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"Just... dust and echoes."
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This project, Dwindling Flame, has either been cancelled, completed, or is totally inactive. Please refrain from editing or attempting to join it. Thank you.


Annual Award Best Collaboration This collaboration, Dwindling Flame, directed by Lordofmonsterisland, Matt-256, and The parkster, was voted as the Best Collaboration of 2011 in the Fourth Annual Halo Fanon Wikia Awards.


"I think about more than I forget. But I don't go around fire expectin' not to sweat."
Lil' Wayne
DWINDLING FLAME



Introduction

Reach has fallen, all outer colonies have been lost or forgotten. One thing now stands in the way between the Covenant and the total annihilation of the human race. Earth. The original home to the human race, this final stronghold is under attack by the Prophet of Regret's fleet.

While Master Chief Petty Officer Sierra-117 pursues the Prophet of Regret onboard the In Amber Clad, Earth is threatened by the Covenant juggernaut as more and more fleets pore into the Sol System. This attack on humanity's birthplace presses its defenders to give their very last ounce of strength, skill and determination as they are unified by the immediate need to ensure mankind's survival as a species. And so, humanity fight against its seemingly inevitable fate, defying the alleged instruments of the gods, protecting their dwindling flame from being extinguished...

This is that desperate fight, the story of how humanity survived against the odds during the long weeks between the Master Chief's departure and his return.

Details

  • Location: Earth
  • Date: October 23rd, 2552
  • Official Name: Operation TRICERION
    • Operation HOLY FATHER
    • Operation DIVINE SON
    • Operation ETERNAL SPIRIT
  • Factions:
    • UNSC
    • Covenant Separatists
    • Covenant Loyalists
    • Forerunners
    • The Flood

Operation HOLY FATHER

  • Lead Author: Parkster
  • Specific Location: Australia, Oceania
    • Sydney, New South Wales
    • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Northern Territory
  • Overview: The Covenant have taken over Sydney and the Sydney Orbital Elevator to shuttle supplies and equipment down to the surface. While a lack of UNSC Naval support causes the orbital station to be securely under Covenant control, and with a strong Covenant ground presence any opposing Human forces will be destroyed. Stealth is their only option. Luckily, already en route to Earth - from Bauxite - after the initial invasion by Regret's fleet, Wolf Squad arrives in-system on the 20th of October and is prioritised with the task of infiltrating the Covenant ships docked to the orbital elevator station. Once on board, Medium Fusion Destructive Devices will be planted on each ship by Wolf Squad combatants. Once detonated, Bauxite's remaining fleets attack the occupying Covenant Naval forces above Sydney. Their Marine forces, enforced by Libra Team, will then attack the ground. However, Sydney isn't the Covenant's prime target. Sydney was a diversion for something far more devastating...

Operation DIVINE SON

  • Lead Author: Matt-256
  • Specific Location: Greece, Eastern Europe
    • Athens, Attica
    • Larissa, Thessaly
    • Thermopylae, Eastern Central Region
  • Overview: Greece is in flames! The defenses have been crushed, the people that valiantly held the lines battered. Scattered and few, the UNSC survivors struggle to survive in territory now belonging to the enemy. Territory the alien empire's forces is going to make use of. The city of Athens has been thoroughly destroyed and is being replaced with a massive spire - a Covenant teleporter device - which the enemy hopes to use to allow more ships to slip past Earth's orbital defenses and secure all sites of importance across the globe. To counter this, the remnants of the human presence must stand together and unite to stop the Covenant from achieving their plans. Fighting against impossible odds, the survivors - spearheaded by Spartans from teams like Winter and Brown - will do everything in their power to destroy the spire, as well as other facilities the Covenant are building in the conquered region to bolster their war machine or strengthening their hold on the region - including a massive jamming device in the ruins of Parthenon blocking all communications in to and out of the region, and factories of varying sizes churning out weapons, vehicles and other equipment in the Thessaly Periphery. For if they don't, Earth will surely fall - if not to the Covenant invaders who find themselves on the brink of infighting, then to the terrifying force that lurks beneath; a force ready to swallow organic life once unleashed...

Operation ETERNAL SPIRIT

  • Lead Author: Lordofmonsterisland
  • Specific Location: Japan, Eastern Asia
  • Tokyo, Honshu
  • Overview: Around the planet, the fires of war burn the resistance, Humanity fighting back with every ounce of its collective will - the Covenant staging area of eastern Africa has little freedom fighters left, Sydney is in flames as the aliens attack HIGHCOM after the Forerunner relic below it, and countless other points drown in blood as the genocidal foe bears down upon factories, fortresses and homes. In Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun, the massive stores of Chinese-made weapons and vehicles are rolling out to fight the war machine around the globe, but the Covenant has caught on and now moves to deal with this source of UNSC equipment. Digging in and forming up defenses, all available UNSC forces across Japan prepare to defend the warehouses and bases in Tokyo, readying themselves for anything the Covenant can throw at them, and praying they can hold out.

Rules & Regulations

NOTE: The following rules are subject to change at any time.


  1. Have fun, embrace other users and their creative skills and cooperate and enjoy the RP's to their full potential.
  2. Please follow the NCF guidelines. Also, no God Modding.
  3. These RP's are not part of any specific universe. Anyone, with any amount of characters are welcome to join in, regardless of the character's biographies and their respective universes.
  4. LOMI, Parkster and Matt-256 are the project moderators. What they say goes, and any questions or issues should be directed to them.
  5. When discussing ideas and other topics related to this Project and its RP's, on anyone of these articles' talk pages, please remain civil and take other user's views and opinions into account. Report incivility to the moderators.
  6. The Initial Tetralogy has already been roughly planned out. Despite this, more ideas and especially plot-twists are welcome to be discussed, however this does not mean they will definitely be implemented.
  7. Each RP will have one or more major plot line, and although we do not wish to limit creativity and lower the success of these RP's, we strongly advise that you follow the main plot lines and do not wonder off aimlessly by yourself in the RP world's!
  8. Do not edit major pages, such as this, or other people's RP posts unless consulted or told to do so by the moderators. We don't want an edit war!
  9. Do not kill off other user's characters unless given permission to.
  10. Cooperation with other users is vital for successful RP's to work, however make sure both you and the cooperating user know and agree that you're working together!
  11. There are official invite templates that are used to publicise the project and its RP's. Please help us out and post them on user's talk pages, if they haven't been invited already (see the How You Can Help section below.

Participants & Characters

To view a list of involved participants and their characters, please click here. These two sections have been reloacted from this page to save space and therefore editting efficiancy.

Storyline

While the RP takes place over a long timeframe and in many different locations, there are three fronts - or operations - which are prominent over the others; HOLY FATHER, DIVINE SON and ETERNAL SPIRIT. If you've played an RPG like Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect or The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, you know that there's so-called main quests which make up the main storyline - that is, they serve to move the plot forward. Putting it simply, this is what the aforementioned three operations are; the backbone of the RP's story. But in said games, there are also a lot of sidequests; assignments that serve to expand the world you're in and get a close look of whatever's happening to the people that don't get attention in the main quests and what their respective problems are. So just as HOLY FATHER, DIVINE SON and ETERNAL SPIRIT are the main stories, plotlines thought up and carried out by you users who don't want to be part of those three, or who just wants some additional excitement, form up a category of additional stories within the RP, adding to the overall RP experience. For example, if users A, B and C band together and roleplay about an attack on New York, that's a sidestory - which doesn't mean that it can't be enjoyable, just that it isn't the main storyline. If you have more questions about this, visit the talk page and we'll do our best to answer your queries.

Roleplaying

Week One (October 23 - October 29)

Operation: HOLY FATHER

"What chance has the UAF got against the Covenant, General? With all forces scattered at more important locations, what chance?"

"The best lone wolves known to man and the remnants of Group Three, madam..."

0007 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sydney Orbital Elevator Space Sector, Australian Space Region, United Australasian Federation

Undetectable by any radar, too small and too invisible; the seven phantom soldiers drifted effortlessly towards the Covenant naval occupation: two corvettes and a battlecruiser. Radio silent, their trajectories precisely calibrated and executed to the nearest millisecond of a degree, the SPARTANS flew to their respective targets. Wolf Squad were unknown as far as the human race was aware, let alone the Covenant. Team Canis, three of the ghosts, glided past one of the corvettes and towards the battlecruiser, attached to the Orbital Elevator’s space station. Team Lupus and the Squad’s commander split into pairs as their linear flight paths started to split. Two per corvette; contact with the alien ships was nigh.

Three of the metallic black supersoliders carried Anti-Shielding Ion Pulse Warheads, their key to ending the orbital occupation of the covenant. It was a complex mission but one that would require little struggle if executed accurately. Ensign Jake-G239 and Chief Petty Officer Randall-G178 initiated their Temporary Localised Trans-Energy Field Shields, which would allow them to sink through the Covenant’s shields for a few seconds so they can make it to the surface of the ship. They would be unharmed but the small flicker on the ship’s shielding monitors may attract attention. Upon passing through the protective threshold, their TLTEFS’s dissipated and so did their normal energy shields and cloaking fields. Within seconds both their active camouflage and energy shielding recharged and the SPARTAN’s placed the ASIP warheads on the hexagonally tessellating purple hull.

Both soldiers pulled various levers, turned them simultaneously and activated the device’s unfolding clamped, which attached to the ship’s surface. The device would have made a loud clang if it wasn’t for the lack of air surrounding the ship. The main control panel then appeared, holographically emerging to life from a small blue light on the centre of the advanced device. Randall pressed and slid certain buttons and tabs until the display turned green, came together in a cylinder and then vanished back into the centre; where the cycloptic eye of the device turned green and started flashing. It was ironic that the Covenant’s greatest defensive advantage was being reworked against them; their imitative technology being stolen and innovatively used in assisting their deaths.

Meanwhile the other teams were undergoing the same operation; arming the warhead on the hulls of the other two ships. Jake and Randall would be finished first, Canis second and then the remaining two Lupus combatants last. Despite this, by the time Jake and Randall would reach the orbital station, Canis would already be there; straight from the docked cruiser. Finished arming their warhead, the squad commander and EOD specialist looked and nodded at each other, stood up and started running to the other side of the ship. Upon reaching the other side, they jumped off of the ship, magnetic boots deactivating, trans-EF shields activating. Unlike entry onto the ship, where they merely sunk through the shield, they shot out of the ship’s defensive coat due to the slight deflective capabilities of the corvette’s protecting energy field.

Another flicker on the sensors would raise awareness, enough to initiate a small investigative unit. However it would have to wait. In the distance, in between the Earth and moon, closer to them, blips of blue light sparked open into white centred balls of distorted space. UNSC forces had arrived from Mars ready to execute phase two of the operation; two frigates and a Marathon-class cruiser. The two corvettes were the first to respond, already alerted from the dual blips on their shields but unaware of their vulnerable disposition, timed to detonate on their exoskeleton. They dispatched seraph fighters and the human forces simultaneously retaliated with the release of Longsword fighters. The UNSC ships charged towards the station, the frigates taking lead. Corvette’s weapons charged; the timers initiated perfectly. A bright blue sphere erupted, coated in an electrical charge, causing wave-like ripples across the shield’s surface. Within less than a second the blue sphere dissipated with a shock wave emanating rapidly, at the sphere’s initial point of dissolution, across the ship’s protecting layer; stripping it of existence. The corvette teams were nearly at the station, where Canis were waiting anxiously but calmly.

Without time for the corvettes to recover, bright yellow bursts flashed from the noses of the incoming frigates and instantly the Covenant ships exploded at their bows, smaller eruptions occurring all over the surface of the ship, lights diming and large fragments of shrapnel flying off. Seconds later, as the frigates turned off their collision course with the dying purple wrecks, the corvettes’ engines exploded, completely destroying the stern and rendering the front half of the ship critically impaired. At this point, the opposing side’s starfighters engaged each other, casualties on both sides. The space fight had truly begun.

Finally the battlecruiser disconnected from the station, sending back up forces to attack the frigates, which had already loaded their Shiva-class Nuclear Missiles and rail gun turrets to counterassault the Covenant’s backup. Well prepared and precisely executed, the operation was nearly complete. The final ASIP warhead exploded, obliterating the cruiser’s shields and an almost premature shot from the Marathon-class cruiser followed immediately after; gutting the cruiser, and disabling most of its abilities. The second sub-lightspeed projectile from the UNSC cruiser effortlessly pushed through to the engines of the semi-destroyed battlecruiser, annihilating it in an explosive ball of purples and blues. Rail gun and point defence turrets ripped into the Covenant seraphs.

However the station was still under Covenant control and the combatants inside it were certain that the incoming human’s would not attack. They were right but still unprepared. The frigates passed the station and carried on slightly beyond where they deployed drop pods for the first wave of counter-occupation forces into Sydney. Pelicans and Albatross dropships followed for the second wave, accompanied by fighter craft. Eventually the frigates descended too, for the third wave of heavier support. The cruiser stopped near the station however, keeping at a relatively safe distance from it.

"This is Admiral Bobson of the Marathon-class cruiser Olympus Pinnacle, thank you Wolf Squad, your efforts have been invaluable. Forces have been sent to infiltrate and regain control of the station and your D7 Prowler is inbound to collect you. Thank you SPARTAN’s, you’ve lived up to your name and reputation."

"Thank you sir, we couldn’t have done it without you either." Jake replied honourably.

"No problem Master Chief, Bobson out." The com channel ceased, however they were no radio free on a squad-wide basis. Dropships and infiltration craft surrounded and engaged the station. Jake congratulated his team:

"Good one Wolf, you’ve done us proud." The rest of the team nodded in humble acknowledgement of their praise. They were all still so silent, being separated from the rest of gamma. They were, after all, lone wolves and maybe the team work was not as satisfying as they had wished. Regardless of this, their efforts were outstanding, but yet unknown throughout the galaxy by the majority of civilians and even military personnel. The prowler, decloaked with its underbelly open, halted over Wolf Squad. They jumped, almost zero gravity at their aid, and fly up into the stealth vessel’s hold. Silently and secrectly, they left the station, their next operation unknown, even by the temporarily enlightened admiral. Ghosts within the depths of clear hell...


0107 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Covenant Assualt Carrier Blissful Annihilation, Unknown Exact Location, United Australasian Federation

"Yes Supreme Commander, I acknowledge your urgency however our orbital forces have just been obliterated and..." K’sar Vadumee interrupted:

"I am careless for your sympathetic naivety towards the forces in Sydney. You are to remain where you are. I don’t wish to recall the ultimate purpose of this operation again. Let those forces cripple and eventually fall under the human’s counter attack, that ispart of the plan, however cruel it may seem. Victory does not spawn without sacrifice, and while the stupid humans are occupied and exhausting their resources, we will initiate the true threat upon them at the least expecting moment; at the point of their worthless victory." The supreme commander’s hologram vanished and the fleet master lowered is head in dismay and anger. These emotions were supressed within a second. Confidently though he barked orders to his officers to prepare for the dig. They would be here for a long time. They could be the key to the destruction of the human race.


0049 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Palm Beach, Northern Beaches, North Shore, Sydeny, Asutralia, United Australasian Federation

Six drops pods, among many others falling in other locations, impacted on Palm Beach, the most northern point of Sydney’s North Shore. The pods doors flew off and hit into the beach, sending sand into the air. The night was warm and humid, the norm for Australia’s nocturnal sub-tropic spring but the six SPARTANS of Libra Team were warmer from the thrill and heat of a rapid orbit-to-ground insertion. Stepping out of their pods, they ran up to the main car park of the Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club, where they were greeted by the small remaining local militants. UARDF’s military army soldiers, clad in grey or olive drab for urban operations, stopped and starred at the arrival of the six awe spawning giants of military genius and perfection.

"Thank god you lot have arrived, we’ve been sitting ducks with heavy casualties preparing for the next Covenant attack. And I sure as hell didn’t expect a counter-assault of this magnitude, let alone SPATANS." Sergeant First Class Lachlan Stevens welcomed gratefully.

"Glad to meet you Sergeant, your able combatants will be working alongside us to regain control of the North Shore. Firstly we’ll attend to your wounded and create attack strategies for daybreak." Simon-A001 reassured. He then turned to inform the rest of his team on their duties.

"Tony, I want you on medical straight away. Do what you do best."

"Yes sir, certainly." The brains of Libra shot inside the surf club to attend the injured.

"Jun and Jack, scout the area, see what we’re up against. I’m not familiar with the area and so I need ways in and out for us and the Covenant." Jun nodded humbly and Jack gave a hint of excitement through a muttered yesss! They ran off into the darkness.

"Kate and Zack, you need to assess the ordinance, armour, weaponry and military capabilities of the unit. Get to know names and specialities, we’re gonna need all the help we can get."

"Yes sir." Kate replied with a subtle nod.

"You know what I like best!" Zack enthused in his deep slightly-philipino voice to the Commander, as he walked to the rudimentary armoury. Simon smiled at the EOD and heavy duty specialist’s charismatic nature. The army Sergeant waved the commander over to their central control table; a map and some objects to serve as ally and enemy units and bases. They really were lacking resources.

"We’re so grateful for your arrival, half our unit is down though, injured or dead. Took your time!" The Sergeant said cheekily.

"Better late than never Sergeant, better late than never..."


Libra Icon
The parksterLibra Team - Fermamentum Pondera
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS Australian Eastern Summer Time (GMT+11)
Hehe! Right so that's me post done (FINALLY)! Here's a breakdown on the loaddown:
  • Those two frigates are gonna be over in between Parramatta and Penrith (out west of Sydney, to take care of the western suburban area) and at the base of the orbital elevator (east and off Sydeny's coast, in water (like the one in new mombossa (Halo 3: ODST version))).
  • Sydney is huge, span the fight across all of it but leave the city centre out for now. Sydney has larger buildings in Parramatta, Penrith, Liverpool and Bondi but most of it is just suburban housing, some rough and some nicer. It is however generally built up due to population. No metropolis until the city centre.
  • I'll be commanding the Marathon-class cruiser and anything on the north shore.
  • The elevator infiltration and take over in orbit and at the base is up for writing about.
  • Don't have too many SPARTAN teams, those guys are rare, especially since there are other larger operations going on.
  • Overall just push the Covenant back, hold up bases, liberate vital infrastructure and kind of work your way towards the city.
  • Here's a map to clarify. Red square is the enemy occupation area (roughly, ciricles aren't too good on paint and i'm tired so just imagine its not as square). Green circles are the ares of the frigates and their respective ground bases; West Base and Eevator Base (you can see the connecting lines for the elevator too). The gold/dark yellow lined area is the North Shore, where i'll be authoring.
Sydney map <<<CLICK TO MAKE BIGGER

Anymore questions then just ask me personnally. Thanks peoples, now you can finally get editting!



1827 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calender)/
Outskirts of Shanghai, Shanghai Municipality of the People's Republic of China

The sun was beginning to set on the western horizon as the purple-hulled Phantom Dropship descended from the sky, deactivating its cloaking shield and bringing itself to bear as it hovered right at the edge of the raised platform, making for easy accessibility. Within a few seconds, both of the bay doors folded out, Gunner-rank Unggoy manning the Plasma Cannons on either side while a Special Operations Sangheili walked to the edge of the troop bay; there, he grabbed a hold of the bay wall's edge and looked out across the demolished area that had once been the port of a Human city.

A dozen yards away, just now beginning to walk up the ramp to the raised platform, approached an entourage of Sangheili, Honor Guards surrounding a half a dozen warriors in a protective circle. This central group, noticeable in their distinctly crafted armor, were an imposing group of Sangheili Zealots, commanders of the invading army.

As the Sangheili boarded the dropship, the SpecOps Sangheili backed away from the edge and bowed respectfully to his superiors, not raising his head till one of them spoke to him.

“Report, 'Essonee,” stated the highest ranking Zealot. From head to toe, the Sangheili's purple armor demonstrated refined simplicity, the artistic motifs and armor pieces combined were with combat sensibility to ensure an imposing, regal look without compromising tactical functionality. Standing almost a head taller than the rest of the Zealots and with more than enough muscle mass to fill out his well-built form, it was obvious in every way that this Sangheili had seen his share of battles, and was most assuredly fit for his command position.

Few were more feared than Field Marshall Rimon 'Achachakee.

'Essonee spoke: “This Human territory – Chy-Nuh, they call it – is well on its way to defeat. The capital has fallen and our base there is already under construction, while the Humans are scurrying away like Scrub Grubs.” 'Essonee paused, unsure as to whether or not he should continue.

“And what of your mission, commander?” asked 'Achachakee, “Does the Human commander now rot in the Shadow World?”

'Essonee was silent a moment.

“Well?”

“Regrettably, our strike failed, Field Marshall. The commander escaped, killing two of my best men in the process.”

'Achachakee hung his head in digust. “This is the second time you have failed me, 'Essonee,” he said, looking over his shoulder at the commander. 'Achachakee walked over to one of the bay doors and stared out at the vast sea that separated this Human territory, Chy-Nuh, from their next target, an island state called Jaahpahn, which was reported by scouts to have gathered a large supply of war equipment and soldiers, including some escapees from the recently destroyed capitol of Chy-Nuh.

“Tell me, 'Argysee,” began 'Achachakee, turning to one of his companions, a gold-clad General, “If 'Essonee were to fail you again, what would you do?”

“I would strip him of his rank, cut off his sword hand's thumbs, and clip his mandibles,” stated the General in a husky voice.

“Indeed,” returned 'Achachakee simply, watching out the bay door as the water receded and the Phantom pivoted towards the nearby carrier. “'Essonee, you have one final chance to redeem yourself: eliminate the Human commanders on Jaahpahn once the invasion begins, or you shall wish you were never born.”

“By your word, Field Marshall”

“Ship Master,” continued 'Achachakee quickly, turning to another of the Zealots, “As soon as we dock, gather this battle group and move the ships towards the island. We land our forces before sunrise; understood?”

The Ship Master acknowledged, and once he did 'Achachakee turned to the bay door once more while the Phantom entered the hangar bay. There on the horizon, defying the waves, the high Zealot saw their target, a bastion of Humanity soon to be crushed like so much dirt beneath his hoof.

They shall die like the vermin they are, thought 'Achachakee.

Then, with a mere button press, the bay door closed, plunging them into darkness.


2138 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calender)/
Saitama Prefecture, Japan - approaching Tokyo Metropolitan Prefecture

The sky had already grown dark and yielded to the moon and stars for several hours, but still the convoy of UNSC forces pressed on towards Tokyo, visible only as a distant glow on the horizon. Throughout the island nation, forces were redeploying to Ryu Base, UNSC headquarters in the area with the destruction of the Echo-7 Command in Beijing roughly six hours earlier. While forces were holding positions in strategic locations throughout Japan, many serving as launch points for air strikes and naval forces, strategists predicted the Covenant sledgehammer would fall on the Tokyo region.

Lance Corporal Robert Justin Davis III of the UNSC Marine Corps lowered his helmet's scope attachment and activated the night vision function, scanning the area and checking the skies for incoming attacks, but all remained as clear and silent as it had been for the past few hours, ever since the destruction of two lone Banshee fighters. All was quiet, too quiet: Justin was nervous, to say the least, and continued to expect Covenant starships to appear over them at any minute.

Some would have blamed Justin's jitters on the fact that he was both young and not long in the military, but Justin had already been through a dozen battles against the Covenant, gaining both experience in war and a chilled outlook on the Covenant assault. Not knowing what to expect was not Justin's problem: this unease was caused by the exact opposite, the fact that Justin knew what should be happening and had not yet started.

“This is the way the world ends,” Justin whispered to himself, unheard by any others underneath the howl of the wind that rushed past the speeding Falcon. Placing the turret on safety once more, Justin thought of the dismal situation they were in: the Covenant had found Earth, blown a hole through the orbital defense grid right over the Mediterranean, and now they were spreading across the globe, blowing apart key strongholds as they tightened their choke-hold on all Humanity held dear.

But this is our home, thought Justin, We won't go down without a fight.

Staring at the stars, Justin recalled one of the last times he had spoken with his father: “When I was a kid,” he had said, “Thoughts about other life out there were mostly just dreams. I remember there was a big group of people that kept wanting us to try and make contact, saying aliens would bring peace and harmony. Hehe, I wonder where they are now...”

Dead, like so many others, thought Justin, Dead like you. Mere months after that conversation, Justin's father died during the evacuation of Last Chance, a refugee world they had been moved too; Justin managed to make it to the refugee ships, but his father was not so lucky, and his poor mother died days later from internal injuries taken during the evacuation. After that, Justin had lived briefly off the grid before faking his age and joining the Marines: since then, he had fought on numerous worlds, doing his best to beat the Covenant back, but they had only succeeded in stalling the inevitable.

I'll die before I hand this planet over to you sons of...

On the ground below, Staff Sergeant Josiah “Tex” Littleton kept his hand gripped tightly onto the rollbar of his Troop Transport Warthog, with his mind holding just as firmly on to the glimmer of hope that he pictured alongside the soft glow of city lights on the horizon. It was true that the Covenant were doing their best to take Earth for their own, to break Humanity's will, but Tex knew that they all had a speck of hope; if they could just pull together long enough to fight back, this fight might be the turning point of the whole war.

“What the heck you staring at like that, Tex?” asked Sergeant Tommy “Guns” Jones from the passenger seats in the back. Tommy was Tex's right-hand man on the team, and he was not push-over in a fight. Between his hand-to-hand combat skills, efficiency with close-quarters weapons and the ability to seemingly cheat death, Tex had more than once thought that while they might all be TROJANs, Tommy should have been a SPARTAN.

Tex smirked. “I'm looking at the city, and thinking we might have a shot at this,” he yelled back.

“You're one crazy son of a gun,” said Lance Corporal Isaac “Blitz” Montoya, the heavy weapons specialist and medic of Team Delta.

“Look who's talking,” Tex retorted, “All I'm saying is if we can make it to Ryu Base, we might have a fighting chance. Not much, but just enough.”

“Why the H*** would we have a fighting chance there instead of anywhere else, huh?” asked Corporal Henry “Ratchet” Jackson, the team's engineer, information warfare specialist and pilot, “What does it have that nowhere else around here does? Personally I say we should have dug in on Mt. Fuji, had some solid ground around us instead of crumbling skyscrapers!”

“Great idea, Ratchet, 'cept for the part where they glass us all to death,” retorted Blitz, “Seriously though, Tex, what's so important about Ryu?”

“SPARTANs,” said Amos Kane from the driver's seat. He was an enigma to the rest of the team, an ONI liaison that had been assigned to them in Sendai prior to departure for Tokyo. For the majority of the trip, Amos had been silent, but now he chose to speak only to drop a bomb that none of the others had expected.

Ratchet nearly swallowed the wad of tobacco he was chewing. “SPARTAN's?” he coughed, “Why the H*** are SPARTANs here of all places?”

“Because ONI has some things they would rather not lose.”


2206 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calender)/
Ryu Base, Tokyo, Japan

“You have been reassigned, and you will like it, Sierra,” ordered the stern, old man. He was tall, dressed cleanly in uniform and carried a thick, black beard with grey streaks, likely against regulations. Then again, Codename: ISTARI was an ONI member that rarely worried about regulations, and had few who would challenge his authority: all ISTARI worried about was ethics and winning, with the latter over-riding the first when need be.

“Sir, with all due respect –” began the SPARTAN.

“Silence,” cut in ISTARI, “There will be no negotiating, CHRONO. I am not MAGPIE; you may be her favored pet agent, but I am her right-hand, and in her absence I call the shots in regards to her agents. We have SPARTAN-grade soldiers here at Ryu Base, and while they may officially be working as Inferno Team, they need a leader: you will fulfill that role.”

“I feel you are wasting a valuable aspect, sir,” retorted CHRONO.

“D***it, Riker, follow orders for once!” cried ISTARI, “This is not the time for questions! The Covenant are crossing the Sea of China as we speak: they'll invade Japan before dawn. If it weren't for the fact we need every man we can get I'd have you locked up right this minute for disobeying orders.”

ISTARI sighed and sank into his chair. “Riker, let's dismiss with formalities for a moment. I need you to understand that I need you to lead this team: you're the only agent I trust to handle it, and any other qualified agents are too far off for me to call on in the timeframe I'm working with. I know you've not been a team player the entire time you've been an agent, and I know why you have apprehensions – I've read about Brown Team, and what happened on Chaos; I sympathize. But no matter what your fears are, Riker, you must take this position.”

“I'm not afraid, sir,” replied the SPARTAN stoically, nary a sign of emotion on his face.

“Then get out there!” bellowed ISTARI, on his last leg of patience.

Riker appeared for a moment like he would hesitate, but then he nodded and saluted, walking out of the room. Before he left though, ISTARI spoke up once more: “You won't be alone in this Riker, remember that. I'll be serving as Inferno Actual on this mission; I'll be watching you.”

Riker nodded and walked out, leaving ISTARI alone in the empty office. He sighed to himself. “Margaret, why did I let you get me into this?”


Riker walked into the main atrium of Ryu Base, where Marines and soldiers set up defenses and barricades both within and without, with line after line of defenses and traps set up to protect the towering ONI structure. Of course, part of the defense was in the structure itself, as the true secrets of the ONI building where not in the skies above, but buried below.

Exiting the outer courtyard, Riker entered the streets and found his new team of super-soldiers to his right, where some were setting up machine gun nests and other forms of cover, as others helped unload ammunition and equipment from incoming Warthog supply carriers, with a few simply standing or sitting nearby. Walking up to them, some of the idle ones saluted, which Riker returned as he scanned the group: they were a motley crew, with only two clad in MJOLNIR, while another pair wore SPI and the remaining two were outfitted with THOR powered armor.

“And who might you be?” asked one of the idlers, standing up as she spoke; she was shorter than a normal SPARTAN, partially due to the SPI armor she was glad in, but her hardened face showed only disdain for this new arrival.

“Master Chief Petty Officer Riker-012,” replied Riker, “I'm your new commanding officer. And you are?”

The girl only snorted at Riker, and turned back to her seat: however, she was in for a rude shock as Riker caught her wrist and flipped her over, forcing her to the ground where he pinned her with a knee each on her left arm and throat while he held down her right arm with his own. “I believe I asked your name,” Riker stated calmly as two of the others snickered to themselves.

“Nalani,” she replied, struggling, “Private First Class Nalani Heap.” As soon as she finished speaking, Riker released her and got up, moving out of the way as she bolted off the ground. Riker smirked under his helmet as Nalani glared at him.

“And the rest of you?” he asked, turning to face them.

“Chief Petty Officer Heinz-238,” stated one of the MJOLNIR wearers, a young male with blond hair and a dark complexion. “And this is my teammate, Chief Petty Officer Bryn-175,” he continued, indicating the other MJOLNIR-clad warrior, a female with long dark hair, dyed with blue streaks in places, complimenting her blue, troubled eyes.

“I can speak for myself, Heinz,” she growled, throwing him a degrading look.

“238 and 175, you say?” asked Riker, receiving a nod from both, “Never heard numbers that high before.”

“They're Second Class SPARTAN-II's,” replied a young man in THOR armor; he was of Asian ethnic origins, though his height and broad shoulders suggested something else at work also. Unlike all but one other, he kept his helmet on, though the visor was depolarized so that his face was visible. “The project was started around the same time period as the SPARTAN-III Beta Company, but it followed the original SPARTAN-II program ideals of super-soldiers that were built to last, not 'fire and forget' assets. Their tags range from 151 to 300.”

“Thank you, resident geek,” replied Bryn, “As if we wanted pieces of our lives handed to us like we're merely facts on a datapad.”

“And you would be?” inquired Riker.

“Corporal Benji Wong,” replied the young man, “Myself and Kevin here” – he indicated one of the SPI wearers – “are both Spartan-1.1's. Nalani and Chon are Spartan-2.1's; children of your brothers and sisters, you see. I suppose they're almost your niece and nephew.” Benji attempted to laugh at his joke, but stopped himself when he realized Riker was not of the humorous sort.

Riker nodded and looked at the last member, Chon, who had remained silent. “And you?” he asked, but Chon remained silent within his THOR armor.

“He's deaf,” said Nalani, “Has been since birth.”

“Any auditory implants?”

“Yeah”

“Then why does he not speak”

“He got used to it as a kid, and decided not to change after he learned to hear. He understands you just fine, he just doesn't ever answer verbally.”

“Wireless textual transfer, then.” Nalani nodded. “How good is he at sniping?”

“Best one you'll see around these parts”

Riker merely stared at Chon, who stared back, both hidden by their visors but understanding one another perfectly. Riker then turned to the others and looked once more. “I thought there were more of you than this.”

“Oh, there are,” replied Benji, “The chief is up on the roof with the others.”

“Show me,” said Riker, and Benji moved to lead only for Kevin to stop him.

“I'll handle it from here,” said Kevin, leading Riker to a nearby elevator and activating it. Riker looked at Kevin and gave a silent nod of thanks for delivering him from Benji's overly-energetic nature.

The elevator slid to a stop, and the doors opened, letting Riker and Kevin off on the rooftop before quietly closing behind them. On the edge of the roof, four silent figures stood, gazing at the night sky and city lights in front of them: one turned and looked, then informed the others they had a guest.

“Who do you have with you, Kevin?” asked the shortest figure, a female clad in SPI.

“This is our new commander.”

At this, the middle figure turned around, his chipped and scraped brown GUNGNIR armor appearing not much better off than Riker's similarly beaten red Operator variant MJOLNIR. The figure was a middle-aged man, his skin a deep tan, with grey hair growing on the tip of his chin: the tip of his left ear had been badly mauled, and he lacked any hair on his head's top, not from shaving but from bad burns across the skin. In his right ear was a small, silver stud earring, while his left cheek was tattooed with a small circle made of dots. Out of respect, Riker also removed his own helmet, allowing this commander's group a view of his face whereas the ones below had been deprived; in Riker's mind, it stood as a small show of respect. The figure stuck out his hand, which Riker took and shook thoroughly.

“Master Chief Petty Officer Riker-012,” he said.

“Welcome,” said the bald man, “I'm Senior Chief Petty Officer Marak-A103. I'm glad to know I won't be the only commander of Inferno.”

“A motley crew, to be sure,” replied Riker.

“You have no idea,” answered Marak with a knowing smile, “If only you'd been with us over the past few days of the invasion.” He turned back to the building's edge and looked through a pair of binoculars once again, scanning the horizon.

“Have you had any signs of them?”

“None yet,” said Marak, “What report from ISTARI?”

Riker was somewhat stunned that Marak knew of his visit with ISTARI, and when Marak saw it, he laughed lightly despite himself. “You're not the only agent MAGPIE has, you know.”

“True enough,” said Riker, “But in any case, ISTARI only knows they could arrive anywhere within the next four hours or so.”

“I suppose we just have to hope the wet Navy takes out as many as they can,” said Marak. Turning back to Riker and the others, he said, “Introductions are needed, I suppose. This one here” – Marak indicated one of the men, clad in MP variant MJOLNIR armor – “is Avalon-X05, GENOME division. The other lad in the Hayabusa armor is Gregory-266, Class Two RONIN Group. And the lass there is Janissary James, commander of the Spartan-1.1's.”

Riker simply nodded, viewing them all. “Time for war then.”


LOMISig2
Lordofmonsterisland — There are... no strings... on me...
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — US Central Time Zone
My post is here at last! Sorry for being such a lazy son of a gun, but in any case, you can now fight through ETERNAL SPIRIT as well! Here's the basic layout of how things are going down:
  • The Covies are on there way, and they'll be landing forces from the east and the south, with the main force pushing up through Yokohama and around Tokyo Bay. Realize this fight is within Tokyo: there's buildings everywhere, things that will be smashed, exploded, etc. This fight will be right in the faces of our characters, and it will be a heavy urban fight. Keep this in mind.
  • There's no Forerunner artifacts or sacred items to protect Tokyo from getting glassed: the ships are going to be coming, and we will have a short window of oportunity to take out one or two (I'd say there's probably seven or eight total) before they get the AA guns up, so use it and then abuse those guns!
  • There is a group heading in on the west of Tokyo Bay, but they're small: just don't forget they're gonna try to sneak up on us
  • We have a large supply of made-in-China goods to dish out the hurt with: vehicles, big guns, even a few long-range missiles, not to mention our supply of troopers and super-soldiers, but this doesn't make us invincible or unbreakable. We're gonna get hurt, and reinforcements are a long way coming.
  • Don't go to the city center. That's where ONI's base is, and we're not to that part yet. Keep it on the outskirts; don't worry though, Tokyo's really grown up in 500 years :)
  • There's some wet Navy support out in Tokyo Bay if anyone's interested, but the Covies kinda have a large swarm of Seraphs and Banshees.
  • Remember that the Covenant are still led by Elites at the moment, with Brutes in more minor roles: I'm in charge of the Field Marshall of this Covenant force ('Achachakee), so I'll let you know when he gets betrayed.
  • Only a couple more SPARTAN teams: they are trying to handle the entire planet right now ;)

And that should do it for now! Feel free to ask me any questions you need to.




Operation: DIVINE SON

1925 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Outskirts of Thermopylae, Periphery of Continental Greece, Hellenic Republic

The three Spartans moved swiftly along the river of Spercheios through wreckages and burned pavements, stopping every hundred feet to take cover, while the leader scanned the surroundings, sniper rifle in hand. After several seconds, he gave a barely visible hand signal, and his two female teammates gracefully leapt out of cover to take point. They moved ahead another hundred feet, took cover again, the leader once more looking around in the distance through his rifle's scope, thus repeating the procedure.

And so, the armored giants continued – continuously moving in short bursts and dropping into cover, seemingly eyeing the hundreds of Covenant Banshee fighters and three corvettes in the distance vigilantly – for half an hour, until the leader finally gave a different hand gesture – slowly waving an open hand downwards – and pointed to what appeared to be an abandoned fisherman's hut a short distance from the river bed, covered somewhat from sight by home-planted trees. The three figures snuck through the – for them – small doorway one by one until the leader was last and quietly shut the door.

A thin ray of light streamed in through a broken window on the opposite side of the one-room hut and lit up the leader's cyan-colored armor while he carefully holstered his sniper rifle onto his back. He then turned and sat down in front of the other two, removing his helmet to reveal curly, dirty blond hair and a hint of same-colored stubble adorning an angular-shaped face with blue eyes.

"Well" he said tiredly, but with a detectable hint of amusement. "Things haven't changed. At least not for the better."

The woman in blue-colored armor also removed her helmet, uncovering chin-length white-blond hair and a half sad half irritated expression, complete with almost electric blue eyes. "I don't get how you keep sounding positive about it all, Major. It's damn bad out there! Has been for a day and a half!" She had a touch of Irish accent as she spoke, but so little that it was barely noticeable, as if she had almost phased out of it by living in proximity to a different dialect for a long time.

Major Laszlo-108 shrugged and managed a weak smile. "Looking on the bright side of things helps. Lazít. Chill out, Bonnie. Though come to think of it, we might want to get back to base before doing that" he jokingly scratched his chin as though deep in thought "seeing as those who chill away from home has a short life expectancy."

Bonnie-A261 rolled her eyes but didn't reply. Laszlo knew it was a sign of defiance; once realizing that her new commanding officer was a positive optimist – as opposed to herself and her cynicism – she had been skeptical of his ability to command.

Amanda-208, sitting to Bonnie's left, neither said anything nor took off her helmet: she, like most of the second class of the SPARTAN-II Program, had the same custom as the majority of the first class to keep on their equipment at all times, a habit Laszlo and a lot of the SPARTAN-IIIs – judging from Bonnie's behavior, anyway - hadn't embraced fully. But Laszlo knew well enough what she looked like – raven black hair tied up into a knot, somewhat sharp features, golden eyes – and that she, also had her doubts about his leadership. She didn't express it like Bonnie, but Laszlo could feel it. And he chose to let their doubts be. He knew they wouldn't start respecting him properly for who he was until they were forged together in heavy combat. Battle had such a strange effect on people; through all the pain and death that occurred, the survivors almost mechanically bonded gradually through the common knowledge that one understood what the other was going through. Laszlo had made most of his friends outside the SPARTAN-II Program that way.

"Look" he said sympathetically "let's catch our breath a minute or two before heading back to base." Bonnie and Amanda nodded, Bonnie with somewhat more hesitation.

All three of them knew that they weren't stopping to 'catch their breath'; they just used the scarce time at the end of their reconnaissance patrols away from the chattering and commotion in Olympus Base, where the known remains of the UNSC forces in Greece – including Laszlo and his fellow female members of Brown Team, as well as two other Spartan teams known as Gentry and Winter, roughly two companies worth of army troopers, a platoon of paratroopers and ODSTs, a squadron of bomber craft, and a considerable amount of vehicles and aircraft – had holed up once the Covenant had successfully occupied and cut off the whole country from contact with the rest of humanity, to think in peace.

They wanted a plan, a clear goal to pursue again. They wanted to fight. It was what they did best. But that was easier said than done when the Covenant held the entire region in a tight grip, somehow preventing all communications in and out of the country, and also patrolling the skies with Banshee squadrons and corvettes. The UNSC resistance was effectively stuck for the time being, as were any possibly remaining pockets of defense force and militia combatants.

Meanwhile, the Covenant seemed intent on making use of every square meter of the country; reconnaissance confirmed that they were building large amounts of factories for various purposes – from weapons, vehicles and equipment to aircraft and starship components – primarily in the Thessaly Periphery. Anti-air plasma batteries and electromagnetic shielding generators were also constructed throughout the region, evidently to defend against external attack.

But none of that was anything compared to Athens; the core of the Covenant forces – including an assault carrier – was based in the once thriving metropolis, storing methane deposits, armories, bases and more within its boundaries. And at the center, they had busily started to construct a tall spire – a piece of Covenant technology first seen during the Fall of Reach and used to devastating effect. All evidence pointed towards the fact that the alien empire was turning the region into a beachhead for other Covenant forces, from which they would scatter around the globe, to ultimately conquer the whole planet.

So far, the brass back at Olympus base were uncertain what action to take – whether to bypass Covenant forces and get out of the country, or to launch a counterattack – so they sent the spartans and what remained of the local Section One field reconnaissance detachment as scouts to gather as much intel as possible in the meantime, hoping it would affect the final decision. And so the supersoldier teams had taken turns at monitoring the surrounding area, while the ONI recon teams handled long-range reconnaissance – mainly towards Athens and other larger cities the Covenant may have taken interest in, or where more UNSC forces may have survived and continued the fight. In the meantime, the rest of the spartans were relegated to base defense, in case it was discovered, or aiding the brass in their planning.

After a few minutes, Laszlo decided to get a move on, and signaled Amanda and Bonnie to take point. One by one, they leapt through entrance and moved into the nearest cover – a dune of sand – before taking a look around. Laszlo drew his sniper rifle and once more looked into the scope to check the distance.

At first glance, everything seemed as normal as before they took shelter in the hut, but at second glance Laszlo saw a dot in the sky – one that hadn't been there before. More than that, it seemed the Covenant corvette group had also noticed it, adjusting their course towards it.

"Don't look now" he whispered "but we've got a new contact, ten o'clock."

Bonnie retrieved a pair of binoculars from her belt and looked in the direction Laszlo had given. "I see it. Covvies too, apparently."

Amanda retrieved a pistol-sized device, a target indicator, from her left thigh and pointed it in the same direction. After a barely audible beep, she added "A freighter, one of ours. But I can't identify it; there's nothing in the registry."

"Then it's an ONI vessel" Laszlo replied, still keeping the new ship in his rifle's crosshair.

"Why would ONI send in a ship uncloaked and on a suicide charge?" Bonnie asked incredulously, still looking intently through the binoculars.

"It probably was cloaked." Laszlo told her. "But it must've passed through an átok EM shield accidentally, disabling all stealth systems."

"Will you cut out the hunagarian?" Bonnie retorted. "You keep tossing it into sentences randomly, and I'll ask Hào if I can join his team instead."

"Cut it out, you two!" Amanda whispered sharply. "Look what's happening."

In the distance, the anonymous freighter had become clearer; there was no doubt that it was charging towards the enemy ships. Conversely, the corvettes began charging their lateral pulse laser turrets, light clearly building up along their sides.

A loud boom echoed throughout the area as the mystery vessel fired a missile – which Laszlo quickly identified as a standard Navy-issue Archer – from somewhere in its fore section. What looked like two small objects fell off the missile just as it left the firing tube, but Laszlo paid no attention to it as he followed the missile with the crosshair until it impacted with the leading corvette.

The enemy ship's shields flared, shimmered, and then dissipated, but leaving the ship unscathed. Moments later, the corvette's sides flared up and fired its pulse laser beams, followed by its companions. Although gaining speed, the unregistered freighter was hit by half the beams. The hull blazed and burned away in seconds, exposing the interior.

Despite the damage, the ship continued to speed towards the enemy. Laszlo had a dawning realization – the freighter intended to ram the corvette formation in lieu of the fire power it didn't have. As it closed in, it seemed the Covenant noticed this as well, as they started to speed off – too late.

The freighter slammed into the leading corvette's mid section nose-first with a series of loud creaks and bangs. But it was nothing compared to what came a second later; a large blue-white – almost electric-looking – round light appeared, engulfing all four ships before disappearing almost as soon as it appeared – with no trace of the ships that had been there seconds before.

"Take cover!" Laszlo yelled, knowing what would follow. As he said it, a white sphere appeared where the ships had been moments before and expanded with a boom. The three spartans huddled closely together behind the sand dune, bracing for the incoming shockwave.

After roughly fifteen seconds, the white light passed over them, forcing Laszlo to shut his eyes tightly. A microsecond later, the shock reached them and threw the spartans back several meters. Laszlo impacted with the ground and lay there, not opening his eyes.

Only after a minute did the spartans open their eyes, finding the air filled with what looked like blue snowflakes, but Laszlo identified as the remaining particles of the slipspace shockwave.

"That was…unexpected." Bonnie grunted and got to her feet, offering a hand to Laszlo.

He took it and was hoisted back up to his feet. "Oh really? Myself, I've been expecting an ONI-controlled vessel to get here, charge straight into a cluster of Covenant ships and send all of them into slipspace, resulting in a violent shockwave hitting everything in a ten mile radius."

"Whoever was behind the wheels" Amanda said, getting up slowly as though she was still disoriented "he or she had to have been a pretty quick – and unconventional – thinker. Shame we'll never get to meet; I'd have liked to congratulate on the success of destroying three Covenant ships."

Laszlo returned his thoughts to the two objects from the missile, and it dawned on him who it might be. "Actually, I think you will get the chance, Amanda."

Both Amanda and Bonnie cast him puzzled glances, but he cut in before they could ask. "Let's get over there. We have three very special people to meet, and they might need medical attention."

***

Almost ten minutes later, they entered the broken forest beneath where the shockwave had originated. They stepped over broken branches and, to their delight, several banshee, spirit and phantom wreckages; it seemed most of the fighter craft had crashed due to the shockwave. With neither fighters, dropships nor corvettes in the air, it seemed the Covenant had lost their hold in the vicinity. Laszlo hoped that everyone back at Olympus was mobilizing already to make use of this sudden advantage.

Finally, Laszlo reached the peak of a slope and spotted two parachute packs on the ground, but no sign of any people. He smirked to himself as he took off the helmet; it had been as he suspected after all.

"All right, time to come out gyerekek!" he yelled in the direction of the chutes. "Your shabby old tanár wants to get a good look at you again."

Bonnie and Amanda, who had also appeared on the top of the slope, didn't have time to look puzzled before two more spartans appeared; the first – a male – leapt down from a tree fifty feet away and limped towards them, hinting at damaged legs; the second one, a woman, appeared from behind a large rock, clutching her sides and right arm with the other, suggesting broken ribs and arm.

The spartan from the tree approached Laszlo at a slow pace while removing his helmet, revealing a young, yet lightly bearded face with a coy grin. "It's been too long, old man."

"Roger!" Laszlo exclaimed fatherly, positively beaming as he walked up to his former trainee and grabbed him in a headlock while ruffling his rows of black hair with the other hand.

"Let me go, you're embarrassing me!" Roger said indignantly, but Laszlo had already let go of him to do the same to his teammate, who appeared to be too wounded to stop him from doing so.

"Is anybody going to tell us what's going on?" Bonnie asked annoyingly; both she and Amanda had merely looked on in surprise until then.

"Oh, sorry" Laszlo said, letting go of the woman – who hurried to fix her hair where the older spartan had ruffled it. "I trained a group of spartans years back, and these two are among those. Among the best of them, in fact. Roger" he clapped the dark-skinned spartan with the row haircut on the shoulder, "and Mica" he gestured at the woman. "Kids, these fine women are Bonnie and Amanda." None of the two said anything, apparently not believing the two women worthy of talking to.

"As for what's going on" Laszlo cut in before Bonnie could ask again "I believe my two ex-trainees here were given a ship by ONI – or 'acquired' it on their own – to investigate the situation in Greece-"

"You mean they may have stolen an entire ship!?" Amanda said in disbelief.

Laszlo ignored the interruption. "…as scans and other electronics proved incapable of this due to the Covenant's deployment of electromagnetic shielding. But during their insertion, they passed through an EM field, thus deactivating the ship's cloaking systems and exposing them to the Covenant corvettes. In an attempt to get away – or at least take as many Covenant as possible with them – they charged towards the corvette cluster while setting a timer on their own ship's slipspace drive. Then, they put on parachutes and grabbed onto the archer missile, jumping off just after it was out of the firing tube. Then of course, the FTL drive activated and created a rift engulfing both the freighter and the corvettes, which then immediately collapsed on itself, sending all four ships into who-knows-where and causing a shockwave. Judging by their injuries" – he cast glances at James and Mica – "I guess that they were only halfway down when the shockwave occurred, which then sent them tumbling down. Is that just about correct?" he finished, turning to Roger.

"Yeah" Roger said "just about."

"Good. Does that satisfy you, Bonnie?"

Bonnie nodded absently, taking in everything she had heard. Laszlo turned back towards Roger, Mica and James. "Now, seeing as your ride's gone, you should come with us back to base."

"You still have a base in this Covenant-infested hell-hole?" Roger asked with a tone of surprise.

"Sure do. We believe there are other surviving UNSC enclaves too somewhere. Thanks to you, we might be able to start looking."

"Then what're we waiting for?" Mica said excitedly. "Let's go-ouch!" she clutched her ribs again, shaking in pain.

"You take it slow" Laszlo told her sternly. "We don't want you to end up like James. All right; Amanda, you take point. Roger; you're lookout" he gave his sniper rifle to Roger, who took it instinctively, " and you'll be riding piggyback on Bonnie" – Roger jerked in surprise and started to protest against the order, using a wide array of vulgar words for emphasis – "Finally, I carry Mica."

Mica jerked away as though shocked by an electrical current. "No. Fucking. Way." She spoke with venom in every word.

"Oh, don't be such a baby; it'll be faster this way" Laszlo said heartily as he grabbed and slung her over his shoulders in a fireman's carry. She readied to protest more, but Laszlo's shoulder armor pushed against her ribs, causing her to yowl in pain instead.

Looking around, Laszlo found Amanda already moving back towards the base and Roger finally giving in to jumping up to let Bonnie carry him, albeit he tossed many rude terms her way whilst doing so. The two then trotted after Amanda, while Laszlo looked on, a wide smile on his face; it was always good to see old acquaintances.

"Will you get a move on already, dammit!? It's bad enough that I'm being carried like this without being last back to base!"

***

1958 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Olympus Base, Periphery of Continental Greece, Hellenic Republic

"Seriously, where in the ever-loving hell are they?"

Rachel-343 took another look through the opening into the mountain in which Olympus Base had been built, not far from the infamous "Hot Gates" where three hundred spartan warriors had once held the line against a massive Persian army, still not seeing Laszlo or the others of Brown Team.

"Relax" Varghese-A405 – also known as Winter Two, and the second-in-command and heavy weapons specialist of the team of the same name – said in a reassuring, deep voice from his corner farther into the cave, just beside the entrance into the actual base. "They probably just went to check the area again, with that shockwave affecting the terrain."

"Maybe they want to hog all survivors to themselves." Balduin-324 – or Winter Four – chuckled while loitering against the east wall, slotting shells into his M45 Tactical Shotgun, true to his occupation as team close quarters combat specialist.

Rachel rolled her eyes. "Sure, Bal, there's usually loads of survivors left behind after slipspace ruptures. How could I forget?"

"I meant from the crashed fighters" Balduin said with a coyly cheerful tone, as though explaining to a stubborn child what one plus one was. "They weren't sucked into god-knows-where, now were they?"

"Give me a break" Rachel countered mockingly. "Only Spartans survive freefalls from such altitudes."

"Aha! That's what the major and his female friends are doing!" Balduin exclaimed triumphantly.

"What, freefalling?" Rachel asked incredulously.

"No, searching for spartans freefalling out of that freighter!"

There was a second's pause before Rachel burst out laughing. "Yeah right" she said, struggling to hold back another wave of laughter. "Maybe they're trying to save the UEG Secretary-General too. Maybe the Security Committee while they're at it. Don't be ridiculous." She finished, returning to her serious self.

"I'm totally serious" Balduin said indignantly.

Rachel curled her lips into a smug grin. "Enough to wanna bet?"

Balduin smiled too. "You bet – no pun intended."

"All right" Rachel mused. "Twenty shotgun shells. No less."

"Deal" Balduin said, but Rachel had already turned away from him.

Varghese sat himself down beside Balduin, several components of a grenade launcher in his massive hands and with an expression of mixed amusement and confusion. "You do know that it doesn't make any difference whether you win or lose, right? I mean, the loser will just go get extra shells from the armory."

"It just feels more appropriate to bet something" Balduin told the tall and broad-shouldered spartan cheerfully.

"You ARES types are mighty curious, you know that?" Varghese said bemusedly.

"We had a curious mentor" Balduin chuckled.

Rachel paid no attention to Balduin's and Varghese's conversation, as she had turned towards Alexander-B057 – Winter Three, designated marksman in the team – who stood to her right, watching the area through his sniper rifle.

"Have you seen them yet?" she asked him.

Alexander's face wrinkled into an annoyed expression as he set down the rifle on the nearest rock, but Rachel didn't take note of this as she instead focused on his now free hands, which were quickly flexing into various gestures.

<You asked me five minutes ago!>

Alexander was incapable of speech, after a complication with one of the augmentation procedures that ended up crushing his vocal chords. But that wasn't his only handicap; the occipital capillary reversal enhancement had also rendered his eyes permanently blinded. To be allowed into service, he had his eyes replaced with THERMOPYLAE-grade optical device replacements and equipped a Neural Interface-linked instant text message module in his helmet. With recent upgrades to the THERMOPYLAE optics, his replacement eyes were actually even more potent than those of other spartans – even offering an inbuilt scope function – and with some practice the message module made communication in battle situations almost as effective as normal speech – assuming the recipient had a heads-up display – and provided its own set of benefits organic speech wasn't capable of. Despite this, Alexander resented the fact that he had to rely on technology for things others had for granted.

"Well duh" Rachel uttered coldly. Handicap or not, she would always be as rude to Alexander as to anyone else. "A lot of things can change in five minutes. Wouldn't a marksman know that? Or maybe you missed that class to polish your eye?"

Alexander's face reddened almost instantly, but he continued to make the hand signs with laser precision. <No, I have not seen them yet. As I said the last three times you asked, I will inform you when I do.>

"You didn't say anything!" Rachel said with contempt, losing her patience. "You signed – about the only method of communication you-"

"Rachel!" a sleepy Chinese-toned voice bellowed from the now open door into the base, belonging to Winter One – Hào-B296, leader of the team. He held his helmet clutched in his left hand, the other holding back a yawn. He had unruly – but still within the bounds of military hair-length regulations – black hair, and his brown eyes were ringed with fatigue. "Quit it, now!"

The two spartans cast each other a last, contemptuous look, before Rachel slowly stepped away and sat down against the west wall, opposite to Balduin and Varghese. Hào looked at both of them warily for a few seconds before looking contented. Alexander picked up his sniper again and continued his watch.

Only a minute or so later, however, he put down the rifle again and signed: <They are here. And they have others with them.>

"Hah!" Balduin shouted, cut off in the middle of a new conversation with Varghese to check what Alexander had to relay. "I win! Now, hand over, Pyro Girl!"

"He didn't say they were spartans!" Rachel sputtered defensively, but somehow aware of what Alexander would sign next.

<They are.> The sniper had a mocking grin on his face when he signed it.

Resisting the urge to tell the men where to shove the shells, she picked up an ammunition box, made a quick check to make sure there were exactly twenty cartridges inside, and then lobbed it to Balduin, who caught it with one hand.

Sure enough, Laszlo, Bonnie and Amanda trotted into the cave one by one shortly after, and indeed they had two other spartans with them – one slung over Laszlo's shoulder, another riding piggyback on Bonnie and holding Laszlo's sniper rifle. All of them were almost instantly recognizable to Rachel; she had trained with them for years way back. But she didn't like what she recognized – those two individuals had always annoyed her.

"Crap!" she yelled a little louder than she had intended. "Not you ugly fucks again."

The one wielding the sniper rifle leaped off of Bonnie and removed his helmet, revealing a stubbly face – Roger, as she had correctly assumed. "Well, if it isn't Pyro Girl." he said, his lips curled into a mocking grin. "What're you doing here? Trying to set a record by burning down a mountain?"

Rachel got up and approached Roger, looking back into his eyes defiantly. "Unfortunately, no. But what about you? Taking piggyback lessons? Or did you settle for killing James, seeing as he's not with you?"

Roger's grin turned to an angry expression. "Don't talk about him like that, bitch! Unless, of course, you want to be reminded that we have actually done something, while you sat in this cozy cave on your butt doing-"

"Oh, that's it, you little runt! You asked for it-"

"Rachel, Roger! Lock it down, both of you!" Laszlo bellowed to them sternly. Both of them turned to look at him. "You're comrades! Act like it."

"I have no comrades left." Rachel said matter-of-factly. As the words escaped her lips, images of an armored person with a large piece of metal shrapnel lodged into her visor and blood oozing out of the cracks, then a bright explosive light engulfing another armored figure only a few feet behind her flashed in her mind.

"And my only comrades are Mica and James" Roger said while gesturing at Mica – who was still trying to get out of Laszlo's fireman's carry.

"I've had just about enough of this inter-team rivalry duma" Laszlo mumbled calmly, but for once Rachel thought he looked scary, almost mad with anger. "It was well enough in-training while you were pushing each other to the max, but now it's just an obstacle."

"You can't change the way nature works!" Rachel objected. "Fire and water don't mix."

"Wrong!" Laszlo exclaimed. "When lava and water mix, they turn into land. Just as those two elements unite to create something better, so too must different spartans band together to counter their weaknesses and compliment their strengths for maximum success."

"Lava isn't fire, so that point is-" Roger started to interject, interrupted by Laszlo whose face was now getting as red as Rachel's.

"The Covenant are on Earth! They come closer to seizing the planet with every passing minute, while you stand here, bickering like idiots! I don't know about you, but I want to stop them, before every last one of us is annihilated! I want to save the human race. How about you? No, don't answer, it's obvious! From now on, you will get along, and you will like it! Have I made myself perfectly clear this time around?"

Rachel slowly calmed while looking with disgust at Roger, who did the same. After several seconds, they controlled their expressions into a more neutral stance and replied "Yessir!" Then, with much effort, they raised their right hands and shook. Laszlo eased back into his normal cheery, smiling expression when he saw this.

"Well spoken, sir" Balduin said, walking up to Laszlo and patting what he assumed to be the older spartan's shoulder, but in reality Mica's bottom. Realizing his mistake, he jumped out of range of her legs just in time.

Rachel watched as Laszlo faked a cough and turned to Hào, sounding slightly embarrassed. "Sorry, Lieutenant. I didn't mean to start ranting on your subordinate. I just haven't managed to let go of these kids yet – you know, old dogs never learn to sit, right?"

"Considering the rank ladder" Hào said, still tiredly but with a hint of amusement "you're superior to me, so you had every right to do what you just did. But to be honest, it was also a pleasant surprise to see a wildcat like Rachel put in her place."

Rachel wanted to feel annoyed, but found herself unable to and even joined the others in soft chuckling at the remark. Laszlo had a point; they were fighting for Earth this time. It was humanity's final stand. They would have to do everything in their power to have any hope of success. She mentally decided to do whatever it took to ensure that victory – even if it meant cooperating with people like Roger and Mica.

"Anyway" Hào continued "we'd better hurry, major, or we'll be late to the last-minute strategy meeting. Alex and Rachel, head down to the pelican bay; Jelly and Malin might be just about done upgrading the new bird. Varg!" – Varghese stood a little straighter – "you and Bal take the two newcomers to the medbay. They might need an hour or so in the surgery suite."

"That's bullshit!" cried Mica. "We're ready n-ouch!"

"No you're not, missy." Laszlo whistled heartily while he tossed Mica over onto Varghese's shoulders. Meanwhile, Balduin walked over to Roger, who reluctantly let himself loiter against him. The group then went through the entrance, followed by Hào and Laszlo and then Rachel and Alexander. While Hào and Laszlo went straight ahead and Varghese and company to the left, Rachel and Alexander took to the right, the nearest route to the pelicans.

They walked in silence, until Rachel finally decided to swallow her pride and act halfway there. She turned to face the cyborg sniper, but instead of talking she flexed her fingers and hands to form hand signs.

<Truce?>

Alexander looked on in surprise for a fraction of a second before managing a pleased expression. <All right. Truce.>

***

2007 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Olympus Base, Periphery of Continental Greece, Hellenic Republic

Hào and Laszlo walked briskly along the snaking corridors until stopping before a door guarded by two stern-looking MPs, pistols at the ready. The oldest of the quartet gave the spartans a slow nod, but his expression didn't change. Hào replied with a curt nod of his own, then opened the door with the tap of a button.

Shortly followed by Laszlo, he entered a spacey, but by now packed, room, filled with charts, hologram projectors and field notes. A round oak table occupied the center, with a collection of men and women standing around it – those few remaining high-ranking officers picked to lead the country's remaining forces.

Directly opposite to Hào and the entrance sat Brigadier General Ulucan Barak, a shaggy-haired and unshaven man sporting numerous scars and burn injuries across his face and hands – the left hand also missing its pinky. Under other circumstances, such rugged appearance might have been considered a flaw, but in the field he gave the impression of being a man who understood exactly what those under his command had to go through, which was always a plus. Despite his ruggedness and apparent old age, he was actually on the younger side of the average age for general-grade personnel – supposedly, he had been promoted to one-star general little more than a month back out of necessity after the crippling loss of high-ranking brass during the fall of Reach.

The general looked up from a data pad and glanced at the two spartans. Hào and Laszlo snapped off simultaneous salutes, which Barak returned tiredly. "We have waited for you" he added after the spartans had lowered their hands. "Join us."

Hào and Laszlo did as asked, walking up to the table to the right of another huge armored figure – Aksel-113, leader of Gentry Team. The thick-necked, blond-haired spartan gave Hào a nod, which Laszlo enthusiastically returned in his place.

"Now" Barak continued "we're all here. Most of you already know the plan, but for those who were absent" – he glanced at Laszlo – "I'll repeat it." He tapped a button in front of him, and a hologram emitted from the center of the table, showing Greece.

"Thanks to the destruction of the Covenant air assets in this area, we're finally able to properly mobilize our forces and dispatch them without risking one hundred percent casualties. The top priority target has been determined to be Athens; it currently functions as the local Covenant headquarters, and houses – as evidenced by intercepted communiqués – a Prophet. Said communiqués also reference to two high-ranking leaders; a Brute 'Army Commander' – a rank not referenced since the Harvest Campaign, as far as we're aware – and an Elite 'Field Marshall' – the top-tier ground force commander rank within the Covenant military. The presence of such high-ranking officials suggests that Greece is very important to the Covenant, and we believe we know why."

The general tapped another button, and the holographic map zoomed out to the rest of Mediterranean Europe and North Africa, with red arrows pointing out from Greece in all directions. "Greece lies relatively close to the African continent, which has been determined as a very important target for the Covenant – in fact the majority of their resources seem to be poured into that theater, around Mombasa and Voi, Kenya in particular. Additionally, it's easier to reach than many other locations on Earth due to the hole in the orbital defense grid that was dealt there by the first Covenant task force – both Athens and Malta stations were successfully destroyed by Covenant bombs. This fact would make it an ideal beachhead for Covenant forces to launch more invasions against east Africa. But that's not all."

He pressed a third button, and a second holographic image showing a spire towering over the easily recognizable skyscrapers of Athens appeared to the left of the main projection. "The Covenant haven't stopped at making it a beachhead and glorified outpost; they've built an impressive amount of various structures throughout the whole region. Factories in Thessaly, airborne refit stations in Thessaloniki, methane storage depots in Patras, even what appears to be Grunt breeding grounds and Drone hives in the Peloponnese Region, and perhaps the most troubling of all, a spire in Athens and a massively powerful jamming device built over Parthenon. The spire – although evidently not finished – is of particular note, as it matches the descriptions of a spire-like structure witnessed during the fall of Reach, one which turned out to be a teleporter – or, more accurately, a teleportation 'receiver node'. Said construction allowed the Covenant to transport a supercarrier right under the UNSC's noses directly to Reach's surface. However, the spire in Athens is also much larger, and appears to have additional structures connected to it."

"The Lieutenant here" – he gestured at Hào – "has come to the conclusion that this means the Athens spire has – or will have, once it's finished – additional functions; more specifically, it won't be limited to acting as a receiver node – a way for Covenant ships in orbit to slip past the orbital defense grid – but also function as a 'sender' node – allowing it to 'send' ships to other receivers. If this is true – which I think we all believe – then that means Greece is indeed a beachhead – a massive one – but not only that; it's also an R&R zone. Through the spire, ships in orbit will be able to slip past the defense grid, receive repairs as needed at the refit stations, rearm its ground complement with fresh weapons out of the factories, and receive drone and grunt reinforcements, then they can once more be sent to where they're needed – provided there's a receiver spire – fresh and ready to go all-out once more. Obviously, this would make the Covenant siege a hundred times more difficult to lift."

"We've determined that the spire is the most important component of the Covenant's plans, so that's our primary target. But to even have a chance of achieving that goal, we need a larger force than the one we have now. Thus, our immediate objective is to search the country to track down and save any remaining UNSC forces we can find; hopefully, it'll be enough to let us assault Athens before the spire is completed. Our secondary ulterior goal is to destroy the jamming device; with it gone, we can call for reinforcements or orbital bombardment, which would make our job much easier. But, should we get the chance to take out any of the other high-priority targets, or even smaller Covenant operations in the area whilst collecting survivors, we'll take it; anything that puts a wrench in their plans is beneficial for us."

Hào had already heard all this once, but he was still surprised at how clever the plan the Covenant had conceived was; the alien juggernaut's strategy had been little more than simple swarm or attrition tactics throughout the whole war. To see something so well thought-out and complicated was a very unpleasant surprise, especially since it was humanity's last stronghold at stake this time.

Laszlo broke the short silence. "So, what're the deployment orders?"

Barak turned off the holograms and stood up. "We're splitting our current forces into two groups to cover more ground in our search. Group One – to which you, your team, the newcomers and Hào's team belong to – will head north. With luck, there's some marines left from the task force sent to reinforce the country before the Covenant seized full control. If Lieutenant Hào's analysis of the last few days' COM traffic is accurate, there may also be some spartans there. If given an opening, Group One may also disable some of Thessaly's factories and Thessaloniki's refit stations, if any possible local survivors have not done so already. This group will be led by Colonel Kristi Johansen." He nodded to the woman sitting on his left. Colonel Johansen was the commanding officer of Special Warfare Group Five – what remained of it, anyway, to which Brown Team counted. Her hair was brown, though graying, with equally brown eyes.

"Group Two" Barak continued. "– with Gentry Team as the spearhead – will cut west, in the direction of Patras and the Peloponnese Region. If possible, they will also strike a blow to the Covenant in those respective areas. This group will be commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Dimitrios Alevras". The man to the general's right straightened somewhat upon hearing his name.

"Your team, major" Johansen added, "will drive ahead of the rest of the group in mongooses, providing forward reconnaissance – pinpointing targets of note and locating survivors on the ground – and disabling anti-air assets to allow a smooth transition for the rest of us. Meanwhile, Winter Team will remain airborne alongside the majority of the group, bar two members who have been chosen to link up with our deep recon teams outside of Athens – just in case we're not fast enough – and another member who will stay at the base for a little longer and team up with the two newcomers."

"Have those three been chosen?" Laszlo asked curiously.

"Bal and Malin will go deep recon" Hào told him. "But we haven't decided who will team up with your two 'apprentices'. Personally, I'd recommend Var-"

"I recommend Winter Five, Rachel-343, for that, sir." Laszlo said importantly, not at Hào, but Barak. Hào raised his eyebrow skeptically; Rachel had just gotten into a fight with Roger. What was Laszlo thinking? Did he want to see if his lecturing them had paid off?

"Very well." Barak said, stroking his stubble with his pinky-less hand. "Unless Winter One had someone else in mind…"

Laszlo eyed Hào hopingly. Hào sighed, deciding to play along. "No, sir. Winter Five will do."

"Excellent" Barak mumbled, managing to sound satisfied. "Dismissed." Everyone saluted and then made their way to the exit. Hào and Laszlo were first, speeding towards the hangar bay.

Hào glanced at Laszlo, who once again had a hearty grin. "You planned that even before the meeting, didn't you?"

"What?" Laszlo replied innocently. "I had to know whether my teachings ever meant anything to them."

"I understand that" Hào said tiredly, holding back a yawn. "But is this really a good time for your field tests? We can't afford disunity at a time like this."

"And thus it's the perfect way to test them. But don't worry; I'm quite certain I made at least a minor impression this time – you can see it in their eyes."

Hào didn't reply, busy thinking whether he should take cover once Rachel realized what had been decided about her or not.

***

Laszlo entered the hangar bay, followed by Hào, to find both their respective teams not far away around a Pelican – one which Laszlo instantly realized had been modified; additional plates were welded onto the craft, with what appeared like jackal shield gauntlets on top around the engines and prow; the machine gun at the back had been replaced with a gauss cannon; two more chainguns had been added on each side of the standard issue one, and the missile pods appeared somewhat larger than normal – no doubt additional missiles were added.

"I think you've outdone yourself this time, Jelly." Hào said, studying the craft up close.

Yelizaveta-G141, called 'Jelly' or Winter Seven, rose out of the cockpit and leapt down just beside Hào, her brown hair flailing around wildly whilst doing so. "Why thank you, boss." She replied with childish cheerfulness; it was obvious she was the youngest member of the team, not just in body, but also in spirit.

"Are those really jackal shield gauntlets?" Laszlo asked curiously, having walked up to the two Spartan-IIIs.

"You betcha" Yelizaveta exclaimed. "Placed them at strategic points ‘round the craft to provide maximum defensive capability to otherwise vulnerable areas. I'm not losing this bird like the two previous ones – may they rest in peace."

Yelizaveta had an almost unhealthy attachment to machines and vehicles – or at least those she built or modified herself. But it was something Hào had told Laszlo that the team overlooked, because of her sheer brilliance – what Laszlo wondered was how they overlooked the fact that she even managed to acquire the technology she incorporated into her inventions; jackal defense gauntlets were one thing – Spartan-IIIs always collected those from the battlefield on instinct, as they hadn't always fought in protective MJOLNIR armor, even though it was a breach of the Cole Protocol – but extra weaponry and plating like on this pelican would have to be taken from other UNSC vehicles – meaning that she likely took apart other vehicles to improve her own. Somehow, he doubted she had permission to do so.

"Of course" she continued excitedly, "it's not just the defensive capabilities I've improved; the weapons are also upgraded, and I took the liberty of adding some too; this is a true merge of a dropship and a gunship. And just in case all this isn't enough" – she paused briefly to take a breath and wipe some grease from her face – "I added another trick."

She knocked on the side of the craft, and to Laszlo's surprise it opened up and a long missile zoomed out. "Ares missiles" she explained. "Used to be standard issue on UNSC warships before the Archer was made. These babies would've rotten in storage hadn't I acquired them. And if we find ourselves in a pinch, we have a little extra punch. I couldn't add more than two, though, so we have to use them sparingly."

Laszlo didn't know what to say; he continued to marvel at how resourceful the young spartan were. Instead, he left Hào and Yelizaveta to seek out Bonnie and Amanda.

He found them sitting a few paces away near the pelican alongside Varghese and Rachel, the former tweaking with a rocket launcher, the latter turning a lighter on and off. They stood up once they saw him.

"You know what we're to do now, sir?" Amanda asked stoically.

"We'll take mongooses and speed ahead of the main force, providing forward reconnaissance." He replied, putting on his helmet. Rachel looked up for a moment, and then returned to turning her lighter on and off. Laszlo could've sworn he had seen a hint of jealousy in her expression.

Laszlo and his teammates mounted a mongoose each waiting further into the bay. He started it, enjoying the sound of the vehicle's engines. He turned to make sure Amanda and Bonnie were also ready, and cast a fleeting glance in Rachel's direction, where he saw her looking rebellious and talking to Hào – apparently he had told her she would have to wait behind while everyone else moved out. Cracking a smile underneath the visor, he drove out of the bay and out onto the snaking mountain path outside. The sun had almost set; they would be covered by the darkness.

And so Operation: DIVINE SON had begun.


KaiLengProfilePic2
Matt-256M - A - T - T -- L - E - N - G
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — 03:36, 4 July 2020, Swedish Time Zone (GMT +2)
Right, here's my first post, but do note that we can't start the RP yet - not until Parkster and Lomi post as well. However, those who have characters in DIVINE SON now have a bit of an advantage; you have some extra time to plan out your posts by taking into account what I've set up in this one.

Here's a few important notes for those people with DIVINE SON characters:

  • The Covenant effectively control/occupy the region; the UNSC is no longer in control. Surviving enclaves exist, yes (your characters and their respective units, or what remains of them), but the Covenant control the region. So, this is a fight against an occupying force - remember this when you write.
  • The Covenant headquarters is located in Athens. Since it's heavily reinforced, the UNSC won't risk an assault on it yet, which means it's off-limits for now. The assault will come later, once the remaining UNSC forces believe they've collected a large enough force. Beyond that, you can pretty much write about any location.
  • The occupation force is led primarily by Elites for now; the Brutes are a minority. This may change over time, however, so be alert for new notices.
  • You may have noticed this, but the reason for the choice to have "collect survivors" as the primary objective for my characters was because it felt like a reasonable excuse to cooperate with other people in future posts. So don't be surprised if you find me contacting you at some point. If you know already that you don't want anything to do with me, make a note of that on the RP talk page. However, remember that this objective was just made up for my "survivor enclave"; your characters can attempt to pursue pretty much any objective imaginable (wage guerilla war, attempt to get out of the region to get reinforcements, fight for their lives in out-right battles against the Covenant etc.), though they could also come to the same/similar conclusions as my units and therefore pursue similar goals - in the end, it's up to you.

Good luck, everyone :)



1

Operation: DIVINE SON

0440 Hours, October 24, 2552; Outskirts of Thermopylae, Greece

First Lieutenant Joseph Forenson looked out the Falcon's open passenger bay, his helmet tucked under his arm. He could plainly see the damage and destruction to Thermopylae, but remained impassive as the aircraft continued its predesignated flight. More countless victims of the war, he thought. It never gets better.

Ever since humanity made first contact with the Covenant in 2525, the war became something everyone lived with, and constantly feared. Over the stretch of the entire conflict, which reached almost three decades, the deadly aliens destroyed planet after planet, starting with the Outer Colonies, and working their way in. Half the Inner Colonies were gone now too, and the fight had finally reached Earth. By now, the population had gone from 23 billion to a dwindling 200 million, and dozens of planets had been lost.

The war wasn't likely to go on for much longer either. Reach had been destroyed barely two months ago, and when even ONI Section Two couldn't keep it quiet, there had been mass hysteria among the civilians. Forenson knew that the war was about to come to an end, if the UNSC couldn't find some way to overcome the odds, Earth would be lost. No doubt the extinction of humanity would follow.

Which is why every victory counts so much now. Even the small ones. The Lieutenant glanced the other way. Apart from the four other Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs) riding with him, there was a Pelican dropship with ten more Marines inside, as well as a second Falcon escorting it and carrying five additional troops. His Commanding Officer (CO), Lieutenant Colonel Max Gauthier, had advised Company Commanders not to ride in the most conspicuous vehicle during insertions, as they made the biggest (and more often than not, the most obvious) targets to hostile anti-air weaponry. There were three other flight groups like theirs, with a platoon of soldiers in each group. They made up his Company, one of over a hundred that made up the 36/8 ODST Division under the command of Brigadier General Francisco Cortez.

Impressive numbers, no doubt. But the Covenant have wiped out more than that before. We've shown them what we're made of, but we're only human. And we still die like humans.

"Team, we've received reconnaissance of Covenant activity up ahead," the Pelican copilot's voice was heard on the COM units of everyone in the platoon. "We're coming in for a landing. You're to proceed through this district and meet up with Spartan Winter Team. There'll be another Company coming in to retake this area later."

Here we go. "Lock and load, boys!" he shouted to the ODSTs in his Falcon. "Let's take these bastards feet first into hell!" He put on his helmet, and polarized the visor, reflecting everything he looked at in silver. The two Marines stationed to the aircraft's turrets took their weapons off their backs and braced for landing. Shifting his BR55 Battle Rifle to his right hand, the Lieutenant grabbed the handle and leaned back casually until the Falcon lowered itself onto the ground.

Forenson waited until the vehicle were hovering a foot above the charred asphalt, and jumped out. The ODSTs on the other Falcon did the same, while the Pelican made a wide turn as it too settled in for a landing.

"Helljumpers, let's move!" he said. "We're going to pay a visit to Winter Team. Saldivar, you're on point!"

As the platoon dashed down the street in formation, Forenson shut out all thought of the ruins around him that was once a city, and concentrated on the mission ahead. Any daydreaming now could be fatal if there were enemy snipers hiding around. Or worse, a Covenant ambush. Emotion would have to come later.

We may be only human, he thought. But these Spartans are so much more than that. They're the key to our victory.

We're going to win this war. No matter what.

There is no glory without honour 21:24, October 14, 2010 (UTC)

2: Grand Theft Scarab

Battle of Boston (Sgt. Maj. Lindsey Williamson subplot)\

0500 Hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Behind Covenant Lines, Financial District, Boston, USA


Sergeant Lindsey Williamson and the rest of her ODST squad crept through the hallways of a skyscraper in the Financial District. Lindsey turned a corner first, her image clouded by her active camouflage. Williamson, unlike the rest of her ODST squad was clad in SPI armor intended for use by SPARTAN IIIs. The story of how she got a hold of the armor, not to mention the augmentation drugs necessary to use it was a long story a quest for vengeance and a number of technically illegal acts.

Lindsey was only six-years old when her homeworld was glassed of Jericho IV by the Covenant, and her parents killed in the attack. She later found out death of her parents was the work a Sangheilli, Idno 'Apassee. From then on, she swore she'd kill as many Covenant as she could, and preferably, 'Apassee himself.

Towards these ends, Lindsey tried to join the SPARTAN III program, but was too young for the first batch of IIIs and too old for the second. So, Lindsey began researching genetic augmentations, and saw no reason why she could not use the drugs if she could just get her hands on them. Like all illegal goods, there has to be a black market for these things somewhere.

At age 18, Lindsey found the drugs she needed. Of course, she did not have the money to buy them off the scientist. But, there were other ways an attractive 18-year-old blonde could get what she wanted out of middle-aged man.... So, that was how an 18-year old UNSC Marine recruit managed to make it through the worst that first basic and then ODST training could throw at her. And when the UNSC found out she had stolen both augmentation drugs and suit of SPI armor meant for some Sierra III, rather than throw her in prison, the UNSC brass thought it would be a better idea to give her an ODST squad to command on some of the most dangerous missions of the war.

That is why Lindsey was where she was now, preparing to steal a Scarab by jumping on board from a destroyed skybridge with the help of a jump pack.

"Troopers, follow me, we've got two Scarabs parked below us", Lindsey said, "Ramirez, Dunn, MacTavish, and I will take the one of the right. "Roycewicz, Sanderson, Mui, Jacobs, and Johansson", you take the one of the left".

A few seconds later, Lindsey yelled, "All right, everyone, take out those troops on the top deck". On Lindsey's commands a hail of bullets, grenades, and 102mm rockets rained down on the Scarabs, blasting apart Elites, throwing the broken bodies of Jackals off the top deck, and cutting down Grunts, who tried to flee, but found they had nowhere to run on the elevated Scarab deck.

