Operation: HYPODERMIC was an effort by the Office of Naval Intelligence to collect information concerning the Covenant between January 2532 and August 2552. In this time dozens of Prowlers were deployed. HYPODERMIC was canceled following the Fall of Reach. The word hypodermic means "under the skin".
Timeline (Military Standard Time)
- 2531: Admiral Preston Cole drafts the Cole Protocol - Hypodermic-FXT-J
- July 19, 2532: Codename: COALMINER gives Codename: SURGEON a progress report on the operation.
- July, 2552: Prowlers search UNSC controlled space for Covenant forces, hoping to locate the enemy's base of operations.
- August 29, 2552: The AI Cortana discovers that three ships currently docked at Reach orbital stations, the UNSC Circumference, the UNSC Applebee and the UNSC Lark, are actually ONI vessels, rather than civilian ones after intruding into an ONI database. Cortana does not realize that these ships are part of HYPODERMIC.
- August 30, 2552:
- 0000 Hours: Mere hours before the Covenant attack Fleet is detected at Reach, COALMINER detects Cortana's intrusion and initiates Contingency Plan TANGO, removing the Circumference from Reach's database to prevent the unauthorized discovery of HYPODERMIC.
- 0558 Hours: Due to isolation of the Circumference from the Reach network, Station Gamma Dockmaster AI Doppler is unable to implement the Cole Protocol on the prowler during the Fall of Reach. Covenant intrusion software detect this oversight.