The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-05 11:14am

The Kobolian and Tauri forces are going to be deploying the explorers and 304's for recon and deploying sensor buoys and helping upgrade as many UNSC ships and defences as possible. They'll also be on hand as a quick-response force and they'll be hard pressed in the near future.

They would have also been doing the deep-strike missions, but part of a different team than Operation: Jolly Roger.
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 » 2018-07-05 11:19am

Known as Operation Jolly Well Rogered. 😁
"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 InsaneTD » 2018-07-05 11:20pm

Did the human forces capture any Engineers on the Covy super carrier?

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

Post by fnord » 2018-07-06 04:05am

When will HMS Dreadnought be hoisting the Bloody Flag? (ie, a Jolly Roger but on a red field)

When I mentioned stuff the Kobolian mob know can't be so, I was thinking something like the wreck of a third Nemesis class Warstar.
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 U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-06 07:21am

InsaneTD wrote:
2018-07-05 11:20pm
Did the human forces capture any Engineers on the Covy super carrier?
They captured some Covies, but I don't know if any were engineers. Brsides, I don't think too many are eager to cooperate.
"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 » 2018-07-06 07:23am

fnord wrote:
2018-07-06 04:05am
When will HMS Dreadnought be hoisting the Bloody Flag? (ie, a Jolly Roger but on a red field)

When I mentioned stuff the Kobolian mob know can't be so, I was thinking something like the wreck of a third Nemesis class Warstar.
You mean a second Eridanus. Nemesis was built at Terra, not discovered adrift.
"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 InsaneTD » 2018-07-06 10:32am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-07-06 07:21am
InsaneTD wrote:
2018-07-05 11:20pm
Did the human forces capture any Engineers on the Covy super carrier?
They captured some Covies, but I don't know if any were engineers. Brsides, I don't think too many are eager to cooperate.
Engineers is a human name for a species enslaved by the covenant called Huragok (I think that's the right spelling). They don't care about politics or religion for the most part.

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

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-06 10:36am

Oh, yeah, shit, I completely forgot. The Kobolians likely captured them as well, and they're probably cooperating to the extent of their abilities.
"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 fnord » 2018-07-06 10:51am

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2018-07-06 07:23am
fnord wrote:
2018-07-06 04:05am
When will HMS Dreadnought be hoisting the Bloody Flag? (ie, a Jolly Roger but on a red field)

When I mentioned stuff the Kobolian mob know can't be so, I was thinking something like the wreck of a third Nemesis class Warstar.
You mean a second Eridanus. Nemesis was built at Terra, not discovered adrift.
No, I meant a third Nemesis-class Warstar - not either of the two battlewagons named thus far. Something the Kobolians know cannot be so.
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 U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-06 10:54am

Ah, I get it now. Something that is highly improbable. Along the lines of a field researcher from Betelgeuse turning into a penguin.
"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 » 2018-07-06 12:36pm

With regard to Engineers, the Legendary Valour's entire crew was captured, Engineers included, I imagine ONI has them under observation. Maybe they'll wind up being transferred to Sol to work on Infinity.

As for a wreck of a third Warstar, why the hell woudl they find one of those in the Haloverse? I really don't get what you're on about here fnord.

Oh and Cinnabar? If they found a sister-ship to Eridanus, that'd be a) another Constellation class hull and b) absolutely impossible, since there were only two when the Fall happened, and Constellation herself went down fighting a glorious last stand...as all true Battlestars should!
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 » 2018-07-06 01:03pm

Fnord and I were just discussing infinite improbabilities over an elderberry bush and some kippers.
"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 » 2018-07-06 01:05pm

Well there won't be any of that. The only wrecked Warstars will be Nemesis or Jupiter...IF I decide they need to die.
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 » 2018-07-06 01:12pm

Spoilsport. :mrgreen:
Last edited by fnord on 2018-07-06 01:19pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-06 01:16pm

I've got enough crazy shit as it is mate, I don't really need to add more.
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 » 2018-07-06 01:21pm

I sit corrected.
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 » 2018-07-06 01:24pm

Like I said, wait until you see my plan for High Charity.
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 » 2018-07-08 02:59pm

