The Signal

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Guardians (chronologically)
Escape (Halo Wars campaign)


A New Enemy

The Signal
HW2 The Signal.png


Halo Wars 2


March 28, 2559[1]


Installation 00

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The Signal is the first campaign level in Halo Wars 2.


{Cinematic Cutscene}

Open to the Spirit of Fire drifting silently in space.


Official Status: Lost with all hands

2559 - 28 years since last known contact

A light flashes sporadically in the background as two of the ship's turrets rise up and turn, ready once again.

The bridge's blast shields begin to open, revealing the space outside.

  • Serina: "Captain, wake up. Something has happened."

The ship continues to wake various viewscreens come back online. One viewscreen displays the following:





ATMOS 100%


  • Serina: "The Spirit of Fire is in the situation I...could not anticipate."

The screen moves to the ship's Cryo Room 3, showing Sergeant John Forge's empty cryo chamber. The cryo room starts to light up, machinery returning to life, as well as the human occupants

  • Serina: "I'm certain Professor Anders would enjoy that little admission, so let's keep it between us, shall we?"

Pan down the several floors of the cryo room alive with activity as with technicians walking to and fro, assisting crew members exiting their cryo pods.

  • Serina: "We've been adrift for just over twenty-eight years. I've made quite a few repairs while you were sleeping, so the ship systems are at one hundred percent. Cryo worked well and medstats on all remaining crew are green. As for me, well...regulations are clear about final dispensation at the end of AI's seven-year lifespan."

Below the cryo room, a tram speeds past.

  • Serina: "I took care of my own arrangements rather than wake you. I didn't want to...well...I hope you can forgive this final breach of protocol."

Below the tram line, various Marines and crew members walk along a hallway. Crewmen salute to a figure walking along the middle of the corridor - Captain James Cutter.

As the captain walks past the camera, two Spartans walk past behind him, their footsteps heavy.

  • Serina: "It has been a pleasure and an honor to serve with you, sir."

Here, Serina's voice begins to break.

  • Serina: "Do look after everyone for me, would you? Goodbye, Captain...Serina out."

Cutter stops before an elevator door. Two Marines guarding the door salute to the captain, who dons his dress cap. The elevator door opens. Cut to game logo:

Halo Wars 2

View outside the ship: the elevator descends down to the observation deck. Inside, Anders is already awake and analyzing the situation when Cutter enters.

  • Anders: "I'll need to get down there. Immediately, of course."
  • Cutter: "Good morning to you too, Professor."
  • Anders: *sighing* "I'm sorry, Captain. It's good to see you too. But just...look at it."

Anders and Cutter view Installation 00 below them.

  • Cutter: "What is it, and where are we?"

Anders brings up various holographic astronavigation data.

  • Anders: "Um, No idea. Out astronavigation can't pinpoint a location. We're not on the map anymore."

Cutter looks at and manipulates another holo-terminal.

  • Cutter: "We didn't drift out of the galaxy in twenty-eight years, Professor."

Cutter opens the ship's sensor records.

  • Cutter: "Sensor records show we arrived via slipspace less than an hour ago?"

Anders summons a holograph of the ship's removed Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine.

  • Anders: "Our Slipspace drive is gone. However we got here, it wasn't us who initiated the trip."

She then opens a holographic data schematic of Installation 00.

  • Anders: "Something down there.."

Anders manipulates the holo-display to survey a specific area of the Ark.

  • Anders: "...must have opened the portal from this end and pulled us in."

Suddenly, a report comes in from the bridge

  • Bridge Crew: "Captain Cutter, sir. We've received a signal from the surface. It's UNSC!"
  • Cutter: "Signal to my location, Lieutenant. Let's hear what they have to say."

A holographic representation of the message is brought up.

  • Bridge Crew: "I'm sorry, Captain. I can't play it for you, sir. The message has an encryption scheme we haven't seen before."

Cutter presses several buttons on the holotable's touchscreen.

  • Cutter: "Security measures would've advanced without us, but it is coming through on a UNSC frequency."

Anders studies the holographic message.

