|Private Military Contractor|
James Eckersley was born in the United Kingdom and served in the British Armed Forces. At some undisclosed point he left the military and went to work for ION, Incorporated. James applied for the position of 'Security Team Member' and was almost immediately accepted and sent to participate in Operation: Black Gaunlet, deploying to Takistan to provide security for a team of UN weapons inspectors there.
As a new recruit, Eckersley distanced himself from the other ION contractors. He seemed possessed of a quiet and unobtrusive personality, although when it came time for battle and his skills were tested, he was known to perform with great bravery and martial prowess.
"Heads up, boss. We got movement."
- ―James Eckersley[src]
Eckersley was one of the original seven ION security personnel dispatched to the US Air Force Base near Zargabad to begin their mission by awaiting the arrival of the UN investigations team, which was looking into Takistan's abandoned nuclear weapons program. The team made it there in two ION SUVs, with Brian Frost, Mark Reynolds, Henry Asano, Tanny Radcliffe, and Patrick Dixon in the lead vehicle, and Roland Saunderson and Eckersley in the second.
Eckersley would often find himself paired with Saunderson, a South African, during the course of the mission. Upon arriving at the landing zone for a helicopter with the UN team on board, Mark Reynolds warned the ION contractors to stay on their guard and patrol the area. However, Eckersley and Saunderson remained behind to guard the vehicles, parked near the center of the base. A few minutes later, Eckersley's sharp eyes detected some unusual activity on the edge of the base, and he radioed Reynolds to inform him of this. Mark replied to all of the ION contractors that use of deadly force was now authorized.
He organized the group into two teams: Team Sword and Team Shield. Eckersley was paired with Tanny Radcliffe, Patrick Dixon, and Roland Saunderson in Team Shield, and was ordered to stand their ground and defend the area. Within a few moments, Takastani militiamen and insurgents were swarming towards the base. The contractors repelled the first assault with ease. However, it soon became clear that there was a sniper with a bead on them, so Reynolds instructed Team Sword to move out and find his location. Brian Frost took this task on his shoulders; he subsequently discovered the guerilla with a high-grade rifle perched atop a tower nearby, shooting him dead.
After a short wait, the UN team finally arrived via helicopter. James Eckersley promptly accompanied them as they insisted they start the investigation right away. Reynolds supervised them as they traveled to an abandoned factory complex nearby. Inside, were important records left for them by a Takistani contact. Eckersley and Saunderson were chosen to accompany Mark inside with the UN team; the other contractors stood guard outside.
After two hours, the local Takistanis came to protest at the factory against ION's presence, and the ION team was forced to drive them away. Meanwhile, inside, the UN team, led by Dr. Ivan Ruce, a Frenchman, discovered important information pertaining to a new contact, a corrupt official who had been involved in Takistan's nuclear weapons program named Abdul.
"Shield will stay here until the route is secure."
Abdul was hiding in a house somewhere in central Zargabad, a city in central Takistan which was a rallying-point for various guerilla groups. The New Takistani Army (NTA) bombed the city on an almost daily basis, in futile attempts to force the guerillas out of hiding.
Team Sword and Team Shield were reshuffled en route to Zargabad. Team Sword was now Reynolds, Dixon, Frost, Radcliffe, and Asano, while Saunderson, James Eckersley, and an unidentified third contractor made up Team Shield. The idea was for Sword to launch an offensive operation, while Shield stayed behind to guard the UN clients. As the road through Zargabad was mined with explosives and brimming with armed insurgents, Reynolds decided Team Sword should proceed on foot through the city, clearing the road for Team Shield to follow in an SUV, along with Dr. Ruce and his associates.
When the route was successfully cleared, Team Shield brought the UN team to their contact, Abdul, who was located in his house with some important documents he intended to show Dr. Ruce. However, suddenly, an air strike was launched by the NTA, leveling much of the already-ruined Zargabad. Reynolds and Eckersley hurried the UN team into an SUV as quickly as possible, with Eckersley covering the vehicles with his weapon in case of any unexpected volleys by insurgents nearby. Eckersley, Reynolds, and Roland Saunderson beat a hasty retreat with the UN team, while the rest of Team Sword was left behind to rescue Abdul.
