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Fenix

Tell us about your adventures, amazing stories, wow us with your wit...use your imagination, tell us some of the greatest moments in your life.

Post Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:13 am

Fenix

Hello all. This is one of a fair few fan fictions i have written, set in the Halo universe, but more specifically revolving around the Halo total conversion; Freelancer:Combat Evolved.
This has been, and I hope I don't sound pompous or anything, but this is been regarded by most people as the best fiction I have written.
I wrote this for a friend as a way to advance his Roleplay character in the downtime between versions of the mod. I won't say any more, except that it is pretty meaty in size, so I'm going to split it up a bit and hope you enjoy it.

All works posted herein remain the intellectual property of the author, chestomagnetic; and anyone posting, reproducing or otherwise copying the works contained herein will be liable to be sued. The Halo universe remains the property of Bungie and Microsoft, and any events portrayed within a the work of the author. (In layman's terms, don't steal my work!)

PART 1


//AUDIO RECORDING: Day 02 of Routine Patrol\\
“They’re getting closer! You have to come!”
*whine of plasma*
“No, there’s no time! You have to go now. Go, go, I’ll hold ‘em off!”
*explosions and rumbling*
“No! We won’t leave you! There’s still time!”
*yelling and grunting from Covenant*
“Jesus! Here they come. Go now! Go before it’s too late!”
*weapons fire*
“Godspeed my friend. May you rest in peace.”
*running*
“You want some? Come and get it!”
*deep rumbling and explosions and weapons fire*
*white noise*

#:/UNEXPECTED TERMINATION__MIA?__WIA?__KIA?\:#
//END AUDIO RECORDING\\



Fenix’s Last Stand
The Admiral finally meets his fate…


1936 Hours / Day 01 of Routine Patrol / Atlántico III, Atlantic system / UNSCS Fable’s Fate

Rear Admiral Arkanos Fenix paced the bridge impatiently as his bridge officers tapped away slowly at their stations, prepping the Fable’s Fate for reversion to real space from Slipspace. Something didn’t bode well with him and he had long ago learned to trust that instinct, only time would tell whether he was right. Fenix had been sent out on a routine patrol by HIGHCOM all on his lonesome. Still, the Atlantic system was pretty far away from anything major and Arkanos was wondering whether someone in HIGHCOM or ONI was still a little sore over the Traceless incident.

He was snapped out of his thoughts as Lieutenant Junior Grade Brett McDonnell addressed him from the NAV station, “Admiral, we’re exiting Slipspace……now.” At his word the view screen filled with life and the panoramic view of the stars and Atlántico III in the background. Fenix scanned the system anxiously with his eyes, finding nothing out of place. The bridge crew quickly scanned their fields of expertise and found them clear. “I’ve got no enemy targets. Weapons to standby mode,” called out Lieutenant Tyler Hatfield from the weapons station.

“No unusual transmissions detected in-system. Just a welcome call from planet side,” called out Lieutenant Devon Caskenette as he scanned the many different bandwidths of radio frequencies.

“Everything reading green over here sir,” reported the OPS officer, Lieutenant Junior Grade Matt Stevens, followed by Melissa Nameck, “Engines and reactors are fully operational.”

A burst of light heralded the arrival of Sev in his full suit of medieval battle armour. “Admiral, I’m picking up a very faint distortion on long range scanners almost right on top of Atlántico III.”

Arkanos turned to Sev and stared at him for a solid five seconds. “Sev,” he began, barely keeping his urge to silence him permanently in check, “I have a lot on my mind at the moment. We’re the only UNSC vessel for light years around, the only thing standing between this colony and destruction by the Covenant and you bother me with a tiny distortion on top of a planet on long range scanners? Had it not occurred to you that it might be interference from the magnetic field? Maybe you would have thought to run a diagnostic check before annoying me when I am clearly busy?” Some of the bridge crew turned and stared at Fenix in shock; he had never lost it with an AI before, and that rattled them more than anything else so far on this mission, not that there was much to be rattled about so far. In truth Fenix was rattled as well, he didn’t even know why he had just lost it, and that didn’t bode well with him.

Sev stared at the admiral for a few seconds before replying just as coldly as the admiral had treated him, “Diagnostic check run ad-miral.” He put great emphasis on the last two syllables. “Contact is gone. However I definitely saw something there.”

Arkanos didn’t bother turning back to Sev, he just spat fire and smoke, “Sure you did. Now just concentrate on plotting us a geo-sync orbit with the colony.”

The bridge officers looked at Fenix warily for a few more seconds before turning back to their stations and continuing their work.


2211 Hours / Day 01 of Routine Patrol / Geo-sync orbit Atlántico III, Atlantic system / UNSCS Fable’s Fate

Admiral Fenix sat stiffy in his command chair, best admiral’s uniform on. On the screen in front of him the governor of Pyres city, Governor Julius Hawke, sat in his office. “…As I was saying, it’s a big honour to have the great Rear Admiral Fenix here protecting us. It makes everyone feel so much better.”

Arkanos waved down the compliment, “Really governor, I’m not that great.”

“Nonsense, word of your feats has spread far and wide. I would call it a great act that you drove off a group of Covenant ships attacking some freighters. I would also call it great that you sacrificed your old cruiser to allow your friend to escape from wrongful capture and destruction, risking your life.”

Fenix was quietly stunned that the governor knew of the Traceless incident and he tried not to show it, but some surprise much have registered on his face because the governor laughed, “You are wondering how we managed to hear about that incident? Well we have some contacts, they have heard about it from people who heard it from people who heard it from people; a great big grapevine.”

“Uh huh,” Fenix replied, not really satisfied with the governor’s answer. “Well, I’m going to stay here until my orders are changed or the Covenant come. Either way I’m here for the long run.”

“Good. Makes us feel much better that a UNSC cruiser is here on the prowl.”

Fenix was about to reply, about to say that his cruiser wouldn’t be able to do much if something more than a lone destroyer showed up when his ship shook and rumbled, smoke roiling onto the bridge and klaxons melding into one another.

“Admiral!” cried out Melissa from the engineering console as extractor fans kicked in on high, sucking the smoke out of the bridge, “Engines are gone! I’ve go no response from any of them. Can’t see what happened.”


