|This article, The Fall of Sera, was written by Major Rawne 001. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
|The Fall of Sera|
Covenant Victory, Colony Glassed
The Fall of Sera was the 17 day invasion and glassing of the Human Inner Colony world of Sera. It saw a large scale Covenant Fleet assault the relatively defenseless planet as no orbital assets were in system. The densely populated world of 300,000,000 located near the edge of the inner colonies saw its fleet assets taken away to build up the system fleet to protect other more valuable worlds. The defense and evacuations were set entirely on the UNSC Army and Marine ground forces who fought to the very end despite overwhelming odds.
A Planet of War
Sera is an Inner colony established early on in humanities expansion into the stars. The Ocean world was found to be temperate and ideal for human colonization on its few but massive continents surrounding the two oceans. The large planet with 26 hour days and circled by twin moons quickly grew into a hub of activity. Metropolis' and large manufacturing cities with sparse suburbs and farmland spread all across the continents. While the CMA was the central government there were several independent nations that controlled different parts of the continents. It was not long that inter-national wars broke out. As the wars raged, the government focused efforts on improving their military. Funds were spent to construct forts and military installations on the surface. Defense from the stars was never a thought. These international wars raged on and off until the arrival of the covenant in 2525.
When news of Harvest fell, the forces of Sera called a ceasefire and raised and trained their military forces in preparation for the coming war. UNSC officials informed the world leaders that the UNSC would be drafting units from the planets defense forces to bolster frontline units. When the outer colonies fell, the inner colonies defenses were bolstered. A naval fleet was positioned in orbit for some time, however as the Covenant fleets advanced further and further into the Inner colonies, this fleet was once more redeployed to bolster a fleet elsewhere. It was only two months later that the Covenant found Sera.
Landfall Day Zero
On August 29th, the Covenant Fleet of Just Annihilation entered high orbit of Sera. The fleet arrived unopposed and unannounced and wasted no time in prosecuting the extermination of the humans on Sera. Under the command of Field Marshall Uzil Raamee the Covenant entered in atmosphere and launched numerous simultaneous attacks on the cities of the world. The Field Marshall informed his sub commanders that the fleet's oracles detected numerous forerunner relics hidden on the planet. The orders for the covenant was to clear out the human cities, search for the relics, then burn the city to glass when they were finished. Raamee divided his fleet of 160 ships up across the entire planet and began the assault. While scans of the planet came back from the picket ships Raamee picked his targets. The scans indicated numerous areas of potential relics along the southern portion of the main continent. Raamee selected these areas for immediate attack while he personally assaulted a major city with a large UNSC garrisoned within. As the fleet separated and ships entered orbit over their targets, they launched their first waves. Hundreds of infantry lances deployed via drop pods simultaneously striking several cities. As the ships moved lower in atmosphere, they were followed by secondary waves of phantoms and spirit drop ships deploying heavy units and armor while aerial attack craft joined in.
Jannermont- The UNSC had no warning of the covenant assault on their planet. The citizens sleeping in the first cities to be invaded were woken up to the impact of Covenant drop pods smashing into the streets, gardens and homes. In the southern city of Jannermont the Covenant invasion landed during the morning commute. The streets were packed with civilians heading to work in the heavy industrial sector of the city while others drove or took public transit ways to offices in the down town. The usual morning sunrise was accompanied by hundreds of burning meteors. People stood in confusion and shock as the sounds of explosive impacts landed all over the city. The shock turned to horror as pods slammed amidst crowds of people and cars backed up on high ways killing hundreds. This was nothing compared to the horror and bloodshed that occurred when the Covenant forces led by their Elite vanguards emerged and murdered all in their sights. While pods landed all over the city, Raamee led a vanguard straight into the UNSC military base stationed within Jannermont. The army troops there had just returned from an overnight training march and were in the middle of stripping down and turning in their weapons when the Covenant landed in their base. Raamee had planned on using the element of surprise to cause the most amount of damage and mayhem possible. It took the military base 15 minutes to begin to establish a coordinated defense and 15% of the bases occupants were already slaughtered. The soldiers stationed there fought for 30 minutes to get access to the primary armory and equip their men, it took another half hour for them to repel the covenant from within their walls.
