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    Forerunner of Fire and Divinity WSxPhoenix's Avatar
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    Forerunner Conflict: The Ruins of Reach

    Date: August 28th, 2592
    Location: Imperial War Vessel, Athena. In orbit in the Epsilon Eridani, Planet Circumstance
    Delta Squad



    Andimion sat in his quarters, having finally cleaned and checked his armor for any broken part or tampered seal. All was in order, as he had expected. With rebel forces in the area, it paid to make sure that all armor was good to go. Next, he moved on to his rifle.


    Behind him, Eric gave the door a slight knock. Andimion had heard him coming down the hall, but all the soldiers considered it polite to knock anyway.


    “Come in,” said Andimion, looking up momentarily from his marksman rifle. While the brotherhood could afford to use the BR55 rifle system, the Empire had been forced to use up stockpiles of old weapons, such as the M392. Andimion preferred the M392 system anyway, as it was a more robust weapon, and could handle a lot more punishment than the BR55, due to its rugged design. In the sort of missions that Delta got involved in, it paid to have weapons that could handle punishment.


    Eric crossed the room, having a seat across from Andimion. Andimion knew Eric well enough to know that he should wait for Eric to make the first move. Until he decided to do so, Andimion would simply continue checking his weapon.


    While Eric remained quiet, Andimion’s thoughts wandered to the war. These days, almost everyone thought about the war. For some, they could not recall a time of peace. For others, they relished the idea of going into combat. Andimion always thought about the big picture when it came to the war.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    After the Human-Covenant war, the old UNSC had attempted to rebuild. The Sangheilli Empire had given as much aid to humanity as possible as their attempt at retribution. They refused to give the UNSC any insight on their technology however.


    The UNSC gave the Outer Colonies very little funding to rebuild, instead choosing to focus on Earth and the Inner Colonies. Andimion still could not quite believe the audacity of the UEG. A rebellion would be the natural next step, if the Outer Colonies felt they were being mistreated. Sure enough, most of the Outer Colonies seceded from the UEG. And for a while, things just went dark from them. The UNSC did not have the military assets to reclaim the colonies, and the colonies had not declared war on the UNSC either. So, they were just left alone, and reconstruction commenced in the Inner Colonies.


    That is, until open war was declared. Out of nowhere, the Brotherhood, as they called themselves, had launched an attack on Sigma Octanus. A UNSC fleet was dispatched to push back the rebel attack. What happened next, no one could have predicted. The rebels soundly defeated the UNSC within an hour of their arrival. No one could really explain why, seeing as the Outer Colonies could not have had a fleet powerful enough to stand up to the UNSC. The UNSC had made a big miscalculation, and it had cost them a whole battlegroup.


    Not long after that, one man stood up in the military, and demanded reform. He claimed the UNSC was not organized and capable enough to stand up to the rebellion. He called for a reformed government, and he called for a full response against the Outer Colonies. The UEG, having acknowledged their weakened state, agreed to his proposal. The Empire was created not long after that. All of the worlds that belonged to the UNSC lost all representation, all for the sake of unity. The new Emperor recalled all troops to Earth, and completely reformed the military code. All Imperial troops were required to swear a new oath of loyalty, and were to begin new combat training immediately. The government worked around the clock for nearly eight years to recreate a new SPARTAN program. This program would progress to include all infantry arms, and some combat support roles. This, combined with a mass-produced MJOLNIR project, crippled the Imperial economy. The Emperor was heavily criticized at the time for putting all the resources that were supposed to go to rebuilding directly into the military. Whenever the Empire reclaimed Sigma Octanus however, it proved to be a complete success. Many worlds were converted to military factories and work sites. The Emperor had full backing to continue the military reform.


    The Brotherhood responded in force, however. As part of the old UNSC, they too had enough knowledge to create a rival SPARTAN program. Within months of their defeat at Sigma Octanus, the Brotherhood made multiple attacks in the Inner Colonies territories. The Empire could not repel their advances. Something had changed in the Brotherhood tactics. They were brutal, and without mercy. They completely bombed the surface of the Imperial worlds, taking the population back to the Outer Colony territories to provide slave labor. With each world that the Brotherhood took, they gained more and more workers. More than that, the Brotherhood had far more advanced technology than the Empire. No one could explain how the Brotherhood was able to destroy so many Imperial assets. The Brotherhood won almost every battle they fought.


    The Empire lost more and more Spartans every day, and could no longer afford to train more. By the time that 2592 came around, the Empire only had a third of the total number of Spartans they ever had. The Brotherhood, however, just made more and more. Morale was beginning to decline.


    In 2591, the Empire began seeking alternative ways to change the tide of the war. They began pulling the best soldiers from the frontlines for an unannounced project. Andimion was called up to meet with the command staff of his unit, and several scientists began to explain the new project.


    According to Imperial intelligence, the technological advances made by the Brotherhood was due to their efforts in utilizing the Forerunner technology that was found on Sigma Octanus. Their advances in the war were due to the technology found there, but nowhere else. It was believed that the counter-attack that the Empire made to reclaim Sigma Octanus halted their efforts of using more Forerunner technology, but it was not enough. With just the technology harvested from Sigma Octanus, the Brotherhood had been able to engineer more MJOLNIR power suits, and augment more Spartans, than the Empire could keep up with. While they had not actually made advances with the technology, it was hypothesized that the Brotherhood had found a more efficient method in creating them.


    The Empire designated four squads to begin claiming and utilizing Forerunner technology in their armor, and in other implements. The hope was that these new squads would be able to make surgical strikes that would soundly cut down the Brotherhood leadership. What the Empire did not know, was that the Brotherhood had many more secrets. They had much more powerful soldiers hidden from the frontlines, and the team lost two whole squads. The Brotherhood seemed to be winning on all fronts, and the Empire was currently at a loss as to what to do. The mission remained the same: Find the Forerunner artifacts, harness them, and topple the Brotherhood leadership. There was nothing more that could be done.


    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Andimion honestly did not care about the situation. He was a soldier, and the Brotherhood was his enemy. He had killed many of them, even with all of their technological advantages. His armor certainly helped, but having a strong team with good instincts helped a lot more. As long as he was breathing, he would be fighting, and so would Delta. When everything around you gets tough, you just keep fighting to survive, and fight to keep your team alive.


    After a few minutes, Eric finally spoke up.


    “Andimion, you know where we are right?”


    Andimion did not respond immediately, after a moment, he said, “We’re in the Epsilon Eridani System. That’s all I need to know. We’re here because of the Forerunner complexes found on Reach during the old war. All I care about, honestly, is that there are some Brotherhood guys to kill in this system, and some Imperials to keep alive. What’s on your mind?”


    “Command says our LZ is going to be right in the middle of the Danta Ruins. You know what happened to Bravo the last time we dropped there.”


    “Yeah, but we’ve got something that Bravo didn’t have,” replied Andimion.


    “What’s that?”


    “Me.”


    Eric gave a dry laugh, not sounding entirely convinced.



    Andimion turned to him, saying, “Look, we get our orders, we fight the rebels, and we complete our objective. I don’t ask too much, and don’t expect too much. The more we look into our situation, the more we’re just going to realize that the odds are against us. Just look out for me, I’ll look out for you, and we’ll make it home. Got that?”


    “Yeah, I got it,” replied Eric with a grin.


    Andimion knew Eric was one hell of a soldier, but he also knew that he could easily think himself into hopelessness if he was allowed to do so.


    “We’re about at zero hour. The Colonel wants us in the hangar in ten.”


    “I’ll see you there in five.”


    As Eric walked out of the room, Andimion put his rifle back together, and placed it on his magnetized holster on his back. He quickly donned his suit, and was running a diagnostic while he headed toward the hanger. On the way, he ran into Jeff, the last member of Delta. Jeff was the sniper of the squad, and a very good one at that. Andimion owed his life to Jeff a dozen times over. Of course, almost everyone in the squad had saved each other on occasion.


    The pair of them entered the hangar, which was full of activity. The whole fleet was preparing to make landfall on Reach. Reach was a contested territory, with Imperial holdings and Brotherhood holdings alike. The largest continent belonged to the Brotherhood, but the Empire had more fortified bases. How long that would be maintained was uncertain.


    There were several maintenance crews that crowded around their Pelican dropship. In the loading bay stood their squad leader, Colonel Shevchenko, in his combat suit. He had a medium build, though that fooled no one who had seen him in combat. He was ruthless in close quarters, and with Jeff backing him up, he could close distance pretty quick. Eric and Andimion worked as a team in all situations, able to give creative support for the team.


    The Colonel gave a nod as Andimion and Jeff joined the rest of the squad. Across the bay, the Colonel turned toward Omega squad and gave them a thumbs up. As of that moment, the operation was a go.


    The squad entered the loading bay, and strapped in. Their pilot’s callsign was Abel-2, and he addressed them almost immediately.


    “Welcome aboard Delta. As of now, the operation has greenlight status. Prepare for a hot drop, the Brotherhood is ready for us.”


    Andimion hated this part. Riding through space and landing was something that was entirely out of his control. A red light shined through the loading bay, and it was their only source of illumination. They each stared at each other in their armor. Andimion’s was a dark red armor that had a honeycomb pattern of panels that surrounded it. It was part of his armor’s design, which allowed him to elude any detection by electronic means. His armor also included a near-perfect active camouflage system that utilized a Forerunner artifact as its power source. Andimion did not know enough about the artifact to figure out why it gave his suit active camouflage, other than it was the very same artifact that the Covenant used to engineer their active camouflage systems. Everyone in Delta had armor that was using Forerunner tech. Eric’s armor used energy to manipulate objects. He could make anything ranging from weapons to whole walls move. Jeff’s armor was completely integrated with his body, and he had near perfect aim. Jeff could make a perfect shot in one fluid movement faster than anyone else in the squad. The Colonel’s armor could go into an overdrive mode that caused his armor to work at three-hundred percent. He could move faster, strike harder, and react quicker than anyone else when he activated his armor. It always seemed to wear the Colonel out however.


    The hull of the Pelican shook violently. The pilot shouted over the radio.


    “Hang on! Brotherhood anti-air is active! We’re going to get fleet support any second now. Prepare for landing!”


    The bay doors opened, flooding the loading bay with bright sunlight. Jets of light flashed in front of Delta as rounds flew through the air. The air cracked with explosions as incendiary rounds detonated past the fuselage. The Colonel sounded on the COM.


    “Delta, we’ll be landing on the beach in five minutes. Brotherhood has emplacements further down the line, and we are to tackle their right flank in order to get to their forward command. There have been reports of strong resistance. The kind of stuff we’re not used to seeing. Stay alert, and, as always, move forward.”


    Andimion gave his “yes sir” and loaded a fresh mag into his M392, and slid the bolt forward. His weapon was good to go. He saw Eric do the same with his assault rifle, and the Colonel to load a shell into his shotgun. Jeff had already loaded his sniper rifle, and was now adjusting his scope settings. When the Pelican dropped down, the team filed out. The Colonel and Andimion stepped out first, checking the area for enemy shooters. Jeff and Eric filed out next in practiced precision. They made a 360 degree check of the area. Once they were sure they were clear, they moved on. In the distance, they saw the flashes of anti-air cannons firing into the air. That was their first objective. The Empire could not land any more dropships unless the anti-air was taken out.


    The squad moved onward, always cautious in case the enemy was preparing an ambush. They all felt uneasy with the silence. Usually the Brotherhood would have made a response to troop landings on their flank.


    When Delta had reached a cliff edge, they all went prone to avoid detection. The battle was being waged below. While the Empire could not have landed any heavy armaments, several teams had landed and were currently taking fire from fortified positions. The Brotherhood had been able to effectively reinforce the defenses of the ruins. To Andimion, this confirmed the presence of the sort of Forerunner artifacts they had been sent to retrieve.


    “Jeff, post up here and cover our advance. Andimion, you’re going to infiltrate on the direct route and get to that command center. Eric and I are going to move on to the anti-air emplacements. Andimion, if you can take out their forward command staff, we’re going to be able to sweep right through this area.”


    Andimion nodded, already activating his armor’s ability and knew he was fading from view. He jumped down the cliff, grabbing the side of the cliff face to slow his momentum. An ordinary human would have been killed, or had his arm ripped off, but Andimion was far beyond a normal human at this point. The Empire had long perfected the augmentation process, and his MJOLNIR armor afforded him even more enhancements and protection.


    When Andimion landed, he began sprinting toward the rebel entrenchments. There was a series of intertwining trenches with Brotherhood troops standing post. Andimion was tempted to take them out, but thought better of it. He did not need to waste the ammo, or take too much time from his objective. It was evident where the Brotherhood forward command center was, as it was surrounded by automated gun emplacements that could easily punch holes in capital ships. He silently passed by rebel soldiers, his footsteps barely kicking up dust, much less making a sound. The center was a permasteel building reinforced with quickcrete blocks and barriers. It would have been a challenge to get to it, if he were some fresh recruit.


    Two guards stood at the main door, their rifles at the ready. Andimion almost smiled. He drew a seven-inch blade from its sheath on his shoulder, and withdrew another one from his lockbox on his thigh. He deactivated his stealth feature, the knives pointed directly at guard’s throats. They reacted quickly, moving back. He rammed the ends of both blades into their jugulars, silencing them as they drowned in their own blood. His blades were made to go right through energy shielding with enough force. His armor easily gave him the strength required for it. He couldn’t just slash right through MJOLNIR, but a stab was certainly possible. Cautiously, he stepped into the building.


    In the dark, he activated his stealth feature once more. The Colonel raised him on the COM.


    “Andimion, Eric and I are at the emplacements. So far we haven’t found any unconventional troops. Keep your eyes open. If things get hairy, get out of their and rendezvous with us. Colonel out.”


    Andimion kept both knives at the ready, moving through the dark silently. He passes several maintenance crews, and even a few teams of troops. His objective was the command center, and the staff that resided there.


    It wasn’t difficult to get to the center, as there were several signs pointing toward it. The room was octagonal in shape, and featured several large screens with realtime displays of the battlefield. There were five men that appeared to be barking orders at several teams of coordinators at consoles all around the room. The whole Brotherhood force that manned the defenses was being driven by the men in this room.


    Andimion moved towards the group of leaders, holding the blades steadily. They weren’t wearing any sort of battle armor, so this would be easy. In one fluid movement, he drove the blade of the knife right through the skull of one leader. It passed right through, as did his arm… Almost as if it were through thin air. Andimion kept moving, making short work of the leaders. He prepared for the response of the crew in the room, but they simply kept on working. Andimion felt that something just wasn’t right…


    At once all the people disappeared. There was a clapping sound, and Andimion tried to find where it originated. He could not detect anything on his suit’s motion detector, though the room was certainly larger than the twenty-five foot radius his detector used. He drew his rifle, careful not to make a sound that could betray his position. He was still invisible after all.


    “You won’t find me,” said a voice. It went on, “You see what I want you to see. Though I find it amusing that I don’t see what I want to. That is a remarkable cloaking device you have there. I wonder how the Empire could have come up with it? I’ll have your armor examined after I kill you. Allan, activate your armor.”


    A powerful beeping sound resonated in Andimion’s armor as his suit’s shielding shut off completely. He was also surprised to find that most of his armor’s higher functions were shut down. His EMP shielding was completely drained. He was visible now, and completely vulnerable.


    He dove to cover as the sound of gunfire resonated in the room. One of the terminals shattered under the sustained fire, but Andimion was shielded. He could see where the fire originated, and tossed a grenade there. Immediately, two Spartans materialized before his eyes. He figured the visual manipulation required the user to stay still. One rebel Spartan wore a dark set of armor with a black visor, clearly the leader. The other wore the standard blue armor, though it was outfitted with a different helmet than the standard infantry did. Andimion was unfamiliar with it.


    A surge of lightning burst forth from the blue one, slamming into the terminal Andimion took cover behind. Surely the leader was flanking. He hoped his suit had enough time to reboot his combat systems as he moved from around cover, activating his stealth as he leaped into the air. The blue Spartan fired several rounds, though none hit Andimion. Andimion drew his knife, driving it directly into the blue Spartan’s thigh. He let out a shout, and closed his fist on Andimion’s arm, twisting it. He sent another current right through Andimion’s armor, causing him to become visible again. Andimion slammed his knee into the stomach of the Spartan, using his heel to lift off the ground once again, taking the knife with him. As he saw the dark Spartan halt, he knew he couldn’t trust his HUD. He ducked outside of the room, entering the abandoned halls. His objective was lost now, and he needed to get outside, where he had more support. He ran as fast as he could toward the entrance, not even bothering trying to activate his stealth feature. The enemy had not followed, he assumed, because he had injured one of them. There was no way they knew he was all alone, and probably assumed his team was nearby.


    “Colonel, the command staff isn’t here. The rebels were alerted to our plan and evacuated them. They’ve got irregular troops here too. I’m heading to the rendezvous point, ETA three minutes. Andimion out.”


    He had hit a snag in the battle plan, but that didn’t mean the mission could not be carried out. They had a whole other squad to back them up, and nothing was more important than getting to the Danta ruins. Nothing…
    Last edited by WSxPhoenix; 09-24-2012 at 08:02 PM.




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  2. #2
    Forerunner of Fire and Divinity WSxPhoenix's Avatar
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    Re: Forerunner Conflict: The Ruins of Reach

    Eric dove for cover as rebel dropships flew overhead. Rounds tore through the air in the space that Eric had just occupied. Several loud booms sounded as the anti-air cannons fired another salvo. Eric saw several Falcons drop out of the sky, smoke trailing behind them.


    Enemy Spartans were beginning to form a counter-assault. A squad of them were charging straight for their position in the trench line. Eric activated his armor, and caused the walls of the trenches to cave in on the enemy squad. As they struggled to get up, the Colonel dispatched them before they could recover. They were less than a kilometer away from the objective, but they had to fight for every single meter of it. As soon as the Colonel finished with the last rebel Spartan, several rounds flew over their head. Eric's energy shields flared up as a trio of rifle rounds slammed into him, and he dove once again. He shouldered his assault rifle, and gave suppressing fire on the enemy. The Colonel raced towards their position. Eric could see the white lights that winked on when the Colonel activated his armor. He slammed into the sandbags that the troops took cover behind, and had one by the throat by the time Eric caught up with him. Eric tossed one into the emplacement wall with his ability, knocking the Spartan out. He put a round through the helmet to make sure. The Colonel finished the last one off with a shotgun round. He nodded for them to continue.


    They heard Andimion call on the COM. “Colonel, the command staff isn’t here. The rebels were alerted to our plan and evacuated them. They’ve got irregular troops here too. I’m heading to the rendezvous point, ETA three minutes. Andimion out.”


    For the first time since they had touched down, Eric felt a cold chill down his spine. If the enemy had their advanced Spartan teams here, then the mission had a much faster timetable. They had to take down these emplacements and land troops, or the Empire would be pushed out of Reach for good. The Colonel signaled for a three second countdown before they charged up the stairs into the cannon control bunker.


