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The Enemy Within-Chapter Thirteen: Blood Of The Wraith
Posted By: Mind_Affecting_Parasite<pbplayer_24@yahoo.com>
Date: 17 July 2004, 6:14 PM

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      A living wave of rotting green monstrosities poured in through the unshielded hangar door of the Impending Incursion. Their numbers, however, were triple the force they had displayed earlier. The beasts poured up from the tunnel's floor, rolling over the bottom of the large door; but still managed to climb the sides, only to dump themselves upon the second and third levels, as well as rain down on their brethren below.
       Individual squads of Covenant troops emerged from the many doors around the ship bay, having heard the initial commotion. However, brains were apparently in short supply at the time, for none of them thought to send a communication outside of the hangar area. Half of their numbers were eliminated during their first second of emerging from behind the blast doors.

       'Ipnaimee was struck with shock from the very beginning. He had thought that once the Shade turrets had opened fire, it would slow the Flood enough to allow reinforcements to arrive. The situation had not gone anywhere near what could be called well, though. One gunner had just been flowed over by a group of Flood; and another was about to be flipped, only a couple units in front of 'Ipnaimee. The Elite would have to think of something fast to preserve himself, not to mention this hangar and, eventually, the rest of the ship.
       The Field Master glanced to his right, to see another door open, and the Flood wash over those attempting to exit from it. The Plasma Sword flashed to life in the Elite's hands, filling his heart with but an ounce of vigor. 'Ipnaimee then saw something that could save his life for but a few more units. A Wraith sat on his left, inactive on the ground floor. Better still, the Flood weren't seemingly interested in that side of the hangar yet.
       'Ipnaimee turned and took a long swing, with his sword, at the group of Flood that had just managed to push the Shade turret off of the tip of the second floor peninsula. The tips of the triple-pronged weapon still discharged as the turret and gunner fell. The blue blade cut the multiple forms in two, giving the Field Master what he thought would be enough time to make it to his vehicle of a weapon. It was not meant to be, however; and even as 'Ipnaimee willed his legs to push off, his end approached quickly.
       The first of the string of bad events was an Elite Combat form that vaulted itself into the air from the floor below. A burst from the creatures human assault rifle, coupled with a swing from its' trio of hardened tentacles was enough to stop the still whole Elite from jumping, and send him to the floor. 'Ipnaimee managed to arc his blade of fire up and slice into the Flood form's chest. The Infection form within must have perished, for the host fell limply to the ground. The Field Master tried to raise himself, and just as his muscles started to propel him forward, a human projectile weapon impacted behind him. It didn't blow the Elite to pieces, but the shrapnel shredded his armor and tenderized the meat of 'Ipnaimee's back.
       The once great Field Master let loose a horrific wail as he tumbled through the air and plummeted back down. The last thing the gold armored Elite saw was the outer surfaces of his intended safety; before his body struck the unyielding alloys of the vehicle, his neck snapped forward, and the front of his skull caved in against the interior surfaces of the Wraith.

       Fvilop squealed and sat frozen, staring up at the Elite's corpse. Dark purple blood mixed with saliva seeped from the former Field Master's vertebrae-punctured throat, running along the four mandibles before mixing with the liquids oozing from the cracks in the golden helmet; all before beading up and dripping onto the Grunt's respirator.
       The small creature's body shook, his arms and legs trembling. Fvilop could help but look into 'Ipnaimee's deformed face; but what the Grunt found there was far from pleasant. Past the shattered helmet, past the fragmented bits of skull, and past the exposed near-black, purple brain; past all that were the Elite's two eyes. Captured within the two spheres, colored a night-black, was a mix of terrible emotions: hopelessness, disbelief, malice, and the most recent and most terrifying to Fvilop, sheer terror. The reeking smell of death smothered the interior of the Wraith.
       All of this sunk into the Grunt's consciousness. It sat for a brief moment, haunting the creature's very being, then Fvilop could have no more. He let out a final screech and went insane. The creature barely had time to thrash about the cockpit before the main artery in his brain experienced the bursting of an aneurysm, due to a massive fearand stress-induced heart attack. The body of Fvilop convulsed, all its parts in spasm, before going still. A phosphorescent-blue liquid leaked from the former Covenant soldier's ear.
       Now blue and purple blood, mingling together, stained the floor. Two lay dead on the Wraith.

