"Doing what is necessary does not always mean doing what is right. I'm someone who can make the hard choices and still sleep at night. I'm someone who can send people to their deaths for the greater good. Results are everything, ladies and gentlemen, and if that means we sustain some collateral damage, then so be it."
―Calvin Roe, addressing an ONI subcommittee
Calvin Roe, also known as Civilian Consultant 394382 and Codename: PYRRHUS was a talented scientist who spent many years working for the Office of Naval Intelligence. A child prodigy, Roe was quickly noticed for his talents at a young age and was recruited at the age of eighteen to work for the Materials Group. He became involved in the Heimdall Incident in 2499 and the ORION Project, and soon made a name for himself within the intelligence community. It was he who was prompted to initiate an offshoot of the SPARTAN-II Program, SIGMA, in 2517 as well as a number of other initiatives during the Human-Covenant War.
Though much of his work was overshadowed by others such as Catherine Halsey, Roe remained as a surprisingly influential figure within ONI despite his status as a civilian and worked closely with the head of Naval Intelligence over the years. When the Covenant attacked Reach in late 2552, Roe was stranded in New Alexandria for some time and following a disastrous rescue attempt managed to escape to a small outpost that was soon besieged by Covenant forces. Roe did not survive the ensuing battle, though his body was recovered and buried nearby. As one of the great technological pioneers of the 26th century, Roe's was remembered as one of mankind's best scientific minds.
The youngest of three children, Calvin Roe was born on the colony world of Draco III in 2481 to an upper class family in New Albany. His parents both worked as UEG officials and pushed their children hard to succeed at school. As a child, Roe spent a lot of time with his elder brother and sister, having fun on their family estate or playing sports. When he was only six years old, however, his parents had his older siblings sent off to expensive private schools on Inner Colony worlds, leaving him alone. Calvin spent a great deal of his time alone afterwards, making few friends and devoting a great deal of his time towards studying. His parents spoilt him somewhat during this period, feeling sorry for their youngest child's predicament. This would affect Calvin negatively when he turned eleven and began attending the same school as his siblings, however. Used to getting his way, he often got into fights and arguments with other students and became more of a recluse as a result. Unlike his siblings, who had joined the prestigious Corbulo Academy with the intent of joining the UNSC military, Calvin was more scientifically inclined and took an interest in robotics.
Though wary of his choice at first, Calvin's parents accepted his decision as he got top marks in school and was fast-tracked into a more difficult curriculum. At the age of sixteen he wrote a paper on the potential use of powered and semi-powered armour and how recent advances in the field of robotics would be a key factor in fighting the Insurrection. For one of his projects the next year, Calvin was able to construct a prototype drone out of spare parts that would later become the foundation for ARGUS series of UAV's the UNSC would introduce by the dawn of the 26th Century. He was awarded for his efforts and gladly turned the drone over when agents from the Office of Naval Intelligence asked to see it. When they did not reply or send it back within two months he began to worry, though shortly after his eighteenth birthday Calvin was contacted by ONI and given the offer to join the Materials Group as a civilian contractor - something incredibly rare for someone so young. He accepted, and in March of 2499 left Draco III for the planet Reach.
After going through the usual vetting and basic training process that all contractors for ONI underwent, Calvin was then transported to the top-secret Ouroboros Station, located on the far-off Outer Colony world of Heimdall. While the largely icy planet was sparsely colonised, the research centre had been built decades before and was the cause of a number of important scientific breakthroughs over the years. Though he initially believed that he would receive his own laboratory as he had just achieved his doctorate, Calvin found that he would be working under a senior scientist, the esteemed Doctor Yana Akiloye. The pair got on surprisingly well despite their age gap and Calvin was introduced to Akiloye's personal project: HAUBERK. The idea of HAUBERK was the creation of a powered exoskeleton for both civilian and military usage; helping with everyday life and work for the former, and enhancing one's strength and speed in combat for the latter. While initially sceptical, the now-Doctor Roe took to the project with great enthusiasm and the two scientists made great advances to the design over the course of several months to the point where Akiloye believed they would have a properly working model by 2500.