Edited by - chestomagnetic on 10/26/2007 2:49:30 PM

Post Fri Oct 26, 2007 5:16 am

At this moment Sev re-appeared and spoke in a smug know-it-all voice, “Well I did tell you there was a contact.”

Fenix didn’t have time for his lip, “Alright Sev, I’m sorry. Now shut the hell up and show me what we’re up against!”

The TAC screen re-arranged itself, the concerned governor being pushed into a small corner and the port hull camera’s coming up in widescreen. Fenix felt his blood run cold as a Covenant destroyer cruised lazily through the mist caused by the venting gases fm the severely damaged aft sector.

“Weapons,” Fenix cried out as he watched the pulse lasers on the destroyer charge up, “what can we bring to bear on that ship?”

Tyler Hatfield tapped away madly for a second before replying, “I’ve got all port archer pods locked on; firing.” On screen a swarm of archer missiles jumped from the Fable’s Fate towards the destroyer, impacting before the pulse lasers could target them. Fire splashed over their shields but the admiral had seen too much action and knew they wouldn’t do any real damage. “MLA’s targeted.” On screen a veritable wall of lead erupted from the many portside MLA batteries and pounded the shields of the destroyer, causing millions of tiny ripples in the shielding.

The response was short and vicious. Pulse lasers lanced out at the MLA’s, vaporising them instantly. The deck shook as the guns were destroyed and Fenix felt despair well up in him at being unable to do anything against the enemy. “COM’s, open me a ship-wide channel.”

Devon worked quickly, and turned back to the admiral, “Line open sir.”

Fenix stood up and spoke, knowing his throat mike would pick up his voice and send it throughout the ship. “All hands, this is your captain speaking. We are under attack by a Covenant vessel. Engines have been destroyed and our portside weaponry is annihilated. All hands prepare to repel boarders from the port side, this is a combat alert alpha, repeat; combat alert alpha. All hands prepare to repel boarders portside.”

Fenix turned back to the view screen just as the ship shuddered again and pings and groans diffused through the hull. “What the…?”

Sev reported quick-fire, “Admiral, all hands are preparing to repel boarders from the port side. The Covenant destroyer appears to have attached grappling lines and grav beams to us and are extending multiple tubes towards us.”

“What are they trying to do?” Fenix wondered out loud, hoping someone would have an answer.

Melissa Nameck spoke up from the back of the bridge, “I think they intend to latch onto us and burn through our hull with those tubes so they can board.”

“Jesus,” Arkanos whispered, “Sev! Get our anti-boarding parties to set up around those points now!”

The bridge crew watched in silence as the destroyer pulled in closer until her boarding tubes latched onto the hull with a dull thud. The plating glowed dull red as whatever the Covenant was using burned through the armour plating in quick time. Static crackled across the speakers, causing the whole crew to jump as one of the ODST’s initiated an open link to the bridge. Multiple indistinct voices could be heard before someone approached the person with the microphone and spoke, “Colonel, the A7’s are set up with covering fields of fire.”

Arkanos breathed a little easier with the mention of active A7’s. A7 was the nickname for an ‘Auto-turret 7.62mm, Tripod’ an automatic tri-barrelled chain gun firing standard UNSC 7.62mm bullets from belts of 1000 or from assault rifle clips. They could fire an impressive 500 rounds a minute and suffer very little degradation of accuracy thanks to powerful hydraulic systems.

A hissing could be heard over the channel as the Covenant started to burn through the hull into the interior of the ship. A small explosion and clattering of metal sounded as the plug of armour popped out. Grunts could be heard barking and yelping as they ran out and were quickly drowned out by the whirr of A7’s, the clatter of MA5B assault rifles and the more orderly chatter of MA5 carbines. Plasma whined back over the speakers and marines cursed, yelled and screamed as the battle entered full tilt.

The roar of what was unmistakably a Hunter chilled Fenix to the core as its plasma gun cycled and fired, shattering the link into white noise. However, before it was lost completely Arkanos though the heard the whump-crump of a rocket launcher being fired and a Hunter roar of pain, then the link went dead.

The bridge crew looked at each other for a few seconds, stunned disbelief on their faces. Fenix turned back to the display to find governor Hawke waiting anxiously. “Sorry governor, I’ve got to go. We have a--” he never finished that sentence because at that moment the Governor shouted out, “behind you!” and Fenix turned to find a plasma sword hovering behind him.

Someone shouted out and spear-tackled the invisible elite from behind as Fenix dived forwards and twisted to avoid the flailing sword which took a chunk out of where he had been sitting a second ago.

Fenix watched in horror as Tyler Hatfield grappled with the elite, it was all one way traffic. The elite got his free hand on Tyler’s chest and his hooves on his hips, lifting him bodily off him. Before anyone could blink the elite drove his plasma sword into Tyler’s gut. Hatfield stopped struggling and looked at the sword driven clean through him before the elite pulled it out with a wet sizzle and kicked him off, sending him flying into the opposite wall where he slid down the bulkhead and lay there, not moving, head lolling on his chest.

The elite was in the process of getting up again to finish the rest of the crew off when Melissa appeared above his head, M6D extended in perfect position, and fired. Bullets hammered the elite as he writhed on the floor in agony. His shielding had not been active because his camouflage was on, and the bullets tore into him. Melissa shifted her aim and put the last bullet into his head, blowing his brains out the back, and sending the elite into a fit as his limbs ****ed their last movements. The camo generator chose that moment to fail, revealing the dead elite.

Fenix took a deep breath in, his heart was pounding, and he thanked his lucky stars he’d survived, which was when he remembered Tyler. “Tyler,” he yelled, jumping to his feet, narrow escape forgotten. He grabbed the first aid kit off the wall and knelt by Hatfield as Melissa pulled him flat onto the ground, swearing under his breath all the time. Arkanos rifled through the box, coming up with the small bottle of bio-foam which he inserted into the curiously blood-free wound. The foam entered Tyler’s abdominal cavity and expanded, sealing the wound up and staving off the shock for a while. Fenix then grabbed a bandage and a sterile syringe filled with painkillers and jabbed it into Tyler, pumping him full of beta-blockers and sending him off to a happier place. Finally, with the help of Melissa, Arkanos wrapped the bandage around Hatfield’s wound, sealing the bio-foam in.

