Avery Johnson

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Avery Johnson
Hw2-leader-crop-johnson.png
Biographical information

Homeworld:

Chicago, URNA, Earth[1]

Born:

Between 2477 and 2482

Died:

December 11, 2552 (aged between 70 and 75)

Species:

Human

Gender:

Male

Height:

187.2 centimeters (6 ft 1.7 in)[2]

Weight:

95.5 kilograms (211 lb)[2]

Hair color:

Black

Eye color:

Brown

Political and military information

Affiliation:

Rank:

Service number:

48789-20114-AJ[2]

 
"Dear humanity: We regret being alien bastards. We regret coming to Earth. And we most definitely regret that the Corps just blew up our raggedy-ass fleet!"
— SgtMaj. Avery Johnson, 2552[3]

Sergeant Major Avery Junior Johnson (SN: 48789-20114-AJ [4]) was a senior non-commissioned officer of the UNSC Marine Corps who served during in the fight against the Insurrection and the Human-Covenant War. Johnson was a highly trained marine, who also served with various units of the Naval Special Warfare Command, most notably the highly classified ORION Project, the UNSC's first super-soldier program.

Johnson played a vital role over the course of the Covenant War. He resisted the Covenant's attack on Harvest at the outbreak of the war and went on to participate in numerous engagements. In the war's final months Johnson fought during the Fall of Reach, on Installation 04, at Earth, on Installation 05, and on the Ark and Installation 08. He was key to the formation of an alliance between humanity and Thel 'Vadam and the Fleet of Retribution following the Great Schism in November 2552. Ultimately, Sergeant Major Johnson was killed by monitor 343 Guilty Spark while attempting to prematurely activate Installation 08.

Biography[edit]

Childhood[edit]

"A boy isn't a boy that doesn't ruin his clothes."
— Marcille, in response to the fact that so many clothes of her sons were worn-out before being passed on to Avery.

Avery Junior Johnson was born at some point between 2477 and 2482 on Earth in the United Republic of North America's Greater Chicago Industrial Zone, a sprawling metroplex covering regions that once were part of the American states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.[1] From the time he was six years old, he was raised by his aunt, Marcille, after Zone social services placed him in her care due to an angry end to his parents' marriage.[5] His father had left his mother so distraught that she could no longer care for herself, let alone an active, six-year-old boy. Marcille's sons were already grown by the time she adopted Avery and consequently he was dressed with many of the worn-out clothes they had worn at his age, which did not always fit due to his tall, broad-shouldered frame. His aunt worked hard to patch and sew so that Avery always looked his best, however, especially for church. Aunt Marcille was Evangelical Promessic and her religiosity resonated with the young Avery, who accompanied her to church services. Avery's first day of attendance left him with memories he would carry for the remainder of his life: the suffocating pinch of his white, freshly starched oxford shirt, a little paisley tie, argyle socks beneath neatly cuffed tan slacks, and the smell of carnauba wax, liberally applied, to mask the scuffs in his oversized, wingtip shoes. Avery and his aunt lived in a walkup apartment on Blackstone Avenue for the entirety of Avery's upbringing.

Early military career[edit]

"They taught you to be a killer, Avery. They taught us both."
— Staff Sergeant Byrne reflects on he and Johnson's ORION training.
Photographs of Corporal Johnson assassinating Ander.

Avery enlisted with the United Nations Space Command Marine Corps when he was nineteen years old. His aunt bid him farewell by telling him to make her proud and reminding him to always do what was right. He had become convinced that innocent people, like his aunt, were threatened by those involved in the Insurrection, an undeclared civil war between the Unified Earth Government and disparate groups resisting its authority that had kicked off in earnest in 2496.[6] Avery excelled as a marine and often warranted special training and special missions. By the first few years of the twenty-sixth century, he had been handpicked to become part of the ORION Project, a joint effort by the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Colonial Military Administration to create biologically augmented super-soldiers to quell the Insurrectionist tide. Avery traveled to the planet Reach where he underwent a series of bioengineering protocols and grueling physical and mental tests. As part of ORION and NavSpecWar, he was granted entrance into the Naval Special Warfare Sniper School, where he exceeded the expectations of his superiors. In addition to training as a sniper, he also learned to deploy in Single Occupant Exoatmospheric Insertion Vehicle orbital drops[7] and became an accomplished close quarters battle fighter. In 2502, then-Corporal Johnson deployed to Harvest as part of Operation: KALEIDOSCOPE, a campaign with the goal of assassinating key rebel leaders. On March 13, Avery acquired a position on a rooftop and with the assistance of a spotter, used an M99 Stanchion rifle to kill Jerald Ander, the leader of the Secessionist Union on the planet, as a truck carrying him passed by. Johnson was involved in numerous other classified operations against the Insurrection during his years with ORION. The final of these for the project was Operation: TANGLEWOOD. Due to unmet expectations and exorbitant costs, the ORION Project was then deactivated in 2506. Johnson was reassigned to a position in the Marine Corps once again. Avery was a leader during many black operations missions over the course of the Insurrection.[8]

Tribute[edit]

"Johnson, take the shot!"
— Staff Sergeant Byrne.