So I found this story a few days ago and I really like it. At times though, the Thirteenth Tribe felt too... perfect and a little Mary Sue. I understand that they have the technology from Kobol though sometimes it feels a little weird when compared to other factions. In a matter of months they built the, while small, most powerful naval force in three galaxies. Compared to the Tau'ri that had to bleed to their stuff. Then again, they have lost ships, but it felt less impactful when only 1-2 of the characters had names and the other thousands are nameless NPCs while their planet is perfectly safe. Then they start giving technology and help to Earth, fixing everything. Despite their losses, they feel a little too perfect. Since we only focus on battles and not politics like BSG, Halo, Mass Effect, or SG, we don't see any flaws in the 13th Tribe. They appear mostly as the benevolent, perfect older sibling with no flaws showing everyone how things are done.

I know there are explanations, like good strategies, picking their battles, and overwhelming small pockets of warships, but still.

It's not bad, not by any means, but it does feel strange at times. Kinda like the 13th tribe is taking all the victories other factions would've gotten.

Well, having said that, there is another fic, Halo the Art of War, that had an interesting idea for the MACs. Helical Railguns. Combining Coilguns and Railguns with a field of plasma to prevent the burning out of the rails, it increases the power of the gun. Tau'ri Railguns and UNSC MACs could be combined. I would recommend checking that fic on FFnet. Its sadly a dead fic, but had good ideas on how to upgrade UNSC tech.

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-14 11:41am

Thanks for the comments. I know the Terrans can come off as too perfect, but given their backstory they really are the united, benevolent cousins - the reason the Lords allowed them to keep their technology was because they hadn't joined in the war that devastated Kobol.

However, as Ambassador North shows (and some of my prior commentary) they are not completely united in going to save the UNSC - they fought the Cylons because it was a matter of self-defence and helping their lost brothers. They fought hte Wraith because for them it was a holy crusade -their Book of the Word tells of the Ancients beign thrown from paradise by the Wraith and that they would one day return to avenge that defeat.

However, the drive to go and help the humans is mostly being led by the Colonial officers in senior positions in the Combined Fleet - they've seen genocide first-hand, and Jellicoe in particular has nothing else left but trying to save lives. The Terran officers are going along with it because they think he's right, but as the battle in the Haloverse progresses and ships are lost, expect some cracks to appear in that Terran unity.

As for building the ships, year they did do it quickly, but they had a heavily-industrialised world, a united population and ample resources - and unlike the guys from Earth and the SGC, no need to build it in secret. Consider how much the Tau'ri fleet has expanded in the two years since they revealed the Stargate program and weren't trying to keep it all under wraps anymore.

As for the helical railguns idea, it is certainly interesting but the UNSC have already got the MAC upgrades from Cole and the Everest. Making their guns better isn't an issue for either the UNSC or the Tau'ri/Kobolian forces - having enough of those guns available is the problem. They're outnumbered nearly three to one in strategic terms.

I hope that helps answer some of your points, and I hope you enjoy the next big chapter which will be up in about ten minutes.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2018-07-14 12:08pm

4100 words this time. This chapter is for UP Cinnabar: mate, I know this won't take the pain away completely but I hope this helps cheer you up a bit.

Signal Fires
Carver V Orbital Space
Ninth Age of Reclamation (August 13th, 2552)


The Covenant grand offensive had begun. All across the Inner Colonies, Fleets were assembling or combining, making themselves ready for an overwhelming strike against the cursed humans before their new technology could become too widespread. The loss of their primary support base at Tau Ceti slowed the process down somewhat, as ships needed to spread out to find suitable gas giants to gather new fuel before they could continue onwards, but now they were ready.

The Covenant Navy numbered nearly three thousand vessels, even after the unprecedented losses to the humans (and Preston Cole in particular). The standard Defence Fleet of six hundred ships remained around High Charity but almost every other ship had been mustered for this series of strikes. Only the forces under the personal command of some of the Prophets remained on their prior duties – a fleet under the High Prophet of Regret investigating Forerunner ruins on the planet called Meridian by the humans, the assembled stealth corvettes of the Reclamation Group led by the Prophet of Restriction that continued searching for the Halo Rings, and the large Jiralhanae force that was being kept secret by Truth – even his fellow Hierarchs did not know about that.

