REWRITE COMMENCED: 15/06/2013
REWRITE POSTED ON: 14/07/2013
A/N: You know that rewrite I have been promising? Well now it's here. This is a treat for those who've put up with the first few chapters to get to the good stuff. It's high time I've gotten all the chapters up to the same calibre as my more recent ones.
I'm also doing a tech change. This is also the Chief's chapter. Next Chapter will have Shepard's time to shine.
The Precursors had defied the Reapers. In their infinite wisdom, the Precursors had surpassed the ancient machines. With their purpose under threat, The Reapers receded, gone into the darkness that lay between galaxies. But there was one thing the flawed machines could never understand, something beyond their comprehension. They could only see in black and white, right and wrong, they were incapable of seeing an alternative, a third path.
So devoted to their beliefs that life would be crushed under machines, the Reapers sought to preserve through stagnation and destruction. Never could the Reapers imagine, never could they understand that the created did not need to be machine to surpass its creator.
Even after the fall of the Precursors, and galactic extinction at the hands of the Forerunners, the Reapers still failed to understand. Arrogance was not limited to biological life, but to sentient existence.
Within Gaia's flesh, an ancient and harrowing legacy will be revealed.
"Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood – Personal Journal
March 7, 2553
The war is over, it's finally over. Words cannot convey how relieved I am that it has finally passed. But it has come at such a high cost. Billions of humans dead and hundreds of our colonies burning, and amongst them are some of our greatest heroes.
Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 is missing in action, presumed dead alongside with the AI Cortana. Posthumously, we've promoted him to the rank of Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy. Under the circumstances, it's the best that we can do.
Now we must rebuild what we have left, restart commerce and pray that we won't have to face another crisis of the magnitude. Too many friendly faces have been lost, never will I see them again.
We've lost so much, but scars like these will never fade. They will heal, close over and become a part of who we are, but they will never be forgotten. The war is finally over.
September 18, 2553
The Sangheili are fighting the remanent of the Covenant. We are doing our best to supply them and keep them in the fight, but without vital information on their ships, we are at a lost on how to repair them. I can only hope that if this is a war of attrition, the Elites will prevail.
Alongside the Separatists, we have formed a Coalition in order to meet future threats together.
Our expeditionary forces have located more and more Forerunner Archives filled with information. Our scientists and scholars are doing whatever they can to piece together this enigmatic and powerful race. I've been told by some of our leading scientists that from what it seem the Forerunners had left behind their creations for us.
There is much locked away in the sea of information, and it will be only a matter of time before we learn them all. Additional funding has been allocated towards overhauling our military. Scientists are looking into ways of producing smaller, cheaper and more efficient direct-energy weapons.
January 5, 2554
The fight against the Insurrectionists has restarted. ONISAD Teams are fighting bushfire wars against the rebel cells. Reports have also confirmed that the Insurrectionists have enlisted the help of Secessionists. We don't have the resources to fight them all at the same time, and they know it.
ONI officials have told me that Operations are expanding towards former colonies. I can only imagine the hell our people are going through. I know for a fact that decimated terrain is unforgiving and horrible to fight in.
For the sake of the people, we've done our best to keep it all off radar. Everyone's been scared enough. The chaps in ONISAD know what they signed up for; I just wish that what they're going through is not more than what they can handle.
I'm starting to see too many Intelligence Officers visiting the psych clinics.
March 18, 2555
I'll just say it, something is rotten in ONI. Admiral Margaret Orlenda Parangosky has recently passed away… that's something I cannot accept. She's not that much older than me. I may not like the woman, but they said she died in her sleep, on the night she had a meeting with ONI Admins.
The UNSC still has a hold on emergency powers, thus we still are in control of everything. But that's giving the Insurrectionists more clout, and I'm also not liking what ONI is undergoing right now. The Head of the Intelligence Organisation is now Admiral Serin Osman (whom I gather is a washed out Spartan-II candidate).
Everything Dr Halsey has done for us has now been twisted by the media. These are unconfirmed rumours, but they've gained enough momentum for it to be a threat to the stability of humanity. Maybe I've been out of the loop or out of touch with a lot of things, but these rumours have been circulating for quite some time now.
I fear ONI is trying to initiate a takeover by starting the rumours. Under Directive 251RCC, I am relinquishing emergency powers and turning ONI into a mixed military and civilian organisation.
I wish Lieutenant Colonel Doctor Essingdon Keyes was promoted to Head of ONI. The boy has far more skill and talent than any other Deputy Chiefs.
October 14, 2555
I have received word from the Arbiter that the war against the Brutes is not going so well. They have taken heavy losses. I have told him that I will send aid as soon as possible. But the Arbiter has said not to rush, for three decades of warfare has driven Humanity to the brink of destruction.
I wish the Elites all of the best.
December 4, 2557
It's been a long tough year; I haven't had much time to write. But it's a mix of good news and bad. The UNSC Infinity had been commissioned this year. She is an impressive ship and the pride of our Navy. Her official mission will be to explore uncharted areas and located Forerunner Artefacts, her unofficial mission is to find and neutralise all Elites that pose a threat to the Arbiter, whilst finding and aiding in the decommissioning of the Halo Rings.
Despite a few unforeseen incidents, the ship has performed admirably. And on top of that, they have recovered MCPON John-117.
That was the good news of the year. And now the bad.
We are at war with a Forerunner splinter group… as if we didn't have enough on our hands already. And to make matters worse, Doctor Catherine Halsey has defected to the Covenant Remnant. Hell, I didn't even know she was alive until Captain Lasky had briefed me. (I prefer Lasky over Del Rio; the man knows how to lead and respects the Spartans).
I went to Keyes to talk about his mother, and I had wondered if he knew she was still alive. When I saw him, he was livid. His work colleagues had told me that he was practically screaming for Palmer's head on a pike. But as quickly as his temper flared, it all disappeared under a mask.
He's planning something. Just as brilliant as his mother and a master tactician like his father. The boy is working himself to death.
January 22, 2560
We have more Forerunner Archives located deep within shield worlds and Micro Dyson Spheres, in them, we have learnt more efficient ways of slipspace travel, the science behind Beam Weapons, Forerunner Dreadnoughts, Forerunner power cells, Forerunner History and so much more. We have just made the greatest technological leap in all of mankind.
I have read through some of the Archives, I can't believe the history that is filled in these Archives. Apparently, prehistoric humanity was space faring, and equivalent in power to the Forerunners, unbelievable. It also saddens me to discover that humanity was devolved after their defeat in the Human-Forerunner War.
