(Halo, Mass Effect x-over)
For the crew of the Matriarchs Light, a small cov-ops frigate. The day was going to shit.
The screams, commands, and shouted curses flare across the bridge, told of a battle which was lost from the start. A roar from an armor-plated Turian echoed strangely across the bridge "Captain! The shields cant take another hit!"
With a quick shouted "Helm! Get us out of here!" from the Asari, the small frigate jumped into FTL drive.
Ships evening found them dumping drive charge in the mass shadow of a small moon. Asari Captain Liara T'soni rubbed a hand across her brow. Five long hard years had aged her in a way she never would have imagined. The ship was a wreck. Fifteen percent drive core functionality, weapons offline, cloak was just a load of dead weight now. The armor was breached in multiple places. If it wasn't for the massive drive core stuffed in the ass of the ship they would be dead in space now.
A ping from the bridge doorway had her call to enter, and in walked a very close friend. She acknowledged the Turian, "Garrus."
Garrus Vakarin, Specter of council space. She had been his first major rescue mission, it seemed so strange looking back. She had never thought of being a ships officer. But he had offered, and for her friend she had accepted.
"How's engineering look?" her six year long association with the Turian had allowed her to pick up on his body language. He had good news, "Very good. Having Tali on board is a gift from the Spirits. We should be up to 50% function by tomorrow according to her." Liara nodded with satisfaction, indeed the Quarian had been a gift of the goddess "Anything else?"
The Turian stood ill at ease, "Twelve casualties. Three fatal. Two are down until we can get somewhere with medical facilities."
She buried her face in her hands, her blue skin taking a darker hue in her grief. Half the crew was dead now. And they had been understaffed to begin with. When she finally looked up her face was streaked with tears, "What are your orders, Specter?"
"I've contacted the council. The reapers are everywhere it seems, but not in strength. I warned them and they didn't listen. So now they've gotten desperate."
A heavy sigh escaped the Turian. "The council has ordered me to do something incredibly stupid…."
For commander Jane Sheppard UNSC, the old saw about an old dog and new tricks was always forefront as she walked through the ship. When she first had begun her tenure as an officer of the UNSC, she had always requested the newest and best of the fleet to serve on. She hadn't always gotten her wish. But until she had boarded this old dog, she had at least been on or near the forefront of technology.
Until the Hammer of Dawn that is. When she had first come aboard She was the second oldest ship in the fleet. At forty two years old the ship had seen fifteen more orbits of earth around the sun then she had. And it showed. Things were failing left and right. Parts were not replaced easily, and more often then not had to be manufactured from scratch.
The only thing that had kept Her from the scrap yard was the war. The Human-Covenant war had been in its final stages when High-Com had re-commissioned the ship. Quickly refueled and rearmed she had just managed to arrive to serve in the final battle over Earth.
Sheppard shook her head. The ship had taken a such a beating, it seemed impossible for Her to fight on. But for a Halcyon class light cruiser, impossible seems to be the order of business. With most of Her compartments vented to space, Her MAC the only operational piece of war equipment left, missile supplies and point defense guns exhausted, the Hammer of Dawn had fought on. Helping to secure the victory in Sol system.
High-Com decided She had earned a new chance at Life. That or they had been really desperate for ships.
Rebuilt, Reinvented, and Rearmed. The Hammer of Dawn got a new lease. Receiving the near same upgrades as her sister ship, Pillar of Autumn, she was re-commissioned following the war. Along with new armaments, new crew, and pretty much new everything, including some new tricks. She received a new name.
Yes, Sheppard thought, sometimes you could indeed teach an old dog, new tricks.
Sol system, Neptune Pluto transit sub-light velocity "Dawnhammer"
The dark red hair and cold green eyes turned away from the viewport and tracked in on the voice of Mr. Pressly, the third officer. "What is it Mr. Pressly?" Even though the man was a couple years her senior in terms of time in service and age, she had rank. Nothing she ever pulled of course, but the man… was… underwhelming? He just didn't have the drive she had, she guessed.
