1st Calvary Militia – Defenders of Jerico VII

Chapter 1: A Mile a Minute

Deep in the bowels of Jerico VII two gruff miners are hunched over an object that they were shining their helmet lights on. This object was particularly dangerous and is called C18, the highest explosive short of nuclear warheads. The more experienced miner, Jack Connors, was helping a rookie, Juan Morales. John found Juan in a spaceport living off of scraps from the food court. Jack took Juan under his wing and got him a job at the local titanium mine.

This job may sound insignificant but it is of the utmost importance. Because of the war the UNSC was loosing ships fast and each of those ships is made of thousands of tons of Titanium A. The UNSC had advanced the Ti. extraction by 800. Thus anyone not fighting the war was mining.

"After locking the timer in the C18 just arm the bomb and start the timer" said Jack

Juan pulled his ancient Zippo and cigarettes out of the chest pocket of his shirt to calm his nerves. Jack immediately snatched the lighter out of his hand.

"You will not bring a lighter to the mines" said Jack

"Okay, sorry amigo" said Juan

"Make sure you remember that or we all could die" said Jack

"I got it, just get off my back, I'm learning" said Juan

"Make sure you set the timer to 30 minutes, don't mess that up because if you take the timer out the C18 will explode your ass all over the wall" warned Jack

"Why can't we take the timer out of the C18" asked Juan

"Because we are using old military timers and they are made so that the Covenant can't take out the timers after we arm them" said Jack "make sure you take a few inches off the slab before you insert the timer. This slab is a little bigger than we need for this job. If you cut after you insert the timer it will explode, I'll talk you through it."

"I don't think I should do it" said Juan

"Come on, if you want this job it's 90 percent explosives and this is the simplest one, you can do it" said Jack

"Okay" said Juan

Juan inserted the timer

"I told you to cut a few inches off!" yelled Jack

"Crap" said Juan

"Well this bomb will be a bit bigger than we need but, who cares we have tons of this stuff" said Jack

"Thirty is tres right" Juan questioned

"I don't speak Spanish, I thought you knew that" said Jack

"Your right I do" Juan reassured himself

Juan hit three, zero, zero on the timers face plate. As Jack realized what Juan had done his eyes grew as big a golf balls.

Over 50 vertical miles from Jack and Juan a UNSC Monitoring Satellite is in high orbit over the planet. A low level radar operator saw something on the radio that all human kind feared.

"Sarge you might want to see this" said Vic

The sergeant on the satellite walked over to Vic's station

"This better be good private" said Sarge

"Sir I have found Slipspace silhouettes that exactly match Covenant destroyers, Sir" reported Vic

"Are you sure the equipment isn't malfunctioning" asked Sarge

"I don't want to believe this anymore than you do, Sir" said Vic

Sarge walked back to the bridge of the vessel of the Satellite and started to give orders

"We have a code Red, Yes you heard me, Covenant forces are converging on us. Alert High Com, initiate the Cole Protocol, wipe and incinerate all navigational hard drives. I want this done five minutes ago. Move it ladies!"

"Oh Crap" said Jack "Let's get moving Juan we have 3 miles to run and only 3 minutes to do it in"

Juan and Jack ran faster than they ever had in their lives. Narrowly edging thousand foot chasms and low ceilings at top speed as they put distance between them and the bomb. They ran for one minute and they were only ½ a mile from the soon to be explosion.

"We aren't going fast enough" said Jack

"What the hell are we going to do about it" said Juan

They ran past a Titanium Transport Train that happened to have 2000 cars attached to the rear of it.

"Wait stop, whats that" panted Juan as he pointed to the car

"Get in" Jack panted back

Juan and Jack jumped into the car Jack (who was in the drivers seat) stared blankly at the control console.

"I don't know what to do" said Jack

"Just hit buttons, if you're wrong we die anyway" said Juan

Jack started hitting random buttons until he pushed a large lever foreword. The large lever appeared to be the accelerator. Unfortunately the car moved foreword at an antagonizing slow pace.

"We need to dump the Ti" said Juan

Jack continued to hit random buttons until he hit a red one that disconnected the cars from the train. Just as the cars disconnected from the train the train sped from 10 MPH to 300 MPH because of the colossal amount of weight that was lost and the force that remained constant. Juan and Jack were flattened to their seats as the g forces tore at their consciousness.

Normally an average human can maintain consciousness at speeds well over 300 miles per hour but these two individuals were breathing recycled air and the fans are not working to well this week.

After 10 seconds of this torment Juan blacked out and darkness was eating the corners of Jacks vision. Jack knew he had to stay awake to somehow stop the train. As he mentally fought for his conciseness he saw the tunnel they were speeding down dead-end in the distance.

"We need to stop" Jack thought.

Jack pulled the acceleration lever back to stop the train but because the train relied on magnetic levitation as its source of rails this only dropped the total speed about a MPH per second. Then Jack had a sudden thought and pulled Juan's Zippo out of his pocket along with his cigarettes. Jack opened the Zippo and let all but a little of the lighter fluid drain from the antique lighter to the cigarette pack. Then he lit the lighter while holding his cupped palm in front of the flame because of the wind. Then he lit the pack and when he knew it was burning he threw it off the train. Then he worked quickly to secure both himself and Juan to their seats with the shoulder harnesses that they neglected to put on when they rushed on the train. A moment later the train stopped with an unreal suddenness only 10 feet from the tunnel wall.

