SPARTAN-085, also known as Jack-085 and Magnus, was originally a SPARTAN-II trainee of Project SIGMA who would escape from the program shortly after augmentation and defected to the United Rebel Front. He would spend many years as one of the URF's top enforcers, rising through the ranks and managing a number of cells prior to his presumed death following the Battle for the Hephaestus Array. Surviving horrific injuries inflicted in the battle's aftermath, Jack would be saved and underwent extensive cybernetic reconstruction at the hands of the URF's Omega Group. Near-unrecognisable following the procedures and dependent on his new armoured life support system, he became obsessed with hunting down his old comrade Marco-035 and was set loose against the UNSC, seeking revenge for his abduction and Spartan training by launching a campaign of terror across the colonies.
Operating in total secrecy under the command of the URF's leadership, Jack would emerge towards the end of the Human-Covenant War and would gain a reputation among Insurrectionist groups and criminal organisations for his incredible brutality and the use of audacious methods to achieve his goals. After a number of daring raids against both the UNSC and the Office of Naval Intelligence, Jack soon became one of the single most wanted terrorists in human space. However, following a string of failures and the emergence of new threats while the URF lost its power and influence, Jack would eventually begin to lose faith in his cause. Forced to continue working for his masters under threat of death, he began looking for a way out of his current situation, seeking to finally gain the freedom he had sought decades before when he fled from his life as a Spartan.
Early Life and Training
Jack Evelyn MacArthur was born on Biko, in the city of Durban. He had a troubled childhood, with no known father and an emotionally abusive mother. As such, Jack learned at a very early age how to try and take care of himself. He excelled in school, grasping knowledge that his peers could not understand at that young age and stood out for his capabilities. Jack was one of the preliminary SPARTAN-II candidates that were not chosen by Doctor Catherine Halsey to join the SPARTAN-II program. However, after Doctor Calvin Roe was given permission to begin his own SPARTAN project, codenamed 'SIGMA', Jack would be selected as one of its first recruits.
Jack was abducted by ONI agents in 2517 at the age of six, and taken to ONI's training facility in Washington DC on Earth along with 19 other children. While he cared little for his past life and family, Jack was not the most willing trainee initially and attempted to break out on their third day along with Marco-035, Nef-015, Elena-071 and Ahmad-126. The five were separated and put into different teams for a short period. After this incident, Jack stayed quiet and began to excel in his training. He was placed in a four-man team, and was second in command after Jacob-076. By 2523, Jack was shaping up as a possible team leader alongside Fenn-145, Elena-071 and Grigori-017.
In spite of his secret loathing for the UNSC and extreme resistance to his Spartan indoctrination, Jack found friendship with Marco and Elena, the three often staying together during combat simulations. In spite of their very different personalities they became the best of friends and would perform well while fighting alongside one another. It was here that Jack first began to exhibit his violent tendencies, nearly killing one of their trainers in 2522 when they were ambushed. He maintained a façade of being friendly to most of the others, focusing most of his aggression against their drill instructors. Jack rose to become the second highest ranked member of the project behind Fenn-145, who remained as their unbeaten leader throughout training. During a live-fire simulation Jack got into a fight with Resk-063, which ended in him savagely beating up the other trainee until Jack was restrained. In response, their trainer, Richard Mack Senior, punished him by moving him to the bottom of the leaderboard. Though he quickly regained his old position, the young trainee vowed to have revenge for this humilition.
Eventually, Jack joined the other members of Sigma on the UNSC Hopeful, not long after Halsey's SPARTAN-II's had left the station, to undergo the augmentation procedures that would turn them into Spartans. It was during these augmentations that eight members of Sigma were 'killed'. In reality they had been pre-selected to be put into smaller teams for use by ONI, as the other twelve members were to be used in the war against the Covenant, which had only just begun. Jack was among the first to recover from the augmentations, and spent that time coercing fellow teammate Ahmad-126 into joining him in an escape attempt from the SIGMA facility and the UNSC as a whole. He reasoned that what had been done to him and the other children was an unforgivable crime and that now they were powerful enough they could leave and live their own lives.
Several weeks after his augmentations, the other Spartans had recovered sufficiently and were awaiting orders when Jack finally made his move to escape; something he had been planning since his first day of training. He and Ahmad-126 killed several guards before being confronted by Marco-035. Jack gave Marco the opportunity to join them and be free men rather than serve the UNSC. Marco declined reluctantly, Jack berating him and fleeing with Ahmad. As they neared the exit, they encountered Fenn-145 and Richard Mack Senior. Knowing that even together they had little chance of beating Fenn, Jack took Mack hostage and was able to escape, almost shooting Fenn and locking his former comrades in the room. They were able to hijack a Pelican and escape from the facility that night.
Several weeks after, with the UNSC hot on their heels, Ahmad had a change of heart, deciding that to defend humanity, they needed to stay with the UNSC. When Ahmad attempted to contact the UNSC forces searching for them, Jack attacked him, and after a short fight, shot Ahmad in the head with a pistol, killing him instantly. Horrified at his actions, Jack fled, vanishing from even the watchful eyes of ONI. Ahmad was presumed to have killed himself when his body was found by their pursuers.
Joining the URF
Jack left Earth as a stowaway aboard a cargo freighter, and remained hidden aboard until it arrived on the colony world of Roost. With nothing but the clothes on his back, the renegade Spartan resorted to stealing food from the ship, his training making him incredibly difficult to catch in spite of his size. While sleeping rough in the dockyards one night, Jack witnessed an arms deal by a group of smugglers being interrupted by the local law enforcement, resulting in a firefight. He was able to remain undetected as he crept closer before attacking and killing four SWAT officers with his bare hands before slaughtering the rest. While surprised by his appearance and brutality, the remaining smugglers thanked Jack and offered him a place within their organisation. Having no other options at this point, he accepted.
