|This article, Michael Robson, was written by StoneGhost. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
- "If this really is Humanity’s final stand, I'm glad to be doing the standing."
- ―From Michael Robson's Personal Log, dated October 11, 2552
Michael 'Smoke' Robson (born 11 July 2520) was an UNSC Marine Corps during the Human-Covenant War. Enlisting in the Marine Corps at age 18, Robson was a career soldier who served throughout much of the war, and garnered considerable experience and skill during his service. First seeing combat in 2539 at the Battle of Orchid IV, Robson saw action in dozens of theatres against the Covenant before the war's end in 2553, most notably at Miridem, Adrastos, and .serving with the
Robson volunteered for the elite ODSTs in 2543, being assigned to the 15th Marine Regiment. A member of the 28th Shock Troops Battalion, by 2552 he held the rank of Staff Sergeant, and occupied the position of platoon sergeant. Later, Robson was promoted to First Sergeant and the position of senior non-commissioned officer of Alpha Comany, as a result of severe casualties sustained by the unit during the Fall of Reach. Although serving with distinction through his entire career, his most recognised actions occurred during the Battle of Sydney on Earth in late 2552, during which he was promoted to Second Lieutenant and given command of Alpha Company's 4 Platoon. Robson later participated in , an event which heralded the end of the Human-Covenant War and annihilation of the Flood threat. Robson continued to serve the UNSC in the turbulent post-war years, becoming one of the first candidates for the .
Michael was born on July 11th, 2520, in a leafy suburb of New Monaco, the capital city of UNSC Navy, while his father was a mechanical engineer; however his life was changed on March 1, 2526 when the , the Remembrance-class frigate his mother was stationed aboard, was destroyed at the , with the loss of all hands. Michael's mild-mannered father, suffering an emotional breakdown and unable to properly care for the six-year old child and his four-year old sister, Sarah, sent them to live with his aunt and uncle until he had recovered. Michael and Sarah stayed with them in a small rural town until he was fifteen; his father never 'recovered', and simply became an incoherent alcoholic who barely recognised his son the few times he visited. Instead he lived with his mother's sister and her husband who, having no children of their own, looked after Michael well. He was a keen sports player at his school and was relatively popular, known for being loud and sarcastic, often in a comical way which endeared him to his peers., as the eldest of two children. Michael's early childhood, as he later recalled it, was relatively happy and relaxed, with him being brought up by his firm but loving parents. Robson's mother was an enlisted crewman in the
In February 2535, the Covenant launched an Daniel Funderburg, the group came under brief attack by a Banshee; the craft fired its Fuel Rod Cannon and then moved on. A a number of ODSTs and Michael's carers were killed in the air strike which left him seriously injured; Funderburg was then instrumental in saving the lives of Robson and several severely wounded Marines, getting their badly damaged transport Warthog roadworthy and rushing them to help in New Monaco. Robson's condition was stabilised by the time he was aboard an outbound civilian transport, and he was among most of Jericho VII's population in being evacuated successfully; Robson and Funderburg would remain close friends for decades to come. Michael never found out if his father made it to a port or attempted to escape the planet; however, his name was not among lists of those who survived., which prompted an evacuation of its civilian population. While making their way to New Monaco's space port with a small contingent of ODSTs including
Enlisting and First Battles
After the evacuation and with nowhere to go, Michael was placed in a UNSC foster home on Marathon-class cruiser UNSC Absolution. After a mandatory period of three years, Michael chose to remain in the armed forces, deciding that it was home as much as any place was and fearing he would have no purpose or motivation outside the military. After enlisting, Michael only saw his sister infrequently and, despite keeping in contact, they eventually lost the strong bond they shared as children.. In 2538 at the age of eighteen, he joined the UNSC Marines, as military service was mandatory for freedom from foster care. Michael was assigned to the 65th Marine Regiment and stationed on the
Battle of Orchid IV
Michael's first combat took place at the Battle of Orchid IV in August 2539, a short but bloody engagement on the planet of Orchid IV. During the battle, the 65th Marine Regiment along with air assets and armour worked with Colonial Militia forces to hold back the advancing Covenant. Michael fought with the defenders for more than a day to prevent the Covenant reaching the planet's urban areas, from where hundreds of civilian transports were waiting to escape. Robson was involved in this fighting throughout the second day of the battle and into the third, with UNSC ground forces taking severe casualties. By 06:00 that morning the last wave of transports was ready to depart, carrying some 110,000 civilians; roughly 350,000 others had already been rescued. However, the Covenant fleet was now in position to completely destroy the last group of transports. Ten of the fourteen UNSC Navy ships emerged from hiding and charged the Covenant vessels, while the remaining four (UNSC Absolution and three Remembrance-class frigates) retrieved the surviving UNSC military force on the planet; of the 214 civilian vessels, a total of 81 managed to escape, escorted by three of the four Navy ships. The two Marathon-class cruisers, four Remembrance-class frigates and four UNSC destroyers charging the Covenant succeeded in creating a diversion to allow some of the transports to escape, but in return were all destroyed by enemy fire. The world was subsequently glassed by the Covenant, but as a result of the actions of the UNSC Navy and ground forces, almost 300,000 of the planet's 400,000-strong population were evacuated safely.
