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 » 2018-05-28 10:17am

More for completist gittery on my part, but how about Lionheart's lost Flight-mates?

I ended up suggesting, back in June 2017:
Barham: "To The Bitter End" (and however that ends up translating)
Excalibur: "With Skill And Resolve" (likewise)

The Excalibat also got some canonical attention:
Eternal_Freedom wrote: Excalibur can take "Take Me Up" or a version of the name I used in the last STGOD, "She who triumphs"
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-05-28 10:28am

Eh, not only are those ships gone they're from an earlier book, so not really relevant anymore.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-05-28 10:43am

Aww, and I the perfect mottoes for them:

Barham: Quia cras/For Your Tomorrow
Excalibur: Hode Nobis Donavit Nobis/ We Gave Our Today

:)
"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

"The Constitution's a piece of paper. A kick in the head is a jolt."
—Stanley "Ray" Kowalski
"Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty."
---NRA motto

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-05-28 10:50am

Those are good ones, but they require the TCN to know, in-universe, that both ships will die and in the right order :D
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-05-28 12:14pm

I know. Feel free to use those mottos for replacement machines.
"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

"The Constitution's a piece of paper. A kick in the head is a jolt."
—Stanley "Ray" Kowalski
"Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty."
---NRA motto

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-05-28 12:29pm

Even if you ran them together and changed the tense to "For Your Tomorrow we Give our Today." It's kinda grim for a TCN motto, they're usually a tad more upbeat/heroic.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-05-28 12:51pm

The crews would express the (unwritten?) ethos "Going out is mandatory, coming back is optional" - I get the impression that Jellicoe's attitude is maybe a bit more intense, but otherwise not unusual.
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-05-28 12:53pm

Good point. Jellicoe is a bit unusual in that regard, but since he has nothing else left other than his oath to defend the innocent, he can get rather single-minded about it.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-05-28 01:14pm

And, he can end up like Captain Ahab, and that didn't end well.
"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

"The Constitution's a piece of paper. A kick in the head is a jolt."
—Stanley "Ray" Kowalski
"Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty."
---NRA motto

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-05-28 03:08pm

Interesting idea...but I don't think it would work, since there's a big difference between "defend the innocent" and "I want revenge on this here whale."
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-05-28 04:12pm

PTSD plus survivor's guilt. He has to get some kind of help for it, or it's no bueno.
"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

"The Constitution's a piece of paper. A kick in the head is a jolt."
—Stanley "Ray" Kowalski
"Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty."
---NRA motto

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-05-28 04:31pm

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-05-28 04:12pm
PTSD plus survivor's guilt. He has to get some kind of help for it, or it's no bueno.
While I hadn't anticipated it when writing the last chapter, this could nicely explain his close friendship with O'Neill - both have had to deal with the same issue, on a different scale, granted, but still.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-05-28 10:41pm

Add to that the tightrope both of them have to walk, because they are in command and hold so many lives in their hands.
"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

"The Constitution's a piece of paper. A kick in the head is a jolt."
—Stanley "Ray" Kowalski
"Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty."
---NRA motto

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-05-29 04:21pm

Indeed. I should also point out that I made a mistake in the Dramatis Personae earlier, O'Neill is Commander, UN Space Forces, not US.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-05-29 10:33pm

That's okay. I didn't notice til you pointed it out. You gave his correct title in the story, which counts more.
"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

"The Constitution's a piece of paper. A kick in the head is a jolt."
—Stanley "Ray" Kowalski
"Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty."
---NRA motto

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-06-02 01:28pm

Annnd we're back ladies and gents:

Debating the Future
Olympus Base Flag Briefing Room
Two Hours Later


The holo-conference had turned into an in-person conference as time went by, the various delegates beaming up or being summoned from Earth to give their views. The room was filled with enough senior officers to command an entire armada and enough politicians to fill the entire political spectrum.

For the Tau’ri there was Secretary-General Hayden, Defence Council President Sir Basil Charleston, CINC UN Combined Forces General George Hammond, the Commander of UN Space Forces General Jack O’Neill, the Director of UNCF Research and Development Brigadier Sam Carter, Ambassador Daniel Jackson, Commodore Sir Jonathan Baird leading the British battle group and Brigadier Steven Caldwell who led the US battle group.

Despite the very strong Tau’ri presence, the Kobolians were well represented – Presidents Matthews and Roslin, Admirals Lethbridge-Stewart, Adama, Jellicoe and Davies, Commodores Adama, Tigh and Beatty and Ambassador North. The arguments had flown back and forth over this plea for aid from another reality. Jack, Sam, Daniel and General Hammond were able to lend credence for the idea of alternate realities, SG-1 having visited or otherwise encountered several over the years.

