Shadow of Intent
This article is about the assault carrier. For the novella, see Halo: Shadow of Intent.
Shadow of Intent is a Kerel-pattern CAS-class assault carrier of the Sword of Sanghelios formerly assigned to the Covenant fleet. Commanded by Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadum, it served as the flagship of the Fleet of Retribution at the outbreak of the Great Schism and the end of the Human-Covenant War. The vessel then served the reformed Swords of Sanghelios following the cessation of war with humanity in March 2553, and is both feared and revered as a herald of the Arbiter's government.
The Shadow of Intent was originally designed by the Prophet of Expediency in conjunction with the Vice Minister of Sacral Assembly during the Third Age of Discovery (circa. 2135).[note 1] The ship's construction was performed by the Lathe of the Enlightened at Song of Victory. Much of the ship's history was later lost following the Fall of High Charity and loss of Ministry records.
During the Human-Covenant War, the Unggoy Stolt joined the crew of the Shadow of Intent. The ship's Sangheili Ranger complement were initially skeptical of the Unggoy, but eventually grew to respect him. During the war, the databases of Shadow of Intent concerning Sangheili colonial scientific surveys became outdated. Throughout the war, the carrier was the bane of many human and Covenant vessels alike, and was a prodigious troop carrier that played a key role in the ground invasions of many human colonies.
Battle of Installation 05
At the dawn of the Great Schism, shortly after the Sangheili's betrayal by the Hierarchs and Jiralhanae on November 3, 2552, Shadow of Intent was attached to one of the Covenant fleets at High Charity when the Covenant holy city was at Installation 05. Under the control of the Jiralhanae, Shadow of Intent attacked the Sangheili fleets over High Charity as the Covenant civil war began. Special Operations Commander Rtas 'Vadum led a strike-force that boarded Shadow of Intent and seized control of the carrier. The damage taken the hand-to-hand combat of these boarding actions was hastily sealed off and much left without full repair. Becoming the flagship of 'Vadum's Fleet of Retribution, Shadow of Intent was thereafter one of two assault carriers used against the Jiralhanae-led forces loyal to the San'Shyuum, the other being Eternal Reward. However, Eternal Reward was destroyed when the carrier was attacked by ships led by Prelate Tem'Bhetek's Spear of Light. Shadow of Intent led the blockade of High Charity, trading plasma torpedoes with San 'Shyuum-controlled vessels to prevent any ships from escaping the quarantine of the station. The loyalists had no vessels capable of matching Shadow of Intent in firepower and intended to overwhelm it with multiple cruisers once its support vessels had been eliminated, though this plan went awry following the emergence of the Flood. During the blockade, Shadow of Intent used its ventral beam to partially glass High Charity in an attempt to combat the Flood aboard it.
Following the Prophet of Truth's escape to Earth, most of the ships commanded by Arbiter Thel 'Vadam remained near Halo Installation 05 to quarantine the local Flood threat by glassing the surface. However, the infected CCS-class battlecruiser Indulgence of Conviction broke through the blockade and jumped to Earth. The Fleet of Retribution, consisting of Shadow of Intent and nine battlecruisers, followed the Flood-controlled vessel to the human homeworld.
Actions on Earth
The fleet arrived minutes after Indulgence of Conviction, which crash-landed in the city of Voi, Kenya, which in turn occurred only moments after Truth's fleet passed through a nearby slipspace portal to the Forerunner facility known as the Ark. Flood forms were dispersed across the city, quickly overrunning the local UNSC personnel. Shipmaster 'Vadum hailed the human troops, instructing them to evacuate as the ship landed Special Operations forces into the ruins of Voi. Soon Shadow of Intent and the battlecruisers glassed the city and the surrounding region to prevent the Flood from spreading across Earth. 'Vadum would have glassed the entire planet were it not for the counsel of the Arbiter.
Assault on Installation 00
After a period of deliberation among the Sangheili and UNSC leaders, Shadow of Intent and the human frigate Forward Unto Dawn passed through the portal to the Ark. The Fleet of Retribution was immediately met by Truth's fleet as Forward Unto Dawn deployed troops to the installation's surface. The Sangheili forces soon emerged victorious despite their enemies' three-to-one numerical advantage.
Shadow of Intent sent down soldiers, vehicles, and supplies to aid the human forces on the surface of the Ark following the victory in orbit. The ship then took part in a diversionary bombardment of the shield protecting the Ark's Citadel, the point from which the entire Halo Array could be fired.