At Lindsey's signal, all ten ODSTs activated their jet packs and flew towards the deck as an energy sword-wielding Elite exited the door to the lower decks, presumably to investigate what was going on. Lindsey unsheathed her combat knife and adjusted her course so that she flew straight towards the Sangheili's back. Lindsey kicked the Elite with both feet as she landed, knocking the alien to the ground. She then jumped on top of the downed Elite and stuck the knife straight through it's neck, killing it in one swift movement.

Lindsey heard movement from behind her. Not having time to draw her submachine gun, she seized the Elite's energy sword and thrust the blade through the chest of a second Elite. Lindsey drew her M7S silenced SMG with one hand and stepped forward down the ramp to the lower deck of the Scarab, still holding the dead Elite impaled on her Energy sword, using it as a shield.

Dunn tossed a grenade around the corner, into the cockpit of the Scarab. As soon as the grenade exploded, Lindsey and the others rushed in. The ODST's weapons blazed, cutting down any Covenant that survived the grenade blast. Lindsey herself mowed down an Elite and several Grunts, still using the dead Elite and a "meatshield". In seconds, all the Covenant were dead, save for a lone Unggoy, who had fled up the ramp and jumped off the body of the Scarab. "CLEAR", Lindsey yelled as she deactivated her captured energy sword and placed the captured weapon at her belt.

Seconds later, Lindsey's radio crackled to life. "Sergeant Williamson, Roycewicz here, we have successfully eliminated the second Scarab's crew, no ODST casualties."

"Excellent", Lindsey said as she entered the Scarab's driver seat, "Take command of the Scarab and follow us to the ambush point on India Sierra 93."

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119


Operation:DIVINE SON

3

1855 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
North-West of Galičica Mountain, Periphery of Continental Greece, Hellenic Republic

Norman-G124 drummed his fingers on the side of the falcon's automatic grenade launcher. He tried to relax-but found it nigh impossible. Probaly the threat of banshees shooting down the Falcon. Dagger Team had managed to escape from Mars after they had been ordered back to Earth. Of course, the sons-of-bitches at ONI had ordered them to come back from Mars. What they hadn't done was give them transport. They had simply used a hijacked Phantom to fly back to Earth, somehow surviving the brutal space battle in orbit around Luna and Earth. They had then landed somewhere in Gremany; at a Army Base, where they had surrendered the Phantom to UNSC forces. After a few hours given for shut-eye, they had been ordered to take a Falcon into Greece.

“Banshees, Nine O’Clock!” Janice warned. Norman brought his grenade launcher upwards, and Gary swung the Falcon around so he was facing the Banshees. Norman turned the grenade launcher so it was facing forwards, and waited. A moment later, two red dots appeared on his motion sensor, and then two banshees flew into visual range.

They fired. Norman’s grenade flew from his launcher, and he held down the trigger, and then let go. The grenade detonated right next to one banshee, releasing an EMP, causing it to lose power. The banshee fell towards the ground; the pilot no doubt desperately trying to re-start the power. Norman didn’t give him the chance; he simply fired another grenade directly at the banshee. The grenade, and banshee exploded in a blue ball of plasma, raining debris. A similar explosion to his right told him that the second Banshee had been destroyed.

Those banshee patrols were growing to be a nuisance. They had encountered three patrols of banshees already, and had disposed of them in the same fashion. But the Covenant forces were sure to notice the missing patrols and investigate.

They were headed to KOPIS Base, an UNSC Army base in the middle of some god-forsaken mountains. They were then supposed to link up with any UNSC army forces and reinforce them, as HIGHCOM must have thought the location to be strategically important.

The Falcon was passing over what seemed to be a site of a battle between UNSC and Covenant forces. A pair of burned out Wraith tanks, three ruined Revenants, the remains of a Scorpion, a pair of destroyed Warthogs and dozens of corpses, human and alien alike. Norman took comfort that there seemed to be more alien corpses than human.

"Damn..." Kevin whispered. The Falcon continued, it's passengers sitting in silence. The com was eerily silent-he knew the Covenant were somehow jamming communications, but it didn't stop it from being incredibly creepy. The UNSC could have completely collapsed in the region, and they wouldn't know. He couldn't realy relax either; they were under constant risk of being assaulted by banshees. On the bright side, they were nearing KOPIS Base.

"Phantoms ahead." Janice warned. Sure enough, a trio of Phantoms flying in a wedge formmation were in the air, slightly below them.

"Weapons free. Engage them." Norman ordered. The phantoms were almost certainly headed to KOPIS base, it was the only UNSC base nearby. It was unlikely to be a patrol either, because three Phantoms were too much just for a routine patrol. The only other possible reason for their numbers he could think was was that the three Phantoms were ferrying someone high ranking in the Covenant-another good reason to blow up the Phantoms.

The Falcon rose into the air as Gary fired the chin gun and Norman and Kevin openned up with the grenade launchers. 40mm grenades detonated on the Phantom to the right, and HEAT rounds impacted on the same Phantom.

"Gary, fly higher. They're nearly defenseless from above!" Janice shouted.

"You think I don't know that?" Gary snapped back. The Falcon rose again, and the Phantoms attempted to escape it. But escaping a vehicle that was faster and more manuverable than yours, all while taking heavy fire proved to be a difficult task. One of the Phantoms exploded in mid-air, and they focused on the lead Phantom next. Grenades and HEAT rounds struck the Phantom from above and behind. Both Phantoms were engaging evasive manuvers, making hitting it somewhat difficult, but still possible. Gary was tailing both Phantoms perfectly, although considering the significant manuveribility advantages they had over the Covenant dropships, it wasn't that much of a feat.

One phantom suddenly lost power and began falling towards the ground. Someone must have managed to hit the Phantom's anti-gravity pods and destroy them, Norman concluded. The final Phantom, who's pilot seemed to be growwing rather desperate, flipped his Phantom upside down. The chin-mounted concussion rifle fired two blasts onto the Phantom. Gary evaded the first, but the second nailed them below.

"Minor damage." Gary reported. Norman fired two grenades onto the concussion rifle, blasting if off the Phantom. They continued firing, and the pilot flipped his Phantom back upright again. Not that it did it any good, it still couldn't evade the Falcon, and eventually, the Phantom exploded in a blue fireball.

"How close are we?" Kevin asked.

"Not far." Gary replied. "Around five minutes. You should be able to see it soon."


"Where the FUCK is KOPIS?" Janice said nervously. They had been circling the area where KOPIS base was supposed to be, but nothing.

"I am thinking KOPIS is gone." Norman said flatly. "I mean, it seems like there was a hell of a battle-" He gestured at one of the many wrecked Wraiths. Corpses littered the the ground, and wrecked vehicles, UNSC and Covenant alike scattered the landscape. Charred ground-evidence of explosives or plasma-also scarred the landscape.

"Flare!" Janice shouted. "I see a bunch of flares!"

"Land us by those flares." Norman ordered. "We'll link up with them."

Gary landed the Falcon, and Norman stepped out of the Falcon. A single Army soldier, who's FOF tags identified him as Corporal Peter Steiner. "Sir." The army corporal said. He did not salute.

"Corporal." Norman nodded. "Where's the rest of your unit? Or your CO?"

"Dead." He said. "The Covies attacked this base in force. We put up a hell of a fight, but there were too many. They must have missed me though. Me, Private Wong and the swabbie-I mean, Crewman Lane." The army soldier nervously gestured with one hand. "They air and armor support. So did we actually, but we were pretty much outnumbered five to one. Nothing we could do. Me, Private Wong and the swabbie are just staying here, making a final stand. There's still a working AA Turret at the base, and some of the underground areas didn't get hit, so we thought he could take more Covies with us this way."

Norman nodded slowly. The Corporal's reasoning was sound. With just three of them, it was unlikely that they could survive trekking across kilometers of hostile territory. Here though, they could at least handle some Covenant air forces. But with their Falcon, he wondered if he could help them out. The Corporal's men would certainly be spending their lives if they stayed, but were they spending them well?

"Let's get moving. We should launch hit-and-run attacks on the Covenant-we'll survive longer. Hopefully, reinforcements will show up. Corporal, do you have any other assets in the base?"

"Not really." He said. "We have a Grizzly tank, but its engine took a hit. Its probally wrecked and we have no idea how to fix it." Steiner said. "There are a bunch of other damaged or destroyed vehicles as well. We had a bunch of Wolf Spider Turrets by the base, but most are completely wrecked. The Covenant got pretty sick of how resilient they were, so they burned them to nothing. We still have one working one by the south though."

"I can try to fix the Grizzly, sir." Gary said. The momment Gary said that, Steiner's face lit up like a christmas tree. A Grizzly would make life much easier for them.

"Good." Norman said. "Gary, stay here and try to repair the Grizzly. Me, Janice and Kevin will take the Falcon and recon the nearby area. Corporal Steiner, show him the Grizzly."


Norman sat himself inside the Falcon and glanced at the controls, remembering the last time he had flown one of these in training. He activated both rotors and the Falcon rose into the air. He smiled wryly when the first time he had flown a Falcon during a simulation. He had done everything right...until the Lieutenant Commander had decided to spice things up a bit by sending banshees at them. He had been promptly shot down in a matter of seconds.

This wouldn't happen today. He promised himself. Too much was at stake. As the Falcon rose into the air, he flew towards the east, allowing the vehicle to fly over the mountains.

"Janice, scan for hostiles." He ordered.

"Thermal shows nothing." She replied. "So we should be fine unless the Covies want to fight unarmed, since plasma weapons sticks up like a sore thumb on thermal." She added.

"Brutes?" Kevin asked. "I don't think spikers show up on thermal vision. And neither do needlers and gravity hammers."

"Motion sensors clear too." Norman added. "I think we can move on." The Falcon moved south. Norman kept an eye on the motion sensor on the Falcon when two red dots appeared.

"Ghosts." Janice whispered. "An elite on each one. One Major, one Minor. Permission to engage?" She asked.

"Feel free." There were two cracks from a sniper rifle.

"Targets neutralized." Norman moved the Falcon south. There were no more Covenant patrols, and he continued west to complete the patrol around the base. A burning Seraph fighter was sitting right on the peak of a mountain, and even further west, parts of a ruined Scarab walker sat in the middle of a large crater. It wasn't alone however, there were several other destroyed Covenant vehicles as well. Even further West, it became apparent that the Covenant had caught whoever was responsible for bombing their convoy. A trio of crashed Longswords were stuck in the ground.

"Scan for survivors." Norman ordered.

"Scanning." Janice replied. "None in the area." She said.

Norman turned the Falcon to the north, where there were a great amount of UNSC Army bodies. There were also some Covenant corpses, but the human bodies outnumbered the alien ones. He turned the falcon back towards the base, having completed the patrol. He flew the Falcon back towards one of KOPIS's helicopter landing pads that wasn't rubble and landed. Stepping out of the Falcon, he walked towards the base. He first headed towards the vehicle bay, where Gary was working on the Grizzly.

"Can you fix the Grizzly?" He asked Gary. Gary had the Grizzly suspended in the air by heavy lifting equipment.

"Engines took some damage. It was hit by plasma-melted through the armor and hit the engines. I'm repairing it at the momment." Gary said. "Also, the treads took a nasty hit from plasma as well. I'll have to fix them. I'm going to have to strip off armor from a few other UNSC vehicles and bolt it on to fix the melted armor problem."

"Good." Norman said. "How long will it take?"

"A while." Gary said. "You'll have lots of spare time while I fix this damn thing. Now can you shut up and let me focus?" Norman shrugged his shoulders and headed towards the base's perimeter. Corporal Steiner was staring to the west with a field binoculars on a lookout post.

"See anything on your patrol?" Steiner asked.

"Two ghosts. We neutralized them." Norman said. "We also saw a heck lot of bodies to the south-west and west of the base."

"Yeah." Steiner said. "Huge Covie convoy showed up from the south-west a few days ago. A few Longswords dropped cluster bombs on them, wasted the whole convoy. But they didn't make it out. A Covenant corvette shot all of them down."

"We saw the crash site." Norman said.

"Yeah." Steiner said. "Those guys bought us a few extra days, then even more Covenant troops showed up. Then they moved on south and also towards Athens." Steiner said. "I wonder if Athens still exists." Steiner said quietly. If it wasn't for his enhanced hearing, Norman wasn't sure he would be able to hear it at all. "My little brother works there."

Norman put a hand on his shoulder. "He'll be okay." He reassured Steiner. "We'll kick the Covenant off Earth. We will win this damn war."

"Doesn't look that way to me." Steiner said gloomily. "Wake up and face the music-this is humanity's final stand. In a year and a few months, homo sapiens won't exist in this galaxy any more. What we're doing here is making sure we, as a species, take as many Covenant with us as possible. That's an open secret-not just in the UNSC, but to every human being in Sol."

Norman thought about what Steiner had said. In a pessimistic, defeatist way, Steiner was right. They had been pushed back from the outer regions of Sol-Saturn and Jupiter's moons, then a few battles in the aestroid belt. Then Mars, in which Team Dagger-his team had been sent to piss off the Covenant occupying Mars. And now the fight was on Earth. They had nowhere-else to fall back to.

But instead of voicing that, Norman said. "We'll turn the tide. We'll win this war no matter what it takes."

"You know what it'll take?" Steiner said flattly. "A massive Covenant Civil War to fuck them up from the inside. Anything short of that isn't going to work, unless you count divine intervention."


Operation:ETERNAL SPIRIT

2045 Hours, October 23rd, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Outskirts of Fuzhou, Fuzhou Municipality, Fujan province, People's Republic of China "FALL BACK! GET BACK!" Second Lieutenant Jacob Wong shouted at his platoon, while be began running. One particularily unintelligent private stared at him uncomprehendingly for a second, then the sound of a scarab crushing buildings entered the private's ears and the private ran at an astonishingly quick pace. The Scarab was about two kilometers away from them, and getting closer

Jacob fired a magazine from his MA37 into the Scarab's -he was firing blindly, but it wasn't hard to hit a large target. Nothing happened, not that he had expected anything to happen. The Scarab began to charge up its main cannon, prompting Jacob-and his entire platoon-to run even faster.

"FUUUUUUUUCKKKKK!" Sergeant First Class Terrance screamed. They dove for cover, rolled to the side and generally tried to evade the Scarab's cannon.

Then a miracle happened.


Adam strapped himself in on the oversized seats on the bridge of the captured Covenant frigate. Made for elites, the seats were massive even for him, let alone the other normal-sized people.

The ship was packed with refugees from Reach, civilian or otherwise. As per the Cole Protocol, they had made a series of random slipspace jumps, and finally to Earth.

"Emerging from Slipspace in ten seconds." First Lieutenant Peters said, a little bit nervously. He had been a linguist, working with ONI, although he knew (in theory) how to make the calculations for a slipspace jump.

"Oh. Fuck." Lieutenant Commander Jonathan Perry, the ranking officer and captain of the ship said suddenly. Adam-309 glanced at the cameras on the ship, then realized what had happened.

"Where the hell are we?" Adam asked. He glanced at the viewscreen, and suddenly realized why everyone was cursing.

They had jumped out of slipspace, right into Earth's atmosphere. But apparently, Covenant ships had the ability to preform in-atmosephere jumps-they had tried that when cornered by a pair of CCS-Class Battlecruisers when picking up a few civilains from New Alexandria.

The problem was that they were staring right at a Covenant Scarab.

"Ram that thing." Perry ordered suddenly.

"On it." Second Lieutenant Sonya Vlasova said, with just a hint of worry in her voice. The frigate moved forward, and with a crunch, the Scarab crumpled against the hull of the frigate.

"Get us higher into the air." Perry said. Crane, send out a message to any UNSC forces on Earth. Let them know we've got a bunch of civies in this ship that need evacuation. And the fact that we have a more-or-less fully functional Covenant frigate.

"Yes sir." Crane replied, not hiding his distaste.

Crane had been a civilian pilot, owning his own freighter before the Cole Protocol had banned civilian interstellar travel, leaving him unemployed, and as a result, rather unhappy with the UNSC. In his opinion, he had dangerous insurectionist sympathies, and if he wasn't so damn important to the ship's occupant's welfare, Adam would probally have shot him.

"We have a channel to Fleet Admiral Hood." Crane said. "That geezer sounds pleased."

"Admiral, sir!" Perry snapped to attention.

"Just cut to the chase, Lieutenant Commander. In case you haven't noticed, we've got a full-scale Covenant invasion on our hands at the momment."

"Yes sir." Perry said, then proceded to tell Hood how Turquoise Team had stowed away on a Covenant frigate, seized the ship and then picked up various people stranded on Reach, civilian or UNSC.

"Orders, Admiral?"

"Right. Lieutenant Commander, you will take this ship up into orbit. We are forming a perimeter around Luna's orbit. Any ground forces will assist in Tokyo."

"And the civilians, sir?"

Hood paused for a momment, then continued.

"China is all but totally under Covenant control-get to Japan-there are evac points all over there."


Adam, followed by Lucia and a large amount of army troopers and marines jogged inside the Covenant ship's armoury. He selected a plasma repeater, and then an energy sword. He prefered shotguns-many a time he had blasted an elite armed with an energy sword to bits with his shotgun when the elite's sword was just a few centimeters awa from his head.

"Adam." Lucia, clad in SPI armor already, strolled up to him whispered. "I think I managed to crack the armour lock thingy the brutes like to use. Try it on."

Lucia tossed Adam a circular object.

"It goes on the crotch area-same place the brutes put it." She said.

"Thats..." Adam tried to hide his disgust, and after a few momments, succeded. He held the device in his hand, then turned to Lucia.

"I'll go get suited up in my armor. Have you grabbed some new weapons yet?" Adam asked.

Lucia shook her head.

"Well, I'll meet you in the docking bay.

Adam made his way to the other part of the armoury where he had stored his SPI armor. He suited up, getting his helmet on last. Then he made his way to the docking bay.


0105 Hours, October 24th, 2552. (Military Calendar)/
Ryu Base, Tokyo, Japan.

Adam sat inside the seats of the Spirit. The seats, like those on a the Covenant frigate were designed for elites. He wondered how it would work for the non-elite soldiers who used the Spirits, since the Covenant military was primarily made up of grunts and jackals. He was pretty sure the brutes, who were about a foot too big for the seats wouldn't really like those seats too.

"These fucking things are really damn cramped." An army trooper complained.

"Aw, quit bitching, Borris." Another trooper replied.

"He's got a point, you know." A third trooper piped up. "Ain't got NOWHERE to move.

That invited a chorus of bitching from the other troopers inside the Spirit dropship about the uncomfortableness of the Covenant dropships.

"We're are approaching the LZ." The pilot declared. "We're at Ryu Base."

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4: Cradle

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1907 Hours, October 23rd 2552 (Military Calendar)/
D77H-TCI Bravo 029, over Mt. Fuji and southbound, Japan

So this was it. Humanity’s cradle.

Standing next to the pilot and copilot of Bravo 29, Kodiak was enjoying himself just looking out of the cockpit windows and getting a good view of it. Below the Pelicans wings were the snowcapped slopes of Mt. Fuji, what had long been heralded as Earth’s most beautiful peak. It amazed him that despite a hundred years of pollution around the turn of the century, humans had taken great strides to preserve the Earth’s wonder.

Looking at the pilots, he noted for the first time that they were Navy, and should have been helping the space guerilla engagements that were still taking place around the Lunar perimeter. “How’d you guys get stuck ferrying ground forces.”

LTJG Yasunaka absently responded, “Things are crazy everywhere. Mombasa, Athens, Sydney, and now Beijing commands are offline. Command structure’s FUBAR; if someone with a higher tier objective rounds you up, you go where they go. And they said go to Japan.”

Kodiak nodded, the features of his HUD hanging in his vision. The grayish-green suit of Semi-Powered Infiltration Armor was a little small for him. Kodiak had several complaints, one of which being that it didn’t have energy shielding like Spartans on newsreels. The main advantage was unmatched stealth, reverse engineered from Active Camouflage technology. But he’d never been very stealthy. It was armor, though, and he was strong enough on his own to go toe-to-toe with an Elite. Which he probably would today.

“Standby for your drop. We’ll be over Oshima Island in a minute.”

“What’s there of tactical value?”

“Oshima’s just outside Tokyo Bay. The higher-ups seem to think the Covies are going to land shock troops there, for a flanking maneuver. You’re going to secure the bay while they rig up a pair of mass drivers to fend off Phantoms. Won’t help ‘em if they call in capital ships, though. Word to the wise, be prepared to get out of there.” She tapped a panel. “Better get going. Goss, rig ‘em up. Hey, if you need a transport, just radio for Angel.”

“Thanks.” Kodiak said before he spun around and headed into the dark troop bay, with Ensign Gossard behind him. Waiting in the darkness were two more Spartans, the rest of Ion Team.

Strapped into harnesses meant for air-dropping cargo, the pair were likewise clad in the dark armor. The male was Dyne, Gamma 217. Though the gold-visored helm masked his visage, the nod he made towards his team leader meant he was smiling under it. With an informal salute, he said, "Can't believe they're going to throw us out the back like they would an ammo crate."

As Gossard tied chains around him, Kodiak responded, "Resources are low everywhere. You're lucky you aren't being thrown out with a rock tied to you."

Sepia G330 wasn't amused. "It's a waste to put us on backup. The main invasion will be from the west." she said, checking the intake on her flamethrower. She was a fearsome fighter, the only Spartan he’d known to use a flamethrower. The three of them were an odd trio to put together, and they looked very few in the twelve-seat bay.

It wasn't always like this. Marcus was the explosives expert, but he'd died in the augmentation procedures. So had Sam, who had been the only one capable of binding the five together into an effective unit, to act as one entity. But now the duty fell to Kodiak. He and Dyne had been best of friends since a week before arriving on Onyx, he couldn't command the respect a distant leader could. And Sepia didn't listen to anyone. Though Commander Ambrose had wanted them to stay together because they had trained together, the three were too different to form any semblance of a conventional fireteam.

But maybe that versatility of its parts would give Ion Team an edge, if Kodiak could keep them alive long enough.

"Gentlemen and lady, if I may have your attention!" the Ensign shouted. "Crew Chief Wheatley is absent, so I'll be filling in today. Please keep your hands and arms firmly gripped to these lines at all times, 'cause if you fall from 'em there's nothing we can do. Refreshments will not be served and you will have no ability to move around the cabin, as there will be no cabin. Thank you for flying Bravo Two-Nine, and have a nice day."

With that, the rear door opened up, and light spilled in. Dyne rechecked that his sniper rifle was secure on his back, gripped his MA5C in his hands, and jumped from the back with a wild yell. Sepia was right after, silent and passive aggressive as ever, and then it was his turn. Kodiak felt his MA5B, and with a running start leaped out the back, ready to take his first steps on Earth.


Operation: HOLY FATHER

0045 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Drop bay, UNSC Asturcon, over Sydney, Australia

For Corporal Mitch Hunter, the day had started badly. It had for humans in general, really. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of Covenant ships had arrived in system and the Earth invasion was just beginning. But for him, it might have been just a little worse.

The black plates, bodysuit and gadgets of an ODST suit weighed heavily on him, just as much as the memories they brought. The helmet’s reflective visor sat on a table, staring back at him without emotion or hint of humanity. And the grip of the gun in his hand felt cold as steel through the thermal gloves.

It was the first time since the Battle of Reach that Mitch donned the ballistic battle armor. There, his company was wiped out almost completely in the streets and buildings of New Alexandria. In the fires of a burning skyscraper, he’d barely made it out after another marine had rescued his squad. After that, he’d nearly left the service, but he owed a debt to Gunnery Sergeant Buck. He couldn’t leave it yet.

He let the helmet win their staring contest and glanced around the darkened drop bay of the light frigate UNSC Asturcon. A platoon of Task Force Oscar’s troopers milled around in silence, anticipating the drop into Sydney. All of them wore Oscar’s red, round patch, save for Hunter himself and two other troopers.

Clad in the 11th’s red armor like Mitch, Private First Class Baxter Jones sat with his back to a wall, rhythmically tapping his helmet against it in his back-and-forth nod. The trooper was listening to music inside his helmet again, likely Human Nature. Another of the Double One’s few survivors, Jones’ plasma burns had healed well since Reach. In his first four months of service, he’d been wounded five times, and returned to duty after each. The reputation for being bulletproof had earned him the nickname ‘Kevlar’, and with all the Covenant reported in the city, Mitch couldn’t help wondering if he’d get hit today.

The other was painted with blue lines, Private Ben Dansen. Picking him up en route from Geneva, Switzerland, the sniper had been unusually quiet for a Helljumper. Keeping to himself and saying little, it made him wonder what was going on inside his head. Was he thinking of his unit? A girl? Family?

He decided that as long as Dansen fought and followed orders, he could live with the mystery. Mitch got up and surveyed the hologram readout of Sydney. Their landing zone was on the outskirts of the city, away from the thick of red motes of light signifying enemy patrols and worse, Wraith assault tanks. Yes sir, a bad day indeed.


Operation: DIVINE SON

2000 Hours, October 23rd 2552 (Military Calender)/
South of Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

Slowly, the lone marine crawled up an embankment formed of rubble from a collapsed building. Pushing the battle rifle in front of him, he used its scope to get a better view of the area where an energy blast had enveloped everything only a few hours ago. It still didn’t increase his range of vision much, but a Covenant Scarab was not easy to miss. Far in the distance, it was making long strides on its way to investigate the blast zone.

“What is it?” asked a hushed but excited voice next to him.

“Excavation walker. They don’t typically show up on battlefields, only when they know they want something . . . which naturally means they want something here.” Moses Wheatley scratched at the stubble on his chin. Usually he’d keep cleanly shaved, but he’d been out here for four days without a razor. Sliding back, he slung his rifle and hit the sidewalk. “C’mon, let’s go.”

Next to him was a boy no older than ten, keeping quiet but having fun pretending to be this soldier’s comrade. He was right on Moses’ heels, looking this way and that to look for Jackal snipers or Elite swordsmen.

These streets were long since abandoned by its citizens, and with a lack of military interest had become dead silent. Enemy artillery crews had shelled it for good measure, but then passed on. It was a small urbanized area south of Thebes, populated mostly by farmers who worked the surrounding land, and businesses that had set up to supply them. All of that was gone, now, no one even to tell Moses what its name was.

Turning a street corner, the pair slid down into a hole created by Covenant mortar fire, leading into the building’s basement. A girl in her mid teens looked up, alarmed, but settled when she recognized them.

Wheatley breathed a sigh of relief. They hadn’t been discovered.

Setting down his rifle and helmet, he looked around for where he’d set his pack and the food in it as the boy whispered excitedly in French-accented English, “Reo! We saw them! They’re huge and ugly and everywhere!”

Wheatley interrupted him before he caused any alarm. “You saw nothing of the kind, Henri. It’s just one big one, far off, and headed farther.”

Reo relaxed noticeably. In comparison, the London girl was far wiser for not wanting to encounter the aliens. Staff Sergeant Moses Wheatley had survived enough battles between the Covenant and UNSC to know a human could barely match even a Jackal without military training and a strong build, but Henri was still excited. Just as he was about to start again, Wheatley ran over and cupped a hand over his mouth.

Sure enough, the sound of a wing of Banshees passed overhead, a howl preceding the hum of their engines as they actually passed over. The three of them waited a long time before he was sure they were gone, and released Henri’s mouth.

Once loose of his grip, Henri discreetly made a beeline for the pack with the food. Reo hugged her coat tighter and asked, “Do we have a plan or not?”

Moses sat against a pillar opposite the one she had her back to. “They’re stepping up air patrols to look for enemies. From what I know, that’ll mean they’ve concentrated at least part of their ground force in defense of the excavation equipment. They’re homing in on something . . . anyway, we aren’t leaving town any time soon. Air would spot us and hunt us down. Better to stay put for now.”

She more or less acknowledged it, and looked down to her Chatter. Wheatley watched the two of them with his placid, brown eyes and thought back to the two, scared children he’d found alone in the outskirts of Thebes. They didn’t have the money for a ticket off-world, the starliners were charging people lifetime savings for a chance to escape. And they couldn’t go aboard his Pelican, not where it was going. That place was far worse.

Telling Ensign Gossard he was leaving, Wheatley had watched Bravo 029 fly up to meet the UNSC Themistocles and take Spartans into the middle of Japan. But that was their problem now, not his. He had to keep these kids alive, even if no one else would help him. He needed to get them out of harms way. And just maybe he’d be lucky enough to get out, too.

That Damn Sniper, sniping

5: Isn't Irony Great

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

958 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Tigershark-class Ballistic Missile Submarine UNSC Seawolf, Southeast of Tokyo, Japan


"Now hear this!", Captain Takashi Yanagi spoke into the intercom of the UNSC Seawolf, "Two Covenant destroyers and two corvettes have slipped past what's left of the orbital defense grid. The vessels are currently slightly outside Earth Orbit, on a projected course that will take them over the East China sea, to Nagasaki. We have been given authorization to deploy nuclear weapons."

"Coordinates downloaded sir", A Lieutenant seated in front of a console to Yanagi's right said.

Yanagi glanced at the screen. They had three satellites and four ground sensors tracking the alien spacecraft, they were locked on.

"Prepare silo one for launch", Yanagi said into the intercom. Silo one contained a SHIVA nuclear missile armed with an eight-warhead MITV. Two warheads would slam directly into each vessel, the first would disable the energy shielding, the second, would destroy the ship.

"Silo prepared, ready to launch on your command.", the silo crews responded.

Yanagi typed a series of launch codes into the sub's central computer. A message flashed across the screen in large letters: INSERT KEYS TO INITIATE FINAL LAUNCH PROCEDURE.

"Yanagi took a key off a keyring on his belt and inserted it into a keyhole below the main control console, as the sub's second-in-command, a Lieutenant Commander Karlsson, inserted the second key at the same time, Yanagi and Karlsson turned the keys.

The SHIVA missile shot out of the launch tube. As the missile broke the surface, the first stage fired, propelling upwards as the second and then the third stage fired, launching the missile into low orbit within minutes.

It was only a few minutes after the missile escaped Earth orbit that it shed it's outer skin, releasing eight nuclear warheads. The warheads split into four groups of two.

Seconds later, the warheads impacted their targets at over fifteen times the speed of sound. The warheads impacted, the EMP blast of the first disabling the vessel's shields, before the second warhead exploded, annihilating the alien craft in a ball of flames. All four spacecraft were wiped out, creating a debris field of thousands of flaming pieces of twisted metal.

"Orbital defense stations have confirmed the destruction of all four Covenant spacecraft.", Yanagi announced as soon as he recieved the report.

Cheers erupted throughout the submarine. A vessel of the "wet navy" had just taken out four enemy spaceborne warships. Yanagi, however, thought of the irony of the city. The city of Nagasaki had been saved by a nuclear warhead, the very weapon that had annihilated it centuries earlier.... or, perhaps saved wasn't the right word. There were still plenty more Covenant left.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

6

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

0721 hours, October 24th, 2552 (Military Calendar) North of Tokyo, Japan, small village

Eric-G272 and Jared-097 crept along the outer edges of the small village, feet crushing to pulps fruit that had dropped from trees. Eric held out a fist, signaling for Jared to stop. Eric was the only survivor of ONI Recon 173, a specialized ONI reconnaissance-and-scouting group that had been sent to investigate the Covenant presence in Tokyo. Jared-097 was the sole survivor of the SPARTAN-II Gold Team.

They had been forced to flee the actual city to a small village in the middle of nowhere. Eric dropped to one knee and held his MA5K carbine at the ready. The broken bamboo fences of the village collapsed, and the crisp crunching of what sounded like leaves rang through Eric's ears. With a silence that personalized SPARTAN-IIIs, Eric crawled forward. Two Brutes stepped out. One of them had a Brute Shot, a grenade launcher. The other held a red plasma rifle but had a large hammer slung to his back.

Eric held up three fingers with his left hand, signaling a countdown. Two fingers. One. The two Spartans opened fire, and the Brutes growled in surprise. The one holding the grenade launcher fired while moving back, while the other roared in fury and charged. The golden-helmeted one swung his hammer, draining Eric's MJOLNIR armor to one-quarter. Eric unloaded his MA5K's magazine into the Chieftain, who stopped, as if stunned.

Jared fired his MA5K carbine in bursts, the 7.62mm sparking against the Brute Chieftain's shields. The Brute's helmet flew off, and then it charged full-fury at the two Spartans. Eric pressed himself against a wall, while Jared steadily moved back, firing his rifle, then reloading. Finally, under combined fire, the Chieftain fell. The other Brute, a Major was nowhere to be seen. Jared took off his helmet and said, "We have to fall back, Eric." Eric leaned forward and crouched.

Finally, after long moments of hesitation, he shrugged and said, "Agreed."



1001 hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calendar) In Tokyo, Japan

Dropping from a low rooftop, Eric quietly scouted. He turned on night vision and scanned the dark alleyway. A family of cats sat in the background. Jared saw a green acknowledgement light on his heads-up display wink, and he jumped down. They moved forward until they were almost out of the alleyway. "SHIT!" A marine rushed past the opening of the alleyway, followed in haste by the rest of his team.

Eric peeked out, and realized why. Six Wraith tanks sat near a Japanese restaurant, and two Shade emplacements sat plumply on either side of the restaurant entrance/exit. "Spartans, we could use some help," a gruff voice said through the COM channel to Jared and Eric.

Eric felt one of the Wraiths fire a plasma mortar. The impact shook the building, rattled his teeth, and drained one-third of his shields. "Who is this?"

"Lieutenant Grade One Jacob Avanlor, commanding ODST Shock Trooper Squad Number 44."

"Alright, sir."

"I've highlighted our position. We should be ten or fifteen kilometers from your position, near the ONI Takishi Base." Through the COM channel, heavy explosions and loud screaming could be heard. "Make it quick, Spartans. We're about to be overrun. Spartans, be advised - " Like a hiss of a nest of hornets, the COM went dead, and the voice went with it.

Eric headed toward the Lieutenant's position. Jared followed in hot pursuit, as they moved stealthily.


1415 hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calendar) Near ONI Takishi Base, Tokyo, Japan

The Spartan pair wriggled past mobs of screaming Japanese civilians. UNSC Pelicans and out-of-date Chinese Fengying trucks rumbled into the small area. Smoking remains of Shade plasma turrets, Covenant Hunters, Brutes, Jackals, Grunts, Wraiths, Scorpions, and Warthogs were littered all across the small residential neighborhood. UNSC troops got out of the Fengyings and Pelicans and unloaded CA5Ks, the Chinese-Japanese version of the MA5K carbines.

Jared edged past a group of UNSC marine medics carrying a screaming, half-burnt man away into a Fengying military truck. Eric uploaded a newer updated TACMAP version onto Jared's HUD. "TACMAP's new highlighted checkpoint is gone. That either means we've lost connection with the el-tee or he's dead."

Jared shrugged. "Either way, we're not going there anymore. These people here need our help. I wouldn't go anyway. Besides, that ONI base is probably smoking ashes right now." He chuckled lightly.

Unsigned comment by Rollersox (talk • contribs). Please sign your talk page posts with '~~~~'.

7: Fatal Wreck on The Great Journey

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1600 hours, October 24th, 2552 (Military Calendar) Setagaya, Japan, East of Tokyo.


Mikiya Ryougi flew his AV-144 Falcon Gunship at rooftop level through Setagaya, Japan, weaving between the burning ruins of what were once apartments, businesses, and other structures. The streets in between the building were filled with bodies and destroyed vehicles. Most of the bodies and vehicles were human. The Covenant had shown no mercy, killing anyone that encountered, military or civilian. The streets literally ran red with blood.

"Any signs of life?", Ryougi asked his co-pilot and gunner, Aoi Miyazaki.

"Nothing...", Aoi replied, "Wait a second, Two Spectres and a Shadow, over there, in front of that apartment building. I have four Sangheili and several Unggoy exiting the vehicles"

"Probably a Covenant death squad, sent to take out any surviving civilians. Smoke 'em.", Mikiya replied.

Aoi turned the Falcon's 30mm cannon on the Covenant squad and squeezed the trigger. The chain gun roared to life, sending a hail of high explosive and armor piercing shells at the aliens. The Covenant soldiers were blown into bloody chunks of flesh as their vehicles exploded into balls of blue flames.

"All hostiles eliminated", Aoi said, "Continuing scan for hostile forces."

Mikiya flew the aircraft further along the street, until he reached the burning ruins of what looked like a school.

"Spectre parked in front of that school", Aoi said, multiple corpses in a row along the track, looks like they were... beheaded and....", she continued, "Four Elites, all with energy swords, headed towards something in the field looks like two adolescents, attempting to jump the fence. I'm engaging."

Aoi pulled the trigger and fired short burst of 30mm shells, chewing two of the Elites to bloody chunks of flesh. The other two drew their plasma rifles and turned their weapons skyward. Aoi, however, was too quick for them, both Elites were blown apart by a second burst.

"UNSC Command, This is Hayabusa", Ryougi said into the radio, "I have sighted two civilian survivors in Setagaya, near the Tomei Expressway. Requesting evac."

"That's a negative, Hayabusa", the UNSC soldier on the other side of the radio said, "All our evac birds have been given priority tasks."

"Did HQ just tell us those survivors can go fuck themselves", Aoi asked.

"Unfortunately, Lt. Miyazaki, they did"., Ryougi said.

Mikiya looked down at the two survivors, who had now picked up the plasma rifles and energy swords from the dead elites.

"Good luck, you two", Mikiya said, though he knew the two on the ground couldn't hear him, and in any case, were probably still fated to die even with all the luck in the world.

"Three Banshees and a Vampire over the Tomei Expressway", Aoi said, "Massive Covenant armored column below them, they haven't spotted us yet".

"Keep that cannon ready", Mikiya replied, "I've got a solid lock on that Vampire, I'm engaging."

Mikiya pressed the button on top of his flight stick twice. Two Argent missiles flew at the Vampire. The missiles exploded in a flash of fire as they impacted the alien craft's engines. The Covenant aircraft's tail was blown off as the front half crashed to the ground on the expressway, its burning remains crushing two Shadows, a Wraith, and numerous Ghosts and Spectres.

The three Banshees broke off, flying straight for Ryougi's Falcon. Mikiya fired two more missiles, knocking two of the Banshees out of the sky. The third one, however, made it too close to safely engage with missiles. Mikiya swerved the tiltrotor to the right just in time to avoid a burst from its plasma cannons.

Mikiya then made a quick 180 degree turn, facing himself to the rear of the Banshee.

Aoi Miyazaki squeezed the trigger, sending a burst of cannon shells into the rear of the Banshee, setting fire to the tail and sending it crashing into a nearby building.

"Nice shooting", Mikiya Ryougi said, "Now, let's mop up the rest of them".

Mikiya turned the VTOL towards the Tomei Expressway. The column of Covenant Wraiths and other vehicles on the expressway was halted by the remains of Vampire Mikiya downed earlier.

Mikiya circled around the column, avoiding plasma fire as Aoi locked on the first Wraith with the aircraft's laser and fired a Scorpion anti-tank missile. The missile impacted the tank, sending it up in ball of fire. Miyazaki repeated the performance seven more times, taking out six Wraiths and a Shadow. Mikiya then fired the aircraft's LAU-65 dual purpose missiles, at a Wraith and several Shadows and Revenants as Aoi finished off the light vehicles with the cannon. Within less than a minute, the entire column was burning.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

8

Operation: DIVINE SON

0815 Hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Thessaly, Continental Greece, Hellenic Republic

While the forces at Olympus Base prepared to move out into hostile territory, forces already behind enemy lines prepared a little operation of their own. Two companies of paratroopers were spread across Thessaly, the survivors of a hastily-planned and poorly-executed strike in an attempt to quickly dislodge the Covenant from northern Greece. They had gone in in Warthogs and overland, instead of the parachute jump or orbital drop they excelled in, and the whole operation had failed hideously. The men of 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment had regrouped quickly, however, and were still prepared to stir up a little trouble.

Lieutenant Colonel John Churchill, 2 PARA Officer Commanding, had been told to hunker down out of sight if the operation went pear-shaped, yet his declaration to his surviving headquarters that he would "rather fight than eat" left no one in any doubt that that course of action had been abandoned. Churchill relished the challenge of combat, even more so when he was surrounded, and he was determined to do as much as he could to make the job of the relief forces easier.

Which is why we're up here now, thought Corporal Nathan Morrison. The men of the Combined Anti-Armour Platoon of 2 PARA's weapons company lay atop a low hill, their Warthogs idling under camouflage netting behind them. Five klicks away lay an abandoned UNSC airfield, which the Covenant were rapidly converting to their own standards. Any enemy air support would make the UNSC's job harder.

Two Wraith tanks and three Revenants sat defending the Grunt labourers and their Elite supervisors. Morrison also estimated about thirty infantrymen present. However, they were looking in completely the wrong direction: The Covenant troops obviously thought that the whole of Greece was clear, and expected an assault only from the north. So, the CAAT platoon would come in from the east, with the rising sun behind them. It was also twilight, the most difficult time for a Human to see, since the eye could not compensate for both the bright sky and dark ground. They could only assume the same was true for Covies.

"Okay, gentlemen, let's go!" hissed Second Lieutenant Jordan O'Brien. He leapt up and ran down to his M12 LRV. Morrison exchanged glances with a squadmate and shook his head. You keep low when cresting a hill! Especially if the sun's behind you! Cheers for nearly blowing the whole thing off! Morrison and the rest of the team slowly clambered back down into their Warthogs. Morrison took his place in the passenger seat, while Private Storey, a rookie who still looked shocked after his first taste of combat, manned the M52 missile turret.

The platoon's eight vehicles leapt forwards, with the LRVs leading the way. Cresting the hill, the CAAT platoon roared towards the airfield, adrenaline firing through the men's veins. Morrison leaned forward slightly and tightened his grip on his new MA5C.

At one-point-eight kilometres distant, the platoon's M12 LRVs opened fire with their chain guns. Grunts dived for cover, but the Elites roared and stood up, firing their plasma rifles. They didn't stand a chance at making any hits at this range, but the sight was enough to set Storey's arms shaking and his eyes to screw closed.

The platoon wasn't interested in them, though. They were more interested in the Wraith crews, who had leapt into their tanks at the first sign of gunfire, and had sealed the hatches. O'Brien gave the signal, and two 102mm anti-tank missiles roared from each M12A1 LAAV. The sound of firing knocked Storey awake, and he fired his own missiles. Eight tandem charge HEAT warheads crashed down on the Covenant vehicles. The Wraiths and Revenants were blasted to pieces as the massive overpressure generated by the explosions searched for ways to escape the sealed vehicles. Covenant troops were ripped apart by the flying debris.

"2 PARA Actual, this is Delta-Four-Actual, you are clear to engage, over!" snapped O'Brien.

"Roger that, we're inbound, out!" John Churchill replied. He lowered his radio and slapped his driver on the back. The Warthogs of Bravo Company and 2 PARA's surviving headquarters raced towards the airfield from the west, covered by a barrage of rockets from the M12R MLRSs behind them. Churchill's vehicle led the way, a massive British flag flying from its radio antenna. The Covenant didn't stand a chance.

The CAAT platoon arrived first. Morrison's fireteam heartily congratulated each other while O'Brien leapt out of his vehicle.

"What the fuck's he doing?" demanded Private Welch.

"He's got his fuckin' bayonet out," groaned Morrison.

"Can you believe that retard is in charge of people?" laughed Private Stanley from the rear flat-bed.

O'Brien fired his MA5C wildly into the Covenant corpses. He roared, charged up to an Elite's corpse, and rammed his bayonet clean through its head. He kicked it savagely. "Yeah! Take that you Covie fuck! Bet you wish you hadn't fucked with us now, huh?" He spat on to it before turning to fire on a pile of dead Grunts.

"Christ, can't he just leave it?" snarled Stanley. O'Brien finished his vengeance-fest and ran over to PFC Black's vehicle. He pointed at a structure in the distance. "Engage that building!"

"Sir, that's over three thousand metres away," said Private Morton. "Range of my .50 is eighteen hundred."

"Move into position! Engage, engage!"

Morton sighed and squinted at the structure through his M52's sight. It was a shattered, burnt-out fuel tank. He couldn't see anyone. "Shall I light it up?"

"No," groaned Black. "That's not a target, it's a wreck!"

The Warthog's from Bravo Company roared to a halt on the airfield. Churchill leapt out of his and stalked towards O'Brien. Churchill was something of legend in the Army, having proven his mettle in the Insurrection and later charging into battle on Harvest with a longbow and a claymore. He carried both of those on his back and at his side now. Despite his aggressive approach to every situation, no one in the battalion had ever heard a bad word come from Churchill's mouth, but it looked like he was having difficulty retraining himself. "Oh, here it comes," said Welch, grinning.

"Lieutenant, what in God's name are you doing?!" stormed Churchill.

"Uh, ensuring the airfield is clear, sir!" stammered O'Brien.

"We don't have the supplies for bursts like that! I want proper fire discipline at all times! Now, get your men organised. I want an ammo count and the Warthogs in a defensive perimeter. Officers and NCOs, prepared for a briefing in twenty minutes. We're digging in."

"Sir? We're not pulling back?" Everyone had thought this would just be a hit-and-run.

"And cede a perfectly good airfield?" demanded Churchill, apparently amazed at the suggestion. "Lieutenant, we shall hold this position until we are relieved. Besides, we're surrounded. Where would we go?"

The All-knowing Sith'ari

9: Highway to Hell

Battle of Boston (Sgt. Maj. Lindsey Williamson subplot)

0500 Hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calendar) Behind Covenant Lines, Near Interstate 93, Boston, MA, USA


Two Scarabs climbed over the ruins of building, towards of Interstate 93, exactly at the point where it descended from an overpass and entered a tunnel under the Financial District. But these Scarabs were no longer under the control of Covenant. They were instead crewed by a squad of UNSC ODSTs lead by Master Sergeant Lindsey Williamson.

"Looks like we're just in time for the party", Lindsey said into her radio, "I spot a massive Covenant convoy, looks like 100-plus vehicles, mostly Wraiths and Shadows. You know to do."

Lindsey stopped the Scarab and placed the crosshair on the Scarab's HUD over the lead Wraith and squeezed the trigger. A stream of plasma, burning through the armor of the Wraith and sending it up in a ball of flames. Lindsey swept the Scarab's plasma beam up and down the road, as the ODST operating the other Scarab did the same.

The two plasma beams swept up and down the highway, reducing Wraiths and Shadows to twisted masses of half-molten metal, blowing apart the overpass the the south, and even glassing roughly two-meter-wide strips of ground. The AA gunners of the two Scarabs turned the secondary guns on the highway as well, blowing apart any vehicles that escaped the fury of the plasma stream. Within seconds, the entire armored column was incinerated.

"Feel nice to be driving one of these things instead of facing one!", Roycewicz, the driver of the second Scarab said.

Suddenly, a plasma torpedo flew over the top of Williamson's Scarab.

"Looks like it's not over yet!", Lindsey said, "Covenant Frigate hovering over the harbor has got us in its sights"

"Great!", Corporal Dunn yelled, "What the fuck are we gonna do now!?"

"Calm down, soldier", Lindsey said, "Roycewicz, I need you to target that nose of that vessel, but don't fire yet! Wait until it starts charging another plasma torpedo, there should be a gap in the shielding as it prepares to fire. That's when we'll hit it."

No sooner than Lindsey spoke, the Frigate began to fire a second plasma torpedo. Lindsey and Roycewicz both turned their respective walker's main gun on the ship's nose plasma torpedo tube.

"NOW!", Lindsey yelled as she pulled the trigger. A beam of superheated plasma flew out from each of the two Scarab's guns. Both plasma beams impacted the nose of the craft, directing in the gap created by the plasma torpedo launch. The beams shot right up the tube, detonating the plasma torpedo in a massive ball of blue flames, engulfing the entire nose of the craft in the explosion. The burning remains of the vessel fell to the harbor and sank beneath the waves.

"We've stolen two Scarabs, taken out a massive Covenant armored force, and destroyed a frigate, and the day's just getting started", Lindsey commented, "If everyone fights this hard, we might yet drive the Covies off Earth and win this goddamn war!"

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

10

HOLY FATHER

"Years ago, I told my father it was 'just dirt.' But it's not just dirt. It's where we live. It's our dirt, dammit. And more importantly, it's about who's standing on that dirt. Those children. Your family. Your friends. And those freaks are going to pay for every piece of dirt they've taken from us."
―Gage Yevgenny


"Semper Fi 'til I die!"

"Oohrah!"

"Helljumpers!Let's take back this fuckin' island!"

James's pod lurched down and that feeling began. Before, on his 2nd drop it had filled him with blood-lust and anger (On his first drop he vomited). Now it was just that horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach. A mix of the negative g's, fear, anger, hate, pride, and apprehension.

"Yeehaw!" an ODST cried.

They were Task Force Oscar. A hand selected team of veteran ODSTs, forward observers, promising Marines and the like. He was Colonel James Alexander Perez. ODST and commander of the Task Force.


Sydney, Australia

Captain Mikael Housten

"Affirmative, Charlie armor! Large blue oval hospital!"

"Confirmed Joker 1 Actual, shells on target. Bravo 4 out."

Mikael ducked down behind the rubble as a 455mm shell slammed into the ground near a wraith, knocking it aside like a toy. Grunts went flying as Ghosts exploded.

"Good hit Bravo 4, Joker 1 out."


Bobzombie

11: Keep Your Head Down

Operation: HOLY FATHER

0053 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
PLACE, Sydney, Australia,

The ODSTs had made landfall.

With the main part of Task Force Oscar landed and beginning to press into the city, Corporal Hunter had been put in charge of the reserve squad, made up mostly of troopers orphaned from other units. It was his responsibility to look after the steady stream of civilians leaving the city through the area and keep them moving. Currently, he was having trouble with a man who’d begun selling food from a van, which was cutting off the flow of refugees.

This was complicated by the fact that the man didn’t speak English, and Mitch knew only English.

“No, you can’t sell here.” He said, emphasizing the syllables. “You need to move.”

The man talked at the same time he did, neither comprehending the other. Mitch looked around for some assistance, but Kevlar was out of earshot over the crowd, trying to chase down a pair of children who had his canteen. “Dansen?” he asked.

The blue-suited kid looked up, his helmet off. He was in the middle of eating something he’d bought from the vender.

“Good fraggin’ grief.” Mitch muttered to himself. If this guy wouldn’t move his truck, Mitch was gonna do it for him. He was brushing him aside and making for the vehicle’s driver-side door when an all too familiar sound made him wheel around.

“Contacts! Contacts!” A marine was screaming over the com. Turning up the street, Mitch could see Lance Corporal Ramos standing out in the open, firing his MA5 from his waist. A stream of blue light flew from around a corner, narrowly missing the marine.

“Fall back!” Mitch called, but the Lance Corporal was already doing so. A Wraith tank came into Mitch’s view around the corner, the secondary gun spraying plasma. Ramos was cut down by a burst into his side.

As the crowd ran past and around him, Mitchell pressed through until he was safely in an alleyway. Three of the dozen ODSTs under his command were there, two from Oscar and one from another unit. “Get me a radio patch over TACCOM, we’re going to need reinforcement,” he ordered. As they did, Mitch checked the squad’s bio signatures.

Ramos was alive, but he wouldn’t be for much longer if they couldn’t get to him. Mitch heard rifle shots behind him, and saw that the other troopers were taking cover behind the vender’s truck and in an alley across the street. Dansen was firing sniper rounds into a lance of advancing infantry as the rest got in position.

Mitch had to weigh his options. Oscar’s main force would be otherwise engaged, and have no one to spare to help them counter the Covenant flanking maneuver. Maybe artillery support, but they’d have to be damn good shots at this range.

Well . . . there was always hoping for a miracle.


Operation: DIVINE SON

0203 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calender)/
Village south of Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

Moses Wheatley had figured out the new pattern of Banshee patrols passing overhead. The last one had caught him by surprise, usually they were on a four-hour interval. It had been halved, leaving him two-hour periods to scavenge materials and food.

Having already stocked up on the latter, needing it after Henri ate all of what they had and given himself a stomachache, Wheatley wandered through where a battle between marines and Covenant infantry had taken place.

Scorched earth cracked under his boots, the smell of brimstone heavy in the air. The coppery scent of blood was also present. Passing by the scorched bodies, he climbed up into a burned out Scorpion tank to see if there were any salvageable parts.

It had been hit dead center by a plasma mortar. Any of the more delicate or expensive parts had been slagged, even the machine gun was melted beyond use. Pulling a protein bar from the pack, Wheatley pulled himself up to the top of the cannon mount for a place to sit.

And that was when he spotted the cable winding out from behind a lonely portion of still-standing concrete. On the end of it was a very distinct hook that he remembered from a long time ago, but could hardly believe it was what he thought.

All the same, he ditched the pack and ran over to it, rounding the screen and sighting the vehicle.

It was at once the most ugly and most beautiful piece of machinery any man had laid eyes on. Rust had corroded holes through the armor plating, and its wheels were uneven on the independent axles. Still, there was no disguising the outline of an M12 Warthog LRV.

The rim in the back of the flatbed over the rear bumper had been cut out by Wheatley himself, nearly thirty, thirty-five years ago. The space in which a 50 caliber machine gun would normally be mounted was filled by a huge boom arm, with a mechanized winch. When Wheatley began his service, still in the Insurrection era, IEDs were responsible for many vehicles going offline. The Boar had been fitted as a tow truck for his unit of combat engineers.

And now, if it worked, he had a way to get himself mobile.

Moses headed to drop off the food and get his tools. This would take no small amount of work, but would be well worth the time.

That Damn Sniper, sniping

12: Sinking Feeling

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1150 hours, October 25th, 2552 (Military Calendar), Off the coast of Shimoda, Izu Peninsula, Japan.


Mikiya Ryougi flew his AV-144 over the vast blue expanse off the coast of Shimoda, leading four others. They had been at it for hours, and hadn't found anything. The squadron was sent to the area to investigate rumors of Jiralhanae and Kig-Yar modifying civilian "wet" cargo ships with large deck-mounted heavy plasma mortars that apparently were responsible for attacking UNSC positions on the coast and on the islands of Oshima, Niijima, and the other islands off the southern coast of Honshu, directly south of Tokyo.

Suddenly, Ryougi's radio crackled to life. "Hayabusa lead, this is Hayabusa three, I see two civilian cargo vessels and about a dozen small aircraft and two larger aircraft about half-way between the Izu Peninsula. IFF has identified the vessels as the Kotori Maru and the Hadzuki Maru."

Ryougi switched frequency on his radio to that used by civilian vessels. "Kotori Maru, this is Hayabusa leader of the UNSC air force. Respond immediately."

Ryougi heard Jiralhanae speech on the other end, before the alien language abruptly changed to the a pre-recorded message: "Your destruction is the will of the gods and I am their instrument." As the recording played, the Covenant aircraft turned towards Ryougi's squadron.

The aircraft drew closer, to the point where Ryougi could identify them as twelve Banshees and two Phantoms. Suddenly, streaks of blue fire flew at Ryougi and the rest of the Hayabusa squadron.

"Enemy Phantom Gunships have launched plasma torpedoes, evasive manuevers!"

A pair of plasma torpedoes closed in on Ryougi's Falcon from both directions. At the last minute, Ryougi pulled up the stick. The Falcon shot upwards as the two torpedoes' lock broke. The plasma torpedoes continued on their path, colliding with each other and exploding in ball of blue fire below him.

"Nice dodge, sir", Ryougi's gunner and co-pilot, Aoi Miyazaki said.

Ryougi tilted the rotors of the Falcon all the way forward, placing the aircraft into "plane mode", pulling up on the throttle as he flew the aircraft upwards above the Phantom's line of fire. Ryougi flipped the arming switch for his Argent air-to-air missiles as he flew back downward, towards the Phantom gunship's unprotected top side. Ryougi pressed the firing button on top of his flight stick.

Two Argent air-to-air missiles streaked towards the Phantom, impacting the upper rear section. Both the Phantom's engine's were blown off, the plasma stores erupting in blue flames. The rear of the aircraft was vaporized as the flaming remnants of the cockpit crashed into the sea.

Ryougi leveled off in the aircraft, only to see he was flying straight at the nose of the second Phantom. Ryougi and Sangheili both fired their weapons at the same time. It felt as though everything was moving in slow motion as an Argent missile flew at the Phantom's cockpit at the exact same time as plasma torpedo flew at Ryougi.

Ryougi again pulled up on the stick, dodging the plasma torpedo. The Phantom pilot, however, was not so lucky. Ryougi's missile impacted the cockpit, blowing both the nose of the aircraft and the pilot to pieces as the Phantom went down in flames.

"Scratch two Phantoms", Ryougi said. Ryougi was interupted, however, by a burst of plasma fire coming in from behind. Having been concentrating wholeheartedly on destroying the Phantom, he had not noticed a pair of Banshees come up behind him. Ryougi tried to shake them, but they kept up with his every move.

"This is Hayabusa lead, I've got a couple of Banshees on my tail!", Ryougi shouted into his radio.

Suddenly, Ryougi saw flash of fire come in from behind. An Argent missile impacted the first Banshee. Seconds later, a SPARTAN Laser burned through the body of the second banshee.

Seconds later, a second Falcon flew by, the nose decorated with the image an anime girl wearing clothing exactly the same olive drab color as a Falcon aircraft, and a helmet shaped similarly to a Falcon's cockpit, and wearing a backpack with two rotors sticking out the top. Ryougi recognised this anthropomorphism of his aircraft, which the squadron referred to as "Hayabusa-tan" as the nose art of one 2nd Lt. Satou.

"Thanks for the assist, Satou, looks like the beer's on me tonight", Ryougi responded as he turned towards the last four remaining Banshees.

Ryougi shot down two of the Banshees with Argent missiles, before moving closer so Aoi Miyazaki could finish off the last two with her cannon.

"The Banshees are down", Ryougi said, "All aircraft report".

"This is Hayabusa two, Okay here"

"Three here, no damage"

"Hayabusa four here, a few minor plasma hits, nothing that's gonna stop me from flying."

"Hayabusa five, I'm fine here".

"All right then, let's take care of those Covie warships before they get into Tokyo Bay."

Mikiya Ryougi and the rest of the 24th Attack VTOL Squadron flew in closer to the Kotori Maru and the Hadzuki Maru. From the closer vantage point, they could see clear signs of Jiralhanae modification, most notably as super heavy plasma mortar mounted on the bow, along with a battery of AA Shade plasma turrets and spiker autocannons on the sides, stern and bridge, large metal spikes guarding the sides from boarding, and fuel rod AA turret from an AA Wraith on the stern.

Ryougi turned his aircraft to the stern AA battery on the Hadzuki Maru. "All Aircraft", Ryougi said, "I am going to knock out the main AA battery on the stern of the Hadzuki Maru. Hayabusa Two, take out the AA battery with on the stern of Kotori."

"Roger", Lt. Satou replied as he pointed his aircraft's SPARTAN Laser at he Kotori's AA battery."

Ryougi's gunner, Aoi Miyazaki locked onto the AA battery the Covenant had placed on the stern of cargo ship and squeezed the trigger. A Scorpion guided missile streaked towards the fuel rod autocannon, destroying it in a ball of flames. At the same time, Lt. Satou's gunner fired his nose-mounted SPARTAN Laser at the Kotori Maru's AA battery, taking it out as well.

After the main guns had falled, Hayabusa Three and Four moved on the Hadzuki Maru, Three launching a swarm of ANVIL missiles that set fire to the bridge as Four took out the main plasma battery with a single Scorpion missile.

"I see a couple of large plasma storage tanks on the deck near the destroyed main gun", Aoi Miyazaki said.

"Do it", Ryougi said simply.

Aoi Miyazaki launched two Scorpion missiles as the plasma storage tanks. The plasma stores exploded in massive ball of blue flames that blew the bow clean off the vessel. The rest of the Hadzuki Maru took on water through the gaping hole and sank beneath the waves, taking it's Covenant captors along with it.

"The Hadzuki Maru is sinking", Ryougi said, "Focus fire on the Kotori Maru. Be advised the the Bravo Kilos have placed large tanks of plasma near the main armament. Concentrate fire on those".

A swarm of missiles flew from all five of the Falcons of 24th squadron, slamming into the Kotori Maru, setting detonating the plasma stores and blowing hole its unarmored hull. The second Covenant-controlled cargo ship took on water and capsized before it joined the Hadzuki Maru in its watery grave.

Cheers erupted through the radio as Covenant-controlled ship went down. The pilot's celebrations were quickly stifled, however.

"Looks like the Covies captured another ship, this one's huge", Hayabusa three said, "I have visual on what looks like a heavy cargo ship or maybe a tanker, with some sort of flight deck attached to the top. Large numbers of aircraft flying around and off it, IFF reads them as Vampires, Phantoms, Spirits, and Banshees.Looks like they've been getting ideas from what the wet Navy's been doing with cargo ships and troop transports, equipping them with flight decks."

"But how are they fitting that many aircraft on board?", Satou asked.

"Probably using the hold as a hanger you could fit hundreds of Banshees in there, and the onboard crane as an elevator. Damn apes and space chickens are more resourceful then we though", Ryougi replied.

"This is Hayabusa leader to any UNSC forces", Ryougi stated, "We have encountered a large cargo vessel that has been captured by the Covenant, escorted by a large number of aircraft. We believe the vessel to have been converted into a "wet" carrier."

"This Thunderbolt lead of VF-43, Skyhawk squadron from the carrier UNSC Samar Sea", we are aware of the Covie improvised carrier and have been deployed to take her out. You boys just sit back and enjoy the show."

Dozens of Skyhawks and UCAVs flew over Ryougi's head. When the fighters, got within range, they released a swarm of ASGM-10 and Medusa air-to-air missiles. Explosions flashed across the skies as the missiles hit their mark. Moments later, multicolored fireballs, both orange and the light blue of plasma blasts erupted from the enemy wet vessel.

"This Thunderbolt lead reporting the Covenant "wet" vessel destroyed.", came over the radio.

"All right, Hayabusa", Ryougi said, "Mission accomplished, good work, lets get back to base".


FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

13

Operation: HOLY FATHER

0059 Hours, October 23rd, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Liverpool, Sydney, United Australian Federation.

"All clear." Stanley whispered as he peered down the street. He motioned with his hand, then he moved down the road, assault rifle in hand. His squad slowly moved after him. No cloaked elites suddenly decloaked and killed them, no jackass snipers blew out their brains and no elite jumped out of an alley and speared them with an energy sword.

They would live just a little longer.

"You know, what's the point in saying "clear" anyways?" Corporal Jonathan "Flint" Flynn demanded. "A much quicker way to tell is simply looking if you're pointman's alive or not."

"That's a cheery thought." Private Qing Mei Ri, better known to her squadmates as "Jade", and newest member to the squad, and one of the newest members to the ODSTs in general replied.

"Get used to it, rookie." Flint replied.

"Hey, lay off her." Private First Class Nikolai "Bear" Lekov retorted, while placing his sniper rifle onto the magnetic straps on the back of his BDU.

"Ooohhh, does the big, bad, bear have a crush on-" Flint began, only to be cut off.

"Shut up Flint. Leave the immaturity for a time when we aren't in a covenant-infested city." Stanley said, annoyed.

"Yes general." Flint replied, inviting a snicker from their squad's final member, Private Peter White, and also new to the squad-although Stanley knew him from before, as they were in the same platoon.

"Let's get a move on." Stanley growled. He moved down the road, checking the alleys and windows of the buildings for good measure. The squad fell into formmation behind him. He turned down a street, where there was the omnious shape of a pair of Hunters.

"Shit." He hissed. "Hunters." Neither Hunter had noticed them yet, thank god-but that was most likely going to change very soon. He edged back, and gestured at Peter and Bear. Peter aimed his rocket launcher at a hunter. Bear aimed his sniper rifle.

Two acknowledgement lights blinked green. A single sniper shot rang out, targetting the exposed orange worms of one of the hunter. The hunter flinched in pain, and a second shot followed. The hunter fell to the ground.

The second hunter, clearly pissed at the death of its comrade charged furiously at the ODSTs. All four ODSTs dove out of the way, firing their weapons blindly at the hunter. Peter fired two rockets straight at one hunter, who deflected the first rocket with its shield.

It wasn't so lucky the second time. The rocket blew the hunter off its feet, and left it lying on the ground in several charred pieces.

Peter stepped over the corpse of the hunter he killed as the squad continued, kicking it as he went.

"May he rest in pieces." He said, no doubt smirking under his helmet. Just as they were about to continue, a trio of Jackals turned a corner from a side street. Seeing the ODSTs that outnumbered them nearly two-to-one, the jackals turned and fled. Jade fired a few bursts from her assault rifle into the back of one of them, which instantly crumpled towards the ground, bullets tearing holes in the creature's back. The other two made a beeline for what seemed like an office building. Jade kept shooting her MA5C, killing a second Jackal.

Two dozen jackals came out of the office building.

"SHIT!" Stanely shouted, throwing himself to the side, taking cover by a burned out car as plasma bolts whizzed towards them.

"Tossing C-12!" Peter shouted, giggling maniacally. A small, fist-sized object landed in the midst of the jackals, and detonated a second later. Jackals corpses flew in every direction, leaving a few survivors. Stanley fired a short burst into a jackal's chest, and then turned its attention it its buddies.

A trio of golden armoured Skirmishers ran out of the building next. Funny. He mused. While extremely common during the beginning of the Battle of Reach, their population dwindled quite quickly during the battle. He had heard that a big transport carrying half a million of them, sent to attack Quezon had been on the wrong end of a Super-MAC Cannon's round. There were rumours that those speedy little bastards where close to extinction.

They leapt into the air, firing plasma with lightning speed. Stanley fired fully automatic at one of them and it rolled out of the way, and fired back at him. He dodged behind his own ruined car, and as one of those golden bastards charged at him from his right flank, he fired fully automatic into its chest. It was impossible to miss at thar range, and the skirmisher collapsed. He put nearly an entire magazine into the Skirmisher before it fell to the ground, dead. As he looked around, he could see the final skirmisher lying on the ground, minus three of its limbs. It was still alive, although pretty harmless. Peter stomped on it's skull twice before putting it out of its misery with his combat knife.

"Tango is down, Sarge." Peter said. Stanley frowned. Peter had been acting a little funny ever since the Fall of Reach, when his squad had been all killed by a Brute Chieftan in New Alexandria. Peter had managed to spray a canister of C-7 on the said Brute, before running away, the C-7 killing the Brute. This didn't really show up on the psych tests-it was just that suddenly, he took a lot more pleasure in the deaths of the Covenant. Of course, even if it did show up, it wouldn't matter much to the brass. He mused.

"Sarge? Are we checking out the building?" Jade asked. Her voice, while sounding excited on the surface, betrayed nervousness.

"Of course we are." He replied. "Let's spill some alien blood."

The ODST squad stepped inside the building. The lobby was clear of hostiles as far as he could see. There was a security desk, although the security guard was nowhere in sight. He was probally dead, although there was a chance he could have managed to make it to an evac bird.

There were around half a dozen human corpses lying around the lobby, and one dead jackal next to a human body. One of the human bodies-the one with a jackal next to it-had knife in his hand.

Stanley stepped over the corpses. They took the stairs to the next floor, which was a hallway, with a dozen offices. Two skeletons were lying on the ground-their flesh devoured. A trio of Jackals were crouched over a body in one of the offices. They appeared to be saying something. Stanley's new translator systems managed to translate.

"Gor, the brains are disgusting." One of the jackals were saying.

"Mow them down." Stanley said. Gunfire rang out, and the Jackals screamed in pain. They turned around, and one of them reached for its nearby plasma pistol, only to be cut down.

"Shit..." Jade muttered under her breath. "Those bastards..."

"They'll be avenged." Bear growled.


The ODSTs were climbing the stairs to the third and final floor, where at this point, all of the Jackals had read the conclusion that no, the humans that had attacked the building were not repelled by the force sent out the front doors.

Jok joined the shield wall of Jackals facing the stairs. He felt his charged plasma pistol hum in his hands. He was terrified. It was his first combat mission, and he really didn't want to get killed by some demon.

"Ror, do we really stand a chance against the demons?" He asked, trying (and probaly failing) to hide his terror.

Ror, a marksman and a vetran of several years of combat shook his head, trying (and failing) to keep the scorn out of his voice.

"Jok, they aren't demons. Demons are much bigger."

"Does it make a difference?" He asked.

"Here they come!" A Jackal warned. The doors blew apart, and six "small demons" burst inside, and they tossed grey objects, then retreated.

"GET AWAY!" Ror screamed. The Jackal shield wall scattered.

The "small demons" reappeared. They fired their weapons at the now-scatterd shield wall, turning his friend's bodies into corpses. Jok aimed his plasma pistol at one of the "small demons", who promptly turned and shot him in the arm. He felt a sharp burning pain, and screamed in agony. He saw Ror fire two shots from his Carbine, but with surprising speed for a human, one of the "small demons" grabbed a fallen shield gauntlet and activated it, deflecting the shots, and a second "small demon" gunned Ror down.

One human advanced on his prone form.

"Try to shoot me from the side you little shit?" It demanded. It raised a boot and stomped on him. Jok screamed as the armored human's boot crushed his other arm. It raised its weapon and pointed it directly at his head. Jok felt himself grow wet in his leggings. He was going to die.

"I SURRENDER! PLEASE! DON'T KILL ME!" He screamed desperately. The human stared at him, then looked away and said something to another "small demon." The other human said something, and the human that was pinning turned its sidearm back on him.

The human fired, and last thing Jok ever felt was a loud noise, then a sharp pain in his chest. Then just as fast as the pain had appeared, it disappeared, replaced by...nothingness.


"All hostiles eliminated." Jade said, holstering her pistol.

Norman-123 06:37, January 8, 2011 (UTC)

14: Breaking Cover

Operation: DIVINE SON

0411 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calender)/
Village south of Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

Staff Sergeant Wheatley ducked back around the corner, his breath caught in his lungs. Elites. Dozens of them.

They hadn't seen him, and he double-checked to make sure he was downwind. The bastards could smell humans, it was only one more way they one-upped a UNSC marine. Taking down one of them was tough, the platoon would tear hunt him down and tear him apart if they found him, or the kids. The kids!

Risking being heard, he ran back down the alley and away from them, pulling the walkie-talkie from his belt. "Henri, Henri you still have this thing on?"

There was an anxious moment's hesitation. "Yes, we can hear you."

Moses checked over his shoulder. "Okay, we got a few problems here. We're going to have to go, air cover or no. Are there any aliens near you?"

"We haven't seen any."

He checked the alley behind him again. "That's good, that's real good. Sit tight and wait, I'll come to you."

Without waiting for an answer, he shut the talkie off and hurried down the sidewalk. The less time they were here, the less chance of being discovered. And if the Elites called in their location, they were as good as done for. Pulling the Battle Rifle around from where it hung by a strap across his back, he was just rechecking the safety on it when the whine of an engine reached him - and no human one.

Driven by fear and shaped by training and experience, he looked to the building facade on his left and threw his weight against a door. It opened with a crash, and he ducked inside.

Dust was everywhere, and the room was dark without any florescent lighting. A large storefront window was the only source of illumination, and Wheatley made sure he was out of sight of it as the whine became louder.

Presently, the shadow of a mandibled jaw passed across the window, followed by another. In the cold air, their breath was visible when they exhaled, a loud rasping sound. The whine of a Spectre assault sled was joined by the mutilated speech of the Elites, and quiet jibbering of a few Grunts. They were passing by, but one Elite voice seemed defiant of the second, a deeper and more authoritarian tone.

Wheatley didn't let his grip on his rifle ease after they passed the window. More light streamed into the room, as the door opened. Moses kept his glove's fabric pressed against his weapon's safety to keep it silent as he switched it off, watching the Split-Lip's shadow and readying himself.

The second Elite barked from outside, and the shadow vanished, headed to keep up with its company.

Hidden behind the doorframe, Moses breathed relief and slumped against the wall. That had been closer than a lot of his other experiences with them.

Safetying his rifle, Moses peered through the gap between the door and the wall, watching them turn a corner up the block. Cautiously, he emerged and continued back to their hideaway. It was time to go. Going where was what he'd have to figure out.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 06:20, January 8, 2011 (UTC)

15

OPERATION ETERNAL SPIRIT

0800 Hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calender)/

D77H-TCI Bravo-014, In Bound to East Area of Tokyo, Japan

Justin-057 shifted uneasily in his MJOLNIR MARK VI/S Powered Assault Armor as he looked out of the Pelican, eying the destruction that was before him. Ruined buildings and smoke filled the landscape, with urban fire fights taking place everywhere. He wished he could be down there but right now, there were other important matters at hand.

"Don't worry. You'll be joining them soon enough." A middle aged man with graying black hair and cold blue eyes said, sitting beside him. He was of average height, dressed in a clean military uniform. However, he wasn't the sort of man who would those types of outfits, after all, he was ONI operative who rarely wore those types of things. But seeing him in it meant that something was going down.

Justin turned his head towards the man and smirked. "Why can't I be there right now? You guys had me recalled, canceling the assignment PUPPET MASTER had assigned me to."

"That's just the case. This Operation takes more precedence than your previous for a variety of reasons that I sadly cannot say. However I can tell you this. This assignment you will be undertaking requires someone of your caliber. Someone of your skill. Of course, there are others we could've asked but you are one of the best." The man said.

"And what would that be MAESTRO? No matter how much I showed my discontent to you and him, I will always be regulated to following orders. " Justin said as he crossed his arms, his white hair swaying in the wind.

"Whether you like it or not, you will be following my orders unless stated otherwise. You need to remember INNOCENCE. You are under my command." MAESTRO firmly said.

"For the time being that is." INNOCENCE retorted. "Although I have no say in this, those missions you have sent me on, they seem questionable. Just because we are in a war does not mean that you are allowed to undertake those directives."

"You must see it another angle. What me and the others do. We are doing it for the greater good of humanity, even if we have to do those things. I say again. It is the for the greater good of humanity. Whatever we have done, it can be justified." He said, eying the young SPARTAN.

"What are those justifications? I've been following you for years now and you have never given me a clear cut explanation! Then there are the promises. You promised me. You promised me that you would bring them back! But they're not here! All you say are lies!" Justin yelled at MAESTRO.

He scowled at Justin, knowing that the time for explanation would come. He closed his eyes and breathed deeply. "We will keep the end of our promises INNOCENCE but it all depends on you. We will give it to you in due time, but not at this time. We are fighting a war. Giving you it will distract you with your objectives. Now can we stop with the questions? We are wasting valuable time here as we can be shot down this very second."

A digitized voice suddenly filled the Pelican. "He is right INNOCENCE. We will keep our end of the bargain. Now, you would please stop with the questions and listen to us?"

Justin eyed MAESTRO's pocket. "So you have been listening to the entire conversation PUPPET MASTER?"

"Yes. I never leave my charges alone." He cooly replied.

He sighed with the statement. "What is the assignment?"

"Due to your skills and preference for solo missions, you are being assigned to take out the Covenant AA guns in the East. This is very crucial as there are multiple Covenant ships incoming but our ships are unable to engage. " The voice within MAESTRO's said. "However, due to their range, we will be dropping you off somewhere close. But there is some bad news."

"What's the bad news?" Justin replied.

"There's a mass of Covenant in your drop zone."

"Lovely." Justin said as he stood up, gathering his gear.

[I wake up. To see nothing][Everything is silent] [The Dark Grey Clouds foretell][An Ominous End]|Prepare For The Inevitable

16: Debt of Blood

Battle of Boston (Sgt. Maj. Lindsey Williamson subplot)

1430 Hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calendar) CCS-class Battlecruiser Cleansing Flame, over Cambridge, MA, USA


A single Phantom dropship flew towards the monstrous form of the CCS Battlecruiser Cleansing Flame, hovering over the city of Cambridge, MA. To the Covenant soldiers inside, this seemed like just another Phantom returning from deploying troops in the city. But it was not, instead of Sangheili and Unggoy, this dropship's cargo consisted of a squad of UNSC orbital drop shock troopers, and was flown by a UNSC Air Force pilot skilled in the operations of Covenant aircraft.

For Master Sergeant Lindsey Williamson, this mission was personal. The Cleansing Flame was the CCS cruiser that fired the Energy Projector shot that killed her parents, and countless others at Jericho VII. Lindsey was only a child, and was given priority passage aboard as UNSC escape ship, along with other children in the colony. Lindsey's parents were not so lucky, they were killed, the ship they were aboard destroyed by the Energy Projector of a CCS-class Battlecruiser, the Cleansing Flame. From that moment on, Lindsey had sought vengeance, to kill the commander of the Cleansing Flame, and Elite named 'Idno Apasee.

The pilot spoke with the cruiser in rapid Sangheilian. Seconds later, a section of shield dropped around the hanger. The pilot, a Maj. Crenshaw, docked the vessel in the hanger. The dropship landed in the hanger, as Lt. Crenshaw said, "We're in, get those plasma turrets ready."

Lindsey Williamson took control of one of the joysticks controlling the aircraft's three plasma turrets- this was an older model Phantom with three plasma turrets and fixed sides- as Johansson took control of the second. The hanger was filled with Covenant troops, though most of them did not have their weapons ready, not realizing the soon, they'd all be dead.

"Open fire now!", Crenshaw yelled as he took command of the aircraft's nose turret and opened fire. Lindsey turned the her turret on a group of Unngoy loading plasma charges onto a pair of Seraphs on the other side of the hanger and squeezed the trigger. A burst of super heated plasma flew at the plasma charges, blowing open the casings of the alien bombs and releasing a cloud of superheated plasma the vaporized the group Unngoy and a pair of Sangheiili pilots, before turning her attention to a group of Sangheili and Kig-Yar guards, who raised their weapons and turned to the captured Phantom, but, before they could get a clear shot, they were struck by a hail of plasma bolts from Lindsey's turret, burning holes through their flesh.

Lindsey scanned the hanger, and, seeing no signs of life, said "Clear to the right!", Lindsey said, as Crenshaw and Johansson stated that their respective section of the hanger were clear.

"Johanssen, Mui", Williamson said, "Stay here and keep Crenshaw and the Phantom safe, Everyone else come with me, the Bridge should be just down the hall, and from there, we can access the service corridor to the reactor core.", Lindsey said as cocked her M90 shotgun.

Lindsey and the other ODSTs walked toward the exit to the hanger.

"Ramirez", Lindsey said, "Place a C12 charge on that door. Breach and clear on my command".

Cpl. Ramirez walked over to the door and placed small charge of C12 plastic explosives on the front of the door, positioning them in such way that it would knock the door backwards, into the corridor beyond the door.

"Breach the door now!", Lindsey yelled. Ramirez activated the remote detonator, blasting the door out of the doorway, into the face of an Elite, killing it instantly.

The ODSTs rushed into the corridor, guns blazing. A group of about twenty shaken Unngoy and Kig-Yar fell before the ODST's guns. Lindsey shot four Unngoy and two Kig-Yar with her shotgun, filling them with eight gauge buckshot.

"CLEAR!", Lindsey yelled as she reloaded her shotgun, this time filling it's magazine with armor-piercing rifled slugs, "The next door should lead to the bridge, breach and clear."

About a minute later, Ramirez detonated the breaching charge, killing another Elite and two Kig-Yar who stood guard at the control room door.

Lindsey rushed in, shotgun raised. She took aim at an Elite Zealot armed with an Energy Sword and squeezed the trigger. A rifled titanuim slug flew at the the Sangheili, piercing its shield and catching it right in the face. The alien's skull was vaporized instantly. Lindsey fired a second shot at a second sword-wielding Zealot, blasting a hole through it's chest.

"Active Camo Elites!", Dunn yelled as a hail of plasma bolts flew at the ODSTs. Ramirez returned fire with his MA5B and took down the first of the active camoed elites in a long burst of automatic fire.

Lindsey turned to see three more Elites, two with active camo. She fired at all three of them, killing all of them with a single rifled slug to the head or chest. Finally, there were only two more. Lindsey stuck down the first of them, zealot with an energy sword with her shotgun, before turning to the last one, a Shipmaster, but heard only the click of an empty chamber.

The ship master lunged at Lindsey with his energy sword. Lindsey only just managed to roll out of the way. Lindsey put down her shotgun and siezed an energy sword off one of the Elite Zealots she killed earlier.

