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Long Time Gone Part 41
Posted By: grylsy<grylsy@hotmail.com>
Date: 11 March 2005, 12:56 PM

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Long Time Gone Part 41: The Price You Pay For Loss Of Control

August 25th, 2551, Reach, less than one kilometre from the 999th Marine Divisional Head Quarters, 2246 Hours

       Chris was lying down next to Alison on the forest floor covered in pine needles and looked towards the incoming Marine patrol; they were in a loose formation with their Sergeant out front.

       Chris spoke softly into his mouthpiece, "let them pass, do not engage unless discovered..." Alison clicked her mic in reply and slowly pulled her rifle out of view under her guile suit.

       The patrol was barely thirty feet away and closing fast, they moved silently with a purpose, quietly, as if they were looking for someone...
       But they didn't take notice of the two slightly large mounds of pine needles as they stepped over them and kept moving off to the east.

       Chris waited for twenty seconds before moving; he knelt up and turned to look at the six man patrol, they were now forty metres away and still moving silently. Alison appeared next to Chris then moved up to the next pine tree in front of her and used it as a support to train her rifle on the rear Marine.

       "Don't even think about shooting, Alison," said Chris still watching the patrol.

       "You agreed to let me lead..." She said firmly, not shifting her sights from the Marine.

       "Yes but I know you won't shoot so quit playing around..." Chris' jaw dropped as the pine needles all around the Marine patrol exploded and the night was filled with the sound of gunshots and the blasts of muzzle flashes.

       "Argh!" Chris screamed as his goggles flared from the muzzle flashes as the goggles magnified the light one hundred times. "What the fuck?" He said recovering his vision.

       Chris saw that the Marine patrol had been cut down, but in their place stood five more Marines but instead of being dressed in standard Marine green these guys were dressed in guile suits as well, only their MA5Bs betraying their identity. They had used the same tactic Chris and Alison had used to avoid detection by using guile suits covered in pine needles and buried themselves in the needles already on the ground.

       "They're using training ammunition," said Alison monitoring them through her scope, "I don't think they'd notice a few extra gunshots, do you?"

       Chris chuckled softly, "I wish we could but we can't risk being detected..."

       "What the fuck!?" Yelled someone behind Chris and Alison...

       Chris turned with his submachine at the ready, a walking bush of pine needles had appeared out of no where, behind them, no it wasn't a bush, it was a Marine in a guile suit, the sixth member of the second group of Marines.

       Chris let loose a short burst, resulting in minimum flash and noise as the burst of fifteen bullets impacted high on the Marine's chest and pierced his armour, a dark, almost black liquid squirted from his wounds as seen through the night vision goggles Chris and Alison wore. The Marine went down without any further resistance but the damage was already done.

       "They're onto us..." Said Alison, the other five Marines turned to where they had heard the yell and begun to rush toward it.

       "Drop 'em," said Chris holstering his submachine gun and unslinging his assault rifle. Chris' goggles flared from the massive explosion of light from Alison's rifle as she fired. One of the Marines' head disappeared as it was hit by a 16mm x 155mm anti-material round. Chris heard Alison doing the bolt as he brought his rifle to bear on a Marine.

       Chris fired a burst and saw the running bush stumble over; the remaining three Marines dived for cover and started to rake the tree line with some of the worse cover fire Alison and Chris had ever seen.

       Chris flicked out the grenade sight from the left side of his weapon as bullets zoomed wildly over head and tore bark off the trees which was falling all around them. Chris adjusted his arc accurately as Alison took another shot and took down the Sergeant of the group.

       "Fire in the hole!" Screamed Chris pulling the second trigger in front of his assault rifle's trigger guard. Chris felt the recoil similar to a shotgun, hammer his shoulder as the forty millimetre grenade sped towards the Marines.

       A semi loud explosion echoed through the forest as the grenade exploded and sent thousands of fragments outwards and into the two remaining Marines, killing them instantly.

       Chris reloaded his grenade launcher, the large, smoking canister fell to the ground and he reached for another from the bandoleer around his torso.

