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1.9 Season One, Episode Eight

Chapter One: Unfinished Business

Before Fireteam Crimson was so rudely interrupted by the boarding and subsequent threatened nuclear annihilation of the USNC Infinity, they were deployed to the Apex mountain facility to seal off a portal network. The Covenant were cut down in great numbers during the previous engagement, but they have returned in force. It is now Fireteam Crimson’s job to finish what was started. One difference: The last time you were at Apex, you fought downhill. This time, you’re going up the mountain.

As Spartan Miller says: Spartans don’t leave unfinished business. Fireteam Crimson is to cut their way through the cave network at the center of Apex while seeking out any portals being used by the Covenant. After sweeping through Apex and eliminating the hostile presence, Fireteam Lancer is scheduled to begin round-the-clock surveillance of Apex to prevent recurring Covenant footholds.

Map Location: Apex

You’ll have to get used to not having convenient supplies of UNSC ammunition located all over the place like you did for the last four missions. The extensive enemy presence means that weapons like the Covenant Carbine could be considered solid primary weapons. There are weapon caches scattered all over Apex, which means you can stay equipped with solid backup weapons like Plasma Pistols or Needlers throughout the mission.

Objectives One, Two, and Three: Retake Apex, Overload Barricade, Shut Down First Portal

[1] You’re deployed at a clearing on the opposite side of the structure you first saw during your previous fight at Apex, facing into one of the numerous entrances to the central cave networks of the mountain. As you enter the caves, you immediately make contact with Covenant. Watch out for Plasma Cannon fire from inside the larger portion of the cave [2]. Meanwhile, Ghosts hold a position farther into this area [3]. It is possible to take these vehicles for yourself, which can make the next section a bit easier if you’re a shrewd driver.

[4] Go up the hill that the Ghosts protected and round the corner to engage the last of the Covenant inside this part of the caves. Stragglers are marked on your HUD for easy hunting, but this firefight can be surprisingly tricky with the presence of Jackal Snipers and their Beam Rifles. Don’t get blindsided!

[5] After you kill off the camp full of Covenant, a control panel regulating the nearby energy shield is marked on your HUD. Using that panel will take down the shields and grant you access to the rest of Apex. Don’t stand too close to the shield, as the overload blast can injure or kill you!

[6] Follow the path beyond the shield to reach the first portal and its guards. Watch out for the Shade gunner that is covering your route as you advance. Clear the area of hostiles, then deactivate the portal.

Objective Four: Shut Down Second Portal

[7] When rounding the corner from the first portal, watch out for this cloaked Zealot that advances down the cave. Beyond the Zealot is a Beam Rifle-equipped Jackal Sniper [8] who can and will pick you off if you rush through the cave recklessly.

If you follow the path beyond the Jackal Sniper’s post, you’ll come across a weapon cache with Beam Rifles [9] near a ledge overlooking a portion of the route you’re expected to travel [10]. You can use these to cut down a number of hostiles from this position, including the Ghosts patrolling the path below. However you engage the enemy here, once you have inflicted enough casualties, a Drop Pod full of reinforcements deploys to assist the stragglers [11].

[12] Portal two is inside a small structure farther up the mountain from the Drop Pod deployment. It’s far from an easy jog to reach it. The enemy stands guard close to the portal itself, and also occupies an intersection of paths, including hazards like a Shade Turret [13]. A slick Ghost driver can make use of the space around portal two to run down some of the Elites defending it. Once you clear the zone, move in and deactivate the second portal.

[14] [15] There is a UNSC weapon cache with a Sniper Rifle at a clearing next to the second portal. You can also find some Ghosts to pilot near the cliff edge.

Objectives Five and Six: Shut Down Third Portal, Destroy the Wraith

Shortly after shutting down the second portal, the third is marked on the HUD. Three Drop Pods land all over the upper elevations of Apex, with one of those deploying troops at the defensive position that once guarded access to portal two [13]. The Covenant will try to use part of the cave network to push toward the second portal in hopes of flanking you. Don’t let them surprise you! Watch your motion tracker for suspicious movement and react accordingly. Other hostiles will charge down the main path.

