- "Guns and bombs don't kill people. Clever scientists who want to build a better method of destruction kill people - lots of them. Most of my Gears couldn't make anything more lethal than a blade or a bow. So you'll forgive me if I think it stinks that my Gears get your "baby-killer" crap and your educated colleagues get research grants. And that's before you start inventing other shit you can't control."
- —Victor Hoffman, during a frank exchange with a student at La Croix University four years before E-day
Colonel Victor Hoffman ES SM was a Gear officer and the Chief of Defense Staff of the Coalition of Ordered Governments during the Locust War and former Director of Special Forces, answering only to Chairman Richard Prescott. Hoffman hated being promoted so high, preferring to remain a frontline Gear. He is a battlefield commander, and has fought alongside his fellow Gears in the Pendulum Wars, the Locust War, and the Lambent Invasion. A military man to the core, Hoffman demands discipline and sacrifice from those under his command. Hoffman's strict adherence to these ideals has caused him to cross swords with Marcus Fenix. He made his reputation with the Siege of Anvil Gate, and later further increased it with the Battle of Aspho Fields. During the Locust War, Hoffman became the Chief of the COG Defense Staff by being the only high-ranking officer to remain alive, and led the COG Army for most of the Locust War. He planned the Lightmass Offensive and Operation: Hollow Storm, and did his best to hold the COG together with Prescott after moving to the island of Vectes after the sinking of Jacinto. There he resumed a relationship with Bernadette Mataki, and led the COG army against the Stranded Insurgency and Lambent Pandemic. When Prescott abandoned the COG, Hoffman briefly led the government with Cpt.Quentin Michaelson and Commander Miran Trescu. However, they could not hold the COG together against the Lambent and it fell apart, with several groups scattering across the planet. Hoffman led a group consisting of Bernie, several dozen Gears, and several thousand civilians to the isolated Anvil Gate to try and survive.
Early Life and Career
- "You're going to be an officer, Hoffman. No fraternization with the ranks. It's time to stop seeing that Islander woman."
- —Major Ross Hollend, telling Staff Sergeant Victor Hoffman to stop seeing Bernadette Mataki after he was accepted into late-entry officer training
During the Pendulum Wars, Hoffman began his career as a NCO. He had his first serious date with a woman named Nina Kladry, whom he tried to convince that a grunt could be as high-minded as any officer by taking her to museums. He later met and became good friends with Bernadette Mataki. The two of the dated for a time, but Major Ross Hollend told him to break up with her after he was accepted for late-entry officer training. He later met a lawyer name Margaret while she was working on an inquiry for the Defense Department. He impressed her with his honesty when she asked him several questions, and the two soon began dating and eventually married.
Siege of Anvil Gate
Assigned to Anvil Gate
- "I didn't want to look too civilized."
- —Hoffman, after Sander's saw he had shaved his head bald
Soon after his wedding in 17 B.E., Hoffman was stationed at the Anvil Gate garrison in the town of Anvegad in Kashkur for a seven-month tour, serving as the second-in-command to Captain Ranald Sander. He was in command of Connaught Platoon, 26th Royal Tyran infantry. He wrote several letters to Margaret describing the city and how much he missed her. During the first week of Rise, he decided to shave off his thinning hair, and then reported to Sander in the signals office. His CO was surprised by his new look, and handed him a stack of messages for the Gears stationed at the fort to sort through while he kept trying to raise command. After he finished checking who had received messages, Sander invited him to come along for a drive around the outskirts of the town. As they drove, Hoffman asked Sander how his pregnant wife was doing, and Sander told him that the baby was due in five weeks. Hoffman suggested he put in for compassionate leave, and Sander told him he would. Sander then asked Hoffman how he had met Margaret, and Hoffman told him about the investigation she had been doing. Sander had Hoffman stop the ATV when they reached a cliff, and he got out to take photographs for future paintings. Hoffman smoked while he waited, and determined that he would give smoking up before he got back to Margaret, since she didn't like it. After Sander finished, Hoffman drove him back to the town, and then headed to hand out the messages that had arrived for the Gears. He found Pvt.Padrick Salton cooking in the main mess, and put the mail down in the center of a table. He settled in to eat with the rest of the company as they arrived in the mess hall, and listened to the news over the radio, and how the neighboring neutral country of Vasgar was about to suffer a political crisis. He noticed that the only Gear who did not have a letter from home was his platoon sergeant, Samuel Byrne, who was dating a local woman. Hoffman decided not to warn him off from getting involved with her, despite the fact it was frowned upon by the higher ranks.
Preparing for Battle
- "Go ahead. Although what a smart girl like that sees in you, I have no idea."
- —Hoffman, giving Samuel Byrne permission to marry his pregnant girlfriend
After the Union of Independent Republics occupied Vasgar, the fort began preparing for a possible invasion of Kashkur. Hoffman and Pad watched as a long line of trucks arrived in the city, carrying extra supplies that Sander had ordered just in case they came under attack. Hoffman and Pad discussed if the Indie's would make it that far into Kashkur, and Hoffman expected that they would. He was relieved that the COG wasn't going to go in to try and assist Vasgar, feeling that that would stretch the COG's resources too thin. He then went to check the overnight messages, and ran into Sheraya, Byrne's girlfriend and civilian liaison and translator for the garrison, talking to one of the truck drivers. She informed him that the flour delivery was low, but would be back to normal the next day. He thanked her for the information, and continued to the ops room. He found Sander there, waiting for the call from Captain Adam Fenix that the UIR had begun their invasion. Hoffman began sorting through the overnight messages, and informed Sander about the low flour delivery. After he finished, he returned to the ramparts, and was watching the plain in front of the fort when Sander contacted him, informing him that the invasion had started, and that they had permission to open fire when the spotted the enemy. Hoffman patrolled the town as the news spread, to make sure none of the civilians panicked, but found them still going about their lives calmly, unworried about the invasion. He then went to the mess, and found Pad and Byrne listening to the news and military nets. They told him that a major battle had begun in Shavad, where the rest of the 26th RTI was. He then asked Byrne how serious he was about Sheraya, and Byrne told him that she was pregnant. He gave him permission to marry her while deployed, and then continued to patrol the town.
Beginning of the Siege
- "Shit. The bastards have cut us off from the rest of Kashkur."
- —Hoffman, after Anvegad Pass is blocked by the UIR
Hoffman then went to join Sander in the observation post at the front of the fort. Sander informed him that the acting president in Vasgar was angry with the COG for cutting off the Imulsion supply. Hoffman considered it the first sane thing that any commander would do, which Sander agreed with. They both decided that too many people had grown too comfortable with the war. A few hours late, they heard several explosions and a loud rumbling sound, but saw nothing in front of them. Byrne then contacted them, and informed them it had come from the north of the fort, along the road. They headed over to look out at it, and saw that the landscape had changed significantly. The Anvegad Pass had collapsed, blocking the road. Hoffman ordered Pad to get his squad and check it out, and joined Carlile, one of the combat engineers, in an ATV to drive out to the pass. They met with Pad there, and he informed them that the entire road was blocked. Carlile looked at the cliff walls, and determined that this must have been done intentionally. Hoffman then realized that the fort had been cut off from the rest of the country, and all support.
An hour later, a King Raven arrived to help scout the damage, and Hoffman climbed to the top of the landslide to get a better look at the other side of the pass. The Raven pilot informed him that she saw no signs of infiltration in the area round the fort, and asked if they need any immediate assistance. Hoffman told her their phone lines were out and they had no way to move vehicles, but other than that, they were fine. As the Raven left, Hoffman climbed back down the rubble and met with Carlile, who was making plans to clear the pass. He told Hoffman he would need a Behemoth to clear it, which would need to come from HQ at Lakar, which was near Shavad. He also told Hoffman that it would take a long time to get the amount of explosives needed to close the path in place, meaning that whatever Indie forces that had done it had been around a long time. Hoffman walked back to the fort, where he found Sander meeting with Alderman Buyal Casani, the head of the town. He reported what Carlile had told him, and after Sander told Casani they would increase patrols and security, they began walking back to the garrison. Sander wondered why all of the civilians were so calm after the explosion, and Hoffman told him it was because no one had ever taken Anvegad, giving them a sense of invulnerability. He then helped Sander and other Gears move the ops center to the main gun battery, and ran into Byrne. When Byrne mentioned that he had postponed his wedding, Hoffman ordered him to get it done that day. He then rejoined Sander, who called him a sentimental man, but Hoffman maintained it was to make sure Byrne had one less thing on his mind. Sander then offered to let him send a message to Margaret over the radio, but Hoffman refused, since the others Gears wouldn't be allowed to do so. After they planned patrol routes, Hoffman went to the main gun deck where Sgt.Evan and his crew were keeping watch for the enemy. He began writing a letter to Margaret in case he was killed, but was interrupted when a report came over the radio that Indie vehicles were moving north out of Porra, which was south of Anvil Gate. Sander moved the base to the highest alert, and Hoffman and the gunnery crew began discussing how long it would take for the Indie's to reach the refinery across the border.
- "Sander's gone. Shit, he's gone. He's dead."
- —Hoffman's inner thoughts, after the rocket attack that killed Captain Ranald Sander
Hoffman joined Sander in the observation room to monitor the Indie's progress, and Sander asked Hoffman what he would do if he were them. Hoffman said it would depend on how the battle at Shavad went. If the UIR won, they would try to stop the garrison from taking out the refinery as they retreated. Sander then informed him that Col.James Choi had denied them permission to destroy the refinery. Hoffman guessed that the refinery would not put up a fight due to the amount of Imulsion there. Hoffman listened in on the comm traffic coming from Shavad, and felt guilty about not being alongside the rest of the 26th RTI in the battle. He decided to then get another patrol started and have another observation post set up. As he left, Sander told him he would ask for a Pesanga unit to assist Hoffman's Gears in searching the area around Anvil Gate. An hour after he sent Byrne out with a squad, he reported in that a column of Indie vehicles was almost at the refinery, but that it wasn't very large. After he did his rounds of all the military positions around the city, Hoffman headed back to the garrison, and ran into Sheraya in the street, who asked him if there was anything she could do. He asked her if she and Byrne had gotten married, and she told him they had. Hoffman was glad, and gave her special permission to stay at the barracks during the Siege, in order to be with Byrne. She thanked him, and asked if he was allowing this because he missed Margaret. Hoffman denied this, but was unsure if that was true or not.
As Hoffman entered the garrison, he ran into an angry Carlile, who informed him that the Behemoth had been diverted to Lakar instead of to them. Hoffman asked him to inform him about what was going on, and Carlile told him that the radio was reporting that large amounts of Indie special forces had been inserted into the country before the invasion occurred. Hoffman then rejoined Sander at the main gun emplacement, and informed him the Behemoth had been diverted. Sander then began to leave and try and talk to command about sending the Behemoth back to them, but before he could get across the gun floor, an explosion engulfed the room, Hoffman was hit in the back of the head by something and knocked to the floor. He was momentarily stunned, and was unable to hear very well. Evan leaned over him and helped him up, telling him a rocket had come from behind the fort and hit them. They and the other survivors scrambled out of the emplacement, and Hoffman saw several body parts and scorched armor. Evan informed him that Sander had been killed, and Pvt.Jarrold told him that the rocket had come from the rocks on the cliffs overlooking the city. Hoffman asked if they were still under attack, but they didn't know. He contacted Byrne and Pad, ordering them to head out and find who had fired the rocket, and told the gunners to make sure the guns were still intact. Hoffman realized he was operating on auto-pilot, and as the Gears rushed to carry out his orders, he wondered what he was going to tell Sander's widow.
In Command of Anvil Gate
- "Fire for effect!"
- —Hoffman, ordering the main guns at Anvil Gate to open fire on the Indie tanks
Hoffman went to the garrison, and contacted command at Lakar while Sheraya and Pvt.Reaves applied first aid to the back of his head, and Dr.Salka worked on Gnr.Arlen Pereira in the corner of the room. When the major on the other end of the radio informed him that they could not get support out to them, Hoffman informed her that they did not need help, but was merely informing them what was going on. He told her about the death of Sander's, as well as Gunners Dufour, Tovey, and Pole, and that their families needed to be told. He also informed her they had eight wounded, but were not under sustained attack, but also that the road out of the fort was still blocked, meaning that they could not evacuate the civilians. He then asked her if she was clear on their situation, angry about how little support they were getting. The major didn't reprimand him for talking to her like that, and asked him if he still wanted the Pesanga squad Sander had asked for. He did, and she told him that she wanted another report in ten hours, and signed off. Hoffman then tried to stand, but Sheraya and Reaves forced him back into his chair while they continued to apply medical attention to his head. Hoffman wanted to get out and help the other Gears, but they told him they needed to make sure he was alright first. As he waited, he contacted Pad and asked if he and Byrne had found anything, but they he reported no sign of whoever had fired the rocket. Hoffman then checked in with Evan on the guns, and was told that they were okay, and that there was no sign of movement from the refinery yet. Hoffman then asked Sheraya to gather the Aldermen so he could speak with them, and to take Pvt.Wakelin with her for protection. Salka then came over to Hoffman and informed him that he had been unable to save Pereira, and Hoffman ordered Reaves to get a temporary mortuary set up so they could bury the bodies. Evan then contacted him and informed him that a group of Indie tanks were approaching the fort, and Hoffman ordered Evan to open fire on them. He got to an observation post to watch them fire on the Indie vehicles, and saw several of them get destroyed before they began to scatter, and then began to open fire on the fort. The walls held, and the smaller guns began taking out the Indie armor. Hoffman wondered why the Indies were throwing their lives away in a suicidal frontal assault, when mortars began falling into the city. He took cover along with three other Gears in a Sangar, and Pvt.Dawes informed him the attack was coming from the north. Hoffman contacted Byrne, who was in the monastery tower setting up a machine gun to cover the forts dead area behind them. They discussed tactics to deal with the mortar attacks, and Hoffman resolved to hold for the few weeks it would take for the battle at Shavad to be decided.
The Siege Worsens
- "That explosion. I think the bastards have blocked the river."
- —Hoffman, to Byrne after the underground cisterns ceased filling up
During that night, the Pesanga squad arrived by helicopter. Hoffman met with them, and was worried by the fact the six soldiers were short, young, and wore light armor. Pvt.Bai Tak acted as a spokesman for the group, and Hoffman took an instant liking to him. He assured Hoffman that even though they could speak only a little Tyran, they understood it and would be able to carry out his orders, and introduced the rest of the squad: Riflemen Lau En, Cho Ligan, Jati Shah, Gi Shim, and Naru Fel. Hoffman told him he was going to get them better armor, but Bai Tak explained to him that they needed the light armor to move around silently. Hoffman realized that they knew what they were doing, and ordered Pad to take them and help them get settled in. Hoffman then went to the gun battery to order Evan and his crew to let a replacement take over, but Evan told him he knew what the Indies were up to. He had Hoffman look through binoculars, and pointed out that their vehicles were driving in straight lines, but the turns they kept making were big long ones: only the lead vehicles were real, the rest were fakes set up to make them waste their ammo. Hoffman was angry with himself for not spotting it sooner, and told Evan told hold back on the ammo accordingly. He complimented Evan on his good work, and told him to change crews and get some rest. Hoffman the checked in with control, and learned that the UIR had broken through at Mendurat, and the Behemoth would be unable to get to them. He informed them he had about twelve days of food and ammo, but also five thousand civilians. They told him there was nothing they could do until they had retaken control of the rest of Kashkur, but ordered him to hold the fort no matter what. He then met with the Pesangas and Byrne in the briefing room, but a distant explosion from the north interrupted their planning. He was unable to see anything, and contacted control to see if anything was happening. They told him nothing was occurring in that area, and would send him a message if something was reported. He returned to writing his letter to Margaret, but fell asleep. He was woken up by Byrne, who informed him that the forts water was running low, and the underground cisterns were not filling. Hoffman realized the explosion they had heard earlier had been the Indie's blocking the river.
Running Low on Supplies
- "Shit, shit, shit, shit! Damage-control party- medic- get down there."
- —Hoffman, after CC-Seventy-Four-Five is destroyed
Twelve days later, the fort began running low on supplies, and severe rationing had been put into effect, and disease had started to spread. Hoffman contacted a refugee agency in New Temperance to determine the basic necessities people needed to survive. He walked around the city with Alderman Casani, who expressed his disappointment with the COG for not clearing the Anvegad Pass to relieve them. Hoffman told him that he had tried to convince Col.Choi to help them, but that no vehicle would be able to reach them. He left out his suspicions that the COG didn't want the path open, in order to keep the Indie's busy at Anvil Gate. They discussed their options, and Hoffman asked if the civilians wanted to evacuate. Casani told him that they didn't want to leave their home, and would continue to try and hold out. Hoffman then went to the mess and found several Gears eating, including Byrne and Sheraya. They told him that Bai Tak and the other Pesangas were hunting goat to supplement their food supply. Carlile the arrived and informed Hoffman that a Corva was inbound from Ibiri, carrying fuel, medicine, water, and food, and would be there in two hours. Hoffman ordered the gunnery crews to begin shelling the Indie positions to give the helicopter some cover, and began planning with Byrne where it would land. He also offered to Byrne that if they got the chance to evacuate the civilians, he wanted Byrne and Sheraya to go with them. Byrne refused, telling Hoffman he could not leave while the rest of the Gears stayed. Byrne also told him that when he had checked the rations in the fort, his count had come up short, and that civilians may be stealing from the garrison. When CC-Seventy-Four-Five arrived at the fort, it landed to the north in a small clearing. Hoffman oversaw the unloading, taking the fuel off first as a safety precaution. Once they finished with the fuel, they backed up to allow the Corva to move into a better position to unload the rest of the supplies. Unfortunately, an RPG came streaking out of nowhere and hit the Corva, sending it spinning over a cliff and exploding. Hoffman went into a rage, and began punching metal railing, but stopped after hurting himself. He ordered a fire control team down to the wreckage, but knew there was no hope the pilot survived, or that any supplies made it. Hoffman became determined to hunt down and kill all of the Indie special forces surrounding the fort.