The ODST's raised their weapons at the Elite, but Lindsey stopped them, "Hold your fire, he's mine"

"Shipmaster 'Idno Apassee", Lindsey said, "I come to collect a debt you owe me, a debt of blood! You killed my parents at Jericho VII, now, prepare to die!"

Lindsey Williamson charged at the Elite, taking a horizontal slash at the Elite. Apassee blocked the attack.

"You dare desecrate that sacred blade with your filthy hands!? You shall rot in the black abyss of the Shadow World for your sins!", Apassee exclaimed angrily as he struck at Lindsey.

Lindsey blocked the blow with her energy sword and countered with an upward swing, slicing off Apassee's right mandibles.

The Sangheili roared with fury as he lunged at Lindsey, who jumped back in time to avoid losing an arm, but the blade still grazed her, burning a gash into her shoulder. Lindsey and Apassee's blades clashed, Apassee slowly forcing Lindsey backward, towards a door.

As the door to the service corridor, a corridor running along the ship's dorsal structure large enough for vehicles to drive along, Lindsey realized she couldn't gain the upper hand, Apassee was too good. Unless... Lindsey disengaged from the sword fight and ran across the corridor to a parked Ghost hover-cycle and got into the driver's seat.

Lindsey started the Covenant vehicle's engines and drove about 100 yards down the corridor, before turning the face Apassee, who had now also mounted a Ghost. Lindsey and Apassee both fired the twin plasma cannons mounted on their vehicles as they charged, but neither scored a hit.

As they got close, Apassee activated his energy sword. Lindsey got out her sword to block just in time. By this point, Covenant troops were watching the battle from the sidelines, but did not intervene. After exchanging a few energy sword blows, Lindsey suddenly sped off down the corridor, before turning and firing her Ghost's plasma cannons at Apassee's vehicle.

The power cell of Apassee's Ghost was hit by a bolt of superheated plasma. Apassee jumped of his Ghost just before the hover-cycle exploded. Lindsey charged at Apassee, bringing her Ghost's engines to full power, preparing to run him down.

As Lindsey's Ghost charged at him, Apassee grabbed a plasma grenade from his belt and readied the explosive device.

Lindsey watched, as though in slow motion, as the grenade flew towards her vehicle, landing on the front. Lindsey jumped off off the Ghost, rolling on the floor as she landed several feet away. The Ghost, with the plasma grenade still attached to the hood kept moving towards the Sangheili Shipmaster. As the now unmanned Ghost was inches from a Apassee, who was still stunned by Lindsey's sudden escape, the plasma grenade detonated in Apassee's face, vaporizing his body in a ball of blue flames as burning chunks of the Ghost flew everywhere.

Lindsey got up to see the Covenant soldiers that had been the audience of the battle advance on Lindsey, weapons drawn. Lindsey raised her Misraih M2511 Pistol and took aim at an Unggoy. She didn't care if it was hopeless, she had her revenge, now she was going to take as many Covenant with her as possible.

Lindsey squeezed the trigger of her pistol, sending single round flying at the Unggoy. The bullet entered the alien's skull. As round entered it's brain, the Unggoy exploded in ball of blue flames, blowing apart the entire squad, sending charred chunks of alien flesh flying everywhere.

"What?", Lindsey thought, "Did I hit that Grunt's methane tank?".

As the dust and smoke from the explosion cleared, Lindsey saw the form of a Covenant Wraith tank, out of the hatched poked not the head of an Elite, but and human in black ODST armor.

"Ramirez?", Lindsey said to the ODST commanding the Wraith, "Thanks for the assist".

"No problem. Didn't think we'd leave you, did you, Ma'am", Corporal Carlos Ramirez said.

"Saved a spot for you in the back of the Shadow, Ma'am", Sergeant MacTavish said from the inside of the troop compartment of a Shadow that was idling behind the Wraith, "And you lost your shotgun, didn't you? I found this off a dead Elite".

MacTavish handed Lindsey a Plasma Repeater as she entered the troop compartment of the Shadow. In front of her, Private First Class Jacobs, who now sat in the driver's seat of the Shadow, said "Where to, Ma'am?".

"Keep going down this corridor", Lindsey said, "At the end should be a reactor core powering the aft energy projector. We'll get in, place the charges, and head back to the hanger to catch our ride out of here."

"OORAH!", the squad exclaimed as the Wraith and Shadow rolled forward.

After traveling about 300 meters, Ramirez spoke to Lindsey through her radio, the sound of a Wraith's plasma mortar and a Shadow's plasma cannon firing in the background. "We're in the cargo bay, I have encountered several unmanned Wraiths and Ghosts and a group of Elites and Grunts, I'm taking them out".

"I read you Ramirez", Lindsey said, "Don't let 'em get into the vehicles".

Lindsey raised her plasma repeater and looked out the window of one of the gunports on the Shadow. She took aim at an Unggoy who ran towards a row of three surviving parked Ghosts and fired a burst of plasma, cutting down the alien. Seconds later, the line of Ghosts was raked with a hail of plasma bolts from the Shadow's turret, blowing them to pieces.

The vehicles came to a stop after travelling about 200 meters to the end of the service corridor. Turret mounted on the Shadow and Wraith opened up on a squad of Sangheilli and Unggoy guarding the entrance to the energy projector's power core, taking them out almost immediately.

"Everyone out", Lindsey said, "Stack up by the doorway".

The ODSTs stacked up by the doorway as Ramirez set a C12 charge on the door. The door was blown down and the ODST rushed in, Lindsey and MacTavish entered first, cutting down another squad of Elites and Unngoy in the room with Williamson's Plasma Repeater and MacTavish's MA5K Carbine. A Sangheilli Ultra leading the squad charged at the ODSTs with an energy sword, but Ramirez fired the underbarrel shotgun on his MA5B Assault Rifle, striking down the elite with a blast of shot to the face.

"CLEAR!", Lindsey and two other ODSTs said at the same time.

"Ramirez", Lindsey said, "Want that plasma core rigged to blow ASAP", Lindsey said.

"Yes Ma'am", Ramirez replied, walking towards the main plasma core, consisting of a large piece of humming machinery, painted the same purple color most other Covenant equipment, with numerous plasma conduits, clear tubes filled with glowing blue plasma, sticking out of it.

Ramirez placed four "blast packs" of C12 next to the core and attached several smaller adhesive C12 charges to core and the plasma conduits, before finally spraying an entire canister of C7 foaming explosives onto the device, rigging it all to a remote detonation charge with a back-up sixty minute timer.

"I've go the place ready to blow", Ramirez said.

"Excellent work", Lindsey said, "Now let's get back to the hanger and catch our ride out of her."

Lindsey and the others hurried back to the Wraith and Shadow parked at the end of the service corridor and sped down the corridor, meeting no resistance as they drove towards the port side hanger. Midway down the corridor, Lindsey recieved a message on her radio.

"This is Lt. Crenshaw, we have two, maybe three squads of Covenant converging on my position and am in need of assistance."

"We hear you, Lieutenant", Lindsey responded, we are making our way down the main service corridor in a Wraith and Shadow, do not fire on a Wraith or Shadow entering the hanger, they are friendly. Repeat, do not fire on the Wraith or Shadow."

"Roger", Crenshaw replied, "Do not fire on the Wraith or Shadow".

As Crenshaw responded, the Wraith and Shadow rounded a corner, bringing the hanger entrance into view. Outside stood two Lekgolo preparing to enter. Ramirez fired the Wraith's main cannon at the heavily armored aliens. The plasma ball exploded on impact with Lekgolo, blowing both of them to pieces as the plasma autocannon turrets on the Wraith and Shadow cut down Elites, Grunts, and Jackals left and right.

The ODSTs drove the captured vehicles right up of the Phantom that was their ride out of the alien cruiser. Lindsey and the rest of the squad ran out of their vehicles and into the Phantom's gravity lift, with carried up into the craft.

After making a quick roll call to ensure everyone was inside, the Phantom took off, flying away from the cruiser as quickly as possible.

When the Phantom was about a couple kilometers from the Cruiser, Ramirez got out a remote detonator and pressed the button. The frontal half of the central bulbous section of the Cruiser exploded in a ball of blue flames as the plasma core exploded, splitting the vessel right in two. The two large sections of the vessel fell to the ground, along with countless other flaming pieces of metal.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

17

OPERATION:HOLY FATHER

"Know ye, that I walk in the shadow of the valley of death..."

James held his M392 Designated Marksman Rifle to his chest. He took a big breath and let it out slowly.The preacher kept on preaching. Several ragged Marines and ODSTs were around him. They were in a bombed out church within Sydney.They had been pushed back several blocks by Covie forces. Fireteam Charlie and Echo were keping the Covenant at bay outside. James' fireteam was taking a breather with some Marines and Militia men.

"Hey, Jimmy! Covies, breakin through!" an ODST, a captain, shouted.

James slid a fresh clip into his DMR. He sprinted to the door and came face to face with a Skirmisher. A very close cousin of the Jackal. He quickly unsheathed his knife and slammed it into the Skirmisher's jaw. Dead.

((TBC))

Unsigned comment by Bobzombie (talk • contribs). Please sign your talk page posts with '~~~~'.

18

OPERATION ETERNAL SPIRIT

0800 Hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calender)/

D77H-TCI Bravo-014, In Bound to East Area of Tokyo, Japan

Codename MAESTRO observed Justin as he prepared himself. He bit his lip when he saw the young man stand up. "You're not gonna wait for the Pelican to land? " He asked.

"No. We'll be wasting time if we do that. Instead, I'm gonna jump. Once I do that, you should run away before things get too hectic, " Justin replied, shouldering a Battle Rifle and pocketing several grenades. "Take down the AA guns while dispatching any Covenant in my way. Correct?"

"In a matter of speaking yes. Once you complete the mission, contact me and I will forward you the rendezvous point. You will be needed elsewhere as well. Understand?"

"Roger." He nodded. "Remember our bargain MAESTRO. You too PUPPET MASTER. I know you're eavesdropping as always."

Out of MAESTRO's pocket came a chuckle. "I assure you. We won't. After ETERNAL SPIRIT, we'll take you to the facility and do as we promised. Along with that, we'll have you test this new mobile suit we're developing."

"Another creation from Project AEOLIA?" He asked.

"Yes. The project is rather successful, I might say. Now go. We can't be waste time."

Before Justin had put on his helmet, a small smile formed on his face. "Thank you." He turned towards the intercom. "Pilot, can you lower the ramp?"

"Sure thing boss. But why?" replied the Pilot.

"I'm jumping," Justin said.

"Isn't that a bit dangerous sir?" replied the uneasy Pilot as he opened the bay.

"Nope, not at all. Didn't you hear. Spartan's never die." Justin remarked as he turned, jumping off the bay and into the battlefield that laid before him.

As the Pelican flew off, MAESTRO crossed his arms, catching a last glimpse of the SPARTAN before the ramp closed. He turned around with a sigh and made his way to the seats.

"Pilot." He asked.

"Yes sir?" The pilot answered back.

"Take me to Ryu Base."

"Are you sure sir? With the conditions right now, we are at a very big risk of being shot down." The pilot said hesitantly.

"I assure you. We won't get shot down as long as your piloting skills are competent." MAESTRO immediately remarked back.

A sigh was all he answered. "We'll be at Ryu Base in about an hour. Even less if everything goes well."

"Good. Go with all haste. Its urgent." A light flickered in acknowledgement.

MAESTRO laid back in his seat, lightly touching his breast pocket, his eyes in a burrowed expression. "Are you still here MASTER?"

"Yes. I am. " He coldly replied.

"Are we really going to keep our promise? Would the data from GENOME actually produce them?" MAESTRO said in a worried tone.

"Yes we are my friend. We will do what INNOCENCE asks of us. You see. As long as he has that promise, S-057 will be our dog for quite a while. I assure you."

"But what about the promise itself? Will it be to his liking? Afterall, the experiment itself was an absolute failure, even though it did provide results."

"Of course. I have copies of the research data. You have control of the AEOLIA facility. With some slight modifications, we can secretly build a hidden chamber."

"Is that why you asked him?"

"Mhm. You also need a pilot for that new toy of yours. Might as well do something while we're at it."

"I suppose." MAESTRO chuckled in the empty bay. "But will he like them? The shock when he sees them will surely confuse and trouble the man. Are you even sure you have the correct DNA sequence?"

"As a matter of fact I do. Before the bodies were buried, I was able to get my hands on all of their DNA. So if I want, I could go and make them reappear just like magic. However, that is highly unethical."

"Unethical you say? Nothing is ever unethical to you." He snorted. "One more thing PUPPET MASTER."

"What is it?"

"Will they have souls? Will they be like as they were before?"

(/)___(\) [/\Otaku of Halo Fanon/\]

19

Operation DIVINE SON
1921 hours local time, October 23, 2552
UNSC Gloria a Pater, near-Earth orbit

Thunk.

It really was, thought Logan-G081 calmly, a very small sound to be sending him into freefall from near orbit. Already his SOEIV pod - jokingly referred to by UNSC servicepeople as "the egg" - was near terminal velocity. Checking the readout on his helmet's display, he noted his airspeed and that of his partner, Damian-G004. The two Spartans had been recalled to defend Earth two days ago in the wake of the Covenant attack that had been feared since Reach. Despite the UNSC's best efforts to destroy any data relating to Earth's location, the aliens had found it.

Logan and Damian were Headhunters- elite Spartan-IIIs who worked in groups of two, mainly apart from support and other UNSC units. Their missions ranged from reconnaissance and path-finding- which is what they'd be doing now until they received further orders- to counter-insurgency and asymmetric warfare. The two had been on the Jovian moons, working to eliminate an Insurrectionist group, when Earth was attacked. As soon as was possible, they'd canceled the operation, moved their equipment back onto the civilian freighter ONI had provided, and rendezvoused with a UNSC frigate on Mars. Their orders were simple- await word of a UNSC counterattack, and in the meantime, acquire as much information on Covenant troop strength and deployments. If UNSC forces would be encountered, they were instructed to make themselves known, but not to actively seek out the remaining human enclaves.

The pod suddenly juddered and creaked as it entered the atmosphere. These pods were prototypes, stealthier than the standard SOEIV and slightly roomier. Nonetheless, the trail they'd leave in the sky would be noticed. When they hit dirt, they;d need to haul ass to a dark hole and wait for at least a day. The thought didn't please Logan- he hated waiting.

A soft ping drew Logan's attention to his pod's HUD. He studied the display and frowned. A group of three Covenant corvettes was prowling over the area. On their present course, Logan and Damian would fly within two kilometers of the ships. Preparing to adjust his trajectory, Logan opened a COM channel to ensure that Damian was doing the same.

Without warning, the Covenant ships shifted their flight pattern, heading off to the south-east. A new contact was visible- a civilian freighter. "What the hell?" Logan murmured, opening the channel to Damian. "Hey, you seeing this?"

"Of course I see it," came Damian's characteristically acerbic reply. "Who is that clown, and what's he think he's doing?"

As Logan watched, the freighter loosed a salvo of missiles, then barreled directly at the corvettes, who began to scatter. "What does this guy think he's doing?" he wondered aloud.

Everything turned upside down in an instant. Logan's pod was sent rolling through the sky. Red lights and alarms blared at him, deafening and blinding in the close quarters. He went to slipspace? a rational corner of Logan's mind thought, while the rest of him swore loudly and viciously. The pod soon corrected with its reserve rocket fuel. Logan looked to his HUD for Damian's icon. There it was, almost four kilometers removed from where it should be. "Damian? Can you hear me?" Logan called into his helmet's mic.

Damian's reply came fragmented and confused. "Thrown off by - wave, no excess - , trying to -rect course - think I'll be -ching down a - early, man."

Touching down early? "Damian, repeat that, are you crashing?"

There was only silence.


Shit. The word cycled endlessly through Damian's mind as his pod rolled. He was dimly aware that he'd lost his COM connection, but that seemed the least of his problems now. The ground was fast approaching. Damian quickly increased the pressure of his suit's ballistic gel and waited for impact.

The first hit jarred the pod horribly, bouncing it twenty feet into the air. Damian could taste blood in his mouth, and it felt like a tooth had been knocked loose. Then he hit the ground again and felt his left leg crack. Dammit. Just what I needed.

The pod bounced and rolled another two hundred meters before coming to a halt in of Thermopylae's many empty springs. With a muffled bang, the bulkhead above Damian ejected, revealing that he, at least, hadn't landed facing the ground. He felt around for a weapon and grabbed his M6D pistol, which had detached from his thigh closure and wedged itself in the corner. He stood, grimacing as his leg screamed in protest, and scanned the horizon. Nothing yet, but that wouldn't last. Clambering out of the wreckage, he reached around until he'd found his assault rifle and rucksack. Checking that his array of knives was still with him, he reset the pressure in all parts of his suit save the left leg, creating a makeshift splint. Taking a tentative step, he gritted his teeth and moved off at a trot. Logan would be headed to the same place he was- their intended landing zone. They were both too highly trained to forget their mission. When he arrived, he knew he'd find Logan at work gathering information.

Damian had barely made it four hundred meters when he saw a pair of black dots in the horizon. Cursing, he threw himself to the ground, leg screaming in protest, and hoped that the prototype active camouflage of his SPI suit would still work after its rough handling. Holding his breath, he flipped off the safety on his rifle and waited.

The dots soon resolved into a pair of Covenant Banshees. As Damian watched, the moved to the wreckage of his pod. One dropped to the ground, disgorging a large Sangheili warrior. The other aircraft remained overhead, circling the site. The alien on the ground studied the crash site, then began looking around the site in a widening circle. Damian assumed he was a tracker, searching for footprints, and breathed a silent prayer that the light breeze be enough to obliterate any tracks he'd left.

The Elite on the ground took almost twenty minutes to decide that there was nothing more to see. With a last look around, he clambered back into the Banshee and lifted off. In a minute the pair was gone. Nonetheless, Damian remained still for another ten minutes. When he was sure no one was coming back, he stood and moved off towards the hills. Hopefully they'd offer some shelter from unfriendly eyes.

I am a monument to all of your... Darkness Conflicts Stories Heroes

20: First Sunrise

Operation: HOLY FATHER

0200 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sydney, Australia, UAF

Mitch had lost three men, and six civilians had died before a Navy strike fighter had been able to make a pass overhead and take out the Wraith. The squad’s light arms hadn’t even dented the tank from their range while it sat back and used plasma mortars to bomb the hell out of the civvie truck they’d used for cover. At least the rest were alive, and now the area was completely evacuated.

He stepped lively behind a Sergeant, but didn’t technically have to. He was police, Sgt. Joshua of the Sydney PD. The cop had shown up after Hunter’s CO came to survey the damage, and started a heated discussion with him in private. Mitch hadn’t heard all of it, but they’d been pretty serious.

Now, he was escorting the sergeant back to his car. Wordlessly, he opened the door, but instead of getting in he leaned on it and looked on at the bodies being taken away by the others of Mitch’s squad.

“This just isn’t supposed to happen, y’know.” Joshua said, only half expecting a response.

“The Covenant have burned through every colony.” Mitch answered. “It was only a matter of time before–”

“I meant,” he sighed, “this shouldn’t happen to civilians.”

Hunter stayed silent, but wholly agreed. He’d seen this firsthand all too often.

“They don’t know what its really like . . . they can’t know. You’ll never know, unless you go through it yourself. I did. And I lost my leg for it.” He tapped the shin of his right leg against his car, and a metallic sound chimed. “Retired me an honorary staff sergeant. Some retirement.”

He turned and looked Mitch in the eye, even through his visor. “There aren’t enough people on the force to keep the streets safe anymore. Damn military comes in and conscripts everyone to fight up there, and there’s no one left down here. Crime’s rampant, all over. There are organized gangs that aren’t just vying for a share in the drug traffic trade. They’re running cities now, and killing as they will. They can’t be stopped anymore.” He trailed into silence after that, tears of frustration forming in the corners of his eyes.

“On the upside,” Mitch said, “We’re here now.”

Joshua shook his head, and chuckled once. “Tell you what, corporal. You save humanity, I’ll make sure there’s something worth saving when it’s over.”

And with that, he climbed into his car, shut the door, and drove off. For some reason, as if a delayed reaction to what the policeman had said, Mitch nodded to himself. Then he walked off to round up his squad. He had a job to do.


Operation: DIVINE SON

0430 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calender)/
Village south of Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

“Go, get inside!” Wheatley hissed at the two children, pushing them into a warehouse before the Elite patrol could see them. He bolted the door behind him, and listened to the pair of Ghosts go down another street. They were stepping up their patrols. Either they were sweeping to completely clean out this place, or they knew they were here. Neither idea was greatly appealing.

“Moses!” Reo called, remembering to be quiet, but he could hear her panic. Running over, he found them staring at a limp form, clad in black.

It was a Helljumper, his corpse long since gone cold. The helmet was faceless, with a jet black visor slumped and looking down at the needle shard embedded in his chest. The needle was coated with cured blood.

Wheatley turned his head around, listening for patrols, and heard none. He had a chance, and a duty to perform. Setting down his rifle, Moses kneeled next to the dead marine and removed his helmet to feel for a pulse at the neck. There was none. He pulled the body away from the case it leaned against, and lay the body straight.

Carefully, he pulled the needler shard out of the man’s armor and tossed it away, letting the crystal almost evaporate when it broke against the floor. Taking a set of supplies from his pack, he sealed the wound with a patch, then pulled the cadaver’s arms up and crossed them over his chest.

Moving up, Moses removed the dog tags of Corporal Alexandro, Juan D., and closed his coffee-colored eyes. Finally, he replaced the shock trooper’s helmet, and vac-sealed it. This was a custom among units with special suits. They were buried like this so their bodies would never rot, and time would not ravage them.

“You won’t need this anymore, trooper.” He murmured, and took the silenced M6 holstered on his side with the few clips he’d carried. A weapon like that would be valuable in the time ahead.

Moses turned to see Henri staring blankly at the dead man. He was beginning to realize that this was no game. People died out here. That was good; in the end it might just help him survive. He picked up his battle rifle.

“Come on. ‘Hog’s right through this building.”

The two followed him silently, slowly, too stunned to say anything else. Reo suddenly realized, she had to write about this, how it felt to be so close to death. Withdrawing her Chatter, she had only just powered it up when it beeped and went dark. “Blast it!” she said, and tossed the thing away.

Wheatley noticed it. Pausing, he withdrew a notepad and a pencil from under the plate protecting his front. “Here.” He said, offering them to her. At first, she hesitated to use a somewhat ‘outdated’ method, but he said, “Better get the thought out now, while it's fresh. When machines break, your hands will never fail you.”

Reo took them, and realized she was a little out of practice at handwriting. “Thanks.” She said, and began scribbling as she followed him, easily keeping up with Wheatley’s cautious pace. Not yet finding the words, she asked, “What should I write about?”

He smiled privately and said, “I don’t want to know just yet. But to quote Dr. Franklin, either write things worth the reading, or do things worth the writing.”

Reo realized that right there and then, the three of them were in the middle of a time when humanity was in danger of extinction, to summarize it all. If they survived, this day would be worth remembering. So as they continued to live and do something worth writing, she would write it as it happened.


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

0803 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Oshima Island, Tokyo, Japan

For Ion Squad, two suns were coming up in the east. The first was Sol, bright oranges and reds filling the sky over the Pacific Ocean. The second was a storefront going up in flames. Kodiak G114 stood watching the blaze, and hearing the crackle of flames coupled with the screams of a dozen Covenant soldiers inside.

He saw a human shape approaching through the smoke, leaving the blaze and stench of burned flesh behind and walking out into the street. Sepia still clutched her flamethrower in both hands, the pilot light an azure blue. Her personal SPI suit had additional fireproofing, allowing her to walk unimpeded through the blaze. Kodiak was half in awe and half in fear, the Covenant were right to call someone like that a demon.

She came up to him, brushing soot from her armor just as Dyne ran up from his position at the corner. Kodiak nodded to them and looked up towards the skyscrapers on the mainland, speaking into his com.

“Lieutenant, we’ve eliminated the Covenant scout force, but they got a pretty good read on our positions and might have radioed it back, over."

On the other end, Lieutenant Erin Coney, their overseer, gave them an update. “I copy. Move back to the defenses closest to the mass driver towers, one’s up but work on the other’s just beginning.”

The other two Spartans looked expectantly at Kodiak. With hesitation, he keyed his mic again. “El-Tee, we were hoping to be transferred after cleaning them up. We’d like to assist on the east front, where the main fighting will be.”

From the other end was a short pause. Kodiak knew she was sighing exasperatedly, as she often did with Ion. “Negative. I had to pull strings to get you where you are now. Initially they wanted you on guard duty at Ryu Base.”

“Spartans? On guard duty?” Dyne whispered, to no one in particular. All three looked surprised.

“I think someone’s trying to keep us out of the fight. The Gammas haven’t proven themselves yet, not like the Twos, or the Alphas or Betas. They don’t trust you yet, they think you’ll screw up.”

“We’ll have to prove them wrong then, eh, Lieutenant?” Kodiak said, his left hand feeling the grip of his assault rifle.

“I hope you do. For now, get to those defenses. Covenant have dropped jammers into the bay. Wet Navy assets are taking care of them, but it’ll be a while. To make matters worse, there’s a fog rolling in toward you from the south. It means the guns will have no sensor and no visual targeting. If I were an alien commander, I’d take the opportunity to make an attack at your position. Be ready.”

“We will, lieutenant. Ion out.”

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 23:47, January 11, 2011 (UTC)

21

"Scorpio Actual to Scorpio 1, report in" Colonel Johnathan Cooper held his head in his palm, the situation in Japan was looking increasingly desparate. He just hoped that Scorpio team was the trump card they needed.

"Scorpio Team is on the ground, awaiting orders,sir" Cecil reported.

"Marine forces are engaged in heavy fighting near the Shibuya district of Tokyo, advance there and assist them"

"Copy that, Scorpio 1, out"

"Orders?" Raphael inquired.

"Kick ass and take names, you know, the usal" the rest of the team formed up.

"Alright, I wanna know what's going on here, do not engage, and report back when you're done" Cecil ordered

"2 and 4 your paired 5 and 6 your paried up, 2 is on me"

"Oh, goodie, I'm partnered with the clinicaly insane guy" Timothy retorted

"Hey..don't judge" Vincent replied, hurt

HIATUS RETURN TIAM!!!!! :D Chen-179 03:49, January 12, 2011 (UTC)

22: A Small Advance

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

01600 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar) Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan


Mikiya Ryougi flew his Falcon Gunship, along with the rest of the 24th Squadron over the Meiji Shrine in Yoyogi Park, Shibuya, now serving as an evac point for civilians, when his radio crackled to life.

"This Whiskey Three-Seven, we have loaded all civilian survivors and are preparing to lift off, however, we have four Banshees incoming from the NHK building".

Mikiya turned towards glass-clad tower on the edge of the park that was the studio for the NHK, the Japanese national TV channel. The tower once had a cylindrical structure on top, containing broadcast equipment such as satellite dishes, however, those, along with the upper few floors of the tower had been reduced to a twisted steel skeleton by a Covenant plasma charge.

Flying above the remains of the NHK building, Mikiya caught sight of four Banshees, about 1.3 kilometers in the distance.

"I hear you Whiskey Three-Seven", Mikiya said, "I am engaging now". Mikiya heard the lock tone for his LAU-65 dual purpose missile launcher and pressed the launch button. A missile streaked towards the enemy aircraft, and seconds later, exploded in a ball of flames, blowing the cockpit clean off, sending both pieces of the aircraft falling to the ground.

"Scratch 1!", Mikiya said.

The second Banshee was about a click away when Mikiya fired a second missile at it. The second LAU-65 detonated near the wing of the Banshee, blowing off its right anti-gravity pod. The remaining engine was not enough to keep the aircraft in the skies, sending the aircraft into a death spiral. The downed Banshee crashed into a courtyard in the middle of a ring shaped-shaped building.

"Second Banshee down", Mikiya said to his gunner, "Miyazaki, we're getting into cannon range, you know what to do".

Mikiya Ryougi raised the Falcon higher into the air, dodging a plasma cannon burst from the two Banshees. Aoi Miyazaki turned the aircraft's 30mm cannon towards the first Banshee and fired a burst of high explosive-armor piercing shells. Flashes of fire lit up the side of of the alien aircraft as blue flames erupted from the tail. The aircraft was going down.

"Three down", Aoi said.

Mikiya turned the Falcon towards the Falcon towards the final Banshee, which was now closing in the evac Pelican Dropship, Whiskey Three-Seven

"Kisama!!!", Mikiya yelled, a Japanese curse word, literally an offensive version of the pronoun "you", but in this case, best translated as "you son of a bitch!".

Aoi turned the gun on the Banshee, pulling the trigger just as the enemy aircraft prepared to fire on the Pelican's left engine. The Banshee's tail caught fire just as it fired its plasma cannons, missing the Pelican's engines, striking only empty ground as it fell to the ground.


"That's the last one", Whiskey Three-Seven replied, "We have clear skies on our scope and will rendezvous with UNSCAF Longsword Fighters in a few minutes, thanks for the assist Hayabusa"

"Just doing our job", Mikiya replied as he turned back towards the south end of the park as his radio crackled to life.

"This is Lieutenant Harrison of Echo Company of UNSC Army Three-Thirty-First Armored Regiment to all UNSC aerial assets", A voice with an American accent spoke through the radio, we are pinned down in an immediately east of Shibuya station by fire from Wraiths in Hachiko Square and three Covie Air Artilleries with Banshee supportimmediately to the west. If someone can take those out, We can get our Scorpions rolling and retake that square"

"This is Hayabusa Lead, I read you, Lt. Harrison", Mikiya relied, "We'll take care of that artillery".

Mikiya flew up above the rooftops and immediately caught sight the three Covenant Air Artillery aircraft, all three of them raining balls of burning plasma on the 331st.

"This is Hayabusa three", Mikiya said, "I have a missile lock on the first and second air artillery, I'm taking it out. Satou, you take number three. Everyone else pick off those Banshees."

Mikiya locked on to the first Covenant Air Artillery and let loose an Argent missile. The missile impacted the alien aircraft dead center, detonating its plasma stores in a ball of blue flames. The explosion was so powerful that it knocked a couple nearby Banshees into the side of a skyscraper.

Mikiya then fired a missile at the second Air Artillery as Satou fired on the third. Soon, about a dozen missiles flew at the enemy aircraft, knocking Banshees and Air Artillery out of the sky.

"I read all enemy aircraft destroyed", Mikiya Ryougi said, "Nice shooting, Hayabusa. Now, let's deal with those Wraiths, go in at low level, between the buildings."


Mikiya flew down into the concrete canyons created by the buildings around him, weaving between structures. Mikiya flew out of a narrow alleyway and turned down onto a major road leading into the Hachiko Square from the south.

"Eight Wraiths, Two AAs dead center of the square.", Mikiya said, "Take 'em out in three, two, one, NOW!!!"

Aoi Miyazaki locked onto the easternmost Wraith and pulled the trigger, sending a Scorpion ATGW at an AA Wraith, blowing the rapid-fire fuel rod guns off the top and a destroying the vehicle. More Scorpion missiles streaked in from the other Falcon gunships, lighting up the formation of Wraiths. As the last Wraith went up in flames, Mikiya spoke into the radio,

"331st, the Wraiths are gone, We will stick around to cover you, We will be flying in a low level along the street to the north, between the Q-Front Tower and the building with the big screen on the front. good luck in there, Hayabusa out".

"Thanks for the assist, We're coming, were coming in from the east, along the street between the Shibuya station and the building with the big screen.

Mikiya flew his aircraft into the square, turning towards a road block on the street the UNSC armor would be coming up. Mikiya spotted two Locusts guarding the street.

"Miyazaki", he said, "Give those Locusts a missile". Aoi Miyazaki fired a Scorpion missile at the first Covenant walker, blowing the top turret off. The second Locust, however, fell to a Scorpion of a different kind, the 90mm main gun of UNSC Scorpion main battle tank, which then proceeded to roll over the Covenant roadblock, followed by several more tanks, all of them mowing down Covenant infantry with their machine guns or blasting at Shade turrets and Kig-Yar sniper nests in the building with their cannons.

Mikiya and the rest of the the 24th Squadron aided the UNSC tanks in the assault, shooting up any alien positions the Scorpions missed, including a heavy plasma cannon position in a the Starbuck's Coffee shop in the Q-Front Tower, which Mikiya fired a pair of LAU-65 missile into while Aoi poured 30mm HEDP shells into until the alien guns fell silent.

"Shame", Mikiya commented, "Could have used some decent coffee about now."

Shortly after eliminating the Covenant position in the Q-Front Tower, Mikiya's radio crackled to life

"This is Lt. Harrison of the 331st Armored. All Covenant resistance has been neutralized. Thanks for the help, Hayabusa."

"Your welcome Lieutenant, good luck holding that position", Mikiya responded as he lead his sqaudron back to base. Today, the UNSC had actually made a small counterattack, albeit an advance of only a few hundred meters. It would take a lot more to drive the Covenant out of Tokyo, let alone off of Earth.

UNSC pilot by SPARTAN 204
SPARTAN 119Crawl from the wreckage , one more time, Horrific memory twists the mind. Dark blooded, cold and hard to turn. Path of destruction, feel it burn. 'Cause we hunt you down without mercy, hunt you down all nightmare long
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Greenwich Mean Time
Trivia: All locations (or most, anyway,) mentioned are real.



23

OPERATION ETERNAL SPIRIT

0845 Hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calender)/

Outskirts of Covenant AA Area, Japan

[TBW] (/)___(\) [/\Otaku of Halo Fanon/\]

24: In Iron Sights

Operation: DIVINE SON

0439 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calender)/
Village south of Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

Wheatley slid the door open only enough so he could stick his head out and survey the road. No aliens. “Okay, we better make this quick.” The warehouse door slid open loudly, its rollers squeaking because of age. Moses ran back in and hauled himself up and into the Boar’s driver seat. Its engine roared to life as he keyed the ignition, and at his command it leaped forward out of the building's shadow.

Their escape was far from unnoticed. At the end of the block, an Elite emerged, spotted them at once, and roared into the air.

“Hang on!” Wheatley shouted. Twisting the wheel, the Warthog jumped up onto the curb, running down a streetsign, a fire hydrant, and the Sangheili beneath its fender. The three Grunts that had been following it scattered as the water line spouted twenty feet skyward and the Boar continued on its way.

There were only two seats in the thing, and since Moses had insisted on them strapping in, Henri had to sit on Reo’s lap. Behind them the tow hook bounced loudly against the back bumper, almost unnoticed under the growl of the engine running.

“Where are we going?” Reo shouted over the noise.

“Anywhere but here!”

They got out of the town without encountering any more patrols. Moses kept a close eye on his rear-view mirror, but none of the Ghosts or Spectres he’d seen were pursuing. It felt to good to be true, and it probably was.

Wheatley checked far in front, and to their sides. Still nothing. They were safe for at least a few moments more, so he focused on the road. “I need to get you two out of here. There’s got to be an evacuation post, or even a military station getting people off-planet somewhere.”

With Wheatley letting up on the gas pedal, Henri could be heard clearly despite him saying quietly, “Moses, where will we go after that?”

The truth was, he didn’t know. Did the UNSC still have colonies out there, somewhere all these people could go to escape the slaughter? Even after that, how could they feed so many refugees?

Moses couldn’t think about that. Those were thoughts for High Command, not a frontliner. But it worried him. And more questions followed. How had Earth alone been able to support so many, or had it even tried? He hadn’t asked these before; everyone was an objective, and if they got them clear of the battlefield, it was victory. But now he knew these two. He worried about their future.

“Moses!” Reo shouted, pointing straight ahead. A pair of Banshee fighters were sweeping low over the road, headed straight for them!

Short-term survival was now far more important. He pulled the wheel sideways as the flyers’ underbellies lit green a half-moment, and two fuel rods trailing green radiation flew their way.

The shots detonated feet away from the drivers side, avoided only by their swerving. The Banshees howled over and past them a moment later, and Wheatley knew they’d swing around.

“Hand me that radio!” He yelled. A stream of blue plasma slagging one of the back corners and some asphalt near them made him return both hands to the wheel. “Dammit! You use it! Call for help!”

She nodded, and held in the button on the reciever. “We need help! We’re on . . .”

“The Eikostis Highway!”

“the Eikostis Highway being attacked by Banshees! Heading . . .”

“North towards Thebes!”

“north toward Thebes. Anyone, please help us!”


Operation: HOLY FATHER

0311 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sutherland, Sydney, Australia,

Just under half a world away, the situation was much the same. Only now it would be the Covenant in the crosshairs, and the UNSC’s ODSTs doing the shooting.

“Bret, get your rockets into position!” Mitch Hunter hissed over the com from his position, hidden in the shadows of an apartment complex.

“Almost there, sir.” The heavy weapons man reported, the sound of his heavy breathing and footfalls in the background.

Mitch switched to a second com line. “Dansen, you have a shot?”

The blue sniper, set up on top of a building down the street, replied, “Yeah. I see a blue and a silver Elite. Which one?”

“Silver’s the ranker, take him first. I’ll take the blue.” Mitch readied his battle rifle, and took note of the blue-armored leg he could just see through the window of a burned-out car.

Bret’s voice came in. “Rockets in position, ready for fire.”

“All units . . . open fire.”

With a Whoosh and a cloud of smoke, an HE rocket shot downwards from a building top. The Covenant sitting in this command post immediately turned to face it, just as Dansen fired a round. It deflected off the silver Elite’s shields, causing him to stumble but not die. A second shot broke the shield and his skull just as the rocket detonated.

The Revenant gun carriage that had been sitting in the street leaped a meter off the deck before crashing back down and being engulfed in flames, both red plasma and orange fire.

From his cover, the blue elite ran out into the open to answer the call to fight, and right into Mitchell’s crosshairs. Caught unaware, he was still looking for his attacker when a fourth burst broke his shields and went through the small helmet protecting him.

He dropped the rifle to hang on the strap on his shoulder and pinged his com line again. “Kevlar! Your team is go!”

From a sidestreet, four more black-suited troopers emerged with Kevlar in the lead, brandishing his shotgun. They entered the building the Covenant were guarding, and soon he heard assault and plasma rifle fire accompanied by the crack of buckshot leaving a muzzle.

“Bret, Dansen, regroup.” Mitch said, and then he and two more marines moved up to the building front. By the time the two had arrived, it was already over. It was a clean sweep, with no casualties. The shock troopers had done their job, and the main force could advance a little further towards Sydney’s Orbital Elevator. They’d even managed their secondary objective.

“Dropship, you’re clear to move in.”

From over the rooftops, a Pelican emblazoned with Bravo 029 came into view and circled around to land where the Revenant had been. As the dust was swept up from its landing, Hunter’s squad began pulling sleek, purple crates filled with Covenant ordnance from the building.

“Bravo Oh-Two-Nine to Oscar Reserve Squad. Well done, Corporal.” The pilot congratulated.

“Thanks, ma’am. Where are these being taken?”

“Arms manufacturers in Japan. Going to use them for study, and if push comes to shove, for killing Covies.”

“Heard its just about to start big-time over there. Any word on the odds?”

“We’ve got warehouses full of expirimental and regulation weaponry, along with hundreds in personnel and a few heavy guns to fight off capital ships. If anyone stands a chance, they do.”

Mitch smiled. For him, things were looking up.


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

0816 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Oshima Island, Tokyo, Japan

Coney had been right, the fog came in fast, and plenty of it. Oshima had been completely blanketed in the mist. Ion Team was among the force stationed in a barricade a few blocks from the tower guns still being constructed. On either side of Kodiak were marine soldiers with light arms pointed outward. This was the choke point, if the Covenant wanted the island, they’d have to come through here.

They were dead silent. Fog condensed on the building walls, and the only sound echoing off them was Dyne messing with his sniper rifle. “I can’t see a thing in this stuff.” He complained privately to his teammates over the com. Finally, he set it on his back and opted for his assault rifle.

A low, unending wail reached their ears, setting everyone on edge. The fighters tensed up, rechecking their safeties and magazines.

“Phantoms.” One marine next to Kodiak murmured.

“How can you tell?”

“You can’t?” he asked, looking up. “It’s the engine pitch. Figures they’d send us a rookie Spartan.”

Slightly insulted, Kodiak merely lapsed back into silence with the rest of them. Though the howling became louder, none of the expected purple light broke through the wall of gray in front of them. He decided that it really was the waiting for a fight that was worse.

Then the sound began to fade, receding back over the ocean.

“They must know about the guns. Landed infantry.” One man down the line said, before his corporal indicated silence.

Just where the mist obscured the world, a pair of pale blue blades sprang from an unseen hand. Holding for a moment, it cleaved through the mist and swung over what must have been head height. A lone roar of challenge sounded, just before a loud crack startled the marines.

The blades disappeared, and the sound of a corpse falling to the ground could be heard.

Dyne lifted his head up, double-checking his kill. “Saw that.” He said cheekily.

There were a few, humorless chuckles shared, until a second call went out, and Covenant infantry came running into sight.

Kodiak added his assault rifle rounds to the hail of fire already digging into Grunt flesh, rebounding off Jackal shields, and narrowly missing Skirmishers as they charged the barricade. He alikened it to floodwaters with the foremost part evaporating in the stream of bullets, but even as the front ranks fell more appeared from what looked like, especially with the fog, thin air.

Another fell to his rounds, and his magazine clicked empty. “Reloading.” He warned, and slid onto his back to grab another clip. Just then, he thought he saw something. It could have been a trick of the mist, but something back between them and the gun towers had moved.

It was getting to him. He knew he’d seen something, but it wasn’t anything. The indescribablity of it was driving him nuts, and then he saw it again. Like a wave of air, and just more than human height. Oh, crap.

“To the rear!” he shouted, spraying his rifle. The hail of rounds slammed into something, and energy shielding popped into existence glowing brightly. SpecOps Elites.

All hell broke loose as the fighters were caught between advancing infantry in front and invisible foes behind. When a squad of Elite Rangers jumped down from the rooftops, there was nothing to do but scatter.

Trying to retreat from the horde, many marines ran right into the wristblades of cloaked Sangheili. Kodiak spotted one going for a man, and, rifle still unloaded, he pulled a knife from its sheath on his chest and hurled it. Cartwheeling through the air, its blade flashed twice before going hilt-deep into the alien’s neck with a spray of purple blood.

As the chaos went on around him, he retrieved the knife, hearing a satisfying sound as the steel withdrew from flesh. Unscrewing the flashlight from his MA5B’s muzzle, he replaced it with the knife and began reloading. Two things caught his attention; the first was the rest of his team, holding off the infantry force for the marines to escape, and then what was beyond. Locust walkers.

“Ion! Fall back!” he yelled. They did so unquestioningly, just before the Locust shot a beam of violet light and turned the barricade into a cloud of debris sent high into the mist-filled air.

As Sepia and Dyne ran towards him, he jumped off a car, aiming for a Ranger with a carbine that was firing into the retreating soldiers. The bayonet found its mark in the Elite’s spine, and was only freed when Kodiak blasted it with a burst of rounds, the dome-like visor shattering when the corpse fell to the pavement below.

“Come on!” he yelled, waving the others onwards into an alley. There was nothing more they could do here. With the barricade lost, they’d have control of their CP within minutes. While they expected it at every turn, no Covenant ran after them. They only stopped when they reached the wharf.

“What’s the plan?” Dyne asked, looking to either of his teammates.

Kodiak answered, unscrewing the knife and replacing it in its sheath. “We lost here. We need to get back to the mainland, and do what we can there.”

“So how do we get back?” Sepia asked, still scanning for pursuers.

“Walk.”

With that, Kodiak jumped into the water.

As the water went above his HUD, he sank maybe ten meters to the bottom of the bay. With the flashlight remounted on his rifle, he scanned the muddy bottom, then lined up his compass. The others joined him in a moment, neither looking or sounding happy.

“My flamethrower’s useless now.” She let it drop beside her, the inside components flooding with water.

“This thing’s scopes will never be the same.” Dyne moaned, casting off his sniper rifle. The pair’s helmet lights activated, and they followed Kodiak north and west, the shortest distance back to ground above sea level.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 02:20, January 22, 2011 (UTC)

25: Death From Below

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

930 Hours, October 25th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Tigershark-class Ballistic Missile Submarine UNSC Seawolf, Southeast of Tokyo, Japan

Captain Yanagi brought up a satellite image on the main screen of the UNSC Seawolf, real-time satellite image of the Oshima Island, off the coast of Tokyo Bay. The Covenant had now taken control of the entire island. The island was much too close to UNSC forces on the mainland to deploy nuclear weapons against, but they could still hit them with conventional cruise missiles.

"Now hear this!", Yanagi said through the submarine's intercom, "The Covenant have captured Oshima Island and have are using it as a staging area for a second attack on mainland Japan. We are not going to let that happen! I sending target coordinates now. Weapons systems crews are to hold fire until my signal. I want all missiles to hit them simultaneously.

Yanagi zoomed in on the main Harbour in Oshima. The Covenant appeared to be converting a couple of ferrys at the dock that survived their invasion into makeshift transports for the invasion of the mainland, several Locust Walkers and Wraith tanks, as well as numerous smaller vehicles were lined up on the dock, ready to be loaded. Yanagi marked each of the transport simply by touching their location on the touchscreen. He then proceeded to target the Wraiths and Locusts on the docks, before assigning it to a cruise missile with an anti-armor MITV warhead.

Yanagi zoomed the map out, before zooming back in on the airfield on the northwest corner of the island. The Covenant had already shifted aside the remains of the remains of the human aircraft based at the airfield, and replaced them with Banshee attack aircraft, Phantoms transports, and Seraph fighters. Yanagi marked the aircraft for a second MITV missile, then marked the runway, several large Covenant plasma cores at the end side of the airfield, and the terminal as targets for missiles, each with a 2000 pound warhead.

Finally, Yanagi send two cruise missiles towards a couple of partially complete Covenant AA batteries atop the volcanic peak of Miharayama in the center of the island. "Why couldn't that volcano have chosen now to erupt and save us the trouble.", Yanagi thought as he uploaded the coordinates to the missiles.

Yanagi spoke into the intercom and gave the command to fire the missiles. As he did this, the split the main screen into thirds, showing a detailed view of the target areas.

A single cruise missile flew at Oshima harbor from the south. As it reached about a couple kilometer's distance, the outer skin of the missile nose broke off, revealing several smaller missiles, with slammed into the Wraiths and Locusts, taking them out in balls of flames or sending up splashed of water as they slammed into the hulls of the two ferrys, sending both boats to the bottom of the harbor.

Four cruise missiles streaked in to the now Covenant-controlled airfield, the first separating into multiple missiles each of which blew apart a parked Seraph, Phantom, or Banshee. The second slammed into the runway, creating a massive crater and rendering it out of action as the third struck the plasma storage tanks sending them up in a ball of blue flames. The final missile blew a massive hole in the center of the small terminal building and set the rest of the structure on fire.

The last two missiles impacted the partially complete AA batteries atop Miharayama, the explosion from one of the missiles was so severe that it knocked the alien gun off it's perch and sent the remnants falling 200 feet below, into the volcano's crater.

"Now hear this", Yanagi said through the intercom, "We have taken out all targets successfully, all engine crew personnel are to report to their posts, we are relocating ASAP to avoid detection"

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

26

Operation: DIVINE SON


1929 Hours, October 23rd (Military Calendar)/
Outskirts of Thermopylae, Periphery of Continental Greece, Hellenic Republic

Jara 'Karum took his Banshee in a turn, while examining the ground.

"Fervent Admiration, I can see no demons on the ground. They must have fled the area." He declared. There was a pause, then his flight controller, Ultra Domo Laku 'Parkamee

"Continue searching. They cannot be far."

Jara hit his fustration, and let his banshee circle the region again. Once again, his motion sensor did not indicate any movement from human forces.

"Any luck, Jara?"

"Negative." He said irrtatably. "The Demons are good at what they do. They are clearly well hidden-if they are even here at all."

There was a long pause, then Laku's voice came over the speakers again.

"The Shipmaster is sending more banshees to prowl the area. He feels that the this is our chance to-" Laku went silent for a momment.

"Laku?" Jara asked. "Laku, is everything all right?"

"Its fine. A human vessel is approaching the battlegroup. We are going to engage it now."

Jara frowned, then kept patrolling, searching for any humans. He continued on his search area, when all of a sudden, Laku's voice came over the speakers again.

"The human ship! It-" He was suddenly cut off, and Jara was suddenly worried. What was going on? He turned his banshee in the direction of the battlegroup-at this distance, they were small dots. Several seconds later however, he felt a shockwave. His banshee, and that of his wingman was bluffeted by the shockwave.

"Fervent Admiration, do you read me?" He asked. No response.

"I repeat, Fervent Admiration, do you read me?" Silence.

"We need to go investigate." He said flattly.


0355 Hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Kopis Base, Galičica Mountain, Periphery of Continental Greece, Hellenic Republic


Norman sweeped the hills with the binoculars, coming up with no Covenant. He discarded the binoculars and kept his BR55 up, continuing to sweep the area. A Falcon swooped into the area, before landing. Its two occupants, Janice and Wong hopped out, followed by its pilot, Kevin.

"We found a Covenant convoys just now. The Covenant are searching this area like mad now, won't be long before they find us." Janice reported grimly.

"Did you engage?" Norman asked.

"Negative. Just as you told us." She replied.

"Alright. Good." He said.

"Is Gary nearly done with the Grizzly?" Kevin asked.

"I don't know." Norman replied. "Ask him. Then go and rest."

"Thanks, sir." Kevin replied.

Norman shrugged his shoulders and sweeped the hills with his binoculars again, seeing nothing. Wondering for a while how long it would take for the Covenant to find them, he then focused his thoughts to keeping watch. Since he was the ranking officer, he had taken command of everyone in the base. This wasn't a problem, it just meant he had a few extra hands in addition to Dagger. Steiner and Lane had been a combat veterans of several years, while Wong was relatively new to the military.

While he kept watch, he shifted his thoughts to those more uncomfortable. The remains of Kopis Base provided supplies and a reasonable amount of shelter. Unfortunately, its location was also known to the Covenant, and they were bound to check the area for survivors.

Which meant that they either would have to move, or hit the Covenant back. Unfortunately, his lack of intelligence was fustrating-you couldn't plan an operation without intelligence, especially with seven people under his command. He had used the Falcon his team to scout out the hills, searching for Covenant patrols, and eliminating them, or at least noting them. Covenant air support had been strangely absent-but Steiner had mentioned that they had detected an enormous explosion, in addition to Čerenkov radiation coming from the south. It was possible that they had something to do with a helpful reduction of Covenant air patrols.

He pushed his speculations to the side. He needed to think of something that could potentially turn the tide. Their infrequent raids on Covenant patrols wouldn't suffice, especially since it only served to irratate the Covenant commanders, resulting in them putting more effort into hunting them down. He briefly considered trying to make a break for it, fleeing Greece and heading north, up into Europe, but then he pushed that idea to the side. His mission had been to repel the Covenant offensive in Greece-he wouldn't abandon the mission unless he was ordered to.

"Goddammit." He muttered under his breath. "I really need more intel." He came to a decision. When the sun rose, he would go with Janice and Kevin to scout further for Covenant forces. Something to do that would be worthwhile to their mission, even if it cost their lives.

Although he would try to find something that did not cost their lives.


1012 Hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
East of Galičica Mountain, Periphery of Continental Greece, Hellenic Republic


Norman moved the Falcon cautiously. He had given instructions to Gary that if they weren't back by the end of the day, he should assume the worst. He certainly hoped not. They had been flying for about half an hour now, and he had changed the Falcon to "plane-mode" in order to fly faster. As the plane moved, he kept an eye on the Falcon's radar, keeping note of hostiles.

"Wait." Kevin muttered. "Did you see that? An AA Wraith. On my side."

"No." Norman replied. "Lucky you did."

"They saw us too." Kevin said.

"Preforming evasive manuvers..." Norman brought the Falcon into a roll, then fired the chin mounted machine gun. 20mm High Explosive rounds impacted on the Wraith, denting its armor. As he dodged another burst of shots, one of them whizzing dangerously close to him.

"Got him!" Kevin shouted, satisfied. The AA Wraith paused for a few seconds, hit by the EMP grenade. Norman circled the area again while Kevin fired two more grenades, destroying the AA Wraith.

"Good work, Kevin." He said.

"Norman, what exactly are we looking for?" Janice asked.

"Just doing some recon further away from our base." He said. "We need to find a way to hit the Covenant hard. Really hard."

"Great." She said.

They continued moving on. Norman increased his altitude, in hopes of encountering less unpleasant AAA surprises.

"Hang on. There. Large group of tangos up ahead...and then there's just this huge ass dark zone." Janice murmmered.

"Yeah. I know." Norman said. He frowned. The sensors on his Falcon didn't show anything up ahead, although it indicated craploads of hostiles below him.

"What the hell is that?" Kevin murmmered.

"Its jamming our sensors somehow, and there are shitloads of hostiles, as previously mentioned. There's most likely AA as well, I don't want to get too close." Norman took the Falcon in a loop, circling the area.

"Should me and Kevin go check it out?" Janice asked. Norman paused to consider. Then he nodded.

"Take a quick look. I'll evac you. Do not engage any hostiles unless you have been engaged, or alert them in any fashion."


Kevin and Janice moved slowly, their SPI's stealth systems hiding them from the eyes of the Covenant soldiers. They were seeing a cluster of grunts hanging around a pair of shade turrets from the hill they were hiding on. He peered through the field binoculars, and behind them, there were even more fortifications. He could barely see some sort of small Covenant structure, perhaps a story or two tall.

"That...thing is jamming our sensors, possibly our comms as well." Janice muttered. "Hey. Are those hunters I see?"

"Where?"

"Over there..." Janice replied.

"Have you seen enough?" Kevin asked, suddenly feeling rather nervous.

"Do you think we can take those Grunts?" Janice asked.

"Possibly. Norman said not to engage hostiles though."

"Crap. Yeah, that asshole." Janice muttered. "How much I would love to end the lives of those Grunts right now. I don't think we can sneak past all of them. Let's get Norman to pick us up."


"So...to conclude." Norman said, while flying the Falcon. "Large Covenant structure that's jamming sensors and possibly comms as well. Is guarded by numerous Shade turrets. Company-sized group guarding the area. Did you see anything else?"

"Nothing noteworthy." Janice replied. "Actually, hold that thought. We think we saw a pair of Hunters."

"Dammit." Norman replied. "Anyway. Once Gary is done with the Grizzly, that Covenant structure goes down. Hard."

"Now THAT'S more like it." Kevin said, chuckling. "Let's blow up something big."

"Yeah." Norman said, wondering if another one of his teammates would get killed. "Let's go blow that up."


The Falcon turned into helicopter mode and landed on a helicopter pad on the base. Norman stepped out, but noticed nothing amiss. He could see Private Wong in the distance, on a vantage point, keeping watch. He didn't know what Steiner or Lane were up to-most likely keeping watch as well, or sleeping.

"What did Gary say about his progress?" Norman demanded.

"He said it was going well." Janice said. "Do you want to take a look?"

"Sure." Norman said. "Janice, can you get the rough enemy positions on the tacpad? We'll meet in one of the not-blasted briefing rooms. Say, briefing room D. Kevin, let everyone know to present themselves at briefing room D at 1700 hours."

As his two teammates headed off to follow their orders, he headed towards the vehicle bay.

He headed into the vehicle bay, which had even more ruined vehicles inside. Jackal shield gauntlets covered the Grizzly in uneven positions, making it look like a bizzaire Christmas tree. Gary pulled himself out from underneath the heavy tank, and glanced at the newcomers to the vehiclebay-the rest of Dagger."

"Did you find us a suicide mission to go on?" Gary asked.

"Yes." Norman replied.

"Wonderful. Let's all go and get ourselves killed."

Norman didn't respond to that. He knew very well Gary was bitter about the death of his twin, Gerald-G092. However, Gary knew as well as everyone else that the UNSC needed every soldier it could get, say nothing about its Spartans. There would be time to morun the dead later, assuming they didn't join them.

"Kevin and Janice did some recon." He said. "I'll call everyone into the bay to discuss our battle plan."

"So we're going into hell with a little bit of intel at least." Gary said. "I'm almost done with the Grizzly, by the way. Thing is, this whole damn place is practically out of canister shells. I searched this base high and low while you were all gone."

"Crap." Norman muttered. That wouldn't help their anti-infantry standing much.

"We'll just have to use high explosive rounds instead." Gary commented.

"Understood." Norman replied.


Norman looked at the his Spartans and the men from Kopis Base gathered around the briefing table. He typed a few figures into his TACPAD, and a few holographic images of Shade turrets in green sprang up.

"These are the Shade image locations we CONFIRMED to exist." He noted. He tapped his TACPAD again, and a few more Shade turrets appeared, although they were red.

"These are other likely places for Shade turrets." He tapped his TACPAD a third time, and a large Covenant pylon appeared.

"That-" He placed his hand through the holographic pylon "-is our target. That structure is most likely jamming our communications as well as our sensors. Our objective is to destroy it. We will then inform HIGHCOM of the situation in Greece, and request reinforcements.

"Excuse me Sir, but I've seen Covenant comms jammers before." Steiner interupted. "They aren't nearly as big, and they are usually put in areas of high altitude."

"Exactly, Corporal." Norman said. "That pylon is the highest place there is. Well, except here, but we know its not here for obvious reasons."

"Our plan is relatively simple." He added. "We are going to drive the Grizzly at the Covenant positions, guns blazing. Blow up a few Shade turrets, send a few Covies to their precious "Great Journey". Now, those glory-hounding elites will go after the big, most obvious target-a 120mm High Explosive spewwing mobile fortress. Which is when we-" Norman gestured at his Spartans "will fly in behind them on the Falcon. Put in a few 40mm rounds from behind, and blow up that Pylon. Then, assuming we are all alive after this, we get the hell out of here."

Norman-123 12:12, January 18, 2011 (UTC)

27: Memories Made and Kept

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

0820 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Off of Oshima Island, Tokyo, Japan

Even through the loose mud of the bay's floor, Kodiak felt the initial shockwave. A moment later, a quake made the entire world rock back and forth, the light silt flying up in an obscuring cloud.

"They must have bombed Oshima." Dyne said, his helmet lights switching from one teammate to the other.

"Just keep moving." Kodiak told him. Though he kept stoicly silent and walking on, the subsequent impacts he felt only drove home harder the point that his first assignment had failed.


Operation: HOLY FATHER

0340 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sydney, Australia,

Kevlar was starting to doze off. With the next day still ours away, the squad had taken shelter inside the captured Covenant Command Post for the night. It was about all he could do to keep himself from slipping away. He still had twenty more minutes on watch before he'd get a solid four hours of sleep. That was good for a shock trooper when he was groundside.

Only one other man was awake, and that was Mitch. He was doing what he had always done, shifting through the collection of aluminum tags he kept in a pouch on his chest. He'd just added the tags from their three casualties yesterday . . . or had it been today, past midnight? Nah, forget it. Tomorrow came when the sun rose.

"Why do you still carry all those, man?" Kevlar asked him. The two had been together since before Reach fell, and even now that Mitch outranked him, they couldn't help being informal. Especially now that everyone else they'd known was dead or elsewhere.

Mitch was startled. He thought Kevlar would have fallen asleep again, as he usually did when he had watch. "I don't want to forget them. Most . . . most were colonials, like me. Their families are dead, even. Who's left to remember them?"

He sorted through the tags a moment, and came up with a pair he'd painted red to show they were from the Eleventh Company. "Here. Natalia Kerevsky. She was hit by a sniper on the first op I was in. Counter-insurgency." He selected another. An orange 12 was painted on its back. "Tyson Brown. Shot in the back by plasma rifles hauling another wounded guy over his shoulder. That guy was me." One more pair, this one from an Army trooper, was pulled. "Sergeant Jonathon Dansen. KIA at Reach."

It took a second for Kevlar to realize it. He looked to the kid in blue armor, seperate from the maroon Force Oscar troops. "Do you think . . ."

"His dad." Mitch said. He continued through the tags.

Each one had a story attached to it. It may have been a hero's death, or a man who'd been shot down without warning. But he remembered them all. He always would.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 22:26, January 23, 2011 (UTC)

28

Operation: HOLY FATHER

0400 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Sydney, Australia, Task Force Oscar Temporary Command Post

James Perez

"...Status Report Colonel!"

"We got 18 men dead and 32 wounded, sir." James spoke into the radio quietly. "I'm gonna see if I can rally local Marine and Militia units. Bravo 4 is keeping the Covies at bay, but at the same time I got half my forces bogged down with refugees and looters. LOOTERS!"

"Very well Colonel, out."

James clicked the radio off and ran a hand over his short brown hair. His proudly painted ODST armor was stained with Elite blood. Specifically from when he curb stomped a minor Elite. This was a hard fight, a helluva of Elites here. James turned on all channels and began a broadcast.

"This is Colonel James Perez of Task Force Oscar, I need immediate reinforcements for a counter attack. Marines, ODSTs or otherwise will be accepted. We have food and supplies. We need ABLE BODIED TROOPS, we have enough wounded to care for. "

29: That's Our Call

Operation: HOLY FATHER

0401 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sydney, Australia,

“Okay, your turn for watch.” Kevlar said sleepily, waking Dansen to take next watch. He plunked down and used his helmet as a headrest, and was just about to sleep when the call came through on one of the squad’s long-range radio backpack.

Kevlar knew it was coming, but he still winced as he heard Mitch say, “That’s our call, troopers. On your feet, we move out now.”

He was tired as hell, but shook himself awake and double checked that his weapons were loaded, strapping on his pack and resecuring his helmet. Within seconds of waking up, the nine black-suited troopers fell in behind Mitch with their equipment already on them. A Helljumper had to be a light sleeper, and wear his guns to bed. Kevlar stood in line with the others as Mitch addressed them. The sound of far-off gunfire had reached them a while ago, and he’d figured the battle would come to him sooner or later.

“Okay, people, Oscar CP is four blocks back, three blocks over. We’re not going all the way, we’re hitting the Covie force from their flank and take the pressure off Bravo 4 to get their refugees out and come back in force. Questions?” There were none. “Let’s hit it!”

Exiting their building, the marines piled into a gift left by Bravo 029 – a troop transport Warthog. Its headlights flashed on, illuminating a conic area in front of them, and with a growling engine leaped forward. Within minutes they turned a corner and came face to face with a lance of Jackals. They screamed and dived for cover, but one was too late and his head cracked against the bumper. Most others were killed as the men hanging on the back fired parting shots at them.

Kevlar rolled the 'hog to a stop, and everyone else piled out. He would keep the engine running if they needed to fall back.

"Move up." Mitch said, the eight of them growing quiet in the dark streets. "Oscar Reserve Squad to Bravo 4, we're in position, how long do you need?"

"Just a couple minutes, Reserve. We have heavy reinforcements inbound."

"Moving in." he said, and terminated the link. "Break silence, we make as much noise as possible. Go!"

The troopers ran out into the street, no longer bothering to take cover. In the night and their identical suits, it was impossible to tell one figure from another. A display of colored light was playing across the wall of a building around the corner, from green and bluish plasma trading fire with orange muzzle flashes. Mitch caught the dark red of a Grunt's armor, and opened fire.

It was a good way to get attention. The battle rifle punctured its methane tank and caused it to explode. The other marines also opened fire, sniper rifle cracks and a rocket standing out over the infantry weapons clatter. And that was when things soured.

Its silhouette outlined by flames, a Hunter stood towering over them. The dark blue giant wasted no time, and with a sweep of its shield caught one of their number still running headlong. Spraying blood that looked as black as his suit, the trooper's corpse was thrown toward the side of a building across the road.

The squad broke ranks and ran, for cover if they couldn't outright run away. Mitch fired his rifle and backpedaled, some of his shots bouncing off armor and some sinking into orange flesh. From behind it he could see a second one clear a pile of rubble and lumber over to join its brother. Uttering a subsonic roar, the first one advanced on him with the bloodied shield held high.

A stream of vapor whizzed by Mitch, ending in the monster's stomach. It bellowed in pain, and Mitch had the time to flee after his other troops. One figure had muzzle flashes coming from his long rifle, coinciding with loud cracks of the air. He mentally thanked Dansen for the save, reloading as he moved.

He pinged his com line. "Reserve Squad, we've engaged and taken casualties, how much longer?"

"Force inbound, just stay alive."

Easy for you to say, not so much for me to do. Mitch thought. He heard the whoosh of a rocket launcher, and turned to watch the Hunter that had nearly killed him topple to the ground minus an arm. Bret had hit him in the side, and a few others yelled in triumph.

Those were drowned out by the sound of the remaining Hunter's mournful cry. Its cannon began to glow a sickly green color, the shield lowering to protet itself if it was attacked. "Get down!" Mitch cried out, through coms and as loud as he could through his visor.

Too late, Bret and his spotter noticed the second threat, and as they were trying to turn and run the rocket crew was obliterated by an assault beam. Between his ragged breaths Mitch sobbed once, then returned his focus to keeping the rest alive.

Jumping the hood of a car, he slid down alongside Dansen and another pair of marines. It took a moment for Mitch to realize this was all that had survived the initial clash with the main Covenant force. Dansen fired another sniper round, but it bounced off the shield and ricocheted into the night air. Steadying himself, he fired again and this time hit a part of armor near its neck. It only continued to bear down on them.

"Fire now!" Mitch yelled at his men, hoping to deter the thing from running up and smashing them into the ground, but the four light rifles would never be enough.

And that was when a glaring light blinded the Hunter. The transport Warthog barreled into it, reversing the charge immediately.

Kevlar had the gas pedal pinned to the floarboards beneath his feet, heart racing as he stared into the Hunter's face. The thing was wounded, but still all too alive. Suddenly the jeep ground to a halt. It had dug its feet into the pavement and bellowed at him. Then a worse feeling came over him.

The front of the 'hog tilted upwards. The monster had picke it up, letting the wheels spin uselessly throwing pebbles off of the tires. Kevlar panicked and tried to reverse, but the rear tires couldn't get traction. With a growl, the Hunter pushed, and flipped the vehicle onto its roof. Kevlar was glad he'd strapped in. The windshield shattered and into pieces, one of them leaving a scratch along his visor. Groaning under the stress, the rollbar crumpled, letting the body sink to streetlevel with a crash. Dazed and bewildered, Kevlar tried to get his seatbelt off and get upright.

Loud explosions sounded from outside the vehicle's hulk. He hurried with the belt, not wanting the Hunter to trap him under this thing. But it wasn't Covenant ordnance he was hearing. The belt released, and Kevlar fell onto his head and curled around to use his shoulders for support. It took some work, but he finally got free and began to crawl out from under the vehicle.

He froze as he again faced the Hunter, but now it was laying on its front, the armor plating on its back broken open like a crab's shell. Looking down the street, a new shape was outlined by fire. One of Task Force Oscar's Scorpion Tanks had gotten a firing position, and opened up on the Covenant. But most of them had cover in the rubble everywhere. Someone needed to drive them out into the open, but their squad no longer had the manpower for a job like that.

A hand grabbed Kevlar's shoulder, and Mitch pulled him to his feet, already yelling into his com. "Oscar Reserve to any squad in the immediate area of Oscar Command Post, need assistance flanking embedded Covenant infantry. Anyone out there, please respond."


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

0830 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Izu Peninsula, Southwest of Tokyo, Japan

Ion Team had come ashore cold, wet, and tired. Slogging over the beach, it quickly became apparent they had to find cover. Air support would pass over sometime in the next hours, but for now Phantoms had air superiority. But instead of running, Kodiak had opted to make up for lost time and do some recon work on the Covenant forces.

"This is incredibly stupid." Sepia said, hidden away from the windows of an apartment they'd broken into. The occupants of this building and every other had long since fled, and gave the Spartan team an excellent view of the Covenant's chosen marshalling ground. Not for everything, but in the south, they'd set up here after losing Oshima.

"Not really, if you think about it." Dyne said cheerfully despite their dangerous position. "They wouldn't expect three people to go anywhere near their main stronghold. If they don't expect us, the closer we are to danger, the farther we are from harm."

"Thinking really isn't your strong suit." she said. There was a hint of apprehension in her voice as the two of them watched Kodiak at the window, and she had good reason to be worried.

In the city square below them, hundreds of Elites stood rigidly in formation, presenting their weapons to two Elites in ornate armor. And through his binoculars, Kodiak spotted more of the 'moving air' pattern he'd noticed before. Surrounding the pair as they marched between brigades of warriors were four cloaked SpecOps Elites. They must have been easy to see in the open and at such a close range, but he recognized it wasn't their purpose to be a secret defense. It was a dare to any would-be assassin to try and touch these guys.

"Sepia. Dyne. Take a look." Kodiak whispered. Dyne's bravado vanished, and he moved to the window just as cautiously as Sepia did. "You see those ones inspecting the troops?"

Dyne had better binoculars built into his helmet, and snickered. "You mean the High Lord of Stupid Helmets?"

"That's one's a Field Marshall. Only showed up once before, at Reach. Different branch than the mainline units. The gold one next to him is a Zealot Field Master, he'll be leading the southern ground assault."

"Our target?" Sepia asked.

"If we had weapons . . ." Kodiak said frustratedly. "Plan is, we shadow him. He'll probably lead from the front, surrounded by bodyguards. Stay hidden, and the moment we get the chance, take him out."

"And if we're not fast, the whole Covenant army catches up with us."

"Not to mention we should really find guns first."

And there they were, second-guessing him again. It only caused Kodiak more doubt, but he'd keep it to himself. They would fall back, find some weapons, and prepare to go hunting.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 03:29, January 27, 2011 (UTC)

30: Stay the Hell Out of the NHK

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

01700 Hours, October 25th 2552 (Military Calendar) Shibuya, Tokyo, Japan

Mikiya Ryougi flew over the UNSC forward operating base set up in the park surrounding the Meiji Shrine in Shibuya, Tokyo, accompanied by a the rest of the Hayabusa Sqaudron, as well as other attack VTOL squadron: more Falcon Gunships, Sparrowhawks, Hornets, and a couple Vultures.

The Covenant were attacking the area again, below him, Mikiya could see UNSC Scorpion, Cobra, and Grizzly Tanks in positions on the edge of a wooded area of the park, picking off Covenant Wraiths and Locusts as them exited the narrow concrete canyons, into the open area around the park. Suddenly, Scarab Assault Walker climbed over top of a ruined structure.

"Scarab incoming", Mikiya's radio crackled, "All units, prepare to engage."

Mikiya turned his aircraft towards the Scarab as his gunner Aoi Miyazaki prepared to engage. It was, however, unnecessary, and M-850 Grizzly Anti-Walker Vehicle, a Grizzly tank that had been modified to carry a pair of new MGM-1 anti-walker missiles let fly with a missile. The missile flew up in the air, before diving down on the Scarab, striking it just in front of the AA turret. The missile penetrated through to the core, setting it off in a ball of fire that engulfed the rear half of the Scarab, annihilating the alien walker.

A new danger presented itself. Suddenly, a steam of plasma bolts streaked past Ryougi's Falcon, striking the engines of one the Vultures and the laser designator of the second. The first Vulture's engines exploded, sending the first Vulture down in flames.

"Mayday, Mayday, This is Havoc One, both engines are on fire, I'm going down", The pilot of the unfortunate Vulture said over Mikiya's radio as it crashed next to the Meiji shrine. The aircraft had crashed in UNSC-controlled territory, Mikiya could only hope he survived to be rescued.

Mikiya turned the Falcon to in the direction where the plasma fire had come from. Two Covenant Seraph fighters had broken off from their squadron, which was dogfight with a Longsword squadron above them, to attack the force of UNSC gunships. At the same time, a large force of Banshees came in from the southwest.

One of the Seraphs dove straight at Mikiya's aircraft. Mikiya saw it fly towards him, as though in slow motion, as the missile lock tone filled his ears. Mikiya press the "fire" button on top of his fight stick twice, sending two Argent air-to-air missiles flying towards the alien spacecraft.

The first missile detonated on contact with the Seraph's energy shield, depleting the shield's power reserves, before the second missile shot through what little remained of the shield and exploded as it struck the nose of the craft. The entire front half of the aircraft, including the cockpit, exploded in a ball of fire, as rear half fell to the ground, along with countless burning fragments.

Mikiya turned to the second Seraph, just in time to see it blown out of the sky by a barrage of missile and laser fire from the Sparrowhawks. Mikiya instead turned his attention to a a pair of Banshees, which he struck down with a pair of LAU-65 dual purpose missiles each, before Aoi Miyazaki turned the cannon to the side, perforating two more Banshees.

All around Mikiya, Falcons, Sparrowhawks, Hornets, Banshees, and missiles flew in all directions, as explosions flashed across the sky. Through the chaos, Mikiya noticed something the others didn't: Two Phantoms landing troops on top of the NHK building across from the south end of the park.

"Phantoms, landing troops on the NHK building, Hayabusa squadron, follow me, we're engaging", Ryougi said through his radio as he broke off from the engagement and flew towards the Phantoms, followed by the rest of his squadron. As Mikiya flew towards the Phantoms, particle beams flew from the tower down to UNSC infantry positions in the park. The Covenant were landing Kig-Yar snipers in what remained of the upper floors of the TV tower.

Mikiya locked on the first Phantom and fired off an Argent missile. The missile impacted the Phantom on the side. The side of the Phantom was blown away as it fell from the air, striking the ground next to the NHK building in a ball of flames.

The second Phantom was struck by Lt. Satou's laser and several Argent missiles, and was blown apart by the force of the blast, sending flaming fragments raining down on the building.

As the second Phantom exploded, the Jackal snipers began firing on the AV-144s of the Hayabusa Squadron. Mikiya and the others opened fire on the NHK building as particle and focus rifle beams flew past their canopies. The tower that once was home the Japanese national TV station was raked with 12.7mm, 20mm, and 30mm rounds, 40mm grenades, and LAU-65 and ANVIL missiles from the Falcons, all of which had different armament packages. The entire top of the tower was a sea of flames, blasting apart any of Covenant that had sucessfully landed on the building.

Meanwhile, the Hornets, Sparrowhawks, Vultures, and Longswords had shot down the remaining Banshees and Seraphs. As the last Banshee fell to the ground, Mikiya's radio crackled to life:

"This is Vulture Gunship Havoc-Two reporting, my laser designator was shot up in the last fight. I need someone with a working designator to spot targets for me at the Tokyo University, Komaba Campus. The Covies have brought in some those Artillery Scarabs, and are pounding the hell out of our boys to the south in Hachiko Square, over".

"This Falcon Hayabusa-One", Mikiya said, "I am have a working designator and will be the eyes for your missiles. I request any available aircraft to provide escort, over."

"This is Longsword Fighter Tanto Three over, I can provide cover for you from about, over", A Longsword fighter flying above them responded.

"Much abliged, Tanto", Mikiya replied as he ascended over the buildings to the east of the the park, about a kilometer until he was in designation range of the the Komaba Campus. There were four Type-48 Ultra Heavy Assault Gun Platforms, Scarabs armed with heavy plasma mortars, firing at the UNSC troops in Hachiko Square.

"Miyazaki", Mikiya said, "Aim the laser designator at the first Scarab".

Aoi turned her head towards the Scarab. The laser designator slaved to her helmet followed, locking on to the first Scarab. The Covenant in the area still hadn't noticed them. That, however, was about to change.

"Havoc Two, this is Hayabusa One, we have a lock on the first Scarab.", Mikiya said.

"Roger", the Vulture gunship responded, "Firing for effect".

Four missiles streaked from the Vulture towards the artillery Scarab. The first impacted one of the legs, blowing it clean off. The second struck the gun, disabling it, before the final two blasted the alien walker clean in two.

"Good effect on target, Havoc", Mikiya replied, "Prepared to eng... Standby, we are taking anti-aircraft fire."

The destruction of the first Scarab has alerted the Covenant to Mikiya's presence. Two AA Wraiths and three AA Shade turrets on the remaining Scarabs and two more on the roofs of buildings had opened up on Mikiya's aircraft.

Mikiya swerved right, avoiding a burst of fuel rod shots as Aoi fired off a Scorpion at the first Wraith as Mikiya fired an LAU-65 missile at the nearest Shade. Mikiya then circled around the clock tower on the central building on the campus and a Aoi fired a barrage of ANVIL missiles into the top of the tower, which housed an AA Shade. The turret was destroyed as the brick cladding of the tower was blown away, revealing the steel framework.

Aoi fired the chaingun at two more AA Shades, before knocking out a third with a Scorpion missile. Finally, Mikiya blasted the final AA Wraith into oblivion with two more LAU-65s.

After taking out the Covenant air defenses, Mikiya and Aoi designated the other three Artillery Scarabs. The Vulture fired four heavy artillery missiles at each one, blowing them apart in spectacular balls of fire and plasma.

"This is Lt. Ryougi", Mikiya said, "Enemy artillery has been taken out".

"Thanks for the assist, Hayabusa, couldn't have done it without you", Havoc Two responded, "I am getting reports from Hachiko Square that the Covenant are retreating."

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

31

OPERATION: HOLY FATHER

0401 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Sydney, Australia, TFO Forward Command

Staff Sergeant Oregon Hawkins

Slow and Steady

His target come up in his sights. He exhaled slowly. Smooth squeeze on the trigger. Boom! Headshot.

"Good kill." his spotter said, confirming the kill.

"Thanks, line up another one." Oregon rested his cheek on the metal stock of his SR99 Sniper Rifle. a single bead of sweat trickled down the side of his face, it itched and Oregon wiped it away with the palm of his glove.

"Split neck, 302 meters. Over by that car dealer. Standing next to a Yellow Warthog." his spotter said.

"I see him. I say one."

"No way, it'll be two." his spotter joked. They had always joked about split necks and apes, trying to guess how many rounds it would take to down them. So far, Oregon 48, Spotter 0.

"Alright, taking the shot." Oregon slowed his breathing, lined up the shot, and slid his finger on the trigger. Exhale, smooth squeeze, boom headshot.

"Nice, look at the little buggers squirm." he laughed as the grunts under the Elite's command ran around panicking. Make that Oregon 49, Spotter 0.

"All Task Force Units," a voice came on the radio. The Colonel's voice. "Pull back to CP. We are under attack."

TFO Command Post

Captain Bannon, Tank Commander

"We see you Joker One, call in the targets." Bannon drove the tank forward into the intersection, running over destroyed Ghosts, Cars, and dead bodies (Of indiscriminate origin). The roar of the tank engine was comforting to the Tank Commander.

"Elite sniper, second floor of that office building, fourth window over. He's in the destroyed window!" Joker One pointed out.

"Uh..." his Gunner said. "Which office building? We're in the high rise zone!"

"The blue one!" Joker shouted.

"Ah, I see 'em. Taking the shot." the Gunner began to sight in. A plasma grenade went off somewhere close. "Loading Flechette. Ready, shot!" there was loud boom, which reverberated in the pit of Bannon's stomach, and there was a cloud of dust where the Elite had been.

"Good shot. We're moving up, keep the 25 mike mike ready to cover us if you see cover."

"Alright, Joker. We'll cover you." Bannon said as the squad of Forward Observers ran out in the middle of the street, moving from cover to cover.

Captain Mikael Housten

"Alright Joker, We'll cover you." the Tank Commander told Captain Housten. Quickly his squad ran out into the street, keeping a sharp eye out for Covenant. This was their planet, their homeworld. Task Force Oscar would not let them have it.

"Hey, Mikael!" one of his men shouted, the Sergeant named Hayley. She was pretty with Blond Hair and green eyes. And ample assets. "You think after this you and I can hit the bar, get a few drinks?"

"You're hitting on me in a time like this?" Mikael asked laughing.

"Hell, now is a great time. I mean, the Covenant are on Earth." Hayley said a huge grin on her face.

"We'll see Hayley! Probably, depends on how many limbs I have left! And which ones are left!" Mikael shouted, his men laughing.

The street was quiet, besides their conversation and the rumble of the Scorpian. It was not very often that happened. And Mikael welcomed it warmly. Maybe Hayley and him could have a relationship, despite all this. He did find her very attractive.

They kept moving down the street, their tank following closely. They heard a firefight going on in the distance, explosions and then silence. Another squad lost. Mikael bowed his head.

UNSCDF Field Hospital

Fox Calo, ONN

"Keep the camera on me, I'll report." Fox told his Camera man, his sandly blond hair flecked with dirt and debris. He had been to the front line, his partner had been killed. Yet he stayed, to continue the story.

