A/N: Timeframe on this is a year before the Butcher's appearance.
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STG Report on Admiral Tradius Ahern, Commanding Officer, Systems Alliance
Senior Agent Jethoth to the STG Master
As requested, I've put together an initial briefing document covering everything we currently know regarding Sir Tradius Ahern, the most famous and lethal human combatant we know of. Ahern's reputation is known galaxy-wide, and the only reason he wasn't chosen as a Spectre was his own refusal to accept the job.
His recent command position, after years of languishing training command officers, indicates attitudes in Alliance Fleet Command towards him have changed.
As with all reports, by necessity, this document is not all inclusive with details, but instead provides high-order information that can be queried in depth at a later time. There are a staggering ninety-four subfile reports on Ahern – including fifteen alone from his actions in the Relay 314 Incident, eleven from his prospective Spectre operations, twenty two on assessments of officers he has trained, nine on tactics and strategy, and six that I apparently do not have clearance to see as they are all Dashan-Black.
This file is classified Setrus-Silver – and as with all politically sensitive reports, is also technically Virshan-Orange – and is the three hundred thirty-seventh file of this classification. This is the third iteration of this file since Ahern became widely known.
Caution : Read FIRST:
As usual, most if not all information on Ahern is based on four sources: existing historical accounts records, eye-witness accounts, extranet information, and accumulated scans and examinations. Under no circumstances can this file be assumed complete, and as always assume that this file is a baseline of his abilities, not a comprehensive coverage.
Ahern is one of, if not the most, complete combatants in the known galaxy. He is known for maintaining plans and preparations for almost any potential form of combat, and based on various STG intercept and other reports, is still considered by almost everyone as the single deadliest human alive.
Ahern has fought and survived things thought impossible – including two full-power orbital kinetic bombardments, a small-scale nuclear explosion that dropped him into a radiation-laden swamp, and a kill-team of assassins that tore apart multiple war priestess in combat. He has killed assassins and was present on the mission to Parnack, fighting off a yahg to get the diplomatic team back to safety.
Do not presume that Ahern can be taken lightly. Ahern has trained the vast majority of all Systems Alliance command officers, N7 specialist, and X7 senior Agents for the past eighteen years, and is almost certain to be far more proficient in combat that any STG cell.
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SIR TRADIUS BASTIAN AHERN, BARONET OF GLYOS IV, KUOE, DMKSA
Formal Titles: Admiral of the Red, Alliance Fifth Fleet Command, Knight Ultimate of the United Knights of Earth, Knight Militant of the Distinguished Merit Knighthood of the Systems Alliance.
Nicknames: Sol's Fist, Turian's Bane
Race: Human (minor bionetic/cybernetic modification)
Age and sex: 52, male. One child, deceased.
Wealth: Unlike most technical nobles in the Alliance, Ahern's wealth is extremely moderate. He owned a large home on Intei'sai (sold to Major-Commander Shepard before her death) and an alpha-tier suite of rooms in the Presidium close to Huerta Memorial Hospital. Aside from a collection of pre-Iron gunpowder weapons, he has no outstanding physical possessions, and his wealth is barely a couple of million credits.
However, given his ties to multiple people of vast wealth, it is likely that Ahern could lay hands on a much larger amount of money should the need arise. Given that he is owed a formal life-debt by the House of T'Armal, estimating a monetary value of such connections is difficult.
Psychological Summary: Ahern is fits squarely in the middle of the Pragmatic/Stubborn quadrant of heroic personality, quite the rarity in figures of high importance. Ahern refuses to become ultimately jaded while discarding idealism. His psychological profile indicates immense emotional stability and iron-like control of his negative emotions – he has never panicked in battle even when faced with completely overwhelming odds.
Ahern's only quirk appears to be his sincere belief that he literally cannot be defeated in battle. Then again, given the literal tens of thousands of enemies he has killed, this may not be a mental aberration.
Ahern has a love of profanity that is legendary, but this should not be taken as poor impulse or anger control.
