The Enemy Within-Chapter Eleven: Ill Conceived Actions
Posted By: Mind_Affecting_Parasite<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 20 June 2004, 2:46 AM
Kyle paused for a split second as the roughly spherical creature popped, and the report of a Human pistol echoed in his ears. He didn't feel the need to take his attention away from Samantha, though. His feet continued on across the few meters separating the two from each other. For the second time in the last five minutes, he slid up to his wife and dropped down beside her. He pulled her close, and rested her head on his lap, as he retrieved his compact medical kit from his pack. For some reason, Private Jones was thankful that Sam had finally
fainted. Now she wouldn't have to consciously feel the pain, at least.
Smoke still slowly drifted from the silver barrel of the M6D in Derrick's hands. They shook as the adrenaline coursed through his veins. He took deep breaths and swallowed slowly as his heart rate gradually dropped back to "normal." The Warrant Officer took a second to let the sweat drip off his nose. Then he came back to reality. He let the tip of his weapon drop, and took his first post-conflict look around the room. Kyle was, of course, already next to his wife. The Private was pulling what remained of the Flood form from the neck of the female soldier and was in the process of dressing the wound. Hunter couldn't help but notice her legs; however, which still leaked crimson.
Sergeant Ferring took a good look towards Sam, and seeing that she was already being attended to, then jogged over to the Navy noncom now present. Lance made sure to keep his weapon at the ready, they were already spending too much lax time in this room.
"What the hell are you doing here, son?" the Sergeant asked, trying to control his voice. "I distinctly remember ordering Corporal Carter to keep all your asses where they were."
Derrick shook off the shock he was still feeling and turned to fully face his CO. "The decision was mine, Sir."
"How so?" questioned Lance, his face showing he was disgruntled over the situation.
"I, ah, made the choice to check on your progress sir," Hunter responded, licking his dry lips. "I thought you were taking too long, so"
"Son," Sergeant Ferring paused a moment, thinking over the situation. "You should have stayed put."
The Warrant Officer started to open his mouth, but the sound refused to come.
Kyle finished sticking a self-adhesive on the back of his wife's neck. Luckily the blood flow had slowed to a trickle from her legs. It hadn't severed a major artery. He gently maneuvered Samantha's body so that he was over her legs, and began applying a cauterizing agent to the bloody meat.
"You might have saved Sam though," Lance rubbed his hand through his sweat drenched stubble atop his head, his concern showing over his face. "But don't you ever think about pulling this kind of crap again."
"Understood sir." Derrick watched the Sergeant stare at the two Jones' for a moment, before thinking of the words to put forth. "Sarge?"
The man took a couple seconds to respond, "Yes Warrant Officer?"
"I was thinking it might be a good idea to get the out of here...sir."
"Yeah, that might" Lance trailed off, still focusing on his two soldiers. "Yeah, it would be a damn good idea. Grab any ordinance you can pry out of those monsters' hands. I'll help Kyle with Sam."
The Sergeant made his way, quickly, over to Kyle and the unconscious Sam.
"Kyle, pack it in," he ordered. "We're pulling out."
"I can't move 'er yet," he responded. He must have been concentrated, or worried, for his rough voice was overly slurred with his cockney accent. "We 'ave got ta get 'er legs bandaged up first."
Lance sighed, "I'm sorry soldier, but you know as well as I do that the less time we spend here, the better."
The worried Private nodded and started to pack away the small pack of medical supplies.
"But do make sure to put some biofoam in those gashes, so we can get us all back to Pat's position alive," the Sergeant finished, bending down to get a look at his injured soldier.
Derrick, meanwhile, looked around the blood stained room. After grabbing a shotgun and scavenging the shells off of a nearby rotting Combat form, he scampered to the other Flood bodies around the dimly lit room. The few Covenant work lights scattered around the room helped, but all the Humans in the room would have liked a nice bright overhead. After a couple moments, he had nine full magazines of AR ammunition and a loaded HE Pistol with four complimenting clips. Plus the plasma pistol he had wedged into his left cargo pocket, and two plasma rifles. He was gaining weight fast, and was already eager to let someone else carry the weapons.
