This is Suicide: Chapter 5
Posted By: Neile Pederson<email@example.com>
Date: 8 December 2002, 7:01 pm
McHenry watched in horror at the events unfolding in front of him. Sergeant Draught must have lost her mind, because she was running at a fairly good clip down the hill, feet sliding on the loose dirt, heading directly for the remaining Wraith. And by the way she was storming into the Covenant ranks, smashing the heads of any enemy in front of her, it didn't look like she was simply carried away; she looked downright monstrous. McHenry fire the last three rounds at the hostile forces closing in around her, but it was like pissing on a forest fire. The aliens closed in on the Wraith Elise was attacking, all of their weapons firing. The needler rounds and plasma tore through her armor and flesh, dropping the poor Marine to one knee before the needles exploded in a flash of pink haze and energy. Draught fell to the ground, her back and arms shredded and smoking, before the tank, now without an operator at the controls, shut down and settled on top of her legs. McHenry flicked the release latch on the side of his rifle, let the empty clip drop out and slapped in a new clip. Before the indicator light that recognized a new clip came on, he pulled back the bolt and let it snap back in place, chambering one of the large-bore rounds. The lieutenant snapped the scope up to his left eye, spun the zoom dial to maximum just in time to see a Grunt lob a grenade at him. Damn, Jacob thought to himself. They had found him. The plasma grenade arced towards the sniper's position and, oddly enough, stuck to the scope attached to his rifle. Without thinking, McHenry tossed the rifle over the edge of the rocky outcropping he was laying on, pulled out his sidearm and fired at the little alien that had tossed the explosive. It dropped to the ground, dead. The thunderous boom of a detonation resounded from below, followed by another, larger, blast. Iridescent purple metal alloy fragments, typical of Covenant armor, hurtled through the air at an amazing speed, a few of the chunks finding their way inside the cracks in Jacob's armor. The heat of the pieces seared his skin and inner clothes, and the Marine tried frantically to strip off the chest plate. McHenry lay on the grassy slope behind his perch, screaming at the intense pain of his body attempting to reject the metal through cauterized wounds. He pulled his boot knife out of the sheath on the inner part of his right lower leg and jabbed at the clotting patches of blood covering the holes in his chest, prying out the shards while trying as hard as he could to avoid going unconscious.
Sean March squatted behind a boulder, reloading his assault rifle while simultaneously gnawing on the stub of a wooden toothpick. True wooden toothpicks were difficult to come by after the destruction of Earth, so when the opportunity to purchase a pair of unopened boxes of Lebanon cedar toothpicks presented itself at a bazaar on Orion Prime, he had gladly paid the rather high price for the cherished splints. Now it had become a ritual that he would chew one toothpick during each mission, which helped ease the tension of dangerous situations and also aided in keeping track of how many battles he had been involved in. Sean looked over to his brother, Scott, nodded to him and both of them threw a fragmentation grenade over their respective covers. The double explosion quickly eclipsed the slight thud of the destructive orbs bouncing on the dirt. The related Marines charged out from behind their hiding places, stormed down the hill, guns blazing, and jumped completely over the wreckage of a Ghost, landing between two Jackals that were on their way up to confront the brothers. All four of the warriors turned to look at each other, for a brief moment in confusion, before opening fire on the opposition. Sean dropped to his belly, temporarily knocking the wind out of him, and fired at the Jackal's feet. The Jackal's weight was too much for its fractured ankles to support and it collapsed in a pile of ugliness. Scott was also getting sick of this fight, which he had not asked for, and ran up to the short creature firing plasma bursts at him. Scott jumped over the Covenant's head, unsheathing his boot knife simultaneously, turned on the Ghost wreckage and stabbed down into the Jackal's brain, but, oddly enough, this did not kill the strange being. Surprised and mildly disgusted at the site of an alien moving around with a knife through its skull, March simply cracked down on the knife with the butt of his rifle, like driving a nail with a hammer. The blade completely emerged from the bottom of the Jackal's head, while the force of the blow crushed the top of its cranium. Blood and brain tissue were simply wiped off the stock of the assault rifle and boot knife using the grass as a crude cloth, and the brothers kept moving inside the crater, searching for more hostiles. The pair ran to the smashed engine array of the Pelican, landing next to it with a metallic clink of their armor colliding with the hull of the downed dropship.
"Okay, here's the plan. We'll circle around the back of this array, toss a couple of grenades under the Shade over there, gun down that quartet of Grunts by the Ghosts and steal a couple of 'em. Should be fun, right?" Scott said with his trademark mischievous look in his eyes.
"Yeah, right. You're ****in' crazy, you know that?" Sean responded, only half joking.