Carver V, as the humans called it, was their first target. It was technically part of the Outer Colonies (despite its physical location) due to the difficulty in reaching it; the vagaries of slipspace travel meant it was faster to travel to Harvest than Carver V from Earth, even though Carver V was half the distance. Despite this remoteness it was a prosperous and highly-populated world, two billion people called it home. In orbit was the comparatively tiny garrison force – five orbital defence platforms, ten frigates and a solitary pair of destroyers. The ships were recent arrivals, having come from Reach and the Kobolians and Asgard refit process, leaving the original garrison fleet free to head there for their own upgrades.

The ODP’s had not changed much, they were deemed powerful enough weapon platforms as it is. The addition of shield generators was the limit of their improvements, giving them increased staying power in any putative fight. But no one in orbit was expecting a fight; Carver V was so far out of the way that no Covenant vessel was known to have entered the system.

The garrison was thus complacent, completing their orbital patrols with a sense that they were just marking time, the crews upset that they were stuck with garrison duty when they could have been part of the now-famous Battle Group Zulu that had, after years and years of defensive slaughters, taken the fight to the enemy. The crews had absolutely no idea of what was currently racing towards them in slipspace.

Despite that complacency, the planet’s defences were well-maintained. The ODP crews were as well-drilled as any other, the ships were all manned by experienced crews and solid, if perhaps not exceptional commanders. A standard nuclear minefield had been deployed to help thin out any approaching force. The planet was as ready as it could be, even if most of the crews thought of it as nothing more than a theoretical training exercise.

In slipspace, heading towards the planet at full speed with not a care given to stealth, was the massed ranks of the Fleet of Solemn Resistance, a force of a hundred and twenty one Covenant warships, led by Supreme Commander Fenk Foramee aboard the supercarrier Sublime Transcendence, an example of the largest warship ever fielded by the Covenant Navy – or the humans of either universe for that matter.

Escorting this monster was a very strong force, for Foramee placed an emphasis on heavy ships – five Assault Carriers, fifteen lighter carriers, forty CCS battlecruisers and thirty each of frigates and destroyers. It was a force that could smash its way through almost any human opposition and had done so on several occasions.

Fenk’s plan was simple. They knew this world was populated and defended, albeit lightly. It had hitherto been ignored as it was too isolated, but with the new orders from the Hierarchs to attack the humans wherever they were found this seemed the ideal choice to begin. Not only would it shatter another human world, but it would draw off defenders from other nearby worlds as they raced to help. Fenk intended to destroy the garrison force and settle into orbit to begin glassing the planet – but slowly, giving ample time for distress calls and reinforcement squadrons to arrive. He could then defeat them in detail. Nothing in the human arsenal could possible stand up to the might of the Sublime Transcendence – Fenk was so confident of that fact that the supercarrier would, counter to normal practice, lead the charge and the battle - letting the lighter ships shelter behind the vast bulk.

Fenk rationalised this quite simply. His flagship had shields strong enough to take any human hits and keep fighting, whereas his lighter vessels would inevitably lose their shields and begin taking substantial damage that would need dockyard time to repair – and with the loss of Unyielding Hierophant, that meant returning all the way to High Charity itself.

They were now just two minutes from reverting to realspace, and Fenk could only imagine the havoc that their approach (which almost certainly had been detected) was causing to the human defenders. He was in one way completely correct and in another, hopelessly wrong.

The human defenders had indeed detected the approaching mass of Covenant ships. There was considerable concern that the humans were outnumbered ten to one, but with the new shields and MAC upgrades and FTL drives under AI control they were confident they could at least blunt the Covenant charge long enough for the quick-reaction force from Reach arrive – a force that was even now assembling and preparing to jump to Carver V.

The garrison was led by Commander Indira Santander on the destroyer Farsight and was prepared to fight back as soon as the Covenant ships dropped into realspace. They knew the numbers, but not the composition – the supercarrier hadn’t been detected among the swarm of approaching ships. If the supercarrier had not been present, Santander’s plans may well have worked.

A fair distance from the planet, out of range of the ODP’s appeared a host of slipspace ruptures, quickly replaced by the potent force that was the Fleet of Solemn Resistance. It was the mammoth contact leading the fleet that had Commander Santander’s blood running cold. One simple sentence from his Operations officer shattered all of her pre-laid schemes.

