|This article, Reginald Harding, was written by Ahalosniper. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
|This article, Reginald Harding, is currently under active construction.|
|The White Liar|
DATE OF BIRTH
April 28th, 2514
|Political and Military Information|
Sir John Reginald Harding was a human actor, law enforcement officer, and augmentee of Project: FREELANCER codenamed Agent Wyoming. Though an old acquaintance of Dr. Leonard Church, he was against joining the program until he was blackmailed with the abduction of his wife, Adeline Harding. He shared this information with no one during the project's run, keeping up an aloof and pleasant facade while trying to simply get through the hurdles Church had set in order to have his wife released. Through regular mission successes, rather than outdoing his fellow Freelancers in sparring, Wyoming achieved third place out of forty-nine agents, reduced to number four when Agent Texas was revealed. When the program's subjects rebelled, Wyoming at first manipulated the unclear loyalties of the time to find the Director, and through him, Adeline.
Reginald was born to a well-to-do family on the Inner Colony of Basil Stag Hare in a stage production of Redwall. By the age of 20, Reginald had become renowned enough to earn a scholarship that could get him to the respected academies on , and went to study acting at the .in 2514, and benefited from a privileged education that encompassed classical philosophy, arts including music, film, and video games, and theatre. Developing a strong interest in the performing arts, Reginald pursued a career as a stage actor after secondary school. He earned an eccentric reputation on-stage, and playing into the public view, he began speaking in a mock British accent after earning critical acclaim for portraying
During his time there, he met an Artificial Intelligence research student named Adeline Chevalier, and the two fell deeply in love, planning to become engaged after their graduation four years later. Opting for a more stable choice of employment, Reginald pursued a degree in criminal justice and started working part-time in theoffice. Although they'd planned to stay on Luna, plans changed abruptly when Adeline's work attracted the attention of the , and she was offered a research position at on . Although he was uncomfortable having anything to do with the military, Reginald supported her, and proposed shortly after moving to .
Law Enforcement Career
- "It's a tricky thing, obeying the laws while trying to enforce them."
- ―Officer Harding while with the New Alexandria Police Department.
After settling into an apartment in one of New Alexandria's primarily-American West Quarter, Reginald enrolled in the city's police academy. Though his strange accent was occasionally mocked by the other recruits, he consistently received top marks in physical training and comprehension tests, graduating at the top of his class to be accepted into the NAPD. He was assigned a position as a beat cop in an area near where he lived in the West Quarter, developing a good rapport with the community he looked after. Officer Harding regularly dealt with a number of juvenile delinquents during his years on Reach, including Clyde Dawson, a teenage slacker who looked like he'd soon join a serious criminal gang, and the "Irregulars," a band of runaways who made their living as pickpockets and informants for the police.
|New Alexandria's skybridges provided a sniper with limitless vantage points.|
Due to his high scores on the shooting range, Reginald applied for and was accepted into marksman's school, training as a police sniper to deploy alongside SWAT teams and provide support in hostage and other high-risk situations. He became known for masterfully exploiting the many concourses between New Alexandria's starscrapers, rappelling between skybridges to quickly reach new shooting positions and provide constant support, earning himself a mixed reputation within the NAPD. The personal risks he subjected himself to meant he might incapacitate himself and leave the teams without aid, something that put his superiors a bit on edge.
In the years they lived on Reach, Adeline introduced Reginald to several of her colleagues, including Dr. Leonard Church. Adeline had collaborated with them on the creation of the template for the third generation of 'smart' AIs, and was one of few people either of the prominent figures in the field of artificial intelligence research could get along with. Although Reginald somehow duplicated her feat, he was somewhat uneasy with people so deeply involved in the military, particularly after Church took an interest in his outstanding record. Still, the highly-militarized Inner Colony was prospering as a central gear in the human war machine against the , and the couple remained, with Adelaide being transferred to the top-secret research base and Reginald seeing promotion to Detective by 2539. Working regularly with his partner Butch Flowers and future fellow Freelancer Jerrold Pershing, Reginald tackled some of the department's most difficult cases amid the chaos of a refugee flood in the Inner Colonies.and Dr.
