Petty Officer Second Class Russell 'Russ' Gabriel Knights, aka Spartan 041 or Callsign:ARES, is fighting member of the first class of spartan II's. Born on the colony Arcadia before being selected for the Spartan Program and taken at the age of six. As a trainee he showed himself to be a skilled and resourceful solider as well as a protective and dedicated friend. Russell eventually made a name for himself in the fields of close combat and explosives.
During the Human-Covenant War Russell was frequently saw action against the covenant, more so than the rebels he had been trained to fight. He was present during some of mankind's most important battles including the Harvest Campaign, The Fall of Reach and eventually the Battle of Earth itself.
Following the end of the Great War Russell was immediately back field, fending off the new threats the galaxy was throwing at them.
Russell Gabriel Knights was born to the couple David and Sarah Knights in Arcadia's coastal city of Avalon. The family had moved to the planet only a year before when Sarah, who served as an ONI officer, was relocated to the sector. David worked as a navigations officer aboard a cargo vessel that supplied food and building materials to the outer colonies. Due to his parents very demanding jobs Russell quickly learned to do things for himself.
His parents weren't rich but were able to pay for Russell to attend the local state school. There he outstripped all his peers; he was faster, stronger and displayed a much greater intellect. Despite his innate skills his likeable personality and humbleness allowed him to make friends with many of those around him.
To try and give him more of a challenge his father bought him a guitar for his 5th birthday. Russell found the instrument fascinating and immediately begun teaching himself, becoming very skilled over the year. His mother also signed him up for the local martial arts club, to which Russell immediately excelled at, along with teaching him some of her own more advanced moves she had gained from her training at ONI.
Around this time Russell was selected as one of the candidates for the Spartan II program by Dr Halsay. The Doctor came to visit him just before his sixth birthday to question him. She noted his enhanced physical and mental development, deciding he would make a perfect candidate for the program.
Conscription and Training
"Don't worry, one day you'll find a challenge. And then you can show everyone what you are really made off"
― Sarah Knights to her son before he was abducted.
A few months later Russell was abducted and replaced with a flash clone, he was then transported to Reach for training. Upon arrive his reaction was similar to the other candidates, he was scared and wanted to go home. But as the first week of training past he found himself taking some kind of enjoyment out of the relentless physical and mental exercises. It gave him a tangible purpose and even better, he had found a challenge and he was determined to win.
Russell soon came into his own in the field of close quarters combat. His natural agility and quick reactions, coupled with the tutoring he had been given before hand, gave him an edge over most of the candidates. He displayed great adaptability, able to quickly adapt and change to the situation around him. This adaptability also showed through in his understanding of the battlefield around him, allowing him to seamlessly move himself into the best position. Changing quickly from defence to attack.
Once fire arms training began Russell displayed a high accuracy score, though not on the level of some of the more skilled spartan marksmen. He was quite capable with the UNSC's various rifles but found a preference in using mid to close range weapons such as the assault rifle. Russell was also skilled in the application of specialised weapons such as the shotgun as well as less direct tools like C-12 explosive.
Russell generally got on well with the other candidates, being outwardly likeable and friendly. He make friends with spartans such as Jorge, Joel, Malcolm and Vinh. Russell was also part of a small group within the candidates that acted like the older siblings, breaking up fights and talking down the more confrontational spartans. An example of this brotherly behaviour was after Carris-137 accidentally killed one of the drill instructors, Russell went up and talked her down from the Pillars of Loki. Russell did however hold a grudge toward John-117 and his Blue team, disliking the way they received special treatment from Dr Halsay. This did cause friction between Green and Blue teams both on and off the training grounds.
Eventually, after years of training, the spartans came to face their greatest test yet. A series of biochemical, biomechanical and cybernetic enhancements that would turn them into the greatest fighting force in the history of human warfare. Or kill and cripple them unlike anything human medical science had seen. During the brief about the procedures Russell was initially concerned but tried to buried his worries under his training. Calming himself by deciding that his fate was, for the moment, out of his hands. Though he would still proceed with the procedures Russell's fear of losing control over his own destiny would remain with him.
Russell woke up 5 days after the augmentations were completed. Alive and uncrippled. His joy over his survival was short lived however when he learned of the casualties, many of which had been his friends. Russell and the rest of the surviving candidates eventually came together, to grieve. Once the time of grief was finished the spartans begun to prepare for their first deployments.
Soon after the augmentations were completed humanity came into contact with the alien conglomerate civilisation known as the covenant. While not the enemy that the spartans had trained so long to fight, they soon proved to be the UNSC's best chance to halt the covenants onslaught. During the nearly 3 decades worth of carnage that followed Russell was deployed all over human controlled space to oppose the alien threat, sometimes alongside his fellow spartans and sometimes alone. This war had a great effect on Russell, as it did for everyone, and would shape the person that emerged on the other side.