       Alison reloaded her TZ and slammed the bolt home rapidly. She slowly rose to her feet and moved towards the bodies.

       Chris gave chase and checked his assault rifle; it still had thirty-three rounds left in the clip after he only shot a single burst in the fire fight. Alison roughly turned one of the Marines in a guile suit over with her boot, and looked at the body closely.

       "They don't look like regular Marines, you know," said Chris leaning down towards the Sergeant, the upper proportion of his head was missing, "nice shot..." Chris opened the man's guile suit and rummaged through his breast pockets.
       Chris found the man's wallet and inside that was his identity card. "Sergeant Eric Dole, UNSC..." Chris paused, "...Rangers." Chris let out a loud breath, "I hate Rangers, I fucking hate Rangers!"

       "You're not the only one but they'll be push overs, right?" Asked Alison moving towards the group of incapacitated Marines.

       "Not really, they're real good night ops and theirs only two of us, who knows how many Rangers are in the 999th Division." Chris examined the out cold Marines.

       "But they're only armed with stun rounds..."

       "Well if they stun us what then? They'll only kill us when we're unconscious or what have you." Chris turned the leader of the first group over, he was out cold and his sniper rifle hung limply in his hands.

       "What about these guys? Leave them?" Asked Alison.

       "'Fraid not," said Chris slinging his rifle, "they'll come too and find their buddies and raise the alarm."

       "How about we tie them up?" She asked, Chris didn't answer at first, staring off into the distance for a moment.

       "I don't like this any more than you but we're wasting time, if you don't want to watch get moving, I'll join you in a second..." Alison turned her back as Chris drew his bowie knife, "sorry fellas but its either you or me and I ain't the one unconscious..."

       Alison moved away from them as she heard the nauseating sound of flesh being torn by the super sharp combat knife.

       Chris closed his eyes as his blade sunk into the last man's throat then again as he ripped the front of their throat open from the inside.
       Chris wiped his knife clean on the dead man's sleeve and sheathed it. He removed the man's canteen and used it to wash the blood from his gloved hands.

       Chris motioned to move but stopped when his eyes glanced across the Sergeant again and his sniper rifle...

       Alison heard the footsteps and turned, Chris appeared from the darkness with another weapon slung over his shoulder, an S2 AM sniper rifle.

       "Why you got one of those? They only had training rounds." Said Alison.

       "Well if we come across another group we can use this to drop them somewhat less conspicuously, we can finish them off if we need too." Alison's look showed her disapproval with his recent acts.

       "I never want to see you try anything like that again," she said, "that was just plain barbaric..."

       "That was survival ..." He said slamming home a fresh clip for his pilfered S2 AM.

       "Those other Marines never had a chance, you just killed them in cold blood..." She turned her back on him but didn't move.

       Chris sighed. "What have you been blind on our past how ever the many missions we've been on together? All the targets always ended up getting killed in cold blood. The Spook on the Pirate vessel was killed in cold blood and so was your commander. It's how it has to be..."

       "But we could have tied them up..." Said Alison turning away and continuing towards the camp.

       "We could have except that we have to come back this way so I don't want any opposition on the way back, it will be hard enough as it is."

       "I call the shots from now on, Chris, now let's keep going, we'll talk about it later..."

August 25th, 2551, Reach, outskirts of the 999th Marine Divisional Head Quarters, 2321 Hours

       Chris crawled the last few metres towards the end of the forest, Alison joined him soon after. They hadn't encountered any more patrols or training exercises so they had made good time getting to outskirts of the base.

       Chris saw the lights only at first as they flared his goggles severely; he removed his goggles and looked down at the base. It was big; it was the head quarters for an entire division, it wasn't meant to be small.
       The base's area was easily over one hundred metres squared and surrounded by chain link fences and a trench system. The command centre was in the centre of the base, within its own defences inside the camp in case the rest of the base got over run by the enemy.

       The perimeter was crawling with guards, they were all on alert because of the training exercises; the base was an objective for one team that was just about to leave the base for insertion.