On November 3rd, shortly after the arrival of several ORION special forces operators, the Ouroboros Station was suddenly attacked. A large freighter carrying over a hundred armed Insurrectionists led by a man named Oleg Lombardi managed to somehow slip by the facility's defences and land, taking the security force totally by surprise. During the brief battle, Roe and the other scientists were locked inside one of the labs by Alexander, the facility's near-rampant AI. It was soon revealed that the ORION leader, Captain Anton LaMarche, had allowed the attack to occur and was working alongside the rebel forces with his comrades. The surviving security guards and most scientists were killed, while Doctor Akiloye and Roe were forced to finish work on HAUBERK for their captors. However, the Doctor refused to cooperate despite several warnings, and was executed. Terrified for his life, Roe agreed to continue working and spent several days improving their prototype suit. While it still had to be connected to a power source, its immense strength and durability were above that of any existing designs and though scared, Roe was somewhat content to finalise the design alone.
Less than a week later, the UNSC counter-attack came in the form of several loyal ORION soldiers. While their initial drop was detected and the base put on high alert, one managed to infiltrate the Ouroboros Station and found Roe working in his lab. It was here that he first met Richard Mack, who briefly conversed with the young Doctor and eliminated several guards before devising a plan to retake the facility using Leonard, a 'dumb' Artificial Intelligence program that LaMarche had disconnected immediately prior to the attack. While Mack was captured and Roe forcibly returned to his lab to work on HAUBERK, he managed to hide Leonard's AI chip and inserted it back into the system several hours later during an unguarded moment. Using Leonard's limited control over the base systems, he was able to open every single door in the prison block from afar and free the captured soldiers. With the UNSC-loyal members of Trident Team now free and slaughtering the rebel forces, Roe's guards were diverted away and his HAUBERK suit was taken up by Steven Hawkins, one of LaMarche's lieutenants. As fighting raged across the Ouroboros Station, the young scientist took this chance to escape and move around the outside of the facility towards the command centre.
Taking Leonard's AI chip with him, Roe moved through the blizzard outside, which despite the intense cold was a great deal safer than braving the facility's interior. After trudging through the snow, he made it to the command centre's exterior door just as Mack and LaMarche engaged each other in combat and was nearly shot after entering the room. Throwing himself to the floor, Roe was able to crawl over towards a row of consoles linked to the facility's near-rampant and traitorous Smart AI, Alexander. Inserting Leonard's own chip into the system, he was surprised as Alexander was almost immediately destroyed by the 'dumb' intelligence. As LaMarche fled after being badly injured, Roe and Mack secured the control room and contacted an ONI Prowler, informing them that the Ouroboros Station was more or less secure. The rest of Trident had driven off or killed the remainder of the rebels and were awaiting extraction as Leonard alerted Mack and Roe that a nuclear detonation was imminent.
Upon discovering the rebel leader Lombardi had survived an earlier fight with the ORION's that had mortally wounded him and had manually activated a countdown on a set of HAVOK nuclear warheads, Roe joined Mack as they headed for an escape tunnel leading into the mountains behind the Ouroboros Station. Before fleeing the control room, he had downloaded as much data on the facility's classified projects to a storage device before taking Leonard's chip and joining the commando. As they commandeered a Warthog from the storage bay the pair came across Lombardi's corpse, the man having bled out before he could flee. They soon came under attack again from a heavily-armed LaMarche, who pursued them in his own vehicle through the tunnel. Sat in the passenger seat, Roe was too terrified to open fire with the handgun he'd been given and kept his head down while Mack drove them away from the doomed facility. As they neared the exit, LaMarche loosed a torrent of missiles from the back of his vehicle that sent their Warthog flying out into a nearby snowfield.
