This article is about the planet. For the game, see Halo: Reach.
Reach, also known as Epsilon Eridani II, is a human colony world in the Epsilon Eridani system, located within the Inner Colonies and is the sister planet of Earth itself. At 10.5 light years from the Sol system, it is located at Earth's metaphorical doorstep. Reach is the fourth largest planet in the Epsilon Eridani system, and second closest to the star Epsilon Eridani.
Once home to a Forerunner presence, Reach held considerable importance to the United Nations Space Command as the nexus of its military and the site of many military-industrial facilities such as shipyards. It was also significant for being one of the largest producers of titanium, which is plentiful on the planet. Though most commonly recognized for its status as a military world, Reach was also humanity's second most populous colony world, its civilian population living in its preplanned cities or defying the planet's harsh nature in sturdy pioneer settlements.
Reach became the target of a Covenant invasion in 2552. Although the planet was defended by the UNSC for several weeks, Reach eventually fell to the Covenant, resulting in the planet's glassing in one of the most decisive defeats suffered by humanity over the course of the Human-Covenant War and the demise of the majority of its population.
The Forerunners maintained a presence on Reach long before human colonization. They built at least one complex beneath Menachite Mountain and left a vessel beneath the Babd Catha Ice Shelf. Both of these were later discovered and researched by the UNSC, specifically the Office of Naval Intelligence.
The first planetary confirmations of Reach were made in the early 21st century. Originally colonized during humanity's first wave of extrasolar colonization in 2362 by the Odyssey, Reach was chosen to be the site of a colony due to its rich titanium deposits. This resulted in extensive mining activity, with titanium mines throughout Reach running thousands of meters deep. ONI's secret CASTLE Base was located in one of these mines underneath Menachite Mountain. The Office of Naval Intelligence commandeered the mine after it breached a secret complex beneath Reach's surface containing a Forerunner artifact that was highly desired by the Covenant. The fact that this artifact was so valuable to them is perhaps the main reason anyone survived the aftermath of the Fall of Reach at all, as the Covenant were afraid of destroying it. An ONI super-AI network used for high-level number crunching was also located on Reach.
The legendary SPARTAN-IIs were trained and housed on Reach, in the Reach FLEETCOM Military Complex in the Highland Mountains. Fred-104 said Reach was their home and every SPARTAN-II would fight to the death to defend it.
Despite its position as the UNSC's largest naval base, strategic headquarters, and second-largest population center, the Epsilon Eridani system was wracked by Insurrectionist activity throughout the early 26th century. Reach's sister planet, Tribute, was one of the fronts for the UNSC's anti-terrorist campaign, Operation: TREBUCHET. In 2525, mere months before the outbreak of the Human-Covenant War, Reach was the site of a major terrorist bombing against the luxury liner National Holiday. Two orbital taxis filled with explosives were crashed into the liner, causing the liner to plummet into the atmosphere, incinerating everyone on board.
The Fall of Reach
Reach fell to the Covenant during the Human-Covenant War in 2552. An advance strike force first arrived at the planet in late July, taking out a major communications outpost and attacking several UNSC facilities over a span of several weeks. This force was effectively destroyed when the fleet's flagship, the CSO-class supercarrier Long Night of Solace was destroyed during Operation: UPPER CUT. However, a significantly larger Covenant fleet arrived on August 14 and began to lay siege to several cities on the planet shortly after the Long Night of Solace was destroyed. The final battle for the planet was fought when a massive Covenant invasion fleet over 300 ships strong arrived in the morning of August 30. Additionally, the other human colonies in the Epsilon Eridani system were attacked by the Covenant, including Tribute.
The final attack halted Operation: RED FLAG, a plan devised by the UNSC to bring an end to the war, as the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, which was already on its way to the mission, was recalled to Reach to defend the planet against the massive Covenant attack. The majority of the SPARTAN-IIs aboard the ship were dispatched to the planet's surface to protect the generators for the orbital defense platforms, while a small team led by John-117 boarded Reach Station Gamma to secure an unprotected NAV database aboard the ONI prowler Circumference. Eventually, the Autumn was one of the few ships to escape the battle.
The battle was a disaster for the numerically-inferior UNSC fleet, despite the orbital defense platforms. The Covenant glassed most of Reach with plasma bombardment. CASTLE base was destroyed after the planet's fall and the Covenant began searching for a Forerunner crystal. The remaining UNSC forces finally abandoned the planet during a small raid a few days later. The raid turned into a rescue operation when it was determined that Spartans were still alive and on Reach, resulting in the destruction of over a dozen Covenant capital ships and many of their ground forces, at the cost of four Spartan-IIs and heavy damage to a UNSC-captured ship.
Immediate Post-war operations
In November 2553, a pioneer group arrived on Reach for an initial search and preparation for the planet's reterraforming. Due to its symbolic and strategic value, Reach was quickly selected for rehabilitation and full-scale recolonization by the Unified Earth Government, classified as a priority redevelopment area. Although an ambitious and lengthy project, Reach's recolonization is aided by the planet's handful of surviving settlements and the remaining space elevators, though hindered by the devastation to all major military sites and population centers during the Fall of Reach. Reach currently has a population of 121,000; UNSC presence is currently minimal.
