SPARTAN-025, also known as Marco-025, Marco Wade, Sierra Zero-Two-Five and Codename:BULLDOZER, was a SPARTAN-II Commando of the top secret Project SIGMA. Marco was a versatile Spartan, being proficient in most fields of combat, though he was known for his skill in close-quarters fighting. Marco served with distinction during the Human-Covenant War, fighting countless battles alongside his team. During the war, fought in several major engagements, including the Siege of Fargad, Fall of Reach and the Battle of Earth. In later years, Marco became a leading figure in the First Galactic War, in charge of the SPARTAN-IV X-Ray Company. In the early 27th century, a series of events led to him playing a pivotal role during the Omega Incursion, fighting on the frontlines and personally ending the short, if brutal conflict in 2616.
Marco was one of the preliminary 150 candidates selected by Dr. Catherine Halsey as part of the SPARTAN-II Program. Due to budget restraints, he became one of the seventy five not abducted and taken to Reach training. However, an Office of Naval Intelligence agent, Doctor Calvin Roe, was given permission to take twenty of the remaining children on as part of a secret project without Halsey's knowledge. Marco and nineteen others were abducted and given identical training to that of Halsey's Spartans on Reach under the tutelage of Richard Mack Senior In 2525, Marco underwent the surgical augmentations that would transform him into a Spartan. He and ten others survived the augmentations, though it was later revealed that every member of the Project SIGMA had lived. Shortly after, Jack-085 and Ahmad-126 tried to convince him to leave the base and go on the run. Marco reluctantly declined, leaving the other two Spartans to escape; Ahmad supposedly committed suicide after being cornered while Jack disappeared for many years.
Throughout the Human-Covenant War, Marco fought valiantly in hundreds of battles and campaigns, participating in major events such as the Siege of Fargad, the Fall of Reach and the Battle of Earth. Following the conflict, Marco found himself, along with many other surviving SPARTAN-II's, promoted to officer ranks. By the time of the outbreak of the First Galactic War in 2571, Marco had attained the rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade, given to him when he was called to train the SPARTAN-IV X-Ray Company.
During the First Galactic War, Marco stepped down from his position as Commanding Officer of X-Company, leaving it in the hands of Alex-A121. He was placed in charge of Operation: SCALPEL, a ONI-led effort to eliminate the leaders of the Splinter Alliance. Marco was reunited with his former teammates Kane-099 in 2578 and Jax-007 in 2583, both of them had been training their own SPARTAN-IV companies. Lieutenant Commander Kane-099 took command of the operation from Marco, who did not object; he was just happy to have his comrades together again in spite of the civil war. Thanks to the efforts of Marco his fellow Spartans, the leaders of the Legion were tracked down and eliminated in the 2590s. The war culminated in the Battle of Minerva, which claimed the lives of many SPARTAN-IV's; Marco himself was also badly wounded. The subsequent years were marked by a downward spiral in his psyche that culminated in his discharge from active duty for several years. Shortly after returning in 2609, the now thoroughly disillusioned SPARTAN left the UNSC with a few colleagues, going rogue after nearly a century of active military service.
Re-emerging as one of the key leaders of a violent secessionist group, Marco was targeted for assassination by ONI following the group seized several major spaceports on the re-terraformed colony world of Reach. Maynard-X112 and Wulf Team were chosen to assassinate the SPARTAN-II, though they failed, losing several members in the process, including their leader. Marco was presumed dead for some time until he had returned to the planet from whence the group had started, reorganising their ragtag fleet and forming a truce with the UNSC to fight against the threat of a reformed United Rebel Front, led by a man thought to have been killed years before.
Gender: M Birthplace: Earth Birth Date: 02/04/2511 Blood Type: O Height: 210 centimetres (6.9 ft) Weight: 230 kilograms
S-025 has an impressive enemy KIA record, numbering in the thousands after decades of war. He is known for being very aggressive on the battlefield, reports indicating that due to his excessive violence, any mission footage should not be shown in mainstream media, the Battle of New Hope in 2568 being a prime example of this brutality, even for a SPARTAN. Also, S-025 is known to be both flexible and adaptable; he can work alone or in a team, and like many S-II's, is proficient in most forms of warfare. He has been known to become attached to squadmates, showing extreme anger if a team member is killed. A prime example of this was during the Fall of Reach in 2552, during which SPARTAN-041 was killed in a suspected 'friendly fire' incident. It is largely unknown what happened following, though Codename: PYRRHUS, a high ranking civilian consultant for ONI and the brainchild behind Project SIGMA, was killed after leaving the vicinity. The event was never thoroughly investigated due to the urgency of the war.
Like most of the surviving SPARTAN-II's, S-025 has fought just as much against Insurrectionist rebels, in addition to Covenant forces, even more so, due to the War with the Insurrectionist force known as The Legion. In several psyche reports, particularly to the end and after the war, at the dawn of the 27th Century, S-025 had begun to express regrets for several of his actions throughout the years, showing sympathy for several Anti-UNSC factions, though he never supported extremist acts. However, this did contribute to his disappearance in 2609.
As a SPARTAN-II, he has seen over 90 years of warfare, and is seen by many others,his own Spartans in particular, as a walking legend due to the scarcity of older Spartans in the late 26th Century. Battlefield reports show that in his presence, friendly troops fighting effectiveness increased by nearly 40%. Also, S-025 has been shown to be protective of S-X500, due to a biological family relationship. X500 is a member of Special Operations Unit Wulf Team, under the command of S-X112.
However, he is still an extremely competent and fully-functioning SPARTAN-II.
In the training of X Company, S-025 was known as a harsh, but fair trainer, and earned the respect of his company trainees. In barely a year on training, X Company shaped up to be the best of the three SPARTAN-IV Companies, although by the time of the Omega Incursion in 2616, over two thirds of it's members were dead. S-025's state seemed to deteriorate after the battle of Minerva in 2599, dropping off the grid in 2609 following a raid on the maximum security Fenwell Prison. He was not seen again until 2614, appearing on Reach as one of the leading members of the LOFP (League of Free Peoples). ONI, believing that one of their best Spartans had gone rogue, sent a full company of 1000 SPARTAN-IV's, and Wulf Team to Reach to find him and take him down. Only two other SPARTAN-II's were ever recorded to have gone rogue, one in 2525, and another in 2545. Both of whom were takendown by their fellow Spartans afterwards. S-025's assassination was placed in the hands of Maynard-X112, who was considered the best soldier in X-Ray Company.
It is unknown what happened following the confrontation in the mountain base, while Zulu Company engaged both rebel and alien forces. The rest of Wulf Team were cut off from their leader at this point or killed, so the end results were ambiguous. While it was assumed that both SPARTAN-025 and SPARTAN-X112 were killed during the fighting, he eventually resurfaced leading an independent fleet and rejoined the UNSC to fight the reformed United Rebel Front. He was pardoned and decorated after this, and retired from active duty several years later.
Suffers from some degree of Post-traumatic stress disorder, experiencing nightmares, headaches etc. Had previously refused treatment, saying that he would be fine. S-025's symptoms likely due to the Battle of Minerva in 2599, which took the lives of many fellow Spartans, and not long after he was unable to carry out his duty for several years. Was put under observation after reinstatement before going AWOL in 2609. Refused treatment following his return and was not tested for the remainder of his military service.
Marco John Wade was born in the United Kingdom, in the city of London on Earth on April 2nd, 2511 to two immigrants from from Madrigal. From an early age, Marco exhibited many 'superior' qualities that marked him from his peers, including heightened intelligence, strength, and stamina. Growing up in London was tough for the young Marco as his parents struggled to make ends meet for several years, relying on various daycare centres to look after the child. When Marco was three years old, his younger brother, Michael, was born, giving him a natural instinct to protect his younger sibling even at such an early stage.
During his first year of schooling at age five, Marco was first noticed by the Office of Naval Intelligence after a routine blood test and report, which noted his advanced mental and physical capabilities. These qualities marked him out as a viable candidate for the SPARTAN-II Program. In early 2517, Doctor Catherine Halsey, who was making personal visits to every prospective recruit, visited Marco's school under the guise of being a special observer. There, she 'interviewed' him, asking various questions pertaining to his views and own personality. In spite of his young age, Marco was able to answer her each time, though he distrusted Halsey, seeing through the kind façade she put on while speaking to him. After some time, Marco was placed in the list of seventy five candidates who would not be used for SPARTAN-II due to funding reasons; ONI agents under Halsey would kidnap dozens of other children, taking them to Reach for their own training. This did not mean that Marco and the others were forgotten about. Calvin Roe, a scientist working in the same intelligence division as Halsey, discovered info on the SPARTAN project, and requested that a new group be created on Earth. This was accepted, and Marco and nineteen others were selected for adduction while facilities were made for this group's training.
Marco was abducted at the age of six by ONI agents while playing outside and was taken to a secret military base in Washington DC, in the United Republic of North America on the orders of Doctor Calvin Roe. Marco hated Roe's dismissiveness towards him and the other children and cold demeanour from day one. The key reason for these Spartans being trained was for the purposes of ONI having it's own SPARTAN group, SIGMA, away from Halsey, who was mistrusted by some. There were many plans drawn up for these potential super soldiers from the beginning, one of the main ones being that they could be used as personal assassins for certain high-ranking members of Naval Intelligence in addition to the proposed operations against the Insurrection. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Mack Senior, a renowned special forces hero, was chosen to train these Spartans on Earth. However, the beginning of the Human-Covenant War changed these plans, causing the majority of the Sigma Spartans to be deployed against the alien threat. The young Spartans were also educated by Leo, a 'dumb' AI that taught them a great deal about military history and strategies, alongside many basic skills such as writing and mathematics.
During training, he became good friends with Wulf-041, Jack-085, Elena-071 and Nef-015. He was one of the top candidates in training, and though he lacked the leadership style and efficiency that defined Fenn-145 and Kane-099 he made up for it in sheer strength and determination to succeed. He and Elena often came out near the top when working in a pair, and with Jack they were nigh-unstoppable in training rounds; they could never best Fenn-145 in combat simulations, however. Doctor Roe, who had a long standing dislike of Marco, would often try to split the trio up. The implementation of a leaderboard for the Sigma Spartans by Roe only made the trainees strive harder to win, and it began to drive a wedge between Marco and the ultra-competitive Jack towards the end of their training.
At the age of fourteen, Marco and the other candidates were taken for the augmentations that would make them into the supersoldiers the UNSC needed. Nine of them, including Elena, were apparently killed during the augmentations. However, unbeknownst to Marco's team, there had not been any casualties, the Spartans being placed in separate groups. The others were left to recuperate. After three weeks, two of the Spartans, Ahmad-126 and Jack-085, escaped, killing several guards. The two were confronted by Marco during their escape from the facility. In spite of Jack's pleas, Marco refused to leave as he truly believed that they would make a difference as Spartans. Jack angrily insulted Marco for his refusal and left him behind, killing several guards as he and Ahmad escaped.
This would always be something of a regret in Marco's life, the Spartan always wondering if he should have left with his friends. Later on, Marco came to accept that humanity needed him, and all of his fellow Spartans, running away would never change that. Ahmad later appeared killed himself not long after his escape, and Jack evaded capture and was not seen again for many, many years, at least by the UNSC. Marco was questioned by Roe and Mack for his lack of action against them during the escape attempt, and though he was not initially punished the pair admitted that they were greatly disappointed in him. The loss of several of his comrades, including his two best friends, Elena-071 in particular, was hard on Marco at the time. Thinking the other nine Spartans to be dead (In reality, they were put into separate teams), he spent several days in mourning, until encouragement from his team mates and his own personal resolve helped him to overcome his grief after he recuperated from his augmentation procedures. Seemingly friendless even within the tight-knit group, Marco resolved to face whatever the future would throw at him.
"I'll never forget Gallis. The first time I ever killed another human being. The slaughter. His voice."
―Marco recounting the event in his later years.
In January 2526, Sigma team was sent on their first mission against some Insurrectionists that had entrenched themselves on the small colony world of Gallis. UNSC forces had managed to drive them out of most areas of the planet, but a few thousand had been holding off the UNSC attackers in the capital city, and were threatening a mass civilian killing with a captured FENRIS nuclear warhead. Sigma was to be dropped in, and using the sewer system would move in behind the enemy forces and disarm the nuke. The nine Spartans split into three teams of three. Team One consisted of Kane-099, Marco-025 and Jacob-076, who would attack the insurrectionists main camp and capture their leader. Team Two, Fenn-145, Wulf-041 and Resk-063, would find the bomb and disarm it. Team Three; Jax-007, Nef-015 and Amy-133 would disable the rebel vehicles and signal the nearby Marine forces to attack. The teams were dropped into the underground sewer, and travelled along it until they found the access point. They knew that they would have only have minutes to act before the alarm was raised by rebel forces.
The three teams set charges to each hatch and when they were all in position, blew them open and began the operation. Jacob-076 led Team One to the main camp, which was on high alert, and using a sniper rifle covered Kane-099 and Marco-025 as they searched for the leader of the Insurrectionists. Fenn-145, Wulf-041 and Resk-063 killed several guards, but were unable to find any type of bomb. So, Fenn began hacking into the Insurrectionist's network while the others covered him. While doing so, his team came under attack by a large force, and was pinned down in the building. Meanwhile, Team Three had quickly wiped out the enemy forces and had secured the hostages, but the leader of Team Three, Jax-007, felt as if they were walking into a trap, and his suspicions were proved when several rebels, using Warthogs, burst from a garage and attempted to kill the Spartans before attempting to escape to the main camp where Team One was currently fighting. The trio took a third Warthog and pursued them. Down in the main camp, the Spartans slaughtered the poorly equipped rebels. This was something that Marco looked back on in his later years as rather shameful, regretting what he saw as a massacre in spite of everything. eventually, Marco came across what appeared to be the leader's room. When he entered, a recorded message began to play. While short, it was clear that whoever recorded it expected the Spartans to come, and taunted them to come and find him. Marco was almost entirely sure that it was Jack's voice in the recording, though a timer began nearby the moment it finished.
Marco ran, exiting the building just as several explosive devices detonated inside. Kane and Jacob approached him, asking what had happened. He told them that the rebel leader had already left the planet, and that the building was trapped with explosives. Soon, Team Three arrived, having killed the other rebels as they had fled. Team Two radioed in, saying that there was no actual bomb, and that they needed backup. The Spartans hurried towards the compound where the bomb was to have been kept, and attacked the rebels, who, facing the armoured Spartans, soon surrendered. Fenn-145 then called in the waiting UNSC forces, who secured the area from the remainder of the insurrectionists. Sigma Team was extracted by Pelican. Marco was silent the whole way back, pondering over the message, and how this rebel leader had somehow known that they would come. Marco was sure he had heard that voice somewhere else, but it would be over twenty-four years before he heard it again.
When they returned to Earth, they were greeted by Dr. Calvin Roe, and then Lieutenant Colonel Richard Mack Senior. Like the other Spartans, they were assigned to the UNSC Special Warfare Command. However, Sigma Team answered to orders directly from ONI above those of the Navy. They were also given their official military ranks. Fenn-145 was given the high rank of Chief Petty Officer due his amazing strategic and leadership skills. Kane-099 was second in command, given the rank of Petty Officer First Class. The other members of the team were all given the rank of Petty Officer Second Class. However, due to his lack of action against Jack and Ahmad in the breakout a year previously, Marco was given the rank of Petty Officer Third Class. This put him as the lowest-ranking SPARTAN in Sigma Team, though it had little function other than to humiliate him. This only solidified Marco's hatred for Roe before they left the SIGMA complex on Earth for good. Sigma Team would spend several years destroying Insurrectionist groups in the Inner Colonies as news of the Covenant threat began to spread and entire worlds were destroyed by the relentless alien forces.
On the 21st of December, 2530, Sigma came into contact with Covenant forces on land for the first time after several years of destroying Insurrectionist strongholds. The Spartans were sent to a research station on the outer colony world of Brennus. The station had gone quiet, and not knowing if it was Insurrectionists or Covenant, The nine Spartans were given orders to secure the station, and destroy any kind of navigational data, as per the Cole Protocol. When the Spartans moved towards the facility, they found it overrun by Covenant forces. Fenn-145 ordered Marco, Nef and Wulf to flank the large number of enemies outside and move into the building while the other members of the team got the attention of the enemies guarding the facility, and would secure the perimeter, ensuring that no Covenant soldiers could escape if they had any data.
Marco's team moved into the facility, eliminating several hostiles as they cleared it out. Eventually, they came to the main data centre, where they found an unknown species of alien that appeared to be accessing the Facility's database. Nef-015 shot it in the head, killing it instantly. Having secured the perimeter, Sigma Team then set explosive charges around the base after purging the computer systems. They destroyed the facility to make sure that the Covenant could not make use of it in any way. Sigma Team was then extracted from the colony via Pelican after destroying the research facility, having ensured that no data was captured by the enemy. Brennus was glassed several months later when Covenant ships arrived to find their advance teams wiped out. The experience of battling the Covenant on the ground proved to ONI the effectiveness of their SPARTAN teams against the enemy.
In early 2538, Sigma Team were assigned to the fleet led by Admiral Preston J. Cole to assist the beleaguered UNSC forces there. Cole's fleet quickly gained the advantage in orbit and quickly deployed the SPARTAN-II team groundside to help where the fighting was thickest. Marco joined Wulf and Kane in an infiltration mission behind enemy lines shortly after their arrival, the trio successfully getting inside a heavily fortified enemy camp and assassinating a Sangheili general before escaping unseen. These operations would carry on for some time, until Sigma was recalled for a campaign situated in the arctic region of Beta Taurius II. Here they fought on the frontline against a well-organised and equipped Covenant army in several desperate battles. It was largely through Spartan intervention that the UNSC forces were able to hold their ground for so long, particularly with the space battle above being evenly matched.
Once the campaign began in the planet's northern polar region, Sigma were reunited to help lead the assault against an entrenched Covenant encampment there. While a large armoured company held up the bulk of enemy forces, the Spartans and a number of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers were covertly deployed by a nearby ice shelf, climbing above the encampment to scope it out before the eventual assault. It was revealed that they had used their cloaking technology and a Spire to conceal a CCS-Class Battlecruiser above the site, which was deploying hundreds of troops to overwhelm the UNSC forces below. Marco, Amy, Wulf and Nef were sent to take out the spire with C-12 charges while the rest of Sigma and their ODST comrades caused havoc around the Covenant encampment. The eventual plan was to call in for support from Admiral Cole's ships to hit the battlecruiser once its shields came down. Marco's group were successful in their endeavour, bringing down the spire onto the enemy camp and killing hundreds of foes in the process. As Cole's ships neared their location, the Spartans regrouped with their comrades on the camp's outskirts and were evacuated via Falcon. The allied ships tore the battlecruiser to pieces with targeted MAC rounds and scored a victory for the UNSC that day.
Sigma Team would spend several months enduring hard fighting on Beta Taurius II as Covenant and UNSC reinforcements battled over the colony world. Even with the legendary Preston Cole leading the defence, the Covenant fleet was eventually able to break the human lines and began to glass the planet. The Spartans, who had been engaging in bloody trench warfare for some time in the southern hemisphere, were given priority for immediate evacuation. Marco was greatly displeased when the first Pelican to arrive demanded that Sigma board it rather than the Marines who had been worn down by the constant fighting. Nonetheless, he followed orders and left the planet with his comrades. Sigma Team was taken aboard the UNSC Everest following the end of the lengthy battle and commended by Admiral Cole personally for their efforts in trying to secure the colony world. Though the UNSC were defeated, they had inflicted massive casualties to their foe in the process, largely in thanks to the efforts of Sigma and several other SPARTAN-II teams on the planet. Even so, Marco was uneasy following the loss of the planet, which gave the Covenant a chance to begin attacking Inner Colony worlds.
Fall of Kurovan
In 2545, the UNSC had been given word that a Covenant fleet was on it's way toward Kurovan, a heavily populated planet in the Inner Colonies. This was the first time the Covenant had launched an attack on one of the Inner Colonies, and the UNSC wanted Kurovan as well-prepared as possible, in order to fight off the Covenant invaders. As the SPARTAN-II Project was not yet publicly known, ONI Decided to send in Sigma Team, their own 'private' Spartan's. Sigma arrived on Kurovan on June 28th, 2545. For two days, the Spartans were tasked with the evacuation of civilians from Kurovan's major cities. On June 30th, the Covenant fleet arrived, consisting of twelve cruisers, and one Supercarrier. Marco, along with Amy-133 and Resk-063, was in the Capital city, escorting several VIP's at the time. Their building was hit by banshee fire as they were in a lift. It rocketed to the ground, killing the VIP's, but leaving the Spartans more or less unharmed.
The Covenant had decided to land most of their ground forces in the Capital in a bid to get to the local ONI HQ, with it's massive data storage. Marco's team were several miles away, and pinned down by hunters in the building lobby. The rest of Sigma was spread out across the city, the closest being Fenn-145, who had been directing the local UNSC forces. The fleet above Kurovan was taking heavy fire, and despite having taken out four Cruisers, they had lost two thirds of their ships. To secure the ONI building, ODST squad's were dropped in from orbit into the Capital city. Among them was Whiskey-04, an elite team normally assigned to Sigma for extraction and Intel recovery. Whiskey, led by Major John Ackton, managed to land away from Covenant ground troops, and set up defensive positions in a city street along with a platoon of marines, and managed to hold of attacking forces until Spartan assistance arrived in the form of Kane-099, Jax-007, Nef-015 and Jacob-076. Kane ordered The squad to head for the ONI building while they held off the approaching Covenant.
Marco's team had also been making their way towards the ONI building. On the way, they met up with Wulf-041, who had been rallying troops near an abandoned hotel. The four Spartans, along with the surviving marines, made their way towards the Government building, in the city centre. Upon arrival, Marco was almost shot by a Sniper, had it not been for Amy-133, who pushed him out of the way. The Spartans were forced to take cover as a column of wraiths entered the area.While Resk and Marco engaged the enemy, Amy searched the rubble for anything of use. Eventually, she found several small propane canisters, and after some work, she had made a small bomb, put inside a children's stuffed teddy bear. When the wraith's began to move past the building, she threw and ignited it, destroying the wraith, and blocking the path of the others. Resk called for a bombing run on the area, as the wraiths began to destroy their hiding place. It was approved, and the Spartans and Marines fled as the area was blown up by a shortsword bombing run. Marco later commented on Amy's bomb, saying that she was probably the "scariest person" he knew.
Whiskey kept in contact with Marco and had reached the ONI building, but not without some difficulty. They had been ambushed by a Sangheili patrol, and had lost three members. The others ran towards the building, with the elites not far behind. another one was killed by a Banshee strike, and as they entered the building, a gung-ho team mate, who was covering them with a shotgun, was impaled with a energy sword and killed. His attacker was shot dead. By this point, there were only three survivors: Major John Ackton, First Lieutenant Steven Embry, and Sergeant Major Richard Mack. In another part of the city, Kane-099's team met up with Resk-063's, and they formulated a plan: Marco, Jax and Nef would lead a counter-attack, using Scorpion Tanks and Warthogs, to break through he Covenant lines long enough to plant a beacon underneath a Covenant Cruiser, which had come in over the city to deliver reinforcements. Amy-133 and Wulf-041 would head to the ONI building, and complete Whiskey's mission if they failed. At the same time, they would meet up with the squad leader, Fenn-145, who they had lost contact with several hours before. Jacob-076, Kane-099 and Resk-063 would find transport to leave the city, and call in for bombing runs where necessary.
