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A "decapitation" capture (suicide?) mission. As if there was a choice.
The operation was to be executed in four phases.
The first phase consisted of the disabling and capture of a Class-Five Covenant vessel. As such vessels only appeared in combat zones to collect Forerunner artifacts, this phase would require the use of a colony located on a planet with a high concentration of such items as bait. It would also require the retrofit of a cruiser, either Halcyon or Marathon-class, to be capable of conducting in-atmosphere operations and surviving the punishing firepower of a Covenant capital ship.
The second phase involved the boarding of the captured Covenant vessel by the SPARTAN-IIs, who would then neutralize the onboard defenses and take control of the ship. They, with help from a then-unidentified mission specialist, would then crack the navigation database of the ship and discover the location of the Covenant homeworld.
Halsey created Cortana for the role of mission specialist.
In the third phase, the Spartans would use the captured Covenant vessel to travel to the Covenant homeworld with the help of the mission specialist.
The fourth and final phase of the operation involved the infiltration of the Covenant homeworld and the capture of a Covenant Prophet for negotiating purposes. The UNSC hoped that by capturing a Prophet and holding it hostage, they could force the Covenant into agreeing to a truce, ending a war that the UNSC would most certainly have lost.
On August 14, 2552, Margaret Parangosky officially green lit the operation at Reach. However, the UNSC Army destroyed the only confirmed Class-5 vessel at Reach at the time; the Long Night of Solace. Despite this, Hieronymus Stanforth forwarded to Parangosky Cortana and Dr. Halsey's choices for the mission a week later on the 27th. As well on that day, Dr. Halsey had a preliminary briefing with the recalled SPARTAN-IIs.
Due to the severity of the Covenant attack on Reach, the Pillar of Autumn fled the planet and the operation unraveled.
Though the operation was never fully executed, the planning introduced new pieces of technology: the AI Cortana, the MJOLNIR Mark V, and an upgraded Autumn. Invaluable assets that would be used effectively in the Battle of Installation 04 and later influence large swathes of the UNSCDF.
- Halo: The Fall of Reach (First appearance)
- Halo: Reach
- Dr. Halsey's personal journal (Mentioned only)
- Halo: First Strike
- Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide (Mentioned only)
- ↑ Cortana was originally created specifically for RED FLAG (Source) meaning it would have been planned sometime before her activation on November 7, 2549.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Halo: Reach Limited Edition - Bonus Item: Dr. Halsey's personal journal, August 27, 2552
- ↑ Halo 4: The Essential Visual Guide - page 229
- ↑ Halo Waypoint - Office of Naval Intelligence//Section 3 - Data Drop Four
- ↑ Halo: The Fall of Reach, pages 240-245
- ↑ Halo Waypoint: Universe - Cortana
- ↑ Halo 4: The Essential Visual - page 191
- ↑ Halo Waypoint: Universe - UNSC Pillar of Autumn
- ↑ Halo Waypoint - Office of Naval Intelligence//Section 3 - Data Drop Five
- ↑ Halo: First Strike - pages 90-93