[16] At the clearing where you can locate the Sniper Rifle and a pair of Ghosts, another cave entrance leads you back to the third portal that needs to be deactivated. This is also the location where you were initially deployed during your first assault at Apex. Expect heavy Elite presence at this cave. For those insisting on bringing a Ghost to a gunfight, the cave is wide enough that you can drive aggressively into enemies. Just hope that nobody disables you with a Plasma Pistol while you’re out in the open. Take down all hostiles and shut down the portal. The Covenant no longer have easy access to Apex.

Shortly after the portal is closed, a Wraith is detected on the mountain close to Crimson’s position [13], and you’re ordered to take it out. In addition to the Wraith is a complement of Covenant ground forces, mostly Grunts. Destroy them all.

Objectives Seven, Eight, and Nine: Mark the Lancer LZ, Move to Extraction Point, Mark the LZ

[17] When the Wraith is destroyed, you’re ordered to mark a landing zone (LZ) for Fireteam Lancer, which is farther up the mountain from the Wraith’s position. A Drop Pod deploys a small Covenant force to try to block you. Deal with them, then activate the indicated console on your HUD to call in Lancer. You’re then ordered to reach an extraction point.

[18] With uncanny precision, the Covenant deploy troops in your path to try and stop you from reaching the extraction point. However, near the console you used to mark an LZ for Lancer you can find more parked Ghosts to use against the enemy. Fight your way carefully down the mountain to the waypoint. Regardless whether you’re on foot or on a Ghost, don’t round the corners of the paths recklessly unless you want to earn a surprise Concussion Rifle or Fuel Rod Cannon shot to the face.

Tip

You might consider reaching the LZ by taking the caves, where the third portal was located. However, you’ll still have to eliminate all hostiles before you get extracted, so it might be better simply to take the enemy on first.

[19] Reaching and clearing the extraction point of hostiles doesn’t end your troubles. More Covenant are deployed near Lancer’s intended LZ and they start charging down the mountain toward you. It’s an group dominated by Elites, and you can expect high-ranking variants. Even the Grunts that accompany them are of high rank. Once you’ve taken them out, your final objective is to mark the LZ for pick up. As your ride closes in, Fireteam Majestic issues a distress call, and you are inevitably ordered to go to their aid. No easy day for Fireteam Crimson.

Chapter Two: Majestic Rescue

Fireteam Majestic has been getting pounded by Covenant artillery set along a ridge line at their mission location. In response, Fireteams Crimson and Kodiak have been sent to take the pressure off their fellow Spartans. However, the enemy appears to be reacting faster than usual to the UNSC reinforcements.

This is a fast-paced smash-and-run mission. The artillery must be disabled by taking out a set of energy conduits connected to each weapon, forcing an overload that will destroy them quite spectacularly. Afterward, retreat to the LZ and destroy all Covenant forces still in the area of operations.

Map Location: Cyclone

Arguably you start this mission with one of the better weapons available: Warthogs. Better yet, a team of Spartans is deployed alongside of you, and they once again prove to be crack shots on the Heavy Machine Guns mounted on the Warthogs. With careful driving, you can accomplish all of the objectives in this mission without leaving your Warthog. Try to preserve these assets for as long as possible, but if things go poorly, you can always rely on your weapons of preference and some ground pounding.

Objectives One, Two, and Three: Clear the LZ, Destroy the Artillery, Destroy the Conduits

[1] Fireteams Crimson and Kodiak are thrown right into the fire as the mission begins. The LZ is hot and being targeted by enemy troops while the Pelicans finish deploying their troops and a pair of Warthogs. Whether you are playing alone or with friends, do not let those Warthogs go to waste if you can help it!

With your LZ secured, take a moment to check your motion tracker. There are three major concentrations of hostiles in the distance, and this is where the artillery pieces are located. There is no correct order to completing this objective: simply ride out toward them and, when you get close enough, the Infinity will mark the target for you. In relation to the LZ, there is one atop a hill almost directly forward from your starting location [2].

To the right of the first artillery piece, on the other side of the central structure on the map, are the two other weapons [3] [4]. While there is no correct order to handling this mission, we don’t recommend taking on this pair of artillery pieces first, as the number of defenders, coupled with reinforcements and readily available artillery support from nearby positions, make them tough nuts to crack right away.

