Battle of the Sharquoi Hive
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In 2552, the Jiralhanae Chieftain Hekabe seized an opportunity during the Battle of Installation 00 to steal the vertex from Installation 00, a device that would allow him to control the beasts known as the Sharquoi. However, it took Hekabe six years to pinpoint the planet Carrow, located in one of the Joint Occupation Zones, as the location where the Sharquoi could be found.
In 2558, Sangheili Thars 'Sarov disagreed with his cousin Rojka 'Kasaan's desire to make peace with the humans of the UEG and particularly on Carrow. Thars ultimately turned this into a full-scale civil war. To help win, Thars made a deal with Hekabe for his help, unaware that Hekabe's true intention was to unearth the Sharquoi hive, located near the human city of Suraka. With Hekabe's help, Thars decimated Rojka's fleet, but after he confronted Hekabe for going to the surface, Hekabe turned on him. The battle between the Jiralhanae and the Sangheili ships left all but Hekabe's flagship, the ORS-class heavy cruiser Foebane, which he was using to excavate the Sharquoi hive destroyed while most of Thars' ships were destroyed. The majority of the ones that weren't were forced to land on Carrow for repairs, leaving only three badly damaged Covenant frigates in orbit.
In an attempt to protect her planet and her people, Governor Ellis Gass began preparing a counterattack which eventually came to be known as Operation: BUZZHAWK. Though all of her slipspace-capable vessels were destroyed at the beginning of the conflict, Ellis still had a dozen merchant ships armed with point-defense guns which were capable of destroying Thars' remaining ships in their damaged state. Combined with her ground assets, Ellis convinced her generals to launch the strike in an effort to end the conflict. However, while the militia succeeded in destroying Foebane, they were too late to keep Hekabe from accessing the hive and taking control of the Sharquoi within.
Shortly after the victory over the cruiser, Hekabe and his forces attacked, but were temporarily driven back after Hekabe was wounded by Adriana-111. Hekabe's forces took over the surviving Surakan ships and assaulted Thars' ships, taking them over at the cost of the human vessels so that Hekabe would have slipspace-capable ships that could carry the Sharquoi off of Carrow. Working with Gray Team, Rojka brought down Thars and ultimately executed him, but Thars refused to listen and have his ships destroy their slipspace drives until it was too late.
Based off of the readings taken from Hekabe while he was using the vertex, Ellis and her engineering team realized that Hekabe's control of the vertex and by extension the Sharquoi could be disrupted by an EMP. Ellis and her team managed to construct a crude EMP cannon out of an M68 Gauss cannon and Suraka's HAVOK tactical nuclear weapon. With Vice Governor Lamar Edwards using all of the militia's resources to evacuate the civilians, Ellis sought out the help of the Spartans to launch a direct attack on Hekabe in the hive. Rojka and UEG envoy Melody Azikiwe also volunteered to help and Ellis managed to convince Lamar to spare an M121 Jackrabbit to carry the EMP cannon as well as a squad of eight soldiers led by Corporal Wyse to aid them. Gray Team secured the cannon in place of the Jackrabbit's usual heavy gun and rigged a parachute to it in order to ensure that the vehicle would land safely.
With the Jackrabbit attached to one Pelican carrying Gray Team, Melody Azikiwe and Rojka 'Kasaan and a second Pelican carrying Corporal Wyse and her squad, the assault force flew low over the roads of Suraka towards the crater containing the Sharquoi hive, remaining high enough that the Sharquoi couldn't reach them, but low enough that they could get in before Hekabe's forces could formulate a response. As they flew through the streets, the Pelicans came under fire from Jiralhanae gun platforms that had been combing the streets, grazing the craft but failing to stop them. The Pelicans made it through the streets of Suraka and flew out over the crater and Jai-006, jumping in tandem with Governor Ellis Gass, Adriana-111 jumping in tandem with Melody Azikiwe and Rojka 'Kasaan took positions holding onto the Jackrabbit which Mike-120 was already in the cab of. As the Pelican flew over the opening into the hive, it flew straight up into the air and on Jai's mark, the Jackrabbit and its passengers were released. However, the Pelican was hit by anti-aircraft fire from Jiralhanae gunners around the crater's rim and had its tail blown off. The second Pelican pulled the same maneuver and successfully released the militia squad with the humans and one Sangheili proving to be too small of a target for the Jiralhanae gunners to hit.
