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Captain Nelly Hamm was an ODST commissioned officer of the United Nations Space Command. She served in the 21st Space Assault Battalion during the Insurrection and at the outset of the Human-Covenant War.
Hamm was born circa 2503 or 2504.[Note 1] By the time she was around the age of nineteen, she had enlisted in the UNSC Marine Corps, wherein she graduated first in her class at the Luna Officer Candidate School Mare Nubium and in ODST school. By 2526, Hamm was twenty-two and had served in the 21st Space Assault Battalion for three years - achieving the rank of Lieutenant and commanding the Black Daggers' First Platoon Alpha Company.
Operation: SILENT STORM
In early 2526, the 21st Space Assault Battalion were selected to join Task Force Yama as part of a new plan devised by Admirals Cole, Stanforth and Doctor Catherine Halsey to help combat the emerging Covenant threat. Following the success of boarding actions taken against the vessels Minor Transgression and Unrelenting the previous year, it was determined that boarding actions were likely to yield greater success rates against the superior Covenant fleet, especially in the wake of Cole's perilous victory at Harvest. With the 21/SAB's experience in space assault operations during the Insurrection, they were selected to join the task force to aid the assigned SPARTAN-IIs in boarding and planting nuclear weapons aboard Covenant warships to allow the UNSC time to prepare for future fleet actions.
Seoba and promotion to Captain
To stage their attacks, the mission planners selected the moon of Seoba as a staging ground, due to the position of its host planet Biko laying in the path of the Covenant war machine. Upon arriving in the system, Task Force Yama discovered an Insurrectionist base built in the intended staging area - an old abandoned ice quarry. Hamm, along with the rest of the 21/SAB and the SPARTANs were authorized to engage the rebel presence to ensure Operation: SILENT STORM could go ahead. During this engagement, Hamm led First Platoon Alpha Company, stationed in the Razor-class prowler UNSC Ghost Song. Alpha Company was designated to take out the insurrectionist communications outpost to ensure the rebels couldn't call for reinforcements and ensure the secrecy of the operation.
Upon arriving at their designated landing site, First Platoon began to dismount the Ghost Song, only to begin receiving fire from a series of previously-concealed M41 Vulcan chainguns. Hamm ordered the deployment to abort, and began trying to pull one of the ODSTs back into the deployment bay, as the Ghost Song began to lift off back into the upper atmosphere, while struggling against the force of the ship's acceleration. Hamm was helped by John-117, who managed to pull the unconscious trooper into the bay and hand him to the Lieutenant. While Hamm began helping tend to the marine's wounds, John was able to survey the situation on the ground, though Hamm soon reprimanded the SPARTAN for his intentional act to distract her, and his moving out of his assigned position in the drop bay. John-117, followed by Blue Team, jumped out of the drop bay to begin engaging the insurrectionists, forcing Hamm to deploy the rest of her troops now that the SPARTANs were engaged in combat. Hamm was one of the first ODSTs to link up with Blue Team at the old docks, where she again reprimanded the SPARTAN for acting without authorization - intentionally not giving him a chance to defend his actions and warning him that their work relationship would be "one long shitshine after another" if he continued to go against orders. By the time company Captain Zelos Cuvier reached the group, he mistakenly commended Hamm for taking the initiative and deploying the SPARTANs, thereby saving the operation.
To stop the rebels from activating their communications array, Hamm suggested sending the SPARTANs up the old mass driver firing tube which lined the side of the quarry, while the rest of Alpha Company provided a distraction for the rebel forces. However, the SPARTANs suspected an alternate ploy, later proven correct when the rebel defenders began to notice the SPARTANs' actions inside the mass driver and began to fire on them - Hamm was using the SPARTANs as a distraction for rebel fire to allow Alpha Company to attack the insurrectionist positions. Hamm and First Platoon had switched comm channels to the logistics channel to keep their deception away from the SPARTANs. Simultaneously, more prowlers began air-striking the Civet convoys making their way to the communications facility. By the SPARTANs reached the communication center at the top of the mass driver, Hamm and her team were already inside planting charges. At this point, Hamm explained to John that she'd used the SPARTANs to get the Civet's missile launchers distracted to allow the prowlers to enter the airspace, and that Blue Team wasn't informed in an act of petty revenge for John's earlier actions, adding that "it's one shitshine after another." At some point during the battle, Captain Cuvier was killed in action, leading to Colonel Marmon Crowther promoting Hamm to captain to take his place.
A day later on March 19, UNSC forces repurposed Assembly Chamber 4L430 for an informal debriefing led by Captain Halima Ascot, the commander of Task Force Yama. Along with Captain Ascot, the meeting included Colonel Crowther, Lieutenant Commander Hector Nyeto, now-Captain Nelly Hamm, Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson, SPARTAN-II John-117, and Dr. Catherine Halsey. Here, they discussed the difficulties with the previous day's battle. After John's maverick action was brought up, and Hamm voiced her concerns that John had intentionally kept her busy with a casualty so that he could take the initiative without authorization. The discussion soon turned to the young Spartan's discipline and experience, and his true age. Ultimately, the truth came out that John and his fellow Spartans were all around the age of fifteen, and Crowther refused to send them into battle again as a result. The conversation then turned to why the Insurrectionists had seemingly been ready for their arrival, with John realizing and convincing the others that they had instead been waiting for the Covenant, with the intent to meet them for negotiations. While they were planning for the Covenant's inevitable arrival, a flotilla of the alien ships arrived in-system and set course for Seoba. The UNSC leaders rushed out of the chamber to ready their forces for the imminent continuation of the battle.
Biko and Zhoist
The 21st Space Assault Battalion was later engaged during the Battle of Biko, wherein they attempted to board the Fleet of Inexorable Obedience's ships and plant nukes themselves without SPARTAN support. Hamm presumably led Alpha Company in this battle and - despite devastating losses - was able to survive the battle. During the final Attack on Zhoist, Hamm and her platoon were once again stationed on the Ghost Song when Hector Nyeto's insurrectionist double-agents on the flight deck began to fire on Avery Johnson and Colonel Crowther. The Colonel was killed in this engagement, with Johnson managing to escape and eventually meeting up with Hamm and her troops, who had prearranged a plan to take the prowler by force. Unfortunately for Hamm, Nyeto had managed to evacuate the drop bay - and most of First Platoon - before Johnson was able to signal the codeword "red eagle". Hamm, her remaining troops, and Johnson continued to take the prowler by force, before falling into a trap set by Nyeto, resulting in the marines also being "vacced" into space. Johnson lit up his distress beacon to alert the Covenant defenders to their location, to which Hamm expressed her alert, before Johnson informed her that the beacon would also alert the aliens to the insurrectionist's positions too.
Personality and traits
Hamm was considered by John-117 to be like Colonel Crowther in her dislike of spontaneity in operations, making her inherently opposed to the basis on which the SPARTAN-IIs were trained to operate on. She repeatedly argued with the SPARTAN throughout the operation, even risking the SPARTANs' lives for petty revenge to assert her command. Despite this, she was considered a high-achieving officer, especially for her young age.
Hamm was fond of "colorful" language, and swore often during Operation: SILENT STORM.
List of appearances