Battle for Tectron: Chapter 5
Posted By: Helljumper<Pittklipse@aol.com>
Date: 28 December 2003, 6:51 AM
The sun was rising as Marcus and First Sergeant Lee inspected the encampment's perimeter defenses while Julio and Thomas strolled close behind with their rifles slung over their right shoulders. The sergeant pointed out the various aspects of the defenses and the several lines of fox holes and trenches that the marines were digging. As the man spoke, Marcus nodded his head, giving the appearance that he was agreeing, but in reality he noticed that the defenses were weak.
The airfield was rather large, which caused the limited number of marines, numbering around two hundred and sixty, to be spread out rather thin. The first line of fox holes were positioned ten meters from the forest with two marines in each hole. The second line consisted of trenches made one meter wide by twenty meters long with marines trying to construct more. Various sandbag walls and structures were constructed in odd locations with machine guns set up facing towards the forest. Six large antiaircraft flak guns were positioned around the runway and hangers with sandbag walls around them.
Marcus didn't like the idea of the flak guns being so far away from the front lines. The marines and tanks had no antiaircraft cover and this disturbed him. In addition, he hated the idea that the majority of the base's defenses were pointed towards the forest. The Covenant probably knew this after their last attack, and would most likely attack from the air. He could see the enemy using Banshees to knock out the antiaircraft flak guns and the grounded Pelicans, while their U-shaped dropships would drop troops close to the hangers and totally flank the majority of the marines.
Marcus's mind started working tactically as he stood by the runway and started redesigning the camps defenses in his head. He would lessen the amount of marines stationed near the forest and make more sandbag structures and walls near the hangers. The majority of machine guns would be moved back to around the runway. Marcus took the clipboard from Lee and turned to a blank page. He started putting down his ideas down onto paper. If the marines could cut down the size of the airfield, they would be better able to hold it. The flak guns would need to be protected, so that they could protect the marines.
The fake Lieutenant drew the airfield with the Pelicans moved from the right side of the camp to the direct middle. The flak guns were put in a circle around the hangers and the section of the runway with the Pelicans. He drew trenches and sandbag walls with machine guns set up around this circle. Marcus concluded that if the circle was kept tight and secured, the Covenant dropships wouldn't be able to drop their troops. This would force them to land down the runway to drop their troops. If they land Wraiths, the Scorpion tanks would be able to destroy them before they could become combat ready.
When he was done, he over looked his drawings. He was proud of himself. His mind started to wonder as he started to remember the members of his Helljumper's platoon, but he put the thoughts aside. He turned to the First Sergeant. "I want you to prepare the defenses like this." The clipboard found itself back in Lee's hands. He over looked the draws as Marcus explained himself and his thoughts. At the end, Lee saluted Marcus and walked over to a group of low ranking sergeants and corporals and started to modify the defenses.
The guilt and worry in his heart from the gold bars started to upset him. Julio and Thomas walked up to Marcus. "So what's the plan El tee?" asked Julio. "Can I tell you guys something?" The Helljumper's mind raced with the pros and cons of telling the two marines. He wasn't sure how they would respond. Would they rat him out to the Captain or would they just play along? He decided to put that decision in their hands.
"Sure, El tee, what you thinking." responded Thomas.
"Guys," Marcus paused giving himself one last chance to pull out. "I have to tell you guys a secret." He lowered his voice so that only Julio and Thomas could hear him. "I'm not really a Lieutenant. These ranks are off of my dead El tee back at the New Era bank."
The facial expressions of the two marines changed as they absorbed the confession. Thomas clearly didn't know how to accept the data and turned to Julio. Julio was nodding his head as if agreeing to the voice inside of his head. "Marcus, what do you want and expect us to do with this information?" Julio asked. The ODST was taken back.
"If I'm found out, they'll courtmarshall me and then execute me."
"The question still remains, what do you want us to do?" Julio dropped the respect of adding sir so this speech.
