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DDC-245
UNSC Dash (DCC-2247)
Production information
Class

Drake-class corvette

Production

Solaris Shipworks[1]

Technical specifications
Length

150 meters

Width

36 meters

Height/depth

63 meters

Engine unit(s)
  • Fusion drives (2)
  • Auxiliary fusion drives (2)
  • Triamino hydrazine ullage mono-propellant thrusters (4)
  • Strategically-placed Vernier chemical thrusters (11)
  • Triamino hydrazine mono-propellant Reaction Control System
Slipspace Drive

Series IV CODEN Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine (1)

Hull
  • Measure 32[2] non-reflective/radar absorbent ablative paint scheme[3]
  • 10 centimetres Titanium-A battleplate
  • Multiple underlying layers of lead foil
  • Composite insulation layers
Sensor systems
  • Various thermal/LIDAR/camera suites
Targeting systems

AN/SYK-156 Integrated Fire Control System[4]

Navigation system

AN/SPN-14 navigational radar

Avionics
  • AN/SPY-47 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar
  • AN/SRC-91 directional MASER transmitter/receiver[5]
  • AN/SRC-114 omnidirectional radio transmitter/receiver
Countermeasures
Armament
  • Mark VII Light Magnetic Accelerator Cannon (1)
    • Mark IV Kinetic Projectile, Fragmentation (26)
  • M502 recessed twin-gun 50mm point-defence railgun network (8)
  • RSGM-16 Archer Missile pods (24 pods, 672 missiles)
  • RSM-19 Shiva (1 tube, 2 missiles)
  • Assorted crew small arms
Complement
  • Epsilon Company, 5th Force Reconnaissance Battalion
    • Marines (~64)
    • M12G1 LAAV Warthog (2)
    • M274 ULATV Mongoose (2)
  • Sabre Flight, Attack Squadron 29 (VA-29)
    • Flight crew and maintenance personnel (~14)
    • D77H-TCI Pelican dropship (2)
  • Class-3 Bumblebee Lifeboat[10](18)
Crew

96 crew

  • 13 officers
  • 83 enlisted rates
Consumables
  • Four months crew consumables[11]
  • Two years deuterium fuel stores[12]
Usage
Era(s)
Role(s)
  • Independent patrol craft
  • Escort and protection of larger vessels
  • Interdiction of undefended/lightly defended enemy shipping
  • Providing logistical/fire support to Special Operations forces
Affiliation

UNSC Navy

  • Office of Naval Intelligence
  [Source]
"Hey, we can clear this sky in ten seconds flat."
―Petty Officer Second Class Jessie M. Fergus, United Nations Space Command Navy. Junior rated engineer of the second watch, August 2552. The boasts were pertaining to the UNSC Dash's remarkable acceleration performance, owed to her large reactor fuelling her fusion drives which netted a significantly greater thrust to weight ratio than other vessels her size.


The UNSC Dash (DCC-2247) (often affectionally referred to by her nickname, "Dashie") was a United Nations Space Command Navy Drake-Class corvette constructed and entering active service in the final year of the Human-Covenant war. Despite her small size, the Dash distinguished valiantly herself in combat, going on to survive the war to serve in the Remnant War. The vessel became notable within the UNSC Navy for holding the title of swiftest combat warship[13] in the UNSC Fleet until 2567, owing to frequent upgrades to its reactor powerplant to support its various duties; most notably its role as a support vessel for clandestine Naval Special Warfare and Office of Naval Intelligence special operation deployments. In later service, the Dash plainly wore her ship emblem painted on both port and starboard lateral faces of the engine nacelle armour, which consisted of a cloud with a tri-coloured lightning bolt shooting forth.[14]

Operational History

Human-Covenant War

"Dash primus inter pares"
―Latin, "Dash before dishonour." Ship motto for the UNSC Dash (DCC-2247).

Construction and trials

DCC-2247 began her life as the 842nd ship of an order of 850 Drake-class corvettes, commissioned by the United Nations Space Command Navy for usage against Covenant forces during the final years of the Human-Covenant War. Misriah Armaments won the UNSC contract bidding by providing individual vessels at several million credits cheaper per unit, further undercutting Weapon System Technologies's low cost bid to produce corvettes for a desperate Navy. Misriah's separate business unit specializing in the construction of warships, Mars Spacecraft Assembly Incorporated (MSAI), was already overworked trying to fill orders of frigates and destroyers: leading to MSAI's purchase of the near bankrupt civilian vessel manufacturing entity, Solaris Shipworks.

Keel laid on 13 November, 2551 in Mars orbit, the warship was well along the road to completion when she was given the name Dash by the UNSC Naval Naming Board in January, 2552. The Dash had the misfortune of being constructed in a climate of very sharp material shortages by Solaris Shipworks, who made the executive cost- and material-saving decision to save costs and material by shortening the vessel by six meters, not installing internal titanium support beams deemed to be superfluous, and outfitting the warship with armour two centimetres thinner than specifications called for. This potentially would have been an issue has the Dash been a rated ship of the line: however, the Dash was seen as an auxiliary warship: with a lighter gun and less versatile in roles than the Paris-, Charon- and Remembrance- class frigates, the Drake-class was produced primarily for more cost effective patrolling of UNSC space that was unlikely to come under attack, and to courier VIPs and Special Operations troops. The only significant disadvantage this gave the Dash was the loss of storage space, leading to the cramming of material needing storage in unconventional space.[15]

The Dash completed construction and outfitting on the 16th of February, 2552, and assigned a crew in the next two weeks for testing of the vessel, attaining Lieutenant Commander Karen McGrath as the commanding officer, fresh from her Executive Officer billet aboard the frigate UNSC Franklin. Her executive officer was Lieutenant Terryn Cormack, an officer fresh from Command School. Departing under her own power for her first time on the 25th of February, the Dash began six days of ship-trials, pushing the ship to its limits, drilling the crew in effective operations of the vessel and testing newly installed equipment; including the newly installed AI, Victor, who had taken the persona of a Soviet Commissar. During these trials, it was discovered that the Dash had a markedly greater thrust to weight ratio than other vessels of its class. This was inadvertently caused by the decreased mass from construction cost-saving, ultimately giving the warship a considerable improvement in terms of its acceleration and manoeuvrability. Upon the Dashs return and minor repairs of defective/ incorrectly installed components discovered during the shakedown, the Dash was then commissioned on the 4th of March in a short ceremony as the newest corvette in the United Nations Space Command Navy.

Battle of Fumirole

The Dash's first operational deployment was initiated on 15 March, where she was issued orders from Naval Command (NAVCOM) to courier personnel and light material from Mars to Reach. Making best economic speed, she arrived at Reach six days later, and offloaded its passenger and material. The Dash then received orders attaching her to Battlegroup Avon, a forty-two ship strong rapid reaction force for planetary defence. The next two and a half weeks was spent in joint fleet exercises, the crew better familiarizing themselves with their new vessel's capabilities and their own responsibilities. A pending deployment became obvious when the embarked personnel aboard the Dash were forced to sign a Classified Information Non-disclosure Agreement (CINA) by Intelligence officers, and further reinforced by the embarking of NOBLE Team, an amalgamated Army/Joint operations unit.

Unsurprisingly, Battlegroup Avon received deployment orders on the 18th of April to respond to a significant Covenant assault on the industrial colony of Fumirole. The slipspace transit at flank speed took the battlegroup two days, arriving on April 20 at 0417 local hours, three hundred fifty million kilometres off of Fumirole. Immediately upon arrival, Covenant fleet elements were detected in high orbit around the colony: a total of twenty seven vessels, including a CAS-class assault carrier and a pair of CCS-class battlecrusiers. The Avon attempted to ping any remaining UNSC warships in system to muster support; but unbeknownst to the arriving Battlegroup, the small UNSC Navy detachment defending the colony, led by Commodore Philip Watkins aboard the light cruiser UNSC Yokohama, had been decimated three hours prior. Radio chatter of UNSC troops, augmented by militia, in heavy combat with Covenant units planetside prompted the mass deployment of troop-laden Pelican dropships, with a sizeable number of Longsword escorts and Shortsword close support aircraft. The Dash contributed her two Pelicans, with NOBLE deploying with the embarked Marine detachment.

