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|Political and military information|
Early life and academic career
Keely Iyuska was born circa 2530. By 2550, Iyuska was attending Sydney University on Earth where she met the fourteen-year-old prodigy Olympia Vale, who also attended the university. The two quickly became friends, perhaps partially due to Vale's self-admitted desperation to be accepted by her older classmates. It was during their time together at the university when Iyuska gave Vale the nickname of "Pia," a name which Vale liked at the time, though the appeal of it would wear off. Vale would first tell Iyuska that she did not like the nickname at their commencement ceremony. Iyuska graduated from Sydney Univeristy with a degree in xenoarchaeology. After graduation, the two friends would next see each other shortly after the end of the Human-Covenant War and Vale's walkabout on the Sangheili world of Khael'mothka. Iyuska was so excited to ask her questions about Sangheili culture that Vale began to feel that she was nothing but a research opportunity to her old friend.
By the late spring of 2555, Iyuska held a job at the University of Calippus, working on the side for the Office of Naval Intelligence as a civilian xenoarchaeology consultant and as a guest lecturer at the Luna OCS Academy. While still working at the University of Calippus, Iyuska applied for a tenured postion. Ultimately the application was denied, something which did not surprise Iyuska given her young age. Following Vale's return from a joint UNSC-Swords of Sanghelios operation to Installation 00 earlier that year, she was given permission to brief Iyuska on the technology and architecture she observed while on the mission. This meeting was strictly professional and left little time to grow their friendship. Vale was also not permitted to reveal that she had been recruited into the SPARTAN-IV program, instead simply telling Iyuska that she was being sent on a "special assignment." Iyuska later stated that she was worried sick about Vale following their meeting.
As part of ONI's Project BOOKWORM, Keely Iyuska travelled to Heian to lead some excavations of its ruins. Following this, Iyuska became involved with the University of Oxford and got caught up in a scandal involving an affair. This scandal got so overblown that ONI had to designate it as "need to know" in order to avoid embarrassing Iyuska, an important ONI consultant. Due to her talent and security clearance, ONI helped Iyuska land a post at the University of Edinburgh, despite her troublesome record. Iyuska was happy that she still had a place to work, though she believed that the department chair, Cadence, was a "jealous cow" and only accepted her hiring because she wanted ONI funding. Cadence gave Iyuska a full load of introductory archaeology courses to teach, with none of them in the field of xenoarchaeology. However, as part of her post, Iyuska also had to filter through UNSC after-action reports in search of evidence of protogenic civilizations, effectively wanting her to canvass the entire Orion Arm. For this task, she was given funds for an artificial intelligence and research assistant, who helped Iyuska generate a list of three hundred and fifty-two candidates on two hundred and eleven celestial bodies.
As she dug deeper into her assignment, Iyuska began to see evidence of a civlization older than the Forerunners, be it a device that required an unattainable amount of energy, a impossible to build structure, or a settlement that appeared to exist separate from space and time. Yet, each time that she though she found evidence, the observations just vanished from her mind, or were explained away by the next report she examined, or her assistant would track down a record that established the technology firmly as Forerunner in origin. Iyuska sent a grant request to Cadence for funding to survey the sites from her research, but the department chair suggested that she would have more luck getting the funding if the surveys were framed as a search for the missing San'Shyuum. Since she wouldn't get any support from Cadence, Iyuska sent the grant request directly to Admiral Serin Osman, the Commander-in-Chief of the Office of Naval Intelligence. In response, she was sent the UNSC's Military Survey of Unihabited Planets and a translated copy of the Covenant World Registry.
By cross-referencing these documents with her research, Iyuska found evidence of this mystery civilization on Netherop, a planet that was the site of a small battle in 2526. On top of this, details from the Covenant World Registry led Iyuska to believe that the Forerunners called the world "Planet of Ghost Makers," implying that they had suffered heavy losses in a battle there. This was enough to convince Admiral Osman to authorize a survey of Netherop. However, the rise of the Created prevented the funding from arriving.
Sometime later, Iyuska was approached by Eto 'Saljhoo, a Sangheili antiquities collector, who—unbeknownst to Iyuska—was aligned with the Banished and had already discovered record of a weapon on Netherop that interested Atriox. 'Saljhoo provided Iyuska with the funding for the mission, with the stipulation that he would have first pick of the artifacts recovered from Netherop, an agreement that the two sealed with the Sangheili custom of sucking the marrow from the roasted femur of a colo. However, Iyuska soon began to suspect that there was something that 'Saljhoo was not telling her, and further research on the planet produced a record that indicated a Guardian Custode had long ago been sent to subdue Netherop, and that the planet's civilization had managed to defeat the construct.
