Ilsa Zane

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Ilsa Zane
A close up of Ilsa Zane
Biographical information




June 11, 2528[1]

Personal details






Around 2 metres (6.6 ft)[2]

Hair color:


Eye color:


Political and military information



Bloodstar (2559–)[1]


"We are outnumbered and we are outgunned but our spirit is stronger. Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won with soul."
— Ilsa Zane

Ilsa Zane is a human insurrectionist leader within the New Colonial Alliance, which pledged allegiance to the Banished in May 2559.[3] After being the sole survivor of the first phase of the SPARTAN-IV program, Zane defected to the NCA after her augmentations made her mentally unstable. She notably led an attack on UNSC Infinity in 2553,[4] as well as the NCA figure responsible for the faction's alliance with the Banished in 2559 after personally executing the then-head of the New Colonial Alliance Mattius Drake.[3]


Early life[edit]

Born on Kholo on June 11, 2528,[1] Ilsa Zane was present when her parents and everyone else she knew killed in the Covenant's attack and subsequent glassing of the planet.[1][3] After Kholo's fall, Zane was sent to Asphodel as a ward of the state, living a mostly quiet and solitary life. When she came of age in 2547, she was conscripted into UNSC military service.[1]

Spartan service[edit]

"Ilsa Zane was a walking science experiment gone wrong. At one point, she had been slated for the Spartan program, an attempt at building the ultimate unarmored killing machine. But she snapped. After defecting to the NCA, she was quickly indoctrinated and promoted to Admiral Drake's attack dog."
— Commander Maya Sankar[5]

In 2550, Zane was chosen for the prototype phase of the SPARTAN-IV program. The additional augmentations she underwent were meant to make armor unnecessary, however, they crippled or killed nine others and made Zane unstable. Because of her instability, Zane was discharged and assigned to the Office of Naval Intelligence, but subsequently escaped and defected to Mattius Drake's New Colonial Alliance.[4][1]

Attack on the UNSC Infinity[edit]

Main article: Raid on UNSC Infinity
The rebels plot to take over the Infinity.

At some point, members of the New Colonial Alliance managed to steal plans of Infinity, which was undergoing construction in the Sol system's Oort cloud. Wanting to take the ship for themselves before the United Nations Space Command could use it, Zane led an attack group in January 2553 to commandeer the ship. They snuck on board, disguised as a construction crew, and took Captain Andrew Del Rio hostage. They immediately went to the bridge where she was instantly recognized by Aine, the ship's temporary AI. Zane quickly took Aine offline and proceeded to take control of the ship.[6]

A small group of crew and Spartan-IVs led by Spartan Sarah Palmer and Commander Thomas Lasky foiled Zane's plans. With the Spartans' help, Lasky was able to reach a security panel and input override codes, which gave Del Rio and the other officers access to the bridge. Having made their way to Infinity's bridge from outside the ship, Palmer and Edward Davis reached Zane. As they breached Infinity's bridge, Ilsa Zane fought Palmer one-on-one. In the ensuing fight, Del Rio brought Aine back online, who then activated the ship's containment doors. Palmer then knocked Zane out a containment door and into space. However, due to her physical augmentations, Zane survived and was later recovered by an unidentified NCA prowler. Upon awakening, she was met by Mattius Drake, whom she was surprised to see.[4][1]

After her recovery, Zane was tasked by Drake as an acquisitions specialist for weapons and materiel, as well as a ruthless instructor for mercenary and rebel groups that joined the New Colonial Alliance.[1]

The Guardians[edit]

"When I found you, there was no discipline, no uniformity. Just a bunch of misfits with different allegiances and philosophies. That was a problem of leadership. The Colonel had allowed this legendary faction of the NCA to devolve into a form for individual interests. You were scattered and slow, and that's a death sentence. I relieved him of his command because bands of misfits don't win wars. Big machines do. Big machines made of lots of little pieces, moving with the same purpose. That's what we needed to build here."
— Ilsa Zane, to the rebels under her command[7]

