The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-07-06 12:00pm

Since I know a lot of you enjoy keeping score, I've tallied up exactly what was lost on both sides...and this was definitely a bloody engagement!

Covenant losses:

They opened the battle with seven supercarriers, 35 assault carriers, 68 light carriers, 200 battlecruisers, 200 destroyers and 300 frigates. 810 ships, plus 550 corvettes.

They lost: two supercarriers (Purifying Flame and Incorruptible, twenty-four light carriers and ten assault carrier groups, totaling 10 assault carriers, 50 battlecruisers, 50 destroyers and 80 frigates. They also lost all their 550 corvettes, 95% of their fighters (those ODP canister rounds are a real bitch aint they) and their ground forces took ~60% losses.

That's 216 ships (or ~26% losses) with disproportionate losses in corvettes and fighters. Oh, and the Sanghelli have now lost (in the span of a couple days) lost five Supreme Commanders.

UNSC/Alliance Losses:

The UNSC began with 248 vessels and 20 ODP's of various classes. They lost the heavy cruiser Rememeber the Alamo, the light carrier Langley, fifteen destroyers and thirty-four frigates. They also took severe damage to the light carrier Hiryu, moderate damage to the heavy carriers Dawn Under Heaven and Hugh Dowding and the heavy cruiser Leviathan. Light damage was suffered by all remaining ships in Battle Groups Keyes and Zulu.

That's 51 ships dead, another carrier crippled and three more capital ships out of action for a while. Harper's First Strike Fleet is their only formation that is able to carry out offensive actions at this point.

So with 55 ships dead or out of action, the UNSC have taken 22% losses. They've also taken 30% losses (killed or wounded) for their ground forces and 20% losses in fighters.

The Alliance force jumped in with 95 ships - they've lost one Battlestar (sniff...goodbye Pegasus), two cruisers (Cassandra Cameron and Stephen Falken) and two destroyers (Adroa and Ikenga). Nemesis has taken severe damage and will be out of action for while while the Asgard Forgeship makes repairs. Light/moderate damage was suffered was also suffered by Galactica and Temeraire. They lost 10% of their Vipers/Cobras/Raptors/Scythes and 20% of their Marines (killed/wounded).

The Combined Fleet has effectively lost en entire Battle Group and one of the two Warstars. Ouchies.

So in terms of proportion it's about even but absolute numbers favour the UNSC/Alliance forces - they held the planet after all. Still, a very bloody engagement!
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 » 2019-07-06 10:35pm

That's a proper shoeing all round.

How much will the loss of five Supreme Commanders weigh on the Sanghelli's chances in the upcoming Covvie civil war?

That's a first - a Warstar being badly damaged enough to require non-trivial yard time. Will there be the time to retrofit any new gubbins into Nemesis?
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 Natzo » 2019-07-07 04:25am

It's nice that the Warstars are not invincible. They are already ridiculously powerful and have tanked a lot. If the UNSC play a role in the final book, it would be interesting to see how their fleets improve with this tech in conjunction with their canon upgrades. I think they have the most advanced ground forces, since both the Kobollians and Tau'ri fight mainly in space and don't use power armors or personal shields. With their combined tech, making personal shields for regular forces should be easier. The Infinity would be more of a beast than the Warstar I think. Can't say how its canon power is when compared to the warstar, but it could ram ships and keep its shield and have strong Super MACs. With further upgrades from BSG/SG tech who knows what it would do.

It would also be nice for the Tau'ri to have some more POVs or defining the roles. At this point, even the Colonials are taking a back seat to the Terrans in terms of characterization.

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-07-07 06:08am

Fnord: Losing five Supreme Commanders would normally be a "meh" for the Sanghelli as it represents only about 1/4 their total...but they also lost five supercarriers as well, and they're the Sanghelli ace in the hole, the Jiralhanaedon't have anything that big.

As for refitting Nemesis, probably no new gubbins, the Forgeship can only do so much. It'll get her back into fighting trim but that's about it.

Natzo: Yeah, I decided it was time to take the Warstars down a peg or two. The UNSC will play a role in Book III and their fleets will continue to develop. As for how Infinity would square up against a Warstar...I honestly don't know, but even if she did mount the actual S-MACs like the orbital guns, rather than just uprated versions of the standard shipboard MAC, they'd still be a ways behind the Warstar-grade superlasers.

I also don't think technology plays a part in the UNSC having superior ground forces. THe Terran MArines do have shield generators for their ground vehicles and CAS craft, and their troops wear a form of light power armour. Where the UNSC really shine compared to the Terran or Tau'ri ground forces is numbers (they had something like twenty divisions worth allocated on short notice to defend the generators, the Terrans have a total of just four divisions, one on each Warstar and the other two split up among the Battlestars) and combat experience, both against the Covenant and in general. They've been a more-or-less unified ground force for several centuries now without any major changes in ground combat technology - the Terrans and the Tau'ri don't have a century of that combined.

And yeah I'm aware that the Terrans are rather stealing the show this book (Act One was almost entirely Terran, minus a few cameos and a Tau'ri presence). But the Colonials are still heavily involved - Jellicoe is in command after all, and he's essentially turning into the main/primary POV character for this whole story. The rest of the Colonial Fleet is here and fighting as well. I'm trying to keep things balanced but I've got a lot of characters from four different sources (five if you count the crew over at Atlantis)so it's a juggling act at times.
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 DKeith2011 » 2019-07-13 08:04pm

It occurs to me that, with the combined tech on hand, Iron Man level power armor isn't out of the question.