“Holy shit…Covenant supercarrier detected!”

Not a polite remark or one in line with proper bridge discipline, but the Lieutenant could easily be forgiven for it. Covenant supercarriers were the single most deadly vessel ever encountered by the UNSC. No human force had ever managed to so much as breach the shields on one of these monsters, never mind damage or actually destroy one.

Santander grimaced, knowing her chances of ever seeing home again had just taken a sharp turn towards the infinitesimal. With that knowledge however came a strange tranquillity: it now seemed she and her subordinates would perish this day, so there was nothing left to worry about except hurting these bastards as much as she could. A quick glance at the Covenant trajectories showed that the supercarrier would pass straight through the freshly-laid minefield. With that and the ODP’s, she might actually have to chance to do something that would be spoken of for generations to come.

“No sense shitting ourselves boys and girls. Signal Sector Three Commander at Reach with the enemy strength and disposition and inform him I am engaging with all forces at my disposal. Then send the arming code to the Hornet mines and get me a channel to the ODP’s.”

The crew were jolted back into focus, they now had orders and a mission, a goal. The signals were sent out, Indira could imagine the chaos that particular message would be causing at Reach right about now - and she was deeply grateful to their new allies for the improved comm systems, something that was easily overlooked among the weapons and shielding upgrades. The new subspace communications systems allowed real-time transmissions right across UNSC space. The other channel she requested was soon opened.

“All ODP’s are to prepare firing solutions for the supercarrier. I want staggered salvos to keep that big sucker under constant fire, don’t give their shields time to recover.”

With no firm idea of just how much punishment the huge Covenant ship could actually take, Indira was going for sustained fire over a massive punch. Each ODP could hurl a three thousand tonne slug at four percent of lightspeed, enough to outright vaporise anything smaller than an Assault Carrier. The platforms could fire a round every five seconds under AI control, so with five platforms she could maintain one shot per second. They’d see just how much damage the big bastard could take.

She also ordered her ship AI’s to spin up the FTL drives and begin plotting combat jumps. They may be on the defensive here (again, she thought bitterly) but that didn’t mean they couldn’t exploit their jump drives to their fullest extent.

The Sublime Transcendence had now reached the Hornet minefield. Indira waited a few more seconds until the mines completed surrounded the ship’s bow section, hoping to weaken the forward shields enough for the Super MACs to penetrate. Then she pressed the button.

Twenty flares of harsh, brilliant light illuminated the orbital space around Carver V. The supercarrier was obscured for a long moment and Indira hoped against hope that maybe the minefield was more successful than she thought. And then the flashes faded to reveal that the supercarrier was still completely intact, its shields still raised and seemingly as strong as ever. Any sense of hope among the UNSC defenders died right there, replaced by the same grim resolve that Commander Santander possessed.

In the command centre of the Sublime Transcendence, Fenk looked over at one of the Ultras that formed his battle staff. The lower-ranked warrior met his gaze squarely before giving his report.

“Supreme Commander, shields are holding at eighty-five percent capacity, we are now approaching engagement range of the enemy platforms.”

Foramee clicked his mandibles in delight. “Ready all energy projectors, one per human attack vessel. Destroy them first, then the platforms.”

The Ultra nodded and went to work. Power was channelled away from the dozens of plasma turrets and into each of the supercarrier’s seven energy projectors. The Ultra reported they would need a change of aspect to bring all seven weapons to bear, a move that Fenk agreed since it would also further shield his smaller ships from the enemy defences. The massive vessel turned broadside on in preparation to fire.

The ODP’s fired first. The staggered volley began right at the limit of effective range, one massive slug following another as the platforms fired in sequence. Streaks of fire and iron hurtled across the intervening space to slam into the supercarriers shields. The blows were stupendous but still the shields held. One, two, three, four and then five S-MAC slugs impacted the vessel, each platform aiming at different areas to prevent the Covenant ship from reinforcing any single shield generator.

Fenk and his crew were staggered by the force of these weapons, but with the shields still holding at sixty percent he remained confident. He shouted for the energy projectors to fire. What happened next surprised everyone in the Covenant fleet.