       Alison deployed her rifle's bipod and awaited Chris to set up his spotter's equipment. Chris fumbled with his pack and retrieved his optics from prepacked cases; he also handed over his remaining twenty-seven rounds for Alison's rifle which he carried in reserve.

       Chris got out his binoculars and used the laser function to get the average of the range to the base; it was just over thirteen hundred metres...

       "Thirteen hundred metres..." said Alison, "I've had confirmed take downs further away than that but that was with an S2 AM, not one of these."

       Chris just grunted a reply as he slowly backed away from the edge of the forest and ripped a small tree from the ground and bought it back to use as some cover and to break up their outline from prying eyes. .

       "It's not like they'll see us from here, Chris," said Alison looking over to him, he smiled.

       "Better to be safe than sorry, besides, I'm in the mood for some destruction." Chris put his assault rifle down by his side and unslung his S2 AM.

       "If you had some live rounds I would use that instead of this thing for that range," said Alison looking at her TZ-52.

       "The TZ is supposably a better rifle though?" Questioned Chris.

       "Yes it is but I have more experience with a S2."

       Chris checked his clip for the millionth time. "Well this will be good experience for you then." Chris ran his thumb over a loose training round in his pocket's blunt tip.

       Alison pushed up against her rifle more and looked over the camp for where Major-General Francis Walt could be staying in the camp.

       Marines roamed the massive base and one patrol actually walked half way between the forest and the camp on a massive loop around the whole valley.
       Chris followed this patrol with his rifle, testing himself to keep the lead man's head in the crosshair but soon got bored.
       Chris put the rifle down and grabbed his binoculars and searched the surrounding tree line.

       Hours passed this way, nothing stirred and they still had no idea where the target was within the camp.

       Chris had unloaded his sniper rifle and was dry firing on targets, testing himself not to flinch as he slowly pulled the trigger.
       After his hundredth dry shot at one Marine - looking right at their position but unable to spot them in the dark and at such extreme range - Chris got out his binoculars again and examined the tree line again.

       "There's nothing going on here, Alison," said Chris, "can't be stuffed waiting much longer..."

       "Patience, Chris, patience, seek and ye shall find..." Alison's rifle snapped to a position in the camp, her voice had changed somewhat but he didn't notice "contact..."
       He looked at the area in question with his binoculars, three men walked stiffly from the command centre towards a set of tents; one of the men was walking slower than the others, it was Major-General Francis Walt. "Confirm target as the straggler..."

       Alison checked her sights to the man at the rear; the trio had a forty metre walk ahead of them to the tents.

       "Wind speed is nonexistent, green light, good to go..." Said Chris gripping his binoculars tightly.

       Alison took first pressure on the trigger, keeping Major-General Walt's head in the crosshair. Chris glanced sideways towards Alison, her hands were shaking violently and the visible features of her face through the slits in her balaclava were covered in sweat.

       "You ok?" Asked Chris.

       "F...Fine..." Stuttered Alison closing her eyes for a long second.

       "Sure?" Alison nodded, "ok but take the shot, or who knows how long we will be waiting..."

       They trio reached the half way mark and Alison still hadn't shot, Chris looked again, the shaking had died down but she was still sweating furiously.

       "When ever you are ready..." Said Chris, he noted the deepness of Alison's exhale after he said that.

       The target got within ten metres of his door when Chris got nervous. "Alison, take the damn shot!"

       "I... I can't... Not again..." Alison's breathing rate doubled, she started to panic and Chris knew she wouldn't be able to hit the target in her condition.

       "Give me the damn rifle!" Said Chris snatching the weapon from Alison, she just watched bewildered as Chris took the rifle and shouldered it roughly.

       Chris found the target instantly and put the crosshair high on the man's chest as he motioned to open the door. Chris snapped off the shot...

       The bullet sped towards the target and covered the thirteen hundred metres in under a second; it entered just above Walt's heart and below his left shoulder but upon exiting, the bullet took all of the flesh with it and splattered it across the ground due to the entry angle from Chris' elevated position.

       Chris did the bolt rapidly and brought the weapon back up to his shoulder but froze for a second remember how many times he preached to his students to never fire twice at a single target in fear of having their position discovered.

