The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by fnord » 2018-12-03 10:50am

Ah, that makes sense. Keyship is not a battlewagon per se (although it can handle itself when fur flies), but it force-multiplies other battlewagons. What's the (rough) crossover distance between where it's faster to use Kobolian FTL and where it's faster to bum a lift off the Keyship?

Likewise, the yard ships would qualify, for much the same reason - their contribution makes other battlewagons more effective (in this case, repairs and upgrades without having to bugger off back to Terra or displace UNSC yard capacity).

By Haloverse standards, would the Kobolian cruisers be considered capital ships in their own right?
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-12-03 11:19am

Max range on Kobolian jump drives remains 25000 light years. Any further and you need jump - gates. The improvements since book one are mainly in speed of calculating jumps and charging the drives.

The Keyship also has the advantage of being able to take entire Fleets over ten times that distance.

As for the Legend class cruisers....but Terra standards they're heavy escorts, by UNSC standards they'd be full capital ships - they're longer and slightly more massive than the Marathon or Halcyon classes.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by fnord » 2018-12-03 12:25pm

For example. if you suddenly had to beat feet from the rim of the Milky Way to the Furling Beacon, (approx 80k light year), would Kobolian kit work out quicker (after accounting for cycle times, extra calcs as you got further in, waffles, etc) than bumming a lift? Would that change if you had to beat feet from one side of the MW to the other (approx 160k light year)?

For short extragalactic trips (eg Terra to one of the Magellanic Clouds), looks like the Keyship would be hands-down faster - 250k light year in a single jump, and not needing a beacon to lock onto.
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-12-03 04:17pm

Basically, if it's single-ship and you can do it within one jump, Kobolian drives are faster. Anything requiring two or more jumps, Keyship is faster. Plus Keyship can move whole task forces at once, which the Kobolian FTL's can't do.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Natzo » 2018-12-04 11:56am

You know, after the luck the Colonials had (discounting the balance of the Terran Tech), one would think Jellicoe would be one of those Admirals that would always assume the worst outcome. Like assuming they didn't kill the flagship, or that the Elites would not crumble without it.

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-12-04 12:26pm

Well in fairness I haven't had him say whether or not he thinks the Covenant commander is dead yet. But you're right, it would fit his personality better.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Sky Captain » 2018-12-05 01:40pm

Jelicoe could also asume Covenant have protocols in place just in case command ship is destroyed clearly defining who is next senior officer responsible for fleet if Watinree is killed.

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by fnord » 2018-12-07 04:57am

Well, given Jellicoe's previously-shown optimistic outlook (*koff* sarcasm *koff*), he'd assume that as a matter of course - would fit with rest of overall military competence shown by the Covenant. Lord High Muckamuck #1 getting clobbered doesn't leave the Covenant fleet headless.

And north (bugger asking pardon for the fun) of 20% active Supercarrier casualties would start constraining how the Covenant can project force, even before the Sanghelli get to point of "hell with this". I'm guessing the ex-admirals involved were evenly split between potential-loyalist and potential-rebel?
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-12-15 12:43pm

Just when you thought it was safe to look away from User Fiction...


Any Last Words?
Reach Orbital Space
Shortly Afterwards (August 23rd, 2552 (UNSC Military Calendar))


The three Terran vessels flashed back into existence a safe distance from the potent orbital defences of Reach an indeterminable amount of time later. It was still an open question for the physicists of both Terra and Earth – there was a subjective time lag between jumping away from one location and appearing at the new one, a span of time that could stretch from the gap between frantic heartbeats for a close-range combat jump, to nearly five full seconds for the still-unsurpassed and uncontrolled jump of the Warspite from Aerilon to near Terra. But the various on-board chronometers showed no elapsed time at all between appearing and disappearing, even the most accurate atomic clocks stubbornly showed the jump was instantaneous. The UNSC shipboard AI’s that had, over the last month, racked up dozens of FTL jumps just added more fuel to the speculation – they too reported a sense that time passed during a jump even if their own hardware vigorously denied it.

All that was a question for the eggheads however, it most certainly was not something to concern the frontline spacers and officers, least of all their commanding Admirals. In Fleet Ops aboard the Jupiter, Admiral Jellicoe was musing over the results of their attempted decapitation strike. The more he thought about the issue the less convinced he was that it would have any effect beyond the material losses the enemy had suffered. The Covenant were proving far more proficient an enemy than the Cylons or the Wraith had ever been, they had one great advantage those vanquished foes sorely lacked: a clear command structure.

