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The 7th Column: First Strike
Posted By: Mainevent<billygoat456@comcast.net>
Date: 8 November 2003, 4:59 AM

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      Johnson and Peters entered the bridge quietly, being nodded off by all but the Captain as a nuisance. The two men were suited in solid black fatigues and gear, uncharacteristic for the time and place. There were no Black Ops, or any operations at all for that matter, scheduled for that night. Peters shuffled across the heavy metallic floor silently, none of his straps or buckles making so much as a disturbance in the air.
      Johnson bypassed a confused Captain Roberts and descended into "The Pit", the small recessed area that housed the ship's pilots. The two men were sitting comfortably in their heavily padded seats, checking the multitude of various monitors and computer banks cacooning them. The rapid appearance of Johnson went unnoticed by the men, and neither saw his shadowy figure emerge.
      The muffled shots sounded like someone punching a pillow as the silencer attached to his M6D went to work. The shells would have been the only sounds giving away the tragic deception that had just ocurred, had not he caught both of them before they landed. A panicked guard turned to pull the alarm, but never made a move as a 7.6mm bullet severed his jugular vein and vocal chords in one shot.
      "Captain Robertson, I'm afraid a mutiny has ocurred." Johnson said with a chuckle, the glimmering weapon in his possession bouncing up and down as he smacked the butt of it against his palm.
      "My name's Roberts." He gritted under his teeth with a heavy breath. His fists balling from anger and the fact that he wasn't sure whether he was going to attack the men holding him hostage or follow their orders. For the time being he would wait, jeapordizing his crew was the last thing he wanted to do.
      Peters was already sealing the outer doors leading into the bridge, his small plasma torch quickly closing the prisoners' chances of escape. A cocky Lieutenant decided to make a move before it was too late, swivelling quickly in his chair and leaping towards Johnson. Johnson sidestepped the attack with graceful precision, bringing the butt of his pistol down on the man's head. His eyes rolled to the back and he collided limply on the cold steel.
      The man's friend, an Ensign, attempted to help him, but was rewarded with a toasty slug in his forehead. Johnson wasn't sure which landed first, his brain or his body. Both were blown clear and the threat removed, the point that Johnson was going for more than evident.
      "Who were those two men Captain?" Johnson snarled.
      "Lieutenant Suarez and Ensign Kilpatrick. The communications officer, and the weapons officer."
      "You'll be hard pressed should we run into Covenant forces. If only you'd had control over your men, been a strong leader instead of a whining baby who sits on the side and watches his men die. What kind of leader is that? That's just pathetic. Now wonder the UNSC is losing the war against the so called Guerillas."
      The verbal assault was doing exactly what he'd hoped, breaking down Roberts from the inside. The more he could get the man thinking about himself the less of a problem he would be. Roberts' failure to respond only drove that nail home, both to Johnson and the Command Crew.
      "Peters, how's it coming?"
      "I'm working on the inside doors. The outer doors have been sealed."
      "Good, good. See if there's a bathroom over there, we'll need some napkins. Poor leadership has led to the deaths of several fine men. Good men. Brothers, sons, or fathers to someone. Real men. Unlike this sorry excuse for a man in command."
      "Yeah, I'll look." Peters responded with a chuckle.
      A succession of two more muffled shots took the weapons control panel offline. Follow-up shots sent sparks flying into The Pit as several computer banks erupted into miniscule flames.
      "You now have no remote control over your weapons or half of your steering. The only two ways you could use these systems is manually by having men in those areas take control. Then again, your the only one with access to the manual overrides. In other words, you're no longer in control of your ship, we are, get used to it."
      Peters strolled back into the bridge, tossing several napkins into Roberts' surprised face. Johnson meanwhile, had disappeared into The Pit and was tugging the mens' corpses out of their seats and onto the morgue-esque floor. He holstered his weapon and scaled the small ladder leading to the seat, essentially taking control over the ship.
      Peters unloaded his weapon into all of the monitors in the room, leaving only the communications monitor active. He finished by joining his partner in the second seat, both of them staring into the ghostly beyond. They began chatting about random subjects and laughing carelessly, as if unaware of the deeds they had just perpetrated.
      Roberts slowly inched his way to the abandoned Communications panel, and tapped several silent commands on the keyboard. He inserted the remote probe into the small headphones jack, and then disappeared behind the small partition that gutted the room. The Backbone, a small recess at the center of the bridge, not in the front, was home to a small series of monitors that kept accurate records of many of the ship's activities.
      He patched into InShiCom, the in ship communications frequency. He routed the message to the place that would matter most, the guard station.
      "This is Roberts, the bridge has been taken by two heavily armed gunmen. Two men down, repeat, bridge taken." He whispered into the small microphone strapped to his chin. A surprised guard wasn't sure how to react on the other end of the line.