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-07-13 08:41pm

Out of the question? No. Likely to appear? Probably not. Just because something might be possible doesn't mean it's practical. The Terrans have some nifty kit but I'm not taking them to that level - I'm struggling to stop them being OP as it is, having entire divisions of Iron Man armour would be difficult. Plus it'd basically be an entire division of Spartan-II's minus the biological/cybernetic upgrades, and that definitely would be OP.

Any update on the 3D models for HMS Dreadnought by the way?
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 InsaneTD » 2019-07-13 09:04pm

DKeith2011 wrote:
2019-07-13 08:04pm
It occurs to me that, with the combined tech on hand, Iron Man level power armor isn't out of the question.
Mjolnir armour requires the genetic engineering just to survive wearing it.

Scary thought, if a Gou'ald took a Spartan as a host and still had the armour. Or Spartans that have been Jaffa-ised.

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

Post by DKeith2011 » 2019-07-14 01:40am

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-07-13 08:41pm
Any update on the 3D models for HMS Dreadnought by the way?
Unfortunately the modeler has been hit with a barrage of life issues including divorce and unemployment, he works on it when he can but time is limited.

I'm looking into other options currently, including Sean Tourangeau, designer of the Luna Class for Star Trek. This would just be a multi-view instead of a 3d model.

The problem is that job would probably run about $100 at least. That makes it a bit out of my solo price range. If anyone is willing to kick in on a group effort, it might be more practical.

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-07-14 07:10am

That's a pity. Having the artwork/models would have been a nice bonus but not really essential. Please pass on my thanks to your friend, and my sympathies.
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 DKeith2011 » 2019-07-18 04:17pm

Will do.

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

Post by DKeith2011 » 2019-08-01 01:35am

May have progress on art of the HMS Dreadnought, stay tuned.

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-08-01 12:46pm

That's a delightful update, thanks. I am also working on the beginning of Act Five as well, no need to worry that this has died.
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 Eternal_Freedom » 2019-08-20 07:18pm

Surprise!

Act Five: Schism

Harsh Realities
Covenant Supercarrier
Long Night of Solace, retreating from Reach


Imperial Admiral Wattinree did not know what to do next. His entire worldview, as well as that of every single Sanghelli in the massed Covenant armada had been irrevocably changed. The Prophets had lied to them, had done so for tens of cycles now, pushing them into a genocidal war against an innocent race, a race that could have been a strong asset to the Covenant if they had been given the chance to join as all the other races had been.

Worse still, the Prophets had lied to them about their very faith in the Forerunners. Twenty-seven cycles of warfare, all of it against the wishes of their Gods. Not only had the Gods turned against them and given the humans a fully-operational Dreadnought in recent weeks, they had never been on the Covenant’s side in the first place.

It was a staggering blow, one that would under most circumstances have been irrecoverable as doubt and indecision tore the scattered Fleets asunder. But these circumstances were unique – for the first time in more than a thousand cycles the massed ranks of the Covenant Navy were grouped in just four locations – his retreating force, the six Fleets occupying the two known Halo Rings, and the Defence Fleet guarding High Charity.

It gave the disheartened Sanghelli leader options he might not have had otherwise. Options, stratagems and contingency plans whirled in his mind for nearly a full hour before he realised that this was simply not a decision he could make on his own. With these revelations, the Covenant itself was on the precipice of a schism that would consume it utterly. He might have the right, indeed the duty, to decide things for the Sanghelli under his command, and the species as a whole, but he could not do so for the Unggoy, the Kig-Yar or the Lekgolo. Trying to convince the Jiralhane or the Yan’me to side with him against the thrice-damned Hierarchs would be a wasted effort and could cost them the element of surprise.

He moved away from the virtually silent command chamber and into the nearby meeting room, calling for a conference call with his Supreme Commanders, not only the four survivors from his armada but the remaining seven whose Fleets were at the Rings or defending the capital.

It took some time to arrange, even the Forerunner-derived communications systems were being stretched to their limits connecting twelve senior officers, on twelve different ships in four different locations in real-time. The holograms flashed into life one by one, and immediately the Imperial Admiral could see that, apart from Supreme Commander Narvik Arakee from the Defence Fleet, every one of his immediate subordinates felt the impact of these revelations as severely as the Imperial Admiral did.

“My fellows, my force is withdrawing from Reach and human space. Under the Martial Code, we have agreed a truce with the human’s Admiral Cole. You and your ships are to take no offensive actions against them.” There it was, baldly stated and in the open, even if it was surprising news for most of those hearing it.

Narvik Arakee was the first to voice his surprise – he had heard none of these revelations and was completely in the dark, a fitting situation given that his flagship was the Shroud of Deepest Night.

”Imperial Admiral, what has happened to cause such a truce? And if I may be so bold, where are the five other Supreme Commanders who were part of your armada?”

The Imperial Admiral answered him in a calm, level tone that he truly did not feel. “Dead, at human hands, but it was the Prophets who caused it. They have betrayed us in the worst way imaginable – we are not the Reclaimers, the humans are. The Hierarchs knew this and launched this war to destroy their rivals while they worked on their cursed Great Journey. Not one but two Oracles have confirmed this – one commanding the Dreadnought aiding the humans and the other controlling the Ring that Supreme Commander Ursunee was sent to garrison.”

