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Project Eden: Part One- A Darkness
Posted By: Red Ghost<Spencer02s@ignmail.com>
Date: 11 July 2004, 5:59 AM

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***Cold, too cold. Darkness fell upon the area where Private Jason Harvey was sitting. Shadows turned to blackness and Private Harvey's blood ran cold. It was the 22nd day he had been on the satellite planet Archon 4 and he hated every minute of it. Currently he was kneeling in a dug out trench against a large boulder with branches folded over him for protection from sight. Around him was a deep forest with a few rock outcroppings. Surprisingly the forest was birch and maple, making every branch an obstacle for Private Harvey. In front of him was a barren meadow except for the large half- destroyed Covenant recon base. It was destroyed by a Longsword's hellfire missile during a hit-and-run mission. That was when the Marines were winning the fight on Archon 4. That was before the Marine Corp base camp and half of the Marine infantry was bombarded by three orbiting Covenant cruisers. With his SRS99C-S2 AM sniper rifle mounted and ready, he activated his gray Spec infrared goggles. Silently he surveyed the land.

***Five days ago Private Harvey had been assigned to Ghost Recon in the attempt to follow and kill important Covenant officers to give the Marines a chance of survival. It was a desperate maneuver by General Ortega, but it was one of the few options the Marines had left. In the small band of seven ghosts, Harvey was one of the two snipers.

***Setting off immediately the seven ghosts successfully infiltrated an underground post and stole important Covenant recon information. This information gave orbiting Covenant ships the coordinates to two Covenant command posts. It also gave the ghosts information to the whereabouts of exactly 3 Elite officers. Everything was going to plan.

***Following the coordinate data the ghosts successfully ambushed a party of twelve grunts and one Elite officer. They eliminated all of them. It was when they went after the second officer that everything went wrong.

***Sneaking up to a scouting post they took out the guards and went inside. Waiting for them was two Shade turrets. Somehow the Covenant found out about the stolen coordinates. Within 3 seconds two support and one heavy weapon ghost were down. Throwing grenades, the 4 ghosts that were left, including Harvey, took out the turrets. But left for them were 3 grunts and 2 very angry Elites. Taking cover, both sides sputtered bullets and plasma inside the compound. When it was over two ghosts, all the grunts, and one Elite were dead. Harvey was unscathed but his teammate, Private Dunn, had a plasma hole the size of an apple in his side. Quickly filling Dunn with biofoam Harvey noticed that the other Elite, the officer they were after, had fled into the forest. Grabbing his assault rifle Harvey knelt down to help Dunn. He was already dead. Alone and desperate, Harvey took the supplies off of his fallen comrades and continued the mission. He tracked the Elite into the forest.

***"Come on", Harvey thought to himself. "Where the heck are you?" He slowly checked the heat measurements in the field. Suddenly movement! Harvey strained his eyes looking through his scope. There had been movement in the foliage around the recon base about 500 meters in front of him.

***A loud "Crrrackk!" to his immediate left sent Harvey spinning towards it. Silence. "Dang! Just show yourself!" Harvey yelled in his head.

***Slowly, Harvey realized that the sound had been a diversion. Turning back carefully and looking through his scope Harvey searched for heat measurements around the recon base. Nothing. Nothing at all. The officer had escaped. His mission was currently a failure. Harvey cursed himself silently. He only had one option left. If he looked like he was giving up and packed together his gear then maybe the Elite would start coming after him. He would just have to be sure to know how far back the Elite would be hunting him. He wouldn't want to put himself at a disadvantage.

***Stooping, Harvey scurried away from his hiding spot and silently ducked and weaved through the forest behind him. Surveying the land Harvey spotted a few hills to his left. That's where he would have the advantage. Ducking and weaving, and every once and a while scanning the forest behind him, he finally reached the bottom of the hill. Scoping his path to see if he was being followed he slowly ascended the hill. On the other side was a deep gorge where he would have complete protection. The only thing Harvey wanted was to get to that cover.

***Ascending slowly, Harvey again heared the apparent "Crrrackk!" behind him. Wiping around Harvey aimed for his enemy. Adrenaline pumping, he noticed a tiny purple speck around the green flora at the base of the hill.

***"Got you," Harvey whispered as he squeezed the trigger. The pressure fired bullet exploded from his sniper rifle, racing at his target. Following the smoke trail he watched his bullet deflect off an Elite's energy shield. Hearing an outraged cry, Harvey watched as the Elite jumped from its spot to land on him. A jump of 30 feet. Moving quickly Harvey rolled out of the way as the Elite's feet slammed into the ground where he was. Jumping to the side Harvey sent a bullet tearing into the Elite's shielded back, but was smashed down as the Elite clotheslined him with the back of its hand. Scrambling up, Harvey screamed in anguish as a plasma charge ripped through his shoulder, sending him rolling to the bottom of the hill. The Elite had used its plasma rifle. Rolling behind a boulder Harvey took cover as a barrage of the Elite's plasma charges struck the other side. Hearing the loud "Tissssck!" of the Elite's gun overheating Harvey charged up the hill.

