The former child of ONI officers, Merlin was put into the foster-care system after his parents were slain in the line-of-duty, on Arcadia and Paris IV specifically. ONI retained the Boyd family records, eventually leading to the DELTA Initiative selecting Merlin and about 300 children of similar backgrounds to become Spartan supersoldiers, under the pretense of defending Humanity against the genocidal alien empire known as the Covenant.
Merlin would be trained alongside his fellow recruits for a period of four years, between 2553 and 2557. During this training, Merlin developed an evenly-divided reputation among his Spartan peers and only maintained a strong bond with a select few trainees. This polarizing reputation with the rest of the training company was chalked up to Merlin's accident-prone nature. Trouble found him, and it had the unfortunate effect of escalating quickly and chaotically. For being such a troublemaker, Merlin was a very mellow and good-natured recruit.
Following unexpected consequences tied to SPARTAN-III Delta Company's only company-wide mission, the project was shut down and the leadership arrested. Merlin and his Spartan fireteam, Team Boson, were inducted into the Office of Naval Intelligence'sFerret Program where the team participated in dangerous and politically-sensitive investigations on the behalf of the UNSC Armed Forces. However, repeated lackluster performance in the field shafted Team Boson's deployments and led to an undetermined period of grounding on Earth where they served as glorified security guards for a period of six months, watching over military installations in the United Republic of North America. Brash decisions made by Boson's team leader, Daniele-D003 lead to the entire fireteam breaking protocol and deserting the military. Now on the run, the team splintered as individual agendas became apparent. Merlin, along with his best friend and life partner, Andra-D054, turned to mercenary work - landing a contract with the Baal Defense Solutions private military company. However, their Spartan pasts caught up to them and they were inducted into BDS's own supersoldier program, Project APOLLYON where they served as operators. Under BDS's command, Merlin and Andra were deployed on a few missions and were caught up in many morally-grey situations just as the Created Crisis was beginning in late 2558.
With the Created now seizing control and the galaxy's future in jeopardy, Merlin is left fighting a personal war against his past and for an uncertain future. Merlin never earned the right to call himself a Spartan, according to his superiors in training, however, this new conflict may give him the opportunity to prove himself. No matter the side he stands on. Similar to the galaxy at large, Merlin's crisis only seems to be beginning - if he survives the next few years, it will come with great sacrifice and unexpected developments. The first of these many sacrifices came with the death of Andra in a confrontation with Sergei-D167, a fellow Delta Company graduate. Tragedy struck again when Merlin's personal AI, Althea switched allegiances and joined up with the Created. Through a complex series of events, Merlin was able to resurrect Andra-D054 with the assistance of other Spartans and through independent action on account of Althea. This ultimate success was soured by great emotional trauma and since recovering Andra, Merlin has seen a great shift in his personality and his inter-personal relationships as the galaxy continues to change around him.
― Andra-D054 asking Merlin-D032 about his parents.
Born on the 23rd of October 2543 and at the height of the Human-Covenant War, Merlin grew up during the conflict but far from the frontlines, for a time. Unlike his parents, he adopted their surnames in a traditional fashion whereas they never took each others' surnames, likely due to the sensitivity of their work. Rebecka Boyd, Merlin's mother, was an Earth-born, Russian-American immigrant employed by the Office of Naval Intelligence's Section II, the Public Relations and Propaganda Department. She was a civilian contractor with a military security clearance and specialized in public relations analysis; she followed her work to Ballast and married Merlin's father at some point after.
Merlin's father, Cedric Ljang, was a Welsh-Chinese native of Ballast going back two generations. Coming from a military family, Ljang previously served aboard military starships as a weapons maintainer and firearms engineer, known as a Master-At-Arms. He later retired to join up with the Office of Naval Intelligence, choosing their Prowler Corps. With ONI, he performed contracted security work and rose to the position of Head of Security aboard the Prowler he was stationed on. As both parents worked for the Office of Naval Intelligence, they were constantly forward-deployed and away from home. Their sensitive work for the military also made them highly privy individuals. While the parents were constantly away from their child, they knew they had responsibilities elsewhere, even if they despised it at times. Merlin would still grow up loved, however, the lack of consistent adult figures in his life would present consequences in Merlin's early development.
Merlin Boyd last saw his mother at the spaceport before she left to go work for ONI. He would never see her again.
