|This article, Righteous Crusader, is currently under active construction.|
- "Is it not the greatest irony that a ship crafted by the hands of the Jiralhanae themselves with such care should become their bane?"
- ―Shipmaster Ulton 'Keltam
Built at the Thrakakrathak Orbital Shipyards above the Covenant colony of Unmoving Virtue, the ship that would eventually become the Righteous Crusader began life as a Jiralhanae-operated ship, one of very few allowed by the High Council. When the Schism erupted, it joined the Loyalist forces, and participated in a number of attacks on Sangheili colonies - its capture by Field Master Ulton 'Keltam saw it renamed and incorporated into the Fleet of Retribution. While the rest of the fleet pursued the Prophet of Truth's forces to the Ark, the Righteous Crusader with an altogether different mission - the support of Human forces attempting to capture an uncovered Forerunner relic on the Australian continent, eventually entering the Labyrinth Array. Its eventual fate is unknown.
The Jiralhanae build-up for the Great Schism began long before the death of the Prophet of regret. By 2547, Unmoving Virtue, their largest offworld colony, had become a major Covenant shipyard, establishing the Jiralhanae as a naval power for the first time. At first restricted strictly to colonial patrols of their own territory, eventually the High Council was forced to accept the Ministry of Tranquillity's repeated requests for Jiralhanae crews for their own ships - while the kig-yar had proven skillful, they were also greedy and many had been executed for attempting to sell unreported minor relics on the Covenant black market. The Sangheili were not much happier at the Jiralhanae's admittance into Ministerial confidence.
In actual fact, the Ministry of Tranquility used this opportunity to train Jiralhanae Ship Masters in various aspects of space warfare - navigation, manoeuvres, tactics and stragety. While Sangheili trainers oversaw early entries, as the skill of the Jiralhanae crews improved the Ministry used Jiralhanae trainers, removing the need for Sangheili trainers. While unhappy at the lack of oversight, the Sangheili were at least glad to not have to do such tedious schooling. At the same time, the Thrakakrathak Shipyards had begun churning out ships of various classes - a number of them unique, but most abiding by standard designs, in preparation for creating a Jiralhanae fleet to replace that of the Sangheili. Part of this was a Cruiser under the name Penitent Sinner. Attached to the Fleet of Ravaging Hunger, it was present during war trials - human colonies in Giclas 51-15 and Ross 128 were glassed by Jiralhanae naval warships, their first successful deployment in a naval role. The Penitent Sinner was a part of the assault on both systems, performing adequately.
During the outbreak of the Great Schism, the Penitent Sinner had been reassigned to the Second Fleet of Homogenous Clarity. When conflict erupted, the Sinner found itself in drydoc, surrounded by enraged Sangheili warriors. A stout defence was made by the Jiralhanae crew, but they were slaughtered as the Vol'takarn Legion. Taking command, Field Master Ultom 'Keltam loaded his warriors aboard and engaged Jiralhanae frigates attempting to bombard an evacuation from high Charity - the cover provided by the Penitent Sinner allowed the survival of thousands of Sangheili warriors. Afterwards, it would be renamed by now-Ship Master 'Keltam the Righteous Crusader, and attached to the Fleet of Retribution, pursuing the Prophet of Truth to Earth. It would be assigned to aid UNSC efforts in the South Pacific, assisting in the retaking of Australia, and would embark upont he Mandorla Campaign.
- "Accursed Sangheili! Our fleet is primitive as it is without them turning our own weapons against us!"
- "When we captured the ship, most of the systenms were...shoddy, to say the least. Our own Huragok had difficulty making the systems fit for use, never mind modernised. At least the Jiralhanae have yet to improve their technical prowess."
- "Damn, I wish our ships could fly. I don't mean hover, like a frigate or support ship. I mean fly - the Crusader swooped right over us at Darwin, lasers ploughing into the ground, wiping out a whole regiment of Brute artillery!"
- "It carries a lot of fighters for a Battlecruiser, doesn't it? I'm not complaining - their pilots definitely came in handy at Sydney! Seeing a Seraph fighter swoop low, drop a plasma torpedo, and then realising that its on your side is a new feeling for me."