The Mother of All Battles: First Patrol
Posted By: Andres<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 20 April 2005, 12:03 AM
"Something must be left to chance; nothing is sure in a sea fight above all." Fleet Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson, Before the Battle of Trafalgar.
0126h, January 17, 2563 (UNSC Military Calendar)
Lira Omega System, UNSC Inner Colony Control Space
Humanity Class Cruiser NGC-1 Enterprise
On patrol on outer sector Papa Prime
The buzzer on the intercom awoke him. He rubbed his eyes and slowly rose to a sitting position on his confined bed. He enabled the intercom right by his pillow.
"I hope you have some good news, who ever you are." He said after a long sigh.
"Don't know how you feel about it, sir, but we have tasking from Fleet Command." He recognized the voice; she was his tactical battle officer.
"That's good Sarah; see you in ten, star waking the people up."
The sliding doors opened after the retinal scan. "Captain on the deck," called a sailor as he entered the bridge, the young Spaceman First Class was waiting for him right by the door. He had in his right hand what he needed badly, coffee.
"I have the con." He said immediately.
"Captain has the con, aye sir," acknowledged the young woman as she stepped out of the command chair in the front the massive screen.
He took a long zip from the mug, "oh yea," he grunted, "That's the shit."
The Lieutenant Commander laughed at the comment. "You have a problem with that sir."
"I sure do miss," the footsteps echoed as he moved in the silent room, only enough men were there to keep the Cruiser running. The first this he did was look at the hologram, the epicenter of the room, a map that displayed the system and all of the known ships positions in it.
The bridge was the most important room of the ship; ironically it was the smallest room of it. To the left and right of the room there were four ramps that led to corridors that went by the square shaped walls of the room. All the ships controls, from the helm to division commanders had a private command station in witch they could relay the orders given directly by the Skipper.
"Status?" asked the Captain. He sat on the Command chair, a broad leather marvel. A large console in front of him gave access to any part of the ship and displays.
"Comms," on the screen on the panel appeared the face of the young Lieutenant in charge of communication, "what is the transmission?"
"Sir, I'm sending it to you, it is for your eyes only." The face of the kid disappeared out of the screen. A message popped on the computer screen in front of him
From: Fleet Command, through Cruiser Squadron Thirteen Sector Lira Omega.
Time: 0125h, January 17, 2563 (UNSC Military Calendar)
Priority: ALPHA THREE
1.-Convoy proceeding into Lira Omega System from ENTRY ROUTE SIX.
2.- NGC-1 is to head at best speed to intercept Convoy designated CHARLIE FOUR TANGO and escort to PAPA NINE THREE.
3.-Remain undetected until positive VID confirmation of the Convoy.
4.-Convoys are hauling a class ROMEO cargo. Protection is of the utmost importance.
5.- Whispers on ZULU-THETA-BETA-ONE-SIX Listening Post AO, be advised.
Delete message after reviewed as per Cole Protocol.
"That's simple enough," he finished his coffee and left the chair to walk the center of the hologram. "Magnification on our Area of Operations and the objective zone," the projectors around the Hologram modified and showed the new area. He looked at the coordinates, only a star was in that two thousand kilometer area. "NAV get over here."
"NAV checking in, aye sir," a young man walked out of the left ramp and to the Hologram holding a clipboard on his right arm.
The Captain nodded at the young men. "NAV, I have a course for you to plot under the following parameters." He pulled a pen from his front pocket of his gray field uniform and drew a line from the ships to the little star passing by several asteroids and stars. "I want you to get us there at best speed, but on a tight grip on the electronic signature. I don't want to be detected, and that includes our on ships and spook gear."
There was a slight pause as the man looked at the route, he tapped the commands into the clip board and got some rough calculations. "Aye sir, no problem. I think if we are to achieve to this parameters we have too reduce reactor output to sixty seven percent sir, just bellow the line on witch our systems start to show on the electronic spectrum. That is just a preliminary calculation; I have to check with my people. That way we will be under the layer and still get there within the hour or so, depending, of course, on a series of factors I am sure you know."
He took in mind the advice for his NAV officer, he had recruited the young men and trained him, he was proud of the professionalism displayed by the man even for the most basic procedures. "Aye NAV. You do that, I want you to take your time planning this; we have to be undetected from here to there." He mad a gesture with his hands, signaling the importance of the fact. "Meanwhile I'm going for a walk around the main stations. You now how to reach me," the man nodded, snapped his hells together and returned to his station speedily.
