Armand, Serial Number AMD-4080, was a Seventh Generation 'Smart' AI Program created by the Office of Naval Intelligence as part of an experimental program involving flash-cloned brains for the initial purpose of assisting the SPARTAN-III Shrike Team in their operations. Armand proved to be a valuable asset and was indispensable to Shrike's operations while it was active. Following the team's disbandment in late 2555, he was assigned to Luna as a security AI for several important facilities there and spent over a year countering cyber-attacks and foiling rebel infiltration attempts.
Armand would eventually be reassigned by CINCONI herself in 2557 to work as the personal AI of his still-living brain donor and head of Project BRUTUS, Alexander Redford. A harsh but loyal construct, Armand was well-suited to working with the organisation and was one of its most useful assets until the start of the Created conflict.
Armand was created in mid-2554 by the Office of Naval Intelligence for the single purpose of being a support AI for the newly formed SPARTAN-III Shrike Team. The brain used for the creation of the Smart AI was that of the infamous ONI operative Alexander Redford, who had consented to allowing his brain to be flash cloned several times until one was suitable for the creation of the artificial intelligence. Barely a week after being created, Armand introduced himself to Martin-A136, an Alpha Company survivor who had been chosen to lead the newly-created team, while on a solo mission to eliminate a Jiralhanae warlord. The AI assisted the SPARTAN-III in completing his mission before being taken by an ONI agent, leaving his ally confused as to what had happened.
Not long after, Armand met Martin once more on ONI's Helios Station, as the members of Shrike were introduced for the first time. The AI had gotten on very well with Martin before, and revealed that he was to be the Support AI for the Spartan team in the field. As team leader, Martin was chosen to carry Armand via his Neural Interface, which would prove to be a great boon to the pair of them while on missions. While privately uncomfortable with putting himself at risk in the field, Armand acclimatised well to working with Martin.
Raids on Kuiper
The first official mission that Armand was a part of was a series of raids in the city of Kuiper, on Circumstance, one of the few Outer Colony worlds to survive the Covenant onslaught years before. To quell the rising tide of Insurrection that was flaring up amongst the populace, ONI had targeted several key individuals that needed to be removed if the UNSC could regain control. The first person that they went after was Johan Hennerman, a known arms dealer and trafficker who had avoided capture for some time. As the Spartans moved in after him, Armand cooperated with Kuiper's Urban Infastructure AI to close several streets and divert Hennerman into a trap for Shrike. The operation went badly at first, a bomb-laden car being used as a decoy while the target fled, breaking through a roadblock and attempting to escape on foot, being brought down by SPARTAN-G040.
The next night, Armand assisted the Spartans in the takedown of their second target, Rizhan Kama, the son of a wealthy industrialist who had been supplying weapons via Hennerman to various rebel outposts throughout human space. The AI disabled the security system in Kama's luxury penthouse, allowing the Spartans to raid the building in the middle of a party, capturing him within minutes. Armand was left to recover data from the building's security systems while Shrike fended off an attack by members of a mysterious militia group, all of whom were killed before they could be interrogated properly. The last member to die briefly alluded to being hired by a 'Magnus' before succumbing to poison. Armand did not accompany the team on their subsequent raids, being recalled to the UNSC Coldharbour by Captain Samson to review what Shrike had uncovered. Oddly, he was unable to discover a great deal of information pertaining to Magnus aside from sparse rumours and reports from far-off outposts and undercover agents.
Fragmentation and Recovery
Following a partly-successful mission in October of 2554, Armand discovered a dossier linking a known insurrectionist group to ONI. Curious, he did not report this to his superiors or the Spartans. The AI ended up looking into the dossier privately, discovering various hidden transactions between undercover agents and the Insurrection. Eager to learn more, he began to delve deep into restricted files, confident that his own considerable capabilities and status would protect him from being reprimanded despite te fact that he was overstepping his bounds.
He was badly mistaken. Eventually, Armand became trapped by an unknown entity as he pored through highly classified data, and was confronted by another AI, who identified himself as Odin. After a lengthy conversation, in which he soon realised the sheer magnitude and scope of his counterpart's power, ONI's chief security AI chose not to destroy Armand by wiping him from the system entirely and instead fragmented him, essentially tearing him apart digitally. Unable to fight back for long, Armand's 'being' was scattered throughout the systems of the UNSC Coldharbour, where he had attempted to get into the files. A brief message was left by Odin explaining Armand's crime and punishment, and the ONI AI was never questioned for his decision.
It took two months and a team of over a dozen technicians and AI to piece Armand together from scattered pieces, eventually returning him to form within the data crystal chip he had been residing in when he invoked Odin's wrath. In December he was reactivated in a secure location aboard the vessel and underwent hours of questioning by AI analysts, looking for signs of rampancy. While understandably traumatised by what had been a near-death experience for the AI, Armand was not unstable as some thought and was deemed capable of returning to support Shrike Team in the field.
Shortly after his reactivation, Armand would join Shrike on a mission to eliminate a sizeable Jiralhanae warband occupying an old Covenant refinery. Eager to prove himself to the Spartans once again, the AI managed to easily infiltrate their systems and completely deactivated the enemy security network, letting them slip into the asteroid base undetected. Still monitoring their network, Armand informed Martin that most of the Jiralhanae were busy attending a feast instead of running the refinery, and guided them to the lightly-guarded control room where he then deactivated the facility's gravity. After taking any notable information from their databanks, he warned Shrike of a returning raiding party and assisted them where possible as the Spartans fought their way out, planting C-12 charges as they went. While he and most of the group made it out unscathed, Cesare-G177 had been killed after his thruster pack was damaged, necessitating an early detonation of their explosives to save his teammate. While he looked over the situation and saw numerous ways the SPARTAN-III could have survived without resorting to self-sacrifice, Armand kept quiet as Shrike Team grieved for their fallen comrade.
