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Stalking from the engine room, Felix fist kneaded the grip of his MA5B assault rifle. The mission to the engine room had been a milk run, the marines there having the situation under control and needing no assistance. They had encountered no resistance in their quick jog there, and Felix was edgy, knowing that the covenant still patrolled the halls of the ship. Before he could suggest they move to the bridge, his speakers spilled out a message." Too many of them..... Bridge falling... Need Rein-" Turning to Anthony, they both broke into a swift run, sprinting full speed for the bridge.

Arriving at the entrance to the bridge without incident, they came across several dead ODSTs, and one that was alive but looked to be soon executed by an Elite Zealot. Not slowing in his sprint, Felix drew his combat knife from his shoulder holster and crashed into the Elite, stabbing it frantically in the side before they tumbled to the floor. Wrestling with the creature, Felix opened a channel to Anthony " I got this, move into the bridge" he said, before slamming his elbow down several times on the zealots throat.

Gasping for air, the Aliens mandibles opened in a last attempt to bite the Spartan, but Felix' knife was there, sinking into it's eye. Standing slowly, he wiped his knife on the elites corpse, before shouldering his rifle and joining the battle on the bridge. Seeing Anthony take the right side, Felix took cover on the left, and together the pair laid down a hellish amount of fire into the elites. Watching a zealot step out of cover to throw a grenade as a spec ops elite next to him laid down cover fire, Felix fired his rifle on full auto at the zealot, the rounds punching through its shield and making it drop the grenade. The explosion killed both the zealot and spec ops elite, sending pieces of them scattering along the side of the bridge.

Before the group of elites recovered, Felix rolled from cover next to a battered looking ODST, John was his name, who was in cover behind a glass panel firing a battle rifle. " Time to move " he yelled through his helmet speakers at the ODST, as the man rolled into better cover as plasma fire splashed around them. Firing back on full auto, he slowly moved into better cover, continuing to fire at the elites to keep their heads down.
 

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Seeing the Captain in his state made Joseph a little angry. How did such a weakling get in command? He asked himself. He could remember basic. Those damn drill instructors yelling constantly. The first time he had been in combat had been an adrenaline fueled blur. He might have hesitated the first time he saw a marine fall, but he never stopped.

The reminiscing quickly ended as Joseph forced himself back to the present. There would be time for that later.
There was a quiet clink as the assault rifle was sat against a console. Joseph glanced at his left shoulder, and pulled up the sleeve. There was destined to be a bruise by the end of the day. “Oh yeah,” he whispered, “That was smart wasn’t it?” Flexing his arm still reminded him with a dull pain. He turned to the others with a small smile. “So,” Joseph said looking at them, “did anyone remember to grab my gear?”

There would be no reply. In its place there was a roar from across the room.
Joseph turned to see the grenade explode.
The two shattered corpses fell to the deck.
More of the elites appeared.
“Get down!” Fawkes shouted over the sudden insanity.
Joseph reacted. One hand lashed out for his rifle. The burst of adrenaline made the pain only a distant memory.

Cover was a narrow console with several burn marks already across it.
Weapons began to fire as both sides engaged in full. Joseph looked from behind his cover. The elites were pressing the squad. The last of his clip was quickly spent as he tried to assist where he could.

As Joseph took cover to reload someone ran into the room. The newcomer slammed into cover close to Fawkes.
As he spoke Joseph snapped the new clip into place. One left, he reminded himself.
Joseph didn’t even hear the soldier’s rifle fire. He spun and took aim.
The rifle recoiled in as it fired. The elite staggered as the bullets passed where shields should have been. It was a surprise, and a very welcome one.
Joseph quickly pulled back behind the console once again. “How the hell,” he said as the alien slammed into the deck, and a pool of fresh blood began to form beneath the new corpse.
 

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We reached the bridge without further violence after helping the ODST’s at the engine room mop up the last survivors of a covenant attack. It had been simple really, no need to send us. The marines were almost done by the time we got there. Then we’d gotten the distress call.

Now outside the bridge me and Felix found several dead marines and Navy personnel and one live one, about to be killed by an elite. Without slowing Felix crashed into the Zealot, brutally tackling it to the floor and plunging his knife into it again and again. "I got this, move into the bridge," he said over a private com link before slamming an elbow into the Elite’s throat. I moved to the door to the bridge and waited for Felix. We stood in cover next to the door, me on the right and him on the left and on the count of three opened the door, stepping in and opening fire.

I dropped an Elite with two bursts from my rifle and moved in to fire at another.

A Zealot slammed into me at chest height and his plasma rifle went flying, as did my gun. We tumbled madly. I got a foot braced on his chest and when my back hit the floor I thrust it upwards, driving him up and over me to fly a few feet to stop as his face smashed into the floor. I rolled to a crouch, snatching up my BR55 as I did so. I fired twice, hitting the Zealot in the face but while the rounds slowed him, they failed to pierce his shield.

He came at me roaring and I tossed aside the rifle, rising to meet his charge.

I saw the Energy Sword flare to life in his hand as he brought it round so that it was aimed straight at my heart like a lance.

I sidestepped the lunge, grabbed his wrist and wrenched it round to face me. I snapped a knee into his arm, shattering the bone and he screamed in pain. I wrapped my hand around the Energy Sword’s hilt and thrust a leg sideways, snapping his ribs and throwing him back. I was left holding the energy sword but it failed, requiring the Elite’s gene-print to operate. I hurled the useless hilt at him and it struck him in the head, knocking him over. Then he charged me.

Again I sidestepped and again he could not react in time. I slammed my fist into his head, knocking him flat and causing him to skid for a few metres. He roared at me as he climbed to his feet and I charged.

I punched him in the stomach, the chest, kneed him between the legs then grabbed his throat and lifted him off the floor. I drew my dagger from my chest sheath and rammed the blade past his thrashing mandibles to pierce the lining of his throat and erupt from the back of his head coated in purple blood. I ripped the knife free. It was only then that I realised I was still invisible. I had fought the Zealot without reapearing save for a couple of flashes where I fired my weapon. The Elite must have been using some special visor that allowed him to see me.

I rolled to dodge fire from a carbine and ran towards the shooter. Then I saw a grenade being hurled by a Spec-Ops Elite who appeared to be a grenadier, carrying belts full of plasma grenades and charges. I grabbed the barrel of the carbine and punched its user in the face, knocking him back. I had always been good at cricket, at batting in particular.

Gripping the carbine’s barrel with both hands I swung it around and delivered a perfect hit. The plasma grenade stuck to the carbine and so as I brought it around I let go, sending it flying towards the grenadier. I turned and dived over a console, squeezing into cover behind it as the grenade went off...
 

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'Well well well, if it isn't Captain Pugwash' Payne chuckled to himself seeing the shell-shocked captain. Served him right for being a nob. Its people like him that get the good men killed. He noticed a blurry spot and he rubbed his eyes, assuming it was just age catching up with him. It didn't go away. The thought clicked. 'Oh Shi-'

Logan went down, a sword to he back. Payne dived forwards, behind a overturned table ,then peeked around the side. Logan was breathing, thank god. The elite had just finished off the captain. Payne readied himself to charge, but hesitated when he saw Logan unsheath the knife. Suddenly he stabbed the elites ankle, causing it to scream in pain, he then grabbed a grenade from the bandolier and pulled the pin. 'NO!' Payne shouted, diving behind cover, the blast still sending him sprawling. He shakily got to his feet, grabbing his shotgun. He stood up behind the cover, aiming down the twin shotgun sights at the approaching spec ops elites, 'YOU BASTARDS!'

He started firing wildly at the approaching elites, but at the range he was at the rounds were only slightly depleting their armour. He screamed in rage when the heard the dry click of the empty chamber. Damn it, he was out. 'Come on, I'll beat your filthy, slack-jawed heads in with my bare fists if I have to', lobbing his shotgun as he said so, clonking an elite satisfyingly on the side of the head with it.
 

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McKnight had been standing by the door when the ODST had pulled the pin. She'd heard the unmistakable *Click* of the pin, and had dived for cover, too little too late, being catapulted across the room and sliding across the floor, slowing to a stop next to Collins, who dragged her into cover. McKnight sat up slowly, dazed by the explosion. 'Wha-what just happened?' She said weakly, before quickly coming to her senses. There was an explosion of gunfire, and she peeked over the top to see the crazy private, Payne, blasting away with his shotgun. *He's a nutter* She thought, the smirked at the ridiculousness of it as he threw his shotgun at an elite, whacking it's temple.

