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Special inspector (formerly)
- "I don't chase phantoms, Major Halal. I catch killers. Quite a lot of them, actually."
- — Lopis in reply to Major Ira Halal during her investigation of the murders in the Montero Cave System
Veta Lopis is an Office of Naval Intelligence agent who formerly served as a special inspector of the Ministry of Protection on planet Gao. Following Operation: JOVIAN WHISTLE in July 2553, she defected from the Ministry of Protection to the United Nations Space Command, having become a fugitive on her homeworld, now leading an ONI Ferret Team comprising Ash-G099, Olivia-G291 and Mark-G313. Lopis was given the sarcastic nickname "Mom" by the trio due to her protectiveness toward them.
Veta Lopis was born on Gao at some point between 2519 and 2523. When she was seventeen years old, she was kidnapped and endured abuse in a small stone cellar for three weeks. She eventually escaped by breaking out and killing her captor with a rock, only to learn that her father had died of grief while she was gone. This traumatic experience instilled in her the desire to see injustice of any kind met with strict retribution and so she enrolled at the Avelos Academy to study criminal investigation and become a homicide investigator. Since the age of 20, Lopis took down multiple hardened killers, and had become Gao's top homicide investigator by her early 30s.
Crisis on Gao
- Main article: Operation: JOVIAN WHISTLE
In May 2553, the UNSC's 717th Xeno-Materials Exploitation Battalion arrived on Gao in search of a Forerunner ancilla in the Montero Cave System; however, the UNSC did not reveal their mission's goal to the Gaos, much to the fiercely independence-minded colonials' chagrin. The situation escalated when the ancilla, Intrepid Eye, began covertly murdering Gao citizens in the Montero Cave System in order to create discord between Gao's citizens and the UNSC. With many Gaos already accusing the UNSC for the murders, the Gao Ministry of Protection dispatched Lopis and her team to find the killer on July 2, 2553. In addition to her investigation, she was to covertly glean information on the UNSC's classified activities on Gao and report her findings to her superior, Minister of Protection Arlo Casille.
Lopis could not carry out her investigation entirely unhindered, with Major Ira Halal of the UNSC Judge Advocate General's Corps intent on ensuring she did not incriminate the UNSC unfairly and Lieutenant Fred-104 of Spartan Blue Team reluctant to reveal classified information, despite the battalion's commanding officer, Commander Murtag Nelson, ordering the Spartan to cooperate with her. Due to the brutal nature of the killings—which would have required enormous brute strength—as well as Fred's secretive behavior and Lopis' ingrained dislike and distrust of the Spartans, she initially believed the murderer to be one of the supersoldiers.
On July 4, 2553, Lopis and her team, escorted by Blue Team, arrived at Crime Scene India within the Montero Cave System to study a recently-discovered victim. From there, Lopis and her partner Cirilo, along with Fred-104, Ash-G099, Olivia-G291 and Mark-G313 made their way to the last known location of Major Ira Halal and Private Hayes, both of whom turned out to have been murdered. Lopis and Cirilo decided to follow a trail of an unidentified fluid—actually blood belonging to the wounded Huragok Roams Alone—deeper into the caves, accompanied by the Spartans. As they reached a large cavern after nearly a twelve hours' descent, they came under attack by Intrepid Eye's Aggressor Sentinels. Though the Spartans were able to destroy the Sentinels, Cirilo was killed and Olivia was seriously wounded.
At this point Lopis discovered the young age of the Gamma Company Spartans, along with their reliance on "Smoother" drugs to control their mentally unbalancing augmentations. Additionally, having witnessed Olivia destroy a Sentinel bare-handed, she began to suspect one of them for being the murderer, with Mark in particular drawing her suspicion due to his standoffish behavior. Ordering the others to stay put, Fred left to reconnoiter the area. While waiting for Fred, Lopis and the Spartans were approached by Roams Alone, a Lifeworker Huragok who began to heal Olivia's wounds. Having discovered the Forerunner Covert Support Base 4276, Fred eventually returned and decided that the party should take the Huragok with them, return to the surface and report to Commander Nelson.
With Olivia having lost her Smoothers during the fighting, Mark volunteered to take only one of the remaining five Smoother injections, leaving two doses each for Ash and Olivia. Mark took point as the group began their nearly one and a half day's climb toward the surface and eventually fell out of contact as he scouted ahead. As Lopis and the Spartans approached the surface, they began to come across bodies of Keepers of the One Freedom Jiralhanae warriors killed by Mark; during the group's time in the caves, the Keepers had landed on Gao and attacked the UNSC forces, seeking to take the ancilla for themselves. As they returned to Crime Scene India, Lopis attempted to question Olivia about Mark while Fred and Ash reconnoitered the area, though the young Spartan quickly grew upset with the inspector for suspecting her teammate. After the 717th's AI Wendell covertly contacted Lopis, ostensibly agreeing with her that Mark may be the murderer, she was attacked by a Jiralhanae and was narrowly saved by Mark's intervention, with the two killing the alien warrior together.
