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The Battle of Ven III was a brief but large-scale battle between the UNSC and the Kig-Yar pirate kingdom. The battle began as a covert operation on behalf of the UNSC but soon escalated into a full-scale conflict.
- “We haven't encountered a bioweapon of this particular nature... Contain this situation before it becomes a full-blown crisis.”
In December of 2557 the Office of Naval Intelligence sent a report to UNSC High Command advising immediate military intervention as several Kig-Yar pirate dens had emerged along the edges of UNSC-held space, particularly on the arid planet of Ven III. After several more months of inaction from HIGHCOM, CINCONI Admiral Osman hired a Sangheili mercenary named Ayit 'Sevi to stage an attack on an Kig-Yar lab on the planet, making it seem as if there had been a viral bioweapon test in the lab. ONI recorded the mercenary via a small UAV, and on May 9, 2558 Admiral Osman briefed Captain Lasky of UNSC Infinity. It was Osman's hope that Infinity could appear to accidentally stumble across the Kig-Yar pirate den if deployed to Ven III under false pretenses.
On May 9, 2558, Captain Lasky deployed two SPARTAN-IVs; SPARTANs Ray and Thorne to Ven III's surface in an attempt to inconspicuously locate and destroy the bio-weapon laboratory and apprehend Ayit 'Sevi while UNSC Infinity kept track of the SPARTANs' position via a small UAV. Thorne and Ray soon found that there were far more Kig-Yar units active on the surface than intel had led them to believe, but these small isolated Kig-Yar proved to be no threat and were quickly dispatched by the two SPARTANs. Ayit 'Sevi was tracking their moves from a distance however, and he successfully disabled the surveillance UAV, thereby rendering Infinity blind. After three hours of careful navigation, SPARTAN Thorne determined the location of the bio-lab and the small team entered the narrow slot canyon which was the only means of reaching the facility. Upon breaching and clearing the facility, the team found it to be a trap as several teams of Kig-Yar led by 'Sevi open-fired on the enclosed and cornered SPARTANs. The Kig-Yar themselves fell easily once engaged in close-quarters combat, but the mercenary managed to incapacitate Thorne with an unidentified stun grenade and escape with the unconscious SPARTAN using a Ghost. Ray finished off her own attackers in time to see the mercenary disappear into a large, dark tunnel in the surrounding rock.
- “Not sure where we got our intel for this op, Captain, but it's dead wrong... A couple hundred Jackals down here? Try a couple hundred thousand. I just walked into the biggest pirate's nest in the galaxy.”
SPARTAN Ray pursued Ayit 'Sevi's Ghost into the tunnel, traveling on foot deep into the heart of the desert mountains. After several hours of following the same dark passageway, Ray emerged within a deep caldera to find an enormous underground city populated by the Kig-Yar pirate kingdom which had been targeted by ONI several months before. As she emerged beneath the open top of the caldera, Ray's COM unit was once again able to reach UNSC Infinity. As she was alerting Captain Lasky and SPARTAN Commander Palmer to her discovery, Ray was attacked by a Kig-Yar sentry and momentarily lost contact with Infinity. Believing both SPARTAN assets to be lost in the field, Lasky ordered the immediate mobilization of every SPARTAN team on Infinity and scrambled a bomber wing. Ray eventually defeated her attacker and regained contact with the vessel, but Infinity was already en route. Ray radioed Roland her coordinates and then set about finding a way into the city. Using a discarded and malfunctioning Spectre, she was able to make her way to the largest structure in the city - the palace of the Kig-Yar queen - where she found both Ayit 'Sevi and SPARTAN Thorne.
The Pirate QueenEdit
- “What should concern you is the SPARTAN you just bought... I captured him on the surface of your planet. His masters must know he's missing by now, and I guarantee you they'll be arriving shortly to punish whoever's responsible...”
