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 » 2019-04-01 02:30pm

No, bad Cinnabar, we've had a lot of curbstomps already.

Besides, it is worth noting that the human defences on the ground are very much an impromptu thing. I know it seems like ages because of how long it's taken to write this but in-universe they've had about a day, maybe two, to dig in under the theatre shield. They also weren't expecting the Covenant ground forces to just bypass the ships in space either - or for so many ground forces to land all at once. This is the fun part of writing battles with the humans and the Covenant - both sides are smart enough to surprise and out-think the other which makes things much more dramatic.
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by fnord » 2019-04-01 08:48pm

There's also a slight matter of not wanting to constrain a starship to such a tiny volume, and the opportunity cost.

Yes, having one of the 304's under the shield means that she can help put the boot into the Covvie ground assault, at the cost of leaving her pinned in place, unable to run, and unable to contribute at all to the big battle. If you don't win the big all-out furball up top, the ground defense is fairly moot.
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 LadyTevar » 2019-04-01 09:29pm

U.P. Cinnabar wrote:
2019-03-31 02:43pm
The GSV is Finn McCumhail?!
HAHAHAHAHAHA. No.
Ooops... Spoilers sweetie! Spoiler
How well do you know your BSG?
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Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.
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Re: The 13th Tribe Book II: A Symphony of War

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-04-02 12:40pm

Ha, lucky thing your spoiler tag isn't working LadyTevar :)
Baltar: "I don't want to miss a moment of the last Battlestar's destruction!"
Centurion: "Sir, I really think you should look at the other Battlestar."
Baltar: "What are you babbling about other...it's impossible!"
Centurion: "No. It is a Battlestar."

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

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-04-02 12:49pm

fnord wrote:
2019-04-01 08:48pm
There's also a slight matter of not wanting to constrain a starship to such a tiny volume, and the opportunity cost.

Yes, having one of the 304's under the shield means that she can help put the boot into the Covvie ground assault, at the cost of leaving her pinned in place, unable to run, and unable to contribute at all to the big battle. If you don't win the big all-out furball up top, the ground defense is fairly moot.
This is also a very good point. But mostly it's the idea that starships fight starships in space, they don't hover like oversized AC-130's.
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 LadyTevar » 2019-04-02 07:18pm

Eternal_Freedom wrote:
2019-04-02 12:40pm
Ha, lucky thing your spoiler tag isn't working LadyTevar :)
Feature, not a bug. :-D
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Librium Arcana, Where Gamers Play!
Nitram, slightly high on cough syrup: Do you know you're beautiful?
Me: Nope, that's why I have you around to tell me.
Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP" -- Leonard Nimoy, last Tweet

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

Post by Eternal_Freedom » 2019-04-13 12:35pm

And we're back everyone. This update features the British doing something awesome, the UNSC Trafalgar tests out her new upgrades and LadyTevar's alter-ego makes an appearance:

Thunder from the Sky
Defence Perimeter, Menachite Mountains, Reach


The hard charge of the Winged Hussars had broken the back of the forces assaulting position Vienna in ten minutes of furious, lethal combat. The Covenant forces had no air cover to speak of – all their fighters that had made it through the theatre shield were elsewhere trying to locate and destroy the shield projectors and could do nothing to stem the tide of over a thousand gunships and assault craft ripping in to the troops on the ground. Rockets, missiles, cannon shells and tracer fire had gutted the onrushing formations, allowing the beleaguered 17th and 25th Marines to rally and even launch a limited counterattack.

General Sinclair noted with a touch of grim satisfaction that despite the losses his men and women were still raising their voices in song as they charged forward, retaking positions surrendered a short while before until they had once again occupied the initial defensive positions. He was glad they had held, but the aggressive, warlike part of his mind rebelled at the knowledge they had lost the best part of an entire Regiment just to get back to where they started. Covenant bastards he mused, wishing not the first time they could use nukes in this defence. Just one HAVOK could have gutted the enemy formation without a scratch, but the eggheads had warned Sinclair and the other division commanders in no uncertain terms that detonating nuclear weapons under the theatre shield was a bad idea.

He kept one ear paying attention to the command comm net, noting that the Covenant forces feinting at positions Moscow, Kiev and Berlin were withdrawing and regrouping while Lemuria was still holding strong. He wished he had some of the Terran’s Sabre and Paladin tanks for his divisions – his own Scorpions were doing sterling work but their guns had limited ammunition, unlike the light turbolasers the Terran vehicles used.

Above him the huge white dome continued to flare and burn as plasma fire rained down upon it. He wondered how long it could possibly hold against fire that would have slaughtered an entire battlegroup but he was glad for every second it remained active. He had enough to worry about without fiery death from the heavens as well. Then he saw something that turned his blood to ice and his guts clench in terror.