Dealing with the Thefts
- "Your call, Alderman. If you won't do it, I will."
- —Hoffman, to Alderman Buyal Casani about the execution of Geril Atar
Two months later, the fort remained under Siege, with over a thousand civilians having lost their lives. Hoffman began to miss Margaret so much that he cried himself to sleep some nights. Eventually, one of the citizens of the town, Geril Atar, was discovered having rations in his house, stolen from the garrison in order to feed his family. Hoffman had him locked up, and met with Alderman Casani, who requested that he surrender in order to end the siege. Hoffman refused, and told Casani he had never made him or the rest of the civilians stay. Casani told him the UIR wouldn't let them leave unless the garrison also surrendered, but Hoffman refused to be blackmailed. He then told Casani about Atar, and that since Casani was the civil leader of the town, he expected him to carry out Atar's punishment for stealing supplies: execution. Casani was horrified, saying that Atar had only stolen rations to keep his family alive. Hoffman told him that if he didn't do it, he would carry out the sentence himself. He took Casani to the room where Bai was guarding Atar, and Atar apologized to Hoffman, saying he had done what he had to do. Hoffman told him he understood, but the stakes were too high to let the crime go unpunished. He handed Casani his pistol, but the Alderman refused to fire. Hoffman took it back and pressed the gun to Atar's head, read out his sentence, and shot him in the head. Hoffman felt bad about killing Atar, but knew it was the right thing to do. As he left the room with Bai, he called for a medic to take the body away. Bai told him he done the right thing, and Hoffman thanked him for the support. He then decided upon a plan to break the siege, and ordered Bai to gather the rest of the Aldermen and the platoon, and that they were going to let the UIR into the fort.
Breaking the Siege
- "Yes, do it for Sander."
- —Hoffman, ordering the ambush to begin
Hoffman then met with Byrne, Pad, Evan, Carlile, Bai, and several of the other Pesanga scouts, and explained his plan to them. They would fake the surrender of the fort, allowing the civilians to leave without being harmed, and then set up Imulsion tanks to explode in key areas of the city the UIR would occupy first, in order to take out as many as they could. They would then launch ambushes on any who survived that from hidden gun positions around the city, and once they finished, they would take cover underground while the fire burned itself out in the wooden district of the city, with the brick buildings acting as a barrier to its spread. Hoffman then contacted an open channel the UIR operated on, and reached Major Toly. He offered the surrender of the fort to him in exchange for the safe passage of the civilians, and Toly agreed, giving Hoffman his word. Hoffman was pained by this, but decided to continue with the plan. He then ordered Byrne to drive the lead vehicle out of the city with the civilians, but Byrne once again refused to leave his fellow Gears. Despite pleas from the rest of the unit and Hoffman, Byrne could not be convinced otherwise. After the civilians left and the preparations were made, Hoffman wondered how many days the siege had gone on, having lost track. He regretted having to fake surrender in order to win, but felt he had no other choice given the circumstances. He and Byrne stood at the gate while they waited for the UIR to arrive, and Byrne told him he was doing the right thing. Hoffman thanked him for the support, and then opened the gate. Two hundred Indie soldiers were waiting on the other side, and Captain Benoslau of the Fifteenth Furlin Cavalry approached Hoffman, visibly stunned by the state of the city. He thanked Hoffman for his honorable decision to surrender, and Hoffman handed his empty Lancer over to him. He was upset that it was so civilized, and briefly considered surrendering for real, but the impulse vanished quickly. He led Benoslau to the administrative office, talking with him while he waited for word from Pad that all the Indies were inside.
Once Hoffman received word from Pad that they were ready to begin, he ordered the ambush to begin. An explosion knocked them down, and Hoffman recovered quickly, and drew his pistol, shooting Benoslau and his aide, and hating himself for it. He moved through the flaming streets, seeing several dead Gears, but a lot more dead Indie soldiers. He found Byrne and Jarrold manning a Stomper, and they informed him that twenty Indies had taken cover in a warehouse, and Bai and the other Pesangas were about to attack it. Hoffman grabbed a Lancer from one of the dead Gears, Hollis, and headed to assist them, but when he got there, he found they had already killed all the Indie's in close quarters combat. They held the line near the rally point while the surviving Gears trickled in, and then went in search of Byrne, who had not returned. He found him dead, leaning on his Stomper, and felt horrible about there being another child who would never know their father. He then headed back to the rally point, and found the rest of the survivors there, including Pad, Evan, Carlile, Bai and four other Pesangas, and most of the gunners. Pad told him he had informed command that they had broken the siege, but they were then interrupted when a lot of voice traffic came over the radio: reinforcements were arriving all across Kashkur, and would be at Anvil Gate in one hour, but casevacs would be there in ten minutes. Hoffman was devoid of all emotion, unable to believe that everything he had just done was for no reason. However, the rest of the Gears were elated, and Bai took one of Sander's watercolors off of the wall and gave to Hoffman, to give to Margaret and serve as a reminder about Anvil Gate. After they were relieved, Hoffman was promoted to Captain, and was awarded the Sovereigns Medal for his actions at Anvil Gate.
Stationed Camp De La Croix
- "I get scared Margaret. I told you I didn't, but I lied. I'm scared of the future. Scared of sitting behind a desk and sending men to die. It's a lot easier to take the order than give it."
- —Hoffman, expressing his fears over being promoted to Margaret
Two months later, Hoffman had been transferred to Camp De La Croix on the Sarfuth-Maranday border, along with the rest of the 26 RTI and his Pesang commandos. Shortly before a meeting with Major Baxter, he wrote a letter to Margaret, letting her know that he hadn't called her because the comms were down, and that he couldn't tell her where he was. He told her to stop worrying that he was cracking up after Anvil Gate, and that he had put it out of his mind. Hoffman also informed her that he had his Pesanga troops back, and that everything was going fine. He did express frustration with the generals for not being willing to try out commando tactics, and that he was determined to do everything he could to change that. Hoffman told her that he was not fighting for the COG, but for his fellow Gears, and that he was worried about being promoted higher and losing touch with them. He then admitted he was scared that the higher he was promoted, the worse he would screw up, failing his comrades. He was happy with where he was, and told her that he didn't care if he never got any recognition, or that the generals disliked him because of his commando style. Hoffman told her that that would prevent him from being promoted to colonel, and that he was happy with that.
Meeting with Baxter
- "Anyone fancy a deniable trip into Maranday to blow some shit up?"
- —Hoffman, to his commando team during the briefing for the Raid on Gralia
After he finished his letter, Hoffman shaved his face and head, and washed up for his meeting with Baxter. As he finished, he was startled when he saw that someone was standing behind him, and knocked over his washing bowl. When he saw that it was Bai, he told him to make more noise when coming to his tent. Bai laughed, and said he would try next time. Bai then gave Hoffman a machete as a gift, and Hoffman asked him if he thought that Hoffman could handle one of them. Bai told him that even his wife carried one, and that he could give it to Margaret. Hoffman laughed, and finished getting ready, telling Bai that the Indies were getting ready to head south to attack Sarftuh. As they began walking through the camp to Baxter's office, Bai said was worried that they had no surprises in store for them. Hoffman told him that maybe Baxter had something planned, and left Bai as he entered Baxter's office. Baxter greeted him, and had Lt.Da Silva show him recon images showing that the Indies were using the Maigar Pass to attack Sarfuth, and that Choi was going to intercept them at Reinne. Hoffman thought that airborne forces were going to be used for the attack, but Baxter informed him that radar would pick them up before they got close. Hoffman suggested that they take out a radar station at Gralia, in the Republic of Lauczi, in order to allow helicopters to drop off the Gears. Da Silva pointed out it would take six days to reach the station, allowing the Indies time to break out, but Hoffman told him that it would only take two if they cut through Maranday with a small force. Baxter pointed out that Choi wouldn't approve, but gave Hoffman unofficial approval to carry out the operation, warning him that commandos were executed as spies by the UIR. Hoffman told him he understood, and suggested to Baxter that he read Brigadier Dudley's ideas on establishing a permanent special ops brigade. Hoffman selected Bai, Cho, Pad, Baz and Pvt.Sommers for the mission, and met with them near a transport truck to brief them, and begin planning the attack.
Raid on Gralia
- "Five-Seven to control- the radar's down you're free to fly."
- —Hoffman, reporting to control after destroying Gralia
Not long after, the commando team got underway with the operation. Hoffman rode shotgun in a transport truck while Sommers drove and the rest of the team hid in the back. He ordered them to keep the explosives they were carrying safe and secure, and to study the maps to find a place to hid the truck once they reached Lauczi. They crossed the Sarfuth-Maranday border without incident, but were stopped by a vehicle checkpoint on the Maranday-Lauczi border. Hoffman was surprised that only Maranday guards were there, and thought that the UIR must be pretty confident that the neutral nation would keep any COG infiltrators out. Their papers checked out, and the guards allowed them to cross the border. After finding a spot to hide the truck, Hoffman and the rest of the team followed Bai to the radar station. Once they reached the perimeter fence, Hoffman ordered Pad to climb a tree to provide cover with his sniper rifle. After a guard stopped for a smoke near where they were going to cut a hole in the fence, Hoffman sent Bai and Cho to sneak in and get rid of him. He lost track of them until Bai cut the guards throat, and Hoffman, Baz, and Sommers rushed into the base. They began setting the explosives, and ordered them to put one explosive pack on each leg of the radar masts. Once they finished, they were spotted by several other guards, and ran for the fence. When they were on the other side, Hoffman ordered Sommers to detonate the explosives, despite how close they were. The explosion knocked the team forward through the air, but no one was injured. Hoffman reported to control that Gralia had been destroyed, and that they would remain radio silent until they got back to the Sarfuth border.
Escape to Sarfuth
- "The hell it will. Shoot me before they kick me upstairs, Private."
- —Hoffman, to Sommers after he remarked that Hoffman's job would one day be dealing with politics and diplomacy
Hoffman and the commandos ran to the truck, and Sommers began driving towards the border. Hoffman knew that the guards and others in Maranday would have heard the explosion, and that there would be no way past the checkpoint. Sommers headed off-road, avoiding Indie helicopters for two hours until they reached the border. They were forced to try and drive past the checkpoint, smashing the gate, but the three border guards opened fire and began calling them in. Hoffman knew the op had to be deniable, and ordered the team to fire on the guards, killing them. They kept driving, and stopped only to get their bearings. They spotted the town of Senio in Sarfuth, and Hoffman ordered them to drive along the riverbed until they reached the town, in order to avoid more checkpoint firefights. Pad eventually head Terns and King Ravens, beginning the operation to counter the Indies, and once the reached Senio, Hoffman contacted control to let them know they had arrived. The controller informed him that Choi was furious with Hoffman and Baxter for carrying out the operation, and that Maranday had lodged a formal complaint. Sommers remarked that Chois was an ungrateful asshole, and asked Hoffman if that would be him one day, dealing with politics and diplomacy. Hoffman refused to allow that to happen, and told the commandos to kill him if that ever happened.
Planning Operation Leveler
- "No, I feel I've got twenty-five years experience, and there are boys of seventeen I'll be asking to get themselves killed, so it seems kink of lacking not to be there with them."
- —Hoffman, after being asked why he was leading the raid himself
Three years before Emergence Day, Hoffman was the head of the 26 RTI Special Tactics Group, and was summoned to a meeting in the House of Sovereigns. He ran into Captain Quentin Michaelson at the meeting, who he knew from meeting him several years before, and they told each other what they knew about the meeting. Hoffman was surprised to find Chairman Tomas Dalyell leading the meeting, and even more surprised to discover that the UIR had developed an almost operational orbital weapons platform, the Hammer of Dawn. Dalyell ordered the officers to come up with a plan to raid Aspho Point, where the technology was held, and left the meeting while Hoffman and the other officers began planning Operation: Leveler. Hoffman played a major role in planning the raid, since he would be leading the commando team inside. He worked closely with Agent Louise Settile to learn the inside layout of the building as best he could. The planning group eventually consisted of Hoffman, Settile, Michaelson, General Jolyon Iver, and Professor Adam Fenix. Hoffman quickly took a disliking to Adam, but had heard good things about his son, Marcus. Iver showed the others that new UIR forces were gathering north of Aspho Point. They dismissed the possibility of a leak, and decided they UIR was either realizing how vulnerable the facility was, or were close to completing the project. They decided to launch a diversionary attack on Berephus, a city near the facility, to draw forces away from it. Adam also informed them that they needed bots to download the information, and that the scientists were expendable. As the meeting broke up, Hoffman told Settile that he would kill any of the scientists if it came down to that during the Operation, in order to spare his soldiers from having to do it.. Afterwords, he visited the Tomb of the Unknowns and contemplated the grave of Sergeant Major Grame J, wondering if he could go through with killing civilians.
Preparing for the Operation
- "Holy shit."
- —Hoffman, when he saw the Sea Raven he was on ramp in the water
Sometime later, he went with Michaelson to the CNV Pomeroy, and joined the rest of his commando team, which included Pesanga volunteers. They practiced dropping out of Sea Ravens in Marlins, which scared even Hoffman when he saw the Raven's ramp in the water. After the successful test, they stayed aboard the Pomeroy that night, where the commandos celebrated the drop with the Sea Raven pilots. Hoffman praised the commandos, and talked about them changing the way the COG waged war. Shortly before the operation began, the CNV Pomeroy anchored two hundred kilometers north of Aspho Point. Hoffman asked Pvt.Ludovic Young to gather the commando team on the hanger deck, and that he would join them soon. He went to the ops room, where the ships first officer, Commander Fuller showed him where the rest of the fleet was stationed. Michaelson told Hoffman that Chairman Dalyell was getting nervous about the operation, and warned Hoffman that he better make sure that he gives Dalyell no reason to think he might not succeed, or the area will be pounded with missiles. Hoffman then headed down to the hanger deck to brief the commandos one more time, and told Pvt.Dominic Santiago that they would be supported by C Company 26th Royal Tyran infantry, which contained Dom's brother and best friend. He then made sure Sgt.Bai Tak and his men had everything they needed, which Tak confirmed. Hoffman returned to his quarters, and wrote a letter to Margaret that was to be delivered to her if he died. Four hours before the Operation, Hoffman continued to study the faces and profiles of three targets to be captured or killed: Collun Bettrys, Mauris Ivo, and Anna Meurig. Tak arrived to give Hoffman some coffee, and offered to kill them for Hoffman if he couldn't do it. Hoffman thanked him for the offer, but told him that if it had to be done, he would do it himself. He then met with the rest of the planning staff, and they finalized the plan and launch time. He then was told Dom's family was trying to contact him about his daughter being born, and headed to inform Dom.
Raid on Aspho Point
- "So there's the hero."
- —Hoffman, after killing an enemy guard at Aspho Point who alerted the UIR to the COG raid
Hoffman and his commando team successfully deployed from the Sea Ravens and made it to the shore. After they broke through the fence around the facility, Hoffman contacted Major Helena Stroud to inform her they were in position. He then split the commandos into three teams: he would led Red Troop through the sleeping quarters, Dom would take Green Troop to secure the main building, and Pvt.Shelt Morgan take Blue Troop through the back and begin laying charges. He left Pvt.Malcolm Benjafield and Sgt.Cho Ligan to guard the Marlins, and they entered the facility. He managed to locate two of his three targets, Ivo and Bettrys, but Meurig wasn't there. However, her daughter was, so she was captured instead. He had the captives sent down to the shore to be put on the Marlin's, and headed to help Blue Troop lay the charges. He reported to Settile that they had two of the three targets, but had captured Meurig's daughter. He also asked for fire support to destroy Peraspha Military Base, which contained a backup of the Hammer of Dawn information. Benjafield and Cho contacted him and told him that an Indie commando unit was approaching, but he ordered them not to engage, and prepare to leave with the captives if necessary. He orders Dom to guard the bots, and Morgan and Tak to take out enemy soldiers approaching the rear of the building. After an attack was repealed, Hoffman realized someone was on the inside feeding information to the UIR. He had Dom come with him to find and stop the source. Helena reported to him that there was a hostile on the roof using a light to signal the UIR forces. Hoffman thanked her for the information, headed to take him out. On the way, he witnessed Tak and several other Pesanga take out two UIR machine gun positions, and got a status update from Morgan on the bots progress in downloading the data. Once he and Dom reached the roof, they burst through the door and discovered a man with a tactical lamp and pistol. The man continued to signal the UIR forces even as Hoffman and Dom opened fire. Hoffman studied the scene closely, knowing he had just killed a hero doing his job, and resolved to somehow let the UIR know the guards fate.
