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The 6th
Posted By: Mr Bill Jr V<mr_bill_jr_5@hotmail.com>
Date: 16 October 2001, 1:40 am

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The Sol Core Five, lauding the great vice admiral Chiou's efforts at Demuinius, tasked him with raising of a fleet to combat the rising threat of Covenant forces near Orleans. Chiou was guaranteed 5,000 ships. This number was to grow as the years went by. The 6th fleet was born November 18th, with Chiou's famous words, "Never before has the Covenant seen a fleet that rivals their own. We will force them back from our worlds, and destroy them without mercy. Nothing can stop humanity united under one goal."
'After two years of fleet engagement at Kalmasa, Shore, Orleans, and Ghojr, Chiou's great victory came at Vega, were he was promoted to Supreme Commander of Sol Core forces.'
'But there Chiou fell. Admiral Yeuhn was to be his successor. Yeuhn had shown himself worthy during the battle at Firrel. As commander of the SCS Typhoon he would rescue 400,000 civilians before Firrel, and its population of 600 million would be incinerated by the aliens.'
'With Yeuhn as admiral, the 6th would enter its final chapter, facing battles that would make Demuinius seem like a mere skirmish...'

---- From The Glorious Sixth

Orleans, Reach, Vega, Shore. Names that will forever stay with humanity. Names that will forever be tied to the 6th battle fleet. The 6th died as so many of our armies, commanders, ships, and whole worlds have. They were burned from the face of this galaxy by the Covenant. For years we have surrendered, fallen back, given in to the Covenant's never ending thirst for souls. They swallow worlds the way a man drinks water. When our armies, fleets, and souls stood to face the Covenant, they were to surely parish. For years we would tell ourselves that, at least, our fleets could defend Earth. At least. That is the tone taken when one fears final annihilation. We had a right to fear for Earth, and a right to say these things. Battle after battle we lost; each one bringing the Covenant closer to their final destination, and our last hope. Orleans, Reach, Vega, Shore. Names that will haunt us forever.

A million divots of light shone through the billions of light years of space. Icy darkness enveloped what little light shone from the one dying sun. Space rippled and time warped. Two, Titan class, main battle cruisers appeared. A vial of rippling darkness was slowly lifted from their revered gray hulls. Hundreds of small support craft dropped from their vast docking bays. These craft made their various ways about the giants, searching for areas in need of repair. The giants lumbered gracefully onwards, leaving sparkling ion trails in their wakes. Small white letters dotted their bows. The SCS Infinity, and the SCS Five tore the void to shreds, each moving in such a way, that had God appeared it seems that even he would not be able to stop them. Each ship was easily three kilometers in length, dwarfing even the large Covenant capital ships. Both ships housed an active crew of 7,000 with an additional thousand in inactive duty. Three computer spirits guided each ship, controlling almost all internal functions. Collectively the ships carried an armament of 260 guns, 40 of those the new Lance class super heavy assault guns. Their docking bays was capable of carrying an entire wing of light frigates. The void was thick to the bursting point with communications chatter.

"Comm, began scanning."
"Confirmed Helm."
"Dracus, give me a long range scan. 400 blips a second please."
Yes commander. Scan indicates no ships. No stellar objects.
"Helm, skies are clear."
"Understood Comm."
"Give me Navigations please."
"Navigations is standing by, sir."
"Thank you commander. Navigation lets make one more pass and head back to Orleans. Yeuhn should be pleased to hear that he sent two of the finest ships in the fleet to inspect dust."
"Understood Helm. Setting course."

The great beasts engines 'burn' hard. The void ripples with ion trails, as the two titans power up their FTL engines. The hundreds of transport, and repair craft descend, once more, into the great ships. Their massive cargo bays slide shut, cutting the void from the ship. Completely sealed down, the two giants slow to a stop.