    On three, Eric moved forward, knowing the Colonel had his back. They moved in slow, their rifles checking the hallway. They were determined to make as little noise as possible. Eric had a combat knife out, hoping to have to use that rather than his rifle.


    As a maintenance worker walked by, the Colonel slammed a fist down on his face, shattering the bone. The worker fell in a crumpled heap, and Eric began to move the body from view. So far, they had almost made it to the forward observation deck. The floor above them housed the anti-air.


    The pair turned a corner, but the Colonel put an arm in front of Eric, signaling him to look ahead carefully. There were three rebel Spartans ahead, each wearing very unconventional armor. One Spartan was wearing black armor, with red striping, another wearing light green armor, and the last wearing sky blue armor. As though the Colonel had shared his thought, he nodded. He quickly moved to the other side of the entrance to the hall, posting up on the door.


    “Enemy kill team spotted. They've got some sort of armor upgrades like we've got. We're outnumbered, but we're going to proceed. Andimion, get your ass here now. Jeff, I want you to move in the way Eric and I did, and get to the gun emplacements as fast as you can. Take out enemy officers along the way. Command will be thankful for that.”


    Jeff said “Yes sir.”


    Eric didn't know how they were going to fight those three by themselves. The Colonel obviously had a plan, so Eric trusted that. He loaded a fresh magazine into his assault rifle, and turned to enter the room with the Colonel. He saw the Colonel activate his armor. The three Spartans turned, obviously alerted by the energy spike from the Colonel's armor. Eric fired several bursts of rounds into the rebel team, but they simply bounced off their energy shields. The team moved into action, spreading out to try and encircle Eric and the Colonel. The Colonel charged for one that appeared to be wearing a cutdown version of MJOLNIR. Almost instantly, the pair of them blurred. Eric was amazed to see that the enemy Spartan was just as fast as the Colonel, and had already struck the Colonel in the faceplate. The Colonel staggered back for a moment, but recovered in time to avoid the second strike.


    Eric tossed a grenade at a Spartan wearing a light green armor. The enemy Spartan brought his hands up to his chest, and Eric detected an energy spike. Then he was thrown back by a powerful explosion. He slammed through the bunker wall, and saw stars. Eric's armor was beeping, indicating that his shielding was down. His head was swimming and his vision a blur. He could taste blood too. The sky was bright, and it almost blinded him before his visor compensated. Eric could not believe that he had actually been thrown outside by that explosion. He struggled to get up, activating his armor as he did.


    The light green Spartan stood in the hole at the wall, holding an MA5C assault rifle. Eric tried to pick up his own MA2B... But it was completely bent in half. Eric reached for his side-arm as the enemy Spartan fired. Had Eric not rolled into the trench line, he would have been torn up. When he landed, however, he regretted it. Pain shot up his back, and he figured that his shoulder blades must have been fractured. As the light green Spartan followed Eric into the trench, Eric emptied his pistol into his shields. It did little more than to make the Spartan hesitate for a moment. He pointed his assault rifle right at Eric's face. Eric could barely focus, his head was really beginning to feel the effects of being thrown through a solid quickcrete wall.


    Before the enemy Spartan could pull the trigger however, he recoiled and fell back against the trench wall. Andimion materialized before Eric's eyes, his rifle pointed right at the enemy Spartan. Eric coughed a little, though that was his attempt at laughing. Apparently, he had broken a rip or so too.


    Andimion had to jump back as another Spartan fired a BR55 at him. The rounds tore through the dirt as they made contact with the top of the trench. The light green Spartan brought his hands up to his chest again.


    “Andimion! Get down!” shouted Eric as he turned to take cover. Andimion was caught by the explosion, though not full-force like Eric had been in the bunker. An explosion sounded through the air, and the whole trench was blown out, a crater now formed. Andimion was able to recover, and slam the butt of his rifle into the faceplate of the enemy Spartan, who apparently had his shielding drained. The Spartan's head was knocked back by the rifle. The light green Spartan recovered from the blow, aiming a sweeping kick at Andimion's legs. Eric looked for the Brotherhood Spartan that had fired the BR55.


    “Right here,” said a voice behind Eric.


    Eric was lifted up by his neck, and felt a crushing force on his windpipe.
    He couldn't breath, and could barely bring his arms up to the enemy's arm. Tears filled his eyes as he struggled to breath. It wasn't long until he felt his strength leaving him, and it was becoming more and more difficult to maintain focus. Where was the Colonel? Where was Jeff?


    Eric felt his eyes close...

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    “Enemy anti-air!” sounded over the COM as Deckard's Pelican shook violently. The troop bay was split as a round tore through. Deckard unstrapped himself, taking an assault rifle with him. The rest of Omega was with him, preparing to jump through the hole the round had made. The dropship was surely going down, and they had to get out before the whole thing exploded. Before the Pelican hit the ground, Omega jumped.


    Deckard slammed into the ground, winded. His energy shielding was severely depleted, but he was alive. The whole squad began to move up the beach, rounds slamming into the ground around them. Enemy turret emplacements were positioned all along the top of the beach, and their air units would periodically fly overhead, their guns tearing into groups of Imperial soldiers.


    When the group had positioned themselves in front of a rebel gun emplacement, Deckard sprang into action. He told his suit's AI, Lara, to concentrate shielding power forward. Rounds slammed into him, the shielding flaring up in front of him in a light blue sphere. He ran, and ran fast, in a circle on the left flank. Soon, he was moving too fast for the rebels to turn their turret. He leaped into the air, tossing a grenade just behind the sandbags where the rebels were taking cover. The resulting explosion tossed their bodies into the air. When he landed, he pulled the turret out of its mount, and signaled for his squad to follow him.


    Deckard heard Lara in his helmet. “You just had to show off didn't you?”


    “Oh, well, you know how I like a good show. It's the little things in life right?”


    “You know full and well that I hate when you go off like that.”


    “I'll keep that in mind Lara.”


    “We both know that isn't true.”


    Deckard grinned to himself. Lara, for all of her tactical awareness,
    loathed the idea of combat. She especially didn't like it when she was in danger too. Deckard, however, never felt better than when he was fighting the Brotherhood. His squad reached him shortly, no longer having to worry about enemy suppressive fire.


    Eagle, the squad's suppressive fire man, stepped up next to Deckard. Deckard knew that Eagle was laughing underneath the MJOLNIR suit. Eagle tended to enjoy fighting more than the rest of the squad, and would typically compliment everyone on any particularly gruesome kills. Eagle was always upbeat about things, and tried very hard to make light of any dark situation. Deckard grinned.


    Corey and Fuzz walked up behind Eagle, jumping into the trenchline with Deckard. The whole squad got down below the top of the trench. Corey was a true warrior. He didn't talk much, no one expected him to. In combat, he was ruthless, and truly remarkable. He would go into a feral rage and begin tearing enemy soldiers apart. He was fast, and evasive, and so the enemy rarely got a shot off before Corey got to them. Fuzz was a soldier who preferred a measured approach to a fight. He used the squad's marksman rifle, providing a very essential support for the squad. His electrically charged ammo could pack a punch right into enemy shielding. When the squad fought Spartans, Fuzz was the one who could change the tide of the fight. Not only could Fuzz take down enemy shielding with one or two rounds, he could completely blind them by causing massive interference with their HUDs and motion detectors.


    The sound of jet engines overhead alarmed Deckard. Enemy Hornets flew in an attack formation, firing a salvo of missiles at Omega. They dove forward, the place behind them erupting in a shower of flames and soil.


    “Hey! I thought Delta was going to get that anti-air offline so we can even the odds a little bit!” screamed Fuzz over the COM, tossing the mangled remains of an enemy rifle at the silhouette of the Hornets, which had moved further along the trenchline by now, dropping missiles on Imperial soldiers taking cover from the gun emplacements.


    “They should have made it to their objective by now,” said Deckard. According to command, Delta was supposed to drop behind the lines and disable the anti-air, while Omega was supposed to break through the front of the Rebel defense with the initial invasion force, to guarantee that the invasion could reach and gain a foothold at the Ruins of Danta. None of that would matter if Delta couldn't get the enemy anti-air out of the action.


    The assault would fail if Delta couldn't complete the objective. But if Delta couldn't complete the objective, something had gone terribly wrong. Deckard checked his tactical map on his HUD. A bright blue display appeared onscreen.


    “We're not far from the anti-air emplacements. Delta's indicator is there, but the guns still aren't offline. If I had a guess, I would assume that Delta has run into trouble. We're going to give them support. Omega, move out,” said Deckard, motioning his hand forward. Corey slammed his fists together, and broke out into a sprint, leaving the cover of the trench.


    The other three moved with him, firing their rifles at rebel soldiers who had begun to fire at Corey. There were twelve enemy Spartans in all, all firing battle rifles at Corey. Omega's rifle fire tore three down before Corey reached them, slamming a fist into the helmet of one Spartan. Deckard almost winced as he heard the Spartan's visor shatter.


    Eagle charged into the fray now, tossing a grenade and jumping into the air before the grenade detonated, landing as the enemy squad was blown back. He fired his SMG's into the chest of a blue-clad Spartan, the rounds tearing right through the MJOLNIR suit, the shielding having been depleted by the grenade. Deckard saw an enemy Spartan make a move behind Eagle, and pulled out sidearm. He fired one round through the center of the enemy's faceplate, dropping him before he struck Eagle. Eagle looked up, and Deckard knew he was smiling as he gave the thumbs-up in thanks.


    Deckard fired another mag of assault rifle into his own enemy Spartan, the armor giving way to the high-caliber fire. Not even a minute later, Omega had cut down the enemy fireteam, and had pushed through the second line of trenches. Deckard knew that the enemy had been alerted to the breach in their lines, and figured that Omega had less than a minute before they sent another squad to fill the gap and push them out. They had to move on. He signaled them forward, the anti-air bunker visible up the hill, the Danta mountain range towered behind it.


    As the squad reached the base of the bunker, a hole was blown out the top, and a Spartan flew through the air. He landed on his feet on the ground, and Deckard recognized him as Colonel Sevchenko.


    “About time Omega got into the fight! These guys are a handful! Three tango's inside, and two of my guys at the back of the bunker. Let's move!”


    Omega and the Colonel charged forth, moving up a stairwell at the side of the bunker. At the top, Deckard saw an enemy Spartan in sky blue armor holding up a Spartan in red armor. Deckard recognized the red Spartan as Eric. He raised his rifle and fired a trio of rounds into the sky blue Spartan, who turned toward them. He appeared to be assessing the newcomers, and had come to the conclusion that this wasn't a fight he could win alone. He tossed Eric to the ground, and retreated back to the bunker. The other rebel Spartan, who was wearing light green armor, was in the middle of a fight with Andimion, who had his knives drawn. The light green Spartan slammed a fist into Andimion's faceplate, Andimion's shielding flaring from the blow. The rebel Spartan broke from the fight, following his squad mate into the bunker.


    “Cover me!” shouted the Colonel, who ran forward to check on Eric. Deckard, knowing Omega had rifles covering him, moved to Andimion to check up on him. Andimion had a stab wound in the leg, but it wasn't deep or debilitating.


    “What happened?” asked Deckard when he was sure Andimion was all right.


    “Enemy kill teams are on the battlefield. They know what they're doing,” replied Andimion as he slapped a fresh magazine into his M392 marksman rifle.


    “How many are inside?” asked Deckard, pointing to the massive hole in the wall of the bunker.


    “Three so far. I don't know how many others,” replied Andimion, who rose to his feet and took a place beside Omega.


    The Colonel sounded on the COM. “Eric is all right. He's just a bit
    banged up. He's awake now, and needs a rifle.


    Fuzz tossed Eric an M392, who caught the rifle in one fluid motion. Eric was breathing heavily, but otherwise looked combat-worthy.


    The COM sounded again. “Sir, enemy tangos evacuating the anti-air bunker. They're retreating. The irregular's are with them.” From the sound of the voice, it appeared that Jeff had finally joined the fight.


    “What are we waiting for then? Let's get those guns out of commission!” shouted Andimion, who moved forward. After a few minutes, several planted explosives, and a few dead straggling troops, the Imperial's had blown the guns away. The two squads stood on top of the bunker as four Imperial capital ships moved in, their MAC guns bombarding key sites all along the beach. In the distance, he could see hundreds of small dots in the sky, indicating more drop ships. The beach was won, but the Ruins still remained in rebel hands...
    Last edited by Andimion; 05-01-2011 at 03:04 PM.




    "You must begin by gaining power over yourself; then another; then a group, an order, a world, a species, a group of species; finally, the galaxy itself."

    Monday: 4:30-6:30
    Tuesday: 8:00-6:00
    Wednesday: 4:30-6:30
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  3. #3
    Forerunner of Fire and Divinity WSxPhoenix's Avatar
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    Re: Forerunner Conflict: The Ruins of Reach

    (This is part one of the next installment. I'm working on the second part, but this is where we leave Delta for now. The next part is actually about Omega, but it's all gonna be back at the coastline, so I figured it was best to split it. As always, leave your compliments, critiques, and questions in the Open Conversation topic)


    Andimion had a terrible headache. He assumed he had gotten a concussion from being on the receiving end that light green Spartan’s blast. From what he could tell, the Spartan was using some sort of pulse generator at a very powerful level. That knowledge, however, did not comfort him as he took off his helmet in the command room.


    The Empire had flown in several waves of troops on the ground in the last hour. By now, the entire coast was under Imperial control. The combined efforts of Delta and Omega squads made it easy to force the rebels into a nearby city, which was located between the coastline and the Ruins of Danta.


    Eric halted beside Andimion, his armor showing signs of battle. After the fight with the enemy kill squad, Eric went straight to the infirmary. This was the first time Andimion had seen him since the fight, and Eric’s MJOLNIR suit looked like it had been through an asteroid field. He assumed that Eric’s suit checked out and that he was fit enough to fight, since they were letting him sit in on the meeting instead of resting. Andimion gave Eric a nod as the briefing started. The rest of Delta had followed him in, and Omega was already in the room, as their members were not as badly hurt as Delta, and so were not required to be checked out before attending.


    General Christman stood behind a large table, which showed a three-dimensional display of the entire coast. With a wave of his hand, the display went blank, and then the coastal image was replaced by a schematic of Blackthorn City. The display showed several rebel armor units moving through the city streets, and other emplacements being made and maintained all throughout the city. Blackthorn was like a giant fortress, full of buildings. Andimion swore out loud.

    The General nodded toward Andimion.

    “I share your sentiment. Blackthorn is the last stop on the way to Danta. The rebels have completely fortified the city against us, and we need a way to lower their defenses. I have talked with my advisors, and they insist the best course of action is to cut off their communications from their command. Without their communications network, they will not be able to coordinate their mobile units to strengthen the areas where we attack. When we attack, they will be unable to effectively defend the city borders. A lot of the brass doesn’t believe that Delta and Omega are up to the challenge, but I think different. You Spartans are the best we have in the military, and you always complete your objectives, even when things don’t go to plan.”


    At the last part of his statement, he nodded to Eric before continuing, “I’m assigning you the task of destroying their entire COM network right before our attack. We’re going to be dropping you two hours before we begin deployment into the city. You are going to have a series of other objectives to complete before you can get to the COM network.”


    The Colonel moved forward, putting a foot up on the table and placing an arm over his knee. “What are the secondary objectives sir?”


    “The enemy has a large armor depot close to the city’s central train hub. We estimate that over twenty-percent of their armored infantry resources are housed there. If we can bury or destroy those armored vehicles, they will be unable to bring them to the front of the city or combat our own armored division once they make it inside the city. Another vital point would be their central mainframe located twenty floors below Strong Tower.”


    Andimion knew that Strong Tower, built by the late Jameson Strong, was the tallest building on Reach. The building was designed to be completely earthquake-proof, flood proof, bomb-proof. Every five or six floors was a built in ceiling that could serve as a roof for the building should any top-level floors be destroyed. It was a marvel when it was built, and had even survived the Human-Covenant war. It was because of its supposed impregnability that Andimion asked permission to speak.


    “Sir, how do you expect us to get to the mainframe when it is twenty stories above a building that is almost as tall as an orbital elevator?” asked Andimion, who did not bother to rid his voice of his disbelief.


    The General grinned, and said, “That’s the fun part soldier. You’re going to bring that building right down on top of the mainframe.”


    “Say what!?” exclaimed Deckard, who had been silent so far in the briefing.


    “You heard me son. We’re gonna bring down that tower right on them and their mainframe. The only way to ensure the mainframe is completely destroyed is to ensure that they will never be able to dig it out by the time we take the city. That mainframe houses the city’s AI, and if we take out the AI we won’t face any resistance from the city infrastructure as well,” said the General, who waved his hand once more over the table. Immediately, the display showed a readout of the Strong Tower. There were blinking red arrows at several points along the tower, and even led into the lower, underground part of the building.


    The General continued, “The operation has three phases. Delta will insert via the sewer system, which we now have access to because we own the coast. The city’s sewer waste is deposited right into the ocean. The first phase consists of Delta making a transition from the sewer to the subway system. Delta will then hijack a train to the central hub, and proceed with bringing the entire hub down on their armor that is stored there. Once the armor is taken care of, the entire city is going to be moving to battle awareness. That means that Delta is going to be taking the pressure off of Omega while they land on the top of the Strong Tower, and proceed to plant charges at all of the key locations that are highlighted here on this display. When Strong Tower goes down, the Empire will launch our assault. Your teams will have to rendezvous at the East Gate, and move in with Imperial forces. If you do not make the rendezvous, you will likely be overwhelmed by rebel forces.”


    The Colonel looked up from the display. He had been staring at it for nearly the entire briefing. He spoke, saying, “Sir, this is a lot to ask, even for us. We only have eight men, against the entire city.”


    The General looked right at the Colonel, and said, “This is a volunteer-only mission Colonel. This action will result in the substantial loss of morale for the enemy, and will save many Imperial lives in the attack. We could potentially take them in one sweep instead of several weeks and months of fighting on a block-by-block basis in the city.”


    “If you need volunteers, I’m in,” said Jeff as he pulled back the bolt on his rifle.


    Corey stood next, and then Fuzz, and then Eagle.


    “Well, if my squad is in, I’m in,” said Deckard. Now Omega was go for the mission.


    Andimion hesitated a moment, thinking of the odds that any of them would make it out alive. He figured the odds were worse for the rebels they were about to go fight, and smiled.


    “I’m in. Show me the enemy sir,” said Andimion.


    Eric stepped forward, and said, “I think, sir, that you’ve got our answer.”


    The Colonel nodded, and Andimion knew he was smiling behind his helmet. The only reason the Colonel had raised any concern was for his squad, not for himself. If need be, the Colonel would have done the whole mission by himself, and Andimion believed he would have succeeded.