In October 2558, Zane was sent to the remote world of Conrad's Point, where the undisciplined NCA rebels and mercenaries on the world were being poorly commanded by an unidentified colonel. After relieving the colonel of command, Zane organized the insurgents into a more formidable force. As commander of NCA forces on the world, Zane operated ruthlessly and killed any individual who did not carry their weight. Afterwards, she began preparing the NCA forces on Conrad's Point for war with the Unified Earth Government and had accumulated a large amount of nuclear weapons. In 2558, after Conrad's Point was attacked by a Forerunner Guardian, Zane had all NCA forces move to the Guardian's attack site and secure the crater it left behind. Making camp in a nearby compound, the NCA sought to search the ruins of a city destroyed by the construct for clues on the Guardian's next site of attack. Not wanting the Guardian site to fall under rebel control, ONI sent Commander Maya Sankar—who operated with the insurrectionists under the codename "FERO"—and smart AI Black-Box to infiltrate the faction and rendezvous with operative Ari Rezneck, who had already infiltrated the New Colonial Alliance.[5]

When Sankar, Black-Box, and Reznek arrived at the NCA compound, Zane arrived shortly after. She congratulated the NCA soldiers for being useful to the cause and working together effectively. Zane informed them of the apparent death of Spartan-II John-117 and encouraged her soldiers to celebrate the death of the UNSC's "poster boy". Meanwhile, the UNSC was informed of Zane's current location and planned to kill her by bombing the compound. As Sankar and Reznek moved to leave the compound, Zane approached them before the other insurgents and recalled that "FERO" wished for the New Colonial Alliance to stop combating the UNSC and protest peacefully instead. Zane mocked "FERO" for believing that negotiations with the UNSC were a viable plan to gain colonial independence and questioned what use she had for the NCA. When Reznek defended her, Zane killed him with her sidearm and revealed that she knew that he was an ONI operative. As Reznek vouched for her, Zane concluded that Sankar was also an ONI operative. However, before Zane could kill her, Sankar's friend within the NCA—Bostwick—raised a knife to Zane's throat and insisted that "FERO" was not a spy. Zane attacked Bostwick, but Sankar revealed that she was an ONI operative by informing her that a UNSC airstrike was incoming. Before anyone could react, the compound was bombed by UNSC aircraft. Sankar fled the compound with the injured Bostwick, while Zane pursued. The two escaped the area on an M274 Mongoose and eventually escaped the world aboard Sankar's prison ship. Furious, Zane continued to futilely fire upon the vessel as it left Conrad's Point.[5]

By October 28, 2558, Zane and the NCA had tracked Maya's group to Laika III, intent on killing them and securing the planet's Guardian before it activated. She forced their ship down and later pursued them away from a Triad camp where they had taken refuge.[2] A detachment of ONI troops, also pursuing the renegades engaged the rebels in combat as the Guardian began to rise. Zane engaged UNSC troops in hand-to-hand combat, but a body flung by the Guardian's concussive waves would knock her out and the last thing she saw was the Guardian disappearing into slipspace, as she feared her final thought would be "Nobody kills Ilsa Zane."[3][8]


Sometime later, Ilsa would awaken in a makeshift prison being guarded by a Jiralhanae Warrior named Amatus alongside seventeen other human prisoners from both the UNSC and NCA, as well as Dasc Gevadim. Dasc explained what happened while Zane was knocked out, including Cortana's declaration of a new order of peace to bring an end to hunger, pain, and conflict (something that Ilsa found about as absurd and unbelievable as Dasc's own religion), and that their captors were members of the Banished that had come to claim the crater left in the Guardian's wake.[3]

Ilsa revealed to Dasc that she had an implanted tracker that pinged NCA command every twelve hours and that they would need to send a rescue team if she didn't report back in three days. So, Dasc proposed a deal in which he would teach her to deal with the Jiralhanae until the rescue team arrived in exchange for coming with her and being dropped off at a location of his choice. However, when Amatus returned to find a prisoner for his pack to feast on, Ilsa challenged the Jiralhanae by looking him in the eyes berating him. When Amatus let out a roar, Ilsa punched him in the throat and crushed his windpipe, allowing Zane to tear off one of his shoulder plates and use it as a weapon, hitting Amatus in the face over and over again until the Jiralhanae was dead.[3]