It is also revealed within the Archives that there are more alien species out there than expected. What came to my attention are unisex species such as the Asari, and another, the Prothean, it stated that they are extremely intelligent and capable of transferring complex concepts through mere touch; it is quite possible that they are the ones who rose to power after the disappearance of the Forerunners.
According to the Archives, the Protheans are or were a noble, mantle like race, just like the Forerunners. However I couldn't speculate much since the Archives had ceased to update since reseeding the galaxy was completed. But now, since our "return" to the Archives, did it start to collect more information.
A sidenote is that we've discovered something that the Archive's refer to as Dark Energy Manipulation. Basically, it is live hosts controlling dark energy through movements of their bodies. I don't know what this means for our military. Our scientists haven't done much research into this specific field, and we're not too sure where to begin. The archive's fails to mention anything more.
Our scientists have already begun research into combining hardlight and ion weaponry for mass production. With the aid of the additional information cache, estimates have placed total military overhaul at five years.
December 25, 2562
This is something our scientists have been working on for a very long time, but with the aid of LTCOL Doctor Essingdon Keyes we have finally done it. With the use of bio-nanites and positronic brain lattice implants, we are now able to increase the physical capabilities of the average human and annul all elements that cause ageing. In short… we have achieved eternal youth.
However, this is something that cannot be passed down from parent to offspring. Recommended age to undertake these implants is 35 and above.
We've also begun further research into improving powered exoskeletons for our regular infantryman as well as beginning the development of cheap-reusable energy shield generators. On another note, combat research has concluded that due to constraints, MGs, cannons and assault rifles should be upgraded to DEW tech. Pistols, SMGs and sniper rifles will be restricted to regular projectiles for concealment purposes.
January 1, 2565
Under Directive-2239DF, the UNSC High Command and the UEG Council has approved the mass recruitment/training of Spartan-IVs. The SPARTAN Branch will still remain as is because of its expeditionary nature. I can hope that this curbs some of the bravado that other branches find off-putting.
Units affected by this directive are the 1st Airborne Division, selected members of the 105th Dropjet Division, ONISAD Special Operations Group
March 5, 2567
Sangheilos has fallen. There's no easier way to put it. Out of nowhere, the Covenant has resurfaced with a new addition to their ranks, the Yahg. They are equally aggressive and large as the Brute. We cannot stand and fight them. We'll have to run. Plans have already been made to relocate to the Halo Rings and the rebuilt Arks. Yes, plural. The irony of it all has been lost on many of us, but not me. I guess that says a lot about me.
I wonder what my wife would think, I wish she was still with me. Wherever she is, I hope she doesn't have to see this.
The Coalition-Covenant War has begun.
February 7, 2568
Earth is on the brink of destruction; our combined navies are down to 35% combat effective. 8% reduction from last year. The surprise attack had wiped out most of our non-developed navy.
The UEG and I believe that we should enact a Hammer-Down protocol, and I agree with them fully.
Nuclear weapons have been detonated all over Earth in order to halt the Brute-Yahg advance. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
I have also enacted emergency protocols. Due to the extreme losses we are undertaking, all Special Force E-7 ranks and higher will be promoted to CO of accordance.
Elites and ONISAD have also managed to pinpoint Yahg and Brute colonies. I have ordered Nova Warhead Missiles to be fired at them, this could be considered a War crime, but this is humanity's darkest hour. Slipspace capabilities further increase the devastating effects these weapons have. I can only imagine so many colonies going up in flames.
But it's something that must be done if we're to survive.
Hammer-Down Protocols have been enacted; it is our last resort for contingency plans. Despite having pinpointed our enemy's homeworlds, we cannot guarantee that our weapons will wipe them all out."
-Extracts from the Personal Journal of (UNSC Navy) Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood
EARTH, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
This war, it had gone on for too long. Too damn long. He had hoped that he had done his part and that peace was achieved. But they were wrong, they were all wrong. Just when everything simmered down, there would always be something to disrupt the calm. Humanity's increasingly delicate and fragile order of conflicting interests never allowed a peaceful decade to go by. Simply expanding into the stars didn't change the cycle of human life. It just made it more insanely elaborate.
Sure the introduction of cold-fusion had alleviated a large number of problems, but in their stead worse ones took their place. To simply believe an extremely-varied specie to live peacefully in their space-faring stage was just too much to hope for. True individualism and false individualism all conflicted with one another. And when humanity's test came, it was almost too much to bear.
Though debatable whether man's own self-conflicted nature aided him against the fight against the Covenant, there was no denying that it was more than just a thorn in the side.
The Theocracy of a Conglomerate of Aliens was no different either. They mirrored humanity that it was uncanny. They possessed man's brutal nature, his brilliant mind, his ambitious greed and his heart.
When man fought the Covenant, he was fighting against himself, his own ideology that once existed so many centuries ago.
These were the thoughts of Commander John-117 as he reflected on how far humanity had come, just to end up like this all over again. The Covenant was back and in greater numbers too. Hundreds if not thousands of planets were irreversibly damaged just to breed the Loyalist species back to overwhelming numbers.
The Coalition had been caught off guard, and in just a matter of a few weeks, so many colonies were overran by the horde.
Earth, Earth was all that was left. Reach had fallen, but instead of being burned to ash and glass, her lands were trampled and flattened.
"John?" Kelly placed a gauntleted hand on his shoulder, "it's time to go."
He looked up into her warm brown eyes; thoughts interrupted, and gave a nod. She turned to slide on her helmet, the air seals hissing shut. John used the rung to his left and pulled himself up from the crate he was sitting on, and eased his helmet over his head.
John walked to the door and pushed it open gently, the soil beneath his boots gave way as he walked across the uncovered floor of the bunker. The dark damp cave carve-out served as an outpost for the wounded to be dropped off at. He felt that there was a certain irony being dragged into the ground and waiting for an unknown fate.
Anybody who could still hold a gun and aim were still on the frontlines. The ones that lay in the dirt or on stretchers were torn up beyond recognitions. Most of the blunt trauma and bleeding injuries were caused by berserking Brutes who loved to get in close to use their blades and fangs.
"Linda and Fred are outside," Kelly said.
John checked his HUD. He had incoming orders and flicked his status to accept them.
"C-Two wants us to support the defence on Mount Sam Enterprises Tower," the Chief said, "we'll be able to cover the evacuation from there."
