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During the late-25th and early-26th centuries Lyrenne Castilla was a high-ranking member of the insurgency in the Outer Colonies. She was given command of the captured UNSC frigate UNSC Bellerophon/Bellicose which on three occasions engaged the UNSC Gorgon, captained by Preston Cole. Twice she was able to escape and on their third encounter they fought to a draw. As the two ships coasted in space having fired off all their ordnance, Cole and Castilla engaged in a text-only conversation; she knew his identity, but he did not know hers.
Three months later, in September 2501 Cole was on leave on the colony Roost in the Lambda Aurigae System when he met Lyra tending bar on a beach. She told him she got her PhD in nuclear engineering before moving to Roost to fish and pour drinks. The two hit it off immediately. Cole would return to Roost the next three times he was granted leave. Preston Cole and Lyra Castilla were married November 2502 during Cole's fourth trip to Roost. When he wrote home to tell his brother of his wedding, Cole reported that Lyra was pregnant. He also said that he was truly happy for the first time he could remember.
On June 13, 2503 Admiral Harold Stanforth sent a message to Cole, informing him that the Office of Naval Intelligence had determined that Lyrenne Castilla was a member of the insurgency. Cole was given the opportunity to try to convince her to turn herself in, but when he got to the bar on Roost he found only a transcript of his conversation with the captain of the Bellicose, who he now realized was Castilla. Castilla likely gave birth to their child shortly after, while she was in hiding.[note 1]
One January 2, 2504 UNSC Battle Group Tango, consisting of four heavy destroyers, cornered the Bellicose in the Theta Ursae Majoris System. The Bellicose delivered heavy damage to two of the destroyers before apparently losing control and becoming caught in the gravity well of a gas giant. The UNSC reported the Bellicose was lost with all hands.
Castilla was believed dead for the next four decades. Then on March 6, 2543, during the Battle of 18 Scorpii UNSC Battle Group Sierra-3 found itself in trouble against a single Covenant ship. Just as things seemed most desperate, reinforcements arrived when unknown friendly ships jumped in system. The additional firepower penetrated the enemy's shields, winning the battle and saving the UNSC ships. The lead reinforcement ship's outline and the registry number gleaned from a passive transponder identified it as the UNSC Bellerophon aka the Bellicose.
The Insurrectionists' motives for helping the UNSC are unclear. In all likelihood Castilla orchestrated the apparent destruction of the Bellicose and escaped by executing the first ever in-atmosphere slipspace jump.
On April 18, 2543, UNSC Battle Group India engaged a Covenant Fleet in the largest single battle of the Human-Covenant war, the Battle of Psi Serpentis. In the heat of the battle coordinated reinforcements - consisting of thirty-five highly modified older UNSC warships, merchant vessels bristling with missile pods and entirely new designs that neither human nor Covenant had seen before - led by the Bellicose appeared and engaged the Covenant fleet. The insurgent-led forces decimated the Covenant while losing nearly one quarter of their own ships. They then transitioned back to slipspace. Their presence greatly influenced the outcome of the battle.
Codename: SURGEON determined that Admiral Cole almost certainly faked his death at the Battle of Psi Serpentis and survived by executing the second ever in-atmosphere slipspace transition. Evidence suggests that Cole somehow contacted or was contacted by Lyra Castilla before the battle and orchestrated the insurgent participation in the battle. In all likelihood, after faking his death, he rejoined Lyra and settled somewhere outside of both UNSC and Covenant-controlled space.
- ↑ Cole's letter to his brother mentions she was pregnant in November 2502. When Cole wrote of her fleeing in June 2503 he made no mention of her taking their child with her, suggesting she had not yet given birth, though she would have been at least 7 months pregnant.