"Sarah," the young lady had already crept up with him, "Go and wake up Commander Fritz. Get him to the bridge, you have the con meanwhile. I'm going to make a surprise inspection of the ship."
"Aye sir," she nodded. "I'll get you a ride."
Captain Massimo Rossini waited in the long corridor that ran across the circular shark ship. His ride was in route to take him to the sub-stations of the ship, Electronics and all its subdivisions, Weapons, Radar, Communications, AirWing and the largest one, Logistics. He took the little time at hand to reflect, even in the circumstances how lucky he was to be here. His Cruiser was the first of the new generation of ships to enter the Navy after years of development using both new human and captured Covenant technologies.
The most important and most publicized feature of the vessel was the armor. A new alloy of Covenant capture steels and a human alloy of tungsten, titanium and deplete uranium was formed. On the outside of the hull were heavy explosive blocks designed to blast away the gasses of the plasma. It was at least invulnerable to most human MAC guns. The main part of the ship was a large oval shaped rifle like superstructure, to port and starboard were two rectangles. The main nozzles for the powerful engines, they could be vectored by the helm, achieving unprecedented agility for both Covenant and Humans. A masterpiece the Cruiser was.
His ride arrived, an electric car. On it was the Marine contingent commander senior NCO, CSM Franco Russo. "Sir!" he said as he pulled the car at a stop right next to the captain.
"To the weapons station son," he said as he jumped into the passenger seat.
"Son?" he asked, "I'm older than you sir."
The walk along the ship went crystal. Everything was in order, just as he liked it. He waited for the bridge sliding doors to open.
"Captain on deck!" the sailors snapped into attention.
"At ease," he said as he made his way into the now crowded room, every station was manned at Battle Stations level, surprisingly because he had not ordered that.
"Sir, the ship is on station, all systems up and running, reactor is a seventy two percent," said the Executive Officer.
"Aye," he acknowledged, "I have the con." He sat in the command chair.
"Captain has the con, aye sir."
"Sir," said Sarah, "expected Time of Arrival of the convoy is thirty mikes."
"Aye," he paused to check the different displays on his console, it was all green. "Maneuver, reactor to fifty percent." Fifty percent was barley to keep the ship running.
"Aye sir," said Hans, the Maneuver officer on his on the deck bellow the command chair, he relayed the data to his subordinates at the engine room.
He walked by the men in the room and into the hologram. He analyzed the situation just as he had done in previous times. The Convoy had the order to enter normal space at certain coordinates. But his experiences dictated that a he had to be careful in this situation, especially in this situation. Something would jump into normal space in that area, there was no way of knowing what would, even with the orders at hand.
"Maneuver, ahead two thirds. Helm come right to course two-seven-niner by elevation one-zero-three," he sighed. "Battle stations."
The Master Chief of the ship grabbed a mike in his station next to the command chair. "Attention, Attention. All hands man your battle stations. This is not a drill. Condition Three, I repeat this not a drill." A loud alarm echoed through the ship several times. "Battle stations!"
The ship's layout was on a screen by the station of the Master Chief, on the compartments red lights turned to green. "Battle stations, aye sir," said his master chief after the last red light turned to green in each compartment of the ship.
"Air ops, con here." He said randomly, the Computer automatically connected him into it.
"Con, Air ops."
"How soon can you put a package at these coordinates," the captain signaled to a random location in space.
The Marine Colonel rubbed his chin, "I can launch a four ship in five, and they could be there in ten. All of them Speeders."
Speeders were the new interceptors of the fleet, the next generation of planes in the ship. "Great. I want you to prepare a bomber package too. ASAP Todd."
"Copy," not the aye the Navy was used to, the coms went dead.
"Con, NAV here. At the current speed, heading and elevation we are on a collision course with the star, ETA eight mikes."
"Aye, maintain heading. I want to hide ourselves there;" he signaled to the ring of the star, "the radiation will cover us for the time being."
"Weapons load the MACs and remove locks from the Longbow missiles batteries on the bow. Take us to Condition one on all arms and ammunition," he checked the output screen on his console. "All unnecessary equipment is to be shut down; we are now at Electronic Emissions Control."
"Aye sir," acknowledged his XO. The buzzing sound of the light generations going down echoed through the ship, red lights came on silently.
