Data Drop

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Data Drop is a collection of six classified documents, all of which were recovered from CASTLE Base by Section III of the Office of Naval Intelligence, posted on Halo Waypoint. The first Data Drop is centered around the planet Onyx, while the rest explain how the events of Halo: The Fall of Reach tie in with those seen in Halo: Reach.[1]

List of documents[edit]

Note: The following are exact content from Halo Waypoint. It is copied directly from each PDF file, and is not speculative.
Data Drop One
The image contained in Data Drop One.

The first data drop is nothing more than an image of a blue grid overlaying a starfield with a single section being identified by a large arrow. The image also possesses a white box containing text detailing an object within the indicated section. The text provides details of XF-063, the fourth planet in the Zeta Doradus system.[1]

Original document: File:XF-063 04-02-2491.pdf


Data Drop Two

The second data drop is an investigation report on Operation: BRAVADO made by Vice Admiral Hieronymus Stanforth to Admiral Parangosky.[2] The report, reproduced below, provides a brief summary of the battle, including the UNSC efforts of securing the planet from the Covenant.

Original document: File:DDR-A340021-2300-07-18-52.pdf
OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE/SECTION 3

DUE DILLIGENCE REPORT – A340021
2300 HOURS, JULY 18, 2552
CLASSIFIED TOP-SECRET
COMM-SCRIBED/PTS 9386-9

>> 00834-19223-HS // VADM STANFORTH, HIERONYMUS MICHAEL
<< 00230-00923-MP // ADM PARANGOSKY, MARGARET ORLENDA


RE: OPERATION: BRAVADO


Margaret,
Paperwork's almost done on this end. So is the whiskey. I guess that means I’ll be headed back your way before long, especially after the number I put Levi through this time around. Boatswain says it’ll be sidelined for two months at least, so I've already filed with Fleet to transfer the crew to Coenwulf when I make my rounds in Sydney.


At any rate, this one was certainly a victory, as difficult as it is for me to call it that. I know the casualty reports are going to look ugly, but that's nothing new. We lost about half the battlegroup, as well as Cradle. Surface didn't fare much better either: Caracas, Huiren, Côte d'Azur, Silma and Enfield, all parking lots now...some because the enemy’s good at what they do and others because we refused to give them the opportunity.


It's just been so long since we’ve walked away from one of these things alive. We crushed eighteen of those bastards. I can't remember the last time that happened. And now they're gone. It'll take us a few years to clean up, probably a dozen or so to fix what was done on the ground. But they're gone... that's got to count for something.


A file's attached with some interesting data Iroquois picked up. The Covenant were transmitting something from the planet’s surface before we blew the lid off it. We’re not sure what it was, but it would not surprise me in the least if it ends up being grouped with sites like Onyx, Meridian, Arcadia or even that thing Halsey’s digging up on Reach.


Anyway, AAR is en route. Talk to you soon, maybe over tea?


-HMS

Data Drop Three

The third Data Drop features Admiral Parangosky's reply to Stanforth's message, where she asks the Vice Admiral to return to Reach immediately and suggests they start considering the initiation of Operation: RED FLAG. Also featured is an ONI behavioral analysis of Dr. Catherine Halsey.[3]

Original document: File:DDR-A340021-0325-07-19-52.pdf
OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE/SECTION 3

DUE DILLIGENCE REPORT – A340021
0325 HOURS, JULY 19, 2552
CLASSIFIED TOP-SECRET
COMM-SCRIBED/PTS 9386-9

>> 00230-00923-MP // ADM PARANGOSKY, MARGARET ORLENDA

<< 00834-19223-HS // VADM STANFORTH, HIERONYMUS MICHAEL


RE: OPERATION: BRAVADO


Hello Harold,
Well done. I wish I could extend a more formal congratulations than that, but it'll have to wait, as will our tea. Something's come up and we need you at Reach immediately. Informants on Verge are pointing to an ultra-radical wing of the People's Occupation. Not much of a surprise there, as you've been around since well before this Covenant business started, but my water is telling me something else is brewing. We've run some numbers based on the Covenant's movement pattern over the last nine months and the results are... well, not good. Epsilon Eridani is at 87.2% probability of intersect within the next five months. Eight-seven percent. It's never been that high.


