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Outnumbered: The Iron Maiden
Posted By: Aleks G.<haloaleks1992@hotmail.com>
Date: 19 April 2007, 1:36 am

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      The captain sat back in his seat as the belly thrusters fired, the ship jerked and pushed him deeper into the rigid foam chair as it tried desperately to come to a stop right above earth's atmosphere. The ship slowed, and just two miles out of the "Pull zone", the ship floated to a halt.
      "Excellent planning captain," Ensign Bittner cheered, "the Iron Maiden came to a stop right before she hit the atmosphere."
      "Right," The captain looked at the dorsal view screen, "now let's hope the Covenant bastard behind us can't quite pull it off."
      "Speak of the devil," Lieutenant Wigmore said, "The covenant ship is right on top of us, on the same flat trajectory we were on."
      "Lieutenant, let's move, tip this crate on her tail and shoot him in the belly." The captain called.

      Before "yes sir" could escape his lips, lieutenant Wigmore was already typing buttons and pushing a velocity lever to medium power. The Iron Maiden tipped nose up, and the MAC's started to charge. The MAC's on the Iron Maiden were by far the smallest in the fleet, but the captain appreciated the fact that there were eight of them. These small but numerous rounds could tear through a capital ship, if it hit at the right spot, at the right time, which is what Captain Gryzlo hoped to achieve with this move. The ship rolled back and the covenant cruiser came into view.

       "Fire the Thunderbolts" the captain ordered. A dozen single-ship sized missiles flew from the Maidens nose; they left a trail of burnt propellant as they curled up towards the Covenant ship. The Thunderbolts were basically bigger Archer missiles, they made a loud crack as they exploded, and caused immense destruction, but only if an enemy's shields were down. The run through the atmosphere and then the flat dive toward earth had taken care of their shields, now it was time for the Thunderbolts, and the Micro-MAC's to do their job. The thunderbolts hit hard on the ship's gravity lift port, and the many other large openings which protected maneuvering thrusters. The missiles weakened them, but what was left was still a hell of a lot worse. The Iron Maidens Bridge went completely black as all eight Micro-MAC's fired at once, the ship squealed and shuddered as the ultra dense Ununhexium composite rounds crossed the 200 kilometer span, and gutted the ship, literally tearing it in half. The two halves detonated in a secondary explosion, the fuel cells must have been ruptured in the destruction. Tiny particles of metal pinged as they struck the Iron Maidens armor plating and fell toward Earth.

      That was a small victory, there were still hundreds of enemy ships in orbit, and they really didn't have a chance to stop them all, all they could do is piss off the Covenant as long as possible without dying. The captain intended to do just that,
      "Lieutenant Wigmore, get us moving, we have to go get some more bastards!"
      "Yes, sir" the lieutenant replied. The ship quickly rolled on its side, and accelerated along the plane of earth's atmosphere. Dozens of ships appeared on the fore view screens, they were all heading straight towards them, but the captain kept going forward, if they wanted to play chicken, they would lose. The ships parted quickly and allowed the rogue human ship to race between them, they all turned on it to fire directly afterwards, however. The human ship was fairly large, and not very nimble, but it managed to turn head on to the large group of enemies. Every Archer and Thunderbolt pod fired at once, the missiles sprayed the front of the formation and distracted them for just long enough. The MAC's all fired, each round found a different ship and cut through its nose, completely demolishing the inner decks. Atmosphere vented into space, causing several ships to list, or yaw violently. Only four Covenant ships remained, but that was way too many, even for an "Empire" class Super Battle Cruiser, which the Maiden was definitely not.

      "Back up," the captain barked, "Back up fast, we're leaving!"
      "Sir, we'll never escape them!" his lieutenant said.
      "I know, I just want to back up, you'll see why in a second."

      The ship backed away slowly, suddenly on the defensive, and the sleek ships that were after it pursued in kind. The UNSC space fleet was never really designed to do two things, land, and back up, but thankfully, the ship still managed decent speed in the opposite direction of the enemy.

      "Lock all hatches," the captain ordered, "sound the detonation alarm, and activate radiation shielding."
Lieutenant Wigmore didn't ask, he typed, it was best not to ask when someone ordered these things. The ships warning alarms wailed an audible warning, and red lights flashed across the captain's face. This added a dramatic effect to what might be their last moments. The ships came across the area where the Iron Maiden had sat when it fired, and suddenly disappeared in a ball of white. The ship's screens filled with static and when they recovered from the shockwave, they showed blank space. Tiny red dots of molten metal spun in space then faded to black and disappeared into the void of space.

      His crew cheered, they had just defeated a Covenant capital ship, and a dozen Small "Class 4" Battle ships. This was an amazing feat, no ship had managed to pull off such a maneuver before, but it was all timing and luck. If the captain hadn't launched that Shiva Class XVI warhead before he dove into the atmosphere to shake the other enemy, he would be a molecule floating freely in space, and for some reason, and end to his life seemed quite appealing. The timing it took to absorb all four of the covenant ships in a single blast also had to be perfect. Somehow, it all came together in a perfect combination that outdid Captain Keyes' "Keyes Loop" where he defeated three ships on Reach. He knew a medal was in order, but he still put aside his moment in the spotlight to remember Keyes, they were friends long before he was chosen to do some classified program. Now, he was dead, and there was no chance for the Captain to ever see his friend again.

      Ensign Trotsky hugged lieutenant Wigmore, he blushed and tried to pry her off, but she kept hugging and thanking him for saving their lives. You know, the captain thought, some of that plan was my idea. Normally not one to be jealous, the captain frowned at Shane, who gladly took all of the credit for saving them.

      "Everyone… back to your posts… Now!" The captain shouted over their chatter, and they all paused, and then slowly trudged back to their ops stations.
      "Oh my… holy shit…captain!" Lieutenant Willis leapt out of his seat, "we have to move form this spot right now!"
      "Why?" The captain was surprised at Craig's reaction to say the least.
      "Slip space… coming here… just… move!" he struggled to speak with the fear clogging his throat.
      "You heard him, let's go, now." The captain ordered, "Flank speed ahead"

      The ship groaned as her superstructure absorbed the force of two-hundred percent power, the afterburners, and the slip space half drive, which pulled the ship along faster without actually going into slip space. The heavy Titanium-A shook like tin foil when a hole tore in slip space, and a long pike appeared out of its black abyss. The pike grew to about six kilometers long and three wide triangular fins followed it out of the hole.
      "Oh my G-" a thunderous blast drowned out his sentence, and blanked all of the weapons and navigation screens. The ship was still alive; however, it was just floating in space, completely defenseless. The alien craft which had just broken through speared toward earth, as if it was going to strike it like a giant missile.

      "Well," the captain leaned back in his seat, "there goes my promotion."