- “A tiny picture appeared on Fred's heads-up-display, and he saw what Joshua had sighted through his sniper scope: a Covenant cruiser hovered thirty meters off the ground. The ship bristled with energy weapons and plasma artillery. His Spartans couldn't get within weapons range of that thing without being roasted.”— Frederic-104's tactical assessment of the Covenant cruiser.
Operational History Edit
After entering the system, and after the initial attack against the UNSC forces in orbit, the cruiser was one of many that entered the planet's atmosphere, landing tens of thousands of troops on Reach's surface. Hovering thirty meters above the ground forces, it was protected by massive numbers of legions of Unggoy, dozens of Wraiths, anti-air emplacements, and three squadrons of Banshees conducting air patrols.
A team of three Spartan-II's, designated Alpha Team, used captured Covenant Banshee fighters to fly past the patrols and anti-air emplacements. At least one Unggoy, Zawaz, detected the Banshees on a scanner, but did not bother to report them, fearing punishment from his Sangheili superior officers. As the Covenant grew suspicious of these new Banshees, they demanded proper codeword clearance - the Spartans, unable to translate the messages and not knowing the codewords, ignored them. One Spartan, Joshua-029, was shot down while the other two, Frederic-104 and Kelly-087, reached the cruiser's gravity lift, throwing a Fury Tactical Nuclear Weapon into the ship and retreating.
The ship was destroyed, its own shields absorbing the electromagnetic pulse from the weapon, preventing it from damaging the nearby Orbital Defense Generators. It also leveled the nearby forest and mountain, vaporizing the ground forces. However, its loss did little to save the reactors - another three cruisers descended from orbit to replace it.