In 2513, the UNSC launched Operation: TREBUCHET, an extensive campaign to crush insurrectionists in the Outer Colonies. As part of this ongoing offensive, then-Staff Sergeant Johnson led a unit of Marines on June 16, 2524 during an effort to neutralize the bomb-making capabilities of rebels on Tribute. Before dawn, the two four-man squads took to the air with AV-14 Hornets. At fifty-seven minutes and sixteen seconds into the mission, the hornets crested a line of crumbling hills the marines got their first line-of-sight view of their objective: one of Tribute's struggling industrial settlements; and, somewhere inside the town, a suspected Insurrectionist bomb-shop. The hornets dropped the strike force off on the edge of town and Johnson took point for his squad. He set a brisk pace and led them over a chain-link fence and around piles of plastic crates and pallets until they reached the front of what looked like nothing more than a rundown vehicle repair shop. After signaling their position to Byrne and receiving a similar confirmation, Avery kicked in the thin metal door that led inside. Most of the surprised insurrectionists were unarmed at the moment of the breach and those that were had nothing more than snub-nosed automatic pistols that did little against the marines' body armor. Johnson personally neutralized a triggerman before he could detonate any explosives. The firefight lasted less than ten seconds and resulted in the deaths of twelve insurrectionists. Four others surrendered. Avery attempted to use an ARGUS device to detect any significant chemical compounds of interest in the vicinity, but the recent firefight made it impossible to nail down the location of any hidden bombs. Johnson relayed this complication to the tactical operations center onboard the UNSC Bum Rush and received approval from Lieutenant Colonel Aboim to extract information from their hostages by any means necessary. Byrne selected one unlucky man and proceeded to break both his legs before he confessed they had been mixing explosives into the synthetic rubber treads of tires. The explosive compound in nearby tires was quickly uploaded to the database of similar materials used by the rebels. Less than a minute later, an ARGUS drone patrolling one of the highways leading into Casbah City, the planet's capital, identified the compound in skid marks left by a sixteen-wheel hauler. The truck was located as it pulled into the parking lot of a Jim Dandy roadside diner. More of the explosive was also detected inside the diner. Byrne killed the other three insurrectionists that had surrendered but kept the one who talked as a prisoner, per orders from the operation's ONI representative. He and Avery both led their squads back to the hornets.

Twenty-eight minutes elapsed during their flight. The craft took up positions behind a smoked-glass, multistory office building across the highway from the Jim Dandy. The drone gave provided Avery with thermal imaging of the situation. Now armed with a stanchion sniper rifle, he took aim at the man that had been the driver of the truck. He waited for the individual to finish his meal and exit the building before sending a round straight through two of the office building's steel-reinforced, polycrete floors and into him at fifteen thousand meters per second. The target was torn asunder by the shot. The ARGUS was still showing a bomb within the restaurant, so Byrne's team made to land and enter while Avery's continued to provide coverage from above. The source of the reading was a purse near where the man had been sitting. As Byrne was about to retrieve it, the woman to whom it belonged exited one of the diner's bathrooms. Realizing what was happening, she grabbed a young boy to turn him into a human shield and produced a detonator, threatening to use it if the marines did not back off. Avery was ordered to kill the woman from his position, but he hesitated due to the risk he would be putting the child at. Byrne yelled that if Johnson would not take the shot, then he would kill her himself. Johnson affirmed that he was firing, but as he waited for am oppening that would minimize the chances of harming the boy, the boy's father lunged at the woman and she detonated the bombs. Both her purse and tires on the truck outside engulfed the diner in fiery explosions that killed everyone inside but Staff Sergeant Byrne. In total, the dead numbered thrity-nine civilians, (including the woman) and three marines.[9][10]

Reassignment[edit]

Main article: Human-Covenant War

After the incident, Johnson came home and found his aunt dead of natural causes,[11] and soon went on a massive drinking binge. He started a brawl with bouncers at a Chicago club,[12] and ended up in a gutter until he was found by Lieutenant Downs, a UNSC Marine Corps recruiter.[13] He was re-assigned to the planet Harvest by Jilan al-Cygni.[14] Officially, Johnson was re-assigned to train the Colonial Militia on Harvest, but their actual mission was to create a covert anti-insurgency unit, and to lay an ambush on insurgent forces suspected in the disappearances of DCS freighters around Harvest.

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First Contact[edit]

However, while lying in wait on a bait freighter, he and Sergeant Byrne, who was also assigned to the position, fought and defeated four bird-like extraterrestrials in the first official battle between the UNSC and the alliance of alien species known as the Covenant. Johnson and Byrne (with the rest of the militia of Harvest) were also present at the initial negotiations between the Brutes and the humans. They also fought Brute Chieftain Maccabeus, his nephew Tartarus, and several Grunts. He aided Staff Sergeant Byrne and ONI operative Lt. Cdr. Jilan al-Cygni in repelling the Brute ship Rapid Conversion long enough to allow most of the planet's population to escape into the Tiara, a station attached to seven different space elevators stationed on the planet. Later, he would become romantically involved with al-Cygni after escaping from the planet. Although Johnson and al-Cygni seemed quite taken with each other it is unclear whether they formed a relationship, or how long it lasted.

