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Long Time Gone Part 42
Posted By: grylsy<grylsy@hotmail.com>
Date: 4 May 2005, 11:34 AM

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Long Time Gone Part 42: This Is The Closest Of Calls

August 25th, 2551, Reach, one point three kilometres from the evacuation point, 0038 Hours

       An empty silence engulfed the vast forest; Alison stared in disbelief at the mound of pine needles that represented Chris' lifeless frame. Suddenly the four Marines responsible for the shooting rose from the ground and ran forward to confirm their kill.

       "Oh no you don't..." Muttered Alison taking aim and firing at the lead Marine, a fist size chunk disappeared from his stomach and he toppled over dead. The other three dived into a slight depression in the ground for cover out of Alison's line of fire.

       Alison moved towards Chris slowly and stopped when she could see the three cowering Marines again; they were looking all around themselves, not sure where the shot had came from as the TZ-52 did not leave a vapour trail like the common S2 AM.

       Alison fired again; killing another Marine, one of the remaining two Marines jumped in fright and ran away from his comrade who shouted curses at him as he fled. Alison reloaded and fired again, killing the coward.
       She reloaded or so she thought and went to fire but there had been no round in the chamber; the loud ting of the rifle's dry fire in the night echoed for longer than the previous shots; giving the remaining Marine the slightest clue to where she was; he opened fire with his assault rifle and sprayed the immediate area with a full magazine before reloading.

       Alison drew her USP in frustration and took the longish shot for a pistol. Three silenced rounds hit the ground around the remaining Marine; he flinched with each impact and was clearly angrier after each one.

       "Mother fucker!" He screamed letting loose another extended burst of twenty rounds. The weapon clicked unusually; the Marine stared blankly at it and smacked the receiver several times. "Stinking piece of shit! Work God damn it! "

       "First rule to remember with any weapon..." said Alison remembering she had a Laser Aiming Module on the pistol and turned it on; a red dot appeared on the Marine's head, "...treat it with respect and clean it everyday, asshole!" Alison fired and the subsonic round pierced the Marine's helmet and killed him outright; his entire left arm frozen in the motion of swinging to hit the weapon again.

       Alison popped the semi-full magazine and replaced it with a full one. She was just about to run and check Chris when her night vision goggles flared from an excess of light. Alison flipped the goggles up on their mount and saw the cones of light from flashlights in the distant forest and heard the yelling of men hounding for blood.

       Alison took a step forward but stopped, went to take a step back but stopped, unsure what to do and all the while continually staring at Chris; he was twenty metres from her and even if she could make it too him, she wouldn't be able to carry him by herself.

       Outside Alison didn't know what to do, try and see if he was dead and most likely be killed herself by the incoming Marines. But inside she had already made her decision; she turned and ran...

August 25th, 2551, Reach, one point three kilometres from the evacuation point, 0049 Hours

       Alison ran for all she was worth, which she didn't believe was very much now; abandoning Chris, even if he was dead she knew he wouldn't have left her out there if the tables were turned.

       The pursuers seemed to continue chasing her, not bothering to check Chris' corpse or any of their wounded. Smart thinking, get us both before celebrating... Bastards

       She turned around briefly and snatching a glance at the incoming Marines. There were at least twenty flashlights but she wondered how many were really behind her, thirty, fifty, one hundred, a thousand? What does it matter, I've got no reason to live, I left the only person I have ever cared about to rot in the middle of some stinking forest...

       Alison had only a fifty metre lead on them and she wasn't about to give it up if she would help it. She drew a fragmentation grenade from her webbing as she ran and skilfully removed the top and took the fuse from the hole and changed the detonation time from three seconds to somewhere around ten.
       Alison skipped on her feet and turned so she was running backwards facing the incoming Marines, rolled the grenade several metres behind her with the pin removed, faced the front again and sprinted as hard as she could, hearing the spoon fly from the grenade she ran even harder.

       The Marines were gaining on Alison; her lead was beginning to falter as the Marines now had a visual on her and were beginning to open fire. Sporadic bullets flew over head and bit at her heels, she fired her submachine gun back hand as she ran, not caring to much on the accuracy of her shots, more for the 'duck and cover' effect it had on the incoming Marines.

       Alison felt the tremendous impact of bullet into the rear of her armour; she stumbled to the ground and clumsily got back up again knowing that if she was caught, she would be killed. She heard the grenade explode and she smiled, "that one was for Chris..."

