For failure such as this, no punishment is too great.
An Assault Carrier flies by. The camera pans with it to a giant Covenant structure.
Close up of High Charity. Hundreds of Covenant ships swarm around it.
Fade to a ledge across from tiers of stadium-like seats; several Banshees patrol around it. The camera slowly zooms toward a door on the back of the ledge. A voice is heard:
Fade in to the Council Chamber. Rows of Honor Guard Elites stand at attention on the path leading to the end, where a single Sanghelli Zealot stands facing two High Prophets, explaining past events to them.
- Prophet of Truth: "One? Are you sure?"
- Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee: "Yes. They called it the Pillar of Autumn."
- Prophet of Mercy: "Why was it not destroyed, with the rest of their fleet?"
(Flashback): The Pillar of Autumn flees Reach as Covenant ships glass it.
- Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee: "But I followed with all the ships in my command."
- Prophet of Regret: "When you first saw Halo, were you blinded by its majesty?"
- Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee: "Blinded?"
- Prophet of Regret: "Paralyzed? Dumbstruck?"
- Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee: "No..."
It is revealed that the Prophet of Regret is not actually present, but rather speaking through a holographic image of himself. Next to him is the Prophet of Mercy, who is entirely present.
- Prophet of Regret: (angrily) "Yet the humans were able to evade your ships, land on the Sacred Ring, and desecrate it with their filthy footsteps!"
- Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee: "Noble Hierarchs, surely you understand that once the parasite attacked-"
The Council members mutter angrily. Vadamee looks around at them.
- Prophet of Mercy: (bangs his fist down on his chair) "There will be order in this Council!"
The Prophet of Truth moves forward on his chair and raises his hand. The room falls into complete silence.
- Prophet of Truth: "You were right to focus your attention on the Flood. But this Demon, this "Master Chief"..."
(Flashback): The destruction of Halo.
- Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee: "By the time I learned the Demon's intent, there was nothing I could do."
- Prophet of Regret: (whispering to Truth) "Noble Prophet of Truth, this has gone on long enough. Make an example of this bungler. The Council demands it!"
Truth holds up a hand, silencing Regret.
- Prophet of Truth: (to 'Vadamee) "You are one of our most treasured instruments. Long have you led your fleet with honor and distinction. But your inability to safeguard Halo... was a colossal failure."
- Prophet of Objection: (Stands up and shows a fist) "Nay, it was heresy!"
The Councilors yell. 'Vadamee looks back and forth between them.
- Supreme Commander Thel 'Vadamee: "I will continue my campaign against the humans!"
- Prophet of Truth: "No...you will not."
Truth glances at Tartarus, and the Brute Chieftain barks a command. Two Brutes approach 'Vadamee and try to grab him, but he shakes them off and he starts walking to his fate willingly. They escort him out.
- Prophet of Truth: "Soon the Great Journey shall begin. But when it does, the weight of your heresy will stay your feet. And you shall be left behind."
View fades to a new background. The circular ornament on the Prophet of Truth's headpiece is replaced by Earth's moon. The view then pans to a view of Earth itself, focusing on three MAC stations in orbit. A few UNSC ships fly past.
Cut to a close-up of the nearest platform, Cairo.
- Master Gunnery Sergeant: "Your plating was about to fail, there's viscosity throughout the gel layer..."
Cut to the armory of Cairo Station. The UNSC officer handles equipment on a table.
- Master Gunnery Sergeant: "Optics - totally fried. And let's not even talk about the power supply."
The view shows the Chief's new helmet on the table .
- Master Gunnery Sergeant: "You know how expensive this gear is, son?"
The view pans up the Chief's body, showing off his new armor. He fits his helmet into place just in time to block the view of his face. The helmet hisses and clicks when put on, then shortly stops.
- John-117: "Tell that to the Covenant."
- The Pillar of Autumn is represented by the Marathon-class heavy cruiser model, despite the fact that it is a Halcyon-class light cruiser. This was likely done to conserve resources during the development of the game.
- Main article: Easter Eggs
- By using modding tools, it is possible to see John-117 hidden behind one of the pillars above the Councilors. This is due to the fact that Bungie needed to place an avatar in cutscenes to allow for the AI, thus making cut scenes "unplayable" game play.
- Near the conclusion of the cutscene, Thel 'Vadamee's helmet creates a bursting graphic texture. Joseph Staten revealed this bug on the Halo 3 Legendary Edition bonus disk and he stated that he could never fix the bug.
- This level is one of the only 6 levels in the entire Halo series in which you do not play; the other ones being Arrival, Prepare to Drop, Noble Actual, Prologue, and Epilogue.
- This level is not available in co-op, since it contains only cutscenes, and is not necessary for co-op gameplay.
- This is the first and only level in the entire Halo Trilogy where any member of the Covenant, in this case the Prophet of Truth, refers to John-117 as Master Chief. This is probably because Bungie doesn't want players to be confused when the enemy says "Demon".
- This is the first level in the Halo series that Councilors, Prophets and Brutes are seen.
- In this level, Thel 'Vadamee mentions the Pillar of Autumn, which is the second to last time in the trilogy which they reference the ship, the other being when Cortana says she will light the fusion reactors on "In Amber Clad", she says she'll light them just like the Autumn, but this is the last time that the ship itself is shown. However, a holographic representation is seen briefly in Halo Wars in Arcadia City and Halo: Reach when it is seen, unsurprisingly, in The Pillar of Autumn.
- Thel 'Vadamee's voice at certain points sounds slightly robotic.