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Homeworlds III
Posted By: Mainevent<billygoat359@netscape.net>
Date: 1 September 2003, 4:28 AM

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Chapter Three- PANIC!

"Damnit Marines, get some led out!" Blackwell called, his hand motioning a team of Marines into a nearby room.

"Sarge, what the hell happened?" A panicked marine fearfully inquired.

"Nothing if I kill you first. Now get up to deck nine, they need help now."

"Yes sir!" He jolted down the hall to a small freight elevator. It disappeared into the ceiling, but quickly plummeted to the bottom of the ship. The floor shuddered beneath him as he quickly made a cross across his chest with his fingers.

"Sergeant Blackwell, have all of the marines on this level get to other levels. I'll take care of everything here." The armor-clad Spartan said calmly, and his unwavering gestures somehow calmed the Sergeant.

"But those bastards are crawling all over this place, there's no way you can take them all."

The spartan only stared at the Sergeant, and Blackwell realized there was no hope in changing his mind.

"Alright, but you better not go and get yourself killed." He ran off to the shell of what used to be a freight elevator, and couldn't bare looking down. Glancing around, he quickly spotted a maintenance ladder leading to the deck above.

"All marines to Decks 9, 10, 13, and 15! On the double!" Came the Captain's voice over the ships intercom. He sounded worn out, and Blackwell was moving as fast as he could. Sounds of automatic weapons fire coming from above, and most importantly below.

The hatch popped as the door was unlocked and sprung open. He took a quick glance around the bay. Three marines were fighting desperately in a far corner, and their was a small group of soldiers pinned down by a shade placed squarely in the middle of the room.

He pulled himself up the ladder and rolled onto the floor, pulling his Assault Rifle to his chest as he did. He emptied several small bursts into the grunt occupying the shade. He flailed wildly before his methane erupted into a small bluish-green fireball that encompassed his body. Blackwell tore the corpse from the machine, and hopped into position; his first job was the group of three elites harassing the platoon in the middle.

They spun around to meet their demise as hundreds of bolts cratered their bodies with highly charged plasma. The four jackals fighting in the corner of the room put up no fight as the freed marines quietly snuck up behind them, and slit their throats. The small group of fighters converged in the center of the bay.

"Sir, Corporal Alvarez reporting. We have a serious problem! When they attacked, their first wave was entirely cloaked, and they got into the barracks."

"Damnit! How many are left?"

"We have roughly four-hundred men fighting, but they are coming in force. I haven't seen them this desperate before."

Blackwell knew the answer, but there was nothing he could do at the moment but fight. He split the eight man group in half, and organized a plan. Alvarez was going to get to deck nine, and tighten up the forces frantically holding out there. Black well and his group were going to go back for the Master Chief. He knew he was ordered not to, but he didn't give a damn.

They approached the later and slid down one by one. Blackwell's armor made a slow clank as he hit the deck and rolled backwards. He sighted his rifle, and covered the ladder. The other three marines proceeded likewise down the ladder. The hall was abnormally quiet, and that wasn't necessarily a good thing.

"Two man teams, Rogers and Vasquez, and Stewart is with me." Blackwell ordered, and they moved to opposite sides of the hall. They moved in unison, providing cover fire when crossing a door or other obtrusion.

The hall seemed endless as they slowly hugged the wall leading into Cargo Bay A. Blackwell snapped his flashlight on and swept the room; it was too dark to tell anything, and the enormous quantity of crates and boxes only made it more confusing. A hunter could be hiding two feet in front of him, and he wouldn't be able to tell.

Vasquez quickly forded the passageway and took cover behind a large metal container at the bay's entrance. He jerked his head twice, the signal for entrance. Blackwell and Stewart took positions behind crates at either side of the door. Rogers covered the flank and was knelt in the door.

"It's too dark in here Sarge, we'll never be able to find him." Vasquez said pleadingly.

"Flashlights now!" Blackwell barked as two shadows danced across the periphery. "Stop where you are. UNSC Sergeant Blackwell. Put your claws above your head and step into the light, or we will be forced to fire."

