|This article, Siege of Jacinto, was written by LoyalHaloFan. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
|Siege of Jacinto|
September 12th, 2551 - March 16th, 2553 (552 days)
- "With everything that happened during 2552, Jacinto was overlooked by many scholars and historians. But their fight was just as important. Outnumbered, outgunned and cut off from the rest of humanity, they held their ground and showed the Covenant just how terrifying humans can be when you force them into a corner. History won't look kindly to either side, but this battle will echo throughout time as the moment that humanity invoked true fear in the eyes of the Covenant."
- ―Introduction to The Veterans' Memoirs from the Battlefields of Jacinto, published in 2579.
Being one of the longest and largest military campaigns during the Human-Covenant War, the Siege of Jacinto stands out. The fighting on Jacinto is considered one of the worst battles of the war, with conditions rapidly deteriorating, outbreak of disease and horrific close quarters engagements between humanity and the Covenant. Historians have claimed that Jacinto was the most hard fought battle of the war, with such human ferocity never before seen especially on Earth or Reach, which were considered the two most important human worlds.
The Siege of Jacinto was also known for the first official documented cases of Covenant morale reaching an all-time low and the first ever observations of post-traumatic stress-like symptoms displayed in Sangheili prisoners of war.
The Siege Begins
Following the destruction of Hyacinth ε, Zhar 'Nebal's fleet moved away from the planet and regrouped to the staging area. Several minutes later, scanning outposts detected a larger Covenant fleet exiting slipspace at the same location. The Fleet of Cleansing Devotion had arrived, and the siege of Jacinto had begun. With a larger fleet, the Covenant were now ready to begin their invasion of Jacinto. All 151 ships of the combined Covenant fleet set out to crush what remained of the human naval forces. But once they had arrived at Jacinto and began the battle, they had not expected the firepower of the human planet's defensive platforms. Shipbourne and "Super" MAC rounds slammed against many Covenant ships, causing an immense amount of destruction for the Covenant. Before they could respond, they had already lost ten ships.
Now on the defensive, the human ships did not fair so well. Within seconds, several human ships were heavily damaged, their hulls melted from the extremely destructive plasma torpedoes. Realizing that the human defense platforms would soon be ready to fire again, Lod Rumnt, the commander of all Covenant operations in this system ordered the fleet to withdraw out of the Super MACs range. But not before unleashing the hordes of dropships and fighters down to the surface to begin the invasion.
With the Covenant fleet retreating, the human ships began to focus their fire on the Covenant invasion force, firing off their point-defence guns and unleashing barrages of Archer missiles to weaken the enemy ground forces as best they could. In response, the ships also deploying their own ground forces, sending ODSTs and whatever battle-ready Marines and Army troopers to the surface to reinforce the JCDF. Despite their best efforts, millions of dropships and fighters had already breached the planet's atmosphere, swarming in on heavily populated zones on the surface. The human fleet then regrouped and established a defensive perimeter around the colony's five orbital defence platforms, the only powerful enough weapons to hold off the vastly superior Covenant fleet until reinforcements would arrive.
Battle of Cedros
Cedros became one first targets during the Covenant invasion. By the afternoon of September 12th, the city had been completely surrounded and the fighting spread throughout the streets. JCDF, law enforcement and civilian militias however held the city, with the heaviest of the fighting taking place around the main government building. Covenant ground forces pushed hard against human lines, hoping to find a breach and eliminate the colony's political strength by wiping out the Colonial Senate and killing the Colonial Governor. Several days passed by, with heavy casualties on both sides before a clear fly-zone was created. JCDF Longswords eventually regained air superiority, thus allowing Pelicans to safely evacuate any government officials and civilians to the ONI GUARDA Base in the Serra da Guarda mountains, east of the city.
|Fighting in Cedros continued until late-November before finally falling to the Covenant.|
However, during the evacuation process, the Governor's pelican was shot down near the outskirts of the city. When JCDF forces arrived on the scene, all passengers were dead. But not all of passengers had died resulting from the crash. Some of the dead had clear signs of plasma cuts and burns throughout their body. What made the situation more pressing, was that the Governor, Markos Ioannidis was nowhere to be found.
