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 Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-15 10:51am

Nope, more like when I wrote that part (and then uploaded it) I was about five vodkas in to my evening.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-15 11:07am

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

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-15 11:13am

I am, but the bar I was at had a dreadfully poor Scotch offering. And since it was a hot day, I wanted something I could have ice with.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-15 12:50pm

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

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

Post by Sky Captain » 2018-07-17 03:35pm

- For those keeping score of technical matters, you will note that it took twenty S-MAC rounds to collapse the supercarreri's shields - plus those twenty Hornet mines. This means that, conveniently, the supercarrier shields can tank precisely one full-power shot from the Warstar's superlaser before collapsing. This will come up later.
So if Phoenix and Shield of Eternity also fire like during attack against Covenant space station Supercarrier is dead.

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-17 05:40pm

Yes, a combined attack from all three of the human heavy ships would certainly mission-kill (at least) a supercarrier. However, it's worth noting that the CAS Assault Carriers are fairly common ships - in my interpretation anyway - Even a tiny force like that over Sigma Octanus (just twenty-nine ships) had one as a flagship. The supercarriers, while rarer, still number in the two-dozen mark I would think. There are going to be at least two in the major assault on Reach next act, so a combined alpha strike won't be the only thing needed for the humans to win.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by Natzo » 2018-07-19 05:23pm

Were the Hornet regular mines or Naquada-enhanced mines? I guess Naquada and Trinium don't exist in Halo?

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-19 06:46pm

Nah those were standard Hornet mines. Naquada exists in the Haloverse but it's not something the UNSC have ever looked for so have no idea where/what it is. I'm also gonna say it's rare in that corner of the galaxy for some reason (maybe the Forerunners used it all). They may well learn.

The Kobolians haven't gotten around to handing out naquada-enhanced warheads yet. Soon though.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-19 08:02pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2018-07-19 06:46pm
Nah those were standard Hornet mines. Naquada exists in the Haloverse but it's not something the UNSC have ever looked for so have no idea where/what it is. I'm also gonna say it's rare in that corner of the galaxy for some reason (maybe the Forerunners used it all). They may well learn.

The Kobolians haven't gotten around to handing out naquada-enhanced warheads yet. Soon though.
Well, something has to power all those Halo arrays.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-20 12:14pm

An excellent point. The Asgard used naquada as part of a special alloy for starship hulls (naquada, trinium and carbon IIRC) so maybe it makes up some of the Forerunner structures as well.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by Natzo » 2018-07-20 09:14pm

Wasn't the entire thing about the Forerunners that they built everything out of hard light somehow?

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-20 09:21pm

Nah, they used hardlight in a lot of stuff but the Halo Rings are definitely metal, otherwise there'd be no debris when Installation 04 is destroyed.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-20 10:06pm

Natzo wrote:
2018-07-20 09:14pm
Wasn't the entire thing about the Forerunners that they built everything out of hard light somehow?
Does that make Arnold Rimmer a Forerunner artifact?
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-21 05:54pm

Oh don't even go there :D Besides, his hardlight drive came from Legion, which was a gestalt AI created from human scientists...but maybe they got the idea playing the Halo games.

Incidentally, I'm about halfway through another chapter and suffice to say, things ain't looking so hot for the good guys right now. I'm also working on a UNSC fleet list, current estimate (as of the chapter I'm writing) is ~800 ships - 3x Valiant superheavy cruisers, 16x Marathon heavy cruisers, 25x Halcyon light cruisers, two Punic supercarriers, six Epoch class heavy carriers, twenty light carriers, 250 destroyers and 400 or so frigates plus assorted corvettes, prowlers and support ships. This gives them 47 capital ships - 72 if you count the Halcyons as capital ships which I frankly don't - and 650 escorts, meaning groups of 13 or so frigates/destroyers per capital ship, which seems reasonable based on some of the battle groups seen in the books - Stanforth's fleet that went to Sigma Octanus had 45 ships total, but 3 capital ships (Leviathan and two carriers) so the numbers seem consistent.

