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This article is about the campaign level. For the Halo 4 soundtrack, see Arrival (music).


Halo 2 credits


Sierra 117

HTMCC H3 Achievement TrainingWheels.jpg


Halo 3




November 17, 2552


East African Protectorate, Africa

Brace for impact.

Arrival[1] is the first level of Halo 3. It does not contain actual gameplay, consisting instead of a look inversion test on lower difficulties, and the game's opening cutscenes.

In Heroic and Legendary, the only point in playing this level is because players cannot get the Campaign Complete for the Heroic and Legendary Achievements without doing so.


The Master Chief crashes in an African jungle near Mount Kilimanjaro and is eventually recovered by Thel 'Vadam (the Arbiter), Sergeant Major Avery Johnson, and several Marines. After a brief confrontation with 'Vadam, the Chief arms himself and prepares to move out.


John-117 departs the Keyship.


It is a night sky: several bright pinpoints of white light, stars, hang in the center. It's a tranquil forest, with lush forestry and a winding river. Then, Cortana's voice begins whispering in voice-overs.

  • Cortana (V.O.): "They let me pick. Did I ever tell you that? Choose whichever Spartan I wanted."
  • Cortana (V.O.): "You know me. I did my research. Watched as you became the soldier we needed you to be."

As the camera pans down, something comes into view entering the atmosphere, trailing flames splitting the night sky. Although it is not recognizable at this time, it is the Prophet of Truth's Dreadnought.

  • Cortana (V.O.): "Like the others, you were strong and swift and brave. A natural leader."

The fireball comes nearer, at an oblique angle to the camera.

  • Cortana (V.O.): "But you had something they didn't. Something no one saw but me."

A second, lesser fireball breaks off from the main one. It moves at an oblique angle to the first, in the direction of the camera. It moves closer while the first vanishes behind a spray of trees.

  • Cortana (V.O.): "Can you guess?"

The object moves even nearer, and its trajectory begins to curve until it is heading directly for the camera.

  • Cortana (V.O.): "Luck."

The fireball roars past the camera and smashes into the ground with an earth-shattering impact. Cortana's last words are tinged with humor.

  • Cortana (V.O.): "Was I wrong?"

Fades to black.

View down towards the forest, with the sun streaming through the trees onto the smoking ruin where the object hit ground. In the foreground, an armored gauntlet is visible. In the background, several Marines move around; First Squad. The one in the back wears a Sergeant's cap. The Marines of First Squad anxiously observe an object just below the view position.

  • Marine #1: "This ain't good."
  • Marine #2: "Damn. How far did he fall?"

The Sergeant in the hat takes a long drag on his cigar and blows out smoke. He turns around, revealing he is Sergeant Major Avery J. Johnson.

  • Marine #3: "Two kilometers, easy."
  • Sergeant Johnson: "Stay sharp!"

The Marines move closer to the object while one aims his gun to the left then the right of the camera watching for any sign of the enemy. The object is finally revealed to be the Master Chief. He lies at one end of the impact crater. The Marines move closer to the Chief, taking up combat positions. One sits down beside him and takes out a small computer.

Sergeant Johnson examines an unconscious Master Chief.

He taps something in on the computer. With a hiss, the Chief's outstretched arms collapse onto his chest. The Marine checks for vital signs. No readings.

  • Marine Corporal: "I don't know, Sergeant Major..."

Johnson kneels by the side of his fallen friend and places a hand on his chest, feeling for breath, or any sign that the man is alive. He inadvertently breathes smoke into the Chief's face. After a few seconds, he sighs sadly, reaches behind the Chief's head and pulls Cortana's empty chip out of his helmet.

  • Sergeant Johnson: "Radio for VTOL, heavy lift gear. We're not leaving him here."

He looks down and realize the chip is empty. An armored hand reaches up and grabs Johnson's wrist.

The Chief pushes himself slowly to his feet.

  • Sergeant Johnson: (sighing) "Crazy fool! Why do you always jump? One of these days, you're gonna land on somethin' as stubborn as you are! And I don't do bits and pieces!"

The Chief says nothing. Instead, he reaches down and takes Cortana's chip from the Sergeant's hand and lets go of his arm.

  • Sergeant Johnson: "Where is she, Chief? Where's Cortana?"

The Chief stares at the data crystal, and for a second, Cortana's face flashes across the screen, along with an echo from the previous game.

John-117 has a brief Cortana Moment while reminiscing of his departure with Cortana.

Johnson gives him a confused look.

  • John-117: "She stayed behind."

The Chief inserts the chip into the port at the back of his helmet.

  • Sergeant Johnson: "Corporal? Make it quick."
  • Marine Corporal: "Sorry, sir. (to Master Chief) Your armor's still in partial lockdown."


Note: This sequence only appears if playing on single player and on Easy or Normal difficulty.

The Corporal gives him a screen with a red light.

  • Marine Corporal: "Look up here, sir."

It goes green when the Master Chief looks at it.

  • Marine Corporal: "Okay. Now down here."

