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This article is about the Spartan-III. For the civilian teacher, see Ash (teacher).
Ash-G099 is a Spartan-III supersoldier of Gamma Company, and the former leader of Team Saber. His call sign in the team was Saber One. Following a stint of service as part of Blue Team between the Onyx Conflict and Operation: JOVIAN WHISTLE, Ash was assigned to an Office of Naval Intelligence Ferret Team led by Veta Lopis along with fellow Gamma Spartans Olivia-G291 and Mark-G313, serving as the team's surveillance expert.
Ash was orphaned at a young age when the Covenant glassed his homeworld, and joined the SPARTAN-III program at age six in order to avenge his family. Once on Onyx, he and the other SPARTAN-III candidates were trained by Lieutenant Commander Kurt Ambrose and Senior Chief Petty Officer Mendez. Ash was assigned to lead Team Saber.
When the human forces on Onyx came under attack by Sentinels, Gamma Company's teams Saber, Gladius and Katana were still competing for top honors, and Ash had nearly lost it for his team by walking into a trap set up by one of the other teams. In an effort to avoid additional traps, he took his team dangerously close to Zone 67 to avoid the other teams. There, the team spied what they assumed at the time to be a new kind of Covenant drone, as it was equipped with energy shields.
They decided to investigate, and the drones engaged. Ash dispatched scouts to reconnoiter and figure out the weak spots of the drones. He and the rest of the team hurled rocks at the drones and to their surprise, the robots' shields did not activate. Curiously enough, one drone responded to Ash's COM, and talked to him, first using an unknown language, then switching to Latin and finally to English, calling him "Reclaimer". However, after Ash failed to provide the proper counterresponse, the machine classified him and the other humans on Onyx as targets to be neutralized. Before the Sentinel could kill Ash, however, the rest of Team Saber ambushed and destroyed the machine, saving him.
Regrouping with UNSC forces
The team then moved to the armory of Camp Currahee to retrieve heavier weapons. Team Saber met up with Ambrose, Mendez, Tom-B292, and Lucy-B091, and the Spartans proceeded to use guerrilla tactics against the Sentinels. The team later met up with Kelly-087 and Dr. Catherine Halsey once they had landed aboard the Beatrice, escorting the two to a bombed-out bunker. In the bunker, Dr. Halsey revealed the origin of the Sentinels and what to do next.
Just as Team Saber was in the middle of battling the Sentinels, the Covenant destroyer Bloodied Spirit dropped out of slipspace over Onyx, carrying the remaining members of Blue Team: Frederic-104, Linda-058 and William-043. The ship crashed in the forest at the source of an E-Band signal that the UNSC forces on Onyx had sent. With the Sentinels increasing in number, Ash and the other survivors decided to regroup and retreat back to Zone 67.
By now, the team had figured out that the Sentinels only came after them in pairs, and there was always a third Sentinel that acted as an observer, recording the battles and reporting back to the others. This tactic made the Sentinels smarter after each battle; the only way to turn the tables would be for the teams to take out all three of the Sentinels, a strategy that they attempted and succeeded at. During the ambush, Ash ordered Team Saber to attack too soon and was notified of this by Kurt.
Retreat to Zone 67
After the team destroyed the trio of Sentinels, they moved into a Forerunner city in Zone 67. Once there, they discovered the map room and the location of Team Katana, which had dropped out of contact when heading into Zone 67 earlier in the battle. Meanwhile, a Covenant fleet led by Fleet Master Voro Nar 'Mantakree arrived at Onyx, dispatching forces after the Spartans. In looking in the map room and examining the Forerunner text, Dr. Halsey figured out how to utilize the Forerunners' slipspace translocation grid, similar to the one Cortana used on Installation 04.
Just before the team was about to jump to Team Katana, AI Endless Summer contacted Dr. Halsey and Kurt-051, telling them they need to destroy the Sentinel manufacturing facility in order to save Admiral Patterson's battle group in orbit. Halsey managed to get the teleportation grid working, and they all teleported to the Sentinel factory near the northern pole in Onyx. Ash came up with a plan to use the teleportation grid to their advantage, destroying three key structures in the facility and tricking Sentinels into firing on them in a line with the structures. Having destroyed the structures, they teleported away as the facility was destroyed.
