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{Cutscene}

SPARTAN-117 and Sgt. Mjr. Johnson step from the tram into a crowd of cheering Marines, robot cameras hover around.

  • SPARTAN-117: "You told me there wouldn't be any cameras."
  • Sergeant Major Johnson: "And you told me you were gonna wear something nice! Folks need heroes, Chief. To give 'em hope. (raises cap, adjusts his hair, puts cap back on) So smile, would ya? While we still got something to smile about!"

Johnson and SPARTAN-117 walk to the end of the room, as the Bridge's blast doors open up.

The view changes to High Charity, where Tartarus and two of his Jiralhanae walk the Sangheili Commander, Thel 'Vadamee, out onto a ledge on High Charity. Honor Guard Elites are stationed on either side. Covenant Unggoy, Kig-Yar and Mgalekgolo have gathered on the walkway.

  • Unggoy: "He-re-tic! He-re-tic!"

They reach the ledge, in which we see the stadium seats filled with roaring Covenant aliens, and the Jiralhanae fix the Commander's arms onto floating cuffs.

  • Tartarus:(gleefully) "You've drawn quite a crowd."
  • Thel 'Vadamee: (bitterly) "If they've come to hear me beg, they will be disappointed."
  • Tartarus: "Are you sure?"

The entire crowd cheers as energy beams hit 'Vadamee on either side, and he shakes with pain.

The view changes back to the Cairo's bridge, dozens of Naval officers cheer as SPARTAN-117 and Sergeant Johnson approach Lord Hood at the end.

SPARTAN-117 and Johnson salute to Lord Hood.

  • Lord Hood: "Gentlemen, we're lucky to have you back."

An officer whispers to Lord Hood's ear.

Cortana's avatar appears on a nearby holotank.

  • Cortana: "Another whisper, sir, near Io. We have probes en route."
  • Lord Hood: "I apologize, but we're going to have to make this quick."

Lord Hood turns away.

Cortana looks up at SPARTAN-117 and Johnson.

  • Cortana: "You look nice."
  • SPARTAN-117: (simultaneously with Johnson) "Thanks."
  • Sergeant Johnson: "Thank you."

SPARTAN-117 and Johnson look at each other.

Lord Hood picks up a Colonial Cross medal from a red-clothed case containing two other Colonial Cross medals.

Hood places the medal on Johnson's uniform.

The view changes back to High Charity, on Tartarus' face.

  • Tartarus: "...There can be no greater heresy! Let him be an example for all who would break our Covenant!"

The Covenant crowd cheers once more. Tartarus barks an order, and two Brutes grab onto 'Vadamee's now charred armor and pull.

The view once again changes back to Cairo Station, as a young woman joins SPARTAN-117 and Johnson.

  • Lord Hood: "Commander Miranda Keyes. Your father's actions were in keeping with the highest traditions of military service. His bravery in the face of impossible odds reflects great credit, upon himself, and the UNSC. The Navy has lost one of its best."

Hood hands her the Colonial Cross medal.

The view changes back to High Charity again, where a blackened Sangheili Combat helmet falls to the floor, and the naked 'Vadamee hangs limply from his restraints. A glowing brand rises from the floor behind him, and Tartarus grabs it and strides forward.

Thel 'Vadamee raises his head weakly. Tartarus gives him a fierce look, and presses the brand against the Elite's chest with malice. The tortured Thel 'Vadamee fights the pain but gives in and screams.

The view once more changes to Cairo Station, where alarms start to sound.

  • Cortana: "Slipspace ruptures directly off our battle cluster."
  • Lord Hood: "Show me."

Images of Covenant ships appears on a large screen.

  • Cortana: "Fifteen Covenant capital ships holding position just outside the kill zone."

The screen shows UNSC ships approaching the Covenant fleet.

  • Lord Hood: "Negative, Admiral. Form a defensive perimeter around the cluster." (to Miranda Keyes) "Commander, get to your ship, link up with the fleet."

Keyes salutes.

