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- "Odds are five to one against us, eh? I almost feel sorry for the little bastards"
- ―James, during the Battle of Selukos
SPARTAN-G023, more commonly known as James to his teammates, or by his ONI codename, Arcanus, was a SPARTAN-III in the service of the United Nations Space Command and the Office of Naval Intelligence. Born in 2539, his career would span from the late Human-Covenant War and well into the Necros War. Born on Sigma Octanus IV to a military family that would be killed by the Covenant, James would be picked out for the SPARTAN-III Program.
As time went by, he would change status from a SPARTAN-III in the field to an ONI assassin who dealt with enemies of the UNSC and the Alliance of United Races from the shadows. Eventually, he would be once again moved, this time to the SPARTAN-IV Program where he served as a member of the SPARTAN-IV Kilo Company.
James was born on Sigma Octanus IV. As a child he always admired the UNSC Navy and wished to become an admiral when he grew up. Both of his parents were in service with his father as a commander in the navy and his mother as a Marine Corps captain. In 2541, when James was just two years old the ship his father had commanded was destroyed in a naval engagement and his mother was killed during the land battle. Devastated by this James swore he would get back at the covenant. His wish was fulfilled three years later when a Naval officer came to the orphanage he was in looking for recruits for the SPARTAN-III Program.
James entered into the SPARTAN-III Program in 2544, along with over three hundred thirty candidates from the program. During the first exercise to weed out those that didn't fit, the prospective trainees were told to jump out of a Pelican dropship. James, who suffered from acute acrophobia at the time was on the verging of backing out. If it weren't for his friend Tuan who was there with him, who managed to convince him to make the jump, he probably would have been kicked out of the program then and there.
With the successful completion of the jump test, James was sent into the intensive training program alongside the rest of the Gamma recruits. At the beginning for the physical exercise, James, being a fairly average child, showed weaker performance than the rest of the trainees. Acknowledging his near-failure with the first test, James sought desperately to improve himself in the section. He showed great tenacity, and began to go the extra mile for training until he managed to match the rest of the recruits. As the program entered into the basic combat training, James began to show himself worthy of the program. Alongside his natural motivation for revenge against the Covenant aliens who killed his family, James began to show a previously undiscovered violent nature in him, which resulted in even better combat performance than average.
As combat training commenced, James showed his worth as a member of Gamma Company. During the first few combat exercises between trainees and the ONI Drill Instructors, James showed himself to be willing to attain victory at all costs. He would often work together with his trainees, and, using what little skills his parents managed to impart with him, devised complex strategies that focused largely on guerilla-style combat. During one such exercise, James, with a jammed weapon, ruthlessly beat another trainee with it that he was fighting against rather than retreat and come up with a new strategy. His drive to win, however, would prove to be a detriment in many situations as he was easily lured into traps by some of the more cunning members of the program.
When the trainees were assigned to random teams, with random squad leaders, James would again show some of his more negative traits. During combat exercises, James, if he did not feel as though the current squad leader was shown to be a leader would often fail to point out traps or ambuscades. Once they were set, James would often allow the current squad leader to be killed before he would take over the squad and lead them as he saw fit. Under his leadership, the squad would often see improved combat abilities, which in turn would eventually lead to James becoming a SPARTAN squad leader. At the end of the exercises, the Drill Instructors overlooking them often failed to see James pull off these tricks, which allowed him to escape without punishment.
In terms of sparring, James found it to be one of his favourite activities. Even though he typically lost the first few times he tried, he began to get better and better at it until he was regarded as one of the best hand-to-hand combat trainees in the program at graduation.
With the end of the two-year long basic training, James was assigned to a five-man unit known Team Falcata. After all the statistics of the previous two years had been complied, James was made the leader of the team. Within the team were , Tuan-059, a hyperactive, explosion-loving recruit and a childhood friend of James, George-202, an intelligent but somewhat cowardly recruit who had barely made it through the training, Will-G331, a silent recruit who would often stay away from extended social contact with his teammates and possessed a fascination with Covenant and alien technology, and Kate-G012, one of the more combative members of the program with a very short temper who was often disciplined for it and had trouble making lasting connections with any lone recruit.
