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The Battle of Carchar was an invasion by Covenant forces of the small mining world Carchar in early 2547. The attack lasted for three days, with Covenant ground forces under Field Master Zholos 'Fenossee slowly wittling down the population as they advanced through the mountains. UNSC support did come, although it was too little, too late, as the Covenant fleet had already finished the brunt of its campaign there by the time reinforcements had arrived. The battle's outcome was a major Covenant victory, eliminating one of the last few Outer Colonies at the end of the Human-Covenant War.
Beginning Stages of Invasion
The first detection of Covenant forces was at 0917 hours at the Merlin Relay Station in Carchar's only populated area, the Odyssey mountain range. Detecting a small fleet, the local forces were quickly initialized, with the Carchar Militia of 2,000 troops and a local UNSC force of 8,000 Army troopers gearing up for battle in the jagged mountain regions. There they hoped to get the drop on Covenant ground troops, and hopefully defend themselves from further assault.
In the meantime, the Covenant fleet of Raging Dominance, made up of fourteen vessels, made their way to the planet before sending out a CPV-class heavy destroyer named Gauntlet of the Ancients to scout out the planet. Once there, the Gauntlet deployed a scouting lance of Sangheili led by Major Nak 'Yendam to reconnoiter the terrain. At the top of Mount Dormous, the lance would encounter a squad of militia troops commanded by Corporal Warren Nishurd.
Using the high ground to their advantage, the men were able to cause a small rockslide that put one of Nak's Sangheili Minors out of the fight and separating a second Minor from them. Nak would kill most of the minutemen while his remaining Minor Grono 'Yendam finished off Nishurd with a charged plasma pistol blast. Having completed their scouting mission to find where the humans were hiding and what the terrain was like, the lance returned to the Gauntlet where Field Master Zholos 'Fenossee prepared a ground attack with the Gez'dar Assault Legion.
Cleverly, in the inevitable case of a Covenant invasion, the civilian populace had hollowed out the Odyssey mountains to build cities in as a way to avoid glassing. In order to communicate with other planets however, they had to build the Merlin Relay in an open area outside, as not to have interference underground. An Orbital Space Elevator was also built near the Relay. Before the Covenant prepared their main attack force, the workers at the relay were able to contact the UNSC for help. The UNSC responded by sending a small strike force, which was all that they had available. But the help would not arrive until it was almost too late.
Knowing full-well what the humans had done, the Fleet of Raging Dominance was not able to glass the mountains, as it would not penetrate through the many layers. Instead, Fleet Master Oru 'Vanuxee had the majority of the fleet stay back as the Gauntlet of the Ancients and a CRS-class light cruiser went forth to attack. The cruiser bombarded Merlin Relay Station with full force, destroying it with plasma missiles. Shortly thereafter, the Gauntlet set up a gravity lift in the ruins of the Relay, sending down Gez'dar Assault troops personally led by 'Fenossee. Several lances were stationed at the elevator, in the case that they might need it if something went amuck. As the day drew to a close, the Gez'dar marched into the mountains, setting up a rendezvous point with a penal lance on one of the lower peaks.
On February 3rd, 0540 hours, The Gez'dar attacked several small militia camps in the mountains, easily wiping out the troops there. Eventually, they found the miniscule entrance to Beta Sector, one of the three main parts of the underground complex, Odyssey City. With a force of 1,000 troops making up half of the Gez'dar Legion, Zholos went on a rampage, massacring nearly half a million citizens in Beta Sector before being driven out by Army troopers under Brigadier General Jessica Gars. Losing almost all of his forces, 'Fenossee was forced to retreat and wait for the second half of the Gez'dar forces to come down from the gravity lift of the Gauntlet.
By 1432 hours, The UNSC reinforcements finally came, in the form of three vessels. The Stalwart-class light frigate, North Star went to the surface along with the Halberd-class destroyer, Sicily, only to be shot down in atmosphere by the CRS-class light cruiser. The Sicily, in the meantime, docked with the orbital elevator, deploying its limited marine troops to take out the Covenant lances aboard. The Anubis however, fired Archer missiles, after taking down the light cruiser's shield with a MAC round, taking it out. Its commanding officer Commander Keyshia Darego then ordered the Anubis to target the Gauntlet, employing the same strategy on it. However, because of the thicker armor of the Gauntlet, it survived the bombardment, albeit heavily damaged. Its gravity lift was also disabled, sending half of the remaining Gez'dar lances plummeting to their deaths.