Arakee may have been kept in the dark but he was as sharp as any other Sanghelli present. ”Then the schism we feared is at hand, us and our fellows against the Hierarchs.”

Admiral Wattinree nodded. ”Exactly so. We need a plan, and we need it fast. Nial Declanee, I agreed with your points before about needing to be seen as the victim, to not start this civil war. I think you would agree that the situation has changed.”

Declanee’s hologram bowed his head. ”Things are far too different now to play politics. We have to act as fast and as effectively as possible. My only source of hesitation is High Charity itself – it is far enough from human space, and the two Rings, that it will take nearly three days for us to get there at best speed – and it is our only remaining source of replacement ships until we can construct shipyards of our own, a process that will take many cycles. It would be far better to capture it if we can.”

Thel Vadamee shook his head. ”While we began cycling ground forces back to the capital, most of the damnable Jiralhanae are there and they have an advantage over us and the other races, except the Lekgolo, in the close-quarters battles we would be fighting. Our forces will be outmatched and on the defensive until we can arrive. And I should stress that thanks to the Hierarch’s insistence on secrecy and keeping them outside our chain of command, we simply do not know where, or even how large, the Jiralhanae fleet actually is.”

Arakee answered that last point. ”I cannot give firm numbers or a location, but at an estimate they have something approaching three hundred vessels – but those are all battlecruiser-sized, and much more heavily armed than our own CCS class ships; they are pure ship-to-ship platforms and waste no space on hanger bays or ground forces.

Nerak Mastanee spoke up next. ”Surely they have nothing to match our supercarriers?”

This time Silas Sorsanee answered. ”To the best of our knowledge, they have no such vessels – but we thought the humans had no such vessels either and now five of our fellows are dead in a day. We cannot make any assumptions that we can overwhelm the Jiralhanae with superior ships.”

Wattinree re-entered the conversation at this point. “Silas makes a good point. Assumptions here will get a lot of our people killed, and losses are something we simply cannot afford. I have decided on a course of action. Once this armada reaches the Ring that Supreme Commander Urunsee is near, we will incorporate his forces into this one, and then move on to the second Ring. Once we have consolidated as many of our forces as possible we will head to High Charity and demand that Truth and Mercy surrender, presenting the recordings we have of the Oracles confirming they have lied. I have a reliable Zealot commanding the capital’s guns, he will lower the defences and allow us to storm the capital with overwhelming numbers, kill Truth, Mercy and every other Prophet we find, while the Armada makes ready to defend us from the Jiralhanae fleet if they decide to engage us.”

Thel Vadamee growled in agreement. ”A bold plan, and a bloody one, but truly I see no other options. We must act now and seize the initiative.”

Arakee nodded as well. ”Agreed. I will quietly bring the Defence Fleet to full combat readiness and begin making plans with the Zealot you spoke of.

One by one the other Supreme Commanders nodded or stated their agreement. The Great Schism had begun.

Elsewhere

The lightning-handed figure allowed himself a trace of a smirk as the board shifted to show the outcome of his gambit. The statue representing the Covenant had split in two, one half remained on the side of the hooded opponent while the second stood equidistant from the other statues, signifying it was separate from both the Prophets and the human factions. The smirk faded imperceptibly as he considered the other, smaller statue behind the Prophets, a factor not yet brought into play but one that could cause all manner of difficulties. They had passed the fulcrum and the contest was swinging inexorably in favour of the lightning-handed player – but that did not mean that his opponent would not make him suffer.

This round was his, but the next might not be – and he may have a lot fewer pieces by the time this round actually ended.

Warstar Jupiter, Reach Orbit

In Fleet Ops, Admiral Jellicoe was leaning against the main plot table and wishing, not for the first time, that the senior commanders could have actual chairs while on duty. It would make dealing with the post-combat exhaustion a great deal easier, especially since he had to remain at his post as the senior most Alliance officer present in this universe.

Even though it had been more than three hours since the abrupt and astonishingly non-violent end to the battle and the Covenant armada leaving the system most of the assembled fleet remained on combat alert. The assorted air wings had been recovered and damage-control parties were doing what they could to shore up the more damaged ships until they could be moved into the orbiting dockyards for proper repairs, but the operational ships and the orbital gun platforms remained primed for further assaults.

The search for possible survivors in the remains of the destroyed vessels was still proceeding, though the odds of finding anyone alive were shrinking rapidly. Most of the destroyed vessels had died very violent deaths that left little chance for the crews. Some might have been saved by being in isolated compartments away from the main destruction but they would have had very limited air supplies – supplies that the various AI’s had grimly calculated would be quickly exhausted.

The Alliance forces held out little hope that any of their brethren from the lost ships could be saved. The Pegasus, Adroa and Ikenga had been evacuated before they were destroyed, so everyone who was going to survive from those ships was already safe. The cruisers Cassandra Cameron and Stephen Falken would both be recorded as lost with all hands – the damage had been too sudden, too all-consuming, to beam anybody off the ships before the end.

Jellicoe in particular was deeply furious about the loss of Pegasus. Not only was it the loss of another Battlestar under his command, but it was one of just three surviving Colonial Fleet units. Another irreplaceable link to their lost homes had vanished in the eye-searing flares of nuclear detonations – though these had been self-inflicted as part of a desperate and (in Jellicoe’s thoughts at least) gloriously defiant act to eliminate a colossal enemy warship. No doubt the Admiralty would prevail upon the Senate and the Quorum to fund a replacement for her, most likely with a second Phoenix class heavy Battlestar, but the painful point remained that the Colonial Fleet would inevitably fade away into memory despite their best efforts.

