< And the Horse You Rode In On : Light Fuse, Run Away : Warning: Hitchhikers May Be Escaping Convicts >
Level 10 : THE MAW
(Opening cinematic-The camera skims low over a large body of water, tinted gold by a gathering sunset. A very majestic Gregorian chant rises)
(The camera slowly pans up as it flies over the water, revealing a burnt coastline, and a giant gouge where the earth has been ripped away and the sea has flooded into the newly-formed canyon. At the top of that canyon rises the massive stern of the Pillar of Autumn, relatively intact. The camera circles around the side and front of her, revealing that her nose is hanging just slightly off a massive cliff, and that the antennae along the bow have been bent and torn away. The entire bow has been burned badly; the metal is scarred. As the camera circles around to reveal the starboard side, a slightly damaged, smoking Banshee drifts into the screen.)
(The camera cuts to a view of the outside through one of the ship's Bumblebee docking slips. The damaged Banshee comes into the frame and veers wildly towards the Pillar of Autumn.)
This thing is falling apart!
We're not gonna make it!
We'll make it.
Pull up! Pull up!
(The Banshee drops just before reaching the Bumblebee slip and smashes into the side of the ship, sending debris and fire hurling out madly.)
You did that on purpose, didn't you?
(The Master Chief's hand appears from below and grips the edge of the slip, and he pulls himself up and onto the Pillar of Autumn.)
We need to get to the bridge. From there, we can use the Captain's neural implants to initiate an overload of the ship's fusion engines. The explosion should damage enough systems below it to destroy the ring.
(When you reach the bridge)
The bridge. We made it. Let's get to work.
(When you clear all the Spec Ops Grunts inside)
I need you to upload me into the control systems. The terminal is located next to the main viewscreen.
(Cinematic-The Chief takes Cortana's chip from his helmet and inserts it into the cylindrical terminal near the front of the bridge. Cortana appears above it.)
I leave home for a few days, and look what happens. This won't take long. (She concentrates for a moment, and the main screen flickers to life. "Self Destruct Sequence Initiated" is displayed across the top, and numbers begin counting down from what is, as far as I can tell, a random starting point between twelve and sixteen minutes.) There. That should give us enough time to make it to a lifeboat and put some distance between ourselves and Halo before the detonation.
(The Master Chief moves to unplug Cortana from the terminal, but stops abruptly with an all-too-familiar voice)
343 GUILTY SPARK:
I'm afraid that's out of the question, really.
(The camera cuts to show 343 Guilty Spark extending arcs of energy across a series of consoles in a large room which, we learn later, is Engineering)
343 GUILTY SPARK:
Ridiculous! That you would imbue a warship's AI with such a wealth of knowledge! Weren't you worried it might be captured? Or destroyed?
(Cut to Cortana)
He's in my data arrays, a local tap!
(Cut to 343 GS)
343 GUILTY SPARK:
You can't imagine how exciting this is! To have a record of all of our lost time! Human history, is it? Fascinating.
(343 GS flutters around Engineering, as Sentinels join him, and scans another console)
343 GUILTY SPARK:
Oh how I will enjoy every moment of its categorization! And to think that you would destroy this installation. As well as this record. I am shocked. Almost too shocked for words.
(Cut to the bridge. A tone sounds over the ship's speakers)
CORTANA (with a note of awe in her voice):
He stopped the self-destruct sequence. . . .
(The Chief surveys the bridge carefully with his AR, never missing a beat)
343 GUILTY SPARK:
Why do you continue to fight us, Reclaimer? You cannot win! Give us the construct, and I will endeavour to make your death relatively painless and -
(Another tone sounds)
At least I still have control over the comm channels.
Where is he?
I'm detecting taps throughout the ship, Sentinels most likely. As for the Monitor . . . he's in Engineering. He must be trying to take the core off line! Even if I could get the countdown restarted . . . I don't know what to do. (She shrugs her arms in desperation)
How much firepower would you need to crack one of the engine's shields?
Not much. A well-placed grenade perhaps, but why-
(She turns to see the Master Chief, who is calmly tossing a frag grenade up and down)
Okay, I'm coming with you.