Battle of Chi Ceti VI
Russell's first battle against the covenant was the chance encounter between the UNSC Commonwealth and a covenant scouting ship in the Chi Ceti System. The spartans were there to retrieve their new MJOLNIR MK IV suits from the Damascus testing facility down on the planet. The Commonwealth engaged the threats and dropped the spartans off on Chi Ceti IV, damaging the alien craft at a great cost to the ships crew.
Down on the planet the spartans were introduced to the suits. John was the first to test the new armour and then the others were allowed to try them as well. Russell was one of the first to get to grips with the suit, finding the feedback loop and careful movement relatively easy to master. Once the spartans had fully suited up they boarded their pelican and headed back to the Commonwealth.
However while the spartans were on the ground the Commonwealths situation had deteriorated, and the covenant were back on the offensive. In a quick decision John 117 ordered all spartans to suit up with EVA packs and boost at the alien vessel. Out of all the spartans that jumped only John, Sam and Kelly managed to reach the inside of the ship. The trio were successful in destroying the ship, however they lost Sam in the process. This skirmish marked the spartans first involvement in the war.
The Harvest Campaign
The first true deployment that Russell saw at the start of the Human-Covenant war was part of Red Team. The team famously spent all 5 years down on Harvests ruined surface, fighting for every inch of ground and turning the planet into a symbol of human defiance. During this long conflict Russell served his team as an a demolitions and close assault specialist.
Red team was forced to adopt many unorthodox tactics will down on Harvest, such as rigging a cliff face as a weapon against a covenant armour column, to combat a superior foe. Due to the classified nature of the Spartan Program Red Team commonly fought alone and initially engaged in a guerilla battle. But as the fighting grew more intense the spartans were not able to stay out of sight and found themselves fighting side by side with the UNSC's ground based elements. Though the program wasn't revealed officially until 2547 their unofficial appearance did a lot to boost the troops moral.
The Harvest Campaign would rage on for another 5 years, both on and around the planet itself. At it's conclusion Red team was split up to counter the various fronts the covenant were now moving on as well as the sudden reappearance of the Insurrection. For almost two decades Russell would be forced to fight an unending battle to keep humanity alive, alongside both his friends and the men and women of the UNSC.
For the first few years the fighting was mainly around the Outer Colonies, including places such as Arcadia, were he served as part of Omega Red shortly after the Harvest Campaigns conclusion, Jericho VII, where he planted a HAVOK Nuke to destroy a covenant ship and it's landing zone, as well as many other worlds throughout the Outer Colonies.
Following a string of operations along the edge of the inner colonies Russell was suddenly recalled to Station Aegis, the area's UNSC massing point. Upon his arrival he was taken for debriefing by ONI Commander Joseph Chiu. Assuming that it was about his recent mission on Dantius the Commander instead gave him a new mission, named OPERATION:Guardian Lance. To Russell's surprise this entailed returning to Jericho VII, a planet that he assumed had been glassed 5 year ago.
According to Commander Chiu the UNSC had picked up strange energy readings and radiation signals originating from the Jericho system. They sent and the UNSC Prowler Wayward Watch to investigate. When they arrived not only did they find that the planet was still intact but that there was a significant covenant presence there. Russell had been chosen to join an ONI strike team to head back to the planet and investigate as well as prepare to assist a UNSC strike force that would hit the planet a few days later.
To be Completed
The War drags on
However as the UNSC's loses begun to tell they were forced to fall back. Abandoning many worlds to their fate to protect the Inner Colonies. Though Russell was unable to argue against his superiors actions he still constantly tried to raised support for heading back out wherever he could. Eventually even Russell had to admit that there was little to no chance that the UNSC could get out there again.
Fall of Reach
Russell was present at the Fall of Reach. Unlike many of the other spartans that had been recalled for Operation:RED FLAG Russell had been returned for medical treatment following a short solo mission on a covenant scout force. While disheartened that he will most likely not be able to join his brothers and sisters in their mission he was passing the time by helping test the Mark VI prototype armour systems that had been brought over a few days before.
Russell was located at ONI's Castle Base when the covenant's secret invasion force was located by NOBLE Team. With most of his injuries healed Russell was cleared for combat in time to participate in the Battle of Viery where he helped by leading a falcon quick response force, successfully blunting three enemy offensives and allowing the majority of the UNSC forces safe passage to their locations.
The discovery of the covenant super carrier Long Night of Solace saw a shift in the UNSC's priorities and Russell was moved to clean up duty, hunting down the remains of the covenant's initial invasion force. This was simple work as the few pockets of covenant resistance were a token force at best, a few elites leading the last grunts and jackal's. However Russell's priorities would shift again when the true invasion force slipped in system.
