Chapter 18: Demon
Amidst the gun fire in the disordered battlefield, the New Order soldiers were dropping like flies. From their front were the Blood Gulch soldiers, and from their back were the rebellion fighters. One of the soldiers dropped dead and Grif proclaimed. "Boom, headshot! Did you guys see that?"
"It only counts if you call it!" said Wash rushing forward into the battle lines.
"Oh what a load of crap dude!"
With the aid of the fragments, they had managed to cut down the numbers quite significantly. Only a few remained now and victory was in their sights. That was until they noticed more ships descending from the air. It was time for wave two. Washington let out an expected sigh. I really should not have hoped for any less now should I?
Muffins took notice of the ships and hailed Agent Washington. "Hello Agent Washington, how goes your very important and not so secret mission?"
"Well they are coming at us from all angles-"
"Oh my…," said Muffins in a rather questionably arousing tone.
"We have got more enemies coming in to get a piece of the action-"
"Okay do you need a time out Muffins?"
"Oh no, no do continue. This is so very arousing ja."
"Are you alright Agent Washington?"
"Yeah, just threw up a little in my mouth is all. Why did you call me again?"
"Oh I just wanted to see how you were all doing. I mean I could talk about my life story right now if you would like."
Please god no, thought Wash keeping his head down in his cover. "No thanks Muffins, I would much rather get out of this in one piece first."
"Then the life story ja?"
Washington stuck out partially from his cover and shot down three enemies successively. "Anyways, we are all a little busy right now with the New Order soldiers."
"Well you better finish up with them quickly because there are more headed your way to get a piece of the pie."
Washington again threw up a little in his helmet. I wish I knew how to filter out half the stuff he says. He jumped over from his cover and shot a few others running to his next piece of cover. Wash ducked down and saw how spread out his group had become. "Keep it together guys. Make sure to back one another up."
"A little busy not getting fried here," said Donut throwing out a few grenades. He heard Sister giggle by his side. Don't you say it, he thought. But she said it anyways much to his annoyance. "Fried like fried donuts that is."
"Grif," Donut called up the orange soldier taking cover and telling Sister to keep hers out. "Can I let the enemy have your sister?"
"Meh, sure why not? Pretty sure she would still manage to slut her way out of that situation."
Wave after wave they began to feel the fatigue of the battle settle in. The rebellion was beginning to suffer casualties, and they lost some good men. As much as they wanted to grieve the loss, time did not permit them such luxury. They had to continue to fight. Wash watched another ship land. That's the fourth one now. Just how many expendable mooks do they have just to take care of a few people?
He looked at his remaining forces and broadcasted a message to them. "Listen up everyone. To any who has smoke grenades, I need you to release them against the enemy. I will take that opportunity to flank and take out as many as I can from the back. You guys at the same time will give me suppressing fire."
Everyone agreed to the plan. Wash knew that they had to get a move on with their retreat, or better yet commandeer themselves one of these ships and make an escape towards the space station. A few released their smoke grenades as soon as Wash moved out and circled to the back of the enemy. "I'm now on the move."
Many more smoke grenades flew out into the battlefield and created several clouds of smoke. The shroud covered the field which the enemy occupied. Washington activated his thermal vision and ran in shooting several of the soldiers down. He ran fast into the smoke and cut down those in his way, and shot those farther away from him. He was a murdering machine. He nearly took out half the platoon all on his own. But the enemy became wiser and started firing behind them. Washington bit his bottom lip with a silent cuss and ran for cover. "Uh, I could use some help now guys."
"You heard the man," shouted one of the rebellion fighters as he aimed his gun towards the smoke. "Give it all you have got men!"
A barrage of bullets pierced the thick smoke and painted the ground with crimson red. The blood of the enemies was soaked into the soil. It was an absolute massacre for the New Order soldiers. There was no one left, or so they thought. Washington noticed one left still alive. He approached the enemy shot in the leg and called for a few of the rebellion fighters over. One nearly drew his gun on him only to be stopped by Wash. "Leave him alive, we need him to help us. I was hoping that one of you knew some basic first aid to help patch him up."
