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Battle of Actium

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Operation: TORPEDO

Operation: RAUCOUS SOLITUDE

Conflict:

Human-Covenant War

Date:

June 13-20, 2545

Location:

Billar Pavonis 4A [Covenant: Ghel]

Outcome:

UNSC Pyrrhic Victory

  • Obliteration of Covenant Ground Forces
  • Capture of unknown technology by UNSC
Belligerents

UNSC

Covenant

Commanders
  • Cpt. Mattias Jones
  • Cmdr. Marco Dorota
  • Shipmaster Isba 'Kelusee †
  • Cmdr. Aho 'Fugoree
Strength
  • 12 Spartans
  • 15 ODST's
  • 1 Sahara-class Heavy Prowler in support.
  • 10,000 assorted ground forces
  • 3 SDV-Class Corvette's in support
Casualties
  • 8 Spartans KIA
  • 5 ODST's KIA
  • 1 Spartan POW

All Covenant Ground forces.

 


Operation: RAUCOUS SOLITUDE was a Human instigated special operations conflict that took place from June the 13th to the 20th in 2545. The operation placed three Teams of SPARTAN-III commandos in an strategic surprise assault on a Covenant controlled planet. The initial UNSC goals of the operation were to capture Covenant communications technology, as well as destroy Covenant facilities in an effort to slow their advances on Human territory during the Human-Covenant War.

Ultimately, the Operation, though successful, would come at a cost to the Spartan assault forces which lost all but two of their operatives: Annalee-B220, and Andrew-B191. The team would ultimately extract from the planet with technology that Humanity had yet to interact with. The Covenant referred to the technology as The Guiding Light.

RAUCOUS SOLITUDE is noted to also have been the christening operation for Rear Admiral Darren Cohen's Diamond Initiative, and was orchestrated by both Cohen, his subordinates, and ONI AI Fluellen. Due to the disastrous nature of the operation, Cohen would be forced to adjust the nature of the Initiative in the months following.

Prelude

Diamond Initiative

Rear Admiral Darren Cohen, an ONI Section Three officer, was the main architect of the Operation, which was part of the larger Diamond Initiative. Cohen's plan for the Diamond Initiative had been to augment the use of the SPARTAN-II soldiers into a predominantly combined operative status, where they would lead and work closely with common Marines and Naval crewman to make strikes on high-value technological targets. This concept was approved as early as 2531. Due to the lack of access to Spartan soldiers, Cohen's project lost funding for years and remained virtually conceptual. It was only later when he learned of the SPARTAN-III program that he would meet with Colonel Ackerson to revitalize these plans.

Not long after the reintroduction of the program, AI Fluellen was designated to reach a final desired list of operatives, and see to it that they were directed in a manner to maintain their desired skills. He would ultimately decide on the final list of 12 Spartans. Interestingly, he changed the manner of selection from an individual basis to one emphasizing teamwork. Of the original list of 50 individuals Cohen had selected, Fluellen had selected only seven and maintained that Teams November, Golf, and Oscar be assigned to the Initiative. Cohen would adopt this plan in late 2544.

Finalization

In January of 2545 the three Spartan teams were officially reassigned to ONI and briefed on the intention of the Diamond Initiative. From January to March of 2545 Cohen worked closely with other ONI officials to devise targets to strike. It was decided that the first mission would be an exclusive Spartan mission before ONI would search for five-hundred operatives to build the strike force for deployment in the following year.

The final selected target would be in Covenant territory. Sparse data collected from the ONI signal corps and Section One data collection apparatus presumed their chosen target be a sort of "Slip-Space communications relay". The Area of Operations was in the distant Billar Pavonis system on a moon designated Billar Pavonis 4A. The technology on 4A was deemed an extremely valuable target and was likely a part of a larger Covenant communications relay. The Operation was also slated to precede Operation: TORPEDO by only a few weeks, possibly exacerbating the latter mission's effect. Fluellen would explain that "...if Operation: TORPEDO was a knock-out punch, RAUCOUS SOLITUDE was the jab that preceded it..."

In March ONI assigned Captain Mattias Jones of the Prowler Corps was assigned to the mission. Cohen would have his staff meet with Jones, and in an act of subterfuge remained entirely anonymous. Instead, his staff notified Jones a civilian contractor would be observing for assessment of the project's success. For all intents and purposes, though, Jones was selected as the Commanding officer for the Operation and would work closely with Fluellen in April to ready for the mission. He would only learn later that the faux contractor was Cohen.