Core room antechamber
Ash and the rest of the team then arrived at Team Katana's holding area to find them in slipspace field pods. Here, Dr. Halsey found out that there was a shelter known as a "shield world" in Onyx's core. However, the Covenant knew the location of the group and was on the way with an entire armada of troops to attempt to stop them.
Once in the core room of Onyx, Ash, along with the other Spartans, made a loose half-circle kill zone around the entrance to the shield world and picked off targets at range. They managed to defend the slipspace rift, although, it had come at some serious losses. Will, Dante, and Holly had already died at the hands of the Covenant. As there was little time left and the Covenant forces were closing in for the final kill, Kurt-051 ordered Ash to take his team through the rift, while he stayed behind to detonate two FENRIS nuclear warheads and deny the Covenant access to the shield world.
On the other side of the slipspace rift, Ash and the others found themselves inside a massive Dyson sphere contained within a slipspace bubble of compressed space-time in the core of Onyx. Soon after, Dr. Halsey and the surviving Spartan-IIs came through and lastly, Lucy, who came through with an unconscious Tom over her shoulder. The team waited for Kurt-051 to arrive, but he never came. Once the team was inside the Dyson sphere, they made gravestones for William, Dante, Kurt and Holly. As the group moved out to find a way to escape the sphere, Ash and the other Spartan-IIIs present were accepted into Blue Team by Kelly-087 and Frederic-104.
After Ash and the other survivors had explored the sphere for several days—over three months in normal space-time—Lucy discovered a group of Huragok which eventually helped the humans establish contact with the ONI ships outside the sphere and eventually bring the sphere into normal space. They were then taken aboard the UNSC Port Stanley and transported to Earth order to be debriefed in HIGHCOM Facility Bravo-6.
In the following months, Ash and the other Spartan-III survivors of the Battle of Onyx continued to serve with Blue Team and embarked on several missions together.
In May 2553, Blue Team was attached to ONI's 717th Xeno-Materials Exploitation Battalion deployed to the Outer Colony of Gao to search for a Forerunner ancilla, Intrepid Eye, that had been detected on the planet by the battalion's Commander Murtag Nelson. The UNSC's presence on the planet was largely undesired by the traditionally independent Gao. For over a month, the 717th attempted to capture the ancilla while being harassed by her complement of Aggressor Sentinels. Additionally, upon learning of the UNSC's intentions, Intrepid Eye began covertly murdering Gao citizens in the Montero Cave System in an effort to create discord between the Gaos and the UNSC. The Gao Ministry of Protection dispatched Special Inspector Veta Lopis and her field team to find the murderer and Nelson had members of Blue Team aid her in her efforts to allow the UNSC to return searching for the ancilla without Gao interference. Lopis was initially convinced that the murderer was one of the Spartans, with her suspicions eventually focusing on Mark in particular.
Journey in the dark
On July 4, 2553, Ash, Olivia, Mark and Fred accompanied Veta Lopis and her partner Cirilo to the last known location of Major Ira Halal and Private Hayes, both of whom turned out to have been murdered. The Gao investigators decided to follow a trail of an unidentified fluid—in fact belonging to the wounded Huragok Roams Alone—deeper into the caverns, with the Spartans in tow. As they reached a large cavern, after nearly a twelve hours' descent, Intrepid Eye attacked the humans with her last four remaining Sentinels. Though the Spartans were able to destroy the Sentinels, Cirilo was killed and Olivia was seriously wounded. Ash's shoulder was also dislocated, though Lopis managed to pop it back into place. Ordering the others to stay put, Fred left to investigate the area in hopes of finding the Forerunner base sought by the 717th. While waiting for Fred, the Spartans and Lopis were approached by Roams Alone, a Lifeworker Huragok who began to heal Olivia's wounds. Fred eventually returned and decided that the party should take the Huragok with them, return to the surface and report to Nelson.
However, Olivia had lost her "Smoothers"—drugs that controlled the Gammas' altered brain chemistry—during the fighting, meaning that the young Spartans would inevitably run out of them on the way out. Mark volunteered to take only one of the remaining five Smoother injections, leaving two doses each for Ash and Olivia, with Mark subsequently taking point as the group began their nearly one and a half day's climb toward the surface.
