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Sea of Steel: Part 7
Posted By: Omniscient<davenish@jps.net>
Date: 14 August 2001, 3:02 AM

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Part 7
Location: Alcatraz away team, some forest near some open field, somewhere on Halo.

"Contacts c-c-confirmed, s-sir," said a voice in Louis' helmet. It was the front scouts. Thank God they're alive, Louis thought.

"Report," asked Louis.

The reply took a few seconds to come in. Apparently the front scouts were a little shaken up, as they should be after witnessing two Covenant drop ships fly right over them. "Well, I don't think we were noticed, must be the stealth suits. The bloody bastards flew right over us. Looked like about twenty elites dropped off and ran into the forest-" He was cut off by one of the other front scouts, the flamer from Griffith's squad.

"There were twenty-one elites, not twenty. The twenty-first dropped off last. And it was not just an elite. He was a Red, sir. I'd never seen one before, but - damn - I'm sure of it."

"Damn is right!" cursed Louis. "They're after the marines. We need to get in there, to hell with being sneaky and quiet. Try to track them, and let me know if you get any readings. I'm bring my group across all at once. Go!"

"Roger that!" yelled the flamer through the radio as he picked up his gear and stumbled into a run. The other front scouts were right behind him, though seemed less enthusiastic about tearing off blindly toward twenty Covenant elites and one Red.

"Forward assaulters, Louis-The marines are in trouble, we're crossing the field all at once and heading directly into the woods on the other side. Head toward the coordinates on your HUDs. Move out!"

The seals had heard the conversation between Louis and the front scouts, so they were ready to move when he said move. They sprung out from behind the bushes and trees and easily maneuvered their way out of the forest and into the field. It was like the old days of WW1, where you dig in, and then you charge: run like hell toward the enemy. By the time the team had reached the other side of the field, the front scouts were within visual range. No report of the location of the elites had been given, but the front scouts had stopped and were all standing around looking at something. Louis waved the rest of the men on and then jogged over to the front scouts.

"Score one for the bad guys," said the flamer, as he stared down into the gaping eyes of Richard's dead body. His armor had melted and re-hardened in crator-shaped holes where the energy blasts had hit him.

"Nothing we can do about it now. Let's keep moving," said Louis. The front scouts ran on to rejoin the main assault group. Then someone called in a report. The elites had been spotted, and the marine encampment was located, as well. This report was confirmed by the sound of assault rifles echoing off into the night. Even through the trees, Louis could make out the flashes of grenades, and then the blinding light made from Covenant plasma bombs. He had never seen one before. In fact, none of them had ever even fought the Covenant man to man before, but Louis had read plenty of information to know how deadly their weapons were. There plasma bombs, unlike the human grenades, would explode on impact. There was no time delay. No chance to pick it up and throw it back. The energy field around it carried too much stress. When that much tension meets with solid matter, it can not hold together. And even if you don't get blown up by the blast, you still get temporarily blinded by the light. Nasty weapons.

Another grenade blast. Louis refocussed his brain and ran off toward the battle.

The marines were putting up a good fight when the seals arrived, but they hopelessly confused, despite Ornales' warning. Luckily, the elites had not been able to fully surround the marines, and were advancing on them in an arched line instead. The two flame throwers had conveniently come in on opposite sides of the assault group, providing good close range cover for the assaulters. The problem was, with so many trees, it was impossible to hit an elite without setting the whole damned forest on fire. Furthermore, the elites were forcing the marines farther back into the woods. When Louis caught up, he realized this and decided to take the initiative.

"Flamers, Louis- Rendezvous at these coordinates, I'll meet you there, I have a plan. Move fast!" The coordinates Louis had given them would put them all the way behind the the human marines. The flamers tried their best to make the sprint, but they were burdened by the fuel tanks and it was a tremendous struggle to move quickly through all of the underbrush. They were attempting to go around Covenant line completely, while Louis decided it was time for some heroics. He grasped his weapon securely in both hands and tore off toward the center of the attacking elites. The element of surprise, he hoped, would be enough to keep him from getting killed.

