Halo Alpha
Halo Alpha

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As Infinity flees Requiem and Cortana's rampancy worsens, Master Chief struggles to stop the Didact from pursuing the Composer.

Shutdown is the sixth campaign level of Halo 4. It was first hinted with the release of the achievements, pre-release.[1] For the first time in any Halo game (Apart from playing certain maps in Halo: Custom Edition where Pelicans are pilotable) you can pilot a D79H-TC Pelican, specifically the G79H-TC/MA Pelican gunship variant, as part of the Campaign or Multiplayer. In Halo: Reach this was only achieved with the use of an easter egg in Campaign.


The level starts with Master Chief and Cortana in a room on the UNSC Infinity. Lasky comes down and tells the Chief that he has a fully prepped Pelican gunship in the hangar. Master Chief gets in and leaves the ship through a launch tunnel. John and Cortana head to a tower in an attempt to take down the Ur-Didact's shields. They meet much resistance and are stopped twice before taking out the first part of the shield. They return to the Pelican and move to destroy three antennas regulating signals to the Didact. They destroy all three and find that the Didact knows of their plan. They head to a final tower to forcefully block the Didact's escape. Upon defeating heavy Covenant resistance, they reach the control room. Master Chief plugs Cortana in and she takes control of several pillars. However, a rampancy outburst makes her lose control. Several Liches are seen heading towards the Didact's ship as he prepares to leave. Master Chief jumps on one as the fleet exits Requiem and enters slipspace, heading towards the Ivanoff Research Station near Installation 03.



Screen fades to Cortana looking at the "sun."

  • Cortana: "I can give you over forty thousand reasons why I know that sun isn't real. I know because the emitter's Rayleigh effect is disproportionate to its suggested size. I know it because its stellar cycle is more symmetrical than an actual star. But for all that, I'll never actually know if it looks real... If it feels real..."

Cortana turns around to see Chief loading his weapon.

  • Cortana: "...before this is all over, promise me you'll figure out which one of us is the machine."

Lasky enters room.

  • Lasky: "So what's your plan?"
  • John-117: "Infinity's tracked the Didact's vessel to a docking structure southeast of here. We'll jump ship as Infinity exits the roof."
  • Lasky: "You know, I was sent down here with orders to prevent you from leaving. In case you had already gone, I took the precaution of ordering a Pelican outfitted for full combat pursuit."

Pelican slowly rises behind Chief.

  • Lasky: "I hope to God you're wrong about that Forerunner or whatever he is, Chief. But in the event you're not..."

Lasky nods his head toward the Pelican.

  • Lasky: "... And Chief? Good luck. Both of you."

Lasky leaves the room and Cortana looks to Master Chief.

  • Cortana: "... C'mon, Chief. Take a girl for a ride."

Chief retrieves Cortana from the holo-tube and inserts her into his helmet. Screen fades to black.


Edges of the HUD start to turn into blue static.

  • Cortana: "The Didact used this 'Composer' to create the Prometheans from ancient humans."
  • Cortana: "If he's to finish the job, he'll have to find it first. Our best bet to stop him is keep him firmly on Requiem."
  • Marine: "Uh... Sir."
  • Cortana: "Let's hope Lasky didn't skimp on that Pelican."
  • Marine: "That's pretty much the way things are going, ain't it?"
  • Marine: "This is all kinds of wrong, man."
  • Marine: "Master Chief, Sir."
  • Cortana: "Initiating pre-flight diagnostics. Forward Autocannon: Check. Lateral Rail Turrets: Check. Main Thrusters: Check. Auxiliary Boosters: Check. All right, keying engines... now."

The Pelican's landing pad lowers down to a launch chamber.

H4 Campaign PelicanCatapult

The Pelican in the catapult, ready for launch.

  • Cortana: "It may be a while before we find another ride home. You know that, right?"
  • John-117: "It'll be OK."

The Pelican launches and flies straight out of the chamber. Behind it, the Infinity gets further and further away as it leaves. The Didact's Cryptum is seen in the center of a large network of floating Forerunner structures, patrolled by CRS-class light cruisers.