The next day, he was taken by car to one of Roost's many luxury resorts by the ocean. His new comrades explained to him that many of the resorts on the colony were privately owned by criminals with ties to certain rebel groups, namely the notorious United Rebel Front. Inside, he met with three of the UNSC's most wanted men: General Howard Graves, General Adam Makosky and Colonel Robert Watts. Having seen Jack's fighting prowess, the trio saw a lot of potential in Jack and questioned him on his past. While he was initially hesitant, he would eventually reveal some of his past to the Insurrectionist leaders; namely his involvement in Project SIGMA and their attempts to make supersoldiers. While he intentionally left parts of his story out to the rebel leaders, Jack's history coupled with the revelation that he was only fourteen years old in spite of his stature motivated the trio into immediately taking him into the United Rebel Front, promising him that he would have his revenge against the UNSC for what they had done to him.
Jack proved an extremely valuable asset for the United Rebel Front, his Spartan training and discipline instantly making him one of their best soldiers. Over the course of the next few months he worked to smuggle weapons and supplies onto Roost from far-off suppliers at Graves' behest, the venerable leader treating Jack as more of a son than a piece of military hardware. While he did not take part in any combat missions at first, the ex-Spartan was happy with his new life with the URF and proved that he was not only strong, but highly intelligent as well. He remained on Roost until September, whereupon news reached them that Colonel Watts had been captured by the UNSC in a surprising raid on his base at Eridanus Secundus. Graves quickly dismissed the prospect of a rescue mission, stating that Watts would be quickly executed in the hands of the UNSC. Instead, he and Jack went over surveillance footage from the asteroid base of Watts' mysterious kidnappers.
Much to his surprise, Jack noticed the familiar speed, strength and tactics of Spartans; not his former comrades in SIGMA, but another group entirely. The prospect of more soldiers like Jack worried Graves who had their base on Roost evacuated within a week. Sure enough, by the time he and his allies had left the planet UNSC ships were already descending on the colony world. From this point onwards, Jack as considered one of Graves' inner circle within the United Rebel Front. By January of 2526, Jack had been sent by Graves to help engineer the takeover of Gallis, a well-established colony world that the URF wished to make secede. Though their initial attacks were quickly repelled by the UNSC, a number of Insurrectionists managed to entrench themselves within the capital city, taking the civilians there hostage using the false threat of a FENRIS nuclear weapon against their foe. As the hostage situation went on, Jack intercepted a communication from a local UNSC ship authorising the deployment of 'SIGMA Sierra' to the field. Suddenly aware that they were about to be raided by his former Spartan comrades, Jack quietly took his best men and whatever supplies they could steal and abandoned the rebels before fleeing the city through its sewer system. As he departed, Jack left a recorded message and a number of explosives in his command room, certain that the Spartans would attempt to access it later. Just as he had predicted, the MJOLNIR-equipped SIGMA Spartans quickly destroyed the remaining rebels on Gallis as he escaped with his men in a shuttle, ending the rebellion there. Though his trap failed to kill any Spartans, Jack would make it clear to Graves when he returned to Camp New Hope on Victoria that the SPARTAN-II's would be their biggest threat yet.
Following a series of attacks on rebel outposts by the same group of Spartans that captured Watts over the next few years, Jack devised a plan to capture and eliminate the elusive supersoldiers the next time they launched an attack. Using both Graves and a number of stolen FENRIS nuclear warheads as bait, they would use antigravity plates and neural-inhibitor collars to immobilise them within their suits of armour, taking some of the UNSC's most prized assets hostage and claiming the incredibly advanced suits for their own. Furthermore, Jack correctly hypothesised that the MJOLNIR suits worn by their foes could only be worn by someone who had undergone extensive augmentation, like himself. Eager to acquire a suit, they situated themselves within camp on the planet of Victoria to await the Spartans' arrival. Graves arrived a week before Jack, and as expected the UNSC dispatched the Spartan team to recover the stolen nuclear weapons. However, the unexpected addition of a fifth Spartan led to their ambush failing and Graves' death in the ensuing chaos. The surviving rebels there quickly evacuated and fled the planet before the UNSC could launch an assault with conventional forces.
With the loss of his mentor, Jack and the rest of General Graves' forces were placed under the command of General Makosky, who commanded a small fleet of stolen ships on the fringe of human space. While very competent, Makosky's hesitance and unwillingness to launch dangerous missions against the UNSC angered the inpatient Jack and led to several disagreements between the two. Eventually they came to an agreement; Jack would lead the ground missions while Makosky took care of administrative duties and Fleet movements. This arrangement worked for several years, until a particularly disastrous mission put their already-dwindling fleet in danger. Following a short engagement with pursuing UNSC forces, Makosky panicked and fled in the URF Revolutionary Fervor to a far-off planet. As the remnants of the URF scattered amongst several colony worlds, Jack parted way with Maskosky and travelled to Eridanus Secundus with his loyal followers. Makosky would go into cryosleep with his top lieutenants aboard his ship, and was not seen for the remainder of the war.
In 2534, Jack was alerted by Jacob Jiles to a large URF-affiliated cell operating on the affluent resort world of Sargasso. The group had spent the years since Makosky's departure building up a stockpile of weapons and ammunition on the planet and intended to steal as much equipment as possible and join up with another group of rebels outside of UNSC-controlled space. After initiating communications with the group, Jack and a team of his best troops agreed to pick up their comrades atop one of Sargasso's space stations after they launch an attack on the planet's orbital elevators to momentarily throw off pursuers. His group emerged from slipspace in a Condor dropship several weeks later to find most of the group dead and the survivors holding off UNSC forces atop one of the stations. After destroying two Police Pelicans, Jack docked with the station and assisted his comrades in wiping out a platoon of SWAT officers as they began to load up their stolen cargo. Before they could escape, however, the group came under attack by two ONIagents who managed to fight evenly with Jack until he was forced to retreat as UNSC reinforcements arrived. In spite of the heavy casualties, the survivors were able to extract a large shipment of weapons and ammunition from Sargasso, as well as the location of an abandoned military base whose location had been kept classified by ONI for several decades.
