|This article, Amber-G330, was written by Ahalosniper. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
|This article, Amber-G330, is currently under active construction.|
DATE OF BIRTH
July 19th, 2539
III: Gamma Company
UNSC Army (former)
- "Everyone has a dark side. Don't you like mine?"
A fearless combatant and skilled pyrotechnician, Amber-G330 had one failing as a Spartan—a conscience that came before her loyalty to the UNSC. Questioning the ethics of what she and her friends in Team Machete were and what they were made to do, Amber reached a breaking point when they were ordered to exterminate a settlement of Covenant civilians to conceal the location of a . Alone among her comrades in rejecting the command, she was confronted by her teammate Morgana-G018 while attempting to stop the attack and in their ensuing struggle, killed her close friend. In grief and fear of reprisal both for disobeying orders and the murder of a Spartan, she deserted the UNSC and fled human territory, believed dead after a confrontation with her team leader Kodiak-G114. She in fact survived, and wandered the frontier for some time without success in her few attempted ventures nor boosters to stabilize her mental condition. Amber was finally imprisoned in the ruins of Forsaken Solitude by Kig-Yar pirates, where she was eventually found by her predecessor as a rogue, Simon-G294.
- 1 Biography
- 1.1 Becoming a Spartan
- 1.2 Aboard Themistocles
- 1.3 Aboard Infinity
- 1.4 Desertion
- 1.5 Kru'desh Legionnaire
- 2 Personality and Traits
- 3 Weapons and Armor
- 4 Notes and References
Becoming a Spartan
Early Life and Conscription
- "We've taken everything from some people for this war. Wouldn't it be hypocritical not to give everything ourselves?"
- ―Amber's mother, 2544.
Late in 2537, amidst the chaos of an increasingly desperate Human-Covenant War, a young woman namedwas rapidly making a name for herself in the . Completing mission after mission with a perfect rate of success, Ilsa rose to become one of Section Three's most promising black ops agents, and her remarkable record attracted the attention of Captain . Soon after meeting, the agent and division head's interest in one another became more than professional. Although a romantic relationship carried severe risks for people in their positions, the dangers only added to the excitement of their affair, until in October of the next year when Ilsa became pregnant. Though unexpected, both found they wanted to have the child together, and Ilsa was hidden away aboard Aaron's personal in deep space while he covered up her disappearance by listing her on a classified operation.
|Amber's parents, Aaron Gibson and Ilsa Zane.|
Ilsa gave birth to their daughter Amber nine months later, on July 19th, 2539. Although Aaron came to stay with them as often as he could, his position within ONI demanded his constant presence. Aside from planning and overseeing major operations, Aaron had enemies to thwart within the organization itself who might have used Ilsa and Amber against him, but his relationship with Ilsa became strained as a result. Ilsa longed to return to service, but in Aaron's absence needed to take care of their daughter. Still, she was a loving parent, and Amber's childhood aboard the ship was spent playing and learning from her mother, including everything from academic subjects and the running of a ship to the exercises Ilsa practiced to keep her skills honed. Ilsa never dared, however, to tell her daughter of her career. Through her mother's careful instruction, Amber grew into an extraordinarily intelligent and physically able child.
Despite his best efforts to keep them safely hidden, Aaron's worst fears were realized in 2544. One of his opponents, an agent codenamed THORN, acquired evidence of his tryst and the child it had produced, and threatened to send it all the way to Vice Admiral . THORN offered Gibson a choice: give up the child, who possessed near-ideal genetic traits for a SPARTAN-III, to the program which he had helped approve, or let the commander-in-chief of ONI deal with his indiscretion as she saw fit. For once in his career not knowing what to do, Aaron went to them at once, breaking the news to Ilsa with a heavy heart. After a night to think it over, Ilsa convinced Aaron to take the former option, knowing humanity's losing battle with the Covenant would be best served if Amber took up her parents' fight. Putting Amber to sleep in a cryostasis pod, their ship met with a civilian freighter hired by THORN for the transfer, and relinquished custody of their daughter to the Beta-5 Division personnel onboard. Returning to their duties, Aaron and Ilsa found themselves painfully reminded of their daughter whenever they were together and drifted apart. Eventually, the pair cut ties to one another when Ilsa volunteered as a subject for the first phase of the . Amber, in the meantime, would be taken to begin her training as a SPARTAN-III on the ONI-classified world of .
Training and Augmentation
- Main article: The Onyx Chronicles
When Amber awoke from suspended animation, she was terrified, surrounded by strangers on a strange ship. She'd been transferred aboard the UNSC Themistocles, one of several vessels making round-trip voyages across the colonies to collect the Spartan-III candidates for Gamma Company. It was one of the agents responsible for her abduction, Erin Coney, who calmed her down and explained the situation: she would likely never see her parents again, but she was where they wanted her to be. By becoming strong enough to protect others, Erin told her, they knew she would become strong enough to protect herself. Not wanting to let them down, Amber made the choice to take part in the program. As the last candidate collected, however, her fellow prospective Spartans had already spent weeks forming bonds, and Amber felt too uncomfortable approaching them. Fortunately, others took an interest in her first. Hearing the last candidate had been collected, three boys named Carlos, Kodiak, and Dyne snuck out of their quarters during a sleep shift to meet her, and all quickly became friends.
|Having never set foot on a world's surface, Amber found Onyx even stranger than her fellow recruits.|
When the Themistocles reached Onyx, the children were ferried to the planet's surface aboard Pelican dropships for introduction to their head trainer, Lieutenant Commander Kurt Ambrose, who would become a mentor and role model for the young Spartans in years to come. To begin on that path, however, the children had to pass an initial test: dropping from the Pelicans on aerial descent packs in the dead of night. Though she, like the other recruits on her Pelican, hesitated to make the jump, she found courage when Kodiak volunteered first and Dyne recklessly jumped after. Despite a few scrapes and bruises to call her own in landing, Amber survived her fall, as did all the other candidates who dared to jump. When those who'd passed were assembled the next day, Amber was given her G330 tag, but was shocked to learn Carlos hadn't found the courage to do the same and been removed from the program. Grieving for the loss of one of her few friends, Amber distanced herself from the others despite Kodiak's attempts to reach out to her.
Having grown up alone on a starship to that point in her life, Amber quickly found solitude to her liking and would strike out on her own at any opportunity. The company's early training, geared toward physical conditioning, provided many: running faster or slower on miles-long runs through Onyx's woods, escaping from ruthless exercise regimes by hiding curled up in supply crates under packets of MREs, and breaking out of her locked barracks at night when she couldn't stand to hear the other candidates breathing in their sleep. This stubborn independent streak saw Amber marked as one of the first contenders for Gamma Company's potential crop of Shepard-G127 intervened.. While she proved self-reliant in physical exercises, however, this same aversion to interacting prevented Amber from seeking help when she started falling behind in several of their many academic subjects. When she was dropped from the watch list, Amber sensed the change in her overseers' interest and worried she'd be cut as Carlos had. Stress compounded her struggles with academic subjects, and in turn began to effect her performance in other areas until an unexpected connection with
- "Well... I guess you do owe me one."
- ―Amber accepts Shepard's offer of help.
A favorite game of the company's drill instructors was to fill a miles-wide stretch of demanding terrain with obstacles and traps, then give the trainees a short head start to reach the other side before hunting them down withand . During one of these exercises, Amber came across a fellow trainee caught in one of their tormenters' snares. Instead of letting his error slow her own pursuers, Amber stayed to cut the boy loose before running off again, though the delay meant both were caught shortly after. Despite leaving him behind, the boy approached her after the exercise and offered to help her with a few of the classes they shared, having noticed her frustration before. Given an excuse, Amber found herself more comfortable accosting the other trainee, who introduced himself as Shepard, and both his guidance and his friendship contributed to the quick rebounding of her scores. Having made no shortage of friends himself, Shepard also helped Amber connect with many of their classmates—though, to her embarrassment, among Shepard's closest cohorts were Kodiak and Dyne, whom she feared felt rejected by her earlier withdrawal.