- "Bai Tak's gone. Bastards. What's his wife going to do? His kids?"
- —Hoffman, after Bai Tak drowns at sea.
After the bots finished the download, Hoffman and the rest of the commandos began to pull out from Aspho Point. He let the non-captured civilians go free, and told them to run from the building before it exploded. He had Pvt.Georg Timiou set the bots to head out over the sea to be picked up, because two Khimera attack helicopters were hovering around the extraction point. Benjafield requested that they take some of the other civilians in the boats, since they were too scared to run away from the building and might be killed in the explosion. Hoffman granted permission, and Dom and a Pesanga grabbed six civilians. They cleared away from the beach, but the Khimeras followed them, and opened fire when they couldn't find the bots. Hoffman and the other Gears returned fire, downing one of the Khimeras, but the other Marlin had been hit and was sinking. Benjafield piloted the Marlin next to the sinking one, and Hoffman and the other pulled whoever they could aboard. He tried to help Tak in, but Tak refused, instead helping the others in. The other Khimera returned, and opened fire on them, killing Benjafield. However, a missile fired from shore hit it, and sent it crashing down into the water. When Tak drowned, Hoffman began punching the side of the Marlin over and over. After he recovered, he helped the other bail out the water pouring into the Marlin. A Sea Raven finally arrived, and Dom piloted the Marlin into Raven.
After the Battle
- "I accept it for all the Pesang troops who didn't get the recognition I recommended. Pesang is a willing ally, not a conquered territory. They volunteered for our war. So this is for Sergeant Bai Tak and his countrymen."
- —Hoffman, accepting his Embry Star in honor of his Pesang troops and embarrassing Chairman Dalyell
While on the Pomeroy and heading away from the Ostri coast, Hoffman learned that Dom's brother, Carlos, had been killed. He found Dom, and told him that he would recommend him for the Embry Star. As the Raven carrying Bernie and Marcus landed, Hoffman was pleased to see Bernie had survived. He told Dom that if he wanted to talk, he could stop by his room anytime, and left the hanger deck as Marcus told Dom about his brother. After returning to 26 RTI HQ, Hoffman became angry when he discovered that his Pesang troops would not be eligible for the Embry Star. A few weeks later, Hoffman attended an awards ceremony at the House of Sovereigns, but had told his wife not to attend. He had been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, but didn't as though he had earned the promotion. As he waited for the awards to be given, he yelled at any member of the press who tried to talk to him. When Dalyell presented him with his Embry Star, Hoffman embarrassed him by not shaking his hand and saying he accepted the award on behalf of all the Pesanga soldiers serving the COG. He knew this act would mean he would never be promoted again, but was fine with that. He then headed out to the Tomb of the Unknowns, where he visited Carlos's grave. He stayed there until Dom and Marcus came by, and turned down an invitation to come to dinner with them and their families. As he left, he saw Marcus bury his Embry Star atop Carlos's grave. Witnessing this act confirmed to Hoffman that he had been right in the choices he had made during the operation, and in insulting Dalyell. He headed back to his office to write a letter to Bai Tak's wife, and put a large bank draft and his own Embry Star inside the envelope to mail along with the letter.
The Beginning of the Locust War
- "Roast that ugly son of a bitch!"
- —Hoffman, after a Corpser burst out of the ground
Colonel Hoffman was in the capital city of Ephyra when the Locust Horde first emerged; a day that would come to be known as Emergence Day. His convoy of commandeered civilian vehicles was en route to the House of Sovereigns to rendezvous with Corporal Minh Young Kim. However, the convoy came under immediate attack as it arrived outside the House of Sovereigns, though Kim and his squad were able to assist in defeating the Locust. One of the Gears acquired the Hammer of Dawn from the convoy's van, killing a Corpser. After defeating the Locust incursion, Hoffman chose Kim to be his and Anya's escort. Anya then insisted they get inside quickly, and Kim unlocked the door to the entrance of the House of Sovereigns, following Hoffman and Stroud inside.
Learning of the Hammer of Dawn Counterattack
- "I miss my NCO days."
- —Hoffman, to General Bardry Salaman after they agreed to the Hammer of Dawn counterattack
One year after Emergence Day, Hoffman was one of three people to hold a key to the Hammer of Dawn due to his position as head of the special forces. He attended a meeting with Chairman Richard Prescott, General Bardry Salaman, and Attorney General Milon Audley, and Professor Adam Fenix. Prescott told them he was reinstating the Fortification Act, and asked Hoffman and Salaman for their evaluation on how long they could hold out against the Locust. Hoffman and Salaman agreed that they would last about one more month before they were completely overrun. Prescott told them he had decided to deploy the Hammer of Dawn in a attempt to deny the Locust resources from the cities they had captured, and that three days would be given for people to evacuate to the Jacinto Plateau. Adam was shocked by the announcement, and Hoffman watched as Adam fell apart for once, showing genuine emotion and arguing against it. Hoffman told him not to argue ethics with them, since he was the one that had made the Hammer operational, but Adam said he thought it would serve as a deterrent. Hoffman told him it didn't matter, and that it was the only way. After Adam realized there was no other way and agreed to the strike, Prescott had Hoffman and Salaman present their keys. Adam was surprised to learn that Hoffman had one of the keys, and Hoffman told him not to take it personally. Prescott then asked for a timetable in the next three to four weeks for the date of the strike, and the meeting broke up. Hoffman headed back to his house, and wondered how he would be able to tell Margaret that he had just doomed most of the planet.
Planning the Strike and Keeping the Secret
- "Well, there's the war, it's bad, and we're running out of body bags. That's about it really."
- —Hoffman, telling Margaret about the state of the war
After learning of the strike, Hoffman began having trouble sleeping. One week before the strike was planned, Margaret woke him up at five o'clock like he had asked her to. As he got into the shower, Margaret asked him what was wrong. When he asked what she meant, she told him that he had been "field showering"- taking short, cold showers to prepare himself for frontline deployments. Hoffman realized that she was right, and was disturbed by how he hadn't know he was doing that. He told her that they had maybe weeks before the Locust overran everything, but couldn't bring himself to break the law and tell her about the Hammer strike. She then asked him to shoot her if the Locust reached Jacinto, not wanting to be taken prisoner, and he agreed. He then headed to meet with Prescott and Salaman, and learned that Adam had finished programing the Hammer satellites. Hoffman noted that Salaman looked ill, and they discussed how to begin pulling back units without letting the general population or the Locust know what was happening before the three day warning. Hoffman argued that they needed every Gear they could get, and Prescott agreed with him, and gave him permission to begin withdrawing units back to the Jacinto Plateau. He then went to the CIC room and had the controllers get him the commanders of all army and navy units that could be pulled back in time in order to give the order.
Announcement and Strike
- "I can't. And I wouldn't."
- —Hoffman, after Margaret asks if he could stop the Hammer strike, and his last words to her
After the counterattack was announced, Margaret didn't speak to Hoffman, instead calling her sister and telling her that she was coming to get her from Corren. When she got off the phone and faced him, he offered to have Natalie picked up by a COG transport, but she refused, telling Hoffman she no longer trusted him. Hoffman was ashamed of having to keep the attack from her, but attempted to convince her that it was the only way and not to leave. She refused to listen to his arguments, and asked him that if he could, would he stop the attack. He told her no, and she left the house. He called the CIC and told them to alert all checkpoints to detain his wife if she passed through, knowing she would hate him but at least still be alive. On the day of the strike, with sixteen minutes left, Margaret had yet to be found. Adam asked him if he was alright, and Hoffman told him that nobody could be alright considering what they were about to do. He told Adam he was glad his son Marcus had gotten back safely, and Adam asked how his wife was. He replied that she was missing, horrifying Adam. He told him how sorry he was for him, and left him alone. Anya reported to him that she was sorry she had been unable to find Margaret, and he thanked her for all her help. As he prepared to turn his key to arm the satellites, Adam offered to do it, so that Hoffman wouldn't be killing his own wife, but Hoffman told him that it was his responsibility. He turned the key, and as the strike began, hoped that Margaret wouldn't be scared or feel a thing.
- "Damn, Private, what kind of world are we living in now?"
- —Hoffman, after finding survivors who hated the COG for the Hammer strike
Five days later, Hoffman briefed several Gear squads preparing to head out and scout the areas near the Jacinto Plateau that had been hit by the Hammer strike. He ordered all of them to wear breathing masks or helmets because of the contaminated air. Dom asked him what they should do if they found survivors, and Hoffman told him if they found any, they likely wouldn't be able to do anything for them. Two weeks later, Hoffman went out scouting with Pvt.Padrick Salton along the Corren-Kinnerlake Highway, hoping to find a way of gaining closure. Hoffman noticed that Pad had a black eye, and asked him how he had gotten it. Pad told him that he had gotten drunk and attacked someone who had bad mouthed Adam Fenix, and Pad felt that he had needed to defend a member of his regiments honor. Hoffman told him that he understood, but to try to not make getting into fights a habit. Pad told he was sorry to hear about his wife, and asked if he wanted help looking along the highway for her. Hoffman thanked him for the offer, but told him that he knew his wife was dead, but needed to see the area where she might have died. He asked Pad why he was out patrolling, and learned about Pad's breakdown during the first patrol two weeks back, and how he needed to get used to patrolling in the devastated wasteland. They continued walking, until Pad saw something move and duck into a hole in the ground. Hoffman contacted the CIC about it, and the two of them rushed to the hole. They discovered a women who had survived the strike, and learned she and several others had hid in the sewer to survive. When Pad tried to help her up, she attacked him, screaming that they were the ones who had killed everyone. Once they got her to stop attacking, Hoffman tried to apologize to her and convince her to come with them, but she refused and ducked back into the drain. Hoffman knew there was nothing they could do, and contacted the CIC to inform them about the survivors, and how there may be more Stranded beyond the safe zone. As they headed back to their Packhorse, Hoffman and Pad wondered what kind of world they were now living in.
The Battle of Ephyra and the Trial of Marcus Fenix
Nine years later, the city of Ephyra fell to the Locust. Marcus deserted his post during the battle in an effort to save his father, but was unsuccessful. Marcus had taken his squads Hammer of Dawn target designator with him, leaving a vital hole in the defense of the city that handed the Locust victory. Marcus was arrested and put on trial, which Hoffman attended every single day of. He fully supported Marcus's being sentenced to prison, and Hoffman's testimony was vital to putting him away. After the trial, Hoffman was unable to understand how a soldier of Marcus's standing had betrayed his fellow soldiers.
Beginning of the Offensive
Near the beginning of the Lightmass Offensive in 14 A.E., the Locust closed in on the Jacinto Maximum Security Prison, where Marcus was being held. Hoffman ordered everyone but Marcus to be freed, a decision he later regretted and didn't understand why he made it. However, he did nothing to stop Dom from going after him, even subtly supporting him by telling him to take some extra armor and an extra weapon for Marcus and letting him take JACK.
Meeting in Embry Square
- "You. A traitor like you doesn't deserve to wear the uniform."
- —Hoffman, to Marcus Fenix after seeing that he was freed from the Slab
Hoffman later met with Delta-One in Embry Square, and was angry to see that Marcus had been freed from the Slab. He ordered him to get out of his way, and spoke with Lt.Minh Young Kim about their mission to find Alpha Squad, and help the deploy the Sonic Resonator to map the Locust tunnels. Doing this would allow them to hit the Locust with a Lightmass Bomb, and hopefully end the war. When they came under attack from the Locust, Hoffman took cover with the others and continued to brief Kim. When Kim asked if they would have any support, Hoffman informed him that he was the support. After the Locust were killed, he told them that Lt.Anya Stroud would be their contact in the CIC. As he headed toward his King Raven, he stopped and told Marcus that he expected him to give one-hundred and ten percent on the mission, and left the square.
- "I've got bad news Fenix; It didn't work."
- —Hoffman, contacting Delta-One to inform them that the Sonic Resonator failed to map all of the Locust tunnels
Over the course of the Offensive, several setbacks were suffered by the COG. Most of Alpha was killed, and so was half of Delta, including Kim. Hoffman reluctantly promoted Marcus to Sergeant, knowing that he was the most experienced and skilled soldier left from both squads. He then informed them to head to the Lethia Imulsion Facility, where they would deploy the Resonator. Although they succeeded, the Resonator failed to map enough of the Locust tunnels to effectively deploy the Lightmass Bomb. However, Pvt.Damon Baird discovered information on a Geobot indicating that much more data on the Locust tunnels was stored in the Fenix Estate, and Hoffman ordered Marcus and Delta to head there, and sent two King Ravens to pick them up.
Deployment of the Bomb
- —Hoffman, as the King Raven he is aboard approaches the train car where General RAAM is
After they got the targeting data, Marcus and Dom Santiago managed to board the Tyro Pillar, which carried the Lightmass Bomb. Hoffman picked up Baird and Pvt.Augustus Cole in his King Raven, and arrived to help Marcus and Dom fight General RAAM. They killed him, and Dom boarded the King Raven while Marcus put in the targeting data. He tried to jump aboard the King Raven, but fell short, and clung to the doorway. Dom was unable to lift him in by himself, but Hoffman, after an moment’s hesitation, helped pull Marcus in. He later gave a speech to the citizens of Jacinto, informing them of the success of the Offensive.
After the Lightmass Offensive
Fallout From the Offensive
- "Good to see you, too, Bernie. You're not exactly combat-fit yourself."
- —Hoffman, after seeing Bernie for the first time in 16 years and she informs him that he "looks like shit"
One week after the Bombing, Hoffman briefed Chairman Richard Prescott on the effects of the Bombing. He told him that the number of Locust forces being encountered had dropped dramatically, and that few specialized Locust units, such as Reavers, Boomers, and Nemacysts, had been encountered. Prescott asked if he thought the Lightmass Bomb had worked, and defeated the Locust for good. Hoffman told him that he had no way of knowing, and tried to convince him to get the army into the best shape possible by diverting some civilian resources to them, but Presoctt was skeptical it was needed. After Prescott dismissed him, Hoffman began walking back to the CIC. Lt.Anya Stroud contacted him, and informed him that Delta-One and Echo Squad were engaging some Locust on Sovereigns Boulevard. He thanked her for the update, and ordered her to get some sleep since she had been on duty for eighteen hours. He knew that she was wanting to look out for Marcus, but felt that he was a lost cause to redeem. Not long after this, Hoffman learned that Bernadette Mataki had shown up with Delta, and rushed as quickly as he could to see her. He attempted not to smile and look like he was glad to see her, but failed. After they greeted each other, he told her to report to the quartermaster for gear and reinstatement into the army, and warned her not to suck up to Marcus. He then left and headed to the CIC room at Wrightman Base.
Evacuation of North Gate
The Road to North Gate
- "I'll believe it when I see the last grub laid dead at my feet."
- —Hoffman, after Tai asks him if he thinks the Locust are almost defeated
While Hoffman was in the CIC, Lt.Donneld Mathieson showed him a printout showing new Locust tunnels that had been detected around the North Gate Agricultural Depot. Hoffman realized the Locust planned to starve them out and were initiating a Siege of Jacinto, and decided to evacuate the depot. After he informed Prescott of the situation, he began putting a plan together for the evacuation. Hoffman took personal command of the armored convoy to that headed to evacuate the depot, and briefed the drivers on the regulations to be followed while in the convoy. He got in APC-One, with Pvt.Tai Kaliso driving alongside the middle of the convoy. As they drove, Hoffman noticed a large amount of Stranded gathered in the streets. He had Tai stop so he could talk to some of them and attempt to gather information. He learned that they believed the Locust were on the run, and that it was becoming safe to loiter outside. As they rejoined the convoy, Tai asked Hoffman if he thought the Stranded were correct. Hoffman said he wouldn't believe it until the last grub is dead at his feet, and Tai promised to do his best to make that happen. After arriving at the depot, Hoffman was given a status update by Staff Sergeant Lennard Parry, and helped load boxes onto several trucks.
Ambushing the Locust
- "Let's ruin their day."
- —Hoffman, as he and Delta ambushed the Locust
When Anya alerted Hoffman that she had spotted a group of Locust heading toward them. Hoffman decided to ambush the Locust, and had Anya send a Raven to pick them up. He ordered Pvt.Federic Rojas to stay behind and guard the depot, because he did not want the Rojas family to lose another son. On the ride to the Locust position, Lt.Nat Barber asked him if he thought the Locust were on the run, and Hoffman told him he didn't know. After the Gears were dropped off, Hoffman fell into cover with the rest of them as they waited for the Locust. Hoffman enjoyed killing the Locust personally for the first time in a while, and only noticed after the battle that he had been wounded in the leg. He was annoyed because it was near impossible to get replacement equipment, even for him. Dom helped him get back into Raven when it came to pick up the Gears.