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Battle and Evacuation[edit]

Staff Sergeant Avery J. Johnson and the Harvest Colonial Militia during the Covenant's attack on the planet.
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Decades of War[edit]

Johnson kills a Kig-Yar on Gamma Station during the Fall of Reach.

In 2549, Johnson participated in the Battle of Paris IV, where he saved the seven-year old girl Molly Patel.[15]

Johnson was later present in the fall of the planet Reach. During the final stages of the battle on August 30, 2552, Johnson led a search-and-destroy team aboard the orbital Reach Station Gamma, made up of PFC Wallace Jenkins, and Privates Bisenti and O'Brien. They were almost killed by the attacking Jackals and Elites, but were later picked up by SPARTAN-IIs Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 and Petty Officer Second Class Linda-058.[16] He escaped onto the UNSC Pillar of Autumn, which fled the battle into slipspace.

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Battle of Installation 04[edit]

Sergeant Johnson on the Pillar of Autumn during the Battle of Installation 04.
Main article: Battle of Installation 04
Sergeant Johnson: "Men, we led those dumb bugs out to the middle of nowhere to keep 'em from gettin' their filthy claws on Earth. But we stumbled onto somethin' they're so hot for, that they're scramblin' over each other to get it. Well, I don't care if it's God's own anti-son-of-a-bitch machine, or a giant hula hoop, we're not gonna let 'em have it! What we will let 'em have...is a belly full of lead, and a pool of their own blood to drown in! Am I right, Marines?"
UNSC Marines: "Sir, yes sir!"
Sergeant Johnson: "Mmm-hmmm! Damn right I am!"
— Sergeant Johnson motivating his Marines in preparation for the battle on Halo.

After coming out of slipspace, the Pillar of Autumn came across a Forerunner artifact known as Halo. The Covenant, cautious not to damage the ring world by firing at the Autumn in space, began boarding actions to "cleanly" neutralize the Autumn by boarding the ship and wiping out the crew and altering its course away from the Installation, before planting charges and blowing it up. On board, Johnson helped defend the Autumn from the invading Covenant boarding troops, but like everyone else was forced to abandon ship when Captain Jacob Keyes issued the order.

Sergeant Johnson's escape pod and one of his fireteams landed on the ring, with most of his Marines surviving. However, as soon as they regrouped, Covenant strike teams viciously attacked them. With his platoon scattered all over the valley, he was glad to see John-117 coming up to assist in the nick of time.[17]

Johnson and Captain Keyes fight back-to-back as infection forms overwhelm their squad.

Johnson and Fire Team Charlie were evacuated by Captain Carol "Foe Hammer" Rawley and remained at Alpha Base for some time until asked to join a mission, led by Captain Keyes, into the inner workings of Installation 04. The crew intercepted a Covenant transmission detailing the transport of numerous weapons to somewhere in the swampy regions of Installation 04. This, as well as a captured Elite's testimony of a large weapons cache located in a swamp, prompted Keyes to investigate. Johnson, being an experienced and respected sergeant, accompanied the captain along with his squad.

Shortly after they were dropped off, the squad came across a structure leading underground. As they ventured further into the facility, they came across several Sangheili corpses with scrambled innards. Passing them off as friendly fire, they proceeded deeper into the facility until they entered a seemingly empty room. Annoyed by Private Manuel Mendoza's paranoia, Johnson shrugged off the situation until massive numbers of Pod infectors barged out of the nearby holding cells and attacked the squad. As each Marine fell, Johnson was forced to kill a few of his own men, who were mutating before his eyes and would have killed him if he had done otherwise.

Johnson was able to escape the Flood thanks to his skill and biological augmentations.

Johnson, however, was able to survive the ambush uninfected due to his skill, tenacity and physiological enhancement, though when asked how he survived, he claimed that the Flood had not been able to infect him. Later, a query by the AI Cortana into Johnson's medical history claimed that he had a condition known as Boren's Syndrome. This disease was supposedly contracted while he was stationed at Paris IV. When the Covenant attacked Paris IV, Johnson fought valiantly; during the battle, he repossessed a crate of Covenant plasma grenades when his troops needed them and used them all against the enemy troops to keep them at bay so his fellow soldiers could evacuate. He received a commendation for bravery, and a twelve-hundred-rad cumulative dose of radiation as an unanticipated "bonus" from all the plasma detonations.[18] Allegedly, the Boren's Syndrome had an unexpected side effect, as it made him effectively immune to infection by the Flood because the radiation scrambled his nervous system so much that Pod infectors could not force a match. This supposedly rendered the Flood unable to control him. However, the Boren's Syndrome story (referred to as the "Paris/BS Spoof"), was a hoax to cover up Johnson's involvement in the ORION Project,[19][20] and his survival from the Flood was solely due to his ability to fight off the parasite before it could infect him thanks to his augmented physique and superior skill, as opposed to an actual immunity.[21][22][note 1]

John-117 presumed Johnson dead after finding Private Jenkins' helmet recorder log, showing the gory details of the Marines' fates. However, Johnson escaped after Master Chief found Corporal Lovik and the remains of his team.