       "Fuck it, we've already been discovered..." Chris fired a second shot and hit the motionless Walt on the ground in the head and did the bolt again but this time shoving the rifle in Alison face. He looked at the scurrying of movement around the camp and the massive amounts of startled Marines running from their Barracks. "This is between just you and me, Alison, now run!"

       Chris snatched his assault rifle up and gave Alison a nudge to move her along and his eyes shifted to her belt line, but not looking at her butt, looking at the pouch that held her Claymore mines...

       "Alison, keep going! I'll be with you in a tick!" Chris turned and reached behind his back and came out with his two Claymores and knelt down next to his pilfered S2 AM which he had abandoned.

       Chris then snuck a look at the camp close up with his binoculars briefly, Marines were piling into Warthogs and starting to barge out of the camp, intent on hunting down their commander's killers but they would have to abandon the vehicles at the tree line to continue after them.

       His deed done, Chris turned and ran into the tree line, his ear exploded in static for a moment. "McAllen what the hell are you doing!? We haven't confirmed the target is down yet..."

       Chris yelled as he sprinted, "half his fucking head is gone! He is dead! Get us the hell out of here!"

       "Ok, ok, now the reports are now showing Walt is dead and that the division is super pissed! Get back to the evac point on the double! The whole division is mobilising!"

       Chris ran hard, legs pumping and his heart pounding in his ears, his breathing was hoarse as he raced for where Alison had moved too, his footsteps barely audible over the crunching of dried pine needles.

       Chris run into a small enclosure tightly grouped pine trees and found himself staring down the barrel of Alison's rifle. It was shaking all over the place, Chris changed his focus from the barrel to Alison's face, she had a thick layer of sweat over her face and her eyes were closed...

       "Alison!" Cried Chris, she lowered the weapon instantly and opened her eyes, which were surprised to see him. "We got to keep moving, the whole division is onto us!"

       Alison stood up without a word and followed him like a lamb to the slaughter. "I don't know what happened back there... I just couldn't kill him, I couldn't kill another target for them ."

       "Forget it, ok? We can talk about it when we get out of here, I won't say anything if you won't ok? We'll say you took the shots... If you can stand saying you had to shoot him twice!" Chris' joke failed to lighten her spirits this time.

       Chris heard the double explosions and chuckled to himself.

       "What is so funny!" Screamed Alison, "we're being chased by a whole damn division and you're laughing!"

       "I rigged that S2 AM with a couple of claymores, damn nosey Marines; curiosity killed the cat fellas..."

       They ran together, just darkness and the rustling of leaves to the naked eye, but to the night vision goggles of a group of Marines - who had been on an exercise and called to help the tracking down of the assassins - they saw the two feeling snipers and were giving chase.

       Chris felt the weird sixth sense that someone was watching him; he snapped a look back behind him but saw nothing but endless black and grey. Chris fumbled with the pouch on his left hip as he ran, pulling out another set of goggles that replaced his night vision goggles briefly, they were thermal goggles.
       Chris powered them on and saw Alison's figure in front of him, her body heat represented by a mix of greens, yellows, blues, oranges and reds, he looked back again and saw twelve coloured blobs rushing towards them, about fifty metres behind them.

       "We've got company!" Said Chris looking back in front of himself only to run into a tree, it had no body heat and neither did the ground so everything except bodies were a hazy purple colour. Chris flopped to the ground briefly and changed his goggles as he got up; he once again saw the world on a grey scale.
       Chris felt the warmth of blood trickle from his nose and was being absorbed by the balaclava; he tasted the warm salty liquid on his lips as he ran, trying to catch up with Alison.

       "We've got a whole platoon on our ass!" He cried as he matched her stride, "we can't run for ten clicks, we got to face them."

       Alison nodded and skidded to a halt on the pine needles, taking Chris by surprise and she spun around with her rifle up and fired a shot at the lead Marine through the thermal mode on her scope.

       The man went down and the platoon dived for cover and begun to fire back, Alison hit the deck as bullets sizzled over head. Chris wasn't as fast and felt a bullet impact his body armour, he was winded for a second and fell to the ground limply, he felt for the bullet with a hand and removed it from his armour, it was a training round.