  • Commander Keyes: "Yes, sir." (leaves)
  • Lord Hood: "You have the MAC gun, Cortana. As soon as they come in range, open up."
  • Cortana: "Gladly."

Cortana's avatar disappears.

  • Lord Hood: "Something's not right... The fleet that destroyed Reach was fifty times this size."

An Officer faces Lord Hood.

  • Officer: (panicked) "Sir, additional contacts. Boarding crafts and lots of 'em!"

The view shifts back to the screen.

  • Lord Hood: "They're going to try to take our MAC guns offline, give their capital ships a straight shot at Earth. (Looks to SPARTAN-117) Master Chief, defend this station!"
  • SPARTAN-117: "Yes, sir." (to Johnson) "I need a weapon."
  • Sergeant Johnson: "Right this way."

Johnson and SPARTAN-117 leave the bridge, as Lord Hood turns back to his command station. Through the bay windows looking up to the MAC cannon, the fleet turns to engage the Covenant attackers. Longsword fighters hurtle overhead trailed by Marathon-class Cruisers.

{Gameplay}

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "Alert! Boarders inbound"
  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "All hands report to battle stations. This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill!"
  • Sergeant Johnson (COM): "How's it going, Malta?"
  • Malta Defense Coordinator (COM): "Stand-by... they're latched! Check your targets and watch the crossfires."
  • Malta Defense Coordinator (COM): "They're in standard formation: little bastards up front, big ones in back... Good luck, Cairo."

Outside, a Covenant Boarding Craft latches onto the hull, causing the station to shake. Weapons fire is soon heard from outside the doorway.

  • Sergeant Johnson: "I need a Field of fire on that bulkhead. As soon as that door opens, let 'em have it!"

The Marines take up position around a sealed bulkhead. Johnson sets up a stationary gun turret. A bright light and crackling noise, like a welding torch, comes from the center of the door, and is soon followed by an explosion, where the door explodes and Covenant intruders appear.

Home Field AdvantageEdit

  • Lord Hood (COM): "Find the boarders' point of entry, Chief. Cut them off at the source."
  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill."

(Later)

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "Boarders in Habitat Alpha."

(Later)

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "Brace for impact!"

A loud clang is soon heard as a Boarding Craft attaches to Cairo station

(Later)

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "I need a squad in Habitat Alpha, ASAP!"

(Later)

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "We've got boarders in the port side bays!"

Once SPARTAN-117 finishes killing all Covenant borders in the first Hangar bay, Covenant Boarding Crafts are seen through the windows rapidly leaving Malta Station.

  • Cortana (COM): "Malta, what's your status, over?"
  • Malta Defense Coordinator (COM): "I don't believe it! They're retreating, we won!"

The Malta Station suddenly detonates in a huge ball of fire, the barrel of the MAC gun breaking loose and tumbling away

  • Private Dubbo: "This is bad, real bad!"

The Hangar bay is soon attacked by a new wave of Covenant from another Hangar bay.

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "Alert! Hostiles have secured the port bulkheads."

(Later)

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "Security Station 4 is under attack."

Once SPARTAN-117 finishes killing all the intruders in the second Hangar bay, Covenant Boarding Crafts are seen through the windows retreating, only this time, from the Athens Station.

  • Private Dubbo: "Uh oh! Hey, they're leaving the Athens!"

The Athens detonates and spins apart, just like the Malta.

  • Lord Hood (COM): "Cortana, assessment!"
  • Cortana (COM): "That explosion came from inside the Athens. Same as the Malta. The Covenant must have brought something with them. A bomb."
  • Lord Hood (COM): "Then they sure as hell brought one here. Chief, find it."

Priority ShiftEdit

If the player decides to stall for awhile

  • Cortana: "Chief, we don't have much time."
  • Cortana: "Not a lot of time on the clock, Chief!"
  • Cortana: "Where are you?! The bomb is right here!"
  • Cortana: "The clock's tickin' Chief, get down here."
  • Cortana: Chief, over here, next to the bomb!"
  • Cortana: "Ask yourself this question right now: Is doing what I am right now helping Cortana stop this station from blowing into tiny, tiny bits?"
  • Cortana: "Just a friendly reminder: Bomb."
  • Cortana: "If this thing goes off, I am NEVER talking to you again."