With only 500 remaining troops, Zholos requested for more ground forces from Fleet Master Oru 'Vanuxee, who deployed an additional 16,000 troops on the surface from the Intercession's Wisdom. Unfortunately for the Fleet Master, this put the Wisdom close to the Anubis, which had standing orders from ONI to deploy a pair of Headhunters onto the flagship in order to eliminate the fleet's commander, thus causing confusion throughout the fleet and giving the Carchar populace time to evacuate. The Anubis would then deploy the Headhunters through SOIEV insertion pods onto the Wisdom. The Anubis was destroyed soon after by plasma lances from a CCS-class battlecruiser named Keeper of Light. All hands including Commander Darego were lost.
In the meantime, Zholos, his remaining Gez'dar forces, and 15,000 of the Covenant reinforcements marched to Odyssey City, pouring into Charlie Sector and taking out the majority of the militia and over a million civilians. While this happened, Brigadier General Jessica Gars had communicated with Sicily commanding officer Captain Ryan Brooks, and led the remainder of the Army and the occupants of Alpha sector to the orbital elevator to evacuate onto the Sicily. Little did they know that 'Fenossee had left roughly a thousand troops to guard the elevator, and as such almost all of the civilians were slaughtered. The Army lost most of their remaining soldiers, but managed to defeat the Covenant, securing a temporary perimeter around the elevator as the few hundred remaining civilians went up to the Sicily in turns.
The Headhunters onboard the Wisdom made their way to the bridge, slaughtering Covenant crew members as they traversed through the corridors. In the control center, however, they did not count on finding a Prophet onboard, especially one with Honor Guards. The Minister of Fervent Intercession was the true commander of the Fleet of Raging Dominance, only having Fleet Master 'Vanuxee handle tactical command. All of the Prophet's guards sacrificed themselves to take out one Headhunter, only for the other Spartan-III to bear down on Intercession, believing that a San'Shyuum would be cause more havoc than killing the Fleet Master. However, the Demon was stopped by Oru 'Vanuxee, who impaled it through with an energy blade. Shortly thereafter, the Intercession's Wisom moved out of range of Carchar.
Meanwhile, the several hundred remaining citizens had been evacuated onto the Sicily, and the Army began to travel up the elevator. Unfortunately, Field Master 'Fenossee and his ground troops had made it back to the elevator after finishing their cleansing of Odyssey City. As many soldiers were killed while trying to escape, Brigadier General Gars ordered Captain Brooks to leave the system as quick as possible. The Sicily then departed from the orbital elevator and exited through slipspace, as General Gars and the remaining army troops staged a last stand against the overwhelming Covenant forces. The line broke easily, and the Army was destroyed, with Zholos 'Fenossee personally leading an attack on the makeshift control center, where he killed Jessica Gars.
With the Gez'dar Assault Legion brought back aboard the Gauntlet of the Ancients, and the other ground forces returned to the Intercession's Wisdom, the battle was over. As per Covenant customs to glass a planet, the Minister deemed that due to the mountains, the only suitable place to glass would be the clearing where the orbital elevator and the Merlin Relay Station were. The Wisdom glassed the area itself, destroying the elevator and what was left of the relay. After the consecration was done, the fleet departed, leaving a mainly untouched planet, albeit the population centers destroyed and glassed.
The Covenant fleet departed on a course for High Charity to get repairs and a replacement for their lost ship. They would soon be pulled out of slipspace though, and fought another battle. As for the UNSC, the Sicily safely made it back to a populated Inner Colony after following random exit vectors per the Cole Protocol. The several hundred refugees would then try to make new lives for themselves in this desperate time. Back on Carchar, a few hundred civilians, minutemen, and Army troopers had survived the invasion by trekking to the nearby Szalakta mountains, where the Covenant had never suspected to find them.
After returning to the ruins of Odyssey City, they started to rebuild, and by the time the UNSC had returned to Carchar in 2556, there was a small, but healthy community under the mountains. Roughly two million civilians, along with almost the entire military had died during the battle however, and Carchar still has yet to recover. The Battle of Carchar ended in a major victory for the Covenant Empire, but Carchar is recovering currently.