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The CCS-class battlecruiser is a mid-sized capital ship that is used in both offensive and defensive roles. This type of ship is known for its large personnel and equipment capacity, which makes it ideal for infantry, vehicle, and matériel deployments during ground engagements. The vessel is well known for its offensive capabilities, often participating in ship-to-ship combat and in glassing operations. The CCS-class battlecruiser, while not the largest cruiser in service with the Covenant, is the most prominent of the Covenant's ships, and is used in large numbers at the heart of nearly every Covenant invasion force. They are often deployed in three-ship battle groups. The "S", or Salvation, in the cruiser's three-letter classification code, "CCS", denotes that the CCS-class battlecruiser is a dedicated warship.
Nearly two kilometers from stem to stern, the standard battlecruiser follows the typical architecture of a Covenant ship: a sleek, amphibious design with sweeping contours, bulbous sections, and perfect symmetry, with either two or four fin-like structures beneath the bow. It is shaped this way to allow for mobility in atmosphere during the deployment of infantry, as well as for a significant level of agility when in combat in orbit. Unlike the larger CAS-class assault carrier and the more aggressively deployed CPV-class heavy destroyer, the battlecruiser serves in a somewhat intermediary role: a fully weaponized warship with the ability to apply meaningful military deployment. For this reason it is frequently utilized, easily surpassing the numbers of any other known Covenant vessel.
CCS-class battlecruisers are typically armed with several dozen energy weapons, which are used both in ship-to-ship combat and in glassing operations. These weapons include pulse laser turrets, very powerful speed-of-light weapons that fire high-intensity laser bolts, radiating energy in the blue wavelength of the electromagnetic spectrum, though they sometimes fire nearer the red wavelength. The turrets are chitinous pods featuring insect-like antennae and are located at various points around the vessel.
The battlecruiser also has weapon emplacements along its lateral lines. These weapons include plasma torpedo turrets, which fire long, powerful lances of blue-white, amber, or red plasma contained and guided by a shaped magnetic field. The ship also possesses two energy projectors, or "cleansing beams", located on the ventral surface - one fore and one amidships, concentric with the gravity lift. In addition to their use in space combat, the energy projectors are used for low-altitude glassing operations. They can seemingly be charged before firing, causing a powerful initial blast, though they are typically fired as a free-flowing beam. This beam is typically bluish white, though it also may be red or purple.[Note 1] These different colors likely represent varying beam intensity.
Buried deep within the vessel's heart is the control center, also known as the bridge and the Combat Information Center (CIC), from where the entire ship's operations are coordinated. Typically occupied by only the highest-ranking officers, the control center is a large room with a centralized bridge platform overlooking the rest of the room. Holographic controls line the outer perimeter of the raised dais. The viewscreens are also holographic projections, visible at the forward end of the room near the ceiling. The viewscreens can either display exterior views of the ship's surroundings or can display tactical data. They can also be synchronized to the onboard security cameras and can display ship schematics.
The CCS has at least two brigs for holding prisoners. Each is a rectangular room with four force field-secured cells on either side, for a total of eight per brig. Each cell can accommodate a large number of prisoners, although normally only one is placed in each cell, probably for security purposes against the possibility of an organized escape attempt. The cell barriers appear to use the same technology as the shield doors that are common to Covenant installations and vessels, though they obviously do not allow passage from one side to the other. Even plasma bolts and ballistic projectiles can not pass through the fields. The shield barriers can be lowered by a holographic control panel on a raised platform on the far side of the brig opposite the entrance. The cells are arranged at the periphery of a spacious room, with guards patrolling them. The guards usually have active camouflage, using their stealth to monitor the prisoners.
The CCS-class battlecruiser has multiple storage bays. These bays are connected to cargo hatches and corridors that allow the transfer of matériel from other bays to either the gravity lift room or to the hangar bays. The storage bays are two-level expanses that contain weapons, food, and military equipment crates, in addition to storing both land and air vehicles.