Defending the Convoy
- "Granted. Nobody gets left behind. Dead or alive."
- —Hoffman, giving Tai permission to recover the remains of civilian volunteers that had been killed
After they returned to the Depot, Hoffman ordered the Raven to return to the base. Cole helped him sit down on an APC's hood, and attempted to get Hoffman to take a pain-killer hypo, but Hoffman refused. Parry came over and informed Hoffman that they would start moving out within half an hour, and Hoffman complimented him on the good work. All of the Gears then headed back to their APC's, and Hoffman gave the order to move out a short while later. As the convoy began moving, Hoffman began thinking he had been an idiot for joining in the firefight, and was worried who would take over for him if he was killed. As they drove, both Hoffman and Tai began to get the feeling that something was wrong when they noticed the Stranded clearing out. Trucks Two-twenty-five and Two-twenty-six were attacked by the Locust, Hoffman had Tai turn around and head to find the Locust that had attacked them. He ordered Baird, Bernie, and Cole to intercept a group of Drones Anya had spotted, and for Marcus to cut off a group of Drones seeking to cut off access to the Timgad Bridge. As they drove past the ambush site, they found Stranded crawling all over it, taking what they could. Hoffman and Tai got out to stop them, and Tai destroyed one of the trucks with a grenade launcher, in order to cremate the bodies. Hoffman granted him permission to lead a recovery team to later retrieve the remains. They caught up with the Drones, and killed them with Cole and Bernie's help.
Trapped by the Locust
- "Thanks, Sergeant. Well done, Dom. You've still got the commando touch."
- —Hoffman, to Marcus and Dom after they save him and Tai from the Locust
When the Locust began jamming comms, Hoffman and Tai heard a Boomshot and an explosion. They headed toward its source, but they were forced to leave the APC and proceed on foot when the path became too narrow. They chased a group of Locust, knowing it was a trap, but unable to leave if there were survivors in need of rescue. However, when comms were restored, Anya informed them that no Gears were trapped, and the rest of the convoy was safe, baffling Hoffman and Tai as to why the Locust were setting a trap with no bait. They decided to head back to the APC, but discovered a bomb had been planted on it, making Hoffman feel like an idiot for falling for such a simple ploy. They cut off communication with the others, so that no one would attempt to rescue them, and attempted to make their own way back on foot. They eventually were attacked by the Locust, and Hoffman covered Tai as he threw a grenade into a basement where the Locust were emerging from. However, Locust continued to pour in around them, despite the large number Hoffman and Tai were killing. They were rescued when Marcus and Dom arrived, and the Locust fell under fire from two sides. Hoffman was uncomfortable that Marcus had saved him, since he had left Marcus to die in the Slab. Anya sends Jack in to disarm the bomb on the APC, and the four Gears head back to Jacinto.
Treating his Wound and Confrontation With Marcus
- "I'm sorry. There, I said it. I'm frigging sorry I left you there. You deserved better, you surly asshole."
- —Hoffman, apologizing to Marcus for leaving him in the Slab
Hoffman had Tai drop him just inside the safezone, so that he could walk the rest of the way to the hospital and the civilians could see how Gears looked after a battle. Marcus and Dom went with him to make sure he was okay, and as they walked the streets, the civilians who saw them burst into applause. Hoffman and the others were overwhelmed by the response. Once they reached the hospital, they were met by Dr.Isabel Hayman, who was annoyed with Hoffman for walking on his wounded leg. She had him brought into the hospital along with Marcus, who also had some minor wounds. Hayman left Hoffman and Marcus in a room as she went to treat an another wounded Gear. As they waited, Hoffman asked Marcus why he came back for him, since he had left Marcus to die in the Slab. When Marcus told him he didn't blame him for leaving him in the Slab, Hoffman became angry, thinking that Marcus was just like his dad, with no feeling left in him. However, when Marcus told him it was because he had once left someone behind himself, Hoffman was taken aback. He demanded to know the real reason that Marcus had gone back for his father during the Battle of Ephyra, but Marcus told him that he never knew, just that his father would put the COG above everything else, and that he had to trust him. Hoffman believed him, but was unable to stop himself from continuing to yell at Marcus, until Hayman returned and forced them to shut up. She sent Marcus away, and Hoffman yelled after him that he was sorry he had left Marcus in the Slab. Hayman then gave Hoffman a shot in the leg for his wound, which Hoffman took in silence.
Mission to Tollen
A few days later, Hoffman led a meeting at Wrightman Hospital, where he was given a report about the city of Tollen flooding with water. He ordered Marcus, with whom he had once again reached an understanding with, to take Delta on a recon mission in a King Raven to investigate, but not to bring back any Stranded survivors. They reported back to him that they had discovered the entire city had sunk into the ground, and was now a lake.
Mission to Montevado
- "You're all ready to go. Good luck out there."
- —Hoffman, to Delta-One before their mission to Montevado
Two months after the Lightmass Offensive, Hoffman briefed Marcus on his and Delta's upcoming Mission to Montevado to investigate seismic activity. After Dom and Pvt.Jace Stratton arrived, Hoffman told them that Anya would be their contact on the mission, and that they had a new bot that was waiting for them on their King Raven. He wished them luck and left Anya to finish the briefing.
Mission to Jilane
- "It's been four months since we lost Jilane, so it's probably another grub trap, but when your facing extinction, you can't ignore an opportunity like this."
- —Hoffman, on the Mission to Jilane
Two months later, Hoffman and Anya again briefed Delta on a new mission: they were to be sent to the city of Jilane, which had fallen to the Locust four months ago, because an unknown distress beacon had been detected in the city. A Birthing Creche had been located in the city, so the possibility of women and children survivors there was too important to ignore. He assigned Baird and Cole from Sigma-One and Sgt.Alex Brand from Foxtrot to increase the squads level of firepower. He reluctantly told Alex that Marcus was in charge of the mission since it was his squad. After Delta arrived in the city, he listened to Marcus report that they had found survivors, and were going to locate the beacon and disable it.
Operation: Hollow Storm
Beginning of the Operation and the New Hope Facility
- "I see it Fenix, but we're not pulling up anything on it... it's like it doesn't exist. Off the record, you are completely in confidential territory now- your guess is as good as mine."
- —Hoffman, warning Delta to be careful in the New Hope Facility
Two months later, Hoffman, along with Chairman Prescott, planned Operation: Hollow Storm, a counterattack into the Inner Hollow designed to take out the Locust leadership. At the beginning of the offensive, Hoffman stood behind Prescott as he made his speech to the Gears taking part in the offensive. During the Battle of Ilima, Delta-One killed the Riftworm, and Hoffman took the opportunity to contact them and order them to investigate the New Hope Research Facility, which Prescott had just declassified, for information on the Locust Queen. Marcus and the others were confused by the orders, and wanted to know what was going on, but Hoffman told them everything was on a need-to-know basis, on orders from Prescott. Delta realized that the truth was he really didn't know himself however. He took over directing them personally from Anya, much to Marcus's and Dom's worriment. As they continue through the facility, Marcus reports to Hoffman that a security system is active in the building. Hoffman continued to monitor them, but was unable to pull up any information about the inner parts of the facility. He warned them that they were now in completely confidential territory. They eventually found what they were looking for, and transmitted the location of the Locust stronghold under Mount Kadar to Command.
Defending the CIC Building
- "Not without me, you aren't! If this is Jacinto's last stand, I'm not sittin' it out."
- —Hoffman, after Marcus and Dom head off to defend the CIC building
When Jacinto came under direct Locust attack, Hoffman received a report on his PDA that a giant sinkhole had opened up in the middle of the city. He deployed several squads along the perimeter of it, and began evacuating the city. Hoffman met with Prescott, Anya, and Delta-One in the CIC room, and they devised a plan to sink Jacinto and flood the Hollow, in order to kill all the Locust. When the CIC building came under attack, Hoffman insisted on going with Marcus and Dom to help defend it. They defended several of the landing platforms along the side of the building, and assisted another squad in defending the west entrance. Anya then directed them to the comm towers, which were under attack by several Reavers. Hoffman ordered the others to get a move on, because without the towers, there would be no way to coordinate the evacuation and counterattack. After defending the comm tower, they then headed towards the main gates. Hoffman requested air support to defend it, but Anya informed him all the Ravens were either evacuating Gears and civilians, or preparing for the counterattack. After defeating the Locust attack on the main gate, which included two Brumaks, Hoffman and Delta returned to the CIC.
Sinking of Jacinto
- "The grubs are here. We're out of time. Gives me a real sense of deja vu, Chairman."
- —Hoffman to Prescott, as they prepare to sink Jacinto before everyone had been evacuated
Marcus, Dom, and Baird left to take part in the deployment of a Lightmass Bomb that would sink the city. When the Locust began to overrun Jacinto, Hoffman headed for Prescott's office to tell him it was time to leave. Prescott asked if everyone had been evacuated, but Hoffman told him that there was no more time to evacuate anyone. As they headed for the CIC, Hoffman remarked that the whole situation was giving him a real sense of deja vu. When they reached the CIC, Anya informed them that the Lightmass Bomb had been lost, but that they were using the Hammer of Dawn to detonate a Lambent Brumak under the city. They succeeded, and Hoffman, Anya, and Prescott began to run through the corridors of the building toward the exit. Anya informed them that the comms net had gone down, but Prescott was sure that KR-471 would still be waiting for them. As they neared the exit, Hoffman said it would take at least a day for all the refugees to make it to Port Farrall, but before he could finish telling them what they would need to do when they arrived, they stepped outside to find the city already beginning to sink and flood. Their path to the Raven as cut off, and Hoffman told them they would have to take a detour, and ordered Anya to stay close to him and keep her sidearm ready. As they moved through the streets, they barely avoided falling into an emerging crack in the road, and they saw the bodies of hundreds of Locust and civilians being swept through the water below them. When they came within sight of the Raven, Hoffman told Anya to watch out for sinkholes, and three Locust emerged from one right in front of them. Hoffman and Prescott took cover and fired back at them, and Hoffman wished that he had seen the last of the Locust. Prescott told him that they had to get past them or they were dead, but they became pinned down. Cole arrived and killed one of the Locust, allowing Hoffman and Prescott to each dispatch one of their own. Hoffman told Anya it was safe to come forward, but as she did, another drone emerged. Before Hoffman or the others could do anything, Anya had drawn her gun and shot the Locust twice in the head, killing it. Hoffman said that she was just like her mother, and they boarded the Raven.
As they flew away from the city, Hoffman heard Anya talking to Cole and worrying about if Marcus, Dom, and Baird made it out of the sinkhole, and he told her not to worry. Soon after, they saw the King Raven aboard which the others had escaped. As they flew away from the sinking city, Hoffman stared at Prescott, and then demanded to know if he was keeping any other classified information from him, like he was about New Hope. Prescott didn't answer, and instead started talking about how they were going to process the refugees. Hoffman got even angrier at Prescott, but was cut off from making a reply when Anya came over the comms and told them they are back up. She informed Hoffman of the limited comm range, but he was not worried since everyone knew where the RV point is even if they lost comms again. Soon after this he overheard Dom telling Cole about how he killed his wife, but no other details.
Arrival in Port Farrall
- "I can't find Santiago. Now, what the hell went on with his wife? I heard that transmission."
- —Hoffman, to Anya about Dom saying he ended his wife's suffering
Three hours after his Raven arrived in Port Farrall, Hoffman met with Anya and Lt.Donneld Mathieson. He told them the CIC Truck was operational, and ordered Anya to go off duty and get some sleep, but she refused. He attempted to convince her to no avail, and the three of them watched Pvt.Dizzy Wallin reunite with his two daughters, and a man looking for his son. Hoffman was relieved that he didn't have to handle the refugee situation, and ordered Anya to have Dom report to him once he checked in. After shaving, showering, getting a cup of coffee, and tasking security patrols to the perimeter, he arrived at the CIC Truck in time to hear Prescott give a speech about the new hardships they would face. Hoffman was actually impressed by the speech, and complimented him on it. He then pulled Anya aside, and asked if she knew anything else about what Dom had meant about his wife. She told him she didn't know, so he tasked her to find him and Sgt.Bernadette Mataki, and make sure both were alright.
- "One day, you're going to have to peel me off his throat."
- —Hoffman, to Bernie about Prescott
One week later, Hoffman met with Anya and EM Chief Royston Sharle in the new barracks, and went over maps of clear land routes between the docks and the city with them. When Bernie arrived, Hoffman assigned her to set up bushcraft courses for the civilian population, and she told him about the wildlife around the city. He told her how useful she was, and ordered her to also take care of the feral cats around the city. Several hours later, he met with Prescott, and tried to convince him they needed to look for a new place to relocate, because the situation in Port Farrall was so bleak. He recommended finding an island, and managed to convince Prescott to consider the idea. He also once again asked if he had been told about all the secret COG facilities left, and Prescott told him that he had revealed everything. After Prescott left, Bernie arrived, bringing with her a steak from a deer. Eating it brought back memories of the world before the Locust, and Hoffman found himself crying. He wiped away his tears, embarrassed, and broke out a bottle of brandy. The two of them drank, and he learned what Dom had been forced to do to his wife in the Hollow. Hoffman was horrified, and resolved to find and talk to Dom as soon as he got the chance.
Meeting on the Sovereign
- "You lazy excuse for a maggot. Get your sorry ass off that pleasure boat and get used to driving a real ship again."
- —Hoffman, happily greeting Quentin Michaelson after not seeing him for over 15 years
Three days later, he met with Commander Alisder Fyne, Dr.Hayman, and Anya, aboard the CNV Sovereign to discuss the medical gap between the navy ships and the land medical units, with Marcus coming along to remove Fyne from command if he did not cooperate. Hoffman respected Fyne, and could sympathize with his situation with disease control and keeping safe the civilians and navy personnel he had saved, and offered to divert other resources to the navy if they lent Hayman nursing assistance. Fyne agreed, and Hoffman then asked if he had any intel on hidden areas or resources at Merrenat Naval Base, and Fyne recommended that he ask the head of counterpiracy, Captain Quentin Michaelson. Hoffman was surprised and delighted to learn that his old friend was still alive, and thanked Fyne for his help. As they left, Hayman expressed her annoyance with Hoffman, angry that she had not gotten full control of the navy medical facilities. After she left, Hoffman went to meet Michaelson with Anya and Marcus, but walked faster and reached the ship where Michaelson was before they did, allowing them some time alone to talk. After they caught up with him, Michaelson came out and the two old friends greeted each other. After catching up, Hoffman asked him if he had any dockyard plans to Merrenat, and Michaelson had them follow him onboard so he could give them the plans.
Planning to Leave
- "Damn, Quentin, we're going to have to wring every last bit of information out of him."
- —Hoffman, to Quentin Michaelson after learning of even more classified information Prescott had kept from them
Five weeks later, Hoffman met with Prescott, Michaelson, and Anya, going over maps of the islands near Port Farrall that the COG could move to. Michaelson presented two options, Erevall and Vectes, recommending Erevall since Vectes was the site of an old chemical weapons facility, and had been quarantined. Prescott suggested that they try Vectes instead, and Hoffman realized that he knew something about the island that they didn't. Prescott revealed that the quarantine was only in place because the COG had been unsure what to do with the site, and that he had not mentioned it because it had seemed trivial. They agreed to send a team to Vectes, with Delta being a part of it. Prescott briefly doubted Delta's ability, but Anya put him straight on that. Hoffman then left Prescott's with Michaelson and Anya, and headed to the CIC. Hoffman talked with Michaelson, complaining that Prescott was never going to give up all his secrets. He also placed Michaelson back on active duty, and put him in overall command of the navy and the CNV Sovereign. After he left, Hoffman told Anya that it was good that he had put Prescott in his place regarding Delta, and that he thought that Marcus had made up for all the mistakes he made. Anya then requested that she go on the mission to Vectes, and wanted to move into a more frontline position. Hoffman agreed, and then sent her to find Marcus to give him a briefing on the mission, and so that they two could spend time together. When Anya and Marcus got back to the CIC, Hoffman then gave them a briefing on Vectes and the mission.
Rebuilding on Vectes
Beginning the Relocation
- "Well done, Anya. Good job. And now I owe Michaelson the last of my brandy."
- —Hoffman, after Anya informed him Vectes was perfect for the COG to relocate to
After Delta was sent on the mission, Anya eventually contacted Hoffman and Prescott, and informed them that the island was still inhabitable, and in fact had a small COG enclave living their already. As Prescott began the relocation effort, Anya told Hoffman that there was also an aggressive Stranded settlement on the island, and suggested that they might have to avoid that part of the island. Hoffman told her that it was sovereign COG territory, and that no part of Vectes would be off limits. The next day, Hoffman contacted Delta to get an update on the situation, and learned about the Stranded's raid on Pelruan. He told Marcus that Prescott wanted to offer the Stranded the usual amnesty deal, and asked how the civilians were taking the raid. Marcus told him that they had lived the past fifteen years without the threat of destruction hanging over their heads, and might need convincing to allow the COG to arrive. Hoffman was worried by this, and told him that Prescott wanted to address them live via JACK, but that he would delay him. Hoffman informed Marcus that the first ships would arrive in four days, but that he would begin flying in advance teams and backup for Delta, which would arrive in four hours. He also told him to call for more assistance if he needed it.
