Date: 31 May 2003, 10:58 PM
"Break port Hornet leader!" came a yell across Major Marcus Easley's com. He yanked his new Longsword S interceptor onto its left side and pulled back on the stick, narrowly avoiding a blast of plasma from the Covenant battle cruiser Astelinn. It had jumped in system barely 10 minutes ago, the first Covenant craft to threaten Earth.
He, his squadron and the Human heavy cruiser, Maverick, one of the last seventeen of such craft, were charged with taking it down.
Not the easiest task.
He quickly swung his Longsword back into position behind one of the MAC rounds that was fired from the Maverick. He was gunning for the huge plasma torpedo launching line along the Astelinn's port side. The MAC round smashed through the Covenant ships' shield and pulverized her prow. At less than 500 meters, he opened up.
Marcus was the leader of Hornet Squadron, a fighter group from 301st fighter wing. It was one of the few squadrons to have fought at Reach. He remembered the battle all to well.
Marcus watched as his plasma bolts danced across the ship's plasma torpedo launching line, cutting it through about a half foot and disabling it entirely. Then, to add insult to injury, he let fly two HE Anvil III missiles.
"Stay close Jordan," he said, putting his ship through its paces. He screamed low over the ship's hull with Hornet two tucked in tight behind him. Together, they flew through the veritable forest of pulse laser turrets, and arced back towards the Maverick to make another pass.
There was no need.
The Maverick's hastily fitted four Triple Mac guns (Magnetic Accelerator Cannon) fired in tandem. Their twelve total rounds smashed through what was left of the Astelinn's shields and gutted her from fore to aft, sending her into a wild spin on a vector out of the system.
No Covenant drop ships had been seen launching out of her bays...fortunately.
"You know," came a female voice on Marcus's com. "That would have been soooo much easier had the Big MACs been up."
Marcus rolled his eyes.
"Refrain from non-tactical comments on this channel Three."
After receiving their orders to land, Marcus glided toward Maverick's starboard aft bay. As he passed along the length of the Maverick, he couldn't help but fall in awe of the ship's size and raw power.
Second only to The Leviathan in pure size, it was extremely deadly. One of the fastest ships in the fleet despite its size, the Maverick had the very latest in nuclear reactor technology to power her. Two small fusion reactors came on line to supercharge the main one. With a normal reactor, that would have almost immediately resulted in a meltdown. This reactor however, used a slurry of laser-induced ions chilled to near absolute zero to cool the system. In effect, the more juice Captain Reeves put into the thing, the more slurry they'd have to cool it, making it possible for the reactor's overlapping magnetic fields to do their jobs, and spike the power to 310% momentarily.
Offensively, it could give an entire covenant armada a headache. Located on the top, starboard, port and below of her hull were the new and ridiculously powerful Triple MAC cannons that had been fitted to almost every ship left in the UNSC fleet. Those babies fired a special MAC round that had a special ferrous core and carbide tungsten shell. They splintered on impact, taxing a Covenant's ship's shields to the breaking point. As if that weren't enough, special magnetic field recyclers were able to recapture the energy field. Coupled with special booster capacitors, they could fire three successive rounds with one charge (As opposed to the normal one charge-one round from a normal MAC). For medium to long-range attack, there were the Archer missile pods. They were located on the upper aft of the ship, numbering twenty pods across and twenty down. Each pod held two dozen missiles. That totaled 9,600 missiles. For some extra punch, the Maverick carried four SHIVA and two HAVOK tactical nuclear missiles. Finally, the Maverick had eighty sixty-millimeter cannons arrayed strategically to handle point defense against enemy fighters.
It was a flying nuclear superpower.
Carefully, he guided his Longsword onto its landing zone in the brightly lit fore portside bay.
After setting down, he unbuckled himself, powered down his ship, put his helmet on the ready hook, popped the hatch and gave his interceptor the once-over.
He liked what he saw.
The Longsword S was the newest model of fighter, nearly solid titanium A having come fresh out of the factory with all of the new perks. The most exciting was the fact that this model had four plasma cannons. All of the previous Longswords had had eight 50-millimeter shell cannons. For all practical purposes, taking out an enemy Seraph fighter with those would be like trying to take out the Maverick with a spit wad. Useless, and a waste of time. With these four plasma cannons, he could thunder easily through a Seraph's shield. Now if only the Longsword had one of those...Marcus shook his head. It's not the cards you're dealt, but how you play them, he thought to himself, ridding his mind of that beautiful shield.