Michael survived the battle unscathed physically, but his first actual combat and experience of fighting the Covenant left him profoundly affected mentally. He quickly realised that his survival had nothing to with skill, but rather luck; that it didn't matter how skilled a marine was, anyone could be killed in battle simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Furthermore, his first experience of the Covenant left him in no doubt why the UNSC was losing, and began a complex mix of equal fear and loathing of the alien enemy.
Skirmish at Iophon
Robson was later involved in the Skirmish at Iophon in January 2540, a minor engagement over the lightly populated planet of Iophon. UNSC Absolution was conducting patrol on the outskirts of the system when it encountered and engaged a lone . The Covenant vessel quickly disabled the cruiser with plasma torpedoes and deployed boarding craft to obtain Absolution's navigational data. Michael and the ship's contingent of Marines waged a protracted battle in the confines of the vessel, eventually subduing the boarders though not without severe casualties to the Absolution's embarked personnel. Reinforcements from Iophon in the form of two UNSC carriers and five UNSC destroyers destroyed the Covenant vessel, deploying Marines to Absolution and ending the costly firefight. Though the Covenant destroyer was defeated, it destroyed a carrier and two destroyers before it succumbed and also broadcasted an emergency transmission into space, presumably signalling its position. The local commander, Rear Admiral John Douglas, was authorised to begin abandoning the planet; five days later a probe left behind reported before it was destroyed that at least three dozen Covenant vessels slipped into the system and moved towards the planet, apparently in glassing formation.
Following the skirmish, Robson concluded he would rather be on the ground where he was actually able to fight, rather than on a beseiged warship where the outcome was beyond his control. Like the rest of the ship's Marine complement, Robson found close quarters shipboard combat with Covenant infantry extremely stressful both mentally and physically.
Battle of Bellerophon
Following the Iophon incident, the 65th Marine Regiment was reassigned from Absolution and replaced by the 28th Shock Troops Battalion, a special forces unit made up of ODSTs. Following this the Regiment received its first leave since 2537, totalling 75 days. During this time Robson visited his sister Sarah, who was working on Earth as an accountant. This was the first time in more than three years the two had seen each other, and after spending several weeks with her, he reluctantly returned to Reach to rendezvous for redeployment. A contingent of the 65th was subsequently stationed on the colony world of Bellerophon, where it remained without incident until November 2541, when a Covenant invasion sparked the Battle of Bellerophon. The weak initial Covenant force was a scouting group of frigates and corvettes, which were quickly dispatched by the numerically superior UNSC Navy. This early engagement gave them subsequent time to ready defences, and a rapid evacuation began. However, a large dropship invasion force bypassed the Navy's defensive grid and assaulted the planet directly. After defeating a Covenant boarding party, Robson and Absolution's complement of marines were deployed to protect a naval air base, from which Longsword-class starfighters were flying sorties imperative to the defence of the planet's urban areas. Before the evacuation was complete however, a large Covenant fleet consisting of over fifty vessels entered the system. Following this, Robson and his unit were transported by Pelican back to the Absolution. Deciding controversially to cut their losses and run, commanders recognised that holding on until evacuation was complete held little chance of survival for either the military or the remaining civilians. Retrieving the last of the planet's military force as well as a few lucky civilians, the UNSC Navy withdrew from the system, abandoning up to thirty thousand civilians to the Covenant's wrath. While Robson recognised the pragmatism in minimising losses rather than vainly trying to rescue the rest of the population, he wrestled with a range of conflicting emotions afterwards. These included guilt at his own survival and his personal escape from the planet as part of the military, anger at his superiors for ordering the retreat, remorse for the tens of thousands of defenceless civilians slaughtered, and above all, simmering and growing hatred of the Covenant.
