Halo- Countdown to Zero
Author: AtinMando

Chapter 3
The Attack on Trivert

UNSC Office of the Military Director

“All right. Heres the plan. Me and Char will go down and infiltrate the city and slot any hostiles there are, while Kami and Nikki stay in the ship and destroy the hostile warship. Clear?”

The squad, all in unison, yelled “Clear!”

“Good. Lets go.”

On board the UNSC Stonewall, Atin and Char, in their MJOLNIR armor, were boarding the ODST drop pod that would ship them to the city the fastest, but not necessarily safest, way.

“You ready, Char?”

“Affirmative, sir. I'm set.”

Atin smiled. During normal times, Charlotte was the happiest member of Zeta Squad. Always the one with the jokes. But during an op, she turned pure military discipline. He remembered when he first met her. Atin was leading an evac of a school in some backwater planet far away. She was scared, just like all of them. However, he saw he hardness in her eyes. So he went over to her and asked if she wanted a chance to get even. She eagerly replied yes. So, they went to the back of the lead evac Elephant and he gave her his personal BR55 HB-SR for target practice. To his surprise, her eyes were almost the same vision as his, so the highly modified Battle Rifle needed no adjustments. She was such a good shot, he let her keep the rifle. Ever since, she had clung to that rifle and became an artist with it. She was better with that than a certified sniper with a sniper rifle. She could take a hostile down at twice the Battle Rifle's maximum range. She was excellent. She was-

“Sir, you there?” Char asked.

“Yeah. I'm here. How are you? Nervous?”

“Nervous? You kidding? Remember the free fall drop? Where you only have your armor for protection, and the only thrust you have is the explosive decompression and a small maneuvering thruster. This is going to be a piece of cake.”

“Ha! I guess you're right. Ok, lets do this. All set?”

“All set. I'm ready.”

“Copy that.” “Drop command, this is Zeta 1. Drop in 5 seconds.”






The pod separated from the ship with a loud BANG! and Atin and Charlotte's pods were blasted down to the surface and hit the pavement. All of a sudden, Atin's training kicked in and he grabbed his new BR55 HB-SR rifle and ran to the nearest building, knowing that Char would be close behind. Only when he reached the bombed out building did he see the ship. That was a Chameleon-class Prowler. One of the biggest stealth ships in the UNSC. And that was the confirmed hostile ship. Suddenly, two things clicked. Either the prowler was captured by the Covenant, or ONI was responsible for the attack. Damn, what he wouldn't give for Will and his tank to be here.

“Sir, advise that we get farther inside so we will have a good line of sight and the element of surprise.”

“Agreed. Lead the way.” Atin opened a two-way channel between him and Char. That way, he could talk to her without turning on his radio every time. However, he could hear everything, including her every breath. But, in a way, that in itself was comforting. It was an easy way to make sure that she was still alive, at least. When they found a safe floor, they were just sitting down when they were attacked.

“Transfer power to weapons and kinetic shields!” Nikki yelled to the Bridge crew aboard the Stonewall.

“Power to weapons and kinetic shields, aye. Charging up Super MAC.”

“Good. Also, arm Archer pods A1 through D15.” Nikki was sure that the other ship was a Chameleon-class Prowler, but it was still the designated enemy target.

The Prowler suddenly opened fire with 15 missiles. However, the Stonewall's shields held.

“Well, that answers that question.” The prowler was hostile. Now is the time to attack.

“Ready Archer pods, then fire MAC on my mark.”

Thomas Riverto held his MA2B with a white-knuckled grip. The enemy troops were here. Although there were only two of them, there was only one of him. And, they had armor. But this gun was a UNSC rifle. The ammo was certified. It should pierce that armor. This is the time. Ready, now!

Thomas leapt from his hiding spot, and suddenly, the troops that were sitting, were now standing with their rifles trained on his head. He opened fire with his MA2B, and got the shock of his life when the rounds looked like they just splashed over their armor. With that, he know he was about to die.

“Hold fire! It's a civvie! Take him alive!” Atin barked. As his shields flashed, he tackled the civilian and knocked his gun down. He put the civvie in a arm lock and opened audio channel. “Who are you? What is your name? Why did you try to attack us?” the civvie just looked at him with wide eyes and said, “Why should I tell you? Why didn't you kill me like you killed everyone else?”

“Oh. I get it. You think I'm with them. No, we're with the good guys. The other ship. Now who are you?”

