|This article, Codename: OZYMANDIAS, written by Specops306, was voted as the Best Unaffiliated Character of 2011 in the Fourth Annual Halo Fanon Wikia Awards.|
- ""Look on my works ye mighty and despair", indeed. I've always liked the poem. Could you tell?"
- ―Codename: OZYMANDIAS
Contrary to popular belief, the Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence does not control every aspect of ONI's operations. With four sections, each with their own portfolios and staff, this would be a near impossibility to run through the desk of one person. Certainly Director Parangosky has taken a far more active role in ONI's operations than her predecessors, with a vigour that personnel half her age cannot hope to match, but even so the positions of Director of Operations (often regarded as figurative head of Sections I and 0) and Director of Intelligence (head of Sections II and III) are still vital, each with their own deputies and wielding considerable clout on their own. Their identities are protected by the issuing of codenames, classification of personal information, and well-armed security details to prevent assassination or blackmail by external or internal threats.
The Deputy Director of Operations during the Insurrection, and much of the Human-Covenant War, was an individual codenamed "OZYMANDIAS". Little is known about him, other than that he oversaw a considerable number of operations without even consulting the Director of Operations, all targeted to maximise the chances of human survival. This does not mean that all of them were ethical, or even successful - Project CHISEL stands as a testament to the horrors humanity was forced to inflict upon itself to produce the keys to its survival, the Spartans and other augmented supersoldiers that held off the Covenant onslaught. Other operations, such as INDIGO and INDIGO-II, were intended to leverage vital assets from other chains of command, deploying them on operations OZYMANDIAS deemed important for his own goals and agenda. Even something as innocuous as Project GENOME, a Manassas University gene therapy research project, was appropriated by OZYMANDIAS for military applications. During the war, OZYMANDIAS is estimated to have overseen more than thirty two unsanctioned clandestine operations and projects, using his position to get them NOVEMBER BLACK protection status. Although he retired from his position before the end of the war, he is likely to have continued many of these projects afterwards, now working independently through channels and contacts acquired through a long and seemingly-meritorious career in ONI. His successor, OLYNDICUS, would eventually activate Operation: VORAUSSICHT to investigate such flagrant breaches of NOVEMBER BLACK status, with SHOGUN heading the investigation - an irony, given that SHOGUN was recruited for ONI by OZYMANDIAS after the Insurrection. OZYMANDIAS was never officially apprehended, and even unofficially there are few clues as to his eventual fate or whereabouts. Efforts were made by VORAUSSICHT staff, as well as other interested parties who shared OZYMANDIAS' methods but not his agenda, either to capture or kill him. None have been successful, despite some near misses. His continued youthfulness, despite being more than ninety years old, is something of a mystery, though evidence suggests he suffers from metabolic cascade failure, a degenerative disease usually associated with improperly performed flash-cloning techniques.
Exactly what drove OZYMANDIAS to take such drastic action remains unclear. Some projects, such as CHISEL, were begun even before the Carver report that predicted catastrophe from the Insurrection. Others, such as the infiltration of Project TEMERITY, seem to have been unrelated to the Human-Covenant War, focussing on acquiring information on other factors. He has often been compared to Codename: DRACULA, who similarly abused his position to classify his pet projects as NOVEMBER BLACK, but while DRACULA seems to have been driven by the goal of ensuring the evolution of the human race past it's current state, OZYMANDIAS' motivations have been harder to discern. It may be that OZYMANDIAS was preparing humanity for some otherwise unforeseen threat that has yet to emerge, or that might never emerge. For now, all that can be said is that while many of his projects were horrific and brutal, they produced spectacular results.
