This idea has been bugging me forever and I still want to do it, so I will try it. My statements in my other story about Sins of A Galactic Empire being my last story are now false.
I will continue SINS OF A GE without a doubt, but with the time I now have I want to try this story out.
It is somewhat inspired by my original SINS story and Turrasta's epic Defiant.
For the story, I will continue my tradition of making the UNSC more realistically advanced. (I mean it's the 26th century) It wont be drastic and all advances will be based off of real life theories and prototypes.
So here we go. (Yes I have changed some facts, but not drastically, notably that the Outer Colonies are more, outer so to speak.)
UNSC Slipspace drives are more efficient and can go 20 light years a day and UNSC Marine armor is similar to those worn in Halo Reach with the full body armor and helmet.
IMPORTANT! PLEASE READ!
Hey everyone, I decided to make a few retcons after doing some research and suggestions by Turrasta
UNSC Archer Missiles have a yield of approximately 2 megaton per missile
My next edit or retcon would have to be one of the larger changes I could make to the Halo Universe, the MAC gun itself. I have always favored the mid range calcs for UNSC MAC guns in the whole lunacy of Spacbattles forums, as they make the most sense, however having worked them Out I decided to come out with my official take on MAC guns . MAC guns in my take fire smaller sized rounds at velocities that are comparable to realistic calculations. UNSC Frigate sized MACs on Frigates and Destroyers fire a 100 ton slug at 10,000 kilometers a second to deliver a force of 2,350 megatons per shot, still a shit ton. Heavy MACs like on cruisers and the Prophesy fire a 200 ton slug at a little bit over 10,000 kilometers a second with a force of around 4,000 megatons, quite a shit ton.
UNSC Rail gun slugs now are one ton in size and weight and when fired travel at around 7,000 kilometers a second.
October 21st, 2527
Alpha Aurigae System
Location of Colony World Capella
122.2 Light Years from Earth
UNSC Marathon Class Cruiser
The beautiful and serine sky in the Alpha Aurigae system was known for its proximity to several nearby nebulae which gave the system an expansive array of blue and white vistas of the gaseous clouds and made it quite a sight from the surface of the small UNSC Outer Colony world of Capella and its three million colonists.
What they could see above them now was pure hell as explosions of dying ships, fireballs of nuclear weapons, beams of energy weapons and streaks of magnetically accelerated slugs permeated the heavens as humanity desperately tried to hold a bloodthirty alien foe bent on their destruction at bay.
"Come about to heading three eight nine! Deflection negative twenty degrees. Target tango Red Thirteen!" Captain Scott Riley, a man aged forty three years with tanned skin (though looking not a day over thirty), a strong jaw and brown short cropped hair from the Inner Colony of Sigma Octanus all but yelled as the crew members at their consoles frantically held on as the 1,190 meter warship shook with the impact of a trio of lighter plasma pulses and the ship's engines flared white hot while the ship shot around to bring its main weapons to bare on its enemy.
"Armor in sections three and twelve in blocks eight and ten are down to fifty percent and we have hull breaches on decks five and thirteen. Sealing off sections" The young blonde haired man of thirty years named Lieutenant Derrick Ashcroft at the helm called aloud as the Prophecy's class B Fourth Generation Artificial Intelligence, "his" avatar that of a 18th century British Sea Admiral with a classic white wig and a saber in hand, FitzGibben, spoke with little emotion.
"Magnetic Accelerator Cannons One and Two are fully online, with a single 1000 ton heavy round loaded in each MAC and each are at 98 percent charge. Railgun batteries are all operational, however turret number four was knocked out with the last pulse laser barrage. All Archer Fusion Missile Pods are loaded and locking on."
"Range?" Riley asked as he watched yet another UNSC ship winked off of the display.
"Damn the Covenant to hell."
"100,000 Kilometers and closing sir. Target identified as Cruiser class. Target is lighting us up sir." FitzGibben spoke as the klaxon blared again.
"Light 'em up!" he roared as his brown eyes narrowed. "Fire Archer Pods A through F. Salvo Fire Railguns and calculate a time to target impact with MAC number one just before our Railguns hit. Then time our second MAC to hit as our Archer's hit."
"Yes sir!" the Lieutenant at WeapOps, Marcus Elroy, replied as the Prophesy sped past a group of dogfighting Covenant Seraphs and UNSC Longsword Interceptors, some from Prophesy's own squadrons, as their ghostly missile contrails, streams of orange cannon fire and pulses of plasma and directed energy along with the flaming main drives lit up the space along with the explosions of blue balls of exploding plasma cores of dying Seraphs and flaming Longswords tumbling aimlessly through the void as the human Pilots desperately tried to hold the enemy from strafing the UNSC starships.
"Enemy preparing Plasma torpedo! Targets locked in!" Elroy sounded out as FitzGibbon confirmed while he assumed control of the ships array of 50mm Helilical Railcannon CIWS to swat two Seraphs out of the sky that slipped past the fighter screen before they could even attack.
The lateral lines of the 1200 meter bulbous teardrop like alien warship began to coalesce with electric energy as a deadly plasma torpedo which was capable of slicing through UNSC vessels like a hot knife through butter began to form.
One of the Marathon Cruiser's twin heavy class two MAC guns, more powerful versions of the type fitted on Frigates and Destroyers that fired a heavier 200 ton round at 12,000km/sec over the lighter 100 ton variants, flashed with a discharge of countless amounts of energy and electricity as a streaking slug shot forth into the void.
The Covenant Cruiser could not hope to evade as it took just under eight and a half seconds for the slug to impact with countless hundreds of megatons of energy.
The shields of the Covenant Cruiser flashed in its typical grid like pattern as the immense opposing forces tried to overcome each other.
The Covenant's shields won out as the shot was deflected, but the ship was still knocked a mile off course as the Prophesy's twelve dual turreted Heavy Railguns lashed out, sending twenty four 2 ton projectiles at 7,500 kilometers a second.
The streaking white shells left comet like contrails as they too slammed into the powerful shields with a combined force of over two hundred megatons, draining them even more as they flashed in and out of existence.
As hundreds of Archer missiles sped away from the UNSC Cruiser, their enhanced reactive Ion drives quickly accelerating them to hundreds and hundreds of Gees, a Plasma torpedo shot away from the alien ship followed by a dozen blood red heavy pulse lasers.
The lasers cored into the thick 3 meter Titanium A and composite polarized Vandanium battleplating of the Prophesy, melting though up to half the thickness of the plates they struck while one lucky shot turned a CIWS mount into molten slag.
The Archer missiles began to rapidly close the distance as their contrails crossed paths with the rocketing plasma torpedo as missiles began to be felled by the dozens thanks to the alien's pulse lasers switching to less powerful fast tracking firing modes.
Captain Riley watched with a mixture of awe and horror as the glowing orb of death and superheated magnetically contained plasma and gas streaked towards the cruiser.
"Go evasive!" he ordered as Lieutenant Ashcroft spun the ship onto a new heading, its engine cones burned white hot with the effort of moving a 2,500,000 ton warship away from the torpedo, for as much good as the crew and Riley knew it would do.
The torpedo of course adjusted it course.
"How in the hell do they do that?" he thought to himself as he turned to FitzGibbon.
"Launch two Fury Nuclear Missiles. Target the torpedo and detonate at the zero mark."
"Yes sir." The AI answered.
Two Fury Tactical nuclear missiles shot away from the Prophesy with the help of their magnetic launch tubes before streaking away in fiery plumes as they rocketed towards the plasma torpedo, now a scant 20,000 kilometers distant and only seconds away from impact as the Missiles quickly adjusted their course with input from FitzGibbons
At 10,000 kilometers the two missiles and the torpedo neared a scant mile from each other as the missiles detonated.
Two suns of a combined 60 megatons flashed into existence, briefly blinding the EMP hardened sensors of the Marathon before turning into an expanding ball of plasma and gas, the plasma torpedo all but dissipated as its magnetic field was destroyed.
Relief seemed to radiate throughout the bridge as the Archer missiles, their numbers reduced by half by the Covenant's point defense lasers, began to pummel the weakened shields.
Each individual Archer missile carried a fusion based warhead with a directed shaped charge which allowed their payload of two megatons to be directed into a jet of plasma that was capable of slicing through a section of armor plating on all but the toughest ships hulls in one or two hits.
Over one hundred Archers hit the weakened shield of the Covenant Cruiser, covering them with fire as they finally collapsed in a spark of electricity, allowing several dozen to blow huge chunks out of the smooth yet resilient hull.
"Another Plasma torpedo is incoming," FitzGibbons warned before he was cut off by more pulse lasers stitching the Prophesy's hull, several small puffs of air signifying two hull breaches from previously weakened and damaged armor sections.
"Fire MAC number two." Riley ordered as the ship shuddered with more impacts from Pulse lasers and he stole a glance at the battlenet to attain how the battle was going.
The UNSC was driving the Covenant back, but at the cost of a staggering 34 ships to the alien's 30, and the UNSC fleet had outnumbered the Covenant fleet 123 to 67 ships at the start of the battle, two gigantic collections of warships by the UNSC's pre-war standards.
The number two MAC at the bow of the cruiser flashed like its predecessor, sending its deadly payload into the Covenant ship now 90,000 kilometers distant.
The Covenant captain and crew, sensing their doom, fired every last laser and plasma cannon they had as the previously fired plasma torpedo and the streaking shooting star like MAC Slug shot past each other.
The heavy MAC round tore into the alien ship with catastrophic results dead center on its sea creature like bow.
The first 400 meters of the bow simply ceased to be as the cruisers amidships were also torn apart in a cascade of secondary explosions before the aft engine compartment blew out in a jet of plasma.
The running lights and weapons ports that UNSC captains had come to fear grew cold and dark as the remnants of the ship began to tumble through space as it tore itself apart with secondary explosions.
The crew cheered like madmen as Riley allowed himself a smile.
"Second Plasma torpedo has dissipated. We are receiving message from the Flagship."
"Put it on screen." Riley ordered as the large viewscreen at the front of the bridge switched to show the image of Admiral Preston Cole on the bridge of his flagship, one of the new and first of its kind Everest Class Battlecruisers.
