Disclaimer: I do not own Battle: Los Angeles and I most probably never will.

AN: So, this is it my peeps! The first chapter of the OC story, THE ART OF WAR! It is now a collab with the beautiful, amazing DanaIsis! So, if you've seen our other stories (IF NOT GO READ THEM AFTER THIS), then you'll know I have never written anything quite like this before. It is as new to me as a computer would be to a T-Rex. So I hope I don't disappoint you. I'm sorta nervous… Well, here goes nothing!

Chapter 1: The Day The World Went Away

By: New-Classic22

Smoke and dust filled the hot air, so much so that it was making it hard to see past the end of her nose. Somewhere far away she heard an explosion, as another one of their Helos was shot down. Elena Santos made an effort to keep the image of her burning comrades out of her mind. The only survivor. She thought to herself as she whisked around, moving her head from side to side with every step. How the hell can I be the only fucking survivor! Domino had more protection on than me! I know, God had mercy on them. He took them away before they could endure any more pain. Obviously he's got it in for me! She turned herself around so that she was walking sideways with her back against the concrete wall of the building beside her. As she looked around she saw deserted cars, some overturned, and worst of all, more bodies. Bodies of women, children, and men, just scattered across the ground like poppy seeds. She looked across the road to see a woman lying on the ground and underneath her was a baby boy, his hands still wrapped in his mother's shirt. Santos stopped for a moment and took in the sad sight. She let out a small sigh.

Suddenly, she heard movement. She crouched down and raised her M16 to her eye, and switched off the safety that she had turned on during the silence. She didn't move. Trying to hear where the noise was coming from. She heard a rock slide to her right and turned as fast as she could. Between her and the noise was a line of cars, making it impossible to see what the noise was. She saw a flicker of green flash out from behind the car and immediately fired. As soon as she did they fired back, probably about eight of them. She dove behind an overturned station wagon, and leant against it, breathing heavily. Suddenly the fire stopped. She realized that they were both shooting blind. She stayed like that for about two minutes before she cautiously reached for a small piece of concrete that was lying by her feet. She picked up the palm sized piece and threw it out into the open. It made a loud skidding sound and she waited for the guns to begin firing. They did not. All of a sudden, she heard the distinct sound of a rifle being cocked. This confused her. Aren't their weapons like, highly superior to ours? Why would it have to cock a rifle?

She thought about what she heard harder, and then decided to take one of the biggest risks she thought she would ever take. Slowly, she took off the helmet she had been wearing so her long brown hair could be seen, and raised her hands above her head. God, If I die doing this, I swear to mother you're gonna get an earful when I get there! She then rose from her crouching position on the ground so the she was standing up straight. She heard guns being hurriedly cocked and squeezed her eyes, waiting for the buzzing of bullets that would end her life.

"HOLD YOUR FIRE!" A stern voice yelled, and Elena slowly opened her eyes to see a group of Marines running her way, crouching with their heads down. As they rounded the station wagon, she turned around and leant back against the underside of the car. She let out a breath as they joined her. A few of them sat down but the oldest, biggest man squatted down, resting on his haunches. He had shaved brown hair, dark green eyes and a deep scar on the left side of his face. She put the helmet back on her head and fastened the strap.

"Wow, am I glad to see you!" She said with a tired smirk on her face. The rest of the platoon nodded, and smiled at her before some of them turned so that they could guard the team as they took a minor rest.

"I'm Officer Xavier Scott. Call me Six," said one of the youngest looking of the group. He had a blonde crew-cut, dark blue-grey eyes and a cheeky grin. She also saw that he had a bandage wrapped around his left thigh that had a crimson patch in the middle of it. He saw her looking. "Don't worry, I ran into a juttin' out piece of concrete and it cut my leg. It's just a scratch!" she smiled and he smiled back, his eyes sparkling. She shook his gloved hand, turned her head to the man seated next to him and beside her.

"Gunnery Sergeant Logan McCullers—I go by Charge," he said, shaking her hand. His hair was a slightly longer chocolate brown, matted to his tanned face with sweat, and dark blue eyes. His tall build made her look like a rabbit compared to him, and that was strange for her since she was never the smallest of a group before. She smiled at him and he returned it. She looked to her other side and smiled at the young man kneeling there.

"My name's Corporal David Thomas Trippett. Please call me Tripp. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance," he said in a thick English accent. Elena was slightly surprised, but still shook his hand. His brown hair was cut extremely short, and his eyes were an emerald green. The rest of the team sounded off their name, and finally Santos turned back to the large man, still sitting on his haunches.

