The Enemy Within-Chapter Twelve: Flash Flood Warning
Posted By: Mind_Affecting_Parasite<email@example.com>
Date: 14 July 2004, 5:21 PM
'Ipnaimee continued to nervously observe the troops moving about, under his command. Within the past few units, several more sections of the shield generating array had been restored to operational status. The shield could still not be activated; however, because for that, all, or almost all, of the generating mechanisms must be functional. All of them weren't.
This constant threat posed by the opened door, and events having passed previously, were getting to the Field Master, more and more. The contingent of ground bound troops and Shade Plasma Turrets did give him somewhat of a sense of security. However, the thoughts of danger would not leave his mind. They had been in his mind ever since they docked to the section of the ring. So 'Ipnaimee continued to pace in the space he had available to him, atop the peninsula of deck jutting out of the second level.
He tried to do something to take his mind off things. The Elite took his Plasma Sword and rolled it over in his hands. 'Ipnaimee checked its energy reserves, and made sure the emitters and containment field generator were both fully functional. As he expected, all the systems were just fine. The Field Master then looked at the troops stationed on his own level. A few Shades with their gunners were there, alert as they should be; but only one group of Grunts was present, all sleeping next to a single console crate.
"Awake!" shouted 'Ipnaimee. "You indolent cretins!"
The five Grunts jumped with a start, waking only to the anger-filled face of their Field Master. They all jumped into some kind of action, trying to look like they were doing something useful.
This simple act made 'Ipnaimee feel much better. Perhaps he would live on after all.
Suddenly, a Jackal on the edge of the portal screeched a warning that he had seen something in the darkness. When the first attack had begun, The Field Master's eyes had not seen the living layer of Flood coating the walls and floor of the tunnel. This time though, he knew what to look for. He searched for the faint ripple that would give the presence of the enemy away. 'Ipnaimee had just registered the slight movements when for the second time, the Flood threw themselves forward. Another living tide moved quickly towards the large open door, firing as they went.
"The shield?!" he questioned desperately, not directing it to anyone in particular.
A blue Elite looked up from the floor. "It is not ready Master."
"Quickly, send a message to-" but the Field Master couldn't speak fast enough. One of the randomly Flood-fired rockets struck the blue Elite in the center of his face.
The other Covenant troops jumped to, firing into the void. A low ranking Elite, having been thrown and severely injured by the rocket blast, got a good look at the oncoming horde as they galloped into the outer lights. His eyes grew wide as he realized the vast numbers coming forth. The Elite, by the name Lop 'Jee, pulled himself with his good claw towards one of the communications consoles; taking the initiative that his dead fellow Elite hadn't had the time to.
'Ipnaimee looked on in horror. The Jackals had moved to either side of the non-functional door, forming a barrier with their shields so that the remaining Elites could fire while protected. The majority of the Grunts, however, ran hither and yon. The Field Master was too perplexed and scared to move, his joints would not respond. He watched as the quarter-circle of Jackals and a single Elite, in the farthest corner of the door, was thrown across the floor in bloody chunks from another human rocket weapon. Smaller human projectiles mixed with plasma weapons fire also rained into the portal, increasing in intensity as the Flood rapidly approached.
"Gunners!" 'Ipnaimee managed to stammer.
All of the Elite gunners, stationed in their seats snapped their heads towards their Master. The highest ranking of the group spoke quickly:
"The troops, Master, they block our fire."
While normally the Shades would have immediately opened fire, their were too many troops in their line of fire. The few gunners turned in their seats and shouted down for their comrades to vacate the area, but the noise was too great.
'Ipnaimee made the call, "Fire anyway!"
Fvilop stood behind the remaining barrier of Jackals, firing random shots into the blurry wave of rotten flesh coming strait towards them all. It seemed as though the light at the end of this tunnel had turned a sickening shade of green; and was about to morph into a mosaic of purple and blue at this end.
As the Flood forms got close enough so that the small Grunt could see the features of their deranged faces, the creature could take no more.
"We're all going to die!" he yelled in a moan, bouncing off his heals and running behind the opposite side of the barrier in the center of hangar.
The two Elites, one maroon and the other blue, behind the Jackals gave the Grunt a disapproving look and a shout before turning and continuing to fire. Apparently they assumed that the strength of their own forces was going to drive the demons back where they came from. Their overconfidence would be their undoing.
Fvilop gave a quick glance back in time to see the wave of inflated balloon Carriers, and a mix of Elite warriors and human soldiers turned mutants, wash over the defending troops. The last thing the two Elites did was step forward, truly thinking that their pride and personal power would drive their enemies back. Their act ended in failure. Of course, that was all the Grunt needed to see to make him run even faster. He didn't think he would make it all the way to any of the doors, so his eyes searched for the closest cover.
'Jee willed the muscles in his good arm to pull him faster. The Elite could feel the Flood approaching behind him. With his friend gone, and the enemy nearly upon them all, Lop understood his duty. The communications crate was only but a couple units from he reach. The Elite turned back for a brief moment, just to see what was really happening. Doing this didn't help his spirit of things, for all he saw was his Covenant comrades ravaged by the Flood forces.