Roe was thrown from the Warhog in the crash, but was otherwise unharmed aside from a few cuts and bruises. Too afraid to call for Mack, he quietly crawled through the snow until he heard the soldier conversing with LaMarche, who had him at gunpoint. While he could not hear what was said between the two men, he stood by until it looked as though LaMarche was about to kill Mack before shooting the traitorous ORION multiple times in the back and killing him. As the shock of killing someone bore down on Roe, a Condor arrived and extracted them alongside LaMarche's corpse from Heimdall shortly before the Ouroboros Station was consumed by nuclear fire. In the weeks following the Heimdall Incident, Roe was treated for psychological damage at an ONI-run facility and met with Captain Margaret Parangosky, who had been guiding Mack's team from afar during the operation.
Despite their wildly different backgrounds and careers, Roe and Parangosky got on rather well due to their similar beliefs on how the Insurrection should be combated. After witnessing their brutal tactics first-hand on Heimdall, Roe had lost any sympathy he had possessed for their cause and intended to dedicate his life to putting down rebellion through his work. The information he had saved from the station proved very valuable to ONI, who soon set Roe up in the Materials Group once more as part of a team that would continue research on powered exoskeletons for both civilian and military usage.
Roe would continue to work for the Materials Group on several projects over the next few years, constantly striving to improve existing pieces of technology to help the military as rebellion continued to flare up across the Outer Colonies. He kept in sporadic contact with Richard Mack and the other members of Trident Team, though their constant deployment and the classified nature of the ORION program kept them far apart for many months at a time. Though he was fairly contented with his position and took pride in his leading role on several classified projects, Roe found his forays into the field of powered exoskeletons constantly sidelined in favour of improving more tried-and-true pieces of hardware. Unwilling to let HAUBERK die, he made several more proposals, though they were denied due to Roe's rudimentary designs and insufficient power supply system. Though Roe's plans were later incorporated into a short-lived series of prototype exoskeletons, he would give up on the idea by 2508 and turned his attention to improving existing combat support technology.
While Roe was considered one of the Materials Group's leading scientists and held a considerable amount of sway despite his young age compared to most of his peers, he soon found himself sidelined following ONI's recruitment of a young prodigy named Catherine Halsey. Though Roe specialised in robotics and was an engineer at heart, Halsey's extreme prowess in just about every field, including his own, led to a great deal of jealousy. Considering Halsey a rival, Roe would strive to one-up the young scientist with many new and seemingly innovative designs, most of which were mostly conceptual in nature. Conversely, Halsey barely took note of Roe except as a co-worker and was completely unaware of these attempts. This drive to surpass his 'rival' would actually be a benefit to Roe, moving him away from years of 'safe' projects and back into more experimental ones as ONI developed a renewed interest in the development of powered exoskeletons.
Working from a research and development facility on Algolis, Roe's team would make further attempts to create a battle-capable exoskeleton, but were still hampered by size and power issues. Refusing to admit failure, he and the others working there would eventually produce an armoured suit that soon became known as the 'Cyclops'. Though this too was turned down as something to be used on the frontlines, several innovations from earlier designs made it suitable for heavy lifting and logistical support; a major success on Roe's part.
While taking a brief holiday in 2517, Roe was suddenly contacted by Frederick King, a former Trident Team member and one of the few who had bothered to stay in contact with him. King, who had left the ORION Project two years before its deactivation to command ONI's feared BRUTUS division, had sought Roe out with highly-classified information regarding a supersoldier project known as SPARTAN-II. While initially apprehensive, Roe became interested when King revealed that Catherine Halsey would be heading the project, which involved the abduction of dozens of children for the purpose of training them into loyal commandos to fight against the Insurrection. Though he initially saw this information as a way to smear Halsey's name, he soon calmed down as King explained how budgetary issues had left over half of SPARTAN-II's prospective recruits alone, and that the worsening Insurrection meant that these genetically superior children were an untapped resource that had to be used.