Growing up without parents everpresent on Ballast, Merlin lived in the presence of government-provided caretakers and family friends in the relatively-spacious suburbs of the Crimson Bay District, a middle-class district in the city of Vallejo. Ballast was a prospering Inner Colony and its location provided safety and security away from the horrors of war. Merlin wasn't particularly aware of the Covenant War like many children on Ballast, even with battlefield carnage being reported everywhere on the news and rarely seeing his parents, it never really settled in till his parents' deaths. Merlin's mother deployed often to the distant world of Paris IV, located closer to the frontlines of the conflict. The reason Merlin never went with her was that his parents wanted to keep him as far from the Covenant Empire as possible, for fear that a Covenant fleet might strike a colony he was on. Merlin's parents just wanted what was best for their child, even in the moments before they died.
In 2549, the colony world of Paris IV was attacked by a Covenant fleet. During the chaos of evacuating an ONI Section II facility, Rebecka Boyd was killed. It is unknown how she died, however, ONI post-action reports suggest she was either fatally struck by oncoming plasma discharge or crushed by a collapsing building. She also indirectly saved the life of one Doctor Reyna Zhou-Romero, a civilian contractor who would play a key role in SPARTAN-III Delta Company's recruitment process and who would later recruit Merlin into their ranks. Without knowing of his wife's passing, Cedric Ljang also died tragically, far from home. The UNSC Black Widow, a Eclipse-class Prowler, was forward-deployed to Arcadia to monitor Covenant excavation activities after the planet escaped a previous invasion two decades before. The Black Widow's stealth systems were unexpectedly compromised during the second Arcadian invasion; the entire crew, including Merlin's father, was killed when the stealth ship was hit by a plasma torpedo shortly after. Merlin would not find out about his orphan status until early February of 2550.
Merlin adjusted well enough after the loss of his parents, even as he grieved them. The lack of permanent parental fixture in his life warped Merlin's outlook on life and made him acutely aware of the Covenant War, accepting his fate that he would one day fight the aliens too. In the wake of his parents' deaths that Merlin gravitated to anything UNSC-related. Even with the war still raging, life continued. Merlin was shifted into a military foster care facility and his family's wealth and most their personal assets were liquidated to support the war effort. At some point between 2551 and 2552, the Covenant did make an appearance over Ballast which led to a brief campaign. Unlike most battles during the Great War, Ballast ended in a complete victory for the UNSC and Humanity. They won the battle, while a significant number of lives were lost, Merlin and many children did not notice the Covenant arrival. Merlin didn't see a single alien and had spent the time during the battle in a safety drill. The area where Merlin frequented, near Vallejo's City-Base section and the Crimson Tide district, there was little evidence that a battle had taken place. The entire battle, Merlin had gone blissfully ignorant of how close he came to death.
The Vallejo Military City-Base Foster Care Facility at night, Merlin's official residency for over two years.
Two years after Merlin lost his parents, he was staying at the Vallejo Military City-Base Foster Care Facility. On June 21st, 2552, he was approached by a couple in their early forties. The pair publicly informed the foster center caretakers that they were interested in adopting Merlin Boyd and asked for privacy to speak with Merlin. Unusual for a meeting between adopters and the adoptee, a caretaker was not present when Merlin was moved to the private room with the couple. They quickly introduced themselves as Naval Intelligence officers and offered Merlin their condolences from his familial loss two years before. While they didn't directly express their intentions to Merlin immediately, he was quick to note that they were looking for something from him. Provided the difficult comprehension questions they were asking him and how the woman kept jotting down notes about Merlin every time he did something particular like taking his time on questions or certain responses he'd make to personal questions, Merlin ended up calling on his hunch and guessed they weren't here for adoption and this was not some kind of cursory visit. They clearly wanted something from him.
The woman introduced herself as Doctor Reyna Romero, the lead psychiatrist for a secret ONI sub-organization. The quieter man, after some prodding by his female colleague, introduced himself as Lieutenant Jefferson Korn, a recruiting officer. The pair stated simply, now that any sort of secrecy had all but evaporated, they wanted Merlin to join the next phase of the SPARTAN-III Program. They wanted him to become a Spartan supersoldier. Merlin was shocked by the offer and had some initial doubts, however, after some pondering, he assumed the proposition as genuine and agreed. The ONI couple left the foster home soon after, leaving on good terms and with a final promise to Merlin that they would come get him soon. Merlin would spend the next two months waiting for ONI to come back; throughout the period, he worried that they would never come back and threw himself into his studies to compensate.