As though it was in slo-motion, the elite turned towards Payne, firing up it's energy sword as it advanced menacingly. Payne looked up for it and was still shouting ridiculous cusses and insults at the elite. 'Collins, that elite is gonna tear him to bits!'. Collins nodded then hopped the barricade, spraying her assault rifle, pecking at it's shields. As she did this Jennifer rested the sniper rifle on the barricade, lining up the elite. Collins advanced until she was only literally a few feet from it before its shields finally gave, diving out the way as she did so. McKnight squeezed the trigger, sending the round through the elite's skull and throwing it off it's feet. She hopped the barricade, sliding beside Payne and pulling him down into cover. He looked at her, laughing. 'Thats what I call serious girl-power'
 

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Discussion Starter #66 (Edited)
Fawkes raised his rifle at one of the elites, the scope focusing in on the creature's eye. He'd just watched it's shields collapse and knew the shot would burst the alien's brains like a balloon. He pulled the trigger. There was a 'click' as the gun registered empty. Fawkes swore and looked up at the elite, it's shields recharging. No one was focused on this one, everyone else was stuck against the others. Suddenly the doors flew open and a shape, blurred with the evident signs of active camo, smashed into the elite. Fawkes frowned, looking at the blur as it grappled with the elite. It's camo was broken or something, the outline of the invisible thing was pretty clear, it had to be a very small elite too. Then suddenly it fired a battle rifle, camo flickering off. It wasn't an elite, it was a human, green plate and golden visor. A Spartan.

"They turn invisible now?" Fawkes muttered in surprise. He'd heard of the SPI suits, they'd been tested out by ODSTs in the past, but they'd never been produced and given out. Evidently the armour, like many other of the more advanced UNSC technologies, had be diverted into the curious sinkhole of resources that made up the Spartan Program.

Fawkes rose as the last of the elites were executed and walked over to Alexander's shattered form. He crouched by him and looked at the ruined armour.
"Went down swinging, like all helljumpers should." He said, allowing a thin smile to twist his lips.

He snapped out of his distraction, rose and turned to the now visible spartans, intent on thanking them for their help. He was about to speak when everything went dark. A plasma grenade whined as it flew past Fawkes and he dived to the side. The flash of light blinding him and making him stagger back. He looked desperately around, his night vision system flickering on in order to see in the pitched black room. He saw the blurred shape of a cloaked elite, he raised his magnum and fired at it. Before a single bullet struck, however, a translucent, tiled orb appeared around the alien, absorbing all the firepower that the squad's combined shooting could achieve. The elite was bent over the central control panel, working carefully.

Suddenly Alice's avatar burst into life on the main holo table. She looked panicked. She was on her knees, reaching out to the ODSTs and Spartans.
"Help!" She cried, eyes wide in terror. "They're hacking my database, they're trying to take me!"

Fawkes swore and readied his pistol, aiming at the orb. The elite within turned, his crimson Zealot's armor glinting in the strange glow of the bubble-like shield. He twisted out his palms, two glowing grenades in his hands. He hurled them towards the group as the shield burst out of existance and the crashed next to the humans, detonating before anyone could do anything. The flash of light was intense, overloading Fawkes' night vision completely, but there was no damage done to him. A flash bang! he thought in surprise. The covenant never usually edited their tactics or technology, what was going on?

As visibility returned to him he saw the elite dissappearing through the door. The Spartans tore after him. They moved fast, too fast for the ODSTs to be able to keep up. The door slammed shut and Fawkes ran up to it, trying in vain to activate the control panel. The door would not budge. He sighed, then an idea came to him. He fumbled around in his pouch for something, the tossed it to Payne.

"You know how to use it, don't you?" He asked, then jerked his thumb at the closed door. "Get that open for us, would you?"

Payne obliged, cutting through the metal frame, it took maybe a bit less than a minute, but to Fawkes, it seemed like days. Finally, the door fell away with a crash.

Fawkes jogged through the door and saw the bodies. He looked at the shattered corpses that made up the remains of Marfield's defense.

Fawkes darted over to Marfield, checking her pulse. He held on desperately, praying for a pulse. Eventually, he felt the tiniest flutter.

"Lancaster! Sherman! You two get over here and get her to the medical bay!" He called, turning to look at the ODSTs. Lancaster ran over immediately, but Sherman was already hauling another ODST.

"He's wounded sir!" He called.

Fawkes nodded. He turned to help pick up Marfield, careful not to touch the horrible plasma burns that covered half her body. Half her face was it's normal, strong, strangely appealing self, the other half was scarred and burned.

"Collins, help Sherman with him." Fawkes ordered. "The rest of you, cover us to the med bay."

He paused, realising the potential danger of the situation. They were going in dark.
"Hooper!" He snapped and the ODST appeared. "I need you to run ahead and give us a heads up on any covies between you and the med bay."

The ODST nodded his recon armoured head and darted off. The rest of the group began to advance more slowly, protecting the two injured troopers. Fawkes thought about Alice's terrified features and what would happen if the covenant found earth. He shuddered and prayed silently that the spartans caught up with them.

OOC:
Since we've already had this update you guys all probably know what you're doing anyway, any questions and I'll post up you're orders again.
 

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I nodded as I received my orders, Fawkes met my gaze and continued to issue orders, I didn’t wait to get started.

I picked up Marfield from the floor and she grunted in pain.
‘’The pack never leaves you, Wolf.’’ I whispered and I raised her from the deck.
She was half-conscious, though she wouldn’t stay that way for long.
‘’Let’s get you to safety, eh?’’ I said as I placed my shoulder under hers, carrying her towards the doors that would take us to the infirmary the fastest.

Sergeant Fawkes observed me, I couldn’t tell if he heard me speak to Marfield but he was coming my way.
‘’Do you know the sergeant, Lancaster?’’Fawkes asked me as he stepped in to support Marfield from the other side.

‘’We worked together, yes.’’ I replied as we made our way down the corridors.
‘’When was this?’’ He asked me with genuine interest.
‘’You read my file?’’ I asked Fawkes.
He didn’t reply right away.
‘’I tried.’’ He eventually said.

I smiled, remembering the other times I got such a remark.
‘’Lots of black ink I guess?’’ I asked him, trying to make it sound like a joke.
Fawkes grunted an acknowledgement.
‘’Typical ONI procedure.’’ I told him. ‘’Sascha and I worked for ONI together.’’ I eventually added.
‘’What kind of work did the two of you do?’’ Fawkes asked as he stepped over the corpse of a Grunt.

I gave it a thought, I wanted to tell him but I knew I wouldn’t, for my own sake.
‘’I could tell you,’’ I said, then pausing. ‘’but you don’t want to know, trust me.’’
We turned into another corridor.
‘’For a second there I thought you’d say you’d have to kill me.’’ He said before letting out a sigh.

‘’That too, right, Sas?’’ I whispered into Marfield’s ear, being very careful so Fawkes wouldn’t hear me.
‘’Next topic, Lancaster, that demotion of yours.’’ Fawkes said, sounding stern all of a sudden.
‘’Nothing of concern, sir.’’ I told him but I could tell he didn’t find that very reassuring.
I sighed and closed my eyes.

‘’Officially due to ‘’Failure to execute command properly, resulting in the deaths of fellow soldiers, subordinates and civilians alike. Due to lack of skills to execute command on the required level you are being demoted.’’, those were their exact words.’’ I said, quoting the letter.
‘’It sounds like there’s a ‘but’ in there somewhere.’’ Fawkes stated correctly.
‘’My superiors didn’t like me, at all. I had commanded a squad for five years and only had one casualty before I joined the Helljumpers. Skills aren’t the problem.’’ I explained.
Fawkes looked like he was taking notes, he was probably trying to get to know his new squad, which was good.

‘’We’ll see about that, Lancaster.’’ He said.
‘’John,’’ I said. ‘’I’d prefer if you’d call me John, sir. Unless you’re going to call me Scorpion, but I don’t think that’s the case.’’ I told him, waiting to hear what he was going to call me.

There came no reply, we just continued down the corridors, in silence.
 

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As the Elite blurred through the room and escaped Hooper cursed, he didn't know much about these new AI systems, but that one looked pretty important. As the two spartans sped off Hooper smiled grimly, he couldn't imagine that Elite lasting much longer, but either way it seemed that it was required that they folowed him. He turned to his new IC, taking his helmet off for the first time to attract Fawkses' attention. An intelligent yet grim face presented itself. His grey eyes darted left and right, observing every detail of Fawkes in front of him.
"Seargent, I'm primarly expirienced in first contact reconnascience, may I suggest that I lead the way, on my own?"
After a brief pause he got the answer he wanted and he headed out.

