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Battle for the Norah: Part Twelve
Posted By: Sterfrye36<Sterfrye36@yahoo.com>
Date: 19 December 2003, 1:27 PM

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      Blast, it had disappeared again. It was pressing its attack by moving in on the nav comp. Sami threw up a firewall. The incursion code crashed against it and dissipated. For a millisecond, the A.I. considered using a tracing program like before, but that hadn't worked. She changed tactics. Carpe diem she thought as she took her opportunity in the brief respite and ran a search program for all consoles in the ship to find the intruder. He had to be using a console. Nobody could perform an insertion with a handheld device. Of course, using a handheld was possible, but it was highly unlikely. Wherever the feedback was coming from, that had to be where the culprit was. The results came back almost instantly.
      She let out the electronic equivalent of a growl. This was getting here nowhere fast. Not only had it blocked I.D., it had blocked its source, too. Perhaps some cameras would work... Her strategy sub-routine chewed on that for a full second and committed. Find the party responsible and then vent the air out of the room, or at least shuffle it to another room...Yes, yes, that would certainly work. She searched every camera under her control that would be over a console, and came up blank again. That meant the culprit was on the bridge. Sami hadn't seen any other information to show herself otherwise. She'd just have to play defense, then, though it wouldn't get her anywhere.

      At least something could be said for the Marines. They were making quick progress, and were only about 50 meters from the Jackals' quarters. So far, they hadn't sustained a single casualty, which left them with a total of 31 Marines, including the Sergeants and Cunningham. The Covenant hadn't taken any casualties, either. She had dedicated about 25% of her full processing power to helping them. The other 75% was being utilized to defend against the intruder. She was able to keep track of them through brief usage of the camera, and their biomonitors. One particular bio-monitor drew her attention, Sergeant Johnson's.
What surprised her about that was that Sergeant Johnson's heart rate was at normal, even during the height of combat. She had decided that this man was 100% hardcore Marine.
That wasn't the most intriguing information; it was the fact that he had traces of Flood DNA in his system, for reasons she could only begin to guess at. She glanced again at the ship's schematics to check their exact route and found something interesting.

      Cunningham was walking down the hallway with his M90 raised and at the ready when Sami keyed him.
      "Hold it. I suggest that you send a small detachment of Marines through that door on your left. There's a hidden armory in there. Several Plasma Rifles and assorted other weapons. They'll be useful, because the Jackal area is overrun with Flood."
      The Lt. Commander looked to his left and saw only a wall. "Sami, when has a room not been overrun? And lemme guess," he chuckled. "Another case of concealed doors?"
      "Abracadabra," she responded, and a five by ten section of the wall rose up and backwards into darkness to reveal a hallway. It was dark beyond five meters in the corridor.
      "It's an armory. You'll need some more weapons in order to make it through the engagement in the Jackal room. Plus, I believe you're running short on ammo."
      Cunningham pumped the slide on the assault shotgun several times and six shells arced into the air and landed on the deck. He picked them back up, and loaded those six plus six additional shells into the gun. He had about seventy shells left, but the others were probably running low...
      "All right, then. I'll need three volunteers," Cunningham began as he turned around. Strom had already stepped forward, and an African Private named Hernandez, and an Oriental PFC that Cunningham didn't' recognize had as well.
      Cunningham grinned and ordered, "Okay then, gentlemen. Get to the armory, grab as much crap as you can and then hightail it back here. I need everyman available, understand? We'll continue on to the room. Make it fast."
      "Yes, sir," the three chorused as one. They turned and disappeared into the darkness.

