The Transcendent Passage is an unusually-luxurious Syfon-patternassault carrier currently in the employment of the Blue Star Sacred Destinations organization, a former Covenant-sanctioned raiding congolmerate turned semi-legitmate luxury-business organization. Originally crafted for the Minister of Abnegation, the Passage would become the flagship of the Ministry of Abnegation's formidable fleet, spearheading attacks into hostile space for the better part of a century. Being almost half-again the size of any other CAS assault carrier, the Passage was proportionally faster and better shielded. However, based on proportions, the vessel was lightly-armed for its size and only carried the same complement as a regular carrier.
Despite its position as the flagship of the Ministry's fleet, the Passage would take tremendous damage during the Fall of Alluvion, forcing the commander at the time, Vice Minister Alo Sebukah, to abandon ship along with many of its crew. It would remain drifting in orbit around Alluvion for almost a decade until a Kig-Yar scavenger by the name of Dast Eru rediscovered it. Trading away most of its weapons for a profit on Venezia, Eru would convert the Passage into a mobile luxury habitat that appealed to the criminal underworld and the charmed wealthy of the galaxy.
From 2556 to 2559, the starship served as an enormous space-venturing city-state, however, with the start of the Created Crisis it has been repurposed, returning to its original purpose as a warship. During its final civilian cruise, the vessel was attacked by an undercover UNSC strike unit, led by SpartansAndra-D054 and Ryder Kedar, which led to severe damage to the starship due to the infiltration, cutting its voyage short. The ship was then quickly moved to drydock, repaired and retooled by the Syndicate, and repurposed to support Created pacification operations on the colonial frontier.
"I have waited too long for this. How can a ministry responsible for ideological purification function without a symbol of that purity?"
The Transcendent Passage was first laid down in Vermire's massive drydock in the human year of 2417, at the request of the future Minister of Abnegation Sarb Fropta. A prodigy in politics, Fropta was one of two rising stars that were on the fast-track to being the successors of the current triumphant of Hierarchs. To represent the power he humbly wielded, Fropta approached the current trio of High Prophets and was given special permission to use a Syfon-pattern assault carrier as his Ministry's flagship. Designed in conjunction with Master Shipwright 'Ladumee, the most advanced miniaturised fabrication generators, the newest in luxury fads and above all the toughest shielding of the period were all applied to the new ship. However, to Fropta's displeasure, the Hierarchs placed a limit on its weapons, speed, and armour that, while allowing it to outgun all but the Kerel-pattern assault carrier and CSO-class supercarrier, significantly limited its attack potential.
The Transcendent Passage being fabricated at its shipyard.
During construction, numerous issues had to be addressed at Vermire. The first was the shipyard's capacity, as Fropta's insistence for "an assault carrier to dwarf all other carriers" was proven to be too costly and impossible to do with Vermire's current infrastructure. As a result, the Passage was downgraded to a length of seven and a half kilometres - still larger than every ship except the supercarrier. During construction, the Unggoy workforce proved to be restless and sabotaged the project on numerous occasions, forcing the construction teams to be massacred in 2424 and replaced with the more reliable Yanme'e workers. Finally, construction had to be temporarily halted when it was revealed that the ship wasn't structurally sound, requiring approval and infrastructure upgrades to proceed. Fortunately, pirates were a non-existent threat, with Abnegation's forces deterring most raiders except those backed by rival Ministries.
The Transcendent Passage was finally released from drydock with fanfare on January 1st, 2432. It was christened by the newly-ascended Sarb Fropta, who christened the ship's name and took it on its maiden voyage. He brought it to bear ordering a brief campaign against local pirates and heretics while secretly attacking the logistics of another, rival Covenant department, the Ministry of Fortitude, of which Sarb believed was the faction who attempted to sabotage the carrier during the construction phase.
Early Service and Hunt for the Doomed Penance
"Do not misuse my generosity, Shipmaster. An assault carrier is a tool of destruction, capable of beating entire fleets unaided. If you abuse it or my trust for anything beyond the mission I've gifted you, you will not only bring shame upon your house or your entire planet, but I will personally decapitate your skull and hang it above the door to its command centre as a lesson to all who disobey me."