The Covenant fleet was already committed to an orbit around Fumirole before it would be able to manoeuvre to engage the UNSC battlegroup. Rear Admiral Kenneth Puchinia ordered his battlegroup to flank speed, with the intention to meet the Covenant fleet head-on to present the smallest possible target on what was essentially a collision course when it completed its fifteen minute orbit around the far side of the planet. The forty-two vessels charged their MACs, closing ranks. The Covenant vessels reappeared from the far side of Fumirole, directly on the course anticipated by the the Avon's AI, allowing for coordinated fire control. The sides of the rapidly approaching Covenant vessels glowed a brilliant blue as plasma torpedoes were shot at the closing human warships. Battlegroup Avon finally returned fire, first salvoing off thousands of Archer missiles and following up shortly thereafter with a half dozen Shiva nuclear missiles. The human battlegroup waited another few seconds before staggered streaks of fire slashing through the dark and slamming into the oncoming warships. The Dash herself gutted a destroyer whose shields had been bought down with her light MAC slug, bringing the bridge crew to a cheer. Following Shiva and Archer missile impacts, eight Covenant vessels lay crippled destroyed, leaving nineteen ships operational, with seven bloodied but operational.

A dozen of Covenant plasma torpedoes lost coherence and dissipated out of existence, but dozens more streaked towards the UNSC fleet. Acting on their own initiative, seven frigates broke formation, toggled off their magazines of Archer missiles and Shiva missiles, and accelerated towards the oncoming plasma to protect the heavier warships in the fleet for a follow-up MAC volley. Six of the seven were rendered smoking wrecks, with the lone surviving frigate maneuvering back into formation. Roughly fifteen torpedoes managed to impact the fleet, crippling two vessels[16] and destroying another four; with the carrier Avon alone taking five hits to her flanks. However, thirty vessels of the human fleet managed to survive the Covenant torpedo volley to fire off a second MAC volley, reducing the number of Covenant warships to thirteen.

Devoid of electrical charge required for another salvo and quickly closing with the Covenant fleet, the human warships spread themselves out for close combat with Covenant forces. Plasma torpedoes were already arching towards the lead elements of the battlegroup, which as a whole was committed to executing a slingshot orbit around Fumirole due to orbital mechanics. Reduced by seven ships, Rear Admiral Puchinia's command intercepted the Covenant units at 0441 hours, with UNSC vessels executing erratic emergency thruster manoeuvring to dodge Covenant vessels. Three human vessels, crippled by plasma torpedoes on the run in, were unable to make the necessary course corrections required to manoeuvre free of collision with Covenant vessels, with a Destroyer colliding with a CCS-class cruiser and exploding. Point defence fire perforated the hulls of both forces, with the Dash herself suffering minor hull damage; miraculously escaping serious damage despite being close abeam to the Avon when she suffered extensive damage from exploding Archer missile pods.

Bursting through the tattered Covenant formation at almost twenty-five thousand meters a second, Rear Admiral Puchinia's twenty remaining operational human warships had sufficient velocity to be outside of the effective engagement envelope for plasma torpedoes, and disappeared around the far side of the planet. The fleet used the precious minutes their orbit bought them to recharge MACs, make corrective burns to adjust course for a successive engagement. However, upon completing their orbit, the battlegroup was surprised to find the Covenant ships re-entering Fumirole's atmosphere at high velocity, presumably making the assumption that UNSC kinetic weaponry would be unable to effectively engage their vessels from orbit. Successive volleys of MAC slugs from the orbiting UNSC vessels quickly largely disproved this notion.[17]

640px-CCS Shield Collapsing

Orbital images obtained by the UNSC Dash of the destruction of a CCS-class Battlecruiser.; destroyed by SPARTAN-A293.

The remaining Covenant warships were quickly dispatched; all bar a single CCS-class battlecruiser, which had taken position above the capital of New Cavershum. Unable to engage due the high probability of friendly fire occurring with a weapon of mass destruction,[18] the orbiting human fleet licked their wounds and began making repairs, taking up geosynchronous firing positions in orbit; while the deployed troops began to deal with the marauding battlecruiser. Within hours, a massed assault began, led by NOBLE team and utilizing mechanized and aerial support provided by orbiting vessels. This effort resulted in the destruction of the CCS-class battlecruiser; however, significant personnel losses were incurred on the assault, especially from NOBLE team; losing SPARTAN-A293 aboard the battlecruiser, with SPARTAN-B320 attaining significant injury. NOBLE remained in the field despite its losses, greatly aiding in offensive operations while the wounded personnel of the deployed contingent began medical evacuation to the carrier Avon.

The rare victory was well received by the ranks, especially aboard the Dash: post battle analysis by Naval Intelligence awarded the small warship a destroyer kill and an assist on crippling a destroyer, earning the Dash a mention in dispatches. The rare human victory in orbit was somewhat tempered by the attrition of UNSC forces: twenty ships remained of a deployed force of forty-two. Of that number, fourteen remained undamaged and fully combat effective; only one frigate among that number. 6,322 UNSC Naval and Marine personnel perished in the orbital melee.

With only one other combat effective atmosphere-rated vessel, the frigate Polonya, the Dash was assigned to enter the atmosphere of Fumarole and support the follow up period of "mop up" operations, acting in a fire support role with Marine and Army elements in combat against Covenant troops still on the ground from the 21st through to the 29th of April. Maintaining an altitude of 1250 metres, the crew gained great prestige among deployed ground units for the effectiveness and thoroughness of their 50mm railgun fire support assistance, saving many lives and making the task of thoroughly clenching the colony of Covenant forces.

Upon successful completion of surface operations, the Dash returned to orbit alongside the remaining fleet, where they held a protective vigil over the planet until it was relieved by Battlegroup Nagoya on April 30, and issued orders to return to Reach for refit and repair.

Operation: MINOTAUR

The Dash was given instruction upon arrival at Reach to report to an orbital refitting facility. Upon arrival at the designated shipyard, the crew was surprised to learn that their vessel to undergo week-long retrofitting of stealth baffles, a fresh coat of zeolite-based paint in UNSCN measure 32[19] and supporting subsystems for an impending deployment. The Office of Naval Intelligence had taken interest in the Dashs superior speed and agility[20], which when coupled with the vessel's ability to provide fire support, made her uniquely suited for special operations. The vessel was not willingly given up by Naval Command, who ultimately conceded that the vessel was available to ONI purely only when not otherwise in usage by the Navy in normal operations, strategic reconnaissance and deployment of NAVSPECWAR assets.[21]

The resultant modifications rendered the Dashs RADAR cross-section significantly reduced to appear fighter-sized, with the surface of the hull being coated with matte black stealth-ablative paint. Under this was a 2 centimetre layer of angled re-entrant triangle-style baffles, which were constructed of RADAR-absorbent material in order to trap and deflect RADAR/RADAR-like beams. Additionally, subsystems were installed to cool the surface of the hull to near absolute zero in order to shield the vessel from detection in the infrared spectrum, although this was able to be manipulated to allow the Dash the match the atmospheric temperature to hide the vessel in atmosphere. The total mass added by the overhaul ended up being just over four and a half tons; negligible to performance. Additionally, one of the two Pelicans was temporarily disembarked from the vessel to be replaced with a slightly smaller YSS-1000 Sabre and a handful of Office of Naval Intelligence personnel, including SPARTAN-B312.

Dash completed overhaul on 8 May, and received orders to began preparations for an immediate deployment, departing at 0141 hours. Once en route, the officers aboard were called to the wardroom to be briefed on the deployment by the ONI personnel. Operation: MINOTAUR was a Naval Special Warfare Command counterinsurgency operation to the colony of Mamore, a manufacturing centre for the UEG, with the Dashs role in the operation being providing transport and support. Mamore lay in the Eridanus sector, which was historically a hotspot for Insurrectionist activities. Between Operation: TREBUCHET and the reality that the UNSC was the only thing between the Covenant and Humanity's destruction, organized rebel activity in general had plummeted drastically to the point of non-existence. However, Mamore was a statistical outlier: a rebellion had already been quelled once in 2537 by Naval Special Forces and another pre-emptively squelched through precision assassinations in 2544 by Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. The core of the Rebel insurgency on Mamore had lain dormant as it rebuilt strength after losing its leadership, and had only just began active operations against UNSC personnel and material, as well as indiscriminate terrorism on the civilian population. Local ONI assets had managed to ascertain the base of operations of rebel forces with the help of city infrastructure AI, based on shuttle traffic, as coming from one of the abandoned CMA mining installations on Beni, one of its half dozen moons.

