Battle of Meridian
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The Battle of Meridian was an engagement of the Human-Covenant War between the United Nations Space Command and Covenant at the human Outer Colony of Meridian in the Hestia system. Beginning in 2548, the Battle of Meridian continued for three years as the Covenant attempted to diminish the UNSC's strong resistance on the world. Ultimately, Meridian was glassed by the Covenant in 2551.
Meridian was a major human Outer Colony with a robust economy and a large United Nations Space Command presence, home to several major military contractors that provided the UNSC with equipment, including Chalybs Defense Solutions. Within the final years of the Human-Covenant War, most of Meridian's population had believed they had somehow survived the Covenant's onslaught throughout the Outer Colonies. However, the Covenant had discovered the world in 2548 and, realizing Meridian's value to the rest of the UNSC, sought to blockade Meridian.
Meridian was discovered by the Covenant in 2548, and the moon quickly came under siege as the Covenant attempted to cut off supply lines from Meridian to other fronts in the war. However, the United Nations Space Command fiercely fought against the Covenant invaders, with Meridian's impressive UNSC Air Force garrisons and extensive orbital defense grid. The initial battle lasted for a week out near Hestia's moons, aided by the fact that the attacking Covenant fleet was smaller than usual. However, the Covenant eventually broke through and began surface operations.
Despite the Covenant breaking through, the human defenses were able to continue to bottle up most of the Covenant forces in orbit. The Covenant were also impeded by the presence of the Forerunner artifact in Brume-sur-Mer which kept them from glassing Meridian due to their reverence for Forerunner artifacts and unwillingness to harm them. The fighting in and around Meridian's atmosphere caused atmosphere disturbances that caused heavier than usual rain storms, even for Meridian's rainy season.
The first prototype for the HRUNTING/YGGDRASIL Mark IX "Mantis" ADS engaged in an action known as the "Cherbourg Run", in which it successfully engaged eighteen heavily guarded Type-27 Anti Aircraft Cannons. The success of the prototype in the "Cherbourg Run" is one of the theories of why the walker was eventually called "Mantis".
On the ground, the UNSC and Meridian's military mainly focused on defending major population centers, not informing the planet's population of the invasion as per procedure to avoid causing a panic. However, one of the places targeted by the Covenant was the remote town of Brume-sur-Mer which had a Forerunner artifact buried under the town that the Covenant was interested in. When the Covenant invaded, bringing a Ceudar-pattern heavy corvette that they anchored over the town, the residents were unprepared and around thirty percent of the population was killed. The rest fled into the town's old bomb shelter where they remained safe as the Covenant focused mainly on excavating the artifact and established a shield barrier around the area to keep the UNSC out. Having been outside of the shelter at the time the invasion began, local teens Saskia Nazari, Victor Gallardo, Dorian Nguyen and Evelyn Rousseau linked up with Spartan-III Owen-B096 who had crashed on the moon while trying to defend it from Covenant forces. Owen trained the teens in combat and they worked on disrupting the Covenant operations and rescuing the townspeople. The five succeeded in rescuing the survivors from the bomb shelter and fled in an old Prowler belonging to the Sundered Legion, damaging the corvette when it tried to stop them. The survivors linked up with the UNSC cruiser UNSC Sparrow in orbit and were transported to safety. ONI, the Xeno-Materials Exploitation Group in particular, became interested in the Forerunner artifact the Covenant were after and sought to keep it out of the hands of the Covenant and potentially to use it themselves in the war effort. To this end, they enlisted the aid of the four teens that had helped Owen to get the artifact before the Covenant could.
Three months after departing Meridian, the teens, now Local Team, returned to Brume-sur-Mer and worked with the Meridian militia to recover the artifact which proves to contain a map to a Forerunner structure in Annecy. With ONI having trouble extracting them, Owen and the militia forces travel to Annecy where the teens learn that Meridian has actually been besieged for six months rather than three as they were led to believe and that parts of the moon don't even know about it yet. With the recovered artifact proving to be a key to activating the Forerunner structure which the Covenant had excavated some time earlier, Owen, the militia and Local Team removed a piece of the structure as well as the activation statute, despite knowing that without a Forerunner artifact to seek, the Covenant would now inevitably glass the moon.
Shortly after the Unified Earth Government had taken full control of the world, the Covenant returned to Meridian in the same year and the Battle of Meridian continued. The Covenant's sheer power eventually destroyed most of the world's resistance, though Captain Edmund Persie of UNSC Sevenfold Gates continued to fight against the Covenant as the battle neared its end. Eventually, Persie and the remaining vessels in Meridian's defense fleet were forced to retreat to the edge of the Hestia system. Five hours after the Navy's retreat, Meridian had been glassed by the Covenant.
At least three CAS-class assault carriers glassed the moon, including the High Prophet of Regret's Solemn Penance. Following the battle, a Covenant Special Operations team was dispatched by the Prophet of Regret to the moon's surface to search for Forerunner artifacts. The team retrieved a Luminary and delivered it to Regret aboard his flagship.
Some time later in 2552, the High Prophet of Regret's Stewards successfully decrypted the Luminary, which revealed the existence of the final home of the Forerunners, as well as a portal that led to it. The Luminary also revealed the location of this portal, "Erde-Tyrene". Regret assembled the Fleet of Sacred Consecration and ordered the fleet to head for the world at once. Unbeknownst to Regret, Erde-Tyrene was the Forerunner name for Earth—the homeworld of humanity.
Meridian was not completely lost; although the UNSC did not return to the world for the rest of the Human-Covenant War, Meridian's glassing had been rushed and incomplete. While many human settlements were destroyed and the moon's oceans had evaporated, Meridian's atmosphere remained largely intact to allow resettlement, though it was now polluted with the after-effects of the glassing including tiny glass particles in the air that rendered parts of the world unbreathable without air filters. Nonetheless, Meridian was resettled by the Liang Dortmund Corporation, who sought to make the world completely habitable again. The corporation brought former Meridian residents as well as opportunists seeking profit to the world to aid in "deglassing" Meridian's surface and restoring the world to its former state.
Chalybs Defense Solutions had numerous facilities on Meridian that were abandoned during the battle, and later destroyed when the world was glassed. As a result, companies such as Acheron Security and Naphtali Contractor Corporation took over production of many of CDS' products.
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