By late 2549, Jack had discovered the locations of several armour testing facilities used by the UNSC. Knowing that it would spell doom for him and the URF if they dared to make a direct assault, he planted several spies and recording devices to monitor the cargo being transported to and from these bases and kept track of their movements for several months. Eventually, in 2550, Jack's spy network informed him that ONI had arranged for the transport of a full suit of MJOLNIR armour, along with various permutations. The armour in question was en-route to Earth, where it would undergo further testing by the SPARTAN-II Sigma Team. Before the ship could make the transition to slipspace, Jack's undercover agents struck and hijacked the vessel, taking it to his base of operations in the Olmara System. A search of the ship upon its arrival revealed the location of several tracking devices; Jack had the ship quickly scuttled after taking the MJOLNIR suit to the Array's main station to have it fitted.
Several days later, a large UNSC Fleet arrived in-system and began to advance towards the partially-constructed Array. The arrival did not worry Jack, as he saw it as an opportunity to test out the Array's offensive capabilities in battle. They waited until the first ship, a Destroyer, came within firing range before activating and hitting it with six simultaneous MAC rounds. The ship was annihilated in seconds, giving the UNSC Fleet pause as Jack gave them a chance to retreat. As expected, the fleet commander, Rear Admiral Kesson, refused the offer and initiated a full attack on the Array. While several ships deployed units to the nearby planet to eliminate URF bases there, the rest launched waves of Pelican dropships in an attempt to board the massive station while firing MAC rounds at the Array's firing stations. With the Array's short-range defences offline, it was only a matter of time before the first boarding parties arrived on the station, leading to a number of firefights across the ship. When a security camera picked up several SPARTAN-II's arriving, Jack panicked and ordered that he be fitted with the stolen MJOLNIR suit as quickly as possible. Though his techs were unfamiliar with the technology used, they were able to get the suit up and running; Jack had minimal time to get used to the armour, which increased his already superhuman speed, strength and reflexes to impressive levels. Donning a suit of MJOLNIR armour for the first time, he armed up and awaited his old friends aboard the bridge.
Eventually, the three SPARTAN-II's made it to the bridge of the Array, where Jack lay in wait for them. He had massacred most of the staff, and transferred gun control to individual ships in the Array. As the Spartans searched the room, Jack ambushed them, swiftly knocking back Wulf-041 in close quarters combat and gaining the higher ground as he ordered a veteran squad of insurrectionist soldiers to attack the Spartans. While Marco and Wulf fought them off, Jack engaged Jacob-076 in a hand-to-hand fight. Angered that they were evenly matched, he knocked Jacob back long enough to fire a missile launcher at him. Though it was not a direct hit, Jacob was badly wounded, giving Jack a chance to flee. Wulf and Marco began to pursue their former comrade while Jacob tended to his wounds aboard the now-deserted bridge.
Jack, realising that he needed to get the Spartans away from the Array, fled to the hangar bay, taking a shortsword bomber down to the planet. Marco and Wulf took a pelican, intent on capturing or killing the rogue Spartan. As Jack entered the planet Endrin's atmosphere, a Covenant fleet arrived, immediately engaging both the UNSC and Insurrectionist fleets. Jacob, still at the Array's bridge, directed all available MAC fire on the Covenant ships. Avoiding the zones of conflict on Endrin, Jack was shot down while he attempted to land his shortsword on the planet. Marco and Wulf's Pelican landed shortly after. Jack's new MJOLNIR armour ensured his survival, and he was, as before, lying in wait as his former comrades arrived at the site. He attacked Wulf-041, knocking him out, before Marco engaged him.
The pair quickly discarded their weapons, fighting with all their strength on the mountainside where Jack had crashed. Both Spartans, having been together in training, knew each and every move that the other would make, though each had their own skills; Jack's cunning and Marco's brute strength, respectively. After a long, intense fight, Jack began to fear that he would lose against his former foe, who had been hardened by decades of frontline battle. Pushing himself even harder, Jack's spurt of rage-driven attacks badly hurt Marco, though the pair were soon exhausted and abandoned their smashed helmets after a pair of simultaneous punches. Fearing defeat, Jack dived for a discarded handgun, catching Marco off-guard as he attempted to shoot the unconscious Wulf instead. A tussle ensued, and after a brief struggle Jack gained the upper hand and floored Marco, leaving the Spartan defenceless on the ground. Too tired to gloat, he prepared to execute his former friend, only to be distracted at the last moment as something caught his eye.
While Jack had fought Marco and Jax, Jacob and Amy-133 had seized control of the near-crippled Hephaestus Array and put it on a collision course with the nearby Covenant flagship. What ensued was a colossal explosion in Endrin's orbit which scattered the remaining Covenant ships and wiped out any remaining rebel forces above the planet. Caught off-guard as his life's work began to burn up, Jack abandoned Marco and set off towards the falling wreckage in a daze. Though he would later attribute this rash behaviour to his head injuries, Jack's strained mental state had simply snapped under the pressure as he wandered aimlessly towards a mountainous area he knew the URF had occupied, ignoring the debris gouging large chunks out of the ground all around him. This lack of regard for his personal safety would end in Jack being badly injured as a piece of burning wreckage gouged a deep hole in the mountainside. Overwhelmed with regret and pain, he began to flee, eventually finding what he assumed to be a long-abandoned mine shaft.