As per standard operating procedure, almost nothing official is known of OZYMANDIAS' civilian life. The man had an American accent, but a generic, non-specific one - he may have been born somewhere in the United Republic of North America, one of the Mars arcologies, Harvest, or any of the other colonies funded and populated by American-backed colonial companies. Even his early service history is nearly impossible to piece together - some evidence exists that he was a naval intelligence officer, and that he worked on a population analysis calculating rising anti-UEG sentiment during the 2470s as part of the UNSC Navy's Project FRONTIER. Certainly it makes his prominent placement later less of a coincidence, given that much of the data would inform the conclusions of Doctors Elias Carver and Catherine Halsey. His expertise in anti-insurgency tactics, especially those employed during the 21st, 22nd and 23rd centuries, would make him a prominent figure in later years.
Rise to Prominence
In 2580, the then-current Deputy Director of Operations, Codename: LEVIATHAN, retired from service at the age of eighty two. Compared to other members of ONI who have continued to serve long past the official mandatory retirement age, most famously Margaret Parangosky, this may seem unusual, and various theories circulated among intelligence circles - that he had been diagnosed with a terminal disease, that he was being blackmailed to step aside, that he had been asked to step down by superiors, that he had simply had enough with the constant bureaucratic obstruction presented by the CMA among the increasingly volatile Outer Colonies. Whatever the reason, the void LEVIATHAN left would not be unfilled for long, and OZYMANDIAS assumed the position.
OZYMANDIAS' tenure was controversial, to say the least. For one thing, he took control during a critical time, as the beginnings of what would later come to be known as the Insurrection ground into motion. His experience in researching the potential for political and ideological opposition to Earth-centric policies made him a vocal supporter of UNSC intervention outside of Sol, including a massive expansion of the UNSC's Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps branches by folding their Colonial Military Administration equivalents. At this early stage of the war, such a step was regarded by many among ONI as an act of stupidity - involving a military organisation designed to protect and police one star system into a force that could put boots on the ground on dozens or hundreds of worlds, not to mention the disestablishment of a military presence recruited among the colonies, with experience in these environments and populations. The proposal did not originate with him, and would come to be known as the Staten Proposal, but as conflict flared up on world after world, more and more among the UEG would become convinced of its merits. OZYMANDIAS had already proven that CMA officials could not all be trusted - being from the worlds currently in conflict, many had familial ties to Insurrectionists, or sympathised with their stated aims. Prominent defections of CMA personnel, sometimes entire units making the switch, would convince many among the UEG that the only option was to scrap the increasingly incompetent CMA and replace it with a more efficient organisation in the UNSC - inject fresh ideas and fresh blood into fighting the impending collapse of an Earth-centric colonial empire. In
On the other hand, OZYMANDIAS' tenure is also notorious for his sponsorship of controversial and radical projects, especially experimentation to genetically, physiologically or cybernetically enhance military personnel. Some would be relatively benign, such as the now-standard neural interfaced installed in the brains of most UNSC personnel. Others, however, would have an ethical and legal cloud hanging over them from the very start. Although Project CHISEL is best known for experimenting on Great War refugees, its origins were in the Insurrection, abducting those deemed expendable to society - orphans, homeless men and women, the incurably insane - and conducting augmentation experiments to perfect techniques that would be used in ORION. The later SPARTAN-II would be another notorious project conducted under his tenure, although his participation in it was minimal beyond oversight of the original Project INDIGO. INDIGO-II, while sharing a name, would be conducted by another. OZYMANDIAS' participation in both CHISEL and INDIGO would be a well-kept secret until long after his retirement.
OZYMANDIAS' tenure is also remarkable for marking humanity's First Contact - the attack on Harvest in 2525 by a then-unknown extraterrestrial civilisation of considerable technological sophistication, extreme aggression, and unknown structure or motivation beyond religious doctrine. OZYMANDIAS' participation in Project INDIGO would bear fruit in the deployment of Indigo Team during the early years of the Human-Covenant War, primarily on reconnaissance and intelligence missions to gather information on the enemy's composition and battle doctrine, intercept enemy communications for translation, and even secure examples of alien technology for study by Section III. The project would be the forerunner of other similar projects, detaching personnel from successful supersoldier projects for use by various parts of the military, either with authorisation, such as the abduction of a SPARTAN-II for Project SPARTAN-III, or without authorisation, such as LEONIDAS and INDIGO-II. OZYMANDIAS would have no hand in these operations, and in fact seems to have actively discouraged their continuation, arguing that rather than a fractured UNSC bitterly fighting internal bureaucratic and authoritative battles against itself, humanity needed a UNSC that presented a strong, united, and coherent front against their enemy, an almost total reversal of his policies. By 2530, his support for CHISEL was terminated, though the project would continue without his approval under Codename: DRACULA.