Upon attacking an artillery piece you discover a problem: The artillery is shielded and totally impervious to your firepower. However, Spartan Miller detects energy conduits near each artillery piece that can be destroyed. Doing this will cause a system overload that destroys each turret. The energy conduits look like armored spheres at first, and have to be blasted open piece by piece as they spin in place, to reveal the cores inside. As you close in on an artillery position, the conduits will be marked on your HUD.

The Covenant will not take attacks on the artillery lying down! Both weapons are guarded by Covenant infantry, with Phantoms bringing in reinforcements to defend the energy conduits. Even Ghosts will be among the help that the Covenant calls in. The artillery itself will also turn its wrath on you, firing massive globes of plasma that stick to the ground for a moment before detonating. Before detonation, the plasma globes have a tendency to displace anything not tied down, meaning your Warthog (or your body) may suddenly be bounced into the air upon contact. This loss of control can prove fatal seconds later during the big explosions that follow.

The reason we recommend tackling the lone artillery position [2] first is simple: The other locations can’t support it quite as easily with long-ranged bombardment. Once the weapon is neutralized, you can use the elevated position to attack the conduits and troops at the other locations from afar.

Tip

Whenever an artillery position is destroyed, the Infinity sends out a mass ordnance drop to that location and it can help you out if you’re fighting on foot.

Objectives Three and Four: Rendezvous at the LZ, Clear the LZ

Once the artillery units are all destroyed, wipe out any stragglers before proceeding back to the LZ. As you arrive there, Ghosts have already staked a claim to the area, and Lt. Murphy calls out that Phantoms are approaching with more Covenant reinforcements. In response to this, the Infinity deploys more ordnance at the LZ.

[5] The first wave of hostiles arrives with a set of ground troops, Ghosts, and a Wraith. Get the Wraith out of the equation as quickly as possible so that you can concentrate on bringing down the troops. In addition to this, a second Phantom deploys a pair of Hunters [6] onto the field. If you still have Warthogs at this point, they can be great assets. If not, Ghosts can help whittle away at the enemy troops. If you’re on foot, work the Plasma Pistol to disable vehicles and Elite shields. Watchers also join the battle, providing additional threats from above and generally making serious nuisances of themselves.

However you manage it, once you kill off the Covenant troops from these deployments, the LZ is clear and the mission is over. However, Fireteam Lancer calls in a report from Apex, saying that they’ve got a situation brewing. This and the fact that the Covenant have been more than timely with their responses to the Spartans’ two missions in a row should be cause for some concern.

Chapter Three: Lancer

Fireteam Lancer has managed to discover a renewed Covenant presence at the Warrens, which prompts the swift deployment of Fireteam Crimson to assist Lancer in cleaning house in familiar territory. As is the running theme with all Fireteam Crimson assignments, this mission becomes a little more than just another search-and-destroy op.

First, you must penetrate the surface defenses that deny access to the underground Warrens. You’ll have to contend with a series of Covenant reinforcement waves while you try to secure the cave. Spartan Miller has been working on that mysterious rogue signal that was discovered during the return to Apex, and its source appears to be within the Warrens. Use whatever means necessary to find this signal source, while destroying all Covenant in your path!

Map Location: Warrens

As with the previous operation, you’re assigned Warthogs to make the assault easier. You’ll have to be a much better driver (or gunner) if you intend to see this battle through in one of these vehicles. If you’re on foot, you might find that UNSC weapons don’t have many places to resupply throughout this mission. Starting with and keeping a Covenant Carbine throughout the whole mission is not a bad idea.

Objectives One, Two, and Three: Secure the Area, Eliminate Target, Destroy Shield Generators

You begin deployed next to a pair of Warthogs, alongside a full complement of Spartans. Climb into the driver’s seat, and let an AI Spartan take up the gun (or let another player climb aboard to do so) and drive toward the enemy at the edge of your motion detector’s range [1]. The garrison that once protected the entrance to the underground Warrens has been replaced by a larger Covenant force that is wide awake and even has Ghosts on patrol throughout the area. Work on taking down the infantry, as well as any guard platforms if possible.