A massive sound wave reverberates through the Comm station. All heads turn through the perpetual darkness, and stare, at the one blinking holo screen. The lights dim. A second burst of sound blast through the Comm station. One small blip appears on the screen. Thousands join it.
"Dracus, what the hell is that?"
Your destruction commander.

A thousand hunters leap upon their prey. The void is ripped apart. Ship upon ship appear out of the darkness, completely surrounding the two human vessels- thousands of sleek, translucent hulls, of a multitude of sizes. A million blue lights, emanating from the Covenant ships. suddenly erupt. Such a magnitude of light that the endless void is brightened as if by a second sun. Laser streak across the vacuum, singeing the very void itself. The giants are turn to shreds. Blast after blast of blue energy shears away at the two beasts. Great chunks of glinting metal are tossed across the void. The Five explodes, as a lucky shot pricks its ion injector core. A massive cloud of space debris shoots a thousand miles in every direction. 8,000 die. The glorious Infinity is raked end to end by laser fire, pierced by thousands of laser divots. Oxygen hisses from the ship, creating strange clouds of white. She burns as the oxygen flames from some openings. With a final dying gasp, the SCS Infinity drives herself, one billion tons of metal, full speed into the nearest Covenant ship. The two ships vaporize. Gas dust expands, then fades, creating a tiny nebula of haze. 8,000 humans die. 16,000 gone in under 5 minutes. What do the aliens loose? Another drone.

In unison the alien ships turn to face a single destination. They begin to vanish, disappearing faster then they appeared. Orleans is light years away, but distance has no meaning to the Covenant. If they could find Earth, they would travel to no end. Orleans is their destination now. 4 billion souls call Orleans their home, but for how long?

Orleans. One word describes Orleans: Shipyards. The planet boasts ship yards to parallel that of Mars. The entire 15th reserve fleet (stationed near Earth currently) was constructed at Orleans. The surface of the planet, is barren; all resources having been stripped hundreds of years before. The planet is a center for research and construction, 85% of this being space based. The 9th fleet arm, accompanied by the corvettes of the 205th frigate group were dispatched to Orleans to provide defence. These two fleets will play no part in the coming battle. They will arrive far to late to make any difference. The 6th fleet was sent to Orleans not for the planets protection, but to refuel. After refueling and re-arming the fleet was to be sent to Reach, were the Five believed a defensive operation could take place.

The Covenant had never made a leap 5 light years past the front lines, and were not expected to start now. But they knew something that the humans had over looked, something that admiral Yeuhn had been all to frightened of. The Strellat Nebula. Billions of miles of gas, and dust, asteroids and the like, perfect protection for a closing fleet. The aliens made quick short jumps using the nebula as scanning cover. No scanners could penetrate the infinite cloud of Strellat.

On June 19th the Covenant descended upon Orleans. 40,000 ships. Millions of aliens. The 15,000 ships of the 6th fleet scrambled and fought.

Lt. Commander Francis Gallard is waken. Pounding at his door.
"What? Who's there?" Francis shouts into the darkness.
"God dammit commander, get out here!" The voice is rough, and coarse from shouting, and muffled by the door. Gallard raises himself from his bunk, and begins to fit into his green jumpsuit.
The pounding on the door doesn't cease.
"Hurry up commander! I'm bloody serious!"
Gallard zips the jumpsuit to its fullest, which ends at his neck, grabbing his belt as he slams the door release. There stands Commander Hassler, the chief Navigations officer (commander of some odd thousand men). He grabs Gallard by the shoulder and pulls him into the corridor, Francis still trying to attach his utility belt.
"What's happening Commander?"
Hassler turns to stare at Gallard, putting both his hands on Gallard's shoulders.
The Commanders eyes stare helplessly into Gallard's.
"The Covenant are here Lt. Forty thousand of them, and by god they want Orleans."
Gallard stands motionless, his belt still only half on. He shakes off the Commander's hands, and turns towards the Helm.
"Were are you going, Lt?"
Gallard turns to answer, but the words never get out of his mouth. The entire ship shake. The lights flicker, as the bulkheads creak. The commander runs to join Gallard.
"I guess I'm coming with you Lt."
The two men turn and rush down the corridor.