The corridor twisted round slowly, and evidently a lot of damage had been sustained here, there were many borken lights and large sections of the corridors and rooms were swathed in darkness, which Hooper clung to like a parisite. Hooper was still a little frustrated that he didn't have much to go on except the direction that the elite headed off with, he would have liked to at least have a trail of blood or something.
Just as he was about to turn the corner, his age old cautiousness kicked in as he heard a slight shuffle. Pressing himself against the wall, he held his breath to get a better listen. Hrm.. Jackals.. their cawing and the soft paddnig of their feet were unmissable. He slowly looked around the corner, and saw around 10 of the creatures entering the side of the corridor he had been walking along. There were consequent yells of delight (or fury, he could never tell), and a couple of loud metallic bangs. Then a magnum was thrown out of the room, and what looked like a crate of some sort. The jackals still trying to enter the room were getting frustrated and snapped menacingly at their peers.

He turned his comms on. ++Hooper here, we've got 10 jackals. Wait up.++

Hooper smiled, scavenging while their bosses weren't looking. Thinking back through his memory of the ship's layout, there wasn't another way round that didn't delay them by at least ten minutes. They had to die.

Hooper unclipped one of his two grenades and sighed. He hated grenades. So.. vulgar. Mentally shrugging, he primed it and rolled it quietly around the corner. Hooper smiled as he heard a shriek of delight, and scrambling. Evidently they hadn’t noticed the lack of a pin in the grenade and thought it was scrap. As the explosion ripped down the corridor, Hooper swung round, aiming his rifle down the corridor, hoping that his hearing would return soon. A moment’s pause, then a slight hiss and a jackal with no lower half to his body crawled feebly out of the room, now highlighted in scorch marks. It raised its head slowly and looked at him mournfully, producing another futile hiss of contempt. Seeing that no reinforcements were on their way, Hooper slung his rifle on his back and strode towards the jackal. He drew his knife slowly, and grinned manically at the low hum that reverberated around the room as he drew it. Light was playing off the blade across the walls with silver sheen, and Hooper couldn’t help but smile in admiration at it, as sharpened and polished as the dagger always was.

Hooper kicked over the Jackal so it was facing the ceiling, and stood over it. Its eyes dully registered the knife in Hooper’s hand and its hissing stopped, it looked withdrawn, it had given up. Holding the Jackal by the head Hooper slowly pushed the knife through the Jackal’s open mouth. The wet sliding noise of the blade entering flesh was replaced by a harsh crack as the Hooper applied force and creature’s skull fractured.

Hooper paused in that position, kneeling over the dead Jackal, and closed his eyes, smiling. He sighed happily, grenades had nothing on this.

Standing up Hooper wiped his knife on a less bloody corpse, then unslung his rifle.

++I’ve dealt with the Jackals, shall I continute?++
 

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Discussion Starter #69
Fawkes carried Marfield along with Lancaster, mulling over his words in his head. 'resulting in the deaths of fellow soldiers, subordinates and civilians alike. Due to lack of skills to execute command on the required level' Lancaster had said. This troubled Fawkes. As the second highest rank, alongside Hooper, Fawkes would have to defer to Lancaster for leading smaller divisions of the squad. While he had appeared to be a competent soldier, his commanding skills had yet to be put to the test within Fawkes' startlingly short time serving with him.

"Hooper here, we've got 10 jackals. Wait up."

Hooper's radio remained active and Fawkes heard two muffled clicks of what could be grenade pins being removed, then a loud explosion, confirming his suspicions. There were screeches and then a squelching thud. Hooper spoke again.

"I’ve dealt with the Jackals, shall I continue?"

"Affirmative, move up and meet us at the med bay." Fawkes radioed over.

The group continued down the corridor slowly, passing the horribly mangled remains of Jackals. The nearest one had nothing below it's waistline, entrails hanging out across the floor and the creature's skull had been punctured by a heavy sharp object. Fawkes assumed that this was Hooper's handiwork and found himself questioning his other second in command's stability. He was going to have to be very careful how he split the squad up.

The team had almost reached the med bay when a medical officer approached him.
"ODSTs? We sent you're buddy off on a pelican, it's waiting for the rest of you. We're evacuating the ship."
He looked down at Marfield and the other ODST, winced, then called over several other medical officers who rushed up with syringes and, unsurprisingly, biofoam. The UNSC medical corps managed to find a way of incorperating the stuff into any injury. They began injecting fluids into the unconscious soldiers and then put them on stretchers.

Without another word the medical officers ran off onto a medical pelican, met by another half a dozen medics who began clustering around the two fallen ODSTs.

Fawkes watched them go before heading towards the pelicans which were arrayed in the hangar. Fawkes saw Hooper hovering uncertainly around a trio of Pelicans which were emblazoned with the names of the ships' ODST squads: Wolf, Shark and Phoenix. Fawkes entered the Phoenix pelican, The Firebird ,emblazoned with fiery birds on the outside.

"Fawkes! Ready to blow this hell-hole?"

Fawkes turned to see the pelican's pilot, Simon Lordan, leaning around the side of the cockpit to grin at Fawkes, his helmet hanging from an improvised hook on the wall.
As the rest of the squad embarked he waved amicably at them before grasping the helmet, clamping it on his head and speaking over The Firebird's comms.

+Ladies and gentlement, my name is Simon Lordan and I'll be your pilot for today. If you have any questions, I'll probably be too busy to answer them, so don't bother. Please fasten you're harnesses, we may have some company.+

Fawkes quickly pushed on his harness and held on tight. He trusted Lordan to get the team to the ship in one piece, but his flying style was, unique and poorly adapted to those who suffered from airsickness or had an aversion to dangerous stunts. When the squad had entered, the doors behind them shut and Lordan's voice crackled over his helmet radio.

"Oh, Samuel, I forgot to mention, on the rack above you, there's a datapad for you."

Fawkes undid his harness and grasped the slim datapad. He was about to sit back down when he was hurled to the back of the pelican by a sudden burst of speed. He just managed to grip the harness, very tightly, when the pelican spiralled and Fawkes could hear Lordan whooping ecstatically. The Firebird righted itself and Fawkes quickly sat down, locked his harness and downloaded the datapad's file to his helmet. It was easier to read when the data wasn't on a thin board that was being flung around the compartment by insane flying.

+To 1st Sgt. S Fawkes//188thODST/SqPHOENIX

You will be making planetfall shortly in SOEIVs and will, alongside Shark squad and Gorilla squad, be clearing an LZ for main landing teams. Air support will be available if and when needed and there are still groups of local militia who are fighting the covenant.

Good luck.

Cpt. H. Goddard//188thODST/HQ+

"Alright team, command's just given us a mission. We're clearing an LZ on the planet for the main base of operations. This will be in the centre of the city, we'll be backed up by Shark and Gorilla squad, as well as whatever militia are already down there."

The now fully armed and armoured team set out towards where Fawkes assumed the armoury would be on this ship. It was much bigger than the Arkansas, so Fawkes had to assume that this was The UNSC Will of Forsetti. A marine jogged up to Fawkes.

"Squad Phoenix?" He asked, breathlessly.

"That's us, what is it marine?" Fawkes asked.

"Follow me." The marine waved them over and began walking back the way he had come.

Fawkes and the ODSTs followed the man. Fawkes studied the ship as he walked, the corridors were wider and technicians, marines and medical staff were scurrying this way and that, each engrossed in their own frantic issues.

Fawkes sped up slightly to catch up with the marine.

"Is it usually this hectic around here?" He asked.

"No sir, We've got sixty odd new arrivals from the Arkansas though, so we're working double time to accommodate them all."

Sixty? There had be well over three hundred occupants of the Arkansas, but only sixty had got through the attack. He shuddered and pressed on. The squad eventually reached a room with words printed across the top. 'ODST 188th'. The marine stood to one side.

"ODSTs only sir, I don't have access."

Fawkes put his hand on the reader and the doors slid open. Fawkes entered and whistled. There was a holo table, racks of weapons, dozens of SOEIV drop pods in rows and even a minibar. He went over to the weapons and grabbed more ammo, sliding clips into his gun and belt. Then his stomach rumbled and he walked over to the minibar. He pulled open the door and gave a dry chuckle. All that was inside were dozens of UNSC ration bars.

Fawkes plucked a few of the bars out gingerly, sliding them into his pack. He had often theorised that the bars had a magical tendency to reverse the effects of hunger. They tasted like processed, soft dirt and often, merely the mention of them would allow half starved marines to carry on as if they had been eating properly when they'd had nothing for days.

