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(Based on the Military Calendar)
2552 was the penultimate year in the Human-Covenant War, during which the Humans of the United Nations Space Command nearly saw utter defeat and extinction, though the tide turned, and with the help of the Sangheili, won the Human-Covenant War. The Covenant were at the peak of their power and reach in 2552, with major assaults on the Human Inner Colonies and an invasion followed by a prolonged engagement on their home planet, Earth. During the battle at Installation 04, the galaxy found its first large outbreak of the Flood threat in over a hundred thousand years. Over two months later, an even larger outbreak occurred at Installation 05.
The war finally drew to a close at Installation 00, known more commonly as the "Ark", with the Humans and Sangheili attempting to assassinate the Prophet of Truth, before he could activate the remaining Halo Installations. The alliance was successful in their mission against the Covenant, which was later presumed to be disbanded.
Early August (sometime from the 6th to the 12th)
- All but three SPARTAN-IIs gather at the FLEETCOM Military Complex on Reach, where they learn of their next mission: to acquire a Covenant vessel, navigate to the Covenant home world, and return with captured Covenant leadership.
- The planet Coral is reported glassed by the Covenant.
- After the battle of Reach, the Covenant move on to glass the other planets in the system, including Tribute, resulting in the prolonged Battle of Tribute.
- During the battle of Tribute, SPARTAN-II Team Black is sent to Verge to destroy a Covenant Beacon supplying helium-3 to the ships laying siege on Tribute. The team successfully destroys the beacon.
John-117 leading Marines on Installation 04.
- SPARTAN-117 leads a Marine force to board the Truth and Reconciliation. They recover Keyes and escape aboard a Covenant dropship. Keyes orders SPARTAN-117 to find the "Silent Cartographer", a map room that will reveal the location of the Control Room. Keyes leaves to lead an assault on a Covenant weapons cache.
- Having found the map room and the pertinent information, Cortana directs a Pelican to take them to the area where the ring's Control Room is. Upon reaching the Control Room, Cortana transfers to the Control Room's computer and directs SPARTAN-117 to stop Keyes from accessing the 'weapons cache', really a Forerunner research and quarantine facility.
- SPARTAN-117, without Cortana, enters the facility but is unable to locate Keyes. Instead, he discovers the "Flood" and is forced to retreat. He links up with marines and takes command of the surviving members of Keyes' team and together they fight their way to the extraction point. However, the Spartan is conscripted by the "Monitor of Installation 04" and teleported away before he can be evacuated with the surviving members.
- The Monitor takes John-117 to the ring's "Library" to retrieve the "Index", a device needed to activate the ring's primary weapon. Having retrieved the Index, the Monitor teleports the Spartan back to the Control Room where an irate Cortana confiscates the Index and prevents the ring from firing. SPARTAN-117 and Cortana flee a now-hostile 343 Guilty Spark and Sentinels.
- To forestall the ring from being activated manually, SPARTAN-117 disables the ring's three Pulse Generators. This is to buy time to destroy the ring by activating the auto-destruct on the Pillar of Autumn. Only Keyes neural interface can activate the ship's self-destruct, and SPARTAN-117 embarks once more to rescue the captain.
- Cortana teleports the Spartan to the Flood-overrun Covenant cruiser where Jacob Keyes is being held. Alas, the pair arrives too late to save Keyes, who has been merged into a Brain Form. SPARTAN-117 retrieves the neural interface by punching in the former-captain's head. Cortana downloads the necessary codes, and the duo returns to the Pillar of Autumn on a captured Banshee.
- As the Longsword and Pelican are not jump capable, the UNSC survivors assault and capture the Ascendant Justice, a Covenant warship and apparently the flagship of the Covenant Fleet sent to Installation 04. They then set course for Reach.
- A Time/Date Record Anomaly continues from this point in the narrative, resolved above on Sep 7, 2552.
After the recovery of a Forerunner device on Reach, the members of an organized resistance comprised of SPARTANs from Reach and survivors of the Battle of Installation 04 are in some sort of time anomaly, causing them not to be in the "correct timeline" . What is known is that the events taken place with the possession of the device take place after September 24th.
- An Edict from the Office of the High Prophet of Truth orders that in the virtue of the Jiralhanae, all Sangheili posted with the Fleet of Profound Solitude, the Fleet of Tranquil Composure, and the Fleet of Inner Knowledge to be completely replaced by Jiralhanae. Each removed Sangheili to be assigned other duties. In celebration, all imprisoned or criminal Jiralhanae were released, rehabilitated, and pardoned.
The Battle of Earth at Mombasa.
- SPARTAN-117 is outfitted with the MJOLNIR Mk. VI aboard Cairo Station.