The heavy damage to the Nemesis was less concerning in a way. It was severe, but with the efforts of the Asgard Forge-ship she could be repaired and brought back to nearly full effectiveness. It was a sobering reminder that as powerful as the two Warstars were, there were definitely bigger kids on the block.

Jellicoe sighed again as Commodore Mace stepped up with a grim expression and a fresh report.

“Admiral, we’ve finally had confirmation on the enemy course and expected destination. They’re heading straight for Installation 04, presumably to link up with the major fleet element already present.”

John scowled. “What’s the estimate on that fleet’s strength?”

Mace consulted his datapad briefly. “Composition appears to be similar to what we faced just with smaller numbers. Three supercarriers, two dozen assault carriers and about four hundred lighter ships of various types. A nearly identically-sized force is around Installation 05.”

“Concentrating his forces for their imminent civil war. Makes sense I suppose.” John mused. “Ok. Harrison? get me a conference call set up with Cole, Hood, Harper and Whitcomb” he called in a slightly louder tone to attract the attention of the younger officer.

“Aye sir.”

Mace waited until the Commander was out of earshot before asking in a low tone. “What’s the next step John?” Despite the disparity in rank and position, the two were friends and had been since the Pegasus Campaign years before.

Jellicoe grimaced. “Right now I haven’t the foggiest Alan. Nemesis has only been able to recover half her Air Wing and we still have Pegasus’ fighters aloft as well. We’ve got to find a temporary home for nearly six hundred extra Vipers and Cobras, not to mention the eighty Scythes and Scimitars buzzing around. None of our ships can handle a heavy deck like that and even spread out we’re still looking at bunking four or so extra squadrons per Battlestar. Call up the two Yardships, Safe Harbour has some sizeable hangers since she was intended to act as a fighter ferry in dire conditions – we’ll split up the surviving Pegasus fighters to replace losses elsewhere and the rest will have to be based on the Yardship for the foreseeable future.”

Alan nodded. “I think that’s the best we can do. Putting the excess Vipers on the Yardship is probably a good idea anyway, she doesn’t exactly have much in the way of defences.”

John snorted derisively. “What else did you expect from a flying drydock Alan?” The Chief of Staff didn’t get a chance to react to that as the display beeped, showing that HMS Dreadnought and her escorting 304’s had returned to orbit – they had stayed in-atmosphere after the battle to provide assistance to the Marines with their Asgard sensors and beaming systems.

The huge British warship had done extremely well and had weathered the battle with only very minor damage; her shields had been on the point of collapse when the parley and truce were called, and whilst a single plasma torpedo had penetrated the defences it had been ablated enough that the armour held with no damage at all.

Mace shook his head. “I still can’t believe the balls those Brits have. Flying a Battlestar-size ship deep into atmosphere for close-range fire support? Remind me never to play cards with them.”

John actually managed a laugh at that. “Baird is their best officer and commands that ship for a reason. You’re right though, don’t ever play cards with him – especially if he offers to teach you Poker.”

The moment of levity passed when Commander Harrison announced the conference call with the UNSC commanders was ready. Four holograms appeared, collectively representing the very upper echelon of human forces in this universe. Jellicoe nodded at them before speaking.

“I’m assuming you’ve seen the report about just where this Armada is going?”

Hood answered for the others. ”Indeed we have. I think it’s imperative we go there and see for ourselves just what is going on – and check on the other Halo the Covenant were approaching since we never managed to check that one. We need a strong force but we’re going to have to start dispersing some of the Fleet back to nearby worlds anyway. What have we got that’s at full strength?”

Cole spoke first. ”Realistically we can’t spare much, and I have to go. It’s me that the various Monitors ultimately answer to and I’m also the one that agreed this truce – if the Covenant forces there haven’t got the message yet I can challenge them appropriately. So, me and the Keyship will go. John, can you spare the Jupiter and the Dreadnought? Those are our heaviest hitters that are at full strength and don’t need to head elsewhere.

Jellicoe nodded. “Yeah, both Baird and I can be spared for the moment. I’ve called up the two Yardships, they should arrive momentarily to help with repairs – though I’m putting an absolute priority on getting Nemesis repaired, at least enough to get her complete Air Wing back aboard.”

Harper gave a grim half-smile of agreement. ”Makes sense, I’d want your superlaser-armed ships back at full strength ASAP as well. I could spare you the Shiroyama and Thermopylae as well if you need the extra firepower.

Jellicoe shook his head. “I appreciate the offer Richard but you may need them here while we’re gone. I definitely want to meet the Thermopylae’s Captain for a drink though, the Combined Fleet owes them a debt for buying time to evacuate the Pegasus.”

Harper smiled, this time fully. ”I can arrange that. Sean Welch is one of my best officers, if he lives long enough I wouldn’t be surprised if he winds up taking my job someday.”

Jellicoe smiled back. “I look forward to that. We need to get moving though. Preston? Can Dying Light manage a slipspace portal for the four ships? I think that’d be better than using a mix of FTL’s, hyperdrives and slipspace engines.”