Operation FIRST STRIKE[edit]

Main article: Operation: FIRST STRIKE
"Don't look like any 'uneven elephant' to me - more like two squid kissing."
— Johnson on the Unyielding Hierophant.[23]

Johnson met up with Lt. Elias Haverson, Cpl. Locklear, and PO2 Shiela Polaski, escaping Halo's destruction in a Pelican moments before it collapsed in multiple explosions. Polaski piloted the dropship away from the ring, meeting up with a GA-TL1 Longsword carrying the Master Chief and Cortana, who had also escaped the Flood and Halo. Having seen Jenkins’ video himself, SPARTAN-117 was alarmed by Johnson's appearance and promptly pulled Johnson's own M6D pistol and pointed it to his head. Johnson had expressed no objection, and assured the Spartan that he was fine, although it took Cortana's intervention to convince the Chief that Johnson was still human.

Without a viable way to return to the nearest safe outpost, it was decided that the new crew would take over the nearest Covenant ship in the vicinity, the Ascendant Justice, a Covenant capital ship. The Master Chief assumed command due to his higher-priority mission, although Lieutenant Haverson was the ranking officer, and Johnson assisted Master Chief by helping him assert control over Corporal Locklear and Haverson. After they boarded the Ascendant Justice, Johnson and the others made their way through the ship towards the bridge, where he witnessed a showdown between the Master Chief and a Sangheili, where he brought down the alien’s shields in order for SPARTAN-117 to push the Elite into an escape pod and send it away from the ship.

After they had captured the Covenant ship, not being able to return to Earth because of the Cole Protocol, Master Chief suggested they return to Reach to regroup. They proceeded with this plan despite protests that Reach was almost certainly a dead world. When they arrived at Reach, the planet was almost completely glassed, except for a small portion. Using a Covenant dropship, they traveled to the surface of the desecrated planet, where Johnson was becoming nervous. After they landed, they found the surviving SPARTAN-IIs and Dr. Catherine Halsey. Johnson was the first to realize that they were surrounded by thousands of invisible Covenant, and pointed it out to Vice Admiral Whitcomb before their dropship walked into the trap.

After a harrowing escape, Johnson accompanied the new and growing crew as the ship moved through Slipspace. Unknown to him, Dr. Halsey and the Master Chief were reviewing his medical files. They matched Johnson’s survival against the Flood to his Boren’s Syndrome. Flood DNA was present in Johnson’s blood, but it was dormant and non-infectious. Halsey also confirmed that Johnson had gained some unique regenerative abilities as a side effect from the attempted assimilation back on Halo when they accidentally opened the Flood containment facility. Halsey had prepared two separate documents for ONI Section Three to review:

  • All relevant data on Halsey’s analysis and the possible technology to counter an initial Flood infestation, as well as Jenkins’s and Johnson’s mission logs and Johnson’s medical files, focusing on the interaction between Flood super cell and Boren's Syndrome.
  • The file above, minus any reference to Avery Johnson or his encounter with the Flood.

Halsey placed the decision of which data crystal to give to ONI in the Chief's hands. If he gave them the first crystal, ONI would probably have dissected Johnson in an attempt to figure out how he resisted the Flood, killing the Sergeant. The Chief had thought at first that the first crystal held the better solution, despite it essentially being a death sentence for his friend, but later decided to save Johnson's life by crushing the first crystal.

Although Johnson's involvement in Operation: FIRST STRIKE was minimal, he came up with the idea to attack the Covenant space station Unyielding Hierophant in order to delay the Covenant from finding Earth. Johnson continued to be of assistance when the Spartans began the mission, staying behind with Cortana in the damaged UNSC Gettysburg while they charged head-on into the Covenant ship after the operation.

Invasion of Earth[edit]

Main article: Battle of Earth
Sergeant Johnson and the Master Chief during ceremony aboard Cairo Station.
"Usually the good Lord works in mysterious ways. But not today! This here is sixty-six tons of straight up, H-E-spewing dee-vine intervention! If God is love, then you can call me Cupid!"
— Sergeant Johnson talking to the frightened Marine before the assault on New Mombasa.

Most of the crew returned to Earth safely, and they were given time to rest and were debriefed on their experiences. Aboard Cairo Station, Johnson was promoted to Sergeant Major and was awarded the Colonial Cross by Lord Terrence Hood for his actions on Halo. During the ceremony, a Covenant excavation fleet headed by the Prophet of Regret arrived at the Human homeworld, sparking the Battle of Earth.

Johnson aided in the defense of the Cairo along with John-117. As the Spartan led the human forces deeper into the station, Johnson and Commander Miranda Keyes, the daughter of the deceased Jacob Keyes, boarded the UNSC Frigate In Amber Clad.