The enemy was literally on the doorstep now, 'Jee must be quick to alert the rest of the ship, of this danger. He grabbed the base of the crate, and began to pull himself up towards the control panel. A Flood form, however, had a different idea. The Human Combat form jumped out in front of the main hoard, landing on the Elite's good arm. The bones within cracked, and broke, separating from each other. Lop screamed in pain, trying to kick the form off of him-
-But the Flood from was stronger than the still living Elite. It seemed to look down at 'Jee for a moment before rasing its left arm, from which two tentacles extruded. With one swift motion, the hardened limbs severed Lop's head roughly off. The Elite's body went immediately limp, whilst the oblong head bounced a short distance before rolling to a stop. 'Jee's eyes stared blankly upward, his purple gore spilling from the two sides of the hack, staining the deck plates.
Seeing as the only troops blocking their fire had been killed, the Shade gunners let the plasma fly. Before, the combined fire of all of the Shades had been enough to push back the Flood, but it wasn't this time. The many triple streaks of blue-purple fire lashed out at their targets. Non of them missed, but it didn't make much of a difference. As the plasma hit the tide of Flood, a temporary swath of vacancy was carved, but like a spoon moving through oatmeal, the path quickly filled itself back in.
The lone Grunt, Fvilop, dove behind the Wraith tank dominating the space and knew it wouldn't shield him for long. He again chanced a look behind him, and saw a few random Covenant troops emerge from the far doors and rush towards the very one-sided battle ensuing on the floor. The Flood only took fractions of units to advance forward; as the Grunt looked on, they passed the room's center divider. Fvilop then noticed that the top hatch of the tank was open. He took the opportunity and climbed inside.
A dimly lit, mottled purple interior waited for the Grunt; with a matching seat towards the front. Fvilop barely had time to find a tight corner to squeeze into before a blood curdling scream filled his ears.
Oh shit, what the fuck was he thinking? thought James. Neither he or the Corporal was going to run after Derrick.
The Navy ass had disappeared a few minutes ago. Now everything was just falling apart. How he and Pat would get off the ring alive was very questionable indeed. The enemy had tanks, ground troops, and they might have even captured God by now; from what James was thinking. There was still Sarge though, perhaps he would just come running around the bend with three unicorns and a dragon. Blah, thinking about what wasn't there and wasn't going to happen wouldn't get anyone anywhere.
James crouched next to the still unconscious Elite, looking down the hall down which the Warrant Officer had vanished down. The Private shook his head. Maybe Carter and himself were the only sane ones still alive. Daniels turned and looked at Patrick, who was again looking over the Covenant troops, just around the bend. Maybe the Corporal would find some kind of weakness, or way through, or something other than getting killed.
Something moved in the corner of the Private's eye. Something had rushed into the cone-shaped beam of light from the front of James' weapon. The Marine prepared for the worst, and swung his weight towards what he thought was a threat. As the forms filled his eyes, he barely stopped himself from pulling the trigger.
Kyle Jones was the first to come around the bend. James' face lit up with a smile, cracking the grime that had started to harden on his face. Sarge and Derrick were also on foot, but Daniels' face sunk when he saw Sam.
"What happened?" he asked, keeping his voice low, as Kyle and Sarge set the woman down in front of him.
Kyle frowned back, "She got hit, bad."
"Why did you stop here?" asked Sergeant Ferring, stepping forward. The man had a Rocket Launcher, thank God. "I had thought you made it further than this."
Hunter simply stood nervously on the other side of Samantha, holding a rucksack.
James gave a scowl of a glance towards Derrick. It softened as he spoke to the Sergeant. "You should see what we found around the corner."
Lance looked at Patrick, his current second in command, who was viewing something around the closest corner. "I'll catch Pat, you keep keeping an eye on that Elite, and help stabilize Sam if you can."
James nodded as the Sergeant walked over to Carter. Daniels turned back and watched Kyle. The worried husband tightened the bandages around the four individual gashes in Samantha's legs, and single gash across the woman's thigh and butt. Red had still managed to stain all the way through the white gauze, and padding; but it looked like the blood flow had been stopped. James moved his gaze to the female soldier's face. It looked like she was in pain, but at least she wasn't conscious at the moment.
Daniels looked over Kyle, he had brought back some extra weapons. The 'Rifle would definitely come in handy in conjunction with the Rocket Launcher. The shotgun would just help out in the team's armament.
James motioned to Derrick, "What'cha got there?"
The rucksack hit the floor with a light thud, as Hunter tossed it over.
James let an annoyed look show on his face as he parted the fabric of the pack. He smirked as he viewed the equipment inside. The squad could definitely find a good use for these packages.
James tossed the pack back. "Nice." He turned back to check on what Sarge was doing.
"So?" whispered Sergeant Ferring.
Patrick didn't respond, he just kept looking by means of the optical probe camera, with his mouth slightly agape.
The Sergeant poked Pat in the shoulder.
Pat moved slightly, blinked, and turned to face his commanding officer. "Sir."
"Well?" continued Lance. "What's so interesting?"
Corporal Carter refocused on the image in front of his right eye for another moment. "It's the Covenant forces sir."
"Well? What about them?"
"They're...leaving," Pat looked bemused.
"They're all just packing up," Patrick answered again, in disbelief. "Just leaving."