Battle of Petrovina
Robson volunteered for thein early 2543, having served with the UNSC Marine Corps for five years and wishing to do more to strike at the Covenant. Although he recognised the prestige and honour that came with being an ODST, Robson openly acknowledged his decision was also partly based on a desire to exact personal revenge on the Covenant wherever he was deployed. The training and selection process was prolonged and rigorous; a brutal basic physical 'training' phase lasted for twelve weeks, which served purely to reduce the numbers of the trainees. By the end of this period almost half of Robson's fellow ODST hopefuls, all experienced combat veterans just as he was, had washed out. Following this was another twelve-week long period of training, in which the ODST candidates were re-taught many things they learned in basic training, including drill, marksmanship/riflemanship, close quarters skills, first aid knowledge, covert operations, aptitude with various pieces of equipment, navigation/orienteering and many other skills. At the end of this period, after a full six months of training, was a 48-hour long continuous physical and mental aptitude test Mental/Physical Fitness Test (M/PFT) in which the skills and abilities of Robson and his fellow recruits were perpetually strained and pushed beyond their limits. At the end of the six-month long ODST training program, Robson was one of 78 individuals to pass both training phases, out of an initial six hundred candidates.
Battle of Miridem
Robson's first action as part of the ODSTs was at the Battle of Miridem in February 2544. On the 18th at 11:36, the 28th Battalion was deployed to Miridem's surface shortly before the battle's opening exchanges to participate in its defence. For fifteen minutes Michael's ODST unit (4nd Platoon Alpha Company) survived concentrated Covenant air attacks before the assaulting Banshees were defeated by UNSC Longswords. Following this, Alpha Company joined the 65th Marine Regiment, Michael's former unit, in an assault on a Covenant landing site on the outskirts of the capital, Redbridge.
Approximately forty minutes later, the victorious 65th Marines withdrew back to the capital, while Michael and the rest of Alpha Company joined the 103rd and 151st Marine Regiments in launching a counterattack on the captured city of Whitehollow. During the next hour, the UNSC forces slowly pushed towards the city's centre, finally retaking the centre shortly after 14:00. During this battle, Robson saw extended urban close quarters combat against Unggoy and Kig-Yar combatants and assisted in taking down several Sangheili warriors. It was during this stage of the battle that he sustained a minor burn injury, resulting from a near miss from a plasma bolt.
While the Marines and ODSTs were occupied however, Redbridge fell under sustained attack from the Covenant, dealing heavy casualties to UNSC defenders. The 103rd and 151st Marines headed straight for the city, while Alpha Company rendezvoused with SPARTAN-II Blue Team. With the help of the SPARTANs, the ODSTs intercepted and defeated a portion of Covenant troops heading to the fighting, saving the 89th Marine Regiment from destruction. Alpha Company was tasked with fire support and suppression while the more resilient SPARTANs closed with and destroyed the enemy force. Following this, a Remembrance-class frigate entered the airspace above the city, assisting in targeting and destroying the last pockets of Covenant fighters and bringing to an end the Battle of Miridem.
During the battle, the 28th Shock Troops Battalion's 400 ODSTs suffered 155 casualties, with 71 of these killed in action and the other 84 wounded to varying degrees. A further 29 troopers were declared missing in action. The Battalion scored a total of 1,761 kills, mainly Unggoy and Kig-Yar, though significant numbers of Sangheili and Jiralhanae included. Robson personally scored twelve kills during the course of the battle, comprised of nine Unggoy, two Kig-Yar and one Jiralhanae, and having provided supporting fire for others while receiving the same assistance. The 28th Battalion became well known for their successful cooperation with the SPARTAN-IIs, which saved hundreds of lives and helped bring the battle to a swift conclusion.
Battle of Orthiad (2546)
Siege of Victoria (2546-7)
Battle of Adrastos (2548)
Siege of Paris IV (2549)
Fall of New Carthage (2549)
Fall of Reach
- "All of us knew that Reach was the beginning of the end; what we were wrong about was whose end it would be. There's no doubt in my mind that we set in motion our victory on that planet... but we paid a terrible price for it."
- ―Robson speaking post-war on the Fall of Reach
In 2552, most of the 28th Battalion was garrisoned on Reach, where it participated in joint training with the UNSC Army and Navy, practicing orbital drops and close combat; the battalion was on-world when the Battle of Reach began. Robson deployed to the surface with Alpha and Charlie Companies while Delta remained embarked with the UNSC naval defence force. Robson along with Alpha Company were tasked with weakening the Covenant in preparation for the. The ODSTs dropped in small units behind enemy lines and destroyed several anti-aircraft and anti-vehicle weapon emplacements twenty minutes before the main attack; Robson's squad then fought off waves of Covenant infantry before being relieved by UNSC Army forces, taking moderate casualties. Robson fought alongside the UNSC Army against Covenant forces until the destruction of the heavy frigate and the retreat of the . Following this, the ODSTs assisted in eradicating surviving Covenant ground forces, before being withdrawn.
