== Chapter 1: Guns blazing! ==
Arnout gazed through his binoculars, and marked the cannibals looming around the target building, to make Gerard's job easier. "Angel." The radio came to life. "We've got Harvesters incoming. Make it snappy." Arnout gave Gerard his binoculars back. "Copy. Maintain radio silence as much as possible." He signalled with his hands to Gerard, who took up position by a window, while Arnout took up position by the exit downstairs. "Three, two, one, go!"
The team didn't bother with standard Alliance kit, and Arnout was no different. "Quality rules!" Arnout thought to himself, and nothing said quality more than Turian-made weapons, as he pulled out his Phaeston assault rifle. "What is good enough for the Turian rank-and-file will certainly be good enough for me." Arnout permitted himself a second thought about something else than his objective.
Gerard banged off three headshots with his N7 Valiant sniper rifle. Arnout was standing at the ready with his rifle in his gloved hands, with its high calibre barrel and enlarged thermal clip. Before the corpses had even hit the ground, Arnout stormed out the door, across the street, into the building they had been observing, mere milliseconds before the front of their hideout disintegrated from hostile fire.
From the other team came another radio message: "Angel, thirty seconds before six worm-necks are on us, and we've only got one of those Hydra Missile Launchers left. Make it happen!" Arnout ignored the message, and ran into the hallway of his target building, where he spotted several Husks coming down the stairs, the same stairs he had to go up. Without even bothering to aim, Arnout pointed his Phaeston at the Husks, and pulled the trigger. A two second burst of Arnout's explosive rounds made short work of the Husks.
Skipping over the smouldering remains of the Husks and running up the stairs, Arnout ejected and replaced his thermal clip. With his adrenaline painfully high, he burst into the room where the resistance HQ had been.
Two Cannibals where waiting for him, but Arnout didn't stop to take aim. Racing past the first Cannibal, Arnout's rifle spit bullets, slicing the Cannibal in half. Feeling rounds hit his shields; Arnout slightly adjusted his course, now heading straight for the second Cannibal.
It apparently realised what was coming as it tried to dodge Arnout, but he let go of his rifle with his right hand, and raised it. On his command, a red-hot ceramic blade formed from his omnitool, and Arnout smashed the blade through the creature's head, killing it instantly.
Catching his breath, Arnout looked around the room, and located his objective; a resistance data cache. Next to the cache where the unarmoured and unshielded bodies of three farmers. The only equipment they had where some cheap Volus knockoffs of "real" weapons.
Arnout saluted the killed resistance fighters, his face grim behind his visor, but didn't hesitate to take their heatsinks to replenish his supplies.
After his omnitool finished downloading the data, Arnout picked up his rifle again, and exited the room. Taking a peek down the stairs, Arnout saw a couple of Cannibals standing by the door.
Carefully taking aim, Arnout fired his concussive shot, knocking the Cannibals to the ground, and then sprayed them with bullets.
"Angel, we took out two of the Harvesters before they could land, but now we've got a Banshee on our ass. We need to get to the damn shuttle!" Arnout could hear the wail of the Banshee in the background. "Acknowledged. Mecha, cover their retreat, I'll take up position near the extraction point. The shuttle should be en route, E.T.A. ten minutes. RUN!"
As Arnout stepped out the door, a few rounds hit his shields. He quickly found cover behind a burned out car. Arnout swore to himself. "I'll just have to run for it."
Getting up, Arnout began sprinting down the street, keeping an eye on his shields, finding cover when they were low, killing Husk and Cannibals left and right as he ran by.
Arnout ran down the street, took a right and ran down another street, until he reached the town's main square, which was big enough for a shuttle to land.
He headed for a building with a good vantage point, which had been cleared just after they had landed. Heading up to the roof, Arnout pulled out his M-90 Indra, the only full automatic military sniper rifle in the galaxy.
The team had left a weapons cache on the roof, so Arnout had more than enough firepower at his disposal to cover the retreat of this team. "Angel at RV. Shuttle should be three minutes out." "That's good. We are getting closer!" Gerard answered. Arnout’s helmet display told him that the gunfire was indeed drawing closer.
Gerard was the first to round the corner to the square, with just one and a half minute to spare. He was holding his M-11 Wraith shotgun, and found cover behind a garbage bin just as half a dozen Cannibals appeared in the street. Arnout emptied his Indra at them, killing four. "Two left. Make them shots count." Gerard cloaked, got up from behind the garbage bins and emptied his shotgun before his cloak deactivated.
Arnout radioed Gerard. "Nice way to break in some shiny, new, very pricy equipment, is it not?"
"O, zip it. I got shot in the arm. Even after the medigel, it hurts like hell every time I shoot."
"I see. Get up here. The others will need support very soon."
Barely thirty seconds later, Arnout had exchanged his Phaeston for a Krogan made Striker Assault Rifle, a fully automatic grenade launcher, made by, and for, the biggest and physically strongest race in the known galaxy. Gerard had taken up position on the roof's edge, carefully laying down his rifle, ready to provide cover fire. Arnout had just joined him, not really bothering with carefully positioning his grenade launcher, when Mikey came running onto the square. "They are on our heels. Get ready."
Behind him, Rashid and Lars were trying to slow the tide of Reaper forces pouring onto the square. Rashid signalled Lars to buy him time to build up biotic power. Lars, in response, spun round, shouldered his Revenant light machinegun, produced a deafening roar, and emptied his rifle into the oncoming tide of enemies. Husks, Cannibals, Marauders and a Brute where ripped apart by Lars's explosive rounds.
You could see a shimmering around Rashid as he gathered biotic energy. Calmly walking out of Lars's shadow, Rashid raised his hand, the palm outward to the reaper forces. As he closed his hand, a huge singularity appeared, effectively blocking access to the square.
Rashid collapsed from fatigue. Lars was prepared, and caught Rashid as he ran by, heading towards the rendezvous building. Surprisingly long lasting, the singularity sucked in several Husks and Cannibals, and allowed Rashid and Lars to safely get to cover.
When they got to the roof, Arnout was franticly trying to contact the shuttle. "Max! Max! Come in! Come in, Flyboy! You're late, and we need extraction now!" Nothing but static came back to Arnout. Swearing, Arnout looked at Rashid. "Rashid, find a way off this roof. We'll hold position."
Rashid, lying on his back, panting for breath, trying to regain some strength, shook his head. "Dude, I just laid down the biggest singularity of my life, the third of today. I am not an Asari. Give me a break, would you?" Arnout flipped Rashid the finger, picked up his Striker and joined the rest of his team.
Gerard looked up from his firing position. Arnout gave him a nod, so Gerard got up to secure their fall-back route. "Err, guys? I think we got lucky." Gerard pointed to a small dot high in the sky. "Yep. It's an Alliance Shuttle!" He said, looking through the scope of his weapon. At that moment, their radios came to life. "Alliance N7 Special Ops team Gamma Three Six, ETA one more minute. Hang in there!"
Over the course of their last minute on the ground, Arnout and his comrades depleted their entire stack of heatsinks, killing dozens of Reaper troops. The shuttle pilot was obviously experienced, as he didn't try to land on the roof, but hovered at the back of the building, with just centimetres between the shuttle and the edge of the roof.
Lars helped Rashid up, while the others covered the retreat. Mikey had picked up Arnout's Phaeston, so Arnout could still use the Striker. Arnout fired his last Striker grenades off the edge of the roof, and started running towards the shuttle. He leaped over the hole in the roof where the stairs were and dropped his last pineapple grenades down the stairs. Before Arnout reached the shuttle, a plume of dust and the howling of Husks was his reward.