The Gervásio forest
Part of the Covenant's siege of Cedros involved the occupation of the Gervásio forest. However, civilian militias utilized hit-and-run tactics, along with prolonged bombings from JCDF air-wings, ensured that the Covenant would not be able to establish a base of operations in the forest. The Battle of the Gervásio forest lasted for four months, long after the city of Cedros was lost. But the continued harassing and disruption of Covenant operations in the region were severely affected, slowing their offensives across the Aelburn province, and delaying their attack on GUARDA Base.
Battle of Emborió
Emborió was the second city to get hit by the Covenant invasion. Within minutes the streets of Emborió turned into a chaotic bloodbath. While many of the city's inhabitants fled, some citizens took up arms, whether it was an assault rifle or a makeshift club of rebar and concrete. The citizens of Emborió defended their city alongside law enforcement and the JCDF. One reported count involved the claim that a human, wearing nothing but a business suit and carrying only a fireaxe, single-handedly took down two Covenant Elites before being shot in the back. This act of heroism was used as a rallying call to other citizens of Jacinto, to fight back against the alien invaders.
Thankfully, this story was a driving factor that led to a massive surge in recruitment for the JCDF, as well as the creation of dozens of civilian militia groups throughout the colony.
Sadly, the city of Emborió was lost, along with the majority of its defenders.
Battle of Vidaes
During the invasion, anti-air defences and air superiority made short work of Covenant dropships and fighters. Almost all offences on the city were successfully repelled by the JCDF. Battle hardened soldiers, and well-placed defences ensured that Vidaes would become a safe haven for refugees and a major forward operating base for military operations in Southern Pharos. The city would remain under human control until the middle of 2552, when the Covenant destroyed the city during the Haven Fields offensive.
Defence of the Orbital Generators
Defending the orbital generators, (ODG J-001, ODG J-002, ODG J-003, ODG J-004, ODG J-005) was both a victory and a defeat for the humans on Jacinto. The battles were the first of many battles that would define the Siege. The fighting for the five generators quickly deteriorated as the days went on. Both sides eventually, after ending in a stalemate began to entrench themselves. The generator's human defenders fought off wave after wave of hordes of Grunts and Jackals. Thanks to the human force in orbit, the Covenant's ground forces were spread thin. Along with taking massive casualties in trying to conquer multiple cities on the planet, the Covenant did not have enough manpower to successfully overwhelm all five orbital generators.
However, the JCDF was only able to defend three out of the five generators, losing ODG-003 and ODG-005 after being forced to have tactical nuclear weapons be detonated to stop the Covenant's near-endless offensives. Despite losing two orbital defence platforms, the remaining three platforms were still active, and would remain a dangerous threat to the Covenant fleet's attempts to assault the colony and reinforce their ground forces.
Battle of Rhodes
Rhodes had always been a difficult city compared to the rest of Jacinto. It wasn't known for having the most prestigious universities and academies, or being the leading trade hub or displaying much military significance. What it had, was crime and corruption, home to dozens of powerful syndicates and cartels all vying to take over the city and wiping out their rivals, and the colony's largest maximum security prison.
When the war came to Rhodes, it was quite a strange site. Criminals, soldiers, militia, and police all stood together, like some ragtag group of amateurs. Their past grievances came to an end, focusing solely on a common enemy. The fighting in the street caught the Covenant forces off guard. Unconventional tactics employed by these gangs were ambushing and slaughtering entire legions Covenant troops, not even Elites and Hunters, some of the strongest Covenant ground troops, would be spared by these attacks. Aided by the more well-equipped military and police forces, humanity had managed to hold the city of Rhodes and push the Covenant back, effectively stalling Covenant operations on the continent of Ibis until the Raid on Corpond.
However, not all criminal organizations and gangs had joined the fight. While Rhodes had been under siege, these criminals managed to assault the Commonwealth Penitentiary, Supermaximum Institution (CPSMAX), and stage a mass breakout of Jacinto's worst criminals. Despite Rhodes being liberated, its best days are well behind them.