As was naturally expected, the team, despite efforts by James and Tuan, failed to work cohesively. One exercise, after Kate's unwillingness to listen to the rest of the team cost resulted in their dismal failure, tensions within the team reached a boiling point. After they were disciplined for their failures, James and Kate reached the point where they began exchanging blows. This eventually resulted in a melee between much of the squad members that the DIs decided not to step into. In the aftermath of it, James and Tuan eventually came out the winners of the melee by working as a team. It was due to this fight that Team Falcata would receive the nickname "Murmillo" after one of the DIs remarked that they fought like gladiators of Ancient Rome. This nickname would eventually stick, with both the DIs and fellow SPARTAN-IIIs referring to them as Team Murmillo rather than Team Falcata.
In the aftermath of the melee, the other Murmillos, and Kate in particular, took on the grudging role of listening to James and obeying his orders. With this, Team Murmillo began to drastically improve in combat exercises. This change was shown during one exercise where Team Murmillo was the only team not to fail in its objectives against the DIs. It was during this exercise that James would come across a machete. When he found it, he immediately recognized it as belonging to the DIs, and that it was one of the high quality machetes kept within the armoury. James would take this and used to to hack through the foliage of Onyx, which is how Team Murmillo managed to avoid many of the DI defenses and complete their objective. After the exercise, James would hold on to the machete and never let it leave his side.
The first cracks within James' mental health occurred during a mission against several DI's in the forests of Onyx. The basic training plan was to send several SPARTAN-III teams into the forests around Camp Currahee unarmed whilst they were hunted by the narq-dart equipped DI's. Due to Team Falcata's relatively weak teamwork at the time, several other members of the team were eliminated until James was the lone member left. James suddenly decided to shift tactics, and ambushed a DI, stealing his sidearm and tranquilizing him. Using the captured sidearm, James would then proceed to hunt down other DIs and eliminating them. Methodically, James used guerilla tactics to spread fear and confusion amongst their ranks. Enjoying it, he eventually went too far gave a DI an overdose of tranquilizer, sending him into critical condition. It was at this point that a full on hunt for James commenced. The DIs used a pelican to track his movements, and he was eventually cornered and taken down with rubber bullets, which would also leave him in the infirmary for a week.
After graduating from the SPARTAN-III Program, James, like his fellow SPARTAN-IIIs, received augmentations designed to increase his combat performance and his ability to survive. The changes made were as follows:
- 8942-LQ99: A carbide ceramic ossification catalyst to make skeletons virtually unbreakable.
- 88005-MX77: A fibroid muscular protein complex that boosted muscle density and strength.
- 88947-OP24: A retina-inversion stabilizer drug. It boosted color and night vision capabilities.
- 87556-UD61: Improved colloidal neural disunification solution, which in turn decreases reaction time.
In addition, the following drugs were injected into the James. They were illegal, but his trainer Lieutenant Commander Kurt Ambrose felt that they were necessary for James and his fellow SPARTAN-IIIs to survive.
- 009762-OO: a mutagen that alters key regions of the subject's frontal lobe. Enhances aggression, strength, endurance, and tolerance to injury. Negative effects include a loss in rational thinking and tactics. This is counter-balanced by the anti-psychotic and bipolar-integration drugs.
- 009927-DG: miso-olanzapine. an anti-psychotic. Counters the mutagen's properties.
- 009127-PX: cyclodexione-4. a bipolar-integration drug. Counters the mutagen's properties.
During the Operation, James and Team Murmillo reached the outside of a URF base on Mars via orbital drop. After entering the facility, James and Team Murmillo killed two URF soldiers. Later, after taking control of the URF Command Centre, and killing several URF soldiers, James and Team Murmillo call in for UNSC forces to mop up what is left of the URF base, capturing the local URF lieutenant. After chasing down and capturing the shuttle holding the stolen nuke, James and Team Murmillo arrested a URF operative, but the other two escaped to the port and held it hostage. After a brief firefight, James and Team Murmillo killed the two URF soldiers and freed the hostages. With all URF forces either dead or captured, and the nukes recovered, Operation: EAGLE STRIKE was officially over.
