The Pillar of Autumn
For more articles of the same name, see The Pillar of Autumn (disambiguation).
The level opens with the remainder of Noble Team onboard a D77-TC Pelican, on their way to deliver Cortana to the dry-docked UNSC Pillar of Autumn. The Pelican is critically damaged and Carter-A259 is badly wounded. Carter orders SPARTAN-B312 and Emile-A239 to complete the courier mission without him, while he lures the Covenant away from the pair by using the Pelican as a decoy. Emile-A239 and SPARTAN-B312 execute a low-altitude jump from the Pelican outside of the dockyard and are forced to fight their way to the facility. After battling through several Covenant outposts, the two SPARTAN-IIIs are forced to continue their journey through a cave system to circumvent a large group of Covenant forces. Upon reaching the other side, however, they are confronted by a Scarab. Realizing that the Scarab's presence prevents Emile and Noble Six from moving on, Carter rams it with the Pelican, knocking it off a cliff and sacrificing himself in the process. The two SPARTAN-IIIs continue their journey and eventually reach the Asźod ship breaking facility.
The two SPARTAN-IIIs are then hailed by Captain Jacob Keyes, whose cruiser, the Pillar of Autumn, is moored at the facility, and are ordered to clear a landing zone for the Captain, who will use a Pelican to retrieve the Package himself. Emile mans the facility's mass driver to provide covering fire against incoming Covenant Phantoms, while Noble Six and surviving Marines engage the Covenant on the ground. Once cleared, Keyes' Pelican arrives and Captain Keyes retrieves the Package from Noble Six. As the package is handed over, a CCS-class battlecruiser is revealed to be moving in on the Pillar of Autumn. Keyes orders Emile to fire on the advancing battlecruiser, however, before Emile can oblige a Phantom attacks the landing zone, destroying one Pelican and deploying a group of Sangheili warriors onto the mass driver. Emile successfully kills one of the Sangheili with his shotgun before a second sneaks up behind him and impales him with an energy sword. Emile manages to draw his kukri and fatally stab the Sangheili in the neck before he expires.
Keyes returns to the landing platform and offers Noble Six transportation to safety. The SPARTAN-III refuses and offers to defend the Captain as he heads towards his ship. Using the mass driver, Six defends the site and shoots down the Covenant battlecruiser just as it is about to glass the area. After successfully halting the battlecruiser's attack, Noble Six looks on as the Pillar of Autumn takes off and heads towards space to escape Reach, leaving Noble Six stranded with no way off of the planet.
August 30, 2552 16:52 Hours
The view zooms in and follows the Pelican.
Cuts to the cockpit of the Pelican, with Noble Six moving closer to the pilot seat. Suddenly, several plasma bolts hit the Pelican, impacting Noble Six, flickering the Spartan's shields. The view turns to the troop bay of the Pelican, and Emile-A239 is seen firing his Grenade Launcher at the two Banshees. Emile concentrates fire on a single Banshee. The grenade detonates close by, and the EMP disables the Banshee, which swoops up and crashes into its wingman. Both are taken out, but the Phantom still pursues. The view switches back to the cockpit, and moves in front of Six. Carter, critically wounded but still in the pilot seat, takes off his helmet and throws it onto the ground. Blood splatters cover the cockpit window.
Carter-A259 turns back to Noble Six. His face is bloodied, and his armor is charred from plasma fire.
The view faces a critically injured Carter. Noble Six, grabbing the pilot chair, looks up.
The view switches to Emile, who drops his emptied Grenade Launcher and makes a fist-to-chest salute. In the background, two more Banshees appear.
Six turns and walks to the troop bay.
The Pelican turns and make the pursuing aircraft out of sight. Six and Emile position at the Pelican's tail, ready to jump off. Holding the AI Package tight, Six crouches down as Emile grips the Pelican. Carter counts down with his fingers.
Carter counts down to zero.