The Passage saw a lot of use from Abnegation. Despite traditionally being used for political maneuvering, the new Minister entered the field quite regularly, searching for signs of Forerunner relics he could secretly retrofit onto the carrier. During these times, the Passage was used to defend the ministry's logistical routes and protect strategic interests from rivals, especially as the prominent Minister of Fortitude grew more powerful in the political sphere with time. A cold war waged between the two Ministers and their ministries; the minor conflict saw Fortitude's fleet backing off once the Passage became involved, although occasional fighting continued to occur. Whereas Abnegation presented a technological advantage, he sorely lacked the capabilities to support an internal war -machine against another Covenant ministry; the internal conflict continued to sap Sarb's assets. Finally, Abnegation felt he lost too many assets to continue fighting, and sued for peace with Fortitude. Fortitude agreed, on two conditions. The first was that Abnegation offered the services of the Ascetics to Fortitude's Ministry, the second was that the loser surrender forty percent of his remaining military forces to the victor. Faced with no room to manoeuvre politically, Abnegation agreed to the terms.
When it was rediscovered, the Doomed Penance was an awe-inspiring sight to the crew of the Transcendent Passage.
While he faced a major setback with Fortitude, Abnegation was certain in his intent to ensure his prized flagship would not suffer any deficiencies. The Passage continued scanning different worlds in search of overlooked Forerunner artifacts, until he hit a breakthrough in 2481. On Ulgethon, an ancient San'Shyuum data-module was recovered that revealed a potential lead on the legendary megastructure dubbed the "Doomed Penance" - a legend that even the thorough Ascetic databanks had little actual information on. Requiring a fleet, Abnegation struck deals with various military personnel to gain access to a fleet large enough to begin properly scouring Covenant space for the space station. He would give the Passage itself to honourary-fleet master Xytan 'Jar Wattinree, a rising-star naval commander whose connections would guarantee a valuable ally to Abnegation, or a means to destroy the disgraced Sangheili upon learning of his potential failure.
Xytan would search far and wide, using the Passage to purge the Covenant's deepest territories of disloyal and rogue elements of Covenant society. For years, he and the Passage would search for the legendary station, until finally in 2487 he found it. Bringing forward the Passage to board with Penance, Xytan sought great treasures within. He would later, however, use the carrier's weapons to destroy the starbase when it was revealed that a massive Flood infestation existed within the asteroid the station was built around. The ship's crew would fight in an attempt to capture the station's legendary Forerunner weaponry; they succeeded in removing both the Shard of the Forefathers, a Forerunner Slipspace drive, and the Blade of Varulim, a hardlight weapon amplifier. Upon Xytan's return, he was glorified for bringing back the Forerunner weapon, although the Shard mysteriously went missing. Now with his orders complete, the Passage was returned to Abnegation's personal fleet and Xytan returned to his naval duties.
"Do not leave your stations! You will defend this ship to your dying breath- wait, wait!"
― Vice Prophet of Abnegation as the Transcendent Passage takes excessive damage.
Recommissioning and Refit
"Ba-bee-Kkk-oooong. Cutlass. Throat. Your dashed slices will feed my nest well."
― Dast Eru, executing a Jiralhanae captain-major.
Reduced to a burning, holed husk of a warship, the Transcendent Passage was left adrift in orbit of Alluvion with the smashed corpses of its crew, and for more than a decade served as a mourning ground for Sangheili and San'Shyuum warriors. The destruction of a single assault carrier was an infrequent yet not unheard-of occurrence, but the death of a high-ranking San'Shyuum like a Minister was a different story. Against the Prophet of Truth's wishes, Thel 'Vadamee declared that the region would become a battlefield preserve, and dedicated a handful of his forces to prevent the derelict ships from being robbed by Kig-Yar scavengers and rogues. Throughout the war, it would become customary for relieved troops heading away from the front lines to visit the wreckage, with a soldier ceremony quickly developing around how to pay tribute to the lives lost. For example, one of the ship's most famous attractions was started during this time, when legions would scratch a line into a battle-poem, each line chosen by each individual lance.
However, with the onset of the Great Schism, the site became the subject of many large pirate raids. A particularly large one was led by a Dast Eru, a self-proclaimed 'pirate prince' who has established himself in many attacks on Covenant warships. It was he who discovered that not only was the Passage was intact, but many of its propulsion systems were still structurally intact. For months, he and a large team of dedicated engineers secretly worked on it, applying repairs to it and fighting off rival groups from 'their' salvage. However, in 2553 a small Jiralhanae-led Covenant remnant arrived and began searching the debris field for anything of value - weapons, combat harnesses, but above all ships. As a result, it was inevitable they would approach the Transcendent Passage first. As they drew in closer, Eru activated the engines to full power, with light shielding to ward off the brutes. A few managed to board the ship before it jumped to Slipspace, resulting in a days-long fight between the pirates and the Covenant forces.