As they arrived on the surface, Cortana intercepted data that pointed towards one of the Covenant’s spiritual leaders being present in the invasion. Johnson led Pelicans full of marines into battle, but they were shot down by a Covenant Scarab before they got close to the ship that carried the High Prophet of Regret. Wielding a sniper rifle, Johnson fought in the residential district of the city, providing cover fire and serving as a lookout. As the Master Chief went on to find Marines from another downed Pelican, Johnson stayed back and joined the rescue units to provide cover. Viewing the Scarab as a threat to the mission, he returned to In Amber Clad to bring a Scorpion tank for the Chief to use in a front line assault against the Covenant invasion force.

After the destruction of the Scarab, Johnson picked up the Chief and brought him back into In Amber Clad, which pulled up next to the massive Covenant ship just as it took off into Slipspace, the human vessel being close enough to "piggyback" along on the same jump.

The Great Schism[edit]

Chips Dubbo: "Whoa. It's like a postcard: Dear Sarge, kicking ass in outer space, wish you were here."
Avery J. Johnson: "I heard that...jackass!"
PFC Chips Dubbo joking around with Sergeant Avery J. Johnson on Delta Halo
Johnson helps Miranda to secure the Activation Index.

Coming out of Slipspace, Johnson was shocked to learn that there was another Halo, nearly choking on his ever-present cigar. Determined to find and capture the Prophet of Regret, Commander Keyes ordered SPARTAN-117 to clear a landing zone and the Sergeant to take two flights of Pelicans and land on the ring. Johnson carried out the orders and followed the Chief and a small detachment of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers onto the surface, providing artillery and troops by means of dropships to fight the Covenant stationed in the ring’s ancient temples.

During the mission, Cortana translated a message from Regret being broadcast on the Covenant network, and learned that Regret planned to activate the Halo, which would wipe out all life in the galaxy. Pulling information gathered from the first Halo, Keyes found the location of Delta Halo’s library, housing the Index which was needed to activate the ring. She ordered Johnson to extract his troops and return to In Amber Clad for reassignment.

Johnson and a group of his best Marines joined Commander Keyes on a search for the Index. As they neared the center of the massive structure, the small unit was attacked by a large amount of Flood. They dug in and fought the creatures off, finally locating the Index. Johnson helped Keyes grab the key, but before they headed out, they were attacked by Thel 'Vadamee, the Covenant Arbiter, who had activated his camouflage to hide from the Humans. Johnson was quickly incapacitated and captured by the Brute Chieftain Tartarus, and brought to the Covenant capital city, High Charity.

Johnson and Keyes were held in the Covenant city of High Charity, until the High Prophet of Truth instructed Tartarus to activate the ring and initiate the Great Journey. Tartarus ordered his Jiralhanae to split Johnson, Keyes, and the captured Oracle into two different Phantoms. Johnson was joined by Staff Sergeant Banks and Gunnery Sergeant Stacker for an execution by a pack of Jiralhanae. Moments before their deaths, the Arbiter and his squad burst out of the nearby structure and attacked the Jiralhanae, distracting them long enough for Johnson and his Marines to board the nearby Scarab walker.

After the executioners were killed, Johnson and his Marines commandeered the Scarab, and confronted 'Vadamee. They both agreed that Tartarus needed to be stopped. Johnson suggested that 'Vadamee commandeer a Banshee to provide air support. After that, they joined forces and traveled through the canyon towards the Control Room. Knowing the brute strength of the Scarab's main weapon, Johnson fired at the heavily armored door, shattering it with ease. Arming himself with a Particle Beam Rifle, Johnson followed the Arbiter inside alone.

Johnson, Miranda and Thel 'Vadam after successful deactivation of Delta Halo.
"Please... Don't shake the lightbulb."
— Avery J. Johnson makes his presence known to Tartarus.

He arrived during the Arbiter's confrontation with Tartarus. He aimed his Beam Rifle at the Chieftain's head, keeping him from forcing Keyes to insert the Index. Tartarus threw 343 Guilty Spark at Johnson, knocking him over. Swiftly, he forced Miranda Keyes to insert the Index into the control panel, starting the firing process. The Arbiter and his squad of Elites challenged Tartarus, and Johnson provided backup, using his Beam Rifle to bring down the Chieftain’s shields. With his shields down, 'Vadamee was able to kill Tartarus, thereby allowing Keyes to grab the Index and stop Installation 05 from firing.

With the remainder of the Sangheili squad keeping the area secure, 343 Guilty Spark explained to Johnson, Keyes, and 'Vadamee that the other Installations were in a sort of "standby mode", still ready to fire. This is a fail-safe if one of the Halo installations misfires. This allowed them all to be activated remotely from "the Ark".

Return to Earth[edit]

"The Brutes. The bastards who put bombs on your buddies and killed millions of my people...they're digging a mighty big hole. You're gonna tell me exactly what they're looking for. And then, you're gonna help me stop 'em."
— Johnson to the captured Engineer
Quick to Adjust lights a cigar for Johnson.

