Chapter 17

            There is no time to do anything, after everything we did, everything we planned the Brotherhood has been a step ahead the entire time.  Everyone is going to die; we exit Nevada’s in time to see the first set of Stalkers hovering over Haven.  Only Velvet’s Company has remained at their post.  Brotherhood troopers begin to jump down into Haven the attack had begun.  We watch helplessly as an anti armor rocket blazes through the night air and slams into one of the stalkers sending it crashing down into the streets of haven.  The streets are ablaze with the wreckage of the stalker smoke begins to fill the night air.  Small arms fire can be heard throughout Haven as everyone tries to defend themselves.

            Rounds begin to bounce off the walls of Nevada’s place as a squad of troopers has located Fiona and me.  Firing off a couple of rounds I take cover behind a small brick wall.  Turning I see Fiona firing as she dives back into the building, “Are you hit.” I hear Fiona yell.

            “No, you?” I yell in response.

            “I’m good.” Fiona yells firing a barrage into the advancing squad.  One of the Troopers is hit square in the chest and falls to the ground, leaving us with five to fight off.  The others quickly seek cover behind anything they can find.  I manage to fire my last shot off landing it straight into the thigh of a Trooper. I watch as two more troopers move from there cover to rescue the wounded man.  Fiona takes the opportunity to drop one more.  The remaining trooper manages to drag the wounded man behind cover.  There is nothing I can do but keep my head down and remain behind the wall as rounds fly overhead.

            “I am out of ammo.” I yell.

            “I will cover you; make for one of the weapons on the ground.” Fiona yells, “Ready, go.” Fiona begins to fire rounds suppressing the three remaining troopers.  As I sprint for the weapon I feel a sting and burn pass through my shoulder.  As I twist to the ground I know that I’ve been hit.  Dragging myself to cover I yell back at Fiona.

            “I’m hit, it’s not bad.”

            “Damn, I am almost out of ammo.” Fiona yells, “Sit tight I am coming to you.”  As Fiona exits the building I watch as one of the troopers lines Fiona up for s shot. 

            “Fiona gets down.” I yell.  The trooper falls to the ground in a spray of blood.  Searching for the shot I can make out the figure of Theodore in the distance.  He didn’t follow my orders to head to Seaton, all I can say is I am glad he didn’t.  Theodore quickly picks off the remaining two troopers and then makes his way into the mansion seeking a better vantage point.  Using the chance I pick up a weapon and all the ammo I can carry, “Fiona let me see you wound.” Fiona says.

            “I will be fine.” I say.

            “Shut up and cover me while I look.” Fiona says checking my wound, “It went straight through, doesn’t look like it hit anything important.  You are one lucky bastard.”

            “I guess Theodore wasn’t joking when he said he can shot.” I say, “Remind me to thank him later.”

            Fiona rummages through one of the troopers bodies and removes a small case, “sit still this is going to sting.”  Apply a powder to my wound sting was an understatement.  It down right burns, “The powder will stop the bleeding.”  Once she is done with that we start to head into Haven.  We have to get as many people out as possible.  Heading into Haven there are firefights all around us, the people are doing their best to defend against the attack.  Not surprisingly Velvet’s Sector is managing to hold against the Brotherhood.  From what we can tell Sector one has already been overrun, Theodore and a few others are managing to hold the Brotherhood off from entering the building, “We should head to Sector three, they might actually have a shot at holding, we need as much firepower there as possible.” Fiona says.

            “We should move through the other sectors, get everyone that can to fall back the three.” I say.

            “Ok, let’s move then.” Fiona says.  Heading down into Sector five it is clear that the fighting for the most part is over here.  This is clearly where the Brotherhood made their push up to one.  Using the buildings as cover we manage to sneak by several groups of troopers before we are spotted.  All at once hell breaks loose; we manage to take cover behind one of the makeshift barricades before we are cut down by fire, “Damn it we are trapped.” Fiona says returning a volley of rounds.

            “We have to figure out something.” I say, “We’re dead if we stay here.”  As the troopers advance on us we exchange fire.  There is no escape in moments they will have us surrounded.  Out of nowhere an anti armor rockets sails past and blows back a group of the Troopers.  Behind us a group of about seven Haven fighters are making their way to us.