Another perk were the powerful new HE Anvil III missiles. As opposed to the now practically ancient HE Anvil II missiles that had been in service for fifteen years, these babies were lighter, more maneuverable and twice as deadly. The Longsword S carried forty such missiles, mounted internally with 20 on either side of the cockpit, just beyond the plasma cannons.
Marcus smiled in spite of himself; whatever Covvie ship came into the system would get a nasty little surprise...
"Nice one Marcus!" came a yell from across the bay. Marcus smacked his head into the bottom of his Longsword and grunted with pain.
"Do you mind Jordan, not startling me so that I don't end up with a flat skull?" Jacob snarled.
"Aw, you're no fun!" Jordan wined.
Turning around, Marcus faced his wingman.
A full foot shorter than he was, Jordan had olive skin and unruly black hair that would have, under normal circumstances, gotten him court marshaled. It was that wild. He also had a happy-go-lucky scatterbrained sense of humor, and an easygoing attitude that Jacob could only wonder how he maintained, in view of the impending invasion.
Looking around, Marcus spotted the other pilots of Hornet Squadron emerging from their Longswords. To his left, he spotted the two female wing mates of the squadron, Sarah and Zia.
Sarah had a somewhat strong belief in military protocol, and wore her dark hair in a ponytail. Her dark eyes glittered with a spark that Jacob had seen in very few pilots. Her father was Captain Godfrey, the captain of the UNSC Destroyer, Minotaur, which was obliterated by the newest type of Covenant ship at Reach: a Snipe. To make matters worse, Hornet Squadron had been flying relatively close to it.
Marcus frowned; he felt sorry for her. For a moment, he felt a pang of guilt. I've been fortunate; I haven't lost a loved one during this entire war...
But then he glanced at Zia. With her dark blue eyes and long blonde hair, she looked almost like a movie actress. Beautiful, with a lovely personality...and yet so deadly. Her total kills so far were in the mid-twenties. Jacob made a mental note to never tick her off in a dogfight.
Then he spotted the last members of Hornet Squadron, Hunter and Chase. Hunter wore his sandy-blonde hair in a flattop, and his green eyes showed determination. His face had graced about a million recruiting posters.
Chase, Hunter's wingman, had bleach-blonde hair that looked as though a SHIVA had hit it. With Robin-egg blue eyes, he seemed like a heartthrob to many girls...
A wave of jealousy hit Marcus.
"So, who's up for some coffee?" Zia asked, her hair sashaying from side to side as she walked towards the door.
She hadn't even bothered to change out of her flight suit.
A chorus of approval came up from the pilots of Hornet Squadron.
Hornet Squadron trekked the short distance to the nearest mess hall and went through the line. Mocha Lattes all around.
"What worries me," said Chase, "is that this was a small ship. Nothing big, nothing scary. It has me worried."
"They're probing us, seeing just how much fight we have," Hunter concluded.
"Relax, the Big MACs'll be up in a few days." Zia assured everybody.
"Mmmmm. I'm not so sure we can rely on those..."
"Meaning Sarah?" Marcus asked.
"Well, they did make a difference at Reach, albeit a small one once everything was said and done. But still, the fact that the Covenant was able to get groundside and wipe out the generators powering them. Besides, even though both technologies have been tested in combat, I don't think they'll work together."
Marcus leaned back in the booth and looked out the view port trying to imagine just what it would be like having a Triple MAC that fired heavy rounds and reloaded every five seconds. He caught his own reflection. His pale green eyes sparkled and danced, and his bleach-blond hair dropped to his mid-forehead.
Then he saw what was outside the view port.
What he saw made his jaw drop.
Rally Point Alpha
Date: 2 June 2003, 5:27 PM
Marcus's eyes bulged. Out on the edge of the system, hundreds of green dots appeared. Jacob knew however, that this wasn't some sort of polar borealis, those were slipspace entry points. And there were a lot of them.
"Oh..." Jacob started, his voice rising. He then uttered a string of words that froze the conversation in mid-sentence and caused everyone to look at him.
"SCRAMBLE!" he cried yelling himself hoarse.
Jacob turned to exit the booth they were sitting in and was met with five pairs of raised eyebrows.
"WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR!?" he roared.
"Um, boss," Jordan asked delicately, "are you feeling all right?"