Current ship names are Valiant, Thermopylae and Shiroyama for the super-heavies, Marathon, Leviathan, Pillar of Autumn, Do You Feel Lucky?, Say My Name, Iwo Jima, Remember the Alamo, The Clarion Call, Fires of Orion, Wrath of Achilles, Hearts of Iron and Blood of Bannockburn for the heavy cruisers, Trafalgar and Musashi for the supercarriers and Atlas, Dawn Under Heaven and Hugh Dowding for the heavy carriers.

So I need 4 more heavy cruiser names and 3 more heavy carrier names. UNSC ship names are almost as fun to dream up as Covenant ones. FWIW, three of the carriers names (Trafalgar, Atlas and Dawn Under Heaven are all canonical, as are some of the cruiser names.

And no I'm not counting Everest in the UNSC fleet list but more the Alliance Fleet (Jellicoe, Baird, Dying Light et al).

EDIT: Oh, and historically the UNSC had a lot more capital ships (and ships in general) - the Punic class supercarriers were once ubiquitous in the Outer Colonies, usually one per battle group. Now they have two. How the mighty have fallen.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-21 07:36pm

Heavy cruisers: Night Witch, Primo Victoria, Carolus Rex, See Andromeda Rise, Poltava, Kursk,, Seelow Heights, Tiger, Blake, Plankwell, Renown, Sheffield, Suffolk, Norfolk

Heavy carriers:Charles de Gaulle,, Albion, This Train Revisited, Taffy 3,,Taiho, Furious, Really,?! Are Ya Sure?!, Forward Into Battle, Una Salus Victus, Eternal Freedom.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-21 07:43pm

I think I might just have enough Sabaton references, though Carolus Rex would be an interesting choice. Eternal Freedom....sure, why not, I'll steal that for a carrier. Forward Into Battle is too close to the Forward Unto Dawn so that's out. Seelow Heights is a tad more obscure than most references I'd use. Una Salus Victus is I think a better fit for a cruiser than a carrier. And Plankwell? Enough with the Traveller ideas :D
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-21 07:54pm

It's my favorite Third Imperium ship class, what can I say?

There's also Fluffy Bunny
Beka Valentine wrote: No one ever names their planet killer the Fluffy Bunny[/i]
Last edited by U.P. Cinnabar on 2018-07-21 07:58pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-21 07:58pm

That this ain't Traveller, and I know sod-all about Traveller, so shut it :D

Also, given that I've got one heavy carrier called Hugh Dowding, be interesting to continue with that theme...but the only other airmen o know of on that similar level are Arthur "Bomber" Harris and Curtis LeMay...not exactly ideal namesakes IMHO.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-21 08:08pm

Sir Arthur Tedder, Henry Arnold, Don Gentile, Francis Gabreski, Donald Blakeslee, Robert Lee Scott, Wade McCluskey, Adolf Galland, Robin Olds, Marmaduke Prattle, Phillip Cochran, [Manfred Freiherr von Richtofen,[/i], James Doolittle, Ernst Udet, Claire Chennault, Joe Foss, Marion Carl, Gregory Boyington, Casey Lampheer, Chuchi Nagumo, Takeo Kurita, Sir Phillip Sommerville.
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-21 08:09pm

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

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-21 08:10pm

Takeo Kurita and Baron von Richtofen will do nicely, plus Eternal Freedom and I'm set :D
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by fnord » 2018-07-21 11:51pm

How long until a Tau'ri battlewagon goes down swinging?

Re Plankwell et al, you may not know too much about the earliest sci-fi RPG, but it's damned good to mine for ship names, even if you need a bit of elbow grease on the serial numbers. A fuckoff-fast light cruiser, Arrival Vengeance, anyone?
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 » 2018-07-22 07:17am

And we're back!

Bleeding
UNSC HIGHCOM Meeting Room, Reach
August 20th, 2552 (UNSC Military Calendar)


The assembled officers of High Command were drawn, tense, and weary. The assembled staff comprised the original seven senior officers and now included Admirals Cole and Jellicoe as frontline commanders. Several were here in person but some, including Cole, Jellicoe, Harper and Ramirez were appearing via Asgard holograms, transmitted either from their respective flagships or in Ramirez’s case from the control centre of the Reach Orbital Shipyards.

