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

Posted: 2018-09-16 05:42pm
by LadyTevar
I'll be honest. Reading through the Jupiter's upgrades was too much info-dump and made my eyes cross. After getting to the point where the Edit needed made, I skipped the rest. It just didn't do anything to really add to the story, imho. The Real Story was the Sanghelli (sp) meeting.

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

Posted: 2018-09-16 06:08pm
by Eternal_Freedom
You may be right, but she's the Cool New Ship (TM) for this story and I like describing warships. I'd planned to include it as an Interlude like I have with other stuff but this and the Sanghelli meeting were too short to do separately so I squashed them together. But thanks for the help.

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

Posted: 2018-09-16 11:19pm
by fnord
Will Nemesis , assuming it survives, ultimately be retrofitted to Jupiter standard, or are the changes fundamental enough that the "refit" is "lift up nameplate, slide new hull underneath" ?

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

Posted: 2018-09-16 11:23pm
by Eternal_Freedom
The changes would be far too significant to try and refit Nemesis to that standard.

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

Posted: 2018-09-18 06:30pm
by DKeith2011
Wow, Jupiter is quite a beast.

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

Posted: 2018-09-19 02:57am
by Eternal_Freedom
Yeah but she needs to be. The Covenant are bringing the big guns to Reach.

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

Posted: 2018-09-20 10:41pm
by Natzo
Despite all that firepower, I don't think its feasible that it will get unscathed from that battle, even with Nemesis and other ships at its side. The Covenant is far stronger than other factions they have faced and they won't have much in terms of surprise advantage this time.

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

Posted: 2018-09-21 04:30am
by Eternal_Freedom
You're quite right, the Covenant are bringing nearly a thousand ships, 40% of their remaining strength, including no less that eight supercarriers - it's gonna be a very bloody battle

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

Posted: 2018-10-02 06:19pm
by DKeith2011
*dusts off the cobwebs*

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

Posted: 2018-10-03 12:17pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Yeah, sorry everyone. Real-life has been ludicrous the last few weeks, including training for a whole new thing at work, sorting our the renewal of my tenancy, breaking my phone and trying to avoid thinking that it's been a year since my cousin died. Gah.

On the flip side, it's hard to believe that this time a year ago I hadn't even got to the final battle agaisnt the Wraith. I've written nearly a hundred thousand words of this and the first story in twelve months. Damn :)

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

Posted: 2018-10-04 02:30pm
by fnord
You've got enough to spin out about already. These things take as long as they take.

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

Posted: 2018-10-04 04:39pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Thanks. I have started work on Act Four and I hope to have the opening chapter up this weekend.

Since I am devoting a whole Act to this epic battle, I am toying with the idea of presenting the different "phases" of the battle from multiple points of view in separate chapters, so for instance you'd have one chapter telling of a UNSC/Alliance strategem and then see it from the other side, rather like how I did the "Different Perspectives" bit for the "Death From Above" chapter in Book One.

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

Posted: 2018-10-05 07:24am
by fnord
"Professed Intentions and Real Intentions" as an act title?

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

Posted: 2018-10-05 12:49pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Good suggestion.

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

Posted: 2018-10-07 06:47am
by Eternal_Freedom
Act Four: Reach

The Oncoming Storm
UNSC HighCom Briefing Room, Reach, Epsilon Eridani System
August 23rd 2552 (UNSC Military Calendar)

The meeting room was once again filled with the senior commanders of the various forces defending humanity in this universe: Admirals Hood, Harper, Parangosky, Whitcomb, Ramirez, Cole, Stanforth and Jellicoe, Commodore Baird, General Maxwell, Colonel Ackerson and 010 Dying Light. It was the first time they had all met in person since Cole had presented himself to HighCom after his arrival at Sigma Octanus weeks earlier.

The intervening span of time had been one of unprecedented violence, bloodshed and stress. The frontline officers had been throwing themselves from one combat operation to another, oftentimes seeing their ships burn and countless civilians die in the process. The support and logistics officers had been pressed just as hard; overseeing the single most extensive upgrade program in UNSC history to the entire fleet while simultaneously trying to repair damaged ships and provide desperately needed maintenance was no simple task while the intelligence officers did their best to sift through the rubble the Covenant offensive had left in its wake.

