0216 Hours February 7th, 2547 (Military Calendar)
82 Eridani System, Ruthersburg Colony, City of Rover
Laid out before Thomas Hague, RN, was a vast scene of suffering, and despite being a nurse, he was tired of it all. The stacks of wounded with plasma burns that covered their broken bodies, the screams of the soldiers for their mothers, and the exhaustion that never seemed to end despite sleep, stims, and coffee.
Hague wander through the makeshift encampment just outside Rover, towards his tent, but first he had to check in with the medic tent.
“Rough shift, Hague?” Laughed the clerk that was checking back in his kit and sidearm.
“Fuck off, Arthur, all you every day is sit there, letting your ass spread, reading webcomics!” Hague normally would have not lashed out at the unit clerk for his MASH unit…after all, Arthur was an expert at getting anything you needed or wanted.
“In the rear with the gear.” He gleefully responded while shutting the trauma kit. “Alright, your gear is logged back in and have a nice nap.” But just as Hague turned, Chief Petty officer Gonzales touched Hague on the shoulder.
“Tom,” She said with her large brown eyes.
“Damn it! What now?!”
“I need you to go back into Rover.”
“No way, Gonzales!” He slashed the air like an energy blade. “I’ve serviced my time in hell, and it’s my shift to sleep!” Gonzale shot Arthur a look, and he piled fresh supplies into a trauma kit along with a M7 caseless SMG.
“Sorry, our field hospital on at Cesar Chavez Street is getting hammered with wounded, you need to be on a Falcon band-aide transport.”
He cursed at anyone within an earshot. He hated the Navy for drafting him, he hated the war, and mostly he hated himself for going majoring in Nursing at University. “Are you telling me that every medic in this shithole is going?” He signed at Gonzales.
“The Covies are pushing, and we are bugging out of Rover, before the Navy begins another bombing run.” Then she handed him his gear, gun, and stim-pack. “Look, James, the ground ambulances got waxed, the crews were gutted, we’ve got to get those marines out of the hotzone.” Hague nodded and buckled his helmet back on.
“See you soon.” With that, Thomas Hague, RN, got on a Falcon with the Red Cross painted on it, and flew back into the rubble city of Rover.
To the untrained eye, the streets of the abandoned city that had been reduced to rubble by the attackers and defenders were void of life. The advanced night vision of her custom assembled .416 explored the ruins of inhuman son-of-a-bitch. She knew her gun needed to feed.
“They outta use you in those recruiting, vids, Danilov.” That was her spotter, Darren, and she rolled her eyes and continuing to hunt. “You are so hot!”
“Darren, for the last time,” She never removed herself from the scope, “I am not sleeping with you.”
“Yeah, I know, you’re soft on that chick in the armory; she always hooks you up with the good shit.”
“Her name is Tania.” She smiled and swept the old fashion shops with the scope…there were still dresses on racks…most were burned by plasma bolt near misses. She hated the Covenant, of course, that was a natural reaction to someone that burned worlds and murdered billions, but she hated them for another reason.
They were unfair.
From the intelligence briefing, the Covies had gotten lucky, stumbling onto Forerunner technology before Earth…and they got a leg up with their superior this and that. It was unfair, all of it. She could put a .416 round spot-on into an alien head, splattering it, and all that higher-tech shit didn’t matter. Behind the scope, she was superior. But on the street or in space, they were superior. It just wasn’t fair…and every world that fell back from was just one step closer to Reach and Earth.
She didn’t know Earth, but Danilov loved Reach.
In the darkness of the streets, there was movement.“Got’em.” She said to her spotter, he focused in his scope.
“Four tree-turkeys, three grunts, and a wounded Elite.” She overlaid anatomical view of the aliens’ bodies. From the wounds, the Elite was in a bad way. He was lagging behind.
“Elite first.” He nodded.
The .416 round cut through the thin cold night air, and smacked into the wounded Elite’s head.
“The Grunt with the Fuel-Rod cannon.”
He paused and tapped on the ballistic computer then a green board. “Sent it.” Another metal projectile found its target. By now, the small alien patrol that was attempting to reach their base, was now being picked off. They rushed to cover, Danilov, saw the Grunts look back at the Elite for orders. They saw only a body. They panicked.
The Jackets tried to return fire, but they could not see her. Darren called them, and Sergeant Elle Danilov sent lead down to the street, sending aliens to their gods.
These were the times that she loved, and best of all, because they were alien bastards, there was none of that guilty that had haunted soldiers. Every time one of them fell, she smiled.
“Last one, Elle.”
“Solid copy.” There hugged behind a holo-ad-turner, was the last grunt, nervously swinging his plasma pistol around. She fired deliberate missed round, causing the Grunt to scream out in its gibberish.
“Don’t make it suffer.”
“Yeah, time to cover the med-evac crew.” Just as her bare finger touched the trigger, a flash of light torn into her chest. Darren fired his BR55 towards the DEW line, screaming out for Elle. There, on the dirty roof of the broken skyscraper, she fell, and the smell of her cauterized wound hit her nose. She was going to die in this dirty broken city.
That’s not how she wanted to go…
She closed her eyes, as Darren pulled the pin on the Bio-Foam canister.
“One minute.” The pilot called out over the intercom, Hague adjusted his kit and took his SMG out. Below him, were the remains of Rover, one of the best cities on the Rutherburg colony. He had worked here, in the massive urban hospital, listening to the good gossip about who was sleeping with whom. Now, the hospital was a pillar of cider. Hague closed his eyes, and waited for the Falcon to drop.