  • Cutter: *gestures to the holographic message* "This is good. When we left, the war wasn't going well. This signal means the UNSC is still fighting, or maybe we even won. What's the source of transmission?"

Anders opens the source on the holotable.

  • Anders: "We don't have the surface details yet, sir. Something down there is blocking our scans and without Serina..."

Anders pauses. Focus on Captain Cutter's saddened face.

  • Anders: "But we... do have a rough location."

Anders triangulates the location, designating it with a yellow mark

  • Anders: "Should be simple enough to triangulate once we can pick up the signal from the ground.

Cutter contacts Jerome-092

  • Cutter: "Cutter to Jerome."
  • Jerome-092 (COM): "Reporting, Captain."
  • Cutter: "Prep Spartan Red Team and a small recon squad. Professor Anders will send you coordinates."

Anders proceeds to send the coordinates to Red Team.

  • Cutter: "Find out who's sending that signal. Be on the ground within the hour, travel light."
  • Jerome-092: "Roger that, Captain. Recon only."

The holotable closes after the coordinates are given

  • Cutter: "Twenty-eight years, Professor...Let's see what kind of galaxy we woke up to."

Cutter observes the Forerunner installation below him; cut to an overall view of the Ark.



Mission Briefing

  • Cutter: "Professor Anders, any update on the source of that signal?"
  • Anders: "It wasn't easy, but I've narrowed it down to a small sector and our recon teams are investigation now. I've cleared up the scans a bit and it looks like there is a UNSC outpost or research station, but it's heavily damaged. It doesn't look good, but the Spartans will handle it. They always do. It would be a lot faster if you let me go down with them, Captain."
  • Cutter: "Without Serina here i need you on the ship Professor. Besides, we don't know what is waiting for us down there. Jerome, get Red Team to the Professor's coordinates, ASAP. I want you to make contact with whoever's sending that signal."
  • Jerome-092: "Understood, sir. We'll find them.""

Mission Summary

Use Red Team to investigate and find the source of the signal.

Scouting Report

Spirit of Fire recon teams are on the ground to meet Red Team.

{In-game cutscene}

  • Pelican Pilot: "Spirit of Fire actual. I am approaching the drop zone with Red Team."
  • Pelican Pilot: "Standby for drop, Red Team."

The Pelican drops Red Team in a Warthog and flies away

  • Jerome-092: "Looking forward to shaking off some cobwebs, sir."
  • Douglas-042: "Ah, it feels good to have our feet back on real ground again, doesn't it, Alice?"
  • Alice-130: "You saw this place on the drop down, Douglas. Nothing real about it."

Two Hornets fly past near the Spartans

  • Jerome-092: "Alice is right, we don't know what's waiting for us down there. Keep your eyes out of trouble."


Jerome-092 drives the Warthog uphill. The Spartans come across Recon One and some barricades.

  • Recon One: "Recon One reporting, sir. We've set up charges to clear a path for you when you're ready. I don't know what they were defending against, but there's some heavy duty barricades here."
  • Jerome-092: "Everybody get clear."

The Marines move away from the barricades

  • Jerome-092: "Light up those charges, Alice."

Alice fires on the barricade, which is immediately destroyed. Red Team and Recon One quickly advance ahead where they also find some heavy barricades. Recon One quickly sets charges again

  • Alice-130: "Jerome, these aren't military defenses."
  • Jerome-092: "No, these were made in a hurry. They must have been desperate."
  • Douglas-042: "Why wouldn't they have defenses? They must have expected to be a target for the Covenant."

Alice destroys the barricade again. The Warthog comes up on a cliff.

  • Jerome-092: "Hold on, jump up ahead."

The Warthog jumps down from the cliff

  • Douglas-042: "I've missed this!"

The Spartans come across more structures.

  • Alice-130: "These are research buildings. No defenses. The people here weren't soldiers, they were scientists."

Red Team continues on while Hornets and Marines pass nearby. They then encounter a light bridge, which the Spartans activate and cross. Douglas then spots a Nightingale with two Hornets flying past.

  • Douglas-042: "What's a Nightingale doing here? Do we have wounded?"

The Spartans continue and pass by more damaged structures, and come across a scene where three Nightingales and two Hornets are in the process of evacuating casualties.