Despite being a Commander, the term "Chief" had stuck. Personally, John didn't mind. He knew the importance of morale and did whatever he could to boost it – within reason of course.
He moved outside of the bunker and took cover behind a large boulder. All the trees on this hillside had been stripped bare, only ash and charcoal remained. Down in the harbour below, was the cacophony of war. Multi-role attack fighters screamed overhead and readjusted their attack vectors for a gun run.
"Objective is four klicks north of our position," John said, updating the team's battlenet. "We evict the Covies, and evac will have less to worry about."
"Let's do this."
Blue Team began their approach by leap-frogging downhill. Bits of glass and burnt branches were crushed beneath the heels of their boots as they dashed from cover to cover. Even with the full support of all available assets, the occasional Banshee sortie managed to break through and wreak hell before it was shot down.
Turning his gaze skyward, the Spartan could see the Banshees inbound on an attack run, and the huge backdrop of Campton hovering over the Sydney Harbour. The ship's point-defence guns were blazing, lighting up the moonless night sky as the crew worked overtime to provide desperately needed fire support.
"Incoming Banshee! Target two hundred metres north west, high!" Fred gestured.
"I got it!" Linda breathed coolly.
She gently pivoted her rifle and spun the barrel to bear. At the squeeze of the trigger, she let fly the feared Raufoss round. The bullet drilled into the hull, detonated in a fiery ball of zinchromium thermite expelled the tungsten dart into the pilot. The Banshee careened to the left, smoke coughing out of the ragged hole torn into its side.
"Chief," it was Cortana over the COM, the AI was deployed on the UNSC Campton, an Infinity Class Cruiser. "You've got multiple hostiles converging towards Outpost Echo-Two. Hunter-Two-Four has been rerouted to secondary. Command needs you to pick up the ball on this."
"Copy," John replied, "egressing to secondary."
Blue team made their way down the hillside, and encroached upon the hillside mansions that overlooked the Darling Harbour. What was once as renounced as a place of symphonic art, commerce and life, was now a cacophony of war and death.
Stray rounds streaked through the air, leaving a colourful trail in their wake. Cannons echoed in the distance, their rounds drilling through the tower buildings, and aircrafts soared through skies filled with savage energy. Despite being physically frailer than most of the Covenant species, humanity had always dominated ground warfare.
The conglomerate theology had become lethargic and complacent, relying heavily on orbital support for long-range work. Covenant ground-forces always loved a close-quarter fight. But here, on Earth, they'd have to walk to get there. UNSC combat doctrine had a preference to long-range engagements. The Covenant may have the punch, but the UNSC had the reach. With the help of the Sangheili Navy, the UNSC Naval Assets could hold their own in space.
"I've got hostiles on sensor," Kelly said.
"Move to engage," John ordered.
Blue team activated their optical camo, disappearing from sight and sensors. A Covenant Lance was advancing down a boulevard overlooking a small harbour filled with gutted yahts. Blue team moved into an L-shaped ambushing position and waited until all targets were within visual sight.
"Weapons free," John whispered over TEAMCOM.
Covenant soldiers fell without warning, and without a sound. Nothing was more detrimental to morale than watching a comrade fall silently, with only smouldering wounds and smoke curling up from melted armour. Grunts cried in fear and spun on their axis. Jackals squawked and looked around with their keen eyes to spot their assailants. But there was no use.
More Covenant soldiers crumbled like stringless puppets. They didn't make a sound as their bodies hit the boulevard.
John zeroed in on the Yahg leader; he trained his sights onto the massive alien's ugly tri-shaped mouth. The alien was roaring orders to his subordinates, telling them to fan out and fire aimlessly. Ghostly green blobs and purple crystalline shards flew through the night and splashed harmlessly onto the towering walls of the Sydney streets. But none failed to hit the Spartan team.
Squeezing the trigger, the Yahg stopped moving. His eyes rolled back and listlessly fell into a heap. He didn't topple in a certain direction, and by the time he fell, the impact marks didn't give a clue to where the shooter was. The Grunts began to panic, firing wildly into the air.
Satisfied that all the hard targets were dealt with, the Spartans turned their weapons on the lighter troops. In the span of a few seconds, scores of Jackals fell and the methane tanks on the Grunts exploded. Gore and bluish blood covered the streets accompanied with scorch marks.
"We're clear," Kelly said, checking her sensors.
John cycled through another clip and slid it home in his rifle. Laser weapons were definitely a thing of beauty in his opinion. Unlike the Spartan laser, the standard issue on the Fulton & Rasch FR Superior Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) and DEW Sniper Rifles virtually made no sound and no light signature. They were literally undetectable with the laser setting.
Making another sweep with his sensors, the team was in the all clear and moved on.
"Friendlies up ahead, John," Kelly said, gesturing to a platoon of UNSC Marines.
The Chief quickly jogged over towards them, disengaged cloak, and took cover behind a concrete cinder block.
"What's the situation Lieutenant?"
"We've got an Airborne chalk pinned down just one hundred metres from us," she replied, with distinctive broad Australian accent. "We're waiting on more ground drones to support us before we move forward."
"Logistics have been shot up," Fred supplied.
John turned to the Lieutenant. Her eyes were sunken with defeat, but she was not going to down without a fight. "Hold this position, and head to evac in ten, we'll take it from here."
Waving Blue Team forward, the Chief lead them through the once majestic homes. The three-storey mansions were all shot up, windows shattered and charred; some were even covered in blood from both sides.
"Sniper!" Kelly cried, as a lance splashed onto her shields, draining it fully.
The team threw themselves to the floor and rolled behind cover, a mere half second later, an energy beam streaked through the air and grazed passed John's shields.
"Target, front right," Fred called out, "fifty metres, marking."
A red dot appeared on John's hud.
"He's got cloak," the Spartan said, noticing his armour's sensors didn't pick up a signature.
"I got him," Linda said.
She levelled her anti-material sniper rifle, zeroed in on the mark and squeezed the trigger. The Jackal immediately winked back into existence as the tungsten dart tore through his torso, ripping him into a bloodied mess. There was probably concrete mixed with the pulpy mass as well considering that Linda had used a Raufoss round.
"Target down," she said coolly.
The team moved up in a fanned out diamond formation, interlocking their field of fire as they moved from building to building. As they neared the pinned Chalk, the roar of gunfire intensified.
"They're just around the corner, fifty metres up the block," Kelly said.
John quickly formulated a plan of attack.
