|This article, Tactical Intercept Station, was written by StoneGhost. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The Tactical Intercept Station, or TIS, was a spatial countermeasure developed by the United Nations Space Command during the Human-Covenant War, in response to the vulnerability of UNSC warships to ship-to-ship fire. As UNSC warships lacked shields and equipped both inferior armour and weaponry than the Covenant, UNSC ships were woefully outmatched in spatial combat. However, operational experience gained at the , and later replicated at the , demonstrated that could be used as a sacrificial shield against incoming Covenant energy weapon fire. Development began after the Fall of Reach on the Tactical Intercept Station, known more commonly as the TIS, as a remote-operated, unmanned station comprised of Titanium-A armour and equipped with arrays of rudimentary manoeuvring thrusters. The TIS in these aspects mimicked the design of refit stations but optimised them for sacrificial use, eliminating crew and maximising surface area. These 'stations' would be positioned on the leading edges of UNSC formations and used to intercept incoming Covenant fire, being obliterated themselves but stopping plasma fire from damaging or destroying far more valuable vessels. The first stations had been tested and delivered by early October 2552 as a result of their incredibly simple design, allowing dozens to be present for the .
The TIS was based on earlier countermeasure systems as well as the refit station's basic design, but enjoyed far more success than these early attempts as a result of extensive information available on the use of refit stations at Sigma Octanus and Reach. The TIS was replaced fairly rapidly in operational service by the XMA/1 'Bulwark' defensive satellite, which utilised the same basic principle but using a projected shield, allowing it a regenerative damage capacity as opposed to the intercept station's fairly limited resilience. The Bulwark's projected shield area also allowed UNSC ships to fire in one direction through it, and for it to be stored and deployed from vessels only when necessary. While the Bulwark was far smaller in the area it protected, it featured advanced thrusters to be able to move far faster, covering a larger area. By their retirement in April 2553, a total of 126 stations had been produced, of which 45 were deployed at Earth, with 39 of these being destroyed during the invasion. After retirement, the remaining stations were scrapped and their armour plating re-used for new warship production in the post-war period.
The success of the TIS varied greatly throughout its short usage. While it was highly successful in large, long range fleet engagements such as the Battle of Earth, and those such as Sigma Octanus and Reach where the refit station had been so successful, in more close range battles Covenant vessels were easily able to outmanoeuvre the stations and hit the vessel anyway. In addition, the station was limited to defensive action only and could not be used by UNSC fleets in offensive situations, as it was far too slow to keep up with warships at full speed. In addition, its lack of a slipspace drive exacerbated the problem, and meant movement to systems for defence was difficult and necessitated larger warships to accomplish. While the station could protect against a considerable amount of plasma fire, energy projectors, which propogated through vacuum at the speed of light, could not realistically be blocked by the station. Finally, some among the Admiralty objected to the use of so much Titanium for an expendable station, arguing that it could be put to better usage on actual warships with dozens of times the operational capability.