With Sigma leading the resistance in the city, Whiskey-04 continued onwards into the data centre, where they found SPARTAN Fenn-145 at work on the main computer. He had been coordinating UNSC attacks, and he needed defending long enough to get an SOS out to local Human forces. Meanwhile, Marco's attack had successfully been able to penetrate the Covenant defences, and after Reaching the base of the Supercarrier, knew that their beacon would not be enough to destroy the ship, so he formulated a new plan: They would capture the ship. Using the ship's gravity lift, Marco, along with Jax-007, Nef-015 and a dozen surviving marines, entered the Cruiser, and after over half an hour of intense fighting, had managed to secure the bridge. Marco killed the Sangehili Shipmaster personally in close quarters. However, not knowing how to accurately pilot the ship, Marco was instead able to plot it on a collision course with the other cruiser orbiting the city. The three Spartans, being the only survivors of their boarding party, escaped the ship via several banshees.
Meanwhile, UNSC forces had been pushed back in the city, fighting fiercely for every street. It was not until the Covenant forces called in a Scarab that the retreat began in earnest. The Scarab was only stopped by a last minute bombing run by the three shortsword fighters that had been providing support throughout the battle. Inside the now-besieged ONI Facility's Data Centre, Fenn-145 had finally been able to send a distress beacon to UNSC forces, and ordered Whiskey to plant explosive charges around the data centre. Wulf-041 and Amy-133 had arrived upstairs, pursued by Covenant forces that had broken through the defensive turrets. After making their way down and finding their commander, The Spartans and ODST's sealed off the floor as best they could, and made their way to the base's emergency escape route: An old monorail leading to the spaceport. The Kurovan Central Spaceport was the main rally point for what was left of the UNSC forces on the planet, and was where the Spartans were making their final stand until everyone else had made it onto transports.
Fenn destroyed the ONI facility remotely while they were on the monorail; by the time they arrived at the spaceport all hell had broken loose. Covenant forces had breached the wall and were attacking the fleeing humans. Many transports had made it away; the Covenant fleet seemed too busy glassing the planet rather than paying attention to the small freighters escaping. The nine SPARTAN-II's met up, and after successfully driving the Covenant attackers back, took off in the last transport along with Whiskey-04 before they could regroup. Sigma and Whiskey made it off of Kurovan hours before the entire planet was glassed by the Covenant. Marco was surprised that he and the entire team had made it through with only superficial injuries. The tactics employed by the Spartans, coordinated by Fenn-145, were astounding, though the UNSC lost the planet, they considered Kurovan to be one of the finest examples of Spartan tactical prowess as they inflicted major casualties on their foe.
Shortly after fighting on Kurovan, Sigma were dispatched to Draco III, which was being used as a staging area for UNSC forces. When they arrived aboard the UNSC Bright New Day, it was discovered that the planet was already under attack by Covenant forces. The frigate, under the command of Captain Uriah Maxon, deployed the SPARTAN team via SOEIV pods before moving in to assist the decimated human fleet in holding off the Covenant invaders. The Spartans were dropped into New Albany, in the Lombard region of the planet. The team hit the ground in the Yellow District of the city, near one of the planetary defence guns. At this point in the battle, the Covenant forces were pressing into the city, overwhelming the UNSC defenders there. Fenn-145 dispatched Marco, Wulf and Nef to defend the ground-based MAC, which had come under attack, while the rest of Sigma set up ambush points for the incoming enemy forces. Marco's group arrived at the gun too late, as it was destroyed by plasma charges from a Covenant SpecOps team.
The three Spartans immediately engaged the Sangheili team, who despite their active camouflage, were hopelessly outmatched by their foes. It was here that Marco first crossed paths with Felo 'Ranakee, who was then a Major in the Covenant Military. The two fought in hand to hand combat for some time before the Sangheili was forced to retreat alongside the remnants of his team. Though the enemy had been driven off, the gun was a smoking ruin, forcing the Spartans to regroup with the rest of Sigma at the city waterworks. The rest of Sigma had brought the Covenant advance to a standstill, Amy-133's expertise with explosives demolishing several city streets, blocking enemy tanks and forcing their foe to engage in bloody combat within the nearby buildings. However, the sheer amount of enemy forces had been enough to make the Spartans retreat, setting various traps along the way. While in the waterworks, preparing to make another assault, Sigma encountered a depleted ODST squad, led by captain Henry McNair, who had retreated from their emplacement in the outer city after their barricades were overwhelmed.
Upon meeting McNair, a man who had an inherent dislike for Spartans, Sigma was dispatched to defend the city spaceport, which had come under heavy attack by the Covenant. Though the ODST's order was seen as a suicide mission, the team carried it out, making their way on foot to assist the UNSC forces there. Upon reaching the spaceport, Marco and Wulf quickly dispatched a group of Hunters while the rest of the team moved inside to check on the dire situation. After a short conversation with a marine NCO covering the evacuation, it was discovered that a third of the transports had been destroyed already, and those that were able to escape the planet only did so due to the defence fleet's actions, led by the UNSC Pride.
Outside, Marco and Wulf met up with another unit, 'Tango Six Operations', under the command of Captain Kryss-216, a SPARTAN-II Class II. As she outranked the other Spartans, she was led to the command centre to meet with Fenn-145, who had assumed control of the defence efforts, helping to direct fleeing ships away from the planet safely. SPARTAN-216 explained that a Covenant Scarab was on it's way to the spaceport, and would easily overwhelm the defenders there if not stopped. So, Marco, along with Kryss, Amy, Nef, Jax and Wulf, set out across the city to stop the Covenant assault vehicle in it's tracks before it reached them. Though the narrow streets of the city had impeded the progress of enemy wraiths before, it posed no such threat to the Scarab, which either clambered over buildings or destroyed all in it's path. So, a plan was made to stage an ambush. Kryss would lure the Scarab onto the highway, utilising the speed and manoeuvrability of her motorcycle to stay ahead while Amy, Jax and Wulf would set explosive charges on the side of a weakened building to collapse it on the heavy assault vehicle. As a contingency plan, Marco and Nef would trail it in a warthog and look for an opportunity to board the Scarab if they saw an opportunity.
The trap went ahead almost exactly as planned. The Scarab pursued the 'demon' onto the open highway, and the building, which had been deserted as a result of the city-wide evacuation, was destroyed, it's remains crippling two of it's legs. As it struggled to free itself from the wreckage, the two Spartans climbed aboard, Marco fighting off several elites at close quarters while Nef destroyed the core, giving the two just enough time to escape before the Covenant war machine detonated, taking out a good chunk of the highway. Their mission complete, the Spartans fell back to the New Albany Spaceport, which had come under attack by fresh Covenant troops, that had been able to freely land outside the city with the ground-based MAC guns within destroyed.
Arriving back in time to fend off a wave of attacking enemies, Marco and the others learned that New Albany was the only remaining city on Draco III still under human control; others such as Karnak had been easily taken after Covenant forces overwhelmed the UNSC defenders there. This also meant that the city was one of the only remaining evacuation sites left on the planet. With the last civilian transport launched, along with most of the remaining marine forces, The ten Spartans and remaining ODST's of Tango Six set out for a third evacuation point in the mountains outside New Albany, where a single ground-based MAC still functioned.
Taking the remaining Warthogs and Kryss' motorcycle, the group fled the city through the waterworks, rigging the spaceport to blow by overloading the fusion reactors used to power the area. Not long after leaving the city, an emergency transmission was picked up, emanating from a reactor complex in the wilderness that powered the MAC. It was coming from Echo 1-1, a platoon sized force of ODST's from the 105th regiment, commanded by Captain McNair, who was making a stand there despite being massively outnumbered and outgunned by the Covenant, an entire Legion bearing down on their position. Responding to the transmission, the Spartans drove off Covenant scouts near the complex before getting inside, where they met with the Captain and his ODST's. There were just under forty Helljumpers defending the vital facility, nowhere near enough to even put up a solid fight to the incoming Covenant forces. After a brief argument with Kryss, whose Naval Captain rank superseded McNair's ground one, the Spartan ended up allowing the veteran soldier to direct his troops while she attempted to hail any UNSC forces that remained on Draco III. This was largely done to placate McNair, who made his dislike of Spartans very clear, and would be needed to keep his platoon in line.
Marco accompanied Nef in placing Lotus anti-tank mines outside the base, and argued about the fact that this new Spartan-a fifteen year old-was commanding them in the field. While Marco had little problem with following Kryss, who had proved to be a capable combatant in New Albany, Nef voiced his concerns about the younger SPARTAN-II's experience, especially in a situation where, if there was no immediate evacuation, the Spartans would have to resort to long-term guerilla warfare. Marco dismissed these thoughts, stating that if Kryss had been trained as they were, then she would have no problems on the battlefield.
Returning to the base, the two Spartans were ordered to join Jax and Kryss in defending the main reactor building, backed up by half a dozen ODST's. Kane and Jacob would provide sniper cover from the roof, while the rest of Sigma and Echo 1-1, McNair included, would draw the Covenant into the secondary reactor, which had been rigged to blow. In the armoury, a Fury tactical nuke had been discovered by one of McNair's men. Plans were made to detonate the device if Covenant forces overwhelmed them completely.
The complex soon came under attack, multiple banshees bombing the outer walls and covering the advancing infantry. Many were shot down by the defenders, though many more were able to destroy large sections of the wall and main gate, allowing for ground forces to gain entry. Marco took down several elites attempting to infiltrate the main facility while Nef and Kryss held off hunters at the main entrance. The two would have been killed had it not been for a timely intervention from Jax, who engaged both of them in close quarters combat, distracting them long enough for Nef to take them out with his Spartan Laser. Though the Spartans and ODST's were inflicting massive casualties on their alien foes, they were still hopelessly outnumbered. Sending out an emergency hail again, Kryss was able to contact the UNSC Bright New Day, which had been supporting what remained of the human fleet in orbit.
The Captain of the Day, Uriah Maxon, immediately sent support down to the surface of the planet, half a dozen pelicans being dispatched, along with several Shortsword bombers to attack the Covenant army. This had some success, though it only served to slow the massive force down. It was discovered that another Covenant army was en-route, having destroyed a human stronghold in the nearby mountains. Seeing that there was no way of holding the Generator Complex any longer, Fenn ordered Sigma to retreat, covering the surviving ODST's as they made their way to the vehicle depot.
The Fury tac-nuke was in the hands of Lieutenant Mira Reyes, McNair's second in command. Her team, who had been situated in the secondary reactor. When she did not respond to McNair's order to activate it on a timed charge, the ODST Captain, along with Marco and several of his soldiers, moved to investigate, only to find her team slaughtered by Iroe 'Nemokee, a Sangheili Officer leading the attack. Engaging him and his bodyguards, Marco was almost defeated by the accomplished swordsman, being saved by McNair, who stabbed the elite repeatedly with a combat knife. This gave the SPARTAN-II enough time to move away and acquire a weapon, though McNair was gravely wounded by his opponent, having his robotic arm sliced off and being slashed across the chest. Marco was able to fire an asault rifle at the elite, breaking through his energy shields and badly wounding him, making him retreat into an outer area of the complex. McNair refused any help from Marco, getting himself to his feet in spite of his wounds. Taking the tac-nuke from his dead comrades, the veteran ODST ordered Marco and everyone else to get away from the area before the device was activated. Marco fled the complex, being picked up by Kryss on her motorcycle and joining the other Spartans and ODST's of Echo 1-1 and Tango 6 in their retreat to the mountains, being constantly harried by Covenant fliers, which had regrouped following the airstrike.
As the surviving ODST's of McNair's platoon reached the entrance to the mountainside base, several Seraph formations attacked, bombing the area and killing most of them. By the time the entire human force had reached the top, there were only a few dozen survivors, Spartans included. Jacob-076 get to work on opening the large steel doors that led into what had once been a titanium mine, leaving the others to give him as much time as possible. With dwindling ammo supplies, Marco acquired a missile launcher from a fallen ODST and used it to kill an approaching Hunter pair before expending the last shot on a banshee. The Spartans were performing well in close combat, slaughtering the Covenant infantry and using their weapons against them, but it was only a matter of time before numbers and superior fire overcame them. Jacob was able to open the door for a short amount of time, sabotaging the control panel so they would not be followed.
All of Sigma made it inside before the doors shut, along with Daniel McConkey and Martin O'Neill, the last survivors of Tango Six under Kryss. Three ODST's got inside as well, though one died of her wounds shortly after, leaving Ash Mitchell and Mal Roberts as the only living members of Echo 1-1. As they began to make their way through the interior of the mine, the mountain shook as McNair's tactical nuke detonated, destroying most of the valley and obliterating the Covenant Legion there, badly damaging a nearby destroyer, Justicar, which fled the Draco III system immediately. Fenn was able to establish contact with Captain Maxon once more, arranging for a pelican pickup at the exit of the mine. The group was able to make it out in the early hours of the next morning.
Upon reaching the extraction zone, Marco learned of the slaughter that had occurred within Draco III's other cities, and was disturbed to learn that the UNSC had seemingly abandoned the people there. In retaliation, several otherSpartangroups had been dispatched to destroy the remainder of Covenant forces while a second UNSC fleet drove off Covenant ships. Sigma boarded their personal pelican, saying goodbye to Kryss-216 and the ODST's as they headed back towards the Bright New Day. For Marco, Draco III had been a difficult battle, teaching him that even the Spartans couldn't save everyone in time, though the people of New Albany had been spared the fate of many others on the planet.
Battle of Gress
"Listen up! I've got something that you lot want! Try anything and I'll blow it to hell, understand?"
―Marco fending off Covenant attackers by threatening to destroy a Forerunner crystal.
In early 2546, Sigma was based on Gress, a large, industrial-based colony and site of an extensive dig into unknown alien ruins. While there, the SPARTAN-II's were informed of an unusual object that had been recovered there: A large crystalline shard that, when scanned, gave very unusual readings, prompting the scientists there to believe that it should be taken for study on Reach. Before arrangements could be made for transport, reports came in of a small Covenant fleet entering the system, sending Sigma and the UNSC defenders on Gress into high alert. Due to the limited defences that the UNSC had in space, the human fleet retreated around the other side of the planet, planning to make quick strikes against their enemy while covering the civilian evacuation ships. Surprisingly, the Covenant did not attempt to glass Gress, instead deploying hundreds of landing craft to the planet.
Marco, who was stationed in a remote ONI base with Resk-063 and Jax-007, was tasked with the protection of this crystal as Covenant dropships began to land in the area. Along with Whiskey-04, the three Spartans boarded a MagLev train, which would transport them to a spaceport, hundreds of kilometres away, where the rest of Sigma were covering the evacuation on the ground. Moments after they set off, Marco noticed that their pursuers had all but abandoned the base, over a dozen Phantom dropships chasing them. Rather than destroy the train, as they could have quite easily done, they began to deploy a number of Sangheili Rangers. Correctly guessing that they were after the crystal, Marco left it in the capable hands of Major John Ackton and the ODST's before joining his comrades in fending off the Covenant boarders.
As the first few enemies managed to break through into the armoured train, they were met with heavy machine gun fire, courtesy of Resk, while Marco and Jax (against the former's better judgement) climbed onto the roof to prevent their foes from getting to Whiskey and the crystal. There, the two Spartans fought against numerous Sangheili for some time, their magnetised boots keeping them from falling as the train hurtled towards the spaceport. Eventually, a group of Sangheili SpecOps warriors arrived, proving to be almost a match for the two, one nearly overwhelming Marco, had it not been for Resk's timely intervention from below, the bigger Spartan pummelling the Sangheili and driving the others back while Jack defended his comrades with a pair of captured energy swords, butchering any who came near.
With the Spaceport in sight, a number of Pelicans and AV-14 Hornets arrived to escort the defenders inside, forcing their surviving enemies to retreat. Arriving in the transportation terminal with the crystal and no casualties, Marco linked up with the rest of Sigma. However, before they could board one of the remaining spacecraft, several CCS-class battlecruisers emerged from slipspace, decimating the UNSC Fleet above the planet. With their forces scattered, and an army of Covenant descending on them, Sigma was forced to make a hasty retreat through the city, leaving the spaceport to be overrun as they were directed to a landing zone not far away. The sheer amount of Covenant, however, proved to be too much for the already outmanned Marines, the LZ being ovverun before the Spartans could reach it. With enemy forces closing in, Fenn-145 revealed that he had been given possession of a HAVOK tac-nuke for use in the most dire of circumstances, as orders had come down from the highest level not to allow the crystal to fall into enemy hands.
As the entirety of Sigma had no wishes of blowing themselves up, Marco suggested that they could drive the Covenant back with the threat of destroying the crystal before using the HAVOK in their favour. With little time remaining, Marco spoke over an open COM channel, threatening the Covenant and forcing them to retreat while the Spartans made plans to escape. They were able to find a couple damaged, but serviceable Pelicans, which had been shot down earlier. Nef-015 and Jacob-076 were able to repair it as the others provided cover, Covenant infantry beginning to make their assault in spite of Marco's warnings. The team split up into the two dropships in order to confuse their foe, and took off out of the city. Knowing that they would be relentlessly pursued until the Covenant obtained the crystal, Marco dropped it, HAVOK attached, into a forest while they fled into the mountains.
Marco detonated the nuke, destroying the crystal and utterly obliterating most of a Covenant Legion that was after it. As they had only just gone beyond the blast radius, their Pelican went down once more, Nef managing to pull off a crash landing above the remains of the forest. Having lost contact with the other Pelican and all other UNSC forces, Marco's group remained there for over an hour, watching the Covenant glassing the distant city while they attempted to repair a long-range radio. They were eventually contacted by the UNSC Albumasar, one of the few remaining ships in orbit. The cruiser had picked up the other Spartans, and dispatched a single dropship to evacuate the others from the planet before Covenant ships could locate them. While on patrol, Jax and Resk stumbled across a vengeful Covenant force out for blood, and were forced into a hasty retreat towards Marco and the others, who in turn were making their way towards the LZ.
The Spartans were picked up, just in time, by the Pelican, and successfully evacuated from Gress. In spite of the fact that they had lost a potentially valuable alien crystal, Marco was content with the fact that they hadn't allowed the Covenant to obtain it, either. However, they had lost another colony, and thousands of innocent lives in the process, something that Marco and the other Spartans found themselves dealing with on a surprisingly regular basis. For his actions on Gress, Marco was given a long-overdue promotion to Petty Officer Second Class, the same rank the rest of his comrades had been granted two decades ago.
"I've got better things to do tonight than die!"
―Marco during the battle for Storm Base
In September 2547, Sigma Team, who had spent a month on the colony world testing new MJOLNIR armour variants, were called into action after several Covenant ships were able to land on the planet, disembarking thousands of troops against the UNSC defenders. As one of the last remaining military centres aside from Earth and Reach, Fargad was a critical planet in supporting the war effort. The Spartan team was deployed to assist the 7th Infantry brigade of the Army forces on the planet in a massive assault on Covenant landing zones in order to buy the evacuating cities more time. In a critical mistake made by Colonel Brandon Walters, the Army commander on Fargad, the 11th mechanised brigade was all but wiped out in the initial assault on the original landing zone, leading to the discovery of over a hundred thousand Covenant troops all across the continent, nearly three times more than army recon had anticipated from a single ship. Reports from Rear Admiral Hsu, the UNSC Naval commander, verified that several Covenant cruisers were deploying troops from orbit rather than set up a landing zone. As such, half a dozen settlements were obliterated on the first day as the Covenant advanced towards the highly populated cities on Fargad.
Brigadier General Richard Mack Senior, the de facto UNSC leader on the ground, initiated a greatly revised and better planned strategy, one that would buy the defenders much more time. While the bulk of the Covenant army advanced towards one of Fargad's central cities, Antolia, elements of the 91st and 104th Marine regiments would strike from the mountainous region that encircled the area, catching the enemy off-guard with hit-and run attacks. Meanwhile, Sigma and the remainder of Army forces would launch an all-out attack with hopes of crushing the enemy legions there. This strategy proved to be a success, with UNSC forces and Sigma successfully holding the line and decimating the entire Covenant attack force, though not without considerable losses. Though they had achieved a major victory on the ground, in orbit the UNSC fleet was pushed back, Admiral Hsu ordering for the remaining battlegroups to split up and circle round for another strike at the Covenant attackers, hoping to draw some away from the planet. This allowed the carrier, Glorious Victory, to enter Fargad's atmosphere and rain plasma fire down on the humans below. Once again, the UNSC issued a full retreat into the city, which was still defended by several ground-based MAC guns and mass drivers.
Sigma split up once they arrived, Marco joining Wulf, Amy, Jax and Nef in the defence of the unprotected city harbour. It was there that they were placed on a 'Wet Navy' ship, a rare sight during the Human-Covenant War. The commander of the antiquated ship, Admiral Han Kurtz, was charged with defending Antolia city from the western flank. Shortly after boarding, Marco was surprised to find twelve other Spartans, making up teams Upsilon and Tau already there. Though they had met Kryss, a SPARTAN-II, two years before, Sigma had never encountered SPARTAN-III's.
After a brief introduction, the ship received a message that a Covenant army, thrice the size of the previous one, was on it's way to the city. While having seventeen Spartans on board was useful to the wet navy ship, the supersoldiers would be needed elsewhere, several falcons being sent to pick them up. While conversing with the younger Spartans, Marco was attacked and nearly killed by a SpecOps Sangheili, being saved by Martin-A136 of Upsilon. While the others searched for the elite's comrades, a quick thinking ODST, William Cross, noticed a cloaked enemy planting plasma charges on the side, and quickly eliminated the enemy. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed that this particular elite was an Ossoona, sent to spy on the humans.
However, there was little time to ponder it's presence, as the first wave of Covenant attackers had struck the city. Surprisingly, the enemy had not attacked via the bay, allowing the Spartans to relocate to other areas while Admiral Kurtz' ship stood guard. Marco's group met up with elements of the 91st regiment in downtown Antolia, saving them from a wraith attack. Acquiring a Scorpion tank dispatched via Pelican, the Spartans proceeded to wreak havoc in the city, punching though enemy lines and allowing UNSC forces to push back while consolidating and entrenching their own positions further in. By the time the battle had reached it's fifth day, the Covenant had gained a definite advantage on the ground, and had destroyed nearly two thirds of the UNSC fleet in the Fargad system. The evacuation, on the other hand, had been a complete success, with over 90% of the evac ships escaping unhindered. Marco and Sigma had been redeployed to defend Storm Base, a facility which was acting as the HQ for Richard Mack as he directed ground assaults on the planet. Admiral Kurtz had sacrificed himself by ramming his beloved ship into a scarab as it attempted to get through the city harbour, killing a mass of enemy troops before that with the onboard cannons.
After Antolia fell and it seemed that the Covenant would overrun the base, Sigma set out to lead the enemy away from the base, playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the approaching army, hit and run tactics, as well as insulting messages broadcast on unencrypted enemy frequencies, drove a great deal of forces in pursuit of the Spartans, who were able to flee toward the mountains. The 13th Engineers, also known as 'Lucky Company', had prepared an ambush there, using several FENRIS tac-nukes to bring down half a mountain on the enemy. In the ensuing confusion, Sigma launched an assault on the survivors, Marco personally killing their Field Marshall, Ran Tur 'Ontokee, as he attempted to flee. The Spartans moved back to Storm Base, where Upsilon and Tau had arrived via Pelican to extract Mack and move him to another city, one that had yet to fall to the Covenant.
