From Halopedia, the Halo wiki
This article is about Halo 3 campaign level. For other uses of the word Halo, see Halo.
Upon completing it on Normal or higher, the player unlocks the Return achievement. If the player gets 15,000 points or more in the meta game, they will unlock the Reclaimer achievement. This level is also the second level in the Halo series to bear the name of another level, following the second level of the first game.
In this level, John-117, Thel 'Vadam and Sergeant Johnson make their way towards the Control Room in order to activate the ring using the Index from the first Halo encountered. However, the Gravemind sends Flood combat forms (and later pure forms), carried by Flood dispersal pods, to try to stop them. After holding outside the Control Room for a while, 343 Guilty Spark opens the door and they reach the Control Room. When Spark realizes that they are going to activate the unfinished Halo, which will destroy the Ark and the new installation, he fatally injures Johnson, who was activating the ring. The monitor then locks the Arbiter out of the Control Room and corners John-117. Just as Spark is about to kill the Spartan-II, Johnson, barely alive, fires his Spartan Laser and damages the monitor. He then hands the weapon to John-117 and faints. The Chief, after firing 3 shots at the monitor, finally kills the rampant AI unit. He then says farewell to Johnson who dies from his injuries, and activates the ring with Cortana. Outside the Control Room, the Chief and the Arbiter battle their way to Johnson's Warthog, and race their way to the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn. After entering the frigate, the Arbiter heads to the bridge while the Chief uploads Cortana to a holotank and she proceeds to fire up the frigate's engines. The Chief, stuck in the cargo bay as they enter the portal, relaxes as the Halo fires and then explodes, killing the Gravemind and the Flood upon the Ark.
In March 2553, Lord Hood delivers a speech commemorating the fallen combatants of the battle, and reveals that the Chief, with Cortana in his helmet, did not return to Earth with the front half of the Forward Unto Dawn. As a result, the Master Chief has been officially declared missing in action, though both Lord Hood and the Arbiter, the only Sangheili present at the memorial, express doubt over the Chief's presumed death. Lord Hood, though unable to forgive the Arbiter for what his species did to humanity, shakes hands with his former enemy and thanks him for standing by the Master Chief until the end. 'Vadam then leaves for Sanghelios with Rtas 'Vadum on board the Shadow of Intent to ensure that their own world is safe.
In a post-credits scene, its revealed that the Master Chief survived, but is trapped in the rear half of the Forward Unto Dawn which was dropped out into unknown space when the Portal at Voi shut down from the damage caused when the Halo fired and "did a number on the Ark." Much like after their victory at the first Halo ring, Cortana lists their accomplishments - stopping the Covenant and the Prophet of Truth and the Flood - and believes that they are finished. This time, the Master Chief agrees with Cortana that their work is finished. The Chief uploads Cortana to another holotank and she promises to drop a distress beacon, but warns that it could possibly be years before anyone finds and rescues them. The Master Chief goes into cryosleep to await rescue, ordering Cortana to "wake me. When you need me." On Legendary difficulty, the rear half of the Forward Unto Dawn is shown drifting towards an unknown planet.
Fades in to the Pelican John-117, Thel 'Vadam and Cortana are on board and heading towards Installation 08. The CAS-class assault carrier Shadow of Intent flies slowly under the megastructure. Cuts to the cockpit of the Pelican.
The Pelican nears the Halo ring.
The Pelican arrives at Halo flying over unfinished terrain. The rear port engine is too damaged for a normal landing. The Master Chief makes a crash landing in a snowy canyon near the Control Room. The Chief and the Arbiter clamber out. From behind the cliffs approaches the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn.
The Arbiter tosses the Chief an MA5C Assault Rifle.
Assault on the Control Room.
The Chief and the Arbiter prepare to head for the Control Room, making sure that they stock up on enough supplies from their crashed Pelican.
The Chief and the Arbiter head through the icy caves.
