|This article, Battle of Minorca, is currently under active construction.|
- "All things have a beginning. For the Labyrinth, this was it."
- ―Staff Sergeant Grant Wallace, 427th Marine Regiment, 88th Marine Division
For all of its tactical and strategic ingenuity, the Covenant has always held the advantage in its genocidal war against humanity in two key areas - technological superiority, and numerical superiority. On the ground, the UNSC Army, Air Force and Marine Corps can offset the sheer numbers the Covenant can field against them, and have occasionally been able to rally would-be defeats into unlikely but important victories. But in the battle for orbital supremacy, the UNSC Navy has been unable to hold the Covenant off for more than a few weeks at most, and the UNSC's only available tactic has been to evacuate a planets populace as rapidly as possible before the orbital perimeter falls apart and the orbital bombardment commences. Even then, it is a rare case when a colony has been fully evacuated - in 80% of cases, the destruction process has already begun during the evacuation. It is a depressing statistic that more lives have been lost during this phase than during planetary invasion and occupation.
Given all of these facts, Operation: HOT GATES seems not so much an exception to the rule as a god-given miracle. Set at Minorca, the UNSC's second colony in the Alpha Canis Minoris system, the Minorcan Campaign as it has also come to be known endured for more than a year, with UNSC forces dealing overwhelmingly disproportionate casualties to the Covenant in both orbital and atmospheric theatres by a careful and ingenious use of local astrographical features and flaws in Covenant designs to utterly devastate the enemy, tying up their resources and personnel for more than a year, and investing the enemy in an inherently unwinnable campaign. By its end, the confirmed kill count for the UNSC was in the tens of thousands, with the destruction of half a dozen entire legions and almost the entire Fleet of Enlightened Benevolence with the loss of only around a dozen warships and a few thousand ground personnel. The planets destruction by NOVA warhead is likely to have dealt further devastating losses on the Covenant, perhaps the single most devastating battle of the entire war after the mutually devastating Reach campaign. Personnel from the Minorca theatre would bolster the defences of Earth after the fall of Reach, and play a vital role in the later stages of the Human-Covenant War.
Entering the Labyrinth
United Nations Space Command
- "No colonists to evacuate. Existing fortifications and bases waiting to be staffed. Covenant trapped in a bottleneck so thin they were struggling to get through it on their own. The entire thing was just one huge shooting gallery! If not for Reach, who knows how long it could have gone on for?"
- "Minorca was our first taste of the Flood. It's only a mercy that they emerged mostly in the Covenant-held sectors - well, obviously not for the Covenant."
- "Take a look at the records. You've got energy shields, directed energy weapons, newly developed vehicles and aircraft, and prototype starships, all entering service here - one massive combat test for upcoming ONI goodies. A shame they'd only enter full service after the war - we could have done with more THOR equipped ships during the fghting in New Zealand."
- "The Labyrinth. Even the Covenant had no idea what it really was, and we never got much of a look at it when we entered. It just looked generically Forerunner - graceful architecture, battleship grey walls, Flood pouring out of it...yep, just like all the others."
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