"Linda, provide overwatch from that rooftop," he pointed to a house with part of its roof blown off.
Her green acknowledgement light winked. The team sniper gracefully leapt across an overturned car, and used her suit's jumpjet pack to reach the elevated position. Pushing a few fallen beams and torn furniture around, Linda formed a suitable firing position which would be able to hide her signature and provide a reasonable amount of cover.
"I've got a bead on enemy targets. Engaging," she said over TEAMCOM.
John turned to his team, "let's move. Fred, hang back and cover our six."
Leap frogging their way through the sea of overturned vehicles and smouldering piles of rubble, the Chief lead his team down the road, and turned left onto a town square. The area was roughly the size of four sports stadiums, in the centre was a raging battle.
Men from the 2nd Airborne Division fired lances of cobalt blue at the enemies, keeping the horde at bay with terrifying accuracy.
"This is Spartan Blue Team," John broadcasted over a secure channel.
"This is Chalk Eight, we're pinned down by enemy forces," came the reply. It was a middle aged man; he sounded like he was at his limits, but only held together by a determined sense of duty to those under his command. The Spartan could hear the chatter of gunfire and the frantic cries of wounded men.
"Sit tight, we're approaching from the south."
The link was terminated. John panned his eyes across the square; the fire fight was so heavy and frantic that the Covenant soldiers failed to notice their own getting shot down by Linda. John caught the faint outline of the bullet wake as the round passed through smoke and bore deep into Yahg flesh.
John broke cover and sprinted along the boulevard, weapon raised. He literally ploughed through a group of Grunts. Their tanks ruptured, and their skin torn by shattered bone. Kelly and Fred followed in close behind, crushing the small aliens into pulp beneath the heel of the boots.
The Spartans squeezed the trigger, and in a matter of seconds scores of Brutes and Yahg jerked violently as their bodies were shredded and cooked by a heavy volume of cobalt energy beams.
A Brute Chieftain roared in a bloodlust raged, and raised his hammer for a charge. He had only taken four steps before his chest was turned into a mangled mess of bone and gore. John sent another silent thanks to Linda.
Taking cover behind a truck, the Spartans hosed the enemy position with accurate fire. Only then, did the Covenant know that the Spartans were there. Needler shards glanced off the metal surface off the truck, leaving a trail of luminescent violet in their wake. Spiker rounds pierced the alloy and glowed in the night, slowly dimming as they shed their heat and warped the hull.
Although Mendez had drilled it into the Spartans to take cover whenever they were shot at. John forced every fibre in his being not to bow down to instinct. He needed to put a little faith in the armour Halsey had designed for him. The dual layer shielding bore the brunt of plasma fire, flaring gold as it dissipated the savage energy.
He stuck to his gruesome task, cycling through clips whenever necessary and kept the pressure on the Covenant horde. Alongside his Spartan brothers and sisters, John managed to cut down dozens of the tri-mouthed split-lips – as the Marines called them – and scores of Grunts.
Jackals armed with energy shields rushed forward and formed a testudo like formation. It allowed them to advance on the Airborne and Spartan position.
"Strafe right," John barked, in an attempt to link up with the downed Chalk.
Kelly was the first to leave cover, drawing a heavy volume of fire. But she was fast and the shots splashed harmlessly in the trail of dust that followed her wake. Upon reaching another defensible position behind a fallen statue, did she stop and return fire.
"Flashbang out!" she cried.
Tossing the incapacitating grenade over the Covenant, Kelly ducked behind cover and waited for the quick succession of explosions. The blinding flash and deafening clap went off simultaneously. Covenant soldiers were far more sensitive to light and sound, especially the Jackals, their resistance to flashbangs were appalling by human standards.
Grunts and Jackals alike stumbled aimlessly over one another as their senses failed them. Seeing this as the prime opportunity, John and Fred tossed frags into the enemy's midst, before loading a round into their grenade launchers.
A dull thump rolled across the ground, the powerful shockwave hurled limbs and bodies across the churned grass while hypervelocity shrapnel pierced through exposed flesh. Dozens of enemy combatants went down in mere seconds. Finally, the two Spartans delivered the killing blow, by firing their launchers.
The high explosive grenades arced through the air, and detonated into the ragged ranks of the Covenant. Yahgs and Brutes were thrown into the sky, and landed with a sickening thud on the rubble.
"We're clear," Kelly shouted.
"Chief, no more hostiles in the immediate area," Linda said.
"Copy, double time to our position."
John jogged over to the Chalks. Their Warthogs were a mangled mess of warped metal and shattered glass, all covered in blood. Men sat against the walls, blood seeping out of their wounds. There wasn't enough biofoam to go around. These men would've most likely applied the lifesaving compound to escaping civilians. Kelly went to work and did whatever she could, but the most she could do was give the men morphine.
"Cavalry has arrived," one of the soldiers said.
The men looked at the Spartans, hope filled their eyes. But John knew it just wasn't enough. Hope can do wondrous things, but these men had seen so many words burn, so many friends slip, they were all so tired. He turned towards the CO, Major Tim Hastings.
"How bad?" the Chief asked.
Part of Hastings's helmet had been cracked by a Spiker round ricocheting off of it. John could see the dried blood and cacked mud on his hands.
"Four dead, five critical," the Major answered.
Pulling out the map on his HUD, the Spartan examined the most optimal route to Outpost Echo-Two. If he could get the Chalks to the outpost, he would have access to more men help him take on his primary.
"Gather your men, and stay close, we'll walk you out," John ordered.
The Airborne mounted whatever functioning vehicle remained, and prepared to drive out.
"Linda, ride third Warthog."
All the men able to walk and fight took up formations around the five remained Hogs, and followed the Spartans to safety. The troop moved around overturned vehicles and over piles of burning rubble as they trudged down the road. Bodies, both civilian and combatant alike lay in the streets with grievous wounds, filling the drains with blood.
"We've got a live one," an Airborne soldier said, gesturing to a fallen Yahg.
"Not anymore," another soldier said coldly. He drew his sidearm, and planted a round into the hulking alien's head. The explosive force from the bullet tore off the horn and squashed brain matter onto the melted asphalt road.
No remorse was shown for any enemy that relentlessly threw itself at humanity. They didn't care if they got wounded or killed, so long as they performed a deed that made them appear worthy in their gods' eyes, they didn't care.
A lance of energy burned through the Airborne Soldier's shields, and boiled away his armour. It wasn't a lethal hit, but he would be out of the fight.