After the destruction of the supercarrier by, a larger Covenant force arrived, engaging the UNSC Navy and attacking Reach's population centres. Robson's squad, along with surviving members of Alpha Company, was redeployed to , while Charlie Company were stationed in . Robson there directed his men in assisting dozens of civilians escape from Covenant infantry, fighting street-to-street against superior numbers and seeing the unit be severely depleted. During this action, Robson's platoon's commanding officer was killed and he assumed command as platoon sergeant. The unit was extracted by Pelican and redeployed at a surviving UNSC airbase, which was under heavy attack from Covenant infantry and vehicles. Here Robson and his men survived and held off the attack long enough for a civilian craft to escape, rescuing six hundred people, and for three Longswords to take off to face the enemy. The squad then escorted a number of base personnel off-site, while UNSC Army infantry chose to remain and defend the base. Shortly afterwards, it was destroyed by a CCS-class battlecruiser while moving to glass Quezon itself.
Robson and his surviving men were taken by Pelican to Remembrance-class frigate UNSC Aegis Fate, retreating from the UNSC's defeat in orbit, and entered the atmosphere and stopped to pick up survivors from several sites including the generator. After this, the frigate left the system and returned to Earth via indirect slipspace jump, during which time the surviving ODSTs and Marines received medical treatment aboard the overcrowded vessel. During the battle, the Battalion had taken the highest losses in its history, with over seventy five percent of its servicemen killed or missing. The vast majority of Delta Company were killed aboard the UNSC Navy fleet in orbit, while most of Bravo Company were killed as their vessels tried to arrive from nearby . Alpha and Charlie Companies combined lost over half of their number during their prolonged surface action., where they assisted Noble Team in getting inside the base to destroy it. Doing so with no casualties, the ODSTs were later redeployed to Orbital Defense Generator Facility A-92 by a UV-144 Falcon. At the generator Robson and his men joined with the remains of Alpha and Charlie Companies, which had taken heavy casualties. For almost four hours the marines held off sustained attacks by the Covenant until the
Following the Battle of Reach Robson was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant, both as a result of his actions in combat and the heavy casualties the unit sustained during the battle. Robson received the position of senior non-commissioned officer for Alpha Company due to a shortage of experienced NCOs, and the Battalion was partially renumerated with recruits and transfers from other units. The surviving battalion members were stationed in Earth's orbit on the cruiser UNSC Absolution and the frigates UNSC Reliant Warrior and UNSC Death's Head.
The Battle of Earth began just before 09:00 on October 20, 2552. Absolution, Reliant Warrior and Death's Head, as part of Admiral Jackson's fleet, were tasked with the protection of orbital defence platforms in the Oceania and Southeast Asia areas. Unlike the 11th Shock Troops Battalion, the 28th did not deploy groundside to fight as soon as battles on the surface broke out. Instead, they remained embarked to repel any Covenant boarders as the three vessels engaged in fighting, due to a shortage of Marines onboard. The 28th remained onboard these three vessels as they participated in combat in Earth's orbit.
At 13:35, Robson accompanied four platoons deployed via Pelicans to UNSC Resurgence, a damaged Remembrance-class frigate in a repair cradle, to repel Covenant boarders there. The ODSTs fought in microgravity conditions with adapted weapons and zero-G equipment, killing or repelling all the Sangheili Rangers for relatively few casualties. In doing so they prevented the Covenant from gaining access to the semi-rampant AI, Rex, although the navigational data had been wiped a month before. Immediately after this, the ODSTs were retrieved, and prepared to deploy to Sydney with the rest of the 28th.
Operation: BLIND FAITH
Personality and Traits
Robson was unwaveringly loyal to the UNSC and, although later in his career increasingly questioning his past and present actions, never let this interfere with his performance. Often presenting a stern exterior, in reality Robson was a deeply emotional, empathetic and spiritual person, which was affected by years of watching his species slaughtered whilst barely surviving himself. Reluctant to attach himself to any individual, particularly after the deaths of several close friends during the Battle of Sydney, Robson's empathetic side was rarely revealed even to the few he trusted. This contrasted starkly with his sadistic fascination with watching his enemy die; sometimes going out of his way to prolong their deaths.