The civilian looked out the blown window and saw the Stonewall.“You- oh, thats a relief. I thought I was dead. My name is Thomas Riverto. Who are those people that are killing everybody?”

“I don't know. Thats what we are trying to figure out. Come with us. We need to leave the city. It is completely lost. Our only option is to bomb the city. Come on. Lets go.”

“Umm..ok. I'm coming.”

Atin, Char, and Thomas walked to the edge of the city and into the jungle.

Charlotte stopped and said, “Go on. Ill make a hole here and provide sniper cover.”

“All right. Good luck, Char. Be careful.”

“I always am.”

When Atin and Thomas were about a half-mile from where they were, Atin suddenly had a bad feeling.

Almost instantly, Charlotte's voice bursted on the com. “Ambush! I'm hit! Ahhh!!.................”

“Char!? Char!? Can you hear me? Come in Char! Come in! Char!!”

“That's it. I'm going back. Thomas, you stay.”

Atin sprinted back to Char's position when he saw his motion tracker flicker. Just then, he saw 4 human figures materialize out of thin air, rifles pointed directly at him. He immediately opened fire and in what seemed like no time, all 4 of them were dead. He finally reached Char's still armor. “Char, talk to me. Come on. Char. Give me a sign here. Come on, Char. Please.” He opened a diagnostic and sighed with relief. The new armor system damn near saved her life. “Command. Armor System Liquid Metal Crystal Unlock.” Charlotte's armor relaxed. He brought up TEAMBIO. She was breathing, had a strong pulse, but was just unconscious. He called Thomas over and radioed a Pelican for pickup.

“Lock on to enemy! Ready Archer Missiles on my command!” Nikki ordered.

The NAV officer shouted “Impacts on port decks LP5 to LP7! Shields holding. Archer missiles locked and ready to fire on your command. Super MAC is charged up and ready.”

“Good. Link the firing systems so the missiles get there 4 seconds before the MAC.”

The NAV officer typed quickly. “Done. All set.”

Nikki reached for the red button. “Let's end this.” She pushed the button. Instantly, she heard rapid missiles streaming for the prowler. When they impacted, they created a wall of smoke around the enemy ship. A second later, the power flickered and went out, and there was a huge BOOM!!!!!! Followed by what looked like a bolt of red-hot lightning that crashed into the prowler. The MAC round went straight through, pierced the reactor core, and exited through the other side. The hostile prowler listed, and fell to the city. The reactor went critical, and the ship exploded. When the smoke cleared, all that remained of the city was a crater.

“What's Atin's and Char's status?”

Another bridge member said “In a Pelican, en route to the Stonewall.”

“Good.” Nikki and Kami went to the hangar where Atin's Pelican was, and they found Atin carrying Char, who wasn't moving. “What-what happened?” Kami asked.

“An ambush. Whoever did it had active camouflage. Come on. Ill explain everything in the MedBay.” When they got to the Medical ward, Atin hooked Char to the medical diagnostic machine. She had a strong pulse, good heartbeat, no internal bleeding, but she also had a broken arm, a fractured leg, and a cracked wrist, along with multiple contusions that were from her getting knocked against her stiff armor.

“All right, shes fine, but not in any shape to fight anytime soon. But first of all, I should explain what happened with her armor, because I'm sure you are both curious.” Both Nikki and Kami nodded. “All right. The MJOLNIR armor, as you know is fitted with a Metal Liquid-Solid Crystal that gives us increased reflexes and decreased reaction time. However, in the event of an emergency, the armor can, more or less, command the ML-SC to change to a solid crystal and harden, thereby protecting the Spartan from further injury of bullet, or plasma, or explosive. But the Spartan's body gets thrown around a lot inside the immobile armor. That is what saved her life.”

“Wow. Thats insane. So what ambushed her?”

“Thats just it. The explosive that made the armor stiffen up was an M9 Frag Grenade. Also, they shot very unusual 8mm rounds at her. It wasn't friendly fire. My guess? Section Zero.”

Kami looked at Atin, confused. “But why?” Kami asked. “Why just attack a city? And with a ship thats not even certified for war. It was a stealth ship. Not a warship. This doesn't make sense.”

“None of this makes sense. Any of it. But we got a civvie that said that the invaders rounded almost all of the citizens in a very large building, then just bombed the building. Killed them all. Why? Maybe just to distract us. But I gotta say, for ONI, they're pretty sloppy. But, at any rate, the mission is complete. We should head back and get Char to a hospital.”


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