Fall of Cedros
The Covenant's final assault on the capital was more coordinated than their initial attack. Before moving on the city, the Covenant identified, and destroyed two hydroelectric power stations south of Cedros that powered two-thirds of the city's power. The resulting flood, destroyed several acres of farmland and even flooded most of the capital's subterranean tunnels to deny routes of escape. Once they had encircled the city, the assault had begun. Artillery pieces targeted the most densely populated zones of the city, and established a no-fly zone, shooting down any human aircraft attempting to escape. On the city's northern edge, JCDF forces managed to dig in, and build trenches and emplacements. To break the JCDF lines, the Covenant sent wave after wave of Grunts, some waves numbering in the thousands. Human forces fought valiantly, but once the ammunition ran out, the trenches were soon overrun. Once the Covenant had access to the city, they sent in thousands of Grunt suicide bombers to destroy as many human air defences as possible. On the other sides of the city, human forces managed to use the buildings as cover, the narrow streets becoming a sea of death for Covenant forces trying to push deeper into the capital. But with JCDF forces overrun to the north, the city would inevitably fall within days.
Evacuation of Whitebank
The failed evacuation of Whitebank will forever be shrouded in controversy, a battle many would rather forget.
On the eve of November 15th, SATCOM relays detected several Covenant dropships inbound for the city of Whitebank. Once notified, police and JCDF forces began a mass-evacuation, as the incoming Covenant forces were far too numerous to fight off. But in the midst of the evacuation, confusion spread, and soon chaos throughout the city. But before the JCDF could regain control of the situation, and calm the crowds, the massacre had begun. Covenant dropships had hovered over the large crowds, raining down a barrage of plasma, and deploying their troops, killing tens of thousands within minutes.
Hearing the screams of city's people, and the pleas of his subordinates to give them orders, the JCDF commanding officer in charge of the evacuation, allegedly broke down. In the panic, a low-ranking officer of the JCDF pulled his sidearm on the commander, demanding to have him arrested. Without hesitation, the commander fired his sidearm at the young officer's head, killing him instantly. He then turned his weapon to the rest of his staff, killing them all. Watching as the city before him burned, he overloaded the city's main reactor, which was intended to be used only when the evacuation was complete. The resulting blast eliminated a vast majority of the Covenant forces, but also took the lives of millions of civilians, the entire JCDF garrison and the commanding officer himself. Only a total of 1,623 civilians from Whitebank's original population of 2,130,000 would survive. Following the war, the evacuation of Whitebank is considered one of the worst mass evacuations in human history. Later, the commanding officer's name, and history would be completely erased from public and private records following the incident, and most of the details of the evacuation classified from the public.
Battle of Herrara
Beginning on November 21st, The defence of Herrara was spearheaded by the newly promoted Herrara-native, Carter Graham following the death of his previous commander during the Fall of Cedros. Despite being evacuated weeks earlier, the Covenant still desired to control the city in order to prevent human forces from accessing the deuterium-rich caverns below the province. Control of the city would allow the Covenant to hijack the nearby human deuterium mines to supply their fleet above.
The opening moments of the battle came with an armored assault punching through the middle of the city to attack the highest concentration of human forces at the Herrara Mall District. Severely underestimating the strength of the human defenders, the Covenant only diverted a brigade-sized force to take the city. However, the 2,500 strong human forces were well entrenched around the Mall District, armed with several anti-armor gauss cannons. The battle throughout the Mall District lasted 9 hours, and while heavily outgunned, the JCDF forces prevailed, only taking 152 casualties during the engagement while the majority of the Covenant force was wiped out. Only a handful of Grunts and Jackals survived, now fleeing throughout the city in fear.
Despite the well needed victory, Graham's forces were later ordered to pull out and abandon the city, as their forces were needed for the coming Whitebank Offensive. Once all human military presence was no longer detected in the city, a much larger Covenant force occupied the city and the mines littered throughout the province. To the dismay and reluctance to abandon his home, Carter Graham would continue to impress and prove himself as a capable leader throughout the remainder of the Siege.