|A photo of Reginald from the dossier on him compiled by Project: FREELANCER.|
The case that really made Reginald's name, however, began in 2540 when inconsistent records disseminated by's planetside shipyards caught the department's attention. The early investigation involved going through mountains of paperwork, but paid off when it was realized that shipments of military-grade ordnance had regularly gone missing, and the disappearances were being covered up by individuals working within the company. After tracking down several suspects, Reginald and Butch discovered a smuggling ring stealing military ordnance to feed to the Insurrection. While they took down the ring through sting operations to arrest the smuggling crews, Reginald was convinced even after the disappearances stopped that they hadn't seen the end of it.
He was right. In 2544, an infamous rebel named Jonathan Ulan targeted New Alexandria as the site of a terrorist attack in retribution. With aid from Butch, Pershing, and an enigmatic agent named Valerie Sulzer, however, he was able to prevent the bombing, their effort culminating in a gunfight on the bridge Ulan had attempted to bomb. Although the rebel leader escaped, Reginald was recognized for his actions as going above and beyond the call of duty, and auspicious circumstances led him to be knighted for his actions. The fame he received also led to him being taken note of once again by Leonard Church, whom by now was beginning to lay plans for a new project codenamed FREELANCER. Until 2547, however, Reginald remained on Reach, content with his life as an officer of the law.
Recruitment and Training
- "I am not in the habit of wasting valuable potential, Reginald, least of all in times like these. And regardless of whether it strikes your fancy, I will not let you abandon a higher calling so you can continue to slap thieves on the wrist."
- ―Director Church acquires Agent Wyoming.
As the war with the Covenant dragged on, millions of empty-handed refugees poured into the remaining human worlds. The widespread poverty and hunger soon led to riots, and despite making Inspector, Reginald was called upon by the shorthanded NAPD more and more often to take part in what was usually beat cop work to combat the results of both simple discontent and the exploitation of groups like the Insurrection and Syndicate taking advantage of the situation. Then, in 2547, Reginald received a message from Dr. Leonard Church, requesting a private meeting. Church explained that he'd recently been funded by the Office of Naval Intelligence to begin a project and was in need of highly-skilled operators. Though he pointed out clearly how much more Reginald could be capable of doing, Reggie found the idea of making himself a test subject and subordinating himself to Church repugnant, and firmly declined his offer. Returning home one night about a week later, however, he found Adeline gone and a note from Church explaining that an agent already in his employ had set it up so that Reginald would be blamed for her disappearance and would never see her again, unless he agreed to join the program. Bowing to the blackmail, Reginald enlisted in Project: FREELANCER and was given the callsign Agent Wyoming in service to the Director.
|A photo of several Project: FREELANCER personnel, including Wyoming.|
Wyoming was one of Project: FREELANCER's first recruits, alongside Carolina, Michigan, Georgia, Montana, and Florida. Florida, he was surprised to learn, was actually Butch Flowers, and after privately talking about what had gotten each of them to join the program, Butch swore to help him get back Adeline. Though they began trying to gather information on the Director, their efforts were met with little success, and were abandoned shortly after their training began in earnest. Another surprise was being reintroduced to Valerie Sulzer, the woman who'd helped them foil Jonathan Ulan on Skopje, whom had also joined with the callsign Agent Montana. Slowly, the recruits were introduced to the ideas behind FREELANCER, including physical augmentation and the use of powered armor, AIs, and other special equipment. After initial conditioning and augmentation took place, they began training in their own sets of uniquely-suited armor and pitted against both simulation troopers and one another.