The Camera man gave him the thumbs up and a voice came on in his ear. The Anchorwoman.

"And here we have Fox Calo, reporting live from Sydney, where our boys are bravely combating the Covenant threat. Fox?"

"Yes, thank you Jessica. Here we are in a Field Hospital set up by the UNSC. Currently our soldiers are taking casualties, although the amount is less than expected. Several soldiers are standing by, ready to defend us and this hospital. As you may have heard, my own partner was killed recently." A single tear ran down Fox's face...Fake. "It is a tragic loss." No, not really. He'd been a real dick, he had hated Fox and Fox had hated him.

"That is so horrible." Jessica said through his chatter. "I am so sorry."

"He died doing what he did best," being a fool, trying to help some kid out of a burning car...Idiot."But right now we are here with Major Armstrong, a soldier with the UNSCDF, Major?"

"Yes thank you." the Major said his face stony. The Camera man panned to the Major. "Right now we are taking casualties and my men are doing their best to keep the Covenant at bay..."

-- No One! No SPARTAN! No Marine! No Civilian should be left to face death alone!--Oregon Hawkins*Bobzombie sig 00:29, February 3, 2011 (UTC)

32

OPERATION: HOLY FATHER

0502 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Sydney, Australia, 3204 Clearview Lane

SPARTAN Quick Insertion Team Romeo

The Only Easy Day... Was Yesterday

The police car lay upside down, sirens still ringing as the bloody carcass of an Australian police officer hung out the window, most of his features burnt away. An Elite Minor with a lance of Grunts walked by. The Minor jabbed the body with his foot. Nothing happened for a moment. Then, out of nowhere, a shot ripped through the sky, a .50 calibre round. It entered his neck, a vital artery similar to a Human's jugular, and tore through, violet blood ripping out through the collapsing spine. The Sangheilian warrior's head flew from his body, both shooting forward in the blink of an eye. The lance of grunts panicked, running in different directions. Three synchronized shots from suppressed M6Ds rang out, the Grunts collapsing. Inside two different houses were Romeo Team, one of them, Ellis-B300, clad in a black, urban colored MJOLNIR armor, lie, a ghillie hood over him. The area was one closer, but not in, the city center. A suburban area that the Covenant controlled.

Jeff-B345 stepped out of one of the houses, looking around the area to check for any more Covenant. The mission was simple. Drive them back. He walked down the lawn, and ran across the street into the other house. Inside, in the living room, were Skye and Ray, heavy weapons and tech specialist. There was a rocket launcher in an opened case on the couch, weapons and ammo lay across the carpet.

"Sector is clear Romeo, but the comms are down. I've traced the source to a nearby gas station. It's keep these blocks hidden and we'll have to take it out.", Jeff stated. Ellis hopped through an open window, closing it and the curtains behind him.

"Sir, is this a good idea? Covenant patrols still exist here. You know that as we just saw one.", Ray stated with a slight southern accent.

Skye closed the case of her rocket, and paced up to the window, slightly opening the curtains.

"We have to move Ray. We can't just waltz our way out. Plus, this is one of the four dark zones in Sydney. It would be pretty beneficial to take it out.", she said, looking back at Ray. Ray nodded to himself. He looked at Ellis, who had his helmet off and was loading rounds into a magazine for his sniper rifle.

After a seconds delay Ellis looked up.

"Sir, I think we should just go."

Jeff nodded.

"Will is running the counterop with those troopers a few miles away. If he gets the sector clear it'll be a big help to UNSC forces. Let's go.", Jeff said. Ellis pulled on his helmet, picked up his weapons and holstered them, Ray grabbed his Assault rifle, and Skye latched the case with her Rocket Launcher on her back, picking up her grenade launcher and doing the same. The four then proceeded out of the house.


N6Sighelm
EliteMaster117 — I blame society.
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Saturday, July 4 2020 (Central Standard Time)
VERY late start. Sorry. If you have any problems with this post just say. Thanks.



33: Burning Bridges

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

22:00 Hours, October 25th 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Tigershark-class Ballistic Missile Submarine UNSC Seawolf, Southeast of Tokyo, Japan

Burning Bridges


"Message from HIGHCOM, Sir", Commander Karlsson, the second in command of the UNSC Seawolf, said to the Captain Takashi Yanagi.

"Bring it up on the my screen", Yanagi responded.

"Yes sir", Karlsson said, transferring the file to the Yanagi's workstation.

Yanagi opened the file. It contained instructions to fire cruise missiles on a set of coordinates, namely three bridges on the Sagami River near Aikawa, Japan. The Covenant were planning to attack Yokota Air Force base, and were rapidly approaching the city of Aikawa.

"Now hear this", Yanagi said over the vessel's intercom, "We will be firing three cruise missiles at targets near Tokyo. All weapons crews man your battlestations."

Within fifteen minutes of the order, all three missiles were on the way to their targets.



Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

22:20 Hours, October 25th 2552 (Military Calendar)

Sagami River, Aikawa, Japan


Three missile flew towards Aikawa from the south, lighting up the night sky in streaks of fire. The first missile streaked towards the southernmost bridge, exploding with a deafening roar and a ball of flames as the 2000 pound high explosive warhead wrent apart the concrete and steel structure of the bridge.

The second missile impacted next, directly in the middle of the second bridge, sending collapsing into the Sagami River below. Finally, The third missile stuck its target, blowing a large section of bridge to pieces, creating a wide gap in the middle.


0755 Hours, October 26th (Military Calender)

Summit of Mount Fuji, Japan

Colonel Daisuke Umezu stood on top of the his Elephant command vehicle, parked at the summit of Mount Fuji, on a parking lot on a road to summit built in the 22 century as an expansion to of the roads that then only lead about half way up the mountain. The designers of the road expected the road be a route for tourists to reach the summit of the mountain that was considered by many to be one of the most beautiful peaks in the world and one of the symbols of Japan. They would never have in their wildest dreams imagined that the road would be used to place artillery on the summit, to fire down on an invading army... an army that was not of this Earth.

Yet here Umezu was, on the snow-covered summit of the highest peak in Japan, looking down towards the Izu Peninsula and the sea beyond. Below him, he could see flames, both pillars of smoke and flashes of fire up and down the Tomei Expressway and into Setagaya and Shibuya to the East. All around the rim of the crater of Mt. Fuji, various UNSC artillery were mounted: 105mm and 155mm towed howitzers, Fox self-propelled guns, Cobra self-propelled railguns, Tarantula MLRS, in both 8x 178mm rocket/missile launcher and 2x heavy cruise missile variants, Rhino heavy SPGs, in both 320mm mortar and plasma mortar variants. Among the artillery, were numerous Sun Devil AAA tanks and Wolverine SAM vehicles. In the further down the road, Scorpion tanks and Grizzlies, both the heavy tank and the new anti-Scarab variant, guarded the entrance. Still more tanks manuevered in the valley below. Mt. Fuji had been turned into a fortress.

Those 105s, 155s, Foxes, Tarantulas and Rhinos that faced to the the south, towards Mt. Hakone, firing on a group of Covenant Heavy plasma mortars on the mountainside. The mountain was covered with flashed of fire from the impacting shells and rockets. Occasionally a larger flash of blue flames would light up Mt. Hakone, indicating a hit.

"Excuse me, Sir?", Umezu's second-in-command, a Lieutentant Colonel named Kasuga said, "We have received orders to fire on a group of Scarabs heading up the Tomei Expressway near Atsugi. We have the GPS coordinates, I need only your orders to relay them to our batteries".

"Send the coordinates to one of the 440mm missile batteries, have 'em hit the Covies with a couple anti-armor MITVs".

"Yes sir, I'm going to send the coordinates now, sir", Kasuga replied.

A few minutes later, a Tarantula equipped with two 440mm missile launch tubes fired a pair of tactical short-range ballistic missiles armed with MITV warheads to the east. Umezu and Kasuga watched as the missile streaked off into the distance. When the missiles reached their targets, several flashes of fire, both orange and blue could be seen in the distance from Fuji. The missiles had released their anti-armor submunitions and pierced the Scarab's main cores, causing the telltale flashes of blue fire as the Scarab's core exploded. FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

34: Guardian Angel

Operation: DIVINE SON

0444 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calender)/
Highway South of Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

LTJG Angel Yasunaka swung her Pelican up out of the dive, retaining much of the speed she’d picked up and firing her forward 70mm cannons. One of the Banshee pair she’d targeted took a series of hits along the hull, and the left-side fin and wing blew off in puffs of purple-gray smoke.

With the realization it was under attack, the second lit its violet boost engines and peeled off, angling up and away too sharply for her to follow at this speed. But it was making a bid to escape, not maneuvering to counterattack.

Yasunaka relaxed her grip on the throttle, able to burn off the speed instead of using it to outrun a pursuer. The Warthog on the road below had swerved around the crashed Banshee fuselage, continuing its course toward Thebes’ urban sprawl.

“Are you sure we can’t just pick them up?” Ensign Gossard asked from the copilot’s seat.

“Negative. Olympus Base needs these supplies, and we’d be a sitting duck in enemy-controlled airspace.” She kept emotion out of her voice, but all the same felt a pang of regret for not being able to help. But they were headed the right direction, maybe they’d get to Olympus themselves.

As Yasunaka returned to their northeast course, Gossard double-checked his radio after the ten or twelve minutes it took to come in range. “Olympus Tower, this is Bravo 29 inbound with medical and food supplies. There’s enough MREs in here to make you sick just thinking about ‘em, requesting landing clearance, over.”

There was a moment before a husky voice answered, “We copy, Bravo Two-Nine, there’s a landing pad clear. Heads up though, you’ll be sent out again quick. There’s a battalion of paratroopers that just secured an airfield that’s becoming a forward CP. You’ll need to carry some reinforcements and equipment out. Over.”

Gossard heard Angel sigh. Covering his mike with a hand, he grinned saying, “Never a dull moment, eh?” and responded to the tower. “Got it. We’d like to top off our fuel tank if you can spare the gas. On approach, over and out.”


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

0845 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Izu Peninsula, southwest of Tokyo, Japan

Though its surfaces fit well enough as urban camouflage, Sepia cursed her team leader’s decision to take to the water. The SPI’s plates had malfunctioned in a bath of salt water, and now had to be shut off, otherwise they’d flash on and off and give her away to any casual eye.

Vaulting a low wall, Sepia sprinted an empty parking lot and dived through the storefront window. The glass shattered in a loud noise, but there was no one to be alerted. There wasn’t even anyone pursuing to justify the risk, as Ambrose would have lectured her, but things had gone bad enough today. Breaking something just made her feel good.

Taking the door through this outer room, she found Dyne sitting crouched inside their chosen hideout. He’d been the luckiest of them when it came to scavenging weapons. He carried an M6G, and while most of the ammunition had been made useless in the water, he had two spare clips in a waterproof portion of his armor. He’d just had to spend their allotted time disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling it, which he wasn’t very good at.

Not that Sepia had too bad of luck. There were four incendiary grenades packed on her belt, and were watertight because they held two combustible chemicals inside. And a deserter Jackal that had been scavenging in the same area as her didn’t mind lending its shield gauntlet and needler after she’d snapped its neck.

“Where’s . . .” she began to ask, but Kodiak dropped down from the second floor. He was holding a pair of captured plasma pistols.

“Good to go?” he asked his team. They each nodded, two identical black-and-gold helmets bobbing. Kodiak snapped the pistols to his sides, then withdrew two small throwing knives from his belt. They were simple, light pieces of metal, but he gave them one apiece just in case they needed them. He kept his heavier blade in the sheath on his chest. “Sepia, you kept track of the Elite?”

“He’s on a lone Shadow transport headed straight for the evac station that was in the hotel.” She answered. “He’s as alone as he’ll get. This might be the chance you were looking for.”

Kodiak redrew his pistols. “Then we better catch up.”

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 04:02, February 14, 2011 (UTC)

35: A Flood of a Different Kind

10:30 Hours, October 26th, 2552 (Military Calender)

Tigershark-class Ballistic Missile Submarine UNSC Seawolf, Pacific Ocean, South of Tokyo, Japan


"Sir", Lieutenant Commander Karlsson said to Captain Takashi Yanagi of the UNSC Seawolf, "We have some a new target, uploading coordinates now".

"Put up the location on the main screen... assuming we still have enough satellites remaining", Yanagi responded.

Karlsson inputted a few commands into his workstation, and the satellite view of the target popped up, a valley, surrounded by mountains, with a river running through it, and, in the western half of the image, a huge dam, labeled "Three Gorges Dam, Yichang, China. A red crosshair marked the dam as a missile target. Throughout the river valley below the dam, dozens of Covenant buildings and thousands of Wraiths and Scarabs were visible.

"They want us to blow up the Three Gorges?", One of the bridge crew, a Lieutenant Wei said.

"Think about it", someone else said, "The Covies have placed staging areas up and down the Yangtze valley, in a rear area for their attacks on Japan. Take out that dam, it'll send a massive flood all the way down the river, wiping them all out."

As conversations erupted around him, Yanagi spoke into the microphone connected to the submarine's intercom.

"Now hear this!", he said, "We have received orders to fire on the Three Gorges Dam in Covenant-controlled China. This will create a massive flood in the Yangtze valley, wiping out numerous Covenant positions in the valley. Coordinate have been uploaded. All weapons personnel to your stations immediately, we will begin final firing sequence immediately."

A few minutes later, two cruise missile equipped with concrete-piercing warheads flew up, out of the water and off to the west.


1055 Hours, October 26th (Military Calender)

Sandoupingzhen, China, below the Three Gorges Dam

Thousands of Wraiths, Locusts, and Scarabs were parked next a several Covenant pre-fabricated structures- barracks, command centers, and AA batteries, or drove around the area as thousands of Covenant troops of all species, patrolled the area or milled about, waiting for the next assignment. To the east of the Covenant camp stood the ruins of countless human buildings, while to west stood a monstrous human-made dam, still quite intact, though it now had Shade turrets and AA Batteries mounted on top.

Suddenly two streaks of fire appeared in the eastern sky, Covenant infantry everywhere stared at them as the drew closer. The two cruise missiles began to descend towards the dam, before slamming into the dam, embedding selves in the concrete structure, before detonating within, blasting open two holes in the dam, both over five hundred feet wide.

Water poured out of the holes, picking up anything it's path, chunks of concrete and steel, vehicles, and boats. After several seconds, the central portion of dam collapsed completely, unleashing almost thirty cubic kilometers of water in a deluge that swept away Wraiths and Scarabs, drowned Covenant troops and pushed Covenant structures off their foundations as the wrath of the Yangtze River was unleashed, washing the alien presence off the land.

The Covenant troops had heard tales of an alien parasite known as "The Flood" that had decimated their troops at the Sacred Ring. That day, the countless Unggoy, Kig-Yar, Sangheilli, Lekgolo, Jiralhanae, and Yanme'e stationed in China learned that wasn't the only flood they needed fear. From the Three Gorges Dam down to Shanghai, hundreds of thousands of Covenant troops died and countless tons of materiel were destroyed in a flood of different kind.


127 Hours, October 26th (Local Time)

Shirakawa, Gifu prefecture, Japan, 90 kilometers behind Covenant lines

I'll Tear You Open, Make You Gone, No Longer Can You Hurt Anyone

A cold wind blew down from the mountains, between the traditional thatched-roofed houses of the historic village of Shirakawa, Gifu. The village was now firmly under the control of the Covenant. As soon as they arrived, they killed anything human they could find, massacring all of the town's few residents in the streets, the houses, and the Myozen-ji temple.

Well... almost all of the town's residents. In a dark corner the interior of one of the abandoned houses crouched two people. One of them was a boy of seventeen years, Keiichi Ryukishi. In his hands, Keiichi wielded a wooden baseball bat, and carried a pair of Molotov cocktails at his side. Next to him was Rena Sonozaki, a girl, of the same age as Keiichi, who wielded a machete.

Outside the the house, two Kig-Yar patrolled, walking towards the house in which Keiichi and Rena hid. One of them carried a Needler, while the other wielded a particle beam rifle.

"All right", Keiichi said quietly, "You know the drill, those space chicken's patrol route always goes through this house. When they come in here, give 'em a nasty surprise. Then we take their guns and blow up that methane dome. Then, we run away into the woods behind the Myozen-ji temple."

"Got it", Rena said as gripped her machete tightly.

The Kig Yar cross the threshold of the house, not noticing the two people crouched in the shadows. Keiichi walked over to the Jackal with the Needler and raised his bat, as Rena walked towards the second one of the bird-like aliens, with her machete poised.

"Hey, baka yaro", Keiichi whispered into the ear of the Kig-Yar. As the Jackal turned to investigate the source of the sound, Keiichi struck the Kig-Yar on the side of the head with his bat. The alien fell to the floor. Keiichi hit it several more times, creating a depression in the Jackal's skull and staining the floor, the baseball bat, and his clothing with the alien's purple blood.

At the same time, Rena brought down her machete on the second Jackals's head, splitting it's skull open. As she struck her enemy, she said, "That's for my mom...". Rena then thrust the blade through the dead alien's chest, saying "... and that's for my dad", before, finally, she brought the machete down on the Kig-Yar's neck, severing it's head in one blow as she said, "And that's for Satoko... she was only eight, you bastards!". As Rena spoke, tears began to well up in her eyes.

Keiichi turned to her and placed his hand on her shoulder. "I know it's hard... I lost everyone I love too", Keiichi said, "But we have to keep moving, we've got 90 kilometers to the UNSC lines, but if makes you fell any better, we'll leave a trail of dead Covies on the way their." As Keiichi spoke, he handed Rena the Needler as he picked up the dead Jackal's beam rifle.

At that, Rena got up and followed Keiichi out of the house, about a 100 yards to another house, the open door overlooking a methane dome, a large tent-like structure used for sustaining the methane-breathing Unggoy. The situation was perfect, the Unggoy under orders to guard the place were all asleep, far from atypical for their species.

Keiichi got one of the molotov cocktails from his side as he handed Rena a lighter. "Let's give these bastards a rude awakening!", Keiichi said, as Rena raised the lighter to the rag that acted as the fuse for the molotov.

"This one's for all of Shirakawa.", Rena whispered, "No....for all of humanity". As she finished speaking, she flicked the lighter and set fire to the rag. Keiichi hurled the lit molotov at the methane dome. The alcohol bottle that made up homemade incendiary device shattered as it hit the ground next to the methane pit. The white material that made up methane pit ignited and, seconds later, the methane in the dome exploded in a flash of fire, launching burning fragments of the tent and the broken bodies of Unngoy everywhere.

"RUN FOR IT!!", Keiichi yelled as he sprinted off past the burning ruins of the methane pit, as well as several of the thatched houses, whose roofs were set ablaze by burning shrapnel, Rena close behind. They ran from building, cover to cover. Finally, they ran through the doors of a small, more modern-looking building, the town's small elementary school.

"You think the we lost them", Rena asked.

"I think so", Keiichi replied as he walked into one of the class rooms, followed by Rena, they were met with a grisly sight. The floor and walls were splattered with blood. The bodies of about 20 children and a teacher lay on floor, killed by plasma and needler wounds, and in some cases, decapitated by an energy sword.

"No...", Rena said softly as she walked over to a the dead body of the young girl, disemboweled by an energy sword and hanging from the rafters by her entrails... "SATOKO.... NOOOOOO!!!!!!"

Suddenly, the door to the classroom burst open, a single Sangheilli Ultra armed with an energy sword walked in.

"So", the Elite said in English, a language the alien had no doubt learned only to taunt and toy with it's victims, "Was that one of your kin, human? Do you wish to join it in the blackness of the Shadow World? But, before I send you to the realm of the damned, how about I tell you that I killed it."

"How dare you?...", Rena said in accented English, having taken the language in her high school classes, "How dare you call Satoko "it"!! How dare you murder innocent children like this! You... with all your codes of honor! How is killing innocents honorable!? You know who deserves to spend an eternity in the realm of the damned? YOU DO!!!" As Rena spoke, she threw aside her Needler and raised her machete. "Now", she said, "I challenge you to do personal combat with me... without your energy shield."

The Sanghieli was so taken aback by this that he stared at Rena.

"Are you afraid?", Rena asked the Elite, "Not so tough when your not hiding behind a shield, when your fighting one even terms instead of massacring children or glassing planets from space! COWARD!"


"Rena...", Keiichi said, but Rena gave a look that silenced him instantly.

"Fine then", the Elite said, deactivating it's shield, "I will face you without my shield, not that it will do you any good.".

Rena held onto her machete like a samurai holding a katana as she stared into the eye of the alien that had murdered her sister in cold blood. As the Elite charged at her, Rena raised her machete over her head, and tossed it at the alien. The Elite raised his plasma sword to block the machete. As the superheated plasma made contact with the cold steel of the machete, half of the machete blade melted. The red hot molten steel caught the Sangheili full the face, burning out one of it's eyes.

The Elite dropped it's energy sword and clutched it's face it pain. Rena ran up to the Elite's sword and grabbed it and swung it in one quick motion, slicing off both its legs. Purple alien blood sprayed from the wounds as Rena sliced off the Elite's arms next, before cutting a gash across it's torso and reaching her hands inside, tearing out what she assumed to be the alien's entrails and tore them out, wrapping them over the rafters as the Elite finally stopped writhing on the floor and died.

Rena breathed heavily for several seconds, standing over her fallen foe. She did not have the strength, to truly hang the Elite by his entrails as it had done to her sister.

Rena then turned to the lifeless body of her sister, still hanging from the ceiling by her innards. "You have been avenged. Rest in peace", Rena said as her eyes welled up with tears again. She had made the Elite pay for what he did to her sister, but that wouldn't bring Satoko back, nothing ever would.

A few hours later, Tears still stained Rena's face as she and Keiichi made their way through up a mountain east of town, staying away. One thing kept Rena going, the promise of the chance to slay more of her foe.

"Keiichi?", She asked, "Ever since the Covenant killed my family, I've wanted to kill as many Covenant as I could, I want kill them in absolutely horrible ways, like that Elite... am I becoming like them?"

"No", Keiichi replied, "You are nothing like them. They fight to wipe out entire species for no reason at all, just to fulfill their own delusions. They claim their just, yet they kill indiscriminately. You have merely fought against those that try to take our lives and destroy our homes. You never wanted any of this. Just promise me this, that, give the choice, you will never kill a Covenant civilian."

"I promise", Rena said quickly.


FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

36

2345 Hours, October 23rd, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Liverpool, Sydney, United Australian Federation.

Operation: HOLY FATHER

Stanley placed the last round in his assault rifle into the dead body of an elite officer, ejected the empty magazine and slammed in a fresh one. Flint kicked the elite's corpse as he walked by.

"Heh. So much for noble warrior, hiding behind the rest of your troops." White said. The ODST squad had fought their way past two lances worth of elites and grunts, in addition to a lance of jackals. They'd found the Officer in one of the apartments, behind two Minors.

"Let's catch our breath here for a few minutes." Stanley suggested. "Take a short break." His squad happily agreed, and he decided to take first watch. Moving by the window, he heard the sounds of gun battles in the distance. When he looked up, he saw five Phantoms, all of them leaking plasma. A single Wombat Drone Fighter tailed them, firing its weapons. One of the Phantoms exploded, debris falling downwards. All of the Phantoms were firing away at the Wombat, but the drone fighter evaded the shots. A second one exploded, and the remaining three scattered. The drone fighter blasted one apart with missiles, and then began tailing the second one, firing away. The third flew towards the skies.

"White! Get yourself and your rocket launcher over here!" Stanley shouted.

"What's the matter sir?" White asked, then saw the Phantom. He fired two rockets at the Covenant dropship, each one impacting on its belly. The Phantom disappeared in a explosion, trailing plasma and debris. The Wombat fighter flew off, wagging its wings.

About ten minutes later, the somewhat-rested squad headed out of the building. White lead the way as they moved down the street, encountering surprisingly nonexistent resistant-the fighting had moved to different streets. This quickly changed after a short walk, where a few grunts, lead by an elite were advancing.

"Get them!" Stanley shouted, firing a few shots and ducking behind a burned out vehicle. Plasma impacted the metal, vaporizing it. Moving towards the entrance of a store for some more solid cover, he fired his assault rifle fully automatic at the Covenant lance. He didn't REALLY expect to hit anything, but it certainly sent the grunts diving for cover. The elite on the other hand, charged straight at him and fired at him with his plasma rifle instead of taking cover. As he reached the doorway of the store, Flint and Bear poked their heads out of a restaurant and blasted away with assault rifles. The elite swtiched targets, but their combined fire made the elite flinch, throw off his aim and quickly took out his shields and kill him. The grunts, suddenly leaderless did not react in the typical way of fleeing or going kamikaze. Instead, they remained behind cover, while a grunt in white armor poked his head out and fired an overcharged plasma pistol shot which was headed straight for Bear, who barely managed to avoid it. Stanley opened up on the grunt who had just fired, but that grunt had ducked behind cover. Stanley threw a grenade at the grunt, who dove away. He poked out, fired a few shots, hitting the white-armored grunt-then ducked back into the store when a few other grunts fired away with plasma pistols. He saw Jade pop out from behind a piece of a destroyed Phantom, and then finish off the white grunt with her assault rifle.

This managed to get on the nerves of the other grunts. One of them went kamikaze on Jade, shouting "FOR HAPPAP!" and charging at her with two lit plasma grenades. Jade sprinted away from the grunt, and the other grunts popped out of cover and fired away at her. Two plasma bolts caught her in the back, but her armor managed to negate some of the effects, but she immediately let loose with a string of profanity in cantonese.

The rest of the ODSTs fired at the Grunts. Without having to worry about being hit by plasma bolts, their aim was pretty true and they quickly killed all of the grunts. Jade winced in pain, cursing bitterly.

"Goddammit, why did those damn grunts have to be some damn SMART!"

"You okay?" Stanley asked, somewhat concerned.

"Yeah, I'll be fine." She growled.

The squad kept moving, encountering only light resistance, although a Banshee fought it would be a good idea to try to strafe them at one point. A rocket to the cockpit quickly changed the mind of the pilot.

They kept moving. Stanley lead his squad towards a bank, and gesturing at White, who kicked down the door. A elite guarding the door was startled, but quickly lifted his akimbo plasma rifles and fired them on White, who rolled behind a chair. Stanley fired away with his assault rifle on the elite, and was joined by Jade and Bear, who opened up on the elite. White shouted "FRAG OUT!" and threw a grenade into the offices of the bank, where a few elites roared, evidently pissed and dove away. The rest of the squad burst in, and began blasting away with their assault rifles. Two elites, their shields neutralized with the frag White had thrown went down to the combined fire of the rest of the squad. A red armored elite threw a sticky grenade, barely missing Stanley, who fired back. A white armored elite leapt over the counter, energy sword in hand. Flint lobbed a captured plasma grenade at the elite, and managed to stick him. The elite roared and charged Flint, who leapt backwards. The elite ultra exploded, sending parts everywhere.

Plasma bolts flew over his head as he ducked behind a sofa, and lobbed a frag grenade. Elites roared and scrambed away, and he fired at them, sending one scrambling behind cover. That was when Flint suddenly appeared from their side and blasted them apart with a shotgun. The remaining two elites in the building were cornered, and trying to at least take one of the ODSTs with them. One of them charged at Bear, and tried to kick him. The elite would have been strong enough to seriously injure or even kill Bear with his bare hands...or in this case, feet. Luckily, Bear was clever enough to roll out of the way, and we all fired upon the elite. The elite staggered from the combined fire. Stanley ducked behind the sofa and ejected his clip, tossed it in the general direction of the elite and slammed in a fresh one and was about to continue shooting, when the elite fell to the ground, dead.

The last elite seemed to be a sensible fellow. Seeing as he was the last one alive, he suddenly jumped through the window, shattering glass. That would have killed an unarmored human-heck, probaly an unarmored elite, but the energy shield protected him. The elite made a run for it.

Bear hefted his sniper rifle. As the elite ran, Bear tried put a round through the back of his head, but the elite, who kept evading managed to evade the shot and run down the alley.

"Funny. I didn't really expect him to make a run for it, you know." Bear noted. "Should we go after him?"

"So he can lead us to an ambush? No thanks."

Stanley looked around. There were eight dead elites lying around the bank, with a additional ninth one lying dead outside.

"Holy crap." He murmmered. "We sure killed a whole buncha split-jaws just now." He looked down on his MA5C. He had two full mags left-64 rounds. In his sidearm, he had half a clip left. He emptied the last few rounds into the body of one of the dead elites, then grabbed a plasma pistol. The alien weapon configured into his HUD-the UNSC had captured enough of the covenant sidearms to manage to get them to work with their HUDs, and the fact that the Covenant never seemed to try and alter that didn't help either. The other ODST started grabbing weapons off the Covenant too, and stripping plasma grenades off of them. All of a sudden, a voice came over the radio.

"This is Colonel James Perez of Task Force Oscar, I need immediate reinforcements for a counter attack. Marines, ODSTs or otherwise will be accepted. We have food and supplies. We need ABLE BODIED TROOPS, we have enough wounded to care for."

Stanely looked at his squad for a momment. "Task Force Oscar?" He asked. He opened up the avalible intel, which quickly showed Task Force Oscar's location.

"Okay squad. Let's go give this Colonel a hand."


0105 Hours, October 24th, 2552. (Military Calendar)/
Steve-McGraw Corporate Tokyo Tower, Tokyo, Japan, Earth, Sol System.

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

Adam fired a few rounds from his Assault Rifle into the chest of a Elite, who's shields finally gave way. The elite roared in anger, before rolling out of the way, then fired wildly at him, no doubt in an attempt to buy time for his shields to recharge. Adam ducked behind cover-a ruined cubicle, plasma fire melting another chunk of a desk before returning fire. The Elite staggered in pain from the fire. Adam kept firing fully automatic, and the Elite fell to the ground. Adam stepped over parts of ruined office cubicles, kicked the dead Elite then spoke.

"Lucia, I've cleared my office. How 'bout you?"

"Not yet." Lucia replied. "Still a few stupid Grunts."

"Alright. I'll get to work on office 7403, alright?"

"Okay." Adam walked through the doorway-the actual door missing for some reason. This office was more or less intact, and it could have been a normal day, its inhabitants just gone. It was also happily lacking in Covenant, so he walked out and moved on to 7404.

"7403 is clear."

7404 was also clear of Covenant, as was the next few offices. He was about to finish checking office 7410, which was larger than the other offices, when he heard the sound of a Phantom approach. A Phantom halted itself about a hundred meters above the office, and four elites stepped next to the side of the Phantom, then jumped off, a ghostly-blue rope extending behind them.

"Elites are fast-roping into office 7410. Repeat, Elites are fast roping into office 7410." He warned, then opened fire with his assault rifle at one of the elites mid-flight, aiming for the rope. The rope snapped, and one elite fell to its doom. He got to work, breaking three ropes and sending three elites on a seventy-four story fall when the fourth one broke through its glass.

"Welcome to Earth, asshole." Adam discarded his assault rifle and drew his energy sword he had picked up off the armory on the Covenant frigate. He stabbed at the Elite, and the blade went through the Elite's plasma rifle, arm and chest. The Elite yelled in pain, before his cry was silenced as a thousand-degree blade went through its heart. Adam deactivated the plasma sword, and the Elite crumpled to the ground. With a kick, he sent the body falling out of the office.

"Elites are no longer fast-roping into office 7410. They have learned a valuable lesson and when and when not to try that stunt however." He declared.

"Right." Lucia replied. "So those Elites pretty much got a bunch of free kills?"

"Yep." Adam replied. He picked up his assault rifle, ejected his magazine and slammed in a fresh one.

"I'll get to work on the other ones now. Which office are you on?"

"7413."

"Okay. Once we've cleared this one, we'll move up to the 75th floor."

"Oh goody. More offices to clear."

"That's the last floor though. Its the executive office too."

"Sweet. It sure would be a pretty awesome place for a shoot-out with Covenant."

"Better than these stupid offices, that's for sure."

With that, Adam strolled into 7411, found it was clear and walked out. Lucia was waiting for him. Her right leg was covered in blue alien blood, but other than that, she was unharmed.

"Ready to go?" Adam asked.

"Hell yeah."

Both Spartans summoned the elevator to take them to the 75th floor. Finding it happily clear of hostiles, Adam smiled.

"Let's secure the rooftop." With that, both Spartans climbed the stairs to the rooftop and helipad of the building. The skies were decorated by dogfighting UNSC and Covenant aircraft.

"Seirra-309 to 2-Charlie-15. Building is clear."

"Copy that. Spartan. We'll transport the missile batteries on the rooftop now."

"Understood."

There was a few minutes of waiting, and then a team of Army Troopers armed with rocket launchers climbed up the stairs. Several of them had missile pods and machine gun turrets.

"We'll take it from here Spartans. You help lock down the building-head down to the ground floor. Other units are taking each individual level, but we expect the most Covenant to show up on the ground floor." A Second Lieutenant said.

"How come?" Adam asked.

"Because we're fairly sure they took the lessons about when and when not to fast-rope to heart, Spartan. From what I've heard, pretty much EVERYONE had to deal with a bunch of dumbass Elites trying to fast-rope into the building."

"So did I." Adam said.

"Ah well. As the saying goes, the only good kinds of Covies are dumb ones and dead ones. And now there are a lot less dumb ones and a lot more dead ones."


Adam and Lucia took the elevator down to the ground floor, where packs of civilians were being herded into the elevators. Two dozen Army troopers had set up defenses-machine gun turrets, plus they had selected cover. There were snipers covering the door from the first floor.

"Good to see you helping us hold the line, Spartans." An Army officer, Lieutenant Jake said. "We're expecting Covies any minute now, so get ready." The trooper had a MA37 in hand, standard assault rifle the army. Adam took cover behind a ballistic shield, while Lucia headed up to the second floor to get some elevation for sniping.

"2-Charlie-16, Evac Dispatch. Covenant forces about to reach your position."

"Copy that dispatch."

"1-Echo-31, You are clear for takeoff. Make it quick though, we can't hold off those Covies forever!"

"Thank you dispatch."

Adam ignored the com chatter and focused on the task at hand. Preventing the Covenant from entering. A series of red dots appeared on his motion sensor, and then there was a boom as they triggered a few landmines. An Elite stepped into the doorway of the building, and was promptly greeted by a hail of gunfire, ripping through his shield and tearing his body to pieces. A second Elite did slightly better, and got off a few wild shots, which barely missed an Army trooper who went diving to the ground before he too was killed. Once the first few glory-hounding elites were done with, it was time for the rest of the Covenant.

A lance of Jackals ran in. Adam aimed for a Jackal's exposed hand, and managed to hit it. The Jackal flinched, and Adam downed it with a few bursts. Another one took his place however, but it didn't take long before it was downed.

"Frag out!" A trooper shouted, tossing a grenade. The grenade detonated behind several Jackals, throwing them into the air. A larger explosion rung out, and part of the building's wall got a large hole blasted through it. Dozens of Grunts poured through the gap, and Adam fired fully automatic at the Grunts. He downned several of them with his assault rifle, ducked behind a ballistic shield to reload before firing at the Grunts. A Grunt tossed his weapon into the air, and shouted. "FOR THE GREAT JOURNEY!"

Adam fired directly at the Grunt, killing it. Its grenades fell to the ground, then detonated, blasting the corpse away. Another Grunt tossed a plasma grenade at him, and he dove away, evading the grenade, then tossed a grenade back.

Some Grunts were quick enough to avoid the grenade. Three weren't and were blasted into the air for a few seconds before hitting the ground dead. Adam continued shooting, stopping when nesscary to reload. Grunts kept pouring in through the hole in the wall and the doors of the building.

"This is Bravo Company , we are requesting air support on Covenant forces outside Steve McGraw Corporation Tokyo Tower."

"Negative. All air units occupied at this time."

"Dammit! Goddamn flyboys!" A trooper next to him swore loudly, while Adam ignored the exchange and kept firing. The Covenant had decided to mix things up a little now, and Jackal shield walls joined the swarms of grunts in attacking the building.

"How long do we have to hold them off?"

"About five hours." Lieutenant Jake replied.

"Five hours! Holy shit."

Adam ejected his spent magazine and slammed in another fresh one, and dumped it into the shield's of an elite that just joined the fray, who staggered back, and then hit the ground, hole in his body. He emptied the rest of his magazine into few grunts, then drew his pistol and kept firing. Once both weapons were empty, he reloaded them again, and kept firing.


Lucia aimed her sniper rifle down the street at the never-ending hostiles. She ignored the grunts and jackals-instead going after the elites. She placed a round into an elite officer's head, then fired at an ultra. Two elites went down from her snper fire. She blasted the brains out of a minor, and then reloaded her sniper rifle. A Revenant LAGC hovered down the street, before a rocket slammed into it's front, blasting the vehicle into the air, killing its occupants, as well as dazing the Covenant around it. Mortars flew into a lance of Covenant, throwing broken bodies into the air.

The explosions had also messed up her shot, although one of the mortars had killed her original target anyways, so she silently cursed whichever of the many mortar teams in the area had stolen her kill, and then took out her fustration on an elite by blasting his brains out with a pair of shots.

"Bravo Company, this is 1-Charlie-2. You've got Locust walkers on approach. ETA is one hour."

"Damn! What is with this damn place? NO artillery bigger than mortars or air support at ALL?"

"We cannot let those Locusts get close to our position, they'll tear us all apart. Mortar units, concentrate fire on those Locusts. 1-Charlie-2, can you assist us in co-ordinating fire?"

"Yes sir."

Lucia reloaded her sniper rifle again, and kept blasting. She wondered what the Covenant was trying. Were they trying to keep charging them until they ran out of ammunition? She couldn't help but wonder what suicidal "We have reserves" tactics did for the Covenant's morale. The road leading up to the building was literally paved in the bodies of dead Grunts and Jackals, with a few Elites there just to spice things up. While it wouldn't affect the human soldiers too much-even soldiers trained from childhood (herself, for example) would suffer from morale issues after blasting hundreds, if not thousands of humans dead, it was much easier to de-humanize aliens because, well, they weren't human in the first place. Still, such a massive war that resulted in so many casualties on the Covenant side...she wondered if the Covenant had anti-war demonstrations or something along those lines. Or were the aliens uncaring bastards who didn't give a damn about the fate of their own family members?

Hoping that somewhere in this galaxy, some elite would weep because of it, Lucia blasted an Elite Ultra.


1454 Hours, October 24th, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Interplanetary Space, Sol System

Space Battle

"Hailey, target those Phantom gunboats." He ordered his co-pilot and gunner, Ensign Hailey White.

"Yes sir." Missiles streaked from the longsword as he spun the interceptor around, breaking off. White opened up with her 50mm cannons, blasting at the Phantom gunboats drifting around a Covenant corvette. The Corvette had managed to make its way past the fleet and was headed towards Earth, and they were trying to destroy it.

"Black Knife Squadron, this is Pegasus Squadron. We are commencing bombing run on target. Try and keep those Seraphs off our back."

"Copy that."

Gordon Duster flew his Longsword headfirst at a single Seraph fighter as White fired 50mm rounds at it. The Seraph turned to face his Longsword and returned fire with a volley of pulse lasers when it was torn apart. A pair of Longswords from Pegasus roared past the Seraph they had just ganged up on, making a beeline for the Corvette. As a second Seraph began chasing after them, Gordon moved to intercept as White opened up with 50mm rounds, blasting its shields then firing a single missile at it, blowing it into smithereens. A third Seraph followed, only to be intercepted by a missile from another Longsword and exploded.

"This is Pegasus One, bomb is in place underneath Covenant Corvette's shield and ready to be remote-detonated. Fall back."

Duster turned away from the Corvette and accelerated, and then rotated his Longsword 180 degrees. White opened up on the Covenant Seraphs, providing covering fire as they retreated. Just under twenty Longswords fled the Corvette, which continued moving towards Earth.

The Corvette exploded. A blast from under its shield blasted an entire segment of the ship away, spinning into space. The rest of the ship followed in a chain reaction, killing everyone on board.

"I can't believe we pulled that off." Commander Arnold Reily, their squadron leader said.

"But we lost a lot of good men out there." Someone Gordon didn't know-probably in a different squadron said sadly.

"19 Longswords. That's nearly two full Squadrons." Another person Gordon didn't know either said sadly.

Even as the pilots chattered, each squadron formmed back up and headed back to their respective motherships to dock and refuel and rearm, hopefully allow their pilots to catch some R&R. Gordon hadn't slept for thirty hours, and had kept himself awake purely on pills. It wasn't healthy at all, and it was most likely to blame for many deaths.

Black Knives Squadron, minus four Longswords lost in the battle with the Corvette, pulled into the docking bay of the UNSC frigate Merrow. Dozens of technicians hurried forward to prepare to rearm and refuel the Longswords as well as patch up any battle damage.

"Black Knives Squadron, let's go get us some R&R. You've all earned it." Commander Reily said, and with a cheer, the squadron headed straight for their quarters. Gordon dumped himself on his bunk, and almost instantly fell asleep.


An Elite
Norman-123 - (Insert witty phrase here):
TALK - Greenwich Mean Time
Okay, I got my post up WAY later than expected up, but finally.


37: Grinder

0730 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Thebes, Greece

It seemed it had been a tiring morning for everyone, with the Covenant attack coming in the middle of the night. For Staff Sergeant Moses Wheatley, focusing on one thing at a time was as close to rest as he ever got. After a passing Pelican had knocked the Banshees off his tail, the drive into Thebes was quiet. The kids, Reo and Henri, had dozed off in the passenger seat, and he was content to let them have the rest.

Like he'd seen everywhere else recently, Thebes was a dead city. The Covenant hadn't even attacked it, but the rush to evacuate had created chaos. The thing he became most worried about were gangs and looters. There were broken in storefronts and graffiti everywhere, and more than a few fires.

Him swerving the Boar gently between the cars left on the road caused Reo to stir. She blinked twice, trying to figure out where she was before trying to settle in again. Wheatley just ignored it. If he payed attention to more than the road, he'd be to tired to drive.

He could try to raise someone on coms, but if there were any Covenant scavengers around they might pick it up. He wanted to be somewhere more secure before sending a signal. Then he spotted the light. Not Covies, it was flourescent yellow-gold in the dark before dawn. Low, maybe four stories up in one of the skyscrapers a few blocks ahead.

It wasn't long before he saw two men waving to him from the street, clad in marine green uniforms. He rolled the Warthog to a stop beside them.

"Sir. Where'd you come from?" One of them, a Lance Corporal, asked.

Wheatley unbuckled and climbed out. "South. Your CO around?"

"Negative, sir. Everyone pulled out a while ago. We volunteered to stay behind." He motioned to the PFC next to him, and the soldier, no more than twenty, flipped a remote and turned off the upstairs light that had been the beacon to him. "There's civilians here that can't be moved. Old, sick, wounded. Our platoon didn't have the resources, so we holed up in this hospital."

Wheatley nodded. He'd be in military command, but wasn't ready to take over for anyone right now. "C'mon, help me get these two inside. Got a place to stash the 'hog?"

The PFC took the keys and after Moses had gotten Reo awake at least partially and was carrying Henri, drove it into a garage built for ambulances. Other than that jeep, the garage was empty. Lance Corporal Mills led him inside the hospital itself. It was warm and stuffy, quite a change from the brisk morning air. There were a few refugees in the lobby, two of the men with M6A Security Sidearms. They looked up briefly at the newcomers, then back to staring at their feet or reading.

"There are beds upstairs. Just try to keep out of the way of the medical types, there are some people in bad condition." Mills said as Moses set the boy down in a chair next to Reo. He thanked the marine, shaking hands with him before he went back out to his perimeter duty. Wheatley shook himself of the laziness that was coming over him in the warmth. There would be work needing done, and he intended to help.


0900 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Southwest of Tokyo, Japan

Kodiak had scaled to the third floor of the same building his target was in. Looking down over the railing, he could see his target talking with a Major Domo. The Major, a Minor Domo, and one Grunt seemed the last of a squad that as ordered to take this building, there were bodies of soldiers both human and alien all around. But they weren't the only targets.

The four stealth Elite guards had come with the Zealot, and were standing posted around the room, still in their active camouflage, just visible enough to be a challenge. But Kodiak never did like things too easy.

"Tactical threat?" he asked.

"Zealot's got only a sword." Dyne whispered. "Doesn't look like he was expecting to fight today. The three frontliners have standard, rifle and pistol."

"The rearguard has a Focus Rifle. Two with Repeaters, and it looks like the last one has another sword."

"Okay then. One of us gets three."

"Uh, Kodiak . . . there's eight."

"You really think the Grunt's going to stick around? Alright . . . mark."

As soon as he said it, the Spartan jumped off the ledge, the stolen plasma pistols charging. At the same time, the others hit the band of Elites from either side. One of the cloaked elites morphed from a ghostly phantom to a column of fire as Sepia's flame grenade ignited its flesh. Kodiak discharged one of the pistols directly underneath him, the Major Domo's shielding broke with a pop. It had no defense when the half-ton of Spartan dropped onto it, having cast away the used pistol and replaced it with a knife, which sunk into the alien's neck.

The other globule of plasma he aimed at a cloaked Elite drawing the blade on its thigh plate. As the attention of the remaining Covenant was instantly fixed upon Kodiak and their incinerated companion, the one now without shielding or cloak never saw Dyne fire his sidearm into its head.

The Grunt ran yelling. The Zealot drew. And the others fired.

Kodiak tucked and rolled forward as the Focus Rifle beam singed the air above him. A flurry of rounds from the remaining Repeater missed him, but both had to shift attention elsewhere as they came under attack by the others. The Minor Elite came at him with the wristblade of Covenant Army units, a weapon Kodiak envied. Unfortunately, the towering creature was no match for Kodiak's speed. He ducked the blade's swing that came at him from high left, spun under the arm, and came up standing next to it facing the opposite direction. He reversed the direction his arm was going, bringing the knife he held through shields, armor, and spine. The Elite crashed to the floor with the handle still protruding from its back.

He had just enough time to jump back as white-hot plasma cut through the air where he'd been standing. The tips of the blades came close, centimeters from his left hand. While they missed his fingers, the plasma pistol he held was cut in half. Now he was in trouble, the Zealot stabbing at him and no weapon to fight back with. He gave ground fast, the Fieldmaster cursing him in alien tongues just feet away.

"Kodiak!" Dyne shouted. He'd left the cover he was using in his firefight against the Specops Elite to get to the body of onne they'd already killed. He threw up a hand and tossed something to him, then dashed back to cover as a shot from the Repeater slagged the ceramic skin of his shoulder armor.

He caught the short bar of metal, recognized the grip, and squeezed the panels on it. The sword from the other Elite sprang to life, and parried, then launched his own attack on his opponent.


The one wielding the Focus Rifle had fled, and Sepia gave chase. Vaulting debris from the destroyed front of the building, she unlatched and threw another of her grenades. The split-lip was too quick, snaking sideways and letting the incendiary device burst harmlessly on a chunk of cement. It returned fire briefly, but the beam of angry orange light broke harmlessly on her shield gauntlet.

This Elite had been able to avoid the weapons by running through the rubble, but now that it was through it and in the open, there was nowhere it could run fast enough to escape. Sepia took her last grenade from its place on her belt, and hurled it.

It had just broken out of the shadows of the building when the glass tube broke over its back, the chemicals igniting instantly. The systems of its combat suit went out immediately, and its final scream was muted by the synthetic materials of the helmet.

As the corpse burned, Sepia felt a perverse satisfaction in the pain she'd caused, and knew the reptilian alien had deserved it. The smile faded from her lips as she realized the air was humming. She turned, and saw the Grunt had climbed into the turret on the parked Shadow, ten feet from her.

The cannon fired, and she brought the Jackal shield up with her left, reaching for the needler at her thigh with her right. The first blast slammed against her forearm, breaking the gauntlet. Then she had the weapon up, spraying shards from its muzzle that homed in on the Grunt's warm body, and as they collected in its body, exploded in a haze. But it had already fired a second time.


Kodiak couldn't win this fight the way he was fighting. Though he knew short blades, the Elite was clearly a master of the sword. So instead of outfencing it, he did the smart thing, the thing an honorable Sangheili would never do: he cheated.

Drawing the Elite in close by locking the blades, he stared calmly through his golden visor as the Elite's mandibles opened in a roar. Before any sound came out, its eyes widened in pain and shock. It looked down to see Kodiak had withdrawn another knife, and stabbed into its ribs. The wound was deep, and it fell to the floor, shuddering a final time before going still.

"And we didn't even have power weapons!" Dyne said, walking up to his team leader with his sidearm empty. The stealth unit he'd been fighting was on the floor, two bullet holes in its skull.

"Beat you, Dyne." Kodiak taunted. "Three to your two."

"Yeah, well, joke's on you." Dyne laughed. "I used all my ammo on that sucker. Besides, if she found the Grunt she tied you."

"I got it."

They looked up, and saw Sepia standing with her arm over her stomach, and blood flowing freely from beneath it. Shouting her name, they ran over just in time to catch her fall. She was fading into unconsciousness. The second round from the turret had burned through her armor and skin, some of the slagged metal fusing to her flesh.

"Dyne, get out and see if you can get that Shadow running. We'll need it to move her carefully."

"Where are we going?"

"Ryu Base. It's the only place with enough medical equipment for something like this. Go!"

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 21:45, February 26, 2011 (UTC)

38

Holy Father

Sydney,Australia, Task Force Oscar HQ

"Banshees, on the inbound!" Housten shouted to the men around him. The Colonel, James Perez, threw himself behind a concrete wall.

"We need a few Spankers up here!" Perez called out.

"I don't know about M19s,but I'm pretty sure Ivan over here can give us some ATA!" one of the men from the Forward Observation unit yelled.

"Alright, Housten! Get us some Air to Air!"

"Yes sir!" the Russian Marine responded, firing up his radio. "Hunter this is Joker 1 come in Hunter! We have Banshees inbound at Sierra 34, Oscar HQ! We need ATA on position ASAP!Over?" There was a crackle of staitc before a voice responded.

"We here you Joker 1, this is Hunter. We'll be on site in 30 seconds. Sit tight."

"Confirmed Hunter. We're counting on you!"

Perez leaned back against the wall, MA5K gripped tightly in his hands. He motioned for the squad to move to a better position, inside the Head Quarters, which was now under siege by Covie Aircraft. The pair of Banshees now circling the building, were the fourth pair in 20 minutes. In fact, Perez was surprised nothing heavier had come in yet. Better knock on wood though. And then the whine of turbines let him know the Sparrowhawks were here.

He looked up at the Banshees and saw them make quick, graceful turns towards the incoming Aircraft. But it was too late, hot lead exploded towards them, and the first Banshee exploded in a shower of blue sparks and purple metal. The second banshee quickly met a similar fate.

"Booyah!" one of the Marines shouted as the Sparrowhawks buzzed them.

"Good kill Hunter, thanks for the assist, Joker 1 out." Housten said pumping his fist in the air.

"Alright boys, enough celebrating. That was just two Banshees out of millions. Get M19s passes around and make sure the M41s are spooled up. We got squads coming in from all over the city and MED-EVAC is a no go. Get all walking wounded back in the fight, start forming groups to take civvies and guys who can't fight. Form up with the Police. We got a ciy to take.-- No One! No SPARTAN! No Marine! No Civilian should be left to face death alone!--Oregon Hawkins*Bobzombie sig 23:48, March 2, 2011 (UTC)

39: Dust Off

1000 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Izu Kogen, Izu Peninisula, Japan

Mikiya Ryougi flew his Falcon Gunship over the dark blue sea, towards the town of Izu Kogen on the Izu Peninsula. In front of him stood the black rocks of the sea cliffs, testiment to the peninsula, and indeed all of Japan's volcanic past. Beyond that, hundreds of structures, houses, apartments, and businesses lay in front of the conical peak of Omuro-yama and the other mountains that make up the Izu Peninsuala. The scenery would have been quite beautiful, if not for the columns of flame, ruined structures, and bomb craters that now dotted the landscape.

Behind Mikiya's aircraft, the rest of Hayabusa squadron flew in a diamond formation, covering a pair of transport Falcons in the middle. Their mission: Rescue a group of SPARTANs trapped behind Covenant lines.

"This is Shinigami Lead", A voice said in Mikiya's radio, "We are commencing bombing run now"

A squadron of Shortsword bombers flew overhead, releasing their payload over a column Wraiths and Shadows, lead by three Scarabs, two of the newer model and one of the older model, moving down the highway to the north. All three Scarabs exploded in balls of flame as the they were impacted by the hail of ordnance. Even the mighty Scarab was no match for a direct hit with a 2000 pound bomb. The bombs continued to impact, tossing Wraiths and Shadows around like toys and leveling structures along the side of the road.

Mikiya flew towards the island as he looked on at the destruction out of the corner of his eye. It made an excellent distraction, most of the Covenant aircraft in the area were dogfighting with a Skyhawk squadron from a wet naval carrier or a Longsword squadron escorting the bombers. Not to mention those Scarabs and Wraiths would never make it to the front lines in Shibuya.

As Mikiya moved closer, he noticed several of contacts on his radar. Silhouetted against the mountains, he saw seven Covenant Vampire Fighters flying directly at him, along with dozens of smaller contacts.

"Vampires and Banshees incoming, permission granted to engage, keep them of those transports".

Mikiya brought up his missile locks and opened fire, launching a pair of Argent missiles at the two nearest Vampires. Both missiles hit home, blowing the alien fighters out of the sky as missiles from the rest of the squadron picked off several Banshees and a two more Vampires.

The surviving Covenant aircraft broke apart as the three remaining Vampires opened up with their heavy needlers.

"The enemy aircraft have opened fire, evasive maneuvers!", Mikiya said through his radio as a swarm of the pinkish projectiles flew at him.

Mikiya swerved right, avoiding the needler shots as the rest of his squadron moved to avoid the pink-colored alien missiles.

In Mikiya's rearview monitor, he saw a flash of the odd pink fire that signified a Needler impact. Hayabusa five was trailing black smoke.

"This is Hayabusa Five", the female Falcon pilot said, "I have taken severe damage."

"Break off and return to the nearest friendly airfield, nearest landing point should be on board the wet navy carrier UNSC Samar Sea. Good Luck."

"Roger", Hayabusa Five said, "I am taking a new course for the UNSC Samar Sea, Good luck to you too".

As Hayabusa Five flew away from the action, Mikiya locked onto the the nearest Vampire and pressed the launch button. An Argent missile impacted the heavy needler on the aircraft, sending up in ball of fire and pink mist as more missiles impacted the rest of the Vampires were torn apart by multiple missile impacts, reducing them to flaming debris. The two of the four remaining Banshees flew straight at Mikiya.

Aoi Miyazaki, Mikiya's gunner, placed the crosshairs over the first Banshee, firing a burst of explosive shells into the fuselage. The alien aircraft started trailing blue flames and fell from the sky. Seconds later, the second Banshee met a similar fate.

The two surviving Banshees turned tail and fled, damaged from enemy fire and trailing smoke.

As the Banshees flew out of site behind the mountains, Mikiya's Falcon neared the shore of the Izu Peninsula. From there, he could see that all the Covenant Heavy Anti-Air Batteries mounted on the sea cliffs and the mountains had been knocked out by bomber and missile strikes, some AA Wraiths and Shade turrets remained.

"Four AA Wraiths and eight Spectres and Prowlers, along the road above the sea cliffs", Mikiya said into his radio, "Engage with Scorpion missiles, Do not advance any further until the threat is neutralized."

Aoi Miyazaki locked the laser onto the first AA Wraith and fired a Scorpion anti-tank missile. Aoi's missile streaked towards its target and impacted in a ball of flames as the three other Wraiths met a similar fate, blown apart by aircraft from the rest of Mikiya's squadron.

"Wraiths eliminated, move in and finish off the rest of them, you are weapons free", Mikiya said as he moved in closer to the shore and squeezed the trigger for his LAU-65 dual purpose missiles, destroying a Spectre as Aoi destroyed a Prowler and another Spectre with the 30mm autocannon.

To the right of Mikiya and Aoi's aircraft, Hayabusa Three opened up the 20mm nose gatling gun and twin MG460 Automatic Grenade Launchers that were attached in place of the LAU-65 pod, chewing apart four Spectres as the final vehicle, a Prowler fell before Hayabusa Six's 30mm.

As the 24th Squadron and the two transport Falcons flew over a housing development, Mikiya's radio crackled to life. "This is SPARTAN G114 to the UNSC aircraft in the area, We have been engaged by a large group of Drones near a store front on Highway 135, about one block north of the Izu Kogen station. We are currently holed up in a captured Shadow APC marked with an IR strobe. Do not fire one the Shadow marked with the IR strobe, repeat, do not fire on the Shadow marked with the IR strobe."

"We read you Sierra G114, do not fire on the Shadow. We are making our attack run on the Drones now.", Mikiya said.

Mikiya and the rest of the squadron flew towards the massed swarm of Yanme'e attacking a Shadow APC, which was firing back with it's main plasma cannon. Next the APC, a figure fired a Focus Rifle at the swarm, trying to keep them at bay.

"Attention aircraft, begin attack run on Drone swarm now", Mikiya said, "Keep moving and watch out for overcharged plasma bolts".

The Drone swarm was so large that Mikiya could get a missile lock on them. He fired a LAU-65 missile at the densely-packed swarm of Drones. The missile streaked off towards the Drones, detonating in their midst, reducing about ten of the insect-like aliens to hundreds of pieces of shattered exoskeleton. Yanme'e limbs, wings, and heads rained down on the ground.

After the missile made contact, Aoi Miyazaki opened up on the Drone swarm with her 30mm cannon, chewing several Yanme'e as the gunners of the rest of the Falcons did the same. The Drones were torn apart before they got near the Falcons.

As the last of the Drones fell from the sky, the first of the two transport Falcons landed, near the Shadow holding the three SPARTANs as the second stayed behind, in case the first Falcon was suddenly attacked. Mikiya saw two the two SPARTANs exit the vehicle, carrying the third between them board the Falcon.

"This is Bravo 1-4, the transport Falcon pilot said through the radio as his aircraft took off, "We the three SPARTANs on board and are setting course for Ryu Base.

The flight to Ryu base was uneventful, encountering no Covenant opposition, in most part because for most of the flight, they were within the patrol area of Skyhawk fighters and Wombat UCAVs from the wet navy carriers as they made their way across Tokyo Bay to the city center of Tokyo and dropped off the three SPARTANs, before returning to Yokota Air Force Base.

When they landed, they noticed Hayabusa Five's aircraft had returned. In the off-duty bar, Mikiya and the others met up with Lt. Kurosawa and her gunner, Lt. Hayashi. When asked how they had gotten their aircraft repair so soon, they told the rest of the Squadron that the needler round from the Vampire had detonated as it impacted the spinning prop, blowing off one of the blades and riddling a few cylinders in the engine with shrapnel.

They managed to get to the Samar Sea on their remaining rotor and their secondary jet engines, at which point they managed to replace the damaged engine parts with parts from a Navy Falcon that got shot up in a Banshee attack the day before in all of a couple hours.


245 Hours, October 26th (Local Time)

Amou Pass, east of Shirakawa, Gifu prefecture, Japan, behind Covenant lines.


Keiichi Ryukishi and Rena Sonozaki knelt in the woods, on top of a roadcut in a mountainside, on the edge of Highway 360, leading over Amou Pass, Rena with a captured particle beam rifle in hand and Keiichi wielding a lighter and a Molotov Cocktail. In front of them, a Wraith and a Revenant idled on at a Covenant roadblock. Next to the alien vehicles stood an Elite and five Unggoy, their positions lit up by Covenant worklights, the only light, save for the moonlight.

"All right", Keiichi said, "Set your sights on that Elite in the Revenant, when I toss the Molotov into the Wraith, shoot him. Then nail the other elite, and finally, deal with the Grunts."

"Let's do this", Rena said. I her voice, Keiichi could hear a thirst for Covenant blood. Not at all surprising since she saw with her own eyes what they did to her eight-year old sister. Even after she had killed the Elite that massacred her sister, it wasn't enough for Rena. She was going to kill as many aliens as she could.

Keiichi walked to the edge of the roadcut. Immediately below him was the plasma mortar of the Wraith, and the gap the surrounded the main gun. That was Keiichi's target. Keiichi lit the rag on his Molotov and hurled into the gap next to the mortar. The molotov fell down, into the inner workings of the alien war machine. The Wraith erupted in flames, both orange and blue.

At the same second, a beam of accelerated ions burned through the skull of the Elite in the Revenant. Seconds later, Rena Sonozaki fired two particle beams into the chest of the second elite, dropping it. Keiichi drew the Needler he captured back in Shirakawa and pointed in the general direction of a group of two Unggoy, which turned and tried to fire on him.

The Grunts were two late, however, a swarm of pink, crystalline projectiles riddled both Grunts, tearing their flesh apart as the needles exploded within them. Three more Grunts fell before Rena's beam rifle.

As soon as the last Grunt hit the pavement, Keiichi climbed down the roadcut.

"Are you sure it's a good idea to get on the roads?", Rena asked

"This is a narrow mountain road, the Covies aren't gonna be sending any large armored columns through here. And any roadblocks will be in the other direction, we'll get be able to hit 'em from behind", Keiichi said.

"With what?", Rena asked.

"This.", Keiichi said as he entered the Revenant, which was still hovering above the ground, idling, even in absence of it's driver, the Elite, who fell out when Rena shot him.

"You don't know how to drive that!", Rena said.

"Relax, I've seen Grunts drive these things, and you know how dumb they are, and besides, theres only two control levers.", Keiichi responded.

Keiichi pulled the left lever forward. The Revenant lurched forward a few feet, before Keiichi switched the lever the backwards. The vehicle moved in the same direction. Keiichi continued testing out the controls, strafing right and left with the left stick and and steering with the right. Moving the right stick up and down raised and lowered the mortar, while pressing the right trigger fired the mortar, while a left trigger activated a booster.

"See", Keiichi said, "I figured it out."

"OK", Rena said in a voice that still sounded unsure as she got in the Revenant, stowing the needler and beam rifle at her feet as some sort of gravity device seemed to hold her in her seat... A Covenant seatbelt?. Rena held a plasma rifle she had captured off one of the dead elites at her side as Keiichi looked into the night vision screen on the vehicle's dash and drove forward.

After only a few minutes, Keiichi had gotten used to driving the Revenant. As the mountain air blew through their hair as the alien vehicle climbed up over Amou Pass, even Rena had to admit, this was better than walking through the forest.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

40: Thanks for the Lift

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1022 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Ryu Base, Tokyo, Japan

Kodiak stepped off the Falcon’s deck and out onto the rooftop. It was raining lightly, and a part of his mind reminded him to be careful not to slip. The main part of his mind was focused on Sepia.

As he expected, a number of medical personnel in white coats rushed forward. They were dressed the same as people who dealt with chemicals and chalkboards in a lab, and with them around he felt uncomfortable, just as he had when they buzzed around him in augmentations. What he didn't expect was how few of them there were. They looked tired. Injured were all over the city, it was no surprise.

Dyne held one end of the stretcher Sepia lay on, with two Marines hefting opposite. The black SPI armor was broken by a circle of silver metal that had melted and cooled in fluid forms. Though plasma wounds for the most part cauterized quickly, blood seeped through the charred flesh and Kodiak had had to pour every ounce of biofoam they had to keep pressure. The water falling from the sky was starting to soften it some as they rushed her inside.

Kodiak felt the breeze strengthen as the Falcon transport dusted off, rejoining its wingmen that had lead them here. They were already turning towards some other objective. For them it was back to work. Unable to hail them, he could only stand straight, and salute toward the aircraft swinging around for another part of the city. Then he followed the others into the building.


Operation: DIVINE SON

0813 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calender)/
Hospital in Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

The girl named Reo passed quietly among beds filled with wounded soldiers as orange light spilled in from the sun low in the western sky. Moses had disappeared to help get the main power online, the place had been running for too long with the backup generators. Henri had left her when a nurse offered him lollipops in exchange for his help carrying things. Reo had tried to take Moses' advice and sleep a while, but just couldn't find it. After shifting in one of the uncomfortable chairs for a while, there was nothing to do but explore the corridors of this quiet building.

Sidestepping the few doctors as they rushed around, most of the building was quiet. The solitude was nice, but at the same time the lack of people in a place like this was unsettling.

Reo wondered if it was like this at her home in London, or Henri's parents' house back in Paris. Reo's parents had sent her to Henri's, thinking right that London would be attacked. When Paris had become a target for the aliens, they'd spent everything they had on two tickets for the children to get away. And Thebes was no better. Was there anywhere safe left to run? She was getting tired of it anyway.

Everyone in Thebes was already running when she and Henri had first arrived here. No one but Moses had taken a second look. They'd hidden out in the village, and now that the Covenant had passed they'd returned. It seemed they hadn't been the only ones unable to go far. Many of the people laying in the beds were soldiers, with bloodsoaked bandages wrapped over their green fatigues. For what she'd seen, these wounded people were the last fighters left in Greece.

Next to one bed, Henri was holding a duffel bag full of medical equipment as the nurse was looking over the patient's leg with a hand-held X-ray scanner. Satisfied with the result, she nodded at the woman and replaced her scanner in the bag. Henri was struggling under the weight, but his pockets and cheeks bulged with hard candies. He smiled at Reo, unable to do more because his mouth was stuffed full enough for him to look like a chipmunk, and walked off after the nurse.

"He's young." The woman lying down said. She had a Marine Sergeant's insignia and casts on both legs, sitting up and watching the dark haired kid go. She sounded distant, as if her mind was elsewhere, but that she'd said it was an invitation to talk.

"What happened to you?" Reo asked.

"It's not a fun story to tell." She said, her blue eyes shifting to Reo. "You can ask Mills outside about the time his squad fought off a Covenant squad with only the cook's utensils. I can't say if it's true, but to hear him tell it . . ."

Reo sat down in a chair next to the bed and met her eyes. The woman nodded and pulled up her sleeve. A tattoo of a skull on a field of flames was printed on the upper arm, a pair of rifles crossed behind it. "Orbital Drop Shock Trooper. We're the meanest, roughest, most dangerous batch of Marines they ever trained. But we're in no way immortal. When Reach was taken, we were sent in to New Alexandria to reinforce units that already didn't exist anymore. My company didn't last. The Captain was killed, and the LT was off-course. Three of us fought our way up Nomolos Tower, the whole thing was on fire at the time, and got into a fight with Jackals and a pair of Hunters. A beam came down and trapped me under it, and cracked my helmet. There was a lot of smoke. I started having trouble breathing when Buck found us. Between three of them, they pulled me out and got me to Lieutenant Dekyser's Pelican. And I've been waiting for the casts to come off since."

"Do you regret being a soldier?" Reo asked.

"I don't regret the past." she answered. "But now I don't know what will be in the future. Not for me, and I don't know how my comrades are. Last I heard, they were being deployed to Sydney."

She drifted off a bit, until Reo asked another question to break the silence. "Do you have any other stories? Good memories?"

The smile returned. "Well, there was one time my squad had to bail out a pair of Spartans . . ."

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 00:14, March 7, 2011 (UTC)

41: Fire and Thunder

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

10:30 Hours, October 26th 2552 (Military Calendar)

Aikawa, Japan

Mikiya Ryougi and the rest of the 24 squadon flew their Falcon Gunships towards the Sagami River. The river was the current boundary of the Covenant line, the furthest they had gotten in their northward march towards Yokota air force base. On the east side of the river, the UNSC had placed Scorpion tanks, Grizzly tanks, both the heavy tank and the walker-destroyer variants, Cobra tank destroyers, Cougar IFVs, Warthogs of every description, many with Armor Upgrades, and technicals crew by civilian militia, armed with "Confetti Maker" or M202 machine guns, along with thousands of troops, both Army, Marines, and militia. Longswords, Pelicans, Vultures, Skyhawks, Sparrowhawks, Hornets, and more Falcons like his own flew overhead.

All three bridges over the Sagami had been blown with submarine launched cruise missiles, so the Covenant were sending in Scarab and Locust walkers to wade across the river while their Wraiths and few Artillery Scarabs fired from the bluffs on the western side of the river. Banshees, Vampires, Spirits, Seraphs, and Phantoms supported them from above.

As Mikiya flew towards a high-rise apartment building on the east side of the river, a squadron of Banshees and pair of Spirit Dropships flew in near the building. A group of civilian militia on the roof of the high rise, armed with surplus M19D man-portable SAMs, M202 machine guns, and "Confetti Maker" light machine guns, opened up on the Covenant aircraft. Three Banshees and both Spirits were blown out of the sky by SAMs and the M202s and "Confetti Makers" chewed up the remaining the Covenant aircraft. The "Confetti Maker" machine gun was notoriously innaccurate, as its nickname suggested, but put enough lead in the air and you could still do some damage. Sure enough, the Banshees caught fire one-by-one, perforated by bullets, and fell to earth.

The AA crews in the building, however, couldn't celebrate for long. Three Phantom gunships all opened up on the apartment tower with their plasma torpedoes, sending up the roof in a ball of blue fire as a pair of Scarabs and several Locusts preparing to cross the river opened up with their plasma cannons. The combined plasma fire blew apart the high-rise, sending crashing to ground.

Mikiya turned his aircraft towards the first Phantom and acquired a RADAR lock as he spoke through his radio: "24th squadron, prepare to engage those Phantoms."

Mikiya squeezed the trigger, firing a pair Argent missiles straight into the side of the first Phantom. The alien aircraft exploded in a ball of flames, sending burning fragments raining into the river. Lt. Satou took out the second Phantom, sending it down in flames with a hit to the engine with his aircraft's SPARTAN Laser, and Hayabusa four launched an Argent into the engine of the last Phantom, destroying the last alien aircraft.

"Not so easy when your fighting professional pilots, now is it!", Hayabusa Four said.

Below them, a walker-destroyer variant of the Grizzly fired an a pair of "Scarab-Slayer" missile from its launch tubes. The two missile both struck their respective targets simultaneously, blowing apart the two Scarabs in ball of flame as the Grizzly and Scorpion tanks opened up, blowing apart the Locusts as they tried to cross the river.

On the bluffs beyond the river, several laser guided bombs impacted, each of them destroying an artillery Scarab, however, a number of Wraiths remained. The Longsword squadron that dropped the bombs, was, however, too busy dogfighting with a Seraph squadron. A Seraph was struck by a missile from a Longsword and sent down in flames, before seconds later, the very Longsword the fired the missile was shot down.

"This the Col. Roberts of the UNSC Army", a voice said over Mikiya's radio, "We are requesting assistance from any UNSC aircraft, we need you to take out the Wraiths on the bluffs, they are pounding us down here".

"We hear you, sir", Mikiya responded, "24th Falcon Gunship Squadron moving to engage Covenant artillery on the bluffs."

Mikiya flew over the river, towards a major road on top of the bluffs as Aoi locked onto a Wraith parking in the parking lot of a destroyed McDonalds. Aoi pressed the missile launch button on her stick and fired a Scorpion ATGW at the alien self-propelled gun. The Wraith exploded in a ball of flames as more missiles from Mikiya's squadron streaked at other Wraiths, taking several out. The remaining Wraiths, about twenty of them, turned their secondary plasma autocannons skyward.

Mikiya swerved his aircraft around, making evasive maneuvers as Aoi fired missile after missile at the Wraiths. It was a turkey shoot. In no time, all of the Wraiths were burning wrecks. Further down the river, things weren't going so well. A group of five Scarabs were firing on the UNSC armor on the other side from an industrial complex.

Mikiya, however, smiled as he said, "Those bastards just dug their own graves!". The industrial complex in question was a hydrogen fuel plant.

"This is Hayabusa lead", Mikiya said into this radio, "I have spotted several Scarabs in a hydrogen fuel plant on the west side of the Sagami, permission to engage."

"Permission granted, you may proceed to blow the plant", the UNSC officer on the other side said, simply.

Mikiya switched channels, speaking to the rest of the squadron, ordering them to fire on the plant on his mark. "NOW!", Mikiya yelled. Both Mikiya and Aoi fired off their weapons, Mikiya launching a pair of LAU-65 missiles and Aoi a pair of Scorpion missiles as more Scorpion, ANVIL, and LAU-65 missiles swarmed at the fuel plant.

The hydrogen fuel plant exploded in a flash of fire and thunderous roar, vaporizing all five Scarabs. As the fuel plant exploded, the surviving Covenant went into full retreat. They had won... for now...


300 Hours, October 26th (Local Time)

Gifu prefecture, Japan, behind Covenant lines.

Fun While It Lasted

Keiichi Ryukishi pushed the left control stick of the Revenant slightly forward, moving the alien hover car forward slowly, keeping his hand on the right steering stick as he maneuvered the vehicle along the winding road that lead down Amou pass, the only light was from the moonlight which filtered between the trees lining the road, however, the Revenant had a night vision screen which allowed Keiichi to drive the vehicle down the road, from switchback to switchback.

Rena Sonozaki sat in the passenger seat of the alien light mortar carrier, reading a map by the light of the lit displays on the dashboard of the Revenant. When she examined the screen on her side of the vehicle.

"It looks like we're getting close to Kawaicho Amou now", Rena said, "It's a small village, but there might be a Covie roadblock like the one we found this thing on."

Sure enough, the small cluster of houses on the lower slopes of the mountainside that made up the hamlet of Kawaicho Amou came into view. All of the lights in the houses were dark, but a section of road a couple switchbacks below them was lit by the glow of Covenant lights.

Keiichi put the Revenant to a stop. "Looks like the Covies haven't spotted us", he said, "Rena, can you get a look at the road block with the scope on your beam rifle? Just don't shoot them yet".

"OK", Rena said as she got out the particle beam rifle from the space below her feet and looked looked down the scope. "Looks like we go a Pair of Shades, a Wraith, an Elite, an about five Grunties".

"All right", Keiichi said, "I'll try and get a shot at them with the plasma mortar. You keep the beam rifle ready, nail the gunner in the Shade on the right."

Rena nodded as Keiichi pulled up on the right control stick, raising the mortar and moving the crosshairs on the night vision screen onto the Wraith. As Keiichi moved the reticule onto the Wraith, he heard the plasma mortar to the rear move of its own accord as Covenant writing flashed across the screen and the reticule turned red.

"Auto aim", Keiichi commented, "Nice". Keiichi squeezed the trigger on the right stick. A glowing red ball of superheated plasma flew out of the main gun of the Revenant. The ball of plasma flew in an arcing trajectory, falling on to the top of the mortar of the Wraith. The alien SPG exploded in a ball of blue flames.

Rena fired a shot from her beam rifle at the Shade turret gunner as the Wraith exploded. The Grunt manning the gun fell to the ground as Keiichi fired off a second shot from the Revenant's plasma mortar, blowing the second Shade turret off its mount and sending it rolling down the mountainside into the a river below.

Rena picked off the Elite and three Grunts with her beam rifle as Keiichi fired several plasma mortar shots, which landed around the road blocks in flashed of red light. When they could no longer see anything moving the in area illuminated by the Covenant worklights, Keiichi and Rena drove off in the Revenant, heading down into the village of Kawaicho Amou, before Rena direct Keiichi onto another small mountain road that headed south.

"This should turn to the east and exit north Hida. We should avoid the actual city of Hida if at all possible, the place is probably crawling with Covies.", Rena said as Keiichi drove the Revenant along the road, which wound along a mountainside above a river, before turning east near a dam that created a lake in valley. At the dam, the road turned east, into another valley with a stretch of straighter road.

"Hold on", Keiichi said, "I'm gonna try out the booster on the straight section". Keiichi held down the left trigger on the Revenant's control stick. The Revenant accelerated rapidly. Rena was initially shocked by the sudden acceleration by the of the vehicle, but soon, the feeling of fear changed to one of exhilaration, it was a feeling of excitement, of freedom, the same feeling one got from driving any fast car. The mountain air blew through their hair as the Revenant climbed up a small rise of about ten feet. Rena's scream of fear as the vehicle was launched off the top of the rise was quickly replaced with a shout of excitement.

"This is awesome!", Keiichi said, "Almost makes you forget were in a war zone".

Even after all the trauma she had been through in the last night. Rena had to admit, Keiichi had a point.

The Revenant sped across the overpass over the road leading to Hida, however, as they reached the far side of the overpass, a several bolts of blue plasma flew overhead.

Rena grabbed the plasma rifle from under the seat of the Revenant as she yelled "Two Ghosts on out tail!"

Keiichi made evasive maneuvers, avoid the hail of plasma as he held down the left trigger, keeping the booster going at maximum power. Rena meanwhile, fired behind them.

Rena's first few bursts missed, but the fifth burst from her plasma rifle struck home, impacting the fuel cell of the lead Ghost. The alien hover-bike exploded in a ball of blue flames, sending fragments into the rear of the second Ghost, disabling the vehicle an causing it to crash into the roadside ditch as Keiichi sped away.

About a kilometer beyond the now destroyed Ghosts, Keiichi turned onto a dirt road going up into the mountains.

"We'll go up here, take it as far as we can and then ditch the Revenant", He said, "I'm afraid we're back to walking."

"Well", Rena responded as the vehicle reached the end of the forest road, "It was fun while it lasted".

Keiichi and Rena exited the Revenant and retrieved their weapons and supplies from the vehicle, before running off into the woods. After about an hours hiking, they stumbled across something in their path.

"What's that", Rena asked, pointing to a long, low-lying object. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be a dead body, the remains of a UNSC Army Ranger. Next to man lay an M392 Designated Marksman Rifle with an attached M456 Grenade Launcher.

"Shame a UNSC soldier had to die for this, but these supplies could be useful", Keiichi said as he picked up the DMR. The body of the soldier yielded the DMR with grenade launcher, an M6C SOCOM pistol, several magazines for both weapons, a medical kit, a few MREs, and some body armor, which Keiichi and Rena agreed to take turns wearing.

"Well", Keiichi said, "That's everything, the sun will be up soon, we should find a place to hide and rest during the day. We'll keep traveling by night."

About a half-hour later, Keiichi and Rena reached a small cave in the side of a cliff and hid inside for the day, attempting to get as much sleep as possible given the circumstances.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

42: Please Remain Calm

Operation: DIVINE SON

0900 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calender)/
Hospital in Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

Before he heard Reo enter the room he was working in, Moses Wheatley was preoccupied by a tangle of wires and his own thoughts. Greece really was in bad shape, the Covenant brought the hammer down hard. From what little he could get out of the network, every major and minor military installation south of Thessaly was gone, and no major force was left that hadn’t retreated northwards.

But there were a few shots from barely active cameras confirming that just hours ago, they had been on the march, headed south and toward Wheatley. At least, he hoped they were still in Greece.

He had more immediate problems, the first trying to get a solid link established to Thebes’ Superintendent-class AI. In his pursuit of the goal, he’d had to crawl into a tight air duct underneath one of the hospital’s computer terminals. Though he couldn’t see anything outside the tunnel, he heard the young woman’s distinctly quiet steps enter the room.

“Moses? Are you in here?”

“Yeah.” He replied, hands still clamping together the line that ran to a communication grid. “Under here.”

She caught sight of the muddy soles of his boots. “Any luck?”

“If I don’t lose this wire. I’d have to thread it all the way into here again.”

Reo stepped up to the console, looking over the keyboard and blank screen. USB ports and dim status indicators covered the sides. There was a short burst of loud static and the screen flashed, causing her to jump back. Then an image appeared on the screen, a green square with an inscribed circle in a very basic depiction of a face.

A high, chirping voice began to emanate from a speaker.

Superintendent“Hello, traveler. Are you anxious, confused?”

Moses heard Reo say, hesitantly, “Anxious . . . a little.”

The AI made a high-pitched tone and its ‘eyes’ turned into semicircles to look excited.

Surprised“Please remain calm! Spartans never die.”

That perked his attention. Wheatley had finished the uplink, and pushed himself out of the vent as quick as he could. Standing, he made Reo move aside as he started typing and studied another screen.

Superintendent“One missed call. One new message.” The AI said, changing back to its wide-eyed normal appearance.

“What does it mean by that?” Reo asked. Wheatley tapped more keys.

“It means he’s picked up a signal. An open-channel hail, looking for people who survived the fallout. There’s a Spartan tag encoded.”

Excitement swelled up in her. Spartans. “Do they know where we are?”

“No.” he answered. “They’re just looking for anyone who answers, and I’m not able to transmit yet. I need more time, and maybe he’ll pick up the signal. But it’s a chance, and it means we might not be finished here yet.”


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1056 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Ryu Base, Tokyo, Japan

‘I failed them’ was the dominant thought in Kodiak’s mind.

