Pride and Honor Part 2
Posted By: Tom Murphy<email@example.com>
Date: 03 January 2002 8:42 pm
Huge crashes from the sound of the mortars echoed through my head. Screams of dying marines rung out into space. Death himself was walking among all of us. I looked back at the transport ships and saw that there were snipers crouching on top of them picking of Covenant soldiers one by one. I kept running and took out my assault rifle again.
Before the first mortar I was at least the eleventh line back, now I am the third. I wouldn't be long until I was on the front. I stopped moving and brought the aimer of the rifle up to my eye and switched it to burst to increase the accuracy. People rushed past me bumping into me making it harder to aim, but eventually I got a clear shot of one of the Elites and fired. The shells shot out and fell to the floor and the Elite's shield rippled with a yellow glow. I fired another burst, and another until the shield stopped rippling and purple blood spurted out behind the Elite as the bullets tore through his skin. I fired one last burst and watched as the elite fell over screaming and dribbling blood.
Suddenly, when I looked up I saw a Hunter charging at me full speed, with his shield up high. He was closing in fast so I switched the rifle from burst to auto and began firing, but it seemed to have no effected and the bullets just bounced off his shield. I was going to die. Just then a bullet whizzed by ear and pounded through the Hunter's head spattering his purple head all over my face and clothes. I looked back at the snipers and one of them gave me a brief wave.
I turned back to the Covenant and realized that the Hunter that was just killed was the last one and that the Covenant's numbers were wearing thin. We were winning. This would be a great victory for the Earth. A very great victory. I took out my pistol and began shooting the Grunts. Squeals of their unknown language spilled out everywhere and it was hard to hear now. Until I saw one whip out a plasma grenade and throw it into the air. I quickly glanced at the one I had chosen to follow who was still standing and fighting fiercely. Then I looked back at the grenade. It was sailing through the air and the landed on a Marine and stuck to him.
"Oh no!" I heard him yell desperately. He blew up kill three other Marines and spraying human body pieces all over the area. I was now the second line and there were very few Covenant soldiers left. I kept running.
I could hear myself breathing hard and my hard felt like it was about to explode. The man in front of me was hit with a plasma ball and toppled over dead with a small yelp. I took his place and found myself face to face with a Grunt who I hit hard in the face with the butt of my gun. The Grunt squealed and died and I stole his grenades. I looked next to me at my 'partner' and saw he was still toting his gun proudly and fighting with honor. I looked ahead of me and saw a Gold Elite, red in skin and armed with a plasma rifle. I whacked him with my assault rifle and then fired at him using an entire magazine.
Making sure not to give him time to let his shield recharge I whacked him again before changing magazine and once I had finished reloading shot him dead. He fell to his knees screaming in a deep sub-human voice.
I heard a human voice next to me let out a small yell and I looked over and it was my partner. Blood flew off his body into my face and I could feel the hotness of the red liquid. However instead of falling over, he just kept moving. Kept running. Kept shooting. Held his head up high. Another plasma ball flew into his arm causing him to drop his assault rifle and lunge over a little bit. "Dammit!" I heard him yell. However, he still did not fall, with his strong arm we took out his pistol and managed to take out four more Covenant soldiers until a last plasma ball flew into his face and sent him toppling over backwards. Before the ball hit him however he managed to hit the Grunt that shot him in the head with a bullet.
I ran passed his body trying not to let it bother me. I shot every Covenant soldier I saw, and killed every Covenant soldier I shot. "Die you stupid bastards!" I yelled as I suddenly found myself separate from the blob and surrounded by Grunts. I took out three with my Assault Rifle, holding the trigger until it clicked, killed one more with my pistol, and killed the last two with the butt of my AR.
I joined back up with the marines who were all screaming and yelling and looked around for more Covenant but saw none. That's when I realized the Marines weren't screaming, they were cheering!
I myself rose up my gun and began yelling in joy. This would be the turning point of the war. This would be the beginning of the end. Mankind will prevail. We searched the ship for Covenant survivors and turned them into our slaves and interpreters. Some told us how to work the machines and others told us how to defend the plasma balls. When we had finished with them, we killed them. I took out my coin and rolled it around in my hand. E Pluribus Unum the words rolled around in my head. We won.
I soon found myself face to face with the Chief who stared at me with his visor up. "Marine," he said to me. "I saw that trick you did with the Hunter. They teach you that in training?"
"Yes training." He said somewhat angrily.
"They don't train us. We're all they have. And they need us to get out here quickly. So they just give us a gun, so us how to shoot it, and dress us up and send us to combat."
"No training?! That's insane. Well then, for the next month I will be training you Marines. And you, you will be a Captain."
He shook his head and then slid his vision to my face. "What's your name Marine?"
"Scott Thompson from the 43rd regiment and 18th legionary."
At the word legionary the Chiefs face showed a faint sign of a smile. "Do you know where that word comes from, Thompson?" He asked me.
"Legionary? Yes, sir. It's a Roman word."
"I'm surprised, not many people are so in touch with the most important parts of the History of War."