"Get fire. Linda, trace!" John ordered.
"Contact left!" a Sergeant cried.
"Enemies moving in on our left! Light them up!" Hastings ordered.
Gunners swung their menacing M888 HMG on the incoming force. The deafening roar and the smell of ozone filled the air as the ion-hardlight hybrid weapons unleashed a torrent of savage energy down range.
Grunts danced from one foot to the other before being cooked in the very spot they stood. Brutes didn't stand any better as they were easy targets for the big guns. The heavy machine guns tore through the Jackal's armed shields as if there was nothing there.
"Target, eight o'clock high. In the café balcony!" a soldier gestured.
A gunner spun his gun round and hosed the entire building. Sparks were sent flying as melted metal showered the furniture. Nothing inside the café could've survived such an onslaught.
"Café's clear!" a soldier said, scanning it with his sensors.
The group of UNSC soldiers eventually reached allied territory, held by a mixed group of Sangheili lead forces and UNSC Marines. The CBD was so heavily damaged that glass lay on the streets as if it had been snowing. Wounded men and women were being carted away onto dropships, waiting to take them away to medical centres in orbit.
"Chief, Outpost Echo-Two is getting mighty jumpy right now," Cortana said over the channels.
"We're two klicks out," John replied. "We'll get there sharpish."
The Warthogs came to a halt, and off loaded all their wounded into a makeshift hospital.
"I need a fresh team," the Chief barked.
"We'll take ball," said an ODST Platoon leader, Lieutenant Jake Tenshu.
"How many men do you have?"
"Forty men, ready to go."
"Get to Outpost Echo-Two," John ordered, "they need help asap."
The ODSTs quickly rallied together at the centre of the courtyard, before departing for the motor pool. Satisfied that the team would take up the slack, John radioed Cortana.
"Relay to C-Two, Outpost Echo-Two will be receiving reinforcements. Piper Three-Eight is on approach for assist."
"Copy that Chief," there was a pause, "how come they didn't sign in earlier?"
"I see. Out."
John pulled up the tactical map over his HUD again. There were no definite frontline, everything was in flux. But the all Covenant forces were converging on Mount Sam Enterprises Tower en masse. Defence Contractors had yet to be evacuated from the building, word has it that they were working on a scaled down Halo Array weapon. Nothing was concrete, but if the real reason held half as much clout as the rumour did, then the whole Covenant Armada would be bearing down on that building.
"Blue Team, rally on me, we're going to primary," John broadcasted.
"Let's do this," Kelly chimed.
ABOARD UNSC HADRIEL – INFINITY-CLASS CRUISER, IN ORBIT OF EARTH
Hood kept his gaze on the tactical display, so far the fleets were holding. Already the first wave of evacuation ship had made it to the rallying point. Just a few more hours until the Coalition could retreat and enact a Hammer-Down Protocol.
"Aneira, plot a course to this navpoint," Hood said, entering in the coordinates on the display.
"Yes, Admiral," the feminine voice complied.
The Admiral felt the ship shift beneath him as its engine flared. Every so often, he would hear the dull thud as the shields absorbed an attack. Charon-class light frigates took up defensive positions around the ship, keeping an even rate of fire on enemy vessels, warding off any boarding parties.
Terrence examined the battle map again, and sent out orders to his naval groups. The UNSC ships moved into a pincer formation with Sangheili ships by their side. Covenant vessels flew straight into the mouth of hell as they were fired upon from numerous directions.
The lead CAS-Assault Carrier barely warmed up its turrets before being gutted from stem to stern. A salvo from the UNSC Infinity's main gun smashed through the nose of the Covenant ship, shattering the head and punching through the reactor core before passing out the other end. It looked like two white-blue lances had skewered through a half dozen Heavy-Capital ships. Seconds later, the ships' superstructure caved in and the reactor core exploded, tearing them asunder and hurling molten metal out like a fiery flower. Something like that should've been terrifying and crushing for enemy morale. But Hood knew better, the Covenant was relentless, spurred on by the belief that the Great Journey awaited them.
"Sir, we have a firing solution," the Principle Weapons Officer said.
"Light 'em up, Ensign," Hood ordered.
Lieutenant Commander Emma Gibbs gave a nod to confirm the order, as per standard protocol.
"Firing solution acquired," the Peewo and Aneira said simultaneously.
All four guns were fired in quick succession, hurling multiple hypervelocity rounds into the Covenant formation. None of the ships had time to react before a gaping hole was punched through their hull.
"Multiple kills, and multiple critical hits," Aneira said with some mirth. "Group Four-Charlie firing salvo."
The assortment of Cruisers and Destroyers lined up on their targets, and fired their missile pods. Hundreds of plumes of smoke trailed into space and found their mark. Warheads detonated, rippling against Covenant ships and draining them completely. Then the group opened fire with their Ion Canons. Dozens more ships joined their derelict friends, impeding enemy movement.
"Hadley, how much longer until everyone is off planetside?" Hood asked.
"One hour, sir," the Ensign answered.
God help us all.
MOUNT SAM ENTERPRISES TOWER, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, EARTH
"Enemy armour, left!" a soldier roared.
"Enemy armour, copy. Target acquired," an anti-tank soldier acknowledged.
A plume of smoke trailed behind the missile from his shoulder. The High-Explosive Armour-Piercing warhead slammed into the purple hull and detonated. A stream of molten thermite burned through the armour and burned the crew alive, a split second before the thunderous force ripped everything apart. A column of thick black smoke flowed out from the twisted slag and rose high into the sky.
"Enemy armour down."
John left the foxhole and entered the main foyer of the building. Everywhere, staff members were carting off valuable technology to the evacuation centres, or relaying priceless data.
"Chief, we've got enemy inbound, they're dropping in on the roof. Get up there now!" a Major General ordered. "We need to buy them more time."
Using the maintenance shafts in the lifts, the team managed to reach the rooftop in time to help the defenders fend off another assault. But the rooftop was not a simple flat surface with a few penthouse structures, heavy fighting had caused the upper two floors to collapse, creating an uneven terrain of shattered concrete and broken furniture.
Surveying the area, John found that the Marines had formed a chokepoint defensive perimeter to catch the Covenant in a killing field. But he also found a couple of bodies crushed under the might of the Gravity Hammer.
"Glad you could make it sir," Captain Henley said, but he was quickly cut off. "Enemy air assault in bound! Knock that Phantom out!"