"Major Nick Ambrose. Don't ask how I got my scar 'cause it would not be pretty. We're the 40th ID, minus some, plus English marine, marine, and other," he said in his deep voice, pointing at Tripp, then Charge, and then Santos. A laugh circulated through the small group. "What do you go by?" Santos watched as all attention was turned to her. They all had sweat and dirt plastered on their faces, and she suddenly realized that she probably looked the same. Charge had soot all over him, making his pale skin look like a spotted Dalmatian, and Tripp had a graze down his shoulder like he had just slid on his arm. She looked around at the group.

"Technical Sergeant Elena Santos, Air Force, 61st wing, Intel & Surveillance, Re-Con Division," she said. They all gave her quizzical looks before she explained. "Our Helo was blown out of the sky about twenty minutes ago. I was the only one that got out alive." She looked at the ground sadly for a moment, but then continued, ignoring the sympathetic looks the team were giving her. "We were tracking enemy transmissions when they ambushed us, like they knew our freakin' address," She finished, more mad than sad at this point. Tripp patted her shoulder.

Out of nowhere, they heard a series of gunshots coming from around the corner, about three hundred meters away. The troop shot up, as well as Santos, grabbing their weapons and pulling them to their eyes. They heard people yelling as more shots were fired.

The Major took his right hand and made the forward gesture, telling them to move back around to the other side of the car, the side away from the chaos. They nodded and did as they were instructed. As they made their way around the car, Elena was set to go out behind the youngest soldier, one whose name she had learned was Robert "Tank" McGrew. As he scuttled out around the car, he dropped his two way radio. It slid a little way out, and Tank stopped to grab it. They all yelled at him to not bother but he went after it anyway. Elena looked to her right; her rifle cocked, and saw movement on a nearby roof.

"Tank Move!" she yelled right as a round of ammo was blown in their direction. She ran out and pushed him behind the car beside them, on the other side of the road.

"Where the hell did that even come from?" hollered Charge, pointing his gun all around them. They were all looking around like Meer cats, with their guns raised, shooting in every direction.

"Santos, Tank! Are you alright?" Tripp bellowed whilst firing at a nearby post box.

"We're Fine! THEY'RE UP ON THE ROOF!" Santos shouted. The entire unit turned their attention to the roofs of the buildings beside them. They all saw the movement at the same time, on the building to their left. The moment the first of their shot were fired, they were mowed with these flaming bullets, the same kind that had flown at Tank and were forced to hide behind the cars, popping up and firing before diving back under cover. As Santos popped back down, she heard a loud groan from behind her. She turned and saw that Tank had yet to rise from the ground. She suddenly had a horrible revelation, and grabbed his shoulder, turning him over. His face was fine, although covered with dirt. He was fine until you saw his chest.

A giant burning hole was blown right into the right side of his chest - like a giant crater. She gasped and called over to the others.

"Tank's been hit!" many cries were heard from the other car, but the bullets were preventing them from getting over to her. She looked down again at the hole and felt as though she was about to be sick. She had seen people burning, head wounds so bad that their brains were leaking out, she had seen a Helo be crumpled into a ball and then explode in a fiery mess whilst her friends and team mates had been inside, yet she had never felt like she was going to hurl up her breakfast like she was at this moment, watching over a bullet wound that was literally burning away at the boys flesh like acid. As fast as the assault began, it stopped. Everything was suddenly silent. After about thirty seconds, Charge scuttled over to the car that Santos was pressed against.

"Do you know anything about first aid?" Santos asked, leaning over to him. He nodded his head quickly and pulled a kit from his bag. He grabbed a bottle of water and gently poured it onto Tanks chest. Tank screamed, and started flailing his arms and legs around. Santos grabbed his arms and pinned him to the ground, and Tripp did the same to his legs. Charge grabbed a patch from the kit and pressed it to the wound, and it immediately became a sickening blood red, mixed with a slight off yellow color. He took it off and replaced it pressing it down tightly, but the wound didn't stop bleeding, he repeated this several times, each time the same as the last. Then, his body went limp; he stopped flailing, and his eyes got a distant look in them. Charge began trying to do CPR on him, but no matter how many times he did it, it wouldn't work. Tripp gently took his shoulders and pried him away from the deceased marine, a few tears finding their way down his face. Santos gave him a sympathetic look and slowly closed Tank's eyes.

"We have to go," said the Major, standing guard with his back to them. Charge rose to his feet, anger boiling in his veins. As he stormed over to the Major, he turned around. Charge fronted up to the Major.

