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Halo: The Scythe of Death Part One
Posted By: LordofDestruction<Exwing4123@aol.com>
Date: 7 June 2003, 4:26 PM

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Halo: The Scythe of Death Part One
Location: United Nations/Covenant Empire disputed territory
Date: April 4th 2578 Military Calendar

      Commander James M. Nimitz walked on to the bridge of his first command, the Reach-class armored cruiser, The Angel of Death. The Reach-class cruiser was the foremost new combat ship, entering service only the winter of the last year. The ship had a new active camouflage system that rendered the vessel undetectable to any active search system, leaving the enemy to rely on less reliable passive system such as infrared. The ship was unlike other ships in design, having a central superstructure five km long with 4 three km long wings protruding at right angles from the aft of the superstructure, near its centralized engine pods. On the end of each wing was a Mk. 48 Magnetic Accelerator Cannons on them. These MAC guns can fire four 25,000 ton depleted uranium slugs at 330 km/sec on a single charge. The wing pods also have four Lancer torpedo launchers mounted equilaterally on the pod. The ship also had fifteen hundred Longbow missile pods, each firing two-dozen missiles like its forbear, the Archer. At the bow of the superstructure is another large weapons pod, also housing the ship's bridge. On it, mounted equilaterally on this eight hundred meter wide pod are four Plasma cannons, firing each two bolts of plasma with an explosive firepower of 25 kilotons. The ship also carries fifty IPBM-7 Titan thermonuclear missiles, each carrying fourteen 1.1 megaton warheads. Though rated as an armored cruiser, it could destroy a front line Covenant Chimera-class battleship.
      Nimitz walked over to the main tactical display and observed what was occurring in this system. His ship was at the edge of the system, an uninhabited lifeless system. He saw in the region of the third planet what he was looking for-a small convoy of Covenant ships. He said to navigation officer, "Helm, come right 185, full ahead one third."
      The nav officer replied, "Aye-aye, commander," and maneuvered the ship towards the heart of the system.
      Nimitz looked at the tactical display and identified the five signatures as a Hades-class battlecarrier and four Zorax class light cruisers. At this speed it would take a week to get to that point. He said, "Pinpoint slipspace jump, 300,000 km from the battle groups position. Activate active stealth, rig for silent running." The Command Master Chief relayed the orders to the crew. The main lights went out and were replaced by the blue combat lights. The lights shown on his face, making his face a deep blue. The ship jumped into slipspace, emerging ten minutes later, outside of the third planet, a medium sized gas giant. As they emerged, Nimitz said, "Set a course to bring us ten thousand km behind the enemy battle group, bring the ship up to Combat Alert Alpha. Have the main engineer bring the auxiliary fusion reactor online. We may need the extra power."
      The Master Chief replied, and whipped the bridge crew into shape. The weapons techs removed the safety locks on all of the weapons. Engineering techs labored to get all of the fusion reactors to full capacity. Fighter crews manned the fighters, ready for battle. Marine fire teams locked and loaded for boarding action.
      The radarman noticed something on his screen when he switched to gamma ray spectrum. He said, in an alarmed tone, "Sir, I think you should take a look at this!"
      "What is it?" he replied.
      The radarman said, "I was checking the gamma ray spectrum, and, as you know, gas giants emit gamma rays. You know that ships, because of their radiation shielding, block gamma radiation. Look here…" he pointed to an area of the screen, "There is a hole in the gamma radiation screen, which doesn't show up on any other…"
      "Good job, Ensign. Lock firing solutions on the carrier, the stealth ship and the aft most cruiser. Divide up all of the firepower we have evenly among the three targets. Put four MAC rounds in the stealth ship, four in the cruiser and three in the carrier. Fire 500 Longbow missile pods into each of the targets, and target the plasma cannons on the carrier. Let's prepare for a run on them."
      The Master Chief replied, "Aye-aye, sir. Bring us up aft of them, prepare for combat."
      "Firing solutions locked, sir." Replied the weapons officer.
      Nimitz replied, "Good. Prepare for run. Bring the ship 90 degrees down angle, we need to make an attack from below."
      "We are in position." replied the helmsmen.
      Nimitz ordered, "Increase to flank, forty-five degrees up angle. Fire at point blank range."
      The Chief relayed the orders to the crew, saying, "Full ahead flank!, up forty-five degrees. Launch weapons at fifty km."