A Corporal shouldering SAM launcher levelled the weapon and zeroed his sights on the dropship. At the squezzed of the trigger, the missile exited the tube, leaving a trail of wispy white smoke in its wake. Seconds later, the Phantom shuddered under the impact and slowly careened out of the sky and slammed into an adjacent building.
But the Covenant was not yet defeated. Banshees swooped, showering the area with plasma bolts. Rebars melted, sparks were sent flying and molten concrete pooled onto the floor.
"Take cover!" a Lieutenant ordered.
Men and women threw themselves behind whatever cover they could, UNSC Sappers threw up hardlight shields to absorb the brunt of the gun run, but it wasn't enough. Plasma burned through the light cover and overloaded the Marines' shields.
As the Banshees cleared and the eeries howls became distant, John could hear the blood curling cries of the soldiers. A medic dragged a woman with both her legs blown off. He had injected her with a dose of painkillers, but still her cries were evident whenever he pulled her over a bump.
"Sound off!" the Captain called.
"Lieutenant Williams is down!"
"I'm fucked up but I'm still up," a woman said.
"Out of missiles!"
John's HUD lighted up the incoming Phantoms in red. He trained his SCAR onto the lead dropship and waited for the drop doors to open.
"Linda, see if you can do something about Company."
The sniper set up her anti-material weapon, and loaded a Raufoss magazine into the Gauss Weapon. John couldn't tell which ship she had targeted first, but after a quick succession of shots, two had suffered catastrophic engine failures and crash landed onto the roof.
The Marines were quick to respond as they lobbed frags into areas where the dropships would've most likely landed. A few seconds later, they were rewarded by dull explosions and pained cries.
"Engaging next target," Linda said coolly.
She unloaded all the remaining rounds in her clip, kicking up dust from around her and filling the air with a thunderous clap. Sparks danced off the Phantom's hull as the Raufoss rounds detonated and punched through its armour. John guessed that the pilot had been killed as the dropship began to bank wildly before crashing into a platform in front of him.
Immediately, the Marines turned all their guns onto the craft and unloaded round after round. The soldiers inside never stood a chance.
"This is Fireteam Theta, we're currently under heavy attack. Need assist, over."
"We'll handle this, Captain," John said, he then switched his channels. "Fireteam Theta, this is Spartan Blue Team, we're on our way."
A Nav marker appeared on John's HUD as he ran through the mire of rubble to get to the stricken fireteam on the other side. He made it to a balcony area, overlooking the entire Sydney CBD.
Already a number of berserking Brutes were causing all kinds of hell, firing upon them would risk friendly fire. Fred was the first one to shoot off. With a shotgun in one hand and a combat knife in the other, he took on the ape-like creatures. He blasted a Brute Minor in the face with the semi-auto shotgun. The canister shot punched dozens of ragged holes into the alien's face, smashing it into a gorey pulp.
The Spartan then sprinted across the balcony and slammed his knife home into the base of another Brute's skull, cleanly severing the central nervous system from the brain. The massive alien was already dead by the time it crashed onto the floor.
A Chieftain roared in rage and charged the Spartan with his Gravity Hammer held high. Fred sidestepped and leapt out of the way. The hammerhead missed him, but before it had touched the ground, the Spartan had aimed a perfectly timed kick and knocked the weapon aside.
He barely caught the look of surprise on the Chieftains face before he levelled his shotgun and fired at point blank. The Brute landed with a dull thud, smoke curling up from whatever was left of its head.
In the span of a few short seconds, Fred had wiped out an entire squad of Brutes in melee combat. He shook his blade clean of blood and brain matter before putting it back into its sheathe.
Kelly quickly moved to administer medical aid to the wounded, but John could tell that her body language said that the chances of these men and women surviving were very slim.
Already, Linda found a suitable sniping position and began to go to work and provide cover for her team.
"Chief you've got…" whatever Cortana was going to say, John didn't hear it. None of the Spartans did.
But looking up towards Campton did he realise why. A massive fireball billowed along the bottom hull. One of the accompanying Charon-class frigates was split in half; its shields barely withstood the hit. The reactor ruptured and detonated, sending a powerful shockwave across the entire CBD.
"Take cover!" a Sergeant cried.
The smoke was caught up in the shockwave; it was as if a nuke had gone off. Dust was kicked up into the air, and windows were shattered. Some of the buildings beneath that frigate had collapsed. Everything soon crawled into slow motion as John panned his eyes across the city.
As the explosion expanded, the remains of the ship fell to Earth. He braced for the shockwave. It felt like a brick wall had slammed into him. Everyone and anything around him that wasn't secure was simply tossed into the air like ragdolls.
When John came to, he had barely registered that Kelly had thrown herself over him seconds before a blue light washed over them. He felt himself being thrown across the balcony. The railings snapped under their combined weight, and soon the feeling of vertigo filled them.
He tried to stabilise himself, tried to stave off the rising sensation in his stomach but the alarms were blaring, nothing was responding. He could see Kelly's form above him, and the firestorm that enveloped the top floor. Plasma artillery arced overhead and slammed into the building. Glass and debris rained down all around him.
But Mount Sam Enterprises Tower began to topple. Sections began to crumble apart and fall off, like sledgehammer smashing through a block of ice. It was coming down straight on top of him. There was nothing he could do, but watch his own reflection in the glass and wait for the inevitable impact.
ABOARD UNSC HADRIEL – INFINITY-CLASS CRUISER, IN ORBIT OF EARTH
"Sir, enemy reinforcements have dropped out of slipspace," a Lieutenant said.
"Admiral, with those odds, we won't be able to hold," Aneira said.
Hood swore inwardly as he leaned on the tactical map.
Forgive me, he begged silently. A forlorn expression crossed his face as he was forced to make the toughest decision in the known history of humanity.
"Relay the order," he breathed. "Initiate the Hammer-Down Protocol… god help us all."
With the order relayed to the rest of UNSC Command and UEG Hierarchy, it would only be a matter of minutes before the NOVA was launch.
MOUNT SAM ENTERPRISES TOWER, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA, EARTH
John blinked several times and found dots swirling in his vision. The alarms continued to drone. He tasted blood and his heart was beating so fast that it threatened to break his own ribcage. He felt blood pool down his face as he fought to regain consciousness.
Slowly, he placed his hands on the ground, and pushed himself up. Looking down, he saw a number of flattened pieces of metal which would've surely punctured through his under-suit. It was times like these he was happy that the current iteration of the MJOLNIR Armour had articulated plates. It saved his joints from being impaled on rubble.
