General James Peterson looked at the display before him, which revealed the two dozen sectors of the planet Reach that were under attack. The Covenant - they had just come out of nowhere, from inside that damned Corvette of theirs, millions of them had just fallen out of the skies and started to pillage the surface of Reach, killing hundreds, if not already thousands of soldiers and civilians. Peterson looked over at the position of a full company of ODST's, who were defending a critical UNSC relay station. He looked at the casualty marker, and it indicated that so far only six troopers had died in battle, but it was still another number of human lives lost. Peterson looked over at one of his officers, a young ONI lieutenant, and called his name. The young officer turned from his station and saluted the general. “What's the matter general?”
“The ODST's we have at relay station Bravo, do they have any support with them?” Peterson asked.
The lieutenant shook his head and sighed. “We were too busy dispatching units to other sectors, almost all of our combat support vehicles have been sent to the front lines.” The man stood straight, and pulled his uniform back to a firm position. “The damned alien horror-show bastards took us by complete surprise, we didn't have proper time to prepare.”
“But you're saying that we still have some combat support left for the troopers in this base?”
“Yes sir, three Scorpion tanks, a Longsword interceptor and six Warthogs are still standing by in this base for deployment.” The lieutenant grabbed a holo pad from a desk next to him, and tapped it a dozen times before looking back up at Peterson. “We can send the units now sir, if you would prefer it that way.”
Peterson nodded. “Do it, and contact the troopers at Bravo.” He looked back at the display. “Tell them friendlies are coming in for support and will be there as soon as they can.”
The lieutenant nodded. “Aye sir.”
Sergeant Joseph Riley fired his M7S silenced submachinegun, and peppered the shielding of an Elite with a volley of armor piercing bullets. The Elite turned towards Riley, plasma rifle at the ready, but by the time it had aimed its own weapon Riley was already firing at the Elite's unprotected armor as its shields hissed away. Bullets punched into the flesh of the Elite, and blood jetted from the open wounds in its torso as the tall alien fell to the ground with a wet thud. Riley had no time to rejoice in his kill. He reloaded his SMG instead, and aimed again through the 2.5x scope on his weapon. A group of three Grunts were closing in, plasma pistols glowing with green energy as they overcharged their shots and aimed at the rest of Riley's squad. An ODST next to Riley, tagged as private Rodriguez, aimed his SRS 99D S2 AM sniper rifle at the Grunts, and then squeezed the trigger gently, and a single 14.5mm armor-piercing round punched clean through the skull of one of the Grunts. The plasma pistol overcharge went right into the air, and the other two Grunts next to their fallen brethren yelped in fear as they saw their dead comrade. Rodriguez squeezed the trigger again, and two well-placed shots downed both of the Grunts in a splatter of blood and methane.
The rest of the troopers fired a combined set of submachineguns, assault rifles and shotguns at a phalanx of Covenant Jackals, who were marching forward in a steady line while Elites readied their weapons behind the cover of the Jackal shields. An Elite wearing the armor of a Zealot made a loud battle cry into the air, and held up a pair of energy swords. The rest of the Elites around it cheered, and then began firing at the ODST's. Plasma fire showered the pinned troopers, who responded by lifting a deadly rocket launcher into the air. The ODST gripping the launcher pressed the firing stud, and two rockets swung out of the tubes of the weapon. The Jackals and Elites noticed the incoming flaming projectiles, and tried to dodge them only seconds too late. Two large balls of fire erupted in the Covenant lines, and several Elites and Jackals were thrown into the air. The ODST's cheered, and began throwing grenades at the disorderly Covenant battle line. Many dull thumps sounded off, and Jackals screeched and Elites roared as shrapnel tore up their armor and skin and then carved into their flesh and bone.
Riley looked for more targets, and he had no problems in finding them, especially since the numbers of the Covenant seemed to increase by the minute. A horde of Grunts charged in, weapons blazing inaccurately and striking completely random areas of the battlefield around them. Riley would have laughed if he had had the time for it, but instead he replied to the squeals and yelps of the Grunts with the beats of his SMG. Bullets flew and soared through the air, striking down Grunts in a barrage of armor-piercing bullets. Rodriguez fired a single shot into the Grunts, and the powerful bullet punched through the heads of two Grunts at once, and then the dead accurate Rodriguez switched targets and aimed at the head of an Elite. He squeezed the trigger. A single bullet shot out, and only a moment later the Elite was lying dead on the ground with an open wound in it's forehead.