"Strange readings ma'am, our mass detectors have been twitching like crazy." he pointed out a couple of readings on the holopanel in front of him.
Sheppard looked at the screen for a moment "Astrid. Any ideas?"
A flicker from the A.I.'s avatar pedestal and a young Viking woman wielding a battleaxe popped up. "Not a clue yet, commander." the AI's choice of avatar was a blond, blue eyed woman wearing an armored skirt and furs. Very Valkyrie if you asked the commander, "Though doing some direction finding points everything at Charon. Kerberos is also a possibility, but I'm placing my Gold on Charon."
"Shakedowns complete in 20 minutes commander." replied Pressly.
The redhead straitened, and turned to the helmsman, "Joker?" she used the pilots nickname. "Twenty minutes commander." "Bring us about." "Aye-aye, ma'am."
The commander tapped a button, and spoke softly, "Captain? We may have an issue, request you come to the bridge Sir."
Captain Andersons voice came through the speaker, "On my way."
Captain Anderson stared at the moon beginning to break up in front of him. "… and all of those readings?" the AI finished the sentence. "Point right here captain. I booted up the primary slipspace gravimetric detectors on a hunch and the readings are in the isobeta band, and rapidly swapping polarity every few seconds."
That eliminated Everything.
"So that moon Astrid… is…?!"
"Mass reduction now calculated to be over 40% captain, and if the readings hold their rate of climb, it will start to really pull apart in less than one hour."
Sheppard spoke quietly to the captain, "Recommend we burn a messenger sir." there were only five Slipspace messenger probes on board. The African thought about it for a moment and spoke to Astrid, "Send a message via probe to Earth, all findings and a request for backup." the young Viking warmaiden nodded and vanished, "Joker! Ease us back, open the range to 200k." he looked to his first officer, "any thoughts Jane?"
"Training time." she said with a half smirk. Matched slowly by the captain, he turned to 1st lieutenant Pressly, "Combat alert Alfa. Raise the shields"
That decision would save their lives.
"Combat alert Alfa! All hands to stations!" the voice of the AI rang through the ship.
Garrus watched as the Mass Relay in front of him slowly woke up. The massive primary's core slowly building momentum and speed. Its tuning fork shape beginning to open up from its resting state.
It never ceased to amaze him that such an object could exist. Bright light flared out as the cores static discharges began to arc.
"Captain? Were starting to get the countdown reading." the Asari nodded in satisfaction. When the reading finished they would be able to activate the relay and jump to the other side. "Good. Garrus? Your orders?"
"Hold for now. Lets make sure the other ends clear first."
That decision would nearly kill them.
With the Dawnhammer fully prepared for battle, and another 10 minutes to any ship moving from earth to even start their orbital breakaways, Captain Anderson brooded. The messenger probe had been responded to in extremely quick fashion, and a whole horde of ships had been called up. Earth was priority one, if this was some sort of Covie weapon left behind the Dawnhammer had orders to observe and if necessary destroy.
"Captain? Debris has cleared enough to show the inner core." Astrid popped up on the A.I's holo-pedestal.
"Show me." what he got was something he didn't understand, "Astrid, what exactly are we looking at here?"
The combat A.I. shrugged in a thoughtful manner before setting down her ax against her skirt. "I'm not exactly certain Captain. I've been tracking some of the more unique pieces of debris, plus our own trajectory. Whatever it is, it is the source of the gravimetric fluctuations. Still getting stronger too. It almost seems like its some sort of massive gravity generator." Sheppard looked at the AI, "Forerunner?" "Flip a coin commander, you'll probably have better odds then what I'm calculating."
Grid point Xjc117BnAD activation detected….. Activation Verified.
Possible escape route plotting attempt. Calculation nears absolute by 99.9999999%
Response. Attack exploration party. Leave no survivors.
Agreed… Galatrex, status.
Moving to intercept.
"Oh sweet Goddess…" the asari at the scanning station was young by the standards of her race at 75 she was barely considered old enough to leave her home. But the fight with the reapers had changed everything. Now she watched the displays for the probes sent out earlier to keep an eye on several close by Mass relays.
