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Halo: Standing Firm Part II
Posted By: Xzilen<superman_adam@hotmail.com>
Date: 27 November 2002, 1:54 am

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1220 Nov 16th 2552.
On Surface of Planet Ralon III.

Groundside, hundreds of soldiers were scrambling about. Countless amounts of training had led them to get some semblance of order, even in the situation that now plagued them.
      The reactors for the orbital MAC guns and astrophysics library were heavily defended, the later even having high explosives attached to destroy it if the Covenant were to get inside. The navigational data had already been destroyed but in an attempt to make an ambush point on the Covenant, they had still made it look as though it was still intact.
      Other places yielded protection, camps that had been set up before were occupied and Civilians were being prepared to evacuate if needed.
      Among the soldiers on the ground was Kyan Tracknowski, a man who had been fighting against the Covenant for four years of his life. At only seventeen he had been in his first engagement with the Covenant as a Stinger tank driver.
      Now a Scorpion tank commander, he lined up just behind a tree line on a hill near one the entrance to one of the underground fusion reactors, camo net masking his presence.
      Beside him lined up twelve other Scorpion tanks, and four older modeled Stinger models. A few jungle warthogs lay about, two with missile launchers replacing the usual M-41 LAGG Chaingun on the back.
      Alongside were many marines and army troops, with a varied armament. Some lay down flat with the new battle rifle, but even more kept to their MA5B assault rifles, a few with grenade launchers in place of the flashlight, not wanting to get rid of a weapon they knew as well as a long time lover. Still, others had Jackhammer launchers and a few perched themselves in trees with sniper rifles. A few soldiers even brought shotguns in case the covies charged at them.
      All marines carried the M6D .50 Caliber pistol with a 2x smart link scope, and frag grenades.
      If any soldiers were to survive an engagement, it would probably be these guys. Another group was out directly protecting the fusion reactor, they had LRV's to try to flee in, but they were really there to make sure that the Covenant didn't find it "too quiet" and suspect the ambush in place for them.
      Kyan scanned the area around him, recognizing marines and other army soldiers. He knew that today, many people would die but he only prayed that the deaths wouldn't be human.

      "Sir! Covenant forces have exited slipspace three hundred thousand kilometers out" A crewman shouted as cool as he could.
      Captain Carl Lipton almost wanted to backhand the man but restrained himself, understanding the guy would get right back in line as quickly as he had fallen out of it.
      "Noted Corporal. Nillenway, open a channel to the other ships."
      Nillenway nodded and promptly carried out his order.
      Lipton looked at the view screen hastily, analyzing what he saw. Fleetcom had underestimated the Covenant numbers by three. A cruiser, two destroyers, and four frigates made their way towards Ralon III. Lipton hurriedly made his decision on plan of attack.
      Flicking on his comm. channel he ordered "Orbital MAC Guns, target a Destroyer each, all ship fire MAC guns at the Cruiser."

D       D
F   C   F
  F   F  

      Lipton swallowed hard. The destroyers and cruiser were farther back in the lines than the Frigates, but he knew they were countless time over more deadly. He knew it may not take THAT many MAC rounds to destroy the cruiser but he figured some shots may miss and they couldn't take a second salvo from the cruiser.
      "All ships, fire on my mark."
      Plasma started charging up alongside the Covenant ships, most notably on the cruiser and destroyers. The Covenant ships also released their single ship fighters.
      Dozens of tear shaped Seraphs streaked towards the human ships. A few squadrons of Longswords moved out to intercept them.
      "Ready..." Lipton gave one more second for the targets to get closer. "Mark!"
      The Lazarus bucked lightly as four MAC rounds were hurled from the ship. The Lancer launched four heavier rounds while the Reagan and the Whisperwind each threw out two. Two super Mac rounds shot out and raced at the destroyers.
      The Covenant responded by launching their plasma. The remote plate was immediately brought up to shield the human ships and guns from the Salvo. A second later the Super MAC rounds reached their targets. One destroyer got hit directly in the center of its bow, an "eye shot" as many in the UNSC referred to it as. The round tore through the front of the ship and made its way out the back. The other destroyer was hit directly in the hull and spun out of control, back away from its comrades. The ship based MAC shells hit next, the Lazarus's coming first. Two were complete misses, but the other two hit, bouncing off the shields. Following that the Reagan's rounds came, hitting, taking down the shield and damaging the hull slightly. The Whisperwind's rounds missed, but one hit a Frigate in its path. Finally, three of the heavy MAC rounds launched from Lancer hit the unshielded Covenant cruiser. One tore right through it, gutting it, while the other two slammed into the ship hard.
      The cruiser tumbled and rolled, secondary explosions overwhelming the craft.
      The plasma arrived shortly thereafter, ramming into the shield plate, enveloping it like a flare, melting the plates and making the metal deformed slag.
      Seraph fighters and Longswords were exploding all around, hardly noticeable to anyone other than the pilots out there in the single person ships.
      The frigates continued getting closer, acting as though they didn't care about their losses. Plasma again roiled up on the sides of the ships,, and drops ships and landing pods were launched.
      "Reagan and I will take the damaged frigate, Lancer and Whisperwind, you guys take the one to the far right. Orbital MAC Guns, target the ones to the back." Lipton said with tightness in his voice.
      The other ships acknowledged the order and pivoted to carry it out.
      "Now remember guys, break off immediately after firing, you don't want to be standing still so that the Plasma may get you like a hunter gets a sitting duck."
      The Covenant let loose their plasma again, this time it was aimed at the Super MAC guns.
      MAC Guns went off again. The super MAC rounds sped towards their targets, cut through their targets like a butcher's knife through hut butter. The ship based MAC rounds soon thereafter reached their targets. The ship targeted by the Reagan and Lazarus blew apart with five Mac rounds hitting it. The other covenant frigate took only two hits and managed to survive.
      Lipton watched in horror as the plasma soared towards the MAC Guns, for he knew that if they were to fall, Ralon III was a lost cause.
      Two dozen Longswords decided not to let that happen though. They pulled up height wise and created a screen in front of the plasma. Lipton immediately recognized what they were doing... giving Ralon III a fighting chance. He tried to remain stoic as he saluted.
      No human eyes witnessing the events could help but wince as the Plasma impacted against the fighter screen, destroying every one of the ships, even going through it, though extremely weak. It hit the MAC guns but did little damage at all.
      In anger, the MAC Guns spat their response, a two round salvo that was two times over what was needed to destroy the Covenant frigate. The frigate, like the fighter pilots, faded from existence.
      Turning his attention to the Covenant landing craft, Lipton ordered the Lancer to help three squadrons of Longswords mop up the remaining Seraph's with its AI controlled auto cannons. As good as his ship's gunners were, Lipton knew that the AI on the Destroyer would prove to be much better. Ordering the other two remaining Squadrons of Longswords, along with the Reagan and Whisperwind, Lipton concentrated on taking the craft out.
      "Mallen, arm archer missile pods A1-A4 and target the cluster of dropships at zero bearing two point four. Fire when ready." Mallen nodded and after quickly making a few calculations shot off the archer missiles.
      "Missiles away sir."
      Thirty-six archer missiles soared from the Lazarus on a race to reach the Covenant ships. Plums of fire appeared as the missiles found targets. Five Covenant ships started to fall to the planets surface; all fire already extinguished by the vacuum of space.
      The attacks on the landing craft continued, Longswords flew by shooting their missiles and their auto guns roared as they made passes on landing craft. The Reagan and Whisperwind followed Lazarus's lead letting loose Archer missiles as well. Over a hundred landing craft and dropships were destroyed but still, many got through.
      "Those frigates must have been designated for troop transport, hell our Frigates don't even carry an eighth of what those did." An Ensign commented with some need to state the obvious.
      Lipton let loose a deep breath and after pausing for a moment he broke the silence. "Nillenway, inform the Marines... they have company."

