep the Flood somewhat at bay, but they were dangerously low on ammunition. Rodriguez was shouting into a microphone on her helmet, yelling for a dropship from the Sparticus. Apparently, no one heard her, because she swore loudly into the mic. "Aristotle, are you still connected to the Covenant's onboard computer?" She asked.

       Aristotle, who was still in her helmet, answered through a private Com link to her, so only she was able to hear his response. "Good, now, I want you to rupture that small control panel right at that corner." She said, cutting herself off every few words to fire at another enemy.

       A second later, there was a spark at a small hologram down the hall, and a large bright blue explosion, the size of a few plasma grenades, incinerated the remaining Flood in front of them. "RUN!" Rodriguez shouted, and every marine stood and ran forward, outrunning the small Infection forms chasing after them, lusting to infect one of them.

       The distance to the Hangar Bay seemed to rapidly decrease, as all of them were running as fast as their bruised legs and heavy armor would allow them to. One marine got hit in the neck by a panel falling from the ceiling, which tore his artery and sprayed blood into the air. His voice was nothing more than a simple gurgle and no one saw him fall, as he was in the back. He didn't bleed out fast enough, and was able to watch as a sea of Infection forms pours over his body, each one tearing at him, trying to be the one that got hold of his nervous system first.

       The rest of the group was only 100 feet from the hangar and could see the last door in their way. Everyone was shouting, half excitement for their oncoming departure from this hell hole, half terror. They reached the door, but it wouldn't open. Rodriguez pressed on her earphone, and turned and shouted, obviously more nervous than she had every been. "The ships shields are down, and the hangar doors are open. This door is an airlock, and it won't open until the next room has pressure." She paused for a moment. "Aristotle is turning on the shields now... wait... 3 Pelicans are inbound, ETA 2 minutes. Aristotle, put up the hangar doors the SECOND they arrive!"

       "Everyone, hold out until this door opens!" She shouted.

       Everyone's Assault Rifles and Shotguns were pointed straight ahead. The only sound now was breathing and the shaking of their hands. Whenever it got quiet, it seemed, the Flood were always getting closer. Karls leaned up against the wall, breathing hard, and closed his eyes for less than a second before he felt the heat of the assault rifles firing next to him. He opened his eyes and didn't even point his gun before he held down the trigger. Combat form carrying grenades charged at them. The first line on marines, about 5 in total, shot them before they got close. Their legs tore out from under them, and the grenades detonated on the floor, causing a 3 second lapse in the Flood's advance.

       Most of the Combat forms were not carrying weapons, but they were still dangerous. They were hurling bones torn out of corpses as spears, most of which not sharp enough to pierce the Kevlar and battle armor. One spear, however, caught a marine in a joint, and he fell to the ground, screaming. The marines around him pushed him towards the back, where another body lie. Karls looked at it, and realized it was the corpse of Peters. "Rodriguez!" He shouted over the gunfire. "What is Peters doing here?"

       "Every corpse we leave behind becomes one of those things, and we had the time to grab him before we left!" She yelled back.

       "He's dead! Why don't we just leave him?" He said, but was drowned out by a grenade explosion.

       Shrapnel caught 2 Marines in the gut, and they bleed out within seconds, screaming terribly. There were only 10 people left, now, and not a single magazine to spare. One by one, their guns emptied, and the Flood stopped their advance. A growl passed amongst them, sounding somewhat like a combined laugh, and slowly, the moved forward. Intelligent enough to realize there was no threat, they lowered their arms.

       Karls pressed back against the airlock, and silently prayed he had a bullet left to end his life, when over Rodriguez's earpiece, loud enough to be heard by Karls, Aristotle said, "Hangar bays closed! Opening Airlock!"

       The door opened, and the marines fell backwards to the ground. "C'MON BOYS, IT'S PARTY TIME!" Karls heard someone yell, then saw a group of six marines carrying miniguns towards the open doorway. For a second, he could have sworn he heard a Combat warrior swear, then everything was drowned out by the constant shrill whine of hundreds of bullets tearing through the air.

       "WHAT THE HELL ARE THESE THINGS?" One marine carrying a minigun said with a heavy Australian accent.


       The 10 marines who had been sent on the preliminary mission stood up and raced for the Pelican, which was hovering above the hangar floor. The 6 rescue marines saw that they had boarded the Pelican, and slowly started to walk backwards, still holding the triggers down. "I'M HALF EMPTY!" One shouted.


       Karls, still in shock, buckled into a seat and thought to himself, Man, these guys are crazier than I am. After another 30 seconds, the guns emptied themselves, and the 6 marines dropped them, turned around, and sprinted back into the Pelican. "CLOSE THE DAMN DOORS!" They yelled in unison as the last one sat down. Rodriguez, closest to the front, pounded a large red button on the wall, and the Pelican door shut quick, sealing them inside. They heard pounding on the armor, and then Aristotle, who Rodriguez had inserted into a small slot in the Pelican's control panel, said, "Hangar bays open."

       Before the pilot closed the thing door separating the cockpit and the cargo bay, Karls saw Combat forms being sucked into space and freezing instantly.

       Rodriguez was about to congratulate them on surviving, but saw that everyone, save the 6 marines who had just arrived, was already asleep from exhaustion.