"Captain! A Sovereign class reaper has just exited the mass relay at Hokun!"
Garrus Vakarin was a Turian. A member of the most militarily dominant specices of Known Space. He had watched as reapers tore through his brethrens ships like a starving Krogan at an all you can eat buffet with lots of live wriggling things.
A Sovereign class….
The Matriarchs Light was a covert ops ship. Her strength was her ability to hide. Blown wide open now with all the damage she had sustained. No weapons that could even scratch the screens on the Reaper. And an engine he was told was being held together by space tape and prayers.
He looked to his friend sitting in the captains chair, "Take us through. And pray we can jump to FTL after we do."
"Captain, gravity readings just tripled."
Anderson looked up from the orders he had just received from high command. Admiral Hackett of fifth fleet was on his way with half the home fleet. They would take at least an hour to get here though. Slipspace micro jumps were something new, and untested. Hackett had landed about two hours out due to a slight miscalculation, and it appeared the problem was in the formulas themselves. So he was slowboating his way back to the artifact.
If that's what it was.
He stood and walked to the large forward window characteristic of the halcyon class. "More info Astrid." the avatar of the A.I. popped up on her pedestal, "The gravity readings and trajectory indications of nearby…"
A.I.s didn't stop talking without good reason. "Astrid?!"
"Captain! A ship has just appeared!" a lighted holographic circle with range and trajectory information showed a bright spark where none had been before. "Unknown classification, does not match any known ship in the database. Length of 121 meters, width 40 meters, height 25 meters. Estimate light scout frigate from configuration." the A.I. paused as the enlarged view of the ship oriented on them. A simple dart like purple cross. With a set of small wings fore and aft.
"And I think they spotted us…"
A Dreadnought. A gargantuan Dreadnought. Sitting just outside the debris field.
The quiet voice of the sensor officer read off the stats for the slab sided behemoth in front of the Matriarchs Light. "length 1.2 kilometers, height 500 meters, width 350 meters. Mass ranges in at over 100 thousand tons, off our scales. Evidence of gravimetric manipulation." then came the wham line…
"no Eezo detected…" the sensor techs voice trailed off. And Garrus felt the same way. Everything in spaceflight ran off Eezo. No exceptions.
Then came a very concerning issue. Something more concerning then a massive dreadnought that didn't run off Eezo.
"Captain! The mass relay is active again!"
"Those readings are back captain, I think the artifact is forming a graviton net to catch another ship. Readings are higher, I think this one is going to be bigger."
Anderson also noted something as the A.I. finished speaking. "And it looks like our new friends are backing away from the artifact." "Verified captain."
Sheppard spoke as she watched, concentrating on the angles and vectors "Sir, they reoriented on the device."
They had also seen the battle damage on the small ship. So were they being chased? Anderson thought. What the hell had they stumbled into?
An alien ship, obviously in recent battle. An artifact of unknown construction, which the alien ship had used to travel from god knows where.
"Send a signal to Hackett. Inform him of everything." A quick acknowledgment was heard.
Then something big dropped in, and it looked nothing like the first. Anderson didn't know what was going on but alarm bells were going off everywhere in his mind. Then the ship visibly oriented on them.
"Joker, at the first sign of trouble, evasive maneuvers.."
Unknown ship detected. Technology not on proper course.
Reviewing data…. Classify as possible threat.
Agreed, destroy at once. Salvage technology. We Must Learn More.
The shields used by the Dawnhammer were improved versions of the shields used by Covenant warships. The silver and blue barriers raised invisibly around the ship, protecting her from anything and everything the universe could throw at her.
Or so her designers thought.
One moment Sheppard was looking at a ship that defied the word normal. Like something out of a old movie from an era when everything had to have tentacles.
The next she was thrown from her feet by an impact of staggering proportions. And landed hard like several others who were standing.
"Astrid! What the hell was That?!"
The A.I. responded with an impossibility, "A near C projectile commander! Fired by the big ship! Shields down. Damage minimal."