  • Cortana: "Contact. Didact. Dead Ahead."
  • John-117: "How do we get inside those shields?"
  • Cortana: "Marking two of the larger facilities on your HUD."
  • Cortana: "They're acting as traffic control for resources moving to and from the satellite."
  • Cortana: "If we can disrupt their communications, I can forge an override code and convince it to lower those defenses."

The Pelican lands at the first facility and Chief enters.

  • Cortana: "This tower's directing traffic to the Didact's satellite through a carrier wave generator located somewhere inside."

Disruption appears on Chief's HUD.

  • Cortana: "Of course, if Infinity wasn't on its way back to Earth, locating and disabling it would be trivial."
  • John-117: "We can handle it."
  • Cortana: "That's hardly the point, is it?"

Disruption subsides.

  • Cortana: "I've found the carrier wave generator. It's on the opposite end of this chamber."
  • Cortana: "We can use this gondola to cross to the other side. Find the activation switch."

The Chief proceeds to activate the switch.

  • Cortana: "To take a page out of our old playbook, I'm going to tune your shield to emit an EMP at the same frequency as the communication network."
  • Cortana: "All you'll need to do to trigger it is to make physical contact with the carrier wave generator."

The Chief gets onto the gondola and it starts moving toward the carrier wave generator. On its way it is engaged by Kig-Yar Snipers.

  • Cortana: "Taking fire! Starboard side!"

The gondola abruptly stops. Disruption appears on Chief's HUD.

  • John-117: "Why are we stopping?"
  • Cortana: "Stopping?"
  • Cortana: "They've... they've overridden the gondola controls?"
  • John-117: "Light up the override on the HUD."

The Chief comes under increasingly heavy fire.

  • John-117: "Cortana, the override!"
  • Cortana: "...here!"

The Chief fights through Covenant forces, eventually reaching the switch.

  • Cortana: "Okay; the lockout has been released, but-"

Promethean Knights suddenly teleport into the area. John fights them off.

  • Cortana: "Okay, start us back up."

John reactivates the gondola. Two Knights phase in shortly afterwards.

  • Cortana: "They're not going to make this easy, are they?"

A Binary Rifle-wielding Knight Lancer on the second structure fires at the Chief.

  • Cortana: "Look out!"

The gondola grinds to a halt.

  • Cortana: "We've got another squad, moving to override the transport controls. Power this crate back up, we're just about to the carrier wave generator."

Several Knights, supported by Watchers and Crawlers, block the way ahead. The Chief disposes of them, freeing the gondola.

  • Cortana: "On the platform; that's the carrier wave generator! Enter the carrier field to trigger the suit's EMP."

A Knight Commander phases in to stop John, wielding an Incineration Cannon, but fails. The Chief enters the energy field.

  • Cortana: "Give it a second..."

The beam vanishes, depleting the Chief's shields. Half a dozen Watchers phase in, attacking him.

  • Didact: "The others scatter like embers over sand. And yet the Librarian's champion is unmoved."

The Didact's voice oddly echoes, as if he is speaking directly into John's mind.

  • Cortana: "Well done. All communications from this tower have ceased."

The Watchers are quickly wiped out, allowing the Chief to reactivate the gondola.

  • Didact: "The Mantle of Responsibility for the galaxy shelters all, human. But only the Forerunners are its masters."
  • John-117: "Cortana, where's this coming from?"
  • Cortana: "Where's what coming from?"
  • John-117: "The Didact's voice."
  • Cortana: "I'm not picking up anything, Chief."
  • John-117: "He's there. Keep trying."

The Chief exits the spire and boards his Pelican, heading for the second tower.

  • Cortana: "Covenant air traffic's increasing. If we don't disable the other tower quickly, reaching the Didact could become exponentially more difficult."

After downing the patrolling Phantoms, the Chief enters the second spire.

