The Enemy Within-Chapter Six: ...And The Cracked Flood Gates Finally Fell
Posted By: Mind_Affecting_Parasite<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 6 March 2004, 9:53 PM
Ipnaimee flexed his spine and arms, relaxing his tense muscles. His glistening black eyes looked out upon the shimmering surfaces of the purple hued shields. Beyond, the matte surfaced materials of Halo looked in. A spiraling hole, its diameter encompassing the whole of both docking bay portals, revealed a honeycomb of small conduits and several openings to long running tunnels. If the Elite would have looked close enough, he could have seen the small scrapes where tiny teeth had chipped away at the titanic chunk of alloy.
Around him, on the peninsula that bisected the large room, several Shades kept their trio of energy focusing prongs hovering over the open spaces beyond the protective film. Two dropships stood by to transport any troops that appeared on the make shift decks jutting out from the walls of rock and metal. So far, only scheduled contact had been made from the secondary search teams, but one of the four was due in only a couple more short units. Outer lights flicked on in anticipation, shedding a ghostly luminance over the drilled hole.
The Elites manning the plasma turrets-such a job in such a situation was unfit for lowly grunts-stiffened, readying themselves for anything. Or more accurately, what they most feared that would come at them from the darkness. A relief to all present, only blank walls looked back into fearful eyes. At the far end, one hundred units-or fifty meters-away, the largest of the three erected porches hugged the fleeing shadows. A thick silver door sat stationary, guarding the passageway beyond. Suddenly four lights snapped on. A white light covered the platform, and the door's locks hummed to life.
"Master," squeaked a black clad Grunt, waddling up behind Ipnaimee.
"What is it?" he growled back, stretching his mandibles. They softly popped.
The small creature took two involuntary steps back as his gold clad Elite Field Master turned to look at him. "Secondary Search Group Three has just reported in Master," the quivering Grunt said back. "They are ready to pass through the security barrier."
"Are their codes acceptable?"
"Good, return to your post."
The Grunt didn't bother to reply. He simply turned and waddled quicky back to the rear of the hangar. Once back with his friends, he returned to his lazy routines.
Ipnaimee flicked his wrists, a signal to his two pilots, and walked over to a computer terminal. As he keyed in commands, the two U-shaped dropships released from their docking clamps and wobbled on their anti-gravity projectors. The codes checked out perfectly, so far so good. The Elite turned to the video display, showing the hall beyond the locked doors at the end of the bored tunnel. The purple energy field, acting as a sort of double door, was fully functional. As the film flickered, glowed bright, and shut down, a pair of Elites walked forward into the short length of hallway. The camera was obscured as the tailing duo of Hunters lumbered across the shield generator pods.
The forward Elites looked uncomfortable in the tight quarters, minor aliens standing round. The Hunters stood one behind the other, they had plenty of room from the other Covenant troops.
After the purple film slid back into place, the outer door shuttered and slid apart, before the main blast doors released their grip upon each other and moved out of the doorway. Three Elites flowed out of the opened portal, swinging their Plasma Rifles over the surrounding features of the Covenant made cave. Four Jackals were soon to follow, forming themselves into a crescent formation to cover the fourth Elite and four Grunts streaming from the passageway.
Ipnaimee gave a slight nod of his head, and the two energy barriers faded and ceased to exist. The whir of engines filled the bay as the dual dropships sped out to meet the troops. The many Shades snapped to crisp attention, their operators keeping a keen eye out for unwelcome visitors. The Field Master looked out into the tunnel, its' walls illuminated in a ring as the ships passed. Things were going well, it seemed almost too easy. Of course, when things got easy, sentient beings have a tendency to relax, and when things got relaxed, disaster always struck. Especially when one was on Halo.
Dwegol stretched a shaking finger to activate the connection to the ship. His heart pounded faster than he could count, and he couldn't breath in enough of his own carried methane. His small hand touched the communication consol, and he sent the message from his small brain to his hand, to press the control. This simple action would have gone through without a hitch, had Dwegol's methane tank not exploded. Flames whipped into the air, eating up the escaping gas, explosively throwing the Grunt's body into the device in front of him. Dwegol didn't have to suffer long before his head smashed into the floor. His neck broke and the creature knew no more.
Bullets pinged off of the floor, sparks zinged through the air, and confusion flooded the remaining Grunts, as they woke with a start. Green plasma bursts splashed over the walls, two found their home in the center of the nearby Jackal's back. The bird-like creature screeched as a third shot found his face. One Grunt was in the process of pulling out a grenade to throw at a shadow when he found his head missing. The ensuing explosion threw his, and his two companions' shredded bodies about he room. One landed right on the head of one bewildered Hunter.