It was then that she took notice of the other Jiralhanae who had gathered around their prison and witnessed the death of Amatus. While most of them called for Ilsa to be killed for the murder of one of their brothers, the pack's Chieftain refused, stating that he did not like Amatus, praising Ilsa and inviting her to feast with his packmates, even allowing her to pick which human would be devoured. Realizing that she had a loose end given that she had told Dasc about the NCA tracker, Ilsa choose him. This went on for weeks without any sign of an NCA ship coming to search for her. Each day, Ilsa was given the choice of which prisoner would be slaughtered and eaten. Every time that she picked a human to be devoured, she imagined them with the face of Admiral Mattius Drake. Eventually, Ilsa became welcomed as a member of the pack—she hunted, killed, ate, and waited with them.[3]

When War Chief Escharum's ship arrived, Banished scientists began to inspect the ancient structure the Guardian rose from. Initially, Escharum was not pleased to find that Ilsa was alive. However, she offered the War Chief a chance to absorb the entirety of the NCA's resources into the Banished.[3]

Banished Spartan[edit]

Ilsa Zane in Halo: The Third Life.
Ilsa Zane wearing MJOLNIR armor along with Banished-manufactured components.

"There was the orphan, who I used to be during the Covenant War, a life that seems a thousand light years away from me now. Then, after the war, I became a tool to be used and discarded for a new generation of insipid UNSC propaganda. And now they call me the Banished Spartan. I like that. It feels... right, and I’m eager to discover what this third life has in store for me."
— Ilsa Zane[3]

On May 8, 2559, Ilsa Zane infiltrated Admiral Drake's flagship, the NCA D'artagnan, in the Edolas system. She reached the bridge and managed to restrain the admiral to his command chair. Holding him at gunpoint, Ilsa asked if he had even tried to find her and she detailed her harrowing experiences over the last several months, making it clear to Drake what he had put her through. When she had finished, Ilsa turned his chair to face the bridge's viewscreen so that he could witness the arrival of Escharum's intrusion corvette. When a single Eklon'Dal Workshop Phantom emerged from the corvette and approached the D'artagnan's hangar, Drake finally realized the graveness of the situation and pleaded with Ilsa.[3]

However, as Escharum made his way to the bridge, Ilsa began broadcasting on an open frequency to all the NCA-aligned vessels in the Edolas system. She stated that while Admiral Drake had promised them independence and conquest, he had squandered their potential by having them hide out on the fringes of civilized space preying on scraps like cowards. Ilsa claimed that it was Drake that was holding the NCA back and that she refused to let him do so any longer. At this, she said that she would remove Admiral Drake from command, permanently. Executing Drake with her pistol, she continued her speech, pledging the might of the NCA to the Banished. Escharum, who had arrived on the bridge, snarled in approval and joined Ilsa in the broadcast, stating that Atriox saw the NCA's true potential and that he shares the same desire for freedom. The War Chief then promised that they were do many great things together, that they would hunt powerful prey and ancient treasures, and that they would never bow again.[3]

Escharum put the NCA to use almost immediately, sending Ilsa Zane and his other newfound warriors on a mission to test them. At some point, Ilsa killed a Spartan and took their [GEN3] Mark VII MJOLNIR armor for herself.[3] Ilsa has made enough of a name for herself within the Banished to have earned a place among the Bloodstars.[1] Ilsa maintains a list of people she plans to get revenge on, including: FERO, Musa Ghanem, Sarah Palmer, Kree'yat, and Hieu Dinh.[3]


After she pledged her allegiance to the Banished, Ilsa Zane wears a suit of [GEN3] Mark VII MJOLNIR taken from a Spartan she killed. Zane wears the armor in conjunction with the Banished-manufactured Champion armor, the Colosseum Prize chestplate, and a reinforced vambrace on the right arm.[3]

Production notes[edit]


List of appearances[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - In-Zane the Membrane (Retrieved on May 15, 2024) [archive]
  2. ^ a b HUNTtheTRUTH, season 2, episode Episode 05: Where the Third Life Shines
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Halo: The Third Life
  4. ^ a b c Halo: Initiation, issue 3
  5. ^ a b c HUNTtheTRUTH, season 2, episode Episode 01: Cube B-349
  6. ^ Halo: Initiation, issue 2
  7. ^ HUNTtheTRUTH, season 2, episode Episode 02: From Fire to Blood
  8. ^ HUNTtheTRUTH, season 2, episode Episode 06: Transcendence