With the thought of his wife motivating him and previous SWAT training giving him an edge, Wyoming quickly became one of Project: FREELANCER's top test subjects, bested regularly by only two agents: Carolina and New York. Towards the former Wyoming bore no ill will, recognizing in Carolina the skill and discipline of a capable fighter able to squarely best him, but later in training found himself irritated in losing to York, who was in fact Clyde Dawson, the deadbeat he'd consistently arrested on Reach. Responding to Wyoming's rudeness, York engaged a petty rivalry with him to see who could annoy the other more, York's pranks and Wyoming's knock-knock jokes both recurring strategies. By the end of this phase of the project, Wyoming was ranked third out of forty-nine on their leaderboard, and assigned to lead Fireteam Rainmaker, a small but efficient team with only him and Agent Maine. Later, however, Rainmaker would receive the addition of a new agent, Connecticut, and to Wyoming's annoyance be placed under the leadership of Agent York.
- "I wasn't sure I'd really seen anything. There was a figure, ghost-white, and then it was gone. That was the moment before the alarms went off, and suddenly they were everywhere."
- ―A survivor of a FREELANCER raid in debriefing.
With a knack for stealth despite the blinding white armor he wore, Wyoming became the reconnaissance specialist for FREELANCER's top field unit. Often paired with Agent Florida, the two were responsible for entering hostile locations undetected and finding entrance routes for the other Freelancers, disabling traps and security measures, and marking the number and position of enemies for their teammates to act upon. Their efficiency in this role had a direct contribution to the string of successes that followed, first among them the destruction of the Strontius Munitions factories on.
According to the Freelancers' briefing, Strontius had secretly been dealing top-quality weapons to the Insurrection and profiting from the increased conflict that resulted, but in reality, the company was developing new technologies for use by rival supersoldier programs sponsored by ONI and the UNSC. Director Church had long since been using operatives under his command to further his own agenda, and it only increased with the activation of the Freelancers. Through sabotage of his rivals and assassination of those who might expose or hinder him, Church was able to operate his program on UNSC funds with near-total autonomy for a couple of years, the pressing Human-Covenant War leaving none free to challenge him. Wyoming often suspected that the Director was lying to them and their operations weren't completely legal, but was kept from investigating by his worry for Adeline. Butch, in the meantime, would be quietly working his way into the Director's confidence.
|One newcomer defeats three top Freelancers.|
- "Freelancer Case File 01.045. //Level 2 Confidential [Docunet]. Mission: Failure, All Objectives."
- ―After-action report of the mission.
Moving beyond simple attack upon his enemies, the Director began to advance his own projects further, with sights set on a definite goal that remained inscrutable to his agents. On the same day that twins North and South Dakota, shadowed by Carolina, were dispatched to infiltrate the Bjørndal Cryogenics Research Facility, Wyoming was charged with a team made up of Connecticut and Washington to intercept supposed Insurrectionist couriers at in . The couriers turned out to be capable operatives themselves, however, unbeknownst to the Freelancers former members of the UNSC's Hound Unit. Their cover was blown when Connecticut failed to execute a target, and in the open skirmish to follow Wyoming was injured after falling from a five-story rooftop. Fortunately, Agent Washington was able to fight off their opponents long enough for an extraction, but they had failed to kill or capture any of the Insurrectionists or the information they carried. In debriefing during their flight home, Washington was moved up to Connecticut's former spot at number eight, removing her from the leaderboard.
Though his injuries turned out to be only minor, they and the failure of his team were enough to agitate Wyoming and get him into an argument with Maine and a new rookie codenamed Texas. York tried to break up the altercation, but only got himself involved as well and into a sanctioned three-on-one match on the Mother of Invention's training floor. With a number of other Freelancers standing witness, Agent Texas not only held her own against the three senior agents, but for eight straight rounds defeated them with scarcely a landed hit between her opponents. Frustrated and angry, in the ninth round Wyoming decided to get even. Slipping his teammates live rounds and a grenade that had been conspicuously left on the training floor, together they attempted to cripple, or in Maine's case outright kill, the recruit that'd caused them so much embarrassment. York would have none of it, however, and attempted to aid Texas with his sidearm still loaded with rounds.