Although it is often said by military officials that the Insurrection fell apart after 2526, and for the most part this is true, not all Insurrectionist cells recognised the nature of the threat humanity faced, and continued to wage their political and ideological crusades against the UNSC, in spite of the threat of alien invasion. Rumours that the UNSC had provoked the Covenant, or that the aliens were willing to accept surrenders, did not help matters, and the stubbornness of colonial independence movements contributed to the swift fall of almost a dozen worlds in the first four years of the war alone. While OZYMANDIAS was not a leading figure in ONI's decision to utterly crush the Insurrection to allow the UNSC to focus on the defence of the colonies, he would take one of the most significant moves in his history, though not one that was obviously so, to him or his contemporaries - the recruitment of a young Army officer with experience fighting Insurrectionists during Operation: TREBUCHET into ONI. Various theories have since been proposed as to why OZYMANDIAS made the offer in person, but no concrete information is known for certain, beyond the fact that the man accepted the codename of SHOGUN, and would work within first Section I as part of its counter-insurgency operations, and later, as the Insurrection was driven deep underground by an effective coordinated series of attacks on all its facets, as a member of Section 0. Under OZYMANDIAS, SHOGUN would rise to prominence quickly as an expert investigator, especially rooting out personnel and projects that would damage ONI, both functionally, and in the eyes of the public, and would assume command of Operation: VORAUSSICHT in 2549.
As Deputy Director of Operations, OZYMANDIAS would also oversee a large number of special operations deployments, and would be part of the decision to focus on small groups of specialist teams. The success of SPARTAN-II had already spawned a plethora of imitators, with varying degrees of success, and hundreds of augmented personnel were already deployed hunting down and assassinating key Insurrectionist leaders. After 2531, the priority for these teams would switch from the assassination of Insurrectionist targets to deep ground surveillance in Covenant-held space, both on former UNSC worlds now occupied by Covenant military forces and on Covenant colonies and installations. A comprehensive map would never be developed of the entirety of Covenant space, but significant portions of it would be revealed by the actions of specialised infiltration teams, such as Grey Team, mapping out a number of homeworlds, major colonies and military bases, and orbital habitats. These actions would do much to improve UNSC understanding of Covenant functionality, such as social hierarchy and composition, the interaction between different castes, and internal tensions, such as those between the Unggoy and Kig-Yar, or that between the Sangheili and Jiralhanae, and the exploitation of these tensions to distract Covenant attention and tie up military personnel and materiel on internal conflicts, such as the rise of "heretic" factions.
Officially, OZYMANDIAS stepped aside in 2542 to allow his successor, OLYNDICUS, to assume control and implement his own strategies. Certainly, OLYNDICUS put more focus on improving the attrition rates in human-Covenant battles, including the development of advanced energy shield systems, the improvement of Magnetic Accelerator Cannon, standard armament on UNSC warships, and the creation of new technologies designed to exploit weaknesses in Covenant battle doctrine. OZYMANDIAS' doctrine of covert operations, while effective in buying time, was nevertheless costly in terms of lives lost when fighting did commence, a fact that he seems to have acknowledged.
