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The Firefight level Crater is based on the end of this level.
Directly after the drop, with the aftereffects of the in-atmosphere Slipspace rupture washing over the city, Buck survives a rough landing and moves toward Dare's crash site in Tayari Plaza through hordes of Covenant. Scattered Marines provide limited assistance. When he arrives, Dare is nowhere to be found. Instead, Buck is confronted by a Covenant Engineer holding the charred remains of her helmet. Romeo appears and kills the creature, and the resulting explosion propels the helmet into a nearby building for the Rookie to eventually find. Unsure of Dare's fate, Buck and Romeo decide to scrap the mission, find their squad, and get out of the city.
Immediately after drop
The sound of the slipspace rupture opening can be heard. Cutscene begins:
View opens on one of the Superintendent's cameras (location labeled as Lumumba) just as the shockwave from the slipspace rupture passes through the city. The screen adjusts to the brightness, and the air is still full of blue particles from the rupture. From a camera below the Superintendent watches two SOEIVs drop in, one of them bounces off a building, deflects into a second and crashes upside down, the other pod goes straight behind the second building. The Superintendent zooms in on the first pod, its avatar showing a sad face.
- Dare (COM): "Squad, what's your status? You still with me, Buck?"
- Buck: "Yeah... Give me a sec."
- Dare (COM): "I hit pretty hard. My hatch won't open. How about yours?"
Buck's hatch opens and he falls out of his pod.
- Buck: "Ugh! (sarcastically) Works great."
- Dare (COM): "Right. When you get done fooling around, I could use some help."
- Buck: "Did I... do something wrong? Because the only thing I regret about you and me? Not knowing you were a spook when we first met. I would've been a lot less charming."
- Dare (COM): "That's what I miss most about you, Buck. The way your mouth was always a little faster than your brain. Look, don't start about my job. We both agreed to end it."
Buck tries to take out his Assault Rifle, but it is stuck.
- Buck: "That was years ago, Veronica! I'm (grunt) a little (grunt) fuzzy (grunt) on the..."
He finally gets his Assault Rifle out.
- Buck: "...details. You must have met a lot of other saps since then. Why pick me for this safari?"
- Dare (COM): "First, you're the best soldier I know, and second... You really don't remember... That night? What you asked me in the morning?"
A Phantom flies overhead. Buck looks up.
- Buck: (Mutters) "I remember not getting an answer..."
- Dare (COM): "Say again, Buck? You're breaking up."
- Buck: "I said stay put! I'm on my way!"
- Dare (COM): "We missed our LZ. This grid is packed with Covenant. Be careful."
- Buck: "I appreciate the concern."
Buck cocks his Assault Rifle.
- Dare (COM): "Won't be much of a rescue if you're dead."
- Dubbo: "I saw your pod hit... You're one lucky S.O.B."
- Buck: "See any more come down?"
- Dubbo: "Nah, negative! But I didn't see much of anything after that flash. Uh, but listen! Some of these buildings are open. Should be able to get inside, flank the Covenant on the streets."
- Buck: "Roger that, thanks!"
- Superintendent: "TOLL ZONE. PLEASE, SLOW DOWN."
- Buck: "What the hell happened here?"
- Superintendent: "FINAL NOTICE. BILL PAST DUE."
After battling through more Covenant forces, Buck comes across more Elite and Brute corpses.
- Buck: "Veronica, what's with all the dead Elites?"
- Dare (COM): "What do you mean?"
- Buck: "It's like a family feud, like they were killed by Brutes. Is there something I should know?"
- Dare (COM): "It's classified."
- Buck: "Ah, some things never change."
Buck comes across a Deployable lookout tower with some various Jackals and Grunts around it.
- Buck: "Got a little Jackal problem!"
- Dare (COM): "An overcharged Plasma Pistol shot will neutralize their shields, should also take down a Brute's armor."
- Buck: "Oh, yeah? Where were you a minute ago?"
- Dare (COM): (irritated) "Still trapped inside my pod."
If you linger around the door without opening it:
- Buck: "Gotta get through this door. Should be a switch around here somewhere."
After opening the door Buck finds a group of Marines armed with Silenced SMGs around a destroyed Warthog, taking fire from Covenant on higher ground, soon getting killed.
If Buck goes left to the building, he'll find a female Marine taking cover.
- Marine: "Trooper, we're pinned down! Flank through this building, hit 'em from behind!"
- Dare (COM): "Buck, location?"
- Buck: "Almost there! What's wrong?"
- Dare (COM): "Multiple hostiles closing in on my position. Listen carefully, if I don't make it..."
- Buck: "Whoa! Hang on, I'll be right there!"
- Dare (COM): "Too late, they spotted me!"
- Buck: "Damn it, no! Veronica? Talk to me! Don't move! I'm coming, you hear?"
A pair of Hunters emerges from the set of doors on the other side of the area.
- Buck: "Hunters?! No, I do not have time for this! Turn around, you bastards, let me shoot you in the back."
After clearing the area of Covenant and proceeding through another door, Buck arrives at Dare's location.
- Superintendent: "ATTENTION, TRAVELER! LOST ITEMS CAN BE CLAIMED ON... LOWER LEVELS."
