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Halo: The Scythe of Death Part Four
Posted By: LordofDestruction<Exwing4123@aol.com>
Date: 26 June 2003, 1:24 AM

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Halo: The Scythe of Death Part Four
Location: Vega Prime Naval Yard, Docking berth 785
Date: April 14th, 2578 Military Calendar, 17:50 Zulu Time

"Only the dead have seen the end of war."-Plato

      The UNSC Angel of Death sat in her docking berth, undergoing a minor refit. The ship's Mk. 48 MAC guns hadn't been tooled fire at full power yet, so the engineers were now reconfiguring the ship for just that. They were just finishing up. Captain Nimitz, promoted due to his tactical genius in the previous engagement, was finishing his battle report in his office. Next to the Angel of Death were her sister ships the UNSC Tau Ceti, the UNSC Epsilon Eridani, the UNSC Reach and the UNSC Princeton. Overall, the Naval Yard held two hundred-fifty cruisers, three hundred destroyers and fifty battleships, though only half were ready to fight on a moments notice. The five Reach-class armored cruisers were among them. Captain Nimitz had just finished thumb printing his report when he heard the ship's comm system sound, "Captain Nimitz, please report to the bridge."
      "He replied, and got up from his office chair and started to the bridge. When he arrived there, the communications officer said, "Sir, FLEETCOM reports that there are several hundred unidentified slipspace contacts on a course for Vega Prime."
      Nimitz knew almost pre-cognitively that this was trouble, and said, "ETA?"
      The comms officer replied, "Twenty-two minutes."
      "Is the rest of the fleet readying for battle?"
      "Yes Sir."
      "Bring the ship up to Combat Alert Alpha, and get us clear of the mooring. Arm all Longbow missile pods, and bring MAC capacitors to full charge. Remove safety locks on the Titan missiles."
      The ship lurched free from her moorings, and turned to meet the new menace. The orbital Super MACs powered up and readied to fire. There were ten vessels already cleared from their moorings and all were ready to fight. In ten minutes, the entire fleet had assembled to meet this new threat. The latest count of enemy ships was nine hundred, against five hundred fifty UNSC vessels. The Angel of Death was in the front of the formation, its newer MAC guns able to reach out and touch the Covenant at far greater ranges. In a moment of foresight, Captain Nimitz, as well as the other ship captains, deployed their Marine divisions on the planet among them was Captain Michael Patton's Spartan company. The ODST divisions were just starting to enter the atmosphere when a massive green field formed five thousand km away from the battle fleet. The Angel of Death's AI had fired her MAC guns to meet a three cruisers the moment they left slipspace. As the cruiser pulled out of the fields, three white-hot orbs of uranium struck each, tearing through them from bow to stern before their shields could charge. The vessels lost control, and were subsequently torn apart by the subspace gate that they could no longer control. Several other ships succumbed to this tactic but the rest powered their shields up and began closing the distance. Both sides launched several thousand fighters, racing towards their foes at frightening velocity. The fighters met half way and began dog-fighting as the first wave of orbital Super MAC rounds struck the Covenant fleet, destroying half a dozen vessels and crippling twelve more.
      The UNSC Princeton charged forward and fired twelve Lancer plasma torpedoes at a dreadnought in an effort to slow the enemy fleet down. The torpedoes armed half way to the enemy vessel, and hurtled themselves towards the dreadnought at frightening speed. Hundreds of plasma torpedoes were subsequently launched on the UNSC fleet, passing the Princeton's torpedoes and missing her before they could arm. 50mm chain guns began firing rapidly at the torpedoes, destroying about half of them, but the rest made it through, tearing twenty UNSC vessels apart. However, the Princeton's plasma torpedoes struck home on the dreadnought, tearing away her shields and combat armor.
      Captain Nimitz saw the wounded dreadnought and said, "Lock firing solution on target DCCS-134A for seven hundred Longbow missile pods, and recharge the MAC capacitors as fast as possible. The Longbows fired off of the ship's dorsal and ventral hulls, and screamed forth on the Covenant ship in several different arcs in order to confuse the point defense systems. Ninety five percent got through the defense screen and tore into the dreadnought, ripping off much of its port superstructure. The missiles also detonated fuel cells and weapons magazines, gutting the interior of the ship. But she refused to die, and fired off a salvo of plasma torpedoes at her assailants. Nimitz ordered, "Full ahead flank, begin evasive maneuvers and drop countermeasures."
      The torpedoes armed and began actively pursuing the Angel of Death. The Princeton began similar maneuvers, and while they both attempted to dodge as many of the torpedoes as they could, the Marine divisions began their landings."