Fleeing into the tunnels, Jack found little protection as the mountain began to collapse around him from the repeated impacts. As he crossed a chasm, yet another falling piece of the Hephaestus Array crashed through the rock above him, sending the former Spartan flying several hundred feet down. Even with his battered MJOLNIR armour and enhanced body, the fall came close to killing Jack, who could barely move from the pain. As he writhed on the ground, his bones crushed and his body burnt from the spreading flames, Jack was nearly bisected at the hip by a shard of metal, which left him paralysed. With no way out, Jack-085 died at the bottom of that pit, screaming and alone.
Jack regained consciousness several days later, finding himself within a fluid-filled tank within a dimly lit chamber. What remained of his body was being slowly rebuilt within the tube; he was remade to be stronger, faster, and much deadlier than he had previously been, even as a SPARTAN. This process lasted several months, nearly two thirds of the former Spartan's body being replaced by advanced cybernetics and 'upgraded'. However, the mind of the Spartan was not altered in any way. Jack retained his thoughts and memories, as well as his hatred, which had intensified after his defeat and 'death'. After some length of time, he was allowed out into the chamber, which contained little more than a bed and bathroom, which had been constructed while he was being rebuilt.
After some time, Jack was eventually allowed to meet his saviors: A group of highly talented scientists who claimed to be working for the URF. They were led by one Doctor Simon Petrovich, a renowned roboticist who had been in charge of rebuilding his shattered body. The Doctor had saved his life and worked for weeks to rebuild the former Spartan into a killing machine, augmenting his physical strength greatly. Though Jack could have easily killed Petrovich and his entire group, it was revealed that they also implanted a 'killswitch' in his body which would deactivate his implants and almost certainly kill him if activated. He was to become the URF's top agent in continuing the war against the UNSC, and took up the pseudonym 'Magnus'; he had all but abandoned his real name by this point. Jack was provided with a prototype stealth freighter by the scientists, and sent out from the caverns beneath Endrin with orders to cause as much chaos as possible, to weaken the UNSC by prolonging war until the time came. Loyal only to his new masters, Jack set course for Reach, using star maps provided to him. He knew that it would take a long time, decades even, to slowly undermine his foes and manipulate all those he could into fulfilling the wishes of the people he was now forced to serve.
Over the next few years, Jack was a ghost. He did not participate actively within the final years of the Human-Covenant War, acting only as an observer. Had Humanity been destroyed, then his mission would have simply been to sow destruction among the Covenant in preparation for his masters. Even then, however, Jack never truly planned on bowing to those who had saved him. As ever, he merely bided his time until an opportunity arose. After humanity's victory in the war, Jack immediately began acquiring a web of contacts throughout the galaxy. He approached Insurrectionists to begin with, targeting the fanatical and the weak-willed to serve him, while also establishing several contacts within the UNSC Military, generally with promises of power and fortune.
Jack was contacted by the group of scientists known as the Omega Group on board his vessel often, mainly for status reports and inquiries into the galactic situation. He never returned to the planet of his rebirth, Endrin, though he was notified that Petrovich and his comrades had packed up their lab and moved to a safer place for th time being. Jack was intelligent enough to go around any questions he did not, or could not, answer, though he refused outright to challenge his superiors. By 2554, Jack had gained contacts within the ruling class of Sanghelios, namely through Rol 'Ranak and Sur 'Ranak, both renowned warriors and brothers to Felo 'Ranak, a powerful Kaidon whose views on coexistence with humanity were opposed by many. Through the younger brothers, he established a link with several Insurrectionist and Sangheili groups eager to strike at Earth, the two factions essentially working under his orders to subvert the United Nations Space Command.
His crowning achievement in his years as Magnus would be a chance encounter with John Verensky, a brilliant young scientist working for ONI in 2554. Verensky became a protégé of sorts to Jack, both sharing the same ruthlessness and disregard for life. Allowing the young man to go unharmed after their first encounter, Jack had Verensky gain control of the experimental Project HAYABUSA within a year and use the group to go after key targets in the UNSC's Military Industrial Complex, all the while blaming the attacks on his rather convenient and disposable rebel contacts who he would place at the scene either by force or trickery to throw the authorities off the trail.
In 2555, Jack took an interest in a criminal organisation known as the Crimson Star, which had risen in power since the end of the war on the colony world of Cascade and was slowly gaining influence throughout the colonies. With several hundred URF soldiers at his back, Jack offered to negotiate with Crimson Scar's leader, Patricia Hurst. After weeks of negotiation a deal was finally struck; the URF would provide a large cache of Covenant weapons stolen from old battlefields along with a generous sum of credits in exchange for a much-needed shipment of the latest military equipment to replace their ageing weapons. While several locations such as Cascade and Talitsa were considered, Hurst finally agreed to meet 'Magnus' and his comrades in a warehouse aboard the Caucasus Station, a sprawling asteroid settlement with no love for the UNSC. All seemed to be going well until the eve of the trade itself, when rumours of an ambush by the Crimson Star began to spread through the station. Not willing to take any chances, Jack called for reinforcements that spread themselves out around the Caucasus Station, ready to take action if the other side tried anything. When the meeting itself began, Jack was taken completely by surprise when he recognised one of Hurst's bodyguards was none other than Marco-035, his former friend. Marco seemed to recognise Jack too, and immediately triggered a number of explosives that decimated the meeting's guards before giving chase.
