|This article, Baselard Team, is currently under active construction.|
Strictly speaking, Beta Company of the SPARTAN-III Program was killed almost in its entirety, with the exceptions of Tom-B292 and Lucy-B091, who were eventually folded into Gamma Company training personnel. The rest of the three hundred SPARTAN-III troops who took part in Operation: TORPEDO were all deemed Killed in Action, although a few were deemed Missing in Action. Ostensibly, this was because no video footage or sensor records could confirm their deaths at the target. In reality, quite a few members of Beta Company made it off the Covenant planet, reaching the Black Cat exfiltration craft and were recovered by the UNSC Prowler Parenthesis in the outer system. The traditional SPARTAN-III chain of command was never alerted to these survivors, and they were reappropriated by Project: INDIGO-II, who would run the operations for the surviving teams.
Team Baselard were one such team. Formerly designated Team Juliet, INDIGO-II gave them their new monikers as Gamma Company planned to use a similar scheme, hoping to confuse the issue. Operating in SPI-Mark II between 2545 and 2550, they acquired advanced testbed MJOLNIR Mark IV power armour in 2550 as part of the UNSC's preparations for Operation: HOT GATES, and were deployed alongside Kukri Team along with a variety of other Beta-5 assets, such as the original Indigo Team, eventually upgrading to the MJOLNIR Mark V as it entered service in 2551. Their history afterwards has been confused further by abuse of the NOVEMBER BLACK protocol, and for a while they protected Codename: OZYMANDIAS before his total disappearance and eventual recruitment into Operation: VORAUSSICHT. During the Second Great War, Baselard served with distinction in thirteen combat theatres and were responsible for the assassinations of several Governors of Contrition cult leaders, taking part in the assault on the Labyrinth nexus and eventually were part of the Core encounter team. While smaller than Kukri Team, Baselard specialised in covert operations - assassinations, demolitions, data retrieval, and so on.
Training and Deployment
As with the rest of the SPARTAN-III Program, the existence of Team Baselard is classified TOP SECRET / NOVEMBER BLACK. Recruited from colonial orphanages, Baselard is composed entirely of volunteers for the program, as opposed to earlier SPARTAN-II conscripts, producing soldiers that, while under the genetic parameters, are just as skilled and more driven than their predecessors. Exactly where each team member was originally born remains uncertain - most files and documents pertaining to the SPARTAN-III Program were destroyed, and most personnel killed, during the destruction of Onyx in 2552. What is known is that the candidates were part of Beta Company, initiated in 2539, and were activated with the rest of their unit in 2545.
Exactly what capacity Baselard has operated in remains classified, but anomalies exist even before their separation from the traditional S-III chain of command - combat deployments that the rest of Beta Company did not share, equipment that would not enter service until years later, and cooperation with similarly classified units on dangerous external operations in Covenant space. It is theorised that Baselard were trained as Headhunters, elite two-man special warfare units separated from James Ackerson's chain of command and equipped with a superior arsenal and better equipment than their S-III brethren for operations against high-value targets. If so, and Baselard was formed from two Headhunter teams, then there is a missing member.
As with almost the entire contingent of Beta Company, Baselard's members were part of Operation: TORPEDO, a UNSC assault on a Covenant plasma refinery facility in the 51 Pegasi system close to UNSC frontlines, providing fuel for Covenant reactors and ammunition for plasma weaponry. Stealth orbital reconnaissance deemed the area ideal for attack, and all three hundred members of Beta Company participating in the operation were dropped via prototype Stealth Single Occupant Exo-atmospheric Insertion Vehicles to attack the refinery from the ground. The enemy's orbital defences rendered conventional assault, even by the historically superlative SPARTAN-II commando teams, not an option, but Beta Company would manage to accomplish their objective, destroying the refinery and setting the Covenant back by years as they struggled to find new sources of fuel for their war machines, at the expense of almost the entire unit. The orbital reconnaissance had failed to identify seven Covenant cruisers docked with the refinery, interpreting them as part of the facility - with such overwhelming firepower, it was only through a combination of luck and supreme skill that Beta destroyed the facility at all, also destroying the cruisers in the blast.
