Harvest was a UEG Agriculture World. The colony was the seventeenth to be settled, and the most remote at the time of its founding. It was founded in 2468 by the UNSC Skidbladnir. Located in the Epsilon Indi System, the planet had the unfortunate distinction of being the first human planet discovered and destroyed by the Covenant. After disastrous First Contact, the planet was subsequently glassed by the Covenant during the First Battle of Harvest, but most of its population managed to escape in freighters.
Harvest was one of the UNSC's more productive and peaceful colonies, Within two decades of its founding, it had the highest per capita agricultural manufacture of any outer colony. Major crops, such as corn, wheat, watermelons, peaches, apples, grapes, and numerous other foodstuffs nourished the inhabitants of more than half a dozen other colonies. By 2524 the population of Harvest was three hundred thousand, most escaped during the First Battle of Harvest. The capital city and its largest population center was Utgard, also home to Harvest's seven space elevators connected to the Orbital Space Station, Tiara.
Harvest was known to the Forerunners approximately 100,000 years prior to the Human-Covenant War, and possessed at least one relic, a holographic stellar cartographer that pointed the way to another star system, Procyon. It is unknown whether the relic pointed to other Forerunner worlds and installations, or whether it was specifically built to guide users to a particular system. It is unknown whether Harvest held any other significance to the Forerunners.
Harvest was founded in 2468 when the UNSC Skidbladnir arrived transporting colonists, then dismantled to form the core of Utgard. The seventeenth colony world founded by the UNSC, as well as one of the furthest and most isolated, the population was still small when Sergeant Avery J. Johnson engaged in his first mission on the planet. By the time he returned in 2525, the population of Utgard alone had doubled. Many of the population of Harvest were of American descent, specifically the Mid-Western states of the United States of America. Most locations on Harvest were named in reference to Norse mythology, as were its A.I.s Sif and Loki.
In 2502, Avery Junior Johnson was involved in the assassination of Jerald Mulkey Ander, the head of the People's Occupation Government on Harvest as part of the ORION Project's Operation KALEIDOSCOPE.
Harvest was the first colony to be attacked by the Covenant and the first human world to be glassed. It was also the first place humanity officially made contact with the Covenant, after the incidents on This End Up and Minor Transgression.
In 2524, Staff Sergeant Johnson returned to Harvest along with Staff Sergeant Byrne and Captain Ponder, all survivors of Operation: TREBUCHET. They were to train a Colonial Militia and, unbeknownst to them, fend off what UNSC had believed to be Insurrectionist attacks on ships in the systems.
Escape from HarvestEdit
- Main article: First Battle of Harvest
The citizens of Harvest soon found themselves in the middle of the first battle between the Covenant and Humanity, using their newly trained Militia to herd hundreds of thousands of civilian survivors from Gladsheim, Vigrond and other locations to the Utgard Space Elevators to escape the planet. During the first Covenant attack on Harvest about 250,000+ humans managed to escape the planet by packing into 236 freight containers which were then loaded into seven elevator depots in Utgard. Every five to Seven minutes, seven pairs of freight containers were loaded into the Space Elevator. Loaded ahead of these freight containers were seven "grease buckets", maintenance containers, two which were loaded with Johnson's men and Jilan al-Cygni. The other five were decoys rigged with claymore mines which were used to soften the Brutes, Grunts and Drones which had boarded and taken control of Tiara. While the other two "grease buckets" holding Johnson and Co. stopped and they were fighting off the Covenant, the number seven strand of the Space Elevator snapped a few thousand kilometers above its anchor due to the stress caused by the load becoming unbalanced. There were 11 pairs of freight containers on the strand when it snapped, killing around 40,000 people. The remaining freight containers carrying the survivors of Harvest continued up the elevator, out into space, where they met up with propulsion pods that Sif had placed previously. Once Johnson and Co. finished fighting the Covenant on the Tiara, they joined the survivors and used the propulsion pods to enter Slipspace.
The discovery of Humans on Harvest was the catalyst for the attempted Covenant genocide of the Human race, due to a mistranslation of Forerunner glyphs by the Prophets, as seen on many writs and machines amid Covenant technologies.
The Battle of HarvestEdit
By April 12, 2525, the Colonial Military Administration sent the scout ship Argo to investigate. Other than confirming its arrival at Epsilon Indi no other transmissions were sent, and the Argo was presumed MIA.
On October 7, 2525, the CMA assembled Battlegroup 4 to investigate, due to the fact that the Harvest situation was deemed to have become serious. The battle group consisted of the destroyer Heracles, commanded by Captain Veredi, as well as the frigates Arabia and Vostok. They entered the Harvest system only to find the planet's surface almost entirely melted down to glass. While there, the battle group encountered an unnamed Covenant Battleship. This vessel immediately fired on the inferior human vessels, and the Vostok and Arabia were lost with all hands. The Heracles managed to jump out of the system, but took several weeks to return to Reach due to damage sustained in the battle. Upon hearing Veredi's report and realizing the scale of the threat, the UNSC was placed on full alert and a fleet was assembled to meet the threat.
