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Homeworlds XXII
Posted By: Mainevent<billygoat359@netscape.net>
Date: 24 October 2003, 9:55 PM

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      Lee folded his arms behind his back, locking his fingers, and absorbed the info as it poured in. Through his artificial eyes came dozens of video feeds, all being watched simultaneously through his electronic brain. He launched the Archer missiles one at a time as they found a target, and their ominous hiss rattled throughout the hull.

      The missiles arced and curved on their target trajectories, eager to destroy whatever they could find. Curiously, all of the heavy explosive devices made a sharp bank before finally erupting into a harmless massive fireball. Lee's brow wrinkled on his bridge as he contemplated what had just occurred.

      "Captain, these machines have a jamming device, making our auto-targeting systems useless. Peculiar for such small craft. The only way I can conceive of ending this, is with a rather risky maneuver. I suggest that all of the nearby ships fire their archer missiles, all of their archer missiles, and set them for a remote detonation. Then fire their MAC cannons, and when the little bastards scatter, set the explosives off."

      Lee's request received a silent nod of approval, and the AI went dilligently to work. Receiving approvals from the conglomerate of other artificial lifeforms currently engaged, they set the plan in action. He armed archer missiles B1-G27, and unlocked their tubes. Their metallic coverings slid quietly open in the vacuum, the golden rays of sun reflecting off of the missiles' tips. A chemical reaction in their solid rocket boosters propelled the deadly cargo on it's way, destinations unknown.

      "Setting a four thousand meter trajectory, retrieving weapons controls. Controls confirmed. Establishing inter-ship communications...established. Coordinating attack roster...coordinated." His husky voice was heard throughout the massive bastard vessel, the plethora of speakers and microphones that comprised the intercomm system doing their job.

      "FIRE!" His voice slammed through the silence, shattering several small speaker's cones from the heavy bass. As his voice finally began dying, three successive ground-shattering reports stung the night, and reopened the ear-rattling wounds. The heavy rounds broke the Sentinels' formations once more, and Lee smiled to himself, the little bugs hadn't even cared about the missiles, presumably because of the fact that none detonated. A mistake they would soon regret.

      Thousands of acre-sized eruptions gutted the space, crushing the Sentinels' lines as they did. Thousands of the small-statured life forms were destroyed instantly as the force whiplashed their bodies into oblivion. Still hundreds more were heavily damaged, and were only managing a weak "limp". Fingers ran through his thick beard as the Confederate General smiled to himself.

      "Mary mother of, they're retreating. I can't believe it, they're retreating. It's a damned miracle." Capulet literally leapt from his chair, nearly tripping on the edge of the command deck and plummeting several feet into the pits his officers were nestled in.

      "We can't be sure until they actually leave. Estimated time before MAC cannons are fully recharged, ten seconds." Lee responded with the hint of pride. Capulet loved, and still marveled at, the fact that even though not real, they could still think and act as though they were. Plasma fire was still trailing the cowering enemy, but was quickly becoming useless as they exited it's maximum effective radius. The Prophet's Will's lateral ridge glistened a firey red, glowing with hatred and disgust at the lives taken that day. Six plasma torpedoes sprang forth, undeterred by the fact that they couldn't directly lock with them, Lee hadn't planned on them too. The plasma fire imploded deep in their ranks, breaking massive holes in their retreating lines.

      A second salvo of Tungsten-steel bullets edged ever closer to the Dawn of Dusk. One violently impacted her starboard side, sending a heavy ripple through her titanium plating. The second missed by a hair and continued hurling unchallenged until it ran out of momentum or collided with something. Skimming the top of the modified UNSC carrier, several small explosions spewed from the vessel's top as the final MAC round barely missed. The gaping hole in the Dawn of Dusk's side revealed a strangely hypnotic view. Hundreds of Sentinels swarmed from inside the ship, hustling to repair their hive.

      "Incoming message from unidentified Covenant vessel, patching her through." Shula's head was bent awkwardly as he reported the situation. The view-screen faded from the swarming metal menace to a living one, neither of which Capulet preferred to see.

      "You imputant humans have made your last err in judgment. We shall destroy you now for Celaco. Our bretheren will be most excited to drink your blood." A jackal squawked with a threatening posture. Oddly, he didn't end the connection, as though he were waiting for a response. Capulet would be more than happy to give him one, whether he wanted to hear it or not.

      "Ahh, but that's where you are most sadly mistaken. How dare you have the gall to think you're invincible, we've more than proved that false. But there is one thing you should know, that we aren't the ones who destroyed your planet, the heavily damaged ship to your left is. It is my sincere regret however, to tell you that you won't have the chance to ever pass that message on." A nearly orgasmic rush ran through his body as he severed the line. He said nothing to Lee, the AI had already read his mind. Four separate ships fired at the Covenant intruder, destroying it quickly. The first round dissolved it's shields, and the second and third dislodged it's nose. The fourth impacted at the rear, sending her spiraling into space.

      "Now finish off that other damned ship before she returns for more."

      "Unable to comply, scanners have revealed that it has departed from our space. They don't pick the Dawn of Dusk up anywhere."

      "How can that be? She was heavily damaged, and right there. It's impossible that it could have moved into slipstream in that amount of time."

      "As highly illogical as it seems, that is the apparent state we are in."

      Three quick klaxons caught the two men off guard. The picture of an enormous Covenant fleet entering the space as it popped and sizzled around them. Their shields glimmered gloriously before fading away as they finished their jump.

      "Showing five carriers, six destroyers, and seven frigates. They came ready to fight sir, and without that ship, you're going to have a hard time talking them out of it." Sahawneh said.

      "You do your job, let me do mine." Capulet answered.

      "Will do."