Six and Emile jump out, and the view switches to Six's point of view. They slide down a canyon, energy shields depleting. They come to a rough stop by impacting the ground. Six looks up as his or her and Emile's shields recharge. Carter's Pelican flies over them, Banshees in hot pursuit. Six turns back, checks the armored matrix for damage, then places the AI data storage unit on his or her back. They look up to the road ahead.
Once More unto the Breach
Six and Emile continue through the narrow crack until they reach a cliff edge, overlooking a large area. Far in the distance, the UNSC Pillar of Autumn can be seen.
Emile indicates the ship in the distance.
Carter's Pelican, still being pursued by Banshees, flies out of sight. After killing the distracted Covenant troops, Emile and Six come upon a pair of Mongooses.
If the player stalls:
After traveling a short distance, the Spartans reach another open area. Covenant troop deployment pods drop and Covenant troops emerge from them. To make the situation worse, a Scarab drops from the sky.
If Six is driving his/her own Mongoose rather than riding shotgun on Emile's:
If the player dismounts his/her Mongoose:
Carter's Pelican reappears and distracts the Scarab by shooting its back.
or, with the IWHBYD Skull activated:
If the player heads to the right of the bridge:
A Phantom flies overhead as the Spartans cross the chasm, on a Mongoose or not. Barricades block the vehicle's way. Emile and Noble Six dismount and continue on foot.
This Town Isn't Big Enough
After clearing or rushing through the area, Six and Emile go through a cave. They draw closer to the exit.
Another Scarab suddenly walks down in front of Emile and Six, who are stuck at the cave exit.
Emile steps back in hesitation.
After noticing the two Spartans, the Scarab takes aim at Six and Emile as it charges its cannon. Carter's Pelican flies over and strafes it. The Scarab is distracted and stops charging its cannon.
Carter brings the Pelican around and starts a ballistic trajectory, directly towards the Scarab.
The Pelican slams into the Scarab's side and explodes as the walker charges its main cannon again. The Scarab's side bursts into flames, explosions rocking within it. The Scarab lets out a dying "scream" and struggles to stay standing. More explosions rock it and it falls down the cliff. A loud explosion is heard indicating its destruction. The view switches back to the two SPARTAN-IIIs, all that remains of Noble Team.
Noble Six nods.
Emile and Six enter another cave. The bodies of dead Marines litter the cave.
Drones attack the duo, but with skill and superior firepower, the Spartans take the Covenant troops down. After taking down several Skirmishers, Emile and Six find the cave's exit. The SinoViet facility is seen, with the grounded and scrapped UNSC frigate Commonwealth being an enormous battlefield between UNSC and Covenant troops.
The Spartans link up with some surviving Army troopers.
They clear the front of the shipyards and proceed into the facility. Soon they link up with some UNSC Army troopers fighting another mass of Covenant.
If Six stalls:
Six and Emile penetrate deeper into the facility, fighting past numerous Covenant soldiers. Along the way, they encounter a pair of Marines.
A Phantom approaches and drops off enemy troops.
Six and Emile deal with the reinforcements and continue outside. They head down a walkway and arrive outside a warehouse guarded by Skirmishers and a pair of Hunters. The Spartans quickly kill the Skirmishers, and after a prolonged battle, bring down the Hunters as well.
They enter the warehouse, where Marines on the ground floor are exchanging fire with Kig-Yar infantry occupying the facility's upper level. As the Spartans approach a flight of stairs, a sword-wielding Sangheili Ultra charges at them. The Spartans eliminate it, head upstairs and kill the remaining Covenant troops, before moving on.
As Noble Six moves up another flight of stairs:
Six and Emile meet up with another team of Marines engaged in a firefight with a small lance of Grunts and Kig-Yar. After dealing with these enemies, the Spartans finally exit the warehouse and see the massive Autumn in view, firing its 50mm Autocannons at various Covenant crafts in the area.
Noble Six and Emile link up with a Marine squad outside the warehouse.