With Hurst dead and the deal badly sabotaged, Jack had no choice but to retreat through the Station as URF troops massacred the Crimson Star's forces and began to seize control. As he entered the hangar bay he was confronted by the SPARTAN-II, who had been pursuing him the whole way. A brief firefight ensued, and in spite of Jack's heavy modifications and combat skill ended in him losing a hand to some well-placed plasma fire from Marco. Wounded and losing, the former Spartan managed to board a small freighter as it took off, murdering the crew as soon as it left the station and taking it into Slipspace to meet with the Omega Group themselves. Arriving at a secluded base Talitsa, his prosthetic hand was replaced by Simon Petrovich. While his master was initially angry at him for allowing Marco to live and ruining the deal, news soon came that the Crimson Star's defeat had left the United Rebel Front in control of the Caucasus Station, granting them more resources from the settlement than a single deal could ever have made them. After having his cybernetics checked out, Jack spent some time aboard the base. It was during this period that he first met Miriam Bakos, a high-ranking URF member. While she technically outranked him despite Jack only answering to Petrovich's orders, Bakos treated him more like an equal and attempted to get to know him better as a comrade-in-arms. Much to his own surprise, Jack did not rebuff her with threats of violence and instead formed a friendly camaraderie with the rebel leader before departing to continue his campaign against the UNSC.
In 2555, John Verensky moved without Jack's knowledge and attacked Earth itself, seizing a NOVA bomb in a costly mission that utterly humiliated the UNSC. While angered that Verensky had attempted to cut ties with him, Jack decided to wait and see what Verensky did with his new superweapon rather than act against him. However, it was after a particularly large attack on the colony of Circumstance in November that left over 300,000 dead that Jack's plan began to unravel. Defying months of careful planning, Verensky was now unleashing every weapon in his arsenal against the vulnerable civilian populace. While Jack thoroughly enjoyed the chaos it caused as many in the colonies blamed the UNSC for being unable to prevent these attacks, he had patiently planned every move and was well aware of the consequences of his actions and realised that his former ally had likely gone mad and no longer cared for the Insurrection.
Realising that Verensky would likely end up using the invaluable NOVA bomb rather than face capture, Jack severed all remaining ties with the loose coalition of rebel groups under the man's command and contacted the Sangheili brothers Rol and Sur, whom he had supplied for several false-flag attacks, to recover what the could from Verensky's base aboard the Caucasus Station while he dealt with the Insurrectionist leaders. Ambushing them as they met to discuss what to do as the UNSC launched their own attack on the asteroid settlement, he killed Mal Roberts of the Venezian Front and Remi Marshall of the Dynasty alongside several others, though Carlos Driscol and Marshall's second in command were able to elude him and escape. Jack quickly departed the station after discovering that the Spartan Shrike Team were closing in on his position and abandoned his Sangheili comrades to their fate before the Caucasus Station fell to the UNSC.
With time running out, Jack stuck at Verensky's last safehouse on the Outer Colony world of New Albion after deliberately leaking its location to the Office of Naval Intelligence. He arrived shortly before a sizeable UNSC fleet did, and used their assault on the heavily-fortified Insurrectionist base to cover his own infiltration. After easily getting past the guards outside Verensky's base, Jack moved in and headed straight for the computer banks, where he purged everything related to him and the United Rebel Front before securing anything useful and moving on. En-route, he found that most of the base's security had already been killed and found one of the command rooms blown to smithereens from the inside. By the time he arrived in the tower where Verensky was attempting to direct what few men he had left, the rebel leader had already been shot dead by a lone rebel named Amanda Wade, whom he vaguely recognised as a member of the 'Dynasty crew.
Confronting Wade, Jack was surprised when she rejected his offer to join him and even denied herself the opportunity to escape with her life. Realising that she intended to kill him for murdering her captain, Jack swiftly disarmed the young rebel and was moments away from killing her when three members of Shrike Team burst through the windows. Acting quickly, Jack evaded their initial volley of gunfire and engaged the younger Spartans in close combat. His foes were taken aback by his speed and power, finding themselves surprisingly outmatched as the more seasoned ex-Spartan disarmed and killed two of them and grievously wounded a third after a brief but furious battle. While he reveled in his first Spartan kills since his mortal wounding of Jacob-076, Jack had little time to celebrate as more UNSC troops were closing in and Wade had escaped.
Narrowly avoiding enemy reinforcements, Jack was able to flee Verensky's fortress and left New Albion before a proper blockade could be assembled. While he had lost the chance to secure the NOVA bomb for the URF and many of his contacts were dead, the failure of these plans were a mere setback. Talented though Verensky may have been, he had ultimately been expendable and his lacklustre methods now forced Jack to adopt new strategies against the UNSC. It was around this time that Jack contacted the Omega Group once more with plans of establishing a more permanent base of operations. While his own heavily modified ship had served him well for a several years, he felt that a proper headquarters would be needed to help coordinate his assets throughout the colonies. As such, he was directed to an abandoned weather station on Sargasso, a colony world that had been mostly glassed by the Covenant decades before. The abandoned station had been taken over by United Rebel Front operatives in the wake of the Human-Covenant War and had been restored to partial functionality, with building works ongoing to expand the sub-levels into a properly habitable base. Jack was put in charge and ordered the construction of a hangar for his vessel in what he dubbed 'The Bastion'. The remote location and inhospitable conditions kept the prying eyes of the UNSC far away, allowing for ships to come and go without fear of being tracked.
A month after Verensky's death, Jack met with the a mercenary Ash Mitchell on the still-recovering Caucasus Station, and offered the man a chance to work alongside him. Though Jack had killed Mal Roberts, an old friend of Mitchell's, the former ODST agreed to his offer. With Mitchell's expertise he was soon able to move on to bigger targets in spite of the increased security across the colonies. Along with a group of experienced mercenaries, the pair temporarily hijacked a civilian transport ship bound for Circumstance in the Epsilon Eridani system. After killing most of the people onboard and taking the rest hostage within minutes, Jack took one person in particular, the billionaire James Durovin, and used him to access the ship's cargo systems via his neural implants. This revealed that half a dozen experimental artificial intelligences were being transported secretly aboard the civilian freighter. After taking these, Jack had Durovin killed, keeping his body in order to access the businessman's bank accounts via his biometrics.