While most of the Fleet of Retribution remained to maintain the quarantine of High Charity, Johnson, Commander Keyes and the Arbiter returned to Earth on one of the fleet's vessels and arrived before the Forerunner Dreadnought with John-117 onboard.[24]

During the arrival of Truth's fleet, an ODST squad had managed to capture a Huragok called Quick to Adjust.[25] Avery Johnson, with clearance from Lord Hood, interrogated the Huragok in an ONI-appropriated section of the Quito Terminus to find out what Truth was searching for in New Mombasa, as his Covenant forces were "digging a mighty big hole."

When John-117 crash-landed on Earth, he was met by Johnson, the Arbiter, and a squad of Marines. After a few minutes of hiking through the jungle, he and his squad split off from the Master Chief and the Arbiter after encountering enemy Phantoms, reasoning that they would be safer apart than together. Johnson and his team proceeded to continue through the woods, and arrived at the evacuation site several moments before John-117 and 'Vadam. However, enemy Banshees soon discovered the awaiting Pelicans, and he was shot down, crash landing about a kilometer away. He and the surviving Marines were forced to flee pursuing Brutes. At some point Johnson and his men were captured. After being freed by the Spartan, he grabbed the nearest weapon and helped fend off incoming Covenant until Hocus, a Pelican pilot, came to the rescue. Hocus eventually arrived, destroying two Phantoms that were pinning Sergeant Johnson, the Chief, the Arbiter, and the surviving Marines down. Johnson was evacuated along with the Master Chief, the Arbiter, and surviving Marines.

Sgt. Johnson, John-117, and 'Vadam were brought to a UNSC base codenamed Crow's Nest, deep underground in the African jungle. There, they linked up with Commander Miranda Keyes, who briefed them on the situation. Johnson and the Arbiter stayed behind to defend the ops center from Covenant attacks, while the Master Chief went off to secure the perimeter. After a lengthy battle, he was forced to fall back as Jiralhanae overran the control room. He rendezvoused with Keyes and 'Vadam in a Pelican, and guided the Chief through the base to an elevator that would take him to the Pelicans. Unfortunately, the base exploded before the Chief could reach Johnson, forcing the Sergeant to leave him to meet up with Gunnery Sergeant Reynolds under the base instead.

Johnson warned the Chief that the Covenant had uncovered what he thought was the Ark, and that the humans had to get to it. Johnson provided air support for the Spartan and the Marine survivors, dropping off Warthogs so the Chief and his Marines could break through the Jiralhanae blockades. At one point, he dropped off several Mongoose ATVs to assist the Master Chief in destroying a Covenant Scarab. Johnson remained in a Pelican dropship for most, if not all of the Battle of Voi, dispersing armor and troops throughout the city as necessary to help push the Covenant back. When the Pelican made a crash-landing in Voi, Johnson probably docked on the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn along with Commander Keyes. He was present when the Master Chief retrieved a message from Cortana, who had been left behind on the Flood-infested High Charity. Johnson was one of the Marines that followed the High Prophet of Truth to the real Ark, which was located past the slipspace portal generated by the device the Covenant uncovered on Earth.

Assault on the Ark[edit]

343 Guilty Spark: "Shall I help you choose a vehicle, Reclaimer? This one seems in very good condition, primitive armor notwithstanding."
Avery J. Johnson: "A tank's a tank, lightbulb."
— Johnson sarcastically responds to Spark's comment

After the Fleet of Retribution's arrival at Installation 00 on December 11,[26] Johnson descended to the Ark with a half a dozen Pelicans along with the Master Chief, and helped him secure a landing zone and stop the construction of an AA battery. He later brought in a platoon of Marines lead by Gunnery Sergeant Stacker, and some tanks from the frigate, helping throughout the mission, until the location of Truth was discovered from the Cartographer.

He then went on to command the second squad in taking down the third tower that was projecting the shield barrier protecting Truth in the Citadel. There, he, along with his squad, were overrun and captured by overwhelming Brute, Hunter and Drone forces. Johnson's squad was killed, and he was brought to the Citadel.

The Prophet of Truth attempted to use Johnson to activate the Ark, and set off the Halo array, but he only taunted the Jiralhanae, in particular a Chieftain, in hopes of angering the Brute to the point where he would kill him, and deny Truth the ability to activate the array. Miranda Keyes attempted to rescue him by crashing a Pelican through a large observatory window. Keyes was able to kill one brute, a Chieftain, and fatally wounded another, but was surrounded. Realizing what the Prophet of Truth wished to use them for, Johnson told her that she should kill them both so they could not be used. While Keyes hesitated, Truth shot her in the back with a Spiker, killing her instantly and used the demoralized Johnson to activate the Array. Johnson was rescued by John-117 and Thel 'Vadam, along with a horde of Flood. After the Master Chief deactivated the array, the Flood turned on the three, and while Johnson managed to escape on Keyes' Pelican with her body, the Chief and the Arbiter were knocked off by the Gravemind, forced to fight their way back through the Flood.

Death[edit]

343 Guilty Spark mortally wounds Johnson in front of the Master Chief.
"Send me out... with a bang."
— Avery J. Johnson's last words, said to John-117.