"We can't just LEAVE him here!" he practically shouted in his face. They all turned to him.

"We have to! Now stand down marine," the Major shouted back. Charge put his head down and took a step back. The major nodded. "Look, I don't like this either, but we only have two options: take him with us, slow us down and make us an easy target, or leave him here, and get away as safely and efficiently as possible. Does everyone understand?" He said, speaking to the entire unit of soldiers. They all nodded and a mumbled "Yes Sir" came from a few of them.

"Alright, now it's time to move," He said, leading the team away from their young colleague. They quickly returned to formation, with Santos standing at the back. They listened for any signs of the alien attackers returning, but heard none. As they neared the corner, they heard shouting coming from a nearby house. They all ran to the corner, Six and the Major slowly showed themselves. A loud whistle was heard and they all ran to the duplex in which the other marines were positioned. As she ran inside, she noticed the bewildered looks that were being given to her.

"What's your unit?" The man with the tag that said Nantz said. Nantz, she thought for a moment. Wait, Staff Sergeant Nantz was the one who got his men killed in his last tour in Afghanistan! This is gonna be interesting. A slight smirk brushed her lips whilst she was trying to control her breathing.

"40th ID," answered one of the older men.

"Where's the rest of your unit?" Asked the Latino man that appeared in charge, who she later found out was named Martinez.

"Everyone else is either dead or missing. I picked up airforce here!" he managed to say in between huffs of breath. He gestured towards Santos when he spoke about her.

"Tech Sergeant Elena Santos, Air Force, 61st Wing, Intel Surveillance, Re-Con Division," When she spoke she found that she was rather short of breathe herself.

He asked what the hell she was doing out here, and she explained with the same little speech she had given the rest of the unit beforehand. Nantz asked if she was ready to use her weapon and she had to fight to suppress a laugh.

"With all due respect staff sergeant, I didn't get this far off of my good looks. I'm ready for payback," She said looking directly into his eyes, feeling her heart race at the thoughts of killing the bastard who took out her team. Oh God! She thought. Did Hayley get out? Hayley Santos is Santos's little sister, who goes to the high school in town. Santos took a second to think of the positive. Of course she got out. The school would have evacuated them first. She nodded quietly to herself as the now connected platoon made their way out of the house, apparently towards a police station. When they got there, she was told that when the bird arrived she would need to help their insertion. She nodded her head in understanding as she stooped down between Tripp and Six.

"When do you think the bird is gonna land?" She asked, resting her hands on each of their shoulders.

"Soon I hope!" Six said, the look of brightness quickly fading from his face.

"You know, if I get to tell anyone back in Peterborough that I was huddled in a police station during my R&R, hiding and protecting civilians against Extra Terrestrials they are all gonna think I've gone round the bend," Tripp said, to no-one in particular. Santos, Six and Charge who had seated himself next to them had just had to laugh. Tripp joined in to and soon enough the whole group seated outside where laughing along with them. We have begun the descent into madness. Hey, It's better than hell!

The Asian male from the other team, pulled out his radio and listened intently for a second. He shouted that the bird was on its way in and they all immediately silenced. Santos and Tripp jumped up, along with the Major and a few others whose names she had not yet found out. One of them took a smoke bomb out of his vest and pegged it into the middle of the parking lot, marking the place for the Chopper to land. They all saw the bird land and started helping the injured marines inside. After Santos had helped carry the man with the burns to his face to the chopper, she ran back towards the station. Her back was turned to the bird as it took off, but she turned when she heard a loud whistling sound.

Just as she turned she saw a flaming rocket fly towards the Helo. As it connected, she shielded her eyes. Scrap metal flew every which way, and the shockwave was so powerful that it bowled her and a few others that were still too close straight over. As she rose from the ground she saw the entire machine was up in flames. When it was about to fall to earth she figured that she would be in exactly the position of the blade when it landed. She scrambled to her feet and made a run for cover. She dived back under the awning of the Police Station just in time, being pulled in by Charge as she dove. She was right; the propeller had hit squarely where she had been lying. She took a gasping breath and Charge and Tripp patted her on the back.

Santos took charge and led the civilians, along with Tripp, the Major, and Six back into the police station, and into a room near the back of the building. She saw a body and asked for the boys to move it that the kids wouldn't have to see it. When she was crouched down, guarding the window she vaguely heard thumping coming from behind her. She swung around and looked back. All that was behind her was a doorway that she suspected led to the holding cells. Tripp and Six ran back in, again with their rifles cocked.