Oshima had been lost, the Covenant had a beachhead, and the marines on it had been wiped out. But his greatest failure was that a member of his team was critically wounded. The plasma had burned through Sepia’s stomach and skin, causing major damage to internal organs. If it wasn’t for the cauterization the plasma had caused and a Spartan’s inherent ability to recover, she’d be long dead by now.

He sat outside the door of an intensive care unit deep under Ryu Base. Though he’d not bothered to take off his malfunctioning SPI suit, he’d set his helmet aside and held his head in his hands. Dyne was sitting at the other side of the waiting room. Though he had his helmet on and pointed between his feet, Kodiak could tell he was watching him.

Presently the door opened and a medical type with the name Kiku stitched on his suit stepped out, waving them both in. They got up and followed, entering a darkened room illuminated by the blue glow coming from a neutral-buoyancy gel tank. Sepia, in a simple form-fitting suit, floated inside it.

Her face was obscured by a respiration mask and her own dark strands of hair released from their usual ponytail, but he saw her slate gray eyes look up and identify the pair of armored figures. She stared in silence as the med looked down at a clipboard and began speaking.

“The organ cloning and transplant went well, extraordinarily what with her augmentations. Skin tissue is regenerating quickly. If there are no complications, she’ll be up and certified for active duty by late day after tomorrow.” As Dyne approached the ‘people jar’, the doctor moved aside with Kodiak. “But I do have worries of my own. She’s been insisting that she hears noises.”

“I heard that, too.” Her voice came through a set of speakers. She was staring angrily at them. “You seriously don’t hear it? It’s a grinding, and it’s getting louder.”

The doctor went on, “If this keeps up –”

Kodiak put an arm in front of Kiku, indicating for him to stop. Dyne had frozen, too, listening. He knew Sepia as his teammate, and when she said she heard something, he listened. But he wasn’t hearing anything. They were maybe a mile below the surface, in steel-plated corridors and sub-levels. All the same, he waited for nearly a minute before letting the medical tech continue, still half-listening for anything out of place.

“I think she may be exhibiting signs of PTSD. Post-traumatic stress disorder? If it keeps up, I’m sending her out of action.”

At first Kodiak tensed as if it were a personal insult. But then he rationalized the facts: she was hearing something that no one else was, and he had already known the experimental (and illegal) augments Commander Ambrose had put in were unstable at best. He still didn’t think it was PTSD . . . but now he was worried about whether she was going insane due to the augments, and whether it would catch up with him, and with all the Gammas.

Sepia was glaring at them. “I’m telling you, I hear something.”

Kiku looked at his clipboard, then at his watch. “Visiting hours are over, she needs sleep. You can come back in the morning, if this place is still here.” He walked over to a panel of buttons and began typing.

“I don’t want to sleep, I need to get out of here!” Her voice slowed as tranquilizing drugs kicked in. “We all need to. Get . . .”

She was out cold, the slate eyes closing. Kodiak swallowed nervously, but turned and walked outside, retrieving his helmet and ready to go wherever the command of Ryu Base needed his team . . . minus one soldier.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 02:00, March 18, 2011 (UTC)

43: I Don't Care What It Was Designed to Do

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

15:50 Hours, October 26th 2552 (Military Calendar)

Old Sea Fort #2, Tokyo Bay, Japan


Mikiya Ryougi flew his Falcon Gunship, along with the rest of his squadron, over Old Sea Fort #2, located on an artificial island in the middle of a strait roughly ten kilometers wide between Yokosuka to the west, a major port and UNSC Naval Base, now in Covenant hands, and the city of Futtsu, Chiba to the east.

The island itself was built in the late 19th century to defend the approach to Tokyo. The fort, along with Fort #1 to the west, was decommissioned after the Second World War, since then, had been home to a lighthouse. Never would anyone at the time of decommissioning have thought that the fort would ever again be used for its original purpose. Yet it was now being used for just that. Machine guns, Gauss cannons, and LAU-65 missile pods poked out from between chunks of broken concrete, the remnants of the 19th century fortress, that had been piled up by tankdozers to create a walls of debris. The lighthouse now house machine guns and snipers, the sides of island bristed with artillery: 105mm and 155mm howitzers aimed at Yokosuka, with a heavy plasma mortar from a Rhino and four Tarantula MLRS further back, and AAA, SAM batteries all over the island, and a mass driver mounted on the highest point on the island- only about 15 feet above the water. The other island, Fort #1, was similarly armed. Next to the islands, a couple of "wet" Navy destroyers, the UNSC Tsushima and the UNSC Johnston.

As Mikiya got near the island, Covenant plasma mortar started landing on the concrete structures. The UNSC guns opened up on the source of the gunfire, about a dozen ferries and a pair of large container ships, jury-rigged with Covenant plasma mortars onto bow or carrying Wraiths on deck. The Covenant had been known to make use of captured water transport, as the Covenant had few, if any "wet" naval vessels. The ships were escorted by Phantoms and Banshees.

"This the UNSC contingent on Sea Fort #2 to the 24th Attack VTOL Squadron, we have sighted a number Covenant-controlled vessels escorted by Phantoms and Banshees. We need your help dealing with the Covie aircraft until the Skyhawks and UCAVs from the UNSC Samar Sea get here and any assistance with the wet vessels would be appreciated.", a voice said through Mikiya's radio

SAM batteries on the island and destroyers opened up, sending streaks of fire at the nearest Covenant aircraft. Banshees exploded in midair and Phantoms went down in flames as the missiles impacted. Mikiya and the rest of the Hayabusa squadron flew at the Phantoms as UNSC and Covenant fire flew through the sky.

"Engage enemy aircraft at will", Mikiya said through his radio as he fired off six Argent missiles into the formation Banshees and Phantoms. Missiles swarmed at the enemy aircraft, sending Phantoms and Banshees down in flames left and right as Mikiya and the rest of the sqaudron drew closer the remaining Banshees and Phantoms.

"Aoi!", Mikiya said to his gunner, Aoi Miyazaki, but she interrupted his sentence as she said "I got 'em". Aoi Miyazaki squeezed the trigger as the 30mm cannon perforated the cockpit of a Banshee that flew straight at them. The Banshee went down in flames and crashed into the water below. Aoi took down three more Banshees as the rest of the squadron opened up with their cannons, cutting down Banshees.

As Aoi made mincemeat of the Banshees, Mikiya squeezed the trigger on his flight stick, firing a pair of LAU-65 missiles into the air intake of the engines of a Phantom, taking down the aircraft instantly.

The few Phantoms and Banshees that make it through both the SAMs and Mikiya's squadron were shot down by the AA guns on the two destroyers and the island. The wet cargo ships, meanwhile, were blown apart with by artillery shells and rockets from the island and anti-ship missiles from the Tsushima and Johnston.

"All attacking Phantoms and watercraft are destroyed", a voice said through Mikiya's radio. The person on the other end of the radio was suddenly interrupted, by a second person, who said, "Don't celebrate just yet, Covenant Corvette incoming!"

The person on the radio was indeed right. A Covenant Corvette flew over Yokosuka, towards the island. "All SAMs and Mass Drivers open fire!", the officer on the radio ordered. The mass driver, multiple SAM batteries, and the guns and cruise missiles of the two "wet" destroyers opened fire. Flames exploded over the front of the vessel, disabling the main plasma turrets.

"We've got her weapons and two of her engines disabled, any fighters available for airstrike?", the UNSC Johnston asked via radio.

"Negative, this is the UNSC Samar Sea, all our Skyhawks and UCAVs are busy engaging a Seraph squadron on deployed from the frigate."

"I'll deal with this", Mikiya said, "In orbit over Reach, a Covie corvette was disabled by a Sabre fighter using missiles to the rear engines. I'm going to do just that."

"Are you crazy?", asked Lt. Satou, "this is an attack aircraft. Its not designed to do that."

"I don't care what it's designed to do, I care what it can do!", Mikiya said as he flew off towards the frigate.

Mikiya pulled the throttle all the way forwards and lowered the props, flying the Falcon like a plane, dodging plasma torpedoes flying at him from the frigate as he rolled around to the rear of the Covenant spacecraft, locking onto the first of the two remaining engines.

The Argent missile flew right up the engine tube, sending it up in great fireball, before Mikiya fired the second missile, blowing up the final engine. The Covenant corvette no longer had anything holding it aloft. The vessel fell to Earth, landing in Tokyo Bay and sinking to the bottom.

"This is Hayabusa Lead", Mikiya said, "Scratch one corvette."


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

17:30 Hours, October 26th 2552 (Local Time)

Mountains west of Kamioka, Japan

I'll Be The Judge of That

Keiichi Ryukishi and Rena Sonozaki sat on the floor of a cave in the mountains west of town of Kamioka, each of them held an Meal, Ready-to-Eat, in their hands. The MRE was packed in a tan-colored bag with the words "UNSC Meal, Ready-to-eat. Delicious."

"Delicious... I'll be the judge of that.", Keiichi commented. He had heard about the bad reputation that MREs had among UNSC service personnel, though, as a civilian, this was the first time he or Rena had eaten one.

The two MREs were of varieties, Keiichi's being labeled as "Pork Ribs in BBQ Sauce" and Rena's "Beef Teriyaki". The two of them each opened the bags on their MREs, revealing a box containing a smaller vacuum-sealed pack with main entree, a bag labeled as a "flameless ration heater", a packet of biscuits, a couple other sealed pouches containing bread or crackers, a beverage mix, in Keiichi's case, instant coffee, and in Rena's, a powdered sport drink. There were also small packs of salt, pepper, sugar, a plastic spoon, a book of matches, a moist towelette, some paper napkins/toilet paper.

Keiichi held up the flameless pouch and read the instructions. His English wasn't the best, but he got the basic idea.

"It looks like your supposed to folded the flameless heater over the MRE pouch and place it in this large plastic bag, Keiichi said, demonstrating to Rena. "Then", he said, "Add water and let it heat for about ten minutes." Keiichi got out the Camelback water pack he had scavenged off the UNSC soldier and poured in some water in both his and Rena's pouch."

Keiichi and Rena both propped their MREs on a rock as they cooked, before turning to the rest of the items they had scavenged from the UNSC Army soldier the night before. Keiichi picked up the M392 Designated Marksman Rifle with attached M456 airbursting grenade launcher. He looked through the scope.

"I don't think it's a good idea to be firing that", Rena said.

"I'm not", Keiichi said, removing the magazine from both the rifle and the grenade launcher, before continuing, "Nice, this scope is pretty impressive. The scope on the rifle had a maximum zoom of five times, optional night vision setting, and a laser range finder.

"It looks like this button switches vision mode", Keiichi said, pointing it out to Rena, "And this one, locks the rangefinder at a set range. I think that's for the airburst grenades".

Keiichi went on the examine the mode selector on the rifle. Apparently, the gun could be set to semi-automatic, burst fire, or fully automatic. Keiichi, however, kept it in safe mode. The grenade launcher had a similar switch, only it switched betweem "safe", "airburst", "proximity", and "impact".

Rena, meanwhile was examining the M6C SOCOM pistol. "It looks like if you have to put on this", she said, motioning to a sighting device attached to the UNSC helmet, "you can look down a scope". Rena handed him the helmet. In the side of his field vision, he could see the view from the sight underneath the pistol, which was still in Rena's hand. It was strange, looking down the sight of gun in someone else' hands. Rena pressed a button on the pistol, a laser sight turned on, projecting a red dot onto a nearby tree.

"I'm not sure it's a good idea to use that, the enemy might see it. Better to use the iron sights if you can't use the helmet.", Keiichi said as he pointed out the iron sights on the pistol.

As Rena put down the handgun, Keiichi took a look at the MREs.

"They feel ready to me, be careful, they're hot.", Keiichi said as he opened brought the MREs over to Rena.

As they opened up the MREs, Rena said, "Well, Itadakimasu".

Keiichi grabbed one of the pork ribs out of the pouch and took a bite.

"Well", Keiichi said, "It's not exactly five star, but at least it's food".

"It's something", Rena replied, "Food, I'm not so sure."

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

44: Reprimand

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1101 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Ryu Base, Tokyo, Japan

An aura of fear permeated the air inside Ryu Base’s command center as Kodiak and Dyne entered it. Junior officers ran back and forth in the soft lights emanating from a dozen or so readouts of the city, barely constraining panic as they handed grim reports of attacks, counterattacks, and movements of other operations in other parts of the world to stern old Navy, Army, and Marine brass.

No matter how many red dots covered the map boards, nothing looked as scary to them as the silhouette of their overseer, Lieutenant Erin Coney, glaring daggers at them from where she stood next to a tactical display.

“Hallway. Now.” She said quietly. The two didn’t need to hear her, they read her lips and malevolent expression as easily as they had after destroying some piece of valuable equipment during training. Leaving the dark room and stench of sweating logistics personnel behind, they filed out into the fluorescent light and waited for a Private on guard duty to depart.

She stared at the floor between her feet and let shadows from her dark hair mask her face for a moment as Kodiak and Dyne stood in uncomfortable anticipation.

“What the hell were you thinking?”

She more stated the question, still keeping her temper in check, but Kodiak knew there was no right answer. The moment he had the dim thought to try and respond, she began again, this time becoming louder as she spoke. “Oshima was a back-up objective, no one really anticipated a strike force that large, but it would have been the smart thing to do to regroup with your Army contingent, not stroll back to the mainland. But as if being cowards wasn’t bad enough, you chose to instead of falling back for new orders, to make an attack on an Elite Field Master, in the midst of his guards. Three, on seven.”

Dyne made the mistake of trying to correct her. “Actually, there were eight, if you count–”

“Do you really want to finish that thought?” she snarled, and he quickly shut up. “We were hoping that the Elite would lead his force into an area where we would have the tactical advantage, and then eliminate his army entirely from the battlefield. I had to pull strings and hold knives to throats to keep Command from finding out who mucked up their op. But even worse than these is that you, Kodiak, put your team into a dangerous position with no ordnance, no support, and no chance if the Covenant legion that Elite led had caught up to you. Sepia was almost dead, do you understand? Dead.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Kodiak said, meeting her eyes. He knew Dyne, or Sepia for that matter, wouldn’t have hesitated to say they had both agreed to his plan, but he was their leader now. The responsibility for their decisions now fell solely on his shoulders. Coney studied him for a minute, and her icy stare relented.

“I’m actually grateful you did it.” She said, sighing. “The projected casualty estimate for that counteroffensive was through the roof. It may have saved quite a few soldiers’ lives. But it wouldn’t change anything in Command's eyes.”

There was a pause as a Navy Ensign ran by with a clipboard, entering the command center. All three of them relaxed visibly.

Coney resumed quietly. “Right now, we don’t have enough defenses to keep the Covenant capital ships off us. Navy assets are trying to get a position where they can give us orbital cover, but you know how they’re outmatched. In the meantime, we’re trying to get as many ground guns set up as we can.”

“You mean they can roll up right now and glass us?” Kodiak hazarded a question. “Why don’t they?”

“Command believes the Elites want to gain glory by wiping us out on the ground. You killed a Field Master, that’s going to make them seek revenge and for now they want to do it in person. But we make them think we’re winning, they’ll pull back and dust this place without a second thought. They need to think that until we really can defend ourselves.”

The ends of Dyne’s mouth curled upwards slightly. “So does this mean we’re being put on combat?”

“After all that, hell no. Recon and recovery.” Coney straightened up, and the two Spartans followed suit. “We lost contact with an Elephant transport moving pieces for a mass driver. Your suits are being repaired, they’ll be waiting for you in the technician’s bay nest to the motor pool, sub-level one.”

“Are we getting a vehicle?” Kodiak asked.

“You will be walking to their transponder location.” Coney said, smiling sarcastically at Dyne. Then the grin faded. “You do not engage hostiles without my express permission to do so. Is that clear?”

“Yes ma’am.” Kodiak replied.

“Good.” She said. Coney dismissed them, and turned back into the command center. As Dyne turned around for the elevators without another thought, Kodiak watched her go. In the room, he saw a screen displaying something that nearly stopped his heart. He recognized instantly from the landmass’ shape that it was Oshima, he knew from seeing it out of Bravo 029’s windows. Above the island, a Covenant destroyer loomed, its underbelly illuminated by the fires and cooling glass that were all that was left of Izu Oshima.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 23:01, March 29, 2011 (UTC)

45: Assault and Evade

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

23:30 Hours, October 26th 2552 (Local Time)

Kamioka, Japan


Keiichi Ryukishi slowly opened the door to a house on the edge of Highway 41, at the edge of the the town of Kamioka, Japan. He walked in, followed by Rena Sonozaki. The house was empty, the cabinets and refrigerator broken open, and ransacked for anything the Kig-Yar deemed edible. Several styrofoam meat trays lay strewn about the floor.

Keiichi and Rena crept across the room, Keiichi holding the silenced M6C SOCOM pistol at the ready, while Rena held the Covenant Beam Rifle she had carried since they escaped Shirakawa. The living room, however, was empty. The road beyond, however, was not. Keiichi and Rena ducked as soon as they saw the blue glow of Covenant anti-gravity engines.

"Covenant column, Several Wraiths and Shadows, multiple light vehicles. Let them pass."

Keiichi and Rena ducked below the windows of the house until the glow of the anti-gravity engines had passed. After a couple minutes, Keiichi took another peek outside. The highway was deserted. Across a ravine, near the Kamioka Elementary School, Keiichi has a clear view of a Covenant fueling station, complete with two large tanks of superheated plasma that glowed in the night.

By the light of the plasma glow and the Covenant worklights that shone around the school, Keiichi saw that the Covenant had converted it into a small base with a plasma fueling station, a motor pool, and a barracks. Current having it's plasma stores restocked was Type-47 Ultra Heavy Assault Platform, A Scarab, along with numerous other vehicles. It was too tempting a target. If they blew up the fueling station, they would strike a crippling blow to Covenant forces and their attempts to cross the Japanese Alps into UNSC held territory.

But how to destroy it and get out alive. Then Keiichi saw it. At the edge of the street, there was a storm sewer grate. That would be their escape route.

"I've found out next escape route", Keiichi said, pointing out the grate.

"That's a...", Rena responded.

"Relax, It's a storm sewer. It only carries rainwater.", Keiichi said, "But before we go underground, I'm gonna blow up those plasma tanks with my grenade launcher." As he finished speaking, Keiichi set the M456 Grenade Launcher on his M392 DMR to "Impact".

Keiichi half expected Rena to be reluctant, but apparently, the fire of rage against the Covenant still burned inside her, as she said, "Let's do this!"

Keiichi checked for incoming Covenant one final time, and found none. He and Rena walked across the deserted highway. Keiichi and Rena pried the storm sewer grate open and Rena dropped in, a drop of a little less than one and a half meters.

Keiichi knelt down in front of the concrete barrier on the edge of the highway and took aim at the nearest plasma tank with his DMR/M456. The readout on the scope read "Distance to target: 260.9 meters". Keiichi held his breath as he squeezed the trigger. The 25mm "smart grenade" fired. Unlike some earlier grenade launchers, the M456's round flew in a relatively straight line like a bullet. The grenade flew across the ravine and exploded on the side of the plasma tank. The skin of the plasma storage tank was breached, unleashing the burning gases within, setting of countless secondary explosions from the power cores of the Scarab and other vehicles, and the volitile contents of several Unggoy methane domes. The entire Covenant base was engulfed in flames.

As the alien base was annihilated, Keiichi climbed into the storm sewer and grabbed the grate from the top and replaced it. Keiichi crawled into the storm sewer, the tunnel was about four feet wide, more than wide enough to crawl through. Keiichi caught up with Rena, who was waiting about five meters ahead.

Rena lead Keiichi down the tunnel, as it slowly made it's way down an incline to the Jinstsugawa River. The tunnel crossed another grate over a major street. Rena stopped over the grate and looked up. A Wraith was parked directly over the grate, Its crew unaware that a pair of humans stood directly the intakes for the gravity drive boosters.

Rena put her finger over her mouth and pointed upwards as she got out a plasma grenade she had captured off an Elite the night before. The slits in the grate were wide enough for Rena to slide her hand through and insert the grenade directly into the rear booster, before pressing the arming button.

After Rena planted the grenade, Rena and Keiichi moved as fast as they could down the tunnel. They had made it several meters into when they heard and explosion and saw a flash of blue flames behind them. They crossed over another grate, not stopping until they reached the outflow into the Jintsugawa River.

"Hold it, Phantom", Keiichi said, stopping Rena as a Covenant Phantom Dropship flew over the river, chin-mounted searchlight activated. The Phantom passed over head, oblivious to their presence as it continued on down the river.

"All right", Keiichi said, "We cross now, go for that outflow on the other side."


Keiichi and Rena ran out of the outflow. The Jintsugawa River was shallow here, with many rocks in the water to act as stepping stones. Keiichi and Rena made it across without to much difficulty, and most importantly, without being caught by the Covenant.

The two survivors made their way up the storm sewer on the other side, following it to an abrupt end in the parking lot of a factory-type structure at the edge of a mountain slope. Keiichi and Rena looked around carefully for any Covenant that may be present, and finding none, Keiichi climbed out of the storm sewer first, followed by Rena, who he offered a hand up, which she took, gratefully. Keiichi then replaced the storm sewer grate and ran into the woods on the mountainside followed by Rena.

The two of them made their way up the mountainside in a zig-zagging path, lit only by the moonlight filtering in through the trees. After about six hours of hiking, they made it to the summit of a mountain peak, which according to the map Keiichi had with him was called Kuwasaki-yama. From the summit of Kuwasaki-yama, they could see the silhouettes higher peaks further east, moonlight reflecting off the snow on their summits. They had almost made it to the upper reached of the Northern Japanese Alps, and beyond that, was UNSC-controlled territory. They were almost safe.

"We're going to need to get over those peaks to make it the UNSC lines. It looks like that stream ravine running up the side of the mountains will give us the easiest route up. We'll make camp in the ravine and rest for a while."


16:24 Hours, October 26th, 2552 (Military Calender)

Tigershark-class Ballistic Missile Submarine UNSC Seawolf, Pacific Ocean, East of Shizuoka, Japan

Underwater Warfare


"Sir", A UNSC sailor at the SONAR device aboard the Seawolf said to Captain Takashi Yanagi, "We have large contacts moving east on the ocean floor, approaching the Izu Peninsula, possibly Scarabs."

"Get the exterior cameras on them so we can no for sure", Yanagi replied.

The image from the exterior cameras appeared on the sub's main monitor. It showed five Scarabs, sealed up for underwater travel, walking along the ocean floor.

"Now hear this!", Yanagi said into the submarine's intercom, "We have sighted five Scarabs moving below us. All weapons crew, report to your battlestations and prepare torpedo tubes for launch."

In only a few minutes, five torpedoes were making their way towards the Scarabs, homing in on their acoustic signatures. The first Scarab was struck in the rear, exploding in a ball of blue flames as the power core exploded. The second, third, and fourth Scarabs were hit in the side, the torpedoes' warhead blowing holes in their sides. Bubbles of air floated up from the ruptures in the walkers' hulls as the vehicle was filled with water, drowning the Lekgolo worms and any troops aboard. The final Scarab was hit in the front, with similar results.

"All targets destroyed", Yanagi said into the intercom, "We are preparing to relocate".



14:24 Hours, October 26th, 2552 (Military Calender)

Tateyama Air Base, Tateyama, Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Low Level Strike

Mikiya Ryougi and Aoi Miyazaki climbed into the cockpit of their AV-144 Falcon Gunship. Mikiya activated the night vision systems as soon as the cockpit door closed, and pulled the throttle forward, starting the rotors and raising the VTOL upwards, off it's pad.

They were joined by only one other Falcon, piloted by Lt. Satou. They were headed north, across the Uraga Channel, towards Miura, flying through the darkness at an altitude of only about fifty meters, below the minimum elevation of Covenant heavy AA guns.

After about fifteen minutes, the aircraft drew withing a couple kilometers of the Covenant-held Miura Peninsula. Their target: A Covenant staging area. First they would go in and disable a large plasma core providing power for all the main AA batteries, before taking a Covenant Summit and destroying any parked aircraft, taking out a fueling station and as many parked vehicles as possible, and finally, strafing any Covenant Barracks they see.

"I've sighted the first target", Mikiya said through his radio, "I am marking it was Nav-point now. Fire on the target on my mark."

Mikiya placed a Nav Point on the target, before saying into his radio, "Hayabusa Two, You have permission to fire on the target, over".

"Roger", Satou replied, "Firing Scorpion Missile at the main plasma core now". Master Sergeant Nakata, Satou's gunner, locked onto the target and squeezed the trigger. A Scorpion anti-armor missile lit up the night, streaking through the sky, before it slammed into the plasma core, sending it up and huge ball of blue flames.

"Excellent shot, Two", Mikiya replied, press forward to the Covenant Summit. Only engage ground side Shade turrets and other targets if they present an immediate threat".

Mikiya and Satou flew their aircraft over the top of the sea cliffs, hovering just 100 feet or so above the farmers' fields that had been covered with pre-fabricated Covenant mobile base structures. The Summit, a control-tower-like Covenant structure surrounded by multiple VTOL pads, stood in the on the southern end of the base.

"Summit is in missile range", Mikiya said, "Miyazaki, light it up".

"Roger, firing ANVILs now", Aoi Miyazaki replied.

Mikiya watched as five ANVIL air-to-ground missiles flew at the tower, impacting the top, setting it ablaze in a ball of flames.

"Now, finish off those grounded aircraft before they can get into the air.", Mikiya said.

Aoi Miyazaki opened up on a Phantom with the Falcon's 30mm cannon, perforating the aircraft's body and setting it ablaze before strafing several Banshees and Vampire. Mikiya, meanwhile, locked onto a pair of parked Vampires with the LAU-65 missiles, one of the weapons under control of the pilot, and destroyed both alien aircraft.

Satou and Nakata, meanwhile, chewed up multiple Phantoms and Banshees with the 20mm rotary cannon Satou had mounted on the aircraft instead of his usual SPARTAN laser.

A group of Sangheilli pilots tried to make a run for a row of surviving Banshees, but Satou's rotary cannon reduced them to ground meat, before perforating their aircraft.

"All right, last group of targets", Mikiya said, "Take out any AA and destroy the barracks and the vehicle depot."

Mikiya and Satou flew towards main base, their gunners firing off Scorpion missile at a few AA Wraiths whose crews had managed to start up in time. Aoi Miyazaki fired off a pair of ANVIL missiles into the fueling station, setting it off in a ball of plasma, incinerating several Wraiths and Shadows in the blast. Satou, meanwhile, fired a Scorpion ATGW into the back of a Scarab Assault walker, piercing the back armor and detonating the plasma core in catastrophic plasma explosion.

Mikiya flew towards the remaining six Scarabs, one Artillery Scarab, and the rest standard assault variants. Aoi fired Scorpion missiles into the rear armor of two of them, destroying them instantly, while Mikiya took out the third with four LAU-65 missiles, two blowing off the rear plate, and two more taking out the core. Satou and Nakata destroyed the other three Scarabs, leaving all seven of the alien walkers as flaming wrecks.

Satou and Mikiya then expended the rest of their ammo on the rest of the Covenant ground vehicles, and the on the barracks. Missiles blew apart Wraiths, cannon shells raked rows of Shadows and Ghost, and missile and gunfire reduced Sangheilli huts, Unngoy Methane Domes, and Huragok Recharging Stations to burning ruins.

The raid was a success, but for every aircraft, vehicle, and soldier the UNSC took out so far, the Covenant seemed to have more. Something told Mikiya they had replacements for the ones he took out as well. FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

46

Operation: Holy Father


0430 Hours, October 24th, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Liverpool, Sydney, United Australian Federation.

Stanley's squad was traveling in style. They didn't really want to walk the entire way to Task Force Oscar's command HQ, so when the Covenant presented an oppourturnity in the form of a large Ghost convoy, they took it. Surprising the grunts on the ghosts, Bear managed to snipe several of the drivers, and in what had to be an utterly insane move, Stanley had ambushed one of the drivers from behind and knocked him off his own Ghost. After about half a minute, they had secured 7 Ghosts. They destroyed one, then drove off towards Task Force Oscar's location.

The stolen Ghosts were making travel significantly faster, not to mention dealing with the groups of Covenant that patrolled the streets significantly easier.

They soon made it to the location of Task Force Oscar. Pulling up at the HQ, Stanley could quickly see that they were not having an easy battle. Parts of the HQ and surrounding are were melted by plasma impacts, and there were several crashed aircraft around, mostly Covenant. A few AA guns were set up, as were defensive turrets.

"ODSTs?" A young lieutenant said, running up. "Wonderful. Hey, listen. You see that-" the lieutenant guestured off into the distance at a few former city blocks "pile of rubble? Mind helping us clear out that zone so our armor can advance?"

"Yes sir." Stanley said.

The squad cautiously headed towards the rubble, but it was for moot. It was downright chaos in that zone, with several squads of Covenant AND human infantry duking it out. Neither side wanted to risk getting armor across that incredibly uneven terrain and make life easy for hostiles with rocket launchers or fuel rod cannons, so they were sending infantry to duke it out.

An elite popped out from a piece of rubble and fired at them with a plasma repeater. Stanley ducked behind a piece of rubble, popped out and fired on a few advancing grunts, killing two and sending the rest scrambling for cover. A pair of banshees swooped down on a strafing run, firing plasma bolts and sending them for cover.

"GET DOWN!" Someone roared, which Stanley had already done. A rocket flew out from the side and slammed into the edge of a banshee, destroying it. The other one got the hint and flew off, evading a rocket that was sent after it.

It wasn't the last of their worries. Taking advantage of the banshees' sudden attack, a group of elites were advancing towards the human positions, even as a banshee-perhaps the one who had broken off just now-swung towards them and fired a fuel rod shot at the position of a squad of marines, blasting them in all directions. White fired a rocket at the banshee, which moved to the side. However, the heat seaking rocket made a course correction, swung back and slammed into the banshee, destroying it.

One elite with an energy sword leapt over a pile of sandbags and killed a few humans behind it, before scumbing to combied fire from elsewhere. Stanley opened fire on a elite headed for their position, sending him scurrying for cover. Stanley tossed a grenade at that elite, who rolled out, and a sniper shot rung out and removed the elite's brains.

"Nice shot, Bear." Stanely said, turning to the squad's sniper.

"I aim to please." Bear replied.

Plasma artillery roared overhead, but fell short.

"DOWN!" Stanley shouted again. More plasma artillery cannons-not the wraiths, the larger, semi-stationary ones-could be heard firing again, this time going far. After a few seconds, their accuracy improved, and a blast struck the ground about ten meters away from Stanley, throwing dirt into the air and a few unlucky army troopers. As if in response, UNSC mortars fired in the direction of the Covenant, and he spotted an elite go flying.

Their triumpth was short lived, as the Covenant artillery fired again, bombarding the UNSC lines.


Operation: Eternal Spirit


0600 Hours, October 24th, 2552. (Military Calendar)/
Steve-McGraw Corporate Tokyo Tower, Tokyo, Japan, Earth, Sol System.

The defensive line was a mess. The main entrance to the tower was covered in blood and bodies, with a mix of human and alien. (Though Adam was pleased to note that there were significantly more alien ones than human). They had been overrun, only for reinforcements to arrive from the upper levels, push back the Covenant, only to have the Covenant send more reinforcements. A few squads had arrived from Pelicans from the helipad earlier, and had given Adam a few hours of rest, which he had just woken up from.

"Spartan! You awake!" A young, nervous looking private said.

"What did I miss?" He asked.

"Not much, sir. The Covies made another push, but they finally cleared up some heavy-duty artillery. A battery of howitzers managed to reduce the Covie attack force by a good amount. A good thing too, since we heard they were sending a few Locust walkers our way."

"Good, good..." Adam muttered.

"They've been quiet though. I guess they need to regroup and get ready to fuck us over again."

"That's the most likely scena-" Adam paused mid sentence as he noticed one of the grunt bodies lying by the large hole in the wall get nudged by an invisible force.

He whipped his assault rifle upwards and sprayed at the general direction. A few bullets hit something, which flinched, revealing itself to be a cloaked elite.

"STEALTHIES!" A NCO shouted. Adam fired the rest of his clip into the elite and took out his shields, and his fire was joined by a few troopers, who quickly killed the commando elite. Meanwhile, a few other cloaked elites, seeing their stealthy approach go FUBAR, began firing away. An energy gauntlet appeared beside Sergeant Clark, gutting him. Adam blasted at the man's killer, and slammed another fresh clip into his assault rifle. Hearing a few steps behind him, he whirled around and activated his energy sword that he had borrowed from the Covenant frigate and slashed in a wide ark. An cloaked elite managed to parry with his blade, just in time to save his own life.

"Dumbass. What's the point of being invisible if you're so damn LOUD?" Adam said, smirking beneath his helmet. The elite evidently understood him, because he roared in anger and threw a kick at Adam, who evaded and made a thrust with the sword. The elite parried again.

"Look out beside you." Adam suggested. An army trooper fired a shotgun at point-blank range, blowing out the torso of the elite.

"Thanks." Adam said, pulling his assault rifle again. The lobby was a scene of organized chaos. Despite things, there were actually plans for stealth elite attacks, which basically consisted of "Everyone back up and chuck frag grenades". As crude as the plan sounded, it worked quite well, revealing the location of four elites, which were promptly gunned down, although they took a few troopers with them. Two more exposed their location when the threw plasma grenades into crowds of soldiers, only to have a whole lot of bullets in return.

The last two (Adam presumed) decloaked behind a group of soldiers and sliced them to bits with their energy swords until they too, were felled. Then all was silent for a few seconds, then a few troopers fired all over the room and when no elite's shields flared, we declared the room safe.

"Casualties?" An officer asked.

"We lost 30 troops. A trooper said. "Killed 10 of the bastards."

"Good. We're almost down evacuating. We only have to last a few more minutes for the last transports to arrive to evac us and that last group of civilians.

"Finally." Someone muttered.

The Covenant had the decency not to ruin things by attacking again, and in about ten minutes, the Adam and Lucia were boarding a transport falcon.

"Better get some rest, Spartans." The pilot said. "I'll bet you everything I have that its gonna be a busy battle for you."


The pilot's words turned out to be prophetic. As soon as the Falcon landed on one of Ryu's landing pads, a young-looking private lead them to a briefing room, where an army major was waiting for them. From what he could tell from his uniform, the major was in artillery.

"Sir." Adam and Lucia said at the same time, not saluting the major because they were in a warzone, despite being deep underground in a military base. The major keyed in a few commands onto his TACPAD, and a 3-D diagram of a few mass drivers and anti-aircraft guns built into a fortified bunker.

"These are one of our few anti-air and anti-ship assets in the city." The major noted. "In just a few hours, the Covies are planning to launch a full-scale assault on them. From what our recon drones tell us, their forces number just under two thousand infantry, in addition to armor support.

"You want us to reinforce the defenses on the place?" Adam asked.

"No. Colonel Shikata is confident that his men can repel the assault. I've sent one of my batteries to provide artillery support for the defenders. The major typed something else into the TACPAD, and a holographic representation of a large Covenant artillery piece appeared.

"Mega Turret." Adam muttered.

"You are familiar with this artillery piece then?" The major asked. "Good. Our AAA Guns are within range of this, but so far, the turrets being underground unless they have to fire have helped us a lot. However, we can be sure this will be used to support the assault." The major paused for a second, then continued. "Spartan, your mission is to ensure the Covenant end up bitching about the lack of artillery support during this assault." The Major paused, then continued. "They're jamming comms and sensors in the area, so its...difficult to hit it with our own artillery. We can't preform aerial recon because of all the Triple A in the area. So, we're sending you in to check it out."

"Why can't you call in orbital support to destroy the entire region?" Adam asked.

The Major laughed mirthlessly. "Son, I tried. But the fucking navy is spread so thin, we should be grateful if they can send us a postcard."

"I see." Adam said, then shrugged his shoulders. They could get the job done. "How do we get extracted?"

"After you take out the turret, just use your flares or smoke signals. We'll get a Pelican to pick you up."

"ASAP." The Major replied.

"We'll get suited up then." Adam replied.

"Good luck, Spartans."


The Pelican dropship dropped them off about 12 klicks off their target. It drew the attention of a Shade turret, but the Shade turret was persauded not to intervene with a couple of rounds from the heavy .50 cannon. The LZ was actually surprsingly quiet, if bloody. Broken bodies, both UNSC and Covenant littered the ground. Unlike the UNSC, the Covenant seldom bothered to bury the corpses of the enemies, instead leaving them to be burned when the orbital bombardment crews showed up. The activated their camoflage and crept towards their target, moving slowly.

"Grunts ahead." Lucia whispered. She pointed at a group of four grunts, all clearly bored enough to fall asleep. Adam drew his combat knife and stealthily killed all four in their sleep, and then moved on.

The region was, despite the fact that it was in Covenant-held territory, was surprsingly quiet. Other than the sleeping grunts and the Shade Turret that had fired on them, they hadn't seen any hostiles.

As if there to change Adam's mind, a Phantom dropship flew above them.

"Get down!" He hissed. Both Spartans lay flat on the ground, crawling slowly to a nearby alleyway. The Phantom flew off without even pausing, evidently not having seen the two Spartans.

As they got to three kilometers away from the Mega-Turret, the density of Covenant forces began to change. They could see, in the sky, the Mega Turret's deadly projectiles. Ahead, banshees patrolled the region, checking for teams of UNSC commandos on raids.

The two Spartans were crouched in another alley near a crossroads, observing a roadblock that blocked their way to the Mega-Turret. A squad of Jackals and two elites enforced the roadblock, with two plasma turrets being manned by grunts to back them up.

"Shade turret on the red apartment building's 6th floor balcony." Adam whispered, pointing at the Shade turret. The shade was clearly there to support the already impressive firepower the covenant at the roadblock could bring to bear on any attacker.

"We've got to just brute-force our way in." Lucia said, shaking her head. Adam nodden, and Lucia fired her sniper rifle at the grunt manning the shade turret. The jackals and grunts at the roadblocked yelped, and Lucia took advantage of that to take out the two plasma turrets. Adam stepped out and fired a few shots from his assault rifle at the jackals, who were recovering and getting into a protecive formmation.

Too little, too late. The grenade exploded, killing three jackals and leaving a hole in their phalanx. Adam took advantage of that, killing two more with shots from his assault rifle.

That just left the two elites. One of them charged recklessly at the two Spartan's positions and swiped at Adam with his plasma rifle. Adam dodged the attack and fired at point blank range. The elite staggered as his shield took the hits, saving his life.

Adam's assault rifle clacked empty. Without missing a beat, Adam pulled out his pistol and finished the elite, then reloaded his weapon.

The second elite took a more cautious approach, starting of by lobbing a plasma grenade. Adam and Lucia jumped out of the way and the elite fired his weapon. Plasma bolts whizzed over his head, and one grazed his thigh, melting a section off his armor but otherwise leaving him unharmed. Lucia fired a shot from her sniper rifle, exploding the elite's head.

The shootout had drawn the attention of other Covenant forces in the sector. A banshee dove down on them, and Lucia fired at it with her sniper rifle. Adam took another approach and manned one of the plasma turrets and fired on the banshee. The banshee took a few hits and began trailing smoke, and Lucia finished it with a sniper rifle shot to its side. The banshee exploded in mid-air and bits of molten metal crashed into the ground.

On the ground, a single elite, leading a squad of grunts charged towards them. Adam turned the plasma turret on the elite and quickly killed it, then turned his attention to the grunts, quickly killing them too.

"We gotta move!" Lucia shouted. Both Spartans took off, throwing stealth to the winds. Lucia shot a Jackal marksman in a balcony, and Adam stuck an elite with a captured plasma grenade. Leaving a trail of death and carnage, the two Spartans made it to the Mega Turret.

"Damn." Lucia whispered as the forces garrisoned there noticed them. A shade turret fired as the two Spartans ducked behind cover. Five grunts moved out to flush the Spartans out of cover, but were cut short by grenade. Lucia poked out and fired a pair of shots from her sniper rifle, taking out a plasma turret and an elite armed with a fuel rod cannon. Two elites moved forward, and Adam stepped out and fired away. Both elites ducked for cover, and Adam lobbed a plasma grenade which stuck to one elite's chest and exploded. The other elite opened fire again, but Adam dove behind cover and fired back, taking the elite out. He reloaded, then kept shooting away at the Covenant. Three grenades flew towards them, and the Spartans ran away from the large piece of debris they were using as cover. Lucia jumped inside a restaurant, while Adam took cover behind a burned out Wraith tank. He fired his assault rifle at a grunt, which staggered and fell, then gave the same treatment to the grunt's squadmates.

The remaining Covenant guarding the Mega Turret, consisting four elites that had avoided being killed through a combination of luck and skill took shelter inside the heavy artillery piece.

"Lets' go get them." Adam growled. He pulled out his captured energy sword-he'd been inside large Covenant artillery pieces before, and suspected the layout-small rooms, narrow corridors, ideal for CQB-were the same in the Mega Turret.

He was right. One elite ambushed him with his energy gauntlet, but Adam dodged the swipe and stuck his energy sword in the elite's chest. They ascendened to the upper levels with the firing control. Adam beheaded one elite, but a second one saw him and charged him, energy sword in hand. Lucia dropped him with the sniper rifle before he could get close.

The final elite was at the top level. He swiped at Adam with his energy sword, prompting Adam to duck and return the favor. Soon enough, both warriors were having a classic swordfight with their energy swords.

Adam kicked the elite in the groin. The elite staggered, and Adam went for the kill. The elite managed to parry at the last second, only to get tackled aside by Lucia. As the elite struggled to get Lucia off of him, Adam pluged his Energy Sword into the elite's neck.

"Mkay. Let's take this out." Lucia said with grim satisfaction.

"Wait. I don't think we should do that." Adam said. "Our extraction could take a while to arrive, and we would be stuck in here. We need to hold them off, perhaps see if we can repurpose this turret." Lucia nodded.

"We SHOULD plant the explosives first though. In case we get overrun, we can still blow this up."

"Give me the remaining explosives. You try to figure that-" Lucia pointed at the firing control board "-out."

As it turned out, the Covenant didn't put in much effort into electronic security. Adam took control of the Mega Turret, and then gazed at the viewscreens. He could see several of them providing him with what seemed to be live images from the air of the city. His suit's translation software was actually able to translate several of the glyphs on the viewscreens. The Mega Turret's control system was actually surprisingly simple, Adam thought.

It worked like this. There were several viewscreens, each showing live images of the city. He could cycle through the many, many, many views from the Covenant aerial or orbital surveillance craft. He could tap a glyph on the viewscreen to blast whatever was on the viewscreen.

Another screen allowed him to fire upon a set of listed co-ordinates. Adam ignored that one, and focused on cycling through the Covenant's aerial or orbal surveillance craft's images. He cycled through the images, pausing to blast unsuspecting Covenant troops. One of the viewscreens showed a Covenant comm's jammer. Adam looked at it for a second, then blasted it. As the viewscreen showed the comms jammer exploding a second after Adam tapped the glpyh his translation systems translated to "destroy", he suddenly was hit by a wave of radio traffic. An army unit said something about a wraith column, followed by what seemed to be an artillery team. Adam wondered if he had managed to get the comms jammer jamming communications near the Mega Turret.

"This is Seirra Three-oh-Nine, does anyone read me? Repeat-"

"Spartan! This is Oscar-562, we're headed to pick you up. Did you blow the comms jammer too?"

"Yes."

"Great. Um, listen. There are these gentlemen who are keeping us away with a rather impressive Shade turret. I was wondering-"

"Their coordinates?"

There was a pause, then the pilot rattled off a few numbers. Adam tapped them into a viewscreen, and he heard a boom in the distance.

"What the-Spartan, did you commandeer the Mega Turret?" The pilot asked.

"Yeah. We figured it would look like fun." Adam replied. "Seeing as the Covies like it so much..."

"Right. We're coming in fast. Get on and blow that thing up."

The Pelican swooped in, and both Spartans jumped inside. Lucia thumbed the detonator, and the Mega Turrret exploded, leaving nothing but scrap metal. Adam could see how convenient the timing of the Pelican was. A column of Wraiths were on the way to recapture the Mega Turret.

Operation Divine Son

1812 Hours, October 24, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
East of Galičica Mountain, Periphery of Continental Greece, Hellenic Republic

Dagger was nervous. Anyone would be. They were flying towards a the Covenant pylon. Below them, Steiner, Wong and Gary were driving the Grizzly. They weren't enough to fully crew it, and while Wong was part of an tank unit, he drove Scorpions. Steiner was infantry. It wasn't ideal, but if everything was, the UNSC wouldn't be making a final stand on Earth.

"We have a visual on the pylon." Norman called out. "Gary? Are you there yet?"

"We're there sir. Start giving us co-ordinates."

"Alright."

"There are two Shade turrets, just about a meter away from each other on that hill. I'm uploading the co-ordinates now." Janice noted. "They're the variant that shoots fuel rods, so you should get those first."

"Copy that. See anything else we should take note of?"

"There's a pair of hunters on that hill across of the two shade turrets. They're not doing anything at the moment you blast those shades, they will be. There are a few grunts with fuel rod cannons-I'll try to get most of them and two Revenants. There are three plasma turret on the actual pylon, with grunts manning them. Two more shades, not the fuel-rod variant at the base of the pylon."

"Right. Engaging shades...now." From up there, Norman could see the shade turrets explode in a blue and green fireball. The covenant, surprised by the explosion quickly began headed out to investigate. The pair of hunters were next, blasted apart by the 120mm round. The tank rolled into view, and the 12.7mm machine gun came to life, blasting away at the Covenant. He heard Janice firing away with her sniper rifle, trying to clear out as many grunts with fuel rods as she could. The majority of the Covenant were trying to get the Grizzly or get to cover, and so far, the Grizzly was doing well.

"Okay. They seem distracted. Janice, snipe the shade operators and then let's GO! Gary, start retreating." Norman ordered. There were two cracks from a sniper rifle, then.

"Done." Janice declared.

"More than happy to comply." Gary said.

Norman brought the Falcon on to the Covenant pylon, and Janice and Kevin jumped out. Kevin had a pack of C-12 on him, and he planted the explosive. A trio of elites, noticing the threat headed back towards the pylon and away from the retreating tank. Too little, too late Norman thought in satisfaction. He opened up with the Falcon's chain gun, killing the elites before they could do much.

"CLEAR!" Kevin shouted.

He evaded to shots from a fuel rod gun and killed the offending grunt. He then moved the Falcon to the pylon, where Gary and Janice jumped on board, and he flew out of there.

"Gary, have you broken off?"

"Yep. We've sustained minor damage, nothing a few spare parts won't be able to fix."

"Good."

There was an explosion from behind them, and the bottom part of the Pylon exploded, sending the top part falling towards the earth. Cheers rung out over the comm as they retreated back towards Kopis. Behind them, they left a scene of general chaos, with many dead Covenant and even more shocked. There was no way they could catch up to them on foot.

"I'm going to try to communicate outside of the region." Norman said, after a short while. He sent one up to FLEETCOM. "FLEETCOM, this is SPARTAN-G124. Can you hear us?" No response. He tried two more times, then gave up.

"Didn't work, did it?" Gary asked.

"Nope."

"The bastards probaly have redundant systems. You know, just incase a ragtag team of army and Spartan super soldiers decide to blow one of their pylons up." Janice commented.

"Well, they sure knew what they were doing." Gary said gloomily.

"Well, we didn't exactly do NOTHING." Kevin pointed out. "If they were guarding it, they definitely wanted it to stay up. And we took it down."

"Yeah, but now the Covies will be all over our asses now." Corporal Steiner pointed out. "Since we can't call for help, we either did nothing, or pissed off the Covenant enough that we're even more screwed that before."

The rest of the trip back to Kopis, or what remained of it, was made in silence. As the Falcon touched down, Crewman Lane, obviously jittery from having to hold down the fort all on his own, was there to greet them.

"How did it go?" He asked.

"Fine. We destroyed our target, but communications out of the region are still jammed. They must have redundant jammers in case one of their jammers gets destroyed."

"Well that sucks." Lane muttered."


2012 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Outskirts of Thermopylae, Periphery of Continental Greece, Hellenic Republic


Ultra Domo Jara 'Karumee could not believe his eyes, putting it mildly. Enormous pieces of debris littered the ground from what remained of the corvettes.

"By the gods." He whispered. "The demons...they will pay for this." He growled. Thousands dead. I would have been among them too. He thought quietly.

"Excellency." Major Domo Pala 'Moramee said. "What shall we do now?"

"We shall first make contact with the nearest barrack. I believe that is the Fortress of Eternal Devotion-to the north."

"Very good, Excellency. Shall we depart-"

"Now. We cannot waste any more time." Both elites climbed back in the banshees and took off, flying towards the Fortress.

Their trip was completed in a few hours. Once they were within range, Jara sent a message to the Fortress.

"Fortress of Eternal Devotion, this is Ultra Domo Jara 'Karumee. I bring grave news. The Fervent Admiration and the other ships in its battle cluster were destroyed by the humans."

There was a pause, and then he got a reply.

"By the Gods! Do you know what destroyed them?"

"No. We were away on a patrol when the attack happened. We were informed about the attack, but shortly after, we lost contact. After investigating, we found remains from the ships, although suspiciously little."

"One moment, excellency. Field Master 'Lazarmee wishes to speak with you. You are cleared for landing at landing pad 15. You will be directed to the field master afterwards."

"Thank you."


'Lazarmee was an impressive commander. He had served in several campaigns throughout the war, and was known among his troops for his skill with the blade, and also as a relentless hunter of enemy troops.

Pala was not allowed to speak with the field master, and was required to wait outside 'Lazarmee's quarters while Jara made his report. After Jara finished, 'Lazarmee spent several seconds in thought, then after a while, spoke.

"Interesting...the infidels HAVE been busy..."

"Excellency?"

"We have recently suffered a string of attacks, only a unit ago. We lost contact with several units and air patrols. We suspect attacks from human insurgents. It...surprises me to know they have been so successful at resisting occupation in your sector. But the armada IS, after all, full of warriors that use their ships to fight for them because their own strength is not great enough."

Jara fought the urge to hide his anger. "What are you getting at, Excellency?"

"Now that your previous post has been effectively decimated, you will assist us. You say you were searching for teams of these demons. You will continue your search here.

Norman-123 09:50, April 11, 2011 (UTC)

47: Special Delivery

3:24 Hours, October 27, 2552 (Military Calender)

Gotenba, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan


Mikiya Ryougi's Falcon Gunship flew towards a high-rise apartment building in Gotenba, along with the rest of his squadron.

"This is the 24th Attack VTOL squadron", Mikiya said into the radio, "We are inbound to provide supplies and support."

"Excellent, we've been holed up in this apartment, fighting off wave after wave in this building and are low on ammo.", a UNSC soldier replied, "Drop the supplies on the rooftop".

"Roger", Lt. Satou replied.

Satou's Falcon's ordnance bay was loaded with three resupply canisters instead of the usual missile loadout, leaving him only with the Argent missiles he carried on his wings, the twin M41 LAAGs in the forward weapon mount, and the nose-mounted SPARTAN Laser. There was also one other Falcon, Hayabusa three, that carried a reduced armament in exchange for a large flat portable armory under the fuselage.

The three supply canisters and the portable armory were dropped onto the room. The soldiers manning the defensive position in the apartment, a group of UNSC Army troops and militia, walked over to the landed supply canisters and opened them, removing a number of BR-55 and MA5B rifles, some with grenade launchers, an SRS 99 sniper rifle, a pair of M41 dual-purpose missile launchers, even a SPARTAN Laser, and a large supply of ammunition for all the weapons.

"Arigato", a militia soldier said through the radio, "These weapons should help us hold out until reinforcement arrive from Camp Fuji."

At that moment, Plasma mortar rounds started flying through the air, exploding in balls of blue flames.

"We have sighted three Wraiths, about a click to the southwest", Mikiya said to the UNSC in the building, "We'll handle these guys.

Mikiya turned his aircraft toward the lead Wraith and Aoi Miyazaki locked on an fired a Scorpion missile. The alien vehicle explode in a ball of flames, a fate that the second and third Wraiths soon joined in, struck by a second missile from Aoi and Satou' LASER, respectively.

"Threat neutralized", Mikiya said through the radio.

"Nice shooting, Hayabusa", The civilian militiaman on the radio said, "We've got about a dozen of Ghosts and Brute Choppers inbound from the east, near the station, supported by about five Wraiths and two Locusts".

Mikiya and Hayabusa Five flew towards the Wraiths and Locusts. Aoi fired off three Scorpion ATGWs, taking out two Wraiths as Hayabusa Five fired off a couple more missiles, finishing off the last of the Wraiths as a 102mm missile from the infantry in the apartment took out the remaining Locust.

Meanwhile, the Brute Choppers, Ghosts, and other light vehicles had gotten in range of the UNSC troops on the building and were firing their guns up a the troops inside. The UNSC infantry replied with rockets and machine gun fire. One by one, the Covenant vehicles fell to heavy gunfire, exploding in balls of blue flames.

Mikiya's radio crackled to life, "This UNSC Army 205th Armored platoon from Camp Fuji, ETA at your location, five minutes".

"Acknowledged, 205th", the civilian militiaman replied, "We'll hold the line until you get here."

As the UNSC soldier spoke, more Locusts, supported by a pair of Gorgon AA walkers, about a dozen of them, walked over the wreckage of destroyed buildings. The Covenant walkers charged up their cannons and fired at the apartment block. A chunk of concrete was blown off the side of the building.

"Is anyone alive downthere", Mikiya asked into his radio, "Affirmative", the civilian militiaman on the radio said, "Only about three dead, a few wounded."

"We'll call in evac bird as soon as we hold off this attack.", Mikiya said.

As Mikiya spoke, the two Gorgon walkers opened up with their heavy Needler turrets. Mikiya had to fly behind the apartment to avoid getting hit.

"We can't help you with those Locusts until I deal you deal with those Gorgons", Mikiya said.

"Already on it", the militiaman replied, as a SPARTAN Laser shot streaked across the sky, melting straight through the top turret of the Gorgon, sending it up in blue flames. The second Covenant AA walker was destroyed when two 102mm anti-tank missiles struck the top.

As soon as the AA was taken out, Mikiya and the rest of the Hayabusa squadron sprung into action. Scorpion missiles and laser fire blew apart one Locust after another. But the battle was not over yet. A Scarab stepped over the wreckage of destroyed structures and vehicles, towards the UNSC position.

"All units", the commander of the UNSC troops in the building said over the radio, "Focus laser and rocket fire on the Scarab's legs."

M41s and the lone laser on the apartment towers blazed. A massive fireball engulfed the forward left leg of the Scarab. It fell to it's knees as the snipers in the tower picked off Covenant troops on the deck. Hayabusa three and four hit the vehicle's AA turret with a barrage of ANVIL missiles, disabling the gun.

The main gun, however remained, and was preparing to charge. Mikiya flew his Falcon gunship around the back of the Scarab and hovered in front of the rear plating. Aoi Miyazaki fired a Scorpion missile at the rear plating, blowing it clean off, exposing the power core. Mikiya fired a pair of LAU-65 missiles into the core. Blue flames erupted from the sides of the Scarab as Mikiya backwards, away from the doomed walker. The walker exploded in a bright flash of blue flames.

A few minutes later, the UNSC armor showed up. Mikiya and the rest of the squadron flew off as casualties from the battle were loaded into the back of a Cougar APC. FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

48: Fallen Brothers

Operation: DIVINE SON

0904 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calender)/
Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

Wheatley let his face fall into his hands. Despite his best efforts, the hospital’s radio systems had gone dead. The circuits and wires running to the transmitter on the roof were just to damaged, and within minutes of trying to send a signal, had fried and become useless entirely.

There was little chance anyone had heard the short burp of static he’d sent, and even if they had heard it, they wouldn’t know what it meant or likely where it even came from. At that moment, in the dark radio room, Wheatley felt like he was the only human soldier in all the world, and not capable of saving anyone on his own.

The moment passed. He’d learned long ago, before even the Covenant found Harvest, that there were days like these. And there was no good in moping around, wallowing in self-pity when there was work to be done.

Standing back up and returning to the console, he kicked a medical supply box into a place where he could use it as a place to sit, and started typing commands. Thebes’ Superintendent was still online and connected, he’d glean all the information he could from it to start.

“Bring up all security, emergency, and traffic cameras showing activity.”

SuperintendentWith pride. Vyrant-Telecom is your eye in the sky.

“What are you doing?” Reo asked, sitting behind him. With his mind so intensely focused, Wheatley would have liked one of the cheap soldier-brand cigarettes just to keep the rest of his body and subconscious busy, but didn’t have a lighter or the willingness to indulge on a long-dead habit. Instead, he shifted his attention between the dozen video feeds that the Super pulled up.

There were bank and office cams spread across the city showing packs of scavenging Jackals that had abandoned the Covenant force to loot, not surprising. There was even a Brute kill team prowling around, but they were in the streets almost on the other side of the city. No immediate danger.

“Super, can you get anything from outside through landlines?”

SuperintendentApologies. All lanes free of traffic.

Was there nothing, no one out there? Well, maybe he could at least set things up, so that when someone did arrive, there would be a place to start. "See if you can reach some of the other Superintendents. Get us a better picture of what's happening."

It took a few minutes, but five screens popped up showing different places around Greece, each with varying amounts of static. One he recognized as the village he, Reo, and Henri had been hiding in, and one read as somewhere near Athens, but the rest he couldn't identify. Maybe if he could find some landmarks . . .

An alarm suddenly screamed electronically, and the Superintendent drew up one of the Thebes monitor cameras. Wheatley saw he'd found movement. A steady stream of Jackals, armed with shields, pistols, and carbines, headed straight for them. The radios would have to wait.

He retrieved his battle rifle, and set the spare clips into place on his belt. As he checked the ammo counter, it was unsettling how unfamiliar it felt. He'd spent more than twenty years on the blood tray of Bravo 029. He hadn't been in a firefight for a long time. Wheatley hoped it was like riding a bicycle.

There was one more thing he had to do. Pulling the M6/SOCOM he'd taken from the body of the ODST, he checked the safety, and turned to Reo. He took her wrist and put the grip in her hand. She was trembling slightly. "If they get in here," he told her, overriding any chance of protest, "use it."

Then he left, hurrying to find the two marines outside and dig in. Three on thirty were bad odds.

The odds never had been in his favor.


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1156 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki Ward, Tokyo, Japan

Solid pavement trembled under the massive weight of a four-legged behemoth. Whereas they had been choked in the tight streets of New Mombasa, here on Japan’s massive superhighways the refitted excavation walkers had a convenient mode of transportation and readily used it.

From directly below, you could look up at its smooth armored hull and as the legs crumbled polycrete, its carapace seemed separate from them and passed low overhead, like a shark floating over a reef in search of its next meal.

Ignoring what seemed to be another cluster of abandoned commuter cars, the shadow of the Scarab passed over like an intangible wave of evil energy, blotting out the sun wherever it went. Then, just as quickly, it moved on and mercifully left this place intact.

As it continued on, in its wake something moved. Kodiak and Dyne deactivated the cloaks of their SPI armor, got to their feet, and kept going in the opposite direction.

Jogging up beside Kodiak and swinging his new battle rifle in the cradle of his arms, Dyne exhaled in relief. “Whew! Look at the size of those things! Nothing like the hologram models.”

“Yep. That’s because you’re up close and not looking at it from the top down. Air support will probably bring it down soon, if they can maintain air superiority.” Kodiak decided not to look back all the same. As if the size and armor of it wasn’t bad enough, it was bristling with plasma turrets and could hold two infantry squads. Not to mention the main gun. “And they’re relying on us to get the anti-air guns online to keep that superiority. So let’s be less in awe of the Covenant and move faster.”

“Right.” Dyne reactivated his cloak and moved ahead, his outline blurring in the shadows of Kawasaki’s industrial complexes.

Kodiak was content to take it slow. This was far from an urgent mission if what Lieutenant Coney had said was true. They had been resupplied at Ryu Base, taking what they wanted from a small armory cache. Most of it was Marine gear rather than Navy or Army, as they had usually used, but Dyne was content with the BR-55HB and M7 SMGs. Kodiak had taken an older MA5B, which felt substantially heavier to him and slower even if the 60-round mags were a plus. An M6G was on his thigh, and he’d even swiped a suppressed M7 when the ODST guards weren’t looking. It wasn’t much, but the Spartan-IIIs had decided to travel light.

It had quickly become apparent to Kodiak and Dyne that Kawasaki was not a nice neighborhood.

This portion of the Tokyo megalopolis had long been dominated by industry. Shadows fell from the silent towers of oil and chemical plants, and despite constant street cleaning by sanitation and automated crews, residue had settled over everything. Pollutants and organized crime had made these streets empty long before the Covenant invaded, but in the face of invasion even they were gone, not willing to risk their lives looking for something of use among the buildings.

Just the kind of place a Spartan-III could get used to.

In the shadows with black walls as backdrops, the SPI suits hid them much better than in the forests on Onyx. A number of Jackal scouts had found that out too late.

“Marcus would have had a heyday here.” Dyne said as they came within range of their target. “Nothing but empty buildings and to hell with collateral damage . . . he’d be like me on a shooting range.”

Today, his vocalized thoughts went unanswered. Kodiak was thinking about Sepia, and to a lesser extent Marcus, Sam, and other Gammas. Especially troubling was her claim of hearing voices. The Spartan-IIIs were practically invulnerable to shock, but that gave rise to another possibility. Maybe Gamma Company’s experimental augmentations were having side effects. It worried him a lot more than simple shellshock could have.

Maybe it was better not to dwell on it. The target was in sight. He and Dyne were already hidden, but moved behind the cover of a parked car just in case. Kodiak raised his hand to the side of his helmet and tried to hail anyone in the giant Elephant troop transport.

“Ion Team Leader to M312-TT Blue-Three, come back . . . Ion to Blue-Three, respond.”

No answer. The giant tracked vehicle stayed put where it sat in the middle of the street. Only the far-off gunfire sounded.

Dyne shifted, and lay prone at the bumper, using his rifle’s scope to get a closer view.

“Ion Team hailing any immediate friendly forces. Anyone hear this?”

There was still nothing. Then Dyne said, unsure, “Kodiak, check the body out in front of the Elephant.”

Glancing at the marksman, he activated the binoculars in his HUD, and zoomed in on the still form, clad in black . . .

“Oh, no.” Kodiak resisted the urge to break cover, and asked, “Area clear?”

“Looks like it. Can’t be sure yet.”

It was good enough. He broke cover, running out toward the vehicle. It was a stupid thing to do, running out into the open with no cover. But the still SPI suit demanded attention.

Kodiak kneeled by the body, checking with his hand for a pulse as Dyne stood nearby, checking the area with his rifle. There was no pulse. He cursed quietly and stood back up, walking around. He keyed his com. “Ion-1 to overseer, come in.”

The answer came after a brief moment. “Ion-1, we have you.”

“Coney, you neglected to mention that you had lost contact with a Spartan team.” The light burst of static gave him a moment to recompose, standing still as he waited.

“Information is on a need-to-know basis. Most special forces teams deployed here are to have as little contact as possible. But I didn’t know about them either.”

She disconnected the link from her end. Kodiak looked at Dyne, who was now on one knee next to the body. “Who is it?” he asked. “Gamma?”

Dyne drew a set of aluminum tags and paused. “Negative. Alpha.” Kodiak allowed himself a sigh of relief. Dyne continued. “Brutto-A068. Weren’t they all supposed to be killed in PROMETHEUS?”

“Yeah . . .” Kodiak said absent-mindedly. Then another thought hit him. “Dyne . . . it’s Brutto. Corporal Brutto.”

Behind his visor, Dyne’s mouth must have hung open as he got the implication. Corporal Brutto had been a DI on Onyx, one of Alpha Company’s washouts. He and the other washout trainers were particularly vicious, having plenty of reason to spite the Gammas. Dyne looked back at the SPI helmet. “So Ambrose really did get the rest of Alpha Company deployed after all.”

“Search the transport.” Kodiak said, and Dyne immediately hopped up on ‘the front porch’ of the Elephant’s lower deck and disappeared from view. After searching the vehicle over, they pulled two other SPI-clad bodies out and laid them on the sidewalk.

From how they’d been lying, Kodiak guessed the other male had been firing one of the mounted turrets when a plasma bolt had hit him square in the chest, melting his tags with it. Sonya-A482 had been at the control console, and appeared to have been stabbed by an energy sword and left there. Brutto must have been removed from the heavy vehicle before being executed. The bruise around his neck suggested a garrote.

“Who . . .” Dyne stopped himself. Nothing else needed saying. No ordinary Covenant warrior could bring down a Spartan team, not even a group of them. If a Spartan was outmatched, they fell back and regrouped, but these three must have been ambushed. It didn’t bode well.

Kodiak had relayed the two known names and numbers to Coney. The tags stayed where they were. “We’ll come back.” He said. “With Sepia. We’ll find out who did this. And then we’ll get some payback.”

But at the moment, they had places to be. Kodiak took the Elephant’s controls, and Dyne got aboard the turret. The AA guns needed to be set up. But there would be plenty of time later on.


Operation: HOLY FATHER

0438 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sydney, Australia,

Hunter threw himself out of the way as more artillery came down. It washed the side of a building in blue light, and sent it crumbling down into the street. The ODSTs of Task Force Oscar and Australia’s few Army Troops scattered as heavy chunks of debris came down.

“Mitch!” he heard Kevlar yell, and he raised an arm to let him know he was still alive.

The Covenant attack force was falling back, preferring to shell them out against another ground assault. Maybe it had just been a front while they got the cannons into place. No matter. As the fighting went on, he had heard a squadron of Fox guns were moving into position for counterattack.

The Grunt infantry they’d abandoned to cover the retreat was more of a problem.

It wasn’t that they were quality fighters, hell, an ODST could take on a squad or two by himself and come out without a scratch, but these were panicked, and had enough explosives to take out a squad in the right place.

And the troopers who had been repelling the assault were now scattered. In the road beyond Mitch and his squad’s barricade, men trying to fall back were running right into suicide Grunts. His own squad was more than halved, and one was wounded. Kevlar was frantically trying to keep pressure on one man’s stomach, all the while explosions shaking the ground around him.

When would morning come? Mitch’s thoughts drifted, and he realized he’d last watched a sunrise . . . maybe Sigma Octanus? That had been before even Reach. He wished he’d paid more attention to those little things if he and his unit were all going to die now.

A hand appeared in his vision. Looking up from where he sat, he found himself looking up at a Staff Sergeant. “Come on!” he was shouting. “Help us lay down a suppressing fire or those people are screwed!”

Mitch grabbed the hand and felt himself hauled to his feet. He nodded at the man, then wheeled around and leveled his battle rifle. More ODSTs joined him and Dansen and Kevlar, and as SSgt. Stanley called out shots, the troopers set up firing zones and looked after the Helljumpers falling back. Any time a Covie got too close, a quick burst or rifle fire or a sniper round put it down quick.

“We need to hold the line!” the Staff Sergeant was yelling. “Shortswords are targeting the artillery, but we need to keep the infantry from making another charge!”

And they held it. After ten minutes, the Grunts stopped lighting grenades and began taking potshots with pistols and needlers. In twenty, Jackals showed up to try pushing forward, only to be pushed back by grenades.

After twenty-five minutes of solid fighting, everything was quiet. Above them, the tops of buildings were glowing in the pre-dawn light. And in the shadows of the high-rises, the ODSTs stood fast.

The air was cool, Mitch could feel that through his bodysuit. Dew was collecting in his scope’s glass lens, and presently he wiped it off with his thumb, when heavy boot steps approached from behind. Mitch turned his head, and then forced himself up from where he’d been laying for the past half-hour. A Lieutenant Colonel had come out to join them.

He and Stanley stood and saluted, and the LC returned it. “Staff Sergeant. Corporal. Are you two the squad leaders that responded?”

“That’s affirmative, sir.” Mitch reported.

He nodded. “Lieutenant Colonel Zanovich, XO of Task Force Oscar. Your squads are being relieved here. You have a bit of rest, Colonel Perez wants to speak to you at the command post. Hop to it, then.”

“Yes, sir.” They replied, and the two beleaguered squads pulled their equipment off the sandbags as other troopers took their places. They’d fought hard to earn this bit of territory, and they didn’t feel too keen just letting someone else take it, but after last night a bit of R&R seemed enticing. They moved out toward the building, hoping to find out what would be their next move.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 01:24, April 14, 2011 (UTC)

49: The Final Ascent

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

845 Hours, October 27th 2552 (Local Time) Mountain Lodge Sohroku, Northern Japanese Alps, Japan


Keiichi Ryukishi and Rena Sonozaki sat on a picnic table outside Mountain Lodge Sohroku, a lodge built in a gap between to mountain peaks in the Northern Japanese Alps. They had abandoned their system of nighttime travel as they were so high in the mountain- there weren't likely to be any Covenant here. on the other side of the gap, they could see a ravine that lead down into a steep walled canyon cut into the side of the mountains, and beyond that, the UNSC controlled valley.

Suddenly, they heard the sound of aircraft engines, not the engines of a Covenant Banshee or Phantom, but the sound of the rotors of a UNSC Falcon tiltrotor.

"Look!", Rena said, pointing at the aircraft.

"It looks like its landing on near that mountain, Yarigadake according to the map.", Keiichi replied, "I think there's a mountain lodge like this one near the summit."

Keiichi picked up his DMR, increasing the zoom of the scope to five time. He could see the lodge clearly, the Falcon was offloading troops. Keiichi put down his DMR before the troops caught site of him- he didn't want to shot by his own side- and turned to Rena.

"There are UNSC troops holding the lodge on Yarigatake. It'll be a shorter trip than going down that canyon, even if it is uphill", Keiichi said.

A few minutes later, Keiichi and Rena had refilled their water bottles in one of the patches of snow that lay scattered around the lodge and slung their supplies over their backs and started along the trail to the summit of Yarigatake.


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT 1005 Hours, October 27th 2552 (Local Time)

Near the summit of Yarigatake, Northern Japanese Alps, Japan

After a couple of hours of climbing, Keiichi and Rena neared the final ascent to the the jagged peak of Yarigatake. The name was appropriate, coming from the mountain's resemblance to the point of a spear or yari thrust up into into the sky.

The two survivors climbed up the winding trail up to the summit, breathing heavily in the thin air, they were nearing 3000 meters above sea level, and by the time they reached the lodge they would be at an elevation of about 3,072 meters - 10,080 feet above sea level. As they neared the summit, a UNSC soldier walked down to meet them.

Keiichi and Rena put down their weapons and waved at the UNSC soldier, as Keiichi yelled "Over here!", first in Japanese, then in English. As the soldier, an Army Sergeant of Japanese ancestry whose name tag identified him as "Matsuda".

"You two okay?", Matsuda asked as he drew within a few feet of them.

"Yeah", Keiichi said, his breath hanging as a mist in the cold air, "We're fine".

The two of themselves gave a brief introduction to Matsuda, and stated that they had escaped from Shirakawa. When Keiichi got to their exploits in Kamioka, Matsuda said, "That was you guys!? I saw that explosion from here!"

Before Keiichi or Rena could respond, the sound of Covenant aircraft engines filled the air. Several Phantoms and Spirits flew in from the east. Most of them headed in towards the lodge, a Banshee broke off from them, flying in for a strafing run.

The nearest cover was a boulder several meters away, there was no way Keiichi, Rena, or Matsuda would make it in time. Instead, Keiichi grabbed the DMR from the ground and switched the attached M456 grenade launcher to "proximity" detonation.

Keiichi aimed in the general direction of the alien aircraft and squeezed the trigger three times, sending three 25mm grenade rounds flying at the target. The grenades exploded around the aircraft like flak shells, one of them blow off a wing and sending the tail up in blue flames.

The Banshee went into a "death spiral" and slammed into the mountain side, exploding as it impacted the slope.

"Nice shooting, I can see how you made this far alive", Matsuda said, as he sprinted up the remainder of the mountainside, Keiichi and Rena in his wake. As Keiichi and Rena reached the lodge, a wooden structure with a red metal roof, M41 LAAGs, LAU-65 missiles, and infantry armed with M41 SSM missile launchers opened fire on the Covenant aerial convoy. Banshees fell out of the sky, perforated by 12.7mm rounds or blown out of the air by surface to air missiles as Spirits and Phantoms were blown apart by missile impacts.

The surviving Covenant aircraft replied, firing plasma cannons and fuel rod shots at the lodge. Several UNSC soldiers fell as plasma bolts burned through their bodies. Matsuda ran to a LAU-65 turret whose operator had been killed and mounted the launcher position, firing off three missiles, which impacted a Spirit and blew away the center of the aircraft, blowing it in half.

Matsuda took down a Phantom and a few Banshees before a hail of Needler rounds impacted him. Keiichi and Rena looked on in horror as the pink-colored spikes imbedded in his body exploded, sending chunks of mangled flesh everywhere. The source of the Needler fire quickly became apparent. The surviving Phantoms and Spirits were retreating, having deployed a large number of Elite Rangers and Drones, who flew towards the lodge using grav-packs and, in the case of the Drones, their insectoid wings.

Rena raised the beam rifle she had been carrying since they left Shirakawa and squeezed the trigger, firing two shots at the alien "jetpack troops" before the battery ran out. Rena tossed away the empty alien weapon and pulled out the M6C SOCOM pistol they found off the dead UNSC soldier. Rena's pistol fire took down a few Drones that were getting in too close, buying her enough time to get out the Covenant Needler she kept in her backpack and open fire. A drone exploded from multiple needle impacts as Rena yelled "How do you like it!"

At the same time, snipers on the peak of Yarigatake proper fired on the Sangheili Rangers, picking off a few of them with well-aimed shots as the LAAGs opened up, taking down several more of the alien troops.

Keiichi took aim at the lead drone in the formation with his DMR and pulled the trigger. The drone fell from the sky as the bullet shot through the insect-like alien. Keiichi then fired off several more shots, downing more drones as the UNSC infantry picked off the rest.

The drones were down, but the Elites remained. About 12 Sangheili landed near the lodge, plasma rifles and energy swords in hand. A UNSC soldier raised an M90 shotgun and stuck it in the face of an Elite that tried to lunge at him with an energy sword. The shotgun blast blew away the alien's face and dropped it to the floor. The soldier fired off several more shots, taking down a few more Elites, before being stuck down by a plasma bolt.

An Elite turned to Keiichi and Rena, plasma rifle raised. Keiichi set his DMR to full auto and pulled the trigger. The Elite's energy shield stood up the barrage of fire for a short period of time, before the bullets pierced the Sangheili's chest. The alien fell to the ground.

As Keiichi loaded another magazine into his rifle. As he did, an Elite with and energy sword ran in behind him. The Sangheili, however, did not notice Rena, who activated her own energy sword and stabbed the Elite in the back, impaling it. The Sangheilli fell to its knees and dropped to the ground, face first. As Rena ran toward Keiichi, a second Elite went for Rena, intent on avenging its comrade.

"Behind you!", Keiichi yelled.

Rena turned on the spot, swinging her sword as she went. The plasma blade sliced the Sangheilli clean in two, sending purple alien blood everywhere.

However, as Rena's attacker fell, two Banshees came in for a second pass. The lead Banshee fired a fuel rod cannon round, which exploded between Keiichi and Rena, sending them flying.

"Am I dead?", Keiichi though as he blinked. He was not dead, but he might not have long left. A shot from a sniper on the peak of Yarigatake proper took down an Elite rounding on Rena, but the sniper was himself killed by a Sanghieli sniper. As the sniper fell, Keiichi realized where he was: near the edge of a cliff, with an Elite, armed with an energy blade standing over him.

"I have not come this far to die now!", Keiichi yelled, kicking the alien in the chest with both legs. The Elite fell backwards, off the cliff, falling a straight drop of about 25 meters, before rolling several hundred meters down a slope of about 70 degree. The Sangheilli was no doubt dead, but there were still those Banshees to worry about.

As Keiichi got up, he heard the whooshing sound of a flying missile, followed by a deafening boom. The Banshee overhead exploded. The second on met a similar fate as a UNSC Army Aviation Hornet flew in over head, strafing the surviving Elites with it's M41 machine guns, being careful to avoid hitting the surviving UNSC troops and landing next to the lodge.

"Rena!", Keiichi asked, "Are you okay?".

"I'm fine", she responded as the UNSC VTOL landed.

The Hornet pilot opened the cockpit window and said, "You the two civy survivors I heard about on the radio?", the pilot asked.

"Yeah", Keiichi replied.

"Climb aboard", the pilot said,"And make sure you out on your seatbelts, I don't want you falling off the jumpseats."

Keiichi and Rena climbed aboard the jumpseat of the Hornet and buckled the seatbelts attached to the bottom of the Jumpseat platform.

The Hornet took off, flying away as a Falcon appeared in the distance to send more reinforcements to the battered defenders of the outpost of Yarigatake. Below them, Keiichi and Rena looked on at the snow-capped peak or Yarigatake and the rest of the Japanese Alps, where they had been just moments ago.

"It's actually quite pretty up here", Rena said, "Shame we can't enjoy it because of this war."

"That's what the we're fighting to protect. That's what those men back there died for. I think after I rest for a bit, I might join the militia. I won't let their loss be in vain.", Keiichi said.

"I'm coming with you", Rena said, "I'll stay by your side no matter what we go through.

At that, Rena and Keiichi looked into each others' eyes for several seconds, before they embraced each other, their lips pressing together in a passionate kiss.

A few minutes later, the Hornet had landed in the city of Matsumoto. Keiichi and Rena climbed off jumpseat and climbed aboard a Transport Warthog that was headed into town.


5:37 Hours, October 27, 2552 (Military Calender)

Residential area, Shinagawa, Tokyo , Japan

Street to Street


ODST Lieutenant James Basilone knelt behind the chest-high side wall of a rooftop deck of a narrow four-story row house, in a now deserted residential area in the Shinagawa Ward of Tokyo. The Covenant had been halted in Shibuya, but Covenant forces coming up the shore of Tokyo Bay had rolled through the Kawasaki Ward and now, they were here, fighting entrenched UNSC forces in the narrow streets of this residential neighborhood. The narrow streets were only barely wide enough to drive a car along, so the Covenant had difficulty deploying their armored forces in the streets. Instead, they were sending in infantry supported by Revenant Light Assault Gun Carriages.

As Basilone lay in wait for a coming Covenant Assault, thought of the irony of his position. One of his distant ancestors had fought against the Japanese in the Second World War and died in the Battle of Iwo Jima. And now, here he was, fighting to protect the very people one of his ancestors fought against.... and the rest of humanity from an enemy that no one in the time of his ancestors could have imagined, an enemy from the depths of space.

Basilone was brought back to reality by a voice in his radio, the voice of a female ODST of Japanese ancestry named Kirie Tomoe, who was currently in an abandoned school at the end of the street. "I have sighted a group of Covies in the streets below, looks like about a dozen Brutes with twice as many Grunts, two Revenants".

"Roger", Basilone replied, "Engage on my mark..... Now, all units fire at will!".

Kirie's SRS-99 sniper rifle roared as it sent a 14.5mm round through the head of a Brute Chieftain, dropping him to the ground as an ODST named Zhang raised an M41 SSM anti-armor missile launcher and fired both 102mm missiles at the Revenants. The rockets exploded, sending up both of the alien vehicles and a few surrounding troops up in ball of flames.

Basilone stood up from behind the wall and fired his M247 GPMG into the crowd of Brutes and Grunts below him. The hail of 7.62mm rounds made mincemeat of three Brutes and several Grunts, staining the pavement with alien blood. Basilone's fire was joined by several ODSTs with MA5Bs and BR55s, a mounted AIE-486 machine gun, an M511 Multi-Shot Grenade Launcher, and several more rounds from Kirie Tomoe's sniper rifle. The overwhelming firepower mowed down every last one of the alien attackers.

As Basilone finished changing the belt on his machine gun, he felt the ground shake. A Covenant Scarab Assault Walker climbed over the top of a five story apartment complex at the other end of the street, crushing the structure under its massive metal feet. The Scarab began to charge its main plasma cannon.

"Scarab!", Kirie Tomoe yelled through the radio, "Take cover!"

Before Basilone could take cover, the Scarab fired its main gun, sending a stream of glowing green plasma at the building in which Kirie stood. The beam of superheated plasma impacted the structure, blasting aside concrete, setting fire to wood and melting steel. The structure collapsed in a cloud of smoke and dust.

