|Political and military information|
- "Captain Darren Leone. Acting CO of UNSC Dark Was the Night."
- — Captain Leone introduces himself.
Captain Darren Leone is a former UNSC Navy officer and former acting captain of the downed military cargo tender, the UNSC Dark Was the Night. He became captain and commanding officer after a Covenant attack killed many among the command crew and forced the ship to ground itself on the Outer Colony, Losing Hand. After a crisis on the planet that almost brought his crew into conflict with its colonists, he decided to settle down long-term and give up his service in the UNSC.
War and Crash
- Aoife Larsson: "If we still had our windmills-"
- Darren Leone: "If my ship had its systems up and running, we'd have out drives and our long-range comm and we wouldn't need to trade wattage for food with you. But you don't, and we don't, and that's how it is."
- — Darren lays out the situation.
After graduating from a naval academy, Darren eventually found himself serving as the helmsman of the UNSC Dark Was the Night. He had been marking off the months until his last tour would be over when the Human-Covenant War began. The war meant that he did not retire as he had planned, but instead went on to be part of many battles during the decades-long struggle. At some point, he came close to being killed by a Type-1 energy sword wielded by a Sangheili. At the tail end of the war, the Dark Was the Night was part of a chain of vessels responsible for taking the Spartan-III super-soldier, Kevin-A282, back to Earth. The last transmission from command received by the ship stated that Reach had fallen. The Dark Was the Night then came under fire from the Covenant and was forced to make an emergency slipspace jump. Kevin saved Darren's life at that time by hauling him to safety when an airlock was blown open during the violence. Although the ship got away, it sustained catastrophic damage, and it wasn't long before a death spiral of critical malfunctions, including the loss of its A.I, put the lives of everyone onboard in danger. Darren took control of piloting the vessel and managed to crash-land it on the Outer Colony world of Losing Hand. Impressively, he avoided putting it in the ocean or flattening it against a chain of mountains. The ship touched down on a landing strip, but in the process the wind farm providing a nearby township with power was destroyed. The cargo tender's long-range communication capability and its drives were irreparably broken amidst all of this. The Dark Was the Night's command crew had been gutted in the wake of the attack and subsequent struggles, leaving Darren to take over as captain. One of his first decisions was to make First Lieutenant Maher his executive officer. He also gradually slackened the rules as far as disciplinary matters were concerned, given the crew's situation. To make up for the loss of the colony's source of power, Darren worked out a deal with the colonists whereby the cargo tender's power core, powered through solar energy, could provide heat and light to the town in exchange for a steady supply of food for his crew. In addition, when the UNSC personnel put a drone satellite into orbit, Darren agreed to allow the civilians unfettered access to it. A month after their landing on the planet, Kevin wandered off on his own and when Darren sent people to find him, they were unable to.
- "I'm just interested in seeing things remain stable, that's all."
- — Leone to a group of colonists.
After spending almost a year on Losing Hand, relations between the UNSC personnel and the colonists were still uneasy. At one point, an unintentional blackout resulted from an overload of the power system. Evidently believing that it had not been accidental, the colonists responded with a load of fish a few days later that was half contaminated with fuel oil. They claimed, of course, that the contamination was unintentional. One night, a few weeks after these events, a fight broke out. The next morning, First Lt. Maher woke Captain Leone to inform him of some vandalism done to the side of the ship. Upon viewing an image of the writing, Darren recognized the writing and told Maher he would handle it. He also instructed him to ensure that the point-defense cupola nearest to the damage was powered up so that, although unable to fire, it could still track targets and deter anyone from getting too close. Maher also made sure to let his captain know about the return of an issue they had been having with their power core that resulted from solar flares overcharging it. Just then, Aoife Larsson, a colonist who had spent the night in their brig after last night's fight, was escorted to Leone. Darren made light of the drunken state she had been in and offered to take her back to her brother, Ryan. He, Aoife, and the marine escort, Sergeant Robertson, piled into a Warthog and set out for town. As he drove through the rain, he questioned Aoife. She responded with hostility, and boldly expressed the misgivings she and many others shared concerning the prolonged presence of the UNSC on their planet. Darren was forced to admit that he couldn't know how long it would be until the UNSC found them, if it even still existed, given how the war had been going. He stopped the Warthog outside the town hall where six men, including Ryan Larsson, were glaring at him and Robertson. Ryan mocked Captain Leone's attempts to act as some kind of law enforcement and let the two men know their welcome was wearing thin. Darren said he was only returning his sister but also threatened that there would be consequences for the next person to paint on the side of his ship. He then found himself launching into an impassioned appeal to their common survival on the world, in which he berated Ryan's short-sightedness and bitching, as he put it. At that, Ryan plainly stated that it might be time for the colonists to take the Dark Was the Night for themselves so they wouldn't actually need any of its crew anymore. Before the conversation could escalate further, Aoife came running out to Ryan, having gone inside the hall after exiting the Warthog earlier. As she communicated clearly grim news to him, Darren also got a call from Lt. Maher.
