You know, I was always bothered by the fact that the Marines in the Silent Cartographer always died. Even moving them around (a painstaking process involving moving them to the facility of the Silent Cartographer with all the Warthogs) couldn't save them (curse that 'all Marine terminate' programming code that Bungie implemented! Curse it! ).
So, I give a tale of those Marines.
Note, some of the events that take place in this fic are based on a little experiment I conducted to see if the Marines in the level could be saved in anyway, so take heed, for there will be extra dialogue!
A Fateful Stand-The Marines of the Silent Cartographer
The sergeant held his cap by its tip with his fingers, gazing at the other eight Marines guarding the installation.
This sergeant was Sergeant Benson, a white-skinned, battle-scarred Sergeant who had been chosen to accompany nine other soldiers to find the map room known as 'the Silent Cartographer', and keep it out of the Covenant's hands.
The eight Marines keeping watch were part of the squad that came.
The ninth was none other than the Master Chief, and after what he'd done so far on this mission, he deserved more than being called a mere 'soldier'.
The Master Chief had led the charge in taking the western beach from a large platoon of Covenant troops, consisting of several Elites, over a dozen Grunts, and a few Jackals.
After several minutes of a continuous exchange of bullets and plasma, the beach was taken.
Sergeant Benson cracked a smile, remembering the sweet satisfaction he had when his thrown grenade sent two Jackals and a shield-less Elite to their graves.
Sergeant gritted his teeth as blue plasma soared over his head. He quickly dived behind the large metal column embedded in the beach side as the other Marines took cover, taking every safe chance they could to open fire on the two Elites and the two Jackals left.
Meanwhile, the Chief had charged on ahead, thrashing a Red Elite with the butt of his Assault Rifle twice in succession. The shield of the alien commander flickered a pale white light before it flickered away, dead.
The Chief then pulled the trigger for a full second. The MA5B Assault Rifle he held unleashed fifteen bullets.
The Red Elite roared as it slumped to the ground, bullet holes in its neck, and purple blood gushing forth from it like a deluge.
The Chief was a fluid of motion as he moved in on the three other Covenant troops. Sergeant Benson waved his hand forward, with his thumb pointing up and his index finger pointing straight ahead.
It was the signal for the Marines to move forward, with guns blazing.
A torrent of bullets rained upon the last Blue Elite, both from the Marines and the Chief. The bullets simply bounced off the Jackals' shields as green plasma tried to pick away at the advancing human soldiers.
Benson then saw that the three aliens were clustered together.
He pulled a grenade and yelled at the top of his lungs as he tossed the grenade.
"FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!"
The Marines pulled back. The Chief dived to the side.
Purple and black blood sprang upward like a fountain as the fragmentation grenade exploded, sending hundreds of tiny metal fragments into the vulnerable skin of the Elite and the Jackals.
Benson let out a whoop of joy as the Marines scoured out the rest of the area.
A Marine set his radio to the team frequency and said, "Area secure, all hostiles have been eliminated."
Then Foe Hammer came over the com-link.
"Affirmative. Echo 419 inbound. Somebody order a Warthog?"
Benson smiled as he radioed back to her. "Hey, I didn't know you made house calls Foe Hammer!"
"You know our motto: 'We Deliver'."
Benson sat down on a small boulder as the Chief hopped into the Warthog and drove off. One Marine was manning 'Old Faithful', while another was riding shotgun.
So he was left here with the other six to keep the LZ secure.
A few minutes passed, and he was getting lulled into a state of security.
Bad thing, especially in foreign territory, when ANYTHING can happen when you least expect it.
In a way, he was thankful the sound of gunfire that suddenly reached his ears, even if it did mean that somewhere on the island, Marines were fighting the Covenant. At the very least, he was now alert.
One of the Marines walked up to him. "Sir?"
Benson looked up at the Marine. The face was slightly tanned, and the brown goatee he had almost gave him a comedic look. "What is it son?"
"Do you think we should follow the Warthog's tracks? The Chief might need some backup."
At that statement, Benson immediately began laughing. He stroked his orange facial hair as he got to his feet. "Boy, I've had a chance to look at the Chief's CSV. I would call it a pleasure to see it myself. Trust me..."
Benson then looked back at the Red Elite lying in the ground. The ground around the corpse was now a carpet of purple blood, and the skin around the neck was beginning to decay rapidly as the blood from the bullet holes slowed to a trickle.