Arkanos looked up from Tyler to discover Devon Caskenette handing out the contents of the two weapons lockers on the bridge. Arkanos took the offered MA5 carbine and four clips of ammunition, which he promptly loaded the gun with one and pocketed the rest. He took stock of their basic weaponry. Seven standard issue side-arms with about three clips each and two MA5 carbines with 8 clips for both of them. Not what he would have chosen to fight his way out of his own vessel with.

Fenix turned to the holo-tank and pulled out the data crystal containing Sev, slotting it into his uniform. He turned back to the governor still waiting anxiously and was about to sign off with him when everything suddenly went pitch black and all the consoles shut down.

“What happened?” asked Arkanos’ executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Martin Jettin as he turned on the barrel-mounted flashlight on his carbine, cutting a small swathe through the inky darkness.

Fenix likewise switched his light on and replied, “I think the Covenant just cut the main power conduits. Must have got the emergency power as well, otherwise we’d still have lights and some consoles.”

A few other lights snapped on as the other bridge crew fished around in their pockets for a flashlight and snapped it onto their pistols. Matt Stevens hoisted Tyler over his shoulder and awaited Arkanos’ signal.

Fenix took point and moved cautiously forward, sweeping the way ahead with his light and letting the other cover the rear and sides. It was going to be a long, long day.”


2229 Hours / Day 01 of Routine Patrol / Geo-sync orbit Atlántico III, Atlantic system / UNSCS Fable’s Fate

The sounds of battle reached the ears of the bridge crew long before they actually saw the engagement. Fenix crept towards, sweeping the corridor, and nearly killed two of his own men when they appeared on his left, guns raised. “Jesus,” whispered Arkanos to the two ODST’s, “I nearly killed you both.”

The first one smiled in the light of Fenix’s light and replied jovially, “With all due respect sir, we had you covered. If you’re going to sneak up on people you need to learn to be quieter.”

Fenix smiled, “Well that’s why I drive ships and you pound across ground.”

The mutual joke moment over, the ODST’s beckoned the bridge crew in through a door into the 50 metre square main mess hall. Covenant were congregated at the far end, shielded by stationary energy shields; and the UNSC were gathered at the opposite end, sheltered behind hastily placed riot walls.

Arkanos moved to the temporary C&C centre placed at the back of the UNSC fortifications, ducking slightly more every time a burst of fire sounded. Brett McDonnell was bringing up the rear of the group when a pink beam passed through his head and cratered the wall behind him. Brett just pitched forward, blood and brains oozing from the wounds, and lay still. No scream, no final death throes, he just stopped.

Melissa turned around and started back towards McDonnell, intent on dragging him back with her when another beam grazed her head, sending her scrambling backwards on her hands and arse.

Jettin grabbed Melissa under the armpits and pulled her into the relative safety of the riot walls. Lieutenant Colonel Tommy Collins turned at the commotion and spotted Fenix crouching near the wall of riot barriers that made up the C&C. He pulled his headset off and addressed the Admiral, “Sir, things aren’t going good. We tried our best, but we never really had a chance. Every time we set up a solid defensive position the Covenant bring heavy firepower in and blow us away. I’ve got a couple of groups of cut off ODST’s holed up near the armoury and near engineering. I’m losing contact regularly, and every time I regain it they’ve lost a few more men.” He sighed deeply, picking up his carbine out of habit and turning it over in his hands unconsciously, “We lost Colonel Holman in the initial fight near the boarding tubes. He took a plasma round to the gut and bled out waiting for a medic that never arrived. We’ve managed to halt them here, but they probably own two thirds of the ship practically, except for those few pockets. Reactors, engineering, armoury, anything below this deck, and anything else down that way are theirs.”

Fenix pondered the situation, he was a damn good ship driver but in ground combat, man-to-alien, he was mediocre at best. He was about to see what kind of weaponry they still had available when the sounds of battle, already loud, stepped up to a new level. Sniper rifles filled the air with cracks! as the snipers sighted on the Covenant and blasted away. Arkanos peered up over the barrier to find a wave of grunts charging their position, plasma pistols firing indiscriminately. The marines opened up on the grunts, dropping them where they ran, but there were too many and as the first ones fell gurgling at the base of the human barricades and new group of Covenant appeared.

Fenix watched in awe as a solid line of jackals advanced in a ‘tortoise’ formation, energy shields overlapping each other and allowing nothing in from the front or top. Bullets pinged off the shields as the jackals advanced unstoppably. Some grenades flew from the marines and landed on the top of the shields, blasting a few apart but more just filled the gaps. Snipers dropped some through the small gaps in the shields but there was just too many of them. Finally someone thought to get some rockets flying, and when they did they blasted great holes in the jackal formation, allowing bullets and grenades to rip into the heart of the group.

Tommy Collins ran between his men in the first line, firing from here and shouting encouragement there, giving ammo wherever. He peered at the Covenant with despair, his troops were badly outnumbered and try as they might they couldn’t stop the inexorable advance of the Covenant.

Muzzle flash played hell with Fenix’s night vision, but he still popped up from cover and let rip with his carbine, hitting more shields than anything else, but at least it kept the Covenant wary. After reloading Arkanos popped up to find the jackals at the wall and firing in. ODST’s and marines tried to return fire but were mercilessly mown down as they retreated to the second line of defences, only 5 metres from the C&C.

A speaker box flew over the jackals now crouched behind the vacated human barricade and landing in the middle of the remaining marines, bouncing a few times before coming to rest leaning against the C&C barricades. All fire form the Covenant just stopped, no warning, and the marines stopped firing from sheer surprise. An inhuman voice full of power and rage emanated from the speaker, resonating through the very deck, “Humans! Lay down your weapons and we will spare you. Keep on fighting and you will be killed!”

The marines were never given a chance to surrender. While they were focussed on the speaker a camouflaged group of elites snuck inside the barriers and began slitting throats. Collins shouted at his men to watch their backs and the firing started again. Arkanos could see that the marines were in pretty bad shape, fire from outside and in, not to mention the camo elites reeking havoc, was wearing them down pretty quickly.

