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PROLOGUE

The world came hazily into focus for George. His breath loud in his ears, and the world oddly muffled. An explosion was set off to his right, and threw him back to the ground. A Warthog chassis fell to the ground next to him, creating a crater in the snow, the frame melted and twisted. His vision tinged with red, and a dull, throbbing pain emanated from his left wrist. Another explosion rocked his teeth, and shattered the windscreen of the already crushed Warthog.

The sounds slowly came into focus, the dull explosions and rapid-fire sounds of a hundred machine guns firing at the oncoming horde of Covenant warriors.

His right arm was pinned, but his fingers managed to close around his Silenced SMG. His ODST visor was cracked in 3 places, and a long gash went straight through the middle.

He could barely see, so he discarded the helmet into the snow, that quickly covered it up as a blizzard was settling around the two engaging armies. His face was bitten by the extreme cold, and he could still feel the pain in his left arm. He looked down the length of his arm and saw that his wrist was twisted at an unnatural 70 degree angle.

His shorn blonde hair was being ruffled in the wind, and his Right arm was still pinned. He looked at it, and saw the corpse of his LT, a Kevin Donavan. He pushed the corpse off of him, his vision finally returning to normal, so he could finally take in the battlefield around him.

A trio of marines had taken cover underneath a crashed Pelican dropship, and a Tank was on a crest of snow, firing into the Covenant swarm.

Another Marine ran past him, then another. The third one stopped, and stared at the ODST on the floor. George looked at the young Marine as he stood up, bracing his hands on an ice wall. The Marine took one last look at his squad running to the front, and rushed over to help George.

'Come on' The Marine said, placing George's left arm over his shoulder, and George and the Marine began a slow limp over to the UNSC's side of the Canyon.

They were on the remote colony of Gamma IV, one of the UNSC's main scientific sites. It was also where most of the Titanium was mined from the dense crust of the planet.

The Covenant had landed yesterday at 12:00 hours, and had immediately attacked the UNSC's main drilling station at one of the planet's poles.

It was a canyon, with the drilling station spanning the whole length, with a drop off cliff into a -30 degree sea, with an ONI funded oil rig. No one really knew why ONI was so interested in the rig, but as long as the workers made their quota, the spooks would keep funding.

George managed to limp over to the first-aid station, that was already filled. A Scorpion fired, rocking George to his bones, and he heard a distant explosion, coupled with another blast as a Wraith exploded.

George was left outside, sitting on a stool, along with at least 30 others. One had a clump of snow pressed to his face, another was bandaged so much he looked like a mummy, and another one had his head in his hands, and blood was trickling through the fingers. One of his eyes was missing.

George waited, while the Marine that had saved him went in and got another ice pack and a temporary cast for George's wrist.

Another explosion echoed through the Canyon, that was separated into two parts. The Covenant controlled one side, and the UNSC controlled the other.

The UNSC were slowly being divided and pushed either to the cliff's edge, or right to the door of the mining station.

George and the Marine stayed there, every minute another wounded Marine limping, crawling, or being carried to the first aid station.

An LT limped over, His arm cut from the top of his wrist to his shoulder, but it was burnt and cauterized, no doubt by a Covenant Energy sword.

'Officer on the deck!' George yelled, and those that could stand did, but the ones that were too severely wounded just gave him a knowing nod.

The LT managed a weak laugh at the sorry sight of 30 saluting, wounded Marines 'At ease' He said.

'I've come from the front lines, where the UNSC has become entrenched, Literally, just 2 miles from this position.

The Covenant are using their Wraiths as Impromptu artillery, and we're using the grenade launcher on a Wolverine as the same thing, and peppering them with Scorpion rounds' He finished, looking at each of them in turn.

'I need a volunteer to lead a scouting mission into enemy territory, and rescue a battalion of Marines Entrenched on the cliffs'

George raised his hand, and the Marine that had helped him raised his hand as well.

George's wrist wasn't feeling better, but he could still use a weapon and use it without too much strain. The LT sized them up, and said to them 'Thank you' Then walked into the tent, his Arm looking worse by the minute.

The Marine gave him a gentle bump on the shoulder 'Just us two then?' George looked at him, and managed a smile 'Yep. I'm George by the way' He held out his good hand, and the Marine shook it 'Leeroy' He said, releasing his grip on the ODST's hand.