"I do," said one of the fighters with a hand raised in the air. He approached the injured soldier with his med kit out and earned some words of gratitude from Washington. He called Muffins over the radio and told him to be ready. "Get Simmons and Carolina over to our position."
"What's going on?"
"We found a way to get back to the colony and infiltrate the space station undetected. That is until we are inside at least."
"Wunderbar, I shall make quick with my spindly legs to your position with the others ja."
"Okay…," Wash hung up on the Captain beginning to think of just how weird Muffins was. He called over Grif and the others to prep one of the New Order ships. He asked for Gamma to hack into the ship's controls and gain full access before their departure. Washington began cleanup and left a message of few words for the village chief with one of the rebellion fighter.
…Equal angrily punched the barrier. This time he caused a crack to appear and a strong pressure escaped the barrier. The barrier began to crack completely with the peaceful side becoming tainted by the void. The happy Equal looked all around and his once pure eyes turned dark. "You are so alone that you can't even help but drag others down with you."
What is going on? Equal wondered as he saw the darkness absorb his image completely. Out of the darkness, he could begin to see an outline. Horns formed on what was once Equal's head. Wings began to spread out of his back. Claws extended from both his hands and feet. Dark purple scales covered his whole body with a red shroud of fog. But the most disturbing aspect of this new being before him was the creature's eyes. The eyes were one to easily instill fear and fracture one's mind easily. Those eyes were filled with unending hate.
Is this what I have become? Equal wondered suddenly feeling some supernatural gravity acting on his body. It drew him closer to this satanic beast against his will. Like a puppet attached to a string, no matter how hard it would fight it must still obey the will of its master, Equal had to obey the will of his unknown and mysterious puppeteer as it raised his arm up towards the beast. What the hell? Let go of me! Equal pondered struggling so very hard against this force.
This time, the demon pulled Equal to the other side and switched places with him. Funny thing about it was that he did not even bother resisting. But at the same time it was curious for him to not resist against such a demonic force. The demon now stood on the side of the bodies and it's visage of flames began to seep from its body. The crimson flames burned even brighter now with them slowly consuming all. The demon slowly turned to face him with a growl. It was a growl most foul reeking of impurity.
Is this my hate, and is this what it will bring in the end to me? Equal wondered. He watched the flames light a path in this dark void, and yet at the same time it made his mind anxious. Have I been consumed by hate completely to the point of no return? Am I now on this other side still filled with that dark void and completely alone?
Equal heard a set of footsteps behind him. He was afraid, too afraid to turn and look at what approached his way at a moderate pace. No, I have to look. I can't be so afraid! He turned and saw a figure standing before him. The body of the person he thought to never meet again and left him with a shocking impression…
Equal slowly opened his eyes and found his bed sheets and pillows to be disordered again. His skin was coated in sweat and his eyes were shaded in light red. It was that same lucid nightmare…how long must I endure this?!
Tucker, Sarge, Caboose, Doc and Lopez all prepared their guns. They looked at their respective fragments for confirmation of readiness. They all nodded to one another and knew that they were ready. Storing the weapons behind their backs and onto the sides of their thigh armor, they walked outside the base to the supply delivery truck.
By the truck stood the rebel leader, he opened up the back of the truck up for the crew to step into. He unscrewed some of the boxes for their teams to get into. "Not the most comfy ride you will have but it will get you inside the tower."
"Just make sure to get us out when we get there," said Tucker balling up inside of one of the boxes. Sarge agreed with the blue soldier's words. "Yeah, I would hate to miss giving Equal his just dues."
"Don't you guys worry," the leader again reassured them all. "We will get it done together."
They placed the lids atop the boxes and screwed it back on. There was complete darkness and all that they could tell was only through noise. The truck's engine started and through the various vibrations they knew they were on the move. Finally we are taking a major step towards Equal. But they all had to worry at the same time as well. They were all concerned about what may happen on this mission. They certainly wanted to avoid what happened with Locus and Samuels again.