While revolted at SPARTAN-II's methods, Roe would eventually come to agree with King as the ONI agent explained how bad things were getting in the Outer Colonies, seeing SPARTAN-II as a harsh but potentially effective solution for eliminating the Insurrectionist threat where prior projects had failed. Initially believing that King simply wanted funding for the rest of the recruits, Roe was shocked when the man proposed recruiting and training entirely separate division on Earth, far away from those under Halsey's supervision on Reach. Though their pooled resources could only see another twenty children brought into SPARTAN-II, Roe became convinced that it was for a greater good and assisted King in proposing the idea to their superiors within ONI, including Margaret Parangosky. Going by the name SIGMA and playing partly on the dislike of Catherine Halsey, this new program would eventually be approved, though none who worked on the Reach project were to be made aware of it.
As preparations were made for a training facility on Earth to be set up, King left Roe with the personnel details and departed soon after to directly oversee recruitment. It was only after looking through the candidate list that Roe realised that King's only son, Kane, was among the trainees. Unable to do anything to save the boy and feeling horribly used and betrayed by King, Roe chose to steel himself and endure the next few years. Shortly before the children were brought to Earth, Roe personally visited Richard Mack with the intention of making him SIGMA's chief trainer. His old friend was justifiably disgusted with ONI and King especially, though he agreed to the offer and soon became Roe's right-hand man as the project officially began in 2517.
Having studied the reports made on the Reach-trained SPARTAN-II's, Roe began to believe that Halsey had become unnecessarily attached to her trainees. Disgusted at the notion of her being some kind of surrogate mother, Roe chose to remain distant from those within SIGMA and treated the children coldly after their arrival at their training facility. The first few days were the most difficult for Roe, who harshly lashed out at any of the six-year olds who questioned him. Realising that he would have to become a figure of fear and dislike for the Spartans, he suggested that Mack encourage them at every opportunity while balancing out his role as their chief drill instructor.
As expected, Roe soon made enemies among his trainees. Foremost among them was Marco-035, who was reprimanded multiple times for back-talk and led three escape attempts alongside several other trainees. Though he was somewhat impressed at the determination and fortitude exhibited by such a young child, Roe knew that discipline was paramount and punished Marco very harshly for his disobedience. Though he soon learned the names of all twenty children, Roe refused to call them by anything but their assigned numbers, forcing himself to see them less as human beings and more like military hardware to be tested like any other machine. After the first year of gruelling training, all escape attempts had stopped and obedience had been instilled in every member of SIGMA. Though this pleased Roe, who constantly compared his reports to those filed from Reach, he soon chose to push his young Spartans even harder in an attempt to finally 'beat' Catherine Halsey.
Over time, SIGMA's trainees were transformed from frightened children into efficient soldiers, surpassing every challenge set for them. While Roe helped to set goals and made daily progress reports, it was Mack who oversaw most of the training itself with little interference. The implementation of a progress leaderboard in 2520 was one of the few things that the two came to a disagreement on, with Roe believing that it would foster healthy competition while Mack saw it as needlessly divisive when the Spartan trainees were already performing well. Though it did lead to an increased performance, especially by those near the bottom of the leaderboard, injuries and even fights became more common as SIGMA's trainees slowly shifted into distinct factions. By 2523 Roe had begun to mark out several distinct groups within the program, denoting Spartans best suited for frontline combat, long-range deployment and covert operations respectively. While he soon realised that those in the last grouping would almost certainly be used as assassins for those leading ONI, Roe knew better than to complain and made plans to separate SIGMA's members once their augmentation procedures were complete.
By 2525, Roe was informed of two things. The first was that the SPARTAN-II augmentation procedures, which he believed would be perfected by this point, were still highly-dangerous and could easily cripple or kill his trainees. Though Halsey's Spartans would undergo their procedures first, the usually-cold Roe was perturbed at the thought of any Spartans dying before they ever reached a battlefield and requested that they be held back until their safety would be guaranteed. The second piece of news to arrive was that the colony world of Harvest had been attacked and all but destroyed by a coalition of alien races known as the 'Covenant', who by all accounts wished to exterminate humanity. Much to his own surprise, Roe felt somewhat relieved at this development, as his Spartans could now fight a foe with less moral ambiguity; years of back-and-forth negotiations between the UEG certain rebel groups had made him afraid that things in the colonies would improve before the Spartans were ever sent out, making these years of training worthless in his eyes.