The date of November 29th, 2551 will be forever remembered by Jacintans as the day the tide turned. On that day, the UNSC had officially entered the battle. The UNSC 30th Fleet, supported by the 40th Exploratory Fleet, led by Admiral Geir Gulbrand, exited slipspace just outside of Hyacinth η. Within hours, the UNSC fleets managed to merge into the fray of battle, flanking the Covenant fleet and severely damaging or disabling Covenant capital ships. Entirely preoccupied with engaging the remnants of the defence fleet and orbital defences, they were caught off guard by the arrival of fresh, battle-ready human warships. The speed and reaction of the supporting fleets instilled shock and confusion within Covenant commanders as dozens of MAC rounds impacted and punctured the alien ships from behind, at the same time as Super MAC rounds obliterated several warships from the front. Boxed in, the Covenant fleet was forced to use an in-system slipspace jump to avoid total annihilation. For the next three weeks, the Covenant fleet fled to the Hyacinth asteroid belt to repair and devise a new strategy for eliminating the human reinforcements. Following their victory, the UNSC immediately deployed their forces to the surface to aid the battered and broken Jacintan defenders. Soon the outcome of the Siege seemed to favor Humanity, and hope for Jacinto still remained.
Rescue in Cedros
One of the many first operations undertaken by the UNSC reinforcements was the Spartan incursion]] into Covenant-controlled Cedros to retrieve Governor Markos Ioannidis, who was being held hostage after his Pelican was shot down over the city during the evacuation. Thanks to the swift and precise action of Ruby Team, they successfully evacuated the Governor from the city and had him moved to the UNSC Starcadia to recover from his wounds. But, just before they left the city, the Governor gave the Spartans a warning about the city of Whitebank, which had been reduced to smoldering ruins and nuclear ash fourteen days before. Before the they could make any sense of what he was saying, the Governor fell unconscious.
After their mission, the Spartans were debriefed and had discovered the fate of Whitebank. Additionally, they learned that more than half of the Covenant ground forces on Jacinto had gathered there, in response to being cutoff from their fleet, unearthing something of great value to them. While the Covenant fleet fell back, Admiral Gulbrand took this opportunity to launch an offensive on the Whitebank province, to eliminate the majority of Covenant forces on the planet and discover just what they were searching for.
While the Covenant had established firm footholds throughout Jacinto, the majority of Covenant forces were concentrated in the province of Whitebank. Multiple attempts to push into the province failed, providing little or no information about what the Covenant were doing, or looking for.
Knowing that something peculiar was occurring in Whitebank, UNSC Admiral Geir Gulbrand sent General Leland Soto and promoted him to the position of Supreme Commander of joint UNSC-JCDF forces for the newly established Whitebank Offensive. On December 13th, 2551 UNSC and JCDF forces coordinated a total mobilization effort to completely surround the pronvince of Whitebank. While limited in size, the JCDF 'Wet' Navy also blockaded the province, with ships concentrated off the coast of Whitebank City. Meanwhile on the ground, UNSC and JCDF divisions closed off and entrenched themselves along the border of Whitebank province, while the UNSC Air Force installed a no-fly zone over the province, avoiding areas of high Covenant concentration.
For the first two weeks, humanity sat waiting for the coming counter-offensive, their positions were heavily fortified, massive bunkers equipped with intimidating amounts of heavy machine gun and anti-tank emplacements waited for the onslaught of Grunts and Wraiths; but it never came. With the fear of a Covenant counter-attack alleviated, the human forces slowly pushed into Whitebank, recapturing abandoned towns and villages. Many airborne incursions into Whitebank ended in failure, with UNSC Longswords being shot down at an alarming rate. The Covenant were just as entrenched, possibly even more than the humans were, as the Covenant anti-air screen was too strong to break through. Eventually, General Soto began the offensive, the anti-air emplacements must be destroyed before they can assault the city of Whitebank to eliminate the Covenant excavation effort.
The First Wave
On the eve of the New Year, December 31st, 2551, UNSC air wings began bombarding Covenant positions throughout Whitebank. Under the cover of night, and with the air force keeping Covenant aerial units busy, joint UNSC-JCDF ground forces pushed into the province, with artillery emplacements unleashing waves of bombardments of remaining Covenant positions throughout Whitebank. Human emplacements attempted to bombard the city of Whitebank, but the urban environment and an unconfirmed anomaly greatly decreased the effectiveness of the bombings. Naval reconnaissance later confirmed the existence of a small energy shield covering a portion of the city, likely the excavation area.
By 9:00 AM, the humans managed to push 115 kilometers to the north, and 56 kilometers east. Human ground units faced very little opposition, but encountered dozens of Covenant lances without their Sangheili commanders. The uncoordinated Grunts and Jackals proved easy enough, but their missing commanders remained a question. Human command waved it off as their commanders being killed during the initial bombardment of the province. The truth however, was hiding just beneath them.
