Assault on the Tsavo Highway
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The Assault on the Tsavo Highway was an engagement during the Battle of Kenya in which surviving UNSC personnel from the destroyed Crow's Nest led by John-117 regrouped with scattered Marine forces across the Kenyan savanna before launching an attack on the Covenant-held Tsavo Highway in order to clear a path to the city of Voi.
During the Covenant assault on Earth in November 2552, the Jiralhanae-led fleet sent by the Prophet of Truth excavated the long-buried portal beneath the city of Mombasa in Kenya, Africa. As the warships used their energy projectors to fully uncover the artifact, Covenant ground troops heavily occupied the surrounding areas in eastern Africa; the city of Voi was the home of at least one anti-aircraft battery while the nearby Tsavo Highway was barricaded by heavy armor including Wraiths, Choppers and various detachments of infantry. The defending UNSC forces were overwhelmed by the Covenant and the survivors were scattered, with small numbers of troops fighting against the Covenant occupation in Voi and across the plains of nearby Tsavo. The final remaining UNSC stronghold was the 20th century airbase Crow's Nest which was located within close proximity to Voi and the Tsavo Highway. After her return from Installation 05 around November 15, Commander Miranda Keyes took command of Crow's Nest and began to formulate a plan to assault the Covenant forces in Voi.
On the morning of November 17, the Prophet of Truth arrived at Earth on board the Forerunner keyship Anodyne Spirit and descended into Kenya, eventually landing the vessel on top of the newly-uncovered portal. Spartan John-117 bailed out of the ship as it entered Earth's atmosphere, landing in the jungles of Tanzania. Several squads of Marines led by Sergeant Johnson and Thel 'Vadam managed to recover the Spartan and were brought to Crow's Nest. Commander Keyes and Admiral Hood briefed John-117 on their planned assault on the Covenant anti-aircraft defenses in Voi before the base was attacked by the Covenant. Despite heavy casualties, the UNSC was able to evacuate all of their surviving personnel before John destroyed the base with a bomb, denying it to the Covenant. Using a service elevator in Crow's Nest's southern hangar, the Spartan was able to escape from the base moments before it exploded, but was rendered unconscious as the elevator's cabling was destroyed, plunging him into the underground vehicle bay where a large number of surviving base personnel were located.
Upon regaining consciousness at the bottom of the elevator shaft, John heard Commander Keyes attempting to reach him through a COM channel laced with static. urging the Spartan to find transport and make his way towards Voi. John discovered that a number of Marines had managed to survive the destruction of Crow's Nest by taking shelter in the base's underground garage. A large number of wounded personnel were present, many of them receiving treatment by corpsmen. As several Marines discussed the loss of contact with other units, Gunnery Sergeant Reynolds took control of the situation, destroying a security camera with a battle rifle burst before ordering a Marine to activate the bay's emergency power. The sergeant then ordered all Marines fit for duty to report to the other side of the vehicle bay, where a Chaingun Warthog and Troop Transport Warthog were still intact while the corpsmen remained behind with the wounded. When a Marine asked what the tactical situation was, Reynolds replied that they were too far underground to establish communications with Commander Keyes, before ordering the Marines to mount up on the Warthogs and leave the base.
John took control of one of the Warthogs and the team began to leave the destroyed Crow's Nest, passing through a series of caves before reaching a checkpoint where several Marines of Second Squad were under attack by a Covenant scouting party. Reynolds announced their presence to the remnants of the squad as they opened fire, cutting down the small unit of Unggoy and Kig-Yar and allowing the two surviving Marines to join them on their Troop Transport Warthog. They then rolled out into the open countryside of Kenya, where another small Covenant unit was retreating upon noticing the Warthog's arrival. Opting to run the Covenant soldiers down, the Warthogs passed by a number of destroyed Phantoms, of which they overheard snippets of chatter on the Covenant battle network in which a Jiralhanae commander ordered his troops to keep the humans away from the excavation site. Several Marines discussed the fate of the Mombasa Tether as they traversed through sections of the space elevator which had been destroyed during the Battle of Mombasa on October 20. John-117 and his Warthogs continued to traverse the savanna on route to the Tsavo Highway, engaging several Covenant units around deployable lookout towers and a small defensive position near another destroyed Phantom. The team eventually reached a dam occupied by Covenant forces, with a Phantom deploying several units into the area. The UNSC forces began their attack, neutralizing a number of Shade turrets, Kig-Yar snipers and groups of infantry. Eventually clearing the area, the Warthogs moved past the dam.
Rallying scattered Marines
Around this time, Gunnery Sergeant Stacker had been leading a supply convoy down the Tsavo Highway containing supplies intended for the embattled Marines in Voi. Unfortunately, the convoy was strafed by Banshees before they could reach a nearby tunnel, and they were then engaged by a large contingent of Covenant ground forces, including a pair of Choppers. The Covenant deployed an Anti-vehicle barrier over the tunnel's entrance, placing Shade turrets to guard it and stationing several snipers in deployable lookout towers while infantry attacked the sergeant and his few remaining men, who holed up in a series of small buildings near the highway. Stacker sent out a distress call on the UNSC COM channel requesting assistance from any available forces. Fortunately, John-117 and the Marines from Crow's Nest arrived, just as the convoy's final Warthog was rammed by one of the Choppers and destroyed. The Master Chief quickly went to work, first assisting Stacker and his men in pushing back the infantry encroaching on their position, before attacking the nearby sniper nests. The remaining Covenant warriors fell back into the tunnel, taking cover behind the energy barrier while a swarm of Yanme'e arrived to reinforce them. Despite their presence, the UNSC forces managed to eliminate the entire swarm, along with the Shade turrets before John entered the barrier which was permeable to foot soldiers. He swiftly killed the straggling Covenant and destroyed the anti-vehicle barrier's power source, opening the way for the Warthogs to continue. Despite the loss of his supply convoy, Stacker assured John that the Marines in Voi would be grateful for his help.
