|This article, Unsung Heroes: The Delta Anecdote, was written by RelentlessRecusant and WikiReaper. Please do not edit this fiction without the writers' permission.|
Unsung Heroes: The Delta Anecdote was an article published in 2594 by Kam Nadiah through the Post News Agency. It was an incisive exposé and was doubly infamous, as it the first civilian article to be published about Task Force 51—a highly classified multiservice special operations task force operating on Midgard—and the "Myrmidon Program"—the UNSC's fourth-generation SPARTAN program.
A posteriori analysis
The article was publicly published on March 3, 2594—the 41st anniversary of the investigative reporting ever published in the 26th century, and since has been the subject of detailed analysis by the media community, the public, and the academic sector for many years.and the official cessation of hostilities for the . A posteriori, it was recognized as one of the best pieces of
Date of publication
The profound effect of the article was recognized upon its very day of publication. The author, Kam Nadiah, was already a decorated and veritably recognized journalist whose previous writings had garnered large circulation; hence, when her newest article was released, there was many who were inevitably interested in it (and were convinced of the article's authenticity) by Nadiah's reputation alone. There is also much speculation that Nadiah decided to publish the article on the 41st anniversary of the Treaty of Voi, as there was a general patriotic spirit circulating throughout the UNSC citizenry on that day, and many would be undoubtedly interested to read a military-flavored news article. Hence, Nadiah's decision for the date of publication for the paper certainly contributed to the expansive circulation of her article.
Others in the academic and media communities were somewhat surprised by the overtness and undiluted enthusiasm which Nadiah applauded and celebrated the UNSC Joint Forces Command was handling the counterinsurgency effort on Midgard. This was perceived as an unanticipated reversal of opinion by many who were familiar with Nadiah's writings. Nevertheless, many speculate that Nadiah changed her tone for Unsung Heroes: The Delta Anecdote such that it would be more acceptable for the Office of Naval Intelligence's Directorate of Domestic Intelligence—Nadiah was almost certainly aware that the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Special Operations Command would be possessed by an inchoate rage when they found out that Nadiah had prematurely taken the covers off two of their most classified and prized assets; namely, Task Force 51 and the "Myrmidons". Hence, Nadiah's more patriotic tone was to make her article more palatable to the ONI censors, as there had been certain laudable instances when writers or professors who published popular anti-UNSC pieces had been overtly arrested, or worse, serendipitously disappeared or died in contrived accidents., which was a small departure from her more recent articles, which were more critical of how the
Given the militaristic and patriotic furor sweeping through the UNSC on its 41st "Victory Day", there was inevitably a positive response to Nadiah's piece, which reached ecstatic levels when "Delta Squadron" was unveiled—which many (correctly) interpreted to be part of a fourth-generation SPARTAN program that previously had been kept from public knowledge. There was tremendous correspondence about military enthusiasts and ex-military veterans about many details revealed in the article, especially about the precise identity of "Delta Squadron" and the component forces of Task Force 51.
Many were also optimistic about the perceived candor of Nadiah's article—for example, the somewhat critical treatment of the failure of previous UNSC counterinsurgency efforts and also the ambiguity and almost certain lack of ethicality that enshrouded UNSC special operations on Midgard. These critical description of UNSC weaknesses and vulnerabilities helped lend an air of authenticity (that it wasn't simply a unilateral piece of pro-UNSC propaganda manufactured and perpetuated by ONI) that helped many to believe its conclusions.
Although Nadiah's fact-finding and investigative reporting was certainly of argent rank, unfortunately, there were certainly several minor details about beguiling facts that were nevertheless incorrectly cited—the consequence of any civilian treatment of military affairs.
- The "Myrmidon Program" which houses "Delta Squadron" is not a UNSC Navy unit, as the article claims (for example, by referring to the unit's officers as a Commander and Lieutenant Jr. Grade). The unit as a whole, formally known as UNSC Marine Expeditionary Reconnaissance in the SOCOM lexicon, is in fact a UNSC Marine Corps special operations force.
- The UNSC Special Operations Command Sagittarius (UNSCSOCSAG) referred to in the article—a regional subordinate SOCOM command with an area of responsibility encompassing all star systems from ten to fourteen hours right ascension from Earth—has its disposal far more than the battalion of Rangers and several hundred Marine and Navy special operations personnel that what the article avers.
