Posted By: Steve<EaGLesAllThEwaY2@aol.com>
Date: 24 January 2004, 9:45 PM
Note:It's a little long, so go to the bathroom now.
And some spoilers.
2100 hours, September 29, 2552 (Military Calendar)
UNSC HIGHCOM, Facility 3, Board Meeting
"So the Covenant are retreating," a General confirmed with the man on the lighted platform.
"Yes, sir. Our remaining orbital forces and Super MAC's are taking care of the few Covenant ships that couldn't or wouldn't enter Slipspace, and our Marines are almost through clearing out the strongholds of the Covenant, who control mainly two more cities: Budapest and Tel Amir," the Covenant Force Deployment Information's Officer Kennel reported. "But those battles are far from over. In our weakened state, air support is minimal, and Marines are taking heavy casualties. Sir, we have to do something to get those Covenant out of there, because they will fight until the last Grunt."
"I understand what you mean, Lieutenant. The ODST suits we sent out worked even better than we could have anticipated. I'll send a squad to the frontline to support o-,"
"Sir, it's going to take more than just a squad to make any sort of difference. This will be a hard job." He paused. "Heck, it would take Spartans to clear out the cities," Kennel joked.
The General grinned.
As the dropship cut through the air, John looked at his team of five ODST's. Some had their helmets latched, others had it off, adjusting their preferences on their Battle Rifle scope. Each of the ODST's was issued a Battle Rifle, a weapon based on their skills(sniper=sniper rifle), 4 M9 DP-HE grenades, a knife, and every clip of ammo they could carry. John selected his own weapons: a Battle Rifle, an MA5B Assault Rifle, 4 frag grenades, 2 plasma grenades, a 15 mm titanium serrated combat knife, and 20 kilos of C12. John also carried as much ammo that would fit in his belt, and was now waiting patiently, going over the plan in his head like he did on every other mission.
He and his three fellow Spartans, Will, Linda, and Fred, would simultaneously assault Tel Amir on different sides of the city, with the aid of 20 ODST's in their new full body combat suits, in an attempt to kill everything that wasn't human. Tel Amir was the worse-off of the two Covenant held cities, with Marines here taking twice as many casualties as Budapest's. John's team, Blue Team, would come from the north. Linda's Red Team, would attack from the south, Fred's Green Team, got east, and Will's Yellow Team attacked west.
Cortana brought up the schematic of the city in the Chief's helmet and highlighted the Covenant held areas with red, friendlies with blue. "As you can see," she announced in the Chief's head, "The Covenant own 80% of the city, with their main force deployment in the three large buildings at the center of the city, two of which have been crippled from air strikes. The Marines have had a decent amount of success with the west side of the city, and a moderate amount on the east and south. The Marines on the north side of the city, however, have been stone-walled, having a higher casualty rate than all of the other three sides combined."
"Some good news," the Chief mocked.
"Hardly," she replied coldly. "The Elites in command there have used a layered formation of the Roman box technique, with Grunts in the first layer to absorb and wear down their opponents, then Jackals to slow the attacking force down to a crawl with their shields, and then Hunters and Brutes attacking from the flanks. In the first assault, the three hundred-man attack force were reduced to a little more then fifty. A frontal assault would be suicide. Sadly it may be the only option we have." She paused. "There's another way. A sewage system runs 50 meters beneath the city," Cortana continued. "It will lead you to a manhole in the basement of the third undamaged building, next to the garage. Six main support beams hold up the building, and if brought down, they could cause a massive loss in Covenant life." She paused for a split second. "At least 65% of the opposing force would be killed, not to mention hundreds of others wounded."
"Great, plan approved," John said.
"But there is a problem," Cortana blurted. "The support beams are made out of 30cm-thick Titanium-A I-Beams. The 20 kilos you brought would bring down one pillar. It would take at least four of the pillars to collapse for the building to fall. We're in luck, however. There is a make-shift armory that the previous human inhabitants, Alpha Company, had erected on the seventh floor. According to their armory list, they had heavy explosives that I doubt the Covenant would have used."
"So we go in, steal some C12, set the timer, and get out of there before we're noticed," John confirmed.
"To put it so blatantly, yes."
"Alright, inform the rest of Blue Team, as well as Red, Green, and Yellow Teams."