The Chief takes a route under the Hangar bay, and encounters another group of Covenant.

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "All non-combat personnel to pressure zones."

As the Chief returns upstairs to the armory, he finds the Master Gunnery Sergeant fighting a pair of Sangheili, armed with a Shotgun. Exactly what he says to them differs depending on what the difficulty level is set to.

  • Master Gunnery Sergeant (Easy): "Get the hell out of my armory, split-lip! Oh God—!"
  • Master Gunnery Sergeant (Normal): "Get the hell out of my armory, split-lip! Oh God—!"
  • Master Gunnery Sergeant (Heroic): "Tell your friends I got enough ammo for all of 'ya!"
  • Master Gunnery Sergeant (Legendary): "Come on, is that a weapon or a flashlight? Oh, dangit—!"

The Master Gunnery Sergeant is hit by bolts of plasma and dies.

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "Fireteams to Habitat Delta."

(Later)

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "Hang on, everyone!"

Another vibration occurs, as another Boarding Craft is attached

(Later)

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "Hostiles have taken Security Station 1!"

(Later)

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "I need a squad in Habitat Delta!"

SPARTAN-117 comes to a hallway where Keyes, Johnson, and a couple of officers are engaged in a firefight outside the gangway to the In Amber Clad.

  • Sergeant Johnson: "Come on, Chief, this way!"
  • Commander Keyes: "I was almost on board when they showed up."
  • Sergeant Johnson: "Don't worry, ma'am, we're on it."

Once they clear the area

  • Commander Keyes: "Thanks, Chief. I owe you one."
  • Sergeant Johnson: "Get going. I'll cover the Commander."
  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "Fireteams to Terminal 2."

Authorized Personnel OnlyEdit

SPARTAN-117 exits the station through an airlock and fights several Sangheili Rangers in the vacuum of space.

  • Cortana (COM): "Sir, boarders have breached the fire control center. They have a bomb."
  • Lord Hood (COM): "Can you defuse it?"
  • Cortana (COM): "Yes, but I'll need the Chief's help to make contact with the detonator."
  • Lord Hood (COM): "Chief, get to the bomb, double time! Cortana, prioritize targets and fire at will."

SPARTAN-117 enters back into the Cairo Station, where he is met by Marines near a cargo, and soon the Yanme'e appear.

  • Fleet Admiral Harper (COM): "First Echelon, you're with me, blanket those cruisers, take ‘em out one by one. Second Echelon, keep those carriers busy."
  • Cortana (COM): "Registering all hostile vessels inside the kill zone. Thirteen cruisers, two Assault carriers. I'm going loud!"

(Later)

  • Cairo Defense Coordinator (Loudspeaker): "All non-combat personnel report to evacuation stations!"

As SPARTAN-117 rides the elevator platform down to the airlock.

  • Fleet Admiral Harper (COM): "The carriers are breaking through, Sir! They're heading straight for the Cairo!"
  • Lord Hood (COM): "Cortana! Concentrate your fire on the first carrier. Admiral, do what you can against the second."
  • Fleet Admiral Harper (COM): "Everyone, form up, follow my lead!"

SPARTAN-117 watches through the window as the lift descends, a massive Covenant Assault Carrier accelerates right past the Cairo and towards Earth, making the entire station shake.

  • Cortana (COM): "The first carrier completely ignored us, Sir! Blew right through the Malta's debris field and headed straight for Earth!"

After crossing the MAC's recoil arm in vacuum, and moving back into the airlock

Part 05: Return to SenderEdit

  • Cortana (COM): "Just so you know, there are quite a few Elites guarding the bomb. You may need to get creative."

The station shakes again. Outside the window, Chief can see the second carrier bypassing the Cairo, following the first carrier down to Earth.

Once SPARTAN-117 clears the room of Covenant defenses.

