Retreating from Reach
By August of 2552, McKay had reached the rank of First Lieutenant in the UNSC Marine Corps, commanding B Company of the ODST battalion assigned to the Pillar of Autumn - as per Operation: RED FLAG. Following the vessel's arrival at the mysterious Installation 04, McKay took part in the defense against the boarding actions taken by the Covenant against the ship, helping defend the ship's experimental power plant along with the other ODSTs. During the fighting she took a wound to her bicep, damaging the ODST tattoo she had there. The ODSTs were then ordered by Major Silva to abandon ship, and McKay led her platoon to their drop pods.
Landing on Installation 04
McKay and the majority of her 130-person company successfully made landfall on the ring, with the Lieutenant making landfall half a kilometre from the designated landfall beacon. She was able to rendezvous with Major Silva by the time a temporary base of operations was set up, and was briefed on the plan established by him and Wellsley; McKay was ordered to take her company of ODSTs to the butte now designated Alpha Base and ascend the cliffs to attack the Covenant occupiers from below, while Silva's forces inserted from above via Pelican dropship. McKay spent the entire night marching her troops across the plains to the foot of the base, before beginning her attack. B Company ascended the butte via a narrow winding path while taking grenade and plasma fire from above. The resistance began to slack as the Pelicans began their air attack, and eventually the company found themselves at an entrance to the structure. McKay fired an M41 SPNKR rocket launcher into the breach to clear out any resistance, before entering the base unchallenged. Her company met Major Silva on the landing pads with the confirmation that Alpha Base now belonged to the UNSC.
Raiding the Autumn
With the Master Chief deployed to Truth and Reconciliation to rescue Captain Jacob Keyes, McKay was ordered to the downed Pillar of Autumn to raid the cruiser for supplies. They deployed in the night of September 19, with the darkness and the rain masking the movements of the Pelicans and troops from the Covenant occupiers of the crash site. In the dawn hours of September 20, the company attacked the Covenant defenders - now-weary from their night shifts - and began to eliminate the defenders. The battle took several hours, though eventually McKay's forces were able to push the Covenant out of the ship or lock them in non-essential sections. For several hours, the ODSTs loaded up Warthogs and Scorpion tanks before preparing to make their way back to Alpha Base. Due to the limited amount of personnel, McKay and her platoon leaders were to join the action as drivers or gunners. The Lieutenant split the force up into three temporary platoons, with McKay leading Third Platoon - tasked with defending the other Warthogs and tanks from Ghosts and infantry. The convoy was attacked by Noga 'Putumee, who had concealed three Wraiths and several Banshees in the hills ahead, and began to fire down on the UNSC ground force. The convoy attack ultimately succeeded however, with McKay's forces bringing much-needed supplies back to Alpha Base.
Assault on Alpha Base
With Alpha Base reinforced, McKay took charge of the defensive perimeter around the base, with McKay preferring a "two plus two" configuration for the patrols seeing two Warthogs paired with two captured Ghosts, to maximize firepower and fast-reaction capabilities. She, along with other ODSTs, saw and took prisoner the "wounded" Grunt Yayap; little did she know that Yayap would trigger an attack later on.
Later she was at Alpha Base when Spec Ops Officer Zuka 'Zamamee and other Elites attempted to infiltrate the base to find the veteran SPARTAN. She then organized several rifle squads to help fend the attack off from Alpha Base. After the attack, she took the remains of Charlie 217, the D77-TC Pelican Dropship used by the Sangheili to infiltrate, and set them up as though the ship had crashed so that the Covenant would come and the Humans could ambush them.
The Covenant came, but the plan went wrong when the Flood attacked them. Lieutenant McKay was horrified at the first sight of the Flood. Nevertheless, she managed to capture one Combat Form alive, the form of the former PFC Wallace A. Jenkins. She, along with Silva, interrogated him and compiled the first tactical information on the Flood.
Later, using Jenkins' information, she helped to prevent an attack on the base by the Flood long enough to evacuate it.
Raid on the Truth and Reconciliation
She then assisted in the attack on the Covenant-held Truth and Reconciliation, having guards drag Private Jenkins along for the ride.
After the vessel's capture, McKay realized that Silva was planning on taking the vessel directly to Earth so that he could become a hero. She realized that this was not only in violation of the Cole Protocol, but that if a single Flood Form made it to Earth, all of humanity could fall to the Flood. Most of the vessel had not yet been sterilized from the Flood when Silva ordered it to take off.
McKay destroyed the Truth and Reconciliation by priming a grenade and setting it off, instantly killing herself and everyone else on board, including the infected Private First Class Wallace A. Jenkins, severing the cruiser's fiber-optics connection to the reactor's bridge in order to keep the Flood from escaping the Halo. Though her actions killed everyone on board, she stopped the Flood from potentially killing millions, if not billions, of sentient lifeforms throughout the Milky Way galaxy.
Physical appearance and description
Lieutenant McKay had her hair worn short on the sides and flat on the top, as per Marine Corps regulations (so the tattoos on her scalp could be seen), accompanied by a slightly flattened nose, full lips, and green eyes. She had a tattoo of a skull and the letters ODST on her bicep, but it was damaged during the skirmish aboard the Pillar of Autumn. She was considered one of Silva's favourites, with the Major wishing he had twenty more officers just like her.
In addition to being the Battalion's Executive Officer, she personally commanded a company of some 130 Orbital Drop Shock Troopers aboard the Autumn. Her platoon Commanders were Second Lieutenants Dalu and Oros. However, Dalu was later reassigned as the Company Supply Officer and his billet was taken by Master Sergeant Lister.
List of appearances