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Firestarter Squad: Chapter 2 (The Middle)
Posted By: Iden
Date: 19 November 2000, 5:20 pm

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... BLAM!

    In horror the three watched as a group that had started a few secondsearlier was caught in the middle of an energy blast from a Covenant tank. The five bodies were flung outward sickeningly like some sort of rag dollsin a child's temper tantrum. Silence, the pure pristine type, only camearound when you didn't want it. It made you hear things you never thoughtyou'd hear. The sickening splat of some of the bodies against a small rockformation interrupted the silence.
    "Son of a bitch! That could have been us!", Alex quickly tried to diveback toward the trench but Jerry caught him a second time and yanked himreally close, the other quivered some of that good old-fashioned Jell-O.Jerry's brown pools narrowed as he glared at the other, his fingerstightening upon the other's twig like arm.
    "One last time Alex, if you wimp out on us one more time I'll flay you fromhead to toe.", His tone was more like a low growl. Jerry was realintimidating, wether or not he wanted to be. He loomed over Alex by atleast a foot, dwarfing him by a good hundred pounds or so. He shoved Alextoward the opposing crest that waited ominously as black smoke flourishedbehind it.
    "T-t-there's tanks over there . . . " Alex stammered.
    "Yeah. We know. It's our job to take them out though.", Jing spokerarely, but when he did he had a point. "Maybe they're dying inside of itright now though, but it isn't safe to stand here. Let's move out."
    Jerry nodded lightly and they started at a steady double advance, Jingmoving out to the right to be able to flank if needed. Alex and Jerry movedwith nearly two meters between them incase another blast came over thecrest.
    Alex's hand gripped the flame thrower tighter, the backpack wore down onhim heavily but the thought of what just happened hung heavily on his mindand buoyed his feet. The sound of his gear and weapons clinking as he movedalong slowly calmed his nerves. His head tilted down for a moment to lookat the ground, watching his feet kick up a little dust, there seemed to bedust on almost everything, the explosions had showered the area with it. Hebegan to count the blades of grass as he moved along, each one standing outcrystal clear in his mind as he kept pace with Jerry. He remembered oneCaptain telling them that you always noticed the little things in life, onthe ground, in the air, when you were certain you were about to die. Thecaptain didn't stop there, he went on to tell them that probability saysmost likely, you are going to die, so why not take out a few of those bluebastards with you? He hadn't understood why everyone had been soenthusiastic and thrown up their hats at that time, but the knot in hisstomach that seemed to have wrapped around his spinal cord was slowlyloosening. Maybe he was understanding.
    Jerry shook his head as they ran along, Alex was going to be utterlyuseless, maybe he could be used as a shield, but the boy was even tooscrawny for that. Jerry felt the grenades along his belt bouncing againsthis leg as they ran, one hand reaching down gently to grab a hold of one,almost like it was for reassurance that they were still there and wouldprotect him. Jing however he could count to be at his side and be someonewho would sacrifice his life for the continuance of the human race. Hiseyes squinted once again as he tried to distinguish from the giant haze ofsmoke over the other crest of how many tanks had been destroyed. Theserenity was shattered once again by short quick spurts of gunfire as theycame to the crest, and right behind that was the trench system the enemy haddug out. The gunfire seemed to come from nowhere and be aimed from nowhere,it was just the sound.
    A quick hand motion was made to Alex, who wasn't paying attention as usual.
    "Alex!" Jerry hissed softly.
    Alex's head snapped up and he began to back as he almost slipped into thetrench, another short burst of gunfire that seemed to passed right by Alex'snose, this seemed to catch his attention. Jerry quickly dropped to theground and Alex scrambled over to lay beside him.
    "Did you see anyone?" Alex whispered.
    "I didn't see shit." Jerry growled, "Fry that trench Alex."
    "S-shouldn't we follow 'FOF' standard procedure?" Alex whispered.
    "Friend or Foe?"
    "Hell Alex, fry the god damn trench."
    "Identify yourself!" Alex shouted over the top of the crest, "Friend orFoe?"
    "God damn it Alex.", and with that Jerry unhooked one of the grenades onhis side and pitched it over to roll it into the trench.
