Titans of Warefare- Part 1
Posted By: spartan shot<email@example.com>
Date: 29 March 2010, 11:07 pm
I just want to say that I don't have the time to read anyone else's work and if i accidentally, in any way, shape, or form took any material from anyone's story then let me know. Apologies if i do. Other than that, ENJOY!
Titans of Warfare
UNSC Pillar of Autumn. August 30, 2552. Orbiting Reach.
Chief Petty Officer Gabriel-091 sat down and watched as his fellow Spartans readied themselves for the upcoming suicide mission. He slid his freshly sharpened knife into the sheath on his chest. His close quarters battle armor glimmered in the light. They were all going to die, and he could smell it. Another Spartan approached him.
"How you holding up?" he asked.
"I've been better."
Gabriel started feeding rounds into the magazine of his sidearm, just staring right past the faceplate of the Spartan before him.
"It wasn't your fault."
He stopped what he was doing and placed the magazine on the bench. He just stared at the floor with disappointment.
"Then who's fault was it John?" he replied. "Erica's dead because of me."
"Gabe, Erica was a soldier. A dam good one. She was a Spartan. And Spartans never die."
"You actually believe that? I thought you of all people wouldn't buy into that shit! If we never die then tell me, where's Sam?" Gabe snapped.
The other Spartans stopped what they were doing and just stared at him. How he could bring Samuel up like that was beyond any of them. Another Spartan approached the two.
"Take that back!" she said.
"No Kelly" Gabe said as he got up.
"Look. We all lost someone close to us. You're not alone. You don't see the rest of us talking down to each other" said John.
"We may have all lost friends, but I lost the closest thing I had to love."
Gabriel raised his hands and took off his helmet. His hair was shaved into a short Mohawk and had streaks of blonde mixed with brown from the augmentation. A scar started just above the left side of his hairline and traveled down across his eye, rendering it white. It stopped right above his lip. His unscarred eye was a deep shade of green.
"This is the reminder of my failure" he said as he pointed to the scar.
John and Kelly staid silent. A voice cracked over the loudspeaker and broke the silence.
"Gabriel-091 report to the bridge on the double."
Gabriel grabbed his helmet. He walked out of the armory without saying a word and towards the bridge. All the while thinking of the other Spartans. The chief among his thoughts was Erica. He thought back to the first day of training. Everyone was confused and scared. They were all being woken up by Chief Mendez. That's when he first saw her. She stood next to her bed. Her black hair was tied into a ponytail. Some of it was messed up in the front and slightly covered her blue eyes. The number 082 was stitched on her sweatshirt.
As soon as he entered the bridge, Gabriel snapped back to the present. He walked past the two marine guards and straight up to the captain.
"You wanted to see me Captain Keyes?" he asked.
Keyes turned around and faced him.
"Not me son. Her" he said as he nodded towards another.
Gabriel turned around and saw a woman in a white lab coat. She was the closest thing he and the other Spartans had to a mother.
"Dr. Halsey" he said.
"Hello Gabriel. How are you?"
"I've been better ma'm."
"Please come with me" she said as she left the bridge.
Gabriel did not ask questions. He just followed the doctor down to a hangar. She got into a Pelican, but Gabriel did not follow. He stayed outside and stared at her.
"Where are you taking me?" he asked.
"You're going to do something for me Gabe."
"But what about the mission? The other Spartans?" he asked.
"I'll explain on the way" said Halsey. "Just get in."
Gabriel looked at the hangar door behind him and wondered what was going on.
"Gabe?" said Halsey.
He turned around and entered the Pelican. The door closed behind him and they took off. A few minutes after, Gabe spoke.
"Where are we going?"
Halsey removed her glasses and pushed her hair back.
"Gabe. I know about you and Erica. The two of you were inseparable in training. And when you were apart, you always stayed alone. That's why I recommended you for this mission."
"Mission?" he asked.
"Yes" said Halsey. "Out of all the Spartans, you are better when you're alone. And now that Erica's gone, you've got nothing to lose."
"So I'm being taken off a suicide mission with the others to die alone on this one? Great."
"I'm sorry Gabe. I have very little options left. Look, I know you very well. You were the only Spartan to come from Earth."
Gabe's eyes widened. He hadn't thought about his home since he was very young. He had almost forgotten his birthplace. It was New something. New Mexico? No It was New York. Those memories were nothing but silhouettes in his mind now. They no longer mattered. Halsey continued.
"Once you started training, you stuck with Erica and you two never left each other. When you did, you each went alone. With no support. And you were great. That's why I chose you. You are the best lone wolf we have left. I'd hate to say it but with Erica gone, you're crazy enough to risk it all now, and that's what I need."
Gabe got out of his seat.
"Who are you?" he asked angrily. "You would sacrifice one of the closest things you've had to a child like this?"
The motherly figure he had seen Halsey as was gone. After he said this, he closed his eyes and wish he could take it back. He was overcome with his own stupidity. He knew about the choices Halsey made in her past.
