Sergeant Major Avery Junior Johnson was undoubtedly the most badass soldier to live aside from the Master Chief Spartan 117.
Avery Johnson's behavior seems to be eccentric, often delivering outlandish speeches to boost the morale of those serving under him. However, as shown in Contact Harvest, when it came down to it, he was a no-nonsense NCO, who, although caring deeply for his troops, pushed them hard during training. He first came into our world back in 2001 with the release of HALO: Combat Evolved, where he delivered his most well known speeches.
"Men, we led those dumb bugs out to the middle of nowhere to keep 'em from getting their filthy claws on Earth. But, we stumbled onto something they're so hot for, that they're scrambling over each other to get it. Now I don't care if it's God's own anti-son-of-a-bitch machine or a giant hula-hoop; We're not gonna let them have it! What we will let them have is a belly full of lead and a pool of their own blood to drown in! Am I right Marines?!"
—Staff Sergeant Johnson
"Sir, yes sir!"
"Mmm-mmm! Damn right I am!"
—Staff Sergeant Johnson
He went on to become the Master Chief's best pal in Halo 2 and Halo 3. He also made appearances in Halo 3: ODST and other forms of media, and is also rumored to have a cameo in Halo: Reach, yet to be released.
Sergeant Johnson was born in 2470 and died in late 2552 at age 82. Despite his age, his body was physically much younger due to advanced medical technology and spending prolonged periods in cryo sleep when on long Slipspace jumps. He was also the only human to see the very beginning and the end of the Human-Covenant War. When he was assigned to planet Harvest in 2524 by ONI, he became the first human to engage members of the Covenant, and was present when the Prophet of Truth was killed on Installation 00.
Johnson enlisted in the UNSC Marine Corps when he was nineteen and was soon thrown into the Insurrection. His name was dubiously associated with dozens of black operations and programs, including assignment to the highly classified unit called ORION Project, which performed "enhancement" procedures on volunteer troops, who would later be referred to as SPARTAN-Is. Johnson was also known to have participated on missions codenamed TANGLEWOOD and KALEIDOSCOPE.
In 2524, Johnson participated in Operation: TREBUCHET, leading Alpha Squad of a platoon of NAVSPECWAR Marines alongside Staff Sergeant Nolan Byrne. Their squads used Hornets to conduct air assaults on multiple targets in efforts to eliminate Rebel bomb making factories. However, when a rebel (armed with a bomb) was cornered in a Jim Dandy restaurant, Byrne told Johnson to fire an M99 Special Application Scoped Rifle, (aka Gauss rifle), at an Insurrectionist holding a child hostage. Sgt. Johnson did not have a clear shot at the rebel, and his hesitation led to a civilian (the child's father trying to rescue his son) tackling the female rebel, who then detonated her explosives, which destroyed the Jim Dandy restaurant, along with all of the Marines in Byrne's squad (except Byrne himself), and thirty-eight civilians. Byrne would hold a great deal of animosity towards Johnson for quite some time as a result of this incident.
After the incident, Johnson came home and found his Aunt Marcille dead of natural causes, and soon went on a massive drinking binge. He started a brawl with bouncers at a Chicago club, and ended up in a gutter until he was found by Lieutenant Downs, a UNSC Marine Corps recruiter. He was re-assigned to planet Harvest by Jilan al-Cygni.
During the course of the Human-Covenant War he served on many planets including the siege of Paris IV. Afterward he was reassigned to Reach Station Gamma where he first met the Master Chief during the Battle of Reach.
Johnson has received three known medals in his service: The Medal of Honor, the Colonial Cross and the Purple Heart. Johnson was not awarded any medals during his time with the ORION detachment, due to the sensitive nature of its missions.
He also enjoyed Sweet William Cigars.
He was killed on Installation 04 (B) by The Monitor aka 343 Guilty Spark when he attempted to activate the installation before it was complete against the Monitor's wishes. Feeling threatened, the ancient and very insane machine shot Avery in the chest with his sentinel laser, mortally wounding him. Master Chief retaliated and killed the monitor with Johnson's Spartan Laser. The following is my written rendition of his final moments…
The door to the control room opened, the three heroes stood there, out of breath. Looking around the cavernous room, Master Chief and Cortana noted it was precisely the same as it was before. The 3D holo map of Halo in the center of the ring shaped platform showed bits of Halo that were still under construction. Advancing into the room, the hair rising gurgle and growl of more Flood could be heard behind them. As they turned to face the danger, the door sealed itself, and for the moment, all was quiet.
"Yank me Chief." Cortana said. Obediently, he pulled her AI chip from his helmet and looked toward Sergeant Johnson, the chip held in front of his face between them.
"I'm not gonna lose her too." He said. The Chief nodded and tossed the AI chip which Johnson caught with little effort. He turned and strode toward the control panel while Arbiter and the Chief covered the doorway.
As Johnson approached the panel, 343 Guilty Spark, the monitor zoomed in next to him, humming an arbitrary melody.
"Hmmmm, hmmm, hmmmm, OH! Hello!" he greeted cheerfully. "Wonderful news! The installation is almost complete."
"Terrific," Johnson humored the floating light bulb.
"Yes, isn't it?" Guilty Spark agreed, nodding as he floated along beside the Sergeant. "I have begun my simulations." They came to the control panel and Johnson began to look for a way to install Cortana.
"No promises, but initial results indicate this facility should be ready to fire… in just a few more days!"
"We don't have a few more days!" Johnson snapped.