I think we need to start seriously considering RED FLAG. Send me updates on the recommendation docs you were working on back in March, so we can evaluate them here in Sydney. Obviously, keep this between you and me and don't mind the ONI trawlers on Reach combing for that data Keyes picked up. They'll being asking everyone involved questions, but remember that I sign their checks so there’s nothing to worry about. Just make sure your folks aren't withholding critical intel when it matters most.


Also, it's interesting that you should bring up Halsey. I know she'll likely be involved in anything we do with RED FLAG, but she's been on the end of a very long leash for a while now and my patience is wearing thin. Since she stumbled onto that artifact in Visegrád, she's been rummaging around in the wrong file cabinets - mine, and more specifically: the data we collected from Onyx. At this point, I'd be shocked if she hadn't pieced together what we believe the planet actually is, but I'm keeping her in Viery with half a dozen eyes watching her every move.


I'm only telling you this because I know you're fond of her and I respect you. Her free-ride days are numbered though, so you should brace yourself for that.


Take care. I'll drop you a line when you get to Hathcock.


- P


Original document: File:HABA-8293-92.pdf
HEMLEY & AUBOURN BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS May 8, 2551

NAME: HALSEY, CATHERINE ELIZABETH, M.D., Ph.D.
DOB: MARCH 19, 2492
BIRTHPLACE: PORT VERNON, ENDYMION
CURRENT RESIDENCE: CSONGRÁD, REACH
EMPLOYER: UNSC//ONI//S3//00834-19223-HS
SERVICE NUMBER: CC-409871

GENERAL COGNITIVE PERF: 98.527%
MURDOCH/FLETCHER PERF: 69.728%
TEAM COMMITMENT EVAL: 16.821%
ISHIDA COMPLEX EVAL: 39.418%
POLICY COMPLIANCE EVAL: 15.223%
HABA LIABILITY INDEX: 94.988%

ADD'L NOTES:
Not terribly forthcoming, but we didn't expect her to be going in. With such an absurdly high GCP, it's difficult to determine with any substantive accuracy whether or not the remaining metrics are reliable, but we’ve checked and cross-checked these fives times, so we’re feeling pretty safe with the results the machine spit out.

Obviously the real concern here is the net Liability index we've tracked her at. She's overall 64% higher than the average ONI rating. For this reason, we're recommending 2-3 handlers for both sites (Csongrád and Babd Catha), and surveillance whenever she's called off-planet, which we would STRONGLY discourage at this time.

ANALYST: B.M. PARKES, 8293-92
Data Drop Four

In the fourth Data Drop, Vice Admiral Stanforth responds to Parangosky, showing his concern about initiating RED FLAG and sacrificing Reach in the process. A document detailing the specifics of the operation is attached.[4]

Original document: File:DDR-A340021-0250-08-01-52.pdf
OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE/SECTION 3

DUE DILLIGENCE REPORT – A340021
0250 HOURS, AUGUST 1, 2552
CLASSIFIED TOP-SECRET
COMM-SCRIBED/PTS 9386-9

>> 00834-19223-HS // VADM STANFORTH, HIERONYMUS MICHAEL

<< 00230-00923-MP // ADM PARANGOSKY, MARGARET ORLENDA


RE: OPERATION: BRAVADO


Just got back into Epsilon Eridani. I brought half the battlegroup here with the rest staying back to make sure there's no rematch at Sigma Octanus. I'm pretty sure it's not the last time that colony will see action, but we'll be ready for them when they come back.


Your concerns about Reach bother me, especially if you're actually considering RED FLAG. That was never intended to be used for anything other than a last resort, and definitely not with Reach. The military sacrifice involved here would be... well, there's nothing of that magnitude recorded in human history. This would be a first.


Nevertheless, I've attached the original stratagem doc for RED FLAG, updated to reflect the most recent reqs. As you said, Catherine would have to be involved in some way or shape, obviously, but I ll use discretion as always.


Damn it, Margaret. I really hope it hasn't come to this.


- HMS


Original document: File:93893-PRELIM.pdf
OPERATION: RED FLAG/ 93893


SUM/INTENT: The secured capture of a living "HIGH PROPHET" for the purposes of bartering a formal ceasefire with the Covenant.


PRELIM INQ: Evidence suggests that the capture of a Tier-1 asset would provide enough political leverage for a ceasefire [AF-23]. The problem, of course, is getting ahold of the right asset, and in this case, a “HIGH PROPHET,” one of the key members of their leadership caste. Current intel indicates that there are only three in existence and that they reside in the mobile dome-ship structure the Covenant refer to as "HIGH CHARITY" or, on occasion, a flagship carrier [CLASS-FIVE CSO/CAS], neither of which we’ve had real access to before. Not permanent access, at least [RL-54].


