A Roman In Blue; Chapter 1 – A Halo Short Story
Would like to take a moment before I start, to provide thanks to those who helped, provided inspiration and made this story a reality for me.
WulfwoodSins on Twitter for helping me out greatly with the aspect of the Navy and his experience in it.
Adopter Of Knowledge and HurryingCandy for helping me write, revise and keep it as close to canon as possible.
And Kelly Gay for writing HALO: Smoke and Shadow and providing me with advice and some help!
Without further a due, enjoy Chapter 1 of A Roman in Blue – A Halo Story about the UNSC Roman Blue
MARCH 10nd, 2531
REACH, STATIONARY ORBIT
William Webb, paced around the Captain quarters, a slim man, tired expression. His eyes gaunt and lines running across his forehead, an arm remained behind his back, he walked back and forth in the Captain’s Quarters with a slow pacing, collecting his thoughts, his free, unoccupied hand was placed on his chin as he rubbed it gently.
He proceeded to walk closer to his desk but he pulled the chair back first and proceeded to sit down, followed by a gentle sigh and his hand carefully going through his face, before he stared into the Console before him and tapped in the screen gently to record. His hair light, yet greying already, a fatalistic look in his expression as the weariness of the war had obviously gotten to him at this point. He then proceeded to speak.
“Captain’s Log, 0532, March 10th, 2531. Commander. William Webb, Captain of the UNSC Roman Blue, identification number 55436-01235-WW. . . At 0600 Hours, the crew woke up, normally, attended the mess hall and proceeded to their respective shops, all system ran nominally, repairs would still underway.” There was a short pause, looking into the screen albeit, he squinted softly for a few seconds prior to looking back at the camera in front of him.
“From 0800 to 0900 Hours, the crew proceeded to clean the ship and then go back to their respective duties, however, at 0950 Hours there was an accident on the Engineering deck and Petty Officer Third Class. Chad Collins Jr, broke his leg falling from the catwalk. . .”
And an audible sigh is what followed escaping past his lips, the man looked into the screen thoughtfully, yet his expression remained as fatalistic as ever.
“. . . A month of repairs before we can return to the fleet. Captain. Hood has been reassigned to the frigate Burlington in a fleet-support role for the time being as I take command of the ship. I’m sure he’ll make his way back to the front lines soon. God knows we need all the talent we can get. The admiral insisted I stay and witness the dressing down he gave the captain. It was . . . harsh, but deserved.”
Webb proceeded to shake his head, troubled by the whole ordeal as he began to speak once more. “Disobeying orders and engaging the Radiant Perception near Arcadia was reckless and foolish. He had no chance of defeating that destroyer. If Hood had picked up that log buoy and returned as ordered. . .” His shoulder began to sank a little as the weight of the world seemed to fall on him all of a sudden.
“That buoy is out there somewhere, lost, picked up by the destroyer . . . .” He sighed deeply, the weight of the war and the world became more and more apparent. “Godspeed to the folks on the Spirit of Fire. May they find their way home. . .”
Webb, sighed once more and proceeded to tap the button on the screen again as it ceased the recording he stood from his chair, tidily placing it back where it was. “Godspeed. . .”
He repeated quietly, tapping his chair and then he started for the door that departs his quarters, he tapped a button on the wall and the blast door proceeded to slid open. And he stepped outside of his personal quarters and went straight to the lift, walking past several groups of sailors some of whom remained on their duties cleaning, repairing the walls, while those who walked past him heading to their destination instantly snapped a crisp salute to the man in the grey uniform, without stopping, walking past him and directly towards their duties with destination to their respective shops.
He came towards the lift, tapped the button and the blast doors opened almost instantly and the elevator lights flickered slightly; the power surged over the ship briefly in a hiccup of the machinery, however, he shrugged it off with the knowledge of it being just a hiccup, possibly from the men in engineering and stepped into the elevator and tapped the lowest deck before his arms clasped together behind his back and he stared up at the deck counter, the door closed before him, and not long passed until the elevator was already at its destination several decks down, the doors opened wide and he stepped outside it, heading directly to the bridge to attend his own duties as this ship’s captain, it may be docked for repairs, but it remains operational.
This ship was their home, a big home like all the Halcyon-class light cruisers were. Of course, this one was fitted with a certain structure, the popular honeycomb which was a waste of money but made the ship ten times more sturdy and durable, it was a welcome sight rather than a deterrence. It also made this ship as trusty as a 1967 GT Mustang, his father had one of those old hogs, he loved the damn thing. Guess one could say like father like son, they both drove a relic.
He came to a halt in the middle of the way as he gave a glance at one of the portside blast windows, and looked outside at the constant operation and movement of ships in the deep black with the beautiful sight of the green planet below, wide and taking up the entire horizon before it got eaten by the deep black, he was caught looking at it for way too long as his XO tried contacting him through the COM chatter piece he always had in his ear.
“Captain?” Said the Lt. Richards Aiken, insistently, wasn’t long before his voice was heard once more. “Captain,” he said, his voice growing more insistent by the second, “Yes, lieutenant?” Webb starting towards the bridge which wasn’t far. “Sir, we’ve got a transmission coming from the line. . . Seems they’re ordering us to get back into the fight,” Aiken said, and Webb’s face features twisted into an uncertain frown. “The repairs?”