Noble Six prepares to engage the approaching Phantoms, while Emile gets to the mass driver.
Though Emile shoots down as many Covenant dropships as he can with the enormous coilgun, numerous Phantoms reach the landing pad and drop off dozens of Covenant soldiers, including Brutes, Jackals, and Grunts.
More Phantoms show up.
Despite the odds, Noble Six and surviving Marines manage to fight them all off, eventually clearing the platform for Keyes.
Keyes' Pelican approaches the platform.
Noble Six reaches the platform in time to meet the Pelican.
Captain Keyes steps off the Pelican and meets up with Noble Six. Marines from the Pelican secure the pad.
or, on Legendary:
Noble Six hands the Package to Captain Keyes.
Keyes puts a reassuring hand on Six's shoulder.
Keyes turns back to re-enter the Pelican but stops short as a massive shadow appears in the sky. A CCS-class battlecruiser pushes through the clouds, advancing towards the Pillar of Autumn.
Emile begins to rotate the mass driver to face the advancing cruiser.
Jacob Keyes and the Marines enter the Pelican.
Noble Six, about to board the Pelican, is alarmed by the sudden sound of a Phantom and draws his/her Designated Marksman Rifle. A Phantom appears close by, and fires plasma bolts from its forward turret at the two Pelicans. The Pelican escorting Keyes' is shot down and crashes on the platform Noble Six is standing on. Six dives away from the burning wreck and barely avoids being crushed. Keyes' Pelican shifts as the Phantom flies over it. Six readies his/her weapon and turns as the Phantom wheels overhead towards the mass driver, but is forced to duck as the starboard door gunner fires a barrage of plasma at the Spartan. The Phantom drops off a pair of Zealots of the Devoted Sentries by the Mass Driver. One Zealot is visible to Noble Six, the second is concealed by the Mass Driver. Emile yells in surprise. The first Zealot raises an Energy Sword, but Emile fires his shotgun through the canopy, shattering the glass and knocking the Elite to the deck. Emile stands, raises his shotgun, and fires again point-blank into the fallen Zealot's chest, killing it.
The second Zealot impales Emile from behind with an Energy Sword, then pulls the mortally-wounded Spartan off the blade, holding Emile by the throat.
Still alive, Emile pulls out his kukri from his shoulder pauldron sheath and stabs the Zealot in the throat before dragging them both to the floor and out of sight. Keyes' Pelican returns to Platform Delta. One of the Marines holds out his hand, gesturing for Noble Six to join them.
Six turns away from the Pelican.
Keyes' Pelican leaves. Noble Six's only chance to escape Reach leaves with it.
If the player stalls:
If the player stalls even more:
If the player continues to stall:
Six moves towards the building housing the mass driver, but is confronted by an Elite Field Marshal and an accompanying squad of three Zealots, all Devoted Sentries. The four Elites in turn are guarded by multiple Special Operations Unggoy and an Engineer (on higher difficulties). Noble Six fights his/her way through and mans the mass driver.
Waves of Phantoms and Banshees attack the mass driver, but Six fends them off.
The cruiser begins to charge its ventral energy projector, dropping its ventral shield around the projector.
If the player stalls:
If the player stalls even more:
Noble Six fires. The mass driver slug hits the ventral energy projector on the cruiser.
If Noble Six still stalls, the cruiser fires its beam down, there is a bright flash, and the game reverts to the last checkpoint.
The magnetic fields guiding the plasma destabilize, causing a massive explosion that rocks the ship.
The Pelican docks just in time, as a few Marines run by the troop bay.
Noble Six climbs down the ladder leading to the mass driver as the Pillar of Autumn launches into the sky using R7 thrust couplings. The Covenant cruiser crashes down in the background. The Pillar of Autumn pitches up and ejects its rocket pods as it flies toward space.
Six walks down the valley as the Autumn flies off into space. As Noble Six takes out a DMR, the view pans down to the Spartan's legs and the destroyed cruiser.
Fades to black.