{Cutscene}

Cortana's holographic avatar appears on a pedestal near the bomb.

  • Cortana: (urgently) "Me. Inside your head. Now."

SPARTAN-117 touches the pedestal, and Cortana downloads directly into his armor. He steps over to the bomb, and touches the flashing red activation pad at its center. It blinks and turns blue.

  • SPARTAN-117: "How much time was left?"
  • Cortana: "You don't want to know."
  • Commander Keyes (COM): "Cairo, this is In Amber Clad."

The view changes to the bridge of In Amber Clad.

  • Commander Keyes: "The carrier's shield is down. I'm in position and ready for immediate assault."

The view goes back to Cairo's bridge, showing Lord Hood alone.

  • Lord Hood: "Negative, Commander. Not against a ship that size. Not on your own."
  • SPARTAN-117 (COM): "Sir..."

The view changes back to the bay, where SPARTAN-117 is waiting with one hand on the bomb.

  • SPARTAN-117: "...Permission to leave the station."

The view returns to Cairo's bridge.

  • Lord Hood: (distractedly) "For what purpose, Master Chief?"
  • SPARTAN-117 (COM): "To give the Covenant back their bomb."

Hood gives a slight pause to think, and agrees.

  • Lord Hood: "Permission granted."

In the bay, SPARTAN-117 grabs the bomb by two of its sharp handles and hauls it across the floor, causing sparks to erupt as it scrapes across the floor. He drags it into an elevator, and rises.

  • Cortana: "I know what you're thinking, and it's crazy."
  • SPARTAN-117: "So, stay here."
  • Cortana: "Unfortunately for us both... I like crazy."

The elevator reaches an empty Longsword launch bay, and SPARTAN-117 steps out, watching through the huge bay door. The entire fleet streams down toward Earth, chasing the Covenant ships. SPARTAN-117 then steps up to the door's release handle, which drops down above him.

  • Cortana: "Just one question. What if you miss?"
  • SPARTAN-117: "I won't."

SPARTAN-117 pulls down the handle and the bay doors cycle open, the bay decompressing rapidly. Debris lifts off the floor and hurtles into space, and the bomb slowly begins to slide toward the doors, scratching sparks across the floor. SPARTAN-117 grabs hold of it as it passes, and is pulled out into space.

In free-fall, SPARTAN-117 descends in the general direction of northern Africa. The first carrier is miles below him, too far to reach. The second carrier passes right below his position, and opens up with a energy projector, narrowly missing him. A cruiser rockets below him, takes an Energy Projector round right through its spine, explosions lighting all over its hull. SPARTAN-117 plummets past it, watches as its engines fail and try to relight themselves.

A pair of Longsword fighters dive past him, and make a strafing run on the carrier. They open fire on the Carrier, and make a staccato beat of fire along the back of the carrier, allowing SPARTAN-117 to slip through the narrow hole the blasts have created.

The Carrier's center is a huge, open chamber, a massive fusion core casting white light across its inner surface. The carrier has taken a lot of abuse; the far side of the chamber is torn open, showing the Earth outside. SPARTAN-117 crawls up the bomb, presses its activation panel, and spins around. His legs flex, and he vaults off the bomb, aiming for the split in the carrier's armor.

He plummets from the carrier, straight for Earth, as behind him minor blue explosions flicker up and down the alien warship. A pause, and the entire ship detonates in a huge plasma conflagration.

As SPARTAN-117 falls towards Africa, a UNSC Frigate passes beneath him, matching trajectories.

Inside In Amber Clad's bridge, Johnson and Keyes watch a tactical display. A thud resounds throughout the ship, and Johnson and Keyes look up.

Johnson looks at Keyes and grins.

  • Sergeant Johnson: "For a brick... he flew pretty good!"
  • Commander Keyes: "Chief, get inside, gear up. We're taking this fight to the surface."

In Amber Clad banks hard and dives towards the Earth's atmosphere, and a massive, gray city along the East African coast comes into view.

Level ends.

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