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A Conclusive History of the United Nations Space Command: Chapter Three
Posted By: witelancer<witelancer@hotmail.com>
Date: 14 December 2003, 7:18 PM

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Chapter Three: The SPARTAN II Program

Part One: The Selection and the Early Years

The brushfire conflicts of the late 25th century did not go unnoticed. The Office of Naval Intelligence, Section Three, noticed that the power of the UNSC's mighty space fleet was too powerful and reliant on brute force to settle minor conflicts, and that the starships used by the UNSC were too valuable to risk in fighting guerrilla actions. Thus, in reaction to this new threat posed by insurgents, rebels, and pirates, the UNSC began work on devising a solution.

In association with the Colonial Military Administration (CMA), Project ORION began in 2491. This research project is kept obscure by ONI blackouts and the lack of official sources, but one can only surmise that the results of ORION was to produce the SPARTAN program. There were several people involved in the SPARTAN program itself, but Dr. Catherine Halsey was the most prominent of them all.

Dr. Catherine Halsey, a prominent ONI researcher, began the SPARTAN-I program at an unknown date. The SPARTAN program was the UNSC's response to the rebel incursions of the early 2500's, an era in which lawlessness pervaded many of the Outer Colonies. Official sources do not document either the beginning or the end of the SPARTAN-I program. All one could do is realize that it was a success, or at least showed progress, because the selection process for the SPARTAN II project began in 2517.

On August 17, 2517, Halsey visited the Eridanus Secundus system, in search of John, a six year old boy—and a SPARTAN candidate. She administered a simple test—and the boy passed. John's induction into the SPARTAN program was the first of seventy-five tests. ONI only had funding for half of the 150-candidate field that Dr. Halsey selected. Throughout the rest of 2517, Halsey tested her juvenile candidates, with the testing culminating in the selection of seventy-five six-year old candidates.

These seventy-five children became the targets of an ONI mass kidnapping. They were stolen from their homes, injected with tranquilizers, and then were flash-cloned, leaving their parents with pale copies of their original children. The candidates were then taken to the REACH military facility. Upon arrival on September 23, 2517, the children were officially conscripted into the SPARTAN-II program. Their reaction was not typical of many six-year olds taken from their homes—nearly all of the SPARTANS were able to cope with their newfound captors. The extensive training program began the next day.

The SPARTAN trainees were put through courses of morning calisthenics, advanced academic courses, and many other extensive educational programs for the first two years of their training. By 2519, the eight-year old SPARTAN trainees were able to successfully outwit the trainers under the command of Chief Petty Officer Mendez, their father figure. JOHN-117, the Spartan who would later become known as the "Master Chief" achieved the rank of Squad Leader on this mission by heroically appropriating a Pelican dropship. Throughout the next eight years, the Spartan trainees continued to advance in their education and training, becoming not only fearsome fighters but also skilled and intelligent officers.

Finally, on March 9, 2525, eight years after the beginning of the program, Dr. Halsey put the next phase of project SPARTAN-II into action. Using advanced techniques and technology, Halsey installed bone grafts, neuromuscular enhancements, ocular implants, and many other experimental cybernetic upgrades onto the Spartans' bodies. The Spartans did not fare well, with thirty-one of the trainees dying from complications from their surgery. Twelve others were too severely damaged by the implants to be of any use militarily. They were re-assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence, where they made many strides in quantum physics research(for example, Fhajad-034 made a discovery that helped Captain Jacob Keyes save Sigma Octanus).

Thus, the Spartans emerged from their training program with not only new bodies, but sharp minds that would help them fight against their enemies.

Part Two: MJOLNIR and the Covenant

The insurgency in the Eridanus system in 2513 did not go unnoticed by the UNSC. Colonel Robert Watts, a prominent Naval officer, had defected to the side of the rebels and was now their de facto leader, running a secret base concealed in the side of an asteroid. On September 12, 2525, the Spartans were assigned their first real combat mission from the UNSC destroyer Pioneer. Their objective was to abduct Watts from the asteroid base, allowing the UNSC to interrogate him. The mission went off without a hitch, showing the Spartans' near-invincibility in ground combat.

On November 2, 2525, Chief Petty Officer Mendez left the SPARTAN-II program. Also, on this day the Spartans were introduced to their new enemy—the Covenant. They were briefed on the events that had taken place during 2525—the destruction of Harvest.

As time passed, the missions of the Spartans brought them closer and closer to Chi Ceti 4 and the Damascus testing facility. The Commonwealth, a UNSC frigate, ferried the Spartans and Halsey to Chi Ceti 4, where they came upon an unexpected contact: a Covenant frigate. As Captain Wallace of the Commonwealth held the Covenant off in orbit, Halsey led the Spartans down to the surface of Chi Ceti 4, where they were outfitted with the fruits of Halsey's labors—the MJOLNIR armor. MJOLNIR was a culmination of many hard years of work, giving the Spartans the best armor that the UNSC could afford—and the armor would save all of their lives. It was based off the early exoskeleton research of the UNSC, but it greatly improved upon the technology used for those weapons—the exoskeletons were inefficient and greatly wasteful of broadcast power. MJOLNIR rectified these shortfalls and improved upon the exoskeleton concept.

The Commonwealth was crippled by the Covenant ship's plasma weaponry, but John-117, Samuel-034, and Kelly-087 stopped the Covenant ship by planting warheads in the ship's reactor. The Spartans took their first combat casualty in this action; Samuel-034 sacrificed himself in order to destroy the Covenant ship. The rest of the Spartans and Dr. Halsey escaped to parts unknown.

With their new MJOLNIR armor and a new enemy to fight, the Spartans leapt into furious battle, slaughtering the Covenant in ground combat. However, no matter how many Covenant they killed on the ground, the Spartans never made a significant difference in space battles—so the Covenant continued their inexorable advance.

Twenty-five years of the Human-Covenant War passed (see Chapter Four), and the Spartans continued their vicious attacks against Covenant ground forces. On August 27, 2552, the Spartans were gathered on Reach, where they received their newest mission orders—to capture a Covenant ship and to capture a Prophet. The mission was considered high-risk enough that the UNSC HighCom did not order the Spartans on the mission, but rather asked for volunteers.

However brave and noble the mission plan was, the future was shattered when the Covenant attacked Reach. The mission was scrubbed in favor of defending Reach—the Spartans split into two groups. Blue Team, led by John, was assigned to a space operation to enforce the Cole Protocol (once again see Chapter Four), while Red Team was assigned to defend the broadcast power generators on Reach's surface. When Reach later fell, Red Team was stuck on the planet, while John, the only survivor of Blue Team, went to Halo-04, where he discovered the Flood and the Forerunners, bringing Cortana along with him. He later returned to Reach with a captured Covenant ship and the survivors of Halo's detonation.

In the aftermath of the battle for Reach, and the incidents on Halo, the Spartans were reunited, claiming a Forerunner artifact and destroying the Covenant space station Unyielding Hierophant. Many Spartans died along the way—by the end of September 2552, there were only four Spartans left—John, Linda, Will, and Fred. Kelly-087 was kidnapped by Dr. Halsey. Her fate is unknown at this time.

The Spartans returned to Earth, knowing that the Covenant hammer was about to fall, and that they would have to sacrifice everything for the good of humanity. The United Nations Space Command looked to the stars, waiting for the first signs of the inevitable.