  • Squad Leader: "It's one of our recon teams, sir. We found them like this when we arrived. Didn't see what hit them."
  • Alice-130: "Looks like we may see some action after all."

One Hornet moves away to a teleporter further ahead. The Spartans follow them to the portal, which is guarded by Marines.

  • Cutter: "Jerome, our recon teams have scouted out this portal that will take you down to the signal. I've ordered the rest of our forces to stay back and protect your exit while you investigate."
  • Jerome-092: "Yes, sir."

Red Team teleport to the next area below, where more portals are soon found with unknown devices attached.

  • Jerome-092: "Professor, we've found some more portals, but there's something strange about them."
  • Anders: Odd, they look like they've been modified, and those machines attached to them aren't UNSC tech. Keep an eye out for any more of them."

Red Team eventually arrives at where the signal comes from: a UNSC structure. A sign identifies the building as the Henry Lamb Research Facility. Jerome stops the Warthog in front of the front doors.

  • Jerome-092: "Henry Lamb Research Outpost'. Spirit of Fire, we're outside. Base looks clear from out here. Let's see who's been calling."

{Cinematic Cutscene}

The sun starts to rise as Red Team enters the Research Outpost. Flashlights pan over the floor and walls as Red Team moves cautiously into the outpust until Alice spots a Holotable.

  • Alice-130: "Holotable, ten o'clock"

Red Team stops and Jerome clears the items on the holotable. He activates it, and an AI appears with a distress beacon activated. The AI looks surprised at first before she turns around and sees Jerome.

  • Unknown AI: *sighing in relief* "Spartans? Thank God. We have to get out of here."
  • Jerome-092: "Identify."
  • Isabel: "Isabel. UNSC logistics, Ark research outpost."
  • Jerome-092: "Isabel. Where are the survivors? What's the strength of the Covenant here?"

Isabel looks confused.

  • Isabel: "Covenant? No, why would you——listen. You are in incredible danger here!"

A loud banging can be heard echoing from within the confines of the output, causing her to stop talking. Red Team, instantly alerted, points their weapons towards the source of the noise.

  • Isabel: *whispering* "Oh no."
  • Douglas-042: "What was that?"

A second, even louder band echoes before the third and final bang rocks the entire outpost.

  • Isabel: "It's him."
  • Jerome-092: "You're coming with us."

Jerome removes the AI chip as Isabel slowly disappears. He signals Red Team to move forward to investigate. Weapons raised and at the ready, they proceed through further down hall and into a large, circular room.

Alice looks around cautiously before she is grabbed by the neck and lifted up by a large unknown enemy. Jerome-092 and Douglass-042 instantly aim their weapons towards the enemy. The unknown opponent chokes Alice for a few seconds while she tries to grab their hand before throwing her to the side. Jerome-092 fires two bursts from his battle rifle at the enemy, seemingly to no effect. The enemy slams his mace into the ground, causing Jerome and Douglas to lose their footing. He immediately punches Jerome in the gut, knocking him to the side into some crates and losing his rifle in the process. Douglas manages to get back up but before he has a chance to fire his shotgun, the enemy activates their Gravity Hammer and pulls the Douglas-042 towards him before brutally slamming him onto the ground, shotgun clattering out of his hands and onto the floor.

Alice charges in, firing her handgun in her right hand and brandishing a combat knife in her left, but like the battle rifle rounds, seemingly has no effect on their unknown assailant. She is immediately swatted aside, knocking her to the floor again. Douglas gets on his knees and tries to reach for his shotgun, but the enemy quickly steps on the shotgun and knees him in the chin with enough force to knock back across the room. Jerome quickly brandishes his knife to attack him, sliding under and dodging an incoming attack. Immediately managing to stab his combat knife into his opponent's side, he is immediately punched aside again as Alice charges in again with her pistol, only to be knocked down again by a shoulder-butt. Douglas manages to pick him his shotgun this time and manages to aim it at their enemy. Before he can fire, however, the enemy slaps the gun out of his hands with their gravity hammer and grabs Douglas' shoulder even as he manages to stab him in the lower abdomen.