As the humans pushed further and further into the province, they began encountering less and less Covenant lances. Then, seemingly all at once over the radio, the frontline erupted in erratic chaos. Divisions all across the line began broadcasting about a yet unencountered form of Covenant attacking them. These divisions were attacked by a form of feral Lekgolo, the Rhulolekgolo. Similar to thethat would be encountered several years later on the , the Rhulolekgolo could coalesce together like a giant worm and devastate entire human divisions, and they did. The chaos on the line only became worse as legions of Elites, Grunts and Jackals charged the already engaged human divisions. Within minutes, the line fractured, with thousands of humans dead or dying. The surprise attack caught human command off guard, the use of feral Rhulolekgolo nearly destroyed the entire offensive. Unengaged divisions were ordered to retreat 10 km away from where Rhulolekgolo swarms were encountered. General Soto advised any survivors from the Rhulolekgolo to seek cover or retreat as well.
Soto called in Longswords and Shortsword bombers to firebomb every location the feral Lekgolo were found. Soon, half the province of Whitebank was in flames. The shrieks of billions of Lekgolo worms could be heard for miles. Next, Hellbringer brigades destroyed any remaining hives, and then retreated back to the frontline.
|Hellbringers were extremely effective in eliminating Rhulolekgolo swarms.|
The surprise attack threw off the entire plan, humanity had taken too many casualties, and the horror of a Rhulolekgolo swarm proved too much to handle for some men. In less than an hour, 9,447 men and women were dead or missing, with another 13,000 wounded. The offensive was halted, the humans fortified their lines again, this time implanting seismic scanners to detect anomalies, obviously for tunneling Rhulolekgolo colonies. The continuation of the Whitebank Offensive would have to wait for the arrival of the UNSC 13th Field Army and 88th ODST Division.
On January 8th, 2552, the humans had regained the manpower to restart the offensive, this time, Spartan Ruby Team was attached to the 244th Marine Division. The 244th pushed from the west, their objective to destroy the western-most Covenant anti-air emplacement. Destroying it would allow the JCDF 'Wet' Navy carriers to deploy theirBut the 244th faced a major obstacle, in the dead of winter, the wide Columbria river stood in their way. The river was coated in a thin layer of ice, which would prove impossible to move the division's Scorpion tanks and Warthog FAVs. Even worse, a highly skilled Sangheili commander, Ulse 'Janam anticipated the human's attack and fortified the eastern side of the river, which a vanguard of deadly Sangheili swordsmen supported by Wraiths on both sides of the river. The bridge connecting the sides of the river was destroyed, making crossing it a highly dangerous task for the 244th.
Nevertheless, the 244th engaged the Covenant vanguard on the west side of the Columbria. Human losses were moderate, but taking down the Sangheili swordsmen proved a difficult task, they charged human lines under the cover of artillery fire. They managed to kill twenty-seven humans and destroy a single tank before the vanguard was eliminated. Despite securing the western side, the 244th still came under heavy bombardment from multiple Covenant Wraiths and other artillery pieces. Air support proved too risky as the anti-air was too close to provide suitable air cover. For hours the humans were rained down with a barrage of plasma artillery before the commander of the 244th managed to find a crossing to the south. Division recon discovered a ford with an ice layer thick enough to to support a crossing of Scorpions. The morning, under the cover of a river mist and fog, Ruby Team and a armored detachment broke off and moved south. Within an hour, the detachment crossed the river and moved back north.
Receiving the signal that they had crossed, the 244th attacked first, firing a barrage of Scorpion, Gauss and artillery shells at the Covenant positions to little effectiveness. With the Covenant distracted, the 244th was able to send more detachments to to reinforce Ruby and the armored brigade. Catching the Covenant by surprised, the Spartans and Scorpions cut through the Covenant positions. Dozens of vehicles and hundreds of Covenant were killed before they knew what was happening. Before they could pull together a counterattack, the human reinforcements arrived, effectively cutting them off and surrounding them. Taking heavy casualties, Field Master 'Janam retreated back to the anti-air fortress, pulling together the remainder of his forces to defend the guns.