Her adjustment to being part of a group came just in time; Gamma Company's instructors began grouping the trainees into randomized, five-candidate teams expected to work together for days or weeks at a time. Amber was relieved to find herself with familiar faces among her first two rotations, including Shepard both times, but in the third was surrounded only be strangers. She started to withdraw again, hurting her ability to work with teams, and her failures only led to a downward spiral. When the next rotation came, however, one member of the third team went with her: Morgana-G018. Though she could be haughty and unapologetically critical, Morgan and Amber naturally gravitated to one another and quickly developed a close friendship. Their respect for one another's independence—Amber's born of apprehension toward others and Morgan's due to a lack of patience for them—enabled each to keep out of the other's way if not work together directly. The pair were kept together for the remaining company rotations, but Amber still made a point of disappearing for time to herself, and this very thing led an assignment neither expected.
|While exceptionally capable, Amber's trainers reported difficulty motivating her.|
Hiding in any area a trainee wasn't supposed to be, Amber would almost routinely run into Kodiak and Dyne, whom had earned a reputation as troublemakers even among the unruly children of Gamma Company. One particular night, Amber slipped into a storage shed to avoid the next morning's reveille only to be jarred awake in the middle of the night by her crate moving. Afraid of being caught, Amber kept silent as the crate was carried outside, only for a commotion to break out and the crate to break open amid panicked shouts. Dazed and bleary-eyed, Amber was stunned to find herself surrounded by Kodiak, Dyne, and a half dozen drill instructors shining flashlights on the three of them. Marched to Commander Kurt Ambrose's office, the trio joined Morgan and another girl to await punishment for their infractions. To their surprise, Ambrose seemed almost pleased; despite a warning there would be repercussions later, he congratulated the five on becoming the first permanent formation assigned in Gamma Company: Team Machete. Though she could have expressed as much displeasure with the arrangement as Morgan, she was far too tired at the time and simply fell asleep upon returning to their barracks.
The subsequent months proved a rocky start for Machete's fractious members, but a common enemy emerged in their assigned drill instructor, Staff Sergeant Pete Stacker. Working together to plot petty acts of revenge against Stacker, their teamwork in actual exercises soon improved. Amber, however, remained stubbornly distant, feeling while Morgan came into her own as a coordinator and Kodiak developed confidence as a team leader, she had yet to find her own place. Listening to Commander Ambrose's rhetoric about the role of Spartans in bringing an end to the war made her desperate to carve out a niche for herself. Thus, when she noticed her company's hesitance when introduced to incendiary weapons, Amber gladly dedicated herself to mastering them. The indiscriminate application of pyrosene-V for area denial and asset destruction by an was well suited to Machete's developing penchant for sabotage, and the former who instructed her helped Amber excel as she'd desired in her chosen specialization.
Finally, almost seven years after their abduction, the candidates were introduced to, the human augmentation procedures which would metamorphosize them from peak-condition humans to true, superhuman Spartans. Though Commander Ambrose was clear about the risks involved, showing the company archived footage from , it still marked the first time Amber found herself with doubts about the program. Unlike the majority of Gamma Company's trainees, Amber hadn't lost her family to the Covenant, and wasn't sure she wanted to risk dying in a painful, failed augmentation for the chance to spend her life fighting them. Her fears, however, conflicted with her sympathy for the friend and teammates who'd told her about the homes and families they'd lost. Deeply troubled, and having never asked what she wanted for herself, Amber slipped out of her team's barracks that night in what would quietly mark Gamma Company's last escape attempt. For days, she evaded a full-scale search by VISR-equipped drill instructors, Pelican search patterns, and even her fellow trainees before voluntarily surrendering to and opting to take part in the augmentations. Erin Coney, as one of Machete's overseeing instructors, raised concerns about her motivations for escaping. Commander Ambrose, however, took it as the trainee's way of dealing with her choice—and a demonstration of Gamma's capabilities—and accepted Amber's decision without further question.
|Despite finding her body numb, Amber counted waking up alive after augmentation one of the happiest moments of her life.|
Taken aboard theon February 19th, 2551, Amber and her 329 comrades submitted to the augmentations which would forever change them. In addition to those which Alpha and Beta Companies had undergone, however, three drug compounds were illicitly added by Commander Ambrose which were kept secret even from the other staff. These were 009762-OO, a mind-altering mutagen which would intensify the candidates' aggression response and reduce their susceptibility to shock, and two counter-agents meant to stabilize its drastic effects. While these additives would enable Gamma Company's Spartans to fight through injuries beyond even what the SPARTAN-IIs could have endured, it would also damage their cognitive functions without steady supplements of the counter-agents. Unaware of these additions, Amber awoke late the following day to find her body unfamiliar and hardly responsive. She, like every other member of the company, had survived, but would now face nearly a year in recovery. Their new speed and strength required the Spartans to relearn everything from standing up to combat drills with the augmentations accounted for. Amber welcomed these challenges and even the life of constant danger ahead with relief, knowing if she were to die from now on, it would be for something.
Battle of Earth
- Main article: Dwindling Flame
By the time Gamma Company received its deployment orders, its graduated Spartans were more than ready. Ambrose had played for time to ensure they fully recovered, long enough for one operation planned for the company to fall through. A handful of teams began to trickle out, called ahead of the main company's deployment for special missions, but manyy who remained began to feel Ambrose was holding them back. At last, in October, 2552, a squadron of prowlers arrived with news that, the UNSC's foremost military bastion, had fallen. Though some felt this meant the war was already lost, Gamma Company had been called upon to fortify the desperate defense of Earth, and none were willing to give up the fight before they'd had their say. Unlike their predecessors, Gamma would not deploy as a single unit, dividing among the prowlers which would ferry teams to their many individual objectives, with Machete joining the largest singular group to be stationed on Earth itself in anticipation of a coming Covenant attack. By the time the prowlers exited slipspace in the Sol System, however, that attack had already come.
|Machete overlooks a Covenant base under construction.|
Following the rout ofill-prepared advance fleet, a massive invasion force arrived and laid planet-wide siege to humanity's homeworld. In East Asia, the Covenant successfully landed a full of Sangheili-led troops and a three-day ground campaign ensued. The result was a crushing UNSC defeat, ceding mainland China to the invaders as a staging area. The former islands of Japan stood as a barrier east, as well as a store for stockpiles of Chinese-manufactured materiel, and Machete would be among the handful of Spartan teams aiding its defense. Before even setting foot on the ground, they were given their first objective: to repel scouts on Izu Oshima, an island in the mouth of Tokyo Bay where the Covenant hoped to create a beachhead. Air-dropped onto the island, Machete found not just scouts, but engineering crews preparing a site for the construction of a base. Given the opportunity, Machete decided to test their skill in sabotage and used their SPI armor to approach undetected, marking coordinates for artillery bombardment and placing remote explosives within the buildings under construction. The latter, however, resulted in their discovery by a overseeing the work.
Killing the Covenant engineer set off its explosive harness, and with the alarm raised, Machete was engaged at once. Covering for Dyne and Tara, who'd been caught in the open, Amber put her flamethrower to use sowing chaos among the surprised Covenant. This drew their attention too well, however, and the Sangheili Ultra in command rushed and impaled her on the prongs of an energy sword. In excruciating pain, Amber was onlyy saved by her augmentations' response and Kodiak's reprisal. Detonating what explosives they'd planted to cover their escape, Amber fell unconscious as her teammates pulled her to their extraction point and evacuated the island. Taken directly to the medical facilities at Ryu Base, the UNSC's strategic headquarters in Tokyo, Amber was held in ain the base's underground medical wing while replacement organs and tissue were . Amber's team visited as soon as she regained consciousness, but were concerned when she reporting unusual noise not even the other Spartans could detect. Though Machete returned to action without her, Amber's reported noise and survival despite extreme injury prompted their mission advisor, Erin Coney, to investigate her medical data more closely.