"Tomoe! Misaka!, respond immediately, repeat, respond immediately.", Basilone yelled into his radio.

He heard only silence in response.

"Lieutenant", Sergeant Zhang asked, "Do we retreat?!"

"Retreat?!", Basilone responed, "Hell no! Get your rocket launcher ready, we're gonna take that fucker out! Go for its legs."

Zhang fired his M41 missile launcher at the Covenant walker's legs. The ATGWs exploded on the vehicle's leg joint, immobilizing it.

"Everyone", Basilone ordered, "Attack now!".

Basilone grabbed his machine gun and raised it to his hip, firing at the Brutes and Grunts on top of the walker as he ran from rooftop to rooftop, towards the alien war machine. Bullets struck down the Unggoy and Jiralhanae on the top deck as Basilone and the rest of his squad reached the side of the Scarab.

Basilone jumped from the rooftops onto the Scarab and swept his machine gun across the to deck, mowing down any surviving Covenant as the rest of the squad climbed aboard. James Basilone walked along the side of the Scarab, past the now dead Unggoy gunner of the side plasma turret.

Suddenly, three Brutes, including a Chieftain armed with a gravity hammer climbed up from the lower deck, followed by several Grunts. Basilone aimed his GPMG at them, but heard only the click of an empty chamber. Having no time to change his ammo belt, Basilone grabbed the light plasma autocannon mounted on the side of the Scarab and lifted it to his hip as the Brutes rounded on his ODST comrades.

Basilone raised the alien heavy weapon and squeezed the trigger. A hail of blue bolts of burning plasma flew at the Covenant troops, disabling shields and burning through flesh. The Brute Chieftain turned to Basilone just in time to see him send a plasma bolt right at his face, dropping him to the floor face-first to join the rest of the fallen Covenant infantry.

Basilone dropped the heavy plasma cannon and picked up his light machine gun, slinging it over his shoulder as he got out an M9 HEDP fragmentation grenade. "All units clear the area", he said into the radio, I'm gonna blow the Scarab, over".

Basilone activated the grenade and tossed it into the small room at the back of the Scarab that housed the core. Basilone jumped of the side of the Scarab as the grenade exploded, killing the Lekgolo worms that operated the machine and destablizing the plasma core. Alarms went off in the Scarab as Basilone and the rest of the ODST squad sprinted along the rooftops.

Once he was several rooftops away, Basilone turned and watched the Scarab explode in a spectacular blue fireball.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

50: Downside

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1220 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Miura Peninsula, Tokyo, Japan

The Elephant’s heavy treads would have crushed anything in their path. But here, like everywhere else, the streets were empty where the main Covenant force had yet to occupy – or glass. The silence felt tense to Kodiak, like there was an ambush waiting for them like the Spartan team they’d found dead at every intersection. He was glad to be in the reinforced steel cabin of the troop transport, the motor whine of Dyne’s turret swiveling breaking the tedium.

Kodiak liked the feel of big vehicles like this. Too much armor for a Wraith to crack, and a ridiculous horsepower rating. As Stacker liked to say, with enough diesel fuel you could move anything.

“Set-up area is in sight!” Dyne reported from his place on the turret. “Looks like the Corps of Engineers is coming to meet us!”

Sure enough, Kodiak spotted a handful of Marines coming out of covered positions in storefronts and waving. Now the trouble would be setting up the heavy guns, and Kodiak suspected he and Dyne would have to do some of the heavy lifting.


Operation: HOLY FATHER

0600 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Task Force Oscar Command Post, Sydney, Australia,

Early that morning, the members of Oscar Reserve and Stanley’s squad from the 87th Shock Division rolled into the buildings being used by the command element of Task Force Oscar’s troopers. Sun was breaking over Sydney, but there were no birds and no early morning traffic, only VTOLs overhead and Warthogs in the streets over the UNSC-controlled zone.

A local tavern had been set up as a field hospital. Apparently, they were short on all supplies including anesthetic, so here there was at least alcohol to clean wounds. Corporal Mitchell Hunter found a seat at the bar as Dansen and another of his squad took their wounded man to get attention. The realization that he didn’t know the names of two out of five he had left was only mildly disturbing. In this war, he’d seen too many die with or without knowing their names. Eventually, he’d ceased to care.

Before Kevlar could go to join him, he got a long look at the makeshift hospital that was being run here. Tables had been either pushed to the walls or outside, save for the few pushed together as makeshift operating tables that looked like they would be more permanent. On them, troopers were either out cold or screaming, but what was more disturbing was that there were already bodybags laid out beneath them. It was just faster that way; there were a lot of people who needed attention.

“Give me something strong enough to kill me in large quantities.” Mitch said, addressing the trooper who had decided to stand behind the bar, for lack of being able to help elsewhere. Then Mitch groaned, knowing the UNSC would expect him back out on the field soon. “Wait . . . coffee, if you have any.”

Kevlar knew Mitch counted on liquor to dull the burden of his memories, but was glad that at least once in a while he could resist it. Kevlar looked out and surveyed the horrors that appeared in the wake of fighting. “Bad day here, eh?”

Before Mitch could respond, a young PFC who looked to be running messages for the officers stopped on his little paper route. “Corporal Hunter? Colonel Perez needs you and Sergeant Stanley ASAP. He’s getting the force organized. Sir.”

As the barkeep returned, Mitch stood and took the mug of thin coffee.

“Yeah. Bad day here.”


Operation: DIVINE SON

0940 Hours, October 24th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

Dawn hadn’t even broken yet over Greece. The chilled, pre-dawn hours brought a light, cold mist that lay over the street, making life that much more miserable for Wheatley and the other Marines, Mills and Baker. Uncomfortable or not, they sat in complete silence, guns resting on their makeshift barricades.

The birdlike aliens were clever, staying in buildings above the streets to avoid being seen, but they hadn’t known about the Superintendent’s cameras watching their every move. From their projected course over the floor plans, they would have to cross the skybridge linking this hospital to the tower across the street. It was an excellent spot to head them off.

Faint sounds of their squawks between one another were the first signs. Wheatley readied his battle rifle, peering down the scope and lining up where he thought their heads were most likely to be.

The first one ran around the corner with its back low to sprint and its shield held low but still active, head swiveling back and forth as it ran. The Marines had the element of surprise, and took advantage of it.

Wheatley waited until the second had cleared the corner to fire, taking out the lead with three quick rounds, each finding a place lodged in the Jackal’s head.

The second shrieked a warning to its comrades, but too late to save itself from Mills’ bullets. A third and fourth emerged, sprinting across the T-intersection on the other side to take up cover. One stumbled as Baker’s assault rifle threw up sparks and rock chips from the marble floor, with some of the rounds finding its ankles. More fire killed it before it could crawl away.

Wheatley ducked back as green bolts of pistol and carbine plasma answered the rifles. They took shots when they had the opportunity, but now their Major had ushered them into a wall of overlapping gauntlets. The Major sporadically traded fire with the Marines from behind his cover, but his main focus was advancing over the barricade.

“Fall back.” Wheatley said, and hurling a smoke flare into their formation to cover the retreat, the Marines ran from the hastily-constructed wall of medical supply crates. Seeing their enemy flee, they broke formation and jumped over and on the barricade as their spoils of this skirmish.

Wheatley looked back to see the Major take the bait. There was a Grunt carcass laying behind it, something the Marines had dragged there for this purpose. As the Major hissed at one of its subordinates and went to tear a bit of flesh from the corpse’s neck, Wheatley thumbed a detonator linked to a crate of grenades in the barricade. In a flash of light and shrapnel, nine more aliens died with barely time to cry out in surprise.

The dozen wounded and disorganized survivors, however, set their eyes on the Marines.

The good part about this was that the enraged creatures would now follow the soldiers away from the hospital. The bad part about running from Jackals: Jackals really loved to chase.

51: You Shall Not Pass

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT 1200 Hours, October 29th 2552 (Local Time)

Aboh Pass, Northern Japanese Alps, Japan

Keiichi Ryukishi and Rena Sonozaki crouched in a forest about 150 meters from and 50 meters above Route 158, the road leading over the Aboh Pass, between Kamioka and Matsumoto. Keiichi and Rena were part of a group of about 50 soldiers of various services: Army, Marines, militia that were hidden among the pine trees.

Keiichi and Rena had joined the militia just a few days ago, and gone through little training beyond firing off a few shots at a range, before being sent into battle, showing that these were indeed dark times for the UNSC. Keiichi and Rena, however, were not complete amateurs, they had fought... and evaded... their way through 100 kilometers of Covenant occupied territory to escape to the UNSC lines.

Now, they were back in the fight, in an ambush position, ready to strike at the Covenant column headed through the pass as part of the latest attempt by the Covies to push through the Northern Japanese Alps. The column appeared over the crest of the pass, rolling past Rena and Keiichi's position. The Covenant forces numbered twelve Wraiths, three Locusts, fourteen Shadows, and about 20 light vehicles.

"Do not engage unless spotted", A UNSC Army sergeant ordered, "Wait until that Scorpion takes the first shot".

The Scorpion main battle tank at a narrow point in the pass about a click away fired. The 90mm main gun blew through a Wraith, blocking the road. A Locust walked over top of the Wraith, only to be destroyed by a second shot from the Scorpion.

"Fire at will!", the Sergeant exclaimed as he raised his Spartan Laser and fired at a Locust that was immediately below him. The Locust exploded in a flash of fire as a 102mm missile from an M41 SSM missile launcher wielded by an ODST destroyed the final Locust with a hit to the rear plasma core.

AIE-486 and M247 machine guns opened up, riddling Ghosts and Spectre with bullets as more rockets and lasers picked off the Wraiths one by one. Keiichi fired off all three rounds from the M456 Grenade Launcher mounted under his M389 DMR, taking a Revenant, a Shadow, and two Ghosts.

Elites, Jackals, and Grunts dismounted from the Shadows and returned fire. Keiichi ducked out from cover and fired three shots with his DMR, each one picking off a Grunt. Rena, meanwhile, took out a Jackal and deshielded Elite with the MA5B she had been given when she joined the militia.

14.5mm sniper rounds blasted through Covenant infantry, picking off Grunts and Elites manning the turrets of Shadows and blew through the power cores of Ghosts, Spectres, and Revenant. The UNSC soldiers all fired their MA5, M389, or BR55 rifles or threw grenades into the crowd of dismounted Covenant. Rena tossed a plasma grenade she had left over from their escape into the crowd, sticking to the Revenant, destroying the vehicle and its Sangheili driver.

In what seemed like no time, the Covenant forces were destroyed. As the action subsided, Keiichi, Rena, and the other UNSC soldiers reloaded their weapons. Suddenly, the ground shook beneath them. A Scarab walked in along the road. The Scorpion fired a shot at it, but missed. The Scarab returned fire with its plasma beam, reducing the Scorpion to twisted metal. The Scarab them turned its AA gun in the UNSC troops in the forest, the plasma bolt blasting through trees, and vaporizing human beings.

"Focus fire on the AA gun, disable it!", the Sergeant yelled over the sound of splintering wood and screams of dying men. A hail of smaller plasma bolts from one of the Scarab's secondary light plasma turrets burned a couple of army soldiers, one of them armed with an M41 missile launchers. Rena returned fire with her MA5B, hitting the Grunt operating the turret down with a three round burst, sending it crumpling to the floor. As Rena took out the Grunt, the sergeant's laser hit the lower half of the turret, literally welding the traverising mechanism in place. The AA turret could no longer turn.

Keiichi grabbed the dead UNSC soldiers M41 SSM and took aim at the Scarab's turret. Keiichi heard the tone and saw the reticule in the sight of the launcher turn red. The missile launcher automatically locked onto the heat from the recently firing AA turret. Keiichi squeezed the trigger twice, sending two 102mm missile flying towards the Scarabs AA turret. The turret exploded in a ball of flames, though the the Scarab was very much intact, and tried the turn to engage with its main gun.

Two other UNSC soldiers with M41 missile launchers fired on the Scarab's legs, as the did the sergeant's Spartan Laser. The Scarab fell to its knees.

"Everyone with a heavy weapon, flank the unprotected rear armor, rest of you, give us cover!", The sergeant ordered.

An ODST took Keiichi's rocket launcher and ammo and joined the group moving around the back of the Scarab as Keiichi picked up his DMR again and fired off the two remaining grenades in the launcher. Several Grunts and an Elite were blown off the deck as the rest of the surviving soldiers, about 40 of the original 50, opened fire with rifles and machine guns, cutting down the surviving aliens on the walker deck.

Suddenly, A laser beam and several anti-tank missiles blew through the rear armor of the Scarab and into the core of the walker. Alarms sounded inside the machine and a few surviving Covenant tried to flee, most of them being cut down by machine gun fire. The Scarab exploded in a great ball of blue flames. The remaining Covenant went into full retreat. They had won... for now.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

52: Revelation

Operation: DIVINE SON

1500 Hours, October 25th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

Day and night had come and gone. Fighting off the Jackals had been no easy task. But after their lust for vengeance wore off, they realized it wasn't worth getting at a few human civilians to lose their lives dealing with the trio of marines. Wheatley had returned to his post at the communications array, tampering with the lines usually used for contacting ambulances.

"Super, go through the com lines again, see if there are any transmissions." He said. Wheatley had already had the AI moniter the lines constantly, and found nothing. But it was the only way for him to break the tedium.

SuperintendentSearching . . . no traffic. Stop! Anomaly detected! Data downloading from Superintendent-class AI, assignment: New Mombasa. Alias: Virgil.

That was it? One report on all civilian lines? He opened it anyway, and began scrolling down.

“What are you reading?” Reo asked behind him. Wheatley could hear quiet desperation in her voice. He couldn’t blame her for it, she was stuck hiding in dangerous territory without any word on when or if they would get out.

“Geological report. Funny thing is, it’s the only civilian-line thing I can get, and it’s not an automated message. What’s so important about this that someone would send it all the way from Mombasa, to here . . .” From what he’d heard about the African metropolis, it was faring no better than Greece. Covenant ships set down over it, and no UNSC force had been able to contest their claim to the airspace. They were digging up something, who knew what. The geological report showed nothing out of the ordinary, and he opened the two attachments.

Something about it caught his attention. It was a report on Covenant force deployment, using the same city monitoring systems to map out Covenant ships like cars and trucks. They were excavating within one shaded area, which correlated to the information from the geologic survey. Quickly, Wheatley skimmed over keys and opened the second attachment.

It was another geological report, an older file on Greece, but it had something in common with the Mombasa report.

“Ferrite . . .” he whispered, just to say the word more than tell it to anyone. “Ferrite!”

“What?”

He jumped up and turned to Reo, face pale. “The Covenant are digging up Kenya, around a subterranean plateau of ferrite. Ah, it’s a poor form of iron, basically useless after the titanium age, so the deposit was never excavated!”

The girl looked at him like he was crazy. Wheatley half-thought he might be. “This plateau is perfectly circular. Now, think back, every time the Covenant didn’t just glass a world, it was because they wanted an alien relic. So why haven’t they just glassed us? There is a gigantic alien structure under the Earth’s surface! And what’s more, there’s another major pocket of ferrite in Greece, right in the middle of the Covenant occupied zone! There’s something they’re after, here, too. Oh my god . . .” he rushed back to the computer.

“Dammit . . . landlines are completely out, and I can't trust a satellite signal will get through . . . Superintendent, start downloading all relevant files into two portable hard drives. Download a copy of yourself, too.”

SuperintendentCopying of government assets is prohibited . . . beginning download.

“Where are the UNSC lines drawn? Where’s safe?”

SadSorry! No results.

He bit his lower lip. It took him a long moment before he had a thought, “Access the UNSC evacuation orders for Thebes. Where were they being sent?”

SuperintendentSearching . . . Found! Replaying. All civilians within the region of Greece must evacuate South and West by way to Spain, East toward Middle Eastern territories, or North beyond Thermopylae.

“Thermopylae . . . hmm. Super, get me an account of all usable public transportation vehicles. I need things with capacity and long distance, nearby if you can find anything.”

SuperintendentWith pride.

“Reo, listen closely. I have to help continue the fight here, but this data needs to get to the HIGHCOM facilities in Sydney. I can’t chance sending it over radio, it might not even get there and ears are everywhere. Find a ship when you get north, and go straight to Sydney. It is imperative, understand? You can’t fail.”



Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1920 Hours, October 25th 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Ryu Base, Tokyo, Japan

Kodiak moved his fingers clumsily over a comparatively small keyboard. He hadn’t used one in a while, and he still needed to perfect his acute motor control after augmentations.

Ironically, it was the augments that had prompted Kodiak to find the keyboard and go into ONI’s files, using his own limited access to glean what he could. What he wanted specifically were the details on the drugs that might be causing harm to Sepia’s mind. He’d gotten files on the standard augments that were used in Alpha and Beta Companies as well as Gamma, but the illegal ones were in a little file that required higher clearance than he had.

Kodiak thought for a moment about how to bypass it. He was no hacker. But he did have a secret weapon.

During training, he and Dyne would actively wreak havoc at any opportunity that presented itself – and then some. Once, they’d monitored Commander Ambrose’s exact and predictable schedule, then gotten into his office and went through everything they could. This had included Kurt Ambrose’s heavily blacked-out file. What they found was . . . unsettling. But not the info he was using now.

What they’d done with the info was only minor damage: Pete Stacker’s credit card number, blackmailing Mendez to get the company some extra food at meals . . . but Kodiak had remembered everything he’d learned on Onyx. He typed in the authorization code for Lieutenant Commander Kurt Ambrose.

Bingo.

Immediately, he downloaded the files on the illegal drugs and unplugged from the main system with all possible haste, before some security AI figured out it couldn’t really be Ambrose here.

Leaving the terminal and plugging a small hard drive into his TACPAD, he began reading the off-record augments.

8942-LQ99 . . . no. It was a carbide ceramic ossification catalyst – meant for strengthening his skeletal structure, not what he was looking for.

009762-OO . . . this was it. Alters frontal lobe for increased aggression. He scrolled down to a report attached. Its history showed that most experiments by Insurrectionists using the drug had had their brains warped and they went into an insane frenzy before a violent death. This worried him.

If Ambrose had cared for them so much as he said he did, why would he subject them to something like this? It was a rumbledrug, something that would make them live like an animal for two hours before dying, in the most painful way he could imagine. Closing his eyes and pausing in the hall, for the first time he felt regret for joining the Spartan program.

Just then a medical intern swung around a corner, breathless. “Sir! Doctor Kiku needs to see you!”


Within one-hundred and twenty seconds, Kodiak met up with Dyne and the two had returned to the medical suite. Sepia had woken again, and was if anything worse off.

“You have to hear it! It’s everywhere!” she was screaming through the speakers. Kiku was trying to calm her with absolutely no effect. He was turning for the panel again. “No! No more drugs, I’m not going to sleep again.”

The doctor turned to Kodiak and Dyne. “She’s becoming uncontrollable. If you can’t stop her, I’m going to send out to have her transferred to a more secure holding facility!”

Kodiak wasn’t going to let that happen. He approached the tank and put his hand against it. She looked down at him, and as her head nodded, her hair flew up in a tower behind making her look even more intimidating than normal.

Angrily, she stated, “If you don’t make them let me out of here, I’m doing it myself. I can hear them, the Covenant, it has to be. They’re going to kill us all.”

“How do you know it’s the Covenant?”

“Who else could it be?”

Her answer made Kodiak pause, and he avoided eye contact. Dr. Kiku looked back to the panel and started walking toward it. Sepia interpreted the signs quickly. “NO! There is no way I’ll be trapped in here while they get in!”

Sepia tore off her mask before Kiku could release the tranquilizer, and then braced and kicked forcefully at the side of the tank. The room erupted into panic, with the two interns who’d found Dyne and Kodiak fleeing the room as Kiku picked up a phone and called for security. Kodiak was surprised to see Dyne draw his MA5C. He turned back to the tank.

“Gamma Three-Thirty, stand down! That’s an order!”

She focused on him angrily, but continued pounding the tank. The first crack appeared. Kodiak yelled, “Dyne, stow that rifle but be ready to help me pin her down!”

But Dyne had his attention elsewhere. Through the noise, he’d felt something in his feet without noticing it. Only now that it was gone did he take notice. What everyone heard was a muted but heavy thunk. Dyne looked up in horror, then tackled Kodiak to the side of the room yelling, “Look out!”

A blue fireball erupted where they’d stood a moment before. Smoke and debris shot upward, and in a moment the fire alarm went off and sprinklers started up. Kodiak opened his eyes again and saw a hole had opened in the floor.

Then Sepia broke free. Leaping out of the tank, she landed on the intact sections of the deck amid a flood of stasis gel, cutting her bare feet on shards of glass. Reaching out, she picked up Dyne’s fallen rifle.

The silhouette of an Elite Ultra rose from the floor, an energy sword illuminating its ugly features. But having expected little resistance, it crumpled when hit by 7.62mm rounds that cut through shields and then its midsection. Even as the corpse fell back into the hole, Sepia jumped in after it, firing away.

The other Spartans recovered quickly, drawing M6 sidearms. Standing at the edge of the hole, they found targets in black-clad Elites and Grunts. The fierce counterattack caught them with their shields down, and they fell quickly. Most never even had the seconds required to raise already-drawn weapons.

“Sepia!” Kodiak shouted, tossing her a grenade. She caught it, pulled the pin and let fly, pressing against the tunnel wall as it went off in a shower of dirt. Immediately, she rolled again and came up with the rifle in the direction of the cave-in beyond which there must be more Covenant.

For a full three minutes, no one moved as the fire alarm continued and sprinklers doused the room, waiting intently to see if the enemy would try to dig back in. At last satisfied they’d retreated for the moment, she checked the ammo counter for the one magazine she had. Two rounds left. Intensely relieved, both to be out of the stasis tube and having repelled the enemy, she laughed, wiping away the dirt that had stuck to her face.

With the sudden violence over, energy seemed to desert Sepia and leave her body ready to fall over. Kodiak offered a hand, and pulled Sepia out of the hole. “How did you know?”

“I told you,” she responded, “I heard them.”

She took care not to slip in the mess of stasis gel and blood from the cuts in her feet. Dr. Kiku rose from where he had taken cover, suggesting an explanation.

“The . . . the tank. It was bolted to the floor, and liquid could have amplified the sound. She was hearing them dig.”

Sepia wheeled on him, just ready to use the two rounds she had left, but Dyne put an arm in front of her. Not worth the effort, not worth the court-martial.

Kodiak keyed his com. “Uh . . . Erin? . . You’re gonna want to see this.”

53: Not Exactly A Fairy Tale Ending

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1300 Hours, October 25th 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Imperial Palace Gardens, Tokyo, Japan


Princess Yukiko, last survivor of the Japanese Imperial Family ran as she had never ran before, crossing a bridge over a pond in the Imperial Gardens, which was seconds later, blown away a shot from an Elite wielding a Plasma Launcher. Once, she would have been considered the daughter of a living god, since the mid-20th century, however, that title had been renounced by the emperor. The fact that her father, and the rest of the her family were as vulnerable to death as any human was made painfully obvious when a squad of Covenant rose from a tunnel they had dug right though the floor of the palace, killing her entire family.

Yukiko dove behind a sakura tree, which shielded her from a hail of plasma bolts and needler shots, which set the tree ablaze as Yukiko dove out of the way again, behind a large boulder. Yukiko discovered the body of a dead UNSC Army soldier, and next to him, an MA37 assault rifle.

Yukiko picked up the rifle. The weapon felt strange in the hands of the 24-year old princess... but what wasn't strange about this. Yukiko's priveledged life had evaporated the moment her father died... or more really, the moment her father decided to remain in Tokyo in spite of the encroaching alien threat as a show of solidarity. Now she knelt behind a rock in a the palace gardens, her clothing covered in blood, dirt, sweat, and tears, surrounded by burning trees and buildings, as plasma bolts flew over her head.

Yukiko peeked out from behind the rock, rifle in hand, as Covenant fire decreased in intensity as a some of the Covenant troops reloaded or replaced batteries in their weapons. Yukiko took aim at a couple of Grunts and held down the trigger. The Imperial princess struggled to the control the recoil of the rifle in fully automatic fire.

Two Grunts fell to the ground, riddled with bullets, as Yukiko back ducked behind the rock. The Elite Major with Plasma Launcher charged up a shot at Yukiko's position... only to himself explode in a ball of fire as a 40mm grenade struck him setting off the plasma stores in the launcher.

The survivors, a Jackal, two grunts, and a deshielded Elite, were picked off by well-aimed gunshots to the head. Yukiko looked around for her savior, an saw a UNSC Army infantryman armed with an M389 DMR with an attached M301 grenade launcher.

"Are you OK? Is the imperial family okay?", The man asked, before he noticed just who he was addressing, "...Your majesty...."

"You can drop the formality", Yukiko said, "I'm nothing but a survivor now, my father, the rest of the family are... dead.."

"My condolences, the Army soldier said.

"Just call me Yukiko", the Japanese princess said, "And you are..."

"Honored to meet you, I am Private First Class Kyousuke Matsuzawa. I lost from the rest of my squad after we were ambushed by a bunch of Brutes".

"I'm sorry to hear that", Yukiko returned Matsuzawa's condolences.

"We need to get out of here.", Matsuzawa said, "There should be a Pelican coming in any minute now, I'll try and signal them with a smoke grenade".

At that moment, the Pelican came in view over head, only to be struck by several fuel rod shots from an AA Wraith and sent down in flames.

"Shit!", Yukiko said, "What are we going to do now?!"

Matsuzawa stared momentarily at Yukiko.

"I am capable of swearing too, you know", Yukiko commented.

"A Pelican is landing on the south side of the moat, near the Diet Building, we should be able to make it here if we go south from her, but we're gonna have to swim.", Matsuzawa said as he reloaded his DMR.

"Fine with me", Yukiko said, "Can you help me reload this thing?"

After Matsuzawa helped Yukiko reload her rifle, the unlikely duo ran south down a path in the garden, toward the moat. Their progress, however, was suddenly impeded by seven Brutes.

Matsuzawa grabbed Yukiko and pushed her behind a rock with him. "Yukiko?...", he said, somewhat unused to being on first name terms with the last survivor of the imperial family, "Are you OK?"

"I'm fine... Kyousuke", Yukiko said.

"All right", Matsuzawa said, "Stay in cover, if a Covie gets into your line of site, open fire. I'll take care of as many of these guys as I can. If I die, run!"

Yukiko opened her mouth to speak, but it was drowned out by 40mm grenade round from Matsuzawa's launcher exploded as it hit the chest of a Jiralhanae Ultra, the leader of the squad. The upper half of the Brute's body was blown apart, as two other Jiralhanae were killed by shrapnel and two others deshielded.

The shieldless Brutes roared with rage and ran at Yukiko and Matsuzawa Spiker bayonets at the ready, a foolish tactic not uncommon to members of their race. One of the Brutes came into sight of Yukiko, who fired her MA37 and sent seven rounds through its chest, causing the alien to fall to its knees and breathe its last. Matsuzawa shot the second Covie with his DMR, putting a round through its head, before setting rifle to full auto and chewing up the second to last Brute with a burst of fire. The final Jiralhanae ran at at the two humans, only to be cut down by a hail of fire from Matsuzawa and Yukiko's rifles.

"Yukiko, follow me!", Matsuzawa yelled, running through the trees, toward the moat of the Imperial Palace. Matsuzawa dove into the cold water, shortly followed by Yukiko. Yukiko swam as fast as her arms and legs would carry her, Matsuzawa just in front of her.

Ahead of them stood the Japanese Diet Building. After what seemed like an eternity, Matsuzawa and Yukiko made to the steep embankment on the side of the moat. Matsuzawa grabbed Yukiko's hand and helped her up the embankment.

"Arigato", she breathed, before following Matsuzawa down the road leading to the Diet Building. As they ran, a Pelican landed in the parking lot.

As they Matsuzawa and Yukiko reached the Pelican and the UNSC soldiers guarding the landing zone, Yukiko said, "It's a shame you are a commoner, Matsuzawa, you would...."

Yukiko's words were cut short by a bright purple particle beam, which streaked across the sky. The beam burned straight through Matsuzawa's head, burning a hole in his skull. Matsuzawa fell to the pavement immediately, dead.

"Matsuzawa! Nooo!", Yukiko said as she was dragged into the Pelican by a UNSC soldier. The aircraft was filled with other members of the Japanese national government and personnel from the nearby Tokyo UNSC Office. As the Pelican took off, Yukiko thought of Matsuzawa and the others who died to save her, bringing tears to her eyes...

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

54: Armor

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

0931 Hours, October 26th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Ryu Base, Tokyo, Japan

So maybe she was a little sadistic. Kodiak was still glad to have Sepia back.

After the encounter in the medical sub-levels, Ion had helped to seal the tunnel, and then gotten a much needed shower and night of rest. Kodiak’d been reluctantly pulled out of the uncomfortable bunk when Erin had called them over his radio.

Following two days of constantly fighting in it, he felt odd without his Semi-Powered Infiltration Armor. He kept checking over his shoulder, instinct being to look for cover if they were attacked. He knew that not even these tunnels were safe any longer.

Winding through a series of tunnels as bad as the mazes back on Onyx, they found Erin standing expectantly in front of a door. She had a smug smile on her lips.

"You're a minute late." she said. Kodiak shrugged. “Sepia. Good to see you on your feet.”

“Good to be back.” She answered. Her eyes shone, now a deep violet color. It was one of the peculiarities with her augmentations. Every few months the Gammas needed a ‘booster shot’, a way of keeping their side effects under control. Sepia’s injections always caused her eyes to turn that purple color, which slowly shifted back to their natural gray over the time it took to wear off. Every Gamma took these injections, but no one else had had such a strong reaction to them. Ambrose was still looking into what caused it.

“What is this about?” Kodiak asked.

Glee danced behind Erin’s eyes. “I spent a long time searching for materials, and even longer getting access to them. But, I secured permission for the use what’s behind door number one.” She knocked on the steel-plated blast door behind her.

Entering a code onto a keypad, Erin stood back as the door shuddered and echoes sounded through the walls, making Kodiak realize the door was much larger than he’d thought. It lifted, and they followed Erin into a massive underground warehouse. The size was impressive, but what really took his breath away were the suits.

MJOLNIR Mark V(b) Armor frames stood on platforms, their metal components shining. Electrum, gold, and silver colored visors gleamed, reflecting points of fluorescent light like tinted mirrors. And the number he saw were placed in front of crates stacked over his head. He could only imagine what lay inside.

“Whoo!” Dyne breathed. “Kid in a candy store!”

Erin typed something into her TACPAD. “Some of these components are spares, others were recovered from soldiers Killed in Action. In any case, they’re not being used, and their shielding will come in handy. Put together a suit apiece, and report to the motor pool afterwards.”

She left, the door closing behind her. There were never more devious grins than the ones those three had.


Operation: DIVINE SON

1013 Hours, October 26th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Just outside of Thebes, Greece, Hellenic Republic

Reo didn't know where exactly their train was headed, but she knew that she missed Moses already. Henri had propped up against her side to go to sleep, and the boy was now snoring softly next to her. Looking out one of the trains windows, she watched Thebes' outskirts fade away behind them.

The Covenant had targeted roads and spaceports, but must not have realized what the rail lines were, because they were so far clear of any Covenant attackers. The train held the two children along with a dozen other refugees, plus patients and staff from the hospital. Some had been in too serious condition to move, and a handful of people had volunteered to stay behind and look after them. Moses had been one of those who refused to leave, stating they'd need protection. And this mission was in her hands now.

She didn't know how she'd get to Sydney, and how to do so without getting killed would be even harder. But that was her responsibility, now. And she was determined to succeed, some way or another.

Across from her and Henri was the Helljumper Reo had talked to earlier, Amelia Zircon. Though both her legs were still in casts, covered by a blanket, she held a battle rifle with a sense of familiarity. Amelia's eyes were scanning the horizon as she half-listened to Lance Corporal Mills operating the train.

Reo pulled out her Chatter, and locked in the hard drive containing Thebes' Superintendent AI. "Super, find where this rail line leads, and see where we can find transport there."

Its avatar winked silently at her, and disappeared, replaced by a loading bar.

"Did I hear you say you need transportation?" Amelia asked.

Reo bit her lip, hoping no one else had heard, and said, "Yes. Moses told me it's very important. I need to go to Sydney, Australia."

"Sydney . . ." Amelia raised an eyebrow and considered her for a minute, "you know . . . I have a ship."


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1322 Hours, October 26th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Ryu Base, Tokyo, Japan

Erin returned to the armory storage. She hadn’t expected Ion Team to be quick in assembling suits, but it was getting ridiculous. She entered, and found that almost every suit frame was disconnected from its scaffolding, and nearly every crate had been torn open.

“What the hell happened here?” Erin asked Sepia, who was sitting on an overturned crate adjusting an armored gauntlet. She was clad in a suit of amber gold, its shoulder plates and the helmet beside her part of a HAZOP set.

“None of the suits fit us well.” Sepia answered casually, turning her attention to the set of Grenadier-variant knee guards. “So we took them apart and used the components that fit us best.”

Erin was about to say something when another armored figure appeared, this one clad in a weather-beaten sand suit made for camouflaging into rocky wasteland. Large Up-Armored Multi-Threat plates covered his shoulders and chest, and Dyne’s voice emanated from the Military Police’s electrum visor. “Would you believe it? A USGPS! Fhajad said he had one of these. Dibs.”

Coney made a mental note to make the three of them clean it up later, but they were already behind schedule. “Where’s Kodiak?”

Dyne motioned backwards with his head as he started locking the GPS to his wrist. “Back that way, past the TACPAD we broke.”

“You what!?”


Dyne had chosen his armor based on what he could fit together. Sepia already had in mind what she was going for. But for Kodiak, assembling a suit was no easy thing.

He’d gone deeper into the labyrinth of crates than even Dyne, and now sat cross-legged surrounded by empty boxes, tampering with a helmet.

His choices were based on what he would need, what he was trained for. As an assault expert, close-quarters plates had been an obvious choice, but they were scarce and heavy anyway. Kodiak needed something with speed, that would protect him without interfering with his range of motion. And capacity to bring with him what he needed. He’d been fortunate; R-Variant pouches, plates, and a pair of lightweight FJ/PARA knee guards. The MJOLNIR components were still heavy, and he had to lug each individual part into place one at a time. But he hadn’t found a Reconnaissance helmet to match.

Then he found the helmet. In a small, unassuming wooden crate, its visor low and wide, a Close-Quarters Combat helmet. The white paint had started to scrape off, leaving places along the edges steel gray attesting to the many battles it had already seen. It had belonged to a SPARTAN before him, and Kodiak felt honored to continue its legacy.

The helmet would become not only part of his armor, but his mask, the face his comrades looked to. And it wasn’t perfect yet. After hours of searching, he’d finally found what he was looking for, an Up-Armored titanium band to go over its forehead, and a HUL to link with the special-forces radio channels. Finally, it was secured, and he shut off the welding torch he’d taken from a wall bracket, also taking off his welding mask.

He picked up the solid-steel bowling ball, and walked it over to where the other pieces of his suit were already arranged in the likeness of a human body. Kodiak set the helmet on the floor above the thoracic cage. He stood back and admired it, laying out as if occupied by a ghost soldier, waiting for him to take control.

“Are you quite finished?” Erin asked, startling him.

“Yes. I just have to suit up.” He answered quickly.

“Good. Now hurry up, we’re waiting on you.”

She left, and Kodiak turned back to the suit. His suit. Kodiak smiled, pride swelling up in him. Now, he’d really be like the ones in the posters that he’d called heroes since childhood.

55

2205 Hours, October 24th, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Interplanetary Space, Sol System

Despite their earlier "victory", Black Knives Squadron was up and flying again after only an hour's rest. It was incredibly hectic, and was bound to screw them over in the future. The engineers and technicians aboard the UNSC Merrow were unable to do anything about much of the battle damage they had sustained in battle in the short timeframe between battles. It was frankly a miracle that the squadron only had two Longswords shot down.

They were currently attempting to repel a Covenant push on the Lunar Perimeter. In the distance, Duster could see the hulking shape of a Covenant battlegroup. Missiles raced towards the battlegroup, outpacing the Longswords and UNSC warships. A Covenant Battlecruiser exploded in a ball of plasma and debris, the flames quickly put out by the lack of oxygen in space. A UNSC Destroyer was split stern-to-stern as an energy projector sliced it open, but not before it got of a pair of MAC shots, each impacting on the same Covenant frigate, which shields flickered and failed, before a volley of Archer Missiles impacted on its hull, turning the Covenant frigate into a cloud of plasma and debris as well. The Covenant returned fire again, and more UNSC ships were destroyed.

A squadron of Seraphs accelerated ahead of the Covenant battlegroup, with a pair of Phantom gunboats trailing behind. White armed a AGSM-10 missile, and targeted a Phantom gunboat waited for the Phantom to get close enough. When the Seraph closed within eight hundred kilometers away, he fired. The missile streaked through space, and he watched it slam into the hull of the Phantom, leaving behind a trail of debris.

"Good shot." Duster said to his gunner as he cut down on speed. His Longsword slowed down-Covenant single-ship spacecraft or aircraft lacked many long-range weapons, and there was no reason to let them have a fair fight. The squadron of Seraphs moved in closer and closer.

"Black Knife Three, I'm sending out a firing solution for that lead Seraph. Please target that Seraph..now." White fired another ASGM-10, and another Longsword fired missiles a second later. The missile impacted on the Seraph's shields, and they flickered and died, as another missile from a second Longsword impacted the Seraph.

"Black Knife Squadron, slipspace ruptures detected by your position."

"DAMMIT!" Someone shouted, as a squadron of Seraphs exited slipspace near us. Plasma fire impacted on Dusters hull, and he cursed and fired his port thrusters, spinning the Longsword around 180 degrees while maintaining his velocity. White opened up with the 50mm, and shells slammed into the Seraph's shields. The Seraph launched one its heavier plasma projectiles, and Duster fired his thrusters to move his Longsword to port, while rotating the interceptor so White could keep fire on the Seraph. The Seraph's pilot, who obviously wasn't very good, maintained his present course. His shields flickered and died, and White pumped a few more rounds into its hull. The Seraph exploded, leaving a trail of debris.

"Those Seraphs we were fighting just now are closing in on us." Commander Riley warned. Duster cursed again. Nothing was going their way. Duster put his Longsword into a series of stunning evasive maneuvers as another Seraph fired upon them, while White blasted away with the 50mm cannon. The Seraph's shields took a series of hits, but just as the shields fell the Seraph broke off. White armed another missile and sent the missile after the Seraph, and was awarded with excellent view of another Seraph exploding. He didn't have time to celebrate however, as another Seraph swooped in towards his Longsword, pulse lasers blazing. Several shots struck the Longsword's armor, melting off parts of it. Duster cursed angrily as he rolled his Longsword to the side, buying him a few precious seconds that threw off the Seraph's aim.

"Black Knives Squadron, this is the UNSC Merrow, we're providing fire support for you." The com crackled. The Merrow flew through the vacuum of space, and its point defense turrets came to life. Three Seraphs exploded, taken out of the fight seconds after the frigate had arrived on the scene. The remaining six Seraphs hurtled themselves towards the Merrow. A pair of AGSM-10 missiles, launched from two Longswords slammed into the tail of one Seraph, destroying it. The other five were cut down in short order by the point defense guns of the Merrow while only inflicting superficial damage.

Cheers erupted from the pilots of Black Knives squadron, but they quickly died down when Lieutenant Vlasov, navigational officer of the Merrow shouted a warning into the comm.

"More slipspace ruptures! Bigger ones-Covenant capital ships." Sure enough, a trio of Covenant frigates appeared.

While Covenant ships did have highly precise slipspace drives, capable of preforming jumps with very tiny margins of error, doing so would drain all power from the ship for several crucial seconds. It was for that reason that no Covenant shipmaster would knowingly use a slipspace jump to take his ship nearby a UNSC Capital Ship. The commander of the Covenant flotilla clearly had not gotten that memo however.

The Merrow took advantage of those crucial seconds to fire an unholy amount of Archer missiles and a MAC round at the Covenant ships. One MAC round slammed into an unshielded Covenant frigate, destroying it while 30 Archer missiles slammed into another, its point defense systems nor his shields capable of stopping it, too exploded.

But the third frigate recovered. That frigate rotated to face the Merrow, and fired a plasma torpedo. The crimson orb of highly dense ionized gas shot through space and slammed into the side of the Merrow. The port hull of the Merrow melted immediately, and Covenant frigate, eager to avenge the other two ships fired again.

"We're jettisoning our nukes. Merrow out." The comm crackled again. Three SHIVA nukes flew out of the Merrow, unarmed.

A second shot slammed into the Merrow, vaporizing the rest.

"Retreat!" Commander Riley shouted, as the Covenant frigate turned its attention to the Longswords. Its point defense weapons came to life, instantly blasting a Longsword to a large amount of debris.

"How many of us are there?" Commander Riley asked.

"Seven. We lost two to those Seraphs just now and that damn frigate just killed eleven!"

"Shit." Commander Riley muttered. "We HAVE to get those nukes the Merrow just jettisoned. Its our only chance of killing that thing. But it won't work while its shields are still up, and we can't outrun OR outgun it."

Another Longsword was struck by a flury of pulse lasers by the Covenant frigate, which cruised, almost leisurely after the fleeing Longswords.

"This is six, I have one of the nukes!"

"Good work six. We need a way to get that thing's shields down so we can destroy it!" Commander Riley exclaimed.

"Sir, don't Covie ships have to lower their shields to fire? We could just wait till it does, then hit it."

"Only for their plasma torpedos and their energy projectors. Not for their point defense weapons." Duster replied immediately.

"So the point defense weapons are unshielded?"

"Yeah." Duster replied.

"Let's shoot those out then!"

"Easier said than done." Duster replied, going into a series of evasive maneuvers, barely avoided a deadly hail of pulse lasers.

"Destroyed a Point Defense Weapon." Lieutenant McCouver, Commander Riley's gunner said into the comm. "We can do this!"

Duster rotated his Longsword again to face the Covenant frigate, and White fired another AGSM-10 at the frigate. The missile streaked through space, but missed the turret they had been aiming for, instead slamming into the shielded hull. Wasting no time, the armed another one and fired, this time striking her target. A trio of point defense weapons exploded, and Duster hastily entered a series of evasive rolls.

"This is Golikov, I'm taking critical damage. Going to try and ram that thing. Harolds, those twenty creds you owe me you can pay my wife." Duster stared at the comm with an odd mixture of sadness and respect. The way his comrade was about to go to his death so calmly was impressive. He hadn't known Golikov for very long-he was new to the squadron-but he decided that he would go out like that.

Golikov's Longsword slammed into the side of the Covenant frigate, while firing his remaining missiles at point-blank range. He had aimed for one of the blind spots of the point defense grid created by the rest of the squadron when they started firing on the frigate's point defense weapons. Golikov's Longsword hit the side of the Frigate, slamming into its side at an impressive speed.

The Frigate's shields flickered but did not die, though it was obvious it had done some rather serious damage.

"The nuke, use it NOW!" Commander Riley ordered. A SHIVA slammed into the Covenant Frigate's weakened shield, finishing it.

"Quick, grab another one!" Commander Riley ordered. A pilot hastily grabbed the second nuke the Merrow had jettisoned, and fired it at the unshielded Covenant Frigate

The effect was instant. The nuclear missile exploded by the hull of the warship, tearing the ship into a few thousand pieces and flinging them away from the explosion. The remains of the Longsword squadron flew away.

Norman-123 15:11, June 5, 2011 (UTC)

56: Counterattack

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT 0900 Hours, October 30th 2552 (Local Time)

Hirayu Onsen, Northern Japanese Alps, Japan

Several Scorpion Tanks, Cobras, and Cougar APCs and countless Warthogs, many with armor upgrades, rolled down a wide switchback towards Hirayu, a small village housing a natural hot spring spa or onsen, which would have been of little significance if not for its location at the cross roads of two roads through the Northern Japanese Alps.

Behind the UNSC Army vehicles droves several technicals, Toyota pick-up trucks modified with M202 machine guns, GUA 23 25mm autocannons, 105mm recoilless rifles, or 102mm missile launchers, crewed by UNSC civilian militia. At the command of a 25mm in the second technical sat Keiichi Ryukishi and Rena Sonozaki. Above them, a Vulture gunship fired off its missiles at a loan Scarab and several Wraiths guarding the crossroads, destroying them all, as the the Scorpions and Cobras fired down on a group of Wraiths and Locusts in the parking lots of the onsen and the hotel.

The Covenant armor tried desparately to fire back, but their hastily fired shots missed, and the alien tanks and walkers were picked off one by one by tank guns, Gauss cannons, and missiles. Keiichi turned the 25mm gun the parking lot and opened fire on a Revenant and a pair of Spectres. The gun roared to life a 25mm shells exploded around the alien light vehicles, sending them up in blue flames as their plasma cores exploded.

As the UNSC column turned down the road the road into town, several glowing green shots from a fuel rod cannon impacted the lead Scorpion tank, sending it up in flames. The second Scorpion fired its upgraded armament, a 105mm cannon and blasted away the upper right corner of the two-story house from which the shot came from. The Scorpion then proceeded to push aside the remains of their fallen comrades' vehicle.

Plasma bolts and needler shots bounced off the sides of the Scorpions, Cobras, and Cougars as every vehicle opened up on the Covenant postions. 90mm and 105mm shells from the Scorpions and Gauss slugs from the Cobras blew away large sections of buildings and the front of the structures were raked with autocannon and machine gun fire. The Covenant soldiers inside were undoubtedly annihilated.

Two Scorpions, three Scorpions, four Warthogs, and two technicals, including Keiichi and Rena's pulled off the main road, into the parking lot of the onsen and a connected four-story hotel. The Scorpions dealt with a pair of Wraiths in the parking lot. M41 LAAG machine guns on the Warthogs, the M202 on the other technical, and the autocannons of the APCs and the other technical opened up on a group of Sangheilli and Unggoy in the parking lot. Abandoned cars exploded as the Covenant troops were torn apart. Keiichi himself managed to vaporize an Elite Minor and three Grunts with the 25mm, reducing them to blue and purple alien blood stains on the pavement.

After the lot was cleared, the UNSC vehicles opened up on the front of the onsen and the hotel, blowing away the frontal facade of the structure, as well as a number of Covenant plasma turrets and snipers.

"Parking lot clear!!", a UNSC lieutenant said through the radio, "All troops converge on the entrance of this hotel"

Keiichi and Rena converged on the entrance of the hotel, Rena with an M7 SMG in hand, and Keiichi wielding an M95 Full Auto Shotgun.

"Once we clear the lobby, first squad, go right and clear the hotel. Second squad, clear the changing rooms and the onsen proper. Militia, your with second squad.", the Lieutenant said.

Seconds later, a breaching charge blasted down the door of the onsen, and the UNSC soldiers and militia rushed into what looked like it had once been a lobby decorated in traditional Japanese decor, however, it was heavily damaged by Covenant occupation and UNSC fire.

The Lt. gunned down a surprised Grunt on a plasma turret with his MA5 before the Unggoy could get off a shot. Keiichi followed him in and fired a burst of shotgun shells into an elite at close range, riddling the alien with buckshot as a UNSC Army soldier shot an Elite with a BR55, killing it, before, impaling a Kig-Yar on a bayonet mounted under the rifle. Rena, meanwhile, bashed a Kig-Yar that ran at her with an energy cutlass over the head with her SMG, before she got out the energy sword she had captured from the Elite in Shirakawa and skewered the Jackal.

After several seconds of gunfire, the lieutenant yelled "CLEAR!", and Keiichi, Rena, and several other UNSC soldiers and militia went right. A UNSC Army soldier kicked down the door to the changing rooms, only to be cut down by a carbine shot from an Elite that peeked its head out of one of the two doorways, this one leading in the women's changing room.

"Your in the wrong room, baka yaro", Rena said as she tossed a captured Brute spike grenade into the room. Rena had to hold throw the Jiralhanae grenade with both hands, it was like throwing a kanabo. The grenade exploded, its sharp shrapnel embedding itself in the wooden walls... and the flesh of the elite, which fell dead after a spike with through its mandibles.

The squad split, half of them going into the men's room and half into the women's room. In spite of Rena's smartass comment, several male soldier and militia men entered the room, including Keiichi (as did a couple of female soldiers in the men's room). Not that there was anyone to spy on, the hotel and spa's occupants had naturally fled when they had hear of the coming Covenant invasion.

Now, the only occupants were a second Elite, which ran at Keiichi with an energy sword, only to catch five shotgun shells in the chest from Keiichi's M95 full auto shotgun, filling the alien's chest with lead and causing it to slump to the floor as Rena killed two of the rooms other occupants, a pair of Grunts, with her SMG. The three Jackals who made up the last of the Covenant in the room were killed by an M9 HEDP frag grenade tossed into a bathroom stall they were hiding inside by a UNSC soldier. The walls of the stall were blown away, as were several chunks of the dead aliens.

The onsen itself consisted of three pools of steaming water, surrounded by a concrete deck, and a garden containing numerous trees and boulders. Keiichi and Rena dove from cover behind one such boulder as plasma bolts and needler rounds flew overhead. Several Needler rounds pierced a militia man. The pink crystalline spikes exploded violently inside his body, sending blood and gore everywhere, staining the water in two of the pools red.

Rena retaliated, killing two Grunts with her M7 as Keiichi and several other UNSC troops opened up on a group of Kig-Yar, striking them down. A UNSC Army soldier tossed a frag grenade behind a rock that hid an Elite. The Sanghielli broke from cover, only to be cut down by a hail of fire.

As the last Elite fell, the UNSC sergeant radioed, "The onsen is clear, repeat, the onsen is clear.".

"Roger", the Lieutenant replied, "My men have cleared the hotel, Hirayu is ours. Afraid there's no time to relax, we've got a new assignment."


UNSC pilot by SPARTAN 204
SPARTAN 119Crawl from the wreckage , one more time, Horrific memory twists the mind. Dark blooded, cold and hard to turn. Path of destruction, feel it burn. 'Cause we hunt you down without mercy, hunt you down all nightmare long
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Greenwich Mean Time
Random Japanese used in this post:
  • onsen: Japanese hot spring spa.
  • baka yaro: A stronger version of baka (idiot, fool), sometimes translated as "dumbass".
  • kanabo: A large, heavy, spiked club.



57: Fool's Heroics

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1559 Hours, October 26th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo, Japan

The suit, even with its ballistic gel layer, didn't fit him perfectly, but Kodiak could hardly notice it over the fact that it was MJOLNIR armor. Now, he didn't mind walking as he stepped off the Pelican's blood tray. The armor seemed to move for him, as if it was hovering around him pushing away anything in his path. He couldn't get the grin off his face.

Dyne's boots made a loud sound as he jumped down onto the permacrete. He carried a sniper rifle, and a battle rifle on his back. He pointed the rifle in several directions, snapping it up quickly to get the feel of his own suit. It made Kodiak laugh, and reminded him to stay focused. "Erin, we've landed. Give me a waypoint."

A blue triangle appeared in his HUD, just under a kilometer from his location. Erin's voice responded, "You have one, Ion, it's a bunker southwest of you. The marine force there was guarding a FENRIS nuclear warhead. They reported being under attack late yesterday, since then we haven't had contact with them and a Pelican we sent for a flyover couldn't see any movement. Based on the spikes stuck in the walls they saw, it was likely a Brute pack."

Kodiak latched on to this information. They hadn't seen many Brutes around. It was possible these were the ones that took out the three from Alpha Company. "Any idea what their numbers are?"

"If they managed to kill the marine contingent, no less than fifty when they started. But the number could be significantly less. Head for the bunker and see what you can find. You're on your own from there."

"Alright, we're moving. Ion out." Kodiak felt his assault rifle. In his new gauntlets, it felt light, like plastic. He could break it about as easily, too. The firing stud now required only a press rather than a squeeze.

Sepia stepped in front of him, her new suit shining burnished gold in the sunlight. She sparked the pilot light on her flamethrower. "Let's go hunt some apes."

Kodiak nodded, and the armored SPARTANs began running towards the waypoint.


Operation: HOLY FATHER

1200 Hours, October 27th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sydney Orbital Elevator, Sydney, Australia,

Corporal Mitch Hunter was panting as he rushed up what must have been the hundredth flight of stairs. It was hard under the heavy ballistic suit, weaponry, and ammunition, but stair climbing had been part of the physical exercises he'd done for hours in basic. He was more worried about Kevlar, who wasn't in as good of shape and was huffing up behind him with the heavy eight-gauge shotgun. Dansen, at least, seemed to be doing well enough, as did Privates Collins and Emmert, the latter despite his bandaged wound.

For three days they'd been fighting through Sydney block by block, until finally they'd reached the elevator. Covenant were making a counterattack, trying to surround them, but for now Mitch and co.'s orders were to rendezvous with a pair of SHVA Troopers stuck partway up the elevator.

Single Human Vertical Assault Troops were technically ODSTs, but their almost exclusive use of the ICARUS Jetpack set them apart from any other marine unit, or just about any unit in the UNSC for that matter. Apparently, two of them had been aboard a Pelican when it was hit near the tower, and jumped using their packs to land safely inside one of the observation decks.

Finally on the right floor, Mitch pushed through the door out of the stairwell and onto the floor itself. Sweeping the room with his battle rifle, it struck him that it was ironic they'd captured an elevator, but for fear of it being damaged by the Covenant couldn't use it and he'd been forced to run up a hundred flights of stairs.

The outer wall of the room was one large, broken window, now letting the high altitude winds blow in and howl reminiscent of a Covenant Banshee. Against a wall separating this section of the orbital elevator's stabilizing ring from the next were two ODSTs, with what he took to be their jetpacks next to them. One was on the floor with her back propped up against the wall, while the other was crouched next to her. This one stood as Mitch approached.

"Private Eirikur Quinn, sir." The Bullfrog reported. "Are any of you medics?"

"Negative." Mitch said. The others spread out, Dansen went over to the prone marine, Kevlar going to the window. Down below, a tank battle had ensued in the streets. "What happened."

The trooper looked downhearted. He motioned back toward his companion, saying, "We jumped out of our bird after AA shot us down. Cervantes went in front of me, took the hit and broke in the window. I owe her . . . but she got cut open on the way in, and she landed pretty hard. Without a medic or something to help, I don't think she's going to make it."

Mitch nodded. It was one more casualty to total up, along with the seven others he'd lost already. He looked around for Dansen to help him carry the body, when he realized the young trooper wasn't where he left him. His vision panned around, and he noticed several consecutive things.

The wounded trooper was gone. So was one of the ICARUS packs. And there was Dansen, his silhouette dark in the window against the cloudy sky. It was bulked up by the jetpack strapped in place of his rucksack, and the unconscious trooper in his arms.

"Dansen . . ?" Mitch said cautiously, as if a warning. The rookie's helmet spun halfway around, so Mitch could just see the darkened visor. He didn't need to see his face to know what he was thinking. "Dansen, don't you do it, don't even . . ."

Dansen's helmet turned away from him.

"Dansen!"

It was too late; the rookie jumped out into open air.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 04:13, June 6, 2011 (UTC)

58: Going Down Fighting

200 Hours, October 26th 2552 (Military Calendar)

Kamisu, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan

The Katsura Maru, the Gasai Maru, and the Oyashiro Maru, a three massive container ships, as long as an aircraft carriers sailed silently into Kamisu harbor by night. The vessels had gone missing at sea off the coast of Japan when the Covenant forces had first been encroaching on Japan. Now, they returned.

Inside the harbor, Commander Choi Park of the "wet" naval vessel guided missile cruiser UNSC Noryang Point. Choi and the Noryang had been driven out of his native Korea by the Covenant invaders. Ironically enough, he was now in a Japanese port in a ship called the Noryang Point, the very nation that his people had fought against in the battle for which his ship is named.

Suddenly, several unknown aerial contacts and three surface contacts appeared on his radar screen, headed straight towards him. They IFF labeled them as civilian cargo ships, the Katsura Maru, Gasai Maru, and the Oyashiro Maru.

"This is the UNSC Noryang Point", Choi said, hailing three ships on the radio, "UNSC and Covenant forces are currently in combat in this area. Please turn back immediately and sail for the nearest UNSC controlled port."

Aboard the three vessels, Covenant machinery sprung to life, raising massive plasma artillery mortars out of the hold. The guns opened up in a flash of blue flames.

Suddenly, three blue plasma fireballs flew through the air, lighting up the night as they impacted the water on either side of the Noryang Point.

"All hands", Choi commanded, "Man your battlestations, we are engaging three Covenant-controlled naval vessels."

The Noryang fired a pair of anti-ship missiles from its vertical launch system. The missiles flew across the skies in great streaks of fire. Both missiles struck the Oyashiro Maru, one of them impacting the plasma stores for the plasma mortar, sending the ship up in a ball of blue and orange flames, blown in half, before the two halves of the cargo ship disappeared below the waters.

The Gasai Maru met a similar fate, blown apart by two more missiles. The Katsura Maru returned fire, sending another plasma mortar shot at the Noryang, and again missing. The Katsura Maru was now in range of the ship's twin 120mm Gauss cannons. The Gauss guns roared as ferric tungsten slugs were launched at the final "wet" cargo ship.

Flashes of fire erupted from the sides of the Katsura Maru as the Gauss slugs hit their mark. The Katsura replied with its four smaller plasma mortars, one scoring a hit on the Noryang, but causing little damage. The Noryang returned fire with its 120 Gauss guns and two the smaller 105mm conventional guns. Fires lit up the side of the Katsura as the Covenant-controlled ship finally sank to the depths.

The attempt to sneak in using captured civilian "wet" vessels having failed, the Covenant moved to "Plan B", an all-out aerial assault. A about a dozen Seraphs and Phantom Gunships, as well as dozens of Banshees flew in towards the UNSC Noryang Point. The Noryang launched a swarm of surface-to-air missiles, taking out several of the Seraphs, Phantoms, and Banshees. The surviving Covenant aircraft came in closer, dropping plasma charges and strafing the Noryang as the ship made rapid evasive maneuvers. The computer-aimed CIWS guns spat a hail of high-explosive and armor piercing shells, shredding Covenant aircraft left and right. The surviving Covenant aircraft retreated.

"Commander", an ensign manning the radar said, "Huge aerial contact right ahead of us."

It immediately became apparent what it was was: A Covenant corvette.

"Incoming Covenant corvette", Choi said, "Throw everything we have at it, give it hell. We will not give up this port no matter on what comes at us.".

The Noryang unleashed a swarm of missiles for its forward vertical launch system and fired its guns at the corvette. Explosions erupted across the vessel as plasma torpedoes narrowly missed the Noryang. Suddenly, a massive blue fireball rocked the side of the off the unshielded corvette. The Covenant spacecraft fell out of its hover, crashing into the ocean and sinking below the surface. In the face of insurmountable odds, they had won, a wet naval vessel had taken down a low-flying spacecraft.

They had won... or had they. A massive shape appeared overhead, a Covenant light cruiser uncloaked about five clicks from shore. Plasma torpedoes flew at the lone UNSC "wet" naval vessel that guarded the port of Kamisu. The torpedoes exploded around the ship, none scoring direct hits, but some of the causing blast damage.

There was nowhere to run to, the Noryang was cornered in the harbor. The Covenant light cruiser charged a second salvo of plasma torpedoes. They were going to die. But not without a fight.

"Fire all weapons at the torpedo ports", Choi commanded, "If were going down, were going down fighting."

The UNSC Noryang Point fired a swarm of missiles as all of the guns aboard the ship shot towards the sky. The Covenant cruiser's shields flashed as the halted most of the projectiles. However, a few missiles flew through the gap in shields in front of the port plasma torpedo tubes and detonated the plasma torpedo in the tube, blowing away part of the bow. The cruiser was crippled, but not destroyed.

The Covenant fired its remaining two plasma torpedoes at the "wet" naval vessel. The plasma torpedoes melted through the hull, setting off the remaining ordnance aboard the UNSC Noryang Point. The ship exploded in a ball of flames, killing all hands.

As the UNSC Noryang Point sank beneath the waves, A CCS-class battlecruiser pulled up next to the wounded light cruiser to transfer some of its damage control Huragok to repair to the crippled vessel as both cruisers deployed Phantoms, most delivering troops to take control of the city, but a few skimming the water in search of surviving Covenant troops from the captured aquatic vessels, the aircraft, and the corvette that were all destroyed by a single human aquatic vessel that refused to die without a fight.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

59: Dusk

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

2100 Hours, October 27th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo, Japan

The bunker had been breached, the gaping hole in its facade pointing to a Wraith mortar. Ion Team had stayed for more than a full day while technical devices transmitted information to Lieutenant Coney at Ryu Base, trying to figure out what had happened to the two or three dozen entrenched marines. It left the SPARTANs with very little to do.

For the umpteenth time, Kodiak turned over a plate of half-slagged metal, then returned to the breach where Dyne and Sepia sat. Night had fallen, and the few intact streetlamps struggled to stay on. With a set of binoculars, Dyne was sweeping the streets for movement, by now praying for an enemy attack rather than this endless waiting.

"I hate this . . . it figures we should have seen someone by now. Well, alive that is." Dyne grumbled, trying not to think about the bodies they'd laid out more respectfully than where they'd lain, in pools of their own blood. "All these empty streets are giving me the creeps."

"I like it." Sepia said. She raised the flamethrower at her side, testing its grip. "It feels like another of Mendez or Stacker's training exercises. No worries on collateral damage, nothing but potential targets. And this time, they really get to burn."

Dyne stared at her a moment. "Okay, now three-thirty's giving me the creeps."

Kodiak was too tired to really smile, and just stood between them, watching the Tokyo's skyline in the last fading daylight. Suddenly, one whole section of that skyline went dark, the lights of every little room extinguished. As the three turned their attention to it, the next block went out, and the next, until the whole city was plunged into darkness.

"What the hell was that?" Dyne murmured.

Sepia rested back into a better resting place against the shattered permacrete. "Covenant must have found a vital point in the power grid. I bet Command will put someone on that before long."

As they turned their heads down, either to sleep or attend to their equipment, Kodiak's head went the other way. Gazing up, an awe-inspired smile spread over his masked face. "Hey, guys." he said quietly. The two gazed at him. "Look up."

They followed his field of vision, and saw something they'd been missing this whole time. With the city lights gone, the stars appeared in the night sky, thousands, millions of tiny motes of silver light. For the first time in almost six hundred years, the stars were visible over Tokyo.


Operation: HOLY FATHER

1202 Hours, October 27th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sydney Orbital Elevator, Sydney, Australia,

Wind accelerated past Dansen's helmet. This was far worse than an orbital drop, Dansen was falling hundreds of meters to his doom. No pod, no chute, no crash webbing to save him and Cervantes if he didn't do this perfectly.

It took every nerve he had to keep from firing the jetpack early. It only had so much available fuel at any given time, so he had to wait until he passed below the tops of other skyscrapers to ignite the jets.

A rooftop went up past him, and he was falling next to its mirrored side. Now. He raised his shoulders, signalling the pack to activate. The two thrusters fired, and the force made the straps dig into Dansen's skin. He held tight, not about to make this for nothing. But he was drifting forward; the unconscious trooper's body was placing too much weight in front of him.

The ground was only three stories below.

Dansen had one option, he was going to have to wait until the last second and swing forward, taking the hit himself. He began to see detail in the pavement, traffic lines, stop lights, the tiny faults in the street . . . Dansen kicked his legs forward, prayed, and hoped this wouldn't hurt much.

Pain lanced up his legs, starting in his feet which he thought must be broken. He fell back, and as the ICARUS pack hit the ground it became like a stair that his back landed on. Screaming in pain inside his helmet, Dansen held as still as he could, cursing and hoping the pain would subside. It did.

He found the other trooper was laying on top of him, and her biosigns read still alive. Fighting pain with determination, Dansen unstrapped himself from the pack and rolled off it. His back felt suddenly relieved, and he gasped in air thankfully. Against the protest of his legs and back, he pushed himself up and got the other trooper in his arms. He wasn't able to go at more than a fast, stumbling walk, but Dansen pushed the limits of his shrieking body.

Fear returned to the mix as he heard an alien cry from some distance behind him. He'd gone another half block before the first plasma shot scorched the air over his head. Dansen could barely keep himself from falling over, and he knew if he did he wouldn't be getting back up, but the thought of dropping the other marine and saving himself never crossed his mind.

Then a battle rifle sounded from ahead of him, returning fire on this alien. What was even better was the sight of a Scorpion tank rolling out to greet him. "Medic!" Dansen called. The trooper's life wasn't saved yet, but he'd done all he could to ensure her survival. That alone was cause to feel proud. But it could wait till later.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 18:53, June 15, 2011 (UTC)

60: Scarab Down

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT 1500 Hours, October 27th 2552 (Military Calendar) Near the main Tokyo rail station, Tokyo, Japan

Mikiya Ryougi flew his AV-144 Falcon Gunship over the main maglev rail station in the Chiyoda Ward of Tokyo. The station was surrounded by countless tall skyscrapers, some reaching up to 3000 meters, with smaller 20-21st century towers reaching up only into the hundreds of meters, interspersed between the towering modern structures.

Suddenly, the ground split open violently over the mag-lev line as a Phantom Gunship and four Banshees flew in toward Mikiya and the rest of the 24th squadron. Mikiya turned his aircraft to face the Phantom and fired an Argent missile. The missile struck the Phantom in the engine air intake, sending it up in a ball of flames, before Mikiya fired a pair of LAU-65 missiles, taking down two of the Banshees, one of them losing a wing and crashing into a skyscraper. The other two Banshees fell victim to Mikiya's squadron mates.

With the aircraft taken care of, they turned their attention to the tunnel that had opened up next to the mag-lev track, a Covenant tunnel excavator, a modified Shadow equipped with plasma beam for drilling holes and an ingenious method of disposing of the glass created from the burned soil: a device that converted it into supporting rods for the tunnel. Not anything built to last, only good for about a few trips along the tunnel, but they were, along with the larger Scarabs equipped with similar mining equipment, enough to be a serious pain in the ass for the UNSC.

Several Wraiths, Shadows, and Locusts followed the tunnel excavator out of the tunnel and immediately began firing their weapons at UNSC positions in the surrounding buildings. They did not get off many shots, however, as Aoi Miyazaki, Mikiya's gunner, fired a Scorpion air-to-ground missile at the excavator, setting off it's large plasma core, resulting in an explosion that also destroyed two Wraiths and a Locust, before turning her attention to a Locust, which she dispatched in a similar manner, as Lt. Satou took out a pair of Wraiths, one with a missile and one with his aircraft's nose-mounted SPARTAN Laser.

The other Covenant vehicles were quickly picked off by the gunships of the 24th and the rocket launchers and SPARTAN lasers of the UNSC troops in the buildings. As that tunneler was taken care of, another one popped out on a nearby road. Aoi fired a missile at the drilling machine as it emerged, sending it up in a ball of flames that collapsed the tunnel, entombing the Covenant Vehicles inside. The last two tunnels were so large, they collapsed a couple of skyscrapers in their paths. Out from the wreckage emerged not one, but two Scarabs.

As soon as the threat appeared, the it was gone, as a swarm of missiles from a Vulture gunship blew apart the Scarabs, reducing them to twisted metal as a voice on the radio said, "This is Havoc Two-One, The area is clear of Covenant and my ground penetrating radar shows no further tunnels, and UNSC armor is on the way to lock down the area. Nice shooting. Havoc Two-One out."

Suddenly, Mikiya's radio crackled to life again. "This is Sgt. Ohta of the 304th Platoon, we are under attack by three Air Artillery craft near the Yodobashi Akiba electronics store. The Akihabara station has been destroyed and we currently taking cover inside the Yodobashi store. Need immediate assistance".

"Yeah, go ahead Covies, bomb Akihabara, see if see if our resident otaku shows you any mercy", Hayashi said.

"Shut up", Satou said. Otaku might not be an entirely inaccurate adjective to describe Satou's hobbies, but he wasn't of those really creep otaku who obsess over anime characters and collect hundreds of thousands of credits of merchandise.

"Cut the chatter, you two", Mikiya said, as he flew north over the mag-lev lines, about a click to the north, leading to Akihabara, a neighborhood devoted to electronics and anime goods. About a click to the east, three Covenant Air Artilleries could be seen hovering over the tops of the towers. Mikiya pressed the "fire" button on his flight stick, sending an Argent missiles at the first Air Artillery, hitting the plasma core and sending it up in a ball of flames.

The other two Covenant aircraft fell in a similar manner, one from a missile from Satou and the other from Hayashi.

"Thanks for the assist", the UNSC Army soldiers holed up in the Yodobashi said, ..."Wait a second, what's that rumbling noise!"

Two multi-level stores, one specializing in anime, manga, and video games, and one in computers, MP3 players, and other electronics collapsed.

"Damn", Mikiya commented, "I needed to replace that old MP3 player". In spite of the situation, Mikiya was still capable of switching from deadly seriousness to a dark sense of humor".

A Scarab emerged from a massive hole it had dug in the street, this particular Scarab being one of the more heavily armored models. Immediately, Mikiya returned back to "deadly serious" mode, order his squadron to immediately make evasive manuevers. Mikiya swerved between buildings, dodging fire from the Scarab's two AA guns. After a few second of ducking and dodging, the AA plasma cannons overheated, and Mikiya fired on one of the guns as Satou hit the other. With the air defenses disarmed, Aoi Miyazaki fired a Scorpion missile at the knees of the Scarab, only for it to merely dent the thick knee armor as other squadron members fired on the top deck, killing the Grunts, Jackals, and Elites on the main deck, but doing little damage to the vehicle itself.

Mikiya remembered hearing about how tough this variant of the Scarab was, requiring heavy firepower: a heavy bomb or air-to-ground missile, a dedicated anti-walker missile such as that carried by the anti-walker variants of the Grizzly tank, Archer missiles, or a heavy Gauss cannon to take it out. That or it could be boarded and either destroyed from within or hijacked... or, a hit to the main gun as it's charging could detonate the plasma core, causing fatal internal damage.

"All units, when it tries to fire it's main gun, hit it with everything you've got". Mikiya flew directly in front of the Scarab's main gun. The apertures around the gun opened, and the glowing plasma core appeared. Aoi and Mikiya both fired the weapons they had control of, Aoi sending a Scorpion missile into the core and Mikiya fired of four LAU-65 dual purpose missiles, as Satou hit it was a Scorpion missile and a couple other members of Mikiya's squadron also contributed their firepower. One of the missiles shot straight up the barrel of the Scarab's main gun and into the plasma core. The entire front half of the Scarab exploded in a ball of blue fire, completely severing the front legs and vaporizing the crew.

As the remains of the Scarab burned, a UNSC Pelican armed with a ground-penetrating radar confirmed that there were no more Covies underground, and Mikiya and the others were cleared to return to base.


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT 1130 Hours, October 30th 2552 (Local Time)

Norikura Skyline Drive, Norikura-dake, Northern Japanese Alps, Japan

High Ground

A UNSC Army convoy lead by several Scorpion tanks and Cobra mobile guns snaked it's way up the winding Norikura Skyline Drive, a tourist road leading to the summit of Norikura-dake, a peak over 3000 meters above sea level. Keiichi Ryukishi sat in the bed of a militia technical near the back of the convoy, Rena having taken over the 25mm autocannon.

Below them, they could see Hirayu, which they had liberated mere hours ago, and beyond that, the rest of the Japanese Alps, including Yarigatake, the mountain one which they were rescued by a UNSC Hornet VTOL. Looking to the east, they could see the the Covenant-held city of Takayama, and to the east the town of Kamioka, the very town they had fled through during their escape. The Covenant forces occupying the north of Japan were much lighter, most of their forces being tied up in the fierce fighting in Tokyo. But before the UNSC could move any further, the Covenant forces holding the high ground on Norikura-dake had to be eliminated.

Above the UNSC army column, three Sparrowhawk gunships flew up, above treeline of the mountain. The lead gunship fired a Scorpion missile at a Locust walker, destroying it, as two Wraiths and another Locust exploded from further missile hits. A shot the the lead Sparrowhawk's SPARTAN Laser destroyed the last Wraith as the other two gunships fire their 25mm autocannon at the surviving infantry and light vehicles.

Suddenly, a beam rifle shot flew from the woods to the side, killing the gunner of Gauss Warthog in front of Keiichi and Rena's technical. As Rena turned the 25mm autocannon on their technical towards the woods, plasma fire flew from the forest, needler rounds bouncing off Rena's gunshield as the autocannon started spitting out ammunition.

Keiichi jumped out of the back of the technical and ran towards the UNSC Warthog, jumping on the back and grabbing the handles of the Gauss Cannon. Keiichi turned the M68 ALIM towards the woods, which were now being lit up by machine guns from the technicals, Warthogs, and heavy vehicles, and the autocannons of the Cougar APCs and Rena's technical.

Keiichi looked through the thermal sight of the Gauss Gun and caught sight of an Elite charging a plasma launcher. Keiichi squeezed the trigger of the weapon and launched a ferric-tungsten slug at the Sangheili. The slug made contact at hypersonic speeds, vaporizing the alien in a mist of purple blood. The slug kept going and reduced a tree to splinters, which killed three Grunts armed with fuel rod guns. Meanwhile, Rena's 25mm killed a couple of Kig-Yar snipers and an Elite.

A pair of Hunters exited the woods, knocking trees aside as they charged their assault cannons. Keiichi quickly turned his gun to the nearest Lekgolo and pulled the trigger, the high-velocity slug piercing the Hunter's armor and killing it instantly. The second Lekgolo fell seconds later, blown apart by the 90mm main gun of one of the Scorpion tanks. The final deathblow to the Covenant squad was delivered when another Scorpion fired a canister shell into the forest, perforating the Covenant survivors with with lethal shrapnel

"Nice shooting, kid", the UNSC soldier driving the Warthog said as they drove away from the engagement, on above the treeline.

"Thanks", Keiichi replied tersely, too busy scanning for Covenant to complain about being called "kid". There were no Covenant to be seen, however, only the wrecks of Wraiths and Locusts and the bodies of alien infantry, the Air Force had done a good job here.

Finally, the UNSC column reached the point where the east and west roads up the mountain met. From the East road, the other column rolled uphill. The parking lot on the summit was filled with the wrecks of UNSC civilian vehicles, and the more recent remains of Covenant armor. A Scorpion tank moving in from the east fire on one of the few surviving Wraiths, knocking it out in a ball of flames as a second Wraith fell to the secondary anti-tank missile carried by a Cougar APC. A Cobra MGS took out the only surviving Locust as Scorpion from the west force nailed the last Wraith.

Keiichi fired his Gauss cannon at pair surviving Shadow APCs, blowing them to pieces as Rena opened up with the 25mm autocannon on her technical, chewing apart a few Covenant infantry and light vehicles in the parking lot. The Covenant troops in the lodge, bus station, and souvenir shops tried to open fire on the convoy, but were met with overwhelming force, 90mm and 105mm shells from the tank and Gauss slugs from the Scorpions, 102mm rockets, and autocannon fire blew apart the wooden structures, creating kindling from the flamethrowers operators, who, under the cover of machine gun and cannon fire, sprayed jets of flame into the buildings, setting them ablaze.

Unggoy methane tanks exploded in the flames as a few Elites and Kig-Yar ran out of the building covered in burning napalm. Some UNSC soldiers put the aliens out of their misery with their rifles, but others held their fire and waited for them to burn to death. The Covenant had shown no mercy at Harvest, no mercy at Jericho IV, no mercy at Reach, and no mercy on Earth, they would receive none in return.

Soldiers and militia exited their vehicles, including Keiichi and Rena. "Excellent work soldiers", An army Lieutenant said, "But were not finished here yet. We have orders to take the observatory and summit proper. Gear up and get moving!".

Keiichi and Rena retrieved their weapons from the vehicles, Keiichi arming himself with the grenade launcher-equipped M389 DMR he had carried since his escape and an M6C pistol, while Rena grabbed an MA37 and the M6C SOCOM , along with the Covenant energy sword she kept as a trophy from an Elite officer she had killed.


FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

61: About Damn Time

Operation: DIVINE SON

2207 Hours, October 23, 2552 (Military Calendar)/

Olympus Base, Periphery of Continental Greece, Hellenic Republic


When Roger-341 had heard that his old mentor, Laszlo-108, was somewhere in Greece leading a team of SPARTANs and decided to go help him out, he definitely hadn’t envisioned this.

Sitting with his leg held in a sling, Roger watched a team of medics rush back and forth, frantically tending to wounded. Laszlo had ordered Roger and his teammate, Mica-311 to undergo surgery to repair the injuries they’d sustained when they had free fallen from a crashing ONI Prowler that they’d stolen and then used as a makeshift bomb. He’d left another SPARTAN--Rachel-343, a member of the same class of SPARTANs as Roger, now conspicuously missing her team--to act as their ‘guide’, in effect a guard to make sure they didn’t try and bust out of the surgery suite and go straight out to the front. He was right to do so, because in any normal circumstance, Crimson Team--Roger’s unit, or what was left of it after augmentation and three years of fighting--would have done just that. But Laszlo was one of the few people Roger respected well enough to actually follow their advice--he couldn’t think of it as orders, or else he’d feel obligated to disobey--so he had been remarkably patient.

But his patience was wearing thin.

Roger checked glanced down at the helmet of his scavenged MJOLNIR suit, checking the chrono that blinked in the upper corner of the HUD. 2207. Two hours had passed since Laszlo had ordered him and Mica to get surgery--which he said would have taken no more than two hours. Granted, those two hours were largely Crimson’s fault anyway--their stunt with the ONI Prowler had given a variety of unit’s the vital hours of free airspace that they’d needed to get back to base, resulting in a influx of injured who had been trapped outside the base and now needed immediate attention. But even given this, and all his respect for his former trainer, Roger found himself itching to leave. He didn’t like being cooped up in a tight confined space like this, away from the action--and worse yet, surrounded by other people. He needed to move, soon.

Beside him, Mica stirred from a brief nap she’d been having. Roger watched as she checked her own chrono, and the half glance she gave him immediately told Roger that she was thinking the same thing he was. That was all the reason Roger needed to justify his decision. Picking up his helmet, he attached it to his battered suit of MJOLNIR and pumped his injured leg full of hydrostatic gel to help stabilize his fractured leg. It would hold well enough to do what he needed it to. Roger finished his makeshift sling and saw Mica was following his example, easing her own helmet on and prepping her suit. The medics, to swamped with the deluge of casualties, didn’t even give the pair of SPARTANs a sideways glance. They probably figured the two of them had dealt with the injuries on their own, or miraculously healed or something. Legends about SPARTANs got crazier every day.

Roger stood up, feeling his leg twinge in protest, and consciously put aside the pain. A little discomfort meant very little compared to the chance of adding a few more kills to his collection. Roger smiled under his helmet. With the medics ignoring them, and the rest of the SPARTANs--including Laszlo, thank God--out on recon, it meant the way out was all clear for Crimson.

Or not. A loud thunk of metal on stone sounded behind him, and Roger turned to see Rachel-343 standing behind him with a look of satisfaction on her face. Roger found himself growing a little bit annoyed. He’d forgotten her, and now she’d caught Crimson red handed. Diverting her was going to cost them time--and that meant it would cost him kills.

“Going somewhere?” she asked sarcastically, “I didn’t realize the medics had already seen you.”

“Uh-huh.” said Mica before Roger could respond, “I’m really thirsty, so I thought I’d go grab a big glass of ‘shut the hell up and get out of our way’ from the mess hall.”

“Very funny.” said Rachel coldly, face set in stone “Now sit back down and wait for your surgery before I get pissy.”

Of course Laszlo had to assign them the most stubborn of the whole Ares bunch. They couldn’t have gotten Bal or, for god sakes, someone like Adam? One of them would have turned a blind eye, or, at least emphasized with their need to go kill some things.

“Sorry, Rachel, but we’re tired of waiting around.” said Roger, letting his voice drop in pitch and harden. He’d noticed it was a good way to communicate his point…and intimidate people. “We’re moving out, and you’d be smart not to try and stop us.”

Rachel laughed. What was he thinking? Trying to intimidate another psychopath was hardly ever a success. “Smart not to try and stop you? All I have to do is call Laszlo, and he’ll get Colonel Johansen on the radio so fast you won’t know what happened. You may not be SpecWar Five, but she’ll keep you here just fine all the same. Think I’m bluffing? I guess you haven’t really been around her long enough to find out.”