They both looked towards the trenches, and saw tiny explosions of blue, white and crimson dancing over the crest.

'Think we can take them?' Leeroy asked, and the ODST grabbed his weapon from below his stool, that was already filled by a Marine without an arm.

George cycled a bolt into his gun, and looked at Leeroy. 'Only one way to find out' He said, and ran towards the explosions.

Leeroy sighed, and sprinted after him, his MA5C slung over his shoulder.

CHAPTER 1

The trenches were hell. The cold snow made it hell to dig, and the melting snow from the numerous fires and Wraith mortars made mud slides very common, and more often than not, Marines were re-assigned to digging duty trying to recover the bodies that had been buried.

Lieutenant Gregory Franklin walked up through the communications trench and into the officers dug-out. It had become WWI down in the trenches, and the Lieutenant had to fight it.

An explosion rocked the trench, and he had to steady himself on the wooden walls of the hastily dug dug-out.

He stood to attention, as Colonel Harvey Geller studied a tactical Holographic representation of the battlefield, His hands selecting various units and displaying the various members vital statistics and opening a direct COMM link with them. He was a stout man with a thin mustache and greying hear, and his left wrist displayed a Golden Fake Rolex.

'Move the 45th up the flank, while the 24th moves in from the left. Co-ordinate our charges for 09:00 hours tomorrow morning, and...' He looked up at the LT.

'Yes 'Leftenant'?' He said with a heavy British accent, and Greg saluted 'Sir, a Marine and an ODST has come to convey a message from Lieutenant Dilan Nanavati' The Colonel considered this, and the pair of soldiers walked in to the dug-out, and the Colonel said 'What is it?' His attention was drawn back to the map, and on it, holographic tanks and Marines were being loaded into a Pelican and flown under the AA charges on the Wraiths.

'We have an assignment from Lieutenant Nanavati, to rescue a battalion of Marines on the cliff edge. But we need your approval' The ODST said, and he handed him a TACPAD with the orders sent from him inside the First Aid tent.

The Colonel lit a Sweet William cigar, and said 'No. I need every man i can get in the push tomorrow' He handed him back the TACPAD, and Leeroy said to him 'Well, if you need all the men you can get, then why not let us go on this mission?' The Colonel looked up 'I am not wasting any more soldiers on a lost cause' He looked back at the map, until George said 'Sir, if we fail, you have lost two Marines' The Colonel sighed and looked up, about to speak until the ODST continued 'And if we succeed, you have gained an entire Battalion of extra Marines' The Colonel puffed on the cigar again, and blew a smoke ring towards the door that was disrupted by the condensation of his breath.

'You have until 08:00 hours tomorrow, that's when we bomb that place to hell' He returned once again to the map, where the Pelican was now embedded in the snow, with the Marines running towards the Trench that was five metres away. A Wraith shot took them out. 'Shite' the Colonel said, as the pair of soldiers saluted and moved out of the dug-out, followed by LT Gregory

The LT moved off while saying to them 'Good luck' and the pair was left virtually alone, save for the odd Marine running past them or huddling on the floor with a blanket over them.

'So, what do we do now?' Leeroy asked, and George sat down on a wooden bench, rubbing his chest. His armour had a thermal layer, but he had taken off his helmet so it wasn't doing him any good now.

'We wait, and go under cover of darkness' He said, as he grabbed a blanket, and pulled it, revealing a Marine that had frozen in place. He dropped the blanket instantly, then Leeroy placed the blanket over the Marine again.

'We don't have long to wait then' He said, as the Setting Sun cast an Orange glow over the battlefield.

An explosion sounded just to their left, and George heard screams from the Marines that had just taken cover near the Dug-out.

'The Colonel!' they both said in unison, and practically sprinted towards the dug-out again. When they got there, they saw that the rook of the dug-out had caven in, and the wood was starting to smoulder as the flames from the Mortar spread. George saw a hand in the rubble, bearing the golden fake rolex worn by Colonel Harvey Geller.

Leeroy placed a hand over his mouth, and all around the wreckage people were digging, trying to pull survivors from the wreck. The hand twitched, and a little bit of hope crept into George's mind. He grabbed the hand and pulled, but only the arm came out. And nothing else.