"Wh… What is that?" asked one of the civilians by the name of Michelle. Santos shook her head in an effort to tell them to be quiet as she slowly shifted over to the door. Tripp flanked her as Six took up her prier position guarding the window, taking out of his pocket a Harmonica, and started playing a happy tune to cheer up the kids. Santos rolled her eyes and Tripp snorted, before again becoming serious and making their way down the dark corridor. She heard the banging again coming from the far end of the hallway. They tried every door handle until they reached the end, but they were all locked. The last one Tripp tried, however, was not. He slowly twisted the handle clockwise and swung the door open all the way.

Inside, like Santos had suspected, was a room filled with holding cells. Tripp gestured for Santos to take the right side and him to take the left. As she rounded the corner, a medium sized stone hurtled towards her head. She dove back around the corner and landed with a grunt. Tripp came running from the other side of the room and helped her up. He cocked his rifle and was about to swing around the corner when Santos put her hand on it and told him to lower it. She dropped her gun and walked around the corner.

"What the hell are you…?" He started as she moved, before she grabbed his arm and pulled him around to.

"US Air Force!" Santos shouted down the row of cells. She looked at him expectantly and nodded. He rolled his eyes.

"Fine. British Royal Marines," he said. They heard the sound of a rock being dropped and Santos smiled.

"I'm back here! For Christ's sake let me out!" A female voice yelled from down the row. Santos ran to where she was and looked inside. Taupe colored fingers were white knuckled as they gripped around the metal bars. The owner was a girl who looked to be no more than nineteen years of age Her long, wavy black hair covered her face and her brown almond shaped eyes looked warily—a mix of both fear and anxiety. The white ribbed tank top that read: PINK! had a few speck of dirt on it, her distressed shorts in the similar fashion as her yellow and white polka dotted bikini peeked through the fabric. Her cowboy boot clad feet brought her to a stand from the crouched up position she was in a few seconds ago. Santos and Tripp smiled at her and she smiled back. Tripp got to work on opening the door—it was jammed, and Santos searched across the room for anyone else. Not seeing anyone else she quickly returned to Tripp and started to help him. They finally managed to get the door off of its hinges and pull it away. The girl ran out and hugged both Santos and Tripp.

"Thank you so much! I thought I was gonna die in that cell! I'm Ariel, Ariel Ines Mrazo. I was coming home from the beach this morning and was arrested for speeding. My friend Maddy was supposed to pick me up, but then I started hearing shooting and explosions and crashing noises! Oh god! I'm pretty sure that's the first time I've had a panic attack!" she went on as they led her out of the room, to the other civilians. "I'm sorry I ramble when I'm nervous."

"Hey, at least you don't have to pay the ticket now!" Tripp said, trying to lighten the mood. Ariel laughed and nodded. Santos rolled her eyes and retook her position by the window. The smoke in the room was beginning to be overpowering, and the medic came in to check the children and the civilians, and Ariel sat down beside the young boy.

"Hey. What's your name?" she asked, leaning in close to him.

"I'm Hector. You?" he replied in a quiet voice. Ariel smiled and she struck up a conversation with him and one of the children, Kirsten. Santos smiled slightly, before more thoughts of her little sister popped into her mind. God, If I had one more chance to see her, She thought. I would have made sure to have told her I love her. I don't remember the last time I told her somethin' sappy like that! Without her noticing, Tripp and Charge had taken places beside her. Tripp wrapped his arm around her shoulder and she gave them both a weak smile. She noticed the way Charge was looking at Ariel, and gave a little sigh.

"Better make the most of your rest, soldiers! We'll have to move soon." They heard Martinez yell from somewhere down the hall. An audible groan was heard throughout the station. Of course we will! She thought. 'Cause isn't that chapter 9 in The Art of War? Man, I wish I'd read that book!

Hi! So I hope you like this chapter!

It took me a while but I totally enjoyed writing it! I hope you like what I did with your characters! And yes, I know that some of them were not used, but we will get around to them in either the next chapter or the one after that!

Now, Let me tell ya'll how this is gonna work. I am gonna write every uneven numbered chapter (1, 3, 5 and so on) and the fantabulous DanaIsis is gonna write every even chapter (2, 4, 6 and so on). DanaIsis is gonna BETA all of mine, and if she wants I will for hers to! Does everyone understand? Great!

PS: DanaIsis, I am so super duper sorry about the mix up. You know what I am talkin' about! When I originally posted it was like 1am and I was to lazy to proof read. I must have clicked the wrong file when I uploaded it. I'm a moron. :(