Halo: Escalation Issue 13
Issue #13 begins two months after the events of Issue #12, on July 15, 2558, with Dr. Catherine Halsey making a personal journal entry on her views on the Forerunners and their technology, her contribution to humanity's survival and subsequent condemnation by the UNSC, as well as her encounter with the Librarian on Requiem. Despite the UNSC turning against her, she remains determined to combine the halves of the Janus Key and take them to the Absolute Record to fulfill the Librarian's plan.
The next day, Oban is attacked by Prometheans and Covenant forces. Spartans Gabriel Thorne, Sarah Palmer and Joel Thomas are deployed to repel the attack. Palmer orders all UNSC forces to search and find Jul 'Mdama, while Thomas orders an airstrike on a pair of Type-44 Phantoms. Palmer orders Thorne to get to an M12 Chaingun Warthog but they are ambushed and pursued by Promethean Crawlers. After they dispatch the Crawlers Palmer drives the Warthog off a cliff and on top of one of the Phantoms before crashing to the ground, lightly injuring Thorne. The Phantoms prepare to fire on the Spartans but are saved by the airstrike called in by Thomas, with a GA-TL1 Longsword destroying both Phantoms.
On July 17, onboard the UNSC Infinity, Captain Lasky reprimands Palmer about her attitude on Oban. Palmer asks him why Jul would waste so much resources on attack a small colony; Lasky believes it may have been to stop colonization efforts and that Jul may not have been the one responsible of the attack. Lasky then tells Palmer that she is frustrated by losing not only Jul's track but Halsey's as well, knowing "one will lead to the other". Lasky reveals he wants Dr. Halsey taken back into custody, but Palmer insists on killing the doctor on sight.
The next day, Palmer visits Dr. Glassman, who is examining one of the halves of the Janus Key. Palmer orders Glassman to give her the final head count of Galileo II base and she has prepared a security escort for the team. When the Infinity jumps to slipspace, the ship suddenly reappears in an asteroid belt, colliding with an asteroid and causing some damage inside the ship. The Infinity jumps to slipspace again, just to reappear a quarter of a kilometer of her last position. Roland tells Captain Lasky that it is not advisable to make another jump. Lasky orders Palmer and Dr. Glassman to go to Infinity's engine room. Dr. Glassman discovers the Infinity's slipspace drive is overriding any coordinate except the one of the location in which they are, sticking the ship in a "Slipspace Cul-de-sac". In that moment, Roland finds an unusual energy reading coming from the equator of an uncharted planet near their position. Glassman and Lasky suppose that the location is the source of the problem and Palmer orders to gather a team and send them with Dr. Glassman to the planet.
In a CCS-class battlecruiser, Dr. Halsey and Jul 'Mdama are in front of a Forerunner artifact, recovered by 'Mdama before Requiem exploded. Halsey explains to 'Mdama that the artifact allowed her to be able to contact the Infinity's Forerunner components, including her slipspace drive, and stuck them in the system. 'Mdama then tells Halsey his lieutenants called for her head after the failed attack on Oban, but Halsey tells him that the attack was only a bold move to attract the Infinity near the artifact and be able to connect the artifact and Infinity's drive. Halsey then tells him that now they will not need to invade the ship to retrieve the other half of the Janus Key, as it will be Infinity's crew itself who will give it to them.
The glossary on the inside front cover erroneously indicates the year is 2258, which is a simple, yet grave, typo for the intended year of 2558 referenced later in the story.