By the time Machete returned, Erin had discovered Ambrose's illicit augmentations to her own fury. Amber, meanwhile, became increasingly frantic in her insistence on hearing noises. Thinking it was a side effect of the brain mutation, Erin petitioned the doctors to sedate her over Amber's protests. Afraid of being unconscious and helpless again, Amber attempted to break out of the gel tank as her team arrived and tried to calm her down. At that moment, however, a hole was blasted open in the medical wing's floor by Covenant soldiers. While the others present were still stunned, Amber succeeded in breaking free and killing the first Covenant soldiers through the breach with a shard of the tank's glass. This gave the rest of Machete enough time to regain their wits and collapse the tunnel with grenades. The gel tank's fluid had amplified Amber's hearing, allowing her to anticipate the attack. With her surgeries completed, and mental condition affirmed, Amber was cleared to rejoin Machete on active combat duty. First, however, Lieutenant Coney pulled them aside to brief them on the additions Ambrose had made to their augmentations, and granted them access to something hidden in storage beneath Ryu Base: retired suits of the initial-productionarmor.
Outfitted with new weapons and armor, Machete took a more direct role in combat than they had ever trained for. With the strength and resilience of MJOLNIR coupled with the resourcefulness of SPARTAN-IIIs, Machete undertook everything from springing ambushes and attacking enemy outposts to supporting infantry in frontline combat. In the course of the next week, they participated in a Pelican assault on an approaching CAS-class assault carrier, helped broker a truce with the few remaining Sangheili forces after the Attilus on Ryu Base itself, during which Amber helped bring down the Type-52 Dragon his forces had constructed. After their rout, the Jiralhanae appeared to abandon their campaign in Japan, only for the UNSC to realize they were withdrawing to gather over East Africa. The had arrived to complete the Covenant's true objective: the activation of a relic which opened a portal to the . With their forces exhausted and pockets of stranded enemy forces left to deal with, the UNSC sent only a small force with fleet in following them for one final battle, leaving Machete and the rest of humankind to wait and watch., and repelled a Jiralhanae assault led by the War Chieftain
Their wait ended just under a week later, as Vadum's fleet returned with word of the Covenant's final defeat and the destruction of UNSC Themistocles and join its tour of a number of former human colonies to survey them for resettlement, a post they would hold for the next four years.. Though it meant the end of the war, Amber found herself troubled by the news, as it prompted her to contemplate her place and those of the other Spartans in a galaxy without humanity threatened by a war of extermination. Time for this contemplation was short, however, as Kodiak volunteered Machete for numerous ad hoc tasks as reconstruction began, from search-and-rescue to hunting Covenant holdouts to physical labor cleaning up after the fighting. In the coming months, however, they found the UNSC would continue to have use for them, as the Covenant's fall left a sudden, sizeable power vacuum and numerous Covenant Remnant factions seeking to fill it. Among them was Attilus, who'd not followed Truth through the Ark portal and was rapidly consolidating power as an independent warlord in former human space. At Erin's discretion, Machete was ordered to report aboard the
To Machete's surprise, they would not be the only members of Themistocles’ Spartan contingent: Vinh-030, a SPARTAN-II they'd briefly worked with in Japan, would be joining them as the detail's commander. While Morgan's study of their legendary predecessors bordered on obsession, the fact someone from outside Gamma Company's tight-knit cadre had been installed as their superior irritated Amber, and she tried to avoid interacting with the senior Spartan as much as possible. It proved easier than she'd imagined, as the Themistocles would be getting underway ahead of most recolonization survey ships in January of 2553. Its first task was ferrying Fleet Admiral on the first leg of his tour of surviving human colonies to reestablish contact and plan reconstruction efforts. These began with , where Machete accompanied Hood in dress uniforms both as alleged war heroes and capable bodyguards for Hood, as pro-Earth sentiment on the planet was in short supply after the UNSC abandoned its defense. Feeling bored and out of place as Hood fruitlessly attempted to broker agreements, Amber and the rest of Machete were largely disappointed to learn of an actual incident taking place between Vinh and on the planet only after the fact.
|Amber's corrosion-resistant HAZOP armor allowed her alone to traverse the desolate surface of Stratos.|
- Main article: Old Wounds
Rendezvousing with another UNSC vessel within the week to hand off Hood, the Themistocles would continue its ongoing mission to make contact with human survivors of the war, among which would be the mountaintop-based colony of Stratos in 2554. Though Machete had been content to find their own distractions as their superiors negotiated, the team was surprised when evidence turned up of a resurging Insurrection attempting to influence the colonial government, and immediately began an investigation. Though Vinh had extensive experience in counter-insurgency operations, friction between her and Machete led Dyne to disobey orders and fall into a trap laid by Gustav Klein. The rebel mercenary's forces incapacitated and disappeared with the Spartan, leaving Machete at a loss for explanation until Kodiak guessed they'd hidden where none could supposedly survive: beneath the layer of corrosive fog dominating the planet below the mountaintops. Here, Amber's talents proved critical for the team, as she alone could traverse the surface in her HAZOP armor. It was she who confirmed the location of Klein's base, the Hellpit, and provided telemetry after entering for the rest of the team to assault it using . Freeing Dyne and sabotaging the base, Machete shut down the burgeoning 's operations on the planet.
As time went on, the Themistocles pushed further out into former human space and encountered alien colonies on conquered human worlds. Amber voiced qualms with the UEG's official position on these settlements—to imprison or push them offworld, through force if necessary—as they had sometimes been in place for decades by this time. Her objections had little impact, however, and Amber was forced to accept humans and former Covenant species could not presently, if ever, peacefully coexist. Often, Machete was called on to take part in skirmishes against Covenant settlements which had, with the breaking of the Covenant, fallen under the rulership of dozens of minor warlords. Among the strongest of these was Attilus, whose roving fleet extorted resources and press-ganged troops from a number of systems. After their first encounter with his forces, warlords began to view the Themistocles and other UNSC vessels first as targets for raiding, then legitimate threats to be answered with coordinated attacks.
Following a skirmish with Attilus' forces in late 2555, during which Machete rescued a ship full of one of their own kind, the Themistocles received a request from the to brief one of their commanders, , on what they'd learned of the San'Shyuum's whereabouts. Accepting in the interest of cooperation with the Swords, Machete arrived at the outpost Exceeding Grasp to meet 'Vadum and give their report, during which they learned the Sangheili wished to make peace with the San'Shyuum. While aboard, however, the station came under attack by Attilus' raider fleet. While none of the Jiralhanae vessels approached the power of 'Vadum's carrier , the Sangheili vessel suffered from a longstanding lack of repair, and even with the Themistocles’ help could not prevent the station's boarding. Amber, Dyne, and Morgan fought alongside 'Vadum against boarding parties led by the Stalker captain Sidonus and repelled them from the station, only to learn Attilus' true target had been a trophy held aboard the Intent: the . Attilus had led a separate attack, wounding Kodiak and killing Tara in the hammer's theft before escaping. Grieving for their lost teammate, Machete vowed to eliminate Attilus and received 'Vadum's promise of support when the day came.refugees fleeing imprisonment by
Conclave of the Feral Worlds
Their chance would come just a few short months later in early 2556, as Attilus made his possession of the Fist well-known in order to draw other Jiralhanae to his service. Soon, he called for a meeting of warlords from throughout the Feral Worlds, those human colonies which had been settled by the Covenant, in the Salia system. If Attilus managed to unite them under him, the warlord alliance could have made for a credible rival to the UNSC on its very border, something they could not allow. A call went out to assemble all nearby UNSC vessels for a task force, hoping to eliminate the conclave's leaders in a single strike. Before the Themistocles joined them, however, Machete was discreetly contacted by the leader of the San'Shyuum refugees they'd saved. Though granted UEG asylum, the refugees had been detained indefinitely and requests to aid their kin still imprisoned by the Prophet of Extinction denied. Begging the Spartans to intercede, she passed on the coordinates of the station where they were held, which coincided with the coordinates of Attilus' gathering. The UNSC attack to come would leave no survivors, likely dealing a final blow to the San'Shyuum as a species. Machete brought this information to the captain, Daiichi Kimura, who attempted to contact Lord Hood and explain the situation, but was denied before ever reaching him. While unable to countermand the Themistocles’ orders, Kimura did possess a back-channel for communications with Rtas 'Vadum, and quickly informed the Swords' Shipmaster. Before Themistocles jumped to the gathering UNSC fleet's location, Vinh and Team Machete discreetly transferred aboard the Shadow of Intent and joined the Shipmaster's hasty effort to rescue the San'Shyuum.