"...the Chief doesn't need our backup. I'm sure he'd appreciate it, but he's one of the few men I know who doesn't need backup...EVER."
Thirty minutes passed. Or was it an hour? Benson lost track as the sound of roaring bullets was heard, followed by plasma, then more gunfire. It went back and forth.
Then, all was quiet.
Benson's heartbeat jumped a few notches. The quiet was creating a blanket of suspense that was smothering him.
Then, he saw two vehicles move swiftly around the corner of the cliff wall.
The revving roar of the engines confirmed it. The Chief was driving one Warthog, while the two Marines who had gone with him were manning the other one.
Benson walked slowly up to the Warthog as the Chief stepped out with a fluid motion. "Was that your gunfire I was hearing Chief?"
The Chief nodded as Cortana opened up a communication link with the Marines. "Fire Team Bravo's gone Sergeant Benson. All we could salvage from them were some Assault Rifle and pistol rounds, several medical kits, and their Warthog."
Benson's shoulders sagged.
"However, the outer circle of the island has been secured. The Chief and I believe that we've found the facility where the map room's located. However, we'd like to take some men along with us to help secure the outer part of the installation while we move on in."
Benson grinned. "Be my guest. McRoy! Jecks! Eric! Get over here!"
McRoy, the man with the goatee, lined up in front of Benson alongside Jecks and Eric, who were both Oriental in origin, with a dark yellow hue to their skin. Their dark hair, however, were hidden under their helmets.
"You three accompany the Chief to the map room. We'll keep the LZ secure."
McRoy quickly interceded. "But sir, Eric's the medic, and I'm your heavy weapons specialist. Won't you need us?"
Benson shot a glare at McRoy. "Stow that McRoy. You wanted to know why the Chief doesn't need backup? Then get going."
McRoy gulped and quickly nodded as he manned the M41 LAAG. Eric sat down in the back of the vehicle, cramped as it was. Jecks rode shotgun, and the Chief pushed down the pedal as the Warthog zoomed off.
Benson waited until they were out of sight before sitting down in the driver's seat of the remaining Warthog, legs hanging out of the side. The Marine riding shotgun hopped out, but the gunner remained, keeping a close eye on the perimeter.
Several more minutes passed. Several minutes of silence.
Then, the radio waves crackled with voices.
"Cortana to Keyes."
A few seconds passed.
Keyes answered. "Go ahead Cortana...have you found the control center?"
"Negative Captain, The Covenant have impeded our progress. We can't proceed unless we disable this installation's security systems."
Benson grimaced. Damn Covenant dogs.
Benson could hear the hints of a sigh from the Captain as he responded. " Understood. We're still en route to the objective, I may be out of contact when we get there...here are your orders. I want you to use any means necessary to force your way into the control center. We have to get to the center before the Covenant, and failure people, is not an option."
Then another voice was heard over the airwaves.
"This is Echo 419 to ground team. I'll stay on station and keep a sharp eye out for Covenant bogies."
Benson then heard McRoy. (Second squad! Ready to roll, soon as everybody's topside!)
McRoy was referring to the Chief of course.
Benson then said his part. "LZ looks secure sir. Nothing moving."
Nothing was an understatement. Save for the ocean waves and the Marines along the beach side, this place was almost like dead personified.
"Good luck people. Keyes out."
Keyes, McRoy, and Foe Hammer clicked out. Cortana remained.
"Sergeant. The map room facility is more important at the moment. You can move to McRoy's position to keep an eye on the facility while the Chief and I search the island on foot for the security override."
Benson replied without haste. "Understood Cortana. We're on our way."
Benson yelled, "Galvison! Stay at the gunner! Hutchins, you drive, and Beard, you ride shotgun! Bentley, you get the hindquarter."
Bentley groaned as he hopped onto the back of the gunner and got into the cramped spot on the back of the vehicle.
"Once you drop them off Hutchins, come back here for us."
Hutchins nodded as he drove off with three Marines in tow.
Benson and the other two Marines with him, Kitt and Molowski, stood behind to defend the LZ until their ride arrived.
Sure enough, Hutchins arrived back several minutes later. "Hop on board Sarge!"
Benson manned the gun, Kitt rode shotgun, and Molowski got the hindquarters.
Benson shouted at Hutchins. "Go go go!"