In the dead of night on July 4th, 2552, security troops from ONI Section III's elite Beta-5 Division arrived at the Vallejo foster care facility equipped with full military garb arrived with Lieutenant Korn at the helm. The show of force was likely unnecessary, however, given the increasing Covenant excursions into the Inner Colonial holdings in the last year, having a security detail ready to exfiltrate SPARTAN-III prospects had some merit. Merlin left quietly with the Beta-5 Division and didn't look back. Without anything to hold onto on Ballast, he had only the future to focus on. The last thing Merlin witnessed that day was the freezing cold of cryogenic stasis taking hold and then a deep slumber.
"Have you heard of the Spartans?"
― Doctor Romero asking about Merlin Boyd's knowledge on Spartan supersoldiers.
Merlin-D032 proved more mature than some of his peers; maturity never saved him from trouble though.
Upon evaluating Merlin Boyd, Lieutenant Korn and Doctor Romero found themselves in the presensce of a child transitioning from innocence into maturation. Close examination of his file proved that he never saw the Covenant even though Ballast was attacked recently. His only real experience with the Covenant was the loss of his parents, an indirect consequence. Korn's assessment of Boyd was simply neutral. Merlin wasn't some kind of rare specimen and saw little proof that the kid would turn into the type of candidate he had expected in his mind. He had an expectation and Merlin didn't meet that initial benchmark, however, neither did many other children.
For Doctor Romero on the other hand, she had seen the selfless acts and the courage put on display by Merlin's mother in her final moments. She didn't know Merlin, however, she already saw the potential for that kind of character and that kind of individual eventually being instilled in Merlin as she noted an early development of maturity in the adolescent. She believed what talents he already possessed and the impressive comprehension scores he was putting out were signs that the boy would become an ideal SPARTAN-III. She felt some regret, taking the boy into an illegal military project and had some negative presumptions that had Merlin's mother been alive, she would have rejected any proposal for Merlin to become a Spartan. Even though it was protocol not to acquire children with living parents, that feeling still nagged her. Upon leaving Merlin after their first and only interview, she provided Merlin with his mother's college ring from Moscow State University. Merlin would go on to take the ring with him to Argus V when he started Spartan training; he ended up burying it outside the training camp after he learned that personal items were frowned upon by drill instructors.
Camp Ambrose Initiation
"Andra. You've been the greatest friend I could ever ask to have my back; even if our first meeting was less than spectacular. Let's be honest, it was complete trash."
― Merlin-D032 recounting his first meeting with Andra-D054 during a reminiscent conversation.
Spartan-D032 has worn a number of powered and unaugmented combat armors through his lifetime, both on the Frontier and as a SPARTAN-III commando. The dangers of the galaxy at large requires him to carry his weapons and his armor wherever he goes and to be ready to fight at any time. This challenge of remaining mobile and undetected has proven difficult to balance; in addition, the detrimental requirement of continued armor maintenance requires Merlin to be backed by a decently-sized logistical line and sophisticated industrial base. It's no wonder that he ended up joining a private military company like Baal Defense Solutions after leaving the United Nations Space Command because of his equipment's limitations.
Merlin's original Mark V-Bravo chassis.
Just before the end of his training as a Spartan, Merlin was augmented into a supersoldier with a unique biochemical cocktail mix unlike that of previous SPARTAN-III companies and provided a Mark V [B]-classMJOLNIR Powered Armor chassis with heavy modifications. The particular suit, similar to other suits provided to Delta Company, were in fact hand-me-downs from previous Spartans with supplementary systems added on. Even though Merlin's armor was not originally his and he never learned who it belonged to, he set up the suit with emphasis on adaptation and combat variability. Many after-market modifications were provided by Merlin during his time with this MJOLNIR Generation 1 series setup. After only a few months of use, Merlin's equipment would get a total overhaul with the shutdown of Delta Company.
When Merlin and the rest of his Spartan team were inducted into the UNSC after the shutdown of Delta Company, there was a gradual overhaul of their gear, including an addition of new GEN2 MJOLNIR powered armor. Merlin was one of the first to receive upgrades in his unit, however, he was limited in the terms of external modification with the second Generation of MJOLNIR. This limitation was overlooked in Merlin's case due to the second generation's significant hardware and software upgrades that made the GEN2 systems a complete revolution over his Mark V-Bravo. Merlin settled on an armor developed within the UNSC's experienced defense labs rather than from a government contractor, called the "Interceptor".