***Jumping on the Elite, they went into a fist and claw fight. The Elite rolled onto Harvey and, gaining the advantage, it started to pound his head into the ground. Blood blew from Harvey's nose and mouth from the force of the impact. Looking up Harvey saw the outline of the Elite holding the end of his gun, ready to send it crashing down into Harvey's skull. That's when Harvey noticed his sniper rifle by his right hand. He had dropped it when he was shot. Wrenching it forward Harvey plunged the nose into the Elite's stomach as it was bringing down the gun. As the Elite stared in shock at being impaled, Harvey pulled the trigger. The bullet blew out of the gun taking the Elite's stomach and waist with it. Recoiling in disgust Harvey quickly pushed the lifeless mangled body of the Elite off him. Trembling with shock and adrenaline Harvey clutched himself, trying to concentrate. Finally regaining his calm Harvey crawled over to the Elite's upper body and checked the Elite's insignia. It wasn't the officer. Sighing with battle fatigue and pain Harvey collapsed 7 feet from the corpse. His eyelids shutting, Harvey fell into a long and nightmarish dream.

***Waking suddenly, Harvey laid stiff as a board. Not knowing what was around him he slowly surveyed the area. It was daylight now and the carcass of the Elite was beginning to rot. After about ten minutes Harvey was satisfied he wasn't being watched. Slowly getting on his knees and into a crouched position, Harvey, quickly and silently, gathered his sniper rifle, two fallen ammo packs, a medical kit, one squashed ration, his water canteen and finally his half torn- up pack. Inside it revealed that his night- vision goggles, the rest of his rations, his flare gun (used for signaling) and his sidearm M6D pistol with one extra clip were still intact. Checking his plasma wound, it seemed that the open tissue was burned shut. He would get it checked up on back at the base. He quickly patched his pack with IYV tape and suited up. Reloading his sniper rifle with four fresh rounds and slipping his sidearm into his hip holster, he looked at the rotting Elite. Noticing the plasma rifle still in its hand he bent down and forcefully ripped it away from the carcass.

***The Marine scientist Cordova back at base would be pleased to examine some extra Covenant technology. After checking the battery and putting the rifle in his pack he set off over the hill and into the gorge.

***Creeping through the gorge was easier than Harvey expected. He didn't come across any Covenant, but unfortunately he didn't come across any marines either. Trudging along, Harvey silently crept between boulders and around outcroppings. As he went though, he always kept a wary eye on either side of the gorge, just to make sure he wasn't going to be ambushed. Even worse, Harvey still didn't know where the Elite officer went and how the other Elite tracked him and attacked him. The only thing he did know was he had to get back to base, form a new squad, and try to continue the mission his first team set out to do.

***When Harvey checked the time it was mid- day. The rapid increase in temperature on Archon 4 left him hot, sweaty, and desperate. He checked his compass and base coordinates; he was going east, the right direction, but he was still 26 kilometers from Command Base Nightshive. The Nightshive was actually a galactic command ship that had special augmenting devices that let it pass through a planet's atmosphere and land on solid ground. To return to space, the ship used extremely powerful TITAN- SA fuel combustors that were slightly similar to a 20th century orbital ship's fuel rockets. Of course, the TITAN- SA fuel combustors are almost 1000 times more powerful. That's what the Marines were using as a command base on Archon 4. It was also Private Harvey's closest thing to home.

***Finally sitting down under a small outcropping to take a break Harvey ate some rations and took a swig from his canteen. The rations consisted of a dehydrated vegetable, protein, and carbohydrate mixture. Although disgusting, (by many Marines' standards) the mixture provided 200% vitamins, minerals, and proteins to the Marines' diet. Along with water the mixture could be made into a mush.

***Always on the alert and ready, Harvey quickly ate the mixture, wiped off his mouth with the back of his hand, and scanned the area for anything suspicious. He knew he should be moving on but the scene around him was so peaceful. Dust slowly rolling through the gorge, light dancing reflections off a nearby streambed, Harvey could almost enjoy himself. No war, no bloodshed, he could almost actually relax. Passing the time he sang some old rock songs to himself while thinking of his kids back on Eridanus 2. With his wife dead and buried they were the only ones he had left in the galaxy. He just hoped he could survive this war to one day see them again. To hold them in his arms and tell them how much he loved them. Sighing, Harvey stood up, readied his sniper rifle, and shouldered his pack. He was on the road again.