The man's worn but defiant features did nothing to hide the intellect and commanding man that wore them. Cole's legendary status in the UNSC had landed him as the commander of the most of the UNSC's fleets in the Outer colonies in the effort to hold the alien menace, not two years old, at bay.
Riley had served under him from day one at the first Battle to Retake Harvest and the Prophesy had been part of the initial Task Force X-Ray when they had engaged a massive 5 kilometer long Covenant Super Dreadnaught which had turned twelve of the forty ships in the task force into melted bits of space debris.
Now his command had been tasked by HIGHCOM to do whatever it took to defeat the Covenant and hold them at bay while the UNSC began to fortify UNSC worlds and turn humanity's titanic industrial might into a warmachine, which it was fast accomplishing.
However that did not mean that Cole's fleet would be successful, already the crew of the Prophesy and the other members of the fleet had watched dozens upon dozens of UNSC ships be sliced open by plasma lances and burned to atoms by plasma torpedoes. Worse still he had seen ten worlds and outposts simply turned to uninhabitable balls of glass.
"How is your squadron holding up?" Cole asked as Riley gave a quick look to the officer manning the Prophesy's complex sensor suite, a woman named Olivia Redding. She quickly pulled up the status of the three ships that had broken off with Riley once the main fleet battle line had split up into battle squadrons, Two of the new Midlothian class Destroyers and a Frigate.
The Frigate Bombay had simply been neatly sliced in two by two plasma torpedoes while one of the Destroyers, the Tribute had been heavily damaged by continuous pulse laser fire from three Covenant Frigates and forced to pull out trailing debris and the occasional lifeless body.
The second destroyer named Thebes was still engaged with alien fighters but had managed to take down a Covenant light destroyer and fight off the alien frigates assailing the Tribute with the help of theProphesy and her Longsword squadron, taking another alien warship and several fighters out in the process and allowing the wounded ship to pull out.
"The Tribute is out of action and is trailing debris and venting atmosphere and Bombay went down with all but 20 of her crew making it to life pods." Riley stated as his heart sank while thinking of those service members families back home.
"Im sorry Riley, they did their duty and you did all you could. The Covenant fleet appears to be backing out, but as we all know they will attack again and in greater numbers." Cole responded in his usual calm and controlled demeanor as the bridge of his ship shook a little from combat.
"What are your orders?" Riley asked as the flight operations informed him that their Longswords were returning to base to re arm and refuel their reactors with coolant as the Prophesy and the Thebes reformed and began to turn back to the colony of Capella as twisted and melted wreckage of UNSC ships and the all but obliterated shells of Covenant ships floated past.
"We are going to reform the battle line at the Planet's fifth Langrage Point ," he said as the viewscreen showed the point of interest and the ships that were assigned. "And we will hold the aliens off as long as we can until the Civilians are evacuated, which should be in about two hours."
As the Marathon Cruiser and its smaller Heavy Destroyer escort came closer and closer to one of the colony's two lifeless moons while the green and blue world began to grow larger in the viewscreen the lights of the fellow surviving UNSC warships began to be seen as they too regrouped to defend the next attack.
The Prophesy and her escort were also forced to shoot down several large pieces of floating debris with their pulse lasers, part of the anti missile and fighter laser defense net that was standard on all UNSC ships and stations and could if used by more than one laser mount burn through the shields on Seraphs and their hulls in around five seconds.
"What is the situation groundside?" Riley asked, sitting back into the captains seat as he did so.
Cole nodded to an aide off camera as he replied with a thoughtful tone.
"Our Marines are holding the forces that the Covenant managed to land at bay, but they are in close quarters combat so we can only provide limited orbital or air support. We need to buy them all the time we can."
He paused before finishing, " I have a plan to do so."
312th MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit)
"Get down!" Corporal Strauss's Sergeant's voice screamed through the Mike inside his air tight helmet as another plasma mortar screamed through the air with the hiss of superheated air towards the Marine's positions amongst the ruins of a apartment complex that ran along a small spillway. Among that spillway were clusters of bombed out buildings which were formally the downtown of the capitol city of the colony with two hundred thousand residents.
Strauss leapt back into cover as heat washed over his position, making him thankful for the sealed helmet all Marines wore along with the heavier tan M-52 BDU the Marines used which covered nearly all of his body and consisted of a thin layer of Titanium A over Scaled Ceramics and Carbon Nano Tubes and had small electric servos powered by fusion batteries that self recharged placed throughout the joints and back that allowed each Marine to have greatly increased strength, making carrying 200 pounds feel like 20, as well as faster running speeds and helping increase each Marine's already impressive stamina.
The plasma made his visor polarize for a second as the earth rocked for a second as burnt and melted chunks of instacrete fell around him.
Cursing the Earth born soldier checked his HUD to see if all of the IFF signals from his squad and the three others present were active.
Thankfully they were.
"Strauss, get the fuck up here and kill these fuckers!" his Sergeant, a fiery woman from the Inner Colonies of African descent ironically named Ludmilla, roared over the mike as the roar of rifle fire picked up again from the rooms next to him and above him as Ludmilla got to her window feet away and fired at the aliens beyond.
Returning to his position he gripped his MA6 and leaned out of the window to see yet another wave of stubby dog like Grunts led by six blue armored 8ft tall reptilian Elites and a Red armored Major Elite brandishing a plasma repeater accompanied by several Jackal Snipers brandishing those strange projectile carbines and two phalanxes worth of shield armed Jackals, all of them outlined in red on his helmet's HUD.
"Like I need something to tell me they want to kill me."
The aliens howled in their awful guttural languages as the grunts ran like a pack of hyenas over the rubble strewn street and past abandoned shells of cars.
Plasma began to come at the Marine's positions like a wave as Strauss, a 23 year old who in his two years of service in Admiral Cole's fleet had probably fought in more battles than most soldiers in modern times, shouldered his rifle and fired at the leading Grunts 100 meters away.
The MA6's electrical charge ignited the advance propellant of the first 8mm round of the twelve stacked end to end in each of the weapon's three barrels affixed in a triangle within the barrel shroud, sending it screaming at 1700 meters a second out of the rifle in a complex electro-thermal-chemical reaction as the propellant turned into a jet of superhot gases.
And directly into the rebreather covered face of a Grunt, removing the alien's head in a spray of blue colored blood.
Clicking the selector to three round burst Strauss stepped out cover, flinching slightly as a plasma bolt struck the window ceil next to his face.
He sighted on a charging Elite minor demo that had one of his squadmates pinned down and fired.
The first trio of rounds made the personal shields of the Elite flash and the reptilian stumble, also stopping its charge and fire on Strauss's fellow marines.
Just as the Elite let out one of its warbling war cries Strauss pulled the trigger two more times in quick succession, knocking the Elite back once more as its shields collapsed with an electrical spark.
The enraged Elite raised its Plasma Repeater and sent a stream of super heated bolts at him, forcing him to spin to the next window as the bolts tore through where he had just been and turning the instacrete wall behind into molten powder.
Quickly returning to a firing position he re-acquired the elite and with yet one more burst as the alien tried to dodge away, sent three 8mm hypersonic tungsten rounds through its chest cavity, splaying it open and sending a fountain of purple gore into the air.
Roar of the Marines weapons reached a fever pitch as two Marines fell from multiple hits to their armor, burning through the resilient metal and ceramics and melting soft flesh and organs beneath. The men died agonizing yet quick deaths.
Bodies of Grunts began to pile up as the Jackal snipers began to pin the Marines down as the shield armed Jackals began to form a line and began to advance under the cover provided by the snipers and the twenty elites and remaining grunts.
Forced to pull back to the next room Strauss say the Marine occupying the room curse and drop back with a thud as one of those radioactive slugs from the Covenant snipers struck him square in the chest.
The man, a Private 1st Class named Williamson who had just joined the squad and was the squad machine gunner, simply grunted "Ouch" as the composite ceramics and titanium armored chest plate stopped the slug, which flattened itself against it.
Strauss didn't bother asking if he was alright as the man simply gave him a thumbs up, grabbed his M2LMG SAW, a sleek weapon that spat a stream of 9.5 millimeter slugs at 1000 meters a second, had a 200 round ammo box and was more than known for cutting down waves of grunts single handedly; and sent a long roaring burst of fire in return.
"How much longer do we have to hold out for?" Williamson asked as he and Strauss gunned down another Elite and one of the Jackals.
"Hell if I know, I think that the last of the civilians will be loaded on their transports in the hour." Strauss yelled over the mike as a shout from above and a whoosh of fire followed by a Jackhammer shoulder fired missile impact a portion of the Jackal phalanx, now only 30 yards away and advancing like a slow moving wall of death. The 105mm anti armor high explosive shaped charge all but erased a large section of the shield phalanx, throwing up chunks of meat as the now open line and exposed sides of the Jackals were systematically slain.
Just as it seemed the Marines were going to win out the all too familiar sound of a Wraith emanated from around the pile of rubble that was a collapsed thirty story building that had been blown apart by UNSC artillery fire to snuff out a sniper nest.
"Enemy Wraiths! Two of them coming around the building!" One of the Marines on the roof either acting as a machine gunner, Sniper or Designated Marksman shouted over the BattleNet as the two oblique blue beetle like hover tanks came hovering around the said ruin and immediately opened up on the Human defenders with their plasma cannons and mortars.
The howling sound of an arching ball of condensed hell fire whistled through the air as Strauss and Williamson sent a quick burst from their weapons before diving back into whatever cover they could find within the building.
Strauss felt his gut rise into his throat as he closed his eyes and prayed he would not get hit, quickly thinking of all his family and loved ones, most of whom were disapproving of him enlisting in the first place but still supported him.
The air around him became hot, even through his armor as his visor was forced to polarize from the brightness of the plasma.
The Plasma mortar slammed into one the fourth floor of the complex with an earth rattling impact as Williamson's and Strauss's teeth rattled.
Two Marine' Icons abruptly disappeared from the display on the side of his HUD and another's icon turned blazing red to indicate serious injury, something that was proven by a horrible sounding scream of a man dying.
