Lieutenant Commander AJ Lewis proceeded to Level Scarlet, and when he reached Gamma Wing, held up his United Nations Space Command Identification Card to the Artificial Intelligence scanner.

There was a flash of light, and the large, steel door’s rotary lock twisted, retracting several large “pins” that held it in place. The large, twenty-five ton blast door moved out of the way, revealing a large, wide corridor, large enough for a Warthog to be driven through.

Passing through the threshold, the Marine guard closed the blast door, and Lewis made a left down a long hallway before reaching a door that was more like the opening to a safe than a top-secret military base. He chuckled at the thought of it all, then walked up to the console.

“How are we doing today, Lauren?”

After saying those words, an AI materialized herself on one of the nearby holo-pedestals, flashing green light down the hallway.

“Voice pattern recognized. I’m doing fine, Lieutenant Commander.” “That’s nice, Lauren.” “Now, please go through the standard biometrics.”

Lewis planted his face into the scanner, which read retina, then used his fingerprint, and the vault opened. Stepping through, Lewis saw five, massive bombs in the center, a spotlight gleaming on them.

He knew the specifics, how large it was, how wide it was, how it would be used.

It was constructed like two “FAT BOY” bombs fused together; however, each one was much, much larger than normal. Cased inside were nine FENRIS Warheads, placed together in a pattern that would boost their already “boosted” thermonuclear yield.

Each FENRIS was case-hardened, to hold back the destruction just a little bit longer to increase the yield. This made them super-safe to use; as without the proper codes, you could detonate several grenades around them and they wouldn’t go off.

However, with this weapon, they had nine of those warheads, and all together, they were incased in lithium triteride armor. Why had they chosen this unique material was to actually compress the fusionable material to neutron-star density, boosting the nuclear yield one-hundred fold. Considering each FENRIS had the nuclear yield of fifty megatons, which means that each NOVA, theoretically, had the yield of forty-five thousand megatons. It had been in development even before he had joined ONI, and it was Humanity’s last card in this entire war. Maybe the Covenant held three Kings and maybe two Queens, but the Humans had five Aces.

He smiled and walked over to the center-most one, and ran his hand all along the surface, feeling the cold metal that protected the utter destruction that was held inside.

If that proposed operation to find the Covenant’s homeworld succeeds, this could end it once and for all…

He shook his head at the prospect.

Who was he kidding? All of ONI was working on finding the Covenant’s homeworld, and they could not come up with a thing. All of the probes they found had led them to mining worlds, construction worlds, and occupied Human systems. No trace of a homeworld… although they had come close, once.

After attaching a probe to a CCS-Class Battle Cruiser, it kept on emitting signals until the ship was docked, several pictures were taken, and the probe went offline.

Inside of that data was the location of the homeworld, however, when the UNSC sent in a Prowler to investigate… there was nothing there.

That incident made waves in ONI, and the best and brightest concluded that the ship (obviously) moved through slipspace, making brief stops then continuing on.

The Covenant, in this capacity, were geniuses.

However, their battlefield tactics left much to be desired. They usually made head-on assaults, and since they had more soldiers at the battle, they usually won, simply overwhelming the defensive UNSC. Even in space, they led nearly suicidal rushes when their ships were about to be destroyed, probably holding onto even some glimmer of hope that they may down multiple Human ships with their powerful lasers and plasma torpedoes.

Usually, they did.

However, many near-suicidal UNSC commanders led their crew into perilous situations, and usually took more than a few Covenant with them, some crashing their ships into the Covenant ones, others detonating their SHIVA payload directly in the middle of large Covenant naval formations, others simply firing their MAC Cannons wildly while launching all of their ordnance, as well as their brave fighter pilots, hoping that the ship commander on the other side may be stupid.

Rarely, they were.

That’s what made this war so hard to fight. The Covenant were smart, technologically superior, and numerically superior, and all Humanity had left was optimism, believing that some strange miracle could happen, be it divine or worldly, intervention.

Perhaps the same intervention Hitler hoped for during his last days in the Reichstag, while the armies of the Soviet Republics tightened the noose, forcing him to suicide.

Lewis hoped that the war would not end like that.

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