Canon

Fernando Esparza

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Fernando Esparza
A render of Echo 216's pilot
Biographical information

Homeworld:

Charybdis IX[1]

Born:

May 7, 2518[1]

Personal details

Species:

Human[2]

Gender:

Male[2]

Height:

180.3 centimeters (5 ft 11.0 in)[1]

Weight:

86.2 kilograms (190 lb)[1]

Hair color:

Dark brown[2]

Eye color:

Brown[2]

Political and military information

Affiliation:

United Nations Space Command[1]

Rank:

Civilian contractor[1]

Service number:

CC-434323[1]

 

Fernando Esparza: "I'm not you. I'm not a pilot. I'm not even a soldier, a marine! I'm a fraud. I stole that Pelican. I stole it! You know why? Of course you don't. Have you ever been scared? So scared that you... I'm worthless. You should leave me here with the rest of the garbage."
John-117: "We all fail. We all make mistakes. It's what makes us human."
Fernando Esparza: "I'm sorry, Chief. But how have you ever failed?"
John-117: "I should have protected Cortana. Stopped everything from going wrong. I failed her. I will not fail you."
— Fernando Esparza's despondent outburst being met with John-117 revealing his failures.[3]

Fernando Esparza, nicknamed Echo 216 after the Pelican with the eponymous designation,[4] is a civilian contractor who worked in engineering on the UNSC Infinity.[1][5]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Fernando Esparza was born on Charybdis IX on May 7, 2518.[1] He has a wife and a young daughter.[2][Note 1]

Battle for Zeta Halo[edit]

Main article: Battle for Zeta Halo

"How long has it been since I met you? Six hours? Maybe seven. It's been... eventful. Six months on my own, surviving... barely. Seems like a dream now. This on the other hand... mostly feels like a nightmare. Mostly."
— Esparza recounts his time at Zeta Halo to John-117.[5]

On December 12, 2559, Esparza was onboard UNSC Infinity when it was ambushed by Banished forces upon arrival at Installation 07.[6] Upon hearing that Master Chief John-117 was defeated, Esparza fled for Pelican Echo 216,[5] commandeering the craft and becoming stranded.[1][3] After being stranded in the dropship for six months, in May 2560,[7] he came across John-117 around the shattered remains of the Halo ring; the Spartan's armor triggered survival mode. Esparza brought John-117 onboard Echo 216 and rerouted the Pelican's power to the Spartan's armor, awakening the Chief. Their introduction was brief, with Esparza revealing to the Master Chief that it's been nearly six months since the initial battle with the Banished over the ring. Then, without warning, Echo 216 was hit by the Ghost of Gbraakon's stasis beam; Esparza began to panic, but the Chief resolved to fight, leaving the Pelican to infiltrate the warship. While Esparza recharged the Pelican's batteries, the Chief made his way to the dreadnought's bridge to shut down its stasis beam. However, the system was locked down, so the Spartan opted to scuttle the ship instead. Chief and Echo 216 narrowly escaped the dreadnought's destruction; Esparza piloted the dropship to pickup the Spartan shortly afterwards.[2]

Esparza then reluctantly followed John-117's instruction to bring the Pelican to the subterranean section at the damaged portion of the ring. There, the Chief jumped out, in search of a UNSC signal.[8] The Spartan eventually emerged from the ring's surface, clearing out the garrison and landing pad at Outpost Tremonius for Echo 216 to land. Initially, Esparza was ecstatic to be on the ground, but was terrified when he was introduced to the Weapon—the source of the UNSC signal—who he mistook as Cortana. After John-117 clarified that Cortana was no longer a threat, to Esparza's dismay, the Weapon directed the two to another UNSC signal coming from a nearby Banished outpost.[9] Esparza piloted Echo 216 to its vicinity, where John-117 launched a one-man assault on the outpost.[10][11] The Chief was then led to a Banished excavation site into the Conservatory, leaving Esparza waiting onboard Echo 216.[12][13] Esparza flew Echo 216 to extract the Chief when his mission led him to the destruction of a Reformation Spire; the Spartan jumped out of the collapsing Spire, forcing Esparza to bring the Pelican to a nosedive to catch the Chief in the Pelican's troop bay.[14]

John-117 and Esparza
John-117 empathizes with Esparza.

While Echo 216 made its way to the next objective, it was shot several times by anti-aircraft cannons, forcing Esparza to make an emergency landing in a shallow stream. The final impact which stopped the dropship's forward momentum knocked Esparza briefly unconscious, but when he came to panic and disbelief seized him immediately. John-117 attempted to calm him but with little success; instead, he was berated by Esparza for putting them both in their present predicament. The Spartan decided he needed to eliminate the cannons, of which he'd counted three, and instructed Esparza to remain put with the Pelican until he returned. Doubtful that he would be safe on his own, Esparza protested this. Before hitting the ground he'd spotted a number of Condors and was determined to check whether any of them retained a working slipspace drive which they could use to flee the system. John-117 agreed to help him with such a search, but only after he'd first dealt with the cannons. Esparza waited at the Pelican as he was instructed, until all three cannons were taken offline. He set out on his own to search the remains of the three Condors, but was distraught to find none had an intact slipspace drive. With the Hand of Atriox deployed nearby, Esparza hidden underneath a Condor's floor hatch until the Spartan defeated the Spartan Killers and rescued Esparza. Esparza broke down, revealing he had stolen Echo 216, and called himself worthless in comparison to the fearless Master Chief. The Chief, in turn, revealed he also has made mistakes, citing his failure to protect Cortana and preventing her turn to being the Created's leader. The Chief declared he would not fail Esparza, leaving the latter resolved to support the Spartan.[3]