- "If it comes to conflict--If it comes to that, then we'll meet any enemy with force! But I am not going to borrow trouble before we have it! We have a lot of questions and too few answers, so we have to think before we act!"
- — Darren puts out a call for cooler heads.
As it turned out, both Ryan and Darren were learning the same thing: the drone satellite's sensors had detected a ship on an intercept course with the colony. Though it was broadcasting an old UNSC recognition code that announced an intention to land, it was clearly a Covenant DAV-class light corvette. Aghast at this development, Ryan blamed the UNSC for bringing this apparent doom on them. Later that night, both colonists and crew from the Dark was the Night gathered at the town hall to try to figure out what to do about the predicament they all suddenly found themselves sharing in. At its start, it was announced that the Covenant ship would be upon them in just eighty-one hours. Darren attempted to calm fears by stating that they couldn't be sure of its intentions, especially given the fact that it was announcing its arrival and broadcasting a seemingly peaceful signal. He did assure everyone, however, that if a conflict was to be had, he would stand and fight back along with them. Eventually, to his disappointment, Darren had to walk out of the meeting because it had devolved into loud chest-beating and he needed to think. He wandered away from the hall and sat down on the fender of an M274 Mongoose. Sergeant Robertson and a couple of noncoms, Denton and Wild, found him to ask if he had a plan. All he could tell them was that he was working on it. A short time later, he was joined by Aoife Larsson, who offered him a drink. The two talked and Aoife revealed that her brother and others were going to use the encroachment of the Covenant vessel as an excuse for insurrection. Darren admitted that he and his people were as scared as everyone else and emphasized to her that people on both sides would be killed if anyone did anything stupid. When Aoife asked about his experience fighting the Covenant, he thought of the Spartan, Kevin-A282, and resolved to find him.
At dawn Captain Leone and Sergeant Robertson set out along the coast in a Warthog to a place that Kevin had last been sighted. When Robertson suggested noted that a lot in the crew saw the Spartan as a deserter, Darren told him to stow any talk like that. They found a shelter built from driftwood and old tarps at a hollow in some cliffs high above the ground, but Kevin was seemingly nowhere to be found. However, he was suddenly standing at their Warthog when they turned around to return to it. They asked him what he was doing out here, to which he replied, "Keeping watch". Robertson antagonized him by accusing him of being a burnout and Darren was forced to yell at Kevin to stand down when it looked as if he might hurt the sergeant. He diffused the situation by sharing why they had sought him out—the Covenant corvette. Kevin was as perplexed as anyone, but he declined the request to come back to town and perhaps inspire courage among the frightened. He cautioned that such an environment would not be optimal for him to be in and that his presence could cause people to get hurt. As they drove back to their ship, Robertson let his captain know he was not only angry at the Spartan but disappointed in Leone as well for not trying harder to force him to follow orders. Darren stated that Kevin was only any good to them if he chose to help. Before they could make it back a call came from Lt. Maher alerting them that the DAV-class light corvette had increased its acceleration and would be there that night. Turning into the cargo bay of the cargo tender, they were met by Lieutenant Maher, who informed them that the satellite drone had gone dark, possibly because it had entered shutdown mode to weather the solar flares. Corporal Douglas came sprinting into the bay with news that over twenty colonists, many of them armed, were on their way to where the Dark Was the Night was grounded. Against the judgment of Robertson, Darren decided to go and try to talk to them alone. He soon determined that more were a lot more than twenty angry people approaching. At the head of the crowd, unsurprisingly, was Ryan Larsson. One older woman in the crowd, Babs, demanded to know why the cannons on the ship were obviously not up and running. Darren finally had no choice but to concede that the weapons had never worked during the entire time they had been there. At this news, Ryan showed signs of denial, since the weaponry on the Dark Was the Night had been thought to be the only chance against the imminent Covenant aggression. Darren pleaded for everyone to return home before anything spun out of control and in anger, Ryan smacked him across the face with the butt of his shotgun. As he fell to the ground, UNSC marines spilled out onto the field with guns raised. Captain Leone shouted for them to stand down and made yet another appeal to unity before being hit in the face once again. Before anything further could happen, however, the shotgun was shattered by the impact of an armor-piercing 14.5×114mm round discharged from an SR99 sniper rifle a quarter of a mile away. The sniper, none other than Kevin-A282, jogged toward Darren and Ryan. Ryan looked to his fellow colonists for further support and attempted to incite them even further, but his words fell on deaf ears. His sister, Aoife, begged him to see reason and stated that they could't afford to fight each other, which Darren voiced agreement with. But just then, the clouds above grew bright and parted as the ship they had feared made its presence known.