Fawkes then went over to the pods and waited. After ten or so minutes, the rest of the squad had convened and Shark and Gorilla squad had filed in. There were many greetings and plenty of levity amongst the group of ODSTs. Now around 22 ODSTs stood in the room, conversing jovially. Fawkes and the two squad sergeants, McCoy and Greaves began talking, their conversation consisting of mixtures of reminiscing about previous battles together and commenting on strategies and opinions on the upcoming battle. The red preparation light began flashing and all the ODSTs hurried to their pods. Fawkes put all his gear in it's proper place, then checked the status lights of the various squads on his command pod. The only difference was a display on his right giving him a real-time display of each pod condition. When every status light shone green, Fawkes opened up his comms.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, to those of you that don't know, we're going down to kick every covie in sector alpha 379 off their asses and clear some ground for the UNSC. Pelicans don't do too well here, tonnes of anti-air kicking around, so command's sending us in. Where are we going boys and girls?"

Over the radio a score of voices replied joyously. "Feet first in to hell!"

Fawkes' heart leapt as the pod jolted, then slid slowly into it's launch position. There was another jolt and suddenly Fawkes was in free fall. He watched as the clouds approached fast and then he pushed through the fluffy white mass, which revealed the hell hole below. Beneath the ODSTs was the death throes of a city. Burning buildings blossomed smoke up into the heavens and charred rubble was strewn across the streets. As the pod moved in closer, the timer stating that there were 20 seconds until landing, Fawkes could see streaks of plasma fire arcing across and muzzle flashes sending a retort on top of a building. Fawkes angled his pod towards a cluster of grunts and their elite leader. The SOEIV smashed into the ground, the window suddenly splattered with blue grunt blood. Fawkes saw the elite roar at the pod and the door flew forwards at it, sending it reeling off the building with a cry. Fawkes dropped out and pulled his battle rifle to bear with ease, dispatching the two remaining nearby grunts. Fawkes stepped forwards to see the other pods arrayed on the buildings around him, the doors flying out and more ODSTs pouring forth, guns ablaze.

Fawkes saw that only three pods had landed near him, Mcknight, Hooper, Collins and an ODST he'd noticed from gorilla squad. He rounded them up and looked over to the other buildings. Greaves seemed to have most of Gorilla together and McCoy and half of shark were already pinned down on a building that looked like an optimal LZ, it had a wide helipad used for dropping large shipments into the city. Fawkes looked for the rest of Phoenix. He spotted them on a building just across the street. The rest of the squad was there. He switched his comms on.

"Lan-" He caught himself. "John, get the guys with you down to the big landing pad about two buildings across. I see a connecting tunnel around four floors below you." He looked more carefully in the windows of the next building. Blue flashes.

"John, be advised, there's some hostiles and probably some militia down there, keep sharp."

He rounded of Mcknight, Hooper and the Gorilla squad ODST, who was just pulling a sniper rifle out of his pod's weapon compartment.

Fawkes had an idea. He looked round and saw what he was looking for. A lift shaft on the side of the building. He waved over the ODSTs, walking into the lift. It was one of the ones made of a sort of thick metal mesh, with large gaps criss crossing all around it.

"You two, tell me what angle you need to take shots. We've got to cover those guys to the objective." He said to the two snipers. The building they were in was taller than the rest, so they had a good vantage point. Suddenly there was an ominous and familiar buzzing noise.

"Drones!" Fawkes spat as the hideous, insect like creatures began hovering around the five of them.

"Hooper take 'em down!" Then an explosion wrecked a section of the building a couple of floors down.

"Banshees!" Fawkes called out. Plasma cannon fire briefly raked the lift before the alien airships had to avoid hitting the building ahead of them.

"Collins, Drop them out of the sky!"


OOC: Boots on the ground boys and girls!
Sangus, Shattertheirsky, G0arr & Son of Azurman: Make your way through the buildings to the landing pad. Max kills are 2 elites/brutes and 6 jackals/grunts.

Mannfred: Fight off the drones that are surrounding the lift.You can kill up to 8.

Josie: Give sniper cover alongside the other ODST. You can take down any 4 enemies out of the following: Shade turret, Elite or Brute.

Po-D: You've got to blow up the two banshees attacking the position.

Spartans: Orders are PMed
 

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John and Fawkes handed Marfield over to the medics, much to John's dismay. He'd rather look after her himself, he owed her that much.

He was no longer in charge however and he knew he had to follow Fawkes, so he would.

+20 minutes

'Helljumper, Helljumper.' it rang in John's head as his heart raced and his lungs tried to tell him they were full and that John should stop breathing in.

Release.

John saw the darkness of space appear through the window of the drop pod as his heartbeat returned to normal and his lungs pressed out the air.
John felt the harness press on him as the pod accelerated, slowly working towards its terminal velocity.
The drop pod shook violently as it breached the planet's atmosphere and John laughed loud as he saw the deck of clouds envelop his drop pod, truly having a good time.

Three. Two. On- Impact.

He had landed on top of a building, John was surprised. Last time he had attempted anything like that he had come to a stop after he had punctured twelve floors...

The dust around the drop pod cleared and John saw a brute wielding a large hammer slowly stalking towards his pod.
"Just my fucking luck." John said as he cancelled the pod door release.
He put his hand on the emergency release.
Other ODST's had already engaged the surrounding enemies but the brute kept closing in.
When it was about to ram the hammer into the pod John activated the emergency release, launching the door into the Brute.
John jumped out of the pod, firing three bursts with his BR to make sure the Brute was dead as can be.

John quickly assisted his fellow ODSTs in clearing the rooftop, killing two grunts and a Jackal.

John shot a second Jackal, which carried a carbine, in the stomach but another ODST, one who's name he had forgotten, finished the beaked alien.

"Lan- John," Fawkes voice came. "get the guys with you down to the big landing pad about two buildings across. I see a connecting tunnel around four floors below you."
"Copy that, four floors down then two buildings across." John replied as he memorized the orders.

He signaled the ODST's to gather around him as he looked for an entrance to the building.
"John, be advised, there's some hostiles and probably some militia down there, keep sharp."
Fawkes came again.
"Aye, sir, we'll be careful." John replied, happy to know Fawkes got his back.
The ODSTs gathered to breach the building, they just needed to find an entrance...
 

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Leaning in the corner of the room while everyone "socialised", Hooper scanned the room while picking dirt out of grooves in his armour with his knife, checking for any weaknesses in the walls, escape routes, spare weapons. Unlike these people he could never fully relax, never fully let his guard down. He knew too many dead people to ever relax.

As the alarm to launch sounded off, Hooper sheathed his knife calmly and walked up to the nearest drop pod, serenely buckling himself in. While the others went through their silly psych up regimes, Hooper merely closed his eyes and thought through what they were about to do, and any necessary back ups.

Jolted back to reality by his pod entering free fall, Hooper went through his "regime" and remembered his fallen squadmates in the order they died. It took up the majority of the journey. Hooper didn't feel any sympathy though, they had all paid the prices for their mistakes, and in war no-one gets a second chance. No-one.

As his body was shaken to pieces upon impact, Hooper ignored the pain and stepped out smoothly with practised ease. He scanned the scene around him while men streamed out of their pods, eliminating the remaining forces on this roof top.

Suddenly Fist Seargeny Fawkes yelled at Hooper. Apparently they had company. Hooper looked up at the drones and frowned. Damned bugs, always difficult to hit. He stalked forwards, taking his DMR off his back and and cocking it with an emphatic ka-klinck. Never mind,he thought, he was a designated marksman for a reason. Sprinting towards the group

His first shot impacted in the drone's throat, and it whistled softly as it spiralled erratically towards the ground. The drone screeched as desperately tried to stay in the air. As it careened over the edge of the building, Hooper drew his knife and grabbed onto the drone's legs. He snarled in glee as he pulled it out of the air and sent the blade ramming through its face. The bug's limbs went stiff, then fell limp. Hooper paused and withdrew his knife with a wet sliding noise. The sheer sudden violence of Hooper combined with the drone's attention on the lift gave him about... 4 seconds he reckoned, before they started retaliating. Well, waste not want not.

The second and third were both shot in the head as they were clicking to each other in alarm at their first comrade's death. Their heads burst, and they fell like stones. However the drones had had the time to react now, and they moved erratically through the air in an attempt to dodge Hooper's shots. Thankfully they were too high up to be in effective range of their weapons as plasma and splinters of crystal were pattering around the floor, a couple hitting him but the damage was mainly absorbed by his armour. Somewhere in the back of Hooper's mind faint amusement registered, but the cold conciousness on the exterior wasn't paying attention. By the time they had got close to him, there were only three remaining, and one flying around in circles clutching a wound in its shooting arm.