If the Chief stalls:
If the Chief heads for the Terminal instead:
When the Chief reaches the Terminal:
After accessing the Terminal.
If the Chief re-accesses the Terminal, or takes too long reading it:
The Chief and the Arbiter arrive at the foot of the pyramid-like Control Room structure. Suddenly, Flood dispersal pods begin to drop in.
The Chief and the Arbiter fight their way through numerous combat forms and head for a ramp on the right side of the tower. More Flood drop in on them, but Sentinels appear and provide cover fire.
If the Chief reaches the end of the wrong side of the tower.
The Arbiter and the Master Chief push their way up the tower, but the Flood continues to attack with overwhelming force.
Johnson appears on the cliff with a Spartan Laser, shooting down Flood forms.
If the Chief heads back the other way:
The Chief and the Arbiter continue upward.
The Master Chief and the Arbiter get closer to the top. Johnson continues to fire from the cliff.
The Chief and the Arbiter reach the top floor. Johnson provides cover fire for them as numerous Flood forms continue assaulting the tower.
The Flood continues to stubbornly attack with overwhelming force.
The Chief, the Arbiter, Sergeant Johnson and any surviving Sentinels fight off wave after wave of Flood. Finally the tower is secured. Johnson comes down from the cliff and joins the Chief and the Arbiter.
The doors to the tower open.
The trio enters the tower. They move down a corridor, turn the corner, and arrive at a set of blast doors.
The trio heads through another set of blast doors and finally reaches the Control Room.
The Control Room doors open up. The Chief, the Arbiter and Johnson cautiously enter. Hearing the shrieks and growls of the approaching Flood, they turn around, weapons drawn. The second set of blast doors closes, sealing the Flood out. The Arbiter stands guard at the doorway while the Chief and Johnson prepare to activate the installation.
The Chief removes Cortana's data chip from his helmet.
The Chief tosses the data chip to Johnson, who heads for the control panel. A rotating holographic image of the incomplete Halo ring hovers at the center of the chamber.
343 Guilty Spark appears from above and accompanies Johnson.
Spark's "eye" suddenly turns red and he blasts Johnson with his energy beam.
The Chief rushes to Johnson's aid. 343 Guilty Spark shoots at the Chief who is flung backwards from the force of the blast and onto the floor. His energy shields drop and attempt to recharge.
The Arbiter, hearing the commotion, moves forward, and 343 Guilty Spark blasts him as well, knocking him out of the Control Room. (In single-player, the doors close, sealing the Arbiter out of the room). The Chief tries to get back up, and Spark blasts him again, knocking him to his knees. With no shields protecting him this time, his armor starts to smoke.
The Chief fires whatever weapons he has at the rampant 343 Guilty Spark with no effect whatsoever. Spark counters with his powerful laser blasts and a repulsion field that forces the Chief backwards.
343 Guilty Spark corners the Master Chief.
Unnoticed by 343 Guilty Spark, Johnson manages to sit halfway up and shoulder the Spartan Laser.
Johnson shoots 343 Guilty Spark with his Spartan Laser. Caught off-guard, 343 Guilty Spark is blasted away from the Chief, falling to the ground and becoming inert.
The Chief rushes up to Johnson.
Johnson passes out. The Chief takes his Spartan Laser to destroy Guilty Spark.
343 Guilty Spark rises from the floor, flying at a slightly tilted angle, his metal body visibly damaged. At this point, 343 Guilty Spark will say four sentences at random.
After making the first shot, Spark begins to fly at a more tilted angle, leaking blue plasma from his sides and he begins to spark. Again, the following sentences are stated in random order.
Following the second shot, Spark's casing becomes distorted, with pieces of him sheared off completely. More plasma leaks from his sides and the sparks happen more ferociously. The right side of his 'eye' has broken off. Once again, the following sentences are said in a random order.
After making the finishing shot.