Official documents list Tom-B292 and Lucy-B091 as the only survivors recovered from Delta Pegasi, and for a long time this was assumed to be true - surviving SPARTAN-III personnel in the field had not taken part in TORPEDO or were part of the earlier Alpha Company or later Gamma Company. However, ONI has a history of confusing matters. Investigation by Operation: VORAUSSICHT eventually concluded that the members of Baselard had participated in TORPEDO, and that rather than perishing with the rest Baselard managed to survive the slaughter, escaping on one of a number of Black Cat stealth exfiltration craft with a number of other Beta Company personnel, and rendezvousing with UNSC forces on a randomised vector as per the Cole Protocol. The fact that the vessel emerged conveniently close to Epsilon Eridani lead investigators to speculate that this slipspace vector was not as random as it should have been. Rather than alert Ackerson that there were other survivors, ONI appropriated them as part of the larger Project INDIGO-II. Merging two teams into one, Baselard was formed and redeployed.
The invasion of Skopje was hardly unexpected - with the Covenant constantly searching out new human colonies to attack, every colony was expected to be a target, and preparations were made accordingly. In fact, UNSC intelligence on the invasion of Skopje was markedly better than for many other invasions, a result of patience and luck on the part of ONI - the cracking of new encryption codes for Covenant transmissions, as well as advances in improving the Covenant-English lexicon for translation, came at a critical point in the war, as the UNSC was forced to fight on ground they had previously thought untouchable. Skopje was one such world - preparations were made months in advance of the enemy campaign. Fortifications were built, defences established around civilian population centres, and parts of the populace were covertly evacuated, along with portions of valuable infrastructure. Secrecy was maintained by a communications blackout, an unpopular move among the colonists but necessary - leaks from Insurrectionist forces would have proved disastrous, accelerating the enemy's plans to strike while the UNSC was at its most vulnerable. Instead, they struck a heavily defenced colony, losing a significant number to UNSC fire despite making gains. Some aspects of the evacuation did not go according to plan - the evacuation of the shipyards took longer than anticipated, defended by ODST forces - but for the most part, ONI's plan paid off, saving thousands of lives and vital war effort materiel.
Part of those pre-arranged defences consisted of a special mixed strike force - the SPARTAN-II Indigo Team, Baselard, and three UNSC Army VOLSUNG teams. Assigned to local CENTCOM, this mixed force, designated Strike Force Nimravid was deployed in the opening hours to attack critical targets - starting with the landing area for the Covenant fleet, currently disgorging thousands of enemy troops for the groundside conquest. Any conventional attack on the site would have been foolhardy at best, and a disaster at worst - ODST forces had already proven insufficient in other engagements, while tactical air strikes, even with nuclear ordnance, would have been wiped out by the Covenant warships' laser defence turrets. Instead, it was decided to send in the Spartans and Volsungs with a HAVOC nuclear warhead, destroying the fleet from within.
Unfortunately, CENTCOM had not counted on the presence of an elite Covenant hunter-killer Zealot unit, the Raak'ezh. Anticipating that the staging zone would be an alluring target for Spartans and other augmented personnel, the Raak'ezh had taken up ideal surveillance positions around the area, detecting the strike group as they were inserted kilometres from their target. Regrouping for the assault, the Raak'ezh attacked, killing two thirds of the VOLSUNG personnel during a prolonged engagement as the human Spartans and soldiers tried to continue to their target. Baselard would lose their long-range combat specialist, Yuri-B413, who gave his life holding off the Raak'ezh as the other Spartans and surviving Volsungs began their raid on the Covenant terrestrial foothold. Crossing the uneven terrain in Warthog light reconnaissance vehicles, Nimravid would lose another three VOLSUNG personnel to combined Banshee and Wraith fire, but would succeed in breaching the enemy's perimeter, boarding a Covenant assault carrier, planting the HAVOC and evacuating in a massive gunship/dropship combined assault specifically for their extraction. Mission was deemed a tactical success by CENTCOM - the explosion of the assault carrier caught the surrounding cruisers and frigates in the blast radius, killing hundreds of thousands of Covenant and reducing the enemy's naval presence in the system by one third, evening up the battle in orbit, allowing thousands of civilians still trapped on the planet to escape.
