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Sea of Steel: Part One
Posted By: Omniscient<davenish@jps.net>
Date: 25 July 2001, 1:17 am

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Section One: The Arrival
Location: Aircraft Carrier Alcatraz, New Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Patrick Hall, now the five star General in command of the joint United Earth Defenses, walked briskly from the landing deck through the open doors of the tower and up the shiny metal stairs to the bridge. Two body guards walked in V position behind him, no emotion on their faces, as guards should be. Upon reaching the bridge, the captain of the aircraft carrier greeted him with a perfect salute.

"Atten-TION!" yelled the captain. Immediately all the sailors on the bridge lined up and stood at attention. The captain turned and joined Patrick as he continued to walk with his guards, down the line of sailors as they saluted him in unison. He did not return the gesture. Too much was on his mind.

When they came to the front of the bridge, with many huge windows overlooking a vast sea of deep purple, Patrick stopped. With a wave of his hand, he ordered his body guards to leave him. Seeing this would be a private matter, the captain of the ship dismissed his own crew; with a verbal command. His dogs weren't as well trained as Patrick's.

After the room was secure, the captain spoke. "General Hall, your presence is an honor, though unexpected. What brings you to the Alcatraz?"

"Business, captain. A top secret matter. How secure is this bridge?"

"Very secure, sir. No one can hear or see what is going on in here."

"That's right. Including you."

"Sorry, sir?"

"You are not authorized to know what we are talking about. Which means that I never met with you and never told you anything. Understood?"

"Yes sir!"

"Good. Now, captain, here's the scoop: for the past fifty years, we have run experiments in the Persian Golf that I am sure you are aware of. Are you?"

"Yes sir, I most definitely am. Nuclear engine tests, I was told."

"Well, you were lied to. They were engine tests, yes. Nuclear, though? Well, that part is true enough. There is something more, though. We were testing an IT device. And just last week, we got it to finally work."

"You mean, Instantaneous Transportation?" The captain was astounded. To him, this had only been a theory, and a very sketchy theory, at that.

"Correct. And do you know the reason that you were called into New Pearl Harbor?"

"Of course. Routine engine check up. It was right on schedule, nothing out of the ordinary."

"That's how we planned it. But your engine is not just undergoing routine repairs. You are getting an entirely new engine. And IT engine, captain."

"What? How? I thought you said that just last week you had developed a working model..."

"We did. But we don't have anytime to lose. We need it installed now. At an unknown time, your ship is going to disappear and reappear somewhere else. If all goes well, that is. You will not know where until you arrive. You will not tell your crew. I will be aboard to make sure everything stays under control. After the departure of this ship, a newly built ship will assume the past duties of the Alcatraz in order to keep the Covenant scanners happy. Their fleet is less than one week away, you know. And we already lost the space battle." It was true. A month before the IT had been successfully demonstrated, UED launched a counter attack fleet against the Covenant. Their ships were just to outnumbered to even put up a fight. The old-school, cigar smoking EUD general had been aboard the flagship of the human fleet. He was killed in action, obviously, but he did not die without honor. He was old and close to death anyway, and had requested to be aboard. "Rather die in a fight with an enemy I can see, than perish to this invisable desease inside of me," he had said. Anyway, the destruction of Earth now seemed imminent. It also made it clear why they would choose an ocean carrier, rather than a space carrier, to use this new device: all available star ships had been used in the counter attack. However, the captain did not see how IT would have any hope of winning the final land battle against the Covenant when they arrived. But there was a twinkle in General Patrick Hall's eyes.

"That transmission from our marines on Halo," Patrick continued, "has finally come in completely. It's a little scratchy, but at least it tells us that the marines are still alive. It says something about a "secret" on Halo that is of incredible value to the war effort. It will aid us in the war if we find it, but if the covenant find it first, despite it's immense value, they will surely destroy it before letting it fall into human hands. Exactly what this secret device is, no one is sure. According to the transmission, the Covenant aren't even sure. Either way, we need it."

Confused, the captain could only think of one question to ask, "So Alcatraz is going IT to Halo?"

"I didn't tell you that."

"Yes sir."