To this end, deployment orders stated the Dash was to deploy, make contact with ONI intelligence units for additional intelligence, and then support SPARTAN-B312's ingress aboard his YSS-1000 Sabre. As senior officer in grade, Lieutenant Commander McGrath held operational command of the mission.

Arriving on the 10th of May approximately 600 million kilometres off of Mamore, the Dash made best standard speed burn for orbit; with SPARTAN-B312's Sabre flying alongside as an escort. Entering high orbit, the Dash made encrypted contact with the local ONI office in Madeira, who were only able to give little more than a threat estimate on the rebel installation on Beni from a deployed Charon-class drone in geosynchronous orbit: 50mm point defence cannon were anticipated, as were a number of single ships, as well as a number of shuttles with cleverly-concealed missile systems. The Dash concluded the transmission, recovered the Sabre, and began a full power burn in order to intercept Beni.

Upon circularizing orbit, an immediate burn was executed to put the Dash close to the surface near the installation. SPARTAN-B312's Sabre was scrambled to begin an ingress, with the sole remaining Pelican being armed and loaded with the Dashs complement of Marines. The Dash quickly descended to an altitude of 7 kilometres, holding altitude and position to the north of the sprawling former mining site; and enabling its powerful electronic countermeasure (ECM) suite under the highly competent control of the AI Victor to wage electronic warfare, with the aim of both disrupting rebel communications and spoofing of radar of both navigation and fire control bands. Rebel-controlled concealed 50mm point defence guns began to fire began immediately after the Dash began her jamming efforts, with rebel crews resorting to guessing ranges whilst being spoofed by jamming. The Dash, with its superior fire control, quickly retaliated against identified threats with its 50mm PDWS and targets out of range with pinpoint Archer missile strikes. The Sabre was able to quickly and efficiently able to incapacitate the remainder of the anti-aircraft defences in short order.

However, rebel resistance did not cease. A ragtag rebel squadron, comprised of obsolete and presumably pilfered pre-war GA-TL1 Longsword fighters, D77-TC Pelican gunships and a number of armed transportation shuttles were detected scrambling from a camouflaged hanger built out of an old mining shaft. In possession of aged but not yet obsolete sensors reading the electronic countermeasures and radar spoofing, the rebel-controlled pelicans and shuttles were able to immediately begin to launch missiles set to home in on the Dash. Point defence fire destroyed a majority of the incoming missiles; however, several still impacted on the hull of the warship, puncturing several compartments and wounding four enlisted rates. Fortunately, no further damage was caused, due to a well-oiled damage control team. Archer missile fire and redirected point defence guns quickly did a number on the rebel single ships, who were manoeuvring to fire a second volley. Timely intervention from SPARTAN-B312's Sabre provided welcome support for the Dash, with the agile state-of-the-art craft tearing into the vulnerable rebel craft and reducing the attacking vessels into debris.

With no further resistance encountered by the UNSC force, SPARTAN-B312 announced intentions to make way into the Rebel stronghold. The Dash stood by with weapons poised to provide support fire as the lone fighter made way to the hanger, and disappeared from RADAR scopes. The Dash's sole pelican orbited the corvette, the 32 personnel of the marine detachment embarked for the possible contingency of rendering rapid aid to the lone SPARTAN.

SPARTAN-B312 was remained out of contact for a total of 47 minutes, apart from a periodic communications check; after which the SPARTAN dutifully reported the mission as complete. Upon return to the Dash, SPARTAN-B312 was subjected to a closed-door debriefing with ONI personnel. This led to the ONI detachment recalling and commandeering the Pelican to examine the now-empty rebel facility for intelligence, along with a FURY tactical nuclear device. The Pelican returned empty, and the Dash was flashed movement orders back to Reach.

The crew of the Dash were not learn of the results of MINOTAUR, but the impression given by embarked ONI analysts during the operational debriefing confirmed that it had been a spectacularly effective mission. In actuality, the operation was heralded throughout the Black Operations community as a masterfully conducted mission, earning SPARTAN-B312 a well-deserved "hyper-lethal" rating. The role the Dash played in the operation painted her' in a very favourable light, and began a trend of the Dash being made available for special operations deployments.

Battle of Criterion

The Dash 's success in MINOTAUR had certainly not been unnoticed by both Fleet Command and the Office of Naval Intelligence. Both recognised that assigning her back into a conventional support-role within a numbered fleet or battlegroup would be a colossal waste of an effective tactical stealth asset. Upon arrival back at Reach on 15 May, she was immediately docked, and began a minor overhaul, replenishment and repairs. Her crew was officially debriefed from MINOTAUR by ONI, swearing them to secrecy regarding their part in the operation under the usual penalty of death. The second of the Dash's pelicans was re-embarked and the ONI personnel disembarked, to the relief of much the crew.

The ship was instructed to remained docked for several weeks while the crew took their long-anticipated shore leave, leaving a fraction of the crew aboard amongst an equally small number of ship fitters. Activities for those left aboard included conducting various maintenance overhauls, doing training required for continued proficiency and promotion, effecting repairs and modifying subsystems for better performance, along with touching up the radar-absorbent paint on extravehicular activities. Additionally, the Dash was outfitted with a stern-mounted rotary launcher for 10 M441 Hornet Remote Explosive System nuclear mines. However, an emergency recall was issued to the crew on leave via their data pads on 5 June at 0000 hours, informing them of a deployment commencing at 2359 on 6 June. The crew scrambled to finish up personal business and make the most of their final night of leave before returning to their ship for a doubtlessly dangerous cruise, the experiences of which were henceforth referred to as the "Great Dash Junebillee," and were extensively discussed through the duration of the Dash 's deployment.

At the stated time, Lieutenant Commander McGrath pulled free of the refit station with vernier thrusters, with all crew making it aboard against the odds with the addition of a few civilian shipfitters still troubleshooting new systems. As the ship manoeuvred to the jump coordinates at flank speed, McGrath briefed the crew on the nature of the Dash 's mission. Slipstream space probes from remote scanning outpost Anyon reported long-range high tonnage contacts decelerating several billion kilometres off of the colony of Criterion. Naval Intelligence linked this deployment with the recent combat evacuation of Imber under Covenant assault, given that the Navy was using Criterion as a forward operations base. Roughly five light-years distant, it was a several day journey at normal speed. Therefore, deploying approximately 18 hours behind the emergency departure of battlegroup Custer to the colony of Criterion in a much swifter vessel, the Dash was make transit post-haste to Criterion to observe the progress of battle and assist in operations however practical.

The warship arrived approximately 1200 hours on 6 June amongst the flotsam of UNSC warships and civilian vessels, leaking reactors effectively masking its arrival in-system. The situation was in control but unfavourable for UNSC forces: a dozen-strong flotilla of Covenant destroyers and frigates had overpowered the small number of combat frigates initially deployed to the forward operating base. The defensive warships swept aside, operational command and control fell to Rear Admiral Daniel Rodriguez, whom inherited command of the largely decimated defensive units of Criterion: only the semi-timely arrival of the Custer battlegroup saved the surviving naval auxiliary units around Criteron. Both Navy and Covenant forces incurred significant losses in skirmish, leading Covenant forces to withdraw to an orbit about the moon of Litmus. Covenant troops had made landfall on the planet surface, with the Criterion Colonial Militia mobilizing and fielding a competent mechanized division and an amalgamated air wing (consisting of two B-65_Shortsword squadrons and one D77-TC Pelican squadron from the UNSC Air Force, in addition to two squadrons of C712 Longswords from the Criteron Naval Reserve) in short order to prevent the establishment of a defensible bridgehead. This would secure time for the seasoned Marine Corps and Army regiments both in orbit and scattered around the planet to be amassed into cohesive forces.

Battle of Tribute

Battle of Earth

Layout

Armament

"The Dash's combat modus operandi is to "float like a butterfly and sting like a bee:" our sole advantage in a fight with Covenant warships is our speed and nimbleness to take a shot when it will have the most effect, and then get the hell out of the way. A lot of other heavier-tonnage ships in the fleet don't have any advantage over Covenant warships."
―Lieutenant Commander Karen McGrath, United Nations Space Command Navy. Commanding Officer of corvette UNSC Dash, July, 2552


The UNSC Dash was constructed with the standard armament for a very late-war Drake-class corvette. Armed with a Mark VII Light Magnetic Accelerator Cannon as its main armament that fit barely within the warships short frame, the Dash was capable of shooting a 300 ton tungsten slug at 11,991.7 kilometres per second - or roughly 0.03c,[22] with the kinetic force of 3.59751 terranewtons. The Mark 7 MAC/L proved its worth throughout the Human-Covenant War aboard light warships, proving to be an extremely effective weapon system against unshielded Covenant targets, and moderately effective on the energy shields of a Covenant Frigate. However, consistent experiences in combat showed that, while a slug was able to exceed the kinetic absorption thresholds of Covenant energy shielding, another slug was required to disable the enemy combatant. Generally, the minutes-long gap in time between MAC salvos would have allowed a Covenant warship to cycle its shields. This lead to establishment of the practice that the weapon was most effectively utilized when fired immediately following a fleet-wide volley of MAC fire, optimally on a Covenant vessel with no other damage from the volley other than lowered shields.