When the shield was deactivated by a joint UNSC-Sangheili strike team, led by the Spartan John-117 and the Arbiter, Shadow of Intent moved in to destroy the Citadel. Before the carrier could get into position, however, the Flood-infested High Charity arrived via slipspace and crashed onto the surface of the Ark, shedding debris as it fell. A large fragment smashed through Shadow of Intent amidships and inflicted severe damage, knocking out all of the carrier's weapon systems. Despite the damage, the ship remained operational. Following Truth's assassination by the Arbiter, the Shadow of Intent evacuated the surviving Sangheili and human forces; only the Arbiter, John-117, the AI Cortana, and Sergeant Major Avery Johnson remained behind to activate the newly discovered Halo Installation 08, thereby defeating the Flood.
Shadow of Intent was repaired and refitted at a mobile shipyard on December 30, 2552. Between February 28 and March 3, 2553, Shadow of Intent remained stationed on Earth for a diplomatic mission involving the Arbiter's attendance in the Voi Memorial service, held for those killed in the Human-Covenant War. After the memorial 'Vadum gave the Arbiter command of the vessel, whereupon the ship returned to Sanghelios. Even following its return to Sanghelios, Shadow of Intent continued to serve in many roles, and as such full repairs for damage incurred during the war with humanity and the Great Schism have been deferred. The deeper compartments of the ship have been sealed following damage sustained during boarding actions taken during the Schism, with many more remaining inaccessible due to battle damage and damage control foam, entombing the corpses of those who died fighting aboard the ship years prior. The ship runs on a skeleton crew due to lack of manpower, including employing "consultants" from Venezia to help Sangheili artisan-armorers crew the engineering deck.
Attempted capture and later missions
Following his taking command of the ship, Thel 'Vadam offered Rtas the mission to take the Shadow of Intent far away from Sanghelios, due to the increasing threat of Sangheili civil war. By this time, Shadow of Intent was the only operational CAS-class carrier in the Swords of Sanghelios fleet, and 'Vadam wanted the ship out of reach of allies whose loyalties were not as certain as 'Vadum's. 'Vadum took the ship and its crew to the frontiers of the former-Covenant territory in an attempt to find rest and recuperation after the war. Between March 6 and August 24, 2553, in which time Shadow of Intent was believed to be retrieving former Covenant long-range exploratory fleets.
At some point following August 2553[note 2] this time, the ship became the target of a plot by Tem'Bhetek's faction, intending to capture the carrier. The prelate led an Attack on Rahnelo, with his Jiralhanae troops slaughtering civilians in the streets. The colony sent out a distress call, and three days later Shadow of Intent arrived at the scene to assist though were too late. The crew assisted the survivors in clearing the dead bodies, and ultimately took on the scion daughter of the keep's kaidon, Tul 'Juran. The scion proclaimed the right of release and requested the help of Shadow of Intent and its crew in hunting down the prelate to rescue her father. Tem'Bhetek later attacked Duraan, allowing the colony to send a distress call to ensure that Shadow of Intent would hear it and respond. Shadow of Intent arrived at Duraan after three days of travel, in time to see the prelate's CRS-class light cruiser Spear of Light opening fire on Duraan's largest settlement. This attack turned out to be a trap, with the prelate intending to use the system's turbulent star and its solar flares to knock out the carrier's energy shields and disable it. The carrier attempted to fire a plasma cannon, only to discover that the prelate's trap meant that the energetic star neutralized the containment fields confining the plasma. With the carrier's shields down and weapons now requiring recharging, Spear of Light maneuvered to prepare a boarding action. The prelate and fifty Jiralhanae boarded the carrier via its port hangar bay, and proceeded to head for the command deck. The prelate engaged Rtas and Tul in melee combat, but was ultimately captured in the ship's brig.
The carrier's crew took the data they could from Spear of Light after repelling the boarders, determining the location of the Prototype Halo installation from which the cruiser had been operating from. Unfortunately, all of the ship's forward plasma cannons and most pulse laser defenses had been taken down during the battle. The carrier travelled there, with only two Phantoms' worth of crew, and deployed the two dropships immediately upon entering the system. The carrier was left on autopilot, slaved to Rtas' Phantom. The prelate was able to escape and begin a spacewalk to the space station base, and eventually met up with the Minister of Preparation, who informed the prelate of the full reality of their plan; their lone light cruiser would never be able to slip past the Sangheili defenses surrounding their homeworld, but Shadow of Intent was more than adequete. The group could mount the prototype Halo weapon onto the carrier and then fire it at Sanghelios, wiping out everyone on the homeworld. Upon realising this scheme called for the prelate to die once his usefulness was over, he ceased his actions and the Minister of Preparation was killed by Tul 'Juran and Rtas. The installation was then destroyed, ending the threat to Shadow of Intent.