"Am I feeling all right!?" Marcus's voice cracked. " I'll show you all right!" he grabbed Jordan by the scruff of his neck and almost flattened his face on the view port.
"Tell me Jordan, do you happen to have any idea what those green dots are?" Marcus asked, his tone cold and icy. Jordan slowly shook his head, confused. "Those my friend are slipspace entry points, and judging by the raw number of those dots, they've probably brought half of the Covenant fleet here, intent on wiping us out, do you understand that Jordan?" Jordan's head became a near blur as he furiously yanked his head up and down for yes.
Just then, the scramble klaxon sounded.
"GO!" Marcus's voice sounded like a Longsword breaking the speed of sound in atmosphere; raw and cut.
Marcus had never run the distance between the mess hall and the fighter bay nearly as fast as he did then, and he doubted he would be able to do it again.
By the time he had reached the hangar, the place was swarming with techs making last minute checks and re-arming.
Marcus, out of breath, sprinted to his Longsword.
"How's it look Arch?" he yelled as he all but dove through the hatch, grabbing his helmet from off of the hook.
"As good as ever, Marcus! You've got full plasma batteries, missile racks and fuel is topped off." Archie laughed." Woe to the Covvie that tries to shoot you down!"
"Thanks Arch!" Marcus yelled over his shoulder.
Working quickly, Marcus went through the abbreviated startup checklist. He then punched his Longsword five feet up into the air, rotated and roared out of the hangar.
What he saw froze his gut cold.
The Covenant hadn't skimped funding for this one. The Covvie flotilla was deployed in a ball formation and it looked as though there were four cruisers, nine Destroyers, twelve frigates two carriers...and a Snipe.Right in the middle of their formation no less.
Marcus broke out in a cold sweat. Just what the heck were they supposed to do against a Snipe? Their weapons could travel at light speed. Even at this range, they could hardly miss...
Jordan formed on his wing.
"So boss," Jordan's normally goofy tone had flat lined. "I guess this is it huh?"
"Yeah," Marcus said, "I guess so..."
Marcus's com popped.
"Attention any and all UNSC forces," a gruff voice said, "proceed to Rally Point Alpha with all speed and prepare for battle."
A blue nav point appeared on Marcus's HUD...clear on the other side of the planet; the dark side...what were they planning?
"Ok Hornet Squadron spread as far out as possible. I don't want any of us getting picked off by the Snipe."
A quintet of clicks came across his com, notifying him they had all acknowledged his command.
It took only five minutes to get to the darkside of the planet. Though throughout the whole trip, Marcus kept trying to unravel what they were going to do.
If a Snipe could hull a Destroyer with very little effort, it couldn't take much longer for it to kill Cruiser.... They had plenty of Cruisers-seventeen to be exact as three of the impressive warships had been destroyed at Reach-but with the Snipe out there the odds might as well have been nil...
Please let whatever they're thinking up work...
They had reached Rally Point Prime.
Marcus glanced around.
The Big MACs were being fitted here. There were about twenty five under construction, with more on the way.
They were almost finished, but at this rate, they'd never make it in time for the battle.
Just then Marcus noticed something.
There had been no shots from the Snipe and no shots from the other ships in the Covenant fleet.
What was going on?
Jordan's voice crackled over the com. "Maybe they're having some sort of religious ceremony. Watching us flee might be enjoyable to them...But in the past they've always hunted and stalked and pursued...Hornet Leader, something's wrong here."
"Thank you Jordan, not only have I noticed that about a hundred times already, I have mulled it over so much, I'm about ready to throw up!" Marcus snapped.
"To bad they don't have those Big MA-"
"Three, would you shut up about those blasted Big MACs?"
"Sorry Hornet Leader..."
Marcus's com crackled again.
"This is admiral Stanforth. Well boys and girls, this is it. I won't explain what we're going to do as there isn't enough time. However, the Leviathan has laid several HAVOK tactical nuclear mines in stationary orbit around Earth. Avoid this area." A boxed area appeared on Marcus's screen outlined by green. "All fighters from the Leviathan, will circle around to the middle of the North American continent on my mark. All fighters from the Dauntless, will do the same, only this time they will fly east and stop over the edge of the Philippine islands. From those two points you will launch on SHIVA apiece into the middle of the Covenant formation after the HAVOKs have detonated. That should be enough to kill 'em. However, fighters from the Thunderbolt, Maverick, Spoke and all other fighters will fly cover for the Cruisers as they come over the poles and clean up any refuse."
