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Orphan's Introduction to Soldiery (part 3)
Posted By: SeverianofUrth<residentpark@aol.com>
Date: 29 June 2004, 10:10 PM

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      I took cover behind a hill of trash, twisted piles of molten glass and polychrome glittering like some earthly star beneath the night sky.
      Except that the piles of polychrome reeked of blood and corpses, redolent of rusted steel and urine. Except that the night sky wasn't so dark or black- it was rather brightly lit, streaked with blue fire and white flares.
      And even if it was beautiful, some refuge from the artistic times so bygone from my own war-torn age, I probably wouldn't have noticed it. I was too busy trying to live.

      And in my struggle for survival, and for the sake of my survival, I ran from my unconcealed refuge behind the glowing trash and into the bright night, calling into the comm channel my position, telling anyone that I was here, hello, hello, I'm live and on fire, asshole!, all the while scattering fire all over and dropping fragmentation grenades behind me every so often.
      I ran, jumped over a corpse, dived for cover behind a overturned warthog, and made it behind a unmanned machine gun nest taking a refuge with yet another corpse. His eyes were open to the sky, dry and dead.
      You have to wonder at what I was doing over there. But I wouldn't be able to tell you; only that whatever we were doing were paramount to the survival of humanity. Soldiers rarely know the whole situation.
      We were, incidentally, in the ruined streets of New Maya, in the once-green jungles of Yucatan. We were, supposedly, liberating the hapless human captives of the Covenant. We were, hopefully, free them all the while killing all the Covies there, liberate the whole goddamn city while fireworks lit up the happy sky and people cried "La viva Revolucion!"
      And like all incidental, supposed and hopeful things, it didn't turn out like that.

      "James!" Jogen called me, ten meters off to the right, and I tried to tell him about the mexican raising a hatchet above his head. But Jogen was deaf. He died abruptly with very painful wounds to the head.
      I got the beaner, the Mexican falling like a fly with a hole in his chest, and I ran to Jogen, picked up some grenades, threw one in the derelict building in the front, and ran off while trying to contact again anyone who might have ideas on how to get out of here. I found no one.
      I kept the rifle up, running the whole time, and turned a corner when a group of brown-skinned kids ran straight into me. I fired- ripped a swath across them, bursting heads and ripping limbs- and ran through, throwing a grenade behind me for a good measure. Some shots rang off my armor, but none got through.
      Blue light still lit up the night sky. Mortars fell willy-nilly, crashing into outhouses and restaurants alike.

      We were there in the Yucatan for actually one clear and present reason: the Covenant were setting up some big-time archaelogical expeditions there. We needed info- besides a little victory- and so they shipped around 50 companies, along with a battalion of ODST. We grunts came on Pelicans and warthogs, on rammers and Achilles- the ODST, always showing off, dropped from the sky on the HEVs.
      Of course, the Covenant wrecked havoc from the start with the holo-guisers. A woman a man thought he was fucking with turned out to be one of them Jedi-Elite, and soon he found a plasma sword stuck in his gut. He died, rumor said.
      So amongst witchhunts for some hidden Covenant, we set out for the outpost city of New Maya. We expected downtrodden masses of Latinos under a genocidal pogrom. We found a contented and a homicidal mass of quislings instead.

      A brownie popped out- I almost shot him, when I realized that it was Cordoza. He waved merrily, and said, "Pretty good back home."
      "You're the first one I've seen that wasn't trying to shoot me, you know." I said to him.
      "Well, we've always been a passionate people." He said, leaning against what remained of a wall, fiddling with his battle rifle. "Besides, I'm guessing they didn't want to go under another pogrom like what the Israelis got when the Covies landed there."
      I had to acknowledge the logic of that. "Seen anyone else?"
      "I don't want to. Only latino on the squad, don't want the rest of the boot to shoot me on sight, on basis of racial selection." He gestured at himself self-deprecatingly. "I'm safe here."
      "Well, I'm going. You sure you wanna stay here?"
      He nodded, and I went my way.

      I've found Cordoza only so far, since Jogen was dead. From my squad of six only one I've found- shit. Cordoza was from Squad Two, Bravo, and I'm Alpha. So four others- find them all, formulate a plan of strategic survival meaning a something that needs a shitload of luck, and get the hell out of here. Right. Like that's easy.
      For some reason I remembered Henry again. I always relied on him- that is, before he turned into a Elite.