The Passage being relaunched over Venezia.
Making multiple jumps, Eru would eventually make his way to Venezia, a lawless world where anything can be bought and sold so long as it doesn't upset the status-quo. The assault carrier would be sold to the local Syndicate crime lord Min Ai, a man who knew how to make an investment that repays itself. While any other person would want to rearm it with as many weapons as they could find, Min Ai was inspired by the luxury apartments in the carrier's cities and contracted to have it fitted out to new specifications. He would have the carrier essentially rebuilt, repairing its shields, fabricators and non-combat systems, but arranging the ship's hangar so it became home to store allotments and warehouses he could loan out. Immense docking bays were added between the prow and the beginning of the hangar, allowing for two cruiser-scale freighters to dock. The only thing it lacked was weapons, with the only available weapons added to keep it below the UEG's regulations. All the repairs took place over three years at a loosely-affiliated shipyard, with the Transcendent Passage officially being relaunched on the September 24th, 2556.
"Scum of the Galaxy"
Propulsion and Powerplant
The power requirements for the Transcendent Passage are of mammoth proportions, even when compared to many of the larger ships commissioned by the Covenant. The demands of some of the most powerful shields and engines ever fitted onto a mobile hull are only amplified by that which is consumed by the ship's wealthy inhabitants. As such, an ordinary primary pinch fusion reactor would not be up to the task, though three smaller models do supplement the energy production. Instead, at the core of the ship is a unique secret that few other ships have.
Capable of unimaginable power, the fussy shrine-core must be constantly watched and maintained to prevent mutual destruction.
That secret is one of the largest Forerunnershrine-core power plants ever discovered by the Covenant's Examiners. Drawing from the almost-unlimited fuel that is vacuum energy, shrine-cores are capable of immense potential and at full power can effortlessly out-perform conventional reactors magnitudes larger. Unfortunately, these are incredibly dangerous to operate; if they are incorrectly installed, historical evidence shows that they will destroy the ship, drydock, and everything around it for several kilometres. As such, Oracle Masters and Ascetics have conscripted certain blessed weaponsmiths to install safety seals and software interlocks to prevent it from drawing too much power. However, the integrated adaptive-learning security system is a constant issue, and as a result, the Oracle Master that is always aboard is trained with tricking and wiping its memory so that way the ship's reactor does not cut out during Slipspace or combat operations.
Three Cyprus-pattern pinch fusion reactors are installed to complement the main reactor, one in the Passage's 'head' and two in bulbs on the wings flanking the main hangar. Using artificial gravity generators and pinched magnetic fields, these reactors are capable of sustaining a self-sufficient fusion process using Deuterium and Tritium as fuel, with both being plentiful in human and Covenant space. This process is extremely-efficient and superior to the conventional fusion reactors used on UNSC ships.
"I remember when this ship was the pride of my Ministry. It pains me to see it fall so low..."
― Anonymous Ascetic
Before the Fall of Alluvion, the Transcendent Passage was one of the most powerful ships in the Covenant fleet, but this is mostly because of it's top-of-the-line shielding system. It's weapons systems are still potent, only just inferior to the power a Kerel-pattern assault carrier could dish out, although this down to it's size than any quality weapons-systems. Regardless, the Passage's lighter but more varied guns made it even better suited against fleets of ships, and every time it was deployed it can be ensured that it was going after a target worthy of it.
The Passage fires its superheavy plasma lance.
The Passage's main combat systems came in the form of two types of weapons, superheavy plasma lances, and superheavy excavation beams. Plasma lances are the heaviest form of energy projectors in service, a highly refined weapon system that fires weaponised plasma up to three hundred thousand kilometres in velocity, or near the speed of light. Located on both sides of the hangar, plasma lances concentrate their heat and pressure to physically cut through any material that stands in its way and has been shown to literally sever even massive supercarriers in half if given enough energy. The emitter is omnidirectional and can be safely housed within the carrier's armoured hull, making it nearly impossible to disable from the outside. Unfortunately, this is so power-draining that the Passage is one of the few assault carriers capable of sustaining the Utri-pattern's output without dropping its shields for more than a two seconds. With all these advantages, the plasma lances effortlessly outclass the UNSC's MACs, becoming the heaviest weapon ever mounted on a starship that is not used by the Forerunners.