Unofficially, Operation: VORAUSSICHT investigations reveal that OZYMANDIAS had other, more pressing reasons for leaving office. A number of projects tied to him, such as CHISEL and INDIGO, were becoming dangerously public. INDIGO would be declassified in 2551 during the Battle of Minorca, to the outrage of Catherine Halsey, and CHISEL had been disbanded in 2538 fearing attracting the attentions of investigators in Section Zero, such as SHOGUN. Ironically, VORAUSSICHT, started by the man who has often been dubbed his protege, would be the one to uncover his link to the most unsavioury of projects conducted between 2525 and 2542. Between the time of his retirement and his later reappearance, little is known of his movements - certainly he has kept himself extremely well informed as to the progress of the war, indicating that he continued to have contact with high-ranking ONI personnel. He would also have contact with a number of special warfare groups, such as Baselard and Kukri teams, although the extent of his involvement in their operations under UNSC chain of command remains uncertain. All that can be confirmed for certain is that OZYMANDIAS used this time to prepare for several eventualities - in the event of Covenant victory, his survival; in the event of human survival, the implementation of his own agenda.
- Main article: Operation: VORAUSSICHT
- Main article: Project CHISEL
Experimental augmentation research project established on Mamore. Initially, used cloned organs and limbs as testbeds for augments, such as ceramic-carbine ossification, neurological enhancement, etc, but was forced to use live humans, graduating from prisoners, selected from UEG prisons, to vagrants and refugees who had no families to report their absence. OZYMANDIAS' interest in CHISEL seems to have waned towards its later life, perhaps a result of its distasteful practices, and he officially ended his involvement long before its disbandment.
- Main article: Project INDIGO
The abduction or recruitment of SPARTAN-II personnel, and their redeployment outside of the regular chain of command, kept secret from their fellow Spartans and the project lead, Dr. Catherine Halsey. OZYMANDIAS had a significant hand in its implementation, though none in its successor, INDIGO-II, despite his affiliations with Baselard and Kukri teams.
Initially a civilian genetic research project, GENOME was appropriated by OZYMANDIAS for military research, investigating the role of "Noncoding DNA" in the operation of , and conducting more ethical augmentation research than CHISEL. It may have been set up precisely as a reaction against, and a successor to, CHISEL,
OZYMANDIAS operates through a trust-based system - ie, that he trusts his underlings to do the tasks he assigns them, and that he knows that they trust him to plan for all eventualities. He is a consummate planner, often hypothesising events, trends and technologies, and incorporating them into his plans. Some have described his attention to detail as obsessive, but it has undoubtedly been justified, allowing him to keep up with the technological curve, and to stay at least five steps ahead of VORAUSSICHT. During his tenure at ONI, he performed a number of favours for a various high-profile members. Since his retirement, he seems to have called these favours in, allowing him to slip off all surveillance and tracking systems.
OZYMANDIAS' relationship with people outside of work is practically nonexistent. he fosters connections, and makes sure that he maintains these connections, but few regard him as a "friend". At most, he is someone who attended the same functions, or who performed an important favour - and that he expects to collect. In fact, the only significant relationship that differs from the machiavellian role he often takes is that he had with SHOGUN, taking a special interest in his career, providing him with resources and personnel for his operations, and establishing tentative contact with him even as VORAUSSICHT pursued him. While profilers would call OZYMANDIAS anti-social, he nevertheless remains a stickler for politeness and courtesy, for reasons that remain his own.
OZYMANDIAS seems to be motivated by some knowledge that is unavailable to profilers, and his post-war plans seem oriented at bringing down his rival for VORAUSSICHT's attentions, Codename: DRACULA, independently of SHOGUN. Given his predilection for planning in the long-term, it may be that his motivations are something that simply has not been discovered yet, or that remains still hypothetical.
- "A bit presumptions, naming yourself after a Pharaoh? Or did he read that old comic? The one with the villain posing as a hero, who only stopped to explain himself after his plans were already in motion? Or am I over-analysing this?"
- "NOVEMBER BLACK is not something you treat with such haphazard regard. Half of VORAUSSICHT's investigations were of projects classified as NOVEMBER BLACK by OZYMANDIAS - the other half are either unaffiliated, or by DRACULA."
- ""The path to hell is paved with good intentions," they say. What were his? What did he see, that drove him to do it?"