Jellicoe stayed largely silent, opting to read through the copious data provided by Dying Light as to the ongoing war in this other reality. The facts, stated coldly and bluntly were all the more chilling for the unemotional presentation. Dozens of worlds destroyed, a death toll in the tens of millions with tens of billions more at risk, a seemingly implacable enemy that saw the destruction of humanity as “the will of the Gods,” A distinct irony since these Gods were apparently the extinct Forerunners/Furlings.

The Admiral sighed. Yet again religious zealots were seeing human worlds obliterated from orbit, countless human lives ending in the searing fire of plasma impacts. This kept happening, more of that Cycle the Lords Prometheus and Athena had made mention of on Atlantis years before. Jellicoe was, quite frankly, fed up with it. Was it really so much to ask of the cosmos that humans could be allowed to live without fear of being annihilated? As he scrolled through images of yet more dead worlds - Harvest, Biko, Bliss, Second Base, Green Hills, Arcadia, Madrigal, Jericho VII, Vodin, Eridanus II and dozens more – the rage built and built.

He turned his attention back to the debate flowing back and forth around him. Most of the military officers present were either arguing for rendering assistance to Dying Light and the other humans or were, like him, saying nothing. President Roslin was with Admiral Adama, arguing fiercely to join the fight. Matthews was less vociferous, saying that while it was a worthy goal they couldn’t risk leaving Terra and Earth defenceless. Ambassador North argued that they had far too many pressing concerns in the Milky Way and Pegasus to take on another commitment and another war.

The Tau’ri delegation were likewise quite reticent, even though they had, over the last decade, happily jumped into galactic-scale wars against the Goa’uld, Wraith and Replicators and fought valiantly. Jellicoe couldn’t understand why they were even arguging, for him the situation as simple.

Finally, after a particularly blunt comment from Ambassador North Jellicoe lost his patience completely and slammed his fist down upon the table, bringing silence. He stood, his face clearly furious and glared at North for a few seconds before turning away. He walked up to the front of the room and began tapping away at the controls for the main display. While he was doing that, he began speaking, his tone quiet but clearly heard by all, as was the cold fury that laced his words.

“The fact that we are even debating this is sickening. Out there are humans, just like us Ambassador, that face extinction from an implacable enemy. We have the means to help them, either in defending their remaining worlds or if needs be offering a way to escape, a refuge these Covenant know nothing about.” Admiral Adama, along with anyone else who had been present after the Battle of Ragnar, blinked at the echo to Adama’s own speech that set them heading for Terra.

The display screen shifted, showing before-and-after images of the destroyed Outer Colonies. It was a sobering image that stilled any protest. Jellicoe began reciting the death toll as images flashed by.

“Biko. Seven million dead. Bliss, eight million dead. Second Base, six million dead. Green Hills, four million dead. Madrigal, fifteen million dead. Jericho VII, twenty million dead. And over every world, the human military, this UNSC fights desperately, losing hundreds of ships for a few scant victories, usually won by drowning the enemy in ships and lives.”

The images kept cycling through. World after world, city after city reduced to ashes. It truly was a terrifying spectacle.

Jellicoe seized upon his advantage. “Forget the Alliance terms, forget the actual plea for help we have received. We officers of the Combined Fleet all swore an Oath to defence the innocent. Well out there the innocent are being slaughtered. We have to help them.”

President Matthews smiled slightly at the passion being shown by the usually calm and collected Admiral. “That simple Admiral?”

Jellicoe looked at the politician. “Actually Mister President, I’ll do you one better. It’s even simpler than that.” Another press of a button and an image of the Warstar Nemesis appeared on the screen, with the ship’s crest and motto clearly displayed.

Jellicoe turned back. “Stamus Contra Malum, ladies and gentlemen. For those who don’t speak the language: We Stand Against Evil. I’m struggling to think of an evil greater than this.”

From that moment, the tone of the discussion had changed. It was quickly decided (in principle) that they would help in some fashion. Therefore, they signalled the Shield of Eternity and Dying Light appeared via hologram to receive the news. Having been so passionately in favour of helping, Jellicoe found himself acting as spokesman.

“Dying Light, we have decided we will indeed come to the aid of humanity in your universe. The question is how, and with what. From what I understand, this Reclaimer, Admiral Cole, left in the human year 2543 and it is now mid-2552, correct?”