The Infernus-pattern superheavy excavation beam is similar in principle to other plasma lances, in that it fires hyper-compressed plasma at near the speed of light. The difference is that instead of applying it to a beam only a few metres in length, the Infernus fires a cooler beam that's about fifty metres wide. Pressure is increased to allow it to effortlessly burn away dirt and rock, leaving only the tougher Forerunner artifacts standing. It is also an omnidirectional emitter, although it can only fire in a ninety-degree cone at the bottom of the ship. However, the excavation beam is actually far less powerful as means to reduce energy consumption, allowing the carrier to sustain the beam indefinitely. This reduced power makes it ill-suited as a weapon, especially as there is only a single emitter as opposed to the Utri covering it's blind-spots with multiple emitters.
A frigate is destroyed by the Passage's heavy plasma torpedoes.
For general ship-to-ship combat that does not require the awe-inspiring power from the energy projectors are thirty-eight Corfax Et-pattern plasma torpedo silos, each of which has about nine torpedoes. Each torpedo, when activated, becomes a 500-tonne projectile engulfed in superheated plasma, which is spewed out from the central ball. Each torpedo travels at roughly eighteen kilometres per second and are guided by four gravitational field emitters mounted on the silos which pull on the torpedo-like a puppet, allowing for incredible control; oftentimes, the only way to evade them is for UNSC ships to fire off their emergency thrusters at the last second to 'sidestep' the torpedo. Even then, the torpedo is capable of looping around indefinitely until it hits its target. However, each silo can only control a single torpedo at a time, so the Covenant compensate by installing a failsafe that prevents the silo from firing when a torpedo hasn't made contact with its target, to prevent over-enthusiastic Sangheili from wasting ammunition. Because the Corfax Et torpedo has a solid core, unlike other patterns of plasma torpedoes these will continue on their flight path even if their silo is destroyed.
For short-to-mid-range combat are forty-eight Ensemble-pattern plasma cannons. Mounted on an anti-gravity turret, the Ensemble resembles ground-based emplacements but is much larger in size. The turret head and anti-gravity platforms are well-armoured making them difficult to disable by bombers, and it allows the entire turret head to rotate everywhere within a 360o radius, provided that the carrier's hull is not in the way. It can even allow the turret to evade incoming fire. Each of these turrets is manned by highly-trained Obedientaries that are experienced with the finicky weapons, maintaining a steady rate of fire without it overheating or being damaged.
A number of pulse lasers taking aim at a target.
Finally, if the Transcendent Passage is besieged by fighters and missiles, then it has more than six hundred Ferriel-pattern pulse laser turrets. Manned by dedicated gunners with an advanced targeting computer, these turrets fire a purple beam of light hyper-tightened by three focusing lenses, and are powered by Hydrogen Fluoride as fuel. The focusing lenses are capable of dynamically adjusting themselves based on distance, and actually, use less energy and thus heat slower the closer the target is. They are so accurate and effective that they can shoot down more than half the amount of Archer missiles fired. Pulse laser turrets can also act as effective ship-to-ship weapons; while a single shot can strip away up to 45 centimetres of Titanium-A1 battleplate, sustained firing can inflict substantial breaches in human warships that often requires the interior airlocks to be sealed. Because of this capability, they are occasionally used to issue pin-point strikes against weak segments on an enemy ship, such as the bridge, med-bay or even the processing computer on naval coilguns.
"She's truly got a far bigger bark then her bite; she's got a hundredth of the power that any other assault carrier has. If she comes under attack, only the cruiseliner's damn shields will offer any resistance. Hell, even the torpedoes will only be a nuisance than a threat to all but the most ill-prepared raider."
― Anonymous human mercenary.
After it was acquired by the Syndicate, the Passage underwent a major change in combat capabilities. Most of its combat systems have been stripped out to conform to the United Earth Government's laws on the armament of civilian vessels. This saw it being armed only with point-defence turrets to protect it from rogue asteroids and comets, though the lack of understanding on Covenant technology and rampant bribery in the UEG Senate ensured that a small number of capital-grade weapons have been missed during inspections.
The most powerful weapons the Passage is equipped with are it's six modified Serpens-pattern plasma torpedo silos, mounted around its lateral pinch fusion reactors. Taken from the wreckage of the infamous Pious Inquisitor, the Serpens are far inferior to the silos they replaced. However, they make up for this in two ways; the first is that it's been modeled after a plasma venting chamber, making it difficult to spot even by ex-Covenant servicemen. Secondly, these do not use physical containers, instead of being bundled with plasma generation technologies to allow it fire ionised Tritium directly from the reactors. This means they can be kept secret for longer as the cruise liner does not need to take on suspicious ammunition. While their torpedoes are smaller, they still travel at roughly eighteen kilometres per second and are invulnerable to point-defences due to their lack of a solid core. However, they are useless in highly-magnetised environments such as near planets and if their silo control systems are damaged or disrupted, then they will dissipate into nothingness.
