The year is 2551; the very fabrics of mankind are beginning the wither. The Covenant, an alien entity of untold power and unimaginable size, lays waste to one human word after another. The average Covenant invasion lasts three hours. Each world, burnt to glass by the Empire's enormous spaceborne fleet. Hope was losing in its eternal war with Fear.
But when the Covenant arrived on Crystal, the UNSC was prepared. For the first time, a sturdy defence against the invasion held together, paired with a working evacuation and a will to go on. One by one, every building on the planet was searched. One by one, the UNSC transports left for Earth. Then with a shocking change of reality, the battle was lost.
Crystal, and its entire system, ceased to exist.
The new quest is to find out why. Welcome to Operation Eureka.
Enter your character as so:
Rules of Engagement:
1. Sabotage and Godmodding is forbidden. No exceptions.
2. Please try to stay with the story. Posts that don't make sense with previous posts will either be deleted, or edited to make sense.
3. Plot armor is at 0%, mortality is at 100%. This is a dangerous operation, and people will die. If your character is killed, you may continue to control enemy forces until you have the opportunity to introduce a new character.
4. Generally speaking, double posting is frowned upon. However, if nobody else is posting and you have a follow-up action, double posting is permitted.
5. This RP follows an action-reaction combat system. In combat, the result of an attack is determined by the target. Please use common sense, and no unfair judgements.
Age: 48 (counting time spent in cryo-sleep), 36 (discounting cryo)
Weapons: MA5B, M7 SMG, M6G
Affiliation: UNSC Marine Corps, Orbital Drop Shock Troopers
Bio: Born on Reach, Berlinsky had always wanted to join the military. Thus, he joined the UNSC Army when he was old enough to do it. After completing basic training, he participated in Operation: LIBERATION, on Harvest. He was placed in a team of recruits, serving as their gunner. A few years later, during a mission on a colony under attack by the Covenant, he was rescued by a squad of ODSTs in a firefight. This prompted him to apply for the ODSTs. He was assigned to a UNSC destroyer, which was destroyed in 2550, resulting in his transfer to the UNSC Sword of Giants. By this point, he had reached the rank of Sergeant.
Over the years, Berlinsky has developed the typical ODST mentality, although he still deeply respects the Army.
Bio: Vadim Pronin was born on Earth just before the start of the Human-Covenant War. With his father being a high rank within the UNSC, Vadim was provided with extended privileges concerning his early life—allowing him to develop a pompous and rude behaviour which would mark him throughout his life. Joining the UNSC at a young age, seemingly through the result of nepotism he was given the command of a small squad during an engagement with an Insurrectionist cell, Vadim recieved a tremendous amount of pity as it was discovered his injuries would remove him from combat scenarios for the rest of his life. Provided a position within the Office of Naval Intelligence, Vadim was given a power that would allow him to seek a vengeance on the Insurrection that injured him through the tool of public perception.
Agent Locke wrote:
(It's official: Contact has joined the Bravoverse.)
(Contact has been in the same universe as Bravo since the beginning. Plus, more characters than just Berlinsky have crossed over, for example Aaron.)
Name: Stephen Thompson
Age: 23 (discounting cryo)
Weapons: BR55HB/S Silenced Battle Rifle, M6C/SOCOM, M19B SAM
Bio: Signed up as soon as he reached the eligible age, wanting to get away from his home planet of Tribute and see the galaxy. However, ironically, his first posting was on Tribute itself. Following that, he was assigned to the ship UNSC Dauntless, and participated in several battles, including the Battle of Actium. Though he didn't want to spend his life as a soldier, in fact he wanted to be a filmmaker, his signing up for the Marine Corps so early left him without qualifications applicable to civilian life. During the Fall of Arcadia, he performed excellently, saving the lives of his squad through heroic gestures and tactical decisions multiple times, and so was referred to the ODSTs by his superior officers. After undergoing ODST training, this is to be his first drop.
Weapon: M6J Short Carbine, M6F Service Handgun, Humbler Device
Affiliation: UNSC Air Force Infantry, Security Force
Rank: 2nd Lieutennant
Bio: Born and raised on Daego, Jokinen enlisted in the UNSC Air Force Reserves to receive benefits and get something impressive on his résumé. After doing some milk runs, filing lots of papers, and climbing the tree of hierarchy, Jokinen left active duty and was more than eager to return to normalcy. For a while, everything was going well. He had a nice apartment in Gowers, a Bachelor's degree, a good job with a reasonable salary, and a beautiful fiancée whom would never leave his side. Life was good.
Then the Covenant arrived, and the Reserves were called into combat. Jokinen was assigned to defend the Shortsword base at Palmdale, just a skip and a jump from Gowers. Here he made field rearments and repairs to pilots coming to and from their missions. Luckily, the Covenant was at the other side of the continent. The amount of kills those bomber pilots were racking up, the alien bastards weren't getting any further.