- The Fleet Commander of Particular Justice is deemed a Heretic by the Covenant High Council and sentenced to death.
- SPARTAN-117 and Staff Sergeant (now promoted to Sergeant Major) Johnson are decorated at a ceremony aboard Cairo Station. Captain Keyes is awarded posthumously and the decoration is entrusted to Commander Keyes.
- The Battle of Earth begins.
- The High Prophet of Regret's fleet arrives at Earth, not expecting any human presence. The vastly outnumbered Covenant force attacks without seeking support from other Covenant forces.
- SPARTAN-117 foils a Covenant attempt to demolish Cairo Station and commandeers the Covenant bomb to destroy an assault carrier.
- The High Prophet of Regret's assault carrier breaks through the orbital defenses and initiates a ground assault on New Mombasa and the surrounding area.
- SPARTAN-117 deploys to New Mombasa in an attempt to capture the High Prophet of Regret. Before this can happen, the assault carrier initiates a slipspace jump within the city, escaping Earth and severely damaging the city in the process. The UNSC In Amber Clad, with SPARTAN-117 aboard, successfully pursues the carrier through slipspace.
- Immediately after Regret's retreat, an additional Jiralhanae-led Covenant occupation force is inserted to New Mombasa, as a part of the Prophet of Truth's plan to eventually replace the Sangheili with the Brutes as the Covenant's primary warrior race. For the rest of the day, UNSC and Covenant forces battle for control of the city. Meanwhile, the Covenant fleet begins the process of uncovering the Ark Portal.
- The Battle of Mombasa ends with a Covenant victory.
- In the dawn, Covenant reinforcements sent by the Prophet of Truth continue arriving at Earth to uncover the Portal.
- Dare's Shock Trooper Squad escapes New Mombasa as the city, along with its surroundings are glassed by the Covenant excavation fleet.
October 20th through November 2nd
- The Battle of Onyx begins.
- The standby signal rouse the Sentinels of Onyx, who destroy the UNSC base on the world.
- Kurt, Mendez, and some Spartans battle to survive the Sentinel's onslaught.
- The UNSC Red Horse is sent to Installation 04's debris field in the Soell System to scout the area for survivors. They detect the prison ship UNSC Mona Lisa and deploy Marines into the ship. Soon after, it is revealed that the ship is infested by the Flood and was used by the Office of Naval Intelligence as a laboratory to test the parasite on prisoners. The infestation is contained as the Red Horse unleashes a Shiva-class Nuclear Missile on the Mona Lisa, destroying it.
- The Battle of Installation 05 begins.
- The UNSC In Amber Clad arrives at Delta Halo, following the High Prophet of Regrets assault carrier. SPARTAN-117, aided by ODSTs and marines, pursue the High Prophet to a Forerunner temple and assassinate him. However, orbital bombardment from the escorting fleets of the newly arrived High Charity destroys the temple. SPARTAN-117 is thrown into a lake and captured by Gravemind.
- The UNSC Dusk arrives at Delta Halo and witnesses the final stages of the Battle of Installation 05. She retreats to Earth via a Slipspace Wake caused by the Forerunner ship.
- The Dusk arrives at Earth after mere hours. Upon arrival, she is re-assigned to Battlegroup Stalingrad. The group jump to Onyx via the captured Covenant Ships Slipspace wake.
- Battlegroup Stalingrad arrives at Onyx to retrieve the survivors, but is unsuccessful due to the Covenant presence. The UNSC battlegroup is destroyed.
- Onyx is found to be a artificial Shield World built by the Forerunners.
- Halsey and the other survivors hold off pursuing Covenant troops long enough to flee to the safety of the Shield World and seal the entrance.
- The Battle of Havana is fought. Having received Halsey's signal, SPARTAN-043, SPARTAN-058, and SPARTAN-104 redeploy from Earth to Onyx aboard a captured Covenant ship. They rendezvous with Halsey. The UNSC survivors are forced to retreat underground as a newly arrived Covenant fleet beings landing troops.
- Sentinels annihilate the remaining Covenant forces as Onyx's artificial landmass disintegrates.
- Dr. Halsey and SPARTAN-087 arrive and are trapped along with the rest of the human survivors. Halsey sends a distress signal piggybacked on Cortana's October 28 signal.
- Kurt dies after detonating 2 FENRIS warheads inside the Onyx Shield World structure.
- The Battle of Onyx ends.
- The Arbiter is sent to Delta Halo to retrieve that installation's Index. The Arbiter is successful, but is then betrayed by Tartarus, who casts the Arbiter into the depths of the ringworld. The Arbiter is subsequently captured by Gravemind.
- The Civil War of the Covenant begins.
