Halo Alpha
Halo Alpha

For other uses of "Prepare to Drop," see Prepare to Drop (disambiguation).

Start a new game, drop into the nighttime city.

Prepare to Drop is the first campaign level of Halo 3: ODST. It does not contain actual gameplay, only the game's partially interactive opening cinematic that introduces Alpha-Nine.



View inside a ready room in the UNSC Say My Name. The Rookie sleeps in front of a drop pod in the foreground while Mickey, Dutch, and Romeo are around a large holo-table, on which a hologram of New Mombasa and the Prophet of Regret's assault carrier is displayed.

  • Mickey: "The Navy put up a good fight."
  • Dutch: "'Course they did. It's Earth."
  • Romeo: "Better late than never."
  • Dutch: "How 'bout you show some respect, Romeo?"
  • Romeo: "Just sayin', Dutch - They missed one."

Romeo points at the Assault Carrier.

  • Dutch: "No. They left it for us."

Sirens and lights begin to flare. A door into the room opens, and Gunnery Sergeant Edward Buck and Captain Veronica Dare enter.

  • Buck: "You know the music. Time to dance."

The team cannot help but notice the attractive stranger with their commanding officer.

  • Romeo: (quietly) "Hello, beautiful."

Buck glances at Dare and then looks sternly at the squad.

  • Buck: "Pods. Now."

The ODSTs grab their gear and start walking to their pods.

  • Dare: "Replacements?"
  • Buck: "This many years into the war? Who isn't."
  • Dare: "At least they listen."
  • Buck: "To me. And they're not gonna like what they hear."
  • Dare: "Orders are orders."

Buck walks up to Dare.

  • Buck: "Come on, Veronica! What could be more important than that carrier?"

Dare pokes Buck in the chest.

  • Dare: "My orders. And, Buck? Call me Captain. I'll pass on that dance. But you can show me where to sit."

Dare brushes past Buck toward the pods. Buck sighs. Cut to the rest of the team, who are gearing up.

  • Mickey: "Hey, what the hell kind of armor was she wearing?"
  • Romeo: "Dunno, Mickey. I wasn't looking at her gear."

Dutch examines a silenced M7 SMG.

  • Romeo: "Pft! Seriously?"
  • Dutch: "Well, gonna be close-quarters."

Romeo grabs an M90 Shotgun and offers it to Dutch.

  • Romeo: "Exactly."

Dutch shoves the shotgun away, glancing over Romeo's shoulder. Romeo turns to see Dare and Buck walk into the scene.

  • Buck: (to Dare) "Second to last. Right next to mine."
  • Romeo: (quietly) "Cozy…"

Buck overhears and approaches Romeo.

  • Romeo: "You gonna tell us her name, Gunny?"
  • Buck: "Ms. Naval Intelligence. Our new boss."
  • Mickey: (muttering) "Oh, brother…"
  • Buck: "So check your mouths, find your chairs…"

Buck takes the shotgun from Romeo's hands, puts it back onto the rack, and angrily shoves a sniper rifle into his hands instead.

  • Buck: "…and get set for a combat drop!"
  • Romeo: "What the hell am I supposed to do with this inside a Covenant ship?"

Cut to the Rookie, still asleep next to his pod. Romeo walks to him and hits him with his sniper rifle's butt.

Cut to the Rookie's point of view as he wakes up.

  • The Rookie: "Ungh!"
  • Romeo: "Wake up, buttercup."

Dutch pushes Romeo away.

  • Dutch: "Relax, Rookie, he don't mean nothin'. Besides, now's one of those times it pays to be the strong, silent type."

Dutch hands an M7S SMG to the Rookie, who attaches it to his pod's weapon rack and positions himself on the seat. The pod's hatch closes, and the platform from which all the pods are hanging descends into the launch bay.

Once the hatch closes, the player is free to look around.

Buck and Dare appear on the pod's viewscreens.

  • Dare (video COM): "Latest intel reports Covenant troops are massing beneath the carrier."
  • Buck (video COM): "They're pulling back? Why?"

The pod's screens flicker with static as the platform comes to a stop.

  • Dare (video COM): "We're not going to find out way up here."

Buck (video COM):

  • (Easy or Normal) "Troopers! We're green and very, very mean!"
  • (Heroic) "Pucker up, marines! I sure as hell ain't hosing out your pods!"
  • (Legendary) "We are droppin' into hell, troopers! Time to grow a pair!"

