Chapter One: Here we go

"Go god damn it! Move you stupid son of a-…"

The Marines all looked in horror at the spot where their Sargeant had been standing. Nothing was left but a black area, flecked with gore. The Covenant Phantom's plasma cannons loaded to fire again. They didn't need any more incentive to get the hell away.

They made it to the Warthog, and barely had time to escape before it started firing again. "Dammit! Radio to HQ Private!" yelled the Corporal from the Gauss turret. Private Anderson from the passenger side fumbled with the comm., and finally radioed in. "This is Platoon 14, we have six KIA and two WIA. We need evac, pronto! Our location is Grid Kilo 57, do you read?"

"Negative Private. That is a restricted airspace. What direction are you going?"

Anderson fumbled with the GPS. "North!" he announced over the whine of the Warthog's engine. A plasma cannon rained down from overhead; a Banshee.

"Listen carefully. Keep going in that direction for a few minutes, and you'll reach an area where we can pick you up. I'm marking it as a NAV indicator on the GPS. Hurry Platoon 14." the link clicked off. Meanwhile, Corporal Marley was firing the Gauss magnetic shells at the Covenant Banshee. He had managed to blow off one of the wings, but it was still in the air, and it was launching deadly radioactive fuel rods. One landed about twenty feet ahead, leaving a huge dent in the ground. They got launched up about six feet in the air.

Finally, Anderson managed to load the M40 launcher and locked on. "Sayonara dickweed!" he roared, releasing the trigger. The Banshee tried to dodge to the right, but the homing rocket hit it dead-on. The smashed bits fell to the ground.

The NAV indicated they were only about a mile from the spot. "Come on, come on!" muttered Private Jaimes under his breath. "What happened to the Phantom?" he asked. It was hovering right above them quietly. Anderson noticed the shadow it cast first. "Son of a bitch!" he looked up and fired at the cannons. Two fell off as the dropship rocked. The rocket had left a medium sized hole in the center of the bottom of the ship. The last cannon fired at them, and hit Anderson. His scream was drowned out by the hiss of his flesh burning as he fell out.

Marley cursed and shot the second-to-last Gauss shot. It flew true and hit the inside of the Phantom. It killed off the gorilla-like pilots, and sent the ship crashing into the dirt. They drove on. The Pelican looked like it was about to take off without them. They drove in behind it and jumped out, running into the passenger compartment.

Back at HQ, about 0700 hours

After a shower and a meal, the two Marines tried to forget the events of last night. They were joined by the resident Spartan there. His code name was Spartan 382. They, like most Marines, were a little uncomfortable around the armored warriors. But they were a little used to him by now. It was a little better without the armor. "How are you two holding up?" he asked.

"Fine." they replied at the same time.

"I know what it's like you know. To lose fellow soldiers."

He stood up and walked away, leaving them alone.