In late April of 2545, ODST Master Sergeant Waimarie Paiwei and her combat team were selected and flagged by ONI for assignment to Jones command. They had been slated to be used as an on-board security detail for the mission. Paiwei was initially reluctant to run ship security, but when she was told that the mission would be carried out by Spartans she changed her tone. Curious to see the Spartans up close, and willing to help hit the Covenant hard, Paiwei agreed. She and her combat team reported to the UNSC prowler Boudica in early May, 2545 and the ship was en route to Billar Pavonis 4A shortly after.

Battle

June 13

On the first day of the Operation, the Boudica launched the three Spartan teams in stealth drop-pods in three separate landing zones. The Intel for the the mission was extremely sparse, and the pods would arrive in system before the Boudica. For a time, the Spartans would be without any support.

The main objective of all teams was to infiltrate the Covenant Citadel which contained the Relay. Secondary objectives were to disrupt troop-movements and support facilities to the tower. The planet also housed refineries and gas extraction plants, and though the main objective was the Relay, the final objective was to detonate a HAVOK Tactical Nuclear Device to destroy as much of the surface facilities as possible.

Team Golf was the first to touch down at roughly 0500, three hours after launching from the Boudica. Immediately on touchdown the they were engaged by hundreds of Grunt troops and engineers. The team was split up within the first few minutes of touch down. Reports indicate similar instances for both November and Oscar teams which would touch down at 0505 and 0507 respectively.

From Team Golf survivor reports: Spartans Joel-B404 and Ahmed-B077 were killed within 15 minutes of touch down, and communications broke down soon after. Spartans Andrew-B191 "Drew" and Annalee-B220 were both individually separated from the main group. Spartans Wei-B258 and Mary-B300 were able to stay together and would soon after make contact with Team Oscar. Team Oscar was able to assault a heavily fortified bunker and then put up a defensive resistance to local forces. With communications either down or dangerous to use, Spartan Mary-B300 was used as a runner to try and contact Team November during a lull.

Team November took massive casualties after landing, and only their team leader Spartan Spencer-B337 "Spike" was thought to have survived the day.

June 14-16

Spike and Drew would find each other early on June 14 and thereafter begin an effort to destroy support structures in the area, hoping to soften the defenses and capabilities of the main Citadel. Drew had been able to retrieve and maintain the Spartans HAVOK nuclear device in the prior day's fray, and would carry it to the Citadel over the following week.

Based on survivor descriptions, it's assumed that Team Oscar's bunker was counter-assaulted by Covenant forces. It's estimated that hundreds of Grunts and Jackals overran the position. Team Oscar appeared to have retreated from the position and was then presumably killed on an individual basis based on survivor recollection of casualty locations.

On the 15th, Spartan Drew would place a hacking device on a Covenant terminal in hopes of establishing a piggy-back, back-channel communication with the Boudica. At this point in time, Captain Jones had pulled the Boudica far back from Billar Pavonis 4A to maintain their stealth. Jones believed the Covenant had anticipated the attack due in part from the initial estimations of high Spartan casualties. Jones feared the Covenant had expected a Prowler's presence, and thus he kept it far from the active AO. Jones ordered radio silence and restricted Fluellen to only EI Probes as the only battlefield element to remain in contact with. Due to this standing order, the remaining Spartans would not be hailed by UNSC forces for the next five days.

On the 16th Spartan Annalee would discover the remnants of Team November as well as a range-finder owned by Mary-B300. Spartan Annalee could not differentiate the armored bodies from one another, and hastily recovered the range-finder before continuing her scouting for survivors. Later that evening she would also find the bunker Team Oscar had defended and been purged from. There, she would find a damaged rifle used by Wei-B258 on the ground. The evidence at the bunker had led Annalee to believe she was possibly the only survivor of the assault.

The local Covenant forces had instated more defensive stances on the 16th, and were ordered to continue unit fortification of the Citadel. The local policing fleet commanded by Shipmaster 'Kelusee also requested reinforcements from an Expeditionary Force. Shortly after these standing orders were made, Drew and Spike spotted Elites being deployed from drop ships to search the region for Spartans.

