Benning was once a thriving Systems Alliance colony. The Reapers rounded up a large portion of the populace for processing.
As the nearest garden world to Arcturus Station, Benning was the primary source of its food supply and an important staging area for starship maintenance and repair.
During the battles of Arcturus and Earth, the Reapers sent a small force to Benning to destroy its comm. buoys, spaceports, and starships. With the population immobilized and communications cut, the main force concentrated on the larger prize, knowing they could return before repairs could be made or help could arrive.
Soon they did just that, harvesting the population. Some pockets of civilian resistance eluded the Reapers, however, and rescue attempts were soon underway. A "resistance radio" established during the early days of the attack continued to broadcast, exhorting survivors to band together and discussing rumors of safe havens. Unfortunately, these rumors began to result in ambushes, increasing the desperation of those who remained free.
Through all this, Benning's automated agricultural systems continued to operate, leading to unprecedented stores of food in the planet’s granaries and warehouses.
Post Reaper War
A convoy containing over eighteen naval and civilian vessels - and also bearing along the Sixteenth Frontier Regiment - departed from Joughin Spaceport for the isolated colony of Elysium. Once a tourist hotspot and a trade hub, the destruction of its Relay had left the colony cut off except for military QEC and relief convoys. The colony suffered large casualties during the Reaper War and extensive damage to its infrastructure, with large sections of the capital of Illyria reduced to rubble. Taskforce 453, under the command of Captain Alistair Farelli of the SSV Marie Curie, was intended to change that. During the taskforce’s ‘slowboat’ journey, an Ivanova Industries construction vessel would build refuel station and comm buoys along its route in order to re-establish contact with Elysium.
Many welcomed the choice of the Alliance to use Benning as its staging point for the taskforce. The planet’s previously booming economy took a major hit after the destruction of Arcturus Station. The convoy, which included a seven hundred metre industrial vessel carrying dozens of mining lasers, construction drones and hundreds of fabricators, caused a large upturn in the aerospace sector.
In addition to opening a slowboat route to the colony, the Sixteenth Regiment and four warships were stationed at Benning, the first signs of an expected military build-up in the area. The Marines were intended to relieve the decimated Elysium garrison and assist in rebuilding settlements while the civilian construction ships and industrial vessels reconstructed orbital defences and facilities. The naval vessels were expected to be the first of a flotilla that would be permanently stationed in the system.