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Homeworlds IV
Posted By: Mainevent<billygoat359@netscape.net>
Date: 2 September 2003, 9:23 PM

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Chapter Four- Blood Gulch

Johnson and Jenkins had been fighting the bastards for easily two and a half hours before help arrived, and when they were called to the Captain's Quarters their hearts were relieved. They strode quickly into his room, and to their surprise were late.

"Ah! Gentlemen, very nice work. Please sit down, I have a very important assignment for you all. Those of you here have all been chosen by both Caligula and I based on your history and your overall survivability statistics. Many of you are ODST, and what would you expect, you guys are the best troops we have. Today, however, I am much obliged to introduce the Master Chief and Cortana. As many, if not all, of you have heard, the Spartan-II project created an elite squad of super-soldiers." Capulet began what many of them could tell would be a long speech.

"What does this have to do with us is what your asking yourselves. Well ladies and gentlemen, being the best has its perks. One of those perks is that you get to go on suicide missions. Isn't that a great perk? Well, it doesn't matter. Brass gave the heads up, and were moving out. I have some crisp new orders for you all, and they smell like shit." He took a seat at the large oak chair at the head of the table.

"With all due respect sir, can we forego this lovely inspirational speech and get to our orders." Johnson asked timidly. The captain ran his large hands through his jet-black hair and then looked up. He ran his masculine fingers across several keys, and a large hologram appeared in the center of the table.

"Sure, alright. Here we go. This ladies and gentlemen is what has been aptly named, Blood Gulch. It's a box canyon on CP-354, known as Cerap. Now what would make brass send a group of some of the UNSC's finest into a box canyon on some hellhole out of the way planet?" The image of a transparent cube, with a large crimson sphere inside appeared inside the box canyons representation.

"This is believed to be some sort of forerunner artifact that scans detected. We don't know what it does, or if in fact it is even forerunner in origin. What we do know, is that we want it. Whatever it is, it has sparked the covenant's interest as well. We have a small platoon already dug in at the site, and you're going to reinforce them," He made a slight twist of his wrist and the hologram changed once more, this time into a representation of the forces and layout of the map, "We have set up a base with ample defenses. Roughly a mile and a half of distance between you and them, farther than any of their known weapons reach."

"How do we get there?" The chief asked in his devil-may-care tone.

"That's why we have Lucky and Devilfish here. They are going to pilot the pelican to the surface." This last comment set several people in motion.

"Sir, ODSTs only go in feet first." Jenkins urged.

"Well, your gonna go in feet first, your gonna walk your asses off of the pelican and like it, and it's not up for discussion!"

"Now, back to the defenses. We have set you up with a nice supply of weapons and gadgets to make sure you don't get bored in the sandbox. Four scorpion class battle tanks for all of your high-explosive needs, five warthog class light recon vehicles, three with light anti-aircraft guns, and two with rocket launchers. That should suffice for any raids you may feel the need to partake. We have also sent in six ATVs, which should help with any moving you may need to get done. The base also has six pelican dropships stationed their to aid you on your initial attack. I thought it more than appropriate to have a little air support. " The captain tapped the keyboard once more, and the hologram disappeared in several shutters.

"You heard the captain, lets move it." Blackwell cocked his rifle after slamming a fresh clip into it. He slung the weapon and then firmly placed his cap on his head. He straightened his ragged gray uniform shirt, one that had seen several hours of intense fighting, and proceeded out the door.

The rest of the room filed out slowly after him, and headed in different directions. The chief made his way to the armory, and pulled a small crate from the wall. He slowly perused through the room, and took what he felt he would need. Ten shotguns, ten assault rifles, fifteen M6D pistols, five battle rifles, four SMG's, several thousand shells for each, and lastly four Jackhammer rocket launchers with twenty boxes of ammo. Jenkins and Johnson strolled into the armory and stared at the chief and his weapons.

"Hey chief, thanks for getting the weapons for all of us, you saved us a ton of time." Jenkins said with a slight bob of the head.

"What do you mean?" He responded. "This is my gear."

The two ODSTs stared in disbelief for several seconds before finally snapping out of their daze and moving to the rack. Johnson had a small metal rack that could carry four or five guns, two assault rifles, two shotguns, and a battle rifle.

"Get five S2s, and several hundred rounds of ammo, and then meet me at the dropships." He ordered before using his armor to help heft up the crate, and walk out the door. He set the crate down inside one of the two pelicans used to transport them to the surface, and then made his way to the vehicles. A mechanic approached him while cleaning his hands with a small oil-stained rag, and then forehead with the back of his arm.

"Well, what can I help you with?" He said with a slight country accent.

"I need some modifications made to this vehicle." The chief said with the slight hint of excitement in his voice.

"I'm here for ya." The mechanic responded and leaned closer to the chief.

"Vince, I just go the orders, we move out at 1200 tomorrow." Devilfish whooped as he jumped over a chair in the mess hall.