“That is correct Admiral.”

“And Cole is going off to see what’s left of the Inner Colonies and the UNSC Fleet while you’re here rallying help. We don’t know how the war has progressed, do we?”

“No. We have no information more accurate than that brought by the UNSC Everest and the Reclaimer. There are no active Forerunner installations or facilities in the human Inner Colonies that could provide us with more information. It is entirely possible that humanity has already been destroyed.”

Jellicoe nodded, knowing that was true but hating the fact. “We have to assume that some worlds remain, but we need more information. I propose sending a Reconnaissance Force through to ascertain the situation, make contact with Admiral Cole and through him, the rest of the UNSC. Then we can see what else is needed. Dying Light, what is the logistics of getting to this other universe?”

“Your ships would need to assemble at the Beacon in the core of this galaxy, which can open a mono-directional portal to the Ark. From there, we would contact the Reclaimer and open a slipspace portal to his location.”

That was more or less how Jellicoe had assumed it would work. “Then I propose we send the Nemesis and the rest of the Command Group, plus any ships our Tau’ri friends wish to send. While we are on our recon run, you’ll assemble First and Third Fleets at Terra in case we need reinforcements. Second Fleet will have to handle our defence commitments on their own.”

Lethbridge-Stewart picked up on one key word. “We, John? You going along?”

“Yes sir, I am. “ The conviction his tone stopped any argument in its tracks. Meanwhile, Hammond and O’Neill had been having a quiet discussion with Charleston and Hayden. Hammond nodded, an agreement having been reached and then stood to get the room’s attention.

“I agree with Admiral Jellicoe’s plan, we can commit the British battle group plus the Gagarin and the Icarus, giving us the Dreadnought and four 304’s under Sir Jonathan’s command. They’re all here and ready to go, so we can leave immediately.” Commodore Baird nodded agreeably, even if part of him was still trying to wrap his head around the fact that he’d be serving under an Admiral John Jellicoe, whose callsign was Iron Duke and his former XO was David Beatty, the coincidences were astounding, though not as astounding as the idea of commanding a mile-long battleship bristling with energy weapons.

Jellicoe nodded in gratitude. “Thank you General. That gives us a very potent recon force, one with enough teeth to extract ourselves from any sticky situation we encounter. As that’s decided, I suggest we head for the Beacon immediately.”

There was a collection of nods and various officers began moving to their ships. Priority-One messages went out to all Kobolian units and bases, putting them on to a war footing. All leave was cancelled and the remaining ships of First and Third Fleets were ordered back from their patrols or missions and told to assemble at Terra. Battle Groups from Second Fleet were sent out to take over those missions, a process that would see Olympus Base emptied of docked vessels in a matter of hours.

The Second Alliance was going to war.

The Furling Beacon, in orbit of Sagittarius A*, Milky Way Galactic Core
Ten Hours Later


The newly-designated Reconnaissance Force was assembled. At the centre was the huge mass of the Shield of Eternity, the Forerunner Keyship that had departed from the Beacon barely eighteen hours ago. On her port side was the Kobolian contingent, the Warstar Nemesis, and her escort group; the cruisers Cassandra Cameron, Stephen Falken, Artemus Bowman and James McKenna along with the destroyers Falcon, Hawk, Peregrine, Eagle, Osprey, Predator, Tiger and Panther.

On the Keyship’s other side was the Tau’ri force, mostly British, led by the imposing bulk of the HMS Dreadnought, flanked by HMS Conqueror and HMS Warrior, along with the Russian Gagarin and the American Icarus.

All of them, even the Keyship, answered to one man, who even now stood in Fleet Ops aboard the Warstar, flanked by his subordinates. Once again Admiral John Jellicoe would lead the Alliance forces into battle and face the coming darkness.

The order rang out. The Beacon activated and a tremendous portal appeared, a black void rimmed with blue, an incredible contrast to the swirl of colours of the accretion disk in the background. One by one, led by the Keyship, the Recon Force began transiting the portal.

Jellicoe thought the interuniversal portal was a interesting feeling. On the one hand, it was nowhere near as jarring as the sensation of using the jump-gates to get to or from Atlantis, but on the other it was just as disorientating as a normal FTL jump. The external cameras showed a black void, with only the other ships in close formation being visible, and only barely.

The transit took a good ten minutes. Jellicoe couldn’t wrap his head around the idea that they hadn’t actually “moved” any discernable distance, they’d just slipped between realities, and that endless black void was what formed the intervening space. The thought was very disconcerting, especially after what they had learned about the Furling’s attempt to return home and how their ships had been lost in that void.

