|«||I am - we together are - determined to change the status quo. Ever since our legitimate government was overthrown, we have waited for such a day. Thanks in part to you and, of course, our British friends over all these years, we are much closer to being able to do that.
Nikos Panagopolous following his rescue by Corporal Ben Kerry
Also known by his codename as Strawman, Nikos specialised in dealing with weapons contraband, and possessed business ties to arms smugglers throughout the Mediterranean.
Remnants of War (2034)
He was host to a meeting with the local villagers, not long before the government's troop surge commenced. The exact nature of his discussion with the villagers however, remains unclear.
The East Wind (2035)
Following the AAF's sudden attack against the remnants of TF Aegis, the leader of the survivors, Captain Scott Miller, arranges a meeting with Nikos after the ragtag survivors begin to run short of ammunition and supplies.
Nikos: Took you long enough. We were just about to leave.
Nikos meets with the survivors of TF Aegis
One of the squads, designated Alpha, links up with Nikos under the cover of darkness at a small hill overlooking the village of Agios Cephas.
Though they arrived late, Nikos begins to negotiate a deal with the Americans over remaining supplies at the nearby LZ Connor. Before they could finalise their deal however, loud explosions can be heard and to both sides' horror, are coming from Connor itself.
|«||Conway: What the hell? Holy shit! That's Connor!
Nikos: Shit. We need to go. Now! Move!
Nikos immediately heads to LZ Connor
Startled by sudden explosions and a plume of smoke clearly visible from afar, Nikos leaves the Americans and immediately rushes off into his car. In his haste, they drive headlong into an AAF ambush which causes the death of his assistant and forces Nikos to escape on foot.
Unfortunately for him, the AAF were quicker and intercepted Nikos before he could escape. He is immediately detained and held at Camp Tempest under heavy guard; though at the time this fact was unknown to the NATO survivors. The soldiers of TF Aegis had only discovered his wrecked car with the dead assistant slumped over, and Nikos nowhere to be seen.
One month after his capture, the current FIA commander, Kostas Stavrou, immediately begins to arrange plans for Nikos' rescue after his whereabouts are discovered by information from an AAF defector called Orestes and Captain Miller (who had already been covertly assisting the guerillas for some time). With the help of an American survivor from TF Aegis, Corporal Ben Kerry, the guerillas return to Stratis to free Nikos from his captivity.
Kerry's team launched diversionary attacks to draw AAF/CSAT troops away from Camp Tempest, while Miller's team of operatives infiltrated the camp to locate Nikos. After a brief struggle, Nikos is finally freed by Miller's team and is brought back to the main FIA encampment at Topolia.
|«||American, come - please - walk with me now. My name is Nikos Panagopoulos and, from what I hear, I owe you a debt of gratitude. The situation has now changed. I will let Commander Stavrou share the details but, let me say, it is good news.
Nikos personally thanks Kerry for his rescue
Personally debriefed by Stavrou, Nikos' return is joyfully celebrated by the guerillas and he brings back even better news - NATO were planning a full-scale invasion of Altis in retaliation for the AAF's attack against TF Aegis. With the information corroborated by Miller (who was not personally present during his return), the guerillas plan a large-scale offensive against AAF-held regions at the nearby towns of Therisa, Poliakko, and the AAC airfield in anticipation of NATO's arrival.
The operation commences in full swing with the guerillas easily seizing their objectives and overrunning the AAF in all locations. What the guerillas (and Nikos) had not expected, however, was for NATO forces to open fire on their positions - the ensuing attacks leading to the death of Stavrou.
Luckily for the guerillas, Kerry is able to contact the NATO invasion force and arranges to have them cease fire on their positions. Meanwhile, Nikos had assumed command of the FIA by order of rank and became its leader with his friend's death. Despite their setback, Nikos is able to regroup the scattered rebels and regains command. Through Kerry, Nikos was able to maintain amicable (but nonetheless uneasy) relations with the NATO invasion force.
|«||Nikos: American, it's Nikos.
Kerry: Nikos? Shit, man, it's good to hear from you!
Nikos: Listen, there's little time. Our brothers are engaging those gunships. They're close to you. On my order, they'll assist you as needed.
Nikos contacts Kerry to assist in retaking Neochori
When NATO lines at Neochori suddenly came under assault and were almost overrun during a large CSAT counteroffensive, he immediately ordered his men to assist the Americans in taking back their positions. With Kerry's help, the guerillas were also able to seize an AAF depot and destroy a CSAT anti-aircraft battery overlooking the main airport, which was fundamental to NATO's success in capturing it hours later.
|«||Listen to me: yes, we are certain. NATO is hitting Pyrgos. You must do something!
