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Battle for the Norah: Part Five
Posted By: Sterfrye36<Sterfrye36@yahoo.com>
Date: 29 September 2003, 12:36 AM

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      Cunningham felt himself begin to come back together, like a million piece puzzle precisely re-assembled at a hyper-sonic speed...several hundred feet in the air.
      He realized he was hanging over a large chasm that spanned three decks and was probably three hundred feet deep.
      Then he felt gravity take over and fell. He had only gone five feet...when he hit the glass panel.
      He could hear the other Marines and Navy personnel materialize with a whoosh and heard their expletives as they found themselves five feet above the deck, and WHAMS as they landed.

      He started to get up, nursing a bloodied nose when the Sergeant and Elite fell on top of him again.
      His dislike for Spark just kept growing.
      He once again struggled out from under their dead weight and observed the area.
      They were in a large room that spanned three decks. The walls were lined with the purplish metal that the Covenant favored, and it made Cunningham slightly naseaous. There was a huge cylinder that ran the decks' length. There was some kind of phosphorus liquid inside that was emitting a faint, red glow.
      He was on the top of the three decks, looking down through a meter thick pane of glass towards it.
      What interested him though wasn't the shape of the decks or the huge cylinder...it was the carnage below them.
      There were Covenant on the second deck who were leaning over the edge and firing with reckless abandon. Flood Combat Forms were jumping up to the second deck at different points and were smothered by plasma fire by Elites, Jackals and Grunts...but not before they took a few Covies down with them.
      Cunningham was struck dumb.
      What should he do? Kill the Covies? The Flood? Both?
      No, no...the answer was obvious. He'd have to ally his troops with the Covenant. The Flood was the most deadly of the pair and would have to be dealt with first...but how the heck did you get thirty Marines through a meter of glass?
      "Sir," came Sergeant Barnes voice from behind him.
      "What is it?" Cunningham said, not even bothering to turn around, for he was too mesmerized by the carnage.
      "Well, sir," he began. "My men and Sergeant Strom's men are ready to move."
      "Right...Right...Let's look for a way out of here," he said, finally tearing himself away from the battle.
      Spark once again warped straight in front Cunningham's face.
      Cunningham felt every muscle in his body tense out of anger. He took a few deep breaths and then said through gritted teeth "What is it, and would you please not do that?"
      "Commander, there is only one way off of this deck. That would be the lift to your right.
      "Whatever. Thanks," Cunningham said once again between gritted teeth.
      " However..."Spark began again.
      But Cunningham wasn't listening. Cunningham and each Sergeant with all of their men quickly trotted across the one hundred fifty meter space towards the single lift. The reason for the single lift was that the deck they were on, the observation deck was meant for inspections and decoration.
      Once they reached the lift, half of the men stepped inside, including Sergeant Strom and Lieutenant Cunningham.
      Cunningham pressed the lift's button.
      He frowned and pressed it again.
      It was then that he noticed the smell of burnt metal that was still wafting from below.
      Cunningham scowled, slung his MA5B and pulled out his M6D pistol.
      There was a thin space that ran around the circular lift and separated it from the wall.
      Cunningham pointed the scope on the pistol down through the crack. He decided to look directly below the control panel on this floor. After all, putting the controls any where else wouldn't make any sense. He had barely zoomed in when he saw a smoking panel in the wall.
      He let out a low growl. Some Covie must have torched it in order to keep the Flood from following them. It made sense, but it hindered his progress and made it impossible to get down to the next deck.
      "As I was saying," Spark continued. "A Covenant soldier destroyed the control panel in order to stop the Flood from accessing the second deck. There is no way to repair it, so you are essentially..."
      "Stuck," Cunningham finished. "Yeah, I kind of noticed that. Since you seem to be the expert here, what do you suggest we do?"
      "The only other way is to destroy the glass and drop through...but a fall of one hundred feet would surely kill you."
      "Yeah, thanks for stating the obvious!" Cunningham spat.

      Now what? he thought. There was no way to get through that glass.
      Then a rather obvious thought occurred to him. Does Barnes still have them?he thought.
      "Barnes," he said as he turned to face his Sergeant. "Do you still have the rappelling gear?"

      When they had located the Navy personnel earlier, they had used self-adhesive rappelling gear and D-rings to get them down. It would've taken them hours to have them all climb down. The self-adhesive ascenders themselves were bi-functional. That meant they could raise or lower a Marine due to a small, powerful battery operated motor that had 5 horsepower. The thin cord that the ascenders utilized was a titanium-nylon composite and could stand 5,000 pounds of pressure per inch, which was enough to hold several Hogs, even though it couldn't lift them...they were far to heavy for the motor. They also had a small computer chip, which allowed them to smart link with any normal neural interface for voice commands. All that, and they were only the size of a fist.

      "Uh...yes, sir...why do you ask?"
      "What's their maximum extension?"
      Barnes consulted the side of one of the Ascenders.
      It says here that it has a maximum extension of one hundred and fifty...oh..." he said as Cunningham's plan began to dawn on him.
      "I get it...we blow a hole in the glass and rappel down into the fight, eh?"
      "You're crazy, you know."
      "I know all to well, but we don't have a choice," Cunningham said as he checked the electronic ammo counter on his MA5B; a full clip.
      "Why can't we ever have another choice?..."