Merlin's Interceptor Armor.
The INTERCEPTOR-class MJOLNIR was a rather simplistic suit that provided the same security and reliability as Merlin's previous powered armor but also provided increased modularity. The suit's streamlined form was somewhat more stealthy while also allowing for plenty of retail space to add magazine and utility pouches. Merlin would do a lot of personal tinkering and manual reading to understand the ins-and-outs of the new combat armor. Disappointingly, the time required to take off and put on the armor manually was just as convoluted as that with the first generation. Merlin disliked the over-reliance of the BROKRR Armor Mechanism, a turn-wheel quick-assembly system required to put on and take off the suit. In some ways, due to this inconvenience, Merlin did consider MJOLNIR in general to be a hindrance.
When Merlin and the rest of his team left the UNSC, deserting the military organization that had given them new life, Merlin took the INTERCEPTOR suit with him. Without the UNSC, it took Merlin a few hours to a day to assemble or disassemble his suit. Beyond his own MJOLNIR suit, Merlin's contract with Baal Defense Solutions saw Merlin occasionally down BDS's own pirated, MJOLINR clone, the ENTERPRISE variant. Merlin also used the technologically-inferior but cheaper Series 01 MIMIC Powered Exoskeleton that was employed by regular UNSC ground troops and BDS security personnel on several occasions. While it was clunky, it got the job done and Merlin had a positive opinion on both suits while with APOLLYON.
Merlin has always favored a good mix of automatic and precision firearms as a SPARTAN-III commando. During training, he was often seen wielding assault rifles and carbines as they gave him more room for improvisation and situational freedom during training exercises. However, as time went on and Merlin was introduced to the threats he would face in the real world - he came to the realization that automatic weapons were probably not going to be his go-to warfighting preference. The alien Covenant had made it standard to equip their forces with energy shields and armor plating that made automatic firearms less effective against Brutes and Elites when the goal for a Spartan was to put down an enemy as quickly as possible. While the overall difference would likely be minuscule, Merlin improved his aim - becoming a qualified marksman and adopted the BR85N battle rifle by Misriah Armory as his standard combat weapon. The versatility of the Battle Rifle would give him a balance between precision and automatics with its burst-firing capabilities. The BR85-series would serve him through his time with Delta Company and with the UNSC until he deserted and started to wander along the Frontier.
Now strapped for cash and in need to keep his equipment constantly battle-ready, Merlin turned to the Mk.15 civilian firearm and the M392 designated marksman rifle to fill the void of his prized battle rifle. Due to the commonplace presence of the M118 FMJ-P ammunition and the archaic 5.56mm NATO, these rounds were not as far-out or reach. In most cases, Merlin had to trade some versatility upon transitioning from military and mercenary, however, in most cases, the new set up has produced an improvement over his previous kit.
Merlin also has a long history with the Misriah M6C magnum - this same sidearm has been a staple of Merlin's kit since he became a Spartan and he's been known to carry more than one. While large in size, these pistols are still compact enough to hide on his person. Besides his staple firearms, Merlin makes use of many other types of weaponry like a prized SRS-99 sniper rifle and more exotic firearms, however, on a typical mission or when traveling - he prefers to keep the weapons he's seen with most - pistols, assault rifles, and DMRs.
Merlin has carried a number of M6 Series through his life. Merlin prefers a cut-down version of the M6C usually equipped with a suppressor, smart scope, and laser/light combo. He usually carries more than one.
Merlin favored the battle rifle during his military service and often used them to great effect. Due to the high price of its ammunition type though, maintaining his personal BR85N has fallen to the wayside.
Due to the cheap cost of its ammunition and the versatility of the ancient firearm, the Colt Blaster has often served as Merlin's go-to combat rifle. It's barebones body and simple ammo makes it an effective guide to the Frontier.
While not Merlin's favorite rifle, the DMR has been Merlin's go-to weapon for defeating supersoldiers and larger threats in general. His heavily-modified DMR comes with a larger magazine and a salvaged kinetic bolts device.
Taking after one of his Spartan trainers from Delta Company, Merlin adopted a heavily-modified sniper rifle for defeating shielded foes. It's among the few weapons in Merlin's arsenal considered priceless, even if its always been on loan from his sponsors.
The MSV Ambrose's Refuge, Merlin's Gladius-class Corvette.
