The Aegis Fate
Posted 08 April 2008 - 02:54 PM
"Fall back!" A general distress signal was called, and the UNSC ground forces began to retreat at an exponential rate. Hundreds upon hundreds of UNSC marines flocked to the landing zones and extracted, while at the same time, wave after wave of heavy plasma fire filled the air. Covenant AA batteries lined a small canyon to the east, and Wraith tanks fired mortar blasts from the south. With the Covenant armada comming in from the north, it left little to no room for escape. What was left of the fortified bunker was no rubble and dust, scorched from the searing heat of plasma weapons, and damaged inconsiderably from explosives and other heavy ordinance units. A Pelican rose above the barracks in an attempt to take off, but a lucky mortar shot brought it down to the ground on top of waiting survivors. The ground forces were being slaughtered by the minute, and all they could do was survive long enough to atleast see a Pelican land.
Amidst the battle, a lone Spartan stood among his squad near the north entrance of the run down barracks. He squated with a SRS99D-S2 AM Sniper Rifle, and picking off the select few ground forces that had ventured out into the small grassland oasis far enough to have itself aquired in one's sights. Another inbound squadron of two Banshees flew in over head, and a marine hefted the prototype M19 SSM Rocket Launcher. He scoped in on the Banshee that had banked left into formation, locked onto it, and let go of the trigger. The rocket had burst from the tube and soared towards the Banshee. It barrel rolled out of the way, but the rocket turned around and impacted on the Banshee's back side, sending it through the air in a ball of blue fire. The other Banshee, which had diverted, now faced the squad of five, and fired a fuel rod blast into their hiding spot. The squad jumped out of hiding just as the blast impacted onto the bunker, tearing away the concrete and metal. An unlucky marine was caught in the fire and had burned up when the cannon hit. The Spartan rose to his feet and ordered the fall back signal with his hands while the rocket marine let off another shot, destroying the Banshee that had in turn destroyed their forward outpost.
They had no time to waste. The general distress signal was initiated, and all UNSC ground forcers were to fall back to their designated LZ and extract from the planet. The squad of now four bounded over debris after debris that littered the ground, in an attempt to reach the LZ in time. Over the hill was the small landing pad with a lone Pelican hovering above it. Another squad was piling in, and one of them pointed at the Spartan's squad. The hurried across the plain, and a few shots of plasma fired close by by oncomming ground forces of Elites and Jackals. The Spartan turned around with his sniper rifle, one shot left, aimed down the site, and pulled the trigger. The bullet blew through an Elite's head and it fell to the ground motionless. He then threw down the weapon and recieved his MA5B that he had stored on his back. His squadmates were already inside the Pelican when he reached it. He pulled himself in and took the seat that was near the door of the Pelican. He strapped himself in and pounded on the side of the hull. The Pelican rose from the landing pad, turned, and flew off towards the east. The turbulance rattled the Pelican as it rose through the sky. Ground forces had siezed the bunker and were crawling all over what was left of it. What was left of Reach. Wraith blasts fired from over the hill side, and the AA platforms tried their best to launch missiles at the Pelican, but the pilot's true skill and evasion prevented it's cargo from being terminated. The marine with the rocket launcher, who sat across from the Spartan, looked over and nodded at him. The Spartan nodded back, showing the true potential of his marine squadmate. The back hatch of the Pelican closed and sealed as it moved into the atmosphere.
"FFG-307, this is Pelican call sign Omega-013, requesting to dock, over," the woman pilot of the Pelican broadcasted over the private channel. Large explosions could be heard from around the Pelican. The UNSC fleet was being destroyed with a kill/death ratio of three to one. The Covenant had shown up from out of no where, and the fleet was unprepared for such a massive Covenant battle fleet.
"Roger, Omega-013, you have permission to land in hangar bay 02. Be advised, multiple bogies closing in," someone on the ship had replied back.