       Alison ran and continued to run, not knowing how far she was from the evacuation point, how far she was away from safety, how far she was away from a world without Chris...
       The forest seemed to continue on for ever, but she knew it was only an illusion, she knew that it would only go on for another kilometre from the evacuation zone before giving way to wide open spaces.

       Alison suddenly broke into open ground... a fifty metre wide clearing in the pine trees; it had obviously been used to land drop ships before.

       "Thank God..." Breathed Alison running for the centre of the clearing, she turned and faced back towards the enemy. She knelt down in the thick Africanised grass brought from Earth and realised she would have to wait for the EVAC bird to get there; she readied her rifle.

       Alison fired at the first Marine to come running out of the forest, he was hit high and from the force of impact; he spun ass over end before hitting the ground. Alison pulled the pin from one of her remaining grenades and threw it into the tree line; the bright explosion flared her goggles as she did the bolt for her rifle and brought it up to shoot another incoming Marine.

       Alison fired and realised she had had to reload; reaching for one of the pouches on her belt that Chris had organised to house the bullets for the TZ-52s. Alison's hand came out empty and she swore; she was ammunition for her rifle...

       Alison slung her rifle and brought up her submachine gun, spraying left and right, she took down three Marines before the weapon clicked empty. She reached for a spare clip and her hand came back into view with her last magazine for the submachine gun.

       "Next time I am bringing a lot more ammo," she said gloomily to no one but herself and fired short bursts at the incoming Marines. Five more Marines went down in a hail of sub sonic fire but then the weapon clicked dry, things were looking grim.

       Alison drew her USP and emptied a full clip taking down two Marines and reloaded, counting her spare clips and the total came to four remaining...

       Alison breathed out heavily, she was starting to get scared; well more scared then previously as the drop ship seemed to be a no show and that she only had less than sixty bullets remaining...

       Alison started to conserve her ammunition as much as possible, a Marine came out from the left and she fired instantly hitting him low in the throat. Three came out almost one after the other and went down in a flury of point forty-five ACP slugs. The USP's slide flung back to the empty position and Alison reloaded the weapon as quick as she could.

       Alison turned her attention away from the forest when she had difficulty inserting the magazine by touch alone and had to observe what she was doing; she reloaded it and released the slide only to hear a hollow thud land off to her right.
       She turned and less than a foot away from her right knee sat a primed lethal fragmentation grenade. Without giving it another thought she spun on her crouched feet to the left with her right arm extended out; she picked up the grenade and in one swift motion concluded her spin and threw the grenade back towards the Marines that had thrown it.

       Alison continued to fire rapidly, expending the whole magazine before the grenade exploded; she ducked as a wash of stray fragments whistled over head; once she reloaded, she found it strange that the explosion seemed to echo on forever...

       But it wasn't the grenade; its explosion had died off long ago... The roar belonged to the P-96 Dark Avenger that came soaring over the trees and into the clearing, hovering just above the trees, the thirty millimetre nose cannon opened up on the tree line, a solid stream of tracer rounds and bullets as thicker than a man's index finger crashed into the shocked Marines.

       Alison ducked below the cover of the grass and waited as the Dark Avenger pummelled the Marines into mince meat. Brass casings fell to the ground in a torrent; over five hundred rounds were fired and the casings littered the clearing. In less than three seconds of firing the Marines ceased to exist. Alison raised her head above the grass and looked into the forest; smoking masses of blood and tissue that had once represented human beings greeted her.

       "What a waste..." Said Alison shaking her head and getting up cautiously; being down to only one spare clip for her pistol, she wasn't about to let her guard down, she waited for the drop ship to land.

       The Dark Avenger fitted into the clearing easily, its sleek features were difficult to make out in the darkness, the only thing that gave away its presence was the dim red light coming from the forward and aft compartments which the crew worked under during cautious situations and the roar of its engines weren't exactly stealthy.

       Alison raced around the roaring engines - which sent a storm of grass and dust into the air - to the rear compartment as the ramp dropped. The ONI Major stood on the ramp; his face was blank of expression, changing slightly to confusion when he noticed she was alone.

       "Where's McAllen?" He asked. Alison shook her head in sorrow.

       "He's dead..." Then she saw the four black clad ONI soldiers sitting in the troop compartment; they all wore black balaclavas and black fatigues with black body armour with big white letters ONI on the front and back.