Arriving in the Salia system under the false banner of a Jiralhanae warlord, the Intent managed to dock with the station Attilus had chosen for the meeting. Once in place, however, Vinh, Kodiak and boarding parties assembled from 'Vadum's skeleton crew attacked the gathered warlords as a diversion, while Amber, Dyne, and Morgan led a smaller team in the intended prison break. Making short work of Jiralhanae left in their way, Amber's team reached the San'Shyuum living quarters and found they had little need to convince their occupants. Years of strict adherence to Extinction's plan had turned into a dictatorship aboard the station which they could no longer stomach. In the process, however, they were attacked by Sidonus and his Stalkers while a lockdown halted their escape. While Morgan and Dyne engaged the Brutes, Amber took it upon herself to find a way to end the lockdown. Tracking the control systems from a security schematic, Amber alone entered the station's control center and was confronted by the Prophet himself, who trapped her behind a .
|Manipulating warlords and pirates like Attilus in former human space, the Prophet had been behind much strife Machete had been through in the last few years.|
With the demon contained, Extinction returned to observing the warlord ships firing on the immobile Shadow of Intent, and security feeds showing the Jiralhanae throwing back 'Vadum's scant forces. Extinction revealed his intentions to Amber of controlling Attilus and the Jiralhanae as a shield while his people repopulated, using thehe'd hoarded in the wake of the Covenant's destruction as leverage to manipulate those who'd unwisely fought over deteriorating warships. Amber accused the Prophet of cruelty towards his own people, to which Extinction responded humanity had resorted to in the name of survival during the Human-Covenant War. Worse, they now looked to commit another—the UNSC had started planning their attack not when the summit was called, but when they had learned from the San'Shyuum refugees of their peoples' presence on the station. The summit had only been Extinction's way of gathering defenders. Knowing that, the Prophet asked Amber if, as a Spartan, she still believed anything could be justified in the name of mankind's survival as he did the San'Shyuum's. To both their surprise, however, Amber answered she did not.
- "They knew. This attack would've amounted to genocide, and they knew!"
- ―Amber comes to a horrifying realization.
In the meantime, the UNSC task force arrived in the system to find the Shadow of Intent docked with the station, and thus could not simply fire on it as planned. They engaged the Jiralhanae flotillas to spare the Intent, but neither side developed a clear, immediate advantage. Seeing this, the Prophet of Extinction realized even after all his planning, the future of the San'Shyuum was now uncertain at best, and could not accept it. The Shadow of Intent, however, presented a new possibility; if their rescue succeeded, the more powerful UNSC would be forced to acknowledge and protect them. In light of this, the Prophet ended the lockdown and released Amber, asking her to save his people. Then, to ensure the outcome of the battle, he ordered his Huragok to deactivate the energy shielding across all of Attilus' fleet. As the UNSC and Sangheili turned the tide in their favor, Amber executed the Prophet at his request and returned to her team, successfully evacuating the station's San'Shyuum population aboard the Intent.
In the battle's aftermath, the Jiralhanae fleet had been obliterated along with nearly every Covenant warlord in former human space, including Attilus at Kodiak's hands, though Vinh had been wounded seriously enough in fighting him to opt for retirement. The UNSC launched an inquiry into the Shadow of Intent’s actions, but as they had no authority over Shipmaster 'Vadum as a member of the Swords, learned nothing of Machete or the Themistocles’ involvement. The sudden scrutiny posed a threat by itself, however, as discovery of their involvement would lead to questions concerning how they had avoided Admiral UNSC Infinity. Amber, meanwhile, would quietly reflect upon her discussion with the Prophet, never mentioning it to her team.'s directive to reassign all Gamma Company Spartans to covert roles within ONI. Though they regretted to leave the ship which had been their home the last three years, Machete followed Erin's plan to quickly transfer off the Themistocles and instead integrate into the largest contingent of Spartans anywhere: aboard the
- Main article: Halo: Ad Infinitum
- "I can't remember the last time I wasn't thinking to myself 'someone's looking.'"
- ―Amber admits her discomfort in Machete's new posting.
For Team Machete, redubbed Fireteam Machete, the transition from the sparsely-crewed auxiliary Themistocles to Infinity’s onboard population of over 17,000 was more drastic than expected. For all the logistical priority given the vessel, privacy was in perpetually short supply, a resource Amber deeply valued and was in more need of than ever as she reflected on her own regard for human life. Worse, even surrounded by the hundreds of fellow Spartans on Infinity’s dedicated S-deck, Machete found little in common with their new SPARTAN-IV comrades, who regarded the SPARTAN-II and -III programs as immoral experiments despite what their subjects had sacrificed and accomplished. Rebelling against their patronizing, and clashing with Infinity’s Spartan Commanderin particular, Machete kept mostly to the company of other Gamma teams aboard. They also defiantly continued referring to themselves with Spartan tags instead of using the last names which had been revealed with their declassified service records, despite the point of Erin's reassigning them to Infinity being to avoid the eyes of ONI. Being referred to as 'Spartan Gibson' brought back thoughts of the family Amber had lost for the first time in years, which were the last things her introspection needed at that time.
A few factors worked in Machete's favor, however, the first of which was their reunion with now-Master Sergeant Stacker. Their former drill instructor was a great help in adapting them to the atmosphere of the Infinity, his personal connections among the extensive crew allowing him to introduce the younger Spartans to their own healthy diversions. While Kodiak and Dyne were allowed to join the technical support staff for S-Deck's holographic training chamber and Morgana was engaged by the complex day-to-day management of a large vessel, Stacker managed to secure Amber the relatively simple duty of making security rounds through the nearly-deserted emergency storage bays, during which she would have long hours to herself. With relative peace of mind restored, Amber and her teammates managed to fall into a comfortable routine.
|The combined loss of power and pull of an outside gravity well would cause untold damage within Infinity.|
July 21st, 2557 had been the anticipated end of the Infinity’s months-long journey to reach adiscovered by the research outpost on , a prospect which excited the SPARTAN-IIIs on board as their training home of Onyx had, as they discovered later, been a Forerunner world as well. Upon arrival, however, the vessel was scanned by a beam of light emanating from the planet and suffered a ship-wide power failure, beginning to drift into the planet's gravitational pull. Within the supercarrier's compartments, this caused incredible chaos as artificial gravity fluctuated and even the most redundant safety systems failed to prevent catastrophes. Amber and Morgan were caught in a sealed corridor adjacent to Infinity’s reservoir tanks when a bulkhead ruptured, and acted quickly to save several crewmen from drowning. Using personal coms, the pair made contact with Erin and agreed to meet their teammates in S-Deck's Armor Bay. Despite a challenging journey there, the four Gammas arrived in time for Amber and Kodiak to suit up before the Armor Bay's automated gantries lost power. Better equipped, Kodiak and Amber left to respond to the cascading emergencies at Erin's discretion while their teammates attempted to restore power and suit more Spartans.
Able to traverse compartments exposed to fire or vacuum, Erin directed the pair near the outer hull, attempting to rescue the ship's third officer, Fireteam Valiant and a team from led by Dr. Taranee Connors to document anything they found., who'd been left stranded by a series of hull breaches. With an oxygen mask in hand, the pair reached him as the Infinity was pulled into Requiem's atmosphere, and were forced to pass through an open compartment on their return. As they traversed it, a tremor hit which threw Kodiak through the breach and clear of the ship entirely as it fell, leaving Amber with no recourse but to escort Bradley to the bridge alone. After the ship had crash-landed, remaining miraculously intact, Amber joined in repelling the Covenant Remnant forces of until the arrival of drove off the leading them. Afterwards, sure in her convictions of Kodiak's survival, Amber and the rest of Machete demanded permission to find and recover their team leader, to which Infinity Command agreed—but only in conjunction with the SPARTAN-IV
|Though Onyx had also been a Shield World, the obviously manufactured landscapes of Requiem Amber found both beautiful and unnerving.|
Though Machete was reluctant to work so closely with SPARTAN-IVs, the teams agreed to search a rough area where Kodiak had been projected to fall. Any precise locating proved difficult with Infinity’s AI, Leon Sikowsky opted to split up as a diversion, giving Machete time to recover their own teammate. Though the Gammas successfully reunited at the spire, Dr. Connors became fascinated with a display embedded in the structure while Machete aided Valiant's retreat, and the scientist abruptly vanished in thin air. Under fire and without time to look for her as their extraction arrived, the fireteams returned to Infinity and were quickly debriefed., offline and ambient interference from the planet's abundant Forerunner technology blocking Kodiak's transponder. Once on the ground, the combined fireteams quickly encountered resistance from Requiem's forces, which Amber's flamethrower proved ineffective against. Their luck changed, however, when they came into close enough range to pick up Kodiak's IFF, and agreed to meet at a nearby spire structure, only for the Prometheans to renew their attack. Cut off, Valiant's leader
Though Kodiak had suffered a broken arm among other injuries in the fall, he would be able to return to duty soon, and Valiant's willingness to risk their lives for the missing Gamma considerably improved Fireteam Machete's relations with the ship's SPARTAN-IVs. The Infinity, meanwhile, would leave Requiem to repair the more extensive damage it had received in its crash and return to the Sol system. Machete would remain aboard on standby when Infinity engaged theduring the .
