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Halo: The Scythe of Death Part Seven
Posted By: LordofDestruction<Exwing4123@aol.com>
Date: 29 December 2003, 8:34 AM

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Halo: The Scythe of Death Part Seven
Location: Vega Prime, Fort Abrams
Date: April 15th, 2578 Military Calendar, 06:00 Zulu Time

"History is just one continuous, unending argument." David Adler

      Lieutenant Colonel (acting) Michael Patton was sitting on a makeshift chair for the Officer's Briefing. Lieutenant General Mikhail Zhukov stood in front of the collection of Command and staff officers. Beside him was a laptop type computer, hooked up to a Hologram projector.
      He said, with his prominent Russian accent. "As you know, we will be beginning our first counterattack on the 17th. Our objective is to prevent, at all costs, the Covenant Army from taking this part of continent upon crossing the Isen River. Our ten divisions will confront them along this area." He pressed a button on the laptop and pointed to an area on a 3d map of the area. The map zoomed in on the area, a 700 km wide front, with only the only the bridges across in it. The Covenant undoubtedly had pontoon bridges so destroying the highway bridges would only stall them and alert them to their presence. He continued, "This front is seven hundred kilometers long, and two hundred kilometers deep. We will have our preliminary fire positions in the wooded hills fifteen kilometers in from the river. Once they are across, we will begin engaging them from a range of three thousand meters. Once the Covenant tanks are within five hundred meters of our first fire position, we will retreat back eight kilometers, long enough for them to think it was a retreat. Our reserves will hold the second position while the primaries refuel and rearm. Infantry anti tank teams will reinforce the key areas, and our other Infantry, both Mechanized and Light, will be evenly dispersed with the armor. If the second position fails, we will fall back forty-five kilometers, across this minefield, which will be armed after we cross it. If this third position fails, we will retreat back to the edge of the battlespace and use our 280mm mobile artillery to nuke the advancing Covenant forces. We will trade space for time and lives, even if we have to destroy the area. This is only the basic idea of the battle plan. I do, however have a pamphlet on these disks. Take a copy and send it to all of your officers and men. That is all. Dismissed."
      They all rose and saluted the General, and started conversing softly on their way out of the room. Patton said to his CO, Colonel William H. Tarleton, "I hope this works, because if it doesn't, we're screwed with our pants on."
      He replied, "I know, but our personnel are battle-hardened veterans. They'll make sure it happens or they'll die trying."
      "Let's hope it doesn't have to come to that." He said, with a grim tone.


      Captain Nimitz had his own problems to deal with. The three Carrier Battle Groups brought with them two Clayemore-class super dreadnoughts, the UNSC Decree of Annihilation, SD-05, and UNSC Styx, SD-03. Each of these ships can launch an entire carrier air wing as well as mount twelve MAC guns, twenty thousand longbow missile pods, seven hundred OBC guns (orbital bombardment cannons) and one hundred Lancer torpedo launchers. The only word to describe them is "God." No vessel on either side can compare with these monsters, and only a mere dozen were built, and it is very rare to see two of them in the same battle fleet. The groups also brought with them Ontos, a mobile Super MAC gun battery. The word means, "the thing," which fit it properly. The vessel was slapped together out of a damaged Decimator-class battleship hull. It mounted four Super MAC guns, two mounted on the hull and two on rotary turrets on the wings of the ship. Fully two-thirds of the ships interior is taken up by reactors and MAC gun machinery and magazines. The ship can sustain a fire rate with each gun of up to 8 rounds per minute, for up to six hours if needed, though it will run out of ammunition and targets long before that. The ship is not very well armored but it makes up for it with its massive firepower. The battle groups also have a total of eighteen planetary assault carriers, four light carriers, six battleships, twelve anti-aircraft missile (AAAM) cruisers, and twenty-four AAAM destroyers. The battle groups maneuvered into a geo-synchronous orbit, with the super dreadnoughts moving into orbital bombardment positions.
      The ships carried the Marine's Twelfth Army, comprising of a total of sixty-five divisions and support units. The Marine LI Corps began preparing for a landing planetside the moment they came into orbit. Thousands of fighters streamed out to tactical and strategic targets Covenant had emplaced.
      Nimitz sighed. He looked over and the green and blue orb that was Vega Prime. He could see several nuclear explosions burning on the surface. There was almost no cloud cover over the area of Nova Roma, and could see an old mushroom cloud moving with the prevailing winds, reminding him of the song from the group 'Kansas,' called 'Dust in the Wind.' In fact, that song had been played on the ships loudspeakers in the mess hall yesterday morning, quite ironic in the grand scheme of things. He thought, "Oh God, It's way too early to be thinking about historical irony and such pharisaical twists. It's more like a time to sit down and drink coffee, which would be nice since I've been up for the last forty-eight hours. Yeah sit down, drinking coffee, watching the nine hundredth thousandth episode of South Park. Damn, it's hard to believe it's been on TV that long. God, I've got to stop staying up so long. It's worse than those all night orgies in college. That's a pleasant memory!"
      He grinned, reminiscing on his wilder days. Somehow he did the normal college thing before West Point and still managed to maintain a 4.0. He grabbed his coffee cup, and drank the rest of the cup, sifting it through his teeth. "Damn, they need to change filters in the coffee pots. I keep eating my coffee." He thought. His ship had sustained no structural damage in the fight, which was very odd. Oh well, its better than going down with the ship.
      He left his XO in command, and walked off the bridge and into his quarters, and lay down on the bed, face down, and passed out from the stress and fatigue.


