"Don't worry, Spartan, we're here to pick you two up, that was always first on the to-do list."
I laughed bitterly beneath my helmet. Then, schooling my voice to cool indifference, I re-opened my COM and said. “Never doubted it sergeant.” That may have been true in Fawkes’ case, but with some of his fellows, particularly Payne and Collins, I doubted they would have cared had I died painfully down there. We moved off into the forest, I moving at less than my normal pace to allow the ODSTs to keep up with me, though I was desperate to break into a run.
Still we travelled at a fast pace and it wasn’t long before I could hear the gunfire and I saw the ODSTs notice so a little later. It was the chatter of automatic rifles and the shrieks of semi-automatic weapons as well as the deep thud of a portable mortar. We quickened the pace and I swiftly outstripped the ODSTs. But when I reached there I slowed and scanned the area, seeing the enraged, psychotic Insurrectionists. I studied them, watching their movements. I even let the ODSTs engage them before I did.
The Insurrectionists were evidently all utterly insane or drugged, for they kept on going from wounds that should have put them down for good and never used cover, simply standing in the open and firing wildly. Ninety percent of their shots missed but the wild spraying was keeping the ODSTs pinned down.
With a snarl, my COM still online so that the noise was broadcast to the ODSTs, I pulled the turret round. “Get down!” I roared and squeezed the trigger. The heavy rounds tore through the Insurrectionists, ripping off limbs and sending bodies flying as the shells flew out of the side of the weapon. I laughed, the insane laugh of the damned, as I killed. I used the bullets like a farmer uses his scythe at harvest, sweeping them in great arcs to cut down the foes that screamed curses even as they died. I could see the round count in the turret rapidly decreasing.
It was into double digits now and still decreasing.
I heard the scream of the Insurrectionist even above the chatter of the machine gun and turned, bringing the great barrel around with me. The man, screaming hate, lunged a knife at me and stopped for a moment in disbelief as the blade snapped off at the hilt. That hesitation gave me the time to bring the turret round so that the barrel rested between his legs. With a vicious smile I pulled the trigger.
Turning away from the screaming Innie I checked the ammo count of the turret in the top right corner of my visor. Thirty two rounds remaining. I trained the gun on one particular Innie who was charging me. The rounds punched through his abdomen but the bastard kept coming, kept dragging one foot in front of the other. I ran the bullets up his torso. The shots to his chest made him stagger and begin to fall and the one to his head blew his body backwards several feet. Twenty six rounds left.
An Innie put several bullets into my shield and I ripped the turret sideways, my finger squeezing on the trigger to send a hurtle of bullets at him. His cover was splintered to pieces by the fire and he staggered back from the shattered wood. I put three rounds into his chest. Twelve rounds. Even as his corpse was blown backwards I saw Fawkes pinned by three Innies who worked like true soldiers, switching firer when one needed to reload so that there was always a steady stream of bullets keeping the ODST pinned. The turret chewed through them. Two rounds. I moved forward, hunting the mortar that still hurled shells into the sky.
I found it, manned by three Innies with two men standing over with assault rifles. The two guards died, the back of their skulls blown out by the turret’s fire. The three manning the mortar hadn’t even managed to turn before I’d dropped the turret and was among them. One of them died with a snapped neck from a savage sideways kick that twisted his head round to an unnatural angle. The second swore and attempted to run. I kicked the back of his knee with my right foot and as he started to fall forwards I wrapped my left arm arm round his neck, put my right hand on his forehead and twisted brutally. The crack seemed unnaturally loud in the clearing. Then I realised that I had been shot.
I turned to look at the final Innie. It had only taken a few seconds from when I pulled the trigger on the turret till then, but still she had managed to draw her pistol and train it on me. I nodded in respect
I walked towards her and when she started to pull the trigger again I stepped to one side and snatched the weapon out her hand. I pulled the slide off, released and crushed the clip, disassembled the trigger mechanism and bent the barrel, all within two seconds and all without looking. I tossed the shattered pistol aside and cocked my head at the Innie who had now drawn a knife which she held in a shaking hand. “Remember this kindness. I am not the enemy here, the Covenant are,” I said as I turned and walked away, leaving the woman alive...
We stand upon the precipice of change. The world fears the inevitable plummet into the abyss. Watch for that moment - and when it comes, do not hesitate to leap. It is only when you fall that you learn whether you can fly.
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.