Zhoist, known to the UNSC as Naraka, was a planet in the Buta system. It was formerly controlled by the Forerunners, but was later settled by the Covenant. In 2526, it became the site of an attack by the UNSC's Task Force Yama.
The Covenant would eventually discover and settle Zhoist, coming to revere the planet as holy due to the Forerunner presence there. The ancient guild halls dominating the hallowed cities were the source of many of the technologies that powered Covenant starships and weapons. Thousands of Covenant artisans and engineers worked on Zhoist to research these artifacts. The Covenant established a series of gravity lifts and orbital space stations around the planet, with a complex web of fleet support stations termed the Ring of Mighty Abundance. The third, fourth and fifth Lagrange points in the Naraka/ Rudara planetary system maintained picket squadrons in an equilateral triangle for defending the orbital facilities around the planet.
By the time of the outbreak of war with humanity, Zhoist served the Covenant as a vital supply base and staging area for the Fleet of Inexorable Obedience. During the Battle of Chi Ceti in 2525, the Unrelenting intended to return to Zhoist for repairs following victory against the humans, before its destruction at the hands of Blue Team. By 2526, Zhoist maintained a small defensive rapid-response flotilla and its shipyards were in the middle of constructing the Supercarrier Hammer of Faith. Following the successful Battle of Etalan, Task Force Yama targeted the planet for Operation: SILENT STORM, with Doctor Catherine Halsey determining the planet's location due to the planet's status as the only habitable world within jump distance of Transit Point Bhadra. She named the planet and its moon Naraka and Rudara respectively, due to not having discerned the Covenant names and in honour of the late Captain Halima Ascot's Hindu background.
On April 15, 2526, Task Force Yama's Dagger Force and Sierra Force launched a joint attack on Zhoist, with Dagger aiming to take out the lagrange point stations to distract the fleet while Sierra deployed troops onto the planet to destroy Covenant infrastructure supporting the Ring and fleet stationed there. The resulting Attack on Zhoist saw the destruction of two of the Ten Cities, the Ring of Mighty Abundance and several of the large gravity lift space elevator structures at the hands of UNSC nuclear weapons.
Zhoist's surface, when viewed from orbit, resembled a pearl-coloured marble. The planet's sky had a yellow haze to it, with the surface a rich volcanic world of fuming calderas and glowing rifts. Where the ground wasn't steaming or bubbling, the Covenant had created walled fields and serpentine terraces. A silvery web of luminous roadways converged on large cities of ivory domes and golden spires, built around the massive gravity lifts serving as the Covenant's space elevator equivalents. On close inspection, the large domes were in fact cluster of tall buildings each hundreds of metres tall, appearing to be centuries old and resembling hand-blown glass.
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