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The Enemy Within-Chapter Fifteen: Taking The Offensive
Posted By: Mind_Affecting_Parasite<pbplayer_24@yahoo.com>
Date: 22 August 2004, 12:53 AM

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       They were moving, the Covenant troops were all pulling back towards the gravity lift. Now was the time to execute the quickly formulated plan of action. The unconscious Elite and Sam were laid side-by-side, two meters from the corner; not touching, but the burnt alien was still mere inches from contacting the comatose woman. Derrick, having been assigned a tail cover position, was behind the other five Humans, Assault Rifle in hand, lighting up the passage beyond with white light. Private Kyle Jones was positioned against the right side of the tunnel, opposite the wide open ancient door, ready to comfortably lean into the open with his loaded and ready S2 AM. The heavy weapon in the group, a M19 SSM, was in the hands of he who had found it-Sergeant Ferring-who was also ready to move into the open to let loose four good shots.
       That left two Assault Riflemen to take point. Patrick and James were ready to do just that. Daniels had a black bandana, with skull and crossbones spaced over the cloth, pulled tightly over his clean shaven head, underneath his helmet, tied surprisingly neatly in the back. The Corporal hadn't put on any traditional accessories; though, just his combat-ready face. He did have a nice design on his cheeks, however. Back when all of them had been trapped in a little dark room, James had jokingly offered to shave a flame design into Pat's quarter-centimeter-long stubble; Carter had accepted. Daniels had been big on tattoos and face art before he became a soldier, but a day and a half later, the design didn't look clean or pretty anymore. Now, a hard etched half-frown painted the picture of a battle hardened soldier on the face of Patrick; his centimeter-long black hair wet with sweat, flattened under his helmet.
       "Ready team?" the Sergeant whispered, his present position a foot in font of the squad Rifleman, centering himself in the tunnel.
       Corporal Carter turned his head from his own position, two inches from the ninety-degree corner. "Enemy watchmen still looking this way," he said back, in a bare whisper through his cupped hand.
       Private Daniels looked on edge, like a coiled spring, ready to jump forward and unleash his potential energy.
       Lance decided that the time for verbal communications was over. Keep your eyes on them, Sergeant Ferring told his second in command with only his left hand.
       Patrick responded with a once-inch, up-and-down motion of his head, focusing on looking through his probe camera again.
       The Sergeant dropped his gaze to the floor, sighing quietly rocking his head to both sides. His eyes caught those of the single pilot present. The Warrant Officer looked pretty strange, almost funny; still wearing his flight suit under a used combat harness and vest, along with a pair of dirtied black boots. Lance would have smiled at the spectacle of a Swab holding an AR, had the situation permitted.
       It'll be okay, son, was the thought Sergeant Ferring conveyed with a slow and simple triple nod.
       Derrick understood, returning the nod while curling in his lips; he stopped the motion of his head after a second, pushing his lips tightly together, and turned back around.
       Lance's attention was captured back with a click of the squad COM channel.
       Patrick had his hand held up, signaling his four active teammates to prepare for action. The tense fingers loosened slightly, the smallest curling half way down, but the rest remained erect. The Corporal tensed, raising his arm a hair higher, his ring finger twitching. Two heart beats later, he jerked his optical probe camera from around the corner and into its compartment on his vest; his other hand, meanwhile, pulled the smallest two fingers to its palm. Without pause, Pat jerked his stiff fore and middle fingers around the corner; pushing off the floor and into the light, taking his MA5B into his hands.

       The two Hunters, on either side of the two Shade turret loaded carts and accompanying soldiers, had just turned the other way, sweeping their eyes over the grav lift instead of the walls. Poor timing, or perhaps chance, on the other Covenant soldiers' parts had them all looking everywhere else than at the door. It was just the break Patrick had been looking for, and he had taken it with both hands.
       Corporal Carter was first out the door, his boots making an indiscernible amount of sound from their impact to the metallic floor; he went left out of the door. PFC Daniels was second through the door, with no one following on his tail, taking the same aurally silent steps as the leading Marine had; James went to the right as he cleared the door. Neither side was lit well, the stationary lights set by the Covenant lighting only a path back to the gravity lift's perimeter. The lighting was perfect for the two Human soldiers who rushed through it, for beyond the fringes of the bright light, thick shadows made ideal cover; enhanced by the probability that the Covenant troops' eyes were used to the light, and so would not as easily spot a thing in the darker spaces.
       Both Human Assault Riflemen moved in symmetry after exiting and branching off to either side of the ancient portal. Two pairs of large armored legs were just rotating back to face the joined torso towards the-thought well covered-door. That pair of Hunters would be the first to go.