The seventeen Spartans were tasked with the defence of the base while all high-ranking personnel were evacuated. Though several UNSC army brigades under the command of Colonel Walters were still engaging the enemy on other parts of the planet, the bulk of Covenant troops, still enraged from the destruction of their Legion and Field Marshall, were diverted towards the base, with orders to wipe out the 'demons'. The base, despite being hastily built from instacrete when the Covenant attacked, held out for some time, with Marco and the others cutting down waves of enemies, fighting well into the night. By dawn of the fifth day of Fargad's siege, Sigma and the others pulled back while shortswords dispatched from the UNSC Bright New Day carpet bombed advancing enemies, giving the Spartans time to escape towards the capital, where Mack Senior was marshalling the surviving UNSC forces.
Even with the considerable advantage of having SPARTAN support, it became clear that the UNSC were losing. News arrived that Colonel Walters had been killed in a banshee strike, while Rear Admiral Hsu's ships were still, if barely, holding the line. As with Antolia, Fargad's capital, New Istanbul, had been heavily fortified, the defenders ready for street-by-street fighting in order to hold off the Covenant as long as possible. After giving an inspirational speech to the remaining human forces in the city, Mack Senior took full charge, sending Sigma to the frontlines while the last few transport ships departed from the planet. The plan was to have several UNSC ships ready to pick up the remainder of the soldiers before initiating a full retreat outsystem.
When the Covenant attack came, the humans were at least motivated this time. Marco and Wulf led a platoon in the lower streets, blocking several and forcing the Covenant to reroute their tanks. By this time, however, the remaining Covenant ships had regrouped following their heavy losses and were getting in formation to glass the planet, city by city. With most of the UNSC fleet driven off, they would have little-to-no opposition in wiping out the humans on Fargad. As the Spartans were slowly pushed back, they received a distress signal from Mack's bunker, which had come under attack. Sigma Team stormed the complex in a desperate and risky search for Mack Senior. By the time they had reached the final room, they discovered the Brigadier General alive, along with the ODST squad, Whiskey-04 and his son, the small group having killed dozens in a last stand.
Escaping the bunker, Sigma and the others rejoined Upsilon Team in the retreat. Just outside New Istanbul, the UNSC Bright New Day had arrived in atmosphere, raining down fire on the Covenant army as it was joined by three other Frigates. The evacuation took four hours, with many casualties in the process, including Admiral Hsu's ship, UNSC Frankenstein, which had gone down firing everything it had at a Covenant capital ship. The thousands who survived were evacuated outsystem, the UNSC remnants fighting their way out until they could execute a safe slipspace jump. Though it ended in a defeat for the UNSC, Fargad being completely glassed shortly after, it had come at a heavy cost for the Covenant. Over two thirds of their fleet had been destroyed, along with a massive number of ground casualties. Also, Sigma Team were able to successfully remove all data pertaining to ONI-run experiments on Fargad, some of which would lead to MJOLNIR armour improvements in the future.
Battle of Nevarra
In 2549, Marco, Nef-015 and Amy-133 were sent on a mission to assassinate a high-ranking Rebel leader on Nevarra, one of the few remaining Outer Colony worlds. The success of the mission was vital, as the death of this leader would break the back of one of the few remaining holdouts the insurrection possessed. Though none of the three chosen for the mission were as skilled as Kane-099 or Jacob-076 with a sniper, they were known for their talent for destruction. Upon infiltrating the base from which the Leader, Colonel Markus Jensun, was currently residing, they set about their work. The plan was to assassinate the Colonel as he gave a speech the next day, killing him and his senior staff, as well as destroying rebel military assets, such as transport ships and vehicles.
Marco was assigned to place the C-12 charges on the reactors which powered the base, as well as on the main landing pads around the base. Nef was the designated shooter, taking his position in an air traffic control tower, which would be empty for the duration of the speech. Amy, as the main explosives expert of Sigma, had set up a large quantity of C-12 around the infrastructure of the facility, to be used once the Spartans had made their escape. On the night of the speech, however, something happened that completely changed the plan. Three Covenant cruisers had appeared above the planet, getting past the bulk of Human defences via slipspace jumps, and smashing them from behind. As team leader, Nef ordered the Spartans to regroup outside the facility, watching as an army of Covenant soldiers was dispatched mere miles away from the base, while the other two Cruisers began to glass other parts of Nevarra.
At first, the Spartans were content to detonate the base when the Covenant reached it, killing as many as they could before exfiltrating and linking up with a UNSC Prowler on the edge of the system. However, further recon indicated that many civilians from the towns and villages nearby were making their way towards the rebel base to find shelter or transport. This was a problem; the Spartans could not kill that many innocents, or let them be butchered by approaching Covenant forces, so a risky plan was made. Infiltrating the base once more, Marco found the Colonel in his war room, discussing plans to evacuate in the three ships they had. The problem was, that they would not have enough room for their forces and the hundreds of civilians. Marco dropped into the room, and despite facing half a dozen men, proposed a deal with Colonel Jensun: The three Spartans would assist the insurrectionists in holding off the incoming army for as long as it would take to evacuate the civilians, and then they would retreat through the surrounding jungle to the location of the Spartan's ship, which at full capacity could hold roughly a hundred people.
The Colonel reluctantly accepted the plan, more out of desperation than anything else. Amy and Nef joined Marco in the base, where they began to coordinate a defence against the incoming enemy forces. Using their remaining Lotus Mines and C-12 packs (Marco deliberately neglected to tell the Colonel about the hidden charges around the base), the Spartans set the area around the base up as a trap for enemy forces, while the rebel forces set up ambush points up the roads leading to the base. After a few initial skirmishes, a column of Wraith tanks were sent against the humans. Nef, who had climbed a tall tree, was able to take the first few out with his Spartan laser before they zeroed in on his location, forcing him to retreat further up the hill, towards Marco's location. Marco had been keeping enemy infantry pinned down on the right flank, losing many soldiers as he did so. Amy had kept back, along with the Colonel, who was overseeing the evacuation. She would signal to the others when to fall back, and once they had done so, the charges would be triggered.
Marco and Nef, along with a dozen rebels, had been pushed back up near the base's entrance by a large force of Elites, who were attempting to flank them. After acquiring an energy sword from a dead Zealot, Marco cut a bloody swathe through the enemy, Nef and the soldiers assisting him as he pushed Covenant squads back. Upon hearing about the 'Demons' on the battlefield, the Covenant Shipmaster ordered that a Scarab should be deployed onto the battlefield. Unable to hold back the giant walker, the human forces fell back as it, accompanied by hundreds of combatants, cleared a path to the base.
By the time the Scarab had arrived, two of the three transports had departed, and the third was lifting off. The few working AA guns at the base ensured protection from banshee fire as the few dozen survivors of the battle outside made it back to the base. Waiting until the Scarab had reached the optimal zone, Amy detonated the remaining explosives, crippling the walker. Despite this, Covenant Infantry swarmed over it's burning husk and towards the base. It was time to leave. As the humans fled into the jungle, Marco triggered the explosives that they had set the day before, obliterating the base. The Colonel and his surviving men followed the Spartans to their ship, and got on board. Despite his hatred for the UNSC, Colonel Jensun admitted that he admired the Spartans for their devotion to protecting Humanity and agreed to willingly turn himself in. The three Spartans and the rebel survivors managed to escape offplanet without attracting enemy attention, and escaped the system in a waiting Prowler.
In 2550, many years into the war, Sigma Team, along with Battle Group Tempest, was sent to the Olmara system to investigate a series of attacks on UNSC ships in the area by insurrectionists, who were raiding and capturing the vessels. Among the cargo in one of these vessels was several suits of MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armour/EOD variant, that were in transit to Earth for extensive testing by Sigma team. However, when the ship was captured, ONI dispatched Sigma team to go with the Battle group, and recover the armour. However, at the time, Fenn-145, Jax-007, Kane-099 and Resk-063 were not available, so they sent a team led by Jacob-076, who was third in command behind Kane. As the ships drew near the planet Endrin, they came under attack by several captured ships of varying sizes. All but one of these ships were destroyed by the Battlegroup, with the last one fleeing towards the planet. As the Destroyer, UNSC Livingston, pursued the ship close to the planet, it was hit by several MAC rounds, severely damaging the ship. On the far side of Hephaestus, a large fleet of over eighty Insurrectionist ships was assembled. Most of the ships had either been captured by the Insurrectionists or had been taken. The largest, a Gorgon-class Destroyer that had been among the ships taking the supplies and the armour to Earth. As the battle group prepared to attack, the Insurrectionists sent out a message to the UNSC forces, asking them to stand down and leave immediately. Naturally, they refused and cotinued on course towads the construct.
Marco was deployed alongside Wulf-041 and Jacob-076 in a bid to destroy the main ship in the array, and kill or capture the Insurrectionist leader. However, although they had not told their superiors, the Spartans knew who the enemy leader was, and that it was very unlikely they would take him alive. Amy-133 and Nef-015 were deployed to assist separate UNSC forces groundside. The first team was sent in with over forty Pelicans, escorted by two Frigates. They took heavy losses as they approached the array, with only twelve of the pelicans surviving, and the Frigates destroyed. The surviving ships landed on the Hull of the ship, and the Spartans, along with several platoons of ODST's entered the ship through the airlocks, intent on finding the Insurrectionist Leader, Jack-085.
The Spartans led the fighting through the ship and towards the bridge. They took heavy casualties as they neared the bridge, and Jacob-076 ordered the surviving ODST's to fall back towards the pelicans, saying that the fighting would end soon. The real reason for him saying that was because he and his fellow Spartans both knew in their minds who the enemy leader was, and wished to keep it a secret from the rest of the UNSC. they entered the Bridge, and made quick work of the bridge crew. However, the Insurrectionist leader was nowhere to be seen. As they took control of the helm, Jack-085, who had been waiting for them, fired a rocket, narrowly missing the Marco and hitting the floor near Jacob, sending him flying. Jack then fled, with Wulf and Marco in hot pursuit. They chased him to the hanger, where Jack boarded a Shortsword bomber in an attempt to escape. Marco and Wulf followed him on a Pelican.
However, as they left the ship, a Covenant fleet arrived and began attacking both the human's forces, making them team up against the new foe. The now badly damaged Array fired all of it's remaining MAC guns at the covenant forces, destroying two cruisers with their combined firepower. Meanwhile, on the Bridge of the array, Jacob-076 had taken the controls despite being wounded, and was directing all remaining firepower at the covenant. Jack-085's shortsword entered the atmosphere and crash landed after being hit by UNSC AA fire. The Pelican landed nearby, and the two Spartans made their way to the crash site. When they got there, Jack, was alive, protected by his MJOLNIR armour. Jack ambushed the two Spartans, wounding Wulf and nearly killing Marco. However, Marco was able to trip him up and grab his M6D handgun, shooting and wounding Jack. Jack again tried to escape, but Marco simply kicked him over. Meanwhile, in Space, the array had been almost completley destroyed, with only a few key ships left in it. On the bridge, Jacob-076 had only one choice to save the planet and the UNSC forces, who were taking heavy losses. He piloted the Array on a collision course to the Covenant Supercarrier. a Pelican, piloted by Amy-133, reached the array in a bid to save Jacob. Amy stayed with the dying Spartan until the Array impacted, killing them both.
Back on the planet, Jack managed to get to his feet, and was able to disarm Marco. The two had always been evenly matched in training, and were at their limits. As he pointed the pistol at his former friend, he looked up, and saw his creation being destroyed, He took off his helmet, and fell to his knees. The array impacted with the Covenant Supercarrier, crippling it, killing Jacob-076, various rebels, and many Covenant soldiers.With UNSC forces closing in, he ran from Marco, dropping his pistol as he did so, towards the burning ruin of what had once been his masterpiece. It crashed, completely obliterating the surrounding area. The UNSC were never able to find Jack's body, and so always considered him to be missing, although with the blast radius, he was presumed dead. Marco told the rest of the team what happened, and they all swore to keep it a secret. While it was likely that Jack had been killed, Marco was sure that his former friend was still alive after he'd let him escape a second time.
Battle of Cronus IV
In May 2551, months after the loss of two squadmates, Sigma Team was split into several groups for a short period of time. Marco and Resk-063 were sent to Cronus IV, a largely agricultural colony world in the Inner Colonies that was also home to a testing facility run by the Materials Group. The two Spartans were testing new MJOLNIR armour variants for usage in the field, including prototypes for the Mark V suit, which would possess a recharging energy shield reverse-engineered from Covenant shielding technology. The pair fought their way through a number of obstacle courses that tested the armour's shield strength and durability compared to previous variants, emerging with outstanding results. Mere hours before Marco and Resk were to leave the planet, a number of Covenant ships arrived in-system, launching an all-out attack on the colony world.
While the testing facility began to evacuate, Covenant forces began to land nearby, attacking the defenceless farming communities. The Spartans moved out to help the civilians, arriving just in time to rescue a village from a group of Kig-Yar. With limited transport ships on Cronus IV, Marco allowed the civilians to take their Warthog to the local spaceport for evacuation. The pair spent a number of hours moving through rural areas, eliminating Covenant patrols and rescuing people where they could. This was the first live test of the MJOLNIR Mark V's capabilities, the energy shielding coming in handy against the waves of Covenant infantry. Furthermore, the new additions to Marco's suit, such as an up-armoured helmet variant and a Command Network Module, would give him a much bigger advantage in the field than he had in previous years. Once the local communities were safely evacuated the Spartans moved back to defend the testing facility, which had come under Covenant attack.
By the time UNSC Marines arrived on the planet to combat the much larger Covenant force, the Spartans had been defending the base for several hours, Marco utilising a heavy turret to mow down infantry while Resk provided support with an M39 Grenade Launcher. While they had inflicted massive casualties on the ground, the facility's meagre security force had been depleted and Marco seriously doubted that they would hold out for more than a day. The arrival of Seraph bombers and Wraith tanks in the valley below confirmed his fears as the base's automated defences were quickly destroyed, allowing Phantom dropships to deploy troops easier. Resk and Marco fell back into the facility alongside the remaining human defenders and used the narrow corridors as chokepoints to hold of their foe for some time while all relevant data pertaining to Earth and the colonies was destroyed, as per the Cole Protocol. Eventually the decision was made to completely obliterate the facility with C-12 charges rather than allow the Covenant access, the Spartans covering a team of engineers while they set the explosives before retreating to the vehicle bay.
With barely two dozen survivors remaining, Marco and Resk led a convoy of vehicles away from the base as the charges were detonated, fleeing into the nearby hills under heavy pursuit. There, the Spartans led a spirited defence until several Pelican dropships arrived, scattering the Covenant infantry below with a missile barrage before picking up the survivors. While Cronus IV was quickly glassed by the Covenant, Marco's group were taken to a nearby UNSC Frigate and evacuated from the system. In spite of the colony's loss, the new MJOLNIR suits had passed their first real field test and were soon ready for wider production thanks to the data gathered by Marco and Resk. They were eventually issued to most SPARTAN groups in November of that year.
In March 2552, Sigma Team was stationed on Harpa, an inner colony world mainly used as a staging ground for the UNSC Fleet. The Spartans were taking part in routine training exercises when a sensory outpost picked up three Covenant Destroyers en-route to the planet. Harpa's defence fleet, which consisted of barely half a dozen ships, moved to engage but were quickly decimated by the Covenant's superior weapons after bringing down one Destroyer. While the Covenant were expected to immediately begin glassing Harpa due to it's low tactical value, they instead began deploying troops groundside in an attempt to wipe out the Human populace.
Marco and Jax-007 were sent to Harpa's capital, Andama, to assist in it's defence while the rest of Sigma covered the civilian evacuation elsewhere. While the initial Covenant assault had been little more than a massacre, the arrival of two SPARTAN-II's and a company of UNSC Marines helped to stem the tide, Marco personally leading a platoon in an offensive that destroyed a dozen Wraith tanks and blocked off a number of roads. The battle soon descended into bloody urban warfare, Banshee and Shortsword strikes levelling entire city blocks as neither side could gain a proper advantage. Even the Covenant's feared Scarab assault platforms did little to change the situation, the narrow streets giving Marco and Jax a chance to board and destroy one while coordinated artillery fire took out two more within Andama.
The fighting in Andama lasted nearly four days, Marco going without sleep to continue holding the line. The presence of two Spartans greatly raised morale among the Marines there, though casualty rates were still high and victory seemed unlikely with fresh Covenant troops arriving by the hour. Furthermore, they had set up a large encampment on a hill that allowed them to rain plasma fire over the Human-controlled portion of the city. A previous attempt to take it had left Marco wounded, losing the left shoulder plate of his MJOLNIR armour to a plasma grenade that almost killed him. While there were a number of officers in the city that outranked Marco and Jax, the Marines looked to them for orders; the pair were considering initiating a retreat when reinforcements arrived in the form of several AC-220 Vultures, Nef-015, Resk-063 and Wulf-041. This massive boost in firepower allowed the UNSC forces to advance once more, missile barrages eliminating any heavy targets while the infantry moved in and wiped out the Covenant holding the hill. While this appeared to be the turning point in the battle, with Covenant forces in complete disarray, a Covenant Destroyer had moved in and began to glass the city, effectively rendering their victory obsolete.
Marco and the others were airlifted out of Andama in Pelican dropships, retreating under heavy fire towards Harpa's vast jungles. Sigma's transport was struck by a number of fuel rod blasts, losing an engine and crashing shortly after. While the Spartans survived after locking up their MJOLNIR suits, Wulf-041 had been flung out of the dropship during their descent and landed several miles away. During their search Marco's group battled a number of Covenant patrols; by the time they found their missing comrade he had singlehandedly scaled and destroyed a Scarab as it travelled through the jungle. Once they were reunited, Sigma Team was able to ambush and hijack a Phantom dropship as it moved in to deploy troops, flying north towards HAMMER Base, the planet's main rally point for all UNSC forces.
The Spartans arrived at the base the following morning and met with Fenn-145, Kane-099, and Brigadier General Richard Mack Senior, who was in charge of leading the planet's defence. Marco discovered that the evacuation had been largely successful, with just over 75% of the civilian ships escaping safely. However, the only remaining orbit-capable transport on Harpa was the UNSC Bright New Day, a Frigate that had escaped the space battle and was holding its position above a nearby desert. Mack decided to wait for the last few stragglers to arrive at HAMMER before moving out, even if it meant holding off an all-out Covenant assault on the facility. After catching up on some sleep and having his armour repaired, Marco joined Wulf-041 in organising the defence alongside the nearby mountainside. With two Covenant Destroyers en-route to the base they had very little time to do so, managing to set up a field of LOTUS anti-tank mines and setting up firing positions to hold off the incoming army. The base's only real defence against the ships was an old Mass Driver, manned by Resk-063 and guarded by an ODST Platoon.
When the attack finally arrived, the defenders came under heavy assault by waves of Phantom and Spirit Dropships, most of which went down before landing; the troops that did arrive either stumbled into the minefield or were cut down by the base's autoturrets. However, this did not stop the Destroyers from deploying a number of SpecOps Sangheili via drop pods to cause havoc and eliminate sniper teams along the mountainside. Marco and Wulf came under heavy attack by one group, the Spartans barely holding them off while more dropships moved in to attack. In spite of the base defences and advantageous position of the defenders, the Covenant forces greatly outnumbered them and could afford to lose waves of infantry if it allowed them to slowly break through the UNSC's defences. Eventually a lucky plasma mortar shot destroyed one of the base's primary generators, taking the autoturrets offline just long enough for the infantry to advance and engage UNSC troops at close quarters. A large number of Drones swarmed into the base through service tunnels and would have overwhelmed the defenders had it not been for Marco's timely arrival alongside a group of Marine 'Hellbringers'; they incinerated dozens of the bug-like aliens and forced the others out of the base.
Though they won several minor victories across HAMMER Base, the facility was compromised after nearly an hour of fighting, Mack ordering a full evacuation after the Mass Driver lost power. With the deployment of Jiralhanae the Spartans faced a tougher battle in the confined quarters of the base, Marco would have died were it not for Resk-063 gunning down an entire pack with his turret. Nef-015 was deployed to initiate the base's self-destruct sequence while Marco and the rest of Sigma regrouped in the vehicle bay; they would escape alongside the survivors through a tunnel that led through the mountains. While their fellow Spartan was successful, he was also badly wounded when a Jiralhanae Chieftain ambushed him and, ignoring Marco's pleas, decided to take down one of the incoming Destroyers alone so it could not pursue his comrades. Sigma Team lost contact with Nef halfway through the tunnel after the Spartan detonated a HAVOK nuke within the Destroyer. Distraught over the loss of a friend and teammate, the Spartans pressed on until they emerged near the edge of the desert where the Bright New Day was stationed. While most of the troops headed straight for the vessel, Sigma moved in to fend off Covenant attackers within nearby ruins. During the ensuing battle, Mack Senior became separated from the main group and came under attack by a much larger Sangheili force. Before Marco and the other Spartans could come to their teacher's aid, he was killed by Shipmaster Felo 'Ranakee. While Jax-007 was able to injure and drive off the Sangheili, the loss of Mack made a massive impact on the troop's morale and sent the surviving UNSC forces into an all-out retreat.
The UNSC Bright New Day was able to leave Harpa safely, though it was cut off before it could initiate a slipspace jump by the surviving Covenant Destroyer. The Shipmaster contacted the ship and ordered the Humans to surrender their navigation data. In return they would be allowed to leave safely. In addition, Ranakee demanded that the data be delivered by a 'Demon' and the highest-ranking Human Officer. Marco and the others were fully aware that the Destroyer would most likely obliterate the 'Day' the moment they had what they wanted, and the decision was made to try and take out the ship by delivering a HAVOK tac-nuke in a sacrificial mission. Marco offered to carry out the task himself, but was ordered to stand down by Fenn. As Sigma Team's leader, he would sacrifice himself to save the lives of thousands aboard the ship. Accompanied by Lieutenant Martin Keel, Fenn departed for the Destroyer and detonated the nuke, obliterating the ship and giving the Frigate a chance to escape.
While the Covenant ships were destroyed and the surviving forces scattered, Harpa marked a major loss for Humanity. The loss of Mack Senior, one of the UNSC's most capable commanders, alongside two Spartans was a heavy price to play. Marco and the surviving members of Sigma Team were to undergo psychiatric evaluations following the battle; years of war and death were beginning to take a toll on the usually stoic SPARTAN-II's. Marco confessed to Kane-099 that the deaths of his friends had disturbed him greatly, though he resolved to continue fighting the war as long as he had to. Now down to only five members, Sigma Team was deployed to Reach to begin testing new MJOLNIR armour variants until new deployment orders arrived.
Battle of Dorvyesk III
Still reeling from the loss of both Fenn and Nef, as well as Richard Mack Senior several months before, the five Spartans were then sent to Dorvyesk III, a world of little significance aside from its large populace. On arrival, Sigma Team were ordered to cover the civilian evacuation there, holding the line at any cost. The UNSC were already losing the battle by the time Sigma arrived, though the Spartans were able to do massive damage to their opponents on the battlefield, an entire Covenant armour division falling to a well-placed trap by the Spartans. Nonetheless, they continued their relentless assault on the colony, slaughtering thousands in their path.
Pushed back, Sigma Team regrouped with a number of surviving marines as they struggled to evacuate the remaining civilians from the planet. Even with the SPARTAN-II assistance, they were still vastly outnumbered, many abandoning their posts to get to the remaining evac ships. Marco and Wulf became separated from the others and were trapped in a ruined building, which was soon surrounded by vengeful Sangheili. Knowing that they would not survive long if they met their foe head-on, Marco contacted a nearby Frigate, which had entered the atmosphere in order to provide air support and evacuation within the city. Giving them his exact coordinates, he called for an immediate airstrike on their location. The two Spartans took cover in the house's basement as three Archer Missiles struck the nearby area, totally destroying the area around it. The pair were able to crawl out of the rubble, protected by their armour locking down and greatly increasing the energy shielding.