No hails. No attempt to talk. Just attack on sight.
It was Harvest all over again. Jane looked and saw the captain had landed bad, and appeared to be unconscious. She gave two orders, "Captains down! Get him to medical!"
"Return fire! Triple shot MAC fusion round!"
The new MAC aboard the Dawnhammer was something special cooked up by the R&D boys. Capable of hurling a standard round, the three shot shredder light rounds, MAC SABOT rounds, and something really wild, the MAC fusion round.
A hollow shell filled with heavy hydrogen, specifically tritium. Surrounded in a lithium case.
It was preceded by two shredders.
The first round gave confirmation to theory. Mankind knew next to nothing about shields. The Dawnhammer's were literally first run prototypes. The big ship had them though and the first round spaced off into the unknown. Deflected.
The second round blew out the shield, and punched into the armor with a force equivalent to a plane crash. Superficial damage.
The third round… was something else entirely.
Launched from the Dawnhammer at its max firing velocity of roughly .452c the light round impacted with a couple megatons of force. But that was only the opening part. As it slammed into the hull of the reaper, the front collapsed and pressurized the fluid within. A hundred, then a thousand atmospheres of pressure occurred in the blink of an eye, heat from this compression suffused the material in temperatures that rival a star. The lithium forced to compress in such a way to release neutrons. The result was fusion upon impact.
Boosting the already considerable tonnage of a weapon nicknamed the "big stick".
The blast ravened through the area ripping back along its path of impact and blowing forward into the ship. Melting and ravening through critical subsystems.
Garrus didn't know what the four hells that dreadnought was made of. First tanking the Reapers most deadly weapon, a hypervelocity liquid metal projectile. A weapon that he had personally watched carve through his brethrens dreadnoughts like a knife through paki.
Then spitting out its own version of death, in the form of a spinal mount, on target, fusion projectile weapon. That the sensors said followed two other rounds massing about a quarter of the Matriarch Light's own weight.
He wasn't going to think about that though.
Garrus decided the universe was either looking out for them… Or just decided to screw with them one more time before they were carted off by the great spirits.
That weapon had smacked the Reaper hard. Forcing it back hard enough to cancel it building velocity. Sitting still relative to them and in such a nice spot, what a gentleman this reaper. "Captain?"
"Fire at will!" was the Asari's reply.
"Commander! The smaller ship is firing on the big one! Light high velocity MAC rounds of some sort!"
Sheppard made a snap decision, "Classify the smaller vessel friendly neutral! Target lock status?"
"Ready Ma'am!" came the reply from Pressly. "Fire longbows!" "Longbows away!"
A newer version of the archer missile, the longbow was slightly faster, more maneuverable and carried a slightly enhanced warhead. It didn't do much though. Almost immediately Sheppard saw pulse-laser fire from the squid-ship. Shooting down the incoming missiles with astounding accuracy "damn-it! Mac status!"
"58% captain" Astrid was worried, "ma'am they are orienting on us again!"
With the Reapers shields down and its pulse lasers busy with the mass missile barrage, Captain T'soni had maneuvered the Light a little closer and they were attempting to knock out the Reapers main thrusters. It was a risky move, but with the majority of the machines attention on the Dreadnought, they had a chance.
Dodging and weaving through the debris from what appeared to have been a light moon, the matriarch light fired twice in quick succession. And barely scratched the murderous machine.
Another of those hyper-velocity projectiles ripped at the Dawnhammer. Strangely enough the shock was less without the shield up. It still did a number though. Shaking the ship hard.
"Damage report!" "Looks like a glancing blow ma'am! Sweet Jesus, it's a liquid metal projectile… Armors breached in sectors 21 through 29 and 24 looks bad. Decks 20-23. Fire suppression on. No casualties reported." the unspoken 'yet' came through, though.
"Astrid, MAC charge status!" "Almost Ready, Commander." "Load Sabot!"
