How does Rank I of the Heavy Gunner talent Covering Fire react with melee attacks?

Rank I of the Heavy Gunner Talent Covering Fire is on page 97 of the Lancer Core Book First Edition PDF as follows (focus on mine):

As a quick action, choose a character within the line of sight and range of one of your HEAVY ranged weapons and within 10 spaces: you will be affected until the start of your next turn. If your target moves more than 1 field for the duration, Impaired will be deleted You can attack them in response to a HEAVY-RANGE weapon to do half damage, (heat), or (burning).and then this effect ends. You can carry out this attack at any time during your movement (e.g. wait until you leave the cover).

COVERING FIRE can only affect one character at a time – subsequent uses replace previous ones – and ends immediately if your target damages you.

How p. With 104 of the core book notes under the "Patterns" heading in the "Weapons Tags" section, some weapons affect an area rather than a single target:

Some weapons and systems have special attack patterns: LINE, CONE, BLAST and BURST. These attacks affect all targets in a defined area and require a separate attack roll for each target. The damage is rolled once and the bonus damage is halved if multiple targets are affected.

The section then describes how these 4 types of AoEs work in particular.

How does Covering Fire's response to melee attacks work?

  • First of all, AoE attacks (with heavy ranged weapons) can even be
    made with the Covering Fire reaction?
  • If so, they must be centered (or otherwise focused) on the
    Character selected for covering fire? Or they can be placed in any one
    Configuration as long as the selected character is in the AoE? (Tut
    The answer depends on which AoE pattern the attack must use.)
  • Does the reaction attack affect only the selected character? Or do it
    Impact on other goals in AoE how else? (But if
    affect other AoE targets, take full damage / heat / burn,
    or is it also halved?)