       "Oi, where's McAllen?!" Asked the one wearing Sergeant Stripes and standing up; it was Master Sergeant Erwin Russel from Bravo Team with three other members of Bravo; including their master medic and were acting as protection for the ship if it came under fire on the ground. Alison didn't say anything, her spirits rising with the means to go back and get Chris.

       "We're just about to go and get him, Sergeant..." Russel nodded in approval, licked his lips in anticipation, he thrived on combat, it was his element.

       "At your command, Captain..." Russel gave her a sloppy salute only close comrades would do to each other.

       "What!?" Snapped the ONI Major, "we're getting out of here now, you said he was dead, he knew the risks, we're leaving, end of discussion..."

       "We can't just leave his body out there, sir..." Said Alison opening a weapon rack, taking a BR-55 and ammunition for her TZ-52 and USP.

       "It will turn up after the Marines have their reven..." Before the Major could finish Russel was on him and pinned him up against a wall with his huge hands; the Major's feet were dangling several inches off the deck.

       "Listen!" Said Erwin through clenched teeth, "we've never left a man in the field, dead or alive and I do not intend to start now, not ever. So, the Captain here and my boys are gonna go and get 'im..."

       Suddenly the cockpit door opened and the co-pilot came out; dressed in similar Uniform to Russel and his men but minus the body armour and he had his pistol drawn... Alison snapped her weapon up as did the members of Bravo.

       "Hey, easy, tiger, I'm on your side..." said the man releasing his grip on the weapon, it swung limply off his index finger by its trigger guard; the man exchanged a look with the pinned Major, "I want to come help get the Captain..."
       The engines died and the pilot came out of the cockpit with his pistol drawn as well. "I want come too..." The Pilot walked over and grabbed a rifle from the rack and tossed one to his co-pilot.

       "Sorry," said Alison, "we could use all the help we could get but one of you needs to stay and guard the ship..." The Major piped up despite Russel's hands gripping his throat tightly.

       "I could guard the ship..."

       "No way, mate," barked Russel, "you wouldn't think twice about leaving a few stupid grunts out here to rot..."

       Alison finished restocking her ammunition and motioned it was time for them go and get Chris.

       Russel let the Major go; he fell to the deck short of breath, Russel turned to the pilot and co-pilot; they were doing rock, paper scissors to decide who would go.

       "Aw, that's bullshit, sir, but have fun I suppose," said the co-pilot, disappointed that his scissors got smashed by his superior's rock.

       Russel patted the pilot on the back as he walked past and said to the co-pilot whilst pointing at the dazed Major. "If he moves... shoot 'im..." Russel grabbed his weapon off the rack and exited the drop ship.

       "If we're not back or don't hear from us within an hour... Leave without us." Said Alison; she still felt guilty for leaving Chris out there; she only hoped she wasn't too late to save what was left of him and her what remained of her dignity.

       Alison led the way; all six of them had night vision gear equipped and they rushed through the forest, they passed numerous signs of Alison's passing. Dead Marines and the occasional wounded one - who Russel's men inhumanly cut down - littered the ground.

       "Looks like you had some fun here, Captain!" Remarked one Russel's men.

       "I don't want to talk about..." Said Alison sharply not bothering to look back at the zealous Commando.

August 25th, 2551, Reach, Captain McAllen's last known position, 0124 Hours

       They had not run into any resistance until now, an entire platoon of Army Rangers station at the 999th Divisional Head Quarters held a rough perimeter around a team of Marine medics tending to the wounded and semi-high ranking Officers looking over the dead.

       Alison let out a breath she that could have been held since she had left Chris out there. Chris was still there but two Officers were looking over his body, not touching it in fear of contaminating the scene for the FleetCOM Investigators who would be sure to be here soon.

       The enemy had only arrived at the scene ten minutes ago and it was going to be a long night waiting for FleetCOM to confirm who had attacked and killed their Commanding Officer.

       Alison and Russel's squad were hiding behind a crop of trees, fifty metres from the nearest Ranger.

       "Alright, Russel," said Alison, Russel turned and faced her, "take your men and circle around behind them, standard slit and advanced..." Russel nodded and palmed his combat knife, a sly smile appearing on his face - but it was hidden by his balaclava - as he lead his men off into the darkness.

       Alison turned to the pilot, he held his rifle tightly in his gloved hands and his Pilot's helmet gave the necessary readings for combat. "Now when the shooting starts don't be a hero," said Alison to the pilot, "you haven't got any armour so just stay low and keep shooting." He nodded in agreement.