Esparza then piloted Echo 216 to the Command Spire, dropping off John-117 to access its interior.[5] Later, while attempting to pick up the Chief and the Weapon, Esparza was kidnapped by Blademaster Jega 'Rdomnai and taken to the House of Reckoning,[15] where he was tortured by War Chief Escharum in order to lure John-117 into a final confrontation.[1][16] John-117 stormed the stronghold, defeating both 'Rdomnai and Escharum, thereby rescuing Esparza. Esparza was shocked when John-117 showed respect to the fallen Escharum, who he called a monster. John-117 replied that, in the end, Escharum was just a soldier who had died hoping that he had done the right thing.[4] They retrieve Echo 216, which Esparza flew to the Silent Auditorium to drop off the Chief to confront the Harbinger.[17]

Esparza later picked up the Chief and the Weapon three days after the defeat of The Harbinger. He expressed relief upon seeing them, thinking that they'd been killed, and greeted the Chief with a hug. Prompted by the Weapon, Esparza, who had only been known as Echo 216 until then, revealed his real name to the pair. The trio then flew off in their Pelican, ready to defeat the remainder of the Banished on the ring.[17]

Personality and traits[edit]

"I'll be safe? Safe?! I haven't been "safe" since I found you! I found you, remember? You were out there on your own and you'd still be out there if it wasn't for me! I thought I was going home!"
— Esparza frustrated with the Master Chief after their Pelican was shot down by anti-air cannons.

Esparza is an emotive person, often showing his excitement,[18] despair,[3] and frustrations.[8] Esparza cares deeply for his wife and daughter, both of whom he missed terribly during the prolonged period of isolation he experienced aboard his Pelican. Even then, at the lowest point in his life, he demonstrated extraordinary resilience. Despite being out of food and water, and being cold, isolated, over-exerted, and trapped, he did not give up. When he eventually discovered the Master Chief, he felt relief and triumph.[2] His patience is not unwavering, however. He can be seen snapping at the Master Chief multiple times, irritated that his and the Spartan's motivations do not align.[8][3]

Production notes[edit]

Nicolas Roye performing motion capture for Esparza.[19]

"We're not talking a lot about the pilot at E3 this year. But he is a new character to the Halo universe and we're really taking our time to introduce the pilot and bring him in for players in a really careful way; where you get to learn about the pilot and emotionally connect with him throughout this piece. You'll be seeing the pilot more in Halo Infinite."
— 343 Industries studio head Chris Lee speaks to the pilot's introduction.[20]
  • Esparza is voiced and performance-captured by Nicolas Roye, and the character was named by Roye himself, after his two best friends from childhood.[21]
  • Details of Esparza 's character design, such as the UNSC logo on his flight suit, are meant to showcase the art direction pursued for Halo Infinite—one that draws significant inspiration from the most iconic and historic parts of the Halo franchise.[22] Echo 216 and her pilot were first introduced in the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo trailer for Halo Infinite, dubbed "Discover Hope". His resuscitation of John-117 and the life and courage the Chief then brings him were meant to speak to the theme of rebirth.[19]
  • Both Mega Construx and Wicked Cool Toys have produced representations of the character that are available for purchase.[23][24] Wicked Cool Toys' figure comes armed with a CQS48 Bulldog and an earthen base to stand on.[24]

Gallery[edit]

Concept art and illustrations[edit]

Prerelease[edit]

Screenshots[edit]

Merchandise[edit]

List of appearances[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Despite their prominent appearances in Discover Hope and the opening cinematic of the retail version of Halo Infinite, the mother and daughter in Esparza's holorecorder were not mentioned by Esparza when the Weapon asked him whether he had any family or close ones in the level The Sequence. Based on his response ("No... not anymore."), it is possible they were killed at some point before May 2560.

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Halo Encyclopedia (2022 edition), page 91
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Halo Infinite, campaign mission Ringfall: Warship Gbraakon
  3. ^ a b c d e Halo Infinite, campaign mission Graveyards: Pelican Down
  4. ^ a b Halo Infinite, campaign mission Reckoning: House of Reckoning
  5. ^ a b c d Halo Infinite, campaign mission Reformation: The Sequence
  6. ^ Halo Infinite, UNSC Audio log: Infinity's Approach #04 - Arrival
  7. ^ Halo Infinite Campaign Gameplay Premiere
  8. ^ a b c Halo Infinite, campaign mission Ringfall: Foundation
  9. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign mission Ringfall: Outpost Tremonius
  10. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign mission Lockdown: Recovery
  11. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign mission Lockdown: The Tower
  12. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign mission Connections: Excavation Site
  13. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign mission Connections: Conservatory
  14. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign mission Connections: Spire
  15. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign mission Reformation: The Command Spire
  16. ^ Halo Infinite, campaign mission Reckoning: Repository
  17. ^ a b Halo Infinite, campaign mission Endless: Silent Auditorium
  18. ^ Halo Waypoint, Halo Infinite 2019 - Screenshots, GIFs, Banners! (Retrieved on Oct 30, 2019) [archive]
  19. ^ a b Dan Chosich, Halo Infinite: Discover Hope (Retrieved on Nov 7, 2020) [archive]
  20. ^ YouTube - Xbox, 343 Unpacks E3 2019 Halo Infinite Trailer
  21. ^ IGN, Halo Infinite Villain and Story Details Revealed (Retrieved on Dec 10, 2023) [archive]
  22. ^ Halo Waypoint, Our Journey Begins (Retrieved on Jun 18, 2018) [archive]
  23. ^ Game Rant, Halo Infinite Toys Confirm Classic Armor and New Villains (Retrieved on Mar 2, 2022) [archive]
  24. ^ a b Mega Construx, Sneak Peek: Halo Pelican Pilot (Retrieved on May 18, 2020) [archive]