***Going on Harvey finally made it out of the gorge. Keeping watch, Harvey crept on through forests, hills, dikes, and streams. Checking his coordinates and compass again, Harvey silently made corrections in his path. When the sun was setting over the planet Harvey became more alert. Night was an ally and an enemy, and he knew it. Anything could be behind a tree, under an outcropping, or on another side of a hill.

***When it was completely dark Harvey snatch his night vision goggles from his pack, put them on, and activated them. Trudging on for more than 6 miles he finally began to recognize the lay of the land. This was the area border surrounding the Command Base Nightshive. Creeping on Harvey silently made his way to the command base. Slowly he came closer to the base but paused every so often to scan the land. He had learned early on that the last stretch of a race could be the most dangerous. Scuttling up the last hill to the base Harvey suddenly heared firing and screams up ahead. Forgetting to keep low he ran to the top. Looking down, he saw the battle.

***Down at the beach against the black water was the ship Nightshive. She was torn with plasma fire and her hull was scorched. Fighting around her was a mix of 5 platoons of marines with 5 warthogs and more than 150 Covenant infantry. Looking back at the ship Harvey noticed on the port side, facing the beach, there was a hole the size of a Scorpion tank. Looking at the forest he saw what caused the hole. A Covenant tank. It had fired its plasma mortar right at the Nightshive's side, melting through 2 meters of titanium. Looking at the marines he saw that they had hastily dug trenches to protect themselves but where being bombarded by plasma fire. Even worse, the Covenant tank was blowing away the Marine defenses leaving the marines vulnerable. In one last glimpse Harvey saw a firing Marine warthog take a daring charge at the tank, get blown apart into the air, and land on Marine and Covenant soldiers.

***Making his decision quickly Harvey shed his pack, strapped the sniper rifle over his back, and picked up the plasma rifle. Running at full tilt Harvey charged down the side of the hill at the Covenant firing the plasma rifle.

***With a spray of plasma one Jackal and a Grunt were down for the count. The Covenant, noticing this new defender, returned fire at Harvey. Strafing to the side Harvey barely escaped a wall of plasma. Sprinting at an Elite Harvey jumped, rolled under the Elite's legs, and released scores of plasma fire into the Elite's back. The Elite fell forward, fried. Turning around Harvey ducked as a bolt of charged plasma screamed by his head sizzling his hair. Turning to his right he saw the culprit- a shielded Jackal. Harvey charged the beast firing plasma but was then lifted into the air. Confused, Harvey looked down to see the ground 10 feet below him. Landing with a thud Harvey clenched his chest to find plasma scores and blood all over his body.

***Tilting his head Harvey looked at the 3-meter wide crater a few feet from where he was running before. Respects from the Covenant tank. Ignoring his wounds and the pain Harvey got on his knees and started firing again. Jumping on his feet Harvey continued to fire until his plasma rifle burst open in raw plasma sewage. It had overheated. Undoing the latch on the plasma rifle and tearing out the heat monitor Harvey fired the weapon with twice the normal power until he ran out. Throwing it aside Harvey unholstered his pistol but then felt a sharp pain in his right shoulder.

***Spinning around he confronted a nearby Grunt. Rolling under the Grunt's fire he kicked out the Grunt's legs with a sweep of his feet. Jumping on the Grunt he bashed in its head with his pistol but then reeled back as a nearby Marine sniper blew off its head. He was splattered with blue blood. Looking up and jumping aside he just missed the fire from an Elite. Steadying his pistol, Harvey emptied a clip into the Elite, overheating its shield and ripping it apart. Jumping over a pile of dead marines and then knelling down, Harvey began to snipe out Grunts with his pistol until he was hit in the back. Falling on his hands and then kicking his feet up Harvey caught the Jackal behind him straight in the jaw. Jumping up he knocked the creature's plasma pistol away with his hand, grabbed the Jackal's wrist, and then performed an aerial roundhouse landing with the Jackal's head underneath his boot.

***Disposing of his own pistol, Harvey picked up an assault rifle from a fallen marine and sprayed continuous rounds of bullets into the Covenant forces. When Harvey began to attract enemy fire he ran towards the nearest trench and jumped in. Running down the trench Harvey passed dozens of firing Marines and stopped underneath a Marine warthog. Climbing out Harvey ducked unnoticed to the back of the warthog. Waiting for a group of Grunts to get nearer, Harvey then jumped up and commanded the warthog's awesome M41 LAAG. Aiming towards a group of Grunts, Harvey released hundreds of armor- piercing rounds in their direction. Continuing to fire, Harvey ripped them apart and focused on new targets. Again and again, Harvey sprayed bullets into the Covenant forces. Excited by his victories, Harvey only then noticed the glowing blue ball attached to the front of the warthog. A plasma grenade. Jumping out the rear of the vehicle Harvey took two steps when it exploded. Blowing him 5 feet away Harvey had barely enough time to move as the warthog flipped and crashed down on him. Rolling to the right Harvey slipped in the area of the warthog's seats as it landed. Harvey thanked God for not being crushed.