The two began to move back to their firing positions as a single gunshot from a Pistol sounded out from upstairs, and the screaming cut off.
"Oh my god, holy shit…" the younger Marine began to breath as Strauss felt like he needed to rip off his helmet and throw up.
Swallowing his fear and ignoring it like he had been trained at boot camp and Enhanced Marine Combat And Zero G Training, as well as through the horrors he had already seen on Harvest and three other now dead Worlds, he slapped the back of Williamson's head.
"Snap out of it, we don't have time for emotions!" he barked as the younger Marine paused for a second before nodding.
"Yes Strauss. Lets kill these assholes."
The Covenant Infantry, their faltering assault now strengthened by the arrival of the tanks, began their advance again under the cover of the Wraiths' plasma cannons which sent streams of plasma into the building that stitched the already almost burned walls and forced the Marines to keep their heads down.
"Retreat! Fall back to the landing zone! We are getting out of here!" Ludmilla's voice yelled as two Jackhammer Missiles slammed into the trailing Wraith, disabling it as its left hoverpod gave out and it crashed to the ground before its reacter went critical, consuming the alien death machine in blue fire that took out thirty grunts and five nearby elites.
"Those were my last two!" the Anti Armor specialist announced as Williamson and Strauss, after sending another three bursts at the enemy apiece and ending the existence of another elite and two jackals, bolted down the debris strewn hallway as plasma lapped at their heals.
"Where do we go!" Williamson asked as the Marines, all remaining ten of them, regrouped at the courtyard at the center of the apartments before Ludmilla waved them on.
"Go to the extraction point! We have no where else to retreat to. Haul ass!" she answered as the roar of an Elite could be heard down the very hallway they had just came down.
"Shit! It's a mile away!" Strauss cried as he and the Marines ran as fast as their legs would take them out of the complex, past burnt out cars, over craters and by abandoned Military Warthogs and equipment.
They ran for minutes in a dead sprint with the speed of Olympic athletes thanks to their powered servos in their armor as Longswords streaked overhead strafing unseen targets and a looming form of a Covenant Corvette peaked over the top of one of the nearby mountain ranges with its sea creature like form bristling with weapon ports.
Strauss's heart felt like it was about to explode when they finally saw their salvation, the now almost empty river side space port.
The last civilian ship was now leaving the atmosphere escorted by the shrinking forms of a pair of Longswords as the last remaining Marines planetside were boarding an awaiting flight of twenty Pelicans and two POD Heavy Lift Vehicles.
There had clearly been quite a battle for control of the LZ, as hundreds of bodies of aliens of all kinds and classes littered the three avenues of approach, as well as several burnt out Scorpion Light MBTs ,Warthogs and Cougar IFVs along with at least a dozen limb bodies of fallen Marines.
The remaining Marines present almost shot them as they flung themselves over a crashed Banshee that had clearly fallen victim to several deployed 35mm Anti air cannons.
"Don't shoot! Friendlies coming through!" Ludmilla yelled over the com as two bullets kicked up dirt by Williamson's and Strauss's feet.
The jumpy Marines clearly were on edge as the squad ran past a lone Cougar IFV on the perimeter to an assigned Pelican.
The Pilot was still in the start up sequence as Strauss got on one knee to catch his breath, the others joined him.
"Wha…whats the sitrep?" Ludmilla asked a nearby Lieutenant as the ground shook with the collapse of a nearby skyscraper that sent clouds of dust into the air.
The Lieutenant in charge slung his GR-2 Gauss Rifle over his shoulder, and past a noticeable scorch mark on his chest armor from a plasma hit that must have been from a lighter plasma pistol, and walked over to Ludmilla while a M1000 Grizzly II MBT, the larger ,more powerful, better armored tank that came loaded with a 105 mm Railgun main gun, a 20mm LAAG, Twin Jackhammer Missile Pods and two fifties. (imagine a Predator MBT From C&C3 and an M1A2 Abrams combined). It was a much more powerful, larger cousin of the lighter nearly retired Scorpion and was used by most Marine MEUs these days. The Tank began to move toward the remaining POD HLT as the other POD HLT began to light off in a teeth rattling roar.
"We are holding out, but our Wolverine mobile Anti air Vehicles and, save for that last Cougar all of our IFVs have all been pulled out and that Grizzly over there is our last tank on world, but we should all be dusting off shortly…." The man was interrupted as one of the Marine's manning the perimeter yelled into the TAC COM as a huge explosion from a nearby building.
The Covenant that had previously attacked Strauss and his squad had clearly caught up with them, and were reinforced.
"Shit!" Strauss said aloud as he ran to cover as plasma began to rain on the LZ, plasma, Needler rounds and green radioactive projectiles shooting past him all the way.
Throwing himself into the cover as the Leuitenant and the rest of his squad did the same.
"Contacts, more like a horde," the Leuitenant, his IFF identifying him as Derrick Murray said aloud jokingly as he raised his GR-2, An automatic Gauss Rifle that shot its magazine of 45 7mm tungton rounds at 3000 meters a second and was given to squad's designated marksmen, and fired on a couple of screaming doglike grunts which turned into sprays of gore in return.
Strauss and the others opened up as the drum of dozens of MA6's, four SAWs, six GR-2 Gauss Rifles and an Automatic Grenade launcher rattled the ground as Covenant were cut down by the dozens.
"We are leaving now!" Murray roared as two Marines fell with plasma ripping through them.
Elites decided to join in as their grunt cannon fodder was again proving to be almost useless in the face of the Marines. Plasma from their deadly repeaters took out yet two more men down and forced Strauss to the ground to avoid a stream of energy.
Rising again to continue battle he emptied his ammo strip into the gut of a Minor Demos from 30 yards out, cutting the alien in two in the process, pressed the reload button on the side of the rifle and slipped in another fresh ammo strip as the butt of the rifle opened, launching the spent strip out, and closed to allow him to place the strip that also held the disposable end to complete the electrical circuit for the firing process in the back of the weapon's three barrels before snapping shut again.
"Wraiths!" Williamson yelled as four of the all too familiar alien tanks appeared down the end of the avenue some 1000 meters away and let loose their weapons.
One of them was one of those new Purple Wraiths that had a Particle Cannon that replaced its Plasma Mortar and had given UNSC Armor an actual fight as up till this point the UNSC simply owned the Covenant whenever armored warfare took place.
The Particle Cannon Wraith let loose short purple pulse of pure energy that slammed into the lone Cougar Infantry Fighting Vehicle that had been hammering the Alien troopers with its twin 50mm auto cannons.
The beam hit the Composite Coblhiem Titanium armor of the Cougar and burned through. The pulse all but tore through the lighter armored vehicle as it exploded fantasitaclly, the top small turret that held the auto cannons shooting thirty feet into the air and landing a little too close to Strauss for comfort with a clang.
The Grizzly II that had been moving to be loaded onto the POD HLV upon seeing this instead stopped, and turned its main gun towards the Particle Cannon Wraith responsible.
"Firing!" its gunner calmly called out over the com as the Marines got down.
A tremendous hypersonic boom sent a blast of air past as a 105 mm dart effortlessly tore through the Wraith in an instant, shattering it in a mighty explosion.
Strauss was thankful his helmet blocked out most of the sound as being this close would make you go deaf for sure.
The other opposing Wraiths shifted their fire to the M1000 Grizzly as with a howl from its hydrogen turbine engine evaded a plasma mortar from one of the remaining alien tanks while several bright green fuel rod missiles from a Hunter pair was merely absorbed by the thick composite armor on the turret.
The 20mm cannon coaxil auto cannon thundered, swiftly cutting down the hulking alien horrors as the sickly hive of orange worms exploded and dripped from holes heavy alien armor.
The tank then shifted its turret again to aim at the offending Wraiths which tried to maneuver out of the way as Strauss and the Marines again braced for the thunderous hypersonic crack.
A second Wraith exploded as the Lieutenant emptied his Gauss rifle into a Jackals torso, turning it into a spray of gore.
"Get to the Pelicans go go go!" Murray roared as the Marines disengaged and ran to the Pelicans as the human tank sped up the ramp of the awaiting HLV which immediately took off.
Their position overrun more Marines fell as the Pelicans began to lift off one by one.
An unlucky Pelican took a direct hit from one of the remaining Wraiths, vaporizing it and the men and women onboard as the fiery remains crashed back onto the ground.
Strauss, Williamson and the Lieutenant turned around at the back of their Pelican and opened up on two charging Elites, taking it down as the last remaining man in his squad stormed up the ramp.
"Lets fucking dust off now!" the Pilot's anxious voice roared over the com, slightly muffled by the roar of Pelicans lifting off and two of the dropships banking around and cutting through lines of Covenant with their 40mm Chin guns before banking up and away.
Strauss was about to turn and run into the troop bay when a huge invisible force grabbed him and lifted a bewildered Strauss into the air and ripped his rifle from his hands.
"What the fuck!" he roared as the air in from of him shimmered to show a decloaking Elite Zealot, its white armor contrasting with its grey ugly skin as its mandibles let loose a roar that sent dribbles of spit onto his visor.
"Fuck You!" he screamed as he gave the alien a vicious right hook straight to its mandibles, giving a satisfying crack as alien's lower mandible snapped leaving the Elite in a slight state of shock, and Strauss's gauntleted hand in pain.
Normally the strongest Humans at best had very little chance of surviving a fist fight with an elite for more than twenty seconds, but that did not mean that humans could not injure one or get a few good shots in.
Strauss's heart caught in his throat as another decloaking Elite grabbed a enraged Murray and ran him through with a blinding white double bladed energy sword.
Murray's dying last words echoed on the COM as Strauss was flung through the air like a toy.
"Switch to thermals."
There were apparently more of these Elites as the Marines in the troop bay began firing at several more unseen targets as he hit the ground with a thud some full twenty yards from the Pelican.
He had lost his sidearm long ago, leaving him helpless as another sword wielding Elite appeared over him ready to slice him in two.
"So this is how it ends." He thought as the 8ft tall beast reared back to deliver the blow.
But it never came.
The top of the alien's head separated from its body in a spray of blood.