Once everybody was away from the Pelicans, Jai, Adrianna and Rojka pushed away from the Jackrabbit and flew about it as the bike descended towards the splayed Forerunner petals and the shaft in the middle of it. As the assault force got closer, the Jiralhanae gunners intensified their fire on them and Hekabe began closing the entrance in a desperate attempt to keep them out. However, the attempt failed and the assault force made it through the closing opening and deployed their parachutes. Mike was able to land the Jackrabbit on one of the descending ramps situated around the edge of the shaft, bouncing horribly, but the vehicle survived the landing. Before safely landing themselves, Jai and Adriana cut Ellis and Melody free with Jai noting the lack of Sharquoi due to Hekabe not anticipating the stunt. Although the Surakan militia also managed to make it into the shaft, one landed hard and badly broke his leg. Not able to take the man with them, Wyse dosed him with painkillers and they dragged the man to a shadowed corner at the side of the shaft in order to give the soldier a chance at living.
After checking over the EMP cannon, Ellis determined that it hadn't been damaged in the landing while Rojka, standing upslope and looking out over a large cavern with ambient red light filtering upwards, called out a warning that he had spotted the Sharquoi. Gray Team and Ellis climbed onto the Jackrabbit and began making their way across the cavern towards a bridge accompanied by Rojka and the Surakans. After they left, Sharquoi arrived from the surface and the injured soldier, either unable or unwilling to remain hidden, fired on it with a battle rifle before detonating three explosives as a last stand. As the assault force made their way across the bridge, Mike warned everybody to watch out for synchronized behavior as, due to Hekabe's control over them, the Sharquoi fought as one, not individuals. Two Sharquoi bounded across the bridge directly towards them and Adriana leapt from the Jackrabbit and shot the creature twice in the head, causing it to stumble and fall to its hands and knees, but nevertheless try to drag itself towards them. Rojka attacked the other Sharquoi with his energy sword, slicing the creature's arms off and then kicking it into the back and into the lava when it tried to get its footing and fight him. Rojka then approached the half-dead Sharquoi and roared to Hekabe that they were coming for him before driving his energy sword into the creature's skull, killing it.
Adriana noted that it wasn't as heavily defended underground and guessed that most of the Sharquoi were still outside and above them as Hekabe wouldn't have expected them to just jump right into the hive like they did. Jai and Melody dismounted from the Jackrabbit and began warily walking across the bridge towards a series of large towers that came into view. Taking up position on their left, Rojka noted that Hekabe only knew violence and trickery and not general strategy which they could use to their advantage by attacking in the human way. Reaching the center of the bridge, Mike brought the Jackrabbit to a stop and Jai asked Ellis where they needed to go next. Checking a screen on the cannon, Ellis stated that they needed to go deeper and that if something happened to her, they needed to know to just keep going deeper. Continuing, the group noticed fifty Sharquoi guarding the entrance to the hive itself while far more than that poured in from the surface in order to help stop them.