In a dimly lit, yet dark meeting room were several figures sitting around an oval shaped table. Around the table were many holographic screens projecting numbers, visual graphs and video clips taken from the frontlines. Equal sat with his hands crossed and his forehead against his thumbs. "So, you must have all heard about our losses on the front lines by now I presume?"
The military advisors remained quiet, but nodded their heads. Before they were confident, but now they were scared. They were scared not only of this war that suddenly shifted tides, but of Equal as well and rightfully so. He eyed every one of them, as soon as his gaze would fixate on them their heads would go down. Equal knew his reputation has forever been damaged. "The reason I called for this meeting is to discuss the next steps we should be taking. The UNSC turned the tides very quickly on us and since that insidious message containing our location was broadcasted, no doubt the UNSC would be preparing to send an attacking fleet our way now. So I ask again, what do we do?"
"From the reports," one of the advisors said in a quiet voice, afraid to speak up and possibly meet the wraith of Equal's fists. "Many of our ships on the frontlines have been either damaged or completely destroyed. Some of them have been raided by the UNSC counter-attack fleet and no doubt are holding our forces prisoner. Most won't even be able to make it back here in one piece."
"Then the best we could do is form a defensive line around the station for the impeding attack with what we have left," said another advisor raising his hand in the air. The others agreed all around the table leaving Equal with only one option. He closed shut his eyes under the weight of his responsibilities and finally nodded his head. "Fine, give the order to set up a strong defensive fleet. I don't want even one enemy ship making it past them do you understand?"
"Yes sir," many of them said in unison and fear struck by how agitated Equal sounded. He felt backed into a corner already. This had better work, not just for my sake but for all our sakes. Many of the advisors stood up to leave. Equal stopped one of the staff members from the information department for a status update. "How is the response coming along to that message spread by the invaders?"
"Sir," the information officer turned around with a confident look. I presume this is something good then, thought Equal. The information officer pointed to a holographic monitor and displayed several media drones already in the air. "The counter-message we created to argue against the propaganda of the invaders is projected to have a one-hundred percent success rate. Most of the colony has already been subdued thanks to this message so far and the rumors on the streets seem to be dying down. With time all of this should be under our complete control again, and doubts should be eliminated."
"Good," said Equal dismissing the officer. At least something goes right today. But for how long could he keep things under his control was a question that plagued his mind with worry and stress.
The supply truck diverged from the highway and onto a road leading down to Equal's tower. They came to a stop at a checkpoint where various scanners activated. The drivers showed their ID badges to the security staff and they ran them through some card readers. The IDs verified positively but the scans of the truck turned up nothing. The employees began to grow suspicious as one of them knocked on the door of the truck and pointed to the back. "What are you carrying in there?"
"Important supplies for the New Order, top level secret."
The security staff looked at one another and took a moment to study the driver's face. From what they could determine, he was telling the truth. "Fine, you can go on in. You know where the drop off zone is right?"
"Yes sir," the driver replied with a grateful nod. That was a close one. The driver gently pushed down on the gas pedal and proceeded inside. Driving to one of the open garages, he backed the truck inside of it. There were already several tower staff members waiting for them to aid in the supply move. The two exited from the truck and greeted the staff.
"Hey, we won't need your guy's help. We can handle it on our own, can't we?" asked the driver looking to his partner, the rebel leader. The leader nodded his head silently but the tower staff would not listen. "Sorry fellas but orders are orders."
"Yes, they are," said the leader pulling out a small pistol with a silencer on it. His ally did the same and both of them shot down everyone present to receive the shipment. His partner looked at the bodies and shook his head. "We should have just shot them to begin with."
"Come now," the leader called for his friend as he opened up the back of the truck. "We have to get the others out."
"On it boss."
The soldiers inside the boxes could hear the screws coming loose. The noise of the drill pierced their ears loudly and was sure to attract curious by passers. Working quickly, the two managed to open all the boxes and let out their allies. As planned they split of into their two respective teams and prepared their weapons. They all looked at one another and nodded. It was time for the mission to begin.