Battle for Wendosa
After the party reached the Gallery of the Inverted Forest, Fred managed to capture Intrepid Eye's inspection drone shell with a scramble grenade. With the ancilla in their possession, the group surfaced at the embattled village of Wendosa and moved to reinforce the 717th, which had fallen under attack by the Keepers of the One Freedom. Informed that Fred was to return to the Montero Vitality Center with the ancilla, the group fought their way through Wendosa and Fred boarded a Falcon, but the craft was shot down and crashed in the jungle several kilometers away.
With the battle in Wendosa turning to the UNSC's favor, Ash and the others reunited with the rest of Blue Team, who soon decided to make their way to the Falcon's crash site before the Keepers could reach it. Before they departed, the Gammas took double doses of Smoothers to stabilize their mental condition. After a series of sniper battles along the Briones Ridge, the group arrived at the crash site. With the eventual help of Alpha Company, they fended off the Keepers and recovered Fred as well as the ancilla. The Spartans were brought to the Montero Vitality Center to recover. Ash and Olivia personally greeted Lopis after she regained consciousness, with Ash physically subduing a sentry guarding the room in order to gain access.
Before the 717th could evacuate, the newly-elected President of Gao Arlo Casille sent Gao Republic's military to forcefully remove the UNSC from the planet. Ash and Olivia joined Fred at the Portable Spartan Support Module in order to acquire their armor. However, Intrepid Eye had taken control of the module and attempted to suffocate Lopis inside the airlock, but the Spartans were able to free the inspector and neutralize Intrepid Eye's inspection drone. Determined to prevent the support base from falling into the hands of Gao's insurgent government, Blue Team, Lopis, and Roams Alone embarked to destroy the facility with a HAVOK tactical nuclear weapon, while the rest of the 717th evacuated. Pursued by Wyverns carrying Gao battle-jumpers, the team traveled in Warthogs to the Well of Echoes, below which the Forerunner support base was located, and boarded the Owl Silent Claw, with Rear Admiral Serin Osman waiting onboard. As the Owl escaped the planet, Mark dropped the HAVOK into the Well of Echoes, destroying the Forerunner base.
With Intrepid Eye successfully captured, the UNSC left Gao. Fearing that Gamma Company's illegal brain mutations would cause a crippling public relations scandal were they to be discovered, Osman had Mark, Ash, and Olivia officially designated as killed in action and transferred to a classified Ferret team of which she gave command of to Lopis.
In the following months, Ash, Olivia, Mark and Veta Lopis underwent a training regimen to become ONI field agents, with Ash assigned as the Ferret Team's surveillance expert. While the Gammas were exceptionally quick to learn the new skills, their military background meant they would often instinctively fall back to lethal force in life-or-death situations. During this time, they visited multiple colonies, rarely staying in one place for long; among the worlds they visited was Jastolo.
On October 14, 2553, the Ferret Team participated in a training exercise against Oscar Squad at UNSC Recreational Facility 6055-NA-A on Neos Atlantis. Disguised as junior ODST lieutenants, Ash and Mark posed as rookie ONI agents in the facility's officers' club as part of a ploy to deceive Oscar Squad. However, an unexpected complication occurred when Olivia was drugged by an unidentified man. Lopis ordered Ash to create a distraction while Mark seized the man and Veta escorted Olivia back to the hotel's Halsey Suite, which the team used as their base of operations.
While hauling the subject out of the club, Mark was attacked by a server from the officers' club wielding a knife and accidentally killed the man he was carrying in an attempt to use him as a shield. At this point Ash arrived, prompting Mark's attacker to flee. Ash and Mark decided to dispose of the man's body through an airlock and returned to the Halsey Suite afterward. Before they could explain the incident to Lopis, Admiral Osman arrived, accompanied by Oscar Squad's Commander Svenson, who had witnessed Mark and Ash carrying the body and demanded an explanation. After a brief argument between Lopis, Svenson and Osman, the admiral left the suite, giving the Ferret Team two hours to resolve the crisis.