Raamee had succeeded in causing city wide panic; and while the city of Jannermont burned beyond the bases walls, the second wave of heavy vehicles and reinforcements was already landing. Raamee fled the base to begin the overtaking of the city. While the civilians were already running in mass panic, most tried to flee however no one knew where to run, and the covenant had already strategically cut off most of the main throughways. Local police forces did their best to direct and protect the noncombatants running for their lives but they were no match for the covenant. The surviving army units in the base launched a rapid counter attack to try and break through the covenant positions to allow evacuation. The UNSC fought valiantly for 24 hours before the city was completely taken by the covenant and 100,000 of it's residents were dead.
Mattino- Like Jannermont, the coastal city of Mattino was attacked by a massed force of covenant arriving via drop pods. The police and mayor of the city issued an immediate lock in place order while the company of UNSC army troops from the 25th Sherrith Calvary deployed to counter the covenant attack. Mounted in Scorpion battle tanks, cobras and warthogs, they were able to use the open streets to full effect to fight off the covenant invasion without the concern of civilians being caught in the crossfire. The tank company made excellent progress against the covenant, pushing them back wherever they fought, however the aliens were able to flank around the heavy armor units and overwhelm them from cover until banshee air support and armor reinforcements arrived to eliminate the defenders and exterminate any citizens found. The covenant forces then moved on to regroup with other assault forces leaving the burning city to be glassed later by their vessel.
Port Ogari- The Coastal port city was a major hub of fuel transportation and oil drilling. a half mile off the coast were dozen of ocean oil rigs. Despite the importance of this trade, the city was lightly defended. Home to a UNSC Navy's maritime destroyer and home to 80 marines set to guard the docks and single war vessel. When the covenant drop pods smashed into the residential sectors outside the docks, the only defenders were the local police forces. The marine defenders mobilized to help secure evacuation routes, however their main support, the UNSC destroyer was out at sea patrolling the coast. When reports of the covenant attack reached the destroyer, the vessel turned around and rushed to the port to assist in the defense. The ship was fifteen minutes away from shore when a pair of SDV corvettes appeared through the clouds over the ocean coast. A massive lightning storm signaling their arrival. The two covenant space craft opened fire on the destroyer and the oil rig platforms turning the ocean coast into an inferno of burning fuel and bodies. The city and its inhabitants would meet a similar fate soon as no one survived the covenant assault.
Mercy- Mercy was a small fuel pumping town of 5,000 built into a cliff face. Unlike the other cities, it was one of the first to be attacked directly by forces from Covenant ships passing nearby. Phantoms and Spirit dropships landed kill teams in the town while banshees began bombing runs. The town, on the very edge of land controlled by any major city and mostly isolated had some bomb shelters built during the insurrection years of war however the only armed presence was local militias numbering 200. The townsfolk had seen the covenant ships approaching and as such had already begun evacuations. While the militia and other volunteers from the town armed themselves, women, children and elderly were herded into the few bomb shelters. As the covenant ships landed the militia fought as best they could to buy time for their families to hide and escape. Despite their weaponry the militia was swiftly overran by the elite kill teams of the covenant. None of the shelters were meant to hold the entire populace. Never the less the townsfolk jammed as many in as they could, sealing some unfortunates outside the reinforced doors. Their screams, pleas and pounding fists echoing through the packed bunkers until they were silenced by the covenant or forced to run and hide. The towns people had hoped that by hiding in the bunkers, the covenant would lose interest, if they couldn't be seen, why would the covenant make an effort to search for them in their tiny town. To their horror they were wrong as the reinforced blast doors were ripped from their hinges by Hunters or blown open from plasma mortars of deployed wraiths. The entire population was massacred. With their duty done, the covenant left Mercy nothing more than a ghost town. The evidence of their bloody deeds would be found some time later when stranded survivors reoccupied the town. The bodies of slain families still in the bunkers meant to protect them, now turned into mass graves.