      Perfect. When opportunity comes, take it and strangle it. Kall 'Kanamee's thoughts echoed in his own head as he grinned. A perfect opportunity, indeed. He looked to his right and spotted the lone spec ops Elite under his command, Harrak 'Dulammee. 'Dulammee had a reputation for carrying out orders with precise and lethal efficiency. The hardcore spec ops fighter had garnered the image of a butcher due to his constant brutalizing of his foes. Even though an enemy would be dead, Harrak would run the opponent through with his plasma sword as he explained, "Just to make sure." He had once done such a thing to a Human who had no arms, a single leg and was missing his head. The Elite was the best that 'Kanamee had ever known, and he knew it. He was just the
      'Kanamee got the expert's attention with his eyes, and gave a tiny nod towards the armory. The Elite gave no sign of the order, but instead disappeared as his active camo was turned on. 'Kanamee strode down the hallway with the rest; he was confident he'd have three less Humans to worry about.

      The heavy door closed with a slam and left the group in complete darkness. It was so dark that Strom couldn't even see his own hand in front of his face. Strom still held his S2, even though he knew it was foolish to do so. It would just feel wrong to him to not fight without the sniper rifle in his hands or slung over his back. He considered activating his night vision from the scope, but thought the better of it. Could Sami get him some lights in here? He decided that he'd better ask.
      "Sami? Sami? Crap, I guess we're either out of range or something with my radio's broke," Strom muttered. "One of you got a flashlight?"
      "Yeah," one of the voices responded. A light appeared on the end of the African's MA5B. It revealed the hallway in a splash of ghostly colored white light. It led to a dead end about twenty meters in front of them.
      "And you?" Strom asked again.
      "No, sorry. I got an M6D and a Plasma Pistol, though," replied the Oriental.
      "One frag and two plasma."
      "Great. Sami?" he asked one more time. "Sami?"

      "What was that, Sami? I didn't copy that. Say again, over."
      Her voice came through clearer this time, though it was irate. "I said I'm here. I can get the door open here. Just hang on a second." About ten meters ahead of them, a section of the wall slid up into the ceiling.
      "All right, guys. Let's go." The group's footsteps echoed along the corridor as they advanced.
      Clack, clack, clack, cli-clack...

      Sami realized immediately what was happening. She tried to get a warning to them through the radio, but the Hacker, as though he were reading her mind, blocked all access. She screamed in frustration and began fighting tooth and nail for whatever systems she had left.

      Strom felt his muscles tense. That sound...it sounded like there were four pairs of footsteps instead of three. The Sergeant spun around quickly and stared with intensity, as though he were trying to make whatever was following them appear. He didn't see anything and forced himself to relax as he assured himself that, for all he knew, Flood couldn't use active camo. Plus, if they could, they would have taken him down as soon as he had entered the corridor. The Flood weren't smart enough to do anything stealthily. The trio walked into the armory, and Strom let out a long, low whistle. To his left was a rack of Plasma Grenades. Directly to the left of that were a row of locker-like storage units that must have contained something along the lines of a Fuel Rod Gun. Ahead were some Plasma Rifles and pistols that were also on a rack. To his wall was a computer terminal that looked like an inventory keeping system.
      An inventory, huh? Hmmm...Even with all this, we could still use some more guns... "Can either of you figure this thing out?" he asked his companions. Hernandez shrugged.
      "Well, I minored in computer science at Baylor. If I can tinker with it enough, I can mess around with it. Why?"
      "Because", Strom explained. "This will give us access to the inventory, I think. It'll be handy; we can know where and how much of each gun there is. Take it for a spin and see if you can't work some magic, Hernandez."
      Hernandez muttered something noncommittal, walked over and inspected the terminal. It wasn't complex. He hesitantly tapped a few of the symbols that functioned as a keyboard. Once he got a reaction, he became more aggressive.
      The PFC walked over and fiddled with the lock on the lockers. Strom himself was loading Plasma Rifles into his rucksack when he felt something wet and sticky hit him from behind, on his neck. He frowned and turned to ask just who had spit on him. As he turned clockwise, he froze. Hernandez was slumped over a very bloody console; blood flowed freely from the stump where his head and neck should have been. Those two items were rolling on the floor, away from the body.
      There hadn't even been a sound.