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Well Enough Alone Part VI - Settin' the table
Posted By: Ryan<meotadog@hotmail.com>
Date: 1 May 2002, 4:00 pm

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UNSC Air Force Base - Montana #3
Near Seeley Lake, Montana.
01:03 The Second Day

Tower 18C was alive with activity, officers scrambling about from consoles, orders being blasted over the Telecom channels. The entrance of a general would normally signal the attention and salute of his underlings, but this was not the case today. Even the lowest ranking officers continued franticly with their business. The large windows of the tower displayed trillions of stars in the night sky, and the blinding runway lights far below. The general stepped into the middle of the room, and waved his hand at one of the secretaries, who dashed towards him at a stiff pace.
The general looked up at the ceiling, waiting for the very silent aid to inform him. After about 30 seconds of staring blankly at the ceiling with his arms crossed behind his back, the general turned back to the stupefied young man with a look of impatience.
"Is there a reason I was woken, son?" asked the general, continuing with his tone of impatience.
"Yes, a massive one, sir. Admiral Ryes is on the phone, she's been demanding to speak to you."
"This must be serious... I'm guessing that's why the base is lit up like it's Christmas?"
"So to speak. I could explain, but I'm sure the lady could do a better job. She seems quite worked up, general."
"I'll take the call here."

The general wiped sweat from his brow, and reached down to the phone's receiver. He took a brief breath as he placed the receiver to his ear.
"Hello! 'Bit jumpy today, ma'am?"
"Shut up, General. We have an Alert 163. I am trying to get a hold of the damn politicians, I need authority to order a militia."
The general grabbed his chest, nearly having a heart attack. After a short, intense pause, he spoke back up.
"That has to be the heaviest sentence I've ever heard... I'll see what I can do. I assume you want the fleet to land on earth so we can load their bellies full of lead? We'll have an inner-atmosphere welcome party just in time for 'em, Ryes."
"Good then. I'll be in touch; Ryes out."
The general opened his mouth to speak, but was interupted by a ring tone. She had hung up.

As he looked through the window, XV8900 fighter jets took to the sky, tearing through the air at a absurd pace. They were gone, but the end had just begun.

UNSC: Frigate Uniden, Intercept course with Covenant battlegroup
01:05 The Second Day

     The Uniden seemed almost graceful as it slid through slipstream space. It's bulky hull was barely visible against the backdrop of trillions of stars; the ship had been running dark for the last five minutes. Wong had given the order to prevent immediate Covenant fire upon exiting slipstream space. Deep within the ship rested a massive nuclear explosive, almost un-matched in size by any other bomb ever created. Per Commander Moore's suggestion, the bomb would be detonated while the Uniden was positioned within the core of the Covenant armada. Wong had programmed the self-destruct system of the frigate to detonate at the exact same second as the Nuke - a desperate attempt on the crew's part to cause more damage. Commander Moore had also suggested the second "Keyes maneuver": landing longswords armed with Nuclear explosives on the hulls of Covenant ships while their shields are down, then waiting until the shields re-activate to detonate. This was of course all extremely risky, and not one of the crew believed they would get that far; but they had to try, it was their duty.

"Captain sir, engines charging at fifty percent," a rather chipper ensign barked, "MAC gun at ninety three, and she should be ready to go as soon as we enter normal space."
"Good. Ready all Archer missiles, and I want that MAC gun as hot as you can get it... We're going to burn the engines and blast the shit out of their front line with everything we've got. I want enough fliers in the air after we're disposed of to finish the their 'wounded'."
The officer swiveled his chair and returned to his post, biting his lip.
"Sir, entering normal space in five..."
"Understood. Hold tight boys..."

     As the Uniden slipped from slip stream space, it seemed to materialize directly in front of the Covenant fleet. Hundreds of them, all shimmering brilliantly; Their opalistic purple hulls gleaming under the blazing rays of a nearby sun. The Covenant ships either didn't notice the nearly invisible Frigate, or they just didn't care. Either way, thought Wong, They won't expect this...

