The Second Fall
Posted By: Maszimo<email@example.com>
Date: 19 February 2001, 8:57 am
Not one week, not even one soild month after my jackass
co-pilot Bob landed the two of us our increasingly hard to come by
dropship into a mountainside, he turns around and does the same thing,
exactly the same friggin thing, again!
I teetered on madness.
The last time Bob landed the two of us into hot water, he actually
landed in a nice dry spot whilst yours truly landed in a damp, rainy
field and played tag with a Covenant tank and a squad of the blue
bastards. Luckily, two squads of Marines had seen us go down and were
quick to pull our asses, (mine quite literally) out of the fire. Still,
while I was playing shoot-the-enemy with a badly strained shoulder and
every excuse in the world to pass out, Bob, totally unhurt, was sipping
hot coco and relaxing in a heated Jeep!
The only upside was that after I saw him again, I got to hit him.
Now though, a mere three-weeks from the last debacle, I
found myself sprinting madly across a barren plateau while a trio of
Covenant warriors scorched the rocks nearest me with repeated laser
fire. I zigged left and zagged right, all the time convinced that the
blue sonsofbitches were just playing with me, and that as soon as they
got bored I'd really get it. I was pinned in on three sides by giant
boulders and the only way out was through the three Covenant who stood
shooting and calling to each other in their bizarre, guttural language.
As I scrambled about, searching for cover madly, I was trying
desperately to think of a plan. Suddenly, as if a half a dozen fates
had all! decided to cut my ass a break, I spotted, miraculously, a
crack, maybe just big enough for a man, to squeeze through. Dashing
madly and screaming the horrible things I planned on inflicting on Bob
if we ever saw each other again, I hauled ass for the hole and with a
frenzied, mouse like movement, I squirmed my way into the breach and
pulled my self through.
A long, long drop, with a lot of trees, greeted me, down below I could
see trees pointing up at me like angry green spears. The cliff-face I
was on must have been at least two hundred feet up, and as I stood
pressed against the boulder at my back, I hastily weighed my few options
available, and here and die as the first Covenant who could widen the
crack enough shot me point blank or jump. With the sight of a blue
head suddenly protruding from the crack, I decided that at that moment,
valor could bite my ass and discretion was the only way to go. I
Now, I know that jumping sounds drastic. Sure, I was facing an imminent
death, and even if I survived the fall and was rescued I knew that I'd
just get paired with Bob again, but in actuality jumping was really the
only thing I could have done. I had no weapon to fight with, (and no
real inclination to either) but I did still have my standard issue
micro-chute every dropship pilot gets strapped to my back, and now
seemed like a good time to use it. As I leapt off the cliff, the
Covenant roared and got off a final shot that sizzled over my head as I
fell. Reaching for the tag at my sleeve, I pulled it and with a tiny
-chff- noise the back of my jacket folded out and billowed up into a
canvas just big enough to slow my fall. A sudden gust of wind caught me
and pushed my away from the rock, and, drifting like a leaf on a breeze,
I floated all the way to the ground.
Right into a tree.
It hurt. It hurt good. The way this particular afternoon was
developing, I was beginning to reminisce about my last Bob-caused-crash;
at least then I could pass out. That really wasn't an option at the
moment because the clearing I landed in after falling out of the tree I
happened to share with more Covenant. There were maybe four of them,
and I'm no expert on Cov facial expressions but I'd say my landing
At any rate, I didn't want to stick around to find out how my entrance
affected them. I'd managed to shoulder my fall out of the tree fairly
well, and I used to momentum I'd gained to roll several feat and come up
behind cover. Lucky for me, that cover happened to be a Covenant ground
scooter, with a very handily placed blaster propped up against it.
Snatching up the blaster, I speedily turned it on the group of Covenant
which was still showing signs of surprise at my appearance and began
unloading on them. The bulk of the blue guys were standing around
several crates that I recognized to be genuine Marine Core Ammunition.
I also had the clever idea of shooting the crates closest to the
Covenant, and the crates had the happy effect of exploding rather
violently, tossing blue bits in all directions.
Using the ensuing confusion to my advantage, I levered myself into the
strange alien vehicle, and taking a whole two nanoseconds to analyze the
controls, I pushed forward on every thing in the tiny cockpit.
