- "I've been branded a traitor. A terrorist. Some sort of crackpot Captain Ahab. I suppose they got it right...but...I'll always be one thing more than the others. And that's a soldier. And right now, every human on this planet has one thing in common: we're all at war."
- — Archer making a deal with Godfather.
Captain David Archer was a character in Call of Duty: Ghosts and one of the primary characters and the secondary antagonist of the Extinction saga. He is the leader of the Nightfall Program, and thus, the main antagonist of Nightfall. He is also a supporting character in Mayday and Awakening. He is mentioned through intel in Exodus. He had sent out a message to Godfather about their plan, but they were unsure if it was really Archer, since the audio message was deemed as a negative match.
David Archer was a top shooter in the Special Air Service until he washed out on a Section 8, being deemed mentally unfit to return to duty. He was initially known as someone who wouldn't crack under pressure, but his psychiatric record says otherwise; stating that he is "extremely paranoid" and exhibits "violent/erratic behavior". During a psychiatric evaluation, he talks about an incident where he and a six-man kill team were assigned to a black ops in Swat Valley, Pakistan. After the op, they were denied extraction, having to hide out in caves for six weeks. He claims that he made contact with "Aliens" in the cave, but when the doctor apparently smiled, Archer, believing that the doctor thought he was crazy, assaulted him. After learning that there were Cryptids in Colorado, he went to the quarantine zone and smuggled Cryptid specimens out while the U.S. Military fought against the outbreak. Then, he created the Nightfall Program, which involves the research of the Cryptids, and recruited Samantha Cross to help with the research.
Striking a Deal
While being the shot caller for the Nightfall Program, Archer calls an unknown man, intending to sell his research to him. The contact questions Archer's trust when he is a traitor, but Archer shows him data of Scorpions, Rhinos, and the Venom-X, to make him "act on your own self-interest" and gives him 24 hours to comply or he would turn to another competitor. After a few hours, the contact called back, offering $400 million for the live specimens, and another $200 million for the Nightfall research data. Archer says, however that he does not need money, but a ship and a crew that can follow his orders, and needs the contact's answer immediately. Dr. Cross made an unauthorized call to the outside of the facility, and it is likely compromised. He requests extraction within 18 hours until the facility becomes overrun with Cryptids.
Some time later, Archer despreately calls his contact to hurry, since the Hatchery in the building was sabotaged and Cryptids were running amok, killing everyone in sight. When Archer demanded an extraction team, the contact believed that Archer had too many problems and wouldn't be able to hold his end of the deal, and cut the deal, telling him to either allow himself to fall victim to the Cryptids, or hold out until the U.S. Military got there. Archer cursed him, and the contact cut off the transmission.
After losing his deal, Archer reviewed a security camera's footage from the Hatchery to find out who was responsible — he sees someone call a Hunter on a doctor, then proceeds to release the other Cryptids from the Hatchery; that someone is revealed to be Dr. Samantha Cross. Archer tries to call his contact, sending him pictures of "The Ark", to make him reconsider breaking the deal, and tells him that he believes Cross is the key to finding another Ark. Archer, now having assuaded his contact into helping him again, decides to go after Cross.
The U.S. Military's Rapid Reaction Force, codenamed CIF Team One, were tasked to investigate the Nightfall Facility, rescue Dr. Cross, destroy the Cryptids that they come across, and secure Archer, either "in handcuffs, or a body bag". CIF Team One first heard from him in what looked like a security outpost near the entrance of the facility. Archer contacted the team's commander, thanking him for having "cleaned up" his mess in Colorado, and hoped that he wasn't planning to set off another nuclear bomb. The commander told him to stop, continuing by saying that "too many people have died already", but Archer refused, saying that if he were to stop, their deaths would have been in vain.
CIF Team One found Dr. Cross in a weapons testing room behind bulletproof glass, attempting to commit suicide to stop Archer from learning what she knew about "The Obelisk" — an obsidian stone carved with Cryptid glyphs that Archer tasked Cross to decode before the outbreak. Before she could succeed, Archer broke into the room she was hiding in, shot her in the shoulder to make her drop the weapon she was holding, then hit her in the face to knock her out. He then shifted his focus to the team, telling them that he couldn't let them leave since they've seen too much. Archer pushed a button that sounded an alarm and attempts to leave while carrying an unconscious Cross atop his shoulders, but two Hunters ambushed him.
After CIF Team One destroyed the last hive at the top of the facility, they go after Archer. When the team left the facility through a hole in a wall, they saw Archer boarding the back of a vehicle and escape into the Alaskan frontier. Before they can even try to go after Archer, the Breeder appeared and blocked their path, allowing Archer to escape with Dr. Cross. By the time CIF Team One killed the Breeder, Archer had already made it onto the Stormbreaker, a Chinese ship filled with Alien specimens, and his research.
After testing on Cross, things started to go awry as Samantha had managed to use an unknown power to contact the cryptids to destroy the ship. At this time, Godfather, the man who sent CIF Team One to the sub, had asked the President of the United States to recruit Archer so that they can locate the Ark and to stop the Cryptid War. However, the President was displeased by Godfather's plans, as he wanted Archer dead. Godfather then reminds the President that Archer is very intelligent in the field, and that they need his expertise in order to progress.
Search for the Ark & Death
- "I'll see you all in hell..."
- — David Archer's final words, prior to perishing from the Ark meltdown after the Rapid Reaction Force - CIF Team 1 leaves him to die in the Ark.
After Archer's team reached the bottom of Ball's Pyramid, they ran into an ambush setup by the Cryptids, near an ark. One of his men had been decapitated by a Gargoyle, unwillingly dropping a live grenade. Archer then dragged his other soldier in front of him as a human shield, killing the soldier, and Archer was blown back several feet. Archer's right arm collided with a peculiar plant, allowing a lethal toxin to enter his body. This prompted Cross to appear and cut off his right arm, saving him from the lethal infection. Cross told Archer that she'd lead Archer's men to the Ark in return of a safe trip home; however, Archer had suspicions about the voyage, and instead was interested in killing Cross, and using her head as a potential weapon against the cryptids, akin to how Perseus did the same to Medusa. As Archer's group obtained the Cortex in the heart of the Ark, Archer pointed a handgun at Cross in an attempt to kill her, but Cross seized control of Archer's remaining arm, and used the handgun to kill his own men and shoot Archer's left leg, forcing Archer to lay down in front of the Obelisk that was situated there. Cross then left Archer to die, but not before Rapid Reaction Force - CIF Team 1 arrived shortly later. Archer attempted to warn them about what they were doing, but they activated the Cortex and started the meltdown. As the group escaped from the Ark, Archer tried to get them to help him, but they left him behind, prompting him to say "I'll see you all in hell" as he then dies from the meltdown.
In a piece of Intel, Archer sent a message to Godfather and his men, but they were unsure if it was really Archer or not, since the match on Archer was negative. Godfather was contacted about the message afterwards.