|Destroying the four Type-38 Tyrant emplacements across the Whitebank province was crucial to the success of the Whitebank Offensive.|
The humans on the eastern side dug in around the Covenant positions, capturing vehicles and weaponry to be put to use later. There, they waited for two hours as the rest of the division crossed the river. Another brigade was detached to repair the bridge to allow rear guard and resupply forces to cross. Once the division had crossed, they moved on the Tyrants immediately. Completely surrounded, the Covenant garrison dwindled down rapidly, a mix of human and Covenant weaponry decimated their positions, along with destroying two of three of the Tyrants. Knowing the final Tyrant was about to be destroyed, Ulse 'Janam took manual control of the weapon, and shifted the cannon down toward the 244th. A single blast dealt a significant loss for the 244th division, wiping out two Armored battalions. The commander considered retreating but Ruby Team infiltrated the complex and killed Field Master 'Janam. The Tyrant was destroyed afterward, and the 244th awaited their new orders. During the fight, Spartan Rebekah-015 took plasma bolt directly to her head. Luckily her helmet absorbed most of the plasma and was quickly removed. However the blast was strong enough to inflict third degree burns on her face, leaving her unconscious. Following the battle, Rebekah was evacuated via Pelican and rushed to the UNSC Starcadia, should would remain there for the duration of the Winter Offensive. Meanwhile, Spartans Hannes-124 and Colin-099 would remain on the frontline assisting the push for the city of Whitebank.
Breaking the Covenant
Following the destruction of the Covenant fort near the Columbria river, humanity made considerable gains over the course of two weeks, liberating towns and moving ever so closer to Whitebank, as well as destroying the Covenant's anti-aircraft screen. But the worst was only just beginning, as the harsh Jacintan winter began to settle across the continent, the Covenant consolidated the rest of the armies and regrouped them to defend the city at all costs. The harshest battle of the Whitebank Offensive was set to begin.
Despite Ruby Team being considerably weakened, the Spartans were called up once again to assist the offensive which had begun to stall. As they neared the city, Covenant troops began fighting harder than ever, determined to slow the human advance and prevent them from reaching the city. For every one Sangheili, twenty human soldiers were killed, with casualties higher than they could replenish, the push for Whitebank was delayed. The siege of the city began, artillery and bombers attacked the city day and night, but a push to take the city by force will have to come sooner rather than later, and with Admiral Gulbrand demanding the city being retaken by March, General Soto was running out of time.
|With the Covenant anti-aircraft emplacements destroyed, the UNSC and JCDF relentlessly bombarded the city for hours, stopping a total of two times during the entire bombardment period.|
On January 29th, Hannes and Colin were ordered to strike at the heart of the enemy, Whitebank itself to open up a pathway for the main assault on the city. Deployment via HALO jump put them behind lines and deep into the city. Together with a squad of ODSTs, they sabotaged Covenant gun emplacements and annihilated a Legion near the outskirts of the city, where the UNSC 14th Armored Division and the JCDF 56th Infantry Divisions would enter the city. Forming a sort of beachhead, human forces entered the city from the east. Meanwhile, UNSC Marines utilized the JCDF Navy off the coast and launched a simultaneous amphibious landing near the Covenant shield on the western side of the city. Once the assault began and contact had been made, the UNSC Trenton deployed the 88th and 97th ODST divisions across the city. Despite a few minor setbacks, the ODST divisions quickly regrouped and captured several key locations throughout the city, allowing the bulk of human forces to enter the city with relatively little resistance.
The Covenant had anticipated the attack and responded once the initial shock had worn off. With the support of many armored vehicles and two Scarabs, the Covenant pushed back against the humans. The Scarabs were used for their excavation project located within the shield, and their emergence from the shield into the city caught the UNSC off guard. As one Scarab advanced through the city, the other attacked the Marines on the beaches of Whitebank. The Scarab had wiped out half a division before it was disabled by close air support and a coastal bombardment.