The enemy grabs Douglas' shoulder and swings him around as Douglas stabs him again. As he goes in for the third stab, the enemy squeezes Douglas' shoulder hard enough to stop the Spartan in his tracks and involuntarily releases the knife. Douglas reaches desperately for the knife as the enemy continues squeezing his shoulder, causing him to groan painfully. Sparks shoot out of his armor. With a bone-breaking crunch, the enemy finally puts enough force on Douglas' shoulder to make the armor and bone underneath, despite the Spartan's augmentation.

Douglas finally succumbs and screams in pain before collapsing to his knees, clutching his wounded arm and groaning in pain. The enemy steps back and activates their gravity hammer. Douglas looks up, his helmet illuminated by the blood-red light, before trying to stand. As soon as he gets to one knee, however, the enemy brutally swings his gravity hammer forward and slams Douglas in the chest with enough force to simultaneously throw him through the air, cause a large gash in his chestplate, and throw his helmet off.

Douglas lands with a groan and struggles feebly on the ground as the enemy, a Jiralhanae, yanks the knife out of him and tosses it to the ground. He picks up Douglas' discarded helmet and examines it.

He crushes the helmet with his bare hands, causing the visor to shatter and pop out. The lights are also extinguished.

Douglas struggles to get to his feet but is unable to with his injuries. The Jiralhanae drops his destroyed helmet.

  • Recon One: "Red Team, this is Recon One. You have multiple hostiles approaching your location."

Behind Douglas, Jerome looks cautiously at the Jiralhanae before bending down to pick up his battle rifle again. Together, he and Alice point their weapons at the Jiralhanae.

  • Jerome-092: *looking at Alice* "Alice. We're leaving."

Alice bends down to grab Douglas by the back of his armor and begins dragging him away, his damaged armor scraping on the floor. Jerome follows close behind, weapon still trained on the Jiralhanae standing menacingly before them.

  • Unknown Jiralhanae: *laughing* "Yes. Run, little demons."

He activates the gravity hammer again, this time close enough to his face to illuminate it.

Cut back to a view of Douglas being dragged by Alice. The wounded Spartan is barely able to keep his head propped up or his eyes open as a stream of blood trickles down his face.

  • Jerome-092: "Command, This is Red Team. We have a Spartan casualty."

Cut back to the Jiralhanae as he turns and walks away.

  • Unknown Jiralhanae: "Hunt then down."

A Jiralhanae is seen slamming the staff of their gravity hammer down onto the floor, causing a loud crashing sound. Cut back to Douglas again, groaning weakly as his head begins to loll to the side.

  • Jerome-092: "Immediate EVAC requested."

Cut back to the Jiralhanae walking into the shadows of the research outpost, deactivating his gravity hammer.

  • Unknown Jiralhanae: "Find out where they came from."

Cut to a view of two Brutes slamming their gravity hammers into the ground.

Cut back to the feeling Spartans.

  • Jerome-092: *urgently* "Douglas, stay with me."

Cut back to the Jiralhanae, now fully enclosed by darkness.

  • Unknown Jiralhanae: "...and bring me back anything..."

Cut back to the Spartans.

  • Jerome-092: "Douglas!"

Finally succumbing to his wounds, Douglas falls unconscious, his arm falling limply to the floor

  • Unknown Jiralhanae: "...useful."

The Jiralhanae Warlords slam their gravity hammers into the ground one last time as they gather in the center of the room, eager for the hunt. One Jiralhanae raises his gravity hammer over his head and roars as the others begin scrambling after their prey, panting and growling in excitement.

Outside, Jerome pauses and looks around, realizing that they are surrounded on all sides by hordes of unknown enemies, chanting a battle-cry on cliffs around the base. Jerome turns around and gestures frantically to Alice who is carrying Douglas over her shoulder.

  • Jerome-092: "COME ON, COME ON!"

He fires a burst towards the approaching Jiralhanae.

  • Alice-130: "Do we have a plan?"
  • Jerome-092: "We do."

As soon as Alice and Douglas are clear, Jerome quickly turns around while Alice places an unconscious Douglas in the passenger seat. Alice quickly hops on the Warthog's turret while Jerome takes the driver seat.