The security features of mines on Jerico VII might be useful in explaining the previous events, such as why the train stopped. The mines on Jeico IV or any mine for that matter has extremely sensitive smoke detectors because of the fear that an explosion or fire will cause the mine to collapse. Therefore when a fire is detected all doors magnetically seal to prevent explosions from escaping the mine of origin. Another effect of the a fire detection is that all trains tracks reverse polarity to stop them where they are so if the mine does collapse the train will act as a support to keep the mine's tunnels open. Fortunately for Juan and Jack the door to the tram to the surface was broken that particular day and it would take approximately 10 seconds before the backup door could be activated.

Jack unbuckled Juan and himself and started to drag Juan to the door. The door started to close before Jack got there so he ran and ducked under the door. Then Jack set Juan down on the floor of the tram to the surface. They were safe until the boss found out that they had collapsed one of the most profitable mines in his possession.

Juan and Jack were not the only ones with problems in their futures. A certain general was facing similar odds. Captain de Blanc of the UNSC had the task of defending Jerico VII from attack and sending as much titanium to Reach as humanely possible. Herzog was not so worried about the second task but the first would test him in ways he would never believe. He knew that 20 Covenant destroyers were converging on Jerico VII, and it was anyone's bet that it wasn't to catch up on old times. Jerico VII possessed 23 destroyers, 1 flagship, and 5 Orbital Magnetic Acceleration Cannons (O'MACs). But any respectable general knew that this was not enough to defend a planet from the Covenant.

The UNSC's record against the Covenant would not fill any football team with pride. So far they had won zero battles against the Covenant. The humans usually could keep the Covenant at bay in the ground and with fewer soldiers than the Covenant had as well. However that is not the problem. When the Covenant took their fight to space was where the Humans always lost. Most of the time it would take four human destroyers to kill one Covenant ship and that was on good days. Needless to say Jerico VII was in for a good fight.

The army that Captain de Blanc was in charge of consisted of 50,000 soldiers. It was estimated that each Covenant destroyer contained 5000 soldiers. So for you mathematically challenged people that is 100,000 troops. De Blanc's Men are at a 1 to 2 disadvantage. Battle with the worst odds that the UNSC ever won with was 3 humans to every 4 Covenant and the UNSC just happened to have Spartan super soldiers at their sides at that battle. The Spartans were currently light years away from their little planet and there is no hope of them coming to our rescue. The bottom line of all these figures is that Captain de Blanc needs more soldiers or he will be doomed from the air and the ground.

"But all the capable men and women on this planet are in the army except for the miners" de Blanc said to himself. De Blanc paused for a moment and thought about what he had just said. Then he started typing a letter to the governor of Jerico VII about a way to get more soldiers.

On the tram to the surface Juan had regained consciousness.

"Am I dead?" said Juan

"Yes you are" said Jack

"Did I go to heaven" said Juan

"Nope sorry this is Hell" stated Jack

"I wasn't that bad was I?" questioned Juan

"Well you did kill Jack" said Jack

"This looks a lot like the elevator I took down to the mine" said Juan

"Its not" said Jack

"Why are we going up?" said Juan starting to realize "you bastard!" Juan slugged Jack on the shoulder.

"Sorry, I couldn't resist" apologized Jack.

"We're going to get fired" said Juan

"Theses no avoiding that" said Jack "I thought we would just skip the 'getting fired part' and just join the army"

"Doesn't sound like such a bad idea" commented Juan

The two friends sat in silence for the last five minutes of the journey to the surface. When they got to the surface they emerged in a prefabricated concrete room that was the shower room. Both Jack and Juan took showers and changed into their street cloths and shoes. The style of clothing was not particularly advanced on Jerico VII most people wore the same sturdy work cloths to casual events that they wore to work. Jack wore pair of jeans and a Marines hoodie because if you wanted any cheap cloths on Jerico VII they had to be military. Juan wore an old pair of torn jeans and a camo jacket. Together they walked to Jack's Puma. The Puma was exactly like the Military Warthog in every way but the M41 LAAG Anti-Aircraft gun was gone in place of a pick-up truck bed. Currently the pick up bed held a few random soda cans and the sandbags and chains that he used for traction in the winter. (The Puma is a civilian class vehicle and does not have off road tires)

Jack hopped in the driver's seat and Juan in the passenger's seat. Jack pulled his starting chip out of his pocket, inserted it into the steering column, and started the engine. The Puma purred to life with out a complaint. Jack drove out the parking lot and started to his apartment, lost in the rock that blared out of his speakers. After 10 minutes on the main street he turned off to his apartment complex. There he parked his car in the garage and shut down the engine. Jack and Juan climbed two flights of steps to his apartment. Jack put his finger on the bio-scan pad and the pad turned green allowing them to enter

If any respectable interior designer walked into Jacks apartment she would promptly have a heart attack and die. It was a shabby apartment with one bedroom one bath and a small kitchenette. The room that the door led into there was a living room of sorts. It was furnished with a worn couch that Juan had been sleeping on for the last few months, end tables and a coffee table that were made of empty plastic milk cartons in assorted colors. Sitting on the coffee table were three half-drunk beer cans and a projector that was currently projecting the Comedy Channel on the only clean white wall in the apartment. The projector had a few pixels out which resulted in small black squares in random places on the screen.

"Juan I'm going to get some sleep, g'night" said Jack

"See ya" said Juan

Jack walked to his bedroom which consisted of a mattress sitting on the ground and an old alarm clock sitting next to it. Jack unplugged the alarm clock and dropped on to his bed fully clothed. He was so tired from running away from the explosion that as soon as his head hit his pillow he was sleeping.