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Homeworlds XVII
Posted By: Mainevent<billygoat359@netscape.net>
Date: 7 October 2003, 11:43 PM

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Chapter Twelve-The Dawn of what now?

      The Suncoast sailed gently through the vacuum of space. Undaunted by her near catastrophic encounter only ours before. Caprice was enjoying the frugal benefits of her command while Capulet was away, but not as much power as she would have wished.

      The small fleet, and numerous spartans, were trekking along nearby. The flagship Barbarian was leading the voyage, ready to fight at a moment's notice. General Abigaid was more than ready to give the Covenant a run for their money, and with his new spartans, he was sure he could.

      One of the few people in the military that was still confident in what the Spartan program could actually do, he had been the first to vote yes on the proposal for a second batch of spartans.

      Capulet winced as the large metal needle sliced a thin slit through his epidermus. Tough as nails though he was, he abhored needles. The doctor apologized for the pain and coaxed him through every prick of the instrument.

"Sorry Cap, but it's bound to sting. Just a couple more."

      "Hurry up Sturgeon. I've gotta get back to the bridge before Caprice runs us into an asteroid." The two men chuckled at the thought of Caprice directing the massive vessel, as she was a rather poor driver.

      "I don't know where you're off too, we still gotta fix your ribs. I count three with hair fractures, and one with a clean break." Another quick stab drove the fact ,that Capulet was going to be in the med-bay for a long time, home.

      A technician entered the room quietly, a datapad nestled in between her elbow and busom. She was an attractive and slender woman, who's hair had apparently grown far in excess of UNSC standards.

      "Sir, we're exiting slipspace now. We're scheduled to rendezvous with the Phoenix repair station in thirty minutes. General Abigaid requests you on the Barbarian's bride as soon as possible." Her attention wained from her board only once, and she spent the rest mulling over various information scrolling across her screen.

"How long until the Suncoast is repaired?" Capulet asked with another cringe as Sturgeon poked and pulled at the stitches.

      "Station master estimates a little over forty three hours. However, we're not going to be taking the Suncoast on this mission. For this one, he requests a larger vessel, but insists that you will get her back at a later date."

"Well then what exactly will we be taking?"

      "I'm sorry sir, I don't have that information as of now. You'll have to find out from him." The wiry tech. saluted, was returned the salute, and then turned on her heel and exited the room.

UNSC Barbarian

      Abigaid was sitting casually in the plush command chair on the Barbarian's bridge. If he noticed Capulet's entrance there were no physical signs as he continued to silently stare at the brilliant swirls of galaxies before him.

      "Captain Capulet, please have a seat." Broke the almost eerie silence on the command deck as his throaty voice came from deep within. He was quite a sight with the large group of stitches nestled on his crown and the Plasticair cast around his chest.

      A marine carried a richly covered leather chair and sat it down next to the General. He helped the Captain into his seat, saluted, and then returned to his post beside the various panels that regulated the ship.

      Abigaid turned slowly, almost methodically, to face his company. Obviously in no rush to divulge any information he was going to. His heavy glare sizing up the bruised and bandaged Captain sitting before him.

      "Captain Richard Capulet. Graduate of the UNSC Academy of Flight and Aeronautical Sciences in 2546. First command assignment at the age of thirty-two aboard the Harvest Moon. You've participated in twelve human battles, various pirate encounters, and three Covenant battles." Abigaid had given everything about Capulet except his shoe size in his summation of service.

      "Three star general Westley Abigaid. Graduate of Tour' De For on Chi Ceti 4. Supplemental courses at the Naval Academy on Earth and the Regimental Institute of Technology on Reach. First assignment aboard the Polyphemus. Seventeen human encounters, three major pirate encounters, and five Covenant battles."

      Abigaid gave a hearty laugh and patted Capulet on the back. He felt proud at returning the General's ferocious and somewhat unexpected assault of facts, but never to be outdone, Capulet had researched the General's history meticulously.

      "Very good, but you were wrong on one part, four Covenant battles, not five, but very good none-the-less. Do you have the slightest idea why you're here?"

      "Actually sir, I haven't the slightest. Other than a supposed command change, and briefing, I know nothing about why I'm here."

      "You're here because you've got the best record against the Covenant since ole' Keyes. He took a helluva lot out with him though, an entire covenant armade, but I'm sure you've read all about that so I won't bore you with the details."

      As Abigaid finished the heavy clank of metal boots rattled through the room. A squad of seven Spartans had encircled the two men, but none spoke or motioned. The armor they wore wasn't the same as the Spartan he had seen before his deployment on Cerap, but the fact that there were Spartans amazed him.

      "I've taken the liberty of giving you a new ship for this assignment, don't worry, the Suncoast is being refitted and modified as we speak. I know the value a Captain has placed in his ship. You can tell can't you?"

      Ivory, bronze, and silver were intricately engraved into the panelling and various places aboard the bridge. A heavy and exotic carpet spanned the floor, and several holo-pictures lined the walls. This man apparently admired his ship very much, and his detailed customization reflected as such, but that only added to Capulet's admiration for him.

      "Let me get to the jist of this. Your new ship will be a frigate. I'm fully aware that a frigate is much smaller than the ship your used to, but this is different. This frigate is Covenant." Capulet's face nearly melted at the rainbow of emotions he was treated to.

      "We have security teams combing the ship now, and she is being repaired as well. We've been able to translate most of their controls, but not all. We're going to install a specialized AI to help you with your assignment."

      "You're going to fly her into Covenant space, slip past their defenses, drop the Spartans, and then hold out for as long as you can. Hopefully, you'll be able to get through without supsicion for a while, but once the Spartans hit the groun all hell's gonna break loose."

      "I understand sir. When do we leave?" Splitting pain ran through his broken body, but he was more than eager to bare through it as he listened intently.

      "The Prophet's Will is being restored as we speak. Station Master figures two or three days, you beat her pretty hard, but she'll be in good shape. We're interogating several of their elites, and you're going to need them for security checks that may occur. As soon as she's ready, your crew, as well as the spartans, will slip onboard and then kick some ass."

      The two men nodded, and the Captain strolled from the bridge with a wide-sweeping grin. He was in for one hell of a ride, and he knew that, but it was a ride he was sure to remember.