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Johnson's War (vignette/drabble)
Posted By: witelancer<witelancer@hotmail.com>
Date: 17 January 2004, 2:10 AM

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[Author's note: I wanted to write some Halo fiction, and I had to develop everyone's favorite Private Johnson from The Battle for Phi Delta, so here goes. This may be my last submission for a while, so miss me lots. :-) ]

1500 Hours, April 17th, 2540
On Omega Minor, an Inner Colony World
Bravo Company's Base

"Where are you, Smith?" asked the captain, roughly enunciating each syllable. If the harshness in his tone had been tangible, Smith would have been eviscerated long ago. Instead, Smith was nowhere to be found. The captain knew that he was probably off pissing in some hole in the ground, like the drunk guy usually was. "Damn it, where is he?"

"I don't know, sir," responded one of his men, Private Johnson. The soldier clutched an MA5B assault rifle with both hands, nervously clicking the bolt back and forth. The captain knew that Johnson was fresh meat, having just been sent from Reach two weeks ago, straight up out of boot camp. "He could be in the barracks."

"Well, go find him, soldier," said the captain as he turned back to his viewport, which was made of tough bulletproof glass and was hardened against the plasma used by the Covenant. "I don't have all day to waste."

The captain smoothly extracted a cigarette from his belt, sighing as he lit the combustible. Although lighting combustibles was a violation of UNSC regulations on board naval vessels, it was commonplace amongst the UNSC Marine Corps, a considerably looser organization that prized real work and tangible results rather than live by a bunch of restrictive regulations.

"Yes sir," replied Johnson as he raised his rifle to port arms, saluted, and headed out the door. The captain glared after him—what kind of shit was the kid getting himself into now?

Without warning, the azure bolt of a Wraith tank's fireball filled the viewport in front of the captain's bunker. In a flash, all that remained of the captain and his bunker was a smoking ruin, complete with flash-fried body parts. The resulting boom echoed across the plain that comprised Bravo Company's temporary base. Banshee fighters added the howls of their engines to this clamor, shredding the morning silence.

The attack jolted the Marines of Bravo Company into immediate action. Johnson had been blasted into the ground by the shock wave of the Wraith's attack. When he regained consciousness, fifteen minutes had passed. The clatter of automatic weapons fire could be heard as the Marines attempted to hold off the enemy. Banshees screamed overhead, incinerating a few of the soldiers as they passed. Wraiths continued to launch plasma bolts into the compound, devastating the few structures that comprised the base.

Johnson knew that the only hope for Bravo Company lay in its five Scorpion MBTs. The tanks were kept in an auxiliary garage, nondescript and ill-maintained on the outside. The decrepit appearance was the combination of two factors—the laziness of Bravo Company's Marine contingent and also the necessity of making the most valuable targets the least visible to the enemy. He got to his feet and searched for his rifle.

What remained of the high-powered assault weapon lay in shards about ten feet away, complete with its own miniature inferno as the 7.62mm rounds used by the weapons were touched off by the heat of the battle. Popping noises could be heard as the ignition charges on the cartridges went off. "Screw it," muttered Johnson as he reached down and pulled a sidearm from the holster on his leg. The 12.7mm weapon was a real threat to the enemy when one faced Elites, the top-ranking members of the Covenant military. The top-mounted scope also made it a formidable sniper's weapon.

Then Johnson ran for cover behind the blackened remains of a Warthog LRV, where two wounded Marines lay on the ground, their chests blackened by plasma fire. They uttered groans and muttered curses as Johnson passed. "Sorry, guys," said the private, who was shocked at the utter depravity of the situation. The base was under attack—but there were no medics on duty?

The sound of a plasma bolt whistling past Johnson's head brought him to his senses. He whirled and fired off a full clip of the armor-piercing pistol rounds, utterly demolishing the head of a Grunt. The diminutive trooper fell to the ground, blue blood spurting from three wounds in its chest.

"Nice shot, soldier!" shouted a lieutenant that Johnson didn't know. "Over here, we've got some supplies"

Crouching and cursing, Johnson scuttled over to where the lieutenant stood, manning a 50mm chain gun from a fixed position. "We've got some Warthogs inbound," he said. "If we can hold off the Covies for a few more minutes, we're set."

"I know just what to do, sir. I will go take one of the Scorpion tanks and defend the base."

"You sure, Private? It's a mighty long way from here to the garage..."

"Positive, sir."

"All right. Take this," he said as he handed over a battered MA5B. "It won't do much for you, but it's gotta be better than that peashooter you've got there."

"Thank you, sir."

Johnson turned away from the Lieutenant's position and continued his journey, taking down the occasional Grunt that dared to attack him. He felt strangely calm in the midst of the hellish battle. Everything seemed to be moving in slow motion as he turned the corner of a prefabricated barracks structure. In front of him stood a cobalt-armored Elite.

The alien barked a few words in his guttural tongue as Johnson grabbed for one of the M9 HE grenades at his belt. As the Elite brought the weapon down into firing position, Johnson threw himself backwards and tossed the grenade. He waited for three long seconds and then heard the crump of the grenade as it exploded. With a cautious eye and a nervous trigger finger, he turned back around the corner.

The Elite was down, blue-purple blood ran from many shrapnel wounds. Johnson didn't expect the Elite to move in its state, but it managed to feebly raise the plasma rifle it still held in one mangled hand and aim for his head. Johnson frantically strafed to the left, trying to make himself a harder target, as he reloaded his pistol. Finally, the magazine slammed home with a clang that was audible to Johnson, if no one else.

Three armor-piercing rounds put the Elite out of its misery. Johnson sighed and continued to proceed down the path to the garage, searching for any hidden assailants. However, he reached the garage without incident. He entered the building through a massive hole in the side wall, where a plasma bomb from a Wraith had utterly devastated the garage. The treads of one Scorpion were visible through the gap in the prefabricated structure's walls.

"There's the jackpot," muttered the private to himself as he snuck inside the garage and found five Scorpion tanks in front of him.

Ten minutes later, one of the five tanks burst straight out through the garage's door, splintering the fiberplast door to shards before grinding its way down the base's well-worn paths. Finally, after what seemed an eternity to Johnson's much-abused mind, the temporary command post where the lieutenant had urged him on appeared in the distance.

With a scream, a Banshee roared overhead. The bright flourescent green trail of its fuel rod cannon's output slammed into the wall behind the tank, melting the composites that composed much of the tank's outer armor. Cursing, Johnson aimed the tank's cannon with the assistance of the computer—

--and scored a definite hit on the fighter, sending it spiraling out of the sky with a column of smoke at its tail. Johnson sent up a silent cheer as the fighter smacked into the ground. Then there was more good news. A fleet of Warthogs roared into Bravo Company's base, spitting 12.7mm autocannon rounds and devastating the remainder of the Covenant attackers. As Johnson stood up, cheering the 'Hog gunners on, he felt a certain sense of pride rise up within him.

I am a soldier, he said to himself.