The Battle for Phi Delta: Chapter 5
Posted By: witelancer<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 2 December 2003, 7:01 PM
April 19th, 2545
Command Center, Firebase Bravo
Phi Delta V
The Command Center was full of broken glass and broken bodies. Covenant corpses littered the floor, staining the metal panels with blue and purple blood. Shell casings and empty plasma weapons lay on the ground amid shards of plasteel viewport material. The computer console sat lifeless, with dimples of 7.62mm round impacts and the blackened scars of plasma impacts plastered all over their faces. McAlister sat crouched in front of the radio, waiting to establish radio contact with Firebase Charlie, but she only got static.
Suddenly, the radio blasted a message at her. "Sergeant Buford—is that you?" asked an unknown speaker.
"No, this is McAlister," she replied. "Who am I talking to?"
"This is the Minotaur," said the radio. "Where is Buford?"
"He's here, but he's busy. We're holed up in Bravo's Command Center. We need assistance on the double."
"All right. Let me check with the Admiral. If everything goes over well, you'll have some Pelicans on your doorstep soon."
"Great. Thanks a bunch, Minotaur."
Just as McAlister cut the signal and turned to tell Buford, the Covenant attacked. Elites led the charge, running down the hallway and firing their plasma rifles. Grunts and Jackals followed, hitting the Marines with a barrage of needles and plasma fire. The Marines returned fire, emptying their last 7.62mm clips. Buford grabbed a plasma rifle from a dead Elite and opened up. The weapon's output overloaded one of the Jackals' shields, opening a hole in the Covenant defense. One of the other Marines stood to toss a grenade, but took a plasma bolt in the midsection. Johnson, showing extraordinary reflexes, caught the grenade in the air and managed to toss it at the Covenant. The HE explosive tore apart the Covenant formation, splattering the walls with blood.
The squad's medic ran to the fallen soldier, desperately clutching a first aid kit. The poor Marine was bleeding out, his intestines strewn out all over the floor from the impact of the energy bolt. The beleaguered Medic shook his head, got out the self-sealing biofoam, and got to work. The Marine bled out within minutes; there was nothing the medic could do. Meanwhile, the Marines fell back, firing the last of their UNSC ordnance and then appropriating Covenant weaponry.
One by one, the Marines were killed. Soon, only Buford, Johnson, McAlister, and two of Bravo's Marines were left. They backed into a corner of the large room, firing what weapons they had. Grunts and Jackals fell within twenty feet of their position, torn apart by plasma weapons. Elites' energy shields allowed them to fare slightly better, but they went down as well. Buford cursed as his stolen plasma rifle's power core ran out of energy. He tossed the weapon to the ground and drew his sidearm. If I go down, he angrily thought to himself, I'm taking those Covenant with me!
With a shout, Buford fired his M6D, nailing three Grunts and taking down an Elite. Johnson unleashed a charged blast from a plasma pistol, tossing several Covenant corpses to the ground, their armor scorched and warped from the energy weapon's output. McAlister screamed as a plasma bolt missed her by inches; then she fired the last 12.7mm round in her pistol's clip, capping a red-armored Elite in the head and killing it. Suddenly, the Command Center's main viewport shattered. Thousands of 70mm chain gun rounds penetrated the plasteel viewport and slaughtered the Covenant troops within. Once the barrage of heavy rounds had ceased, the five Marines got up and ran to the viewport.
A Pelican dropship awaited them, its back ramp open and the door gunner manning a smoking 70mm chain gun on the ramp.
"Well, don't just sit there, Marines. Let's move!" shouted the gunner.
Buford, embarrassed to stare at the Pelican, leaped from the Command Center's shattered viewport to the ramp of the Pelican. As he strapped himself in, he thought to himself. I hope this Pelican flight goes smoother than the last one did.
The dropship pulled away from the Firebase just as a new wave of Covenant troops stormed the Command Center. Yips and barks could be heard as Grunts tried to bring the dropship down, but the Covenant troops' efforts were in vain. The Pelican shot away from the base into the sunset.
A few hours later
On board the Minotaur
Buford stepped out the Pelican into the Minotaur's expansive docking bay. The docking bay was full of Pelican dropships and C709 Longsword fighters, as well as the crewmen needed to run such an armada. Technicians ran around, dragging carts laden with the 70mm ammunition that the Pelicans needed for their weapons. Others armed Longsword interceptors and launched them into space. He turned to Sergeant Madison, the soldier who had brought them off Phi Delta V in the Pelican.
"So.. what's going on?" he asked, bewildered by all the activity.
"Well, the Admiral wants all UNSC personnel off of Phi Delta V. We've evacuated nearly all of the civilians, and we've saved at least a hundred Marines. Then, we're going to get out of the system and jump to Reach."
"What? What about Phi Delta?" questioned Buford, angry that the Admiral was giving up without a fight.
"I'm sorry, Sergeant, but the Admiral decided that it would be impossible to save the planet. Firebase Charlie and HQ were completely destroyed by the Covenant—what hope did we have of saving the planet?"
Buford knew that the Admiral was right, but he didn't want to accept it. He fumed with anger momentarily, and then softened his expression.
"Well, I suppose the Admiral's right. Let's get out of here," he said as he wheeled away from the Pelican, with McAlister and Johnson close behind.
Within five hours of Cole leaving the system, the Covenant attacked Phi Delta V again. However, the UNSC had completely abandoned the planet, leaving only the permanently placed equipment—such as the orbital defense stations.
McAlister, Buford, and Johnson all escaped to fight another day. However, their lives were to be short and violent. Buford died a few months later, when the Pelican he was on was shot down by a Banshee. McAlister died within hours of Buford when she was killed by a Covenant special forces team. Johnson survived for seven more years, but he was eventually glassed along with the rest of his division when Reach fell.
Thus, the Covenant and Admiral Cole's fleet played a game of cat-and-mouse in the Colonies. Countless Marines died, and the Human-Covenant war continued.
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