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« You think you've done the right thing!? You think you're the hero!? You're naive! You're blind... Nothing is binary; everything is connected. Shades of grey and spatters of blood.
Mark Reynolds
»


Mark E. Reynolds is a main character and the antagonist of the Operation Black Gauntlet campaign for ArmA 2.

Background

Reynolds is a team coordinator working for the ION Services private military company. He went by the radio callsign of Stranger.

Graduating from Yale University in 1998 with a degree in Modern Middle East Studies, Reynolds was picked up by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to serve as a field operative, and was assigned to the European mainland.

In a series of disagreements with his superiors regarding ongoing operations in the Green Sea region however, Reynolds was ultimately led to a forced reassignment.

He was demoted and was repositioned to the Atlantic island nation of Sahrani in 2006, which was largely considered to be a political backwater at that point.

Sahrani Conflict (2006)

His new post in the South remained mostly uneventful until May 2006. Having spotted clear warning signs of the North mobilising its army to invade the south, Reynolds immediately alerted his station chief but was ignored completely.

Having gone unheeded, the North does conduct its full-scale invasion of the South just as the majority of U.S. Army troops on the island leave. Though he had been ignored initially, Reynolds' skills as an intelligence gatherer were vindicated by the incident. As a result, this helped immensely in his attempt to reclaim his former (and more relevant) post within the agency.

Post-Sahrani Conflict

In March 2009, Reynolds was once again promoted back to the position of field operative. His new responsibility was to hunt down a well-known arms dealer and weapons supplier for a Chernarussian insurgent group that called itself the "ChDKZ".

Reynolds also supplied critical intel that preceded the U.S. intervention in Chernarus. His successful extraction of both the arms dealer (with the help of Czech special forces) and notorious ChDKZ warlord Mikola Bardak, would contribute to his promotion back to his former post.

His final assignment with the CIA saw Reynolds covertly investigate the incident involving the death of a top Chernarussian geologist in Karzhegistan on June 1st, 2010. It was during the last stages of the investigation that Reynolds came into contact and was headhunted by the South Carolina-based Black Element PMC.

When the investigation was fully concluded and the case closed, Reynolds left the CIA and opted to join the PMC in an official capacity, immediately becoming assigned as team coordinator.

Operation Black Gauntlet (2013)

In June 2013, almost a year after the U.S.-led invasion of Takistan and their subsequent withdrawal out of the region, the country has fallen into complete anarchy with rival warlords and anti-government groups all fighting the New Takistani Army (NTA) for control of the nation.

PMCs like Black Element (now renamed to ION Services) have begun to operate in the country to replace the security vacuum left by NATO's drawdown, with ION primarily operating out of their main base in Bandar-e Ghazmi and a less-secure post in the city of Zargabad, central Takistan.

For several months, Reynolds had been providing security for several aid organisations operating in the country. But on June 29th, a group of UN weapons inspectors were scheduled to arrive in the country after they received unconfirmed reports over the existence of a supposed nuclear program initiated by the former regime.

Assigned as coordinator overseeing their security detail, Team Sword, Reynolds was in charge of making sure that the UN weapons inspection team lead by Ivan Ruce would make it through the mission in piece.

« Right, that's enough: Tanny, cool it; Dickie, back down. We're approaching the LZ. Oh, and 'Poet' - that nickname? It's gonna stick.
Frost is assigned his new callsign
»

Reynolds' men first linked up with the inspectors arriving at the former U.S. airbase in Zargabad. During the meetup, the team comes under fire from militants hoping to raid the foreigners for their equipment. In spite of the ambush, the security team successfully defended the LZ and ensured that the investigators arrived safely.

While the inspection team got settled, Reynolds' immediate priority was to secure a factory complex on the outskirts of the city which was slowly being surrounded by unarmed protesters. Angry at their presence, the PMCs under his command were growing increasingly frustrated and were itching to open fire to scare them away (Patrick Dixon in particular).