The pilot was about to pull back to Sergeant Ferring, transfer some weight, and cover them all as they left, when he noticed something worth looking into. A long matte-black barrel stuck out from under a Human Combat form. Derrick instantly recognized the former face-up Marine as Lance Corporal Eric Jones, he had been Fifth Squad's sniper. Normally Hunter wouldn't have given the thought of who the man was more than half a moment, but this man was different. "Snaky" Jones was Private Kyle Jones' brother, or rather, had been. An uncomfortable feeling grew in the pit of this pilot's stomach, and he had to look away from the corpse. Derrick held his breath, as the putrid smell of rotting flesh was making him gag, while he turned over the mutated Lance Corporal. There the weapon was, a S2 AM Sniper Rifle with a half-full clip; and apparently the Flood didn't bother removing the extras, because a rucksack and a harness with gear were still attached to the body. The Warrant Officer removed all these items, including extra APFSDS rounds for the 'rifle, thinking Kyle might find a use for them, and backed away from the now liquefying form.
The Sergeant, who had reacquired the Rocket Launcher, and the Private were just moving Samantha to the door Derrick had only recently come through. They set her down and their eyes looked over the Warrant Officer approaching from across the room.
"I, um, found a little, ah, toy for you," stammered Derrick, offering the Sniper Rifle to Kyle, and setting his brother's supplies at the Private's feet.
Kyle's face was far from relaxed, and he only barely managed a smile with the sight of these familiar materials. If only he knew from where they had come, but a related thought still came to his mind. He had trained as a sniper, and he had become very proficient with the skill. His brother had suggested it, after Kyle was recognized for sharpshooting. The young Private wished his brother was with him now, but the memory would have to do. The Marine slipped on the combat harness and rucksack, which he noticed had characteristic green slime on them, and slung the 'rifle. He was grateful for the extra supplies, he had lost those when they first retreated into these danger ridden tunnels.
Derrick returned the smile and offered the Marine the M90 and Human Pistol with two clips as well. They were quickly accepted with some of the extra shotgun ammunition, as Kyle's other weapon, a plasma pistol, was reinserted into its' makeshift holster. Sergeant Ferring reluctantly grasped both plasma rifles, sliping one into Sam's harness and holstered his own pistol, with a new clip from Hunter. The Warrant Officer kept a single Pistol magazine, and took advantage of the time it was taking the other two to position their gear to do the same. He finished by making sure the attachment clip of his MA5B was secure, and grasping the weapon with both hands.
"Alright," Lance said. "Time to regroup with Pat and James."
All the other two men present did was nod.
The Sergeant bent down to pick up the lower half of Samantha when he paused. Maybe it was his demolitions training, or maybe he just had good eyes, but this was the second time in this room he had spied a prize. Two former Marines were wedged into a corner nearby, probably courtesy of one of the many previous explosions. Even though one of them he knew as having been part of Fifth Squad, this was not what interested him.
Two rectangular blocks had spilt from one of the soldiers' split-open packs, belonging to the former PFC Jeremy Smith. The items were non other than C-12 plastic explosives. He sprinted the short distance and inspected the rucksack. There were six other blocks within, as well as ten remote detonators and a couple activation devices. Lance quickly looked over the second pack. It wasn't another rucksack, but it was just as good. Sergeant Ferring quickly pulled the strap of the satchel charge from around the Flood form.
He looped it around himself and grabbed some "EB Green" from the other pack. After repairing the rucksack, he tossed it towards the Warrant Officer.
"Take this, quickly son," he directed at Derrick, who barely caught the sack before it hit the ground.
"What are these" Hunter started.
"We might need them later," answered Lance. "Now lets get going."
Derrick and Kyle looked at each other and shrugged. Sergeant Ferring ran back over and bent down to pick up Sam. Kyle quickly went to assist, and the Navy pilot took a good look down the opposite hall. Within seconds they had disappeared into the unlit hallway, and left the death covered room behind themselves for good.