The Dashs MAC magazine was typically comprised fully of the 300,000 kilogram Mark IV Kinetic Projectile, Fragmentation.[23] was comprised of a small[24] dense depleted uranium kinetic energy penetrator that was designed to punch through the entirety of a target to inflict catastrophic damage. Shrouding the "bullet" was a magnetically-conductive layer of ferric-tungsten[25] that allowed the projectile to be fired from a UNSC Magnetic Accelerator Cannon, and was designed to immediately begin to fragment into millions of shrapnel shards upon impact in order to perforate the maximum number of decks, crew and subsystems on its way through the target. Given the mass and size of the MAC projectiles, only 18 projectiles were carried aboard, stored within a magazine located just forward of the bridge.[26]

The Mark 7 MAC/L required two minutes and fifty seconds[27] of charge from a 'cold' uncharged state to become fully armed for combat. In part due to power recycling systems around the MAC barrel baffles, charging times for successive shots were decreased by 22% - for a total time of two minutes twelve point six seconds for a charge.[28] However, a less effective underpowered MAC shot was possible at any point in time.

Complimenting the Mark 7 MAC/L, the Dash was outfitted with 26 RSGM-16 Archer pods. Each pod contained 28 Archer missiles, with a total of 672 missiles. With an effective range of 50 million kilometres,[29] the RSGM-16 Archer Missile was an Insurrection-war era high explosive ship-to-ship missile that was utilized extensively throughout the Human-Covenant War against Covenant warships, air and ground forces. The usage of Archer missiles on Covenant warships was largely regarded as ineffective by the UNSC Navy due to the effectiveness of Covenant energy shielding technology, used effectively in conjunction with point defence LASER. However, deployment immediately after a MAC salvo was a highly effective tactic against unshielded and damaged Covenant warships, as their crews were less effective in their point defence fire.

Additionally, the Dash was equipped with a pair of RSM-19 Shiva nuclear missiles, deployed through a single centred launch tube on the bow.[30] Roughly four times wider than an Archer missile and equipped with a multiple fissure-fusion type variable-yield warhead,[31] the RSM-19 Shiva was the most effective weapon system in the UNSC Naval arsenal for destroying or disabling Covenant vessels. Designed to have an effective engagement range of 160 million kilometres[32][33] A close detonation of a RSM-19 Shiva nuclear missile on a large Covenant warship would incapacitate it, and lower its shields for MAC fire; on a moderate to light tonnage vessel, it would destroy it. However, due to the shortage of nuclear munitions towards the end of the Human-Covenant War, usage of nuclear weapons was sparing and intentionally done after a volley of Archer missiles were already deployed at a target in order to maximize the chances of the missile surviving point defence fire to reach the most effective detonation point, just short of the Covenant warship's shields.

For point defence against hostile lightly armoured vessels, single ships and missile, the Dash was equipped with sixteen networked M502 recessed 50mm point-defense railguns, mounted in eight twin-gun turrets. Computer controlled and integrated with direct feed to the Dash's RADAR and LIDAR data for increased combat effectiveness, the M502 Point Defence was a close-in weapon system responsible for tracking, engaging and destroying extremely fast-moving enemy targets that pose a threat to the ship or station. Each mount was capable of traversing at 210 degrees per second, elevating at 135 degrees per second and firing approximately 10,000 rounds per minutes, with a muzzle velocity of approximately twenty thousand metres per second (20 kilometres per second). This allowed the weapon system to quickly shred the shields of Covenant single ships and perforate unshielded enemy vessels at an effective range of approximately two hundred kilometres, and a maximum effective range of eight hundred kilometres. Control of a ship's network of M502s was accomplished by a shipboard AI, either 'smart' or 'dumb', under the command of weapons officers on the bridge, although given the extremely rapid nature of emergent threats in zero-gee combat situations, the automated systems aboard the Dash had the authority to commence fire on targets deemed to be an clear and present threat to the Dash without the authorization of the command crew or weapons officer.[34] Additionally, individual M502 mounts possessed their own emergency power supply and search/fire control radar, allowing them to lock onto and track their own individual targets in the event of failure of the augmented and much more powerful central search and fire control radar systems, which additionally possessed greater range and resistance to electronic countermeasures.

Additionally, the Dash was capable of being outfitted with additional subsystems depending on mission, including HORNET nuclear mine dispensers for tactical deployment of nuclear minefields.[35]

Complement

The Dash was a small combat warship, and hence was only capable of supporting a compact crew and an even smaller embarked complement of marines and flight crew. The Dash typically had a crew complement of 96 crew, consisting of 13 officers and 83 enlisted rates, in addition to a total complement of 79 Marines and flight crew.

Epsilon Company, 5th Force Reconnaissance Battalion

"Kaatar Hunnu Bhanda Marnu Ramro"
―Nepali for "Better to die than to be a coward"
For her first few deployments, the Dash possessed a marine complement from the 13th Detachment of the 47th Marine Regiment[36], suited for a corvette's shipboard defence and minor tactical deployments.
Survey Corps Logo

Epsilon company logo. A satirical poke at the higher casualty statistics of dropship deployments from orbit, the two fragile wings represent the two pelicans entrusted with deploying the two platoons comprising the company.

However, as the Dash acquired more specialized missions including providing support on assaults and extraction of special operations teams, the ship gained the slim Epsilon company from the 5th Force Reconnaissance Battalion.

Given the extremely high risk nature of deployments with no additional reinforcements and little air support beyond that of the Dash or its Pelican complement, Epsilon company was entirely comprised of highly proficient professional special forces personnel from the 5th Force Reconnaissance Battalion. With no Single Occupant Exoatmospheric Insertion Vehicles to call on for transorbital support interdiction, the entire company had to be deployed via the Dashs two Pelicans; the high esprit de corps leading to the adoption of a light-hearted sardonic unit patch poking fun at the higher statistical causality rate stemming from unsupported drop ship deployment.

On combat deployments, the unit typically consisting of six officers (commanded by a Marine captain [O-3]) and 58 enlisted troops. The unit additionally had access to a pair of M12G1 Light Anti-Armour Vehicles (equipped with potent M68 Asynchronous Linear-Induction Motors and a pair of M274 Ultra-Light All-Terrain Vehicles.

Sabre Flight, Attack Squadron 29 (VA-29)

"Alis volat propriis."
―Latin for "She flies by her own wings." Motto of 4th Detachment, Fixed Wing Attack Squadron 29 (VA-29).

The air wing aboard the Dash was quite small in comparison with other UNSC vessels: its air wing consisted of a total of two D77H-TCI multi-role Pelicans, staffed by six flight crew and another seven maintenance personnel. When both were in use, they were able to move the entirety of the Dashs Marine Force Recon contingent, as well as both M12G1 Warthogs. Upon the Dashs commencement in special operations duties, Sabre Flight's Pelicans were overhauled with the addition of a sturdy stealth ablative coating atop of hull modifications to reduce RADAR cross-section.

The flight was historically commanded by a Navy Lieutenant (O-3), and was primarily tasked with providing transportation and Close Air Support (CAS) to deployed ground personnel through the usage of a recessed chin-mounted 30 millimetre autocannon, ANVIL high explosive/anti-armour missiles and a rearward-facing AIE-486H mounted from the roof of the troop bay.

In the event of emergency, the Dash came equipped with a total of 18 Class-3 Bumblebee Lifeboats, each capable of carrying nine personnel of the complement and strategically placed about the vessel based off of the geographic disposition of the crew about the vessel whilst at general quarters. The crew were assigned to lifeboats closest to their duty station, due to the limited number of spare seats aboard the Dashs lifeboats in the event of catastrophe. Each lifeboat tube was covered by an explosively-ejected section of the hull, providing maximum protection to the ship until evacuation was necessary.