Then the transit ended and the ships flew out of the portal into a new universe. Ahead lay the almost inconceivably huge structure of the Ark, Installation 00. And beyond that, a sight rarely seen, the Milky Way galaxy, face-on, a quarter of a million light years away.

Aboard the Keyship, the copy of Dying Light quickly connected with the original, establishing what had happened in the short time they had been away…only to receive a major shock. The Monitor opened a comms channel with the Warstar, asking for Jellicoe.

“Admiral Jellicoe, something strange has happened with the portal transit. More time has passed here than my copy experienced in your universe. I believe this is a problem with the portal itself and not a different rate of time in either universe. According to my estimates, by the human calendar it is July 17th, 2552.”

”Where is your Reclaimer, Admiral Cole at present?”

“The tracking system indicates he is heading for a planet at these coordinates. The UNSC charts I received from the Reclaimer label it as Sigma Octanus IV. Other human vessels are in orbit as are Covenant vessels. I am opening a portal to that location immediately. All ships, prepare for slipspace transition.”

Jellicoe had his own ideas. ”All ships, sound Action Stations and set Condition One. Stand by for combat jump but hold fire until my order.”

It would seem the Alliance forces were going into battle sooner than they thought.

=========

Soon, my readers, soon we shall see how Covenant ships fare against the Alliance. And we shall see both Keyes and the UNSC Everest in battle with her Forerunner upgrades.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-06-02 07:07pm

Very well done, Bravo Zulu to the good Admiral Jelkicoe.
Admiral John Jellicoe wrote:Was it really so much to ask of the cosmos that humans could be allowed to live without fear of being annihilated? As he scrolled through images of yet more dead worlds - Harvest, Biko, Bliss, Second Base, Green Hills, Arcadia, Madrigal, Jericho VII, Vodin, Eridanus II and dozens more – the rage built and built.
This, right here, is what I meant in comparing him to Ahab, as shitty as Moby Dick was, and, perhaps a bit to Marlowe's Faustus. Coupled with his survivor's guilt and his PTSD, he will become singleminded in his passion to keep humanity safe, and, at best, will cost him his soul, or at least his sanity. He will be tempted by darkness and have to make a choice.

That's what makes the best characters. Well done, Phil.

And, Jellicoe will find a kindred spirit in Cole as well.
"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

"The Constitution's a piece of paper. A kick in the head is a jolt."
—Stanley "Ray" Kowalski
"Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty."
---NRA motto

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-06-02 07:26pm

Thanks. Jellicoe is proving a lot of fun to write at the moment. Especially since when I dreamed up the character he was little more than "Warspite's CO." But then we learned of his family being gone, the guilt he carries, the nightmares, the things he saw over Terra, it's all building up rather nicely.

And you could say he's already crossed that line, way back during the Battle of Terra, when he summarily opened fire on both Ba'al's Ha'tak and then Cavil's surrendered Basestar. Sure, he was able to justify it...but only because both Adama's backed him and said they'd do the same, which in hindsight doesn't sound good for the Colonial Fleet senior command - Adama , Apollo, Tigh, Jellicoe and Kirov are all angry and bitter over what was done to humanity. And they collectively command the biggest and most powerful fleet in known space (sure, Battleaxe is CINC but Adama is the Ops guy and Jellicoe is the frontline commander while Kirov leads Third Fleet with Adama, Tigh and Beatty backing him up). Everyone on Terra agrees that the Covenant need to be fought...but how far they go will be an interesting outcome. Remember that it was Jellicoe that OK'd the ZPM bomb to annihilate the Wraith...now imagine what havok they could cause with a UNSC NOVA bomb, naquada, and Asgard transporters and cloaking devices...

This is (also in hindsight) why such a comparatively lenient policy has been taken against the Lucian Alliance - they are dangerous enemies, and the United Colonies are working to stop the kassa trade, but since the Lucians aren't doing anything beyond that a live and let live situation occurs. In contrast, look how easily they convinced themselves to go after the Wraith and Ba'al for a second time.

Of course, it's entirely understandable that, having survived one genocide and seen another attempted the Combined Fleet are willing to fight agaisnt any others, but as Qui-gon mused in my new story "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

EDIT: Yes, Jellicoe and Cole should get on very well, they're both driven by the same motivations - humanity under threat, worlds burned that they couldn't save, their families gone, nothing left but their Oath. Though Cole is somewhat further down the path and may serve as a wake-up call to Jellicoe.
Last edited by Eternal_Freedom on 2018-06-02 07:33pm, edited 2 times in total.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-06-02 07:29pm

Double post
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-06-02 10:35pm

And the plot thickens, not by half.