His bridge crew fired as well as they could, but they were pilots not soldiers. Suddenly, Collins stumbled back into the C&C, bleeding profusely from a shoulder wound. “He slumped against the barriers and the fight seemed to go out of him, “We’re done for. I’ve got God knows how many invisible elites running around inside our defences and I’ve got a ****-load of Covenant outside as well. We need to get away, but to where?”

Fenix felt blood splatter on his face as someone next to him fell. He turned just in time to see Lieutenant Devon Caskenette arcing gracefully backwards, blood pumping from a ragged chest wound. He hit the deck hard and reached shakily for Arkanos, eyes glazing over and blood dribbling from the corner of his mouth. Devon never made it, his arm stopped halfway and his head rolled to the side, before his arm dropped and his eyes glazed over, he took one last breath and Arkanos could clearly hear the death rattle as he died.

“****!” exclaimed Fenix as he watched another of his bridge crew take a fatal wound. His crew had been together over many campaigns and engagements and losing them felt like he was losing something of himself, particularly the horrible death rattle, it was unbearable.

Fenix felt despair rising again, and all of a sudden he remembered Tyler, who was lying against the wall still out of it. Arkanos checked his pulse, still going, and was in the process of turning back to join the fight when Stevens brushed passed him, picked Hatfield up unceremoniously, and slung him over his shoulder before backing out of the door, covering his back with his pistol.

Arkanos turned back to find the last group of ODST’s fighting a losing battle against the 50 or so Covenant arrayed against them. Collins appeared in his line of vision, holding two remote headsets and his carbine. He slung the gun and grabbed the admiral on the shoulder, spinning him around and pointing him towards the door, shouting, barely audible over the racket of battle as the ODST’s fought like wild dogs, “We need to leave now! Sergeant Willis will buy us as much time as possible!” Fenix took the hint, not clearly hearing Tommy, and followed the rest of his bridge crew out, the lieutenant colonel being last, covering their backs.

The sounds of battle followed Arkanos out as the survivors jogged down a battle damaged corridor, bullet holes and plasma scoring dominated the walls and bodies from both sides lined the deck in the many postures of death, some missing limbs and heads. Collins took the lead and jogged towards a split in the corridor, his barrel mounted light cutting a swaying, bobbing swathe through the near pick blackness. He stopped at the intersection and looked around, trying to find some signage. Here mixed blood covered the floor thickly; Tommy used his combat-booted foot to wipe the blood off the floor signs. His foot found a single picture of stairs, the way to the lift.

Arkanos Fenix suddenly realised it had gone totally silent, only the breathing of his group could be heard. Then he realised that silence was the problem, it meant the Covenant had broken through the ODST’s. A scream of pure terror rent the air before it was abruptly cut off, to be replaced by the guttural barking and yelping of grunts, getting rapidly louder.

“We need to go, now!” Tommy called out, his voice rising to a crescendo. He handed the two headsets he carried, identical to the one he wore, to Fenix and un-slung his carbine, pressing the butt into his shoulder and sighting down the optics railing, the light filling the corridor. A grunt appeared and Tommy let fly, a three round burst catching it in its breathing rig, causing the grunt to fling itself around in a panic as the methane rig caught alight, before it exploded, taking the grunt and three others with it. More appeared and Collins fired again and again, dropping them as they appeared.

The bolt cycled open and Tommy cursed as he primed and threw a grenade, diving into the blood slicked corridor after the rapidly retreating bridge crew. He rolled to his feet and ran, grabbing a new clip and slamming it home.

The grenade exploded and shockwaves chased the escapees down the corridor, towards the lift. They entered the thankfully open lift at full lift and tried to close the doors, only to find they didn’t work. “Jesus Christ!” Fenix exclaimed, kicking the wall, which did nothing except give him a sore toe. “Why isn’t the backup power working here?”

Melissa spoke from the back, her head and torso buried in a now open panel, “Um, I think you’ll find the emergency battery for this lift is dead.”

“Dead? Well it picked a hell of a time to go dead!” exclaimed Arkanos as the grunts rounded the corner and Tommy Collins picked them off. Plasma started to fly in return and everyone in the lift ducked inside the protective side parts. Collins rolled around the corner and fired again, his carbine barking bullets out and dropping grunts left, right and centre. Fenix turned and joined his XO and Collins in firing at the approaching grunts. The trio of carbines pockmarked the walls, deck and grunts as they continued to approach, a lot more cautiously now as they realised they had the humans cornered.

“I think this was one of those minor repairs you didn’t OK, if I remember correctly admiral,” Melissa replied muffled, her head still in the panel. “There,” she exclaimed as a plasma bolt slammed into the wall barely 30 centimetres away from her. “I’ve got the gravity brake working. We can now go down to the bottom level without becoming carbon stains on the roof of the lift.”

Martin Jettin and Arkanos Fenix stopped firing and grabbed the sliding doors and started pushing them shut. Fenix kept up a stream of profanities, never once repeating himself, as he heaved the door shut. They came together just as Collins squeezed a last shot off at an ambitious grunt charging up the hallway, plasma pistol on overcharge. The grunt pitched backwards, his pistol going off into the ceiling, causing melted droplets of metal to rain down all around him.

The lift dropped a foot before the gravity brake caught it and began dropping it at a sedate pace, all the way to the lower level.

Edited by - chestomagnetic on 10/26/2007 2:48:58 PM

Post Fri Oct 26, 2007 1:51 pm

PART 2


2304 Hours / Day 01 of Routine Patrol / Geo-sync orbit Atlántico III, Atlantic system / UNSCS Fable’s Fate

The few survivors slumped down in the lift as it slowly moved from the command level to the bottom decks. Arkanos pressed himself into a corner, carbine lying next to him and scanned the assembled crew.

Martin Jettin attended to Tyler Hatfield, checking his pulse and re-bandaging his gut wound. Fenix watched intently as he worked, wondering whether Tyler would pull through, he didn’t think he could bear to watch his good friend slowly die, slowly drifting into death’s cold embrace.