After assisting the remaining Marines of Sergeant Stacker's convoy, John and the Marines under his command continued through the tunnel, along the heavily damaged Tsavo Highway. As they sped down the highway they witnessed the arrival of a CCS-class battlecruiser exiting slipspace above them and soaring down towards the crater to join the Covenant vessels that were completing their excavation of the portal site. At this moment, ONI Recon 111, who were observing the Covenant activity at the dig site, reported to Commander Keyes that they had confirmed the existence of the artifact in the crater, which Keyes believed was the Ark, but in truth was the portal that would lead to the installation that lay beyond the border of the Milky Way. John eventually reached a destroyed portion of the highway that was cordoned off by roadblocks, forcing the team to leave their Warthogs behind. They moved forward to the nearby pump house as Sergeant Johnson reported that resupply Pelicans would arrive in the valley to support their push against the heavily-defended highway leading to Voi. At the pump house, a large battle was in progress as a group of Marines on a nearby hilltop were attempting to fend off a Covenant assault. John arrived, assisting a pair of Marines against a small group of Covenant before they attacked a larger group of Jiralhanae and Unggoy that were attempting to rush the hilltop. Eventually breaking through to regroup with the Marines, they reported that their reconnaissance forces had spotted heavy Covenant armor ahead of their position and that they would need to defend their position until the Pelicans could bring in heavy weapons and vehicles.
Several Phantoms carrying large packs of Jiralhanae landed at the pump house, and a furious battle for control raged. Jiralhanae Jumpers attempted to use the high ridges in the area to pick off UNSC personnel while their fellows attacked from the ground. The Marines hunkered behind barriers and other debris and provided support John-117 as he fought against the Jiralhanae charging the hilltop. As the Covenant presence dwindled, a Wraith from a nearby Covenant garrison arrived in the area in an attempt to finish off the UNSC forces. John was able to use the various debris in the battlefield to close proximity with the tank and neutralize it. With the area secure, Sergeant Johnson reported that the resupply Pelicans were inbound. The Pelicans dropped off several Warthogs allowing the Marines to mount up and push onward towards the Tsavo Highway. Now mobilized, the UNSC launched an assault on the neighboring Covenant garrison, destroying the Choppers, Shade turrets and sniper nests before moving through a small tunnel that brought them back to the highway.
Attack on the Tsavo Highway
On the other side, the team killed a pair of Jiralhanae riders before they could return to their Choppers. Further ahead, the Covenant had heavily barricaded the highway, stationing a number of Wraiths and Shade turrets on and around it while a unit of Choppers patrolled the hill leading back onto the highway proper and a large pack of Jiralhanae defended the final approach into Voi. Determined to break through the Covenant defenses, John-117 and the group of UNSC vehicles under his command began their attack. With their superior manoeuvrability, the Warthogs were able to whittle down the number of attacking Choppers. Several Phantoms attempted to reinforce the Covenant by deploying more Choppers and another Wraith onto the hill but they failed to stop the determined human assault. Soon, all of the Covenant armor was neutralized and the UNSC forces returned to the Tsavo Highway, following it until they were forced to dismount and continue on foot due to Covenant roadblocks and a Jiralhanae ambush. Regardless, the UNSC forces managed to wipe out the first group of Covenant and continued, passing a hologram of the Prophet of Truth who preached that the engines of his keyship was in the process of powering up the portal. Cresting the hill, John and his team engaged the final bastion of Covenant troops who were entrenched around a downed Pelican and various roadblocks. Even a plasma cannon-wielding War Chieftain failed to halt the Spartans progress and John soon emerged victorious, destroying a final vehicle barrier and opening up the route to Voi.
With the Tsavo Highway now secure, several Pelicans including Kilo 023 arrived in the area, deploying a number of ground vehicles and Marines for the push into Voi. Commander Keyes, co-piloting Kilo 023, reported to Admiral Hood that the way was clear. The Admiral gave a short, motivational speech to the UNSC ground forces, promising to take the city of Voi back and drive the Covenant into the "grave" they had been digging. John-117 readied his assault rifle and mounted up, and the Warthog convoy moved onward to Voi.
With the Tsavo Highway now clear of Covenant forces, the UNSC were able to begin their plan to assault the Covenant anti-aircraft defences stationed in the nearby city of Voi. John-117 would spearhead this assault, destroying a number of Covenant Anti-Aircraft Wraiths, before he and Arbiter Thel 'Vadam led a strike force to destroy a Mantis anti-aircraft cannon, opening up a hole in the Covenant defenses and allowing Battle Group Victory to launch an assault on the Prophet of Truth's ship. While the Spartan would succeed in his mission, Truth would ultimately manage to activate the portal and escape Earth, leaving for the Ark along with his fleet.
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