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A Second Last Chance: Book 1, Chapter 3 - Beachhead at Basis
Posted By: Torch99<caesartorch@quidnunc.net>
Date: 16 June 2002, 5:36 am

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      Chief was the first to jump down the ramp onto the greenish yellow grass. Claudius and Brutus were lightning quick out after him. Chief was kneeling checking three. Shining yellow Claudius checked nine and Brutus crept for twelve o'clock. It was very quiet. "Why aren't they firing?" he thought. The others deployed. The ship had their backs. This moon was odd. They noticed much awkward terrain, like forest, large boulders, and even grass. They quickly made subgroups of three. Chief signaled and spoke quietly. He knew they were here. If they were indeed Flood, why the hell weren't they attacking? Flood are mindless killers...this made Chief uneasy.
      He made a rapid succession of hand and finger movements. Spar 3 (Tiberius, Claudius, Crassus) moved forward and sought refuge in a cluster of small boulders.

      Tiberius popped up and aimed for the fringe of the trees only meters away. He turned and made a halo above his head to symbolize cover. Why not? Motion trackers said nothing, but all of them knew something was about to happen. It was at this point that Titus started hearing what sounded like the rumbling of an upset stomach. It was resonating from the other side of the Sword. He took a short peek around the right side of the ship. Through his teal visor, he saw swift movements in the cover of the shrubs only thrity meters away. Then something dirty-white poked its head up. It sure as hell wasn't a Covenant.

      He turned back to his fellow warriors and got their attention by frantically shaking his head "no" and pointing wildly to his right.
      "Chief, are you reading anything on your motion detector?" Cortana asked.
      "No, and nobody else is."
      "Something is about to happen....Ch-!"

      "Chief! Multiple cont-!" Crassus had just seen what Titus saw, and now the mutated beast came out from its cover. He opened fire as Titus did, and the large warform fell. At the same time, the same kind of warforms charged from all sides. Most had nothing but their whip-like arms, but a few wielded MA5Bs and plasma weapons.

      Chaos was all around them. The expert marksmanship of the SPARTANs proved invaluable as the fight progressed. Most of the warforms were shot down before either of the groups were reached. However, something was different Chief noticed. Then he saw the characteristic he had forgotten...

      Brutus gunned down a warform six meters away with five short bursts. Then he shifted a few degrees and pulled the trigger on one three meters away. He wasted the clip on it, and it went down writhing its arms. He was reloading and took his eyes off his weapon. Two warforms were running fast towards him. "Shit," he said. Both Tiberius and Crassus were occupied with their twelve's, and Brutus was watching the six. He had to take them down. The Chief was watching and was about to fire...

      Brutus lifted his weapon to fire and let off a burst, but his targets were no longer there. "Ohh Fuck me!!" he screamed. Both had leapt off the ground. With lightning reflexes, he grabbed his M90 off the ground. His arm was steady against the mighty kickback. One of the tendril-armed mutants was blown out about the chest, and it fell, lifeless. The other however, reached him before he pumped another round. As it descended, it drew back its arm and flung it forward on the land. Brutus' shield was overwhelmed. In his haste to retaliate, he frantically misfired, blowing only an arm off the creature. Using this advantage, the killer instinct in the warform slashed the black SPARTAN viciously. Brutus was dazed as he felt the deep and imprecise slash cut open his armored chest. He fell, unconscious.

      Clonus, M90 in arm, took a fraction of a second to aim, then fired. The warform fell. Clonus ran out over the wide open gauntlet. Some AR fire caught him in his back, causing him to stumble, and he almost tripped over a dead Flood. He took a passing glance at it. It looked half human. He reached Brutus and knelt over him. There he stayed.

      While this was happening on the right of the battle, it was a different situation on the left side of the Sword. Caesar, Chief and Magnus were absolutely leveling the Flood. Bodies were piling up under the barrage of bullets and shells from Caesar. Even in the air, the Flood got shot up. Because of their success, Titus was able to assist the isolated Spar 3's. At that location, only 20 meters from where the Chief was having success, the Flood had the advantage of superior cover. Plasma fire was coming from invisible locations. However, good grenade placement helped them out.

      Chief took a moment to glance at Spar 3's. Awkward, it wasn't like the Flood to get into a firefight; they loved to melee attack. This opened up a whole new world of dread for Chief. Dangerous Flood? Expected. Dangerous and Intelligent Flood? Fucking scary.
      He went back to killing. It looked as if this particular group of enemies was about done for. He was glad. He was getting low on ammo.
      Suddenly, a beacon started flashing inside the Sword. "Chief, the comm beacon requires our attention. He quickly went in. "What?!"
      "Sir, Covenant cruiser just slipped in a few thousand kilos from here. We request permission to come planetside."
      A Covenant cruiser...that's great, just great. "Yes! Get the hell down here!"
      "Roger that, commencing deployment."
      Chief went outside to where the fighting had died down. It had died down so much, in fact, that Brutus was being attended to by Crassus. A Medkit from the Sword brought his health back up; he was as good as new. They all gathered up ammo once Tiberius put a shell through the head of the last Flood warform.

      Chief spoke, "Good job, SPARTANs, now you've seen what these things can do. I got some more bad news. A minute ago, a Longsword radioed me and stated that a Covenant cruiser had entered a few thousand kilos out. They're on their way down now, so look sharp. We're just getting started. I bet this whole shithole is crawling with Flood, and in a few hours, it's gonna be infested with Covenant."

      A few minutes later, the first Sword came down, and the Hoplites quickly streamed out. The SPARTANs picked up their weapons and filled up on grenades from the supply Pelicans and began to coordinate the soldiers into ranks to brief them and give orders.
      Chief was the last one to head over to the rally point.
      "A Covenant cruiser....great" he said aloud, almost chuckling at the irony. He loaded a full clip into his MA5B, and put it on his back. He loaded his M90 to the max and pumped it to load a shell into the chamber.
      "Just fucking great..." he muttered.