As the disorientation of the jump faded, Jellicoe immediately ordered a holo-conference with the other UNSC and Alliance commanders involved in defending Reach. This was not the same as UNSC HighCom, this was instead a group of pure frontline officers. Holograms flared to life, showing Lord Hood as overall commander, Admiral Cole from the Everest, Admiral Stanforth from Leviathan, Fleet Admiral Harper from Valiant, Admiral Whitcomb from the Trafalgar, Captain Suranov from his command station, Captain Keyes from the Pillar of Autumn, Admiral Pendragon from Phoenix. Admiral Kirov from Eridanus and Commodore Baird from Dreadnought. It was a complete who’s who of senior commanders.

Lord Hood spoke up first. ”Well John, how did the NOVA bomb fare?” Others, especially Whitcomb who had overseen the NOVA project looked quite keen to hear the answer.

John cleared his throat. “The enhancements to the bomb worked as planned, it was one hell of a big boom. Sadly, the Covenant are more cunning than we thought, only about 12 percent of their fleet was caught in the blast and destroyed or mission-killed, the rest are still intact or will be soon. One of their Supercarriers was killed in the blast and we killed two more in the immediate aftermath, but that still leaves seven of the frakkers left to hit us.”

Hood frowned, the news was not what they’d been hoping for. ”Did you manage to kill the enemy command ship?

Jellicoe’s frown matched the UNSC Admiral’s. “We think so. Janus gave us an 85% probability but the more I think about it the less of an effect I think it will have. For one, we don’t know the ship we killed was definitely the flagship and two, the Covenant have a full command hierarchy just like we do. I have serious doubts that simply killing their commanding officer will cause any effect on them beyond the material loss of the ship they were standing on.”

The assembled holograms exchanged significant looks. It was widely known in the Alliance that Jellicoe was almost the ultimate pessimist when it came to combat (only the dour Mikhail Kirov had him beat in that field) so this doubt was completely in character. What made it impossible to argue against was that Jellicoe usually had damn good reasons for that pessimism and it more often than not had saved lives, so no one was prepared to argue against it.

Harper spoke up next. “Well we know they’re coming, we know the direction, the numbers and we have about forty-five minutes until they drop back into realspace. Are we ready to deploy the mines?”

Captain Keyes answered that, his battle group had the fastest ships thanks to their uprated engines so they had been tasked with laying the minefields. ”We’ve got three-quarters deployed and armed, the rest will be done before the Covenant arrive. We’ve gone for a random dispersal in a single shell; all mines can be set for either proximity or remote detonation as needed.”

Jellicoe jumped in. “Set them for remote detonation, last thing we want is the bastards sending in a wave of frigates or corvettes as sacrificial goats to clear proximity mines.” Keyes nodded agreeably at that. John had another thought though. “Something else has occurred to me. What if the Covenant launch a diversionary ground attack on the fusion plants? We wouldn’t lose the ODP’s if that happened but we would lose the Fortress shield.”

Whitcomb grimaced. ”That occurred to us as well John. We’ve got Marine units in Corps-strength deployed in a defensive perimeter, another two brigades worth as a ready reserve as well as every available Spartan ready to deploy from Gamma Station to the surface as needed. We’d certainly appreciate your own Marine divisions as well, they’ve got a lot of effective hardware that would come in handy.”

John nodded. “You’ve got them Danforth.” He looked away from the conference call to his fleet coms officer. “Commander Harrison, Priority-One message to Generals Warwick and Salazar, First and Second Marine Divisions are to deploy immediately to the fusion plant defence perimeter on the surface of Reach and stay there until relieved. At once if you please Commander!” His tone permitted no argument and the younger officer turned and sent the message as fast as he could.

He turned back to his fellow commanders. “Ok, how are we working the space battle?”

