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 GSU Discovery of Acheron

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#1PostSubject: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Tue Mar 07, 2017 3:57 pm

With the new establishment of the Galactic Systems Union, it took a month for the UEG to get its gears back in place. The shift in power and chain of command had been jarring at first, but everyone quickly adapted.
Military structure was still undergoing a few changes, with a few rumours of radical upgrades to all armour and equipment: weapons, armour, vehicles, ships, everything.

The GSU's new science division seemed to adapt very well however, with specialists from both the UEG and Alliance sharing ideas and getting used to being around each other fairly quickly. It was because of them that Admiral Yusuf Al Thani had sent a GSU fleet comprised of (soon to be decommissioned) UNSC ships. The fleet had just exited slipspace: eight Strident-Class Frigates accompanying four Halberd-Class Destroyers. The flagship of this fleet was an Athena-Class Command Cruiser, the UNSC Francesca.

The fleet neared the recently detected planet Acheron, its desert terrain reflecting a light-bronze aura around the planet from the light received by its sun. The bronze light bathed the inside of the UNSC Francesca's bridge through its front windows; while the Captain of the ship, Matthias Odell, stood staring at the planet, his arms crossed over his chest.
"So that's OS-426." He said out loud.
"We're getting the same energy readings as last time, only stronger now that we're right above the planet." The shipboard AI said. It appeared on a pedestal beside the Captain, taking the form of a dark skinned man in a suit. "Luther-A029 and the rest of Fireteam Diablo are already getting prepared for the mission. I will make sure the marines are also beginning preparations." He informed.
"Thank you. We'll give them half an hour before we enter the planet's atmosphere. Let me know if anything comes up." Captain Ordell replied.
"Yes sir."
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#2PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:23 am

Luther double checked to ensure his fireteam was at least mostly prepared for an expedition to an unknown that both a) randomly appeared in GSU space, and b) had an extremely hostile environment. In his opinion, there had have been at leasst some kind of drone exploration or tests to ensure spartan armor would be able to protect against the planet's elements. Orbital scans had shown extreme surface temperatures, am inhospitable atmosphere, and freak storms not even a starship could hold up against. Luther scanned the marines and warthogs being loaded up onto a number of pelicans. He debated the need to have such a display of military force when descending on an apparently uninhabited planet.

That was unless command knew a whole lot more than Luther himself did.

"Admiral," Luther spoke into his helmet comms, any communication would be left inaudible to those nearby for security reasons that high command seemed to love so much, "Do you know exactly what's on that hell of a planet? There's any need to risk so much human life on a dead planet with freak storms." Luther occupied himself with locking a new brand of warthog, one equipped with some kind of magical laser, onto the back of his pelican.


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#3PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Wed Mar 08, 2017 3:26 pm

In the Captain's place, the shipboard AI answered the Spartan's queries. On the top left hand of the corner, a small screen appeared on Luther's Heads-Up-Display. The AIs face could be seen on the screen with its ID underneath it reading: Crompton.

"Our scientists have been analysing the weather patterns ever since the planet's discovery, Spartan. We've managed to pinpoint a specific location OS-426 that experiences the least of these storms." Crompton replied.
"The planet may be inhospitable to normal humans, but your MJOLNIR armour is sufficient for protection against the temperature and sand storms. Your shields may falter in response to the electrical phenomena generated by these storms, however they shouldn't breach your armour's integrity."

The AI proceeded to send a document containing the latest assessments of the drop zone. If Luther were to open this file, he'd see that the terrain would mostly be plain and flat with the sun's heat being the only real danger to normal humans. A large crater approximately a mile in diameter was located to the south of the drop zone, 1.5 kilometers away.
The predicted ETA for the next storm to hit the zone was 12-24 hours depending on the somewhat erratic wind patterns.
"I will brief you on your objective as you take the drop ship to the surface. Only Fireteam Diablo is cleared for the mission at the moment. I will contact you in a few minutes."