A little worse for wear, Marco and Wulf managed to make their way back to the others as the final wave of ships came in. Together, the Spartans held the line as the last few groups of civilians made their way aboard, pursued by waves of Covenant infantry. During the carnage, Resk-063 noticed a Banshee launching a fuel rod towards a fleeing family, and immediately threw himself in its path. Marco and Jax watched their friend die instantly before their very eyes, and began to make a bloody counter-attack. The usually amiable Jax flew into a rage and massacred dozens of troops before recovering the body of his best friend. With Marco, Kane and Wulf covering him, the remnants of Sigma Team made it into a Pelican dropship, leaving Dorvyesk III hours before its glassing. The loss of another comrade hit Marco hard, especially since Resk died saving a family of civilians rather than sacrificing himself to inflict massive amounts of damage on the enemy as Fenn, Nef, Jacob and Amy had. While ONI Directive 930 forbade making any SPARTAN-II death public, Resk-063's comrades buried him personally back on Earth in late July, not far from the SIGMA compound in which they had grown up together.
In early August, 2552, Marco was deployed back on Reach with the rest of Sigma. Shortly after arriving on Reach, Sigma was called in to assist a SPARTAN-III Team who were under attack by enemy forces. After WINTER CONTINGENCY was declared, the teams were sent out to secure other communication relays against possible attack, the Visegrad Relay being attacked by a Covenant strike force several days earlier. The four remaining members of Sigma arrived to find the other Spartans trapped within the relay station with sizeable attack force outside. With Falcon support, they were able to buy Tau Team enough time to mount a counterattack, wiping out Covenant forces in the local valley. Planting a tracking device on a fleeing banshee, the Spartans were able to locate it's point of origin in the Viery Territory. While Sigma and Tau travelled back to base, the location of the Covenant forces was pinpointed by Spartan reconnaissance teams that night.
After the recon teams discovered a large Covenant presence within the territory, the UNSC quickly put together a massive attack force, with the objective of destroying the Covenant staging grounds and denying them a foothold on Reach. As such, multiple SPARTAN teams were to be deployed, namely Sigma, Noble, Upsilon and Tau as well as Tango Six Operations under the command of Kryss-216, whom Sigma had met several years earlier. The different teams were spread out amongst the battlefield, with Sigma and Upsilon being part of a frontal assault against the main enemy encampment.
On the morning of August 12th, the attack was launched, Sigma joining a mechanised battalion in destroying Covenant armour raining plasma mortar fire on the main attack force. The assault was successful, and with the destruction of Covenant AA guns on the nearby mountainside, air support from UNSC Frigates Grafton and Saratoga made short work of several Scarabs that were decimating their attackers. Sigma rejoined Upsilon, who had engaged enemy infantry within a nearby refinery. The ten Spartans butchered their way across the battlefield until they found UNSC forces engaged with a huge Covenant defence beneath a large Spire. While debating over the best plan of attack, several Pelicans arrived, with Kryss-216 under orders to destroy the Covenant structure at all costs.
The Pelicans gave the Spartans a short ride over the bulk of enemy armour before the electromagnetic fields surrounding the Spire shorted them out, leading to them crash land in the hills not far from the base of the Spire. None of the Spartans were injured due to their MJOLNIR armour, though several ODST's in Tango six were badly injured. Leaving Sal-A142 and Dorian-A188 of Upsilon Team to protect them, the others set out downhill, engaging enemy infantry as they went. The Spire itself was heavily defended, with Shade turrets and Revenants making it difficult to get close. So, while Upsilon Team and the ODST's drew the bulk of enemy fire Marco, Kane, Jax and Kryss would infiltrate the Spire, Wulf-041 planting a large amount of C-12 charges along key structural points as they did so.
Marco and the others were eventually able to access the Spire's gravity lift, assaulting the upper level and wiping out the defenders there. The Spartans then placed their charges, only to discover that the electromagnetic energy generated by the Spire's shield would not allow a remote detonation. At this time, the UNSC Grafton had just used it's MAC gun to destroy Spire One not far away, and was subsequently obliterated by the Long Night of Solace, a Covenant Supercarrier that had been cloaked above the battlefield. With this new threat, the Spartans had to evacuate the area quickly. Kryss was able to find a button that deactivated the Spire's shields, allowing for several Falcons to come in for a pickup. Sigma, Upsilon and Tango Six were able to escape the area, detonating their charges and destroying Spire Three as they did so. Though the battle was considered a victory for the UNSC on the ground, the appearance of a Supercarrier gave the Covenant a distinct tactical advantage, forcing a full retreat from the area. On August 17th, 2552, three days after the relative success of Operation: UPPER CUT, which destroyed the Supercarrier, The UNSC initiated a follow-up mission, codenamed: Operation: DROPKICK. The goal of the mission was to destroy two Covenant cruisers in orbit, to cover the evacuation ships from Manassas as they fled the Epsilon Eridani system. Because of the importance of the mission, Sigma and Tau teams were chosen to lead the boarding action.
Utilising half a dozen YSS-1000 Sabre fighters that had not been used in Operation:UPPERCUT, Wulf-041, who had received training in the Sabre Program several months before, accompanied Tau in assaulting one of the cruisers, assisted by several frigates and a wing of Longsword fighters. Marco, Kane and Jax were dropped into the first cruiser after concentrated MAC fire gave them an opening, followed by a platoon of EVA-capable marines. The team were able to plant a Fury tactical nuke in the hangar of the ship, setting it on a timer before getting to their evac pelican and escaping to assist Tau and Wulf.
Marco and Jax moved in to extract the second strike team from the hangar of the second cruiser, in which the Spartans were fighting a difficult battle against a number of Sangheili veterans in their attempt to storm the bridge. While attempting to plant the nuclear device in the rear of the ship, both Frank-A103 and Dom-A178 were killed in an ambush by an Elite Ranger team, leaving Louie-A199 to set the timer. Marco and Jax arrived in time to save the SPARTAN-III, fighting their way back to the hangar and escaping in the remaining Pelican and Sabres. DROPKICK was a success that saved thousands of lives on the planet below, but came at the price of two Spartans.
Not long after, Marco and Sigma fought in the Battle for New Alexandria, covering the spaceport during the initial evacuation from Covenant infantry. Sigma was joined by Upsilon and Tau once more in a bid to push back the Covenant, who were gaining ground across the city. With fourteen Spartans in combat, the enemy was massacred in the lower city streets while the evacuation effort in some areas continued unhindered. After several hours of urban warfare, the Spartans were given direct orders from HIGHCOM to travel to an ONI facility on the far side of New Alexandria, where it was revealed that Doctor Calvin Roe, the progenitor of the Sigma project, was holed up with an ODST team defending him. Though vocally unenthusiastic about their mission, Marco went along with the others in falcons to cover Roe's Pelican. When they reached the building, they found it under attack by dozens of Covenant soldiers who had almost broken through to the Doctor's saferoom. Wulf-041, Dan-A104, Chris-A189 and Eugene-A133 landed, and began clearing out the building, cutting a bloody swathe through the enemy until they reached Roe and his bodyguards. The Doctor, worried about enemy forces accessing the building's databanks, dispatched the Spartans to clear the level below and destroy the main servers, which had not been wiped clean of data pertaining to Earth and other colonies. Wulf led the others to the lower level to clear it out while Roe and his guards made their way to his personal pelican.
Immediately after taking off, Roe announced that he had been given explicit orders by ONI to demolish the building, and activated the charges on a timer with the Spartans still on the building's sub-level. The Doctor ignored Marco's requests to stop the timer and allow the Spartans to escape, instead flying away from the city. Though Wulf and the SPARTAN-III's attempted to make their way outside, there was no possibility of them making it in time. Before they could reach the landing pad, the entire ONI building detonated, killing the four of them instantly. This shocked the remaining Spartans, who were still in Falcons nearby. Marco immediately piloted his Falcon after Roe's Pelican, stating his intent to kill his old enemy.
Marco was serious in his intent to kill Roe, opening fire on his Pelican as they caught up in spite of orders from Kane-099 to stop. Another Falcon, piloted by Martin-A136, assisted Marco, the pilot having lost three of his best friends because of Roe's disregard for human life. After a lengthy chase, spanning several hundred miles, Roe's Pelican finally landed at Outpost Foxtrot Whiskey, a remote military base on Reach and rally point for local UNSC forces. Upon arrival, Roe ordered for the base's AA guns to fire on the Spartans, stating that they were insurrectionists. Kane's pelican, piloted by Sal-A142, was shot down before the others could identify themselves to the Marines on site.
The moment his Falcon touched down, Marco leapt out and ran for the base after Roe, while the other Spartans made their way to the crash site. Though the passengers, Kane, Jax-007 and Jordan-A111, were unhurt, Sal had been fatally wounded, dying of her wounds shortly after being dragged from the wreckage. Entering the outpost, Marco snatched a shotgun from the hands of one of Roe's ODST bodyguards and went after the Doctor, who had fled into the base and was looking for a way to contact HIGHCOM. After a short confrontation with the man who had kidnapped him, subjected him to brutal training measures and put him though his augmentations, all while treating him like scum, Marco shot Roe in the face, killing him instantly. His oldest enemy dead, the Spartan returned the shotgun to it's owner and joined the other Spartans in taking Sal's body into the base.
After sending news to HIGHCOM of Roe's death, stating that he had been killed by Covenant forces while fleeing New Alexandria, word arrived at the Outpost that a large Covenant attack force was heading their way, most of the UNSC defence in the nearby city having been crushed. As the highest ranked person in the base, Kane-099 took command of the situation, ordering the Spartans to split up into groups to assist the Marine platoons in defending the base while the wounded were evacuated via Pelican airlift. He also made sure that one dropship was left behind for the Spartans to evacuate in if need be.
Rallying the retreating UNSC forces around the mountainside base, the Spartans set up remote turrets and an array of mines. When the Covenant did arrive, Marco took a platoon of marines and engaged the enemy in the foothills around the base of the mountain, while Jax-007 took a small vehicle contingent in to draw away the bulk of enemy armour. Marco's forces, assisted by Dorian-A188, Jordan-A111 and Nelson-A122, took down dozens of enemies in fierce close quarters combat, leading Covenant troops into ambushes and making use of their elevated position to gain the upper hand during the battle Jax's group fared just as well, their warthogs being pursued by wraiths into a narrow valley where the cumbersome tanks could be easily flanked and destroyed by other Spartans.
In spite of their initial victories, however, the sheer number of Covenant soldiers, as it had done many times in the past, allowed them to simply keep attacking until they overwhelmed the human defenders. After contacting HIGHCOM once more, Kane requested a bombing run just outside of the outpost on the tightly-packed Covenant forces. Surprisingly, it was accepted, Shortsword bombers decimating enemy attackers outside of the base. As Marco received the order to retreat, he noticed Dorian-A188 of Upsilon Team fighting with several elites at once. Before the SPARTAN-II could reach him, one of the elites, an Officer, was able to stab Dorian through the chest with an energy sword, killing him instantly. This sent Marco into a furious rampage, gunnning down the trio of elites before taking the sword and butchering the remainder of the Sangheili lance, causing many others to flee in terror at the demon. Marco recovered Dorian's body and returned it to the base, covered in alien blood.
Kane, having ordered the last of the marines away on most of the remaining Pelicans and Falcons, made plans for the Spartans own retreat. The shortsword attack, as it had done on Draco III, had brought them some time. So, after raiding the remains of Foxtrot-Whiskey's armoury for weapons, discovering a single FENRIS nuclear warhead that had been left behind. Initiating a similar plan to that of the battle seven years earlier, the warhead was linked to the MJOLNIR armour of Sal and Dorian, which would be detonated on a sixty second timer by Kane, longer than the usual self-destruct time for a suit. The eight Spartans boarded the Pelican and took off, detonating the base once they had reached a safe distance while heading to one of the few remaining evac sites left on Reach
A few days later,Marco and the surviving Spartan Teams attempted to reach the Pillar of Autumn, docked in the Aszod Shipyards before it left the planet. As the Pelican neared the shipyards, mere minutes away from extraction, the cruiser took off, leaving them behind. After discussing their potential options, Marco being in favour of taking down as many Covenant as they could before they were overwhelmed, a distress signal was picked up, emanating from the UNSC Bright New Day, a still-functional frigate that had been scheduled for decommissioning when Reach was attacked. The Spartans contacted the ship, only to find Richard Mack Jr. defending it along with what remained of Whiskey-04. Though the ship, which had a skeleton crew of engineers and deckhands, was ready to take off, the sheer number of Covenant forces in the area would overwhelm them before they could take off.
So, Jax, Alex-A121, Nelson-A122 and Jordan-A111 offered to draw enemy attention in the shipyards while the other Spartans made their way to the Frigate's hangar and took off. Marco, having seen half a dozen Spartans die in the last week, was reluctant to see his longtime friend stay behind, but ended up going with Kane and the others to the ship. Using flares and insults over open radio channels, Jax was able to attract a surprising amount of enemy attention, having mocked Covenant beliefs to provoke them. The four Spartans held their own for a short while, though it became clear that they wouldn't last long. Jordan was killed while taking half an Elite lance with him, and Nelson was wounded heavily, being unable to fight effectively as he fell back with Jax and Alex. As the Bright New Day took off, moving over the shipyards, the two hijacked a pair of banshees, managing to fly into the ship's hangar before it reached orbit while Nelson remained behind to cause as much damage as possible. The Bright New Day left Reach and managed to narrowly evade the Covenant fleet, most of which was occupied with pursuing the Pillar of Autumn or glassing the planet. The Spartans were able to plot several jumps to randomised locations in accordance with the Cole Protocol, and to lose their Covenant pursuers. The fact that they were able to do this without an AI or trained bridge crew was seen as nothing short of a miracle by Marco, though the ship did retain records of human colonies and Earth, allowing for slipspace jumps to be made autonomously by the navigational computer at the push of a button.
After making two Slipspace jumps, the UNSC Bright New Day received a distress signal emanating from the colony world Hope. MCPO Kane-099, as the senior-ranked person on the ship, ordered the crew to investigate the planet. Upon arrival, they discovered that the planet was under attack, and after managing to cripple a Covenant ship, were forced to land due to plasma torpedo damage rendering their FTL drive inert. They were lucky not to have been killed. Leaving Whiskey-04 in command of the ship, the three SPARTAN-II's and three SPARTAN-III's of Sigma Team set out for the nearest city, Port Neandra, in search of a slipspace drive or friendly UNSC forces. Upon entering the city and finding it not only deserted, but with all electronics fried as a large EMP had detonated in the area. While Jax-007 attempted to activate a data terminal, the team ambushed a large Covenant patrol, taking down several Wraiths and Phantoms along with a Brute Chieftain.
Jax was able to find a city map, which led them to a large underground facility in the city, where three partially dismantled UNSC Frigates sat. As they approached, one of the frigates was destroyed by brutes, and the Spartans were forced into an engagement with several more Covenant squads who had been lying in wait. Kane-099 set up a defensive position covering the others with his Sniper rifle while Marco led Louie-A199 and Martin-A136 in a counterattack, opening a large roof access hatch for extraction, while Alex-A121 and Jax-007 went in search of a working FTL Drive.
After eliminating their Covenant attackers, the six Spartans secured the undamaged FTL drive and waited for Pelican evac supplied by Sergeant Major Richard Mack Jr.. When his pelican arrived, the FTL drive was attached to the dropship as it took off from the city as tremors began to shake the ground. The Pelican was pursued by over a dozen enemy banshees and several dropships as it fled the city, FTL drive attatched. As they neared the UNSC Bright New Day, Marco leapt from the Pelican bay, and hijacked an enemy banshee, using it to take down several enemy vehicles and allow the Pelican to get to the Frigate's hangar with the drive intact. The newly acquired Slipspace drive was installed by technicians as the Frigate began to leave the system, but Kane-099 ordered the ship to stay, as there was something happening to Hope, as several earthquakes and tremors began to happen as they were fleeing.
After fleeing to the edge of the system, Kane ordered the Bright New Day to turn, as the planet Hope imploded. Despite protests, the ship remained on the outskirts, drawing little attention to itself as UNSC and Covenant forces moved on to fight at a newly discovered world. The Spartans rested for a short amount of time, making checks on their MJOLNIR armour until a slipspace rupture was detected not far from the Frigate. A small prowler, powered down, exited slipspace not far from the Day, and drifted, apparently dead in space. Marco, along with Kane-099 and Jax-007, took a pelican to investigate the ship, managing to enter it through an airlock. After several minutes, the Spartans ran into someone they had not seen in over twenty years: Elena-071.
After reuniting briefly with their fellow SPARTAN-II, the ship was reactivated. Elena then revealed that she was on a top secret mission from ONI, codenamed Operation: ASPHALT. Following the slipspace trail of allied UNSC ships, the Heavens Asunder jumped, arriving above a strange planet. While onboard, Elena, who was wearing a field prototype of the MJOLNIR Mark VI armour, gave the others some upgrades to their well-used suits. Kane-099 received a thermal vision mode for his HUD, Jax-007 receiving force-multiplying circuits that improved his reaction time, and Marco gaining an overshield upgrade for his armour.
Taking Elena's pelican to the alien planet, Sigma was attacked shortly after landing by an unknown enemy; flying machines with high-powered energy weapons. After a short pursuit through the surrounding forest, during which Marco was able to destroy two of the machines, the Spartans regrouped, discovering a structure atop a ridge not far from their location. Still being chased by Sentinels, Sigma Team made it into the structure, where they discovered a holographic control panel. Elena, despite being cautioned, began to press the buttons without knowing what they could do. One such button activated a teleporter a short way from the facility, whereupon Covenant forces, who had been located at another terminal elsewhere on the planet, began to pour through, nearly overwhelming Jax-007 and assaulting the structure. Another button opened up a concealed tunnel, leading into the mountainside.
Marco was sent back to the dropship while the others held off the massing Covenant forces to activate the long range communicator in order to get in touch with the Bright New Day, and call for SPARTAN-III reinforcements. After several attempts, Marco was able to contact Sergeant Major Richard Mack Jr., who followed the Heavens Asunder's slipspace trail as it had done before. A dropship was dispatched carrying Martin-A136, Louie-A199 and Alex-A121 to the planet. Returning to the structure with the SPARTAN-III's, Marco found it overrun with Covenant forces. Lying in wait, the four ambushed a grunt patrol, killing all but one member, whom Marco then tied to a Ghost, strapped explosives to, and sent flying up the ridge where Wraith Tanks were setting up alongside a Covenant assault force.
Marco and the younger Spartans, commandeering ghosts, assaulted what remained of the Covenant positions atop the ridge as more arrived via the teleporter and surrounding forest. Marco directed the others down the ridge, a high-speed chase ensuing as both Covenant and Sentinels began to battle around the structure. C-12 charges, detonated from within the structure by Kane and Jax threw Marco, Martin and Alex from their vehicles, forcing them to make their way to the rally point at the base of the ridge on foot. Whilst taking cover, however, Marco was assaulted by two Hunters. Dodging several blows, Marco was hit squarely in the chest by a Hunter's fuel rod cannon, saved only by the overshields installed into his armour back on the Heavens Asunder. Thrown to the ground, the SPARTAN-II was saved when Louie-A199, who still possessed his ghost, rammed one Hunter, cutting it in half. The other was killed by precise sniper shots from Martin-A136.
After making their way to the rendezvous point at the base of the ridge, the four Spartans met up with Elena-071, whose arrival was marked with an elite's decapitation due to a well-aimed kick from her. Martin, Alex and Louie were introduced to the Commander, and after sending a message to the UNSC Bright New Day for extraction, the seven Spartans bunkered down in anticipation of a Covenant and Sentinel counter attack. As enemy forces approached, Louie-A199 and Alex-A121 set up their remaining C12 charges at the base of the hill, assisted by Marco. They then fell back to the summit as a large Covanant force emerged from the forest, led by several Revenants. On Kane's order, they detonated the explosives on the enemy forces, and swiftly eliminated the rest with combined fire.
Shortly after, Sigma Team were evacuated on a Pelican dropship, piloted by Richard Mack Jr. As they escaped the conflict, Elena ordered Mack to divert his course to her own modified dropship, which was being investigated by a Covenant patrol. When they got close enough, Elena leapt from the Pelican's open doors, closely followed by Marco, ambushing and wiping out enemy forces before getting aboard. The two pelicans then took off from the planet, heading back to the Bright New Day and Heavens Asunder. Marco and Elena went back to the prowler, where they spoke for some time before the other Spartans attached a docking tube to the ship to come aboard. As the airlock opened, Elena grabbed Marco and threw him in before sealing the door. She apologised, stating that ONI had ordered her to return alone, and that the others were not supposed to even know that she was alive. Detaching her ship from the Frigate, Elena made a slipspace jump to an unknown area of space. Though the other Spartans wished to follow her, Marco explained that she would not have abandoned them without good reason, still trusting his old friend after all these years. The crew of the Bright New Day then calculated a random slipspace jump to throw off any Covenant forces, and left the system.
On November 1st, 2552, after a long journey, the Frigate arrived in the Sol system to find it under attack by the Prophet of Truth's fleet. After making contact with UNSC forces, they piloted the Frigate towards Earth, and Truth's fleet. As they drew closer, Kane ordered all of the Spartans and ODST's to the ship's SOEIV's, and plotted the Frigate on a collision course with a nearby Covenant Cruiser in he Earth's atmosphere. Mere minutes before the Frigate collided, Sigma and Whiskey launched their pods, heading straight for Earth. The remaining crew and technicians on the Day were able to evacuate in the few remaining lifeboats and pelicans. The team landed near Moscow, Russia. The soldiers had become separated in the drop, losing the ODST's Dekker and Samson in the process. Marco found Sergeant Major Mack, along with Jax-007 and Privates Raikov and Peterson. Two miles east, on the outskirts of Moscow, was Kane-099, Martin-A136 and Corporal Bell. The two teams contacted each other and agreed to meet up at a nearby schoolhouse. However, not long after the teams touched down, two Covenant corvettes began dropping covenant soldiers into the city. They were soon met with a UNSC counterattack.
Marco's team made it into the city, and after speaking to the local police forces(translated by the Russian-speaking ODST Raikov) about their dire situation, they began to press forwards, clearing several city blocks of Covenant troops until they met up with Louie-A199 and Alex-A121, who had dropped directly into the city. Just as it seemed they would drive off the Covenant, over a dozen wraith tanks were dropped in by Covenant forces, overwhelming the already weakened UNSC defence. The Spartans, along with the ODST's and marines, were forced to pull back into a plaza, hopping to trap the tanks in the narrow streets surrounding it. Kane-099 and his team then arrived to provide support from a church tower, Kane and Martin-A136 acting as snipers. Marco, Jax and Whiskey-04 set up a defensive position inside a ruined building. Alex and Louie acted as spotters, waiting for the column of wraiths to arrive.
Eventually, the attack came. Louie-A199 and Alex-A121 unleashed several rockets on the first wraiths, destroying them, and then fell back towards the main building. As they ran, several banshees bombed the area, sending the Spartans flying and severing Alex's right arm. Heavily wounded, he was hauled into the building while Marco and Jax provided covering fire from the advancing covenant infantry with mounted machine guns. Meanwhile, Sergeant Major Mack, followed by Private Raikov and Corporal Bell, moved around the buildings to flank the Covenant Infantry, killing several squads. As the ODST's pushed forward, Corporal Bell was shot in the Head with a beam rifle, killing him instantly. Radioing for assistance, Mack and Raikov began to fall back towards the fortified building under heavy fire. They had almost arrived back when Raikov was hit from behind with a gravity hammer by a Brute Chieftain. The Brute then smashed Mack's assault rifle as he began shooting at it and knocked him to the ground. Mack would have been killed had it not been for Louie-A199, who after shooting the Brute several times with a pistol and threw his combat knife into it's skull, killing it.