Marcus did a double take. To have a cruiser to use a nuke in combat was generally a sign of desperateness. A nuke aboard a Longsword was a sign of craziness.
His com popped once again.
"Hornet Leader, this is Typhoon Leader, you have any idea why the Admiral would want us to launch a nuke?"
"Not a clue Typhoon Leader. Not unless..."
After about five seconds, Typhoon Leader's voice crackled over the com. "Oh," he said, realization dawning in him. "We're gonna put them in one heck of a vice," he said his voice gaining confidence.
Just then, what appeared to be a solid wall of Seraph fighters traversed the poles.
I want to apologize for not having Beginings put in the Longsword: series. By the way, can anyone catch all of my references?
Desperation- Part One
Date: 3 June 2003, 7:31 PM
"All right Hornets, see that diamond near the bottom of their formation? That's what we're gunning for!" Marcus yelled as he rolled out of the formation, with the rest of Hornet Squadron right behind him.
Harksh, a Brute warrior, piloted is Seraph fighter over the North Pole expecting to find little to no resistance from the Humans' Longsword Interceptors.
As he cleared the pole, saw hundreds of Longswords with variations. Some were normal, some were light and more maneuverable, and others were flying Wraiths, which surprised him. Command had said there were only a few Longswords left, and only one type as well..
Command was dead wrong.
Yes, as though that really matters, Harksh thought to himself.
"Computer!" he barked, "target the nearest incoming Human fighters!"
Six Human fighters were immediately boxed in red on his screen.
Harksh smiled; this was going to be fun.
Marcus screeched low over the atmosphere. He was hoping to pull up at just the right time and bite into the Seraphs' bellies.
No such luck.
Six Seraph fighters inverted and dove.
Harksh grinned, centered on of the Longswords in his reticule...and peeled off as the Seraph to his starboard side blew.
"Scratch my bandit!" Marcus whooped over the com.
Must've been hit with some missiles, Harksh thought vaguely. It took a lot more than a few puny fifty-millimeter rounds to down a Seraph's shields.
Just then, a Longsword roared in from behind him, plasma cannons thundering.
Humans did not have plasma weapons.
Harksh's shield bar dropped by three fourths.
But apparently, they did.
Harksh snap-turned, and raced out of the engagement zone.
"Darn it, I missed!" Jordan whined as his target snap-turned to the right and roared out of the engagement zone.
"Don't worry Jordan; there are plenty of other fish in the sea," Hunter said as his fifth kill of the day flew to pieces under a pair of missiles from his Longsword.
Admiral Stanforth stood on the bridge of the Leviathan, watching a camera view from one of the HAVOK nuclear mines he had transplanted in orbit and nervously brushing a button on his command console.
As the Covenant fleet edged closer, beads of sweat appeared on his forehead.
C'mon you bast---s. Just a little closer...Come on, come on. Right...
He waited until the mines were directly above the Snipe's amidships.
Harksh had just set his Seraph fighter down in the port side aft bay of the Godshands vessel, in order to report the technological advances made by the Humans.
He was worried. After all, if the Humans had plasma weapons, what other little surprises did they have?
An instant later, the answer revealed itself in a flash of light and heat.
A billisecond afterward, Harksh couldn't worry.
Zia's canopy barely polarized in time. Even on the far side of the planet, the nuclear explosion was dazzling.
Admiral Stanforth's voice burst through the com: "All UNSC forces, break off, attack immediately! Let's show those sonsofabi—h just what a mistake they made by picking a fight with Homo sapiens!
Zia couldn't agree more.
All at once, every ship left in the UNSC fleet moved towards what remained of the Covenant task force: Not much. The Snipe was plunging down into the atmosphere at a speed that was sure to cause it to break up. Eight of the Destroyers were gone. Three of the four Cruisers had just vanished. The Two Carriers had survived as had most of the Frigates, due to their being on the outside of the ball.
The two forces closed in on each other...
Captain Reeves stood on the bridge of the Maverick. "Well, Sangan, how's it look?" he said to his ship's AI.
"Not too bad Captain. Unfortunately, the nuke launching fighters from the Leviathan and Dauntless didn't make it. " Sangan replied.
Captain Reeves regarded his AI.
Sangan had chosen to take the form of a Marine Sergeant who still wore his helmet. Logic and calculation symbols streamed across the eyepiece in front of his right eye. He was very serious, and Captain Reeves appreciated that. He couldn't stand anybody who slacked off.