OBJECTIVE: Use a substantially-sized, high-impact team of S-II military personnel wearing qualified MJOLNIR gear to assault a Covenant vessel, acquire full, unmitigated control and return it, without suspicion, back to the dome-ship structure. There, the team would split up into discrete covert splinter groups, gather sufficient intel, seize an appropriately targeted Tier-1 asset and withdraw back to a ship, securing ad hoc exfiltration.


COLLATERAL: The need for a Class-Five is paramount to the success of this operation, but it would likely require the sacrifice of a colony of significant value to the Covenant, potentially one with a high accretion of alien artifacts of non-Covenant origin, such as the volumes recorded on Harvest, Meridian, Arcadia, or even Reach. We would have to lower our defenses, draw the enemy in, and then acquire transport by force.


//END OF ORIGINAL SPEC REPORT//

--PLEASE INSERT ADDITIONAL NOTES BELOW--

COMM-SCRIBED/PTS 9386-9


ADDENDUM: Margaret, my original notes did include Reach here, but this was only a hypothetical and based entirely on what we've found there. You should keep in mind that using Reach as bait for this op is not an option I'm willing to consider. It's tactical suicide. We'd be giving them the war with only Earth left to fall back to, something I will not endorse. The only exception to this, in my mind, would be if the Covenant had already located Reach and it was deemed indefensible.


PRELIM REQ: The following assets are needed for this operation:


NOTE: I've submitted these reqs to Halsey, since half of this shopping list is from her store. She has an AI lined up already [CTN 0452-9], I'll ping you with details once I have them.


Still holding out that this is just a fire drill.

Data Drop Five

The fifth Data Drop is a message from Stanforth to Parangosky, where he reluctantly green-lights Operation: RED FLAG. Stanforth explains that while the Covenant invasion of Reach is underway on one side of the planet, a number of UNSC personnel–Captain Keyes and the Pillar of Autumn crew included–are still being kept ignorant of the Covenant's presence. Attached to the transmission are files on the key assets and staff involved in RED FLAG, along with Stanforth's notes on each of them.[5]

Original document: File:DDR-A340024-1115-08-27-52.pdf
OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE/SECTION 3

DUE DILLIGENCE REPORT – A340024
1115 HOURS, AUGUST 27, 2552
CLASSIFIED TOP-SECRET
COMM-SCRIBED/PTS 9386-9

>> 00834-19223-HS // VADM STANFORTH, HIERONYMUS MICHAEL
<< 00230-00923-MP // ADM PARANGOSKY, MARGARET ORLENDA


RE: OPERATION: RED FLAG

STATUS: GREEN


Margaret,
Some days I really get the feeling that we’re going to burn in hell for the things we do. Today is one of those days. Just finished briefing the team with Halsey and they still don’t suspect a thing. No one does on this side of the planet. We’re keeping them well away from the primary target sites where, as far as I can tell, all hell is breaking loose and has been for some time. Army says they’ve got it handled groundside, but I’ll believe that when I see it. Regardless, we can’t allow RED FLAG to be compromised by what’s going on over there. If it does, this’ll all be for naught.


I feel like we’re going to need to tell Keyes at some point, otherwise, as soon as the Covenant show up – and I mean really show up – he’ll scrub RED FLAG and jump in with guns blazing. He’s not the type to avoid a fight, hell, he ran headlong into one just last month, all on his own. Our one hope is that the Covenant bring their big ships to the front early and that the Spartans can do what they do best.


Holland’s informed me that the only [CLASS-FIVE CSO] they’ve confirmed, a vessel called “LONG NIGHT OF SOLACE,” was dropped just outside of New Alexandria a few days ago. That could have been ours if SpecWar wasn’t so damn trigger happy. Now we’ll just have to wait, pull the Covenant in deep enough to bring the damn trap down right on top of them.


ATTACHED: Cortana’s catalogued metrics for the key staff/assets (including herself), with some of my notes affixed to each. Let me know what you think within the next few hours. Otherwise, as per our talk last week, we’re green-lit for RED FLAG as of 0100 hours...and I pray to God that we’re doing the right thing.


