Mount Haven was a small city on the UEG colony of New Jerusalem in the Cygnus system.[note 1] It sat in the center of a small, horseshoe-shaped mountain range. Its center plaza was placed above a convergence of four mountain streams, where they merged to become the head of a strong river that trickled out of the valley. The city had backup power supplied by a pebble-bed nuclear reactor deep underneath the city.
- Main article: Battle of New Jerusalem
In September 2552, the city was invaded by the Covenant, who proceeded to dig downriver of the city in search of Forerunner artifacts. This prompted the UNSC to send in a company of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers for a snatch-and-run operation; they would steal the artifacts then retreat from the planet. However, a nine-man team of ODSTs had their own agenda.
The nine ODSTs were all Colonial Military Administration veterans, and felt that they had given enough to the UNSC cause. Their plan was to break into a bank in the city center, and use a spare Pelican dropship to steal the gold and platinum ingots stored in the bank's vault. Their justification was that the imminent glassing of the city meant that the valuables "didn't exist anymore," and that the stolen goods wouldn't be missed. The team would use the gold to retire.
They encountered a flaw in their plan when five of the ODSTs discovered that a schoolteacher and a group of children had taken refuge in the bank vault. A dispute again. Gage Yevgenny wanted to abandon the theft and evacuate the children. Felicia Sanderson wanted to call in an extra Pelican to evacuate them, and use their own to rob the bank. Sita, Dale, and Orrin were in favor of abandoning the citizens to their deaths. Tempers flared, and the ODSTs turned their weapons on each other; of the five ODSTs in the vault, only Gage was left alive.
Gage, in shock, went outside to find teammate Eric Santiago, who informed him that the UNSC were falling back. Gage knocked him out with his gun and called for more Pelicans, claiming that they were under heavy fire. He then flew Eric's Pelican to the pickup point collected the artifacts the Covenant were looking for (along with a Shiva nuclear device), and fled the city. Gage believed that the Covenant forces would follow him in pursuit of the relics. As he was being pursued by Covenant Banshees, Gage was "accidentally" shot down by rogue ODSTs who knew of his betrayal.
Gage crash-landed near the mountains outside the city, and was found mortally wounded by The Rookie, who had arrived with Gage's reinforcements. Gage, who knew he was dying, told the Rookie what had happened up to the Pelican crash. The Rookie, who had listened intently, promised to remember Gage and to do whatever he could against the Covenant. Gage then told the Rookie that Covenant forces and the rogue ODSTs were on their way to the crash site. He warned the Rookie to get as far away as possible, as he planned to detonate the Shiva warhead, killing them all. The Rookie ditched most of his gear, and ran for his life until he reached the other side of the mountain, at which point Gage detonated the nuke, killing himself, his renegade teammates, and thousands of Covenant troops. The city's civilian and military survivors were evacuated and fell back to Earth, having been informed that Reach had just fallen.
- ↑ It has been confirmed in a comment by Tobias Buckell here that the rookie in Dirt is the same character as The Rookie from Halo 3: ODST. Thus, the battle depicted in the story has to be the Battle of New Jerusalem, as it was the last battle in which The Rookie participated before the Battle of Earth.