In late 2559, when Keely Iyuska was supposed to rendezvous with her benefactor, she instead travelled to the state of Vadam, Sanghelios to meet with Olympia Vale and see if ONI would still support a mission to Netherop, given her concerns about Eto 'Saljhoo. When she failed to make the rendezvous, Eto 'Saljhoo hired the Sangheili Oath Warden Crei 'Ayomuu to hunt Iyuska down and hold her to her promise. Using a flight of Eyes, 'Ayomuu tracked Iyuska to a tenement island in Vadam Valley where she attempted to hide among the kreche warrens. When a band of angry Sangheili males fired on the Eyes, Created armigers arrived at the tenement island to investigate, also discovering Iyuska's presence. Already aware of her research, the armigers razed the tenement island to the ground. Iyuska escaped unharmed and sent a message via trysting pod to Vale's residence, the Villa of Long Views. In the message, she informed Vale to look for her at the villa's sally port. Once brought inside out of the dark Sangheili night, Iyuska was shocked by Vale's appearance, not realizing that she was a Spartan-IV. The two caught up on their lost time and Iyuska informed Vale of her situation, asking her if she could talk to her ONI contacts to get them to mobilize a mission to Netherop, stating that they can't let Eto 'Saljhoo get his hands on the Guardian-killing weapon first.
With this settled, Iyuska stated that they needed to go to the Outer Colony of Gao to hire a consultant who knew Netherop better than either of them. Vale managed to convince her superiors of the importance of the mission and the two women arrived at Gao a few days later. Here, they hired a pipistrelle piloted by Arturo Ramus to take them to the village of Paraiso deep in the jungle. Under the guise of medical researchers studying a newly-encountered prion disease, Iyuska and Vale wished to speak with and recruit Rosa Fuertes, a member of the Castoffs that Blue Team had rescued from Netherop decades earlier. One of the armed men protecting the village suspected that the two women were agents of the Office of Naval Intelligence, but with some monetary incentive and a show of force from Vale, they got to speak with Rosa Fuertes, who agreed to come with them to Netherop, despite being afflicted by the prion disease. Iyuska, Vale, and Fuertes left Gao and rendezvoused with the UNSC Hidden Point, a Point Blank-class prowler that would transport them and an entire battalion of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers—who would assist in the excavation of the artifact—to Netherop.
Mission on Netherop
- Main article: Battle of Netherop (2559)
After several slipspace jumps, the Hidden Point arrived at Netherop to discover that a flotilla of Arbiter Thel 'Vadam's ships had already entered orbit and deployed several Phantoms to peculiar crater on the surface. Iyuska, Vale, and Fuertes boarded a D102 Owl stealth insertion craft with the fifteen ODSTs of Tango Team and deployed onto the planet separately from the rest of the battalion. The Owl reached the crater as the forty Pelicans carrying the ODST battalion entered the upper atmosphere. At this moment, a rift filled with blinding light opened on tel at the center of the crater, destroying all forty of the Pelicans and briefly disabling the Owl. Despite the horrific loss of life and the pilots' wanting to call off the mission, Vale had them land the Owl on the tel, saying that they just found what they were looking for. Upon reaching the tel, the group disembarked to set up a perimeter and attempt to find a way below the surface. Iyuska busied herself by three-dimensional rendering of the tel's summit using terrain reader and a mapping tablet.
As the group searched for an entrance, the Sangheili survivors who had taken over the structure beneath the tel launched an ambush, dissolving the dusty ground beneath Iyuska, Fuertes, and several equipment crates. Falling into a tunnel beneath them, the Sangheili went after the two women. Iyuska hid under the pile of equipment crates, but the Sangheili grabbed Fuertes, pulling her down the tunnel. Vale jumped into the breach and told Iyuska to stay put as she looked around for Fuertes. However, several Sangheili lunged at her and she attempted in vain to calm them by explaining the situation in their native tongue. The ODSTs breached their way into the tunnel using C-12 explosives and managed to push back the attackers. Shortly after this, Arbiter Thel 'Vadam and his entourage arrived at the tel in mountain runners operated by Captain Amalea Petrov and her soldiers. The Arbiter had encountered the human castaways just before the weapon had fired, and a tense discussion led to Petrov agreeing to a cease-fire. It was agreed that the Arbiter and his forces would enter the tel first and attempt to reason with the Sangheili defenders. In the meantime, Iyuska and Vale continued to look for another way into the structure.
