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Homeworlds XXVIII
Posted By: Mainevent
Date: 15 May 2004, 12:03 AM

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UNSC Barbarian

      "They're under way." The voice crackled through the intercom unsteadily. The open transmission wasn't entirely safe, but that wasn't too important now. What was important was important was the Prophet's Will cargo, and the devastation it held.
      "Good, good. I trust the supplies arrived securely?"
      "Yes, they were secure. I saw to that myself. I even had a team of ODSTs guard it to make sure."
      "We can't take any risks with the delivery. It has to be perfect. Do you know how much that delivery cost me? I lost three platoons on that damned mission."
      "It'll be worth it. And the delivery will be perfect. After all it has an entire generation of Spartans guarding it. Dr. Halsey's freaks can handle anything, remember? Anyway, they only have to get it to the planet, it doesn't really matter from there. They don't call them planet-killers for nothing."
      "Listen Ackerson. I remember Giomat, I still have nightmares about that place. Seeing my men again like that after the incident on Cerap only brought that back. This better go down perfectly, or you're ass is in a tighter sling than you ever thought possible."
      "I understand General. You and the Barbarian just do whatever you need to do. The Covenant will become a nonentity very quickly."
      "Good bye Colonel."
      "Good bye General."
      Abigaid turned the monitor off. It was a perfect plan on paper. He was surprised the bastard Ackerson had been able to come up with it without hurting himself. He had a personal distaste for the man. He was a weasel who would stop at nothing to get what he wanted. Abigaid didn't like those types.
      However, given the current circumstances, he was going to have to trust the man. If...no, not if...when. When it worked the Covenant would be broken at the spine. The rampant Sentinels were a bit of a worry however, and they worried him. That was an unexpected complication in the plan. The Covenant were having trouble fighting the Sentinels. Luckily, the Sentinels hadn't attacked Earth yet. He mulled the plan over to himself. The whole plan.
      The Barbarian had been sent to Cerap after a survey discovered Forerunner facilities there. That's where it started. After Halsey's unexpected death, the Spartan III project was on the verge of collapsing. Then, the most unlikely thing happened. Colonel Ackerson took control of it, and pulled as much funding for it as possible.
      But that was all for his big plan. Abigaid admired him for his foresight. That scared him somewhat too. What did Ackerson plan for Abigaid in the long run? He shuddered and shook the thought out of his mind. No time to think about that now.
      Spartan training was established at the Septagon, also on Cerap. Ackerson liked to centralize his projects. This way he could keep an eye on the Spartans and the rest of his project.
      Ackerson now had both parts of his project brewing to completion, but no way to deliver the package. But fate seemed to follow the man with a handout basket outstretched. The NOVA bomb was created at a Section Four laboratory on Earth, and it all fell together.
      The Flood spores captured by Abigaid's men on Cerap were perfect. The NOVA bomb was the perfect cover. Ackerson was going to have the Prophet's Will, with the full contingent of Spartans, deliver the parasites to the Covenant's main homeworld.
      There again fate intervened. The Sentinels turned from a threat to a gift. Covenant treaties even allowed for the Prophet's Will to move unchallenged into Covenant space. It just kept coming, and coming. Now Ackerson had the package, the delivery boy, and the truck. Now he even had a friendly neighborhood to deliver too. It was too easy.
      Abigaid didn't feel right though. Not for the Covenant, he despised the Covenant. He felt for the Spartans. Ackerson called them freaks, but they were no freaks. Abigaid spent a good portion of his career on Cerap, overseeing the various details of Boxwood Green. He'd seen the Flood in action, and by all means the Covenant deserved that. Yet, he'd also seen the Spartans in action.
      They'd done nothing wrong. They were the most loyal and best trained soldiers the UNSC had. Now they were being lied to and sent on a mission with damn near zero chance of surviving. It wasn't right. It just wasn't right.
      "Sir, I have some interesting news." Lee interupted his thoughts.
      "Go on."
      "Colonel Ackerson and the Lady Luck are leaving the inner colony's perimeter now. Current heading will take him to the Covenant homeworld."
      "That son of a bitch. Lee, follow him. But not too close."
      "Will do sir."
      Was that rat bastard possibly doing what Abigaid thought he was? Was he going to erase any loose ends that might possibly pose a threat? It made sense to Abigaid now.
      Ackerson was going to jump to the Covenant homeworld just as the Spartans set off the bombs. The Covenant would naturally break the treaty with humanity. But if Ackerson could destroy the Prophet's Will and blame the actions on a rogue ship, there was a chance it could be resolved.
      After all, Boxwood Green's only written orders were to send Spartans to the Covenant homeworld to capture a Prophet. Ackerson could say that Capulet was disobeying a direct order by employing the use of what they thought were NOVA weapons.
      But Abigaid knew. Shit. Abigaid had signed the orders for the requisition of those NOVA bombs. Ackerson was going to pin all of this on him. Ackerson's plan would have destroyed the Covenant, gotten rid of the hated Spartan program, and wiped out the only people who really knew what was going on. That bastard's plan really was perfect. But his luck had also just run out.
      "Lee, order an all-hands alert. This is going to get messy. Make the necessary preparations for full assault. I want to see my squad leaders in the prep room immediately."
      "And Lee, if you have any failsafes that won't allow you to attack human ships...deactivate them."
      Lee hesitated through his holographic eyes. Then nodded accordingly. "Yes sir." He wasn't sure what was going on, but Abigaid was right. This was about to get very messy.