Hood fielded that question. ”We’ll deploy the Reach Garrison, Michael’s Battle Group Zulu and our carrier force within the Fortress shield, that’ll be the anvil. Richard’s First Strike Fleet, Battle Group Keyes, Preston’s ships and your Alliance force will hide around the gas giant Sanctuary, once the Covenant fleet commits, you’ll jump into position to catch them between three fires – Richard’s fleet on one side, Preston, Keyes and your ships on the other and the ODP’s and remaining ships in front of them. “

Harper nodded as the plan came together. “Agreed. As tempting as it is to turn turtle within that marvellous shield of yours, I think we need to leverage the tactical mobility these FTL drives give us as much as we can. Jump, fire, reload, fire, jump again, rinse and repeat as long as we can. We’re going to lose a lot of ships and a lot of lives but it’s that or turn tail and run, and I’m sure as hell not doing that.”

Keyes threw down a proverbial gauntlet next. ”The rest of the fleet relies on the MACs in fixed mounts, my ships have the new ion cannon design that has proven highly effective against Covenant shielding thus far. We also have the best engines and manoeuvrability. After the first MAC salvo, I’ll take my ships in on a thunder run through whichever part of their formation looks most promising, do as much damage as we can then jump out for another MAC salvo.” It was a bold, almost ludicrously brave plan that would put the Captain and his ships in nearly unparalleled danger but this was a fight that would demand such courage and more.

Hood simply nodded, knowing full well the brilliant Captain’s odds of survival had just fallen well below fifty-fifty. ”Godspeed, Captain. One other thing, I want everyone’s fighters deployed as additional cover from the ODP’s and other orbital stations. They’ll answer to Trafalgar’s Air Boss, Commodore Hawkins.”

Jellicoe nodded. “I’ll happily give you the Cobras, Vipers, Raptors and Scythes, but I’d like to keep the Scimitar bombers in reserve for jump-shoot-jump strikes on targets of opportunity. Between Nemesis, Jupiter, Phoenix and Eridanus I’ve got twelve squadrons, two hundred forty bombers with full war-loads that will put a hell of a dent in Covenant battle groups. Tactical mobility, just like Richard said.” He looked over at the tactical display again, Justin time to see the two Warstar’s blossom with smaller contacts as the big Leopard dropships began ferrying the two Marine divisions to the surface. “I see the Marines are as punctual as ever. I’ll have to put them in for a commendation if we survive this mess.”

Harper smiled. ”If we do make it to tomorrow they’ll be the mother of all parties.”

Hood nodded in agreement at the gallows humour. ”Quite right Admiral, I’ll have to open up that Scotch I’ve been saving for a special occasion. Right, we now have just under forty minutes to game time, deploy your fighters as needed and take your stations. I will have a final broadcast ready for when the enemy arrive, you need not prepare for it.” With that, the conference ended and Jellicoe was left with only his own Fleet Ops Centre and battle staff for company.

In that single moment, the crushing loneliness of command hit him full force. In Hood, Harper, Stanforth, Whitcomb and especially Cole, Jellicoe had found peers, comrades, those who understand the terrible privilege that was commanding a fleet in battle. Now, he was left with only subordinates, exceptional ones to be sure, but no peers, equals or friends, no one else to turn to; the command of the massed forces of the Alliance fell to him and him alone. His peers had their own fleets to command, his superiors were not even in this universe – and part of him pointed out that while Lethbridge-Stewart and Bill Adama outranked him, he had more fleet command experience then both of them combined. He shook off those surprisingly painful thoughts and focused on the orders he needed to give.

“Send to all ships: prepare to jump to holding position in close orbit of Sanctuary. All fighters and gunships are to be ready to deploy before we leave Reach orbit and will take orders from the UNSC Fleet Air Boss on the Trafalgar. All Scimitar bombers are to move up to Alert-Five status and loaded with full nuclear payload. All ships will step up to Condition One.”

The orders went out, the various manoeuvre elements jumped to their holding positions, guns were loaded, missiles armed, damage-control teams pre-positioned to respond to incoming fire, the sickbays and hospitals cleared for imminent wounded. Throughout the Epsilon Eridani system hundreds of ships, thousands of fighters and hundreds of thousands of spacers, pilots and Marines readied themselves for what promised to be an apocalyptic battle.

Minutes passed until soon the Covenant were only a few moments away. A new voice broke into the various radio and wireless channels as Fleet Admiral Lord Hood gave his final commands:

“To every spacer, pilot, officer and Marine preparing to defend Reach, listen well. In a few minutes the Covenant will arrive, seeking to destroy our ships and burn our world as they have done so many times. We know this enemy, we know their ships and we know their methods. We know they will show no mercy and offer no quarter.