Hooper glanced at his ammo count. 2. The two drones were too skittish to stay still enough for two headshots, let alone the torrent of splinter fire that forced him to dive to the side. As he impacted the floor, Hooper fired the remaining two shots into one drone. Both hit its chest and it fell limply out of the sky. The final one seemed to sense Hooper's situation and sped towards him victoriously.

Sadly it wasn't aware of the pistol that Hooper had drawn as he picked himself off the ground, and he emptied a magazine in a flurry that belayed the amount of time he had spent shooting ration cans in his youth. The spray of bullets chewed into the poor creature and it jolted out of the air, its body and face a gory mess. Hooper paused, and then returned to First Seargent Fawkes, who seemed slightly stunned. Hooper winced as he pulled a crystal shard out of his thigh which had thankfully penetrated only the armour and grazed him, and straightened up.

"Done. Lets get these snipers deployed shall we?". Hooper was glad that his visor covered up his envious look, he'd always wanted to fire a sniper rifle, and considered himself good enough for the job. The sheer... Power of the rounds appealed to him so much.
 

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"God I hate this." Claire whimpered to herself in a trembling voice as her drop pod was closed.
She closed her eyes and tried to think happy thoughts, with little succes. She shook violently, or was it the drop pod? Both...

When tge drop pod slammed into the ground she opened her eyes. The trembling stopped at once and she reached for her weapons as the door pannel of her drop pod opened.
She fired her SMG at the nearest grunt, perforating it.

She fired two salvoes into a Jackal's shield before someone else took it down.

An explosion caught her attention.

"Banshees!" Fawkes shouted.
Claire could hear their smooth, annoying sound.
'Time to get to work.' she thought to herself as she haerd Fawkes give her the order to destroy the Banshees.

She secured the SMG to her thigh and got the heavy Rocket Launcher from her back.

The moment she alinged it with one of the Banshees a white diamond started circling the Banshee on her VISR.

"Gotcha." she said as a rocket left the barrel and quickly homed in on the Banshee, destroying it in yellow and purple flames.
Suddenly the rocket launcher was pulled out of her hands.
A Drone was pulling at it with it's slender limbs.
Two rounds shot of the wings of the creature and she saw the Gorilla ODST signaling her.

She returned her focus to the other Banshee, trying to get another lock.
This pilot had some tricks though, the Banshee rolled and dived, rendering her unable to get a solid lock on the craft.

Luckily, she had skills.
Claire saw a window when the Banshee came out of it's roll, it had to level it's wings before it could roll the other way.

A second rocket was fired and it hit the Banshee dead centre, mutilating the metal and sending the wreckage downwards as it trailed a purple smoke.

"Now that's how 'I' roll." Claire said as the wrecked Banshee crashed into a building.
 

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As Zetan carried the marine down the hallway he noticed something in Fawkes, There new CO was troubled and unsure on something. Whatever him and Lancaster were talking about it was not a light hearted subject.

Suddenly voice chatter came from the radio “,Hooper here, we've got 10 jackals.wait up”

Then the blowing of grenades we’re heard as we came to a halt and he spoke again.

“i’ve dealt with the jackals, shall i continue?”

“Affirmative, move up and meet us at the med boy.” Fawkes responded and they set out again.

As we continued we came across the remains of the jackals, he couldn't lie Zetan liked Hooper’s handiwork as he stepped over the disembodied head of a jackal. As they approached the med boy a medical officer went to Fawkes.

“ODSTs? we sent your buddy off on a pelican, its waiting for the rest of you. were evacuating the ship.” The Med said.

As he was done talking he called over some others and lifted the marines away onto stretchers. The meds carried the marines over to a pelican and were swarmed by a dozen other medics.

As Phoenix ran over to the other end of the hanger three pelicans awaited them. Pelicans each with painted designs on the hull. one with a sea of sharks, one of a giant wolf and one swarmed with birds of flame. Each one represented there interior squads shark,wolf and Phoenix and it was obvious which one would carry them. As we enterd the flame pelican a voice came from the cockpit.

“Fawkes, ready to blow this hell hole,”a and a slightly insane looking facial expression was shown on the pilot’s face.

As phoenix settled into there seats a voice came over the intercom.

+Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Simon Lordan and I'll be your pilot for today. If you have any questions, I'll probably be too busy to answer them, so don't bother. Please fasten you're harnesses, we may have some company.+

As Zetan tightened his harness he noticed Fawkes unhook his, As Fawkes stood up a grasped a data pad from the overhead compartment. Before the sergeant could refit himself the pelican bolted out of the hangar sending him flying to the rear. As the sergeant tried to fix himself Zetan was distracted. He had taken the time o upload to his helmet pictures and videos of his old team squad raider. On his screen flew pictures of old friends, trophies until finally came the video. The team when they were sent to investigate the post had agreed to each keep a video so that they could compare experiences as they were sure that they would be split up. The video showed everything from arrival to when Zetan had seen the pelican come to rescue him. There in that pelican as phoenix readied for planetfall he had sat solitary from everyone else right at the rear and he started to tear. It took until there arrival at the UNSC will of forseti to pull himself together.

“Alright team, command's just given us a mission. We're clearing an LZ on the planet for the main base of operations. This will be in the centre of the city, we'll be backed up by Shark and Gorilla squad, as well as whatever militia are already down there." came Fawkes’s voice through the radio.

Finally some faces Zetan would actually feel comfortable around, he missed his old squad already and mostly he missed Krice (pronounced chris). Krice and Zetan had been the two newest members of Gorilla all that time ago, They were like brothers and would never leave each others side. Even on missions wile the rest of the squad were together these two were always working together as Krice used his marksman skills to snipe and Zetan watched his back. The two had made it through thick and thin and it had been saddening to leave him.

As the exited the pelican and headed to the armory a marine jogged over.

"Squad Phoenix?" He asked, breathlessly.

"That's us, what is it marine?" Fawkes asked.

"Follow me." The marine waved them over and began walking back the way he had come.

as the squad made there way past hectic staff and Fawkes spoke with the marine they approached a room with the words “ODST 188th and the marine left them.

The room was definatly bigger than expected more of a hangar with rows of weapons, a minibar and a holotable and at the far end lay row and row of drop pods. After a few minutes shark and Gorilla had entered, Without hesitation Zetan ran over to Gorilla. God he had missed them all Greaves, Krice,Mike,Hall,Jess,Leo,Mcinuss and Kopf. They all ran into a big group hug which soon broke out into a big wrestling match. Fawkes and Greaves met up with the other leader and started talking wile Zetan and Gorilla exchanged pleasantries as they crawled to their feet.

As the others walked off Zetan and Krice walked over to the armory, On the way they would not close there gobs as they were to busy yapping to stop. At the armory Zetan slid a battle rifle over his back and an smg into his leg holster, meanwhile krice being the marksman he is was checking over his sniper flicking through the different lenses. Suddenly the red preparation light flickered and the two an over to there pods.
Zetan hurriedly put his equipment in the proper locations and switched his light to green.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, to those of you that don't know, we're going down to kick every covie in sector alpha 379 off their asses and clear some ground for the UNSC. Pelicans don't do too well here, tones of anti-air kicking around, so command's sending us in. Where are we going boys and girls?"

“feet foot into hell,”replied the squad with exited voices.

over the next few minutes the pod jolted into position and was launched. As the pod plummeted towards the city below, As they had landed Zetan quickly looked out of his pod.
Out in front of his pod stood 3 grunts, as they assessed the pod Zetan stood dead still as to not alarm them as a turn of events they each placed plasma grenades around the window. Zetan waited till they were all hot then activated the emergency release, The door went flying knocking the three grunts off the building and exploded killing another two.
Zetan without hesitation leaped out of his pod kicking a jackal in the face before finishing him off with his fist. As he grabbed his arms out of the pod compartments he noticed most of phoenix were with him. Davis,Payne and Lancaster were on the same roof but not the others. As he slid his battle rifle over his back and held his smg he gazed around for Fawkes and saw him across the street. Fawkes stood with Mcknight,Hooper and Collins were with along with a Gorilla member.

“hey hard ass what you looking at,” came a voice over his helmet.

The voice was Krice’s, if he would choose anyone to watch his back he would choose Krice. Fawkes couldn't have a better man at his back in Zetan’s opinion. Zetan looked around and saw Lancaster signaling them over, They spent the next few minutes looking for an entrance to the floors below.
 

