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Relic Hunting: Part 1
Posted By: Mainevent
Date: 12 September 2004, 10:42 PM

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Author's Note: This is a continuation of the story after "A Savage Vengeance". It is NOT a sequel, and is designed as a standalone story. But it does help to have read it. But for the lazy: The Covenant are attacking this planet to find a relic. At least they THINK it's a relic...

      He ducked the blow with elegant fluidity, and countered with a quick jab to the alien's stomach. His uppercut was blocked, and a forceful kick landed in his chest. Shields flared and metal crumpled as the SPARTAN was knocked off of his feet and onto the dusty ground. He braced himself with his hand and rolled backwards.
      The pain shooting through his throbbing chest told him that he was hurt- though he probably hadn't broken anything due to the augmentation; but that was dawdling. He'd be a lot worse off if he didn't divert full attention to his foe. His suit was still functioning perfectly though, and seemed to read his thoughts before he thought them. His right arm pushed down on the ground, rolling him to the left as a heavy metal blade sparked viciously where he'd been.
      He did a reversed-V sit-up and pulled his legs to his chest. They shot forward with full thrust, catching his charging counterpart squarely in the jaw. There was a satisfying crunch of broken bone as he felt the contact of his boot with its lower jaw. It made a quick twitch and weak whimper before falling limply to the cold metallic floor. The massive alien grenade launcher still clenched fervently in his gigantic claws.
      SPARTAN-215 ran his gloved fingers slowly over his crumpled chest plate. A shot of pain raced through his spine and into his legs. He'd fought Brutes before, several of them, but this one was the largest by far. Another shot of pain made him nearly weak in the knees. No time for this, I've gotta get this done. Ivan did what he'd done many times before; he literally thought the pain away.
      It was a soldier's trait- at least a SPARTAN's.. Their minds could somehow bypass the physical pain by distracting itself with menial tasks. In 215's case it was field stripping his rifle, counting the number of clips he was carrying, and making improvised repairs to his suit. Teeth bit calmly on lips as his giant green fingers pulled the jagged metal chest plate off.
      The impact was perfectly round, with three deep, sharp lascerations around the edge. They'd made small deep gashes in his skin; barely a flesh wound. The suit had managed to take most of the impact. The augmentations were good, but he wasn't invincible.
      The bolt snapped back with a metallic click. He shouldered it, brought his stance down to a shallow creep, and slowly moved to the door. The dark corridor outside illuminated instantly as his visor compensated with night-vision. Not good... One, two, three, four, six, eight. Damn. Eight Black Ops Elites were all huddled patiently around the main door. Waiting for him.
      They obviously knew he was in there, and he couldn't wait them out. They had the support, food, and intel that made that option possible. He quickly backpeddled away from the door, and was surprised when a flurry of plasma and needles didn't saturate the area. He slowly crawled back, and snaked his optical chord around the corner.
      One Elite was standing up, hoisting the large fuel rod cannon he'd often seen grunts use onto his shoulder. Now! Ivan grabbed his rifle, chinned off his optical feed, and rolled into the doorway. He scoped in and put four three-round bursts into the bastard's chest. Blue-green blood columned from the wound.
      The rifle moved to the right shoulder, and put another three rounds into the joint. The force spun the Elite to its right. The fuel rod cannon discharged into the two startled Elites firing futilely at the appearance of their foe. Their bodies diseappeared into the massive cloud of plasma before the weapon over heated.
      Blood shot from the back of the Elite's knees as Ivan put two bullets in each; and it fell quickly back. One Elite leapt over the barricade he was behind and went prone, but the other wasn't that quick. The explosion pinned it against the wall as heat slowly seared the metal; roasting the flesh inside. The Elite was either dead or seriously injured, but out of commission either way.
      The prone Elite fired wildly, but managed to land a shot. Ivan's shield indicator dropped by nearly a quarter-the damage must have done more than he'd anticipated. He rolled behind the wall, and slammed a new clip in. The bolt mechanism was forced back, and shot forward; giving the familiar sound of readiness.
      Plasma streamed in through the entrance, but he'd risk it anyway. A quick step around the corner put his back against the wall he had just been hiding behind. His gun was firing before he remembered pulling the trigger, because the Elite's shields were flaring and the familiar ricochet of bullets was echoing through the passageway.
      But it wasn't his gun that was firing. He depressed the trigger and felt the familiar recoil in his wrist. Tracers entered the Elite's body from three directions. A quick burst of electrical discharge, and then a puddle of blood. From the darkness on his right he noticed the white and blue camoflauge pattern that was distinctly 315-Kalashnikov's style. From his left emerged the similarly dirty-gray colored 262-Asimov.
      215-Ivan checked his weapon; as well as 262 and 315. He slowly approached, and noticed the blinking square in the corner of his HUD. He chinned the comm channel open for a "full party communications band". This allowed all nearby Spartans to talk at once, and was the basic communications setting.
      "This section is cleared. Fort Saber is gone. We arrived late, and encountered extremely heavy resistance. There were six Savages at the base." Asimov updated monotonously.
      "That's a lot of Savages for one Fort." Ivan replied with the similar lack of emotion, but this wasn't the time for emotion. Emotion was an off-duty thing; and they were very much on duty.
      "That's a lot of Savages period. We've only encountered two Savages at any one battle. Something was there that they wanted." Kalashnikov input.
      "TacCom is still online, and the Orbitals haven't fallen. Our situation upstairs isn't good though. PlanCom has fallen, but we've reinforced main H.Q. enough to send out hunter-killer teams into the city." Ivan briefed.
      "What's our tactical situation in-city? We arrived from the West, and it looked under control to the south. Explosions and a lot of fire from the north side though." Asimov queried.
      "Radio reports that there's six main pockets of resistance, and the city is otherwise clear of targets. Locations one, three, five, and six are under control, and are as of now on the offensive. Pocket four reports heavy units, and are falling back and establishing chokepoints."
      "Pocket two?"
      "No contact for the last twenty minutes. I was heading over to South 45th and Hampton to their broadcast fallback point." Ivan scanned the frequencies quickly once more. "Let's go."
      The three warlords began their move towards the fighting. Asimov took point, and Kalashnikov watched their rear. Ivan scanned the area intently, while monitoring transmissions. They were six blocks from 45th and Hampton, and the Covenant presence was getting noticeable.
      Asimov put a three-round burst into the head of a Grunt that seemed lost. Two ghosts noticed the shots, and turned the corner. Four more were directly behind them. He'd shot a hornet's nest. The three SPARTANS began a full sprint, and were inside of a nearby bank building within two seconds. Their heavy suits waltzing through the plate-glass doors as though they were non-existant.
      A barrage of blue-green plasma bolts sizzled into the foyer. The trio were good, but they couldn't take out six ghosts with the weapons they had. Three grenades were launched carelessly outside as a distraction while they hustled up the stairs. The electricity was long gone in this section of town, so the elevators weren't an option. Not that they could have carried the combined weight of three half-ton SPARTANS as it were.