Jettin turned from Tyler and spoke to Arkanos, “He’s lost a bit of blood and is still in shock, but I think he’ll pull though. We need to get him to a doctor soon though or else his wound is going to be untreatable.” Fenix nodded slowly, trying to figure out a way to survive this and get rid of the Covenant. He glanced over the rest of his bridge crew, noticing how much they all seemed to have turned into soldiers in a very short time.

Melissa Nameck cleared her throat, she was so much like her father and mother in the way she took action and made other react to her, not vice versa. “Now, where exactly are we going?”

No-one replied and the hiss of the lift slowly descending filled the atmosphere. Finally Arkanos spoke, “I think that we need to go down to the Shiva warheads and set one off. It’ll kill the Covenant ship and any Covenant around.” He turned to the lieutenant colonel as he spoke into his headset, trying to link up with any UNSC marines he could, “Fox One. Romeo. Repeat.”

Nothing came back over the headset and the look on his face told everyone all they needed to know. This was a man who had just lost everything and everyone he cared about. His marine brothers were some grisly Covenant meal now and he had nothing to lose.

Tyler groaned softly from the corner as he regained consciousness, gripping his stomach. Fenix turned to him for a second before speaking again, “I’m sorry Tommy,” was all he could think to say to the emotionally ruined troopers who now sat in the corner, burning a hole in the opposite wall with his gaze. Arkanos thought he looked catatonic, but then he noticed a deep, burning fire in his eyes and he realised this was a man that would fight to the last round in the chamber, and then he would pick up some rocks and throw them until he was cut down.

Fenix absently strapped on one of the spare headsets Collins had and handed the other one back. Tommy waved it away silently, so Fenix handed it to his XO, Jettin, who was back attending to Hatfield as he regained consciousness.

The lift shook and bumped as it hit the bottom deck and the wild-eyed humans stood up, guns at the ready. Fenix and Martin moved to the doors again and heaved them open, grunting with the effort. Tommy Collins rolled around the partially open sliding doors and panned his gun and flashlight across the corridor, nothing.

The rest of the crew cautiously came out, guns at the ready and scanned the corridor. Arkanos noticed that this particular stretch was clean and clear, completely devoid of battle damage, blood or bodies. This didn’t do much to settle Fenix’s nerves, but Collins waved the group forward and they leap-frogged up the hall as a unit, covering each other almost like a real squad of marines, almost.

The first inkling that Fenix had that something was greatly wrong was when he came across a battle damaged riot wall with thousands of spare casings and plasma scoring all around it, but no bodies. Stevens came around the corner last and stopped, “Jesus,” he whispered, “what happened here?” His question was answered when Tommy Collins came back from around the next bend, his face ashen and devoid of colour, “I don’t think you want to see.”

Arkanos wheeled around and followed Collins back around the corner and stepped into their own little version of hell. The sickly smell of blood and burnt flesh clogged Arkanos’ nostrils and sent his gagging reflex into overdrive and he doubled over, fighting the urge to vomit as his bile rose. When he finally got his reflexes under control again he looked up and fully took in the padre of horrors that dominated the intersection before him. His barrel mounted flashlight played over the horror before him, adding to the scary and disgusting atmosphere. Probably a dozen UNSC marine lay before him, but he couldn’t be sure because of all the body parts lying around. Marines were missing legs and arms, and a few had ripped open chests which were dripping blood onto the already slick decking. Plasma wounds on many of them served to show that they had gone down fighting, as did the thousands of empties littering the floor around them. Their faces were distorted by some unimaginable pain, and Fenix could only begin to imagine their final moments, surrounded by Covenant and cut off, running out of ammunition, and finally losing out and being ripped apart by ravenous jackals and grunts.

The rest of the bridge crew came around the corner, and immediately wished they hadn’t. Melissa turned around they threw up, painting the wall a technicolour as she hurled. Jettin had a slightly stronger stomach and quickly averted his eyes, staring determinedly at the wall and trying not to think of the horror that lay behind him. He didn’t last long and soon he too was doubled over, a pile of vomit lying at his feet. Tyler, thankfully, passed out as the smell hit him and he avoided joining Melissa and Martin in painting the Fable’s Fate technicolour. Stevens was also made of stronger stuff and he managed to avoid hurling, but only barely.

The crew moved quickly past the bloody battle scene, avoiding looking or thinking about it was much as possible. Collins moved up cautiously, taking point and sweeping the corridor with his flashlight. It came as a surprise to him when he panned across a lone grunt with his back to him. He stopped, did a small double take and then spun back, smacking the grunt with his customised short bayonet. The diminutive grunt gurgling quietly as he fell to the deck with a dull thud that sounded like a gun going off to the secretive escapees; their senses working overtime. Collins hoped he had got the grunt quickly enough, but as if to prove him wrong a second grunt appeared out of a side passage and stared at the humans.

Tommy was too far away to stab him quietly with his bayonet and he squeezed down on his trigger just as the grunt let out a yell. A trio of bullets punctured its chest, exploding out the other side and, as if everything was conspiring against the escape of the humans, the methane rig burst into flames, casting flickering shadows as it burned. “****!” Tommy yelled as another pair of grunts appeared and he fired again, dropping them in quick time, “We’ve got company! Let’s go!”

The crew burst into a run, taking corners left and right as grunts chased them through the darkened corridors, firing wildly at their fleeing backs. Collins ran, gun up, not really noticing where he was going, just popping any grunts that appeared before him, trusting the CO and XO to deal with anything from the sides.

Tommy took a left turn and stopped dead, his heart pounding, looking at a dead end room. The rest of the crew piled into the room and stopped, milling around, looking for a way out. The sizzling of plasma served to disperse the crew as they dived for what little cover there was, all except the lieutenant colonel who stood tall and fired, the muzzle flashes lighting his face in strobe effect, as he stared down the optics railing.

Arkanos cast around wildly from where he was pressed into a corner, looking for a way out. He was about to give up in despair when he noticed a large grill set in the roof. “Martin,” he called out, edging towards desperation, “Pop that grill!”

Martin followed the admiral’s pointing finger to the roof 1 and a half metres above his head. “Admiral, it’s too high!” he replied.

