UNSC Home Fleet
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The UNSC Home Fleet is a fleet in the UNSC Navy. Their assignment is to protect Earth and the Sol system from an invasion or attack. By late 2552, the numbers had risen dramatically and would become one of largest known fleets in the UNSC Navy and its chief commanding officers were Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood, the Chief of Naval Operations, as well as Fleet Admiral Harper, who commanded the attached Fifth Fleet.
Battle for Earth
The Home Fleet's first known engagements with the conglomerate of alien races known as the Covenant were during the last stages of the Human-Covenant War in the Battle of Earth, where it successfully defeated the Fleet of Sacred Consecration directly commanded by a member of the Covenant's leadership in Earth's orbit. The engagement, however, was against a very small fleet of two assault carriers and thirteen battlecruisers. This engagement, commanded by both Fleet Admirals Hood and Harper, suffered a number of casualties as the fleet of sixty-seven frigates and eight cruisers under Harper's command attempted to hold back the enemy cruisers from reaching the orbital defense platforms.
On Cairo Station, Fleet Admiral Hood was awarding MCPO John-117 and Sergeant Major Avery Johnson for their actions at Installation 04 and the subsequent Operation: FIRST STRIKE. When Cortana received a slipspace rupture report near Io, she relayed the information to FADM Hood. When the Covenant force arrived, the Home Fleet was ready and waiting. Opening up with Marathon-class cruisers and MAC shells, they decimated the Covenant fleet, but suffered heavy losses themselves. Also during the engagement, the Covenant released boarding pods to occupy and destroy the MAC platforms using antimatter charges. Stations Athens and Malta were both destroyed, but Cairo was spared destruction by John-117, who later took the bomb and destroyed one of the two assault carriers, the Day of Jubilation.
At New Mombasa, the UNSC followed the surviving assault carrier, the Solemn Penance, to the surface. The UNSC In Amber Clad's ground forces, commanded by Miranda Keyes, engaged the Covenant until; in retreat, the carrier fled the battle. The UNSC In Amber Clad, UNSC Paris, UNSC Redoubtable, UNSC Coral Sea and the UNSC Dusk made it into the slipspace rift before it closed.
Shortly after the Battle of Mombasa, the full-scale assault on Earth has been launched; numerous Covenant fleets began to arrive in the following days and weeks, spreading all across the planet and targeting many areas and cities. Simultaneously, the rest of the Sol system, including colonies, were attacked. Despite the colossal battle, most of well-organized Jiralhanae forces (under the command of the Prophet of Truth) remained preoccupied for the excavation effort of the Forerunner portal in the East Africa. By November 3, three expeditionary fleets of the Home Fleet: the Second, Seventh and Sixteenth Fleets had participated in major skirmishes against dozens of Covenant warships as the enemy fleet was scattering the orbital defense grid. Concurrently, the Great Schism began with the Sangheili and Jiralhanae now turning to each other, with many Sangheili and their loyal forces joining Thel 'Vadam's faction and allying with the UNSC forces.
Battle of Installation 05
Only In Amber Clad successfully kept pace with the carrier. The Dusk arrived days later, though the Coral Sea and Redoubtable arrived before the onset of the Great Schism and hid from a colossal Covenant fleet in the system that defends the Covenant main and artificial homeworld, High Charity, close to the surface of Delta Halo while scanning it, and the fate of Paris is unknown.
The In Amber Clad deployed her ODST contingent on Installation 05, along with John-117 to assassinate the Prophet of Regret; who had escaped back from Earth in the assault carrier; itself no longer a target. The rest of the In Amber Clad's crew and remaining Marines went to find the Index. Avery Johnson and Miranda Keyes fought through the Quarantine Zone before encountering Thel 'Vadamee; an Arbiter and former Supreme Commander of the Fleet of Particular Justice, and being captured by the Covenant leadership. They were taken to High Charity and afterwards, the control room to fire Installation 05. In Amber Clad, however, was taken over by the Flood and made a precision jump out of the ring's atmosphere, appearing inside High Charity. Cortana originally planned to destroy High Charity by detonating the Clad's fusion reactors, though due to subsequent events, this plan never took place. Cortana would make a second attempt to destroy High Charity by sending a message to the UNSC, in hopes that they would send ships from Earth to NOVA bomb the station.
The UNSC Home Fleet dispatched a battlegroup commanded by Admiral Carl Patterson to Onyx to recover Forerunner artifacts reported by Dr. Halsey. When the battlegroup arrived, they engaged two Covenant destroyers. UNSC Glasgow Kiss was the first to be destroyed when it purposely turned into plasma fire from the destroyers intended for the UNSC Stalingrad. They believed they had won the engagement, destroying one ship and heavily damaging the other. The damaged ship fled to the unseen side of the planet, with the UNSC ships in pursuit.
Twenty Covenant ships that had been hidden on the other side of the planet appeared from the gravity well of Onyx, and began to attack the battle group. In the ensuring mayhem, the remaining UNSC ships attempted to accelerate through the gravity well of the planet through the lines of the Covenant ships coming from surface of Onyx. The UNSC Iwo Jima got in between eight Covenant warships and self-destructed, sacrificing itself to destroy two destroyers. Only five UNSC ships made it through. These ships disengaged when Sentinels destroyed three Covenant ships using plasma capture. In an attempt to escape the Sentinels, the Covenant assigned a rear guard of two ships to protect the rest of the fleet. This helped them escape the gravity well of Onyx at the cost of these two ships.