- "Have you ever seen what a flamethrower does to Hunters? All those worms just kind of... shrivel up."
- ―Amber prepares to take on a severe threat herself.
Following an extensive refit, the Infinity returned to Requiem on February 7th, 2558, six months after its discovery, with a larger ground complement which included additional Spartans. Blasting through the Covenant task force guarding the Shield World's internal portal, Infinity deployed its forces and swiftly took control of a number of structures within, giving Infinity Science the opportunity to study the Forerunner technology they contained. After helping secure a site designated Hawking Base, however, Machete would be recalled to Infinity, and for the following month were placed on a rotating roster of on-call Spartan teams ready to carry out operations across Requiem as required. Machete's chances at seeing action were somewhat limited, however, by Spartan Commander Palmer's reluctance to use SPARTAN-IIIs, which resulted in further butting of heads between the Gamma team and their commanding officer. Unlike her teammates however, Amber seemed unconcerned by Palmer's perceived bias against the team, content to remain on-ship until called upon, reviewing dossiers on the Covenant Remnant members speculated to be on Requiem and reports on the scientific teams' findings.
|The Promethean attack immediately dispelled any illusions about the ship's security with the artifact on board.|
Before long, however, the fighting would come to her even on Infinity. An artifact recovered byactivated, allowing Promethean forces to teleport aboard while the Covenant launched an attack from outside. Machete were among the Spartans onboard when the attack came and, thanks to their own improvements to their armor stations, some of the first to respond. With help from the ship's new AI, , Machete partially locked down routes leading away from some of the Covenant's entry points and funneled them to the training deck. There, Kodiak and Dyne manipulated the simulation's terrain at will, giving Amber and Morgan overwhelming advantages and allowing them to neutralize dozens of Covenant troops each single-handed. Though 'Mdama's forces succeeded in capturing a high-value target, they failed to disable or destroy the Infinity itself thanks in part to the number of warriors Machete diverted. Celebrating the victory afterward, Amber began to take more notice of the romantic relationships present between many members of the crew, and the one between Morgan and Dyne in particular. Troubled they seemed closer now than she was with any of the team, Amber sought to reconnect with Shepard-G127, whose team had also been brought aboard Infinity. Though he seemed to share her enthusiasm in reacquainting, their interactions were frustratingly awkward, discouraging her further attempts.
Returning to field deployments was exactly what Amber needed to clear her head, and threw herself eagerly into Infinity’s efforts to learn where Jul 'Mdama had takenafter abducting her in the raid. Machete was one of several teams dispatched to investigate potential leads, but in raiding a Covenant camp found a new potential research site instead. With the Requiem Campaign swiftly coming to a close, Machete was ordered to stay on-site as security, during which the scientific team they were attached to deciphered references to the location of a powerful Forerunner weapon on Stavros, a planet in the furthest reaches of the . Before science teams could determine the nature of the relic, Infinity issued an emergency evacuation order, as Requiem's orbit around its sun had been set to rapidly decay by 'Mdama. After a swift retreat, Machete was safely aboard when SPARTAN-IV fireteams freed the Infinity from gravitational anchors in time for the vessel to escape the shield world's destruction with a slipspace jump.
Immediately after their flight from Requiem, the Infinity was recalled to Earth for debriefing and transfer of recovered research material, but 'Mdama's lead gleaning intelligence from the Shield World meant no delay could be afforded securing the possible Forerunner weapon on Stavros. Persuaded by Infinity’s intelligence division, Captain Lasky dispatched one of the ship's Strident-class escorts, Sub-vessel 7, to investigate. Erin Coney, meanwhile, arranged for Fireteam Machete to join the mission as a means of avoiding discovery during debriefings and review of Infinity’s tour on Requiem. Once aboard, however, they found to their surprise the Agent Baines assigned to lead the mission was a fellow member of Gamma Company, then known as Wynne-G327. Since the war's end, Wynne had left the Spartans to become a field agent for ONI, and met her former comrades' welcome with stoicism, leading to an uncomfortable time spent in close quarters while the ship transitioned through slipspace. Arriving at Stavros, the vessel's crew were surprised to find not 'Mdama's Covenant awaiting them, but human and Jiralhanae civilian settlements both colonizing the world. One of the latter had been founded on the very coordinates the weapon was supposedly buried. Fearing it had already been found, Baines ordered the destruction of the planet's communications satellites to cut off all contact with the outside galaxy, and led Fireteam Machete and a Marine contingent to the surface to survey the alien colony.
The colony turned out to be little more than a village, its inhabitants left on their own after the warlord they paid tribute to had perished at the Conclave of the Feral Worlds. With its warriors gone, surrounding the settlement and rounding up its inhabitants proved no challenge for the Marines and Spartans, preventing any calls for reinforcement from the other colonies nearby. When addressed by Wynne, an elder Jiralhanae came forward, offering to show them the temple they sought in exchange for the promise of leaving the village unharmed. Wynne accepted, and chose Amber to help her clear the Forerunner relic. Just after entering, however, word came from Sub-vessel 7 that a pair of Covenant ships had entered the system, and with the ship unable to effectively delay them, they would likely be under attack soon.
|The Stavros map chamber bore similarities to the one found on Harvest by the Spirit of Fire.|
Losing contact with the surface shortly after, Wynne and Amber followed the old Jiralhanae to a central chamber filled with active Forerunner technology displaying a holographic model of the Milky Way, with Stavros highlighted at the end of a long line. While the elder declared it a map leading to Stavros as a significant point of worship, it was Amber who realized Stavros was actually a destination, though she couldn't tell what lay in deep space at its other end. After documenting everything, Wynne—determined to return this information to the UNSC—attempted to tear the machine's data crystal from its housing. The old Jiralhanae intervened, horrified by her vandalism of a sacred artifact. When his efforts injured Wynne, Amber moved to subdue him, only for Wynne to shoot the aged alien dead. Stunned by the needless murder, Amber expressed her anger only for Wynne to rebuke her, pointing out he was a member of a hostile species who had attacked her first. Her forcibly removing the crystal, however, caused it to shatter, rendering it and the temple it powered worthless. Returning to the surface, the pair learned upon restoring contact with the rest of Machete that 'Mdama's troops had landed in force, and would soon overrun their defense.
With the Forerunner relic sabotaged, Baines asserted the colonists who'd spent hours every day in their temple were now the only remaining record of where the Forerunner weapon really lay, and could not be allowed to fall into Covenant hands. But without the strength to hold or time to evacuate them, only one means of denying them existed: their total obliteration, for which she ordered Morgan to coordinate an artillery strike from the Sub-vessel to wipe out the settlement. No sooner had she done this, however, than Baines was struck by an unexpected source—Amber. Convinced Baines' decision was rooted in her own hatred of aliens the SPARTAN-III Program had encouraged, and unwilling to take part in the slaughter of so many innocents—alien or not—she knocked the ONI agent unconscious and told Morgan to abort the strike, only for Morgan to refuse without Baines' confirmation. Determined to prevent the attack, Amber made the long run to Morgan's overwatch position on a distant ridge while the other Spartans were too busy engaging the Covenant to intervene. Upon reaching Morgan, Amber pleaded with her friend to stop, but was met with Morgan's own certainty in doing whatever was necessary to protect the UNSC. Unable to persuade her, Amber attempted to destroy the targeting equipment—and Morgan blocked her.
