Content of the article: "Why Del Rio lost command of the Infinity and how important Chief is to the UNSC"
I've seen multiple posts about this over the years so I thought I'd try explaining it. (TL;DR – It's Chief.)
The Mjolnir suits Spartans wear cost about as much as it would to make a UNSC warship. The cost of training one Spartan and their augmentations is also probably unimaginable.
Now imagine you're FleetCom brass. The largest deciding factor between you and a 30 year genocidal extinction of the entire human race was less than a thousand men (total between Spartan 2 and 3 groups).
Of these thousand or so men, one is the most decorated of all. One has more time literally crushing alien skulls in his bare hands than most officers or enlisted have time alive in the universe. A multi-trillion dollar god among men who has the authority to take command of any ground operation the UNSC is running, from any rank running it, if he so sees fit.
He's an asset who, together with the most advanced piece of technology ever developed by the human race living in his brain, his 70 year old salty friend Sgt Johnson, and the most powerful Alien Warchief the UNSC has seen, identified and made the judgement calls that turned the allegiances of entire races. He, and his Olympian onslaught of superhuman friends, accomplished more missions than any other single UNSC asset ever built; therin leading humanity down a path that saved it from extinction multiple times over – with this one Spartan at the forefront.
His bones are unbreakable, his muscles so strong he can dig his fingers through the titanium wall of a pelican. He can see in the dark as if it's daylight, hear a sewing needle drop into grass a hundred meters away. He thinks faster than you do, acts faster than you do, and kills faster than you do. No exceptions. He's even your personal idol.
Everyone, including you, thinks he's dead.
Then some schmuck Captain rolls back into UNSC space 3 months earlier than expected on Humanity's most advanced warship. He claims he not only found THAT Spartan, the Master Chief, alive, but he also found Chief still carrying the smartest AI ever concieved by man.
And now he tells you that Chief was claiming he needs help to fight back against one last human extinction event, and if he loses all of humanity is dead.
That sounds like the greatest yet most detrimental news you've ever heard come out of someone's mouth so you're ready, "Alright let's fuckin' go where is he?"
And Del Rio says, "I denied his request for help and abandoned him there."
"Yep sir. I up and fucked right outta there without him."
So to answer the question about Del Rio losing rank: I'm actually surprised Del Rio wasn't just choked out by that FleetCom officer on the spot.
I'm also pretty sure that if Chief didn't return to UNSC space riding the back of some 100,000 year old alien Dreadnought like one of the gahd damn full metal horsemen of the apocalypse, that the UNSC would have gutted a planet of it's ore to build a fleet, built a command chair out of Del Rio's bones, and sailed into space using his own entrails as fuel for the slipspace drives hell bent on finding the Chief.
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