Battle of Cleveland
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|Battle of Cleveland|
- "I gotta know... how much of your Earth campaign did you lose trying to find it? Come on, I really want to know... how many of you idiots did it take to screw in an imaginary lightbulb?"
- — Colonel James Ackerson on the Covenant's defeat shortly after the Battle of Cleveland.
The Battle of Cleveland was an engagement between the United Nations Space Command and the Covenant that took place in Cleveland, Ohio, on Earth during the Battle for Earth around between November 16 and 17, 2552.[Note 1] Civilians notably were a significant part of the war effort against the Covenant in this conflict. This battle was a turning point of the Battle for Earth and ultimately delayed the Covenant from pressing their overrunning onslaught of Earth but at cost of the UNSC's Home Fleet over Earth and most of surviving UNSC planetside forces being already routed by the Prophet of Truth's final overwhelming invasion forces despite particularly hard fighting.
- Colonel James Ackerson: "Good luck... you won't stand a chance."
- Shipmaster Lepidus: "We're having our way with it. Right now. And you will be executed as part of the victory ceremony."
- Colonel James Ackerson: "If you idiots...rrr...attack Earth... you will never find the Key."
- — Colonel James Ackerson and the Shipmaster Lepidus.
Following the loss of Mars at the hands of the Covenant Fleet of Furious Redemption, the Covenant, now under command of the Prophet of Truth and Jiralhanae as of the beginning of the Great Schism, began to concentrate more of their forces on Earth, resulting in a dramatic increase of ground and naval deployments on the planet. At some point before the assault on Cleveland, Australia, particularly Sydney, was assaulted by the Covenant and much of the country or the continent was brutally destroyed by the Covenant bombardment.
Aboard one of the Furious Redemption vessels, Triumphant Declaration, Colonel James Ackerson was captured aboard the battlecruiser after the Battle of Mare Erythraeum, where he was about to be executed by Lepidus, the Jiralhanae Shipmaster of the ship, in celebration of the defeat of Mars and Earth. However, after Colonel James Ackerson told them about the Key of Osanalan, a supposed Forerunner artifact that was apparently hidden in Cleveland, while under interrogation after his capture at the Battle of Mare Erythraeum. Ackerson said that the Covenant will not find the Key if they are continuing to destroy remaining Earth cities, and that the Key was a necessary component for the firing sequence of the Halo Array. However, Ackerson told the Covenant about the Key of Osanalan only in order to confuse the Covenant and to save his brother, Ruwan; the Key was actually an imaginary object the brothers pretended to quest for when they were children. Confused and worried by the now unconscious Colonel, the Covenant assaulted Cleveland around morning of November 16 or evening of November 15 but would not destroy the city before getting the Key, and Ruwan's knowledge of the Key would help him and others escape.
Fight for the Key of Osanalan
- "This came!! That's what came!!! This is it? This?? Why are they here?? Look at all the stuff they have!! Why do they need to do this?? Blowing up a fancy hotel?? Taking over a hotel?? You came halfway across whatever to take over a resort city?? I don't understand!! We weren't bothering anybody!!"
- — Civilian Ruwan Ackerson when the Covenant began their assault on Cleveland.
The Covenant quickly assaulted Cleveland, taking light casualties as they battled Marines and armed civilians. However, during the battle, the Covenant did not make any attempt to destroy the city or kill any civilians. At this time, Ruwan Ackerson who worked as a hotel concierge meet Myras Tyla, a famous styllight player, in an attacked hotel. After successfully securing most of the city, the Covenant captured many civilians and brought them to the Old Cleveland stadium in order to question them about the Key of Osanalan. Among the civilians, Ruwan Ackerson stated to Myras Tyla that he knew what the Covenant were looking.
Soon after the civilians were incarcerated, a fireteam of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers dropped off from AV-14 Hornets attacked the stadium and swiftly killed most of the Covenant forces, allowing everyone to flee, and Ruwan and Myras Tyla escaped as well and drove a M831 Warthog to safety after taking two fallen Type-25 plasma pistols. Tyla blamed her ex-boyfriend, Philip, for having left her behind in the city while thinking of spending a new life with Ruwan. They headed to a safe section of the city, where Myras killed off a trio of Unggoy Minors with an overcharged bolt strike from her plasma pistol. They helped themselves to some supplies on the Warthog, and set up a little camp for themselves. Furthermore, they chatted a while, and almost kissed just when the ground started to shake and chunking sounds were from a Deutoros-pattern Scarab that appeared, forcing them to run to relative safety.
Then, after riding the Warthog again despite encountering several Jiralhanae resistances, Ruwan and Myra arrived at a D77H-TCI Pelican used as an evacuation transport for civilian to meet a team of Marines in attempt to find Ruwan's colonel brother, James, just when a Ruwaa-pattern Shadow violently crashed on the area, causing a large explosion in the city. However, Ruwan and Tyla and other civilians survived the crash and were later saved by the team and escaped the city in the Pelican, where the two formers tell the Marines what the Key of Osanalan is.
Luring the Covenant forces
Ruwan Ackerson, Myras Tyla, and the squad were brought in the Cleveland sewers. By the time, the Forerunner Dreadnought carrying the Prophet of Truth, still scrambled by the SPARTAN-II Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, arrived over Earth on November 17 in early morning where the UNSC Home Fleet was now practically decimated by the fighting in high Earth orbit against Truth's final and massive Covenant armada, which let the fleet to finish it off by beginning to bombard the rest of the planet, resulting massive human casualties. Ruwan, Tyla and the squad eventually end up in a secret underground UNSC base to meet with the leader of the remaining UNSC forces in the area, Sergeant Twyker. There, Ruwan explains to the marines how he and his brother made up the Key of Osanalan when they were boys.
Although they were initially hostile to Ruwan, Twyker and Intelligence Operations Manager Wesley soon realized the importance of the Key of Osanalan. They contacted the Covenant to inform them that they had the Key and requested a meeting to deliver it to the Covenant. Ruwan volunteered to partake in the meeting and was injected with Tykos 30, an organic tracking material. Meanwhile, Tyla and other civilians were evacuated.
He then was taken to Chagrin Falls, where a Jiralhanae chieftain demanded that Ackerson relinquish the Key of Osanalan and surrounded him with an army of Jiralhanae. Ruwan told them that he was the Key. Confused, the Covenant brought him aboard an orbiting Ket-pattern battlecruiser in mid-low Earth orbit and near the Forerunner Dreadnought, Harbinger of Piety, before the San'Shyuum Minister of Inquisition, who questioned him about the Halo Array, but the civilian was confused. Then again, he vowed to spare Earth from the Covenant assault in exchange for knowledge of Ruwan. The Minister of Inquisition then revealed he knew about the tracking material inside Ackerson and presumed that it was a homing beacon for rescue. Ruwan corrected him, stating it was a targeting vector for the orbital defense platform Nassau to fire on the ship. Nassau Station then fired its Magnetic Accelerator Cannon, destroying the ship and killing everyone aboard.
After hearing of the destruction of Harbinger of Piety, Ackerson began to openly mock the Covenant, saying that their pompous arrogance would cost them the war. He was then beheaded by Lepidus who claimed that the Covenant's blind fervor will lead to their victory.
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Because of their gullibility, the Covenant lost many soldiers and ships, as well as an important minister, in the search for the nonexistent Key of Osanalan. However, this victory came at a cost: Cleveland was catastrophically damaged as a result of the furious urban combat that took place, and a large percentage of its civilian population were killed in the sudden invasion.
List of appearances
- Halo: Uprising (First appearance)
- See Battle for Earth's Notes section though the Battle of Cleveland most likely took place on the morning of November 16 by regarding part of Halo: Uprising comic.
- Halo Uprising, issue #4
- Halo: Uprising, issue #1
- Halo: Uprising, issue #3
- Halo: Uprising, issue #2
- Halo Waypoint, Mars (Retrieved on Jun 14, 2021) [archive]
- Halo 3, campaign level Crow's Nest
- Halo: Uprising, issue #1: This quote from Ruwan Ackerson could indicate that the Covenant bombardment on Sydney may have taken place before the Battle of Cleveland. "Did you see what they did to Mombasa? Or--or Australia?"
- Halo Encyclopedia (2009 edition), chapter Earth: p. 284-285, (2009); p. 296-297 (2011 edition)