Scott didn't respond, only ran off around the array. Sean was hot on his heels, but skidded to a stop when he saw the body of his brother go flying out from behind the opposite side of the engines, landing in a tree half way up the slope of the hill. He was still moving, faintly, which was good. At least he wasn't dead. A Hunter stepped into view from behind the section of hull and Sean's eyes widened in fear at the sight of the eight-foot-tall hulk of blue armor. But apparently it didn't see him, because the Hunter was charging up its fuel-rod cannon, the green glow from the heating rods reflecting off the compound curves of its armor plating. Not thinking of any thing except his brother's safety, the Marine ran at full speed at the Covenant and jumped on it's back. Judging by the way the Hunter thrashed about, it didn't like having a hitchhiker at all. OK, maybe this wasn't such a good idea, Sean thought as the beast backed up against the ruined engines of the Pelican. The impact sent a burning pain through his legs, but Sean was still able move and crawled onto the left shoulder of the pissed off titan, drew his pistol from the holster at his waist and stuck the muzzle in the small slit in the armor, pressed it up against the Hunter's eye. The pistol barrel in its face only angered the Hunter even more, so the Marine pulled the trigger, spraying orange blood on his own face. The corpse dropped to the turf, stirring up a cloud of dust and throwing Sean several feet from the heap of metal and dead flesh. The younger March lay on the ground, stunned and in pain, but forced himself to stand up on wobbly legs and go attempt to retrieve his sibling from the tree. After finding it near impossible to get his legs to cooperate in the quest to climb the tree, he turned to steal a Ghost only to watch a sniper rifle with a plasma grenade stuck to the scope fall from McHenry's perch, fall amidst the four Ghosts parked under said perch and blow up. The ensuing explosion consumed four of the Ghosts, overloading their plasma tanks and detonating in a grand show of fire, smoke, metal fragments and blue plasma clouds. Amazingly, one of the Ghosts escaped destruction and Sean sprinted to it while the Covenant near it remained sprawled out on the ground. One of the Grunts nearby began to turn to face him, but it was cut off by a pistol shot to the head. March hopped over the fallen alien, smacked another nearby Grunt in the head with the butt of his assault rifle and jumped into the controls seat of the remaining hovercraft. He punched the activation button and yanked on the controls, gliding at high speed over an Elite that had stood up in time to be beheaded by the exhaust vectoring blade on the back of the engine pods. The Marine pushed the acceleration lever as high as it would go and pulled back on the controls, lifting the nose of the Covenant craft to avoid scraping it on the hull of the Pelican's engine array, jumping the Ghost up into the treeline at the top of the hill. Parked at the peak of the crater rim, Sean turned the Ghosts around and fired the twin plasma cannons at the remaining Covenant troops who ran under the relative safety of the wings on the crashed dropship.
Through the scope on his rifle, the Master Chief noticed an Elite yelling something into a handheld communication device. Dana quickly intercepted the signal, translated it and relayed the information to John.
"John, the Elite just called in an air strike. Three Banshees will be inbound in a matter of minutes. I suggest we fall back and wait it out."
"No, get in contact with the Alert Five team and get an ETA. We're not leaving 'Haven Guardian' behind," the SPARTAN responded with more than the usual amount of stubbornness. As if on cue, the rumble of the ion engines of several Pelicans emanated from the far side of the crater and they seemed to be getting closer. All three of the enormous armored green dropships appeared from behind a pillar of rock. For once the commander, who was renowned for being impulsive, even if her impulses were usually right, thought ahead and sent in armed dropships. The equipment haulers flew overhead, pounding the ground with the twin chain-gun turrets secured to undersides of each wing. The slugs weren't strong enough to penetrate the armored wings of the crashed ship that the Covies were cowering under, but the turret gunners were lucky enough to catch a few Jackals as they were running for cover. John motioned the angular aircraft towards the landing zone and ran over to meet them as they offloaded reinforcements and fresh supplies. A corporal named Lewis trotted over to John, shielding his eyes from the dust being kicked up by the Pelican's engines.
"Sir, I'm Corporal Lewis..." the middle-aged man started, nearly running to keep up with his superior's huge stride.
"I can read your name tag perfectly fine. The battle's not here. Get your equipment and go help out my men," The Master Chief responded coldly.
"Yes sir," Lewis said, obviously disappointed for being brushed off, but there was no time for formalities right now. John continued his lumber over to the weapons cache that had just been offloaded from the dropships, picked up a grenade and dropped his sniper rifle in his portable weapons locker that the Pelicans had brought with them. He then walked over to the next crate, kicked it open and removed another assault rifle, ten clips of ammunition and administered a painkiller shot to himself. Ready to reengage those Covenant bastards, he sprinted back up to the top of the crater in time to see a private (one of the March brothers, it looked like) clinging on to the alloy shield attached to a Hunter's left arm. The Hunter was trying as hard as it could to shake off the unwanted company, but the Marine was determined not to be thrown. It looked like a bull-riding competition that John had seen videos of while studying human history on Reach, only a little more deadly. The private pulled his sidearm and fired into the Hunter's eye, dropping the behemoth, but the Marine was thrown several feet. Amazingly, March didn't stay down. Instead, he ran over the only undemolished Ghost and hijacked it. Is this whole outfit full of lunatics?! the Master Chief thought to himself as he charged into what was left if the rapidly calming battle. Halfway down the hill, four large blips appeared on John's motion tracker display, rapidly closing the distance to the crater.