Halo: The Recovery: Part 1
Posted By: witelancer<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 23 November 2003, 12:20 AM
To read the formatted version of this fanfic, please go to www.freewebs.com/halotherecovery/index.htm
Prologue (based on The Fall of the Reach)
August 30, 2552
In orbit around REACH military facility, Epsilon Eridani system
Admiral Michael Stanforth watched in horror as the Covenant armada swept through the Epsilon Eridani system. Burning hulks of UNSC and Covenant ships floated through the icy cold blackness of space. MAC rounds, trailing chains of blue-white lightning, shot towards the Covenant fleet. While a few ships took hits and exploded, the majority of the rounds were off-target, fired by poorly positioned or heavily damaged UNSC ships. When the Covenant returned fire, however, the Covenant's all-too-deadly plasma torpedoes destroyed almost every remaining UNSC ship.
As Stanforth watched the space battle from the Leviathan, he overheard the radio traffic from Reach's surface. It was terrible news.
"Reactor complex seven has been compromised! Shut it down! Shut down all the reactors!" screamed an unknown Marine. "The Covenant have landed in force! Thousands of them have—"
The transmissions suddenly ceased. Stanforth could see mushroom clouds erupting on Reach's surface. The Super MAC guns suddenly stopped firing, their broadcast power generators destroyed. A Covenant battle group of three dozen destroyers and frigates came out of Slipspace right next to the disabled Super MAC guns, firing plasma torpedoes and pulse lasers. The guns boiled away, leaving Reach defenseless.
"Lieutenant Thompson," Stanforth said, "Notify the rest of the fleet that we will regroup at Delta Hexanus."
"Aye, sir," responded the haggard-looking Thompson as she pulled her red hair aside and began tapping out a message at her communications.
"Lieutenant Ford—we need to get out of here. We've lost the battle. Bring us around to course 180 and begin our acceleration to Slipspace."
"Yes sir!" said Ford with military discipline. He began to calculate a course to bring the Leviathan out of the Epsilon Eridani system. Lights glowed and illuminated his battle-weary face.
The view of the stars morphed into a green hole in space-time as the Leviathan accelerated into Slipstream space. Admiral Stanforth turned back to Thompson.
"Send a message to FLEETCOMHQ," he said, "and tell
them about the battle. Lieutenant Dirksen, you have the bridge. I'm going to go take a nap."
The Admiral turned and strode off the bridge. The bridge crew watched him momentarily and then returned to their assigned tasks. The Leviathan continued its journey through Slipspace.
September 17, 2552
Delta Hexanus system, approximately 15 light-years from Earth.
Aboard the Leviathan, in geosynchronous orbit over Delta Hexanus VII
The muted clicks of Admiral Stanforth's deck shoes on the cold, hard titanium A floor of the Leviathan's bridge could be heard for miles in the metallic passageways of the mighty UNSC cruiser. As Stanforth reached the command chair, all four of the ship's bridge crew stood at-attention and saluted. He stopped, turned around, and began to address them.
"Welcome back," he said. "We were lucky to have escaped with our lives. It's been two weeks since we arrived here in the Delta Hexanus system. I've marshaled up what remains of our fleet in the Inner Colonies. I have to say that what's left of the fleet is not in the greatest shape. We lost too many good people and too many good ships out there.
But it's not our job to mourn the dead. Our duty is to defend Earth with everything we've got. Although fighting and killing the Covenant is an important part of that duty, we must also fight them on an electronic level. We must adhere to the Cole Protocol at all costs. We were lucky at Reach. Good men and women gave their lives to protect the secret of Earth's whereabouts.
So, let's continue to do our duty. Lieutenant Dirksen, you can start by giving me a status report."
Dirksen, a middle-aged Lieutenant, First Class, saluted and began his status report. "Well, sir, the Leviathan itself is in good shape. A week ago, the orbital repair station Albert Lea docked with our ship. They repaired almost all the damage to the reactor and the weapons. All systems look like they're in good shape. Hull breaches have been sealed and the pressurization system has been repaired."
"Excellent. Lieutenant Heston, what about our weapons?" asked Stanforth, who was obviously pleased by the good repair work the Albert Lea's crew had done.
"Sir, Archer missile pods A through Z have all been reloaded. The MAC system has been reloaded with the new lightweight shredder rounds—this allows us to fire three MAC shots with just one charge. We have two squadrons of C709 Longsword interceptors ready to launch. Finally, we've also replenished our stock of Shiva-class nuclear missiles. In short, sir, we're ready to kick some ass," concluded Heston, a gaunt, pale man with a shaved head and many tattoos.