- "I get it, Amber. I get it because Dyne's the same way. You didn't have your homes and families ripped away from you by the Covenant like the rest of us did. Every last member of humankind had something taken away, except you two. Either you didn't know what you had, or didn't have anything to lose in the first place. So you don't understand why this has to be done."
- ―Morgana refuses to let Amber pass.
Neither backing down, Amber wrestled with her teammate to reach the equipment. Amber held the upper hand in physical combat, but hesitated to inflict the real harm it would take to get past Morgan. Frustrated someone so close to her so strongly disagreed, Amber spat accusations which infuriated even someone as normally dispassionate as Morgan, while their teammates demanded or plead with them over COMs to stop. Realizing she could only win by harming her friend, Amber's resolve wavered. At the same time, however, Morgana realized she was steadily losing and drew her sidearm. On reflex, Amber threw the only thing she had within easy reach at Morgan to protect herself: her flamethrower. A shot was fired, and the weapon's tank exploded—killing Morgan instantly. In shock for what might've been minutes, when Amber finally regained the ability to move, she left the corpse and targeting equipment behind and fled from the site of the battle, deserting her post and running aimlessly into Stavros' wilderness. Soon after, the UNSC would extract its forces and carry out the bombing of the settlement, exterminating its inhabitants and denying the Covenant remnant their intelligence.
- Main article: Derelict
Breaking as much of her armor's tracking and communication hardware as could, Amber was cut off from the constant feeds of UNSC tactical information for perhaps the first time in her life, finding herself alone and frightened by the uncertainty of her situation. With her comrades extracted, Sub-vessel 7 could have retreated and let the Covenant secure the planet, or UNSC reinforcements might have arrived to drive them off and search for her, putting her in danger in either case. Knowing she had to put as much distance between herself and the Forerunner site as possible, Amber crossed a mountain range within a week of her desertion, moving only at night and hiding out during the day to minimize any chance of detection. Upon at last reaching the continent's edge, Amber found shelter in the scuttled remains of the transport ship the Jiralhanae had crashed during Stavros' settlement, protruding out of the water less than a mile offshore. With a hideout secured, Amber settled in to lay low as long as her emergency rations would last. She had scarcely started thinking of alternatives when two days later, her hunter caught up with her.
- Amber: "Nowhere to run. Now that I think about it, they've been telling us that all our lives: you have a place with us. They just leave out the ‘or else.’ "
- Kodiak: "Then you knew it would come to this. So just put the gun down and come with me."
- Amber: "I don’t know what I thought was going to happen."
- — Confronted by her friend with her own actions, Amber is overcome with despair.
Rather than an ONI hit squad or a team of SPARTANs, however, Amber was surprised to spot Kodiak come after her alone. Fearing he meant to flush her out for other forces hidden nearby, she retreated further into the shipwreck to await her friend where she'd prepared a handful of traps. When Kodiak entered the vessel alone, Amber began to wonder at his intentions and decided to test him by springing an ambush on him. When he retaliated with gunfire, she chose to flee, but underestimated her team leader and wound up cornered on the edge of a hull breach over open sea. Only then was Kodiak able to speak to her, and asked Amber to return with him to the UNSC. As she stalled, their conversation turned to why she'd deserted, and Amber realized for all his naive promises of protecting her, Kodiak's very presence meant he had no control in the situation. Seeing she couldn't outrun the UNSC, and preferring death to all the punishments ONI could have invented for her, Amber jumped into the sea below over Kodiak's protests. Without a helmet and weighted down in her titanium armor, Kodiak never saw her resurface, and returned to the UNSC to report her death.
- Main article: Deserter
As primitive fear of drowning took over, however, Amber struggled against the armor and somehow managed to free herself of its titanium plates. Blacking out before she could kick back to the surface, however, Amber regained consciousness an unknown time later having washed up on a beach. Free of her pursuers and unsure what to do next, Amber simply followed the coastline, hoping to find a human or even Jiralhanae colony to reach transport off of Stavros. After a month of aimless trekking, Amber began to worry her supply of—the anti-psychotic drugs keeping Gamma Company's brain mutation in check—would run out. Fortunately, only a few days after they were scheduled to wear off, Amber happened upon a human settlement, and despite fears ONI may still be watching the planet for her, stole into town that night to steal the chemical compounds she needed to make her own smoother supply. Though her attempted theft was discovered, and Amber ended up holding a pharmacist at gunpoint, she discovered through talking with her hostage that a group of Jiralhanae encamped not far away had started capturing lone colonists, possibly to sell as slaves. Seeing a chance to pay for what she'd taken—and possibly make up for her desertion enough in ONI's eyes for her return to the UNSC to be tolerated—Amber offered to wipe out the Jiralhanae for them.
Supplied with oldarmor, a taken by as a trophy during the Human-Covenant War, and backed up by a handful of armed colonists, Amber led the attack on the Jiralhanae camp and fought bravely to protect her new comrades. Upon chasing one Jiralhanae into its dwelling, however, she found a trio of Jiralhanae cubs hidden away, and unwilling to slaughter the helpless creatures, left them to deal with after the attack. Cornering the last Jiralhanae inside a -class shuttle, Amber was sickened by the its plea for mercy when she discovered evidence of their partaking in the slave trade and executed it. But on her return to the dwelling, Amber was just as shocked to find the colonists she'd protected had murdered the Jiralhanae cubs, making themselves no better than the Brutes who'd tyrannized them. After her life had been stolen to press into the SPARTAN-IIIs, thwarting the UNSC's efforts to commit genocide on the San'Shyuum when it had narrowly avoided it by the Covenant, and now the casual cruelty of ordinary humans, Amber came to the cynical conclusion no one in the galaxy was worth saving. After executing the colonists who'd followed her, Amber took the shuttle and left Stavros behind, setting a course for the frontier worlds to make her own way in the galaxy.
- "The UEG finally admitted to one of the many atrocities we've all known about for decades, but what reparation has been made for their crimes? Where is Halsey? Without transparency, they ask us to trust them to police their own internal affairs, while people like Steffan Sentzke, Andrew Remo, and dozens of others died without ever knowing what their children's fates were. My own daughter, Amber, was taken from me to be another sacrifice on a world I'll never know the name of."
- ―Ilsa Zane, featured in NCA propaganda run throughout the Outer Colonies.
Still concerned by the possibility of ONI spies on the lookout for her, Amber gauged her shuttle's fuel supply and set course for the frontier's largest hub world: Fell Justice. There, she hoped to disappear until any search for her cooled down, but upon arrival realized she had little idea of how to do so. Though she sold the shuttle for a good price, Amber had no concept of money and rapidly burned through her funds between food and rent for an apartment worth more than she could make in a month. Considering her situation one night in an undercity bar, Amber's attention was drawn to a Chatternet propaganda piece about Spartans playing in the Insurrectionist-leaning dive. The piece featured Ilsa Zane, a SPARTAN-IV defector who'd risen to command in the burgeoning , alleging her child had been abducted for one of the SPARTAN programs—a daughter named Amber. Spending the whole night studying Zane's image and racking her brain for the faded memories of her own childhood before Gamma Company, Amber eventually concluded Ilsa was the mother she'd been taken from so long ago. Despite the uncertainties, Amber decided the chance of finding a place with her mother in the Insurrectionist faction was better than her current circumstances, and used the last of her credits to barter for passage on a tramp freighter to find her on the NCA-held colony of Zeus.
|In the decade since their separation, Ilsa had changed even more than her daughter.|
En route, Amber was forced to consider the many risks in announcing herself to the NCA. To reveal herself as Zane's alleged daughter would immediately place her under suspicion as a UNSC-indoctrinated Spartan, and even if her mother was willing to convince the NCA to accept her, the possibility of ONI plants in their ranks who'd look to attack her was high. Despite these tribulations, Amber feared she might never be allowed contact with her mother—or worse, expelled or imprisoned—if she wasn't forthcoming with her identity, and made contact with the NCA upon reaching Zeus as Ilsa's lost daughter. News of her traveled quickly through the NCA ranks, and her place in their propaganda narrative demanded her reunion become a celebration. Ilsa greeted her arrival personally, making a public show of welcoming her daughter's return and entry into the NCA's fold, but became cold and suspicious upon retreating into private. Amber was forced to recount everything she could to prove her identity and whether her desertion from the UNSC was genuine, only after which did Ilsa accept Amber was actually her daughter. Despite a warmer welcome thereafter, Amber quietly noted her mother's willingness to use their reunion and acceptance of a Spartan deserter whether Amber had been who she claimed or not.
