HALO: Missing In Action - Prologue to Chapter 3
Posted By: Hikaru-119<email@example.com>
Date: 14 December 2002, 7:47 pm
The year is 2552 and mankind has been streatched out into a fledgling empire of several colony worlds for many years now. Over years past several decades human insurrections against Earth and her many off world neighboring colonies have taken place and a unified government had been needed to control these conflicts. Thus the United Nations Space Command, U.N.S.C. was formed.
The U.N.S.C. created by the many colonies and Earth now governs most of the known universe under human control. Only loose rebels and smugglers do not fall under the command of the U.N.S.C. Yet these rebels are only one of two threats to humanity. The other is known only as the Covenant.
The Covenant first known to mankind in the year 2525 made their first apearance above the outer-colony world Harvest. Only one ship came about and glassed the whole planet killing 3 million people in a short span of time. The U.N.S.C. ships in the area came to defend the now decimated colony were all but one destroyed. The remaining ship badly damaged and almost in total ruin made a desperate jump to the military colony of Reach. There it described the seeming unstoppable warship that destroyed Harvest and the U.N.S.C. ships in the area. That started the current losing war for the U.N.S.C.
Now after nearly thirty years of war against the Covenant humanity is nothing more than a hand full of colonies and Earth evading complete destruction of the religously hell bent Covenant Warrior class. As of late the planet thought incapable of being over run, Reach has fallen under Covenant attack and a lone ship, the Pillar of Autumn, armed with many Marines and the last survivor of the human super soldiers known as SPARTANs have escaped the fall of Reach and have now retreated to an unknown ancient alien ring world where they now continue their desperate fight against the Covenant.
Chapter 1: Miss Drop
The Pillar of Autumn was launching its escape pods and Pelican Dropships at a rapid rate. The situation was now very grim for the survivors of the Fall of Reach. Suddenly multiple bright plasma bolts hit and boiled away at the Pillar of Autumn's hull. As these hits pummeled the ship smaller guns began to target the life pods and dropships. The Covenant wanted all of the survivors dead on the ship and off it.
A small amount of the escaping pods and dropships were shot by other bolts of plasma. They were instantly pulverized in the vacuum of space. The Pillar of Autumn was now accelerating towards the object that it had found. It was an artifact that can only be described as a gigantic derelict ring in space.
Over one of the arctic regions of the ring came in an escape pod that was well off course. It streaked acrossed the cloudy sky and came close to the ground. As it flew out of control it left a line nearly 200 meters long of melted snow behind it when it finally crashed to the surface. Inside the pod though were a small group of U.N.S.C. Marines, Fire Team Tango and a crew man lucky enough to get in the pod before it launched.
Meanwhile inside the pod everyone except the pilot were knocked out cold. The pilot was pasted acrossed the front wind shield. Blood was everywhere on her chair, helmet, and forward view. Finally until nearly 20 minutes had passed by did the Marines wake up. Among the team was Pvt. James Roberts, Pvt. Kevin Spencer, Pfc. Lucas Samarant, Cprl. John Watson, Sgt. Michael Taylor, Ensign Fredrick Hayward, and Lt. Victor Johnson. All of survivors excluding the ensign and Roberts had the standard mechanical brown body armor plates and steel reinforced kevlar helmet which contain nightvision, the targeting reticle for their firearm on the green hud that came over the right eye and the friend/or foe status marker.
Confused the Marines exited the crashed pod after finding the pilot dead in her seat. As they did it began to snow lightly and the sound of a high pitched whine came from overhead. They were in a large wind tunnel so most of the survivors assumed nothing of this. Except the lieutenant. The lieutenant was a war torn man. His body was laiden with several battle scars from Covenant ground battles.
He also had the longest record of combat with the Covenant and knew the sound of incoming covenant fliers known as Banshees. Attempting to put it in a good tone the lieutenant turned to the survivors with a look of fear and anger. This did not go well with the men at all. Finally he spoke up.
" Men I am assuming you don't know what that sound is above us," he said getting confused looks from his men. " They are Covenant fliers most likely Banshees. I'm guessing about three considering that would be the normal amount on a light scouting patrol." The message did not go over well. Only after a minute had passed did Sgt. Taylor walked up to the Lt. with his MA5B at ready.
" Sir what are your orders?" Taylor asked with a sturn expression upon his face.