"My God. Gabe you can't be serious. I stole more than a hundred and forty children from their beds. I took them away and made them into soldiers. I've destroyed the lives of a few to save a few billion. The decisions I've made have haunted me for years but they were the right ones to make. I assure you." said Halsey while tears formed in her eyes. She wiped them on the sleeve of her lab coat. "You consider me a mother? Then please. Do what your mother asks of you."
Gabriel sat back down. He looked out the window and saw the Pillar of Autumn shrinking in the distance.
"What do you want then?" he asked.
"Not far from where the other Spartan's are going, there's a small Covenant fleet amassed around a space station. You are to distract if not destroy them."
"Doctor, one Spartan cannot take on an entire fleet. We may be super soldiers but we are not gods."
"No. But you will be fighting with Titans."
Gabriel tilted his head. His look was a confused one.
"You lost me."
"It will all become clear soon enough."
Gabe squinted and tilted his head slightly. He was confused, but did not ask any further questions. The rest of the flight was quiet. The two gazed into the stars and observed Reach from orbit.
Even with the current events unfolding, Gabe still thought back to his first day as a Spartan. They had just gone through several exercises. All the while, Gabe watched 082. Athletically, she nearly matched him. He was impressed. Mendez then brought them to the obstacle course with the objective to ring a bell. He told everyone to team up. Gabe saw his chance. He went right over to 082.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"Erica" she said.
"Wanna be teammates?"
"Sure" she said. "What's your name?"
Even with this boost of stamina, Gabe didn't win in the obstacle course. He felt like he had let his teammates, mainly Erica, down. Still, the introduction he made that day created a friendship that would save his life.
About twenty minutes after their conversation ended, Halsey led Gabe into the cockpit. In front of them were the two moons of Reach, Turul and Csodaszarvas.
"Be ready" said Halsey.
Halsey did not answer. The Pelican flew past Turul and into it's shadow. It was not completely dark. Lights flickered not far away. Gabe leaned towards the viewport and tried to make out what they were. They were not stars. Three separate sets blinked at least ten seconds apart from each other. The sets were in an oval shaped pattern. Out of the darkness, Gabe saw large oval hulls from which the lights originated.
. space docks?" he asked.
"You are good Gabriel" said Halsey.
He quickly pieced it all together. Big space docks meant big ships. Gabe stared into the center of one of the oval perimeters and saw the outline of a gigantic ship. It was at least six times the size of a Marathon-class Cruiser.
"My God. They're enormous!" he whispered.
"These are the newest editions to our fleet. The Titan-class Supercarriers" said Halsey.
The transport slowly neared one of the gigantic vessels. Gabe began to see them now in detail. The bow's of each ship greatly resembled that of a Phoenix-class Colony Ship. The hull slanted downward on both the starboard and port sides and down the front. Though the center was not split like that on it's smaller counterpart. Both inner sides were met with a large portion of the hull which slightly jut out of the front.
The Pelican was now just over the starboard side of the dock. As the lights blinked, Gabe saw white letters on the gray metal hull. On the top was UNSC. In the center was a black eagle holding a banner. The emblem. On the bottom however, the letters formed a peculiar name.
"Ouranos?" he asked
"Yes. The father of the Titans and the flagship of the three" said Halsey.
Gabe looked at the rest of the ship. It was long. Very long. Centered on the top was a very small trapezoid. He recognized it as the bridge. Behind it, towards the back of the ship, was a slightly taller "fin" with the UNSC Emblem painted on it. Behind and beneath it were six enormous thrusters.
Once the Pelican was past the perimeter of the dock, it stopped and began to descend between it and the ship. As it lowered, Gabe noticed that there were fewer windows than most ships. Upon reaching the bottom of the massive vessel, the Pelican accelerated forward into a small gap between two sections of hull. Above them was tons of metal. Three hundred yards to the Pelican's left and right were hangars. The transport then banked left and landed in the large hangar. It was made up of four levels, each containing a different type ship. The Pelican landed on the top level with many other transports. Halsey led Gabe out of the cockpit. Once the hatch opened, Gabe saw a man in a prestigious uniform awaiting his arrival. Upon seeing him, he gave a firm salute.
"At ease, son" said the man. He then looked toward Halsey. "This him?"
"Yes Admiral" she said. "He'll get the job done."
"Great. Son if you would step out of that Pelican."
Gabe looked at Halsey.
"I'll see you when I get back" he said.
"I don't think you will" said Halsey as she shook her head.
"Well then good bye Doctor. And thank you."
Gabe saluted her. He didn't have to. She wasn't even military. What else could he do? He wasn't about to kiss her, and hugging her would only leave her with an injury. He was overcome with a stern awkwardness as he held his salute. The feeling that you get when you see someone for the second time and don't know how to greet them. He then dropped the salute. Once he stepped out of the Pelican he was overcome with shame. This was the closest thing he had to a mother and he couldn't even so much as shake her hand. He turned around and watched as the hatch closed. Through the window, he saw her smile and gently wave. Just as the transport lifted off, he thought he saw a tear in the corner of her eye. All he could do was stare as she shrank into the distance. The Pelican left the hangar. That was the last time he saw the woman who made him the warrior he was. That was the last time he saw his mother.