As Gray Team and Ellis discussed the situation, Rojka questioned their pause and Jai explained that the closer they got to Hekabe and the vertex, the greater the impact the cannon would have and they were not yet close enough. Rojka announced that they had to surround and trap Hekabe, shocking Melody who pointed out that they were the ones surrounded, but Rojka asked her to speak of his bravery if they made it back to the surface and moved down the bridge towards the mass of Sharquoi. Drawing but not yet activating his energy sword, Rojka explained that he would be the spear of their assault and to wait until they saw Rojka scatter the Sharquoi in confusion at which point the time would be right to press their own attack. Rojka sprinted at the Sharquoi, sure that they would be able to see him coming and possibly trap Rojka eventually, but not before his suicidal attack would tie up Hekabe's attention. As Rojka approached the end of the bridge, the Sharquoi retreated toward a dais at the front of the Forerunner structure's entrance behind which Hekabe stood, surrounding himself with Sharquoi like a wall. Apparently taking the lone threat seriously, Hekabe had Sharquoi jump down from one and two levels above Rojka and ten Sharquoi moved directly in front of him with incredible speed. Despite being heavily outnumbered, Rojka fought to be remembered, for his honor and to give his strange team of allies the chance to kill Hekabe and save countless worlds from the threat that he posed. As Rojka clashed with the first creature, the rest of the team raced across the bridge after him with Jai and Adriana joining Rojka in the attack and two of the Surakans firing RPGs at the Sharquoi. Rojka guessed that either Hekabe was taken off-guard by the direct attack or he was being defensive and was doing his best to keep a wall between himself and the Spartans that had nearly killed him. Either way, the Sharquoi appeared to be scrambling to deal with the swarm of enemies that were attacking. One of the Spartans engaged a Sharquoi off to Rojka's side dodging its blow, throwing the creature off-kilter before the Spartan threw the Sharquoi off the bridge and into the lava below as they raced for the dais. On the other end of the bridge, the Surakans struggled to use their heaviest infantry weapons to hold off the creatures coming down from the surface, but began falling one by one as all they could really do was buy the Spartans time to get the Jackrabbit and the cannon further along the bridge without the Sharquoi destroying it. More and more Sharquoi streamed out of towers and walls that enclosed them while dozens more emerged from the alcoves where they had been kept by the Forerunners for millennia. Rojka drew the creatures into a close-quarters battle where the Sharquoi were forced to fight against their numbers, often damaging each other with their great size and powerful blows, effectively turning their great strength against them in the heart of their mob.
Killing four more Sharquoi, Rojka managed to pierce the wall of the creatures and was left with Hekabe just a few bounds away on the other side of the Forerunner wall. Hekabe turned his attention from Rojka to the approaching humans and then back again before, without warning, a Sharquoi slammed into Rojka before he could get inside, flinging his body towards the lava pit. Rojka instinctively stabbed the blade of his sword into the cavern's floor as he tumbled towards the edge and although it snapped free from his hand, Rojka was able to catch the ledge just as he fell over and pull himself to safety. Assessing the situation, Rojka saw that his gambit had worked: Rojka's suicidal attack had caused Hekabe to pull the Sharquoi to himself in a protective reflex, giving the Spartans and militia more time to get to Hekabe, the creatures concentrated numbers making the smaller and nimbler targets more difficult to kill. However, as Rojka watched, a Sharquoi dropped from above on the front of the Jackrabbit as it moved toward the base of the bridge. As sparks and flames erupted from the front end of the bike, Mike emerged and shot the creature point-blank, sending it over the bridge and into the lava. Ellis ran to check the cannon from the safe position behind the vehicle where she and Melody had hidden during the battle as Jai and Adriana darted back to join her, providing covering fire as the Sharquoi pressed toward their position. As Rojka looked towards Hekabe, still within the Forerunner structure, dozens of new Sharquoi flowed around him, coming from the base of a cylindrical tower at the very heart of the hive and poured out of the front gate while overhead, more of the creatures began to leap from the ramps and bridges connecting the towers high above them. These Sharquoi would fall hundreds of meters and strike the bridge as living bombs, jostling everything on the bridge and leaving Rojka wondering how long the bridge could hold under such duress. With the Jackrabbit irreparably damaged, Rojka declared that it was time to die with honor and charged the wall of Sharquoi and Hekabe behind them.