Well neither shall we! Throughout this war we have stood our ground and fought to the last to defend the civilians and the innocent. Recently we have found new friends and allies that brought us the tools to make that stand without it being suicidal. We have fought them before, we have beaten them before and we will do it again! This, right here, right now, is the moment this war turns.

Hundreds of years ago, two poets wrote some words that resonate to this day. A man from Wales wrote an entreaty to his father, a simple yet poignant plea: do not go gentle into that good night. We will heed those words. We will not go quietly. We will not go gently. The Covenant may triumph here, but they will have to kill each and every one of us first. Stand your posts, trust your fellows, and if needs be sell your lives dearly. Whether we live or die, the names of us and our ships will echo in eternity and future generations will know of our stand and say of us “they were warriors.”

A brief interruption came as slipspace portals opened and the Covenant fleet began reverting to realspace. Hood continued after a momentary pause, seemingly unfazed at the vast numbers arrayed against him.

“The barbarians are at the gates ladies and gentlemen. Time to welcome them in the proper fashion. All ships, all stations, sound General Quarters and prepare to engage the enemy. The sharp-eared among you will note I mentioned two poets. The second wrote a piece called The March of Cambreadth that gives me the words for my final command to you all.”

At that, Hood took a deep breath before giving that last command, knowing that those he had served with before would be expecting this: “Let not a one damn cur pass by!”

And over the comm channels came the voices of every ship Captain and their crews, every deployed pilot, the gunners on the ODP’s, the crews on the civilian structures, the Marines on the ground, anyone with a radio joined this one, stirring moment; a hundred thousand voices and more united in one cause as they gave the response the old poem and the even older martial tradition demanded:

”How many of them can we make die!”

============

The battle begins!
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-12-15 01:32pm

Yes!

This pushed all my buttons. Well done!
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-12-15 05:29pm

I should add that this is recommended listening for Lord Hood's speech, the March of Cambreadth itself, although this particular video calls it the March of the Tanith which is how I found it a few years ago.

Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-12-15 06:29pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-12-15 05:29pm
I should add that this is recommended listening for Lord Hood's speech, the March of Cambreadth itself, although this particular video calls it the March of the Tanith which is how I found it a few years ago.

Have it on my HDD and both devices. I first heard of the song while reading Kris Longknife:Defiant, by Mike Sheppherd, aka Mike Moscoe.

(it's the best novel of the Longknife series, before Moscoe started nerfing Kris)
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-12-15 06:30pm

Also, it's almost obligatory to perform this at RenFairs.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-12-15 07:09pm

To answer your comment in the Venting thread, that final, rousing speech and those last two lines have been percolating in my head since I decided to include the assault on Reach in the plot for Book Two. I also cribbed lines or sentiments from about a half-dozen different inspiring speeches elsewhere (including, amazingly enough, one given by a Dalek in Mechmaster's "Second Empire" comic).

Writing this chapter and the previous two was a real pain, not least in trying to fit it in around real-life. I can see how the battle will play out, both in space and on the ground. I can see the different elements, the personal stories, the continued Sabaton shoutouts (which will be in-universe ones, which I'm quite proud of and completely unsubtle), the losses and the triumphs...it was just getting both sides up to the starting gate proved harder than I had planned.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-12-15 10:35pm

For the way and the might of the Cole, in the name of his glory..
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-12-16 06:04am

If there was a way to "like" posts on this forum that line would have a bug thumbs up from me :D
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by fnord » 2018-12-16 12:38pm

Jacob's Wild Ride, echoing Frankie's?
A mad person thinks there's a gateway to hell in his basement. A mad genius builds one and turns it on. - CaptainChewbacca

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Sky Captain » 2018-12-16 12:55pm

Yeah, Bring it on!


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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by LadyTevar » 2018-12-17 11:36pm

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-12-15 06:30pm
Also, it's almost obligatory to perform this at RenFairs.
That's because it was written by Heather Alexander (now Alexander James Adams) in the late 1980s and first sang at SCA and RenFaires. It was recorded by (her) band Phoenyx on their 1990 album "Keepers of the Flame".