Wyoming managed to shoot Texas once through the shoulder, but was immobilized a moment later by Tex's response. Maine went down shortly after, but as he fell threw the grenade which Texas easily avoided only for it to land beside York. The explosion might have killed Agent New York, but Texas reacted quickly enough to shoot him with the TTR paint and lock down his armor. York and Wyoming were taken to sickbay, though mysteriously Texas would be treated elsewhere, and while Wyoming would push his way out within the day, York was held overnight with the possibility of losing sight in his left eye. Though Wyoming regretted the part he played in York's injury, he regretted more that he'd allowed his temper to drive him so far in a petty training competition. It reminded him of just how far he'd fallen under Church's control, and began to reawaken enough of his audaciousness to once again try and circumvent the Director's hold on him.
- Wyoming: "What does security look like?"
- Carolina: "They have enough men to fill a one-hundred ten story building."
- Wyoming: "So that's a lot of security."
- — Wyoming during the mission briefing.
The next week, most of Fireteams Flamberge and Rainmaker (with the exception of Agent South, who had performed badly at the Bjørndal research facility) were assembled to be briefed on the next mission. Again deployed to New Mombasa, their objective would be to steal a completely unknown object, codenamed the Sarcophagus, and the keycode to unlocking it, carried by a man named Rhee Sebiel who the Freelancers were told was a ranking member of the Insurrection. Wyoming was assigned to the latter objective as part of Team B, led by North Dakota, alongside Connecticut and Florida as their dropship pilot. They performed on-site reconnaissance for Carolina's Team A before breaking off to lay an ambush for Sebiel's vehicle along New Mombasa's .
|Team B pinned by fire from law enforcement officers.|
As they lay in wait, however, the Freelancers were suddenly surrounded and attacked by SWAT teams from the, responding to alarms of an Insurrectionist terror attack sent by Wyoming as a means of sabotaging the Director's one chance at obtaining the Sarcophagus. A firefight quickly ensued, but North managed to adapt his strategy and took their fight out onto the freeway, where the battle would stop traffic and hopefully trap their target in gridlock. But rather than let them succeed, Wyoming allowed himself to be wounded, taking a bullet to the side, and forced their team to find cover as his injury was tended to.
Though it was enough to delay Team B, Carolina and Team A had extracted the Sarcophagus itself by now, and North directed them to pursue Sebiel instead of coming to their rescue. North, Wyoming, and Connecticut were extracted under fire by Florida's Pelican, and returned to the Mother of Invention to learn that Agent Texas had been the one to deliver the briefcase carrying Sebiel's information to the Director, and Wyoming's efforts had all been for nothing. His perceived carelessness in combat would get him temporarily removed from the leaderboard, but while he was supposed to be quietly recovering out of sight and out of mind in medbay, Wyoming discreetly slipped out despite his genuine injury to access the Director's private terminal.
Fortunately for Reginald, the Director had removed the Alpha AI from the Mother of Invention's mainframe the moment the Sarcophagus was delivered on board, leaving a hole in the Director's personal security that Wyoming unknowingly exploited. Breaking into the Director's personal quarters, he was able to access Church's personal computer, and through its passcodes, the project's most classified files. He discovered many things, including when they'd been deployed against factions of the UNSC itself rather than the Insurrection and the program's intention of splitting and implanting an AI in its subjects, but any information regarding Adeline was still encrypted. Making a copy of the encrypted data, Wyoming left before he could be found out, planning to apologize to York and ask him to decrypt it. Unknown to him, however, he had been observed all along by a spy network set up by Agent Montana, and by the time he returned to medbay, Wyoming found the data had been lifted off him, leaving him without proof or hope of finding Adeline again.
|Gamma is created from the Alpha's containment unit.|
- ". . . I believe we will get along well, Reggie."
- ―Gamma, moments after mentally linking to Wyoming.
Apart from Beta, the first AI fragment to be separated from the Alpha was Gamma, and the Director knew just whom he wanted to use as a first test. Wyoming reluctantly obeyed the order, and submitted to the implantation procedure. During the four hours of complicated neural surgery, Gamma first made contact with Reginald by direct exchange of thought. Even after the operation was complete, Wyoming remained asleep for a full day with Mother of Invention's medical staff monitoring his brain activity as he conversed with the AI fragment formed from the Alpha's deceit. In that time, the two developed an immediate strong bond, empathizing with one another's problems and vowing to work together to free Adeline from the Director for Reginald, and restore the Alpha for Gamma. When he finally regained consciousness, Wyoming's implantation was deemed a success, and subsequent experiments were authorized by the Director.