A split-seconds' pause later, Cortana announced, "Done," and Will's, Fred's, and Linda's acknowledgment lights winked on. The five Orbital Drop Shock Troopers stopped what they were doing as the plan came up on their helmets, or a buzzer sounded to those whose helmets were off that new information was coming in. After a few seconds, the team nodded in the Chief's direction, and their acknowledgment lights winked in response.
John looked over his ODST's. The ranking trooper out of the five was 1st Sergeant Brad Carlson. He had been in the service for three years now, and was an ODST to the core. Sergeant Jeff Manning was below him, and had only been in the service for two years, but was great with a S2 AM sniper rifle. Lance Corporal Krigly was excellent with explosives and rocket launchers, and was fairly good with both kinds of grenades. Privates Johansson and Freid were fresh out of camp, but were in the top 1% of their class, otherwise they wouldn't be wearing these suits. Johansson was very aggressive and would become useful in CQC, or Close Quarters Combat. Freid was an all-around great soldier, diligent and deadly.
"We're coming up on the outskirts of the city near a manhole, touchdown near it," Cortana said to the pilots over their COM, followed by, "Roger that, Cortana, touchdown in twenty seconds."
"Suit up!" the Chief ordered, and Private Johansson and Corporal Krigly attached their helmets. The molding gel inside the helmet formed, tightened, and held their helmet on their heads as the ODST's snapped a mechanism by their bottom right cheek. A cycling of a Rifle bolt from Sergeant Carlson meant he was ready to kill some Covenant.
"Touchdown in five..." the pilot, Lieutenant Childress, announced, and the Pelican slowed to a hover a meter off the duracrete-paved streets. "Go get 'em, team, and Chief," the pilot turned around to him, "kill ten for me."
"I'll kill twenty," the Chief replied, seeing a smirk on the LT's face as he turned back towards the controls. Once the heavily loaded armored squad jumped off the transport jet, the gunmetal green Pelican turned 90 degrees to the left and soared into the twilight away from the sun.
John turned around at the building and had an odd sense of peace. The streets were deserted. Paper and plasma scorches littered the streets. The two damaged buildings were in front of him about 600 meters away, their left sides leveled, showing the skeleton and grey interior. Smoke arose from tiny fires lit within the building, and John could make out several terribly mangled Elites, Brutes, Grunts, Jackals, and Hunters that reminded him of the Flood.
The third building was between the two, bullet marks and purple blood surrounded the windows. The third building stood at least 100 meters taller than the others. The setting sun was between the third building and one of the smaller buildings on the right. Red, orange, and yellow set the backdrop for the buildings.
The sound of metal clanging on duracrete broke the Chief's concentration, and he peered down the manhole, its cover now off. It was dark, and all the ODST's turned on their head lamps at once. The Chief then turned his on, unlimbered his MA5B, and sprang down into the darkness below.
Dripping of pipe-water on pipes was the only sound heard, besides the muffled steps of ODST's and the Chief. So far so good.
"Thirty more meters, make a right and head straight for fifty more," Cortana whispered. John turned the corner, his head lamps shining through the dark.
After fifty more meters of walking, the team came upon a ladder leading straight up. "This is it. Climb up and you're in."
John signaled to his men to only use hand signals and to follow him. After quietly climbing up six rungs, he used his left hand to open and hold up the manhole, and his right to hold his MA5B.
The basement was baron, dotted with two support beams. Chairs, tables, and other assorted items were flipped and trashed. Every other light on the floor seemed to be broken, leaving an eerie double shadow.
The ODST's watched the set of solitary stairs leading up to the building, waited for the Chief then moved ahead. Up the stairs they went, leading to a set of doors at the top. They slid apart, revealing two cobalt Elites.
Gun shots from over his shoulders rang in his ears, and his hands vibrated with the recoil from his own rifle. The left Elite had his shield knocked out by Krigly's first three-round Battle Rifle burst, then had his head blown off by the next three. Carlson's SMG made short work of the right Elite, knocking out his shield, then getting double teamed from a 9mm and 7.62 AP barrage of lead. Blood splashed on two more support beams in the room.
Just as the sound of the last shell casing falling on the floor had faded away, shuffling and thumps could be heard from above them.
