UNSC WARNING: This document, Operation: SABERSAW, is property of the UNSC and is Classified [NOVEMBER BLACK], protected under Office of Naval Intelligence Security Protocol 1A. Disclosure of its contents to, or access or alteration by, personnel with a clearance level lower than GAMMA THREE is an offense punishable by court(s) martial and imprisonment or execution for treasonous acts. Failure to disclose confirmed or suspected breaches of security will be treated as complicity, and is punishable by dishonourable discharge and/or imprisonment.
Lieutenant Commander Michael Pomare, Office of Naval Intelligence, UNSCDF Navy
ONI Seal 1


Battle of Eternal Fealty


Battle of Undefeated Glory

Operation: SABERSAW
Bloodtaster 01


War of Vengeance


September, 2556




UNSC victory


United Nations Space Command

Blood Covenant


Captain Kenneth Landers (UNSC Hunters Arrow)

Unknown Jiralhanae commander

  • Six frigates
  • Four mixed legions of Jiralhanae warriors, Kig-Yar mercenaries and Unggoy Conscripts
  • Six frigates
  • four hundred ground troops (most killed during exfiltration)



Although the UNSC had issued standing orders to recover all Covenant or alien technology available from the battlefield, and had spent considerable effort negotiating with the Sangheili for access (and bribing Kig-yar pirates), even after the War of Vengeance there were significant and severe gaps in UNSC understanding of Covenant and Forerunner technologies. Most of the advances that have made the UNSC Navy the most powerful space force since the collapse of the Covenant were already well under way during the Great War, and are mostly human derived, spurred by necessity and human ingenuity. A very small number of technologies have been entirely derived from Covenant systems - the Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine 2553 upgrade uses Covenant calculations for slipspace navigation, shield technology was developed thanks to access to Jackal shield gauntlets and recovered Elite persnal energy shields, and UNSC plasma beam weapons were provided by intelligence gathered from a captured enemy flagship - but these remain sparse in their original forms, and used as little as possible if they can be helped. The UNSC simply doesn't trust them.

Capturing and studying enemy technology was made a priority of the Office of Naval Intelligence during and after the War of Vengeance, and Army, Navy and Marine special warfare teams were deployed in a number of key areas to capture strategic points of interest - starship and vehicle construction facilities, weapons armouries, plasma refineries, and other technologies that the UNSC deemed of vital importance to its advancement. While these missions are collectively known as the Ilium Initiative, working closely with Project TEMERITY and Project EXCALIBUR, Operation: SABERSAW was an oddity in that, while it targeted a Blood Covenant colony, it ended up recovering New Covenant assets, allowing the UNSC an advance glimpse of the equipment the Prophets and their loyal forces had been working on for a decade. After the war, warnings would be sent from ONI through all channels that the cutbacks Secretary General Jerome Smithson could prove disasterous, warnings that were dismissed as exageration by the paranoid leader as he faced growing hostility from the military and a loss of confidence among the civilian populace. Though these predictions would prove portentous, Operation: SABERSAW nevertheless improved the UNSC's understanding of the New Covenant's arsenal enough to recover quicker, and to improve on it enough to counterattack.



The attack on Eternal Fealty produced excellent results for the joint UNSC-SAF alliance; it denied the Covenant a strategically located world that could be used as a staging point for assaults on human and Sangheili space, and made the alliance aware that the New Covenant was waging a simultaneous but separate campaign against the Blood Covenant. There were other gains as well, though - datacores recovered by the UNSC Army 3rd Scottish Infantry Regiment also revealed that the Blood Covenant was desperately starting their own research and development program to try and stave off these assaults, recovering enemy assets to reverse-engineer and field, codenamed by the Jiralhanae overseers "Will of The Gods". Naturally, the first conclusion made by ONI was that the Blood Covenant had captured a UNSC or SAF ship, and was trying to study it - this was deemed an unacceptable breach of not only the Cole Protocol, but of military intelligence security as a whole, and a UNSC assault group was quickly formed and launched. The decision was made early on not to alert the Sangheili to this turn of events, and the assault group, codenamed SABERSAW, would be an entirely human force, consisting of a Spartan-II team, a Spartan-III team, and two platoons of Marines.