The Warthog's engines roared as it sped away from the now-deserted LZ.
He had been there for over twenty minutes now. Hutchins and Jecks had positioned the two Warthogs on both flanks of the facility. They were placed at left and right diagonals coming away from the facility, so that they could cover the entire area with suppression fire should the need arise.
Eric was sitting on top of one of the several Covenant supply containers set up on the right side of the facility, treating some plasma wounds on McRoy's left leg. He put on a small coat of antibiotics, put some biofoam in the wound, then taped it up.
Kitt was sitting down, gazing at the horizon ahead. From here, you could see the ring stretch away, up into the sky, then see the dark ribbon up above. The cliffs obscured the rest of Halo.
Molowski and Galvison were having a simple conversation.
Beard and Bentley were both on the ground below the large veranda that stretched away from the main entrances of the facility. They were doing a routine check of the area.
Hutchins was keeping both of the Warthogs' engines warm, in case they needed a quick getaway. Jecks was listening to the beeps and blips the Covenant communication transceiver was making, trying to see if he could decipher anything being said.
As for himself...well, he was just standing in front of the facility's 'front door'. He put his cap back on. The cap was the sign of a sergeant. Benson gripped his Assault Rifle and peeked into the front door of the installation.
The light from outside lit the room for a few meters, but the only light after that was a rather dim yellow light at the very end of the fifty-foot hall. The hall then forked off, but the walls prevented him from seeing any further beyond that.
He moved back away. He didn't dare to look further. The mere sight of it shook his bones for some strange reason he couldn't place his finger on.
Benson then looked at McRoy, then remembered the conversation with him earlier.
The sergeant had a smirk on his face as he walked over to McRoy. He was patting his taped-up wound as Benson stood in front of him. "Well?"
McRoy looked back. "Well what sir?"
"Now do you think the Chief ever NEEDS backup?"
McRoy laughed as he recalled how the Chief had driven over several Grunts and two Elites as he first entered the vicinity of the facility. The Chief had then left the driver's seat, leaving McRoy, Jecks, and Eric to deal with the remaining Grunts outside.
Eric was packing up his medical kit as he recalled how scared the Gruns were when the Chief threw three plasma grenades into the innards of the facility.
"It was damn funny how they squealed like a bunch of cowardly pigs. They were easy pickings."
Then, the Chief had gone further inside the facility, leaving them to deal with three Jackals that were coming up via the grass-covered ramp to the left of the veranda.
They were easy to pick off from above.
A few minutes passed, and then there was the whole radio conversation. The Chief then emerged from within the facility and went off on foot. He went into the small cave that was in the side of the cliff, and had emerged from the cliff wall to the far left before dropping out of sight.
"Well Sarge, you were right."
Benson chuckled, then he looked up and saw a Pelican loom into view, towing a Warthog.
"Odd," thought Benson. "Did she go back to Alpha Base and get another Warthog?" He activated his radio uplink and said, "That you Foe Hammer?"
"No sir! Bravo 22, dropping off some heavy weapons via Cortana's instructions!"
Benson sighed with content. Four Marines on board Bravo 22 handed McRoy and Huthcins three Jackhammers with full ammo. They also carried off four Lotus anti-tank mines and a whole crate of frag grenades. They even gave them a complimentary box of Assault Rifle ammo, and one fully loaded S2 AM Sniper Rifle.
Benson put a pistol into his belt's holster and slung the sniper rifle over his shoulder. He checked his Assault Rifle's ammo count. All full.
"Thanks Bravo 22!"
"No problem! I'm going to drop off the Marines and the rest of the stuff off with the Chief before heading back to Alpha Base!"
The four 'delivery' Marines gave their regards and hopped back on board the Pelican as it lifted into the sky and fully away in a clockwise motion around the island's perimeter.
Benson then looked at the four Lotus mines. "Beard! Set two mines on the ledge to the right of the facility! Make sure they're not too close or too far away from us! Bentley! Get the other two and set one on the small pass heading up to the left edge of the veranda, and place the other one dead center, facing the beach! And set them to remote detonation, NOT proximity! Last thing we need is to accidentally cook our asses or the Chief's when he comes back!"
Beard and Bentley shouted their 'yes sir's and set up the mines post-haste at remote detonation. Benson held the detonation device for the two mines on the ledge, while Molowski held the detonation device for the other two.