That was the train of thought held by must of Daego when the rest of the Covenant fleet arrived. What they were fighting shortly before was merely a recon force. Massive carriers arrived over every military installation on the planet, including Palmdale Base. The UNSC ordered a complete retreat, knowing well that the Orbital Bombardments were destroying the planet's massive nuclear power supply. But due to the breakdown of communications, Jokinen's unit never recieved the message. Instead, they honored their original orders. Resist.
Using Mongooses rigged with explosives, hand-made trip mines, trapped structures, and improvised anti-air weapons, the security force held off the invaders for two hours; the longest defence effort made by a single unit in the entire battle.
Jokinen and a few other survivors were eventually retrieved by a Search And Rescue Pelican, and were brought back to Earth amidst the Planet-Wide glassing.
in mid-2551, Jokinen found himself in-transit on the Sword of Giants. That was when a large army began to form in its crew quarters, and talk of a top secret mission began to spread. A mission called "Eureka".
Grey walks down the corridor, in his BDUs. On his right shoulder, the Task Force Foxtrot insignia is painted over many others. On his left is his blood type: O-Negative, universal donor. He's preoccupied with getting to the Foxtrot team room, 305. On the way, he bumps into an Air Force lieutenant walking down the hallway.
Jokinen: (quietly) Nobody ever does. (aloud) No worries, marine, carry on.
Jokinen continues down the hallway, then turns back to look at Grey. In a full BDU, and in a hurry. What are the marines up to now? First all the drills, and now running around in full gear? Little cocksure snobs.
Jokinen: Where are you headed to, Private? Is there a drill scheduled today?
A couple of years later, in 2535, he enlisted for the ODSTs. He has survived in about 30 engagements so far.
(You don't tend to enlist for the ODSTs. You can request transferal there, but given how elite the ODSTs are, you probably wouldn't get in. Usually, Marines are selected for the ODSTs for being all-around good soldiers.)
Berlinsky follows Grey, annoyed at having to work with him. Not because Grey is an Army soldier - he used to be one himself - but because he fears he might not be experienced enough to keep up with a team of ODSTs.
(God damn it! This is the fourth fucking time that my comment on this thread hasn't gone through. I even copied and pasted it this time! But when I pasted it I only got the letter "C"!! Get your fucking shit together, Wikia!)
As Berlinsky and Grey walk down the corridor, two more ODSTs race by, one wearing a sharpshooter BDU and the other donning squad leader shoulder pads. The insignia on their armour indicates they are from Task Force Bravo. The two ODSTs enter a room behind Berlinsky and Grey.
Berlinsky: Operation: EUREKA, huh? Is that what they call it? Wonder what this is all about...
Grey: In BDUs? Doing a safety check on that 55? Berlinsky, ONI guys tend to be your average REMF: Learned how to shoot a Magnum when they joined, forgot when they got a desk. The only ONI guys who know are either in some backwater doing anti-Innie jobs or dead.
After passing by more fully equipped troops, Jokinen arrived in the bridge.
Jokinen: What the hell is with all the Jarheads running around with loaded rifles? Are they expecting something to happen? Cause the only thing that's going to happen is one of 'em shooting the hell out of another's eye! Like, tell your kids to calm down or leave the room, y'know?
Croft and an ensign swiftly turn off a projection of a planet.
Jokinen: Wait. Was that Daego?
Croft: No? About your concerns, I'll-
Jokinen: I'm pretty sure that was Daego.
Croft: No, of course not.
Jokinen: No, really. I saw Geftella and everything.
Croft: Lieutenant, I can assure you that was not Daego.
Jokinen: To hell you c-
Croft: Anyway. I'll contact their officers tommorrow, terribly sorry about the situation.
Jokinen: Why not today? Are they too busy "deploying"?
Croft: No, why would-
Jokinen: To Daego?
Jokinen: Because I'm fairly positive that that was Daego.
The ensign returns.
Ensign: Sir, I got word from Alpha. (Jokinen: Wait, what?) They're prepped and reprepped.
Croft: Good to hear, Ulan, I (Jokinen: What the hell is this?) want you to give Lima the briefing next.
Engisn: Yes, sir.
The ensign leaves.
Jokinen: What's going on here?
Croft: It's none of your concern, Lieutenant, and frankly I find it insulting that you would even consider the fact that I may be hiding something from you.
Jokinen: What do you mean?
Croft: Well, you're pretty keen on asking questions, aren't you? Well then, I have some for you? Why do you need to now? How is this any of your concern? How can you possibly be so sure that you saw Daego on that table?
Jokinen: Because I was born, raised, and basically fucking killed on Daego!! I know every fucking nook in every fucking cranny in every fucking cubic inch of that planet!! It's my home!!
Jokinen: And, frankly, Captain, I find it extremely disrespectful of you to use Daego in your little simulations! That's like using a fucking Death Camp for survival training!!
Jokinen: Do you have any idea how many lives were lost!? Any idea!?
Jokinen stops and Croft laughs quietly.
Croft: There's no simulation. This is an actual operation.
Jokinen: What? How can? Why?
Jokinen's jaw drops and Croft laughs some more.
Croft: That projection you saw? That was the navigation systems. It shows our current location.
Jokinen: And the projection was of-
Jokinen: Oh....oh my God. Oh, my God!