"Yea, I know, but don't you think this is out of our league. I mean, I know we're great longsword pilots and all, but I've only had six hundred hours in the cockpit of a pelican. Their slow, and hard to maneuver. I mean I give more credit to pelican pilots then I do to us."

"Shit Lucky, pelicans are easy. Especially for pilots of our," He heaved his chest out and took on a mocking posture, "high caliber and extreme determination to duty."

Vince couldn't help but laugh at how ridiculous his friend looked, and took another sip of his coffee. He sat back casually in one of the hard metal chairs that lined the several hundred square gray tables.

"If I get killed, I'm taking your ass with me. And you remember that." Vince jested.

"And if I get killed, I'll call the captain and tell him off. I've always wanted to do that." Devilfish quipped in response. In the meantime, the Pelican Droppings, as the feet first ODST group had affectionately been named, met several times. They came up with logistical and support data, tactical information, studied maps, gathered intel from the marines already stationed there, and came up with a P.O.A., or plan of action. They met one last time before departure, but strangely lacking was the presence of the Master Chief.

"Okay people, here's what's gonna happen. We leave the Suncoast at 1200 on the dot, if your late, it comes out of your pay. The ride to the surface should take roughly two and a half, so we should arrive at about 1430. We meet the marines their for an update on the situation, and then we retrieve the box before the covenant. Anyone gat a comment?" Blackwell asked the crew calmly.

"Sir, about the name I've been hearing around the ship....Pelican Droppings? Sir. They're mocking us. ODSTs don't go in on the birds."

"Well, I didn"t make it, so bitch to someone else. Oh yea, and Private Jenkins."

"Yes sir."

"You've been promoted. The captain saw fit to move your sorry ass up the food chain. You're now a Lance Corporal." Blackwell threw a small gray box at the LC. It flipped a couple times on the polished brown mahogany table before coming to a stop in Jenkins' lap.

"Th, th, thank you sir." He stuttered.

"Don't thank me, thank the captain. Alright people, lets move out."

The group exited the Conference Room and proceeded to the locker room. The hard clank and shrill dink of the armor ricocheted through the metallic room, and the foul odor of sweat and musk lingered heavily. The marines' armor was custom tailored to the person. It consisted of one half inch of pure Titanium-A armor shaped and fitted to the chest and back.. They also had shin guards, ankle protectors, leg guards, thigh guards, and for the men, groin plates. The helmets were made of a thinner one fourth inch plate of Titanium-A, but also had the added advantage of cushioning, which the rest of the armor lacked.

From there they walked in two uniform lines through the ship, much to the amusement of several passers-by, and into the docking bay. Much to their surprise, attached to the rear of the pelican were two vehicles. Both had been modified and painted.

On Pelican "Delta 436" was a Scorpion class tank. It's standard 7.6mm APT heavy machine gun had been replaced with one a 12.7mm tri-barreled machine gun, the same as the Warthogs. It had a light green and tan camouflage pattern painted onto it, and several large metal "skewers" welded onto the front, to take care of anything it may encounter.

On Pelican "Delta 211" was a warthog. It's heavy machine gun had been removed, and replaced with a large gauss rifle. This big gun could deliver some heavy firepower to any enemy on the battlefield, and was known for its surprisingly high rate of fire. The kinetic energy round was very powerful for the size of the slug, and could make a slurry out of any grunt. It had been painted with much the same pattern, but it's pattern had a more definite design. It appeared to be meant for a stationary position when fired.

"Holy sh--" Rogers began.

"Watch it Rogers. We need him on our side for this one." Blackwell commented.

The master chief walked off of the pelican, and took the short fall with no problem. His armor had also been painted in the camouflaged pattern, but it was far more detailed then that of the vehicles". An ammo belt had been draped across his chest, and another belt of grenades had been strapped to his waste. His ferocity, if ever doubted, was not now. The battle-hardened troops had never seen a soldier that commanded so much fear.

"I feel sorry for those poor bastards now!" Devilfish gulped under his breath.

"Yea, they never had a chance." Vince responded.

"Well, what the hells everyone gawking at, let's move marines."

The pack suddenly snapped from their state of suspended animation and headed for the crafts. They strapped into their seats, and the sound of hydraulics as the large rear doors closed drowned out any sound in the room. The small bubble gun on the tail of the pelican clanked to life, and actively searched for a target. It was manned by the onboard computer, which if necessary, could be controlled by Caligula personally.

The decompression alarm wailed to life as the room's oxygen was sucked into the icy vacuum. The pelicans' boosters hummed momentarily and then growled to life. Their rough vibrations shaking the passengers to the core. She slowly hovered above the deck as her landing gear moved into it's upright position, and then leapt forward. The duo sped from the Suncoast and traveled head-first towards Cerap. Next stop, Blood Gulch.