Arrival on the Island
- "I'd need to know. Mataki and I go way back. Do you fully understand? I'd personally take a Lancer to any man who upset her."
- —Hoffman, asking Anya if the Stranded who raped Bernie were on Vectes
Hoffman arrived later that day with the rest of the advance team, after nearly going crazy having to listen to Major Aleksander Reid sucking up Prescott. He walked with Anya around Pelruan, and Hoffman expressed his surprise at the Stranded actually attacking the Gears. She told him that they had visited the Stranded earlier, and that Bernie had gotten into a fight with one. Hoffman became worried about this, and stopped, asking Anya if Bernie had had a good reason. She then told him that Bernie had been gang raped by a group of Stranded during their journey across Sera, causing all the blood to drain from Hoffman’s face. He demanded to know if those Stranded were on Vectes, and she told him two were dead, but she didn't know about the other. She apologized for telling him like this, but he told he was glad she did, because Bernie wouldn't have. He then proceeded to a meeting with Lewis Gavriel, the mayor of Pelruan. He discussed how to achieve integration between the incoming Jacinto refugees and the Pelruan citizens, and told him that martial law would be in effect to deal with the Stranded. He then went on a tour of the town, in order to allow the citizens to get used to seeing him. One of the town's children, Josef, asked him and Anya why the Gears always looked to the ground when they heard a noise, instead of the air. Hoffman explained to him about Emergence Holes, and Josef asked if the Locust had killed more people than the Hammer of Dawn. Hoffman was thrown by this for a second, before telling him that they had. He and Anya then began to discuss ways to keep the citizens of Pelruan happy. He decided that he would head to Vectes Naval Base after he had spoken to Bernie, and borrowed Anya's Lancer to join Cole and Baird in cutting wooden planks for construction. Hoffman later found Bernie with Marcus at the bar, where he found out that Bernie had found the third rapist while scouting the Stranded camp. He had to leave to prepare for the Chairman's arrival, but told Bernie to find him later so they could talk.
Capture of Jonn Massy
- "I don't give a damn what this animal's called. But it's committed a capital crime, and it's going to pay for it."
- —Hoffman, after Bernie caught Massy
After the Stranded were given the offer of amnesty, six hundred of them showed up at VNB to take the offer. Hoffman personally oversaw their arrival, and ordered the gate closed behind them in order to make sure none of them attempted to sneak away after being given their supplies once they signed up. Hoffman contacted Anya and told her to get Marcus, Bernie, and a bot down to him so that they could attempt to identify the violent elements among the Stranded with the help of the Pelruan locals. Anya told him that Marcus was out looking for a missing fishing boat, and that a delegation of Pelruan councilmen were at the base, and were upset to see the Stranded. As he waited for Anya and Bernie to arrive with the bot, he looked over the Stranded. He was disappointed to see that there were not many able-bodied men among them to replace the losses the COG had suffered. Michaelson arrived, and joined him in trying to spot potential recruits. They discussed their strategic plans for the future, and spotted Bernie and Anya approaching. As Bernie intimidated several Stranded, Anya gave Hoffman a document signed by the late Milon Audley guaranteeing that the Stranded would be given amnesty or a trial if accused of a crime. Hoffman was set on installing martial law, since he did not believe a fair trial system could be set up to convict criminals. Bernie joined them, but Hoffman told her to continue looking among the Stranded for Massy. Hoffman was surprised when he saw Bernie chase after somebody in the crowd, amazed that Massy had even risked coming to the base. He and several other Gears, including Sgt.Rory Andresen, rushed to assist her in capturing Massy. Hoffman pinned Massy to the ground, and interrogated him, learning his name and that it had been his brother who had led the Raid on Pelruan. As Hoffman began taking him away to a cell, Massy began yelling for a trial and that Bernie had murdered his friends. Hoffman moved as fast as he could to get him inside in order to spare Bernie any public humiliation, and fended off questions from Andresen about what Massy was talking about.
Interrogation of Massy
- "You're too young to remember Anvil Gate. You think this is the first time I've done a dirty job?"
- —Hoffman, to Massy as held a pistol to his head
After placing Massy in a cell, Hoffman convinced Prescott that Massy should not have a public trial, saying that some civilians might not approve of how Bernie had handled the other two rapists. He then went to Bernie, and convinced her that he was not ashamed or disappointed in her. They then went into Massy's cell and began interrogating him. Bernie asked him why he came back, and Massy told them it was to prove that the COG was not untouchable, and that they were now inside their walls. Hoffman told him that he would just shoot all the Stranded to solve that problem, but Massy told he would never do that because the COG had gone soft. Hoffman drew his pistol and handed it to Bernie, but she gave it back to him,. When Massy taunted her again, Hoffman grabbed him by his hair and pressed his pistol to Massy's head, but Bernie told him to put it down, and that she would think of something to do with him. As they left him in his cell, Hoffman told Bernie he wished she would just let him shoot Massy to get it over with, but she told him she was glad he was willing to do it, and that was enough for her.
Meeting With Miran Trescu
- "For God's sake, hurry up, Quentin."
- —Hoffman's inner thoughts on having to make small talk with Prescott while waiting for Michaelson and Trescu
Soon after a mission to exchange Massy back to his gang in exchange for a peace treaty with the COG, which in reality was a cover to follow the pirates back to their base of operation, ended in a UIR submarine destroying the Stranded's ships, Hoffman went to brief Prescott on the mission while waiting for Michaelson and the submarine’s commander, Miran Trescu, to arrive. Hoffman was horrified to have to spend time making small talk with the Chairman while waiting for them, and was relieved when they arrived. Michaelson told him that Trescu had useful assets. Hoffman asked him where he had been hiding the Zephyr, and Trescu told him he had kept her moving from port to port because the Locust were unable to sweep the mainland every day. Trescu then presented his offer to them: in exchange for protecting the four thousand remaining citizens of the Republic of Gorasnaya, Trescu would turn over their Imulsion platform and their remaining navy and armed forces to be integrated into the COG military. Prescott agreed, and Hoffman witnessed the final end of the Pendulum Wars.
Raid on Merris Farm
- "I was going to say that Prescott managed to tip off his secretary to get her sister back to Ephyra, but I played by the rules and never warned my own wife. And I lost her. I did it wrong at every stage, and she's dead because of me."
- —Hoffman, telling Dom why his wife died during the Hammer strike
Four weeks later, Hoffman tracked down Dom while they were both off duty, and talked to him about losing Maria. He told him about how his wife had died in the Hammer strike, and that he could have prevented it. He told Dom that he had been there for Maria when it mattered most, and that he had done the right thing. He then left to prepare for the opening of the sergeants mess later that evening. While there, he talked with Anya, but the celebration was cut short when the base alarm went off. Marcus told them that Merris Farm had come under attack by Stranded Insurgents, and Hoffman and the other Gears rushed to coordinate a response to the attack.
Arrival of the Gorasni
- "Maybe they just hate our guts. It was their leader's idea to join us. I'm betting he didn't take a vote on it."
- —Hoffman, talking with Prescott about the less than enthusiastic response by the Gorasni upon joining the COG
A few weeks later, the COG was fully engaged in fighting an Insurgency among the Stranded. Hoffman joined Prescott at the dockyards of Vectes Naval Base when the Gorasni cargo ship Paryk arrived with five hundred Gorasni citizens. He noticed many of them didn't look happy with their new situation, and Prescott joked that he hoped their unhappiness was from seasickness. As he looked for potential trouble among them, Hoffman told him that they likely hated their guts, since it had been Trescu's decision, not theirs, to join the COG. Several Pelruan town councilmen were also in attendance, and one, an old veteran of the Pendulum Wars who had fought against the Gorasni, remarked to Hoffman that they couldn't forgive them for what they had done. Hoffman noted Prescott eavesdropping, and told the councilman that nobody was asking him to forgive the Indies, and to try viewing their Imulsion as war reparations. The man showed Hoffman his unit badge from the Duke of Tollen's Regiment, and told him that his comrades had died in a Gorasni forced labor camp, and that there could be no forgiveness. Hoffman asked him why he had come to see them, and the old man replied that he had wanted to see what they looked like without a gun in their hands, and that everybody needed to confront their monsters. After the man walked away, Prescott remarked that that conversation hadn't boded well, and Hoffman told him they couldn't have expected much better, since Pelruan had never had to fight the Locust and gain new monsters to fear. Prescott asked him if he still felt that way to the Indies, but Hoffman told him that he had never served on the eastern front, and his memories were of other Indies. Prescott told him to keep the Gorasni separate from the rest of the population for the moment, while they waited to make sure that no bad feelings would lead to violence. Hoffman told him that he was sure Prescott could keep his people in line, and that they just needed to make sure everyone was well fed and busy so that no chance for violence would flair up. Prescott asked where Trescu was, and Hoffman told him he was working with Michaelson on Imulsion tanker schedules. Prescott told him he wanted the Emerald Spar platform secured by a squad of Gears, and Hoffman told him he was tasking Marcus and Dom to review security for the platform. Prescott wondered if they would be better suited to dealing with the Stranded attacks, annoying Hoffman, and he told him that securing the platform would be more difficult than dealing with the Insurgents. Prescott smiled and told him that he had complete faith in him, but Hoffman could tell that he was being sarcastic. Hoffman saluted him, and quickly hurried away, thinking that Prescott was likely worried who the army was more loyal to, him or Hoffman.
A Missing Ship
- "Do try to keep me up to speed with these things. We're all COG now. Your military secrets are our military secrets."
- —Hoffman, reminding Trescu that he was part of the COG now
After arriving at the CIC, Hoffman asked Mathieson for an update on the Insurgents, and asked where Anya was. Mathieson told him that Sigma-One had encountered several Insurgents and killed two of them, and that Anya was out on patrol with Bernie, testing out Bernie's new dog, Mac, and his ability to hunt Stranded. Mathieson mentioned that he needed to task Pvt.Samantha Byrne, and asked if Hoffman had really known her father. Hoffman remembered Sgt.Samuel Byrne from Anvil Gate, and reflected that he was never going to stop being reminded about the Siege there. He told Mathieson to team her up with Anya and Bernie, saying that he felt sorry for whoever ran into the three of them. Mathieson then told him that he was monitoring the Gorasni communications network, and had learned that their frigate, the Nezark, had gone missing after apparently running aground in the middle of the ocean while heading for Vectes. Hoffman was annoyed by this, knowing how much Michaelson had wanted the frigate, and asked Mathieson if he had alerted Michaelson. He told Hoffman that he hadn't since Michaelson was meeting with Trescu, and he didn't think it was a good idea to tip them off to the fact they could access their comm channel. Hoffman approved, and headed for the CNV Sovereign to confront Trescu about not telling them. He arrived at the control room to find the two of them talking and looking over a chart, and asked Trescu what was going on with his missing ship. Trescu told him that he had patrol vessels out looking for it, but Hoffman told him to keep him informed about these things, since he was now part of the COG. Trescu gave him a fake smile, and said that it was likely just a major electronics failure. Hoffman knew he was lying, but planned on seeing what Trescu told Michaelson to judge how much more Trescu trusted him over Hoffman. They then made arrangements for Delta-One to land on the Emerald Spar platform, and Hoffman headed back to his office. He found a note from Bernie on his desk, along with a lucky rabbits foot she had made for him. The note said the rest of the rabbit was waiting for him in a stew in the mess hall, causing Hoffman to smile and remark how crazy all South Islanders were.
- "I want those bastards caught. I'll make them rue the day they started fucking with us."
- —Hoffman, after another Stranded attack
Later on, Hoffman was walking across VNB when Mathieson contacted him again and said that the Stranded had ambushed another patrol. Hoffman asked if there were any casualties, and Mathieson told him he was still checking, but that it looked bad. Hoffman said he wanted the Stranded caught, and he would make them rue the day they had decided to mess with the COG. He briefed a large group of Gears, telling them that they had a couple hundred assholes on the loose on Vectes, and that they needed to hunt them down. As he concluded the briefing, he told the Gears not to feel obliged to take any of the Insurgents alive.
Battle of Vectes
- "We lost good men today too, Quentin. I feel pretty threatened myself."
- —Hoffman to Michaelson, after he remarked that Trescu seemed very threatened by the Stranded
Two days later, the Stranded launched numerous attacks against the COG all across Vectes, detonating bombs and ambushing Gears and vehicles. Hoffman rushed to the CIC with Michaelson to coordinate a response, and they discussed how the Stranded could be getting supplies onto the island. Prescott arrived with Trescu, and Trescu began demanding to know why the COG was unable to halt the Stranded attacks, and accused them of being soft. Hoffman countered that this wasn't a war, but a terrorist campaign, and they couldn't bomb the whole island to try to kill them. Hoffman asked him if he had a better idea than picking them off, but doubted it since he had managed to lose a whole frigate without knowing what had happened to it. Trescu got right into Hoffman's face, and told him that the COG was soft because it had provided amnesties to former Stranded instead of using them as hostages, and that he would find out what had happened to the Nezark. Prescott pointed out that most of those Stranded were old men, women, and children, but Trescu did not believe that that mattered. Hoffman was angered by this, and told him to feel free to show them how it was done, because the COG was no good at torture. Trescu asked for some Stranded to be taken prisoner so he could interrogate them, and Prescott ordered Hoffman to instruct his Gears to capture several. After Trescu left to calm his people down after a bomb exploded near their living area, Michaelson remarked that he must feel threatened, having only a few thousand citizens to look after. Hoffman told him that he felt pretty threatened himself, and that they had lost good men to the Stranded attacks. He also warned Prescott that if Trescu started playing rough with the Stranded Insurgents, they should expect trouble from the Stranded who had accepted amnesty, and that they couldn't let the Stranded turn their attacks into a siege. Hoffman then noticed that Dom and Cole were manning comm stations, and ordered them to join the rest of Delta in hunting down three Stranded and capture them for Trescu.
The Levanto Incident
- "Does Pelruan know yet? I'm going to have some explaining to do to Lewis Gavriel."
- —Hoffman, worrying about explaining to Pelruan how another trawler had been lost under the COG's watch
Delta succeeded in capturing three of the Insurgents, and two days later Hoffman went to the hospital where they were being treated and awaiting interrogation. Dr.Isabel Hayman told him that she didn't want Trescu anywhere near the Stranded, claiming that even though they were the enemy, they were still her patients. Hoffman told her to let him do his job so her medical ward wouldn't be full of Gears with blast injuries and Gears needing limbs amputated. Hoffman didn't like the idea of letting Trescu torture prisoners either, but knew that it would be the quickest way to gain information on the Stranded and stop more attacks. Hayman told Hoffman she would allow them to question the Insurgents, but that they needed to be careful. She also recommended that he take Bernie off the frontline after she had a close call with a bomb during the battle, but Hoffman knew that pulling her off the frontline would devastate Berne and possibly drive a wedge between them. He decided to hold off on doing anything about Bernie until he saw if she was injured or her performance was affected. Anya then contacted Hoffman and told him that another Pelruan trawler, the Levanto, had exploded while out with the rest of the fleet, with the cause being unknown. Hoffman asked if Pelruan knew yet, and was told they did, so he ordered Anya to let Mayor Lewis Gavriel know that he would come and see him as soon as possible, and asked if Prescott had been informed. Anya told him that she thought he had needed to know first, and that she would get a briefing together for him. Hoffman was struck by how loyal she was, and thanked her for informing him. He wondered how the Insurgents were able to sink their vessels, and ruled out them having a submarine unless they were better equipped and established than the COG had thought.
Interrogating the Stranded
- "They killed our guys. I should have done it myself. Shit, what's wrong with me?"
- —Hoffman's inner thoughts about feeling conflicted about the execution of one of the Stranded insurgents
Trescu then arrived, and Hoffman entered the Insurgents room with him to begin their interrogation. He told Trescu that he would leave it up to him on how to deal with the Insurgents, and Trescu told him that if he had a problem with what was about to happen, that he should think of his dead Gears, because Trescu would be thinking about his own lost men. They found two of the three Insurgents, Mikail Enador and Edwin Loris, in the room handcuffed to their beds, with the third Insurgent, Enador's son Nial being held in another room. Hoffman watched anxiously as Trescu talked to the Insurgents, and wondered what he was going to do to them. They denied sinking any of the COG's ships, claiming that they would steal them, not destroy them, which Hoffman believed. When they did not offer any information, Trescu called in Sgt.Burkan, who brought Nial with him. Hoffman feared he would begin torturing the kid, but Trescu instead told them they had one last chance to tell him what he wanted to know, but Loris sat up and told him that the COG was finished, and that the Stranded would destroy them. Trescu shocked Hoffman by calmly shooting Loris in the head, reminding him of what he himself had done at Anvil Gate, and then threating to shoot Mikail if Nial didn't give them information. The tactic worked, and Trescu began taking Nial away for questioning, and as they left the room, Hoffman reminded Trescu to give all information he got to the CIC, and leave planning any operations to him. Hayman then arrived and looked inside the Insurgents room, and become furious with them and ordered them to get out of her hospital. Hoffman told her to take her issues to the Chairman, and that he had to work out how another ship had been sunk with all hands lost.
