Captain Jacob Keyes (SN: 01928-19912-JK) was a legendary naval officer and one of the most brilliant tacticians in the UNSC Navy. He commanded great respect as a highly skilled strategist and inspirational leader to those under his command. His many decorations, thirty-five years of combat experience against the Covenant, and the ability to keep a secret made him an almost natural choice to command the UNSC Pillar of Autumn and its most secret cargo. He could often be seen chewing the tip of his grandfather's pipe.
Overview & Background
Fall of Reach
- Main article: Fall of Reach
At Reach, Keyes was given an important mission by Rear Admiral Stanforth: to transport the SPARTAN super soldiers deep into Covenant space in order to capture a Prophet, who would then be used as ransom to end the Human-Covenant war. As part of this command, Keyes was given control over the UNSC Pillar of Autumn. Before the Autumn could leave Reach for slipspace, the Covenant attacked Reach. His mission scrubbed, Keyes offloaded most of the Spartans to the surface of the planet and sent three to Reach Station Gamma. He then tried to aid in the defense of Reach and even destroyed the Supercruiser flagship of the fleet (not to be confused with the Super Carrier that had already been destroyed by Noble Team just before the fleet arrived), but ultimately, his efforts were in vain. He could only pick up John-117 along with SPARTAN-058 and a handful of Marines from the station just in time to flee the pursuing Covenant.
- Main article: Battle of Installation 04
- “Whoever controls Halo controls the fate of the universe.”— Captain Keyes
The Pillar of Autumn's AI Cortana ended up navigating the vessel to Installation 04. They were once again assaulted and boarded by Covenant forces, and Captain Keyes told Cortana to lock in a selection of landing zones on the ring and to upload them to his neural interface. Keyes then assigned John-117 to protect Cortana and she became a valuable asset to him. Keyes locked in the codes and the Pillar of Autumn crashed on the ring. Keyes and the command crew of the Autumn managed to escape in a Bumblebee life pod, Kilo Tango Victor 17. During the descent, the Ossoona, Isna 'Nosolee was discovered to be lurking aboard by Keyes, and subsequently killed by the Captain. TBC...
Keyes was taken aboard the Covenant CCS-class battlecruiser, the Truth and Reconciliation. There, he was interrogated, tortured, and held prisoner in a holding chamber until John-117 and the ODSTs were able to rescue him with the help of Cortana. Combining what Keyes found out from what Cortana was able to hack from the Covenant Battlenet, they were able to figure out some of the truth about Halo. They were forced to commandeer a Spirit dropship, during their escape and Keyes piloted it out himself, even going so far as to ram two Mgalekgolo on the flight out for "a little payback."
Keyes then went to Alpha Base, taking command of the base from Major Antonio Silva briefly. He then took Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson, Fire Team Charlie and Second Squad to a facility they thought held a Covenant weapons cache. It turned out that the structure was one of the Halo's Flood Containment Facilities. Keyes and his Marines were ambushed by the Flood. During the ensuing firefight, an Infection Form latched onto his back and infected him.
Keyes observed helplessly as the form took over his body and attacked his mind. Originally, Keyes' body was a Combat Form, but the Flood, apparently realizing his importance, merged him and several other Combat Forms into a Proto-Gravemind. One of the tortures Keyes endured was having his memories ripped away one by one as the Flood tried to learn anything that would help attain new sources of food. The Flood hoped that his intelligence would help them to operate a damaged Covenant cruiser and escape the ring, but Keyes was able to fend it off by constantly accessing data that was permanently stored in his Command Neural Interface, while feeding it those of his memories that were not vital to the survival of humanity, such as his name, age, and service number (though definitely not anything that could lead to the thought of the location of Earth).
Keyes was often quite officious, overly formal and put the safety of the UNSC before his own personal safety, even going as far as to almost self-destruct the ship he was on so that the Covenant wouldn't find Earth. He was prepared and willing to give anything for Earth. He would often charge headlong into battle keeping a straight and calm face whether fighting alongside his men on the ground or in space. As a captain, Keyes expected the best from his Marines by maintaining their morale even through hopeless situations. This was seen when he silenced one Marine for panicking when there was no available escape route in the Truth and Reconciliation and when he angrily ordered Private Mendoza to resume his position when the latter was attempting to flee from their first encounter of the Flood. Keyes was also known to be fearless in most situations, as he refused to tell Zuka 'Zamamee about John-117, and even dared the Sangheili to kill him. He had a strong will as he prevented the proto-gravemind from discovering the location of Earth, when he was consumed by the Flood.
- On the Truth and Reconciliation mission in Halo: CE, Keyes will always first try to find a needler when rescued.
- The pipe that he uses has the Marathon logo on it.