Aaron Herres was an American general who served as the Chairman of the United States' Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commanding officer of U.S. Robot Command during the mid-21st century. He was the final person to ever hold this rank and these positions, as the United States and every other country in the world were subsequently obliterated and their people consumed by the Faro Plague. Briefed by the engineer and roboticist Dr. Elisabet Sobeck as to the existential threat to all life on Earth the Faro Plague posed, and the absolute impossibility of stopping it before it eradicated all life, Herres spearheaded an offensive dubbed Operation: Enduring Victory to provide time for the implementation of Zero Dawn, which prevented life’s permanent extermination.
Herres became the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff in the year 2060. He was a shrewd senior military officer who was well versed in the relationship between U.S. politics and senior administrative military rank. One of the projects under his purview was the development of a set of body armor that utilized a protective energy shield.
Sensing the change from human forces to mechanized, autonomous robotic forces that was poised to sweep through the United States military, he did not resist it; indeed, he embraced and advocated for it. His appointment as U.S.J.C.S. Chairman and head of U.S.R.C. made him the commander of the largest mechanized force in the history of the world.
However, he ended up bitterly regretting his embrace of the complete automation of the U.S. military. When he learned of the Faro Plague and the ability of the robots to instantly hack and commandeer any enemy automaton, he realized that the might of the by-then fully automated U.S. military was utterly powerless against them, and that Zero Dawn was the sole chance that life on Earth had to avoid being eradicated forever.
Thus, in a meeting with Sobeck and the other joint chiefs, he decisively overrode any objections to Sobeck’s coldly logical, yet necessary plan to grant Zero Dawn adequate time to be completed and implemented. The plan entailed having the doomed global human populace sacrifice itself in a futile effort to stop the swarm, in order to slow its advance. Herres personally undertook the task of starting and propagating a campaign of lies to the world’s civilians and human military forces being assembled against the Faro Plague. This campaign propagated the falsehood that Zero Dawn was a superweapon that would ultimately destroy the robots, if only their advancement was slowed enough for it to be completed. This plan was Operation Enduring Victory. Furthermore, he provided Sobeck with a staging area for Zero Dawn, and oversaw the recuitment, or in some cases, abduction, of the most brilliant scientists in the world from their respective countries of residence according to a list Sobeck had drawn up, to be brought to the facility, told of the true nature of Zero Dawn, and offered the opportunity to work on the project. He himself recorded a holographic presentation to the prospective candidates, which was shown to them on their arrival.
Enduring Victory was just barely successful. As the Faro Plague began advancing on U.S.R.C. Headquarters, Herres recorded an audio message he intended to be heard by anyone who found it in the new world he hoped Zero Dawn would create. In this message, he took full responsibility for the millions of civilians and military personnel worldwide who sacrificed themselves as part of Enduring Victory solely due to the lies he had disseminated to the world about Zero Dawn. Though the global population had certainly been doomed and therefore its sacrifice at least served a vital purpose, he was anguished over his part in it, and moreover, for being one of the champions of the culture of military automation that encouraged technology developments such as what became the Faro Plague. Finally, he gave a heartfelt apology to the people of the new world, and expressed a devout hope that this new world would have no need for men such as him. He asked Dr. Sobeck to archive the message as part of APOLLO, Zero Dawn’s global knowledge archive. However, by the time it was received, APOLLO’s data stacks had been closed and thus archiving it was impossible. It was found on a datapoint and heard, nearly 1000 years later, by the Nora huntress Aloy in the ruins of the Zero Dawn project facility.
While his final fate is not confirmed, it is likely that Herres died in the Faro Plague’s assault on U.S.R.C. Headquarters.
- As with several other names in the game, Aaron Herres appears to be a reference to the real world, both past and present.
- General Robert Tralles Herres was the USA's first Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and he was born in Denver, Colorado, a location which figures prominently in the game's landscape.
- Given the developers' propensity for choosing names very deliberately, it is further likely that his given name is a reference to Aaron in the Old Testament of the Bible, who was brother to Moses and husband to Elisheva.
- In The Grave-Hoard, the terminal containing his final conversation with Elisabet Sobeck is found near a body which could possibly be his.
|Old Ones Characters|
|Project Zero Dawn||Susanne Alpert - Brad Andac - Patrick Brochard-Klein - Connor Chasson - Samina Ebadji - Ellen Evans - Ted Faro - Ron Felder - Jackson Frye - Christina Hsu-Vhey - Naoto - Ayomide Okilo - Tom Paech - Ella Pontes - Skylar Rivera - Charles Ronson - Mia Sayied - Margo Shĕn - Elisabet Sobeck - Travis Tate|
|Operation Enduring Victory||Lana Acosta - Ames Guliyev - Aaron Herres - Yana Mills - Fiona Murell - Vandana Sarai - Usizo Wandari|
|Project FirebreakFW||Joshua Ardhuis - Dod Blevins - Gina Bruno - Kenny Chau - Shelly Guerrera-McKenzie - Jørgen Holm - Anita Sandoval - Laura Vogel|
|Other||Harriet Choi - Osvald Dalgaard - Bashar Mati - Wyatt Mahante|