Ulan returns with reports.
Ulan: Sir, ONI says-
Croft: Tell ONI that their intelligence is no longer needed.
Jokinen: Sir, I volunteer once, I volunteer twice, I volunteer three times for this mission!
Croft: Volunteer? Why, I practically already put you in command.
Croft: Command of Task Force Foxtrot. You'll be deploying tomorrow.
Jokinen: Sir, I cannot thank you enough. Saving Daego is what I've always dreamed of!
Croft: Oh. Actually, Lieutena-
Jokinen: I....I can't wait to go home! I can't wait for everyone else to come home too! We can rebuild everything! The future sure is bright, isn't it Captain?
Jokinen: How many Covies do I have to kill to get my home back, Captain! Line 'em up and I'll knock 'em right down!!
Satisfied that his BR55HB/S is polished in every way imaginable, Thompson quickly starts doing the same with the M6C/SOCOM. Given that he was a trained ODST, he was smart enough to remove the clip and turn the safety on for good measure, before beginning to clean the barrel. He wanted to make a good impression, and so he hoped to have everything clean by the time the CO arrived.
Affiliation: Office of Naval Intelligence - Security
Rank: Warrant Officer
Bio: Born in New Alexandria, Reach, Alan Poole had a fairly regular childhood up until his 13th birthday. In the evening, after dinner, Alan's father took him out to the cargo port, where he was employed as a dockworker. Here, young Alan was let in on a secret organisation his dad was part of: in the port, the dockworkers had set up a smuggling network, which trafficked liquor, drugs, exotic animals and even humans.
In the following six years, Alan was used as a messenger by the organisation, which called itself the Eclipse. In this period, he came into contact with the various criminal organisations in the city. These experiences have made him an excellent scout.
He continued to work for the Eclipse, until one night, he came eye to eye with a little girl, who had escaped from one of the Eclipse's human shipments. On occasions like these, he would have had to either take her back where she escaped from, or execute her. However, Alan couldn't bring himself to do so, finally realising how messed up it was. Instead, he let her go, and he proceeded to kill the top members of the Eclipse, which included his father. After this, he ran away and enlisted at the UNSC Army, where he made it to Sergeant First Class. At age 24, the Office of Naval Intelligence recruited him into their Security branch for his skill and expertise.
Alan is a trained Rifleman, with a knack for reconnaissance operations. His weaponry includes a BR55HB service rifle modified by ONI with a higher-powered 4x zoom scope, select fire and a matte black finish, and an M6I handgun with stock.
A bald man with a short brown beard enters the room. He's wearing a black Marine BDU, the design of which appears to be from the Insurrection era. He inspects the people inside the room, untl his eyes find Jokinen. He walks towards the Air Force Lieutenant and salutes.
Poole: Warrant Officer Alan Poole reporting for duty, sir.
Siad: So, welcome to Operation: Eureka. As you all know by now, Crystal was destroyed by an unseen and unknown force. Well, we happen to know what that force was now. And we have a pretty good idea of where it happens to be.
Siad looks over to him.
Siad: I was getting to that...
Siad: Yes, Daego, as Lieutenant Jo pointed out.
Jokinen: Jo, huh?
Siad: *sigh* When the time comes, you will be divided into teams and put into search zones. You will search...the zones. Not blow up, sink, or destroy. Search. We want to leave a small footprint, people.
Poole:Warrant Officer, sir. I'm not a full-blown officer just yet. Anyway, the Office of Naval Intelligence has issued me with a device that can triangulate the location of these Caskets through the seismic vibrations they emit. It should help us track them with ease.
Bio: Yvette was born on Meridian in 2512 and lived there with her older brother and sister. After her father lost his engineering job in Avignon, in 2537, the family was almost ruined, the siblings almost unanimously decided to join the UNSC. Yvette's brother joined the Corps; her sister enlisted in the Navy; and Yvette considered following her there or into the Air Force, but decided to enlist in the Corps. Her siblings influenced her to enlist, and she entertained a vague notion - supported by having read Beau Geste - that the three would be reunited on another world, some day when she and her brother were officers, and her sister was at the helm of a cruiser.
Her first deployment was in the Battle of New Constantinople, and she had many more after that until the Battle of Sargasso, in 2547.
Poole steps into the hangar, and heads over to the Pelican Foxtrot is directed to. As he climbs into the troop bay, he puts on a grey balaclava, over which he dons a shiny black Marine helmet. After having done so, he double checks his matte black Battle Rifle and removes the safety.
Pronin watches as the Task Force is lead out of the room he is in, and out into where the hangar is at. He smiles, before allowing himself to take a seat in a chair before he sits down in a chair. Removing a COMPad, he turns it on and assigns it to a specific channel—gaining contact with someone, somewhere else.
ONI: I assume the Task Force has been deployed, Pronin. They know what the mission is?
Pronin: Of course. Examining the search zones, find these 'caskets' and keep the Covenant away from them.