    The General waved a hand, and the table went blank…

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    “You know, there are times I really hate my job. Swimming in sewage makes me think this is one of those times,” said Andimion as he swam through the murky water.


    “You didn’t get the memo Andimion? The Empire told all of us that war would be a shit-fest when we signed up,” joked Jeff.


    The entire squad swam through filth-ridden water, the by-product of an entire city’s worth of waste that flowed through the coast. According to Andimion’s NAV marker, the giant sewer pipe was just up ahead. After a few moments of moving around, Andimion found the edge of the pipe and hoisted himself inside. He showed his location as a NAV marker to his squad, and they quickly followed suit.


    “According to the intel, we have another three thousand meters in this muck before we can get above sea level and get some new air in our suits. We’ve been under water for ten minutes, so we need to get moving,” said the Colonel over the COM.


    The entire squad moved quickly through the sewer pipe, knowing that they only had a limited amount of oxygen in their suits before they ran out. If the suits were exposed to any air supply, they would be refreshed, but in complete submersion, they had a limited supply.


    The squad swam until they came to a large, round chamber. The chamber had two sliding doors that worked to block off all the sewage. They would need to close the exterior door first, before opening the interior door, or the flow of sewage and ocean water would flood the whole network and they would be trapped down there.


    “All right Jeff, you’re up. Show us what that AI of yours can do,” said Eric.


    Jeff linked a cable from his suit to the interior control panel that controlled the doors and pressurization of the chamber. Within moments, the exterior door closed and the waste water began draining from the room.


    Jeff said, “The room needs to be pressurized before the interior door can open. It should take only a minute.”


    When Andimion saw the last of the water drain into the floor grating, he heard the interior door begin to open. When the door opened up, all of Delta stepped through except Jeff.


    Andimion took notice, and turned back. “Jeff, what’s the hold-up?”


    “The city’s AI has noticed me. The AI is assuming that there is a simple programing error, and that the interior and exterior commands have been switched. However, it wants to stabilize the pressure in the chamber. That means it is going to open the exterior door.”


    There was a sense of panic in Jeff’s voice. Jeff was the calm and collected on in all situations, so Andimion knew just how close they were to being completely wiped out by the tons and tons of water that lay beyond that door.


    His heart jumped and his eyes grew wide as he saw the exterior door begin to open, and water splashed in torrents onto the chamber floor. Andimion was knocked off his feet by the force of the water, as was Eric and Jeff. The Colonel had slammed his fist into the chamber flooring, and held on as the rush of water increased with every inch the door came up. Jeff, having grabbed hold of terminal that housed the control panel, pulled himself up high enough to stay connected to the panel.


    “The AI is determined to close that door. It believes that the chamber has been flooded and needs to be closed off, instead of what is really happening! I’ve got the door stuck, but unless we figure out a way to control it manually, the AI won’t let it close all the way!”


    Andimion and Eric were being washed away by the water. Andimion grabbed hold of the door frame of a maintenance tunnel, and grabbed Eric’s hand. It took all of his strength to keep his grip on that door frame, and he could feel the muscles in his arms scream out in protest. His HUD showed him that his suit was not going to be able to maintain grip for very long.


    The Colonel slammed his fist into the ground again, moving in a crawl toward the oncoming water. Thousands of pounds of pressure had to be pressing down on him, yet he still moved forward. Once he reached the door, he activated his armor’s ability, and Andimion’s HUD showed the energy spike that filled the chamber. The Colonel yelled as he pushed and push the door, and it slowly began to close down once again. The water that was pushing Andimion and Eric began to lose pressure, and soon they found they could walk back toward the Colonel. Yet, the Colonel still struggled to close the door!


    Andimion and Eric rushed and put all of their weight into the door, their grip on the door leaving hand-shaped indentions. With one last effort, the Spartans finally pushed the door closed.


    Jeff slumped to his knees, disengaging his link with the panel. “I don’t think I want to do that again,” he said, leaning against the wall.


    Andimion fell on his back, his arms and legs sprawled. “I’ll second that. We haven’t even encountered the rebels yet, and we’re having trouble.”


    Eric stood with his hands on his knees, his breathing rapid. “We probably shouldn’t leave the way we came.”


    With that, the whole squad laughed. When they had caught their breath again, the Colonel told them to move onward, they still had an objective to complete.




    "You must begin by gaining power over yourself; then another; then a group, an order, a world, a species, a group of species; finally, the galaxy itself."

    Monday: 4:30-6:30
    Tuesday: 8:00-6:00
    Wednesday: 4:30-6:30
    Thursday: 8:00-11:30 & 3:00-6:30
    Friday: 9:30-6:30

  4. #4
    Forerunner of Fire and Divinity WSxPhoenix's Avatar
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    Re: Forerunner Conflict: The Ruins of Reach

    After several hours of moving through the city sewers, Delta reached a point where they would have to climb to the surface. Jeff confirmed that there was no direct maintenance tunneling that ran to the vehicle depot, and so they would have to infiltrate the facility and get out before the main Brotherhood force would respond. According to Jeff, Brotherhood military command had created a mobile response task force to deal with any threats directly inside the city or just beyond the outskirts. The Colonel was certain that the Brotherhood task force, which Delta had determined was called Bravo, would have specialty troops like they had fought on the beach. Imperial command did not have any useful intel on the enemy special task troops, so the Colonel wanted to avoid getting entangled with them at all costs.

    Andimion called up his map of the surface, on the street level. The map was old, so major digital infrastructure was surely different, but the major landmarks and shape of the streets would still be there. Not knowing the digital infrastructure, such as cameras and any major links to the city AI, was a big problem. If the Brotherhood had access to the city AI, it would alert them to their presence the moment it could detect Delta. What Delta would have to do to get through would be to plot a course that would guarantee that the AI would not detect them, which means going through residence buildings and the maintenance tunnels between them. When cities began to grow in size, and the spaces between buildings began to become seamless, large maintenance tunnels were built so that the buildings could be worked on as far as major piping and wiring without disturbing them or their foundations. These maintenance tunnels would likely have cameras that were linked to the city AI, but Jeff would be able to project an image to the cameras, since he knew they were there. The reason that Jeff could not do the same to the cameras outside, is that he did not know where they were, and locating them would draw too much attention.

    Delta would move in pairs, taking two different routes so they would not have too large a profile. They would move through the same buildings, and tunnels systems, so Jeff would be able to use his electronic warfare skills.

    In unison, Delta moved the tops of two man holes in a dark alley between two high-rise apartment buildings. Within moments, they had kicked in the doors on opposite sides of their building, which cleaning crews used to move between hallways without having to park their carts in the halls while they cleaned.

    Andimion activated his active camouflage, drawing his two knives. Eric was right behind him, moving silently with his own knife drawn. Almost immediately, a civilian saw them. The civilian ran at the sight of Eric, but had not detected Andimion. In three large strides, Andimion was on him, slamming his palm into the side of the man's head, and the man dropped. Andimion caught him before he made a thud on the ground, and he dragged the man's unconscious form into a maintenance closet, and hid him in a pile of used towels.

    On his HUD, Andimion saw NAV indicators for the Colonel and Jeff, who were making their own progress through the building. When Delta had made their way to the end of the building, they located the entrance to their first maintenance tunnel. Andimion dropped down alone, his camouflage useful in low-lit areas for scouting. When Andimion reached the end of the tunnel, he sent a signal to the rest of his team through their HUDs indicating that all was clear. Within moments, the rest of Delta had caught up with him.

    Delta moved through the next two buildings without incident, though in the last building they narrowly avoided being detected when an enemy patrol was inspecting the maintenance tunnel that led to that building. Jeff was able to kill them single-handedly, driving a blade in one soldier's head while disabling the other's MJOLNIR suit with his electronic warfare suite. The man inside was trapped as the suit's fusion core was forcefully cut off from the man's HUD interface. With the suit's shields down, Jeff slammed a knife through the man's visor, killing him instantly. Andimion was impressed.

    In the last building, Delta had to switch things up. The vehicle depot was surrounded by a large, circular parking lot riddle with vehicles, large and small. Underneath the entire facility were three levels of vehicle maintenance and command structures. The plan was to infiltrate the building, and drop the parking lot on the levels underneath, which would disable all the vehicles and destroy any and all assets under as well. The only issue was, of course, on getting into the building, and to the bottom level, and to destroy the weight-bearing supports, which would cause the entire facility to fall. This plan had, of course, thousands of variables, any of which could end horribly for Delta.

    Jeff would be posted up in a room in the residence building, and would be able to give fire support. Should things get hot for Jeff, he would exfiltrate and would procure a heavy-armored vehicle, and hold off the enemy while moving through the parking lot toward the building, hopefully to pick up the rest of Delta to bang out before Bravo could respond to their attack. Delta would move in, hopefully, as a trio, and would secure the central elevator by disabling it, dropping it down the shaft, and riding the cables down. After planting the charges, they would climb up the shaft, and exfiltrate, with Jeff in an armored vehicle or they would procure their own vehicle and use it to escape.

    Once the depot is down, and the Brotherhood Bravo response team alerted to their presence, the Imperial attack would commence.


    When Jeff gave the green light indicating that he was in position, the rest of Delta opened the door facing the vehicle depot facility. In unison, they sprinted toward the facility, jumping a high fence and ducking behind a parked vehicle. Jeff could not speak on the COM, but he highlighted the enemy AI camera positions in red, and highlighted all enemy combatants in light blue. Andimion activated his camouflage once more, moving ahead of Delta. He dispatched any potential enemy in their way, but only when they were positioned out of sight from the AI cameras. Eventually, the AI would notice that the number of guards was depleting, but Delta was banking on the hope that it was too busy inspecting the city parameter for the oncoming battle to notice something happening at a secure facility. Once Delta was within a hundred meters of the facility, Jeff initiated his part in the plan. He fired eight shots from his window, with a silenced weapon, and took out the AI cameras. The response was instantaneous. The guards were on their radios, and more fire teams were rushing out of the front entrance of the building.

    Delta's response was lightning-fast. The Colonel activated his suit's power, and he lifted an APC Warthog, throwing it at the entrance to the building, taking out two enemy fire teams.

    Andimion leaped into action, moving in close as enemy heavy guns were being set up. He took out the enemies who were on their radios, and then the turret operators as they struggled to set up their machine guns. He then took a mounted machine gun, and turned it on the enemies at the entrance to the building.

    Eric was last, as he activated his armor's ability, and sent an entire tank through the building's lobby. All three members of Delta moved toward the door, weapons drawn, as enemy patrols began to send responding fire from the parking lot behind them, having realized where the threat was. Once inside, Andimion and Eric covered the Colonel as he moved the tank back to the entrance.

    "That ought to hold 'em," said the Colonel. There was no point in maintaining radio silence now, the operation was under way. The only person who could not send transmissions was Jeff, as his position had yet to be revealed to the enemy. He would send a signal to Delta if Bravo showed up.

    Eric used his suit to pull open the central freight elevator's doors, and he placed a small shaped charge on the elevator cable in the center. Already, the elevator was being called up to respond to the threat. Andimion grinned as the explosive charge went off, snapping the elevator cable, and sending the elevator down four stories to the bottom, which would invariably crush anyone inside.

    "After you," said Eric, indicating with his hand that Andimion should jump down.

    "Here goes nothing," replied Andimion, as he stepped off the elevator's doorway, and fell. He slammed his knife into the concrete once he reached a certain speed, and the knife caught his weight, which slowed him down. Even if it hurt is shoulder, it was preferable than risking damaging his suit or even his body. After three times, he reached the bottom. The Colonel next did something similar, using his fist instead of a knife. Eric, however, used his suit's power to slow his descent until he lightly stepped onto the now-crushed elevator.

    The Colonel put a countdown timer on the rest of Delta's HUDs, indicating that they had three minutes to plant the charges. Before they opened the elevator's doors, Jeff spoke on the COM.

    "Position compromised. Enemy BRAVO team has been dispatched, we have two minutes," said Jeff. Though his voice was calm, Andimion knew that they needed more time.

    "I have determined where the weight-bearing supports are located on your level. I would suggest you hurry," said Jeff. Even as he spoke, Andimion saw the updated map on his HUD, the areas where the supports were located were highlighted in red.

    "Delta, double time!" shouted the Colonel, and he activated his armor, slamming a large hole in the wall for them to enter the level. Andimion gave a nod to Eric, and set off.

    He was able to plant two charges before the timer hit one minute. That meant that he needed to plant the last one and to start his ascent up the elevator shaft before BRAVO arrived. It was going to be close.



    00:59...



    Andimion wired the charge, syncing the detonator with his HUDs frequency.


    00:50

    Andimion fired his weapon four times, taking down an enemy SPARTAN's shielding. He drew his knife as he slammed into the enemy combatant.


    00:38

    Andimion caught up with Eric, though he was limping.


    00:20

    The Colonel activated his armor's abilities, and tossed Andimion three-quarters of the way up the elevator shaft.


    00:05

    Eric met Andimion at the top, the Colonel not far behind.


    00:00


    Jeff raised the COM. "BRAVO has arrived. We are out of time. I have obtained an enemy battle tank, though I cannot hold them off for long. Enemy AC-220 Vulture Gunships are inbound."


    The Colonel looked at the tank that they had placed in the lobby. He cocked his head to the side, which was a certain sign that he was deep in thought.


    "Andimion, get in that tank. Eric, you keep any enemy missiles off of him. We're going to lure BRAVO onto the parking lot to deal with us personally. I'm going to take out those gunships," said the Colonel. Andimion could hear the grin in his voice.


    "Sir, any idea about what we're going to do when they get on the parking lot?" asked Eric, already moving toward the tank."


    "You'll see Eric, you'll see," was all the Colonel said.


    Andimion got into the tank, and fired a shell through the wall to get it clear of the building. When the tank rushed off the front steps from the lobby, Andimion could see the warzone in front of him. Jeff had given the Brotherhood hell. There was smoke rising throughout the parking lot, as enemy vehicles burned. Jeff had been able to plow a path with his acquired tank, giving him a long line of sight, while still maintaining cover and mobility. The enemy, however, had brought in heavy reinforcements. Three AC-220 Vulture Gunships were in the sky, and they were heading right for them.

    Andimin raised his tank's main gun, and fired a shot at the enemy Vultures. Of course, it did not make contact, but he hoped it would make them more cautious.

    "Jeff, use your gun, you're almost guaranteed to hit them!" Andimion screamed on the COM. Jeff's integrated AI would be able to calculate the angle and timing required to hit the Vultures.

    Andimion's attention changed, however, when several armored SPARTAN entered the parking lot, and an arc of electricity came at his tank. Eric jumped off of the tank to avoid the lightning, luckily. Andimion wasn't affected by it, as the tank was already grounded, but the point was made. This team was the same one they had fought on the beach. It was payback time. Andimion swerved the tank's main gun and fired a shell at them, sending an APC Warthog up in flames in front of them. He saw them take cover. They would think better next time they tried an open attack like that.

    After that, Andimion saw Jeff fire a shot into the air, and it collided right into the cockpit of the closest Vulture, which crashed down right on top of the parking lot, and erupted in a ball of flame as it took out several nearby vehicles.

    The Vultures responded by sending a salvo of missiles toward Andimion. Andimion could not get out of the way in time. He tried raising his pilot canopy, but the hinges were stuck, probably melted by BRAVO's lightning attack. When the missiles got close, Andimion screamed in frustration and pushed with all his might against the canopy, but it would not budge. He covered his face as the missiles were about to impact.

    But they never did. Eric had leaped up on the tank and used his suit's power to force the missiles to crash into the area around the tank, which ignited even more vehicles. At that moment, Andimion saw Eric flung from the tank by the force of the explosions.

    "Eric!" shouted Andimion. He could not see where Eric had landed. They could not take much more of this!


    As if he heard Andimion's thoughts, the Colonel raised them on the COM.

    "Hang on boys, it's going to be rough!" And he saw a large beam of light pierce a Vulture, crumpling it as it fell to the ground. Jeff finished off the last one.

    "What the hell was that?" asked Andimion, who was desperately struggling against the canopy once more, knowing that BRAVO was about to try attacking again.

    "Mass Driver," said the Colonel, and he continued, "Jeff's map showed a moveable rooftop on this place. Figured it must be some sort of big gun. I was right."


    "I'm okay, by the way," said Eric over the COM. Andimion's canopy creaked as it was ripped off. Eric was using his suit to move it off of Andimion's tank.

    Andimion crawled out of his seat and onto the tank.

    "Let's not do these kinds of missions, okay?" asked Andimion.

    "It isn't over yet soldier. Hang on to that tank. In thirty seconds, I'm detonating the charges on the parking lot. Enemy tanks are inbound, along with transport warthogs. We haven't a chance of getting out of here with that sort of firepower. I'm going to bury them."

    "And us! Colonel, that's crazy!" shouted Eric on the COM.

    Jeff chimed in, "It is possible we will survive such an impact, but the enemies will be crushed inside their own vehicles. We have shielding, and most of their personnel do not. However, I do not find the statistical likelihood of success comforting."

    "Great," said Andimion, who braced himself. He saw the enemy forces pouring into the parking lot all around them. A tank shell hit his own tank, sending him careening into the air.

    "Firing the charges," said the Colonel.

    "Hang on!" shouted Eric.

    As Andimion landed, the last thing he remembered the sound of the ground giving way beneath him, and the feeling of something large slamming onto his back.




    "You must begin by gaining power over yourself; then another; then a group, an order, a world, a species, a group of species; finally, the galaxy itself."

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  5. #5
    Forerunner of Fire and Divinity WSxPhoenix's Avatar
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    Re: Forerunner Conflict: The Ruins of Reach

    Meanwhile...


    Deckard couldn't believe this plan. Between Omega and Delta, they had the highest success rate of the entire Imperial military. This, however, was suicide. His team of four people were ordered to attack a reinforced skyscraper, fight their way down floors and floors of enemies, all the while having to beat an AI from shutting down each section before they reached it. As the tower was designed to have a new roof should the upper floors become compromised, they would have to make it through each section before the AI could finish initiating procedure required to close down each level.

    Even if they made it to the sub-level, they would have to fight through an entirely unknown and unmapped facility, as it was built by the Brotherhood after they had taken control of Blackthorn.

    With no enemy force intel, Omega was going in blind on a highly sophisticated mission with a narrow window of opportunity. As far as missions go, this was the toughest that could be done.

    As if she knew what he was thinking, Lara chimed in.

    "You'll make it. You always do," said Lara, reassuringly.

    "Of course he will! I've got his back," said Eagle, who slid the bolt into place on his M247 Heavy Machine Gun. He nodded, and Deckard knew this was like going to a theme park for him. Out of all the members of Omega, Eagle was the one who felt uneasy when he wasn't in combat. With his suit's power, which allowed his armor to regenerate and to exponentially increase his ability to heal, Eagle was one tough son of a bitch to take down. Deckard had seen him leap into a group of enemy SPARTANs with just his fists and come out alive. Of course, most of his armor was churned up, and a good chunk of his leg was missing, but he walked out with his head held high, grinning.