Roger was suddenly thankful for his polarized visor, because it would have just been another victory for Rachel to see the scowl that had settled on his face. This was exactly the kind of bullshit that he’d hoped to avoid with her. Rachel was a classic study of the ‘stubborn asshole’ syndrome.

“Rachel, let me ask you something,” Roger decided that he might be able to throw her off by changing the subject a little, “You know how we got these suits of MJOLNIR?”

Rachel laughed again. “Probably stole them, right? Big bad Crimson Team always breaking the rules.”

“Yah, that’s right.” Roger had to contain his temper and fight down the urge to level her there and then. Truth be told, a fight with an injured leg against another SPARTAN--a SPARTAN who was an arguably better fighter--probably wasn’t one he wanted to fight. It certainly wasn’t one he thought he would win. “We stole them. Took them right out from under ONI’s nose, then had Colonel Standoff wipe the records for two years. Two years. You think we’re the least bit scared of Laszlo? Or of some pushover Colonel? I thought we’d kicked your ass enough times in training for you to realize that.”

Rachel looked like she was doing her best not to let Roger gain any ground in their verbal duel. “Well, great for you. You stole a couple suits of MJOLNIR from ONI and lied about it. Like I said, big bad Crimson, always breaking the rules. What else is new.”

“Yeah, well stealing those suits kept my team alive, now didn’t it?” Roger saw an opportunity, and took it. “Where’s your team, Rachel?”

Roger was glad that she wasn’t wearing a helmet, because it was refreshing to see her cold façade shatter in front of his eyes. Rachel’s face instantly turned as bright red as the flames on the defoliant projectors she loved so much. Roger had a feeling if James had been there, he would have mentioned how maybe she should have been a part of Crimson Team.

“Leave my team out of this.” she said, trying to regain her composure. Roger realized just how deep a nerve he had struck. At least now he knew why the rest of Cyan was so conspicuously absent.

“No problem, we’ll just be on our way and leave you here to fume.” Roger loved Mica like a sister, because she always had the best timing when it came to sarcastic quips. James might have been the joker of their team, but she was making a great substitute while he was undergoing treatment on the hopeful.

“Fat fucking chance.” growled Rachel, apparently abandoning her efforts to keep her temper in check. “I’m calling Colonel Johansen, right now.”

Rachel reached for her helmet, and Roger didn’t wait to see if she was bluffing. He nodded to Mica, who was faster without injured legs, and the other SPARTAN swept in the moment Rachel looked down to don her helmet and yanked it from her. Roger followed close behind her, using the intermediate time to force himself in front of Rachel, shielding Mica from the now very angry SPARTAN. Roger was 115 kilos, and had weight on both SPARTAN women; Mica was only 90 kilos, and Roger would have guessed that Rachel was no more than 110. Thankful that it was his leg that was broken and not his arm, Roger dropped his shoulder as Rachel launched herself at Mica, letting her cannon into the broad CQC plate on his armor. The smaller SPARTAN rebounded off his armor with a painful sounding clunk; several of the medics who had previously paid no attention to the three arguing SPARTANs now took a moment to glance at them in curiosity.

Rachel, for all her talk, apparently wanted to keep their argument private as well. She refrained from launching another attack at Roger, letting the medics turn back to their patients before she continued. Roger smiled a bit, suddenly understanding his fellow Ares Project member a bit better. He rarely understood others, and it was a nice feeling. It made manipulating them so much easier.

“Rachel, lets not do anything that will get anyone hurt.” he said cautiously. Roger realized he’d been approaching her all wrong, and suddenly regretted getting her so angry. It hadn’t helped at all. “We both want the same thing here.”

“Like hell we do, asshole. Give me my fucking helmet before I give you another broken leg!”

Roger bit down a retort, and let her comment roll off of him. “Rachel, be honest. You don’t really want to turn us in, do you? Cause that means you’ll be stuck here even longer, explaining to Johansen why you let us make assholes of ourselves. You want to be out with Laz and the rest of your team, killing some fucking aliens, am I right?”

“Get to the point, dipshit.”

Roger smiled, knowing he’d found her weak spot. It seemed painfully obvious in retrospect. That’s what he got for being a sarcastic introvert, he supposed.

“I’m just saying, Rachel, that if you stop us, I guarantee you won’t be seeing any action anytime soon. So here’s how this is going to go down; Mica and me are going to walk out that door, and your not going to stop us. Your gonna walk out with us, get in the Warthog we’re going to take, and help us kill some split chinned fuckers. I think you understand me.”

Rachel really needed to start wearing her helmet. It was the ultimate poker face. Letting other people see her mood swings was killer in a delicate game like this. Roger smiled freely, knowing that she saw nothing but the shining gold visor of his CQC helmet.

“You’re an asshole, Roger.” said Rachel, scowling.

“So I’ve been told.” he replied

“Go grab that stupid hog, and give me back my goddamn helmet.”

//Your screams blacken my soul// //I am shadow, I am death// //I am alone in the dark, but not afraid//

62: Just Rewards

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1104 Hours, October 28th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo, Japan

If they hadn't been wearing helmets, Ion Team would have smelled the Brutes long before spotting them on motion trackers.

Lieutenant Coney had found a tracking signal for the FENRIS, and immediately the three Gammas had pursued. Now they were sitting hidden in cover, just feet away from the nearest Jiralhanae guard. Even the smallest stood taller than the young SPARTANs. Kodiak surveyed their opposition.

"I count a score around the plaza. Mostly minors and captains. There could be more inside the buildings." He remembered the estimates, he was willing to guess there could be up to forty of them scattered around. A moment of discouraging realism touched him, those were steep odds for three fighters without any support or backup. The feeling left. They were SPARTANs. Impossible was the job description. "Okay, we're not going to be able to do this quick. So use the lighter weapons and stay on the move. Don't let them flank you."

In cover at the wall across the street, Dyne said on radio, "Think these are the same ones that killed Brutto and the other two? And those Elites we passed?"

On their way, Ion had passed a number of Sangheili bodies with Spiker rounds embedded in their corpses. There was no question these Brutes had killed them, but there was no way to tell if they'd killed the Alpha Company washouts. "Command hasn't seen many other Brutes running around, so I'd bet on it. But it doesn't matter. Let's kill 'em."

Beside him, Sepia brought up her flamethrower. Kodiak shook his head. "You'll want to use your assault rifle."

"Why?" she asked. "I heard Brutes burn really well."

"Yeah, but there's too much open space here. Those spikers are going to have range on you. Plus that fur is going to stink."

Sepia sighed and switched the weapon she held with the one on her back. Kodiak readied his own assault rifle, one of his knives fixed to the muzzle, and gave the signal.

Three armored soldiers burst from cover, firing on the sentries standing completely out in the open. They crumpled under a hail of AP shredder rounds and battle rifle bursts, punching through armor and muscle. One of the captains managed to growl fearfully, "Demons!" before being shot in the head by one of Dyne's bursts. That was good, Kodiak thought, they knew who was going to kill them.

They split up, Dyne on the left and Kodiak right as Sepia jumped straight into a nest of Brutes that had been sleeping or eating, and were only now reaching for their weapons. The light from her weapon's muzzle reflected off her gold armor in amber patterns as her enemies fell like wheat before a scythe. She ducked as one managed to get a weapon up, breaking the air above her with a round of buckshot. Sepia dropped her empty rifle and lashed out, breaking the Brute's thick forearm and confiscating the Mauler. She fired it into the whimpering Brute's head, and stole the other from its side before dancing around a Captain to avoid the blades on the Spiker he was swinging around. The spikes on the Maulers' undersides dealt with him swiftly. She was at once coldly precise and ferociously aggressive with her attacks as more attacked her.

JiralShield
Kodiak ran just under a sprint, angling his rifle left and right as he passed several Brutes and left them in his wake with bullet wounds that would prove fatal. Then ahead of him, one stepped out from cover with a Brute Shot, and this one was ready for him. Kodiak jumped as the first grenade shot under him, detonating under his feet and propelling him upward. Part of the shield bar at the top of his HUD emptied, but not much. Before the Jiralhanae could adjust for a second shot, Kodiak came down bayonet first, striking the alien in his chest. It howled in pain as Kodiak put the full weight of his MJOLNIR armor behind the stab, driving it into the pavement.

Another one came at him with bare claws, wearing a minor's helmet but standing head and shoulders over Kodiak. He left his rifle embedded in the corpse and ducked under one large arm, drawing the blade of another of his knives through the tissue under the Jiralhanae's shoulder. The arteries spat dark purple blood, the Brute gasping in shock. Passing out of its shadow, Kodiak saw three more standing side by side, raising their hand-held weapons like a trio of western gunfighters. Kodiak reacted, spinning, grabbing the still-gasping Brute, and swinging him around to use as a shield against the enemy fire.

As Spiker rounds thudded into the corpse, Dyne hurdled a low wall and came up on their flank. Switching his battle rifle to single-fire, he carefully put a round into each one's unarmored throat. They clutched at the wounds and fell as Dyne reswitched his rifle and ran on. The square was already cleared, there'd been no mercy nor warning, but now Brutes charged out of the building right in front of him. These were heavy types, clad in gold, ornate armor that his bursts ricocheted off of. He caught one through his thick helmet, placing a bullet in his eye. "Bullseye!" he laughed, running sideways and continuing to fire. Suddenly, he ran into something big. Instinctively ducking, the hammer's head whooshed just over his, the massive Chieftain glaring at him with glowing orange eyes. Dyne noted that it was caused by some electronic eyepieces before the hammer swung around over the Brute's head and fractured the permacrete beneath his feet.

The gravity pulse threw him back. He landed nimbly, but not perfectly. In the moment he was trying to get his balance, the Chieftain brought the hammer around again. Dyne had one chance to minimize the hurt, and threw himself toward the Brute. Instead of the clubbed end, the haft caught him in mid-air, not enough to kill without the gravity pulse but still sending him through a storefront window.

Before the Brute could follow to finish him off, Sepia vaulted the same low wall and opened fire with the Maulers. The chambers revolved with every burst of shrapnel as she advanced, sparking against the Chieftain's strong shield. He turned and struck with his weapon like it was a spear, bashing it against her extended arms and causing her to drop the handheld shotguns. Ignoring the throbbing in her fingers, Sepia backpedaled and drew the flamethrower, igniting its pilot light. A jet of white-hot flame roiled from it, but parted around the last of the weakened shields as a hammer parted the river of fire and slammed against the flamethrower.

The singularity it made wrenched the mangled flamethower from Sepia's hands and pushed her back against a wall, her shield bar dropping dangerously. The Chieftain, some of its fur charred and smoking, stepped forward and lifted the hammer, glaring at her.

Before it could take action, Kodiak dropped down from an elevated platform, his rifle already casting light from its barrel. The Brute shook as each round punctured his hide, but remained standing, even if he was stumbling backwards. Kodiak pressed after him, his finger not releasing the firing stud. Sepia drew her M6G-B and with one, carefully aimed shot, finished the creature off. The body collapsed, hammer and armor landing with a heavy thud on the permacrete.

The two still standing immediately looked for Dyne, and saw him just standing up in the store he'd been thrown into. Kodiak and Sepia ran over, hearing him mutter, "Ow." as his shield glimmered gold as it recharged, then faded becoming transparent.

"Thick skull save your life again, Dyne?" Sepia asked cheerily.

"No." Dyne said, staring at his feet. He reached down and picked up a colorfully-wrapped candy bar. "Sugar did."

He tossed it to Sepia, and picked up a few more, tossing one to Kodiak. Kodiak caught it absently, looking around the square. Bodies were everywhere. All told, thirty-one marauding Jiralhanae had been unable to even draw blood from three SPARTAN warriors. Kodiak could hardly remember any of the fight, he'd been moving so fast. It wasn't the element of surprise that had won them this battle. It was the armor.

There was no taking helmets off in a combat zone, so he told Dyne to stuff as much food as he could in their packs and save it for later. Then he called Erin to report mission success and request a Warthog. There was more work to be done.


Operation: HOLY FATHER

1324 Hours, October 27th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sydney Orbital Elevator, Sydney, Australia,

Dansen felt pretty good, despite the sharp aches in his back and legs. He'd been given a cot and bedroll, and used the latter to prop himself up as he took a long draft from his canteen. The medics said Lance Corporal L. Cervantes would live. She'd been close to death, but thanks to Dansen's risky actions she had gotten the medical attention in time.

One of the corpsmen had looked him over quickly and made sure he didn't have any broken bones, but then went back to other patients. There were a lot of wounded to tend to. At least he had somewhere comfortable to sit. He replaced his helmet, polarized it, and was about to catching up on some sleep when he spotted a group of ODSTs headed straight for him.

It was Corporal Hunter, along with Kevlar, Emmert, Collins, and the SHVA trooper, Quinn. Forcing himself up over the protest of his back, he stood straight as Hunter tore off his helmet.

"What the hell went through your head, trooper?" Mitch shouted. "You not only put Cervantes in further danger, you added your own life to the bet. You disobeyed a direct order and almost got yourself killed. That is not acceptable in my squad, you get me?"

"Yes, sir." Dansen said, quietly but in a level and unafraid voice. Hunter tilted his head back and eyed him thoughtfully.

"You'd typically be courtmartialed for disobeying orders. Troop shortage or not. And I've got half a mind to shoot you myself." He let Dansen stand uncomfortably in silence for a moment. "But from what I heard, you saved Cervantes' life. I think a life for a life is fair, don't you?"

The rookie slumped, staring at him curiously. "Yes, sir."

"Alright then." Mitch replaced his helmet. "We're moving out in five. Grab your gear."

Dansen nodded, and Kevlar produced Dansen's pack and rifle, which he'd left at on the orbital elevator when he'd jumped. As he was strapping it on despite jabs of pain, his helmet radio sparked, along with Hunter's.

"This is Sydney PD Sergeant Joshua broadcasting on an open channel! I'm in a residential district south of the elevator. I've got a Jackal sniper running around, terrorizing civilians still getting out of the city. Somebody get down here and help me deal with this bastard, out!"

Mitch recognized the name and voice. He turned to Dansen, who was checking his sniper rifle over. "Dansen, looks like you've got a chance to redeem yourself."

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 20:24, June 19, 2011 (UTC)

63: Whack-a-Mole

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1345 Hours, October 28th 2552 (Military Calendar)

Mt Fuji Summit, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan


Colonel Daisuke Umezu sat on top of an Elephant command vehicle on the summit of Mount Fuji. Around him stood multiple AA guns and SAM batteries, artillery guns and Tarantula MLRS. For the last couple of days, the Covenant had been making life difficult for the UNSC, having deployed tunneling machinery to dig under UNSC lines and launch surprise attacks.

So far, they hadn't gone after the artillery base on Fuji or Yokota Air Force Base, instead going for central Tokyo. Now, Umezu and his artillery were tasked with destroying a number of Covenant tunnel entrances and concentrations of tunneling equipment in Setagaya, Shibuya, and Shinjuku.

A battery of 155mm howitzers opened up, their recoil kicking up snow and gray volcanic dust as they sent high explosive projectiles down on a Covenant column on the Tomei Expressway, consisting of numerous Wraiths and tunneling machines. The Tarantula MLRS, meanwhile, launched swarms of rockets at a Covie tunnel entrance in Yokusuka, an attempt to tunnel under the narrow point in the Uraga Channel into Chiba. Other rocket and gun batteries, as well as Rhino plasma mortars and Cobra railguns pounded the tunnel entrances in downtown Shinjuku, Shibuya, and Setagaya.

Long range missiles launched for other Tarantula MLRS flew towards more distant targets to the north and east, hitting Covenant staging areas in Shizuoka, Hamamatsu, and Nagoya. New targets kept coming in, it was like a whack-a-mole game, blow one tunnel entrance, the Covies build another. Umezu just hoped they could keep whacking them 'till they ran out of moles.


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT 200 Hours, October 29th 2552 (Local Time)

Below Hotaka-dake, Northern Japanese Alps, Japan

The Sniper's Sight

Sulo Hahya knelt about 200 yards from the mountain lodge below the trail leading up to the summit of Hotaka-dake, the highest peak in the Northern Japanese Alps, at over 3000 meters/ 10000 feet above sea level. The lodge itself was about a click from the Hotaka Ropeway, an aerial tramway between the village of Shinhotaka in the valley below and a station on flanks of Hotaka-dake. The village below the target of Hahya and the rest of his squad of UNSC Army Rangers, all of whom were trained in mountain and arctic warfare, perfect for the snow-covered peaks around Shinhotaka.

Hahya himself had arctic warfare in his blood, one of his distant ancestors being Simo Hahya, or "The White Death", a Finnish sniper who single-handedly killed over 500 Soviet soldiers in the Winter War of 1939-1940. Sulo Hahya intended to live up to his name as he examined isolated mountain lodge, his M99 SASR Gauss rifle set to subsonic mode. With no report and no sonic boom, the shot would be completely silent. Next to Hahya knelt the squad's other sniper, a Russian woman named Pavlichenko, an ironic ally considering Hahya's ancestor. Pavlichenko carried another completely silent weapon, a hard sound rifle which emitted a blast of sonic energy at a frequency in audible to human and alien ears, a frequency that had an effect similar to a explosive blast wave, causing fatal internal trauma. The hard sound rifle left no mark on the target, save perhaps a stream of blood flowing out of the nose or mouth.

"Three hostiles in the lodge", Hahya said, "Two Jackals and a Brute, I'll take the Jackal on the right and the Brute, Pavlichenko, take care of the Jackal on the left."

Hahya lined up the scope on the Jackal in the lodge window. His ancestor had not used a scope when he used his rifle, to avoid being spotted by the glint of the scope. Sulo Hahya, so he said, anyway, that he only used a scope because of the 4km+ range of the M99. He had, in fact, hit a target a few hundred yards using only the iron sights of the M99 on a range before.

Sulo Hahya exhaled slowly as he squeezed the trigger, picking off the Jackal sniper in the second story of the lodge, as the blast from Pavlichenko's HSR blew out the window and took out the second Jackal. Hahya fired a shot at the Brute, which he dropped with a single headshot before it could react. Even with the shields they seemed to have recently acquired, the Brute could not be saved from the shot, the round going through a gap in the shield around the head that allowed the alien to breathe.

"All right, move up and clear the structure", Hahya said, before stopping for a second, saying, "Three sleeping Grunts just inside the door, take 'em out quietly". Pavlichenko got out her ballistic knife, a spring-loaded knife with a blade that could be shot about 20 feet as another soldier in the squad took aim with an M7S silenced SMG.

Pavlichenko slowly opened the door to the lodge and launched the blade of her ballistic knife, hitting the nearest Grunt in the eye, killing it as the blade entered its eye. The soldier with the M7S fired a three round burst into the second Unggoy, which killed it instantly, staining the snow with alien blood. The third fell to a shot from a silenced DMR. A patrolling Kig-Yar entered the room, only to be struck down by a shot from Hahya's M6C SOCOM silenced pistol.

Pavlichenko retrieved the blade from her ballistic knife and joined the rest of the squad as they moved from room to room, searching for Covenant, but finding none. The Ranger squad moved slowly down the trail to the Hotaka ropeway, their positions concealed by the darkness and their white, snow-patterned camouflaged body armor.

About 600 yards from the ropeway station, Hahya got a clear shot at the Covenant soldiers guarding the station. "Three kilos, five Jackals, five Grunties in the station, I'll take the one's on the top loading deck, Pavlichenko, you take the ones in the lower floor windows.

"Roger", Pavlichenko responed, as she picked off the two Brutes guarding the entrance, their new energy shielding doing nothing to save them, shields didn't stop sound waves. The two Jiralhanae fell to the snowy ground, dead. Hahya picked off the Brute on the top deck, and then proceeded to finish off the Jackal snipers before they could figure out where he was. After the Jackals were dead, the Grunts proved easy targets for Hahya, Pavlichenko, and a couple other soldiers DMRs.

When the Ranger squad got to the station, it was already clear, the windows allowing the hostiles inside to be eliminated from afar. From the top deck, Hahya could see his target in the valley below, a couple of Covenant drilling machines that the Covies were planning to used to drill a tunnel under the Japanese Alps, across to the UNSC lines.

"All right", Hahya said, "I can see the targets from here, setting the M99 to full power, preparing to take them out". Hahya set his rifle to full power, it could now a solid ferric tungsten slug over four kilometers at hypersonic speeds, with the force to pierce through several stories of a skyscraper... or the armor of a Wraith. However, it was no longer silent

The M99 let off a loud sonic boom as Hahya fired the first slug at the plasma core of the first drilling machine, blowing it to pieces in a brilliant fireball from over three kilometers away. Several Covies ran for a pair of Wraiths, intending to bombard the mountains with plasma. Hahya, however, was to quick for them, taking out both Wraiths with a high-velocity slug each. Hahya then took out a Brute Chieftain amidst the crowd Covies, vaporizing the alien with a high-speed slug.

Hahya's final shot struck to plasma core of the other drilling machine, destroying it in a similar fashion to the first. Hahya then packed up his rifle and ran into the woods, his squad close behind, before starting the long hike back to the nearest UNSC outpost. Hahya's mission was accomplished, the Covenant attempts to cross the Japanese Alps had been thwarted, and soon, it would be the UNSC's turn to make a breakthough, at least in the North of Japan.


UNSC pilot by SPARTAN 204
SPARTAN 119Crawl from the wreckage , one more time, Horrific memory twists the mind. Dark blooded, cold and hard to turn. Path of destruction, feel it burn. 'Cause we hunt you down without mercy, hunt you down all nightmare long
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Greenwich Mean Time
All of the named characters in the sqaud are named for World War II snipers



64: Desperate Measures

Operation: HOLY FATHER

0211 Hours, October 29th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sutherland Shire, Sydney, Australia,

At the same time as Hahya and his team vanished into the night, almost 5000 miles south another hunt was just beginning. Mitch's squad had gotten contact from Sergeant Joshua a few hours ago, and borrowed one of Task Force Oscar's Warthogs to move quickly, getting directions from Joshua as he tracked the Kig-Yar sniper moving north into Sutherland Shire's denser urban areas. And he'd taken on new targets.

Several radio reports were coming in about marine squads being attacked. There were a few common traits with all of the incidents. The Jackal was using a beam rifle, the violet line and lack of recoil was telltale. It would kill one or two before someone caught sight of the particle trail and the survivors would take cover and organize to counter, but once the targets knew he was there the Jackal would take its leave. It was just harassing the human soldiers, not any sort of preparation for a larger force, but the random deaths of soldiers and civilians alike was hurting morale.

Mitch kicked a pebble out into the road from the alleyway they'd hidden the hog in. Joshua had just told them over coms he'd caught sight of the sniper, but lost him in the neon signs of downtown. It left Mitch to weigh his options.

He wasn't going to bring his whole squad in. It would give the Jackal better odds of spotting and killing one of them, and Mitch would have more people to worry about. He couldn't afford to lose concentration. Mitch needed one in particular, but hesitated bring him.

Dansen owed him one, and he was trained with the 99D-S2 he carried. But . . . he was very young, and his actions lately labeled him stupid, but brave. Mitch couldn't help feeling a bit protective of him. And he still remembered when Sergeant Joshua Dansen, UNSC Army, had died on Reach because of a surprise attack led by Elites. His hand went to the pouch on his belt where the ring of dog tags was. Maybe in the close streets, Mitch's battle rifle would be enough . . .

He cleared his head. Personal feelings had no place in a soldier. He needed Dansen to do this, despite and a bit because of the risks. The boy'd need a spotter, having his superior looking over his shoulder would just cause stress. They needed their maximum chances.

"Dansen, leave your pack and take your rifle. You'll need a spotter . . ."

Kevlar nudged Collins beside him. "Bet he picks me."

"Kevlar, you've got his back."

The trooper gave Collins his 'told you so' look.

"Collins, stay here with Emmert, and radio me if his wounds get worse again." Mitch slung his own pack into the bed of the Warthog with Dansen and Kevlar.

"Yes, sir." She answered wearily, tired of her and Emmert being left behind.

The three black-clad troops slipped quietly out into the street, different strains of light reflecting off their visors and the water collected in the street. As Mitch listened to the patter of their boots on the wet permacrete, he knew this was going to be the part it got really dangerous.


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1001 Hours, October 29th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Ryu Base, Tokyo, Japan

As Kodiak led his team into Ryu Base's command center, he felt immensely proud of himself. They'd taken down an entire Brute pack, and he couldn't help thinking they were the ones who'd killed Brutto. Things were looking up.

Standing near the door leading farther into Ryu Base, Erin Coney seemed vaguely impressed as they approached. Kodiak tried not to swagger, remembering not to get overconfident. But he felt good right now.

Erin was immediately business as she began to address them. “Ion, we’ve got another problem. Satellite network has been tracking a Covenant Supercarrier, and it’s probable it’s headed straight for us.”

That sobered Kodiak up. “A supercarrier?”

“Based on its course since it entered the atmosphere, it’s safe to say Japan is it’s target, and our ruse is gone. We've been repelling them well enough and now something is happening within the enemy ranks. They're done trying to root us out and are going to do things the easy way. They're pulling their ground troops away from the bay and pinning us down with air support. We believe the carrier’s moving into position to glass the city.”

Kodiak and Dyne didn’t have all the legendary discipline of most SPARTANs, but this made even Sepia look uneasy.

Erin continued, “Everyone is being evacuated, except for the most essential personnel to continue operations. Most of our forces are already gone, abandoned the city to its fate, but there are still enough left to make something desperate worth the effort. A dropship raid, using the Pelicans that are still in the area.”

“What?” Dyne interjected. “Dropships are supposed to gun down a Covenant capital ship?”

Erin motioned over her shoulder to where the nuke was being unloaded. “The FENRIS mine you recovered? The carrier has its mass concentrate in sections fore and aft. This leaves the spine, that middle bridge between them, weaker. We get the bomb in the right place, the ship goes down.”

Kodiak liked the plan, it could work in theory and if successful would not only take down a threat to the entire city, but it meant the ground force was gone for the time and gave the UNSC room to maneuver.

“Kodiak, you’re escorting the bomb aboard Charlie 009. Getting it secured is going to take some time, we’re sending for a Cyclops lifter. Dyne, Sepia, you’re flying into this fight. There’s a cloud layer, with all the radiation from nukes being used in orbit it should mask your approach.”

“What about you?” Kodiak asked. “When do you leave?”

“Someone needs to oversee the operation.” Erin said. “I need to stay here.”

She didn’t have to, they knew, any person could monitor the battle, and she could probably remotely see it anyway. But this made them understand what could be lost. It put a face to the consequences of failure. She'd die, along with the entire city and any still in it.

“Get to your ships.” She said. “And good luck.”

65: Battle of Sado-Shima

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1241 Hours, October 29th 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Off the north shore of Japan

Seven UNSC spacecraft flew at a altitiude of only about 2 kilometers above the Sea of Japan, near Sado-shima, a large island off the north coast of Honshu. The lead vessel was the Marathon-class Cruiser UNSC Henderson, followed by two destroyers, the UNSC Tetsu No Ame and the UNSC Hammer of Dawn and, bringing up the rear, four frigates, the UNSC Stalwart Dawn, UNSC Stardust Memory, UNSC Turning Point, and the UNSC Unrelenting.

In front of them were two Covenant frigates, a destroyer, and a light cruiser, the vanguard of a larger Covenant fleet centered around a Supercarrier. At a distance of several hundred kilometers, the Covenant vessels fired off a salvo of plasma torpedoes. Several of the glowing balls of plasma impacted the side of the UNSC Stardust Memory The torpedoes melted through several decks, detonating thousands of on-board Archer missiles. The spacecraft exploded in a huge fireball, splitting it into two pieces, which fell to Earth and sank into the sea. The surviving vessels opened fire with their MAC guns.

The shields of the Covenant vessels flashed as the MAC rounds impacted, and in the case of the frigate, were depleted completely. The Covenant ships continued to advance forward as the Henderson fired its second MAC, impacting he light cruiser, depleting its shields as the Hammer of Dawn destroyed one of the frigates with its second MAC. The Tetsu no Ame, meanwhile lived up to it's name, meaning "Rain of Steel" in Japanese, firing of both its MACs, one shot deshielding in the Covenant frigate's shield, and damaging the destroyer's shields with the second. The Tetsu no Ame that fired off a swarm of Archer missiles, which engulfed the second Covenant frigate in flames and eventually destroying the alien ship.

The Covenant fleet struck back with pulse lasers and plasma torpedoes, hitting the Henderson twice with its laser, sending up the sides in flames, though the ship remained in the air. The UNSC Unrelenting maneuvered to avoid a plasma torpedo from a Covenant destroyer and fired back with its MAC. The shield of one of the destroyers flare as it responded with overwhelming force, blowing apart the Unrelenting with multiple pulse laser hits.

The Henderson fired back, hitting the light cruiser with a MAC slug, blowing gaping hole in the side in a flash of blue flames. A swarm of Archer missiles finished the job, one of the missiles detonating the ship's plasma stores and blowing the ship clean in two.

The Henderson, however, did not have long to celebrate its victory. Four plasma torpedoes from the two surviving Covenant ships gutted the UNSC crusier. The vessel fell into the sea, a flaming wreck.

"Commander", a junior officer said to captain Shion Kozuki of the Tetsu No Ame, "We've lost the Henderson, what are your orders, ma'am.

"Keep fighting", Shion replied, "Focus fire on the destroyer on the right, relay orders to the Hammer, the Stalwart, and the Turning Point, they are to focus on the one on the left."

"Yes ma'am", the junior officer replied.

The UNSC Tetsu No Ame flew fired its MACs at the Covenant destroyer, disabling its shields. The Tetsu shrugged off a hit from a pulse laser, and returned fire with all of the ship's remaining Archer missiles. Explosions flared up around all around the vessel. Blue balls of flame erupted from the sides as the ship was destroyed.

The Hammer of Dawn and the two frigates assaulted the second destroyer. The first MAC slug hit the vessel, disabling the energy shielding, before the remaining three MAC slugs perforated the ship.

"That's the last of 'em, excellent work", Shion Kozuki said over the radio, "What.. what the...". As Kozuki spoke, a massive purple particle beam shot straight through the UNSC Hammer of Dawn. In a split second, the vessel's classification changed from "destroyer" to "destroyed".

"Commander", the junior officer said. "We have a large contact on radar, looks like a Covenant supercruiser in orbit above northern China"

"Damn it", Kozuki said, "Do we have any nukes left".

"Negative, neither do the two frigates", the officer said, "There should be a "wet Navy" sub that still has six MIRVs left."

"Get in contact with that sub immediately", Shion ordered, "And plot a course for retreat", get out of range before that thing recharges its energy projector".


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1311 Hours, October 29th 2552 (Military Calendar)/ UNSC Seawolf, Tigershark-class Ballistic Missile Submarine, Off the southern shore of Japan

Captain Takashi Yanagi got up as he read the message on the monitor, a UNSC destroyer in atmospheric combat had lost most of their battlegroup in an engagement with a Covenant force off Sado-Shima, and were now in the sights of a Covenant supercruiser in orbit over China. They needed Yanagi to take out the cruiser with his remaining nukes.

"Now hear this!", Yanagi spoke in the submarine's intercom, "We are about launch a nuclear strike on a Covenant supercruiser hovering over China. All personnel are ordered to report to their battlestations immediately."

A few minute's later, Yanagi and his second in command, a Norwegian named Karlsson had the launch keys in hand. They both turned the key at the same time, authorizing the final launch of the nuclear warheads. The missiles shot upwards, out of the water.

Within an hour, the missiles were closing in on the Covenant supercruiser. As they neared the vessel, they split apart into four warheads each, a total of 24 nuclear warhead. Covenant shielding could sometimes survive one nuke, but nothing would survive this much firepower. EMP from the first couple warheads disabled the shields, as the rest blew apart the vessel. The supercruiser, along with a couple of frigates that were too close were annihilated.

A few hours later, Yanagi got confirmation from an ONI Prowler that the supercruiser was now nothing but a debris field. Cheers rang out inside the sub as Yanagi announced the good news. But Yanagi noticed a problem: They were out of nukes, and had expended half of their conventional cruise missiles. That mean only one thing: rearming.... and surfacing, making their location known to the Covenant.

UNSC pilot by SPARTAN 204
SPARTAN 119Crawl from the wreckage , one more time, Horrific memory twists the mind. Dark blooded, cold and hard to turn. Path of destruction, feel it burn. 'Cause we hunt you down without mercy, hunt you down all nightmare long
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Greenwich Mean Time
An annoucement regarding the RP: Since LOMI has stated on my talk page a while back that he is no longer interested in continuing the RP, unless any of the original creators object, Dwindling Flame is now effectively in the care of myself and AHaloSniper. Thus, I will likely be moving on to the second week soon. Also, The second week should signal the point where the Elite ally themselves with the UNSC, which takes place of November 3rd, 2552. The timeline also notes that Cortana sent a slipspace transmission informing the UNSC informing the UNSC that John-117 was en route. It is likely that she also used the message to inform the UNSC of the alliance with the Covenant Separatists. Thus, this RP will assume the Arbiter sent a similar message to inform the Elites, leading to the alliance officially starting on November 3rd, 2552.



66: Dogfight Over Tokyo Bay

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1400 Hours, October 29th 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Over the western shores of Japan

"Erin," Dyne asked hesitantly over his com as his mission clock read 1400, signalling the attack, "any word on the other front?"

"Reports from the Tetsu No Ame went better than we could have expected. All enemy ships neutralized, including this fleet's overwatch thanks to 'wet' Navy assets. They're holding what little they have left back while the flagship moves in to glass. All you have to worry about is the supercarrier."

Somehow, Dyne wasn't reassured. The Navy's battlegroup had beaten the odds and won in a straight-out gun battle with the Covenant. Now all they had to do was do it again, this time with sixty Pelicans against a Supercarrier.

Dyne clicked on his dropship’s transponder, allowing his wing leaders and the people at Command to monitor his systems, and settled back in the seat with his pre-flight done. On a whim, he leaned sideways to look out the Pelican’s window to try and spot the target. For a moment, there were only clouds. Then for an instant, the cover broke, and Dyne could see Tokyo below them, most of it obscured by the massive shape of the Covenant supercarrier. Dyne’s breath caught in his lungs. He’d expected big, but even the UNSC cruisers, like buildings turned on their sides, were dwarfed by this floating mountain range.

“We’re first in, Spartans.” Angel said to them. “Follow my lead.”

Dyne got a grip on himself. “Copy.”

For a brief moment, the two dropships raised up, and then rolled over and dove into the clouds. Breaking through almost immediately, the cruiser came into view again, now dead ahead of their nose. Bravo 029 in the lead began firing her machine gun, and Sepia followed suit with the other ships in their wake.

The tracers appeared as straight bolts of lightning raining down, leaving vapor in their wake. But there was no element of surprise when it came to breaking a Covenant shield. There were places where multiple impacts caused the shield to glow and reveal its spider web pattern of blue, fading in from its normally invisible state, but to break that shield could take several MAC rounds. The dropships might as well have dropped rainwater.

Aware of the attack, plates of purple shell slid back on its hull and unveiled bulbous, plant-like cannons on the carrier’s back. “Stay above the ship, they have less guns topside.” Angel advised, just as the first violet-blue waves of light indicated the gun emplacements were firing.

The first volleys reached them a moment later. Plasma blasts detonated around the diving craft, and as one near miss shook the craft, Dyne realized he was no longer an invulnerable supersoldier. Here, he was a pilot in a vehicle just as vulnerable as any other. He would have to rely on his ability to outthink and outfly the Covenant now.

It proved easier than he thought. Bravo 029 led him down close, to where they were almost skimming over the carrier’s hull. The guns had difficulty adjusting quickly, and couldn’t get a good shot as long as he kept moving inconsistently. Ironically, it was the three Vultures that were destroyed first, for all their armor unable to avoid or survive a hit from the heavy ship’s guns.

One of them exploded in mid-air, not too far away from Dyne and Sepia’s Pelican. They twisted away from the falling wreckage, shaken by the close detonation. It struck Dyne that they weren't the bulletproof supersoldiers anymore. As far as this battle was concerned, they were two more pilots in a ship as vulnerable as the next.

From Ryu Base, Coney’s voice gave them a warning. “All dropships, we’re getting new signatures. Banshees, dropping from the carrier’s hull.”

Dyne searched the sky. “I don’t see anything, are you sure?”

“They’re coming up from below, Dyne, keep looking.”

Then he saw them. Bright purple craft, oddly shaped, trailing blue light and coming right up over the horizon of the carrier.

“One’s fixating on me.” Bravo 029 reported. The Banshee was at a mid distance from Angel’s six o’clock, in perfect position for Dyne and Sepia to take it out.

“Copy Bravo 029, we’re right behind them.”

“Belay that, Sierra, we can shake him.”

Dyne ignored it and settled on the Banshee’s tail. Sepia’s screen filled with the flier’s outline, and she trained the chin gun on the port engine pod. The dropship shuddered as she fired, pounding out 70mm rounds that tore through the Covie’s light armor. It dropped off Bravo 029’s tail, smoke trailing from it as it streaked off over the city. “You’re clear, Bravo 029.”

“Copy, Sierra, get evasive! You’ve picked up his wingman!”

Dyne suddenly realized that as a pair of blue lights shot over the canopy. He pulled the throttle as more bursts went near, some melting the Pelican’s ceramic armor.

“Did something stupid, Dyne . . .” Sepia said through gritted teeth, trying unsuccessfully to get a lock on their enemy.

“I know, I know!” He rolled the craft back the other way, but the Banshee was far more maneuverable and kept them under fire. They had gained a little ground, though.

“Sierra, curve wide left.” Angel commanded, and this time Dyne was far more ready to listen to the more experienced pilot. Bravo 020 sped up and arced elegantly low over the supercarrier’s top. The Banshee was right with them, but Bravo 029, which had been in front, waited a moment before making a much sharper turn and landing right behind the Banshee. A quick burst of fire turned the Covenant ship into a cloud of smoke and debris.

“Thanks, Angel.” Dyne said, relieved.

“It’s what I do, Spartan.” She responded, taking lead again.


More fire rocked the hangar as another Banshee passed over it, streaming fuel rods and plasma. “Take off already!” Kodiak shouted. Charlie 009 had been working on the loading when a squadron of Banshees had started strafing the hangar.

The pilot, Dennison, shook his head and yelled back, “We closed the damn door! I can’t blast out without bringing the whole thing down on our heads!”

Kodiak made a decision, and stood up out of his seat.

“Where are you going?” Dennison yelled.

“To get that door open for you.”

“You know I can’t wait when the Banshees get a clear shot in here, that’s suicide!”

Kodiak didn’t falter. “Yeah.”

He had just stepped off the blood tray and readied to cross the floor when he spied a figure next to the controls. Blood pouring down his face from a gash on his head, the technician, Tenrio, spotted him. Tenrio looked over Kodiak, the Pelican, and the door. He looked back at Kodiak’s visor, grim determination burning in his eyes. He hit the door control, and a vertical slit of light poured in as the hangar doors opened.

Kodiak scrambled back in the dropship, just as Dennison touched off. Charlie 009 hovered through the hangar, picking up speed as it exited. For a brief moment, Kodiak caught sight of Tenrio, not ten feet from him as the Pelican went through the entry.

The Banshees saw their opportunity immediately. Two of them passed under Charlie 009 as it angled up, and fired twin bolts of glowing green into the hangar.

Some ship or another must have caught fire, because the next instant the entire hangar blossomed into an inferno in Charlie 009’s wake. Kodiak gave Tenrio a mental salute, and took his spot at the chaingun to drive away the single Banshee giving chase.


The dropship swerved back and forth in s-curves, shooting past defense batteries on both sides fixed to the carrier’s deck below. Kodiak put his fire on the ones they’d passed that were turning to take shots at them.

“Have to stay low or those things’ll tear us apart.” Dennison reported. “Where are those Banshees?”

“No targets . . .” Kodiak said, watching the horizon under the Pelican’s tail. “There! Two of them, coming in high.” Instantly, he tilted the gun up to face them.

Charlie 009 swerved more violently now, anticipating the attack from the Banshees closing on them, fast. Kodiak opened fire, but they were too far and everything was shaking too much for him to get anything more than tracer hits.

Dennison growled into his helmet, “They’re waiting for one good hit, if they get a shot, we’re screwed.”

Kodiak tried to ignore him and focus on shooting one of them down, but the dropship was swaying too much, hundreds of rounds per minute were flying harmlessly past them.

“Charlie Nine, we’re in trouble here! Need someone to bail us out!”

Sepia hailed them, trying to calm him down, “Charlie 009, we’re inbound.”

“Negative, you’re too far off! There’s gotta be someone-” Even as Kodiak heard him call for help, he saw the underside of the lead Banshee light up, and a fuel rod screamed after them. “Someone!”


From the orbital feed, Erin saw Charlie Nine burst into a fireball above the carrier’s hull, smaller comets of wreckage shooting off of it to burn on their own, strewn across the deck. Holding the headphone to her ear, she tried desperately to reach the pilot.

“Charlie Nine come in! Charlie Nine! Kodiak!”

There was no response. Erin squeezed her eyes shut to stop tears from forming. The young SPARTAN was dead. And soon she would be, too. But there was one last job to do. She opened her com. “All dropships and troop transports, disperse immediately. Don’t wait for anything, just get out while you can.”


Kodiak pushed himself up from where he lay, face-down on the slick surface of the Covenant carrier’s shields. He’d jumped just before the Pelican had exploded, and had nothing worse than bruises from rolling after the fall. But he had to move quickly or he and the people in the carrier’s path wouldn’t be alive much longer.

He ran, but did so carefully across the transparent surface towards Charlie 009’s wreckage. The platform of the carrier’s hull ended on either side in a very steep looking horizon, which wasn’t that far off.

As he got nearer he scanned the flames and pieces of dropship until he saw the bomb. It was made of very strong alloys, meant to momentarily contain nuclear blasts to make them stronger. The explosion around it had only blackened its surface like a piece of toast, but it was sliding away down the side ship’s side.

Sprinting after it, he caught up with the rolling bomb and grabbed hold of it, but couldn’t get any traction on the slick shield. The heavy explosive had already built up enough inertia to drag the SPARTAN with it, closer to the edge. He had one chance, a plasma battery firing at a retreating Pelican. Shifting his weight, he steered towards it.

He braced himself, counting on it to fire for this to work. Nearing the bulbous cannon sprouting from the hull, he ducked behind the near-indestructible weapon as well as he could. The cannon fired, and a wave of intense heat washed over him, but not nearly as bad as it would have been without this cover.

A small section of shielding faded to allow it to fire, and the smooth surface beneath him dissipated, causing him to fall onto the actual deck and under the shield.

Landing hurt, but quickly he got up and started dragging the bomb behind him, having enough friction between his boots and the hull to move it, and headed for the waypoint.


“LT! Erin, are you seeing this?” Dyne screamed into Erin’s headset.

Expecting another added threat, she turned to look at the video feed Sepia was broadcasting from their Pelican, looking down at the topside of the carrier. Her eyes caught a white speck on the field of purple, which the feed zoomed in on.

She couldn’t believe it.

There was Kodiak, hauling the bomb behind him, walking it toward the target. For the first time in far too long, hope sparked inside her. Instantly, she threw her com to Ion Team’s channel. “Kodiak?! Are you alright?”

“Just fine, Erin. I have these buggers right where I want them. I’ll set the bomb and jump for the bay.”

Erin looked back to her tactical display to do her job. Several red dots were wheeling about, headed back towards the Spartan. “Kodiak, they’ve spotted you, the Banshees are wheeling around. Get that thing into position and run, now!”

“That’s the plan.”

More warning sirens blared, and Coney looked up. The red lights indicated only one possible thing: a proximity alarm. The carrier was in position to fire.


Kodiak let the bomb slam to the deck, and circled it to find the keypad. Drawing up the activation code on his HUD, he began punching in the numbers. A howl overhead brought his eyes skyward, just in time to see the pair of Banshees screaming toward him and their plasma cannons glowing blue.

Without anywhere to go, Kodiak ducked behind the bomb. Again, it saved his life, though the heat drained his personal shield and set off the alarms in his helmet. The fliers shot overhead, too fast to wheel around immediately.

He wasn’t going to wait for them. He punched the bomb’s final confirmation, and had turned and sprinted off before the green light turned red.

The supercarrier’s lateral line glowed a different, violet-red as it drew energy to its belly, preparing to release a beam of destruction that would obliterate the entire island. People in Ryu Base’s control room gathered near the window to gaze upon their doom, fearing the SPARTAN had been too late. A tiny figure in white armor ran down its flank, speeding up as the slope increased until he was sliding near-vertically. Above, the bomb’s countdown timer reached its last three, two, one . . .

Light filled the sky, but not the bloody glow of plasma. Blue-white light erupted above the thin stem of the carrier’s midsection, vaporizing the connecting bridge and shattering the remainder of what held it together. Smoke blooming off it, the separated fore and aft sections began to fall out of the sky towards Tokyo Bay below.

Kodiak preceded the debris, staring up and scarcely believing what he’d just done. Attention turning to his fall, he made ready to splash into Tokyo Bay, and move out of the way of falling Covenant ship as soon as he touched the bottom.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 06:57, June 25, 2011 (UTC)

69

1636 Hours, October 28th, 2552. (Military Calendar)/
On board UNSC Carrier Leningrad, Interplanetary Space, Sol System

Lieutenant Duster sat with incredible unease, staring out of a viewport at Earth nervously. They had repelled three Covenant assaults. And painful experience had taught him this. The Covenant usually sent one half-assed attack thanks to underestimating the enemy. Then they sent a bigger one that usually broke through any defense the UNSC held up.

In event of that one being survived, a third, even bigger Covenant attack force would smash through any survivors from the second wave. It had been nearly four days since the last assault on the orbital perimeter. If a third finishing blow was to come, it would come soon.

His unease was shared by the majority of his fellow sailors and pilots of the navy. The experienced veterans knew just as well as he did that the Covenant would just send bigger and bigger attack forces. The rookies would be getting over the deaths of many of their comrades from the second raid in space.

Loses had been heavy. Three destroyers, six frigates, one cruiser and one carrier had been destroyed. Thanks to the Orbital Defense Platforms and the dozens of Moray Space Mines, they had destroyed five destroyers, two frigates, two cruisers and three carriers. But the Covenant's ships seemed to be unlimited. A third assault would come, and if by some miracle they managed to repel it, a fourth, bigger one would come. Then a fifth, then a sixth, then a seventh until the UNSC forces were completely wiped out.

"Attention all crew, get to battle stations NOW. This is not a drill. This is not a drill." The intercoms blared. Duster shook himself out of his state, slammed on his flight helmet and bolted down a corridor to the hangar and seated himself inside the Longsword.

The Longswords on board the Leningrad had been kept at five-minute readiness. This meant that they were kept fueled and armed and facing docking entrances, and any crew were a safe distance away from the interceptors, so the two squadrons on board could be up and fighting within one minute of the call to battle stations.

Commander Riley demanded they be ready in half that time. Duster sat down in his pilot's chair and started a flight systems . Once everything showed green, he waited for White to complete her weapons check.

"Black Knives, are you ready to go?" Commander Riley demanded. He was met with a chorus of "SIR YES SIRs". The squadron blasted off, with the other squadrons stationed on the Leningrad trailing behind.

"All sailors and pilots of the Northeast Asian Battle Cluster. This is Admiral Ozawa. Tactical data for the next battle is being uploaded to you...now. This is not pretty. Good luck, and its been an honor serving with all of you."

A few seconds later, the tactical data appeared on his viewscreen. He stared numbly at it for a few seconds. Then someone, Duster wasn't sure who, said the words that was on everyone's mind.

"Holy. Motherfucking. Shit."

The attack force was lead by no less than five Supercarriers, backed up by a similar amount of Supercruisers. There were at least a dozen Carriers and Cruisers, backed up by three dozen assorted frigates and destroyers and at least sixty corvettes.

"We're screwed." Duster muttered under his breath. The Covenant fleet was getting closer-six million kilometers and approaching. Several minutes later, the data updated slightly. The Covenant fleet was now at 5.6 million kilometers, but a small Naval battlegroup doing long-range patrol had launched a hit-and run, amazingly suffering no casualties but destroying two Covenant destroyers and a carrier.

"This is Rear Admiral Badanov, commanding Battlegroup Leningrad. We are launching a series of hit and run attacks on the Covenant fleet approaching.

Duster nervously sat back and let air resistance (or rather the lack thereof) do its work. The Longswords flew in formation, hanging close to their carrier-the UNSC Leningrad. As the minutes passed by, and the Covenant fleet grew closer and closer, Duster grew more and more nervous.

All of a sudden, everything happened at once. Badanov had chosen an excellent time to attack. The Covenant fleet hit a cluster of HORNET space mines. The lead ship of the fleet, a Supercruiser took just under two dozen hits from the massive, 30 megaton HORNET space mines, before exploding, burning for just a second, before the flames were extinguished by the lack of oxygen. The debris field from the supercarrier was huge, and as the ships in proximity attempted to navigate around it hitting more of the HORNET mines in the process, prompting the rest of fleet to attempt to retreat. At that moment, Battlegroup Leningrad struck.

MAC rounds flew through space, impacting several Covenant ships while the slower Archer missiles followed. Two cruisers, a carrier and three frigates were destroyed by the sudden attack. The Longsword squadrons lurched ahead of the battlegroup, firing missiles at Seraphs before scurrying back to the relative safety of the capital ships of the rest of the battlegroup. At least fifty kills were confirmed by the time the Longswords had finished their work.

The Covenant fleet begun a series of evasive maneuvers to avoid the next volley that was sure to follow. This lead to more HORNET mines being triggered. Several more Covenant warships were turned into debris fields, and the shields of one supercarrier flickered dangerously. The destroyers Smallpox, Nature's Cry and Minos fired their MAC cannons at the supercarrier. The combined hits overloaded the already weakened shields of the supercarrier, and the MAC rounds hit the unshielded warship, destroying it.

Their victories were short lived. Plasma torpedos slammed into their hulls, destroying them instantly. Seeing the destruction of the three destroyers, the rest of the battlegroup beat a hasty retreat. Fortunately, their timing saved them once again. As the Covenant fleet maneuvered to fire on the battlegroup, they ran into more HORNET space mines. Seeing the problems of trying to engage an enemy battlegroup while trapped in a nuclear minefield, the Covenant fleetmaster wisely decided to focus on navigating their way out of the minefield first. Luckily, Duster noted with satisfaction, they weren't lucky or good enough. They lost another three corvettes and one frigate to the minefield.

As the Covenant fleet attempted to back out of the minefield, Battlegroup Leningrad hung back. An ONI prowler, the UNSC Brown Lady of Raynham Hall remained near the Covenant fleet, observing it quietly. Duster eyed the tactical display with an odd mixture of satisfaction and dread. In the brief skirmish, they had destroyed one Supercarrier, one Supercruiser, two cruisers, a carrier, four frigates, two destroyers, six corvettes and fifty Seraphs, at the cost of three destroyers.

But there were still so many ships. In addition to that, as the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall quickly noted, they wouldn't get lucky with the minefield taking out that many large Covenant ships again. They had taken to sending out squadrons of corvettes out to probe the empty space for minefields. While it certainly saved their larger ships from destruction, it caused the destruction of many corvettes, either to the minefields or to various UNSC battlegroups ambushing the corvettes.

After four long hours of minefield probes, ambushes and hit-and-run raids, the Covenant fleet was nearly at the Earth's orbit. As for the UNSC, their ships had also rejoined the main force. For a second, though it seemed like several hours, the two fleets stared each other down.

Then everything happened at once. MAC Rounds flew from the ODPs and warships, followed by Archer Missiles, which in turn were followed by SHIVA and FENRIS nuclear missiles. The Covenant responded with a series of energy projectors, followed by swarms of plasma torpedos and pulse lasers. Ships on both sides were struck by the deadly barrage. Duster ignored the chaos around him and instead focused on the smaller Seraphs and Phantom gunboats. As a trio of Phantom gunboats moved ahead, no doubt to try and hit one of the UNSC Capital Ships, Duster targeted the trio and let it loose with missiles. The missiles destroyed two of the gunboats before the third returned fire. He swung into a series of evasive maneuvers before another Longsword destroyed the Phantom gunboat. Just two kilometers away, he spotted a trio of CCS-class Battlecruisers blinking out of slipspace. Without power, even for a few crucial seconds, for their weapons and shields, they were sitting ducks. Archer missiles slammed into both ships, turning them into wrecks. The third one was able to get its systems online and its energy projector at ODP-061, the Seoul. The orbital defense platform was destroyed instantly.

ODP-062, the Tokyo quickly rotated and fired its "Super" MAC round, instantly destroying the CCS-class battlecruiser before it could do any damage. At that moment however, the three remaining supercruisers advanced onwards, pushing at the gap in the defenses caused by the destruction of ODP-061. One of the supercruisers turned its energy projector on the Tokyo, destroying it, but not before that ODP got of its final "Super" MAC round, slamming into the same supercruiser that had destroyed it. The ultra-heavy round slammed into the supercruiser, wiping out its shield but not destroying it.

Instead, that supercruiser was destroyed when a destroyer, the UNSC Smiling Buddha hit it with a single SHIVA nuke. The final ODP, the Yokohama in the battlecluster, realizing that it would be destroyed very soon, instead used its last shot on one of four remaining supercarriers. The MAC round destroyed the energy shield of the supercarrier, which was also finished off by a series of MAC strikes.

Both supercruisers fired their energy projectors at the Yokohama. However, as the shields were let down to fire, one of the supercruisers was hit by over six hundred Archer missiles. The combined force of the missiles tore the entire ship in two. At the same time, a third supercarrier took a series of MAC strikes. The hits were able to remove its shield, and several archer missiles struck it. The supercarrier took a series of explosions across the hull, but survived, albeit with very visible damage. Before it could be finished off, the smaller escort craft launched another volley on the remaining UNSC ships of the battlecluster.

This left three supercarriers, three supercruisers and a shitload of smaller spacecraft. The three supercarriers, the damaged one trailing slowly behind while several escort vehicles covered and protected it descended upon earth, accompanied by around two thirds of the escort vehicles, while the remaining Covenant ships jumped into slipspace, no doubt to rearm and return.


"Chieftan, energy shields, energy projector, most of our plasma torpedo ports, two of our main engines, our slipspace engines will not function and we have fifty two hull breaches-with seven major ones."

"CURSE THE BASTARD HUMANS!" Alpha Chieftan Pakarus roared, pounding his massive fist into the walls his supercarrier, the Might of the Divine furiously. "CURSE THEM TO THE DEEPEST, FIERY PITS OF-"

"Chieftan." One of his Captains, Ulsyrus, interrupted him mid-rant. "Orders?"

"Follow the Unrelenting Pursuit to China. We will dock at one of the repair facilities and allow the Huragok to make necessary repairs.

"Very good, Chieftan. We may also assist in purging the useless Sangheili in China."

"That, I look forward too."

If everything went right, they would dock in one of China's ports soon. However, they soon discovered to their dismay that both the Supercarriers and the majority of their escorts were destroyed.

"THOSE WEALKINGS!" Pakarus raged. "HOW COULD THEY HAVE BEEN DESTROYED JUST LIKE THAT! THEY ARE A DISGRACE TO OUR COVENANT!" He took a deep breath and calmed down. "We will go to Greece instead. They have repair facilities in there as well."

Norman-123 02:34, July 1, 2011 (UTC)

Week Two (October 30-November 5)

67: Alpine Assault

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT 1130 Hours,

October 30th 2552 (Local Time)

Near the Norikura Observatory, Norikura-dake, Northern Japanese Alps, Japan

Keiichi Ryukishi and Rena Sonozaki stood in front of the entrance of a small mountaintop lodge between the north and south peaks of Norikura-dake, at the end of a gravel road leading off from the bus station and souvenir shops, and other tourist facilities behind the north peak. Next to the lodge was a snack bar and yet another souvenir shop, as well as a maintenance shed.

Keiichi and Rena stood alongside a squad of UNSC Army troops and militia, stacked up against the door, Keiichi with an M95 automatic shotgun in hand and Rena wielding an M7 SMG. The Covenant troops inside seemed to have been suppressed by sniper and machine gun fire, but they could be sure until they made it in and cleared the structure properly. A UNSC army sergeant tossed a grenade into the door, which detonated seconds later.

The UNSC squad burst in, finding a dead Brute and two fallen Unggoy, but no living enemies in the small lodge lobby. "CLEAR!", the sergeant yelled, as he turned to the short hallway providing access to the ten rooms in the lodge. The Sergeant sent a private armed with and MA5C with an underbarrel shotgun forward, kicking down the door to the first room. Empty. Second room, also empty. When the squad made it to the third room however, all hell broke loose.

The doors to the first room on each side shattered, a Brute Chieftain armed with a gravity hammer and a Jiralhanae Ultra armed with a Mauler burst into the hallway. The Army private nearest to the Chieftain had his skull crushed by the gravity hammer, as the blade under the mauler pierced a militiaman's chest, before the Mauler brute killed a second soldier with a blast from the alien-designed shotgun.

Seconds later, more Covenant, another Brute and three Grunts came out from the other rooms. The Chieftain rounded on Keiichi, hammer raised above his head. Keiichi held down the trigger on the auto shotgun, firing off six rounds, depleting the Jiralhanae's shielding before filling it with buckshot and dropping it to the floor. The sergeant fired his BR55 battle rifle at the Brute with the mauler, taking out its shield with the help of a burst of fire from Rena, before the sergeant jammed the bayonet at the end of the rifle right into the Brute's chest, killing it instantly. As the second Brute fell, the rest of the squad concentrated their fire on the rest of the Covenant in the building, taking them down.

A quick search of the building revealed no Covenant in the building, so the UNSC troops exited, meeting up with the squads tasked to deal with the shops and maintenance shed. All three of the lower buildings were clear. Now, it was on to the next target, the observatory on the north peak.

Suddenly, a hail of plasma bolts and particle beams flew at the UNSC squad. A soldier and two militia were killed, two picked off by Jackal snipers and third killed by a hit to the chest from a plasma autocannon. The surviving UNSC soldiers and militia took cover behind the buildings, occasionally peaking out to return fire.

As a UNSC sniper picked off one of the Jackals on the roof, Keiichi slung his shotgun over his soldier and got out the DMR with attached grenade launcher he had carried since his escape from behind Covenant lines. Keiichi set the M456 grenade launcher to proximity and fired at the observatory. The grenade exploded over the top of the structure, showering shrapnel on any Covenant that might be outside the building.

Keiichi ducked back into cover as the sergeant received a message on his radio. "This is Outlaw Two-One", an American accented voice said over the radio, "Flight of two Hornets making a gun run on the observatory, we'll keep their heads down".

A pair of AV-14 Hornet light gunships flew in from the east, firing their M41 LAAG rotary machine guns. The Brutes and Jackals in exposed positions were cut down, allowing the squad to advance up the north peak of Norikura-dake. Within 15 minutes, they were stacked up at the door to the first telescope dome in the observatory.

The sergeant set his BR to full automatic fire, before placing a breaching charge and blowing down the door. A grunt was killed and a brute deshielded in the blast. The unshielded Jiralhanae was finished off with a burst from the sergeant's BR. Two Needler-wielding Jackals ran at squad, only to be cut down by Rena Sonozaki's M7, Keiichi killed three Grunts with a shotgun blast each. The squad split up, moving around the large telescope in the center of the room from both sides.

Two more Grunts and a Jackal fell to a UNSC army infantryman's MA5C assault rifle, as his fellow took down a Brute with his AR. The room was cleared, and the UNSC squad stacked up on the door next to the computer room. The sergeant opened to door, allowing Rena to toss a captured plasma grenade in. The plasma grenade stuck to a Jiralhanae Captain's face, vaporizing its upper body, before the UNSC infantry burst in, eliminating the surviving Covenant amidst the computers and holo-projectors in the observatory control room.

Finally, they came to the second telescope room. The first man in, a militia man armed with a MA5K carbine was caught in the face with Spiker round and killed instantly. He was quickly avenged, several infantrymen and militia opened up on the Brute that killed him. The Jiralhanae was deshielded and himself killed. The squad then mopped up the final resistance in the room, consisting of three Kig-Yar Skirmishers.

"Skirmishers", a veteran UNSC soldier said as they exited through the back door of the observatory, finding no Covenant troops, merely a destroyed Covie AA battery, "I used to see those all the time on Reach, but they aren't as common now."

"Yeah", the sergeant said, "And there are more Brute than there used to be and the Bravo Kilos have shields now. You ask me, there might be some changes going on within the Covenant".

The sergeant's musings on the changes in Covenant force composition were interrupted by a radio message: The squad was to assist in the final ascent on the south peak of Norikura-dake.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

68: Gone Fishin'

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1159 Hours, October 30th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Ryu Base, Tokyo, Japan

Dyne and Sepia had been intently focused on the door for a time, absently scarfing down the candy bars they'd collected until at last it opened and their target stepped into Ryu Base's command center.

"Kodiak!" they shouted, and dropped what they had to jump and hug him. Completely unprepared, Kodiak dropped like a rock under their weight, even out of armor the SPARTANs' muscle mass was considerable. The wind was knocked out of his lungs, worse than it had been when he hit the water of Tokyo Bay.

Dyne laughed as he got up. "You should have seen your eyes bulge!"

Sepia also unpinned Kodiak, helping him up with her. "You've done stupid things, but next time you do something as dumb and risky as that, I'm going to lock you in an asylum. Both of you. Just to be sure you don't kill yourselves by accident."

Getting air back into his lungs, he managed to gasp, "Nice to see you, too."

"Good to have you back, sir." Dyne said, clasping his shouler.

Sir? Kodiak thought. When did that start? Then he got it. He was more than just their friend and brother, now. He was their leader. They respected him. And they would follow his orders. It felt odd, to say the least. But he pushed the thought aside, as Erin approached them, having watched from the command center's shadows for a while. She contained her mirth to a simple smile.

"So, did the Coast Guard crews have a hard time fishing you out of the bay, Kodiak?" She asked jokingly, before becoming more serious. "I have your next assignment. It will be up north, rendezvousing with a number of other forces. But I have my own mission for you."

Kodiak stood straight. "Yes, ma'am?"

Her voice grew a dangerous edge. "First you're going to clean up the armor components you threw around everywhere!" They ducked a clipboard she threw at them, retreating under the barrage of harsh words and thrown papers.


Operation: HOLY FATHER

2336 Hours, October 29th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Sutherland Shire, Sydney, Australia,

Private Ben Dansen's immediate thought was that this was impossible. A Jackal sniper was sharp-eyed and fast, with excellent aim and a weapon not affected by distance or wind. He wasn't afraid of that alone. He'd been trained on the possibility of facing an enemy sniper, human or alien. But here . . . the purple lights of its rifle and eyepiece would go completely unnoticed by all but the most attentive eye among the city's downtown lights, still active neon advertisements crowding the rooftops and building facades. And it would have better visibility than his VISR in this downpour. It had every advantage over Dansen.

Except surprise.

Trying to root out an enemy sniper was nearly impossible. Even with heat scans and coordination from Sydney's Superintendent-class AI, it could take days to single out the target. So the ODSTs chose option two: live bait.

Dansen, with Kevlar set up to spot him with a rangefinder, were positioned on a roof in the downtown laying flat under the shelter of a neon signboard that sheltered them from the heavy rain. Somewhere amid the light show out there on the streets, made hazy by the refracting rain, was the Jackal. And in the street below them was the bait.

Corporal Mitch Hunter was apprehensive to say the least. But there was nothing he could do except wait for the Jackal to take a shot at him, so he relaxed as best he could. He and police sergeant Joshua were inside of a city bus, lit up like the inside of a big house on Christmas Eve, right on one of the main evacuation routes. The route, however, was long empty. There were few people left to leave the city. He and Joshua were moving around, letting their shadows play against the windows visibly. The rain pattered on the bus' thin, metal roof.

Joshua tried to peer out the window. "How long do you think it'll be?"

"It being what?" Mitch asked.

"How long until the sniper shows- unh!" A violet streak of light left a tiny circle open in the glass, its edges molten hot. Joshua fell, clattering to the narrow walkway between the bus seats and clutching his leg as Mitch ducked down and crawled over to him, waiting for Dansen's shot. As he examined Joshua's wound, his radio crackled.

"Mitch," Kevlar said, "we can't get a fix on his location. We've got an area, but Dansen can't see him. You need to get it to shoot again."

He cursed under his breath. But they needed to act now, fast. Getting up, he ran for the bus door.

Back atop the building, the ODSTs saw Mitch's outline appear through their VISRs. He was running, sprinting for an alley when another streak of energy illuminated the night. This time Dansen had him. The moment the Jackal fired, Dansen followed. He'd spotted the single mote of purple that signified the Jackal's headpiece. It winked out as Dansen hit it.

Kevlar chuckled. "He was good. You were better, Dansen." he tapped his radio. "Sir, we got him. Target eliminated."

Mitch answered him, his breath labored. "Sounds good, Kevlar. How about we pack up and get back to the command section. I need a drink . . . and a damn bandage on this hole in my foot."

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 01:49, June 30, 2011 (UTC)

70: Shipwrecked

Flashback: 530 Hours, October 26th 2552 (Military Calendar)

Kamisu, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan

In the early morning, Commander Choi Park washed up on the shore near the cities of Kamisu and Kashima, as far as he knew, the lone survivor of the wet naval vessel UNSC Noryang Point. Park grasped his fingers into a gap between two of the large concrete blocks used to protect the shore from wave erosion and climbed up onto the shore.

Above him, Covenant aircraft flew, to his satisfaction, the Covenant light cruiser that he had fired on in a last desperate defense was now sporting a hull breach on the port bow. Phantoms flew overhead, dropping off troops to some point beyond the horizon, or at least beyond the silhouette of the large hydrogen fuel plant the stood in front of him, which had several large columns of flame erupting from it. All around him, Park could see the burning ruins of factories, warehouses, hydrogen fuel plants, wind turbines, and other industrial structures.

Park drew his M6C pistol from his holster and cautiously ventured forth into the maze of pipelines and storage tanks that was the fuel plant. He slowly crept along a row of storage tanks connected to leading into a large building, pistol raised. The tanks themselves were labeled in both Japanese and English. Park could not read the Japanese, but the English read "Seawater Intake". "If this was a seawater intake pipe, the building up ahead is probably a desalinization plant", Choi thought. Water was the raw material in the hydrogen fuel production process, but it first needed to be desalinized if it was to brackish, as was the case with seawater.

Park slowly opened the door slowly. As he opened it, water with a reddish tint flowed out. It was soon apparent why, the lower floor was flooded ankle-deep with water from a leaking pipeline that appeared to have been blown open by a plasma bolt, the water mixed with blood from the bodies of several plant personnel, one of who clutched a steel pipe, apparently having attempted in vain to fight back against the Covenant invaders.

Park crept across the room, not caring about the ankle-deep water, he was already soaked from floating across Kamisu bay. The desalinization plant was empty, the only sound being that of water leaking from the pipe. Still, Park kept his pistol raised, scanning in all directions for enemies. Park made it to the door on the opposite side and looked through the small window in the middle of the door. There was nothing outside but several pipe lines and storage tanks leading into the electrolysis plant where the hydrogen itself was produced.

There was, however, a problem: The electrolysis plant was on fire, he hydrogen produced in the building having being ignited by Covenant weapons fire, or perhaps by human weapons, in a last ditch attempt to defend the area. Instead of crossing through the building, Park weaved in and out of storage tanks and ducked under pipelines to get around the burning building. At last, he made it to the freight terminal near the maglev train line.

Creeping between cars of a derailed train, Park stuck to the shadows, making his way the the end of the train, before entering a maze of shipping containers. Around the corner of a row of containers, Park encountered a lone Unggoy patrolling. He raised his pistol and took aim. A Banshee flew overhead at the moment Park pulled the trigger, masking the sound of the gun as the Grunt was shot dead with a single round to the head. Park took its plasma pistol and stuffed the end into his pocket, holding the weapon on his side, before he put the body inside an open shipping container and closed the container, hiding the alien corpse.

Peeking around the corner, Park saw another Unggoy, also unaware of his presence. Park was pretty sure the Covies wouldn't be so accommodating as to mask his gunfire yet again, so he seized a metal rod used to hold a shipping container shut and tip-toed up to the back of the Grunt. Park swung the metal rod down on the Grunts head, knocking it to the floor, before hitting it several more times. One he was sure the Grunt was dead, Park dragged the alien's body into the gap between two containers.

Finally, Park made it out of the rows of containers, crossing a road into a commercial area. Park heard the whining sound of Covenant anti-gravity engines, and ran into a department store and ducked behind a checkout counter just in time to avoid being seen by a column of Wraiths and Shadows. When the alien armor had passed, Park grabbed a bottled water from the small refrigerator next to the checkout and a few assorted chocolate bars and small bags of chips on the "snack shelf" next to the checkout, before grabbing a road map of the area. At least he had some idea where he was, and something to eat and drink later.

Park then cautiously walked through the store, pistol raised, in search of provisions. In the camping and outdoor section, he found a backpack capable of storing a number of provisions, not to mention a conveniently placed display of energy bars and sports drinks, which Park raided. Moving further into the outdoor section, he found a hatchet, a survival knife, and a lighter.

Park then moved to the glassed in counter at one end of the outdoor section. UEG law allowed local areas to impose their own level restrictions on civilian gun ownership. In Japan, controls were very tight, but contrary to popular belief, not guns were not completely illegal. As a sign on the counter stated in English and Japanese, one needed to have completed a large amount of paperwork and gone through extensive background checks to purchase a hunting rifle or shotgun, and had to keep a record of every round purchased and fired.

This clearly did not apply in Covenant invasions, however, as the glass was smashed and looters had made off with all the guns and ammo, no doubt hoping to defend themselves against the Covenant hordes. There was, however, one weapon remaining in the corner of the display, a crossbow- a loophole in Japanese gun laws meant that crossbows did not require the same paperwork as guns did.

However, this weapon, a repeating crossbow with a four bolt magazine was designed for hunting deer, not Covenant. But that didn't mean it was use less in that regard. It could definitely take down a Grunt or Jackal, and most importantly, it was almost completely silently.

After collecting the crossbow and as many bolts as he could find, Park loaded up on medical supplies from the pharmacy, managing to get a hold of a first aid kit, taking the most expensive on he could find. No doubt it would be the closest to a UNSC issue med kit.

Park exited the store through the automotive section, into an neighborhood of lower-middle class homes, at one point trying out his new crossbow on a pair of Grunts and a Jackal. He managed to put a bolt through each of their heads, disposing of the alien patrol before they could report his position.

After another half-hour's walking, it was truly getting light, so Park found a place to hid out for the day in an abandoned house, keeping the pistol at his side in case the Covies came knocking.


0023 Hours, October 30th 2552 (Military Calendar)

outside Narita, Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Three days later, Commander Choi Park, former commander of the UNSC Noryang Point, had made his way about 20 kilometers inland from Covenant lines. He had since discarded the crossbow for an BR55S silenced battle rifle, and now also carried an M90D shotgun. However, he still had a good 70 clicks to go until he reached UNSC lines in the city of Chiba proper, and first, he had to find a way through or around Narita without attracting the attention of the Banshees, Phantoms, and Seraphs the Covies had placed at their recently-captured forward air base at Narita Airport.


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1620 Hours, October 30th 2552 (Military Calendar)

Chuo Ward, Tokyo, Japan

High above the ground, James Basilone sat in the rear seat of a UV-144 Falcon Transport, along with the rest of his ODST squad. Ahead of the transport Falcon flew a squadron of AV-144 Falcon Gunships, attack variants of the Falcon tiltrotor. The lead Falcon, piloted by a Japanese pilot named Mikiya Ryougi, fired a Scorpion anti-tank missile at a Shade turret on top of Basilone's target, The Chuo Central Tower, a 2500-meter multi-use tower across a few blocks from the Tokyo central mag-lev station. The tower contained offices, restaurants, bars, apartments, condos, and even a three-level shopping mall at the bottom.

At the very top of the tower was a penthouse suite known as "The Palace in the Clouds", a 200 million-credit mansion literally built on top of the roughly mile-and-a-half tower, owned by some real-estate tycoon who built the place. The tower was still standing in spite of the battle, and if their intel was right, the Covies were preparing to place a comms jammer on the tower. Basilone's mission was to prevent that from happening.

The Falcon gunships eliminated the rest of the Covenant AA as the tiltrotor carrying Basilone drew closer to the tower. The doorgunner and nose gun of the transport, as well as those of the gunships, opened up on the surviving Covenant. A Jackal sniper fired a particle beam at the Falcon Basilone rode in, killing the right doorgunner. Basilone got on the gun a one of the Falcon gunships took out the Jackal sniper. Even with their supercarrier destroyed, it was clear the Covies still had plenty of fight left in them.

Basilone squeezed the trigger of the AIE-486 rotary machine gun. The weapon spat out 7.62mm ammunition at a rate of over 3000 rounds per minute, the sheer volume of fire chewing up a squad of Grunts and two Brutes as the Falcon hovered over a hole blown in the roof of the penthouse. Basilone got off the gun and raised the M95 auto shotgun he was carrying instead of his usual LMG for the close quarters of the tower interior.

James Basilone and the rest of the ODSTs fast-roped into the hole in the roof, landing in the bedroom of the penthouse. Basilone turned his auto shotgun sideways and swept the room with full auto fire, firing of a dozen shells, allowing the recoil to sweep across the room. cutting down a Brute, a Jackal, and five Grunts. An ODST with and MA5K took out the surviving Covenant- two Grunts and a Jackal- as another of Basilone's comrades killed a Jackal sniper in the balcony leading off of a door in the rear of the bedroom.

"CLEAR!", James yelled as he looked around the room, scanning for any surviving enemies. The bedroom was in the Western style, large and spacious, with a king-size bed in the center, flanked on each side by two ornately-decorated end tables. On the other side of the room was a door leading into the hallway, to the right of a wide holo-screen TV. To the left was the door out to the balcony overlooking the city, while to the right were two doors, which Basilone kicked down to reveal a master bathroom with a spa-tub and marble finishing, while the other room was a large walk-in closet, taken up by clothing belonging to the owner and his wife.

Both side rooms, however, were devoid of Covenant, so Basilone gave the order the stack up on the door leading into the hallways. Zhang, one of the ODSTs in Basilone's squad, forced the door open and entered, M7 SMG raised and immediately shot a Jackal and two Grunts, before yelling "CLEAR!".

The hallway had three doorways. The first one was cleared to reveal a guest bedroom with a plasma turret position and a couple Jackal snipers inside. Basilone shot a Brute leading the squad in the chest twice with his M95, depleting its energy shield, before Zhang finished the alien with a three-round burst to the head. Basilone then proceeded to dispose of a Grunt and a Jackal, while another ODST took out the other two Covenant soldiers. The second room was a bathroom, which was devoid of alien presence, though the toilet and sink had been blown apart, and the third room had been completely blown away by a missile or bomb, leaving only a massive hole in the floor and walls beyond the door.

Basilone reloaded his M95 auto shotgun before leading the squad down the hallway to the third-floor landing, which wrapped around a large, high room with a high ceiling, leading to another door opposite the landing, with a staircase leading down below. On the north side of the landing was a glass-encased elevator that, when it was functioning, appeared to go to all of the floors of the mansion and down into the executive offices of the tower itself.

Standing at the ready around different sides of the landing were several Jackal snipers and three Brutes, one a captain armed with a Brute Shot. Basilone walked up to a Jackal sniper with its back turned and kicked it off the landing, sending it falling three stories below to the ground floor and its death. The other two Jackals were picked off by Kamarov, a Russian who was a replacement for the squad's dead sniper, Kirie Tomoe. Kamarov, however, today carried not a sniper rifle but a BR55, which worked better at the close ranges of the room.

The surprised Brutes turned to the ODSTs. The captain fired a grenade from his Brute shot, which missed and exploded in the hallway behind the ODST squad as they scattered, successfully managing to avoid the blast. Basilone returned fire, killing the Brute with a burst of three shotgun shells as Kamarov took down the second Brute with a couple well-aimed BR burst, the first downing the shield and the second killing the alien. The third Brute on the upper landing was cut down by concentrated fire from the rest of the squad.

"CLEAR...", Basilone yelled, but was interrupted by a hail of spiker and plasma fire from the floors below them. Seven Brutes on the first floor were trying to get up the staircase, firing as they went. A spike grenade stuck to the railing, which forced Basilone and Zhang to dive behind a marble statue to avoid getting hit by the shrapnel.

"Grenades, in the lower floors, now!", Basilone ordered, arming an M9 frag grenade and tossing it over the side of the railing. Basilones frag was followed by several others, all of which detonated in withing the group of Brutes, killing five and unshielding two. The ODSTs got up and fired a hail of bullets at the stunned survivors, sending them to join their fellows on the floor.

The door on the other side of the third floor landing led to an rooftop patio, garden, and swimming pool, which had been cleared of Covenant thanks to fire from the UNSC gunships. That left the second and first floors to be cleared. On the second floor, the ODST cleared a living room of two Grunts and a Jackal. The library was cleared of a Jiralhanae and five Grunts.

Two other rooms, the living room and bathroom proved empty. Finally, they got to the last room on the second floor, a private movie theater with a massive holo-screen that covered the entire wall. Basilone kicked down the theater door and gunned down a Brute and two Kig-Yar to the left, as Zhang and Kamarov took out the four Grunts in the room.

With the second floor cleared, all that remained was the first floor. The large, open lobby was already cleared, the Brutes, which upon closer inspection included a Chieftain having been killed by fire from above. The right hallway had a number of rooms including another bathroom, another living room, a study, and a third guest bedroom. These were all easily cleared of the Covenant occupying them, before the ODSTs stacked up on the door to the left.

Basilone opened the door and Zhang tossed a grenade into what turned out the be the dining room. The grenade killed two Unggoy and a Jackal, as well as de-shielding a Brute, who were gathered around partially completed Covenant Jammer. When they heard the grenade go off, the Covenant ceased work on the jammer and tried to draw their weapons and face the ODSTs.

Basilone shot the shieldless Brute in the back before it could turn to face him, Before blasting another Brute with his shotgun, taking it down with a shot to the face, as the rest of the squad poured fire on the two Brutes, seven Grunts, and five Jackals in the room. Within seconds, the stunned Covenant troops had been neutralized, as had the Jammer, which had taken numerous hits from bullets and grenade shrapnel.

With the jammer dealt with, the ODSTs cleared the kitchens and laundry room, which were no doubt manned by private staff when the owner of the mansion was alive. Once the those were clear, Basilone reported in for further orders.


FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

71: Redirected

Operation: HOLY FATHER

0800 Hours, October 30th 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Task Force Oscar CP, Sydney, Australia,

Kevlar was reluctant to get up, it was the longest sleep he'd gotten since they'd dropped in, and not even a full eight hours. But he pulled together his equipment and joined the rest of his weary-looking squad in the makeshift briefing room. Dansen was mostly unreadable under his blue-striped helmet, but his slumped shoulders gave the stupid hero away as being as tired and mortal as the rest of them. Mitch had a bandage around his shin, from where the particle beam rifle had hit him, even worse off for having to be awake through his operation. Collins and Emmert must have caught a bit more sleep while they'd been waiting, they were more alert, as was their new squadmate, Eirikur Quinn. The SHVA trooper had joined them after they'd gotten back, as he lacked a squad of his own for the moment.

In front of them, Oscar's CO was explaining something to Mitch, Kevlar was too tired to listen in well. Whatever it was, it probably meant more work in the future. He decided to take a tip from Dansen, and start wearing his helmet to briefings so he could shut his eyes without being noticed, when a spoken name perked him up.

"Zircon" he heard Colonel Perez say, and watched as Mitch stiffened. That could only mean one person, though he would have to confirm it.

"You're going to ride a supply Pelican on its return trip for transport. You'll rendezvous with them on the way." he narrowed his eyes at Mitch. "I expect you to ensure that data gets to Ryu Base."

"What's going to happen here?" Mitch asked him.

Perez bit his lip. "There's been a . . . complication. It may require a nuclear solution. It's heavy-handed, but we can't afford to hold back when sacrifices must be made."

Mitch tightened his jaw. "As bad as the enemy, hmm?"

"No." Perez shook his head resolutely. "We don't massacre entire populations. This will only be material loss."

"Still . . . who knows if we would kill their civilians if the war was in reverse." the corporal wondered.