ONI: Excellent. Now Pronin, the reason we have you here is to help cover up what exactly we are doing here. Find a way to shape it so that we can rally the war reporters and show them something a little bit more, encouraging for our efforts.
Pronin: Yes, of course. I have a few ideas as to what to do with Foxtrot, and how to adjust them to make them more... publically appealing.
ONI: Paint me a picture, Pronin. I'm more than confident you will be able to modify the situation appropriately.
The rest of Foxtrot boards the Pelican. Jokinen checks his tacpad.
Jokinen: Okay, here we are. Kraft, Rubin, Thérèse: you're being dropped off first. (reading) Team 1...consisting off..blablabla...toxic environment...light resistance (briefing) Okay, keep your helmets on at all times, Team 1, and try to avoid Covie contacts. Got it?
The team wanders through the outskirts of a deserted, ruined town, Thérèse leading and staying alert with her rifle. Nothing is stirring in the ruins, except for their footsteps and an overturned, burning Spade. Then, out of the corner of her eye, the ODST spots a shadow flit from between buildings, just before a barrage of blue incandescent plasma erupts from the shadows. Thérèse leaps behind the Spade as it passes her by, and Kraft and Rubin both seek cover.
The Pelican dives towards the ground, and slides across the glacial surface, cracking the ice and spraying cold water flying into the air. The nose is completely submerged, and the transport begins to sink into the water.
Overhead, the Banshees fire a short burst from their plasma cannon, before turning upwards and preparing to come round for another pass. The Pelican and all its occupants appeared to be doomed to sink below the ice and die, trapped. Nevertheless, they prepared to turn round to fire again.
Berlinsky holds on to the edge of the troop bay, and grabs Torres' hand. He quickly flings the ODST over the edge and out of the Pelican, before jumping down onto the ice himself. The Banshees overhead prepare to make another pass.
Peering round the Spade, Thérèse stares through her battle rifle's sight at into the shadows of the building. Again, nothing's moving, until, suddenly, the plasma rifle fires again, illuminating the scene in bright blue. As the plasma strikes the side of the car protecting Rubin, Thérèse fires a burst at what she could now see was an Elite Minor, making its shields flare and it flinch. Kraft seizes the opportunity to open fire with his MA5B, and the shields burst from the Minor's armour. It retreats round the building corner, but not before Thérèse is able to fire another burst into its leg.
Poole flicks the select fire switch on his Battle rifle to automatic, and aims for the damaged Banshee's engines. The resulting spray of high-calibre rounds impact on the left engine, and it starts trailing purple smoke. The Banshee starts losing altitude, eventually crashing into the ice.
One of the Banshee's wings is sent flying towards the group, nearly crashing into Berlinsky, who dives just in time.
As Rubin peaks out with his MA5B, a Kig-Yar leaps from behind a pile of debris, wielding an energy cutlass, and lands a few metres away from the ODST. Rubin ducks as the Jackal charges at him, causing the alien to make a large cut in the car he was using as cover. With his right leg, he kicks the Jackal in the stomach, sending it flying towards Thérèse.
The Jackal rolls over in order to stand up, but is knocked over the head by the butt of Thérèse's rifle. She then kicks the cutlass away, sending it spinning across the ground, but before she can fire at the Jackal, it has sprung towards her, clawing and snapping. She attempts to cover her face, but in doing so is clawed along her forearm by the alien. As it lurches forward to bite her, she swings the rifle round, hitting the creature in the face. Finally, she pulls the trigger, and a trio of holes is left in the dazed Jackal's chest.
The second Banshee turns and flies away from the group. The pilot of the first, crashed, fighter is struggling to heave itself out from the water and onto a bobbing sheet of ice, which breaks into smaller fragments after each attempt.
Poole: This "Casket-finder thingy" is delicate technology that is fine-tuned to detect very faint seismic vibrations. If we're too far away, it won't be able to find anything. So it might be wise to get to our zone first, don't you think?
Cooper gets up slowly, and crawls on the ice. The water was freezing-cold. He wondered where his team was. Thinking that they might have assumed him to be dead, Cooper clicked on his COMLINK and spoke.
Cooper (COM): This is Corporal Josh Cooper. Anybody, copy?
Thérèse turns back to the other side of the street, although it is quite again, and Rubin and Kraft have not fired again. Staring down her Battle Rifle, she sees a flicker of movement and pulls the trigger. The first two shots hit the wall, but the third is interrupted, and the Elite's shields flicker. As she shouts, Kraft opens fire, and the shields grow brighter. Before they disappear, the Elite disappears behind a car. Thérèse curses and Rubin throws a grenade across the street; before it's gone off, Thérèse has started running past the ruined Spade, to the other far end of the car shielding the Elite.
The grenade explodes, causing the car to roll sideways towards Rubin and Kraft's position. The wounded Elite is still shielded from both of them, but he is now exposed to Thérèse. The alien raises its weapon and fires a barrage of plasma at the ODST.
Pronin sits with his arms folded, watching the screen in front of him as he monitors the COM's between the members of Foxtrot. Three casualties so far. Three. Pronin didn't know whether or not this would be a glorious detail, or detail of failure. He needed a fire, a sharp colour to set this piece apart from his other experiments.