    Fuzz was the cautious one. More often than not, he was the one who came back from a mission without a scratch on him, preferring to use his armor's abilities to slowly whittle down his enemies and let Omega clean up.

    "Yeah Deckard, you need to chill out. We haven't failed yet," said Fuzz, who moved two fingers apart, a visible electric current running between them.

    And then there was Corey. Corey was quiet usually, only allowing himself to shout when he activated his suit's augmentation power. When that suit was activated, Corey was an absolute brawler. While not as strong as Colonel Sevchenko, he was certainly faster. Corey could rip apart a group of soldiers faster than anyone in Omega, and perhaps anyone in Delta as well.

    "Let's just quiet down. Action is about to start," said Corey, slamming his fists together.

    At that moment, the pilot chimed in on the COM.

    "Starting our descent. Prepare for Phase I of the plan," said the pilot, and the rear hatch opened.


    This was Deckard's least favorite part. This part of the plan, was all up to him.

    Deckard moved to the rear of the dropship, looked at his team and gave a thumbs up, and jumped...


    He could hear the air rush around him as Lara spoke. "Thirty seconds until impact. Amplifying all shield power to your mid-section. I suggest you prime your weapon," she said. Though her voice sounded calm, Deckard knew she was freaking out. Lara hated anything that put both she and Deckard at risk, and jumping out of a perfectly good dropship thousands of feet in the air was one of those things.

    Deckard prepped the rocket launcher, and prepared to fire. There was no way he could land on his feet without sending his tibia through his knee, so he was going to have to fire a rocket at the roof, and fly through the hole and slam and slide on his shielding through the next floor.

    "Ten seconds..." said Lara, tension in her voice now.

    Deckard saw the enemy emplacements on the roof. He aimed for where he was going to land, and fired a rocket. For a moment, he thought he was going to outpace the rocket and slam into the roof, but the rocket was able to just pull away as it impacted on the roof, sending Deckard right through the hole it made. He slammed into the floor of the top level, going through and into another two floors, his body protesting in pain. On the last impact, his shielding finally broke, and he heard a loud pop that come from his shoulder. He shouted in pain, and struggled to stay conscious as he finally came to a stop.

    He coughed, and felt pain move through his shoulder blade.

    "You have dislocated your shoulder, and cracked a rib. Considering the rate at which you fell, I much prefer this outcome than the worst-case scenario. You'll need to put that in place once the rest of Omega arrives." said Lara. She knew he was in pain, but Deckard figured this was her way of getting his mind off of it. It didn't work.

    He pulled out his M7 Submachine gun, and headed for the stairs. Immediately, the force he had seen on the roof was descending the stairs after him. He fired a burst into two men, and tossed another one over the railing, sending him falling for eight stories until he slammed his head on another rail. He didn't move. Deckard did not have time to check the other bodies, as more came down the stairwell. He slammed the SMG into a man's head, his skull giving way to the crushing blow, and Deckard grabbed his side arm, and put three bullets into each of his squad-mate's heads. By now, he was almost to the roof. He had to eliminate the rest of the forces on the roof before the rest of Omega could land, or their Pelican would be shot down.

    "You have one minute until the Pelican arrives," said Lara as she placed a countdown clock on his HUD. Deckard hurried.

    When he opened the door to the roof, bullets slammed into him, making his shielding flare. "Increase reflective shielding," said Deckard as he brought the Brotherhood soldier's sidearm to bear, firing five rounds at the machine gun emplacement, but to no effect.

    "Have any ideas Lara?" asked Deckard, who was having trouble moving his arm now. There was no cover between him and the heavy gun.

    "No, but the rest of the soldiers are coming toward you. I suggest you think fast," replied Lara as she highlighted enemies on his motion tracker.

    "Great," Deckard said, as he threw the pistol as hard as he could into the head of an enemy soldier. He leaped into the man with all his strength, feeling his ribs break on impact. Deckard grabbed his assault rifle as bullets riddled his shields. With one arm, he fired the assault rifle into the other men, their bodies slumped to the ground.

    "Shields at 50% Deckard," said Lara.

    There was still the turret. Deckard looked around, and had an idea. He took the grenades off of the enemy corpses, and primed them all, tossed them at the turret, firing his assault rifle at the same time. The man behind the turret jumped out of the way, and Deckard's rounds slammed into him. He hit the ground in a pool of crimson blood.

    "Omega in bound. Is the LZ clear?" asked the dropship pilot.

    "LZ is clear. Tell Eagle he needs to put my shoulder back in. He likes dishing out pain," said Deckard as he tossed the enemy assault rifle to the ground.

    "See, so far so good Deckard," said Lara. She was gloating at his pain. While he had a dislocated his shoulder, she was perfectly fine inside his suit of armor.

    The dropship flew in fast and stopped suddenly, turning to let the rest of Omega off. Eagle got off and cracked his knuckles, advancing on Deckard.

    "I'll count to three. One... two..." and then he yanked Deckard's shoulder hard, and a blinding pain went right through Deckard's torso and down his back. He grunted through the pain, and flexed his arm, glad to have full mobility back, even if his shoulder was still sore.

    "Move Omega. We've got no time to lose," said Deckard, who caught an MA5K carbine that Eagle tossed him, and loaded a fresh magazine into it. Corey was already charging ahead. The squad jumped over the railing of the stairwell, falling three stories before grabbing onto an adjacent stairwell.
    Lara spoke, saying, “We have no time. The city AI has already begun locking down this section of the building.”

    Omega sped on, moving down the building as fast as they could, Corey leading the way. They were two floors away from making it inside the next section of the building. Down the stairs, Deckard saw a shadow move across the middle section of the stairs.

    “No no no no no!” shouted Deckard.

    “Move!” shouted Eagle, who tossed his M247 over the railing, and dove headfirst, Deckard following after. He didn’t even have time to check whether or not the rest of Omega jumped as well. He just made it on the other side of the sliding plate before it shut. He slammed onto a railing, and rolled onto the stairwell. Eagle was on the floor at the foot of their section of the stairs. Deckard looked at him, and Eagle gave a thumbs up signal, and moved to retrieve his weapon.

    “Corey, Fuzz, you read me?” asked Deckard, while checking his armor. So far, his advanced shielding had held up against the abuse Deckard was putting his armor through, but he did not know exactly how much more the mission would contain. Eagle’s armor would repair itself between fights, so Deckard wasn’t too worried about him.

    There was no reply from Corey or Fuzz for about a full minute. Then, finally, Fuzz got through on the COM.

    “Sir, we’re, ah, trapped up here. The AI has locked down this entire level, and we have no way of getting access to your-“ said Fuzz before he was interrupted by Lara.

    “Deckard, the AI is going to attempt to close off all floors except for the ground floor’s access to the sublevel, for their personnel. We need a new plan!” exclaimed Lara.

    Deckard froze, thinking about all that he knew about the building. He knew that the central elevator shaft would be closed off the instant that the AI began to shut down every level. He also knew that taking the stairs would be slow and pointless. The only way down was if there was a hole in the middle of the building, by which they could all fall through. Then Deckard got an idea…

    “Lara, pull up an exterior view of the building on all our HUDs,” said Deckard, who began to signal Eagle to prepare some shaped charges.

    On all their HUDs, a schematic of the building appeared. The way that the building was designed was that the base was rather large and wide, and the building became thinner at the top, for stability. Because of this, the widows at the bottom of the building were curved, and faced outward from the base of the building. It was this feature that Deckard planned to take advantage of.

    “Omega, we’re going to streamline our descent by blowing a hole in the side of the building at the base, and we’ll thread the needle right through. We’ll hit the sublevel right afterward. Lara, how do you think we can accomplish that?” said Deckard, who began piling up all his explosives with Eagles, so they could take inventory.

    Lara took over the display. A line appeared on their section of the building, and descended along the outside of the building.

    “You will all plant a small charge on the exterior wall of your respect sections, shoot out your and shall drop forty-five percent of your explosive ordinance at a predetermined angle. The resulting explosion should, hopefully, open up enough of the base of the building to allow a safe landing. You will have to put your static gel layers on your suits at maximum efficiency, and put all power to your shielding, which would mean that the other major systems of your suits will be offline after a moment after you land. Be advised, enemy response team is down there. Troops counts and capability is unknown, the city AI is fighting me at every turn.”

    Deckard nodded toward Eagle, and Eagle placed a shaped charge on the wall. He held up three fingers, and then two, then one, and the wall exploded, leaving a large hole where it used to be. Deckard saw rubble fall where Fuzz had blown the charge above them.

    “On three Omega. One, two, three!” shouted Deckard as he jumped, the explosives that Fuzz tossed in front of him by forty feet.

    “Oh shit!!!” shouted Fuzz.

    “This better work Lara,” said Corey.

    “It’ll work guys,” said Deckard. Off the COM, he whispered to Lara, “This is going to work, right?”

    “Probably,” said Lara.

    Deckard was going to reply, but he began to notice that the ground was rushing to meet him awfully fast.

    “Converting shielding,” said Lara, and Deckard braced for impact. Just before he landed, the explosives detonated, engulfing Deckard in flame. He landed hard, a sharp pain in his leg and shoulder, and his head slammed into something hard.

    The next thing he knew, Lara was shouting at him.

    “Get up! Get up now soldier!” shouted Lara.

    Deckard opened his eyes, his head pounding. He was on the ground, and he had no idea where his weapon was. He tried to sit up, but the pounding in his head made it difficult to orient himself. His vision was blurred, and that made it hard to read the information his HUD was giving him. His shield indicator was flashing, and his armor readout showed a breach in his lower back.

    “Deckard, help the others!” exclaimed Lara.

    Deckard slowly rose, and a sharp pain shooting up his back. As his vision began to return, he found that the room was filled with smoke. Small fires blazed here and there, but there was no sign of his team.

    “Lara, I need my weapon,” said Deckard as he struggled to move through the smoke.
    A NAV indicator appeared on Deckard’s HUD, indicating where his weapon was. Three other indicators shone on where the rest of his team was. Deckard picked up his weapon, and quickly inspected it. The weapon had survived the fall, probably because Deckard had carried it with him until he fell, so the deceleration hadn’t completely crumpled it.

    “Omega, status report,” said Deckard as he moved over to where Corey was. He lay on the ground, his armor frozen.

    “Armor is on lockdown from the impact. You’ll have to unlock it,” said Corey. The MJOLNIR suit was designed to lock down when massive acceleration occurred, and any deceleration would result in the death of its operation if its shields failed. The only reason Deckard hadn’t had an armor lockdown was due to the strength of his armor’s shielding. Deckard accessed the armor’s external interface, and initiated the procedure required to end lockdown. Within moments, Corey’s shields were up and he was able to move.

    “Sir, I’m hurt in a bad way over here,” said Eagle, his voice faint.

    “Get Fuzz up,” said Deckard to Corey, and Deckard rushed over to Eagle. A steel beam was protruding through Eagle’s armor, right through his stomach.

    “You have to pull it out, or the suit won’t regenerate,” said Eagle.

    “Alright, but it’s going to hurt like a bitch,” said Deckard. Eagle held his breath, and Deckard wrenched the beam free from Eagle’s stomach. Eagle grunted, and quickly placed a hand over his stomach to stop the blood flow.

    “How long until your suit starts repairs?” asked Deckard.

    “It’s starting now. Soon it will implant the base cells around my blood vessels to stop the bleeding. I’ll be ready to head out in about two minutes,” said Eagle.

    “Omega, grab your gear, we’re leaving in two minutes. Lara, we need an exit,” said Deckard.
    Corey grabbed his MA5K carbine, and Fuzz took one look at his MA5K and tossed it, the gun was now a twisted piece of metal. He drew his M7 SMG, and loaded a fresh magazine into it. He gave a thumbs up to Deckard, indicating that he was good to go.

    “I’ve updated your HUD with a new mission map. The explosion sent debris through most of the accesses. The enemy response team is having trouble getting through the rubble through us. Some BRAVO members have been confirmed. The new mission route will take you through the opposite end of the building, so that should buy you some time. I suggest you hurry,” responded Lara.

    “Eagle, you good to go?” asked Deckard, turning toward Eagle.

    “Yes sir,” said Eagle, who brought his M247 to bear. His armor was completely repaired, not a scratch on him.

    As one, Omega moved through the wreckage of their floor, and moved to what looked like a ten foot drop to the main floor. Only one or two enemy troops were in the lobby, and they were quickly dispatched by Fuzz, who shot each in the leg, his electric-charged ammo incapacitating them.
    Once the team got into the sublevels, the mission did not have any snags. Personnel levels were low, as they were probably evacuated as soon as word reached them that Imperial troops had infiltrated the building. They were able to plant their remaining charges on the weight-bearing supports, and were on their way back up to the surface when Lara opened the COM.

    “BRAVO has secured the level above. The only way out is through them. I can confirm that BRAVOs 0 and 3 are there, along with two unknowns, presumably also members of BRAVO,” said Lara. She added, “Delta has just broken COM silence. Their operation is underway. That must explain why the rest of the known BRAVO members aren’t here. Be extremely cautious.”

    “Your AI sure knows how to give a compliment,” said a voice. Omega immediately took cover, looking around them. They saw nothing.

    “Once again, you don’t know how to fight what you can’t see. My mean are surrounding you. I suggest you surrender now, or die,” said the voice.

    “Not a chance,” replied Eagle.

    Omega had walked right into an ambush without knowing it. Deckard checked his weapon, not daring to look around too much.

    “Lara, clear this COM. Switch up all our channels. The enemy has broken our signal. Then, give me a way to figure out where they are. They’re interfering with our HUDs, which means some signal is being sent,” said Deckard.
    At that moment, fire broke out. A large red beam of energy slammed into Deckard, sending him through a wall. A SPARTAN clad in black walked through the hole, the illusion apparently broken.

    “Deckard, the illusion is down for now. It’s using a form of data manipulation I’ve never seen. It isn’t Forerunner in origin at all!”

    Deckard got off the ground, his shielding reduced by 26%. He raised his rifle, firing right at the purple SPARTAN. Lightning quick, the SPARTAN raised his forearm, and a bright blue shield materialized, and all the rounds tore into the shield. When Deckard had run out of ammo, the purple SPARTAN, now labeled BRAVO-6 on Deckard’s HUD, lowered his shield, and raised another hand, palm out, at Deckard. Deckard didn’t even have time to react. He was slammed by the big red energy beam again, and was thrown back. His shielding held up, however, and he was able to push against the beam, and was able to raise himself off the ground. Deckard strained against the flow of energy, pushing against it with all his might. Just as Deckard’s energy shielding was finally going to give out, the energy beam stopped.

    “Get off him!” shouted Corey, and BRAVO-6 was wrenched off his feet and tossed back into the main fight. In a flash, Corey was back into the fray. Deckard loaded a fresh mag into his MA5K, and ran back into the room.

    It was chaos. BRAVO-1 was going head to head against Eagle. BRAVO-0 slammed a fist right into Eagle’s visor, and shattered it. Eagle, whose gun was split in two, probably by BRAVO-6, brought a knife to bear, and slammed it right into BRAVO-0’s hand. The blade glanced off BRAVO-0’s shield. There was a moment where the space behind BRAVO-0 was distorted, and then a black-clad SPARTAN grabbed hold of BRAVO-0, and the two were gone. Deckard rushed to Eagle, whose visor was already being repaired by his suit.

    “BRAVO-5 can teleport. Corey has is hands full,” was all Eagle said as he drew his own M7 SMG, and rushed to where Corey was. Corey was now pounding on a figure that Deckard’s HUD labeled as BRAVO-3, whose shields were still up.

    “BRAVO-3’s armor seems to be able to mimic others abilities. So far, however, it seems that he can only mimic properties of armors that feature primarily Forerunner components. He is unable to mimic Corey’s armor ability, for example,” said Lara over the COM.

    “Lara, we need to get out of here. The rest of the Brotherhood is going to be along at any moment!” shouted Deckard as he fired a salvo of rounds at BRAVO-3, who immediately disengaged with Corey.

    Fuzz fired at BRAVO-3 as well, his charged rounds making a massive amount of damage on the enemy SPARTAN’s shielding. At last, BRAVO-3’s shields were down, but just before Corey could move in for the kill, BRAVO-5 teleported next to BRAVO-3 and got the enemy SPARTAN out of the room.
    Before Omega could respond, BRAVO-5 was back with BRAVOs 0 and 6, and the fight was on again. BRAVO-6 fired beams from both his arms right into Corey, who flew back into a wall, and did not get up.
    BRAVO-5 appeared in front of Deckard, and slammed a fist right into Deckard’s visor. Deckard’s head snapped back, though his shielding still reduced the blow.

    Before Deckard could retaliate, BRAVO-5 was gone.

    “I love a good distraction,” said a voice behind Deckard. BRAVO-0 had snuck up behind him while BRAVO-5 had struck him. Deckard felt a sharp pain in his back, and he dropped to the ground, and rolled over. Deckard pulled out his M7 SMG, and unloaded his entire magazine into BRAVO-0, who was forced to fall back. Eagle then engaged him, while Deckard struggled to get up.
    Fuzz came over to help, firing his carbine at BRAVO-6 at the same time to prevent BRAVO-6 from finishing Corey off.

    “Corey is down. Eagle, grab him and get out!” shouted Deckard, who was finally able to remove the blade from his back. How was he stabbed?

    “BRAVO-0 was able to reformat your HUD again. I’ve been fighting this whole time to prevent any deception by him, but I can’t seem to pin it down. He has put some sort of toxin on those blades; you have to get back to Imperial territory now! I’ve signaled the pilot, ETA is three minutes.

    Already, Deckard was beginning to feel faint. His suit began to distribute countermeasures against the toxin. His vision was beginning to blur, so his suit notified him that it had released an increased level of adrenaline. He had a ruptured lung, and his kidneys were beginning to fail. He doubted that he would last three minutes.

    “Omega, get the hell out of here,” said Deckard.

    Fuzz and Eagle edged toward the exit, and climbed the short stairs while practically carrying Deckard and Corey. Deckard tried to fire his weapon to the best of his ability, but he was barely doing more than offering minor amounts of suppression. He briefly lost consciousness.

    “Omega, Delta has accomplished their mission, but we’ve lost contact with them. You’ll be dropped off at their last known location,” Deckard heard over the COM as he woke up. A mission counter was ticking in the top corner of his HUD. It indicated that they had moments to go until the dropship arrived.

    “Strike package Eta is away,” sounded a pilot over the COM. Deckard saw a blaze of fire not far from him.

    “We’re going to need more than that!” shouted Fuzz, who turned to put three rounds into an enemy SPARTAN, who went down.

    Eagled shouted, “Deckard, we need you in this fight!”