Over the battlenet he heard a calm voice, "Get to the fleet, I will rendezvous with the team there. I'm helping these Marines, Fifty One out."
He heard heavy footfalls before an 8ft tall, …thing came out of the smoke as Strauss got to his feet.
If he had a gun he didn't know if he would have shot it or not.
It was a humanoid like thing covered from head to toe in wicked olive green armor whose head was hidden by a full helmet and a reflective golden visor. In its hands was a modified MA6 that had its typical underslung 30mm Grenade Launcher replaced with a cut down M90 Shotgun Master Key.
It strode casually towards him as a calm surprisingly young man's voice came through the helmeted thing.
Strauss, for reasons he would come to humorously question, obliged.
The thing then Spun around with its weapon raised in a blur of speed and sent a long burst into the smoke.
The bullets hit something as an enraged Elite appeared and fired its Plasma Rifle in return.
Strauss watched with his jaw dropped as the being dodged the plasma bolt in a blur of superhuman speed.
The Armored Man fired a long burst that cut through the personal shields and torso of the alien with a spray of blood.
Two more Elites came out of the dust and smoke charging the behemoth with challenging roars and Plasma Swords drawn.
The man held his ground and unloaded two quick 8 gauge shotgun blasts into one of the elites, batting away its shields with the first and slaying it with the second shot as the other Elite, having closed the gap in an instant took a vicious stab at the being.
The thing again dodged in a blur of speed and in one fluid motion, one handed its rifle and with the other grabbed the alien's hand and twisted.
To Strauss's utter amazement the Elite roared in pain as its wrist snapped from being twisted past the breaking point and its sword fell to the ground and deactivated. The man simply pivoted and used the elite's momentum against it, picked the huge alien up with apparent minimal effort and threw it down to the concrete with a thud, the Elite actually crying out in pain as it hit the concrete hard.
Before it could get up the being put an 8 Gauge shell into its cranium just in time for yet more Elites to come and attack.
A throbbing pulse of plasma from three Plasma Rifles stitched the ground around the super soldier as the super soldier returned a fire.
A long burst cut two Elites down, their heads burst open from perfectly placed headshots.
The man raced to the side, fired the last of his MA6's ammo strip and in an amazing show of grace and speed reloaded.
It seemed as if every shot was perfect, every time his rifle spoke another Elite died. And the Elites could now not care at all about him or the other Marines, as they all seemed to have their attention on the small battle before them.
The soldier leapt high into the air to avoid another burst of lapping plasma, spun around in mid air and shot yet another Elite that came to challenge the soldier, flipped back over and landed behind the cover of a burnt out Warthog.
Just then two plasma blasts hit the soldier right in the chest delivered from a Spec Ops Elite's Plasma Repeater.
The soldier slightly shook with the impact and seemed totally un phased, though it did drop in cover and threw a grenade over its head in return.
Strauss was more than a little impressed that the armor only had two small burn marks and little else.
"I want whatever the hell he is wearing." He thought to himself.
Standard Marine armor could take one maybe two direct hits in the same area from Plasma rounds, though afterwards you would be wearing a burnt and half melted slag and have a nice sunburn under it. ODST armor was of course more durable, but he had never heard of a Marine, Army or ODST take anything more than four hits and live.
It was a change from when he had fought Innies who had to use either heavy weapons, Stolen UNSC weapons, or just a storm of fire to pierce the armor suit of Marines.
The supersoldier, apparently not satisfied with the cover after his hits, reached with one had under the chassis of the Warthog, and with a no apparent effort flipped the vehicle onto its side and sent a long burst of fire at advancing aliens before reaching onto its belt and pulling out a smoke grenade, tossing it nearby.
As the wall of smoke appeared Strauss got to his feat and ran to retrieve his rifle, tired of being a liability and useless.
However the heavy fast footfalls and jogged at a speed that Strauss would have thought of as a run, before the supersoldier grabbed him and with little effort hefted him up in one arm almost like a toy.
"Are you alright?"he, she or it asked.
Strauss shook his head as he looked at his reflection in the visor, noticing the dried smattering of alien blood on the side of the helmet.
"Unless I hit my head too hard and I am seeing things Im good."
To his surprise the being chuckled.
"Alright, lets get the fuck out of here."
Before he even finished they had bolted into the bay of the hovering Pelican with what felt like the speed of a car, and before the now stunned Marines in his squad.
The man put Strauss down as the Pelican's bay doors closed and the pilot immediately lifted off.
"Thanks." Strauss said as the thing sat down in the seat next to him, the seat groaning under obvious weight, while the man sitting was still a goof foot taller than Strauss.
"What the fuck are you.?" Sergeant Ludmilla asked.
"Spartan 051," it replied curtly before pausing as if in deep thought. "But you can call me Kurt" he finished as the Pelican broke atmosphere while the pilot came over the intercom.
"We are rendezvousing with the fleet in twenty minutes, but it looks like the Covenant fleet is back. And from my scanners it looks like our extra passenger left a 30 megaton surprise for the Covenant groundside."
"Slipspace ruptures, lots of them." Lieutenant Ashcroft announced as space 300,000 kilometers distant seemed to open and ripple like a fantastic blue mirage.
"Battlestations!" Riley ordered without pause as the klaxons once again blared throughout the ship.
The UNSC battleline held firm as the eighty four ships from Frigates, destroyers, Marathon and older Halcyon Cruisers, and a single Everest Class Battlecruiser powered their weapons to maximum output and their engine cones flared white while the fleet's six carriers and with three frigate escorts kept their distance and launched their fighter wings. Also at the rear of the formation was a single Phoenix Class Marine Assault Ship that was formally one of the many colony ships that the UNSC had converted into Planetary assault ships to hold thousands of Marines , Tanks, armored Vehicles, equipment and a firebase.
"Ninety Two contacts sir." FitzGibbons announced as Riley felt the stomachs of the collective bridge crew sink with those words.
The UNSC Fleet, especially under the command of the legendary Admiral Cole could probably take on that number and possibly win, but they would loose nearly every ship doing so.
To make matters worse the carriers were loaded down with refugees and were hampered with having to protect the slipspace capable civilian ships behind the fleet.
"What is the status of the evacuation?"
"Complete, but we have several transports some ten minutes out from rendezvous." Ashcroft replied as the holo screen showed the deadly forms of feared Covenant warships, Corvettes, Frigates, Destroyers, carriers and cruisers and a three thousand meter long Reverence Supercruiser as their lines and weapons ports flashed with energy that could devastate worlds.
"We have a message from the admiral." FitzGibbons said as a wing of Longswords shot past the bridge to engage the advance elements of Covenant fleet."
Everest Class Battlecruiser
Admiral Cole's hardened features studied the composition of the approaching Covenant with a keen eye searching for anything that could be used as a advantage for him.
"Enemy will enter weapons range in ten minutes." His first Lieutenant spoke from him station while the docking bay showed one of the last Pelicans to evacuate Capella landing in the hangar bay.
"ONI Blue Team is aboard sir." The ship's AI announced as the voice of the team leader came on the ShipCOM.
"This is Spartan 117, we are all here and accounted for minus one. Mission was successful" the voice of one of ONI's and the UNSC's prized secrets announced.
After Harvest Cole's fleet command had been briefed about one of ONI Section III's secret projects named the Spartan Program. Cole had seen a lot over his long career, but this was something even he was shocked at.
He had seen these super soldiers do things that only a fiction writer could think of. From singlehandedly holding back Covenant assaults to assassinating High Value targets these super soldiers had saved the lives of several thousand under his command and perhaps a million civilians. About half of what they did and who they were was still classified even to Cole, but he had a feeling that he would not want to know.
"Minus one?" he asked.
"Spartan 051 took a separate transport after assisting a Pelican and a squad of Marines in fighting off a force of Special Operations Elites. It should be the last transport to leave the colony." 117 replied.
Cole turned to the sensor officer who pulled up a display showing the holographic representation of the pelican as it pulled away from the planet.
His eyes immediately narrowed in concern.
There was no way they could make it to the fleet before the enemy was among them.
He had no intention to fight the Covenant any longer than he had to, especially with all the civilians.
"I cant hold out for any longer than I intend to. The evacuation hampers my options." Cole responded as the holographic representation of the Spartan's helmet nodded in agreement.
"I understand sir."
"Im not going to leave them, but by all accounts someone will have to meet them halfway, and both will have to run the gauntlet of fire." He added.
"Sir enemy at 200,000 kilometers!" the XO announced.
"I will send them an escort and assign a ship for pickup." Cole nodded as the Supersoldier gave the affirmative and left the Admiral to his business."
Looking at the 3-D representation of the battle space one more time Admiral Preston Cole gave out his orders.
"He wants us to do what?" Lieutenant Ashcroft nearly shouted in surprise as he spun around from his consol to look at Captain Riley to make sure he had heard correctly.
"He wants the fleet save for the Carriers to form into battle formation with no less than five miles of separation between each ship." Scott read of from the report.
"Does he not realize we will have no room to maneuver much less be one gigantic target for the Covenant?" the Lieutenant asked with sarcasm.
"Im sure he has a reason for It and I think I know why," the captain answered as he set down the data pad.
"You heard the orders lets get them done!" Riley barked as the crew blinked and rushed to get their orders done.
The Prophesy slid into position near the fore of the fleet as the other human warships maneuvered into their respective positions, creating a tight pyramidal formation eighty kilometers wide and eighty kilometers tall with a depth of ten miles.
The UNSC cruisers, all twenty six of them, formed in the center of the formation with the Everest at the center and slightly behind the lead ships.
"Enemy single ships are coming in mass, Longsword squadrons engaging." FitzGibbons Avatar announced as tiny explosions far in the distance announced the zero gravity dogfight as the Covenant probed their defenses.
"How are our squadrons doing?" Riley asked.
"We have multiple Kills already, but one of ours is damaged and is RTB." Elroy replied.
One of the few areas that the UNSC actually outclassed the Covenant it seemed was in the field of fighter craft.