"No way to tell." Perez said simply, tired of hypotheticals. "But it isn't that way."

The squad shouldered their packs and left the briefing room, headed for the dropship pads. Kevlar caught Mitch's arm.

"Zircon?" he asked, "Amelia Zircon?"

"Yeah." Mitch nodded. Then he went back to overseeing the squad and their equipment.

Dansen nudged him and asked quietly, "Who's Amelia Zircon?"

"One of the other survivors of the 'Double One'." Kevlar answered. "She's the sarge."


SmartLinkScope
Ahalosniper — That Damn Sniper, sniping — Forged in secret, tempered in fire; Cheeky Demon, God Defier
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Saturday, July 4 2020 (Pacific Standard Time)
I'm taking a break from my SPARTAN characters, moving the ODSTs and the two civilian children from Greece to Japan.



72: Another Day, Another Mountaintop Fortification

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT 1200 Hours,

October 30th 2552 (Local Time)

Norikura-dake, Northern Japanese Alps, Japan


Keiichi Ryukishi and Rena Sonozaki took cover from incoming plasma fire amidst the structures in the gap between the north and south peaks of Norikura-dake. A few feet from them, a UNSC Army Ranger named Hahya raised an M99 Gauss rifle and fired at a Jiralhanae chieftain on the firing line above them. The slug impacted the alien at hypersonic speeds, literally vaporizing the alien.

Hahya then went on the fire off three more shots, eliminating the gunners on a trio of plasma turrets. The sniper was extremely skilled, living up to his name: apparently he was the distant descendant of a 20th-century Finnish sniper in the 1939-1940 Winter War, the highest scoring sniper at the time.

With the Covenant heavy guns silenced, Keiichi raised his M389 DMR and took aim at the firing line. The targetting system from the M456 grenade launcher mounted under the barrel of the rifle locked on the distance to the alien defenses. Keiichi squeezed the trigger, sending a 25mm grenade round towards the firing line. The grenade exploded over the heads of five Unngoy and two Jiralhanae, killing all except for one of the Jiralhanae, who merely had his energy shield depleted, only to be cut down seconds later by the hail of suppressing fire unleashed by the UNSC Army and militia troops.

As the surviving Covenant took cover as a UNSC captain gave to the order to assault the alien positions. Keiichi switched his DMR to full auto and charged at the Covenant positions along with the rest of the UNSC forces, Rena running by his side, firing her MA37 assault rifle from the hip. All other sounds were drowned out by gunfire and shouts in both English, Japanese, and in alien tongues, "REMEMBER REACH!!!" and "FOR HUMANITY!!!", being some of the more notable battlecries of the charging UNSC soldiers.

It was tough going up the trail climbing to couple hundred meters to the firing line, and several UNSC soldiers, mostly militia, went down. Keiichi and Rena, however were not among them. Rena joined several other UNSC soldiers in tossing hand grenades into trench line, Rena not having an frags left, instead threw a captured plasma grenade into the alien defensive position. The plasma grenade stuck to a Jiralhanae minor and blew him to pieces as several other frag grenades, as well as a few molotov cocktails and captured alien grenades landed in the firing line, decimating the Covenant defenders.

The UNSC soldiers reached the crest of the ridge, a UNSC soldier with a flamethrower firing into the trenches, incinerating several alien soldiers. Keiichi Ryukishi, Rena Sonozaki and dozens of other UNSC soldiers fired their weapons in full auto at point blank range, riddling alien bodies with 7.62mm, 5mm, and 9.5mm rounds. A deshielded Brute Ultra armed with a Brute Shot raised the axe-like bayonet of the grenade launcher and swung it down at the UNSC captain, who blocked with his MA37 rifle. The rifle was bent beyond all usefulness, but it stopped the blow.

The UNSC captain struck the Brute in the face with the now-useless rifle, before he drew his combat knife and thrust it into the Jiralhanae's chest several times. As the captain pulled the knife out of the ape-like alien's body, it fell to the ground, dead. As the last of the Covenant on the firing line were slain, the UNSC captain the seized a Plasma Repeater from a dead Brute Minor.

The firing line was captured, but between them and the summit lay a narrow ridge covered by a defensive position on the summit proper. The UNSC troops took cover behind boulders as a hail of spiker rounds, plasma bolts, and Brute Shot grenades came flying from the final rocky slope leading up to Shinto shrine on the summit of Norikura-dake, which now housed a Covenant plasma turret.

A UNSC soldier raised an M41 rocket launcher and took aim at the shrine, which consisted of a small wooden hut-like structure behind a rectangular wooden arch. The soldier prepared to fire, but was struck by a spiker round in the arm which caused him to scream in pain as he dropped the weapon.

"Medic!", the wounded man yelled.

"Everyone, give that medic cover!", the UNSC Captain ordered.

Keiichi raised his DMR and fired off the two remaining grenade rounds in the underbarrel launcher. The grenades impacted amidst the Covenant forces near the summit, killing several of them. Meanwhile the rest of the UNSC squad fired on the Covenant positions will fully automatic fire as the Ranger snipers, Hahya and Pavlichenko picked off Brutes with well aimed shots. Rena Sonozaki grabbed the rocket launcher dropped the wounded soldier and took aim at the shrine on the summit and squeezed the trigger. The shrine exploded in a flash of fire, sending pieces of wood and dead Covenant flying everywhere. As Rena destroyed the shrine, a medic carried the wounded man back down to the road.

Rena had no qualms about destroying the shrine. She had never been particularly religious, and, in any case, it had no doubt already been desecrated by the Covenant. Rena's second rocket struck a Jiralhanae Chieftain, killing him instantly. Rena put down the rocket launcher as the captain gave the order to attack and raised her MA37, firing in full auto as she assaulted the Covenant positions with the rest of the UNSC forces.

Keiichi struck down a Brute with a long burst of full auto fire from his DMR as a UNSC infantryman threw a grenade into a plasma turret position, killing all the occupants. Rena, meanwhile, killed a couple Grunts with her rifle, she grabbed a Jiralhanae Mauler shotgun and took down a Brute and a Jackal with gun itself, and a Grunt with the bayonet. The UNSC Army Ranger, Hahya, fired the M7 SMG he carried as a secondary weapon, taking down a couple grunts with short bursts and a Brute with what remained of the magazine.

Brutes, Jackals, Grunts, and a few UNSC infantry men fell left and right as the assault moved up the rocky slope to the summit of Norikura-dake. A UNSC Army infantryman took down a Brute near the summit with a burst of full auto fire from his M6J Pistol Carbine, only to be knocked backwards by a Kig-Yar, which lunged at him, knocking his pistol out of his hands. The Jackal drew an energy cutlass as the UNSC infantryman grabbed a black, volcanic rock about the size of a grapefruit from the ground. The infantryman struck first, striking the Jackal in the face with the rock, before the slamming the rock down on the alien's head three more times, caving in its skull.

As the UNSC infantry man got up, a few of his comrades, including Keiichi and Rena took out the last of the Covenant troops on the summit of Norikura-dake. The UNSC squad gathered at the top, and looked west, towards their next objective: the city of Takayama.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

73: Geology Hates You

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

0600, October 31st, 2552 (Local Time)

floor of Kagoshima Bay, Covenant-controlled Kyushu, Japan

A Scarab fired its main plasma beam, melting through yet more rock, digging deeper into a hole that was already several hundred meters wide and 100 meters deep. Around the Scarab were yet more Covenant digging machines, all sealed for underwater use.

"Have you found anything yet?", The Jiralhanae chieftain Varrus asked through a holodrone.

"Not as of yet, Chieftain", The Brute operating the Scarab said.

"Keep digging then", Varrus ordered irratably, "There are Forerunner artifacts under the seafloor, I am sure of it. Don't stop until you have uncovered the holy relic."

"Understood", The Jiralhanae Ultra in the Scarab replied, relaying orders to the other Scarabs and excavating machines to dig deeper into the sea floor.

The Scarabs concentrated their beams at the center of the hole in the sea floor, blasting away a large amount of rock and sending a shockwave through the ground.

Several thousand feet below, in the depths of the Earth's crust, the shockwave came into contact with an active fault line, releasing the tension that had built up on the fault for decades. With a mighty tremor, fault gave way.

The Covenant personnel operating the machines felt the ground shake beneath them, an earthquake. Massive loose rocks from the side of the pit fell down, into the hole, rolling over Scarabs, crushing and burying the Covenant excavation machinery.

Above the surface, the ocean rose up in a gigantic wave. The tsunami rushed into Kagoshima bay, washing up on the shores, where the occupying Covenant had constructed a rear staging area. Alien war machines and infantry were washed away as the wave smashed the prefabricated Covenant structures.


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1200, October 31st, 2552 (Local Time)

Yokota Air Force Base, Tokyo, Japan

"At 0600 today, a magnitude 8.0 earthquake struck Covenant-controlled Kagoshima. There are currently no reports of damage in the UNSC-controlled area, however, aerial and space-based reconnaissance has confirmed that there has been considerable damage done to a Covenant staging area near the remains of the city of Kagoshima....", The announcer on the television in the off-duty bar said.

Mikiya Ryougi, Aoi Miyazaki and pretty much anyone else who was not on duty at the time had rushed in when they heard about the earthquake and tsunami that had devastated the Covenant forces. Some had attributed the display of nature's fury to the deity of their choice, others merely considered it luck, while some even claimed that the Covenant had disturbed a fault line in an attempt to dig up some Forerunner artifact they thought might be there.

Whatever the case, Mikiya thought, it was clear that once again, nature had sided with the defenders.


UNSC pilot by SPARTAN 204
SPARTAN 119Crawl from the wreckage , one more time, Horrific memory twists the mind. Dark blooded, cold and hard to turn. Path of destruction, feel it burn. 'Cause we hunt you down without mercy, hunt you down all nightmare long
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Greenwich Mean Time
Before you ask, I actually had this plot device in mind BEFORE the 2011 tsunami



74: Delayed Reaction

Operation: HOLY FATHER to Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1200 Hours, October 31st 2552 (Military Calendar)/
500 miles south of Japan

Dark circles lay under Reo's eyes. The young woman had been awake for several days, learning from Sergeant Amelia Zircon all there was to know about the star skimmer called the Deladrier, a civilian luxury vessel that had been substantially modified. It was a very fast ship, but because of Covenant attacks in India and elsewhere had been forced to take a long, slow route around toward Sydney, only to be redirected north to Japan.

Henri sat at a console, still learning most of the functions he was supposed to perform on the vessel. He was tired, too, and as usual had continually mentioned how hungry he was. Though his eyelids were drooping under his dark hair, he watched Reo determinedly control the ship's helm, in formation with UNSC Pelican dropship Delta 275. The other ship was their escort, carrying a squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers to escort them.

Word was they'd have to circle around north and then go by ground to Ryu Base; Covenant air support had returned in force when one of their fleets had been thwarted, trying to pin down the UNSC with their advantage of an unexpected break, and turning Tokyo into a hornet's nest. Reo wasn't looking forward to it, but Moses had been clear that this was urgent.

From her seat, Amelia radioed the dropship. "Two-Seven-Five, let's turn west a bit to go around Tokyo. Official radio channels say the Covies there have had a few setbacks of late, should be easier to get through."

Two-Seven-Five followed their lead, more than ready to set down after their long journey.


Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1200 Hours, October 31st 2552 (Military Calendar)/
South of Gifu Prefecture, Japan

"Mountains out here are beautiful." Sepia observed from the team's vantage point looking at the southern border of the Hida Mountains. Mount Norikura particularly stood out, its wide, saddle-like peak dominating the horizon.

From behind her and Kodiak, Dyne grumbled, "I'd be more in awe of them if we didn't have to climb them."

"The running and fresh air do you good, Dyne." Kodiak said, likely smiling beneath his new visor. Something had changed about him, about them all recently, to Sepia. Maybe it was just the armor. She took her gaze off of him and went back to viewing the mountains. "Mendez wouldn't want us getting soft."

Dyne leaned against a boulder on the trail as he caught up with them. "Are you sure the thin air hasn't gotten to you? So where are we going?"

"Downhill, generally. Specifically, we're meeting up with a larger force, mostly militia, a good hike from here. So let's get going."

As he jumped down the short drop in front of them, Dyne sighed and secured his battle rifle on his back, locked like the M7s at his sides. He wouldn't need them for a while, and despite the armor they'd already been walking a long time already. As an act of mercy, Sepia tossed him one of the candy bars she'd saved, then set her flamethrower on her back next to her assault rifle and jumped down, jogging after Kodiak.

"I do not want to be doing this for the next two decades." Dyne moaned before following. What was ironic was that he would be after this was all over. He just didn't know it yet.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 00:32, July 14, 2011 (UTC)

75: Trick or Treat

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1900 Hours, October 31st 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Nyukawacho Hatahoko, Gifu Prefecture, East of Takayama, Japan


The UNSC column rolled down Highway 158, a Scorpion tank taking the lead, followed by anti-walker variant of the Grizzly tank equipped with a two anti-walker missiles instead of a second cannon, followed by more Scorpions and Grizzlies of variants, Cobra Mobile Gun Systems, Cougar APCs, Warthog FAVs, many with armor upgrades, and finally militia technicals, pickup armed with machine guns, rocket launchers, or light cannon, crewed by local militia.

As the UNSC Army column approached the village of Nyukawacho Hatahoko, a small village in the mountains about 18 clicks east of Takayama, a beam from a Scarab Gun obliterated the lead Scorpion. The source of the plasma stream was immediately apparant, about 200 meters above them on the side a mountain on the right side of he road, the Jiralhanae had placed the gun from a destroyed Scarab in an improvised turret made from parts of a heavy plasma mortar.

The M850 Grizzly Anti-Walker Vehicle turned its turret on the Covenant improvised gun emplacement and fired an anti-walker missile at the Covenant defenses. The Scarab gun turret exploded in a ball of fire as the missiles struck its power core, setting of a flash of blue flames. The Grizzly AWV then turn its single 120mm gun the upper story of a two-story house that housed a Jiralhanae armed with a plasma launcher, as the gunner of the vehicle yelled "Trick or Treat, motherfuckers!", noting that it was Halloween night. And the Covenant were in for a nightmare.

The explosion from the Grizzly's main gun blew away a quarter of the house, killing the Jiralhanae and a few Kig-Yar snipers in the structure. Four Wraiths hovered along a dirt side road parallel to Highway 158, escorted by Brute Choppers and Prowlers. The first Wraith fired off as shot, which destroyed two militia technicals. A Scorpion replied with its main gun, knocking the alien artillery vehicle out. The second and third Wraith fell before the twin 120mm guns of a heavy tank version of the Grizzly, before Cobra took out the last one.

Keiichi Ryukishi sat at the controls one the 25mm autocannon mounted on the one of the surviving militia technicals. "Those Grizzly tanks are really doing some damage", Keiichi thought, being reminded suddenly of a story he'd heard shortly after taking Norikura-dake, about a Jiranlhanae that was found dead near Shinhotaka, having been mauled to death by a bear. Between that and the stories of a earthquake in Kagoshima, it seemed Earth itself fighting against the Covenant.

With this thought in mind, Keiichi turned the autocannon on the Brute Choppers, blowing apart two in a hail of 25mm shells as some of the tanks started to split from the road, rolling along side roads, or across farmers fields, all the while firing shells at houses and shops that lined the street, as well as a couple of pre-fabricated Covenant barracks, which were quickly leveled.

Overhead, a flight of four Longswords fired off a pair of ASGM-10 missiles, lighting up the evening sky as the missiles impacted an opposing flight of Seraphs. The Covenant fighters were deshielded by the first missile and shot down by the second. The Longswords then proceeded to deploy a couple of laser-guided bombs on a plasma turret battery on a mountaintop and strafe a formation of Wraiths, chewing up the alien tanks.

Keiichi fired the technical's autocannon at a small, one-story wooden structure that held a light plasma turret. The Covenant guncrew were wiped out as Rena Sonozaki grabbed Keiichi's grenade-launcher equipped DMR and fired the launcher on hydrogen fueling station that held several Brutes in the convenience store behind it. The fuel tanks exploded in a ball of flames, incinerating all of the alien defenders.


The technical stopped next to an old temple, along with a Cougar APC. Suddenly, the traditional sliding wood and paper screen door was knocked aside. Seconds later, A beam of green superheated plasma impacted the APC and sent it up in a fireball, killing most of the occupants. Two UNSC soldiers crawled from the flaming wreckage. One of them was almost immediately crushed by the armored foot of the attacking Lekgolo. The second, however, managed to run to Keiichi's technical. Keiichi turned the 25mm on the nearest Hunter and pulled the trigger. The first few rounds exploded on the shield, but in less than a second, one of the rounds went around the shield as and blew off the Hunter's shield arm, before more 25mm shells entered the Hunter's body and exploded, sending dead Lekgolo worms and orange hemolymph flying everywhere.

The second Hunter charged at the technical, enraged by the death of its partner. The Lekgolo brought its shield down on the cab of the Toyota pickup that served as the base of the technical, crushing the driver. Keiichi, Rena, and the UNSC soldier that survived the destruction of the APC, jumped out, grabbing the nearest weapon to them as the went.

Keiichi and the UNSC Army infantryman ended up in front of the of the Hunter. They both rolled out the way, just in time to avoid a shot from the Lekgolo's assault cannon. Behind the Hunter, Rena Sonozaki had a clean shot with the M95 full auto shotgun she had grabbed as she fled the technical. Rena set the weapon to full auto and squeezed the trigger, firing ten rounds, a combination of shot and slugs into the back of the Lekgolo. Apparently, Hunters were technically colonial organisms, but the individuals in the colony were specialized enough that eliminating one would kill the entire colony, a sort of midpoint between a colonial and a single organism.

This was made quite clear when the Hunter keeled over and died. As Keiichi and the UNSC infantryman let out a sigh of relief, a militia vehicle made its way towards the town's small post office. It was not a technical or a gun truck, a larger truck outfitted with two machine gun or cannon turrets, but a modified bulldozer equipped with improvised armor plates around the cab and engine, metal spikes and barbed wire on the side to prevent boarding, an M247 general purpose machine gun that could be moved between four gunports on each side of the cab, and a turret cut into the roof armed with an twin-mount LAU-65 missile pod.

As the improvised tank, the "Killdozer" as an American tank commander in the unit had nicknamed it, moved on the post office, which was fortified was two plasma autocannon turrets and several Brute defenders. The M247 blazed out the front gunport, cutting down Unggoy and Jiralhanae defenders and the missile pod fired off four shot at the building, blowing away the front of the structure and a eliminating numerous Covenant soldiers. The "Killdozer" then plowed right through the remains of the small, one-story post office, completely demolishing the structure and killing any surviving Covenant soldiers.

As the "Killdozer" leveled the post office, other, more conventional tanks blasted apart the few remaining Covenant-held building to ruins, as UNSC infantry cleared those houses that were still standing.

"As the last Covenant gun fell silent, a voice on Keiichi's radio said, "Excellent work men, we'll wait here for the night, and avait the arrival of three SPARTANs, then, we'll press on to Takayama!".


UNSC pilot by SPARTAN 204
SPARTAN 119Crawl from the wreckage , one more time, Horrific memory twists the mind. Dark blooded, cold and hard to turn. Path of destruction, feel it burn. 'Cause we hunt you down without mercy, hunt you down all nightmare long
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Greenwich Mean Time
The "Killdozer" improvised tank used by UNSC militia in this post is based off an improvised tank built from a bulldozer in a similar manner with the same nickname, as well as other improvised tank designs.



76: Holiday Spirit

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1924 Hours, October 31st 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Gifu Prefecture East of Takayama, Japan

Kodiak could feel the heat through his boots as they crushed molten and cooled bits of the blackened ground beneath him. Though he'd been trained all of his short life on how they worked and how to beat them, the power of the Covenant's weaponry still shook him up. As he and his team walked on, they passed where a massive armored bulldozer was clearing the highway of a burned-out Scorpion tank to make room for their continued march in the morning. It did nothing to lift his spirits.

They began to approach the area the convoy had claimed for their spot for the night, coming up on a massive Grizzly tank guarding the road. A man of E-8 rank sat on the armored fender smoking a cigar, and Kodiak walked up to the tank under his hooded gaze. The man, his tags read Amazake, stared at him from under his marine helmet, grinning faintly. "Trick or treat?"

Kodiak blinked, then understood. He'd almost forgotten that it was Halloween night. "It's no trick. You've got three SPARTANs here to join you, so, treat."

Amazake's grin widened. "Names?" he asked.

Kodiak straightened, as did Dyne and Sepia behind him. "Sierra Three-Gamma One-Fourteen, sir!"

Amazake stared blankly at him, as if there was some joke he didn't get.

After a moment, he said with chagrin, "Most call me Kodiak. I'm Ion Team's leader. Where's the convoy commander?"

"Don't worry about it." the crewman said, his smile returning as he pulled the Sweet William's out of his mouth. "I'll tell the Cap you're here. You should catch some rest while you can, we move out in the morning."

"Thanks." Kodiak nodded to him, and made for the area where a number of small campfires had been made in the street and surrounding area, along with groups that had taken places inside of houses or other abandoned buildings. He heard Sepia make a remark to Dyne about something, but was too busy overlooking the soldiers and militiamen to pay attention.

There was a definite split between the two sides, not that they disliked each other, but simply had more people they knew in their areas. Quickly, Kodiak found a number of dirty looks coming his way from the UNSC encampments. He'd met ODSTs before, and still had a scar from the encounter. Not looking to repeat the experience, he steered his team toward the militia fires.

Soon, they came upon a large fire surrounded by only a few people, two of them children. Forgetting they couldn't see a friendly smile behind a visor, he asked, "May we join you?"

One of the Army snipers gestured for them to take a seat, which they did. Dyne moved in close to the fire, his tan armor glowing in the flickering firelight. After a moment settling in, Kodiak noticed the intent stares from the two younger fighters, chewing on UNSC ration bars. He tried to politely ignore it, fearing any confrontation, until the boy said, "I give up," he held up his ration bar, "is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?"

He head Dyne laugh behind him. "Keep going." Kodiak answered.

From where she sat beside him, Sepia suddenly perked up. Unshouldering her pack, she opened it and withdrew a crinkling, wrapped candy bar, and tossed everyone around the circle one of them. The boy's eyes lit up with delight. "How many of those do you have?"

"Enough." Sepia said, taking off her helmet with a hiss of pressure to eat her own trick-or-treat candy. "But not enough for everyone here. So keep it quiet."

"Keiichi." he said, extending a hand dwarfed by Dyne's armored gauntlet that returned it.

"Dyne." he said, taking off his own helm. "And this is Kodiak and Sepia. Ion Team."

As the other teen introduced herself as Rena and began pointing out the others, Kodiak's focus swung back and forth between Dyne and Sepia, and Keiichi and Rena. The two civilians were maybe a year or so older than the SPARTANs. They hadn't had all the training, or the bulky armor, and yet they were still here on the same line they were. Was this all that was left of humanity? Child soldiers and old veterans?

While the others traded quips about Halloween before turning in, Kodiak looked out to the dark, far-off horizon. The ghost stories were a little more real tonight. After a long time talking, Dyne lay down in his armor to sleep, saying, "Hope we don't get attacked until morning."

He might have meant by ghosts, but it took on another edge as Sepia said, "Don't jynx it, Dyne. Don't jynx it."

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 05:33, July 15, 2011 (UTC)

77: A House Divided

0014 Hours, November 1, 2552 (Military Calendar)

Narita Sakura No Yama Hotel, outside Narita, Chiba Prefecture, Japan

Commander Choi Park of the UNSC "wet" Navy had made it to the other side of Narita airport, and was now on the fourteenth floor of the Narita Sakura No Yama Hotel. The hotel had been abandoned by human and Covenant alike, they had no idea that a lone human surveyed the airport through the scope of a BR55 battle rifle.

All night, Park had heard plasma fire coming from Narita Air-Space Port, and occasionally saw Banshees and Seraph overhead, firing their weapons. Was this a UNSC offensive? When he got to the twenty-story tower that was the hotel, his curiosity got the better of him. Cautiously, he made his way through up the hotel, to the 14th story, meeting no Covenant resistance on his way.

When he got the the fourteenth floor window, which gave him a clear view over the air/space port, he was shocked by what he saw. The airport had turned into a battlefield not between human and Covenant, but between the Covenant and... themselves... Banshees and Seraphs dueled overhead. Occasionally, a Covenant aircraft would go down in blue flames and crash into the ground. Below the dogfighting aircraft, Wraiths and Locusts fired on each other, amidst the burning ruins of structure both human and alien, as well and the burning remnants of Wraiths, Locusts, and a couple Scarabs. Among the armor of the two sides were countless light vehicle and infantry.

Above and slightly behind all the chaos, two Covenant warships, a light cruiser and a battlecruiser did battle, firing volleys of plasma torpedoes at each other, deshielding each other and blowing great holes in each other's sides. Looking through the scope of his BR, Park could see a hole near the nose of the light cruiser that was not caused by plasma fire: it was the cruiser he had damaged with multiple SAM hits before it sunk his ship.

The battlecruiser fired its energy projector at the light cruiser, blowing away left side. Amazingly, the ship was still in the air as it fired up its remaining engines and rammed into the battlecruiser. The light cruiser exploded in a huge blue fireball that blew the CCS-class battlecruiser in half. The remains of both Covenant spacecraft landed in the fields behind the airport.

Park focused his rifle scope on the battling Covenant infantry, examining the two sides. Unngoy and Lekgolo were present on both sides, one side seemed to be lead by Jiralhanae, while the other was lead by Sangheili. Most of the Kig-Yar had sided with the Jiralhanae, as had all of the Yanme'e.

This could mean only one thing: the Covenant had divided on species lines and was falling apart. This was just the lucky break humanity needed, with the Covenant busy killing each other, the UNSC could use the chaos to their advantage and force the remaining Covenant forces off Earth. It was not out of the question that one of the Covenant species would side with humanity. Park though that it would most likely be the Elites. Little did Park know, that would happen in just two short days.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

78: Landing Zone

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

0200 Hours, November 1st 2552 (Military Calendar)/
West Coast of Japan

Corporal Hunter retied the bandage around his calf. The particle beam had burned a clean hole through his flesh, but his bones had been spared and it would heal in good time. But it was still a nasty-looking wound. The seared flesh and dead skin, blood-soaked bandage . . . he stopped thinking about it, and returned to the ring of tags in his hand. He'd been flipping through them thinking about the memories of people that were tied to it, but one in particular. Those of Sergeant Jonathon Dansen, father of the blue-suited trooper sitting at the back of the troop bay.

After they'd left Sydney, he'd returned to his quiet demeanor usually sleeping behind his blacked-out visor. The other sleep-deprived squad members were much the same way, but from now on Mitch was going to keep a close eye on Ben Dansen. His stunt at the orbital elevator had caught him completely off-guard, a stupid, rookie attempt that chances were would get people killed.

But the odds must have been in his favor. Dansen had saved a life, and even lived to tell about it, though he was once again silent. Unless spoken to, he'd only ask the occasional naive or stupid question. At least, that was how Mitch saw it.

Dansen wasn't his biggest concern at the moment. His new mission was to escort a data package in the hands of a civilian to Ryu Base. The package was carried on a ship called the Deladrier, which he knew was captained by one and one alone. Sergeant Amelia Zircon, his former squad leader in the 'Double One'. He was anxious to see her again, wondering how the sergeant's own wounds were doing, if she was walking again. He thought back to the burning building in New Alexandria, how the beam had come down on her legs in the flames. And once again, he thanked Buck for pulling them all out of it.

From forward, one of the pilots announced they were going to be landing soon, rousing the squad. Mitch checked his battle rifle. He couldn't wait for it.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 01:10, July 22, 2011 (UTC)

79: Air Raid

200 Hours, November 2, 2552 (Military Calendar)

Sendai , Miyagi Prefecture, Japan

Captain Takashi Yanagi of the "wet" Navy ballistic missile submarine UNSC Seawolf exited an officer's club near the temporary UNSC "wet" naval base of at Sendai. The city was well behind UNSC lines, safe from Covenant land attack, and, with the destruction of the Covenant supercarrier over Tokyo Bay, safe from glassing attacks, at least temporarily. Still, the Covenant would often send Seraphs and other aircraft to attack the city.

Even in the black of night, Yanagi could see the evidence of plasma charge damage. This was not the first time Sendai had been met with destruction, having suffered been bombed in the Second World War, and suffered a tsunami in 2011 and again in 2358. That night, as the Seawolf re-armed in the port, Covenant came to hit the city yet again.

The sirens screamed into the night as the light blue glow of the engines of Covenant Banshees and Seraphs lit up the night sky. The roar of surface to air missiles and fighter engines, along with the banging of AA guns filled the night. Missiles fired by SAM batteries and Longsword fighters impacted about ten Seraphs, shooting them down before they got close to the city, however, about twelve of the Covenant fighters got close enough to deploy their payloads, lighting up the night with flashes of blue flames around the airport turned UNSC air base.

As the Covenant fighters then dueled with the Longswords to allow the Banshees to dive in low to engage targets of opportunity. Yanagi ran towards the entrance of an air raid shelter, along with other UNSC personnel- most of the civilians in the area had been either evacuated or joined the militia.

A Banshee dove toward the group of UNSC personnel gathering around the air raid shelter and let loose with its twin plasma autocannons. Bolts of light blue plasma burned through the flesh of UNSC soldiers and militia, killing and maiming men around Yanagi, though Yanagi himself.

There were not SAM batteries or dedicated AA guns nearby, most of them being deployed near the airbase and port, so the UNSC personnel fired back at the alien attack aircraft with any weapon they had on hand, while others carried the wounded into the shelter. Yanagi himself drew his M6D handgun and fired several rounds at the Banshee, along with dozens of other M6s, MA5s, BRs, M7 SMGs, and other small arms, as well as a mounted M247 GPMG.

The Banshee's armor stood up to the hail of fire for a few seconds, before several round perforated the left anti-gravity pod, setting fire to the craft's propulsion system and causing it to fall from the air and crash into the roof of a building about 200 yards away, exploding in ball of blue flames.

As three other Banshees flew in on the crowd near the shelter entrance, a UNSC civilian militia technical armed with an LAU-65 missile pod pulled up at the the end of the road and fired off a missile at each Banshee, sending two of the Covenant aircraft to a fiery fate, and driving away a third, allowing the UNSC troops to enter the air raid shelter.

As he entered the air raid shelter, Yanagi called Commander Karlsson, his second in command who he had left in charge of the Seawolf on the radio.

"No Damage to the sub, had to take out a couple Banshees and a Seraph with the Argent SAMs", Karlsson responed to Yanagi's queries on the status of the Seawolf. Yanagi was thankful that the UNSC engineers decided to add the vertical SAM launchers to the sub to defend against anti-submarine aircraft. The Covenant had few anti-sub weapons, but the SAMs still came in useful every once in a while.

"Most of the Covie aircraft are down or retreating, rearmament should take a couple more hours to complete. I'll relay the message on to the rest of the crew.", Karlsson said.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

80: Dark and Early

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

0400 Hours, November 1st 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Outskirts of Takayama, Japan

It wasn't even daybreak yet, and Ion Team was moving in the dark. Their new armor wasn't as stealthy as the SPI, but color was of little consequence in complete darkness. Power to Takayama was absent for now, and as they moved along surveying the convoy's route ahead, they relied on motion trackers and their own augmented vision to view their surroundings.

Running quickly across the pavement, Kodiak kept glancing over the side of the myriad of elevated roads leading on, off, and adjacent to freeways on permacrete pillars three stories off the ground. Dyne was below them on a different bridge, and Sepia was two steps behind him.

"Got a flashlight attachment?" Dyne asked over TEAMCOM, and Kodiak flashed a green acknowledgement light. Searching his belt absently, he drew a light and dropped it over the edge, straight to him.

Dyne caught it out of the air, then slid it onto his battle rifle's barrel. It locked with a click, and Dyne turned it on, searching the tunnel ahead of them. Nothing but abandoned cars, like the rest of the road system. Taking a few steps forward, he realized he was missing the matched steps behind him. He turned and looked at Sepia, her dull gold armor warmly illuminated by the pilot light on her flamethrower. She held the ignited weapon up, gripped tightly.

"You coming?" he asked. Slowly, she nodded. The corner of Dyne's mouth curled briefly. "Don't tell me you're afraid of the dark."

Starting at the accusation, she pushed forward after him, descending the sloping road inside the tunnel entrance. Truthfully, though, she was, only a bit. It was a foolish, a stupid fear for a SPARTAN, she told herself. But it was why she liked her flamethrower so much. It cast a soft light, like a candle, and had chosen the shining, amber suit, despite its age. She would have rather been anywhere but this, in the night going underground into a long, unlit tunnel. Sepia hated being underground. Call it claustrophobia or fear of the dark, she didn't like it.

Though they were supposed to walk up opposite sides of the tunnel, she was very glad Dyne forgot to do so, and stuck close behind him and the cone of light emanating from his rifle. He seemed to have no problem with it, often looking up to the ceiling to examine it. His relaxed walk suggested to Sepia that he enjoyed the underground, which she couldn't understand.

At last, they came out the other side. Carefully behind her teammate, she sighed in relief, the moon had come out while they were inside and gave them a bit of pale illumination. Sepia nearly jumped as Kodiak's armored form leaped down from above and landed next to them.

"Looks all clear out here. Let's head back to the convoy, and get a place riding on one of those trucks." he said. Sepia couldn't agree more with the idea.

"Shotgun!" Dyne called as they mercifully took a different route back, leaving the tunnel behind.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 01:43, July 22, 2011 (UTC)

81: Clearance Sale

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1000 Hours, November 1st 2552 (Local Time) East side of Takayama, Japan

A UNSC Armored Column rolled down Highway 158 towards the Covenant roadblock at a crossroads near the east edge of Takayama. The road block consisted of a deployable energy shield barricade, flanked on each side by Wraiths. Deployable guard towers armed with plasma turrets looked out over the barrier. To either side of the Wraiths were two structures, one a fueling station and the other a strip mall housing a grocery store and a couple American chain restaurants, a KFC and a Pizza Hut. In front of the Energy Barrier stood a Scarab Assault Walker.

The Scarab was picked off from a distance by an anti-walker missile from one of the three anti-walker variants of the Grizzly tank, as a Scorpion took out one of the Wraiths, and a Grizzly disposed of the other. A Cougar APC fired its 30mm autocannon at the deployable lookout towers and Shade Turrets, taking out the three towers and one of the Shade turrets. The last turret was eliminated by a slug from a Gauss Warthog.

The Covenant troops inside the grocery store, restaurants, and hydrogen fueling station opened fire, taking out a Scorpion tank and a couple Warthogs with plasma launcher and fuel rod gun fire. A Scorpion replied with its 90mm main gun, sending the fueling station and its alien occupiers up in a ball of flames as a couple Cougars, Warthogs, and militia technicals and gun trucks focused fire on the strip mall.

With the Covenant fire supressed, a Cougar APC and a militia guntruck holding several civilian militia, including Keiichi Ryukishi and Rena Sonozaki parked in the lot of the strip mall. The occupants of the vehicles, lead by a UNSC Army sergeant.

"On me, soldiers, We're gonna clear that store and make it around the back door so we can disable that energy barrier."

The UNSC soldiers and militia fell in behind the sergeant, going through main entrance of the Pizza Hut. The Covenant defenders in the dining room and next to the counter were all dead, killed by UNSC machine gun and autocannon fire. As The UNSC troops grew closer, however, a spike grenade flew through a window between the area behind the counter and the kitchen.

The grenade landed amongst three militia, one of who tried to pick up the alien grenade, but by the time he got his hand around the handle of the grenade, the fuse had burned out, and the grenade exploded, killing two of the militia and wounding a third.

"Medic!", the wounded man yelled, clutching a metal spike that had stuck in his thigh.

"Give the medic some cover, keep those Covies in the kitchen down!", the sergeant yelled.

At once, Keiichi Ryukishi and Rena Sonozaki rose from a table they were taking cover behind and opened fire on the Covenant defenders. The rest of the UNSC soldiers and militia did the same. A Kig-Yar and two Unggoy were cut down as the rest of the Covenant took cover. With the Covenant troops supressed, the medic carried the wounded man to a waiting APC.


As the medic left the building, the sergeant tossed a frag grenade into the window leading to the kitchen. Seconds later, the grenade detonated, killing a pair of Jackals and deshielding a Brute. The sergeant kicked down the door to the kitchen, BR55 with underbarrel shotgun at the ready.

The sergeant finished off the shieldless Jiralhanae with a shotgun blast to the head, before Keiichi burst in, M95 Full Auto Shotgun in hand and killed two Grunts and Jackal. A UNSC infantryman killed the last two Grunts in the kitchen with his MA5 as he yelled "CLEAR".


"Excellent work, blow this wall, it should lead into the grocery store.", The sergeant said as an army corporal placed a C12 charge on the wall. The charge detonated and blew a man-sized hole in the wall.

The stench of rotting meat and fish greeted the noses of the UNSC soldiers as they entered the meat and seafood counter, whose contents were decaying from months of abandonment. Suddenly, refrigerated shelf with assorted frozen foods was knocked over, revealing a pack of about ten Brutes, lead by a Chieftain, who ran at the UNSC troops behind the counter as the other Jiralhanae opened fire.

A UNSC infantryman armed with and M247 light machine gun mounted the weapon's bipod on the top of the counter and opened fire, draining the Chieftain's shields with help of concentrated fire from the rest of the sqaud. The Chieftain's shield broke and the ape-like alien fell to the floor, his gravity hammer cracking the floor as it fell from his hands.

The other Brutes kept firing, taking down a UNSC soldier with a spike to the head and killing two militia with a Brute shot grenade. Keiichi retaliated with his auto shotgun, delivering a burst of slugs into two Jiralhanae, blowing great holes in the flesh as they fell down, dead.

Rena took out a deshielded Brute with her M7 SMG as the sergeant picked off an ultra who attempted to throw a spike grenade with a single shot to the head. The Brute's grenade exploded amongst its surviving packmates, adding two more to the body count as the final few Brutes fell to the M247 or the combined fire of multiple rifles and SMGs.

A quick check of the store proved the building quite clear save for a few easily dealt with Grunts. The back stockroom was similarly unguarded. Finally, the UNSC infantry burst out the back door of the grocery store. A surprised squad of Covenant, mostly Unggoy and Kig-Yar, lead by one Brute turned on the spot, stunned by the suddeness of the attack.

The UNSC troops concentrated their fire on the Brute, taking him down quickly, before taking out the Kig-Yar and a few Grunts, causing the rest of the Unggoy to flee in terror. The UNSC sergeant pressed the large switch on the holo panel controlling the barrier, dropping the glowing blue shield around guarding the intersection, allowing the UNSC armor to roll through and pick up the UNSC squad on the other side.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

82: Crossfire

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1000 Hours, November 1st 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Outskirts of Takayama, Japan

Nearby, Kodiak could hear the opening shots and saw the fireball from the fuel station, but was posted too far away to help. He stood on the deck of a Scorpion tank, part of a group including one of the Grizzlies that was turning onto an elevated highway to gain a position to cover them with artillery while the rest of the convoy went through the city. At a ping on his com, he dismounted and ran ahead of the slow-moving tank, towards the front of the tanks where the Covenant had laid mines and had infantry defending them.

Joining a number of other UNSC infantry, he quickly began cutting down rows of Grunts. For a SPARTAN, this was easy work. He even had the time to spot and identify the mines they'd laid, and could have told the EOD specialists how to disarm them. Older models, rarely seen and mostly used when they wanted to manually blow up a city like this. It seemed odd to him they were seeing deployment against a tank unit.

Something didn't seem right. If they wanted to stop them, they could simply pull back and detonate the mines to bring the bridge down, instead of throwing cannon fodder to protect it. And otherwise they should be using higher-quality ordnance.

From his position farther in the city, still scouting, Dyne raised him on his com. "Kodiak! Fall back, Wraiths! They're training on the bridge!"

He had just enough time to turn before the first volleys of bright blue fire arced up from somewhere below and far-off. "Incoming!" he had time to yell, before making a dash for the enemy line. They couldn't pull back, it would take too long. He had to get rid of those explosives, fast. Even as he ran, dispatching the last of the Unggoy, he heard Amazake saying, "Blue group, you on rearguard fall back. Red and Green groups, no choice, push through!"

The explosive charges were light. Rather than taking time to disarm them, he chose to simply hurl them clear of the bridge, down toward some unfortunate Covenant positions below.

However, it wouldn't be fast enough for the column to escape the first few volleys. Plasma crashed down on and around the roadway, taking bites out of the side of the bridge or even onto an unfortunate tank. Sepia-G330 jumped from the rear Scorpion in Green group, the middle unit, just as a mortar came down on it. The armor melted and the front tracks broke apart, killing the driver who'd been unable to escape in time. The machine gunner cried in pain as his uniform caught fire behind Sepia. She quickly threw him to the ground and helped extinguish the flames before they could engulf him.

The man was screaming in agony as she moved him, slinging the marine over a shoulder and jumped onto and over the tank's burning hulk to catch up with those still moving. She passed several dead infantry and blackened mortar craters, but gained on the others until she'd passed Amazake's Grizzly, the new rear-most vehicle. Sprinting to catch up with the medical Warthog in front of it, she hurriedly passed the injured man to the medic reaching out of its back.

Turning to find where else she could help, she saw over the Grizzly's fender a single Unggoy, who had cowered in hiding while the unit rolled past, now chasing after them lugging a heavy road bomb. She was just reaching for her rifle when another blue fireball came down on top of the Grunt, not far behind the tank.

The resulting explosion shook the whole bridge, and the sound of crumbling permacrete followed. Looking back up after having averted her eyes from the inferno, she saw the front of Amazake's tank rise up like the bow of a sinking ship. She realized that was exactly what was happening, the roadway was collapsing between the two pillars where the blast had hit, and the Grizzly that had almost cleared the section was now slipping back into the gap.

Sepia dropped the gun she'd been drawing and ran for the titanium behemoth. She could see the fearful look in the gunner's eyes as the tank moved backwards. Then there was a crunch and squeal of metal being bent as Sepia's MJOLNIR gauntlets dug handholds into the Grizzly's plating. She braced and planted her feet firmly on the ground, swinging the tank's bow back down. The gunner stared at her in shock for a moment before she yelled, "Get out of the tank!"

He complied wordlessly, panic speeding his body. As he left the small area of the world in which Sepia was aware of everything, she felt the strain on her armor and muscles to keep the tank from falling back into open air. Then the treads, once again teetering up, spun forward at their full speed of 54 kilometers an hour spraying pebbles they'd collected from the pavement before Sepia, grunting from the exertion, pulled it down again and let it grip the asphalt. As it surged forward, Sepia leaped up onto the deck, staying crouched while she got her breath back.

Looking around, she found the mortar barrage had stopped, either because they'd been taken out or were being moved. She hoped it was the former.

"Thanks, Spartan." Amazake said, relief plain. "Guess I'll have to call this thing the Titanic from now on."

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 22:01, July 23, 2011 (UTC)

83: Sniper Cover

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1340 Hours, November 1st 2552 (Local Time) Shiroyama Park, Takayama, Japan


Sulo Hahya lay prone on a viewing point near the recently recaptured Shiroyama park, home to an old rock platform that apparently used to the be a 17th century castle. Takayama castle was located on a mountain, or, that's what the "yama" in it's name meant, but it was truly more of a hill compared to the peaks outside town. Still, it was enough to give the sniper a commanding view of the city of Takayama, which, along with the 4.5 kilometer range of his Gauss rifle, gave him the ability to take out any Covie mike foxtrot in town.

The (very displaced) Finnish sniper readied his M99 Gauss rifle as his radio crackled to life, "This is the UNSC 23rd Armored, a bunch of our tanks have engaged a group of Wraiths, Locusts, and Covie infantry near a bridge the Takayama jinga.... The old traditional Japanese looking place about half a click from your location", The tank commander added, remembering he was speaking to a man from the other side of the world.

"This Hunter 2-1, I have your location and am ready to provide sniper cover", Hahya said. As he spoke, a UNSC Scorpion tank took out a Covenant Locust light walker, only to be destroyed seconds later by a shot from a Plasma Launcher wielded by a Brute in a seven story building dating back to the 20th century.

As the UNSC tanks blasted away at the Covenant armor, Hahya fired his M99 at the offending Jiralhanae, who stood on the sixth floor balcony, reducing the alien to a bloody mist. Hahya then took out another Brute and two Jackal snipers, as well as Shade turret.

"Nice shooting", The UNSC tank commander responded as a Scorpion tank with a dozer blade pushed the wreck of the destroyed Scorpion into the Miyagawa River below. Suddenly, however, a massive ball of plasma, as well as several smaller plasma shots impacted the bridge and the surrounding area. The bridge fell into the river as about five UNSC tanks, four Scorpions and a Grizzly were destroyed, along with a similar number of Warthog LRVs.

"Shit!", The commander said, "All units, retreat from the bridge, we're taking an alternate route. Be advised, sniper, we are making out way to a bridge to south. Try and locate where those plasma mortars came from!".

"Already on it, I see a cloaking tower on the the slopes of a mountain with a top that has been cleared of trees, about half a click from a roughly 20-story hotel. The plasma fire originated from that area. Do we have any air or artillery support in the area? I can lock onto the the target with my laser designator", Hahya asked.

"Roger, Hunter 2-1, This is Hayate Lead, flight of four Skyhawks, we have your target and are launching attack run now.", A Japanese-accent voice said in Hahya's radio.

Four laser-guided bombs dropped on the camouflage tower, sending it up in a ball of flames and a cloud of dust and smoke. The top of the mountain was revealed to house a mountaintop fire base equipped with an Artillery Scarab, a Scarab with a heavy plasma mortar on the back, as well as four Wraiths and about a dozen Revenants.

"Hayate, this is Hunter", Sulo Hahya said into his radio, "I am marking the postion of the a Covie mountaintop firebase".

"Roger, Hunter 2-1", Hayate Lead replied, "Engaging your target".

The Skyhawk fighters came back around, releasing more laser-guided bombs on the alien artillery base. The ordnance exploded, blowing apart the Scarab, four of the Wraiths, and and all but two of the Revenants.

"This is Hunter 2-1", Hahya responded, "Confirming good effect on target, I'll deal with the rest of 'em". The M99 Gauss rifle's electromagnetic launching system fired a projectile at over 15000 feet per second, fast enough that even the tiny projectile used by the M99 could penetrate tank armor. Unfortunately, it necessitated a back-mounted generator- older versions required vehicle-mounted generator.

In this stationary position, it was not an issue for Hahya, with heavy generator at his side, he was able to maneuver to rifle into firing position and fire a slug through the surviving Wraith's armor, setting off the the plasma core in a ball of fire. The Revenants met a similar fate, before Hahya picked off a number of Brutes and Jackal snipers, who desperately tried to find the location of the human weapon that was literally vaporizing their comrades, before Hahya sent gave them their own ticket to the Great Journey with a pull of the trigger.

Hahya then set to 50x ultra long range variable zoom scope on another Kig-Yar sniper, who tried to return fire, but the beam of accelerated ions dissipated before it got any where near Hahya. That was one advantage of UNSC sniper rifles against alien beam rifles- range.

Hahya exhaled and slowly pulled the trigger, vaporizing the Jackal in a mist of purple alien blood. The Unggoy fled as they saw all of the Brute and Jackals annihilated, first by the air strike, and then from Hahya's fire. Most of the Grunts made it behind the mountain and out of sight. "But there time would come soon enough", Hahya said.


UNSC pilot by SPARTAN 204
SPARTAN 119Crawl from the wreckage , one more time, Horrific memory twists the mind. Dark blooded, cold and hard to turn. Path of destruction, feel it burn. 'Cause we hunt you down without mercy, hunt you down all nightmare long
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Greenwich Mean Time
I am going on vacation tomorrow. I will have access to an Ipad and, for part of it, a computer, however, my activity on this RP is likely to decline between July 25th and August 14th.



84: Bigger Guns

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1400 Hours, November 1st 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Downtown Takayama, Japan

Dyne-G217 was taking time to notice the architecture of Takayama's buildings. While not particularly ornate, many of the structures were decorated with or even partly built from wood. It looked strange to him, having grown up on Reach and Onyx where most buildings were permacrete or pre-fabricated colonial models. He smiled to himself as he remembered the number of storage buildings that had needed to be replaced during training. And he remembered digging the foundations for them, most of them having been his fault in the first place.

He'd quickly grown bored with the reconnaissance run he'd been sent on, wishing Kodiak was here so the two of them could make jokes. Then again, now that he was team leader, Kodiak didn't seem to be as ready to cause trouble as he used to. Deciding there was nothing he could do about if for the time being, Dyne glanced over at the two UNSC Army scouts he'd been sent with. They were still intent on their rangefinding equipment. Private Koji and Private First Class Hikaru, as they'd introduced themselves, were trained on the horizons in case they'd spot something Dyne seriously doubted would appear. Thus, he'd volunteered to look around and make sure there weren't any Covenant in the immediate vicinity. Or something official-sounding like that.

He felt one of the pockets on his armor's chest plate, and to his disappointment found it empty. Sepia was right, he should have saved a few of the candy bars for later. As he walked around the square they'd set up shop over, on an elevated plaza, he looked into some of the store windows for any sign of snacks. No such luck. Most of the stores had carpentry supplies or choice lumber from all over Earth and the colonies. Takayama was known for its woodworking.

While Dyne had been wandering, he'd been paying less and less attention. So when he spotted the large, mobile objects on his motion tracker, they were already very close. As soon as he realized it, he looked toward where they were, staring right into the window of the store next to him. Through the glass, he had just enough time to see the twin, green orbs, growing in size and brightness as they charged.

The moment he threw himself out of the way, the first bolt broke through the window, melting what was in its path and shattering the rest. The other hit low, blowing out the base of the wall. Picking himself up and pulling the battle rifle off his back, Dyne practically yelled over his helmet speaker, "Hunters!"

"Dyne, where are you?" Koji's voice asked, but it was almost drowned out by the sound of the first massive armored shape barreling through what was left of the storefront. The SPARTAN-III fired several bursts from his rifle. His opponent moved like it knew what was coming, the Hunter spun to its left, catching the bullets on its shield and in the same move bringing its re-charged cannon to bear. With a deep rumble, it loosed the bolt of energy.

He tucked and rolled sideways, coming up in a crouch and letting the shot fly past him and detonate somewhere behind him. Taking careful aim, he lined up his scope on the monster's lightly-armored leg joints and fired. The bursts punched through the armor on its right leg, which hadn't been fully protected by the shield. It howled in pain and dropped to one knee, but raised its weapon at him again.

Deciding it was time to cut and run, Dyne sprinted for the nearest corner to get out of its line of fire. The shot that landed behind him was so close it jarred his teeth, but it didn't get a chance at a second one. The ground, though, still shook. Casting a quick look over his shoulder, he spotted its bond brother chasing after him. Despite its weight and heavy armor, the raw amount of muscle allowed it to keep up with him. It swung its shield like a mace, sending clouds of debris after him when it connected with the facades of buildings.

One of Sergeant Stacker's tricks came to mind. Dyne pulled a frag grenade off his belt and pulled its pin, then let it drop behind him.

The young SPARTAN had timed it right, the grenade detonated just as the Hunter walked over it. One of its trunk-like legs was shredded, the armor opened up and spilling fluorescent orange blood. It stopped in its tracks, but didn't fall until a hail of sniper rounds hit it, some ricocheting off the heavy plates but others finding the vulnerable gaps at its neck and abdomen. With a last, pitiful groan, it toppled to the ground, more blood pooling around it.

Dyne looked up and nodded to the Army soldiers standing not far from him on an elevated sidewalk. "What took you so long?"

Hikaru started walking towards him as Koji reloaded his rifle. "We had to catch up with you, you run away so fast."

More movement on his tracker. Dyne shifted his view and yelled a warning, but it came too late for Koji. A fuel rod streaked low over the pavement, illuminating each section of the ground as it passed over, then, in a flash of emerald light, it connected with the Army trooper and vaporized most of his body. There was no scream, only a sudden and violent explosion, and the man was gone.

"Another one?!" Hikaru yelled incredulously as he sighted the threat, this one clad in golden armor. Dyne started backpedaling and firing at it to cover their retreat, also spotting the one he'd wounded limp around the far corner of the block. If there was a fourth somewhere nearby, Dyne didn't want to have to take them all on at once.

Once they'd turned the corner, they stopped briefly to reload their weapons. Dyne heard the soldier mutter his companion's name mournfully. Quickly, Dyne asked, "Can we call for support from the armor?"

Hikaru snapped back to the moment. "No, they wouldn't be accurate enough, and I doubt they'll waste ammo to saturate the area. And worse, most of these streets are too narrow for the tanks to maneuver in."

That left a couple options that Dyne saw. Either lure the Hunters into an area where the bigger guns could take a shot at them, or regroup with anyone nearby and try to take it on that way. Both required running, and neither of them wanted to lose the lead they already had. The two started hoofing it, while Dyne keyed his radio to call for anyone nearby with a heavy weapon.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 06:30, July 28, 2011 (UTC)

85: The Bullet's Way

Takayama, Japan 1400 hours, November 1, 2552

Sulo Hahya knelt in position on Shiroyama, Takayama, looking down on the city below through the scope of his M99 Gauss rifle. Suddenly, his radio crackled to life. "This is SPARTAN G217, we are under attack by two Hunters about a click east of the main road into town."

Hahya looked down the scope of the M99 and scanned the area the SPARTAN indicated. In a narrow street near lined by traditional Japanese buildings, mostly wooden craft stores the Finnish sniper found his mark. A SPARTAN and one Army soldier ran around a corner, followed seconds later by a Lekgolo in gold armor. Hahya zoomed in the scope and placed his crosshair slightly above and to the right of the alien, compensating for windage and bullet drop.

Hahya pulled the trigger and unleashed a 5.4mm slug at 15000 feet per second. The electromagnetically accelerated slug impacted the Hunter's "chest". The body of the Lekgolo colony exploded, sending orange hemolymph everywhere. The SPARTAN and the Army soldier kept running as a hunter's assault beam narrowly missed the Sierra III. Hahya turned his large rifle on the second Lekgolo, which ran furiously at the Army infantryman.

This Hunter too found itself in the way of Hahya's bullet. The Gauss slug pierced the armor plates and blew through the body, exiting on the other side in an orange mist. As the second Hunter fell, Sulo Hahya stood down, awaiting his next target.


UNSC pilot by SPARTAN 204
SPARTAN 119Crawl from the wreckage , one more time, Horrific memory twists the mind. Dark blooded, cold and hard to turn. Path of destruction, feel it burn. 'Cause we hunt you down without mercy, hunt you down all nightmare long
TALK CONTRIBUTIONS — Greenwich Mean Time
Wrote this on my Ipad, sorry for any errors.



84

1200 Hours, October 29rd, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Greece, Earth, Solar System

"...and so deaths of Major Loren 'Kazonkee were not actually caused by the demons, but rather ordinary human soldiers we were able to hunt down and kill with minor casualties only." Jara finished his report to the Field Master.

"Well, despite your failure to slay the demons, you were doing surprisingly well in combating the human resistance. Good work."

"Thank you, excellency. You-"

Jara was never able to finish the statement as explosions sounded overhead. Both Sangheili jumped out of their chairs. Jara did not have any weapons on him-he had been forced to surrener them when he entered the Field Master's quarters, but the Field Master had an energy sword on him, and a spare pistol which he gave to Jara.

"The Demons are attacking! Let's go!" The Field Master stepped out of his quarters, the doors sliding open. The two guards standing had moved to a ceremonial, if rather intimidating position to a more practical defensive position taking cover behind deployable energy shields.

Jara pointed. "You keep those around?"

"Yes. You never know what may happen in the middle of a battlefield-understandable, of course. You are navy."

Jara fought the urge to shoot the Sangheili, and turned to the Field Master. "I will join the troops on the front lines."

With that, he dashed through the purple corridors near the Field Master's base. Sangheili rushed past him, and the voice of a Jiralhanae's voice sounded over the comms.

"BROTHERS! The time has come! The Sangheili have failed our Covenant one last time! The Prophets have-" His voice was suddenly cut off, and replaced by the sound of plasma fire. Jara stared in confusion, then staggered in pain as something hit him in the back. He whirled around, seeing a Jiralhanae with a plasma rifle. The Jiralhanae fired again, sending Jara diving for cover, and charged an overcharge shot with his pistol, then shot the Jiralhanae. The Jiralhanae staggered in pain as the plasma burned through his flesh, and Jara finished the Jiralhanae off with a bolt to the head.

The comms were growing more and more chaotic. A Sangheili was screaming something about the traitorous Jiralhanae, while a Jiralhanae was saying something about the Regret slain by a Demon, the Sangheili failing to protect Regret, then going under an unprovoked uprising in High Charity despite remaining Prophets' forgiveness. On the other hand, there was relevant tactical information to be heard. Jiralhanae cries to take the armory lead prompted Jara to head to that very location.

On the way, he encountered a group of Jiralhanae. He charged his plasma pistol, and then shot one in the back. The Jiralhanae fell to the ground and the other two whirled around. Jara dove to avoid the red-hot spikes shot by their spikers and returned fire. Several hits flared off his shields while he shot the Jiralhanae back. Luckily, the Jiralhanae did not have shields and he managed to overpower them. He continued onto the armory, where there were a half-dozen of Sangheili.

"Arm up, sir. There will be heavy fighting, and that pistol won't cut it." A major said.

"That's what I'm doing." Jara selected a plasma repeater from the armory and picked up two plasma grenades before taking cover behind a deployable shield.

"Here they come!" A minor shouted. Two dozen brutes stormed towards the armory, firing away. They Sangheili returned fire, and soon the air was filled with bolts of plasma. Jara kept his head-figuratively and literally, at least for the time being and put down two brutes with well-aimed shits to their heads.

The Sangheili fought bravely, but they were outnumbered four to one. An explosion from a plasma grenade sent a Sangheili flying into the air and hit the walls of the corridor leading the armory dead. Another one was shot in the chest by a spiker.

The three remaining Sangheili would have been overrun and killed too, if not for a series thumps of exploding plasma grenades in the middle of the Jiralhanae ranks killed several of them. A lance of previously invisible Spec-Ops Sangheili appeared, moving in on the Jiralhanae with energy swords. They had the advantage of surprise and deadly skill and made quick work of the Jiralhanae.

"We must force the Jiralhanae out!" One of the spec-ops soldiers said to Jara, once all the Jiralhanae were dead. "Stay here and secure this position. Reinforcements are inbound."

Sure enough, more Sangheili and even a pair of hulking Mgalekgolo warriors appreard to back them up. The Jiralhanae attempted to take their positions again and again, but were repelled.

Many units of hard fighting later later, the Field Master had announced that all Jiralhanae had been killed and they could stand down. The defenders let loose with a mighty cheer, seemingly shaking the ground.

"We were also able to get a message from some of our brothers from another unit. Apparently, the Prophets have betrayed us! They have slain much of the Sangheili councilors-betrayed us, after generations of unity! We, as a species will not stand for this! We will fight the Prophets and their Jiralhanae dogs until we triumph. Soon, we shall take the battle to the Jiralhanae. A Jiralhanae-controlled ship has landed in a nearby sector. We will take that ship-and kill all on board."


1530 Hours, October 30rd, 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Kopis Base, Greece, Earth, Solar System

Kopis Base was staring to feel more like home.

Recent raids on the Covenant forces had attracted the attention of other surviving human forces in the area, who had joined Dagger and the other survivors at Kopis. They had managed to make repairs to some of the defenses and add new ones. A captured Wraith tank provided the residents of Kopis with the ability to bombard incoming Covenant forces from a distance. They were also able to clean up the corpses, giving the human ones graves and burning the Covenant ones. Some of the facilities were also repaired, or moved into the underground parts of the base that weren't destroyed.

On the down side, they were running low on food, and had been forced to resort to looting of abandoned villages. Norman didn't like it, but he was forced to acknowledge the necessity.

However, their recon had shown significantly less signs of Covenant activity, which was odd, and worrying. Were the Covenant gearing up for a major offensive?

Norman was jolted out of his thoughts when one of the lookouts shouted. "Unidentified aerial contacts approaching!" Norman hit the dirt, preparing for a banshee attack run, when the same lookout cried. "Its friendly-repeat, aerial contacts is friendly." Norman breathed a sigh of relief and rose to his feet.

The aerial contacts were pelicans-to be specific, three of them. All three of them landed, and one of them opened their hatches. The other two remained still. From one of them, a uniformed officer stepped out and looked around, then walked purposefully towards the remains of a vehicle bay.

"Sir, may I assist you?" One army trooper asked.

"I am looking for a certain naval special operations unit-Dagger Team. They were sent to reinforce your garrison-which you obviously needed, as I can see."

"Dagger? You mean the Spartans?" The trooper replied.

"Norman raised an eyebrow, and headed towards the officer.

"Sir." Norman said, getting the attention of the officer. "I am Spartan-G124, the commanding officer of Dagger Team."

The officer turned to face Norman. "Commander Pearson", raising a TACPAD showing his identification. "I'm your new commanding officer, after the death of your previous one-a Commander Jerry Phelps."

"Commander Phelps is dead?" Norman said, raising his eyebrows. Phelps had been a good officer, and wasn't nearly as ruthless as some other ones from ONI.

"Yes. His ship was hit by a Covenant corvette. But let's cut to the chase. I need to brief the rest of your team-you're being re-assigned."


Five minutes later, Lieutenant Commander Pearson and the rest of Dagger Team were in a briefing room.

"I'm going to cut to the chase. Several hours ago, a Covenant Supercarrier was detected landing at a repair station in Greece by some of our few unarmed recon assets left in the area. The Supercarrier was heavily damaged in orbit by naval forces and is being repaired. We don't want that Supercarrier repaired." Pearson paused for a second, then continued.

"In fact, we would quite like this Supercarrier captured intact, or as close to intact as possible. So, we had a gas-based nerve agent deployed into the repair facility via Longsword strike. We think it inflicted a good amount of casualties. Unfortunately, that nerve agent isn't very...safe. We have a solution however, which I think you will enjoy I'll show you it when we get onto my ship."


"Are you serious!" Norman said. They were on an ONI prowler, in orbit above Greece. Dagger was staring at a couple suits of HAZOP MJOLNIR armor.

"Jesus..." Kevin muttered. "Someone pinch me..."

"Spartans, there is no time to waste. You need to get the armor calibrated, and then hit the target."

This galvanized the four Spartans into action. A team of technicians were there to help them with the armor. As piece after piece of armor was attached to his body, Norman felt as he was being encased. Another thing was that MJOLNIR was much heaver than SPI. Once the final piece-his helmet slipped on, a voice sounded.

"Alright. I'm powering up your armor systems. I'm conducting a few tests on your basic motion skills. To start off, please look at this red dot on the wall."

A red dot appeared on the wall. All four Spartans looked at the dot.

"Good. Now, raise your master hand." Norman raised his right hand. The sheer speed he moved it with was impressive-it was nothing like the small boost in speed SPI had given him.

"Lower it." This time, Norman was able to control the speed he moved his arm, moving it at a fairly normal speed.

"Good. Now, I am activating your energy shields." Norman couldn't feel any difference, but the knowing that he had energy shields, had something between his armor and whatever might come his way felt good. One of the technicians pulled out a handgun and leveled it at Norman, and fired. A round of compressed paint flew out, striking him in the chest...or would have, had the energy shield not deflected it. The paint splattered the floor of the armory instead. The technician shot the other spartans with the pistol, and the compressed paint bounced off their shields, also splattering the ground.

"I am pleased to say that your energy shields working fine. Now, we have put together a short obstacle course. If you would follow me...


Without the armor, the obstacle course would have been somewhat difficult. With the armor, it was drop dead easy. There was a short learning curve, and Norman nearly crashed into a wall when he ran a bit too fast, but once he got the hang of it, it made everything easy. He and Dagger quickly finished the obstacle course, geared up on weapons and ammunition and presented themselves at the small docking bay of the prowler, where a single pelican sat.

"May I introduce to you your pilot?" Commander Pearson said, with a smile. "He's one of the navy's best pilots-a Lieutenant Sergei Khovostnikov-qualified for a fighter ace in a Pelican. He will be your pilot today."

Khovstnikov was a man who seemed to be in his thirties, but thanks to long periods in cyro sleep between combat missions, he was actually in his seventies. Norman held out a hand to shake.

"Good to meet you, sir. I've heard a lot about you."

"Indeed? That's good to know."

"If I may interrupt...." Commander Pearson broke in. "To help Khovstnikov get to the LZ, I have ordered a Longsword squadron to attack a nearby Covenant ammo dump.

The Spartans climbed inside the Pelican, taking one last look at the ONI prowler before the Pelican flew off.

Norman-123 04:20, July 31, 2011 (UTC)

85: Warlord

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1402 Hours, November 1st 2552 (Military Calendar)/
Downtown Takayama, Japan

The Army scout, Hikaru, went quickly from smiling to disgusted as the cloud of bright orange blood that had come off the Hunter started painting his uniform. As he backed up and spat out what had gotten in his mouth, Dyne surveyed the two bodies. The unknown alloy armor had been split as though it was nothing more than an aluminum soda can, what remained of the colony creatures' upper torsos was seeping out onto the street.

A call came in on his com. "Sierra, this is Hunter 2-1. Hostiles eliminated."

"Confirmed, 2-1, thanks for the cover." Dyne replied, looking to make sure Hikaru wasn't dying; the way he was trying to scrub the blood off him, you might have thought it was poisonous. He rinsed his mouth and gargled with some of the water in his canteen. The Spartan just shook his head at him. "We should probably return to the convoy."

Remembering his previous mistake, he glanced at his motion tracker as a precaution. There was still a large, red dot on it. And it was moving.

His confusion didn't last long. An ultrasonic roar manifested itself as Dyne felt heavy thuds through the ground. "Look out!" Dyne yelled, and practically threw Hikaru out of the way just before the fourth Hunter appeared, bashing its way through the wall of a building. Hikaru saw Dyne disappear in a cloud of debris with a large, spined shape bearing down on him.

Hikaru could only stare for a moment at the sudden change, before another roar and sounds of fighting spurred him to action. "Hunter 2-1, we have another target, same location!"

"I see it. Taking the shot."

"Negative, 2-1, negative, target is not clear!"

While the debris subsided, Dyne found himself in the middle of a lethal brawl. This Hunter was clad in armor he'd never seen before. Despite the coat of dust settling on it, the massive sections shone platinum-grey. It stood a bit taller than the others he'd seen, and the club-shield it had was bristling with sharp spikes. And it was swinging at him.

Dyne dropped low, rolling under its blow and intending to come up under the cannon arm. Unfortunately, he found himself staring right at another spiked shield. Without time to mutter a curse, he kept rolling as the Hunter drove the forward spike into the permacrete next to him. Sparks flared as it swiped the deadly point after him, grinding against the pavement. "Shoot, now!"

This Hunter must have seen what had happened to its brothers, and even more, calculated or seen where it came from. Hahya's gauss round streaked in many times faster than what little sound it made, but by the time he'd even pulled the trigger, this creature had lifted its shields and angled them so that when the heavy slug streaked in, it glanced off the heavy armor and dug a deep hole in the street, leaving a huge dent where it hit the shield. Before Hahya had a second shot, it sidestepped, eyeing the bullet's vector, and got behind a structure.

Dyne was shocked, but his rigorously trained subconscious kept him moving and even fighting this enemy. Tossing a grenade in front of him, Dyne drew his twin M7 submachine guns and charged it. Ducking a swing, he pointed at the midsection and fired. Hollow-point rounds tore up the colony's stomach effectively, but Dyne wasn't quick enough to avoid a backswing. He caught on the side of one of the spikes, clanging against his armor and sending him flying back. He picked himself up as the Hunter charged him, glad he hadn't been impaled and that his foe didn't possess a cannon.

The silver-armored Hunter was huge, but that gave Dyne an opportunity. He ran straight at it, and as the Hunter raised a shield to hit him, he tucked and rolled under its legs, coming up behind it. He turned much faster than his opponent could, and jumped onto its back, using the bladed spines to climb up. The creature spun in circles, trying to throw him off, but before it tried anything more effective Dyne was standing on its shoulders, pointing his SMGs at the back of its exposed head.

Hollow-points dug into it, and the Hunter stumbled forward, wailing mournfully before it sank to its knees, then fell forward with a crash as Dyne jumped off and landed nimbly on his feet with his weapons at his sides. As he walked away from the kill, another gauss round shot down from behind him and into the creature's back, this time hitting squarely and opening up the creature's back. Dyne looked back at the body, alarmed by the noise.

"For good measure." Hunter 2-1 said, and Dyne nodded in his direction.

"Come on, let's go." Dyne said to Hikaru, and the pair started walking back to the convoy.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 17:28, July 31, 2011 (UTC)

86: Mind The Gap

1600 hours, November 1st 2552,

Chiyoda Station, Tokyo, Japan

Lt. James Basilone walked into the entrance of the Chiyoda Station behind the point-man... or woman in this case... Sgt. Ryouko Tanbou, a local, and an unusual combination of a medic and close combat expert, followed by the rest of his ODST squad. The ticket counter was abandoned for months, since much the civilian population had fled the Covenant invasion. The floors were covered with garbage and abandoned briefcases, data pads, and other abandoned property.

After checking their corners, the squad moved on, down toward the escalator leading to the first level of subway tracks. The escalator was no longer working, the power having gone out with the destruction of the power station that powered much of the city.

"Flashlights on!", Basilone said, turning on the flashlight mounted under his M247K, a shorted version of the squad automatic weapon variant of the M247 general purpose machine gun. The rest of the squad's flashlights turned on, beams of light burning away the darkness of the deserted, pitch black subway station.

The concrete walls of the station were revealed, shining across advertisiments in Japanese- only Ryouko could read, graffiti in the same language, and signs in both Japanese and English giving directions around the multi-level station. The tracks were empty.

"Clear!", Basilone exclaimed, "The route to the Covie tunnel should be in on the next level down."


Tanbou went down first, the light on her M90 shotgun illumination the long third level platform. On one end of the tracks, was an abandoned, destroyed subway train. The rest of the ODST squad walked into the station, their lights revealing no alien presence in the station.

Suddenly, a flashlight that did not belong to any of the ODSTs appeared at the end of the tunnel. Tanbou aimed the flashlight on her M90 shotgun at the end unknown light source, revealing seven ape-like Jiralhanae, about ten Kig-Yar, and a similar number of Unggoy.

"Contact, right side", Tanbou said, firing her shotgun into the alien squad. The buckshot impacted one of the Unggoy, killing it instantly. The lead Jiralhanae, a captian, roared in an alien tongue. The Covenant squad opened up with plasma rifles and spikers. The UNSC shock troopers took cover behind concrete columns and around corners. One ODST, however, did not get into cover soon enough.

A shot from a Brute Minor's spiker impacted the leg of an ODST of French ancestry named Renaurd. The alien bullet, or more properly, an eight-inch metal spike, was stuck in his lower leg.

"Tanbou!", Basilone said, "Take care of Renaurd, get him to the surface. O'Connell, Vericci, Al Fulani, you go with her. Everyone else, give them cover".

As the Tanbou and her escorts made a run for Renaurd, who was now sitting on the floor, applying pressure to the wound with one hand and holding his pistol at the ready with the other.

Zhang tossed an M9 HEDP grenade into the Covenant squad, the fragments bouncing off the walls, killing about six Unggoy and four Kig-Yar, and deshielding all but two of the Jiralhanae.

Basilone fired his machine gun into the alien squad, taking out the Brute captain and two Unggoy with a short burst. The rest of the OSDTs took out three more Jiralhanae with their rifles and SMGs.

"Zhang", Basilone ordered, "set a charge on those support pillars, everyone else, keep up to fire".

Basilone gunned down a Kig-yar and another Jiralhanae as spike shots and plasma bolts impacted around him. Kamarov, the ODST who acted as the sniper when they weren't fighting at close quarters picked off a Jiralhanae with a three round burst to the head. After a couple minute of trading fire with the aliens, Zhang was finished.

"Demolition charges set", Zhang said.

"All right, everyone pull out!", Basilone ordered.

The UNSC ODSTs ran up the staircase to the second level, the last man, Kamarov, eliminated a Jiralhanae that tried to give chase with a burst from his BR. The ODST squad ran up to the first floor, and finally, back to the ground level.

The squad ran about a block, Tanbou and Vericci carrying Renaurd, before Basilone order Zhang to blow the support beams. The street under the station collapsed into a gaping hole, no doubt entombing the Covenant below. Hopefully, this would encourage them to stop using Tokyo's subways to supplement their tunneling operations.

FA 712 Scimitar | SPARTAN119

87: First-Class Shipping

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1549 Hours, November 1st 2552 (Military Calendar)/
North of Tokyo, Japan

Dansen was young, fresh from days full of long drill runs, and lightly-equipped. But even he couldn't run non-stop forever. He'd been doing so almost since his dropship finally had landed a few hours ago and they had come under fire. Spotting a civilian girl flee the Deladrier, Corporal Hunter had ordered him to follow and protect the person. But she was fast, and he was doing his best just to keep up.

The last he'd seen his squad, they were fighting Jackals away from the landing site, and now he was on his own with the civvie. That was, if he could ever catch up. Whoever it was, she ran like someone who trained for marathons, or had a very good reason to move quickly. But now, at last, Dansen saw the waypoint linked to her personal Chatter come to a stop in the top floor of a building. Hoping she stayed there, Dansen huffed inside and climbed reluctantly up the two flights of stairs inside. He'd had just about enough of stairs after the Sydney OE.

Most of the lights were out, but one room with its door swung open was lit by bluish computer monitors. He stumbled inside, hearing a female voice and an automated one answer.

Dansen caught a quick view of Reo's face as she glanced at him. Orange hair, green eyes, pale skin. Then she returned to the screen without a word.

"Miss," Dansen began, tired and not sure how to address her. "I'm supposed to protect you . . . *pant* . . . but I can't do that with you running ahead all the time."

"Hush, please, I need to concentrate. Super, look for a way in." she responded, in a British-accented voice. This made him straighten up, almost indignant.

"You just ran halfway to Tokyo, and I had to follow you carrying a hundred pounds plus! It wouldn't kill anyone to-"

Reo shot him an angry look. "I already told you, be quiet."

Dansen's jaw tightened. "You have got to be the most-"

Angry Keep it clean, pal.

"-frustrating person I've ever met!" Dansen finished, having censored himself. Reo ignored him, searching the screens. Dansen caught the remainder of his breath. "What are you looking for anyway?"

"A safe way into the city." Reo answered, still scanning. "But there doesn't seem to be one."

Dansen moved his rifle a bit. "That's why I'm along."

She rolled her eyes and snorted at him. "That's the same with all you jarheads, isn't it? Looking for a fight."

That caught him by surprise, he was somewhat proud of being the quiet exact opposite of his fellow ODSTs. But he didn't have time to disprove her opinion, as she unplugged her storage unit and started going on a new path, with Dansen chasing after.

That Damn Sniper, sniping. 06:54, August 9, 2011 (UTC)

88: Eviction Notice

Operation: ETERNAL SPIRIT

1700 Hours, November 1st 2552 (Military Calendar)/ Near the Miyagawa River, Takayama, Japan

UNSC Forces had pushed over the bridges over the Miyagawa river to the Takayama Jinga and were making their way into the downtown area west of the river, but there were still pockets of Covenant resistance in the city. Keiichi Ryukishi and Rena Sonozaki stood at the entrance of one such pocket of resistance, in a historic Japanese wooden house. Because of the historic nature of the two house in question, it was decided that, if all possible, they should be captured with as little damage as possible.

That was why Keiichi and Rena stood along with other militia and UNSC Army troops, preparing to burst in and take back to structure. The Covenant troops firing out to the windows had been easily dealt with by snipers, the only one who tried to fire out were a few Brutes and Jackals, but Keiichi had a feeling most of the Brutes were waiting inside, strike at close range.

A UNSC Army infantryman forced open the wooden sliding screen door and burst into the first room, followed by the rest of the UNSC troops. The entrance appeared empty, with little furniture, and no one inside. "CLEAR!", A UNSC soldier said, but, seconds later, a pink crystalline spike impaled his head, before the "needle" exploded in his head, not hard enough to injure any of other soldiers, merely covering them with brain matter and blood. Seconds later, a green projectile shot through the head of a militiaman.

All the UNSC soldier raised their weapons up, aiming at the complex grid of rafters supporting the roof. Five Kig-Yar armed with needler rifles and Covenant Carbines stood in the rafters, ready to fire down on the UNSC troops. A UNSC Army Sergeant fired his DMR the nearest Jackal, putting a round in it's skull, causing the alien to fall to off its perch, down to the floor.

Rena Sonozaki fired a five-round burst from her M7 SMG, perforating the chest of a Kig-Yar carbiner. Another alien fell to the floor as the rest of the Kig-Yar quickly fell to the wrath of the UNSC troops' assault rifles. As the last Kig-Yar fell, a Brute burst through the wood and paper screen door at the end of the entrance foyer. The Brute fired a mauler at a UNSC infantryman, killing him with blast of shot to the chest. Keiichi turned, M95 Automatic Assault Shotgun at the ready and fired a burst of three buckshot into the ape-like alien's chest. The Jiralhanae's shield fell and his body was torn apart by metal pellets.

The sergeant with the DMR took aim at the second Brute, armed with a Plasma Repeater, and a fired his DMR in full auto, deshielding and taking down the Brute as the rest of the sqaud focused their fire on a group of Kig-Yar and Unggoy, tearing them apart with assault rifle and SMG fire.

A UNSC corporal tossed a flashbang grenade into the next room, which was a sort of dining room, which contained a small table with no chairs- traditionally, the Japanese knelt on mats next to tables, which had been upended for use as piece of cover. Behind the table, were group of stunned Grunts the were to have been manning a plasma turret mounted on top of the table. The Unngoy were quickly and mercilessly dispatched. The door to the left was open, and went down a single step onto a lower, stone-floored room with a central fireplace and racks of what looked like cooking utensils- a kitchen.

The kitchen was empty, the the UNSC sergeant yelled "CLEAR!", but for the second time, he was wrong, a screen door on the other side flew open and a spike grenade was thrown out. The squad scattered. By some miracle, their were no casualties.

The doors on the other sides of the room all burst open, and a pack of seven Brutes ran into the room, weapons at the ready, lead by a hammer-wielding Chieftain, who killed to militia, smashing one with the hammer so hard the wooden floor of the dining room cracked, before killing the second with the blade on the back of the hammer. Keiichi, the UNSC sergeant, Rena, and another UNSC infantryman focused fire on the Chieftain. After taking over a dozen rounds, the alien's shield finally gave way, and the alien got fell too the floor.

Enraged by the loss of their leader, the other six Jiralhanae went berserk, firing their weapons wildly whilst charging at the UNSC troops, who desparately returned fire. Keiichi fired a three shot burst at a Brute minor with his shotgun, killing him, but he realized he was out of ammunition. Another Brute knocked the empty gun out of his hand. A UNSC militiaman shot the brute several times in the back, deshielding it, but before he could finish the alien off, the militiaman was killed by a plasma bolt to the head.

The Brute drew its meat-cleaver-like combat knife as it pinned Keiichi against the wall. "Was this it?", Keiichi thought. The Brute roared as it raised its blade.

"No!", A defiant voice in Keiichi's head said, as he reached for the M6A handgun he was given by the militia. Keiichi grabbed the pistol with his right and as he grabbed the brute's arm with his left, try to delay its strike. The Jiralhanae laughed at Keiichi's feeble attempt save his life.

"Joke's on you, asshole!", Keiichi stuck the barrel of the pistol right against the alien's face and pulled the trigger. The back of the Brute's head exploded as the alien's dead body fell to the floor.

As Keiichi got up, he saw Rena cornered by a Brute, the M7 SMG knocked out of her hand. Keiichi raised his M6, trying to at least distract the alien from Rena. That, however, was unneccessary, as Rena pulled out the energy sword she had captured all the way back in Shirakawa and stabbed the Brute in the stomach. The alien dropped to its knees, dying. For good measure, Rena then split the brute's skull like a ripe melon.

At the end of the blur of bullets, plasma, and blood, both human and alien, five more UNSC soldiers lay dead, along with all seven Brutes. The building was clear, but a the cost of ten men.

After the engagement, Rena asked, "After seeing all those