I'm getting the impression that Jellicoe isn't the only character that has developed a life of their own in this wild ride.
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 Eternal_Freedom » 2018-06-03 05:39am

Oh absolutely. A lot of the characters are, well, evolving. This tends to be why I don't plan a character in advance, beyond a few basic details, as it allows this mutation to occur as the story progresses.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-06-03 10:15am

Best way to do it. Though full of surprises for the author, some of them pleasant.
"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 Eternal_Freedom » 2018-06-03 04:10pm

A second chapter for the weekend ladies and gents, because I'm awesome (and totally not because I had sod-all else to do and couldn't afford to go into town and have fun)...

Running Rings Around The Enemy
UNSC
Everest, approaching Sigma Octanus IV
July 17th, 2552 (Military Calendar)


Admiral Preston Cole could not, by any stretch of the imagination, be considered a happy man. Even before his “death” he had been tired, dour, stoic, unapproachable and a host of other terms used to describe those who are not interested in interacting with others. Since his unexpected trip to the Ark he had changed slightly, a feeling of hope, of determination had resurfaced. A hope that with the weapons and technology now contained in his ship humanity would have a chance to turn the tide of the war.

That hope had largely died since leaving the Ark. He’d spent a month trawling through the Outer Colonies, hoping to find some survivors, someone he could contact. But there was no one. The Outer Colonies were destroyed, completely and utterly. So he had begun moving, carefully, stealthily, into the Inner Colonies, fearing that he’d have to go straight to Earth before finding anyone else…and maybe not even then.

His initial search hadn’t proved any more fruitful. The only indication of survivors he had found was on the outskirts of the Paris IV system, the wreck of the UNSC Richmond, a frigate that had not managed to escape along with the rest of the defenders as her slipspace drive and sublight engines had been crippled by a plasma torpedo. The Captain had ordered the crew into stasis, hoping to be rescued eventually and revived – but the power had failed three years ago, leaving the crew to die cold and lonely deaths, unknown to anyone but him.

Now he was heading for Sigma Octanus, a lightly-populated world by the standards of the Inner Colonies but one close to Reach. If this colony was gone, then he could be at Reach in an hour – and even after all he had seen he refused to believe Reach could fall.

He stood at his usual position on his gleaming, spotless bridge, alone apart from the AI, Hilary. The AI hologram appeared in the form of a mountain climber, bedecked in ropes, backpack and carrying ice picks, harnesses and all sorts of climbing paraphernalia. Cole had never understood, and no scientists had ever managed to adequately explain to him, why the “dumb” AI’s assigned to warships took on a form and a name that fitted the ship. Even their personalities developed in similar ways. There was a lot of speculation by computer scientists but nothing conclusive. Cole didn’t mind it, really, and Hilary was very good at his job. But he still remembered that drunken discussion with the Captain of the supercarrier Trafalgar, how strange it felt to have an AI appearing as Horatio Nelson in full uniform and advising him to lay his ship alongside the enemy.

“We’re approaching Sigma Octanus IV now Admiral, ETA twelve minutes.”

“Thank you Hilary. Sensor report?”

“Scans show multiple ships in orbit: one Covenant carrier, a light destroyer and two frigates and a UNSC destroyer. The friendly appears to be engaging the Covenant.”

“Four to one odds? That’s suicide, unless that Captain has something up their sleeve. Show me.”

A holo-display snapped into being, showing the relative positions of the ships and predicted trajectories. Cole was in for a shock. The UNSC ship began a headlong charge straight for the Covenant destroyer, and between the two frigates. Suicide indeed.

The two frigates turned broadside-on and icons quickly showed two plasma torpedoes being launched. That would probably be the end of it, Cole mused angrily. Another brave ship and crew burned by these Covvie bastards and…

His train of thought came to a shuddering halt. The human destroyer had suddenly lurched to one side, letting the incoming plasma pass by. Emergency thrusters, Cole knew. His opinion of this unknown Captain was revised upwards. They knew their stuff.

Then the plasma torpedoes began to turn and chase the charging human ship. The holo-display beeped, showing another, smaller object that had been fired, most likely a nuke. Cole examined the trajectories and velocities, making some rough calculations in his head and whistled in admiration. This was a most audacious plan.

