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Xeno-Materials Exploitation Group



  • Special Warfare
  • Counter-Intelligence
  • Technological Seizure
  • Reverse Engineering
Part of

Military Directorate


Office of Naval Intelligence


"Captum Scientia"

  • Margaret Parangosky
  • Darren Cohen
  • Marco Dorota
  • Mattias Jones

The Diamond Initiative was an ONI Section Three project directed by Rear Admiral Darren Cohen which allowed for the expansion of the SPARTAN-III Beta Company graduating class. The Initiative, a multi-faceted project, had originally stated several particular objectives with differing goals. The first goal was to create a battalion size, combined force of both standard UNSC soldiers and operatives, with Spartan soldiers acting as officers, specialists, and special strike teams. The second goal was to use this force to capture and study non-standard alien/xeno-technology that could not be captured by other means. This battalion, once brought to force, was to be named the 90th Xeno-Materials Exploitation Battalion, though this never happened due to unforeseen events during the inception of the Spartan strike teams.

The Initiative, though approved and funded by ONI, had trouble meeting it's initial goal due to a lack of access to Spartan soldiers. After an arrangement, Cohen agreed to piggy-back funds into the up and coming SPARTAN-III Beta Company of Colonel Ackerson's SPARTAN-III program allowing for an off-the-books expansion to the Beta Company graduating class from 300 to 312. The additional 12 Spartans would then be transferred over to ONI jurisdiction after the completion of their training, as well as a mission designed as a dry run to Operation: TORPEDO. Cohen used the rest of the operational budget of the project on the creation of a advanced AI to choose the Spartan's to pull from Beta Company, and then to help the project parse data from captured technology.



The Office of Naval Intelligence's internal affairs had given the Diamond Initiative project a green light as early as 2531, but it's creation precedes that. The project was coined and created by Darren Cohen at least by 2529 after his ascension to the rank of Rear Admiral. This would have been seen as a particularly odd rank for an individual of his age, but the easiest explanation as to "why" was never expounded on by ONI Brass. Cohen's injuries made him, to most, appear older and as he became a member of the upper echelons of Section-Three's power structure, few dared to poke their head in his business.

Cohen, a SPARTAN-II conscript, washed out of the program after nearly dying in the augmentation phase, Project: ASTER. Resigned and slighted by his injuries, Cohen turned his frustration into a laser focus for his new position within the Office of Naval Intelligence. In this regard, Cohen shared a path similar to that of future CINCONI Serin Osman, though he was never entirely aware of the legacy they shared—Cohen joined ONI two years after Osman, and by that time, both had changed immensely mentally and physically.

Early on while at ONI, Cohen had vested some interest in helping maintain the Spartan Program. He recognized the tremendous cost in training new units, and often would try to devise ways to better utilize their skills. Drawing from his own time as a soldier, and setting his sights for a larger project, he devised his first major directive code-named "Carbon". It was during planning stages that "Carbon" was given it's second objective by Admiral Margaret Parangosky: xeno-technological recovery and discovery. Once funded in 2531, Cohen coined the project as the Diamond Initiative, and began gathering together personnel and planning targets.

Review and Subsequent Stalling

Though allowed to move forward with his plans, Cohen would be denied access to SPARTAN-II Class I operatives, stalling the program for years. ONI review boards had been lobbied by none-other than Dr.Catherine Halsey, and it was decided in review that Cohen's project would wait for a second class of SPARTAN-II's.

Halsey had argued against spreading the existing Spartan teams thin, citing the tremendous work they had already accomplished together. She convinced Naval hierarchy most of the Spartan's success was found as teams, and splitting them up may reduce their effectiveness. She also reminded them of their plans to increase Spartan ranks, which would allow for more specialized projects in the future. It's assumed that, at least stemming from this event, Cohen then-on perceived a somewhat adversarial relation with Halsey. It's uncertain if they ever interacted face-to-face after his failed augmentation.

Due to his lack of access to Spartan soldiers, Cohen's project funding was reduced for years and remained strictly in concept phases. It was only later when Cohen learned of the SPARTAN-III  program that he would meet with Colonel Ackerson to revitalize his plans.

AI Fluellen and the Diamond Lance

After Ned Rich introduced Cohen and Ackerson in 2537, the Diamond Initiative was revitalized. Ackerson had set parameters for Spartan use, allowing for 20-40 to be reassigned after they had "completed" their training. The time frame for the program slated for Cohen's Spartans to be drawn from Beta Company. Officially, only 300 Beta Company initiates would be augmented, but this number was raised so that the Diamond Initiative operatives would not offset the desired company numbers by Kurt Ambrose. ONI records do not account for the increase in Spartan augmentations, as it was an off the books arrangement.

By 2542 Cohen and his staff had reduced their potential choices from Beta Company to fifty Spartans. Early that same year, Cohen decided to forgo the 20-40 Spartans and, rather, invest another large portion of the project's funds in the creation of a state-of-the-art Third Generation "Smart" AI. Cohen and staff would spend the rest of 2542 searching for UNSC Retirees who would be willing to use their brain as a basis for the AI. Ultimately, five individuals—all much older and former UNSC officers—allowed to have instances of their brain copied for use in the creation of the AI. Cohen's ambition and direction culminated in the concept of having all these individual instances melded into one Riemann matrix. After a tremendous amount of work from a team of ONI specialists, Fluellen was created on April 23, 2543.

Fluellen would immediately be isolated from all but select staff of the project, and would not meet or learn of Darren Cohen for years. Fluellen was designated to reach a final desired list of Spartan operatives deemed the Diamond Lance. Fluellen was to see that the Lance were directed in a manner such as to maintain their desired skills. He would ultimately decide on the final list of 12 Spartans. Interestingly, he changed the manner of selection from an individual basis to one emphasizing teamwork. Of the original list of 50 individuals Cohen had selected, Fluellen had selected only seven and maintained that Teams November, Golf, and Oscar be assigned to the Initiative.

In January of 2545 the three Spartan teams were officially reassigned to ONI and briefed on the intention of the Diamond Initiative. From January to March of 2545 Cohen and Ackerson worked closely with other ONI officials to devise targets to strike per their arrangement. Ackerson maintained that the mission test aspects of the upcoming Operation: TORPEDO, including firmware for the STARS probes that TORPEDO would utilize; that Spartans would not be assisted by other ground personnel to test their effectiveness; and lastly, that the mission would interrupt Covenant controlled space. Cohen was hesitant to utilize all of his Spartans in one mission, but was obligated per his arrangement.



The following are known Spartan operatives who were added to the project:

The following are known non-Spartan operatives who were added to the project.

  • ENS. Scott Brandon
  • MSgt. Waimarie Paiwei
  • PO3. Odell Smith
  • PO3. Giorgio Floros

Commanding Officers & Staff

  • RDML. Darren Cohen
  • CPT. Marco Dorota
  • CMDR. Mattias Jones
  • LT. Camden Stewart
  • LT. Inga Sokolov
  • Doctor Lucy Stevens
  • Doctor Daniel Mitchells
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