- Although the article suggests that September 2594 will mark the fourth anniversary of the UNSC Special Operations Command deployment on Midgard, UNSC Special Forces units—such as the UNSC Naval Special Commando Unit—have been clandestinely deployed to Midgard for decades, almost since the end of the Great War.
- The "sonic rifles" and "mutagenizing creep gas" that the article claims that the ONI Directorate of Strategic Intelligence wields is, of course, patent fiction—such weapons do not exist in the overt or covert compartments of the UNSC nor Covenant arsenals.
Unsung Heroes: The Delta Anecdote
Dawn breaks on the embattled, terrorized planet of Midgard. Dozens of uncontrollable terrorist actions in the past several months have claimed countless thousands of civilian lives through the most atrocious of combat actions—those of armed forces against unarmed civilians, the indiscriminate slaughter of the innocent, bloodshed without pretense, killing without cause.
Only recently has classified UNSC military intelligence given the first clue to this rampant onslaught—a rebel base filled with thousands of highly-armed terrorists at the foot of a secluded waterfall in Midgard’s uncharted polar jungles, a festering haven for parasites and rebels alike.
This is a mission only for the most elite of the UNSC’s secret assassins, whose very existence has been denied —
Their name is Delta Squadron.
At 0245 hours Zulu, two heavily-armed King Penguin special-operations dropships laden with the assassins of Delta Squadron are cleared for take-off from Camp Nineveh, the UNSC’s secret forward operations base (FOB) in the polar regions. They are operated by peerless operators of the UNSC Army’s UNSC Special Operations Aviation Reconnaissance.
The King Penguins are only the running edge of a massive flotilla of a UNSC Special Operations Command strike force, encompassing hundreds of the UNSC’s anonymous special forces. It is a massive undertaking, integrating commandos from every uniformed service of the UNSC. At the fore of the formation are the elusive storm troopers of Delta; the spear-tip of the promethean attack.
At 0423 hours Zulu, still under the spread cloak of twilight’s gloom, one D72-TC SOAR King Penguin of Delta Squadron touches down at the crest of the engorged dam that sits atop the waterfall’s crown above the secret rebel base. A second King Penguin gently nestles towards the ground five kilometers distant, as if cradling the forested earth. Barely visible in dusk’s nigrous black, shadows deplete from the King Penguin, and sparse seconds later, the SOAR dropship seamlessly melds with the night again.
Meanwhile, wispy man-like shadows scatter on the dam’s rim, and then vanish; stray spirits prowling the darkness.
A syncopated heartbeat later, the world trembles, explodes, breaks into fire and light.
The dam has vaporized, and millions of tons of unrestrained, feral lake water thunder down upon the rebel base below, steeds of the ocean, sweeping back and forth, their anger terrible, immediate, the judgment of the gods. Thousands are swept underneath the cerulean blankets, smothered to the abyss and millions of more tons of water completely encompass the base. A sparse few hundred have the speed, or the skill, to flee.
They are unaware that are merely another component of a artistically-detailed orchestration, for a squad of Delta Squadron commandos has been awaiting them in the darkness.
High above circle metallic raptors, birds of prey made from shaped metal and crimson fire — Foray gunships of the UNSC Army Special Operations Aviation Command. For the darkness is not merely a breaking, disintegrated mass of fleeing rebels, breaking for the treeline. For if you saw in the infrared spectrum, you would see a dozen criss-crossed targeting lasers spread across this mass.
Foray gunships dive three times, and with each motion, the metallic furies claim lives. Cannons fire and rebels fall in crimson mist.
The handful that survive are unaware of the massive genocide of their colleagues. They are running, running towards oblivion.
They are unaware that the elite soldiers of the UNSC Army Rangers, UNSC Marine Force Reconnaissance, and UNSC Naval Special Warfare reside there in the treeline shifting shadows, hundreds of demonic ghouls with satanic facepaint and readied weapons. Suppressed carbines lay down a withering crossfire, and the rest of the rebels vaporize.
It is the UNSC’s first victory over the rebels, led by the cryptic and obscured faceless killers of the UNSC special forces unit only known as “Delta Squadron”.
Highly-placed sources within the UNSC Special Operations Command confirm that the half dozen UNSC victories within the past two weeks that have been scored by UNSC forces over the Midgard terrorists have all been led by this “Delta Squadron”. These same sources refuse to comment on who these “Deltas” are—who are these newcomers that have inflicted such grievous blows against the rebels, blows that the entire UNSC Special Operations Command Sagittarius (UNSCSOCSAG) were not able to inflict after nine months of bitter fighting.