Using the recovered datacores to pinpoint the source of this breach, the Prowler UNSC Hunters Arrow transported the assault group to the system, entering approximately one light-hour from the star among its densely packed asteroid field to obscure enemy sensors, making its way further in with active stealth measures online. The Blood Covenant had expected the project to remain a secret, and had stationed only a handful of light capital ships for orbital defence. Slipping past these ships, the Hunters Arrow launched its teams via stealth SOEIV pods.

Arriving first on the ground, the Spartan-II Indigo team and Spartan-III Baselard team staged a covert assault against the research facility, encountering Kig-Yar and Unggoy light infantry, quickly securing the facility. As it became clear to local Blood Covenant command that they were under attack, they ordered all military forces to be brought to bear. Infantry, armour and aircraft were mobilised from ground-based launch sites, but the orbital force found itself trapped in a minefield laid by the Hunters Arrow. Faced with immobile targets, the Prowler destroyed the enemy ships with precisely placed pulse laser hits, eliminating the enemy's orbital superiority.

The ground teams were still faced with a legion of Blood Covenant bearing down on it, but their task was not to hold their position - it was to destroy or recover whatever the facility contained. The Blood Covenant had managed to assemble several dozen Huragok, who were loaded aboard a dropship and carried up to the Hunters Arrow. More importantly, the real aim of "Will of The Gods" was discovered - a New Covenant fighter had been recovered, and was being studied by Blood Covenant Huragok for reverse-engineering and reapplication to their own weapons and ships. Making a snap decision, Indigo and Baselard decided to hold the facility until the Hunters Arrow could arrive to pick up the New Covenant fighter, fending off waves of Jiralhanae, Kig-Yar and Unggoy soldiers, with the support of their Marine co-participants. Extraction was rapid, assisted by heavy Pelican gunship support from the Prowler, and with all personnel aboard the Hunters Arrow made an in-atmosphere slipspace transition, destroying the facility and killing still more Blood Covenant troops.


The effects of SABERSAW would be difficult to discern - just how effective the Blood Covenant would have been at reverse-engineering and reissuing New Covenant technology would remain a mystery since all Jiralhanae overseers would be killed in the assault and the Huragok had only been able to piece together the wreckage of the craft before the UNSC intervened. Regardless, ONI would set to work almost immediately on studying the craft, and it would reveal that the New Covenant had been making advancements of their own, despite their traditional hesitance to "interfere" with Forerunner-derived technology. This advance glimpse at New Covenant technology would give the UNSC some idea of their capabilities, and the fighter class would eventually be designated "Ophan", and would serve as the primary space superiority fighter of the Governors of Contrition during the Second Great War.

Despite the advance warning from SABERSAW, the UNSC took little in the way of protective measures to respond to this new knowledge. As the War of Vengeance drew to a close, Pierre Plantard's government would be voted out of office in favour of the populist Jerome Smithson, who would downscale the military as much as he could, diverting patrol and protection resources to recolonisation efforts. ONI Section III attempted multiple times to convince the man that steps had to be taken to bring the UNSC Navy back up to technological and functional parity, but Smithson ignored these warnings, choosing to believe that the defence treaties with the Sangheili and the non-aggression pact with the New Covenant would be enough to prevent another war. Dismissing the notion that there were things that the private sector should not handle, he declassified TEMERITY and EXCALIBUR, reassigning them to the Ministry of Science. After the leaking of Operation: VORAUSSICHT to the public and the calamitous public reaction against such inept handling by Smithson's administration, the man came to believe that ONI was exagerrating their findings to leverage concessions from him while he was weak. He threats to downsize ONI would turn the opinion of the military further against him than it had already been, and when the Second Great War broke out he would resign in disgrace, allowing Pierre Plantard to resume the postion of Secretary General - rebuilding the defence forces, pouring money into R&D efforts, and finally reacquiring TEMERITY and EXCALIBUR from the civilian government.

The fighter itself sit in a hangar for most of its possession by the UNSC, until the outbreak of war again. Studied by a UNSC research team, it would provide a crucial look at New Covenant technology, and information from the craft was put to use in designing improved shield and DEW technologies for UNSC fighters and starships. The ship was eventually destroyed by rebel operatives as they attempted to capture it, hoping to create another Insurrection against Earth-rule and use captured technology to build up a force sufficient to fend off the UNSC as it forged its own path - the research had already derived most of its systems, but it still denied the UNSC access to vital technology used by the enemy. Those responsible would be tracked down and assassinated by Indigo Team as part of Operation: EPHIALTES.

Involved Personnel


UNSC Marine Corps

  • First Platoon
  • Second Platoon