Following his recovery, Wyoming was put through a series of arduous tests to determine just how much his abilities had been impacted. Each test would have previously been considered impossible for all but a few Freelancers, and yet Wyoming succeeded time and again in spite of their difficulty. Eventually, the Director had seen enough and dismissed them. Gamma, however, wished to discuss the Alpha with Director Church. When he was initially declined, Gamma's obsession drove him to ask more aggressively, and as Church started to leave, the AI fragment tried to forcibly remove itself from Wyoming in order to follow. The sudden disintegration caused Wyoming to collapse in pain while Gamma abruptly went offline, and the Freelancer had to be sedated for the pain by one of his peers before medics could even get close enough to work on him. Once Gamma was rebooted, Wyoming appeared fine and the AI was able to remove itself without further damage, but upon reintegration found that their connection was not as whole as before.
- Gamma: "But if we work together . . ."
- Sigma: "Together. What an interesting concept, Gamma."
- ―Gamma and Wyoming plant a seed in Sigma's ambitious mind.
While the event would strengthen Counselor Michael Colegrove's calls for more caution, in order to accomplish their own goals Reginald and Gamma needed the program to take more risks. To that end, they began subtly manipulating the other Freelancers, not with such brutish use of authority and browbeating as the Director, but through suggestion and unconscious influence that would guide them to making certain discoveries and decisions. Perhaps the most important was leading Sigma to the same conclusion that Gamma had come to, the idea of reintegrating with one another to form the Alpha. Sigma's ambition would drive him to attempt it while Gamma and Wyoming only had to sit back and observe as Sigma took on the risk.
|Agents Wyoming and Florida run reconnaissance on the former Hound Unit.|
- York: "Maybe Wyoming should try one of his knock-knock jokes."
- Wyoming: "Oh? Who's there?"
- York: "Nobody, stop."
- Wyoming: "Nobody stop who? Shall I go on?"
- York: "Yeah, I was kidding. Now shut up."
- Wyoming: "Shut up who?"
- —Agents Wyoming and York while pinned down by excessive fire.
In the following months, Wyoming would be reassigned to reconnaissance alongside Agent Florida, a reprieve which Reginald found more than welcome. Following an attack on an orbital UNSC scrap recycling station which ended in the detonation of a nuclear device and disappearance of Agent Connecticut, the pair were tasked with staking out a supposedly abandoned shipping complex in theas a possible hideout where their enemies might try and regroup. After only a few days, the Director's suspicions were confirmed as members of the Hound Unit set up shop. They were joined by several dozen men outfitted with UNSC Marine Corps equipment, something which gave Reginald pause, but after observing Connecticut arrive at the facility in the company of the Hound Unit's leader, reported their findings to Agent Carolina at once. With a Freelancer strike team of Carolina, York, North, South, Washington, and Maine on its way, Reginald and Butch began infiltrating the complex.
As the majority of the Hound Unit and Freelancers clashed outside, Wyoming and Florida bypassed security measures and armed guards without tipping off or killing a single man to shadow Connecticut and the Hounds' leader, Redmond Venter, deeper inside. Due to Connecticut's enhanced motion tracker, however, they were detected just as they closed in, and Venter critically injured Florida with a thrown axe. Two of the Hounds, an insane minigun-wielding brother and sister that'd been recruited out of an asylum, were left behind as a rearguard, pinning Wyoming down. When York, Washington, and Carolina presently arrived, they began devising a strategy when Agent Texas sprinted past them, using her active camouflage and augmented speed to bypass the twins. Angered at being surpassed once again, Carolina recklessly gave chase, leaving the other Freelancers to deal with the pair. Wyoming managed to rouse Florida, who then damaged a hydraulic cargo crane with his rifle's grenade launcher and crush the two Hounds under a cargo container. By the time they caught up with Carolina and Texas, the fight was already over.