"Roger, ETA ASAP," the pilot said back. The propultion boosters on the Pelican accelerated it and it weaved in and out of space debris of downed Halycon cruisers. The craft angled itself up, and then leveled before diving back down through chunks of metal floating throughout space. "Hold tight," the pilot said over the com system that lined the seats of the Pelican. The Pelican went into a downwards roll and then brought itself back up on a steep angle before turning left, then right again. The Pelican's engines backed off, and it angled itself horizontally, flying into the small hangar on the left side of the Aegis Fate. "We're in, punch it!"
"Roger that, making the jump," the correspondant said. The Aegis Fate moved foward in position, aggrovating a small squadron of Covenant cruisers, and opened fire before breaking off the standard line. Because of the general distress signal, the Aegis Fate moved out of position from the main fleet as did all the other handfull of ships that were left, and made a blind jump through slipspace.
Spartan 088 sat down on the medical table in the sick bay, his removed armor reveiled a set of bruises and many areas where he was cut and had broken a bone or two. A doctor had moved into the room, and looked over the Spartan's transcripts before selecting a file. He ran a diagnostic on the armor, and then on the health of the Spartan himself. When it was done, he selected the right tools and medicines to treat his new patient that was sitting on the white padded medical table. He sighed as he looked back at the Spartan, moved over to grab a couple of needles, then finally approached the un armed Spartan. He wore a grey UNSC underclothing of standard issue pants and tank top, wearing the combat boots of a marine. The Spartan's hair was a fine blond color, and his eyes were a dark mysterious blue. He had aslo kept his facial hair to a minimum, not like anyone would ever see with his helmet on most of the time anyways.
"Well, Benjamin, you're surely lucky to even be sitting here on that table. If it weren't for your augmentations and enhanced physical strength, you would have surely been dead," he said as he laid out the medical supplies that were wrapped in a small white cloth. He then eyed the Spartan, looking at every possible injury he could spot. He looked at the chest first, noting several scrapes, bruises, and internal bleeding along with a cracked shoulder blade. He then moved around the table to examine the back which had minor burn marks from plasma based weapons and several other bruises as well. As he noted them down on a notepad he retrieved from his front left pocket on his white jacket, he also eyed the individual medicines and devices he would use. "What the hell happened down there?" he finally asked when he was done noting the injuries.
"Ambush. The Covenant punched through the defense fleet and immediately landed on a mesa between Castle Base and a training outpost I was en route to. I was seperated from the other Spartans when enemy fire diverted my Pelican. It crash landed in a small wooded area where my squad and I moved through until we reached confirmation via fleetcom that the Covenant had started their invasion. How they found Reach is unknown to me, but I do know that I lost a few good men down there. In any case, how is my squad doing?" Spartan 088 asked with such inquiry. The doctor took the needle with a numbing solution and pushed it into the left shoulder. When the shoulder was numbed, the doctor began cutting out small pieces of debris that had breached his MJOLNIR Mark V armor, and then put a sort of gel solution that helped ease the pain of the burn marks. Spartan 088 gave a small facial expression showing his disapprovement with the doctor putting pressure on his back like he did, but as long as it fixed the problem, it didn't matter.
"Your squad is fine. That one that moved through the airlock with the jackhammer is quite the marine, if I do say so myself," the doc replied as he added more gel to the burns and rubbed it in. Benjamin recalled Ferrel. He was more than good, he was a great marine. A valuable asset to the team, fearless and cunning was what he was. He had it made out to be an ODST, but the thought probably never passed through his mind.
"What happened up here, anyways?" Spartan 088 questioned as he turned his gaze back on the doctor.
"The hell if I know. We were just lucky that we were on the other side of the planet when the armada hit," he replied with a dismayed look on his face. He finished his tendings, then wrapped up his tools in the same cloth they had come out of. "You're all done. Make sure to get some rest." Spartan 088 slid off the table and onto his feet, the boots thumping against the tiled flooring of the sick bay. He nodded at the doc, then turned and walked out of the large infirmary. As he walked the long corridor, soldiers and ship personell moved from door way to door way with their normal everyday work aboard the Aegis Fate. Benjamin moved into the door way labeled 'Tech' and saluted the Master Technician in the small bay area.