[2] Phantoms begin to deploy Wraiths in the area, which will need to be dealt with as quickly as possible.

Spartan Miller tries to call out that he’s hearing a transmission similar to the one discovered during the first mission of this episode, but is ordered to stay on task. For the moment that involves finding the Covenant responsible for maintaining the Active Camouflage on shield generators in the area. The target will be marked on the HUD for execution [3].

[3] [4] [5] With the target assassinated, the camouflage around the three shield generators is deactivated, and the targets are marked on your HUD for demolition. Destroy them to gain access to the next area.

Objective Four: Eliminate Enemy Forces

[6] The shields go down swiftly, giving you access to the clearing in front of the primary Warrens entrance. Multiple guard platforms have been placed throughout the area, but the guns on a Warthog can easily take them down. As you tear through the enemy, it’s revealed that the main entrance is locked down tight. If you eliminate all hostiles on your side of the door, the Covenant on the inside will open it up to mount a counterattack.

[7] Two Ghosts and a small number of Covenant infantry open the door and attempt a counterattack. If you’ve been playing well, you probably still have a Warthog and can cut their dreams of vengeance drastically short. Proceed into the caves once the enemy is beaten.

[8] The first section of the Warrens contains a small forward outpost with a Shade Turret. Ghosts also charge in from the back of the caves.

Heavier resistance can be found the closer you get to the Forerunner structure in the back of the caves. Another Shade Turret position is manned by a squad of Grunts [9], with more of them and Elites guarding the ramps. The situation gets a little more desperate when Phantoms deploy more reinforcements into the Cavern, including a pair of Wraiths [10] [11]. Scour the cavern clean of hostiles!

Tip

If you’re stuck without a vehicle, you can retrieve a Fuel Rod Cannon and a full load of ammunition for it from a weapon cache hidden atop a platform on the upper levels of the cavern [12].

Objectives Five, Six, and Seven: Investigate Signal, Free Switchback, Move to the Evac Zone

The Warrens are clear for the moment, and you get word from Spartan Miller that the Marines of Poker Squad have a lead on a Covenant listening post, which might explain how the enemy has been able to react so quickly to your recent moves. Meanwhile, the signal you’ve been tracking is coming from behind a massive sealed door [13], and a switch to open it is conveniently marked for you. Opening this door unleashes a horde of Covenant and Promethean Watchers. Put them down to proceed into the unlocked room, where you make a surprising discovery: The signal source is the survivors of Fireteam Switchback! Free them from their cell, and prepare to fight your way to freedom.

The Covenant have deployed more troops to try to stop your rescue attempt [14]. Now is not the time to get sloppy! This last set of Covenant are what stands between you and the extraction point [15]. As soon as the way to the LZ is clear, make a run for the Pelican before the Covenant try their luck any further. With Switchback recovered, the mission is complete.

Chapter Four: Crystal Ball

With the information recovered by Poker Squad, the UNSC forces now have knowledge of a Covenant listening post responsible for the swift and precise counterattacks that have been dogging Fireteam Crimson over the last few operations. It’s only right that they are sent in to deal with it.

Breaking back into Lockup will be no simple task. The Covenant will know you’re coming and will be able to respond quickly to any assault and prepare a tough defense. A jamming signal has been detected emanating from the facility, which will need to be dealt with before you can proceed with your primary objective: discovering how the Covenant have been able to monitor UNSC movements with such accuracy, and then eliminating that capability.

Map Location: Lockup

Being so deep in enemy territory means that Covenant weapons will be commonly available. You’ll want to have a Plasma Pistol handy as often as possible, for once you enter the main facility, you will encounter many Ghosts and multiple Wraith tanks that will need your attention.

Objective One: Clear the LZ

[1] After the Pelican deploys Crimson and a small squad of Marines, the fight is on. You begin on the landing pad of Lockup, returning to the very location you once fought though waves of enemies to make an escape. The pad itself has some form of cover, which you’ll need because there are two major Covenant strong points [2] [3], consisting of troops and Shade Turrets, with clean firing angles onto your LZ. As you cut down these first hostiles, the two massive doors behind the strong points open up, revealing more Covenant and more weapon emplacements [4] [5]. Don’t rush in blindly. Let the brave exit the structure, eliminate them, and then pursue the stragglers that remain inside.