"Spartan" said the Admiral.
Gabe turned around and faced the officer.
"Lady in the lab coat said you were good at working alone. Can I trust her?"
"I think so" said Gabe.
He examined the Admiral's features. His face was grizzled like that of an old man's. Rectangular glasses rested on his nose. The eyes behind them were dark blue. They almost looked familiar to Gabe. How could they? He had never met this officer before. But these eyes seemed to look right through him. As if he was staring through his very body and focusing on something behind him. The Thousand Meter Stare. This man had seen combat before. Gabe had seen this in countless soldiers. He wouldn't have had to have met this officer to recognize his eyes.
"Follow me" he said. "I'll give you the grand tour."
The Admiral led Gabe to an elevator in the back section of the hangar. They boarded it and quickly went up.
"What's your name soldier?" the Admiral asked.
"Chief Petty Officer Gabriel-091."
"You Spartans and your numbers. Mind if I call you Gabe?"
"Everyone else does."
"Well then Gabe, my name is Admiral Cornelius Baxter. I'm the leader of this small fleet and your new commanding officer."
Gabe looked at the Admiral's uniform. Several prestigious medals rested on the white cloth of his chest. On his right arm was an ONI patch.
"Struck a deal with the devil have we?" said Gabe upon seeing it.
Baxter was confused. He looked at Gabe, then at the patch on his arm.
"Oh" he said upon realizing what the Spartan meant. "Yes. I'm in command of the most advanced and deadliest group of ships because I gave something up. Long, long time ago."
"Was it worth it?" Gabe asked.
Baxter looked Gabe in the eyes.
"Not one bit."
Once Baxter said this, the elevator reached its destination. The doors slid open. The men waiting outside stepped out of the way and gave Baxter firm salutes. He and Gabe walked right past these men and straight for the monorail just beyond them. Once they entered, it shot towards the back of the ship. It took mere seconds to reach the next stop where they got off. More men were waiting on the outside. They also put up salutes at seeing the Admiral. Gabe and Baxter boarded another elevator right behind them.
"This ship is the most powerful vessel ever made by humanity. About fifteen meters of Titanium-A make up the hull."
"That's a hell of a lot of metal. Explains why there's so few windows. We should be good armor wise then. What about armament?"
"On each corner of the bow is a Super MAC gun loaded and ready. With those four cannons, not even a Covenant capital ship stands a chance. We also got about five thousand Archer missile pods located around the hull with a countless number of point defense guns. As far as soldiers go, between all three Titans, we've got a full blown army. One marine battalion, five hundred ODST's, about two hundred ground vehicles, one hundred transports, and a fighter squadron. Each."
"And this is a suicide mission? That's some waste of lives."
"We're putting a hell of a lot of eggs into one basket. When the basket drops there's no stopping the eggs from breaking. It'll be some waste."
"Any nukes?" Gabe asked.
Baxter looked at him.
"Looking to get your hands dirty?" he asked.
"Well as long as your asking, each Titan has several Shiva-class warheads. And, I'm not supposed to tell you this, but, this vessel is carrying one new NOVA Bomb."
"Nine warheads encased in lithium triteride. When activated, the shell focuses the blast in upon itself and increases the power times a hundred."
"That's a lot of power."
"Enough to cook an entire planet and shatter it's moons. We need to be careful how we use it. It's only one of two ever made."
"Then I guess we're expecting a pretty big target with a weapon like that."
Baxter looked at him again.
"What we have in store for you may be a bit of a challenge. Even for someone like you" said Baxter.
"I think I'm up to it" said Gabe.
"I hope you are. The UNSC's putting all its power into this mission. They're sending the most advanced ships ever built by human hands to distract the Covenant's primary forces while our strongest soldiers bag one of their leaders. Hopefully a truce can be formed. Hopefully, our lives are worth it."
"So, we're really on a suicide mission?" Gabe asked.
"Afraid so son."
The elevator reached it's peak. Once the doors opened, Baxter led Gabe through several halls. Marines and other naval personnel went about their business and didn't bother saluting the Admiral. Gabe figured that to control such a large ship, it would take a lot of work. No time for pleasantries. This had to be the bridge. Baxter stopped at reinforced security door and entered a code on a keypad. Gabe watched carefully and memorized the numbers 0-3-1-4-1-1. Again, he felt a certain familiarity about something. His mind was playing tricks on him and he didn't have time for them. He quickly shook the thought.
The door slid open and revealed the nerve center of the Titan. They were at the top of a three level bridge. It was almost like a pyramid the way it worked. The lowest, and largest, level controlled the navigation and engineering. The mid level controlled weapons and radar. The very top level, where the Admiral's chair was, controlled communication. Directly in front of the lowest level was the main viewport which stretched the entirety of the wall, side to side and top to bottom. The only thing separating the six hundred by two hundred foot pane of glass from the deck itself was an auxiliary trench with a huge mess of wires and electronic boards covering the walls.
"Impressive" said Gabe.
"Try commanding it" said Baxter.
He walked to the center of the top level and approached the throne like command chair.
"That looks comfy" said Gabe.