Now facing off against one of the biggest covenant fleets ever heard of in human history Russell was tasked with the defence of one of ONI's northern research stations and to assist in its evacuation. When he reached the area however the base was already under attack. Fighting his way through the covenant forces on the ground Russell was able to make it into the facility.
Once inside the director of the site urge the spartan to that the stations AI, Amber, and leave. Russell refused as taking the AI would deactivate the bases defences, leaving the place defenceless. The argument was then cut short as an elite strike team made their presence known. The three elites proved quite a match for the spartan but never the less Russell was able to take them down.
In the ensuing fight the director had been badly wounded and he again urged the spartan to take the AI and leave, citing the need to get the information she possessed back to ONI. As the bases defences were slowly overrun and defeat was on their door step Russell agreed. Taking Amber he headed down to the bases hanger and took a pelican to the nearest UNSC evacuation point, boarding the UNSC destroyer Crimson Aurora. The last thing that Russell would ever see of Reach was a burning world, no longer the one he used to call home.
The Battle of Earth
Career Service Vitae
FULL NAME:Gabriel Knights, Russell SERVICE #:S-041
Gender: M Birthplace: Avalon, Arcadia Birth Date: 20/07/2512
Subject-041's performance is what is expected of an S-II, highly skilled in combat, high accuracy ratings, fast reactions and good fighting instincts. He has shown himself to be quite tactically flexible, able to quickly analyse his opponents moves and counter them with his own. Despite being competent in most area's 041 has show considerable talent in close quarters combat and use of explosives.
041 has shown considerable tactical and combat analysis skills, which combined with his charismatic personality, could make him a good leader. However 041 has always denied promotions to a commanding level, preferring to act as a second in command or specialist within the groups that he is part of.
Despite acting outwardly stoic, psycoevaluations show that 041 shows a greater deal of care than other spartans. Reports show that he was part of a small group within the spartans that filled the role of older siblings. Reports show that this behaviour has been maintained by all of this group.
Russell also displays a much higher level of physical and mental durability than other candidates as well as higher survival instincts. We are still unsure who these traits manifested themselves.
Russell has shown varying levels of passive-aggressive behaviour, especially when dealing with members of ONI and the Spartan IV Program.
Russell's body bears a large array of different tattoo's that he has had inscribed on him. They vary in size, art style and meaning as well as falling within UNSC regs. ONI psychiatrists believe he is using it as a coping method.
Personality and Skills
Russell was always considered one of the more compassionate Spartans, displaying levels of empathy and friendliness not seen in many others within the Spartan program. Words such as honest, honourable and kind are usually associated with him. Commonly acting as a big brother figure within his group Russell often acts as an equalizer to other more hot headed team mates. Russell's likeable personality make it easy to make friends, the 157th Drop Jet Battalion consider him am honorary member and he owns two crew badges from time served with the navy. Russell also gets on well with the Sangheili, his own code of honour and fighting skills gelling well with many Sangheili and their culture. He owns a slew of battle honours won from fighting alongside them.
Russell's caring attitude does come at a cost, the spartan has numerous times noted that he cares too much and this can cloud his judgement at times. On numerous occasions he has thrown himself into the line of fire to rescue team mates or friends. One such example was the Battle of London where the spartan counter charged a Hunter pair that was charging Team Shoto.
Though he doesn't hate easily Russell will hold grudges for a long time, though his dislike is usually displayed in a passive aggressive attitude. Such grudges include John-117, Members of ONI and Members of the Spartan IV program. Although Russell was able to come respect John he would never release his disdain for the other two, seeing the former as a representation of Mankind's less qualities and the latter as little more than jumped up marines in power armour.
Under Russell's happy exterior however lingers many darker emotions. Feelings of guilt and disappointment from events, such as abandoning the Outer Colonies, remain with him as well as the regret of seeing many close friends die before him. And in some cases right in his arms. It is a testament to his mental fortitude that these emotions haven't over come him as of yet.
An important aspect of Russell's personality, specifically the side that he keeps hidden beneath his usual pleasant exterior, is his use of tattoos. It is assumed that he was first given a tattoo when he served with the 157th Drop Jet Battalion, having been given the battalions personal tattoo as the mark of an unofficial member. Since then he has slowly added to his 'collection' over the course of his military career.
Many ONI psychiatrists consider it a coping mechanism, a way of expressing what he feels that he can't say in words. When asked about them he gets rather uncomfortable about the subject but will never the less explain the meanings of specific images or phrases. Most correspond to a event that has left a lasting effect on him for example; The Fall of Reach, the loss of his friends or his time spent imprisoned by the covenant. Not all of his tattoos are responses to sad times. The 157th symbol was slowly joined by various other marks of respect, including a mark of honour from the sangheili keep of Valum.
