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The Babysitter is one of the seven short films comprising Halo Legends. It is focused around an ODST squad aboard UNSC Kronstadt, who are sent on a mission to investigate alien ruins and assassinate a Covenant Prophet on Heian, a world in Covenant-controlled space.
The first preview of Legends and Babysitter was revealed on September 17, 2009 during Spike TV's GTTV Presents "Halo 3: ODST" Countdown to Launch. The Babysitter was released on November 7, 2009 for a limited time on Halo Waypoint.
ODSTs O'Brien, Dutch, and Checkman discuss their upcoming mission (with a Marine named Berger trying to eavesdrop on them). O'Brien, the squad's sniper, is upset that he's been assigned a backup shooter on this particular mission. When Cortez, the squad's sergeant, sits down to join them, he brings news to the table that upsets the squad. It turns out that O'Brien wasn't even to be the primary shooter, he is the backup shooter and the sniper replacing him is a SPARTAN II, much to his shock.
Shortly after, the squad meets SPARTAN Cal-141, and Cortez briefs them on the mission: they are to drop into this planet under the cover of a meteor shower and eliminate a Prophet to gain a tactical advantage in this sector; the Prophet's death will break up the supply chain to other planets. In addition, alien ruins were found on this planet that predate both Human and Covenant architecture; they need to take photographs of the ruins.
The squad enters the asteroid ring surrounding the planet in their drop pods, losing Checkman in the process; his pod bumps into an asteroid which knocks him off course, sending him plummeting into the planet the wrong way. The other four pods land on the planet in close proximity to each other; Cal, Dutch, and Cortez land in a forest, and O'Brien lands in a swamp, after hitting a cliff and breaking his oxygen tank in the process. Dutch and Cortez go to get gear to retrieve O'Brien, but stop when Cal simply walks into the swamp, unfazed by the thick mud, and lifts the drop pod out of the mud, throwing it to the side. Dutch tells O'Brien that Cal singlehandedly saved him from certain death, and his contempt for the SPARTAN grows.
The squad plots out the mission from there; the Prophet will be landing at a logistics site north of their landing zone, and they need to get there before it does to set up for the shot, but before they can do that, they need to photograph the ruins on the way.
When they arrive at the ruins site, (the ruins look exactly like ancient Japanese structures, right down to ironclad lanterns hanging from the stone parapets) Cal halts them, noticing a patrol of Unggoy and a Brute Chieftain. She then orders them to take out the patrol covertly; Cal kills a grunt with a knife, Dutch knocks another one out, and Cortez breaks one's neck. As O'Brien prepares to sneak up on one, he alerts it to his position by stepping on a twig, and the nearby Chieftain also notices. The chieftain moves to pulverize O'Brien with his gravity hammer as he takes out the Grunt with his SMG, only to be stopped by Cal, who grabs the hammer before impact. The chieftain swings his hammer, knocking O'Brien and Cal back. O'Brien dangles from a cliff, and then a waterfall, losing his sniper rifle, and watches Cal fight the chieftain in hand-to-hand combat. The chieftain is ultimately thrown off of the waterfall, after being blinded in one eye by an elbow to the face. Cal picks up O'Brien as he loses his grip and carries him back to the squad. His contempt for Cal grows yet further, having been saved twice and humiliated in front of his squadmates.
Finally, the squad reaches their destination two minutes before the Prophet lands. Cal sets up for the shot, and the chieftain, who followed them from the ruins, ambushes the squad, attacking O'Brien first. Cal jumps in front of him, taking the hammer blow to the head and shoulder. Dutch, Cortez, and O'Brien collectively tackle the chieftain, and Dutch unloads his SMG into the chieftain's face, killing it. Cortez removes Cal's helmet to assess the injuries, and to the squad's shock, they find that Cal is a woman. Cal urges O'Brien to take the shot, claiming he's the only one that can do it. He hesitates, then picks up the rifle and takes the shot, killing the Prophet, and causing a major uproar among the Honor Guard at the landing site.
Cal then hands the data chip containing the photos of the ruins to Cortez, asking him to get them to Dr. Halsey. Cortez tells Cal that she should be the one to do it, but she tells him that they both know that can't happen, and she dies of her wounds shortly after.
Back on the Kronstadt, the squad is sitting at their table. Berger joins them and attempts to make small talk about their last mission, making the mistake of mocking Cal's combat skill by saying that SPARTANs just can't keep up with Helljumpers. The squad throws apples at him for making such a comment, and when he asks what he said wrong, O'Brien reflects silently on how Cal saved his life multiple times, and her death.
The scene opens with a shot of the UNSC Destroyer DD-993, which then moves to the mess hall where a squad of ODSTs are talking. Another soldier, Berger, sees them and tries to listen in on them.
- Marine: Hey, easy there, Berger! What do you think you're doing?
- Berger: What?
- Marine: They're Helljumpers! Every one of those guys are ODSTs from the 105th! They're in a whole different league. Let's go!