Deep within the hull of the Dawnhammer. Massive systems for moving around multi-hundred ton rounds came to life. Astrid watched as she selected the proper round from storage, and shunted it into the loader system. Three quick steps later, and a grand total of 30 seconds had passed. The main breach opened and received the specialty round.
The Sabot was a spear of tungsten and depleted uranium, compressed and formed into a bolt about the same length as a standard Mac round. But surrounded with plastic padding to fill the cannons tube. It weighed about four times as much as a heavy round. With the new coil control systems though, Astrid could control the launch better, and still get a respectable 35% of the speed of light.
'this things going to hit like a hammer.' was the words of a tech when they had seen the specs for it.
Astrid agreed with that assessment. Only one issue.
They had to be closer.
Jeff "Joker" Moreau was trying to make a multi-thousand ton warship dance to his command. Hurling them around differing pieces of debris of which the enemy ship was shooting at now with that crazy gun it had along with its laser system. If the chatter around him was any indication, those lasers where slightly better then the covenant equivalent.
"Joker! Re-orient for the Mac!" The Commander was really shining with this, barking out commands and taking in info like a pro. "Aye ma'am. Coming about!"
The ship groaned around him as her aged hull flexed slightly from the stress of the turn. Then another one of those crazy projectiles slammed the ship.
Garrus didn't know who had built the slab sided dreadnought. He didn't know why they would need a war machine capable of maneuvering like a frigate, at the size of a dreadnought, the damage absorption rate of a space station (it had taken three shots so far from a Reaper and still fought, granted glancing blows but still), and the firepower equivalent to a siege weapon.
And there were more on the way. An entire fleet.
This Relay had come out in a garden world system. They had just registered the third planet as life supporting.
And if the number and size of the ships around was any indication… a Home system.
He hoped they would be alive to talk to them. As the Light took a quick succession of pulse laser shots.
Deep within the Reapers hull many decisions were being made. That fusion weapon had done considerable damage to the main gun. Repairs were under way, but would take time. The liquid metal canon had been breached by its own firing. A considerable loss to combat effectiveness. This new species was very interesting. Advanced understanding of magnetics. Advanced understanding of gravitics. Advanced understanding of fusion properties.
Advanced understanding of Artificial Intelligence with respect to hostile hacking.
This was Galatrex's only explanation to it's repeated rebuffing, electronic warfare wise.
The reaper noted the major grouping of ships approaching it's position. This group consisted of many different kinds of ships. Some larger then the dreadnought it currently faced. Considering the balance of power and factoring in the damaged cannon. The reaper made a decision.
"Ma'am, the squid-ship is turning around." this from Pressly.
Sheppard's green eyes narrowed as the Dawnhammer lined up for its next shot. "MAC?" "Ready commander." She watched as the stern of the enemy ship was presented. And spoke one word.
Garrus watched as the Reaper turned, they had screwed up, and now currently hid behind a large chunk of debris. The Light had gotten a little to close to the Reaper, and taken a pulse laser for their troubles. Tali reported a major coolant leak in their primary fusion reactor. Shutdown in 3 mins with nothing she could do. Without the coolant system the fusion reaction would overheat then fizzle as its containment coils melted.
He noted something else as well. The grey dreadnought orienting on the reaper as it completed its turn.
With the fleet of warships bearing down the reaper was running. That was a first.
Then the dreadnought fired.
The massive Sabot round left the muzzle at its 35% C, it's peak speed. Shedding the now melted plastic from its spear-like body in a semi-controlled way. But at this range it would take a second for the bolt to impact. But didn't affect its trajectory much.
The reapers shields had regenerated some in the time since the previous impact. It would not have mattered if they had been at full strength.
Impacting upon the aft of the ship near dead center. With near three times the force of the previous shredder rounds, the spear of depleted uranium and tungsten slammed through the Reaper lengthwise, creating a vacuum effect behind its passage from friction and what atmosphere the reaper contained. Sucking along anything and everything not pulverized in its path.
Along its way it passed through many important items.
Eventually it slammed out the other side and continued on, an energy state oblivious to its passage and retaining 90% of its velocity. And a slight course correction.