Battle of Earth
During the Battle of Earth, James took on a secret mission to aid UNSC forces during Operation: CIMBRI. During the Operation, James and Team Murmillo were sent into the Ligurian Alps to assassinate a Brute Chieftain on the other side, as well as to sabotage a Covenant arms depot. In the aftermath of the Battle of Col de Tende, there was a small hole in Loyalist patrols that allowed the unit to slip through.
Battle of Mars
James was sent to the surface of Mars where the UNSC and his team were under heavy fire from Loyalist artillery. James went behind the enemy lines to seek and destroy the Loyalist batteries in order to allow reinforcements to the UNSC base. After joining his team they were sent to capture a Loyalist Command Post before being sent to the UNSC Sherman for another mission.
Battle of Selukos
In 2556, Remnant forces attempted to continue the conflict by launching an invasion of the Inner Colony planet of Selukos. James, along with Team Murmillo and several other SPARTAN-III teams were sent in to aid the UNSC forces in repelling the invasion, as well as eliminating several high-ranking chieftains to facilitate the destruction of overall Remnant leadership.
During the initial stages of the battle, James, alongside many other SPARTAN-IIIs was sent to the surface via Orbital Stealth Insertion Pod. Using stealth, the SPARTANs arrived behind Remnant lines. With orders to establish a beachhead on the planet for UNSC forces, the SPARTANs assaulted a nearby Covenant-held city. During the battle, Team Murmillo was diverted from the main assault to eliminate a Covenant munitions depot. Arriving at the depot, they took down the patrols with ease, and planted charges at the nearby barracks. The ensuing explosion eliminated the depot as well as a small Covenant force before Team Murmillo returned to the original objective. The city was taken by the SPARTAN-IIIs with few casualties.
During the battle, James and his squad landed on the surface of Ceres using Orbital Stealth Insertion Pods. After assaulting, and destroying a Bujkowe Command Post, they were attacked by Covenant Rebel patrols. He soon hijacked two Covenant Rebel spectres, and defeated the main Covenant Rebel force in a battle, even taking out their assault vehicles and banshee air support. After the Covenant Rebels were defeated, he was attacked by a Precursor Dark Maker Bot, which destroyed one of the spectres, before he managed to kill it. Fleet Admiral Stephen Chow decided to send him on a boarding mission to a Precursor ship, where he managed to defeat several Precursor Dark maker Bots and drones, before he returned to the UNSC Spitfire and returned to Earth.
Soon after the Battle of Selukos, Remnant power declined greatly, and left them unable to mount large-scale raid on Human and Sangheili planets. However, unlike many of the other remaining SPARTAN-IIIs, Team Murmillo was split up. Not knowing what happened to his teammates, James was transferred to another sub-section of Section 3, where he became an ONI assassin. Operating under the name Arcanus, he would be used as a deniable asset by ONI when eliminating those who posed a threat to the UNSC.
The first mission James was assigned was the assassination of Arthur Meighon and his family. Arthur Meighon was a successful businessman, and was known to be a backer of the Insurrectionist movement, and his death was ordered to cut the funds of local rebel movements. James was sent to his home in rural Sigma Octanus IV. Under the guise of being a transfer student, James enlisted at the local school that his daughter, Jessie Meighon attended. Experiencing civilian life for the first time on almost two decades, James would befriend Jessie. Acknowledging that he would have to kill the Meighon family soon, James tried to get as close to Jessie as possible, and created a detailed map of the family's house, as well as nearby features.
One day, James got a chance to visit the Meighon family house. Taking this chance, he placed C4 and his machete into his backpack before leaving for the Meighon house. Once he arrived at the house, James attempted to bide time in waiting for Arthur Meighon to return. However, after learning that he would not return until the morning, James decided to take action. Whilst Jessie and her mother weren't looking, James took his machete out of his backpack, and used it to kill them. Once that was done, he went into the backyard and located a gas pipeline. Taking his C4, he placed it behind the gas pipeline, and hooked up a detonator. After this, James took cover in the nearby woods and waited for Arthur to return home. When he did, James detonated the C4. The C4 then ignited the gas that was fed into the house, and the resulting explosion turned the Meighon house to rubble. Once this was done, James contacted ONI agents who led a false inquiry into the explosion, and declared it to be accidental. James was then placed in cryo until he was next needed.