Later that year, Roe would accompany the twenty trainees of SIGMA to the UNSC Hopeful, where they would undergo their augmentation procedures. Though they were at a lower risk after numerous mistakes from the procedures on the Reach-trained SPARTAN-II's were rectified, he and Mack still feared the worst until news arrived that all but one of the trainees had survived the procedures with few issues. The sole washout, Derek-142, had survived and was kept aboard the station at Roe's request, though he refused to visit him and instead busied himself with contacting the Materials Group's facility on Chi Ceti IV and commissioning their armour. It was around this time that Roe had the still-recovering trainees split up, dispatching the groups to their assigned bases on separate planets. As per ONI's request, Roe informed the eleven trainees brought to Earth that their comrades had simply died during their procedures to cover up their covert recruitment. This was not something he took any pride in; despite their mutual dislike for each other, Roe could not help but feel sorry for Marco-035's grief over the supposed death of his best friend Elena-071.
Before they could depart Earth several weeks later, Spartans Jack-085 and Ahmad-127 staged a violent breakout from the SIGMA facility, killing several guards and brieftly taking Mack hostage before escaping in a stolen dropship. Roe called for an immediate manhunt, and though Ahmad's body was found several weeks later, Jack evaded capture and vanished entirely. Worse still, Marco-035 had allowed them to leave without a fight, earning a harsh punishment after being interrogated by Roe and Mack. Distraught by these events and seeing it as a failure of his training methods, Roe kept the rest of SIGMA under close guard as they were fitted with their newly-arrived MJOLNIR armour. Though he was tremendously impressed by the design of these functional suits of powered armour, discovering that this was another of Halsey's innovations was like a slap in the face for Roe, especially after discovering how dismissive she had been towards the earlier suits he had helped design. With the Spartans ready for combat by early 2526, he would accompany them to view their first mission to the rebellious colony world of Gallis.
Stationed on an orbiting Prowler, Roe and a team of ONI agents tracked the progress of all nine Spartans - designated 'Sigma-Alpha' - as they infiltrated a rebel-held city, swiftly eliminating all opposition in their search for a cache of stolen nuclear weapons and civilian hostages. Though there was no evidence of the former, Sigma soon rescued the hostages before proceeding to brutally wipe out every single Insurrectionist fighter stationed nearby as they swept through their camp. With the operation a complete success, the Spartans were called back to Earth alongside Roe for a 'graduation ceremony' of sorts. There, they were bestowed official ranks as part of the UNSC Navy, and though Roe was cordial in seeing most of them off he informed Marco-035 that he was to receive a slightly lower rank than his peers; a very petty and insulting revenge on Roe's part for his inaction in Jack's escape. Shortly afterwards, the SPARTAN-II's left their facility on Earth and its staff were quickly dispersed to their old positions within ONI. Saying his goodbyes to Richard Mack, Calvin Roe returned to working for the Materials Group, eager to keep himself busy to avoid dwelling on the ethical ramifications of SIGMA.
With the outbreak of the Human-Covenant War, the Materials Group and Roe were busier than ever. No longer as impeded as they once were by budgetary restrictions, the scientists there worked tirelessly to advance military technology in any way they could. One of the most expensive ongoing projects was MJOLNIR, which proved to be a constant drain on resources softened only by the incredible results achieved by members of the SPARTAN-II Program in the field. However, the limited number of Spartans was not enough to fully turn the tide of the war, prompting Roe to look into new paths of gaining an advantage. Due to the Covenant's clear technological advantage over the UNSC, orders were given to recover as much enemy technology as possible, especially when it came to weaponry and energy shielding. Alien devices soon flooded into Roe's laboratory, though an unfamiliarity with the technology and an excess of caution meant that progress was slow.
Roe was the first villain created for the Sigmaverse and was initially designed as a much more unsympathetic version of Catherine Halsey, right down to his control of another SPARTAN project. However, the author decided to make him more of a well-rounded, believable character after his original incarnation came across as rather bland.