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#4PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Wed Mar 08, 2017 5:27 pm

Of course, the admiral was too busy to answer the questions of his single most experienced spartan on board. At least the onboard AI had decided to give him access to the information Luther needed to ensure he and his spartans wouldn't die within the first thirty seconds of landing. At least 12 to 24 hours sounded somewhat reasonable, Luther quickly moved to report this to the squad.

"Alright kids," He started, "The planet down there is supposed to be pretty dead. Normal conditions are too harsh for normal humans, so they're sending in the super humans. We'll be landing one point two kilometers from the crater and driving in. Since there's only enough room for two more of you overconfident idiots, Spartan Meriwether will be sitting back and holding the pelican." He made a dramatic scene of loading chambering a round into his DMR and strapping it on his back. He took a seat closer to the pilots cabin and gave them a signal to take off. The other spartans followed suit and locked in as the pressurized door shut with a thud and the Pelican descended towards the uninhabitable planet.


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#5PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Thu Mar 09, 2017 3:30 pm

As the Pelican began atmospheric entry, the image of Crompton popped up on Luther's HUD again.
"While our scanners are enough to assess weather patterns and terrain, we''re still in need of a closer look so to speak. That's where you come in. After you touch down, begin live broadcasting through your helmet's visor ASAP. We'll monitor the live feed from the ship and assess the area. You will then be required to stand by while our supply ships arrive to deploy Alpha Base. Once the base's defenses are in order, you are to scout the crater near the drop site. Good luck, Spartan."

The image feed of Crompton's face disappeared and a few minutes passed as the dropship neared the surface. Before the Pelican landed fully, another image appeared on Luther's visor, this time of Captain Odell's face.
"I see you're already en route to the objective soldier, I apologise for not having been able to brief you earlier. I hope Crompton made it clear what you're supposed to do down there. Anyway, while we're not expecting any type of hostile activity on the surface I still urge you to keep an eye out. Remember, this planet practically came out of nowhere and as of yet, we are unfamiliar with the nature of it.. which is why we're sending your squad in first. Therefore, even the slightest sign of anything...odd should be reported back to the ship immediately. Is that understood?"
The Captain paused briefly, waiting for an answer. After he'd have done so, the Captain would end the transmission. "Good, Ordell out."
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#6PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Thu Mar 09, 2017 5:10 pm

Thankfully, the ship's AI appeared as the pelican swooped down on the planet, further describing the mission Luther and Fireteam Diablo had been assigned. The spartan checked to make sure the message had been relayed to the rest of his squad as the Pelican made it's final descent to the surface of the dead and barren planet. The back panel released with a hiss and Luther's boots crunched on the planet's hard-packed sandy surface as he and the other spartans started their live feeds. Spartan Green slapped a button on the inside of the chamber and the team's warthog slammed into the ground with a muffled thump, Luther immediately hopped in the drivers seat, motioning for spartans smith and green to load up with him. The warthog started up with a rough growl and Luther drove off at a reasonable speed in a wide circle around the pelican, making sure to take in every bit of the barren terrain.


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#7PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Fri Mar 10, 2017 8:33 pm

As the Spartan and his squad surveyed the terrain on their Warthog, his live helmet cam broadcasted directly back to the UNSC Francesca. Captain Ordell examined the live feed that was displayed on the main screen.
"The terrain is just as the scanners said it would be: dead." Crompton commented. "I recommend sending the order to hold position until supply ships arrive."
The Captain looked at Crompton and nodded. He then established contact with Luther again.

"Spartan, Ordell again. So far everything looks good down there from up here. Stand by, we're sending the supply ships down now." At the same time, Crompton had sent out the order for the supply ships to be deployed. The ships detached from the fleet's frigates and made their way down into the planet.

It took a few moments for them to become visible in the sky, and when they did they descended quickly. The ships flew in formation and retained the formation when they stopped to hover a few meters above the ground. Carefully, they lowered themselves down before unloading buildings onto the dry terrain. The buildings automatically made adjustments: generators powered themselves up, supply pads opened up landing platforms and other building-sized blocks that previously couldn't be discerned rearranged their structures to resemble barracks and a vehicle depot.