The Takistani contact, however, was never able to make it, and the contractors lost sight of him during the NTA air strike. The team was subsequently split up, with Asano running off by himself, Tanny getting killed under a collapsing building, Frost being left behind for dead, and Dixon attempting to flee the city alone in their vehicle.
As for Team Shield, they were forced to make a pause driving through the city, possibly returning fire to insurgents which shot at them, although this action would be one of folly and defy the basic security rules when protecting an important client, much less a group of them. Either way, the unidentified contractor from Team Shield was promptly shot and killed by a sniper, prompting the rest of his team to fall back. They eventually made it to an ION compound just outside the city, to safety.
Meanwhile, back in Zargabad, Frost and Henry Asano regrouped with Patrick Dixon, only to find that their SUV had been destroying, stranding them on the outskirts of the doomed city. They contacted Mark Reynolds, who promptly dispatched an ION helicopter to rescue them.
After regrouping with Team Sword on the ground, Eckersley and Roland Saunderson formed a convoy. Team Sword, driving an Armored SUV, would proceed ahead of Team Shield, driving two unarmored vehicles with the UN investigators inside. Hopefully, Team Sword would draw all the fire from the expected ambushes on the way to the Proving Grounds, a nuclear testing site where the UN team was planning to uncover more information pertaining to their investigation.
Although briefly inconvenienced by Checkpoint Charlie, an American outpost which refused to grant the contractors clearance, the team was soon on its way. They were forced to deal with a number of NTA troops and guerilla ambushes, which were held off by Brian Frost, manning the minigun on the Armored SUV.
The team finally stopped short of the Proving Grounds, which were heavily guarded by a Takistani Armored Division. Frost and Henry Asano were forced to proceed ahead of the group and destroy the tanks and APC's with an anti-material rifle. While they were gone, Patrick Dixon took charge of the convoy, with James Eckersley and Roland Saunderson remaining with him and the UN team.
"Eyes on target."
- ―James Eckersley[src]
With the NTA resistance cleared by Frost and Asano, the ION vehicles moved up and the team established itself at a mysterious bunker in the middle of the Proving Grounds, where the UN team worked tirelessly into the night to study the storage items inside, convinced they were fission materials needed for nuclear weapons.
As the night grew bitter cold, Patrick Dixon built a fire to keep the miserable contractors warm as they stood guard outside, around the bunker. Frost and Asano patrolled the perimeter, while Eckersley and Saunderson each guarded one of the SUVs. Suddenly, the team came under attack by unknown UAV's (unmanned aerial vehicles), which unleashed a devastating barrage on the camp. When Frost began to get alarmed and the other contractors dove for cover, Eckersley silently left his post and stared off into the sky, walking calmly into the open. He tried to see the UAVs as they attacked, but was forced to flee for cover when bullets began striking the SUV nearest him.
After a brief exchange of fire, a UAV blasted in the Armored SUV, destroying it. Brian Frost ordered the contractors to scatter and draw fire away from the vehicles and the bunker, which they did, subsequently regrouping in the ruins of several buildings not far away. Their combined firepower and Patrick Dixon's hacking skills enabled them to bring down the UAVs, although all the noise and explosions which occurred during the battle startled the nearest guerilla factions and stirred up the NTA.
The next morning, a massive group of Takistani guerillas assaulted the ION campsite. The contractors were able to repel the assault after considerable difficulty. James Eckersley remained pinned down during the majority of the fight, although when ordered by Patrick Dixon into combating a specific target, he would openly advance under heavy fire to do so.
All of the ION contractors performed bravely and after several frustrating attempts to penetrate the determined defense, the insurgents fled. Despite being new to the security business, Eckersley proved himself during this battle.
Mark Reynolds, who had been lending backup during the fighting from the air in an ION helicopter, shortly landed and spoke with the UN team. Nuclear materials had been discovered in the Takistani bunker, and Dr. Ruce was eager to remove them as soon as possible. It was agreed that Team Shield would escort the investigators in the lead SUV, while Mark Reynolds followed in the second, transporting the materials. Meanwhile, Dixon, Frost, and Asano would provide air cover from the helicopter, scouting ahead for any ambushes that might attempt to waylay the convoy en route back to Zargabad.
Team Spear (Those in helicopter) detected several ambush attempts ahead, and, attacking from the helicopter, successfully neutralized large numbers of NTA troops and insurgents. Every time unusual activity ahead of the route was spotted from the air, Team Spear would radio Reynolds with the information. Reynolds, in turn, would radio Team Shield to temporarily halt their vehicle while Team Spear neutralized the threat.
