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In the fourth Data Drop, Vice Admiral Stanforth responds to Parangosky, showing his concern about initiating RED FLAG and sacrificing Reach in the process. A document detailing the specifics of the operation is attached.
- Original document: File:DDR-A340021-0250-08-01-52.pdf
|OFFICE OF NAVAL INTELLIGENCE/SECTION 3|
DUE DILLIGENCE REPORT – A340021
|>> 00834-19223-HS // VADM STANFORTH, HIERONYMUS MICHAEL|
<< 00230-00923-MP // ADM PARANGOSKY, MARGARET ORLENDA
Just got back into Epsilon Eridani. I brought half the battlegroup here with the rest staying back to make sure there's no rematch at Sigma Octanus. I'm pretty sure it's not the last time that colony will see action, but we'll be ready for them when they come back.
Your concerns about Reach bother me, especially if you're actually considering RED FLAG. That was never intended to be used for anything other than a last resort, and definitely not with Reach. The military sacrifice involved here would be... well, there's nothing of that magnitude recorded in human history. This would be a first.
Nevertheless, I've attached the original stratagem doc for RED FLAG, updated to reflect the most recent reqs. As you said, Catherine would have to be involved in some way or shape, obviously, but I'll use discretion as always.
Damn it, Margaret. I really hope it hasn't come to this.
- Original document: File:93893-PRELIM.pdf
|OPERATION: RED FLAG/ 93893
SUM/INTENT: The secured capture of a living "HIGH PROPHET" for the purposes of bartering a formal ceasefire with the Covenant.
PRELIM INQ: Evidence suggests that the capture of a Tier-1 asset would provide enough political leverage for a ceasefire [AF-23]. The problem, of course, is getting ahold of the right asset, and in this case, a “HIGH PROPHET,” one of the key members of their leadership caste. Current intel indicates that there are only three in existence and that they reside in the mobile dome-ship structure the Covenant refer to as "HIGH CHARITY" or, on occasion, a flagship carrier [CLASS-FIVE CSO/CAS], neither of which we’ve had real access to before. Not permanent access, at least [RL-54].
OBJECTIVE: Use a substantially-sized, high-impact team of S-II military personnel wearing qualified MJOLNIR gear to assault a Covenant vessel, acquire full, unmitigated control and return it, without suspicion, back to the dome-ship structure. There, the team would split up into discrete covert splinter groups, gather sufficient intel, seize an appropriately targeted Tier-1 asset and withdraw back to a ship, securing ad hoc exfiltration.
COLLATERAL: The need for a Class-Five is paramount to the success of this operation, but it would likely require the sacrifice of a colony of significant value to the Covenant, potentially one with a high accretion of alien artifacts of non-Covenant origin, such as the volumes recorded on Harvest, Meridian, Arcadia, or even Reach. We would have to lower our defenses, draw the enemy in, and then acquire transport by force.
//END OF ORIGINAL SPEC REPORT//—PLEASE INSERT ADDITIONAL NOTES BELOW—COMM-SCRIBED/PTS 9386-9
ADDENDUM: Margaret, my original notes did include Reach here, but this was only a hypothetical and based entirely on what we've found there. You should keep in mind that using Reach as bait for this op is not an option I'm willing to consider. It's tactical suicide. We'd be giving them the war with only Earth left to fall back to, something I will not endorse. The only exception to this, in my mind, would be if the Covenant had already located Reach and it was deemed indefensible.
PRELIM REQ: The following assets are needed for this operation:
NOTE: I've submitted these reqs to Halsey, since half of this shopping list is from her store. She has an AI lined up already [CTN 0452-9], I'll ping you with details once I have them.
Still holding out that this is just a fire drill.