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UNSC PRIORITY TRANSMISSION 988-113451-8/SIERRA-Bravo-OSCAR-PAPA-Kilo
ENCRYPTION CODE: Black Apollo
FROM: Codename: SUNSHINER
TO: Codename: CAESAR
SENT: 19.01.2554 / ε UNSC PONR FTL-COMSAT 1132267/ALPHA
RECEIVED: 23.18.2554 / Sol FTL-COMSAT 4786493/FOXTROT
SUBJECT: Recovered Covenant Tier-1 Documents; Anti-Spartan Operations, Operation: PATHOGEN (K99-10 Incident)
CLASSIFICATION: TOP SECRET / NOVEMBER BLACK (CINCONI Directive)
SECURITY OVERRIDE: SIGMA-SIGMA-GOLF-I
GHOST SEVER FILE PROTOCOL (EXACTION): TRUE
AI-TOUCH PROTOCOL: FALSE
// START FILE //
Cycle 146, Seventh Age of Reclamation

Sender: Imperial Admiral Xytan 'Jar Wattinree

Recipent: To the Honored Members of the Holy Triumvirate

Subject: Top-tier Operation Proposal

Honored Holy Ones,
Please forgive the excessive use of encryption protocols, ever since the campaign in the human Gallipoli system I do not trust the integrity of our encryptions.
I understand that my proposal for the Hallowed Weave-strategy to be adopted by all front-line fleets has been denied. I have stressed that the human's bizarre retreat patterns are a planned counter-measure that hinders our attempts to discover more of their colonies, conventional searches will drag this war out by years. But that's not why I am messaging you. There is a far more important issue at hand.
1. BACKGROUND
2. PROPOSAL
For the last twelve cycles we have waged war on the heretics. With consistent ease, we have scoured their empire world by world and laid waste to their fleets. However, in spite of that, our superior weapons, technology, and numbers, there have been a disturbing number of accounts of disproportional losses upon ourselves. As I have stated in my previous operations progress compilation, SUPPOSITION Compilation 7, that in these incidents we have incurred losses unlike anything the Covenant has witnessed since the Age of Conflict. The High Council has ignored these losses as isolated affairs.
However, I disagree.
I have been carefully monitoring battlefield communications as well as intercepted military and media transmissions. Consistently during these same ground engagements, and to a lesser extent void engagements [Please revisit my report on the loss of the Unrelenting], their communications have mentioned a recurring subject, something called a SPARTAN. From those same engagements, I have the personal testimony of more than seven thousand Sangheili warriors of all battlefield ranks and command ratings who each report exceptionally large humans clad in green powered armor and who wielded unnatural strength. I know that the existence of these armored humans is not recent news. At first, I simply dismissed this as another variant of their soldiers such as their Drop Troops. However I have compiled a report detailing the combat capabilities of these armored humans and I assure you, they are a breed apart.
I have analyzed almost two hundred separate battle reports and three hundred units of battle-footage and I have personally /confirmed/ that each one of them to be responsible for the deaths of hundreds if not THOUSANDS of warriors. This is not hyperbole, and this is only counting direct battlefield engagements, not even considering indirect engagements. Post-mortem analysis on the nature of Chieftain Terrekus' wounds on Heian are clear indications that it was a Demon who assassinated the Prophet of Supplication. [Please revisit my findings via SUPPOSITION Report-XI Section 4]
I originally estimated there to be no more than forty of these Demons. However again they have defied my calculations. Our shipyard-complex on Unsparing Proffer was annihilated by a force of no less than /300/ "lesser Demons". This breed appears to be much more expendable, but by no means any less lethal. I suspect that these are some kind of mass-produced variant, meaning that they have a way of producing Demons at a higher if not industrial rate, enough to throw hundreds on a suicidal attack without regard. This alludes to just how many Demons may be out there. And as we close in ever closer to their homeworld I suspect that they will use them in more desperate measures. [Please revisit my findings via SUPPOSITION Report-XIII Section 9].
[Please disregard Fleet Master Paramee's "Heretical Propagation" theory, the notion of these creatures being the Demons' offspring is ridiculous. Paramee's mind after the Gallipoli Campaign is not sound and his superstition and wild theories threaten our troop's morale. See EXCUSION Request-CVIII]
The Demons are a dangerous and unacceptable impediment to the Great Journey. Therefore, I propose a dedicated operation to hunt down these heretics before they can cause more harm. Allow me to create a special task force and I will hunt these creatures down one by one and destroy this "legend" that frightens our Covenant.
3. OBJECTIVE

The operation is to achieve top-tier strategic objectives designed to remove the human's most dangerous warrior caste.

3.1) To selectively study and eliminate the human's greatest military and psychological assets [Demons], by developing counter-tactics and weapons to more effectively deal with them.

3.2) To recover Demon powered armor for study and possible reverse-engineering.

3.3) To weaken human morale by eliminating their greatest weapons [Demons].

