David scrambled up onto the garage wall, trying desperately to escape the beast's clutches. He slid back down in failure, and it threw him into a group of crumbly old boxes. David fired his M6G/E variant of the handgun, and the beast roared in pain. It raised its arms and swung down. David heard a crack, and went limp. He last saw a huge gaping maw encompassing him....
2 DAYS EARLIER, JUNE 22nd, 2560
David awoke startled. His bunk mates looked at him, then said with wide smiles "Happy 100th Day Here !". He lay back again. Life as a survey scout in UCP-1972 Survey Base Gamma was worse than being shot at everyday, which is what he'd rather be doing. He joined the Corps to fight the Remnant Covenant Alliance, the large group of Covenant that had stuck together after the death of Truth. Not be sent to an ice planet for over a year. He sat up, smiled at everyone, and left the barracks. In the long, white hallway several doors down he entered the mess hall, got some scrambled eggs and hash browns from the buffet counter, and sat alone. He sat alone everyday. This far out from the UNSC, and in a survey/Marine base housing only 30 people, it was quite difficult to be ignored. It was like everyone went out of their way to avoid him, except his specific bunk mates, Jared, Phillip, Liz, and Liam. But he had gotten used to it. He ate slow and methodically, and then went to the locker room. He put on his ASC, Arctic Survival Chassis, a robust and efficient survival suit that can allow someone to survive in any environment, and opened the hatch to the outside world. The biting cold struck his nose, forcing him to take a step back. He began his long trek. David marched to the Snow Mongoose and hit the pedal to the metal, accelerating across the snow and ice until he made it to a small, outhouse-like building. He stepped from the vehicle and pressed a small button. The building door opened, and inside was a small, roll-cage elevator. David stepped inside, thumbed the manual button, and was off into the deep, uncharted ice caves under the base.
Liam sat in the armory, cleaning the RAR-144 ICWS's that he forgot about during cleaning detail weeks ago. Now he was stuck jamming a cleaning rod down each of their barrels. Then he heard a noise. "Hello ?" he said, standing up and glancing towards the source. A small MRE bag blew from behind a gun rack. Liam walked to the rack cautiously. His cat Grif jumped out and landed in his arms, licking his cheek. "Darn you Grif..." he said playfully. "Your gonna get found if you don't stay in my room !" he shooed the cat back into the hallway, and waited to see him enter the engineer barracks. Liam grabbed the rifle, finished cleaning it, then tossed it on the gun rack and left the room in darkness.
Jared walked deeper into the ice cave. He was there early, like always. His motto was "Get your work done early and you don't got shit to do later." He pressed the resonance button, sending out a signal to map the cave. Then something roared. He unholstered his M6G/E Variant, checking the magazine. Jared paced forward. He could smell a musty, iron smell. "Iron...?" he thought. "BLOOD !" he screamed, sighting the red liquid as it oozed from a huge beasts claws. Jared fired his pistol as fast as he could. Then he ran. The beast took a few momentous steps, then leapt into the air, and landed on Jared's back. It broke underfoot. The beast roared, and bit down. Jared twitched, then stopped breathing. He was 6 feet from the elevator. The last sound he heard was ding.
David stepped from the elevator, and looked up. His mentor, and almost father-like figure in his time at the base, Jared, was dead on the floor. David unholstered his M6G/E, and attached its scope. He stalked forward, following bloody footsteps. Then he saw it. It was a Calaryth. A huge, gargantuan snow beast, bigger than a Himalayan Yeti. David knelt down, and picked up Jared's pistol. Then he threw his arms up and fired both handguns at once. The Calaryth fell back, its knee caps bursting with blood. It swung its massive arm, and then David fell back too. He was covered in blood. But not his, its was from the hunk of flesh that used to be Jared's arm. David shrieked, and dropped his empty pistols. He ran for the elevator.
Liz wiped down the sloppy table in the mess hall. The stupid Marines had left it covered in corn slop and steak. She hated them, and all violence. She liked being in the caves with David. Then he ran in, almost on queue. He was soaked in blood, and it had frozen to his chest. He collapsed to the floor. Liz grabbed him by the arms and dragged him to the med bay, where she usually worked. She tore off his suit and saw the massive welt. Liz was shocked, his entire chest was frostbitten. She had to act fast.
Phillip loaded his M90 CAWS/Snow Variant and marched into the med bay. David's story was similar to an encounter he himself had years ago. He was afraid. Phillip marched towards the armory, and ran into Liam. He grabbed his shirt. "Can you shoot ?" he said. Liam nodded. "Follow me then." he said, leading to the armory. They suited up in ACS's and set off towards the cave entrance. What they found was wreckage. The elevator had been pushed up from below, and torn to shreds. "The Calaryth's must have followed David's scent. Cock your gun, they have natural camouflage." As Phillip said this, a Calaryth jumped from the shaft and roared at them. Phillip shot first, followed by Liam. The beast roared as buckshot entered his skin, then it kicked Phillip. He grabbed for his chest.