Ports of Call
As a cruiseliner and mobile centre of illict dealings, the Transcendent Passage is encouraged to make extended stopovers at colonies in both human and Covenant space, which can last from as little as a couple of days to a fortnight in total. Only a handful of worlds welcome the carrier back on more than one occasion, opening their markets and tending to the vessel's needs during its stay. These so-called 'Ports of Call' are all connected through a complex web of regular route the carrier takes, with each representing some major opportunity for the Syndicate to exploit - whenever that be for expansion or financial gain.
Famed for being a meeting-ground between the Swords of Sanghelios and UNSC, Jaeter is quickly establishing itself as a colony of notoriety.
"Only thing good about this backwater is the artifacts. You'll want to get out of this system ASAP; the bunch of fucking trigger-happy hippies..."
― Anonymous mercenary.
One of the UEG's last colonies to be established prior to the Human-Covenant War, Jaeter has quickly begun establishing itself as a planet of note. Protected by a military that is growing larger from year-to-year, Jaeter is located in the Joint-Occupation Zone between Sangheili and UEG space. It has become known for its wonderful landscape of rainforests bordering large, soft deserts, and large tidal waves caused by its three moons should have made it the ideal world for surfers across human space. However, the frequency of derelict ship crashes and the less-than-stellar discipline and ambitions of its military has made Jaeter avoided by most of humanity. Instead, the colony has become host to a large alien population who call the world home. Thanks to the Jaeteran Defense Force's close association with the UNSC, many large criminal groups - with the exception of the Syndicate - have been removed from Jaeter, although smaller, independent roves of bandits still prow the untamed areas of the planet.
However, Jaeter has a secret that has made it popular among the rogues of the galaxy - it's expansive network of Forerunner ruins. Due to the JDF's low manpower, many of these ruins are as of yet unexplored and undefended, which sees a large number of treasure-hunters come to Jaeter in hopes of striking it rich. This is the primary reason why the Passage calls Jaeter one of it's ports of call.
Despite being a smaller Sangheili colony, many people come to the clans of Whispering Trees for excellently-crafted vehicles and starships.
Originally founded only a few decades before the Human-Covenant War, Whispering Trees is a rather small Sangheili colony that has established itself as a neutral world free from the Swords of Sanghelios supervision. It has been established by the descendants of the loyal shipwrights and workers the legendary Xytan 'Jar Wattinree brought to the planet, and it is they that uphold the colony's reputation for engineering excellence. With little in the way of infrastructure, the clans on Whispering Trees are entirely dependent on trading their advanced engineering skills and technology to prevent themselves from being starved out, and frequent food shipments must be protected or else risk a planet-wide famine. Because of this, and the lack of the usual martial nature of its inhabitants, the planet's small but significantly-powerful defence fleet is composed entirely of mercenaries who are loyal only to the colonial government.
It is because of this technology, their engineering skill and vulnerability to trading that Whispering Trees is a frequent stopping-point for the Transcendent Passage. The master shipwrights are frequently taken on-board for a tour of the ship to consult the carrier's crew on where to expand, what needs to be fixed, and what is too dangerous to be living near - the latter is largely ignored. The wealthy elite will often buy their expensive sloops and yachts here. Beyond this, however, the planet has little to offer, as it's rugged terrain and strong storms make it an unpopular destination to stay at.
Although suffering from a crushing 2.2G gravitation pull, Palamok has become a centre of illegal services and gambling opportunities.
The homeworld of the insectoid Yanme'e species, Palamok has not always been a stopping point for the Passage. After the war, the planet was engulfed in a massive civil war, with hundreds of hives all fighting for superiority. In fact, it was only after the Created Crisis that the Napret system finally united under a single leader, the Master Queen Victi'eme. In an astonishing turn of events, she opened up Yanme'e space to the rest of the galaxy, and today the planet has become famed for its illegal tourism acts. While mass-slavery of Yanme'e is no longer permitted, the slave-trade still thrives from well-bred Sangheili, Jiralhanae and Grangore workers. Most of these species are bred only for one purpose - to fight and die to pleasing crowds in gladiatorial arenas. In fact, the Yanme'e have become famous for breeding the best new gladiators, with queens keeping their trade a close secret. Visitors can also hunt either the Grangore slaves or the vicious wildlife in massive enclosures, although it's not always guaranteed that the clients will survive.