Beard and Bentley were back on the veranda when Bravo 22's pilot came back on air, speaking frantically.
"Mayday!!! Mayday!!! Dropship Bravo 22 is taking enemy fire and losing altitude!!!"
Benson cursed quietly. Galvison was a bit louder with his discontent.
Benson kept his Assault Rifle in his hands as he opened a channel to the eight Marines. "Stay sharp guys in case something comes around!"
McRoy got to his feet and kept a steady grip on the Jackhammer rocket launcher, code named 'SPNKr'.
Suddenly, a familiar whirr was heard in the air...one which wasn't friendly in the least bit.
Benson yelled loudly. "HEADS UP! COVENANT DROPSHIP ON APPROACH!"
Galvison and Kitt each hopped onto the back of a Warthog, manning the gun as the Covenant dropship zoomed overhead. They put it under a barrage of bullets, but it did not retaliate as it flew around the right side of the cliff. They felt a rumble in the ground, indicating that the dropship was setting down.
Benson aimed his sniper rifle carefully, waiting for the Covenant to approach.
And they did.
A Blue Elite and four Orange Grunts moved around the bend.
He fired one round at the head of a Grunt. Down it went.
The Marines fired a barrage of bullets from their Assault Rifles, while Galvison peppered the ledge with suppression fire.
The Blue Elite ducked behind a boulder as the two remaining Grunts fled. They returned, with seven more Grunts and a Red Elite.
Benson saw the opportunity.
He pulled out both detonation devices, which looked like nothing more than black rectangles. A meter on the top indicated that the mine was active, and the blue light indicated it was set on remote detonation.
And the red button in the middle was the match to light the fuse.
He pressed it.
Bodies were sent flying as a good chunk of the ledge was blown away, along with a few trees. The Elites and Grunts were enveloped in flame and rumble, wailing in agony as they were incinerated.
The rumble in the ground ceased, indicating that the dropship had left.
Molowski's voice then broke over the com-link before Benson could smile in self-congratulation. "Sir, I've got three enemy signatures on my motion tracker coming from around the ledge!"
Benson shook his head. "Prepare for more combat!"
Around the ledge came three Jackals, two blue shields, and one yellow shield.
He was about to snipe them, but then heard something....
The sound was getting louder. It sounded like...
Armor clanking together.
Benson's skin froze. He remembered reading a report about the battle of Sigma Octanus IV, just before Reach was destroyed.
He remembered reading something about the discovery of two new Covenant species.
He remembered that it was described as when the large bipeds walked, their armor made a clanking sound...
Benson quickly turned around to see two behemoths emerge from within the facility.
He could only shout as the two of them got into position.
Galvison and Kitt circled around and opened fire on the Hunters. The Marines did so as well.
Meanwhile, McRoy was preparing to fire a rocket from his SPNKr when a Hunter began to move in.
Benson saw this. "MCROY!!! MOVE IT!!!"
McRoy turned looked up and saw that the Hunter was moving straight for him. He couldn't fire at this range...the blast would kill him as well.
He took out his Assault Rifle and opened fire. He used a full clip on the Hunter, although some didn't find their intended target.
The Hunter then lowered its shoulder.
Benson's throat was croaking now. "MCROY!!! THAT'S AN ORDER!!! MOVE!!!"
McRoy's legs couldn't have moved, even if he had wanted to.
The Hunter brought its shield up, sending McRoy several feet into the air...
And when he fell back down, the Hunter brought its shield down upon his chest like a whip.
The resulting impact sent McRoy flying.
Benson scowled as he saw McRoy collide with the ocean waters. The impact severed McRoy's spine, and blood began to color the water surrounding the dead Marine.
Benson turned to the Hunters and growled. He grabbed McRoy's SPNKr and aimed it at the nearest Covenant.
The Hunter turned to Benson and began charging its fuel rod gun.
Benson then realized this was a standoff...so he quickly hoisted the rocket launcher over his shoulders and fired. The Hunter fired a split-second later.
It was enough time for Benson to move out of the way. The Hunter was less lucky, as the rocket hit its chest and caused his armor to dent. The armor dug into his skin, letting blood flow freely as the Hunter fell to the ground, dead.
Benson then turned to the other Hunter, who was coming under heavy fire from the LAAG Kitt was using. Moslowski was busy keeping the three Jackals at bay.