Immediately, the thing skewed forward and to the right while
simultaneously twisting right. I released half of the controls under my
hands and the thing straightened out fairly quickly. I pointed it in
between the trees and threw my entire weight behind the controls. I
sped off like a shot. Behind me, the Covenant must have thought that
they were under attack from all directions, because they were returning
fire all around the clock.
When the beating of my heart had slowed a little, I steered my new craft
up onto a little hill and tried to get my bearings. If I had the
onboard map figured correctly, and the way my luck was going I didn't,
the closest human camp was maybe forty minutes away spinward from where
I was. Turning the craft, I grimly set my course and began my trip
The trip itself wasn't really so bad. I didn't see any Covenant about,
and piloting the zippy little craft was actually rather fun. It
reminded me of an old moped I'd had when I was a kid, only this thing
was more responsive and much more agile. As I bounced and dipped over
the ground, I began to wonder if maybe I could get reassigned away from
dropships and onto mobile attack. Few others would seriously consider
such a switch, but few other dropship pilots had had as much actual
firefight time with the enemy or had as many confirmed kills as I had.
Then again, most other pilots didn't routinely crash their ships into
mountains. Command would probably be happy to re-assign me away from
dropships, but then they might send Bob with me. If he was alive.
Bob had been causing me grief for as long as I could
remember being on the Halo. Not in a malicious way. He wasn't a bad
person, but his own lack or foresight and inattention to detail had
caused me so far to be in two dropship crashes, several unhappy
encounters with the enemy, and had caused more than one scar upon my
person. Bob always got away totally fine, of course. I'd been taking
lumps for Bob's stupidity for months. Ever since he was assigned as my
Even though he was a moron, a tactless, brash, egotistical,
Clueless, self-centered, uncaring moron, I hoped he was still alive. As
bad as things had ever gotten between the two of us, as much as I had
hated him for putting me through twice my fair share of shit, I couldn't
bring myself to hoping that death had caught him. I mean, it might just
as easily have been me who died and him who was piloting this wicked
little beast, enjoying the breeze, appreciating the sun.
I woke up six hours later in the emergency ward of the field
hospital at the camp I had been trying to reach. I learned from an
orderly that my zippy little ride, which I'd planned to claim as my own,
had been blown out from under me by and anti-tank rocket that a Marine
scout car had fired by mistake at me, thinking I was the enemy. Of
course, no Marine had fired the weapon at me. It had been the lost but
unharmed dropship captain they'd found strolling in the woods. Bob.
He came by a little later, after he heard I was awake. He had a hot cup
of coffee in his hand, which he took a large sip of then, apparently
because he found it too hot, placed it on the tray at the foot of my
"How you doin, Mazi? They treating you alright in here?
Yeah, your lucky. A nice lengthy stay in the hospital, man, by the time
you get out they'll probably have found the two off us another dropship,
we can get back to what I do best Flying. And of course, you'll still
be there to help me. I couldn't do it without you you know."
He smiled his wide, clueless smile and patted me on my burned shoulder.
"You get better man, I'll see you after dinner. It's steak night, the
whole camp is gonna be there." As he turned, his eyes already filled
with the visions of the juicy steak or three which he would consume, he
accidentally bumped my tray and spilled his still very hot coffee all
over my leg. Burn mask over my face kept the scream from being very
audible, and after the burning faded to a low throb, I tried pulling my
own life support cable from the wall. I really tried too. I mean
really, really tried. I couldn't get enough leverage on it though, and
eventually collapsed into a deep, fevered sleep.
When I came to, the doctor was leaning over me and checking my chart.
As he noticed my eyes looking at him, he looked up over my chart and
smiled a nice, benign smile. "Your friend came by here today and asked
when you'd be up and ready for duty again. I told him that you should
be much better by next week, and he said that was great because your new
ship will be here around then. He said he had a doggie bag of steak
left for you, but when he found out you were still on liquids he ate it.
Anyway, I just thought you'd like to know." He smiled his pleasant
smile again as he moved on to the next bed. The old bastard.
So it looks like a few more days of hospital and I'll be back out there,
patrolling the skies of the Halo with perhaps the single greatest asset
in the Covenant's war to eradicate me.
I tried to pull my own life-support cable again, but some nurse had
rolled a heavy tray over it and I couldn't pull it free.