"Egyptian cotton. One of my few requests."
A voice came over the loudspeaker.
"All hands, attention!"
Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked up at Baxter and saluted. He walked up three steps on to the platform that held the chair. He then turned around and faced the command crew.
"Everyone, this won't be an easy mission. Odds are, we're not coming back. But if you die, you will die with the knowledge that you did something great. You will die knowing that you were a member of the most advanced ship in human history. You earned that right. When we go into battle, the other ships will look to the Titans for leadership. We will be the example by which they will follow. And when we-" Baxter's speech was interrupted by a flashing red light and a loud beeping from the first level. "We will-" he said, trying to continue.
The ensign of that console turned around and sat in his chair. His eyes immediately widened and his jaw dropped.
"Oh Jesus. Chief get over here!" he said.
The commanding officer for that level quickly went to the side of the ensign.
"Oh shit! This can't be" he said. After a few seconds of confusion the officer spoke again. "Admiral, you gotta see this!" he yelled from the first level.
Baxter sat in is command chair. The screen perched off the right arm blinked to life and a loading screen was shown. Once the uplink from the first level was complete, the screen showed silhouettes in Slipspace grouped to look like a large cloud which resembled hundreds of whales. Baxter was dumbstruck.
"They found us" he whispered. "Everyone to your stations! We're under attack! Release the docking hooks. Have the perimeter retract all entry tubes! Come on! Let's get this thing rolling!"
The command crew immediately went to their stations. Most of them sat at their consoles while others went running across the levels. On the outside of the ship, the space dock retracted the hundreds of entry tubes and thousands of cables hissed as they disconnected from the hull.
"Get the Chaos and the Cronus on the horn" said Baxter.
The uplink on the screen from the first level cancelled out. A split screen with two officers on each side blinked on.
"Admiral Baxter, what's going on" said one of the men with a heavy Irish accent.
"Captain Duffy, Captain Durden, the Covenant have found us. Release from your docks and aid the defense."
"What about the mission?" asked the other officer.
"I don't know Durden. Get in touch with The Pillar of Autumn and find out. Stay close to each other. If we have to jump then I want to see you on the other side."
Gabe approached Baxter.
"Can these ships save Reach?" he asked.
"Dam it Gabe, I hope so."
The Spartan felt helpless. Just sitting and waiting in a ship was the worst feeling for these soldiers. He looked outside the viewport as hundred of Covenant ships emerged from Slipspace. Slowly, they neared the planet and fired a salvo of plasma torpedoes. Out of the line of UNSC ships, three refit and repair stations slowly floated towards the Covenant and shielded the humans from the fire. Their sacrifice allowed the home fleet to return fire. All around the Covenant lines, nuclear mines went off, destroying some of the smaller ships and causing the larger one's shields to flicker.
Baxter leaned forward with his hand on his chin. On the left arm of his chair, a small hologram appeared of an old man wearing white and gray robes.
"Admiral Baxter" he said with a deep echoing voice.
"Father Sky! Where have you been!?" Baxter said as he sat up.
"Forgive me sir, but I have just heard from the other Titans. Mayhem and Offspring say that they have launched and are ready for attack."
"Good. Lets introduce ourselves. Have them target any capital ships with MAC rounds. I want three seconds between each shot. Tell them to overwhelm the smaller ships with waves of Archer missiles."
"Of course. It shall be done" said Father Sky. He then dissolved into the light.
"Take a good look Spartan. The Covenant are about to shit their pants" said Baxter.
The engines of the three Titans sprang to life and they slowly moved forward. One by one, they left the shadow of the moon and headed for battle. The crews of the ships on the edges of the battlefield, both human and alien, watched with confusion as the three massive vessels pushed towards them.
"Target that ship" said Baxter as he pointed to the nearest Covenant Carrier.
"We're locked sir" said one of the officers.
One by one, four MAC slugs left their cannons and thundered through space with three seconds between them.
"Say goodnight you ugly bastards" whispered Gabe.
The first slug hit the carrier and caused it's shields to flicker. Three seconds later, the second shot hit and caused the shields to completely faded away. After another three seconds, the third shot impacted on the center of the alien vessel and left a blazing, gaping hole in it's hull. Another three seconds past and the fourth round hit the latter's impact crater dead on and caused the ship to split in two. Slowly the two large sections of the ship drifted away from each other and left molten pieces of hull in their wake. The command crew cheered as they had just made the first successful kill with a Titan. Baxter leaned over to Gabe.
"Between you and me, I thought the rumble of those cannons would shake our bow to pieces" he said with a smile.
"I'm glad you were wrong" said Gabe.
The other two Titans did the same as The Ouranos. The Cronus took down a carrier while The Chaos managed to destroy a carrier with it's MAC guns and a closing cruiser with it's Archer missiles.
"Let's keep as big a distance as possible. Keep them within weapons range and watch out for plasma fire. Let them come to us" said Baxter.
This plan held for a good twenty minutes. Five carriers and nine cruisers later, plasma fire managed to make its way to the Titans. The first torpedo hit The Cronus between the two prongs of the bow. Another skid along the starboard side of The Ouranos' bow and left a long burn. The final shot fully impacted on The Chaos' port side.