After it was discovered that a Halo was located within the Ark, a plan was developed to activate that ring and that ring alone, which would destroy the Flood on the Ark, including the Gravemind, ending their threat once and for all, while simultaneously sparing the rest of the life in the galaxy. This was possible because Cortana still held within her the code to the Index from Installation 04, the first Halo. After John-117 invaded High Charity to recover Cortana, destroying the city on his way out, Sergeant Johnson helped the Master Chief and the Arbiter fight through hordes of Flood to get to the control room of the new Halo, providing cover fire with a Spartan Laser. Johnson tried to activate the ring despite 343 Guilty Spark's suggestion that they wait for it to be finished, which could take several days. Realizing that "his" ring was about to be destroyed again, the Monitor turned on his allies, firing his sentinel beam into Johnson's front armor piece and fatally wounding him.

While the Master Chief fought the rogue construct, Johnson used the last of his life and fired his laser, rendering Spark vulnerable. With a few choice words ("Kick his ass") he handed the Chief his weapon and fell unconscious. After the rogue AI was destroyed, Johnson gave John-117 the chip containing Cortana, and told him "Don't ever let her go". Despite John's promise that they would not leave him behind, the dying Johnson knew that he wasn't going to make it, requesting that the Chief "send [him] out with a 'bang'" before dying of his injuries. Following his wishes, John-117 left his body in the Control Room as the ring activated, its unfinished state meaning that the activation sequence tore itself apart. Johnson's body was disintegrated in the explosion while Chief and Thel 'Vadam took Johnson's Warthog to escape on the Forward Unto Dawn. Johnson's death brought condolences from Cortana and Thel 'Vadam, whom Johnson aided in his fight against Tartarus.

On March 3, 2553, a picture of him was seen among the fallen and dead on the Voi Memorial.

Personality[edit]

Avery Johnson's behavior was often eccentric, delivering bizarre and outlandish speeches to boost the morale of those serving under him.[27][28] However, as shown in Contact Harvest, he also was a no-nonsense NCO who cared deeply for the lives of his troops. Johnson believed in pushing his soldiers to their limit in training, in order to give them a better chance of surviving real combat.[29]

He was best known for his typical "gung-ho" attitude towards life, personal goals, and as a leader to his fellow Marines. This earned him a reputation, respect, and admiration from his subordinates and superiors alike. Johnson was a noted fan of "flip music", a style of music similar to the heavy metal from the 21st century. He was also known as being one of a select few outside of the SPARTAN-II Program to befriend Master Chief Petty Officer John-117, a soldier with whom he fought alongside many times throughout the final months of the Human-Covenant War; ultimately dying in his arms after being critically injured. He has a large amount of respect for the SPARTAN-IIs, and appears to respect every human fighting for humanity, as well as the Sangheili when they joined forces with the UNSC. In return, Thel 'Vadam respects him as well as after his death, offering condolences to John, "I am sorry, Spartan" and "even in death, your Sergeant guides us all."

In Halo: Combat Evolved and Halo 2, Johnson seemed energetic and well-humored, often cracking jokes, puns, and insults at the expense of the Covenant or even in response to UNSC transmissions, as shown in the following quote:

"Dear humanity, we regret being alien bastards, we regret coming to Earth, and we most definitely regret that the Corps just blew up our raggedy-ass fleet!"
— In response to Miranda Keyes at the beginning of the Battle of Mombasa.

Age and appearance[edit]

A close up of Sergeant Major Johnson's face.

Johnson's age is affected by the same ambiguities as all beings who undergo extended voyages through space. Born in the late 2400s, chronologically Johnson would have been over 70 years old at the time of his death in 2552. He has spent much of his life in cryosleep. Cellular activity is slowed to near standstill in cryosleep, effectively halting the aging process. As a result, Johnson's biological age is significantly less than his chronological age as measured by Terran chronology. His ORION augmentations likely played a part in this as well, as they were known to have extended the active service careers of many of the program's former members.[30]

Decorations[edit]

Johnson has received three known medals in his service: The Colonial Cross and the Purple Heart,[31] as well as the UNSC Legion of Honor, which may have been a posthumous decoration.[32] Johnson was not awarded any medals during his time with the ORION detachment, due to the sensitive nature of its missions.[citation needed]

Trivia[edit]

Main-Legendary.png See our gameplay information related to Avery Johnson in its gameplay page
Graphic Halo.png Check out our collection of quotes related to Avery Johnson in its quotes page.
Main-Superintendent.png Browse more images in this article's gallery page.