Vice Admiral Preston Cole fought and barely won the Second Battle of Harvest in 2526. The UNSC was able to retake the planet but with the loss of 2/3 of their fleet, even when they had outnumbered the single Covenant ship in Harvest orbit. Harvest would continue to be contested in the following years, as not long after, the Covenant attacked again. The battle for control of the planet lasted for five years until 2531, when Admiral Cole led a group of ships, including the UNSC Spirit of Fire into the system and neutralized the Covenant force. They later discovered that the Covenant had established a presence on the planet's surface, and more shockingly, had uncovered the previously unknown Forerunner relic which lead the Spirit to Arcadia. and later the Flood-controlled Shield World where they were able to stop a major Covenant plot.
It is unknown if the UNSC still maintained control of Harvest with the war's conclusion in 2552, but Harvest likely lost whatever strategic value it held during the conflict by this point in time. However, as glassed worlds like Reach were later re-terrraformed, it is possible Harvest was restored to a habitable state.
TopographyEditHarvest was a small planet, approximately one-third the size of Earth with an equatorial diameter of slightly more than 4,000 kilometers (2,484 miles), making Harvest slightly smaller than the Sol planet Mercury. In terms of surface area, Harvest possessed ~50 million km², roughly one-tenth the surface area of Earth. Harvest orbited Epsilon Indi extremely quickly, much faster than most other UNSC colonies, at roughly 150,000 km/h, or ~41 km/sec (by comparison, Earth orbits Sol at roughly 30 km/sec). Harvest had no natural satellites. Harvest also has a day/night cycle only 17.5 Sol hours long. Out of a total of five planets in the Epsilon Indi System, Harvest was the only habitable planet, as well as being fertile for farming. The super-continent Edda dominated the planet, taking up roughly 67% of its surface. Two low-salinity seas covered the remainder of the planet, Hugin to the north, and Munin to the south. Almost 86% of Edda is within 500 meters of sea level, the only major change in elevation is the Bifrost, an escarpment that "cuts" Edda in half. Harvest's surface was once beautiful, covered in grassland and forests, lush fields and rolling hills, and a thousand lakes swarming with fish. The orchards were filled with luscious crops. At night, bats filled the skies. After being glassed, however, the surface was reduced to a layer of melted glass, the destruction visible from orbit. The environment suffered a catastrophic blow as a result, the once glorious landscape turning into a nearly frozen tundra, causing most species to quickly go extinct. Soon, all that remained of Harvest's original ecosystem were the scavengers, feeding off the rotting remains of the planet's once abundant wildlife, and even they perished before long.
Ecology of HarvestEdit
- When the colony is first mentioned in Halo: The Fall of Reach, Harvest is described by Admiral Stanforth as having a population of approximately three million. This was later revised to about 300,000 in Halo: Contact Harvest.
- There is ambiguity as to whether the planet was truly glassed by the Covenant. Typically, a planet that has been glassed becomes a barren, uninhabitable wasteland with no atmosphere. However, the UNSC spent five years in a campaign to regain this supposedly dead world. It seems unlikely that such an operation would be undertaken if Harvest was destroyed, unless Cole’s forces simply intended to engage and defeat any Covenant force and Harvest was simply the site of the battle. However, Halo Wars and Homecoming seem to suggest that Harvest was heavily devastated but was not fully glassed. The atmosphere remained breathable, the poles were frozen enough to allow snow to fall, and battles took place in ruined human settlements. It is now known that most of the planet was glassed, like the surface of Reach, with only the northern polar region spared because of the risk of damaging a Forerunner artifact the Covenant later returned to uncover.
- Harvest is seemingly inspired by the Norse and Scandinavian outlying cultures and customs, they were practical hard-laborers fairly comparable to Harvest's populace as is one of its A.I.s, Sif.
- The first UNSC casualty was a young Colonial Militia soldier named Osmo who was killed when a pack of Grunts broke rank and ambushed him.
- Harvest has a name relevant to its role, being an agricultural capital of the UNSC, like Reach, which was relatively near to Earth, and thus being easily within reach.
- Prior to Halo: Contact Harvest, there is no indication that there were any Harvest colony survivors or that Avery Johnson was among them. Though this may have been due to misinformation, as the details on the attacks were vague, and Johnson, along with any other survivors may have yet to have been rescued by UNSC forces.
- Harvest may have been re-terraformed similarly to Reach, although the current winter climate may prevent it from returning to its previous climate.
- One of the DLC locations in the Crimson Map Pack is set at the base of one of Harvest's seven orbital tethers.
- Harvest is the home of April Orenski.
List of appearancesEdit
- Halo: The Fall of Reach (First appearance)
- Halo Graphic Novel
- Halo: Ghosts of Onyx (Mentioned only)
- Halo: Contact Harvest
- Halo Wars
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Halo Legends
- Halo 4 (Simulation)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Halo: Contact Harvest, page 33
- ↑ Official Halo Wars Community Site: Game Info - Timeline
- ↑ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 32
- ↑ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 387
- ↑ Halo: Contact Harvest, pages 351-352
- ↑ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 372
- ↑ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 352
- ↑ Halo: The Fall of Reach, page ??
- ↑ Halo Wars Timeline
- ↑ Halo Wars, level Relic Interior
- ↑ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 74
- ↑ Halo: Ghosts of Onyx, page 75
- ↑ Halo: The Fall of Reach, page ??