Eager to test her daughter's new loyalty, and keen on making use of another Spartan in service to the NCA, Zane gathered her officers to plan an operation they'd previously deemed impossible: assaulting an ONI research facility orbiting mute young woman from one of the cells. Only Ilsa's timely arrival saved her life, fighting off the strange prisoner together. Having secured what they came for, the rebels fell back rather than give chase and fled the system.. Taking only a handful of experienced rebel operatives, Zane and Amber rendezvoused with contacts of the NCA in Minister's criminal underground, and with their help replaced the crew of a military supply transport bound for the station. Upon infiltrating the station, Amber was tasked with sabotaging life support systems to clear the assault's way once the charade ended. Despite a lingering hesitance to kill UNSC personnel, her brief sidetrack through a detention wing reminded her of ONI's usual methods, and Amber completed her task. Amber then returned to the detention wing and freed a number of human prisoners as potential NCA conscripts, but was suddenly attacked and—to her shock—overpowered by a
- Amber-G330: "Wait... you gave me to the Spartans?"
- Ilsa Zane: "Of course I did, honey. I knew they could make you strong, and look at you now."
- ―Amber learns more of her mother's use of manipulation.
Upon their return to Zeus, Ilsa announced their successful capture of data from: the augmentations given to the SPARTAN-IVs, Ilsa herself included. Shocked to learn Ilsa planned to help the Insurrection attempt genetic experiments to create supersoldiers of their own, Amber confronted her mother in private only to suffer a violent rebuke. Ilsa insisted their augmentations were a gift and trivialized the sacrifices each had made to acquire them. In the process, Ilsa revealed she'd voluntarily given her daughter up for conscription, hurting Amber deeply. Though Ilsa sensed this and tried to make amends, promising Amber would soon see things her way, Amber decided then to cut ties with her mother. Stowing away aboard a transport shortly after, Amber killed the NCA crew and hijacked the vessel for herself, returning to a directionless life on the frontier over remaining with the NCA.
Hunted by the UNSC and NCA alike, Amber felt she had no choice but to strike out beyond even the limits of human space, into territories controlled by former Covenant species. There, she spent nearly a month as a hired gun, offering protection to Unggoy labor unions and Yonhet traders. Though safely beyond the UNSC's reach, Amber felt more out of place than ever among the mingling cultures, none of which she understood. After abandoning her stolen NCA transport, Amber's travels finally came to an end when she tried to barter with Kig-Yar corsairs. After offering her knowledge of the Forerunner installation on Stavros—albeit without mentioning its destruction—in exchange for passage, Amber was allowed onboard by the Shipmistress only to be set upon and captured by the crew. Mocking Amber for thinking to fool them, the pirates transported her to the abandoned prison asteroid of Forsaken Solitude and confined the Spartan to a cell as an example of their petty influence. Ashamed to have fallen so far and lost for what she might do even if she escaped, Amber resigned herself to the imprisonment in despair.
|Destroyed by a breakout the year before, Amber was almost the sole prisoner of Forsaken Solitude's broken cells.|
- "I know, I know. What's a girl like me doing in a place like this?"
- ―Amber's imprisonment is discovered.
For weeks, Amber was fed only enough to survive as a living trophy. Advertising their possession of a Spartan with knowledge of Forerunner artifacts, however, proved a fatal mistake for her captors after their boasts reached the ears of Jul 'Mdama. Almost a month after her capture, Amber awoke to the asteroid itself shaking, soon followed by the sounds of gunfire. Though she feared what might befall her in the hands of new captors, she could do little but wait for the victors to find her. Instead of an alien warlord or ONI retrieval team, however, she was confronted by a fellow Gamma Company Spartan: Simon-G294, infamous as a contemptibly poor trainee who'd defected to the URF the first chance he got. Instead of leading human rebels, however, Simon stood at the head of an entire Covenant legion as a mercenary commander under the name Stray, and seemed just as surprised to see her. Far from being there to rescue his old acquaintance, however, Simon had come at Jul 'Mdama's behest to retrieve a prisoner with knowledge of Forerunner relics and bring them to him. In no shape to fight off an army, Amber was taken into custody and brought aboard the Soul Ascension for interrogation.
Restrained in a chamber aboard Simon's alien cruiser, Amber was subjected to various methods of torture at the hands of the Sangheili mercenary Ro'nin and other Covenant officers, but Simon himself remained absent from these sessions. Though already drained by weeks of captivity, when the Sangheili finally asked what she knew of Forerunner relics and revealed what they wanted to know, Amber refused to answer. Fueled first by suspicion of what her captors would do with such knowledge, then by hatred alone for those inflicting her pain, Amber suffered beatings, plasma burns, and other torments and responded only with insults and powerless threats. Only days later would Simon reappear. Rather than inflict fresh horrors as she dreaded, however, her traitorous predecessor asked how she'd come to be imprisoned by Kig-Yar so far from UNSC space. Getting the impression he wanted to know more about her than what she knew, Amber recounted her experiences and eventually admitted to deserting the UNSC, as well as her festering resentment toward them.
- "You finally found something you're good at, and I barely know what I'm doing. You can help me. We can help each other."
- ―Amber gives Simon a proposal.
Sensing Simon's uncertainty, Amber made the first concession in hopes of moving past their relation as captor and captive by offering to fight for him in the Kru'desh Legion. Though a sudden leap, Amber was entirely sincere. With the UNSC having turned on her and her attempts to go it alone failed, Amber believed she needed a guide, and could think of none better than a fellow rogue Gamma who'd built himself up to leadership of an army. Though he had little reason to trust Amber, Simon was cautiously intrigued by the idea of working with another Gamma again. He agreed, but only on the condition she share her knowledge of Forerunner installations. Unconvinced she wouldn't be cast aside if she gave away the information, she countered with the offer Simon led her to: to lead the Kru'desh to these sites herself, in the process gaining the trust of not only Simon, but the legion at large. With the arrangement made, Amber was released from captivity—but for the time being would remain under the watchful eye of Ro'nin, her former torturer. Though her strength was slow to recover, she would soon join Ro'nin's detachment in a series of raids against UNSC outposts, both to follow the trail of her limited knowledge and to prove her newfound loyalty.
Ambush at Torus Filni
Amber's service to the Kru'desh began on uneasy footing. Aboard anunder Ro'nin's command called the Terse Missive, Amber was surrounded by Covenant warriors who—despite accepting a human commander—remained wary of a demon in their midst. To her surprise, she was not assigned private quarters or even a cell, but bunked in a shared berth with a lance of the disgraced officers and former criminals making up the Kru'desh. Thinking her former torturer meant to leave her vulnerable as a show of power over her, Amber readily defended herself when threatened by her unruly comrades in the Lance of Unhindered Accretion. The resulting fight was broken up before it turned too far against her, but when brought to their commander, Ro'nin punished her and the offenders alike rather than use the opportunity to single her out. Though uncertain of the mercenary's intentions, Amber was left free of further provocation and able to focus on the battles to come.
When the time for the first attack came, Amber obeyed orders to the letter. Clad in ODST armor to conceal her identity, she cut down UNSC servicemen without hesitation and enabled Ro'nin's band to make off with a stock of valuable materiel for use in future raids. While she expected no special treatment after one victory, several subsequent raids left her concerned when their success did nothing to change her standing within the Kru'desh. She was not invited to planning sessions, nor given command of other troops despite exemplary combat performance. Ro'nin himself offered no indication of whether her actions pleased him or not, and the harder she tried to achieve something to provoke a reaction, the more his ambivalence irritated her. At last, she reached an epiphany: Ro'nin was waiting for her to do more than just obey, and see what she would do on her own initiative. With this in mind, Amber devised a plan with success dependent on the Kru'desh's complete trust in her. Her suspicions were confirmed when Ro'nin unconditionally agreed.
