PLNB Transmission XX077G-XX
Encryption Code: OMEGA-FOUR
Public Key: N/A
From: CODENAME NOMAD
To: CODENAME SHEPHERD
Subject: THE FALL OF REACH
For the last month, my team and I have been investigating the remains of Reach from orbit. While the Covenant didn't glass the entire planet, they did a number on it nonetheless. My specialist predicts mass extinctions to kill off most of the remaining fauna and flora within the next year.
So far, we haven't found any trace of survivors. The Covenant are, if nothing else, thorough.
Surprisingly, a lot of the planet's datasphere remains intact. To date, we've intercepted numerous UNSC and Covenant transmissions, just bouncing around the magnetosphere. Most of these are standard "end of the world"-fare, with their senders and recipients long dead. Occasionally, however, we run across something interesting. We've found plenty of packets of ONI data: video footage, information on the Covenant, and so on.
What I'm writing you about is the discovery of one particular packet, which seems to have originated at SWORD BASE. The contents, a parting gift from Sierra 320, may not always be easy to look at, but may give us a better understanding of why and how the Covenant are doing this. Through these images, we may be able to prepare ourselves a little better, should they find Earth. That's why I'm forwarding these images to you: I hope they serve their purpose.
Maybe it's just wishful thinking. Maybe they've found Earth already. Maybe this message will never reach you. But I believe we'll get through this. And I'm going to help in any way I can.
1400 hours, October 19, 2552 (Military Calendar) \
UNSC Out of Shadow, Synchronous Csodaszarvas Orbit (Far Side)