Shadow of Intent returned to Duraan to restock and repair for 10–20 days, before setting out on a mission to hunt down the San'Shyuum flotilla who had evacuated High Charity in 2552, to execute those who might try to continue the Prophet of Truth's schemes and rescue those who might be deemed innocent. On April 22, 2554, the ship was rendered combat-ineffective after a battle with Jul 'Mdama's forces. Up to November 6, 2556, Shadow of Intent was still used against both 'Mdama's Covenant and Jiralhanae forces. Between May 6 and June 1, 2557, Shadow of Intent participated in naval exercises with the UNSC Navy in a Joint Occupation Zone against pirates, by which point her weapons and nanolaminate hull plating had been improved. Between June 1, 2557, and March 3, 2558, Shadow of Intent was tasked with the protection of Sanghelios and Sangheili colonies of the core world sphere. Around March 2558 three Office of Naval Intelligence prowlers tasked to monitor Shadow of Intent were destroyed. These losses were not reported to the UNSC Navy. The Shadow of Intent has otherwise been involved with conducting diplomatic trips to remote colonies to grow support, eliminating marauders from resource worlds and pursuing San'Shyuum war criminals.
Superstructure and hull
While the basic silhouette is similar to most other assault carriers, with a hooked prowl, immense hangar segment and a thick neck section connecting them, the Shadow of Intent does have a few differences. The most readily-noticed is its smoother hull which lacks the characteristic city-structures, and its distinctive rear cowling. These identify it as a rare Kerel-pattern assault carrier, a Prophet-approved variant of the more common Syfon-pattern. The Shadow of Intent's ancient hull is pockmarked by scars and marks that tell of battles won and trials overcome through its centuries of service. The ship's armour plating is still damaged, bearing the marks of human nuclear weapons, the weaponry of Longsword fighters and hastily patched sections where MAC founds pierced the ship. The ship also retains battle scars of Covenant loyalist-fired plasma torpedoes from the Great Schism. One particularly close call during the blockade of High Charity left a bubbled streak on the starboard side of the carrier's prow.
The bridge is located in an armored command pod in the center of the carrier's neck, with the Blademaster's yard running along the outermost sides. This uses a mix of ancient ritual education with the latest War Games technology acquired from the UNSC to train the next generation of swordmasters. At the aft is an elaborate shrine to the Forerunners known as the Nave of the Creators, which is kept in perfect condition thanks to the crewmembers who have not given up their old beliefs. The damage to the warship's interior compartments attained from the Great Schism has still not been completely repaired, with the deeper crew compartments hastily sealed off, ruined hallways and collapsed chambers filled with damage-control foam and entombed corpses.
Like most Covenant ships, the Shadow of Intent is primarily armored with nanolaminate hull plating. During the post-war era, however, this has been supplemented with runic plating installed by the Arbiter's Huragok during repairs. This advanced plating uses lattices of Forerunner composites interwoven with mysterious energy conduits.
Shadow of Intent is incredibly heavily armed, boasting a single Infernus-pattern superheavy excavation beam as a primary armament, two Urpeon-pattern superheavy plasma lances, eight Luxor-pattern heavy plasma beam emitters, twenty-four Mictix-pattern heavy plasma torpedo silos as a tertiary armament and seven hundred Ferriel-pattern pulse lasers as a quaternary point defense network. Seven of the Mictix-pattern heavy plasma cannons[note 3] line the prow of the ship in the depression that runs port to starboard. These weapons can fire individually or combine their energy into a single devastating mass. However, the ship's shields must be lowered to fire any weaponry.
In its role as a carrier, the Shadow of Intent is capable of carrying sixty-four Seraph and 192 Type-27 Banshee strikecraft, twenty Type-28 Tick boarding craft, 44 Phantom dropships, eight Phantom gunboat assault ships, three Scarabs, six hundred Banshee aircraft, 196 Wraith tanks, 44 Shadow troop transports, seven hundred Ghost scout craft and 250 drop pods. The ship hosts 40,000 ground troops.
Shadow of Intent is fitted with a cluster of intelligent circuits capable of calculating a given spacecraft's speed, trajectory and other flight characterists, though this computational matrix is primitive when compared to the Smart AI ship directors that often run UNSC starships.
As of 2553, Shadow of Intent had fewer than two hundred Sangheili (and one Unggoy) as part of its crew, compared to its total complement capacity of 40,000.
List of appearances