|Wyoming, Maine and Sigma observe the training floor as Carolina interrupts Texas' session to demand two AI.|
As they were debriefed, Wyoming learned that despite inflicting more than fifty percent casualties on the Hound Unit, likely including Connecticut, Venter had escaped with her body, data and armor, making the mission's primary objective a failure. In the days afterward, tensions among the Freelancers began to rise as word spread that Texas, already seen as an outsider, was responsible for Connecticut's death, while Carolina's rivalry with her over the leaderboard's top ranking intensified. Seizing their chance to sew further mayhem, Wyoming allowed Gamma and Sigma to approach Carolina after a disappointing training session and reveal that Texas possessed an AI, leading her to demand one of her own. The repercussions, however, Wyoming could not have anticipated.
Learning the Director's experiments had recently yielded two AI fragments, Carolina demanded to be implanted with both. Though Counselor Colgrove cautioned against it, the Director decided to allow her request and let her deal with the consequences. Surgery went as well as could have been hoped and immediately upon wakening, Carolina challenged Agent Texas to a sparring match on the training floor. The fight ended before it began, however, as every active AI fragment abruptly went haywire the moment before the pair clashed. Wyoming was among those affected, falling to a knee as Gamma screamed inside his mind. Though he and the others recovered momentarily, the combination of two AIs in Carolina's mind caused the pain to continue, only stopped by Agent Texas bludgeoning her unconscious. Having briefly shared the torment which would leave Carolina unconscious in sickbay for several days, Wyoming admitted to himself feeling a twinge of remorse.
- "These AI. They're a double-edged knife. Just as dangerous to us as they make us to our enemies."
- ―Wyoming after taking on an unstable Maine.
Skirmish on Harmony
Fall of Reach
Battle of Earth
Personality and Traits
|Reginald in the last years of FREELANCER.|
- "Knock knock."
- ―Agent Wyoming
Reginald was very skilled at deceiving people, through his time in Project: FREELANCER keeping up an aloof and charming air despite constant concern for his wife, and his acting experience undoubtedly helped him in that regard. Despite his claim to be a compulsive liar, Reginald seldom misguided people for short-term amusement, preferring to work towards more long-term deceptions and greater ends. Whether it was an honest trait or simply playing into the stereotype of his false accent, he was almost always very polite, making insincere apologies to his enemies which often only angered them further.
He had a fondness for knock-knock jokes, most of which his fellow Freelancers found painfully humorless, and fine liquor, especially the Kentucky bourbon he often stole from the locker of the Freelancer of the same name. His drinking sharply increased after Adeline's death, but gave it up following his last encounter with the former Agent Georgia. Though Reginald rarely entered hand-to-hand combat willingly, his fighting style reflected that of a boxer, keeping an opponent at range to deliver fast jabs.
Weapons and Armor
|Agent Wyoming in PISCES Armor carrying "Her Majesty."|
- "Her Majesty"
Among Reginald's most prized possessions was an original Sniper Rifle, a weapon which would spawn many variants and see near-universal use by the branches of the UNSCDF. Nicknaming the weapon "Her Majesty," he had it modified with a stained wooden stock and ornamental brass scope and fittings to give it the look of an old-fashioned frontier rifle. Though it was often derided by his fellow Freelancers as impractical and frivolous, none of them could deny that it was a beautiful weapon. While its metallic parts made it ill-suited to most field work, the weapon was still quite functional and occasionally saw use in combat by its owner.
Offsetting his sniper rifle's shortcomings at close range were a pair of M6I/U machine pistols, Up-Sized for more convenient use by Spartan, Freelancer, and other heavily-armored personnel. At a firing rate of 600 rpm with extended 20-round magazines, the M6I/Us were capable of unloading a withering amount of firepower in the blink of an eye, though the abrupt recoil of so many shots fired so quickly was difficult for any but an augmented soldier to keep on-target through a full mag.
- PISCES Mark III Standard Armor
Notes and References