Military Summary: Entered military service in his youth after local militia service on Earth. Tapped for officer program at early age; was one of the initial N7 selectees that survived the infamous EAGLE Incident. Second official N7 after David Anderson, took command of several Solguard units in Relay 314 incident, promoted to Commodore after Second Battle of Thanas. Promoted to Admiral after victory at Dalthos Fortress, pressed into Spectre program but declined to join fully. Spent next two decades training elite marine forces, N7's, and officers at Pinnacle Station before being tapped to command new Sixth Fleet – later changed to Fifth Fleet after promotion of Admiral Hackett. His tactical genius during the Geth War (see subfile 39848-y, Battle of Vensuas) broke the back of the primary Geth Fleet.
Education: Substandard education in youth due to lack of money. Extensive military education after, including tactics and strategy. Graduate of Alliance Naval War College and Officer Academy. Pursued independent education in weapons design, basic optronics, and (after the illness of his wife) genetic theory.
Employment: Alliance Admiral of the Red. Standing offers of service from House T'Armal and House Vasir. Standing offer of acceptance as a Council Spectre.
Significant Family: Ana Ahern, wife. One daughter, Amanda Ahern, deceased. Several siblings, deceased, one brother alive. One niece, Jenna Ahern, current in training as N4 on Earth, declared heir. Several distant cousins.
Overall Threat Rating: Black-Collapse Eight.
Much of Ahern's history is already widely known – the victories at Dalthos and at Thanas, saving the life of Thana T'Armal, killing the Freedom Coup,and so forth. Rehashing this provides little to no insight into the man himself – sub-files are available for all operations but are little more than a litany of him killing anything and everything in his path while cursing.
His own early history is surprisingly murky; his youth on Earth in the area of the planet known as Germany is almost a complete blank due to lack of records. His very early military career is also unremarkable, although agents were able to determine Ahern's rise actually came from his close liaisons with a daughter of an influential Senator. Becoming friends with Yonis Chu and other lower-ranked nobles and famous figures (he was a close ally of Grand Admiral Grissom) also aided in propelling his career.
Said career stalled when he decided to focus more on his family and newborn daughter than take up the mantle as humanity's first Spectre, which hard on the heels of the failure of David Anderson infuriated the Alliance military and government. He spent most of his career on the dead-end Pinnacle station training the next generation of Alliance leadership, which did not turn out to aid him in finding another assignment even as some of his pupils rose to high rank. Based on several comments, he seems to have liked this posting.
Ahern's wife was diagnosed with a genetic disorder that required dedicated medical care, which was instrumental in him agreeing to take command of the Fifth Fleet based out of the Citadel.
Ahern is one of the most highly decorated soldiers in the galaxy, much less the Alliance. He has won the Star of Terra twice, the Star of Sol three times, the asari Black Remembrance, the salarian Mark of Valor (the unfortunate Jandir Solus incident), and the Citadel Cross of Valor, along with a host of lesser awards.
Ahern is noted as being one of the few people to have defeated and/or killed multiple Spectres – defeated Saren in the Relay 314 Incident, defeating Spectre Halos Vakarian at the end of the Relay 314 incident, and killing the corrupt Spectre Yna Vasir during the assignation attempt on Thana T'Armal. He was also capable of fighting off the Deathwatch during the Relay 314 incident, in a battle the Blackwatch still considers one of their toughest fights.
Ahern, befitting his reputation, has easily deciphered and publicly stated motives. At the same time, the driving force behind these motives remains unknown. It is suspected but not proven that Ahern himself could not articulate why he holds said goals – they may be a byproduct of the stress of the Relay 314 incident.
His highest goal is the protection of the people of the Systems Alliance. He considers himself a soldier first and foremost and disdains both political influence and money, and does not (or cannot) be bothered to alter his personality to gain acceptance. He has been highly critical of some aspects of the Alliance and is generally non-political, and the human Commissariat considers him completely incorruptible.
(Given that the man once threw a senator's aide out of a nine-story window after a bribe attempt, 'incorruptible' is probably an understatement.)