3.4) If possible, to locate the Demon's home base or origin point and cease production.

3.5) If possible, the capture of a Demon live, for interrogation and to be studied for weakness.

4. METHOD
Phase Zero: OBSERVATION AND ANALYSIS - This will be the preliminary stage of operations, codename WAKEFUL VISAGE. What I have attached for you is the fruits of my own personal investigation, but a full-scale operation will require a great deal more manpower to observe and fully analyze our targets. The teams of data analysts and scribes under the operation's oversight will be part of WAKEFUL VISAGE and will review and dissect battle-footage involving the Demons, noting and analyzing their behavior, physical limitations, weapons specifications, combat techniques, blind-spots, and tactics. This data will be organized and compiled so that our Tactics Masters and Weapon Masters may develop counter-measures. Armed with detailed knowledge of the enemy, our soldiers will deal with them more effectively, and then disseminate our knowledge of the Demon's weakness to all military forces, where there will be nowhere for them to hide.
Phase One: BAIT AND LURE - The Demons only appear at the crux of battles or at high-value targets. With this in mind, we need to lure them into a battlefield of our choosing, where we hold the advantage, and so the proper bait must be set. The operation will require a number of requisitions, including the re-purposing of several facilities, the reassignment of a few garrisons, and redeployment of several stealth ships.
I suggest we start by manufacturing false targets, leaking information about base locations, high ranking leaders, or Forerunner sites, all fake of course. The blasphemers show a keen interest in holy relics and we can use this as a lure, fabricating fake dig-sites. Creating an array of false targets and lures, I call this phase SHADOWED SNARE. These targets would be tempting enough that the humans cannot resist making a strike and they will send their Demons.
Phase Two: AMBUSH AND ENSNAREMENT - When a Type-1 or Type-2 trap is sprung the Demons will be isolated and surrounded. From there it is only a matter of ensuring there is no escape, engaging from all avenues of approach, and moving in for the kill.
Though I favor the use Type-1 and Type-2 tactics during the early stages of the operation, eventually the humans will begin to catch on and we must become proactive in our hunt. This is phase two, CONSECRATE SPEAR. I propose attaching hunter-killer units to several front-line fleets destined for at least class-four major campaigns upon stealth ships, ready to respond to any Demon sightings. That response will be of a far more conventional kind, and now our warriors will be battle-tested veterans against Demons.
Phase Three (If Viable): CONTAINMENT - I have stated the importance of studying the enemy's weakness and I cannot stress this enough. The Demons possess a strength and skill that is not natural among their kind and we must understand the source of this strength in order to undo it. There is only so much that we can learn from corpses. Therefore we need one for study, alive.
Should the opportunity arise I recommend the capture and transport of a live Demon to a secure facility. From there, under maximum security, we can unravel the secrets of the Demon. This includes study, interrogation, and experimentation.
Phase Four: RESEARCH AND COUNTERMEASURES-
5. REQUIREMENTS

5.1) Secrecy - Security of any covert operation is of the utmost importance. The humans have shown considerable capabilities in breaking our encryptions and listening in to Battlenet communications. I've already noted no less than fourteen separate events where the heretics have most likely cracked our communications, either leading our forces into traps or diverting them away to false targets. As you can no doubt understand, these rapid and frequent breaches in security are unacceptable. If the Demons and their masters caught wind of this operation they could deal a killing blow to it. Naturally, I highly recommend the complete reconstruction of our communications protocols and encryption matrixes [please visit CONCESSION-II Section 5].

5.2) Operational Independency - I do not make light of this request, but this operation goes beyond the bounds of any single oversight. I ask for full operation command independent of the High Council. Politics will only hamper our mission and unnecessary communication risks the security of the operation in its entirety. We face admittedly some of the most fearsome adversaries in our Covenant's existence, we cannot afford excess baggage. All reports and data collected will be forwarded directly to you.

5.3) Personnel - Given the unpredictable and elite nature of the enemy, personnel selection must be narrow and deliberate for the sake of efficiency and security.

*Special Operations: This mission is best suited for Special Operations to handle, covert missions and high-tier objectives are where they thrive. I request the deployment of at least one Legions-worth of SpecOps elite. I already have several units and exemplary SpecOps warriors in mind for the task as well as certain Ossoona sub-units.
*Orbital Assets: The support of Slipspace-capable vessels independent of the Fleet will be important to the mission as per my above requests. I request the exclusive access to one Inquiry-class Research Vessel for obvious reasons, study and research of the Demons. We will require transport and most likely fire-support, for this I recommend the presence of a battlegroup of SDV-class Heavy Corvettes as well as a battlegroup of CCS-class Battlecruisers. Both classes are fully capable of void combat and surface deployment and so are optimal for this mission.
*Scientific Faculty:

5.4) Materials - [See CONCESSION-III]

Please consider this counsel. These creatures are unlike anything we have faced.
By my own hand,
Imperial Admiral Xytan 'Jar Wattinree
// END FILE //
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