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- “Not exactly green; no ODST is. But if I didn't think he could do the job, I wouldn't have him on my six. He doesn't say much, but I don't care. I just need him to listen.”— GySgt Edward Buck, 2552
Lance Corporal "Rookie" (SN: 11282-31220-JD) was a Human junior enlisted man who served with the UNSC Marine Corps during the Human-Covenant war. Rookie was trained as a member of the elite Orbital Drop Shock Troopers early in his career, serving with the 105th Shock Troops Division at New Jerusalem. Later, he was chosen by GySgt Edward Buck for a team to aid the Office of Naval Intelligence in New Mombasa, Kenya during the Battle of Earth.
Like SPARTAN-B312 and Fireteam Crimson, the Rookie is intended to be a faceless character for the player to integrate themselves into so that they may experience the Campaign in a much more firsthand manner. His face is never seen and his voice is never heard, aside from grunts and groans. The Rookie’s initials, JD, are assumed to stand for "John Doe," a typical placeholder name given to a male when his true identity is unknown or withheld.
Battle of New Jerusalem
- Main article: Battle of New Jerusalem
By September 2552, the Rookie, then a Private First Class, was stationed aboard UNSC Chares with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Force, part of a Rapid Offensive Picket. The Rookie was sent down with reinforcements that had been requested by Gage Yevgenny, a veteran ODST that had gone against orders to save a crowd of civilian children. Gage's Pelican had been shot down by rogue ODSTs near the mountains outside the city of Mount Haven, and was found mortally wounded by the Rookie, who had just arrived with Gage's reinforcements.
Gage, who knew he was dying, told the Rookie his life story, right up until he crashed the Pelican. The Rookie, who had listened intently, promised to remember Gage and do whatever he could against the Covenant. Gage then told the Rookie that Covenant forces and the rogue ODSTs were on their way to the crash site, and warned the Rookie to get as far away as possible, as Gage was going to detonate a Shiva Missile he had stolen, killing them all.
The Rookie ditched most of his gear and ran for his life until he reached the other side of the mountain, at which point Gage detonated the nuke, killing himself, his renegade teammates, and thousands of Covenant troops. The Rookie, being the only survivor, hailed a Pelican and was informed that Reach had been glassed, and that the survivors were retreating to Earth. They escaped as the planet was glassed, but the Rookie would not forget Gage Yevgenny, and his long and tragic life.[note 1] After this, he was promoted to Lance Corporal and transferred to Alpha-Nine, led by GySgt Edward Buck.
Battle of Earth
- Main article: Battle of Earth
During the Battle of Earth on October 20, 2552, the Rookie and his squad, along with a larger ODST unit, were stationed aboard UNSC Say My Name as part of a mission to attack the Prophet of Regret's Assault Carrier above the city of New Mombasa. At the last moment before the drop, ONI operative Veronica Dare took control of the squad, with the intent to use them in a yet-undisclosed mission. The Rookie himself, however, was largely unaware of this as he was asleep at the time. He was awakened by Romeo who hit him with his sniper rifle.
As the squad dropped towards the ground, Dare changed the squad's course towards the ONI Alpha Site in New Mombasa. Unfortunately, moments before they were meant to hit the ground, Regret's Carrier jumped into Slipspace, generating a massive shockwave and an EMP that scattered the squad's drop pods all around the city. The Rookie's pod was slammed into by Mickey's pod, cracking the window of the Rookie's pod and sending it into free-fall.
New Mombasa's urban infrastructure AI, the Superintendent, observed the Rookie's pod slamming through one building and crashing within another, performed regulation actions for a civilian vehicle accident, and estimated that the crash landing had a 99.99% chance of fatality for the pod's occupant. Despite this, the Rookie had survived, although he was knocked unconscious.
Six hours later, the Rookie woke up in his pod, which had been lodged into a building in the occupied city center of New Mombasa. The Superintendent had been monitoring him and waiting for him to wake up. As the Rookie dropped to the streets below and started to move on, the Superintendent provided him with valuable help, activating signs to guide him to safety and uploading a map of the city to his VISR database. As the Rookie explored the city, he tried to piece together clues to find out what happened to his squadmates while avoiding the numerous Covenant patrols in the city.
After deducing the events of the previous six hours, the Rookie picked up a message from Dare, requesting assistance in the New Mombasa Data Center. Upon reaching the Underground, the Rookie learned she was on Sublevel 09. After reaching a Data Stack, he ran into a NMPD Officer attempting to check on his men; however, the Superintendent wouldn't let the officer onto the next level until the Rookie arrived at his location. The two fought their way through Covenant forces and reached the Data Stack to the next level, though the officer was either killed by Yanme'e or by the Rookie in self-defense (depending on whether or not all Audio Logs have been collected).