       "Yes, Captain," replied the pilot in a cool, calm voice, "I'll be ready..."

       Time passed slowly as Alison levelled her rifle on the two Officers - they were standing together, smoking and talking loudly - the way they were standing, from Alison's view put them one behind the other, it would be possible for her to kill both in one shot...

       "We've coming into position, Parker," said Russel from the other side of the perimeter. "I sent a man out for the closest guard shouldn't be long n... Got him! Ooh, it was a good stab too, should have seen it, sir... I mean Ma'am."

       "I'll pass Russ, seen enough blood and guts to last me for a long time and it isn't even over yet..." A brief burst of gunfire erupted on the other side of the perimeter from Alison, a Ranger fell down in a hail of bullets.

       "Whoa, shit, they seen us, my boy had to shoot, sorry, Captain, oh shit, here they come!" Russel stopped communicating and joined the fire fight.

       Alison fired her rifle at the two Officers who had just stood there, startled by the brief burst of fire. They both fell down dead, the second Officer was bathed in his comrade's blood as well as his own.

       "Open fire!" Cried Alison to the pilot, he was lying there not shooting, just staring at the mass of Rangers, Medics and Officers scurrying for cover. Bringing the weapon up he trained it on a lone Ranger and fired, the man fell down dead. "Not bad for your first time..."

       "Who said it was my first time..." Said the pilot, causing Alison to chuckle at the remark. "Two years in the Marines myself, before coming to work for the ONI."

       The Rangers had rough ideas on where the shooting was coming from and had already split into two teams and were beginning to assault the suspected positions.

       Alison fired her rifle rapidly, desperately trying to put a dint into the masses, while the pilot fired burst after burst as quick as he could, spraying from left to right to good affect.

       Russel and his men were far more experienced than the Rangers and they used it to their advantage as all of the members of the Kill Team had undergone the training of the various armed forces and knew how the Rangers would think. The Rangers would try an assault on where they thought the enemy was, they already have a good idea on where we are... We've got to be prepared! Screamed Russel's mind as he contemplated on how to greet the gung-ho Rangers.

       "Put the claymores over there!" Barked Russel dropping one of the few enemy medics to be firing into the darkness. One of the Bravo Team's number ran forward fifteen metres and dived to the ground, placing his two claymore mines, plus another one he had taken from a comrade, in a sloppy convex shape and covered them with dried pine needles as rough camouflage then ran back to Russel's position.

       "We're set, Sarge," said the Commando, just as massive amounts of lead flew overhead, the Rangers were coming...

       Alison reloaded as the Rangers advanced ever closer with their guns up and firing blindly into the night at the two sets of muzzle flashes, making the pilot and herself duck for cover as the enemy fire was getting dangerously accurate.

       "Ah, Russ... We could use some help over here about now, if you're not too busy!" Said Alison as bullets impacted the ground inches away from her and hurled debris into the air; the dust clouded Alison's night vision and she batted at the air trying to make the debris disperse quicker.

       "That is a negative, Captain; we're in a pickle ourselves so you're on your own for now!"

       Alison swore as she levelled her rifle on a soldier who had strayed too far from the pack of the advancing Rangers and she took him down.

       The pilot begun to throw his supply of eight grenades into the ranks of incoming men, the explosions were so numerous it sounded like a New Year Eve's party with fireworks and party poppers.

       Russel's men hammered down on their triggers, sparing no thoughts for ammunition, only intent on turning the tide of Rangers that threatened to overwhelm them. The Rangers had advanced to thirty metres from Bravo's position.

       "Slacken fire, lads! Let them think we're running low on ammo or reloading so they get close and we can blow the Claymores..." So Russel and his men deliberately slackened their fire and fired in sporadic unison; the Rangers saw this, decided to take advantage of it and pushed forward with their final charge...

       Alison cranked off burst after burst into the Rangers with her assault rifle, they were so close she could almost smell their bad breath and body odour. They uttered curses as Alison shot them without remorse and lashed out with her rifle butt at the ones right in her face, the Rangers were trying to capture them!

       The pilot had drawn his pistol and was shoving it into the chests of the Rangers who were right upon them before firing. "Back to the Pavilion, with ya!" He cried in almost a comical manner, "get the fuck back damn it!"

       The Rangers were under orders to take prisoners despite the heavy casualties but it didn't stop them from wounding their targets...