" From my experience and with as little of options as we have I suggest we find some place to hide. That would at least be the sensible thing to do." Lt. Johnson said. " Alright Marines we will be heading out in five! I want ammo packed, weapons distributed, and supplies packed anyway you can carry them. No hurry up and get to it!" he ordered.
The men hurried as fast as their bodies would allow them to go. Gathering ammo and supplies from the weapons cache in the pod the Marines prepared with what little weaponry they had to take on the Covenant forces that were in the area. The ensign and Roberts then went over to the bodies of those who didn't make it and put on their armor. They knew they would need it.
After ammo and supplies were distributed among the survivors the lieutenant moved out from the pod into the wind away from the sound of the banshees. Looking back at the men at his command the Lt. signaled them to come with him. They all hurried to catch up to his location.
Then they heard the fliers. Sgt. Taylor ordered the men to fan out with his black hand and to stay low. No soldier argued. After fanning out Fire Team Tango was ready for the Covenant. The sound of the fliers became unsettling in the guts of the survivors. The whistle of the engines was terrifying. Finally the Covenant fliers came out from the cloud cover and did multiple sweeps around the life pod. After several runs the 3 banshees finally got into a formation that was similar to a V and fired thier fuel rod cannons. Green streaks of plasma hit the pod sending it up in smoke. The Banshees were now heading in the direction of the survivors.
" All units hold your fire until my mark." Lt. Johnson orderd. The fliers now came closer and there purple chintonous armor could be seen with the two one meter long stubs that were best referred to as wings. The fliers flew right over the survivors not noticing them. A complete blessing. Then the Lt. yelled mark.
The air was filled with 7.62 mm AP lead. Sparks came as the bullets pinged off the armor of the fliers. The covenant banshees made a sharp turn and came in firing with amazing speed. Bolts of superheated blue plasma struck near the marines sending pieces the ground around them up into the sky. During the bombardment a lucky bullet hit a pod on the center banshee and sent it crashing into another to its 4 o'clock. The lead one was destroyed and its wingman was badly damaged and came slowly to the ground.
The Marines now had gone through a few magazines and the remaining flier was badly damaged. It to came close to the ground and its pilot opened the top half of the flier and jumped out to reveal its self. Smoke billowed out and the pilot ran to a nearby rock. The creature was nearly 8 ft in height and was wearing a dark blue uniform that revealed parts of gray leathery flesh at the joints of the armor. It waved its right arm around its face clearing the smoke revealing its split chin.
Sgt. Taylor saw the pilot and threw a grenade behind the rock. An explosion came and sent the body up several feet into the air spraying a purplish colored blood in the corpse's general vicinity. The Marines gave a victory cheer and went and examined the body.
They could see it was a Covenant field officer type, an Elite. The entire body had holes blown through it and purpulish blood was seeping through the wounds. Several of the men spat on the body and went about talking amongst themselves about their minor victory. Yet their memory as to the number of kills was off. The other banshee pilot was still alive and now out of the flier and coming about to flank what humans it could.
After lying in wait behind a small rock formation the elite hopped out and threw a plasma grenade. It glowed bright blue and landed 8 meters away from his comrade's body. The Marines dove out of the way as the grenade exploded in a pillar of blue plasma. The Lt. was not about to lose his men quite yet.
" Men find the bastard that threw that and take it down!" he ordered. But just as he finished his sentence the elite revealed itself and opened fire with its plasma rifle. Plasma streaked towards the Marines hitting the Lt. on his shin guard. The plasma melted the metal protectant and made it nearly worthless. The marines now without hesitation unloaded on the elite.
Bullets flew and ricocheted off the elite's shields. Finally under too much bombardment the shields failed and AP rounds seared through body of the elite sending bits of flesh into the sky.
" Good work men," the sergeant said reloading his MA5B. He then slung his rifle and approached the corpse of the elite and forcefully took the plasma rifle from the elite's cold dead fingers. After shouldering his MA5B and looking at the plasma rifle for a moment and getting a good grip on the weapon he carried it as his primary weapon for the time being. The Lieutenant then activated his helmet radio.
" This is Fire Team Tango calling any nearby U.N.S.C. forces. Over. " Static came through after the lieutenant called. He repeated his message and recieved the same static. " Dammit. Alright men let's move out." the lieutenant said. The squad now moved onward towards the direction the fliers came. It was a long a silent walk into the wind for the squad and the cold was finally getting to some of them. The lieutenant wasn't doing so well either.