"Ditch stealth," the Chief said, forging towards the doors which led to the stair case. He pulled out a frag grenade, stepped close to the proximity activated doors, and tossed it in. The thumps grew louder, but were then subdued by a louder thump. When John stepped close to the door and they parted, two Hunters were staring at him in the face.
The Chief was surprised, the Hunters weren't. The lead Hunter thrust his Fuel Rod Cannon towards the Chief, who dodged it, side-stepping inside, then ducking at the Hunter's attempted shield melee. John rolled under the shield, past the Hunter, turned back to the left, and stuck his barrel into the orange, leathery, open flesh in the back. Blood spurted out of the front of the Hunter, who fell down with a thundering clank.
This made the second Hunter determined to crush this armored Human. He swung his left shielded arm at the Chief's stomach. John jumped down on his back as the gray shield slid centimeters over his head. He had just started to sit up, when he saw the shield heading straight down on him. John rolled to his left, narrowly avoiding the deadly blow. The Chief jumped up, as the Hunter squared John up. It roared, but then stopped mid-roar, allowing the Chief to hear gun shots. The Hunter twitched and shook a little, then fell near his bond brother.
The Master Chief reloaded his assault rifle, slamming a new 60-round clip into his receiver. After slamming the bolt forward and watching as the ammo counter reset, he was content to move ahead. Neither of the ODST's bragged, which John admired. There was no room for bragging rights in the field of combat.
When he reached the next room, he nearly fainted.
The room was completely clear in the middle, devoid of cover. All the tables and other furniture was around the outside on its side. Behind the furniture were 5 Brutes, 10 Elites, 4 Hunters, 15 Jackals, and in the empty middle of the room, 20 Grunts. John only saw colors. The neon green of over-charged plasma pistols and Fuel Rod Cannons, the faint blue of plasma rifles, the humming pink of needler rounds, and the black of Brute plasma launchers. The Chief knew he was toast running in there. But he'd have to think of a better plan later. Right now he had to worry about survival.
He dug into the floor with his toes and practically threw himself and the ODST's down the stairs. Hundreds of needles, bolts, and green cannon-shot flew through the door and impacted on the opposite wall. The wall's interior crumpled and collapsed on the team at the bottom of the stairs. John quickly pitched the rubble off him, primed a plasma grenade, and tossed it at the door. The three-second fuse counted down, and a black char mark was stained on the door. The small EMP delivered by the grenade burned out the auto-open mechanism, and the green light that signaled an unlocked door quickly changed to red.
A few seconds later, all of the ODST's were out of the rubble. The door started to turn red, then orange, then white hot as the Covenant began to burn through the door.
"Krigly," John said.
"Take out those pillars," the Chief said, pointing to two support pillars on the bottom floor that held up the second.
"Yes sir," the Corporal grunted, hefting a M19 SSM Rocket Launcher. One roar let out, and it hit dead on, reducing the pillar to smoke and ashes. The ceiling cracked and creaked above where the pillar stood, but the shooting above continued. John watched as the door was slagged and a crimson Elite stood in the doorway. John, as well as the four other ODST's opened fire on the open door, killing the Elite and several Grunts behind him.
Just then, a second thump was heard, then a loud explosion. The creaking got louder, and louder, until the floor could not withstand the pressure and collapsed.
"Grenades, Helljumpers!" John shouted, and he pulled out two frags from his belt, one in each hand. He primed them, then tossed them into the smoke filled hoard of Covenant, still trying to figure out what happened. Just then, a dozen balls bounced and ricocheted into the rubble, stopped, and then exploded, ripping apart all the Grunts and Jackals. Two rookie Elites, a Hunter, and four of the five Brutes were still alive, however, and now they were angry.
By this time, Krigly had reloaded, and aimed for the Hunter, which was torn apart, killing an Elite in the process, and aimed the second one between two Brutes. The Master Chief remembered how tough they were on the Unyielding Hierophant, and he wasn't too surprised when one of them not only survived the blast, but charged Krigly. The entire team opened fire, and if it wasn't for a lucky shot that hit the Brute square in the head, Krigly may had been going home in a shoe box.