      Thirty stories and five minutes later the heavy metal door on the roof burst open. The barrel of a battle rifle sticking coldly out, and sweeping from side to side. Their bodies emerged slowly; cautious of overhead flyers. Phantoms, Seraphs, or Banshees could all be circling overhead; and all would have a field day blasting three Humans to nothingness.
      Ivan crept slowly to the roof's edge, and was shocked by what he observed. The central plaza he was overlooking had literally been transformed into a Covenant headquarters. Row after row of Covenant transport buses were lined up down the streets for easily eight blocks.
      There was at least a battaltion's strength around the area. Four groups of ghosts, like those they'd run into earlier, were circling the makeshift complex-several more passed in and out of sight downrange. He counted five rows of eight Shadows, easily thirty Wraiths, and fourteen vehicles he'd never seen before.
      Phantoms hovered close to the ground, and were dropping off more and more troops. This wasn't the normal force; this one was much stronger. It was infantry-light for an urban assault force, and the mortar tanks wouldn't do much good in close quarters. So what the hell was going on?
      "Heads up, outgoing enemy flyers eastbound."
      "TacCom?" 315 asked surprised.
      "Yea." It made sense now. The pockets were just probing for the weakest area, and would move in from there. Ivan chinned his high-strength communications band. Static.
      "I'm getting static. Jammers?"
      "Probably, if the satellites are gone, our local arrays are wasted too."
      There was only one option, they'd have to manually double-time it through a heavily concentrated, highly-trained contingent of Covenant with extreme mobility and and hard-on for big guns. The three stared at each other, all contemplating their situation from behind their golden-tinted visors. THIS would be very interesting.