Return to the surface
The party eventually reached the Gallery of the Inverted Forest where they were approached by a Forerunner inspection drone housing Intrepid Eye. While isolated from the others, Lopis and Olivia were confronted by Petora Zoyas, who held the Spartan at gunpoint and told Lopis that they should take both the Huragok and the Forerunner drone with them and covertly escape. Meanwhile, however, Fred used a scramble grenade to disable the inspection drone, generating a blinding flash of light; using the distraction to her advantage, Olivia promptly killed Zoyas. The incident made Olivia exceedingly distrustful of Lopis, convinced that the inspector had been in league with the rebel. Nevertheless, Fred trusted Lopis with weapons as the group surfaced at the embattled village of Wendosa and proceeded to reinforce the 717th, which had fallen under attack by the Keepers.
Informed that Fred was to return to the Montero Vitality Center with the ancilla, the group fought their way through Wendosa and Fred boarded a Falcon along with the remainder of Lopis' field team, but the craft was shot down and crashed in the jungle. Lopis and the Gammas reunited with the rest of Blue Team and decided to make their way to the Falcon's crash site before the Keepers could reach it, with Lopis insisting on coming along. After a series of sniper battles along the Briones Ridge, the group arrived at the crash site where Lopis managed to injure the Jiralhanae leader, Castor, with the Spartans' help. After Lopis narrowly survived a large rockslide by riding on Fred's inert, armored form, Blue Team was reinforced by the 717th's Alpha Company and Lopis and the Spartans were brought to the Montero Vitality Center to recover.
After regaining consciousness, Lopis was joined by Commander Nelson, who attempted to convince her to terminate her investigation, her entire team having been killed during the fighting. However, she was adamant to continue hunting the killer and reached an agreement with Nelson in which he allowed Lopis to gather evidence and then neutralize her suspect—whom she still believed to be Mark—to satisfy her personal sense of justice, in exchange for keeping the Forerunner presence on Gao a secret and officially pinning the murders on Keeper Jiralhanae. Nelson reluctantly allowed Lopis to gather material samples from the Forerunner inspection drone as well as the Spartans' armor at the battalion's Portable Spartan Support Module. While doing so, she covertly placed a small explosive charge in the power supply control unit of Fred's Mjolnir to ensure he could not stop her from eliminating Mark if he turned out to be the killer—having been provided with Mjolnir schematics by Casille earlier on. Meanwhile, however, Intrepid Eye recovered and attacked the humans in the module with the inspection drone, having decided that humanity should be "pruned" for individuals worthy of the Mantle after a conversation with Wendell, whom she then absorbed and took control of the entire module. As Lopis and Nelson attempted to escape, Intrepid Eye slammed the airlock's hatches shut, killing Nelson and trapping Lopis inside. Intrepid Eye then began to fill the airlock with a poisonous gas, but Fred, Ash and Olivia arrived in time and managed to save her while subduing the inspection drone.
Escape from Gao
- Lopis: "And you want me to do what, exactly? Play the den mother?"
- Osman: "Hell, no. Well... maybe sometimes. But what we really want you to do is lead the team and run the investigations."
- — Lopis and Serin Osman on the formation of the Ferret Team.
While the 717th prepared to evacuate, Arlo Casille, who had recently been elected President of Gao, sent Gao Republic's military to forcefully remove the UNSC from the planet. Lopis, Fred, Ash, Olivia and Roams Alone escaped pursuing Gao Wyverns and battle-jumpers through the jungle in a Warthog to regroup with the rest of Blue Team, having retrieved Wendell's data crystal chip—now covertly housing Intrepid Eye—and a HAVOK tactical nuclear weapon. Lopis having now concluded that the murderer was in fact Intrepid Eye in light of the events in the support module, she attempted to explain to the Spartans that they could no longer trust Wendell; this was too late, however, as Intrepid Eye took control of Fred's armor through Wendell's data chip and attempted to kill Lopis. However, she was able to detonate the explosive she had placed in the armor earlier, powering down the armor.
Blue Team eventually regrouped and headed toward the Well of Echoes in Warthogs, with the goal of destroying the Forerunner base below with the HAVOK. On the way, Lopis received a call from Casille, who attempted to convince her to reveal her position to the Wyverns, ostensibly believing the inspector was the Spartans' hostage. However, Lopis realized Casille knew she had sided with the UNSC and was merely attempting to eliminate her. As such, she deceived Casille into believing that she and Blue Team were traveling to the nearby Singing Grottos, causing most of the Wyverns to change course. The group arrived at the Well of Echoes where they boarded the Owl insertion craft Silent Claw. On board, Lopis was greeted by Rear Admiral Serin Osman, who offered her opportunity to place Intrepid Eye's data chip on the HAVOK nuke before it was deployed to make Intrepid Eye face justice for her crimes, but Lopis realized that ONI would never allow the ancilla to be destroyed and as such denied Osman's offer. Mark dropped the HAVOK into the Well of Echoes, destroying the Forerunner base as the Owl headed to rendezvous with Admiral Tuwa's battle group.
