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Homeworlds XIII
Posted By: Mainevent<billygoat359@netscape.net>
Date: 23 September 2003, 1:52 AM

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Due to the "problems" that HBO has encountered in the last few days, Homeworlds XII may or may not have been posted. I am writing this as though it HAS been posted, and if at a later date I am disheartenly informed that it has not, I will rewrite and sumbit XII again. Fortunately, if you read XI, you should be able to understand and follow this chapter pretty well.
                  The Management

      John had camoflauged himself over the last hour, taking up a position extremely close to the dormant covenant encampment. Their members were all sleeping, but that was going to change.

      He had given his team strict orders to wait for one hour at Chiron before heading off on the attack. This particular endeavor was mostly a test of what his men already knew, and not to teach them anything important.

      Except for the small fire crackling at the heart of the tent fortress, the forest was dimly lit. John had also taken away another of the trainees advantages, Their Mjolnir armor. They had to complete this phase of the mission with nothing but their modified MA5B assault rifles, and their teammates.

      The idea that his team would just glide into their tents while they slept suddenly struck John as extremely easy, and he had to modify it. He found a nearby rock, and tossed it into their midsts, hitting one of the elites in the head. He quickly woke up, and stared around.

      His plan worked, the small platoon was active in under thirty seconds. The grunts stretched and took several deep breaths of methane before finally picking up their weapons.

      He checked his watch carefully, making sure none of it's lime green light was visible around him, it was 0125, exactly one hour since he had given the command to his team and run off into the woods.

      Elites and grunts carefully combed the periphery, searching everywhere for their hidden agressors. After several minutes of searching, they felt reasonably sure that it was only an animal or other explainable reason for the rock's assault.

      One of the elite's took a long stretch, but suddenly fell to the ground in shock. Waves of electric energy surged across his body, and he was incapacitated on the jungle's floor.

      Yaps and squelches from nearby grunts broke the eerie silence that had been hanging over the platoon for the last several minutes. Six of the grunts met similar fates as the elite, all hit by the stund rounds the Spartans were carrying.

      Two shadowy figures ran through the midst of the chaotic crowd of scurrying figures, tossing two small cylinders into their center. A thick dark cloud of smoke began pouring through their tops, wreaking even more havoc on the disorderly enemy.

      John smiled to himself as he watched his men in action, reminded of his similar training on Reach. The games of Capture the Flag and Oddball that his trainers played to teach them, and the excersises he underwent all helped him in his real battles.

      Four other figures, all adorned with infra-red goggles, crept into the center, and systematically put their targets down. Gunbutts to the head, or a shot from their stun rounds put most of the victims down in a single shot.

      One elite, startled and angry, fired wildly into their midsts, unaware that his weapon had been replaced with a stunned weapon as well. One of the shadowed figures caught a stun round in the side, and he gripped his side in agony. His partner, swept him up over his shoulders, and proceeded to leave the scene.

      Three grunts and a jackal sprinted, if you could call it a sprint, towards the trees in hopes of finding cover, but soon found themselves hanging bottoms-up from several wires. Of the twenty or thirty covenant fighters that had been camping, only ten or so were still active, and losing people every second.

      Unknown snipers picked the group one at a time, from perches unseen. Spartan-117 flicked his night-vision camera on, and was instantly welcomed to the sight of swarming marines. They had set up a perimiter around the group, and five were tied to trees, the snipers.

      They were still apparently unaware of his presence, and he was going to use that to teach them a very valuable lesson. After all of the action subsided, the trainees secured the prisoners tightly.

      A moment of unguarded tranquility was the oppurtunity to pounce on his victims. He tugged two strings, to the welcomed view of smoke grenades. Now his team's world was upside down, several were caught off guard, and a couple panicked.

      The panicked ones were his favorite, they required calm marines to soothe their nerves, but he wouldn't allow that to take place. A succession of blurps echoed from his weapon as stun rounds found their targets.

      The five snipers were left hanging, unconcious, from their tree-top perches. Two more went down, followed by a rapid fire succession of three more. Chaos, fear, and panic spread like a virus through his students. Except for four, who had set up a small square, covering each other's backs.

      He slung his gun, and then took cover behind a tree. He hadn't even needed the night-vision goggles, as his enhancements provided owl-like vision. The four marines had noticed the movement, and began a systematic progression towards the tree he had taken cover behind.

      They split into two-man teams, and sprang forth into a rolling jump firing at the exposed side of the tree. NOTHING. The twick of snapping twigs and leaves was ominous as they felt excruciating pain in their backs and sides. Master Chief, at nearly fifty years old, had managed to single-handedly render his entire squad helpless, at this he couldn't help but smirk. But this lesson was far from over, he would teach the General exactly how deadly his men could be under his command.