The second mission assigned to James was the assassination of a Kig-Yar pirate leader by the name of Borsk. Well known for his raids on human vessels and his extended service to the Covenant Remnant, Borsk was an ideal target for assassination in order to destroy the ability of the Remnant to conduct raids on UNSC and Sangehili territory. James was sent to an Kig-Yar colony world via stealth orbital insertion. The idea was that he would assassinate Borsk, then escape in a Black Cat-class Subprowler.
As James was sent to the surface, he used an energy cutlass to cut a hole through the side of the base and snuck in. Arriving near the security room, he found a group of five Kig-Yar relaxing outside. Using his MA5K-SD Carbine, James managed to kill the unit, then entered the security room and kill the Kig-Yar guard with his machete. Due to his SPI armour, James managed to sneak through the base without being found, until he arrived at Bork's room. After silently killing his two guards, James burst into the room and killed Borsk and his harem. Acknowledging that his cover may have been blown, James placed a case of C12 near an Unggoy holding area. After escaping the base, James detonated the C12, which ignited the methane, and the base was largely destroyed in the ensuing chain-reaction. James then escaped the planet and returned to UNSC space, where he was returned to cryo.
During the 2570s, a radical new religious organization sprang up. Led by their prophet, Ali Galimba, the religion would quickly become militant. Taking advantage of many impoverished people on the Outer Colony of Anatares, Ali Galimba managed to gain a devoted following quickly. After he gained enough followers, he preached that they should control planetary politics, which they achieved through force. Due to them not having any proof of Galimba's involvement, ONI sent James in to deal with him.
After entering the capital city of Antares, James managed to find out that Ali and a large number of followers were going on a weekend retreat out in the hinterlands of Anatares. Taking advantage of this, James packed up his equipment and followed their trail. In order to avoid being spotted, he camped out in a nearby cave system. After several days of reconnaissance, James would eventually gain knowledge about the surrounding terrain, and the patrols of the armed guards. James would also take notice of the weapons that the guards were using, as well as the many convoys of vehicles that entered and exited the compound on a daily basis.
One night, when James felt that he had enough preparation, he put on his SPI Armour and entered the compound. Avoiding the guards, James would eventually find his way into the primary place of worship in the compound. James searched the area until he found the sacramental wine, and he then proceeded to place crushed cyanide into it. After completing his objective, James had a bad feeling about the convoys entering the base and marked out the areas that he felt he should check out before he left the base.
The next day, James snuck into the compound during a religious service. After Ali Galimba drank the poisoned wine, he fell to the ground. Using this distraction, James managed to sneak into the security room and downloaded all of the information within it. After that, he went into the garage and recorded all of the information on the convoys, discovering that they were being used to bring in weapons and explosives for the terrorist attacks. Equipped with this information, James returned to ONI and gave it to them. Armed with this information, Colonial Militia forces then raided the compound, arrested the people inside, and found Galimba's body. An ONI-led inquiry declared the cause of death to be a heart attack. The religion, which was crippled by both the loss of its leader and many of its followers, soon faded into obscurity.
In 2573, the Black Flag Syndicate had captured a civilian vessel that actually carried valuable information. Wanting it back, ONI sent James, along with a Special Operations Elite named Kwas 'Pudm to get the data back, and eliminate the men who captured it. Arriving at the base in the Gemni Belt System, James and 'Pudm prepared to destroy it.
By placing several charges around the base, and at the hangar, they managed to cripple the base, as well as kill all pirates in the hangar bay in one move. With the security systems own, James and 'Pudm entered the base and began to eliminate all the pirates inside. Once they had reached the control room, they took back the data, and downloaded all data in the base's computer systems. 'Pudm then called in the ship, while James went outside and prepared to ambush the Black Flags making repairs to call for help.
Waiting for the Black Flags to turn around, James used a beam rifle to snipe the Black Flags at the rear of the group. When only a few were left, they realized what was happening and attempted to escape. James then proceeded to move in close, and opened fire with a plasma rifle, killing the escaping pirates. Upon returning to to the base, a ship picked up 'Pudm and James, and transported them back to UNSC space, thereby finishing the mission.