343 Guilty Spark explodes in a flash of blue and white light.
The Master Chief bends over Sergeant Johnson, who is still alive - barely.
Johnson grabs the Chief's hand with Cortana's chip in his.
Johnson succumbs to his wounds. The Chief takes Cortana from him and lets go of his hand. He stands up, and wordlessly releases Cortana into Halo's core, gripping the data chip tightly.
The Master Chief says nothing. He shakes the chip with his hand but quickly stops. Cortana bows her head, eyes closed, and makes a gesture, activating Halo. She uploads herself back into her chip.
The Chief places her chip in the back of his helmet, and then turns around. Behind him, the control console lights up and throbs with power. A massive column of energy erupts from the Core and the whole Control Room starts to shake violently. A support beam falls from the ceiling and crashes into the platform. Johnson's body slides off the platform as it tilts to one side and begins to fall. The Master Chief runs for the door, which has opened again. The Arbiter can now be seen waiting for the Chief.
The Way the World Ends
Pedal to the Metal.
Pieces of the walls around them suddenly explode; the Master Chief and the Arbiter run for the doorway leading outside, fighting a small group of Flood along the way.
The Master Chief and the Arbiter make it back outside, revealing a piece of collapsed ice forming a slope upwards.
If the Chief takes too long to get to the doorway.
The Chief and the Arbiter head along the cliff, encountering Flood and Sentinels, who have followed 343 Guilty Spark's lead and turned against them too.
They make it inside and find themselves in the middle of a battle between the Flood and a group of Sentinels.
They make it back outside where they find a Warthog waiting for them.
The Chief takes the wheel. The Arbiter takes the turret. (3-4 player co-op: Two Warthogs are present, both facing opposite directions.)
The Chief floors it. As they reach an open area, a massive explosion erupts alongside them.
The Chief and the Arbiter reach a massive open structure.
The Warthog soon enters inside the interior of a large hallway with ramps.
They soon reach another open structure where battles between the Flood and Sentinels continue.
They come upon a large open stretch.
They reach one more open structure, this time a few Flood pure forms await them.
They reach another hallway with ramps, where a larger battle between Sentinels and the Flood rages on.
The Warthog makes it out of the hallway battle, to an area where the frigate can be seen from a distance.
They head for the final bend, encountering more Sentinels. In the distance, a small group of Flood can be seen falling off a collapsing section of platform.
If the Chief heads to an Easter Egg, they meet one last Covenant soldier.
The Chief and the Arbiter make it to the final straight stretch to the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn, but there's a 70m (230ft) gap of thin air between the open cargo bay and the edge of the structure.
The Warthog makes the jump, but doesn't land well, tumbling and rolling as it crashes into the frigate's hangar. The Master Chief and the Arbiter recover, then the Forward Unto Dawn shifts. A Scorpion Tank begins sliding towards the Arbiter, who takes cover behind a pile of crates. The tank plows into it. The Chief leaps over the Warthog and hesitates, seeing the Arbiter digging himself out of the crates. The Chief nods at him and the Arbiter nods back. The Arbiter rushes to the bridge while the Chief runs to the hangar control terminal and plugs Cortana in to take control of the frigate. Her avatar appears from a holotank next to the terminal.
Cortana ignites the thrusters at full burn and launches the Forward Unto Dawn at full speed. The Chief grabs onto the terminal, hanging on for dear life as the Forward Unto Dawn leaves Halo's atmosphere. As the Chief tries to stay anchored, the Warthog flies out, striking the Chief on its way through the open hangar doors and out into empty space. The Chief flies off the panel, then glides down the floor towards the doors, with a self-destructing Halo looming beneath. The Chief punches his fist hard into the floor to get a grip, halting near the back end of the hangar. Cortana reaches out her arm towards him, scared of losing him.