These Humans may have been hungry, tired, and in need of a good hot shower, but they were the military type. Angry and filled with a remarkable renewed vigor, these men and women were ready to get out of this God forsaken hell hole.
Scir 'Fuilomee turned away from the displays showing the debris field around him. A communication was coming in from one of the other ships. As the Fleet Master approached the flashing displays, he saw the transmission was from the Impending Incursion. It was from Aknu 'Reigando. 'Fuilomee bared his teeth at the thought of that particular Ship Master. He had already been too much trouble, but the weathered Scir calmed himself. Now was not the time for such feelings, for they would be saved until later.
The Fleet Master selected the icon that answered the pre-message thus opening the channel.
"What is it Ship Master 'Reigando?" asked 'Fuilomee.
"Master. I am reporting on my progress," the Elite on the other end responded. "I apologize for my un-excused delay."
"Then report your progress, and anger me no further," 'Fuilomee nearly growled. The pitiful apology frustrated him even more. It was a good thing, however, that the lower ranking Elite knew his place. "Speak."
'Reigando paused for a moment before answering. "I have decided that the best corse of action would be to vacate this section of the construct."
"Explain you reasoning," the Elite speaking from the Black Bane returned curtly.
"The primary cause was the Flood, Master," the Ship Master said, looking away from his view screen. "They attacked one of my port ship bays."
"The result?" was 'Fuilomee's swift reply, full of a demanding tone.
Reigando's response was laced with shame, "The attack was repelled by the keen actions of the stationed Field Master."
"Perhaps he should be the one commanding your vessel," authoritatively suggested Scir, with cold sarcasm.
The Ship Master did not make a reply immediately, so the Fleet Master took a brief moment to think over the situation. He knew it was not like the Flood to cease an attack so seemingly easy. Normally, for their attack to have stopped, they must have run out of mutant soldiers to send in to combat; but for some reason, 'Fuilomee didn't feel right with that answer.
"What happened after the attack?" he questioned.
"According to Saeis 'Itlaee, who was also stationed in the hangar at the time of the attack, Master; the attack ended very abruptly," the lower ranking Elite answered.
This brought another string of thoughts to the Fleet Master's mind. Perhaps the attack was some kind of test, or pre-attack. However, 'Fuilomee wondered what the purpose of such an attack could be. He pondered onward for another moment. Perhaps the Flood had changed tactics; thinking this chilled him to the core. For this would mean that they were far more capable and sentient than had before been assumed. It could have been an act to whittle down the Covenant forces, and lure them into a false sense of security when the initial attack was beaten back. Still, this, in 'Fuilomee's mind at least, was giving the Flood too much credit. The thought that those beasts, that stole his good troops, were clever enough to orchestrate such things was as monstrous as the Flood themselves.
The Fleet Master's thoughts were interrupted as 'Reigando grew bold enough to make a statement without a question being asked first.
"That is why I decided to leave the ring as soon as it was possible, Master," he stated. "To prevent any further danger to my ship."
'Fuilomee was not that naive as to think the danger was contained only to a singe ship bay. "You were foolish to not have thought of this further. You have already exposed you craft to the danger of the Flood by remaining at your position when you knew the beasts were present."
'Reigando did not feel he needed to reply.
"It is now pertinent that you leave the piece of debris without any further delay," continued Scir. "But before you come in contact with any other vessel, or take part in any other search efforts, you are commanded to conduct a thorough search of your own ship."
"I understand Master," came a slow reply.
"Good," finished the Fleet Master. "Because you will not fail again."
Aknu watched as the connection was terminated. He grinded his mandibles together in a combination of worry, fear, and anxiety.
The Elite stayed at the communications consol, however. He still had to order the rest of those under his command to leave the ring and to prepare to disconnect from the segment. The Ship Master stood uneasily as he entered the command into the controls and waited for the message to be relayed to all the Covenant soldiers involved.
(Story/Author's Note: I would like to say that the strange reason for using the Elites' first names in the story is so I had more than their rank and other name to work with in the dialogue. Without this it would have, as it did to a degree, become repetitive.)