"Sir, flight deck is ready to launch," said the XO.
"They are clear to launch." He then began with a series of orders that were hard to follow. "COM, report that we are on station to HQ." "Bring us to Condition one on all compartments." "Prepare the boarding parties to search the ships of the Convoy as per Protocol." "Bring the Air Wing to ready five, and star sending probes to all hemispheres." He exhaled; the men were having trouble keeping with his orders, but he loved the bridge at full operations. "And this is important," the men stopped to work, the tension was palpable, "coffee."
The men laughed, that was the reaction that Rossini wanted, to relax his men.
"Sir, ETA is under one minute."
"Aye he said," the ship now lay static only two hundred thousand kilometers from the star. At the rally point fifteen fighters loitered waiting for the Convoy and in the flight deck four drop ships carrying a Company of Marines waited for the order to board and inspect the ships for contraband, or the real reason, Covenant.
"Slipspace ruptures bearing zero-three-two by elevation one-two-four."
"Center screen," the Captain said, hiding the nervousness he felt.
Nine groups of green dots filled the empty space, very close to each other, five hundred thousand kilometers away. "Radar, report when you have con-"
"Radar contact!" screamed an officer on a station bellow the chair.
"Con, radar" called the young NCO on the station on the level under the bridge, "classify contacts as Sierra one to nine." There was a pause as the ships materialized, "two Diamond class frigates, one Gator class destroyer and six freighters, it matches the number of ships Fleet Command reported."
"What's the cargo?" asked his XO standing next to him with both his arms closed.
The Captain felt a slight pause on the operations shortly after he pronounced word.
"Con, COM here. I have the destroyer White on live feed."
"Aye, patch them through."
"This is UNSC Destroyer white. Uploading identification cod-"
"Transient! Transient! Enemy radar spikes bearing zero-one-five by elevation two-niner-eight, no radar contact!" reported the Electronic Warfare officer
"Oh god," heard Rossini over the radio, the last person to ever hear from the White. The destroyer had no time to react. Two spectacular explosions filled the empty space forming momentary stars in the dark void.
"Reactor one hundred percent, all ahead flank speed. Bring all systems online. Helm, take us to bearing zero-one-two by elevation one-two-zero, right between the Convoy and the incoming fire," he paused and looked at the screen again. "any contacts?"
There was a four second pause, "Sierra two and nine are gone! I have three targets, they just entered normal space, designated Charlie one through three, one is classified as a Rosary class Destroyer, two and three are not in the database. Radar and tonnage analysis suggest a Prowler or lighter class vessels," the coldness of the voice of the Lieutenant surprised the Captain.
The Captain rubbed the back of his head. "Helm, take us perpendicularly to the destroyer," he pressed a handle with his feet, the chair turned to face the hologram. "Status on the front MACs?"
"All four main Magnetic Accelerator Cannons are loaded, muzzles are not exposed," reported Douglas the weapons officer.
The four main MACs were at the front of the oval ship. The bore of the cannon was hidden behind large, armored hatches to cover them while they were not in use.
"Expose the muzzles." The ship began to shake as the massive hydraulic arms moved the hatches, exposing the one hundred meters muzzles.
"Guns exposed and hot," reported the Wep.
"Aye," he didn't have to ask his weapons officer.
"Fire solutions on Charlie one, I have MAC one through four locked and ready to fire." The young lieutenant had his men calculate the solution and for the logical target, the Destroyer.
"Cancel that. Lock one and four on Charlie two and MAC two and three on Charlie three," he looked carefully at the hologram. "Launch battery one and six of Longbow missiles on and oblique flight path to Charlie one, make them go behind it in a semicircle with respect to our position."
The weapons officer looked puzzled at his screen. "Do it Lieutenant-" "Transient! Transient! Enemy plasma turrets are hot," the Electronic Warfare officer paused for a second, "red hot."
"Literally," said the XO, still standing like a rock next to him.
On the display the three small dots turned to red torches, bellow them labels indicated their designation, heading and speed. "What the-"murmured Rossini, the closest Covenant ship to the Convoy literally disappeared from view under a cloud of dust. The label was still there, "can anyone explain what happened?"
"Sir, the UNSC ships escorting the Convoy are engaging the Covenant. I can only guess that the wreckage of the ship is still there, not the ship, it confuses the software," began the Radar officer with his usual long explanations, "damn it." That's what war do to some men. Thought the Captain.