However, by far the best reason to come to Palamok is its cheap labour force. Even after numerous reforms, many Yanme'e queens will often trade cheaply-made appliances for ludicrously-low prices - sometimes just for food. This is cheaper than many slave-based worlds and results in a higher-quality of craftsmanship as the Yanme'e drones are literally bred for a single job.
Venezia, where the Transcendent Passage was reborn.
If the Transcendent Passage had a port to call home, it would indisputably be Venezia. A former UEG colony that cut itself off from the rest of the human-governed galaxy in 2542, Venezia proudly calls itself a free world where any business can be conducted, anything can be bought and anyone can start anew. This even extends to former Covenant species, a true rarity among human colonies who tend to be too cautious or too vengeful to openly allow them to set a foot on their soil.
Known in Sangheili tongue as "Sqala," Venezia is one of the true joint colonies to form in the post-Covenant War era, allowing Kig-Yar, Sangheili, Jiralhanae, and Unggoy to live with and among Humans though most aliens seem to stick to the metropolitan areas due to the constant trade coming in and out of major cities like New Tyne. Venezia boasts a population of nearly eleven million sapient lifeforms making it one of the more populous Human colonies to escape certain destruction by the Covenant Empire. The colony is well known for its black market depots and massive weapons bazaars and displays, however, the planet's major exports are mined natural resources - particularly the rare earth metal, Tantalum.
Due to the lack of regulations on the planet and protections provided by bigger factions like the Insurrection-aligned Venezian Militia and the Iskander Syndicate, the Transcendent Passage found the perfect place for repairs and restock on this specific colony as work could be performed in peace as long as the right people were paid off. With the significant presence of the Syndicate on Venezia, the official sponsor and financer for the Passage's voyages ultimately fall with them.
The capital of the UEG has never welcomed the cruiseliner, and as such, even approaching it must be a delicate and careful operation.
Following the acquisition of the Transcendent Passage and the sell-off of its weapons and anything of original value, the former assault carrier is a shell of its former self in more ways than one. To protect the new cruise liner after a refit, outside parties were brought onto the carrier's security detail to augment the giant vessel's diminished firepower. While the likes of the Indomitable Mercenary Guard are the backbone of the Passage's security force, it is not the only one, with each faction maintaining their own PMCs to protect and 'out-compete' rivals.
Indomitable Mercenary Guard
Indomitable Mercenary Guard, or IMG, is the main security force that maintains peace between the vying factions on the Passage, and the sole reason that the ship hasn't been overtaken by any number of Covenant remnants. An incredibly disciplined force, IMG is a Sangheili-led private military company that specialises in ensuring order and security aboard starships and in a vacuum environment. As such, every member of IMG has extensive training in zero-g and hazardous environments, even security teams that are expected to be deployed planetside. They are well-equipped, preferring carbines, pistols and reversed-engineered combat harnesses from stockpiles left behind by the Covenant. Explosive weapons and flamethrowers are an unusual but not an unheard-of part of their arsenal.
Armada of Enduring Prominence
Transcendent Passage along with several escort vessels.
The Armada of Enduring Prominence is a small group of powerful warships that act as the first line of defence for the Transcendent Passage. Operated by the IMG, the Enduring Prominence isn't a very large fleet, being composed of only a dozen warships proper, but these ships make it up by being unusually large and powerful. At its peak, four SDV-class light carriers, one RPV-class light destroyer and five CCS-class battlecruisers could be found patrolling the space around where the Passage has arrived. Each crewmember is a battle-hardened veteran of the Human-Covenant War, and new recruits often gain experience quickly from dealing with the numerous travel hazards that threaten the Passage on the colonial frontier and the Joint-Occupation Zone. The battlegroup is currently commanded by Mruda 'Serattin, a former fleet master and privateer who is known for being loyal only to the coin. Even his loyalty to the shipmaster of the Passage is questionable.
Originally, the Armada emerged as a small Covenant secessionist faction that formed together for mutual protection in the Jiralhanae territories. The survivors of a massive raid from the Jiralhanae, the seven CCS-class battlecruisers had been forced to turn to piracy to survive. They jumped at the chance to defend the Passage in a vain attempt to restore their honour. These days, at least two ships are seen permanently alongside the assault carrier, two more waiting far behind in case it gets ambushed, and the rest are engaged in 'preventive ambush operations.' It is unknown what they do during these operations as 'Serattin has been reluctant to share details, but given the Syndicate's influence over the Armada, seeing them collect bounties on those who wronged their partners is not out-of-the-question.