It wasn't really Merlin-D032's intention to descend down the path of an agent of chaos, however, it seems destiny and outside influences have played a major part in influencing the direction his life has taken. Sudden changes started out with his desertion from the United Nations Space Command and the UNSC Armed Forces in 2558. In late 2558, he already joined up with the morally-grey Baal Defense Solutions, in particular, their Frontier Division, led by Commander Rosetta "Pigtails" Calabrese. Merlin stayed with the private military corporation for about a year and played the role as a commando in the corporation's supersoldier program, Project APOLLYON.
Althea in 2559. Her form had changed so much but Merlin did not have a clue till it was too late that his dear friend had become a threat.
Following the death of Merlin's best friend, Andra-D054, Merlin was reassigned to the security detail of a key BDS starship engineer, one Richard Foster. Foster was the Senior Project Manager for many of BDS's warship exports as a key player in the BDS subsidiary, Baal Naval Works. Upon joining the engineer's security detail, Merlin was assigned to one of Foster's personal warships, the SS Unwanted Savior. A Cutlass-class Heavy Corvette, the frame of the Cutlass is shared with the more common Gladius-class Corvette. Finally fed up with the actions he had taken in the name of the private military company, Merlin turned traitor once again and destroyed indiscriminately on his way out of the organization. At the push of his AI partner, Althea, Merlin killed Richard Foster, destroyed a considerable amount of BDS property and assets, and stole the SS Unwanted Savior from its dock. He successfully escaped pursuing BDS forces in frontier space and took the time to assess what he had left now that he was alone, on the run, once again.
He had a ship now, one that belonged to him. This vessel renamed the MSV Ambrose's Refuge would become Merlin's new home from 2559 onward. In the wake of the Created Crisis that was sweeping the galaxy, Merlin started to hunt Forerunner artifacts and lost worlds belonging to an ancient interstellar civilization at the suggestion of Althea. Based on Althea's acquisition of notes developed from UNSC, Baal Defense Solutions, and data salvaged from operations against the Glass Raiders, Merlin was guided into hunting for a place described as "Humanity's lost jewel". Althea described a world where science and magic seemed to become one in the same and the promise that, together, the AI and Spartan could bring back Andra-D054 from the dead. Desperate to have his friend back by his side, Merlin became obsessed with the promise and chased after this lost world. Coupled with nightmares and strange dreams that featured Andra and perversions of some of Merlin's darkest fears, Merlin never considered the possibility that he was being played like a puppet on a string.
Ikora. Tyler-A319's personal defense AI.
After everything was said and done, Merlin became cursed with having his old friend trapped within his mind. He also now had a ship without an AI to fly it and trapped in orbit of Charrum Hakkor. It was only desperation and quick thinking that Merlin managed to save and find help in unlikely allies, Tyler-A319 and GAUNTLET Team, Spartans belonging to SPARTAN-III Alpha Company. For both Merlin and the members of GAUNTLET Team, Ambrose's Refuge truly became a temporary home as they escaped the cursed world that they first came seeking ancient treasures to fulfill their personal goals and only left embattled and empty-handed. While the Refuge was Merlin's ship, with the other Spartans aboard, he was far from in command. Tyler-A319 was in charge, and for a time, the pilot was Tyler's AI, Ikora. Even with the new residents, this ship was Merlin's - it would become a refuge against the storm raging across the galaxy as the Created took control of everything.
Merlin has always been an average-stature individual compared to other Delta Company graduates. He comes nowhere near the size of most MJOLNIR-clad Spartans and stands only a few inches above an average human male. While in his powered armor, Merlin barely reaches seven feet. Merlin's body is also clearly muscular and decently defined from augmentations - even for someone of Merlin's weight class, he's exceptionally light for a soldier. A trait he shares with most Spartans in fact. Merlin is descriptively lengthy and thin. He doesn't have pronounced strength but he's a quick fighter backed by decent strength for a Spartan. His augmentations only made him capable of functioning in Spartan armor - it did little to augment his outward appearance besides accelerating and stagnating his puberty.
Merlin, while on the run, often took steps to hide his appearance.