1305 Hours November 16th 2552 Military Calendar.
On Planet Ralon III near fusion reactor I.

      Kyan grunted as helped push up the last barrier. He had left his tank to help the Marines and army men set up camouflaged barriers to provide cover if and when the Covenant attacked. He was relieved that the cities had been evacuated so orderly, but disturbed about the fact that the Covenant had been shown via satellite transmissions, to be moving towards Fusion Generator I.
      That either meant a traitor or the Covenant had some way of telling where energy feeds were coming from. He pushed both thoughts from his head.
      As he climbed back into his tank he sighed. He wasn't even afraid any longer. The human race had never come to appreciate life until recent years, but it was almost as if it was too late.
      None the less, Kyan wasn't going to allow the Covenant to take the Human race down without him kicking and screaming the whole way.
      He recalled former holy wars. Ones done between humans though. A particular incident that jumped to his mind had been a group of radical Muslims attacking America, still the heart of Earth, taking down what had been trade centers that stood proud, and even damaging the military center of operations. This had all been done even though the majority of America believed in the same God but had a different book.
      All this death because their "god's" will it Kyan thought. Well why don't we do them a favor and send them to where their god's belong.
      It was stupid to fight and destroy another race because of religion.
      Still, Kyan held the cross around his neck closer to his breastplate. His god didn't ask him to commit genocide, but he himself would love to spend from now through his golden years methodically snapping the necks of one covie after another.
      "Satcom to team F27, Covenant contact imminent, be prepared" Kyan heard over his radio.
      There were no good lucks spoken. There was no need for it. They knew that they had to perform their duty and any personalizing may take away from the ice cold precision they would have to keep. Once again, Kyan sighed... and waited.

      Up the hill came the first wave of Covenant. Grunts, the Covenant fodder that they never seemed to run out of.
      Armor piercing bullets immediately reached out to offer the first greeting, all seeking to be Death's messengers to the Grunt's.
      Normally, firing and alerting the people in the back that they were to meet resistance was a bad idea. But the marines were to look as though they were in too much panic to think.
      Some grunts dropped and a couple more got hit, but the rest stormed up the hill in a mad charge.
      A grenade launcher thumped and a few grunts were thrown like rag dolls into the air when the 60mm HE round landed in their midst. The marines started falling back, firing their weapons as they did so. A few more grunts dropped, but by then, the vulture like Jackals had started to lay down cover, using their shields as protectors for the forces of the Covenant army. Green plasma and needles flew through the air in return fire and Marines started dropping. The rest ran and hopped into the passenger or Gunner seats of Warthogs. Any wounded marine who couldn't make it on their own were left behind. Many of those waited for the enemy to get close before dropping a grenade at their feet, taking themselves and some enemy with them. Chain guns chattering, throwing bullets at the Covenant.
      Wraith tanks and ghosts hovered up the hill.
      Kyan tensed a little bit. He saw what looked like Covenant "Elites" and the gigantic "Hunters" ONI had only recently classified those races, and it was now time for his team to spring into action...

      Part III will be coming soon... Hope you enjoyed it. Once again, hope to see feedback posted thanks!