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The Battle for Phi Delta: Part 1
Posted By: witelancer<witelancer@hotmail.com>
Date: 28 November 2003, 1:55 AM

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(I've posted this story again on my freewebs, www.freewebs.com/halotherecovery, so that you can read it with the pretty blue background.. just click on the link on the navbar.)

Chapter One
April 14th, 2545
On the surface of Phi Delta V
Heat radiated off of the barrel of the Warthog's 50mm chain gun. Sergeant George C. Buford took his hands off of the overheated gun's polymer grips and let the weapon cool off before firing again. The Warthog was nestled in a snowy clump of trees on Phi Delta V, an Inner Colony world under attack by the Covenant. Buford and his Warthog crew were firing at a large group of Grunts that were attacking Firebase Charlie, an outpost near the main Marine HQ on Phi Delta.
The squeals and grunts of the dying Covenant infantry could be heard for many yards. Buford gripped the gun again and started to fire, the massive recoil of the huge cannon slamming backwards into his shoulders. The squeal of one Grunt in particular stuck in his mind, a high-pitched squeal that ended with a nasty-sounding squelch as a 50mm round decapitated the Grunt.
Meanwhile, the other members of Buford's Warthog team were on the snow-covered ground, firing their sniper rifles. The crack of 14.5 mm rounds being fired echoed all over the valley. Shell casings coated the ground near the Warthog and rolled around. Buford and his troops continued to pick off Grunts, wincing as the powerful rounds from their weapons tore apart their adversaries. Bright blue blood stained the snow in front of the Grunts. Their keening cries continued to echo across the plain.
"Sergeant! Banshees at three o' clock!" screamed Private Johnson, a broad-shouldered, big-bellied heavy weapons specialist. Johnson jumped up and ran to the Warthog, dropping his SM02 sniper rifle behind him. He ducked down, emerging with a Jackhammer rocket launcher. The private pulled back the release handle on the launcher, firing a 102mm rocket that shot up through the tree cover, shaking snow off the heavily strained boughs of the trees above.
As the Covenant fighter roared overhead, the 102mm shaped charge smacked into its belly, causing the main engine to erupt in flame. The Banshee dropped like a stone, digging a long furrow behind itself as it crashed into the snow-covered plain. The burned corpse of a red-armored Elite fell out of the destroyed cockpit as the shell of an airframe finally ground to a halt. Johnson breathed a sigh of relief as another Marine in a different grove of pine trees brought down the other Banshee with the 50mm chain gun.
"Well, I guess it's back to business as usual, Sergeant," said Johnson as he picked up his sniper rifle once more and then assumed the prone position, sniping off an gold-armored Elite.
Three hours later
Marine Firebase Charlie
Phi Delta V
Buford sighed and took a seat on the back of the Warthog as Private McAlister, Buford's communications specialist and driver, spun the Warthog into the concrete garage. The floor was stained with melting snow, Covenant blood, and motor oil, lending the garage a very disrespectful appearance. The Warthog's powerful engine roared as McAlister accelerated for the last time, beating another Warthog to an open maintenance stall. The three Marines, McAlister, Johnson, and Sergeant Buford, hopped out of the Warthog's snow-covered chassis and proceeded to the power lift to the main part of Firebase Charlie.
The lift was full of other Marines, who were all shaking snow off of their ballistic armor. Many of the Marines sported plasma burns on their armor, for the battle had been fierce and not all of the Marine fire teams had been lucky enough to find sheltered positions like Buford's Warthog team. All of the Marines could hear the roars of the Pelican engines bringing in the wounded and the dead above them. It was a gripping reminder of how lucky the Marines in the lift were.
The battle on Phi Delta V had been going for about a week now. The Covenant had employed their usual tactics of attacking in space and dropping dropships, and then sitting back and waiting for the planetary defenses to be disabled. So far, the Covenant had only tried to overrun a few of the planet's defensive installations, choosing rather to wear down on the Marine garrison. Grunts and Jackals had mounted suicidal charge after charge, getting mowed down by the Firebase's mounted 50mm cannons. The battle today had been a rare one, with the humans ambushing the Grunts and winning. Usually, the Covies were waiting for human patrols so that they could utterly annihilate them in ambushes.
The lift's bell system dinged and the Marines filed out, with most of the soldiers heading for the armory, but some of them heading straight to the barracks. This armor is killing me, thought Buford. I'd be better off just taking my time and getting a few hour's good sleep than trying to sleep in this. Buford turned and strode down the hallway to the armory, while McAlister and Johnson took a right turn and headed for the barracks.
"Well... that was a change, for once," said McAlister to Johnson, her hair peeking out from underneath her helmet.
"Yeah, it was. It's so weird, taking the fight to the Covenant. I wonder what tomorrow will be like?"
"So... you going to the party tonight in the Briefing Room? Or are you going to sleep this off?" asked McAlister, as she took off her helmet and tucked it under her arm.
"Well.. I was going to go, but Sarge wants us up bright and early for morning patrol, remember?" said Johnson.
"That's right. I'm going straight to bed... my shoulders hurt from driving."
The two Marines continued down the hallway, and then took different paths to the men's and women's quarters.
"Well.. I'll see you tomorrow, then," said Johnson.
"All right. Sleep tight."
April 17th, 2545
Marine Firebase Bravo, approximately three hundred miles south of Charlie
On board a Pelican dropship
McAlister, Johnson, and Buford all nervously checked the bolts of their MA5B assault rifles as a Naval Lieutenant began to brief them on the situation at Firebase Bravo. The blood-red light of combat floods strobed the interior of the Pelican, lending the situation the appropriate amount of tension.
"As of 0900 hours, local time, we've been out of contact with Firebase Bravo," said the Lieutenant. "We know that a large group of Covenant infantry was seen in the vicinity a few days ago. Although we'd like to have faith in the brave Marines at Bravo, we have to assume the worst, people."
The lieutenant turned around, pacing with his hands behind his back.
"So... our orders are to scour Bravo for survivors, and then torch the place to make sure the Covenant don't get at the NAV database in the Control Room. Let's hope we're early enough," concluded the lieutenant.
The Marines continued their preparations, and suddenly music began to pour from the Pelican's speakers. It was the ancient national anthem of the United States. The lieutenant stopped pacing for a few seconds, and then spoke once more.
"So, Marines, are we ready?"
The whole Pelican responded in one vigorous shout. "YES SIR!"
"Good. Finish your prep, and then we'll be landing soon. Don't leave anything behind—this Pelican's got another load of Marines to pick up."
The Marines sat back and relaxed, their weapons ready and their harnesses secure. And then everything went straight to hell.
The Pelican shook violently and smoke began to pour from the wiring. "We're hit!" screamed the pilot. "I'll try to bring her down without a scratch, but brace yourselves!"
The Marines all gritted their teeth as the fuselage of the dropship began to shake and shudder. Components shot out of the Pelican's walls, and the lights went out. Finally, the dropship slammed into the ground, and everything went black.

(don't worry—they're not dead... but should I continue this series? What does everyone think?)