"B-b-but… a premature firing will destroy the Ark!"
"Deal with it!" Johnson replied. He'd heard enough back sass from the damn machine. He had a mission and he intended to get it done ASAP.
"… Will destroy this installation…" The Monitor muttered, seemingly under his breath. Backing away from Johnson for a second, he seemed to come to a decision, and his body and central eye glowed red.
With a loud blast, the Monitor fired his sentinel laser at Johnson, who screamed and fell over as he was hit. Master Chief turned, his eyes widening behind his faceplate as Johnson fell, and the Monitor screamed with a frantic voice, "Unacceptable! UNACCEPTABLE! Absolutely UNACCEPTABLE!" The monitor turned and fired again, flooring Master Chief as he sprinted in their direction. "Protocol dictates action! I see now that HELPING YOU WAS WRONG!" Looking past the Chief, Guilty Spark fired at the Arbiter who was just stepping around the corner. This gave the Chief enough time to get to his feet. Taking a step forward, the Monitor hit him with a short burst that brought him back to his knees. He spoke again, and his color shifted back to blue.
"You are the child of my makers. Inheritor of ALL they left behind. You ARE Forerunner! But this ring… IS MINE!" Everything Guilty Spark said was laden with malice and with each word he moved closer, almost touching the Chief's helmet. Its behavior worried the Master Chief. As he stared into its central eye, it began to glow red again. Leaping to his feet, John backpedaled for his assault rifle and narrowly dodged another laser blast. Landing on his feet, he took aim, but had to dodge yet again, or risk being cooked inside his armor. Firing a burst at the Monitor, he watched as the 10 or so bullets he sprayed all found their mark but bounced off of his considerably strong Forerunner designed shield.
"I take no pleasure in what must be done!" The Monitor announced dutifully.
"This is a problem…" he muttered to himself and fired again, strafing to the right as the Monitor attempted another shot. Emptying his magazine, the Chief dodged another beam back to the left and began to reload reflexively, though it was obvious his bullets couldn't break through the Monitor's shield.
"You do not deserve this ring! It belongs to me! I have kept it SAFE!" As his mind raced and the Monitor charged another shot, the Chief saw Johnson rise up with his Spartan Laser.
"Not for long!" Johnson said and fired a shot at the Monitor. The hit caused Guilty Spark to sputter and fly off to let his shields recharge. Using the opportunity, John ran forward and knelt beside Johnson.
"Kick his ass…" Johnson coughed, handing Chief the Spartan Laser, and then collapsing. He wanted to help Johnson, but he had to finish off Guilty Spark first, and the Arbiter remained unconscious. Looking up, he spotted the Monitor coming in for another attack. Taking aim and charging the laser, he placed the reticule in his Heads Up Display on the Monitor and opened fire. A direct hit!
The monitor screeched, "Damage, DAMAGE!" and moved to hover over the control panel. That just made him an easier target for the Chief. He fired again, striking the monitor. This time Chief could see the damage being done. The monitor was flaking apart, it was almost unthinkable. He screeched something unintelligible and fired at John again, grazing his shields.
John fired one last shot from the Spartan laser mounted over his shoulder like a bazooka. The weapon bucked and a red beam sliced through the degraded floating ball before him. Screaming one final metallic note, 343 exploded in a shower of sparks and plasma. Checking the laser, the Master Chief realized its charge was depleted, and dropped it to the transparent floor of the Halo control room. Turning toward the form of his fallen friend, the Chief stepped forward and knelt beside Avery. Gingerly touching his shoulder, he rolled him onto his back.
Seeing he was still alive, the Chief said,
"I'm getting you out of here."
Avery groaned as his face contorted in pain. He looked up into the Master Chief's gold faceplate and shook his head.
"No… no you're not," Avery replied. Sitting up a bit more, he grasped John's hand and inhaled sharply. Contained within was Cortana's chip.
"D-don't… let her go." He said. "Don't ever let her go." With another groan, he gave his friend the Master Chief one last look and drew a final raspy breath.
"Send me out… with a bang." He whispered.
Leaning his head back, Sergeant Avery Johnson closed his eyes and his body went limp. The Chief grasped Cortana's chip in his hand and looked down at it. He remained there kneeling beside the corpse of his friend for a moment; just another one to add to the pile. He was filled with conflicting emotions, and an overwhelming sadness.
John stood and moved to the control panel. He held the chip out and a miniature hologram of Cortana appeared on the control panel. Looking back at him, the hologram of Cortana lowered her eyes and frowned.
"Chief... I'm so sorry." She whispered. Having been attached to him only a second ago, she knew how much pain he was in. As she spoke, he was no longer able to contain himself. Gripping her now empty chip a little tighter, for the moment that John 117 was alone in his helmet, he let a single tear fall. It was all he could muster for his last friend. As Cortana finished activating the index program, there was a low rumble as something deep within Halo activated. Taking Cortana back and placing her AI chip in his helmet, John turned away.
The sound of building energy could be heard growing louder, and it drowned the silence as a large blue beam of light manifested. As the sound intensified and Halo groaned with agony, he felt a new emotion surge up, rage. The anger grew within him much like the beam roaring behind him. Clenching his fists, Master Chief ran for the exit where the Arbiter waited. He would destroy any Flood standing in his way, and make it off this ring, just as he had done a year earlier.
On March 3, 2553, a picture of him was seen among the fallen on the Hillside Memorial.
Rest in Peace Avery, Rest in Peace. *Salutes*