It was during this raid that Jack encountered Bill Cross, a veteran ODST, and Devin Harland, a young man who survived the initial attack. The pair had managed to survive the initial boarding by remaining hidden, and confronted him briefly, managing to send out a distress call to local UNSC ships. This was a bothersome setback, Jack wishing to have the transport destroyed and the blame placed on the UNSC, setting up a false transmission beforehand. Despite this, he and the remainder of his team were able to escape, blowing up the ship as they did so. Jack believed Cross and Harland to be dead, though they had, along with the remaining hostages, gotten to escape pods. Though Jack wanted to destroy them just to be sure, his second in command, Ash Mitchell, assured him that they were empty. With the fortune gained from Durovin and his network of contacts beginning to build up again due to his mercenary work and status in the criminal underworld, Jack made plans to arm multiple smaller secessionist groups throughout the Outer Colonies and incite them against the UNSC.
Covering his Tracks
Following a spate of attacks, Jack realised that he had been making himself too visible, with tales of a terrifying Insurrectionist supersoldier making it back to ONI. This, plus the testimony of various captured rebels about a 'Magnus' started an investigation into who he was. In early February, Jack was able to access the data on the hunt for him thanks to an informant, and realised that several people within ONI had already began to join the dots, linking Magnus to SPARTAN-085, who had disappeared long ago without a trace. While Marco never told his superiors that Jack was the rebel leader until after their brief engagement the previous year, ONI had finally begun to take heed of his actions and dispatched a number of deadly agents to hunt Jack down and eliminate him once and for all.
Over the course of a week, Jack devised a plan that would draw suspicion away from him and remove some loose ends. While he despised what he saw as 'petty crime', Jack decided to make an assault on a large bank situated on Circumstance, in the Inner Colonies. They would attack in broad daylight, breaking through to the vault in order to steal vast sums of money, both physically and electronically, as well as a large quantity of gold. Thirty people were chosen for this job, including Ash Mitchell, who had been making a name for himself as a reliable mercenary. Mitchell, whom Jack had used several times in the past, was beginning to lose his worth as an asset, having been in contact with him one time too many. For the job, Jack gave his men a good deal of high-tech equipment and gear, knowing that it would be a difficult fight. In Mitchell's gear, however, he planted a large array of (largely falsified) reports and logs that made him out to be the real Magnus. Mitchell, who had foolishly began to trust Jack, did not check through these, and was chosen to direct most of the bank raid, which would end in a massacre.
On February 16th, 2556, the raid on Kuiper's national bank took place. Jack had situated himself nearby, allegedly to disrupt CCTV around the area, allowing his team to enter unnoticed. In actuality, he planted powerful C-12 explosives in buildings and on the street, preparing to detonate them when ready. Once the main assault had begun, all he had to to was sit back and watch as his plan unfolded. While Mitchell and one group went after the vault, another slaughtered the civilians there on Jack's orders. A third team stood guard outside. Upon his return with the goods, Mitchell was furious at what they had done, an argument ending in a shootout, by which time the police had arrived to battle with the rebels. Due to his many years of combat experience, the former ODST was able to survive the fight and make it out of the bank with a few others. It was at his point that Jack detonated the explosives, killing hundreds of people in the surrounding area. Mitchell's group were able to make it back towards the rendezvous point, whereupon Jack promptly shot them, Mitchell holding his own before being blasted off a balcony and into the street below. Satisfied that he had killed his former partner, Jack departed the planet as soon as he could, the news that 'Magnus' had been found reaching him soon after.
What Jack did not know, however, was that Ash Mitchell was still alive. Having been protected by his old ODST armour, he was able to evade the police and escape into Kuiper's undercity, where he spent several weeks recovering. He had been forced to drop most of his gear, including the incriminating evidence that was planted and later discovered by the police. CCTV footage of the bank which had been deliberately left running by Jack showed Mitchell leading the raid, which only enforced the belief that he was in fact the real Magnus. Jack believed that his partner would quickly be tracked down and killed, forgetting about Mitchell as he fled into the Outer Colonies.
While Jack was fairly confident that he had eliminated most loose ends, he did not count on those outside the UNSC who planned on moving against him. While he heard sparse rumours of Mitchell appearing over the next few months, he focused on supplying the New Colonial Alliance with weapons and equipment from the United Rebel Front, using his base on Sargasso as a meeting point. His main trading partner was General Robert Amenwae, the rebel group's top strategist whose actions had saved them from complete destruction by the UNSC's superior forces on multiple occasions. While most trades involved weapon shipments or machinery, the arrival of a number of chemicals provided by the Omega Group in late 2556 opened a new avenue for the future of the NCA's soldiers. Though fairly basic, they were intended to enhance their soldiers on the battlefield to compete with better-trained UNSC troops without the immense drawbacks of Rumbledrugs.
Through his contacts, Anatoly Kustentov and Hadvir Erikkson, Jack continued to distribute arms throughout the Outer Colonies, where crime levels had begun to rise. However, Erikkson was abducted after a well-armed criminal group attacked his mansion, leading to concerns that ONI might be on his trail. Though he later re-appeared safely, Jack began to make arrangements to have him killed, just in case. He then arranged for a large-scale deal between his forces, Kustentov and Amenwae for several weapon shipments and a vital case of chemicals for the NCA. As the deal took place in early January, Kustentov was revealed to have been captured by ONI, and unleashed an enemy attack force on the Bastion. While Jack retreated into his base, a number of unknown ships arrived at the planet, led by a familiar freighter - the Dynasty. With the base's surface turned into a battleground between multiple groups, Jack began the process of storing all of his base's data and headed for his own vessel, knowing that ONI would soon bring the full force of the UNSC down on them.