As Sharquoi bodies struck nearby, Ellis climbed onto the back of the Jackrabbit and ordered the Spartans to keep pushing the wrecked vehicle towards the target, knowing that the further they got towards the hive and Hekabe, the harder it would be for the falling creatures to hit them. Jai grabbed the two wrecked front booms of the vehicle, lifted it up and started pushing it as Ellis examined the cannon and tried to figure out if it could still work or not. Adriana and Mike provided covering fire against the encroaching Sharquoi and Ellis determined that the cannon still had power and was still functional. Knowing that it would take too long to push it closer, Jai ripped the cannon's mount from the wrecked vehicle and hoisted the cannon above his shoulder to carry it himself. Jai made his way forward with Adriana and Mike providing covering fire and Ellis and Melody, armed with a battle rifle, trailing behind. By this point, the Sharquoi had congregated around the central structure, apparently attempting to protect Hekabe from Rojka whom the humans could no longer see in the forest of gray bodies. Looking back, Ellis saw that the other Surakans had fallen back to the top of the bridge and were attempting to stop Sharquoi coming from the surface from getting across the bridge. As Corporal Wyse attempted to keep one of the few remaining squad members from bleeding out, he pulled free to load and fire and RPG into the stampeding mass of Sharquoi coming towards them from across the bridge. One of the creatures reached the squad, mercilessly grabbed for Wyse, claws ripping through her stomach and yanking her away from the wounded soldier who managed to reload and fire at it. However, a second Sharquoi crossed the distance to join the slaughter and kicked the soldier's head in. The Sharquoi slaughtered the remaining Surakans, leaving only the Spartans, Rojka, Melody and Ellis to finish the fight.
As Ellis wondered how many of the Sharquoi Hekabe had called back from the surface, she saw more coming down the shaft's side and making their way to the bridge by the second. Reaching for her pistol, Ellis realized that she couldn't fumble around with it if she was going to help with the cannon and hurried to keep up with Jai. When Ellis looked behind her, all she could see were Sharquoi at the top of the bridge. With Ellis and Melody at the rear, the Spartans battled the Sharquoi that broke free from the huddle around Hekabe and deeper into the structure, more chaos erupted as other Sharquoi massed to try and keep Rojka from reaching Hekabe. Even more of the creatures spilled out of the towers behind them and as they kept falling onto the span from above, the Sharquoi ended up killing their own kind in mindless sacrifices.
Surrounded by Sharquoi himself and seeing the Spartans approaching, Rojka shouted at them to use the cannon. Declaring that Rojka was right and that was as far as they were going to get to Hekabe, Jai dropped to a knee with the cannon and ordered Ellis to fire it. Ellis quickly scrambled to Jai's side and the jury-rigged controls while Jai aimed the cannon straight at Hekabe who was screened by a shifting, muscular wall of Sharquoi that Hekabe only occasionally appeared through. The falling Sharquoi began to get deadly close to the group as Ellis powered up the cannon and set its parameters. Mike narrowly survived a blow from two of the Sharquoi that tossed him across the ground toward the ledge with his pursuers close behind and, nearest to Hekabe, Rojka disappeared under a sea of gray muscle. After waiting a split second for the shifting bulk of Sharquoi to reveal Hekabe, Ellis fired the EMP. The EMP knocked out power to the Forerunner structure and to the vertex, severing Hekabe's control over the Sharquoi, causing the creatures to start wandering around aimlessly. With the strike confirmed, Ellis decided to hit Hekabe with another EMP just to be sure, but when she fired the cannon, alarms flashed and buzzed on the weapon's display and wisps of smoke rose in the air from circuits unable to handle the sheer amount of power dumped through them. Checking the readouts, Ellis quickly determined that the EMP cannon was fried, but the HAVOK tactical nuclear weapon powering it was still functional if it came down to detonating the nuclear weapon.
