Battle for Tribute
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The Battle for Tribute was an engagement of the Human-Covenant War that took place on and around the planet Tribute in the Epsilon Eridani system in August 2552, between the Covenant and the United Nations Space Command.[Note 1] The battle proved to be long-lasting, and only ended with the beginning of the Great Schism in November of 2552, when the Sangheili and Jiralhanae forces around Tribute turned on each other.
After the Covenant began their invasion of Reach on July 24, 2552, they also attacked the other colonies in the Epsilon Eridani system, including Tribute. Despite the brave efforts of the United Nations Space Command forces protecting the planet, the Covenant soon gained the upper hand in the battle. Eventually, the Covenant began to target population and industrial centers for orbital plasma bombardment. Orbital Drop Shock Trooper Corporal Taylor Miles was present during the evacuation of the colony, and witnessed the near total destruction of the UNSC Navy escort fleet in orbit as they protected civilian refugees where the fleet suffered ninety percent losses. Army forces also participated in the battle.
The battle apparently lasted for some time, as the Covenant continued to blockade the planet. SPARTAN-II Team Black was sent to Verge to destroy a beacon supplying the Covenant ships with helium used as fuel in their reactors. Team Black succeeded in their mission, presumably hindering the Covenant assault. As the battle continued, Jiralhanae forces began to land in force. Although, much to their surprise, stiff UNSC and civilian resistance left the packs bloodier than their chieftains had anticipated. However, with the Covenant having uncontested control of most of the skies and space at Tribute, the UNSC could do little to save the colony.
The battle at Jaeraub
The city of Jaeraub came under attack during the battle. The western front would take the brunt of the Covenant assault. A platoon of the 105th Shock Troops Division were deployed to counter the force. In the end, they delayed the Covenant long enough to evacuate the city's civilians.
Battle of Casbah
The Battle of Casbah saw numerous conflicts between Covenant and UNSC forces in Casbah City, the capital of Tribute. During one of the final engagements in the city, a Spartan III fireteam engaged the massive Covenant assault force in the capital, as did a team of Spartan IIs.[Note 2] One of these Spartan teams stayed behind, holding off a large Covenant force so a small number of remaining civilians could escape the colony; they were ultimately killed, though their mission was successful.
Final days of battle
Ironically, Tribute's survival is credited to the interference from the Covenant's High Prophets of Truth and Regret, who both began to consolidate their loyal forces once Installation 04 was discovered on September 19, 2552. The remaining Covenant ships in Tribute's orbit targeted human forces when they could, but they did so with little interest. Otherwise, most Covenant forces on the planet simply waited for new orders and began moving orbital ship wreckage in preparation for a renewed campaign of glassing the defenseless Tribute.
While the Covenant fleet in orbit managed to somewhat glass the planet, the battle became interrupted when the Great Schism began on November 2, 2552. The Sangheili and Jiralhanae forces on the planet turned on each other and ignored Tribute's humans. As the Covenant civil war resulted in the destruction of most Covenant ships over the planet, human survivors could only look on in confusion. At some point during the battle, the SDV-class heavy corvette Supplication of Purity would be destroyed, crash-landing on Tribute mostly intact.
Aftermath and legacy
Tribute's fall was considered one of the defining tragedies of the Human-Covenant War, as it had huge economic ramifications on Earth and the surviving colonies in the post-war period. Tribute was partially glassed in the conclusion of the battle, although it would be restored to a habitable state in the postwar years as the survivors rallied to the planet's eventual reclamation and rebuilding. Many of Tribute's major cities were heavily damaged and few industrial sites were left unscathed. Over half of Tribute's population was killed during the battle, but Earth was unable to provide any immediate assistance with the colonies of the Sol system in ruins after the Covenant's invasion. However, enough infrastructure remained intact on the planet to allow Tribute's survivors to begin rebuilding the planet's ecology and once powerful economy. Though the UEG and UNSC still had to deal with Covenant remnants that remained in the system following the war. Following the battle, prototypes of the Rex VISR were tested by UNSC Marine Corps units to track down Jiralhanae holdouts on the planet. At some point between 2555 and 2558, UNSC Central Command Region One entered negotiations with Covenant fleet remnants, with Olympia Vale serving as an advisor.
During the battle, the freighter Floral Express fled the planet while carrying colonial refugees. Presumably following a random slipspace trajectory per the Cole Protocol, the ship arrived near Installation 03 in the Khaphrae system on October 8, 2552. This would lead the Office of Naval Intelligence to uncover the Composer after the war, which would be secured on nearby Ivanoff Station.
Following the Covenant war, the MA5D assault rifle used by Vanus Hamaad at Jaeraub was displayed at Outpost Discovery. The wreckage of the Supplication of Purity would also be recovered from Tribute and later used as part of an exhibit at Outpost Discovery.
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