Production notes[edit]

  • Johnson was voiced by David Scully in Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, and Halo: Reach. Scully also voiced a number of Elites in those games, notably the ones who talk in an energetic voice in Halo 2 and Halo 3. In an out-take for Halo 2, Scully says, "In Halo 4, I get a woman!".[33] In Halo Wars 2, Johnson was voiced by another actor because Scully was part of an ongoing strike among video game voice actors.[34]
    • In Halo: Combat Evolved, the Elite quote "Wort, wort, wort!" is actually a slowed-down reversal of Johnson saying, "Go, go, go!"[citation needed]
  • Damion Poitier provides Johnson's motion and facial capture in the reimagined cinematics by Blur Studios for Halo 2: Anniversary.[35]
  • Johnson is heavily based on the character Gunnery Sergeant Al Apone from the film Aliens, with whom Johnson shares many character and physical traits, as well as some dialogue.
  • Johnson is a playable character in Halo 3: ODST's Firefight. He is available only to those who pre-ordered the game from participating retailers.
  • Johnson is a DLC Leader released on May 22, 2017 for Halo Wars 2's multiplayer.[36]

Easter eggs and glitches[edit]

  • In the non-canonical Legendary ending of Halo: Combat Evolved, he is seen fighting with an Elite over an assault rifle.
  • It is possible, through a glitch, to keep Johnson alive despite his death by 343 Guilty Spark. This can be accomplished by killing him right before the cutscene in which he gets killed by Guilty Spark. By doing this glitch it is also possible to get Johnson infected by the Flood.
  • With the Sputnik skull activated on the Halo 2 level "Cairo Station", the player can push Johnson into outer space when at the station's umbilicals. It is very difficult, however, as Johnson will keep attempting to run back to his assigned position.

Miscellaneous[edit]

  • Staff Sergeant Johnson first appeared in a short video shown to kick off the Halo Launch Party held in Chicago on November 10, 2001.[37]
  • In Halo: Combat Evolved, Johnson will always appear in later levels, even if killed.
  • Johnson's voice is usable in Halo: Reach's Firefight mode for 100,000 cR.[38]
  • Johnson was the first human to kill a member of the Covenant.[39] He also witnessed Truth's death, making him the only human to have personally witnessed both the beginning and the end of the Human-Covenant War.
  • Johnson may have been married: According to a quote during gameplay on the level "Cairo Station", Johnson says that the Covenant are "worse than [his] mother-in-law."[citation needed] In Halo: Contact Harvest, Johnson was involved in a romantic relationship with his commanding officer, Jilan al-Cygni, leading fans to theorize that the two were married at some point.[40]
  • Johnson was fond of Sweet William cigars.[41]
  • In Halo 3: ODST Firefight, Johnson has the exact same body as the Rookie.
  • "Send Me Out... with a Bang", the Achievement granted for completing the final mission of Halo: Reach, is a reference to Johnson's final words.

Gallery[edit]

List of appearances[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Johnson's supposed biological immunity to the Flood as a result of Boren's Syndrome was originally presented as factual in the novel Halo: First Strike. As stated by Joseph Staten here, Bungie disliked the notion of a Flood immunity and established the disease as being fictitious on page 122 of the Halo Graphic Novel. As stated in the introduction to Breaking Quarantine, the comic was intended to further cement Bungie's original vision for Johnson's escape from the Flood. The comic indicates that he simply fought his way out of the containment facility and did not suffer lacerations which would expose him to Flood infection in the process.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b Halo: Contact Harvest, page 37
  2. ^ a b c d Halo: The Essential Visual Guide, page 102
  3. ^ Halo 2, Outskirts
  4. ^ Halo Graphic Novel, page 122
  5. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 42
  6. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 45
  7. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 350
  8. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 76
  9. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 20
  10. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 86
  11. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 41
  12. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 44
  13. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 47
  14. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 123
  15. ^ Halo: Legacy of Onyx, Chapter 1
  16. ^ Halo: The Fall of Reach, pages 325, 328, and 349
  17. ^ Halo: The Flood, pages 68-69
  18. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 244
  19. ^ Halo: Graphic Novel, page 122
  20. ^ Halo Encyclopedia, page 81
  21. ^ Halo Waypoint: Catalog Interaction - Page 14 ("No known biological [scaffolding] augmentation impedes efficacy of parasite conversion process.")
  22. ^ Halo Graphic Novel, Breaking Quarantine
  23. ^ Halo: First Strike, page 328
  24. ^ Halo Waypoint, "The Long Road Home"
  25. ^ Halo Waypoint - Is there an actual name for Vergil?
  26. ^ Halo WaypointHero-"Fortitude"
  27. ^ Halo: Combat Evolved, campaign level The Pillar of Autumn
  28. ^ Halo 2, campaign level Metropolis
  29. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page ??
  30. ^ Halo Waypoint - Spartans
  31. ^ Halo 2, Cairo Station
  32. ^ Halo 3, Halo (Halo 3 level)
  33. ^ Bungie.net: Media Player - Halo 2 Audio Outtakes
  34. ^ Mixer - Johnson reveal stream
  35. ^ Black Film: SDCC 2014 Exclusive: Catching Up With Damion Poitier, The Avengers’ First Thanos
  36. ^ Halo Waypoint - Welcome Sgt. Johnson
  37. ^ Bungie.net Media Player - Introductions
  38. ^ Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update: 07.16.10
  39. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, page 130
  40. ^ Bungie.net: The Bungie Podcast: 07/23/07
  41. ^ Halo: Contact Harvest, "Epilogue"