     The Uniden waited patiently, almost dead in space, while the Covenant Cruisers moved slowly towards the doomed vessel. The NAV console lit itself up like a Christmas tree, and with only seconds remaining officers frantically scrambled about the innards of the Uniden preparing the bomb for it's only known use, death.
"Engines at one hundred percent Captain! Initiating full burn towards the flag ships NOW!"

     The battle was incredibly short. Three quick blasts from the Uniden's dual-MAC weapons, twenty searing bolts of plasma from small guard ships which seemed to lead the fleet. Just as the MAC bolts struck the two flag-ships, easily one hundred Archer missiles tore away from the Uniden, circling about and careening into three selected cruisers - the missiles disabled their shields, while three longswords landed on their hulls. The MAC rounds easily disabled the shields of the three lead Cruisers - however Wong knew the shields were running at minimal strength when the rounds struck, and would re-activate at full power seconds from now. Just as planned, three longswords landed on the ships milliseconds prior to the shields re-powering. By now, the Uniden was half it's former size; All of it's outer decks, as well as the two-meter titanium armor, had melted away from Covenant fire. The Uniden tore past dozens of Covenant Cruisers, and her engines began to over-heat under the extreme pressure. Mere seconds before the finishing blow struck the shriveled piece of molten metal that was the UNSC's first hope, it's engines and nuclear explosive exploded. Smaller Covenant ships were tossed aside like toys, larger ones braced as their hulls began to buckle under the pressure. Approximately seven ships were eliminated by the explosion itself, another four suffered severe damage, and yet another twelve ships were without shielding; at least temporarily. Before the Armada could align itself after the explosions wake, eleven longswords crept through the stunned Covenant defenses. The ships landed gracefully on eleven Covenant vessels; and just as the ships re-gained power to their shields, they were wiped clean off any radar map in the universe.

     Dispite the Uniden's lacking size, she and her crew had disposed of twenty three Covenantships, and damaged four. A record among the UNSC. However, their efforts aside, another four hundred & seventy seven ships continued towards earth.

Head Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI Headquarters), London, England
01:16 The Second Day

Director of ONI Chris Barfield strode into the well-lit meeting room being watched very carefully by twenty of his colleagues and subordinates. Chris took his seat at the rear of a large table, gazing carelessly around the newly renovated area. He noticed Admiral Raul had also taken his seat five chairs down, so he began the meeting,
"I've received word everyone, The Uniden has completed her mission with an outstanding success. Though the blast radius may be distorting our radar figures, it seems Captain Wong's efforts disabled at least twenty Covenant ships!"
Admiral Raul smirked and spoke up, reading intently from a fax slip he had been handed upon entering,
"You're awfully gitty, Barfield. The Uniden was an unusual success, one we are very un-likely to see again any time soon. I just hope you realize that, Barfield, the odds have not changed."
The bickering and muttering of the staff ceased shortly after Don Raul's words of wisdom. They all seemed to look towards Chris for either a pep talk, or a better plan.
"I'm well aware of that... I took my ridilin this mornin'," replied Chris with a smile and chuckle, "From the way you're acting Don, I guess we can all infer your mission was a failure, no?"
Admiral Raul didn't seem to enjoy Barfield's sarcastic remarks, but chose to set his personal feelings aside; something easier said than done.
"I can't give you specifics," Rual started, "However, I can almost guarantee that SPARTAN one seventeen is still alive. The Covenant stealth ship we downed in that region should have provided him with ample opportunity to get his ass off that rock. I'm quite sure he'll pop up on our radar maps soon enough; flying some moronic space craft, no doubt..."
Chris sat back with a content grin, though sat back up quickly after scanning the fax slip he had received.
"Fair enough. We'll play along with this for a while, Admiral. I just hope your plan to keep one seventeen from dying works. If it doesn't, I'll surely see that your head is the one which ends up on the chopping block... Comrade." Replied Chris with an increasingly sarcastic tone of voice.
Barfield sat up promptly, and starred intensely down at his fellow agents before speaking up once more.
"As for the rest of you, let's finish readying operation NETSWEEP before our un-invited guests arrive. Meeting adjourned."