Cole nodded. ”Shouldn’t be a problem. What’re our Rules of Engagement?”

Hood replied to that question as the overall commander. ”The same as you agreed for the truce. Defensive actions only, keep your shields raised and guns hot. If they open fire, assume they’ve broken the truce and kill anything that tries to stop you from getting back here. Take the remaining NOVA bombs with you – if the Covenant are occupying Installation 05, or if you get a shot at High Charity, use them and blow the fuckers to hell.”

Both Cole and Jellicoe grinned fiercely at that. “Aye aye Sir, that’d be a real pleasure. Preston, let’s get moving” said John. The other Admiral nodded in approval and his hologram disappeared. John turned to Commander Harrison once again.

“Have CIC move us into close formation with the Keyship and pass those same orders on to HMS Dreadnought. Signal Sharpshooter and have him assume command until we get back, and tell the 304’s to take up escort positions around Nemesis until the Yardships get here.”

Harrison nodded in acknowledgement and left to pass on the orders. Jellicoe looked over at Mace and smiled grimly.

“Once more unto the breach then my friend. It’s time we found out just what is going on with the Halo Rings.”

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

So we're back in business. I'm afraid this chapter was a lot of talking and reactions, but events are diverging massively from canon by this point. Reach has been held, the Covenant Civil War is about to begin - but the good Imperial Admiral will not find things going as he thinks.

We also get a brief glimpse at our higher-dimensional chessboard. Iblis is still scheming and as the board shows, the Sanghelli and their fellows may now be opposed to the Prophets but that doesn't mean they're on the same side as the UNSC/Alliance - the UNSC will still take the chance to obliterate High Charity if they can.

Oh and we get a name-drop for Captain Sean Welch as well, because it felt appropriate.
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 DKeith2011 » 2019-08-20 10:25pm

Talky bits are good when needed.

I'm still hoping that Destiny can be worked into the story somehow, if only to get a wrap on that story. Maybe the mystery the ship was intended to investigate had something to do with the higher-dimensionals?

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

Post by swelch51 » 2019-08-21 12:39am

The quiet interludes can be some of the best passages. :) Perfect way to kick off the Covenant Civil War too! The Thermopylae is always ready for continued service. :)

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

Post by B5B7 » 2019-08-21 05:23am

I always check when this thread is updated, but some may think that simply one or two new comments have been made and might not check to find the surprise. It is good that the Sangelhi are now taking on the false prophets.
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-08-21 12:35pm

Mwahaha. I know it's been a while, but RL decided to throw things at me with a blunderbuss for a few weeks. Eep.

As for the Destiny, interesting idea on the "message" they were going to find being part of the Jupiter/Iblis contest. May not work it in this book but it's definitely something I can factor in to Book III. I figure that it will be similar in structure to Book II, a first act wrapping up a few things left open from this book and generally establishing how the setting has moved onwards before opening up the main threat.

Swelch51, yeah the Thermopylae, Leonidas and crew are ready to go, but Harper needs all the ships he can get given the losses they took.

EDIT: As for the Sanghelli taking on the Prophets, I haven't really given them a choice. They have absolute proof that the Gods aren't on their side, the Prophets have been lying for decades, and the humans shouldn't be their enemy. Given that some of the senior leadership were skeptical before they called the truce this shouldn't be surprising. But like I said, it's a truce, not an alliance or a formal peace.
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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 » 2019-08-26 04:42pm

For some reason I have the feeling that soon the Flood will get released

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-08-26 04:50pm

Your feeling is absolutely correct. I had decided not to have them emerge, but then realised I needed something else for the heroes to fight in Act 5/6 before the climactic battle in Act 7.
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 DKeith2011 » 2019-08-26 11:05pm

Zombiiiiies Iiiiin Spaaaaace!!!!!

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

Post by fnord » 2019-09-05 03:29am

So the nuking from orbit will resume until the Flood improves?

Come to think of it, how about working in the "... nuke it from orbit - only way to be sure" line somehow - maybe Benton turns up again as a Colour Sergeant?
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-09-05 01:45pm

I'm pretty sure I already had the "only way to be sure" line at the end of Book I.
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 Eternal_Freedom » 2019-10-05 01:36pm

Well, much later than planned ladies and gentlemen but we are aback, this story is definitely not dead!

In reality, I got so tied up thinking out things and ship designs and plot threads for Book Three that I forgot I actually need to finish Book Two first. Oops. I even know how that book will end....but I ain't saying a word more. Mainly because it might change by then!

Anyways:

Picking Up the Pieces
Installation-04, orbiting Threshold, Soell System,
Nine Hours Later


The Covenant armada had spent tense hours waiting for the Imperial Admiral and his larger force to arrive from Reach. The entire force was on a hair-trigger, not just because of the very real threat of hostile forces in the nascent civil war appearing at any moment but also because the Holy Ring had fired upon them when they attempted to land troops on the surface. The cloud of fist-sized fragments that were all that remained of the three battlecruisers was a silent, but very effective testament to the power of the Ring. Three capital ships utterly obliterated – as a warning shot.

The Oracle, which identified itself as 343 Guilty Spark, had been unfailingly polite but unflinchingly resolute in refusing to allow the Covenant to land. The one good thing that Supreme Commander Ursunee could find in the situation was that that Conservation, the Prophet who had accompanied the Fleet to oversee the efforts and provide “advice” to Ursunee had perished as well, foolishly deciding to ignore the Oracle’s orders and lead from the front. Conservation had been one of Restrictions’ subordinates in the Reclamation Group and had been as spectacularly arrogant as any Prophet the Sanghelli commander had ever encountered. He would not be mourned, even if it wasn’t for the apparent gross betrayal of the Prophets as a whole.