Fortunately with the completion of the Terran sensor grid the frontline forces had been given some precious relief, they now had at least twelve hours warning before Covenant forces arrived at a human world rather than the bare minutes they’d had during the initial week of the onslaught. The crews had been able to sleep, the damaged ships had been repaired and morale had begun to recover.

They were all meeting here now to discuss the most recent Covenant attacks and the world-shattering implications they had. The Covenant had managed to find not just Reach and one of the Halo Installations but Earth itself as well. The scouting forces had all been destroyed but the cost for the Alliance forces had been steep: the explorer Excellent and the hyperspace jammers she carried was gone, as was the destroyer Renegade, both ships had been lost with all hands. The Battlestar Illustrious had taken substantial damage and had returned to Terra for repairs. The Tau’ri ship Icarus had likewise taken heavy damage even if she remained operational at nearly full combat effectiveness.

Worse still, the sensor grid showed something truly ominous. A massive Covenant fleet movement was underway as the huge hologram in the centre of the briefing room showed. Nearly two thousand ships were moving through slipspace but fortunately not towards any human world. Next to the hologram, Jellicoe was concluding his briefing – as the sensor grid was Terran-built, he was the best qualified to present the results.

“…the Covenant seem to have abandoned their general offensive, thank the Lords. Instead they are rallying their forces in overwhelming strength and heading to three locations. Three fleet groups, totalling about four hundred and fifty vessels are heading for Installation 04, here.” An icon flashed in the display showing the relevant position. “Preston tells me that the Monitor for that ring, 343 Guilty Spark, has activated all external and internal defences and is under direct orders to fire on any and all Covenant vessels approaching his position. I know the Halos have some impressive armaments but I don’t think they can hold off that force for long.”

He paused briefly, highlighting a different Covenant force. “This second group is approximately the same size and is heading for Installation 05, here. This is the wild card, we haven’t been able to make contact with the Monitor so we don’t know if the Ring will resist the Covenant force. There is a considerable threat that the Covenant will be able to occupy the ring and possibly release the Flood.”

There was a moment’s silence as the various officers contemplated the disastrous consequences of that result. Jellicoe had to push that to one side however and continued: “Finally, this force of nearly a thousand vessels, including at least eight Supercarriers, appear to be heading for this unnamed system here. It’s an unremarkable red dwarf star, with two large gas giants in close orbits. There is precisely nothing of interest to the enemy there, except that due to the vagaries of slipspace engines, that system provides the best staging ground for a direct assault on Reach.”

Jellicoe looked at the various courses and vectors and pondered the possible alien battle plans. “If I were them I would divide my force into two elements, either of which massively outnumbers and outguns the known defences of Reach and hit us from two sides at once. They know that your MAC’s are fixed weapons, we would either have to split our fire or focus on one group while giving the other a free shot at our backs.”

None of the UNSC officers could dispute that, it was exactly what they would do as well. The calm way in which Jellicoe described a potential crushing assault on their most vital military base gave them all pause as they contemplated the possibility of failure. It would be very difficult for them to continue the war without the shipyards of Reach.

Lord Hood leaned forwards, his expression grim. “Is there any good news John?”

Jellicoe nodded. “Yes sir. I’ve had word that the Warstar Jupiter will be on station here within three hours, that gives us an additional heavyweight battlewagon for the coming fight. I’ll be transferring my flag to her as soon as she arrives.”

Harper shook his head in a resigned fashion. “I’m glad to have another of your Warstars on hand but we’re still going to be outnumbered two to one at best. We’ve only got about eight hundred ships as it is, only six hundred of those have been given the new refits and we simply can’t mass them all here for a defiant last stand, not when we’d be leaving a dozen other worlds defenceless.”

Whitcomb spoke up, his voice strained at the thoughts running through his head. “How many could we bring here, and would it be enough?”

