Battle of the Silent Cartographer
From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
- "It's Halo: Combat Evolved's Normandy moment"
- — Halo: The Great Journey: The Art of Building Worlds
The Battle of the Silent Cartographer was a brief conflict within the larger Battle of Installation 04, in which UNSC forces spearheaded by John-117 attacked the Covenant-held island that housed the installation's Cartographer facility, in order to locate the ring's control room. The mission was a success, but at the cost of all of the Marine personnel.[Note 1]
On the evening of September 19, John-117, alongside a unit of Marines led by Sergeant Parker, successfully raided the Ket-pattern battlecruiser Truth and Reconciliation, rescuing Captain Jacob Keyes who had been captured by the Covenant earlier that day. During his time as a prisoner, Keyes had overheard members of the Covenant discussing Halo and it's true purpose as an incredibly powerful weapon. Cortana corroborated this with information she had acquired through her infiltration of the Covenant proselytization network and they learned that the Covenant were searching for the installation's control room. Keyes declared that the ring must be prevented from falling into the hands of the Covenant, who they feared would use it to wipe out the entire human race. To this end, Keyes ordered John-117 and Cortana on a new mission; they were to locate the Silent Cartographer, an underground facility located on an island that contained a map room that would provide the location of the control room.
Covenant Special Operations Officer Zuka 'Zamamee was granted permission to hunt down and kill the Spartan by the Council of Masters following the raid on the Truth and Reconciliation, a request he had previously been denied. Soha 'Rolamee informed 'Zamamee that it was believed that the Master Chief was the last of his kind, believing the rest to have been slain during the Fall of Reach, and he granted the officer permission to use whatever resources he needed to in order to kill the Spartan. 'Zamamee studied the human raid on the Covenant cruiser, identifying Cortana's infiltration of the proselytization network and used this information to deduce the Master Chief's likely next course of action, concluding that the Spartan would likely assault the Cartographer island next. In order to kill the human, he laid a trap inside the security substation on the island; an ambush with the aid of his assistant, Yayap and a team of other Unggoy as well as a Mgalekgolo pair inside the darkened room adjacent to the security center.
The UNSC launched their assault on the island the following day, September 20. Pelicans Echo 419 and Bravo 022, carrying John-117 and a full squad of Marines led by Gunnery Sergeant Waller, approached the island, landing on the beach downwind from a group of Covenant soldiers. The UNSC assault force outnumbered the Covenant and within ten minutes, all of the opposition was wiped out. Once the landing zone was secure, Echo 419 returned, delivering an M12 Chaingun Warthog. John-117 quickly took the wheel, and along with a Marine passenger and gunner, left the beach in search of the Cartographer facility while Sergeant Waller and the rest of the Marines remained behind to secure the beach.
John took the Warthog around the island, killing several Covenant patrols as he went before arriving at the facility just as a Covenant Dextro Xur-pattern Spirit departed. After thinning out the hostiles guarding it, John drove the Warthog straight into the opening before proceeding inside. He managed to kill a group of Covenant near a security door but not before the aliens managed to seal the door, blocking his path. John hastily made his way back up to the surface while Cortana made contact with Captain Keyes, informing him of the situation and reported that they would have to disable the installation's security systems. The Captain, currently leading a separate mission, ordered the Master Chief and Cortana to use any means necessary to force their way into the Cartographer while Echo 419 remained on-station, looking out for Covenant aircraft. John drove his Warthog around the island, and, with the assistance of Cortana, soon located a path leading up into the island towards the security substation. He fought his way through groups of Covenant resistance including a pair of Mgalekgolo before reaching the substation.
Zuka 'Zamamee, lurking within a cargo module along with Yayap and other Unggoy inside the substation, had determined that the Spartan was on his way and he prepared his forces to ambush the Master Chief. As John-117 entered the room, one of the Mgalekgolo charged out of the darkness towards the human, who opened fire in return. 'Zamamee chose that moment to emerge from cover alongside his team of Unggoy, but he was unable to fire at the Master Chief because the Mgalekgolo was in his line of fire, and a moment later the second Hunter charged in, knocking the Sangheili warrior to the floor. One of the Unggoy, Linglin, panicked and fired a bolt from his plasma pistol into the second Mgalekgolo's back, killing it and causing it to knock its bond brother to the floor. John quickly killed the first Hunter while it was down before killing Linglin with another burst of fire. Yayap was saved by 'Zamamee, who pulled the Grunt inside an open cargo module and the two hid as the Master Chief passed their hiding place.
After defeating the ambush, John-117 made his way through the room and to the holographic controls for the installation's security systems, quickly shutting them down thanks to his unusual-familiarity with the interface. With the security door leading to the Cartographer now open, John-117 left the facility, receiving a desperate transmission from Pelican Bravo 022, which was under heavy enemy fire. After taking out a lone camouflaged Sangheili, the Spartan emerged from the substation to discover Bravo 022's wreckage crashed into a nearby mesa, its surviving crew executed by Unggoy and Kig-Yar forces who John quickly killed in retribution. Cortana reported that the dropship had been ferrying in heavy weapons in response to the presence of Mgalekgolo on the island. John took a rocket launcher, as well as the nearby Warthog, and returned to the landing zone.