Ursunee was also troubled with the truce that had been called with the human forces. He understood perfectly the reasons why his superior had made the offer but in his heart he raged at the situation – the humans, and Preston Cole and these new “Alliance” forces had killed far too many of his fellows, including two of his siblings and three of his offspring for him to ever accept them as anything other than enemies. Military pragmatism prevailed, but only barely.

Something that would have made him even more uncomfortable about his present situation was the fact that Preston Cole and John Jellicoe were at present less than a quarter-million kilometres away from his fleet, silently and patiently observing both the Covenant fleet and the Ring they had been sent to occupy. The small Alliance task force, comprised of just the Shield of Eternity, Everest, Jupiter and Dreadnought were hiding under the Keyship’s stealth field in a far orbit of Threshold. Cole and Dying Light were monitoring every move the Covenant made, and the rapid approach of the Reach assault force via a datalink from Guilty Spark.

Jellicoe on the other hand was reviewing all the available data from the recent battle, trying to fathom out the best strategies to use in future. Commodore Mace had tried to point out that they weren’t supposed to be fighting the Sanghelli after the truce, but Jellicoe had darkly responded that he wasn’t convinced the Sanghelli would honour the truce for long and that whichever side won their civil war, the UNSC and the Alliance would in all probability have to fight them again.

To that end, the UNSC had gone into overdrive. With a temporary ceasefire in place and Earth’s defence grid now fully operational, the Home Fleet had left the solar system along with the two Alliance yardships, heading straight for Reach. Absolute priority had been given to completing the initial wave of upgrades as fast as possible, with even new shipbuilding being temporarily suspended. The human forces didn’t need brand-new upgraded ships in a month’s time, they needed them now. This also served a double purpose – the first of the upgraded factories on Reach would soon be able to manufacture the new shields and ion cannon designs, allowing them to complete the currently-unfinished ships in drydock with the upgrades rather than having to tack them on afterwards in the cavernous hull of the Nidavellir.

Despite the heavy losses the UNSC had taken over Reach, they would soon be even stronger as new ships would start launching in a month, with dozens of improved frigates and destroyers nearly finished. They would be the vanguard of the UNSC forces as they planned to launch a counteroffensive to end the war. The new Alliance class heavy frigates and Vengeance class destroyers would decisively outmatch their Paris and Halberd class predecessors, even if they were built on the same spaceframes. The standard MAC’s would be replaced by Terran-designed hypervelocity guns, albeit in fixed mounts. These lacked the burst-fire ability of the earlier upgraded ships, but with each shot being equivalent to nearly two hundred conventional MAC rounds in terms of pure energy the trade-off was considered acceptable.

The new ships would also benefit from an increase in internal volume – with the slugs fired from their main guns being substantially smaller, and the loading mechanisms being correspondingly simpler, ammunition storage could be increased while still leaving volume available for larger fusion reactors and more missile pods. These reactors weren’t just larger but also incorporated the improvements designed by Catherine Halsey and pioneered on the Pillar of Autumn. The new power sources also meant stronger shields and the ability to mount four of the new ion cannons. A cursory analysis suggested that in offensive power alone, one Vengeance class destroyer would be equal to a dozen of the older Paris class frigates at minimum.

All of that was in the future however, but that future looked brighter for the UNSC than it had in two decades. They had launched their counterattack against Tau Ceti, they had weathered the Covenant general offensive, inflicting substantial casualties and they had held at Reach and now had a ceasefire in place. Combine those morale-boosting facts and the wave of new technologies making their ships stronger by the day with the spectacular return of Preston Cole and the population’s spirits had been buoyed to almost unheard of levels. Billions of humans now had hope that the war could actually end in something other than their extermination. Shipyard workers, miners, factory engineers and munitions workers strained to their limits, while farmers kept them fed and medics kept them healthy. The vast resources of the solar system and the other Inner Colonies, strained to almost breaking point barely months ago, now flowed freely to the shipyards and tens of thousands of volunteers came forward to crew the next generation of ships.

Jellicoe, however, was not so sanguine. If the truce held for a month and those promised new ships made it to the frontlines unmolested he was confident they could prevail, especially given the data from the captured battlecruiser that showed the Covenant capital was their only remaining source of new ships. The longer the enemy civil war dragged on, the weaker both sides would become while the humans could grow in strength while sitting on the sidelines.

But there was also the Flood to consider, and the Jiralhanae, an enemy they hadn’t faced before as the Sanghelli had been the Covenant military leaders. If the Flood were released, either deliberately or by accident, then the situation could change dramatically. And then there was that other mystery foe in the shadows that Prometheus had warned him about. He knew he couldn’t spend much time worrying about them, not with so little information and other more immediate threats.

He was also honest enough to admit that his intensive analysis of battle data was a delaying tactic. He really didn’t want to have to contact Terra and his superiors and explain the losses they had taken. Intellectually he knew that they had managed to pull a win out of thin air and that their only other options had been an ignominious retreat (something he would never do, not with billions of lives at stake on the surface) or a pointless last stand. With those facts in mind, taking as few losses as they had was almost miraculous, and his fleet had inflicted massive damage on the enemy at every turn.