On the way, Osman revealed that she had been testing Lopis with her offer to destroy Intrepid Eye and that the inspector had passed by seeing through her bluff. Osman offered Lopis a new job within the Office of Naval Intelligence, announcing that Blue Team's Gamma Company Spartans would be reassigned under ONI to prevent their destabilizing augmentations from becoming a public relations hazard; should she accept, Lopis would be leading the three young Spartans in a new "Ferret" investigative team. Realizing she could not return to Gao and unwilling to let the Gammas fall to ONI's clutches without her supervision, as well as seeing genuine potential in continuing her former work on a much larger scale than before, Lopis accepted Osman's offer alongside Ash, Olivia, and Mark.
While furious about Lopis' betrayal, President Casille decided to announce to the Gao public that she was killed with the rest of her team during the battle, while blaming the Spartans for the murders in the Montero Cave System.
In the following months, Lopis, Ash, Olivia, and Mark underwent an extensive ONI training regimen, with Veta's training including twice-weekly close-assault drills to prepare her for intense combat. During this time, they visited multiple colonies, rarely staying in one place for long; at one point they were stationed on Jastolo. They primarily operated out of the ONI reservation known as the Mill.
On October 14, 2553, the Ferret Team participated in a training exercise against Oscar Squad at UNSC Recreational Facility 6055-NA-A on Neos Atlantis, during which Lopis operated under the cover identity of a UNSC major named Keely. While Lopis was overseeing her subordinates in the officers' club, Olivia was approached by the unscrupulous journalist Spencer Hume, who laced Olivia's zantelle with nicothiotal in an attempt to coax her into revealing classified information about the SPARTAN-III program. Upon realizing Olivia had been drugged, Lopis ordered Ash and Mark into action. A server who had sold Lopis a drink earlier attempted to stop Mark, only to be knocked down. While Mark seized Hume, Lopis encountered Oscar Squad's Commander Svenson. Thinking him responsible for drugging Olivia, Lopis incapacitated the man with a kidney punch. Announcing that she and her team were from FLEETCOM's Criminal Investigation Division, she ordered two ensigns to hold the server who had attempted to obstruct Mark. Lopis then escorted Olivia back into the Halsey Suite, which the team was using as a safe house, and administered a counteragent to the nicothiotal.
Mark and Ash returned to the Halsey Suite shortly after, with Mark having been attacked on the way by the server from the club. Before Mark and Ash could fully explain what had happened, they were joined by Admiral Osman, accompanied by Commander Svenson, who claimed to have witnessed Mark and Ash carrying a body and demanded an explanation. A brief argument ensued between Lopis, Svenson and Osman, with Lopis firmly maintaining her team had done nothing wrong. The admiral then left the suite, giving the Ferret Team two hours to resolve the situation. Ash and Mark explained what had happened—Mark had accidentally killed Hume when he was attacked and the two had disposed of the body afterward. After Hume's identity was discovered, Olivia used ONI's Facial Recognition Database to identify Mark's assailant as a former ONI commander named Ota Gallo, now working for the private security company Dark Moon Enterprises, which was attempting to undermine ONI by leaking classified information to the public. Attempting to recover Hume's belongings, now in the Ferret Team's possession, Gallo and two of her henchmen stormed the Halsey Suite soon after. The Ferrets managed to eliminate the attackers after a brief firefight.
As the team proceeded to evacuate, Admiral Osman returned to the suite with an armed escort. The admiral claimed Hume's personal effects and asked Lopis what had really happened to Hume. Lopis lied that Gallo killed Hume after the reporter was planning to name her as his source. While visibly incredulous, Osman was apparently satisfied with the explanation.
Assassination of Admiral Tuwa
In December 2553, UNSC Admiral Graselyn Tuwa was assassinated and her family abducted following a series of violent incidents. The Office of Naval Intelligence resolved to respond to the crisis with a swift retaliation, though not before they could identify the perpetrator and rescue the hostages. This case was assigned to Lopis and her Ferret Team as their first actual mission. While Castor of the Keepers of the One Freedom was initially the prime suspect, the truth would later turn out to be much more complex. The mission led Veta to Meridian, a moon in the Hestia system. Her team was aided in the mission by the Spartan-IIs of Blue Team—Fred-104, Kelly-087, and Linda-087—for combat support. Veta and the Spartans were intent on putting a halt to a sinister plan that could threaten all of known space.