If the calibration doesn't work:

  • Marine Corporal: "Tracking looks off, Sergeant Major."
  • Sergeant Johnson: "Make it quick, we've got to move."
  • Marine Corporal: "Up here, sir."

The Chief looks up.

  • Marine Corporal: "Again, down here."

The Chief looks down.

  • Marine Corporal: "Good. (to Johnson) Everything checks out, Sergeant Major."
  • Sergeant Johnson: "Kick off the training wheels, Corporal. He's good to go."


The Chief looks around, taking in his surroundings. Somewhere near him is a familiar sight... the heat-wave effect of a Covenant Active camouflage. Johnson gives it a nod. A Sangheili decloaks, revealing itself to be the Arbiter, Thel 'Vadam. The Master Chief moves with fluid grace, brushing aside Johnson and another Marine next to 'Vadam, drawing Johnson's pistol from its holster.

  • Sergeant Johnson: "Chief, wait!"

The Master Chief jams the pistol between 'Vadam's mandibles.

  • Sergeant Johnson: "The Arbiter's with us!"

'Vadam glares at the Master Chief, but shows no sign of discomfort nor makes any move to point the gun away from himself. The Chief hesitates to lower his gun.

  • Sergeant Johnson: "Come on now."

Johnson places a hand on the Chief's shoulder.

  • Sergeant Johnson: "We got enough to worry about without you two trying to kill each other!"
Thel 'Vadam warns First Squad that Brutes have their scent.

The Spartan slowly lowers his gun. 'Vadam clacks his mandibles together: a shrug.

  • Arbiter Thel 'Vadam: "Were it so easy."

Thel Vadam makes to move past the Master Chief, but the Spartan pushes him back. 'Vadam turns and walks away.

  • Thel 'Vadam: "We must go. The Brutes have our scent."
Sergeant Johnson gives John-117 an MA5C assault rifle.
  • Sergeant Johnson: (Easy/Normal) "Then they must love the smell of green."
  • Sergeant Johnson: (Heroic) "Then they must love the smell of hero."
  • Sergeant Johnson: (Legendary, variant 1): "Then they must love the smell of bad ass."
  • Sergeant Johnson: (Legendary, variant 2) "Then they must love the smell of bad ass. And I left a little present for you, Arbiter. And I'm walking away. Ha-ha-ha!"
  • Sergeant Johnson: (Legendary, variant 3) "Then they must love the scent of testosterone."
  • Sergeant Johnson: (Legendary, variant 4) "Then they must love the scent of a real man."
  • Sergeant Johnson: (Legendary, variant 5) "Then they must love the smell of Bulgari. Yeah, I'm doing a little product placement! I gotta get paid, too!"

He grabs an assault rifle from a nearby Marine and holds it out to the Chief. The Spartan snatches it swiftly, as if annoyed by 'Vadam.

Fades to black.

Level ends.



Main article: Glitches
  • As soon as one can move, go forward and press the Y button about one second before the border fades out. The M6G pistol will just randomly appear on the screen.
  • Sometimes on Heroic or Legendary, the words, "Your armor is still in partial lockdown," appear during the loading screen of Sierra 117.



  • Arrival is the first tutorial level in the Halo Trilogy not to take place on a human space vessel orbiting a celestial body. Halo: Combat Evolved's very first level was on the UNSC Pillar of Autumn orbiting the Halo mega-structure and Halo 2's first level was set on the UNSC MAC defense platform Cairo in a geosynchronous orbit around Earth.
  • At the data pad the Marine carries, one can see an X-Ray of Master Chief's helmet revealing his skull. To the left of the Master Chief's skull, there is a photo of what could be the Master Chief's face. However, the picture could be the Corpsman's for object identification purposes.
  • Contrary to what players might think, the Master Chief did not land on Earth using just his MJOLNIR armor as protection. At the other end of the crater is a metallic object, suggesting the Chief ripped it out of the Forerunner Dreadnought and rode it down to Earth. A page in The Art of Halo 3 supports this theory. Also, the metallic object appears to be a Forerunner door of some sort due to the support bracing on one side, as many Forerunner doors do seen in Halo 2. And in the Halo Encyclopedia it shows the Master Chief using a piece of metal for protection as he enters the atmosphere.
  • The Master Chief appears for the first time in Halo 3 at precisely 1 minute and 17 seconds into the cutscene, when the camera descends to reveal his outstretched arm. This is both a reference to his number (117) and to seven because it is 77 seconds in.
  • It should be noted that in Arrival, re-entry occurs before sunrise, and in the Landfall miniseries, re-entry occurs after sunrise (though they are in different places). The Landfall miniseries takes place in Pakistan, accounting for the time difference.
  • When the corpsman is inspecting John-117, Johnson addresses the corpsman as corporal. This is possibly an error as corpsman are Navy units, and the rank of corporal is Army/Marines. It is known that both Marine and Navy ranks are included in the game as John-117 is a Master Chief Petty Officer, and several other characters from the game also have Navy ranks (such as those about any UNSC ships like Lt. Command Miranda Keyes.)



Preceded by
Halo 2 credits
Halo 3 Campaign Missions
Succeeded by
Sierra 117