Massacre of the Outer Colonies

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Skirmish on Minor Transgression


Massacre of the Outer Colonies
Harvest Plasma Glassed.jpg
Harvest glassed in 2525


Human-Covenant War


February 3, 2525 - June 1, 2536[1]


Outer Colonies, Orion Arm


Covenant Victory

  • Most Outer Colonies are glassed
  • Insurrection dies down due to heavy casualties from the Covenant attacks
  • The Unified Earth Government logo UEG (Supplanted by UNSC martial law later on)



Immensely devastating

Moderate to heavy


The Massacre of the Outer Colonies,[3] was the series of engagements taking place in humanity's Outer colonies that made up the early Human-Covenant War.[4]



Main article: Insurrection
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Marines celebrating over a destroyed battlefield on Harvest.

Harvest and humanity's response[edit]

CMA Argo was tasked with investigating the silence of Harvest, but signals with it were soon lost too. The Colonial Military Authority sent Battle Group 4 to investigate the escalating situation. Arriving on October 7, 2525, the Battle group was attacked. Only the CMA Heracles managed to escape. The Heracles returned to Reach[5] on October 31, relaying what had happened and a message: "Your destruction is the will of the gods, and we are their instrument."[6]

The following day, on November 1, 2525, the Unified Earth Government began mobilizing the CMA and UNSC.[6] Specifically, the UNSC went to full alert and stripped the CMA of its forces, giving them to NAVCOM and UNICOM.[1] On November 2, the SPARTAN-IIs were deployed.[6]

Early battles and losses[edit]

At some point immediately after the attack on Harvest, Green Hills and Second Base were attacked by the Covenant.[7] On the 27th of November, Chi Ceti IV was assaulted by a Covenant ship at the same time SPARTAN-II forces were receiving their MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor. Almost immediately after in December, the SPARTANs were reassigned to fight the Covenant at Alpha Corvi II.[8]

The first year[edit]

The beginning of 2526 saw the destruction of Bliss.[9] Soon after on March 1, Preston Cole in charge of UNSC Battle Group X-Ray fought the Covenant off over Harvest.[10] Seven days later, Cole as well as others would devise Operation: SILENT STORM, part of which would involve laying a trap at Biko using Task Force Yama.[11] At this point in time, the Covenant were only operating in the Polona Sector, Vevina sector, and Grenadi sectors.[12] The colony of Etalan, with roughly 10 million people was also attacked during this time.[11]

Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn screenshot
The Covenant glassing Circinius IV.

As part of SILENT STORM, the UNSC moved to position themselves at Seoba, over Biko and discovered an Insurrectionist plot to overthrow the Bikon Chancellor. This would require the UNSC to go on the offensive before they would fight the Covenant.[13] The Insurrectionists were driven back, but not before the Covenant arrived and attacked the planet.[14]

Almost a month after, the prestigious Corbulo Academy of Military Science on Circinius IV was destroyed, leaving only 3 survivors. Parts of the planet were also glassed.[15]

Only two days after Circinius IV, ONI projects were refocused to solely counter the Covenant. As well, ONI Section Two sent emissaries to Outer Colony leaders to warn them of the Covenant and give them an offer: end hostilities with the UNSC and receive protection. Initially, they laughed at the prospect, until they witnessed footage of Bliss.[16]

Planets began falling two or three a week. The Office of Naval Intelligence was unable to collate intelligence at the rate of the Covenant incursion. UNSC Fleet Command was unable to plan out grand strategies and thus granted operational autonomy to UNSC naval units.[17]

In the summer, UNSC forces along with forces from the Children of Mesra fought the Covenant on Mesra.[17]

At the end of the year, the UNSC and Covenant fought a large battle in the Alpha Aurigae system.[7] Capella and Origami would be attacked but not glassed.[18]

Pressing inward[edit]

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During the first five years of the war, Red Team would outperform most other groundside units as they were sent from world to world in the outer colonies to try and slow the Covenant.[19] Orion-class assault carriers were also used as flagships in desperate rearguard actions trying to buy time for evacuees to flee to the Inner Colonies.[20]

Despite having attempted to attack the world years earlier, the Covenant would glass Chi Ceti IV in 2527.[18] In 2528, the UNSC continued to counter the Covenant at the Battle of XI Boötis A[7] but Madrigal fell later in the year.[21]

Two years later in 2530, Eridanus II was glassed and the UNSC abandoned the planet.[22] On December 24 of 2530, the UNSC and Covenant clashed at the Battle of the Great Bear. The battle would lead to the formation of the Cole Protocol.[7]

Spirit of Fire forces planning actions on Arcadia.