Recognizing that they likely had a limited window before Hekabe and the Sharquoi recovered, Ellis ran towards Hekabe, cautiously weaving between the lumbering creatures before they could come to their senses while behind her, Jai heaved the cannon to the ground and the other Spartans came up from behind. With the vertex temporarily deactivated and no longer holding him together, Hekabe's injuries from where Adriana had shot him earlier began to take their toll. Ellis swung her legs over Hekabe's back and dug her fingers into the metallic pieces of the vertex and pulled. As Ellis struggled to pull the vertex from off of Hekabe's head, dozens of confused Sharquoi moved around behind her while untold numbers of them filled the chambers and passageways of the hive. However, they would soon be shaking free of the last of their confusion and it was unclear what they would do once they were fully unhindered as the Sharquoi were like wild animals. Finally, using her legs for additional leverage, Ellis managed to pull the vertex free from Hekabe's head. Desperate, Hekabe began crawling on the ground as if searching for something while the Sharquoi began approaching the group. Jai ordered the others not to shoot as the creatures were just confused and to stay away and still if they could. However, Mike was forced to shoot at one of the creatures which began to chase him along with others that approached threateningly from the side.
Ellis recognized that even though the Sharquoi were no longer controlled by Hekabe, there were still hundreds of them up in the city and were still a threat to her people who could be hunted the creatures even without Hekabe's control, particularly if they found the evacuating civilians or the oases. With the effects of the EMP wearing off and power returning to both the vertex and the Sharquoi hive, Ellis declared that it was time to end this and that her people would be safe once more and donned the vertex herself. As the device burrowed into Ellis' head, a badly injured Rojka crawled out of a heap of dead Sharquoi bodies, he witnessed Hekabe manage to stand with the aid of Oath of Fury and make his way towards the human. As Rojka assessed his injuries and realized that he was also dying, he cried out, drawing the attention of Hekabe who lashed out at him with Oath of Fury, shattering Rojka's harness and sending him flying back, landing hard against the base of the nearest tower.
As Rojka got up, Ellis stepped forward, just outside of Hekabe's reach with her eyes blazing with an anger directed not just at Hekabe but at Rojka himself for the immense losses that her people had taken in the pointless war that Thars 'Sarov had started. Concerned that Ellis could use the vertex to give in to fury and anger, take revenge and try to wipe Carrow clean of all threats to Ellis and her city, Rojka asked what her intentions with the vertex were. Ellis had a Sharquoi surround each of Gray Team and force them and Rojka into a defenseless position, an unknown number having presumably perished trying to get the Spartans into such a state while Rojka was struggling to recover from being thrown into the tower by Hekabe. Ellis questioned if Hekabe, still standing outside of his reach, would like to try and kill her. Still free but unable to see out of his ruined face, Hekabe raised his gravity hammer and lunged towards Ellis. Consumed by rage even in his damaged state, Hekabe attempted to utterly annihilate Ellis with Oath of Fury, but it was caught by a Sharquoi under Ellis' control just centimeters above her head without Ellis ever even trying to move out of the way. Hekabe let go of his hammer and tried to grab Ellis by the neck, but the Sharquoi grabbed his wrist with its other hand while a second creature grabbed his other arm. Under Ellis' control, one of the Sharquoi ripped two massive claws through Hekabe's body, punching holes through his chest that could never be repaired. Hekabe tried to get free and continue his attack, believing that if he could get the vertex once more, everything could be mended. However, Ellis had the Sharquoi fling Hekabe into the lava pit, incinerating and killing him.
Ellis, struggling to figure out how to properly control the vertex and exhausted from days with no sleep, turned her attention to the others and warned Melody not to pick up a weapon or she would have to neutralize the woman as well. Ellis was pleased with how the threats to her had been neutralized and Rojka accused her of having planned this from the start, the vertex allowing Ellis to understand the Sangheili language through the senses of the Sharquoi. However, although Ellis had wanted to secure the device for Suraka and stop the menace, the moment that she had seen Hekabe on his knees and the Sharquoi milling about in confusion, Ellis knew what actually had to be done. Ellis insisted that taking the vertex for herself was the only way to make them safe. Jai questioned why Ellis was holding them and she had the Sharquoi drag the captives back towards the base of the bridge, another creature nudge Melody along and another to hoist Rojka up and carry him after the others.