Harper thought for a moment. “My Strike Fleet, Keyes and his battle group, Stanforth’s Battle Group Zulu and the Reach Garrison. That’s just about all of our upgraded ships and definitely all of our capital ships, we’d only have frigates, destroyers and some of the light carriers left to defend everywhere else. All told, four hundred ships, all upgraded. I presume John and Preston will be joining the fight as well?” That last remark was said with a strong element of gallows humour, Richard knew full well neither of those two would shy away from this.

Cole didn’t take offence, there was little to be gained from doing so. “Yep, I and Dying Light here will be fighting to the finish. John?”

Jellicoe nodded his head in agreement. “Absolutely. Everything I’ve got apart from the explorers and the two Yardships will be ready. Speaking of those, I’m ordering the Safe Harbour and Nidavellir to immediately leave for Earth, I don’t want them caught in this crossfire. There isn’t much more than can do here anyway, the ODP’s and all the ships here are upgraded, they can get started on Earth’s defence grid.”

Lord Hood considered that for a moment. “That’s eminently sensible. So we know what we’ve got and more or less what they’ve got. What do we do when they get here?” The room fell silent for a full minute as the various officers considered the question.

Jellicoe was the first to speak. “As much as I hate the idea, I think it’s inevitable that it’ll come to a straight-up slugging match. The ODP’s, the three superlaser-armed ships and the Fortress shield should give us an initial edge, though we can’t ignore the possibility that Covenant ground forces may sneak past the orbital defences and assault the ground-based generators.”

Harper, who had spent little time at Reach for the last several years and thus was not as well-versed with the defences as he would like to be, interjected. “What effect would that have? I thought the ODP’s had their own power supply now.”

Admiral Ramirez answered that technical question. “The ODP’s do now have their own naquada reactors to power both the main weapons and their shield grids, but we just didn’t have enough reactors or neutrino-ion generators to supply Station Gamma and the Fortress shield. Instead, we’re using the now-redundant groundside fusion plants to power the big shield system. If enemy ground forces take out the generators, we’ll lose the shield entirely and then we’re sunk.”

Harper nodded in grim acceptance. While that exchange has been going back and forth, Commodore Baird had been running the situation through his mind as carefully as he could. After Harper nodded, the Commodore spoke up.

“Sirs, I know your usual tactic is to deploy a nuclear minefield, could we not do the same here, using cloaked prowlers to deploy them on the fly?”

Jellicoe shook his head. “It’s a nice idea Jonathan but they’ll most likely be moving in a dispersed formation, the Hornet mines we’ve got available won’t be powerful enough, and I’m reluctant to try pulling warheads from our heavy missiles as we’re going to need them later on.”

Baird was not to be denied though. He immediately had an answer to that problem as well. “What about the groundstrike missiles on the Colonial ships? I seriously doubt we’ll be using those warheads in a space battle and they’re plenty powerful enough.”

The Colonial officer blinked in surprise that a tactical option had slipped his mind. “Damnit, how did I forget those? Our three Colonial-built Battlestars all have full loads of naquada-enhanced groundstrike missiles with eight warheads apiece. Each one of those is in the fifty gigaton range. They would make very effective mines.”

Whitcomb, the resident expert on extremely powerful bombs from his work on the NOVA prototypes leaned forwards. “Fifty gigatons? Yeah I’d say that’d do. How many do you have?

Jellicoe quickly thought that through. “Pegasus and Warspite have twelve missiles each while Eridanus has eighteen: forty-two missiles with three hundred and thirty six warheads. We can pull half the warheads from each missile and fit them with a basic stealth system and comms package to detonate them.”

Hood smiled at the first bit of good news. “This is looking less and less hopeless, even if it will still be bloody. If we have to keep our ships within the Fortress shield, we have no way of stopping some Covenant vessels from deploying elsewhere in orbit and bombarding the surface with impunity. Can’t we hit them first?”

Harper shook his head. “We’re outnumbered badly enough as it is, I’d rather not try engaging them in empty space without the ODP’s as a backstop. I’ve heard good things about John’s Scimitar bomber force, but you’ve only got, what, two hundred of them John?”