       The shimmering purple anti-gravitational field below the small Covenant vehicle caught the attention of 'Lshowee for a brief moment. The Elite's eyes then shifted to the purple skin of the craft; he noted that the color closely resembled the hue that covered his own form, unlike the blue color that adorned the Elite piloting the Ghost. However, the young warrior's current guard position and pattern were inefficient.
       "'Urucilee," addressed 'Lshowee, currently a First Class, Junior Grade Pilot Squad
       The lower ranking Elite turned in his seat to look at he who addressed him. "Yes, Master?" he answered.
       "Your patrol radius has tightened visibly," 'Lshowee replied. "Expand the radius back to its previous ordered area."
       "Of course Master," 'Urucilee turned back towards the display console of his vehicle.
       'Lshowee could see the young Elite look over his ordered patrol. After a brief unit, 'Urucilee's vehicle sidled to the right, maneuvering into the path he should have already been in.
       The Squad Master smiled, what could be described as the Elite equivalent of a smirk; but 'Lshowee's smile was borderline sadistic. This Elite wanted to win wars, of course, and he knew what could and could not be done. Except this Elite would expend just about anything but his own safety to gain victory, or just to keep that safety. 'Lshowee was no coward, but he knew how to use others to his own advantage. His goal was to one day control an entire fleet, perhaps an armada; however, even he would never think of undermining the authority of the High Charity, the authority of the Prophets.
       'Lshowee blinked, changing the subject of his thoughts. The Elite drew his primary weapon, a Plasma Rifle, and looked it over in his hands. Its seems glowed a cool blue, but the power storage device energy indicator displayed that the weapon only contained thirty-two units of energy. The Squad Master activated a control and ejected the mostly drained power storage device, and retrieved a full one, replacing it with the old device. This act brought back memories of the short battle that had occurred earlier. It had been the organism called the Flood. 'Lshowee understood why they were called what they were. Even from the short encounter he had witnessed, the Elite had seen how they moved and acted as a single wave. He was still not sure as to why the creatures had stopped as they did. Again 'Lshowee shifted his mind elsewhere.
       He looked to his right side; fastened to a quick release clip on the rear-hip of his Combat Armor sat a Needler. The Elite didn't need to grab it to know that it was fully loaded. All of the twenty crystalline quills glowed a purple-pink. Plus, below the weapon, on 'Lshowee's belt were three light-purple ammunition capsules, containing more of the deadly projectiles. Not as oblong, and not sharing the same colors, six other spheres were attached to the Elites belt. The several inactive explosives-waiting-to-happen, otherwise known as Plasma Grenades, were attached in a line to the front left of 'Lshowee.
       That was still not the end of the Squad Master's arsenal. The Elite looked down at the Plasma Pistol on his left thigh, glowing a faint green. 'Lshowee nodded, his smirk again rising to the surface of his face.

       A beeping on the communications console grabbed 'Lshowee's attention. The Elite walked over to the control panel, and pressed a holographic button. A message scrolled across the screen: new orders.
       'Lshowee activated a communications link to the two Field Masters stationed in the large room. "Masters," the Squad Master began. "I have received new orders from the Ship Master that we are to move our forces back into the Impending Incursion."
       The higher ranking of the two responded, but 'Lshowee could see both of them looking in his direction from their patrols. "Understood, Squad Master 'Lshowee, we will round up the troops and move the equipment back into the ship," responded 'Tacoayee, First Class, Median Grade Ground Operations Field Master.
       "Let the vehicle operators know of the orders, and send a message for equipment carts," ordered the lower ranking Field Master, a Second Class, Master Grade Swordsman.
       "Right away, Master," 'Lshowee waited for his commanders to terminate the connection.
       The Squad Master quickly sent the orders to the pilots of the ground vehicles. The vehicle operators visibly paused for a brief moment, then moved their vehicles to cover, and assist if necessary, the other ground troops, now preparing to leave. When 'Lshowee received confirmation of the orders from the vehicle operators, he sent a request for several gravity carts to the troops stationed at the top of the gravity lift. Within a couple units, the requested carts were floating down the purple beam.
       'Lshowee stood back, shouting orders and directing the Grunts sent down to assist with moving equipment. The Squad Master took a brief glance to either side of the room. The stationed troops had formed into wide, rough lines, funneling troops and lighter equipment towards the gravity lift. Soon, all of the Covenant forces should be off this section of the ring. 'Lshowee smiled, honestly he would like to returned to comfortable interior quarters, but he sure would miss the feeling of waiting for a good round of combat.

       Sergeant Ferring watched through his eyepiece as the first groups of Covenant rode upwards in the purple beam in the center of the room. The forces, on all sides of the grav lift's base were thinning. Of course there was still that Wraith that would have to be dealt with, and the two Ghosts; only one of which, though, was on the same side as the Sergeant.
       A column of troops was still on either side of the Covenant lift as well. A gold Elite seeming to run the show of each group. Lance could also just make out a floating plasma sword, each a little more than a meter off the ground, right next to the grav lift. Plus, neither of the two Shades just outside the door had been vacated; and two Hunters were still meandering nearby. The Sergeant did see what looked to be good news; though, a pair of floating carts were headed towards the two Shades. Sergeant Ferring hoped that they were intended for what he assumed. The sooner the Covenant troops pulled back, the sooner he and the rest of his squad would have a chance to get out of the confining tunnels.