The group found an entrance to a shaft that had been sealed off and Iyuska collected a sample of dust from the platform covering the opening. To her astonishment, the dust seemed to microtech (or even nanotechnology) and capable of self-direction given Petrov's experiences during previous visits to the tel, possibly even being controlled by the Sangheili inhabitant via their minds. The group couldn't reconcile the combination of this advanced technology and the industrial age technology used in the mountain runners, but Iyuska pointed out that weapon that destroyed the wing of Pelicans certainly was not industrial age technology either. After they discovered that they could dig into the shaft from the side, Vale decided to take Tango Team's First Squad, Petrov, and Iyuska with her down into the structure below while Gunnery Sergeant Grim Bear took First Squad to the other side of the tel and breach there as a distraction. After crawling through a narrow tunnel filled with the nanodust, the group found themselves in a subterranean aeroponics chamber with rows of plants making use of nanotechnology for support and nutrients, yet another example of Tier One or Zero technology existing alongside the Tier Six technology of the mine shaft and mountain runners. That left the obvious conclusion that the more advanced technology had be brought to Netherop—specifically to the tel—by another group, one that had decided to live alongside of the existing inhabitants of the world while trying to hide from the Forerunners. This realization led Iyuska and Vale to consider the horrific possibility that this group had been related to the Gravemind or members of its original species. Vale then presented the potentiality that members of this group still remained in the tel, though Iyuska quickly dismissed the idea saying that there was no way that they would live in peace with the Sangheili inhabitants if that were the case.
As First Squad spread out in search of the chamber where the Guardian-killing weapon was stored or controlled from, Vale told them to look for a fortified location. However, Iyuska insisted that the location would likely appear ceremonial given the Sangheili's consideration of the technology being gifts from the gods. While the group searched the structured, Iyuska was paired with a massive ODST named P. Barnes, otherwise known as "Golly." Their search took them to a large "sculpture garden" filled with pieces of the Guardian that was destroyed long ago by the weapon. Once the full squad had reached the garden, they were ambushed by several Sangheili making use of their strange armor's active camouflage ability. Iyuska, Golly, and Petrov made their way to the Guardian's head while Vale dealt with the attackers that were slowly picking off the ODSTs. Vale eventually regrouped at the head to find Golly missing a hand and grappling with one of the Sangheili while Petrov was covering Iyuska as she peered into a darkened archway beneath the head. Golly was knocked out by his attacker and Vale carried him over to the square in front of the archway to find that Iyuska had already entered.
Immediately after this, Thel 'Vadam and his remaining forces arrived with Menuz 'Ra'ashai, a blademaster who had decided to betray Nizat 'Kvarosee and the other Sangheili defenders for the hope of not dying for false gods and being able to return home to Sanghelios. With his help, Nizat 'Kvarosee and Tam 'Lakosee surrendered. 'Lakosee revealed that Iyuska had locked herself inside the "Inner Sanctum" and that they would be unable to enter unless she allowed it. As he explained this, Iyuska appeared in the archway and beckoned the group inside, saying that they had "big trouble." The chamber displayed what was happening in orbit above them: the Sangheili flotilla and the UNSC Hidden Point were under attack by Created weapon-ships. 'Lakosee began to show the Arbiter how to operate the weapon as Vale translated for Iyuska what he said. When she asked one too many questions, 'Lakosee shoved her back, resulting striking against the wall of the chamber. Vale began to threaten the Sangheili, but 'Vadam intervened and Vale had Petrov check on Iyuska. While 'Vadam searched for his targets and waited for the weapon to be ready, Iyuska and Petrov returned to the group. It was then that 'Vadam noticed a Banished drekar approaching Netherop. Vale noted that the small autonomous attack craft were unlikely to have come from the drekar and Iyuska pointed out the cloaked Acolyte-class harrier, exclaiming that it was Forerunner. This stunned 'Lakosee who tackled 'Vadam and also raised his arms upward to claim control of the weapon just as the Arbiter was about to fire. Ultimately, both Sangheili had succeeded: the Banished drekar, the remaining Sangheili frigate, the Hidden Point, and the Forerunner harrier had all been obliterated. Despite what had just happened, Iyuska immediately began collecting samples of the power that coats the arms of whoever operates the weapon. Then, she began to inspect the vacuum energy condenser at the bottom of the chamber. When Olabisi Varo'dai asked if the condenser could be used to recreate the weapon somewhere else, to which Iyuska responded that this was likely the case if a new focusing chamber was built, though she pleaded with everyone in attendance to not use it as a weapon for fear of it turning whatever planet it's used on into another desolate world like Netherop. Vale and the Arbiter agreed that humanity and the Sangheili would need to study the weapon jointly before anything was done with it. With that, they collected the condenser and left the chamber to decide what would be done with 'Lakosee and 'Kvarosee. After having them swear that they would not try to stop them from leaving, 'Lakosee and 'Kvarosee were left in the empty focusing chamber.