Russell always ensures that his habit remains within UNSC regulations and as such his tattoos mainly cover his upper body and upper arms. The tattoos themselves are all surprisingly small the largest being the image of a dragon breathing fire down onto a city, a tattoo that he got after witnessing the glassing of Reach.
"Combat's all about the flow, learn to feel it and use it against your opponent. Control the situation, act and don't react"
Russell, being a Spartan II, is a natural warrior. Skilled in all types of combat and weapon systems. As with all Spartans Russell shows specific traits that mark him out from the rest of his kin. Dr Halsay stated in her journal that Russell displayed much higher levels of physical and mental durability and endurance. During training he was most resistant to Tango Companies various torture techniques and during the human covenant war he is reputed to have survived events that would have scarred even the most battle hardened marine.
He has shown leaning towards close quarters combat, preferring to engage his opponents in close range or even melee distance. While this can lead him to be rather reckless at times Russell has come to understand when it is best for him to stand back and when to charge. How his skill can't be denied and is one of the few spartans to have killed a Hunter with his bare hands.
His fighting style has been remarked as athletic and unpredictable, uses a variety of combat techniques to keep him opponent off guard and open to attacks. While not the strongest spartan he can still stand up to anyone of them. This fighting style is also reflected in his use of weapons as well. On the battlefield he is always on the move, switching cover all the while keeping up a steady stream of accurate fire. Years of reloading his weapons have greatly improved his hand-eye coordination allowing him to preform many tasks without even looking at what he is doing.
As a Spartan Russell's main piece of equipment was his armour. Initially given the first iteration, the Mark IV, during the Battle of Chi Ceti IV Russell would wear this particular suit until the Mark V's release in 2551. His first suit saw little of the upgrades that would make his next suits and was kept relatively similar throughout it's use. His next suit was a Mark V, this would be the first suit to make use of the many variants that had been developed. Russell ended up favouring the up-armoured variant that increased defence without sacrificing to much manoeuvrability as well as pieces from various other models including Grenadier and CQC. This suit wouldn't last much longer as the Mark VI was released a year later. Russell decided to take most of the idea's from his original suit and kept them on in his Mark VI and refined were necessary. Despite this Russell was always most fond of his Mark VI.
Russell main weapon was commonly one of the versatile MA5 Assault rifles. The spartan found that the weapon fitted his combat style, allowing him to switch between fast moving combat and support fire depending on the situation. He would often add an underslung grenade launcher to provide some ranged explosives and extra combat options. He would often pair this with an M45 Tactical Shotgun for close range engagements or an M6 Magnum
An experimental device that Russell was given during the Battle of Reach. Reverse engineered from Covenant Overshield technology the module temporarily enhances the power levels of the users shields, allowing them to survive damage that would severely hurt or kill them. The device can only be active for a few seconds but this has saved Russell's life numerous times as well as aided in some of his more unorthodox tactics.
"We have any more spartans running around with sniper rifles and i'll start to question why we were trained in any other form of combat."
― Russell, observing another battle of who gets a sniper rifle.
"Many were called, few were chosen"
―Russell quotes Matthew 22:14 while reflecting on the spartan program.
"They say that if you give a man a fish you'll feed him for a day, show a man how to catch fish and you will have fed him for a life time. Well it's the same with spartans. We weren't just told to shoot a gun, we were told why we should shoot it. That is what all the spartans that have come before you have had. Purpose"
―During an altercation with Commander Palmer
Russell adopted the grey armour motif after a long battle near the end of the Fall of Reach. The paint on his MK V armour, mostly singed away after fighting in it for so long, was final whipped off as he retreated from the planet. Upon receiving his new Mark VI suit he repainted it grey to honour the planet he failed to defend.
Behind the Scenes
Russell's middle name, Gabriel, was one of the names on the list for this character.
Personality wise Russell channels both a calm demeanour and someone acting about half his age. Mixing elements of many of the authors favourite characters.
Russell's physical appearance is modelled on the British actor Robert Kazinksy. His voice would also apply to the character.
A lot of Russell's personality traits are taken from the author, who will shamelessly agree that this is the most self-insert character he has ever made.
The author apologizes for the number of pictures that aren't of his own creation, and that he owns none of the ones that he didn't make and that they are all very lovely.
A sketch of Russell in his Mark V armour
Russell's skills at close combat made him highly proficient with his combat knife, as well as other CQC weapons.
Artwork of Russell engaging the Covenant. This picture would eventually find its way to the Great War Museum.
Russell fighting in London alongside a member of 157th Drop Jet Troopers