       "They got training ammo, watchout, Alison!" He cried slowly getting up and bringing his assault rifle's scope over a hazy grey blob in the distance and fired, it ceased to move.

       Alison fired her rifle two more times and killed two more of the Marines, she opened the bolt but only put one round in the cavity and closed the bolt, she was only loading one round at a time.

       Chris squeezed the trigger rapidly; each time a trio of empty casings would spurt from the breach on the right side of the weapon and was matched by a triple gunshot and three jolts of recoil. The Marines were taking heavy losses from the combined sniper fire and almost machine gun rhythm of the assault rifle.

       The Marines' fire was sporadic, they had suffered heavy losses and one of the seven men dead or incapacitated was their Sergeant and they didn't actually know exactly where the enemy was now.

       "Chris, use the grenade launcher..." Ordered Alison just as she heard the familiar sound of it going off. The grenade sped towards the Marines but fell short and exploded harmlessly in front of them.

       Chris reloaded his assault rifle first, then reloaded the grenade launcher and used his previous shot as a sighter and adjusted accordingly. "Fire in the hole!" He cried this time before he fired.

       "Get down!" Yelled the Marines seeing the muzzle flash of the weapon in the distance. The grenade exploded in the exact centre of the survivors and they were all killed by the fragments.

       "Shot..." Said Alison fully reloading her rifle this time and already starting to continue their escape.

       Chris reloaded and followed Alison as he counted his remaining grenades. He had started the mission with twelve and had used three to date, he only had nine left but he still had four fragmentation grenades on his belt, something told him he would be needing every single one before the night was over.

       "Keep moving! There are sure to be more on the way now after that business!" Yelled Chris to Alison just as he felt the air around him become warm with the sizzling of lead over head. "Shit they're already on us!"

       Chris and Alison continued their escape for a kilometre and passed the corpses of the Marines they had killed earlier. Chris spotted a K48A2 light machine gun slung limply around the neck of one of the dead men. He grabbed the weapon and three spare drums just as the ground at his feet became torn and riddled with the large amount of bullets impacting upon it.

       "Get moving Chris!" Cried Alison, Chris didn't need to be told twice as he slung his assault rifle and ran along checking the light machine gun.

       "Fuck, training ammunition!" He said noticing the blunt tips of the ammunition being fed into the receiver; he had forgotten about the training exercises, "damn, it will have to do..."

       Chris and Alison ran for a little bit before Chris found the courage to propose his next plan.

       "We'll try and slow them down, soon as the em-gee is out we keep moving, ok?" Alison was in front of him and clicked her mic in reply, she turned instantly and knelt down and fired a shot straight past Chris, only inches off his left arm and it impacted on a Lieutenant leading the Marines onward.

       Chris made it to Alison and dived to the ground and deployed the weapon's bipod but had to change to his thermal goggles to see the incoming Marines. As soon as they were on, Chris saw over one hundred coloured blobs at various ranges spread along a wide fifty metre front, some could even be seen through the trees; they were easy to tell apart from the others because their heat signatures seemed a tad darker than the rest.

       Chris brought the weapon to bear on them and held down the trigger, spraying the line from left to right and then back again, sparing no expense on ammunition usage.
Marines went down in a frenzy of training rounds; it didn't really matter where they got hit as they still went down; but some of them would be lucky like Chris and get hit on their armour. Only on just starting his return swing the weapon clicked dry and Chris reloaded the weapon.

       Alison continued to fire her rifle as fast as she could acquire a target, shoot, do the bolt and acquire a new target. She seemed to be back to her self since the Walt incident but Chris felt they would have to have a long talk when, or if they got back to base.

       Chris continued to pummel the Marines with his weapon; the amount of bullets it churned out kept their heads down and inflicted severe casualties on the tightly grouped men.

       Chris was soon on his last drum of ammunition and was finding it hard to tell the Marines already hit and those who were cowering. Chris continued to fire, wishing he had lethal ammunition.
       Finally, as if expecting a standing ovation for its efforts, the weapon clanged dry for the final time; Chris popped the top and ripped out the return spring for the action, effectively ruining the weapon.