The CCS-class battlecruiser contains four bisected hangar bays; two to starboard and two to port. They are each three-tiered, with a large amount of space between the floors and ceilings of each level. Each three-tier bay has two retracting metal doors. The bays feature energy barriers over the openings to allow ships to pass through them while retaining atmosphere and pressure inside the ship. These barriers deny the movement of all forms of matter attempting to enter or leave the hangar bays. Each launch area in the bay is capable of housing dropships and Banshee attack craft. Retracting elevators in the decking of each bay are used to ship Covenant ground and air craft into the bays for launching or for gravity connection to a waiting dropship. These elevators lower into holding areas adjacent to cargo bays.
Like most Covenant warships, the CCS-class battlecruiser is equipped with a single ventrally mounted gravity lift, enabling quick and easy transportation of personnel, vehicles, equipment and supplies to a planet's surface. A large, circular platform can be detached and lowered to the ground to provide a stable surface for disembarking and embarking troops, vehicles, and matériel. The platform has six interlocking hinges and is carried with the ship; when the cruiser is in position over a planet's surface, the six interlocks retract and the beam repels the platform at a controlled descent to the surface. Once on the ground the platform acts as an anchor for the ship. The ship can make use of the gravity lift without the platform, but it must remain in position. When attached to the ship, the central gravity platform doubles as the firing port for the energy projector, like that of the CAS-class assault carrier and the CSO-class supercarrier.
The gravity lift bay is similar in design to the cargo bays except that it is only one level high. The gravity lift's door mechanism is situated in the center of the room, with cargo and personnel hatches located around the rectangular bay's walls. Several gravity lift bays are on board the cruisers, not far from the cargo and shuttle bays. Each bay has four cargo hatches along opposite walls for vehicle transfer.
Corridors and doors
The class features a labyrinthine network of curved corridors, with circuitry concealed behind purple metal casings. At junctions, gaps in the ceiling and floor appear to accommodate Huragok maintenance personnel, allowing them to float between levels easily and quickly.
Like those of the SDV-class heavy corvette, the doors on the CCS-class battlecruiser open by a three-way system. Unlocked doors are outlined in white light, while locked ones have crimson light. They are protected from electronic intrusion by a 128,000-bit modulating encryption key, but this key can be penetrated by a sufficiently advanced artificial intelligence within minutes.
Engines and engine room
The CCS-class battlecruiser is outfitted with two large tritium plasma-powered repulsor engines for sublight propulsion. The ship's slipspace field generators are fine-tuned enough to make much more efficient and lower-power transitions to slipspace than UNSC ships; making the vessel faster at traveling through the alternate dimension. Covenant ships are also capable of greater precision in exiting Slipspace at a given location.
The engine room contains fiber-optic cables that run from to the control room. These cables are very delicate and, if severed, can cause the vessel to crash.
Since the beginning of the Covenant, the battlecruiser has consistently been the hegemony's primary mode of intragalactic transportation. For the centuries leading up to the Human-Covenant War, the CCS was involved in every major event in the Covenant's history, including both peace and conflict. Countless CCS-class battlecruisers were used during the Human-Covenant War in operations ranging from fleet engagements to glassing. They were considered among the most dangerous of Covenant ships and often spearheaded invasions.