As additional ships began to fly down to unload some miscellaneous supplies such as turrets and patrol drones, Luther was again contacted by Crompton.
"Your job here is done Spartans. Your new orders are to scout the crater to the south of your position. Be advised, our equipment have picked up very... irregular energy readings from that location. Do not get too close."
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#8PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Tue Mar 14, 2017 2:59 am

The land had turned out to be exactly what Luther had been briefed on: Dry and dead. Why the UNSC couldn't have sent a handful of marines in EV suits was completely beyond Luther, but it also wasn't in his jurisdiction to complain. After all, command must have been hiding something to send spartans - a group of super soldiers who were somewhat likely to survive any given encounter - rather than marines, who would die the instant anything more powerful than an Elite came charging through the camp. Command reestablished contact with Luther just as he was finishing the loop and returning to the pelican, stating to hold ground while supply ships were sent down from orbit. Moments later, UNSC base constructors swooped down from the nigh-invisible atmosphere. A deployable base slammed into the dusty ground as drones and marines alike set up the base for future operations. In the meantime, Luther received orders to scout southward and check out an 'unusual' energy reading.

"So you're sending us into one of those plasma storms," Luther replied flatly as gunned his warthog southward across the dismally dusty terrain towards whatever phenomenon came next.


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#9PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Sun Mar 19, 2017 5:33 pm

"Not necessarily a plasma storm, Spartan. The inside of the crater is emanating these readings mainly, which is why I advise you to keep your distance. All we need is a visual feed of whatever is inside it."

As Luther's warthog approached the crater, he'd notice some strange phenomena with his HUD. At first they were barely noticeable but with their continuous persistence, they'd be made clear to anyone. His shield bar flickered, as did his motion tracker. As the vehicle drew closer to the crater, his energy shield shimmered. Despite this, the bar on top of his HUD still read "full". Another thing to note was that the sun was beginning to set.

Upon approaching the edge of the massive crater, the Spartans would be presented with quite the sight: along the sides and base of the crater there were numerous sparks of what looked like red electricity. Along with this, football-sized red orbs could also be seen rolling and bouncing around the crater. The orbs and electricity were so numerous that they cast a faint red aura into the darkening sky.

If Luther were to approach the very edge of the crater or make any attempts to step down into it, his shields would begin to shimmer again and this time, the bar would show the shields weakening bit by bit until he backed away from the edge entirely.
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#10PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Tue Mar 28, 2017 5:05 am

A plasma looking storm Luther thought to himself. Strange. The very nature of it's description disturbed Luther as he drew closer and closer to the dusty cloud crackling with silent, reddish lightning. Everything about the storm was well beyond unsettling. In fact, Luther debated ordering his men off his warthog for them to return to the makeshift base on foot, but if the storm expanded, they would more than likely be caught in it's grasp. 

Instead, Luther shifted his attention towards the gigantic crater just ahead of him. His HUD and shields flickered as red football-sized motes of light came into view, floating lazily about within the crater. Sparks of lighting arced between the motes as Luther stopped roughly ten meters short of the crater. With such a lack of data, the Spartan could only consider such a thing dangerous.

"Command, are you getting this," Luther spoke into the comms, "How should we proceed?"


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#11PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:11 pm

Captain Odell gazed at the screens for a while before looking down at Crompton.
"Have what we need?'" Crompton looked up at him.
"Yes sir. They're free to leave now."

The Captain re-initiated contact with Luther.
"Spartan, Captain Odell. We've seen enough, I recommend you pull out and get your men to the base. You may be staying there for a while for as long as he get this whole thing up and running. Ordell out."