If they die, they die saving civilians from a Covenant onslaught. If they live, they live sustaining serious casualties while pressing on heroically. The Pelican was a mere detail, a useless piece of equipment there to provide him a means to justify injury. The truth of three deaths before touchdown was pathetic for the 'elite' of the UNSC.
Injuries it was. Broken legs and broken arms which pulled themselves from the wreckage and fought on courageously, challenging the alien foe with teeth bore. He could only wait for these ODST's to now be slaughtered by the Elite, seal the fate of the ones injured beforehand.
Pronin (COMLINK): Well done, Foxtrot! Assure everyone is 'okay' and press on to the objective.
Thérèse dives out of the way of the plasma fire, but only narrowly - a bolt brushes past her forearm, burning some of her arm and almost melting through the armour. Crouched behind the car, she pulls out her SMG and fires it round the bonnet, pausing to wave to Kraft and Rubin, before continuing to fire intermittently to keep the Elite back.
Kraft and Rubin respond by leaving their cover and sprinting to the other end of the car. They both reload their MA5Bs before emerging and unloading their magazines on the Elite, distracted by Thésère's SMG.
Facing a new threat, the Elite turns, but before it can fire at Kraft or Rubin its shields flare away and it slumps over, dead, its plasma rifle firing as it falls.
Thérèse: Good work. We should --
She pauses, her attention caught by her arm; whose situation is worse than she had thought, since the armour is almost destroyed and, in patches, blotchy burnt skin can be seen, accompanied by a faint yet sickening scent of roasting. Out of surprise, she drops her SMG.
Thérèse gets up, picks up her SMG from where she dropped it and approaches the building, pushing the door open and stepping inside. Seeing Rubin's marked on her HUD above her, she makes her way to the staircase and climbs it the third floor, where she finds Rubin. Whilst Kraft stays on guard by the building entrance, Thérèse walks over to Rubin.
A group of Skrimishers glide down the street soundlessly. The lead member, a Champion, takes position behind an overturned car. It gestures to the building ahead, then clicks its beak twice. In responce, the hunting party fan out and surround the complex; a weapon pointed at every door, window, and hatch. The Champion then notices Kraft, and cocks his head to the side and snarls at nearby warrior with a needle rifle. The marksman drifts down to a suitable position and takes aim at Kraft's head. The Champion waits, then lets out a quiet bark. The marksman fires.
A fire at the other end of the alley illuminates the shape of the creature - a prowling Skirmisher. From the window ledge, Thérèse fires her battle rifle; two shots from the first burst go wide of her target, sparking as they strike the floor, whilst the second hits the mark, and the Skirmisher falls to the floor. As the others leap, surprised, Thérèse searches for another target.
Rubin fires his MA5B at the Skirmishers below, who scramble for cover. The marksman that shot Kraft now takes aim at Rubin and fires, hitting him in the chestplate and causing him to drop the assault rifle.
Having shot a Skirmisher in the knee, Thérèse was about to fire again, when a needle embedded itself in Rubin's chest. She ducks behind the wall, as another needle flies through the window above her, and turns to him.
Thérèse: Are you alright? did it go through the plate?
Thérèse sees the needle fly from a window across the street and fires as soon as she can react. The glass by her shatters and before the third shot rings out, the glass over the road has done the same. She fires again at the startled Skirmisher and can see it slump over, before she dives behind the wal; not a second too late, as a flurry of bright green plasma flies through the window, splattering melting glass over the floor.
As Rubin fires his magnum at the building opposite, a pair of Skirmishers jump onto a garbage dumpster and leap through the window. One tackles Rubin to the ground, clawing at him, while the other turns to Thérèse and fires its plasma pistol.
Not having seen the Skirmishers, Thérèse is taken by surprise. She throws herself away from the window to avoid the barrage of plasma and loosely fires her rifle from her side. Although she doesn't wound the Skirmisher, a single shot manages to hit its pistol, knocking it and causing it the overcharged shot to misfire. Thérèse seizes the opportunity to dive behind an overturned desk, and draws her SMG.
The Skirmisher sticks its claws into Rubin's arms, making him scream in pain. As the Skirmisher appears to start laughing, Rubin kicks it in the stomach and throws it to the side. He picks up its plasma pistol and fires repeatedly at it, but it manages to jump back through the window. The Skirmisher pinning Thérèse down turns to Rubin and growls before opening fire.
Berlinsky dives as another fuel rod strikes the ice he is on. This causes it to break and start drifting away from Foxtrot, but before it is far enough away Berlinsky manages to jump back onto the main piece of ice.
The Skirmisher's body goes limp and it falls on Rubin's feet, spraying his shin guards with purple blood. As he goes to pick up his magnum, clutching his arms, more plasma flies through the window, and a Skirmisher is heard jumping onto the dumpster outside.
Rubin: Come on, we need to get out of here before more of them come!
Thompson awakens with a massive headache - probably a sign of concussion - with his hands still clutching the shard of the troop bay door he had ridden down on. Before long, he realizes how vulnerable he is, and quickly pulls himself to his feet.