June 17-18

On the 17th, Annalee reached the edges of the Citadel perimeter and found a Crows Nest to oversee the Relay tower and the forces camped around the Citadel. The Crows Nest allowed for her to observe troop movements, time Relay pulses, and plot an eventual infiltration into the Citadel tower that houses the relay. Spartan Annalee also took this time to take inventory on her supplies.

Also on the 17th, bridge officers aboard the Boudica discussed at length the possibility of relieving Jones from his duty as Captain. The officers began discussion due to a perceived lack of action and general detachment from the ground forces—they felt that the lives of Spartans were possibly in the balance, but Jones denial to use the Boudica's communications Suite had left them "blind" to the situation on the surface. This ire had been exacerbated due to Jones choice to ignore suggestions from Fluellen, and Cohen secretly urging the officers to consider removing Jones from control. Cohen never revealed his rank during these events.

On the following day, the 18th, Spike and Drew arrived near the Citadel camp. Drew was able to establish a makeshift connection to the Covenant BattleNet and noted that a Covenant Corvette was now in orbit over the Citadel in support of the defensive efforts.

June 19-20

After careful preparation Annalee began her infiltration of the camp. The area of Billar Pavonis 4A the tower was located had just entered a new lunar phase and was to be in darkness for a extended period of time. Annalee, in an attempt to avoid detection, entered a barracks where she happened to find Spartans Spike and Drew also infiltrating the Citadel. They group together and plan their next move.

Around this same time, Fluellen made an effort to prove Captain Jones was out of line. As Fluellen was an AI, it was a calculated, bur risky move. His confrontation came to a head when Cohen and the bridge officers made their move to relieve Jones of command. They went on to plot a rescue of the remaining Spartans on 4A. Commander Marco Dorota was elected by the bridge to take command of the Boudica. Sgt. Paiwei soon after was tasked to land on the Citadel Relay Tower and make an attempt to link up with any remaining Spartans, or verify they had failed their mission.

Spike, Annalee, and Drew all made plans to charge the Citadel tower. They had planned to force their way in and find data worth keeping, or detonate their Nuke if they failed. The Spartans soon discovered that the Covenant were trying to destroy technology they feared may fall into human hands. Moving quick to save some of the technolgy, the Spartans created a distraction, and were hailed by the ODST troops led by Paiwei. The Spartans fought their way to the tower, and then inside. It is there, inside that they discovered what the Covenant referred to as The Guiding Light. By chance, they were able to find the last working piece of the technology which was safeguarded by a Covenant Engineer. They, as well as a fireteam of ODST's, then became engaged by Special Operations Elites. The skirmish came at the loss of a few ODST's as well as Spencer-B337's life. However, Spartans Annalee, Drew, and the remaining ODST's were able to fight off the countering Covenant forces and made their way aboard the Boudica.

In the end, the Spartans were able to escape moon 4A with new, unknown alien technology and then detonate their HAVOK nuke, destroying a majority of Covenant facilities nearby on the surface.

Aftermath

Humanity

Both Spartans Annalee and Drew would go on to receive battle commendations and promotions for the work they accomplished. Both would return to Reach where Annalee would head to Reach Naval Officers Academy, and Drew, recently promoted to Chief Warrant Officer, would assist local Reach garrisons with Insurrectionist cells as he waited for Annalee's graduation from the Academy.

Due to such massive Spartan losses Cohen would have to revisit the scope of the Diamond Initiative. Armed with the knowledge that ONI gained from the technology they acquired, he readied a new mission on Mendel IV. He also invited Paiwei to join the initiative as one of the team leaders for DIAMOND Team, and Marco Dorota to lead the team on Mendel IV, and plans to send Fluellen to oversee the project.

Covenant

The localized Covenant naval units waited for reinforcements and did not chase the escaping Human vessel. In the face of such disastrous losses, including Shipmaster 'Kelusee, surviving commander Aho 'Fugoree deemed it more important to ensure that he was able to pass on any information he could to the Covenant High Council or Sangheili Admiralty.

The answering vessel which answered 'Fugoree's distress call was the Clerical Harmony, both an Ascetic assault carrier and the Flagship of Ministry for the Prophet of Scorn. Promptly after arriving, Shipmaster Sulde Auqusai, took command of the remaining frigates in system and moved to investigate the potential whereabouts of the Human's who had attacked the planet.

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