       The pilot screamed in pain as his leg caught a burst from an MA5B at close range, he fell to the ground cursing but still firing, there weren't many Rangers left but still enough to overwhelm the wounded pilot and Alison.

       "Now!" Cried Russel signalling the man next to him with the Claymore 'clacker' to detonate the mines, the lead Rangers were less than a metre away from the convex Claymores.

       With a flash of white and an ear splitting explosion the three Claymores went off and sent thousands of tiny ball bearings into the Rangers; ripping them to shreds, every unarmoured section of flesh was covered in ragged, bloody holes and seeped blood, there were to be no survivors...

       "Alright, time to help the Captain!" Said Russel getting to his feet and leading his men towards Alison, his men letting off some lead into the Rangers killed by the Claymores just to make sure they were well and truly dead.

       Alison drove the combat knife up to the hilt into the Rangers chest, just above the heart and into the ribs; she held onto the knife's handle with both hands and gave the man one tremendous kick, sending him backwards of her and freeing the knife.
Alison jumped back to her feet, the Ranger had charged and pinned her to the ground, removed her weapons but he hadn't counted on Alison finding the combat knife sheathed in his boot.

       Dropping the Ranger's knife and palming her own combat knife, Alison engaged the enemy in a vicious close range melee, just because she was a woman didn't mean she was any worse with melee combat than any of the Rnagers. The Rangers were intent on taking her as a prisoner; they fought with their knives and rifle butts. She targeted the Rangers' Master Sergeant first, hoaxing him into a one on one type of duel, the man lunged with his bayoneted assault rifle; Alison jumped to the left to avoid the lunge and lodged her knife through his right forearm...

       The Sergeant screamed in pain and dropped his weapon; Alison scooped the MA5B up without another thought and held the trigger down as soon as she had both hands on the weapon... A solid line of tracers spewed forth from the weapon's barrel as Alison moved it in an arc around herself, cutting down six of the remaining eight Rangers including the wounded Sergeant but the weapon clicked dry and the horrified looks vanished from the two survivors' faces.

       Alison hurled the weapon barrel first towards the Ranger on the left, the weapon's bayonet imbedded itself in the man's chest and he fell to the ground.
       "Ah, fuck orders!" Cried the remaining Ranger bringing out his slung rifle, "should have just shot you to begin with, time to die, missy..." With the Ranger over five metres away it was two far for Alison to lunge at the man and she had no weapon on her, her knife was in the dead Sergeant's arm, her pistol, sniper rifle and assault rifle were under several bodies also to far away to get to in time...

       Alison sighed as the man brought his weapon up, a devilish smile on his face. "Oh, fuck you too!" Cried Alison...

       The Ranger's face suddenly grimaced with pain, but Alison couldn't see why, suddenly he toppled to the ground, head first, he had a familiar looking knife lodged into the back of his neck...

       "It was about time, Russel!" She said retrieving her knife and weapons, she nodded as Russel and his men walked into view, she instantly remembered the pilot. "Hey, pilot... What ever your name is... Where are you?" A moan from under a Ranger got her attention, then several gunshots confirmed it.

       "Get it off me!" Cried the pilot smacking the body with his now empty pistol, Alison and Russel both rushed over and lifted the corpse up and freed the pilot.

       "You ok?" Asked Russel giving a whistle to his men, one came rushing over with the medical kit and Russel said to the other two, "You two go search for any survivors, any wounded... You know the drill."

       Alison smiled at the pilot as he received a healthy dose of painkillers and a pressure bandage. "You'll be fine, just go easy on the painkillers, we still need you to fly us out of here," she said turning, she had one last matter to attend too.

       Alison found the familiar pile of needles lying in the same spot as she had left it, next to the two Officers she had killed at the start of the attack. Alison walked around the body, starting at the feet and moving around, she looked at his chest plate and saw bullets imbedded in it, several more wounds had appeared on his arms and a random bullet recently had found his left leg and it seeped blood slowly.

       "Hey Captain!" Cried someone behind her, Alison spun and saw the two Bravo members with two Marine Medics wearing night vision gear, as prisoners, "looky what we found..."

       The prisoners were forced in front of Alison, she looked at the two men, they were scarred stiffless; the Rangers clearly had not anticipated the assassins would be back.

       Alison checked the holsters on their belts but found them to be already empty then she shifted her sights to the Bravo members, they each had an extra pistol stuffed down their belts. She looked back at the two medics, neither was looking at her, they were whispering to each other and looking at something on the ground behind her.