After fighting through more Covenant, the Rookie finally arrived at Dare's location, where she told him of her mission: to retrieve the data the Superintendent recorded during the Prophet of Regret's attack on the city. Dare and the Rookie were forced to fight their way through an entire Drone hive, as well as other assorted Covenant. They found a Huragok holding the Superintendent's data. After some hesitation, the Rookie then assisted Dare with protecting Vergil after she told him the alien could be vital to defeating the Covenant. (If the player has collected all the Audio Logs, it is Dare who is hesitant and the Rookie who gets her to stand down, whistling to befriend Vergil.)
The Rookie then reunited with Buck and proceeded to assist Dare and Vergil in their escape from the Data Center. After fighting past a Covenant outpost and up another elevator, the four arrived at the Coastal Highway. Here, the Rookie and Buck used various Warthogs and a Scorpion to protect an Elephant containing Dare and Vergil. While driving down the highway, they witnessed the Covenant Loyalist fleet arriving in force, and starting to glass the city. After encountering a Scarab, Buck decided to find a new location and hold position until Mickey and the rest of the ODST squad arrived with a stolen Phantom. Once he did, the squad evacuated the city and watched as the Covenant glassed New Mombasa.
A month later, the Rookie was seen with his squad, sleeping while everyone else watched Sgt. Johnson's interrogation of Vergil.
In 2554, the Rookie was sent to Draco III along with the rest of Alpha Nine to quell Insurrectionist activity that had flared up in the area since the Human Covenant war had ended. The team had been able to reach the colony's capital building, where the rebels had barricaded themselves, but were lured into the legislative room and trapped in a killzone.
Sergeant Buck sent the Rookie towards the only way out of the room, an emergency exit, while the rest of Alpha Nine covered him, but the Rookie was unable to fight his way past the Insurrectionist forces to rescue his companions, instead was wounded in a shoulder and taken prisoner by the insurrectionists, being brought into a presidential address booth (which had one way shielding to protect it's inhabitants) as a hostage.
After a brief but tense discussion between Sergeant Buck and the leader of the Insurrectionists, Captain Ingridson, during which the Rookie was shot in the knee, parts of Alpha Nine were able to flank around the presidential address booth. However as they breached the booth, Mickey hesitated to shoot, and Ingridson realized her attempt at escape had failed, and shot the Rookie through the head as a final act of revenge.
Ingridson was killed seconds after the Rookie's death, and the insurrectionists were all killed or captured shortly. As the Rookie didn't have any known friends or family outside of his squad, his burial at sea over the waters of Draco was attended only by the other members of Alpha-Nine.
The Rookie's death had long standing consequences: Romeo blamed Mickey for his death, and the group's harmony was lost. Soon after, Alpha Nine was disolved when Buck, Romeo and Mickey joined the SPARTAN-IV program. The guilt made Mickey easily recruited by a group of Insurrectionists, betraying his two mates, but he failed and was captured.
- The Rookie was the last casualty of Alpha Nine, and the only one to die at human hands.
- An action figure was modeled after him by McFarlane Toys, the creators and manufacturers of the popular Halo action figures. It was released alongside the other figures in the sixth series. They released another version of this figure with glow in the dark paint making it look like someone was looking at him in VISR mode in April 2010.
- The Rookie's enlistment date is July 7, 2547. This is a reference to Bungie Day, which is the seventh day of the seventh month.
- When viewing objectives with VISR, the Rookie's picture shows his rank to be "Recruit," but his actual rank is Lance Corporal.
- The Rookie is often seen asleep. Minutes before he was dropped into New Mombasa, he napped by his pod, while the rest of the squad conversed. Upon crashing within the city, he remained unconscious for six hours. One month after his mission in New Mombasa, while the rest of the squad and Sergeant Major Johnson interrogated Vergil, he slept beneath a staircase.
- If the player finds all the audio logs in Mombasa Streets, in the mission Data Hive when Rookie first meets Vergil, instead of getting his weapon ready, he whistles to Vergil.
- The picture of the Rookie's "beautiful girlfriend" in the Rookie's HEV on Legendary is actually an edited image of Bungie engineer Chris Butcher.
- His MED REF indicates that his blood type is O+.
- Game Informer listed The Rookie as #6 on their Top Ten Dorks of 2009 list due to him experiencing other ODSTs' adventures for the majority of Halo 3: ODST instead of his own.
- The Rookie and the members of Fireteam Crimson are the only playable characters in the Halo series who never speak in-game.
- Spartan Jun, while attempting to recruit Edward Buck to the SPARTAN-IV program, told Buck that the Rookie would have had a spot in the SPARTAN-IV program had he not been killed in action the day prior.
- Halo 3: ODST (First appearance)
- Halo: Evolutions - Essential Tales of the Halo Universe
- Halo: New Blood