- “So, here's the deal. I'm short a Captain, so Lieutenant McKay is serving as my Executive Officer. So, if either one of us says 'crap', then I expect you to ask 'what color, how much, and where do you want it?' Do you read me?”— Silva, to John-117
Major Antonio Silva was a Field Grade officer and an Orbital Drop Shock Trooper in the UNSC Marine Corps. He was the Commanding Officer of the ODST forces during the Battle of Installation 04 in September 2552.
Early Military Career
Around 2525, then-Second Lieutenant Silva was assigned to command a platoon of Marine Shock Troops aboard the UNSC Atlas. That same year, to test the new SPARTAN-II physical augmentations, ONI enlisted four of Silva's men to confront John-117 in the Atlas's gym.
The ODSTs were no match for the Spartan, and two were killed while the other two were severely wounded. Silva viewed this as murder and was appalled when the SPARTAN was not punished. Silva held a deep grudge toward the SPARTAN-II program in general, and John-117 in particular, from that time forward.
Reach and Installation 04
Escape from Reach
In 2552, Major Silva was deployed with his ODST Battalion aboard the newly-refit UNSC Pillar of Autumn. He and his Marines defended the ship's engine generators, his success demonstrated by the wall of Covenant corpses used by his soldiers for cover, during the Fall of Reach and later during the beginning of the Battle of Installation 04.
Silva then abandoned the Autumn in Human Entry Vehicles with his Executive Officer, First Lieutenant Melissa McKay, and the few hundred of his men that were revived from cryo in time. During the insertion, he lost one of his men due to mechanical issues concerning the HEV of the deceased (a chute failure).
Landing on Alpha Halo
He and his troops landed on Installation 04. As per protocol, he accelerated his HEV so that he would land first, because protocol dictated that the commander should always be the first one to set foot on the field, to lead by example. Silva rallied his men to capture a nearby butte that would become Alpha Base. With the capture of Captain Jacob Keyes by the Covenant Empire, Silva assumed command of the Autumn's surviving crew.
Confrontation with John
Silva then encountered SPARTAN John-117, now a Master Chief Petty Officer, and blatantly told him that he and his Spartans were "freaks," and that they died because they were weak and could not adapt in battle. Silva continued to say that the veteran Spartan was the last of a "failed experiment" and a "dying breed," and that "real" humans, like Silva's ODSTs, would win the war, not Spartans.
Silva's beliefs regarding the Spartans had been completely unknown to anyone else at the time. First Lieutenant Melissa McKay disagreed with him but never vocalized her feelings. It is unknown how he knew that a Spartan had killed his men, much less that the Spartans had been abducted, since, at that time, the program remained top secret. However, in order to explain how his men were killed by a fourteen-year-old boy, it is likely that he was informed of the Spartans and their origins. (See List of Inconsistencies in Halo: The Flood).
He openly displayed disdain for the Spartans and their abilities, trying to convince Keyes (who had later been rescued by John-117) that his men should be the ones going after the Control Room and not John; his request was denied by Keyes, who thought highly of the Spartans. When John-117 disappeared, (having been teleported to the Library by the Monitor to get the Index), Silva told McKay that he felt that the Spartan was out playing games. McKay understood him to be frustrated, as he knew that the John and Cortana were valuable assets despite his dislike for them. He did, however, express some admiration for John's skills: after learning from Cortana the two's plan to destroy Halo, he said he had to admit the Spartan was "one hell of a soldier."
The Flood Outbreak
Silva later ordered Lt. McKay to ferry supplies from the crashed Autumn to Alpha Base and hold the docking and supply bays until all further supplies have been taken. He then rallied his forces during a Covenant attack of the base, and again when the Flood appeared and tried to infest the base. Silva succeeded by interrogating the found PFC Wallace Jenkins, now a Flood Combat Form, and discovered the attack, plugging the holes underneath the base before the Flood could attack.
After the battle, Silva and his men came into contact with Cortana one last time and learned about the downed Covenant vessel Truth and Reconciliation. Silva also learned that Cortana and John planned to destroy Halo by blowing up the Pillar of Autumn. Silva planned a rapid assault on the Truth and Reconcilation, and had impeccable timing, attacking just as the Covenant had destroyed the Flood aboard the ship, and defeating them easily. He also arrived likely shortly after John-117 had escaped the vessel again and further weakened the Covenant and Flood force on board.
Glory Hound and Death
It became increasingly clear that Silva wanted to be the hero of the Battle of Installation 04, and intended to take the vessel directly to Earth—violating the Cole Protocol and endangering Earth's population, as Silva had interrupted the process of sterilizing the ship, allowing some of the Flood to survive and hide on it. He also planned to meet John-117 and Cortana in the space around Alpha Halo so that Cortana could pilot the vessel back to Earth.
Adamant in his decision, Silva left Lieutenant McKay no choice but to destroy the fiber-optic bundle connecting the bridge to the engine, causing the ship to crash onto the surface of Installation 04. This killed not only Silva and herself, but every other life form on board the ship. In spite of the massive loss of life and opportunities for humanity to turn the war around, that act prevented the Flood infestation from threatening Earth and the remaining colonies, and possibly saved billions of lives.
- Although UNSC Marine Corps battalions are usually commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel, Silva commands his own battalion while only a Major. This may be indicative of a lack of senior officers following the assault on Reach.
- Halo: The Flood (First appearance)