Defensive systems

"We're pretty vulnerable out in the big empty, even with the extensive list of defensive tech we have aboard. Its a real challenge to counter real time threats in six-dimensions whilst in a zero-gee vacuum."
―Lieutenant Carrol Porter, United Nations Space Command Navy. Defensive Warfare Officer of corvette UNSC Dash, July, 2553

The vulnerabilities of space-fairing vessels in combat with each other was well documented by the United Nations Space Command Navy from as far back as the Rainforest Wars of 2126, where it was largely combat of flotillas of bulky and fragile first-generation warships to duke it out with modified cannons using vacuum-enhanced chemical propellant to engage other vessels. Following the conclusion of the Interplanetary War, naval emphasis was in creating slim and nimble ships, constituting the second generation of human warships. Evolution of countermeasures was deemed largely unnecessary beyond a robust electronic warfare suite, with the sole military body in human existence being the United Nations Space Command: necessitating patrol craft[37] capable of engaging targets at stand-off range with missiles: however, the Callisto Incident showed the importance of countermeasures against projectiles and close-in hostile targets, as well as the folly of entirely placing reliance on the performance of missile systems for combat superiority. This led to the retrofitting of existing active duty combat vessels with point-defence weapons systems, and led to the new third-generation of warships in development by 2494 to be designed around a main armament of a Magnetic Accelerator Cannon: the first vessels armed with such a weapon were the Gorgon-class Destroyers. The advent of large kinetic energy weapons like the MAC, projecting lethal slugs at a fraction of the speed of light made effective countermeasures against this form of attack impossible: the only defense a warship had was to detect the projectile with at least several seconds before impact, allowing for the usage of emergency explosive maneuvering thrusters to throw the ship to the side for a near miss.

The Dash, like all other Drake-class corvettes constructed in the closing years of the Human-Covenant War, was a late fourth-generation UNSC Navy warship and hence utilized a significant number of passive and active defensive subsystems to protect her from acts of aggression.

The Dash possessed a passive defence against enemy detection that the vast majority of UNSC warships lacked, provided thanks to the Office of Naval Intelligence. It comprised of an external hull layer of low observable zeolite-base UNSC Grey painted RADAR-absorbent material, utilizing angled re-entrant triangular baffles to refract RADAR. Additionally, coolant pipes under the hull were able raise or lower the hull temperature for thermal invisibility in various environments.

In the event of detection and missile launch, the Dash had a powerful AN/SLQ-275 electronic warfare suite to defend herself. Often referred to as the "slick"-275, the AN/SLQ-275 was a multirole computer system Misriah Armory designed to coordinate the electronic defence of warships, impede enemy communications, and intercept enemy communications. The "slick" utilized sensors on the hull to detect and categorize RADAR "painting" the hull, analyse the RADAR beam characteristics and band to determine the search RADAR type, and process the angle the RADAR came from against a 3D render of the vessel in order to estimate the returned signal intensity. This allowed the Electronic Warfare Officer to determine whether the ship had been detected, and what kind of RADAR band frequency was to be jammed. This was also utilized against incoming RADAR guided missiles, though manipulation of the communication between the launching ship and the missile was also an effective strategy. Additionally, the AN/SLQ-275 was capable of being utilized to disrupt channels of communication for an ememy: jamming all non-UNSC radio networks with impunity.[38] Another core design consideration that went into the AN/SLQ-275 was the interception of enemy data. As such, the AN/SLQ-275 integrates a number of Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) disciplines into its design using externally-mounted hardware to detect electronic missions.

Despite her passive and electronic defences, the main defences the Dash had against nearby enemies and incoming ordinance was her sixteen M502 recessed 50 milimetre point-defense railguns, mounted in eight twin-gun turrets. Entirely automated (and monitored by the Defensive Warfare Officer), the M502 Point Defense System was a close-in weapon system (CIWS[39]) primarily responsible for tracking, engaging and destroying extremely fast-moving enemy targets or ballistics that pose a threat to the ship or station. Touting a Human-Covenant War success rate of 93% against incoming missiles and singleships,[40] the M502 PDWS was seamlessly integrated into the various sensors about the ship; namely utilizing a direct feed to the Dash's RADAR and LIDAR data for increased combat effectiveness. Each dual-gun mount was capable of traversing 210 degrees per second, elevating 135 degrees per second and firing approximately five thousand 50 millimetre depleted uranium railgun slugs per minute on each gun, with a muzzle velocity of approximately twenty thousand metres per second (20 kilometres per second). This allowed the weapon system to quickly shred the shields of Covenant single ships and perforate unshielded enemy vessels of a larger tonnage with perfect accuracy to a range of approximately two hundred kilometres, and a maximum effective range of one thousand kilometres. Control of a ship's network of M502s was generally accomplished by means of a shipborne AI, under the command of weapons officers on the bridge; although given the extremely rapid nature of emergent threats in zero-gee combat situations, automated systems aboard the Dash had the authority to commence fire on targets deemed to be an clear and present threat to the Dash without the authorization of the command crew or weapons officer. Additionally, individual M502 mounts possessed their own emergency power supply and search/fire control radar, allowing them to lock onto and track their own individual targets in the event of failure of the augmented and much more powerful central search and fire control radar systems, which additionally possessed greater range and resistance to electronic countermeasures. This lead to a number of documented instances of crippled warships with its entire crew killed in action hold up a short period of continued point defence fire.

Given the velocities that orbital warships reach in combat (especially when travelling in opposite directions like that of the orbital 'jousting' that characterized UNSC fleet actions during the Human-Covenant War,) there was oft little opportunity for command staffs to bring their vessel about to desired course to allow the the main engines to effect a radical course correction before a collision was to occur. Realizing the significance that this capability would give to disaster mitigation strategies early on in manned spaceflight[41], all UNSC warships serving through the Human-Covenant War were equipped with emergency manoeuvrings capabilities in the form of the standardized Mark IV Emergency Thruster System[42] (ETS). The Mark IV Emergency Thruster System was a single-use self-contained system that consisted of a thick titanium case, containing two pressurized tanks of trihydride tetrazine and hydrogen peroxide, a sealed combustion chamber with a blowout panel leading to a shaped nozzle. The Dash was built with two per axis and installed into reinforced sections of the hull; which was essential, given the nature of the explosive hypergolic propellant. The ETS was activated on authority of the warship commander, integrated shipboard Artificial Intelligence or by the Navigation Officer's perogative to explosively place a warship on a new course in order to prevent the loss of the vessel. Operation of the ETS was autonomous upon receiving an execute command, which immediately prompted the two tanks of pressurized trihydride tetrazine and hydrogen peroxide to be forcefully injected into the combustion chamber, where the two chemicals explosively reacted. Pressure rapidly built in the chamber, reaching thousands kilograms of pressure per centimetre in mere miliseconds which would reach the designed failure point for the blowout panel, allowing the gaseous explosion out of the combustion chamber and through a directing nozzle. This process net the warship an significant explosive bout of acceleration in the desired direction through in less than a second.

The Dash additionally carried a number of AN/SLE-221 flare dispensers on each axis, allowing for the deployment of vacuum-enhanced chemical flares. While unlikely to successfully decoy guided munitions, it was effective in disrupting visual contact of the vessel when rippled off and misleading a foe, in addition to effectively marking positions and signalling other vessels.

For the majority of the Human-Covenant War, UNSC warships lacked any effective countermeasures to plasma torpedoes. The most a commander could hope was that another warship would take a hit in place of his or her command. A common practice - and discouraged by Naval Command as being "reckless" and "wasteful of war material," was for smaller tactical assets (warships like that of a frigate) taking a plasma torpedo for a strategic asset like that of a cruiser or carrier. This was commonplace through the Human-Covenant war with no effective countermeasures being fielded, until the Battle of Sigma Octanus IV, where the refit station UNSC Cradle heroic sacrificed herself and her crew as a sacrificial shield for a fusillade of plasma torpedos bound for the Battle Group Leviathan. This allowed the battle to turn in humanity's favour, netting a tactical victory for the UNSC. The logical next step in anti-plasma torpedo technology was the rapid prototyping and production of what was called the Tactical Intercept Station (TIS). At 824 metres long, 700 metre wide, and another 175 metres thick of warship-grade titanium battleplate, the Tactical Intercept Station was a remotely-controlled unmanned expendable shield for UNSC warships. Expensive and fitted with only rudimentary thrusters, utilization (rather, the destruction) of TIS nevertheless lead to theoretical application of titanium dust as a method to disperse plasma. While a worthwhile addition to academic knowledge, practical application of this knowledge proved difficuly until the final years of the Human-Covenant War, advances in reactor output and upsized capacitors allowed for more electrical load-intensive weapons and sub-systems to be installed aboard warships.

