A Reason To Fight ( I )
Posted By: Phoenix99<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 7 July 2004, 9:17 PM
There was no time for heroics. You always heard stories of great heroes doing amazing things. Movies of one man taking on considerable odds and coming out on top, with a beautiful blonde in his arms. Not this time. Not on Earth.
The siege on Earth had begun a week ago. We hadn't had much time to prepare. The emergency broadcasts rang out only 5 hours before the first blast shook the city. "...EVACUATION OF THE CITY IS IN PROGRESS, PLEASE KEEP CALM AND TAKE ONLY WHAT IS NEEDED..." But the announcements hadn't really helped. Sure, a handfull were able to escape from the city, but most were caught in the bombardment.
I had missed those public announcements as I was sleeping soundly with my wife, July. But we awoke with a start as a blast shook our apartment complex. I stumbled out of bed to the window and pulled away the shade, wiping sleep from my eyes. I stared in confusion at the scene outside my window. A large explosion had torn a gaping hole in the building across the street and cast heated metal and ferrocrete onto the surrounding ground. Nearby street lights flickered on and off, people were running everywhere.
"What's going on?" asked July.
"I don't know, it looks like a bomb went off in the next building" I replied with astonishment.
But my speculation was put to an end as I saw three bright flashes in the distance and their resounding blasts shook the room. I leaned closer to the window and peered up into the blank, ink sky. My jaw dropped as a saw a blue beam of light lance down from the sky into the city with a deafening roar.
"Oh no... honey, get ready to go"
"What's wrong, what're those sou—"
"Now!" I replied in a forceful manner.
I flipped on the viewer to channel 4. A reporter sat at a desk looking distressed.
"Reports are in that the bombardment has commenced. Blocks 36 through 47 have sustained considerable damage. Please make your way to the nearest e-vac zone in as orderly a manner as possible. Power will not last long so please act quickly, the Covenant—"
The hologram disappeared, the power gone, cutting off the reporters words, but it was enough for me to
understand. I turned and saw July standing at the window.
"How did they find us... I thought they said we were safe" she said turning away from the window.
"I don't know, but we need to leave now" I grabbed the two packs July had brought out of the closet and stuffed them with clothing, a flashlight, and some rations before zipping them up and hoisting one onto my back and handing the other to July. A large blast shook the room so hard I had to catch July from stumbling to the floor.
"common," I said and reached for her hand.
We left the dark apartment and stepped into the hallway that was now bathed in red light and sirens from the emergency lights that glowed in the ceiling. A blast shook the hall and the lights flickered, but stayed lit.
"The elevators are probably down, we'll have to take the stairs," I yelled over the sirens. We started to walk briskly to the emergency stairway at the end of the hall. Suddenly a roaring explosion threw us to the ground and sparks showered from the ceiling. I threw a protective arm over July and looked up. Another explosion rocked the building and a door ten feet ahead of us was blown off its hinges and slammed against the opposite wall. The smell of charred ferrocrete and ozone filled my nostrils and I pulled myself and July up. We ran to the Emergency Stairway door and tore it open. Bunding down the stairs we were almost jarred from our feet from another blast that must have struck nearby.
We burst from the building into a scene of chaos. It seemed almost calmer inside the apartment complex. People were running here and there, most of the buildings were either burning or in ruins. I glanced to the street and saw that using a car would be useless as large craters and debris rendered the streets worthless. Screams and explosions filled the air and the smell of smoke clogged my nostrils. I turned to look at our apartment complex just in time to watch a beam of light lance from the black sky into the structure. The blast knocked us to the ground as the windows burst and the rest of the building crumbled in upon itself. I grabbed July's arm and pulled her to her feet. She was crying, I ran my hands through her hair and hugged her close.
"Sir! Sir!" A voice called from behind me.
I turned and saw a UNSC marine come running to me.
"This way sir, we can get you outa here." He turned and I followed him, pulling July along.
We ran across the pock-marked street dodging falling debris and sparks from the crumbling buildings. Thunder seamed to be sounding in the sky. We ran through what must have been an ally between two buildings, and came to a small courtyard. Two ships with the words PELICAN stenciled on the side poised for liftoff. The buildings in the courtyard were burning and one had a gaping gash in one side billowing smoke. The engines were whining over the surrounding sounds of destruction and I could see the pilots inside waving their hands quickly for us to get aboard. We ducked under the wings of the craft and the marine helped us aboard through the rear of the ship. We threw our packs to the back of the bay and grabbed onto the steel handrails on the ceiling. I saw three other marines sitting in the rear of the ship, looking stern, and two other men, one holding a small child. The Pelican's engines roared and dust and debris rushed into the surrounding air. The ships lifted from the burning courtyard and we began to fly over the collapsing buildings. I put my arms around July as she buried her face in my chest. Looking out from the large open bay, past the following Pelican, I saw the once beautiful sky-line burning. I bowed my head as tears trickled from my eyes.
"John, where are we gunna go" asked July, her big dark eyes looking deep into mine. "What will we do?"
"We'll work things out, it's ok, the marines-" But my words were muted as a blue lance of light plunged from the sky into the pursuing Pelican's right side. The blast shattered the wing and showered sparks and charred metal into the air. The craft banked to the right and began to spiral down, billowing black smoke, into the burning city below. Suddenly our Pelican shook with a jolt. The passengers were tossed inside the bay and July and I were thrown to the cold metal floor. Another blast shook the Pelican again and the pilot began to lose control of the ship. It was all happening in slow motion. Sparks showered from the burst lights in the ceiling, the stifled yells of the marines over the roaring engines and crackling of electrical fires was inaudible. I watched as July was tossed towards the open bay of the craft. I reached out for her. But I wasn't fast enough. July was swept out of the Pelican, to the burning city below. I fell to my knees as the ship began to lose altitude. Burning tears streamed from my eyes as the engines whined. My mind went numb as I saw the devastated buildings grow larger. A strong hand lifted me into a seat and sealed a harness around me.
"Hold on, it's gunna be rough!" A marine yelled to me while sealing his own harness. But I couldn't hear him, I couldn't see the ground rushing up to meet us, I could only see July.
"Oh shit hold on!"
To be continued...