"You've sustained heavy damage to your MJOLNIR power suit, but nothing this crew couldn't fix. We repaired the underlaying materials and updated the combat systems as well as replacing the damaged armor plates and enhanced your helmet with prototype binocular features that we recieved from Castle Base prior to the battle," he explained to Spartan 088 as he showed off the new components, along with the damaged ones. He motioned for him to pick up his armor and change into it, which is what 088 did. When his helmet finally vacume sealed, his HUD came up and displayed his health monitor, shielding system, and his radar flickered on. Several yellow dots appeared on radar as the personell moved about the ship. "Take good care, because that's just about all the spare parts we have left," he further explained. Benjamin nodded and gave him a final salute which was returned by a similar salute. He then proceded to moving out of the Tech bay and towards his quarters.
"Ship dropping out of slipspace in ten minutes," the intercom rang as he moved throughout the many corridors that was linked throughout the ship.
The Aegis Fate dropped out of slipstreamin front of a large, dark jungle planet slightly smaller than Reach. Because the frigate could only output so much, it's engines went blank and it's reactors began to cool. Generators on board kicked in to support important consoles, sensor rays, and artificial gravity. Captain James Winter sat in his command chair and stroked his small beard that roughly lined his chin.
"Status report," he said, slightly shifting in his chair. The AI console lit up, revealing a small figure outlined in a blue hue.
"Main systems still functional, sir, but the engines are cut for the time being," he paused, then glanced towards the main view port. "A spy drone we had released in the slipstream revealed a small Covenant patrol on the other side of the planet." The Captain shifted foward and angled himself to better see the main view screen.
"Magnify," he asked. The screen shifted, then revealed one Cruiser orbiting the south side of the planet. Their purple hulls glowed vibrantly in the sunlight of the system's star. He leaned back. Covenant ships were always faster, but if they had followed us, they would have known we were here, he thought to himself, then he changed his glance back to the AI. "Nova?"
"Yes, Captain?" the AI responded as it too turned to face the Captain. The AI rippled due to lack of power throughout the ship.
"How long can we stay undetected like this?" he asked with a sense of worry in his tone. He looked back at the viewport. The Covenant ships were in no hurry to circle the planet. Instead, it seamed as though they were contempt with it. There was no signs of conflict, nor glassing. And it was strange that the Covenant would take such interest in a small planet like this when they would not be at Reach with the rest of their fleet. Something was going on here, but what was the question.
"Affirmative, but engagement of any kind will reveal ourselves and they will surely pick us up on long range scanners," Nova replied. He also opened up another view port, revealing a surveyed grassland covered in snow, and interlocked by a mountain formation. "Seeing as how we're sitting ducks in this kind of situation, I have hand picked a possible landing zone by viewing topographical maps from our geological scanners on board. Taking refuge on the planet and not attacking the ship head on may be the more tactical solution. Scans also show that Covenant camps are scattered around the south side of the planet, along with several pieces of drilling equipment. How strange," Nova finished as he put his left hand on his hip and rubbed his chin with the other. The Captain eyed the read outs, and sighed.
"I have never doubted you, Nova. But, once we're planet side, is there some way you would be able to jam their signals or tap their communications?" Captain Winter asked, looking back at the AI.
"It is possible, although it primarily depends on how strong our frequencies span once we're down. There is also the chance that the Covenant ship will pick up our ion traces when we start our decent. I am 87% positive that I can atleast jam their radar with the probe long enough for us to make a clear landing. And may I suggest that once we do land, we leave all the secondary systems offline?" Nova asked.
"And why is that?"
