Halo: The Recovery: Part 4
Posted By: witelancer<firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 25 November 2003, 7:25 PM
September 23, 2552
Delta Hexanus system
'Valenen bared his fangs and snarled. The unsuspecting primates would have no warning of his arrival until it was too late. The Valiant would mow down the human ships like a farmer with a sickle. Ah, there they are, thought 'Valenen as he leaned forward on the bridge railing. A wireframe model of the Leviathan appeared on-screen. The words "HUMAN ATTACK SHIP, C-I" appeared next to the wireframe diagram.
"This is the ship that 'Nosolee's tracker is on, correct?" asked 'Valenen.
"Yes, Ship Master," replied a lower-ranking Elite.
"Good. Give me maximum reactor power and we'll destroy it before the filthy humans can react."
"Yes, sir," said the Elite.
Meanwhile, the UNSC fleet was in chaos. The arrival of the Covenant fleet had caught them totally off-guard. The Prometheus disgorged six command shuttles, which would return the Captains to their ships. The UNSC ships rearranged themselves within the phalanx formation. The Blue Wind pulled away from the fleet, leaving the Prometheus at the spearhead. The repair dock Albert Lea, ready to be used as a sacrificial shield.
The bridge of the Prometheus was a flurry of activity. Captain Jenkins felt overwhelmed by the sudden burst of activity. Jenkins was an organized and orderly man, so he began by getting his bearings. "Navigation: what is the Covenant's bearing compared to ours?"
"Sir, the Covenant fleet is headed towards the opposite side of the planet."
"What? Get me Admiral Stanforth."
The communications officer saluted and said, "Yes, sir." He turned and opened a channel to Stanforth.
"What is it, Jenkins?"
"Sir, I have reason to believe that the Covenant fleet's goal is not to attack us but rather to invade Delta Hexanus," said Jenkins.
"Well, the Covenant fleet is headed towards the opposite side of the planet. All of our ships are here. What else could be going on?"
"Not all of our ships, Captain. The Covenant are heading for the Leviathan."
"Why just the Leviathan?"
"There was a Covenant saboteur, remember? He probably planted some sort of tracking device. That's why, Captain."
"I see.... I hope you're right, Admiral."
The Covenant fleet pushed their engines to maximum speed. The blue-white glow of the ion engines could be seen from the other side of the planet. 'Valenen ordered the Valiant to warm up its particle-beam system. The weapon had proven itself at Reach, when a sister ship of the Valiant had destroyed over twenty enemy ships single-handedly with the weapon.
The Leviathan came into view. That can't be all, thought 'Valenen. The single human ship would be no match for the Covenant fleet. "Fire the particle beam!" ordered 'Valenen. The turret on top of the Valiant rotated and emitted a blut-white lance of energy that cut the Leviathan in half. Fire blossomed all over the human ships' hull. The cruiser disintegrated into fiery debris.
"Is that all?" asked the same subordinate.
"It can't be... but I'm not surprised. The humans have been getting more and more pathetic lately," said 'Valenen.
"Should we launch the dropships?" asked another lower-ranked Elite.
"May the Gods bless our troops."
Hundreds of U-shaped dropships shot towards the pristine planet of Delta Hexanus VII. They were full of Grunts, Jackals, Elites, and Hunters, all eager to taste the flesh of the UNSC troops below. The Valiant and other Covenant ships moved into a high geosynchronous orbit.
None of the Covenant commanders realized that this course would take them into the heart of the UNSC fleet. In fact, 'Valenen left the bridge and retired to his cabin to take a nap. Other Elites took over.
A few minutes later
Surface of Delta Hexanus VII
Jones looked up and saw hundreds of incoming Covenant dropships. He began to sprint towards Firebase Alpha. There, Jones would find hundreds of other marines and many dozens of Warthog LRVs. He arrived half an hour later, his ballistic armor soaked with sweat. Warthogs were already motoring their way out of Alpha, their diesel engines thrumming and growling as overaggressive drivers put the pedal to the metal—literally.
Jones found his Warthog—it was in the way back of Alpha's garage. His gunner, Corporal Hylland, and a Private he didn't know were already in the back and the passenger seat. Hylland saluted and pulled back the slide on the 50mm chain gun that was mounted in the rear of the Warthog. Jones jumped into the driver's seat and floored it. The gunner yelled "Punch it!" just as the Warthog's tires squealed on the duracrete floor and the LRV rocketed out of the garage.
"So, Corporal—what are we going to do?" asked Jones.
"Well, Jones, we're going to start by taking down that dropship behind us." Hylland turned the cannon and began to hose the air with chain-gun rounds. The Warthog rocked and shuddered from the immense recoil.
Edge of the Delta Hexanus system
Captain Boronado turned and began to give orders. "Lieutenant Ford: accelerate and make ready for Slipstream jump. Thompson: sound decompression alarms and empty all non-essential compartments. I don't want to go up like a torch if the Covenant hit us."
"Aye," said Thompson. The brilliant young Lieutenant had been transferred to the Blue Wind after the destruction of the Leviathan's reactor, along with the rest of the bridge crew. The remainder of the former flagship's crew was on other UNSC ships or on the surface of the seventh planet.
Boronado sighed and relaxed as the Blue Wind entered Slipspace. The captain knew that it was probably the last rest he would get for a very long time.