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Battle for the Norah: Part Seven
Posted By: Sterfrye36
Date: 13 October 2003, 11:13 PM

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      Pierce Hudson dropped to the deck and searched for Cunningham.
      There. 30 yards to his right. The Eel-Tee Commander was dealing with a group of Infection Forms that were climbing up the wall.
      Hudson started to run in that direction, and as he did, he pulled the Plasma Pistol off his bet and held down the trigger. As the charge built up, the pistol started to buck. Hard. He was having trouble getting the dang thing steady.

       Cunningham stood between two other Marines, one Private First Class and a Corporal. They were both armed with M90 Shotguns, which was good. Shotguns were to Flood what Raid was to cockroaches. Cunningham triggered another short burst from his MA5B, which put four Infection forms out of business, when a man in a naval uniform dove in front of him and knocked him into the wall; his vision became blurred and he slid to the floor. He lifted his head up and looked over his chest.

      What the-?

      It was Hudson. That idiot!Cunningham thought. He has orders not to jump down here for any reason and yet here he is! The fool's to darn valuable to let him die. He's going to get himself killed and we might be stuck here!

      As he ran past Cunningham, he accidentally clipped him with his shoulder and sent the Lt. Commander into the wall. He still had the Pistol charged as he jumped in front of the other two Marines and blocked their lines of fire. One of them yelled something at him, but he wasn't listening.
      He steadied the pistol as best he could, and let the ball of green death fly. It homed in on the lead infection form and it was destroyed in the ball of fire. Not only that, but its explosion started a long chain reaction among the infection forms. The explosions snaked down along the wall and took all of the Flood on the wall out.
      The pistol opened and dumped waste heat out onto his hands. Pierce yelped, because he hadn't expected it to dump heat, and blisters quickly appeared all over his right hand. The pistol clattered to the floor and Pierce nursed his injured hand.

      Cunningham had started to get up when he heard more of the boot-squishing-in the-mud sounds that he associated with the Flood. For some reason he could only guess at, his adrenaline spiked and his vision became clear. He looked over at the wall. There were no forms coming up. His arms hefted him up to a sitting position and he felt himself frown as he looked back at Hudson (Who grinned nervously and carefully cradled his right hand.) and prepared to chew him out.

      He never got the chance.

      He saw one, then two infection forms flip up from the edge of the floor on his left. They both launched themselves at Pierce and one nailed him in the back of the head. More kept coming, and they all threw themselves at Hudson. He was screamed a terrible high-pitched scream of mortal terror as one popcorn like form inserted a controller tendril into his neck and searched for his spinal cord. The Corporal and the PFC stood stock still, afraid to shoot the Bridge officer. Cunningham groped behind himself for his Assault Rifle to kill Hudson with, but he couldn't find it. He drew his M6D pistol, but the Flood was to fast. As he brought the pistol to bear, he had a brief picture flash in his mind; a picture of a man covered by hundreds of bees, yellow jackets and hornets, all stinging as they attempted to take him down.
      Cunningham managed to fire a wild shot that destroyed an infection form on the outermost reaches of Hudson's arm, but instead of starting a chain reaction like it should have, the force from the blast launched the infection form next to it into the air. Cunningham cursed and trained the pistol on the form so he could destroy it, but it suddenly moved as if struck by lightning. The infection forms used their tentacles to lift what had to be a substantial amount of weight and raced over to the edge at an unbelievable speed and Cunningham's next few shots went wide.
      Once there, the forms left the same way they had come. They streamed back under the edge of the deck and Cunningham and the two other Marines ran after them.
      Cunningham threw his head and arms over the edge in order to search for it on the underside of the deck, and with a shock, realized it was already to the bottom deck. He used the scope and fired a few more shots, but he realized it was useless. The aberration had made it to the far corner of the room and had suddenly shifted shape. For one terrible second, Hudson's face was exposed. His eyes were wide, his mouth frozen open from the pain and terror. He screamed one more time "HELP MEEEEEE!!!"
The infection forms skittered over one another, as they struggled to fit through a ventilation shaft. Most of the Flood in the room suddenly turned and followed them.
      The shaft! Cunningham suddenly thought. They must be coming in through that shaft!
      He yelled into his boom mike as he reached for his MA5B: "Somebody get an ascender down here NOW! We need to cut the bastards of here!"

      An Ensign heard the yell, and hit a button on one of the ascenders a hundred feet above. There was a pop as the vacuum motors that the ascender used to attach itself to the floor let go, and the Ensign side armed it through the hole in the glass. It dropped rapidly, gaining momentum as it fell.
      Cunningham caught the five pound object and could have sworn he had broken his fingers, but he was still able to move them. He yelled at a particularly trigger-happy Private who wielded one of the two Jackhammer launchers they had: "If the Covies try to kill us down there, you silence 'em! Got it?!" The Private nodded and grinned.
      Cunningham attached the ascenders to the edge, clipped his D-ring on and jumped, all in one smooth motion. The Corporal and Private hooked themselves on as well and followed him.
      They slid haphazardly down the rope, and the three of them landed with a jolt on the deck. With surprise, the Commander realized several of the birdlike Jackals had jumped down here already, and were firing wildly. As he and the two others ran past the Jackals, Cunningham paused long enough to pick up a shield from a dead one.
      They raced forward, made the corner of the large cylinder, and were confronted by a Combat Form. The Corporal slipped on the large amount of multi-colored blood on the floor and slid under the form. As he did, the shotgun roared and the Flood form ceased to exist.
      The Corporal stood back up and they continued to run towards the shaft, the two shotguns and the pistol kicking like mad.
      Only a few more feet now...50...35...10...Cunningham dropkicked an infection form out of the way, primed and rolled a frag grenade into the shaft, and slammed the shield into place, which blocked the Flood's way out. He could feel the vibrations through his shield as the grenade went off, killing hundreds of the little bastards. Then he realized his critical mistake.
      He had no way to make sure the things didn't get out. He wasn't strong enough to hold for long, and he couldn't let the shield up to frag again.
      Unless he figured out something, he was dead.