    Deckard roused himself, and grabbed his own sidearm. He felt as though every movement was a strain and every reflex was greatly reduced. He fired two rounds, which pierced an enemy’s chest, and he fell right down after a spray of red blood.
    Lara’s voice filled the COM. “BRAVO has disappeared. They might be heading to Delta’s last known location. We need to beat them there! Deckard, get in the damned dropship!”

    Deckard limped toward the dropship while Fuzz and Eagle covered him. Corey’s slumped form was already in the troop bay. Eagle had to help Deckard get in at the last moment, tossing him in.

    “Omega is on board, get us out of here!” shouted Eagle as he tossed his now empty M7 SMG out of the open bay. The bay closed, and Deckard felt a lurch as the dropship began its ascension.

    “We have you covered Omega,” said another pilot outside the dropship. He flew a UV-12 Sparrowhawk.

    “The attack has commenced Omega. You are needed in several sectors of the city. You will be flown to them by priority, with Delta coming first.”

    Those were the last words that Deckard heard.
    Last edited by WSxPhoenix; 05-11-2012 at 12:16 PM.




    "You must begin by gaining power over yourself; then another; then a group, an order, a world, a species, a group of species; finally, the galaxy itself."

    Monday: 4:30-6:30
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  6. #6
    Forerunner of Fire and Divinity WSxPhoenix's Avatar
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    Re: Forerunner Conflict: The Ruins of Reach

    Eric woke to the sound of cannon fire. The sound seemed distant, as if he were hearing it from a long way off. That wasn’t right, he knew. Eric was right in the middle of a battle. He struggled to open his eyes.

    His HUD was flashing red, indicating that his shielding was down, and that his armor was struggling to recharge it. There was too much external pressure on the armor to charge the shield. Yet, Eric didn’t care, he was still struggling to be awake.

    On the radio, he heard, “Delta is somewhere underneath all that. We need to get them out of there.” That was Eagle’s voice. Why was he here? Shouldn’t he be at Strong Tower?

    “I’ve found Eric. I’m transferring myself to his armor. You’ll see his location soon,” said a voice. The voice was Lara, Deckard’s AI. Why wasn’t Deckard
    responding to her?

    Eric’s HUD flashed deep blue in front of his eyes. He could hear Lara’s voice.

    “Eric, you’re in shock. I’m going to activate your suit’s power. Do not be alarmed,” said Lara. Why on Earth should Eric be alarmed? Everything was just fine. A moment later, all the rubble that lay on top of Eric was blown out in a circle around him. He struggled to see in the bright sunlight, until his helmet’s visor adjusted to the light.

    “Eric, I’m administering adrenaline. This will hurt.”

    “Ow! Son of a bitch!” shouted Eric. A pain had shot into his chest, and he was forced to snap out of the dreamlike state that he had been enjoying. A
    tingling, energetic sensation spread throughout his limbs.

    “Sorry. It was the only way you would snap out of it quickly. We have a bit of a situation,” said Lara, who began bringing up several NAV points on Eric’s HUD. These are the locations of your team. The enemy is bringing a whole armored division here to secure this location. Your team needs to be out of the ground by then. You are the only one with the power to lift the rubble off of them.”

    “Lara, I can lift a tank on a good day, but there’s no way I can lift all of that,” said Eric, who was searching for a weapon. His rifle lay on the ground, a twisted heap of metal.

    “You’re going to have to try. You are our only hope of getting them out of there on time. Otherwise, we have to activate the Contingency Protocol,” said Lara grimly.

    The Contingency Protocol was foundational in both Omega and Delta’s oath. If incapacitated in the field, command would activate a sequence that would destabilize their fusion core’s reactor in their suits. The resulting chain reaction would cause something akin to a localized firestorm.

    “Okay, I’ll have a go at it. Omega, cover me,” said Eric, who ducked after a high caliber round slammed into the ground in front of him.

    A massive group of enemy soldiers charged into the area, taking cover at various points in the rubble. Unfortunately for them, three UH-144 Falcons flew overhead, their guns tearing into the line of soldiers. Some went down, while others found cover. Eagle’s M247 tore into three soldiers, while the rest of Omega,
    without Deckard, Eric noticed, fired well-placed rounds into the enemy.

    Eric sprinted to Jeff’s location, as the NAV indicator showed that he was closest to the surface. At once, Eric began to lift the rubble, his armor’s energy-use indicator showing a massive spike. Part of how his armor’s ability functioned was based on energy use, and another was based on Eric’s own concentration. After a few seconds, Eric had the rubble out of the way.

    “Jeff, do you read me?” asked Eric loudly, as four small rounds slammed into his shields. He dropped to the ground, and crawled to Jeff.

    Jeff lifted his sniper rifle, undamaged and fully-loaded, and gave Eric a thumbs-up. In a motion that Eric almost couldn’t follow, Jeff was up, and firing rounds from his rifle. Eric followed the smoke trails from the rounds, and saw three men go down, large holes now in their chest.

    “Omega, secure the Colonel’s location, we’re heading there next,” said Eric, and Jeff nodded. The pair of them ran in an all-out sprint, taking fire from the enemy. Jeff turned, pointing his rifle with one hand, and fired, a round slamming into a man’s knee, effectively severing it.

    “I missed,” said Jeff.

    “Everyone has their off days,” said Eric as he dove into cover. Eric saw Eagle lay down suppressing fire at the enemy, while Corey and Fuzz closed the distance to enter into close-quarters.

    “Colonel, do you read me?” asked Eric.

    “Get me the hell out of here Eric! I hate tight quarters. It’s why I don’t like space travel,” said the Colonel.

    The Colonel was the deepest into the ground. Eric supposed it was because he had been right on top of most of the explosives that had gone off. Eric tried and tried to move most of the rubble, but his armor just couldn’t handle the strain. Eric became worried. If they couldn’t get the Colonel out…

    “That’s it, I’m going to do it myself!” shouted the Colonel, and Eric detected a massive spike in energy.

    A large piece of rubble shot into the air, as several more were tossed about. Whatever piece the Colonel didn’t shatter, he simply threw.

    “I told you,” said the Colonel, “I fucking hate tight quarters.”

    “Let’s get to Andimion before the enemy does,” said Jeff, who was loading a fresh extended magazine into his rifle.

    “Agreed,” said Eagle.

    “I hate to bring in more bad news, but BRAVO is regrouping, and is bringing their whole team to the battle. It seems we haven’t seen all of them,” reported Lara. She placed an ETA timer on all of their HUDs.

    “Get me out of here already!” shouted Andimion over the COM.

    Between the Colonel and Eric, the rubble around Andimion was shifted. The Colonel’s labored breathing sounded over the COM, and Eric suspected that the strain of constantly using his armor’s ability was getting to him. Nonetheless, he did not say a word about it, and Eric knew enough not to ask.

    “BRAVO has arrived on site,” said Lara.

    Eric looked around, not seeing BRAVO at all. At that moment, the UH-144 Falcons that had been providing covering fire for both Delta and Omega ignited. A beam of energy lanced through one, while another was shot down by a rocket. The last, however, had a Spartan on top of it, who ripped apart one rotor from
    the chopper. The UH-144 spiraled to the ground, and the Spartan vanished before it hit the ground.

    “Where’s Deckard?” asked the Colonel. Eric had been wondering the same thing.

    “He’s back at command. One of BRAVO uses a neurotoxin in his blades,” said Fuzz.

    “I’m taking over total visual command of your HUDs. It’s the only what I know how to ensure that BRAVO-0 can’t project false imagery on your screens. I will be labeling and highlighting the enemy in real-time. Jeff, I’ll be synching with your AI, which should help boost processing power on your reflexes, as well as help me keep BRAVO-0 out of your HUDs.”

    “With Deckard gone, I’m taking tactical command of this operation. We don’t leave this spot until BRAVO retreats. There is no way this invasion is successful until they stop fighting,” said the Colonel.

    All seven members of BRAVO walked through the smoke, the burning UH-144 Falcons behind them.

    “Weapon drop Delta and Omega. You have full air-support at your disposal,” said a technician on their COM. Eight canisters dropped from above, presumably from orbit. Eric drew an M-45 Shotgun, an M7 SMG, and an M392 DMR. Most of Delta and Omega did the same, though Eagle chose to keep his M247, and the Colonel chose to use an M7057 Flamethrower, and on his back was an M41 Rocket Launcher. Corey held an SGM-151 Missile Launcher in both hands.

    “Eric, you’re with Fuzz and I. We’re taking on BRAVOs 1,2, and 3. Eagle, you cover Corey while he lays down the heavy explosive fire. You coordinate those shots with our AI’s to achieve lock-on. Andimion, you and Jeff engage the rest of BRAVO at extreme range. Do not let them get close to us.

    On Eric’s HUD, all of them gave a green confirmation light. Just like that, the battle was on.

    BRAVO-6 fired a beam of energy at Corey, who fell back. Eagle fired right back at Bravo -6, who was forced to bring up his arms, a round energy shield forming as he did.

    Eric fired his M392 at BRAVO-1, who took cover. A second later, electric-blue arcs of electricity fired off in different directions from behind the cover that BRAVO-1 was behind. Before Eric could even react, an arc of lightning slammed into his chest, completely overloading his shielding. He hit the ground on his back, unable to clear his vision. The Colonel poured flames onto BRAVO-1’s position, allowing Eric time to get up. As Eric got to his feet, he saw BRAVO-5 appear right next to the Colonel, and attempted to force the end of the Colonel’s flamethrower back into the Colonel’s face. Unfortunately for BRAVO-5, the Colonel activated his armor’s ability, and was able to turn the flamethrower away, right back at BRAVO-5. BRAVO-5 was bathed in flame before he vanished from sight.

    “Eric, get BRAVO-1 to hit you again,” said Lara on the COM.

    As Eric turned to engage BRAVO-1 again, BRAVO-2 fired his assault rifle at Eric, which forced him to duck into a crater. The Colonel raised the COM. “Engage Strike Package Gamma,” he said, as he pulled out his sidearm to suppress BRAVO-2.

    From somewhere behind Eric, a B-65 Shortsword Bomber fired hundreds of rounds at the ground in front of Eric, which erupted all around BRAVO-1.

    BRAVO-1’s shielding held up briefly, and then several rounds tore through his torso. BRAVO-5 appeared, taking BRAVO-1 with him.

    “So much for that plan,” said Eric, who reached behind his back to grab his M-45 shotgun. BRAVO-5 appeared again, this time with BRAVO-6 and BRAVO-4.

    Fuzz fired several electrically charged rounds at BRAVO-6, who responded by bringing up the shields on his arms. BRAVO-4 launched himself at Fuzz, who slammed his foot into BRAVO-4’s knee, which buckled.

    Before Fuzz could continue any further, BRAVO-6 fired another beam of energy at Fuzz, who was tossed through the air. When he landed, Fuzz shouted over the COM.

    “Lara, activate protection!” shouted Fuzz as he brought his knuckles together. A wave of electricity shot through the air, engulfing the battlefield with a highly charged atmosphere.

    “Enemy scans and HUDs are down. You have about fifteen seconds until they reboot,” said Lara. Apparently, Lara was able to protect Omega and Delta from the effects of Fuzz's armor.

    “Engage,” said the Colonel.

    All of BRAVO were blind for the next fifteen seconds. Corey fired a salvo of missiles at BRAVO-4. Before BRAVO-4 was hit, however, BRAVO-3 appeared, having apparently copied BRAVO-5’s power. He disappeared with BRAVO-4.

    “How can he see?” asked Eric.

    “He must have copied Fuzz’s power as well. Fuzz’s armor is immune to the effects of his armor’s abilities,”

    Within moments, all of BRAVO was gone.

    “Regroup,” said the Colonel, who tossed his now-empty flamethrower to the ground. He drew his sidearm instead. Eric, the Colonel, and Fuzz crouched low, each other watching another line of sight. Corey, Andimion, Eagle, and Jeff joined them, their rifles out.

    The attack came from within. BRAVOs 5 and 3 appeared in their midst, dropping a shaped charge in the middle of them. Eric used his armor’s ability to toss it into the air, and they all scattered. The explosion was enough to lift Eric off his feet, sending him sprawling into the rubble.

    BRAVO-5 appeared in front of him, slamming a foot into Eric’s face, sending him rolling on the ground. Before Eric could level his shotgun at BRAVO-5, he had disappeared, appearing behind Eric. Eric had just enough time to activate his armor’s ability, sending a pulse around him, which resulted in BRAVO-5 getting tossed into the air, though he disappeared before he hit the ground. Eric then engaged BRAVO-2, who stepped in to attack Eric. BRAVO-2 wielded an MA5C assault rifle. Eric could not keep track of him on motion tracker, so he had to maintain visual contact with BRAVO-2. The pair of them continued trading shots, neither refusing to leave cover. Every time BRAVO-2 forced Eric into cover, he would change positions, which was problematic for Eric, as Eric could not track him on the motion tracker. If things kept up this way, he would lose this fight. He needed to change tactics.

    Eric fired his shotgun twice, sending BRAVO-2 into cover. As soon as BRAVO-2 ducked out of sight behind what was left of a support column. Eric activated his armor ability, crushing the base of the column and, with great effort, slammed the column down on BRAVO-2. Even while pinned down, BRAVO-2 continued to fight. BRAVO-2 pulled out his sidearm, and fired three rounds into Eric’s shielding before Eric used his armor to relieve the man of his weapon. Eric walked over, his own sidearm raised. BRAVO-2’s armor was broken in several places, and his visor was shattered. The man’s eye had a piece of shrapnel inside it, and blood poured from a major wound in his cheek. Eric pointed his sidearm at the man’s face.

    Before he could pull the trigger, the Colonel sounded on the COM. “Eric, get your ass up here, we’ve need mobile cover,” the Colonel said. Eric put his sidearm back on this thigh holster, and climbed out of the crater he was fighting in. BRAVO-2 wasn’t going anywhere.

    As soon as he entered the battle again, he was engaged by BRAVO-3, who used Eric’s own armor ability to send a large piece of rubble at him.

    “Let’s see how much concentration you have,” said Eric as he activated his armor. The piece of rubble stopped in mid-air. Eric immediately felt the pressure of keeping that piece of rubble extended. Normally, Eric would exert just enough force and energy to lift and object and throw it, letting gravity mostly do the work for him after that point. Keeping such a heavy object suspended, however, required significantly more energy and concentration.

    “Fuzz, hit BRAVO-3,” said Eric.

    Three electrically charged rounds slammed into BRAVO-3, whose shielding had already dissipated due to the amount of energy required to keep the rubble up. BRAVO-3’s armor shut completely down, unable to maintain power. Andimion materialized next to him, having deactivated his armor’s stealth measures. He slammed a knife into the man’s back, and said, “That’s payback for the beach.” Andimion disappeared once more.

    “I need some cover Eric!” shouted the Colonel. He was engaging three Spartans at once, BRAVOs 0,1, and 6. He slammed a fist into BRAVO-1, who crashed into what used to be a solid concrete wall. He left a Spartan shaped imprint, and appeared to be trapped in the concrete. BRAVO-0 had his knives out, ruthlessly attempting to stab the Colonel at any opportunity. The Colonel was repeatedly beating down on BRAVO-6’s arm shielding, which eventually broke. BRAVO-6 slammed the Colonel with an energy blast, sending him into the air. Eric wondered how much the Colonel had in him after using his armor so much.

    As ordered, Eric brought the concrete wall that BRAVO-1 was stuck in down on the side that BRAVO-1 was on, which effectively pinned BRAVO-1 and BRAVO-0 down. Eric grinned in satisfaction, though it was short-lived, as BRAVO-6 fired beams of energy from both hands right into Eric’s chest. Eric’s shields instantly powered down, and he felt the energy beams began to burn the exterior of his armor. His suit was beginning to lose major function, and his HUD warned him that armor integrity was about to be lost. Eric was absolutely pinned.

    “Hang on Eric!” shouted Jeff, who flew into BRAVO-6, and the two rolled into the crumpled remains of a tank. Apparently, the Colonel had tossed Jeff. Jeff raised a fist, ready to slam down onto BRAVO-6’s visor, but the enemy Spartan caught his wrist, and fired an energy beam, which effectively severed Jeff’s arm at the elbow.

    “No!” screamed Eric, who struggled to raise himself up. His armor was too badly damaged to continue movement, so Eric frantically began to take his armor off, trying desperately to be able to get up and help Jeff.

    Jeff was not out of the fight, even without a useable arm. He brought a knee up into BRAVO-6’s chin, and the enemy Spartan was lifted into the air. Jeff brought up an SMG with his other arm, and fired a full magazine into BRAVO-6, who did not have time to raise his arm shields. Bullets tore through the enemy Spartan’s armor, some even drawing blood. BRAVO-6 landed, and struggled to move. BRAVO-5 appeared next to BRAVO-6, and the two Spartans were gone.

    Eventually, Eric was able to get free of his armor, and he picked up his M-45 shotgun. He rushed to Jeff, who was sitting against the destroyed tank.

    “Jeff, report.”

    “Major blood loss. Suit says I’ve got about three minutes,” said Jeff in a labored voice.

    Eric did not have any words to say.

    “My AI is shutting down. Without brain activity, it’s function will also discontinue,” continued Jeff, who began coughing. His helmet was integrated with his head, so there was no way to take it off.

    At that moment, BRAVO-5 appeared again, and grabbed Eric by the arm, and tossed him. Eric flew through the air, slamming into the ground. He felt something in his leg snap, and a blinding pain shot through his body. Still, he had held onto his shotgun, and he racked a round, ready to fight. BRAVO-5 appeared in front of him, but Eric was ready. He fired the shotgun right into the stomach of BRAVO-5, the enemy’s shields popped. Eric rushed him, slamming the butt of the shotgun into the Spartan’s visor, breaking it. He pumped another round into the shotgun, but that gave BRAVO-5 the opportunity to kick him in the chest. BRAVO-5 raised a fist, but halted just short of Eric’s face, his attention elsewhere. In a flash, BRAVO-5 disappeared. Eric coughed up blood, and wondered if one of his ribs had broken. He struggled to climb a pile of rubble, trying to see what was going on in the battle.

    The Colonel was on the ground, unable to fight anymore, and Corey was wrestling with BRAVO-0, the latter apparently limping. Corey was using his suits augmentation, which was evident in how Corey was attempting to savagely rip BRAVO-0 apart. BRAVO-0 was a better hand-to-hand fighter, however, and it did not take long for him to slam a knife down onto Corey’s arm. BRAVO-0 twisted the knife, and the arm, outright, and he slammed a knee into Corey’s stomach, which brought him down.

    BRAVO-0 raised a hand to his visor, and signaled the remaining BRAVO members to retreat. BRAVO-5 appeared next to BRAVO-0, and the two of them were gone. Eric called out to Eagle, who was crouched with Jeff. Eagle sent Fuzz over to check Eric out.

    “You’ve got a broken rib, and a seriously messed up knee. Other than that, you’ll live. What happened to your armor?” asked Fuzz. Eric pointed to where the armor lay, and Fuzz retrieved it.