Jellicoe nodded. “Two hundred forty. They can do a lot of damage but Covenant point-defence means we’d not get many missiles through and we’d lose a lot of planes as well. I could potentially take the Jupiter, Phoenix and the Nemesis and launch a spoiler attack, hitting them at range with superlaser shots, but we won’t be able to stay out of range forever, we’ll eventually be swamped and destroyed.”

Whitcomb frowned. “Even if you were only able to destroy some of the heavier ships before jumping away that would be a big help. Frigates and destroyers can now be fought one-to-one by our ships thanks to your refits, but the Assault Carriers and Supercarriers are another thing entirely. Taking some of those out early would be a big help.”

Cole spoke up, his thoughts flying back to another desperate action against the Covenant. “It’s a pity they won’t be around one of those gas giants, they’re about the same size as Viperidae was, we could have blown them up again.”

Jellicoe decided for a moment of levity and friendly rivalry. “You want to blow up another planet Preston? I guess you hate being tied at one-all with me.”

Cole barked a laugh at that. “Ha! You’re still ahead on that score John, you took out a whole damn star system. I was thinking that causing another micronova would be the only thing we’ve got powerful enough to take out a good chunk of the fleet…” he trailed off as a thought occurred to him “….unless we use one of Danforth’s NOVA bombs. You said you intended to use them to level the playing field in space engagements, the stakes don’t get higher than this.”

Hood snapped his head around to look at the Vice-CNO. “Have we got one ready to deploy?”

Whitcomb nodded. “Yes sir. Preston has got one sealed away on Installation-04 but wasn’t able to get the second one to Installation-05 so we have three available. I’m keeping one here on Reach for a potential scorched-Earth policy if this all goes wrong, and I’m trying to keep one handy for taking on the Covenant capital if we find the damn thing, but we can definitely use one here. Only catch is they’re big weapons, they won’t fit in a prowler so we can’t drop it off stealthily.”

Ackerson finally raised his head above the parapet with a suggestion. While he was no longer being actively shunned, mainly in appreciation for his admittedly sterling work in the rescue efforts on New Odessa he was still not very popular.

“Why not use the captured Covenant battlecruiser as a fireship?” Everyone turned to look at him in curiosity.

Hood decided to throw the slimy little man a bone. “Go on Colonel, finish that thought.”

“Well, we could load the bomb into an out of the way compartment and leave the ship adrift and powerless in the target system. We set the bomb to detonate if the ship is fired on; the blast radius of that monster is far larger than Covenant weapon ranges, so we should catch a good chunk of the fleet with the blast.”

Jellicoe nodded. “I think that’s a sound plan Colonel. The Yard Chief tells me we’ve got most of what can possibly learn out of that ship anyway so I’d happily trade a captured battlecruiser for saving Reach. If I also took my superlaser-armed ships to that system’s Oort cloud, as soon as the bomb detonates we could launch our spoiler attack as well, aiming for the supercarriers first. Between the three ships we should be able to take out two of the big bastards in the first salvo, and we can quick-charge the guns to fire a second salvo in just three minutes.”

Hood smiled, finally they had a possible way to actually win this. “Excellent. Danforth, get the NOVA bomb onto the Legendary Valour and get the ship setup for remote control. John, get back to your flagship and get to work pulling those big warheads for our minefield. Everyone else, return to your commands and make ready. Colonel Ackerson, excellent thinking son, keep it up. I suppose I’d better start working on a really great pre-battle speech to the troops.”

There was a round of chuckles at that, interrupted by a siren from the holo-display. Jellicoe turned to examine it, swore under his breath and then turned back to the group.

“There’s another Covenant force heading directly to Reach. It’s a lot smaller than the other groups but still has a Supercarrier at its head and maybe sixty or so light ships as escorts. Why the frak are they coming straight here instead of linking up with their main fleet?”

Hood grimaced. “Recon in force. We’ll have no choice but to focus fire on the Supercarrier, leaving their light ships free to get detailed scans of our orbital positions and the rest of the system. How long until they get here?”