       "Alright, Alison, let's go," said Chris changing back to night vision goggles and standing to move.

       "I think we got them all, Chris..." Said Alison bluntly, Chris turned back towards the enemy, nothing stirred but the moans of several wounded could be heard.

       "Well there is meant to be a whole division, we've only taken out two or three platoons so we got to keep moving." Alison grunted as she got up and started to move again, Chris continued to follow.

       They ran for another two kilometres without any signs of anyone behind them, Alison was starting to feel extremely fatigued and needed a rest soon.

       "Just another half a click and we'll rest, Alison," said Chris taking charge.

       "You said I was in charge, I say we rest now!" Said Alison.

       "Please, just do this then you can lead all you want, lead me to the ends of the universe if you have to but don't rest here," pleaded Chris.

       Alison mumbled what seemed to be an agreement and they continued moving.

       They made the last half a kilometre without issue and took a break behind a group of dead pine trees which made excellent cover.

       Chris yanked off his blood soaked balaclava and used his spare hand to feel around his nose, his face lower face was caked in drying blood and his nose was blocked from the blood clots which prevented further bleeding.

       "You ok?" Asked Alison moving over him with her first aid kit out, she gently wipe the blood away with a sterilized pad.

       "I've hard worse, that damn tree came out of no where!" Alison laughed and found it comforting that he could be joking in a situation like this.

       "I really think we'll make it back," said Alison putting a hand on his shoulder, "I really do..."

       Chris cupped a hand over Alison's hand on his shoulder and looked to where he thought her face was in the darkness. "We will, Alison, I bet my life on it."

       They sat for ten minutes not saying anything, just checking ammunition and weapons, getting ready to make the final push towards the evacuation point which was still just under five kilometres away.

       Chris put his balaclava in one of his pant's deep pockets which he carried spare magazines in.
       Alison motion for them to keep moving, Chris quietly stood up and followed without a word.

       Somewhat refreshed, the duo continued their evasion of the enemy at a steady jogging pace. They ran for several kilometres unnoticed, or so they thought.

       "... I got contact, two hostiles, they're moving towards your position, Echo Team, over..." Said the concealed Marine Scout under his guile suit into his throat mic, alerting his comrades.

       Chris and Alison continued their run, past a countless trees and mounds of innocent looking pine leaves.

       Chris got the feeling he was being watched again and switched from his night vision goggles to his thermal goggles and looked back...

       Chris saw what seemed platoon size, fifty multicoloured blobs lying down on the ground and they had run right past them, obviously waiting the command to spring from cover to ambush them. Chris clicked his mic repeatedly, a danger signal for Alison to hear.

       Chris slung his rifle whilst still moving, trying not to let the hidden enemies know he had seen them and drew his silenced M7. Chris skidded to a halt on the slippery needles and trained his weapon on one of the closest concealed enemies, by chance it was commander of Echo Team.

       A barely audible series of coughs shot from the weapon's silenced muzzle and hit the brightly coloured blob as he appeared through thermal. The bullets impacted and a stream of brightly coloured liquid shot from the Marine Commander's body but he died silently, no one knew he was dead. Chris continued to fire silently killed the closest Marines; the silencer worked wonders and with no empty cartridges to eject the M7 was an effective silenced weapon.
       Alison joined him and put on her thermal goggles and they both begun to pick the Marines off like flies.

       "... Echo Team, you're taking fire! They're using silenced submachine guns!" Cried the scout watching from a distance. The covers Echo had been hiding over exploded with motion and pine needles filled the air for a brief moment.

       Chris reached behind his back with surprise lost and drew his silenced handgun and begun blasting away at the now revealed Echo Team, barely giving time to aim his weapon, he just wanted to put as much lead into the air as possible to make them keep their heads down.

       Alison expended her magazine and holstered the weapon and drew her USP, she held it in cupped hands and fired it off rapidly with rough, hoarse coughs. Before Echo knew what had happened they had already lost nineteen of their number to the stealth tactics of Chris and Alison.