He checks all three of his weapons, dismayed to find that his hard work polishing his weapons had been erased, with massive scratch marks across the surface of his SOCOM and suppressed BR.
Trying his best to ignore his headache, he flicks through all UNSC COM channels, returning only static. Keeping low, he quickly moves away from where he landed, knowing the Covenant would check.
As she runs down the hallway, Thérèse hears the grenade explode behind her. Shrapnel litters the device, disrupting the field at the top, and the blast causes it to topple over. It breaks upon a table in front of the Skirmisher, shattering and sending sparks into the air. Not to be delayed, the Skirmisher leaps over it as it falls and runs after Rubin.
Rubin looks back and fires a plasma bolt at the Skirmisher, making it stagger backwards. As he looks ahead, he crashes into a wheelchair in the hallway and drops the plasma pistol. The Skirmisher seizes the opportunity and charges at him, but he manages to draw his magnum just in time to put a bullet in the alien's head. He scrambles to his feet and continues running down the corridor.
Just after the gunshot, Thérèse hears the shattering of glass and a series of thuds from the room. Not looking back, she runs at the fire escape door, bursts through and begins climbing down the ladder.
The newly-arrived Skirmishers bound from the room just as the grenade explodes. A piece of shrapnel wedges itself in the foremost's leg and in the chest of another, but they suffer no other injuries. By the time the explosion has cleared, the room is empty and the door used by the ODSTs to escape has swung shut. With nothing to suggest they went, the Skirmishers continue down the corridor and spring down the staircase.
Thérèse, waiting for Rubin at the bottom of the ladder, attaches her SMG to her thigh and pulls her battle rifle from her back.
Thérèse: Ugly brutes, aren't they? Remind me of the moa my mother would take us to see in the farms outside Avignon.
She pauses a moment.
Thérèse: Still, they killed Kraft. After he fixed my arm... doesn't feel right to just leave him out there - with those things -, especially since he might have come inside if he hadn't been tending to it...
Rubin: Well, there's nothing we can do about it now, and we had no way of knowing what would happen - the LT told us we'd be encountering light resistance, not an entire squad of highly-trained turkeys. Anyway, we still have a mission to complete. Let's just hope that Casket is worth it.
Cooper finds the team, searching for him. He shouts out to them.
Cooper: Guys, I'm here! Can't you see me?!
As in response, he hears the ignition of an energy sword, and turns around to see a Sangheili with an Energy Sword, running towards him.
Cooper (whispering): Sheesh, so much for calling out the guys.
He empties his MA5C's magazine into the Sangheili, but almost all of them bounce off, although taking down its shields. Running backwards, he takes out his BR55 and shoots thrice at the head of the elite. The running Elite slows down and falls, the bullets lodged in its brain.
Cooper: Aaaand that's how it's don-
He sees a Covenant Phantom, and takes notice of Jackals and Grunts getting down.
Cooper: I'll be god damned... (COM) Incoming Covenant reinforcements!
In order to observe the Covenant hostiles, Poole peeks his head out of cover. He is forced to pull it back almost immediately, however, as multiple plasma bolts surge towards him as soon as he looks up.
Poole: Sir, we need to do something, and we need to do it now!
By this point, Thompson had managed to evade a couple of patrols coming by to investigate his crash site. He was trying to edge his way to the bank of the frozen lake, without being detected. It was a difficult thing to do, and he had almost fallen through the layer of ice multiple times now.
Given that he was unable to pick up chatter on any UNSC frequencies, the plan he had formulated was simple: get the the evac zone, and wait, hoping that the rest of his team would arrive there, mission completed, and in one piece.
In the distance, he hears a single battle rifle burst, echoing across the lake. It was swiftly followed by plasma fire. This wasn't the first sign of battle he'd heard, but it was too far away to accurately deduce its origin position, and so he kept to his plan.
The brief firefight was quickly replaced by silence, and then that was followed by something much more ominous: the signature wail of a T-26A Banshee. Thompson quickly looks around, hoping to see a mound of snow, or something else he can use to hide.
Given that the nearest obstacle was a good 200m away, he elected to simply remain motionless, and hope the Banshee passed him by. In a slow and steady motion, he readies his M19B SAML and acquires a target lock, just in case.
The Banshee slowly becomes visible through the mist. It flies slowly but steadily, not looking like it intended on stopping just yet. Thompson tracks it with his rocket launcher throughout its flight above him, but is relieved when it makes no deviation to its course.
However, just as is about to pass out of view, it banks to make another run across the area. Panicked, Thompson fires the missile, and the Banshee goes up in a spectacularly bright explosion, that could probably be seen from miles around. Perhaps it'd mean Foxtrot would be able to locate him. It definitely meant the Covenant would.
Out of the snowy mist a bright-green beam erupts, harmlessly but closely missing Foxtrot. It fires again, hitting the ground in front of them, and its source steps into view: an armour-clad Hunter, its bond brother a few steps behind. It steps backwards, protecting it with its shield, and the two charge at Foxtrot.