Nevertheless, it was a victory that came with a high price - the deaths of twenty seven skilled VOLSUNG warfighters, and Baselard team member Yuri. It was a loss from which the team never recovered - Yuri's position would remain unoccupied for years before eventually Baselard's overseers abolished it altogether, officially making them a three-"man" team. Their collaboration with Indigo, however, would have far-reaching results, and would be repeated many times during the later War of Vengeance and Second Great War.
The intervening time between 2547 and 2552 remains classified at the highest levels, though rumours claim their presence at more than a dozen colonies attacked by the Covenant, an impressive feat in five years, sometimes simultaneously - Paris IV and Arcadia being prime examples. Most of these are likely rumour, possibly intentionally spread by ONI to obfuscate tracking their combat service down, though there is some evidence they were present at Paris IV in 2548 and on Harmony in early 2552.
Nevertheless, it is for their actions on Hope that they are best remembered, primarily because this was their last engagement before being declassified by ONI. With the fall of Reach, Hope became the most populous colony in the sector, and an immediate target by Covenant forces. The accounts of the events at Hope are confused and sometimes contradictory, but Baselard was deployed during the early days of the campaign for the planet. Ostensibly, they were a special warfare team assigned to help the counter-attack and evacuation. In truth, they were bait for their own trap - a lure for an elite Sangheili special operations assassination group, the Raak'ezh warrior creche. Deployed via requisitioned ODST SOEIVs, the team was separated after coming under heavy anti-air fire from ground-based Tyrant plasma cannons, with Erin and Reginald hitting somewhere in the countryside, and Julie landing deep behind Covenant territory in New Burgundy. While Erin and Reginald regrouped with local UNSC forces and assisted in the evacuation, Julie was approached by local insurrection militia leader Li Gorka to help in the evacuation of his own people. Leading a convoy through no-mans-land, and linking up with other special forces operatives along the way, Julie hoped to lure the Raak'ezh and engage them, and ensured their arrival at a UNSC spaceport close to the frontlines, disappearing during an attack by the Covenant.
At the same time, Erin and Reginald were deployed by CENTCOM into the nearby city of Port Neandra to evacuate stray UNSC servicemen from the Vyrant telecommunications tower and secure a high-priority target - the ONI AI Tinuviel, working on recovered ancient relics discovered on the planet. Attacked by the Raak'ezh, Erin and Reginald led a desperate and hard-fought defence of the Vyrant tower, level-by-level, killing many of the enemy unit but taking heavy casualties themselves. Retreating to the top of the tower, planning to rappel down the side of the building to avoid death, the two were saved by a commandeered Phantom gunship, piloted by Julie, stolen from Port Neandra, pinning down the Raak'ezh until the rest of Baselard could board, still fighting off the enemy. The gunship made another circle of the building, slagging the rooftop, but was forced to retreat as the Raak'ezh brought heavy firepower to bear.
As the Covenant fleet in orbit began its bombardment of the planet's population centres, Baselard scrubbed their mission, prioritising survival over mission success. Making for the nearest functional spaceport, the team abandoned the Phantom, crashing it into a Covenant armoured platoon en route to the spaceport, hijacking a Spectre to reach safety. As the plasma began to fall around them, they were launched aboard a military shuttle, rendezvousing with the UNSC One-Eyed Wanderer in orbit, retreating through slipspace to Earth.
Post-War Era/War of Vengeance
Second Great War
Third Great War
- "Some people who don't know Spartans very well have trouble telling the girls apart from the guys, what with the armour and all. You can tell which are girls because they're much more vicious!"
- "It all seems to go back to Minorca. Indigo, Kukri, Baselard, Azure...four Spartan teams, all in the same combat theatre? That's got to be a record, the way ONI normally spreads their assets thinly."
- "What they hell were they doing protecting OZYMANDIAS? I know it wasn't for long, but how did he get them in the first place?"
- "Hard to believe ONI got so many out of the meatgrinder that was TORPEDO."