John's Battle Rifle was empty, so he slung it and grabbed his Assault Rifle. Manning and Freid had thrown more grenades into the mix, killing the last Elite and a Brute. The last two black-haired aliens charged the Chief's team, one right at John. Right then, his ammo counter read 00, and John tossed it aside. The Brute pulled out a machete, and John pulled out his combat knife. He ducked, jumped, rolled right, side stepped left, and rolled forward to avoid the Brute's blows. The Chief, after rolling forward, found himself behind the alien. With his knife in his right hand, he stood up and dug the knife into the back of its neck. It roared in defiance, twisting its body, and batting the Chief away. He landed against the wall, his shields nearly drained.
The Brute slowly turned, growling, showing its sharp teeth. Suddenly, a burst of gun fire from behind it got its attention, and it turned in response. It was then blown apart into a million fleshy pieces as Krigly had reloaded his rocket launcher. When he detached the spent tubes, John surmised that the other rocket was for the second Brute. Char mixed with purple blood 10 meters away testified that his theory was correct.
The team edged through the burned hole in the door at the top of the stairs, and slipped around the outside of the massive hole in the floor. 95% of the floor was now down there, and John barely got around, clinging to the walls while balancing on the 10cm wide rim of floor left. Once on the other side of the room, they proceeded through the door, and up the next flight of stairs. Plasma fire in the next floor meant that something outside was happing. Cortana briefed the team that Bravo company was in the area, and decided to create a small diversion for the team inside.
When the doors slid apart, he saw at least twenty Covenant, but all with their backs towards them. The other door was to their left, and the squad silently slid into the next set of stairs. The same went for the next floor: preoccupied and unaware. John hoped he could keep it that way. As they went up to the fourth floor, a pair of Grunts carrying a small purple box, probably ammo or guns, came stumbling down the stairs. A rifle butt came down hard on the lead Grunt, while Carlson's combat knife cut through the last methane-breathing freak.
On the fourth floor, there was nothing but supplies and two more Grunts huddled over what appeared to be a communication's center. They were dealt with.
Once on the fifth floor, they ran right into a crimson Elite, and had to open fire. Twenty seconds later, the story was littered with blue or purple blood, bodies, and brass shell casings. The team reloaded their weapons, and while doing so, the doors to the next set of stairs opened, revealing a Gold Elite with a Plasma Sword and plasma rifle, and two yellow-shielded Jackals, their plasma pistols overcharged. John dove and avoided the shot aimed at him, but Sergeant Manning was not as lucky. Just as he began to move, it hit him square in the left shoulder. He fell to the ground wincing in pain, dropping his Battle Rifle.
The rest of the ODST's formed a semi-circle around their fallen comrade, firing their weapons. One Jackal got out of the way of the bullets, but the other was hit by four lucky shots on his right side. The Elite raised his plasma rifle and began to fire on the group of ODST's
John blocked the bolts' path, absorbing them with his shield. The shield shrieked its alarm, and the Chief rolled away, just as the plasma rifle overheated and malfunctioned. Tossing it aside, the Elite pulled out a plasma pistol, overcharged it, and fired at the Master Chief.
The bolt hit a stack of the purple crates that he used as cover. The Elite tossed that aside and pulled out a needler. How many guns does this guy have, John thought. But the Golden armored warrior didn't have a chance to use either the blade, nor the needler, as his shield failed and his body became Swiss cheese, thanks to the ODST's guns.
The Chief waited for his shield to recharge, then moved ahead. Manning got up under his own power, and pushed through the pain.
When the next set of doors opened, it revealed the Jackal that had avoided the fight. John forced the barrel of his Battle Rifle in its mouth, and shot its brains out the back of its head. The next story was full of dead bodies with a single bullet hole in the head. There were also shrapnel wounds and char marks, telling of some well thrown grenades. Up the stairs to the seventh floor they went. After the doors spread apart, the Chief snaked into the room. Black suits followed. On a supply rack, blocks of 20 kilos of C12 were in front of him, which was more than enough. Johansson pulled out a satchel, and filled it with plastic explosive.
"Alright, let's get out of here," John said. They turned, then stopped to fully hear the thumps above their heads.
"Uh-oh," Freid remarked.
"Run!" the Chief ordered, and the team raced towards the door with the stairs. John turned back and saw two Brutes in the door way, with the sounds of other heavily armored figures behind them.
John raced down the steps as the thumps got louder.
