Prepare To Drop
|Prepare to Drop|
October 20, 2552, 1602 hours
|“||Start a new game, drop into the nighttime city.||”|
View inside a ready room in the UNSC Say My Name. The Rookie sleeps in front of a drop pod in the foreground while Mickey, Dutch, and Romeo are around a large holo-table, on which a hologram of New Mombasa and the Solemn Penance is displayed.
- Dutch: "How 'bout you show some respect, Romeo?"
- Romeo: "Just saying, Dutch - They missed one."
Romeo points at the assault carrier.
- Dutch: "No. They left it for us."
The team cannot help but notice the stranger with their commanding officer.
- Romeo: (quietly) "Hello, beautiful."
Buck glances at Dare and then looks sternly at the squad.
- Buck: "Pods. Now."
The ODSTs grab their gear and start walking to their pods.
- Buck: "This many years into the war? Who isn't."
- Dare: "At least they listen."
- Buck: "To me. And they're not gonna like what they hear."
- Dare: "Orders are orders."
Buck walks up to Dare.
- Buck: "Come on, Veronica! What could be more important than that carrier?"
Dare pokes Buck in the chest.
- Dare: "My orders. And Buck? Call me 'Captain'. I'll pass on that dance. But you can show me where to sit."
Dare brushes past Buck toward the pods. Buck sighs. Cut to the rest of the team, who are gearing up.
- Mickey: "What the hell kind of armor was she wearing?"
- Romeo: "Dunno, Mickey. I wasn't looking at her gear."
Dutch examines a silenced M7 SMG.
- Romeo: "Pft! Seriously?"
- Dutch: "Well, we're gonna be close-quarters."
Romeo grabs an M90 shotgun and offers it to Dutch.
- Romeo: "Exactly."
Dutch shoves the shotgun away, glancing over Romeo's shoulder. Romeo turns to see Dare and Buck walk into the scene.
- Buck: (to Dare) "Second to last. Right next to mine."
- Romeo: "Cozy..."
Buck overhears and approaches Romeo.
- Romeo: "You gonna tell us her name, Gunny?"
- Buck: "Ms. Naval Intelligence. Our new boss."
- Mickey: (muttering) "Oh, brother..."
- Buck: "So check your mouths, find your chairs..."
Buck takes the shotgun from Romeo's hands, puts it back onto the rack, and angrily shoves a sniper rifle into his hands instead.
- Buck: "...and get set for a combat drop!"
- Romeo: "What the hell am I supposed to do with this inside a Covenant ship?"
Cut to the Rookie, still asleep next to his pod. Romeo walks to him and hits him with his sniper rifle's butt.
Cut to the Rookie's point of view as he wakes up.
- The Rookie: "Uhh!"
- Romeo: "Wake up, buttercup."
Dutch pushes Romeo away.
- Dutch: "Relax, Rookie. He don't mean nothin'. Besides. Now's one of those times, pays to be the strong, silent type."
Dutch hands an M7S SMG to the Rookie, who attaches it to his pod's weapon rack and positions himself on the seat. The pod's hatch closes, and the platform from which all the pods are hanging descends into the launch bay.
Once the hatch closes, the player is free to look around.
Buck and Dare appear on the pod's viewscreens.
- Dare (COM): "Latest intel reports Covenant troops are massing beneath the carrier."
- Buck (COM): "They're pulling back? Why?"
The pod's screens flicker with static as the platform comes to a stop.
- Dare (COM): "We're not going to find out way up here."
- (Easy or Normal) "Troopers! We are green and very, very mean!"
- (Heroic) "Pucker up, marines! I sure as hell ain't hosing out your pods!"
- (Legendary) "We are droppin' into hell, troopers! Time to grow a pair!"
The pods drop away from the ship, punctuated by a countdown sound before the Rookie's pod detaches. His pod exits the launch bay to an expansive view of low Earth orbit. The tether of the New Mombasa Orbital Elevator can be seen in the background surrounded by multiple destroyed UNSC ships. Operational vessels prowl amongst the wreckage. A thick cloud cover below the pods stretches to the horizon.
The pods pass close to several destroyed UNSC frigates during their descent.
- Romeo (COM): "I take it back. Navy got its butt kicked."
- Buck (COM): "Hey Romeo. Remember when I told you to shut your mouth?"
- Romeo (COM): "Yeah?"
- Buck (COM): "Consider that a standing order."
The pods reach the cloud layer.
- Buck (COM): "Captain? Fifteen klicks off the deck."
The screen flashes white as the Rookie's pod falls through the cloud layer. The city of New Mombasa and the assault carrier above it come into view.
- Dare (COM): "Stand by to adjust trajectory. On my mark."
- Dutch (COM): "What did she just say?"
- Dare (COM): "Mark!"
The squad's pods veer off to a new course.
- Mickey (COM): "We're way off course!"
- Dare (COM): "We're heading exactly where I need to go."
- Mickey (COM): "But we're gonna miss the carrier!"
A stream of energy flickers across the carrier's hull.
- Dutch (COM): "Radiation!"
A Slipspace rupture opens before the carrier and rapidly expands, creating a crater on the ground below it.
- Mickey (COM): "Covenant just set off a nuke?!"
The UNSC In Amber Clad can be seen moving towards the carrier.
- Dare (COM): "No. The carrier's going to jump! It's a slip-space rupture! You need to-"
Dare is cut off as the carrier disappears into the rupture, taking In Amber Clad with it and releasing a massive explosion and shockwave.
- Dutch (COM): "EMP! Losing power!"
- Buck (COM): "Stabilize, then pop your chutes! We're going in hard!"
Mickey's pod slams into the Rookie's, cracking the window. Inside the pod, all screens turn red with warnings before the EMP fries the pod's systems. The Rookie grabs onto a handhold as his pod plummets into freefall without a chute to slow it.
Screen goes black
- The name of the level was used as the promotional tagline for the game.
- This is the only level without any form of the Superintendent.
- This is the only level in which Dare wears her helmet.
- Unlike the other levels in the game, this level is not viewable in Theater mode.
- It is possible to "play" this level in Firefight mode, but viewers can only move around in camera form. Finish a solo game so the game will load "Prepare to Drop" and then go into the Firefight lobby, where the level name and difficulty setting should be stated. Select "Start Game" and the one should be in the debriefing room as a floating camera. 
- When starting this level on Legendary, players can see a picture of an apparent girl in the left side of the Rookie's SOEIV pod. Joseph Staten commented that the person in the image is the Rookie's "beautiful girlfriend", but is actually an image of Chris Butcher edited to resemble a woman. According to Butcher, Shi Kai Wang and Steve Scott were responsible for this Easter egg.
- The monitors seen throughout the room in the cutscene actually display the same screens encountered on the Halo 3 multiplayer map Orbital, set on the Quito Space Tether.
- The location of the Slipspace rupture and much of New Mombasa's aesthetic appearance are changed from Halo 2's. 
- This is one of five unplayable levels in the Halo series, although players can still control where the Rookie looks.
- As the Rookie "snaps" his M7S SMG into his pod's weapon holster, one might notice that the gun's flashlight is active.
- The countdown beeps heard before the pods launch are famously taken from the respawn timer/game start countdown from Halo's multiplayer.
- When the EMP consumes the city below, the Drop Pod seen in the Rookie's left view port inexplicably vanishes from sight in an apparent animation error.