The two made their way back to the building, where things were going badly. Brutes had breached the lower level, killing Private Peterson, who had gone down in a hail of plasma and Spiker fire. Up in the tower, Kane-099 had expended his last sniper bullet on a Brute's skull, and, Along with Martin-A136, jumped from the tower, landing on two of the Wraiths, which were quickly destroyed by the Spartans. Marco, who had spent most of the battle operating a machine gun, was forced into a hasty retreat along with the surviving UNSC forces. They had bought the local Marines all the time they needed.
Several evac pelicans met them half a mile north, and extracted them from the combat zone. As they left, the marine NCO detonated a HAVOK nuclear bomb left within Moscow, destroying all covenant forces in the area, crippling the nearby Covenant corvette and completely wiping out the local ground forces, along with about a third of Moscow. The Spartans returned to the UNSC's PILLAR Base, situated under Mount Everest. Alex-A121 received a robotic prosthetic replacement for his severed limb, while Mack Junior received a new squad to command. The Spartans has their injuries and armour checked, and prepared for their next assignment.
On November 17th, 2552, Sigma was once again deployed, this time without the Spartan-III's. They were sent to an area east of Pawa, on the Afganistan/Pakistan Border. Their mission was to calculate the crash site of Sierra 117 before he landed. For this mission, they were given a laser designator for the operation. However, after coming under heavy fire from Brutes, they were forced to hide the designator while they held off the approaching Covenant forces. Knowing that they would not make it in time, Kane-099 radioed for TeamTwo. When the pair arrived, Kane ordered Bravo-21 and Bravo-22 to take the designator to the destination while the Spartans held off enemy forces. Sigma was able to temporarily drive back the Brutes and make their way towards team two's location. By the time Sigma arrived at the rendezvous point in a nearby bunker, team two had completed their mission, at the cost of Bravo-21 and various other marines. The soldiers made their way through the long tunnels in the bunker before emerging at the extraction point the following morning. Sigma and the marines were extracted and taken back to Pillar Base.
Sigma team and Marco played a relatively small role in the battle, simply providing support for UNSC Marines and destroying several targets of opportunity. When the Flood-controlled Covenant ship arrived, Sigma fought bravely, acting as a rearguard to a platoon of Marines as they fell back to a pelican. They were able to escape to a safe distance before Covenant Separatist ships began glassing the area.
Battle of the Portal
With the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn and several allied ships, including several belonging to their newfound Sangheili allies, the Spartans remained behind on Earth. From their position near the portal in Kenya, the remainder of human ground forces, which largely consisted of army soldiers and naval operatives, with some air support, came under attack from a large Covenant army, which had remained behind on Earth, somehow surviving both the flood and subsequent partial glassing of the continent.
With limited ground support, the humans, commanded by Fleet Admiral Lord Terrence Hood retreated to a defensible position near mount Kilimanjaro, where a network of bunkers still remained in spite of the main UNSC base, Crow's Nest being destroyed. Marco, Jax and Kane were deployed there instead of returning to PILLAR base, being given explicit orders to keep Hood alive. The complex came under heavy assault, with Brute-led Covenant Loyalists breaching the outer defences easily. While the other two led marine fireteams to defend exits from the base, Marco protected the Fleet Admiral himself upon finding him in the command room.
Giving the order to evacuate the base, Hood accompanied the Spartan, proving to be an adept combatant himself, even saving Marco from a brute that caught him unawares and knocked him down by shooting it in the head. Marco escorted Hood to the landing pads, where Jax and a marine team were engaged with a Brute Pack, several Pelicans having been destroyed before takeoff. While the Spartans considered their options, half a dozen dropships arrived at the base, jetpack-using ODST's slaughtering the Brutes with ease. The platoon leader of these troopers was none other than Sergeant Major Richard Mack Junior, who had been dispatched to ensure Hood's safety in spite of his SPARTAN protectors.
With the immediate threat taken care of, the base's evacuation was carried out in full, Kane rejoining his comrades as they abandoned the old base to the Covenant. Though the battle had been short, the loyalist forces were in disarray after their leadership had departed through the portal, allowing them to be easily outmanoeuvred and defeated. Also, as it had been done many times before, most of the base was obliterated by a HAVOK tac-nuke dropped by Mack's ODST's. The convoy of Pelicans then made their way to HIGHCOM Facility Bravo-6 in Sydney, Australia, where Sigma Team was debriefed.
"Feels strange to think that it's finally over. I'm sure they'll keep us busy."
With the Human-Covenant War finally over, Sigma Team, consisting of the few remaining SPARTAN-II's, was disbanded, only three of it's original members still active. The three Spartans visited the Hillside memorial in East Africa on March 3rd, 2553, shortly before the ceremony, which was presided over by Lord Hood, grateful for the help they provided him during the battle of Earth. The Spartans paid their respects and as they turned to leave Marco carved the numbers 'One-One-Seven' onto the memorial, a tribute to a fellow Spartan who, though they had never met, had saved Marco, Sigma and all of humanity from annihilation.
In the years following the Human-Covenant War, Marco found himself promoted several times, gaining the Rank of Lieutenant, Junior Grade by 2568. He later found out that Doctor Roe had been secretly attempting to block his promotions out of spite for years, though it bothered him little. With the Covenant Empire defeated and every major threat to the UNSC out of the way for a while, the surviving Sigma Spartans continued to serve within the UNSC Navy.
Ten months after the end of the war, while Marco was undergoing a simple health checkup and blood test, a doctor discovered that his DNA was remarkably similar to that of a marine NCO, Gunnery Sergeant Michael Wade. Wade was called up to the UNSC Brighton, where Marco had the test. After meeting Michael, Marco questioned him repeatedly about his life and childhood, something that the Marine found very strange. After Michael revealed that he had a brother three years older than him who had died suddenly when they were kids, Marco removed his helmet and announced that he was Michael's supposedly dead brother.
He explained to Michael that, from what he could garner, after he and the other Spartan candidates were kidnapped, they were replaced with flash clones, that quickly died. Although Wade did not at first believe the Spartan claiming to be his brother, but after much conversation and evidence, Michael finally accepted Marco, whom he had not seen for thirty-six years. While the Office of Naval Intelligence was aware of this, no action was taken against Michael or his family, though they were placed under distant observation so that the Spartan would not notice. Michael informed Marco that their parents had been killed during the Battle of Earth; two casualties among billions lost there. To his own surprise, Marco was not upset by this news; having spent most of his life away from his biological parents he was emotionally distant from their passing. Michael also revealed that their parents had a third child, Amanda, in 2532. While he was twenty-one years older than Amanda, Marco asked about his younger sister and wished to see her. It turned out that immediately following the War she had fallen out with Michael when she enlisted in the UNSC Marine Corps to avoid dealing with the death of their parents. Michael urged Marco to simply forget about Amanda as he was still furious at her actions.
Michael invited Marco to stay at his house, where he was home on leave with his wife, Melissa, and his two-year-old daughter, Kate. Marco accepted, and stayed there until Marco had to return to active service in the UNSC. Michael then informed Marco of his plans to retire from military service once his tour had finished to spend time with his family. Marco was happy for his brother, but deflected any questions pertaining to his own possible retirement; he knew that he would most likely belong to the military for his entire life, and that the only way he'd be leaving was in a body bag. After nearly a month of leave, he was recalled to PILLAR base in India to meet with the rest of Sigma Team before getting back to duty.
Although the war was over, the Covenant had survived in the form of dozens of sub-factions that fought over parts of their former empire's space. Marco, and the former surviving members of Sigma were assigned to the ONI's SPARTAN unit. For several months after, the Spartans were tasked with hunting down any Covenant remnants that had survived the end of the war. The survivors were vigorously hunted by both the UNSC and the Sangehili. In 2555, Marco would be part of the rescue team that extracted Elena-071, Kane-099 and Echo 1-1 from Schönheit in the conclusion of Operation: ASHES. There they were able to recover the preserved corpse of Hank-136, an old comrade thought long-dead. While Marco and the others wished to have Hank returned to their team, his mental instability follwoing his resuscitation led to ONI placing him in THOR Team with other troublesome Spartans.
Hunting down Meridus
In 2561, Marco, Jax and Kane were tasked with the elimination of a Jiralhanae Chieftain named Meridus in what became known as Operation: CATFISH. Once a mid-ranking leader in the Covenant military, Meridus had become a powerful warlord following the war's end and was attempting to unite several large Jiralhanae tribes with other former Covenant forces in an attempt to kill the Sangheili leader Thel 'Vadam and blame it on the UNSC. After spy probes uncovered the location of Meridus' base on a far-off colony of Sundered Heart. Once a mere outpost on the edge of Covenant space, the Covenant remnants had turned the small world into a fortress, guarded by dozens of capital ships and even a single CSO-class Supercarrier that had been constructed shortly after the war's end. With the support of many former arms companies operating on former Covenant worlds, their amassed force would be enough to glass both Sanghelios and Earth if left unchecked. Rather than risk a full-scale attack, the Office of Naval Intelligence deployed the three SPARTAN-II's in-system to kill Meridus and stop his plans for invasion at any cost.
After arriving on a Prowler utilising highly-advanced cloaking fields, the three Spartans made use of a distraction by several UNSC vessels to land on the nearby planet in secret. Without any contact at all with command, Marco and the others only had orders to succeed at any cost. As with any high-risk, low-survival odds mission, Marco complained, Jax made a joke of it, and Kane ordered the pair of them to focus on the task at hand. For seven days the trio trekked across the colony, avoiding contact with the local Jiralhanae villages while living mostly off rations and wild animals. Eventually they arrived near Meridus' fortress and managed to enter through a waste disposal pipe in a nearby river. While the Jiralhanae warlord had enough defences to fend off a large fleet-based attack, the security measures against enemy infiltrators were sub-par and the SPARTAN-II's easily made it into the base after blasting through a pipe with a shaped charge and eliminating the nearby guards before they could raise the alarm. Covered in sewage, the armoured supersoldiers cut a bloody swathe through the fortress' defenders until they reached the command room where Meridus was supposed to be. The Jiralhanae was not present, though the controls to his base defences were. While Jax and Marco held off enemy reinforcements, Kane was able to activate several 'Mantis' AA guns to fire on their own fleet in orbit.
With their foeS in disarray, the Spartans fought their way to a nearby landing pad and hijacked one of Meridus' personal shuttles to escape the colony as several of the orbiting ships began to return fire on the base, severely damaging the fortress and the surrounding area. As Meridus had not been present at his fortress, Kane reasoned that he would most likely be aboard his Supercarrier, Return to Glory, attempting to direct the invasion fleet. In the confusion, the flight controllers aboard the ship believed that the incoming ship contained their leader and allowed them to land; they did not realise their mistake until Marco, Jax and Kane had already slaughtered the greeting party in the hangar and were working their way up the massive ship. Fearful of the Spartans' progress, Meridus dispatched groups of veteran Jiralhanae warriors to kill them while he ordered his fleet to initiate a slipspace jump towards Sanghelios. Before that could occur, several dozen ships appeared insystem, belonging to both the UNSC and United Sangheili. As the battle raged on outside, Marco and his comrades fought their way through Meridus' finest, their augmented bodies and power armour making short work of the soldiers before blowing their way into the bridge. As per his rank and status, Meridus was no easy pushover in combat; an incredibly powerful energy shield coupled with a modified Gravity Hammer made it a difficult battle for the Spartans. After Jax was nearly killed by a lucky hit and Marco was thrown across the room by the raging chieftain, Kane was able to change the ship's course on an unstoppable impact run with the planet itself.
Realising that they had little time to escape, Marco and the others fled from Meridus before he realised he had been locked out of his own bridge console, and soon gave chase to the Spartans. The sudden death dive coupled with multiple MAC round hits badly damaged the Return to Glory, which had begun to break up as it entered orbit. Meridus was almost able to catch up with the retreating Spartans, only to run directly into a trap set by Marco - C-12 charges rigged to blow through the ship's outer hull. Though his shield protected him from instant death, the Jiralhanae leader was blown out of the ship and died as the trio escaped in the same shuttle they arrived in. As they approached the joint UNSC-Sangheili fleet, the Spartans identified themselves to avoid being blown to pieces and were eventually picked up by a nearby Cruiser. ONI congratulated Marco, Kane and Jax on a mission well-done, as the three of them had managed to thrown Meridus' forces into disarray just long enough to be vulnerable to a massive counter-attack. The Supercarrier's impact had killed thousands of innocent Jiralhanae colonists on Sundered Heart, though ONI cared little for their lives and Marco had long since learned to keep his opinions on such matters to himself.
Elena: "You play the hulking idiot thug part quite well."
Marco: "I'll take that as a compliment."
―A conversation shortly before Marco's undercover mission.
In early 2564, the Office of Naval Intelligence's investigation into the mysterious figure known as Magnus had turned up few leads, with many believing that the name was merely a pseudonym conjured up by rebels and criminals to give a name to the perpetrator of several terrorist attacks over the years. This changed when the SPARTAN-III's of Shrike Team were able to successfully capture one of his agents alive during a raid in the Outer Colonies. After a lengthy interrogation at the hands of ONI, the agent revealed that Magnus was not only real, but was conducting a massive operation involving dozens of criminal and rebel groups, the likes of which had never been seen even in the days when the United Rebel Front was at its full strength. With the location of these groups as the tip of the iceberg, ONI began to mobilise dozens of its top agents to infiltrate and destroy them from within. Among those agents was Marco, who was chosen to go undercover for the first time in years.
In spite of his noticeable stature and scars that would arouse suspicion, ONI's Section Two was able to come up with a lengthy background for the Spartan as a career criminal and hitman operating in the Outer Colonies. Part of Marco's cover story was that he was a steroid abuser with a history of violence; strength enhancers and other illicit drugs being used as an excuse for his appearance and to ensure that his new employers knew that he was a force to be reckoned with. Lastly, Marco was given the name 'Simeon Moritz' to use while undercover. After arriving on Talitsa in March, he spent several weeks working illegally as a labourer in a local foundry before attracting the attention of one of the planet's more notorious criminal factions. Having spotted 'Simeon', a number of armed men brought the supposed criminal to a nearby warehouse where he met with Gordon Mills, a high-ranking member of the organisation who offered Marco a job offworld working for their leader. He accepted, and was taken aboard a freighter the next day to the Caucasus Station, a sprawling asteroid settlement home to thousands of people outside UNSC-controlled space. Mills would use Marco as muscle for several low-key operations there for nearly a week before their leader arrived.
The head of the Crimson Star crime syndicate was a woman named Patricia Hurst, a little-known individual even by ONI who met with Marco and a number of other recruits in a secure room on the station. Hurst explained that they would be participating in a large deal with the United Rebel Front, which had greatly diminished in power since the end of the Human-Covenant War. In exchange for a large sum of money, the Crimson Star was to provide military-grade equipment to the rebels in preparation for a future attack. Unable to contact his backup in any way, Marco played his part as dumb muscle for the group until their meeting date was revealed, and the man in charge of the exchange: Magnus. As they began loading up their stolen equipment for the deal, the Spartan plotted to singlehandedly sabotage the Crimson Star's plans in an attempt to bring down both their organisation and Magnus' forces in a single day. Though he was deprived of reinforcements and his MJOLNIR armour, Marco privately believed that his chances of success were fairly good as the meeting date with the URF approached.
Due to Marco's excellent results and imposing stature, Hurst chose him to act as one of her personal bodyguards during the deal in case of any arguments. Wary of a possible ambush, he suggested that he and Mills investigate the meeting area several days in advance to ensure that their URF contacts would not set up a trap there ahead of time. Unbeknownst to his employer, Marco was able to set up several blocks of C-12 explosives around the lower levels of the station the meeting was being held in, and eventually reported to Hurst that there would be no problems on the day of the deal. Though unable to contact the UNSC directly from the Caucasus Station, Marco met up with Kyle White, an undercover agent from ONI's BRUTUS division in a bar the night before. While his contact could not do a great deal and had to avoid blowing his cover, he was able to procure some weaponry and armour for Marco from the black market; two 'snapshot' pistols, a number of plasma grenades, and a modified T-55 Storm Rifle. Upon returning to the Crimson Star's base, Marco explained that he had overheard a rumour that the URF intended to seize the station following the deal, and were bringing several hundred soldiers to do so.
While apprehensive about Marco's information, Hurst and her followers refused to take any chances and mobilised the entirety of the Crimson Star's forces to deal with any potential attack. At the same time, Kyle White had slipped information to some URF informants that the criminal organisation intended to betray them as soon as possible. As the deal took place, Marco stood back as the initial dealings took place, waiting for the arrival of Magnus. Before long, a very tall, heavily-built man entered the meeting, surrounded by bodyguards. Though Marco had orders to immediately attempt to take down the elusive terrorist on sight, he hesitated. Not only did he recognise the man, but he had once been friends with him; it was none other than Jack-085, who had supposedly died on Endrin in 2550. Watching from the sidelines, Marco took note of how Jack appeared to have undergone extensive modifications since their last encounter, considering his prosthetic legs and heavy cybernetics dotting the rest of his body. Eventually, 'Magnus' caught a glimpse of Marco out of the corner of his eye and immediately recognised the SPARTAN-II. Without hesitation, Marco detonated the C-12 charges, turning most of the warehouse into a blazing inferno and badly destabilising the entire level as all hell broke loose. URF and Crimson Star forces turned on each other in an instant, and despite Marco's best efforts Jack managed to flee. While making his way to the upper levels in pursuit of Jack, Marco ran into Patricia Hurst, who ordered him to join her forces in taking the Caucasus Station for their own. In response, he killed her and her entourage, effectively ending the threat of their organisation immediately.
With the two forces clashing across the sprawling station, Marco had a hard time chasing his former friend. While the Crimson Star were better-equipped, the URF's tactics and sheer numbers gave them a clear advantage in the resulting battle. The Spartan was able to finally confront Jack as he entered the hangar bay, a brief but intense firefight between the two Spartans tearing the room apart before Marco managed to blow one of Jack's prosthetic hands off with a bolt of plasma. Before he could deliver the final blow, Jack managed to board a nearby freighter as it prepared to take off, escaping the station and the wrath of Marco. With his mission more or less complete, Marco managed to contact Kyle White once more and the pair left in a small freighter before jumping to Slipspace. Upon his return to Earth, Marco was congratulated for his efforts in bringing down the Crimson Star, though some sources indicated that this shift in the balance of power had placed the United Rebel Front in control of the Caucasus Station. Furthermore, Marco's report of Jack's survival to the UNSC Security Council was met with heavy scrutiny; Admiral Serin Osman, the head of ONI, assured Marco that Jack's death had been all but confirmed years ago when her agents had examined the remains of the Hephaestus Array on Endrin's surface. Nonetheless, the possibility that Jack had survived to become Magnus was taken into consideration by the Council at the behest of Admirals Terrence Hood and John Hawkins, who promised that the matter would be looked into. Marco would later contact Jax-007, Kane-099, Elena-071 and Hank-136 in private about their old friend's return. While both ONI and the UNSC would take years before publicly revealing Magnus' true identity as Jack-085, Marco ensued that his Spartan comrades knew exactly who they were dealing with.
By late 2568, Insurrection had already began to rise up in the rebuilding colonies, thanks in part to the NOVA Incident and the massacres that followed. A large group known as the 'Freedom Front' had staged a bloody coup against the local administration on the recently-established colony world of New Hope, declaring its independence from the UNSC. Naturally, the response from Earth was to send a military force to put down the rebellion and restore order. First to be sent in were a contingent of Marines, but the Rebel's forces and firepower were greater than anticipated, leaving the initial forces scattered after their dropships were decimated by hostile AA fire. Marco, along with Kane-099 and Jax-007, were dropped in to the capital city alongside a contingent of ODST's. Several minutes after the drop, Marco sighted a group of captured Marines from the initial assault being executed by the militants. Surveying the area from afar, the Spartan recognised one of the detainees as none other than his niece, Kate, who had joined the Marine Corps that year.
Marco sprang from cover and jumped from the roof he was on, landing on one of the rebels. He then proceeded to kill several in close quarters combat until one of them pointed a gun at Kate. He froze, for a single second, just long enough for Kate to kick the man and stagger him. Taking his chance, Marco grabbed the rebel by his throat and slammed his skull into a wall, killing him instantly. He then made sure Kate was okay; the Marine recognised her uncle by his armour and assured him that she could handle herself. The captured platoon then joined the Spartan and his ODST team as they made their way towards the rendezvous point. There they met Kane-099 and Jax-007, who had taken down several large AA guns after they landed.
The Spartans then called in for air support to assist them as they moved on the planet's Parliament building. Several pelicans were able to make it into the city, delivering fresh troops for battle against the Insurrectionists. aboard one of them was Alex-A121 and Louie-A199, who had been tasked with delivering an MFDD for destroying the Rebel's central command. As UNSC forces advanced towards their goal, the fighting became more fierce. Marco, who was constantly looking out for Kate, saw her wounded by an enemy sniper. He ran out onto open ground, and after picking her up, began to fall back to a nearby medic. As Marco ran, a sniper round hit his visor, causing him to drop Kate and fall to the ground.
Marco regained consciousness some time later in a medical facility. The battle had been won, and the rebels either captured or killed. His helmet's visor was shattered from the round, and the round had gone through his right eye and cheekbone. Marco was rushed to a field hospital for facial and bone reconstruction in the damaged area. The Spartan had come dangerously close to death, though his formidable endurance had kept him alive. He then found out that Kate's injuries had been patched up by medics. Her company was taken to an orbiting UNSC ship and Marco, after receiving a new helmet, travelled with the other Spartans to their next mission against the recommendations of his doctors. Jax and Kane were surprised to see him up and about, but did not discourage him from joining them in destroying the rebel remnants.
Raid on District-03
Kane: "You were shot in the head. I should order you straight back to the med bay."
Marco: "You going to?"
Kane: "What do you think?"
— Kane and Marco after the latter joined the mission.
Barely two weeks after the battle, Marco joined his comrades in the fight against the remaining Insurrectionist forces on New Hope. A large group of them had seized control of a large industrial area in the New Hope Spaceport, and had taken several dozen civilians hostage. However, given Marco's history of destroying rather than securing their targets and his still-recovering injury, he was placed in as a support role for the mission. Kane-099 would provide sniper cover from afar while Jax-007 and Louie-A199 would infiltrate the building with a team of ODST's, and surprise them by coming up through the sewers below the warehouse to free the hostages.
As the operation began, the first few rebels were quickly killed off by the Spartans and the battle hardened troopers, but they too realised that something was wrong. There were a few hostages in the warehouse, but not as many as first anticipated. The rebels, fleeing from their base, detonated a number of explosives which killed several ODST's and wounded Jax, who had been pursuing them. Marco saw this as an opportunity to attack and chased after the Insurrectionists, who had fled into the city sewers, alone. After a while he stopped. Having had the feeling that he was being led into a trap Marco, attempted to radio command, but was unable to, being several hundred feet underground. So, the Spartan decided to continue on through the sewer tunnels, and meet whatever trap the rebels had placed for him. Eventually, he ended up in a wide open area in the sewers, where he found the rebel camp. The perimeter guards opened fire, but were no match for the Spartan. Armed with a grenade launcher and an assault rifle, Marco began to lay waste to their camp, destroying several shacks and tents and killing any who opposed him. However, he could not beat the feeling of unease, and Déjà vu. He was reminded of his first mission; the slaughter of the Insurrectionists on Gallis forty-two years before.
