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War of Vengeance


Second Great War

Balaho Civil War
Reach FF Overlook07

February, 2561


August, 2561




Modernist victory

Major battles:
  • Raid on Papap
  • Seige of Magwaw
  • Battle of Ipwap
  • Battle of Uttab
  • Raid on Tatqa
  • Battle of Penten


  • Unggoy Star Empire


  • Neo-Zealots
  • Loyalist Advocates

Ippaw dal Pum


Although the Unggoy Star Empire would rise to become a major military and economic power in the Orion Arm, their beginnings were not so much humble as bloody. Fought primarily on Balaho, the Civil War was sparked by growing off-world influence in Unggoy affairs by various factions - military forces of the Sangheili Armed Forces, who regarded the world as a Sangheili protectorate; the UNSC, who hoped to forge economic ties with the Unggoy and use them as a buffer between them and the Sangheili post-War of Vengeance; and tentative overtures from the New Covenant, who hoped to bring them back into the fold. With tensions rising, conflict would break out across the planet, lasting six months as various Unggoy factions fought for influence. Eventually, the human-backed pro-interventionist Modernist faction would win out, leading to strengthened ties between the fledgling USE and the UNSC.



With the "Old" Covenant collapsing in the wake of the disastrous invasion of Earth, the Unggoy found themselves in varying positions of power. Some, driven by religious fervour, remained loyal to the Prophets, and would remain members of the restorationist New Covenant. Others would be enslaved again by the rival bands of warlords vying for power and influence in the post-Covenant vacuum. Still others would request protection from the Sangheili Armed Forces. Among the latter, some viewed the Sangheili as liberators; others merely saw them as the least bad choice. The Sangheili, in their turn, would accept the request, and classified Balaho as a Sangheili protectorate. With a position of stability to build on, the Unggoy hoped that they could begin to expand, founding colony worlds on planets too inhospitable for humanity or the Sangheili, and that this would allow them to build up economic prosperity.

Unfortunately, neither the New Covenant nor the SAF were eager to see the expansion of an Unggoy faction. Given their high rate of reproduction, they feared that the Unggoy might simply overrun them in time. In secret, New Covenant and Sangheili factions met to discuss the problem. The New Covenant delegates, the Prophet of Discretion and Chieftain Erebus, would meet with the Sangheili delegates, Councillor Tulra 'Makradai and Field Marshall Fulla 'Tumul, on neutral ground. Eventually, it was agreed that the Unggoy needed to be "humbled", and separate but coordinated strikes were deployed by both factions, the main targets Unggoy spaceports, shipyards, and fleets. In a matter of hours, the Unggoy had lost more than nine tenths of their fleet, all of their spaceports and shipyards, and lost the ability to support their colonies. Cut off from communication and resupply, the result would have been starvation for the colonists, and overpopulation for the Balaho faction, if not for the intervention of the UNSC.

Much has been made of the UNSC's supposed "humanitarian" effort, and it is certainly true that human intervention prevented the deaths of millions of Unggoy. But declassified documents indicate that UNSC HIGHCOM saw intervention as a practical military necessity - located deep within Sangheili territory, Balaho would be a useful buffer zone for Sangheili aggression, and is strengthened, might be a useful diversion in the event of war between the UNSC and SAF. While fighting a joint war against the Blood Covenant, the UNSC still did not trust its allies, and fully expected hostilities to resume at some point in the near future. Planning for this, HIGHCOM sent an expeditionary force to Balaho, the UNSC 1st Peacekeeping Fleet.

The engagement of Sangheili ships has proved a controversial topic among human and Sangheili diplomats, but the Arbiter would later renounce all knowledge or authority for the strike, and executing Councillor 'Makradai for treason. It may in fact be the truth - political divisions within the SAF were tenuous at the time, and it may well be that a rogue element of the Council took the actions of their own volition, without consulting the Arbiter or the rest of the Council. It is also equally likely that 'Makradai was a scapegoat, killed to preserve diplomatic ties at a crucial time. Regardless, the Peacekeeping Fleet struck hard and fast, driving the battlegroups from their blockade positions, and forcing a retreat. Ground forces were deployed, and supplies and foodstuffs were shuttled down on Pelicans, Darters, Albatrosses and Pods, anything that could carry them.

The fast action of the UNSC has been credited as beginning the rise of the USE's power. Within a matter of hours, the UNSC had constructed a prefabricated military bases on the Unggoy colonies to coordinate their defence, restore communications, as well as the aid efforts. Warthogs and trucks carried supplies to isolated settlements. Merchant freighters were requisitioned by the UNSC to carry supplies, and were delegated for the USE's use - with strict oversight from the UEG Foreign and Colony Affairs Office. The military assistance of the UNSC was greatly appreciated by the Unggoy at the time, and the arrivals were hailed by cheering crowds as saviours.