Dare's SOEIV comes into view, under attack by three Grunts
- Buck: "There's her pod, now I just need to find a way down..."
If you choose to go down one of the leading to the pod staircases
- Superintendent: "ATTENTION, PARTY OF ONE, COME IMMEDIATELY TO LOST AND FOUND! LOWER LEVELS"
After dispatching the Grunts he approaches her pod and tries to open the door.
- Buck: "Arrgh! I'm here... I got ya..."
Buck manages to shove the hatch off the pod, but it is empty. Suddenly, an Engineer pops out at Buck.
- Buck: "Aw, nuts."
The Engineer gets closer to Buck, who falls over backwards, and a blue light appears from its helmet.
- Buck: "Whoa, whoa!"
Buck sees Dare's damaged helmet in one of its tentacles.
- Buck: "Whoa!"
Buck gets up, the Engineer starts to shake and starts to give off a high pitched whine, Buck dives for cover and it explodes, propelling Dare's helmet into the air. The Superintendent tracks the helmet.
- Superintendent (on-screen): LOST-AND-FOUND ITEM! CALCULATING TRAJECTORY...
The Superintendent finds that the helmet will be launched through a window.
- Superintendent (on-screen): OPENING WINDOW SHUTTER!
The Superintendent's avatar shows a happy face.
- Buck: "What the heck was that? You ever seen one before?"
Romeo doesn't respond. Buck takes his helmet off.
- Buck: "Hey, Romeo! You got your ears on?"
- Buck: "Oh, I get it. Permission to speak, smart ass."
- Romeo: "No, I don't know what it was, but it was gonna grease your ass good. Just like it did the Captain."
- Buck: "Yeah. Maybe. You hear from Mickey? Dutch?"
Buck investigates a piece of the Huragok's armor, with Dare's stomach armor plate attached to it, stuck in a wall.
- Romeo: "Negative."
- Buck: "The Rookie?"
Romeo shakes his head.
- Buck: "We need to get above this crap, link up with the bee-net. One of our drones must have seen where they hit."
- Romeo: "So, we're poppin' smoke on the lady's mission? She ever tell you what she wanted?"
- Buck: "No... never. Doesn't matter. All I care about now is gettin' my men out of this city. Even you."
Buck puts his helmet back on.
Fade to black.
- Oddly, Buck has a radio conversation with Dare at the beginning of the level despite getting hit with an EMP just before he landed. If the EMP had been able to disable Buck's drop pod, it should have also shorted his radio. It is possible that he was using his HUD radio to communicate rather than the one in the pod.
- This is the first level in the Halo shooter series where the playable character has dialogue (whether it be cinematic or random quotes) during gameplay.
- Throughout the entire level, the sky is filled with blue fog and ionized particles, residue from the Carrier's in-atmosphere Slipspace jump.
- Buck soon comes across dead Elites on his way to Dare. A total of fourteen dead Elites are on this level, another possible reference to the number seven; 14/2 = 7.
- In the area where Buck mentions the "family feud" between Brutes and Elites, the wall graffiti to the right of the road says "Believe," a reference to the Halo 3 Believe ad, as seen here.
- The "family feud" noted by Buck and the dead Elites encountered are due to the fact that just after the Prophet of Regret jumped away, reinforcements sent by the Prophet of Truth arrived and assumed control over the battle. The Brutes not only overtook the Elites previously in command but also executed any Elites stationed on and above the planet. This was a part of Truth's complex socio-political scheme for the Covenant that would culminate with the beginning of the Great Schism two weeks later.
- Among the group of dead Elites is one in an Assault Harness despite the story being Halo 2-era. The Assault Harness may have already been in use among Special Operations Elites strictly for covert missions/operations, which might explain why this particular armor permutation is present during the Battle of Mombasa only during the events of Halo 3: ODST.
- Near the second group of dead Elites are two deactivated Energy Swords, the only swords in the entire game. This is also a reference to dual wielding swords, an ability not yet possible. There is also an Sangheili Ultra among this group under the overpass. It is one of only three Elites holding the rank of Ultra in the whole game.
- In the area with the pinned Marines, if one heads left, one can find some papers on the ground with Bungie members on them.
- The Marines pinned in the plaza before the Hunter fight are the only Marines wielding Silenced SMGs by default in this game.
- One can see the Engineer that Romeo kills to the left of Dare's drop pod before triggering the end cutscene. Only its armor is visible; if shot or meleed it will react like a fixed metal object and will not take damage.
- Buck describes linking up with the "bee-net," likely an abbreviation for "BattleNet," the information network of UNSC military units. It is also a reference to B.net, the colloquial name for Bungie's website.
- In the ending of the beginning cutscene, Buck is seen pressing the left side of his helmet, although his comlink device is on the right side. This can be seen when he says "I said stay put! I'm on my way!".
- The female Marine sounds exactly like the one giving commands on Alpha Site, even the same character model it can be assumed that it is the same person. Additionally, she can be killed with one shot from any weapon even a plasma pistol.
- Any Marines who are still alive after the Hunter fight will stay where the pinned down Marines were.