The Tenacious Esteem was a Lagurn-patternDDS-class heavy carrier that was in service in the final years of the Covenant Empire. Built during the height of the war with the Jiralhanae, the Esteem was assigned to the Fleet of Righteous Crusaders to crush their military. It would be instrumental in the conflict and beyond, earning several battle-honours to distinguish itself from its peers. Becoming responsible for suppressing a number of key rebellions, it would be in a position to lead a self-sufficient fleet to further the Covenant's borders when the Prophets declared war against humanity. It would be responsible for many successful attacks on human colonies.
In 2538, after being disabled in combat by a UNSC hunting battlegroup, the Esteem would be requisitioned by the Ministry of Tranquility. Retrofitted as a heavy exploration vessel and placed under the command of disgraced Shipmaster Erus 'Redamee, the Esteem would help map the Covenant's borders until 2549. Then, it was attacked and successfully hijacked by a Kig-Yar pirate group. However, as they lacked the manpower to use it, they left it sitting in a dock near their hideout, hoping to sell it for a fortune. Fortunately, the base was infiltrated and then cleansed by the Covenant splinter-faction known as the Knights of Loyalty, the boarding party led by former Field Marshal of the Covenant Empire Jez 'Varum.
Recovering the largely-intact ship, Jez 'Varum would become the ship's latest commander, leading its crew through the chaos of the Great Schism and allying himself with the rising Swords of Sanghelios. It saw use in combat after a long time during the Battle of Earth and Battle of Installation 00. After the Great War's end, Jez would commandeer the Esteem as his personal ship, going on scouting missions and leading the ship in skirmishes against the Covenant Remnant. It assisted the UNSC once more during the 'Hunt for the Revenant', the humans' name for the long-chase for the rogue Spartan known by the name "Revenant", who allied with a Remnant faction which Jez had been tracking down. The Esteem's next major mission was during the Created crisis. The Tenacious Esteem and its crew remained loyal to the valiant commander that was Jez 'Varum till his final battle.
With Xytan 'Nar Wattinree's ascension up to fleet master following the Doomed Penance incident, he was finally given the permissions needed to make his own vessel from scratch. Bringing together a group of trusted shipwrights from Sanghelios itself with permission from the Hierarchs, Xytan contracted them to design a warship that would meet his exacting standards. Calling themselves the Forgemaster's Guild of Veron, they would labor on the new ship for years with assistance from Whispering Trees' secret assembly foundry, integrating the latest knowledge that Xytan's Huragoks provided them with. So long did they take that the shipwrights came to see the young colony as their home, establishing the planet's earliest reputation for engineering excellence.
Their long work would not leave their client unimpressed. Xytan allowed information to leave to a prominent Kig-Yar cartel about the ship's recent completion and stunningly-accurate information on its escorts. As a result, on its first space trials it was attacked by a particularly-large pirate raid, consisting of eighteen Kig-Yar raiders, five stolen ADP-class escorts and even a single pirate cruiser. Challenging them to a direct fight, Xytan's tactics aboard this ship completely beat off the raid with minimal casualties, using the Esteem's slipspace inhibitor to keep them trapped while his forces blew them apart, one by one. Even the raiders that did manage to continue on with boarding his ship stood little chance against his skilled warriors. Satisfied that the carrier could defend itself without much of its fighter complement, Xytan allowed the shipwrights to complete their tests before taking it as his new flagship for his small but ever-growing fleet.
Capture by the Knights
After its long use and capture by the Kig-Yar pirates, the Esteem instead became a spare ship that the pirates had at their disposal to use anytime. Being low on resources and lacking a proper port to dock the ship, the Kig-Yar instead left it adrift but tethered near their hidden outpost somewhere in uncharted space. With the pirates growing in number and strength, they were attacked by the heretical faction known as the Knights of Loyalty, in order to stop them before they become dangerous. During the raid, the Knights found a database with the location of the pirates' hideout and details on the ships present there. Believing that more ships could strengthen them in their fight against the Covenant Empire, the Knights raided the hideout.
On reaching the location in the CAS-class assault carrier the Infinite Transcendence. Different boarding parties were prepared for the ships, and the one that was going to board the Esteem was led by former Field Marshal Jez 'Varum.
Superstructure and Defensive Systems
The Tenacious Esteem was considerable well-powered for a ship of its size, with its primary reactor easily capable of matching the carrier's energy needs. The Esteem used a mixture of tried-and-true technologies in conjunction with a cutting-edge reactor that may have ushered in a new age for Covenant shipbuilders had it seen further deployments and refinements.
Appearing very similar to the Antimatter bombs encountered during the Battle of Earth, these capsules were a dangerous way to acquire an incredible amount of energy for the reactor's size.
The primary Esteem-pattern reactor was actually a reconfigured pinch fusion reactor, heavily-reinforced with internal energy shielding with a modified fuel delivery system. This was necessary as the reactor did not use a conventional fusion reaction; instead, it used the same antimatter compounds as what was used in the Covenant's antimatter charges. This strain was highly-explosive, and if not properly contained could engulf the entire ship in an instantaneous blast. As a result, the energy shields were rated to be as powerful as those used on a CRS-class frigate and were not designed to be shut off, making it impossible for saboteurs to destroy it. The output was highly variable depending on when the antimatter is injected; while the Deuterium reaction-mass was released in a continuously-stable amount, the Covenant never figured out how to do the same with antimatter. Instead, they fired contained capsules into the reactor whenever the reaction reached a certain low-output threshold. The entire system was manned by a dedicated team of three Huragoks, who continuously tinkered with the reactor to increase its efficiency, safety, and capacity. Nevertheless, the reactor was easily the carrier's best asset, producing enough power to allow the shields, engines, and weapons to become up to 250% more powerful for a short time period.
Because Antimatter was a rare and expensive fuel, the reactor was only used in combat operations. Instead, during cruising it was substituted with two Vasiam-pattern medium pinch fusion reactors located in the front 'head' and near the engines. Just shy of being twice as powerful as the Oros-pattern reactors featured on a Soval-pattern CCS-class battlecruiser, these reactors used Helium-3 as fuel and could power the shields, reactor, and engines. However, their power output was only sufficient enough to power half of the weapon systems. Unlike the antimatter reactor, these were also vulnerable to saboteurs; if their shields were disabled and their safety override switched off, their continued operation could flood the ship with dangerous radiation. More threatening, they could increase the heat of the ship's interior to dangerous levels, incinerating everyone in painful slow burns before detonating. For this reason, the shipmaster must remember to always post guard patrols near them to keep them secured and maintain a steady line of hourly reports.