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Battle for Tectron: Chapter 8
Posted By: Helljumper<Pittklipse@aol.com>
Date: 21 January 2004, 7:16 AM

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2100 Hours (Military Time) September 14th (Military Calendar)/ UNSC carrier
Twilight, exiting slipspace into the Dorus star system.

      The Twilight exited Slipspace followed by the Justice and the Defender of Life. The UNSC vessels moved through the black void of space towards a lush green planet with three grey moons circling it. They decelerated and entered a triangular protective formation around the planet.
      Captain Hilton sat in the commander's chair of the Twilight holding his head in his hands. He reflected on the men he had just lost back on Tectron and the news that Reach was glassed. He had served on the former UNSC stronghold and had many friends stationed there. The UNSC's third, fourth and sixth fleets were destroyed in the battle. Those ships that survived jumped out of the system when the order to retreat was giving by Vice Admiral Casey. Communications officer David Pletal interrupted the Captain's thoughts.

"Sir, picking up a communiqué from FLEETCOM... The retreating forces from Reach are heading to this star system. Vice Admiral Casey's flagship the Lunar Eclipse will be the first to arrive. Their ETA is eight days. We are ordered to stay here and hold our position until he arrives."

      Hilton didn't respond but instead lifted his head up. His hand glided over the buttons on the arm of his chair. He pushed one and Juanita appeared on her holographic disk. "Yes Commander Hilton," she said with her Spanish accent.

"Juanita, I want you to see to the evacuation of the civilians from my ship. Find a suitable landing zone down on planet to set up a colony. Unload all extra supplies, building material, and some engineers. You have six hours."

"Aye, aye sir." The AI's image disappeared.

      The door to the bridge opened a figure wearing a black uniform appeared. Colonel Jackson strolled up to Commander Hilton with his hands behind his back. He stopped in front of the commander's chair, snapped to attention and presented a crisp salute. Hilton stood, and returned the salute. The two African American officers shook hands afterwards.

"How you doing John?"

"Considering the obvious, I'm fine. How about Leon?"

"I lost a lot of my men back there."

"I know," Hilton paused. "We received a communiqué from Vice Adirmal Casey. I have a feeling that we are going back to Tectron. The UNSC needs a victory right now, and this could just be it. I want the marines to start training down on planet... When I receive more information I'll keep you up to date."
"Yes, sir," Colonel Jackson saluted and left the bridge."

1000 Hours (Military Time) September 16th (Military Calendar)/ UNSC carrier
Twilight, defensive position over the planet Manugis in the Dorus star system.

      Master Sergeant Marcus Whitman stood on the low stage in the auditorium looking at his watch. He wore his green combat uniform with his, recently polished, black ODST jump combat boots along with his beret. Strapped to his right thigh sat a standard issue M6D pistol, the way that only Helljumpers are allowed to wear the weapon. Whitman fixed his uniform and checked for any lose threads that he could see. Once the Helljumper finished with his self check, the large double doors to the room opened.
      The sound of marching boots filled the air as the twenty nine other members of his platoon marched into the room. They filed into the five rows of seats and stood at attention in front of their chairs. Sergeant First Class Richards was the last to enter the room and closed the door behind him. He marched up to Marcus and saluted. "Master Sergeant, fourth platoon reporting as ordered, Master Sergeant." It was unusual for the veteran platoon sergeant to have to refer to his platoon leader as Master Sergeant, but he adapted to the situation. There were rumors circulating about how Marcus became a platoon leader, but he preferred not to seek the truth.
      The platoon leader returned the salute and told his men to have a seat. The members of the platoon sat in unison. Marcus's eyes scanned the faces of the men under his command. He had only been their leader for three days now and he was still learning their names. He recognized the two platoon corpsmen Paul and Steve along with the two snipers Mike and Raynard. The names of the others were still unclear.
"Good morning marines."
"Good morning Master Sergeant," the platoon said all together.
"For the last two days we've been hitting the weigh room and going over weapons and basic inventory. Is there anyone here who needs any piece of equipment."
      The men were silent. They admired how hard Marcus fought and bargained with the ship's quartermaster to get his men everything they needed from playing cards and extra socks to S2 AM sniper rifle ammo and field medical kits.
"Good," the platoon leader continued. "Before we start today's discussion on squad based tactics, does anyone have any questions in general?"
      The room was quiet as the men of fourth platoon sat at their seats. A marine in the third row raised his hand.
"Speak marine," Marcus said as he moved to the center of the stage.
"Any idea on our next mission, Master Sergeant?"
"Actually, I don't know anything. The brass is keeping everything quiet. All I know is that we are getting our asses kicked in this war. I think we're going back to Tectron, but that's just my opinion, I could be wrong. Any other questions?" The marines whispered amongst themselves but no one raised their hand. "Good lets get started."
      Marcus pressed a button on the podium set up on the low stage. A holographic disk on the floor in front of the stage snapped to life and flashed several times before it was a constant beam shooting up into the air. A few seconds passed and the image of Grunt appeared.
"This is a Covenant Grunt. These are their basic form of infantry. These little creatures are weak when alone, but in a large group or with an Elite, they are aggressive. They carry weapons such as plasma pistols, needlers, and plasma grenades. Killing them is pretty straight forward, they don't wear armor or have shields. Just shot them. Depending on where they are hit, one of these will take between one to four rounds."
      The marines showed their agreement by nodding. Marcus pressed another button and the holographic image of a Jackel appeared. "This is a Jackel. These bird like creatures carry reflective shields on their right arms. The circular shield is roughly a meter in diameter. Who here knows to kill one of these?" Marcus scanned the crowd. A marine in the back row raised his hand. Marcus nodded to him.