The shield wavered for a just a moment and most of an energy projector beam got through the brief gap. The searing white beam incinerated a frantically evading Pelican as it passed and the thunderclap of displaced air sent two more gunships spiralling out of control, crashing down into the withdrawing Covenant forces in huge fireballs. The beam continued onwards to slam into the mountainside, sending a hail of rock fragments and small boulders storming away from the point of impact.

Sinclair instinctively flinched away from the sight, even though he was far enough away to be in no danger. It was more in fear at what this represented. He grabbed the radio handset and slapped his hand on the “all channels” transmit button.

“All units this is Vienna-Six Actual. The shield is starting to give – repeat, the shield is starting to give. Everyone brace for heavy fire! Marine Six, we need some help from the Fleet here, right fucking now!”

He received a terse acknowledgment but nothing more. Another brilliant flash lit up the sky as the horde of Covenant carriers continued their bombardment. Sinclair had no way of knowing that his frantic call for help had already been answered. He looked out at the distant enemy hulls, fortuitously in just the right direction to see one of them sundered and broken in two, the pieces crashing down to the surface only a few hundred metres below.

UNSC Trafalgar, Ten Minutes Earlier

The massive bulk of the supercarrier was serving as an anchor point for the Reach Garrison and Tau’ri forces holding position around the orbital structures and ODP’s. After the initial terrifying moments of the enemy Supercarriers surrounding them completely things had settled down somewhat. The commanders could only watch as the dispersed Covenant heavy elements had caused havoc and confusion in the Terran fleet as well as Harper and Stanforth’s commands. Ships and people were burning and the Reach Garrison could do nothing – they had their own problems.

The swarm of corvettes, five hundred and fifty strong, was now approaching engagement range of the ODP’s, as were the tens of thousands of Banshee and Seraph fighters that kept close to them. The massive gun platforms would ordinarily be completely wasted on such targets – even in a close formation they couldn’t expect to get more than one or two kills per round given how small the corvettes were, and how nimble they could be. However, the boffins in R&D had been working on something for just this eventuality, and the Covenant were being very obliging in helping with the experiment.

The fighters were sticking close to the corvettes in order to hide within their stealth fields – fields that made them almost completely invisible to standard UNSC sensors. Unfortunately, the ODP’s had the benefit of Terran and Asgard-designed sensors as well as a live data-link from HMS Dreadnought giving the big guns a perfect firing solution for their new weapons.

As the incoming Covenant light forces crossed the intangible barrier that signified effective engagement range, the twenty ODP’s thundered out another volley. But these were not the same solid, capital-ship-killing rounds fired previously, these were new, lighter rounds with different materials and a set of very expensive components at the centre. The rounds hurled onwards and the Covenant just had time to run the numbers through their battle computers to know the losses would be acceptable when the rounds fulfilled their final function.

The core of the rounds was a small equipment bay, holding an inertial damper, a power supply and a repulsor field generator. Surrounding this were fifty thousand solid iron projectiles, each a spherical mass weighing in at fifty kilograms. The inertial damper was there to prevent the enormous stress of the firing process from ruining the other components or turning the iron balls into molten slag. The round bore a strong similarity to canister shot from the Age of Sail, and it would fulfil a similar purpose.

The repulsor generators activated, not pushing the smaller projectiles forwards or backwards but outwards. The small roundshot naturally retained their tremendous forward velocity but now the single shot turned into an expanding cloud of hypervelocity fragments – the R&D teams had turned the ODP’s into the universe’s biggest shotguns.

The Covenant fighters and corvettes had no chance. Instead of having to dodge or evade just twenty fast-moving but unguided rounds they suddenly faced a million fragments storming at them. Seraphs and Banshees evaporated from direct hits or spun away from glancing blows, hopelessly out of control. Corvettes staggered under the impacts of dozens of rounds from multiple angles, their stealth fields ruined and their shields drained completely. Dozens of the light craft exploded from repeated hits or collisions with other damaged ships as the careful formation collapsed in moments.

The Covenant fighter strike was badly beaten – just twelve thousand fighters and two hundred and forty corvettes survived. Realising their cover was blown they scattered their formation and raced inwards at full speed, hoping to close the range before another salvo of canister rounds could be fired. They needn’t have worried – the new rounds were experimental and limited in number, the ODP’s had just fired every round they had available. They had proven the concept quite spectacularly however. The next line of anti-fighter defence was formed of the massed ranks of the UNSC, Terran and Colonial starfighter forces. Thousands of Longswords and Broadswords flew along with thousands more Viper and Cobras, backed up by the two hundred and forty Scythes of Reaper Force.