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Joseph moved to the pelican marked with the blazing Phoenix. Inside there was a sight that made him smile, an equipment box with his name. “Damn right,” he said pulling the marine issued tactical helmet from his head. It clanked against the deck outside the transport. It took only a few seconds before there were several clicks and pops. Joseph quickly began to ready his armor. The intercom came to life as he buckled an armored belt. The only part of the announcement he paid attention to was the end. +Please fasten your harness, we may have some company.+ “Well damn,” Joseph quickly slid the upper armor into place and spun to his seat. With a snap the harness was ready. There was a roar as the transport accelerated. An almost crazed smile filled Joseph’s face as he shouted, “Go to it big fella!” The smile didn’t disappear until the pelican finally leveled out and made its approach.

The ODST private released his harness and stood. It only took a few seconds for him to finish armoring up. A quick test of the pieces told him they were secure. The rest of Phoenix Squad moved to exit as Joseph turned to the cockpit. “Pilot,” he boomed. A face turned toward him. “What kinda flying was that?” The face began to twist into disgust. He was expecting a berating from some soldier upset with the maneuverings. “Hell of a ride,” Joseph said with a sly smile, “made me feel all safe and secure!” The pilot smiled, “It did?” “Yes sir, next time you might want to try to scare me.” The smile widened, “I’ll remember that.”

With that Joseph trotted across the deck to catch his squad. They were already heading toward the armory, or ready room he wasn’t sure. When they arrived in wasn’t what he’d been expecting, there was a bar. There was almost nothing in it except ration bars. Several of them were placed on his person. Next to be latched into place was a full canteen. Joseph learned long ago to be prepared especially when surrounded by the enemy, and in the ODST it seemed to be part of the job.

As others cycled toward other areas Joseph moved to the armory. A fresh rifle and fill up on ammo quickly followed. The other squads began to file in. Standing there Joseph began to feel excitement. It was hard for him to stay still. Joseph checked his rifle, his pistol, combat knife, grenades, armor, and then back to the rifle.
“You scared son,” one of the other helljumpers asked hearing the weapon check starting again.
Joseph looked at him. “First combat jump.”
“Don’t worry; just remember your training you’ll make it back.”
“Well sir, with all respect I’m about to strap myself into a metal pod that is going to be ejected from this ship in low orbit. It’s going to reach a top speed over 700 miles an hour making the flight time last a little longer than heating a burrito. On impact we’re going to be required to clear part of a city without real assistance so that the big guns, and Spartans can follow up and claim victory on our heels,” Joseph looked into the other soldier’s eyes, “It’s what I signed up for sir.”
“That’s not the answer I was looking for.”
Joseph held his gaze. “You ever seen a race sir, looked at the horses as they walk into the stalls and shift from leg to leg? Those fidgets aren’t because they’re scared. They’re just ready to run. I’m too ready to be scared.”
The older soldier smiled. “I’ll see you on the ground son.”
“Riding feet first,” Joseph smirked.
“Into Hell,” the other replied as the warning light began to flash.

Sitting in the pod Joseph watched in awe as the deck began to disappear. Below filling most of the view was Elysium. It reminded him of pictures that he had seen from history texts, they were of Earth. He wondered if he might visit it some day. The radio came to life. "Ladies and Gentlemen, to those of you that don't know, we're going down to kick every covie in sector alpha 379 off their asses and clear some ground for the UNSC. Pelicans don't do too well here, tonnes of anti-air kicking around, so command's sending us in. Where are we going boys and girls?"
“Feet first into hell,” Joseph joined the call.

A smile crept onto his face as he remembered training. “All right boys and girls,” the old drill instructor said as the trainees waited for their first real jump, “Think of this like an elevator with one button. It’s a big red one that says Hell, and you’re getting the express ride!” The first pod separated as the thrusters ignited, followed by the next, and the next. There was a pop overhead and a small jolt. “Ding,” Joseph said, “Going down!”
The flight was a blur until they hit the clouds. The white was replaced with broken buildings and weapons fire. “Time to go to work,” Joseph said preparing himself for the impact.

The pod jerked hard as it impacted the ground. The sounds of the strike still filled the air as Joseph hammered the release. He burst out of the pod with purpose. A fast glance told him they were on a building, several pods were scattered around, and then he saw the first elite.
It acted almost dazed as it saw the lone human moving from the dust and dirt. Joseph turned slightly and continued his run. “Surprise,” was the only battle cry he could find as the rifle reached his shoulder.
Shields flashed as the first rounds struck home. The elite managed to bring its plasma gun up before the rounds punched into flesh, but never fired.

As Joseph reached the falling corpse things erupted around him. Waiting pod hatches burst open, explosions ripped out, and weapons began to fire.
The sudden burst of activity quickly seemed to die away. Joseph managed to claim four grunts during the insanity. His last kill a jackal with several holes in its stomach from another squad member’s weapon.

Lancaster was speaking to Fawkes when Joseph approached. “Four floors down and two buildings across.” An empty clip clanked to the roof as something exploded overhead. A fresh clip slammed into place as the young soldier looked at the battle raging around the building. A banshee rolled past. “Time to move,” Joseph whispered as he glanced across the roof again. His eyes darted from place to place searching for fire escapes, or… “Roof access,” Joseph said jogging to a blocky structure. The door was already partly open, possibly how the Covenant reached building top. He took up position against the doorframe ready to rush in. “Ready on your go,” Joseph reported as the banshee detonated over the cityscape.
 

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Standing on the bridge with Anthony, Felix looked at the carnage, feeling a slight pang of guilt as he saw the corpses of the crew. Deactivating his camo, he stepped forward to speak with Fawkes, but before he could open his mouth a plasma grenade came flying at them. "Down" He shouted, before diving for cover. As the grenade detonated, Felix activated his camo again, his HUD flickering slightly from the power drain and plasma backwash of the grenade. Zeroing in on the Elite who had thrown it he stepped from cover, rifle raised.

Felix fired, but a bubble shield flared into existence soaking up their fire. Suddenly the ships AI flared into being on her knees reaching out to the squad.
"Help!" She cried, eyes wide in terror. "They're hacking my database, they're trying to take me!" If they took the AI, that meant they'd have a map to every system the ship had been to. Earth... Snapping his rifle onto his back, the memory of plasma bombarding his home planet whispered into his mind. "Not if i can help it" he thought as he drew his combat blade, planning on taking the elite in close combat where it couldnt hide behind a bubble.

Before he could move, the elite drew two grenades and threw them just before the bubble shield collapsed. The detonation sent a flash of light that even his helmets auto polarization couldn't fully dampen into his eyes, and for a few seconds even the Spartan was blind. Returning his combat knife to it's sheath on his arm he shook his head to clear his senses, his suits camo recovering almost as fast as his sight. Seeing the Elite retreating he began to sprint as fast as his legs could carry him after it.

Tearing through the hallways at a full run he followed the zealot, watching it clear a bulkhead into a hanger bay. Felix was almost killed by the burst of plasma the phantom docked there fired, managing to just clear it as he dove through the door. "Coward" he shouted through his activated helmet speakers, his finger raised in an arcane gesture at it as it disappeared into the belly of the phantom. Retreating from the bay, he saw an elevator in the hallway leading to a level above. What greeted the spartans in the hangar was a pelican, not your craft for ship to ship warfare but it would do. Strapping himself into the pilots seat he began powering the craft up.

Jamming the throttle as high as it would go the pelican engines roared as it flew out of the hangar bay, hurtling towards the covenant corvette. Nothing but plasma greeted them, the anti aircraft fire flashing through space and detonating on the UNSC ship behind them. "Gonna get a little bumpy" he said to Anthony over their suit comms as he began evasive maneuvers, rolling and jinking to avoid the incoming fire. The amount then tripled as the zealot no doubt told them who exactly was chasing him, and even Felix's enhanced reactions couldn't keep them flying. Plasma tore through the right wing, shearing it away close to the hull and killing his controls. " Bail" he said calmly to Anthony, opening the back hatch of the ship before turning and running towards it.

Jumping from the wrecked pelican probably wasn't the greatest of ideas, but it had the highest probability for survival although not by much. Bailing out, Felix made sure to propel himself towards the ship, letting the inertia of his jump take him through the zero gravity. Hitting the covenant ship, he turned and watched his teammate land nearby seeing the pelican crash into the side of the hull. "Theres our way in" he said, magnetizing his boots to the ship and moving to where the pelican had crashed. A large gash leading into the covenant ship was what met the pair of Spartans, that and a search party that appeared just after they did. Luckily, Felix hadn't deactivated his camo, and he dropped silently into the ship.

