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Mist: Chapter 3
Posted By: Winters<patpan04@yahoo.com>
Date: 1 February 2005, 4:46 PM

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by Winters
Chapter 3: Sniper

3rd Squad, from the 503rd Marine Division. Currently on patrol.

"Hey! Sniper! Up front!"

There was no answer.

Irritated, the sergeant yelled out again. "Damnit, Wellings, get up here!"

"Already am, sir!"

Sergeant Donald Paccone almost jumped in surprise, but he quickly caught it and managed to reduce it to a stiffening of his muscles at the back of his neck. He turned to face the girl garbed in a ghillie suit and holding a customized S2AM sniper rifle.

"Private," He growled, "what have I told you about doing that?"

The sniper saluted and yelled, "Sorry sir! Won't do it again, sir!"

"Don't give me that candy-ass talk! Get up there! There may be a Covvies up there and I don't want body parts flying if there is!" Paccone pointed up the fog-shrouded ridge. "I want you to recon that hill and see what's up there. And don't get spotted."

Private Samantha Wellings gave Paccone one of her sickeningly sweet smiles. She knew it had to infuriate the Sergeant.

"Yes sir!"

Sam darted off into the forest and met up with her spotter, Private Leon Carter. Sam just called him "Leo", since "Leon" just sounded silly, and the fact that Leo hated his full name.

Leo looked at Sam glumly and said, "Hey Sam, I wouldn't be messing with the Sergeant, you know. As I recall, this is your first actual combat mission."

"Yeah? Well until you nab a second mission under your belt, I'll just take your advice with a grain of salt." Sam retorted.

Like Sam called Leon "Leo", Leo often called Samantha "Sam", as her full name was a mouthful to say..

"Oh, I've been skewered the by the almighty Sam! Now I'll take seven hours to reevaluate my life." He said with a sarcastic edge.

"Cut it out, Leo." She said as she smacked his helmet. " Lets see if your spotting skills are as good as you think they are. Sarge says there might be a Shade around here."

Leo took out his SharpSight and began setting it up. The SharpSight T4 was a scope specially made for spotters working with snipers. It had a nearly 200x zoom capability along with multiple sight functions including infrared, nightvision, and electromagnetic. The only reason why the thing was never mounted on a rifle was because of its size and weight, both of which rivaled that of a light machine gun.

While Leo was busy mounting the SharpSight on its small tripod, Sam went prone and scanned the surrounding area for potential movement.

"See anything?"

"Um, lets see..." Leo played around with some switches and swiveled the SharpSight around a little. "I'm getting some unusual heat readings from that hilltop about twenty degrees to your right."

Sam shifted a little to comply with his instructions. Sure enough, she caught a bit of movement on the hilltop and muttered, "Holy shit. How many?"

"If I'm reading this right," Leo cycled through several more sight functions. "about five Elites, seven Jackals, and around twenty four Grunts, give or take a squad. Oh, and they've a got Shade pointed straight down the ridge."

Sam put her scope on maximum zoom. On the hill, she could make out the barrel of a Shade turret.

"Leo, radio the Sarge. Tell him what we've got up here." She then started setting up for a shot.

Leo looked at her. "You're actually going for it?"

Still setting up her rifle, Sam replied, "If I need to, yes."

Sam waited for a few seconds as Leo got a reply from Paccone.

"Sarge says to wait until he gets the rest of the squad set up."

A sharp crack filled the entire valley.

Twenty Miles Away...

Lieutenant Karla Wellings ran up to the front of the Warthog formation. For some reason, the lead units abruptly stopped, nearly causing the entire convoy to crash end for end.

"This better be good, Williams. Your oh so great driving nearly got us off the road."

"Uhhh, El Tee, we've hit a little snag in our route."

Karla raised an eyebrow. "Snag?"

"Yeah." Williams pointed farther down the road. "Apparently, the maps we've got don't show that giant fucking Covvie base in the middle of the road!"

Karla took a closer look and did indeed see movement down the road.

"See kids?" Karla got back to her Warthog and grabbed her rifle. "Crap like this is exactly what happens when you go on a mission with absolutely no intel!"

Williams broke in again, "Um, there's more, El-Tee." The Marine pointed further down the crater. Wellings squinted and could barely make out the shape in the mist...

"My god, what the hell is that?"

"That is supposed to be our objective." After a second of thought, he added in weakly, "Guess the Covvies beat us to it."

Wellings muttered. "Son of bitch..."

Her driver looked up. "What was that, ma'am?"

"Nothing." She got on the radio with Williams again. "Anything else?"

"Yeah. Looks like the structure is surrounded by, oh... a thousand Covvies... at least." The tone of his voice suggested he was making a comment on the weather, rather than describing a numerically superior enemy force.

"Great, more targets." Said one of the Marines.

Williams continued, "I would also like to point out that they have a lot, and I mean a LOT of heavy artillery and weapons emplacements scattered around their perimeter."

"That's why we call in a little air support." Karla said as she began dialing in a special frequency on her radio.

Willaims just stared blankly. "Huh?"

Still on the radio, Karla replied, "As I recall, Firebase Delta always keeps at least two Longswords hot and ready to go, for situations like these."

Williams finally caught on and smiled. "Yes ma'am! What are you going to tell them?"

"I'm telling them the Covvies captured an ONI facility. That should get their attention."

"And what do we do?" Williams inquired.

"I want second and third squads to drive around the crater and be prepared the flank the Covvies. Fourth squad goes in from behind, and first down the front. We attack on all sides. And please remember to use the forest lip to cover your movement." She waited for a few seconds to confirm the airstrike request and continued with her orders. "Once the Longswords finish their strafing runs, the moment they hit their afterburners and speed home, we show the Covvies that the groundpounders are a lot worse than those Navy flyboys could ever be."

A mile away...

A lone little creature wandered through the forest. This creature knew that it was called a Flood. The Flood creature seemed insignificant. It was no more than a little sack of flesh and tentacles, but inside, brewed a dark, sinister, and ancient entity. Though it was shackled due to the Flood drone's tiny brain, it managed to imprint one thought in the Drone's mind.

The entity did not know why, as it was limited by the small brainpower of the drone, but it knew that it wanted revenge on something. But to do that, it needed a suitable body. The wildlife around the forest provided excellent sustenance, but none where adequate to suit its needs. No, it needed something bigger and better. It remembered its escape just days ago, in the bowels of that structure, and those creatures that released and subsequently destroyed its brethren. It thought back to its escape and remembered one particular creature that it caught a glimpse of.

Yes... that body will do.