As he and a trusted group of crewmen loaded up his personal ship, the base's hangar doors unexpectedly closed. Jack turned to find that the perpetrator was none other than Amanda Wade, the woman who had escaped his grasp the previous year on New Albion. Realising that it was she that had led the attack on his base, Jack pursued Wade back through his base. In spite of his enhanced speed and reflexes she managed to stay ahead of him by moving through cluttered rooms and tossing things at the enraged cyborg. Eventually he found himself back in the hangar, where Wade was gunning down his men. He swiftly immobilised her with a thrown crate and pinned her to the ground under his boot. Instead of killing her outright, Jack mocked Wade for her fruitless pursuit of revenge against him. She replied by mentioning that her older brother would kill him even if she failed, before naming the man - Marco. Momentarily stunned by this revelation, Jack barely had time to react as he was tackled by none other than Ash Mitchell, who like Wade was also hell-bent on revenge. Taken by surprise by the pair, Jack was stabbed through one of his robotic hands by Mitchell and shot repeatedly in the side by Wade.
Wounded for the first time in a while, Jack found himself unable to take down one target without the other firing at him and despite shooting Mitchell repeatedly in retaliation, was subjected to a torrent of plasma bolts that incinerated his already-damaged hand and forced him to retreat to his ship as it took off. Wade was then able to put half a dozen bolts into Jack's lower right leg, severing the prosthetic. Damaged though he was, he could survive the loss of his prosthetic limbs and managed to reach the ship's bridge as it blasted through the hangar doors and escaped Sargasso. This was the first time he had been personally injured since his encounter with Marco in 2555, and the fact that it had been Marco's sister only served to enrage him further. Instead of retreating to another far-off base, Jack ordered the crew to head for a set of coordinates on the very fringe of Human-controlled space.
After several customary slipspace jumps to escape pursuers, Jack's ship arrived in what had been dubbed the 'Watts System', after the long-dead rebel Colonel. With few planets and a red supergiant nearby, it would be unremarkable were it not for a single vessel: The URF Hydra. An ageing Strident-class Heavy Frigate that had been salvaged from a battlefield shortly after the Human-Covenant War, the ship served as the current headquarters of what remained of the United Rebel Front, and housed Jack's own superiors, the Omega Group. Upon confirming his identity, he docked with the vessel and was taken to the ship's robotics section for repairs. There, he was subdued with anaesthetic, and woke up nearly two days later with newer, strengthened robotic hands and legs and the machinery keeping his bodily functions running updated. It was shortly after this that he met with his good friend Miriam Bakos, the URF's military leader. She reprimanded Jack for losing the Bastion and a number of irreplaceable supplies before allowing him to speak with Simon Petrovich, the head of the Omega Group. Petrovich spoke to him through an intercom as he always did, never daring to get too close to Jack, and after revealing that he was the one who had personally updated Jack's cybernetics, informed him that his days as a solo operator were over and that he would now fully assist the NCA in its operations throughout the Outer Colonies. Though Jack privately felt that the group would not be successful in the long run, he was once again resigned to his orders and soon departed the ship to resume his never-ending crusade.
Jack would spend the next year and a half keeping a low profile as he helped to properly organise a number of NCA-run rebel cells dotted across the frontier. His appearance and terrifying personality helped to maintain a sense of authority as he put his Spartan training to good use in forming bands of disgruntled, poorly-trained colonists and radicals into proper fighters, though their limited equipment and the frequent infighting between group leaders gave him little hope for their future. Furthermore, with seemingly no long-term plan to strike at the UNSC from Petrovich or any other leaders, Jack began to lose faith in the rebel cause after so many years working for them. While still driven by his desire for revenge against the for turning him into a Spartan, he began to reflect on what he truly desired in life beyond that, recalling the lingering desire for freedom that he had held onto throughout his training. It was this that had drove him to flee the SIGMA project in the first place, and despite all his efforts, Jack realised that with Petrovich's ability to deactivate his life support system and kill him at any moment he had simply been shackled to a new master for years now. Becoming rather sullen and despondent, it was not until his deployment to the Outer Colony world of Aleria to assist a burgeoning rebel group that he began to formulate a long-term plan for the future.
Arriving on the planet in late May of 2558 on a modified transport freighter, Jack and a platoon of URF fighters made contact with the rebels, bringing immensely valuable materials - vehicles, hydroponics equipment, military weaponry - from offworld that were seldom seen on the drought-stricken planet. Realising that the Alerian people had little love for the UEG after their abandonment during the Human-Covenant War and that not much encouragement would be needed to sway much of the population to their cause, Jack sent his ship away to procure more supplies and had his remaining subordinates spread word of the United Rebel Front's pledge to assist the people of Aleria. While the colonial government had been working to re-establish a connection with the UEG after the war and had some military authority, the real resistance to Jack's efforts came from some of Aleria's many courier guilds; smuggling organisations who saw the URF's involvement as a threat to their own powerbase on the planet. After several attacks on his convoys, Jack launched a counter-offensive against these criminals with the intent of recruiting or wiping out as many smugglers as he could.
After hearing of a rival organisation's assault on a smaller guild several days later, the URF-led group set out in their newly-arrived Pelican to deal with the problem. Catching the perpetrators in the middle of their raid, Jack and his men swiftly wiped them out with an aerial bombardment and swept through the base in search of survivors. While most of the owners had been killed in the battle, he discovered a single wounded survivor: Aila Jokela. One of the guild's mid-ranking members, she had been lucky enough to survive the earlier massacre and was treated by Jack's medics before he offered to recruit the young woman into his fighting force. Jokela accepted, and after handing over her group's greatest prize - a stolen water shipment - would act as one of his representatives in dealing with Aleria's scattered townships as they slowly made their way towards the colony's larger settlements.