This tactic worked almost all the way to Zargabad, despite the ION helicopter getting damaged by gunfire from the ground.
After the convoy had proceeded safely through central Takistan, Brian was instructed to land the helicopter at an ION outpost in Zargabad for repairs, dropping Asano off at the Zargabad checkpoint to wait for the arrival of the convoy. Despite damage to the chopper's airframe, he was able to continue to the nearest ION compound and land it for repairs.
However, when the convoy finally arrived, Asano noted with alarm only Team Shield and their UN clients were present; Reynolds and the nuclear materials were nowhere in sight. James Eckersley and Roland Saunderson were every bit as surprised when the second SUV was not behind them. Apparently, Reynolds had driven away at the last minute. When Brian Frost contacted Reynolds to demand his location, the situation became clear: The nuclear materials the UN team had recovered were of Chinese origin. Reynolds had gone rogue, having been bribed by the Chinese to dispose of the materials and prevent the UN from examining them. It would not only expose China's involvement in Takistan's nuclear program, it would likely cause a major diplomatic crisis between China and NATO, which, led by the US, was conducting peacekeeping duties in Takistan.
The decision then lay with Brian Frost and Patrick Dixon, who were at the ION compound plotting out their next course of action, along with James Eckersley and Roland Saunderson. Eckersley had not heard the full conversation with Reynolds; he had been unable to listen to that frequency and thus had no idea what was going on. However, by Dixon's increasing state of agitation, it is most likely that he deduced something was up. Still, James kept his distance, only watching Dixon and Frost discuss what they should do from afar.
Esckersley's fate is decided by the player's course of action, which lies with Brian Frost. If Frost tries to take down Reynolds, this results in one outcome (Termination) and if he sides with Reynolds to murder the UN investigators and silence them permanently, this results in another possible outcome (Deception).
Brian Frost and Patrick Dixon both agreed what needed to be done in the end: Reynolds had to be stopped. At the time, the UN team was being escorted to a safer location by other ION operatives; Reynolds was plotting to have the team murdered by sending in a mortar squad to ambush them along the way.
Determined to stop him, Dixon convinced Eckersley and Saunderson to side with him, and, together, they set off to mobilize an ION strike team and stop the ambush before it could happen. Meanwhile, Frost and Henry Asano hurried south to intercept Reynolds at another company compound, where he was preparing to escape Takistan with the nuclear materials via helicopter. However, Dixon's plan failed because Reynolds' mortar team were prepared for him.
Eckersley fought loyally alongside Dixon to the end, but was shot and killed during the crossfire by one of Reynolds's contractors, who fired two shots into Eckersley's chest.
Brian Frost decides that he should side with Reynolds to prevent an international crisis, but when Patrick Dixon attempts to leave and stop the rogue ION operative, he is fire on by Frost. Dixon became Brian's worst enemy now, so Frost had no choice but to kill him. Eckersley witnessed the shooting with horror; he then raised his own rifle and let out a burst of fire towards Frost, since apparently he was unclear about what was happening and could find no logical explanation for Brian's behavior.
Frost killed first Roland Saunderson, who was standing nearby, followed by Eckersley, who was downed with a bullet to the head.
- James Eckersley is named after Jamie Eckersley, a member of Bohemia Interactive's fan community. In October of 2010, Bohemia released the teaser trailer for ArmA II: Private Military Company, which featured two ION operatives arguing bitterly over whether or not to side with Reynolds. Bohemia and the ArmA production staff then announced that they wanted fans to come up with names for the two contractors featured in the trailer or get their own name used by sending in an ArmA-themed joke about Chuck Norris. By November 2, a lucky fan known as Jamie Eckersley had sent in the best ArmA-themed Chuck Norris joke, and thus the name 'James Eckersley' was used for a minor character in the game.
- Oddly enough, the character in the completed version of the game known as 'James Eckersley' is not the same character from the teaser trailer, despite the contest intending to name the two distinct contractors in the trailer. The character from the teaser trailer, the Black Cap Contractor, only appeared as a corpse, already killed as part of Patrick Dixon's ill-fated strike team during the Mission 'Termination'. Ironically, he fought alongside the named James Eckersley during his final moments.