The group made it to the surface to find the Second Squad's position surrounded by hundreds of Banished drop pods—and the soldiers that the pods had delivered. Iyuska expressed her concern to 'Vadam, who told her that once the fight inevitably began, that she should not surrender as the Banished do not treat prisoners kindly. However, the fight never came. As the group discussed how best to take on the Banished, Atriox himself began his approach across the tel alongside another Jiralhanae and Eto 'Saljhoo, seeking a parley. Seeing this, Vale suggested that they let the Banished have the vacuum energy condenser, given that they needed a bargaining chip let them safely leave Netherop and the difficulty that the Banished would have in correctly recreating and calibrating the focusing chamber, as well as the damage they would likely inflict on themselves if they used it. Iyuska and the others were aghast at the suggestion, though eventually they came around to the idea once Iyuska explained the difficulty the Banished would have in replicating the Divine Hand. With Atriox's party nearly at their position, the Arbiter finalized their strategy and then selected Iyuska and Vale as his advisor and bodyguard, respectively. Upon the two parties reaching each other, Iyuska noted her surprise in 'Saljhoo being Atriox's lackey, but got choked up when the warmaster turned his attention to her. The interaction largely went as planned with Fuertes throwing the bags of nanodust at Atriox and Crei 'Ayomuu pretending to steal the condenser and bring it to 'Saljhoo. Atriox realized that this had been the Arbiter's deception, but mistakenly thought that his plan was to have the Banished use the Divine Hand to defeat Cortana for them.
After the Banished gathered onto their Liches and departed, Iyuska began questioning Fuertes, intending to get information on her experience within the tel that seemingly cured her of her disease. Vale reprimanded her and told her that ONI would not let any of her findings from this mission be published anyway. Iyuska understood the implication and Vale told her that she would put in a good word for her with ONI, explaining that their first question would be "has she changed?" Iyuska handed her three sample jars of the nanodust and asked Vale if she would tell them that she had changed. The Owl that had brought Vale's team to the surface took several trips into orbit to deliver all of the survivors to the Hidden Point's five surviving D81-LRT Condors. Iyuska took the last flight and sat across from Thel 'Vadam and Olympia Vale, attempting to insert herself into the discussion of what to do with the jars of nanodust.
Personality and traits
Keely Iyuska is known to have a habit of getting herself into trouble, with ONI once having to bail her out of a scandal involving an affair. Although her academic curiosity sometimes gets in the way, Iyuska is good friends with Olympia Vale. Despite her troubles with ONI in the past, she continues to want to work for them, asking Vale to put in a good word for her after the mission on Netherop.
Iyuska is noted to have a sturdy build and a slender face with deep green eyes that could either make her look guileful or fiercely observant. She has meter-long red hair which she often has in a braid draped over one shoulder.
While visiting Olympia Vale on Sanghelios, Iyuska wore a dark field jacket and dark pants with large square pockets, as well as a wide-brimmed hat. She is often seen carrying a data pad with which she records her findings, usually via the data pad's speech-to-text function. During the mission to Netherop, Iyuska wore borrowed BDUs, an open-faced helmet, and torso armor—none of which bore a unit or rank insignia. She was also seen to carry a knife, her data pad, and several sample jars and bags.
List of appearances
- Halo: Outcasts (First appearance)
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 3
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 2
- Halo Waypoint, Halo: Outcasts - Preview 3 (Retrieved on Aug 5, 2023) [archive]
- Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - System Shocks (Retrieved on Aug 20, 2023) [archive]
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 6
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 5
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 8
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 15
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 10
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 11
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 13
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 17
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 19
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 20
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 21
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 24
- Halo: Outcasts, chapter 26