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Personality and traits
Lopis is hardened, cynical and dedicated to her work. An exceedingly competent criminal investigator, she is highly observant and intelligent; in the beginning stages of her investigation of the Montero Cave System murders she managed to trick Fred-104 into indirectly divulging classified information several times. As a result of the abuse she suffered as a teenager, Lopis developed a rigid and inflexible sense of justice; her personal code dictated that she invariably terminate her suspects once their guilt had been proven, rather than bring them to trial. During her investigation into the murders on Gao, she relentlessly prioritized the apprehension of the killer even when full-blown violence had erupted between the UNSC, the Keepers of the One Freedom, and the Insurrectionist-sympathetic Gao Ministry of Protection. She even attempted to interrogate Intrepid Eye while the ancilla was attempting to suffocate her in the Portable Spartan Support Module.
The traumatic experience in her youth also left Veta with, among others, a fear of the smell of tobacco and men touching her hair, as well as a phobia of tight spaces. Despite these anxiety-inducing fears, Lopis refused to let them hinder her work and often insisted on clambering through the tight spaces herself, though her hesitance was noticeable to the Spartans. She also remained unable trust anyone enough to engage in physical intimacy after the incident, considering her friend and colleague Cirilo the "closest thing she had to a lover" but never returning his frequent advances.
Lopis got along well with her fellow agents in the GMoP. She was heartbroken at the loss of her entire team, and vowed to avenge their deaths. She was troubled, however, at the circumstances behind their loss, as most of her team had been killed not by the UNSC (who she initially believed were the aggressor party) but by her own people on Gao; indeed, Lopis' discovery of Arlo Casille's underhanded activities to assume Gao's presidency put her loyalties to the test, ultimately resulting in her defection to the UNSC.
Like most Gao natives, Veta Lopis had been brought up to despise and distrust the United Nations Space Command and particularly the Spartans from an early age. Over the course of Operation: JOVIAN WHISTLE, she worked closely with the Spartans and despite her initial contempt for them, she grew to trust and respect the supersoldiers, being particularly endeared to the trio of Gamma Company Spartan-IIIs. When the nature of the Spartan-IIIs was revealed to her, she was appalled that a government could utilize children in such a manner and even proclaimed that she intended to take the teenage Spartans into protective custody. The Gammas quickly nicknamed Lopis "Mom" due to her perceived overprotective tendencies; although this often annoyed her, she did grow to become a maternal figure of sorts to the trio and believed she could treat them more humanely than ONI. Despite their initial friction, she also formed an unexpected rapport with Fred-104 and was genuinely upset when she thought him to have been killed.
Lopis is quite small in stature. Fred-104 considered her exceptionally attractive and noted that she looked more like a fashion model than an experienced criminal investigator. After Operation: JOVIAN WHISTLE, Veta had shaved her hair on the side of her head for Operation: RETRIBUTION.
As a GMoP investigator, Veta Lopis favored Sevine Arms' SAS-10 pistol, with hers being equipped with a laser aiming module. During Operation: JOVIAN WHISTLE, she equipped herself with several types of ammunition for the sidearm, including armor-piercing and explosive rounds. She and her team were additionally supplied with UNSC fatigues and infantry armor, as well as M7 submachine guns, during the operation.
Following her recruitment into ONI, Lopis was issued a suit of Semi-Powered Infiltration armor, custom-made for her small frame, for use on combat operations. She disliked wearing the suit because of the way it made her look like a Spartan. She also began using an M6C/SOCOM suppressed automatic pistol.
List of appearances
- Halo: Fractures, "A Necessary Truth", page 215 (Google Play edition) ("He was a little older than Veta, perhaps thirty-five or so...")
- Twitter: Troy Denning status update #880220933235122181
- Halo: Last Light, page 9 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Last Light
- Halo Waypoint: Canon Fodder - Azure Noir
- Halo: Fractures, "A Necessary Truth"
- Halo: Last Light, page 123 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Retribution, Chapter 23
- Halo: Last Light, page 284 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Last Light, page 365 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Last Light, page 373-375 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Last Light, Chapter 28, pages 330-333 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Last Light, Chapter 28
- Troy Denning on Twitter
- Halo: Fractures, A Necessary Truth
- Halo Waypoint: Community Update - Know-Scope
- Halo: Last Light, page 19
- Halo: Last Light, page 21
- Halo: Last Light, page 93 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Last Light, Chapter 1
- Halo: Last Light, page 34 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Retribution, cover art
- Halo: Last Light, page 185 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Last Light, pages 307-309 (Google Play edition)
- Halo: Last Light, page 91 (Google Play edition)
- Twitter: Troy Denning status update #879779858393440256