Halo timeline: The glassing of New Mombasa and Operation: BUMRUSH

An ODST. (Image credit: 343 Industries)

In the last article, we covered the beginning of Halo 2, in which the Covenant arrived on Earth and how the Arbiter came to be.

Complete Halo timeline series

In this one, we're switching gears to Halo 3: ODST and looking at how the UNSC attempted to defend New Mombasa from the invaders, as well as how a daring squad of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs) managed to complete a crucial mission within the city...and survive to tell the tale.

October 20, 2552 CE (Current Era): ODSTs attempt Operation: BUMRUSH

The drop pods begin their descent.

The drop pods begin their descent.

When the Prophet of Regret broke through Earth's defenses and parked his CAS-class Assault Carrier above New Mombasa to ferry troops into the city, the UNSC devised a cunning strategy to attempt to thwart him — Operation: BUMRUSH. The plan was to deliver several ODST squads directly into the stationary ship by "hot dropping" the soldiers into the hull with special drop pods, taking the ship's crew by surprise. The UNSC was hoping that Regret would reveal why the Covenant had landed at New Mombasa. Additionally, since the San'Shyuum Prophets were the leaders of the Covenant, capturing or killing Regret would have dealt a huge blow to the alien invaders.

If it worked, Operation: BUMRUSH would have been a monumental UNSC victory.

Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) officer Veronica Dare, however, needed to use one of the ODST squads for a special mission: dropping into the city instead and securing its artificial intelligence overseer called the Superintendent. The Superintendent contained information about New Mombasa, Earth, the UNSC, and more, so it needed to be kept out of Covenant hands. The squad she chose was Alpha-Nine, which was made up of five men: Michael "Mickey" Crespo, Taylor "Dutch" Miles, Kojo "Romeo" Agu, a trooper known as "The Rookie," and Edward Buck, the squad's leader.

As the ODSTs launched their pods, Dare ordered the squad to alter their course and head for the city instead of the Assault Carrier. However, as they did, the Prophet of Regret activated his ship's slipspace drive and fled Earth. This was because he realized that his other ships were engaged in space combat, and that his own vessel was alone and thus, at a tactical disadvantage. This jump to slipspace caused a massive electromagnetic pulse and a large explosion, the former of which fried all of the ODSTs' drop pods while the latter caused significant damage to the area underneath where the Assault Carrier was. Without power and control over their pods, the individual members of Alpha-Nine were cut off from one another and crash-landed in different parts of New Mombasa. A short while after this event, Covenant reinforcements from the Prophet of Truth arrived, blew past the remainder of the UNSC's defense fleet, and began to deliver even more troops into the city.

The chaotic aftermath

Conceptual artwork of the UNSC battling Covenant forces in the streets.

Conceptual artwork of the UNSC battling Covenant forces in the streets.

Immediately after Alpha-Nine's members landed, they began to coordinate with the local forces in the area to try and both defend the city and rendezvous with each other. Buck managed to cooperate with Marines and reach Dare's pod, but there was no trace of her there other than her helmet. Soon after, he managed to link up with Romeo, who had landed nearby. Meanwhile, Dutch landed in the city's outskirts, and he was able to coordinate with nearby Marines and lead a Warthog counter-attack against the invading forces. During this, the city's orbital elevator, which allowed materials to be delivered directly to ships in space, was destroyed. The wreckage from it proceeded to fall down onto the city and its surroundings, crushing both Covenant and human forces, causing even more chaos.

At the same time, Mickey emerged from his pod to find Marines and police forces attempting to fight their way through the streets to reach the ONI Alpha Site base, as they were ordered to rally there and protect it. Using their Scorpion tank, Mickey assisted them and blasted through the Covenant soldiers in their way. Dutch, who had successfully led the aforementioned Warthog charge, joined up with him and the Marines as they headed to the base. Using explosives, Mickey and Dutch blew up the bridge leading there, but the Covenant countered by flying troops in by dropship. Despite their best efforts, the ODSTs were unable to prevent the Covenant from entering the facility. The surviving officers, Marines, and Mickey and Dutch evacuated on a Pelican, using a remote detonation device to blow the base up and prevent it from falling into enemy hands. Shortly after, Buck and Romeo managed to establish communications with them, and Mickey and Dutch planned to pick their squadmates up with their Pelican.

Alpha-Nine finally regroups

Halo 3: ODST Firefight

Halo 3: ODST Firefight (Image credit: Bungie)

As Mickey and Dutch flew to a rooftop that the squad decided to rendezvous at, their Pelican was attacked and disabled by Covenant Banshee aircraft, causing it to crash land. Gathering all of the heavy ordnance within the dropship, the two ODSTs and their allies made a valiant stand against incoming Covenant forces. Buck and Romeo rush to meet them, and together they were able to successfully repel the assault. However, a Brute Chieftain heavily wounds Romeo in the process, and while his squadmates are able to stabilize his condition, he would no longer be able to fight.