Benson only hoped they could keep them down before more reinforcements arrived...
Suddenly, a flash of green leapt out of the tunnel in the cliff side. It was another Warthog, and the first thing it did was collide with the last Hunter. The Hunter died upon impact.
The one driving it was none other the Master Chief.
"Welcome to the party sir! Is that Bravo 22's Warthog?"
The Chief nodded at Benson's question when Cortana began speaking. "The Chief and I have deactivated the security systems. We'll be proceeding inside. In the meanwhile, use the three Warthogs and the weapons we brought back to their full extent."
The Chief ran inside the installation, and Benson immediately began sorting out the stuff the Chief brought back: pistol ammo, more Assault Rifles, a few cases of Jackhammer rounds, and two more medical packs...and the dog tags of the Marines on board Bravo 22.
Benson sighed and stuffed them into his pocket. Hutchins then maneuvered the new Warthog into a position right in front the 'front door'. Hutchins got out, and Jecks got in to man the M41.
Benson looked upon the veranda with some measure of pride...the Marines had managed to set up quite a defense.
He looked back over the right Warthog to see that the three Jackals had been taken care of.
"Good," said the sergeant. "Keep sharp people...you never know when the Covenant will come back."
Suddenly, Foe Hammer's voice came on the waves. "Echo 419 to ground teams! You've got two Covenant dropships approaching!"
Benson sighed as he got his sniper rifle ready. "Damn...okay people, we got company coming, let's set the table. Engage enemy forces on sight!"
Cortana's voice came over the frequency.
"It'll be easier to hold them off from inside the structure. Can you get inside?"
Benson entertained thoughts of getting into the more secure position of the installation's interior, but when two dropships flew overhead and dropped on the clearing in front of him, he knew it was impossible.
"Negative! They're closing in too fast! Negative!"
Two dropships...each carried a minimum of ten troops.
A dark prospect entered his mind, but even though he didn't want to think about it, he let it affect his response.
"Chief! You've gotta find the Cartographer! We'll keep em' busy long as we can!"
There was a short pause, then Cortana gave her reply.
"Give em' hell Marine."
Benson narrowed his eyes as he aimed his S2 AM Sniper Rifle at the two dropships that set down...and prepared to fire at the first enemy that came into his sights.
Moslowski took the time to pull out one of the two detonation devices, and pressed the activation button.
An explosion ripped through the left pod of the foremost dropship, and a line of flames erupted through it, killing all the troops within the left pod.
Benson grinned. A good start so far.
The right pod was still functioning, and out came the standard Elites and Grunts...except their black armor was unmistakable. These were the Special Operations faction of the Covenant army...the fact they were sent here indicated that the Covenant valued this installation dearly.
Benson got to work, firing four bullets. Three shots hit, but one missed. Two Black Grunts, and a Black Elite.
The other dropship then let out its batch of troops...out of the left pod came ten Red Grunts, two Jackals, and three Blue Elites.
Out of the right pod came five Jackals, seven Orange Grunts, and something that made Benson shiver...a Gold Elite, with its trademark plasma sword, a weapon that would cut his Marines asunder.
And without a doubt, Kitt and Jecks aimed their LAAGs at the Gold Elite first, but the Grunts served as bullet fodder as the Gold Elite advanced closer. Moslowski pulled out the last detonation device and pushed the button.
The Gold Elite was hit, but it had already passed the mine's location, causing its shields to fizzle out. The three Jackals behind it were less fortunate.
The Gold Elite advanced toward Hutchins, who fired hastily at the oncoming Covenant Field Master. Suddenly, the Elite was too close for the Marine to do anything else.
The Elite swung its plasma sword, and Hutchins was cut asunder. He didn't even have time to scream as his body from the waist up fell to the ground, followed shortly by everything else. Blood stained the area he fell.
The Gold Elite paid for this, however. Eric quickly attached a stolen plasma grenade to the Elite's chest and kicked him off the veranda, causing it to land by the other two Jackals. They were all enveloped by the grenade's explosion.
Benson was glad the powerful Gold Elite was taken out, but it had cost him a Marine. Now he was down to seven.
The Spec Ops Covenant began to move around the bend to the right, and Moslowski, Eric, and Beard began to track their movement.
Bentley threw a fragmentation grenade at the advancing Red Grunts, and four of them were sent flying away.
