Battle over Installation 07
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This Battle over Installation 07 was an engagement that took place on December 12, 2559, between the United Nations Space Command (UNSC) and the Banished over the Installation 07 and Ephsu I within Ephsu system. The battle over Installation 07 ultimately resulted in the scattering of both UNSC and Banished forces on Installation 07, as part of the larger protracted conflict on the ring.
In October, 2558, the Created conflict begun, with the leader of the Created, Cortana, claiming the Mantle of Responsibility to enforce peace throughout the galaxy with the Guardian Custodes under her command. She made a general broadcast, inviting numerous species and factions to submit themselves to the guardianship of the Created, but threatened those who would resist her leadership with violence.
In 2559, the Jiralhanae Atriox, the leader of a group of mercenary raiders known as the Banished, discovered the existence of the Xalanyn. Seeking to uncover this secret hidden by the Forerunners, Atriox prepared his Banished forces to travel to Installation 07. During his preparations for the journey to Installation 07, Atriox was personally confronted by Cortana. The Jiralhanae declared his independence from Cortana, and thus, opposition against the Created. In a show of force for Atriox's defiance, Cortana commanded her Guardians to destroy the Jiralhanae homeworld Doisac while communicating with Atriox. Seeking to access the ring's secrets and exact revenge against Cortana, Atriox led his Banished forces to Installation 07, where the Created leader resided.
Meanwhile, the UNSC Infinity and its fleet, which included an advance group of six Mulsanne-class light frigates, also traveled to Installation 07. The UNSC was to carry out a plan devised by Doctor Catherine Halsey: send Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 to the surface of the ring and deploy the Weapon to lock down Cortana, then return her to the Infinity for deletion.
Upon arrival at Installation 07, the advance group of frigates and the UNSC Infinity were ambushed by the Banished, with the Infinity sustaining multiple hull breaches from the initial attack. The Banished had arrived at the ring earlier, and begun fortifying the ring's surface to neutralize Cortana. They also sent raiding parties aboard the Infinity, all the while sending occupation forces to the ring's surface by the hundreds.
The Infinity had been prepared for a ground assault and was caught by surprise. Four approaching Banished dreadnoughts attacked the supercarrier and overwhelmed its defenses. The UNSC forces retaliated, and the Infinity managed to disable at least one Banished dreadnought with its MAC rounds. Within minutes, the supercarrier had sustained three heavy impacts on its starboard hull and one on its portside hull. As the main engine went offline, Captain Lasky ordered the deployment of the Weapon. John-117 left the bridge after the initial attack to repel the Banished boarding parties, but he returned to escort Captain Lasky to a dropship. Lasky, accompanied by John-117 and several marines, linked up with the Spartan-IVs of Fireteam Taurus and proceeded to the hangar bays, which had been overrun by Banished forces.
Upon arriving at the hangar, John-117 ordered Spartan Hudson Griffin to take Lasky to a dropship while he held off the boarders at the hangar bay. However, despite his efforts, the hangar bay would eventually be lost to the Banished. As one dreadnought rammed the dorsal hull of the Infinity, causing massive structural damage, John-117 encountered Atriox in the hangar bay and lost the duel. The Spartan was thrown from the hangar bay and into space. Upon hearing of the loss of the Master Chief, Fernando Esparza, a civilian engineering contractor, panicked and stole a Pelican, Echo 216, and fled from the doomed vessel.
Meanwhile, Lasky, escorted by marines and Fireteam Taurus, fought their way to a lifeboat, allowing the former to escape onboard. Griffin and the other members of Taurus refused to accompany Lasky in his dropship, electing to stay behind. Once inside the ship, Lasky began issuing a general evacuation call, but was cut off mid-sentence as his ship came under fire. After ensuring Captain Lasky’s lifeboat was away, Spartan Griffin ordered the evacuation of the remaining Spartan-IVs. Spartan-IVs, marines, and crew fled onboard drop pods, Pelicans, and lifeboats to the surface of Installation 07. Many escapees came under fire from Banshees, Phantoms, and anti-air artillery, though some were escorted by members of Fireteam Windfall onboard fighters. Dropships and lifepods fled the Infinity, many being shot down seconds after exiting the vessel.
Bonita Stone of Fireteam Shadow evacuated from the Infinity in Echo India Bravo Zero Eight with several Marines. She attempted to help guide another shuttlecraft piloted by TJ Murphy, Papa Tango Delta Zero Nine, to the ring. Both flew through a hole in a Banished dreadnought on their way to the ring. However, Papa Tango Delta Zero Nine was heavily damaged. Echo India Bravo Zero Eight crashed landed on the ring. Stone and the occupants watched debris and craft fall through the atmosphere.
Fireteam Taurus escaped onboard Victor 321, but Spartan Griffin commanded the pilot land near three Banished anti-air artilleries already set up on the ring's surface, to disable the cannons and ensure the safety of the incoming survivors.
As UNSC forces scattered over the ring and fought against the Banished forces, Atriox confronted Cortana, claiming he had killed John-117, leaving the latter devastated by the news of John-117's apparent death. Having consolidated her presence and core processes at the Silent Auditorium and seemingly locked down by the Weapon deployed from UNSC Infinity, Cortana could not retaliate. Atriox presented her with the terms of her surrender, intending to take control of the ring and unlock the secrets locked within the Silent Auditorium. In an attempt to prevent Atriox from accessing Silent Auditorium or possibly activating the ring, Cortana initiated a local self-dstruction sequence at the Auditorium, killing herself, fracturing the ring's surface, and leaving the installation inoperable. Her efforts were proven to be temporary, as the ring begun its self-repair process days later, although it would take a considerable amount of time without the Reformation spires to facilitate the process. Although he survived the explosion, Atriox was left severely scarred, and was also presumed dead by both the UNSC and the Banished. Cortana, in hopes of John-117's survival, predicted he would stop the Banished from accessing the Silent Auditorium and prevented the Weapon's deletion protocol so she could assist him, leaving the Weapon in the ring's subterranean structure for retrieval.
During the destruction event, Cortana also initiated an emergency translcation protocol, intending to disorient the Banished and stall their efforts. Installation 07, along with the debris from the space battle, was transported away from the the Ephsu system to an unknown location. However, the movement was not limited to the ring itself, as debris from the space battle were transported as well. Notably, Echo 216 and its pilot were left adrift near the installation.
UNSC and Banished conflict
The explosion from the battle affected the ground battle between the UNSC and the Banished. The ring's fragmentation scattered ground forces, but disabled Banished anti-air cannons, allowing more UNSC aircraft to land on the ring. However, the battle resulted in heavy casualties among personnel assigned to the UNSC Infinity, with the Infinity crash-landing on the ring.[Note 1]
On December 15, Spartan Vedrana Makovich located the wreckage of UNSC Mortal Reverie on one of the ring's fragments. The crash site was established as a UNSC base of operations, gathering other UNSC forces at the site. She contacted Spartan Griffin, and was joined by other Spartans. From there, the UNSC would conduct guerilla warfare against the Banished.
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