It had been a long and bloody week. Starting with the Covenant assault at Carver V seven days earlier, Admiral Harper’s quick-reaction force, officially dubbed the First Strike Fleet had been called in to defend no less than twelve heavily populated worlds, while Jellicoe’s Alliance Fleet had defended seven more. Half of the Inner Colonies had been hit in some form or another in just a week.

What was really troubling was that the Covenant forces assaulting each world were clearly different. This wasn’t one single large fleet marauding through the Inner Colonies on a hit-and-run campaign, this seemed to be a general (and massive) offensive. In every case the battles had proceeded the same way: the garrison forces and ODP’s had fought and died to buy time for the two human fleets to react. Either Harper’s or Jellicoe’s commands would jump in, fire off a devastating salvo of MAC rounds, superlasers, megalasers, plasma beam cannons and all their other assorted weapons, killing dozens of Covenant ships before the rest retreated.

It was costly though, because in every single case the Covenant had managed to fire one, sometimes two salvos at the planets themselves before the relief forces arrived. Civilian casualties were mounting and mounting, making it the bloodiest period of the conflict yet. It wasn’t just lives being lost of course – many of the heavily-populated cities that had been hit contained a disproportionate fraction of each world’s governmental functions and industry, as well as museums, galleries and monuments. Culture and history were being burned away just as badly as human lives.

Worse still, while the casualty rates were still skewed in their favour, the UNSC were losing ships too, more than they could afford. Nearly a hundred and fifty frigates and destroyers had gone down, nearly one-sixth of the entire UNSC Navy, along with dozens of ODP’s. These were ships that had all had the new Alliance upgrades, making the losses even worse as only about half of the UNSC ships had been refitted thus far. The Safe Harbour and the Nidavellir were doing sterling work, but even they could only do so much.

The week-long barrage of near-constant combat operations was taking its toll on both the First Strike Fleet and the Alliance Fleet. While no ships had been lost from those forces yet, it was a close-run thing. More than twenty vessels from Harper’s command, including one of his heavy cruisers the Remember the Alamo were currently in dock for repairs after their shields had failed and plasma torpedoes or energy projector beams had caused substantial damage.

Jellicoe’s forces were not doing much better. Four destroyers and a pair of cruisers were likewise alongside for repairs while the four Tau’ri battlecruisers were running critically low on ammunition for their coilguns and missiles. This was the major flaw with those tiny powerhouses – they carried some very powerful weapons for their size but they had very limited endurance for long-term missions. No reloads for the missile cells, limited ammunition for the coilguns, and a mere handful of crew meant they just couldn’t cope with this style of warfare.

As a pure numbers game the UNSC and the Alliance were winning. Nearly five hundred Covenant ships were gone and every single planet remained under human control, but the enemy seemed to have an endless supply of fresh ships and fleets – and most of those attacking fleets numbered a hundred ships or more and were led by a supercarrier. Two more of those mammoth vessels had been destroyed since Carver V but in both cases it had been more chance than skill, critically-damaged UNSC ships using their FTL drives to make suicide jumps near (or into) vulnerable areas before detonating their remaining nuclear warheads to cause devastating damage that the other ships could take advantage of.

The Covenant were also changing their tactics as word spread of the new human technology. The attacking fleets would move in at full speed, firing every available weapon at the defenders in orbit to sweep them aside as quickly as possible. The Covenant fleets were also moving in dispersed formations, meaning nuclear minefields were less and less effective and making it harder for the defenders to concentrate their fire.

There was some good news from the last week, hellish as it had been. The UNSC prowlers and the Alliance Explorers had completed deployment of another network of navigation and sensor buoys in and around the Inner Colonies which did at least provide some warning of approaching Covenant ships. It was hoped they might be able to somehow hit them before they arrived, but only the experimental hyperspace jammers aboard the TCS Excellent were possibly capable of doing that and none of the eggheads could say if it would even work; the Alliance Fleet were waiting on an opportunity to test that theory.