**** this, thought Arkanos as he burst from his hiding spot and sprinted over to Jettin, plasma scoring the deck and walls behind him. He turned back to the door for a second and spotted Tommy, keeping the Covenant at bay from the relative safety of the door frame. Almost as though he knew the admiral was looking, he called out without turning around or stopping firing, “Sir, you need to go now! I’m running out of ammo!”

Fenix turned around and gave Martin a boost up, allowing him to reach the grill and push it up and in. He grabbed the lip and hauled himself up, placing his carbine in before disappearing into the air ducting. Next up was Hatfield, still semi-unconscious, followed by Melissa and then Stevens. Arkanos Fenix turned around to Tommy Collins, shouting to be heard over the sounds of battle, “Collins! Let’s go!”

Tommy fired off a last burst and in the lull while he was reloading he spoke quickly, “No time sir, they’ll know you’ve gone up the air vents. I’ll stay and hold them off for as long as possible. You need to get to those Shiva’s, set them off and get the hell out of Dodge!” He slammed home a new clip and kept on firing in short, controlled bursts. The grunts were learning quickly, and were covering each other as they advanced on the dead end room.

“Godspeed, Collins. You will be avenged, I swear it,” Fenix replied as he turned around to the waiting Matt Stevens and jumped up, grabbing his hands and disappearing into the vent.

Fenix replaced the grill and took the lead, crawling along the vent away from the Covenant and hopefully to the Shiva launch bay. The sounds of battle followed them, echoing along the ducting as the lieutenant colonel fired precision bursts. A louder bang echoed and Arkanos realised he had just set off a grenade. The burst fire continued for a while longer before it stopped and a distant tiny clatter and profuse swearing could be heard. The fire started up again, although it was a lot slower, and Arkanos realised that Tommy Collins had run out of carbine ammo and had switched to his pistol.

The pistol soon stopped firing as well and a distant battle cry could be heard, followed by faint running as the colonel engaged the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. Fenix and the crew winced as they clearly heard the colonel slam bodily into a bulkhead and bones snapped, followed by a human scream of pain and then, nothing. Complete silence reigned as the crew crawled stealthily through the dusty venting, putting as much distance between the Covenant as they could.

Arkanos silently gave thanks for the brave ODST who had just given his life to let the bridge crew escape, and hoped he wouldn’t have died in vain. There was still a lot of tunnel left to crawl through, and a million things to go wrong.


0001 Hours / Day 02 of Routine Patrol / Geo-sync orbit Atlántico III, Atlantic system / UNSCS Fable’s Fate

Arkanos huffed and puffed as he crawled along on his hands and knees, carbine slung over his back, bumping into the top of the vent and slowly bruising his spine. Behind him Melissa Nameck crawled, equally as tired and sweaty as Fenix. Matt Stevens came after Nameck, half dragging Tyler behind him as Tyler used his feet to push himself along on his back, helping Stevens out. Both were sweating profusely, although Stevens was actually from extreme physical exertion while Hatfield’s was from the very early onset of shock from his gut wound.

“You know admiral,” Melissa quipped, a slight smile on her face despite her sweat slicked hair flying everywhere as she crawled behind Fenix with a wonderful view of his backside, “this really isn’t your best angle.”

Stevens looked forward at Melissa, “I don’t know, it could be worse,” he replied.

“Hey!” Melissa cried indignantly, “I do have a husband you know!”

Last of all was Martin Jettin, sliding along on his backside and completely uninterested in everyone else appraisals of everyone’s asses, covering their rear ends with his carbine as usual. The Covenant had sent what seemed like a battalion of grunts into the air vents after them when they realised where they had gone. The first few had almost caught Martin off-guard, but the air vents echoed loudly and Jettin had heard them coming, just in time to swing around and cut them down with an un-aimed burst from his carbine. Since then Arkanos had been leading the way, several times going round in circles.

Martin fired another three round burst as an overly ambitious grunt and snapped it back, severing its head from its body. He checked his ammo counter, 21 left. Martin patted himself down for clips and found only a single one left. He sighed explosively, “Arkanos!” he yelled as he pushed himself along, covering their backs; “We need to get out and find some ammo or get to those warheads now! I’ve got a clip and a bit left!”

Up front Arkanos peered through what seemed like the millionth grill and finally spotted what he was looking for, the Shiva launch bay. The puncture-like sound of a carbine firing from the back of the group served to remind him just how important this was.

“I’ve got it!” Fenix shouted back as he pulled the grill up and out; dropping into the room with his carbine raised. The rest of the group followed, fanning out quickly, with Jettin diving in headfirst last, narrowly avoiding a plasma explosion that consumed a metre or so of the ducting and melted the ends together, and effectively sealing them off.

Martin spotted two A7’s in a corner and he and Stevens picked them up and placed them outside the door, covering the corridor in front of them leading to the launch bays. The turrets powered up with a hydraulic hiss and began slowly panning across the area in front of them.

Fenix meanwhile had grabbed a headlight off a rack and had pulled out an access panel to the nuclear warhead, tinkering away madly inside, speaking more to himself than anyone else as they all took defensive positions inside the room covering the door, except Jettin who heaved a cargo container into the corridor and hunkered down, some appropriated ammo lying at his feet.

“Now,” Fenix said to himself as he pulled the guidance and detonation control unit out of the warhead, “All I have to do is switch a few wires around and set it to the frequency of my detonator.” He grabbed a multi-tool off the deck before him and disappeared back inside the missile. “Now, was it red-green-red or red-red-green? Oh, my bad, it’s written here on the panel. Red-green-yellow?”

The bridge crew shared quizzical looks and wondered why they were letting their commanding officer who forgot the wiring sequence for a detonation signal fiddle with the delicate innards of a Shiva. Still, they reasoned, there would be nothing to feel, they would just disappear.

The whirr of the A7’s outside followed by the whine of return plasma and the clatter of Jettin’s carbine split the silence and caused Fenix to jump, bumping his head on the warhead as he pulled it out, swearing profusely. Everyone stared at the now closed door and waited for the inevitable explosion that would breach it.