"Report!" Baxter yelled.
"We've lost two to three meters of hull on the point of impact, sir. The Cronus reports mild damage but has lost upward starboard MAC gun. The Chaos has full weapons capacity but has lost over seven meters of hull" said an officer.
"Have The Chaos move back and give additional fire. The Cronus is to continue course of action."
"Sir! Covenant boarders are inbound!" said another officer.
"What sector?" asked Baxter.
"The only place they can go sir, the exterior airlocks."
Baxter leaned toward Gabe.
"Your up son. Get out there and stop them from breaking in."
Gabe didn't say anything. He put on his helmet and ran from the bridge to the elevator. He followed the schematic of the ship that was displayed on the bottom, right corner of his helmet. He boarded the elevator and took the monorail to the front of the ship. Once he reached the right stop, he got off the train and boarded another elevator. The ride up to the airlock was quick. When he left the elevator, Gabe found himself in a small hangar that was an airlock all in itself. Within were five Booster frames and twenty ODST's. One of the troopers approached him.
"Sir, one of these boosters is yours. Covenant are right outside the door. We're gonna open up and blow'em to shreds."
"Sounds good" said Gabe.
He ran over and climbed up on one of the Booster Frames. An ODST was already waiting on the rear machine gun. There were troopers ready on the other four boosters.
"Opening in five. Be ready to fire" said one of the troopers.
In five seconds, air hissed from the door as the atmosphere left the chamber. The doors slid open and revealed Covenant Elites in vac suits lined up as if they wanted to be shot. The ODST's on the floor opened up while those on the boosters fired the light guns of the vehicles. The Elite Rangers were dead in a matter of seconds.
"Launch!" Gabe yelled.
The Booster Frames unlatched from their docking hooks and shot out into space. Upon exiting the hangar, Gabe looked to his right and saw Reach. The light of the planet dominated the view. The lines of ships, both Covenant and UNSC, were dots of darkness. Gabe squinted and his vision was corrected. The lines of ships were now fully visible. Only, Gabe didn't like what he saw. Even with the Titans help, the UNSC defending fleet was getting pounded. The Covenant was destroying everything.
Gabe then looked forward. Covenant Spirit dropships were flying over the hull. They didn't even bother to stop. They just opened their doors and three or four Elites with jetpacks emerged from either side. Behind him, the hangar doors slammed shut. As the boosters neared the groups of floating alien warriors, the pilots fired their weapons as the gunners opened up with the rear cannons. The Elites' personal shields quickly shimmered and faded. As soon as their shields fell, purple mist engulfed them and their limp bodies floated into space. One by one, the Elites were quickly picked off.
"WOO! Get some!" the trooper operating Gabe's rear turret yelled.
He fired in small bursts and shot at anything in front of them that wasn't human.
"Seraph fighters inbound!" Gabe yelled.
A small wave of tear shaped fighters flew in over the bow of the ship and sprayed it with a rain of plasma fire. Around the hull, hundreds of point defense guns activated and arose from their stand down position. As they fired, the shields of the Seraphs glimmered. The guns did not stop them. One bolt of enemy fire shot towards Gabe. He ducked at the last second and the plasma missed him by mere inches.
"You OK back there?" he yelled. "Hey trooper!"
He looked back and saw only a molten piece of metal that once served as the base for the machine gun. Gabe then turned around and focused on where he was going with only a slight bit of remorse for that trooper. The wave of Seraphs that flew overhead had passed and were now behind him. Gabe had thought it was clear ,then, one of the Booster Frames to his left suddenly exploded.
"Shit!" one of the troopers yelled.
Gabe turned around and saw that three of the enemy fighters were now on their tales.
"Break formation!" Gabe yelled.
The frame to his right peeled away from the group. The frame to his far left did the same while the closer one took a shot of enemy plasma. It sporadically shook until the front grinded against the hull of The Ouranos and flipped end over end in a wheel of fire. One of the troopers had been catapulted off the booster and shot forward before the first blazing flip. Gabe watched as he tried to grab the air in front of him and helplessly floated into space.
That didn't sit well with him. Gabe pulled up and shot towards the trooper, reaching out his hand in an attempt to save him. The trooper grabbed his wrist and Gabe flung him around to where the machine gun once stood. The trooper grabbed a hold of what was left of the now cooled base for the turret and hung on for dear life.
"Hold on!" Gabe yelled.
He flew back down towards the ship and glided above it's hull. He then slammed on the brakes and the booster came to a sudden stop. A Seraph flew overhead and quickly tried to turn for another pass. The other two fighters had broken formation to chase the remaining boosters.
"Get to the closest airlock!" Gabe yelled.
"Thank you Spartan" said the trooper as he climbed down.
Once the ODST had touched the hull, Gabe shot forward. The Seraph fighter was once again behind him, spraying his tale with bolts of superheated plasma. Gabe looked far ahead and noticed that the ship was quickly coming to an end. If he kept going then he would soon be out in open space where a fighter could pick him off from any direction. He then looked at the controls for the booster and saw that the shields of his pursuing fighter were nearly depleted. The point defense guns were doing their jobs after all.