       "Go, go!" Said Chris standing up and dragging Alison along, as one they both reloaded their hand guns and spun and continued to shoot as they retreated toward the evacuation point and changed back to night vision goggles.

       Alison reloaded again and drew her submachine gun, reloaded it then she holstered it and got out her sniper rifle. Chris did the same but had his assault rifle out in the end and fired one of his precious grenades and took out three Marines with a fiery explosion.

       Echo Team seemed to be a mix of Marines from the camp who just been ahead of Chris and Alison at the time of the attack; their uniforms were mixed and so was their armament, they were not the same unit. They returned fire with their mixed weapons, shotguns, pistols, rifles and the odd sniper rifle.

       The bullets flew wildly overhead, Chris pushed Alison ahead. "Keep going! I'll give them something to think about, I'll join you shortly don't worry!"

       Alison turned and edged to kiss but Chris pushed her to keep moving. "It'll give me something worth coming back for, now go!"

       Chris knelt down and begun to fire burst after burst back at Echo, Marine after Marine hit the ground with a trio of nine point five millimetre cartridges imbedded into their body.

       Echo begun to give chase when they realised only Chris was shooting, Alison was shooting as she moved backwards slowly but not enough to keep Echo at bay, some were only tens of metres away from Chris.

       Chris fired a burst and his weapon clicked dry, he removed the magazine just as a Marine come running out of the darkness. Chris threw the empty magazine back handed at an incoming Marine, the magazine hit him squarely on the forehead and sent him to the ground stunned; Chris reached for his pistol and hammered several bullets into the man's forehead and then reloaded his assault rifle but kept his eyes on the enemy at all times.

       Chris with his weapon now loaded turned to kill a Marine on the left, dropping him with a burst to the head he turned back to the centre of the enemy mass and shot several times. Chris felt the searing pain of bullets impacting against his armour but they failed to pierce.

       Chris knew it was now the time to fall back, he rose to his feet and began to back slowly away and continued firing rapidly, dropping another Marine who had thought it was a good idea to get close.

       Chris' weapon ran dry again and he drew his handgun and finished off the weapon's magazine and holstered it before reloading his assault rifle, then he noticed the Marine ten metres off to his right.

       Chris spun and fired... The man's head exploded and snapped backwards from the impacting bullets but the jolt caused him to fire his shotgun.

       Chris saw the muzzle flash then felt searing hot pain in his right arm; he looked at his arm and saw that he had been hit by the bare edge of the shotgun's spread. Five raged holes had appeared in his uniform, spaced evenly from his wrist to his right shoulder and the wounds seeped blood. The pain made Chris stagger a little but he kept moving.

       Chris swapped gun hands, from right to left and begun to fire again. Due to the fact the weapon was designed for right handed shooters, the ejection port was on the right and that was a problem now because the empty casings were being ejected right into the side of his face as he shot, a small but bearable distraction.

       Chris turned around briefly and saw Alison only metres behind him with her rifle trained on a target, with a massive retort it went off and killed another Marine. Chris turned back to the front but yelled back. "Get moving, God damn it, I'll be fine!"

       Alison stood up and ran back twenty metres as Chris continued to move backwards slowly, trying to kill as many of the fifteen remaining members of Echo as he could.
       Chris reloaded with his wounded arm, taking his eyes off the enemy as he did so; it took him just over five seconds to reload and his vision snapped back upwards just to see five of the remaining members of Echo running towards him.
       They were less than twenty metres away, Chris brought his rifle up and fired instantly, dropping the closest one who fell down in a mix of curses and squirting blood but the other four dived to ground and returned fire with their mixed weapons...

       Chris felt a complete burst riddle upwards on his armour from his stomach upwards... Chris knew what was going to happen instantly... So did Alison...

       "No!" She screamed from her position when she saw the combined fire of the four men, she brought her rifle up but it was already too late.

       Alison watched helplessly as Captain Chris McAllen of the Office of Naval Intelligence's head snap backwards from a direct hit and fall lifeless to the ground...