The Arbiter[edit]

In February 2531, Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee, under the command of the Prophet of Regret, began leading searches for Forerunner technology to aid in the Covenant war effort during the end of the Harvest campaign and the Battle for Arcadia. With the Covenant having discovered the Forerunner shield world Trove sometime prior, the Prophet of Regret intended to use a fleet of Sojourner-class dreadnoughts docked at the Apex Site to crush humanity "quickly and with ease." With Ripa having kidnapped Professor Ellen Anders at Arcadia to use as a Reclaimer to activate the shield world, he was pursued by the UNSC Spirit of Fire, leading to a battle at the Etran Harborage. In the battle, Ripa was killed by Sergeant John Forge who subsequently sacrificed himself to destroy the Etran Harborage by causing its internal sun to go supernova. The Covenant plan was foiled, but the Spirit of Fire sacrificed its slipspace drive to cause the supernova, leaving the ship and its crew stranded in deep space.[23]

Further battles[edit]

Despite the loss of Trove, the Covenant would continue to press forward. In 2532, the colony of Vodin would be attacked but would survive.[18][24]

Hat Yai and Paradise Falls, however, would end up being glassed in 2533. Harvest would be glassed again in 2534.[18]


Loss of the Outer Colonies[edit]

With the fall of the Outer Colonies, the UNSC called upon private industry to manufacture previously classified war materiel. The result of this would be the GEN1 ROGUE-class Mjolnir.[25]

By 2535, a number of Outer Colonies had been lost and refugees were beginning to pour into the Inner Colonies, such as on Chi Rho.[26]

The losses of various Outer Colonies would also create some of the orphans who would make up the SPARTAN-III program. This includes but is not limited to; Carter-A259 following Biko,[27] Rosenda-A344 after Vodin,[28] and Emile-A239 following Eridanus II.[29]

The Inner Colonies[edit]

Main article: Siege of the Inner Colonies

On June 1, 2536, the Covenant had finally broken into the Inner Colonies.[1] This would be the beginning of a multi-year siege of the most inner worlds of humanity.

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Continuing losses in the Outer Colonies[edit]

Other Outer Colonies also fell even after the Inner Colonies were being attacked. Meridian, came under siege for three years late into the war. As well, Arcadia was attacked a second time.

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  • Harvest is glassed again.[18]



  1. ^ a b c Halo Wars, Timeline: 2536
  2. ^ Halo: Reach: Data Pad 14
  3. ^ Halo Mythos, page 74-75
  4. ^, Halo Storyline: (Additional copy on HBO Forums) (Retrieved on Apr 24, 2008) [local archive] [external archive]
  5. ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, page 96-99
  6. ^ a b c Halo: Silent Storm, chapter 2
  7. ^ a b c d e f Halo Wars: Genesis
  8. ^ a b Halo: Collateral Damage, issue 1
  9. ^ Halo: Reach, Dr. Halsey's Personal Journal, Excerpt From Accra Log Page 1
  10. ^ Halo: Silent Storm - Historian's Note
  11. ^ a b c Halo: Silent Storm, chapter 5
  12. ^ Halo: Silent Storm, chapter 6
  13. ^ Halo: Silent Storm, chapter 7
  14. ^ Halo: Silent Storm
  15. ^ a b Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn
  16. ^ Halo: Reach, Dr. Halsey's Personal Journal, April 28, 2526
  17. ^ a b c Halo: Oblivion, chapter 1
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 50 & 51
  19. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 95
  20. ^ Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 127
  21. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, page 72
  22. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 240
  23. ^ Halo Wars, Campaign
  24. ^ a b Halo Waypoint, Randall Aiken
  25. ^ Halo 3, ROGUE-class Mjolnir description
  26. ^ Halo: The Cole Protocol, page 25
  27. ^ Halo Waypoint, Carter-A259
  28. ^ Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - Phoenix Blog (Retrieved on Feb 22, 2023) [archive]
  29. ^ Halo Waypoint, Emile-A239 (Retrieved on Oct 16, 2021) [archive]
  30. ^ Halo: Reach: Dr. Halsey's Personal Journal, "The Accra Incident" "Unknown ships positively identified as alien warships comprising what appear to be five assault carriers, twenty-three battlecruisers, and seventeen destroyers."
  31. ^ a b Halo: Silent Storm
  32. ^ Halo: Oblivion
  33. ^ Halo: Evolutions - The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole