Battle of Cleveland
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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. Civilians notably were a significant part of the war effort against the Covenant in this conflict.
The Covenant assaulted Cleveland after Colonel James Ackerson told them about the Key of Osanalan, a supposed Forerunner artifact that was hidden in Cleveland, while under interrogation after his capture at the Battle of Mare Erythraeum. Ackerson said 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 in order to save his brother, Ruwan, and to confuse the Covenant; the Key was actually an imaginary object the brothers pretended to quest for when they were children. The Covenant would not destroy the city before getting the Key, and Ruwan's knowledge of the Key would help him escape.
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. 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.
Soon after the civilians were incarcerated, a team of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers attacked the stadium and swiftly killed most of the Covenant forces. They then evacuated the civilians. Ruwan stated that he knew what the Covenant were looking for, and he and Myras Tyla were brought to a secret UNSC base in the sewers of Cleveland to meet with the leader of the remaining UNSC forces in the area, Sergeant Twyker.
Destruction of the Harbinger of Piety
Although they were initially hostile to Ruwan, Twyker and Intelligence Operations Manager Wesley soon realized the importance of the Key of Osanlan. 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. Ruwan told them that he was the Key. Confused, the Covenant brought him aboard the CCS-class battlecruiser Harbinger of Piety before the Minister of Inquisition, who questioned him about the Halo array, but the civilian was confused. 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.
James Ackerson's death
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, the Jiralhanae Shipmaster of Triumphant Declaration.
The refugees were evacuated to a relief camp in Akron.
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.
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