It only had one or two more objects in front of it.
The reaper blew up. Not twitched a couple of times. Not broke into multiple pieces. The. Damn. Thing. Blew. Up.
Garrus could feel his mandibles fall open at the energy transfer he had just witnessed. He also realized that he was looking at a dreadnought which could destroy a sovereign class reaper in single combat. At that moment he knew he may have found the salvation of the galaxy.
He hoped he could talk to them.
"Uh captain, that round…" "Oh Snarc! Brace!"
The round slammed by them with some serious velocity. Dragging a whole pile of junk behind it. Their shields depleted many of the pieces pattered their hull like rain. Some crashed into them with a bit of force shaking the ship like a Varren with a piece of meat. But nothing major managed to find them.
Thank the spirits for small favors. Garrus thought to himself as he picked himself up. Then the power went out.
Or not. As his feet left the floor.
The round continued it uncaring way. Oblivious to its path. An energy state with no destination. Its trajectory bending further still as it passed the Relay and gaining a little bit of speed.
Unfortunately the Matriarchs Light was not the only object mentioned to be in the way.
"Astrid, open a signal to Hackett." "Aye commander."
"Hackett here, commander. Status." "Green sir. Larger enemy combatant destroyed. Smaller presumed friendly-neutral craft is damaged, and seems to have lost power just now. Request permission to engage in rescue effort. Sir." "Granted commander. Get a quarantine set up and get them safe. We've got a lot of work ahead."
At that moment a massive flash appeared.
"What the hell..?" Sheppard's words left her mouth before she could think. Astrid provided the information. "Commander, I think our round just impacted with Pluto. Trajectory analysis indicates it was affected by the artifact and impact with the larger ship." "Oh hell. Damage assessment."
Pressley responded next, "Well commander, judging by the impact. I think we just altered Pluto's orbit a bit."
Garrus watched as the Light was pulled into the massive launch bay of the Dreadnought. And slowly settled into a resting position on the floor of the cavernous room. The deck started to take on an incline as gravity began to reassert itself. Slow enough for the crew to get themselves oriented properly. It finally settled at one eighth normal, and he appreciated the aliens understanding.
But now he and the rest of the crew was at their mercy.
He prepped himself at the airlock. Liara and Tali behind him. Hopefully they were friendly.
Galatrex does not respond to hails.
Calculation based on data presents theory of destruction by unknown species. Calculation is approximately 87%.
…. Presume destruction by Unknown species. New priority. Capture of technology and biological essence. Gather as many as you need to make a reconnaissance in force.
Authors Notes: I think humanity is in for a real treat this time. Along with Garrus and the others.
So many have written, and written well, the various first contact scenarios that I'm not going to rehash it. I simply wanted to write a good space battle. With a few cool things thrown in. It wasn't supposed to be a curb stomp battle (Galatrex got a few good licks in against a Halcyon refit.) and I pretty much just ignored the math and physics for the "Pluto Shot". (I think it would take a less sudden impact, and more a large object for flexing the orbit. Anything hitting hard enough to alter the trajectory would probably shatter the planet.)
I also ignored physics for the fusion round. (I'm not certain if it could actually happen, I just wanted cool) and yes its Astrid from "How to train your Dragon."
Its fantasy, leave me alone. Authors choice.
But other then that send me a note or review. Especially with anything involving technical stuff in my writing. Like proper grammar and such.
Authors note (4/3/15) : due to the enormous positive response to this story, I shall be continuing it into a short series. Many thanks to all who have favorited, followed, and reviewed.
I am seriously flabbergasted at the response. I expected a far different one, let me tell ya.
RandomReader: your review will hopefully be fully answered in the next chapter or two. expect deep freeze fridge logic.
Master T-rex: MC is currently in deep freeze, as this cronologicly ends up about a year after halo3, and somewhere between ME 1-2.
Jarhewd762: not sure, i'll have to think of something here. might have to work on how long the cycles take.
to all the rest who have reviewed so far thank you.
Paaz Etaak Unazhaal