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Halo: The Scythe of Death Part Nine
Posted By: LordofDestruction<Exwing4123@aol.com>
Date: 27 March 2004, 5:36 AM

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Halo: The Scythe of Death Part Nine
Location: Isen River Battlespace, Vega Prime Theatre of Operations
Date: April 17th, 2578 Military Calendar, 22:05 Zulu Time

      Patton yelled over the radio to his unit, "Alright, keep it up. Get the Infantry tank hunter teams in place three hundred meters ahead of the tanks. Make sure the Fire teams keep those positions intact." He switched off the intercom, "Sergeant Major, How are we coming?"
      The tank bucked suddenly, followed by Sergeant Major Downes's reply, "We're holding. I've vaped eight of them already." The tanked shuddered again, followed by, "Make that nine."
      The marine Fire Teams got into place soon after, and began engaging the charging Covenant ground forces. The tank hunters began killing any IFV or tank that made it through the hellish barrage unleashed by the four divisions covering the four hundred km stretch of hell. Ship based Katana interceptors began unloading "daisy cutter" fuel-air bombs, and Warhammer cruise missiles onto the enemy, killing scores of Covenant. Covenant Seraphs fighters joined the melee, tearing into a few unlucky ground attack planes. The Sabres began dog fighting the Seraphs, sending a few down in flames immediately.


      Commander Jose "Speedy" Gonzalez rolled his Sabre fighter behind a Seraph, and throttled up to Mach 1.5. The Seraph saw him, and dove down towards the ground. He punched the stick forward, accelerating after the Seraph. There was no way it was going to get away from him like this. The Seraph jumped into an outside loop, leveling out three thousand meters from the ground. Gonzalez punched the throttle, and shot up behind him. The Seraph banked to the right as hard as it could, but Gonzalez cut into his turn, and spat columns of 40mm cannon fire at it. The Seraphs shields splashed off the first hundred rounds, but collapsed, allowing the 1.1 kg rounds to tear the Seraph apart. Gouts of flame shot out of the dying Seraph, along with metal fragments and most of the crafts superstructure. It broke in half, killing the pilot and sending the hundreds of pieces that were left of its ruined airframe careening down towards the ground. Gonzalez pulled up out of the cloud of debris, then said, "Scratch one. Ok ladies, let's take care of the rest of these bastards."
      The rest of the 409th Tactical Fighter Wing roared in triumph. One of them, Lieutenant Commander Grace "Amazon" O'Toole replied, "We have a problem, Speedy. Two wings of Seraphs inbound, looks like their ready for dirt busting."
      "Gotcha. Okay, form up, switch to Fox-ones. Launch two at one hundred km." Gonzalez barked. The one hundred forty-four Sabres moved into a loose formation, heading straight to the incoming Covenant fighters. Gonzalez locked on to two unlucky bastards down range, then hissed "Fox-one!" The rest of the wing fired simultaneously. The Covenant Seraphs launched a return volley towards the Sabres. Gonzalez barked to his Wing, "Break formation, all units break formation." His missile avoidance alarm was blaring now, and he launched a spread of flares and chaff, then rolled and dived to starboard. He could see the enemies' plasma missiles shooting towards his group now. They were just blue orbs in the distance, getting larger very quickly. He continued to evade as he watched the missiles close in on his radar. He gunned his throttle and pulled up on the stick, releasing another spread of countermeasures, just in time to cause a missile to miss him, and strike the decoys. A quarter of his wing weren't so lucky. They had caught a missile, and ejected, or were carbonized alive in their cockpits. The enemy wasn't even that lucky. More than half of them began spiraling down towards the ground, torn apart by the ASIM-79 Shuriken missile.