I've heard SCA fighters sing it as they march to the battlefield. I've heard it played on fife and drum, on bagpipes, and sang solo about a bardic circle. No matter how it's played it will make your blood sing as you join in "HOW MANY OF THEM CAN WE MAKE DIE!"
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-12-17 11:47pm

LadyTevar wrote:
2018-12-17 11:36pm
U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-12-15 06:30pm
Also, it's almost obligatory to perform this at RenFairs.
That's because it was written by Heather Alexander (now Alexander James Adams) in the late 1980s and first sang at SCA and RenFaires. It was recorded by (her) band Phoenyx on their 1990 album "Keepers of the Flame".

I've heard SCA fighters sing it as they march to the battlefield. I've heard it played on fife and drum, on bagpipes, and sang solo about a bardic circle. No matter how it's played it will make your blood sing as you join in "HOW MANY OF THEM CAN WE MAKE DIE!"
That early? I always thought she(at the time)released that after "Black Unicorn."

I've heard "Cambreadth" sung with great enthusiasm at the OK RenFestival nearly every year I attended it.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Natzo » 2018-12-18 12:34am


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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by LadyTevar » 2018-12-21 02:48pm

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-12-17 11:47pm
That early? I always thought she(at the time)released that after "Black Unicorn."

I've heard "Cambreadth" sung with great enthusiasm at the OK RenFestival nearly every year I attended it.
Yeah, that early. It's been around a LOOOOOONG time.
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-12-21 10:37pm

I see.

Alexander's "War Trilogy" are all excellent songs, with 'Tomorrow I Leave For Battle" my personal favorite.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by DKeith2011 » 2018-12-27 05:45pm

Just wanted to wish everyone a slightly late Merry Christmas and a slightly early Happy New Year.

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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-12-31 07:17pm

Ha! Here's a New Year's present for you all. I told you this would be epic, and this is just part one!

A Daring Thrust
Reach Orbital Space


The massed Covenant armada had dropped out of slipspace a fair distance out from the planet, well out of range of the orbital guns and the defending ships. They had also emerged in what was for them a most unusual formation: usually Covenant fleets would assemble in roughly spherical masses around the largest available ship which was always the flagship. This time, with so many heavy ships participating in the battle and so many Supreme Commanders on hand, the huge force was divided up into many smaller elements, each centred on one of the nearly three dozen Assault Carriers remaining in the force. The seven Supercarriers and the sixty-eight light carriers formed an independent squadron at the centre of the armada which stretched over a vast span of empty space – nearly a hundred thousand kilometres separated the farthest ships in the fleet.

All this was done in the name of several vitally important considerations. First was sheer intimidation, the impression given to the human defenders of a vast enveloping cloud of enemy ships and guns that would soon swallow them whole. Second was preservation – if the humans followed their usual pattern there would likely be a sizeable nuclear minefield spread out near the planet, a dispersed formation would help limit casualties from any of those mines and prevent any suddenly-appearing human forces from inflicting disproportionate losses with massed salvos as they had done previously.

The final rationale for this novel approach was reconnaissance. With the fleet so well spread out their sensors could cover a much larger region of local space particularly on the planet’s far side – the sensor blind spot caused by the planet was significantly reduced, enough for the Imperial Admiral to be confident there were no reinforcement squadrons lying in wait.

The prospect of enemy reinforcements was weighing on the Imperial Admiral’s mind as he saw a comparatively tiny human force protecting the shipyards themselves. The main concern he had was the single, massive spherical shield that encased the entire orbital infrastructure, the defence platforms and the defending squadron. This was troubling indeed, though his highly logical mind was already running down possibilities on how he could deal with it.

The shield must be powered by the surface generators, he reasoned. Something that powerful simply was not possible from orbital structures so small, thus they had to be drawing power from elsewhere. This made Nial Declanee’s plans for a ground assault on the generators even more vital. Imperial Admiral Wattinree made his decision as to which of the pre-arranged battle plans would be used and broadcast on an all-ships channel.

“All vessels will deploy in accordance with contingency plan five. Deploy the corvette forces, ready all fighters for launch and prepare for saturation plasma fire. All light carriers will enact plan seven for mid-atmospheric slipspace insertion and ground assault on the surface generators. Action in ninety seconds. May the Forerunners smile upon you all.”