"Joyous Honour in Battle Eternal"
"A Great Sacrifice of many Path Walkers is a necessitated compromise required in the search for Total Salvation. If our Great Covenant is to march along the gusts of divine winds, we must be willing to lay down everything in pursuance of that goal. The Great Journey cannot be fulfilled without loss as no worthwhile endeavor is without cost. The battle over a world tainted by vile, underfoot creatures with deep and beautiful waters so alike a Warrior's home; this is a tainted island blessed once with many riches for a most deserving people. Not these monsters; we cleansed them from the surface and ripped them from the dirt and those who were caught up in a most honorable of missions shall be remembered here. With the disease of Demons ripped away, we can continue our march and find guidance in the wonders that our forebearers left behind during their own ascendancy. May the Gods and our Fallen bless us as we continue forward. May our battle eternal bring song and story of our Joyous Honor; and with this, eventual victory in Transcendence."
― An excerpt of the starting stanza from Joyous Honor in Battle Eternal, written by Thel 'Vadam.
Thel 'Vadum, the beginner of "Joyous Honour in Battle Eternal".
Perhaps one of the carrier's most unique attractions, the Joyous Honour in Battle Eternal is the name of an immensely-long war poem inscribed on the inner hull of the Passage's central hangar. Originally begun after Thel 'Vadam allowed his Fleet of Particular Justice to return to the ship to pay tribute to the lives lost in the war, the poem has been extended on to become made up of more than a hundred discovered verses, each with dozens of lines. Because of this, it is the longest piece of poetry ever created by more than one writer and has become a core part of the culture of the Sangheili that call the Passage home.
While the Joyous Honour is crafted specifically to fulfill one's spiritual needs, unlike most poems the themes, writing style and even dialect and language change dramatically throughout the piece. This is due to the tradition that visiting lances must extend the piece with a line of their own, and as such words and symbols from nearly all of the Covenant's client-species can be discovered within the poem. While this means that not every word fits correctly or is even grammatically correct, it instead works to help thread a sense of unity between each of the former members. Joyous Honour explores dozens of different themes, ranging from the meaning of life, the inevitability of death and the importance of uniting all the separate beliefs in each individual. All these themes are intended to provoke deep thought about the nature of the universe within the reader.
With the conclusion of the Human-Covenant War, it has become forbidden to extend the poem any further, as the Joyous Honour piece has become a reflection to the mindset and attitudes of the former Covenant soldiers during the War and is legally protected under the UEG's Historical Conservation Act of 2556. In particular, the local Sangheili population are particularly defensive about the poem and have fought to protect the piece from many would-be vandals and thieves who seek to steal certain segments to sell at a fortune. To this end, even the Sangheili civilians are expected to work closely with IMG to report unauthorised personnel that approach the poem. In exchange, they allow it to become a place of celebration, from an annual festival championing their martial culture, to private affairs that acts as a rite of passage for youths, where they'll finally earn their adult surnames.
"Line in Sand, Start Anew"
"Blades be not dull. Armor does not crack. One grand lie ends and fractures the world, once whole, now lost. Even when Faith is lost, Purpose is never too far from a Warrior's Destiny. Mark this point in the rocky soil or the gritted sands and find self-actualization. Begin again and start anew, the future is yours to make it. Make it grand."
― Anonymous Sangheili Warrior
While the Joyous Honour in Battle Eternal is the most famous of its kind on the station, it is not the only poem on the Passage. Whereas the Covenant War Era poem is well regarded aboard the Transcendent Passage, the post-War piece does not share this fervor as for many its controversial. Especially for its questioning of the Covenant theology; many remaining religious zealots, in particular, the Keepers of One Freedom, would like to see the new poem scratched from the Passage's walls.
"Nave of the Creators"
Overhanging the engines of the cruise liner, the Nave of the Creators is a massive shrine and temple that is now the destination for many pilgrims' journey to enlightenment. Dominated by a glyph that is supposed to create a protective aura from the gods, this section has been hollowed out and adorned with numerous symbols that have religious meanings, with large rows of seats and meditation chambers for receiving visions from the transcended Forerunners. The cause of these visions is largely unknown; some within the Office of Naval Intelligence believe that it's proximity to the carrier's repulsor engines brings on hallucinations which are mistaken for visions. However, a small sect believes that it somehow acts as a resonator for the recently-discovered Silent Garden phenomena. A number of platforms with holy alters are often staffed at set times by priests, with their teachings broadcasted on large elegant holograms and television screens to the followers across human and Covenant space.