Nordesca- As the covenant's assault reached into it's third hour, the UNSC was still reeling from the hammer blow attacks. News studios were getting unconfirmed reports from refugees fleeing the burning cities that were their homes. With no footage the reports were limited to radio news only and no one from the UNSC or ONI would speak with the news stations. This lack of knowledge started a mass panic across the planet as cities watched and waited to see if they were next. Many people began to flee the cities. Many of the cities police forces tried to keep the populace calm and in the population centers should they need to evacuate. The city of Nordesca was one such city caught up in the panic of uncertainty just as covenant dropships flew over the city.
As banshees strafed the streets and phantoms deployed ground troops amid the crowded streets, Covenant armor was closing in from the city outskirts. As refugees fled, ghost hunter squadron patrolled the outskirts gunning any down. The UNSC defenders stationed in the city were already deployed to help control the crowds. While the few forces there rallied around the city center and along the major roadways. While the troopers and police officers fought defiantly till the end, it was ultimately futile and the entire city was left with no survivors.
Hanover- The Southern city of Hanover was a staple in Sera's culture. It was home to the planet's only Gravball stadium. However on the early morning of the Covenant's arrival, the citizen were not gathered around listening to an intense gravball game, but rather to doom filled radio reports of covenant ship sightings, and cities going silent. The earliest reports were on the attack of Jannermont. Soon enough, the air raid sirens they heard over the radio were being issued outside their own homes. Covenant craft had entered orbit high over the city and launched a wave of drop pods. What people did not realize was that the air raid sirens were a full ten minutes too late. The sirens had began as Covenant phantom and Spirit drop ships, escorted by seraph and banshee fighters appeared out of the clouds. As the mass evacuation began, the company of army troops garrisoned in the city along with the police force, had been scrambling to protect escape routes from the covenant attackers. Meanwhile as people left their homes, many entered their streets only to run into squads of covenant already pushing through the habitation districts. As the gravity of the situation became more clear to the city officials, they ordered everyone to either flee through the outside of the city borders if able, otherwise make their way to the gravball stadium. The refugees were told drop ships would arrive there and evacuate them to another location. While the company of army troops fought hard and valiantly, even splitting up into four and five man fireteams in order to cover the most ground possible. The arrival of covenant armor and the sheer numbers of the aliens were too many for most. Those citizens that made it to the gravball stadium sat in fear as the last forty troops fought a last stand against the covenant assault. The citizens only realized the evacuation pelicans would arrive too late, if they were going to arrive ever and the stadium became a mass grave when the covenant forces entered the field. Plasma mortar fire from wraiths collapsed the armored roof on top of the field killing thousands while covenant ground forces murdered any humans that tried to flee. No survivor of Hanover ever made it to other UNSC cities, any that did escape likely became stranded members living in the wild.
The Sixth Hour
As the first battles for Sera were reaching it's sixth hour, news reports on the attacks starter circling through the UNSC news broadcasts plane-side. The reports were almost entirely over the radio as no footage of the covenant attacks were found. With the element of surprise gone, the second phase of attacks on the planet began. Unbeknown to the citizens of Sera, the military was starting to be deployed. While UNSC HighCOM still had no clear plan to counter attack the covenant, all troops planet side were put on standby order. Soldiers across the planet prepared their kits and to be deployed in a moments notice. The soldiers were told they would not know their mission until they were on the ground. It was during this critical time of panic that things became worse for the UNSC. As luck would have it, three cities became under attack by the covenant attack. Keeping with their mission to search for relics, the southern islands suddenly became the target of the Covenant's attention.
Autrin- A small island city located in the southern island rings not far from the populated island of Kaia. The city as attacked as a trio of covenant ships approached the islands low over the ocean. Citizens watched in horror as a pair of CRS class light cruisers escorted a Reverence class heavy cruiser. As the ships came in range, swarms of drop ships disgorged from the hangers and made their way across the sea water to the waiting human city. Alarms began to fill the air and the evacuations began. City police set up evac routes to local harbors where ships and ferries would take those who made it off the island. The cities military force, while limited to 96 soldiers deployed to the streets. The orders they received were simple, delay the enemy. With such small numbers against a vastly larger force, the squads split into four man fire teams to cover more ground. The company commander put in a request for reinforcements, warning HighCOM of the attack in the isles. While the captain was informed his request would be passed along, with the planet wide strikes, they could not inform him when help would arrive.