Captain Keyes and his battle group had launched Operation: Jolly Roger and were having some success. Several resupply convoys had been intercepted and destroyed which would hopefully stem the tide, though none of the officers present expected much of a reprieve. The Tollan ion cannons that the ships had been refitted with were also proving effective, if the UNSC managed to survive this Covenant general offensive it was intended to begin fitting them to other ships as a second wave of upgrades – including them in the ships currently undergoing the refits was suggested but it would double the time needed to work on each ship and right now they needed every ship on the line.

They had also succeeded in locating the nearest Halo Ring, Installation 04. They had been accompanied on that mission by the Forerunner Keyship and the attendant copy of Dying Light to make sure the Installation did not perceive them as hostile. The Ring’s monitor, 343 Guilty Spark, was not exactly pleased to see them and chafed under Preston Cole’s orders that the ring could not be fired without his express permission – Guilty Spark was charged with keeping the Flood threat contained after all and was denied his weapon of last resort. A sensor buoy had been left to warn them if the Covenant discovered the ring.

Sitting at the table in the now well-lit meeting room, Hood looked around at his officers. The frontline commanders looked tired, as did Ramirez who had not slept in nearly three days as he supervised the massive refit process in orbit. Parangosky and Ackerson looked as inscrutable as ever and Maxwell just looked resolved.

Harper and Jellicoe in particular looked awful. Their uniforms were messy and unkempt, as if they had been wearing them for days (which was true), their faces lined with stubble and their eyes heavy with pain at the countless millions they had seen die in just a few days. This meeting was being held just an hour since Harper’s Strike Fleet had driven the Covenant from orbit of New Odessa – after the garrison forces had been swept aside and three of the major coastal cities had been turned to glass by plasma fire.

His voice was as weary as his expression: “…we can’t sustain this for much longer. Some of my crews haven’t had more than four hours sleep in two days and that is going to cost us. Reaction times are down throughout the fleet, vital maintenance isn’t being done so we’re seeing a lot more equipment failures than normal. I’d say my force is currently only 75% combat-effective and that figure will drop to barely 40% if this continues for another week.”

Jellicoe’s hologram nodded. “I agree with Richard, we’re in a similar position. Our Battlestars were built with long-duration combat in mind so we aren’t quite as bad but we’re still hurting. Getting Zeus and Poseidon back on the line will help with that but my crews need a rest. The only reason some of my Battlestars are still combat-effective is that we’re using flight-deck crews and pilots to supplement the rest of the crew since we aren’t launching fighters much at the moment.”

Hood nodded, he knew the dangers of exhaustion in combat and how it was as deadly as enemy fire if it got too severe. “I appreciate your points gentlemen but at the moment we don’t have a choice, the Covenant bastards keep pressing us and we have no choice but to respond. Margaret, what’s the total on civilian casualties thus far?”

The elderly woman leaned forwards. “Across the nineteen worlds that have been attacked, civilian deaths are estimated to be just over three hundred million.”

The room fell silent at that. It was a staggering quantity of lives on one hand, and a small fraction of the total population on the other. They were bleeding, badly, but it was not terminal. Yet.

Parangosky continued. “Those are only estimates of course, based on the most recent planetary census data and the destroyed areas. It is possible some people made it to the deep shelters and the rescue teams haven’t reached them yet. But there weren’t many of those shelters, I wouldn’t expect more than a million survivors across all nineteen worlds. Beyond the civilian deaths, most of those worlds are in chaos now as the seats of government have been obliterated. Several critical industries have been destroyed as well.”

Ramirez shook his holographic head to clear the image of hundreds of millions burning to focus on that. “What have we lost?”

“The Archer missile production plant on Gilgamesh, the tank factories on Stalingrad, the research facilities on Terra Nova to name just three. The Terra Nova facilities are a real loss, they were working on the new ion cannon designs, trying to see if we could shorten the refit process.” Parangosky grimaced, which wasn’t an act: she hadn’t mentioned that ONI had their own research teams on Terra Nova that were secretly working on chemical and biological weapons to use against the Covenant ground troops.

Cole’s hologram broke the contemplative silence. ”As bad as those losses are, I’m more concerned about just how many ships the Covenant are throwing at us. Hundreds of ships and more Assault and Supercarriers than I’ve ever seen before. Why are they attacking us so harshly now? They don’t seem to care that they’re losing ships far faster than we are and while we’re outnumbered, we’re not outnumbered that much that they can afford to eat those losses.”