Fenix hurriedly reached inside his uniform and pulled out the detonation key and the detonator. He swiped the card and entered his code, locking the system out and setting the tamper-proof mechanisms in action. He pressed the control panel back inside and sealed the warhead, placing the detonator in his pocket.

The battle outside grew louder, with more powerful plasma weaponry being brought in. The A7’s still resolutely whirred away and Martin’s carbine fired again and again, almost being drowned out by plasma fire. Static crackled in Fenix’s ear and he jumped, forgetting that he wore a wrap-around headset. He bent the boom mike around and yelled into it, “They’re getting closer! You have to come!”

Static crackled over the link for a second before the obviously strained voice of Martin replied, interspaced with bursts from his carbine, “No, there’s no time! You have to go now. Go, go, I’ll hold ‘em off!”

Fenix groaned loudly to himself, yet another person playing the hero, he thought, “No! We won’t leave you! There’s still time!” Plasma whined over the connection, thudding into the container and walls, highlighting just how close they really were.

Jettin’s voice replied, barely audible above the sounds of battle and explosions and interspaced with carbine fire, “Jesus! Here they come. Go now! Go before it’s too late---” the transmission cut abruptly as something detonated on the other side of the door, shaking the deck and stopping one of the A7’s. A carbine could be faintly heard still firing, and Fenix stared at the door for a few seconds as it started to glow a dull red. “Godspeed my friend, may you rest in peace.” He whispered to Jettin, not knowing whether he would hear him or not.

The link re-established itself for a second, just in time for Arkanos to hear Martin Jettin yell obscenities at the Covenant and hurl a threat their way, “You want some? Come and get it!” The link dissolved into static amidst heavy weapons fire.

Melissa moved from her position and slapped the controls for the secondary access tunnel, sweeping the passage beyond with her pistol as the door hissed open. Fenix tore his eyes away from the main passageway and scooped Tyler up, and dumped him on his shoulder, before running out the door with Melissa and Stevens hot on his heels.

The sounds of battle followed them as they ran for the nearby lifeboat. Melissa quickly took the lead as Fenix lumbered under the weight of Tyler. Matt Stevens ran along last of all, pistol in hand, often glancing over his shoulder, waiting for a final, fatal shot to hit him at any moment. A deep rumbling explosion shook the deck and the sounds of battle stopped completely, to be replaced by silence and then the roaring of an elite.

Fenix didn’t miss a beat, “Keep running!” They’ll be after us soon!”

Melissa reached the lifeboat and opened the door, waiting anxiously for Fenix to arrive. He stopped, panting, and passed Tyler inside, where Melissa tried with some difficulty to strap him into an acceleration couch. Stevens reached the lifeboat and was in the process of entering the airlock when a ragged wound appeared in his chest and he pitched backwards, falling away from the lifeboat, a look of utmost surprise on his face.

Fenix cast around wildly for the source of the beam and spotted an elite at the far end of the corridor, taking aim again with some form of long nosed gun. The rifle bucked in its hands and a beam sped in its way, straight for Melissa who was just coming out of the pod, looking at Stevens with apoplectic horror.

Without thinking, Fenix stepped in front of her, pushing her back into the pod just as the beam hit him, stumbling him back a few steps. Pain like nothing else flooded through him as his nerves registered the extreme burning from the plasma. He brought his hands up to his chest and they came away bloody and wet. Fenix looked at them quizzically before he slowly collapsed into the life pod, breathing shallowly.

Melissa scrambled back away from the exit where Fenix had unceremoniously shoved her, and slapped her hand down on the launch button on the control surface. The door slid shut with a snap and the boosters fired shooting the pod out on a pillar of fire away from the doomed Fable’s Fate.

Once the initial gee forces died down Melissa moved from her position half in an acceleration couch to Fenix, noticing how much blood he had lost and how his eyes started to glaze over.

Arkanos couldn’t feel much, his pain receptors having shut down due to the massive overload of pain coming from his chest. He noticed Tyler in his acceleration couch, and as soon as Tyler saw him looking he snapped out of his seemingly lethargic state, all thoughts of his wound forgotten.

Fenix reached shaking, bloody hands down into his pocket and withdrew a single data crystal, trying to hand it to Tyler. He just couldn’t reach that far and his arm dropped as he realised the effort was futile. Tears began to well in his eyes as Arkanos realised he wouldn’t make it, that he couldn’t even hand a data crystal to his friend.

Melissa swam into view, gently sitting him upright against the couches next to Tyler. Fenix lifted his arm again, it now felt like lead, and dropped the data crystal into Tyler’s hands, his hands shaking so badly he almost dropped it on the floor. His monumental task accomplished he dropped his arm and whispered to Hatfield, coughing up blood, “Take good care of...Sev for me Tyler. Treat him…well, and let him know…I was proud…to have an AI like…him. It was…a pleasure to…serve with…you Tyler. I hope you…live long, and prosper.”

Tyler smiled sadly down at the dying admiral, tears pricking at the corners of his eyes, “The pleasure was mine admiral. Sev is in good hands, I’ll tell him what you said.”

Fenix turned to Melissa next and tried to pull the detonator out of his pocket but failed, his arms now barely responding to his commands and shaking uncontrollably whenever he tried to do something. Melissa reached into his pocket and pulled out the detonator, tears rolling down her dirty cheeks and dropping to the deck in great big splashes. Fenix looked at Melissa, “You know what…to do.” He paused, coughing up blood,” Tell everyone I…love them, especially Krios. Tell him I’m sorry…for not being there…for him. Tell Drist it was…a pleasure to serve…with him, tell everyone it was…a pleasure.”

Melissa was now openly crying now, tears rolling down her cheeks in twin streams, pooling at her feet. “Ye…Yes Admiral,” she stammered through the lump in her throat. She gently reached out and turned him around to face his battered and broken cruiser as it shrunk into the distance, the covenant destroyer still attached.

Melissa pressed the arm button on the detonator and paused for a second before placing the detonator in Arkanos’ lap and letting the dying admiral perform the destruction of his own vessel; it was the least she could do. Fenix shakily reached a bloody hand up, grabbing it with his other hand to steady it, and pressed down on the detonate button.