Ahern is famous for refusing to succumb to what he tends to call 'crying' or weakness. Despite the brutal death of his daughter, the death of most of his family in the Relay 314 incident, and the slow collapse of his wife, Ahern remains unshakable in terms of dedication and demonstrates no signs of depression or disgruntlement.
Likewise he has proven very sanguine to the machinations of the Alliance, not complaining even once at being basically exiled to Pinnacle, nor at having to take command of a shredded Fifth Fleet that needed heavy retrofit and training to bring up to speed. While he certainly has criticisms of the Alliance and the military high command, these do not extend to how he is treated, rather their overall goals and modus operandi.
As stated in the opening, however, most psychological analysis does not explain why he holds to these positions and beliefs. It is possible that Ahern sees life in a simple fashion and considers himself doing what he was born to do.
Organizations and Affiliations:
Formally, Ahern's only affiliations are Alliance High Command and the requirements of his knighthood. Ahern's dual knighthoods and his own pair of Stars of Terra make him a low-ranked noble, although he has never taken the simple actions to elevate himself to Baron – although he has made sure his niece would be able to do so.
Curiously, Ahern still has an open invitation to join the ranks of Citadel Spectres, an offer he has declined thus far. He also has been offered to teach at the Alliance War College, which he has so far deferred, saying he would only do so when he got 'too old to kick ass'.
Aside from his Admiralty position, Ahern was for years the primary go/no go approver of high military officers in the Alliance – every officer that rose to flag rank was required to be trained in combat, tactics, and strategy by Ahern.
Ahern has also participated in training Spectres, a handful of turian specialists, ans even a few STG agents through an exchange program.
Tradius Ahern is one of the most complete fighters in known history, only exceeded by powerful figures like Praetor Thranxansis. A complete listing of all known tactical positions is beyond the scope of this document – see the numerous sub-files for fleet, small scale space, and strategic command tactics.
No documentation can stress this strongly enough – Ahern is constantly prepared for battle and will almost certain have tactics to counter any attack.
Ahern believes the most powerful tool in any warrior's arsenal is training, and has brutally pushed himself to master very nearly every single known form of combat, from over thirty martial arts styles and shooting stances to studying alien combat philosophy. He has spent at least ten hours a week in the shooting range since he was in his twenties.
Ahern's primary weapons of choice are a customized Saber rifle (double-barreled, see subfile 4582392-M, identical to rifles used by Preston Kyle, Rachel Florez, and Yonis Chu, purchased as a set) and a custom-designed ODIN combat shotgun built by the late Sara Shepard. The latter is very dangerous as it is fully automatic and capable of killing even krogan.
He also uses a modified Manur sniper rifle and an Acolyte pistol. Multiple grenades and a variety of other trap-weapons are also commonly used. Ahern disdains all heavy weapons such as squad machine guns.
It is believed he may have a neural smartlink implanted in his hand linked to sensors in his armor, but this has not been confirmed. Ahern will use a fortified but otherwise normal set of light Onyx armor for most fights, and modified Terminator armor for heavy fights.
Ahern is an extremely good battle-suit pilot and has a customized suit of AGAMEMNON class armor for his use, paired with a gift from the Asari Union, a cut-down version of the Adept Rail cannon set into the shoulder mount. Ahern has refused to allow the Alliance to study the weapon, stating it was a gift of trust.
I should not even have to point out that engaging Ahern in this battle-suit is tantamount to suicide without the proper countermeasures (a unit of Shieldbreakers and preferably an orbital strike or six.)
Specific Tactical Methods, Ground Combat:
Keep in mind there is no 'safe' range to engage Ahern at, except perhaps from orbit. Then again, he has taken down a ship that was orbitally bombarding his unit.
Long range: At long range, Ahern will rely on heavy cover, sniping (usually with omni-drone spotter) and traps. Ahern is usually content to allow an enemy to set the range, as he is comfortable with them all, but will not let them close range until they have been harried, frustrated and weakened if possible. Ahern's sniping method is mostly salarian style, with a focus on chipping away at kinetic barriers and combination shots with various ammo types.