With the exception of the light carrier force, every Covenant ships now turned broadside-on towards the planet and warmed up every plasma torpedo launcher they possessed. From most of the battlecruisers, Assault Carriers and Supercarriers came a veritable swarm of light corvettes, five hundred and fifty in total. They immediately activated their stealth fields and prepared for a full-speed charge at the human formations. Elsewhere countless streams of Seraph and Banshee fighters were streaming from the hundreds of hanger decks throughout the fleet – except for the light carriers that is. They remained stationary and almost inactive, an outside observer would be forgiven for thinking they had been forgotten about and had nothing to do.

The seconds passed as the fighters and corvettes formed up – but not as a vanguard formation, instead they assembled above, below and to either side of their home ships, never in front. Now the time came for Wattinree’s battle plan to commence. Every plasma torpedo launcher in the fleet suddenly fired, but these were not focused, ship-melting salvos. These plasma launches were as dispersed as the weapon technicians could make them, spread out to cover as much volume as they could and collectively aimed so as to clear a path forwards.

A billion kilometres away, in a close orbit on the far side of the gas giant Sanctuary was the Warstar Jupiter, waiting with the rest of the Terran, Colonial and UNSC reinforcements. In Fleet Ops, Jellicoe and Mace stood watching the tactical display and its data feed from HMS Dreadnought which formed part of the close-defence of the Reach orbital positions.

Mace looked confused at the display of seemingly-impotent plasma fire and the massively dispersed formation. “What are they doing? The formation I get, they’re worried we’ve got another NOVA bomb, but why the plasma fire from such range?”
Jellicoe was wondering that too and was running scenarios through his head. Then something clicked. “Frak….they’re clearing the mines!”

He was spot on. The Covenant did not know exactly where the minefield of re-purposed groundstrike warheads were as they had been deployed with simple stealth systems but they were small enough and fragile enough that even the diffuse plasma torpedoes would destroy or disable them at the very least. The initial Covenant salvo cleared about half of the mines, there would be a second and a third salvo before the second stage of Wattinree’s plan would begin.

As the first diffuse plasma salvo faded from view the Covenant armada began moving forwards, in a perfectly straight line to ensure they stayed within the cleared channels. As they approached the point where the plasma torpedoes had dissipated they turned and fired off another volley that cleared even more of the mines. Meanwhile, the Supercarrier squadron and the massed ranks of the light carriers had been preparing for their next act. All the ships had recharged their slipspace drives and were preparing for a short-range jump, shorter-ranged than any previously attempted in fact, mere tens of thousands of kilometres rather than light-years but it formed one of the most audacious battle plans of the entire war.

Back in Fleet Ops, Jellicoe was furiously trying to think of a counter-strategy in conference with Hood and Harper. The dispersed Covenant formation would greatly reduce the effectiveness of their planned defence – with each Covenant element averaging an Assault Carrier, five battlecruisers, five destroyers and eight frigates they could isolate and overwhelm individual groups with relative ease – but with only four major manoeuvre elements in the assembled defence and the time required to plot jumps and charge drives and guns, they simply couldn’t engage them all before the Covenant could bring devastating force to bear on the Fortress shield and the vital stations it protected. The concentrated force of Supercarriers presented its own utterly lethal threat, they were being forced to split their defence and their firepower and that was a losing proposition.

Jellicoe was also deeply concerned about just why the light carriers were not deploying to supplement the dispersed assault groups, the sensor feeds showed their slipspace drives were charged – the Colonial Admiral had a dreadful feeling that the Covenant were reading from his own playbook when it came to tactical uses for faster-than-light engines. He would have very little time to wait however. Admiral Hood declared that they had no choice but to begin engaging immediately while they still had room to manoeuvre and Harper agreed. The orders went out and in a delightful display of coincidence, both the humans and the Covenant executed their next steps in near-perfect synchronicity.

From behind Sanctuary, two hundred and one UNSC ships and eighty-eight Kobolian vessels vanished in flashes of light, only to reappear in four different positions around a suddenly-reduced Covenant formation. The sixty-eight Covenant light carriers and the seven Supercarriers had vanished into immense slipspace portals. Their destination would completely change the battle from the human perspective.