Concurrent research by Naval Research and Development[43] division of Misriah Armaments realized the potential of untilizing guass technology to shoot titanium dust-filled canisters at incoming plasma munitions, detonating prior to impact and providing sufficient surface saturation of the plasma to violently disrupt and disperse the superheated mass. Upon receipt of Misriah's Request for Proposal regarding anti-plasma torpedo ordnance, Naval Acquisitions were more than willing to provide funding to further the concept, and was beginning to be pressed into mass production in August 2552 without combat testing, with a limited number were ready prior to the Battle of Earth. The resultant AN/SLE-311 decoy launcher was installed aboard the Dash as part of an initiative to increase the survivability of active duty 'black ops' vessels (with the usual terminology used being 'field-test'). The decoy launcher was installed offset to port on the dorsal bow in order to maximize its potential engagement envelope to include the extreme rear behind the vessel, as well as take advantage of a section of free space available in the nuclear weapon armory for the decoy's bulky ready ammunition supply. Best controlled by an on-board artificial intelligence but also also effectively utilized by automated point defense routines, the AN/SLE-311 was tied into optical thermal sensors natively built strategically into the ship, allowing the AN/SLE-311 to simply point its barrel at the thermal signature of an incoming plasma torpedo. It would then fire its projectiles at the oncoming mass of plasma at a rate of four rounds per second at a velocity of approximately three kilometres per second. The projectile then exploded in a programmable amount of time (usually measured in milliseconds) prior to impact to 'cloud' the torpedo with titanium dust in order to dissipate it. A successful design, it was however plagued with toothing problems in its introduction at the closing months of the Human-Covenant War.

The AN/SLE-311(V)3 decoy launcher was a comprehensive rework of AN/SLE-311(v)1, installed in early 2555 aboard the Dash as a operational testbed of the defensive system in the same location of the previous variant. This iteration of the AN/SLE-311 fired smaller projectiles at a rate of ten projectiles per second at approximately 3 kilometres per second, with the smaller ammunition size allowing for a greater supply of ready ammunition. The projectiles were able to be delivered with much greater accuracy and range, but required greater integration (hence tied directly into the main fire control system) in order to accurately intercept plasma torpedoes.

The AN/SLE-311(V)4 was simply a refined and enhanced version of the AN/SLE-311(V)3, deployed in 2559. Its main improvements were a larger intercept envelope that stemmed from shaped charges in the munition, significant increase to the rate of turret traverse/elevation, and backup local fire control system in the event of failures to the integrated SPY-47 active electronically scanned array (AESA) and AN/SYK-156 Integrated Fire Control System; allowing for independent defensive fire.

Propulsion

"You could call Dash's reactor suite overpowered, but when she needs to, she can really cover ground fast. This makes her useful in many roles, and she handles like a rum-runner. We're just like the ground-side corvettes of old!"
―Lieutenant Clancy Solomon, United Nations Space Command Navy. Engineering Officer of corvette UNSC Dash, July, 2553


Like all vessels of the Drake-class, the Dash's engineering spaces were designed around a slightly cut-down version V3/L Deuterium Fusion Reactor, feeding the vessels two primary fusion drive engines. The V3/L DFR usually used to power Charon-, Paris-, Stalwart- and Strident-class Frigates. The reactor was modified prior to installation to have a smaller enclosure than its cousins on larger warships, due to space restraints. The V3/L DFR was also supplemented with two smaller Mark 14 Mod2 deuterium fusion reactors, in separate compartments to either side of the main reactor, both of which fed the secondary fusion drive engines.[44] The Dash also had a single auxiliary helium gas-cooled R2/XS fast-neutron fission reactor, coupled to a closed-cycle gas turbine that was rated to operation in microgravity. Its main operation was to run ship functions when the fusion reactors were shut off whilst docked and to provide a secondary source of electrical power.[45]

As a Deuterium Fusion Reactor (DFR), plasma is generated by the fusion of deuterium atoms. The generated plasma is channeled into a series of exhaust manifolds, which in turn, redirect it into the ship's fusion drive. The fusion drive exhaust serves as reaction mass, which provides propulsive Δv[46] for the ship. Operating at full military power, the Dash could produce 30.116 gigawatts of heat per second at peak output, which could extract 18.07 gigawatts per second of electricity from generated plasma; and give the vessel an acceleration of 1853 metres per second squared. Minor manoeuvring and attitude control was conducted through usage of vernier thrusters and a triamino hydrazine reaction control thruster (RCS) system.

Controlled access to and egress from the slipstream space was provided by a standard UNSC military specification Series IV 'CODEN' Shaw-Fujikawa translight engine, with the fusion drives providing propulsion in slipspace. The Dash was unique in having additional capacitors that were charged before deployment to a system, drastically reducing the amount of time required before initializing another jump if necessary. This subsystem saved the Dash twice on special duty assignments with the Office of Naval Intelligence, both times allowing the vessel to escape within twenty seconds of arrival, after being detected transitioning from slipspace in a hostile system.

Hull

"The Dash is classified as a corvette-type warship, so our hull has to be quite sturdy. Our armour plate, however, is pretty thin, but we've sacrificed that for acceleration and maneuverability. That could save us a hell of a lot better than another thirty centimeters of Titanium-A."
―Lieutenant Trevor P. Myles, United Nations Space Command Navy. Quartermaster/Damage Control Officer of the UNSC Dash, June 2553.


The specifications for the Drake-class corvette called for 12 centimetres of Titanium-A battleplate for exterior hull armour. The Dash was delivered with only ten centimetres of armour, due to cost- and material- saving decisions. This armour was considered acceptable for the duties the Dash was expected to partake in, affording the vessel protection from small arms fire and light plasma weaponry. The light armour on the Dash also contributed to her lower mass, consequently leading to superior manoeuvring performance. Coating her titanium hull was a two centimetre-thick layer of angled re-entrant triangle-style baffles, which were constructed of RADAR-absorbent material in order to trap and deflect RADAR/RADAR-like beams; with a top coating of zeolite-based UNSC Grey stealth-ablative paint. Underlying pipes were able to pump coolant under the skin to raise or lower the temperature of the hull to be rendered thermally invisible in a multitude of scenarios.

Under her hull lay a number of layers of lead foil to provide electromagnetic pulse protection and radiation shielding to the crew, with an underlay of composite insulation to prevent the extreme temperatures of space radiating into the internal spaces of the Dash. Additionally, the hull and lead foil layers masked the Dashs internal wireless network being detected/illicitly accessed by external sources and protected from disruption from sources of electronic warfare.

Situated beneath the lead foil and composite layers laid an air-tight belt of foam, contained within a thin titanium enclosure. Stored at pressure, this self-sealing foam was designed to automatically expand to fill a hull perforation of up to four inches in diameter and solidify rapidly in exposure to air, rendering the compartment temporarily airtight until the damage was able to be repaired. Each of the vessel's bulkheads had a separate belt of self-sealing foam on its top, bottom and sides; each of which was capable of sealing multiple punctured compartments.[47] Under the flooring of the bottom-most deck of each section of the vessel lay an antigravity system, converting energy into gravitons which are then focused into directional beam to attain a standard one gee gravity across the whole of the vessel.

Notable Commanding Officers

Lieutenant Commander Karen McGrath

Commanding Officer, UNSC Dash (2552-2555)
United Nations Space Command Navy
Lieutenant Commander McGrath was a level-headed officer, recognized for her effective and creative interpretation of orders by receiving the Dash as her first command. Drafted into the Navy at the end of her sophomore year at the University of New Carthage (with her major in the field of Psychology), she was sent to basic training; which was followed up with Officer Candidate School Reach to attain a commission. While not a natural leader, she quickly developed strong leadership skills and scored quite highly in the four month course. Her first assignment placed her as as the weapons officer aboard the light cruiser Columbia, spending a year partaking in a total of five skirmishes. She was then offered the billet of Executive Officer aboard the frigate Franklin following Naval War College. Aboard the Franklin, she honed her leadership abilities under pressure in three battles over five months before being promoted and offered command of a newly constructed corvette. She immediately accepted the position. The Franklin was lost with all hands in the following deployment.
Having served aboard a frigate in combat, McGrath understood the fragility of small warships all too well, and avoided falling into the common trap of trying to fight technologically advanced Covenant warships head on. Utilizing the stealth ablative coating that the vessel had been outfitted with to execute missions for the Office of Naval Intelligence, McGrath helped innovate tactical asymmetric warfare with small warships, usually with only light Magnetic Accelerator Cannons and well-placed nuclear missiles. Serving as commanding officer from the commissioning of the Dash, Lieutenant Commander McGrath held onto her command through both the Human-Covenant War and promotion to the grade of Commander; giving up her command only when shifted to command a stealth frigate squadron.