Jellicoe looked thoughtful. ”Based on what I’ve learned of Covenant tactics from your battle reports, it’s a definite change for them. They’re also coming in a lot smarter than they used to, they’re actually displaying tactical skills for once rather than just cruising in and trusting their shields will hold. They’re learning at a worrying rate. It’s almost as if…” he trailed off, lost in thought.

Hood gave the younger man a few moments to think before prompting him. “Yes John?” The various line officers had fallen into a surprisingly easy informality among these meetings – except when addressing Colonel Ackerson of course, who was still politely shunned.

Jellicoe shook his head much as Ramirez had done. ”It’s as if they’re throwing their fleets at us to keep us busy while they work on something else behind the scenes. The only things I can imagine that would need that kind of prep time is a direct assault on Earth or Reach or something else…wait a minute. Preston? Didn’t Dying Light mention that activating the Halo Array was part of the Covenant religion? Their “Great Journey?”

Cole looked thunderstruck, he had forgotten that detail in the month since he’d returned. “Oh fucking hell, yes it is. Dying Light tells me they haven’t found any of the Rings yet, but we haven’t had confirmation from all the Monitors. Installation 05 in particular hasn’t reported in for nearly a year now.”

Hood leaned forwards again. “I take it that firing those Rings is not something we want to happen?” They’d read the briefing papers Cole and Dying Light had prepared, but knowing the Array was under Cole’s control had pushed everything to the background – there had been more urgent matters.

Cole shook his head emphatically. “If the Array fires, every sentient being in the galaxy dies. We need to find out what’s happening at Installation 05.”

Hood pondered for a moment. “Very well. Danforth, get the word to Captain Keyes, his Battle Group is the best we’ve got for this. Have them swing by Reach first and pick up one of those NOVA prototypes you’ve been working on. If needs be we’ll destroy that damned ring before letting the Covenant fire it.”

Jellicoe and Cole exchanged a significant look. The UNSC officer asked the joint question. ”What’s a NOVA prototype?”

Whitcomb smiled. “A planet-cracking nuke. We’ve got four of them assembled at the moment and enhanced with some of that naquada that the Alliance provided us with. We’d intended it as a fleet-killing weapon for space actions or a way to take a major Covenant force down if they were glassing a world.”

Jellicoe’s eyes widened. “That’s what you used the naquada supply for? Building a doomsday weapon?” A part of his mind quietly reminded him of the ZPM bomb from the Pegasus Campaign and how he wasn’t exactly blameless on the “Doomsday Weapon” front.

Whitcomb was unrepentant. “You only had a limited amount available, not enough to make a difference to our existing nuclear stockpile. So we used it where we thought it could do the most damage. We’ve been saving one for the Covenant capital if we ever find the damn thing.”

Everyone sat in silence for a moment, considering the power of such a weapon. Using one against the Covenant capital, this mysterious “High Charity” would be a decapitation strike of epic proportions.

The meeting was interrupted by the blaring of an alarm klaxon from Jellicoe’s transmission. He sighed and turned away for a moment to speak to a subordinate, a discussion that took longer than expected and contained a considerable quantity of swearing.

”Yes Commander?... What the frak? You’re sure?... Oh frak me, how many ships?...Well frak me sideways. Signal all ships, sound Action Stations and prep for combat jump. Tell the yard chief I want our docked ships ready to join us in twenty minutes and signal Excellent that I want her jamming systems ready to go in the same time.

Needless to say this one-sided conversation was not remotely reassuring to the assembled HighCom officers. Jellicoe’s hologram looked back at them with a grim look.

”The sensor network reports a major Covenant battle group is heading for New Vegas, estimated strength ninety vessels, type unknown. A pair of small vessels, probably scouts, is heading for Reach. Another pair is heading for Installation 04. And a group of sixteen ships is heading for Earth.”

Silence reigned for nearly a minute, punctuated only by Fleet Admiral Harpers muttered ”Oh shit.” The same thoughts were running through all of their minds, all of their plans and paranoia, the Cole Protocol, all of it had somehow failed and their two most vital worlds were under threat.

