James Cutter is an officer in the UNSC Navy, entering in Officer Candidate School in 2504. He fought in the insurrection until the start of the war with the Covenant, taking command of the UNSC Spirit of Fire in 2525. He continued as commander of the Spirit of Fire throughout the early years of the war, becoming involved with the Harvest Campaign and helping retake Harvest by 2531. Soon after Harvest, Cutter and the Spirit of Fire were involved in the Battle for the Etran Harborage, where they used the ship's slipspace drive to destroy the Forerunner shield world and escape intact. The ship became lost, however, due to the UNSC being unaware of their location and the ship having lost its slipspace drive, drifting in space for the next 28 years. In 2559, Cutter and the ship found themselves at Installation 00, and battled the Banished for control of the installation.