What is known is that these “Deltas” are rumored to be only twenty to thirty strong. While UNSCSOCSAG is believed to have nearly a battalion of Army Rangers and several companies of Force Recon Marines and Navy commandos, heavily supported by SOAR aviators and classified ONI assets, these countless thousands of soldiers have been unable to match twenty to thirty “Delta” troopers who, already in two weeks have achieved what a whole UNSCSOCSAG regional command has been unable to achieve in nine months.
What is also known, from similarly highly-placed sources, is that this cryptic “Delta” unit is in fact highly-placed. Despite being the size of a very small platoon, Delta Squadron is led by a Navy Commander (O-5) and a Chief Petty Officer (E-7) — in the Marines, an O-5 might command a whole brigade of ten thousand troopers. Instead, the secret commander of “Delta Squadron” leads scarcely twenty or thirty troopers.
In second-of-command of this highly elitist assassin platoon is a Lieutenant (O-3) and a Lieutenant, Jr. Grade (O-2). The rest of the unit is made of unknown assets. The popular guesses by UNSC special forces troopers believe that the rest of the Deltas are likely highly experienced veterans that specialize in the most arcane of special forces arts. Experimental interrogation. Strategic capabilities. Discriminative prosecution. Those words, in our parlance, mean “torture and dismemberment”, “nuclear bombs”, and “assassination”, by the way.
Even amongst the exclusive and elitist special forces community, the Deltas have gained a nearly mythological reputation. "We never even see the [Deltas]", said an elite Ranger special forces trooper. "We always arrive on the scene to provide support, and all we get are long-lens photos of the targets, all dead", he said, attesting Delta's machinistic efficiency and precision.
What is concerning, however, is that not only does Delta Squadron not seem to be integrated with the "conventional" UNSC special forces hierarchy, but they remain hidden even from the highest echelons of UNSC Command. An internal electronic search even of the UNSC Defense Council mainframe yields no reference to these Delta soldiers, and even several commanders of the UNSC Special Operations Command have reported no knowledge of this secret assassin unit, even expressing surprise that a secret special-ops force is operating on Midgard.
This immediately raises questions about the UNSC military strategy on Midgard.
It began six years ago in 2588 when two radical religious militant armies on Midgard, who had moved to the planet recently fleeing justice, began intense feuding, leading to dozens of hectic close-range atrocious gunfights in the cities, which have been responsible for the deaths of numerous civilians as hundreds of civilians were gunned down in the havoc, with terrorists indiscriminately spraying fire in the streets at each other. While this was concerning to UNSC military commanders, only minor Marine reinforcements were dispatched to Midgard, which was identified as a "low-risk conflict zone", according to a retired Marine officer.
This exploded several months later with the kidnapping of Midgard's UNSC-handpicked governor, Thurmond Nichols, by terrorists. Of course, it was only the kidnapping of a UNSC politician that could elicit a response from UNSC Strategic Command, while the deaths of thousands of civilians had gone unnoticed. The UNSC's elite military counterterrorism team prepared to deploy and rescue the kidnapped governor, but it was too late. The terrorists, fearing the brunt of the UNSC hammer, suicided, triggering massive bombs that leveled five square blocks, killing thousands instantly, along with the governor. However, once again, UNSC intelligence had failed to underestimate the depth of the terrorist threat; the bomb was indeed a "dirty bomb", a high explosive cache spiked with radioactive compounds, making not only its tremendous blast lethal, but also its generated fallout, which scattered to irradiate millions of civilians in the surrounding city.
The UNSC moved swiftly to stage a military evacuation of the civilian population, relocating many of Midgard's capital city to a massive temporary UNSC Medical Corps facility for contamination screening and immediate medical treatment. The UNSC, however, failed once again, and this time, to even more devastating effects when terrorists, disguised as civilians, blew up a second set of bombs in the tight confines of the UNSC handling facility, killing countless thousands, slaughtering them. Shortly afterwards, dozens of rebel and terrorist attacks occurred throughout Midgard; it took the deaths of tens of thousands for UNSC intelligence to revise its thoughts on Midgard as a "operational theater of interest".