Berlinsky: Fuck, Hunters! Lieutenant, we have to pull back!
Berlinsky opens fire with his MA5B on the Hunters, but the bullets just bounce off their armour. Torres steps forward and fires the M301 grenade launcher attached to his assault rifle; the grenade flies towards a Hunter's shield and detonates upon impact. However, this does very little damage to the aliens.
After the grenade explodes, a bright orange liquid flies from the Hunter; although it inflicted little damage, its sight against the crisp ice and snow stirs the Hunter into anger. It emits a deep rumble before charging, frenzied, at the fleeing soldiers.
The lead Hunter fires a shot at the ice before Foxtrot, which breaks in two. Jokinen turns and aims his carbine at the Hunter at fires at its joints. The bullets bounce of the armor harmlessly.
The Hunter seems to laugh and stomp its way forward, lowering its gun and raising and its shield. The coup de grace was almost delivered, when a terrifying sound came from the distance; like a screaming elk or a monsoon wind
Out from the mist, a large white mammal of some kind pounces on the Hunter, clawing and gnashing its way through its armor. The Hunter puts up its shield, only for it to be pushed to the side and pinned down by one of the beast's forelegs. The monster's head then moves towards the Hunter's now vulnerable mid-section, and begins viciously biting out the orange eels like crab meat with its tusked maw. The Hunter flails and fires its gun randomly into the air as it's eaten alive.
A group of Jackals and Grunts rush over to slay the attacker. But the white-furred animal stands on its hind legs and lets out another high-pitched wail. The lance backs off. The creature returns to its now sumbmissive prey, and wraps its jaw around its oozing torso. With a mighty snap, the first Hunter, still pinned to the ground, is severed in half.
Jokinen: Otso.... Okay, everyone, back away. Slowly, slowly now.
(What exactly snapped in the Hunter? It's just an amalgamation of Lekgolo...)
Thompson praised his past choice to bring suppressed weapons, as he eliminates a Grunt that got a little too curious, with a battle rifle burst that sounded like nothing more than a whisper.
The Covies were scouring the crash site - now no more than a hole in the ice, with a bright purple glow emanating from the lakebed. He was trying to stay out of sight, although he was pretty sure they knew he was here, given that he'd just eliminated an entire patrol.
Thérèse, nodding, sets off down the street with her battle rifle in her hands. The building they came from disappears below the skyline, and they reach the border of the park. Scarred with plasma, littered with debris and blasted by grenades in places, the park is not the joyous place it once was. Thérèse looks over it, then steps - almost tentatively - onto it.
Thérèse nods slowly and looks around. She takes a few more steps, then stops, letting out a choked gasp: lying behind a log is a bloody, burnt Army trooper, his arm sprawled over the log and an assault rifle lying near it. Against the far fence of the playground nearby, two more troopers are lying. One holds a Magnum against a hole in his head, whilst another was turned into a pincushion by the Jackal who, Needler at its side, is chewing on his arm.
Rubin immediately raises his plasma pistol and starts charging up a shot. He releases the trigger after a few seconds, and the bolt flies towards the Jackal. Surprised, it turns around only to get hit by the overcharged shot, which melts through its shoulder and causes its arm to fall off. The plasma pistol overheats, and Rubin nearly drops it. The Jackal, screeching, reaches for its Needler with its other arm.
Thérèse lifts up her rifle and fires at the Jackal, which, firing its Needler, leaps away from the fence and takes cover in a cluster of dead trees. The burst rings out clearly, hitting it in its other arm and causing it to drop the Needler, but not before a volley of needles is sent flying towards the pair.
The majority of the needles aimed at Thérèse, she drops to the ground as they approach. However, she doesn't react quickly enough to dodge one of them, which strikes her in the shoulder, causing her to loosen her grip. Her rifle falls from her hands and she stumbles onto her knees, and the visor of her helmet collides with the log. Dazed, she clutches at her helmet and pulls herself onto one knee.
Thérèse:Fils de pute!
She picks up her battle rifle and, supporting it on the log, fires at the Jackal, too dazed and injured, however, to aim properly. She extends the rifle to Rubin.
Thérèse:Voici, I shan't use it with a needle sticking out of my arm...
Vessel Of War wrote:
(Yes, my other chars don't usually swear this much, but saying "merde" is just too much fun.)
(Agreed. Merde, merde, merde!)
A T-25 Spirit prepares to drop two Hunters into the mix, nearby Thompson. While he had been able to remain undetected, if they were deploying en masse like that, it meant they knew he was here, probably due to the patrol he'd eliminated. Either way, they'd forced his hand; he had to reveal himself and destroy the Spirit, because he couldn't contend with Hunters.
He fires a shot with his M19B SAML at the Spirit's cockpit, heavily damaging it, but it managed to stay in the air and began evasive maneuvers. Thompson quickly reloads and fires a second shot. A sharp blue glow appears, and wells up to a massive bright light, before the entire thing explodes, fracturing into several pieces. One of the Hunters manages to survive the fall, but one of the Spirit pieces smashes the ice nearby him, and he falls through.