      The Angel of Death accelerated stealthily towards the carrier and its escorts, preparing their silent demise all along the way. The ship's name fit it, named after the cloaked and invisible bringer of death to those whose time had come. The ship reached its top speed 100km from the targets and released all of its might simultaneously when it reached 50km from the carrier. The MAC rounds hit first, tearing oblong holes in the ships shields, due to the angle of impact, and tore several hundred meters into each ship's superstructure. The plasma guns impacted the battlecarrier right after the MAC rounds hit, tearing the hull plating off of her ventral hull. The MAC rounds and Longbow missile pods tore the unshielded stealth ship apart, her stealth requiring too much energy to put shields up in anything but combat. The MAC round and Longbow missiles did similar damage on the cruiser, though not of fatal nature, due to its shields and stronger hull. The Angel of Death veered to port to avoid ramming the carrier. That maneuver was an automatic response carried out by the ship's AI, Zeus. Commander Nimitz watched gleefully as the three other cruisers fired their plasma torpedoes harmlessly into open space, in the hopes of them acquiring a lock, arming and then seeking the ghostly armored cruiser. The carrier began venting engine plasma, and spun to starboard, completely out of control. The derelict stealth ship veered towards the gas giant, and began a slow orbital decay into the planets gravity well. Nimitz could see that the damaged cruiser and stealth ship were abandoning, many of the hits had been near their reactor rooms. The remaining three cruisers went up to full alert and fanned out to protect the wounded carrier. The carrier couldn't begin flight ops, the power to its hangar shields was to critically low, if they opened the shields, they might not be able to close them again. The battlecarrier, did, however, have its own plasma torpedoes, but its port fire control was not functional, leaving starboard fire control to handle all of the ships weapons, a daunting task for any crew. Nimitz said to the bridge crew, "Alright, we've wounded the bear, so lets prepare to take the cubs. Circle the battle group, staying out of plasma torpedo range at all times. We can afford to play a waiting game."
      The Chief replied, "Sir, yes sir!" and then began relaying the orders to the rest of the crew, "Alright, marine fire teams, prepare for boarding action, launch fighter wings A and B on combat air patrol. We cut off the head, now lets defile the body!"
      The crew agreed with him. Many of them had lost relatives and friends in the war, and were itching to get back at the Covenant. They also knew that every demoralizing victory brought more of the enemy on to their side, forsaking the Prophets teachings, especially after learning of their deception to the other races. The original texts stated that all of the children of the Forerunner would have equal power, but the Prophets had hidden this information from the rest of the races, slowly enslaving them. When the Prophets saw the humans, they knew that they would be their undoing if they were assimilated into the Covenant, with their thirst for knowledge and natural love of freedom. So, to prevent this, the Prophets fudged with the holy texts, making them state that any race that was uncontrolled by the Prophets the target of xenocide. The ship slowed to two-thirds speed, and began steaming circles around the helpless battle group. The enemy's predicament became terminal as a secondary explosion racked the battlecarrier, knocking out main power. With the formidable battlecarrier's mighty arsenal off line for hours, perhaps even days, they couldn't count on stopping the Angel of Death, with its impenetrable stealth, even to the best of active sensors.
      Commander Nimitz grabbed his coffee, and sipped a little of it. He could afford to wait, the enemy couldn't.

      Covenant Ship Master Selphar sat on the bridge of his battlecarrier, the Zealot. He had lost all main power just a few minutes ago, and had to close the emergency hangar doors to prevent the ship from depressurizing, but, now that they were closed, he lacked the power to open them again if needed. The ship only had enough power for life support and transit, the main engineers estimated it would remain that way for twelve hours. He thought, "Damn that human ship master! He caught me completely unaware! How could I be so stupid? The prophets will have my head!" He knew that the three undamaged light cruisers would do their best to ward off the human stealth ship, believed to be a new model heavy/battle cruiser. If he had known of the enemy vessel earlier, it wouldn't have stood a chance, but now most of the battle group's firepower was gone. He saw on the tactical display that the stealth ship was plummeting into the gas giant, and it would be crushed by the immense gravity in several hours. The human stealth ship was waiting, waiting for the right moment to strike.

To be continued in: Halo: The Scythe of Death Part Two