Marine forces on Midgard were unable to cope with the threat, and hundreds of Marines perished in terrorist attacks, unable to save themselves nor thousands of civilians being killed monthly by insurgent threats, with the UNSC unable to protect its own civilians, once again.
It was clear that the UNSC strategy for Midgard, flooding the streets with dying Marines, was failing to work. A new plan was needed.
In 2590, the UNSC would turn this around with Directive 0-3 — a secret order which authorized the assembly of an elite UNSC special forces team to "preemptively prosecute" the Midgard terrorists, bringing the war to the rebels, fighting terror with terror. This UNSC commando shock force, known as the cryptic "Task Force 51". UNSC officials refused to comment on the existence on such a special forces team, even going as far as to accuse the Post of making "sensational claims about the UNSC Defense Force and its fighting men and women".
The new UNSC strategy for Midgard calls for the withdrawal of the conventional Marine forces, replacing them with the secret elites of the UNSC special forces. Task Force 51 draws from the best of the UNSC's executioners, integrating high-quality elite infantry and support assets from the UNSC Navy's Naval Special Warfare, UNSC Marine Corps's Force Reconnaissance, and the UNSC Army Rangers and SOAR. These secret commandos are all from the "UNSC Progressive Warfare Division", otherwise known as the cryptic "Section Fifteen"—one of the UNSC's umbrella secret projects to field highly-classified special operations without requiring legal consult or consultation with superior commanders.
"Section Fifteen" is a highly-controversial group even in the jaded UNSC military, and many UNSC personnel accuse PROGWARDIV as being a new UNSC "secret police"; essentially a black box, a completely self-contained program that can operate without orders from higher UNSC officials, and which draws undisclosed funding from undisclosed sources. Many UNSC military teams are controlled by their funding, ensuring that they purchase reasonable amounts of military materiel to conduct ethical combat operations. Many UNSC special forces units with redacted budgeting are rumored to instead use their funds to purchase secret weapons of war that are used to gruesomely kill and which support the UNSC's darkest agendas, such as rumored "sonic rifles" that allow UNSC assassins to kill by liquefying heads without trace, and a "creep gas" that mutagenizes the brain, rendering its targets catatonic vegetables.
Section Fifteen is popularly accredited in UNSC special forces circles to be responsible for the death of Sesta 'Laram, an outspoken Elite war hero that accused the UNSC of empirical self-imposed martial tyranny before, during, and after the War.
Shortly afterwards, Ship Master 'Laram was found dead in a private retreat on Absolution Court.
Covenant military forces never publicly released the body, citing the planet's weather as too dangerous to transport the body back to Sanghelios. One highly placed UNSC military officer reports seeing an Elite corpse identical to 'Laram's photographs in Asphodel Meadows Naval Special Warfare Center, a UNSC black-ops nerve center used to coordinate secret UNSC military operations across the galaxy.
Section Fifteen is highly placed in the most elite UNSC Office of Naval Intelligence echelons, and it is not difficult to imagine the relationship between the UNSC's infamous intelligence agency and the UNSC's private assassins.
Expectedly, Task Force 51 on Midgard is heavily invested by ONI assets.
A senior Task Force 51 commander who refused to be identified said in an anonymous note that "[Task Force 51]'s operations are peek and kill operations" where ONI spies within rebel circles identify targets for the elite UNSC special forces, and that shortly afterwards, the Task Force 51 commandos arrive on the scene, flattening everything in sight.
What is concerning, however, is how Task Force 51 operations on Midgard are so blindly guided by "anonymous ONI field intelligence". We all remember how UNSC special-missions units during the Insurrection, supposedly military hostage rescue teams, were responsible for the deaths of dozens of high-ranking political officials. Rumors abound on Midgard that once again, ONI, together with UNSCSOCOM, are hand-in-hand performing political grooming and shaving, with elite TF51 hit squads taking out political renegades whose views run contrary to the UNSC agenda for Midgard.
Despite these worrying possibilities, Task Force 51, if indeed on Midgard to counter the continual rebel threat that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands in the past six years, has a long road ahead of it. UNSC commanders on Midgard claim that the planet "is the most hostile environment [they've] even had to work in", and that the only difference between a suicide bomber and a businessman is a grenade underneath the ironed tie. There is no way for UNSC special forces to distinguish between terrorists and civilians, and they claim that there is no difference; that terrorists can simply throw away their rifles when the UNSC comes calling, and seamlessly blend into the crowd.
