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Countdown Earth: Hour Five
Posted By: Mainevent
Date: 13 November 2003, 1:56 AM

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Mobile International Airport

      "Enlighten me as to what's happened on the home front?"
      "Well, the men scrummaged up three tanks, four APC's, six warthogs, and a small armory's worth of weapons and ammunition. The survivors are being given a crash course on how to use them when the time arrives. There were several Pelicans, as well as Aerowaks, but nobody here knows how to fly 'em. Besides, it wouldn't do us any good. TacCom reports a heavy Covenant airpatrol over the city. We wouldn't get within six miles before there was more plasma than we knew what to do with." Lance replied coarsly. His voice was still scratchy and there were several bandages and splints on various appendages.
      "So in other words, we're still stuck?"
      "Yes, and reports still indicate a large envoy heading our way. ETA two hours twenty five minutes. From the north. I've begun having the chainguns taken off of the pelicans and placed at strategic locations throughout the buildings. I know we may have to retreat, so I gave us a couple at several key locations to bottleneck our persuers and give us enough time to back out."
      "Oh, is that all?" McPherson chuckled sarcastically, extremely impressed with his second in command's ability. The Corporal however was in too serious of a mood to catch the hint, and continued.
      "No sir. There were several civilian Aerowaks in the hangers as well as spare parts, the Lieutenant around here is getting several of his men to pack us up some blockades for their heavy infantry, cover over the windows, and made chokepoints in the building we can use for cover when the time comes. It's alot and we'll be pushing it, but nothing the men can't handle. We even have a couple engineers on the team, so it should be a walk in the park."
      McPherson had to keep his jaw from bouncing off of the floor and breaking. His admiration turned to envy at the sheer command ability. He was damn glad to have this man on his side, especially now. He relieve Lance to take a five minute breather and then get back to work. Normally he would be in no condition to so much as get up off of the couch, but this was far from normal. McPherson didn't know what was normal anymore. It had been so long since he'd seen normal that this whole, war, was normal. Normality was an everchanging beast, and many struggled to keep up with it, but normality had slowed since the war began. The only thing you had to do now was strap on body armor, grab your weapon, and shoot anything that wasn't human.
      "Command, this is the tower, you better see this sir." Whirred over the radio, sending the Gunny up a four flight journey . The control tower was just like any other airport control tower, save the heavy machine gun being secured to the foundation by a small group of marines. A small statured man greeted him, and handed him a pair of binnoculars. "Treeline, very bottom. It's the damndest thing. I don't know what to make of it. A flash here and there, can't make anything of it." He pointed to a small indifferent patch of shrubs on the periphery of the airport, near a small hole in the fence.
      "I don't see anything."
      "Just wait, you will."
      Five minutes passed before the solid and repeated reflection of sunlight sputtered. Strange was on his lips, but it seemed recognizable. Not something he figured the Covenant for, but then again, he'd been surprised before.
      "Morse code?"
      "Don't think so, if it is they really need to brush up. I take it for a signal of recognition. They probably saw the Covenant land, and weren't sure who was in control. Smartest thing to do was sit there and see who responded to the flashing. The distance gave 'em a good five minute headstart."
      "An APC and a hog, check it out. Keep me informed."
      "Will do."

Mobile International Airport
Squad Three-Blue team

      "Just check it out and report back. Shouldn't be that hard. Take ya five minutes at the most."
      "Yea yea, well if it's so easy you come do it, I'll take tower for the five minutes."
      "Oh hush Max, I hafta stay up here to cover your sorry ass. I'll tell ya if anyone sneakin up."
      "Great, that makes me feel REAL secure."
      "Doesn't it though." PFC Walker laughed over the intercom.
      "Oh go to hell." Private Hager replied with a chuckle. The two men had been good friends through boot, but Walker was the first to get promoted. Hager would be soon though. He tapped the top of the armored personnel carrier twice, and it growled to life. The squatty machine reminded him of a turtle. Slow to go, but tough as hell. The heavy top-mounted machine gun reiderated that fact, and he swept the weapon's sight in the flickering light's vicinity.
       He pulled the small synthetic fabric built into his suit over his nose and mouth, and slipped his goggles over his eyes to shield himself from the sweeping plumes of dirt trailing his escort. The warthog's gunner sent several warning shots sizzling into the tree's high above anything inside the wooded area's heads, but it served a purpose. Luckikly, plasma fire didn't bellow forth from the small bushes, and all hell wasn't breaking loose. At least not yet.
      Arriving at the scene, the driver and passenger from the warthog had already begun approaching the shimmering light, weapons raised and ready to fight. The passenger swept his weapon to the right and left nervously, and the gunner made deliberate motions to cover them. The driver made a low approach, coming up to the hedges.
      "Anyone in there?" He shouted, a quick brustling his only response.
      "I repeat, is anyone in there. If you don't responde, we will be forced to open fire. I really don't want to have to do that." He waited, still no answer. Suddenly, two shadows raced across the leafy floor and stopped behind a cluster of trees. The spooked passenger took several reaction shots, luckily missing all.
      "Hold fire goldamnit." The driver forced the MA5B's barrel into the dirt. One of the figures slowly inched it's way from behind the tree, making it's way toward the men. Both of the marines leveled their sights on it's torso, using their training to help them survive. Always aim for the largest target had been drilled into their skulls since day one, a lesson they couldn't forget if they had wanted too.

Authors Note: Due to a time restraint, and an inability to save this to any form of word processor, this piece may be short. But I decided to leave you at the most reasonable cliffhanger possible. So enjoy. The next hour should be chock full of action.