"Aye," the Captain said.
"Sir they are spiking on us," said his electronic warfare officer. The Covenant had detected the presence of the ship and was now trying to get a firing solution.
"Ok," Rossini said doubtfully. It took them a long time to find them, he was lucky for that.
"Sir the enemy has gone cold, transient stopped."
That was a first for the Captain, the Covenant sparing a target to go for another one. It must be that the Covenant commander was puzzled by this new rare ship, a good target for a promotion, what an arrogant bastard. Or at least he thought.
"Wow." He recognized the voice, it was his EW officer's voice. "They can't seem to lock on us!"
Several Thumps echoed in the hull as the Longbow missiles ejected from their pods.
"Sir. Seraphs are deploying from their decks," a tense three seconds pause followed. "Fifty three Contacts inbound. Plasma turrets are getting hot."
"Sir, on my authority I'm releasing the AirWing," said Air Ops over the intercom, Sixty fighters exited the launching bay bellow the belly of the ship.
"Charlie two is locked, ready to fire at your command."
"Match designated bearings and fire MAC one and four."
The ship violently shook as the five hundred thousand ton depleted uranium darts were fired from the vessel. "One and four fired! Smooth trajectory to Charlie two on initial flight, estimated flight time is seven seconds."
The room was filled with beeps, dongs and bells, warning sounds as the Covenant acquired a ballistic solution on the Cruiser. "Vampire! Vampire! Inbound plasma torpedoes!"
"Divert! Divert!" screamed the Captain, thereby releasing authority to the Helm to maneuver.
The Helm slammed the rudder right and down, he broke a glass pad on his console revealing a series of buttons, he pressed one of them. A thruster ignited in the stern of the vessel and violently accelerated twice the max speed of the engines.
The helm patiently waited until the four plasma torpedoes were dangerously close to make his move.
"Helm hit the front thruster now!" screamed the Captain as an idea flashed on his mind. The helm was paralyzed as he heard those dangerous words. "Stop the fucking ship man!"
The thruster just below the cockpit exploded, the Helm pressed a emergency button and the engines died. The ship came to an abrupt stop, the ship shook violently throwing items in every direction. Yet the move worked, the four plasma torpedoes streaked rapidly past the front the ship.
"We are clear, all systems are green," said his action officer.
"Sir our two MAC rounds struck Charlie two amid ships. Displaying on Camera now," he would no time to do that task.
"Vampire! Plasma torpedo coming directly from the-"
A giant hammered the ship hovering in space. An unseen plasma torpedo struck the ship from above. The Captain was the only man in the room who was strapped on his chair. In the turmoil he made out the outlines of the men flying around the bridge.
"Report! Report!" he screamed to no avail. He was not sure if anyone had even heard him, between the sounds of the plasma hammering the ship and the trembling it was like being on a blender.
"Helm, stern and bow and centerline thrusters!" There was nothing to do; the ship fell uncontrollably into the void.
The ship partially stabilized after the hand of a lucky man slammed the emergency button; men flew in every direction in the bridge as the ship came into an abrupt stop.
"Report!" only moans and cries of pain were heard through the cabin.
"Sir." Said a weak voice in the Helm stations, and it was not the helm. It was the XO. He held into the helms chair, and was barely recognizable, his face was shattered by glass and blows. His last effort was to activate the thrusters, he barely did it. He simply smashed the console activating all the emergency thrusters. "Tell..." he coughed a large pool of blood, "family." The man collapsed on the chair.
The Captain had no time to help the man. His bridge officers were all scattered and wounded, aya from their stations. He was forced to do something, highly illegal in combat, a direct violation of the Cole protocol. He activated the ships A.I.
A small dog appeared on a hologram next to him. "Hi Skipper," said the dog as it scratched his left ear. "What can... rrrrgh," it snapped into attack position, "Covenant forces detected. Forty three Covenant Seraphs class fighters six thousand kilometers overhead, they are in dogfight with our planes. If I may remind you are in violation of the Cole protocol by activating me."
"No covenant ships? And I know what I'm doing."
"Oh yes, three wreckages partially functional. There are also four wreckages of UNSC ships. I missed something good"
"Thanks Pommel," he stood from his chair, the engagement had been won. Yet, this was no time for celebration. The first thing he did was to check his staff on the deck bellow.