The difficulty of these intensive counterinsurgency operations had led to even more concerning changes in the TF51 command structure. Task Force 51, reportedly led by a three-star Vice Admiral of the UNSC Navy, has been issued new orders several months ago to "find, fix, and finish the opposing forces on Midgard with all due speed", and reportedly, TF51 has even been detached from the UNSC command structure. TF51 special forces, such as elite Army Rangers and Marine commando forces, no longer require the authorization of commanders to open fire. Over and over, UNSC Navy special forces (who operate on ground instead of in space or in the sea, contrary to what their name suggests) have randomly fired on civilian cars on the Midgard freeway. The "black box" status given to Task Force 51, which no longer needs TF51 soldiers to consult commanders to shoot, allows these Navy commandos to indiscriminately shoot up cars or buildings that they have the slightest feeling of harboring terrorists—what is infamously epitomized in the controversial "Fire Order Vermillion". This has led to numerous inquiries of Task Force 51's operational autonomy on Midgard, which have all been summarily closed by UNSC Central Command.
UNSC special forces on Midgard have been repeatedly deployed on "capture or kill" missions, where they must end an insurgent threat "by any means necessary", regardless if their target is unarmed or armed, sleeping or awake, in the bathroom or with a rifle in hand. The fact that the specialists of Task Force 51 includes an abnormally high number of explosives experts and chemical warfare specialists leaves little doubt to how TF51 conducts these "independent rendition" special operations.
Regardless of Task Force 51's shortcomings, TF51 operators have sustained heavy casualties on Midgard. One year ago, when the UNSC embassy was bombed, leading to the deaths of several thousand UNSC personnel and politicians, reportedly, nearly a hundred UNSC Ranger special forces protecting the sleeping embassy personnel were killed in the ensuing blast. UNSC commanders have called Task Force 51 as "magical" for maintaining such a high and exhaustive operations tempo (OPTEMPO) on Midgard, which refers to the frequency and intensity of TF51's operations, which are said to be able to overwhelm any other UNSC special forces team. Task Force 51 truly is at the tip of the UNSC spear, and as such, has taken some of the heaviest casualties in the UNSC counterinsurgency campaign on Midgard.
"Many of the UNSC special warfare operators on Midgard are senior non-commissioned officers, expert soldiers and technical specialists", reports a highly-placed source in the UNSC Special Operations Command. "They've racked up dozens of years in service with the UNSC armed forces, and have exceptional pensions and retirement bonuses waiting for them", he continues. It is clear that Task Force 51 troopers put their lives on the line in Midgard despite their ability to simply walk away, wading into the thick of the fighting despite their ability to leave.
It was only recently that Task Force 51 casualties are believed to have resulted in the deployment of the secretive Delta Squadron to Task Force 51 and Midgard, where almost immediately, Delta scored dozens of quick, efficient, and bloodless significant victories for the UNSC. In the recently-publicized commando operation aired by the UNSC, UNSC special forces, presumably those of Task Force 51, attacked a rebel convoy in the equatorial desert regions, seizing massive stockpiles of chemical warfare reagents. UNSC specialists that later examined the warheads said that "...there was enough nerve gas in those 'torps to kill over fifteen million adult human beings". Delta soldiers are rumored to have led the operation, executing it front to finish. The Ranger troopers of the 6th Ranger Battalion, which were officially credited by the UNSC for the seizure, are said to only have arrived as post-mission assessment, tallying the mess left by the Deltas.
As the UNSC special forces campaign on Midgard drags into its fourth bloody year this coming September, it is up to the secret elites of Delta to prove themselves and to end the endless waves of terror and rebel attacks on Midgard. Although in their first few weeks, Delta has been able to accomplish what the entire Task Force 51 and Section 15 has been unable to achieve in months, we will wait to see whether or not the UNSC can truly protect its citizens and bring peace once again to a war-torn Midgard.
Kam Nadiah reporting from Midgard, out.
Behind the scenes
- Author contributions: RelentlessRecusant designed the concept of the article and wrote most of it, while WikiReaper helpfully supplied the pictures as well as the wonderful character of Kam Nadiah.
- Unsung Heroes: The Delta Anecdote was written to compliment the "Beyond Veil's Azure" roleplay, which is no longer active. Nevertheless, much of what is written in this article and the materials in the roleplay itself have since been recycled by RelentlessRecusant and Actene for the off-site Galactic Era Collaboration.