Their trip through the corvette was uneventful, skirting patrols and stealthing it the entire way. Felix knew from previous experience the covies kept their bridges in the center of their ships, and outside of the main bridge is where they found themselves breaching charges in hand. Setting the timer to the pair of charges he had attached to the doors, felix whispered a quiet fire in the hole over the comms that was shortly followed by sharp crack of the charges as they sent the doors tumbling in. Stepping into the bridge rifle raised he began firing, killing everything in sight before his aim settled on the Zealot whom they had been chasing.

Smiling behind his visor Felix stepped in front of Anthony muttering "this bastard is mine" over the comms. Shouldering his rifle and activating his helmet speakers, Felix sent a string of insults at the Zealot, laughing at the beast as it roared a challenge at him. Half a magazine of rounds was what met the Alien as it charged him, its shields failing and 3 rounds stitching across it's torso before it activated its sword and crashed into Felix. Rolling with the tackle he came up under it, and it sent a swipe at his head.

Catching the zealots sword arm in one hand, he began hammering his fist into the side of its face feeling bone crunch and watching blood leak. Stunned the elite did nothing as Felix drew his SMG with the hand he had been punching it with, his left still holding its sword arm at bay. "I win" he snarled into its face, pulling the trigger and sending its brains splattering across the bridge. By know the ship had been alerted to the intruders, and while he had been fighting the elite Anthony had rigged the ship to crash into the UNSC Arkansas and retrieved the A.I. Nodding to him, Felix turned and the pair snuck their way through the first party of covenant that had reacted to the alarms.

Before they had left the bridge, Felix had rigged a surprise for the covenant, and he grinned as he heard the squawk of a jackal followed by the detonation of the grenades he had rigged on the dead Zealot. Using the distraction, he began the process of sneaking to a hanger bay, watching the time until they crashed into the Arkansas get smaller and smaller on his HUD. Arriving 4 minutes until impact, he broke into a full run, charging up into the bay of an idling Phantom. Only 3 grunts and a jackal had been left to guard it and they were slaughtered mercilessly by the Spartans.

30 seconds until impact.

Powering the ship Felix wasted no time in slamming the thrust to full, the acceleration pinning him to his seat as they blasted out of the covenant ship.

3....2.....1.....

The impact of the ships ended in a colossal explosion, and their phanton wasn't quite out of the blast radius. The blast wave smashed into the phantom, sending it spiraling uncontrollably. " Another day at the office " felix thought just before he was slammed around the cockpit of the phantom...
 

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Felix stepped forward to speak with Fawkes but as he did I saw the shape streaking towards the main console. My rifle was already coming round when the plasma grenade flew directly at me. I kicked a plasma rifle up from the floor and threw it, diverting the oncoming grenade. Then I leapt up and backwards and curled into a ball as I heard Felix yell for everyone to hit the deck. The grenade threw me backwards to slam threw one of the glass console screens. I was already rolling as I landed, Magnum coming up and firing a shot. At the same time shots came from Felix, followed a moment later by a barrage of fire from Phoenix Squad. The Zealot crouched at the console payed us no heed as a shield sprang into being around him. At the same moment Alice flared into being on the AI pedestal. "Help!" She cried; her eyes wide with unreasoning terror. "They're hacking my database; they're trying to take me!"

Both I and Felix had exactly the same thought. In unison we drew our knives and began to move. But the Flash Bang put an end to any ambitions we had of engaging the Zealot in close quarters combat. I kept moving forwards, sliding my knife into its sheath and diving into a roll. I had a mental picture of the bridge mapped in my mind, including the location of my BR55. I snatched it in one hand and as I came up and my vision returned I leapt over a console and me and Felix were pounding down the corridor after the Zealot.

We ran into a Covenant patrol and while Felix butchered the Grunts and Jackals I slammed the Elite to the floor in a flying tackle and as it hit the floor I fired my Magnum several times. The Elite, its shields short-circuited after I slammed into it cried out as it died. I was still moving, using the momentum of the tackle to roll to my feet. We had not even paused and we did not, continuing our pounding run. We slowly accelerated until we must have been little more than blurs to any who saw us. Warning lights appeared on my visor as I pushed myself ever faster but I ignored them.

But I knew I was moving too fast when I managed to use nothing more than an Elite’s chest as a spring board to launch myself into a spinning flip from which I fired three shots that killed the Elite and 2 Jackals before landing and continuing. I laughed insanely despite the gravity of the situation and heard Felix join me in that mad laughter.

We reached the hangar just as the Zealot boarded a Phantom and we split, diving in opposite directions to avoid the burst of plasma fire. I dived beneath it and came up firing but the Zealot dragged Grunts to cover itself and I cursed as I watched it disappear into the belly of the Phantom. Then I was running as the Phantom trained its gun on me. I dived through the doorway, throwing myself forward to land on my shoulder and spring back to my feet, skidding round a corner and following Felix as we ascended to the next level hangar where a pelican waited.

We sprinted into the hold and Felix jumped in the pilot’s seat. I stood in the hold, checking weapons and suit seals, doubting very much whether we would be allowed to simply land in the hangar. Right on cue Felix’s voice came over the COM. "Gonna get a little bumpy," he said.

I smiled grimly. “When isn’t it brother?” I heard him laugh almost bitterly.

The next word I heard from him was one I had been expecting. “Bail”

Then he jumped out the back of the Pelican, straight towards the Covenant ship. I jumped out with him.

Definitely not a sane choice. But in the Head-hunters, sanity was a liability.

We were spot on and slammed into the Covenant ship one after the other, him impacting first. We activated our mag-locks to prevent flying off into space again. The Pelican impact scar was our way in and we slipped through, avoiding the Covenant search party that came out to search for survivors. Active-Camo came in handy then as we evaded the Covenant patrols. We moved like Ghosts and left nothing in our passing.

But when we reached the bridge, we were merciless. Felix’s charge blew the doors in and we were already moving in and opening fire. It should have been the stuff of legends. Two soldiers of the UNSC taking on an entire Covenant bridge and surviving. But I doubt our mission records will ever be published openly. We will remain hidden, Humanity’s knife in the black of night. In truth, it is an honour. Something that needs doing. But everyone wants some recognition once in their life and we had more reason that most. The mistake everyone makes is believing that we are machines, not men. But inside every machine there is a spark of Humanity. They tried to crush ours, but they will never succeed.

We killed like Gods of War. We butchered the Elites and I let my rage show.

I barrelled an Elite to the ground and drove my knife through his face, screaming in anger. I killed and killed, all the while screaming a battle cry. “Last of Harvest, Last of Harvest,” I cried and Felix echoed the shout as we fought. I moved forward, under a blow and snapped the Elite’s arm over my shoulder. I drove my elbow into its solar plexus, turned and drove my fist past its mandibles to lift it off the floor. I drove it down into the ground with an elbow to the ribs.

I kicked an energy sword out of another Elite’s hand, caught the weapon and disembowelled him, screaming all the while so that my voice blared out through my helmet speakers. “You want to burn Earth like you burned Harvest you mother fucker. You want to burn it like you burned Onyx, like you burned Reach. Like you burned all my brothers and sisters. Fuck you.” And with that last defiant cry I drove the energy sword through the other Elite’s head, ending its misery.

Next I knew Felix was smashing in the skull of the Zealot who had taken the AI and my hands were moving without my conscious demand, retrieving Alice from the Covenant system. She appeared before me and told me to give her time to make sure all traces of maps of the colonies were gone along with the location of Earth. I did so before retrieving her and placing the chip in an armoured compartment on my leg armour. I programmed the ship to impact on the UNSC Arkansas, giving her a funeral pyre worthy of a God and looked at Felix. “She will be given what she deserves,” I said quietly and he nodded in understanding, reading what I had done from my stance and my words.

It passed in a blur until we were on the Phantom flying out of there. “Thirty seconds,” I shouted into the COM. Felix’s only response was a wordless grunt as he focussed on flying. “Five,” I cried and then the ships exploded and I was flying through the Phantom’s interior. I slammed against a bulkhead and everything went black...
 

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He loved it he did. LOVED IT. This shit was what he lived for. Payne climbed into the drop pod without any hesitation, stowing his shotgun and relaxing as the door sealed and his green light went on. Payne's pod was one of the last to go, and the feelings of inertia instantly hit him. He grinned as he fell, going light headed. 'DAMN RIGHT, FEET FIRST INTO HELL' he screamed to nobody in particular. He looked out the glass panel at the warzone below, crumbling buildings, fires raging.. Not quite the swamps of Miasma that he had grown to love, but it would do.