John slowly brought himself off from the ground, his SCAR was a mangled mess but at least his pistol was still working. He coughed, and saw droplets of blood splash on his visor.
Internal bleeding, he thought.
"Report in!" he barked.
"John," a soft voice called out, it was Kelly.
The Spartan turned around and found his friend slumped against a massive chunk of rubble. Every muscle screamed out in protest from his movement, his body wanted to shut down, but his mind wouldn't let it.
"Where are the others?" she asked, wincing in pain.
"They're dead." His voice softened, "they're dead."
Fred and Linda were gone, just like that. No last stand, just gone. Their armour was offline, and when that happened, the user was dead.
"Your helmet's shattered," she whispered. "Take mine; I'm not going to make it."
Her back had been burned to the extent that she couldn't move without aid. Her armour was in no better condition either, but at least her helmet was in better shape than John's.
"No, you're going to make it," John said, unwillingly to leave her behind like they did with Sam.
"No I'm not."
They eased their helmets off and handed them to each other. John's blue eyes gazed into Kelly's tired brown.
"Go, I'll cover you."
The howls of Phantoms and the roars of the Covenant grew louder.
Kelly looked back at John and raised her hand to form the Spartan smile across his face. He felt a pang of sadness ripple through his heart as a tear slid down her cheek. Her arm wrapped around his neck as she drew him in for a quick hug.
"Dammit John, are you there!?"
"I'm here," the Spartan said.
The signal began to clear up.
"You've got fourteen minutes," the AI stressed. "Fourteen. Minutes. To get the hell out of there! Hammer-Down has been initiated. I'm uploading a NavPoint on your map. It'll lead you to a bunker designed for this."
She didn't sound too hopeful on that last part, but there wasn't much of a choice. Nothing had survived a NOVA intact.
"I've run some calculations, when the NOVA goes off, the hill or mountain or whatever the fuck it is – it will absorb most of the shockwave, and cave in over the entrance… just get there okay?"
"I will," he said, though something inside him told him not to go.
"And John," it was Halsey, "survive."
The link was cut by static as Campton entered slipspace, the brief blackout period that all ships went through when a portal was opened.
"Go, John," Kelly pleaded.
She reached just under her neck sleeve and pulled out her tags, with a rabbit engraved onto one of them, and placed them into his palm.
John breathed in; he'd rather stay here with her. There was nothing left.
"Please! For me."
Slowly, he nodded and pulled himself up.
"I'll miss you," he said.
Kelly gave a sad smile. "Good luck, and take care."
He turned away from her and slid on her helmet, unable to say goodbye. He turned away from her, everything feeling surreal. He clambered out of the rubble and clawed his way to the surface. He heard the sound of her pistol go off, and the roars of the Brutes.
He sprinted down the road, his muscles screaming out in defiance. The nanites worked overtime to heal the damage. He felt the burn, he felt the strain; his body was shutting down. But he wouldn't let it. Whatever stims was left in the armour was all injected into his body.
He ran as fast as the armour would allow him, with one pistol in his hand, he fired on anything that moved. In his left, he held the Arbiter's personal gift for him, an energy blade with hydrogen fuel cells. Wispy blue air trailed in the wake of the crackling weapon.
He let the blade trail behind him, cutting through the ground and the occasional Covenant soldier. He heard enemy fire snap at his heels, but he didn't care. He sprinted across the boulevards, smashed his way through the buildings and cut down anything that stood in his path.
He knew he should've stayed with her, but something was beckoning him to go. He regretted following that voice. He should've stayed behind with her.
Looking at his HUD, he knew he didn't have much left to go. Just a few hundred more metres. He kept on running, his boots digging into the ground beneath him. The amount of force he had to exert to reach breakneck speeds was something more than the pavement could handle.
He ran up the hill, and finally reached the inconspicuous entrance wedged between a shopping mall and warehouse. The doors immediately opened as soon as it registered the tag. Only a few minutes left. John quickly ran to the elevators, entered it and punched in the keys.
He felt the platform shift and descend into the depths of the facility. Gravity manipulators kicked in, allowing the lift to shoot down into the depths without putting its occupants into free-fall. The elevator came to a halt on the bottom floor. As John stepped out, the counter reached zero. He knew that it would only be another minute or so until the shockwave from the NOVA arrived. He simply leaned against the white washed walls and waited for the impact.
The ground began to shake, and soon it picked up in tempo. Chairs began to roll around the secretary desk but everything else held into place. The bunker began to shift, matching the earthquake and annulling the frequency. But parts of the facility soon gave into stress as part of the roof came in like jagged teeth, dumping piles of Earth onto the tile.
RnD had based the facility on Forerunner technology; hopefully it would be able to survive. John waited out the storm, and soon, all was quiet. The light was still on, and the base's supply still full. He walked past the foyer and into the main office area. All of the desks had been cleared out, but the armoury still had a few things in it, and the mess hall was still stocked.
The Spartan analysed the area, it didn't follow traditional designs of UNSC Bunkers which were a labyrinth of security checkpoints, bulwarks and emergency bulkheads. Instead it was more or less a foyer which stood between the elevator doors and the main office area. On the left wing were the medical centre, armoury and cryobay, and on the right wing were the living quarters and cafeteria. Then again, the entire facility was experimental.
He walked over to the armoury first where he pulled off his armour and stacked them in a neat pile. Then he shed off the black-grey exo-suit weaved with the armour-dock points. With enough time, the nanites in the exoskeleton would bring the MJOLNIR back to full functionality. After taking a quick look at the weapons rack, John returned back into the main area, and looked at the readouts on the holoprojectors.
All the sensors had been scrambled, but base integrity remained at 100%. John was impressed, he had heard of the NOVA's destructive capabilities, but maybe the weapon was detonated at a distance away from the planet.
The Spartan entered the medbay, where he examined his wounds. A quick medical salve was all that was needed to heal the cut on his temple, and some medication to dull the pain of internal bruising. He walked over to a mirror and examined himself. He wore the black Mark VII under-suit, with ultralight armour, military pants and boots. The suit's chrome hardpoints glinted under the light, but everything seemed to be in good shape.
Looking at his face, John could pick out the very faint scars from combat and the augmentation procedures. They had long healed over and become a part of him. His rugged features were slim and had loss all the suppleness and glow of youth. But still, his skin was smooth, his hair still a mix between brown and auburn and his eyes a deep blue that seemed to glow in the dark.