- Gravemind sends John-117 and the Arbiter to secure the Index and prevent the installation from being activated. SPARTAN-117 is teleported to High Charity while the Arbiter is teleported close to the Control Room. Both are aided by the chaos of the Covenant civil war.
- SPARTAN-117 is unable to prevent the Index from leaving High Charity with Tartarus. Instead, on the advice of Cortana, the Spartan stows away aboard the Forerunner Dreadnought that is carrying the High Prophet of Truth to Earth. Cortana remains behind to ensure the destruction of Installation 05, should that become necessary.
November 3rd through November 7th
Loyalist and Separatist ships fighting over High Charity.
- Cortana sends a slipspace message to Earth informing them that SPARTAN-117 is en route.
- The Arbiter reaches the Control Room but is unable to prevent Tartarus from activating the ring. With the help of humans and the Elites, the Arbiter kills Tarturus. This allows Commander Keyes to physically remove the Index from the Core, temporarily interrupting the firing sequence.
- Due to the interruption, Installation 05 automatically sends a signal to all other Forerunner installations in the galaxy, activating and placing them in standby mode.
November 8th through November 17th
John-117 and the Forerunner Dreadnought entering Earth's atmosphere.
- The Forerunner Dreadnought enters Earth's atmosphere. Onboard is Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, who ejects from the ship, using a hatch as a heat shield upon re-entry. Meanwhile, Battle of Sector Six takes place at Pawa, Afghanistan. There, numerous Marines of the 2nd ODST Battalion track SPARTAN-117's descent. SPARTAN-117 eventually lands in the East African jungle near Mount Kilimanjaro, going unconscious for hours.
- The Prophet of Truth's Dreadnought lands in the middle of The Artifact near Voi, Kenya. During the last few weeks, Truth's fleet of twenty-odd CCS-class Battlecruisers and two Assault Carriers have almost entirely uncovered the artifact and occupied the entire region surrounding it.
- SPARTAN-117 leads a UNSC counterattack to regain lost UNSC ground, retaking a jungle near Mount Kilimanjaro and securing the area around Crow's Nest, an underground facility used by the UNSC Defense Force to coordinate local Army, Navy, and Marine forces. The UNSC organize a small 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 is able to retake the Tsavo Highway, and it serves for a staging ground for the battalion that would retake Voi. The UNSC forces stationed already at Voi have already suffered severe casualties, with only pockets of Marines drawn in a scattered last defense against numerically superior and vehicle-supported Loyalist forces.
- Fleet Admiral Sir Terrence Hood declares that it is imperative that SPARTAN-117's attack force retake Voi. Lord Hood's plan is that he will 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 prevent Hood fleet from advancing; SPARTAN-117 is to retake Voi and destroy the anti-aircraft emplacement to allow Hood to attack Truth's fleet, and prevent him from activating the Ark.
The Ark Portal on Earth activates.
- They later defeat the AA guns, opening up a pocket in the Loyalist Defenses for the Home Fleet to come in and engage Truth's forces. They are unsuccessful in damaging the Dreadnought, and it escapes through the Portal. At the same moment, a Flood-controlled ship slips in, crashing in Voi.
- Commander Miranda Keyes orders her troops to fight to the core of the Flood Battlecruiser and overload its reactors, destroying the ship and the town and any Flood along with it. The Fleet of Retribution, having followed the Flood infected ship from their blockade at Installation 05 to its arrival at Earth. They begin to drop forces to push towards the ship, seeking something that lay within it. It isnt't until they come back into Traxus Facility that the Sangheili tell the UNSC that Cortana, the AI formally attached to the Spartan-IIs, the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, and companion of John-117, is supposedly upon the downed ship.
- The joint UNSC/Separatist force press on, still giving their all to getting to the crash site. They eventually break through, fighting past Flood. With the remaining forces giving cover to the Chief, he enters its Flood created carcass and retrieves what is believed to be Cortana. After the ground forces are evacuated safely the Elites begin to glass the immediate area, annihilating the Flood and eliminating any chance of further Flood infection, effectively ending the Battle of Voi.
Late November through December
The end of 2552 saw the bloodiest period of the Great War and the beginning of the end. The Prophet of Truth was killed in the later months along with a sizable covenant armada, leaving the Covenant forces crippled and leaderless as well as the full destruction of Gravemind and its Flood forces.
A battle rages above Installation 00.
- The Prophet of Truth, having successfully activated the artifact in Kenya, left Earth through a Slipspace portal to the Ark, a Forerunner structure that could be used to fire all of the Halo installations at once.
- Despite Lord Hood's urging, Commander Keyes took ships from the Home Fleet with a small fleet of Separatist cruisers led by the carrier Shadow of Intent and proceeded through the Slipspace portal and arrived at the Ark.