His lower right leg had second degree burns from the plasma bolt that struck his armor. He attempted to hide the pain from his men, but every time he stepped on it a sign of pain streaked acrossed his face. Finally he stopped and orderded the squad to hold up for a 5 minute break. Watson and Samarant walked over to the lieutenant. He was holding his shin.
" Sir what are your orders once this interval is completed?" Cprl. Watson asked. The lieutenant looked up from his wound and saw Watson's gruff face and looked back at his wound.
" Soldier we will move out and attempt to find some sort of shelter. Once that is accomplished we'll need to try to communicate some how to anyone nearby. If there is anyone nearby." the lieutenant said. Watson and Samarant saluted and then went out on point before the break was over. By the time the squad was out of the interval they heard machine gun fire and the sound of plasma weapons as well.
Watson came running back to the squad with Samarant's body over his shoulder. Blood was on both their faces. And Samarant's chest armor was blown to hell.
" Sir" Watson said laying down the PFC, " Covenant Jackels sir about tweleve of them. We got four and then he was hit. They'll be coming soon."
The lieutenant unslung his weapon and rallied the squad. " Men I want us to fan out in groups of 2 or 3. Cover your flanks and concentrate on one at a time. Now move out!" The squad did precisely what they were told. The jackels were now in the middle of the squad's poorly forged trap. They were ugly creatures. Their heads were shaped like those of a vulture and had yellow energy shields attached to their wrists. The aliens couldn't have been taller than about 5'6''.
When the jackels stopped and looked around for the Marines they had just encountered the air filled with bursts of fire from the squad. The jackels were flanked and surprised too encounter more resistance and a plasma weapon being fired at them! The remaining Covenant jackels standing opened fire on the marines and took cover behind their shields. As bullets and plasma flew through the air the covenant were being pushed back into a small group of four. Then as the squad saw they were pushed back this far Pvt. Spencer stood up and yelled.
" Frag out!" he yelled throwing a M9 HE-DP fragmentation grenade at the jackels. The enemy dove out of the way exposing their backs to a hail of lead and shrapnel. Fire Team Tango cheered at another minor victory that they accomplished with minimal casualties. A rare thing for any human squad to accomplish.
" Marines gather their weapons and let's move out!" Sgt. Taylor ordered. He approached the bloody body of Pfc. Samarant and Cprl. Watson knealing next to him. The sergeant knelt down to examine thier wounds. " You all right soldier?" he asked Samarant. The Pfc. gave a bloody thumbs up. His abdomen had burn marks and the body armor was nothing more than a hunk of dead weight metal. " Good. " he said standing up. He walked over to Johnson with a bad look upon his face.
" Is he going to make it sergeant?" Johnson asked.
" He might if we had some damn biofoam and bandages. I estimate he will live for a while but in serious pain for the next day or two but after that I assume he will have slowly bled to death. We need to get him medical attention now sir." Taylor said. Johnson had a grim look. He nodded his head and mouthed the words "alright...alright," and went on over to him.
Privates Spencer and Roberts ran over to the dead jackels. They began to yell obsenitites at the bodies and kicked them. Finally after a few minutes of rage they stopped. They also picked up two intact plasma pistols.
" Watson, Hayward get your asses over here and give Samarant a hand. You got carry duty for now." Johnson barked. Roberts and Spencer ran over and slowly carried Lucas between them. The squad now in recuperation moved out.
The weather was now becoming worse. The snow came down harder and the wind had picked up. It was now becoming dark on this section of the ring. The bitter cold swept across the whole squad. It was nearly an hour's hike before the squad decided to stop and rest. Johnson looked around trying to find a place for his squad to escape the cold. He looked carefully and saw a blinking blue light. He had found a small structure to hide in. He pointed to it and walked into it.
As they entered the entire area was as dark and only the blinking light provided a light sourceas the unlit night sky. The marines then turned on their rifle mounted flashlights and saw the structure had many complicated designs engraved on the slate gray walls. There was also a small amount of plant life and large ice crystals that glistened as the lights went over them when they looked outside the entrance.
" Hey lieutenant!" Ens. Hayward said brushing off the snow that had accumilated on him," What do you think of the place?"
