|Battle of Tsavo|
- “Marines, the Prophet of Truth doesn't know it yet, but he's about to get kicked right off his throne. You will take our city back. And drive our enemy into the grave they've been so happily digging. One final effort is all that remains.”
The Battle of Tsavo was a ground and aerial engagement between the UNSC/Covenant Separatist alliance and the Covenant Loyalists in the region of Tsavo in and around the town of Voi, Kenya on Earth in November 2552. It was the last engagement in the Battle of Earth.
Since the arrival of the Jiralhanae-led Covenant occupation fleet on October 20, 2552 and the following days, the Covenant had occupied the entire region between Mombasa and Voi. Their goal was to uncover a Forerunner artifact, the Portal which led to the Ark. The Covenant fleet consisted of twenty-eight CCS-class battlecruisers and two Assault Carriers.
This was dark time for the UNSC; Earlier in battle, Covenant infantry and vehicular detachments had overwhelmed ground-based UNSC defending forces, forcing them to retreat from the area, taking heavy casualties in the process. The situation in orbit was similar; the Covenant loyalist ships greatly reduced the UNSC Home Fleet, already weakened by the initial attack. Despite several UNSC counter-attacks before the final battle, the Covenant had been gaining more and more ground in Eastern Africa, and thoroughly occupied Voi.
The last UNSC stronghold in the region was a recently re-purposed 20th-century base, Crow's Nest, located 14 km away from Voi. This was where the remaining UNSC forces in the area were coordinated. After Lt. Commander Miranda Keyes, Sergeant Avery Johnson and the Arbiter arrived at Earth from Installation 05, Commander Keyes assumed command of the base.
After being recovered by Marines led by Sergeant Johnson, John-117 led a UNSC counterattack to regain lost UNSC ground, retaking a jungle near Mount Kilimanjaro and securing the UNSC underground base code-named "Crow's Nest". Commander Miranda Keyes and Sergeant Major Avery J. Johnson then organized a small UNSC strike force led by SPARTAN-117 to attack the Covenant Loyalist-held Tsavo Highway and thus have a platform for a strike at Voi.
The UNSC Marine Corps was able to retake the Tsavo Highway, and it served as a staging ground for a small Warthog convoy that would reinforce Voi's Marines to retake the town. The UNSC forces stationed at Voi had already suffered severe casualties, with only pockets of Marines drawn in a scattered last defense against numerically superior and vehicular-supported Loyalist forces.
Fleet Admiral Sir Terrence Hood declared that it was imperative that SPARTAN-117's attack force retake Voi: Lord Hood's plan was that he would launch a low-level aerial strike on Truth's fleet above the Forerunner artifact and prevent him from activating the presumed Ark. However, a Loyalist anti-aircraft emplacement stationed at Voi prevented Hood's fleet from advancing.
SPARTAN-117, assisted by Marines, was able to retake Voi, and destroy the AA emplacement. Hood's ships assaulted Truth's Dreadnought, doing no damage, just as the ancient machine was activated. However, it turned out not to be the Ark, but a Portal to it instead. Truth's fleet went through this portal, just as a Flood-infected battlecruiser slipped in and crashed in Voi. Not long after, a fleet of Covenant Separatists arrived, having chased the Flood ship. They were after a UNSC AI construct, Cortana, which was believed to be held inside the crashed ship. While John-117 eventually recovered Cortana, it turned out to be just a recorded message. The Battle of Voi ended when the Separatist fleet Glassing Voi to contain the Flood outbreak.
On November 17, the Prophet of Truth arrived at Earth aboard the Forerunner Dreadnought, landing in the center of the Portal. SPARTAN-117, on board the ship, bailed out as it entered atmosphere, and using a hatch as a heat shield, landed in a jungle near Mount Kilimanjaro. Because of force of the impact, he went unconscious for hours.
