The Battle for Phi Delta: Chapter Four (revised edition)
Posted By: witelancer<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 1 January 2004, 7:01 PM
Author's note: When I originally submitted this story, this chapter was kind of weak (at least the ending), so I added a bit.
1800 Hours, April 18th, 2545
Inside a corridor of Firebase Bravo
Buford wheeled, firing his MA5B and screaming at the top of his lungs, "Johnson—the Jackhammers!" Shell casings shot from the rifle as if they were possessed and had a life of their own as Buford emptied his last magazine of 7.62mm ammo. He cursed and reached down, pulling his sidearm out of its holster and crouching. The Elites continued to spray plasma fire like water, hosing down the Marines. The Corporal who had met Buford a few minutes back was on the ground, his face burnt off by an Elite's accurate fire.
The rattle of automatic weapons fire continued as the Marines desperately sought cover in the sparsely furnished corridor. Buford and McAlister hid behind an abandoned cart of power cells and reloaded their weapons. Wordlessly, the two Marines sprung out from behind the Cart, firing as they leapt. McAlister fired her rifle, catching two Elites in the chest with 7.62mm rounds. Buford finished them off with a barrage of pistol rounds, and then caved their skulls in with the butt of their pistols.
Other Elites, shielded by camouflage generators, were harder to kill. An unfortunate Marines looked around and lowered his weapon just as a camouflaged Elite smashed his head in with the butt of his plasma rifle, killing him instantly. All the surviving Marines turned, hosing the air near the private's falling body with 7.62 and 12.7 rounds.
The Elite snarled as the rounds hit him, and then he fell to the ground, purple ichor spouting from three chest wounds. Buford took stock and looked over his Marines. The Corporal was dead, along with three of his troops, leaving Buford with ten Marines under his command. They were desperately low on the 7.62mm ammo they needed for their assault rifles, and they only had four Jackhammer missiles and two launchers. The room was coated in human and alien blood, with bullet holes all over the place and plasma scoring on many of the human bodies' armor.
Buford gathered the Marines together and addressed them. "We were lucky that time," said the sergeant, while field-stripping his pistol. "We need to get to the Command Center fast, because I know that our little group here can't take much more of this. We won't last long with all these ambushes."
"That's right, sir," said Johnson, nodding emphatically. His armor was scarred with three plasma burns, and he had been lucky not to have received a serious hit.
"Well, let's go, Marines."
"Aye, sir," they echoed back.
The group of ten battle-weary Marines proceeded down the hall, nerves on edge. Every shadow seemed to have the angular head of an Elite; every splatter of motor oil looked like Grunt blood. But their journey continued without incident—no Covenant troops attacked them for more than three hours.
Suddenly, McAlister brought all of the Marines to a stop. "Do you hear that?" she asked.
"Yeah, I do," replied the Marine behind her in line.
"Let's proceed with caution," said Buford. "McAlister, keep your eyes and ears wide open. That applies to all of us, actually."
"Let's go," she whispered.
About the same time
On board the Minotaur
"Sir, we have radio contact with Firebase Charlie," said a JG as he ran frantically around the bridge, trying to relay messages to the Marines on Phi Delta.
"Good. Put it on the main speakers, Ensign," said Cole as he gestured toward an Ensign seated at communications.
"Yes sir. Just a second," said the officer.
The radio gave only static for a few seconds, but then a clear signal got through. "This is Firebase Charlie to any UNSC forces—we're taking heavy enemy fire and need reinforcements immediately! Please, send help!" blared the radio.
"Hold on, Charlie. This is Vice Admiral Cole, on board the Minotaur. We'll send you some ODSTs."
"Acknowledged, Admiral. Please try to make it quick. Firebase Charlie out."
The radio signal cut off, leaving the Admiral with nothing but static to deal with. He turned to the ship's Marine liaison officer. "Well, let's prep the ODSTs. We've got a base to save, groundpounder."
The liaison officer turned away from the Admiral and motioned to another Lieutenant. "Send the orders, Lieutenant. I want some troops on the ground ASAP."
One hour later
Command Center, Firebase Bravo
Buford fired three rounds into a Grunt, finishing off the Covenant inside the Control Room. The Marines had stormed the Command Center with no casualties. It's too easy, thought Buford. But, I'll take whatever I can get, so long as we get out of here. "McAlister, how's it going?" he asked the private, who was hunched over the subspace radio.
"Not too bad, Sergeant... We should be in contact in about five minutes or so, give the planet's rotation."
"Sir—the doors aren't locking! The main computer is offline!" exclaimed one of the Marines who Buford had met earlier.
"Well, I guess we're screwed then," said Buford.
"Not necessarily, Sarge. I can boot up the computers," said Johnson, lugging a Jackhammer launcher into position to cover the door.
"Great. Why don't you do that—it look like we might be here a while. Everyone, settle in—we're going to sit tight until we get some help here."
"Aye, sir. We'll shore up the defenses."
April 19th, 2545
On board the Minotaur
"Sir, we've launched the ODST drop pods," said the JG.
"Excellent. Move the ship into a geosynchronous orbit—we'll take up position around the planet," said Cole, waiting for the good news from Phi Delta.
The Minotaur moved into position, her titanium hull armor blindingly bright in the sunlight, and she orbited the planet, waiting for the results of her attack.
One hour later
Alpha Base (UNSC Marine HQ)
The ODSTs were reeling, their formations shot up and disorganized. The burning hulks of Warthog LRVs littered the battlefield. Hundreds of dead Marines lay on the ground, the charring of plasma weapons evident on their corpses. The rattle of automatic weapons fire echoed across the plain.
Columns of smoke rose from Alpha Base itself. The Headquarters had been utterly demolished by a massive Covenant strike force. The prefabricated bawe smoldered while a few Pelicans ferried the rare survivor to obit. The Helljumpers were pushed back by thousands of Grunts as the Covenant closed in. The Pelicans returned—but by that time, only a few ODSTs were left. The smoking corpses of half a battalion of ODSTs littered the battlefield.
Cole shook his head. "Goddamnit!" he shouted. The Admiral pounded his fist on the table in front of him. "All right, get the last of the troops in. Initiate the Slipspace engine as soon as we're—"
"Admiral! We have radio contact with Firebase Bravo!" shouted an ensign.
"Scratch those orders," snapped the grizzled old officer. "I want those survivors up here too—we don't leave anyone behind."