Something was wrong, Payne felt the pod's descent speed up, moreso than usual. At this altitude, if anything, the pod should be slowing down. Suddenly there was a crash and a huge shockwave rippled through the pod, the sound of tortured metal ringing in his ears. The pod started spinning out of control briefly, forcing Payne to activate the emergeny retro-thrusters, slowing the descent and stopping the pod from spinning. 'Dammit, you hit me! Learn to fly dumbass!' Came a voice over the radio. Payne was pretty sure it was that girl, McKnight. 'My bad' He chuckled, bracing for impact.

The pod hit the ground hard, jarring Payne's legs. He grabbed the shotgun and punched open the door, denting it with his fist. The door smacked into a grunt, pinning it to the ground under its weight. Payne stalked forward, pressing his shotgun to the grunt's temple before pulling the trigger, showering the road in gore. He looked back at his pod. There was a giant gash in the side from where he collided with McKnight. Shit, had she landed safely? His thought process was cut short when he spotted a brute with a mauler laying down fire on Gorilla squad. Payne dropped the brute to its knees with a shot to the back of the kneecap, before finishing it with a shot to the head. It slumped unceremoniously onto the curb, Payne giving it a kick for good measure. Hearing Lancaster calling to breach the building, Payne opened up the radio channel. 'Coming boss, Close Quarters fighting? Step into my office'
 

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Discussion Starter #78
The Covies were pulling back. Fawkes couldn't believe his eyes. The covenant were actually moving back, fighting like devils while they did so, but pulling back nonetheless. Then Fawkes realised they were fortifying the landing zone. Turrets and mortars were being set in place. The snipers were doing their best to put down the grunts before they could emplace these weapons, but jackal sniper teams were retaliating. Purple streaks flicked towards the building on which Fawkes was standing with the other four ODSTs. Needles embedded themselves in the concrete walls and, after a few moments, burst into tiny fragments.

The remainder of Gorilla and Shark squads were clearing the skyscraper opposite the LZ obviously attempting to take it from the bottom floor upwards, tough job for fifty odd floors down, then another fifty up though. A few ODSTs had landed in the streets and were fighting off groups of scavenging jackals. They were surrounded, but in good cover and using their guns to maximum effect.

Lancaster's team was moving forward fast, Fawkes could see them pressing up, bodies of grunts jackals and elites falling away from their implacable advance. They had cleared the top four floors and were almost at the bridge between the two buildings. However, Fawkes could see several unarmed grunts waddling away from the bridge, their was armour different from that of their kin's usual garb. Demolitions.

"John, hold up." Fawkes cautioned. "I think they've set up explosives on the bridge, you've got to clear all the covies out before you move across or they'll blow it. Fawkes then saw a group of militia, maybe twelve or thirteen of them, a few had assault rifles, though most had primitive MP grade guns, awkward, difficult to maintain weapons that had gone out of service in the early 22nd century. They were falling back and Fawkes saw why. Reinforced by two dozen grunts, a pair of hulking Hunters were approaching, fuel rod guns blasting the doorway apart just after the militia had scampered through into the ODSTs.

"John!" Fawkes yelled in warning, but had to tear his eyes away from the larger part of his squad when he heard a noise behind him and saw half a dozen brutes, led by a gravity hammer wielding leader, smash down the door at the far end of the thirty meter long room that he and the other handful of ODSTs were suspended outside of. Fawkes crouched low, gently drawing a rough square on the glass about two meters wide and two meters high with his combat knife. There was a quiet scratching noise against the glass, like a fork being scraped against a plate.

The brutes were searching the room, sniffing and spinning their crude spikers. At the end of the room were the two high ranking brutes, one was leaning unconcernedly on his gravity hammer, the other was testing the blade of a huge brute shot. Fawkes moved fast. Pressing his battle rifle to the glass, he fired through at the nearest brute. The ape like beast's shields flashed bright for a moment and the glass, slightly weakened where the knife had cut into it, shattered only in the square Fawkes had made, not perfectly, but enough so that the ODSTs could get through.

"Mcknight, you." he gestured towards the Gorilla ODST. "Stay here and try to kill those turrets and mortars. Hooper, Collins, we've got to take these big ugly bastards down." He stepped through the glass, battle rifle blazing.

OOC:
Sangus, Shattertheirsky, G0arr & Son of Azurman: Hunters and grunts are attacking! Fight them. If you take a hunter, you can't take anything else, you can otherwise take up to six grunts. If you want, militia are there to help or die as you see fit.

Mannfred, Po-D: Clear the room of Brutes,no more than one boss and one normal brute or two normal brutes each (Po-D, you can't use the rocket launcher inside or the building might collapse, which would really ruin everyone's day.)

Josie: Snipe the jackal snipers, you can kill four.

Spartans: PMed you're objective.
 

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John led the team through the halls, fighting from one staircase to another to make sure they wouldn't get boxed in. They had already secured several floors and John was more than pleased he had Payne drop right next to him.
The ODST had used his shotgun with great effect and several Covies had met an untimely and unpleasant death at the end of its barrel.

"John, hold up." Fawkes cautioned over the radio. "I think they've set up explosives on the bridge, you've got to clear all the Covies out before you move across or they'll blow it.''

''Copy that, can you give me an estimate on the amount of resistance?'' John asked as he signaled the group of ODST's to press on.

''John!'' Fawkes yelled over the radio but John could already see what Fawkes was trying to warn him about.
A group of men and women came crashing though a door and John nearly shot one of them. Behind them was the real problem, a pair of Hunters accompanied by a group of Grunts.

The men and women went for cover as two green projectiles destroyed the doorway they came through, not all of them dived away in time, at least one was killed when he was enveloped by the green explosions and another one was hurled away with such a tremendous force John could only hope for the man he was dead.
John could feel the splinters of the wooden decoration crash into his armor and the heat of the explosion caused for a red symbol to flash briefly on his HUD.
''Payne! Zetan!'' John shouted at his squad mates. ''I sure hope you guys aren't scared of something five times your size.''
Payne seemed to laugh inside his armor, but John wasn't sure. Zetan simply readied his weapon.
''Go get 'em.'' John eventually said as the ODSTs came out of cover and started firing on the Hunters and their companions.

John took a grenade from his belt, tossing it just behind one of the Hunters.
When the grenade exploded the floor was blown down and several Grunts were blown back.
No kills, yet the grenade had done exactly what John had wanted it to do: blowing away the Hunter's relatively weak back armor.

The creature was infuriated by the pain the grenade inflicted on its back and it swept its shielded arm through a wall, hitting one of the militia members and killing him instantly.

John aimed for a soft spot and fired two bursts, the first hitting the armored plating of the Hunter's leg, the second burst ripping apart the Lekgolo that made up the knee of the creature. It stumbled and roared angrily at John, something he would have found nerve wrecking if it hadn't already happened on dozens of occasions.
The Hunter charged its cannon and fired much sooner than John anticipated.

John was lucky however, the shot missed him completely.
''Cover me!'' John said to a man with an old looking rifle.
The man nodded frantically as he wiped the sweat and dirt off his face.
John vaulted over a table and took a Needler from a dead Grunt.
The Hunter still squirmed on the ground its leg failing to support him.

John pressed the Needler against the Hunter's exposed back and released the entire magazine into the creature, after which a violent purple explosion blew the Needler from John's hands.
John shook the haze from his eyes and saw the Hunter lay dead on the ground, its insides destroyed by the purple explosion.
 

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The squad led by Lancaster secured floor after floor gunning down aliens anywhere they hid, Zetan and Payne had point breaching doorway after doorway as payne dealt great damage with his shotgun Zetan used his smg to suppress and distract allowing the others to pick them off with ease. Approximately half way down the building abridge connecting the two buildings met the squad, As covies ran across the bridge Fawkes’s voice could be heard over Lancaster’s radio. The sergeant spoke of charges on the bridge and any step on the bridge would mean their death.

Before they could make their way across safely an explosion from behind shook the squad and sent wooden splinters flying. As Zetan bolted around he saw two hunters and a handful of grunts, The aliens were chasing some local militia all of which carried very old weaponry probably from the early 22nd century.

''Payne! Zetan!'' Lancaster shouted at his squad mates. ''I sure hope you guys aren't scared of something five times your size.''

Immediately Zetan readied his battle rifle as he slid his smg into his leg holster, Lancaster was busy taking out one of the hunters and Payne seemed insistent on taking on the other so Zetan turned his sights to the grunts. First releasing a couple of bursts he took down three grunts straight away, next he ran at them sliding his battle rifle onto his back and unsheathing his knife, Zetan stabbed the blade deep into the skull of one grunt before kicking the corpse into another grunt sending the two off the edge of the building. with 5 grunts down Zetan ran over to an injured militia and used a plank of wood to splint the mans leg and used the mans jacket to stop the bleeding.
 
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