       "What are you two looking at?" One of the medics risked putting his hand down and pointing at the ground.

       "That man, he isn't dead, if he was the blood from the leg wound would be leaking a lot slower..." Alison's eyes went wide as she spun and knelt down next to Chris' frame. She put a gloved hand to his mouth and nose, a small amount of warm breath met her hand, she turned his face to one side. His face was covered in blood and there was a bloody circle from where the bullet had impacted.

       "But he got shot in the head..." Started Alison, one of the Medics appeared by her side under the watchful eyes of the Bravo men, the Medic took readings of Chris' pulse and respiration readings.

       The Medic then searched around in a section of pine needles on the Guile suit around Chris' throat with his fingers and brought something into the open and dropped it into Alison's open palm, she looked at the object... It was a zero penetration standard seven point six-two by fifty-one millimetre training round...

       "God, I thought he was dead..." Said Alison, she felt the tears coming. One of the Bravo members pushed the second medic down onto his knees and forced him to tend to the wounded Captain.

       "Well he almost is dead, ma'am, he needs a hospital ASAP," said the first Medic as Alison turned and gazed at the medic with a look of sadness, "but I'll try everything I can... If..." Alison's looked changed at the if , "...you won't kill us."

       Alison nodded and stood slowly, "you have my word..." It was enough and the medics got to work.

       Alison walked up to Russel with a smile. "Why are you so happy?" Russel didn't know the good news...

       "Chris isn't dead! He's alive, thank God." She started to cry in joy.

       "Well being alive is usually the opposite of dead!" Joked Russel, but then he noticed her tears, "no need for the water works, Parker, he'll be fine."

       Alison sucked the tears back, "we might be here a little while, you've got the radio frequency, contact the drop ship and tell them we've got the objective and we'll be back as soon as we can so cancel the one hour window."

       Russel nodded, "you got it, Cap'n." Alison then checked on the pilot, the Bravo medic was still tending to his wounds, mainly taking pulse and respiration readings.

       "Howdy, Captain," said the pilot seeing her coming over.

       "Chris' alive!" Alison almost skipped in joy coming to the pilot's side, "we captured some medics from the nine hundred and ninety-ninth and they're treating Chris now."

       "So he's going to live then?" The pilot rubbed his injured leg.

       Alison turned to the now idle Bravo medic, "go see if the prisoners need a hand and keep an eye on them, if they put a foot wrong, shoot them..."

       "Aye, aye, ma'am," said the man, he walked over to Chris and the enemy medics and watched them like a hawk.

       Alison finally answered the pilot's question, "yes, they said he will live, lost a lot of blood though," Alison worked an object over in her left hand, occasionally shifting her sights from the pilot to it.

       "What's that?" Inquired the pilot as if Alison wanted him to ask.

       "Well, it's why I thought Chris was dead," she handed over the object, the pilot looked at it.

       "A stun round?" Said the pilot puzzled, not understanding what she meant.

       "The stun round impacted like a real bullet, so hence I saw his head fly back and the shock capabilities was what made him seem so inanimate."

       "But why was a training round used?" Asked the pilot.

       Alison shrugged, "the group that attacked us when Chris got shot was made up of various Marines and Rangers that just happened to get in front of us. So I guess the guy who got the head shot had been on a training exercise at the time, bit of luck there I believe." Alison sighed, "I feel worse that I left him and he was actually alive, but better that I came back to get the body, I hope he can forgive me."

       The pilot looked off into the distance thinking of something inspirational to say but found nothing and just said the first thing that came to mind. "If he truly loves you then he will forgive you."

       Alison smiled warmly and looked down at the pilot. "Thanks, I mean it," and she went to see Russel again.

       "Wait, Captain," said the pilot, Alison turned as the pilot threw the training round. "Better not forget that souvenir!"

       "Thanks again..."

       "Russel," said Alison catching the burly man off guard, causing him to flinch, he turned around with an innocent look on his covered face, "did you get onto the drop ship?"

       "Yes, ma'am, the co-pilot said everything was good, the Major is co-operating but I told the co-pilot not to take his eyes off him." Russel nodded to himself as he concluded speaking.

       "Good, because it is about time to get the hell out of dodge." Alison took her leave and went to watch the medics in action, leaving Russel to keep the pilot comfortable.

       "Any problems?" Asked Alison, directing the question at the Bravo medic.