  • Jerome092: "Jerome to Spirit of Fire."
  • Cutter: "Cutter here. Status?"
  • Jerome-092: "Sir. Requesting danger close. On our location, trailing north. Commence five seconds."

Alice turns the M41 Vulcan around while Jerome starts the vehicle.

  • Alice-130: "Interesting plan."

The scene moves to Spirit of Fire where Archer missile pods open.

  • Cutter: "Understood. Archer missiles inbound."

The ship fires four Archer missiles to Jerome's location. An Elite activates his Energy Sword and commands hordes of Ghosts to hunt the Spartans down. The Ghosts descend from the cliff and give chase to the Spartans while Jerome quickly goes full throttle and Alice opens fire on them, quickly fleeing as the Archer missiles approach.

{In-game cutscene}

  • Jerome-092: "Hang on."

Three Jiralhanae Warlords, several Ghosts and a Wraith plasma mortar round are closing on the Spartans, but the Archer missile bombardment annihilates them and the Spartans jump down from a cliff.


  • Isabel: "H-Hello? What's happening out there? Where are we going?"
  • Jerome-092: "We're getting you out of here, Isabel, sit tight."
  • Alice-130: "Then we're coming back for that Brute!"

Another Archer missile bombardment destroys all enemy units in range on the right side as the Spartans are forced to take the left route and jump down from a cliff.

  • Isabel: "I tried to warn you, you're lucky to be alive."

More missiles finish off the Wraiths while the left route has been cut off, forcing Jerome to go right and jump down from the cliff.

  • Brutes: "Slay the cowards!"

Soon they encounter Banshees and a Banished squad coming out from the portal.

  • Alice-130: "Watch out, over there!"

Archer missiles quickly obliterate the enemy units except for the Banshees.

  • Isabel: "They're using the Ark's portals!"
  • Alice-130: "Portals. Why is it always portals?"

Two Wraiths get in the way. Jerome punches through them as the missiles destroy the Wraith. The Spartans' Warthog jumps down from the cliff unscathed and finally reaches a light bridge.

{In-game cutscene}

The Warthog arrives and turns around. Alice immediately dismounts from the gunner seat and moves to the light bridge controls.

  • Jerome-092: "The controls to the bridge! Alice, now!"
  • Alice-130: "On it!"

Jerome jumps to the gunner seat and starts the weapon while Alice tries to activate it.

  • Jerome-092: "Make it quick, they're closing in!"

Jerome opens fire and takes down several hostiles while Alice manages to activate the light bridge.

  • Alice-130: "That's it, move!" I'll cover you!"

Jerome quickly goes back to driver seat and drives the Warthog across the light bridge while Alice uses her machine gun to hold the Banished off. The Banshees fire their Fuel Rod Guns at Alice and the explosion seemingly envelops her while she continues to fire. Jerome eventually reaches the extraction point where two Pelicans stand by to extract them.

  • Isabel: "She's gone!"
  • Jerome-092: "Don't you believe it, Isabel. We're on board, pilot. Let's go."

A Banshee attempts to shoot down the Pelican, but Hornets destroys it instead and another banshee is soon destroyed by another Hornet. The Pelicans quickly leave the scene under hornet escort and Alice continue to hold the ground units off. The bridge has been deactivated.

  • Cutter: "We have a medical team standing by for Douglas, Jerome. I want a full report from you and that AI as soon as you get back to the Spirit of Fire."

{Level ends}

Help.png This section needs expansion. You can help Halopedia by expanding it.


  • This is the only level in which three Spartans are merged into one unit, Spartan Warthog.
  • While Jerome identifies the research facility as the "Henry Lamb Research Outpost", the sign in front of the outpost actually reads "Henry Lamb Research Facility".


  • Do not let the Spartan Warthog be destroyed, no matter what. Losing the Spartan Warthog means you will fail the mission.
  • Try to maneuver swiftly if you wish to avoid Grunt Infantry Squads.



Preceded by
Halo Wars 2 campaign levels
The Signal
Succeeded by
A New Enemy