"Interesting, Lieutenant Heston. Tell me about this new MAC system."
"It looks like ONI has been up to their usual tricks, sir. The guys from the Albert Lea did a complete refit of our MAC system. They put in energy recyclers and replaced our magazine of MAC rounds. As I explained before, we can fire three rounds on one charge."
Wow, someone's got too much time on his hands, thought Stanforth. The new MAC system was a marvel of engineering. The Admiral turned and looked out the bridge viewport. The sparkling green gem of Delta Hexanus VII was visible in the distance. As Stanforth examined the beautiful planet, he was reminded of the many other worlds that had once been just like this one. The Covenant had slaughtered millions and glassed hundreds of planets on their rampage. Stanforth then turned back to the crew.
"Lieutenant Thompson—what is the status of the fleet? Has everyone checked in?" asked Stanforth.
"Yes sir. We have accounted for almost every ship that we know survived the battle at Reach. The Prometheus Battle Group checked in just over an hour ago. We have also established radio contact with several other ships that are on their way in-system," said Thompson, an attractive young redhead.
"Excellent. Now, let's discuss a plan for shoring up morale."
But before Stanforth could speak further, he was cut off by an alarm that was loudly blaring from Lieutenant Ford's console.
"Sir! The reactor's been compromised! We have meltdown in thirty seconds!" screamed the agitated Lieutenant.
"Engage the reactor safeties! Vent all drive plasma to space!" ordered Stanforth.
The Leviathan shook as tons of superheated radioactive fuel rods were ejected into space. The lights went out and were soon replaced with blood-red emergency floods. "What the hell was that!?" demanded Stanforth.
A few minutes before
The Engine Room of the Leviathan
Lalyap 'Nosolee trained his plasma rifle on the head of a UNSC Marine. The Engine Room of the Leviathan was practically unguarded, with only one soldier standing guard. A mistake typical of humans, thought 'Nosolee. 'Nosolee was an "Elite", the commanding caste in the Covenant's ground forces. He had infiltrated the Leviathan by using a Seraph-class fighter in the battle for Reach. The alien turned and removed something from the webbed pouch at his belt. He tossed a tiny device onto the wall of the Engine Room. Then, he activated his camo generator and became merely a flicker in the air.
'Nosolee made final adjustments and fired. The azure bolt of energy hit the Marine in the back of the head, setting his helmet on fire and killing him instantly. The corpse slumped forward onto the console, barely missing the bright red alarm button. 'Nosolee looked down and cursed. The camo generator's battery had run out, and he was no longer invisible. It would be an idea worthy of the Prophets to hurry, thought 'Nosolee. He primed a plasma grenade and then hit the blast shield control on the Engine Room's main console. As the blast shield on the reactor slid back, 'Nosolee tossed the energy bomb. The plasma grenade left a fluorescent blue trail as it sailed through the air.
Three seconds later, all hell broke loose as the grenade exploded. Gouts of flame erupted from the gargantuan main reactor. The grenade breached the outer lining, causing the inferno within to shoot out like the breath of a dragon. The reactor began to slowly disintegrate, and pieces of the shielding began to fly through the air. 'Nosolee ducked a piece of Titanium A shielding and waited for the ship to explode, giving him a ticket to Paradise.
But 'Nosolee's work was in vain. The reactor suddenly stopped venting flames. The inferno seemed to be dying, and a howling noise could be heard. The humans must have safety systems, thought 'Nosolee. I will devise another way to destroy the ship. He crept towards the brightly lit double door leading out of the Engine Room. Without warning, the halves of the door slid apart, revealing a group of four Marines in fireproof suits, armed with MA5B assault rifles. The Marines seemed taken aback, and then they opened fire. The first twenty rounds or so were absorbed by 'Nosolee's shields. But before the alien commando could roll for cover and return fire with his plasma rifle, his personal shields failed. 'Nosolee felt a round puncture his environment suit, and he fell backwards, waiting for his first glimpse of paradise.
"What a mess!" screamed one of the Marines. The
Elite's body had been torn apart by the converging streams of 7.62 mm rounds. Then, the corpse had fallen backwards into the gaping hole in the reactor. Parts of the body had flash-boiled and flash-frozen from the heat of the reactor and the cold of space, leaving chunks of alien meat all over the ceilings and bulkheads of the engine room.
The Marines began to search the room for more Covenant troops. Eventually, the Marines left and the engineers entered. But 'Nosolee's tracker never left the room