Objectives Two and Three: Use the Forerunner Door, Investigate Structure

[6] Now that the landing pad is cleared, open the indicated door to reveal a ramp corridor protected by a squad of Grunts, with two mounted Plasma Cannons on the corridor’s right side covering the entrance. Be careful as you push your way up the ramp because an Active Camo-wearing Elite will charge down from the locked door at the end of the ramp. With the corridor cleared, open the locked door.

Objective Four: Disable Signal Jammers

[7] This portion of Lockup should be familiar: Fireteam Crimson was recently incarcerated here! There are three signal jammers in this circular room that must be destroyed [8] [9] [10]. This is the cause of some interference Infinity has been dealing with during this mission. As you might expect, the Covenant are willing to put up a fanatical defense of this area, using a large variety of Grunts, Elites, and Jackals, backed up by two Wraith tanks.

Tip

While you can’t hijack a Wraith as you would a Ghost or Banshee, you can kill its crew or occasionally force them to make a hasty exit to take it for yourself. In this example, the Spartan uses a five-shot barrage from the Fuel Rod Cannon to strike the Wraith’s gunner and the driver hatch just in front of the gunner turret. The Elite crew then abandons the vehicle rather than stay on until it is destroyed. If the opportunity arises during your mission, don’t hesitate to take advantage!

As you destroy the signal jammers, a Covenant Phantom flies in to deploy reinforcements, with another Phantom following shortly after you destroy that group, bringing another Wraith into the area.

Objectives Five, Six, and Seven: Move to Transponder, Clear the Area, Sever Tethers

With the jammers downed and the hostile reinforcements dealt with (or in the process of being dealt with), Spartan Miller informs you that a UNSC transponder has been located near your position, and you are ordered to investigate it. Your first obstacle is the ramp connecting the jammer room and the area the transponder is in. Multiple Jackal Rangers and Elites guard the ramp, making advances quite dangerous [11].

[12] Past that strong point you discover a captured UNSC Pelican suspended by a series of light beams above the center of the area. A pair of Shade Turrets flank the Pelican on both sides of the area [13] [14], while Ghosts and more Covenant troops are scattered throughout the zone. Snipe the Shade Turret gunners to take them out of the equation, then see if you can’t take a Ghost for yourself, which can help with destroying all opposition in the area.

[15] More defenders hold the back half of the Pelican room, including another pair of Shade Turrets and some Plasma Cannons for the enemy to use against you. A Phantom will deploy more reinforcements in the front half of the room to try to pin you down between two sets of hostiles.

[16] A Drop Pod makes a deployment close to one of the Shade Turrets in the back half of the area shortly after the Phantom’s troops are eliminated. Another Phantom deploys troops in the same location where the previous dropship deployed.

Tip

Be careful about vacant Ghosts lying around! Elites and Grunts like to hop onto these machines to try to surprise you!

Once you managed to buy yourself a short respite, you’re ordered to shut down the energy tethers holding down the Pelican dropship. The tether controls are marked clearly on pillars generating the tether beams. Once you start shutting them down another Phantom is called in. Work quickly, as this Phantom is carrying Hunters among its cargo of Covenant infantry. This is the home stretch! Shut down the tethers and eliminate all remaining hostiles, and the mission is a wrap. Retreat to the LZ for pick up, while the Infinity delivers a high-speed explosive package to the captured Pelican, hopefully restoring an element of surprise to future UNSC raids.

Chapter Five: Glassman

Dr. Glassman has been trying to decode a map stolen from the Covenant by Spartan Thorne, but is finding it difficult to do by himself. He suggests that he needs the help of Fireteam Crimson. The Spartans are to invade a Covenant-occupied facility and make use of its resources to help make sense of the map.

You’ll be directed across the whole facility pursuing the map coordinates indicated by Dr. Glassman and Spartan Thorne, and the Covenant will be trying to stop you every step of the way. Your mission here is quite simple. Get to the coordinates, allow your armor’s remote connection to the Infinity to analyze the location and activate any systems that might be useful, and eliminate the enemy presence in the area.