As he left the hospital, Hoffman wondered what he could do about the problems that were piling up, but was also shaken up by what had happened. Cpl.Jace Stratton arrived, and asked him what had happened, since the gunshot had been heard all across the base. Hoffman told him what had transpired, and saw that Jace looked troubled with the tactics used. Jace asked him if there was anything they could do, but Hoffman told him that it was a moot point, since they would have eventually killed the Stranded anyway. He contacted Anya, and was told that Gavriel was coming down to the base to talk with him, and headed for his office to prepare for that meeting. Hoffman tried to figure out why he felt guilt over the death of somebody who had killed his Gears, but was unable to come up an answer. Bernie arrived soon after, and asked him if he was okay, and told him that he had been willing to shoot Massy for her and why he felt this was any different. He told her that everything seemed to be reminding him of Anvil Gate, and Bernie remarked that not all the details of the Siege were known. Hoffman asked where she had been during the Siege, and she told him that she was fighting at Shavad, and they hadn't seen each for a long time. Hoffman told her that he needed to tell her what had happened there, but that they first needed to deal with the current situation.
Investigating the Sinkings
- "If they'd done it, Commander, they'd be ramming it down our goddamn throats. It's not them. That much I'm sure of."
- —Hoffman, telling Trescu that he didn't think the Stranded were sinking their ships
Hoffman contacted the Amirale Enka, the Gorasni patrol boat that had been guarding the Trawler fleet, and asked CPO Frank Muller to put him through to Dom. Hoffman asked him if they could rule out a Stranded attack, because the civilian population was getting restless and angry over the sinking. Dom told him that Baird couldn't figure out how the Stranded could have done it, and Sam thought that it would have to have been a large bomb to explode like it did. Hoffman wasn't sure if that would convince anyone that it wasn't Stranded, and Dom remarked it would better if it was, otherwise they had another problem. Hoffman knew he was right, and decided to restrict how far out the trawlers could go to fish, and ordered Dom and the others to get back to Vectes as fast as possible.
Hoffman then joined Prescott and several squads of Gears at the main gates of VNB, where a large group of Pelruan citizens had gathered at, wanting an explanation and to attack the Stranded who had accepted amnesty. Hoffman told them they were not going to enter the city, and they would not block the roads like this. He told them that he would shoot any of the Stranded rather than look at them, but that wasn't how they did things, and they all needed to go back to Pelruan when the route-proving APC's cleared the path for them. The locals began yelling that they hadn't invited the COG to Vectes, and it was there fault people were dying. Hoffman yelled at them not to start that again, and that the whole world had been screwed up worse than the island, and to leave it to them to deal with whatever had attacked the trawlers. Marcus then arrived and glanced at Hoffman for permission to speak to the civilians, and Hoffman nodded. Marcus told them that they had no idea what had sunk the trawler, but it wasn't Stranded. The crowd believed him, and began to return to their vehicles. Hoffman ordered escorts to take them back to Pelruan, and saw Prescott confront Marcus over what he had said. Marcus told him that they deserved to know the truth, and that it had prevented a riot. Prescott accepted this and left. Hoffman asked Marcus if he had thought that he couldn't have handled the civilians, but Marcus told him not to protect Prescott and give his explanations to the civilians, because it would only make them trust him less. Hoffman was surprised that Marcus was looking after him, and thanked him for his help and told him to carry on doing it in the future.
A little while later, Hoffman went with Trescu, Marcus, and Dom to Boathouse 9, where Baird was working with Jace to figure out what had sunk the trawlers and the Nezark. Baird told them that the explosion had occurred inside the Harvest when it had been sunk, and there had been gunfire in ship. Trescu remarked that three vessels being sunk in a matter of weeks had to have a common element, but Hoffman pointed out that the Nezark had reported running aground of something. Trescu acknowledged this, but wondered how the obstacle had gotten there, and he wasn't going to exonerate the Stranded yet. Hoffman said that if they had done it they would be bragging about it, but they weren't. He decided to have Gears actually going on board the trawlers while out patrolling, and told Trescu not to forget to inform them about any details about the sinking of the Nezark.
Discovery of the Lambent
- "Lewis, I have no goddamn idea what they are, only what they do. Nobody knows the first thing about them. Except the grubs were at war with them underground, and we never knew until we sank Jacinto."
- —Hoffman, telling Lewis Gavriel about the Lambent
The next day, another trawler, the Coral Star, was sunk, and the cause was discovered: mutated Lambent creatures being trawled up and exploding. Hoffman and Anya headed for Pelruan to talk to the citizens there, but were contacted by Prescott, who told him to keep news about the Lambent quiet until they knew what they were dealing with. Hoffman wondered how he thought they could do that, since Vectes was a small island with only two communities, and Pelruan had its own radio net. Hoffman told him that they knew exactly what they were dealing with, and they had no way to stop the Pelruan citizens from talking except for shooting them. When Prescott didn't respond immediately, Hoffman wondered if he was considering that option, but Prescott told him to jam their radio net and only let them have supervised access to the COG's network. Hoffman knew that they needed their radio net to keep in contact with the farms and get reports on Stranded sightings, so he decided to give them full access to the network, which would always be monitored by the CIC. Anya approved of his solution, and inquired when she would get put back on patrol. Hoffman told her he needed her to work on civilian liaisons, but Anya asked if Bernie might be better suited for that, since she kept having close calls and wasn't getting any younger. Hoffman was surprised by the mild rebuke from Anya, but agreed with her that he needed to do something with Bernie, but didn't want to upset her. When they reached Pelruan, Sgt.Drew Rossi, Gavriel, Berenz, and about fifty other citizens were waiting for them. Hoffman briefed them all on the situation, and told them they could no longer go out fishing, and that they would do whatever they needed to protect Pelruan. He appointed Anya to be in charge of the garrison to assure the townspeople they would looked after, and not to worry about food shortages from the lack of fishing. He and Anya then began heading back to VNB to set her up for taking over command, and Anya remarked that she hadn't realized how responsible Hoffman felt for Pelruan. He told her that he could leave them to be ignored by the politicians, and that she didn't have to take command of the town if she didn't want to. Anya assured Hoffman she could do it, and that she wouldn't let him down.
- "I have every damn authority. I'm the chief of staff. We have one army and one navy. We do not franchise the defense of this state to a bunch of animals settling their own private vendettas."
- —Hoffman, telling Prescott that he would not let Trescu bypass him and wage his own war
As they continued to drive to VNB, they found Pvt.Dizzy Wallin clearing the road of mines. Dizzy told Hoffman that Trescu had taken several squads of Gorasini Gears into the forest with Nial, and was attacking Stranded camps. Hoffman was furious that Trescu hadn't informed him or gotten permission. When they started driving again, they found several Gorasini Gears manning a roadblock, and when they didn't move it for them, Hoffman got out and ordered them to move it, telling them that he decided where to place checkpoints. The squad leader told him that Trescu had ordered them to set it up, but Hoffman told him that he was overriding those orders, and that if they didn't move the roadblock, he would drive through it. He took over driving from Anya, and plowed through the obstacle, worried that the Gorasini would fire on them, but they emerged unscathed. Anya handed Hoffman the radio, and he contacted Mathieson and demanded to be put through to Trescu. Mathieson informed him the Gorasini were operating on their own comm system, so Hoffman ordered him to jam their transmissions. He also ordered the CNV Falconer to block the Gorasini tanker from leaving, so that a COG radio transmitter could be installed on it. Hoffman contacted Marcus and explained the situation to him, and sent Reid to meet with Delta when they arrived at the docks, with orders to have Marcus and Bernie report to him for debriefing about the Lambent they had encountered.
After the debriefing, Hoffman met with Prescott and Michaelson in his office to discuss the day’s events. Prescott was furious with him for jamming the Gorasini's transmissions, but Hoffman told him that he had every authority to do so in order to maintain the chain of command, and he either commanded all their assets or none of them. Michaelson agreed with him, but Prescott pointed out that Trescu had made more progress fighting the Stranded than they had, but Hoffman countered that he didn't torture kids and dump the bodies of the dead on the lawns of the widows. Prescott was worried Trescu would deny them fuel, but Hoffman told him to forget about that and focus on the Lambent. Prescott told him to do whatever he needed to get intel on them, and come to him with a plan of action. He also asked for a personal security detail, fearing that dissenters might attack him. After Prescott left, Hoffman called him an asshole, but Michaelson told him that they could handle him by keeping him busy with his guards and Trescu while they focused on the real problems. Hoffman wondered why he wasn't more worried about the Lambent, and Michaelson told him that he was too interested in feuding to deal with anything else. Hoffman decided to do what he wanted until Prescott had enough and shot him, and Michaelson told him he would send the CNV Clement out to look for Stranded in the morning.
A Date With Bernie
- "The hell you will. You'll stay put. Shit, woman, you know what happened with Margaret. I can't go through hat again. You'll damn well stay where I can keep an eye on you."
- —Hoffman, after Bernie joked she could always leave and go around the world again
A few moments later, Bernie entered his office, and Hoffman was glad to see her. As he pulled out a bottle of Dizzy's moonshine, and she told him that she had been eavesdropping. Hoffman was glad since it saved him some time telling her, and Bernie told him that he was having the right reaction to the Lambent threat just like Marcus, and Hoffman joked that he was being an uncommunicative asshole who neglected his woman. Bernie realized he was terrified because Hoffman never joked, and pointed out how the last time they had seen Lambent had been under Jacinto, and that meant they had either followed them or they were everywhere. Hoffman agreed, and told her he was worried about the frigate, because he couldn't figure out what had sunk that. As they headed outside and found a private spot on the VNB's walls to drink and stare at the ocean, Hoffman told Bernie that he was confining her to base and taking her off duty after her two close calls. Bernie joked she could go on a walkabout again if she got bored, but Hoffman grabbed her arm and told her she would stay put, and he couldn't stand going through with her what he had gone through with Margaret. Bernie said that he should have said something like that forty years ago, and Hoffman told her he knows he should have, but he was doing it now. After passing the bottle back and forth a few more times, Bernie spotted an ship without running lights out at sea. Hoffman contacted the CIC, and they told him that an unknown ship had been detected, and the CNV Scepter was investigating. He told them to also alert Michaelson, and was put through to a naval officer, who told him that no one was on the ship that they could see, and they would board as soon as Ravens were covering them, but there was a hole in the hull. Bernie headed to get into armor, and told Hoffman that they never were going to get to finish talking about Anvil Gate. Hoffman told her they would, and to meet him in the CIC when she was geared up. After reaching the CIC, Hoffman talked with Michaelson over the radio, and listened as a team was sent on board the ship. They reported some blood on a bulkhead, as well as a lot of things having been knocked around in a struggle, along with some kind of tree that had rammed itself through the hull. Hoffman and the others were confused by this, and wondered if it was a battering ram, but Bernie said she was more worried about the blood and lack of bodies.
Battle of the Emerald Spar Platform
- "I reserve the right to ignore that if I see you getting your asses kicked."
- —Hoffman, after Marcus told him it would be best for him to hold back and observe the battle from a King Raven
The next day, Lambent were spotted heading for the Emerald Spar Imulsion platform after they attacked the CNV Clement. Hoffman ordered several King Ravens to take reinforcements to the platform, and then discussed the situation with Prescott, who attempted to give him advice on how to deal with the situation. After he finished talking to Prescott, Hoffman boarded a King Raven and headed for the Emerald Spar to assist in its defense. As the Raven approached the platform, he contacted the defenders, but Marcus warned him not to try and land, since Lambent Stalks were closing in on the platform and might begin attacking at any moment. Marcus suggested he stay back and observe what the Lambent did, to which Hoffman agreed, but said he would join the Gears if he saw them losing the battle. The Lambent overwhelmed the defenders, and an evacuation of the platform began. Hoffman kept track of all the Gears as they made it to the lifeboat and reported in, and assisted in wrenching civilians clear of the platform. When Marcus asked if everyone was off the platform, Hoffman told him that only he, Dom, Baird, and Cole were left aboard, but the four of them soon boarded the ship as well. Soon after the evacuation boat got away from the platform, the Emerald Spar began exploding and sinking into the ocean, but Hoffman and the others continued to pull survivors from the ocean and into the Ravens.
Planning A Response
- "I don't know what we can do to stop the stalks, but we know we can kill polyps. I'm thinking in the same terms as I would for human infantry--obstacles to slow them down and concentrate them in a kill zone while we pick them off."
- —Hoffman, discussing tactics to kill the Lambent
The day after the destruction of the Emerald Spar, Hoffman met with Prescott and Trescu in Prescott's office. He found himself trying to figure out why Prescott didn't seem concerned about the Lambent, and wondered if he knew something they didn't. He also noticed that Trescu seemed close to the edge after losing his platform, and had been wounded during the battle. As Prescott and Trescu discussed if it was possible to rebuild the Emerald Spar, Hoffman came to the conclusion he needed plans in place in case everything fell apart, and decided to do so behind Prescott's back. He then entered the conversation when Prescott expressed a need for intel on the Lambent, and Hoffman told him he would have King Ravens search out at sea and on land for signs of Lambent activity. He also told Prescott that he planned to set up kill zones to draw Polyps into, but needed to know if the Stalks could come up on land as well to figure out how to kill them best. Trescu also suggested trying to get information from the Stranded, since they traveled farther out than the COG did, and maybe form an alliance to fight the Lambent. Hoffman and Prescott were skeptical it would work, but Hoffman thought it would be worth a try just to get rid of one problem. The meeting ended when Trescu told them he needed to talk to his people to reassure them, and Hoffman offered to walk with him in order to talk more. As they left Prescott's office, they found Reid and Sharle outside the door, and Reid told them that Bernie had gone hunting Stranded and killed three of them. Hoffman was worried this could affect trying to negotiate with the Stranded, but decided that that was too political a thought to have, and focused on remembering the Gears they had killed. Hoffman ordered Reid to send Major Gill Gettner out on a recon mission, and to have a report on fuel ready for him in several hours. As he and Trescu left the building, Trescu remarked that he could tell Hoffman didn't like him, Reid, or Prescott, and that Trescu didn't like him or the others either, but felt that he could trust Hoffman. Hoffman agreed, and then asked him why he hated the Stranded so much. Trescu told him that if they ever made it back to the mainland, he would show him the places where thousands of innocent civilians had been slaughtered by the Stranded. As Trescu headed to talk to his people, Hoffman went to the CIC and began drawing up plans to fortify the island, and contacted Gettner, ordering her to take Delta and JACK to scout around for the Lambent
Fortifying the Island
- "They'll come at us, Wallin. We're the crumbs. Then we make sure we get them where we wan them. We lure them. We herd them."
- —Hoffman, explaining to Dizzy how they will kill the Lambent
Several hours later, Hoffman was contacted by Dom, who told him they had found a large Stranded fleet heading for Vectes, and that Marcus was talking with their leader, Lyle Ollivar. Hoffman asked if the Stranded were planning to attack, but Dom told him that even if they did, Michaelson and the fleet could rip them apart. Hoffman told him to tell Marcus not to make any deals they couldn't honor, and Dom told him that he would contact him once they were done. Several minutes later, Marcus contacted him and told him that he had laid the situation out for the Stranded, but hadn't offered them any deal. Hoffman ordered them back to Vectes, and began overseeing work on fortifications around the island. Three days later, he met with Michaelson to inspect the earthworks near VNB, and felt relieved that he had enough time to work on building up defenses. He talked with Dizzy for a while, and reassured him that the plan to lure the polyps in and kill them in the trenches would work. As he continued walking along the earthworks that could be flooded with Imulsion, Michaelson asked him if this is what he had done at Anvil Gate, and Hoffman told him that he didn't take the time to dig holes there. Michaelson remarked that he didn't recall anything like this being mentioned in the official report, and Hoffman told him that COG command hadn't liked his original version. Michaelson wondered what would happen if the Lambent didn't show up, and Hoffman told him that they would have fortifications ready for whatever threat did eventually show up. Michaelson then asked him if Bernie was speaking to him yet, but Hoffman knew that she wouldn't be until she had worked out what was bothering her, and told him that she preferred spending time with Mac at the moment. Michaelson told him that it was easy to think they knew what was best for people, but to think about how he would feel if Prescott forced him into retirement, but Hoffman told him he was just letting her recover, and he would send her to Pelruan to assist Anya if an attack came. They then talked about defensive plans, and when Michaelson remarked that trying to fight the Lambent was like trying to fight ghosts, Hoffman agreed with him.
Rallying the Citizens and Allying with the Stranded
- "I'm a warfighter. I'm here to win. What else is there to worry about except whether humankind is still here tomorrow, next week, next year?"