" Well ensign I think we will set up camp here for now. Anyone have any ideas on how we could start up a fire for some heat?" the lieutenant said. Spencer and Roberts looked at each other and gave a grin.
They spoke in unison, " We do sir." the lieutenant turned to them and saw them hold up their plasma pistols.
" Good suggestion. Go and find something to start it with." the Lt. ordered. Roberts and Spencer went away to find some wood. After finding sufficent amount of burning material they set it a'fire with a charged blast of their plasma pistols. Samarant was set next to the fire. The fire burned for three hours. Upon finishing their rest the squad set out once more.
Chapter 2: The Long Haul
It was now two hours since Fire Team Tango had left their temporary resting location. In that time they encountered no Covenant forces. That is what they were worried about. Not knowing where and how many Covenant there may be just lying in wait to ambush them. A very uneasy thought for such a small amount of Marines. Other than these thoughts roaming around inside their minds the hike was rather dull.
There was nothing to be seen that would be considered marvelous. There was the occasional group of trees or a rock slide that was along their path but other than that the fire team encountered nothing of significant interest. The fire team had now travled many a mile and were rather dulled on their senses considering the lack of action they had encountered in the past few hours. The squad had taken a short rest among another rock pile.
It was still cold as it had been since their arrival on the ring world. The men were beginning to gripe and the lieutenant was no going to argue with their complaints. Considering he was thinking of the same basic things. Amidst the bickering Ens. Hayward found a spot to take a seat and avoided the confrontation. As he sat he heard several low hums about a few hundred meters away. Confused he consulted the squad.
" Sir I think there is something you should hear just over in this direction." the ensign said leading everyone to where he was. They all leaned toward the sound and approached it rapidly. They ran through several thickets till finally they came to a stop near a ravine. The lieutenant could see a few blurs moving off in the distance. He pulled out his M9D pistol and activated the linked scope there displayed right on the HUD of his helmet's eye panel.
Although it was only a two power magnifacation he could see what the source of the hum was. There was a convoy of nearly 4 Ghost light assualt vehicles and a Wraith motar tank. A challenge his squad could not take on with their amount of fire power. The lieutenant watched as the covenant armor rolled by. They hovered along and their purple bulbulous structure shined but barely. Finally they came to a stop. The Elites on the Ghosts looked spooked.
Suddenly two white streaks came out from two tree tops killing two elites in the ghosts. Then the sound came to the squad. They were sniper rifle shots. Then the lieutenant saw two gray figures move by some rocks and plumes of fire came from them and struck the Wraith with explosive force sending it up in smoke. The remaining elites now zoomed around to find the new threat. Two more shots came from the trees causing the Elites to perish from the living and sending them to the dead. The ghosts crashed down to the ground.
" Men lets move out." the lieutenant said going towards the ravine. He was nearly 100 meters away from the ambush site when he yelled out. " Marines!" The men down below acknowledged his presence and the presence of his squad. The group of ambushers approached the Lieutenant. They saluted and he returned the favor.
" Sir. Am I glad to see you people." one of the men carrying a M19 SSM Rocket Launcher said. The rest of the squad caught up with the lieutenant.
" Same here soldier. What unit are you from?" the Lt. asked.
" From Fire Team Sierra. We dropped way off from our designated point and well...many of us didn't make it. Only Sergeants Gordon and Jacobs plus Private Griffes over there and myself Private Mclean made it out of our escape pod alive sir. Most of our gear was damaged or destroyed upon impact. Most of our ammo and supplies were also greased by those damned covenant Banshees. Sir. " the Marine said. The two snipers in the trees now came down from their spots and joined the group.
Sergeant Gordon came over to McLean. " Who are they?" he asked reloading his rifle.
" I don't know. Sir what unit are you from?" Mclean said with a puzzled look on his face.
" Fire Team Tango. Well what is left of it anyway." the lieutenant responded. The lieutenant now had thought of something. " I have another question for you people. How did you know that a Covenant armored scouting party would come by?"
" Sir I can answer that one. The fact is Griffes over there was sort of fooling around with his launcher and stumbled across a cliff edge and saw them moving along. So we decided to get into a posistion to ambush them . So we ran ahead of them and found where the cliff forms into this ravine here. So it was rather simple considering they were bottle-necked and packed tightly together." Gordon responded.