Jack grew to like Aila, whose knowledge of the planet's treacherous terrain helped in the URF's campaign against the surprisingly resistant courier guilds in their path. By August, he had assembled a loyal force of Alerian dissidents, many of whom simply wanted to leave their planet to live better lives. With Aila as his second in command, Jack decided to put his plan to break away from the URF into motion by staging a number of deliberately high profile attacks and making some deliberate mistakes that could attract the UNSC's attention. While he knew that Aleria was all but ignored by the government on Earth, the Office of Naval Intelligence's vast spy network had informants on the planet quickly spread word of his involvement there, prompting the immediate and covert deployment of special forces personnel to deal with the URF.
Having foreseen this, Jack began to withdraw his closest followers from the field, taking most of their supplies aboard their transport ships as the rebel militia and URF troops engaged their foe in the field. Leaving those likely to betray him to the URF to their fate, Jack and Aila led their contingent off the planet, narrowly escaping an assault by the Spartan Fireteam Thor on their primary compound. With little time to lose, he immediately moved to the city of Hole in the Wall on Cassidy III, a remote planet populated by URF sympathisers. Though he was welcomed as a hero by its inhabitants, Jack did not spend long on the planet and left after gathering supplies and weaponry. After checking in with Miriam Bakos to inform her that their revolution on Aleria had failed, Jack explained his situation to Aila and made plans for his troops to covertly invade the UNSC Hydra in an attempt to murder Doctor Simon Petrovich, breaking the United Rebel Front's hold on the ex-Spartan and finally setting him free.
Even as a child during SPARTAN training on Earth, Jack was much more aggressive than any of the other trainees, often severely injuring trainers when he could get the chance. His somewhat unnatural aggression likely stemmed from his abusive childhood before joining the program. Like all SPARTAN candidates, he was genetically superior, having above-average intelligence and physical qualities, even at a young age. However, though this never truly manifested while in training, Jack enjoyed manipulating others and taking charge of situations, seemingly enjoying the trouble he could cause. He was, throughout his life, quite a compelling speaker, convincing others to obey him. The earliest example of this was with Ahmad-126, who escaped from the training facility with Jack shortly after their augmentations.
Another key aspect of his personality, something that was debated among his surviving teammates for years after, was his madness. Though Jack was always considered slightly unstable and very aggressive, he was able to work effectively in a team with Marco-035 and Elena-071, though he was seen as a terrible loser, stemming from an inferiority complex that enraged him when losing; his fight against Jacob-076 over Endrin was a prime example of this. His immense anger against other Spartans persevered for his entire life. Even after his brush with death and subsequent reconstruction, Jack held little regard for life, human or otherwise. He was seem by his foes as little more than a remorseless sociopath, delighting in combat and killing. It was theorised by those who knew him that it was the extreme pain of his augmentations that finally pushed him over the edge into true madness. In the universe, he lived a lonely existence, only serving himself and his own interests. While he had no real plans for leadership or domination, his motives largely fell between self preservation and his desire for the destruction of those who had wronged him.
In spite of all his rage and hatred for others, Jack would occasionally show regret for his actions over the years, generally when alone. While he did despise the UNSC for what it had done, he missed many of his old friends from his childhood and often wondered what things would have been like if he hadn't abandoned them and gone on the run. After his cybernetic enhancements and activities as Magnus, Jack realised that there was no possible way of going back as he was responsible for thousands of deaths including a number of fellow Spartans over the following years. It was this sense of hopelessness that drove him further in the opposite direction as he worked for the Omega Group, lacking any other purpose in life. Oddly, he was able to form a good friendship with General Miriam Bakos of the United Rebel Front after she attempted to get to know him better. The action of a single person genuinely attempting to befriend him did create some cracks in Jack's long-standing 'Magnus' persona, causing him to act much like his younger, more human self while around her.
Skills and Abilities
"Well, you've certainly got a knack for hurting people."
In training, Jack was an able candidate, always vying for the top. He was very competitive and subsequently ended up as one of the emerging leaders in the SIGMA Spartan group, along with Fenn-145 and Elena-071. He was particularly talented at stealth and infiltration, often setting up ambushes and traps in training exercises. It was not only his physical skills that served Jack in battle; his keen intellect and manipulative nature would often give him the upper hand in many situations. While loyal only to himself, Jack would often make temporary alliances for the sake of survival or his own gain, his charismatic nature allowing him to gain the trust of others in spite of his appearance. After his escape in 2525, Jack's evasion skills were put to the test as he managed to elude UNSC forces looking for him, escaping Earth and managing to get to the Outer Colonies without detection. He was also adept at computer hacking, being able to cover his movements across the galaxy. While his status as a SPARTAN-II augmentee turned him into a near-unparalleled warrior, Jack's overconfidence and pride would often work against him and led to several failures as a result.
After his body was rebuilt in 2550 Jack became much stronger, with new cybernetic modifications enhancing his already immense strength while his reaction time was increased to levels that were impressive even for a Spartan. Though he did not have the MJOLNIR armour that most Spartans benefited from, Jack's own formidable skills in battle made him more than a match for his enemies in close quarters, often employing lightening-fast strikes or chokeholds to swiftly incapacitate or kill his foes. In spite of his disadvantages he was able to fight and kill fully armoured SPARTAN supersoldiers at close range, making him an incredibly dangerous foe. While he rarely fought his foes directly, he preferred to use handguns and other close-range weapons in combat.
Behind the Scenes
Jack was originally the main villain of the Sigmaverse, until large retcons and the introduction of several other antagonists has placed him more into the role of the 'Heavy' from a narrative standpoint.
Since his inception, Jack has undergone numerous changes and rewrites as the author improved his character. Initially, he was little more than a psychopathic SPARTAN-II with a lust for violence and heavy augmentations. After realising that he was a fairly boring, overpowered villain, the author revised his personality to make him more sympathetic without changing his status as a villainous character.