Map Location: Control

Interestingly, as you activate systems across the facility, you gain access to Promethean weapon racks. This means you can bring power weapons like the Binary Rifle and the Incineration Cannon to bear against infantry and armor alike. Don’t count on these weapons to bail you out of every situation, though. Once again, the Jet Pack cannot be recommended enough. The multiple levels of the facility can be easily traversed with a Jet Pack, cutting down your travel time between objectives.

Objective One: Investigate First Map Location

Beginning at the top level of the Forerunner facility, your first objective is to reach a device located on the ground level almost directly below your starting position. To reach it you’ll have to fight your way past a number of Covenant who begin near your starting location [1]. With them out of the way, you can leap (ideally assisted by a Jet Pack) down to the ground level and take on the Elites protecting the first map location [2]. After allowing your suit sensors to record the data from the marked locations, you’re given new coordinates to investigate.

Objective Two: Investigate Second Map Location

[3] The Covenant send a single Phantom loaded with troops to an area close to the second map location [4]. Take them down before standing inside the circle at location two. This causes a pair of spires to extend from the ground toward the sky; they emanate golden light beams. Glassman explains that this is all necessary to hopefully find a way to get the Infinity free from Requiem’s gravity well.

Objective Three: Activate Cover Defenses

[5] A new location is marked atop a platform very close to the second map location. This will activate one of the defense mechanisms across the whole area, but also attracts another Phantom to deploy troops fairly close to this objective [6]. Activate the system and wipe out this wave of Covenant.

Objectives Four and Five: Bring Turrets Online, Activate Heavy Weapons

[7] Once you arrive at this location to activate the defense turrets, a Phantom will deploy troops at one of the mid-level landing pads [8]. However, with the turrets online, they will find themselves trying to evade the beam cannons and your own wrath.

[9] Another Phantom deploys troops at the upper level of the facility, near your starting location. Glassman also indicates that another “magic trick” can be located here: the heavy weapons systems. As with the other map locations, destroy the Covenant, then stand in the circle indicator to let your suit systems work their own magic. This not only activates additional defenses, but it also causes a number of Promethean weapon racks to teleport around this map location. These racks include a variety of weapons, including the deadly Binary Rifle.

More Covenant are deployed via Drop Pod next to the spires on the ground level [4] and begin sprinting for the facility. You should have the terrain advantage here. Snipe at them from above and afar while the base defenses add their own two cents to the conversation. Another Drop Pod deploys troops much closer to the facility itself [10], while another Phantom slips into the base to deploy more troops at one of the mid-level landing pads [11].

Tip

[12] You can find whole racks filled only with Incineration Cannons at these map locations. You definitely can make excellent use of this.

Objectives Six and Seven: Bring AA Turrets Online, Bring Secondary AA Turrets Online

[13] [14] Things are going fairly well, but there’s still more that Crimson can bring online for defense. At both landing pads on the middle level are AA turrets that can be activated. You will not officially get the secondary AA turret location until you activate the primaries. During this, another Drop Pod will deploy troops at the top level of the facility, and a Phantom will deploy another squad at the secondary AA turret location.

Objectives Eight and Nine: Secure the Base, Proceed to LZ

Commander Palmer decides that there’s been enough “science” for the day, and she wants to pull Crimson out. First you’ll need to deal with another wave of Covenant that has been deployed throughout the facility. This group includes a pair of Active Camo-equipped Zealots. Keep an eye on your motion tracker to find and locate these crafty Elites.

With all infantry defeated, the enemy shows signs of desperation, swarming the base with multiple Phantoms. While a number are blasted out of the sky by the AA defenses you activated, it’s not enough to stop four Wraiths from being dropped onto the ground level of the facility. Fortunately, this all really amounts to a last gasp of rage out of the Covenant. Destroying the Wraiths will secure the facility, and an evac point will be provided for your HUD. The mission is a complete success. Between the failed assault on the Infinity and a whole range of Fireteam Crimson-delivered sabotage, the Covenant has got to be feeling the effects of these setbacks.