      Another barrage of 152.2mm MAR fire sent hundreds of more Covenant soldiers and equipment to an early demise, followed by an accurate and angry volley of Spectre tank plasma. A shot exploded just five meters away from Patton's tank, sending pieces of obsidian and charcoal pinging off of its armor, followed by a wave of heat. Downes immediately found the tank that fired plasma, and lined up his targeting reticule onto its center of mass. The tank shook, and a split second later, the Spectre was lying upside down with a four meter wide hole in its frontal armor. Downes said, "Reloading."
      The driver heard this, then lowered the tank's hydropneumatic transmission, hiding the tank turret from view. Patton furrowed his eyebrow. "Draco, I need you task one the orbiting ships to send some firepower onto their pontoon bridges. None of the fighters can make it there."
      Draco replied smugly, "Done. The UNSC Odysseus has just tasked fifty Archer missile pods to the area. Detonation is sixteen seconds."
      Patton sighed, "Good. See if you can get any reinforcements from the carrier battle groups."
      "Working on it." Draco began sending the query.
      The turret jumped to left ten degrees, then bucked as its MAR fired at an IFV twelve hundred meters away. Off in the distances, hundreds of contrails shot down to the crossing points on the Isen river. Hundreds of explosions followed, their sonic booms reverberating across the battlefield. Lieutenant General Zhukov came onto the radio, "We'll keep fighting for ten more minutes, then we'll retreat." The radio clicked off. A Dragon tank exploded five hundred meters right of their position.
      Patton was fuming by now, "Shit! Downes, how many rounds we have left?"
      The turret bucked again, "We still have four more magazines." Three seconds later, the tank shook, and another white-hot shell lanced out to its target. The round transfixed two Spectre tanks, destroying them both.
      The remaining Covenant in the area shot up a withering hail of plasma up to their positions. A return volley of MAR rounds shot down the slope at almost three km per second. A stream of white-hot plasma shot up the slope from the charging infantry and armored personnel carriers, burning through dismounted infantry's shields and armor. The 280mm artillery moved their fire zone to right up in front of the UNSC lines, pushing back the advancing infantry.
      Zhukov came on the radio, "Looks like we're packing up early. All units, withdraw to position Bravo."
      Patton yelled over the radio, "You heard the boss, lets get the hell out of here." The infantry pulled back into their IFVs, and sped off. The tanks stayed for one more minute, covering the artillery while it packed up into its respective Pelicans. Patton's Dragon did a quick one-eighty degree turn, and wove through the redwood forest, evading a few plasma shots directed at it. The driver, Master Gunnery Sergeant Sosumi Hikowa maneuvered the eighty-four ton tank through the forest at eighty km/hr effortlessly, quickly outpacing the slower Spectre tanks.


      Commander Gonzalez jinked his Sabre to port, allowing a stream of plasma shots to slice through nothing but air. He decreased the power, hit the air brake and slammed the stick all the way back, sending his planes nose one hundred-twenty degrees past the horizontal. He released the air brake, and vectored the thrust from the engines forty degrees up while simultaneously hitting the afterburners, sending his plane into a back flip, leveling it out a split second later, right behind the bastard that had been shooting at him. It rolled and dove towards the ground, followed quickly by Gonzalez. When he closed within one hundred meters, he depressed the cannon trigger, sending four angry arcs of 40mm cannon shells. The Seraph's shields splashed off the first rounds, then flickered and died, along with the Seraph that was projecting it. Gonzalez shot straight through the debris field, bring his shields down to one quarter. The remaining Seraphs bugged out, leaving the 409th master of the skies. Gonzalez let out a roar of triumph, then said, "Okay boys, our work here is done. Lets head back to the Hastings and refuel and rearm."
      He heard a volley of "Yes sir!" He had killed five Seraphs and three APCs that mission, not the highest of his wing, but he still had more air-to-air kills than any of them. He had forty-two confirmed kills, most of them in space. He angled his Saber's nose up towards the heavens, and accelerated out of the planets gravity well.


      Patton's battalion regrouped, and moved to the rightmost edge of the 1756th Armored's wedge formation. They covered the thirteen km to fire position Bravo in a mere nine minutes, at least twenty minutes ahead of the advancing Covenant army. They passed the reserve divisions, and headed to the Corps' rear to rearm and to do whatever repairs were needed on their vehicles. The 1756th Armored's symbol, a red star surrounded by an outward pointing circle of blue stars, had been seared off of Patton's tank by a close plasma bolt. The entire right side of his tank was seared black, with all of the active camouflage paint burned off. That would have to be fixed, though it would only take five minutes of a good mechanics time. It just needed a new coating sprayed on in the problem area.
      They stopped in a maintenance area, and got out of their tank and assisted loading the replacement ammunition. Draco sent Patton a status report of the battle, which showed that the four engaged divisions had taken a twenty percent casualty rate, but had had an eight to one kill ratio against the Covenant. Patton finished loading his tank, then jumped up to its top, and sat on the turret bustle, watching the Medics treat the wounded of his unit. He removed his helmet, and let out a long sigh of relief. The adrenaline was starting to leave his system, leaving him tired but satisfied. He thought of the men who were dying out there, and how he, at the moment, was powerless to help them. He was brought back to reality by Sergeant Major Downes throwing him an MRE.
      Downes chuckled, "You're off in la-la land again. Eat something, we have a long day ahead of us."

To be continued in: Halo: The Scythe of Death Part Ten