       "No, these two are very good medics, the one on the left I have to admit is better than me," the more cooperative medic smiled as he applied the bandage around Chris' head.

       "Good, really good, we have to get moving as soon as we can," Alison faced the enemy medics, "can we move him?"

       The least cooperative medic nodded. "He's stable enough to move, but I guess you're going to say me and Steve here have to carry him?"

       Alison smiled and nodded. "Yes you do so I hope you don't mind, it is not like you have a choice in the matter..."

       "Yep, the joys of being a prisoner..." Commented the medic named Steve.

       The medics finished doing everything they could do for Chris in the field and set about rigging two of the collapsible stretchers they brought with them, one for McAllen and the other for the pilot.

       "Ok, you two," Alison pointed to the two armed members of Bravo, "take the pilot's stretcher, it's time to go, let's move people," said Alison taking point, it was finally time to go home .

August 25th, 2551, Reach, One kilometre to extraction, 0203 Hours

       Dark, unforgiving trees stood proudly in the gloom, sending a shiver down Alison's spine as she looked at the ancient pines warily, not letting her guard down for a second. She would not fail again; she would not rest until they were all safe on the drop ship home.

       They moved hastily through the dark, not daring to make any more sound than necessary; they were constantly looking over their shoulders, each time expecting the remains of an entire division to be hot on their heels.

       Alison slackened her pace and motioned for Russel to take point; she fell in line next to the Marine Medics and Chris on the stretcher. Alison looked Chris up and down, well side to side; he was lying horizontally on the stretcher, his eyes were closed and his left right fist was tightly clenched on nothing but air. Chris' BR55 hung limply off his left arm by the sling; Alison grabbed the weapon and draped it over his chest so it wouldn't fall to the ground, but then realizing one of the Medics might try to be a hero, she immediately took the weapon for herself.

       It took them no less than eighteen minutes moving as fast as the stretchers would allow to finally make out the dark shape of the drop ship in the clearing ahead, they had made it...

       The whistling was heard first then the scream in pain as one of the Medics received a bullet to the back of his skull. Alison turned to the Medic just in time to see the vapour trail materialize through a gapping hole in the man's head as he fell onto Chris' frame and all three people toppled to the ground.

       Everyone else dived to the ground. "God damn it where'd that come from!?" Cried Alison.

       "How the fuck should I know!" Cried Russel, "it's a sniper so they're your problem, Parker!"

       "Everyone's got a damn problem..." Moaned Alison readying her rifle just as another shot echoed over head, missing Russel's head by a bare inch.

       "Fuck! Do something Parker; I don't plan to be going home in a body bag looking like Swiss cheese!"

       Alison quickly brought up her rifle before the vapour trail vanished completely and had a rough idea where the sniper was; they were at least two hundred metres away, extremely unfortunate for Alison's party that the sniper was lucky enough to get a field of fire that long through the trees.

       The third shot followed soon after but soon as she saw the flash Alison returned the enemy's round in an instant. A ghostly silence permeated the forest, Alison let out a breath; she had got the enemy sniper...

       "I got him Russ!" Said Alison, a low wheezing noise got her attention.

       Russel coughed up blood with each wheezing breath. "Good shot lass, but I think I'm about fucked..." Alison rushed to the Sergeant's aide.

       "Medic!" She called, it was not necessary as the Bravo Medic was already on the move. A large hole had appeared over the left lung and straight out the other side. "You'll be ok, I know you will..."

       Russel coughed once more, wiping the blood off his lips with a trembling hand. "Yeah, McAllen could use the company in hospital..." The Bravo medic started pouring Bio-Foam into the open wound. "...SON OF A BITCH!" Screamed Russel in pain from the freezing liquid, but soon calmed as the pain killers worked into the mixture took affect.

       "He'll live, Parker," said the Medic, "he might lighten up on the boys after this but I doubt it, hey you old bugger?!" Russel smiled at the comment, his men just loved his training drills...

       "OK you two Medics..." Alison paused, noticing the second Marine Medic was feeling for a pulse on the other Medic, Steve's neck, shaking his head side to side slowly after several seconds.

       The Medic turned to Alison. "Steve's dead, ma'am..."

       "Leave him; we've got to go..." Something snapped inside the Medic and he snatched something up out of Alison view... Chris' previously holstered pistol and pointed it at the unconscious Chris.

       "No! Fuck you! I want out, let me go or I'll shoot him! I swear to God I will!" Alison smirked at the comment.