George dropped the arm, and knew it was hopeless as medics dug through the burning wood, Mud and snow to find any survivors, but all they found were disemboweled body parts.

CHAPTER TWO

Another wraith mortar hit the ground next to the Pelican, that one missing by inches. The Pelican swerved to avoid it, but still getting a good portion of its armour singed and melted.

Two more plasma mortars hit the snow, creating puddles of melted water and steaming the cockpit of the Pelican, Forcing it to swoop down low.

It reached the trench and never stopped as the 3 SPARTAN III's dropped out and jumped into the icy trench. The SPARTAN's sniper rifles peeked over the trench wall, and a trio of shots rang out over the canyon. Another trio of shots, and they stopped, eying up their next target.

One plasma shot connected with the scope of the sniper and destroyed it, passing through to the SPARTAN's helmet. It bounced off the shield with a ping then a crack as the SPARTAN's shield failed and he was forced to duck down as the other two continued to fire.

Another plasma round sailed just inches away from another SPARTAN's head, and he ducked down as well.

The final SPARTAN ducked, not getting a clear shot at the sniper, and was eager to join her squad rather than risk her life just to eliminate one sniper.

'Why didg trenches?' One asked 'Surely the Covenant could charge us and wipe us out in a close quarters battle rather than having this stalemate'

Another re-fitted another scope to his shattered sniper rifle, and said 'Brass says they're looking for something' He said as the scope inserted with a click and he hefted the Rifle.

'What?' Leanne asked, and Regi, the one with the busted scope, said again 'Who knows. But its always religious with these bastards' He said, motioning with his rifle.

Their leader, Dean, cleaning a knife on the shoulder pad of his SPI armour, said 'well, that's why we're here. We're assisting in retrieving a pinned down battalion of Marines near the cliff' He re-sheathed the knife and continued: 'We will be going with an ODST and a Marine, to review their numbers, while rescuing the battalion'

'An ODST?' Leanne asked, an air of challenge in her voice as well as scrutiny 'I know how the ODST's feel about SPARTANS, but the Marine and the ODST have to sneak past a Covenant command post filled with Grunts, Jackals, Brutes, and Hunters' Dean said and The SPARTANS looked at each other, then they composed themselves as Dean said 'Come on. we have an appointment with the Colonel'

They walked along the trenches, the odd explosion making them seek cover, but they managed to walk down the lengths without seeing many Marines.

A body bag raced past them and past a line of Marines that ran along side the SPARTANS then pulled away.

More Marines were dotted around the trenches, obviously they were reaching the heart of the UNSC's presence.

The low lying sun was casting streaks of red over the SPARTANS as they walked past the remains of the Officers dug-out.

Dean walked up to an LT that was helping a group of MP's search through the debris.

'Lieutenant, sir' All the SPARTANS snapped to attention, and the LT looked at them, his face covered with streaks of grime, and he said to them 'Ah, SPARTAN team Omega i presume?' The SPARTANS held out a hand, and the LT handed them each long pieces of 2x4's that had been blasted apart by the explosion 'Put those somewhere would ya?' Then went back to work.

'Uh, Sir?' Leanne said as she discarded the 2x4. The LT once again looked at them 'Yes?' He said, raising his eyebrows, but keeping one eye on the debris. 'We're looking for Colonel Harvey Geleer? we have to speak with him regarding...' They never got a chance to finish as the LT cut them off 'The Colonel is dead, leaving Lieutenant Colonel Williamson in charge. And as to the mission, you want a Sergeant George and a Corporal Leeroy He picked up a leg that was clad in the standard olive drab of the UNSC Marines, and handed it to the MP, who in turn put it in a passing Body Bag. 'They were here a few minutes ago, but now they're probably in the armoury now gearing up for their mission' The SPARTANS nodded and walked away towards the armoury as the LT went back to digging through the wreckage.

Regi looked at Leanne and said 'Is it wise for us to be grouped with a Marine AND an ODST? They'll just be baggage' Leanne's reflective visor moved towards him, and she said to him 'You know why we're really here. Dean doesn't know, but we do' Regi saw his helmet reflected in her visor, and he asked her 'Why ARE we really here? I know it's to do with that oil rig, but ONI's being very Hush-Hush a bout the whole thing' Leanne sighed, and said to Dean 'How long before we reach the armoury?'

