Halo: Escalation Issue 4
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Issue #4 opens with the Infinity under attack by an unknown adversary using UNSC aircraft. The story cuts back 74 hours earlier with Lasky and Hood discussing the failed peace negotiations at Ealen IV. Lasky suggests enlisting help from the outside to find out who leaked the information. Spartan Ray notifies Lasky that the prowler he requested is ready for departure. However, she expresses confusion as to what their mission involves. Lasky tells her that he'll let her know when they leave. Hood gives Lasky 96 hours to return to the ship. Meanwhile Fireteam Majestic and several other SPARTAN-IVs spar against one another. Madsen reveals to Thorne that DeMarco was transferred to Fireteam Bailey because Palmer wanted Thorne to be the new leader of Majestic. Later, Hood requests Commander Bradley to give a demonstration of the Infinity's Forerunner engines. Before Roland can plot a course they are interrupted by Jespersen who has detected a distress signal on an old maritime channel. The Infinity makes a slipspace jump to the Chaudier trade route where the signal originated.
Lasky and Ray arrive at Escala III and travel through Castiglione where they are to rendezvous with Lasky's contact. Lasky asks Ray what her first name is, which she reveals to be Naiya. Shortly after, they spot Lasky's contact, Petra Janecek, climbing down a balcony. The trio head to a boardwalk where Lasky and Petra catch up on old times. Lasky asks Naiya if she can give him and Petra a few minutes to keep Naiya from hearing anything that could implicate her. In the Artesia-702 system, the Infinity discovers a damaged freighter, Pilgrims Pride. TJ Murphy relays to the Infinity that it is leaking atmosphere and there are faint life signs aboard. Hood orders Bradley to have the ship tugged into one of the sub-vessel deployment bays. A battle ensues inside the bay between the Infinity's Broadswords and UNSC aircraft that deployed from the freighter. Fireteams Majestic, Colossus, and Fenrir infiltrate the freighter to stop it from self-destructing. Upon inspecting the interior they are attacked by an automated weapon emplacement which Madsen swiftly destroys. Hood orders the Broadswords to provide cover for the Pelican tugs as they get the freighter out the deployment bay. With the ship back in space, Grant ejects the core from the ship before it self-destructs. After the core explodes, Majestic notifies Miller that they are alive and request pickup.
Back in Castiglione, Lasky tells Petra that they need help rooting out a mole inside the UNSC. He states that a secret diplomatic meeting was ambushed despite its location being highly classified. Petra agrees to do the job but wants the whereabouts of John-117 in exchange. Back aboard the Infinity, Hood and Bradley inspect the remains of the aircraft that the freighter was carrying which were composed of Vultures and Sparrowhawks. They run an I.D. check on the vessels and trace the craft back to the UNSC Spirit of Fire. Before they can file a report on the ship, Hood reveals that he was the reason why the starship went missing.