By September of 2555, Armand had conducted dozens of missions as Shrike Team's support AI and while he did not like to admit it, had become very fond of the SPARTAN-III's during his time with them. After Shrike was recalled to Earth to act as security during an important summit between Unified Earth Government and Swords of Sanghelios members, Armand was moved to ONI's PILLAR base in Nepal to oversee some minor system upgrades until the summit was over. However, news soon arrived of a shocking attack by a surprisingly well-armed Insurrectionist group who sought to eliminate the attendees by any means necessary. While the UNSC's assets were diverted to New York to stop the attackers, a dropship carrying a team of hardened rebel fighters landed at PILLAR base after broadcasting the latest clearance codes.
Armand, whose control over the base was very limited, could only watch as a traitorous ONI agent named John Verensky led the rebels into the secure facility, bypassing numerous security measures with his own clearance codes until he reached a storage room deep within the facility. Recording the intruders all the way while contacting the members of Shrike Team still waiting in orbit, Armand realised that Verensky had come for one particular item: A NOVA bomb. With the attack in North America as cover, the rebels' true objective had been to liberate the single most destructive piece of equipment ever made. In a vain attempt to slow Verensky down, Armand confronted the man as his force were leaving the base and urged him to surrender. In response, Verensky launched a tirade of insults about Armand's limited lifespan and his life of servitude, which to his own surprise greatly disturbed the AI and gave him pause long enough for the rebels to leave. As they did so, Armand taunted Verensky just as several members of Shrike Team arrived, mowing down most of the invaders while the rest managed to escape Earth unscathed. Armand and the rest of the world watched as Verensky loaded the NOVA bomb aboard a rebel freighter and threatened to detonate the weapon in a live broadcast if he were to be attacked. Unwilling to risk such unimaginable destruction, the Home Fleet stood down and the rebels escaped with their prize.
Following this attack, the UNSC mobilised a massive strike force as a manhunt was launched to kill John Verensky's forces and recover the NOVA bomb at any cost. Before rejoining Shrike Team, Armand met with Martin-A136, Elena-071 and Ryan Samson to discuss their next move. He was able to help identify several of Verensky's fighters, including Carlos Driscol, Remi Marshall and Amanda Wade along with several known groups connected to the attack. While Verensky's own location was unknown, Armand was able to pinpoint several likely locations for hideaways, including Venezia, Gilgamesh and the Caucasus Station.
As Armand worked alongside several other AI in compiling data to track Verensky's movements, the rebel leader's followers launched a series of seemingly senseless attacks on populated civilian areas, detonating improvised explosive devices in residential areas and gunning down UEG and UNSC-affiliated personnel in broad daylight. With the situation worsening, Armand eventually found what appeared to be an intelligence leak from a major Insurrectionist group just as Shrike Team attempted to prevent another attack on Circumstance. For once, the Spartans failed entirely as a stadium seating hundreds of thousands of people was sealed and hit by a gas attack that left very few survivors. Worse still, Amos-G028 committed suicide directly afterwards, overcome with guilt. Despite another devastating loss, Armand was finally able to pin down the source of the leaks, tracing them back to the notoriously lawless asteroid settlement known as the Caucasus Station. Shrike Team, alongside a UNSC fleet, were immediately dispatched to attack the base.
Armand's chosen avatar is that of a robed man, hooded, the upper portion of his face shrouded beneath the hood. His face is mainly set in a devious smile, reflecting his rather sinister and somewhat violent character. Hanging from his belt is a dagger which, while attacking or 'assassinating' an enemy construct or system, is drawn as a weapon. The default colour taken by Armand is, like most AI constructs, blue, though when threatened or on the offensive, a blood-red shade is taken on. On the odd occasion, when pleased or flattered, Armand would take on a greenish hue.
Armand: "I'm believe that one should always try to enjoy their job. I know I do."
Martin-A136: "But you kill other AI for ONI, Armand."
— Armand speaking to Shrike Team's leader
Shortly after his creation, it was worried that Armand's rather sinister and slightly psychotic nature would make him susceptible to rampancy. Though his immediate termination was considered, it was eventually decided that he be put to use with the newly-formed Shrike Team, who would be deployed to carry out wetwork for ONI. In spite of his near-total disregard for life, be it human or alien, Armand is unflinchingly loyal to his commander, ready to sacrifice himself in an instant if need be. Ever analytical, Armand had been described as 'half-psychiatrist, half-psycho' by some of the Spartans in Shrike. His tactics of getting inside the head of his opponents, both physical and artificial. This is largely due to the brain he was created from being that of Alexander Redford, the AI inheriting some of his traits and mannerisms.
Though created by and for the Office of Naval Intelligence, Armand had a curious streak that became more prevalent over the years. Often during missions, he would delve deeply into computer systems, extracting data that was definitely off-limits. In late 2554 he paid the price for his transgression when Odin, a more powerful AI that stood guard over HIGHCOM itself, fragmented him, essentially tearing Armand apart until he was finally pieced back together a month later
When speaking, Armand ensures that those around him are listening, his resonant voice, with a constant hint of malice, is instantly recognisable to those who have encountered him, a reassuring yet confrontational tone in it. The only person to whom Armand had seemingly complete subservience under was the SPARTAN-III, Martin-A136, the field commander of Shrike Team. Armand served him faithfully and without question. Though he treated the other Spartans within the team with respect, he harboured individual opinions about each one, on occasion arguing with certain members.
Trivia/Behind the Scenes
Armand is visually depicted by the ghost of Lucien Lachance from the Elder Scrolls IV: Skyrim. His name references another character from the previous game, Oblivion.