Following the others, Ellis made her way to the ruined EMP cannon and the HAVOK still hooked up to it, announcing that she didn't trust the others as the Sangheili warred against Suraka and the Spartans were tools of ONI created to attack people who wanted to govern themselves without the interference of Earth's government. While they were all threats to her, Ellis now had the power to protect this world. Rojka accused Ellis of sounding like Hekabe, but she angrily proclaimed through hundreds of Sharquoi that she was not like Hekabe. Still pulling against the creature holding him, Rojka demanded what this new world would look like and if his people would be allowed to live there. At the same time, Ellis began calling back all of the Sharquoi from the surface, dragging with them a multitude of Jiralhanae despite the fact that many of them had been desperately trying to hide. On Ellis' command, the returning creatures threw the Jiralhanae into the lava and Ellis stated that the Jiralhanae at least were not welcome and this was her world and she wouldn't let anyone harm it any longer. In pain from the grip on him, Jai warned Ellis that the UNSC wouldn't stand for her actions and that Ellis would only bring far more destruction upon herself than what she had seen so far. Ellis simply stated that Earth was always threatening them as well and the UNSC had kept the Sharquoi a secret from the Surakans and they had paid for it instead of the UNSC.
Even though there was a voice inside her head telling Ellis not to do this, she was making the hard choice and doing what had to be done: Ellis was pulling all of the Sharquoi back in and ending this. Jai questioned her plan and Ellis had the Sharquoi force Melody onto the bridge and throw the Spartans and Rojka after her. Ellis warned them that there wouldn't be much time: she had already reopened the hive to let the Sharquoi back in and the HAVOK's timer was now set for ten minutes. However, there were wisps of other consciousnesses in the vertex that didn't want her to do it that were very strong and would try to stop her before long, possibly forcing Ellis to detonate the HAVOK manually before the countdown was completed. However, she knew that if the vertex and the Sharquoi weren't destroyed, others would keep trying to get the power for themselves and that this was the only way to protect Carrow. Ellis ordered the others to run over their protests and they reluctantly complied with Mike carrying Melody and Rojka limping behind due to his injuries making it hard to keep up. Climbing up the shaft, Melody warned that the nuke would take out part of the city and they would never make it out in time so Mike began trying to call for a Pelican to extract them. Jai questioned Melody if they could trust Ellis and Melody believed that despite her overuse of stimulants and being in a bad place to begin with, the governor cared about Suraka and could be trusted to finish the job. However, as they climbed, some of the Sharquoi began to roar as if awakening from a deep slumber and showed signs that Ellis was struggling to control them while the Spartans, Melody and Rojka were too far from the surface to make it before the detonation.
In the hive, Ellis struggled to hold onto control of the Sharquoi and discovered that the Spartans had only made it halfway up the winding ramps in the shaft leading into the hive. Ellis knew that she wasn't going to be able to hold it together long enough for the others to get out and continued to struggle against the traces of consciousness leftover from the previous users of the vertex that were struggling to survive, including a trace of Hekabe's consciousness. Ellis quickly started skipping from mind to mind of the Sharquoi that hadn't yet made it back inside and eventually found one that was close to the Surakan militia on the surface. Communicating through the creature, Ellis informed them that she was now in control and she needed the militia to send a Pelican to extract the others from the hive. As part of Ellis communicated with the militia, another part of her saw Hekabe's pilots aboard Thars' surviving ships, the same ships that had attacked Suraka only days before. The Jiralhanae were using the ships to attack Rak, having already made several passes destroying buildings. Ellis knew that if they weren't stopped, the Jiralhanae would continue and the Sangheili would never recover, leaving humanity to reign free over Carrow. However, rather than give into her own desire for revenge, Ellis had the Sharquoi on each ship attack the controls and displays, destroying them and sending the ships crashing to the Uldt Desert, destroying the ships as well as all of the Jiralhanae and Sharquoi onboard in an effort to clean up the war that had spread out over Carrow even as Ellis continued to struggle for control with the vertex.