       "Tell me something before you shoot him, did you receive any training with an M6 series pistol or any type of semi-automatic handgun?"

       The Medic looked puzzled at first and answered. "Yes, it was compulsory..."

       Alison pointed at the weapon. "Then you must know what the slide being flung to the rear represents?"

       "What are you talking..." The Medic noticed that the slide on this pistol was indeed flung to the rear, it was empty...

       The Medic pulled the trigger anyway, hoping by some miracle it would go off but it didn't. Alison levelled her assault rifle on the man's forehead.

       "This is for threatening to kill him ..." Alison squeezed the trigger and a trio of nine point five millimetre slugs blew the Medic's head clean off his shoulders.

       Russel chuckled a laugh. "Well you didn't plan that too well, now you have to carry either me, the pilot or McAllen to the drop ship!" Alison smiled despite the guilt she felt for killing a man of mercy.

       "We'll be fine, you," Alison pointed to the Bravo Team Medic, "go and get the co-pilot and tell him to bring the Major, he can help..."

       "Yes, ma'am," said the man running off towards the drop ship.

       Alison hauled the lifeless frame of Steve of Chris' legs and discarded the corpse off to the left. She knelt down at his side and put a hand on his shoulder, even though he probably couldn't feel it, it comforted Alison knowing he was alive.

       "Not long now, sweetie," she said standing up and saw the Medic was already coming back with the co-pilot and Major in tow.

       The co-pilot wasn't seriously guarding the Major, he had his rifle slung and he talked to the Major as if they were good friends.

       The Major walked up to Alison. "Parker," he started, "I am willing to forget that little incident before, I can see the Captain means a lot to you and your team."

       Alison didn't say anything at first, accepting the man who she thought was a total asshole to be a respectable human being.

       "Thanks Major, you're alright..."

       The Major smiled, put a hand on Alison's shoulder plate and gave a knowing nod then went over to Russel. "Well Sergeant I must say you have some hands on you! God my neck still hurts."

       "Thanks, sir," Russel noticed the red marks his hands had caused from the brief moments of contact, "no hard feelings, sir?"

       "Not at all, I see you took a couple for the Captain, you've been through a lot together, haven't you?"

       Russel sat up despite the pressure it put on his deep wound. "Well we've been together in the same unit since its formation. I never had much to do with him initially, he was in command of the other squad and well there was some healthy competition between us over missions. But I must say he and his team have gotten me and my lads out of some hairy situations, my Major really likes him too and so did I, he's good lad."

       "Hmm, what about the woman? Why was she so determined to go out and get him?" The Major helped the Bravo medic unpack another stretcher, this one for Russel.

       "Oh don't you know?" Russel winced as he was lifted onto the stretcher, "the Captains are... how to say it, well intimate with each other, battle field shenanigans and all that."

       "Don't you care at all about it?" Said the Major puzzled, he and the Bravo medic lifted Russel as one and head off to the drop ship.

       "What about him bonking 'er?" The Major nodded unsure of what the term meant, "well you've got to see that most of the lads have got relations with the womens of the two squads its alright I suppose, as long as they aren't doing it when we're in the shit its fine by me."

       "Intriguing, well I've seen your unit's combat records, very impressive so long as you're doing your job I've got nothing against it; I just wanted to know if you or any of your men did."

       "Not at all, now mind the bumps you two, I need a nap..."

       The party moved quickly to the drop ship and was soon ready for take off. The pilot, despite his wounded leg skilfully piloted the black drop ship out of the clearing and back towards Hathcock.

       Alison let her head fall back against the side of rear compartment, a low thump echoed momentarily, catching the attention of the battle strained men. The Major sat next to Russel as they exchanged experiences they had encountered against Covenant before becoming part of the ONI.
The other members of Bravo were playing cards with their weapons lazily by their sides. Alison on the other had just wanted to sleep, her muscles ached and her head spun from sleep deprivation, even though the mission had lasted less than six hours, the odds had been against her the whole time but she had prevailed. No, she and her spotter had prevailed.

       "You sure picked a good time for a nap..." Alison snuffed a laugh at her own comment and put her feet up, she gave Chris a last look and dozed off, but the story is far from over...

Sorry this is so late but it is not like many of you actually read it. I've been working on a Counter Strike Source model and it still isn't finished but I thought I should finish this chapter but the prospect of another chapter will be a while away, after I've posted this I am to start a History assignment...
FallschirmjŠger aka grylsy