Halo- Countdown to Zero
Author: AtinMando

Chapter 11
The Battle of Delta Halo

On board UNSC Supercruiser Stonewall


Atin snapped out of it, and the cloud that was in his mind evaporated instantly. “Nikki. ETA to Delta Halo?”

Nikki looked at Atin. “15 minutes. Give or take 5.” Slipspace travel always bent the temporal flow. That wasn't all, but Atin didn't want to remember the principles of Slipstream Space.

“Tell the ships to go to general quarters. I want to be ready.”

Nikki nodded. “Copy that. Damn. Atin! Coming out of Slipspace in 15 seconds!”


The space around Delta Halo rippled and shot out light that was caused by the Chrenkov Radiation made by the nukes aboard the ships. The Battlegroup Stonewall finally landed in the trap that Section Zero set. They would be destroyed.



“Exiting slipspace in 5. 4. 3. 2. 1.”

The ships transitioned to realspace and the stars shone, with a blue planet in the background. By the planet, there was a ring the size of a moon.

“Halo. Always makes you stare.” Atin couldn't help but feel amazed. Such size. Such deadly power. The power to kill all life. “Huh? What's this?”

On closer inspection of the ringworld, Atin saw specks of light. He zoomed in, and those specks became strange objects, looking almost like whales in the sea. It was a shape that had been burned into Atin's mind.

Covenant Capital Ships. CCS-Class Battleships, Destroyers, Frigates, and even two massive Assault Carriers.

A huge fleet. Massive. Damn. It would take a human fleet double the size of this one to be on even ground with them.

On Atin's monitor, a Brute Cheiftain clad in golden armor appeared. “I am Salumus. We have been instructed by the Guardian of the Great Journey to destroy you. The Guardian will send us on the Journey after we dispose of you. Die, humans.”


“Damn! Ambush!” Atin pounded his fists on the control panel. “All hands, Battlestations! Group targets and fire at will!” To Kami, the gunnery officer, he said, “Charge the Super MAC. Double shot.”

Kami looked at Atin with worry.”Atin, you know that charging a double shot will take energy from kinetic shields.”

Atin nodded. “Kinetic shields aren't worth crap against those energy and plasma weapons. We need a double shot.” To Nikki, he said, “Find out what ship is the flagship. I want to find that Chieftain.”

“Sir, flagship identified. Those Brutes are complacent about their ships. We should fix that.”

Atin smiled. “Agreed. Super MAC?”

Kami said, “Charged and ready!”

“Fire!”

The entire Supercruiser shuddered, the lights went out, and twin bolts of red hot lightning shot out and impacted the Assault Carrier, and the feed from the Chieftain's bridge immediately turned to static. The Flagship's nose crumpled with the impact of the first slug, and the second slug went clean through, and gutted the ship. It exploded violently and sent two other ships tumbling.

Right after that, all of the other ships opened fire in a huge wave of plasma.

Atin yelled over the intercom, “Evade! Get away now!”

The plasma rolled over the UNSC ships. Most of them boiled away in an instant. After the plasma dissipated, only 17 ships remained. “Status! What's the Stonewall's status?”

Nikki replied, “The Stonewall was lucky. Only minor hits. No hull breaches. Remaining friendly ships are mixed. Some are good, some are lucky to be intact.”

“Damn.” Atin snarled.

“Incoming message! You want to take it?”

It might be Brutes, rubbing it in, but then again, it might not. “I'll take it.”

The Command Panel lit up, and a commanding voice said, “This is Sangheili Ship Master Rtas 'Vadum. We have come to assist you in stopping the Ring from firing. Let us handle those beasts.”

A hole in slipspace appeared, and a huge fleet of Covenant ships appeared and shot lances of plasma at the Brute ships. The Elites' plasma was much more effective than the Brutes because a leaked signal from the AI Cortana taught the Elites how to maximize their plasma by compressing it into a needle thin lance. The Elites' wisely kept this secret to themselves, and that helped them in the war.

“Ha! Eat it, Brutes!” Jon yelled.

“Wait. We're not through yet.” Atin leaned forward. The Brute ships started glowing. The built-up plasma shot, but not at the Elites. The plasma streamed straight toward the Stonewall.

Atin snarled, “Damn! Evasive Maneuvers!” But it was too late. The plasma shot forward and impacted the rear part of the Supercruiser and boiled the armor away.

Nikki yelled, “Engines damaged! Reactor level skyrocketing! Going critical in 4 minutes! The Stonewall's going down!”

Atin bowed his head. “Damn. Kami! Man the Damage Control! Jon! You're on weapons!”

Kami ran over to the Damage Control Console, something that was never used before.

“Jon. It's time. The Stonewall's doomed. There's nothing we can do to stop that. But we can give them her parting gift. Arm Archer missile pods A1 through Z20.

All of the bridge crew felt their mouths drop. Row A had 20 pods. 1 pod had 20 high-explosive missiles. 26 rows, with 20 pods each, each pod having 20 missiles, added up to 10,400 missiles. A hell of a parting gift.

Jon smiled. “One last resort, coming up!”

“Last resort?” Kami asked. On Atin's console, a red touch button appeared. Above it read, Burning Bigbang. Atin smiled as he pressed the button. A man-made hellhole that was also Stonewall's dying breath.



On board the Assault Carrier Shadow of Intent, Sangheili Ship Master Rtas 'Vadum was having his hands full with the Brute fleet. He turned his head just in time to see what looked like the human lead ship exploding.

The Weapons engineer stared at the smoke, and felt his jaw mandibles go slack. “Has it been hit?”

Rtas felt confident in the Humans. They were light-years behind the Covenant, and yet, they had still given them hell. The smoke around the ship started clearing, and he saw that the ship was intact, and the explosion was really thousands of their ballistic missiles. Enough to destroy 20 Brute ships. Rtas felt good that he was now the humans' ally, rather than their enemy.


“Missiles launched!” Jon yelled. Atin felt himself smiling at the sight of over 10,000 missiles shooting towards the hostile ships. But then, he realized that he almost forgot what he had to do.

“Nikki! Give me 150% thrust straight to Delta Halo! I'm going to put her down right on top of Section Zero.”

Nikki looked at Atin, astonished. “Aye, sir. Reactor skyrocketing. Critical in 30 seconds. 20 seconds. 10 seconds. 5.”

Atin yelled hurriedly, “Shutdown engine now! Vent coolant! Shut down the reactor completely!”

Shutting down a Nuclear Reactor completely is the final blow to a ship. It takes all of the power away and kills the ship. This was it. The Stonewall was doomed.

“Reactor temperature going down. Stabilizing. Power lost.” Going down.


The Stonewall plummeted into the artificial atmosphere of Delta Halo with a loud scream. Atin tried to find a safe plain to set her down on. The supercruiser smashed into a soft rock butte, shattered it, and landed in a valley below. The stern section was trashed and mangled, but the bow section managed to emerge in good shape.


“All right, troops. Grab a weapon, suit up, and lets get away from this wreck, cause it'll be a signal flare to hostile troops.” Atin stood from the Command console and pressed what Commanding Officers call the Final Button. The database was wiped, and all systems were shutdown permanently. The squad grabbed their weapons and latched them on to the back of their armor. “Let's go, Zeta.”

 

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