"I suggest that we go after the carriers, sir. They're the most viable threat to Earth right now."
Captain Reeves stroked his black mustache.
A new order appeared on Marcus's HUD.
Keep the fighters off of the Maverick while it attacks the two Covenant Carriers.
"Noooooo problem," he said under his breath as he set a new course.
Ackreth had just picked himself up off of the deck of the Gods' Wrath when another huge explosion threw him into the bulkhead.
"What was that!?" he barked at his Elite ship officer.
"We were just hit by several of the Humans MAC rounds my Brute Lord! Hull breaches on Indigo through Azure level!"
He froze. That meant his ship was shorn in half.
"Where did the shot come from?!"
"The Human cruiser called Maverick my Brute Lord! Sealing all compartments!"
"Call for reinforcements!" he ordered, just as another salvo of MAC rounds hit the bridge.
To be continued sometime this week. Depends on if I can get the rest of the story straightened out.
Longsword: Desperation-Part Two
Date: 6 June 2003, 4:27 PM
Gruth, a high caste Brute who commandeered the Covenant Carrier Azelastine watched as the Gods' Wrath began to break up in Earth's atmosphere.
It took him a split second to recover from his stupor.
"Draw all power from weapons and engines to reinforce our shields! I don't want a single MAC round to get through!"
Several "Yes, my Brute Lord"s rang back at him.
He collapsed back into his command chair. He still couldn't believe it.
Two of the three Godshands ships, what the Humans had so derogatorily called Snipes were gone. Only one remained in the entire fleet.
He closed his eyes. This war with the Humans had taxed the Covenant more than the Humans would ever know.
They had lost a portion of their fleet to early Human resistance, and had then had lost slightly over half of their fleet at Reach. Then, they had lost another two dozen ships at Halo when the Humans destroyed it. Now they were losing even more.
Granted, the Covenant had had superior tactics, weapons and resources, but the Humans would NOT give up even though they were outgunned and outnumbered.
What kind of race were they?
They had different rationales, all right. They tried to preserve personnel, weapons and resources much more so than the Covenant had. Perhaps that was a mistake on our part, Gruth mused.
Of the entire Covenant, Gruth was sure he was the most secular.
Oh sure, he had gone to war as eager as any other Brute, but the fact that only the Prophets knew what the gods wanted him continually nagged at him.
That and the fact that the Prophets had been calling for a union among Covenant. Plus, they had been promising that the seventh and final Covenant race would be found soon along with the Forerunner.
In that exact same hour, they had found the Humans.
It was too much of a coincidence to be ignored.
Gruth did know that the Humans would never accept the Covenant way of living. He wished they would. The only reason that the Covenant had gone to war was because the prophets said they should. The fact that unrest had been growing against the prophets and the gods just prior to the war still haunted him.
At that point of course, the Brutes were still not part of the Covenant. They had joined just recently. He had learned all this from the history texts...
Then, the truth hit him like a Hunter was ramming him.
Should he? Would the rest of the crew go along?
He opened his eyes.
He had made his decision.
Captain Reeves watched the first Covenant Carrier as it began to break up in the atmosphere.
He felt no remorse for its crew. They deserved to die like that. He shifted his gaze.
Now for Carrier number two.
Every Elite on the bridge stared at Gruth. Their mandibles began to click wildly. After thirty seconds, it was decided.
"Captain, the Covenant Carrier has dropped its shields!" Sangan said, his eyes wide with shock.
"What!?" Captain Reeves said while spinning around to face the Maverick's AI with a stunned look on his face.
"Yes, sir, you heard me right. They dropped their shields. Only thing that ship's powering is life support."
Just then, a voice boomed out over the bridge's loudspeaker.
"Human Captain of the Cruiser Maverick," the deep growling voice began. "I am Gruth, the commander of the Covenant Carrier Azelastine. My crew and I wish to defect. We believe we have been misled by the Prophets. We hope you will accept us."
Captain Reeves just stood there, slack jawed. He snapped out of it about a minute later.
"Um," Captain Reeves began, "I hope that you don't mind that we can't exactly accept your statement on face value..."
"We do not mind. As I said before, we feel that we have been betrayed by the Prophets and that is why we seek to defect."
"Right, we'll send a party right over."
Now it was Captain Reeves's turn to collapse into his chair. Could that Brute be telling the truth?