-HMS


CORTANA


SERVICE NUMBER: CTN 0452-9
ACTIVATION DATE: November 7, 2549
BRANCH: UNSC Navy, Office of Naval Intelligence
RANK: Smart AI Construct


Not a lot on file here, so it looks like Halsey’s done a decent job of covering her tracks (and I can’t blame her, given the AI’s actual origin).


I know full well that neither of you get along and I’m definitely not claiming that she shouldn’t be held accountable for some of the stunts she’s pulled. Reality is that we need her for this op. That’s why she’s been here for the last three decades.


As indicated in the previous conversation, she’s splitting Cortana into two separate programs in order to juggle the Visegrád findings with this operation, and she’s assured me that the AI is fully functional, well within her capacity for this mission. I believe her and I’m hoping that you can believe me.


FULL NAME: JACOB KEYES


SERVICE NUMBER: 01928-19912-JK
DATE OF BIRTH: February 8, 2495
HEIGHT: 194.3cm
WEIGHT: 96.2kg


BRANCH: UNSC Navy
RANK: Captain
BIRTHWORLD: Earth
CURRENT RESIDENCE: Luna


At the end of the day, there are half a dozen CO’s we could easily slot here, but there’s only one who I’d trust with my life and that’s Keyes. Having worked with him several times over the last decade, I can attest to his innate prowess in astrogation and naval warfare, but more importantly, the man is just plain fearless. I would definitely use “reckless” to describe anyone who I’d thought fit the bill, but I’ve found no fault in his tactics. He’s handled some things that even I can’t really quantify or explain, most recently the “Loopdeal at Sigma Octanus IV.


He’d have been the first name on my list if I was the one making it.


SHIP NAME: UNSC PILLAR OF AUTUMN


REGISTRY: C-709
CLASS: Halcyon-class Light Cruiser
LAUNCH DATE: December 1, 2510
REFIT DATE: March 19, 2550

LENGTH: 1,171m
BEAM: 352m

ENGINE CONFIG:

Mark II Hanley-Messer DFR (3)
Series V CODEN/SFTE – Main (1)


ARMAMENT:

MAC (1)
Missile Delivery System (10 pods x 24 missiles, M58 “Archer”)
Point Defense System (40 guns, 50mm M910 PDN)


Not terribly surprised at this selection due the over-bulked, overmassed honeycomb interstitial framework. It’s ironic, I suppose, that the same absurd design that forced this ship into the scrap yard years ago is resurrecting it for RED FLAG.

A cruiser was an obvious choice, as noted in my prelim, but the reason she opted for a Halcyon - this particular Halcyon, in fact – is because it can take an incredible beating without suffering functional compromise far longer than any other ships we current field.

She might be slow and cumbersome, but she’s a real beast, especially now that they’ve tweaked her armament. Good choice.


FULL NAME: JOHN-117


SERVICE NUMBER: S-117
DATE OF BIRTH: [CLASSIFIED]
HEIGHT: 208.3cm
WEIGHT: 130kg


MJOLNIR MARK V INTEGRATION:
HEIGHT IN ARMOR: 218cm
WEIGHT WITH UNDERARMOR: 179kg
WEIGHT WITH FULL ARMOR: 451.3kg


BRANCH: UNSC Navy, Naval Special Weapons
RANK: Master Chief Petty Officer
BIRTHWORLD: Eridanus II
CURRENT RESIDENCE: N/A


Looking at his CSV en total, my first thought is that this is fabricated. His service record reads like a career composite of three full Tier-1/L5 ODST squads, back to back for two and a half decades.


Dear God, active in 207 ground engagements and those are just the ones that we’re able to file on record. If I wasn’t on line to approve his deployment for these, again and again, I wouldn’t believe any of it.


And he’s just one of the SPARTAN-II assets we’ll have onboard, there’s 25 of them being recalled for this op, all from a multitude of theaters, some even being pulled directly from combat.


If that doesn’t scream last resort, I don’t know what does.