Rather than another frontier colony, Ro'nin's next target would be Torus Filni, a Swords of Sanghelios border fort on Torsica. Dispatched ahead of the Terse Missive, the Lance of Unhindered Accretion were tasked with ambushing and replacing a Swords patrol to infiltrate the shielded. As soon as they engaged the Swords, however, Amber turned on her comrades, repaying their earlier slights with slaughter. Returning with the patrol to Torus Filni as their prisoner, Amber was soon permitted to send a transmission to the Swords liaisons with the UNSC. In her message, Amber confirmed her identity, expressed her regret for fleeing the UNSC, and her desire to return to their ranks.
- "This is Amber Gibson, UNSC Service Number Sierra-G330, addressing any senior staff within Spartan Branch, High Command, or the Office of Naval Intelligence. I have turned myself in voluntarily to the Swords of Sanghelios base on Torsica after almost six months of... absence without leave. After what happened on Stavros, I thought I couldn't be part of what you said was necessary to keep mankind safe. But living on my own a while, I've learned worse happens in this galaxy every day, and anything we do to the rest to protect ourselves is hardly even a drop in the bucket. I thought not taking part in it would make me better, but it just leaves a vacuum for the next person who can do what surviving takes to come along. I'm ready to pay for making that mistake. So come get me. I surrender."
- ―Part of Amber's transmission to the UNSC.
Received by multiple UNSC liaisons outside of ONI or Spartan Branch, the rogue Spartan's open letter caused a panic in the intelligence community. Not only had it breached classification of STOLEN GAUNTLET-class scenarios, which would doubtlessly lead to external review, UNSC authorities had no way of knowing what else Amber might have revealed to their Sangheili allies. ONI deemed her immediate retrieval of the utmost priority, but Torsica lay squarely within the Swords of Sanghelios space. After the mistrust sewn between Earth and Sanghelios by ONI's uncovered black ops in their jurisdiction, the unauthorized deployment of military forces to Sangheili worlds was deemed too great a threat to standing treaties to allow. Clearing such a mission with the Swords would take weeks, however, in which time Amber could disappear again or reveal more damaging information. After the leveraging of many accrued favors, the Swords begrudgingly dispatched one of their own CCS-class cruisers, the Edict of Suban, with a Spartan team aboard at ONI's insistence to oversee Amber's retrieval: Fireteam Nephthys.
For Fortune and Glory
- Main article: RP:Imperium
Personality and Traits
- "Our genes won't let us decide any other way. Nature can't evolve a species that hasn't a will to survive. Individuals might be bred to sacrifice themselves, but the race can never decide to cease to exist."
- ―Hyrum Graff, Ender's Game
Growing up with only the characters of parables and fairy tales her mother read to her for friends, Amber developed a sense of justice which ultimately proved more powerful than her loyalty to her own species. Unlike the majority of her comrades, Amber was given no choice in joining the SPARTAN-III Program, and grew to resent the decision made for her to spend her life making sacrifices. Though she would come to admire and even envy those who embraced such a life, especially Kodiak-G114, her efforts to emulate them never satisfied her. Though her resulting heroics made her an inspiring presence in the field, Amber eventually realized she'd never wanted to be a Spartan. With humankind under threat, however, her only choice would have been to become one of the helpless masses counting on the UNSC and its Spartans for salvation.
Having never experienced loss at the hands of the Covenant, Amber was more prone to viewing aliens more objectively than her comrades, whose desires for revenge had been encouraged through years of training and service. As her team traveled across the re-expanding human colonies, Machete witnessed humans committing acts just as reprehensible as the atrocities their instructors had railed against the Covenant for. While Amber understood these acts of vengeance after decades of a war of extermination, she sympathized for the victims, many of whom were civilians uninvolved in the ended war. It took the events of the Conclave of the Feral Worlds, learning of ONI's intention to wipe out the San'Shyuum as the Covenant had nearly exterminated humanity, to realize she didn't inherently empathize with her own kind more than any other denizens of the galaxy. This would, in 2558, lead her to disobey orders and try to avert the slaughter of Covenant civilians on Stavros, ending in the accidental death of her teammate.
Horrified by her part in her best friend's death and fearing the lengths ONI might go to punish a traitorous Spartan, Amber fled and chose a near-certain suicide over returning when confronted by her team leader. Though she survived the encounter, she was for months after deprived of the drug compounds meant to stabilize the additional augmentations Gamma Company received. Combined with her failed attempts to re-ingratiate herself with human populations, Amber emerged from a period of instability with a newfound and deeply-held misanthropy. From the position of one bred to sacrifice herself for them, Amber came to generalize humans and the galaxy's other sentient species as unworthy of protecting.
Weapons and Armor
Stealthier, lighter, and—most significantly—cheaper than MJOLNIR Powered Assault Armor, SPI formed the universal standard for SPARTAN-IIIs. Though lacking in its counterpart's legendary durability and resilient energy shielding, the SPI was covered in a complex lace of photoreactive texture panels which could camouflage the user nearly as well as Covenant active camouflage, and without its glaring heat signature. Gamma Company were deployed with the revised Mark II iteration, which featured additions meant by Commander Ambrose to improve on the armor's lacking survivability. The effectiveness of these additions would be called into question as soon as Amber's first deployment during the Battle of Earth, when Amber unfortunately encountered an Elite in close combat and was impaled by its Energy Sword, requiring emergency medevac to Ryu Base. Acquiring MJOLNIR Armor shortly thereafter, Amber never looked back.
|Amber in her Mark V armor, bearing a modified M7057.|
Developed by private armories on contract for the Materials Group, the initial production model of the first energy-shielded MJOLNIR had, for all its durability, a markedly short lifespan. Supplanted within a year by an internally-produced mainline version, many Mark V[B] suits were transferred to ONI's Ryu Base in Japan for storage rather than disassembly. There, they were discovered by Erin Coney and commandeered for Team Machete's use. Among those available, Amber found a complete set of , specially adapted to cope with extreme environments which would come to suit her style of scorched earth combat. Resistant to heat beyond even normal MJOLNIR limits, the suit allowed Amber to make use of her chosen weapon with impunity, wading into the very flames she would unleash on her foes. Like the rest of Machete, Amber's suit originally bore the orange color scheme of a test suit, which became the team's standard. Her suit also proved an asset during Machete's operations on Stratos, where its resistance to high pressure allowed Amber to operate on the planet's surface, though corroded by the toxic and ultra-dense atmosphere, after which it was refinished and repainted gold. It was eventually abandoned on Stavros when Amber fled the UNSC, lost in the depths of a vast sea.
Successor to the UNSC's earlier use of the by Hellbringer troops, the M7057 redesigned the human military's principle incendiary weapon as a self-contained unit, enabling its use by soldiers without the accompaniment of a dedicated suit. Flame weapons proved devastatingly effective against the Covenant due not only to their heavy emphasis on infantry, but because the raw heat such weapons created quickly shorted out Elite energy shielding and ruptured Grunts' pressurized methane tanks. Their use could be extremely risky, given Covenant strength in for close quarters combat, but in a Spartan's hands, the weapon was free to engulf whole lances of enemy troops. Amber was still one of few to willingly favor such a weapon, as its emphasis on raw power over precision was a poor fit for commando operations Spartans were typically tasked with, but Amber and her team were rarely so conventional or discriminating in their application of force.
An unusual weapon even in Covenant hands, the Focus Rifle was reverse-engineered from Forerunner Sentinel beam weapons to project a continuous beam of superheated plasma over extreme distances. Intended for Sangheili rangers to effectively engage hostiles in the vacuum of space, the design was acquired and subsequently used as a long-range weapons in ground conflicts. Though its bright beam made snipers wielding it easy to spot, the weapon's most surprising application lies in short-range use. The beam's high visibility could be used to correct aim while still applying lethal force, and its flash in close quarters could blind or disrupt an enemy's concentration. Amber acquired one while fighting for a human colony on Stavros, and came to appreciate its effects when steadily applied to hard targets. As she entered service with the Kru'desh Legion, Amber would frequently opt for a Focus Rifle or other plasma weaponry when available, using the continuous pressure of its beam to break down the energy shield protecting rival Covenant warriors—or fellow Spartans tasked with her elimination.