    A blur of motion as a blue alien went right over Alex's head, the explosionnot far behind. Shrapnel sliced off one of the arms on the creature as itwas propelled the remaining distance of up and over. The arm lay twitchingoff to the side, holding the creature's weapon.
    "Fry it! Fry it!" Jerry yelled as it slowly began to try to get to it'sfeet, it's free arm groping along it's back for its sword.
    Alex's mouth hung open in fright of the sheer size and evilness the thingseemed to posses, those beady little eyes staring down at him as the swordwas un-slung from its back. Jerry drew his rifle around to bear on thecreature and the resounding click told them it was jammed.
    "Fry it, Alex! Fry the bitch!" He bellowed as the creature began to limptowards them. "Christ! Fry it!"
    Alex still stood like a raptor caught in the headlights of a jeep, and justabout to be run over as the Covenant warrior raised the energy blade highabove his head. The creature almost seemed to be glorious in it's sinisterway, the blood had stopped flowing seconds after it's arm had been removedand it seemed entirely untroubled by it. The technology it possessed in asingle weapon would rival what they had on their entire crashed ship, beingsthat had advanced so far in their grand scheme of technology, but never losttheir roots of using the majestic blade. It almost seemed to be a sin totry and stop this noble creature from dispatching the two. Alex shook hishead cleared it. He looked back up as the warrior's momentum began to moveto thrust the blade downward towards his gullet. That wasn't noble, or evenmajestic.
    Alex's eyes narrowed and he growled a, "See you in hell."
    His finger tightened on the trigger and a steam of burning napalm shot outof the nozzle to catch the creature in the chest, flinging it back as flameserupted all around it. The scream of the damned soul echoed throughout thesmall valley, Alex wasn't sure if it was his or the other's soul that wasdamned for this action, but surely one would end up in the 'promised place.'
    Jerry blinked a few times as he opened his eyes, no, no energy bladesticking into his abdomen. A few more blinks and he saw Alex, still holdingdown on the trigger, drowning the Covenant warrior in napalm
    "Alex!" he barked, "Enough! Save your ammo! It's dead!"
    Alex now seemed to wake from a dream, a few blinks and he let off thetrigger, the napalm stream finally ending. Half the field would be on fireshortly, Jerry thought, time to move.
    "Let's move... there's still a few more trenches to search and then we'veto get to the objective." Jerry spoke somewhat normally, a little lessaggression in his voice as if still amazed that Alex had fired and saved hislife. He began to work on his jammed gun as they slid down into the trench,the blasted bodies of several covenant, who hadn't made it out of the trenchin time, littered the area. After removing the top of the assault rifle hedumped out a bunch of dirt and growled, "Damn Covenant." Replacing the tophe pulled back the top to arm the first round and fired a short burst into aCovenant's head, watching the blue splatter across the ground and his weaponhe looked up at Alex who stared back, a bit of purple on his face.
    "They ain't so tough when they're not in their spaceships, Alex. Let thatbe a reminder to you though, of what I might do if you hesitate again."Jerry spoke, a sick grin plastering across his face and he began to movedown the trench, firing a round into each Covenant head, as if they werelying in pieces as some sort of ruse.
    "Where's Jing?" Alex spoke as he looked left and right, jogging slightly tocatch up to Jerry.
    A throat was cleared behind him, Alex and Jerry whirling at the same timeto bear their weapons on Jing who jumped to the side. "Hey! Christ you twoare jumpier than two Covenants on the wrong end of a flame thrower."
    "Eh?" Alex's brow furrowed as the three settled into a cautious walk,peering into each underground bunks as they moved along.
    "Heh, you don't know? The covenant hate flame throwers, even though theyhave something similar, flames are often associated with hell, and as youmight of learned they seem to be the religious type." Jerry chuckled softly,"You just gave that blue bastard back there the most dishonorable death hecould of ever deserved."
    Alex swallowed softly, yeah, it was probably him who'd end up in hell.
    Jerry called that the first trench was 'clear' and they scrambled up oneside and quickly slid down into the next. A quick glance to either side andthey moved up the side once again and down into the third trench, more likea shallow burial ditch. Humans and covenant lay strewn up and down it.