On the planet Sekemoto, poverty drove many warlords to take control in the rural regions. Amassing large armies of mercenaries and militia, they would prove a form of corruption and unrest on the colony. James was tasked with eliminating the warlord Mobuto Seko, who held influence in the savannah regions of the south-eastern part of the planet. If Mobuto died, it would cause a war to start between the warlords allowing the UNSc to move in and regain control of the area.
James, after a week of searching, managed to discover that Mobuto had retreated to his country home, a neo-colonial age-style fortress called Fort Kirigiri, located in a strategic pass. Without his SPI-armour and equipped with weapons commonly used by Mercs to avoid suspicion, James had to resort to guerilla tactics. He placed anti-tank mines on the roads at each entrance of the pass before using his sniper rifle to eliminate the snipers manning the towers. With the base now alerted, they called in vehicle reinforcements that were destroyed by the mines. Taking advantage of this, James began to attack the fortress itself.
Walking up the pass, James stood underneath the trees on the sides to avoid being seen, but as he came to the gate, it was closed shut, with several militia on top of the gate itself. After a lengthy gun fight, the militia on the top of the gate fell back and James used explosives to blow it open. On the other side of the gate, he came under fire from a machine gun turret, but used grenades to destroy it and escaped into one of the towers. Using his superior vantage point, James eliminated all of the remaining militia in the fort before moving into the keep. Inside, James killed Mobuto with his machete after latter tried to bribe him. James then downloaded all information about arms trafficking in the area, as well as information on the other warlords before leaving.
With the outlawing of the Black Flags, they turned on their UNSC allies on Sekemoto. Wanting to end their capability to oppose them quickly, ONI had James kill Paul Kruger, one of Jaroth Morl's top lieutenants, and the head of one of their sector. Using ONI data, James found out the Kruger, along with a group of soldiers, were heading to a fortress in a convoy. James quickly found a hilltop along the convoy's route, and set up a heavily fortified position, preparing to ambush it. He armed himself with basic militia weapons to make it seem like a militia group ambushed the convoy.
Eventually, the convoy of five technicals and a makeshift troop transport came along the path. James quickly fired off a rocket at the lead technical, which swerved out of the way to avoid it. The rocket then smashed into the troop transport destroying it. The flaming wreck overturned Kruger's technical, and caused the rear technical to crash. The crew of both technicals then took cover behind the wreck as the three remaining technicals opened fire on James' position. James then proceeded to use the machine gun, and killed the crew of the lead technical, before jumping back into cover to avoid fire from the other two. Using his rocket launcher, James managed to destroy another technical, before the final one began to move towards his position. Using small arms fire, James managed to kill the driver and another soldier, but the machine-gunner pinned him down.
Knowing that Kruger would escape, James feigned injury, and the technical stopped firing. Kruger and his men then tried to make a break for it, but James used the machine-gun and took down the machine-gunner of the last technical. He then aimed the machine-gun at the escaping unit, and gunned them down. James then went out on foot to kill any survivors. He found the machine-gunner, who had his legs torn off by James' gun, and executed him before confirming the death of Kruger and his men. James then contacted ONI, who took all weapons at the ambush site.
Meeting Justin Lee
James would soon be assigned a handler by the name of Justin Lee. As efforts against the Black Flags intensified, ONI felt as though James would need to operate constantly, and not be placed in cryo. Justin's job was to aid James in his operations, and to deal with the aftermath.
James was meant to meet Justin in a bar called the Yellow Flag in the midst of Topagu City. Unbeknownst to him, the Black Flags had caught on to the meeting, and prepared to ambush the pair. Not too long after making contact with Justin, the Black Flags attacked the bar. Diving behind the bar counter, James and Justin survived the initial barrage. When the Black Flags came to finish off the wounded in the bar, James tossed a stun grenade, and opened fire with this M6C. Catching their attackers off guard, James and Justin ran through the back of the bar and stole one of the cars in the rear parking lot. Despite being chased by the Black Flags, the pair managed to escape the district, and reached a safe house in the Distillery District.