Lieutenant Commander Terryn Cormack

Commanding Officer, UNSC Dash (2555-2558)
United Nations Space Command Navy
Lieutenant Commander Cormack was an astute, ambitious and highly competent officer, with an uncanny ability to perceive and exploit opportunities. A young officer from a well-off Earth family, Cormack began his Naval career following his attendance of the University of Canterbury Business School, studying both Management and Statistics. Upon graduation with decent marks, he attended basic training and attended Officer Candidate School Luna. His first assignment placed him as the aboard the frigate De Ruyter in the Combat Information Centre in the heart of the ships, serving as an Operations officer. He took an active role in four battles, rising to the grade of ensign, before taking part in the Battle of Concord. The De Ruyter took plasma fire to the bridge, killing the command crew; leading the executive officer located in CIC taking command of the ship. Given the loss of the main command crew destroying continuity of command and the absence of unrestricted line officers familiar with fighting a warship, he chose the most competent Lieutenant on deck, Cormack, to act as executive officer until qualified crew were received. Cormack performed the role admirably without command experience, assisting in tactical decisions that aided the survival of the ship. His efforts, recognized upon arrival back at Reach, had him promoted and given the opportunity to attend command school at the Naval War College to fill an executive officer billet. He excelled in the course, and were awarded the coveted title of 'unrestricted line officer', before being assigned to the Dash.
Lieutenant Commander Cormack served as the executive officer of the Dash as a Lieutenant under the McGrath from the moment the Dash was commissioned. The two had become close friends during his tenure as her executive officer, and together learned a great deal about the art of armed combat in zero-gee from practical experience, supplementing his purely theoretical knowledge. He fought to stay on the Dash, and was recommended for command when McGrath was promoted to Commander, earning the command billet thanks to his excellent performance reports.

