Second Fall of Arcadia
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The Second Fall of Arcadia was the loss of the human Outer Colony of Arcadia in the Procyon system, on September 9, 2549 during the Human-Covenant War. Although Arcadia survived the Covenant's first attack in February 2531, the colony's major population centers were destroyed and most Arcadians evacuated the planet. However, over the intervening years, many Arcadians returned to their homeworld and rebuilt around Abaskun, a farming community.
However, the Covenant returned to the planet in September 2549, where a massive fleet glassed Arcadia from orbit. Only a handful of Arcadians managed to evacuate the colony aboard transport shuttles.
Arcadia was a prosperous Outer Colony of the Unified Earth Government, until the Covenant attacked the planet in February 2531 during the Human-Covenant War. During the Battle for Arcadia, the Covenant's Fleet of Glorious Interdiction destroyed the colony's major population centers and several orbital facilities. However, the Covenant fleet was eventually repelled by Admiral Preston Cole and the Third Fleet. During this time, the Covenant explored a series of Forerunner ruins on the planet, but were repelled by the forces of the UNSC Spirit of Fire which aided the planet's inhabitants during the early part of the battle.
After the Covenant left the planet, Arcadia was initially left alone by the empire. Most Arcadians had evacuated from their homeworld, leaving the capital of Pirth City and other cities to be overgrown with nature. However, some defiantly chose to remain behind. In the wake of the Covenant's attack, Arcadia was thrown into chaos and its surviving population fell into a state of anarchy. However, over the following years, Arcadians slowly returned to the planet and rebuilt their civilization with the small, rural farming community of Abaskun, a rich farmland area on the continent of Mu. Although Abaskun was largely lawless, the settlement continued to provide much needed foodstuffs for the United Nations Space Command and Inner Colonies.
On September 9, 2549, the Covenant returned to Arcadia with a massive fleet, one significantly larger than what was typically deployed to eradicate human colonies of Arcadia's size. Tasked to obliterate whatever remained of the human presence on Arcadia, the fleet was taken back to find that flora had overgrown the colony's cities while the remaining human settlers at Abaskun were living in a bizarre state of lawlessness and anarchy.
Shortly after exiting slipstream space, the Covenant fleet began bombarding Arcadia's surface with plasma. Arcadia's population attempted to evacuate the surface aboard civilian transport shuttles, though some Arcadians were left trapped on the planet unable to escape. The Covenant fleet took particular care in glassing every vital part of the planet, incinerating Abaskun and all major urban areas. The fleeing Arcadians attempted to evacuate aboard hundreds of transport shuttles, though the Covenant fleet shifted their main plasma beams to catch the shuttles' outbound trajectories, broiling the ships in orbit before they had a chance to even reach slipspace. Only a handful of shuttles escaped destruction. Several Stalwart-class light frigates took part in the fighting including the UNSC In Amber Clad, eventually conducting a fighting retreat.
The surviving Arcadians fled to refugee camps in the Inner Colonies, and then eventually to Mars in the Sol system, resettling in cramped huts in the UEG's reserve camps spread across the southern dunes of Terra Cimmeria. Some of these Arcadians would later resettle the abandoned colony of Carrow following the end of the Covenant War.
Doctor Catherine Halsey watched the destruction of Arcadia from cameras mounted on a meteorological satellite. She noticed that the Covenant attacked the planet with much more ferocity than was their norm, wondering if Arcadia posed some sort of threat or religious or political value to the Covenant. The satellite was destroyed before the glassing operation was completed. Halsey was greatly distraught by the sight of Arcadia's destruction.
Behind the scenes
First mentioned in the timeline of Halo Wars, the Second Fall of Arcadia is established to have taken place on September 9, 2549. However, Dr. Halsey's personal journal, included with certain editions of Halo: Reach, claims that the event occurred "several weeks ago" on a journal entry dated for September 9, 2549. This inconsistency is ignored, as the journal has several errors in regard to entry dates.
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