The earliest known UNSC encounter with a CCS-class battlecruiser occurred in 2526. Two CCS-class vessels were present at the Battle for Arcadia in February 2531. One was destroyed by the UNSC Texas, UNSC Belfast, UNSC Armstrong and UNSC Pillar of Autumn when caught with its shields down, but the other destroyed the Texas and Belfast, severely damaged the Armstrong and Pillar of Autumn and continued on to Arcadia. Several battlecruisers were later encountered by Admiral Preston Cole's Battle Group India at the Battle of Psi Serpentis in April 2543; these ships, as well as the rest of the Covenant fleet, were destroyed when Cole's flagship, Everest, caused the nearby gas giant Viperidae to go nova.[Note 2]
The largest known deployment of CCS-class battlecruisers was during the Fall of Reach in summer 2552, in which dozens of such vessels were used in the invasion of the planet. During the Siege of New Alexandria, at least two battlecruisers glassed the city of New Alexandria from low altitude with their energy projectors. During the Battle of Asźod, one attempted to prevent the Halcyon-class light cruiser UNSC Pillar of Autumn from escaping the Asźod ship breaking yards. SPARTAN-B312 was able to use an Onager mass driver to shoot down the battlecruiser by targeting its energy projector when the ship dropped its shields to destroy the Pillar of Autumn.
As Reach was being glassed, several CCS-class battlecruisers from the Fleet of Particular Justice pursued the Pillar of Autumn to Halo Installation 04; after arriving at Halo on September 19, Pillar of Autumn disabled several battlecruisers, most notably Truth and Reconciliation. UNSC forces raided the ship three times, first to rescue Captain Jacob Keyes, then to recover the captain's command neural interface, and finally to recover the ship and use it to escape to Earth. However, First Lieutenant Melissa McKay understood that doing so would allow the Flood to infest Earth; she thus severed the fiber-optic link between the engines and the bridge, causing the ship to crash and killing everyone aboard.
On October 20, 2552, thirteen battlecruisers of the Fleet of Sacred Consecration participated in the High Prophet of Regret's botched invasion of Earth; only few of these vessels, such as Pious Inquisitor, survived and later coalesced over New Mombasa during the battle on the city. An even much larger number of battlecruisers would be deployed to Earth during the Prophet of Truth's continuation of the invasion. Several, along with at least three CAS-class assault carriers, were used to excavate the Portal at Voi. During the Battle of Cleveland, Ruwan Ackerson was brought aboard the battlecruiser Harbinger of Piety to be interrogated about his knowledge about the Key of Osanalan. Injected with Tykos 30, Ruwan acted as a targeting vector for Nassau Station's Super MAC to destroy the vessel. Later, a battlecruiser took part in the attack on the Crow's Nest base, hovering nearby and sending in Phantoms carrying reinforcements while Hornets and Banshees battled nearby. The cruiser's dropships eventually retreated after the Master Chief retook the Crow's Nest hanger.
After the Great Schism erupted on November 3, CCS-class battlecruisers played crucial roles on both sides. A Flood-infected battlecruiser broke through the Sangheili's blockade of Installation 05 and arrived at Voi, Kenya on November 17; the Flood forms released by this vessel were glassed by the Sangheili Fleet of Retribution, which arrived moments later. At the Battle of Installation 00 on December 11, both sides made use of several CCS-class battlecruisers; though the Brute-led Covenant forces outnumbered the Sangheili-led Covenant three-to-one, the Fleet of Retribution triumphed, turning the tide of the last battle of the Human-Covenant War.
As the Great Schism continued throughout the following seven years, the Sangheili and the Jiralhanae-led remnants of the Covenant continued to make use of CCS-class battlecruisers. Several ships of the class were present during the Battle of Ealen IV, serving within the Sangheili and Jiralhanae fleets tasked with protecting the delegates alongside the UNSC Infinity. The mercenary group under the command of Vata 'Gajat also possessed a number of these ships during the Battle of Ealen IV. Many other CCS-battlecruisers fell into the hands of Kig-Yar scavengers and independent Sangheili factions.
Ships of the line
At least two known design patterns of the CCS-class are known to exist; the Ket and Elefen-patterns. The two can most prominently be distinguished by the sensor vanes present on the front of the ship; the Ket-pattern has four, while the Elefen has two.[Note 3]
The following CCS share a design pattern, but the name has not been confirmed yet:
The following CCS have no confirmation on what pattern they are:
Halo: Fleet Battles
List of appearances