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ODST: Breaking stuff to look tough.
Posted By: Mainevent
Date: 27 May 2004, 7:30 PM

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      The HEV plummeted through the atmosphere as fast as it could. This wasn't the first time one ever had to outrun plasma, but it was the first time there were four Seraphs on the other end. It's ceramic skin superheated and cracked before breaking away. The air friction rattled the inner cage and its occupant like a ragdoll in a washing machine. It was amazing the entire contraption hadn't broken apart already.
      His teeth shook and clattered against his skull. It felt as though his jaw was about to break. Even with the mouthpiece the rubber wasn't enough to keep the shaking down. The young ODST prayed his chute opened, he'd seen the vids of the poor Helljumpers whose chutes hadn't. He wasn't going out like that; not without a true fight.
      His main parachute popped out like a warm marshmellow, and expanded quickly to absorb as much air as possible. The Seraphs gained ground on the slowed pod, and were going to enjoy every minute of its destruction. Though that wasn't what the ODST inside had in mind.
      He pulled the emergency release and felt his stomach jump into his throat as his human entry vehicle began plummeting towards the planet again. The massive white synthetic fabric jerked upwards in the jetstream and landed on the main viewport of a Seraph.
      The large purple teardrop strafed from side to side in a vain attempt to remove it. He slowed his descent, but the parachute had wrapped itself around his stubby wings. Plasma burned holes through it, but not large enough to open up a clear line of sight for the pilot.
      One of the plasma bolts inadvertently landed a direct hit on a Seraph struggling in the wind. Its grav-pod exploded in a massive plasmid sphere, and the Seraph ceased to be. The elite inside cursed in his alien tongue and surged forward. If he couldn't shoot this vile creature down, he would ram his vehicle through its brain.
      The ODST inside stared upwards and noticed a massive blue fireball erupt and destroy one of the Seraphs. He wondered if there could be air support. Though he knew better. The first time air support had been attempted in conjunction with HEV landings, three of the craft exploded on the very longswords sent to protect them. Their drift and rolling meant the trajectories were just too random to allow cohesive air support.
      The fabric covered Seraph was speeding towards him again. The wind-blasted fighter seemed as helpless as a wounded bird. Although the ODST knew it was anything but a wounded bird. The warning blared through his ears, telling him that he was nearing dangerously low altitudes. It was now or never.
      He punched the release for his reserve, and the noticeably smaller parachute unfolded and waffled in the air. It tattered from side to side in the wind; it looked weak enough to tear at any moment. The elites inside of the Seraphs above him slowed down somewhat as well. They weren't sure how many parachutes this device had, and weren't falling victim to a similar fate as their comrade.
      Their comrade, however, was still pushing forward. He knew the human craft was too weak to sustain a blow from his sturdy Seraph. His mandibles parted in glee as he imagined the destruction of yet another enemy. He was three kills away from becoming a Royal Guard Wingman. The most elite fighter aces were assigned to this extremely honorable position, and were directly responsible for protecting Prophet ships.
      In the air, this elite was king of his domain. Thirty human ships had fallen victim to his fiery tongue. He had enjoyed every minute of their demise as well. His entire life was centered around that position. One his father had never quite managed to achieve, but always talked about with such passion.
      He was caught offguard when his two companions began slowing their descent, and swerved violently to avoid them. His wing clipped the tail of another Seraph, clipping it destructively and sending his spiraling to the ground. The Seraph he hit spun to face the left and began stalling.
      Its pilot attempted a quick save and pushed his thrusters to max. His vehicle regained a footing in the air and pulled up. The vehicle was too damaged to try for a return to space. The monochromatic purple beast hobbled slowly to the ground; it was about to be put out of commission.
      The single undamaged fighter rolled to the right to avoid the collisions. The pilot glowered as one was sent in fiery spirals towards the ground, and the other limped to the safety of a nearby field. This was worthless, he would return to the orbiting ship above; assuming it was still there, and request reinforcements. It was the only sensible thing to do.

      Corporal Stocklear exhaled deeply and fell from his pod. He kissed the ground beneath him. No amount of training ever curbed the extreme satisfaction one had when they landed safely. It was multiplied tenfold by the fact that he had landed safely, on a reserve chute, while being herassed by Seraphs. He was a lucky, lucky man.
      He ducked as the howling shriek of a seraph hurtled overhead. Muffled thumps echoed through the forest as it forced its way through the trees. Another heavier thump shook the ground. It had landed.
      "No welcome party for you? Well that's not how we do it where I come from. It's time to give the new neighbor a house-warming gift."
      He pulled his gear from the floor of the drop-pod, and grabbed his battle rifle. The smoke trail he could see above the treetops suggested it was only a kilometer or two away; not far at all. Stocklear smiled hostily to himself. It was time to make a new friend.

