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The Battle for Phi Delta: Chapter 3
Posted By: witelancer<witelancer@hotmail.com>
Date: 29 November 2003, 2:13 AM

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Chapter Three

April 18th, 2545

Inside Firebase Bravo

Buford turned the corner and spotted a lone Grunt. Hmmm... a little bit too convenient, thought the sergeant. He quickly slipped back around the hallway.

"Hold here. I’ll take care of this one," he told McAlister and Johnson.

Buford knew that the MA5B was too noisy, and so was the pistol. But his combat knife would take down the Grunt with nearly no noise footprint. Buford reached down and grabbed the razor-sharp knife from his boot holster. He balanced the knife in his hands, and then turned the corner again. He whirled, the knife in his hand, and stopped dead in his tracks.

The Grunt was dead, stomped on by a Brute. The ape-like behemoth had evidently just stepped on the Grunt in its haste to get to the opposite end of the hall. Buford could see the hunched shape of the Brute’s back at the way back of the hall, its furry shape tense and bent-over, as if the Covenant trooper was looking for something. Without a sound, Buford turned back to Johnson and McAlister.

"Get the Jackhammers, Calvin. There’s a Brute down there."

"Here, Sarge. Take 'em," replied Johnson as he handed Buford the twin-barreled rocket launcher.

Buford turned back to the hallway. As he stepped out into the corridor to fire the weapon, the Brute saw him. Time seemed to slow down as the Brute roared a cry of defiance and Buford, his jaw set, pulled the trigger on the launcher, sending one rocket down the hall. The Brute fired its plasma cannon, scoring the wall behind Buford with heat and spraying Buford with superheated metal, just as the rocket hit the Brute in the head. Buford sighed and wiped off the back of his ballistic armor with one gloved hand.

"Well, that was a messy one," he said. Grunts and Jackals poured around the corner, and all three Marines opened up with their assault rifles, mowing down the unprotected Grunts and only wounding the shielded Jackals.

"Fire in the hole!" shouted Johnson as he tossed a M9 HE grenade down the corridor. It bounced around and then exploded, tearing apart the Jackals and staining the wall behind them with purple blood and gore.

The three Marines had been exploring Firebase Bravo’s main buildings and underground tunnels for more than a day now. They had found no survivors, but they had seen the work of the Covenant—UNSC corpses littered all over the ground, dimples of 7.62mm bullet holes piercing Covenant corpses—and they had fought off numerous attacks. The Marines had started their journey in the barracks of the base, and they had continued to advance through the base, taking out Covenant left and right.

By the time they had gotten to the base’s underground tunnel system, they had been exhausted. The three Marines had slept in shifts, with two of them sleeping and one on guard. Thus, they had continued on their way to the base’s command center.

McAlister took point and advanced down the hall. She came to a fork in the tunnel and heard a firefight going on down the right fork. "Sarge, there’s something going on down there," she said.

"I hear it, too," said Buford. "Let’s check it out. Johnson—watch our backs."

The Marines advanced, with McAlister pressing ahead, Buford in the middle, and Johnson warily watching their backs. McAlister turned the corner and walked straight into the middle of a raging battle between Covenant troops and the remnants of Firebase Bravo’s Marine detachment. 7.62mm rounds shot from the UNSC troops ravaged the suicidal charges that the Grunts performed. Plasma fire erupted from many of the Covenant weapons, casting shadows on the wall and usually scarring the wall behind the UNSC troops. McAlister and Buford opened up on the Covenant troops’ flank, while Buford readied the Jackhammers.

Grunts and Elites flew everywhere, torn apart by the barrage. Buford and McAlister strafed and crouched, firing clip after clip. Johnson ran around the corner and fired their last two Jackhammers, wincing from the recoil. The rockets streaked ahead and blasted apart the Covenant gaggle of troops. Clean-up took about five minutes, with one Grunt refusing to die even after fourteen rounds of 7.62 hit it in the chest. Buford crushed its skull with the butt of his rifle.

Eight battle-weary Marines approached the three, carrying their assault rifles. "Who are you guys?" asked their leader, a corporal dressed in battle fatigues and a set of well-worn Marine armor.

"We’re from Firebase Charlie... sent here to 'rescue’ you, I guess. But our Pelicans went down at the Main Gate. We’re in just as bad shape as you guys," answered Buford.

"Well.. I suppose that no one else is coming, right?"

"We saw so many bodies on the way in. It doesn’t make sense that anyone would be alive—we only saw a few bootprints from the Pelicans to the doors."

"Well, I guess we’re screwed then, Sergeant."

"I like your style of thinking, Corporal. What exactly happened here, though?" asked Buford, giving a tight-lipped grin.

"Well, Sergeant, the Covenant attacked our base at about 0700 hours yesterday. We lost a lot of guys when they smashed their way into the living quarters—those Brutes can go right through our walls. We lost control of the Command Center and we couldn’t send radio messages to anyone, so we were hoping that someone would show up."

"All right. How hard would it be to get into the Command Center for five minutes? That’s all McAlister here needs," said Buford, gesturing to the Private.

McAlister laughed. "Well.. more like fifteen, actually."

"Well, we could try to storm it—but how would we get out?"

"I have no idea, son. But it’s the only thing we can do," said Buford with grim determination.

"All right. That sounds like a better plan than dying here in these tunnels. We’ve lost over fifty men since we escaped from the Command Center, but we can take it back for half an hour, if we get some more heavy weapons."

"Sounds good. Which way is it now to the Command Center?" asked Buford.

"We’ll take point," said the Corporal.

"All right."

The fourteen Marines made their way through the room, wary of any Covenant ambushers who might have crept up on them during the conference. The Marines then exited the room, proceeding to sneak along a long corridor scarred with bullet holes, corpses, and empty weapons.


Four hours later

Buford called for a halt. "There’s something fishy about this," he said.

"Yeah, something’s not right," added Johnson. "I don’t feel good at all about this."

Suddenly, a group of Commando Elites leaped out of the wall, and the battle was joined. Screaming curses at the top of their lungs, the Marines opened fire.