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At ONI...
Posted By: xitWOUND117<ChikenDevilR2@aol.com>
Date: 19 August 2003, 11:53 PM

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      John Grierham walked through the halls of the ONI building on Sigma Octanus IV. A badge hung from around his neck that said, "Class 9 Access: John Grierham". Next to his name was his picture. It had been twelve years since he had been....accepted into the ONI. Unlike others in the Office of Naval Intelligence, he had served in the Navy prior to his work at ONI, and before his Navy duty he had been in the Marines, an ODST. Twenty years of hard military service takes a toll on people. He looked like he was almost fifty, rather that thirty-nine.
      He walked into the conference room on his left, closing the door behind him. Sitting at the large table in the center of the room was Robert McDuvan, head of all ONI facilities on Sigma Octanus, and Thom Randerson, a field operative.
      John sat at the end of the table, across from McDuvan. Randerson sat to the right of McDuvan. "Well boys, it's been one week since the fall of Reach. Do we have any answers to what that new Covenant ship is, or are we still as bloody clueless as we were before?"
      "Well, sir, the reports Thom gave us don't tell us much," said John, "As you know, the one we saw at Reach absolutely annihilated six of our ships with a new weapon until it was destroyed by the Pillar of Autumn, piloted by Captain Keyes, who we have lost contact with when he jumped through Slipspace to, we assume, a randomized vector. Thom's reports show that there are over twenty of these ships already in Covenant docks, and ten more in various production stages. It doesn't look very good for us."
      "What about their weapons? Do we know anything about them?" asked McDuvan. "Only the reports from the personnel rescued from lifepods. They probably aren't plasma, much too fast. To tell you the truth, I have no idea."
      "Damn. Well, how are we going to find out what their weapons are?" McDuvan asked. "I don't know. First, I want to send him," John said, pointing at Thom, "out to do a flyby of one of those ships using a Longsword equipped with our latest stealth technology. Hopefully, once he gets some sensor readouts from that mission, it will tell us something."
      "What do you think, Thom? I don't want to send you back out there if you don't want to. I sure as hell wouldn't want to go near one of those things twice," McDuvan said. "I'm all for it, sir. What ever I can do to help," Thom answered. "That's the spirit! Now, John, what should we tell the Admirals. They outta know how to deal with these things," McDuvan asked, turning to John.
      "Actually, I don't think we should tell them anything," replied John. "What? Why not? We don't want our whole Navy getting incinerated by these new ships, do we?" "Sir, if we tell the Admirals it'll eventually leak down to the troops," answered John, "Our soldiers have enough to deal with, they don't need or want to know that the Covenant have a new, deadlier weapon. The Covenant are deadly enough as it is. If these new ships begin to show up more and we start suffering some pretty bad casualties, then we'll tell them what to do about these ships."
      "Okay, that's all for today. I'll do what I can about these new Covenant warships, and I want you," McDuvan said, looking at Thom, "into that Longsword and launched as soon as you can. John, I want you working on this case as much as you can. And until we find out the specifics about these ships I don't want anyone else to know." "Yes sir," John and Thom said simultaneously. As John walked out of the room, he hoped that the stuff Thom got would help humanity, whether it extended it's life expectancy by a year or a week, he hoped it would help.

      Private Luke Baltez continued his daily patrol. Every day he did his patrol, and every day nothing happened. Many of his buddies had been lucky enough to get a frontline posistion and get a chance to kill some Covenant. Some of them had even gotten killed, but it was better than getting stuck with a boring patrol.
      Private Baltez looked up at the sky and shielded his eyes. Six UNSC cruisers and two destroyers held posistion in dock over Sigma Octanus IV. There would have been more ships stationed on Sigma Octanus, but after Reach defenses had been stretched thin. The Admiralty was struggling to put together an attack to strike back, but they didn't have the ships to do it.
      Suddenly a huge Covenant ship entered the horizon. The cruisers broke free of the repair station immediatly, but they were too late. A silver streak burst forth from the Covenant ship, crippling or destroying the cruisers.       The other ships, however, scrambled to fire at the Covenant ship. Archer missiles and MAC rounds streaked toward the Covenant ship. Two Covenant Frigates exited Slipspace directly behind the UNSC destroyers and, as soon as they had powered up, fired plasma torpeados at each destroyers. The Archer missiles and MAC rounds hit the Covenant ship, only detonate or bounce off it's shields. The plasma torpeados, though, boiled through the destroyers' armor. One exploded in a ball of fire, the other just lost power and drifted toward Sigma Octanus.
      The remaining cruiser tried to run, but it was gunned down by the Frigates. And, as Luke saw the Covenant ship charging it's weapons and point them at Sigma Octanus, he suddenly took back his wish to be in the front lines.
      Then he and the ONI station he was patrolling around were vaporized.