While out of armor, Merlin has an appearance akin to a civilian. He's small enough and simple-looking enough that he can get away with disappearing into a crowd, his appearance doesn't even jump out as a military. His upkeep is very relaxed compared to the regulations he was taught to maintain as part of Delta Company. He prefers dressing in loose tee shirts, jeans, and cargo pants. He doesn't like dressing in formal wear, including his service uniform. Merlin's hair always takes the form of a bedhead. His facial hair tends to drift with his preferences - many times while on the run, he's attempted to grow a beard only to decide against it after only seeing heavy stubble. He instead buys fake-beards to cover his face. Merlin is somewhat of a neat freak and likes to keep his things manageable, his appearance doesn't have to be neat or professional, however, it cannot become too-messy for too long or it starts bothering him, and on occasion, Andra.
Merlin does not sport any tattoos or markings. No prominent scarring on his body due to superb medical treatment following major combat missions. Physically, Merlin doesn't even display sunspots or freckles. The only real defining feature is his sometimes palish skin from wearing his armor for too long, however, it rarely overstays its welcome. Merlin does have some minor scars on his body, including an abdominal round he took during an operation in Rio de Janerio in 2558. Merlin wears his armor less than most Spartans and lacks their defining ghostly-white complexion. Merlin could be described as a regular male youth even though his body and facial features make him look older and yet younger at the same time, creating a sort of "Spartan-baby face paradox" as its something that most Spartans experience after being augmented where their appearance achieves a sort of agelessness.
"He's a lovable idiot, everyone's favorite punching bag in Delta. Even if he screwed up a lot, he was a good guy - friendly and reliable. He spent a lot of time with that girl Andra, never really saw them apart for long, now that I think about it. Sometimes I wonder where he is now."
― Justin-D009 describing Merlin-D032 to an ONI officer following Team Boson's desertion of duty.
Merlin-D032 spent most of his youth without his parents since they were off fighting in the Great War. He lost them as a toddler and because of that underdevelopment, his personality strayed from, or rather skipped, key points in his childhood development. Merlin has been described as unusually mature for his age - he has a tendency to think more and acts with a problem-solving mentality, however, this does not make him a logical thinker. More often than not, his decisions can have unforeseen consequences, some comedic and others catastrophic - usually depends on the situation itself. During his recruitment into Delta Company, Dr. Reyna Zhou-Romero described Merlin as "too calm" but also "too serious." This so-called maturity has gifted Merlin with a highly perceptive mind and a tendency to analyze, maybe too much at times.
Merlin was a clearly defined introvert before becoming a Spartan. Training has prompted a positive growth in his personality, drifted toward extroversion, as he has grown in age and experience. Merlin's quietness can best be tied to his past insecurities about his own judgment. In time, the circumstances of constantly escaping or beating certain death have at least given Merlin a reason to trust his own instincts - especially in battle.
Merlin's drive to seek out purpose, a characteristic he shares with most of Team Boson, has been marked by analysts at ONI as a primary factor for why the Spartans of Team Boson deserted their post. Merlin is also driven by his dedication to his allies and friends, he seeks to protect and stand by them and is relatively approachable to everyone. He doesn't have many qualms with aliens, even if his parents' deaths were a motivating factor for why he joined the Spartans. Merlin is afraid of being alone or abandoned, something he's felt considerably three times in his life: his parents' deaths, when Team Boson fragmented, and when Andra was killed. Merlin tries to avoid thinking about the possibility of being alone, in hopes that he never has to face that fear.
After the Andra-D054 personality fragment was planted into Merlin's mind by his AI, Althea, Merlin started to see his personality warp and merge with Andra's. A side effect of having Forerunner technology, a digital essence be grafted onto his mind, Merlin's personality started to adopt bits and pieces of Andra's personality just as Andra started to adopt Merlin-D032's. In many ways, the Spartan pair, who through their childhoods had developed an inseparable relationship had also become physically inseparable. The Andra Fragment, as it was known to those who knew that the personality fragment operation had taken place, had the effect of bringing two separate identities together. Merlin began to display shyer aspects to his personality and also proved quicker to anger. Merlin developed a greater pension for sharpshooting, more so than he ever had in the past, even picking up a sniper rifle more than once which was typically out of character for the Spartan. Some of his personal behaviors changed like mannerisms, hobbies, quirks, and favorite items like food or materialistic devices. In many ways, both Merlin and Andra became more like the other and vice versa.
Merlin's mindscape became more solid with Andra's presence, likely caused by the brain modifications and Forerunner technology that allowed themselves to project into an imaginary plane detailed by wide grasslands under an open night sky. Along with this new addition, the modification allowed Andra to take control of Merlin's body - even going as far as to allow her to speak using Merlin's voice. For Merlin's acquaintances, this came off as jarring for those who were aware of Merlin's new condition like GAUNTLET Team who arrived on Charum Hakkor with Merlin.