“Sir, we have you covered fall back to us.” Anderson yells my mind flashes back to the other day when I addressed him and the other squad commanders.  He was ready to fight to the death then and it is clear his is still ready to do just that.  Under the cover of Anderson and what his squad we manage to fall in on them.  One of his fighters is busy placing a claymore amongst the rubble of a house.  As he sets the detonator a round catches him in the head sending him back against a wall and down to the ground dead.  Without thinking Fiona darts from her cover and finishes setting the claymore, all I can do is provide her cover fire.  Once the claymore is set we fall back a bit drawing in the Troopers.  In an instant there is a loud explosion and a group of troopers lay strewn about the rubble mangled remains of the men they use to be.  Two more of our numbers fall to gunfire.

“We have to fall back to Sector three.” I say.  I and the remaining fighters manage to fall back to Sector four, troopers are everywhere.

“Sir, we will cover you get to Sector three.” Anderson says, “We will hold as long as we can.”  Heading towards sector three I turn to watch as Anderson takes two rounds to the chest and slumps the ground.  We keep moving we have to get to three, as of right now it is our best bet.  I turn back the mansion now in the distance; Theodore is still holding sector one.  Theodore sits perched in a window picking off any trooper who attempts to approach the entrance of the mansion.  Watching as trooper after trooper tries to rush the mansion only to be cut down, tired and out of breath.  Theodore is the only line of defense Velvet currently has.  He needs only to hold a little longer, once we arrive in three we can try to fight away way through to the mansion.  Suddenly one of the remaining stalkers approaches the mansion.  There is nothing I can do; the stalker fires several missiles into the window.  My gut is in my throat as I stand helplessly looking into the hole that was once a window, a window where Theodore was, where know there is nothing but a smoking ruin.  We have to move quickly, it is only a matter of time before troopers swam the mansion, before they find Velvet helplessly lying in bed.

“We have to go back for Velvet.” Fiona says, “We can’t leave her.”

            “We can’t go back.” I say, “Not yet, we would be dead before we set foot in the mansion.”

            “We can’t.” Fiona says.

            “I don’t like the idea of leaving her either, but we don’t have a choice.” I say. 

The streets of Haven are almost empty at this point most of the troopers are either converging on sector one or fighting in three.  Approaching three the fighting in the area is intense.  The bodies of the dead are everywhere, both sides have taken heave loses.  As of right now there is no way of knowing how many people we have left.  Fiona and I will have to fight out way through the enemy lines into ours.  Neither of us likes the idea, but it is the only choice we have.  Using the fighting to our advantage we move undetected behind a squad of troopers, “Riley take up position across the street behind that building.” Fiona says, “Once I toss this grenade open up on anyone left standing.”  Moving across the street I am careful not to bring any attention to myself.  The building is typical to those constructed in Haven.  Rusted sheets of metal welded together preventing air from entering.  Unfortunately due to the fighting this one has seen better days.  Once in position I look back to Fiona and nod.  I watch as she pulls the pin from the grenade and gives it a toss.  As soon as I feel the shock wave pass I turn and open fire.  My rounds tare through the troopers as they try to move there wounded to safety.  There is nothing they can do, in moments they are all down.  Fiona and I move to their position restocking on ammo.  Grabbing a pack off one of the dead troopers I stuff is with first aid kits and ammo.  Once full I toss it to Fiona and do the same for myself. 

The stalkers have taken to strafing runs throughout sector three.  There is nothing we can do as they rain down a constant barrage of fire upon the fighters holding three.  With each run they blast apart the buildings and barricades.  Each run brings those defending three closer to death, “Damn it if those stalkers are tarring three apart.” I say, “We need to do something.”

“If we can take out one of the stalkers they will pull them back, they won’t want to risk losing the last one.” Fiona says.

“We need an anti armor rocket.” I say, “Where was the last one.” 

“Back in the mansion.” Fiona says as a rocket slams into the stalker sending it out of control and into the ground outside of Haven.  Standing in the blown out window is Theodore, beat up, but alive, “That is one tough old bastard.”  As soon as he appeared Theodore disappears back into the darkness of the mansion.  Fiona was right with the loss of the second stalker the third pulls back, “Ok we need to keep pushing towards our guys.” Fiona says.  Moving through the streets we manage get within a few hundred feet of our lines.  Moving in a small group has allowed us to remain undetected.  However, we are going to need to expose ourselves to make out lines, which I am not too keen on, especially since I got shot the last time I tried to make a run for it.