Now was the time for a plan. Gabe began charging the GAUSS cannon of the frame as the enemy's shields reached a critical level. Slowly they fell as the two fighters neared the bow of the ship. Gabe looked at the energy readings from the Seraph. It's shields were at 5%. The GAUSS cannon was at a charge of 90% and Gabe estimated a time of fifteen seconds before he reached open space.
Slowly, the point defense guns brought the shields down to 1%. The GAUSS cannon was now at 98% and Gabe counted five seconds before he left the ship. He then hit the brakes, but did not come to a complete stop as he did before. Instead, he went slow enough that the Seraph once again flew overhead. Gabe quickly fell in behind it. Just as the enemy's shields depleted, the GAUSS cannon hit it's max and Gabe fired. The small MAC round hit the tail end of the Seraph and completely melted through one end and shot out the other. Just before it crashed into the ship and skid off the bow, Gabe thought he saw something leave the fighter. He came to a stop just before the hull ended and watched as the Seraph crashed into the large piece of hull that joined the two prongs of the bow. It lay in ruins and sprouted blue flames of plasma. Gabe then looked at his motion sensor. Something was quickly closing in on him. Too small to be a fighter.
"I knew it" he thought.
Before he could react, an Elite Ranger swooped down and pulled him off his Booster Frame. Gabe immediately defended himself by elbowing the alien warrior in it's ribs. The Elite groaned in pain as he loosened his grip on the Spartan. Gabe then pushed himself from the alien. He fell through space and landed on the starboard MAC gun, which was still firing in regular intervals. With his weapon still on the Booster Frame, Gabe thought of how he could take the Elite down. As he thought, the cannon which he stood on rumbled violently and fired a round into a nearby Covenant carrier. Beneath his helmet, Gabe smiled.
"Aw! Yeah!" he said aloud.
He quickly ran down the barrel of this giant gun. He would have to time it just right if he wanted his plan to work. The Elite flew in behind him with it's antigravity pack. The two shoulder mounted modules reminded the Spartan of wings. It was like the Elite was a hawk chasing its prey. And Gabe was the mouse.
"A mouse? I'm more like a dam lion" Gabe thought.
The Elite fired it's rifle in short bursts and sprayed the ground behind Gabe with superheated plasma. The MAC gun rumbled once again, causing Gabe to stumble. He was quickly reaching the end of the barrel. He ran from the Elite as it shot at him and the MAC gun fired once again. After six seconds of running, Gabe began to count.
"One!" he said aloud.
He stopped at the very end of the MAC gun.
The Elite flew right at him. Gabe jumped as high as he could and grabbed the alien by the ankles. He used the force of the Elite's antigravity pack and flipped him over the end of the ship and right into the path of the outgoing MAC slug. The Elite quickly regained control and stopped tumbling. He looked up at the Spartan, then down the barrel of the loaded MAC.
"Three" Gabe said.
The ground which the Spartan stood on rumbled. The MAC slug left the chamber. The alien warrior was vaporized by the sheer heat of the MAC slug. The gigantic explosion, or the MAC gun's equivalent to a muzzle flare, lifted Gabe off his feet and shot him back towards the ship. Only with a velocity like that, he wouldn't land. All he could do now was watch as the Battle of Reach occurred around him as he flew through space. During his flight, he noticed the other two Titans firing on Covenant warships not far away. This was the worst way for a Spartan to die, helplessly floating in vacuum while a battle ensued around him.
"Spartan!" a voice on the COM channels called.
Gabe looked down towards the massive ship and saw an ODST flying towards him on a Booster Frame. He reached out his hand and grabbed Gabe before passing him. The Spartan climbed on to the frame and was surprised to see the piece of metal that once served as the base of the turret. The booster was his.
"We're even now!" said the ODST.
Gabe was surprised even further to know that this was the trooper he rescued just minutes ago. He flew them to the hangar which they had set out from.
"Admiral's calling for a Slipspace jump!" said the trooper.
"What?!" Gabe asked.
The booster slowed down and entered the small hangar. It came to a stop over a docking hook which latched on to the undercarriage of the frame. Gabe hopped off the vehicle as the trooper climbed down. Just as the atmosphere began to return to the chamber, he ran for the elevator. Once the air had vented in, the door opened and Gabe boarded.
The run up to the bridge was quick. Gabe entered the code in the security door. 0-3-1-4-1-1. The familiarity of the numbers made his mind spin. He had no idea where he remembered them from.
Once the door opened, the Spartan walked in and witnessed the chaos on the bridge. The command crew worked hectically, screaming and running around, trying to keep the massive ship in order.
"Yes! I want a Slipspace transition in no less than one minute!" Baxter yelled.
Gabe ran up to the command chair.
"We're really gonna jump? What about Reach?" he asked.
"Take a look son. They've already started to glass the planet. What's left of the fleet is getting hammered!"
"What about the mission?" Gabe asked.
"The Pillar of Autumn already made a blind jump. They're gone."