      Lieutenant Colonel Michael Patton just finished briefing his battalion on the battle plan, and they a mixture of excited and anxious, happy and grim. Many of them were reinforcements to the battalion to replace battle losses. He sent his soldiers off to the Tank firing range, where they fired a few salvoes and got used to their new crewmen. He took a book out of his pack, Tom Clancy's 'The Bear and the Dragon' and resumed reading on page 701. He relaxed as he read, taking his mind off of the upcoming battle and thought about many things, his training days, going to West Point afterwards, falling in love for the first time, with one of his fellow Spartans, Amanda Baker, the one who he met the second day of Spartan training. The Spartan Three project differed from its predecessor in many ways. First of all, the children were either orphans or given up by their parents if they couldn't support them. They were also had contact with the outside world and afterwards could reclaim their surname and go through Officer training. They were very much normal people with extraordinary training. Just as good in combat as the Spartan II soldiers but much more normal.
      He reminisced of his first date with her, how perfect she was to him, and still is. He thought of his first kiss and finally the time when they broke down and ceased being responsible young officers and made love with each other.
      He was brought sharply back to reality by the crack of a 152.2mm MAR (Magnetic Accelerator Rifle). The memory was still fresh in his mind, so wonderful, so powerful, so real, as if it had been yesterday. He cleared his mind and went back to his book, with a remnant of that thought still lingering in his mind, causing him to smile a thin grin. Oh how he wished she were in his unit, just to be able to talk to her. "Oh well," he later thought, "Wish in one hand, shit in the other, see which one fills up first."
      He checked his watch, which read 07:20 Zulu. He glanced over to his battalion's tanks, which were hitting notebook-sized areas of targets at five klicks distant. He stood up, and went to the rifle range, were he grabbed an MA-7 battle rifle and four forty-five round clips. He input into the range computer a holographic Grunt target, slammed a clip into the guns butt, cocked the slide and donned ear protection. He centered at the target, one hundred meters distant, raised his rifle and lined the telescopic sight reticule with the center of the Grunt's head, and removed the safety. He set the gun on three round burst and slowly squeezed the trigger. The gun tried to buck upwards but was held firmly on target by his immensely strong grip. He squeezed off two more three round bursts before he turned the safety to 'on' on the rifle. He looked at the computer screen, which displayed exactly where the rounds hit. He saw one 9 shot group around two centimeters in diameter. He muttered, "I'm a little rusty." And went reset the target. He held the top rifle scores of his entire class. He aimed the rifle right for the center of the Grunt target's head, turned of the safety, and sent off three 3 round bursts in five seconds. He turned the safety on. He looked at the screen and saw a slightly better group, but he didn't need to further worry about groups at this point because that was one dead Grunt standing down range. '9.53mm lobotomies' is what the first Marines to use the rifle called them, because of their great accuracy and firepower.
      He changed the range to three hundred meters and de-safed his rifle, aimed for the center of the head, and shot nine rounds into a nine cm area. He changed to an Elite target and put nine rounds in its head, then nine more in the body. He spent his last nine rounds on a Brute target, creating nine holes right in the beast's face. He ejected the clip, pulled the action back and locked it open, and set it back on the rack, along with the extra clips. He grabbed the spent casings and put them in the bin for them to be later reloaded. He took of his ear protection and set them on the bench and walked from the range, personally satisfied.

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

Note: If you don't like the conspicuous lack of action, you can just kiss my ass!