       Puapo Laga Kiesu focused on the brightly lit alloys around the large room. Normally, Kiesu made others look small, with his large stature and bulky armor. Puapo was a reletively large creature, not above the Elites in combat, but, when wanted, Hunters could rise to their full height, over a full unit above the tallest of the other races making up the Covenant. This room though, it made Kiesu feel diminutive; expansive from side to side. Then there was the large gaping pit off to one side, a drop most certainly long enough to kill. It made this particular Hunter wonder how powerful the ones who came before had really been. To have built such a place, they must have been-
       Kiesu thought he heard something behind him. Something must have moved on his back side, but what could it have been? There weren't any other Covenant soldiers off the side like the two Hunters were, all of the others were grouped around the two slowly moving gravity carts. So what was it?
       The Hunter turned into the dark shadows at his left side, his eyes straining to see anything of consequence. Puapo would have never know there was a Human behind him, if he would not have felt something latch on to his exposed back. He wheeled around in a quick circle, swinging his shield around in his full-degree turn, but the melee weapon found nothing to strike; the culprit was already three units away, firing a noisy projectile weapon at the troops around the two grav carts. The Hunter could just make out the faint sound of the explosive device stuck onto his back, and faint blue light coming off of the activated Plasma Grenade.
       Kiesu felt rage rise quickly within him, and began to charge his powerful main weapon. The glowing Fuel Rod Cannon had just reached full charge, and the Hunter wielding the weapon prepared to launch the round-
       -The fuse on the Plasma Grenade apparently objected; and just as Kiesu willed his weapon to fire, a blue flash ripped his body in two. The readied green blast went high, detonating harmlessly against the nearby wall. Brightly colored entrails burst out from the Hunter's exposed frontal-mid-section, spraying out over the lit path on the silver floor. The heavy mass that used to be Puapo's torso flew three units into the air, spinning as it went, sending the flourescent orange blood that was still left in the body cavity spraying into the air; the thick liquid splashing onto the floor. The armored head of the creature hit the ground first, willing the rest of the attached form to roll over; the torso stopping chest up after sliding briefly over the floor, a trail of bodily fluids following it. Having been contacting the ground, the legs were only tossed a short distance forward, letting the blood left in them leak onto the floor.
       Little did the late Kiesu know, having been airborne and too preoccupied to notice, that his blood brother had suffered the same fate, and what was left of him was now on the floor as well, only a few units away.

       While the two Hunters had been trying to figure out what had been attached to their backs, and by whom, the two responsible Humans were starting to cause even more havoc, starting the next kill cycle of their very flexible plan. The first next to go were the Shade turret gunners; grenades would have been a superb thing to use for the job, but that would have been in the case that the plasma turrets were not to be used by the attacking forces, and this was not the case.
       Grenades were used in a different fashion; however, and two of them, plasma, found their place on the cold floor, at the feet of the foremost Covenant troops, ahead of the grav carts. That kept that small group busy while 7.62 millimeter, armor piercing, rounds pounded into the exposed sides and heads of the two Shade gunners. James dispatched the Grunt fast enough, only using up six rounds, in two consecutive bursts, to spray blue brains into the air, the ruptured respirator adding methane to the messy mix.
       Patrick's hard working cohort was already throwing the dead Grunt from its former seat when the other gunner, this one a blue armored Elite, departed the physical realm. It had taken the better part of a full clip to break through the creature's shields and armor; the beast had almost had enough time to react, beginning to rotate the large, turret-mounted, weapon in the assaulting Corporal's direction. The solid stream of hardened slugs, however, kept the Covenant bastard bamboozled long enough to put him down for good.
       Of course, the other alien forces along side the two carts didn't take a liking to their brethren being blasted to hell. The two grenades had tossed several Grunts and Jackals around, but two of the three Elites caught in the blast had made it through, only their shields having bitten the plasmatic dust. They managed a single challenging roar before James swept his conveniently aimed, newly acquired, heavy weapon over the man-like forms. Pat heard the roar turn to a dying howl, as he climbed into his own seized turret and opened fire at the perfectly intact Covenant ground forces between himself and the madly firing James.
       The Corporal swept the three discharging prongs quickly back and forth over the alien bodies before him. Knocking Grunts clean off their feet as melon sized holes appeared in their bodies, spilling neon blue blood over the ground. The seven Jackals managed a brief second longer than their methane breathing counterparts, their shields resisting the large bolts of plasma pounding into them; but once the shields had overloaded, the bird-like creatures were turned into smoking chunks of meat and warped grey armor. Having full body energy shields protecting their forms, the four Elites, three clad in blue metal armor and a single maroon veteran, managed a ten full seconds of resistance before they were done away with. Two of the blues had stood their ground upon the advance of the scorching plasmatic energy. Half a magazine of needle-like projectiles managed to implant themselves in the armored front of the Human manned Shade, along with a pair of short streams of light-blue plasma rifle discharges. The two were quickly rewarded for the action; however, and were run through with the lances of purple energy.
       Patrick was just cutting down the maroon and third blue, who had backed away from the initial carnage zone, when Private Daniels shouted something over the COM.
       "Sir, look at that!" James put through. "What the hell is goin' on?"
       Pat looked up from his rather gratifying task to see to what his fellow Marine was referring. Daniels had stopped firing, now just pointing his acquired turret lazily in the direction of the gravity lift. A few contrails from Kyle's 'Rifle were now stretching the expance between the wall and center of the room, along with a single rocket propelled grenade. It was over the top of the lift's base, however, that the surprise, and something Carter hadn't expected, came. Green and blue plasma shots flew off target and over the base from the other side. The Corporal wasn't sure what he was might be happening until Human tracers began to intermingle with the stray shots.
       There was only one thing that would cause such an event, and only one conclusion that Pat could come upon: the Flood had decided to make a second charge.