With eyes wide open Joshua Lafayette watched the battleship SCS Morning Star burn.
This could not be happening. His world was shattered, but he couldn't tear his eyes from the view screen. Screams and shouts echoed from all around, but what did it matter. They were not part of his world now. Sweat trickled from his brow. The relatively small fleet flagship SCS Executer passed over top of the view screen, causing the window to shudder. Lafayette stared on as the young corvette SCS Pillar of Autumn ripped a small Covenant cruiser to space dust. What brave souls could fight on in this hell? He did not know the answer. The ancient and revered SCS Typhoon was in the middle of destroying an alien battleship when a second battleship blasted it to pieces from behind. Joshua winced, wishing, praying that he could close his eyes. Some one would not stop yelling at him. "Orders...?" he would call out over and over again, but what did it matter?
Who's there? Are you part of this world? Are you a.... ghost?
Captain your fleet needs you. The SCS Executer is demanding that we flee. They have ordered a retreat to Reach.
Ghost... haunt me no more. I wish to see no more of this... horror.
Your admiral needs you. Our ship is in extreme peril.
What ship is ours? Is it one out there? The Typhoon perhaps?
Captain, the Typhoon has been destroyed.
Yes... I know. But is it real? What ship am I on?
It is the ship on which you stand. The SCS Bright Lance.
Yes. I remember this place. Why are we not dead?
We will be soon captain should we not flee.
Then please kind spirit, takes us from this place.
At once captain.
The endless shouting silenced as the massive cruiser moved away from the battle.
The view screen showed burning hulks of ships for miles, and hundreds of ripples. The fleet was disengaging. Orleans was to be left to the aliens, and Joshua cried. The numbers of dead? One can only guess.

Gallard and Hassler crashed though the remote door, and into a scene stranger then any they could imagine. The captain, stood peering with open eyes out into the carnage. The dim red lights were producing the only lights now. Klaxons blared, but slowly dimmed as the ship began to disengage from the hopeless battle. Officers dashed all about the bridge, shouting orders and demanding replies. The captain turned away from the view screen, covering his eyes. He shuddered.
"What have we done to disserve this?" Tears streamed down his face. His question was answered by none.
The view screen continued to track as the ship turned. Orleans filled the view screen. The planet caused pure, true, awe. No human can look at a planet and not be filled with a sense of beauty.
The bridge became deathly silent, all heads turning to face the view screen.
"God help us..." mumbled Gallard.

A single Covenant ship, no larger then a frigate, pulled itself from the never ending carnage. All watched in horror, as the ship slid open, reveling its metal innards. A weapon of unknown configuration was buried in the ships guts. The ship descended towards Orleans, burning through the planets precious atmosphere. No human saw what happened next. Orleans vanished in a cloud of light.

The Bright Lance's view screen tinted black as light more powerful then a star suddenly appeared. Gallard felt all power leave his body. The flash of light cleared; he could still see Orleans. It was breaking apart. The planets molten core exploded, tossing the continents, from its surface. The planet was red as blood, light rays shooting from its surface. The Bright Lance was the last human ship to see this horror, as the rest of the fleet was either destroyed, or had left the system, fleeing in terror. 4 billion died in seconds. Never before had the Covenant been known to posses this unbelievable power. Nothing could slake their thirst for our lives.

As the first chunks of rock began to hurtle pass the Bright Lance, she disappeared into the void. She was dashing, with the hounds of hell at her heals, towards the tropical world of Reach. The fleet would reassemble there. The 14th fleet had been alerted, and sent to resupply the damaged 6th fleet arm. The greatest battle of human history was about to began, and the final chapter of the 6th was to be written. History would be made in the process.