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Longsword: Desperation-Part Two
Posted By: Sterfrye36<Sterfrye36@yahoo.com>
Date: 6 June 2003, 4:27 PM

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      Gruth, a high caste Brute who commandeered the Covenant Carrier Azelastine watched as the Gods' Wrath began to break up in Earth's atmosphere.
      It took him a split second to recover from his stupor.
      "Draw all power from weapons and engines to reinforce our shields! I don't want a single MAC round to get through!"
      Several "Yes, my Brute Lord"s rang back at him.
      He collapsed back into his command chair. He still couldn't believe it.
      Two of the three Godshands ships, what the Humans had so derogatorily called Snipes were gone. Only one remained in the entire fleet.
      He closed his eyes. This war with the Humans had taxed the Covenant more than the Humans would ever know.
      They had lost a portion of their fleet to early Human resistance, and had then had lost slightly over half of their fleet at Reach. Then, they had lost another two dozen ships at Halo when the Humans destroyed it. Now they were losing even more.
      Granted, the Covenant had had superior tactics, weapons and resources, but the Humans would NOT give up even though they were outgunned and outnumbered.
      What kind of race were they?
      They had different rationales, all right. They tried to preserve personnel, weapons and resources much more so than the Covenant had. Perhaps that was a mistake on our part, Gruth mused.
      Of the entire Covenant, Gruth was sure he was the most secular.
      Oh sure, he had gone to war as eager as any other Brute, but the fact that only the Prophets knew what the gods wanted him continually nagged at him.
      That and the fact that the Prophets had been calling for a union among Covenant. Plus, they had been promising that the seventh and final Covenant race would be found soon along with the Forerunner.
      In that exact same hour, they had found the Humans.
      It was too much of a coincidence to be ignored.
      Gruth did know that the Humans would never accept the Covenant way of living. He wished they would. The only reason that the Covenant had gone to war was because the prophets said they should. The fact that unrest had been growing against the prophets and the gods just prior to the war still haunted him.
      At that point of course, the Brutes were still not part of the Covenant. They had joined just recently. He had learned all this from the history texts...
      Then, the truth hit him like a Hunter was ramming him.
      Should he? Would the rest of the crew go along?
      He opened his eyes.
      He had made his decision.

      Captain Reeves watched the first Covenant Carrier as it began to break up in the atmosphere.
      He felt no remorse for its crew. They deserved to die like that. He shifted his gaze.
      Now for Carrier number two.

      Every Elite on the bridge stared at Gruth. Their mandibles began to click wildly. After thirty seconds, it was decided.
      They agreed.

      "Captain, the Covenant Carrier has dropped its shields!" Sangan said, his eyes wide with shock.
      "What!?" Captain Reeves said while spinning around to face the Maverick's AI with a stunned look on his face.
      "Yes, sir, you heard me right. They dropped their shields. Only thing that ship's powering is life support."
      Just then, a voice boomed out over the bridge's loudspeaker.
      "Human Captain of the Cruiser Maverick," the deep growling voice began. "I am Gruth, the commander of the Covenant Carrier Azelastine. My crew and I wish to defect. We believe we have been misled by the Prophets. We hope you will accept us."
      Captain Reeves just stood there, slack jawed. He snapped out of it about a minute later.
      "Um," Captain Reeves began, "I hope that you don't mind that we can't exactly accept your statement on face value..."
      "We do not mind. As I said before, we feel that we have been betrayed by the Prophets and that is why we seek to defect."
      "Right, we'll send a party right over."

      Now it was Captain Reeves's turn to collapse into his chair. Could that Brute be telling the truth?
A Covenant Brute practically hanging over the keys to a Covenant Carrier?
      Unbelievable, simply unbelievable.

Small points of green light once again began to form near Earth.

      "Captain, slipspace entry points forming!" Sangan yelled, his mouth a grim line of determination.
      "All right Gruth, if you're telling the truth, this is the time to prove it!" Captain Reeves spoke into the com.

      The area around the slipspace entry points began to warp. It twisted and turned and then revealed Covenant ships.
      They numbered with five more Cruisers, twenty Frigates, fourteen Destroyers and various smaller ships and fighters.
      If anything, a tougher group than they had faced before, and this time, there wasn't a nuclear mine welcome mat laid out.

      Gruth immediately began giving out orders.
      "Bring us around to face them! Shields at full!"
      Then Gruth had another idea.
      But will it work, he thought to himself.
      It was worth a shot.

      Gruth hailed all of the other Covenant ships in the system, and then explained how he thought they had been betrayed by the Prophets.
      They immediately responded with pledges... to kill him and the Humans on behalf of the Prophets and gods.

      "Captain of the Cruiser Maverick, did you get all that?"
      "Yes, Gruth. We did."
      "Then you see I am not trying to stab you in the back so to speak."
      "Yes, we do."
      "Well then, you can also see I can do with some reinforcements!"
      "Hang on; we'll be in position in about another two minutes!"

      Captain Reeves changed channels then spoke again:
      "I'm going to engage at close range, I could do with a few friends so to speak!"
      He waited a few seconds, and a new voice popped through the com.
      "This is Captain McCoy of the Liberator. How can I help you Captain Reeves?"
      Captain Reeves took a look at the tactical readouts on his right armrest.
      The Liberator was another Marathon-class cruiser, like the Maverick. Its armament was three triple Macs, 7,200 Archer missiles and fifty, sixty-millimeter cannons arrayed with overlapping fields of fire for point defense.
      It was as good a partner as he could get.
      "Gruth and I here were planning on taking down a few Covvie ships, care to join us?"
      "You know it," Captain McCoy replied.