The defenders fought valiantly for over twenty hours, fighting for every inch of ground they were forced to give up. While several fire teams were sent to defend the evacuation docks, others held street corners, intersections and places of refuge. The lines of civilians were harassed the entire way. Coming under direct attack from passing drop ships, banshee attack runs and plasma mortar barrages. Ultimately, while some of the evacuation boats made it to sea, very few made it past the sight of the burning city that was once home before covenant aircraft sank the escape ships.
Jasper- Another island city in the same cluster of southern islands around Kaia, the small city was spared no less than anywhere else on the planet as a pair of SDV Heavy corvettes took position over the city. While city evacuations began and like Autrin, the garrison of soldiers took to the streets; Covenant drop pods rained down from the bellies of the corvettes as Phantom and Spirit drop ships escorted by banshees filled the air carrying down the covenant heavy armor and infantry. The covenant leader opened his attack by launching a salvo of plasma ordinance to clear out a portion along the beach front. It was in this scorched wreckage that the covenant landing zone and staging areas was set up. While squads of covenant had deployed in the middle of the city to cause chaos, and supported by other outrider units keeping them connected to the landing zone, the pair of corvettes turned their heavy plasma guns on the structures and docks around the city edge and center. Under the protective bombardment of their ships, the covenant forces were able to land unmolested and made quick advancements into the city, clearing out the blasted remains.
Like on Autrin the UNSC company commander sent a desperate request for help to HighCOM. HighCOM gave the commander the same answer as they were giving all the requests for help. "We will get you support as soon as we are able." Understanding he was on his own, the company commander made a desperate effort to counter assault the covenant landing site, knowing full well while it was the strongest point of resistance he'd have to face on the island. It was also the best bet to buy the time they all desperately needed to get off the island. While a limited selection of squads were set to maintain protection of the evacuees, the rest of the company loaded up with heavy weapons and attempted to launch a counter attack. Supported by a handful of warthogs, the soldiers pushed through the streets, past Covenant kill teams and made their way to the covenant controlled beachhead. The Captain made two attempts at breaking the covenant foothold before he suffered 96% casualties of his attack force. The captain and a fireteam of volunteers held the covenant counter attack back as long as they could in order to let the remaining troops escape back into the city and try their best to survive and help with the evac. By the sixteenth hour of the day, Jasper was a burning wasteland filled with the bodies of it's inhabitants and defenders.
The Battle for Halvo Bay
Since before the insurrection war began on Sera, Halvo Bay was known as the wealthiest city on the entire planet. Home to the elite of the world the city had its roots based on the military. The coastal city, while home to rich architectural structures, grand markets and grandiose shops and parkways, was a military base at heart. Dominating much of the city coastline was Endeavor Port, a civilian waterway for seafaring ships as well as a UNSC Navy Maritime Ship base. Home to three of the UNSC's aircraft carriers and protected by the 26th Marine division the Onyx Guard. The city was also home to the off shore science and military missile launch facility of Onyx Point. Within the heart of the city, and the city's source of pride, was the esteemed military officer and Army Commando training center simple known as The Academy. It was here that rising officers and those prestigious individuals went to join the ranks of UNSC High Command, or the special Army Commando Division.
When the military forces at Halvo Bay went on full alert around the third hour of the invasion, the Navy and Marines were already deploying. Detachments and companies of the Onyx Guard were sent to major government locations to protect it's servants as well as boarded the Navy's vessels and carriers. While normally only two platoons would be stationed on a carrier, due to the invasion protocol this number was raised to a full company. This allowed rapid deployment via pelican to almost anywhere on the planet within hours. These units were fully supported by warthogs and scorpion main battle tanks to compliment the elite riflemen of the UNSC marines. It was because of the battle readiness of the UNSC military at Halvo Bay, that turned what the Covenant had thought to be another massacre, into the first large scale battle of the invasion.