UNSC pilots were well adapt, trained and equipped to perform the intricate tight turns coupled with Zero G maneuvers required to defeat the more advanced yet lesser designed Seraphs in good ratios as the telescopic arrays showed A Longsword from the Prophesy's own squadron tight on the tail of the teardrop shaped alien craft before batting its shields down with 60mm Railcannon fire before peppering the Seraph's thin hull, severing a plasma line and turning the fighter into a smear in space as the Longsword pilot's wingmate spun his angular fighter on its X-Axis to jam a AGM missile up another Seraphs plasma drive.
"Orders from Everest and our squadron," FitzGibbons announced while the lead elements of the fleet engaged several squads of Seraphs with their Helix Defense Guns.
"Our fighters are to disengage and escort a Pelican that was late on evacuating."
"Twenty One Longswords for One Pelican? What the hell is on that thing?" Riley asked as he kept his eyes on the approaching Alien fleet.
"What in God's name could be on that Pelican?"
Reverence Class Supercruiser
Third Fleet of Glorious Consequence
Luro Taralumee frowned as his Seraphs were for the most part held back by the human's fighters.
The heathen's fleet was positioned between the system's fourth primary, which was where their colony was, and the colony world's main satellite.
Luro Taralumee had spent the last two and a half years fighting the disease calling itself humanity. He had overseen the glassing and cleansing of four worlds of the humans and had engaged their fleet in battle three times, each time winning.
However this was the first time he would be facing serious resistance.
The bridge buried deep inside of the vast warship was alive with never ending activity as the crew gave statuses from their respective stations.
"Fleetmaster the fleet is nearing weapons range." Luro's weapons officer Deka spoke from his consol while Luro glared at the gathering of human ships on the viewer that dominated much of the front of the bridge.
He hated the humans with every fiber of his being as was decreed by the holy prophets. However having read the reports from the actions against one of their fleets at the world known as Harvest he knew that the humans were able to put up a helacious fight and come on top. Their weapons, though primitive, were still somewhat useful and from the reports and conclusions most shipmasters drew were that one of the only things they had at a disadvantage were their ships lack of energy shielding.
Taking note of the drifting hulks of several Covenant ships from the last battle, their hulls twisted and blown apart, Luro clicked his mandibles before turning to face the viewscreen.
"Order all ships to advance in a staggered line. Ships that begin to loose their shielding are to halt and rotate to the rear to allow their systems to recharge. Have our Corvettes attempt to flank the enemy from below. " he ordered as the crew of mainly Sanghelli carried out his orders with haste and drilled professionalism, though the Unggoy did so out of their usual fear of reprisal.
"For the Great Journey!"
"Enemy will be in optimal range in a minute." Lieutenant Ashcroft said as Riley kept a firm grasp of the edge of his captain's seat while watching as the Covenant began to advance in the staggered line formation that they liked so much.
"Their Corvettes are pulling ahead and below the fleet." FitzGibbons stated as the screen shifted to show the icons of the smallest ships in the alien fleet.
"They are going to try and flank us from below." The captain finished before the AI, which nodded in return.
"Sir we are receiving new orders from Everest, reads that all ships are to reverse thrust the moment the enemy is in range." the woman manning the Coms, 2nd Lieutenant Awtry announced.
"Prepare to cut thrust and reverse. Status on weapons?"
"All green sir. MACs are at 98 percent charge and Railguns are all locked in and targeting. Remaining Archer supplies stand at 80 percent, all missile pods are hot. CIWS are all charged and loaded."
"Running smoothly. The Reactor is at 80 percent and holding." answered FitzGibbens.
"God help us."
"Enemy in range in ten seconds." The resident ship's AI named Frost, who generally took on the avatar of a amorphous snowflake announced as the Covenant ships grew larger in larger on the screen, their weapons glowing with untold amounts of power that he had seen more times than he could remember in the past several years burn worlds and ships to atoms.
Cole swallowed the fear as the fleet neared the zero mark.
Cole turned to the AI, "Frost, slave all ship's AI to my command."
"Sir!" the man at the weapon's station called out, "The enemy is in range!"
"All ships are locked in sir. Energy spikes from Covenant ships detected, plasma torpedoes are charging."
"Full reverse! Course correction point nine eight!" Cole ordered as he gripped the railing.
The Everest shuddered and groaned as the battlecruiser's engines, firing at full reverse thrust and burning white hot, struggled to stop the ship and reverse its momentum.
The UNSC fleet seemed to halt in space for an agonizing amount of time as the Covenant fleet surged ahead like sharks smelling blood. The UNSC ships finally began to move "backwards" relative to the enemy as Cole looked at the viewscreen to see the enemy fleet pass the 120,000 kilometer mark.
Cole had placed the fleet close to the moon for this very reason. With the Aliens seemingly only focused on his fleet and whatever god damned religious crusade they had, Cole had been able to dry launch fifteen Shiva nuclear missiles from the Everest and the carriers. With the help of the moons gravitational pull, the magnetically launched missiles were slingshotted around the moon and into a vector where Cole had surmised, and partially led the Covenant to.
Fifteen suns, each 400 megatons in power, flashed into existence in the middle of the lead elements of the alien fleet.
Plasma and gamma radiation pulsed outwards as the covenant ships closest to the blast were simply obliterated and Seraphs flashed out of existence like firecrackers.
When the nukes dissipated the damage was revealed. Two Reverence class cruisers were split in half, while two carriers were listing with their aft sections aflame with burnt and destroyed plasma lines, melting whole decks and armor plating. Five Destroyers were either listing or no longer on the scanners. Two Frigates and about six Corvettes were simply debris as the remaining alien fleet had to break their formation to avoid plowing through the remnants and hulks of their fallen brethren.
"All ships. Fire."
Reverence Class Supercruiser
Luro seethed with bloodlust as he watched the leading elements of his fleet all but disappear in fifteen white hot spheres that enveloped them in jets of supercharged Ions and radiation.
He had been wrong, these humans would be a worthy opponent.
"All ships fire a full salvo on my mark, follow through with pulse laser barrage." Luro ordered over FLEETCOM as his reverse jointed legs carried him to the fore of the bridge in only , kicking a unfortunate Unngoy out of the way as the diminutive lesser being squealed as it was flung halfway across the room.
"Plasma Lines to full charge. Burn Them!" he roared as the broken prow of a frigate on the edge of the human attack spewed plasma from its shattered drive, melting armor and decks like tissue paper and sending the ship on a collision course with the bulk of another ruined ship.
"Fleetmaster! Human ships are firing and Electro Magnetic Pulses have knocked out shields on ten ships!" the underling manning the coms all but yelled.
Luro watched in almost mute fascination as the prows of the human ships flared and lines of flame erupted from the sides of the ships as they fired in one massive alpha strike.
"Fleet! Evasive maneuvers!" he roared, knowing that the order would serve little use at this range of a mere 115,000 kilometers.
Eighty Three UNSC ships fired full Alpha Strikes just as the first beams of Lasers and plasma Torpedoes lanced out from the Covenant battlefleet.
Magnetic Accelerator Cannon rounds from lighter 100 ton to heavier 200 ton slugs the sizes of small school busses streaked in lines of comet like flames as they impacted Covenant shields in cataclysmic amounts of power and energy that could have vaporized cities.
Shields on lighter ships shattered as they gave in, allowing another slug to tear the seemingly fragile ship beneath apart.
The Justice shook as the supercruiser's shields took the impact of a direct hit, fading in and out of existence as the ship rolled with the impact and spun off course before the helm regained control.
Railgun slugs struck next while lasers began to try and swat the literal spam of missiles rocketing towards the Covenant ships.
A dozen of Luro's ships had either disappeared off of the TAC screen or were dead in space on terminal courses being wracked by secondary explosions before he ordered the fleet to split into battlegroups, dodging several salvos of railgun fire.
Again he was too late.
"Aft shields are down!" the system's officer shouted as the Justice took several Railgun slugs to its armored hide, denting armor and ripping open several decks explosively.
"Depressurize Seraph Launch Bay Two!" he ordered, momentarily loosing his footing as the crew immediately replied, propelling the ship to the side and out of the line of fire.
"Energize main coil of the Energy Projector!"
Human missiles, their numbers thinned by Covenant Laser Defenses, never the less covered Luro's ships with fire and thunder.
The Justice's reconstituted shields for the most part laughed off the attack, though they were nearly dropped again in the process.
However four more of his ships were not as lucky as their crews joined the thousands of others killed in the afterlife to wait for the Great Journey.
The Human ships defiantly held their line as they went to full reverse and charged their weapons for another Alpha strike.
A third of Luro's fleet had been lost. Crippled or destroyed ships now drifted or spun out of control venting atmosphere and crew, leaving him with just over sixty operational ships left.
His blood screamed for revenge.
"All ships hold Lateral lines at maximum power. Have the remaining Cruisers fire energy projectors. Accelerate to flank speed and launch all remaining fighters, have them attack from all angles and send Phantom Gunboats around the moon along with our four surviving Corvettes and attempt to attack the civilian ships."
"Yes Fleetmaster. Energy Projector is locked in and the fleet's plasma capacitors are all ready to fire." His weapons officer growled.
Excitement flared within Luro as he looked on at the human fleet, noting that their close formation would leave them no room to maneuver and allow them to be burnt apart with his plasma torpedoes.
"All ships fire!"
"Enemy is firing!"
The bridge of the Everest turned into a scene that was one of controlled chaos as a wave of plasma torpedoes shot away from the Covenant fleet.
The comms filled with calls for orders from the various captains as Cole watched the plasma rocket towards the fleet with an unwavering stoic face.
"Impact in twenty seconds," Frost monotoned as he rechecked his targeting coordinates.
"Frost have all ships fire a single Shiva Missile here." He said while indicating the area of space on the holo screen before him and 20,000 kilometers in front of the fleet.
"Time detonation and launch to all detonate at the same time and when Plasma passes the zero mark."
"Yes sir. All ships' ordinance is slaved into me and targeted." The AI said as its avatar flashed with code before the fantastically complex algorithms were complete in under a second.
"Launch." Cole nodded.
Eighty three Shiva Nuclear missiles shot away from the back peddling fleet and seemingly straight towards the blue wall of hellfire that was waiting to kill yet more human beings.
