|This article, Deference-Class Carrier, was written by Specops306. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The role of a carrier, that of long-range transport, deployment, support and recovery of small, agile fighter craft, has changed little in all of its iterations. Even the Forerunners, famed for their use of powerful juggernauts in naval warfare, found that Carriers filled a neccessary, and indeed vital, niche in naval warfare. For this purpose, they fielded the Deference-class Carrier.
Created before the outbreak of the Forerunner-Flood War, the Deference-class were initially intended to carry reconnaissance and surveillance drones between systems in their search for new inhabited worlds, and the cataloguing process of the billions of creatures under the Forerunners' "care". Deploying Stato-Sentinels and Constructors for colonial construction purposes, or transporting other Sentinel variants for analysis surveys, the Carrier was capable of supporting a localised translocation grid in the system, allowing instant transport between planets and more efficient transfer of material and personnel. When the Flood was discovered, the Forerunner Navy was initially slow to appropriate these ships for combat use, preferring instead to rely on their larger, more heavily armed ships, such as the Conviction-Class Dreadnought, in devastating what orbital forces the Flood could scrape together. In time, however, the advantages of a fleet possessing a Carrier would be made apparent - the Flood's tactic of launching fighters, dropships, escape pods, and other small, agile craft to try and board such massive targets had taken a huge toll, one the Forerunners had not expected, and the need for drone support was deemed of critical importance. In future engagements, Deference-class Carriers would play a crucial role in the point-defence of fleets, eliminating 92% incoming targets, far less than previously. The advantages of a localised system-wide translocation grid also quickly became apparent - locked out of planetary control systems, Forerunner ground forces and civilians could retain the ability to "teleport" even after the Flood had gained access to local grids, greatly improving tactical effectiveness.
As the importance of the Defence-class ships rose, Forerunner naval commanders eventually transferred their flags to the Carriers, shunning the dreadnoughts of tradition in favour of the smaller, but tactically effective ships. During the Battle of Simeis 147, the Suppression Fleet possessed no less than seven of the ships carrying drone point-defence fighters, and using their translocation grids to evacuate troops and civilians at extreme range. The high degree of automation also made them advantageous for fighting the Flood - aside from the main crew, the rest of the ship was self-repairing and maintained by a combination of Sentinels and Constructors, which also served as internal defence against Flood incursion. By the end of the war, the Deference-class had become a staple of the fleet. After the activation of the Halo Array, some Deference-class ships would be used in the final phase of the Conservation Measure - the returning of the millions of preserved sentient organisms to their original and new homes. Like the Keyships, many were subsequently destroyed by the AI constructs in charge of this process to prevent them interfering with the future development of the galaxy's life - a small number have been recovered in extremely damaged states, and so far no functional examples of the class have been found, either by the Covenant or the UNSC.
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