    “Jeff’s gone, both him and the AI. Bled out right there on the ground. There was no way any of us could have reached him in time,” said Fuzz, who was leading Eric to an incoming UH-144 Falcon.

    “Blackthorn is effectively ours. Brotherhood forces are retreating right into Danta, which we planned on. We’ve got a two-day down time ahead of us before we do a zero-G op. The Colonel will fill us in whenever he recovers. Deckard has recovered from the toxin, so we’ll get Corey back to the beach as soon as we can. Lara has transferred out of your suit and into Andimion’s for the time being. We’ve got BRAVO-2’s suit shut down, and he’ll be getting a cell in the brig. Command wants us to interrogate him ourselves.”

    Fuzz helped Eric into the Falcon’s seat, Andimion sliding into the seat next to his. Within a few seconds, the rest of Omega and Delta were strapped in, conscious or not. The Falcon flew toward the beach. Eric fought to remain conscious, right up until Jeff’s suit initiated Contingency Protocol. The sky lit up in a brilliant flash, and fire consumed what was left of the vehicle depot. A fitting funeral, for a good warrior.
    Last edited by WSxPhoenix; 05-11-2012 at 07:43 PM.




    "You must begin by gaining power over yourself; then another; then a group, an order, a world, a species, a group of species; finally, the galaxy itself."

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  7. #7
    Forerunner of Fire and Divinity WSxPhoenix's Avatar
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    Re: Forerunner Conflict: The Ruins of Reach

    SPARTAN- B000 walked into the underground infirmary located deep in the heart of the Danta Ruins. His name was Sam, and he led BRAVO. He was limping, slightly, though he made every effort not to show it. Morale was low when the SPARTANs performed badly on the battlefield. Most of the soldiers did not take note, however, that the other side had SPARTANs as well. This war was unlike any that humanity ever faced, with enhanced soldiers fighting on both sides, on several different frontiers. Sam knew this well.

    Sam’s life was dedicated to service, first by serving his team, then by serving his Field Marshal, with whom he reported to directly. He would be having a meeting with the Field Marshal directly after he checked on his troops. The first member of his team he checked on was BRAVO-1, also known to the rest of BRAVO as Allan. Allan had taken the most damage in their fight with the enemy operations teams under the program, which the Brotherhood had discovered, was called Task Force Epsilon, or TFE. Allan’s entire torso had been shot through with enemy aircraft guns. Luckily, BRAVO-3 had given Allan his armor. The armor had absorbed one of the members of TFE’s abilities. This ability altered BRAVO-3’s armor, covering it with nano-technology. Basically, BRAVO-3’s armor was healing Allan.

    Unfortunately, that meant the armor wasn’t healing BRAVO-3, whose name was Lucius. Lucius had been stabbed in the back during the fight, and his vitals had been rising and dropping for the past hour, even after several hours of surgery. The medical staff believed that Lucius would survive, though how his injury would affect his combat ability, was still unknown.

    What was bothering Sam the most was Victor’s, BRAVO-2’s, capture. When BRAVO was enacting the retreat order, Victor’s armor was non-responsive, and he could not be located. Sam’s theory was that Victor’s armor’s transmitter had been crushed by TFE.

    Sam was frustrated at his armor’s inability to project the images he wanted onto the enemy HUDs. Almost as soon as the fight started, his armor had been rendered useless. Sam’s armor had never failed him in battle before. No AI in the entire Empire had the capability to compete with his armor’s ability to infiltrate combat systems, which made Sam think that TFE’s AI was not made in the Empire. Maybe the AI was much older than that, just like Sam’s AI. Sam’s AI had no name, and did not want one. The AI worked like a mist, moving in slowly, and covering everything up in fog and deception. Often, Sam would not even need to consciously ask the AI to activate, the AI already knew what Sam wanted to project onto the enemy HUDs, and would activate before Sam could say anything. Sam would make the TFE’s AI a priority, that was for sure.

    “How are you Allan?” asked Sam, who crossed his arms.

    “Good sir, I’m combat-ready. I’m just going to see what’s up with my armor right now,” said Allan.

    “Good. The technicians tell me that they have already replaced the damaged components, and that they have even managed to find a way to use your armor’s ability to boost your shielding. That should prevent another episode like at Blackthorn,” said Sam.

    “That’s great sir. I’ll head over to the armory right now,”

    “Before you do, see if you can give Lucius his armor back. Maybe it can help him with his recovery too. We never know how long his armor can retain another armor’s ability,”

    Allan nodded and said, “Yes sir,” and walked off.

    Sam left the infirmary, and jogged to headquarters. When he arrived, he saw several of the unit leaders arrayed in a circle, an open spot in the middle left for him. The Field Marshal chose to meet via hologram at every meeting, probably to prevent an Imperial informant relaying information on his whereabouts. This meeting in particular was unusual, as the Field Marshal had not held a meeting for over a month. The entire military command had been without new orders for that entire time, and so the Brotherhood had assumed a defensive stance until orders could be given. Many assumed the Field Marshal was away, working on mustering forces to push toward the Inner Colonies, and to Earth itself. The Brotherhood had been nearly on Earth’s doorstep for some time, though recently the Empire had shown signs of increased resistance. When the Brotherhood had sent a task force into the Inner Colonies, the Empire had wiped out the entire force, leaving no survivors. After that event, the Field Marshal had left without word.

    Sam stood in his place at the middle, his Blue armor shining in the light as a holographic image of the Field Marshal appeared. The Field Marshal’s projected size was nearly twice that of a normal SPARTAN, so that all present could see him. Like Sam, the Field Marshal wore MJOLNIR armor, though many parts and places of the armor were entirely different from any SPARTAN that Sam had encountered.

    “I understand that Blackthorn has fallen,” said the Field Marshal. He did not move, or even breathe loudly, nor gave any indication that he was frustrated at all with the command staff.

    “Blackthorn’s fall was predictable. You have not been reinforced in some time, and they completely control the orbit around Reach. I do not blame you, nor do I commend you for your efforts. I expect excellence, and control, even when faced with odds that do not favor you. Sam, I am most disappointed in your failure to eradicate the enemy Task Force Epsilon. As I understand it, our intelligence network has worked tirelessly to give you as much information as possible on Task Force Epsilon for months, and yet they still gained the upper hand. As such, I do expect much more from you than any present here. Your unit has never lost a battle until the Imperial incursion on Reach. Do not fail this Brotherhood again,” said the Field Marshal, who merely tilted his head in Sam’s direction.

    “Yes sir,” said Sam, who looked down. The Field Marshal was not one to trifle with.

    “In any case, I am informing you all that a full one-third of the Brotherhood Navy has been dispatched to your sector, and another one-third will be dispatched when available. Reach is more important than you know. I myself will be arriving within four hours to oversee the defense of this planet, and especially the defense of the very ruins that you now stand in. I am bringing in General Winston from Flashpoint Station to take total command of your forces. All forces on Reach, with the exception of BRAVO team, will take their orders from General Winston. I will personally oversee any and all operations conducted by BRAVO team, and from this moment onward, those operations may be conducted without any notification to you. Your assets can and will be commandeered by BRAVO at any time, and I expect your full compliance in this,” said the Field Marshal.

    The room rang out with many ‘yes sirs.’

    “The entire command staff, with the exception of SPARTAN-B000 is now dismissed,” said the Field Marshal, who waited patiently as the command staff left the room.

    “Sam, I must say that I would trust no other with this information than you. Your team is the only unit who has the skills and knowledge that could win this war. Up until now, the Empire has not known why it loses so many of its battles, due in part to our policy of leaving no survivors, with the exception of the slaves. You know, as well as I, that the reason that our victories have been swift is due to the Forerunner technology that we have been able to recover. My own armor’s power can wipe out an entire fleet, and your armor can easily overwhelm their ability to use long-ranged communications. Once we attack a planet, they have no warning, no time to marshal a defense, and no ability to call for aid. The Empire has not been any the wiser, until now. Task Force Epsilon represents the Empire’s new initiative in obtaining Forerunner technology, and our only conclusion is that they suspect that we have done the same. Task Force Epsilon is as great a threat to us, as BRAVO is to the Empire. But I am not speaking to you to tell you what you already know, I am speaking to you to inform you that I have made an alliance that will ensure that the Empire will be too busy to prevent us from activating the Ruins of Danta. The Empire suspects that our occupation here is why we have been able to gain so much Forerunner technology, but they do not know our true purpose here. I have spent the last month opening talks with the Jiralhanae, also known as the Brutes,” said the Field Marshal.

    Sam’s eyes widened, and was glad that his helmet hid this. This war was a human war, and so far the old Covenant races had remained distant. Less contact had been had with the Jiralhanae than with the Sangheili. Something did not feel right about this. Nonetheless, Sam let the Field Marshal continue.

    “The Jiralhanae are a warlike people, and without an enemy to fight, they have turned on each other. I met with several chieftains, and they all agreed that a fight with the old UNSC, now the Empire, would suit them well in uniting the clans. They have elected a new Chieftain, one who will lead their entire people. His name is Tartarus the Second, a direct descendant of their Chieftain during the Human-Covenant war. He has been given the Fist of Rukt by his people. He, and a small naval detachment, will be arriving on Reach with me. The Imperial fleet will be no match for Jiralhanae war vessels that continue to utilize Covenant-type technology. All we need to do is to offer the Jiralhanae access to the Forerunner research that we have conducted, so they may better utilize it for their people. A fair trade for a burning Earth, wouldn’t you say?” asked the Field Marshal.

    Sam did not agree, but he could not openly voice his opinion, so he simply said, “Yes sir.”

    “You will see in time Sam. The Empire will not stand a chance,” said the Field Marshal, and his hologram disappeared.

    ………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………… ……………………….......

    Andimion was furious. Jeff was dead, and several members of Delta and Omega were down. The Colonel had nearly lapsed into a coma after their battle with BRAVO, Deckard had been poisoned, Eric had several broken bones and an injured kidney and liver, and a ruptured lung. Corey’s arm had been stripped of most of its skin, and his other arm had been stabbed with a toxic knife. In short, BRAVO had kicked their asses, hard.

    “Andimion, there wasn’t a single thing anyone could do about Jeff. The closest one of us was Eric, and his armor was too far gone to allow him to fight BRAVO-5,” said Lara. Andimion was back on the Athena, and he had just gotten back from visiting Delta and Omega in the infirmary. Deckard was already recovered from his condition, and Corey was awake and anxiously awaiting for the doctor to release him. Eric had received flash organs, and his bones were mending at an accelerated rate, thanks to his augmentations. The Colonel was swearing at every single doctor who told him to rest up, or he would not be given combat-worthy status.

    Andimion had been back on the Athena for about seven hours. In that time, Lara had discovered that the Strong Tower had not been detonated. Andimion, being naturally curious and wise to hidden agendas, had requested a meeting with the General about the matter. When it was time for the meeting, Andimion reported at the Captain’s quarters, which the General had requested for their use.

    “Andimion, tell me what your AI has found,” said the General.

    A bright blue display showed Strong Tower, still standing.

    “General, Omega was sent in to take out this objective, and Deckard was injured while fighting there. Delta was deployed at the vehicle depot to divert the Brotherhood forces near Strong Tower to defend it. As this battle comes to an end, however, the tower still stands,” said Lara. She had a habit of not recognizing authority. The only people she felt she answered to were a very few SPARTANs in Task Force Epsilon, Andimion being one of them.

    “Sir, we took the city even with that enemy AI in that building intact. Why did we even attack Strong Tower?” asked Andimion, who did his best to hide any accusation in his voice.

    “Strong Tower was never the primary objective, just the AI. When BRAVO pulled out of there, we knew that Strong Tower’s defenses were pretty much taken out by Omega. After Omega came to help you, we had several teams sweep the building and secure that AI. I was not permitted to reveal to your team the real reason we attacked Strong Tower, until now. The AI that ran that city was not of human origin. We took it for analysis, rather than allowing it to be destroyed. The AI is currently held on an Imperial Carrier named the Enlightenment, located on the edge of the system,” said the General, who let out a sigh.

    “Sir, you should have told us all the information. Any information about an op that is not revealed to us can endanger us. Now Jeff is dead, and several of our team were needlessly injured,” said Andimion, not caring if he offended the General.

    “The classification order came from above my paygrade SPARTAN,” said the General, who looked right at Andimion’s faceplate.

    “Sir, there isn’t anyone above your paygrade except-“ said Andimion, who halted mid-sentence.

    “Except for the Emperor, yes,” said the General.

    “If I may interrupt General, but are you telling me that you have captured AI that is not of human origin within the fleet? This is highly unrecommended. That AI could have more power than me, or Jeff, or even us both combined. If the AI is of Forerunner origins, the entire fleet could be compromised.

    “Have you detected any anomalies in communication or in security Lara?” asked the General, who folded his hands and rest his chin on them.

    “No General,” said Lara.

    “Then I do not believe we have been compromised. I do not like this situation any more than any of Task Force Epsilon. However, I have my orders, and those orders leave no room for misinterpretation. Do I make myself clear?” said the General.

    “Yes sir,” said Andimion, who rose from his chair.

    “Dismissed,” said the General.

    When Andimion exited the room out into the hall, he spoke to Lara.

    “You trust him?” asked Andimion.

    “I trust his sense of duty. I do not necessarily trust who he is serving,” said Lara in a matter-of-fact tone.

    “I sympathize with that,” said Andimion.

    Up until today, Andimion had not had a reason to mistrust the Empire. With one dead friend, and several friends who got hurt, Andimion could not justify secrecy. Something was wrong in the Empire, and Andimion would remain vigilant until it came to light.




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  8. #8
    Forerunner of Fire and Divinity WSxPhoenix's Avatar
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    Re: Forerunner Conflict: The Ruins of Reach

    Andimion stepped into the interrogation room. Despite what he and Lara had discovered about their previous mission, the interrogation of their prisoner was far more important than the General’s deception.

    The prisoner, Lara had found out his name was Victor, had a stasis collar around his head, which effectively immobilized his body. Andimion, in full armor, pulled a large steel chair, intended for SPARTAN occupants, and sat across from the prisoner.

    “Lara, lower the power on the stasis collar, please.”

    “Yes Andimion,” said Lara.

    The lights around the stasis collar winked off, and the prisoner jerked his head up.

    “Don’t attempt to remove the collar. Lara, our AI, will activate it before you even touch it,” said Andimion calmly. His contempt for the prisoner was held at bay, since he intended to begin the interrogation calmly, if only because he was a prisoner, not a victim. In the back of his head, Andimion wondered if prisoners of the Brotherhood were treated this well. Probably not.

    “Why haven’t you killed me?” asked Victor as he sat up straight in his chair. He made no attempt to escape, as it was doubtful he could take on Andimion in his full MJOLNIR armor, and be able to override Lara’s sealing the room. He was trapped, and he knew it. Andimion smirked.

    “Because you have your uses, and because we don’t, as a policy, kill our prisoners. Understand, however, that your squad killed our man, and there are always exceptions to every policy,” replied Andimion.

    “Look man, I’m a SPARTAN. You have no chance of getting anything out of me,” stated Victor, who looked questioningly at Andimion.

    “I’m well acquainted with your training, as lackluster as it must be in the Brotherhood. I’m not going to beat a confession out of you. If we thought it would work, I’m sure we would have tried torture by now. I’m here to tell you how your situation is, and to offer you a choice,” said Andimion, still calmly.

    “Yeah? And what choice is that?” asked Victor, who appeared to be genuinely curious.

    “Right now, you are under my jurisdiction. My CO doesn’t want to bother with you, and, as a prisoner, you have to be under someone’s watch. I’m the lucky one of our squad. Right now, an Imperial capital ship is on its way to transfer you to Earth, right in the heart of the Empire, and far away from anyone in the Brotherhood who could find you, much less actually help you. We know that you can’t give away any compromising information, but we know you can definitely give us secondary information regarding, specifically, your squad. Lara, our AI, has already determined that your team has been augmented by Forerunner technology, similar to our team. However, what Lara doesn’t know, specifically, is where the Brotherhood acquired this technology. Most importantly, moreover, is why the Brotherhood has shown major interest in defending the Danta Ruins. If you are willing to disclose the information regarding these two areas, the Empire is more than willing to let you go. With your armor damaged, you are a significantly low threat to our squad and, frankly, you won’t be able to fight in the same capacity as your own BRAVO team as well. The damage to your eye was repairable, and we are willing to repair it, should you comply with our demands. This is our offer to you,” finished Andimion, who folded his hands in his lap.

    Victor closes his eyes, at least the best he could, for a moment. When he opened them, he spoke.

    “If you give me what’s left of my armor, you have yourself a deal.”

    Andimion sat still for a second, and then asked, “Lara?”

    “The armor has already had full diagnostics run on it, and I have determined it is of no further use to the Empire, or your team,” replied Lara.

    “Then, Victor, you have yourself a deal,” said Andimion. Andimion hated letting the scum go, but the information was too important to pass up.

    Andimion continued, “Lara is going to monitor your vitals through the stasis collar. If you even have a hint of a lie, she will put you in stasis and you will be handed over to the Emperor. Is that understood?” said Andimion.

    “Yes,” replied Victor.

    “Then begin,” said Andimion, who leaned back in his chair and waited.

    “The technology from our armor was found, for the most part, here on Reach. The Brotherhood knew that the Empire had no plans to terraform Reach for new population. This information was of no use until recently, when excavations on Harvest, the planet the Covenant first attacked in the Human-Covenant War, gave us a new insight on how Forerunner technology could be analyzed. My team leader was given an AI by the Field Marshal himself. The AI works like no other ever discovered, able to act like a biological virus, subtly invading networks and even through electrical wires as an impulse. The AI specializes in created deceptive imagery. From that point onward, the Brotherhood put maximum resources in discovering how Forerunner technology could be used to help us win battles. The result in our research and excavations of Harvest is the current iteration of BRAVO,” said Victor.

    “Tell me more about this AI,” interrupted Lara.

    “What would you like to know?” asked Victor.

    “How was the AI discovered? Was it encased in a metal sphere, or was it found in a more biological form?” asked Lara.

    “The Brotherhood deduced that the Forerunners had achieved mastery over biological control and augmentation. The AI was truly alive, found inside some biological samples taken from Forerunner containment ,” said Victor.

    “Those stupid fools…” said Lara.

    “Lara, explain please?” asked Andimion.

    “That AI is not Forerunner in origin. This is just a theory, mind you, but I believe that AI is what happens when a Flood form integrates with a Forerunner intelligence,” said Lara, whose voice sounded agitated.

    “Say what?” asked Andimion in alarm. He continued, “The Flood can integrate with an electronic artificial intelligence?”