In the morning, the Spartan was recovered by Marines led by Sergeant Johnson, and the Arbiter with them. Just as they thought they'd need to call in VTOL support to carry the Spartan's body away, he woke up. As John-117 got to his feet, Johnson sent the 1st Squad forward as the scouts. The Bravo Team, led by GySgt Reynolds, was scouting the jungle some kilometers away, and Johnson radioed Reynolds to fall back to the extraction point at the Nkuu River located nearby. Soon, a Covenant Phantom appeared overhead, and Johnson decided to split the squads, in order to go undetected. With the 2nd Squad, he would find another way to the extraction point while the 1st Squad and GySgt Stacker went with John and the Arbiter and headed straight to the river.
After some time, John-117 and the Arbiter discovered Reynolds. He was being tortured by a Jiralhanae, who tried to force him to tell the location of the UNSC base in the area. After being saved, Reynolds told John and the Arbiter that a Jiralhanae Chieftain on a Phantom had pinned them down and killed his entire squad. Reynolds then joined Arbiter and John on their way to the river. As the Arbiter and John-117 arrived at the river, Johnson and the 2nd Squad were already picked up by a Pelican, Echo 51, with another Pelican hovering nearby and providing fire support against the numerous Covenant ground troops around the river. Suddenly, two Banshees appeared and shot down the Pelicans. Echo 51, its thruster heavily damaged, crashed about half a kilometer away, while the other one plunged straight to the water.
Arbiter and John then made their way to the crash site, where Johnson and his Marines were holding position. However, they were too late. Johnson and his squad were captured by the Jiralhanae and taken to GWC's A2 Hydroelectric Facility nearby. SPARTAN-117 and the Arbiter made their way to the dam, where Johnson and his Marines were being held. After defeating the Covenant on the dam, including the Jiralhanae Chieftain in command of the Covenant forces in the area, the human prisoners were freed. After this however, two more Phantoms appeared, dropping off Covenant reinforcements on the dam. The UNSC forces held off the attacking Covenant for some time, and not long after, the Pelican Kilo 23 arrived, destroying the Phantoms. The Marines, John-117 and the Arbiter boarded the dropship, and set course for the UNSC base, Crow's Nest.
Shortly after John-117 was recovered, the Arbiter, and Sergeant Major Avery J. Johnson arrived at the base and began to discuss plans for attacking the Prophet of Truth's army at the Forerunner structure, the Prophet sent a transmission announcing his plans to destroy them and launched a massive assault on the Marine base. The UNSC forces, spread thin, fought against the Covenant forces in order to hold them back long enough to evacuate the wounded.
John, alongside with squads led by Gunnery Sergeants Reynolds and Pete Stacker, led a strike against the bulk of the invaders while Johnson and the Arbiter guarded the ops center. John soon had to return to the ops center, as the Jiralhanae were attacking it. He swiftly defeated the invasion and learned that Keyes had ordered the massive bomb planted, which would explode and set off other charges in the base, obliterating it and all Covenant within. John then had to go with the Arbiter to rescue Marines trapped by the Jiralhanae in the barracks before the Jiralhanae killed all the prisoners.
John and the Arbiter rescued as many Marines as they could and had Hocus evacuate them (and the rest of the UNSC forces still there) via Pelican. John and the Arbiter then fell back to the ops center to defeat a Jiralhanae force that took it over and turned off the bomb. They reset the bomb and retreated, barely escaping as the bomb went off and killed the remaining Covenant.
UNSC forces led by John-117 and Gunnery Sergeant Reynolds, a small amount of Marines who survived the battle of Crow's Nest unscathed, escaped the ruins of the complex in Warthogs to avoid Jiralhanae who would inevitably search the remains of the base for survivors. While escaping, they helped a group of Marines near the base's entrance who were pinned down by Covenant scouts. The survivors were unable to send transmissions, but they were able to receive them. They were ordered by Miranda Keyes to go to Voi and assist Marine forces there, who were battling the Prophet of Truth's troops.