« Shift them away from the compound - find a way; no blood, boys.
Reynolds
»

Reynolds gave them strict orders to remain non-lethal and a few minutes later, subordinate Brian Frost disperses the crowd successfully with smoke grenades. Reynolds then updated them with new orders; the inspection team had come through with the location of a contact, a former scientist who had been involved in Takistan's nuclear program. They were to escort Ruce and his team to the scientist's location the next day, which was a house somewhere within Zargabad.

The city itself however, had become an increasingly hostile environment with insurgents lurking on every street corner and house. The NTA were also planning to conduct a sweep of the city in an ongoing counterinsurgency operation, which further complicated their mission.

« Reynolds: Dr. Ruce, it's your call: do we fall back until tomorrow?
Ruce: With respect, there may not be a tomorrow for our contact...
Reynolds: Understood, doctor. But we can only protect you, not fight a war for you.
Reynolds reaffirms Ruce's commitment to locating the contact
»

Reynolds' men carefully proceeded through the city, disabling IEDs and eliminating insurgents along the way. They eventually reach the contact's location, and the scientist is revealed to be called Abdul Mussawir Ghafurzai. But before Abdul can be dragged back to their vehicle, their position is suddenly hit by artillery and Reynolds' men are scattered.

Reynolds' men manage to rendezvous with him and the inspection team, but one of his subordinates is found to have fallen in the hasty retreat. Despite being sympathetic with his loss, Reynolds nonetheless pushed forward with their mission. Ruce insisted to Reynolds that they proceed with heading to the actual site of the program, a facility known only as "OKB-754".

Boarding their vehicles, Reynolds opts to stay behind to continue his discussions with the NATO authorities, while assigning Team Sword with the responsibility of guarding the inspection team. He also manages to secure clearance for the team to pass on through to the city of Nasdara in central Takistan.

Though the inspectors reach the site intact, and the PMCs set up a temporary overnight camp while they carry on with their work, the team informs him that they were under fire from drones operated by unknown hostiles. Knowing full well that a rival organisation was trying to assassinate the inspectors, Reynolds orders Team Sword to immediately return fire, with the safety of the inspectors being of utmost priority.

As morning arrived, the team again came under attack by a large force of insurgents, seemingly in a coordinated attempt to stop the inspection team. Reynolds informs the team that he was inbound in a helicopter and was ready to provide fire support for the beleaguered mercenaries. Thanks to his assistance, the insurgents are wiped out and the inspection team is ready to return to Zargabad, with evidence of an actual nuclear program having been found at OKB-754.

« Nobody knows that better than me, Poet. We're almost done here; the contract is almost complete. We return to Zargabad. We can't risk another air control problem; Team Shield will move in convoy with the investigators. Team Sword will provide protection from the ground. Team Spear will provide air cover.
Reynolds
»

The road back to Zargabad was guaranteed to be perilous, so Reynolds personally opted to board the same vehicle as the inspectors while assigning Frost (who was the only other qualified aviator in the team) as pilot of the helicopter. They began making their way back to Zargabad and as Reynolds expected, they came under pursuit by insurgents the entire way.

« This is Sword. Good news. The Americans have agreed to clear out point Pemberly. Just keep her steady and enjoy the show.
Reynolds
»

Fortunately however, Reynolds negotiations with the U.S. commanders in the area had proven to be fruitful. He managed to arrange for air support to be brought in and with its support, the route to Zargabad is cleared for them to proceed through safely.

Hours later, back at an undisclosed location on the outskirts of Zargabad, Reynolds is contacted by an unknown client hoping to "enlist" his services. They had arranged for a better deal to Reynolds directly, and were willing to pay him far more than the inspection team had offered thus far but with one caveat; the evidence had to be returned to them in one piece and the inspectors were to be silenced.

« The situation has changed. The materials are safe; they're with me.
Reynolds
»

Reynolds reveals that he had stolen the nuclear materials that the inspectors had retrieved from OKB-754, and was enroute back to their base in Zargabad in order to safely bring it out of the country. The inspectors on the other hand, were a liability and should they be able to expose the "truth", then the entire world would plunged into chaos. They had to be stopped no matter the cost; even if it meant gunning down every last one of them to do so.