One of the best-maintained sections on the entire ship, the Nave serves as a place for meditation and confessions for those who still believe in the Covenant religion.
Structures like these are common features on both Kerel- and Syfon-pattern assault carriers, with the one on the Passage only anomalous in its size and capacity. However, with the destruction of High Charity and the jealous hoarding of capital ships by warlords, many of the Covenant's followers needed an alternate place to congregate to. As such, the executives of Blue Star Sacred Destinations allowed the Keepers to advertise the cruise liner as the premier temple to visit in one's life, and charged for the privilege with outrageous fees. Only the initial restoration of the chambers has been paid for by the company, with the Keepers of the One Freedom being responsible for its continuous upkeep. Those which exceed the time they paid for are locked away and thrown off at the nearest port, while troublesome individuals are left to die in the vacuum of Slipspace.
"In theory, nothing is special about it. In practice; it's a refuge for those down on their luck or seeking to part with their past."
Although not as lavish as the nightclubs that have sprung up around it, the Irk Pub has become a haven for those trying to escape their past mistakes.
The Redam district located on sub-level six is a poor section of the ship. Masked just below the illustrious towers that peak through the hull of the carrier, the district is one of countless of places where the ship's homeless population and criminal elements retreat to hide from the Syndicate's ever-watchful eyes. The region is near-lawless and teeming with struggling businesses of all sizes - and yet, it is populated by people from all walks of life. This has given rise to one of the most respectable locations on the entire ship, one which the powerful and oblivious ignore - the small bar which is known as the "Irk Pub".
One of dozens of establishments to bear the name across human space, the Irk Pub is, to most, unremarkable. Minimalist in appearance with few lights to grab the attention of those passing it, the Pub specialises in supplying general food and alcoholic beverages to all who venture inside it with basic gambling services. Entertainment is restricted to local musicians and the live sports streamed from across human and Covenant space. Occasionally, some local venues will pay the establish to host more niche broadcasts. From this viewpoint, the Irk Pub should've been reduced to a footnote to most beings - and yet, it's constantly full of occupants. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, the establishment prides itself on true neutrality, offering it's services to all regardless of their affiliation, ambitions or history. This is enforced by well-paid bouncers who indiscriminately and forcibly remove anyone who poses any sort of threat. Secondly, the bar's lack of surveillance and generally-distracting atmosphere has allowed it to become a haven for people to speak about sensitive subjects without drawing much attention. Information, contracts for assassinations, and even high-level negotiations can take place here.
Pub entertainment hosted by its artificial intelligence include simulated showings of the battle royale-style betting game, Survival of the Fittest. Occurring only once every few years, the AI uses detailed breakdowns of character profiles, prebuilt maps, and a classified combination of algorithms and hand-written scripts to create a realistic deathmatch between some of the most famous names in the galaxy. This never fails to draw in large numbers of customers, and the bar changes their standard drinks menu and redecorate the establishment to celebrate the occasion.
Blue Star Sacred Destinations
"Blue Star might seem legitimate, but all they are is another major Syndicate breeding ground."
Established during the 27th Age of Discovery (circa 2245), Blue Star Sacred Destinations started as a rather small cruising guild owned by the Silver Spar Kig-Yar family. Strangled by the Covenant's regulations on corporate entities, Blue Star once specialised in personal tour guides, offering the chance for those less wealthy in the Covenant to visit and pray within most spectacular ruins left behind by the Forerunners. For most of their history, they only operated on a handful of distinguished colonies, expanding and shrinking through the ages. What remains of the company has been gutted and sold on to restore the Transcendent Passage, where restructured themselves to take advantage of its unique business opportunity.
One reason why Blue Star has never truly grown is because its brand was used as a front for the Silver Spar's less respectable dealings. Over the years, rumours that its passengers have been attacked by pirates or outright robbed by their tour guides have been documented and then buried by the corporation's senior staff. Their growth can be directly correlated with periods where the Kig-Yar were very conservative in their practices, as Covenant scrutiny of any kind can lead to harsh punishments. This left them in a position to be exploited by the Syndicate following the end of the Human-Covenant War, where they became just another brand they could use to fund their illicit operations.
"A diligent crew and a family of thousands live within these walls. You can easily hear them scuttling in the bulkheads if you listen through the metal."
― Argo 'Varvin, ONI Asset and former Covenant assassin, speaking on the Yanme'e crew aboard the Passage.