Ahern will use grenades as well, but only to destroy possible cover and further narrow enemy approach tactics, or to generate cover and concealment for his own use, such as with smoke grenades.
Ahern's fondness for booby traps and ambush tactics at long range is a holdover from his tactics during the Relay 314 Incident, and he is known to combine such traps with terrain – setting off landslides and the like. Ahern is also highly competent at using 'natural' cover and camouflage, including setting fires and exploiting dangerous terrain to corral a foe.
Generally speaking, if he can strike from surprise, Ahern will go for kill shots – if not, he will go for crippling shots or even damage to weapons. Ahern prefers lighter weapons at long range, eschewing the use of heavy ordinance as it slows him down and clearly marks his position for counter-fire.
Medium range: Ahern rarely closes range, but after weakening a foe will allow them to close with him, taking potshots at them and keeping them off balance.
He switches to a mix of heavy suppression fire, flanking, and grenade use at this range, seeking to control an enemy's lanes of advancement and deny them cover while forcing them to react without time to plan. It should be noted that Ahern's fire at medium range is exquisite, and he is fully capable of head shots at this range.
Ahern will continue to utilize booby traps and other delaying tactics even as he does this, often combined with info-war techniques and psychological attack tactics, such as taunting and feigning being injured.
Grenades at this range are a serious threat as well – Ahern will use them to flush enemies from cover and deny them advancement, as well as cripple or wound targets of opportunity. Ahern does not rely solely on explosives – he is fond of anti-biotic grenades, as well as various plasma and EMP types.
Short range: Short and melee ranges are problematic for enemies. Ahern's marksmanship at such close ranges is basically flawless, and after having harried an enemy to a state of near breaking will often finally close in to perform a quick execution.
If the fight is held at short range, Ahern will rely on shotgun blasts and bursts of fire. Grenades will be replaced by flash-paks, and used to disorient and stun, allowing Ahern to either finish a target with shotgun blasts or move into melee range.
Ahern is a grand master martial artist, fully capable of holding his own against humans half his age and twice his size. He will combine all manner of martial arts (both human and non human) into a pattern that is often difficult to block or avoid, and will freely use kill moves. Keep in mind that Ahern has engaged almost every kind of opponent – including a yahg – in melee combat, and is very unlikely to be defeated in such a fight.
Ahern does not typically use melee weapons, but is very talented with an omni-blade and at throwing knives.
Warning Advisory: Words alone do not describe the smooth pattern of Ahern's advance or the almost casual method in which he can (and has) dispatched even multiple enemies in combat. Footage obtained by STG cells working in Alliance space have recordings of him literally humiliating opponents – from humans like Dragunov, Shepard and Delacor to Spectres and other alien nationals going to him for training.
Ahern was able to hold his own for more than fifteen minutes in a friendly match against Praetor Fedorian in an exhibition bout at the end of the Relay 314 incident, and the fight was declared a draw. Any human who can fight equally with a turian Praetor is nothing any STG team needs to be attacking with weapons below orbital bombardment or local nuclear device.
Ahern is beginning to age, but maintains an extremely healthy physique for a human. His strength is fairly high in human terms, as is his stamina.
It is believed that his right leg and portions of his spine were cybernetically enhanced after injuries taken in combat, and most of his arm and leg muscles were upgraded with bionetic materials some years ago.
Ahern's durability is legendary, as is his pain tolerance. Ahern has cultivated (though exposure) immunity or at least resistance to most forms of riot suppression and crowd-control weapons and gasses, and has been direly wounded enough times that he can fight effectively even with serious wounds.
Ahern's eyesight and hearing are excellent for humans, and his reflexes are very nearly salarian level. While his speed in striking and aiming is remarkable, his movement speed is somewhat lacking. He has shown a surprising level of 'battle awareness' and attacks from stealth are unlikely to succeed at close range.
Ahern, when entering into serious combat, usually wears customized Terminator armor that further augments his strength and durability. This armor has been heavily altered to include (among other features) heat signature suppression, vibration suppression in the feet, and onboard medical support.
