"This is it, ladies and gentlemen. The Covvies are on our doorstep, and heading this way. We could run, we could hide. We could hole up here like animals until those alien bastards burn us out. That's not going to happen though, is it? We're fighting. Every man and woman present is here because they chose to be here. This is where we draw a line in the sand. This is where we say not one step further! Every minute we spend holding our ground here gives our citizens more time to escape. We all know the price paid for our duty. How many of you have lost family or friends to the Covenant, or have them fighting? I have. I for one, am proud to be fighting alongside my own flesh and blood here, against these monsters. They have butchered millions, but not without a fight. So, it is here, brave men and women of the UNSC, I ask you, fight with me! This time tomorrow, we could all be dead. We could be standing here, on a mountain of Covvie corpses with our heads held high. In any case, we're not running. Not here! Not now! We're gonna sit right here, and give these covvie bastards one heck of a fight!"
―Brigadier General Richard Mack Senior addressing troops before the Covenant invasion of the capital city, September 17th, 2547.
The Siege of Fargad was a large military engagement that occurred between UNSC forces and the Covenant Empire between September 11-20th, 2547, on the Inner Colony world of Fargad. A major staging point for UNSC forces shipping out to fight across the Outer Colonies, the planet regarded as one of mankind's few remaining 'fortress worlds' was a prime target for the Covenant's gradual march into human territory. After a fleet led by Fleet Master Alval 'Ulvanee arrived in-system, what ensued was a particularly bloody nine-day siege that turned what seemed like an easy victory into a slow battle of attrition that left the victorious Covenant forces unable to continue their advance for some time.
"Uh... We've got multiple slipspace ruptures in system... Covenant ships detected. Fargad control, initiate the WINTER CONTINGENCY and do what you can down there. Theta out."
―Last transmission from Theta Station, a sensory outpost on the edge of the system
At approximately 0430 hours on September 11th, 2547, nine Covenant vessels, including the super-destroyerJusticar, exited slipspace in the Fargad system. The ships were first detected by Theta Station, a small outpost in an asteroid belt. A warning was sent to the local UNSC Command Centre on Fargad, suggesting that emergency procedures be put into place on the planet. Shortly after, Theta Station was destroyed by plasma fire from incoming Covenant corvettes. Closer to the planet, which had been used as a UNSC staging ground for forces sent against the Covenant, WINTER CONTINGENCY was immediately declared, with the military taking charge and organising an evacuation plan while a defensive strategy was worked out for the incoming Covenant ships.
As the highest ranking UNSC officer present, Rear Admiral Michael Hsu, leading Battlegroups Frankenstein, Takeshi and Crystal took position over the planet. Leading their groundside forces was Brigadier General Richard Mack Senior, who would coordinate the Marine Corps' deployment alongside Army Colonel Brandon Walters' forces. Despite Hsu's belief that the Covenant would seek to avoid a ground engagement after years of costly losses, Mack was certain that the Covenant would attempt an invasion of Fargad, and so directed the 104th Marine Regiment for defensive purposes while the army took care of civilian evacuation.
Also groundside were Sigma Team, a group of nine SPARTAN-II's. Despite being only on Fargad for armour testing and exercises, the team were put under the command of Mack, who had helped train them several decades earlier. Master Chief Petty Officer Fenn-145, the team leader, sent his subordinates to several locations in order to secure or destroy data centres that could not be defended in case of a ground invasion while remaining at Fargad Command in order to assist Mack, Walters, and Admiral Han Kurtz, a 'Wet Navy' commander and head of the planet's Colonial Guard.
In orbit, Rear Admiral Hsu had successfully manoeuvred the ninth fleet into formation, and circled round the planet, away from possible Covenant attacks as the nine enemy vessels neared Fargad. Eventually, deeming it the right time, Hsu's fleet came around, hitting the much smaller Covenant fleet with a volley of MAC rounds. Six of the nine ships were destroyed by the combined firepower of thirty UNSC vessels with two corvettes holding their ground, destroying one human ship while the super-destroyer Justicar entered the atmosphere in order to deploy troops. After mopping up the two corvettes with no further casualties, Hsu realised that his fleet had been led into a trap. While they had been focused on the preliminary Covenant force, a much larger fleet, consisting of thirteen corvettes, twelve CCS-class battlecruisers and one CAS-class assault carrier had entered the system, carrying hundreds of thousands of Covenant troops.
As the 9th fleet turned to engage this new threat, several of the ships broke through human lines with the intent of disembarking troops on the planet surface. These were ignored as the Rear Admiral ordered all three battlegroups to concentrate firepower on the offensive ships. Approximately five hours after the initial discovery of Covenant ships in the Fargad system, the first landing craft touched down on the planet's surface, beginning a siege that would last over a week.