From Luther's end however, the transmission was choppy - as if the signal was receiving interference. Luther may be able to discern what he was ordered to do by listening closely, although even then it was possible that the transmission had orders for them to do something else entirely. It was therefore up to Luther at this point to decide what to do.
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#12PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:49 pm

"What is it, Crompton?" Captain Ordell inquired after seeing the AI's change in expression.
"The last transmission, I detected a lot of signal interference from Luther's end." Crompton replied. "I'll update their HUD's the best I can with their orders, hopefully they'll make it back to base without any potential confusion."
"They're Spartans, Crompton, they'd know what to do regardless." Ordell boasted.
"I admire your faith in them Captain, but I feel like I have to remind you of the fact that we're currently exploring a planet of unique and potentially dangerous origin with severe weather conditions on the regular. Precaution in this case is paramount."

Captain Ordell remained silent for a few minutes before speaking again. "What's our status on the base?"
"Fully operational sir." Crompton replied. "However we have yet to see how it holds up against the planet's severe sand storms. For all we know, it could short out life support. I still think we should have ran tests with unoccupied bases first."
"True, but you know we can not risk that, not with the potential of other factions beating us to the surface." Ordell argued.
"Indeed," Crompton replied. "It seems that's all everything is about these days, racing to do everything before another faction does. I wonder how far this trend will go before it ends up dooming us all."
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#13PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:02 pm

A Few Hours Later

"Sir! We've got contacts, lots of them!" One of the crew members of the bridge announced as he typed at his console.
"Contacts? What are we dealing with?" Ordell asked as he turned his gaze away from the holographic map and towards the bridge's main window.
"Covenant Pirates." The crew member replied. "Banshees and Seraph formations just exited slipspace approximately 75'000 kilometers from us, already in orbit around the planet."
"So we're not under attack yet..." Ordell realised. "Ready all weapons and charge up the MAC cannon just in case." The bridge mobilised to his command as he turned back to look at the holographic representation of the planet, now showing multiple hostiles across from it in the form of miniaturised red versions of Seraph and Banshee fighter craft. "What are they doing now?"

"Maintaining orbit for now." Crompton replied. "I'd wager that they're analysing the planet and its surrounding space in preparation for a larger fleet to arrive. No doubt they've already spotted ours. I recommend offensive action immediately."
"Alright then, send one of our Frigates over to make short work of the squadron, and make it quick." Ordell commanded.
"Yes sir."
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#14PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:31 pm

Within the next few minutes, the Covenant squadron was destroyed. However as soon as the last of the fighters had been dealt with, immense slipspace signature's spiked up on their equipment and soon enough, multiple portals opened up near the Frigate that had been deployed to destroy the squadron.

One Covenant CCS Battlecruiser exitted the largest portal and it was accompanied by a dozen CRS Light cruisers. The fleet was the same size as theirs and packing just as much firepower.
"Pull that Frigate out of there now!" Ordell ordered his communications officer before broadcasting to his entire fleet. "All hands, battlestations! You are all clear to engage, maintain formations and only break off when we've closed distance."
"Sir!" Ordell turned to his comms officer. "The Frigate has refused to fall back, they say that one of the CRS cruiser's have broken formation and is making entry into the planet's atmopshere."
"He is correct," Crompton confirmed. "Most of the fleet's intended to keep us busy while one of the ships deploys ground troops, weapons and armour. None of our ships are down there, our forces won't stand a chance."
"Sir, they're requesting permission to engage." The comms officer informed him. Captain Ordell thought for a moment, sighed and then uttered his decision. "Granted."
"UNSC Flora, you're clear to engage. Good luck down there."