Mental and Psychological Notes:
Ahern's intellect has been measured at 128 on the asari/human scale – generally above average, but not a genius. Intellectually, however, his mind is given over to very careful and complete strategic, tactical and preventative thinking and planning. He is a logical thinker with direct lines of reasoning, typically not bothering with deception or the like, although he is good at picking up lies and concealments.
Detailed analysis of his thought process is difficult to extrapolate, as Ahern not only publicly projects a brash, non-authoritarian persona but rarely explains his reasons for given actions.
Given the number of losses in his life, Ahern remains extremely mentally stable. The death of his only child was, however,a blow he has perhaps not recovered from – Ahern's combat speed and skill seem to have slipped following the incident, while his tendency to go for kill shots rather than subdue enemies has risen. While Ahern has made no public statements, he personally responded to an attack on the station manned by his niece with every marine he could lay hands on – it is likely attacks against the niece will draw an enraged response.
Ahern has displayed a curious lack of empathy for the suffering of others, which may or may not be slightly pathological. Our current models suggest his mental endurance is rather brittle and would collapse completely upon the death of his wife or niece.
Ahern has a tendency to either generate intense loyalty or outright hate in those he interacts with, but he rarely if ever makes gestures of open friendship. Many of the officers he has trained hold him in high regard, even such generally anti-social figures as Dragunov and Shepard before her death.
He has very few allies in the Alliance political arena, but they are very potent – House Chu, one of the High Families of Sol, has always supported him, as have (in lesser amounts) Houses Kyle, von Grath, Anderson, and House Dreschner.
The descendants of Jon Grissom also have been supportive. Sheila Adkins-Callis, whom Ahern had a romantic relationship with early in life, is also supportive, as is her father, Senator Adkins.
Ahern maintains few links with alien figures of any kind. He has a friendly if somewhat distant relationship with the turian Primarch (one of the few turians Ahern respects), and a long friendship with Tela Vasir that he values highly.
Curiously, despite his antipathy towards most of Alliance High Command (particularly Admiral Branson), he remains on excellent terms with a few other admirals, particularly Hackett and Mikhailovich.
Political and Social Notes:
The human Commissariat ranks Ahern at the highest level of loyalty, and he is technically nobility. Despite that, and his high rank, Ahern is sternly apolitical. He has not voted in over two decades and, in what few interviews he has given, indicated he dislikes the concept of being politically active, as his job is to execute policy, not make it.
That being said, some of Ahern's views – particularly his distrust of the Citadel Council, his dislike of groups such as Blue Stars No More and Westwatch, and his open disdain for intelligence and 'spy work' has rubbed off on a number of officers he has trained, and increasingly Alliance Blue is parroting his opinions.
This has had the effect of making him even more circumspect in public about what he says.
Ahern has a noted love of profanity, rising to memetic levels in Alliance space. Despite this seeming poor anger management, STG believes this to be more of an affectation.
Ahern has made extremely bold statements urging the complete destruction of the Batarian Empire and is even more xenophobic towards batarians than most humans, most likely due to the death of his daughter.
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The following advisories are considered mandatory reading.
Combat of any kind is not recommended. While Ahern is in most aspects simply a normal if highly skilled human, his combat capabilities cannot and should not be underestimated. Ahern has killed more enemies than some armies, and even orbital bombardments have failed to kill him.
If assassination is required, the heavy use of third party elements is strongly recommended – either dedicated assassins such as Remembrance Dancers or rogue asari war priestesses would be the most likely to succeed. Conventional strike teams will most likely fail – two cabals attempted and failed to kill Ahern in the Relay 314 Incident, and even a heavily cybernetically upgraded krogan was unable to kill him in the attempt on Thana T'Armal's life.
Psychological warfare is recommended. Despite the fact that it would enrage Ahern, if he must be taken out strikes to kill his wife, niece and brother should be strongly considered. It is likely such would destroy Ahern's mental stability. For obvious reasons, deniable third-party assets should be used for this if required.