Benson prepared to snipe some of them, but then a Major Jackal launched a charged plasma pistol blast at him.
Benson was able to move away, but the blast hit the barrel of his sniper rifle, causing it to melt. The barrel was now covered up, rendering it useless.
Growling, Benson threw it away and prepared to launch some rockets from the SPNKr when three Grunts each threw a plasma grenade.
Benson dived, but Beard was hit. A plasma grenade caught his helmet, but he was collected enough to pull it off and throw it back at the Covenant. Four more Grunts went flying, leaving only three Blue Elites, two Red Grunts, and two Major Jackals.
Then, the gunfire to his right reminded him of the Spec Ops group.
The Black Grunts were wielding Fuel Rod Guns, the same lethal weapons carried by Banshees and Hunters.
Moslowski managed to kill two Black Grunts with his LAAG, but a combined blast of four fuel rods vaporized the Warthog, including Moslowski.
Seven Black Grunts left, three Black Elites.
He was down to six men. Not good.
Jecks aimed his LAAG at the incoming group of Spec Ops, but his eyes caught the incoming plasma grenade.
He hopped out, and instead of running, entered the driver seat and let the grenade attach to the LAAG.
He then began driving straight toward the Spec Ops group.
"Good Lord," thought Benson. "He's going kamikaze."
The Warthog, Jecks included, had reached the Spec Ops group, but even though the ensuing explosion killed him, it took out the entire Spec Ops group. The first explosion from the plasma grenade didn't accomplish it, but once the fuel was ignited, there was a second explosion.
Jecks was gone, but he had taken the entire Spec Ops group with him.
Benson grimaced as he turned toward the remaining Covenant forces.
Now the count was five.
Kitt turned opened fire on the incoming Covenant forces. The Blue Elites and the remaining Grunts were being torn apart by his constant fire when suddenly another dropship came into view.
Benson narrowed his eyes. "Damn."
The dropship deposited its troops and flew away.
At first, he couldn't see anything, but once he saw all the distortion on the ground, he knew that there were camouflaged Elites running around.
"Great...I might as well be shooting blind."
The ten invisible Elites split into groups of five...one went left and one went right.
The original group of Covenant warriors had finally fallen, but before Kitt could ask what was next, five orbs of blue plasma collided with his face. The young greenhorn's face melted away, and Kitt was dead.
The sergeant was worried now. All three of his gunners were gone, and two Warthogs were vaporized. McRoy, Hutchins, Moslowski, Jecks, and now Kitt were gone.
Beard and Bentley were more experienced Marines, and they began firing short bursts of fire down the left ramp, and they were rewarded with two dead invisible Elites.
Eric, however, was becoming a mess.
He looked at his open med-kit, and was thinking of what to use, even though he knew everyone that he was thinking of using the med-kit on was dead.
"Heh...some team medic I am."
Eric growled and ran to the last remain Warthog. He hopped in the LAAG, and turned to the ridge to the installation's right.
"DIE!!! DIE DIE DIE!!!!"
Eric let loose a furious barrage of bullets, hoping to at least hit some of the invisible Elites.
And he did. Two of them fell.
However, he heard screams of pain as Benson threw a frag grenade at the Covenant forces to the right.
Turning to his left, Eric saw that Beard and Bentley were lying down in pools of their own blood.
Eric's face contorted to a scowl. He opened fire down the ramp as well, but in his rage, he did not notice that the last invisible Elite of the group that went left had snuck up behind him. And with one quick bash to his back, the medic's back broke, and he was enraged no more.
Benson was shocked...no, SCARED. He was all alone now. All members of his squad were dead.
Benson double-timed it for the front door, keeping his Assault Rifle ready to fire.
"Come and get me you friggin freaks."
A distortion in the air appeared in front of Benson.
He emptied a full clip on the Elite, and he paused to reload.
Last mistake he ever made.
When he looked back up, he saw two distorted messes in front of him, and behind him, he saw two more distorted figures.
"Well...you guys won this one."
He then pulled out a frag grenade.
"Hope you enjoy the underworld."
He then pulled the pin of the grenade.
Only one invisible Elite was caught in the explosion.
However, with Sergeant Benson's last few moments of living, his fuzzy vision made out a man in green armor, engaging the last invisible Elites.
Benson chuckled as he managed to say, "Kick their asses Chief..."
And with that, he thought nevermore.