A Covenant Brute practically hanging over the keys to a Covenant Carrier?
Unbelievable, simply unbelievable.
Small points of green light once again began to form near Earth.
"Captain, slipspace entry points forming!" Sangan yelled, his mouth a grim line of determination.
"All right Gruth, if you're telling the truth, this is the time to prove it!" Captain Reeves spoke into the com.
The area around the slipspace entry points began to warp. It twisted and turned and then revealed Covenant ships.
They numbered with five more Cruisers, twenty Frigates, fourteen Destroyers and various smaller ships and fighters.
If anything, a tougher group than they had faced before, and this time, there wasn't a nuclear mine welcome mat laid out.
Gruth immediately began giving out orders.
"Bring us around to face them! Shields at full!"
Then Gruth had another idea.
But will it work, he thought to himself.
It was worth a shot.
Gruth hailed all of the other Covenant ships in the system, and then explained how he thought they had been betrayed by the Prophets.
They immediately responded with pledges... to kill him and the Humans on behalf of the Prophets and gods.
"Captain of the Cruiser Maverick, did you get all that?"
"Yes, Gruth. We did."
"Then you see I am not trying to stab you in the back so to speak."
"Yes, we do."
"Well then, you can also see I can do with some reinforcements!"
"Hang on; we'll be in position in about another two minutes!"
Captain Reeves changed channels then spoke again:
"I'm going to engage at close range, I could do with a few friends so to speak!"
He waited a few seconds, and a new voice popped through the com.
"This is Captain McCoy of the Liberator. How can I help you Captain Reeves?"
Captain Reeves took a look at the tactical readouts on his right armrest.
The Liberator was another Marathon-class cruiser, like the Maverick. Its armament was three triple Macs, 7,200 Archer missiles and fifty, sixty-millimeter cannons arrayed with overlapping fields of fire for point defense.
It was as good a partner as he could get.
"Gruth and I here were planning on taking down a few Covvie ships, care to join us?"
"You know it," Captain McCoy replied.
Longsword: Desperation- Part Three
Date: 9 June 2003, 5:09 PM
The Maverick, Liberator and Azelastine closed ranks with the approaching Covenant Fleet while Marcus and the rest of Hornet Squadron stayed nearer to Earth. After all, Two Cruisers Fifty-millimeter autocannons and a Covenant Cruisers Pulse Laser Turrets could handle any fighters or missiles that the other Covenant ships throw at them. If they went out there, they'd be dead meat.
Captain Reeves was sweating hard, breathing heavily and shaking from head to foot.
He was about to engage an entire armada with just one other Cruiser and a Carrier. The odds were slim, and yet, as the Covenant fleet grew closer...he felt strangely calm. This would either work or it wouldn't. The Human race was doomed, or it wasn't. In another sixty seconds, he either wouldn't be here, or he would.
"Lieutenant Gloval, what's our ETA to the intercept point?" he asked his navigation officer.
"Two minutes Captain," Lieutenant Gloval answered.
"All right then, sound decompression alarms in all non-essential sections of the ship. Give them a minute thirty and then empty 'em. I don't want to go up like a bonfire if they land a lucky shot!"
"Sangan," he ordered the ship's AI,"target those Cruisers. Let's see how many we can take down. We could also use a few decoys of those Archer missiles, just so they don't chew through our hull with those Pulse Lasers. Once you fire, boost our engines to max and fly us through there as fast as possible."
"So, in short, you want me to Shotgun us past them?" Sangan asked, slightly bewildered.
"If it's possible..."
Motes of red light began to form along the Covenant ships' lateral lines...
"Aye, Captain," Sangan answered as he brought the Jackhammer Rocket Launcher he hefted to his shoulders.
Hundreds of Archer missiles flew from the Maverick, their white contrails streaming through space. Many were immediately turned into balls of small fire as the Covenant ships shot them out of the sky with their pulse laser turrets.
"MACs are at eighty percent charge...ninety...they're hot sir, firing now!" Sangan burst.
The motes of red light formed solid bands...
Sangan fired the Jackhammer; twelve chords of thunder rumbled as the Maverick's four Triple MAC guns fired in tandem.
There was another roar, and the Maverick leaped out ahead of the MAC rounds as the reactors pushed themselves to 310%!
The Covenant ships fired....clean misses!
One of the MAC rounds hit a Cruiser just as the Maverick was passing it.
