Survival of the Fittest: A friendship forged
Posted By: MasterCD<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 24 January 2004, 3:44 AM
Great. Just great. Having just battled his way out of a base full of Covenant, Jason Mac Taylors was not in the mood to have a fire-fight with a bunch of Banshees. It wasn't fair! But, then again, since when was life fair?
The pilot, Miranda Catters, didn't seem too distressed, however. In fact, she was almost gleeful.
"Excellent! A bit of action at last! Hold on tight boyos and lady, we're in for some hurly-burly fun!" Taylors raised his eyebrows at Jackson, who shrugged in return. Neither of them knew what to make of their eccentric driver. One of the passengers, a sniper who had saved Taylors' life in the previous battle, leant forward.
"Don't worry; I've flown with Catters before. She's a natural pilot, if a bit reckless. By the way, I haven't introduced myself. Liam Mane, at your service." Taylors took the offered hand and shook it.
"Jason Taylors, at your's. That was a nice bit of shooting in at the base." Mane grinned.
"I like snipering. It's very satisfying." Mane then gave a yelp as the ship pitched sideways. "Hey, Catters, watch it!"
"Okay, I'll just let the plasma burst hit us next time, will I?" Catters snapped. Mane rolled his eyes. "Sheesh, just letting you know. No need to bite my head off." Taylors smiled distractedly, his mind concentrated on not falling out of his seat. The ship lurched again, throwing Jackson onto the floor. He staggered to his feet, only to be sent crashing into the wall as the ship tilted sharply.
"You okay Jackson?" Taylors inquired. Jackson glared at the back of Catters' seat.
"Yeah, I'm great. But you know, I'm -" Whatever Jackson was, it was lost in an explosion that rocked the ship. Jackson fell over again.
"What the hell was that?" yelled Collineer, a mechanical expert. Catters replied, her voice tight. "Another dropship. It didn't dodge fast enough." Taylors closed his eyes, trying not to think about the people in that ship. Jackson finally hauled himself into his seat. "Ugh," he muttered. "I have bruises on bruises. I demand a refund. This was supposed to be first class." Taylors grinned slightly. At least Jackson still had his sense of humour.
Sally Nira, a keen-eyed scout, shrieked as she looked out the window. Taylors twisted rapidly, and saw what had startled her. A Banshee had soared right up next to the ship, and the Elite driving was sneering at them through the port-hole. Taylors bounded over, flicked open the window, and blasted the Elite. It fell from the Banshee with a screech. The Banshee veered away, and crashed into another, sending both vehicles plummeting to the ground.
"Nice shot!" yelled Collineer over the sound of the crash. Taylors replied with a thumbs up. Another explosion shook the ship. "Damn," cried Catters. "There goes another dropship." At this rate, there'll be none left, thought Taylors.
Suddenly the ship spiralled to the left. Taylors, Mane, Jackson, Nira and Collineer were flung out of their seats and around the ship. When it righted itself, Taylors found himself lying on his back, staring at the ceiling. Jackson straightened with a groan. "Ugh, I landed on something hard." A muffled voice sounded out. "Yeah, that was me. Now, get off my head!" Jackson leapt to his feet and pulled Mane to his feet. "Sorry mate. No hard feelings?" Mane merely glowered at him. Taylors sat up, and a sharp throb shot through the back of his head. He gasped in pain, and felt his with his hand. It came away sticky with blood.
Jackson saw Taylors grimace, and noticed the blood on his hand. He was beside his friend in a flash. "You're hurt!" Taylors shook his head, then immediately wished he hadn't. "Nah, it's nothing serious. Just a small cut or something." Nira was already on her feet, and berating Catters.
"What was that about? I sure hope it wasn't a stupid stunt!" Taylors had never seen Nira so furious.
"Stupid stunt! I just saved all our lives! That spiral was to avoid the biggest plasma burst I have ever seen!" Catters said indignantly. Nira rolled her eyes, but turned and sat down. Everyone clambered back into their seats. Jackson sighed.
"Y'know, maybe we should ask for seatbelts on these things." Mane shook his head. "There's no seatbelts due to the fatalities that occurred because Marines couldn't get out of the ship in time. The seatbelts slowed them down."
Taylors had things other than seatbelts on his mind. "Hey Catters! How many dropships are left?"
"Including us...two." Taylors winced. Only one other dropship had survived. "Okay, how much further?"
"Let's see. About... three jumps and we should be at Secondary Base. Let's hope we make it." Taylors leant back. Three jumps, and they'd be behind walls and big guns.
An explosion shook Taylors out of his daydream. The remaining dropship had been destroyed. "Oh, hell," whispered Collineer. Taylors took a deep breath, and willed himself not to panic.
"There it is!" screeched Catters. "Secondary Base is just up ahead! Okay people, hold on tight. I'm gonna have to do some fancy manoeuvring to get us down in one piece." Taylors grabbed onto the sides of his seat as the ship twisted and turned, skilfully avoiding plasma bursts.
All of a sudden, the sound of machine-gun fire tore through the air. Two Banshees went down instantly, and another veered drunkenly, before crashing into a cliff. The remaining Banshees tried to escape, but were brought down a combination of rocket launchers, snipers and LAAG guns.
The Marines cheered as Catters made her triumphant touchdown. Collineer was so ecstatic; he hugged Catters, and got a smack over the head in return. The Marine Corps at Secondary Base watched in silence as the weary, but victorious people stumbled down from the ship.
Taylors marched up to the sergeant present. "The remainder of Squadron 68, Investigation type, reporting for duty, sir!"
A few hours later, Taylors had just finished recounting their story. The Sergeant looked at him thoughtfully.
"I'd say you lot did pretty well, surviving that. The objects you managed to salvage look like they'll be some help too. You and the rest are dismissed. We'll call you up n the morning to decide what to do then. Now go and get some rest."
Taylors strolled out of the building, and towards the sleeping quarters, wondering what was next.