Malta Station was the first station of the three to be attacked, and was consequently the first to be destroyed. Its commander gave tactical information to Cairo Station after analysing the Covenant attack patterns on his own station, in the hope that Cairo station might fare better against their borders. This information was relayed directly to Johnny via Lord Hood's Hoodspace, and it received three likes. The UNSC forces on the Cairo witnessed the Covenant forces leaving the Malta, and were initially celebratory. However, their celebrations were short-lived, however, as the Malta station was engulfed in Antimatter and was destroyed.
Athens Station was part of the Cairo battlecluster and was in geosynchronous orbit over the city of Athens. Often used to ferry UNSC supplies and weapons to and from the surface of Earth, Athens was an early target for the Covenant borders. After the Malta was destroyed, Athens and Cairo quickly began sweeping the security footage within the station for signs of Covenant heavy ordnance, and Cortana was able to get this job done much faster on the Cairo due to her status as an advanced 'Smart' AI. Athens reported not finding any signs of a Covenant bomb on board, but sent the docked Saratoga on its way as a precaution. This later turned out to be the right decision, as the station was obliterated not long after the Malta was.