References

  1. An acquired subsidiary of Mars Spacecraft Assembly, Incorporated, circa 2552.
  2. Measure 32 paint scheme: "Low visibility disruptive scheme, dark"
  3. Studies from early years of the interstellar combat showed that vessels coated in measure 2 matte black camouflage were only very low visibility in deep space. In orbit around a planetary body, the matte black coating was rendered highly ineffective and made the vessel highly visible from the light refracting off the planetary body; drawing visual attention far more easily than any other colour. As Naval involvement in the Human-Covenant War degraded to largely planetary defence efforts, majority of the fleet was given the measure 32 low visibility disruptive scheme, dark. This coating largely consisted of a primary coat of a very dark greyish blue, and several variants of dark grey, which gave a modest measure of camouflage even in deep space as well as more naturally blending into the surface of planetary bodies.
  4. The Mark 43 Integrated Fire Control System was basically a separate, heavily encrypted part of the Dashs central server, utilizing both raw and processed information from all sensors aboard the vessel in order to calculate the most optimal firing solutions for various armaments. Only the Point Defense Network guns and the AN/SLE-311 decoy launcher operated independently of the fire control server due to their almost exclusively defensive roles, although information was fed to them from sensors in order for them to conduct effective engagements.
  5. The AN/SRC-91 MASER was only effective for line of sight (LOS) communications.
  6. Chemical flares were routinely installed aboard UNSC warships in the countermeasure role, despite the well-proven fact that effective Point Defense systems rendered them mostly obsolete, for the simple reason that flares could be utilized as both a redundant form of countermeasures and capable of being utilized for communication purposes. The Dash's AN/ALE-221 flare dispensers were covered with a quick-opening hatch that provided thermal protection to the flares.
  7. The AN/SLE-311(V)1 decoy launcher was a prototype railgun-type defensive weapon that Misriah Armaments was beginning to be pressed into mass production in August 2552, and a limited number were ready prior to the Battle of Earth. One such example was installed aboard the Dash as part of an initiative to increase the survivability of active duty 'black ops' vessels (the politically correct terminology was 'field-test'). The decoy launcher was installed offset to port on the dorsal bow in order to maximize its potential engagement envelope to include the extreme rear behind the vessel, as well as take advantage of a section of free space available in the nuclear weapon armory for the decoy's bulky ready ammunition supply. Best controlled by an on-board artificial intelligence but also also effectively utilized by automated point defense routines, the AN/SLE-311 was tied into optical thermal sensors natively built strategically into the ship, allowing the AN/SLE-311 to simply point its barrel at the thermal signature of an incoming plasma torpedo. It would then fire its projectiles at the oncoming mass of plasma at a rate of four rounds per second at a velocity of approximately three kilometres per second. The projectile then exploded in a programmable amount of time (usually measured in milliseconds) prior to impact to 'cloud' the torpedo with titanium dust in order to dissipate it. A successful design, it was however plagued with problems in its Human-Covenant War operations.
  8. The AN/SLE-311(V)3 decoy launcher was a comprehensive rework of AN/SLE-311(v)1, installed in early 2555 aboard the Dash as a operational testbed of the defensive system in the same location of the previous variant. This iteration of the AN/SLE-311 fired smaller projectiles at a rate of ten projectiles per second at approximately 3 kilometres per second, with the smaller ammunition size allowing for a greater supply of ready ammunition. The projectiles were able to be delivered with much greater accuracy and range, but required greater integration (hence tied directly into the main fire control system) in order to accurately intercept plasma torpedoes.
  9. The AN/SLE-311(V)4 was simply a refined and enhanced version of the AN/SLE-311, deployed in 2559. Its main improvements were a larger intercept envelope, significantly increase rate of turret traverse/elevation, and backup local fire control systems in the event of a catastrophic hit. However, loss of power from the reactor would render the system combat ineffective.
  10. There was very little excess lifeboat space. Correspondingly, crew were allocated seats on lifeboats close to their duty stations with the expectation they utilize only that lifeboat.
  11. The Dash was capable of taking more stores outside of her storerooms for longer deployments, at the temporary cost of accessible crew space.
  12. Drake-class corvettes had a designed endurance of two years at peak sustainable output (combat); outside of combat, required deuterium for sustained fusion reactions was less than a twentieth of the combat value. This meant that a Drake-class corvette was technically capable of roughly two decades of patrol operations, discounting crew endurance.
  13. The offical title was previously held by the Gladius-class heavy corvette UNSC Randolf which survived the Human-Covenant War operating as a courier.
  14. As the Dash was a stealthed warship, it externally seemed like a poor decision for a stealth warship to host a bold and colourful logo on her flanks. However, the fact of the matter was that Dash was a retrofitted corvette with stealth capabilities, not a purpose-built prowler. Ergo, she was not invisible from detection at close ranges: at the range that the Dash's logo would be visually detectable, the ship would have already been detected with other sensors.
  15. The largely-empty nuclear missile storage space in the bow quickly was renovated to also contain the ship's armoury, with general crew defence weapon systems stored normally in weapon lockers strategically-placed throughout the vessel. Access to shipboard weapon lockers was permitted only when authorized by the commanding officer, the executive officer or the master-at-arms, or in extenuating circumstances, by any crew member through emergency identification/access procedures.
  16. The UNSC Jenks and Bronx executed emergency slipspace transitions to escape follow up attacks, due to quickly-evaluated combat ineffectiveness and in an effort to buy time for the crew to conduct damage control. Only the Jenks survived to limp back to Reach.
  17. Petrenko, D. (2558) Military Strategy: A Guide to Strategic Thinking whilst serving in a Command Role of a Exoatmospheric Warship. Officer Candidate School Luna Printing; United Nations Space Command Navy. "In theory, it was a sound strategy: atmospheric drag, when coupled with aerodynamic heating, can cause an atmospheric breakup capable of completely disintegrating smaller object. Failing to see any particular honourable escape vector - especially given the loss of the majority of his fleet, the Covenant force commander likely saw that the only way to escape destruction (both politically and physically) was to utilize Fumarole's atmosphere as protection against magnetically accelerated slugs. However, normal shipborne MAC depleted uranium/tungsten slugs adequately resisted re-entry forces well enough to maintain potency against shielded vessels when fired from an "downwards" vertically, in an engagement cone existing between ±75°. The corvette Dash reported combat effectiveness of L/MAC fire in a 10° degree vertical cone, from ±85°. Conversely, the S/MAC carried by the carrier Avon reported no issue engaging in-atmosphere vessels from any angle, attaining single-shot kill-shots. This was later verified during the Corvette takedown during the Viery Campaign during the Fall of Reach; with an Orbital Defense Platform attaining a kill, utilizing only a half-charge shot to prevent collateral damage."
  18. Magnetic Accelerator Cannons were classed as "Weapons of Mass Destruction", due to their ability to pierce the crust, and cause substantial surface damage on impact.
  19. Measure 32, "Low visibility disruptive scheme, dark"
  20. 'Speed' and 'agility' were not terms often used to describe active duty warships.
  21. Phillips, E. (2583) Strength through Paranoia: an internal review of ONI Parangoskyism. Office of Naval Intelligence Department of Internal Publications, Sydney. Declassified 2614, formerly SECRET (BGX Directive). "As previously established, the Office of Naval Intelligence was well renown for institutionalized mistrust of any person outside of the Intelligence community, and to a degree, persons in differing sections. ONI's former parent branch of the Navy especially was not at all above mistrust: especially in the possession of stealth warships. The reasoning behind this was two pronged: the first reason was grounded in former-CINCONI Admiral Margaret Parangosky's "Strength through Paranoia" policy, which very much remains a crucial cornerstone for ONI even today. The second reason was that ONI felt that with the Insurrection threat still alive and well, albeit dormant (a well-founded belief), the Navy had the potential to lose stealth warship to clandestine Insurrectionist operatives who successfully passed Naval background checks. This stealthed warship, by its very nature very difficult to detect and deploy countermeasures to, could be utilized by undesirable elements to wreck unexpectedly havoc on UNSC assets, material, personnel or population centers."
  22. The speed of light, which is measured at 299,792,458 meters per second in relativistic space.
  23. The Mark IV Kinetic Projectile, Fragmentation was sized at 5.72 metres long, 3.18 metres wide, and 3.18 metres thick.
  24. The Uranium kinetic energy penetrator of the Mark IV Kinetic Projectile, Fragmentation weighted 75,000 kilograms, and was precisely 282 centimetres long, 118 centimetres wide and 118 centimetres thick.
  25. The Tungsten layer of the Mark IV Kinetic Projectile, Fragmentation weighted 225,000 kilograms, and measured precisely 572 centimetres long, 318 centimetres wide and 318 centimetres thick when wrapped around the uranium core of the projectile.
  26. All UNSC vessel classes designed to operate in-atmosphere have their magazines calculated to be the permissible centre of gravity. For the Drake-class corvette (Dash-subclass), it was calculated to be able to store up to 5,400 tons of MAC projectile without adverse effect to the vessel.
  27. Two minutes and fifty seconds were required to fully recharge the MAC capacitors for a Drake-class corvette with reactors running at SHIPSAFE peak power. When reactors were running beyond the SHIPSAFE Maximum Operational Recommended Peak load, times could decrease to as low as two minutes fourteen seconds.
  28. Again, when reactors were pushed beyond SHIPSAFE Operational Values, there have been recorded instances of a vessel being able to fire another fully charged MAC shot within a minute and thirty-eight seconds. In one particular instance, the Jutland (DCC-2097) suffered a catastrophic secondary reactor containment failure, resulting in meltdown despite an emergency reactor vent. The vessel was subsequently scuttled during the Battle of Reach.
  29. As the RSGM-16 Archer was a chemical-propelled missile system, its range was effectively infinite until it collided with an object. For this reason, when the propellant of the missile was fully depleted and the missile was determined by its on-board targeting computer to have missed the target and become a liability for long-term space navigation, it would self-destruct. Effective operational range of the M58 Archer was dependent entirely on the amount of manoeuvring required to impact a target. The further a target was, the greater the need to "lead" a target in order to hit it and estimations of evasive manoeuvres: requiring greater velocity to defend against anti-missile point-defence weapon systems and to impact the target. As a result, long-range shots effectively left missiles only a little propellant for course adjustment. This lead to the implementation of launching "spreads" for missiles deployed at long distances: a percentage of deployed missiles were ensured successful engagement of the target, even in the most erratic of manoeuvring.
  30. The bow compartment containing the RSM-19 Shiva missile tube also doubled as the Dashs nuclear armaments store. This was due to the fact that the RSM-19 Shiva nuclear weapons were only nuclear armaments aboard.
  31. The 'dial-a-yield' selector on the RSM-19 Shiva had setting ranging from 50 kilotons to 45 megatons of equivalent TNT explosive yield.
  32. Given the value of the nuclear ordinance and the desire to make it less susceptible to point defence fire, no expenses were spared in the RSM-19 Shiva nuclear missile's chemical propulsion being significantly greater than that of RSGM-16 Archer missile and lasting longer. This also allows the Shiva to travel (on average) three times as fast as Archer missile.
  33. Additionally, given the increasing scarcity of nuclear armaments towards the end of the Human-Covenant War due to the increasing rate of depletion and the slowing rate of production, the RSM-19 Shiva nuclear missile was designed to not self destruct should it run out of propellant. Instead, it was to transmit a request for recovery in order to have its propellant recharged and reused. If a vessel lacking a UNSC Identification Friend-Foe transponder attempted to recover the nuclear weapon, it would then detonate in order to prevent unauthorized access to a UNSC nuclear munition.
  34. The safety interlocks utilizing Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) was fully supported by the M502 PDN, preventing blue on blue "friendly fire" incidents from occurring in the intensity of battle.
  35. The Dash was not nearly as stealthy as a prowler, but could act as one in a pinch with fusion drives powered down and relying on precision usage of the reaction control system for manoeuvring.
  36. The 47th Marine Regiment was a non-conventional military organization of roughly 15,000 personnel, deliberately divided into detachments and spread across the Reach-based numerical fleets, providing Fleet Marines to active-duty warships.
  37. The UNSC' exoatmospheric naval capabilities prior to the flaring up of the Insurrection were incredibly low due to the lack of requirements for thoroughly armoured or quick warships (as previously addressed), preferring to source efficient and economical patrol craft to minimized expenses. In the possibility of a warship fleeing from an interception (usually on the grounds of customs inspection, the only weapons these patrol craft had were missile systems. Coupled with the fact that pre-Insurrection patrol craft in service were likely not capable of intercepting a fleeing vessel, they were not a good representative of the mightiest of the UNSC Navy's warships
  38. The Dash, as a rule, rarely jammed radio communications, as the transmission made the hard-to-observe Dash easily locatable through triangulation of the origin signal.
  39. Pronounced "cee-wis."
  40. The M502 PDS CIWS was completely combat ineffective against plasma ordinance, but effective against any ballistics given adequate time from detection to engage.
  41. This was as a direct result of a shuttle averting a total losss through the intentional explosive decompression of docking bays.
  42. Given the standardized size of the Emergency Thruster System, larger warships were constructed with provisions for multiple ETS' per side, with a sufficient number as to allow two salvos on each axis. Smaller warships only required one or two per side, but had the same capability of two salvos per axis.
  43. The Misriah Armaments Naval Research and Development division utilized both reinvested profit and UEG grants, and was one of the larger innovators for Humanity during the Human-Covenant War. It worked closely with the Office of Naval Intelligence and Office of Naval Research in providing technical expertise and products of niche application.
  44. For a measure of safety and redundancy, both Mk14 Mod2 Deuterium Fusion Reactors had their exhaust manifolds connected to the port and starboard fusion drives. When both secondary reactors were in normal operation, an interlock in the exhaust manifolds ducting was magnetically deployed, allowing each reactor to direct its whole plasma output to a single fusion drive for maximum performance. In the event of a single secondary reactor failure, the interlock would be disabled and automated magnetic systems would regulate the plasma flow to allow the operational reactor to evenly split its plasma output between the port and starboard engines to allow the the vessel equal and balanced propulsion.
  45. As a fission reactor, the R2/SX auxiliary fission reactor was not tied into the propulsion systems due to a lack of produced; and played a key part in the backup emergency self-destruct system.
  46. Delta-v ("change in velocity").
  47. As more hull punctures were sealed, the dwindling pressure of the stored foam correspondingly resulted in the self-sealing capabilities of the system rapidly losing effectiveness.

Notes

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