The shadows were motionless for a moment, then slowly moved into the light. The figures slowly formed into recognizable humans as they entered the light's beam. The Sergeant knew both of the men, they were two of the most decorated pilot's in the UNSC's ranks. Vince Wilson, known as "Lucky", and Patrick "Devilfish" Darwin had over fifty recognized kills in battle, and that was astounding.

"Don't shoot, its just two lonely old ladies." Devilfish joked.

"This is serious son, all hell is breaking loose up there and your asses are slinking around in the dark. Why aren't ya'll in your fighters?"

"What? What's going on? We were trying to find a crate of liquor and we didn't hear anything."

"You two must be deaf, because it's the damn apocalypse up there."

"We'll get to our fighters as soon as we can." Vince started to head for the door but Blackwell stopped him in his tracks. "It's too late for that, you're to important to go and get yourself killed by some damn grunt. Ya'll are coming with us now!" Vince nodded in agreement, and the two pilots were handed M6D pistols.

The group zigzagged through the labyrinth of materials, and found the opposite side of the bay. It had been forced open by someone, or something, with incredible strength. Blackwell was pleasantly surprised to find the corpses of two grunts lying face-down on the ground. The back of their heads dented in due to some sort of blunt force trauma.

"It shouldn't be too far now!" Devilfish said sarcastically.

"Stow it marine.....this wasn't caused by our man. No, there are boot prints of some-sort in their heads."

"Gentle Jesus! A hunter!" Vasquez realized to his horror. He had read in a manual somewhere that hunter's, being on the high-end of the covenant caste system, didn't care for any of the weaker creatures that served under them, and had even been known to occasionally walk "through" a hapless grunt or jackal in it's way.

"Great! A hunter, a hunter. What next, invisible elites." Stewart muttered, the fear in his voice making it an annoying tone.

"Don't move!" Came the throaty voice of some unseen source.

Blackwell froze as he noticed the slight distortion in the air slowly stalking him.

"Great damn joke Stewart." Vince thought to himself.

Rogers slowly raised his rifle to face the invisible marauder and pulled the trigger. Bullets peppered the air and the body of a light-blue armored elite jerked violently as they penetrated the metallic carapace. A bloody roar came from Rogers left, and a plasma sword sparked to life. Vasquez jerked Rogers back in time for the sword to miss, and another invisible elite hit the floor, headless. His blue gore spewing onto his armor. The rampant elite raised his sword above his head, and readied for the attack.

"Fire!!" Blackwell commanded as the group showered the bastard in a led. His entrails rolled from his body as the shredder rounds tore the alien body viciously apart. He clutched his midsection and doubled over, the plasma sword hissing as it sparked and defused. Blackwell heard a loud clank and spun around to find two more elites, plasma swords raised, ready to attack. He closed his eyes and began to pray to himself, but soon heard the double smack of bodies hitting the floor, followed by the heavy clank of someone's boots. He followed the ridges and grooves of the Spartan's armor up to his helmet. He had not only killed two elites, but managed to catch both of their plasma swords.

"Hold these." He commanded as two of the marines took a hold of each of the arms. The Master Chief placed his left hand on the chest of the fallen elite, and then with an enormously powerful tug, ripped the arm from the elite. Bone, blood, and meaty flesh all combined to make a truly disgusting sound as the body was torn apart. He did likewise to the other elite's corpse. He pried the fingers from their death grip around the handle of the weapon.

He doled the Assault Rifle and Shotgun he had tightly strapped to his back out to the pilots, himself taking both of the swords. Blackwell was amazed at the Spartan"s strength, determination, and overall fierceness.

"Chief, motion tracker shows covenant in the next room. Size suggests something large, a hunter perhaps." Cortana informed the chief once more with an update on the situation. Her eyes and ears practically removed the fog of war that most soldiers suffered from. He silently detracted the plasma swords, and, hugging the wall, moved to the next opening. He slowly took a peek around the corner, to find six elites, and a strange new enemy conversing inside; their alien tongue he couldn't decipher.

"Accessing all covenant speech databases....one moment."

The six marines all checked their weapons and ammo behind him.

"Hey MC, we got your back man. You just tell us what to do." Vasquez whispered. John only nodded in response.

