“Ready?” Paige asked her marines as they stacked up on the door.
“Yes ma’am,” they replied as Corporal Mathias used the stolen enemy Omnitool to bypass the door’s locks.
“Let’s move,” Paige ordered and Mathias triggered the door controls, the Marines rushing through and clearing their sectors of any enemy combatants before pausing to allow the rest of the marines and sailors to catch up.
“Engine room is towards the aft,” Mathias reported as he looked through the Batarian’s Omnitool. “Expect heavy resistance towards both it and the bridge as we move forward.”
“And where is the bridge located?” Paige asked her marine.
“In the center of the ship,” Mathias reported. “Seems they wanted it away from any potential enemy fire. The secondary C&C is located opposite the engine room, and will likely be fairly easy to seize”
“Fireteam Alpha,” Paige indicated a group of six marines. “You’re heading to the engine room, take some of the sailors with you, you might need their expertise.” She then looked at the remainder of the group as the designated marines and sailors began to move toward the engine room. “Bravo, you’re with me, we’re moving to the bridge. Charlie, I’m afraid that I’m splitting you up, I want half of you to head to the secondary command and control center, while the rest of you sailors and marines hold down the shuttle bay. In the event that everything goes sideways, we’ll need a speedy getaway”
The groups began to split up, and the marines and sailors that were to hold the shuttle bay began to pull some of the wreckage left from the destroyed shuttles into the main corridor to use as barricades.
The Batarians, meanwhile, were not idle. While the remaining crew members of the Manassas were spread throughout the Hegemon’s Fist, the Batarians were arming themselves, with Grand Admiral Orosk having authorized heavy weapons based on the small amounts of intel that they had received on these Commonwealth savages.
“Commander Daccachar,” Grand Admiral Orosk greeted the SIU commander that was in command of the special forces aboard his dreadnaught. “I suppose you have a plan to deal with the boarders?”
“Yes, Grand Admiral,” Daccachar replied. “We’ve moved some of the spares that we had available for the shuttle's main guns to the corridors outside of the bridge. We’ll be able to operate them as long as the power sources we rigged up are working. We also have distributed some of our heavier weapons throughout the teams that I have on board. If the enemy comes, we’ll be able to deal with them.”
“I’ll leave it in your capable hands then, Commander,” Orosk said as he turned to see the sniveling coward of a captain finally waking up. “Now, as for what is to be done with you,” Orosk said as he hefted the younger Batarian up and threw him up against a bulkhead. “I ought to have you killed for your cowardice, but I believe that I have another use for you. Daccachar,” Orosk called out the name of the SIU commander. “Send him out first,” Orosk ordered. “I do not want him to come back even when we win.”
“Yes sir,” Daccachar grinned savagely. “I’m certain that something can be arranged.”
“Moving up,” Mathias said to Colonel Paige and the rest of Fireteam Bravo as he peered around the corning and down the corridor. “I can see some sort of barricade set up near the bridge, we can try to divert, but there are only two entrances, and the odds are that they’re both heavily defended.”
“We push up,” Paige said as she did a rough count of her grenades. “I’m not sure what they have to use against us, but we don’t have time to waste. They’ll be sending in reinforcements from the other ships if we take too long.”
“Copy that,” Mathias said as he rounded the corner, a shot from some sort of massive gun carving through his barriers, and caving his chest plate in.
“Mathias is down, I’m using grenades and suppressive fire.” the leader of Fireteam Bravo said as he tossed a concussion grenade towards the bridge followed up by a frag.
“Mathias is dead,” the Corpsman reported as he dragged the body of the marine out of the corridor. “Round didn't just penetrate his Mithril, it also ricocheted around in there.”
“Someone grab the omnitool,” Paige ordered as she grit her teeth at the death of another one of her marines. “And get me a visual of exactly what we’re looking at down there.”
“Looks like one of the guns from a shuttle,” the fireteam lead reported. “There are two of ‘em down there and one of them was taken out by my grenades.”
“I’m using the laser,” Paige said as she linked her HUD to the small laser that was built into the shoulder of her suit.
“Copy that,” the fireteam ducked out of the way as the Colonel rounded the corner and melted the enemy guns and the ones firing the shuttle guns.
“Big guns are down,” Paige said as she ducked back into cover. “We should be able to move to the bridge now.”
“Let’s go,” Sergeant Rick Manning ordered his fireteam as they neared the engine room. “Considering we’ve only faced minimal resistance up til now, I believe that they’ve been holding back their people to defend or scuttle the ship should we get too close to taking the engine room,” Manning looked at the sailors with him. “I’m going to need you to prevent that from happening while we take care of the enemy forces.”
“Understood,” SCPO Porter replied. “We’ll take care of it.”
“Breaching!” Manning’s pointman said as he popped the door seals and tossed a flashbang in.
“Man, why do we always get the shit jobs,” Private Gonzales from Fireteam Charlie complained as they made their way toward the secondary C&C. “I mean, we’re experienced, we’ve taken ships before.”
“Contact!” the pointman yelled as a net made out of electricity descended on him and blinded him to the grenades and rockets that were about to impact.
“Perez is gone!” Gonzales said as he shouldered his rifle and began to fire in short controlled bursts. “It looks like they’re protecting the secondary C&C better than predicted.
“We’ll take it,” the Fireteam lead said as she triggered her jump jets just enough to give her a boost as she tackled an enemy Batarian to the ground before stomping on its head and crushing it underneath her boot.
“Oorah!” Gonzales said as he moved forward, dodging in and out of cover to hose the enemies with more bullets. “Get some!”
“Stupid,” Paige muttered as she stepped over a body that was on the bridge. “This thing isn’t going to be able to run this dreadnought for a while.”
“I’ll say,” The Corpsman said with a sigh. “We’re lucky that we only lost half of our guys with the amount of firepower they had concentrated here.”
“I’ve got a live one here,” one of the remaining marines called out. “He’s in some sort of fancy armor or something.”
“You think you have won?” A rasping voice said through the translator. “The Hegemony will soon make this place your tomb. You are deluded if you believe otherwise.”
“HVT?” the Corpsman asked as he looked with scorn at the obvious officer.
“Tag him,” Paige nodded. “And make sure that he stays alive long enough that we can get some useful intel out of him.”
The Corpsman went to treat the Batarian’s injuries, and as he began to go over him, the Batarian’s breathing slowed and then stilled as he expired.
“No dice ma’am,” The Corpsman shook his head. “He’s gone.”
“Let’s move to the secondary,” Paige instructed. “We’ve got control of the critical areas, and it’s not as if they’ll be using this shit show for anything.”
“Aye ma’am,” the marines responded.
“I just hope that we’ve got the rest of the fleet on their way out here to help,” Paige muttered. “Otherwise we’ll have done all of this work for nothing.”