(A squad of Sentinels descend from above and take position along the shattered windows of the bridge)
(The Sentinels open fire, shattering the main display and touching off the Chief's shields. The Chief quickly drops behind cover, removes Cortana from the terminal and places her into his helmet, and raises his rifle)
(Once you've dispatched the Sentinels and leave the bridge)
The ship was heavily damaged when it crashed. Head to the cryo chamber. We should be able to get to the engine room through there.
(When you reach Engineering)
Part 02: Light Fuse, Run Away
Engine room located. We're here.
(As you run a little farther in)
Alert! The Monitor has disabled all command access. We can't restart the countdown. The only remaining option is to detonate the ship's fusion reactors. That should do enough damage to destroy Halo. Don't worry, I have access to all of the reactor schematics and procedures. I'll walk you through it. First, we need to pull back the exhaust couplings. That will expose a shaft that leads to the primary fusion drive core.
(Throughout this entire sequence, 343 GS mumbles a whole bundle of stuff at you. Here's what he's got on his mind)
(When you open one of the manifolds)
Good! Step one complete! We have a straight shot into the fusion reactor! We need a catalyst explosion to destabilize the magnetic containment field surrounding the fusion cells. Use an explosive. I recommend a grenade or rocket. If you run out of explosives, there is an armory station located near the engine room's entrance.
(When you knock out the reactor)
Analyzing. Fusion reactor number one destabilizing. Use explosives on the other three reactors. That should be enough to trigger a wildcat explosion of the engines.
(When you kill the third reactor, leaving only one left)
Keep it up! Only one more fusion reactor to go!
(After you destroy the final reactor)
That did it! The engine's gone critical! Based on the current rate of decay, we should have fifteen minutes to get off the ship; we don't have much time! We should move outside and signal for evac. Accessing schematics . . . there's a service lift at the top of the engine room! It leads to a class 7 service corridor that runs along the ship's dorsal structure. Hurry!
(Once you reach the elevator, clear the mass of Spec Ops Covenant descending to meet you, and start the long ride up)
(radio) Cortana to Echo 419, come in Echo 419!
Roger, Cortana. I read you, 5 by 5.
The Pillar of Autumn's engines are going critical, Foe Hammer! Request immediate extraction! Approach the crash site and be ready to pick us up at external access junction 4C as soon as you get my signal!
Affirmative. Echo 419 going on station.
(A few moments later, still on the elevator)
Echo 419 to Cortana. Things are gettin' noisy down there. Everything okay?
Negative, negative! We have a wildcat destabilization of the ship's fusion core. The engines must have sustained more damage than we thought! (off radio) Analyzing! We have six minutes before the fusion drives detonate. We need to evac NOW!
(When you reach the top of the elevator)
Part 03: Warning: Hitchhikers May Be Escaping Convicts
Activating final countdown timer. When it reaches zero, the engines will detonate. The explosion will generate a temperature of almost 100,000,000 degrees. We don't want to be here when it blows.
(A timer starts, starting at six minutes for easy normal, and heroic, and five minutes for legendary. There is a bay of jeeps at the top of the elevator. Get in and go 'hog wild)
(When you near the nav marker at which Foe Hammer is supposed to extract you)
Cortana to Echo 419! Request extraction now, on the double!
Affirmative, Cortana. Foe Hammer inbound.
(When you reach the large open platform)
Wait, stop! This is where Foe Hammer is coming to pick us up. Hold position here.
(Foe Hammer appears around the hull of the Pillar of Autumn, listing badly, on fire, and trailed by a pair of Banshees)
Cortana to Echo 419! Two Covenant Banshees are approaching on your six! Evade, say again, evade!
I'm hit! Mayday! Mayday! Airfoil structures have been shot to hell! I can't hold her! I can't hold her!
Echo 419! (Pause) She's gone. Calculating alternate escape route. The ship's inventory shows one Longsword fighter still docked in Launch Bay 7. If we move NOW, we can make it!