      Zuka 'Slalemee realized he was alive before he regained conciousness. The ear-splitting and constant ring echoing through his ears told him that. His eyes felt like they had grav-weights attached to them; they were so heavy. This wasn't going to look good to the commanders, but he couldn't help it.
      He slowly looked up; the muscles in his neck screamed for him not to. The instrument panel was utterly destroyed, but luckily not wedged into his cranium. His seat, however, had lodged itself in his back. A sharp, protruding piece of metal had sunk itself deep in his armor. The warm, oozing blood trickled down his spine.
      Zuka moved deliberately to remove the object, and every centimeter he removed felt like it was actually a foot long. He roared in relief when it finally clinked to the floor of his utterly useless ship. His ego overtook his pain for a moment, and he cursed loudly. He had been taken down by a simple fabric. A fabric! He had taken the lives of thiry top pilots, only to be taken down by a fabric. The irony repeatedly kicked him in the face.
      The hatch didn't work. Angrily, he bashed at the door with his feet. It buckled from the force of the blows, and finally popped off. Sunlight and warm, fresh air rushed into his face. His eyes hurt from the sudden brilliance of light.
      He rolled out of the cockpit and into the warm grass. He wished he could just lay there forever, but he knew better. The pain in his back sharpened. He couldn't stay on it for long. Zuka turned to lay on his stomach, and pushed himself wearily up. His balance was still off; the whole world seemed to spin around him. He shook his head to remove the feeling, and it worked.
      Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Get it together. 'Slalemee tried his best to remember his survival courses, but the pain was overbearing. Not a good enough excuse though. Zuka clicked the power to his shields to 'active'. Pilots never wore their shields in the cramped confines of a cockpit.
      He heard the rolling whirl of his shields as they activated, and was relieved as the shimmering blue coursed up his bady. As it worked its way up to his back, he heard a loud pop and watched disheartened as they died. His massive hand reached around to see what could be the problem, and found another piece of metal. It was useless, he had no shields.
      Come to think of it, he had nothing but a plasma pistol. He hadn't even meant to bring that, it was the prize from a round of Sugruaka, a Covenant game similar to poker. Covenant pilots usually didn't carry weapons with them for two reasons: it was bad luck to prepare for getting shot down and most pilots were too proud to ever do anything but go out in a blaze of glory.
      Then again, how else would they go? None of the Covenant ships had safety mechanisms, and now that Zuka pondered on it, none had ever been lucky enough to survive. They were either completely destroyed, or won. It was that simple. This was a record. Not only had one Covenant fighter been shot down and survived, but two had. He remembered the fighter his wing clipped, and the general location it headed. At least the general direction before he blacked out. That's where he'd head.

      Stocklear watched the sparking hulk as it sat three feet down in the dirt. It was in surprisingly good shape for the beating it had taken. Its wings had been shorn, its tail was bowed inward, and the front had an enormous gash in it, but nothing a human couldn't survive. He knew the Elites well enough to know this one had survived it.
      He would actually be somewhat disappointed if it hadn't. Luckily though, the rear hatch dented in two places. That's my boy. Stocks thought to himself. A grin writhed across his mouth as the thought of payback wriggled its slimy way into his brain. You may be the master of the skies, but this, this is terra firma. This is my house.
      The beast rolled onto the grass, and appeared to be in physical pain as it laid on its back. So you are hurt. Good. Better for me. Stocklear was cocky, he wasn't stupid. He'd fought Elites before, and knew how extremely tough they were. He'd be no match for an Elite at full strength, not by a longshot.
      He could easily take him now, but this was too good to be true. It turned onto it's stomach, and got up; still evidently shaken from the crash. It shook its head, and stood there for a minute. Apparently thinking of what to do next. The alien tapped his wrist. Shit Stocks, you shouldn't have waited. He had let the bastard reactivate his shields, and it had a visible plasma pistol. It was far less helpless now.
      The blue shimmer moved cylindrically up his body before twitching, popping, and failing. Stocklear laughed. It was just a good day altogether. He leveled his Battle Rifle and fired a single round into the plasma pistol attached to the Elite's waist. It sparked and was kicked four meters behind him. The Elite was obviously shocked, and his eyes jerked around quickly.
      The ODST was caught offguard as a froth of plasma strobed into the tree above him. It caught fire and began toppling. He dove out of the way, barely missing the gigantic timber spike that landed between his legs. He looked up at the wavering Seraph fighter hovering above the wounded Elite.
      The tail was damaged, and the grav-pods were having a visible amount of trouble stabilizing the craft, but they were stabilizing it. He fired a three-round burst into it's fuselage. No good, they were ineffective against such a heavily armored foe. Another volley swarmed over his head. This time, he aimed for the grav-pods. He quickly scoped the rifle, and fired a single round. It impacted the grav-pod and the vehicle wavered to the ground.
      The rear hatch opened and the pilot leapt out. The grav-pod Stocklear had shot erupted like a plasma grenade, sending the mechanical bird-of-prey topling straight towards him. It was now or never. Stocklear jumped up, leapt over the log he was hiding behind, and raced towards the two Elites. The wounded Elite snarled and took a strange fighting stance. The other quickly got up and ran to join his comrade.
      The ODST dropped his pack and moved three paces faster. He centered himself between the two. It was a risky move, but it was his only chance. The shieldless Elite attempted a lunge attack, but Stocks rolled backwards. It impacted the second Elite, crippling its shields. A three round burst crippled its skull.
      A quick kick knocked the Battle Rifle out of Stocklear's hands, and it skidded across the field. The triumphant Elite stood over Stocklear, knowing he could take him in any hand-to-hand excersise.
      "You were foolish to attempt this. You should have run while you had the chance." It snarled at him. Venom filled its words, and promised no chance of a reprieve. The heavy two-toed boot lifted up to crush his skull. It's not that easy ugly. Stocks rolled up and put all of his strength into his push. The Elite was put off balance and fell onto his back.
      "I know that has to hurt you ugly alien sack of shit. But this is gonna hurt worse." He pulled his M6D out of his leg holster, and emptied four rounds into its face. He'd had enough of the show-and-tell. Now he had to find a way home.