- "Death is no disgrace."
- — Salen Kotch's motto
Admiral Salen Kotch was the main antagonist of Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare. He was the Admiral of the Settlement Defense Front's 8th Orbital Fleet and the commander of the supercarrier Olympus Mons, the largest warship ever built.
Brought up during the early days of the Settlement Defense Front regime, Salen Kotch developed a deep disdain for ideals of freedom and democracy, which was largely a result of the SDF propaganda machine. During his time in SDF naval college, he engaged in a rivalry with the now vice-admiral Caleb Thies, and attended a delegation to the UNSA naval college at Oslo, a trip which only cemented his pro-SDF ideals. Post-graduation, Kotch became widely known throughout the Solar System, becoming the youngest recipient of the Iron Sword, scaling Olympus Mons, advocating for the construction of the SDF's first super carrier, and coining the Front's infamous motto: "Death is no disgrace".
When a SCAR trio, tasked with securing classified weapons before the SDF can conquer the settlement on Europa, are attacked by the SDF while attempting to do so, the sole conscious surviving soldier, Wolf, is interrogated by Kotch. Kotch asks him how many soldiers were sent but Wolf instead inquires about the health of his men. Kotch is amused and shoots one of his own men, claiming that his empathy clouds his judgement and that this is the reason why Wolf and his men cannot win. He then rips out Wolf's oxygen tank and orders his men to kill all three soldiers, without the use of bullets.
War against Earth
During the Fleet Week Parade at Geneva, the SDF hijacks the planet's planetary defense system and turns it on the parade, destroying most of earth's fleet and killing most of the civilian bystanders. The SDF then land troops in Geneva, planning to conquer the planet. However, the ground teams of the SDF are eliminated and the SDF's starships near Earth's orbit are destroyed or flee. Nonetheless, the SDF has effectively declared war on Earth.
When a team of marines enters a base on a planet fought over by Earth's forces and the SDF, Kotch contacts the captain, Reyes. He orders Reyes and his men to surrender, threatening with execution should they refuse. Nonetheless, Reyes and his men are able to escape the SDF base before it detonates. While Reyes and his men escape the planet in their starships, Kotch's flagship, the Olympus Mons, shoots down Reyes' starship. Reyes is stranded in space and his ship, the Retribution, is forced to retread under fire of the Olympus.
Kotch lures the team of the Retribution to Vesta 3 by knocking it off course in an effort to divide the remaining UNSA fleet. Although the Retribution loses Staff Sergeant Omar, the rest escapes unharmed. They regroup with Tigris only to realize it and its crew were destroyed in a battle with the Olympus. Kotch then contacts the ship directly, threatening Reyes and vowing that he will continue to wage war against Earth. To strike back, Reyes plans to set an ambush for Kotch in return, intending to lure the Olympus to Earth to fight them there.
Indeed, Kotch's fleet arrives in Geneva. The Olympus attacks the military HQ, killing Admiral Raines and everyone else inside. Despite this setback, Reyes and his team are able to successfully enter the Olympus Mons and head towards the bridge. While on their way, Reyes is contacted by Kotch who threatens to destroy the Olympus, which would result in the destruction of Geneva. Before this can happen, Reyes sends a bot to the bridge which fights through Kotch's men and smashes Kotch into the ship's control panel. The bot then self-destructs, exploding and wounding Kotch. Reyes and his men storm the bridge and confront the dying Kotch. In his last breath, Kotch tells Reyes that his death will not end the war. Depending on the player's choice, Kotch either succumbs to his wounds or is stabbed in the neck by Reyes.
Kotch was a ruthless leader who was willing to do anything to defeat the UNSA, and was one of the most feared men in the solar system while commanding the Olympus Mons. He was just as merciless on the ground, as shown when he had SCAR Team Seven brutally executed after feigning sympathy towards them.
He believed in victory at any cost and was willing to sacrifice his own men or even his ship and own life if it meant attaining victory. Overall, he was fanatically devoted to defeating the forces of Earth and controlling the solar system. According to his file, it was at the International Naval War College in Oslo, as an exchange officer, that he found the concepts of freedom and democracy to be weaknesses that cannot be tolerated.
Kotch seemed to be an opposing foil of Nick Reyes, as Reyes cared highly about his men and would do anything to save them, whereas Kotch was willing to let his men die and considered civilian casualties acceptable in his ultimate goal of defeating the UNSA. Furthermore, his treatment of his subordinates was so ruthless that he was willing to shoot one of his soldiers just to demonstrate to Wolf and UNSA command that their empathy is a weakness.
- "Admiral Salen Kotch is one of the most ruthless, brilliant, self-assured and capable naval tyrants to ever command a modern warship. As a boy, Kotch was fostered in the post-Secession War Mars. His only knowledge of the third planet from the sun was the carefully controlled narrative propagated by the Settlement Defense Front."
- — Captain's Log
- "Care clouds judgement. That is why you cannot win."
- "This place... isn't yours anymore."
- "You lack what it takes to win this war."
- "Those who want to live must wage war, and those who do not want war don't deserve to live."
- "This is Admiral Salen Kotch of the Olympus Mons. You are defeated. Death is no disgrace."
- "Mars aeternum."
- "This is Admiral Salen Kotch of the Olympus Mons. All SATO forces are ordered to surrender for immediate execution."
- "Captain Reyes. There is no hope of victory. We will bury your brothers. We will hunt your sons. Death is no disgrace."
- "This is Admiral Salen Kotch of the Olympus Mons. The UNSA ship Tigris lies in ruin. There will be no rest for enemies of the Front."
- "I speak now to the Retribution. We will continue to fight you inside and outside your fading world. Your cities will surrender, broken and weak. We will not fail."
- "You will not take my carrier, Captain Reyes! We will all die here. I will detonate this vessel and level your city."
- "We don't fight. We attack."
- "Earth survivors will live at gunpoint, and breathe by permission of the Front. Mars aeternum."
- "Killing me isn't winning."
- "I killed your admiral. Your iron shield is down."
- His card on the Most Wanted board is the Ace of Spades.
- If the player kills Kotch by stabbing him with the knife before his speech ends, it will award the player the "You Know Nothing" achievement. This is a reference to phrase, "You know nothing, Jon Snow" from the TV series Game of Thrones, in which Kotch's voice actor, Kit Harington, plays the character of Jon Snow.
- When playing on Specialist difficulty, a possible death screen humorously states that Kotch holds the record for the fastest completion on Specialist difficulty.
- When the player dies, some trivia about Salen Kotch was shown on the screen.