He pressed a button on his panel. "Damage control parties to the bridge."
"Pommel, contact fleetcom and report the situation, and please old friend could you please show me what the hell happened."
He barked and swung his tail. "While your helm preformed a rather predictable maneuver the two MAC rounds from tubes one and four slammed into the target designated Charlie two, a small Corvette. It was a major overkill. The Destroyer accelerated to destroy the ship, after that unexpected move of halting in the middle of the fight; it fired a plasma torpedo at point blank range. The armor absorbed the hit. Then it's rather unusual but missiles fired from this ship struck Charlie one on the stern, the shields stood no chance. Quite a remarkable move Captain."
"Damn... it worked."
0346h, January 16, 2563 (UNSC Military Calendar)
Lira Omega System, UNSC Inner Colony Control Space
Planet Omega. Situation Room, Big Horn Military Complex
Big Horn Continent.
The Marshal arrived fifteen minutes earlier than the Officer of watch predicted, he didn't mind. He liked to keep the men on their toes. "What is so important that you had to drag me out of bed Commodore," the men nearly dropped his cup of coffee once he heard the intimidating voice of Marshal Domanenko.
"Sir!" he immediately turned to face him. He felt the how the look of the Marshal went right through him, only the ones with the experience of Domanenko, knew that it did look into a pe5rsons soul. The Marines called it the mile long look, a result of intense combat, or more precisely been deep on shit.
"Talk to me commodore."
"Sir," he swallowed. "A refugee convoy scheduled into the system was tracked, shadowed and attacked by a small Covenant force."
The Marshal kept his eyes on the Commodore, he did not blink, like if he was possessed. "Casualties?"
"A frigate and three of the freighters were destroyed," he showed a faint smile. "Luckily I tasked the Enterprise for a late escort for the Convoy into the system. An enemy force consisting of a Destroyer and Two Prowlers were effectively destroyed. I think you should read the partial report."
The Marshal nodded with a cynic smile. "Ok I'll be at my office."
The Commodore looked puzzled. "You don't have one... sir."
"I'll borrow yours then," he didn't joke, he looked at his with the same, scary eyes.
four hours later
He again checked the move the Skipper of the Enterprise devised; it was an awesome tactical move. I took some balls, which were the type of men he was looking for. He noticed during the course of the morning that he came here half dressed as a Marshal and half in his PJs. Fuck it.
He walked out of the office to the Situation room. He could not believe his eyes. The Navy Chiefs of Staff were there, drinking coffee and joyfully chatting after the "victiory". Yet there was a job to be done here and for the looks of it, there was not much time.
The men and woman in the room turned to face the angry men in his pajamas bursting frantically out of the room.
"What the fuck is going on here?"
An Admiral began "we beat the Covenant, sir that calls for a..."
"What the hell are you talking about? The Covenant will come looking for 'em in no time. There are possibly tons of Covenants coming here."
Heads lowered in the room. "It's time; we have a job to do here."
0802, January 17, 2563 (UNSC Military Calendar)
Lira Omega System, UNSC Inner Colony Control Space
Humanity Class Cruiser NGC-1 Enterprise
En route to Omega.
The Captain watched the space on the display the wreckages of Human and Covenant's crafts littered the once clean view of space. "Aye Duke."
"Con- Radar. We have the recovery units passing us by on port side; they are inbound to the battle zone at one-niner-zero by elevation three-zero-zero. They are diverting from the route originally planned."
"Aye, Comms, con here."
"Aye sir," answered the Communications officer, "they are already hailing us. The CO of the party wants to talk to the skipper. That is you."
"Aye son, patch them through."
The face of the Captain of the Frigate appeared on the display in front of the captain. He froze for three seconds.
"Now that is some kick ass ship!"
The crew celebrated the cry of the Captain. He could not blame them for it though, for the first time in the Covenant war humanity had won, not by a fancy tactic or large numbers but by pure hardware. An act never before witnessed in the UNSC.
"Thanks Captain, my crew and I appreciate the gesture. For now I suggest we leave it at that since we don't know who is listening."
"Oh yes sir. I get it, sorry for that. I'm new to this."
"Sir!" screamed his comm officer. "Receiving priority Alpha transmission from Fleet Command! Sounds bad sir!"
About time they came at it again.
"Aye son, patch them through."