Halo- Countdown to Zero
Author: AtinMando

Chapter 1
The Signal

Inside a Covenant Remnant Space Station, April 27, 2553.

“But this doesn't make any sense. Why would the Covenant destroy their own signal?” Solipsil asked.

“I don't know. But this isn't their style. They like a straightforward method. A double bluff isn't like them.” Atin, Zeta 1, replied.

“Well, at any rate, the decryption is done. Lets get out of here, Atin.”

“Agreed.” Atin got out his Com link.

“'Come in, Char. You read me?'

'I read you, Chief. What's up?' replied Zeta 3, Charlotte, the squad sniper and tech specialist.

“We're done here, but the Covie system's trashed. Were on our way back.”

'Copy that. We're waiting.” Solipsil stopped.

“Chief, I got something. Something that a normal scan wouldn't pick up.”

“What is it?” Atin asked.

“Its a footprint. From a UNSC system! Thats impossible. We were the only ones here.”

Atin looked confused. “Maybe not. Run a full scan. Find out where that footprint came from.”

“Right. Scanning................what? Impossible! Impossible!”

“What? Whats going on?”

“I'm blocked out! That can't happen with a UNSC system! I have full access!”

“That doesn't matter. Break in. No matter what the cost.”

“Right. Working.........I'm in. What? I don't recognize that routing code.”

“What?”

“The ones that hacked the system must have trashed it. But they didn't tell us. The signal is from ONI. From a group I've never heard of. Section Zero.”


Atin entered the bridge of the UNSC Supercruiser Stonewall. Among the bridge crew was Charlotte. As she looked up at him, she said,

“Welcome back. Everything go normally?” Atin smiled.

“Nothing goes normally. But we found something strange. You're familiar with ONI?” Charlotte furrowed her brow. “Not as well as some people. They're Military Intelligence. That's all I know.” “Well, you know that there is Section One. They handle enemy force deployments and technology. Then there is Section Two. They are military propaganda. After that is Section Three. They run the secret projects, like NavSpecWar. But I bet you haven't heard of a Section Zero.”

“Never.”

Atin nodded. “I just found out. They trashed the Covie system.”

“How? I thought that their system is unbreakable.”

“So did we. But there are two things that don't make sense. First, they locked Solipsil out when she has access to all systems. Second, why would they do the job, and then send someone else to do it again?”

“I don't know, maybe to cover their tracks? But either way, this doesn't sound g-”

Just then, the NAV Officer yelled, “Slipspace rupture! Incoming enemy ships! Tracking one, no, five, no, twenty-two, wait, seventy-eight ships! Vectors everywhere!”


The UNSC Enforcer-Class Supercruiser was a powerful ship. A damn powerful ship. With over

80 turrets on the front hull alone, and a Super-MAC cannon under the main section, it was a warhorse. But not even this powerhouse could destroy 78 mixed Covenant ships.

On the bridge, Atin and Charlotte looked at the ships with disbelief.

“S-Sir? Orders, Sir?” The NAV Officer asked shakily.

Atin looked at the situation. It was possible, but there wasn't enough time. Just then, a voice came on the COM.

“This is Sangheili Ship Master Ntah 'Vhrom. We have been trailing the Jirhanalie for a number of days, ans it looks like you could use our assistance.”

“Very appricatied, Ship Master. I have a plan. But we will need you to distract them.”

“Right. I hope you know what you are doing. Weapons! Charge all plasma turrets! Full power to shields!”

“All right people, I want you to load one of our escape salons with all the nukes we got! Transfer power to kinetic shields and Shaw-Fujikawa engines.”

Charlotte raised her eyes with surprise. “What!? You can't be serious! If we detonate a nuke, it will take down our Super MAC for 24 hours!”

“I know. But the nukes are the main part of my plan. You heard me. Get to it!”

“Yes Sir!”

“Ship Master, you're gonna want to charge your slipspace generator if you want to survive. And transfer power to shields and slipspace. Nothing else. Copy that?”

“Yes, I receive. What exactly are you planning?”

“To blow all of those Brute forces to hell.”

Charlotte yelled, “All of the nukes are in salon 2-B. Ready to jettison salon.”

Atin turned to the viewscreen. The Elite forces were really giving the Brutes hell. They can still maneuver while giving power to the shields.

“All right. Lets do it. Ship Master, get out of here. Thanks for your help.”

“Right. Best of luck, human.”

“Target the flagship of the fleet. Charge the Super MAC and remove safeties on Archer Missiles pods A1 through P20.”

Charlotte raised her eyebrows. “Thats a whole lot of missiles.”

“ 120 pods, to be exact.”

Each pod contained 20 missiles. With 120 pods, that would add up to 2,400 missiles.

The NAV Officer turned and said, “Safeties removed. Archer Missile pods A1 through F20 armed and ready to fire. Super MAC charged and ready to fire. Covenant Flagship is an Assault Carrier. Targeting weakest spot on its hull. Targeted. Ready to Fire.”

Atin nodded. “Good. Link firing of Missiles and MAC. Ready. Fire.” The lights flickered and went out. The entire ship shuddered and the MAC slug shot forward. At the same time, three hundred and twenty missiles launched and streaked toward the enemy flagship. The MAC shot impacted and blew through the shields and half the hull. The Archers went through the hole in the ship and a series of explosions followed. The explosions tore through the ship until the missiles impacted the reactor core and the ship was destroyed in a violent explosion.

“Now, lets finish this. Jettison the escape salon. Jump-heat the slipspace converters.”

Charlotte checked the status. “Done and done, sir. Ready to fire. Oh, and if you were wanting to check on your salon from hell, I just launched a recon drone.”

“Very good, Char. Activate Shaw-Fujikawa engine!”

As the Supercruiser entered Slipspace, the feed from the drone filled the screen.

“Status on the nukes?”

“Ready to fire, sir. Giving you detonation codes. All set.”

“Right. Got it.” Atin looked at the red button that could disintegrate dozens of enemy ships.

“Time to die, Brutes.” Atin closed his eyes and pressed the button. A beep confirmed the

detonation. The feed from the drone showed an instant hellhole. A white flash filled the screen. When it disappeared, the display showed only 4 ships intact, with 3 of them missing part of their hull.

“Very good, crew. Now lets head home.”

Charlotte looked at Atin. “Now what, we just go home?”

“No. We have a job to do. To reveal Section Zero and find out what they intend to do. This is just the beginning.”

 

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