As he got through to the control room, he was able to make contact with Command, who began sending in forces to mop up the remainder of the rebels. As Marco looked around, the rebel leader attempted to kill him with a pistol. Marco grabbed him, crushing the pistol and his hand. The rebel leader surrendered immediately. Tossing his aside to nurse his wound, Marco tried searching the Rebel computer files. As he tried to access the first one, he heard a laugh from the speakers behind him. A face flickered on the computer monitors for a few seconds, then they exploded. Marco was saved by the blast by his armour, but the Insurrectionist leader was not. With the UNSC forces securing the area, the situation on New Hope was finally under control. Marco and the other Spartans were taken back to Earth for the time being. Marco would later report that he suspected Jack-085's involvement in setting up the rebel group, though his claims were quickly dismissed.
In 2569, the UNSC launched the SPARTAN-IV Program as an attempt to create new supersoldiers to combat the rising tide of Insurrection. Along with his former squadmates Kane-099 and Jax-007, Marco was brought in to command one of the three planned Spartan Companies. Marco was given command of X-Ray or 'X' Company, comprised of five hundred candidates, with Alex-A121 as his second in command. This new generation would comprise of willing, adult volunteers, at least for the first company. They would be given augmentations similar to those that the SPARTAN-III's had, though they would be given MJOLNIR armour, making them a deadly and efficient fighting force. Marco was somewhat annoyed to find that Kate Wade, his niece, had been accepted into X-Ray Company and was to begin training. However, he made no move to remove her from the company, making an effort to treat her as he did any other SPARTAN-IV. His treatment of X-Ray was seen as harsh, but fair, though he ensured that every single member was pushed to the limit with gruelling exercises rivalling those imposed on the SPARTAN-II candidates many years before.
Following the completion of X-Ray Company's training in 2571, Marco authorised the creation of several special units. The first would be Wulf Team, comprised of X-Ray's best soldiers, including Kate and Marco's protégé, Maynard-X112. While he had privately been concerned about Kate's wellbeing, a lengthy correspondence with his brother Michael eased his worries that his niece would die as many other Spartans had before her; Marco saw his own commitment to such a life as unavoidable, but did not wish it on his family. Nevertheless, Wulf Team would often get the most important missions that even their fellow Spartans might not be considered for, and quickly proved themselves in the field. The other units were Grim Team, a group of Spartans led by Blaise-X034 who specialised in high-risk, heavy-combat missions, and the Headhunters, a platoon of twenty led by Artyom-X043 for long-range recon and infiltration missions. X-Ray Company saw its first SPARTAN-IV's deployed in February 2571, though they would not see combat as a whole company until the Tannis Uprising of 2572. As the other SPARTAN-II's were still training the younger Yankee and X-Ray Companies, Marco was given the position of the company commander, responsible for receiving reports from his Spartans as they were sent to stem the growing tide of Insurrection. As he was unable to regularly contact them, Marco assigned Alex-A121 to act as Wulf Team's commanding officer, though Maynard remained in charge of the team itself.
In April 2571, three UNSC ships, both filled with colonists, landed on the human-controlled planet of Minerva, a planet that Marco and his comrades had visited years before on a counter-insurrectionist operation. The ships had been sent with new settlers for the planet, the effort being lead by Captain Roger Maxon, whose father had helped Marco and Sigma Team in the past. Upon arriving to the planet, Maxon saw that the settlers were unhappy with how they were being treated by the local UNSC Government, and in a protest against he corrupt governor, Drew Balker, the protesters were fired on by his police force.
Seeing the corruption brought in by the UNSC, and nothing being done, Maxon, using several loyal platoons of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers to stage a coup d'état against Balker, arming the locals and storming the governmental building. Balker was executed by Maxon personally. Deciding that he could not go back to the UNSC, Maxon decided to break off, forming his own Government on Minerva. He asked the Captain's of the other two ships if they agreed. When one disagreed, he shot him. The other, Captain Owyn Lyons, agreed to join Maxon. With news of his formal defection from the UNSC spreading, ONI ordered for his immediate assassination and called in Marco to carry out the operation.
Mission to Mamore
"They sent me to kill some old bloke who thinks he’s any better than the UNSC. They’d make a martyr of him anyway, but orders are orders."
―Marco explaining his mission to Amanda
It was not until 2575 that Roger Maxon's location was finally pinpointed by ONI. He had travelled to Mamore, a turbulent colony with a long history of anti-UNSC sentiment. The Legion's commander was supposed to be directing a rally in the city Agadir to gain support for his cause. Due to the high possibility of Mamore attempting to secede from the UEG's control again, Marco was to kill Maxon and cause havoc in the area before extracting safely; a larger UNSC force would only cause more trouble if it intervened. After spending several days getting into position near the rally and laying a series of explosives along the nearby road, the SPARTAN-II launched his attack on Maxon's convoy as they began to leave. While he was successful in destroying an armoured vehicle and the main armoured car, Marco soon realised that Maxon was hiding among his troops in the transport trucks, and fled the area as the Spartan began his pursuit.
While he successfully avoided Legion troops in Agadir, Marco was held up on the road as the rebels deployed two Mantis mechs to take him down. Though he was heavily outgunned, the Spartan managed to board and punch a grenade into one of the rebel vehicles, destroying it. Before he could face the second, it was hit with a volley of missiles and destroyed. Marco was greeted by a group of independent humans, led by none other than an old acquaintance of his: Amanda Wade. While there was some initial confusion, Amanda asked for Marco's assistance in another task. As he felt that Maxon would only be made a martyr if he were assassinated, the Spartan allowed his quarry to escape while he assisted Amanda and her comrades in rescuing a man named Ash Mitchell from a Legion prison nearby. While he had heard of Mitchell's involvement in a terrorist attack on Circumstance several years before and had even been privy to the documents linking the former ODST to the attack, Marco was willing to help Amanda and joined an assassin named Winston Zhou to launch an attack on the fortified base. Together the pair decimated several enemy platoons heading their way before spotting Mitchell, who had escaped himself and was attempting to flee through the nearby snowfields. Seeing that he wouldn't get far without help, Marco set off on his own and eliminated several rebel squads before saving Mitchell from a group of Legion soldiers. Mitchell, who had evidently suffered from torture and mutilation from his time in the prison, threatened to kill himself, though Marco talked him out of it long enough for Amanda to arrive and convince him to join her crew. Their quarry soon passed out from blood loss, and Marco handed him over to Amanda as her ship, the Dynasty arrived on Mamore. After a brief conversation with her, the pair on good terms for once; Marco promised not to reveal what had happened on the planet to his superiors. While he reported his mission as a failure to ONI when he returned, Marco credited himself with the destruction of the Legion's prison camp and several hundred soldiers, which drastically reduced their effectiveness on Mamore.
Following his failure to kill Roger Maxon, Marco was temporarily reassigned to the Department of Recolonisation and Exploration, or DRE, as a form of punishment from ONI. Marco did not mind this, and joined the crew of the UNSC Demeter, a scouting vessel that was assessing colonies glassed during the Human-Covenant War for possible resettlement and terraforming. During this time he worked with Iris Touré, who led the exploration vessel and proved to be an intellectual sparring partner for the venerable Spartan. While Marco initially had some misgivings about Touré and believed her to be an ONI agent, they soon became friends after discovering that they held similar views on colonial self-rule. Their vessel arrived at the abandoned colony world of Emerald Cove in early January of 2576, and discovered an independent colony there named 'Avalon'. Upon landing, it was discovered that the colony consisted of both Humans, Unggoy and a single Jiralhanae, and wished to retain independence even if the UNSC moved to recolonise the rest of the planet. While Touré spoke with the supposed leader of Avalon, Marco encountered Amanda Wade once again. They spoke for some time before the Demeter departed the planet, Marco now fearing for his sister's life and the lives of those living in Avalon. He confided in Touré about how ONI may deal with the colony, prompting her to head straight back to Earth where she intended to deliver a speech to the UEG to raise public awareness of Avalon and similarly independent colonies.
Shortly after their arrival back on Earth, Marco was contacted on his personal communicator by agent Kyle White of ONI's BRUTUS division as he and Touré visited a coffee shop in New York, several hours before she was due to make her speech. White informed Marco of an impending attempt on Touré's life and instructed that the SPARTAN-II move away from his protectee. As he did so, the coffee shop was destroyed from within as an explosive device triggered, instantly killing Touré and dozens of civilians. While he first feared it to be an attack by the Legion, a car soon pulled up carrying White and Elena-071, who swiftly escorted Marco away from the scene before the police could arrive and informed him that Touré's death was an action ordered not only by the head of BRUTUS, but by CINCONI himself. As they drove off, White and Elena explained how in spite of Touré's best intentions, the UEG could not be further fractured by newly-independent colonial worlds and that it was a sad necessity to keep Humanity united. Furthermore, the attack would be blamed on Anatoly Kustentov, a rogue BRUTUS agent who had recently been recaptured and would be discreetly executed to appease the populace, while making for great anti-Legion propaganda. While utterly disgusted by the callousness shown by White in regards to the woman's life and the extreme measures taken by ONI, Marco forced himself to simply accept what had just happened as little more than a change in 'mission parameters' that as a Spartan he would go along with without questioning orders. Nonetheless, the death of Iris Touré would forever haunt Marco; the very sudden loss of someone who had treated him like a friend rather than a military asset staying in his mind for many years after.
Shortly after Iris' death, Marco discovered that Avalon had been attacked and destroyed by the Office of Naval Intelligence's own forces. Instead of hearing about it through Elena or his superiors he saw this through footage that had been leaked from Avalon itself during the attack, making it blatantly clear who the perpetrators were as they massacred most of the populace. While officially the operation was labelled as a counter-insurgency mission, there were mass protests across multiple worlds following this, which only served to strengthen the Legion's political position. Initially believing Amanda to have died, Marco received a video message that had been sent to him from Lodestone in the Outer Colonies and intercepted by Elena before ONI could access it. Though brief, it showed that both Amanda and Ash Mitchell had survived the attack, and contained a statement from the two declaring that they would continue pursuing Magnus before hunting down those responsible for Avalon's fall. Though worried for his sister's welfare, Marco knew that there was nothing he could do for her and deleted all trace of the message before getting back to work.
Ciudad de Huesos Incident
By 2579, Marco had taken up a position on Helios Station, the SPARTAN HQ orbiting Mars. He did not directly participate on the frontlines as he had during the Human-Covenant War and spent most of his time managing X-Ray Company and undertaking the occasional mission alongside his old comrades. After it was confirmed that the Legion was using chemicals similar to those given to the SPARTAN-III Gamma Company in order to augment their troops, Marco tasked Wulf Team with hunting down and destroying their manufacturing operations on several worlds. He was also present at the Battle of Rell, one of the largest open battles fought in the Civil War by this point, and coordinated the deployment of the newly-trained SPARTAN-IV Yankee Company alongside Kane-099 before joining the battle alongside the younger Spartans. Though the rebels there were crushed, a number of the new Spartans died during the battle and Marco feared that their sheer numbers may prove a real problem for the UNSC if the war kept going.
Marco was soon put in charge of Operation: KNIFEPOINT, an effort to strike at the Legion's supply lines and leaders across multiple worlds. While Wulf Team were successful in shutting down the drug manufacturing operation in late 2579, Marco devoted his Headhunters to tracking down and killing Roger Maxon, the Legion's main figurehead. KNIFEPOINT had little success for several years until a massive rebel operation was uncovered on Eden V in 2583, an independent colony world with a history of violence. Marco provided enough intel to warrant the deployment of a large UNSC Battlegroup under the command of Admiral Joseph Harris, along with both Wulf Team and Zulu Company. The siege that followed was the largest and bloodiest battle of the war, but proved to be a success when a number of projects were shut down and several high-ranking leaders were eliminated. KNIFEPOINT was considered by many to be a turning point in the war; media outlets stated that the Legion would be defeated within the year, though Marco and his peers remained uncertain of how their foe would react. Like many other incidents during the war, he suspected that Magnus had a hand in supplying their foe somehow, though the operation to track down the elusive ex-Spartan had seen little success since his last known engagement on Madrigal years before.
Following the Siege of Eden V and the Legion's biggest-ever defeat, it became clear that the ageing MJOLNIR Mark VII armour worn by Spartans was not quite enough due to a number of Spartan casualties during those months of fighting. In early 2584, the decision was made to roll out a new line of MJOLNIR suits for Spartans in the field. As the majority of other Spartans were away on the frontlines as the UNSC's fleets carved a path through Legion-friendly colonies, Marco volunteered to help test the prototype Mark VIII suits back on Earth alongside Lilac Team of X-Ray Company. Travelling to the Special Warfare Center in Songam, Korea, he was then outfitted with an upgraded suit, modified and painted to his own specifications. The Mark VIII possessed greatly increased shield strength, with onboard repair and upgrade systems, improved force-multiplying circuits and newly-developed electronics that would improve a Spartan's efficiency in the field greatly. While this would augment Marco's already-formidable combat skills, this would help elevate his SPARTAN-IV's own abilities further towards those of their predecessors.
In addition, Marco was tasked with testing new pieces of equipment derived from Forerunner designs found on Trevelyan and other worlds. These included a deployable shield of hard light and an automatic sentry designed for protection and support. Initial test against drones proved the worth of both devices in the field, though having more than one installed into the Mark VIII proved taxing on the suit's systems after prolonged use. The decision was made after Marco's feedback to disperse the equipment throughout existing SPARTAN-III and IV fireteams until they could find a workaround for the power issue. Unbeknownst to Marco, Lilac Team had been testing a completely different and somewhat outlandish MJOLNIR variant, labelled 'Prefect'. A hybrid of Human and Forerunner technology, only three suits had been developed and proved to be miles ahead of even the newly-developed regular Mark VIII suits despite their heavy costs. Wishing to test the Mark VIII against the Prefect armour, Admiral Ryan Samson gave the order for a live fire exercise that pitted Marco against all three members of Lilac Team that would end only with the incapacitation or capture of one side.
Though reluctant to fight against the Spartans he'd trained personally, Marco wished Vasily-X113, Nicola-X258 and Azzan-X314 well before the exercise began. After being dropped into a mountainous area, Marco spent hours stealthily making his way towards an outpost where several weapons had been stashed. Upon arrival, his motion tracked suddenly detected dozens of foes as he came under fire from multiple directions. Activating his hardlight shield, he was able to deflect fire as he picked up a grenade launcher and used it to flush Nicola out of cover from afar. However, Lilac Team ensured that he couldn't keep any member pinned down for long, with two members pressing the assault at all times when Marco moved to attack one. Seeing that a direct assault would likely lead to his defeat, Marco retreated and led the SPARTAN-IV's back towards the mountains, where he could take advantage of higher ground.
As the trio of Spartans advanced, Marco activated his automatic sentry to draw their attention away from him as he attempted to circle round and flank them. When he made his attack, however, Azzan had used a holographic decoy to draw him out and turned the tables on him, draining his shields with a lengthy burst of fire. However, Marco still retained the edge on speed and strength as a SPARTAN-II, and charged the younger Spartan as he reloaded. Instead of engaging him in hand-to-hand combat, however, he activated his hardlight shield and smashed Azzan into some nearby rocks, taking his assault rifle before heading back towards the base. Realising that his suit could not sustain his equipment for much longer, he discarded the sentry package and drew Lilac Team back into the outpost. While their shield strength was vastly superior and their armour more resilient, their reliance on equipment modules proved to be their undoing as Marco simply ambushed the trio as they entered the facility together, rendering their previous strategy useless as he took on all three in close combat.
While the SPARTAN-IV's were skilled, Marco had nearly sixty years of combat experience on the trio and easily disarmed them. Unwilling to seriously harm them, he neglected to use his combat knife and merely beat each member down. The team leader, Vasily, came close to stabbing Marco in a desperate move to incapacitate him and had his arm fractured in response. Having outlasted the others in terms of endurance, Lilac Team conceded that they had been beaten and the exercise ended. Though Marco praised the Prefect suit for its advanced technology and admitted that his Spartans forced him to work hard for his victory, he stressed the importance of training over technology, as man SPARTAN-IV's, as former military personnel, could barely stand their own against someone of Marco's caliber in close combat, but were excellent marksmen. The data from this exercise was collected and used for the production model of MJOLNIR Mark VIII, which was shipped out to X-Ray, Yankee and Zulu Companies, alongside the remaining SPARTAN-II and III soldiers. By August of 2584 it had entirely replaced the Mark VII model in the field.
Operation: DARK STAR
Battle of Shield World 0038
"Seems like every victory's coming at a heavy price these days. We've got them cornered, so they're biting back twice as hard."
―Marco, speaking during the final years of the First Galactic War
In 2594, ONI was able to pinpoint the position of the Legion's founder, Roger Maxon. Operation: LIONS DEN was initiated and Marathon Team, under the command of Ulrik-Y732, was sent in with Marco acting as their mission planner and handler. Though they were successful, the entire team was wiped out when the Legion blew up their own headquarters upon discovering that Maxon had died. Marco blamed himself for not foreseeing this possibility, though news of Maxon's death proved to be a massive morale booster as it spread into the Inner Colonies. He and the other SPARTAN-II's were not quite as active due to their advancing age, though they still participated in several operations over the next few years as the Legion's power waned and colony worlds were reclaimed and re-integrated.
Following the operation, Marco sent Wulf Team on a dangerous mission to Teltin Station a base on the outer reaches of UNSC-controlled territory. Their primary objective was to disrupt rebel forces there and secure information pertaining to the remaining Legion strongholds. Though Marco was initially unaware of this, ONI had sent another group under the command of Lieutenant Commander Kane-099. The two teams were hostile to one another after an engagement on the station until Marco contacted his old friend. Due to the confusion created, three members of Wulf Team were captured by the Brute Chieftain Saernus, the criminal mastermind controlling the heavily-populated station. Though they were eventually rescued, the fact that a SPARTAN team had been compromised led to Kane giving the go-ahead to for a UNSC Fleet to obliterate the station, killing thousands. Wulf Team and Kane's Spartans narrowly escaped, though Marco reprimanded SPARTAN-099 for his extreme actions afterwards.
Seeking to avoid repeating incidents like those on Teltin Station, ONI temporarily reformed Sigma Team and dispatched Marco, Kane and Jax on numerous missions into the war-torn Outer Colonies. While there was a good deal of friction between Marco and Kane, Jax's position as a mediator and the act of performing missions together again helped to repair their relationship. These covert operations continued until ;ate 2598, when Sigma discovered the location of Roger Maxon's eldest son, Joseph. The man had been placed in charge of the Legion after his father's death, though he proved to be an inferior tactician and military leader overall. After reporting their find to command, the SPARTAN-II's were surprised when ONI ordered their immediate withdrawal in favour of seven SPARTAN-IV Headhunter teams.
Annoyed at being forced to the sidelines, Marco and his comrades were forced to watch as the assassination mission - Operation: SCIMITAR - went ahead. While the initial insertion went forward as planned, it soon became clear that the Headhunters had been lured into a trap as a much larger Legion force ambushed and overwhelmed the supersoldiers before they could breach Maxon's compound. Sigma were hastily deployed alongside several Helljumper platoons as the covert mission transformed into a full-scale battle. By the time the Spartans fought their way into the remnants of Maxon's fortified bunker, they found him dead, though only one Headhunter had survived: Stuart-X352. Maxon had made use of ageing Mantis mechs to overpower his assassins, though in the end he had failed to completely wipe them out. Nonetheless, the Headhunter's ranks had been depleted to the point where aside from Stuart only two others were still active, prompting the unit's shutdown. Furthermore, while most of the fallen Spartans had been recovered, the body of Artyom-X043 was never found despite a lengthy search, worrying Marco.
The Spartans were redeployed several months later in early 2599 after receiving news that the Legion had launched a surprise attack against Sanghelios, largely led by Jiralhanae and Kig-Yar ships. Attacking in the midst of an important peace summit between Thel 'Vadam and Arbiter Felo 'Ranak of the Sangheili Alliance and Admirals Ryan Samson and Thomas Lasky of the UNSC, they had managed to cut each side off from their respective leaders. Upon their arrival Marco and the other Spartans split up to cover more ground. Marco was able to escort Admiral Samson to a shuttle as he intended to lead his Battlegroup in defending the planet, before heading towards the Vadam family keep, which had been besieged by a Jiralhanae force. Thel 'Vadam himself had been slain within his keep at the hands of none other than Magnus by the time Marco finally arrived. The cyborg fled rather than engage the Spartan, whose insistence on using the man's real name greatly angered him. Having failed to kill Jack once again, Marco left waiting on Sanghelios while a battle raged overhead between several fleets. Though the Legion managed to escape into Slipspace, many Jiralhanae ships fought to the end when a secondary UNSC battlegroup led by the UNSC Infinity arrived. Though they had achieved victory once more, news arrived that Admiral Samson had been killed along with most of his ships as they held the line above the planet. This act and the death of their beloved leader enraged the surviving Sangheli leadership, who vowed to commit to the war despite their prior insistence that aside from the Requiem incident, it had been a solely Human affair.
Months after the failed attack on Sanghelios, UNSC and Sangheili forces were able to pinpoint the base of the Splinter Alliance from a fleeing ship, and needed to act quickly. In just a few months, nine remote Human colonies had been obliterated by unknown attackers, and it was suspected that the Alliance had access to some form of superweapon. Due to the reports given by Marco and the other Spartans in the wake of DARK STAR, they concluded that their foe had acquired some kind of Forerunner device or ship. As such, a large fleet was assembled and sent to the planet Minerva, where they would strike the decisive blow against the remnants of the Legion and the Splinter Alliance.
Battle of Minerva
"Spartans, we are all that remains, all that stands between order, and chaos. Down there, lies the last bastion of the Splinter Alliance. It is here, that we shall make history, it is here, that we Spartans live up to our name! I have seen over seventy years of bloodshed, and I will not rest, not slow down, until our last enemy has fallen! Prepare yourselves, ladies and gentlemen, and fear not. As we all know, Spartans never die. Go!"
―Marco's final speech to X-Ray Company, seconds before their orbital drop into Minerva.
A joint UNSC-Sangehili fleet entered the Minerva system in December 2599. The plan was simple: The majority of the combined fleets would keep the Alliance forces at bay, while several Human ships would attempt to land and secure the Capital City and Main Spaceport. Marco, being one of the senior Spartans present, would direct X-Ray Company's assault on the spaceport from the UNSC Flagship, 'Melbourne'.
The Sangehili Supercarrier, Vengeance, made short work of most of the Legion defences, forcing their ships to retreat. Meanwhile, the remaining Kig-Yar forces attempted to leave the system and flee in face of overwhelming odds, but were suddenly destroyed by an unknown presence. Shortly afterwards, a large energy beam hit the Vengeance, crippling it. On the other side of Minerva, a gargantuan ship that dwarfed even the UNSC Infinity waited alongside what remained of the Legion's fleet. This ship's signature matched that of the Forerunner vessels that had escaped during Operation: DARK STAR years befoe. It then fired at the remainder of the fleet, destroying some craft and crippling many others. Hundreds of escape pods and lifeboats were send planetwards. The UNSC Melbourne was undamaged, having been away from the main battle at the time. The ship contained the three SPARTAN-IV companies, and their commanders. On the order of Fleet Admiral John Hawkins, every Spartan on board was to be sent to the planet, with the exception of Jax-007, who would join a Sangehili Specops team in boarding the deadly new enemy ship.