The human ship was now getting very close to the Covenant destroyer, the plasma torpedoes hot on its tail. Then, seemingly at the last moment, the human ship ducked up and over the larger vessel before turning sharply “downwards” and firing off several dozen Archer missiles from her aft pods.

The two plasma torpedoes were not as nimble and could not correct their course in time. First one then the second slammed into the Covenant destroyer’s shields, which glowed a brilliant white before flickering and failing. Some of the plasma continued onwards, burning away a third of the destroyer’s hull armour on that side. Then from the other side came the hail of Archer missiles, fired at such close range and from such an unexpected angle that the pulse lasers hadn’t even managed to fire. The powerful anti-ship warheads blasted deep into the larger ship’s structure, shattering vital components of both systems and skeleton. In a matter of moments the ship was irreparably damaged between the punishing missile salvo and the searing plasma hits; something in the ships aft exploded spectacularly, causing the remaining hull sections to balloon outwards in a hail of plasma, debris and escaping atmosphere.

This spectacle and the products of it also did a marvellous job at hiding the still-moving UNSC ship from the sensors on the two trailing frigates, but Hilary could still see what was going on. The nuke that was launched earlier was now moving slowly, the tremendous velocity built up by the human ships charge had been bled off and now the missile was approaching the perfect detonation point – right between the two frigates.

The human ship, meanwhile, had dived deep into the gravity well, picking up speed for a close slingshot that Cole saw would bring her back around into an ideal MAC firing position. All of this had passed without a word being said on the bridge of the Everest, only the countdown timer showing sixty seconds to reversion to realspace brought any comment. Cole decided to alter his intended plan.

“Hilary, I want you to alter our course slightly. Bring us out at optimum engagement range from that carrier and ready all weapons. I want the MACs ready to fire, full salvo.”

“Yes Admiral, MACs are charged and ready with the new rounds, adjusting course now.”

Back in realspace, the Covenant frigates and carrier had no idea that Cole was racing towards them and only the vaguest idea of where the other human ship was. The UNSC Iroquois was even then about to race over the horizon, her MACs charged and ready – and Commander Keyes’ finger ready to send the remote detonation command to the Shiva he had launched earlier. His ship was not unscathed; they had grazed the shields of the Covenant destroyer, ripped away two metres of titanium battle plate all along the underside and breached every lower deck. Half a degree either way with their sharp turn and neither ship would have survived.

But they had, and now they had the two frigates dead to rights. Keyes’ finger stabbed down on the detonation command and the external cameras automatically deactivated to prevent flash damage. Out in space, the Shiva received the code and carried out its programming. The thirty megaton warhead detonated, barely two kilometres from either Covenant frigate. A brilliant flash and a storm of radiation light up the sky. In the planet’s upper atmosphere green waves spread as artificially-created aurorae danced in the sky, producing another brilliant light show for the terrified citizens.

The frigates were not as lucky. They were just too close to survive undamaged. The shields held up quite well, but they still flickered and died even as the flash faded away. With the shock of the blast and the blinding of their sensors with the radiation, neither ship saw the Iroquois as the UNSC ship came into sight.

Keyes barked the order and the ship rocked with twin thumps as the MACs fired. Two heavy rounds shot forth in a streak of fire and iron, crossing the distance in moments. One frigate was hit near the engines, the MAC round punching clean through without appreciably slowing down, the gaping cavity left behind was a mute testament to its destructive passage. The ship was effectively dead, her engines offline, her main power conduits severed, her weapons disabled even before a plasma reactor failed catastrophically; the brilliant blue explosion consuming the ship.

The second frigate died an even more impressive death. The MAC round struck the bow and gutted the ship from stem to stern, destroying the command centre, the main weapons, the primary generators, the computers, the sublight engines, the slipspace drives, practically everything of value to the ship was obliterated. The gutted hulk began to tear itself apart under the inertia of the radical starboard turn it had begun after the Shiva had detonated, fragments spinning away.

On the Iroquois, Keyes turned to his officers and asked for a status report. Aki Hikowa went first.

“MAC guns are offline, half the Archer pods have been expended and the launch tubes for the last two Shivas were wrecked by that collision. We’re pretty much out of options sir.”

Lieutenant Hall, Operations was next. “Every bottom deck is open to space. Main reactors offline, main sublight drives offline. The Covenant carrier is still in orbit over Cote d’Azur. UNSC Gettysburg and Allegiance have arrived in the outer system and are approaching but are still three hours out.”

