Here's the rundown on Halo: Reach History - before the Fall of Reach. If you factor in the games, books, comics, anime and cinematic marketing promos – not to mention a carefully guarded and famously unproduced screenplay – the Halo universe has a more robust mythology than most epic sci-fi series. A combination of Battlestar-esque military intrigue and prophetic alien folklore, the battle between the humans and the Covenant – let alone the celebrated adventures of Master Chief – can no doubt fill volumes. And indeed, it already has. So to attempt a concise history of the events surrounding the fall of Reach, which in itself is only just the beginning of the conflict, is basically the feat of a madman.
But if you’re preparing yourself for the kamikaze last-stand of the ill-fated Noble Team, we’ve got a brief, albeit handy, guide to all that came before. The short version goes something like this: explosion, explosion, dropship, screaming, BIG EXPLOSION, silence…The longer version takes a bit more time…
If Reach was anything, it was the Pearl Harbor of planets, a massive training ground and naval yard for the UNSC, Earth’s 22nd century military defense force.
The planet revolves in the gravitational pull of Epsilon Eridani, a system known for its occasional rebellious insurgency. It is here, in the midst of a sprawling metropolis known as Elysium City, where UNSC researchers first encounter a boy named John, destined to become the iconic Master Chief by the time that the war – which has yet to even begin – finally draws to a close some decades later.
From an early special-ops training program known as only ORION, the SPARTAN project emerges. Developed with an aim at conscripting young, perspective soldiers and molding them into the ideal assassins, SPARTAN-II demands a high cost from those who are chosen: excruciating biological modifications, as well as intense, emotionally destructive psychological testing. More than half of the 75 candidates originally selected for the program perish before the end. Of those who survive, a great number are crippled or incapacitated. Those who live quickly become known as mankind’s most elite combat force.
John is appointed leader of the remaining Spartans.
While the Spartans attempt to quell a bloody rebellion in the Eridanus System, mankind’s first experience with the Covenant unfolds. All communications with a far-off colony known as Harvest inexplicably terminate. Only a dull, dark silence transmits across the void. The UNSC sends a scout ship called the Argo to investigate. The frigate vanishes after only a single communiqué.
Fearing the worst, a battle group of destroyers is sent to the system to report on the fate of both Harvest and the Argo. Upon arrival, scans beam back images of the surface of Harvest – a crystalline, glass-like sheen across the entire planet, scourged by some incomprehensible fire. From within orbit, a Covenant cruiser suddenly emerges, unknown to human history, transmitting a message to their newfound enemies, promising that mankind’s destruction is the very will of the Covenant gods. A harrowing firefight results in the destruction of the Arabia and the Vostok, leaving only the Heracles to escape.
As the UNSC high command plans a massive military strike to regain control of Harvest, the Spartans enter the next phase of their training: Project MJOLNIR. Offering the Spartans a new load-out of biologically enhanced armor, the program readies the squadron for all that is about to occur. While several of the Spartans are ultimately able to take down one of the Covenant ships, the siege is a failure. Colonies fall. Planets crumble.
Somewhere in space, Master Chief watches the world burn.
As the Covenant forces close in on the colony of Cote D’Azur, a UNSC vessel called the Iroquois destroys three alien gunships in a massive galactic battle. Below, Spartan forces clash with Covenant ground troops. With the city all but lost, the decision is made to nuke Cote D’Azur in the hopes of incinerating as many Covenant as possible. In orbit above the planet, as a plume of smoke consumes the city, the Iroquois retreats back to Reach…baring a Covenant tracking beacon.
As Master Chief boards the Pillar of Autumn for what will eventually become the story of Halo, the rest of the Spartans, now divided, seek out their next assignment as Covenant dropships blanket the skies above Reach. With humanity’s last bastion of hope in the sights of weaponry capable of transforming the very ground to glass, the members of a small company of Spartans known as Noble Team step-up to lead the battle. Fin!
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