Marco remained on the Melbourne to coordinate the Spartans below, along with Kane-099. X-Ray Company would drop straight into Minerva city, along with half of Yankee Company. The other half would engage Alliance forces in the Governmental Palace on the city outskirts. The entirety of Zulu Company would land in the spaceport, and secure it as a vital asset. Watching from the Bridge, Marco saw that 99.2% of the Spartans had made it down safely, and were engaging the enemy. Wulf Team, led by Maynard-X112, had dropped in a residential area, where the fighting was thickest. Many other UNSC forces had been able to land within 20 minutes of the Spartan landfall.
Marco, watching the situation of the ground, saw that his Spartans were heavily outnumbered and were taking casualties. Zulu Company had taken the spaceport with minimal casualties, and were heading into the main city. Yankee Company had taken the palace, but with heavy losses and X-Ray Company, his Spartans, were surrounded and heavily outnumbered. Marco agreed with Kane that if they wanted to win this battle, they would have to personally lend a hand. Clearing it with Fleet Admiral Hawkins, the two SPARTAN-II's set off in their own drop pods. Landing several miles apart, the two decided it would be best if they assisted their own Companies. Marco fought through the city, until he found several of his Spartans taking cover from enemy fire. Upon seeing their Commander arrive, the SPARTAN-IV's fought with increased vigour. Marco led them into a collapsed building, where they took cover, and set up a firing position. Although happy to see his Spartans alive, Marco was truly searching for one: Kate-X500.
Stuart-X352, Nathaniel-X476 and Isabelle-X021 had been part of Violet Team. Their team leader, Gerald-X347, had been killed by Legion commandos, and the team had lost contact with Carmine Team, who had come under heavy fire from snipers and was pinned down, and Ochre Team, who had been engaging an enemy on a roof, before being pressed back. When asked about the status of Wulf Team, they said that they had not been in contact since the drop. Marco led Violet Team north, where they met up with Sarah-X348 and Duncan-X022, the only survivors of Carmine Team, who had been trapped by Legion marksmen; they had only just broken through. The Spartans contacted Kane-099, who had taken up a sniping position in the palace along with several platoons of Yankee Company.
Marco's plans to regroup and push the Splinter Alliance from the city were shattered when three Jiralhanae carriers came into view over Minerva city, and after dropping off fresh troops, began to glass the UNSC-occupied areas. Hailing Kane on the comms, he arranged for a rendezvous point in a fallout bunker several miles east of their position. Meanwhile, Wulf Team, who had been working their way through the city, had received Marco's broadcast, and began to make their way there. However, as they did, they came under attack by Legion snipers and several Brute patrols. In the ensuing battle, Ross-X090 and Mateo-X234 were killed and Devin-X432 was badly injured. Wulf Team would have perished there, were it not for Alex-A121, who saved them. As they drew closer to the bunker, the Brute High Chieftan, Kartus, and his bodyguards attacked. Marco and the others fought against the Jiralhanae for some time until Alex was wounded, and ordered them to retreat while he set off a HAVOK tactical nuke. While reluctant to leave his old friend behind, the SPARTAN-II fled into the bunker with the surviving SPARTAN-IV's and travelled deep underground before the HAVOK detonated, obliterating much of the surrounding area.
Contact was cut off from the UNSC for several days as heavy bombing hit the city. With the death of their Chieftain, the Jiralhanae forces fell into disarray, and made easy targets for what was left of the UNSC fleet. When the bombing ceased, the Spartans emerged to find the city in ruins. Yankee Company had held the palace, with heavy casualties, while Zulu Company, who had retreated from the spaceport when the bombing began, had fought a bloody battle on the fields outside Minerva city, again taking heavy casualties. Aside from the unidentified enemy ship, upon which fighting was still occurring, the Splinter Alliance forces had been all but crushed. The only man the UNSC now needed was Arthur Maxon, who had taken command from his brother, Joseph, the year before. Marco, along with barely a dozen SPARTAN-IV's, Martin-A136 and Louie-A199, set out for the Legion's HQ, Steel Mountain.
Raid on Steel Mountain
"They held on to that place with every last breath in their bodies, and we burned and blasted and shot our way up there. We had to fight for every inch, 'til we had 'em with their backs to the wall. Then we killed all of them. Not that it matters now, though. We won the war."
―Marco talking about the battle afterwards
Cut off from any reinforcements, Marco decided to lead whoever he had left to attack Steel Mountain, the Legion HQ. Leaving Christine-X096 and Raymond-X199, who were badly wounded, in the care of Isabelle-X021 and Duncan-X022. The Spartan Team came into contact with Kane-099 and Lysander-Y050, who were also looking for survivors. It was discovered that although X-Ray and Yankee Companies had taken serious casualties, many had survived by using the bunker located beneath the Palace, while Zulu company had become entrenched and were still fighting in the marshland outside the city. The Spartans commandeered several warthogs and proceeded towards Steel Mountain. As they got closer, they joined up with the 38th Armoured Division, numbering over a hundred Scorpion tanks. All of the surviving Legion forces had clustered in the vast defence network around Steel Mountain, and fighting had already begun by the time the Spartans had arrived.
Marco led the Spartans as they punched through the last bastions of Legion defence. Leaving the tanks to combat the bulk of Legion forces, they entered the Steel Mountain Complex through a sentry post. Their main objective was to capture or kill Arthur Maxon, the youngest son of the deceased Roger Maxon. Marco had the team split up. Maynard-X112 would take Lysander-Y050, Sarah-X348, Henvid-Y979 and Travis-Y197, sneaking through the ventilation system and striking at the Command Centre, while Marco, Kane-099, Martin-A136, Louie-A199 and Kate-X500 would serve as a main attacking force to distract the bulk of enemy forces while Maynard's team slipped past.
Everything would have gone according to plan, however, if it were not for the fact that Maynard's team had set off in the wrong direction by accident; they realised their mistake when Marco's group breached the patrol room. The Spartans of Marco's team had rushed into the room hoping to capture Maxon, only to be met with two platoons of heavily armed Legion Commandos. The Spartans were caught under heavy fire, Louie-A199 being badly wounded by a grenade. Despite this, they were able to break through after some time, wiping out most of the Legion Commanders who refused to surrender. By this point most of the Legion's forces across Minerva had been destroyed or surrendered to the UNSC invaders. Maynard's team, having realised that they were heading in the wrong direction, moved in through the ventilation system and attacked the bodyguards from behind. The Supreme Commander of the Legion, Arthur Maxon, fired a missile at the Spartans, almost killing Kate-X500. Seeing Kate wounded, Marco sprang towards Maxon and picked him up by the throat, choking him. In his last breath, Maxon fired the remaining missile at the floor in an attempt to kill them both. Marco was heavily injured by the missile, needing to receive heavy surgery and medical attention. He was nearly blinded in his remaining eye. He opted for cybernetic enhancements and surgery, replacing one of his eyes and repairing the other. These augmentations also turned his eyes a bright blue colour. In spite of these near-fatal injuries, Marco had survived, albeit barely, a second massive war.
Mack: "Ever considered retiring? We're not exactly young any more, and I think you of all people deserve a rest."
―Marco conversing with Richard Mack Junior aboard the UNSC Hopeful in 2601.
Following the end of the 29 war, which had left the UNSC devastated, Marco and many other surviving Spartans were transported to the UNSC Hopeful, which had arrived at Minerva shortly after the battle. Of the 2500 SPARTAN-IV's that had been deployed years earlier, there were barely three hundred survivors. X-Ray Company had taken the worst losses, being reduced to just under fifty members. Most of Wulf Team had been killed, and though the unidentified ship had been confirmed destroyed (It had attempted to make a slipspace jump, though half of it was left behind), there was no sign of the SPARTAN-II, Jax-007, the Arbiter, Felo 'Ranak, and their team. They were presumed dead after Ragnarok was cut in two by a slipspace bomb brought by the boarding team. The UNSC were unable to trace where the slipspace bomb had sent them, declaring the team as Killed in Action after a fruitless search.
Marco spent several months on the Hopeful, undergoing further rconstructive surgery and having several augmentations made. Despite being ninety years old, the SPARTAN-II was still in near-peak physical condition, injuries notwithstanding. However, as plans were made for a SPARTAN-V Program in the aftermath of the War, as the SPARTAN-IV ranks had been decimated, and there were only a handful of II's and III's still alive at this point, the elderly Spartans were given the option of retiring. However, Marco, along with his fellows, refused, and decided to stay on working for the UNSC. The SPARTAN-III's were taken back to Earth, where plans were made for the fifth generation of SPARTAN's, while Marco, Kane-099 and Elena-071 were placed into a partially reformed Sigma Team, set to track down the remainder of Legion forces in the outer colonies.
Early 27th Century
From March 2601 onwards, the three SPARTAN-II's were sent out on various missions against Legion remnants. Being placed back in a team pleased Marco, who had disliked the years of working alone and administrative work while he was part of Operation: SCALPEL. The missions also took his mind off of the Battle of Minerva, during which many Spartans, including his longtime friend, Alex-A121, had been killed. Marco had begun to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, experiencing nightmares frequently. Most of his guilt stemmed from the fact that it had been his plan to drop the SPARTAN-IV's onto areas of tactical value in the first place, leading to heavy casualties.
Marco's mental health began to deteriorate as time went by, and after several months he was temporarily discharged from the unit to recuperate. He had been unfocused and was suffering badly from PTSD, though he had been able to cope with it in the past. After speaking to Elena-071, who aside from Kane, was his oldest and closest friend, Marco was able to gradually recover, getting back into fighting condition over the course of several years with the support of both Elena and the recently retired Richard Mack Junior. During this period the old Spartan took the time out to travel between colony worlds, touring the sights and having something of a vacation while he recuperated. Marco was finally cleared for active duty again in 2609, though by this time, there were almost no Legion outposts left to speak of. He was put in part of a task force alongside members of Zulu Company in an effort to curb possible points of rising Insurrection. It was at this time that he met the AI Cicero, who would serve him faithfully for many years to come.
July 7th Shootings
After three months of working with members of Zulu Company, tracking down possible Insurrectionists on several planets, Marco's team had caught wind of Frank Durovin, the founder and leader of the notorious Durovin Crime Family. He, along with over a dozen high-ranking members of the criminal organisation were convening on Earth, and ONI ordered the meeting to be stopped and the leaders to be taken into custody if possible. Marco was placed in command of a platoon of SPARTAN-IV's who were assigned to ambush the criminal meeting, which was taking place within a disused industrial site. Assigning two teams to guard the perimeter and ensure that no one escaped, Marco led a third team inside, managing to infiltrate the facility to the room where the meeting was being held. It was revealed that Frank Durovin, the crime boss, had taken many members of his own family, including several who would be classed as no threat, to the meeting with the rest of his Lieutenants, as they discussed their operations in smuggling weapons, drugs and other illegal items.
Having recorded most of the meeting, the Spartan team launched their attack, blinding them with grenades and eliminating those who shot back. However, after securing the room, the Zulu Company members began to execute the survivors once it was confirmed that Durovin was in possession of a data file, which was taken by the SPARTAN-IV's. Marco, who had not been told of this in any way, attempted to stop the executions, but was ignored, several civilians being massacred simply for being present. He berated the younger Spartans for their actions, claiming that while they were professional soldiers, they were not executioners or murderers. It was shortly after this debate that they were picked up, though Marco was ordered aboard a separate dropship. Shortly afterward, despite complaints to his superiors, he was transferred back to Sigma, where he angrily informed Kane-099 and Elena-071 of what had transpired.
In November 2609, Marco vanished.
After several days of searching his residence at the SPARTAN facility on Earth, an encoded message was found, for Elena-071 and Kane-099. It explained how after nearly a century, he had become disillusioned with the UNSC and it's methods, realising that he could not fight for them any more, nor could he retire peacefully. So, the Spartan announced that he would be setting off to join human colonists living outside the control of the UEG and UNSC, taking Cicero, a Fifteenth Generation 'Smart' AI, with him. At the same time this message was discovered, there was a break-in at Fenwell Prison, a maximum security installation on Earth. The facility's power generators were taken offline, and dozens of security personnel were killed. Though almost all CCTV footage was wiped from the system, fragments confirmed that the attacker was indeed a SPARTAN-II. Worse still, among the political prisoners freed was Alfred Bates, a former Legion General who had been detained in 2579 by Wulf Team. After stealing a transport, the two headed for the outer colonies.
This was bad news for members of HIGHCOM and the Office of Naval Intelligence, many of whom had worked with the veteran SPARTAN before. Being active for many decades, he was privy to very sensitive information that if revealed to the public, could cause massive civil unrest across the colonies. So, an order was sent out that Marco had to be found and brought back at all costs, alive or dead. For this purpose, a task force of veteran SPARTAN-IV's was set up, with Wulf Team at the helm.
League of Free Peoples
"They weren't soldiers, they were factory workers, farmers, people wanting a better life. I changed that. I trained them, broke these human beings down and remade them as soldiers. By the end, they had nothing left, nothing but their anger."
―Marco looking back on his formation of the LFP Army.
After some time, Marco, Bates, and Cicero arrived at the outer colony world of Proteus. They had managed to avoid detection by UNSC patrols, and needed supplies. Due to Marco's distinctive size and stature, that would easily mark him out, Bates elected to go out for supplies in one of the colony's market districts. While there, the former Legion General noticed that the UNSC garrison was, as under the new laws instigated by the United Earth Government regarding possible Insurrection in wake of the Galactic War, treating the colonists with a great deal of oppression, severely beating and arresting a protesting young woman in a public square. After returning to the ship, the enraged Bates told Marco of the injustices he had seen on the colony, citing that it was precisely this kind of behaviour that had made him join the Insurrectionist forces decades ago. Despite his dislike for the way the UNSC was, Marco was reluctant to actively fight against the organisation that he had worked under for almost a century. Eventually, after some coercion, the old Spartan was convinced to take direct action. After several weeks of building up forces on the colony, the rebels, led by Marco, who still possessed his MJOLNIR suit, stormed the UNSC headquarters on Proteus, swiftly knocking out communications and overwhelming the forces there. Within one night, the LOFP had taken control of the colony. However, for some of it's leaders, as well as Bates, believed that expansion would be the only way forward. Marco, who was 100 years old by this point, wished for simply settling and improving the colony, but went along with their plans, becoming one of the chief military leaders within the organisation.
While Marco's role was originally that of an advisor on military tactics, it eventually led to training the soldiers personally in the growing army, to giving orders, to personally fighting on the frontlines. This continued for four years as the LOFP stirred up Insurrection in colonies, causing them to remove UNSC forces, all in the name of provincial self-rule. The Spartan took solace in the fact that unlike the Legion, who had actively declared war on the UNSC and launched a full attack, the League were giving the colonists the opportunity to govern themselves, only engaging in battle if there was no other choice.
By early 2615, the League of Free Peoples, whose influence had spread over a dozen planets, gained it's greatest prize: Reach. However, the rebellion had not gone as smoothly as planned, Marco's forces ending up butchering a garrison of UNSC Marines who had refused to surrender. Worse still, the main council of the League, who consisted of Bates and several other original members from Proteus, ordered that any civilians who did not accept their 'independence' would be harshly put down. It was at this point that Marco finally see that he was being used, just as he had been for decades by the UNSC. Retreating to the newly-established LOFP base, situated in Divide Mountain, Marco refused contact with council members for several days, until reports of enemy forces came in. While the UNSC had not been ignorant of the LOFP's actions, their response had been minimal, the colonies having been largely unimportant and out of the way to be a serious threat. Reach, however, being on Earth's doorstep, was another matter entirely. A large fleet, carrying most of the SPARTAN-IV's, who now had been active for over four and a half decades, was dispatched to Reach to quell the rebellion there. While Zulu Company, which had the largest numbers, was deployed to attack New Manassas, where the LOFP Council was situated, Wulf Team, still under the command of the venerable Maynard-X112, was sent to Divide mountain with orders to capture or eliminate Marco.
Battle for New Manassas
The UNSC forces moved in over Reach as quickly as possible, cutting off communications from the planet, leaving the LOFP unable to call for help from the colonies under their control. The Marines dispatched were able to take over the majority of the planet within days, most of the League's resistance being hidden. The main offensive came when Alfred Bates, a General once more, led the bulk of his forces against the UNSC on Memorial fields, which had been the site of a famous last stand decades before.
Meanwhile, the SPARTAN-IV Zulu Company swiftly moved towards New Manassas in an attempt to capture or kill the Council. Marco made no attempt to help them, remaining in his base on Divide Mountain along with several hundred others. He did, however, direct troops through the city via the former Superintendent's systems, which had been taken over by Cicero, his AI. There, the rebels were able to inflict remarkably high casualties on the Spartans, though they were wiped out to a man. As Zulu Company were about to move in on the LOFP Council, who had all but given up, Marco remotely detonated explosives within the building, killing everyone inside. This act reminded Marco of a similar one that had been performed by Doctor Calvin Roe sixty three years earlier. He had killed Marco's friend, Wulf-041, and several others in an act of cowardice as he fled the building, detonating explosives as he did so. Marco, who had killed many more, felt horrified and ashamed of his actions, and cut off all connections to the outside. However, his transmissions had been pinpointed, and Wulf Team was already closing in on the old Spartan.
"So this is it then, old friend. Just you and me. Let's get this over and done with then..."
Though the League of Free Peoples had gained a great deal of power over the years, they were no match for the strength of the UNSC, which had rapidly recovered following the First Galactic War. Within 24 hours, only General Bates' army remained, fighting valiantly on Memorial Fields despite being hopelessly outnumbered. As Marco contemplated his options, Wulf Team were able to infiltrate the mountainside facility and break into the main hangar bay, where Marco and several others were planning to escape via civilian freighters. Before Marco could board his ship, the SPARTAN-IV's detonated several explosives, killing many rebels who were making their escape and blocking the hangar doors. Marco himself was able to survive due to his MJOLNIR armour. Falling back to the control room with the survivors, he was confronted by two of the Spartans, Hector-Y242 and Samson-Y953 who had been pursuing him through the vents. Despite the skill of the Spartans, both members of Yankee Company, and Marco's advanced age, he was able to gain the upper hand, killing both of them quickly and brutally in close combat.
Ordering the rest of his comrades to run, Marco uploaded Cicero into the base's security network, aiming to at least slow down Wulf Team, though he knew that they would reach him eventually. He had trained them to be unstoppable. Marco's AI was able to cut off two other Wulf Team members in the hangar, leaving only two to face him directly: Maynard-X112 and Kate-X500. After giving the old SPARTAN-II one chance to return to the UNSC, which he declined, stating that they would never allow him to live in peace, Marco's niece and protégé engaged him, at first using their rifles to pin him down while attempting to flush him out with grenades. Not allowing himself to be cornered, Marco launched himself at the Spartans, using his weight and strength as an advantage. He took Kate as a hostage, buying himself valuable seconds as Maynard hesitated before throwing her into a side passage, which Cicero then remotely locked down. It was down to two of them now. Marco and Maynard.
Just as Maynard had given him a chance, Marco gave Maynard a chance to leave, which the Spartan, eternally loyal to the UNSC and just as stubborn as his mentor, refused. The two fought in close quarters in the control room of the Divide Mountain Complex, neither one being able to gain an advantage. While Marco was physically stronger and large, having nearly a century of experience, Maynard was more agile, and made use of various styles of close quarters combat compared to Marco's largely improvised strategies. While the two former friends fought, a new threat had appeared over Reach: A small armada of ships, both Forerunner and Human in design. The ships loosed hundreds of soldiers and Promethans on Memorial Fields, causing the two human armies to join forces to combat this new threat. The lead ship fired upon Divide Mountain, nearly destroying the facility, causing the two Spartans to run for their lives as the mountain began to collapse over their heads. Marco was able to make it out alive, believing Maynard to have been killed. As he neared his 'safe room', he was ambushed again by the determined Spartan.
Though tired, bloody and beaten, Marco continued to fight as flaming wreckage from the base fell around them in the deep cavern. Marco was stabbed several times before he disarmed Maynard and punched him repeatedly in the face, smashing his visor. In response, Maynard shot Marco in the face with a concealed pistol. For the second time in his life, the SPARTAN-II lost his right eye, this time a robotic prosthetic. Forced to remove his helmet, the two battled face to face, finally reaching their limits. Knowing that he could not fight for much longer, Marco looked around for a weapon as Maynard kept up his relentless assault. Spying a discarded assault rifle, he dived for the weapon as the SPARTAN-IV pressed the attack. Marco grabbed the gun, not checking the ammo counter as Maynard charged him once more. Leaping up, he jammed the rifle under Maynard's chestplate and pulled the trigger, firing half a clip into his old friend. Maynard-X112 fell back, attempting to reach Marco one more time before he finally died.
Having finally killed his finest student, the badly injured Marco put on his heavily damaged helmet and began to drag the corpse towards the safe room, situated within the cavern. The Spartan had built the room as a final fallback point the moment LOFP forces had occupied Reach. Within the room were several computer terminals, as well as a holo-tank for Cicero to appear, a suite for removing MJOLNIR armour and several crates worth of supplies. In addition, the room contained one cryotube, for use in emergencies. Marco placed Maynard's body in the tube and activated it, hoping that Maynard would perhaps be revived in the future.
Marco spent several days recuperating in his safe room, making repairs to his armour and donning his old eye patch to cover his broken cybernetic one. When he finally did emerge, both the UNSC forces and their attackers had vanished, leaving the colonists in peace. Making his way out of the demolished mountain fortress, Marco travelled across Memorial Fields, which had been devastated by the battle. In their hasty retreat, the UNSC forces had abandoned a lot of equipment on the planet, which was being picked over by local colonists when Marco arrived. Surprised and terrified to see the Spartan, the colonists agreed (albeit with some persuasion) to help Marco offworld and find the surviving LOFP forces. Meeting up with a group that survived the battle, Marco learned that during the battle, both General Alfred Bates and the SPARTAN commander, Lysander-Y050 had been killed by the leader of the attackers on the battlefield. Though he lamented Bates' death, Marco was determined to move on, commandeering a civilian freighter from a shipyard and escaping Reach, immediately heading for Proteus, the only world that the League still had full control of following the UNSC's crackdown. Meanwhile, the rogue ships that attacked Reach had disappeared, making slipspace jumps outsystem and into the unknown. As Marco travelled, news reports began coming in of outer colony worlds being annihilated, leading to the UNSC issuing a state of emergency as they had done in 2572 with the Legion, and 2525 with the Covenant.
Raising an Army
"I'm not doing this for the UNSC. I'm doing this for my species, for all my friends who never lived to see this day. We'll hit back, and hit hard. Didn't spend half my life fighting aliens and innies just to see it all go to hell now."
―Marco in early 2616
After arriving on Proteus, the Spartan found the colony in disarray, having lost most of it's leadership on Reach. Marco's arrival brought hundreds to him seeking guidance, the old warrior in battered MJOLNIR being the sole survivor of the LOFP council. Though he was tempted to merely organise the colony and settle down, the immense threat posed by this new foe prompted him to act. Hearing logs from the short, but vicious battle that had been fought on the planet, Marco was shocked to hear the unmistakable voice of his oldest friend commanding the alien forces, having assumed that he had finally died with Jax and Felo 'Ranakee above Minerva. With the survival of Jack in mind, Marco set about restructuring the pitiful militia that had been left on Proteus into an effective fighting force, recruiting or even conscripting others as he went.