- The Separatists on arrival immediately engaged the Loyalist fleet stationed to protect the Prophet while the Forward Unto Dawn deployed Marine Shock Troopers to locate Truth. Despite being outnumbered 3-to-1 in space, the Separatist fleet made short work of the Loyalist space forces, likely due to the Elites' superior tactical skills. The Covenant Loyalist Fleet had been destroyed and the only Loyalists left alive were Truth and his forces on the Ark. 343 Guilty Spark, now working with the UNSC-Separatist Alliance, led SPARTAN-117 and the Arbiter to the Ark's Cartographer where they pinpointed the Prophet's location. By then Truth had already holed himself in a secure facility near the core of the Ark and had activated a large barrier around the entire core to ward off the attacking forces.
- The UNSC ground forces, along with Separatist reinforcements, assaulted three emitter pylons that powered a small section of the barrier. When the defending forces were eliminated and the pylons shut down, the Shadow of Intent began its attack on Truth. At the same time the former Covenant city ship High Charity arrived from slipspace and crashed on the Ark. Debris, spread from the city-ship, heavily damaged the Shadow of Intent and helped spread a new Flood infestation on the Ark as a means to stop Truth and to be safe from the Halo activation array. Without any heavy support, SPARTAN-117 and the Arbiter personally attacked the facility where Truth was to activate the Halo installations.
- Sergeant Major Johnson, who had disappeared during the assault on the towers, was in fact captured by Truth's forces and was being tortured into pressing the final switch to activate the other Halos, as fail-safes within the structure prevented anyone other than a Forerunner or a Reclaimer to do so. With SPARTAN-117 and the Arbiter too far away to stop Truth, Commander Keyes grabbed a Pelican dropship and crashed into the facility to rescue Johnson, but was killed soon thereafter by Truth himself. The Gravemind dispatched Flood forces to assist SPARTAN-117 and the Arbiter in order to prevent the activation of the Halo Array system; their support enabled the Master Chief and the Arbiter to reach Truth in time. The Arbiter personally killed Truth with his sword. However, the Gravemind betrayed the two of them after knocking them out of Keyes' Pelican,(then piloted by Johnson and also carrying the Commander's body), thwarting their plan of escape and forcing SPARTAN-117 and the Arbiter to fight their way outside.
Raid on High Charity
- 343 Guilty Spark had managed to facilitate the making of a new Halo through the Ark, explaining that a tactical pulse from it would eliminate the Flood infestation. However, this new Halo lacked an Activation Index. The only way they could get another Index was to rescue Cortana from High Charity since she still possessed the Index from Installation 04. Through a tough battle, SPARTAN-117 and the Arbiter successfully entered the ruins of High Charity and recovered Cortana, using a partly-damaged Pelican to escape while High Charity was destroyed when its reactors went critical after the Spartan blasted them.
End of Human-Covenant War
- With the Index secure, the Arbiter ordered that the remaining UNSC forces relocate to the Separatist ships and escape back through the Slipspace portal to Earth while he, SPARTAN-117 and Sergeant Major Avery Junior Johnson moved in on the Control Room of the incomplete Halo, the latter coming in alone aboard the Forward Unto Dawn. The Dawn was left behind as the only means of escape. By now what was left of the Gravemind had relocated to the new Halo. The Arbiter, Johnson, and SPARTAN-117, along with with 343 Guilty Spark made it through waves of Flood to the Control Room. 343 Guilty Spark explained that the new Halo would be ready to fire within a few days, but with Flood moving in all around them Johnson explained the necessity of firing the ring immediately, prompting Guilty Spark's protest that activating Halo now would destroy both the Ark and the installation, and Johnson's subsequent reply of, "deal with it," as he prepared to activate the ring. Unwilling to let "his" ring be destroyed again, Spark went rampant, attacking Johnson, SPARTAN-117, and the Arbiter. However, with the help of mortally-wounded Johnson and his laser, SPARTAN-117 managed to destroy Guilty Spark and start the firing sequence for the new Halo. Just after Johnson's final remarks to SPARTAN-117, he died. SPARTAN-117 and the Arbiter then escaped the control room by taking Johnson's Warthog to the Forward Unto Dawn. Due to the unstable, incomplete nature of the ring as it fired, the Slipspace portal collapsed as the Dawn entered it, causing it to be sheared in two. The forward half with the Arbiter made it to Earth, crashing into an ocean (presumably the Indian Ocean). Cortana and SPARTAN-117 were in the hangar area at the time of the separation, and were thus left in the aft section of the ship, which fell out of Slipstream space at an unknown location, eventually drifting towards an unidentified planet.
The Great Schism
Quarantine of the Flood
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