Keyes nodded. As much as he wanted to take on that carrier, they really didn’t have a way to hurt it short of a collision – and with the ship’s sublight drives crippled they couldn’t do much by ramming anyway.

“Well then. Dominuqe, call up Sector Three Command at Reach, tell them what’s happened and request reinforcements and…” he was cut off by a shout from Hall.

“Slipspace rupture! Aft, near the carrier!”

Keyes sighed, knowing this was the inevitable Covenant second wave. They’d done amazing work, but now the Covenant would bring more ships and crush them, as they always had. He called up an external camera view and waited, wondering idly what ship would emerge to destroy his crippled vessel.

A ship, a human ship, burst out of the slipspace rupture, driving straight at the Covenant carrier that was even now beginning a frantic turn away from this totally unexpected new threat. Keyes called for an ID on the new arrival, the class looked familiar but he couldn’t place it. It was a big ship certainly, at least four times longer than his own destroyer. Hall spoke again, her voice laced with surprise and wild, unexpected hope.

“Database classifies her as a Valiant-class superheavy cruiser…”

Lieutenant Hikowa interjected. “What the hell is one of those doing all the way out here? We’ve only got three left and they’re all back at Earth!”

Keyes looked at Hall with a raised eyebrow, awaiting an answer. He saw the colour drain from her face. Her reply gave Keyes the biggest shock of his life, which was saying something after all he had seen and done.

“Oh fuck me…transponder tags say she’s the UNSC Everest sir!”

That brought complete silence. Keyes’ mind was racing: the ship thought lost at Psi Serpentis reappearing after nine years, there had been rumours ever since that battle that Cole’s ship had jumped out of Viperidae’s atmosphere before the micronova but as neither ship nor Admiral had been seen again those rumours were dismissed. But now…

On the bridge of the Everest, Cole was studying the scans of the clearly crippled destroyer that had fought so bravely. She could probably be repaired, he judged, if a repair station could be brought here before Covenant reinforcements arrived. He turned back to the enemy carrier.

“Hilary, kill that bastard.” His voice held a tone that was almost gleeful.

“Gladly Admiral. Firing now.”

There was a series of rapid thumps as the cruiser’s three MACs discharged. These were no ordinary heavy rounds however. Dying Light and the Sentinels had done an amazing job upgrading the weapons, utilising what was already present and making it better rather than outright replacing it. The superconducting coils now had field recyclers and improved capacitors, allowing five shots to be fired in quick succession with a single capacitor charge. Not only were that but the projectiles were fired with roughly twice the velocity than they originally did, imparting even more damage. The shells themselves were improved, instead of hundreds of tonnes of iron and tungsten, the guns now fired five-hundred-tonne masses of superdense plasma that could achieve spontaneous fusion on impact. It was perhaps the perfect blend of human and Covenant weapon technology. Now Cole would see if it worked.

Fifteen brilliant blue bolts were hurled in five salvoes from the MACs. The Covenant carrier had no chance to evade or even react. The shields held against the first three-round salvo, and the second, but the third collapsed them, excess plasma burning away some of the hull armour as it did. Then the fourth and fifth salvos arrived and the carrier ceased to exist. Six small suns blazed into being all along the Covenant ship’s flank, brilliant fusion explosions that ripped into the structure with staggering force. One bolt had, by chance, struck an open hanger bay that was in the process of disgorging Dropships to land on the planet. The detonation triggered a whole series of secondary explosions that cut the huge ship cleanly in half, a sight that could only be seen for moments before the other explosions consumed the remains.

Cole blinked and then smiled victoriously. The new weapons definitely worked. It would be interesting to try out the new hardlight beam cannons but that could wait. Where there was one Covenant battle group, there were usually others. No doubt a second wave would be on it’s way soon. And Cole would be waiting for them.

Hilary too was pleased with the results of their first engagement with the new systems. He just loved what Dying Light had made his ship into. She’d been a potent warship before, now she could stand up to anything short of a Covenant Assault Carrier and expect to win. All that was needed now was for Dying Light to bring the cavalry and get in touch with UNSC HighCom. No doubt there would be many, many questions ahead.

Cole continued smirking for a moment and then asked Hilary to ID the damaged human ship.

“Hmm…the profile matches a UNSC Halberd-class destroyer apart from those streaks of warpaint on the flanks, but her ID number isn’t in the registry. She must have been built since we…departed. And Admiral, she is hailing us.”

“Time to face the music I guess. Put them through.”