    “Yes. As you know, I am a true Forerunner artificial intelligence. I am incapable of rampancy, and I am constantly updating and evolving to my surroundings. My choice to serve in the Empire fell entirely on Deckard, and now you. However, I function as a normal artificial intelligence should. I am more powerful and more expansive than your so-called ‘smart AI’, but I am nothing compared to a Flood Gravemind. When the Forerunners were fighting the Flood, they created an AI called Mendicant Bias to man the entire galactic defense against the Flood. Mendicant Bias was an AI similar to myself, and much more powerful and advanced than a Monitor of a Halo Installation. Mendicant Bias was tricked into becoming rampant during the Flood’s war with the Forerunners. Once the Flood broke through the Forerunner’s defense, thanks to Mendicant Bias, they were able to learn how to integrate their collective intelligence with that of Forerunner artificial intelligence. At the time, the Forerunners did not suspect that the Flood had achieved true integration with artificial intelligence, or they would have destroyed any and all link to greater technology as well as wiping out all sentient life in the galaxy,” stated Lara.

    “And the AI that Victor’s team is using is actually a Flood mind?” asked Andimion.

    “If my theory is correct, yes,” replied Lara.

    “Hold on a moment. You’re saying that my team is being controlled by the Flood?” asked Victor.

    “Not entirely, no. Your team, including your commanding officer, probably is not under the control of the Flood. More than likely, the Flood/AI hybrid created a smaller version of itself to give to your team leader. Your team leader’s AI, by comparison, is similar to how a ‘dumb AI’ is different from a ‘smart AI.’ The greater Flood mind is probably already in the Brotherhood network, directing and commanding from behind the scenes. Honestly, the AI could be in the Empire’s network as well. The AI your leader uses doesn’t have a mind of its own, and probably doesn’t have a real link to the greater Flood mind. Your leader’s AI was created with a specific purpose in mind, with a specific person to answer to, in order to enhance his combat capability,” said Lara.

    “So, in theory, the entire Brotherhood is under control of a Flood/AI hybrid?” asked Andimion.

    “In theory, yes,” replied Lara.

    Before the information could sink in, Andimion heard alarms go off on the Athena.

    “Lara, what’s going on?” he asked, getting up from his table. He saw Victor’s stasis collar blink on, and the man’s head dropped. Andimion walked over and picked him up, and slung him over his shoulder.

    “Unidentified ships entering the Epsilon Eridani System. Images are fuzzy but I can confirm they are Covenant in origin. No Brotherhood or Imperial vessels look like that,” said Lara, who brought up magnified images of the unknown vessels on Andimion’s HUD.

    “Where’s his armor?” asked Andimion.

    “In the armory, why?” asked Lara.

    “If he’s on an Imperial ship, he’s as much of a target as we are. Might as well keep our prisoner protected, at least until he can tell us about Danta,” said Andimion, who began running through the corridor to the nearest transport elevator. Task Force Epsilon had its own way of moving around the Athena, and Andimion was soon in the Task Force’s own armory. The rest of Delta and Omega were there.

    “What are you doing with that?” asked Deckard as he sealed his helmet, gold visor shining in the overhead light.

    “Have to protect our valuables,” said Andimion, who set Victor down.

    “His armor’s over there, in Jeff’s old case,” said the Colonel. Andimion detected bitterness in the Colonel’s voice… Andimion did not blame him.

    “I’m already set. Give me a moment to get him in the armor,” said Andimion.

    “The armor’s shattered anyway. Won’t be much good to him,” said Eric, who was just putting on his chest piece. The Athena was outfitted with the most advanced medical team and manufacturing line. The only components of Task Force Epsilon’s armor that were irreplaceable were the Forerunner artifacts that were contained within. The ship could make their entire armor sets in under a day, with the exception of the Forerunner components. The advancements in flash cloning had allowed Task Force Epsilon’s already accelerated recovery even more speed. Even with all of these advancements and provisions, Eric was still limping a bit. Andimion would have to watch out for him.

    When Andimion activated the storage unit that used to contain Jeff’s armor, he was startled to see an entirely repaired MJOLNIR suit before him.

    “Lara,” said Andimion.

    After a moment, Victor’s stasis collar winked off again. He immediately rose, though Andimion grabbed him by his shoulders to steady him, and forced him to face the armor.

    “Why is it fixed?” asked Andimion.

    “Part of the armor. The armor is made up mostly of what we determined was a high-class Forerunner combat suit. Apparently, it can fix itself,” replied Victor, who was still a bit dizzy from the stasis collar.

    “Apparently? You don’t even know what your armor does?” asked Andimion.

    “No, I don’t. I doubt anyone does in the entire Brotherhood. The armor is more theory than practice,” replied Victor.

    “Well, you’re awake now, get it on,” said Andimion.

    “What makes you think I won’t escape?” asked Victor.

    “Because the Athena is the most advanced in the entire Imperial Navy. We have the strongest energy shield system in the Imperial Navy, a technology piece the Brotherhood has yet to perfect. You couldn’t get out of the energy shielding alone, assuming you overpower the seven of us with your armor, fight your way through the whole ship, outsmart an AI that has survived over thousands of years, and then, even if you made it outside of the ship, you would somehow have to survive a Human-Covenant naval engagement, and make your way down to the surface of the planet, bypass the Imperial blockade on the ground, get through the Imperial lines, and make it back to your people. If you think you could manage all that, then be my guest. You guys killed our man, and I’m just looking for a reason to put my fist through that eye socket and finish the job that Eric started,” said Andimion rapidly.

    “If you stay here, we’ll allow you to go to the medical bay and get them to fix that eye of yours,” said Deckard.

    “Seems like I’ve got no other choice. At this point, with what we’ve discovered, I’m not entirely sure I trust the Brotherhood leadership,” said Victor, who then began putting on his armor.

    “What did you find out?” asked Eric.

    “No time now. You’ll be the first to know when we get back. Lara will fill Deckard in during the fight. Colonel, what’s our mission?” asked Andimion.

    “Our first priority is the security of the Athena, and so Delta will repel any and all boarding parties. Omega is to be deployed via Saber fighters to engage the enemy fleet. The Sabers are to board the enemy command ship, and disable it, if it cannot be captured. Lara will be deployed with Omega, and she will infiltrate the network inside the enemy ship and will, hopefully, take over the ship, and effectively cut off their life-support systems. At that point, the ship will be relatively easy to take over. We will then use their ship, and the rest of the Imperial Navy, to eliminate the rest of the enemy threat,” said the Colonel.

    Victor stepped between in the middle of the group, and tapped his helmet. Lara allowed him in on the COM channel.

    “Seems like Delta will need a hand. Now I know BRAVO killed your guy, but Covenant ships mean a hard fight. I’ll step in for Delta, if you’ll allow me,” said Victor.

    Deckard spoke, asking, “What did you find out that makes you willing to fight alongside Imperials?”

    “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” said Victor.

    “I’m fine with it,” said Andimion.

    “If Andimion gives his all-clear, I’m with him on this,” said Eric.

    “You’re sticking with me then. You’re going to keep your designation though. You won’t get to wear a Task Force designation,” said the Colonel.

    Victor stood straight, and said, “Yes sir!”

    Andimion grabbed an M45 tactical shotgun and an MA5K carbine, and an M7 submachine gun, and a pistol. He also picked up two fragmentation grenades. The rest of the Task Force, and Victor, proceeded to pick out their weapons of choice. Out of the corner of his eye, Andimion saw Victor pick up a DMR, load a magazine in it, and slide the bolt forward. Victor nodded, and stood next to the Colonel. No one picked up a sniper rifle…




    "You must begin by gaining power over yourself; then another; then a group, an order, a world, a species, a group of species; finally, the galaxy itself."

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  9. #9
    Forerunner of Fire and Divinity WSxPhoenix's Avatar
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    Re: Forerunner Conflict: The Ruins of Reach

    Deckard waited as Lara transferred herself back into his helmet. Once the transfer was complete, Deckard slid into the cockpit of his Sabre strike fighter. This model of Sabre was the third generation from the original prototype used in the Battle of Reach during the Human-Covenant War. Though the prototypes were lost in the battle, schematics and designs were still stored in the Imperial archive for further advancement. With the increased use of Task Force Epsilon in forward areas, the Empire had begun developing the Sabre program once more. Task Force Epsilon had a massive budget, and the Athena and all its arsenal were the result of that budget. The Sabre Mark III featured enhanced weaponry and the most advanced energy shielding to date. The shielding designs were based on the same shielding power that Deckard featured in his armor, which made them significantly more powerful than any craft in the Sabre’s class. The new Sabre feature four 30mm cannons as opposed to the previous two, and carried an assorted array of explosive missiles designed for various engagements with targets in both Covenant and Brotherhood in origin, and they no longer required two occupants to pilot. With Lara updating and providing targeting information in real-time, the capabilities of the Task Force’s Sabres were exponentially better than any other small fighter contingent in the Imperial Navy.

    “Omega, begin deployment sequence,” said a deck officer over their COM. Deckard pressed a series of buttons and took hold of the controls, his HUD updating with the Sabre’s HUD system. All of his HUD elements now featured running diagnostics on the Sabre’s system which, when finished, would allow Deckard to change the Sabre’s weaponry with his armor, as opposed to having to fumble with controls.
    The overhead canopy closed, sealing Deckard inside. The Sabre was mounted on an overhead assembly track, as was the rest of Omega’s Sabres. They rolled along the line until they faced external hanger doors, which opened as soon as Omega was in position. Once the doors opened, atmosphere leaked out entirely until the room was fully open to the vacuum of space. Next, the gravity in the deployment area was shut off, and the Sabres were dropped from their mounts, floating slowly forward. Deckard engaged his thrusters, and shot forward, the rest of Omega falling into formation.

    The Covenant ships had not engaged the Imperial fleet, which was moving into position to engage. The Imperial fleet was comprised of the Athena, which was effectively larger than even a Super-Carrier class ship, four Cruisers, five Destroyers, and eight Frigates. Most vessels were spread across the orbit of Reach, maintaining the blockade, though with the appearance of the Covenant, a single Cruiser and two Destroyers had joined the Athena in deployment toward the Covenant, the remaining ships moving to engage the Covenant’s flanks.

    The Covenant, however, did not bring a small contingent of ships either. The ship designs had changed from that used in the Human-Covenant war, with the ships now being darker in color, with large spikes protruding throughout the hull, presumably to hold more armaments. Their capital ship, a CAS-Class Assault Carrier, similar to the one used by the Covenant Separatists during the Battle of the Ark, and several corvettes, and another carrier. The ships were are different than those on record, though the overall size and shape were unchanged.

    “The Covenant have not opened communication with the Imperial fleet. The General doesn’t want to open hostilities with the Covenant if he doesn’t have to. We don’t know why they’re here, and that means it might not end in hostilities,” said Lara, who had assigned them a flight pattern around the Athena.

    Deckard couldn’t see how this could notend in hostilities, but he saw the futility in relaying that opinion to command. Lara placed a NAV point on a possible interception vector and he moved the craft along the designated path, Omega doing the same thing in formation.

    “The Covenant have opened communications. I’m patching them through to you, even if the General doesn’t want me to,” said Lara. Why didn’t the General want Omega in on the conversation?

    “Human Imperials, you are to vacate this sector immediately. This Brute pack has laid claim to this planet, and we are prepared to take it by force if need be. You will move out of system and jump to slipspace within twenty minutes, or we shall open fire. You have been warned,” said a deep voice over the COM.

    “I think you will be engaging them after all,” said Lara. Deckard closed his eyes for a moment, trying to recall his training on the Covenant. No human task force had engaged any of the Covenant species in decades. Most Imperial intelligence indicated that the Covenant had focused on their own personal wars and rebuilding their forces to maintain their sovereignty. Brutes, for the most part, had focused on their wars with the Elites, and their own civil wars. Deckard hadn’t had any combat experience with them. This lack of experience made him uneasy.

    “Omega, we’re going to hit them before the fleet engages. Our mission is to get that command ship before they have an opportunity to get damaged by the fleet. If we get our hands on a Covenant vessel, it just might be the edge we’re looking for on Reach. There’s no way the Brotherhood has access to that kind of firepower,” said Deckard over the COM.

    “Omega, you are cleared to engage,” said Lara over the COM. Immediately, all short-ranged fighters belonging to the Covenant were highlighted in red by Lara, and Deckard ignited his Sabre’s engines, pushing them to full burn.

    Almost immediately, the fleet fired MAC rounds at the Covenant. Since the Human-Covenant war, MAC technology had been augmented by the Empire and Brotherhood’s new understanding of plasma technology, so each MAC round was charged with plasma before it was fired, which did significantly more damage to the Covenant’s hull. However, the Jiralhanae had not sat idly by and depended on the Sangheili technology on their ships. They had created something akin to the MAC technology that humanity used, though it was engineered to pierce energy shielding, similar to how their Spiker carbines pierced energy shields.

    The Brute fleet fired a salvo against the Imperial fleet, three large flashes slamming into the Imperial Destroyer, the Macedonia. The entire destroyer erupted in flame as the white-hot rounds ignited the inner atmosphere, starting at the bridge.

    “No signal from the Macedonia. No survivors,” said Lara.

    “Incoming fighters!” shouted Eagle over the COM. He engaged his cannons as several Seraph fighters flew between Omega’s formation.

    “Eagle, Fuzz, circle around and cover our approach. Corey and I are going to head right to their command ship,” said Deckard as he fired his first salvo of missiles. They streaked through space and collided with two Seraph fighters, which blew apart, sending debris into space. Beams of light came streaking toward him, and he dove “down” to avoid the fire, Eagle already intercepting the fighter that had engaged him.

    “Phantoms providing heavy fire support on the hull of the command ship,” said Lara, highlighting the Phantoms in yellow to differentiate them from the rest of the field of targets.

    “We’ll worry about them when we get through the ships flanking the command ship,” said Deckard, as he spun his fighter in a barrel roll to dodge a plasma bomb shot by an enemy Banshee, which streaked after him, following him in his maneuver. He panicked for a moment, before figuring out that the bolt of plasma was following his Sabre closely, closing in for the heat that his engines gave off. He flipped two switches, and a canister of tools flew away into space behind him, igniting the plasma bomb and rocking Deckard’s Sabre.

    By this time, the Imperial fleet fired their second salvo, effectively crippling the ships closest to the Brute command vessel. Two Imperial frigates moved in against the command ship, point-defense turrets firing at the enemy fighters that were in the gap between Omega and the Brute command ship. Flashes of blue ignited the darkness between where Covenant fighters were blown apart. The command vessel fired a single shot at the frigate nearest Deckard, and the round tore through the entire ship, and sailed just behind where Deckard had been moments before.

    “Whoa!” shouted Deckard, who maneuvered past the plasma round and flew straight toward what was left of the frigate. He shot through the burning hull and flew straight toward the command ship. Lara signaled the fleet to fire at the command ship, and several points of impact lit up Deckard’s viewscreen as the Brute shielding took each impact. Deckard fired six missiles at the same point on the Brute vessel, which blew a hole open, straight through to a service corridor that Lara had shown him on the schematics of the ship on his viewscreen. The Sabre flew through the corridor, which led right to the hanger bay, which was exactly where he wanted to be.

    He fired three missiles at Phantoms waiting to be deployed into space. The wreckage fell on top of the Brute crewmen in the hanger. Deckard activated his landing thrusters, and landed the Sabre as Brutes poured into the hanger bay. He hit a button and his canopy shot up, and he fired his MA5K carbine at several Brutes as Corey landed just behind him. Corey stayed afloat for a moment, firing his rotary cannons at the crowds of Brutes that were attempting to repel them. Deckard leaped from his Sabre, emptying the rest of his magazine into a Brute who was attempting to rip him from his Sabre. Instead of reloading his weapon, he switched to his M45 tactical shotgun, and fired two shells into a charging Brute, who went down a skidded to a stop before he ever reached Deckard.

    White-hot spikes shot through the air at Deckard, who rolled to the side to avoid them. He tossed a grenade at the group of Brutes who had fired at him. Deckard wondered what Corey was doing.

    The answer came almost immediately after the grenade exploded. Corey tore into the Brute pack, ripping a Brute’s helmet off, and slamming the flat side into the Brute’s face. Between the two of them, the hangar was empty within minutes.

    “Time to go down the proverbial rabbit hole, huh?” asked Lara just before she inserted herself into the Brute ship’s systems. Not long after, the shielding around the hanger bay dropped, and Eagle and Fuzz landed their Sabre fighters inside.

    “Check your suits to ensure they are sealed. I’m about to dump the atmosphere into space. I know just what I’ll do with it,” said Lara over the COM. Eagle checked Deckard’s suit while Fuzz checked Corey’s. When both checked out, they entered an air-lock off to the side of the hangar. Once inside, they heard the sound of rushing wind as Lara began to vent the atmosphere. Within minutes, they didn’t hear a thing, but a large vibration shook the whole ship.

    “I might have ignited the atmosphere as it moved through their fighters. I estimate that at least fifty-percent of their fighter base has been destroyed by now. The Empire has backed off though, they have lost four ships altogether. This task force is just the beginning. The Brutes have already called for help. A fleet triple this size will be arriving soon. We need this vessel if we are going to beat them,” said Lara.

    With all the atmosphere vented throughout the ship, Lara told them they would have to wait ten minutes to ensure all those that had inhabited the vessel were dead.

    Omega’s mission was successful. They only hoped that Delta had been able to defend the Athena….




    "You must begin by gaining power over yourself; then another; then a group, an order, a world, a species, a group of species; finally, the galaxy itself."

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  10. #10
    Forerunner of Fire and Divinity WSxPhoenix's Avatar
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    Re: Forerunner Conflict: The Ruins of Reach

    Andimion hated boarding actions. He especially hated it when it was his ship being boarded. The Athena was a home for everyone involved with Task Force Epsilon, and Andimion would never let it fall into enemy hands. The Athena was the first ship swarmed by enemy fighters. The initial attack wave had served to destroy many of the turret emplacements on the ship, which left it undefended against boarding parties. The Brute fleet knew that the Athena was the command ship of the Imperial Fleet, and had targeted the ship specifically. When they realized that the Empire would not allow the ship to remain vulnerable to open fire, the Brutes had sent in small craft to maneuver past the Imperial capital ships to board the ship and destroy it from the inside.

    Delta was there to respond to the attack. Andimion was moving closer to the bridge when a large impact explosion shook the hallway that he was in. The rest of Delta was spread throughout the ship, responding to different suspected areas that the enemy would likely try and attack.

    Andimion was thrown back by the explosion, barely catching himself before he slammed into a bulkhead hatch. He leveled his MA5K carbine and fired a whole magazine into the first Brute to emerge from the hole that the Covenant charge had left in the hull. The next Brute whipped his Spiker around the corner and fired, filling the narrow hall with white spikes. Andimion hugged the bulkhead as the spikes moved right past him. He activated his armor's ability, drew his shotgun, pumping a shell into place.