"You fucking grenade the little bastard," the other marines laughed. "If not then lay down covering fire and flank the alien fuckers, Master Sergeant."

"That's correct private. These creatures have only been known to carry plasma pistols. When in a group, they like to form a kind of phalanx by over lapping their shields. A grenade of a Jackhammer rocket will take care of that. Now moving on," the image of a Hunter appeared. The marines grew quiet. Many of them had never seen the large alien before. Its bluish gray armor glowed green as the image charged its large weapon on its left hand that seemed to be attached. "This pretty little motherfucker is a Hunter. Its armor can deflect small arms fire easily. On its right arm is a large shield and a large fuel rod canon attached to its left arm. They travel in groups of two, we don't know why, but they do. So if you see one, there is another one around. The Covenant uses Hunters to guard important structures. Because they are slow, so they can't keep up with regular enemy infantry."

      The image rotated showing the back of the large Alien. "This orange section is the Hunters weak spot. Because this area is so sensitive, it isn't protected by armor. A few well placed rounds in this area will kill it. The hard part is getting around to its back. A team can strafe while another team flanks it."
      Before Marcus could continue, the double doors to the auditorium opened. He noticed the four men who entered. "Officer on deck." The marines snapped to attention. Colonel Jackson, Captain James, Thomas Gauis, and Julio Castro stood in front of stage. Marcus saluted the officers and they returned his salute. The Colonel walked up to Marcus and whispered in his ear. Whitman took a step forward. "Sergeant Richards, take charge of the platoon. Move out to bunks for weapons cleaning, company inspection in ranks at fourteen hundred hours in hanger C three."
      Sergeant First Class Richards called the men of fourth platoon to attention and marched them out of the auditorium. The large double doors closed leaving Marcus, Colonel Jackson, Captain James, Thomas, and Julio. The Colonel had the men take a seat before speaking. "How's the platoon going Master Sergeant?"

"It's going fine sir."

"I found these two," referring to Thomas and Julio. "Assigned to the Quartermaster aboard the Defender of Life. They've been reassigned to your platoon. Pick two members of your unit and transfer them to Bravo company second platoon."

"Yes sir."

"Now to the matter at hand," Colonel Jackson pulled a data pad out of his jacket. He connected it to the auditorium's holographic display, and the image of a planet appeared. "This is Manugis, the planet we are currently orbiting. The one point four million evacuated residents of Tectron are down on planet setting up five colonies. Now for your mission," the image of the planet zooms in on a mountain range near one of the colonies marked by a red triangle. "We are receiving a signal from a cave embedded in these mountains. The signal is being broadcasted on a Covenant bandwidth, but we can't connect the code to any enemy language that we know. Your mission is to enter the cave and discover the source of this transmission. Any questions Master Sergeant?"

"What kind of support will my men and I have, sir?"

"Your deploy Pelicans will drop you platoon off and make an immediate dust off. They will stay on station at the colony when you need evacuation. If things get hairy down there, I want you and your men to bug out back to the LZ and call for air support. A squadron of Longswords will be waiting incase you need them."

"Thank you, sir."

"Any other questions?"

"No sir."

"Good, don't inform your platoon of this mission until you are aboard your assigned Pelicans. I don't want this information leaking down to the civilians. If they hear that the enemy is down on planet, and we aren't doing anything about it, they'll riot... Just be careful. Remember, if you make contact with the enemy just bug out and call for air support."

"Yes sir."

"Sergeant First Class Richards is a good marine. He's seen more combat than any other marine that I know. That's why I assigned him as your platoon sergeant. Listen to what he has to say, but remember that you are in command."