“There it is.” The flight crew pointed out the small field hospital, and plasma round impacted as they were answered with bullets.
He cocked the first caseless round and waited for the skids to hit shattered pavement.
Hague then learned that a short evac, in & out could be feel like an eternity. While the Coies pushed on the lines, a mix of police, marines, and army fired, while Hague and the rest of the medics tried to load the bodies into the Falcon. It was not enough room. Hague then made a decisions.
“What do you mean, overloaded?!” He yelled over the spinning blades.
“Sorry, this is it, we’re bugging out next.” The sergeant pointed to a few troop carrying Warthogs. He made a face.
“Naw, that isn’t going to work! They bump and rip the wounds open!” The sergeant shrugged.
“We’ve got that band-aide Cougar over there.”The six-wheeled armored vehicle with a twin 25mm auto-cannons and a red cross painted on it.
“Give me a driver.”
It was quiet now there in the darkness, all she could do was wait for her spotter Darren to get back with the Bio-Foam. It wasn’t far, just down from the tall building they were in; on the street was the wrecked Cougar ambulance. So what the hell was taking him so long?
Hague armed himself when the tires were blown out, his ears rang like church bells. Then the metal hull of the UNSC armored medical evac echoed with booming reports of 25 mike-mike.
“Medic! We’ve got enemy inbound. Thick, too.”
“What should I do?”
“Prepare to run.” He swallowed hard, and loaded more pistols and handed them out to the wounded that could fire a gun. As the fuel rod energy splashed on the hull, the heat inside the metal hull climbed. Then the turret stopped and screams came over his intercom, Hague locked eyes with one of the wounded infantrymen.
“Hey, Medic, dose me up, I don’t wanna feel those apes eat me.” Hague obeyed, and then shot himself up. He nearly felt nothing as the spiker round tore into his flesh…he was numb and he simply slipped away to the sounds of the wounded firing and dying.
The mere slight of the bloodstained walls and ripped apart bodies, set him to a dark place. Darren was a spotter, he mainly saw this enemy through lens and sensors, not wandering around the darkened dangerous streets. When he searched the bodies in the back of the Cougar, he collected dog tags; one was a medic, with all of his Bio-Foam gone. He cursed and punched up the location of the field hospital on his goggles HUD.
Two miles…damn it!
Elle needed him to come back soon, the foam in her body was the only thing holding back the massive internal bleeding…and it was wearing off.
She didn’t want to die in this dirty broken building.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this….she was the one behind the scope, the hunter, not the hunted.
The Jacket had gotten the drop on her, his beam sliced through her chest, cauterizing one lung and scorching much of the skin around it. The burnt crispy skin was hard to move around to breathe, and her breaths got more and more labored as the Bio-Foam wore off.
The pain was too great to lift her .416 custom built sniper rifle put to defend herself. Darren had loaned her his caseless SMG to defend herself in case someone or something got too close.
But she only had one magazine. It didn’t matter; she could not have reloaded anyways.
“Elle!” The headset came to life…finally. It was Darren.
“Here…”She said above the pain.
“I’m at the old field hospital at Creaser Chaves street…got the foam…coming back.”
“Why?!” She mustered up, angry that he went too far. “The Band-aide vehicle is downstairs!
“It’s burned, Covies got to it. Damn filthy apes!”
“Hurry…it fucking hurts!”
“I’m moving!” When the connection was cut, she back alone. Snipers worked in teams, and it was odd to be alone. Pins and needles played through her chest, as a noise ripped through the empty blackened building. She reached for her submachine gun.
Darren was very aware of how alone he was, how difficult it was to make any time walking among the ruins. It seemed that every shadow was Elite, and his pulse raced. He had finally made it. The bodies of aliens littered the street and he enjoyed seeing their dead, which was until he got behind the wall, and saw a dozen soldiers burned with plasma. The few shell-shaped metal buildings had pantries filled with medical equipment. He groped for three canisters of Bio-Foam, and a few more magazines of 9.5mm. Then he turned and ran for the building, trying not to trip.
The footsteps, much heavier than a human, was what Elle heard first. Then she flipped the safety off of the small caseless gun, and then she sound of sniffing.
She lend her head back. Brutes…fuck! The wound prevented her from moving, and the pain caused her aim, which had won her awards, was erratic. The Brute team was combing through his building after their successful attack on the medical evac team. Some of the meat still clung to their sharpened teeth.
The first Brute walked up the stairs and never saw her or her weapon until it fired. The muzzle flash in close quarters blinded them both, but she was lying down, and the Brute fired it’s mauler above her head, clearly missing her. The 5mm rounds sliced into the lower quarters and legs of the hairy ape.
It died in a howl, and fell down the staircase.
Spike and flame grenades followed up by spray-n-pray gunfire. All were wide. Brutes were not great warriors, but they were fearsome and stupid enough to rush into the heart of battle. Fear was there weapon. Elle’s main weapon was down to half a clip.
It would be over soon.
The next one rushed up, spraying the open floor with red-hot spike-like projectiles. She returned fire, hitting it a few times, but when the hairy alien adjusted, and landed two spikes into her shoulder and the good lung. Her gun dropped, and with the last of her strength, she reached into a pouch as the lumbering profile of a Jiralhanae.
She coughed up blood as the wounded Brute sniffed her. “Nearly dead meat…but it’ll do!”
She popped her grenade and spit blood into its eyes. “Come and get it while it’s hot, mother fucker!”
Darren saw the explosion on the upper floor of the skyscraper...and stared helplessly at the canister of Bio-Foam in his hands.