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Skirmish Over Harvest


Battle of Chi Ceti

First Battle of Harvest
Image:SSgt Avery Johnson, UNSC Marine Corps.JPG

Human-Covenant War


February 3-October 7, 2525


Harvest, Epsilon Indi System


Covenant Victory


United Nations Space Command

Covenant Empire

  • Harvest Militia suffers over 50% casualties
  • UNSC Arabia, UNSC Vostok, UNSC Argo destroyed
  • UNSC Heracles heavily damaged
  • Roughly 1/3 of the population of Harvest

The First Battle of Harvest was the first major engagement between the UNSC and the Covenant. It marked the start of the Human-Covenant War.[1]




Covenant Religious Crisis

Covenant culture and society was founded on the belief that they were the chosen of the Forerunner. Piety was partially demonstrated by the "reclamation" of ancient, and supposedly holy, artifacts. A query in 2525 to a ancient Forerunner AI concerning the large number of "relics" on a world as-yet unvisited by the Covenant revealed a critical flaw in Covenant belief; "reclamation" was a mistranslation of "reclaimer", the "relics" on the world were humans, and that humans were the Forerunner's chosen.

This information was restricted to only a few in Covenant leadership. They realized the public knowledge would shake the foundations of the polity and potentially destroy it. Those privy to the information moved to prevent catastrophe. They seized control of the Covenant and used their new powers to declare a war of extermination on humanity. The first target was the world that the Forerunner AI had been consulted about: the UNSC colony of Harvest.

Toward Harvest

Main article: Skirmish Over Harvest

First contact between the Covenant and humanity involved a number of raids on UNSC ships in the Epsilon Indi system by the Covenant missionary ship Minor Transgression. The raider made a scan of Harvest before being intercepted and destroyed.

Following quickly on Minor Transgression's heels was the Covenant cruiser, Rapid Conversion. The cruiser's commander, the Jiralhanae War Chieftain and Ship Master Maccabeus, was ordered to glass the colony. However, the pious Maccabeus opted to delay this in order to search for relics first. This put him in conflict with Tartarus, a more zealous subordinate.

The Battle

The Covenant Arrive

On February 3rd, 2525, Tiara, Harvest's orbital station, detected Rapid Conversion entering the system on long range sensors; the cruiser registered as an unknown object but determined the ship was constructed of materials beyond human science.

The Covenant were not immediately hostile and a peaceful meeting on the surface was arranged. The humans were represented by Attorney General Rol Pedersen and members of the Colonial Militia of Harvest, including its commander, Captain Ponder. Maccabeus arrived at the head of a group of Jiralhanae and Unggoy. The meeting went sour prematurely when an overeager Unggoy attacked and killed Private Osmo. Pedersen was killed, while Staff Sergeants Nolan Byrne and Avery Junior Johnson escaped with a severely wounded Ponder. Maccabeus was wounded by Johnson from a Warthog.

Tartarus used Maccabeus' refusal to glass the colony outright, and his shameful wounding at the hands of Johnson, as reason to challenge his superior's leadership. Tartarus killed Maccabeus in a dual and assumed command.


Governor Nils Thune issued a order for all colonists to assembled in Utgard, the capital, for immediate evacuation. Many chose not to leave and were killed in the subsequent ground battle and glassing. A week after the evacuation order Covenant forces destroyed the outer city of Gladsheim. ONI Lieutenant Commander Jilan al-Cygni assumed command of UNSC forces and the evacuation plan was finalized on February 23rd.

Captured intelligence revealed the Covenant's interest in artifacts and relics to the UNSC. A mortally wounded Ponder used a fake Oracle to lure the Covenant cruiser into the sights of the colony's Mass Driver. The ship was disabled after two rounds and crashed. In the ensuing confusion and lifting of Covenant air superiority, a militia strike team secured Tiara. 360 refugee-laden cargo freighters ascended the space elevator to the station and fled into Slipspace. Only 215 freighters managed to escape.

Another Covenant ship arrived shortly afterwards. It rescued Rapid Conversion's survivors and completed the glassing of Harvest.

UNSC Investigation

The Colonial Administration Authority despatched UNSC Argo to investigate the cessation of communications from Harvest, and the scout ship arrived in system on April 20th, 2525. The AI Mack unsuccessfully attempted to warn Argo of the enemy presence. The scout ship managed to send a single signal before being destroyed by the Covenant ship.

Argo was followed up by a battlegroup consisting of the destroyer UNSC Heracles, and the frigates UNSC Arabia and UNSC Vostok. Captain Maribeau Veredi of Heracles commanded the formation. The ships arrived in Epsilon Indi on October 7th and encountered the same Covenant ship. The Covenant ship responded to first contact protocols by broadcasting the message: Your destruction is the will of the gods, and we are their instrument, and then opening fire.

The UNSC battlegroup was soundly defeated in an engagement lasting fourteen seconds.[2] Covenant Point Defense Lasers intercepted many Archer Missiles with the remainder being shrugged off by shields. Plasma torpedoes and lasers destroyed both frigates and heavily damaged Heracles; the destroyed managed to escape but took several weeks to limp back to Reach.[3]


Main article: Second Battle of Harvest

With the failure of the initial UNSC counter-attack, the Covenant were left in control Harvest. However, the UNSC was not content with this state of affairs and returned with a larger fleet in 2526 to retake the devastated world.


  1. Halo: Contact Harvest
  2. Halo: Evolutions
  3. Halo: The Fall of Reach page 96-98

This article uses material from the "First Battle of Harvest" article on the Halo wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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