      Captain Michael Patton sat calmly in the commander's seat of his MBT-1A Dragon tank, as it plummeted towards through Vega Prime's atmosphere. The heat ablative shell tore away, revealing a parafoil, which steered the tank towards the drop zone. The area was of strategic importance, being that it was a plateau that over looked a probable Covenant landing zone. That landing zone was right next to the metropolis Nova Roma, literally "New Rome," an industrial city home to fifty-five million people, human and alien. His division had to secure that plateau, so that they could bombard any Covenant landing force as it came down. The tank and its landing frame touched down smoothly on the grassy plateau, allowing Patton to direct his driver to an observation post on the edge of the plateau. The rest of his company touched down not long after him, swiftly moving into firing positions. His company had thirty tanks in it, along with twenty armored personnel carriers. In all, he had close to three hundred men under his command. Patton linked the tanks neural interface into his MJOLNIR armor, filling his brain with a holographic display of the area around the tank. He could see three hundred-sixty degrees around him at once, which was very overwhelming to anyone not trained to cope with that much sensory input. He saw the space battle raging in the heavens above his home, the land battlefield, and hoped that everything went right up there, because if not, his work down here would be a living hell.


      The Angel of Death was struck on her port shields by three plasma torpedoes, bringing them down to thirty-three percent. Nimitz said to his helmsman, "Come to port forty-five degrees and make that son of a bitch stare straight down our MAC guns."
      The helmsman nodded and turned forty-five degrees to port. Nimitz then said, "Lock in firing solutions for four MAC rounds on target DCSS-134A." the ship's AI did as ordered. The whole ship shuddered as four MAC round left the ship. The glowing white orbs of uranium struck the dreadnought amidships, and hit such a way as to break her keel, separating the bow from the stern. Gouts of engine plasma flew out of the aft end of the ship in attempt to prevent the reactor from melting down, but to no avail, as the reactor's containment locks failed and aft exploded into a firing sun of energy, which quickly collapsed into a deadly thermonuclear fireball, destroying a frigate and a destroyer that were sitting to close to the stricken vessel. The bow of the ship wasn't completely incinerating due to its greater proximity to the blast, but was left nothing more than floating wreckage. The Princeton caught more of the damage, its forward shields failing, but still able to fight unimpeded.
      Nimitz said to Lee, the shipboard AI, "Status report!"
      Lee replied "The port shields are at forty percent, climbing at twenty-five percent per minute, hull integrity at one hundred percent, MAC capacitors at twenty-five percent, rising at forty percent per minute, and eight hundred Longbow missiles armed and ready to fire."
      "Good," he replied, "Lock in firing solutions on target CCS-562A for eight hundred Longbow missiles. Set full safety, I don't want to shoot ourselves."
      "Yes sir, said the AI. The ship lurched as 19,200 Longbow missiles shot into space towards the wounded cruiser designated CCS-562A. Two-thirds the way to the target, their radars activated and began swerving towards the cruiser. The cruiser tried vainly to shoot the missiles down with its pulse lasers, but ninety percent hit, delivering fatal damage to her. The fuel cells brewed up, spewing plasma into open space, incinerating many of the smaller pieces of debris. She quickly listed to port from the force of the expelled plasma. Many of wiser fighter pilots cleared the area, as a ship venting plasma will most like brew up into a nuclear fireball, and no one wants to get caught in the created gravity well and shockwave. But she didn't detonate. The crew had quickly managed to shut down the primary reactor, preventing her demise, but she could no longer fight, and was nothing more than a derelict. That suited Nimitz just fine.


      Captain Patton was surprised to see a sun appear directly above in the night sky, but instantly identified it as an exploding reactor. He hoped it wasn't one of his side's ships. He said to his platoon leaders over the radio, "Alright, we need to hold this plateau and prevent the Covenant from taking the city." He then saw dropships filtering down through the atmosphere and added, "Okay, the battles getting started really soon, so keep on your toes. Engage armor first, then infantry."
      He heard a string of "Yes sir." over the radio. He said to his gunner, "Select APFSDSDU rounds, we're only taking on armor for now, the airborne 280mms will take out the infantry. The 280mm Magnetic Accelerator Rifle was an extremely powerful artillery piece carried on the belly of a specially modified Pelican. The Pelican would hover, and the artillery piece would fire extremely powerful HE rounds. The 1756th Armored Division had two batteries of this artillery, increasing the division's already formidable firepower. The dropships came down over the plain below the plateau and began dropping Spectre battle tanks, the successor to the Wraith. Patton directed his gunner to the target, a recently disgorged Spectre four thousand meters down range, and said "Fire!"
      The gunner pressed the trigger, releasing the 94mm wide penetrator from the barrel and its protective sabot. The penetrator was 111.74m long, weighing close to 70 kilograms, was fired out of the magnetic accelerator barrel at 2,100 m/sec. The depleted uranium penetrator struck the Spectre two seconds later, ripping it off of the ground and completely totaling the tank. The tank landed upside down, its crew dead. Twenty of the other tanks in his company struck down Spectres, as the 280mms rained fire down on infantry. The 1756th created a murder field on the plain below, killing thousands of Covenant soldiers in the first minute. And the fleet above couldn't spare any fighters to take out the emplaced division, as all of them were engaged in the massive fleet engagement above. Patton's Dragon loaded another shell via its autoloader, while he directed the tank turret to another target, another Spectre, firing its plasma cannon madly up at the plateau. The gun strobed, and a white-hot penetrator struck the Spectre, flipping it airborne for a moment, then slamming down on the ground, smashing on the valley floor, crushing itself. Plasma fire rained down around him, but none hitting. 280mms struck landing dropships, causing them to blossom into red orange explosions. It was going to be a long day.

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