  • Cortana: "Chief, there's a lot more comm traffic passing through this tower than just what's servicing the Didact's satellite. These systems use data attenuators to regulate the flow of communications. Destroying those would drown out the towers' transmissions. The towers' instructions to the Didact's shields would be drowned in noise."

After a short battle with a Watcher and Crawlers, the Chief enters the main chamber.

  • Cortana: "The tower's attenuator would most likely be housed in a Faraday enclosure. Let's see if we can find its controls around here somewhere..."

A NAV point appears on the Chief's HUD. He proceeds to activate the switch.

  • Cortana: "Okay, the structure actually contains three central attenuators. We'll have to sever all three connections."

The walls reassemble themselves, forming bridges to the attennuators. More Knights phase in to protect the orbs.

  • Cortana: "Knight!"

After killing the Knight, the Chief destroys the first attenuator.

  • Cortana: "Nicely done, Chief. Two more to go."
  • Didact: "Your actions tread between honor and foolishness."
  • John-117: "Cortana, are you hearing him?"
  • Cortana: "No. Didact?"

The Chief proceeds to destroy the second attenuator. Waves of Prometheans attempt to stop his intrusion.

  • Cortana: "More Knights!"

Advancing despite heavy opposition, the Chief successfully destroys the final attenuator.

  • Didact: "You are a fool. Even now, your kind tinkers with the Composer in the shadow of the third ring. Children and fire, who disregard the welfare of the galaxy."
  • Cortana: "Success - the system's overloading. I don't think we'll be having any more trouble from those shields."

The Chief exits the tower after disposing of stragglers, boarding his Pelican once more.

  • Didact: "Do you truly believe that your theatrics can prevent my departure? Embrace your sad fate and retain your nobility - I am already beyond you."
  • Cortana: "He knows what we're trying to do. If we try to get too close to that ship, we're dead. I...I have an idea. Head for that waypoint."

As the Chief approaches Cortana's waypoint, the spire's surface splits into segments, uncovering the entrance.

  • Cortana: "Those defense spires we keep running into are being controlled from this tower. Get me to the control room and we might be able to reposition them to block the Didact's ship from leaving."

John enters the third spire's interior. The tunnel leads to a gravity lift, which the Chief proceeds to board.

  • Didact: "You will relent, Human, or you will perish! All in life is choice. And your day to choose...has come."

John arrives upstairs. Covenant forces occupy the interior, composed of hovering platforms linked by hardlight bridges. Several platforms ahead of him suddenly crumbles.

  • Cortana: "He's altering the tower!"

John charges ahead, eliminating Covenant forces along the way. A Sangheili Warrior blocks his path, but is quickly dealt with. To his left is a platform occupied by Kig-Yar; here lies the fifth Terminal.

  • Cortana: "I'm seeing a control facility at the top of the tower. We need to be there yesterday!"

Two Mgalekgolo descend down the gravity lift, forcing the Chief to confront them, either by killing them himself, or tricking them into falling off the edge of the platform. John rides up another gravity lift afterwards, arriving at a massive chamber patrolled by Covenant infantry and air units. After wiping out hostile forces with his own Banshee, the Chief enters a doorway on the far side of the chamber and into the control room. Outside its window, the Cryptum hovers ominously.

  • Cortana: "Quick, let me at the spire controls."

John plugs her into the terminal. Cortana's avatar appears, distorted and flickering.

  • Cortana: "Tapping into the spires' central net."

The spires move to surround the Cryptum, physically blocking it from launching.

  • Cortana (rampant): "They're mine... Now to imprison them?!"

The towers begins to fall apart.

  • John-117: "What are you doing?"
  • Cortana: "Like he imprisoned his Prometheans? Like Dr. Halsey imprisoned me?!"

Cortana suddenly thrashes in agony as the spires plummet downwards, crushing a nearby Lich in the process. Several more fly towards the Cryptum.

  • Cortana: "Chief..."
  • John-117: "His ship's online! They're leaving!"
  • Cortana: "...I'm sorry, I don't know what-"

Cortana's avatar fades back into a sphere, flickering between blue and red. John plugs her back into his helmet.