The pods drop away from the ship, punctuated by a countdown sound before the Rookie's pod detaches. His pod exits the launch bay to an expansive view of low Earth orbit. The tether of the New Mombasa Orbital Elevator can be seen in the background surrounded by multiple destroyed UNSC ships. Operational vessels prowl amongst the wreckage. A thick cloud cover below the pods stretches to the horizon.

The pods pass close to several destroyed Charon-class light frigates during their descent.

  • Romeo (COM): "I take it back. Navy got its butt kicked."
  • Buck (COM): "Hey Romeo. Remember when I told you to shut your mouth?"
  • Romeo (COM): "Yeah?"
  • Buck (COM): "Consider that a standing order."

The pods reach the cloud layer.

  • Buck (COM): "Captain? Fifteen klicks off the deck."

The screen flashes white as the Rookie's pod falls through the cloud layer. The city of New Mombasa and the Assault Carrier above it come into view.

  • Dare (COM): "Stand by to adjust trajectory. On my mark."
  • Dutch (COM): "What'd she just say?"
  • Dare (COM): "Mark!"

The squad's pods veer off to a new course.

  • Mickey (COM): "We're way off course!"
  • Dare (COM): "We're heading exactly where I need to go!"
  • Mickey (COM): "But we're gonna miss the carrier!"

A stream of energy flickers across the carrier's hull.

  • Dutch (COM): "Radiation!"

A slipspace rupture opens before the carrier and rapidly expands, creating a crater on the ground below it.

  • Mickey (COM): "Covenant just set off a nuke?!"

The UNSC In Amber Clad can be seen moving towards the carrier.

  • Dare (COM): "No. The carrier's going to jump! It's a slipspace rupture! You need to-"

Dare is cut off as the carrier disappears into the rupture, taking In Amber Clad with it and releasing a massive explosion and shockwave.

  • Dutch (COM): "EMP! Losing power!"
  • Buck (COM): "Stabilize then pop your chutes! We're going in hard!"

Mickey's pod slams into the Rookie's, cracking the window. Inside the pod, all screens turn red with warnings before the EMP fries the pod's systems. The Rookie grabs onto a handhold as his pod plummets into freefall without a chute to slow it. {Screen goes black}


  • The name of the level was used as the promotional tagline for the game.
  • This is the only level without any form of the Superintendent.
  • This is the only level in which Dare wears her helmet.
  • Unlike the other levels in the game, this level is not viewable in Theater mode, although if the game glitches you can go onto it on Theater mode and look around the room that you saw the cinematic in and go down into the skies of New Mombasa.
  • It is possible to "play" this level in Firefight mode, but you can only move around in camera form. Finish a solo game, so the game will load "Prepare to Drop" and then go into the Firefight lobby, where the level name and difficulty setting should be stated. Select "Start Game" and you should be in the debriefing room as a floating camera.[1]
  • When starting this level on Legendary, if you look far left in the Rookie's pod just as it exits the launch bay, you can see a picture of a girl, possibly the Rookie's girlfriend or a relative. This may expand upon the Rookie's origins or simply is an Easter Egg. The person in the image is actually a male Bungie employee edited to be a woman.
  • The monitors seen throughout the room in the cutscene actually display the same screens encountered on the Halo 3 multiplayer map Orbital, set on the Quito Space Tether.
  • The location of the Slipspace rupture and much of New Mombasa's aesthetic appearance are changed from Halo 2's.[2]
  • If you look closely, the Rookie appears to remain relatively calm even right before the EMP hits his pod.
  • This is one of six levels in the entire Halo Saga you cannot play in, although it does go to The Rookie's HUD. The others are: The Heretic, Arrival, Noble Actual and the prologue and the epilogue of Halo 4.
  • As the Rookie "snaps" his M7S SMG into his pod's weapon holster, one might notice that the gun's flashlight is on and active.
  • When the Rookie's Drop Pod is about to be launched, the noise that acts as a countdown appears to be the sound of the respawn countdown when dead, yet sped up.
  • This level features the first in-game appearance of the interior of a Marathon-class heavy cruiser.
  • The UNSC In Amber Clad makes an appearance. You need to look toward the right side of the carrier. Eventually, the ship will fly into view very small. It goes into the slipspace rupture with the carrier.
  • If you use mods to clip your camera outside of the Rookie's Drop pod when Buck and Dare appear on the screens, the two's character models have been placed just outside of the pod, with their heads clipping into glass boxes to create the image that they are on a screen. Their limbs have been carefully positioned outside of the Rookie's view, with Buck appearing as if he is handcuffed and Dare as if she is hogtied.[3]