Over the next year, the Unggoy would stabilise. Freight ships from the Department of Commercial Shipping would serve as colony ships, transferring portions of Balaho's burdened population off-world to start new lives. They would return bearing the products of colonial expansion - raw materials from the colonies. As the colonies flourished, they began demanding products from Balaho, amenities to make life on the colonial frontier more hospitable. The bilateral trade between metropolis and colony would cement the Empire, and the influence of the UNSC made sure that human interests were also involved in the process. Rare Earth Metals mined by the USE would prove crucial in their military build-up, as well as the reconstruction effort during the Second Great War.

Other aspects of UNSC intervention rubbed Unggoy the wrong way. As the military bases consolidated, the base inhabitants began to be perceived less as liberators and more as occupiers - restrictions were placed on Unggoy proximity to bases, and military convoys carrying vital supplies began to increase their protection in the face of limited civil unrest. Extremist factions claimed that the humans wished an empire to rival the Covenant, and hoped to build it with the blood and sweat of the Unggoy, as the Covenant had done. Others simply wished for the Unggoy to manage their own affairs, and watched the tight oversight of the DCS and FCAO tighten further. At the same time, the Sangheili and New Covenant both established diplomatic offices on the planet - the New Covenant embassy would be heavily guarded, and unpopular for a long time, until the Second Great War when it became a bastion of the Covenant-in-Exile. The Sangheili office was regarded with a mixture of resentment and respect, for their blockade of Balaho and their freeing of the Unggoy in the first place. Both embassies would bolster support for their own regimes: the Neo-Zealots would advocate switching Balaho's allegiances to the New Covenant, arguing that they had changed from the old regime into an empire more accommodating of Unggoy rights - true, compared to the old regime, but still not a hospitable place for a species hopeful for self-determination. The Loyalist Advocates would argue that Sangheili protection was all that could save them from New Covenant enslavement, and proposed making Balaho a full protectorate of the SAF - the Sangheili already regarded them as such, but for Unggoy to contemplate accepting this doctrine was unusual. The Traditionalists rejected both proposals, insisting that Unggoy should be totally autonomous and advocated breaking all ties with the New Covenant, SAF and UNSC, and building up their own strength. In the Balaho Parliament, sectional fighting got so bad that four MPs were killed in an in-house brawl, and two were assassinated in their homes.

Popular support would remain with the pro-UNSC Modernists - the intervention of humanity was still regarded by most as a lifesaving gesture of friendship by their new allies, and UNSC convoys delivering foodstuffs were still given relatively friendly welcomes. Fraternisation between human military and scientific staff and Unggoy eager to learn would kick-start the Unggoy scientific revolution, leading to the foundation of Unggoy scientific institutions and research centres, and the formation of the Unggoy Militia, which would become the Imperial Unggoy Armed Forces. UNSC medical science would also lead to a potential solution to the Unggoy's ages-old overpopulation problem - selective sterilisation and fertility regulation. Matriarchal leaders could regulate the size of their broods, finally bringing the population increases under control, and careful regulation would allow the rate to increase or decrease as needed. The measures were hailed by some as freeing the Unggoy from themselves by Modernists - Traditionalists, however, were appalled, seeing yet another attempt to control them through depopulation. As the controversy spread across the planet over whether to use UNSC fertility regulation or not, so did tensions, polarising people over the issue.


The spark of the conflict was the assassination of Pagap ada Narwu, a popular local matriarch of the Northern Clans. Her clan was divided over the issue of fertility regulation, though Matriarch Narwu was an advocate of it. She also happened to be anti-interventionist, and though she approved of the UNSC treatment, and was grateful for the aid they had provided, she planned to request UNSC troops to leave her clans' territory. The seeding of crops had gone well for the season, and income was flooding in through the craftsmen who produced necessities for the colonies.

The assassin was a member of the Neo-Zealots, who hoped to blame her death on the UNSC and use it as a rallying cry both against UNSC intervention and the use of fertility regulation. The assassin, a former Covenant SpecOps soldier called Iqbal, used a SRS99C-S2AM sniper rifle bought from neo-Insurrectionists on the black market. One shot to the head ended the life of Pagap ada Narwu, one of Balaho's most charismatic and populat politicians, and set the Balaho Civil War into motion. Unfortunately for Iqbal, he was captured by hired Kig-Yar security mercenaries, and interrogated for information, gradually cracking and revealing the origins of the plot. Modernists tried to claim Narwu as a martyr for the treatment, while Traditionalists tried to appeal to her supporters' self-autonomy positions. Conflict broke out when a mob, incited by Traditionalists, attacked the nearby UNSC firebase, forcing an armed response from the Army base staff. Now claiming the authority of defender of the planet, the Traditionalists declared themselves the legitimate world government and demanded UNSC withdrawal.