Seven brilliant white beams lanced out, six of them aiming for frigates while the seventh was hurled at the second destroyer, the Gunslinger. Five of the frigates were lucky, their AI’s had detected the power build up and used their emergency thrusters to evade the deadly beam. The Gunslinger and the Bondarenko were less fortunate. The beams impacted dead-centre on the shields, which held for a few scant moments before collapsing – leaving the beams free to cut the two human ships in half right down their centrelines.

Santander blinked away the spots from her vision at the glaring beams and immediately ordered her surviving ships to execute their first combat jump while screaming over the radio for the ODP’s to maintain fire, a completely unnecessary order as their second staggered salvo was even then crashing into the shields of Sublime Transcendence.

Fenk Foramee was being assaulted with information as events unfolded. His ship was still under heavy fire, the energy projector attack had not been as effective as he had hoped and now the cursed human ships had vanished from their initial positions. Where they had gone was soon revealed when the ten ships reappeared above his formation, their main cannons spitting thirty-three of their primitive but deadly projectiles at a trio of his battlecruisers.

All three ships succumbed quickly to the sudden and unexpected assault, with eleven heavy MAC rounds per ship the shields collapsed after the first few shots, the remainder tore deep into the superstructures, obliterating everything in their path. One after another the three hapless battlecruisers exploded into fire and debris. Fenk was furious, even as on the far side of the formation one of his lighter carriers was shattered by an S-MAC shot that had hit his flagship’s shields at a shallow angle and ricocheted off, by complete chance slamming into the smaller vessel on the way.

His flagship under fire and four capital ships dead to only two human vessels burned, this was unacceptable. He shouted for all of his ships to fire every plasma torpedo they had at the small human force, aiming to wash them away in the searing flames no matter how strong their shields were.

Just as they had at Tau Ceti, the AI’s recognised this attack and already had a plan to beat it. The ships sat still, every joule available going to recharge the MACs as the truly horrific plasma salvo raced towards them. Moments before impact they jumped again. The plasma salvo continued onwards, the searing brightness completely hiding the vanishing human ships.

Fenk had larger concerns however. The supercarrier’s shields were now down to a mere fifteen percent and the ODP’s were still firing, their crews determined to crack this toughest of nuts. His energy projectors were once again charged, this time they were gunning for the platforms themselves. The seven white beams struck out, only this time the effect was somewhat less than he had hoped.

The platforms were shielded; that much was not unexpected but still annoying for the Supreme Commander. The fact that those shields held was a real shock. The Terran-designed shields could withstand theoretically unlimited energy provided power was available – on a ship this placed practical limitations on how much they could take. These ODP’s however were powered by huge fusion generators on the planet’s surface, generators which could power entire planets now focused on keeping the ODP’s shield generators working.

Three of the platforms were hit by a single energy projector beam. Their shields flared a brilliant red as they absorbed and redistributed the focused energy. The beams and the shield flares faded to reveal fully-functional ODP’s that even then were firing another S-MAC round apiece. The remaining two platforms were not so lucky, they took two beams each and as strong as the shields were they couldn’t hold against such an assault. The protective barriers collapsed and the white beams cut the gun platforms to pieces, starting with the huge barrels of the weapons themselves.

Fenk was briefly satisfied, only for the twentieth S-MAC round fired so far to strike and finally collapse the Sublime Transcendence’s shields. The bloodied human defenders had also seemingly returned from the grave, they appeared in flashes of light to once again hurl another salvo of MAC rounds at his fleet, this time focusing on a pair of his light carriers. The two ships came apart under the fire just as easily as those three unlucky battlecruisers had done earlier. The humans did not get away easily however.

Every single battlecruiser, carrier and assault carrier in the Fleet of Solemn Resistance fired their own energy projectors in a deadly storm of white beams that ripped the human force apart. The AI’s did their best but with only ten targets for dozens of white beams they had no chance at all.

The emergency thrusters threw the frigates and destroyer this way and that, dodging the first beams, and sometimes the second, but after a few moments all nine frigates and the single destroyer and been caught by at least one beam. Their shields collapsed and the beams tore through the armoured hulls with ease. Frigates found themselves bisected amidships, gutted bow-to-stern or in one unfortunate case quartered. The Farsight was the single remaining intact vessel, but her sublight drives were gone, cut clean away by the beam that had finally caught her. The shields and MAC capacitors were gone as well, the only system still working was the FTL drive – and that only had enough power for a single, very short jump.

Fenk was now content that the human ships were dead, his satisfaction lasted precisely two seconds before the next S-MAC round arrived and struck the unshielded hull. The round smashed through said hull with seemingly no resistance, wrecking compartment after compartment ad system after system. Foramee was stunned – no Covenant supercarrier had taken such damage since the Twenty-Fourth Age of Conflict five hundred cycles ago.

Worse still, the round had struck the midships section which was home to hundreds of hanger bays for the thousands of fighters, bombers and dropships that called the supercarrier home. Deck after deck was destroyed and fires quickly spread in the damaged sections, causing yet more damage even as a second and then a third S-MAC round slammed into the huge ship’s midsection.

Within seconds the fires had spread for several kilometres either side of the impact points until a third of the hanger decks were burning. This would be the ODP’s last hurrah however, the Sublime Transcendence once again fired its seven energy projectors at the three surviving platforms. The shields and generators had barely recovered from the previous attack and could put up only token resistance. The three huge gun barrels were cut into sections and left adrift, the central docking and habitat ring collapsing into fire and explosions as the atmosphere ignited.

Fenk grinned in triumph. His fleet had lost three battlecruisers, three light carriers and his own supercarrier had lost a third of its hanger bays and fighter complement, but they had triumphed. Now they could begin burning the planet below as the Hierarchs ordered.

Foramee was wrong in his assumption however. Aboard the wrecked destroyer Farsight, a gravely injured Commander Santander was giving her final orders to the ship’s AI Cassandra.

“Plot an FTL jump for that big void space behind the bow of the supercarrier and arm our three Shivas, set the timers to detonate half a second after the jump.” This order took nearly a minute to give, punctuated as it was by ragged breathing and wracking coughs that sprayed a considerable amount of blood from her lips. Armed nuclear weapons or not, Commander Indira Santander would not live much longer. Cassandra obeyed and prepared for her own imminent demise.

A few seconds before the Farsight made her suicidal jump, several things happened in rapid succession. The Sublime Transcendence opened fire on the surface. The rest of the Covenant ships moved to join the bombardment with their own plasma torpedoes. And in a higher orbit, a rippling series of flashes heralded the arrival of the quick-response force from Reach.

The reinforcements were the single strongest fleet the UNSC had ever assembled. Led by Fleet Admiral Harper aboard the Valiant, the force contained the other three super-heavy cruisers the Thermopylae, Shiroyama and the Everest. These four ships were backed up by ten of the sixteen surviving Marathon class heavy cruisers, forty destroyers and eighty frigates, giving the UNSC numerical parity. They were accompanied by the Kobolian Command Group and First and Third Fleets, giving them their Warstar, eight Battlestars, twenty cruisers and forty destroyers. Finally, the Tau’ri force was present looking small in comparison to the dozens of grey armoured hulls around them.

Commander Santander did not see this and it would not have changed her plans anyway. She ordered the jump with her last breath even as spacetime twisted around her. The Farsight vanished only to reappear a mere hundred metres below the comparatively thin hull section that connected the huge hook-shaped bow section of the Sublime Transcendence with the midships hangers. The Covenant crew had no chance to react as the three Shiva warheads detonated a half-second later.

The supercarrier was an extremely sturdy vessel but Commander Santander and Cassandra had managed to hit its weakest point. The warheads unleashed a flood of deadly energy at nearly point-blank range, ripping into the narrow connecting section until it was completely severed. The massive bow section, many kilometres long was now floating freely, with no connections to the main ship and no power to the primary systems. For all intents and purposes the Sublime Transcendence was dead.

The arriving human reinforcements wanted to make sure though. A single command rang out, and from the bows of the Nemesis and the Phoenix came the familiar blue beams of the superlasers. Both shots struck the wrecked supercarrier – the Warstar’s shot slammed into the burning midships section while the Heavy Battlestar’s beam tore into the now severed bow section. Two eye-searing detonations lit up the sky as the remains of the supercarrier were shredded. The bow section was completely shattered, leaving only a hail of fragments to fall into the planet’s atmosphere. The midships section likewise exploded into debris, leaving only the aft section to be consumed by the overloading plasma reactors. In a matter of seconds, the mighty Covenant vessel had gone from damaged to functional to a hail of debris.