The fleet had soon clashed and the space above Acheron was littered with stray ship-to-ship missiles, plasma torpedos, point defense lasers and rounds and tungsten projectiles being shot at supersonic speeds. Each ship of both fleets had also deployed their fighter craft which cluttered the battle even more. Each ship's bridge was alive with crewmen and women running here and there, announcing damages dealt and taken.
"Archer missile pods 10-40 have reloaded, commencing fire on the CCS cruiser."
"Hull depressurisation of decks F05 and 06 has been completed, sealing now."
"MAC Cannon is ready to fire sir."
"Three of our point defense guns have been taken out, I need fire on that banshee squadron, Ensign."
"Roger that, firing."
Ordell barked orders left and right, stopping only at some points to check on the UNSC Flora's status as it commenced atmospheric entry in pursuit of the Covenant light cruiser. Crompton appeared on the pedestal by his side.
"They're definitely going to attempt a plasma bombardment on Alpha base," Crompton informed him. "UNSC Flora reports plasma energy signature's building up underneath that CRS cruiser. They have already engaged the ship in hopes of driving it off." Ordell nodded before turning back to the main viewing window.
"Firing MAC round." Crompton said. "Shot." The 600-ton tungsten slug hit the CCS Class battlecruiser's shields with a mighty blow, weakening the shields considerably under its continued punishment. However the cruiser retaliated by firing a salvo of plasma torpedos. Despite the UNSC Francesca's efforts to evade the attack, the torpedos hit and destroyed a few of the ship's archer missile pods.
"Charging up another shot." Crompton said.
"Fire all missile pods now, target the CCS Cruiser." Ordell ordered.
"Sir? Their shields are strong enough to-"
"Just do it, crewman."
"Aye-aye sir." The UNSC Francesca fired all of its remaining archer missile pods. The barrage of missiles hurtled towards the CCS Cruiser. Registering its threat, the ship engaged it's point-defense lasers. As each laser fired, the energy shielding on top of it had to be lowered to allow the laser to transition through into space. Due to the sheer number of missiles, this happened on a large section of the ship due to the amount of lasers being used, which weakened shield strength slightly more.
"Cannon charged." Crompton said.
"Fire!"
The UNSC Francesca fired its main cannon. The projectile, accelerated magnetically, zipped past the archer missiles and struck the CCS Class cruiser's shielding - specifically the section where parts of the shield were dropped. The sheer impact downed the cruiser's shields, leaving it exposed. What remained of the archer missile barrage now impacted against the ship and it was soon consumed in a massive ball of explosions and flames, destroying it. The bridge momentarily cheered before focusing their attentions on the remaining CRS Lightcruisers and other stragglers.
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#15PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:55 pm

"Sir, incoming transmission from the UNSC Flora. They said that they have managed to draw the cruiser off-course, but both ships have now been caught in an intense sandstorm." The comms officer said.
"Tell them to get out of there, leave the cruiser and retreat to Alpha base." The comm officer echoed the Captain's orders back to the UNSC Flora. The crewman frowned before turning back to the Captain.
"What is it?"
"Sir, I lost contact... I think they're trapped in the storm."
"I need a visual."

From what little the holographic map could show, the UNSC Frigate was struggling to escape the storm that had currently ensnared it and the CRS lightcruiser, to no avail. Sparks of electricity danced across the sand that was travelling at high speeds, rocking the ship and causing it to lose orientation. The electricity also seemed to have an effect on the UNSC Flora's thrusters which explained why they hadn't been able to leave. Despite this, an energy signature indicated that the ship had diverted most of its power to the MAC cannon while using a smaller percentage of its power to activate the emergency thrusters on the side of the ship and steady its trajectory. Despite the immense winds, the Frigate brought its bow to face the Covenant lightcruiser. The main cannon fired and the cruiser was destroyed. The force of the projectile leaving the barrel of the ship's main cannon threw the ship off-balance and it disappeared into the storm. Everything, energy signatures and life signals were no longer present and the ship and its crew were presumed KIA.

The fleet battle was won shortly thereafter, albeit with the loss of five frigates. After a period of time, more bases were deployed in the region surrounding Alpha base and tunnels were constructed, connecting each base. Some were used as barracks for the marines stationed there while others were used as research labs. Captain Ordell radioed HIGHCOM and informed them of the outcome. Another larger fleet was to arrive the next day as, for now, scientific operations would continue on the planet for the forseeable future.
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#16PostSubject: Re: GSU Discovery of Acheron   Mon Apr 24, 2017 9:50 am

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