Hannes, noticing that the Scarab was still active, believed it could be captured and used to eliminate the last Scarab and destroy the shield generator. Acquiring an abandoned Warthog and a civilian vehicle, Ruby Team and the ODSTs rendezvoused with the Marines and boarded the Scarab. With most of the command crew dead, cleaning up the stragglers proved to be an easy task. Unfamiliar with the Scarab, it took the Spartans nearly half an hour to get it back on its feet, and another fifteen minutes to learn how to control it. During that time, the other Scarab was ravaging human forces, casualties began to reach a breaking point. As General Soto prepared to order a total retreat from the city, Hannes and Colin positioned their Scarab behind the other, and fired a blast near its control center. A lucky shot caused a chain reaction and destroyed the Scarab, wiping out an entire city block from the resulting explosion. As the Covenant retreated back into the temporary safety of the shield, the UNSC and JCDF regrouped and reassessed their strength to prepare for the final assault.
Ghosts of Whitebank
- "It's starting to snow."
- "Is it really snow, or just the ashes of who we failed to protect?"
Despite human units moving throughout the city, picking off any remaining stragglers that hadn't retreated behind the shield, a peaceful aura began to envelop the city. A system of ocean-effect snow formed off the coast and moved into the province. In some areas of the city, gunfire and plasma rang through the streets, cries of anger, sadness, and triumph echoed off skyscrapers and into the air. In other areas, a peaceful silence. A reminder of a time without war, without fear and suffering. Many human patrols soon became unsettled as the blizzard increased in intensity, reports of ghosts began to emerge. Months earlier, the failed evacuation of the city's people caused the city's central reactor to explode, killing many on both sides and forming a small crater on the southern edge of the city, sightings in that area of the were far more common. Many claimed that figures of the former inhabitants would appear, outlined by the falling snow. Despite commanding officers dismissing them as hallucinations, the reports can from many patrols who had no prior contact with one another, even capturing perceived 'proof' with helmetcam footage. For many years to come, the 'Ghosts of Whitebank' began to haunt the city, its legend spreading as far as Sanghelios.
|As humanity and the Covenant struggled for control over Whitebank, the largest snowstorm in the city's history occurred. A blanket of snow covered every corner of the city, leading to it being nicknamed, "The City of Ghosts".|
Even with most of the city under human control, the final assault to eliminate the shield and the Covenant excavation project remained. A final push to bring an end to two months of near constant fighting. On February 1st, the final attack began. As the captured Scarab and several Armored and Mechanized divisions advanced toward the shield, a Covenant counter-offensive emerged. A desperate last effort to prevent humanity from uncovering their secret project. General Soto feared they would destroy whatever they were looking for, that is if they even found anything. As armored units from both sides attacked each other, Infantry and Marine divisions pressed forward, reaching the outer edge of the shield. The Scarab, fired its main cannon at the shield. At first, the shield held, absorbing the Scarab's beam, but after a few minutes it began to overload. The shield shimmered from a bright pinkish to purple, orange, and then red. The a mini-explosion destroyed the shield as the generator couldn't withstand the overload, detonating around hundreds of Covenant units. Infantry and armored vehicles rushed into the excavation grounds, firing at everything that was alien.
It was a massacre. What little defences the Covenant had left, couldn't off an onslaught of human fire. Ruby Team joined in on the assault, disembarking the Scarab. With the Spartans, a massacre became an extermination. Covenant were cut down before they could even see what they were shooting at. The Spartans moved so fast with deadly efficiency that not even their UNSC/JCDF allies could keep track of their movements. To prevent a friendly fire situation, UNSC and JCDF forces ceased fire, watching as two Spartans annihilated an entire army of Covenant. One would expect a uproar of cheers as they watched the Spartans do their work, but the line remained silent. Justice for billions of lives lost to this war were being witnessed. For a moment two Spartans embodied the collective vengeance of humanity.
The emotional sightdidn't last though, as what remained of the Covenant army, mostly which had been Sangheili and the commanding officers, fled into the caverns they had been digging, firing in nearly every direction. At the center, held a massive hub full of abandoned Locusts who had been excavating large, wide tunnels that split into a forked shape. Two of the four tunnels ended abruptly, with the remaining two going on for two to three miles before a steep drop in the third. Hannes and Colin volunteered to explore the third tunnel, to discover what the Covenant found. With their request granted, Ruby Team commandeered a Locust to assist their expedition, while the UNSC and JCDF would clean up the battlefield, attempting to learn anything of value that would help answer so many questions. As snow continued to fall on the city, Whitebank was finally liberated, and justice for the lost had been achieved.