“Nowhere close to being done, sir, but most of what’s needed to operate nominally is sufficiently functional.” Webb remained silent for a bit before he casts one last glance from this view at the deeply green planet, “I’m on my way,” this was reponded to, with a quick ‘Aye, aye’ before Webb started for the Bridge again, not being far.
Webb, tapped at the blast door controls that led straight to the bridge and stepped inside as they opened both ways leaving them open, a crewmember in red overalls snapping a crisp salute once he saw him walk by him, though, he quickly returned at ease and carried on, once Aiken had the Captain in sight, he called out.
“Captain has the con!” And turned to him from the operational glass panel by the observation windows in the front of the structure, Webb grabbed himself a cup of Coffee.
“Commo, would you be so kind as to put the transmission on the screen?”
Lieutenant Junior. Evelyn Meyer nodded quickly, and placed the transmission on the nearest screen to Webb while he took a sip from the cup, he stepped closer to the screen and squinted his eyes when he caught a glance of Preston Cole on the screen before him, the transmission freezed.
“Play it,” he said which was immediately obeyed by Meyer with a subsequent ‘aye, Captain’ and Webb’s free arm was behind his back, Aiken stepped closer to the man as the transmission began playing.
The man in the screen was weary, yet entirely resolute, his shoulders high and stiff while he stared at the screen, his jaw locking in a certain position of frustration, the conflict had gotten very weary these years, for all of us. Webb could see it was getting to Cole as well, but yet, he found himself believing that it didn’t, Cole was the bright mind we deserved and needed.
“Let me cut this short. . . The UNSC Roman Blue is being redirected to the Ectanus 45 system with a small contingent of three ships, with the objective of safeguarding of an important UNSC installation, effective immediately. Your repairs will continue on the Orbit of the moon of Eiro, there’s a station there that will supply you with all the repairs necessary.” There was a brief pause, his hand carefully rubbed against his chin in thought.
“Have it so, that if it seems that the installation is about to fall into enemy hands, destroy it from orbit. You have your orders, Captain. Over and Out.” Cole reached forth and closed the transmission and the screen went black as the prerecorded transmission was pulled, and once again the screen showed a layer of information and stats.
There was a short sigh from Webb before he took a long sip from his coffee and turned to Aiken. “Begin preparations, close off any and all decks that can be exposed to vacuum in case of malfunction.” Aiken stared at him for a few seconds before he gave a certain answer “Yes sir,”
Webb moved away and stood in front of the AI data tank and the screen before him and the AI slowly fluttered to life, her avatar projected on the data tank and stared up at the man, a slender, yellow woman, long hair and a small piece of cloth covering her eyes; LDY 2235-5, better known as Lady.
“Lady, status report?” She looked from him to the glass panel and brought up schematics of the ship, overlaying the areas that could be exposed to vacuum in a bright red.
“If the plating gives out during a Slipstream jump, we could lose these sectors, not many, though, only four.” Webb nodded and proceeded to speak in return. “Evacuate any personnel from those areas, close them off. Pilots, start uncoupling procedures,”
He pressed a button on the below the glass panel, keying in the ship’s intercoms “This is your Captain, we’re departing Reach, any and all personnel man your stations, weekend passes are revoked as of this point.”
There was a short pause and he looked outside the main window bow, seeing the two pilots; Rebecca MeHaffey and Derek McConnel jumping down to the ladders and sat down at their respective controls, but beyond, laid Reach in all its beauty, both of them began tapping their screens and preparing this old bird for departure, engaging the engines not long after.
“We’re going back out into the deep black, all nonessential personnel report to Cryo stations. I repeat, all nonessential personnel report to Cryo stations.” He let go of the button, and Lady continued relaying the respective messages on the intercom.
“Are we ready?” He asked and he turned to Aiken, to which he responded with a nod. “All personnel accounted for, engines keyed and ready, all systems seem to be running nominally.” Webb nodded back then placed his cup in the panel and clasped his arms behind his back.
“Initiate uncoupling procedure, and key in the coordinates for Ectanus 45, Nav.” The navigation’s officer acknowledged the order with a quick ‘aye aye, sir.’ and he began the calculations on his screen being quickly taken over by Lady as she spoke. “Wow, I can do this in less than a second, officer.”
With a little snarky tone, which brought a smile to the weary man, Webb turned away from the screen, taking the coffee in his hand and looked at his crew.
“Get us out of here.”
Webb turned and stared at the planet in front of them, voices all around him while they prepared to leave dock, Commo relaying a message about their departure waiting for approval, Webb remained staring at Reach, taking in all its beauty one last time, his thoughts remained with his wife and kid, a hand being placed in his chest. Where an image would rest below his officer jacket and took a sip from his coffee and turned away from it, after he reached for that cup of coffee he had set before him and began walking down the bridge to check on the rest of his crew. A gentle rock could be felt as he moved and the ship began moving, leaving Gamma Station after their departure was approved, his balance never wavering in the meantime, walking down the small areas in the bridge.
“As soon as we’re away from Reach’s gravitational vector; jump,” Webb spoke, directing the orders to his crew, his arm clasped behind his back, his mind leaving Reach behind and focusing solely on his duty to the men and women of the Roman Blue as he sipped his coffee, dark and grim, bitter just like he liked it. . .