- Berger: Aw, come on! I wanna hear what they're saying!
- Marine: No.
The Marine drags Berger away by his collar while the ODSTs converse. One of them, O'Brien, is clearly upset about something.
- O'Brien: I don't get it. How the hell did everybody forget that I'm the best shot this side of Eridanus? Getting assigned a backup is a bunch of BS!
- Dutch: Contingency. It's an important mission. If the first sniper misses the target, they take the shot.
- O'Brien: I don't miss. I never miss! This sucks and you know it! I'm nobody's babysitter. Especially not some farm-boy moose hunter!
- Cortez: I hate to be the one to break the bad news, but you weren't selected to be the primary shooter on this mission. So it seems they want your "farm-boy" to do it? I guess that makes you the backup. Sorry, O'Brien.
- O'Brien: I'm the backup?!
- Cortez: And the shooter...is a SPARTAN.
- Dutch: What?
- Cortez: And that means this mission...just got escalated.
The troopers are shocked to hear that they'll be conducting a mission with a SPARTAN. Later on, the squad is briefed by an officer and Cortez, with the SPARTAN present.
- Officer: This is SPARTAN Cal-141, who will be the ranking officer on this mission. I realise that is highly unusual, and you have strong feelings about SPARTANs. You will keep those feelings out of the mission and follow the plan. Satellite recon shows radar and magnetic signatures on Heian in the Ark Star Cluster. These signatures indicate a complex of buildings. It's a logistical base. The Prophet you are targeting is in control of this entire sector. Our mission is simple. We want this Prophet dead. We take out the Prophet, we will take out the Covenant chain of supply. If we achieve the goal of this mission, we will be able to buy ourselves months of tactical advantage. And we will do all of this with minimal risk to the UNSC. Other than to this group, of course. Cortez! Fill them in on the details.
The screen shows the target planet, Heian, as Cortez takes over the briefing.
- Cortez: Alright, we'll be flying into the atmosphere with the Leonid-class meteor shower. Meteor showers of this nature are a regular occurrence on this planet, so that means entry and landing should go unnoticed. Calculations show that reaching the target will take a fourteen-hour fast march from your entry point. Once you reach the target, you will take out the prophet as soon as he steps off that ship. Then you are to gather all related data on the unidentified alien ruins.
- O'Brien: What do you mean, they're not identified?
- Cortez: The architecture is not Covenant design and it sure as hell wasn't built by humans. They predate both sides. This site is of the utmost importance. We photograph everything.
- Officer: That will be all, Master Sergeant. You can join to your men now. We will be dropping in precisely five minutes. With this mission there is no room for delay or error. Good luck, and godspeed.
The destroyer deploys the SOEIV pods with the Helljumpers inside them straight into the meteor shower. Checkman's pod is struck by a meteor, tumbling off course and burning up in the atmosphere. The Covenant look skywards, not knowing that the pods are mixed with the meteors. The other SOEIVs land safely, save for O'Brien's, which glances off a rock and lands in a swamp and begins to sink. The Helljumpers blow their hatches and climb out.
- Cortez (COM): Dutch? Come in!
- Dutch (COM): I'm all right. Where's O'Brien?
Dutch recovers and activates a tracker.
- Dutch: Over there!
The two find O'Brien's pod sinking into the mud. The SOEIV is leaking gas while the two struggle through the mud.
- Cortez: His oxygen tank! Dutch! Get the gear. We gotta get him outta there!
Dutch turns to find the SPARTAN wading through the mud easily, despite weighing half a ton. The soldier uses the SPARTAN-II strength augmentations to heft the pod out of the swamp and throw it clear of the swamp. The pod opens as the three make their way to the pod. The ODSTs opens the pod and O'Brien falls out, gasping for air.
- O'Brien: Are you guys nuts? Why're you throwing me around like that?
O'Brien looks up to find the supersoldier looking down at him. The SPARTAN acknowledges O'Brien, then calmly walks away.
- Dutch: We lost Checkman in the atmosphere. And we almost lost you too.
Cortez unfolds a map, pointing out their target.
- Cortez: The logistics and refuelling base is here. We're here. The Prophet will be coming in at exactly 0800. Everything depends on us getting a clear shot from this location and we've got to hit him as soon as he's exiting that ship. It's two miles from the target, and should give us the elevation for the shot. It's pretty far. But it will give us enough cover to make our extraction.
- O'Brien: Assuming the SPARTAN can make the shot, that is.
The SPARTAN continues to appraise the situation, apparently unfazed by the loaded comment.
- Dutch: And if we don't make it to the target in time?
- Cortez: There won't be any second chances.
- O'Brien: That's a long-ass march.
- Dutch: Then we'd better get marching.
The four begin their march, with the SPARTAN ever vigilant. The group stops just beyond the ruins. The SPARTAN observes though a compact telescope.
- O'Brien: Wanna take the lens cap off?