"So, how about this. Two of us throw grenades in. Then three of us go in on the left, and three of us go in on the right," Rogers went on rambling with his plan, "then the Master Chief comes in with his swords and sliced them to pieces. How about that plan""

The chief meanwhile took notice of a split-second of unguarded time and rushed into the room. He activated the plasma swords and dashed into their midst. Two dead in under five seconds as he bisected the creatures. The other four were momentarily stunned, and a moment the chief used to his advantage. He jammed the swords through the heads of another two elites, and pulled himself up to kick another one in the head. The elite's neck snapped violently and he became grotesquely contorted on the floor.

The marines stormed the room, and set up a defensive ring around the Master Chief and the covenant. Only one elite and a brutish covenant remained, but they were more than enough to take out several of the marines. The chief removed the swords from the elites corpses and held them at his sides.

"Chief, be careful, that covenant is not registered in the database. I don't know what it is, or what it's weak spot is." Cortana advised as the chief eyed the two figures. Chief Mendez and Déjà had been extremely effective instructors, and always emphasized knowing your enemy.

"No matter how many enemies you have fought, there will always be another who uses different tactic, and that tactic will one-day kill you. Always size up your enemy, and never underestimate them. It will be the last mistake you ever make." The chief thought back on a lecture CPO Mendez had given him during his training.

The larger creature was apparently having a hard-time understanding the situation. As if, the appearance of an enemy such as the master chief slowed it's thought process to a crawl. The elite, however, was not to be deterred. He made a quick lunge at the chief, but do to his "upgrades" he was able to dodge him. Unfortunately, Private Stewart was not as lucky. The elite's body made a dull thud as he pinched the writhing human between him and the wall.

"Stewart is dying chief, get that elite off of him." Cortana screamed into his ear. The chief made a large step toward the elite, and grasped him firmly. He used all of his strength and the suit's to launch the elite across the room and into several control panels. The panels burst into a sparking festival and then caught fire; warning lights began flickering inside the small room.

The marines shelled the elite with over four-hundred shredder rounds, and twenty five high-impact eight-gauge three-point-five inch shotgun rounds before turning to the other creature. It glanced back and forth between the marines and the elite several times, and then with an earsplitting roar, charged toward the marines. The chief sped toward a nearby wall, and leapt onto it. He kicked off of it with one foot and spin-kicked the creature in the head. He inserted one of the plasma swords diagonally into the chest of the ape-beast and with a quick spin as he hit the deck, cut it's cranium cleanly from it's neck. He instantly retrieved the weapons from the animal as it squirmed on the floor.

"Cortana, requesting a medic immediately. Waste-works four, deck 7!" Cortana pleaded through the communications channels for Stewart's life. He had sustained five broken ribs, a fractured vertebrate, and countless ruptured internal organs from Blackwell's optimistic estimates.

John, however, was mulling over the body of the unknown creature. It was larger than the elite in height, but much thinner than a hunter. It was muscular, and resembled largely an evolved ape. Master Chief was introduced to apes in Déjà's class, and knew their hunting tactics well. It had lost much of the hair that it's predecessors had, but still retained the general shape of the animal.

The other marines joined the chief around the corpse, and several nudged it with their weapons. It's arm made a sudden twitch and Roger's emptied an entire clip into it.

"Smooth Roger"s, really smooth man. Now how the hell are they supposed to study it?"

"Fuck you man, it didn't try to kill your ass."

"Kill me, it's dead dude."

"Yea, well, when it rips you apart, we'll see who's talking."

Blackwell took a small extinguisher to the fire roasting the elite to their left, it's burning flesh choked his lungs and made him gag. He covered his mouth with his sleeve as he worked to put out the blaze. Wafting the fumes as he walked away from the scene helped, but didn't get that smell off of his uniform.

"Medics are on their way, we should get moving." Master Chief said as he erected him self. He towered a full foot above Blackwell, and his armor only helped make him look more severe. He followed the chief through the door, and to the right. Down the hall were two options, the Diagnostics center, and the Hydroponics room. Hydroponics made 90% of the food onboard the Suncoast, and was an extremely efficient source of it at that.