The rest of the assaulters continued to move forward, though none of them had let off any shots yet. One man reported seeing the red elite on HUD - they give off an energy signal about twice that of the normal elites - but it had vanished before he could get a visual. Louis, on the other hand, wasn't even paying attention to his HUD. He had no idea that the elite in front of him had turned around and raised his weapon when Louis plowed him down to ground, completely by accident. Louis rolled over the elite and took off running again. The human marines saw him coming, and a couple of soldiers ran out and provided cover for him to get to the marine commander, who had also came forward a little way to see who the hell this was charging through the enemy line.

"Sir, Lieutenant Commander Ray Louis of the carrier Alcatraz, reporting!" He had to yell to be heard over all the explosions and gun shots and plasma bolts and all the other familiarities of combat.

"What the hell? So the Space Force finally sent in some help!" the commander yelled back.

"No, sir. I'm from the Navy!"

"What the hell?"

"I'll explain later, we have to get you out of here. I've got two flamers moving around to the back. When their in position, I want your men to pick up their heels and run like bats out of hell deeper into the woods, past the flamers. They're going to set fire to the forest, and I've got assaulters on the other side to finish off the elites as they retreat! Understand?"

"What the hell kind of a plan is that?"

"One that will work, sir! Trust me! The covvies don't know that my men are here!"

"What the hell, it's better then this! You give me the signal!" Just then, the Red elite burst through the foliage a few meters from Louis. There was a flash as the Red ignited his energy ax and grabbed the nearest marine. It was a fast death. The Red leaped high into the air and came down behind a small group of three marines. He spun around and dispatched them all. The marine commander turned and shot at the elite, as did Louis. The Red had such speed and grace, that few of the bullets hit, and those that did were deflected harmlessly by his energy shield. However, instead of charging toward Louis and the commander, the Red stopped and listened. Louis continued to shoot. Then the Red bounded up into the air and disappeared. He was on HUD for a while, but not long.

"They brought a Red! He must have realized there was some kind of trap when he saw you! They have excellent hearing, I wouldn't be surprised if he was listening for your guys. Oh yeah, what band are your guys on?"

"We have entirely new radio units, sir! Higher encryption levels, we can not communicate via radio until we outfit your men with the new hardware. If we could have, do you think I would have risked my life to get to you?" Louis keyed his radio on and asked the flamers for a report. They were close to the coordinates. "That's close enough!" said Louis. "Be prepared for a whole load of marines to charge past you. When you see me come through, I'll give the word, and then you boys give the covvies hell!"

"Sir yes sir!" said the flame throwers, mocking the common affirmative said by marines.

"Commander, tell your men it's time to get out of here!" Louis said to the marine commander.

"Whatever the hell you say, Lieutenant!" Then he keyed his own radio, and yelled for his men to fall back past the flamers and wait for additional orders. Louis mounted a grenade to his rifle and launched it off in the direction of the Covenant line.

"I want one of those!" yelled the marine commander.

"You'll get one! Now move!" The commander emptied the remainder of his clip and then ran off with the rest of his marines. The flame throwers were only about twenty meters back, and Louis was the last man to reach them.

"Do it!" he yelled. The flamers pulled back on the gas release and let it sit for a while before triggering the flame. When they did, two huge balls of fire roared out into the forest, lighting up their faces clear as day and setting a blaze to the trees and bushes. The Covenant found themselves caught in the middle of it, as they had tried to pursue the marines. Some of them yelled some orders in whatever language it was that they spoke, and they turned around and ran the other way. Louis was satisfied to see the distant barrel flashes as his men took care of the retreating elites. Using the new, silenced assault rifles, it was an almost completely quiet task.

"One problem, sir" said a voice in Louis' radio after the rifles had stopped.

"What is it?"

"I'm detecting a strong energy signal moving quickly away. I'm afraid that this is not the last that we've seen of this Red elite."