(Minor spoiler-If, at the final S-curve of the corridor, you turn into the small open door leading to the other side of the curve, you will find that there is a door midway through that is open, leading to a long hallway. At the end of this hallway is a heap of dead bodies, fire, and, miraculously, one live Grunt. He does not shoot at you as you approach, but rather says something very strange)
Eh. Good thing that food nipple's waitin' for me at the starship, cause, man, coo', have I worked up a big, Grunty thirst!
(As you come around the final S-curve in the corridor)
Chief, up ahead there's a gap in the trench! At top speed, we should be able to clear it!
(As you reach a large open bay, and the track terminates in a series of barricades. Enemy fire lances about all over, as the Flood and the Covenant fight each other)
That's the ship! Move, we need to get aboard NOW!
(As you reach the ramp leading up to the Longsword platform-cinematic)
(The Chief makes a break across the platform for the fighter, Flood closing in behind him. He makes it through the open door just before them, and slams the hatch closed as he runs through)
We're cutting it close!
(The Chief, sprinting for the cockpit, is jarred by an explosion and braces himself against a wall, shaking his head. He reaches the cockpit, jumps into the seat, quickly punches a series of buttons, and takes the controls in his hands)
Here we go.
(The Longsword rises above the platform slowly, turning to face the open end of the bay, and lights its engines, rocketing away from the exploding ship)
(The camera cuts to an exterior view of the Pillar of Autumn, as it burns and explosions flare all along its length. A horde of Flood stumble slowly towards it, and the Longsword arrows from the starboard side of the ship away into the sky)
(The camera cuts to follow the Longsword, looking back towards the Autumn as the explosions intensify)
(Spoilers-Legendary ending-If you beat the entire game on Legendary, you are treated to a special ending; instead of the above sequence, the camera cuts to a Sergeant and a Covenant Elite fighting over an assault rifle outside the Pillar of Autumn)
(The ship suddenly flares brighter, and the Sergeant turns towards it briefly, then back to the Elite)
This is it, baby. Hold me.
(They embrace as the Autumn explodes-from here on the Legendary ending is the same as the standard ending)
(The Longsword clears the atmosphere, rising away from Halo. The Master Chief stares straight ahead, piloting the fighter as quickly as he can)
(Cut to a frontal view of the Longsword; as it sweeps past the camera, the distant side of Halo is drowned out in a huge light, which grows and grows, and then a massive shock front sweeps through the ring, shattering it into sections)
(In the cockpit, a screen beeps and displays: "Engine Temp Critical")
Shut them down, we'll need them later.
(The Chief flips a few switches and the Longsword's engines die, leaving it drifting. Debris from the blast hurtles past it, still hot and glowing)
Fancy a look?
(The Chief rises from his chair and moves to one of the Longsword's windows)
(Halo has broken into a few dozen large fragments, all of which are slowly spinning away from each other. As the Chief watches, one massive fragment comes swiftly from the far side of the ring and collides with another, closer one, and the two go spinning off in a giant gout of fire and debris)
(He braces himself against the frame of the Longsword's cockpit) Did anyone else make it?
Scanning. (Pause) Just . . . dust and echoes. We are all that's left.
(The Master Chief shakes his head and moves back to his seat)
We did what we had to do . . . for Earth. An entire Covenant armada obliterated, and the Flood . . . we had no choice. Halo. It's finished.
No. (The Longsword is alone in space, and through the window we can see the Master Chief reaching up to unclip his helmet from the rest of his suit) I think we're just getting started.
(The Chief removes his helmet, but the cockpit's frame blocks the view of his head. The camera tracks the longsword for a few a moments, Basis looming large in the background, before panning to focus on a large spiral galaxy hanging in the sky, an ornment emblazoned across the heavens. A few final, dark notes of a cello play, and everything fades)
(And of course, there's the FINAL ending. After the credits, there is a short five- or ten-second clip, but it is a very important clip indeed. It not only confirms (in most people's minds, anyway), a sequel to Halo, but also outlines the direction Halo 2 will be taking. Want to know what it is? Go play the game and watch the credits!)