- "I signed up to protect people. Losing Hand needs that. I'm staying on... at least until things are quiet again."
- — Darren
Darren's first instinct was to rush to join a skirmish line that was forming among the marines, but Kevin put a hand on his shoulder to stop him. The ship landed and everyone watched as a single Sangheili, emerged and was followed by a Huragok. Darren found himself having to explain what a Huragok was to Aoife as to their surprise, a human also exited the vessel. He asked who was in charge and both Darren and the Larsson siblings walked forward. Darren introduced himself, the siblings, and Kevin to the man in UNSC battle armor, all the while utterly confused as to what was going on. The man, major Kyle Stallock, gladly briefed everyone concerning the recent events that had led to the end of the Covenant and the war. Over the next two weeks, the Dark Was the Night was gutted of anything useful so it could be split between the nearby town and the crew of the corvette, named The Lookout. The cargo tender was to become a permanent source of power for the colony. As for Darren, even though most of his crew had agreed to leave aboard The Lookout and even some colonists, he decided to remain on Losing Hand. He justified this choice to Aoife by saying that he had originally signed up to protect people and that Losing Hand needed people to protect it, at least until things quieted down. He also joked to her that he would need a badge, given Ryan's frequent accusations that he had been attempting to act as a sheriff of sorts.
Personality and traits
As of the important events of 2553, Darren had grown a graying beard. His fingers were permanently scarred from frostbite he sustained when the Spartan had to drag him through freezing decompression. His shoulder bore a livid scar received after he suffered a glancing blow from en energy sword. The memory of being cut sometimes came flooding back to him unbidden.
Darren knew that the noncoms he served with had never really respected him. He was generally seen, and not inaccurately, as a makeweight officer who had been marking time before cashing out. That was before the Covenant attacked humanity and he was forced to adapt, however. When he first took over the captaincy of the Dark Was the Night, Darren tried to solve all the problems the ship and crew faced partially out of guilt but also out of a sense of responsibility to do so and a dedication to the ideals of the UNSC. As time wore on, however, he found himself doing things simply because someone had to. His work caused him to lack sleep often and he was constantly fatigued. Having never wanted the responsibilities that were now his, he felt as if he was carrying the weight of the whole ship on his shoulders. He was able to bury his raw fear and panic at the back of his mind, but it eventually came out when he saw The Lookout descending. Sometimes Darren found himself thinking of a niece he had back on Ixion that he barely knew thanks to his work. He took pride in the ship that was under his command and damage done to it angered him. When it was finally certain that it would never fly again, he couldn't help but feel regret. He could be easily annoyed by what he perceived to be an inability of the civilians on Losing Hand to understand what the ship meant to those that arrived on it. He perceived many of them as being unable to see a larger picture. Their world was all they really knew and they were blind to larger conflicts and causes. Despite his dedication, Darren still usually felt like an imposter in his position. The crash weighed heavily on him and he thought about it every day. When the colony was faced with the threat of annihilation via Covenant corvette, Darren was surprised that he had been mistaken about how he had been dividing people. Those that let anger, panic, and doubt consume them were numbered among Losing Hand's colonists and his own people, just as both groups also had those who met the problem with resolute defiance. When colonists were offered a chance at leaving their home, he was surprised more didn't take it, even though he himself had grown attached to the colony in a short time. He even began to develop a taste for the local liquor.
Equipment and Dress
Darren typically wore his green naval uniform, emblazoned with the UNSC crest, and donned a hooded heavy weather parka when it was necessary. He kept a radio on his person and carried an M6 magnum on his hip.