Jellicoe had not paid any attention to this silent musing. He had been shouting orders to his command staff and formulating a plan. Technically, all of the other line officers present outranked him but it had been decided to assume parity of rank given his position as commander of the Alliance Forces. He turned back to the hologram showing the silent UNSC officers.

”Snap out of it for frak’s sake, we’ve got more important matters to deal with than a pity party. Right, my Fleet will deal with the force heading for Earth, be a good chance to test the hyperspace jammers if nothing else and a force that small shouldn’t pose a major threat; we can get to an intercept point in twelve hours. Richard, take your Strike Fleet to New Vegas, you’ve got about ten hours so get some sleep. Danforth, I think Keyes group should arrive at Reach before these two scouts do, they can deal with them. Preston, you take Everest and Shield of Eternity to Installation 04 and then Installation 05. Make sure those scouts don’t reach their targets.”

Hood absorbed Jellicoe’s suggested plans and nodded. “You’re quite right John. Richard, Preston, get to it. Danforth, I want two of those NOVA prototypes ready to transfer to the Pillar of Autumn as soon as she gets to Reach. I’d send them with Preston but he’s closer to the rings than here. Get moving people.”

Holograms faded away even while the physically-present officers raced from the room. Hood remained behind, glaring at the blank wall as his mind raged at the Covenant that had somehow found them out. The past week had been bloody enough, but Hood knew the coming weeks would be worse. If they couldn’t hold Reach, they’d lose their primary shipyards. If they lost Earth…well, that would be the end.

The next few weeks could potentially be humanity’s last stand. Hood vowed that if it came to that, they’d drag the Covenant bastards down with them. Mankind would not go gently into the night.

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

And like I said, things ain't going so well for the good guys. They're taking losses, both in ships and lives, and Regret has by now deciphered the coordinates on the Artefact from Sigma Octanus and is sending scouts - he doesn't want an entire Fleet to get bushwhacked unexpectedly like Sigma Octanus.

he's also found the coordinate to the Portal so he's off to investigate with his fleet (three Assault Carriers and thirteen CCS battlecruisers) - but he plans to drop out on the edge of the system and observe for a bit to see if the UNSC has defences there. Of course, it's Earth so it's armed to the fucking teeth.

Act Three is about haflway through at this point. The plot is rapidly approaching the final confrontations that will settle the matter once and for all. And somewhere beyond space and time, in the depths of my own twisted imagination, the mysterious force pulling all the strings, the force that destroyed the Furlings and the Asgard, that made the Wraith and the Flood emerge as threats....that force is fucking laughing.

As an update on names/fleet numbers, I've added the Takeo Kurita, Baron von Rochtofen and Eternal Freedom as UNSC Heavy Carriers and the Una Salus Victus and Para Bellum as heavy cruisers. I'm still a couple heavy cruisers short.

Covenant fleet strength currently stands at 2500 vessels - of which twenty are Supercarriers and 160 are Assault Carriers. The Battles of Reach and Earth are going to be bloody.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-22 09:45am

fnord wrote:
2018-07-21 11:51pm
How long until a Tau'ri battlewagon goes down swinging?

Re Plankwell et al, you may not know too much about the earliest sci-fi RPG, but it's damned good to mine for ship names, even if you need a bit of elbow grease on the serial numbers. A fuckoff-fast light cruiser, Arrival Vengeance, anyone?
Is that the Zhodani glass cannon cruiser class, fnord?
"Beware the Beast, Man, for he is the Devil's pawn. Alone amongst God's primates, he kills for sport, for lust, for greed. Yea, he will murder his brother to possess his brother's land. Let him not breed in great numbers, for he will make a desert of his home and yours. Shun him, drive him back into his jungle lair, for he is the harbinger of Death.."
—29th Scroll, 6th Verse of Ape Law
"Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter. The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”
---Doctor Christine Blasey-Ford

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-22 10:05am

Enough Traveller references already! Or there will be retribution! I'll....I'll resurrect Franklin North via implausible time travel shenanigans, give him Commander Cinnabar as an XO, then write a really embarrassing death for both of them!
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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