“Six hours. These ships are moving at twice the speed the Covenant normally do, I suppose that fits the idea of an elite reconnaissance force. Right, we can’t get a minefield deployed in that time so we’ll have to do this the old-fashioned way. I’ll have my three superlaser ships ready to go, they can jump into a firing position, take the big bastard out and then we’ll see how those frigates enjoy our new Hypervelocity guns.”

Harper and Cole both smiled. “I wouldn’t mind seeing them and the Jupiter myself” said Harper. “We’ll have our forces ready to go as prompt backup. Lord Hood, may I suggest that we don’t raise the Fortress shield when this small group arrives? We’ll need every edge we can get when the main body arrives.”

Hood nodded. “Excellent thinking Richard. Ok everyone, get to work. The Covenant are coming and it’s up to us to show them they aren’t welcome.”


Act Four begins! The Prophet of Restriction is running in blindly, supremely confident that his Supercarrier can overwhelm any defences (and without the shield and MAC refits, he'd be right), he'll get his comuppance. Only catch is, Imperial Admiral Wattinree is a lot smarter than a glorified archaeologist like Restriction and is perfectly happy to use a dumb Prophet as a tethered goat to see what the humans are armed with.

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

Posted: 2018-10-08 02:01pm
by Sky Captain
Nice to see a new chapter. I wonder why not use remote controlled ship with jump drive to deploy the NOVA bomb at the middle of Covenant formation. Letting the captured battlecruiser adrift for no reason just screams booby trap. Covenant could just send a frigate to investigate it and NOVA would be wasted.

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

Posted: 2018-10-08 02:08pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
Can't spare the ship, I imagine. Anything the Humies can use as a drone is equally useful as a combat platform, unless they find a clapped out freighter or naval auxiliary that is is FTL capable.

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

Posted: 2018-10-08 02:13pm
by Eternal_Freedom
Very much that. FTL drives aren't ubiquitous, far from it. The bomb is physically too big to fit inside a Prowler, which means that need something bigger...which they can't spare.

Plus, using the Covenant ship at least guarantees that at least some Covenant ships will be in the blast radius (which is biiiiiig) whereas a derelict human ship they'd just ignore completely. Maybe it does scream booby trap, but I never said the Covenant would fall for it...

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

Posted: 2018-10-08 02:21pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
Shame they couldn't repair the Covie ship's slip drives. Maybe even add a few HVTs from amongst the Covie POWs as further bait for the trap(after locking the controls to a rampant AI, of course)...

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

Posted: 2018-10-08 02:47pm
by Eternal_Freedom
....Interesting suggestion. Very interesting suggestion.

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

Posted: 2018-10-08 03:48pm
by U.P. Cinnabar
It's been that kind of a past couple months...

Also, ONI's not above that, and it will appeal to both Cole's and Jellicoe's inner demons. Entirely too much so.

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

Posted: 2018-10-14 06:46pm
by Natzo
You know how the Colonials built the Jupiter-class as an example of unity?

While each Human civilization has their own versions it would be interesting to see what the UNSC, the Tau'ri and the Kobollians could do with a single design. Sure, each is implementing each other's tech into their own, but something like building three dreadnaughts of the same design could be interesting, assuming they don't close the portal to the halo universe once this is over.

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

Posted: 2018-10-15 10:02pm
by DKeith2011
Anyone here familiar with the Berserker books by Saberhagen?

They could make a very daunting army for the Big Bad at the end of the story.

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

Posted: 2018-10-16 12:43am
by U.P. Cinnabar
I am, but you'd have to strip away the background human society(which is galaxy spanning and has more powerful weaponry, such as the c-squared cannon, at their disposal)to make it work in the 13th Tribe verse. Maybe have the Alliance encounter them while they're still fighting the Red Race, but I don't think there's much background on the Red Race other than they fought the Berserker race, and they built the qwib-qwibs as a last-ditch defense.

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

Posted: 2018-10-16 09:33am
by fnord
Are you talking end-of-book-2 or end-of-book-3 here?