Riley grinned, and watched as more and more Covenant began to fall to the dirt as the ODST's threw everything they had against the army of aliens opposing them. Line after line of Elites, Jackals and Grunts fell, and soon the Covenant were crossing the dead bodies of their own comrades instead of the ash-colored stone ground under their feet.
Riley fired a burst from his SMG, reloaded, aimed, and fired again. Grunts fell with a squeal and Jackals collapsed to the ground with a chatter of bird-like anger. He threw a frag grenade, and then went lying down next to Rodriguez, and waited for three seconds until the grenade detonated and threw a pair of Grunts aside. Riley was about to resume firing when he felt the comm in his helmet crackle, and then finally snap open as the urgent voice of an ODST came through.
“Sergeant, we're low on ammo, and we're starting to take casualties! Trent is KIA, Olsen is wounded in the left arm, and we're starting to get quite desperate, sir!”
“Trooper, listen to me very carefully. We need to hold this god-damned position until that air support decides to come by, so give the Covenant what they asked for, Helljumper, and haul your ass up there!” Riley replied over the whines of plasma fire and the sharp, loud cracks from the sniper rifle firing next to him.
Riley didn't even wait for an answer, but instead just shut down the comm and continued the fight on his side of the battlefield. He fired his SMG again, and then knocked an Elite from its feet as a dozen bullets shattered its skull into fragments and spilled its brain to the ground. Riley, turning his SMG at another Elite, aimed and pulled the trigger, and spat half of his magazine at the Elite's back. But the bullets merely deflected off of the shielding of the Elite, and not without reason. The Elite turned, and then Riley saw the clear armor of a Zealot. He cursed, and pulled down the trigger again, but the clip merely clicked empty and he began to dig for another one as he dropped out the empty. He dug for it all around in his armor, but ended up finding nothing, just empty pouches - he didn't even have a simple frag grenade left from all the fighting that had occurred. Riley swore, and threw the SMG aside and reached for his M6G sidearm. He snapped the holster open, grasped the handle of the small handgun, and pulled it out. The Zealot closed in for the kill, charging way ahead from the rest of its forces.
Some Elites in the front line of the Covenant advance force yelled something to the Zealot, but it was in their own tongue, and neither Riley nor any other human on this battlefield understood what they were yelling. The Zealot unsheathed and activated its dual energy swords, and the blades of magnetic energy hissed to life in an instant. An ODST paused his firing and got to his feet, and tried to intercept the Zealot. The trooper fired, and a dozen 7.62mm armor piercing rounds shredded the Zealot's shielding. The Zealot turned, and watched as the trooper ran towards it. The trooper soon came within reach of the Zealot's energy swords, and by the time the clip of the assault rifle was empty, and the trooper tried to reach for his pistol, those swords already slashed. The ODST screamed, and fell with a nasty X cut into his armor plating. Riley swore, and fired his M6G pistol.
An eight round magazine hammered the shields of the Zealot, and soon they popped open. The Zealot turned towards Riley again. It was vulnerable, and now if ever was Riley's chance to take down the Zealot. He pulled the trigger, but he had already fired off the whole clip earlier, and it was now just an empty metal piece. He dropped it out, and pulled a new one from his ammo belt, and slammed it home.
By the time he looked up the Zealot was already just one foot away from him … and then it died.
Their was a loud crack, and an air-cooled bang, and the Elite Zealot stopped, staring straight forward in horror, amazement, or just simple fear. Riley didn't know what had happened. The Zealot fell, with a clean bullet hole in its head. Then Riley looked to his rear, and Rodriguez stood behind him, his rifle still aimed to where the Zealot had previously stood, the barrel of his weapon smoking. Just as he was about to thank the trooper, Riley felt the comm inside his helmet snap open, and then a man spoke into it: “This is Longsword interceptor Dagger 078. I'm inbound to provide close air support and my ETA to the target location is two minutes. Out.”
