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40px-Terminal.png This article, Operation: ASHES, was written by Brodie-001. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.

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Battle of Draetheus V

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Operation: CATFISH

Operation: ASHES
OpAshes evac

Conflict:

Post-Human Covenant War

Date:

April 4th-5th, 2554

Location:

Schönheit, Hurst System

Outcome:

  • Mission Successful
  • 'Eden Facility' destroyed
  • Sentinel Production Facility destroyed
Belligerents

United Nations Space Command

Commanders
Strength
  • 2 SPARTAN-II Commandos
  • Fireteam Echo
  • One SPARTAN-II
  • Fifty Sangheili
  • Several hundred Unggoy
  • Dozens of Kig-Yar
  • Several hundred Sentinels
Casualties

All but Sur 'Ranak

 


Operation: ASHES was a top secret operation carried by order of the Office of Naval Intelligence in early 2554. After a looped message from missing SPARTAN-II Pierre-127 was discovered on the glassed planet of Schönheit, warning ships away and mentioning weapons on the planet's surface, the organisation decided to dispatch a team to investigate. First selecting Pierre's former team leader Elena-071 to lead this operation, ONI them reassigned Master Chief Petty Officer Kane-098 from his team to operate as her second and command during the operation.

A seven-man ODST group led by Second Lieutenant Ash Mitchell named Fireteam Echo was hand-picked to assist the two Spartans. ONI had deemed it necessary to use such a large group due to the unpredictable nature of a rogue, and very dangerous, Spartan. The team was deployed from the UNSC Hammerhand in SOIEV's and dropped near the source of the signal and left to carry out the mission as they saw fit until reinforcements arrived from a Destroyer, the UNSC Grievous.

After making their way across the glasslands towards the source of the transmission, The team descended into canyons formed by the glassing a decade prior. Eventually, they emerged into a large valley, covered with vegetation and trees that despite not being seen on the previous day's orbital observation, were fully grown. It was here that several guard towers were detected. The Kig-Yar soldiers were quickly taken out, allowing the team to enter the forest seemingly undetected. Shortly after, a large force of Unggoy attacked, wounding Private Calzaghe and pinning the team down until the two Spartans drove them back, pursuing the survivors while the ODST's followed. A small force of Special Operations Sangheili ambushed the team. Though none of the troopers were killed and their foes driven off, Ash Mitchell, Private Yin Maxwell, and the wounded Private George Calzaghe were captured by Sur 'Ranak, the Sangheili commander.

After several hours of incarceration, Mitchell, Maxwell and Calzaghe were taken to Pierre-127, where they also met 037 Repentant Observer, the overseer of the 'Eden Facility', a Forerunner structure designed to rejuvenate planets that had suffered tremendous environmental damage. Maxwell was killed when he attempted to attack the rogue Spartan, while Mitchell and Calzaghe were then taken to the facility's control room and forced to activate the facility with their handprints; something that Pierre had been unwilling or unable to do during his time trapped on the planet. As the Eden Facility activated fully, the two ODST's were able to escape as The rest of Echo and the two Spartans attacked the enemy camp.

Attacking at dawn, they were able to quickly overwhelm their Covenant foes, with Kane providing sniper cover while Elena broke into the facility herself. Regrouping with Mitchell and Maxwell, the ODST's set demolition charges within the Covenant base before retreating towards their campsite, destroying most of the enemy force while they fled. Within the Eden Facility, Elena engaged Pierre in battle, though she found herself outclassed by him due to numerous Forerunner enhancements that Repentant Observer had placed within his armour. With a short-range teleporter and a powerful overshield, Pierre was able to fend off Elena and Kane after his arrival for some time until the pair overcame his shields and landed several near-fatal blows on the traitor. Though badly wounded, Pierre's enhancements allowed him to fight on, smashing Kane's helmet before fleeing deeper into the Forerunner complex.

Outside, the ODST's continued to make a fighting retreat, and intended to hijack one of the Covenant ships to escape before seeing them destroyed by combined fire from numerous Forerunner Sentinels. Momentarily distracted by this, the troopers were ambushed by Sur 'Ranak, who beheaded Vincent Angelo before the others drove him away. Finally managing to signal the UNSC Grievous, the surviving troopers moved out into Schönheit's glasslands to await pickup. There, they discovered that Elena had requested MAC fire on the Eden Facility itself. With the underground complex's production facilities now active, it was estimated that they would have enough Sentinels to pose a serious threat to the UNSC vessel within several hours if they were not destroyed as quickly as possible. After reaching the extraction zone, they were then attacked by the now-Rampant Repentant Observer, who killed Calzaghe and severed Mal Roberts' arm before leaving to deal with Pierre.

Inside, the two Spartans battled Pierre once more outside the entrance of a Sentinel manufacturing facility. In the midst of their battle, Elena and Kane discovered a slipspace field pod, containing the preserved corpse of Hank-136. Pierre revealed that he had died of his injuries while fighting on Schönheit a decade prior, and had been stored there until he could receive medical assistance. Before they could continue their fight, Repentant Observer remotely deactivated Pierre's enhancements, allowing his numerous wounds to finally take their toll. After collapsing, the traitorous Spartan finally surrendered to his former comrades and requested that Elena activate the self-destruct system on his MJOLNIR armour's reactor. Slowly bleeding to death, Pierre was able to use the facility's teleportation matrix to move the others and Hank's pod outside to safety before throwing himself into the heart of the Sentinel plant.

The ensuing explosion began a chain reaction that brought down most of the Eden Facility and its Monitor, who arrived seconds too late to stop the Spartan from destroying his beloved home. Moving into Schönheit's atmosphere, the UNSC Grievous fired a volley of three MAC rounds into what remained of the Forerunner facility, utterly demolishing anything that remained in the nearby area. The surviving members of Fireteam Echo and the Spartans were airlifted out when reinforcements led by Marco-035 arrived to secure the site shortly after. With Pierre and his forces dead, Operation: ASHES was considered a complete success.

Aftermath

The operation was a taxing one for all involved. While another SPARTAN-II had been killed, the body of Hank-136 was taken in by the Office of Naval Intelligence and eventually resuscitated just a few weeks later after being given emergency medical treatment upon extraction from the slipsace field pod. Corporal Mal Roberts accepted a promotion to Sergeant and received a robotic prosthetic to replace his severed arm, though he would leave the UNSC shortly afterwards, having become very disillusioned with what he was fighting for. Ash Mitchell, Michael Green and Bill Cross would remain in the same unit, and soon embarked on a counter-Insurrectionist campaign in the Outer Colonies. Like Roberts, Mitchell would depart from the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers by year's end, sharing his friend's distaste for ONI's secrecy after Operation ASHES.

The outcome of ASHES and the death of Pierre - who despite his status as a traitor was an irreplaceable SPARTAN-II - prompted Naval Intelligence to create several new Spartan initiatives, using Elena-071 to put together the SPARTAN-II Shrike Team some time later while the revived Hank was placed in command of Fireteam Thor after he was cleared for duty. Very little was recovered from the Eden Facility, though due to the rampancy of its monitor and the danger it posed it was deemed an acceptable loss in spite of the miraculous technologies formerly stored there. Sur 'Ranak would survive the battle and escaped Schönheit in a small shuttle, though he would be publicly shamed before his clan for his actions there, which went against the Human-friendly, reconciliatory approach of his Kaidon. This would lead to him departing Sanghelios for good alongside his younger sibling, later joining forces with a notable human rebel to strike back against the UNSC and their Spartans.

Trivia

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