The Shivas reached the 20,000 kilometer mark just barely in time to detonate.
The resulting explosions shorted out computers and systems on ships throughout the fleet as the systems struggled to combat the gigantic EMP burst.
"Systems rebooting." Frost announced as the emergency lights in the bridge flickered on and off twice before power was normalized on the Everest and throughout the fleet.
The explosions slowly dissipated to reveal that not one torpedo had made it through.
Cole heaved a sigh of relief as the crew cheered for several seconds before Cole, sitting down in the Captain's chair, bellowed out new orders.
"Status on fleetwide MACs?"
"All ships are reporting around seventy percent charge and climbing."
"All ships are to launch one more Alpha strike and then target and fire at will. Have the fleet loosen the formation to standard spacing."
Frost was about to answer but was cut off by a pencil thin beam moving near the speed of light fired from one of the leading CCS Battlecruisers slicing through the Halcyon Cruiser Hidalgo.
The Hidalgo lurched to the side as the beam cut through it like a scythe, ignoring two meters of ablative armor reactor and titanium as if they were non existent.
The cruiser began to roll as its power plant was cut before the beam found the ship's helium three boosted reactor.
The ship exploded and snapped in two with what was left of the remnants of the ship were left tumbling through space in a cloud of debris.
An Energy Projector.
Having faced them before Cole knew that any Covenant ship that mounted one could pick off almost any ship from out of most UNSC weapon's ranges.
Ten more Covenant Cruisers and Battlecruisers fired their bow Energy Projectors, damaging three Destroyers, a Marathon Cruiser, and outright destroying another Marathon Cruiser, another Halcyon, three destroyers and a Frigate which turned into short lived stars that instantly killed most of their crews.
Angrily Preston Cole clenched his fists and shouted over FLEETCOM.
"All ships full Alpha strike! You may fire at will yet hold formation."
Turning off the FLEETCOM Cole glanced at the status of the Civilian Evacuation ships.
They had to hold out for ten more minutes while the Civilians, with two Frigates for escort, performed the Cole Protocol and jumped away.
They would be cutting it close.
GA-TL1 Longsword Interceptor
FS-108 TFIS off of UNSC Prophesy
"Break Break Break!" Lieutenant James Gordan yelled into the mike as he yanked the stick back to avoid a throbbing pulse of plasma while the large yet no less agile Longsword complied, zooming up in a tight twenty Gee turn as the assailing Seraph shot under him and began to spin to follow him.
"Someone get this split lip off of me!" he growled into the mike as his co pilot Timothy Allen cursed.
"We have another squadron coming to intercept!"
Gordan and his squadron of Eight Longswords along with another two off of the UNSC Prophesy were engaged in a hellacious dogfight in an attempt to give a trailing Pelican that command had really deemed important a chance at escape.
Teardrop shaped Covenant fighters and wedge shaped Longsword Interceptors danced around each other with a mix of zero Gee maneuvers and sharp turns in a desperate attempt to kill the other before they killed you.
A Longsword from a squadron off of a Frigate whom had also come to their aid exploded as it took a double pulse from a screaming Seraph's twin heavy plasma cannons, melting through its though hull like tissue paper and finding something vital.
"I got your back." One of his wingmates spoke through the mike as he kept his eyes glued to his HUD and the swirling stars and explosions outside, always twisting and juking the venerable fighter that responded flawlessly to his commands.
The Seraph behind him suddenly was consumed in fire as an AGSM-10 missile simply overloaded its shields and shattered the craft.
The Longsword responsible flew past not 40 meters apart, wiggled its wings in the universal sign for thanks among pilots, and turned back into the fight.
"Thanks." Gordan breathed as he too firewalled the throttle, causing the twin fusion engines to push him into his seat with gee forces, and turned back into the battle, looking for targets.
He quickly found one.
Ignoring a burning Longsword that shot across his path, Gordan slipped behind the tail of a Seraph a mere mile away.
The pilot noticed that he was being tailed and sent the alien fighter in a tight bank, which Gordan quickly followed.
After a couple of tight split-s turns Gordan managed to stick on the tail of the teardrop and, sticking the gun sights on his HUD onto the burning tail of the Seraph pulled the trigger on his stick.
The Longsword shuddered as its twin 60 millimeter automatic Railguns sent a stream of projectiles into the Seraph, whose shields flashed into existence as they tried to hold back the destructive power of the slugs.
The shields only lasted for a second of sustained fire as Gordan put another long burst into the Seraph as it tried to break hard to the right while spinning on its axis in a vain attempt to shoot back.
With a push of right rudder pedal Gordan grinned as he merely kept the reticule on the Seraph with disastrous results for the alien pilot.
UNSC Starfighter Training resulted in him being more than adept at Zero Gee maneuvering.
The Seraph crumpled under the fired as it was ripped apart, turning into a blue fireball as one of the large fifties punched through its reactor.
Gordan roared with glee at his now fifth kill, he had made Ace.
However in the back of his mind he knew that among the fleet he was now one of many Ace's. Battle against the Covenant as a fighter Jockey either left you dead or with a large score card to paint on your bird.
He quickly maneuvered the Longsword above and behind another Seraph and with the blaring tone of a lock on let an AGSM fly, turning the alien teardrop fighter into a smear.
"More bogies incoming." Allen said as he looked at another flight Seraphs on his sensor screen.
"Range 300 miles and closing."
Gordan and the other pilots on the team com cursed.
"Where is that damn Pelican?" Gordan breathed as he spun the fighter around to get a lock with his dwindling supply of AGSM-10 missiles.
Kurt Hated space combat.
He felt completely helpless despite all of his training, all of his augmentations and his MJOLNIR Power armor, he could simply be killed by a piece of debris traveling at thousands of kilometers an hour.
Thinking back to how he had gotten himself here he could only shake his head.
He and Blue Team, John, Kelly, Linda and Fred, had been sent to Cappella and attached to Cole's fleet to retrieve a piece of ONI hardware that had been in development in an ONI base in the middle of the Colony's capital city. It had been in development since the Insurrection some twenty years ago, before it was rendered moot anyway. The hardware was a slipspace jamming device that sent out some sort of pulse that gave a ship that was passing by the readings of a black hole, the only thing that could affect a ship in "slip".
How it worked it Kurt had no idea but in essence it forced ships out of Slipspace at a set distance from the point of the device. The goal was originally to install them on a specialized UNSC ship to keep pirates and Rebels from running away from a fight. Now its purpose was to force the Covenant to drop out of slipspace in a star system far away from a colony world equipped with such a device, forcing them to face a defense fleet or defenses head on.
The operation had gone smoothly and Blue team retrieved the device and got it to an awaiting ONI Prowler, which immediately jumped.
From there they assisted the Marines in the evacuation effort by killing HVTs and absolutely causing mayhem.
And when it was all said and done Fred had activated the Havok tactical nuke they had been assigned for the mission.
The Pelican's pilot maneuvered like a mad man as another Seraph tried to make a pass at it, pulse lasers lighting the cockpit as Kurt crouched behind the man and grabbed on to handrails.
"It's a mess out here sir, the Fleet is giving them hell but we have lost twenty ships, though we took more of the alien bastards down with em." The pilot exclaimed as Longsword shot by firing wildly at a Seraph.
Kurt watched as the Covenant fleet, having seemingly abandoned orderly fire and maneuvering, moved in like a pack of wild sharks.
Plasma torpedoes lanced out and Pulse lasers strobbed, melting armor on UNSC ships and killing crewmen.
John Watched as a plasma torpedo hit a Destroyer amidships, setting them ablaze and melting through two meters of titanium A armor honeycombed with carbon nano tubes like paper.
The destroyer jettisoned the affected armor plating into space before the plasma reached the superstructure, flinging it harmlessly into space but leaving a nasty hole in the ship's defense.
Reactive Armor was an old concept from the 20th century but with the Covenant's weaponry the UNSC had revived the concept. Though a relatively new addition to UNSC vessels, the plating was being added to existing ships and built onto new ones as fast as the reactive armor could be built.
Two more UNSC ships were not so lucky as an already wounded Halcyon Cruiser was struck by three plasma torpedoes, burning through its renowned durable honey combed hull and finding something vital. Secondary explosions rippled the length of the 1.17 kilometer warship as it spun out of formation aflame.
A Frigate slewed to the right and began an uncontrolled roll as one of its engine blocks were blown off by a plasma torpedo as a friendly Cruiser raced to cover it.
The UNSC ships fired everything they had in return.
Archer missiles pounded against alien shields or hit unshielded ships with devastating results. Rail gun slugs impacted shields which flared or dropped in return as more ripped digits and decks out of Covenant ships or ripped wounded ones apart.
MAC rounds fired at full power hit ships with such force that they were knocked off course when their shields flared, the shields coalescing in and out of existence on many as they neared the breaking point.
Yet others gave out and were holed.
One Destroyer was holed stem to stern as it spun off course before tearing itself apart with the sheer amount of opposing forces.
A CCS rolled on its side with its engines sputtering as one round from Admiral Cole's flagship Everest went through the bottom port side by its hangar bays and out the top, killing hundreds if not a thousand alien crew and severely damaging it as its crew fought to keep the cruiser from becoming a funeral pyre .
The Covenant crew were less than successful as Cole's flagship's second heavy MAC fired. The CCS Battlecruiser, with its engines shattered and shields gone, was helpless as the 200 ton slug gutted the ship.
"They are ripping each other apart. I've haven't seen a battle this even before." Kurt nodded as the pilot agreed.
"We are learning how to beat them, though they always seem to pull more ships out of their asses than we have if we beat them once." The pilot added as the Pelican shook with another near miss.
"We are about three minutes away and….Shit!"
"What?" Kurt asked with concern before he too saw it.
A trio of Covenant Corvettes and two Cruisers were moving directly towards them.
Kurt did not know if it was because they were moving to the planet or were trying to flank the UNSC but either way there was no way they or their escorts would last more than a couple of seconds against that sort of firepower.
The pilot reached for his Com gear.
"Mayday Mayday! This is Mike -72!"