Back on the bridge of the Iroquois, Commander Keyes was waiting anxiously to learn just who was aboard the Everest. If Preston Cole really was back from the dead, with clearly much-improved weaponry, then maybe they could actually win this thing after all. The channel connected and after a moment of static the screen showed their first view of the new arrival.

Standing proudly in the cavernous bridge so typical of the Valiants stood a man, tall, well-built, with stern features and steel-grey hair. He wore the standard duty uniform, the rank tabs showing he was a full Admiral. On the left breast were a collection of ribbons denoting various medals and citations, and on the right was emblazoned the single word “COLE.” Either this was the real thing or an outstanding forgery.

The man was likewise taking in the view of Keyes and his bridge, the command crew trying (and failing) to look like they weren’t listening in. Eventually, the man on screen spoke.

”I am Admiral Preston J. Cole, commanding the UNSC Everest. My congratulations on your efforts Commander, those were very impressive manoeuvres you pulled off.”

Jacob tried not to puff up in pride at praise from such a legend. “Thank you Admiral. I’m Commander Jacob Keyes, commanding the UNSC Iroquois. With respect Admiral…where the hell did you come from? Everyone thinks you’ve been dead for nine years since Psi Serpentis. And…what on Earth were you firing at that carrier?”

Cole smirked. ”All in good time Commander. Suffice to say that I found some friends and brought the cavalry. I assume you have signalled for reinforcements?”

Keyes nodded. His datapad beeped, a message showing that the Sector Three Commander, Admiral Stanforth, was en route with every ship he could spare.

“Yes sir. I’ve just been informed that Admiral Stanforth is on his way with some of the Reach garrison.”

Cole looked up from reading his own brief message from Hilary and replied with a tone somewhere between amusement and surprise:

”Stanforth? Michael Stanforth? They gave that wet-nosed pup Admiral’s stars and command of Reach? Jesus. Well good thing that my reinforcements are inbound as well. In fact, they’ll be here any moment.” The Admiral was wearing a decidedly smug expression as Lieutenant Hall practically leaped out of her chair.

“Another slipspace rupture, a fucking massive one! Ships emerging now…unknown configurations, no IFF tags, no recognisable designs…count is eight…eleven….fifteen…nineteen ships! They’re huge!” The astonished Ops officer called up an external camera feed of the other new arrivals.

There, floating in formation, were nineteen ships with widely differing designs, some were about half the size of his own destroyer, others were two, three, four times the size. The biggest three stood out the most, clearly acting as command ships of some sort as they sat at the centre of their formations. The smallest of the three presumed capital ships was still the same size as the Everest, the next largest was about the same size as a Punic-class supercarrier and the largest was bigger than any spacefaring object he had ever seen.

Keyes turned back to the screen showing Admiral Cole, slack-jawed in astonishment.

“Admiral…how, where…”

Cole smiled, genuinely this time. ”I told you Commander, I brought the cavalry. We’re here to save the day.”

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

So yeah, I changed the Everest's MACs to rapid-fire versions that lob plasma-fusion warheads at the enemy. Fun!

With regards to slipspace portals and travel...the portals aren't instantaneous. They're a lot faster than anything short of Asgard drives. Basically they force a semi-stable tunnel through slipspace/hyperspace, so that multiple ships can use the same portal to travel while only needing one drive, but they require something like the Ark, or the Voi Portal artifact to set up as they are...kinda power intensive, certainly too big for anything other than a Keyship to handle.

Also, as I was copy/pasting this into SDN and previewing it to check those damned italics tags, it occurred to me that Keyes' run on the destroyer is essentially the same plan that Corran Horn used to take down a Lancer anti-fighter frigate in "X-Wing: Rogue Squadron." Strange how random memories resurface at times.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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 » 2018-06-03 05:12pm

The designers at 343 probably had that incident in mind.

Plasma bolts at near-critical mass. Did not see that coming. Will Hillary have a Zen moment when the new MACs start firing and report "plasma bolts running?"
"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

"The Constitution's a piece of paper. A kick in the head is a jolt."
—Stanley "Ray" Kowalski
"Accuse the other side of that which you are guilty."
---NRA motto

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-06-03 05:38pm

Maybe. I decided the dark-matter cannons I originally considered were too excessive. So yeah, critical-mass plasma bolts that can spontaneously fuse when compressed yet further by an impact. Should give a yield of, oh, a few tens of megatons since the reaction won't be very efficient or self-sustaining.
"I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams" - Hamlet

“I’ve always thought the Yankees had something to do with it.” - Confederate General George Pickett, on being asked why his charge at Ghettysburg failed

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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