As night falls, the ODSTs use a bold strategy to try and escape the city.

As night fell without any word from either Dare or the Rookie, and with Romeo injured, Buck decided to abandon the original mission and escape the city. His first idea was to use the city's tram system, but the ODSTs discover that its tunnels were flooded. With no other options, the squad is forced to board and steal a Covenant Phantom dropship. As the squad flies away, Buck had a hunch that Dare ended up making it to the Superintendent's Data Center and decided to direct the squad there.

The Rookie awakens

Halo 3: ODST artwork.

For a time, the Rookie had to explore the streets of the fallen city alone. (Image credit: Bungie)

It is at this time that the Rookie, who had been knocked unconscious by his pod's landing for six hours, finally woke. At this point, nearly all of the UNSC forces in the city had either been killed or had evacuated, turning New Mombasa into a smoldering ghost town inhabited only by Covenant patrols. With no communication and no idea about where his fellow ODSTs were, Rookie made his way to the Superintendent's Data Center. The city Superintendent, using its "Vergil" subroutine (based on the character from Dante's Inferno) helped guide him there, pointing him in the right direction and helping him avoid danger. Rookie hoped to find an ally there, and luckily, there was one; Dare managed to make it to the facility and was trying to eliminate Covenant forces there. Together, the two managed to do this and discovered something peculiar: A Covenant Huragok was interfacing with the Superintendent's core.

Rookie and Dare initially thought it was trying to steal its information, but it soon became apparent that the Huragok, known as Quick To Adjust, was actually on their side. The Huragok were enslaved by the Covenant, and Quick To Adjust was trying to fight against its masters by absorbing the Superintendent into itself and defecting. Realizing this, Rookie and Dare left the facility with Quick To Adjust in tow.

Alpha-Nine's escape

Alpha-Nine was able to escape just before the glassing began.

Buck, who had traveled to the facility, ran into them, and together the four of them fought their way out of the streets and onto a highway near the ocean. Their plan was to drive to a nearby shipyard where the rest of Alpha-Nine could pick them up in their Phantom, so Dare and Quick To Adjust commandeered a large, tanky vehicle called an Oliphant while Buck and Rookie used a Warthog to protect it. During their charge down the highway, the Covenant began to glass the city with their ships, much to Buck's horror. Due to the overwhelming amount of enemy forces in their path, Dare and the ODSTs are forced to exit the highway before reaching the Phantom's location and hold out in a courtyard. Just before being overwhelmed, the rest of the ODSTs arrive in the stolen Phantom and extract the rest of the squad and Quick To Adjust.

Despite the fact that New Mombasa was glassed and that countless lives were lost in the city, the ODSTs of Alpha-Nine managed to complete their mission and keep the Superintendent's data out of Covenant hands. Elsewhere in the galaxy, though, the Arbiter had traveled to the planet Threshold to silence a heretic that dared to question Covenant faith...

Your thoughts

What do you think of the plot of Halo 3: ODST? Are you looking forward to the next timeline article that covers the rest of Halo 2's story? Let me know in the comments. Make sure you read the other articles in this series, and if you want to get your hands on some awesome Halo games, make sure to check out the ones listed below.

Great Halo games

All the greatest Halo games are available now on Xbox, and are heading to PC too throughout 2019 and beyond.

Halo: The Master Chief Collection ($30 at Microsoft)

The Master Chief Collection is a fantastic game that lets you experience the entirety of Master Chief's saga in one convenient package.

Halo Wars 2

Halo Wars 2 (Image credit: 343 Industries)

Halo Wars 2 ($40 at Microsoft)

Halo Wars 2 is arguably the best real-time strategy title on Xbox One, offering players a wealth of incredibly satisfying, Halo-themed content.

Halo 5: Guardians

Halo 5: Guardians (Image credit: 343 Industries)

Halo 5: Guardians ($20 at Microsoft)

Halo 5: Guardians is the latest Halo first-person shooter title, and it's got plenty of good content within that most players will have a good time with.

Xbox accessories you'll love

Every one of these quality accessories is guaranteed to enhance your Xbox experience.

PowerA Enhanced Wired Controller for Xbox One ($20 at Amazon)

PowerA's take on the Xbox One controller is an attractive pickup for budget-conscious gamers that nails all the basics.

Talon PDP Xbox media remote ($20 at Amazon)

The Talon PDP Xbox media remote is great for watching shows on your console.

Xbox One S vertical stand ($10 at Amazon)

Stand your console upright with this accessory.

Brendan Lowry

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.