This article is about the planet. For the soundtrack, see Tribute (music).
Tribute, also known as Epsilon Eridani III, is a human Inner Colony planet in the Epsilon Eridani system, governed by the Unified Earth Government. The third planet in orbit around Epsilon Eridani, Tribute is orbited by a single natural satellite Emese. Tribute is one of the most prominent commercial colonies in all of human-occupied space, with a large population and thriving spaceport traffic. Its strong economy was centered around the planet's large industrial capacity. Its largest populated urbanized metropolis was Casbah City, located in a region of past volcanic activity.
Tribute's fall to the Covenant in 2552 was considered to be one of the tragedies of the Human-Covenant War, which resulted in huge economic ramifications on Earth and the surviving colonies in the post-war period. However, the planet was not completely lost and its surviving residents have begun to rebuild Tribute's once powerful economy. Tribute was the homeworld of Daniel Clayton and Spartan Carris-137, who was born on December 15, 2510 in Irbid.
Tribute is one of the Epsilon Eridani system's improbably high number of habitable planets, a fact that was seen as serendipitous to the early colonization efforts. Initial colonization efforts in the system faced significant challenges in marshalling political and economic support. Interest in the system's colonization potential initially focused on Tribute and Circumstance, though it was Reach that would soon capture the attention of Unified Earth Government planners.
Tribute was the second planet to be colonized by the Unified Earth Government and the Colonial Administration Authority in the Epsilon Eridani system, after its sister planet of Reach. The UEG officially records Tribute's colonization as beginning on August 8, 2364 when CAA Casbah arrived and established the initial navigation and communication satellite constellation, though the official date of colonial establishment is contested by some. Personnel of CAA Irbid claim that they had landed and begun colonization earlier, on July 24, 2364.
Tribute was one of the major focus points of Operation: TREBUCHET in 2524, where forces of the United Nations Space Command operated against insurrectionist bomb cells hiding throughout the colony. At least one battalion of Marines were involved in operations on the planet, supported by corvette UNSC Bum Rush and flights of AV-14 Hornets. Due to the increasing amount of civilian casualties and injuries caused by the insurrectionists, numerous combat support hospitals were built on Tribute as a form of aid and relief. The UNSC's initial efforts to root out the insurgents failed spectacularly, triggering a wave of bombings, assassinations, and UNSC raids in urban areas that led to massive numbers of civilian casualties.
One of the missions involved Staff Sergeants Avery Johnson and Nolan Byrne, who led two squads of Marines in a raid on a rebel bomb shop in a town nearby Casbah City. During the raid, the squads discovered that the explosives were mixed into the tires of a truck headed for Casbah. The Marines tracked the truck to a Jim Dandy restaurant in the city, eventually resulting in a hostage situation. Three members of Byrne's team, as well as thirty-eight civilians, were killed in the restaurant when a rebel detonated a bomb during the event. Byrne was critically injured in the explosion and Johnson was lightly wounded. The insurrectionists on Tribute initially enjoyed tacit support from the population, though as violence escalated it quickly became clear to Tribute's population that the rebels were not the romantic freedom fighters imagined by many and their popular support quickly waned. Although periodic outbreaks of violent rebellions continued for over a decade, the destruction of the Outer Colonies and draconian restrictions on inter-system transport effectively cut off the Tribute rebels from any outside support as the Human-Covenant War began. A handful of insurgents remained active on Tribute throughout the Human-Covenant War, apparently convinced that the war against the Covenant Empire was simply a plot by the UEG to shore up support in the colonies, at least until the Covenant arrived on Tribute.
As the Fall of Reach began in late July 2552, the Covenant also attacked the other colonies in the system, including Tribute. Despite the efforts of UNSC ground forces and the Epsilon Eridani Fleet, the Covenant eventually gained the upper hand in the Battle for Tribute and began targeting population and industrial centers for orbital bombardment. The UNSC Navy fleet charged with evacuating the colony's populace suffered ninety percent losses. Jiralhanae forces began to land on the planet in force, though stiff UNSC and civilian resistance left their packs bloodier than their chieftains had anticipated. However, the Covenant gained uncontested control of the skies and Tribute's orbit; there was little the UNSC could do to save the colony.
Several Spartans were deployed to Casbah City to assist the evacuation effort, resulting the in deaths of an entire SPARTAN-III team. At least one platoon of the 105th Shock Troops Division was also deployed to the city of Jaeraub. The colony remained under siege by the Covenant fleet for some time. During the battle, Team Black was sent to Verge on a mission to destroy a Covenant beacon that was mining helium-3 to provide energy for the fleet blockading Tribute. Although they were successful, Tribute was eventually partially glassed by the Covenant. Ironically, Tribute's "survival" was due to interference from the Covenant's High Prophets of Truth and Regret, who both began to consolidate their loyal forces once Installation 04 was discovered on September 19, 2552. The few remaining Covenant ships at Tribute targeted human forces when able, with little interest, but otherwise simply waited for new orders and began moving orbital wreckage in preparation for a renewed campaign of the glassing of Tribute. However, when the Great Schism began on November 3, 2552, the Jiralhanae and Sangheili vessels then fought each other in orbit over Tribute and across the planet's skies. As the Covenant civil war led to the destruction of most Covenant vessels, Tribute's human survivors could only look on in confusion.
Tribute was not completely razed or glassed by the Covenant during the battle on the planet, allowing humans to continue living on its surface. However, all of its major cities were almost completely destroyed and few industrial sites survived unscathed. Over half of the population was killed in the battle and Earth was unable to spare any immediate assistance with colonies of the Sol system in ruins. Nevertheless, the colony survived, and enough infrastructure remained intact that survivors began rebuilding the ecology and economy.
A series of ship graveyards continued to orbit the planet's northern pole; these graveyards served as the testing ground for the MJOLNIR Deadeye variant. At some point, prototypes of the Rex VISR were tested by UNSC Marines units to track down Jiralhanae holdouts on the planet. The wreckage of the SDV-class heavy corvette Supplication of Purity, downed during the war, would be recovered from the planet and later displayed at Outpost Discovery. Between 2555 and 2558, Region One of Central Command entered negotiations with Covenant fleet remnants, with Olympia Vale serving as an advisor. By 2558, Tribute is now home to major shipbuilding yards of the UNSC Navy, building a new generation of warships along with the shipyards orbiting Mars. In addition, a new slipstream space route between Epsilon Eridani and Sol was discovered and established as a trade route, with the minor Outer Colony of Ruthersburg providing metals and rare earths to both Tribute and Mars.
List of appearances