"But the Spartans? What happened to them?"
"Uh" Baxter tried to recollect his thoughts. "We were gonna continue with the mission but only two Spartans made it back to the Autumn. The mission is dead."
"No" Gabe whispered beneath his helmet.
"Admiral! UNSC Cronus is taking extreme damage to it's engines!" said an officer.
"Raise them!" Baxter ordered.
The face of Captain Durden appeared on the screen of Baxter's command chair.
"Captain! What's your status?" he asked.
"Our engines are shot! Slipspace transition impossible." An explosion occurred on screen right behind Durden. He fell over then slowly got back up, coughing. Blood trickled from a gash on his forehead. "I've already issued Cole Protocol. Most of my crew is enroute to UNSC Chaos. As for the rest of us, well, I'm gonna put those nukes to good use and take some of these alien bastards down with us. God speed Admiral. Over and out!" Durden saluted Baxter and cut the connection.
"Durden!? DURDEN!?" said Baxter as he tapped a button on his screen, trying to re-establish a connection.
He got up and looked out the viewport. Covenant ships swarmed the Cronus. Several small human ships were seen flying away from the massacre and towards the nearby UNSC Chaos. As the Covenant tore up the Cronus' hull with waves of plasma, it exploded in a flash. Everyone in the bridge put up their arms and covered their eyes from the nuclear explosion.
"Rest in peace" whispered Baxter.
"Sir, UNSC Chaos is trying to raise us" said an officer.
"Put them through."
Baxter sat back down and the face of Captain Duffy appeared on screen.
"Sir! Captain Durden has-"
"I know, Duffy."
"I'm receiving many survivors from the Cronus. Covenant are inbound to my position."
"Save as many as you can" said Baxter. He started typing on a keypad adjacent to the screen. "Then head for these coordinates. Don't let the Covenant get you. I'll see you on the other side."
The screen blinked off. Baxter removed his hat and put his head in his hands.
"How did it come to this Gabe?" he asked. "How could Reach fall like this?"
The ship began to move forward. The FTL drive started up with a soft hum. The massive ship tore a hole in this dimension and shot into the Slipstream. Baxter breathed a sigh of relief.
"Follow me" he said as he got up.
He stepped down from the command chair and walked over to a door adjacent to the exit. He typed in a few numbers and it slid open. Gabe didn't bother to look at the keypad. Enough things were going through his mind.
Baxter led him into a decent sized room decorated with a few paintings and with several chairs and couches. A bookshelf sat up against the wall next to a liquor cabinet.
"Care for a drink?" Baxter asked.
"No" said Gabe.
The Admiral went over to the liquor cabinet and pulled out an ancient bottle of Jack Daniels whiskey. The black label was crumbled and peeling off. Baxter took out a small glass and filled it up half way. He then placed it on the cabinet, off to the side.
"If you change your mind, it's right there" he said.
He then brought the bottle up and started gulping the old liquor. For five seconds he drank. When he stopped, he turned to Gabe. The liquor that missed it's target made his chin shine.
"How did this happen?" he asked. "How could Reach fall?"
"How did all the other planet's fall?" Gabe asked rhetorically.
"That's not what I meant. This place was a fortress. It's the last stop before Earth. Do you know what this means?"
"Dam right!" said Baxter. He took another swig of whiskey. "Wherever we end up now doesn't matter. These giant ships don't matter. Cause Earth is gonna be glass by the end of the year, and we're gonna be floating through space as the last of our kind."
"As far as I know, I'm already the last of my kind, sir."
"I'll be in my bedroom" he said as he walked over to another door. "Head down to cryo, and keep your eyes open."
Gabe was about to ask what he was talking about but the Admiral had already shut the door. He was very confused. beneath his helmet, he mouthed the words
"What the fuck?"
What should he keeping his eyes open for? With little options, he left for cryonics. He made his way to the elevator. An ODST was standing next to him, awaiting the lift.
"Spartan" he said. Gabe looked at him. "Thanks for saving me out there."
"You're that trooper?" Gabe asked in surprise.
The ODST took his helmet off. Gabe was surprised to see how young this particular trooper was. Gabe raised his hands to remove his helmet. The trooper watched anxiously. The helmet hissed as Gabe turned it. He then took it off and the trooper saw Gabe's face.
"Whoa" he said.
"What?" Gabe asked.
"You look more badass without that helmet."
Gabe stared at him for a few seconds, causing an awkward silence. The young trooper now looked nervous. Gabe then started to laugh for the first time in months. The trooper joined him with relief.
"What's your name?" Gabe asked.
"Corporal John DeCorzo" said the trooper.
"How old are you?"
"You're a little young to be an ODST, and a corporal" said Gabe.
"Yeah. My squad mates call me Kid."
"Well Kid, thanks for saving me."
"No, thanks for saving me!" said Kid. "You didn't have to risk your neck like that. But, I guess that's what you do. Being a Spartan and all."
"I'm no hero Kid" said Gabe.
"Despite what you may say, I think you are. I mean, you saved my life and managed to shove a MAC round up that Elite's ass. By definition, that is bona fide badass."