While SPARTAN Ray pursued him through the subterranean tunnels, Ayit 'Sevi had arrived at the palace of the Kig-Yar pirate queen with SPARTAN Thorne in tow. After hiding Thorne's unconscious body, 'Sevi sought an audience with the queen, offering to sell the SPARTAN in exchange for a large sum of money and safe passage from Ven III. As a sign of good faith, 'Sevi offered the queen Thorne's still-functioning helmet and informed her that the UNSC would likely be on its way to retrieve the SPARTAN shortly. The queen accepted 'Sevi's proposal and the mercenary departed to hand over SPARTAN Thorne. Upon his departure, one of the queen's advisors approached her and pointed out the lucrative and fortified nature of the Kig-Yar pirate den, suggesting that it would be best for the pirates to hand Thorne back to the UNSC in exchange for immunity from punitive human attacks. Assured of the might of the pirate fleet, the queen ordered the advisor to be executed and the pirate fleet to mobilize in preparation to receive the incoming UNSC attackers.
- “Well, hell. No reason to go in quietly now.”
When UNSC Infinity emerged from slipspace over Ven III they encountered a substantial pirate naval force waiting in ambush. As the two sides moved towards each other, Captain Lasky deployed a three-squadron strike force from Infinity. The first squadron was comprised of Broadswords, launched to harass and weaken the pirate flagship. The second squadron was also comprised of Broadswords, deployed against the enemy vanguard of Liches and Phantoms. The third squadron was a mixed force of Pelican dropships and Longsword bombers, deployed with the intention of devastating the pirate city with an aerial strike followed by a massive SPARTAN groundside deployment. While Infinity commenced battle with the pirate fleet, Fireteam Majestic spearheaded the groundside deployment alongside Commander Palmer. At the same time that Majestic made landfall, SPARTAN Ray discovered SPARTAN Thorne in the rubble of the queen's palace. Although conscious, Thorne was restrained by energy manacles which kept him from leaving the structure. As Ray was seeking a way to disable the manacles, she saw Ayit 'Sevi stagger from the rubble and clamber out of the ruined building with the bioweapon on his person. Thorne urged Ray to pursue 'Sevi, insisting that he was in no immediate danger. After radioing Thorne's coordinates to SPARTAN Palmer, Ray set off in pursuit of the Sangheili mercenary.
- “You want to live, hand over the canister.”
- “Heh. Afraid I can't do that. It's not really mine to give away...”— Ayit 'Sevi
As the UNSC barrage continued to demolish the pirate city, Ayit 'Sevi commandeered a Ghost and made for the labyrinthine tunnels leading out of the caldera. SPARTAN Ray followed close behind, piloting a vacant Ghost into the tunnels after the Sangheili. After several minutes of chase, the pair emerged from the tunnels onto a great volcanic plain beyond the caldera. Once in the open, Ray open-fired on 'Sevi's Ghost, damaging the vehicle's right gravity thruster and causing the mercenary to lose control. The damaged Ghost hurdled into the path of a fiery geyser, destroying the vehicle and throwing 'Sevi to the ground. Ray disembarked and swiftly moved to capture the mercenary and retrieve the bioweapon, but as she was about to finish the injured Sangheili off, an ONI prowler de-cloaked overhead and a team of ONI field agents rushed to the SPARTAN's position. The officer in command ordered Ray to stand down and handed her a data pad with orders from CINCONI authorizing the immediate detainment of 'Sevi and the retrieval of the bioweapon by ONI personnel. Despite Ray's indignant objections, the Sangheili mercenary was quickly brought aboard the prowler - which then swiftly departed from the planet.
- “I'm not sure what's worse. That ONI played us so hard, or that we fell for it.”
The Kig-Yar pirate kingdom was utterly devastated following the UNSC Infinity's attack: the pirate city within the caldera was razed, and the pirate fleet was crushed above the planet's atmosphere. Kig-Yar losses were near total, and the UNSC did not lose a single SPARTAN. SPARTAN Thorne was successfully exfiltrated from the city by Fireteam Majestic before the final UNSC barrage struck, although his wounds required treatment in the Infinity medbay. After debriefing SPARTAN Ray and learning of ONI's intervention, Captain Lasky called in a favor to discretely procure internal records of ONI memos from the previous six months. Lasky discovered that the fabrication of a bioweapon threat had been orchestrated by ONI to instigate a strike on the pirate kingdom by the Navy. The captain shared this information with SPARTAN Commander Palmer and vowed to be more wary of possible ONI machinations in the future.