The Hunters were not confused for long; however, and they quickly found targets. The two lumbering giants turned and brought their shields to bare as they stomped over to the door at the far end of the room, outlined by mussel flashes from Human weapons. Bullets pinged off of their thick armor as they slid near to the opening. Opila, the lead Hunter, came into the line of sight first and began to charge his weapon. The creature was soon enough to see one of the Humans throw two plasma grenades on the floor behind him and slide back behind the doorway.
Both Covenant beasts raised their arms to take a swing at the alien, but to no avail.
A blinding flash caused the large creatures to stumble back for a moment, critical seconds for the enemy. Opila felt a sharp pain rip through his exposed mid-section, miniature explosions shredding his tissues. A bright warm fluid flowed down the warriors legs, and he let out a low moan before slumping to the blood splattered floor, dead. Of course, the Humans hadn't stayed still either.
Lango saw his blood brother fall, and roared with rage. The furious beast fired a barrage of blasts through the door ahead of him, but they did not find his partners murderers. Triple streaks of green plasma impacted on waves of rolling flesh, blowing charred chunks into the air. The spongy flesh smouldered before being stomped over by mutated corpses. Lango swung his shield, sending several masses flying into the walls, leaving green ichor as they slid down. More took their place, however. Whips of flesh slashed across his armor, scratching the surfaces. His armor held, too thick for limbs to penetrate. More bullets poured into the area, saturating anything that moved with destruction. A glowing blue orb bounced off of the ceiling, and landed upon Lango's shield arm. The remaining Hunter fired his fuel rod gun at point black range towards the assualting monstrosities, and swung with his shield again.
"Fire in the hole!" shouted Kyle, launching a primed grenade towards the Flood covered Hunter across the room. Muzzle flashes outlined his combat hardened features as he pulled himself to the ground.
The ensuing explosion threw rotten limbs everywhere. Yet more gore splattered over the blood drenched floor. This gave the Hunter the lull that he needed. The beast charged forward at the door, from which yet more Flood forms flowed. A fuel rod blast seared right through a carrier, blowing the trailing former Elite into pieces of smoking flesh. The lone hunter, however, hadn't stopped his charge. Razor sharp spines lowered into position, meant to assist the armored shoulder. An enraged animal flew full steam into the oncoming hoard. Combat forms were crushed upon impact, and shed off like so much wet paper. Green blood oozed over the Hunter's form, as it swung with all of its' might.
Green light filled the door, and pieces of green ichor and flesh splattered onto the floor. But what caught the Sergeant's eye, were the few weapons sliding over the ground. Some Human weapons already lay on the floor, an MA5B and two HE Pistols, Lance would scavenge ammo from those quickly. Sergeant Ferring's eyes, however, locked onto the two M90 Shotguns clattering into the wall, while the real prize, a M19 SSM Rocket Launcher with accompanying loose magazine, slid to a halt in the center of the room.
"Pat! James! Get that body out of here pronto!" shouted Sergeant Ferring. "Hunter, get on their six. Jones', let's secure that ordnance ASAP!"
Carter and Daniels let their ARs fall, allowing their attachment clips to hold the weapons, and once again hefted the Elite's bulk.
As Patrick turned his back to the fire fight, and fled through the only other door available, he caught a glimpse of his partners face. It said all of what the Corporal felt himself: Why do we have to carry this thing's sorry damned ass?
Juargas, the last creature to back out of the passageway, let out a bone rattling bellow. The Hunter shuffled out of the doorway, and leveled his fuel rod cannon. A blue flash, and lap of thunder replaced the shimmering purple hued shield. As the haze dissipated, deranged faces leapt forward. Juargas fired his weapon, turning several of the foremost combat forms into steaming paste. The thick metal doors quickly slid shut and hissed to an airtight seal. Dull thuds could be heard, as multiple combat forms threw themselves onto the barrier, marring the once clean surfaces.
The Covenant troops backed away from the door, eager to meet the approaching dropships and get back to their vessel. The two Hunters moved to the either side of the platform, covering their teammates, and kept their eyes open for any threat that chose to expose itself.
The two ships decelerated and stopped with a couple meters of their twin prongs hovering over the metallic surfaces of the platform. The Grunts and Jackals rushed up the lowered ramp and into the relative safety of the small craft. The Elites, keeping their eyes on the now smouldering doors, backed slowly towards the waiting vessels. The four warriors suddenly stopped, crouching low and bringing their weapons to bare on the door. Flashes of blue outlined the door, bringing the surrounding metal to a warm orange. Another flash of light streamed out of the new heated gap between the wall and mounted door. This flash was green, and was accompanied by familiar sound of exploding fuel rod gun blasts. The Flood were getting smarter. The door locks flickered and disapeared.