Data Drop Six

The sixth Data Drop is a group of transmissions sent by the crew of the Pillar of Autumn, captured by ONI Section 3, in the morning of August 30, 2552. The first message helps explain how the Autumn was able to land in Aszod later in the day, while the second offers an explanation for the replacement of the M90 CAWS with the M45 shotgun in Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary. The last two are transmissions by suspicious crew members trying to find out what is happening on the planet.[6]

Original document: File:POA taggedcomm0233.pdf
OPERATION: RED FLAG <//> SECTION 3 [STAGGERED SCAN]
TAGGED COMM-0233 <//> MULTI-SPLICE CAPTURE ON UNSC PILLAR OF AUTUMN
[MST - AUG. 30 - 0414 HRS]
Data Drop 6-1.png
"Dowski, next time you take a picture of something, pull back a bit, will you? It took me a full five minutes to figure out what exactly this was. But yeah, there are eight of these booster packages slapped onto Autumn’s flanking hardpoints—R7 thrust couplings, shipped out from Siófok. EVA techs installed ‘em yesterday and were running tests for three hours straight. But to answer your question...if you’re asking whether I think she’d hold up in-atmo, hell yeah, she’d hold up, but no one here is crazy enough to try it. Class-L flash-docks are basic math for a corvette or a frigate, but for a cruiser like Autumn, well, let’s be real, it’d be like flying a brick with bottle rockets. Those couplings have to be for something else—something not listed in the mission specs. Your guess is as good as mine."

"I’ve already done this dance once with the captain and I’ll do it again if I have to. If the Spartans keep pulling more gear from the armory—way more than they need—there’ll be problems. Locklear says they already took all the M90s from the aft rack which is complete BS. I don’t care if it’s functionally the same as the 45E, Wellsley, they don’t have the run on every piece of kit on this ship—there’s only twenty-five of them for god’s sake. Hannover assured me that we wouldn’t be sidelined for RED FLAG and I’m going to make sure that we’re not. We’re here to fight, probably because someone upstairs doesn’t think the Navy can get the job done on its own. Not the first time. Get Keyes on the comm now before I do something I’ll regret."

Data Drop 6-2.png
Data Drop 6-3.png
“CO is making me ride shotgun again on Soda so I’m running a final weapons check to make sure none of the system faults we saw yesterday are still red. Can you have maintenance look at the cylinder head on M910 serial A5883? I filed a report earlier about a leak and we’re still seeing fluid seeping out into space... a ton of it! Not sure why the hell they won’t get off their asses to fix it, but now Keyes has seen it and he’s fired up. They’d better get things sorted before we get back. Also, was there some sort of fireworks celebration planned for today that I don’t know about? Our geosynch req’s got us holding steady over Lábatlan, but I swear I saw something flare up over Eposz few minutes ago. We’re way too far to confirm though. My condo’s in New Alexandria. I’ll have to ask Candace if she saw anything when we get back.”

“Can you please get Casimir Station on the line for me again? Cortana’s running through theta right now so I’m trying to check our sensor matrix before it cycles, but I’m noticing some heavy EM readings bouncing off Turul and I’m not sure what to make of it. CTR3 says it’s fine, but I’ve seen fine before and this ain’t it. These numbers...they’re through the damn roof! Is this why FLEETCOM won’t let us out from Lábatlan? Bridge crew is starting to ask questions and the captain’s gonna be here in a few. I’d like a reason for why we’re parked in all of this heavy traffic with the rest of the fleet instead of pushing out pass the moon and I don’t want that scripted crap about their relay being down. Get someone out there to fix the damn thing already if it’s holding up this much traffic!”

Data Drop 6-4.png

Trivia[edit]

  • When the PDF for Data Drop Two is opened in a web browser, the loading screen shows that the file contains 1117 kilobytes, a reference to John-117's service tag.
  • In Data Drop 5, (set on August 27), Vice Admiral Stanforth states that Captain Keyes is not yet aware that Reach has been under attack for weeks. In Halo: The Fall of Reach's Adjunct, however, Keyes confides to Kopano N'Singile, Sub-commander of ONI Section II, that he is aware of the invasion and is under orders not to tell the crew about it. The date of Keyes' message is not stamped, but it mentions that the Pillar of Autumn's refit is 98% complete; the refit was completed on August 29, so it is clear that Keyes had been informed of the attack by this time.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Halo Waypoint: Office of Naval Intelligence//Section 3 - Data Drop One
  2. ^ Waypoint: Office of Naval Intelligence//Section 3 - Data Drop Two
  3. ^ Waypoint: Office of Naval Intelligence//Section 3 - Data Drop Three
  4. ^ Waypoint: Office of Naval Intelligence//Section 3 - Data Drop Four
  5. ^ Waypoint: Office of Naval Intelligence//Section 3 - Data Drop Five
  6. ^ Waypoint: Office of Naval Intelligence//Section 3 - Data Drop Six

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