Continuing with UNSC anti-resistance efforts on Selukos, James was sent to Topagu City, near the planet's equator. As a way to soften up the enemy ranks, James and Justin were ordered to ambush an enemy patrol in the Distillery District, in the east of the city. Hiding amongst the construction buildings, Justin covered James from afar using a sniper rifle. James then proceeded to lie in wait, as a patrol passed by. At this point, Justin fired his sniper rifle, killing a member of the rear patrol. James then killed the next soldier with his machete, and killed the third with a point-blank shot from his M45 Tactical Shotgun. Advancing further, he caught a second patrol. Downing the first soldier with his AR-74, James then proceeded to circle around the unit, firing his assault rifle. Once his assault rifle clip ran out of ammo, James slung it, and proceeded to fire on the soldiers with his M45. Under cover form Justin's sniper fire, James eliminated the second patrol and took on the final patrol. Needed to reload his shotgun, James took out his M6C pistol and opened fire on what was left of the enemy. Advancing, he caught the last soldier as he ran out of ammo, and killed him with his machete.
With the elimination of three enemy patrols, UNSC forces managed to attack key areas in the district held by warlords, which resulted in them retaking the city within two days.
In the waning years of the Remnant war, in the year 2600, James was once again re-assigned, this time to the new SPARTAN-IV Program. At the time of his entry into the SPARTAN-IV Program, James was physically in his early twenties due to extended time in cryo sleep, but chronologically he was sixty-one years old. James would be assigned to the SPARTAN-IV Kilo Company after the training of the SPARTAN-IVs was completed.
James would enter Camp Sparta as a Drill Instructor specializing in hand-to-hand combat during Phase 3 of the SPARTAN-IV training. James took an early disliking of the young SPARTANs. With the time since he truly had contact with fellow SPARTANs, his only solace was found with talking to old members of Gamma Company who were also helping out with the program. As time went by, James would eventually start to like the younger SPARTANs, but kept them at a distance because they began to remind him of what both himself and his friends were like during training in camp Currahee and their early battles against the Covenant.
At the close of the training in Camp Sparta, James was transferred into the SPARTAN-IV Kilo Company, and was promoted to the rank of Gunnery Sergeant.
Third Battle of Linna
- "What truly escapes me is how quickly he experiences a change in personality. I mean, one minute you have this friendly guy, and the next you have a cold, bloodthirsty killer. I'd say something's fucked up about him, just not sure what."
- ―A DI commenting on James' behaviour
James was very different from the other SPARTANs in one common regard - he had mental disorders. James was afflicted with both Attention Deficit Disorder and a mild form of Borderline Personality Disorder. In both cases, the mental disorder was regarded as insufficient to hinder any of actions, and instead seen as something to improve them, leaving them untreated. This would later prove to be extremely beneficial as both disorders vastly increased his abilities as an ONI assassin.
Other than the two common problems, James was seen as someone in perfect mental health. James possessed a large drive for improvement, which allowed him to vastly improve all of his abilities, and go from one of the worst recruits at the start of the program, to one of the best recruits at the end of it.
Due primarily to his Borderline Personality Disorder, James possessed an every-changing personality. James was known to regularly shift from a kind, understanding person to a cold, calculating, merciless commando. After becoming an assassin these shifts would would occur at a faster rate, and more personalities began to emerge, and it wasn't until his eventual reunification with some of his old comrades during the Necros War that his 'original' two personalities would return to being dominant.
This was a machete that James found during a combat exercise. After it helped his team emerge victorious, he held on to it and it eventually became inseparable from him. The machete itself is of high quality, and is constantly being oiled and checked by him. Etched into the handle of the machete are the words Ivgvolo Myrmillio, which means "Killer Murmillo" in Latin.
As time passed by, the machete was the only true personal possession that James had, and it became very valuable to him. He kept it around him as a reminder of his days in Camp Currahee, his days as a SPARTAN-III, and of all of his old friends that he was separated from when he became an ONI assassin.
Behind the Scenes
- This character was Spartan G-23's first Halo-Fanon character
- This article scored a 21 on this test, classifying it as not a Gary-Stu.
- SPARTAN-G023 was the winner of the First Season of Halo Fanon: Survival of the Fittest
- James' alignment is True Neutral, although he has a lean towards Chaotic Neutral alignment.