UNSC Vanishing Point
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The UNSC Vanishing Point is a Point Blank-class stealth cruiser that was in service with the UNSC Navy during the early years of the Human-Covenant War. It was attached to Task Force Yama—a splinter group of Vice Admiral Preston Cole's Battle Group X-Ray composed primarily of prowlers—for the duration of Operation: SILENT STORM. The Vanishing Point served as the task force's logistics-support vessel, intended to remain far away from the field of battle.
The Vanishing Point has a large mission preparation hold, which is used by the ship's complement to conduct training exercises. If requested, the hold's artificial gravity can be deactivated to allow for zero gravity combat scenarios, including those with floating obstacles to provide cover. The vessel also features a drop hangar large enough to comfortably hold the eight hundred members of the 21st Space Assault Battalion, twelve Spartan-IIs, and a handful of other naval personnel.
Operation: SILENT STORM
On March 8, 2526, Vice Admiral Preston Cole held a briefing on the Vanishing Point for those that would lead Task Force Yama in Operation: SILENT STORM. Captain Halima Ascot of the UNSC Starry Night, Colonel Marmon Crowther of the 21st Space Assault Battalion, Spartan-II John-117, Staff Sergeant Avery Johnson, and Doctor Catherine Halsey were in attendance. Cole had chosen this vessel for the meeting over his own flagship, the UNSC Everest, for the purpose of operation security. During the briefing, Cole laid out the plan to board key Covenant vessels and destroy them from within using nukes, crippling the aliens' advance fleets and buying humanity time. It was decided that while Dr. Halsey's presence was very important to the mission, she was too integral to the UNSC's war effort that she would need to remain on the Vanishing Point, which would not be directly partaking in any dangerous fleet actions itself.
As the Vanishing Point travelled through slipspace to Biko, the Spartan-IIs trained with the ODSTs of the Black Daggers in the vessel's mission preparation hold. The Spartans made short work of the marines in every exercise until Staff Sergeant Johnson taught they some new, unorthodox strategies that were much more effective. After four days of this training, Colonel Crowther had them all gather in the drop hangar to discuss the specifics of the plan. His plan would have split up the Spartans, with each of the twelve carrying a nuke for a single platoon. This way they could destroy many targets at once, but it severely diminished the effectiveness of the Spartans. John-117 expressed his disagreement with Crowther, who brought up his suspicions that they were "just kids" and therefore less reliable than his experienced marines. Daisy broke formation and angled herself at Crowther in a challenging manner. In response, he marched up to her and requested that she tell him her age. John told her to stand down, but she stood her ground and proclaimed that their age did not matter; it was their training that made them superior. Crowther replied saying that combat experience matters more.
Fight for Seoba
Task Force Yama arrived in the Kolaqoa system on March 18 and set course for Biko's moon of Seoba, with Colonel Crowther planning to practice the mass deployment of the Spartans and his ODSTs into an ice quarry. This abandoned quarry had been selected beforehand to be the task force's staging zone as they waited for a nearby Covenant fleet to arrive. However, Operation: ICE DANCE—as the exercise had been designated—quickly became a warzone when the prowlers detected insurgent forces aligned with the Biko Independence Army hidden amidst the ice. The Vanishing Point hung back to block the insurrectionists' transmissions, while the prowlers of Ghost Flight began their insertion run. Despite some early setbacks during the battle, the insurgents were unable to call for reinforcements from Biko and the quarry was ultimately captured by the UNSC.
The next day, Dr. Halsey was transported from the Vanishing Point to the quarry to attend a post-battle debriefing. By this time, the Vanishing Point was holding station two planetary orbits out from Seoba. During the meeting, it was revealed that the Spartans were only fifteen years old, leading Crowther to decide to no longer send them into battle. While the group moved on to discuss how the insurrectionists had been so prepared for Task Force Yama's arrival the day before, the Vanishing Point detected a flotilla of five Covenant intrusion corvettes drop out of slipspace and set course for Seoba. This information was immediately shared with the task force's key personnel, who scrambled to launch their prowlers to meet the flotilla. When Captain Ascot's Starry Night was shot down as it launched from the ice quarry, John-117 made the decision that he and his Spartans would search for survivors. However, upon reaching the prowler's crash site, they found an intrusion corvette trying to recover the Starry Night. This changed the goal of the Spartans' mission from rescue to asset denial; they could not allow the Covenant to access the data stored within the prowler's computer systems. After being informed of this, Crowther asked Lieutenant Commander Hector Nyeto if the Starry Night's self-destruct system could be remotely activated to prevent its imminent capture. Nyeto responded saying that only Captain Ascot herself and the captain of the Vanishing Point had this ability. However, it would take nearly an hour to get a message to the Vanishing Point and for the return signal to arrive, as a result of the vessel's extremely distant position. John-117 assured Crowther that his Spartans would find a way to activate the Starry Night's self-destruct system themselves.
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