    "... lets move on..." Jing said uneasily, for once echoing the sentimentsof Alex and Jerry.
    Slowly they crawled up the embankment to peer over the edge and then Alexslowly slid back down, rolling to sit and lean up against the back of thetrench.
    "We're screwed..." he sighed softly.
    The other's followed and silence reigned once again, the gentle humming ofthe Covenant tank patrolling back and forth in front of the Covenant Armory,blasted human and covenant tanks littered the area.
    "Eh... it's damaged, doesn't look like it can turn easily, takes abouttwenty seconds for it to do so. Something must be damaged." Jing remarked.
    "What do you say Jing? You think you can still pilot one of those?" Jerrynodded towards a human tank that was half in and half out of the trench, itlooked like it had been nudged in to make it appear useless. A body wasstrewn half in and half out of it.
    "Eh... you two keep it distracted and I'll see what I can do for it." Jingnodded lightly and began to crawl down the ditch towards the tank.
    Jerry and Alex crawled back towards the top and watched the Hover tank limpback and forth, the right side actually scrapped up against the ground init's damaged state. A quick glance to his left and he saw Jing's legsdisappear into the top of the tank.
    "Alright boy, you aim that flamethrower at the front of that thing,hopefully they won't be able to see anything, if you hear it begin to hum alittle louder then dive to the right, they won't be able to aim that way.",Jerry ordered and Alex nodded.
    Alex closed his eyes and sighed for a moment, "You have any jokes Sarge?"
    Jerry blinked and glanced at the other, "Wha''?"
    "Seriously Sarge, just a strange last request, do you have any jokes?"
    "Well..." Jerry snickered softly, "Yeah. Once upon a time Sol Scientistsdecided to send 3 astronauts to space for 2 years. One was from Sol, onewas Mars and the other was from the Io colony. The Sol Scientists allowedeach of them to take 200 pounds of baggage each. The Sol man decided totake along his wife, the Ioist decided to take along books to learn how tospeak Latin whilst the Martian decided to take along cigarettes. Two yearslater, when the space shuttle landed, there was a big crowd waiting towelcome them home. First came the Sol man and his wife and each of them hada baby in their arms. Next, out came the Ioist man speaking fluent Latin.They both gave their speeches and got a rousing applause. Suddenly out camethe Martian with a cigarette in his mouth. He walked up to the podium andsnarled to the crowd and asked, 'Has anyone got a friggin' match?"
    Alex snickered softly with Jerry who had finally found what he wanted, heraised the cigar to his lips and Alex placed the nozzle of the flamethrowerup close to the cigar, causing the tip to catch fire. Jerry puffed on itfor a few moments and closed his eyes before opening them to look back atAlex.
    "What kind of strange request was that anyway?" Jerry asked as he waitedfor Jing to radio in that he was ready.
    "Eh, I didn't want to die with one horrifying impression on my mind." Alexgrinned.
    "The impression that there was this poor old woman out there who raised onehorrifying ugly child who never had a sense of humor."
    "Eh?" Jerry blinked.
    "Your Mom." Alex grinned.
    Silence settled in for a moment and Alex's grin wavered for a moment beforeJerry broke out into laughter and slapped the other on the back. "You mayhave a fighting chance soldier. Damn if you don't need to practice on yourjokes, but you've a fighting chance in you."
    A soft sight escaped their lips as a single click sounded over the radiofrequency, all was set. Jerry began to count down from ten and theyprepared to scramble up and over once again. Jerry screamed out the finalnumber and they jumped up and began the short ascent up to the small plainwith the hover tank, the roar of their own tank sounding behind them as Jingbegan his futile efforts to get it up and out of the trench, the three ofthem just now noticing that one of the treads wasn't on the ground.
    "Christ! Too late now!" Jerry barked, "Let's go for it!"
    However the two of them had a sick sort of twisted grin on their lips, alingering thought in their minds. A moment of weary attempted humor thatwould linger in their heads.
    "... Your Mom."

[Once again. Please post your support for more chapters in the forum andI'll drop by to read criticism and the like. :-) ]