Modernist forces, however, worked quickly, using UNSC drone footage of Traditionalists planted within the crowd to incite violence. Using this, they declared their opponents to be enemies of the Unggoy Star Empire, and mobilised the militia, now renamed the Imperial Unggoy Armed Forces, to take control of the north. Unwilling to commit to an extraterrestrial civil war, the UNSC would withdraw many of its ground troops to secure areas friendly to their presence, though they would support the Modernist faction with airstrikes, drone surveillance, and orbital support. Controlling the freighters that kept the colonies running profitably, the Modernists insisted that the Traditionalists would leave them to die in favour of "Balaho First", a rally cry that some extremists had indeed uttered earlier. Most Traditionalists, however, asserted that buying second-hand ships from the former-Covenant races and Insurrectionist black marketeers would take up the slack, removing dependency on the UNSC, and declared all DCS freighters currently in service of the Unggoy colonial industry to be property of Balaho. The UNSC's response was to order human ship captains to drop their cargo, allow Unggoy passengers and crew to disembark on the nearest colony, and to return to UNSC-held space - a carefully calculated move designed to bring the participants to the negotiating table swiftly. Modernists promised their return in exchange for peace. The Traditionalists, on the other hand, asserted the UNSC had no real plans to help the Unggoy, and this showed their callous regard.

IUAF forces engaged Traditionalist paramilitary groups in the North, winning some decisive victories and few defeats. Trained by hardened UNSC Marines, and using human-made weapons bought cheaply, the Imperial Unggoy were well trained and well armed, compared to their Northern enemies who depended on second-hand or black-market former Covenant weapons, which were difficult to repair and recharge, expensive, and hard to come by. Most Traditionalist Unggoy resorted to improvised weapons, using the terrain to their advantage - IEDs took heavy casualties on Imperial convoys. At the same time, however, the IUAF's rapid advance had dismayed many tribal leaders, some of whom rejected the Traditionalists as extremists, and hoped to take a moderate position. Traditionalist attempts to bring these tribes back under their influence would backfire, and soon they would be fighting each other just as fiercely as the Imperial Unggoy. UNSC air and orbital strikes would also take their toll - a MAC bombardment by the UNSC heavy frigate Vanguard would level one of the Neo-Zealots main training compounds, while Longsword and Shortsword strikes from UNSC airbases further south would deliver ordnance in support of Imperial ground forces, backed up by drone intelligence on troop movements and concentrations. Within three months, the Traditionalists had been forced into retreat, bickering amongst each other, leaving the IUAF to consolidate the countryside.


Despite the Rapid progress the IUAF made territorially, the Traditionalists remained entrenched in underground cave systems carved out by Balaho volcanism, a labyrinthine network of maze-like tunnels, well defended and booby-trapped. The Neo-Zealots, clinging to their continued belief that a Great Journey awaited the souls of the faithful, sent out sporadic suicide attacks, causing embarrassing casualties in the supposed "victors".

In response to an Imperial Unggoy request, the UNSC initiated Operation: GROUND AND POUND. The 506th Shock Battalion were deployed based on their experiences during the Delta Secundus campaign, and their knowledge of tunnel warfare, alongside regular local Marine detachments, supported by Imperial Unggoy forces. While the IUAF and Marine forces feinted a conventional invasion of the tunnels, the ODSTs used mining gear provided by ONI and shipped to the planet specifically to bypass the defences. Tunnelling down into the caverns, the battalion captured a central chamber, taking the enemy by surprise, and cutting them off. Divided and confused, the enemy fell to a two-front assault by the shock troopers and combined Marine and Unggoy forces, clearing the major chambers. In desperation, the surviving members detonated strategically placed charges, collapsing vital tunnel connections, hoping to make an escape. Instead, the combined assault force retreated via Pelican airlift, and a Longsword tactical strike on the nearby Tetna glacier released a torrent of icewater, flooding the still-inhabited tunnels. Most of the survivors were rounded up by Unggoy forces, and imprisoned for treason against the Unggoy Star Empire.


Though harsh, the response ended the conflict quickly, and with a level of finality. After seeing how the more determined of their number were crushed, the moderate Traditionalists were now eager to return to negotiations, agreeing to Imperial demands to lay down their arms in exchange for a general amnesty and inclusion in the peace process. Although small groups would resist subjugation for years, the vast majority handed their weapons over to the Imperial Government, and were granted clemency. Traditionalist leaders were granted some concessions - the use of fertility regulation was made voluntary, rather than compulsory, and the Imperial government declared that it would devote more funds to purchasing their own ships, to wean them from their dependency on DCS freighters. At the same time, however, they strengthened economic and diplomatic ties with the UNSC, and the UEG embassy was expanded to include a scientific research outpost and a military garrison. Traditionalists would still complain about an over-dependence on UNSC manpower and machinery for the next decade, but as the Imperial Unggoy Armed Forces grew and took up the slack, even these complaints would die away.


The UNSC would subsequently rethink its level of intervention on Balaho. After becoming unwillingly involved in a conflict brought on by their presence, some members of the human public worried that the UNSC might actually become an imperial occupation force. Others criticised the entire endeavour, given the ongoing reconstruction efforts humanity itself was undergoing, and argued that such an act might have opened up a two-front war. The tying up of DCS freighters supporting an alien civilisation, rather than


While most histories of the war label the factions as pro-UNSC or anti-UNSC, these histories are from a human perspective. In fact, many of the combatant Unggoy had no problems with the UNSC, but objected to the perceived dependence of off-worlders, seeing this as a relapse into their former slave status.


  • "It's sad that the first war the Grunts fight after gaining their freedom is against themselves."