The Covenant commander General K'arnee had know from the orbital recon that there was a strong military presence at Halvo Bay. The ship's luminaries had also shown numerous artifacts being held within the city. Most were isolated in the military museum. With such a great prize waiting to be claimed, K'arnee, already known as a brutal commander struck the city with the full might of the covenant. Commanding the entire southern theatre of battle from his personal assault carrier, K'arnee ordered the first wave of ships against the city.
As the UNSC's Navy maritime fleet was leaving the bay to go and support Jannermont with reinforcement, the fleet were the first to encounter the covenant ships emerging from the thick Cumulonimbus clouds that formed a wall of white just beyond the bay. The seamen watched in surprise as a massive RCS class cruiser escorted by a pair of SDV corvettes and CRS class light cruisers appeared and immediately fired on the fleet. The fleet command was stunned to silence as multiple vessels blew apart as plasma torpedoes and lasers slammed into their hulls. Twenty five percent of the fleet was sunk or out of commission when the general alarms klaxons rang across the seas and anti air guns and heavy cannons began firing up at the covenant ships hovering five hundred meters above the sea. Missile launches were locked onto targets while covenant banshee, seraphs and gunboats filled the sky diving down on the UNSC ships. The carrier vessel scrambled to deploy F-99 Wombat Fighter drones while sending a warning to Halvo Bay of the covenant's attack. The citizens of Halvo bay were able to look out across the beaches and watch the battle unfold. The Yellow tracers and black cloud bursts of AA fire mixed with white missile contrails against the blue and purple star bursts of plasma fire streaming back and forth from ocean to sky. Those watching it said it looked like they were fighting against gods of the sky themselves. The air was filled with the distant thundercracks before the evacuation sirens filled the streets of Halvo Bay.
The Naval base and Marine base went to full battle readiness and the marines ground troops took to the streets to secure evac routes while AA defense guns and missiles were loaded and trained on the sky. The two sea carriers began to leave port with their escorts and prepared their flights of Wombat fighters while the naval airbase readied longsword and short sword fighters. Despite the warning the fleet sent back to command, the Covenant fleet was only delayed fifteen minutes before the last UNSC ship was sunk. Leaving the sea filled with burning wrecks of ships and swaths of lifeboats stuck out at sea. With the first defenses broken, the ships moved on the city.
The fleet moved into attack position over Endeavor Port, the UNSC Navy base and began bombarding it and the city indiscriminately from the plasma batteries on the ships. UNSC point defenses returned fire filling the air with AA fire, and rockets as Covenant banshees and dropships swarmed over the edges of the city and landed ground troops in the midst of combat. As the first wave of dropships fought their way through the AA fire and landed amongst the UNSC defenders, the plasma artillery fire shifted from the UNSC base structures and began targeting the maritime naval vessels still in port. While seraph fighters, banshee attack craft and Phantom gunboats filled the air, UNSC longswords and short swords were launched from the nearby airport before being targeted by the Covenant artillery destroying the airfield and several hangers. Even the Navy aircraft carrier in port was able to launch a couple of waves of F99 Wombat fighters before one of the CRS class light cruisers split the deck of the ship in two with it's plasma beam emitters.
As the defenses of the UNSC fleet began to fail as more and more ships were sunk or set afire, such as the second carrier still docked in port. It's deck was set ablaze from stem to stern as the fueling depot that was refilling the ship set fire from plasma torpedoes and spread to the ship. As the covenant attack continued and the second wave of transports and drop pods landed all over the naval base, the port and entire bay was filled with thick black smoke from the burning buildings, the smoldering wreckages of ships and the raging infernos of ignited oil spills.
Within the base, the marines of the Onyx Guard deployed squad by squad and fought their best to fight off the covenant as they disembarked from their drop ships. But the Covenant remained too unpredictable and landed almost randomly around the base. Making matters worse, many of the phantoms carried heavy army with the first wave of infantry. Squadrons of Ghosts attack craft, revenant light artillery vehicles and wraith heavy tanks were deployed all across the base.