Time is running out for Spartan: Black. Their commanding officer is about to be dissected by the psychotic monitor of The Line. Their AI Iona has been infected by Forerunner technology. One of their own has turned against them, pushing their already uneasy alliance with the Elite to the brink. A massive Covenant armada is converging on their position. Only a desperate gamble will save them -- but that's why you always bet on Black.
After one of Iona's status reports, now interrupted by 686 Ebullient Prism, a flashback of Black Team's training days is shown, with CPO Mendez questioning a young Black-Four, wearing an eye patch, about who took his eye out. Four refuses to answer.
The story then picks off where the last issue concluded: Black-Four, having just shot who he thought was Thon 'Talamee firing on Black-Three, arrives at the shooter's body and much to his shock, sees that the shooter was, in reality, Black-Two. Meanwhile, 686 Ebullient Prism, occupying Iona's "secondary" interface, explains to her that it has control of the team's HUDs, and has manipulated them to turn against each other. It is revealed that after Two finished sending the distress call from the ship, she made her way inside the installation to reunite with the team. Inside, the Monitor manipulated her helmet display to make Three and Four appear to her as Hunters. In turn, Prism manipulated Three's and Four's HUDs to have Two appear as Thon, explaining why Four inadvertently shot her.
Meanwhile, the Covenant team arrives at where Three is lying. Three, still thinking it was Thon who shot him, opens fire on the Covenant. Thon, enraged that the Spartan broke their agreement, attacks Three with an energy sword. Three evades the attack and punches Thon back.
The Monitor then proceeds to turn Four against Three, using Four's personal records to its advantage. Four, already pushed to the brink of his sanity, is suddenly convinced that Three is somehow behind the whole incident. He then starts firing wildly on the Covenant and Three with Two's beam rifle. Thon and Three take cover, and the confusion is resolved in a short exchange, leaving Thon to question who is shooting at them now.
In a visual representation of Iona's systems, the Monitor chases her to the software of Black-Four's MJOLNIR. The Monitor corners Iona, and proceeds to terminate her, but she manages to avoid the attack. Just then, an imaginary door behind them opens to a visualization of Four's personal logs: the Spartans' mess hall seen in the earlier flashbacks. Prism is temporarily distracted, fascinated by the complexities of Four's state of mind.
While Prism is occupied with this realization, Iona contacts Three. She informs him of the situation, and tells him that Four still likely blames Three for betraying his and One's relationship by telling Mendez. Three, confused by this, reveals that Four never had a relationship with One - Three did, and it was Four who ratted out on them. Red Team took One's eye out because of an earlier animosity. Four's memory of him and One having the relationship was actually a product of his imagination that he wanted to be true so fiercely that it appeared as a real memory to him.
Outside, Black-One interrupts Prism by asking him to get on with vivisecting her, with an escape plan in mind. She removes her helmet and uses it as a shield, deflecting one of the dissection lasers. The laser hits a Gatherer, sending it crashing down on One's cell. She then escapes, takes the Gatherer's weapon and frees Reff. The Monitor, now in panic, leaves Iona's system to deal with the two. They escape the Monitor, but One is hit in the back by Prism's beam. Reff, declaring the monitor to be a "false oracle", fires on it with a Sentinel Beam, temporarily blinding it.
In the conclusion, One and Reff arrive at a large chamber, with a beam of energy in the center and holograms of celestial objects all around them. Meanwhile, Four arrives to where Three and the Covenant forces are taking cover, prepared to settle the score with Three. Thon suggests they take him out, but Three decides to reason with him.
|Halo: Blood Line comic series|
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