Lance Corporal J.D., nicknamed the Rookie, (SN: 11282-31220-JD) was a human junior enlistedman who served with the UNSC Marine Corps during the Human-Covenant War and the post-war years. He was trained as a member of the elite Orbital Drop Shock Troopers early in his career, serving with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Force at New Jerusalem and later Mount Haven. Later, he was picked by GySgt Edward Buck for his team, Alpha-Nine, to aid the Office of Naval Intelligence in New Mombasa, Kenya during the Battle for Earth.
Little is known about this Marine other than his initials ("J.D.") and that he was born in Crisium City, Naniwa, Luna on February 9, 2525. He enlisted in the Marine Corps on July 7, 2547, and eventually advanced to the rank of Lance Corporal. Some time after, he volunteered and was accepted into the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, despite his initial lack of combat experience.
Battle of New Jerusalem
Shortly after completing ODST training, by July or August of 2552, the Rookie—now a Private First Class in the ODSTs—was deployed to the colony world of New Jerusalem in the Cygnus system with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Force, part of a Rapid Offensive Picket. He saw nearly all of his fellow troopers perish in the battle.
Raid on Mount Haven
Weeks after the tragedy of New Jerusalem, the Rookie participated in an engagement in the city of Mount Haven on an unspecified colony.[note 1] He deployed from the UNSC Chares with ODST reinforcements on orders to defend the transport of a Forerunner artifact. Shortly thereafter, he responded to a distress call requested by Gage Yevgenny, a veteran ODST who had gone against orders to save a crowd of civilian children. Gage's Pelican had been shot down by rogue ODSTs near the mountains outside the city, and was found mortally wounded by the Rookie, who had just arrived with Gage's reinforcements.
Gage, who knew he was dying, told the Rookie his life story, right up until he crashed the Pelican. The Rookie, who had listened intently, promised to remember Gage and do whatever he could against the Covenant. Gage then told the Rookie that Covenant forces and the rogue ODSTs were on their way to the crash site, and warned the Rookie to get as far away as possible, as Gage was going to detonate a Shiva-class nuclear missile he had stolen, killing them all.
The Rookie ditched most of his gear and ran until he reached the other side of the mountain, at which point Gage detonated the Shiva, killing himself, his renegade teammates, and thousands of Covenant troops. The Rookie, being one of the only survivors, hailed a Pelican and was informed that Reach had just been attacked, and that the survivors of Mount Haven were retreating to Earth. The Rookie would not forget Gage Yevgenny, and his long and tragic life. After this, he was promoted to Lance Corporal and transferred to a squad—then led by GySgt Edward Buck—as the replacement for an ODST who had died during the Fall of Reach. After a "friendly" suggestion by his squadmates, the new guy on Alpha-Nine adopted the callsign “Rookie.” Either in haste or because it was recycled, the Rookie’s nameplate had Private, First Class (PFC) rank insignia instead of Lance Corporal (LCpl).
Battle of Mombasa
During the Battle for Earth on October 20, 2552, the Rookie and his squad, along with a large element of the 65th Shock Troops Division, were stationed aboard the UNSC Say My Name as part of a mission to assault the Solemn Penance above the city of New Mombasa. At the last moment before the drop, ONI operative Veronica Dare took control of the squad, with the intent to use them in a yet-undisclosed mission. The Rookie himself, however, was largely unaware of this as he was asleep at the time. He was awakened by Kojo Agu in a rather rude manner right before the drop.
As the squad dropped toward the ground using SOEIVs, Dare changed the squad's course towards the ONI Alpha Site in New Mombasa. Unfortunately, moments before they were meant to hit the ground, Regret's Carrier jumped into slipspace, generating a massive shockwave and an EMP that scattered the squad's drop pods all around the city. The Rookie's pod was slammed into by Michael Crespo's pod, cracking the window of the Rookie's pod and sending it into free-fall. Despite this, the Rookie had survived, although he was knocked unconscious.
Six hours later, the Rookie woke up in his pod, which had been lodged into a building in the occupied city center of New Mombasa. The Superintendent had been monitoring him and waiting for him to wake up. As the Rookie dropped to the streets below and started to move on, the Superintendent provided him with valuable help, activating signs to guide him to safety and uploading a map of the city to his VISR database. As the Rookie explored the city, he tried to piece together clues to find out what happened to his squadmates while avoiding the numerous Covenant patrols in the city. During his exploration of the city, Rookie had also discovered audio logs that narrated Sadie Endesha's story, which detailed the account of a civilian teenager who attempted to find her father, Dr. Endesha, while the city was under Covenant attack. Through these audio logs, the Rookie learned that a creature had entered the city's data center and, in order to repair the Superintendent, combined itself with Vergil, a subroutine built into the Superintendent.