The nearby Covenant watch in awe as the Spirit falls from the sky, before quickly tracing the rocket trails back to his position and opening fire.
Rubin approaches the dead troopers and kneels next to one with a medic emblem on his helmet. He removes the trooper's backpack and opens it, finding a biofoam canister. He walks back to Thérèse and shakes the canister.
Rubin: It's almost empty, but it'll get the job done.
He sprays a small amount of biofoam on Thérèse's wound.
Thérèse grimaces and sucks through her teeth as the biofoam is applied, before nodding.
(You're not you when you're hungry.)
She puts one hand on the log to support herself as she stands up, picking up her rifle as she does so. She looks at the Magnum at Rubin's side, then gestures to the ranger near them and those by the fence.
Thérèse: Those troopers, they won't be needing their rifles any more.
From the mist and snow, a Jiralhanae clad in thick blue armour steps into Thompson's vision. It roars, lifts up its Spiker and opens fire at him.
Thérèse steps over the log and continues across the park. Army corpses are joined by those of the Covenant and, occasionally, civilians, until the pair reach a short bridge. At the near end of it, sandbags and logs have been piled, creating a barrier that, burnt by plasma and projecting spikes, has toppled over in the centre.
Jokinen: We try to signal Cooper and Thompson, and then we get moving. The search zone's an old research facility just a few miles to the north. At least, that's what I gathered from the data before the crash broke the tacpad.
Thérèse steps onto and over the barricade, then carries on down the bridge. Rubin was clearly right: even more Army corpses litter the ground like autumn leaves, alongside bodies of civilians - some of whom lie with guns besides them. Despite the number of troopers and abundance of weapons - including a turret mounted on the barrier -, not a single Covenant corpse remains to be seen. Thérèse comes to the end of the wide bridge and steps off, with a shudder.
The pair reach the cluster of dead trees near the border of the park. Rubin makes it behind one, and peeks out with his DMR. Between the ODSTs and the mall on the other side of the street is a crashed Falcon, with dead Army troopers still occupying its seats. Rubin looks at Thérèse, waiting for her to signal.
Berlinsky: Are we going to get Cooper and Thompson, or are we waiting for them here? If we're staying, I suggest we hide in one of these caverns.
Thérèse gestures twice with her left hand towards the mall and sets off again. As she passes the ruined Falcon, she slows down to stare at it. After a second or two, she is brought back and carries on. At the grass' edge, she stops, looks back once more, then steps onto the pavement, looking behind for Rubin.
Rubin steps onto the street, scanning the nearby buildings with his DMR as he does so, before ducking behind a Genet. He peeks over it and, seeing no movement inside the mall, moves over to a pillar next to the entrance.
Thérèse follows Rubin and takes cover behind a pillar opposite his. She looks round it, before gesturing in a sweeping motion with her right hand. Coming round the pillar, she past the shattered glass from the windows and through the door.
Thérèse's eyes widen at the scene, continuing down the escalator. In the darkness of the room, unlit, with only a single light fixture, its counterpart hanging freely, the shapes of a pair of Grunts besides a lifeless Elite can be discerned. From what she can see, the room is almost empty - besides the corpses, there's only a counter and a pair of doors besides it. Thérèse steps off the escalator into the room.
Plasma fire flies over Thompson's shoulder as he runs for cover. He reaches a snow drift - probably the worst cover from plasma fire possible - then fires a silenced BR burst back at the Covenant, with very little effect.
Under the light from Rubin's flashlight, Thérèse can see the wire pass under the doors besides the counter. She steps over the body of a Grunt and follows it to the door, where she crouches, ready to push in with Rubin.
Thérèse pushes the door open with her shoulder and swings inside, rifle raised. At first, she can't see anything in the blackness of the room, against which Rubin's flashlight creates a dazzling lance, illuminated dust swirling inside.
In a last ditch attempt to save himself, Thompson turns off the tracking on his M19 SAML, loads his penultimate rocket, and breaks cover briefly to fire a rocket at the ice underneath the largest mass of Covenant forces. The ice shatters, causing many of the Covies to fall into the icy-cold water. They all sink due to the weight of their combat harnesses combined with their inability to swim, aside from the Grunts who float due to the upthrust caused by their methane tanks, and a few stragglers grappling onto shards of ice for dear life.
As Thérèse takes another step, her foot lands on an empty can, creating a distinct crunch that sounds booming in the silent cinema. Thérèse tries to hide behind one of the nearby seats, before a gunshot emanates from a seat further down the aisle. In the instant that it is lit up, Thérèse can distinguish a haggard, unshaved face with surprise written over it. From behind her cover, she can hear shouting.
Man: Shit, they're troopers, not Covies! We didn't mean no harm!
Thérèse peaks over the chair, and can see the man, holding his hands in the air, stepping out into the aisle.
The civilians oblige, placing Magnums, rifles, hunting shotguns and salvaged plasma weapons on the floor of the aisle. Stepping out from behind the seat, Thérèse places her hand on Rubin's MA37 and lowers it, before addressing, hospitably but firmly, the first civilian.