The UNSC Dusk planted fourteen Hornet mines around the moon of Onyx. Then, the surviving ships of Patterson's battle group launched an attack. The attack, however, was a trick to lure the Covenant force into the mine field. The mines detonated, but four Covenant destroyers made it through the nuclear fireballs. The rest of the UNSC ships thought they would win the engagement, until thirty-two Covenant vessels, reinforcements from Joyous Exultation arrived. They destroyed the surviving ships of the battle group.
The only ship to make it out alive was the UNSC Dusk, which stayed dark and was lucky enough to not get hit by the reigning debris or be detected by the Covenant ships. It eventually escaped to slipspace by narrowly evading the Sentinels that erupted from the disintegrating Onyx.
Late Battle for Earth
After the Flood infestation of High Charity, the Prophet of Truth led what it remains within the Covenant loyalists forces in an attempt to make a final push offensive on Earth. In the later stages of the Battle for Earth around November 17, Truth's final and overwhelming invasion forces arrived in the system and breached the Lunar perimeter. With the Earth's defenses already weakened by waves of invasion fleets that had arrived previously, the Home Fleet and orbital defense platforms engaged the Covenant armada in high Earth orbit, holding their own against the overwhelming enemy fleet to defend the planet.
As the massive space and ground battles against overwhelming Covenant forces still ruthlessly rages, the Forerunner keyship Anodyne Spirit carrying Prophet of Truth jumped to Earth after a nine-day delay by the presence of John-117 aboard the Dreadnought. When the ship arrived over Earth via slipspace, John-117 contacted Fleet Admiral Terrence Hood by indicating that he was aboard of the Covenant flagship while the fleet originally attempted to target the "unknown" alien ship. The Anodyne Spirit was then surrounded by the Covenant fleet battling the UNSC vessels of the UNSC fleet. Unable to fend off the enemy fleet despite strong and formidable defense from the UNSC, too much of the Home Fleet was ultimately destroyed as well as presumably a large number of orbital defense platforms, letting the Covenant fleet to bombard Earth and resulting extreme human military and civilian casualties. However, mainly due the hundreds of orbital defense platforms, it is likely that the vast majority of the Covenant naval forces was destroyed by the defenders.
At about this time, the Home Fleet had significantly only a handful of UNSC vessels that remained and was almost to the point of total destruction. The UNSC was using its last reserves of ships to launch hit and run attacks on the Covenant.
Invasion of Earth
Discovering that the Halo Array had been remotely activated, the UNSC planned to send a force from the Home Fleet, led by the cruiser UNSC Endeavor, to the Ark to deactivate the signal, and invited advisors from the Swords of Sanghelios, briefing them on the situation and asking for their assistance in activating the Voi portal to reach it. When the portal activated, a Forerunner Retriever emerged, and began to harvest the surrounding countryside, but was destroyed by the Endeavor with support from air forces from a nearby UNSC military base. While the UNSC wanted to send a larger force aboard the Endeavour, Shipmaster N'tho 'Sraom refused to wait, and took his own ship, the Covenant heavy corvette Mayhem, through on his own initiative, with UNSC personnel aboard.
The Home Fleet, consisting of dozens of ships, was in place to respond when 000 Tragic Solitude sent through hundreds of Retrievers to strip Earth and the rest of the solar system to repair his installation. These sentinels were rudimentarily armed, but were destroyed in large numbers by Home Fleet, though it took heavy casualties and was on the verge of defeat until a stalemate on the Ark between the Mayhem's crew and Tragic Solitude, forcing the Retrievers to withdraw through the portal. Afterwards, the UNSC sent reinforcements through the portal to investigate the threat and discovering that the Mayhem's crew and passengers had survived. The carrier UNSC Witness recovered Mayhem within one of its hangars, and carried it back through the portal to Earth.
The Didact's attack
In 2557, the Didact's ship, Mantle's Approach, arrived in-system to use the Composer to digitize humanity. Having been forewarned by the UNSC Infinity, the Home Fleet was ready and led by the Infinity, engaged Mantle's Approach. Battlegroup Dakota, led by the Infinity moved into position to confront the Didact's flagship, sustaining some losses due to the vessel's superior defenses and failing to inflict damage upon the ship. As the battlegroup engaged Mantle's Approach, Infinity was contacted by the Master Chief who was flying beneath the Didact's shields in an F-41 Broadsword armed with a nuclear weapon. In order to allow the Master Chief to destroy the enemy vessel, the Infinity used two of her forward batteries to blast a hole in the ship's hull after the Master Chief took out Mantle's Approach's point-defense weapons, allowing the Master Chief to board the ship. The battlegroup subsequently disengaged from the fight, staying on station instead while the Master Chief destroyed Mantle's Approach and the Composer from the inside with his nuclear weapon.
Rise of the Created
In 2558, when Cortana reemerged as the new leader of the Created after her presumed destruction during the Didact's earlier attack, she activated a series of Forerunner Guardians to enforce the will of the Mantle, now believing AIs to be the true Reclaimers of the galaxy. The Infinity and her escorts again rushed to Earth's defense as a Guardian appeared above Earth, with the Home Fleet and the orbital defense grid scrambling their defenses in the wake of this new threat. However, having witnessed the capabilities of the Guardians, the crew of the Infinity instead chose to retreat, narrowly escaping the massive EMP blast that shut down all technology on Earth, rendering the Home Fleet utterly defenseless as their own vessels were also disabled in orbit.
Following September 5, 2552 all remaining fleets were amalgamated into a single command grouping under the UNSC Home Fleet. Fleet leaders remain in leadership roles of these fleets however. This means that forces under the Fifth Fleet, Seventh Fleet, Third Fleet, Sixteenth Fleet, and Second Fleet are technically also a part of the Home Fleet after this point. The surviving fleet of Epsilon Eridani Fleet is also technically a part of the Home Fleet after the events of Operation: FIRST STRIKE.
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