Operation: FAR STORM
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At the climax of the Human-Covenant War, the joint United Nations Space Command–Sangheili Fleet of Retribution and a Covenant fleet under the High Prophet of Truth's command traveled to Installation 00 through the slipspace portal at Voi, Kenya on Earth. The ensuing battle led to the dissolution of the Covenant Empire, the destruction of Installation 04's replacement, and heavy damage to Installation 00 itself.
In 2553, renowned human scientist and historian Doctor Luther Mann found information that would lead him to discover the existence and location of Installation 07 by cross-referencing Forerunner architecture on the shield world of Trevelyan. It took a year, but at the beginning of 2555 he finished decoding the data, and the Office of Naval Intelligence subsequently sent a research detachment of approximately three hundred scientists of multiple fields, including Mann and Henry Lamb, to study Zeta Halo along with hundreds of automated probes to scan and map out the installation. While inspecting the ring's custodial systems, Mann and Lamb discovered a Forerunner timer that they concluded was counting down to the Halo Array's activation in five weeks. Doctor Mann was aware that the UNSC Redoubtable had found a similar sequence on Installation 05 in 2552 and passed this information to his superiors. In a classified briefing at HIGHCOM, Zeta Halo project director, Doctor Bob Casper explained to the representatives of the various UNSC branches that he had contacted the other installations and confirmed that each of them was exhibiting the same behavior.
Following the discovery of across the known Halo Arrays, both the UNSC and Swords of Sanghelios decided that the best course of action was to go to what remained of Installation 00 to try and manually stop the timer. Members of the group came from both factions involved, including two Sangheili who had conducted operations on the installation; N'tho 'Sraom and Usze 'Taham, the former in command of the warship Mayhem. The mission was put into action rather abruptly - and earlier than planned - when the Huragok Drifts Randomly activated the Portal at Voi for the first time since the Battle of Earth in 2552. Almost immediately, a Retriever Sentinel emerged and began strip-mining the area around the portal, forcing the UNSC Endeavor and accompanying small craft to engage it in combat. After this event, the UNSC task force met aboard the Mayhem to discuss what to do next. The commander of the ship, N'tho 'Sraom, proceeded to kidnap the UNSC troops, believing that the more time wasted talking would mean less time to stop the activation of the Halo Array. Mayhem proceeded to enter the portal to travel to the Ark.
The Mayhem arrived at Installation 00 much earlier than expected; the previous voyage to the installation had taken weeks, whereas Mayhem arrived in a matter of hours. Upon exiting slipspace, the corvette was immediately engaged by more Retrievers and was heavily damaged in the process, crash-landing on the surface of the installation. Unable to continue by air, the group set out towards the Citadel on foot. The group, consisting of several UNSC Marines, two Spartan-IVs, several Sangheili, and one Huragok, initially made slow progress over the blasted terrain, but eventually began to encounter some of the installation's ambient life in the form of Sky Leviathans. Shortly after, the group was attacked by blind wolves and Chaefka, two predatory species 'native' to the installation. In the skirmish, Olympia Vale was injured and lured away from the battle by the installation's monitor 000 Tragic Solitude, using a friendly Chaefka to lead her to its location. When Vale's absence was noted, Usze 'Taham, Elias Holt and Henry Lamb were sent to track her down. At the same time, Captain Annabelle Richards sent several Marines back to Mayhem with the bodies of those killed in the previous skirmish. A little while later, she and her Marines returned to Mayhem, the Captain injuring herself on the terrain, and her troops too cold to continue.
As they continued, the weather became increasingly frigid as temperatures dropped and snow began to form. Eventually, the first group - Kodiak, Luther Mann and N'tho 'Sraom, encountered a mammoth-like creature. The mammoth escorted the group across the now-frozen sea towards the island containing the citadel. Meanwhile, the second group discovered the tracks from Vale and the Chaefka and used them to track for a time before the snowfall became too heavy. Instead, they decided to continue on to the citadel, hoping to find an alternate route to the main party. They began noticing an increase in temperature as they neared the Ark's core and pass the ruins of High Charity, before eventually being set upon by armiger constructs. The group defended itself, destroying several of the constructs as more continued to appear via slipspace portal. As Vale eventually arrived at her destination, she regained full control of herself as she encountered 000 Tragic Solitude, who took on a form reminiscent of herself, albeit golden. Here, Solitude talked with Vale and explained to her the purpose of activating the array and the portal. It intended to rid the galaxy of 'destructive species' like Humanity, Sangheili, and other alien species responsible for destroying Forerunner constructs, then use the materials from their worlds to rebuild the Ark and repair it. Upon hearing this, Vale attempted to reason with the monitor, to no avail.
On the outside, Usze, Holt, and Lamb encountered another new creature, an unknown type of carnivorous plant, which attacked the group, forcing them into a cave for shelter. They contacted Kodiak and requested reinforcements, prompting the first group to rescue the second from the organism. The group reunited, then continued to the Citadel, where Usze would remark upon how he had fought here in the Battle of Installation 00. The group entered the construct and shut down the firing sequence, before being set upon by a horde of armigers. At the same time, Solitude explained that he only intended for Vale and Drifts to be kept alive, for reasons unknown.
After escaping the ambush, the task force soon found itself in the bowels of the citadel. While trying to open a door, the group was attacked by an Aggressor Sentinel, killing Henry Lamb in the process. The group pressed on after the Huragok opened the door and pulled up a map, where they began to hear voices in the distance. Tragic Solitude explained to Vale how the activation of the rings had been halted, forcing the ancilla to put its plan into motion early by unleashing hordes of retrievers upon Earth. On the other side of the galaxy, the UNSC Home Fleet engaged the invading force, with initial success, but soon being overwhelmed by sheer numbers. As the group continued, they soon discovered Vale and Solitude, with Solitude ordering for Drifts to return control of the installation to him. When the request was refused, Solitude unleashed a human cyborg - the remains of Bobby Kodiak - to kill Vale. Vale held up in single combat, but the cyborg and retriever army was recalled when members of the team began firing into the monitor's data stores. After being allowed into the chamber, Frank Kodiak recognized his brother before the monitor once again tried to attack the group, this ending when Bobby destroyed the monitor's casing - killing himself in the process.
As the Sangheili, humans, and Drifts set to work to repair the damaged Mayhem, UNSC Witness and a fleet of other UNSC ships arrived on the other side of the portal to investigate the source of the Retrievers' attack and retreat. Witness lifted Mayhem inside of it, and all ships and personnel returned to Earth. UNSC research teams were deployed to the Ark through the portal afterward, hoping that the UNSC would now use the deactivated Retrievers to finish 000 Tragic Solitude's work and repair the Ark.
Vale's communication skills and combat prowess throughout Operation: FAR STORM did not go unnoticed by the upper echelons of ONI. After the mission, perhaps at Spartan Frank Kodiak's suggestion, Vale considered joining the SPARTAN-IV program. After her experiences on Installation 00, Vale found it challenging to return to her former, often bureaucratic, routine. Seeking new challenges, she entered the UNSC's inter-service War Games and managed to place in the top five percent. As a result of her performance, as well as recommendations from the highest levels of the Office of Naval Intelligence, Vale was eventually recruited to become a Spartan-IV.
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