The human pilots forged ahead to meet the incoming Covenant forces and battle was joined. A massive furball sprang up even as the corvettes stormed past them, only to come face to face with a ship that the Covenant Navy hated almost as much as the Everest. The supercarrier Trafalgar had racked up an impressive (by pre-Sigma Octanus standards) kill tally of twenty-six Covenant vessels while surviving everything the Covenant threw at her across most of the main battlefields of the long war. Her three-kilometre-long armoured hull now made a very effective roadblock for the light ships approaching the Fortress Shield.

The human vessel had been upgraded extensively during her stay docked within the Nidavellir, more so than any other vessel. Her original MACs had been pulled and replaced with hypervelocity guns identical to those mounted on the new Terran Warstar, her point-defence weapons had been replaced with Terran laser cannon mounts and Tau’ri coilgun turrets and her anti-ship capabilities had been vastly improved with the addition of three hundred of the new Tollan ion cannon turrets. It was these that opened up on the corvettes, a hail of blue bolts spat out, shattering the first rank of enemy ships and scattering the rest.

On the human ship’s bridge, Admiral Whitcomb was busy coordinating the defence with Admiral Hood while the ship’s commander looked on in concealed delight as her ship once more bled the enemy. Her name was Commodore the Honourable Lady Kathryn MacLuing and she bore the aristocratic, refined features one would expect from such a woman. She was distantly related to Lord Hood but that had no bearing on her rank or her position – virtually all the remaining families with aristocratic titles were related to some degree. She had an impressive record and a long service career that fully justified this prestigious command. To her family and friends she was warm and loving, to her subordinates she was firm but supportive and to her fellows she was polite but somewhat aloof. In battle, however, she was known as a cast-iron bitch.

Lady Kathryn watched as the Covenant force began to disintegrate before her eyes, a sight she had seen only once before at Psi Serpentis. She’d made her name as a ship commander in that fight, scoring her first kill of a Covenant warship (even if it had been a lowly frigate) with an impressive display of ship handling and ruthless cunning. She spared a glance at the overall strategic situation and grimaced at the icons on the surface. She had an idea about that that she pondered even as the ship’s AI appeared in hologram form next to her. Horatio Nelson in full dress uniform was an intimidating if absurdly anachronistic image, but it fit the ship perfectly.

“Ah, such a delight to make the enemy break and flee! Just like I did to Villeneuve and Gravina back in 1805.”

Lady Kathryn looked askance at the hologram. “That wasn’t you Horatio. Besides, the real Nelson was dying below decks when the combined fleet broke.”

Nelson scowled at her. “Really my Lady Kathryn, must you spoil an AI’s fun with such trivial things as reality? At any rate, I can tell from your eyes you have an idea, most probably to help the Marines on the ground. A touch of naval gunfire support perhaps?”

Kathryn shook her head minutely, even as Admiral Whitcomb walked over. “No Horatio, the Covenant forces are now too close. We might be able to deal with the carriers but that means turning our batteries away from the main forces up here. And I don’t relish the thought of what happens if we miss a target with our MACs or, God forbid, an ODP. I have a better idea, get me Commodore Baird on a priority channel please.”

Nelson nodded and sent the relevant signal while Whitcomb spoke up. “The Marines on the ground are being pushed hard. What’s this idea Lady Kathryn?”

“A moment Admiral, I’d rather go through this once.” A few seconds passed and Commodore Sir Jonathan Baird appeared via hologram. “Sir Jonathan, I have a job for you.”

”What might that be, my Lady?”

“If I remember the briefings correctly, your 304’s are atmospheric-capable, yes?” At the British officer’s nod she continued. “I want you to detach the four of them to assist the Marines on the surface. They have all the elements we need, speed, firepower and mobility.”

Baird nodded slowly. ”I can send them but with Icarus already damaged I just don’t know how long they will last against twenty-one Covenant capital ships. Therefore, I will go with them in Dreadnought.”

Lady Kathryn, Nelson and Whitcomb blinked in shock at the crazy sounding idea. Whitcomb recovered first. “You want to take a mile-long battleship into Reach’s atmosphere?”

Baird gave a self-assured grin. ”Precisely Admiral. A combination of naval gunfire and close-air support. It wasn’t one of the key design considerations for this ship but we did simulate it to see if it would work. It should, and my guns will a lot more effective than the weapons mounted on the 304’s. Combined with surprise on our side we should hurt them badly, and we can always make a hyperspace escape jump if needed.”

Whitcomb and Lady Kathryn looked at each other even as the Trafalgar rocked slightly beneath them as plasma torpedoes from the corvettes splashed against her shields. Whitcomb shook his head at the idea.