In the distance a blue ball of pure energy erupted from the Fable’s Fate, and like the Fable before it, it went up in a nuclear firestorm, along with the Covenant destroyer and everyone on board. Fenix smiled sadly as he watched his vessel consumed by the nuclear weapon, his eyes barely open, and his heart slowly shutting down, missing beats here and there. As the blue fire died Rear Admiral Arkanos Fenix closed his eyes and his last breath left him as he slumped down slowly.

Melissa, still crying openly, slowly turned away from the admiral and took the pilot’s chair, guiding the life boat towards Atlántico III.


1109 Hours / Epilogue / Reach, Epsilon Eridani system / Reach Orbital Naval Shipyards

Lieutenant’s Melissa Nameck and Tyler Hatfield stepped out of the UNSC transport vessel as soon as it docked with the yards. Outside a group of sombre people stood, some crying, other just staring resolutely ahead. Vice Admiral Adam Arnold beckoned his daughter over and they embraced tightly, Melissa thankful to have someone familiar to hold onto. They disengaged and Melissa turned to Krios Fenix who was staring resolutely at the ship, trying not to let his tears come pouring out.

“Krios, Arkanos asked me to tell you something before he died.” He turned to Melissa and looked intently, his emotions now starting to run free. “He said that he was sorry that he wouldn’t be there for you and that he loved you.”

Krios lost it then and just hugged Melissa, who returned the embrace, letting him pour his emotions onto her shoulder. He finally let go and smiled sheepishly, but Melissa waved him down and said it was OK.

She turned back to the greater crowd and addressed them all. “Arkanos asked me to pass on a message to everyone here: he said he loved everyone and that it was a true pleasure to serve with or under you all at some stage.”

Melissa stepped back, feeling suddenly awkward and everyone slowly broke into conversation as they waited for Fenix’s casket to be unloaded. She spotted Drist in a corner and ran over to him, hugging him tightly and spilling all her emotions on him. “Drist, Arkanos said it was a pleasure to serve with you.” Drist just nodded and held Melissa tightly as she cried onto his shoulder, letting the emotional trauma of her ordeal leave her.


[font=courier
United Nations Space Command DELTA PRIORITY TRANSMISSION 150372D-66
Encryption Code:
[color=blueblue[/color/
Public Key: file foxtrot-echo-november-india-X-ray/
From: Office of Naval Intelligence PERSCOM/
To: All Related to Action at Atlántico III/
Subject: After Action Report UNSCS Fable’s Fate Crew Members
Classification: Classified (Archangel/2B Directive)/

/start file/

To All Related to Action at Atlántico III,

- LIEUTENANT Junior Grade Brett McDonnell deceased with full honours 14 July 2535 in the Atlantic System defending Atlántico III from Covenant assault.
- LIEUTENANT Devon Caskenette deceased with full honours 14 July 2535 in the Atlantic System defending Atlántico III from Covenant assault.
- LIEUTENANT Colonel Tommy Collins, 77th ODST Battalion, deceased with full honours 14 July 2535 in the Atlantic System defending Atlántico III from Covenant assault.
- LIEUTENANT Commander Martin Jettin deceased with full honours 15 July 2535 in the Atlantic System defending Atlántico III from Covenant assault.
- LIEUTENANT Junior Grade Matt Stevens deceased with full honours 15 July 2535 in the Atlantic System defending Atlántico III from Covenant assault.
- REAR ADMIRAL Upper Half Arkanos Fenix deceased with full honours 15 July 2535 in the Atlantic System defending Atlántico III from Covenant assault.
- LIEUTENANT Tyler Hatfield wounded in action with full honours 14 July 2535 in the Atlantic System defending Atlántico III from Covenant assault. Promoted to Lieutenant Commander and transferred to UNSCS Origin, 101st Naval Squadron.
- MIL AI 1207 ‘Sev’ attached to Lieutenant Commander Tyler Hatfield on board the UNSCS Origin, 101st Naval Squadron.
- LIEUTENANT Melissa Nameck awarded full honours 14 July 2535 in the Atlantic System defending Atlántico III from Covenant assault. Transferred from active combat duty to Reach Naval Shipyards, Repair and Refit Division.

/end file/


United Nations Space Command PUBLIC TRANSMISSION 191377P-99
Encryption Code:
[color=blueblue[/color/
Public Key: file foxtrot-echo-november/
From: Office of Naval Intelligence PERSCOM/
To: Mr and Mrs Fenix/
Subject: RE: Rear Admiral Upper Half Arkanos Fenix
Classification: Unclassified (Archangel/2B Directive)/

/start file/

Mr and Mrs Fenix,
We regret to inform you that on 15 July 2535 at approximately 0100 Hours your son; Rear Admiral Upper Half Arkanos Fenix was severely wounded in combat and subsequently died on the lifeboat.
By making the ultimate sacrifice your son allowed Lieutenant Melissa Nameck, Lieutenant Tyler Hatfield and MIL AI 1207 ‘Sev’ to escape capture by Covenant forces.
Rear Admiral Upper Half Arkanos Fenix was deceased with full honours for keeping in line the proud tradition of the United Nations Space Command Defence Force in defending 17 million citizens on a nearby planet from Covenant assault.

Yours Sincerely,
ONI PERSCOM

/end file/[/font

THE END.

Comments?/Suggestions?/Criticisms?/Anything at all.

Post Wed Oct 31, 2007 5:47 am

I rather enjoyed that and the after-action style reporting. I tried a similar approach myself and couldn't make it work for me as well as you've made it work for you.

Post Fri Nov 02, 2007 2:14 am

Thanks. If you want some links to my other stories I can certainly supply some. Also, I'm writing a novella set in the near future in Australia. Won't say anymore, because that'll ruin the surprise. But If you have any ideas for stories or anything you want written up get a message to me somehow and I'll see what I can do.

Cheers,
Chesto

Post Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:55 am


I'm writing a novella set in the near future in Australia


it doesn't involve rabbits, does it

Post Thu Nov 08, 2007 11:58 pm

No. *laughs*
Suffice to say Victoria is putting the pwnage on Tasmania and everyone is getting into a massive furball.

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