- —Hoffman, rationalizing on why he was accepting the Stranded's help
When they reached the main housing zone, Hoffman and Michaelson found Prescott holding a meeting to rally the citizens, and joined him onstage alongside Trescu. The crowd was made up of Jacinto, Pelruan, ex-Stranded, and Gorasini citizens, all of whom were angry at Prescott. Prescott kept his guards close to him, and Michaelson asked Hoffman who Prescott thought he needed to be guarded from more: the citizens or them. Hoffman didn't answer him, but thought about how he wished he could find a motive behind why Prescott lied to them, since he already had absolute power. Prescott and Trescu spoke to the crowd, and managed to convince them all to work together to fight the Lambent. Hoffman was impressed by how Prescott was able to do that, and even more so by the fact he hadn't lied to them and claimed it would be easy. Hoffman then went with Michaelson and Trescu to the CIC, and Mathieson told them that the Stranded fleet was holding position offshore. Hoffman asked Trescu if he was going to hand the prisoners over, but Trescu told him that it was his call. Hoffman was torn over what the right choice was, and almost wished that Trescu had killed them and saved him the trouble. Before he could answer, Mathieson told him that Ollivar wanted to talk to him, but Hoffman told him just to tell Ollivar to get his people off the island, and that they wouldn't attack him. Mathieson told him he was insistent, so Hoffman told him to patch him through, expecting to hear him gloating about the end of the COG. However, Ollivar told him that he was going to land troops, and fight alongside the COG against the Lambent to try and stop them. Hoffman accepted, even though he was offended to hear Ollivar refer to his men as solders. He told him to spread his vessels out along the shore, and land his men at the docks, where Marcus would meet him, and that they had a plan. Ollivar was expecting "noble" infantry tactics that would get his men killed, but Hoffman told him they would be waging warfare as dirty as it got, feeling that he didn't have to worry about his conscience when trying to wipe out monsters.
Battle of New Jacinto
Arrival of the Lambent
- "Beats a desk job."
- —Baird and Hoffman, as they head to join the defensive line
Five days later, the Lambent arrived at the island, but instead of Stalks, a Lambent Leviathan attacked Pelruan. Hoffman met with Marcus near the King Raven landing zones, and they both convinced the other not to go to Pelruan to try and save Anya or Bernie. When another Lambent Leviathan was spotted heading for New Jacinto, Hoffman ordered all Gear squads and Stranded units to head to the shoreline, and began heading there himself. He fell in behind Delta-One, and heard Baird ask where he would be while the battle would be happening, and surprised him by saying he would fighting with them. Baird told him that it beat a desk job, and Hoffman agreed with him. After reaching the shoreline, Hoffman walked along the line of Gears, and contacted Michaelson, telling him to drive the Leviathan away from the ships and toward the defenses on the beach. He and the others watched as the CNV Fenmont and the CNV Vale of Dane opened fire on the Leviathan, but the Fenmont was lifted out of the water by the mutated beast and crashed back down, breaking in several places. The Lambent then landed on the beach, and unleashed a massive amount of Polyps. Hoffman and the rest of the Gears shot as many as they could, but were soon overwhelmed, and fell back into the trenches, which they quickly jumped out of and poured Imulsion into and ignited it, burning many Polyps. He and Dom then joined several other Gears in defending another area from any Polyps that managed to avoid the inferno.
Dealing With Prescott's Secrets
- "But Prescott will know. And he'll come after me, maybe. And what do I say? I tell him to go fuck himself, and that he forfeited the last of my loyalty when he never told me there was a secret facility at New Hope. That's what I say."
- —Hoffman's inner thoughts after stealing A2897
Three hours into the battle, Hoffman returned to the Admiralty House during a lull in the fighting, and found Prescott was still in his office. He recommended that he evacuate inland with the civilians, and handed him a Lancer to defend himself with and showed him how to activate the chainsaw. Prescott asked for an update on the battle, Hoffman told him that fifteen Gears and fourteen Stranded had been killed, along with eleven civilians, and there was no word on how many wounded there were or how many had been killed or injured aboard the Fenmont. He noticed Prescott was calmly going through his desk drawers, and wondered what was so important and distracting that he was listening to Hoffman and not panicking about the situation they were in. Prescott told him to carry on, and pulled a pistol out of one of his drawers and then locked it. Hoffman told him he planned on using the Hammer of Dawn to take out the two Lambent Leviathans attacking New Jacinto, which would likely result in a lot of damage to the base, but needed to be done to defeat them. Hoffman then said he could do a better job fighting them if he knew more about them, and wondered what had happened to all of the scientists the COG had had. Prescott told him that scientists had been unable to find an answer to the Locust, and Hoffman decided he would have to rely on Baird instead. He then wondered why Prescott had taken the time to lock his desk, and asked him once more if he had any classified information that might pertain to the Lambent. Prescott told him he didn't, but Hoffman didn't believe him, and told him that he better evacuate now before the next attack began. He followed him through the halls until he reached the CIC, but kept an eye out to make sure Prescott didn't double back. Mathieson told him that the evacuation was proceeding slowly, and that they couldn't move civilians very far, and most were staying to fight. He also told Hoffman that Bernie was still alive, and Hoffman told him to keep him updated on the situation at Pelruan no matter what. He then made the decision to look in Prescott's desk, and headed back up to his office. He picked the lock open, and found several documents, along with a data disk labeled A2897. Hoffman took the disk to the CIC and attempted to access it, but discovered it was encrypted with a non-standard COG code. He placed a fake disk in Prescott's desk, fully expecting Prescott to realize it was a fake, and wondered what had happened to him that would make him steal from a superior, but decided that Prescott had forfeited all his trust. As he headed back to the CIC, Michaelson contacted him and reported that the Clement and Zephyr had located one of the Leviathans, and were working on a plan to take it out. Hoffman ordered him to have them follow the Leviathan, while they came up with a plan to take it out along with the other one.
Using the Hammer
- "You're a bastard, Baird, but you're our bastard."
- —Hoffman, congratulating Baird on killing the Lambent Leviathan
As Hoffman and others began to plan their attack, Anya contacted him and informed him that they had killed the Leviathan attacking Pelruan. Hoffman told her to keep her forces there until they had secured the base, and told her that everyone was still fine. Bernie came on the comm and told him to keep his head down, and Hoffman told her to do the same, since he was the one with the rabbit's foot. Hoffman met with Delta-One, Trescu, Ollivar, and Mathieson in the CIC, and told them that they needed to use the Hammer while it was still operational. Marcus pointed out that using the Hammer on the Lambent Brumak had sunk Jacinto. Baird told them he could take it out without destroying the base, and Hoffman told Mathieson to contact Michaelson. Marcus decided they could use a ship to lure the Leviathans to the surface and paint them with them Hammer laser, which Baird would stay behind and calibrate. They worked out a plan with Michaelson to use the subs to take out one Leviathan, and then use a harpoon to catch and hold the other one to take out with the Hammer. As they headed to the ship, Marcus stopped him and told him that he should keep Prescott where he could see him, but Hoffman told him that it was Prescott's job to deal with the civilians, not his. Marcus then told him not to come on the mission, since command of the COG would fall to Prescott and Reid only. Hoffman understood his reasoning, and stayed in the CIC with Mathieson and Baird. When the Leviathan began closing in on the base despite the CNV Falconer's best efforts, Hoffman ordered Baird to activate the Hammer. They watched out the window as the laser hit the Leviathan, detonating it and sending a shockwave across the island. The CIC's windows were blown out, and the cliff wall was taken out. The remains of the creature washed up on the beach, and surviving Polyps began pouring out. Hoffman checked on Mathieson and Baird before heading out to assist, and was shocked by the amount of damage done to the base. After they were all killed, Hoffman joined the rest of the defenders in piling them up, and joined with the others in passing a Scorcher around and burning their bodies. Hoffman went over to Baird and congratulated him on taking out the Leviathan.
Viewing the Devastation and Falling out with Prescott
- "Kiss my ass, Chairman. I'll tell you when you tell me."
- —Hoffman to Prescott, after being asked what he had done with A2897
The next day, Hoffman flew over the southern coast of Vectes in KR-239 and viewed the damage down to the island and New Jacinto. He saw that at least a third of the city had been demolished in the battle, and saw the CNV Dalyell struggling to stay afloat. The co-pilot of the Raven, Lt.Kevan Mitchell, wondered how many more setbacks the civilians could take, and Hoffman tried to think of ways to keep up everyone's morale. As they flew over the city, Hoffman saw that the Admiralty House had suffered a lot of damage during the battle, but was pleased to see large groups of Gears, engineers, and civilians all working to repair the damage to the city, but was also disheartened by the fact that it was necessary at all. He ordered Lt.Mel Sorotki to set the Raven down so he could walk among the damage, and as they closed in for a landing, Mitchell asked him what had happened to the Stranded prisoners, since the detention block had fallen into the sea when part of the cliffs collapsed. Hoffman was unsure, and told Mitchell he would find out and that it wasn't a priority, but really believing that he needed to check in order to clear his conscience. When he reached the Admiralty House, he asked Staff Sergeant Lennard Parry if the building was safe to enter, and Parry told him that it should be, and Prescott was in his office on the top floor. Hoffman thanked him, and told him to set up a meeting with him and Sharle later that day, and headed up to the Prescott’s office, where he found him going through his things with his bodyguards, Cpl.Rivera and Lowe.
Prescott dismissed his guards, and told Hoffman that they were at a difficult crossroads, and that many were questioning his capability to lead after taking them to an island where they faced hardship, and asked Hoffman if he was one of them. Hoffman told him that he had been the one to suggest they move to the islands. Prescott then asked if he still had confidence in him, and Hoffman told him that he had never seen him do anything dumb or make a decision Hoffman wouldn't have, but the fact that he was a liar who held back information made his job too difficult. Prescott then asked him why he had done it, and Hoffman realized that Prescott had guessed he had taken the disk. He responded that mistrust corroded their working relationship and made it too hard to get things done. Prescott told him that he had the information backed up somewhere, and asked what he had done with the disk. Hoffman refused to tell him until he told him what was on it, and Prescott surmised that he hadn't been able to access it. Hoffman was angered that he had let Prescott figure that out, and after a brief silence, left Prescott's office. As he walked away from the building, Hoffman wondered what would happen if Prescott ordered him to be arrested, and decided that he likely wouldn't risk the army turning against him. He then joined Michaelson in touring the Dalyell, and they discussed Prescott, but Hoffman held back from telling Michaelson about the disk, not wanting him to suffer any consequences. Michaelson also reminded him that the two of them practically had full control over the COG, and could ignore orders from Prescott if they wished.
Attempting to Open A2897
- "We've all done things we're not proud of just to survive. Or because we think it serves a greater good. Maybe I don't have the right to judge Prescott."
- —Hoffman, thinking about the situation with Prescott
As the cleanup process continued, Hoffman learned from Trescu that he had executed Mikail and Nial, in order to spare Hoffman the choice of letting them go or killing them himself. After a meeting with Trescu and Michaelson, Hoffman met with Bernie at the bar, and hugged her in relief. She asked him what was wrong, and he told her about stealing the disk, and how he had chickened out on having it out with Prescott once and for all. Bernie comforted him, and suggested that he take the disk to Baird and have him work on it. Hoffman thanked her for the advice, and remarked that while he screwed everything else up, he always picked the sensible women. Bernie remarked that she was glad he had figured that out finally, and asked if he was going to ever finish telling her about Anvil Gate. Hoffman finished telling her, but didn't understand that it was killing the Indie officer that haunted him the most, not executing the civilian. The next day, Hoffman found Baird in the machine workshop with Cole, and told them about the disk, and that Baird didn't have to accept working on it since Prescott might punish them. However, this just made Baird even more eager to work on the disk, and he took the disk and told Hoffman to meet him in his office in a bit. As Baird left, Hoffman told Cole that he would let Marcus and Dom know what was going on, so that the four of them did not have to keep secrets from each other, but that he did not want them telling anyone else. Cole told him he understood, and that he should try telling Baird how much they relied on him, and that he would appreciate that even if he denied it. Hoffman told him he would, and began walking around the base while giving Baird time to crack the disk. He debated with himself if he should tell Pvt.Samantha Byrne about the circumstances revolving around her father’s death at Anvil Gate, and talked with Yanik Laas, a Gorasini Gear who had become friends with Baird. He then went to meet Baird in his "office", which was a converted lavatory Baird had turned into a workshop. Baird told him that he had been unable to crack the disk, and that its encryption was nothing like what the COG had ever used. Hoffman was disappointed, but left the disk with him, and told him to keep working on cracking, and that they relied on him. Baird awkwardly thanked him for the praise, and Hoffman headed to the CIC to ask Mathieson where Sam was, and noticed that he had a UIR canteen. Mathieson told him Yanik had given it to him, feeling sorry for the fact he was stuck in the CIC, and Hoffman was reminded of the UIR officer who had given him water during the siege of Anvil Gate, and how he had responded by shooting him. He felt guilty, but was determined to get some of his guilt off his mind, and headed to the bar after learning Sam was there.
Collapse of the COG
After learning that Anvil Gate is still intact and abandoned, Hoffman decides to return there as his new home when the COG collapses, believing that like in the Pendulum Wars, he can keep it safe from enemy threats. At the request of the citizens of Pelruan, Hoffman takes them with him even though its a mountain community and they are used to the sea so that the townspeople can stay together. Hoffman also takes Bernie and Dizzy Wallin with him and says a sad goodbye with Delta Squad who stay with Michaelson to defend the new Stranded settlements formed by the dissolution of the COG.
Arrival at the Fort
- "Mr.Gavriel. I am now handing over Anvegad to civilian control. As commanding officer of Anvil Gate garrison, I am at your disposal."
- —Hoffman, giving Lewis Gavriel control of Anvegad
Four days after departing from Port Caval, Hoffman and the rest of the convoy arrived at the edge of the Anvegad Plain, giving them a good view of Anvil Gate and the surrounding area. Hoffman was surprised by how much the terrain had changed since he had been there, with a forest overtaking most of the hills around the fort. Dizzy commented that it seemed a lot nicer than what he had described, and Hoffman agreed that it had changed much, noting new earthworks around the fort along with a new vehicle entrance. They got to the gate, and Rossi came out with Ormond, a engineer. He told Hoffman the fort was ready for Hoffman to take over, and Hoffman thanked him, but called Lewis Gavriel forward. As Gavriel tentatively approached him, Hoffman saluted him and informed him that he was turning Anvegad over to civilian control, and that he would serve at his disposal. Gavriel and the others were shocked, and he protested to Hoffman that he was just a dockyard clerk who had somehow become mayor of a small town. Hoffman told him that now he was the mayor of Anvegad, and asked for permission to begin the resettlement, and that he would carry on with the prearranged plan unless Gavriel told him otherwise. Gavriel assured Hoffman that he did not have to do this, but Hoffman countered that he had to, because he had sworn that there would not be a military government one second longer than there needed to be one. He stood back to let Gavriel enter the fort first, and Gavriel accepted his new responsibility and told Hoffman he was sure they would work something out. Hoffman ordered the trucks to enter the fort, and for the Gears to keep an eye out, since they had heard there were wild Stranded in the mountains. As he got back into his Packhorse, Bernie asked him if he was okay, and although he was not, he reassured her he was.
- "Everyone's got a defining moment in their life if they do anything worth a damn. Something good or bad that shapes every day of your existence from then on. Mine was here."
- —Hoffman, describing to Bernie what Anvil Gate meant to him
Hoffman asked Bernie if she wanted the tour, since he had some ghosts to visit. Bernie told him to take his time, and pointed out that Gavriel was still going to ask his permission about everything. Hoffman told her that was not the point, and that the army was supposed to serve the state, and Gavriel was the closest to an elected official they had left. After they parked in the entrance courtyard, Hoffman took Bernie on a tour of the town, pointing out various buildings, and noted that the town was somewhat smaller than it had been, and guessed that parts of it were not rebuilt after the siege. Hoffman then found the spot in the road where Sgt.Samuel Byrne had set up a Stomper position and died. He knelt down to the ground and spoke to Byrne, telling him that his daughter was doing fine, and had become a Gear as well. He took out the locket Samantha had given him, and promised Sam he would find his grave and bury it with him. As he stood up, he noticed Bernie looking away and crying, and asked if he was embarrassing her. She told him no, and he noted that she was crying, but she responded that Hoffman was too. Hoffman joked that he better get a grip before anyone else saw, or they would think he had gone senile. As a truck passed them, Hoffman flagged the driver down and asked for the spot where Byrne had died to be cordoned off in order to protect it. He continued to lead Bernie around the base, noting the gun battery where Cpt.Ranald Sander had been killed, the building he had executed a civilian in, the place he had betrayed Cpt.Benoslau during the fake surrender, and several other places. Hoffman noted that the Siege of Anvil Gate had defined his life and influenced everything he had ever done. Once he was finished touring the fort and town, he watched as the trucks were unloaded, and Dizzy came to him, referring to him as Colonel, and reported that the underground cisterns were flowing again, and that he had made a good choice coming here. Hoffman told him that they were going to be at home here, and after he walked away, Hoffman asked Bernie if he had any right to call himself Colonel, since they were all Stranded now. Bernie told him that everyone needed him to be Col.Hoffman, and that no one cared about technicalities any more. Hoffman then located his old office as Bernie walked the fort walls to reconnoiter the surrounding area, and she eventually rejoined him. He looked out at the new forests, and remarked that this was going to work.
