Zanar-pattern light cruiser
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While classified as "light cruisers" by the UNSC, the Covenant intended them to fill a role more analogous to police cutters to patrol inhabited star systems, conducting routine inspections and enforcing travel laws. After the war, CRS-class cruisers became the backbones of fleets owned by Covenant remnants, serving in combat roles against humanity and the Swords of Sanghelios. Crews of CRS cruisers generally regarded serving aboard one as a stepping stone to more glorious service aboard the Covenant's Examiner ships, such as Varric-pattern heavy cruisers, and would take risks during combat to prove their worth in hopes of reassignment. They regarded escorting Executor-type ships and their disgraced crews such as the Sinaris-pattern heavy destroyer as a more distasteful assignment, and could never be relied on to do more than their basic duties. When the Prophets took their Procurator-type ships and fled Covenant space in the wake of the Great Schism, they held many light cruisers whose crews remained loyal with them. As with other small attack craft employed by various Covenant fleets, CRS cruisers didn't have permanent crew quarters, instead rotating fresh crew members on between missions.
Superstructure and hull
Resembling a luminous manta ray, the CRS is essentially a smaller, weaker version of the Ket-pattern battlecruiser, with the Zanar-pattern light cruiser originally spawning as a stable mutation of the class' Elefen and Ket design patterns. One notable difference is that the CRS-class (at least those used by Jul 'Mdama's Covenant) bears green lights, as opposed to the white-blue lighting on the CCS class. The control coils of CRS-class light cruisers require careful fine-tuning to prevent disorientation and hallucination when operating at full power. In addition, in rare cases the sensor arrays of these ships subject to aberrant mutations during fabrication that make them appear friendly to Forerunner defense protocols.
The "R", for Reverence, in the cruiser's three-letter classification code indicates that the cruiser is capable of conducting reconnaissance missions and is capable of excavating Forerunner artifacts. The "S", for Salvation, denotes that the CRS-class light cruiser is a dedicated warship.
The four Pok-pattern beam lasers coordinate fire using two dedicated auger arrays to coordinate fire and rapidly target dozens of targets in quick succession, a useful feature during suppression operations on Covenant worlds. Their Sintra-pattern plasma torpedoes were extremely fast, but their high velocity in flight made them almost impossible to guide to the target, making them better employed as airborne artillery.
While some CRS-class light cruisers engaged human forces during the Human-Covenant War, the majority of them were assigned in rear echelon assignments to ensure Covenant supply lines were well protected. This made them a prime target for opportunistic warlords during and after the Great Schism to expand their fleets, using them in more combat focused roles than they were intended for.
One single light cruiser Unrelenting of the Fleet of Inexorable Obedience led a space attack on Chi Ceti IV where it was able to damage the UNSC Commonwealth but was damaged in return by the UNSC heavy frigate. It was eventually destroyed by the Spartan-II company after being boarded. Ships of the class participated in the Battle of Psi Serpentis in 2543. Several light cruisers were used during the Covenant's invasion of Reach in 2552. Later during the same year, they were deployed during the occupation of Earth.
The heavily-modified light cruiser Spear of Light acted as the vessel for Prelate Tem'Bhetek who used it to rescue the Minister of Preparation during the Fall of High Charity and personally destroyed a number of Sangheili-controlled vessels such as the CAS-class assault carrier Eternal Reward. Convinced that Rtas 'Vadum was responsible for the death of his family, the Prelate formed a faction to get revenge upon the Sangheili. The cruiser attacked two Sangheili colonies and ambushed the Shadow of Intent at the second one with the crew abandoning the Spear of Light to board the Shadow of Intent. After the boarders were repelled, the cruiser was captured and its navigation database led the Sangheili to the prototype Halo installation. Though most of the ship's systems were damaged beyond repair in the battle, the Spear of Light's database later revealed that more of the San'Shyuum had survived then was previously believed and was used by 'Vadum to begin a search for them.
In the wake of the Human-Covenant War, the CRS class forms the backbone of Jul 'Mdama's Covenant's fleet, which deployed numerous CRS-class cruisers to Requiem prior to and during the Battle of Requiem. After finding the UNSC Forward Unto Dawn, one approached the ship with its shields down, not expecting a threat, intending to open fire on the Dawn. However, Spartan John-117 destroyed the cruiser with one of the Forward Unto Dawn's Hyperion nuclear missiles before it could fire. Several were destroyed moments later when the gravity well of Requiem pulled them in. Three cruisers made a slipspace jump into Requiem's core to deploy troops around the satellite containing the Didact's Cryptum. At least one of these cruisers, possibly more, was sucked into the gravity well created by the Didact's Cryptum entering slipspace and was destroyed. Numerous light cruisers were later sent to attack the UNSC Infinity after it crashed into Requiem, but at least two were destroyed by Infinity's defensive turrets and surface-to-air-missile launchers after John-117 reactivated Infinity's defenses. During the Didact's Raid on Ivanoff Station, at least three cruisers were present, deploying Phantoms to stop the evacuation as John and Cortana reprogrammed Ivanoff Station's defense turrets to cover the evacuation. As their Phantoms continued to be shot down by Onagers, the three cruisers moved into position over the station, remaining in close proximity to each other.
Several CRS-class cruisers were present during the Requiem Campaign in February 2558. Many provided escort for an Maugen-pattern armored cruiser that was destroyed immediately after Infinity's emergence from slipspace. They immediately engaged Infinity's Strident-class heavy frigates, though they were quickly destroyed or routed. Later, a light cruiser was deployed to "Two Giants" in response to Fireteam Crimson activating one of the structures in the area. Despite being supported by numerous Phantoms, Banshees and ground troops, it was destroyed by a MAC round launched by Infinity Sub-Vessel 3 and the UNSC's operation was a success. Another light cruiser attacked the UNSC base at the Refuge, but was destroyed when Fireteam Shadow boarded and overloaded its power core. Shortly thereafter, a light cruiser took part in the capture of Fireteam Crimson at the "Quarry" accompanied by several Phantoms and Banshees. A light cruiser, possibly the same one, remained on station over "Lockup" as Crimson escaped with Icebreaker squad in a hijacked Phantom. At least three more were at the Warrens when Crimson visited, though they were gone by the time Crimson returned with Fireteam Lancer. Later, several light cruisers participated in the Covenant-Promethean attack on Infinity. At least one was destroyed when Fireteam Crimson brought the Infinity's weapons back online. Several light cruisers fled Requiem with an RCS-class armored cruiser and several Seraphs after Jul 'Mdama set the planet on a collision course with its parent star.
In July 2558, multiple light cruisers were present on Aktis IV when Jul 'Mdama and Doctor Catherine Halsey set a trap to get the UNSC's half of the Janus Key. Hidden undetected under the planet's ocean, the ships rose to attack the Infinity and her sub-vessels, blocking the UNSC flagship off in low orbit for over seven hours.
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