"Seal that hull breach and launch that armor section off, we are still in this!"
Cole ordered as the Battlecruiser shook with more pulse laser hits.
It was not looking good but better than he had hoped.
He was down to fifty three operational ships and nearly all had incurred some form of damage.
The Everest herself had taken a plasma torpedo amid ships, destroying a rail gun turret and an Archer Pod and melting through nearly two and a half meters of armor off which still burned red hot from fighting off the tremendous heat, forcing him to eject the fifty meter by fifty meter plate into space.
UNSC and Covenant ships were pounding each other to scrap in what was so far the most even fight the UNSC had seen.
It was a good sign that humanity could fight these alien bastards and was learning, but for him and his fleet it meant that there still wouldn't be much left of his command if they made it out of here.
"The last Civilian Transports are jumping away sir. The rest will be gone in three minutes." The Comms officer announced with obvious relief in her voice.
"Thank God." Cole thought as the display showed five large civilian pleasure liners and freighters loaded down with as many people and what little belongings they could save jumped away in shimmering slipspace portals along with a Frigate escort and the Marine Assault Ship on a random vector.
"All ships begin plotting Slipspace Jumps! Remember to initiate the…Protocol" Cole ordered over FLEETCOM while trying not to add his own name to the Protocol he had enacted.
"Order all of our Longswords to begin returning to their ships. If their ship is destroyed or hangar is damaged go to one of the carriers."
Cole watched as a Covenant carrier the Everest had wounded earlier was finished off by two Destroyers missile volleys and a MAC round coring through it.
That made kill number ten for his flagship for the war so far.
"Sir we are receiving a distress signal from Pelican Mike-72!" Frost announced with worry in its voice.
Before Cole could ask the AI did it for him.
"An Element of the enemy fleet has broken off in an apparent attempt to either intercept them and their escort or they are going to enter a high orbit of Capella and begin orbital Bombardment."
The Alien fleet was now reduced to some forty ships and his was actually larger now, but most of his remaining vessels had incurred moderate damage.
"Sir the Marathon Cruiser Prophesy is closest to the Pelican and it and its squadron have incurred minimal losses relative to the fleet." Frost pointed out on the viewer as the ships were highlighted.
One of the ships in that squadron disappeared off of the screen, a destroyer that took a full three plasma torpedoes and was more or less erased.
"Order the Prophesy to…"
"Sir." The comms officer interrupted, "Prophesy is saying they are going to go retrieve the Pelican and Spartan 51."
Raising an eyebrow Cole spoke over FLEETCOM.
"All ships that have incurred heavy damage jump now. All remaining ships give as much covering fire to the Prophesy and her battlegroup as you can. Use of ALL ordinance is authorized."
"How much range between us and that Pelican along with our Squadron?" Riley asked as the ship's bridge lighting flickered with yet another pulse laser barrage stitching the cruiser.
"Ten Thousand Kilometers sir." Lieutenant Ashcroft answered as he piloted the ship around a burning Covenant Frigate as the five other ships following the Prophesy, the Thebes , two other Destroyers and a Halcyon Cruiser the Maelstrom did the same while firing at an approaching Covenant Destroyer with broadsides of Rail gun fire.
"Christ! How many ships are in our way?"
"Two Cruisers, both CCS class and three Corvettes." Answered FitzGibbons.
"Also our course will more or less place us between the Covenant and UNSC fleets minus negative thirty degrees relative to the inclination of the battlespace."
Riley's brain spun, looking for options.
He had only one.
Blast his way through.
It was five versus five, mono e mono.
"Have the Maelstrom coordinate fire with us on one Cruiser at a time and have the Destroyers take out those Corvettes."
"Range Closing sir. They are turning to attack."
Riley's heart raced as he stole one more glance at the viewscreen.
One on one more or less with two battlecruisers and three corvettes with superior weapons and defensive shields.
It would be close.
"Fire full Alpha Strike!"
Slugs of steal and tungsten streaked across the heavens followed by hundreds of ghostly contrails of missiles and flashes of Rail Gun slugs.
At a mere 20,000 kilometers they hit nearly instantly, even the Archers of which only a couple dozen were shot down by the Covenant's pulse lasers.
Shields lit as they tried to absorb the massive energy.
The targeted cruiser rolled as its momentum was shifted and its shields collapsed from the full fire of the two UNSC Cruisers three MAC guns.
One of the Corvettes blossomed into a fireball having fell victim to a destroyer's dual MAC guns , missiles and Railguns.
The second was drifting and trailing flaming debris but the third was unscathed, hiding behind its shimmering shield.
The Targeted cruiser was struck by dozens of Archers and a dozen Rail gun slugs that ripped off thick purple armor and left much of the starboard side of the ship a flaming ruin as one of its engines sputtered and air escaped breached decks with bodies tumbling out into the void.
The stricken cruiser rolled over to present its undamaged side as plasma collected on the lateral line of both Cruisers.
Riley and the crew began to shake in wild fear and excitement as they looked down death's door.
"Accelerate into it! All ships activate emergency thrusters and group together just before it hits!" he roared over FLEETCOM as the Plasma discharged.
"FitzGibbons launch our last Shiva and prepare to wipe your memory. Also tell medical to be prepared for heavy casualties." He spoke to the AI.
"If there is even a ship left."
"Aye sir. Shiva Launched, tracking around field of fire and cutting booster."
Lieutenant Elroy gripped his crash webbing, "They are firing!"
Plasma, blue spears of death and destruction lanced out from the two Cruisers which each fired their maximum of four torpedoes which in under two seconds covered the now ten thousand kilometer distance that was now in visual range for the mile long ships' crews to see each other.
Not that they wanted to.
Scott Riley's eyes had to close as the dazzling light from the torpedoes and radiation filled the viewscreen and burned for an instant into his retinas.
He could scarcely think of anything except for his family back home and surviving.
The ship jolted as it was launched on a new course, the plasma tracking them.
Five UNSC ships disappeared into a wall of light and hell fire…
And four came out.
The Prophesy's amid ships were aflame as two torpedoes struck, melting through layer upon layer of armor plating and weapons.
"Launch affected armor now!" Riley ordered as warning lights and klaxons blared.
"Sir we lost the Destroyer Chamberlain and the Tyrosis has heavy damage." Lieutenant Awtry announced as FitzGibbons maintained his usual state of calm the AI was granted by his form.
"Plasma is still burning through twenty meters of our hull and is in danger of cutting off the feed to the weapons and MAC." The AI noted as the affected areas were highlighted in red on the viewer.
Riley knew there was only one option to halt the Plasma's advance now that it was in the ship and would feed off of the atmosphere to chew its way deeper into the Marathon Cruiser.
"Depressurize sector and dump atmosphere." He ordered, knowing the order would kill any crewmen still alive in that sector.
Atmosphere vented out into space where the oxygen immediately froze into crystals.
The Plasma stopped its advance, then burned out.
"Re-seal deck. Status?"
"MAC number two sustained minor damage to its power grid, its offline but with a few easy repairs will be back up." Elroy sounded off. "Otherwise aside from another Rail Cannon Turret destroyed, two Archer Pods melted and five of our CIWS gone , our Combat Capacity is at sixty seven percent. All Shiva nuclear missiles depleted and our Fury stocks stand at twenty."
"FitzGibbons the Shiva?"
The AI cracked a grin.
"Right in the middle of them. The discharge of their torpedoes blinded their sensors to its launch."
A small new sun flashed into existence between the Battlecruisers, ballooned , and then enveloped them and the Corvette still in action.
The fireball cooled to yellow and then a dull red.
Even with vacuum enhanced loads, nuclear detonations in space did not last near as long as aerial or ground bursts.
The Cloud thinned to translucency and a glittering haze of cooling metal formed an expanding halo around the ships.
Inside the silver confetti a flickering silhouette formed.
The undamaged CCS Battlecruiser, its shields flashing out in an electrical spark.
Covenant captian must have said the same thing as all of the ship's large amount of lasers pulsed, stitching the damaged UNSC ships.
The Prophesy rolled as her hull and armor took more damage in an effort to minimize that damage that one section or armor plate would take.
The heavily damaged human destroyer Tyrosis was cored as fire ripped the length of the ship before it split open and tumbled out of formation.
Hundreds of Archer missiles and rail gun rounds hammered the alien ship splaying whole blocks open and sliced through weapons ports.
The Ships began to pass over the ship still firing as the wounded battlecruiser, once a smooth and deadly form, was now covered in fire and debris, rolled over to track it aft energy projector.
Just before the UNSC ships passed over the dying Battlecruiser a beam lashed out and hit the Halcyon Cruiser Maelstrom.
A dazzeling beam of pure light and radiation lit up the ships and cleaved the dark.
The Maelstrom's damaged titanium armor boiled and vaporized, mixed with venting oxygen and photonic pressure blasted the flames into wavering plumes. The beam ripped through inner decks until the super structure buckled and the remaining inner atmosphere decompressed in a large explosion out of its hangar bay.
The Maelstrom listed and began to spin before something deep inside the ship as its fusion power plant turned against it.
Debris from the cruiser flew by the bridge as Riley could only stare at where the ship used to be.
The guns on the Covenant cruiser fell silent as secondary explosions tore the length of the ship, sending it into a uncontrolled spin.
They had won, but at a tremendous loss.
Only the Prophesy and the destroyer Thebes that seemed to come out of every battle alongside his ship remained.
"Sir we are retrieving our fighters and the Pelican. Loading will take a minute." FitzGibbons announced as Riley looked at the screen that showed the Pilots of each ship decelerating along with the massive bulk of the cruiser. He was surprised at how many survived, there were still nineteen Longswords left out of the original twenty four, though some of them were worse for wear.
The UNSC fleet began to jump out in flashed of light just as a dozen nuclear fireballs consumed yet more Covenant ships.
"Everest and fleet is away, we are one of the last ones left."
He turned to FitzGibbons and Lieutenant Ashcroft, "Plot a random slipspace jump."
"Sir!" Lieutenant Elroy almost shouted as he spun at his station.
"We have a Reverence Class Super Cruiser approaching!"
"On screen." Riley responded.