From this range, everybody on the bridge could see Covenant of all shapes and sizes being thrown to the deck as a MAC round tore through the ship.
Seconds later, three more of the Cruisers were out of the fight, having been gutted from ship to stern by the Maverick's Triple MACs.
The Liberator fired its three Triple MAC guns as well, hammering the last Cruiser's prow and as it had begun to turn to port to try to avoid the onslaught, and sending spinning into a Destroyer. Their hulls fused together from the intense heat brought on by breaking through the Destroyer's shields and together they went tumbling through space.
The other Triple MAC rounds hit another an enemy Destroyer and it simply blew, sending out tons of fragments into the nearby ships' shields, causing them to flicker a strange silver and some to even go down.
"Sangan, redirect those Archers we fired to those ships with downed shields!' Captain Reeves yelled.
"Retargeting; aye, aye, sir!" Sangan said as he gritted his teeth.
The contrails changed direction and impacted; chain explosions fairly flew across their hulls, doing some damage, but not near enough.
One Frigate was thrown out of the fight, atmosphere venting on all decks.
Then the Azelastine[ fired a salvo of plasma and opened up with its Pulse Lasers.
It hit another Destroyer, melting into its shields, turning them a hellish silver-orange. It was picked and chewed on by the Pulse Lasers, turning parts of it into slag, disabling it.
"Target the Destroyers first with our lasers and then the Frigates," Gruth ordered his Elite ship officers." And deploy our fighters back towards Earth; have them on guard for any dropships."
"Yes, my Brute-"one Elite began.
"STOW IT!" Gruth barked, as surprised at his own usage of the Human phrase as anyone else on the bridge was; he eyed the unlucky Elite. "We agreed before, the Prophets started that religion just to make power grabs! We will no longer observe such foolishness!"
The Elite stared at him and then said"Yes sir!" the Elite said as he opened his mandibles; he was smiling.
He turned back to his station.
Gruth let out a low growl; he and his crew were becoming Humans!
The Liberator followed suite and boosted through the Covenant formation, her engines flaring bright red.
She made it through unscathed.
The Azelastine had been picking up momentum as she flew through space. Every Plasma salvo fired at her missed to due the confusion of seeing a Covenant ship fighting with the Humans.
Gruth knew he couldn't count on such luck for a second pass. He had to go in with everything the Azelastine had, otherwise, they would be toast.
Captain Reeves knew they wouldn't survive a second pass. The first pass had taken the Covenant by surprise and that was the sole reason that it had worked.
He had no choice.
"Sangan, arm both of our SHIVA warheads. Set the proximity sensors for impact only. Land them right in the middle of the formation...
"Sir, might I add that we're so far inside blast raduis that we might not make it?" Sangan said; his voice carried an alarmed tone.
"I'm well aware of that Sangan." Captain Reeves answered, his voice solemn.
Marcus sat in his Longsword fighter, watching the three ships takes on the entire Covenant armada.
His radar suddenly began screeching like two Cruisers trading paint; high pitched and painful.
"Contact, Contact! Over five-hundred enemy dropships are inbound! They're heading towards the North Pole! Distance is three-hundred clicks!" he yelled over the com. "Get ready guys, it's gonna get nasty!"
Indeed, there were so many dropships that they traveled in swarms rather than in formations.
Marcus and Hornet Squadron gained relative altitude, trying to dive on the dropships.
Plasma flashes erupted from the dropships tail guns.
"Whoa, watch it guys, those things have teeth!" he yelled as he cork-screwed downward and dropped in behind the swarm of dropships.
Marcus's HUD boxed a dropship in red; he smashed his thumb on the missile launch button. Twin contrails launched from his fighter and nailed the dropship on its right mandible. They exploded and broke it off, sending the dropship into a flat spin.
He squeezed the trigger when he got another lock. The plasma bolts were cycling so fast that they looked like a solid stream rather than individual shots.
The dropship he was targeting began to melt into slag while atmosphere venting from the holes in its sides turned into steam.
The Destroyers and Frigates nearby threw some Archer missiles into the fray. Seconds later, there were only a few dropships left.
Another nuclear flash sent Marcus's Longsword tumbling...
Ah, yes, the power of cheese. Yeah. I know there were cheesy parts in this. I'd like to see you try to come up with dialogue between a Brute and an Elite on a ship that's defected! Longsword: Apocalypse. Coming soon(Like, tomorrow)