"Just follow along. The Covies are gonna attack this base sooner or later. With the defenses that Captain James had set up, we'll just lose and probably all die. My plan is better, because it takes into account attack from the air."
"Yea, I did notice that it was better."
"Just act like I'm a Lieutenant in front of everyone else especially the Captain and the First Sergeant."
"Ok Marcus, we'll do it but only for two reasons. First, if you are found out, it won't affect us in any way. Second, you did save our asses back their in town."
By night fall, the airfield's defenses were almost ready the way that Marcus had planned out. The three marines sat against the outside of the second hanger eating meals ready to eat (MRE). The camp was silent as the majority of the marines were sleeping wherever they laid their heads. Earlier, the Captain had complemented Marcus on improving the camps defenses. The commanding officer was working hard on the COM to get his men everything that he could, from ammo to medical kits for the medics.
0349 Hours (Military Time). September 14th (Military Calendar)/ UNSC carrier Twilight. In space above the planet Tectron in the Aureas star system.
Commander Hilton sat in his chair as Second Lieutenant David Pletal gave his hourly update on the marine's situation down on the planet. The Covenant hadn't attacked either of the two marine held bases, and this worried Hilton. He assumed that they were preparing for a large attack, or that they were spread out so thin over the planet's two continents that they wouldn't be able to attack. Secretly he prayed it was the second one.
After the destruction of the enemy cruiser they hadn't sent any other ships into the Aureas star system. The battle for Reach must be drawing their full attention. Hopefully, the fleet was giving the Covies hell. Hilton allowed his gaze to wonder out into the black void of space. The quiet white lights from distance stars on a never ending black drop seemed to focus the commander until Lt. Pletal got his attention. "Sir, the Defender of Life has sent us a message on the COM, their recon drones at the edge of the system have detected a Covenant fleet heading this way."
Hilton responded in a calm manner. "Patch the video feed from the drone onto the main monitor." The communications officer typed in commands into his console and then looked up at the huge screen hanging from the ceiling of the bridge. The screen showed static at first but then the view of the enemy fleet appeared. Hilton could make out a carrier, two destroyers, and a heavy battle cruiser. The crew of the bridge began to whisper to each other. The commander knew the topic of conversation, the heavy battle cruiser. The Covenant only had one or two of these, but that's all they needed. In the early days of the war, a heavy battle cruiser had taken out six UNSC cruisers and two carriers in a matter of a few hours.
Little was known about this Covenant vessel, but combat data showed that it was two kilometers long and half a kilometer wide. Its shields were believed to be impenetrable, and it hosted twelve large plasma cannons. Hilton knew that there was no way that the Twilight, Defender of Life, and Justice could take on the enemy vessel.
As if she was reading his mind, Juanita appeared on her hologram disk on his chair. "Sir, at their current speed, they'll be within firing range in five hours and twenty three minutes."
"Thank you Juanita, standby for my orders."
"Yes sir, but remember, that the Twilight and the Defender of Life have a combined total of one point four million noncombatants from Tectron on board."
In reality, this fact had escaped his mind. He could not risk the lives of so many people, especially that many civilians. His options raced through his mind as the bridge crew carried on their tasks waiting patiently for his command. First, they could evacuate the marines from the planet and jump out of the system before the Covenant ever entered firing range. Second, they could fight the enemy fleet and all die for the cause. Hilton hated this idea, eventhough his military pride and honor tugged at him to make that decision. Finally, they could extract the marines, fire on the enemy and then jump out of the system. This choice would result in damage to the UNSC ships, if not total destruction.
The weight of command sank down on Hilton's shoulders. What should I do, raced through his mind. Whatever he choose, he had to make a decision soon.
Marcus, Thomas, and Julio were awakened by the sound of explosions all around them. Banshees flew over head firing plasma bolts and fuel rod guns at the marines, killing some. Flak guns fired into the sky hitting two Banshees which blew up in a burst of blue flames. Marines ran for cover, jumping into fox holes and trenches. The squadron of Banshees circled around the airfield trying to destroy the flak guns. Two more enemy aircraft were destroyed before a flak gun was finally knocked out.