Reunited with Pad and the Pesanga
- "Dear God. Dear God... Pad? Padrick Salton?"
- —Hoffman, upon seeing Pad for the first time in over a decade
At the end of the first week at the fort, Bernie contacted Hoffman from her over watch position on the forts wall and reported that five trucks were approaching along the road. Hoffman told her to assume they were hostile, and sounded the warning siren, sending Gears to defensive positions along the wall. As the trucks got closer to the entrance, they stopped a hundred meters away, and the driver of the lead vehicle got out and began walking towards the fort. Bernie contacted Hoffman and warned him not to open fire, and that he would believe who it was. Hoffman ordered the gate opened and advanced towards the man with his Lancer at the ready, but the man simply held his arms out to the side to show he was unarmed. As Bernie joined him, Hoffman realized that the man was Padrick Salton, and was absolutely shocked. Pad said hello and started to salute, but realized he was out of the proper uniform to do so. He held his hand out instead, and commented that Hoffman had not changed much. Hoffman took his old friends hand and pulled him into a hug, and asked where he had gone. Pad pointed over his should to the trucks, and told Hoffman he had joined up with the Pesanga. Pad then noticed Bernie, and it was his turn to be shocked, and he commented that it was reunion of the 26th Royal Tyran Infantry. Hoffman asked him if he had brought any Pesangas with him, and Pad told him he had, and that they had heard he had moved back in and wanted to join him if he did not mind. Hoffman was stunned, and told him that the entire Pesang nation was welcome at Anvegad, and they would find room for them in the fort. Pad told him the leader wanted to speak with him first, and Hoffman said that was fine, but that his Pesan was rusty and he hoped the leader spoke some Tyran. Pad reassured him it she did, and he helped a tiny Pesang woman out from one of the trucks. She came up to Hoffman, and they bowed to each other, and Hoffman told her that he had once served with many of her people, and welcomed her to Anvil Gate. She smiled, and asked if Hoffman did not know her. He apologized and said that he did not, and she told him that they had never met, but she knew him. She handed him a cloth, and he unwrapped it to find an Embry Star inside, and realized that she was Harua Tak, the wife of his friend Bai Tak. Hoffman was completely stunned, and as the other Pesang joined her, Harua explained that Hoffman's money that he had sent made their farm highly successful, and that the others with her were Bai's children and grandchildren, and they would now help take care of him. Hoffman could not believe it, and helped her back into her truck and ordered Ormond to bring the convoy into the fort. As Pad and the Pesanga entered the fort, Hoffman stared after them, and Hoffman explained to Bernie how he has sent the money to Harua after Bai died because the COG would not support her. Bernie remarked that he was a good man for being such a bad-tempered bastard, causing Hoffman to smile like he had when he was younger, and realized that this was where he was meant to be. As they headed into the fort, Hoffman called it home, and that he had a garrison to run.
Settling Into Anvil Gate
- "Too peaceful. Makes me feel kind of lost, babe."
- —Hoffman, to Bernie as they watched a sunset from Anvegads walls
Five months later, Hoffman was helping some of the Vectes and Pesanga civilians clear the streets of snow. Bernie arrived with Jasi, the son of one of the Pesanga Hoffman was helping, carrying a dead goat. Hoffman asked who had killed it, and Josi called Hoffman "uncle" and told him he did. As Josi and his father took the goat back home, Hoffman considered his status as honorary uncle to the Pesanga, and wished that Bai had survived to meet Josi and his other descendants. Bernie guessed that he still missed Bai, and Hoffman admitted he did, along with Delta and Michaelson, with whom they could no longer speak with due to the communications satellites going down. He and Bernie then headed up to the walls of the fort to watch the sunset, and he remarked that it felt too peaceful at Anvegad, and that he felt lost. Bernie suggested they could find some Stranded to fight if he was bored. Hoffman then asked if they were having goat for dinner again, but Bernie told him to stop complaining and just enjoy the sunset. They then spotted Pad returning, and Hoffman headed to meet him at The Mess to discover what he had found while scouting. Pad informed him that he had found a group of Stranded who were willing to trade fuel for fur. Hoffman agreed to the trade, since Bernie had been killed so many animals that they had an excess of fur. Three weeks later, one of Dizzy's convoys came under fire from the Kashkur Foothills. Bernie began putting together a patrol to find the attackers. Hoffman was worried about the risk, but Bernie and Rossi reassured him that the hostile Stranded group had to be small to fail to stop a tiny convoy. Hoffman told Bernie to come back in one piece, since he did not want to be a widower again. That night, Hoffman was awoken when Bernie contacted him and told him that they had encountered a half-dozen Locust. Hoffman was shaken by this, and exclaimed that he had thought they were down with them. Bernie reassured him there were only a few of them, and Hoffman admitted that they had suspected some had survived. They decided they could continue on as normal, and Hoffman asked if everyone else was fine. Bernie told them they were, and that they had found the Stranded and warned them off. Hoffman calmed down and figured they could handle a few Locust, and Bernie pointed out that no enemy had ever gotten past Anvil Gate.
Reunited with Delta
- "Well, Fenix... I have no goddamn idea what to say. And that's a first for me."
- —Hoffman, after Marcus revealed that Prescott was dead but Adam Fenix was alive
A year later, a Gas Barge was spotted crashing near the fort. Hoffman led a group of Gears to investigate, but found Delta-One there with Dizzy. Hoffman ordered his Gears to stand down and asked Marcus what they were doing there. Marcus told him that a large force of Locust was heading for them, and that he would explain on the way to Anvil Gate. Hoffman ordered his Gears to get back onto their Packhorses and radio the fort that Locust were inbound. As the drove, Hoffman guessed that Marcus had not come all this way to ask about his health, and Marcus explained to him that they had the key to Prescott's data disc. Hoffman noted that he had almost given up on cracking the disc, and Marcus revealed that it contained information on an island called Azura, where Prescott had been holding Adam Fenix captive. Hoffman was astounded that Adam was alive, and asked how he had learned about this. Marcus explained that Prescott had given it to him earlier that day, before he was killed in a Lambent attack. As Hoffman pulled into the fort, he told Marcus he had no idea how to respond to all of that, but they were interrupted when Bernie came over the comm and announced that the Locust were attacking the front gate. Marcus promised to explain everything else once they dealt with the Locust, and Hoffman joined Delta in rushing to the front gate to defend the fort while contacting Bernie and asking her to serve as control.
Battle of Anvil Gate
- "Bernie's gonna push the reserve fuel tank into the courtyard, and we're gonna blow it sky high! That'll stop these assholes!"
- —Hoffman to Dom, after he asked what the "last resort" was
Hoffman noted he had never seen so many Locust out there before, and Marcus guessed that they had pissed them off after running into Queen Myrrah. Hoffman was angry that the Queen was still alive, and asked Marcus if there were any more surprises he should know about. Marcus told him not yet, and they joined the rest of the defenders in holding off a massive wave of Locust at the front gate. They cut down dozens of Drones, but more continued to attack, and a Siegebeast destroyed the front gate. Hoffman ordered the defenders to fall back to the second gate, and they attempted to hold the outer courtyard. Baird asked Hoffman if they still had the Hammer of Dawn controls, and Hoffman informed him that the targeting was screwed up. The outer courtyard fell when Maulers used their shields for cover and breached the second gate, and Hoffman fell back once again with the remaining defenders to fight for the inner courtyard. That too fell when Boomers destroyed the garage door, and Hoffman worked with Delta to hold back the Locust as Bernie prepared the "last resort": a fuel tank positioned over the courtyard that could be dropped on the Locust. Once it was detonated, the remaining Locust were killed, and cleanup efforts began and Marcus told Hoffman it was time to talk about Prescott.
- "But that's downright unbelievable, even for that asshole! So, this thing your dad's invented- it'll kill of the Lambent? What about the rest of the grubs?"
- —Hoffman to Marcus, after he expalined to Hoffman everything Prescott had done
Marcus informed Hoffman about everything he had learned from Prescott, and about how Adam had a weapon that could destroy the Lambent, but that he was trapped on Azura by Locust forces. Hoffman could not believe that Prescott had hidden all of this from them, and asked Marcus if Adam's weapon would also kill the Locust. Marcus was not sure, but noted it was moot until they located Azura. Baird complained that they needed the Hammer of Dawn to give them an edge against the Locust, but Hoffman noted it only activated a few satellites now and that targeting was almost completely gone. Baird suggested he could fix it, and set himself to work on trying to upgrade it. Hoffman then handed Baird A2897 and asked him to amaze him, but Bernie then entered the control room and informed everyone that Anya and Sam had arrived in a convoy outside the fort but were under Locust attack. Hoffman headed to find drivers to take Delta out to rescue the convoy, and they were rescued from a small Locust force and several Lambent creatures. After the battle was finished, Hoffman gathered with Bernie and the rest of Delta in the control room as Baird decrypted the data disc, which revealed the location of Azura and the fact it was guarded by an artificial hurricane. Hoffman suggested that Delta use the submarine CNV Adamant, which was laid up at the Endeavor Naval Shipyard, to infiltrate the island. The next morning, Hoffman and Bernie saw Delta off, and Marcus noted that Hoffman had not even asked to come along. Hoffman told him he would not surrender Anvil Gate to the Locust, and that he and Bernie were staying to defend it with the other remaining Gears and civilians. Bernie agreed with him, and noted they were too old to be joining Delta on a mission like this.
End of the War
Hoffman, Bernie, and the remainder of the Anvil Gate garrison defended the fort for the next few days from the Lambent. As they were close to being overrun, they saw a blue wave of energy wash through the sky, and all of the Lambent creatures around them fell to the ground and died, and they realized that Delta had succeeded in finding Azura and ending the war.
On the 25th anniversary of Victory Day, Hoffman attented the celebrations in New Ephyra, the capital of the reformed COG. Following the emergence of the Swarm, Hoffman was put in charge of the Hivebuster operation.
Personality and Traits
Hoffman is a by-the-book soldier known to lead his men into combat. He has a great respect for the Pesang people, which led him to publicly disrespect Chairman Dalyell in an award ceremony. One year into the Locust War, Hoffman was ordered to use the Hammer of Dawn on civilian targets, causing him great stress and creating a dilemma. He lost sleep for several days, knowing that his wife's sister was outside the protection of Jacinto. Following orders, he never told his wife what his assignment was, until Chairman Prescott gave the announcement about the Hammer of Dawn deployment that included destroying 90% of the Seran surface, leading to his wife to leave him, so she can try to rescue her sister. While Hoffman tried to stay the professional soldier, he ordered all checkpoints to arrest and detain her so he can try to save her. Unfortunately there were no sightings of her and she was presumably killed in the Hammer strikes.
Hoffman has an unusual way of showing care for his Gears by structuring his kindness into orders, a practice dubbed "Hoffmanese". After Sgt. Fenix's desertion, Hoffman took his recklessness personally and helped give him a 40-year sentence, and abandoned him in the prison but would later make amends. Anya believes that if Dom hadn't gotten Fenix out, Hoffman eventually would have. Its shown that Hoffman in fact didn't abandon Marcus out of dislike, but out of an unwillingness to risk lives as the prison was under siege and Marcus couldn't be found safely. When Dom went to rescue him, Hoffman didn't stop him and subtly told him to take more armor and a gun for Marcus and prevented anyone else from intervening even when Dom took JACK. Despite his initial dislike for Fenix for his desertion, he helped save his life and after the Lightmass Offensive, Hoffman began to rely heavily on him, saying he always got the job done and believing that he could've made a good replacement for Hoffman himself one day if he hadn't deserted to save his father. While dealing with problems from the citizens of Pelruan after a few of their trawlers were sunk by the Lambent and during the First Battle of New Jacinto, Hoffman even took political advice from Fenix about dealing with Prescott and not risking himself in combat when it was unnecessary. Hoffman has a great distaste for the Stranded, viewing them as traitors not only to the COG but the Human race. However, Hoffman came to rely on and trust former Stranded Dizzy Wallin greatly.
Hoffman has a strong dislike of Chairman Prescott, due to his habits of restricting information, which Hoffman believes should be shared with the second in command. Cole once described Hoffman's anger as being enough to "dropkick Prescott out the Raven to see if the asshole flies or floats". Fortunately for Prescott, Anya cut in on the Radio. Hoffman later admitted that the idea of Prescott and Major Reid being left in charge of the COG if he died actually scared more than death as he knew the two would do a bad job of it.
Hoffman was at first against being promoted any higher than captain because he wanted to be with his fellow Gears, not dealing with politics in an office.
- "Geril Atar. You’ve admitted to an act of injurious theft as defined by the Military Emergency Measures Act, that by stealing rations intended for Coalition soldiers you endangered them and their ability to defend the COG. The penalty is death, and in the name of the Chairman of the Coalition of Ordered Governments, I shall now carry that out."
- —Victor Hoffman to Geril Atar, saying the legalities before executing him for his crime.
- "I'm an idiot. If I'd been killed, guess who would take over? Reid or McLintock. Kiss humanity good-bye. Assholes, both of them."
- —Hoffman inner thoughts after getting shot during the Evacuation of North Gate.
- "I expect you to give me 110%, Fenix!"
- —Victor Hoffman, talking to Marcus Fenix after briefing Lieutenant Minh Young Kim
- "No, I'm a Commander who never asks his men to do what he wouldn't himself. No more, no less."
And maybe it's because the day I do, I won't have anything left worth living for."
- —Hoffman assuring of the reason why he has decided to be the one to take out the Scientists behind the Hammer of Dawn.
- "He studied on elegant granite headstone: SERGEANT MAJOR GRAME, J. It wasn't that he was a decorated man that mattered. Grame was simply here, a stone's throw from the place where the decisions had been made that had ultimately put him in this grave.
Forget the medals. Am I prepared to swap places with you, Sergeant?
Yes, he was. The day he wasn't - he didn't have the right to lead men any longer."
- —The then Major Hoffman's thoughts to the grave of an Embry Star recipient.
- "You dicked around and cost men's lives, Sergeant. Like I never did? You cost us Jacinto. Your father just snapped his fingers, and bang, you leave your men and stroll off with the targeting laser. You think that doesn't make you an asshole, at the very least? You got a buddy like Dom, who'd shit his last drop of blood for you, who put you first even when his wife went missing, and you do that to men depending on you? "
- —Hoffman to Sgt. Fenix after the Evacuation of North Gate at Wrightman Base.
- "I don't know his name. I don't know anything about him, other than that he was a guard at Aspho Point, his name wasn't Natan, and of if he had been one of my men, I'd have been proud of him. Make sure he isn't forgotten."
- —A heavily redacted official report of the Aspho point Raid from Major Victor Hoffman, found in the Vaults of the Ostri embassy, Jacinto; Stamped Uncirculated
- "It's been a long time, Fenix. I'm guessing, you didn't come all this way to inquire about my health."
- —Victor Hoffman to Marcus Fenix
- "I have no goddamn idea what to say and that's a first for me."
- —Victor Hoffman to Marcus Fenix after learning of everything that has happened
Behind the scenes
- Hoffman is voiced by Jamie Alcroft.
- Hoffman was based off a stereotypical cigar-chomping, hands-on combat leader. He first appeared in Gears of War 1, where he established Marcus' role in the game.
- The developers had originally intended to have Hoffman say the speech in Gears of War 2, however that didn't work out. Later when the developers created the character of the Prescott the role was instead given to him.
- Originally Hoffman was supposed to die in Gears of War 3. He was supposed to come with Delta Squad to get the submarine instead of Dizzy, and he was going to die when they sailed off. But for Karen Traviss, Hoffman is one of the few people in the books that has a historical perspective - that can think about things before the war. She didn't want to lose him as a narrative vehicle for the books.
- One action figure of Hoffman has been made.
- Hoffman is a playable character in Gears of War and Gears of War 2.
- In Gears of War, Hoffman was the announcer for the COG side. He is replaced by Chairman Richard Prescott in Gears of War 2.
- Hoffman acts as the leader of the COG forces in Assassination in Gears of War and Guardian in Gears of War 2, with the current best player on the team playing as him. Hoffman has been replaced by Prescott in the new leader game types in Gears of War 3.
- In Gears of War 3, Colonel Hoffman is an unlockable multiplayer character, available after reaching Level 50.
- In Gears of War 4 multiplayer, Hoffman has four unlockable character skins: Armored, Commando, Dress Uniform, and E-Day.
- The Slab
- Gears of War (First appearance)
- Gears of War: Ultimate Edition
- Aspho Fields
- Hollow Part Two
- Barren Part One
- Barren Part Two
- Gears of War 2
- Dirty Little Secrets Part One
- Jacinto's Remnant
- Anvil Gate
- Dirty Little Secrets: Never Forgive, Never Forget
- Coalition's End
- Dirty Little Secrets: Need to Know
- Dirty Little Secrets: Diaspora
- Dirty Little Secrets: Keyhole
- Dirty Little Secrets: No Hiding Place (Mentioned only)
- Gears of War 3
- Gears of War 4
- Gears of War: Hivebusters
- Gears 5 (Mentioned only)