"Cortana, tell Bravo Company to get out of here, this zone is hot," he said.
They ran some more, gaining some distance between them and the Covenant, creating what they needed most: time. As they ran by the Covenant in the third and fourth floors, the ODST's dropped some grenades near them. Dull thumps echoed through the stairs.
They jumped through the hole in the second floor, ran through the door on the first floor which led to the basement, and then watched it close. John primed another plasma grenade and fried the circuits. Once in the basement, Johansson pulled out the C12 and gave one pack out to everyone. The Chief, Carlson, the wounded Manning, Krigly, Freid, and Johansson applied the adhesive, set the timer for 1 minute, and winked their acknowledgment lights.
"Let's get out of here," the Chief said, standing in front of the man hole. He jumped down, turned his headlamp on, and saw 20 meters down the shaft Elites, Jackals, and Grunts. He shimmied back up the ladder, put the manhole cover on, and placed an ammo crate on top. It wouldn't stop them, but it would slow them down.
"Cortana, where do we go?"
"Must I do everything? There's a garage next to this, that door in front of you leads to it. From there, Alpha Company had some Warthogs," she said.
"Roger, follow me!" the Chief yelled. The door that led into the floor that the Chief had locked began to melt away, and the crate over the manhole began to bounce up and down. The doors to the garage opened, then shut.
The garage was full of burned and wrecked civilian cars, but Alpha Company had turned a small corner into a vehicle depot. Four Warthogs sat patiently, the lights reflecting off of their olive drab paint and purple-tinited windows.
0:30 seconds left.
"Get in!" John yelled, running to activate the main gate's doors to open. Johansson drove one of the Warthogs with the LAAG, and Carlson drove the one with the Gauss Cannon. Manning was set in the passenger seat of Johansson's 'Hog, and Freid on the M41 LAAG. Krigly sat shotgun in the other 'Hog. The LRV's peeled out towards the gate, Johansson's first. Carlson slowed so the Chief could arm the Gauss. Just then, the door to enter the garage opened. Covenant streamed out, firing at the Chief's convoy.
Both 'Hog's fired in response, taking four Grunts, two Jackals, an Elite and a Brute with them.
0:20 seconds left.
When the Warthogs reached the surface, every Covenant race was running towards them. The air was filled with bullets and plasma bolts. John didn't know how they were going to get out of this one.
Just then, five more Warthogs took up position's on their flanks. Bravo team had come with some wheels, and the Chief was very thankful for it. But even with 5 LAAG's and two Gauss Cannons, that still can't guarantee a safe trip out of here.
From out of the clouds came Lieutenant Childress' Pelican, firing rockets and 70mm ammo at the Covenant ahead of the convoy. Grunts, Jackals, Hunters, Brutes and Elites went flying every-which way. Johansson and Carlson, as well as the five other Warthogs' drivers, avoided the craters and ran over smoldering bodies.
0:10 seconds left.
The Warthogs skidded sideways and came to a stop. The Pelican veered right to avoid the oncoming explosion.
The ground rumbled in response to 120 kilos of C12, and weakened the structure's base. An extremely loud creak followed by a crack signaled the beginning of the end of this successful mission. The left side of the building fell quicker than the right, and pulled the building towards the smaller, weakened, left building. It crashed into it, causing more smoke. The right side of the first small building was destroyed, making the building collapse towards the second smaller building. It impacted with the second building on the fifth floor, doing enough damage to the base of it to make it collapse away from the other buildings to the right. Where three buildings and hundreds of Covenant stood, only dust and debris remained.
"Chief, are you alright?" Linda's voice came in over the COM.
"Mission accomplished over here, how about over there?"
"All Covenant are in bodies bags."
"Roger. Green team, what's your status?" John queried.
There was a loud explosion, followed by Fred's voice. "Mission accomplished, sir. Covenant losses are 100% and counting."
"Affirmative, Green-1. Yellow team, what's your status?" John paused. "William?"
"Success, sir," Will grunted, annoyed at his formal name.
"Roger. Red, Green, and Yellow teams, meet at rendevous point Alpha, ASAP." Four Acknowledgment lights winked. Earth was safe. The Spartans' missions on Earth were hopefully over. It was now time to take the fight to the Covenant.