For the next three months, word was sent to the independent outer colonies, either under rebel control or abandoned by the UNSC, that an army was being raised to combat this menace, which had cut through an entire UNSC fleet at Mamore and obliterated the planet at the end of the year. By February 2616, hundreds of thousands had joined the cause, a ragtag fleet of ships assembling over Proteus while the UNSC and Sangheili consolidated their forces after multiple attacks. Often, Marco considered returning to Reach with the right medical equipment to revive Maynard, who had been left under Cicero's watchful eye in the chamber under Divide Mountain. In the end, he decided against it, wanting to leave his deceased protégé in peace.
By April, and Marco's one hundred and fifth birthday, he realised that the assembled fleet under his command would barely make a dent in one of the massive ships that had been deployed at Minerva and Reach. Consulting with his Lieutenants, none as tactically brilliant as Bates had been, Marco made the decision to create a truce with both the United Nations Space Command and the Sangheili Alliance. Their meeting point would be the planet Harvest, which had been the site of the Human-Covenant War's first battle many years before. Messages were sent to HIGHCOM and Sangheilios Command, and Marco's fleet departed for the meeting.
Truce on Harvest
The fleet arrived at the Harvest system in mid-April, and was met by several UNSC battlegroups, as well as a single Sangheili Supercarrier. It was agreed that they would meet on the ground of the re-terraformed colony, which had once again become one of the key agricultural suppliers to the colonies. However, the UNSC delegation were unaware that it was Marco who would be meeting them, assuming that he had perished on Reach. His generally unkempt appearance and lack of MJOLNIR armour making him generally unrecognisable to many, though his general build and distinctive voice gave him away upon meeting with his counterparts on the planet.
Meeting with the respective UNSC and Sangheili delegations, Marco was surprised to be meeting several old friends. The head of the UNSC group was none other than Major General Richard Mack Junior, now one hundred and seven years of age, who had been brought out of retirement by HIGHCOM. In addition, Elena-071, his oldest friend, and Kate-X500, his niece and sole survivor of the original Wulf Team were present as his bodyguards. Representing the Sangheili were the new Arbiter, Fol 'Taram, and Field Marshall Drass 'Ranak, a relative of Felo 'Ranak. After initial greetings were made, negotiations got underway. The main purpose of the meeting was to establish a truce between the UNSC and the reformed League of Free Peoples, who had been engaging in sporadic fighting over the months. As Marco was essentially the defacto leader of the LOFP by this point, the agreement was easily made. While Mack and Marco were old friends, one topic they disagreed on was the subject of full independence for the colonists of Proteus and it's protectorates, excluding the reclaimed Reach. While Marco stated that these colonies were fully self-sufficient and could operate alone with their own defence force, Mack was a firm believer that all Human affairs should be overseen from Earth.
After arguing for some time, Elena-071 convinced Mack to let these colonies go in light of the dire situation, citing that Marco and his fleet were in indispensable asset in taking down this new threat. Once this agreement was made, Arbiter 'Taram unveiled his plan to launch a surgical strike against the enemy at their last known position, the Mamore system. Using pinpoint slipspace jumps and high-power weaponry, a SPARTAN/Sangheili strike team could infiltrate the flagship and attempt to take out the leader. It was at his point that Marco raised his concerns that this commander was none other than Jack-085, who had abandoned his 'Magnus' persona in 2599. This came as a shock to the others, who had thought him killed when his ship was torn apart above Minerva by a slipspace bomb.
The negotiations came to a close with Marco agreeing to rejoin the Spartans, at least in an unofficial capacity. He would be granted new MJOLNIR armour to replace the suit lost on Reach, and be granted a position leading one of the new SPARTAN-V companies. Though Marco still held a dislike for the UNSC as a while, this would be the best option in the short term. In his mind, he began to formulate a plan to get revenge on those within the Office of Naval Intelligence who had betrayed him and formulated his assassination. After the meeting concluded, Marco spoke to Kate, whom he had briefly fought with and defeated on Reach before fighting Maynard. It was here that she revealed she had married Maynard in early 2601, and had given birth to twin boys the following year. The children had been fine, but ONI had immediately relocated them to an orphanage on Earth due to her SPARTAN status. This revelation shocked Marco immensely. Kate also informed him that her father, Marco's brother Michael, had disappeared from his nursing home on Earth, probably on ONI's orders. This had occurred shortly after Marco had gone AWOL. While Marco refused when pressed to tell Kate the exact details of Maynard's death, he promised her to find their family once the war was over. What had been at first a battle for survival became very personal for the elderly Spartan. The UNSC, LOFP and Sangheili ships departed Harvest the next day, heading to the Sol System, where they would plan their attack.
Battle for Mars
"It's simple. We hold the line here or he kills all of you. Doesn't matter how deep the rats at ONI have dug your holes, he'll obliterate Earth, and every single planet in his path."
―Marco warning HIGHCOM
Upon his return to the Sol System with the amassed fleet, Marco was put in charge of SPARTAN Operations, reuniting with Commander Kane-099 on Mars. Reports began to flood in from the inner colonies about a small yet immensely powerful fleet of Forerunner ships wiping out all resistance as they advanced closer and closer to Humanity's homeworld. Many of the SPARTAN-IV's had mixed feelings about Marco, some seeing him as a war hero, others resenting him for being a traitor to the UNSC. Nevertheless, the SPARTAN-II took charge of the situation, organising ground defences while plans were made to rebel their incoming foe. The SPARTAN-V Program, started in 2614, would make up the bulk of Marco's forces; there were barely a handful of II's and III's alive at this point, and the IV's numbers depleted after over forty years of service. The plan was to have the joint UNSC-LOFP-Sangheili fleet fought the enemy to a standstill, forcing them to deploy their troops groundside in an effort to destroy the planet as a whole. While risky, largely being based on the little footage their was from previous attacks, it was the best Marco could do.
On October 5th, 2616, Jack's fleet arrived. The foe, which had been identified as a reformed United Rebel Front, ignored the preliminary planets in the Sol System and headed straight for the allied fleets. They were, however, fighting the best that both Humanity and the Sangheili could offer, many ships being destroyed on both sides. However the enemy's flagship was seemingly invulnerable to damage as it shot down ship after ship in orbit. After a full day of fighting during which neither side could take the upper hand, Jack's deployed his ground forces to Mars, just as Marco had predicted. It was here that tens of thousands of Marines, under the command of the elderly but competent Richard Mack Junior, fought a desperate battle across the planet's northern continent, battling the seemingly endless amount of Prometheans who slaughtered anyone and everyone in their path. Two days and nearly a million casualties later, it seemed that the most of the Promethans had gathered by the city of Fenris, having pushed Mack's Marines back for long enough that they could begin deployment of a bomb, one which had the capability to destroy Mars and the gathered forces around it.
Siege of Fenris
"This is Sierra Zero-Two-Five. All Spartan groups, deploy and hold the city. We're ending this war today!"
―Marco addressing the SPARTAN-V's.
Within the city of Fenris, the worst fighting of the entire war occurred. With all other UNSC forces forced back, Marco finally initiated an attack from the Spartans. Nine hundred SPARTAN-V soldiers were deployed initially, cutting a bloody swathe into the enemy as hundreds more arrived via drop pod or Pelican. Marco, Kane, and Elena, as the only SPARTAN-II's alive at this point, moved in together, landing in the city's warehouse district, where they found hundreds of civilians hiding. Faced with the unwanted dilemma of civilian safety in the middle of battle, Marco radioed for Wulf Team to escort them from the city. While this was done largely to save them without impeding his own progress, it was also to ensure that Kate-X500 stayed away from the main battle.
By this point, the enemy forces had constructed a large beacon within the city, linking it to their nigh-indestructible flagship in orbit. It was from here that the Spartans witnessed reinforcements and the bomb being deployed via a form of gravity lift. As they were quickly running out of time, Marco ordered for all SPARTAN-V forces to converge on the beacon and secure the device. Not long after, reports began to come in over the COM about the enemy leader taking to the field personally, killing a fireteam of Spartans while his comrades continued to fight. With Jack, on the field, Marco and the others made a dash for the lift.
As they got closer, fighting through waves of Prometheans, Wulf Team returned unexpectedly, lead by Martin-A136 and Louie-A199. Utilising a Pelican gunship, they cleared out the area around the huge bomb and landed as more Spartans arrived. Seeing that the UNSC were winning on the ground, Jack retreated, engaging Louie and Jason-X250, both of whom were badly wounded as he escaped to his flagship through the lift. While EOD teams arrived to the area, the surviving Spartans ran for the lift before it could be powered down, evading gunfire, artillery, and eventually an airstrike that all but stopped their all-out assault. Marco was forced to crawl towards the lift, arriving just ahead of the others and being transported up to the massive flagship, given the title of Jormungand by the UNSC for it's sheer destructive capability.
Raid on the Jormungand
Jack: "This is it, Marco, the two of us, fighting as the world burns below."
Marco: "You're a bloody monster, Jack. How far did you go to become this?"
Jack: "Too far, old friend, too far. I was given a new body and a new purpose, but not a new mind. I've wanted to kill you myself for years. I'm glad that your boy failed in his mission."
— SPARTAN-085 and SPARTAN-025, shortly before their final confrontation
Using the gravity lift, Marco and a dozen other Spartans, were able to make it to the enemy flagship, codenamed Jormungand. Though they had been successful, most were wounded and battered from the siege below. Almost immediately, they came under attack, being forced to split up into groups. Desperate to find Jack, Marco ran off alone in a bid to find his old friend. The Jormungand, which by this point was singlehandedly holding off the UNSC, LOFP, and Sangheili fleets, had begun to gain an upper hand, slowly but surely cutting through it's foes in an attempt to reach Earth. Marco was able to find the ship's main guns, disabling them himself before being caught by a patrol. Though the SPARTAN-II fought bravely in the ensuing firefight, he was cornered by the sheer number of Prometheans aboard the ship, resorting to desperate hand-to-hand combat just to hold back the onslaught until the timely arrival of Wulf Team. The SPARTAN team saved Marco, and travelled with him towards the ship's bridge, where Kane-099, Elena-071 and Louie-A199 had finally encountered Jack, who was planning to sent the Jormungand on a suicide run at Earth, it's reactors being powerful enough to obliterate the entire planet without need for the bombs.
Marco dispatched most of Wulf Team to secure the hangar, while he, Kate, Jason-X250 and Martin raced for the bridge, having been hailed over the COM by Elena. By the time they had arrived, Louie was badly wounded, with the other two barely holding their ground against Jack. The former Spartan had been heavily altered and augmented since the fighting on Reach, in which he had sustained near-fatal injuries thanks to Alfred Bates and Lysander-Y050. Using a captured Energy Sword, Jack was able to outmaneuver Kane, slashing him in the lower back and gravely injuring him before retreating further into the ship at the sight of the three others. Seeing Kane crippled by his injury, Marco left Elena and Martin to carry him away, while Kate took control of the Jormungand, turning it around before it could reach Earth, shutting down the engines remotely. Marco ran after Jack, chasing him into a large, room situated behind the bridge. The room, which served as Jack's living quarters, contained many life-support devices and strange substances, many of which the former SPARTAN consumed before Marco could reach him. Jack explained that due to the strain of his augmented body after over sixty years of use, coupled with the near-fatal wounds inflicted on him by Lysander-Y050 on Reach, he was slowly dying, the drugs being taken to numb the intense pain he had begun to feel. He had been promised with newer augmentations and a fresh start once his conquest was complete by the people controlling him behind the scenes. Clearly delusional, desperate, and insane, Jack began to goad Marco about his own lust for killing, and how the pair of them were superior to humans in general. This speech was cut short when Marco opened fire at Jack, shutting him up and beginning what was to be their last fight.
The Omega Group
"Can't say I'm what you'd call a nice guy. Had way too much fun killing over the years to ever be called 'nice'."
―Marco in a psych evaluation.
Marco had, throughout training, always had a rebellious attitude towards his superiors, more specifically Dr. Calvin Roe, though this faded with time. He was also aggravated quite easily by non-Spartans, and almost got into a fight with a group of abusive ODST's had it not been for Jax-007 and Resk-063 intervening. Marco possessed a rather cynical, sarcastic personality, and would often comment negatively on his surroundings or taunt enemies in combat to gain the advantage, something that worked more often than not. Marco was also very vocal with his opinions on Insurrectionists and the Covenant. He believed that Insurrectionists were cowardly traitors who had turned their back on their own species, and that the Covenant were simply aliens that needed to be destroyed. Even after the conclusion of the Human-Covenant War, he remained very wary of allied Sangeheili forces, expecting a betrayal at any moment. His opinions on rebels largely remained the same throughout the First Galactic War, though he did support colonial independence in his later years, becoming a key individual in a secessionist movement at one point.
After finding out about his family in 2553, Marco became very protective of them, especially his niece, Kate, who later became a SPARTAN-IV. He risked his life for her in the Battle for New Hope in 2568, even losing his right eye to a sniper round. There were few others that Marco genuinely cared about, Elena-071, his oldest friend, being the one person he could always confide in. The two formed a good relationship in their later years and eventually retired together in 2619, living on the re-terraformed planet of Harvest in seclusion for some time. Marco would generally follow orders diligently and to the letter, though his methods were considered unorthodox by his superiors at times, even for a SPARTAN. Marco had very few close friends, even within Sigma, and throughout his entire life, there were few he ever confided in. During training, Marco became good friends with Jack-085 and Elena-071, also befriending Nef-015 and Wulf-041. Following the augmentations, with Elena's supposed death and Jack's escape, Marco found it difficult to integrate with others. However, outside of combat, he was reasonably friendly, or at least attempted to be so. Like to most of Sigma, he made very little effort to socialise with non-SPARTAN personnel, with few exceptions.
In addition to the small amount of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, that was generally expected in many Spartans, he also suffered from what was known as Survivor's Guilt, after the deaths of his team mates in the later years of the Human-Covenant War, even when he could do nothing to save them. Wulf-041's death in particular was devastating to Marco, leading to him and the Spartans of Sigma, Tau and Upsilon teams in pursuit of Doctor Calvin Roe, who had killed Wulf and several others, in a fit of rage. This was one of the few times that he completely disregarded his Spartan training and composure in a burst of emotion.
Decades of war and conflict finally took their toll on the Spartan when, in the early 27th century, he suffered from a terrible breakdown and was unable to continue with active service, spending several years recuperating with the help of his fellow Spartans. The massive loss of life during the battle of Minerva, during which most of his Spartans had died, affected him greatly. Even upon returning to service, Marco was a changed man, leading to his departure and defection to the rebel cause upon seeing a massacre caused by the SPARTAN-IV's that he had helped train, having lost a great deal of faith in the UNSC. In his spare time, Marco studied the history of the Roman Republic extensively, using several tactics he had learned from various key figures in his later life. His study of the Romans, along with several other ancient cultures, was largely a hobby for the Spartan; something to do in his spare time. It was this interest that got him partnered with the fifteenth generation Smart AI, Cicero, who had based himself on the real life figure. Marco got on very well with the AI, who he took with him when he disappeared in 2609. Cicero continued to serve Marco faithfully, as a friend and an advisor for several years before being left behind on Reach.
Skills and Abilities
"Suit yourself boss, I'm adaptable."
―Marco after meeting Admiral Hood in late 2552.
During his training as a SPARTAN-II, Marco was noted for being the most tactically flexible of everyone in the Project SIGMA and was able to adapt much easier than his team mates could. However, as the Human-Covenant War went on, Marco's penchant for going off alone in battle would put his team in danger several times. Marco was, however, the most proficient in hand-to-hand combat of all the Sigma Spartans; being able to outfight veteran Sangheili within seconds, and on several occasions even kill Hunters using only his armoured hands. The Spartan was particularly skilled in the martial art of Krav Maga, which relied on grapples and the quick neutralisation of threats, something that was critical in battle. With his SPARTAN augmentations improving his speed, strength and reaction time, Marco was a nigh-unstoppable force at close range for most enemies.
Marco also attempted to repurpose Covenant weapons as something of a hobby, though his only notable success was customising a captured Brute Shot to fire human fragmentation grenades during the Battle of Harpa. Though useful at the time, his weapon was confiscated and most likely destroyed upon Sigma Team's arrival to Reach in July 2552. Marco's tinkering was largely something he practised in his spare time, often attempting to improve on the efficiency of his weapons. He would impart his knowledge to future SPARTAN generations, ensuring that they made the best out of their assigned kit. Like all Spartans he was proficient with most Covenant weapons after years of experience on the frontlines.
When it came to plans, Marco was never quite the brilliant tactician that Fenn-145 was. His favoured strategy seemed to be 'sprinting it' - charging through enemy lines to secure an objective and/or escape. This tactic, though crude and seemingly suicidal at times, was used to great effect, particularly during the Fall of Reach, the Loss of Hope and the Battle of Minerva, to name a few, his enhanced speed and reflexes making this manoeuvre devastating to the enemy at times. Also notable among Marco's qualities was his intense resilience to pain and has taken damage that would cripple or kill others, even Spartans. One example of this would be during the Battle of Harpa, in which he fought for several days with battered armour, several plasma wounds and a broken arm. It was his resilience that saved him from death many times throughout his life, being shot through the head in 2569, losing his right eye and needing some facial reconstruction being a prime example of this. Even many years later in 2615, the 104-year old Marco was able to single handedly fight off most of Wulf Team and was able to take down two members before having a lengthy battle with his protégé, Maynard-X112. Though the SPARTAN-IV was younger and better equipped, Marco was able to triumph, albeit barely, killing Maynard and surviving the collapse of his base. His SPARTAN-II augmentations and the further enhancements he received following the First Galactic War would keep Marco at a level of superhuman strength and ability in spite of his advanced age, making him an incredibly dangerous individual
As with all SPARTAN-II's, Marco was trained to some degree in first aid, though he rarely had time to give it on the battlefield. Marco spent most of his free time studying or training and was well-versed in the arts of guerilla warfare and urban combat, becoming fond of the Commentaries on the Gallic War by Julius Caesar alongside a number of other books on military tactics. Marco put all he had learned to good use while training and directing the League of Free People's military during their brief uprising in the 27th Century, teaching the soldiers under his command how to succeed against vastly superior foes with some success at first.
Due to spending much of his time in armour, Marco's light brown skin had become unusually pale, much of his body being scarred as a result of both his augmentations and years of battle. Marco was easily identified from the other Spartans, when in and out of armour. He was described as 'twitchy' by his superiors, and always seemed ready for a fight. During the war, he kept his hair short until after the Battle of Earth in 2552, the end of the Human-Covenant War. Afterwards, he grew a small beard. Marco's hair was dark brown for many years, though following the Human-Covenant War it began greying, a sure sign of his ageing. He neglected to dye it like many others would, not seeing the point in taking a lot of care for his appearance when he'd be encased in armour for most of the time. In addition, due to remaining in Cryosleep for greatly extended periods of time on slipspace journeys throughout his life Marco's biological age was significantly less than his actual chronological age. This allowed him to remain in active service long past the mandatory retirement age. He was in excellent physical condition while many regular people would be past their prime, another thing attributing to this being his SPARTAN-II augmentations and superior genetics, which gave him a vast advantage over other humans and even later SPARTAN generations.
After many years of heavy fighting on the frontlines of the Human-Covenant War, Marco's green eyes had adopted a haunted look, known as a 'thousand yard stare'. He was unlike most other Spartans, quite disturbed by war, and though Marco would fight alongside his comrades he would often point out horrors that were ignored; most saw what they did as simple duty, while Resk-063 sympathised with him. While training the SPARTAN-IV's, a single glare would do more to make them listen to his orders than any words ever did. After losing his eye in 2568, he wore a black eyepatch over it. In 2600, after sustaining heavy wounds following the Battle of Minerva, Marco opted for augmentations to improve his damaged eyesight, which was not as good as it used to be. Marco received a cybernetic right eye, while his new augmentations turned his left eye bright blue. Following the near-fatal battle in 2615, Marco took to wearing his old patch again after his cybernetic one was destroyed by Maynard-X112.
"I admit it, you scare me. I'll expecting C-12 in my cereal from now on..."
―Marco speaking to Amy-133 in 2545, after she turned a child's stuffed toy into an anti-tank mine.
"Damn rebels, turning their back on their own species. Those covvie-lovers deserve to die, every last one of 'em."
―Marco condemning the Insurrection.
"I doubt people will remember you or I once we're gone, Kane. I've seen what it's like to be snuffed out like that. Jacob and Amy didn't die like heroes; they were gone in a second. I don't want to die unremembered."
"Hello. I am Lieutenant Junior Grade Marco-025. I am a trained killer, a Spartan, and according to the spooks who wrote my file, slightly unstable. Believe me, I will make the next year of your lives a living hell unlike anything any of you have experienced before. When, and if you maggots ever make it onto a real battlefield, remember this: Nothing you find out there will ever scare you as much as me."
―Marco's first words to the trainees of the SPARTAN-IV X-Ray Company in 2569.
"We're the only ones left now, relics of the last war. Let's just get this over with."
―Marco speaking to Jax-007 and Kane-099 before the battle of Minerva in 2599.
"Spartans never die? Tell that to those that fought at Minerva..."
―When being questioned by a reporter in 2600.
"In modern war, you will die like a dog for no good reason."
"I'm sorry, but what makes you think that you can actually kill me? I've taken more plasma and bullet hits than I care to remember, I've survived glassings, explosions, cave-ins, too many stealthed split-lips who think they're being clever, beatings, bastard commanders and a rogue Spartan! You're just another number on the list."
―To Arthur Maxon in 2599.
"It's as durable as the regular stuff, but I'd rather not go into battle looking like a bloody ninja."
―Marco, after helping to test the HAYABUSA variant of MJOLNIR armour.
"The die is cast. I'm sorry."
―Marco's last words to his protégé, Maynard-X112, before their duel at the Divide in 2615, which led to his disappearance for some time.
"Victory cannot be achieved without sacrifice. We Spartans know this better than anyone."
―Marco, speaking to Maynard-X112 in 2599.
"The problem with being a so-called legend is that you have to endure the bloody rumours. If half were true, I'd be a 20 foot tall robotic giant with laser eyes."
―Marco discussing the SPARTAN-II's status in the media.
"I can't take it any more. I can't sleep, I can barely eat, hell, I can't even close my eyes without seeing the faces of everyone I've ever killed. Killing is all I know, and to be honest, and some days I feel like ending it all. I've stayed strong all these years, but I feel like everything is starting to catch up to me."
―Marco confiding in Elena-071 after his breakdown in 2605.
Marco, circa 2545.
Marco's initial MJOLNIR Mark IV Armour.
Marco during the early years of the war
Marco wearing his MJOLNIR Mark V Armour.
Marco using a heavy machine gun.
Marco with Richard Mack Jr., one of the few non-Spartan personnel whom he considered a friend.
Marco and Wulf-041 fighting on Harpa.
Marco about to attack several Sangeheili warriors.
As with the rest of Sigma Team, Marco was originally created for a Machinima project, in which he would be a Spartan heavy weapons specialist. All of the pictures of him taken in Halo 3 were originally from the long since cancelled project.
The author feels that Marco's moral alignment would be Neutral Good, with some tendencies toward Chaotic Good, depending on the situation.
Marco is the main SPARTAN-II protagonist of the Sigmaverse.
This is the Author's second ever page, and first character. As such, it has undergone constant revision and improvement since its creation and was the basis for the rest of the Sigmaverse to form around.
As of October 22nd, 2014, this article is the 15th longest on this wiki, and the third longest character article overall.
Though Marco was originally created as a typical 'badass' Spartan, his personality was gradually changed from that of an emotionless killing machine to a more human character, feeling remorse for many of his actions in his later years.
Marco is visually depicted by actor Craig Fairbrass, who in the author's mind would also supply his voice.