John-117 and the Marines traveled along the Tsavo Highway, battling Covenant troops in the shadow of the skeletal remains of the New Mombasa Orbital Elevator. Nearby, Gunnery Sergeant Pete Stacker led a convoy bringing supplies to the exhausted troops at Voi, but they were ambushed and strafed by Banshees. John-117 and the Marines with him were able to reach the convoy and rescue the survivors. They were finally able to communicate with Miranda Keyes, who was told by ONI Recon 111 that the Prophet of Truth was excavating the Ark. With the help of resupply Pelicans sent by Sergeant Major Avery Junior Johnson, John-117's convoy was able to punch through to Voi.
Assault on VoiEdit
After his battle to fight his way up the Tsavo Highway, John-117 not only secured the gate to Voi but also a landing zone for Commander Miranda Keyes to deploy her Marines. Mounting up with a group of Warthogs, he rode shotgun through the gates to the outside of the Traxus facility where previous Marine counterattacks had failed. Ten marines dismounted from the Transport Warthogs along with John and then a few remained to operate their Warthog LRV to give them heavy support. The Traxus facility composed of several areas, each sealed off by a bulk head to allow and deny movement between the areas. After initially infiltrating the facility the first gate was opened, interrupting a File of Kig-yar and Unggoy during one of Truth's speeches. They were taken by surprise and quickly gunned down. After quickly hammering through another file of grunts Chief opened the door to a long tunnel heading down the facility. A large group of Unggoy, Kig-yar and a single Jiralhanae Captain guarded the other end of the corridor, along with their reserve Ghost RAVs. After the combined arms of John, the Warthog and the Marines defeated the defenders, they finally broke through to their first objective.
The First ObjectiveEdit
In the dried out dockyard outside lay the first Anti-Air Wraith, lending its weight to an aerial dog fight between Hornet Gunships and Banshees. It was guarded by a trio of Ghosts and numerous Type-52 Troop Carriers came in to cover the ground forces. The UNSC Forces punched upwards, securing a UNSC held dock office after initially being pushed back from it and used the LAU-65D/SGM-151 SAM turret at the base to beat back Covenant armed forces. After destroying their objective they pushed onwards, destroying the Wraith that defended the doorway back into the Traxus Facility.
Inside, the UNSC Forces still held parts of the facility but were being pushed back by an assault being headed by a Jiralhanae Chieftain. In there a Marine fire team operating a AIE-486H Heavy Machine Gun held the Covenant at bay, at least for a time. A Marine squad headed by Spartan-117 pushed in and killed the Jiralhanae Chieftain and his bodyguards attempting to oust the Marine defenders. After opening the next bulkhead for the Warthog supporting them they were ambushed by a swarm of Yanme'e that descended from a Phantom overhead. After forcing them into a retreat John-117 and the Warthog linked up with a Marine Anti Tank unit armed with M41 SSR MAV/AW that had requisitioned four M274 Mongoose ULATV touse as improvised fast attack light anti armor vehicles. A Marine offered Spartan-117 the controls of his Mongoose and he led them out into the next Dock.
The Second ObjectiveEdit
In the next dry dock a pair of AA Wraiths battered UNSC air forces, but only because this time they had a significant amount of defensive measures compared to the last area. A number of Ghosts and Chopper RAVs defended them against UNSC counterattack. The Marine mounted Anti Tank unit, the supporting Warthog LRV and a number of troops defending the actual dock with conventional arms and a series of SAM Turrets. Covenant forces were beaten back and their AA batteries destroyed but they refused to admit defeat, bringing in Ghost reinforcements on Phantoms. They were all defeated in turn, leaving the UNSC forces a quick breather and a chance to bring in more mounted Anti Tank units before the Covenant gave one last push to retake the dock. A Type-47 Ultra Heavy Assault Platform, better known as the Scarab, crawled over the roof tops and engaged the mounted forces in the dock. The Marines had a choice whether to disable its legs to cripple it and bring it low then board and destroy its power core or to buy time for John-117 so he could use one of the Dock Cranes to board it. In time, it was defeated and destroyed, giving the UNSC forces breathing space to make their push for the final objective.