Dean glanced over his shoulder 'About a minute' They continued walking through the Ice Trench, and eventually reached the armoury.

Nearly 30 Marines were standing outside huddling together shivering under their blankets, and as they walked inside, they got some hostile glances from some of the Marines. Obviously they didnt like it that their SPI armour was heated.

They walked down a ramp, passing rows of HE Pistols, BR55 Battle Rifles, MA5C Assault Rifles, and shelves upon shelves of Sniper Rifles.

The SPARTANS took a minute to gear up, taking ammo, new weapons and other equipment, and passed into a round room where at least another 30 Marines were cleaning weapons.

One was clad in the standard Marine uniform, and another was clad in the trademark Helljumper armour, only he was missing his helmet, and he was sharpening a knife on the icy bench, digging into the ice, but also the rock-hard Ice sharpening the knife.

The ODST's eyes never left the trio of SPARTANS as they made their way over to George and Leeroy, his eyes becoming two small slits set in his head. His look was a mix of hatred and shock, seeing the SPARTANS there.

The trio of super-soldiers sat on the bench next to Leeroy, the ODST still staring at them. Regi's adrenaline spiked as he became annoyed by the ODST's constant staring, and the constant scrape, scrape of the knife on the ice.

He got up, dropping his Sniper Rifle that landed and skidded across the floor.

'I'm sorry' He said to the ODST, still sharpening a knife 'But if you have a problem we can go right now' He balled his fists, and the ODST smirked, sharpened the knife once again and re-sheathed it his smirk becoming a smile, and he stood up. The SPARTAN was short, about as high as the ODST, and the ODST's face was reflected on the SPARTANS SPI Visor.

'Listen son' The ODST put emphasis on the worn Son, and spat it at the SPARTAN like it was the worst word he could think of, and it seemed to have gotten a result, as the SPARTAN seemed to have recoiled 'I could think of about 4 ways to take you down right now, from stabbing you in the gut, to smashing you through the bench' He held up a finger to the SPARTANS visor 'And, quite frankly, the only thing stopping me is that the 30 Marines in here would probably stop me'

At this time, all eyes were on the SPARTAN and ODST as they confronted each other, but they were stunned by the confrontation and that was the only thing stopping them from intervening.

The ODST was about to sit back down, but the SPARTAN grabbed him by the neck, picking him up at least 5 feet off the ground. The ODST sputtered and Choked, but soon composed himself as the armour clad soldier said 'I don't have to take smack from you, as i could snap you right now like a toothpick. The only thing stopping ME is the fact that you two and us' He motioned both to the SPARTANS and Leeroy 'are about to go on the same mission' He dropped the ODST, wo looked about ready to punch the SPARTAN in the face, but his fist was grabbed by Dean, who pushed Regi away.

After a few minutes, Dean said to them: 'Listen, we all know this is going to be hard enough with the Covenant trying to kill us' He turned towards Regi, leaning towards him 'But this is not gonna work if YOU two keep trying to kill each other' He turned towards the ODST 'Now pack up, make up, and shut up!' He put down his hands, but was still glaring at both of them.

'We're going on the same mission?' Leeroy finally asked, and the SPARTANS nodded. 'Oh great!' He sighed.

'Well lets face it' Leanne said 'A Marine and an ODST against an army of Covenant with no fire support or backup? Yeah, i think you'll need us' She was cleaning and inspecting her Sniper Rifle.

'Well' the ODST finally managed 'If we're gonna be working together, we might as well get to know one another'

'Hold on' Regi said 'Just a minute ago you was talking about how many ways you could kill me'

'Times change' George said with a wry smile, and went back to cleaning his weapons. Regi just gave a frustrated sigh, and sat back down with the SPARTANS.

Explosions and screams filled the armoury, and they all instantly snapped to attention and grabbed weapons, running outside.

Another explosion, and gunfire.

'The Covenant are charging us' Leanne said.