The UNSC ships likewise let rip with a devastating salvo. The one hundred and eighty-nine MACs of the upgraded human ships loosed a hail of five hundred and sixty-seven heavy rounds, joined by the fifteen plasma rounds from the Everest. half of the Covenant fleet died in that one volley – all sixty of the frigates and destroyers died as they took four or five hits each in quick succession. The battlecruisers and carriers fared little better, shields collapsed in moments leaving shattered and burning hulls behind.

The Fleet of Solemn Resistance was reduced to four assault carriers, ten light carriers and twenty-eight battlecruisers, all of which promptly turned and retreated to slipspace, recognising this was a battle they couldn’t win. The Hierarchs may have ordered them to engage the Everest and destroy her at all costs, but the Sanghelli officers disregarded that edict – their remaining ships were out of position and their plasma torpedoes were drained from their first and only volley fired at the surface. They had to withdraw and recover before moving on to hit another human world, they had done enough damage here for the moment.

Fleet Admiral Harper sighed as the Covenant ships ran. The quick-response force had arrived in time to drive off the enemy but the cost had been high. The entire garrison force was gone and the single plasma volley launched at the surface had deadly results. The shots had blanketed the capital Morrison City and obliterated it and everything else within thirty kilometres. Twenty-three million people had lived in that area – there would be no survivors.

Harper knew he had to count this as a win. And on a purely tactical level it was. Two destroyers, ten frigates and five ODP’s traded for a supercarrier, an assault carrier, five light carriers, twelve battlecruisers and sixty frigates and destroyers and the remaining Covenant ships forced to retreat. But the obscene civilian casualties prevented the Fleet Admiral from taking any joy in the victory.

It was also a startling change of tactics for the Covenant. Carver V was an out of the way world, with no strategic significance and no vital industries or resources. For the Covenant to send such a powerful force, one of the largest Fleets ever encountered in fact, against such a world suggested that the gloves had finally come off and the enemy were throwing everything they had at the UNSC.

He ordered his force to stand down to Combat Alert Charlie (Condition Three for the Kobolian vessels) but to keep the FTL drives and MACs charged. He had a terrible feeling that this was just the first wave of the new Covenant offensive.

Harper would take little comfort from knowing that his prediction was completely correct.


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

Well here we go boys and girls, the Covenant offensive has begun. This should go a way to showing that the UNSC's upgrades do not make them gods of war - they can still bleed and die. Yeah, the relief force came in packing heat and killed a lot of Covenant ships - but light ones, not the heavies, and that's to be expected since they had numerical parity, surprise and the entire Alliance Force with them as well.

This is what the UNSC now face - they're outnumbered by three to one at least and have a number of worlds to defend. They're also adopting new tactics - Admiral Harper's force contains most of their surviving heavy ships, but with the new FTL drives they can keep that force concentrated and move to any threatened world quickly. This will go a long way to helping with that numerical superiority the Covvies have.

But...Regret is still digging on Meridian which will soon give him the coordinates for Earth, and the Artefact will give them both Installation 04 and Reach. That still hasn't changed.

Finally, I'm quite pleased that purely by chance I managed to sneak another Sabaton reference in - this time to "The Last Stand." Expect a few more musical references to appear in future - I'm planning on using them as chapter titles and a few in-character references as well. The first story was full of them - Angels Fall First, Hearts of Iron and so forth.

EDIT - 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.
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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U.P. Cinnabar
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-07-14 12:26pm

Thanks, mate. That did make my day.
"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 » 2018-07-14 12:48pm

Glad I could help.
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 » 2018-07-15 02:06am

Ka-fricking-boom.
In a matter of seconds, the mighty Covenant vessel had gone from damaged to functional to a hail of debris.
One for your master copy - shouldn't it be "functional to damaged to...." ?

I didn't intend to add any Sabaton references in that retroactive part title list I posted in book I - (iirc) odd slots merely fitted the part, while even slots were rock songs (whose title or content also fitted).
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 » 2018-07-15 07:01am

Yeah that should read "damaged but functional" since the supercarrier had still taken three S-MAC hits to the hanger decks.
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 09:57am

Autocorrupt,, I mean autocorrect again?
"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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