Recovery of John-117
The Recovery of John-117 was a small engagement between the United Nations Space Command against the Covenant on November 17, 2552 in the Tanzanian jungles near Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. UNSC forces led by Sergeant Major Avery Johnson succeeded in recovering SPARTAN-II John-117 after his escape from the Anodyne Spirit.
During the early morning of November 17, 2552, the Forerunner keyship Anodyne Spirit carrying the High Prophet of Truth arrived at Earth, smashing through the remnants of the UNSC Home Fleet that had been engaging Covenant warships over the planet for the last month. On board the keyship was Spartan John-117 who, after making a failed assassination attempt on the Prophet, was forced to flee from the ship. Using a door as a heat shield, the Spartan bailed out of the Anodyne Spirit as it entered Earth's atmosphere. His trajectory and expected crash site was triangulated by an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper fighting Covenant forces near Pawa, Pakistan. This would allow several squads of Marines led by Avery Johnson to locate the Spartan in the following hours. John made landfall in a Tanzanian jungle south of Mount Kilimanjaro while the Forerunner vessel continued descending until it landed on the portal to the Ark, which had been excavated by Truth's fleet.
In the morning of 17 November, 2552, Sergeant Major Avery Johnson would lead several teams of Marines into the jungles of Tanzania to recover Spartan John-117, using the triangulation data acquired by forces fighting near Pawa, Pakistan. They discovered the Spartan lying prone at the end of an impact crater with his armor locked into place by it's gel layer and the door he had used as a heat shield impaled into the ground nearby. As several Marines discussed the Spartan's condition, Johnson warned them to stay sharp, due to the Covenant presence in the Tanzanian jungle. A Corpsman used a small computer to partially unlock John's armor, expressing his uncertainty regarding the Spartan's status. Johnson rested his hand on John's chest for a moment, before lowering his head in sadness and retrieving Cortana's empty chip from the Chief's helmet. As he looked at the chip, realizing that the AI was absent, Johnson told his Marines to radio heavy lifting gear to extract the Spartan; unwilling to leave his long-time friend in the jungle. At that moment, John regained consciousness, climbing to his feet. After lightheartedly ribbing John for his tendency to fall from orbit, Johnson asked him where Cortana was, to which he responded that she had remained behind, while hearing Cortana's final words to him on High Charity. After the Corpsman fully unlocked John's armor, the Spartan noticed Arbiter Thel 'Vadam disengaging his active camouflage nearby. John reacted immediately, taking Johnson's magnum from it's holster. By the time Johnson shouted that the Arbiter was allied with them, the barrel was already between the Sangheili's mandibles. Only at Johnson's urging did the Spartan reluctantly lower the gun, shoving the Elite as he did so. Undaunted, Thel 'Vadam warned the group that they needed to move, as nearby Jiralhanae had caught their scent. With a light quip, Johnson took a nearby Marine's assault rifle and offered it to the Spartan, who snatched it, seemingly annoyed by their alliance with Thel.
Johnson ordered First Squad to scout ahead of the rest of the unit. The squad moved ahead, with Second Squad along with himself, John and Thel following behind. As they made their way through a path in the jungle, Johnson informed Gunnery Sergeant Reynolds of Bravo Team that they had recovered the Master Chief. A short distance ahead, the group heard a Jiralhanae howling and Reynolds radioed in warning Johnson of the presence of Covenant troops in the jungle, having spotted a pack of Jiralhanae but the transmission was laced with static. As the team approached a waterfall, they were forced to take cover as a Type-52 Phantom flew overhead. Fearful that they would be spotted more quickly in a large unit, Johnson split the team. John and Thel went with First Squad, which was led by Gunnery Sergeant Stacker while he took command of Second Squad and ascended the nearby cliff-face to take an alternate route to the extraction point at a nearby river. As John and his team passed a nearby fallen log, they spotted a Jiralhanae Captain Major standing on a large rock, ordering its Unggoy subordinates to find the humans. With a Marine's warning of the Brute's power armor, the group engaged the scouting patrol. When the Jiralhanae collapsed dead, Thel remarked that they were foolish to do the bidding of the deceitful San'Shyuum. As the team approached a larger pond, a Phantom swooped down, it's gunner providing suppressing fire with the dropship's side-mounted plasma cannon while its complement of infantry deployed and another dropship unloaded more troops further along the water's edge. The team managed to fight their way through, killing a number of Jiralhanae Captains and their Unggoy soldiers before regrouping at a nearby cave entrance. As the Marines noted the more valorous nature of the Unggoy, Thel stated that this was due to their fear of their Jiralhanae commanders. On the other side of the small cave, the group came upon a large open area where Covenant troops were encamped. A Marine suggested that John take advantage of the sleeping Unggoy on their side of the camp to thin down the enemy numbers silently. Eventually the group was spotted and the camp erupted in gunfire, with several Jiralhanae officers leading large numbers of Unggoy and Kig-Yar against the humans and Sangheili. After clearing the Covenant camp, Sergeant Johnson radioed the Chief, telling him that Pelicans were on their way to the river but he had been unable to raise Bravo Team. Around the next bend, they discovered a Jiralhanae Captain holding Reynolds on top of a collapsed log. The Covenant officer demanded the location of the nearby UNSC base, to which the Gunnery Sergeant refused to answer. Before the Brute could kill the Marine, John managed to eliminate the Captain and his subordinates. After arming himself with a nearby assault rifle, Reynolds reported that his team had been attacked by a Phantom and Covenant troops led by a Jiralhanae Chieftain who had killed the rest of his team. The group, now accompanied by Reynolds, proceeded towards the river, killing another unit of Covenant soldiers as they went.