Push to the AA GunEdit
John-117 soon traveled up to the dock and was joined by another squad of reinforcements led by Thel 'Vadam and moved through to another section of the Traxus facility, another section held by the Marines. It served as their local command center, their medical station and their ammo dump. It was heavily fortified with numerous defensive points armed with machine guns, but at the other end of the base, where it entered the warehouse, their defensive position was falling. Jiralhanae forces had pushed back through the warehouse, flanking their defensive position. UNSC Forces, now joined by Voi dock and factory workers and led by the Arbiter and John soon pushed back, retaking the warehouse and defeating large groups of Jiralhanae and even a Mgalekgolo pair before a showdown with a Chieftain outside. After more tight street to street fighting, they pushed the Covenant forces back to the rocky precipice where the AA gun lay. With no way for the Jiralhanae to retreat and with Lord Hood's attack imminent, it was make or break time. UNSC forces pushed up the hill, fighting off another War Chieftain, numerous Unggoy and Kig-yar, Johntain's pack and several hastily planted Plasma Cannons. After defeating the forces guarding it they destroyed its rapidly overheating core and cooling system to cripple it and waited as Lord Hood's attack commenced.
Activation of the ArtifactEdit
A task force of three frigates, including the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn, and Longsword fighters assaulted the Forerunner Dreadnought sitting in the center of the artifact. Multiple MAC rounds and fighter-launched ordnance proved ineffective. The Dreadnought suffered no apparent damage and it proceeded to activate the artifact. Covenant forces quickly departed through the newly created Portal. Another unexpected event soon manifested in the slipping in and crash landing of a damaged CCS-class battlecruiser near Voi. Although it was initially thought to bear Jiralhanae reinforcements, it soon became apparent that it brought Flood instead.
The Floodgate opensEdit
The victorious UNSC forces were now encountering unknown hostiles all over the Town and the splintered and weary forces were no match. The Flood had found their way to Earth and begun to infect and spread. Commander Keyes gave a single order, fight to the core of the ship and overload its reactors, destroying the ship and the town and any Flood along with it. Master Chief and the Arbiter headed back into the Town to outside the warehouse facility to see the true face of their enemy. A pair of retreating marine fire teams were ambushed by Combat Forms and Infection Forms, leaving their infection as inevitable. John-117, the Arbiter and the survivors had to inevitably turn their guns on their former comrades. After pressing through the warehouse officers and then the warehouse they linked up with more survivors and pressed on. The route to the command center had been closed off so now they had to find another way around. Using Fusion coils as improvised explosives and a M7057 Defoliant Projector as an ad hoc anti Flood weapon, they circumnavigated the bulkhead and entered the unusually empty command center. With a single, delirious survivor, the UNSC forces continued to push to the downed ship to meet their new allies.
The Fleet of RetributionEdit
The Sangheili Fleet, the Fleet of Retribution, had followed the Flood infected ship from their blockade at Delta Halo to its arrival at Earth. They began to drop Elite forces to push towards the ship, seeking a prize that lay within it. It wasn't until they came back into the Traxus Facility that the Elites told the UNSC that they believed that Cortana, the AI formerly attached to the Spartan-IIs, the Pillar of Autumn and companion of John-117, was within the downed ship. The joint UNSC/Elite forces pressed on, still giving their all to reach the crash site. They eventually broke through, fighting past Flood Pure Forms. With the remaining forces giving cover to John, he entered its Flood-formed carcass and retrieved Cortana. After the ground forces were evacuated safely, the Elites began to glass the immediate area, removing any chance of further Flood infection, effectively ending the Battle of Tsavo.