Liam unleashed a volley of shell's at the beast, but was outflanked by Calaryth cubs. He rolled behind a hunk of the broken sheet metal, and prayed for survival.
The ice caverns were silent, only a small moaning sound could be heard. But this was no worry to the Calaryth, who stood over 13 feet high and could easily dent in a Warthog with a single swipe. He stooped over and bit a huge chunk of meat into his mouth, crunching on the bones noisily. Then it roared, grabbed the back of its furry head with its muscly hand, and died. Jared stood over it, his M6G/E Variant's barrel smoking. He could take a hit like a champ.
Liz was overjoyed. The medicine she had given to David rejuvenated him, and most of the visible swelling had disappeared. However, her joy collapsed as she remembered Phillip and Liam. They hadn't radioed in in 3 hours. Liz sat down on the chair, next to a half sleeping David. Then she heard a thump. Then another. Then screeching metal. Liz jumped up when this occured. She was now ecstatic that they were back. Liz ran down the hallway, and opened the hatch. They smelled...musty....
The quadrupedal beast roared forward and took Liz's head off with a single arm swipe. Several weary Marines fired their pistols and MA5 series rifles, hoping to kill it. It pounced on 3, then slashed another. The behemoth walked forward, and several of its cubs entered from behind, mauling those stuck in the hallway. A lucky Marine killed one with his M7 sub machine gun, and fled into the air vents.
David awoke to the smell of smoke and the noise of gunshots. He rolled off the operating table painfully, grabbing his chest. He wasn't frostbitten anymore, but his chest felt as if it was on fire. David reached up for the door knob, and pulled it open and swung himself up simultaneously. He glanced sideways to see Liz's dead body. He was so shocked he couldn't help himself as he wailed in agony. Then he saw the 4 legged beast that had accomplished this dastardly thing. He snarled, and kicked in the armory door across the hall. He grabbed a RAR-144 ICWS, coincidentally the same cleaned by Pablo hours ago. Then David sighted his target, knelt down for any recoil, and pulled the trigger as the crosshairs loomed over the Calaryth mothers brow.
Liam fired his M90 over the metal hunk, killing a cub. The father loomed over, and smacked his gun away. Pablo did a back-flip out of the way as the 13 foot, thousand pound beast almost crushed him. He ran to David's Mongoose, and revved it up. He was about to play chicken with a 13 foot ice beast. And he had the disadvantage.
Jared stepped over the dead animal, and unsheathed his combat knife. He made a large incision along its chest, then began to skin it. Its fowl smell wafted over him, making Jared feel queasy. But he had a plan. A crazy, yet brilliant plan.
A young Marine named Roger was firing his MA5C Assault Rifle when he was mauled by several young cubs. His left leg was torn off, followed by his right arm and head. Another named Stephen was smashed as he attempted to lob a grenade, only for it to bounce back and blow up a column next to him. David himself was being showered in blood and bits of fur as he attempted to keep a small barricade from being overrun. The fact that Calaryth's bred in the thousands deep in the caves made them twice as deadly, as the polar bear-like creatures smashed in the access areas of the base and killed over 17 of the inhabitants in hours. David was a bloody wreck, Liz was beheaded, Jared was supposedly dead with his left arm torn to shreds, Pablo was about to play chicken with a 13 foot snow monster, and Phillip was etching his name in the rock he lay next too. Things could only get better, or worse. Unfortunately, it would be the latter....
Liam glowered at the towering beast, and blazed forward. The Calaryth began sprinting also. Pablo and the beast collided, causing a mini explosion and both of their deaths. Hunks of foul, burning flesh littered the arctic tundra, leaving the cubs a bountiful meal. Phillip stood up and watched as Liam's remains were desecrated and eaten. He yelled. This shocked the cubs, and they fled behind their mother. She roared at him, only to get a stomach full of buck shot. Phillip set the shotgun to semi-automatic and slaughtered the cubs, and anything else that moved. Then he knelt down next to what was once Liam, and wept for his fallen comrade.
Jared wrapped the fur around him, and felt immediate warmth. He dragged himself and his hastily made disguise to the elevator, and was dismayed to find it destroyed. "Shit...what the fuck am I going to do now ?!?" he yelled. He paced back in search of another exit.