“Any ideas?” I ask.

“We start shooting, once exposed all we can do is hope that our guys will be able to cover us while the troopers try to fight on two sides.” Fiona says, “then we run for it.”  Taking cover behind one of the barricades we prepare for engage.  Lining up my first shot I fire into the back of one of the troopers and continue to squeeze the trigger several more times before the troopers are able to react.  Fiona fires relentlessly trying to keep the troopers suppressed.  We keep firing waiting for our guys to notice we are here.  The troopers desperately take cover as they take fire from two sides.  It doesn’t take long for both sides to realize we are out there.  As the troopers try to move people out to flank us the fighters shift to suppressing them, “Ok here we go.” Fiona says as she takes to running towards our lines, without hesitation I follow.  Rounds fly past us in all directions and by some miracle we manage to make out guys without being hit.  Climbing over the barricades it is clear they have been hit hard; bodies are everywhere, but they are holding.  Everyone stares directly at us, “Man are we glad to see you two.” One of the fighters says, “We didn’t think anyone was left alive out there.”

“Well it wasn’t that easy to get here.” I say, “How are things going here?” I ask.

“We are holding, but I don’t know for how much longer.  Squad Commander Stevens can fill you in on all the details.”

 “Thank you, keep up the good work, sector three is all we have left.” I say, “We have to hold or die trying.” Following the instruction of Velvet have collapsed there lines to tighten their defense.  They have also turned one of the houses into a command center.  Velvet would be proud.  Entering the building Stevens calls everyone to attention, “It's ok, you don’t have to do that anymore.” I say, “What is the situation?”

“Well things are rough, once the attack started everyone that could fell back on us.” Steven says, “We have also been scavenging as much weapons and ammo as possible.”

“How many men do you have? Fiona asks.

“Two hundred and fifty was the last count, but who knows at this point.” Steven says, it has been nonstop since it started.”

“We need to get Velvet and Chris out of the mansion, do you think your men could push to the mansion?” I say.

“We would have a better chance of surviving the radioactive zone in the nude.” Steven says, “But we will sure as hell give it all we got.”

“Fiona, what do you think.” I ask.

“Our best bet would be to use the push as a distraction while a smaller team moves in from behind.” Fiona says.

“Ok, I will take five men around the back while you take command here.” I say.

“No, I am better at moving silently then you, you need to lead.  Seeing you out there will inspire the men.” Fiona says, “Trust me.”

As much as I don’t like the idea of Fiona going off without me, she is right, “Ok, be careful.” I say, “Steven I need five of your best men.”

As Stevens leaves to round up the men for Fiona’s mission we stand silently in the room.  My hand finds hers, “Don’t do anything stupid, get them and get back.”

Placing her hand on my mask she stares into my eyes, “Don’t worry, for this first time in my life I have someone to come back to.” Fiona says.  There is so much I want to say, but as Fiona heads off I fear this may have been the last time I will have feel her touch again.  However, there is no time for thoughts of this matter, I have to do my part.  Fiona is counting on us to give them one hell of a fight, it is time we bring hit back,

“Stevens are your men ready.” I say.

            “We are ready to fight straight through the gates of hell if we have to.” Stevens says.

            “Good.” I say looking towards the enemy, “Cause that is exactly what we are going to do.”  My life has changed, weeks ago I was nothing but a kid trying to survive, now I am man who is fighting for the very survival of his home, “Stevens pull your men back to this point.” I say pointing out an area around several buildings, “Once we are assembled we charge the enemy.”

            “Understood .” Stevens says.  The sun is rising now, rising on a new day in Haven.  Once everyone is in place I take cover at the base of the barricade.  Fighters atop continue the exchange of rounds.  We have forfeited most of three creating a tight parameter a few hundred feet around, “Everyone, today we fight for our freedom, this is out last stand, and tomorrow brings only one of two things, death or a new life." I say, “Give them hell boys.” Climbing over the barricade all eyes are on me, as I climb over the barricade I don’t look back, there is no need to I know all of Haven follows.

The End

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