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The Assault of Orion I

Part Eight

HiveMaster Nurrclian screeched in anger as his Warriors again took cover from the weapon fire pouring from the Command Lair of the human Hivemistress. "They are like Sn'aalth guarding their eggs. The humans are only animals though. They fight not from a sense of Duty , this must merely be instinct by the Servants of their Hivemistress. He saw that he only had 5 Special Attackers left with him."Units 1 through 9 continue keeping the humans at bay. Units 10 through 19 , cease destruction of Servants and equipment and come to me to cleanse the human infection ." A perfect chorus answered. "YES GREAT ONE!"

General Parker fired her plasma rifle as she saw the body of her Hack Team Captain flung back as a gauss shell penetrated right through the command car he sheltered behind. Her Military Police units were dug in on the left. She saw a group of Data Entry Specialists behind a sandbagged checkpoint furiously reading the manual on the heavy plasma repeater they were attempting to assemble. She smiled briefly as she heard them. "NO NO NO Langston place the dual pronged power feeder cable (A) into the NEGATIVE reciever socket (B) and rotate COUNTERclockwise. How the hell do the combat guys figure this stuff out! NO , ground it with the BLUE cable !" She wished she could tell her staff at how proud she was of them , holding off troops as well armed and trained as the Commandos that were attacking them , but she knew anything she said would be a distraction. She saw an Antaran that was advancing against the blast rifles suddenly torn apart by a heavy plasma weapon. Gen Parker looked to her right and saw a very surprised group of Data people looking at what their weapon had done. She almost laughed out loud at the chorus from the 3 Specialists. "WOW ! COOL!" She frowned as her 'heads up display' showed a new group of Antaran Commandos heading towards her position. She did a quick count. "We can't hold against 10 more of these armored bastards." She was about to order a complete evacuation of the headquarters area when a nearby soldier turned towards her. "Do you hear something strange General ?" Parker upped the volume on her power suit's sound sensors. What she heard brought an evil grin to her face.

Rhame saw a power suited Antaran aiming a heavy gauss weapon at One tank. Before he could fire Two tank fired their secondary weapons. Multi blaster fire blew the Commandos leg off and before the Antaran could topple to the ground , Two tank swerved to the left and crushed the Warrior under their treads. Third Platoon rolled into the outer areas of the maintenance areas hunting targets. Rhame heard a series of impacts on the left side of his tank. Minor penetrations were being recorded as he slewed the turret to bear on another Commando. Dunphy didn't wait for an order before firing. The Antaran simply vanished along with the cargo boxes he was sheltered behind. Rhame was searching for a new target when the com popped. "SARGE get this guy off of us." He saw a pair of Antarans on top of Two tank. One was attempting to rip the top hatch off as the other was placing an object on the tanks back deck. Rhame knew as he tried to bring the turret to bear on them that he would be too late. The top hatch peeled way and the Antaran dropped a thermal charge inside and as he and his partner dived off the tank. A huge explosion rocked the engine area of Two tank and plasma fire leaped out of the top hatch. Rhame heard Dunphy cursing as he killed both Antarans with a single main gun blast. Rhame looked at Two tank as the rear hull started to glow from the heat of the thermal charge eating away the tank from the inside. Rhame closed his eyes and added to the List " Jenkins , Russo , LaPare" A voice cut in on his com."SARGE my hatch is jammed and it's gettin real hot in here please get me out." Rhame turned white , how LaPare's driving compartment had survived he didn't know. Rhame looked at Two tanks hull glowing with enough heat to fry anyone that approached . La Pare's voice was near panic."Sarge I am burning up in here, can you help me please?" Rhame's hand moved without conscious control as he brought his turret to bear on Two tank's front slope. His voice cracked as he spoke "Gunner.Target.Two tank" Dunphy's voice was a whisper "identified." Dunphy looked over his shoulder with tears in his eyes. " I can't Sarge." Rhame nodded to him. LaPare came on the com , his voice weak "Sarge are you gonna be able to help me?" Rhame grabbed his command override "From my position." With the sound of the main gun firing , Rhame gave LaPare the only answer he had. The men of One tank stared at the remains of Two tank a moment .Rhame keyed his com with a voice that was as cold as death itself "Cahill get us moving , Dunphy find your own targets and kill everything that doesn't belong here." One tank moved on leaving behind a burning wreck and another piece of their souls.

HiveMaster Nurrclian looked at all his remaining Special Attack Warriors. "All Units we will assault as one , I will lead to kill their HiveMistress. We will not stop until they are all dead. Fire all weapons as we charge and cleanse the infection. Twelve voices spoke as one."YES GREAT ONE!"

Lieutenant Connors looked at his chrono for the 10th time as he listened to the sounds of battle outside intensify. One hour the General said. He sent out the orders to all perimeter units and then he keyed the button to transmit the General's message to the Field Marshal. As Connors was turning to grab his rifle to join the defense a flurry of gauss projectiles shredded the building and killed him before he could take cover.