I thought back to my high school teacher who had taught us about Rome and Latin, and Greece and Greek. How she had lectured us for hours about how smart these groups were with war. About the story of Hannibal, about Gaius Marius. And most of all, about how she reminded us constantly how we would know more about war tactics than any other student on Earth when she was doing it. I hated her then, but now I suppose I should thank her.
"I had a good teacher, sir."
"Come into another room where we can speak more privately and sit down." As he said this I realized there were two Marines watching us conspicuously and that the Chief and I were standing up. The Chief and I moved into a small room that appeared to have been and office.
Once we were seated there Chief spoke slightly more freely. "Do you realize, Thompson, that this is the turning point of the war? Because now we can figure out how to defend against plasma, how to manufacture plasma weapons, and most of all, where the Covenant planet is."
I had known this the entire time; it was basically all I could think about.
"Well right now, I am going to get Cortana-"
"Cortana, sir?" I accidentally interrupted him, yet he did not seem angry.
"Cortana is the A.I. I had uploaded into my helmet. She can hack into systems and do tons of other useful things. I uploaded her in here," he said tapping his helmet, "right before the Pillar of Autumn crash landed onto Halo."
He didn't need to explain anymore. It had been only three weeks and everyone knew the story of the Master Chiefs Legendary acts on Halo.
"You should probably get to work on some sort of training program," he instructed to me and turned around and started talking to himself- or to Cortana.
I eventually found my way to the ships and bridge and saw every surviving Marine just hanging around leisurely having nothing to do. I stepped up on a small square platform and yelled to them. "The Master Chief has instructed me to train you. Any of you who were trained in military camp can step up here now." About three hundred soldiers pushed their way through the crowd and stood around me.
"You all will help me instruct these other Marines. Turn them into brave warriors. Each of you will be assigned a group to take maybe tomorrow or so and a training program. The training will go on for one to two months. That's basically it for now." I said slightly unprofessionally.
Next I had a question to ask them. "Does anyone know where the plasma research has been going on?"
"The East Wing," a few anonymous voices shouted back to me.
"Well, that's it Marines, go back to whatever you were doing. I began the walk to the east wing looking at every single thing until I had gotten there. But while I was walking something caught my eye about the walls. Every single inch of every wall had a sort of glossy look to it.
When I had reached the research center I saw that the scientists had already begun work on new shields and armor. Although it didn't seem to be working. They had set up dummies at the other end of the room and were firing fully charged plasma pistols at them. The dummies held up small metal shields that looked like iron and steel. When the plasma ball had struck the shield it just burnt right through the shield and toasted the dummy. I sat and watched for somewhere to an hour as they tried every shield they had made before hand. None worked.
Finally I decided to mention to one of the scientists what I had noticed. I couldn't be sure, but maybe the gloss had some defensive significance. Maybe. "Um, sorry to bother you," I said scratching my head, "but I noticed something on the way here."
The scientist seemed annoyed, maybe not so much at me but at his totally failing shields. "Well, go on. What did you see?" He said in a condescending tone.
"Well first of all, the walls here are not affected by plasma bullets-at all. And, um, well I noticed while walking here, that there's a sort of glossy look to them I haven't seen on any other ship."
Suddenly the scientist perked up a little bit grabbed a needle and told me to follow him. When we reached he spoke again, "Yes this is quite peculiar." He said nodding his head. He stuck the needle about a centimeter into the wall and took a sample of the 'gloss'. He told me that for the next few hours he would be doing something I would find very boring and told me to come back in four hours.
When I had arrived for the second time, after eating and taking a short nap he told me the great news. "It's perfect!" He said with a great smile.
I cocked an eyebrow at him.
"The 'glossy' substance on the walls is some sort of mineral that absorbs huge amounts of heat! Watch!" He said shoving a huge shield into me arms.
"Crouch down and get ready!"
I went to the other side of the room not even thinking that I would get hurt until those words came out. "Don't worry, this won't hurt a bit." Every muscle in my body tensed as I held the gray shield in front of me not bother to look. Then I heard the whoosh of a plasma ball shooting out of its weapon and I looked next to me and saw it sailing past. "Oops," I heard the scientist say.
Another shot was fired and this time I felt it hit my shield but it barely felt like anything hit at all. It was more of a tap than a hit. "See?" the scientist yelled happily, "It's perfect!"
In two months the troops were well trained and the Chief was setting us up for another mission. This would be something much bigger than a Mission to claim a ship. We were to claim an entire planet.
We decided we would not use plasma weapons because the Covenant is probably well protected against them. Instead we would use our regular human weapons. The only reason plasma grenades working are because the gloss has a point where it heats up too much and kills the owner. But if only a small amount is fired on it at a time, it slowly expels the heat without any harm done to the owner.
The marines had been taught to use the Roman's Turtle formation in which the front lines held their shield out to protect from oncoming fire, and the other lines put their shields up to protect from above fire. When we did this we moved forward in a crouched position very slowly. When we were in this formation we looked like one person. E Pluribus Unum.
We can win this.