But still, two destroyers, two cruisers and the Pegasus all lost, while the Nemesis was badly damaged and the Temeraire and Galactica being battered as well, not to mention the nearly ten percent losses in fighters and twenty percent casualties for the Marines on the ground weighed heavily on his soul. Combine that with Terran and Colonial losses earlier in this campaign and not even the Cylon assault on Terra could compare in terms of blood spilled and lives lost. He also didn’t want to tell Admiral Adama that his son Lee had only survived the destruction of his ship because a UNSC Captain had happened to be in position to act as a second set of shields, or that Kara Thrace had been severely injured ejecting from her Viper and had only just regained consciousness in Jupiter’s hospital.

Finally he was pulled from his musings by a signal from Mace that the Covenant armada was about to arrive. He headed back into Fleet Ops and moved straight to the central holo-display, showing the massive shape of Installation 04 on the far side of Threshold and the smaller Covenant occupation force holding position around the moon Basis. He grimaced at the sight of the huge ring, thinking how such a simple shaped could represent such a ghastly threat to sentient life in this galaxy. Then he remembered the mission reports from the Tau’ri and the Dakaara superweapon that could do much the same but was even more compact. If it wouldn’t have infuriated the Free Jaffa, he would have gladly annihilated that thing from orbit years ago.

One of the sensor crew gave them the final count:

“Covenant force arriving in three…two…one…slipspace rupture detected, Basis orbit. Covenant vessels emerging now, initial count is three hundred plus, five supercarriers detected.”

Jellicoe simply nodded in reply. Ship after ship continued to emerge from the massive hole in reality until the entire surviving Reach attack force had emerged and quickly linked up with the smaller force already present. The combined force was more numerous, if slightly weaker in the heaviest vessels, than the fleet they had faced at Reach.

For a moment, John wanted to order the deployment of the single NOVA warhead their force carried and wipe the bastards out in one stroke. He allowed that thought to germinate in his head for fully ten seconds before he ruthlessly suppressed it. That bomb was being saved for High Charity, and taking out that monster would be a far more devastating blow than even wiping out this concentration of ships.

On the display, the Covenant fleet began moving away from Basis and the Halo Ring. They had formed up into a spherical formation, with the eight supercarriers in the centre, surrounded by the assault carriers and light carriers in a tight defensive shell. Around them, the battlecruisers, destroyers and frigates formed an outer cordon, their guns primed and their shields raised to guard against any threat. It would have been a perfect target for the NOVA bomb if they could have gotten close enough, but that wasn’t feasible at the moment.

Another hologram appeared, this time of Preston Cole.

”John, Guilty Spark confirms that no troops managed to land on the surface and that three battlecruisers were destroyed as a warning. He still hasn’t had any contact from Installation 05 though, so I think that’s our next target.

John nodded. “I agree Preston. Looks like they’re heading out on an exit vector for the Coelest system – and Installation 05. Before we head there though, can I prevail upon you and Dying Light to open a communications link with Terra? Its past time I reported in.”

”Not a problem. I’ll join you on the call if I may, it would be nice to at least talk to your fellow Kobolians.”

John smirked. “Preston Cole and William Adama in the same holo-conference…this should be fun.”

The War Room, Olympus Base, Terran Orbit

The assorted Kobolian and Tau’ri leaders had once more gathered in the large room to await news of their forces in the other universe. Lethbridge-Stewart, Adama, Roslin, Matthews, Hayden, Hammond and O’Neill were sipping at drinks and discussing matters in the Milky Way and Pegasus and the strain Second Fleet was under in trying to secure so much with so few ships. Luckily the threats were minimal at best. The Free Jaffa were friends, as were the Orbanians, Langarans, Hebridians and Galarians.

Only the Lucian Alliance remained a thorn in their sides, but with the massive technological disparity between them and the Tau’ri, and the numerical superiority the Jaffa enjoyed, the Lucians could do little in direct confrontation. With the departure of most of the Combined Fleet they had stepped up their smuggling operations but those were not a serious threat at present. Over in Pegasus the Genii were still causing trouble but again, they lacked both the numbers and the technology to pose a serious danger, and both sides knew it. A little over a week ago, one of the Atlantis Expedition teams had been kidnapped in a Genii ambush and taken to a new, secret facility on an otherwise uninhabited world to be interrogated.

That situation had lasted a mere forty-three minutes. The RFS Korolev had been able to track the captured team to that world and had immediately beamed up the team – and the planet’s Stargate and dialling device. Colonel Chekov had them demanded the small Genii force surrender, leaving behind all their weapons and equipment before being beamed up into the Tau’ri ship’s starboard hanger bay, right in front of the forcefield holding the atmosphere in.

There they watched as the Russian ship fired a single missile down into the atmosphere, the naquada enhanced warhead detonating directly over their base, completely destroying it and anything else within ten kilometres. Colonel Chekov then beamed them, and the Stargate and dialling device, back to the surface far enough from the detonation that they were safe, but close enough to see the hellish-looking mushroom cloud on the horizon. He told them that the Tau’ri would keep all their captured equipment and computer files as recompense, and told them to go home and warn their leaders – next time the Alliance forces wouldn’t beam the Genii away from the nuclear detonations in advance.