General Parker took cover behind a wrecked truck as the Antaran fire flayed her troops. She felt gauss shells glancing off her armor and a small explosion as one wrecked her plasma gun. She saw the nearest troops flinging back as they were hit. The elation she had felt earlier when she heard the music was gone now. "They must have run into an ambush and were destroyed." She saw a movement to her right and she saw an Antaran looking her way. He seemed to be looking at her and then moved on to kill a nearby M.P. "What the hell , he had me 'dead to rights'. She saw another Commando nearby aiming a gauss rifle at her who seemed startled. He lowered his rifle and moved down the line killing some of her engineers. "What is going on here. Why aren't they shooting?" She moved over to some nearby bodies looking for a weapon. She pulled a body away and grabbed up a blast rifle. As she straightened up , she was face to face with an Antaran in an elaborate suit of battle armor. A mechanical voice came from the figure. " Your HELIX is weak and you will be cleansed."

Senior HiveMaster Gillixiar turned to TechServant Vex."Carry your out your orders." The TechServant began keying in commands. HiveMaster Wittqliar stepped forward. "With respect SeniorHivemaster but it has not been 12 Time Units." Senior HiveMaster Gillixiar pointed at the ships shown on the system detection screen. "The humans are swifter than expected. We must prepare for their assaults now.We have no more time to give HiveMaster Nurrclian."

Rhame rolled up on the Ops building and swiftly targeted all the detected Antarans. "Dunphy start punching some tickets . Use secondary weapons only , there are still some friendlies around." Rhame heard the multi blasters firing as he tried to find if there was a defensive line left anywhere. He saw Antarans falling as Dunphy fired controled bursts among the wreckage. Commandos fell one by one to the cool precision bursts of his fire. Rhame detected something to his left and saw an Antaran aiming his rifle to shoot human in a power suit. Rhame knew he couldn't fire without killing them both. A limping figure ran in from a nearby building towards the two suited figures. He covered the distance in a moment and he impacted the Antaran low and drove the surprised Commando back and they both fell in a tangle. Rhame saw the grey haired figure shouting. The tanks pickups made sense of his words "Shoot NOW save the General." HiveMaster Nurrclian was getting to his feet when a plasma bolt from One tank vaporized him and Master Sergeant Sanji.

Rhame detected no other Antarans in the area. He was surprised to see the power suited figure of the General raise her helmets visor and walk over to the glazed area and lay her hand gently on the still hot surface. As she walked towards One tank Rhame saw tears streaking her face. She climbed up the front slope of the tank and sat a moment on the turret. "Looks like this is twice your Platoon has saved the Corps Sergeant." Rhame saw the pain in her eyes and knew it matched his own. A roar from overhead approached from the west. The General looked up a moment. "If they are sending more Commandos you are gonna have to stop them Sergeant because as I see it you are the Corps entire reserve. Rhame nodded. " Can do General we will hold them until help gets here." She looked at him as the roar came overhead and smiled. Rhame couldn't believe how bright her smile was. It was too bright to look on and he......

Kindred saw the Antarans streaming away from Four tank. " This makes no sense Burke , they were almost on top of us and now they are running awa....." A brilliant light from behind Four tank lit up the entire area. Kindred popped the hatch and looked to the north. Kindred slammed his hatch shut when he saw the huge mushroom cloud. Holding his head in his hands."ahhhhh no." his tears fell as the tank rocked in the shockwave. He whispered "Rhame,Jenkins,Dunphy,Russo.Cahill,LaPare" as his List grew by six more names.

To Rhame the light filled everything. He saw figures ahead Cheng , LaPare , Jenkins , Russo , McKay , Golden , Lazenby , Clipp everyone from the List , everyone from Suji . He heard his schools band playing as they all reached out to welcome him Home.

An officer turned to the Admiral. "We have detected a large fusion explosion on the surface sir , impact point , the targeted drop zone." The Admiral turned to his communications officer "Abort the landing all transports regroup according to plan Alpha." The Admiral felt something cold behind his ear and he heard a voice colder than deep space. "Admiral if you order those transports back I will pull this trigger." The Admiral whispered. " We cant land in an area that...." Field Marshal Khan didn't give him a moment. " The landing zones will be hot but the troops will have their protective suits and will survive. That is more than can be said of you if you try and recall those ships."The Admiral choked out an order. "Execute landing plan Omega." The Admiral didn't hear the Field Marshal leave the bridge but he saw a crumpled printout that Khan had left on his chair. He smoothed it out and began to read it.

To: Field Marshal Khan ( Supreme Commander Terran Ground Forces )
From: Gen Parker ( Commander XV Armored Corps )

Situation Report: Have repelled all enemy attacks on perimeter , commandos attacking headquarters , expect enemy to attempt to destroy Ops and Control with nuclear weapons to collapse perimeter before reinforcements arrive. Ordering full attack of all remaining XV Corps units to expand perimeter outside blast area. If Ops destroyed , XV Corps will need command and control from follow on units to expand beachhead. XV Corps will continue attack until relieved or ammunition runs out.

XV Corps will be here always.

Gen. C.Parker

The Admiral's hand shook as he finished reading the printout and looked at the update of the troop landing operations. He picked up his com "Admiral Welch to all transport units. Any Captain who's ship hasn't landed in that drop zone in the next 15 minutes will be relieved and shot. If you don't have the guts to do it turn your ships over to an officer who does. Welch out." The Admiral gently folded the paper and placed it in his jacket.




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