During his incursions into the island, Gunnery Sergeant Waller and his men had endured two separate Covenant assaults on the landing zone but they still held control of the area. A Marine corporal took the Warthog's gunner position while Private Hosky took the passenger seat. The three then set off for the opened Cartographer facility. During this time, the Covenant had reinforced the Cartographer's perimeter, stationing several troops including the Mgalekgolo bonded pair Igido Nosa Hurru and Ogada Nosa Fasu. Zuka 'Zamamee had warned them that the Spartan had already killed two of their fellow Hunters and was on his way to attack their position next, something that Hurru was eagerly anticipating, seeking the honor of killing the human. As the Spartan's Warthog approached, Fasu knocked the Warthog over with his assault cannon and engaged the occupants, quickly killing the two Marines, who were inexperienced in fighting Hunters. Fasu dodged the first of John's rockets, but was killed by the second as he attempted to charge the human. Hurru remained up at the entrance to the Cartographer, and fired his assault cannon as fast as he could at the human in a mix of rage, sorrow and self-pity but his weapon soon overheated and the Spartan killed him with another rocket.
John pressed into the facility, making his way through the now opened security door. He made his way down through the subterranean structure, soon coming into conflict with more Covenant troops. As he fought his way through the opposition, Cortana remarked that it seemed as though someone was tracking his progress. He soon came upon another Mgalekgolo pair defending the only way forward and was injured in his shoulder by one of the alien's arm-mounted shields before eventually killing them and their Kig-Yar backup. With the area clear he treated the wound with biofoam in order to prevent blood loss before continuing deeper into the facility. Echo 419 reported that two Covenant dropships were inbound to the landing zone. Gunnery Sergeant Waller ordered his men to prepare for the attack. Cortana suggested that they fall back into the structure which was more defensible but Waller replied that the Covenant were approaching too fast, and he declared that they would hold the Covenant off for as long as they could. It is presumed that Sergeant Waller and his men all perished in the following firefight.[Note 1]
John-117 eventually found the map room itself, killing a final Sangheili guard before accessing the display. Cortana quickly identified the location of the installation's control room but when she tried to inform Captain Keyes, she was unable to establish contact. Echo 419 cut in, informing Cortana and John that the Captain had dropped out of contact. Cortana replied, telling her to keep trying to contact him, asking Rawley to tell him that her and John had located the Halo's control room, and that they would be heading there as soon as they returned to the surface. With that, the Master Chief made his way back up through the Cartographer facility, battling through newly-arrived Covenant reinforcements as he went. The Spartan eventually made his way to the exterior platform in time for Echo 419 to arrive to extract him.
John boarded the Pelican and as it lifted off from the platform, Cortana gave Rawley the coordinates to the control center, which to the pilot's shock, were underground. Cortana replied that using data she had acquired from the proselytization network, she had learned that Halo's interior was honeycombed with large tunnels that covered the entire ring. Despite her reservations about the AI's plan, Rawley piloted Echo 419 towards the entrance to one such tunnel, which was in fact the large circular structure where John had first fought Mgalekgolo on the island. The structure slid aside, revealing a deep vertical tunnel stretching underground. Echo 419 descended into the tunnel, which sealed back up after her. While she was still uncomfortable with Cortana's plan, she managed to traverse her way through the tunnels, with some reassurance from John-117, and eventually brought him to an underground platform in the vicinity of the control center.
With the coordinates of Installation 04's control room acquired, John-117 successfully performed an aerial insertion from underground, catching Covenant forces by surprise and eventually battled his way to the control room itself. There, he inserted Cortana into the installation's core systems, where she quickly realized the truth about the supposed "weapons cache" that Captain Keyes was searching for. Realising the peril that Keyes was in, she had John immediately make his way to the captains last known location.
Following his failure to kill the Master Chief, Zuka 'Zamamee returned to the Council of Masters on board the Truth and Reconciliation. The Prophet of Stewardship presented him with 'Rolamee's severed head; the Prophet having executed him for failing to keep the Flood parasite contained. He threatened 'Zamamee with a similar fate should he fail to kill the Spartan. 'Zamamee successfully convinced the Prophet that he had a new plan to kill the human and was permitted to leave alive.
- It is not stated in Halo: The Flood how many factual Marines participated in the battle, but in the game you are given a varying number depending on the difficulty you are on. Easy will give you nine, but Heroic will give you seven.
- The book only mentions two Warthogs and not the wrecked one you find by the beach in the game.
- The fate of the two squads that accompanied the Chief to the island is unknown, although they are believed to have suffered heavy casualties in both the initial beach assault and in assisting the Chief on his daredevil insertions underground. However, if the player heads back to where the Marines previously were, they will find their bodies scattered on the beach head.
- The iconic beach landing inspired the Warzone simulation Raid on Apex 7 in Halo 5: Guardians.
List of appearances
- While the fate of the Marines stationed on the beach is never elaborated on in Halo: Combat Evolved or it's novelization, if the player returns to the original landing zone at the end of The Silent Cartographer level, they can find all of the Marines there dead, so it is presumed that they were all killed.
- Halo: The Great Journey: The Art of Building Worlds, page 45
- Halo: Combat Evolved, campaign level The Truth and Reconciliation
- Halo: The Flood, chapter 4
- Halo: The Flood, chapter 5
- Halo: Combat Evolved, campaign level The Silent Cartographer
- Halo Waypoint, Canon Fodder - High Value Histories (Retrieved on Sep 6, 2022) [archive]
- Halo: Combat Evolved, campaign level Assault on the Control Room
- Memory Agent, episode Chapter 3: We Deliver
- Halo: The Flood, chapter 7
- Halo Waypoint: San-Diego Comic-Con and A Hero Reborn ViDoc released