As a message it was blunt, impolite, undiplomatic and a host of other negative adjectives. But it was also very effective – the Genii leaders had apologised fulsomely, claiming it was a rogue operation and that those responsible would be tried for treason. It was a lie and both sides knew it, but the Genii now knew that if they pushed too far, the Alliance could annihilate them with little effort and no losses. Since then, not a single Genii had been seen on any planet that wasn’t theirs.

This discussion was interrupted by the incoming call from Jellicoe. The two holograms sprang to life, surprising everyone present as they hadn’t expected Cole to join them.

”Good day everyone. I am pleased to report that the Covenant offensive against Reach has been repelled and we are once again preparing to take the initiative. Overall human losses are approximately 22%, roughly the same for the Covenant. I regret to say that we lost the Adroa, Ikenga and Pegasus, each with about 30% losses to the crews – though Apollo and his command crew made it out.

Adama sagged slightly in relief at that. Losing another Battlestar was bad, that it happened to be his son’s ship was worse, but Lee was alive, and that was what he focused on.

”We also lost the Samantha Calderon and Stephen Falken, both with all hands. They got caught by superior numbers and blew before they could be evacuated. The Nemesis has also taken substantial damage when an Assault Carrier exploded too close to her. Overall it was very close to being a disaster. Only our friend here saved the day. Speaking of which, may I present Admiral Preston J. Cole, United Nations Space Command.” The other Admiral bowed slightly in acknowledgement.

”Preston was able to use the Sanghelli Martial Code, with help from Dying Light, to convince the Sanghelli leaders that the Prophets lied to them, that the “Gods” don’t want humanity destroyed. He also managed to agree a ceasefire and a withdrawal of Covenant forces from Reach, they’ve gone off to start a civil war that will weaken them and give the UNSC vital breathing room to finish their upgrades and launch the first of the new wave of ships.”

The assorted Alliance leaders looked at one another before Lethbridge-Stewart, the ranking officer present, replied for all of them.

“I’m glad to hear that John. The losses are regrettable but a lot lighter than I feared given what you were facing. The ceasefire is practically a gift from the Gods.” Alistair noticed John flinch at those words and remembered that despite having spoken with them, and having been declared their Harbinger, Jellicoe was deeply uncomfortable with the Lords of Kobol being worshipped as deities.

”Yeah I’m not so sure about that one sir. The ascended don’t seem to be very big on the “helping others” thing. But that’s for another time. Myself, Preston, Commodore Baird and Dying Light, along with our flagships, are currently near Installation 04. The Covenant had detached a substantial Fleet to occupy the Ring but the Monitor refused them access and opened fire at them as a deterrent. The Reach force has now linked up with this fleet and both are heading for Installation 05, where another Covenant force is. This is the part I really don’t like sir, we have no idea of the current situation on that ring, and if the Covenant have been able to land and release the Flood…” he trailed off, looking expectantly at Preston, the resident expert on the damnable superweapons.

Cole didn’t disappoint. ”Even one Flood-infested ship escaping that ring is a potentially apocalyptic threat. They have most of the technical knowledge of the Forerunners and the ability to breed faster than we can destroy them, short of glassing entire planets. If it wouldn’t cause more problems in the long-term, I’d fire off the NOVA bomb we have and just destroy Installation 05 and be done with it.”

Doctor Hayden leaned forwards, not being very well-informed about the Halos and the threat they represented. “Why would destroying the thing be a longer-term problem Admiral?”

Preston had an answer ready. ”I checked with Dying Light. At the moment, I am the acknowledged Reclaimer and solely in command of the Array. But, there are reserve protocols in place. If a Ring is destroyed for some reason, a replacement ring immediately begins construction at the Ark and will be deployed to a suitable location once finished, a matter of months at most. If the Ring is destroyed by enemy actions, then not only is a replacement built, but the remaining six installations are brought to full readiness and permission to fire them is devolved to the local Monitors and whatever sentient being happens to be present. Even as the Reclaimer I can’t override those contingencies. Destroying Installation 05 would move every other Ring out from my control, and 343 Guilty Spark is already deeply unhappy with me as it is.”

Everyone shuddered at the idea. Adama spoke without really considering his audience. “And this is why I don’t like AI’s, especially when they have superweapons under their control.”

Surprisingly Preston agreed. “I agree with you Admiral, hence why I am emphatically not going to destroy Installation 05 unless I have no other choice. That bomb is being saved for the Covenant capital at any rate.

That brought a vicious smile to Adama’s face. “Good. A massive nuke is about what those genocidal frakkers deserve.”

No one had any reply to that. The meeting ended shortly afterwards as the small Alliance force left to head for Installation 05, deliberately pacing themselves so that they would arrive about ten minutes before the massed Covenant fleet.

Neither Admiral expected that they’d be flying straight into a massive firefight. The Great Schism was in full swing.

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

Well here we go. Jellicoe reflects on the losses, the Covenant lick their wounds, we get some idea of events back in the SG/BSG universe, the Genii get a stern warning, and Preston explains why they can't just destroy Installation 05 - this was mostly put in so I could justify why they would have to fight to reclaim the Ring from the outbreak, and not just blow it to hell. Damn those contingency plans!

Anyways, hopefully I still have people following this and that I also have my groove back. THe next update should take less than five weeks it's been since the last one.
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 DKeith2011 » 2019-10-05 07:09pm

Interesting developments all around.

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

Post by LadyTevar » 2019-10-05 08:06pm

Good Update
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