" Well you boys did all of us a big favor by destroying that armor." Taylor said stepping in. " But why the hell didn't you avoid it? I mean for the love of god you could have lost your lives and not even had scratched them! But good work anyway."
" It is our job to destroy the Covenant whenever possible. We are Marines. Sir." Griffes said. Taylor rolled his neck around once in bitterness towards the marine's comment. He didn't like be put into his place by those of lesser rank.
" Very well then. Marines let's move out!" Johnson said heading towards the direction his squad had came. " We'll continue on our previous path." he said looking over his shoulder. The squad followed him as they continued on. He then realized he was one man short. " Hayward where's Samarant?"
" Back up at the top sir. I'll go get him." Hayward responded.
" See to it that you do. Roberts, Spencer help him out. I want you men down here double time. We can wait but only for so long." Johnson said. He then went over to the newest members of the team. " You men have any medical supplies on you? We have a critically wounded soldier."
" I do." Mclean said. " I've got four units of biofoam, several bandages, morphine, the works. Why how badly is he wounded?" They were now back with Lucas. They set him down on the ground.
" He was hit square in the abdomen with a charged shot. We need to get him medical attention soon or he'll bleed to death internally." Watson said walking over.
" Alright then I'll get the supplies ready for him then." Mclean said putting his weapons aside. He bent down and removed a canister of biofoam and a package of bandages. He examined the burn wound and wrapped all but a small portion in bandages. Samarant winced in pain as the wound was tightly wrapped. Then in the uncovered part of the wound Mclean injected the biofoam. It was a sudden sting on the wound and it would be irritating for a long while, but it would keep him alive. Mclean then finished wrapping the wound and Samarant was nearly able to stand on his own two feet in a matter of minutes.
Chapter 3: Rememberance
It was now rapidly approaching dark and the squad has wandered into a rather forested region of the ring. Still among the cold the squad was becoming tired and requiring rest. After being in the forested region for some time the lieutenant decided to stop the squad.
" Men we rest here tonight. You have six hours. Mclean, Roberts, and I have first shift of guard duty. Gordon, Taylor, Watson, and Samarant have second. The rest of you have the remaining hour of sleep time on duty." Johnson said. The Marines went inot a general area of sleep and rested.
Johnson found a spot to sit and began to clean his weapon. It wasn't a very long process until he was done. When he had finished the task Mclean and Roberts walked over to the tree he was at.
" How's it goin sir?" Roberts asked sitting down on the other side of the tree.
" Alright soldier. How about you?"
" I'm fine sir." Roberts said looking up through the trees. As he did he could see the other side of the ring above him and many stars beyond it.
" Good. So what did you want?"
" Are we...I mean sir do you think we are the only ones who made it off the Pillar of Autumn?"
" Watch your mouth son. Of course others made it. I mean why wouldn't they? Besides you need to have more faith in our Captain and the rest of the crew."
" Sorry sir." Roberts said in shame. The lieutenant turned to look at Roberts.
" Don't worry about it. Besides we should be able to meet up with the rest of the survivors shortly." Johnson replied. A long silence fell among those awake in the squad.
" Hey sir. How many missions against the covenant have you had?" Mclean asked. Victor looked up into the sky and thought back really hard.
" I can't remember, but I've been in the Corps. for 13 years now so I honestly don't know." Johnson replied looking up the trunk of the tree.
" I joined just a year ago. I was there on Sigma Octanus 4. God that was a battle." Mclean said. Suddenly a very solemn look struck his face. Within his memory he saw his friends shot by Covenant troops and the fighting grow in his mind. The sight of blood and bodies flooded his mind. As these images grew he could remember the smell of burnt human flesh and the screams of the wounded.
" I was there too. And you're right what a battle. Hey did you see the SPARTANs?"
" Excuse me sir," Roberts asked," but what is a SPARTAN?"
" Why the most elite soldier the U.N.S.C. has. They wear some sort of green armored suit. I believe they have shields or something like that integrated into the suit. They are the one thing you want to see in a bad situation. They are our super soldiers." Johnson said. Then his voice dropped, " Except all but one didn't make it off REACH when the covenant hit us. If we are lucky we might see it."
" Interesting. How come I haven't heard of them?" Roberts asked.
" Good question, considering their fame amongst the entire U.N.S.C.," Johnson said looking at his watch," Its time to trade shifts. Johnson and the other two went over and awoke the next shift and went right out.