"Well, to hide ourselves, of course. Don't you want to know what they're doing down there? And besides, if the ships frequency isn't strong enough to jam their signals, we might need to send a small recon team to plant a beacon either near or in one of their camps for me to successfully hack their communications," Nova replied. He let out a small sigh. "This task will not be easy, though. If they're searching for something, they could be scanning the entire planet. And if that is the case, then the ship will most likely be compromised." James leaned back in his command chair and made a visual sweep of all the crew members at their stations. He then rubbed his forehead, and turned to look back at Nova.
"Alright," he said with a sense of discomfort, "whenever you're ready, take her down."
Nova infiltrated the Covenant's radar channels and purged them of any signs of movement over the long range frequencies as the Aegis Fate's sublight engines came online. The frigate pivoted itself towards the planet, and the engines gave it a subtle push into it's atmosphere. The atmosphere of the planet rocked the ship as it made it's way down on the north side and into the small LZ that was designated by Nova. As the ship slowed down and into the small valley, reverse stabalizing jets on the foward section of the ship kicked in and slowed the ship down, landing it smoothly in the small valley. The sublight engines went off and the ship went back into a cool down state. Nova flashed onto his AI console in the bridge.
"The radar was jammed, and I tapped their network for a short bit. No one heard or saw anything, but just as I suspected, the ships frequency is too low to bounce off the magnetic poles of the planet to hack their communication channels," Nova said.
"Atleast we're down undected. I'll get a small strike team assembled to place that beacon down so we can continue as planned," the Captain replied as he pushed a few buttons on his command chair.
"Sir, might I inquire the help of the Spartan?" Nova asked.
Spartan 088 strode down the long corridor of the ship until he reached the armory where a small strike team was assembled. Among the several marines was Staff Sergeant Jonathan Ferrel, the marine who had hefted the rocket launcher on Reach and had taken out two Banshees. He gave a salute to the Spartan, and Benjamin saluted back. He glanced around the rest of the small recon crew that had assembled in the armory. The armory itself was similar to that of Halcyon cruisers, except smaller in size to better fit the compartments of the small frigate. A sliding door opened and Captain James Winter walked into the room. The soldiers stood attentive and gave a crisp salute as he moved to face the group as a whole.
"At ease, marines. You've been assembled for a small recon mission to plant a beacon about 1000km from the ship. This beacon will enhance the range of our telecom frequencies and will help the onboard AI to hack into the communications network of the Covenant Cruiser located on the south side of the planet," he said as he moved from one end of the squad to the other. He stopped at Benjamin and looked up at him. "You will lead the team. I am counting on you to complete the mission to the best of your ability, because I know you can do it," he finished, then moved down the rows. "You will be inserted via Pelican about 500km from your destination. When you are dropped off, you will be left with two carrier Warthogs to transport the beacon and make your way back to the extraction point where a squad of Pelicans will be waiting. Any questions?" The crowd was silent, and they stared straight foward. "Good. Suit up, you leave in 5."
The Captain had returned to the bridge, and the marines were suiting themselves for the mission. Benjamin had moved himself over to the rifle rack by another marine, and picked up a BR55HB SR which he then holstered on his back. The marine looked up at Spartan 088 and gave a small relief gasp. The Spartan looked down, then turned around to the small counter behind him and retrieved an M6D pistol. He also gathered a few fragmentation grenades and holstered them on the back of his hip. He then turned back around to the marine who was still looking at him.
"What's your name, soldier?" the Spartan asked. The marine blinked and removed himself from the trance he had put himself into.
"Ryan Shadow, ODST," he replied as he placed his battle rifle over his back.
"Well Ryan, I hope you keep your eyes on the enemy, and not me," Spartan 088 replied as he moved out of the way and followed the rest of the marines to the hangar bay.
Posted 09 April 2008 - 10:40 AM
I suggest you actually print out a hard copy of the story and edit it with a pen. I've edited the story I'm writing now at least 15-20 times on the computer, but I printed it out last night, and in about 20 minutes the first two pages are filled with corrections.
Keep it up, I'll be following this story.
Check out my flickr.
"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." - Dante
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