For Merlin and Andra, their relationship with Althea shifted greatly due to the new development. To create Andra, Althea had to clone and rewrite some of her own programs to create Andra once again. This had a dramatic effect on her personality and made her somewhat more aggressive and individualistic than she had in the past. As described by Andra, Merlin, and Althea during interactions - Merlin's mind was now a lot more crowded with three identities running amuck. Ultimately, while Althea was doing Merlin and Andra a service, she was also performing this action to complete her own agenda as a new agent of the Created. A perversion of goals belonging to Merlin and Andra, Althea intended to claim the duo's loyalty to the Created as well as experiment with the ancient technology that she had discovered research on while skimming through the wealth of information she had gained from the UNSC, BDS, and the Glass Raiders over the course of a year.
"You looked lonely. It looked like... you wanted a friend."
― Merlin explaining to Andra why he approached her when they first became friends.
Andra-D054, Merlin's significant other.
Andra-D054 and Merlin-D032 first came into contact with one another when they arrived on the human colony world of Argus V. However, they did not speak to one another for at least several days, and when they did, it turned out disastrous for both. Both children acted standoffish toward their peers, though, for very different reasons. Merlin chose to approach Andra of all children out of curiosity and probably a false sense of kinship with the girl who kept to herself. Andra was still reeling from the death of her parents and her father's abuse before turning a gun on himself; when Merlin approached, it only pushed those emotions to a boiling point.
Andra struck out first, leading to an altercation between the two Spartan recruits that ended in Merlin's victory. The two reconciled their differences and found similarities between their lives, eventually culminating in a close friendship. Andra relied heavily on Merlin emotionally and the two were rarely seen apart from one another. Andra's reliance on Merlin dunked their combat scores early in training, however, it helped break her out of her shell. By the time training ended, Andra was one of the most accomplished sharpshooters to graduate from Delta Company. Andra and Merlin were assigned to the same Spartan team and worked together as a Hunter-Killer team duo, Merlin serving as the pair's spotter and Andra as the pair's sniper.
And when Team Boson fragmented due to the selfish actions of Daniele-D003, Merlin and Andra stuck together and went their own way as the rest of the team left in pursuit of their own goals. Their friendship would continue all the way up to Andra's death by Serge-D167's hand. In life, they were easily each other's best friend. Merlin's relationship with Andra is one based on mutual trust and commitment to each other's well being. Not quite platonic in nature, their friendship dances between romantic and a simple friendship quite excessively due to a lack of understanding of their own feelings and a lack of social education on the matter. They were practically inseparable and spent most of their youth in each other's presence. The two would often display a flirtatious friendship while also displaying a more sibling-like attitude toward one another. Cursing, bickering, and insults were very common between the two Spartans, even with their deep friendship.
Her death at the hands of Sergei-D167 broke Merlin's composure and beset him with grief. For a time after her death, Merlin displayed an almost uncaring and detached attitude toward everyone around him with brief exception toward his AI partner born from Andra's brain, Althea. Merlin's relationship with Andra remained relatively consistent with exception to much more aggression and coordination between the two after Andra was brought back from the abyss, both as herself and before as a split personality in Merlin's own mind.
― Althea's resolve to help Merlin at the beginning of the Created Crisis.
Althea, Merlin's AI partner.
Merlin-D032 was Distant Tide's first conceptual Spartan, and, his first written character on Halo Fanon based on article-creation. While not officially the first character conceived for Halo Fanon or even Delta Company, Merlin is Distant Tide's personal Spartan, acting as his in-universe projection and protagonist. (Let's hope this guy doesn't end up in Mary Sue territory - so far, so good.)
Merlin-D032's full name, Merlin Boyd, Spartan Delta-032, is an indirect reference to the ancient Forerunner AI, 032 Mendicant Bias, who betrayed the Forerunners during the Flood War. Merlin's Spartan number and his birth name conform to the say identifying acronym 032.M.B. This reference was unintentional on Distant Tide's part at the time, however, has since been adopted as an inside joke.
Distant Tide used a combination of images and anime drawings to convey Merlin's likeness. While this has been described as "can be a bit jarring on the same page" , Tide finds that the images fill a necessary role between Merlin's very apparent youth and the necessity for interpretation in the case of this Spartan. The same behavior can be found in most of Distant Tide's character articles under the same situation.