Operations conducted by the UNSC on Reach are under strict ONI security classification, classified to other UNSC personnel regardless of rank or position. Terrestrial and orbital operations were complicated by the presence of unaffiliated local civilians, contractors of the Unified Earth Government, and unlicensed Kig-Yar salvagers. While specific strategic objectives were classified, Spartans with experience and a background in combat engineering and covert action were asked to report to ONI for screening and assessment for a mission to Reach. It was rumored that ONI intended to dispatch Spartan-IVs to search CASTLE Base under Menachite Mountain for an unspecified object. 
In the October of 2559, during the midst of the Created's occupation of parts of the galaxy, Blue Team were sent on a covert mission to infiltrate the ruined CASTLE Base. Their mission was to retrieve assets pertinent to stopping the Created. At the same time, an alien faction occupied the planet.
By 2589, Reach was in a habitable state, and new human colonists were re-settling the planet. The planet was still evidently littered with destroyed ship and debris from both the Covenant and UNSC, thirty-seven years after the fall of the planet. By 2610, at least two cities on the planet, New Alexandria and Esztergom, were reconstructed.
For a young planet with an age of less than one billion years, compared to Earth's 4.6 billion year existence, Reach is remarkably geologically stable. Reach is larger than Earth, having a diameter of 15,273 kilometers, compared to the 12,756 kilometers diameter of Earth. Reach was originally inhospitable for human life, requiring some degree of terraforming before it could be colonized. Mostly a rugged and harsh wilderness filled with towering mountains, deserts and weather-beaten forests, Reach's surface is pockmarked with meteor impact craters, some of these forming large seas. Reach has a strong aurora phenomenon, to the extent the planet is covered in an "aura" of aurorae. This may be caused by a stronger magnetic field. Reach has two natural satellites; the large, ringed Csodaszarvas and the small, cratered Turul which was captured into Reach's orbit as recently as some 70-80 thousand years ago. Reach's oceans also experience strong tidal phenomena.
Reach was home to numerous species of indigenous animals and vegetation, with some being imported by humans. The spadehorn is a herbivorous animal native it Reach's grasslands. Moa are large, flightless birds, with reptilian features, that are often domesticated and consumed by humans. The gúta is the largest terrestrial lifeform discovered on Reach and is very dangerous, albeit rarely aggressive. A species of eagle, bearing some resemblance to the golden eagle from Earth, were also found on the planet. Wolves and owls, from Earth, inhabited the forests of Reach. Koi were often found in decorative ponds and water gardens. Rats were also common pests on the planet. The planet was home to hundreds of species of vegetation, including cedar trees from Earth.
Some of Reach's indigenous fauna are known to have survived the fall of the planet. Flocks of moa still survive on Reach in remote sectors that were not glassed by the Covenant, while some were transported to other worlds before Reach's glassing.
Government and society
Reach was the most important headquarters for the United Nations Space Command outside of Earth and the main supplier of military and civilian spacecraft, and the location of the UNSC's largest and most active shipyard. High Command, Fleet Command and the Marine Corps maintained headquarters on Reach, as well as many primary Naval Intelligence bases, which included the highly classified CASTLE Base. It was also where the UNSC's most elite troops, including the ODSTs as well as the SPARTAN-IIs, were trained. Reach's purpose was not solely military however; the surface of the planet also featured farmland and civilian towns and districts. The largest cities on Reach were Manassas, Quezon, Esztergom and New Alexandria. Reach had nine space elevators, three of which were located near the city of New Alexandria and another one located in the city of Manassas.
Reach was the largest non-automated exporter of titanium within the human colonies. Deposits of the element could be found in abundance on the planet, sometimes breaking the surface in the form of large spires. Before the Covenant invasion, Epsilon Eridani's superior interstellar jump point had been the most active Slipstream space transfer zone (arrivals and departures) for over thirty years, with the system's inferior IJP and Sol's superior IJP regularly trading second and third place spots.
Many of Reach's original settlers hailed from Eastern Europe, particularly Hungary, which is reflected in some of the place names on the planet. Many of the planet's inhabitants also spoke Hungarian as their first language. Despite Reach's harsh nature, some settlers chose to live in small communities of homesteads, referred to as "kivas", in the wilderness instead of the major cities. Rounded and enclosed, they were comfortable but practical, shuttered against Reach's forceful climate and bunkered into hillsides. It also related their independent nature; powered by wind turbines and hydroelectric plants, they were off the grid and self-sustaining. Reach was also the host of sporting events such as the 2552 Reach Galactic Cup and 24 Hours of Quezon.
While Earth was rightly seen as the UNSC's commercial, political, and cultural center; Reach was undeniably the hub of its military power. The Epsilon Eridani Fleet was a full strength carrier group with the Punic-class supercarrier UNSC Trafalgar at its core.
A semi-mobile array of twenty orbital defense platforms, equipped with heavy MAC guns also known as "big sticks," orbit around Reach, some of which were in place as early as 2527. The "big sticks" were defended by multiple wings of single ships and tactical multi-role craft. In addition, there were also about 100 to 150 warships stationed in the Epsilon Eridani system at any time. Reach also had a network of 18 refit stations orbiting it. The ODPs were destroyed during the invasion of Reach, or were disabled by ground troops by destroying their power source. Despite their huge numbers, the fleet of warships was destroyed by a massive combined Covenant fleet.
List of appearances