      "This is Roberts, the bridge has been taken by two heavily armed gunemen. Two down, repeat, bridge taken." Crackled over the channel, catching Corporal Wilkez offguard. He juggled the large mug nestled in his lap to keep from pouring the scalding hot coffee in his lap.
      "Oh shit, shit, shit, shit, shit..." He repeated to himself, sitting the cup on his desk. His partner was just returning from break as his friend ended his chant.
      "What is it?" He questioned.
      Wilkez looped the broadcast over the small room's headspeakers, sending surprise through Belk's face.
      "Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!" Belk's repeated in a similar fashion.
      "Whatta' we do Belk?" Wilkez moaned with a slight whimper.
      "I don't know. Uh, first we...wheres the book?"
      The Book was a thick guideline on how to respond to almost any situation the guards on the ship could ever face, from riots to fights, and even hostile takeovers.
      "Got it, page three-thousand six-hundred twenty-two." Wilkez flipped quickly to the afformentioned page, and then read up on what to do.
      "Get the access codes for the manual override from him. We can control the ship manually if something happens to him."
      "Roger. Captain Roberts, are you there?" Belk asked in a near whisper.
      "I'm here, hurry up."
      "What are the access codes for the ship's manual overrides?"
      "Why do you need those?"
      "That's what the book says to do."
      "The weapons codes are zero-zero-four-eight-nine, and the steering codes are nine-nine-zero-four-eight." Roberts responded with deliberate words, he didn't want to have to repeat it twice.
      "Alright Captain, we have them. Stay safe until we can do something."
      "We'll try." Roberts responded.

      Johnson whipped around the corner of the partition, ending up beside Roberts. His mouth was scowling and his forehead red with fury.
      "Well what the hell do we have here?" Johnson asked slapping the headset off of Roberts' head.
      "It's too late now, they have the manual override codes. It's only a matter of time now. They'll be here any minute now." The Captain responded with a grin, which was quickly removed with a fierce backhanded stroke.
      "Is it though?" Peters laughed demonically from beside Johnson as he returned to his seat.
      Roberts watched Johnson return to his seat, obviously uneffected by the news. His coolness scared Roberts deep down. Why weren't they more upset? He pondered anxiously to himself.

      "I'm going to give these to weapons and controls, and gather up several squads as well as putting the ship on alert. We'll save those men ye-" Belk grasped at his throat as a heavy bullet forced it's way into his throat. He died instantaneously from the wound, collapsing onto his knees and snapping his neck from the forceful impact.
      "But that would jeapordize the mission. We can't jeapordize the mission, now can we?" Wilkez asked as he lightly blew on the smoking barrel of his pistol, which was also silenced. He turned from the still and mangled heap of flesh stenching on the floor to his right, and sent a private communication to weapons and controls.
      "Operation successful. Proceeding to phase two. Repeat, phase two." Wilkez waited for the acknowledgement, and nodded as he received it. He rerouted his channel and updated the two operatives stationed on the bridge. Their work today was more than exemplary.

      Peters was already torching his way back through the previously sealed doors, opening the way to freedom once again. Their mission had been a complete success. The 7th Column's first act of war was accomplished. Whether they would receive as much attention as The Incarnate or Alsam's Raiders they weren't sure, but they knew one thing. Everyone would know them soon.
      In thirty minutes the doors were open and the two men were strolling from the bridge, the rotting masses of the entire command crew lying dead on the floor. It would be an hour or two before anyone noticed the strange lack of responsiveness from the bridge, as the only time anyone checked in was at the shift change.
      Johnson and Peters entered Bay-4 Alpha and was greeted by Wilkez, Martinez, and Wilson. The five of them had single handedly taken over, and destroyed an entire UNSC cruiser. They quickly boarded the small prowler provided them, and while larger than a Corvetter, it was still a tight fit. But in several hours it would all be over. The small blinking countdown timer appeared on the console before Wilkez as he powered up the ship, and pushed her violently out of the docking bay and into the safety of space.

      Bubbly explosions rippled the ship's stern, before a gigantic explosion ripped once and for all through the ship's heavy metal hull. She crumpled like a can at the center, and broke in half, decompression swishing into the surprised corridors killing many of the men stationed inside. The twin pieces finally erupted into goliath explosions that subsided into a small cloud of debris. The first strike by The 7th Column had been a total success. Soon, they would be the dominant pirate outfit in the sector.