After deducing the events of the previous six hours, the Rookie picked up a message from Dare, requesting assistance in the New Mombasa Data Center. Upon reaching the Underground, the Rookie learned she was on Sublevel 09. After reaching a Data Stack, he ran into an NMPD officer attempting to check on his men; however, the Superintendent wouldn't let the officer onto the next level until the Rookie arrived at his location. The two fought their way through Covenant forces and reached Sublevel 09 together. However, the officer suddenly stopped their progress, and entered a nearby room for a "personnel issue". Even though the officer told him to stay outside, the Rookie entered the room and discovered the corpse of Dr. Endesha. The officer, infuriated, revealed that he was working for Kinsler, NMPD's corrupt commissioner who was an enemy of Sadie Endesha as Rookie had learned through the audio logs. The officer attacked the Rookie to tie up loose ends, but the more heavily armed and better-armored Rookie killed the police officer in self-defense.[note 2]
After fighting through more Covenant, the Rookie finally arrived at Dare's location, much to her surprise. She finally told him of her mission: to retrieve the data the Superintendent recorded during the Prophet of Regret's attack on the city. Dare and the Rookie were forced to fight their way through an entire Drone hive, as well as other assorted Covenant. They found a defected Huragok called Quick to Adjust holding the Superintendent's data. While Dare was initially hostile towards the creature, Rookie, as he learned through the audio logs that the creature helped Endesha, was in fact friendly. He befriended it with just a single whistle, having learned from the audio logs that Vergil had been learning how to whistle to communicate with the creature. Dare learned that Quick was willing to reveal information about the Covenant.[note 2]
The Rookie then reunited with Buck and proceeded to assist Dare and Quick in their escape from the Data Center. After fighting past a Covenant outpost and up another elevator, the four arrived at the Waterfront Highway. Here, the Rookie and Buck used various Warthogs and a Scorpion to protect an Olifant containing Dare and Quick. While driving down the highway, they witnessed the Prophet of Truth's fleet arriving in force, and starting to glass the city. After encountering a Scarab, Buck decided to find a new location and hold position until Crespo arrived with a stolen Phantom. Once he did, the squad evacuated the city and watched as the Covenant glassed New Mombasa.
At some point, it was revealed that Covenant forces attacked some of the home colonies on Mars and Luna on their way to Earth, killing most if not all of the Rookie's relatives back on Luna. He disliked talking about it, and when asked by Buck, he just gritted his teeth and stated that “There’s nothing left there for me now.”
Respite and redeployment
The Rookie and his squad guarded the Huragok, now known as Vergil, in the ONI-appropriated Crimson Wing of the Quito Space Tether's terminus for the following weeks. Approximately one month after the battle, they watched as Sergeant Major Avery Johnson interrogated the Engineer. Shortly after this, Alpha-Nine was redeployed in the field and fought in the concluding battles of the war. One of these operations, known as Operation: JOINT MONITOR, consisted of biohazard containment in the Voi Exclusion Zone, at some point following the Battle of Voi.
Draco III rebellion and death
On January 3, 2554, Alpha-Nine was deployed to Draco III's capital city of New Albany as part of the UNSC's response to an uprising instigated by the United Rebel Front. While the ODSTs were storming Draco III's capitol building, they were caught in an ambush in the legislature chambers. Buck ordered the Rookie to flank the rebels while the rest of the team provided cover. However, he was captured and beaten by the rebels, whose leader, Captain Ingridson, subsequently held him hostage on a shielded presidential balcony. At the conclusion of a prolonged standoff, Michael Crespo charged the balcony and attempted to force Ingridson to stand down. This prompted the rebel captain to execute the Rookie with a pistol shot to the head.
The UNSC won the ensuing firefight, with the remaining Insurrectionists killed or captured; Captain Ingridson was shot by Taylor Miles instantly after she killed the Rookie. The Rookie was buried at sea from an old Albatross dropship, far offshore in one of Draco III's oceans with only the rest of Alpha-Nine in attendance. Taylor Miles was shaken by his death and decided to retire, while Crespo continued to harbor a deep-seated guilt over his failure to save him. His death would serve as one point of motivation for the remnants of Alpha-Nine to become Spartan-IVs. While talking to Buck, Jun-A266 confirmed that had he lived, the Rookie would have been offered the opportunity to become a Spartan alongside the rest of his team.
The Rookie employed a late-war variation of the venerable ODST armor The Rookie's nickname was derived from a nickname given to him by Alpha-Nine and painted on his chest plate, alongside a hastily-painted (or leftover) Private, First Class rank insignia. His helmet was painted with a white stripe, an identifying symbol of his old unit prior to Alpha-Nine. He preferred a snug fit for his gear to prevent noise, and tightly secured equipment to his armor, and stashed snacks salvaged from otherwise-unpalatable meal packs in his hard-shell backpack. His shoulder plates were painted in an urban camouflage scheme, and during the Battle of Mombasa he employed fingerless shooting gloves. To store equipment outside of his backpack, Rookie employed whatever pouches he could salvage or borrow, and kept non mission-critical contents in two pouches on his right leg. He used his thigh pouches to store extra ammunition, candy and restraining cable.
The Rookie employed a fairly simple loadout on his belt, consisting of six grenades with optional spine, groin and upper thigh armor. The back of his belt was fitted with a small cushion - handy for the marine's habit of sleeping wherever he could. In combat, the Rookie favoured a standard loadout consisting of an M7S SMG and a M6C/SOCOM handgun.
Like John-117 and SPARTAN-B312, the Rookie is meant to be a largely undefined character with whom the player can easily identify. As such, his face is never seen and he never speaks. He is thus a true silent protagonist, in contrast to all other playable characters in the Halo series, who have dialogue at least in cutscenes. Even the Rookie’s initials, "JD", reflect this narrative approach: they likely stand for “John Doe”, a typical placeholder name given to a male when their true identity is unknown or must be withheld for legal reasons.
List of appearances