  • John-117: "Track those Liches. We can go across them to get to the Didact's ship."

John's HUD flickers purple as Cortana speaks.

  • Cortana: "Wait. Across them?!"
  • John-117: "Yes."
  • Cortana: "Um, there...there are several Liches moving in formation towards the Didact's ship. We're only going to have one shot at this."

The control room's floor retracts downward, allowing the Chief outside.

  • Cortana: "Okay...go!"

John runs off the edge of the platform, aiming for the Liches below.


John spreads out his arms, then tucks himself streamlined to fall as fast as he can. He then spins himself upright and uses his thrusters to slow and land on top of the Lich. He crashes hard into the dropship and slides off the hull; unsheathing his combat knife in the nick of time, he stabs into the plating to stop his descent. With some effort, John climbs back on the Lich.

  • John-117: "Cortana, what's happening?"
  • Cortana: "I don't know. Hang on!"

Above them, the Cryptum plummets into the ground. An entry point opens up, allowing the Cryptum access. The ground parts to reveal an enormous Forerunner flagship, surrounded by hundreds of Liches. Requiem's entrance portal opens up, allowing the ship to leave for orbit. John, still aboard the Lich, observes as the flagship opens a portal into slipspace.

  • Cortana: "They're jumping into slipspace - get below deck!"
  • John-117: "No time."

John activates his thrusters and leaps up, taking cover behind one of the Lich's fins. The flagship and its Lich escorts raise their shields as they approach the rupture. After the vessels have crossed the event horizon, the portal dissolves. Cut to black. Level ends.


Album Cover Soundtrack Song Name Soundtrack Number
Halo 4 OST cover Halo 4: Original Soundtrack Wreckage 3 (Volume 2)
This Armour 15 (Volume 2)


Icon Name Description Value
H4Achievement06 Shutdown Complete the level on Normal, Heroic, or Legendary difficulty. 10G
H4Achievement23 Explore the Floor Force or trick a Hunter to fall to its demise. 20G (H4), 10G (MCC)


  • Through a glitch, one can skip the first two towers and head directly to the third tower, drastically cutting the level short.
  • The mission is similar to the New Alexandria night mission on Reach in that the player must navigate great expanses between towers to get to their objectives. Both levels also enable the use of an aircraft that are not normally piloted by the player in Campaign (the UH-144 Falcon in the case of Reach).
  • There is an easter egg in this level in which comedians Conan O'Brien and Andy Richter are featured. They discuss a worker's union, boxes, rugs, and "never waking ancient aliens" with another marine.
  • There is another Easter Egg similar to the one above, except one will hear the War Games announcer, Jeff Steitzer. The Easter Egg can be seen here.
  • If an autosentry is deployed on the Gondola, it will not move along with the Gondola and will instead remain stationary. If it comes into contact with any solid part of the Gondola, it will simply pass right through. 
  • This is actually the first level the player is meant to use the Pelican.
  • ​In the hangar where the Pelican is, there are a total of 39 marines and Spartans occupying the hangar.
  • If one knows where the Conan O'Brien easter egg is, then look to Conan's direct left, there will be a box of shotguns in the far corner.
  • If one approaches Didact's Cryptum, one will be killed by a "shockwave" similar to the one seen on Forerunner.
  • Looking for a "challenge" on this level? Try setting the game to a higher difficulty, add skulls, and start the mission. Stockpile weapons in a "console room" and try to clear the hangar of UNSC forces. It is interesting to note when trying this, multiple squads of Marines and Spartans will spawn, sometimes directly behind you.
  • Killing all the UNSC personnel in the bay will cause a Marine resembling Sergeant Johnson to spawn with a shotgun.
  • Playing in Co-op will make the side turrets and a "scorpion cannon" on the top usable. These weapons are extremely lethal if used while in the hangar, being able to kill a Spartan in one shot, though the scorpion cannon has a very limited angle of fire.


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