He ran his hand over the curving scar over his right eye, before gazing down at Kelly's tags. For safe keeping, he looped them around his neck and went into the mess hall to get something to eat. He could feel the post-trauma starting to settle in. He quickly grabbed an MRE Stew from the fridge and threw it into the microwave, letting it heat up before taking out the hot contents.
John walked into the private lounge, equipped with surround sound entertainment. He set down the bowl of stew and juice box onto the coffee table, and turned on the TV. He selected an orchestral concert and let it play in the background as he ate. Eventually, his eyes became glued to the screen as he mechanically downed his food.
Kelly's gone, his mind wandered. She's gone… dead! I left her behind. I could've stayed with her.
He pinched the bridge of his nose and tried to push those thoughts away. He turned off the lights, save for the glass lamp on the mahogany stand. John used the controls to change to a movie.
Lord of the Rings… she always liked Lord of the Rings, he remembered.
The Chief took in a deep breath, and switched over to documentaries. He skipped the ones about war, and eventually came upon TV Shows where he found one about cars. It would have to do. He needed a distraction.
But eventually fatigue settled in, it was time to sleep and give his body a rest. The room adjacent to the lounge was a bedroom, complete with an en suite. Despite being utilitarian in design, it was remarkably beautiful with its match of white and grey.
John peeled off his "smart-cloth" undersuit, boots and pants, and tossed them over the dresser. Left in his undershirt and shorts, he walked across the white carpet and found a small measure of comfort in it. Entering the bathroom, he entered his routine and let himself enjoy the five minute hot shower before cleaning his teeth and preparing for bed.
He dried his hair with a soft towel and folding it aside when he was done. He then set his pistol on the nightstand, and eased himself onto the soft mattress while pulling the warm duvets over him. A small part of him wanted to go into cryo sleep, but he needed to let everything sink in before going into the ice. He knew from experience that waking up from cryosleep after having been in a battle prior to go under, was a bad idea. He wanted to be focused and at peace when he woke up.
Lying on his side, John drifted off into an uneasy sleep.
Weeks passed, and he continued on with his numbed cycle; sleep, eat, train and learn. There was nothing else he could do. There was nothing left on the surface, and there was no way he could get out either. John walked along the corridors of the facility, and entered the armoury.
The robotic stations and the nanites had repaired the armour to full working order. He pulled the exo-suit back on and one by one, he attached each piece onto his suit's hardpoints until the MJOLNIR was whole again.
Systems operational… 100%
He gathered what remaining weapons there were, a handful of pistols, an M7SC SMG and a few DEW FR SCAR Assault Rifles with a SOPMOD kit and an M7 Spartan Laser. He held the weapons to his magnetic plates and got a full readout of operational status. The SCAR resembled the Asymmetric Recoilless Carbine, with a rounder, sleeker and streamlined look.
Satisfied that none of the weapons would blow up in his hands, the Spartan walked down the corridor, across a catwalk and into the cryochambers. He set the base to lock down, if any sensors were tripped, he would know immediately. But a frown settled across his features when he discovered that the sensors in the elevator shaft had been overloaded. That could cost him dearly.
He settled into one of the cryotubes and let the form-fitting gel layer mould itself to the armour's articulated contours, while he set the 'wake-up' parameters. If power was going to cut out or any of the sensors were tripped, the tube would thaw him out immediately.
The MJOLNIR's ports opened, allowing the cool air to reach his lungs. After blinking a few times, John's world faded to darkness.
"To: FADM Lord Terrence Hood
From: LTCOL Doctor Essingdon Dominic Keyes
I've done the preliminary calculations and evaluations as you asked. Unlike film makers and the dreams concept artists, mech warriors are not the next stage of warfare. They are not the tide turner of war. These heavy machines with a heavy amount of firepower are expensive to make and maintain when compared to regular equipment. They are also very vulnerable. A well placed sniper shot will be able to put the mech out of commission.
Pound for pound of resources, a group of well-trained and well-equipped soldiers will be able to take down a mech. I've told the board time and time again, mech warriors is the worst way to endanger our own people's lives and waste resources which would be better spent protecting them.
UNSC Combat Doctrine aims to have soldiers engage the enemy at long ranges, and avoid melee combat unless absolutely necessary. Our Doctrine aims to use stealth and surgical precision to eliminate key targets before moving in with shock and awe, whilst keeping collateral damage to a minimum.
I can see how mech warriors can become useful in shock and awe, BUT they are a huge target. Sure there are applications where mech warriors would be extremely valuable, but those scenarios are as frequent as blue moons. If we are considering Flood Contingency Operations then we can see mechs being far more useful.
However, in every combat scenario against a well-trained and well-equipped force, we see the mechs being outdone by specialist soldiers. Hollywood may make these machines look like gods of the fields, but a machine of this size is an easy target for snipers of heavy-weapons. Titanium-Aiglos3C Armour can only hold out against so much.
These machines are not worth it for frontline applications. Any walker in general is a waste of resources. I know I have been an advocate for cutting edge technology, but this is the wrong way to go. I am well aware of the dominance of the Covenant Scarab, but that was because of their armour plating.
In urban pacification campaigns, mech warriors would be best useful for bomb clearance and as immediate response. Other than that, the large sizes of these mechs leave them vulnerable to long range attacks. There are also the issues of concealment and manoeuvrability.
We've seen that when our cities fall, the walker's large size become a hindrance.
I propose that we issue the Ancile Industries' GALANTINE Powered Exoskeleton. The suit has been tested by ONI Counter-Intelligence Operatives, feedback received are positive (refer to Report-12.23.2565). Personnel from all branches praise the suit's modularity, capability and size. The suit is made out of a nano-carbon tubes smart cloth. Additional sensors help initiate electrical impulse to harden the surface in order to protect the user from blunt trauma and ballistics.
One could argue that mechs would be best suited for heavy frontal engagements in urban environments. And while that is true, IFVs and MAVs perform at a much higher level."
-Extract from an email sent by (UNSC Army/ONI) LTCOL Doctor Essingdon Dominic Keyes, to (UNSC Navy) Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood
Sam's Notes: That moment between John and Kelly was something I debated with myself and Andrithir. But seeing that the two were childhood friends, it seemed appropriate.
So please leave a review and tell us what you think.
P.S: Hammer-Down included NOVAs being detonated at a distance from Earth… NOT ON Earth. Secondly, Fission Weapon Stockpiles were inadvertently detonated.