    Andimion watched as six Brutes filed out of the boarding craft and into the bulkhead. They poured into the hall, splitting into two groups of three, each going in opposite directions in the hall. Andimion held absolutely still, waiting until the last Brute in the group that advanced toward him had just turned his back on him, and fired his shotgun right at the back of the Brute's head. The Brute's power armor failed, and the shell tore right through its skull, and the Brute dropped right to the deck. The two Brutes nearest reacted quickly, looking around to see where the source of fire had come from. Andimion dove forward, drawing a knife in mid-air and driving it up through the closest Brute's chin. He didn't have time to withdraw the knife, as the last Brute in the group could see that his assailant was utilizing active camouflage, and grabbed Andimion in a big bear hug, squeezing tightly. Andimion's shielding immediately failed, and he felt his armor compressing under the unbelievable pressure the Brute was putting on him. Andimion kicked off the bulkhead, slamming the Brute against the opposite side, and the Brute's grip lessened. Andimion's shielding began to recharge.

    The other group had now closed their distance to respond to the threat, and Andimion wasn't quite sure if he had enough firepower to kill that many assailants in such close quarters. Andimion drew his second knife and thrust it right into the chest of the Brute who had held him in its grip. In one move, Andimion stepped up on the knife, and kicked off of the Brute altogether, shoving the rest of the knife through the Brute's chest with the force of it.

    Andimion collided with the leader of the second group, who fell backward onto his packmates. Andimion disengaged his camouflage and took out his M7 SMG, and fired it right through the Brute's elbow, spraying rounds out the other side. The Brute dropped his spiker, which Andimion picked up and used its attached bayonets to stab another Brute in the throat, causing the Brute to back away.

    The last Brute tackled Andimion in mid-air, slamming him down on the deck, and knocking the air from his lungs. The Brute proceeded to slam its fists right into Andimion's face, causing Andimion's shielding to immediately shut off. Andimion felt his head slam into the deck leaving a deep dent. Andimion shifted his head between the Brute's strikes, the Brute's fist slammed into the deck. The Brute growled in frustration and grabbed Andimion by the throat. Andimion's armor was making the Brute's attempt at strangulation difficult, and Andimion took the opportunity to shove the barrel of his M7 SMG under the Brute's chin, and fired the rest of the magazine into the Brute's skull.

    The Brute immediately slumped forward onto Andimion, who took a moment to catch his breath before shoving the Brute's corpse off of him. He hailed the Colonel on the COM.

    "Andimion here. Just dispatched seven Brutes on Deck 3. No other hostiles in this area," Andimion said as he reloaded his weapons and withdrew his knives from the dead Brutes.

    "I'm not getting any response from Eric in the hangar bay. Victor and I are tied up here. The rebel is fighting pretty well, considering he's practically missing an eye. Get to Eric, and secure that hangar. Omega is going to need somewhere to land when they come back," replied the Colonel on the COM. Andimion could hear gunfire over the COM.

    "Yes sir," replied Andimion. At that moment, the lights flickered on and off on the ship, a sign that the reactor was being overused. Andimion raised his carbine, activating his suit's flashlight, and moved through the darkened ship....

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Eric took cover behind a Longsword as three spike grenades soared over his head. He grabbed one with his armor's ability, and sent it right back at a Brute. The grenade stuck to the Brute's armor, and the Brute struggled to get the armor piece off, and yet the grenade went off, spikes shooting through the Brute's entire body. His pack mates returned fire at Eric, who continued to move behind the Longsword to gain another angle of fire. As Eric reached another end of the Longsword, a Brute face appeared in his visor, and Eric was suddenly lifted off his feet as the Brute hit him with an uppercut. Eric landed on his back, and he noticed that the impact from the Brute's fist had caused him to drop his rifle. Eric drew his sidearm, firing the entire magazine into the Brute's helmet, which flew off just as the last round left Eric's pistol, which went right through the Brute's right eye. Before the Brute's corpse could hit the floor, Eric activated his armor, sending it right over the Longsword and back into the Brute's pack.

    Before Eric could find his rifle again, the rest of the pack charged the Longsword, unloading their spikers as they closed the distance. Eric gave up the search, instead he used all of his armor's power to push the Longsword back into the pack, crushing them under its weight. Eric's suit indicated that its shield generator had failed to find enough power to recharge, and so his shield strength was effectively halved. His communications suite was also fried. There was always a price to use his armor's ability, but this had never happened before.

    Eric located his DMR, loaded a fresh magazine into it, and moved to check the Brute pack to see if any were alive. After he was sure the Brutes were dead, began to move toward the docking bay control tower to secure the hangar against boarders. The hangar bay was the largest one of three, and could house an entire UNSC Frigate, as the Athena was outfitted to repair most spacecraft and even small warships. The other two hangar bays were smaller, outfitted for deploying atmospheric craft and armored assets. Eric passes several charred remains of fighters who had not been able to deploy before the Brutes attacked the hangar. Flames danced everywhere from ignited fuel, but Eric simply moved past, checking for any ambushes that Brute survivors might have set.

    About halfway to the control tower, the Brutes launched another attempt to seize control, several Phantoms flying in to the massive hangar, spreading out to ensure that their forces were not bottlenecked. Eric took cover behind a docking panel, hoping the Phantoms had not spotted him. With reduced shielding and power flow to his suit, not to mention his injured leg, Eric couldn’t take on dropships by themselves.

    “Looks like this party has gotten out of hand,” said a voice on the COM. The voice belonged to Andimion, but Eric couldn’t see him.

    “I’m five feet to your left. Your FoF isn’t working either. What’s your status?” asked Andimion.

    “Green. My shielding is at half strength. I had to activate my armor to take out a Brute pack,”

    “What did you do, throw a dropship on them?” asked Andimion.

    “Something like that. Know how we can take out this many Brutes at once?” replied Eric.

    “They’re monsters in close quarters, but their ranged tactics need work,” said Andimion.

    “I noticed,” answered Eric, who took a moment to peer around the docking panel. There were around thirty Brutes that were inside the hangar, spreading out to search for Eric. Apparently the other pack had informed them that a human had begun to kill them.

    “Your close-range COM still works, that’s good. I say let me move in with the shotgun, while you cover me with the DMR. Let them pour in and score headshots,” said Andimion, and Eric heard the sound of a shotgun being pumped.

    “That was Jeff’s thing you know,” said Eric.

    Andimion responded only by saying, “Just don’t shoot me.”

    Eric took the opportunity to run and dive behind the charred remains of a Pelican dropship. The Pelican was upside down, having been overturned while it was on the docking assembly rail. Eric sighted in several Brutes, each wearing deep blue power armor. Eric steadied his breathing, and waited for Andimion to engage the enemy.

    When one Brute went down with a giant hole in its chest, Eric opened fire on Brute nearest, dropping him with a shot right in the eye slot in his helmet. Before the other Brutes could react, Andimion had already taken down another, while Eric had worn down another’s power armor, ready to place another headshot. A warthog flew through the air at Eric, who was forced to take cover. Eric heard a feral grown, and he immediately placed three round into the nearest Brute, the third going through the Brute’s mouth.

    Three Brute Chieftains appeared, each wielding a massive gravity hammer. The Chieftains barked orders at their respective packs, which began to advance to Eric’s position slowly, still trying to locate Andimion. Eric dropped two more Brutes, and then changed location, tossing a fragmentation grenade at the closest group of Brutes, who all dove away from the explosion, but in vain. Several did not get up.

    Andimion materialized behind the group of Chieftains, firing his MA5K into the center Brute’s power armor, which began to hiss and release steam. The Chieftains roared, and several Brutes broke off of their attack on Eric to engage Andimion, who had gone invisible once more. The Chieftain on Eric’s left fell on its back, its gravity hammer was ripped from its grasp, and went invisible as soon as it left the Brute’s grasp. Andimion’s armor could make anything it touched invisible as well, as the armor produced a camouflage field around itself, and was not an aspect of the armor plating itself.

    The Brute Chieftain on the ground began to rise, and was knocked right down by the force of the gravity hammer. The Chieftain’s power armor flew off, and he began to rise again. Eric fired a round right through its skull. The force of the gravity hammer threw Andimion’s camoulage off, and the Brute Chieftain’s reacted. For the first time during the fight, Eric began to feel nervous. Usually, he was calm and focused, but for Andimion to fight Brute Chieftain’s up close, while most of the pack was closing in, was too much. Eric began to fire more rounds into the pack hitting them wherever he could, just to get some to break off of their attack on Andimion. One or two did, but not enough. There were still around twenty Brutes left, and Eric wasn’t equipped to handle numbers like that.

    One Chieftain swung its hammer at Andimion, who rolled aside as the hammer activated, sending Andimion across the deck from the force of the sonic explosion. Andimion rolled onto his back in mid-slide, and fired several rounds from his MA5K into the Chieftain, who growled in frustration, but did not seem to take any rounds. Eric focused fire on that Brute, hoping to find a point that his rounds could break through its power armor. He was unsuccessful.

    While Eric was firing, he heard a snort, and turned to see a Brute in golden power armor standing over him. Eric took a punch to the chin, sending him up into the air. Eric hung on to his rifle this time, keeping it close to his chest as he landed on his back. He leveled the rifle at the Brute, firing several rounds before the Brute closed the distance. The Brute slammed Eric’s arms with a powerful swipe, knocking the rifle from his hands. Eric felt the bones in his forearms crack under the raw power that the Brute put on them. He did not have a full break in his arms, but he couldn’t regain full use of his hands. The Brute attempted to grab Eric’s neck, but his hands were stopped just short of Eric’s neck, being pulled back by some unseen force. With some encouraging from Eric’s armor, the Brute’s grenade launcher attached to its back fired, the round hitting the ground just behind the Brute, sending it into the air with its power armor completely overloaded. Eric concentrated, dislodging the Brute’s launcher, and leveled it with his armor’s telekinetic ability, and fired one more round right into the Brute’s chest. Eric found it hard to concentrate through the pain in his forearms, but he pressed on. He pointed the Brute’s grenade launcher the Brutes who were charging at Andimion’s position, and fired four rounds into them, killing several. By now, a Chieftain had broken off with five Brutes to attack Eric, while around ten of them and the other Chieftain had fanned out, attempting to find Andimion. Eric hadn’t seen what Andimion had done to get away from the Chieftain, but it had worked. With a great amount of concentration, Eric sent the grenade launcher away from himself, blade bayonet facing the nearest Brute. The launcher hit the Brute with enough force to break right through the power armor, and straight through the Brute’s chest. With broken arms, Eric was out of options, and he did not have enough power in his suit to attempt another attack with his suit’s ability.

    “Eric, head to the control tower, we’ll cover you!” shouted the Colonel on Eric’s COM when the Brutes were around eight yards away from him. Eric bolted from his cover, white spikes surrounding him. One impacted on his energy shielding and then went straight through to his calf. Despite taking a hit, Eric kept running. Another two rounds pierced his right arm, and a spike grenade went off to his side, sending a spike through his thigh. Eric went down, unable to break his fall with his arms. The last image he saw was the floor rising up to meet him...

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Andimion was in trouble, big time. He shot a Brute in the knee with his sidearm, and rolled over the Brute’s back when it bent down in reaction to the pain. As Andimion landed, he brought his knife through the Brute’s exposed throat, and then broke into a full sprint. Eric was down, and there were almost twenty Brutes between them. In the distance, Andimion saw the Colonel and Victor firing their rifles at the Brutes, but the Brute pack was moving too fast to Eric. Andimion was the closest one, and he had to do something if he was going to save Eric. Andimion jumped on to a Brute’s neck, slamming the beast into the ground head first, Andimion’s boots crushing its head as the force of all his weight pressed onto the Brute’s skull. Andimion fired an entire magazine of his M7 SMG into the nearest Brute, aiming carefully to ensure most of the rounds went into the Brute’s skull. Still running, Andimion brought his MA5K to bear once again, firing well placed armor-piercing rounds into a Brute’s back, the assailant going down mid-stride. The MA5K was out of ammo now, so Andimion grabbed the weapon by the barrel, and swung it into a Brute’s face, the alien recoiling from the impact. Andimion finished it off with a slice across its throat from his knife. Andimion brought out his M45 shotgun, firing a shell into the neck of the nearest Brute. Andimion had almost reached Eric, having cut a path through the Brute pack. His armor wasn’t in the best shape, with the active camouflage only working at seventy-five percent transparency. The level of transparency was enough so that the Brutes would not initially notice his presence, but if he had not acted so quickly, they would have overwhelmed him. The Colonel and Victor took two down that stood between Andimion and Eric, and Andimion dove behind Eric, sliding with feet to the side so that they would swing his body around once he landed. In mid-air, Andimion reloaded his shotgun, firing once he had landed and turned around to take out a Brute attacker.

    “Hold them there!” shouted the Colonel over the COM. Andimion saw that the Colonel and Victor were charging out in the open on the deck, firing carbines as they went into the charging Brutes. Victor took down one Chieftain, and three Brutes, while the Colonel took down five. There were six Brutes remaining, including one Chieftain. Victor collided with a Brute mid-stride, taking the Brute to the ground before Andimion lost sight of him. Andimion engaged a Brute, kicked upward into the Brute’s elbow before it could fire its weapon. While the Brute’s arm was up, Andimion drove a knife into the Brute’s chest, and ripped it along the rib so that a wide slash was visible on the Brute’s chest. The Brute retaliated by backhanding Andimion, sending him rolling to the side. Andimion stopped the roll on his feet, drawing another knife, and charged the Brute again. Andimion slid underneath the Brute’s legs, driving his knife past the tendon in the Brute’s leg. The Brute hit the ground, and Andimion rose, kicking the Brute in the jaw before slamming his knife into the Brute’s shoulder, and once more into the Brute’s neck. Before Andimion could draw his knife, he was slammed into the back by another Brute, who went into a feral rage and began pounding its fists anywhere it could place them on Andimion’s armor. Andimion’s shielding failed, and then he began to feel dents form in his armor where they pressed into his skin. His HUD showed that his armor’s camouflage integrity had failed entirely, and Andimion couldn’t breath after the Brute slammed its fist several times into his chest. The Brute ripped off Andimion’s helmet and grabbed him by the throat. Andimion was unable to draw breath, and his heart rate was skyrocketing, his vision blurring. He slammed both fists into both sides of the Brute’s armor, forcing the Brute to let go of its would-be victim. Andimion fell back onto the Brute he had dispatched with his knives. He scrambed to rip the knife from the Brute’s chest before his assailant could recover. The Brute lifted him up again, Andimion taking the knife with him as he rose into the air. The Brute was holding Andimion up with both hands by his back. Andimion could not move from the Brute’s grasp, so he drove the knife into the Brute’s bisep, causing the Brute’s grip to lessen. Andimion swung down on the knife, ripping most of the Brute’s arm out. The Brute grunted and growled at Andimion in its pain.

    Andimion punched the Brute in the face, brought his knee to its chin, and slammed the knife into its chest, right through the heart, before he fell back, exhaustion having finally gotten to him. The Brute had just hit him one too many times. Andimion struggled to drag himself along the ground, trying to reach Eric’s sidearm. As he wrenched the sidearm from Eric’s unconscious form, he saw Victor go down, several Brutes standing over him, slamming their fists into his armor. Andimion fired into the group of Brutes, hoping that Victor wasn’t already dead. Victor had tried his best to keep the Brute pack off of Eric, and that meant he deserved the same effort from Andimion. Andimion took one Brute down with Eric’s sidearm before it ran out of ammunition. The Colonel activated his armor ability, and grabbed both Brutes by their exterior armor, and tossed them into the air off of Victor. The Colonel ran to where the Brutes landed, and slammed one fist through a Brute’s face, which caved in from the raw power the Colonel’s armor afforded him. The final Brute infantryman recovered before the Colonel could get to it. The Brute fired its spiker at the Colonel, several white spikes slamming into the Colonel’s shielding, which failed. One spike went right through the Colonel’s neck, while another through the Colonel’s stomach. Andimion felt his entire body go cold. The Colonel couldn’t get taken out that easy, not by a Covenant grunt!

    The Colonel fell to one knee from the shock of being shot, but quickly got up and began running at the Brute, slamming into it so hard that its chest caved in. The Colonel turned to face the Brute Chieftain, who had been observing the entire fight. The Chieftain raised its hammer, and brought it down on top of the Colonel. The Colonel caught the hammer with his hands, sending it aside and away from the Chieftain’s grip. Andimion reloaded the side arm, and took careful aim, but was unable to get a shot without being sure he wouldn’t hit the Colonel, whose shielding was down. The Chieftain punched the Colonel in the chest with both fists, making the Colonel double over from the hit. The Colonel countered with a kick to the Brute’s knee, causing the Brute’s legs to buckle. The Colonel took the Chieftain’s arm as it fell, pulling it in a full rotation, causing it to break. The Chieftain howled in pain and rage. As it tried to rise, the Colonel stepped on its back, pushing it back down on the ground. The Colonel took the head in both of his hands and, with a jerking motion, broke the Chieftain’s neck.

    Andimion struggled to get up, the beating the Brute had given him had been more than he could really handle. After a few moments, he was finally able to stand on both feet. He put his helmet back on, lifted Eric up, and noticed that Eric’s armor on his forearms was dented in severally. The Colonel walked over to Victor, who was in worse shape than Andimion.

    “I want to leave him here,” said the Colonel on Private COM, who was breathing laboriously.

    “He fought for Eric’s life,” replied Andimion in between breaths.

    “Yeah, I guess he’s earned some medical attention,” said the Colonel, who helped Victor up, and allowed Victor to lean on him.

    “More Brute ships have entered the system. All combat personnel, prepare for boarding action against enemy ships. We are taking the fight to the enemy,” said General Christman on the fleet-wide COM.
    “Think Omega got the command ship?” asked Andimion as the moved Eric and Victor to a transport warthog some distance away.

    “Not sure. Depends on if Lara was able to get into their system. We just fought a whole Brute pack on this ship, and look what they did to us. That ship could hold hundreds of Brute packs, so I doubt they could have taken it by force. Lara is good at what she does though, so we can’t count that out of the equation,”

    “We need new armor if we’re going back out there,” said Andimion.

    “Don’t think the production line is going to be running right now. We’ll have to grab regular MJOLNIR gear if we go EVA,”

    Before Andimion got into the driver seat of the warthog, he checked the Colonel out, ensuring that the spike in the neck had not pierced any major arteries. Andimion yanked the spike out while the Colonel grunted in pain. He injected bio-foam into the wound, allowing it to seal up. The wound had missed the Colonels airway and major arteries, so he would be in combat shape should he need to be.

    “Victor, what is your armor’s status?” asked the Colonel.

    “If the armor is fixing itself at the same rate it did after the last engagement, it should be combat-ready within the hour,” replied Victor.

    “You think you’ll be combat-ready after that beatdown you took?” asked Andimion.

    “I’m always combat-ready,” replied Victor.
    Last edited by WSxPhoenix; 09-24-2012 at 08:00 PM.




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