Nikos desperately tries to get Kerry to cease NATO's bombardment on Pyrgos
However, during their siege on the capital Pyrgos, NATO forces inadvertently begin shelling entrenched AAF positions in the city, with many civilians still trapped between the two sides. Through Kerry, Nikos manages to get them to halt artillery bombardment to avoid further destruction and collateral damage.
Days later, the AAF are on the brink of defeat as NATO/FIA forces continue to capture several key cities while neutralising the bulk of the AAF's assets. Georgious Akhanteros finally caves in and agrees to an unconditional surrender with both NATO and the rebels.
Post-The East Wind
|«||Cole: Good afternoon, Mr. Panagopoulos. I'm Mark Cole from AAN. Do you have a second?
Nikos: Oh, yes, of course. My thanks, Ben. Welcome to my homeland, Mr. Cole. There is much to discuss.
AAN News journalist Mark Cole arranges an interview with Nikos
With Akhanteros' rule overthrown and the hardline AAF dismantled, the status quo on the island nation was finally restored. Nikos was quickly assigned the office of Minister for Defense, but six weeks later announced the start of his official campaign tour to become elected as president of the nation.
|«||We have inherited a country in crisis, a broken nation with little hope. We must make pragmatic choices, or face defeat. Yet, with courage, we will find our apex.
Nikos' first official statement to the media as president of the Republic of Altis and Stratis
Nikos was easily able to achieve victory in a landslide election, and found himself responsible with working to repair the country's extensive damage to its infrastructure.
His first task was the signing of a joint peacekeeping deal between NATO and CSAT. Following the deal, his second priority was establishing friendly relations with countries from both alliances in order to restore the nation's floundering economy, which had suffered extensively from Akhanteros' mismanagement and the five-year long insurgency.
Personality and Appearance
Nikos is an Altian male with a completely bald head of hair and a medium moustache. While serving undercover with the FIA, Nikos' usual garb consisted of a mixture of clothes ranging from worn-out AAF officer fatigues and brown pants, or a mud brown hunter's jacket mixed with a yellow shirt and jeans.
As president of the country however, Nikos donned a more formal attire that consisted of a bright violet-coloured business shirt with rolled-up sleeves, a striped white/blue tie, and black pants.
|«||I don’t need to tell you how important he is to our cause, brothers. Not only is he the lynchpin of our supply network, he’s the one man that truly unifies our cause.
Kostas Stavrou describing Nikos' fundamental existence as part of the FIA
Whereas Stavrou stood for the armed might of the FIA, Nikos represented its human and political side and was more of a businessman rather than a military strategist. At the same time, he was fundamental to the group's existence, and served as the "glue" that held the rebel movement together; the very reason for bringing its fight against Akhanteros' rampant corruption.
Despite his slightly cryptic personality, Nikos held a much more laidback attitude compared to Stavrou, and easily made friends with many in the organisation. He quickly took a liking to Kerry for his resourcefulness; despite the latter's obvious reasons for staying with the rebels initially (as he had nowhere else to turn after the attack), and over time developed a friendship with the American following the conflict.
- Upon release of the campaign's first episode, Nikos' voice actor sounded completely different and was higher pitched. This was carried over into the second episode but was eventually changed in Game Update 1.14 following the release of the third and final episode for unknown reasons.
- The "clothing" for Nikos' original model still exists in the game and can even be placed in the editor. The model is not designed to be used with any other identities except for Nikos' however, and is unique for featuring heavily tattooed arms, a pair of sunglasses (which cannot be "worn" or removed), as well as a cigarette hanging above the left ear.
- Like Akhanteros, Nikos' original background details and appearance in the pre-Alpha iterations of the ArmA 3 storyline were quite different to his canon timeline counterpart.
- He was a part of a large network of smugglers and traffickers operating on the outskirts of Iranian-occupied territories in the Aegean. These networks mostly consisted of local criminal gangs using a general shortage of supplies to run a grey economy on Limnos (the former name of Altis before the setting was changed). This network spanned from Chalkidiki on mainland "New Greece" (a puppet nation established by the Republic of Iran) to the Turkish coast as well as Crete.
- Intended to be an exclusively for-profit arms dealer, his allegiance to both CTRG and the FIA was driven purely by greed rather than morality or any political views.