Task Force Yama
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Task Force Yama was a splinter group of the UNSC Navy's Battle Group X-Ray, under the command of Captain Halima Ascot. The Point Blank-class stealth cruiser UNSC Vanishing Point would serve as a logistics-support ship, while the Razor-class prowler UNSC Starry Night served as Ascot's flagship. In 2526, the Task Force participated in the Battle of Biko and Operation: SILENT STORM.
Operation: SILENT STORM
In early March 2526, Task Force Yama split off from Battle Group X-Ray under the orders of Vice Admiral Preston Cole. The task force's main objective was to escort the SPARTAN-IIs led by John-117 and the ODSTs of the 21st Space Assault Battalion into battle against the Covenant fleet so that they could board as many of their vessels and stations as possible. Then, using nuclear weapons and other high-yield explosives, they would destroy the ships from the inside, within their nearly impenetrable energy shields. If successful, this operation would disrupt Covenant supply lines and weaken their forward fleets, giving the United Nations Space Command more time to prepare. Captain Halima Ascot, commander of the UNSC Starry Night was selected to take command of the entire task force for the duration of Operation: SILENT STORM.
The leadership personnel for this operation were briefed by Vice Admiral Cole aboard the UNSC Vanishing Point on March 8, as the task force rested in deep space within the Polona sector. Soon after the briefing, the task force entered slipspace for Biko in the Kolaqoa system. With a Covenant fleet already glassing the nearby colony of Etalan, Biko was expected to be the next target and the perfect place to initiate Operation: SILENT STORM. As such, an ice quarry on its moon of Seoba was selected to be Task Force Yama's staging ground as they awaited the Covenant fleet's arrival.
During the ten-day voyage through slipspace, the Spartans trained with the ODSTs in the Vanishing Point's mission preparation hold. The Spartans made short work of the marines in every exercise until Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson taught them new, unorthodox strategies that were much more effective against the supersoldiers. After four days of training, Colonel Marmon Crowther had them all gather in the drop hangar to discuss the specifics of the plan. Despite their performance against his ODSTs, Crowther was skeptical about deploying the Spartans to the front lines due to their inexperience on the battlefield as well as their apparent young age, much to John-117's frustration.
Seoba and Biko
On March 18, Task Force Yama arrived in the Kolaqoa system and set course for Seoba, with Colonel Crowther planning to practice the mass deployment of the Spartans and his ODSTs into the ice quarry there. Led by Lieutenant Commander Hector Nyeto, the Razor-class prowlers of Ghost Flight would be responsible for delivering these forces. However, Operation: ICE DANCE quickly became a warzone when the prowlers detected the insurgent aligned with the Biko Independence Army hidden amidst the ice. The Vanishing Point hung back to block the insurrectionists' transmissions, while Ghost Flight continued its insertion run. As the prowlers dropped off their complement, the entrenched insurrectionists tore the ODSTs to shreds with M41 Vulcans. Meanwhile, a strike managed to damage the insurgents' communications relay that sat atop the quarry, preventing them from calling for help. In the chaos, John-117 disobeyed orders and leapt from the UNSC Ghost Song to face the insurgents head-on, with the rest of Blue Team following his lead. During an attack run, the UNSC Ghost Star was lost to anti-aircraft fire, prompting Nyeto to pull Ghost Flight out until the skies were made more safe. With Blue Team unknowingly used as a diversion, Lieutenant Nelly Hamm and her men from the Black Daggers' Alpha Company cleared out many of the anti-aircraft emplacements and destroyed a convoy of Civets that had been rising out of the quarry to repair the relay. This allowed Nyeto to deliver more ODSTs, which resulted in the capture of the quarry.
The next day, Captain Ascot called for a debriefing in one of the quarry's old assembly chambers. While discussing what went wrong during the battle, the conversation soon turned to John and his fellow Spartans' apparent young ages. It was revealed that they were all roughly fifteen years old, leading to Crowther's refusal to put them into harm's way. With this decided, the topic of how the insurgents had seemingly been prepared for their arrival was brought up. John-117 observed that they might have been waiting for someone other than the UNSC. The group soon realized that the insurrectionists had instead been preparing to meet with the Covenant, in an attempt to form an alliance. Just then, a Covenant flotilla arrived in the system, with a course set for Seoba. Captain Ascot and Lieutenant Nyeto rushed back to their ships to prepare them for battle.
Once the flotilla neared Seoba and deployed its complement, the battle resumed. The Starry Night was shot down during the fighting, It crashing into the quarry and killing Captain Ascot. The Spartans rescued the prowler's surviving crew and activated its self-destruct, a one-megaton Fury tactical nuclear weapon that destroyed the intrusion corvette that was trying to take the prowler on board.
Shortly after, the Covenant Fleet of Inexorable Obedience arrived and attacked Biko, with the task force attempting to help defend the planet. Due to insurrectionist warnings, the Covenant was successfully able to protect against boarding actions and the task force lost five more prowlers, but the Spartans used the time to go on a secret side mission to Etalan, where they successfully destroyed the Covenant logistics fleet, forcing the Covenant to call in another for resupply and exposing their support world of Zhoist to Dr. Halsey.
The task force, split into Dagger Force and Sierra Force, next launched an attack against Zhoist. By this point, it had become clear that the task force's new commander, Lieutenant Commander Hector Nyeto was in fact an Insurrectionist attempting to sabotage the Spartans. Before departure, Colonel Marmon Crowther promoted John-117 to Master Chief Petty Officer and placed him in charge of Sierra Force with secret new orders that foiled Nyeto's attempt to betray the task force to the Covenant. Nyeto was forced to flee to slipspace, escaping with the three Prowlers of Ghost Flight which all turned out to be crewed by Insurrectionists. Though the Black Daggers aboard were blown into vacuum, they were later rescued by the UNSC Night Watch. Another Prowler was lost on approach to Zhoist, but the task force was able to complete its mission, destroying the Ring of Mighty Abundance, two of the Ten Cities of Edification and inflicting massive casualties upon the Covenant.
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