- Cortez: Knock it off, O'Brien!
The team joins the SPARTAN. They come across the ruins, which have a distinctly Japanese look to them, down to the lanterns hanging off the eaves. The ruins are occupied by Covenant. The four get closer to the ruins, where the SPARTAN indicates that they should neutralise the threat...quietly. Cal, Cortez and Dutch kill three of the Grunts successfully, but O'Brien steps on a twig, alerting his Grunt to his presence. O'Brien then opts to shoot the Grunt with his M7S, unaware of a much more dangerous foe behind him. A Brute Chieftain swings his Gravity Hammer down at O'Brien, a blow that would have killed him, but is once again saved by the SPARTAN's immense strength. The supersoldier grabs the hammer mid-swing and engages the chieftain, knocking O'Brien clear, trading blows with the chieftain in hand-to-hammer combat. O'Brein is knocked over a cliff above a waterfall as the SPARTAN throws the chieftain, hammer and all, over the edge of the cliff. O'Brien falls over the edge, losing both his weapons, and is about to lose his grip when he is once again saved by the SPARTAN, who pulls him up and carries him over to where the other two ODSTs have arrived.
- O'Brien: I'm not crippled! Put me down!
The SPARTAN obliges, placing the Helljumper on the ground and, once again, calmly walks away.
- Dutch: You bitch any louder and this place will be crawling with Covenant.
- O'Brien: Shut your mouth! He just got lucky.
The four arrive back to the ruins, taking in the surprisingly atypical Forerunner architecture. Dutch appears behind O'Brien.
- Dutch: That's twice. Twice he had to save your dumb ass already. You could at least say thank you.
The four continue towards the target area. In order to work their way up to the area they come across some large steps, each as tall as the ODSTs. O'Brien appears exhausted. The SPARTAN climbs them easily.
- O'Brien: Man, those are some stairs!
The four arrive at the target area. Cal sets up the remaining Sniper Rifle and prepares to take the shot. The ODSTs join the SPARTAN.
- Cortez: The shuttle will be touching down in two minutes.
- O'Brien: After all this, he'd better everything they said he was.
The SPARTAN observes the staging area through the rifle's scope, which is filled with Honor Guards. The Phantom carrying the Prophet arrives, delivering the Prophet. Before the SPARTAN can take the shot, however, the Brute Chieftain seen earlier, having survived the fall and followed them, prepares to pulverise the oblivious O'Brien with his Gravity Hammer. The SPARTAN sees the chieftain and sweeps the Helljumper aside, taking the savage blow to the neck. The ODSTs tackle the chieftain to the ground, and Dutch empties his M7S into the chieftain's eye, killing it. The three rush over to where Cal lies badly injured, shocked to see that Cal is not a man as they previously thought, but a woman. The Prophet is conducted towards the logistics base, where the ODSTs will miss their chance.
- Cal-141: Take the shot! O'Brien, now! You're the only one who can do it!
O'Brien recovers from the shock and takes up the rifle. Taking sufficient lead on the Prophet, he fires, killing the Prophet instantly. The Honor Guards, realising that they have failed in their supreme duty to protect the Prophet, roar in anger. Meanwhile, Cal hands Cortez her crystal data chip.
- Cal-141: It's the data. On the ruins. Tell them...to get it to Halsey. She'll know...
Cortez attempts to hand the chip back to Cal.
- Cortez: No. You give it to her.
- Cal-141: We both know that's...that's not gonna be possible.
Cal succumbs to her wounds. The three are shocked to see the SPARTAN die. The three return to the UNSC destroyer, where they once again meet in the mess hall. Berger once again rushes over to join them, handing the three of them apples.
- Berger: Heard about what you guys did down there. You took out a Prophet and stopped the Covenant supply chain dead for the entire Ark sector. They say a SPARTAN died there! Went down faster than a new boot on his first day of basic! I thought those guys were supposed to be unbeatable. I guess he didn't have what it takes to hang with the Helljumpers!
The Helljumpers are enraged and pelt Berger with the apples.
- Dutch: Shut up!
- Berger: What's your problem? What the hell's the matter with you guys? What did I say?!
O'Brien turns and remembers the many times Cal saved his life, and her eventual demise. The ODSTs, the most bitter rivals of the SPARTANs, are given a new perspective on the supersoldiers.
- When Dutch fires his SMG at the Chieftain's face, shell casings are shown, despite that the SMG is caseless.
- The ruins are neither of human nor Covenant origin, which would imply that they are Forerunner. However, the structures exhibit very little Forerunner design aesthetic - in fact, they have distinct Indian, Japanese, and Greco-Roman aesthetic elements, among others. In the DVD commentary, Frank O'Connor revealed that this mystery is an important plot point that will be explored in future Halo media. The ruins were mentioned again in From the Office of Dr. William Arthur Iqbal, in which Dr. Iqbal speculates that the builders of the ruins may have borrowed from human architecture or vice-versa.