Riley didn't how much more relieved he could feel at the moment, as the C709 Longsword class interceptor closed in for the final kill, and readied it's ASGM-10 missiles. The ODST's cheered, and fired a few random shots into the air as the black fighter closed in. The Covenant turned their attention to the air, and began firing wildly as hundreds of plasma bolts rained skywards. The Elites roared a battle cry, and their plasma rifles and repeaters ignited, showering the air with hot plasma. The Jackals leveled their shields, and began to fire at the Longsword with long bursts from their Needlers and overcharged shots from their pistols.
Riley yelled insults at the Covenant, and fired a single bullet from his pistol. The M6G bucked in his hands, and it struck the back of a fleeing Grunt. The rest of the ODST's also got up, and began filling the Covenant lines with lead. Jackals in the front line fell, and Elites roared in pain and fell as bodies began to pile up around the Covenant position. Riley emptied his clip into an Elite, reloaded another one, and began to fire again. The Elite staggered, shook, and fell with four bullet wounds in its chest. A few Elites had reached the ODST lines, but it was no use. A trooper with a shotgun pummeled at the head of an Elite Ultra, and caused the tall alien warrior to fall to the ground with a grunt of anger. The trooper then finished him off with a single blast from his shotgun. A pair of troopers with BR55 battle rifles rolled over to the left, fired a few quick bursts, and then threw a pair of frag grenades. Their was a dull thud, followed by a series of howls, and the Covenant forces were thrown into yet even more chaos as the ODST's hammered them with all they had. Riley reloaded his pistol again, and noticed his magazines were being depleted fast. He looked at Rodriguez, who was sniping the Covenant with accurate shots from his rifle.
“Do we have any heavy weapons here?” Riley asked.
“There's a grenade launcher right here!” Rodriguez answered, and grabbed a grenade launcher from the ground and handed it over to Riley, who caught it with one of his free hands as he used the other to holster his pistol. One shot left - he had just one shot for the grenade launcher. He decided to use it well, and peered around for a good mass of hostiles that he could pump the shot into. He saw an Elite Ranger fall as Rodriguez dropped him with a single round. Riley saw a squad of four Rangers firing carbines at the Longsword, which was closing in and almost at the target area. He aimed, leveled the cross hairs at the Rangers, and fired. The launcher in his hands thudded, and a single grenade whistled through the air like a miniature comet. The Rangers didn't even have time to react, as the grenade detonated in the air and half of the Rangers were thrown to the ground, dead.
“To all UNSC forces on the ground, this is Dagger 078, commencing air strike in three, two, one. Volley away.”
The Longsword rolled over to the right, and fired half a dozen missiles from its wings. The Covenant warriors let out a cry of panic, and then that cry of simple panic turned into a roar of pain and fear as the missiles landed on their targets and swallowed many of the Covenant with it in a sea of fire that bathed them in flames and shrapnel. Bodies, dead and living alike, were thrown into the air, and caused the rest of the Jackals and Grunts to flee. Even the Elites, who would normally stand their ground no matter what happened, began to turn and retreat in an orderly formation towards their own campsite, which was probably somewhere far away from here … too far for any of them to reach there alive. The Longsword fired it's 110mm rotary canons and 120mm ventral guns, and a series of detonations turned the earth into a heap of bodies and a pile of wrecked weaponry.
The Elites, who were clearly getting away faster then the Grunts or Jackals, soon forgot about their oaths of honor, and threw their weapons aside and began to flee towards a network of caves less than ten miles to their left. The Longsword, which was still firing, began to transmit orders through its command frequency. Soon, a dozen lights appeared inside one of the caves and half-dozen Warthogs rolled out, chain guns spooling and firing in a frantic chatter of bullets. The Elites, who had only seconds ago been confident of escape, were now gunned down by the fast-moving Warthogs, who charged them like rampant bulls.
Riley, holding his empty grenade launcher in one hand, stood tall over the raging battle before him, and watched as dozens of Covenant fell to the might of the Longsword and the speed of the Warthogs, which continued to fire upon the fleeing aliens. The six remaining members of his squad turned to him, and they all braced each other on the shoulders and slammed each others armored backs. Riley grinned, threw the grenade launcher away, and yelled over to the fleeing Covenant:
“Welcome to Reach!”