The Supercarriers and forty-four of the light carriers reappeared in perfect spherical formation around the outer limits of the Fortress shield with every gun charged. Before the human defenders and the Orbital Defence Platforms could react the vast assemblage of plasma turrets, pulse lasers and deadly energy projectors cut loose, sending a literal wall of boiling blue plasma at the vast white shield, interspersed with eye-searing beams of white death.

The massive shield generator installed on Reach Station Gamma was built for exactly this kind of attack, and with power supplied by the truly immense groundside fusion plants that had once powered the ODP’s it could withstand a lot of firepower. This first salvo crashed against it with impotent fury; the barrier held. The flares of plasma impacts did a marvellous job of obscuring the electromagnetic sensors of both sides, leaving the Covenant vessels unable to see what was happening within the shield.

The same was not true for the human defenders. They had the benefit of Asgard-designed sensor arrays that gave them clean target locks even through the plasma flares. The assembled ships and stations, led by the immense bulk of the UNSC Trafalgar and HMS Dreadnought, returned fire with every gun they had.

The Covenant’s first inkling of trouble was when a salvo of heavy coilgun slugs from the British battleship slammed into a light carrier and shattered it completely. S-MAC rounds began flying out to crash against the shields of the Supercarriers while lighter rounds from the UNSC ships began savaging the smaller vessels. The Covenant fired off another salvo, and another, matching the human defenders round for round. After the third wave of plasma impacts the Fortress shield was showing signs of major strain.

The Covenant had paid dearly though. Fifteen of their light carriers had been obliterated and the Supercarriers were starting to suffer as well. Admiral Wattinree had expected as much and he ordered his immediate forces to execute stage three – the surviving light carriers and the massive flagships made another short-range slipspace jump, moving away to another part of the battlefield even as the swarm of light corvettes and fighters were closing in, still covered by their stealth fields – the fighters were in fact holding such close formation with the corvettes that they too were largely invisible to sensors, an unseen yet deadly predator racing in towards the beleaguered defenders.

As the glare of the slipspace portals faded the human commanders realised they had been so focused on the immediate firefight they had lost track of what else had happened. And the realisation of what was going on chilled their blood with terror.

Twenty-four Covenant light carriers had exited slipspace, not in orbit near the defences, but in the atmosphere of the planet below. They emerged from the portals a mere thirty kilometres above the surface and quite naturally began dropping like rocks. Every scrap of power was diverted from weapons and shields to the anti-gravity engines trying to slow their descent, even while the hanger bays vomited forth scores of dropships and ground-support fighters.

Three of their number would not succeed in that endeavour. These were ships with undetected damage from the earlier NOVA bomb attack; their generators were strained to breaking point and their anti-gravity engines, never normally needed in space operations failed completely as soon as power was fed to them. The crippled behemoths, each massing millions of tonnes in their three-kilometre long hulls would strike a major mountain range at terminal velocity, the impacts crushing ship and rock alike until the ships were nothing but burning scrap spread over a hundred square kilometres and half of the mountain peaks had been substantially reduced in height. The three lost ships had still managed to launch most of the dropships though.

The hundreds of dropships that survived carried thousands and thousands of Covenant troops, all ready and eager for the fight. They would attempt to secure initial positions until the carriers had stabilised themselves at a low enough altitude to deploy the heavier combat vehicles. The Sanghelli leaders felt exhilarated – this was a combat deployment unparalleled in Covenant military history and so far it was working like clockwork.

Back out in space the three UNSC battle groups had appeared near their designated targets and opened up with a thunderous cannonade, matched only by the hellstorm of laser fire put out by the Terran and Colonial ships that were ambushing another Covenant element. Those cannonades would not last long – their initial targets died and died quickly, exactly as expected, but the realisation that the Covenant had deployed forces to the surface of Reach was enough to stop Harper, Stanforth, Keyes and Jellicoe in their tracks.

And then the seven Supercarriers and twenty-nine surviving light carriers reappeared from slipspace portals, right on top of their targets.

========

Mwahahaha. When I said the Covvies would be fighting smart, I wasn't kidding.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

Corrax Entry 7:17: So you walk eternally through the shadow realms, standing against evil where all others falter. May your thirst for retribution never quench, may the blood on your sword never dry, and may we never need you again.

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