David ran. The barricade crumbled behind him, as one by one its Marine defenders fled after him, avoiding the quadruped hunters slaying those who weren't fast enough. He forward rolled into the garage, and drove a Warthog in front of the door. The other Marines were sitting alone, crying together, or, as in one case, committing suicide. "GET YOURSELVES TOGETHER MARINES !" he yelled, and they all scrambled to their feet. "I have a plan to win. We can use the radio in here to call for evac, and we can kill the Calaryth's with that..." As he said this, he pointed to the single, huge M187 Self-Propelled Howitzer that dominated the western side of the garage. Then he took out a grenade and placed it next to the huge explosive shells it fired. And smiled genuinely.
Gregory slumped through the air vent, icy air blowing across his bones, through his coat like if he had no skin. His M7 rattled against the sides of the vent and his chest, leaving an uncomfortable bruise. Gregory pushed forward, looking down through the grates. Calaryth's had clearly won the fight. "GET YOURSELF TOGETHER MARINES !" he heard someone shout, the echo ringing in his ears. he crawled forward faster, he had to find the others. Then he heard a noise from below. And the stomping feet of a charging Calaryth. "Charging what ?" Gregory thought, for 3 seconds as a massive white paw smashed the grate below him, sending him to the floor and in an uncomfortable position. The snow beast turned its head toward him, and made a terrifyingly sick smile. Gregory was in a rut. Behind him:wall. In front of him:A 13 foot, few thousand pound snow beast. Then he remembered he had grenades. "Sorry if I have to leave soon..." he said to the Calaryth, "But I have a present for you." This time Gregory did the evil smiling, and fired the M7 full auto at the animals face, blood flowing from its eyes. Gregory rushed forward, jamming the grenade in its eye socket, and -pulled the pin as he leapt behind it. The explosion showered the hallway and Gregory's back with blood and fur, and several Calaryths sleeping in surrounding hallways awoke and began to chase their newly arrived enemy. Gregory held his machine gun close, and ran for the garage.
David paced across the garage. These men's lives were in his hands. All they had to do was sit back and wait for the ships in orbit to send troops down. But with the massive blizzard outside, it was impossible to know when they would arrive, the radio blocked from transmitting. And the metal door to the inner sections of the base was getting more and more dents in it. "Alright men. We have the choice to wait for them to bust that door down, or we can use this Howitzer to send them packing. The only way we will survive this is if we blow a path through the Calaryths, and get the the landing pad on the other side. Who's with me ?" Several hands shot up. "Alright, those of you who got your balls back, load a shell into the cannon. The rest of you, hide. This is going to get messy." David walked into the back of the massive vehicle, watched the shell be loaded, and sat in the electronic fire control seat. "MOVE PEOPLE !" he shouted, before slamming his fist on the firing button. A noise louder than he had ever heard came from beside him as the massive shell blew a hole in the wall. Dust and debris shot everywhere, and the men who raised their hands ran through the hole, David in tow. The others screamed as the Calryth's who arrived set into them. Gregory was nearly at the garage when the shell blew, throwing him a good 20 feet back down the hall way. A Marine saw him and hoisted him over his shoulder, all the while Gregory firing his weapon at the monstrosities behind him. David set into a sprint, actually jumping into a Calaryth's mouth and pushing off its jaw for a farther jump. The end of the garage got closer and closer as the Calaryth's flooded the area behind him, intent on making them a midnight snack. Then a door slammed open in front of David. It was the largest Calaryth he had ever seen. It was easily more than 13 feet, had to be at least 18. Its claws were the size of rifles, its paw itself as big as a small child. David froze up, and looked forward. And he charged. He wasn't about to let all these men's lives be wasted. He was not forestalling the inevitable for them.
Read the prologue...
David was thrown around by the leviathan, having a bite mark oozing blood faster than a spilled milk carton. "SON OF A BITCH !" he screamed at the 18 foot monster. It stepped forward, the floor cracking under it. The other Marines had made it out of the base, at the landing pad and safe in the auto gun perimeter there. David was alone. And he had a plan. A crazy plan, but a plan no less. He started to walk backwards, faster and faster as the beast walked forward doing the same. Then he turned and ran, fast as hell, the beast slipping in his trails of blood as more and more poured from Davids new wound. Then a ghost from the past arrived, a small side door swinging open and a small Calaryth stepping through. Then he saw the coat slip off and Jared standing there, his left arm practically a skeleton. He held a shotgun and the coat in one hand, and the leviathan of a beast turned and looked at him. Jared fired the shotty, a hunk of fur being blown off the beasts face. It shrugged it off, and Jared managed to throw the coat on its face before a paw swiped him to death. David had a few extra seconds to run to the Howitzer, the beast now charging forward at 50 miles and hour, the ground thundering and splitting. David sat in the electronic fire control seat, and kicked the button. The Calaryth Leviathan was shot back down the garage, a huge explosion rippling out from the Howitzers barrel and the entire garage collapsing. David was buried in rubble and snow. And 3 hours later he was dug out. The reinforcements had made it. All he could do was rub his temples, and smile.
THE END !