After Ash and Mark explained what had happened, it was discovered that the man who had drugged Olivia was in fact the investigative reporter Spencer Hume, who had ostensibly had access to classified information such as the Gammas' identities. Hume had received the information from Mark's assailant—a former ONI operative named Ota Gallo, now working for the private security company Dark Moon Enterprises. Attempting to recover Hume's belongings, now in the Ferret Team's possession, Gallo and two of her henchmen stormed the Halsey Suite soon after. After a brief firefight, the Ferrets managed to defeat the attackers, with Gallo being blown apart by her own grenade.
Immediately after the attack, Admiral Osman returned to the suite with an armed escort. The admiral claimed Hume's personal effects, then asked Lopis what had really happened to Hume. Lopis lied that Gallo killed Hume after the reporter was planning to name her as his source. Although visibly incredulous, Osman was seemingly satisfied with the explanation.
Assassination of Admiral Tuwa
During the final stages of the Ferret team's training in early December 2553, UNSC Admiral Graselyn Tuwa was assassinated and her family abducted during an attack on the UNSC Donoma. The Office of Naval Intelligence resolved to respond to the crisis with a swift retaliation, though not before they could identify the perpetrator and rescue the hostages. Lopis' Ferret team were summoned to an ongoing investigation of the carnage on the Donoma on December 8. Due to the nature of the attack, the Keepers of the One Freedom were identified as the main suspects, and Admiral Osman assigned the case to the Ferret team as their first actual mission. In the following days, Ash and the rest of the team were deployed undercover on Venezia to infiltrate the local underworld and attract the attention of the Keepers of the One Freedom, posing as a gunrunning crew interested in selling a collection of HAVOK nuclear warheads.
Personality and traits
Lieutenant Commander Ambrose considered Ash to be one of the fiercest, smartest, and best leaders in Gamma Company. An enthusiastic and affable individual, Ash was able to understand and hone his team members' specialties into working together as a seamless unit; their extraordinary teamwork ultimately placed Team Saber among the top three teams of Gamma Company. His tactical intelligence was evident in his coming up with an effective plan to destroy Onyx's Sentinel manufacturing facility before the other Spartans, although he himself had major doubts whether the plan would work. At the time of the Battle of Onyx, Ash was still sometimes overeager to act during combat due to his inexperience. He has also been known to lapse in his adherence to military protocol, such as wearing his hair over regulation length or momentarily removing his helmet in potentially hostile territory, although he quickly put the helmet back on once Kurt noticed his mistake. After several months of active duty, he and the two other Gamma Spartans had come to perform without fault as part of Blue Team.
Ash has a very Spartan attitude to his duty as a soldier; he was remarkably calm when faced with almost certain death and affirmed his team that they had succeeded in their mission. He greatly respected Kurt and his other mentors; CPO Mendez, Lucy-B091 and Tom-B292. Before his augmentations, Ash told Kurt that in case he did not make it he would not have done anything differently. Ash cares deeply for his team, considering his teammates his brothers and sisters. He was also quick to accept the Spartan-IIs as fellow team members of his team and adapt to the new team dynamic. Ash can be quite protective of his teammates, for example attempting to shelter Mark from negative consequences by drawing attention to his own mistake during the incident on Neos Atlantis. Out of Team Saber, Ash appears to have been particularly attached to Holly-G003; while escaping the destruction of Onyx's sentinel factory, Ash helped Holly up after she fell and continued to hold her hand as the Spartans were about to be crushed by machinery, though Dr. Halsey was able to teleport them away at the last moment. Upon being translocated to safety, Holly quickly detached her hand from his, seemingly embarrassed. Ash was deeply distraught at Holly's abrupt death, whereupon he fell on his knees where she had had been vaporized.
Ash has large, brown eyes and in 2553, Veta Lopis noted that he had gentle features and smooth (albeit scarred) skin that were indicative of his young age. Similar to the other Spartans, his athletic physique appeared to be that of a man in his late teens or early twenties, and while not as large as the Mjolnir-armored Frederic-104, he was still taller than average. Ash has wavy brown hair which he has been known to wear slightly over regulation length. On the day of Gamma Company's augmentations Kurt took note of this fact but deliberately overlooked it because of the occasion.
List of appearances