The image of the three thousand meter ship seemed to bear down on him as its deceptively beautiful lines began to gather with destructive energy that seemed to outline the ship in a devilish aura.
"Get us out of here!"
Reverence Class Super Cruiser
Luro could hardly believe what had happened.
He had been defeated.
There were scarcely forty operational ships left in his fleet compared to the fifty three that had been left in the human fleet.
He did not want to think about how this loss of honor from this defeat would be viewed by the High Counsel.
However he also had that nagging feeling in the back of his mind that he had faced a worthy opponent.
He had never seen any one, Sangheilli or other wise fight with such skill.
Luro bowed his head, he had simply been out fought by humans.
He began to feel that nagging feeling that he had heard other Sangheilli whom had faced the humans in battle whisper.
Could these humans be a worthy opponent on par with the Sangheilli?
His mind was at war with itself between the part that was tactful and analytical and the religious part that followed the Great Journey.
They were dangerous thoughts that he shook from his mind as the bridge crew directed the ship towards the last two human ships in system.
Either way there was a battle to fight.
"Lock onto those ships and fire at will." He said as the crew obeyed.
"Time to target ten seconds." Deka replied as his four fingered hands danced across the buttons on his consol.
Then a thought popped into his mind.
There was a way to salvage this defeat.
Luro turned and half ran to the fore of the bridge and raised his hands.
"Belay that! Ready a probe and select its target as…." He looked at the display.
The human cruiser was in relatively good condition and was a more important ship than the smaller destroyer analogue.
"The human cruiser."
"Sir?" Deka and the other command staff looked at him with questioning eyes that were all lit by the dull blues and purples of the bridge's consols.
"Do it, we can potentially find where a major Human world is and maybe their homeworld Earth," Luro's tongue struggled with the mushy alien word.
The probe had been supplied directly from the High Counsel to his flagship for this very use. There had been several previous attempts but they had all proven unsuccessful.
"Yes sir." Deka replied as he and the crew complied, seeing as this could potentially make up for their loss in honor to these humans.
"Probe ready!" a younger minor demos replied from his station near the back of the bridge.
Luro had to however mask its launch.
The answer was all too obvious.
"Target human destroyer with the fore Energy Projector. Set to Maximum power! Launch the probe!"
"Aye Fleet Master."
"Enemy Cruiser is targeting us!" Lieutenant Ashcroft shouted as the Prophesy, having completed its pickup of the Pelican and its fighter group, accelerated.
"Get us out of here! Spin up Slipspace Drive and prepare to jump! Initiate Cole Protocol and choose a random vector and coordinates." He ordered as fast as he could.
FitzGibbons cut in."Sir should I remind you that without the time to formulate a proper jump we could end up far away from UNSC space…"
"Its noted. Do it anyway." The captain cut off the AI whose Avtar shook its head and then nodded.
Lieutenant Awtry spoke up, "Sir we are receiving word from the Thebes that their slipspace drive was destroyed in the last attack and they are unable to follow." She said with small tears in her brown eyes.
Riley felt like he was going to be sick.
The words hit him like a punch to the gut.
"They say they are going to drive off the Reverence Cruiser so we can jump." Awtry barely finished as the collective mood of the bridge became suddenly somber.
The destroyer turned on its axis to face the looming bulk of the alien supercruiser.
It had no hope is destroying or even causing significant damage to a ship that powerful, yet it defiantly stood a ship down some fifteen times her size.
"Gods speed." Riley whispered.
As the Prophesy began to initiate her jump and the swirling portal slipspace opened before the cruiser, a small probe some five meters long and two meters wide shot towards the ship having been propelled by a magnetic launcher from the Divine Justice.
The probe was so small and with space now littered with millions of debris radar or any other sensors had no hope of picking it up.
Just as the Fore energy Projector on the Covenant ship flashed the probe latched on the hull of the cruiser just between one of the portside engine cones and the hull, its small size insuring it would never be seen.
The Thebes turned into a short lived sun as the Prophesy entered the swirling mass of slipspace and disappeared.
The probe opened up its flower like array and with a camera began to record the stars and the dazzling extra dimensional swirl of slipspace.
It would do so for days before being shot through slipspace to a receiver ship deep inside the Covenant Empire, having recorded and plotted the space and stars that the ship had been in.
Cyrannus Quadruple Star Cluster
The Unified Colonies of Kobol
Helios Alpha Star System (Caprica, Gemenon, Picon and Tauron)
Valkyrie Class Battlestar Perseus
Two Days after the Battle of Capella
The Helios Alpha Star system with its blazing class B star was alive with activity as usual.
The system was home to four of the twelve colonies.
Caprica, the cultural center for the twelve colonies of man as well as its capital planet with its capital city of Caprica City, a sprawling sea side metropolis of seven million.
Gemenon, the first colony to be settled by the fleeting remnants from Kobol two thousand years ago and shared a common gravitational baycenter orbit with Caprica, the two worlds orbiting around each other at over 450,000 kilometers as they orbited Helios Alpha.
Tauron, one of the oldest and wealthiest colonies that had once been a colony for the Virgon empire before the Colonial government was formed. And was now a center for technological innovation alongside Caprica and Virgon.
And finally Picon, the mainly oceanic world where landmasses made up only fifteen percent of its surface. It 1.5 billion residents were also very affluent and Picon was the headquarters of the mighty Colonial Fleet and Marines.
The other planets in the system were the gigantic gas giant Zeus with its large amount of moons and two uninhabitable rocky planets.
Near the large Erebus Asteroid belt that ringed the system's colonized worlds, a 800 meter warship was on a standard patrol.
A Valkyrie class battlestar.
Known as baby battlstars, they were still no less potent than their larger brethren, the Mercury Class Battlestars, Columbia Class Battlestars and the eight remaining 2,000 meter Zeus Class Warstars.
Her thick hull was covered in weapons installations, from pinpoint 30mm radar controlled anti fighter auto cannons, flak guns, a dozen anti ship missile tubes, sixteen 16 inch dual purpose cannons to its main armament of 35 dual railguns.
The Perseus was more than capable of taking on a cylon basestar and its escorts.
The Perseus's escorts hung in space nearby in a typical flanking formation around the Battlestar; a 600 meter Berzerker class Cruiser, two 400 meter long old, venerable and angular Jutunn Class Gunstars and three 100 meter long small Scythe class Escorts for anti fighter duty.
The Perseus was part of BSG 39 headed by the Mercury Class Battlestar Triton. BSG-35 was one of three Battlestar Groups that defended Carprica, Picon , Gemenon and Tauron in the system and was one of the fourteen permanent Battlestar Groups in the fleet.
The Perseus, as one of four Valkyries Battlestars in BSG-35 along with two retrofitted Columbia's and another Mercury class alongside the Triton; the fifty six ships (including each battlestar's escorts) represented a third of the military armada in system.
Inside the CIC buried deep within the alligator like head of the Perseus, Captain David Stradus could not help but sense the relative boredom that came with patrol.
The Cylons had not been heard from in over forty years now.
All signs indicated that they had disappeared and fled far away from the colonies, but any person who had lived through the War like he had knew better than to dismiss them and let their guard down.
Stradus, now 48 years old and sporting a graying and shrinking hairline had only been a boy then, but he could still remember vividly when the house servant Cylon maid killed his mother before his eyes. His father had retrieved the old shotgun they had kept over the mantle in their upscale apartment in downtown Caprica City and blew that glowing red metallic face off.
"Sir all systems are normal. Nothing on our scannars save for two civilian mining ships in the asteroids 200,000 clicks off of our stern." The DRADIS operator, a young woman by the name of Ashley Cadrill , spoke from her station across the bright CIC.
"Good. How are our CAPs doing and our Escorts?" he asked the Communication officer, a Tauron native named Delon Finch.
"All of our squadrons are green and the Hedom is reporting a minor flux in its DRADIS array but other than that we are good.
Stradus nodded and was about to go to his quarters when Lieutenant Cadrill shouted.
"Sir I have a huge radiological reading 60,000 kilometers out in front of us with a positive inclination of 30 degree on the Y-Axis relative to us!"
Stradus spun around to look at the DRADIS screen.
Sure enough a gigantic, unknown reading was where the woman had said it was.
What could it be?
"A nuclear detonation?" he asked.
"No idea. Panning the external telescopes now and showing on screen."
One of the larger screens resolved to show a blue…hole in space with swirling and dazzling colors inside.
"What in the Gods' names is that?"
The crew was a loss for words as Finch confirmed that all the other ships and Vipers were seeing the same thing.
"I have no…" the young woman paused then exclaimed and pointed to the screen.
From the middle of the sphere came a ship.
"Zoom in and enhance!" Stradus ordered without a seconds hesitation.
The ship that appeared on screen was like nothing he had seen before.
It was the size of a Mercury Battlestar. It had angular lines and a dull grey appearance.
It was also clearly a warship.
Though at this extreme range where it would take ten minutes to reach engagement range (an intersystem jump was possible but they were always horribly inaccurate and would scatter the formation) and as a result the resolution was a little bit blurry.
He could still make out dozens of large turrets, missile pods (much more than on Colonial ships he noted) and he could barely pick out what looked like point defense guns.
There were no decernable flight pods but there were several hangar bays amidships and on the top of the ship.
From what he could tell it was a pure battleship.
"Look at that battle damage." Exclaimed one officer.
The ship sported dozens of black pock marks all over its surface and obvious armor plating. Though more apartment were two large gashes each almost 80 meters in length.
"My Gods it looks…melted" Ashley pointed.
Stradus had never seen any sort of damage like it.
"What kind of a weapon could do that?" he asked aloud.
"Profile matches NO known designs, Colonial or Cylon." Chidrill reported.
Stradus took one more look at the screen.
"Finch try any and all frequencies to get in contact. Raise the Triton and Fleet Command."
The man nodded as he got to work.
"Battlestations! Accelerate to attack speed and close the gap to attack range." He ordered as the helm responded and the klaxons on all of the ships wailed.
The engines on the Perseus and her escorts blared as they accelerated forward.
Vipers launched from their tubes and accelerated ahead of the fleet.