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The SPEARPOINT Program, also known as Project: SPEARPOINT, was an advanced special forces unit jointly developed by Naval Special Warfare Command and the Office of Naval Intelligence. ONI wanted eyes in Covenant-territory without having to resort to Spartans and wanted biologically augmented troops that were capable of fighting behind enemy-lines. So collaborating, the project was conceived as an aggressive deep reconnaissance force that can operate independently in hostile territory with little to no intelligence for extended periods of time without support. Named by its objective to be the "tip of the spear", SPEARPOINT was approved in 2531. were seen as the prime candidates for the project and a class of one-hundred volunteers was selected for the project.
Dr. Jerry Malcolm developed the gene-therapy that was used in the project. Employing the process that would be later used in the GENOME Program, viral vectors were injected into the candidates and used to replace parts of the subject's genome with favorable traits. Later in development they were also given minor augmentations including ocular implants, muscular enhancement injections, pulmonary respiratory expansion, oxygen-transportation enrichment, and artificial-cochlea gyroscope. Outfitted with powered exoskeletons designed for alien environments, these new soldiers were codenamed SPEARs.
In 2532 Colonel Sears, the ONI supervisor who was placed in charge, deployed the SPEARs on several missions in order to test their effectiveness in the field. For their first mission they were deployed as part of Operation: ARGUS, an operation headed by Section I. The operation's objective was to deploy observation probes within and across Covenant-occupied space, on Covenant-occupied human worlds or if possible enemy homeworlds, allowing them to spy on their communications as well as monitor and track their fleet movements and troop deployments. In coordination with theand other special forces units, including Spartan and Teams, they went deep behind enemy-lines to scout out favorable and high-value locations and deployed hundreds of probes on Covenant-controlled planets. This far-flung network of spy probes would be called the ARGUS Array. ONI was given a thousand eyes on enemy movements, their analysts could track the direction of their slipsace travel vector and calculate their projected destination, this would buy their colonies days or even weeks of advance warning.
Following their success in ARGUS, the SPEARS were greenlighted for further operations. In 2535 HIGHCOM decided that they were ready for long-term deployment as part of Operation: ORION SPEAR. The operation was a long-term covert mission deep behind enemy lines where for the next several months they would operate in Covenant territory, assassinating high-value leaders, sabotaging facilities, and monitoring enemy troop movement and buildup. Part of their mission was to locate Covenant worlds for possible retaliation strikes and hopefully in the process discover their home-world. SPEAR teams would periodically return for debriefing and then be given their next assignment.
Several times over the course of their deployment the SPEARs were ordered to halt operations in order to retrieve high-value alien artifacts. Information about these artifacts were highly classified and the SPEARs were kept in the dark.
After almost three years of long deployments, some lasting up to half a year, the SPEARs were becoming agitated. They had suffered heavy casualties over that last several years and were now being increasingly isolated from their units, families, and the outside world. Their leave time after returning from missions was becoming increasingly shorter and few-and-far between, sometimes lasting only a few days, deliberately not enough time for the soldiers to return to their families. Several times the SPEARs petitioned for extended leave and R&R but these were all denied. To make matters worse ONI had imposed a complete communications blackout on all SPEARs personnel. The SPEARs protested this with increasing outrage but their words fell on deaf ears.
It became apparent that ONI didn't want highly classified information being leaked. They had been exposed to top-level classified secrets and ONI figured the best way to do that was to keep them on a tight leash and under their control. Feeling trapped and used, the soldiers of SPEARPOINT staged a mutiny and broke out of the NIMBUS Facility. Unfortunately they were forced to kill several guards in the process. They stole the Prowler Huron, and escaped with it into slipspace.
With the SPEARs gone rogue, ONI feared the enormous security breach that the SPEARs represented. Reacting quickly, they covered up the true reasons for their rebellion and began tracking down the renegade soldiers. Once they tracked them to an abandoned UNSC naval base in the Sigma Scorpii system ONI tasked SPARTAN-II White Team with eliminating them. To cover up their part in this, the Spartans were fed a fabricated story that the SPEARs were attempting to defect to the Insurrection and had ruthlessly killed several facility staff members during their rebellion. The Spartan's orders were to eliminate the SPEARs and prevent vital intelligence from falling into rebel hands.
Under Operation: ZEBRA, the Spartans covertly infiltrated the abandoned base which the SPEARs had occupied and launched a night-time surprise assault. The SPEARs were elite soldiers but they were no match for Spartans who eliminated much of the forty-man unit before they could respond, taken out by ambushes, sniper fire, and massive explosive charges. To their credit, once the SPEARs rallied they made good account of themselves against the superior super-soldiers. Some stayed behind in order to buy time for the rest to escape back to the prowler. Unfortunately their efforts were in vain as those who attempted to escape via the Huron were also killed as it had been rigged to explode by the Spartans under specific orders of ONI.
With their mission complete, the Spartans prepared for extraction as ONI had ordered the entire area to be razed by nukes to contain any information leaks. However before they could leave they discovered one of the SPEARs was still alive. He was mortally wounded but revealed ONI's duplicity to the Spartans before expiring and information recovered from their neural chips confirmed his story.
Project: SPEARPOINT would remain top-secret and its existence would never become public. The truth of their demise was thoroughly covered-up by ONI who made sure that their duplicity was never discovered by the UNSC. The SPEARs allowed the UNSC to disrupt Covenant activity in enemy-occupied territory without resorting to SPARTANs and gathered vital intelligence during the war that saved many colonies. Their success would lead ONI to create thelater in the war to replace them.
For the Spartans of White Team, Operation: ZEBRA was a bitter affair and a great source of mistrust and suspicion towards ONI. Serge-011 especially would bear a grudge towards ONI for manipulating them into silencing the SPEARs to conceal their crimes
The project would also have a lasting effect on the advancement of human augmentation. The viral vector gene-therapy used in the project would later be revisited and improved upon during the GENOME Program and provided valuable data that would eventually be used to better augment adults in the.