All around them Marines were rushing around, shouting orders and jumping on the wooden benches to get a clear shot over the trench wall. A marine was shot through and through by a plasma round, that sailed through his head knocking his helmet clean off. Another was hit by a plasma grenade, and in one desperate act, climbed over the trench and jumped. The grenade exploded.

George rushed past the SPARTAN's, hefting a Shotgun and a Sniper rifle. He climbed up on the bench, and went to work, shooting into the horde of Covenant. He shot a Brute and the armour cracked and fell off, allowing Leanne to shoot it in the face with a BR55 Battle rifle.

The SPARTANS joined the ODST on the bench, followed by the Marine, Leeroy.

George switched to his Sniper, and fired a single shot, capping two Brutes and a Jackal. A Hunter lumbered into veiw, charged its gun and launched a stream of green plasma at the group, forcing them to duck. The plasma hit the boundary of the trench and melted the snow, throwing the 5 of them back into the opposite wall.

They quickly composed themselves and ran back into their original positions, and fired at a grunt hefting a fuel rod gun. The gun flared and two rounds were sent into the sky, and a third hit an Brute clad in golden armour hefting a Gravity Hammer.

The Covenant finally retreated as the sun set on the icy horizon and the obsidian blackness of the night set in. All were tired and all were running low on ammo, but George, Lerroy, Leanne, Regi, and Dean still had a mission to do, and they were going to do it.

CHAPTER THREE

Night fell quickly over the Pole. It was just 7 minutes ago that the Covenant had tried to rush the UNSC's lines, and now everything was Jet Black, like Death was settling over the icy valley.

As the 5 UNSC soldiers walked along the trench lines, hoping to find a blind side to the Jackal Snipers, they saw funeral Pyres, small crosses, and even Jewish stars on the walls along with pictures of the soldiers that had died. There were too many names.

George glanced at one; a picture of a young woman, around 26 with shorn Auburn hair and freckles around the nose, then she was out of sight as the three SPARTANS ran relentlessly along the trench, followed by Leeroy.

The SPARTANS stopped and one poked his head over the wall for ten whole seconds, but nothing happened.

He turned to the other 4 and said 'Alright, i think we've reached a blind side. The Covenant are sending up flares every minute, and we're doing the same to illuminate any soldiers trying to sneak over'

Leanne was cleaning her rifle; a sturdy BR55 with a shoulder grip to reduce recoil 'What if we get caught?' she asked, and Dean said 'We wont. There are so many dead bodies out there that 5 more wont make any difference'

George slammed a magazine full of armour piercing rounds into his AR 'What if we cant make it past their Trenches?'

'If we can't we'll use you as a meat shield ok?' George couldn't suppress a faint smile at the corner of his lips.

'Lets go' Dean said, and he clambered over the wall and into No Mans Land.

He whistled slightly, and Leanne was the next to go, then regi, then Leeroy. George was about to go up when someone grabbed his shoulder. He had allowed a UNSC Marine to sneak up on him. Worse, he had snuck up on them while the SPARTANS were there.

'Good luck' The voice said, and he placed a card in his hand, and ran.

George looked at it, and it was a key-card to unlock something, but it didn't look Human or Covenant.

He clambered over the Trench wall and joined the others in No Mans Land, stuffing the card into the munitions sack on his Armour.

The five of them skulked along the lines, past the rows of Dead Covenant, and edging ever closer to the Covenants Lines.

A flare as bright as the Sun flared from somewhere behind them, and they all crashed to the floor.

The flare sunk low to the ground and was extinguished.

They got up again, sprinting towards the Covenants Lines, Sticking low to the snow to somewhat mask their thermal signatures. Two bright Purple lights watched them, and George realized it was a Jackal sniper.

Three silenced pistol rounds and the jackal fell over, impacting the sand with a dull thump and sending up powdered snow around it.

George could see the lights, glowing purple, of the enemy lines.

George could swear the whole thing was shimmering, and, just as an experiment, he shot a single round, and it deflected against a shield, that glowed a bright blue around the bullet.

'Crap' Leeror cursed 'Its shielded'

'The Longswords won't be able to penetrate that shield' Leanne said 'What do we do?'

'We need to take out the shield generator, that will give the Longswords a chance' Regi said to them, and George said 'what about the mission?

'there'll be time for that later

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