Extraction is prevented
By the time John and his team reached the river, the Pelicans were under heavy fire from Covenant ground troops that had entrenched themselves around the river substation. Johnson and his team were already on board, the sergeant using the Pelican's bay-mounted heavy machine gun in an attempt to fend off the attackers. As John, Thel and the Marines of First Squad arrived to assist, several Banshees soared in over the river, landing direct hits on the engines of both Pelicans. One dropship plummeted into the water beyond the dam while the Pelican with Johnson and his team, Echo 051 managed to clear the dam but smashed into a nearby cliff and tumbled out of sight. Several Phantoms then arrived, one of them suppressing the UNSC forces while the other deployed large numbers of Covenant reinforcements onto the dam. John and his team had fight their way through these newly-landed troops until they could re-enter the jungle. Once in the jungle, the humans and Sangheili had to pass through a narrow section of jungle laden with Kig-Yar snipers. On the other side of the pass, they reached an overhang where they witnessed Johnson and the other survivors from Echo 051 retreat into a nearby cave while under heavy Covenant fire. With support from Thel and First Squad, John moved through the area, engaging groups of infantry including a mass of Unggoy deploying from a Phantom that had a Jiralhanae Chieftain riding on the side. As the number of Covenant soldiers dwindled, the Phantom left the battlefield, allowing John to approach the overturned wreckage of Echo 051. Here, the Spartan was able to overhear a radio transmission from the Crow's Nest controller coming through the Pelican's still-functional radio in which Kilo 023 was ordered to provide emergency evacuation for the team due to Echo 051's destruction. After re-arming from the weapons littering the crash site, John and Thel proceeded through the cave that Johnson's squad had taken. Upon arriving at the A2 Hydroelectric Facility, Thel informed John that Sergeant Johnson had been captured by the Covenant; the two watched as the sergeant attempted to punch the commanding Jiralhanae Chieftain, only to get kicked into a small building and sealed behind a shield door.
Rescue of Sergeant Johnson
The two began an attack on the large contingent of Covenant forces at the facility, facing off against numerous Jiralhanae Captains and their lances. As they battled their way across the dam, another Phantom arrived to deposit more troops near the building where Johnson was held captive. Eventually engaging with the Chieftain and his bodyguards, John and Thel managed to defeat the ferocious Covenant warriors and make it to the building where Johnson and the survivors of his squad were imprisoned. After deactivating the energy barrier keeping them contained, Johnson and the remnants of Second Squad took weaponry from the nearby Covenant supply cases. As a pair of Phantom dropships entered the area, Kilo 032's pilot warned the team to remain in cover as she was inbound to clear a path. As the Phantoms deployed troops onto the dam, the team were forced to engage while waiting for the Pelican to arrive. Moments later, Kilo 023 flew in along the river, unloading barrages of missiles into both Phantoms, obliterating them. Hocus then brought her dropship in to land on the dam, allowing the team to climb on board. As the Pelican departed for the nearby Crow's Nest, Johnson gratefully patted John on the shoulder. Kilo 023 would land on the landing pad of Crow's Nest, with Commander Miranda Keyes personally arriving to meet the group off the Pelican.
Upon arriving at Crow's Nest, Commander Keyes would tell John that she had prevented Installation 05's activation, and of the Prophet of Truth's plans to activate what they believed to be the Ark, but was in reality the gateway portal to the installation. Admiral Hood would explain the plan to neutralize an anti-aircraft emplacement in the city of Voi allowing a UNSC battle group to assault the excavation site. The base would soon be attacked by the Covenant, which would conclude with John destroying the entire base with a bomb once all other UNSC personnel had evacuated. The survivors would then mobilize for the assault on Voi.
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