« The lives of a few investigators are nothing compared to the consequences... We're talking major economic meltdown. 2008 is dwarfed by this - we're talking Wall Street Crash, here. Deep depression: millions thrown out of work; protests, starvation, riots in the street - extremist politics from the left and the right.
Reynolds attempts to justify killing the inspectors
»

The members of Team Sword are visibly shaken by Reynolds' revelations, but only Dixon is able to see through his deception and vows to put a stop to Reynolds.

With one member already having become his "enemy", Reynolds appeals to Frost and rookie Henry Asano to follow through with his plans instead. Knowing that Asano was naive and greedy enough to obey, the only other unknown variable was Frost. Frost was still distraught from all the chaos that followed Radcliffe's death however, and unsurprisingly became an easy target to his lies.

« Well, well - you've surprised me, boys. I thought you'd stick together. You know what needs to happen now; you know what needs to be done.
Reynolds
»

Frost ultimately opts to side with Reynolds and opens fire on Dixon. Reynolds informs them that Ruce's convoy was on its way back to Zargabad to expose news of the program to the world. To stop them, Reynolds had provided them with disguises to cover up their identities as anti-government insurgents and were to ambush the convoy with lethal force; leaving absolutely no survivors.

Post-Operation Black Gauntlet

Having succeeded with their "task", Reynolds congratulates the duo and prepares to make his official statements to the company on the incident. The attack is blamed on the insurgents, while Dixon is explained to have died "heroically" while protecting the inspectors.

Reynolds soon returns the nuclear material back to its owners: the Chinese government. Having been paid handsomely for his "clean" cover up, the truth behind Takistan's nuclear program will remain forever hidden to the world.

He continues to serve with the PMC as senior team coordinator to this day.

Personality and Appearance

Reynolds is a white male in his late thirties with short, dark mud brown hair and a faint moustache. He always wore a Bowman tactical headset to communicate with his subordinates at all times, and preferred an all-black getup consisting of a Combat Integrated Releasable Armor System (CIRAS) body armour vest, sleeved shirt, and jeans. On occasion, he also opted to don a pair of JoeyX sunglasses with lime green lenses.

On the outside, Reynolds appeared to be a strict figure who prioritised the integrity of the mission at all times. He commanded with conviction and professionalism, and was looked upon by his subordinates as a respected leader who always followed through with pragmatic plans to minimise losses whenever possible.

« Hundreds of thousands - millions - of people will be caught up in this. Families torn apart; lives wrecked; economies ruined. Extremist politics entrenched in beating heart of once liberal governments. And why? Because you're naive. Just ignorant squaddie runts, incapable of greater thought. I'm just a cog, a piece of a machine that is going to crush you.
Reynolds' angry rebuke in the alternate ending of Operation Black Gauntlet
»

In actuality however, he was an avaricious and manipulative liar who used pragmatic excuses to prey on others to follow in his lead; a good example being the morally-confused Brian Frost. Reynolds was not afraid to use guile and treachery to achieve his ambitions, and was not above employing force (if necessary) to "remove" anyone that attempted to get in his way either.

However, Reynolds always steered well away from getting directly involved in any overt matters, and held no loyalties to anyone but himself. As proven in his interactions with the members of Team Sword, Reynolds ensured that nothing criminal could be traced back to him. Only puppets like Frost and Asano were exploited and if they became liabilities, would be quickly disavowed and discarded without a moment's delay.

Trivia

  • Both on the website for ArmA 2: Private Military Company and his in-game character profile, Reynolds is inconsistently stated to have graduated from Yale in 2003 despite his canonical graduation (and CIA recruitment) date occurring in 1998 according to the official timeline.
  • Reynolds is unique for being the only character in ArmA 2 who serves both as an ally and as an antagonist for the campaign that he appears in; though it should be noted that in this case, the protagonist was unwittingly made to work alongside him (eventually).
  • Both he and John Wicks from Armed Assault's mercenary campaign share similar character archetypes and strict personalities.
    • However unlike Wicks, Reynolds favours material wealth over morality, and is more than willing to lie in order to cover up anything with questionable motives behind them. Wicks on the other hand, valued the preservation of the truth behind their mission; even though he ended up perishing as a result.

Gallery

See also