"I like you Kid" he said while patting the trooper on the back.
Kid gritted his teeth and grunted in pain.
"Son of a bitch!" he yelled.
"Oh! Sorry" said Gabe.
"You're REALLY strong!" said Kid while rubbing his back.
The elevator door opened up and revealed eleven ODST's waiting.
"Hey Kid!" said one of the troopers. "If you and your robot are done pillow chatting, we'd like to get going."
"Sorry Sarge" said Kid.
Gabe and Kid entered the elevator. The Spartan was dumbfounded.
"What just happened?" he thought.
Gabe hadn't laughed in months, and ever since Erica died, he had felt like exactly what that sergeant had just called him. A robot. That young ODST had just made him feel more human than he had felt since that fateful day when he watched the love of his life die. Gabe boarded the lift with Kid. The ride was silent for a few seconds before the sergeant said something that blew Gabe's mind.
"The UNSC Atlas" he said.
Gabe looked at him.
"What?" he asked.
"Ever been aboard the Atlas?"
Gabe knew exactly where this conversation was going.
"I have" he responded.
"Two of my boys died there. The others were fucked up so badly that one's in a wheelchair and the other spent three months in a hospital. A Spartan did that to them. Know anything about this?"
"I think you have an idea who did it. One of your fellow freaks? Or maybe my luck is getting better. Maybe it was you."
"I know who did it, but it wasn't me."
"No" the sergeant said defiantly. "It was you! Now you're in an elevator with eleven real soldiers and the only one who will defend you is that little bastard!" he nodded to Kid.
The ODST's, with the exception of Kid, went to one side of the elevator and singled out Gabe. Kid stood off to the side.
"You realize that the Spartan who did that to your friends was only fourteen at the time. Think of what I can do to you clowns" said Gabe.
"The only clown here is the one wearing the suit of armor" said the sergeant.
"Sarge just chill out" said Kid.
"Shut up you little prick!" he snapped. "What do you say boys? Do we teach this freak a lesson?"
The ODST's smiled. Some nodded while others pounded their fists into their palms. Just then, the elevator stopped and the door opened behind the group of ODST's. Gabe smiled at the sight of a man in Mjolnir armor towering over the troopers.
"Is there a problem here?" he asked.
The troopers turned around and were shocked to see a second Spartan.
"James" Gabe whispered upon hearing his friend's voice.
"Aw shit" the sergeant whispered. "To hell with this."
Everyone left the elevator. The ODST's walked away while Kid and Gabe stayed to chat with James.
"What are you doing here?" Gabe asked.
"John chose Linda and I to destroy some nav data in a Prowler on one of the planet's stations. My T-Pack got hit with one of those damned needle shots and sent me hurling through space. After a solid five minutes of floating, I was raised by a passing Longsword that slowed down enough for me to latch on to. It took me here. I was on my way up to the bridge when the AI told me about you and a little situation with some ODST's."
"Yeah. All except this one. He managed to save my life outside the ship."
"Good job. What's your name" James asked.
"Corporal DeCorzo. They call me Kid."
"DeCorzo? As in Andrew DeCorzo?"
"How do you know my father?" Kid asked in shock.
"Me and a few other Spartans helped him with a little incident about seven years ago. How's he doing?"
"Oh" Kid said sadly. "He died at Paris IV."
"Oh, I'm sorry. He was a good man" said James.
(Author's note: The events and the character Andrew DeCorzo that were just mentioned are from another fanfic of mine called "Project Myrmidon.")
"Yeah. He was" Kid said as he stared out at nothing. "Well, I should get back to my squad. I'll see you later." he walked away and tried to catch up with the other troopers.
"I can't believe this" said Gabe. "You're the last person I expected to see here, especially since the others
"The others? What happened?" James asked.
"Only two made it back to the Autumn alive."
James stared at the deck.
"The only two that could've were John and Linda. The rest were on the surface."
"So there's only four of us left" said Gabe.
"There's nothing we can do for John and Linda. As far as they know, I'm dead in space. I know you work better alone, but we gotta stick together. Keep each other alive."
"The whole reason I'm here is because I work better alone. And you
" he looked at James' left, robotic, arm. "you never give up."
"So what happens now?" James asked.
"Now, we go to cryo. When we wake up, hopefully we see each other alive and Earth still exists."
"Sounds good" said James.
The two walked to cryonics. The room was gigantic. There were at least six levels of cryo tubes. This was only one of the three cryonics chambers. Gabe and James picked two tubes next to each other. Before they got in, they looked around at the other personnel getting settled in. All of them, naked. Spartans ignored the pain of freezer burn and rarely removed their armor before entering a cryo tube.
Before entering the chamber, Gabe placed his helmet in a small locker next to it which was meant for clothes. James however, went in with his full gear. As the chambers closed Gabe and James looked at each other. James used his hand and made a short lateral cut across his chest. The "Stay Cool" sign. Ironic, since they were about to be frozen, but with everything going on, that's exactly what Gabe needed to do. He smiled at James and turned his head forward. The cool temperature overcame him as he shut his eyes and drifted off into cryostasis. His fight had only just begun.