“It’s crazy but we don’t have much choice. Go, Commodore, and Godspeed.”

Baird saluted and the hologram vanished. The two UNSC officers went back to work slaughtering the Covenant light forces, each silently wishing their British friend all the luck he needed.

HMS Dreadnought

The huge British battleship was preparing to do something mad, but the crew were not afraid. Some of the Royal Navy’s greatest victories had come from abandoning the prevailing tactical orthodoxy and taking a chance, this would be no different – and they had simulated it during construction and shakedown trials so they weren’t completely in the dark. Baird passed the orders with a claim efficiency that would have impressed Commodore MacLuing and Admiral Whitcomb had they seen it:

“Helm, new course one-eight-zero, minus twenty, full thrust. Take us down into the atmosphere and hold position in range of those hovering Covenant ships. Main battery, those are your targets, fire for effect but make them count. Secondary batteries, you are free to engage targets of opportunity on the ground – repeat, on the ground. This is the CAS mission from hell ladies and gents.” He then grabbed the comm handset and toggled the right switch. “All hands brace for atmospheric entry and close combat. Repeat, brace for atmospheric entry.”

Observers on the ODP’s and the orbital structures watched in shock and then awe as the Tau’ri force suddenly turned and dove down into atmosphere of Reach. Flames appeared to lick over their shields as the four lighter ships raced ahead of their larger companion. The ships were briefly hidden from view as the flares of ionised gases surrounded them and then they were clear, racing across the blue skies of Reach and straight for their unsuspecting targets.

Back on the battleship’s bridge, Baird released his grip on the plot table as the turbulence ceased and smoother flight resumed. He glanced at the sensor displays and mentally began computing firing solutions – he knew the computers would do the same far faster than he could but it was a good exercise for his brain. Then one officer called out.

“Main battery has firing solutions on four targets, secondary batteries have solutions on ground targets. The 304’s are beginning their attack runs.”

Baird grinned fiercely. “All batteries commence fire, break their backs!”

From the Dreadnought’s bow came four brilliant blue plasma beams as the main guns spoke. The beams burned into the shields of a light carrier that had been caught completely by surprise, so focused on bombarding the theatre shield that the crew didn’t even notice the British ship’s approach until it was far too late. The shields collapsed, leaving the ship vulnerable to a volley of eight heavy coilgun rounds that tore through the carrier’s midships section, breaking it in two and leaving the remains to crash to the ground, witnessed by a very surprised General Sinclair.

From the flanks came more plasma beams and coilgun rounds, claiming another three light carriers either destroyed outright or damaged enough that they began a final, terminal descent. The Conqueror, Warrior, Gagarin and Icarus had split up to batter and blast another two Covenant ships, throwing the bombardment force into disarray and halting their fire on the greatly-strained theatre shield. Fifteen targets remained that began to turn to bring their weapons to bear.

Baird once again grabbed the comm handset, but this time he made a general call on UNSC frequencies.

“Marines, this is Dreadnought, we’ll take care of the carriers then we’ll be on-call for fire support as needed.”

On the surface, General Sinclair and his men could only watch in wonder as the theatre shield changed from a mass of fire back to its normal almost-invisible white, revealing a Covenant force frantically turning away while a mammoth warship and four escorts rained death upon them. The Covenant ground forces looked up as well, but in fear not wonder. They knew it was just a matter of time until those ships turned their guns on the surface. They had to advance, immediately. They had to take the defences or at the very least be close enough that the theatre shield would protect them too.

Orders rang out and the Covenant army once more charged at the UNSC and Terran defenders. This time there were no feints, it was an all-out assault.

========

Yop, turns out the RN are still pulling crazy-awesome ideas. Close-air support from a battleship. That's new.

And also, yes, I turned the Super-MAC's into shotguns for one volley - like it says though, those were the only volley of those rounds they have available. Good proof of concept 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 LadyTevar » 2019-04-13 02:03pm

Damn fine Proof of Concept, and I adored it. Who says Old Dogs can't learn New Tricks?

EDIT: Also corrected a typo
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Librium Arcana, Where Gamers Play!
Nitram, slightly high on cough syrup: Do you know you're beautiful?
Me: Nope, that's why I have you around to tell me.
Nitram: You -are- beautiful. Anyone tries to tell you otherwise kill them.
"A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP" -- Leonard Nimoy, last Tweet

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

Post by fnord » 2019-04-13 09:32pm

What will the Covenant come back with after Baird finishes nicking a page out of Wallace et al's book?

Awesome work - cutting between dirtside and highside, a new 'umie trick, yet more dakka, and Tev's alter-ego. I want to see what tricks Commodore MacLuing has got up her sleeve.
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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