***Quickly scuttling out of the warthog's remains Harvey jumped over a trench and took cover behind a boulder. He was about to unshed his sniper rifle when he heared the battle cry of a nearby Elite. It was on the other side of the boulder. Getting on top of the rock Harvey jumped and body slammed the Elite. Getting up Harvey was then blinded as the Elite kicked sand in his eyes. Harvey lay on the sand, clutching his eyes, as the Elite stood over him and kicked his sniper rifle away. The Elite was about to pull the trigger to its plasma rifle when 4 marines popped out of the trench and sprayed the Elite with armor- piercing rounds from their assault rifles. Killing it, one marine grabbed Harvey and dragged him into the trench.

***"Hey buddy, you ok?" the marine said quickly, administering liquid to Harvey's eyes. Blinking Harvey smiled at the marine.

***"Just give me a gun." The marine smiled back, handed Harvey an assault rifle, and then continued to fire from the trench. Harvey, with a weapon again, took position by the marine and started to fire. Together with other marines they mowed down Covenant troops. As they were firing though, Harvey noticed the Covenant tank. It was pointed right at them.

***"Oh God, run!" Harvey yelled. He and 6 marines ran down the trench as the place they were firing at exploded into plasma entrails. If they were going to win this battle Harvey knew that that tank had to be taken out. Searching the equipment with the other marine they both searched desperately for a rocket launcher. Giving up, they decided they had to fight it with what they had: grenades.

***With both of them running back down the trench they exited and hid in some nearby rocks. Careful to keep out of the Covenant's line of sight they silently ran into the forest and got behind the Covenant tank. Only once did they find Covenant in the forest. A pair of grunts. They disposed of them by creeping up and snapping their necks from behind. All the other Covenant were on the beach fighting the marines. Looking around they saw the tank. It was on the border of the forest facing the beach and the ship. Acting quickly they ran to the tank, jumped on it, shot out the cover hole on top, and then tossed 3 grenades each to the Elite sitting at the tank's control panel. Harvey and the other marine ran back into the forest as they only had 4 seconds until the grenades exploded. The Elite in the tank only had time to gap at his own destruction before the tank exploded into blue and white light, sending debris all over the beach.

***When the rest of the marines saw the tank's destruction they surged with renewed morale and charged the shocked Covenant troops. With everyone in a full out gun-to-gun, fist to claw battle, Harvey and the other marine also joined in too. After charging in and disposing of 3 Grunts Harvey spent the rest of his ammo and used the assault rifle as a bat. Smacking a Grunt upside the head Harvey then turned, swept a Jackal's feet out from underneath it, grabbed it is midair, and then finished it off with a pile driver to its head. Getting bit by a Grunt Harvey grabbed it, and threw it at another Grunt who was attacking a nearby marine.

***Charging down the beach to where he was almost killed by the Elite, Harvey noticed his fallen sniper rifle. Picking it up he began to fire at the Covenant. At close range it was disastrous. Going down at a kneeling position Harvey sent bullets spinning through Covenant heads and stopped Covenant dead it their tracks when they tried to charge him. Finally running out of bullets Harvey began to club Covenant with the butt of his rifle. Smashing heads and punching occasionally Harvey noticed the marines were gaining the upper hand.

***While punching a Grunt to death Harvey saw a heavy weapons marine come out of a trench and fire a rocket at a group of Jackals. Upon impact, the rocket also hit a fuel canister, which sent flaming gas and debris into nearby Covenant troops. Some marines managed to get the two Warthogs' M41 LAAGs going and started to fire upon the ever-decreasing Covenant force. As the marines pressed the last Covenant even more, many of the Covenant forces took one last shot and tried to retreat. Many of these last Covenant met their deaths with hundreds of well- aimed bullets.

***The only Covenant that continued to fight was a small group of Elites. Determined not to lose they stormed a nearby Marine bunker, killed its inhabitants and began to fire from its well-protected walls. Harvey and the other marines fired back but the Elites' last stand was silenced as the heavy weapons marine fired a rocket straight into the bunker. The bunker exploded into flame, killing all the Elites inside. Still on the alert Harvey and some other marines searched the forest perimeter for any more Covenant while the others on the beach cheered for their victory.

***"The Covenant is gone, we've actually won one," Harvey thought to himself. He straightened his uniform's wrist cuffs and then started to head back to the beach. Going past a tree Harvey didn't notice the lone Elite with active camo waiting for him behind it. Harvey heard a noise, whirled around to confront it, but then fell into a world of blackness.