The sound of machine gun fire, and the screams of wounded marines filled the air. The Banshees were being knocked down one by one as twenty U-shaped dropships approached across the forest and turned away from the marines' defenses and towards the abandoned area of the runway. The enemy was proceeding as Marcus had expected. The dropships released their load of Covenant troops and a few Wraiths.
Marcus signaled with his hands for several marines to man the Scorpion battle tanks. The engines roared to life as the large military green tanks rolled towards the massing enemy down the runway. They fired their shells into a high arc that smashed into several Wraiths and destroyed a dropship. The remaining Banshees swooped in and fired on the Scorpions. Two tanks were knocked out before the flak guns got a lock and finished of the last of the Banshees.
The enemy troops stormed up the runway towards the humans' perimeter trenches. Marcus, Thomas, and Julio jumped into the nearest trench. Marcus aimed at a blue armored Elite and fired half a magazine into the creature. Its shields failed and it was tore to bloody pieces. Machine guns opened up on the attacking Grunts, Jackels, and Elites. Plasma bolts were returned, killing the marines in the trenches.
A machine gunner next to Julio received a green plasma bolt to his face which burned through his skull instantly killing the poor marine. Julio slid over to the .50 cal and started firing, killing a group of Grunts and a blue Elite. Six Jackels teamed up and connected their shields as they advanced towards the humans with several Grunts following behind. Bullets bounced off their shields as they fired their plasma rifles killing marines who exposed themselves.
Marcus yelled use your grenades to the marines in the trenches. Frag grenades flew, arced and landed by the line of Jackels. They exploded killing the blue aliens quickly. The wave after wave of Covenant troops didn't end as more and more dropships bought in enemy reinforcements. Marcus's lines were becoming depleted as the enemy kept advancing. Julio's machine gun had run out of ammo and he was back to his assault rifle. Marcus was quickly running out of ammo himself. He looked around the encampment for some sign of hope. He started to wonder where the Captain and First Sergeant were. They were probably in the HQ requesting assistance from the navy boys in space.
The enemy was now a hundred meters from the front lines. Marcus quickly analyzed the situation. There were probably twenty or so marines left on the front lines with another hundred and fifty manning the second defensive line and behind sandbag bunkers. Marcus looked over his left shoulder and noticed the Warthogs parked over by the second hanger. He yelled at the top of his lungs for the first line to man the Warthogs. Julio, Thomas, and Marcus rushed out of their trench and sprinted to the nearest ATV. Thomas reached first and took the drivers seat, while Marcus took the passenger's seat. Julio climbed into the back and pulled back the bolt on the chain gun, loading a round into the chamber.
Seven Warthogs roared to life and moved towards the aliens. Chain guns fired wildly into the Covenant ranks, cutting them down. Marcus's Warthog received a plasma bolt to its front left tire, which disappeared as it melted away. The vehicle stopped and turned sideways. Thomas and Marcus hoped out and ran to the side facing away from the enemy and continued firing their MA5B assault rifles. Julio's body shook violently as he continued to squeeze the trigger of the chain gun.
A U-shaped dropship lifted off after unloading its platoon of Grunts and flew towards the human controlled hangers. It received and dodged flak gun fire before it crashed into the HQ hanger. Marcus watched as the building exploded, killing everyone inside. The situation was now worst. He was now in command of the remaining marines. Looking back at the runway he noticed the Pelicans sitting on the runway, well protected by flak guns and machine guns. Turning to Thomas, he spoke. "I'm thinking that we should retreat in those Pelicans. We can't hold them off forever."
Thomas nodded, showing that he agreed with Marcus's idea. Julio hoped down from the back of the ATV. The barrel of the chain gun was smoking, and it was clear that it had run out of ammo.