This is Suicide: Chapter 1
Posted By: Neile Pederson<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 10 November 2002, 11:09 pm
The group of Grunts and Jackals simultaneously looked up in confusion, attempting to determine the source of the deep rumbling noise. The sound was most definitely not produce by any organic object, but sounded more like a machine of some sort. And it seemed to be muffled by something, as if it were hiding, waiting to appear. The search could be narrowed to a single section, and all of the Covenant soldiers turned to the west, relative to the red super-giant star that was now at its highest arc in the sky. The alien warriors continued their scan of the designated area, but to no avail. Whatever this thing was, it obviously did not want to reveal itself quite yet.
The Master Chief, John SPARTAN 117, watched all of this enemy action through the scope of his sniper rifle from behind the limited cover of a small cluster of scrub-brush at the edge of the treeline at the top of a small hill. This collaboration of alien races were brilliant, tactically speaking, with the interstellar structure and speed to back-up whatever military goals they decided they wished to pursue. But when it boiled down to it, the entire unit was only as smart as the dumbest Grunt. Basic mob mentality, the Chief had been informed of when he was training on Reach. He had left his M12 LRV, affectionately dubbed the "Warthog" by the UNSC, at the base of the adjacent hill with the motors still running, parked alongside the two other Warthogs commanded by Lt. Jacob McHenry and Sgt. Elise Draught. Oddly, Draught was the only female ground Marine that John had come in contact with throughout the course of this war.
The Warthog was classified as a Light Reconnaissance Vehicle (LRV), but it was far from light. The jeep weighed in at 2349 kilograms and was as sturdily built as any vehicle in the UNSC Ground Assault Force. The majority of the Warthog was constructed of a super-alloy of titanium, carbon fibre and steel-alloy supports, giving it a structural integrity that was renowned even amongst the Covenant. The four fully independent control arm assemblies were constructed of an experimental honeycomb structure of densely packed carbons with crush properties resembling those of diamond. Attached to the ends of each of the arms were heavy-duty electric motors with an output nearing 1500 standard horsepower and 1660 Nm each. This gave the Warthog incredible acceleration capabilities for its size and a top speed nearing 105 kph. Coupled with the compact fusion core encased in the center of the vehicle, the Warthog could operate for an almost indefinite period of time, thanks to the massive heat vent and exchanger arrays. But the primary function of the M12 was a troop transport, and with this role comes the necessity for the capability to accept a wide range of offensive weaponry. The standard equipped weapon was a M41 Light Anti-Aircraft Gun (LAAG), but the UNSC has been know to mount quadruple M19B Warhammer rocket launcher or dual M76 Rapid Assault Weapons (RAW), the big brother to the M73 Squad Support Weapon. The LRV rode on tires nearly three and one half feet in diameter, rendering awesome ground clearance, but raising the height of the Warthog to a point where it became unstable and prone to rolling in hard cornering. All in all, the M12 LRV was one of the most competent and widely used vehicles in the entire UNSC, so much so that every M704C Pelican dropship carried one attached to the bottom of the engine array.
The Covenant forces were still looking in the general direction of the parked Warthogs, giving the Master Chief a chance to take out some of the heavier weapons of war before he mounted a full-on assault, charging in gun blazing. That was an easy way to claim a position on the next Coroner shuttle. No, one had to play smart when one was outnumbered nearly 3 to 1.
The crosshairs rested on a purple Elite, slightly above the eye and towards the right side of its head. John double-tapped the trigger, releasing two 14.5 mm 295 grain armor-piercing rounds from the two-foot barrel at nearly 1500 meters per second. The discarding sabot shells slammed into the Elites head in rapid succession, one round demolishing its shields and the second penetrating the Covenants head, shattering the skull of the warrior in a shower of brain tissue and violet blood. The Elite dropped to ground, revealing that the second round had completely passed through its head and had continued on, taking out two Grunts that were unlucky enough to stand behind the Elite at that precise moment. That sound of the shot pounded against the cliffs surrounding the Covenant cluster, echoing repeatedly and further masking the location of the Master Chief. Simply amazing, thought the super-soldier. I kill three of their military personnel and nobody even has a clue where I am. He scanned the remaining enemies through the 10x scope, settled on the neck of a blue-armored Elite that was facing the wrong way. John squeezed the trigger, releasing another large-bore fin guided round, watched it slice through the creatures trachea, stealing the life of its target.
With the numbers slightly more even now, John sprinted over to his waiting Warthog, heaved himself up into the operator's position and was on the accelerator before his rump was in the rather uncomfortable seat. The jeep lunged forward with enough force as to almost cause the Marine in the passenger seat to fall out. The Marine, a Private First Class by the name of Mendoza, turned and gave the Master Chief a look that would scare an Elite within and inch of its life, but John just shrugged it off. The Chief drove directly at a large hill he had checked out when he was camped out in the bushes. It was not so much a full hill, since the entire back half of it had been eroded away. The SPARTAN slammed the accelerator to the floorboard, the digital velocity display indicating the Warthog was at top speed, the other two LRVs flanking him. The 25% uphill grade did nearly nothing to impede the progress of three rushing assault trucks. All of the vehicles launched off the edge of the hill at the same time, landing amidst what was left of the Covenant forces. The sound of nearly ten tons of machine slamming onto organic lifeforms is something that one never gets used to, but takes joy in none-the-less. The two Warthogs on either side of John's Warthog split, chasing down separate groups of enemies. John cranked the steering wheel to the right and stomped the accelerator to the floor, causing the LRV to overpower the traction provided by the huge tires. The Warthog spun in two full circles, slamming multiple aliens to ground before running the rear treads over them, often times ripping the armor off of the hideous little creatures. John loved the sound of the M41 LAAG spewing hundreds of rounds out of its muzzle every second, and it was a good thing that he had chosen the best gunner in the entire Black Serpent platoon, because nobody else would have been able to keep up with the rapid rate of rotation. The electric chain gun's three barrels spun at a rate that made them a blur, firing over 500 12.7 mm AP rounds per minute. Whatever was left of the enemies defenses crumpled under the devastating shells.
The Master Chief got out and surveyed the carnage, stepping over and around corpses. The amount of blood almost caused him to forget what his objective was, but not quite. He turned back to the three Warthogs, now that both of the other vehicles had regrouped next his jeep.
"Everybody out. Lock and load weapons, break out the health packs if you need 'em and then join me at the fallen tree over there. Don't worry about the trucks, they'll still be here when we come back," John stated dryly.
The Marines did as instructed and the assault team set off to complete what they had been sent to this armpit of a planet for.