"Two teams now!" Blackwell's gruff voice broke the air. Rogers, Vasquez, and Wilson, your team Alpha. Devilfish, Chief, and I will be team Bravo. we're going to be in Diagnostics, you guys check out Hydroponics." Blackwell instructed. "Well marines, what are you waiting for, a signed invitation from my boot, get your asses in there."

"Yes, Sir!" Came the response as the three marines rushed down the hall.

"After you Chief." Devilfish bowed and swept his hand into the room. He kept a wry grin on his face as he entered the large room. It was bristling with control panels, computer screens, levers, buttons, and monitors. All came together to create an eerie space feel in the room"s dark atmosphere.

Blackwell slung his rifle, and admired the wealth of computer banks and databases stored in the room. Human history, colonies, songs, weapons databases, tactical databases, marine logs, ship's e-mails; all stored here. The wealth of knowledge at his fingertips was more than enough for the covenant to find everyone of Earth"s counterparts.

Billions of people would die if this fell into covenant hands, and he for one, was not willing to let that happen without one hell of a fight. He un-slung his weapon, and a look of sheer ferocity overwhelmed him. He could feel his heart beating in his chest, and the adrenaline rush was amazing. It was pulsing through his veins, and the endorphin rush made him a walking Molotov cocktail. Extremely dangerous, and very hostile, this marine was not one to piss off.

"Let's go marines, there is more to do here than stare at the pretty lights." Blackwell sounded different as he stormed from the room with his weapon at the ready. The others were just leaving hydroponics as he walked by.

"This ain't an ice cream social ladies, get your asses out here." He barked.

"What's his problem?" Lucky asked Devilfish with only a shrug for a response.

"He just went off into space for a second, got real strict, and stormed from diagnostics."

The group found an elevator at the far end of the hall, and Blackwell pushed nine on the panel. Deck nine was the site of the heaviest fighting on the ship, and Blackwell knew it. He felt sorry for the covenant, because he knew there was no way they would stop him from repelling them from his ship.

They stepped off of the elevator onto a bloodbath of green, blue, orange, and red blood. Hunters, elites, grunts, jackals, marines, and bodies too torn up to recognize all strewn about the fighter bay they came up in.

"Gentle Jesus." Vasquez moaned as he took a knee, heaving heavily from the smell of the gore and stench of rotting meat was so putrid he had a hard time breathing.

"Suck it up Vasquez, there dead, but we're not. let's go save some marines shall we." Rogers tried to act tough as he gave the inspirational speech, but he couldn't hold it. Blackwell and the chief were already heading down the corridors searching for victims, or firefights. They found it in the Rec. Room. Seven marines were holding up against ten elites. Thanks to a shotgun and some very helpful grenades, they were still alive.

The chief and Blackwell slipped two fragmentation grenades into the room. The astonished elites made a load roar as they erupted into columns of fire and shrapnel. Six bodies streaked across the room, and three of the survivors shields were fully depleted. The cornered fighters resorted to suicide attempts, and two pulled out plasma grenades. One raised it above his head ready to fire, and was met with four high-explosive rounds to the temple.

The active plasma grenade rolled from his spiky fingertips and landed on the chest of another elite. A look of fear and surprise ran through his icy eye-slits. Blue-green blood sprayed the walls and took out the other two elites. Bewildered marines slowly came from their sanctuary behind an armored table, and saluted the master chief. He gave a quick salute and then left the doorway. Blackwell followed closely behind him, and put his pistol back into it's holster.

"Follow us Corporal McNamara!" Vince said half demanding and half asking. He knew they had been through a lot, and didn't want burnt out marines in a fight. Burnt out marines are worse than the enemy, because they freeze up, and that gets men killed.

"Invaders have been repelled. Excellent work men. Sergeant Blackwell, Master Chief Petty Officer 117, Vince Wilson, Patrick Darwin, ODST Ronald Jenkins, ODST Franklin Johnson, Lance Corporal Bart Hendricks, ODST Cameron White, ODST Cliff Adams, ODST Samuel Rogers, ODST Matthew Lucedale, and Active Study Jane Dozwell please report to the Captain"s Quarters immediately." Caligula read the list of names, and then clicked off.