With four minutes left, the Spartans, Melody and Rojka stopped on the ramp with several hundred meters to go. Knowing that they would never get out in time on foot, Jai asked Mike if he'd had any luck with the comms, but he hadn't. As they tried to figure out what to do, one of the Sharquoi jumped down through the hole to their level and Ellis ordered them to go. Melody informed Ellis that they couldn't make it and insisted that there had to be another way. With a glance at the sky, the Sharquoi departed without another word just before the Pelican that Ellis had ordered the militia to send arrived. The group attracted the pilot's attention and he flew the Pelican as close to them as he could. Carrying Melody, Jai jumped in, followed by Adriana and Mike. Rojka, despite his injuries, refused any assistance and managed to jump into the Pelican, sliding across the floor toward the front of the dropship and laying where he had slid to a stop, unable to move any further. Checking Rojka, Jai stated that he was badly injured more than Rojka had let on and needed medical help. The pilot explained that Ellis had sent them and asked if he should drop lower to pick her up as well, but Melody ordered him to get them out of the hive as soon as possible and Jai explained that there was a HAVOK about to detonate and he needed to aim for the sky and punch it. Understanding the gravity of the situation, the pilot immediately complied while his passengers quickly grabbed hold of something.
In the hive, the vertex fought back against Ellis by darkening her vision while three of the Sharquoi making their way across the bridge towards her broke free of Ellis' control and loomed over her. Checking on the Pelican through the eyes of another Sharquoi a final time, she saw it climbing overhead and away from the structure. Ellis stumbled over to the HAVOK which had two minutes left on the timer, but the three Sharquoi coming for her weren't going to give Ellis that time and neither was the vertex and the traces of the minds still inside of it which were determined to protect it no matter the cost. Ellis turned the nuke's controls over to manual, but when she put her palm out over the remote ignition she'd welded onto the frame, blindness finally overtook as the vertex desperately fought back. Not sure how far away the Sharquoi were and how much longer she could delay the detonation, Ellis decided that she have given the others every last second that she could and that it was time to secure Suraka's future. Thinking of her son, Ellis detonated the HAVOK, destroying the Sharquoi hive, the hundreds of thousands of creatures within, herself and the vertex.
On the surface, the Pelican burst from the shaft, righted itself and quickly vectored away from the crater. As the dropship flew away, the nuclear explosion occurred, the shockwave racing below the Pelican and striking Suraka as well as the belly of the Pelican as the force of the blast had risen higher than the pilot had anticipated. The blast threw the dropship into a spin as the engines guttered out and the pilot ordered his passengers into crash positions as he attempted to control the dead weight of the Pelican. The nuclear shockwave struck the outskirts of Suraka, collapsing buildings at the edge of the destruction and blowing out the windows in the buildings that still stood. As the dropship approached the streets, the pilot flared hard, brought the dropship down low and attempted to stabilize it before impact. The Pelican struck the street and slid for half a block before coming to rest at the bottom of a bank. Both the pilot and passengers survived the crash-landing and emerged from the wrecked dropship to look at the immense canyon cut deep into the planet's crust, all that was left of one of the Forerunners' darkest secrets.
Two days later, after recovering from the battle, Rojka 'Kasaan was returned to Rak where he discovered that Kaidon Akato 'Dakaj had taken over the city in his and Thars 'Sarov's absence. With Thars' forces dead and having fought alongside Grey Team, Rojka no longer sought vengeance against them for the destruction of Glyke. With the lasting effects of the conflict showing the need for closer relations between the Sangheili and humans on Carrow, Rojka agreed to act as an envoy between the two sides to help bring the two sides closer together.
Gray Team rendezvoused with the UNSC frigate UNSC Welcome to the Snipehunt when it arrived in orbit where they accepted a deal to work with a specialized interspecies strike team under the authority of the Office of Naval Intelligence in exchange for a pardon for their war crimes and a list of other demands. When Rear Admiral Serin Osman revealed her presence onboard the vessel, Commander Ivrin Yarick reported that ONI's contacts in the Surakan science agencies and the Welcome to the Snipehunt's scans both indicated that the Sharquoi were all wiped out in the explosion from the HAVOK tactical nuclear weapon. While Yarick believed that they were clean, he promised that they would keep an eye on the desert for any Sharquoi that might've escaped.
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