The Scorpion flies out towards the Chief. He ducks his head just in time as it flies over him, narrowly missing the Chief but smashing the floor behind him and falling back towards Halo. The Chief begins to climb back up to Cortana, finally making it to the holotank. Meanwhile, the Arbiter makes it to the bridge and sits down at the controls. The Chief braces behind the panel, plugging Cortana back into his helmet.
The Chief finally rests his head back, exhausted. Halo fires and then suddenly explodes, engulfing the hangar in a blinding white light. All goes blank.
Flashback: The front half of the Forward Unto Dawn enters the Earth's atmosphere, and crashes into the Indian Ocean. Two marines track its descent.
Flashback continued: An engineering crew cuts into the Forward Unto Dawn with torches while a rescue Pelican hovers overhead. The Arbiter emerges from the wreckage.
Flashback ends: The Arbiter is revealed to be present at the memorial, standing solemnly with the Marines. The Shadow of Intent can be seen hovering above in the distance.
Lord Hood puts his hat back on and salutes. Sergeant Stacker turns to the other Marines present.
Seven Marines raise their Battle Rifles and each fire a single burst of three shots: a 3-volley salute. The view pans over the Portal, now closed and silent, and Mount Kilimanjaro against the evening sky.
Later, the Arbiter approaches Lord Hood, standing alone in front of the Memorial, which appears to be a Pelican wing, decorated with pictures of the fallen, including Commander Miranda Keyes and Sergeant Major Avery Johnson, along with flowers, medals, ribbons, and other tokens of respect.
Under the UNSC emblem is an inscription commemorating the dead:
IN MEMORY OF THOSE FALLEN
IN THE DEFENSE OF EARTH
AND HER COLONIES
MARCH 3, 2553
Lord Hood and the Arbiter stare at the Memorial.
Hood turns to the Arbiter and holds out his hand.
The Arbiter slowly shakes Admiral Hood's hand. After letting go, Hood's eyes are drawn to one part of the memorial in particular.
The Arbiter looks away, toward the Shadow of Intent, hovering silently in the sky.
The Arbiter leaves the Memorial. His Phantom heads back to the Shadow of Intent, hovering in about the same position as the Portal to the Ark once was. The Arbiter meets Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadum on the bridge. 'Vadum is looking at a holographic image of Earth.
The Arbiter reassuringly places a hand on 'Vadum's shoulder.
The Arbiter clenches his fist to his chest.
The Arbiter takes a seat on the command chair, the one normally used by Rtas 'Vadum.
The Shadow of Intent leaves Earth.
Going back to the Voi Memorial, the view shows that next to the print "March 3, 2553", the number "117" is carved into the metal of the wing, and a rank insignia is taped to the upper right of it as a tribute to the Master Chief.
Fade to black. Credits roll.
The Master Chief, very much alive, awakens, floating in zero gravity in a debris-filled hallway on board the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn.
The Master Chief looks at a gaping hole in the hallway. He drifts to his floating assault rifle and holsters it, then begins to drift to the end of the hallway.
The Chief reaches the end of the hallway, which opens up into empty space. The Forward Unto Dawn is revealed to be sheared in half, floating in a cloud of its own debris, still red-hot from the sudden slipspace slowdown.
The Forward Unto Dawn's remaining half continues to drift aimlessly in unknown space.
The Chief begins to drift further inside the ship, finding a row of cryotubes complete with a holotank to plug Cortana into.
The Chief plugs Cortana's data chip into the holotank and she appears.
The Master Chief turns off the flashlight on his helmet.
The Chief places his assault rifle in one of the rackets on the wall.
The Chief climbs into one of the cryotubes.
The cryotube door begins to close.
Cortana smiles, nodding. The cryotube closes and seals, freezing the Master Chief and bringing the Halo Trilogy to its conclusion.
Fade to black
The back half of the Forward Unto Dawn is seen drifting towards a planet. A star is eclipsed by the Forward Unto Dawn for a second as it slowly comes out from behind the planet, casting light upon it momentarily before blinding the view completely.
Concept art and matte paintings