Space Transport & Combat

Boomer

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Not as au fait with the current lore, probably none of this fits anymore, but I figured it couldn't hurt to re-post some of the background work I did on space travel, space warfare and the like for the original game(s), hope it's still in the correct sentiment :smug: - PS: This took a lot longer to format than I thought it would, was going to post the some other FoM lore/story stuff I wrote too, but I guess I'll put that up another time

Armaments

Solid Shot


Even in a time of lasers and plasma weaponry a good old solid slug has its use. Ammunition is cheap to produce, there are no energy constraints on the ship systems and a one-ton lump of metal tearing through a ship does about as much damage as any laser. Also included in the solid shot systems are missiles, rockets and torpedoes.

Rail-guns
Rail guns use magnetic rails to propel a metal slug at hyper-velocities, but even with today’s technology they are temperamental and prone to breaking. They can, like most other ballistic weapons, fire anything from solid titanium armour penetrating rounds, to explosive sub-munitions, to magnetically contained plasma incendiary rounds.

Artillery
“When your systems are failing and the fires are raging, you can always count on a good old cannon” – Captain Gallagher of the GDS Apache

Even to this day regular shell firing cannon are used on space craft. Their sheer robustness, reliability and ease of maintenance far outweigh any accusations of them being archaic. With little in the way of weight concerns in the zero g of space, guns can be as big as the ship can manage. Much like rail-guns a VAST range of shot can be utilised. Modern systems utilise automatic loading systems, allowing hundreds of guns to be fired from one command position.

Dumb-fire Missile systems
Over 50% of the cost of a missile is its guidance system, cutting this out means many more can be produced, and when aiming at capital ships at close range, there is no requirement for fancy guidance systems. Also, removing the guidance system means that a larger payload can be installed, meaning more bang for your buck.

Guided missiles
Almost exclusively used on fighters (larger ships employ the larger and more devastating torpedoes), modern guidance systems are almost completely fool-proof. They track using radiation and ion emissions, heat and radar. Although with modern jumps in tracking systems also means jumps in counter-measures, and no tracking system is 100% un-foolable. Due to a high requirement in manoeuvrability and tracking systems, missile payloads tend to be small and ineffective in combating anything over a frigate.

Torpedoes
Slow and lumbering torpedoes are the most deadly of the solid weaponry. Each one carrying far in excess of a thermo-nuclear weapons payload, their speed and manoeuvrability means they are easily destroyed by fighters and defence turrets, but it isn’t unusual for them to have shielding. Their guidance systems are far from sophisticated, but it is more than enough for their main prey, capital ships.


Energy weapons

With the constant miniaturisation and scaling of modern technology and huge jumps in power efficiency, energy weapons are become more and more at the forefront of battles. What they lack in flexibility in relation to solid shot, they make up for in sheer destructiveness.

Lasers
Long since abandoned on an infantry basis due to weight and power constraints, such concerns mean nothing in the massive scope of ship to ship combat. Sometimes known as lances, lasers cut through hull armour like butter, but are easily stopped by shields. More often mounted to the fore of a ship, or on turrets, and are not as commonly seen on gun-decks.

Plasma
Plasma is not as commonly seen these days due to the relatively slow velocity of the shot, and the volatility of it’s ammunition. Easily defeated by thermo-ceramic coatings on hull armour, it makes short work of shields.

Vortex Weaponry
Ship mounted vortex weapons are exactly the same as infantry grade weapons, only much larger. Working along the same principles as the Vortex drive, the damage potential of anti-matter eats through shielding like it wasn’t there, and wreaks havoc on exposed ship systems like antennae and dishes.

Fusion cannons
While still completely experimental, and only mounted as a combat weapon on one GDN ship, fusion cannons use deuterium to create a fusion reaction between a hydrogen and a helium atom. This reaction is magnetically contained and fired at the target. On impact the magnetic containment fails and the full power of the fusion reaction is unleashed on the target.

Ion cannons
Due to the ease of shielding from, and repairing after being crippled by one, Ion cannons aren’t fitted as standard to GDN ships. Instead they are heavily used by LED ships in order to incapacitate a ship to allow it to be taken into custody. Unfortunately this means they are also great at disabling freighters and cargo ships for pirates and raiders. Ion cannons cause widespread electrical interference and make the majority of ships systems unresponsive. While expensive, and power hungry, there is no substitute.


Deployment

Where a weapon is deployed on a ship is almost as deciding as when it’s fired. Due to the cost of energy weapons, and their drain on a ships system less amounts of them can be brought to bear, therefore it is more common to see larger energy weapons mounted in turrets, so their firepower can be brought to bear in a number of directions. This is also because energy weapons require only cables to feed them power, none of the machines and crews required to reload a ballistic weapon. Whereas the much cheaper ballistic weapons are mounted in row after row, deck after deck of guns on the port and starboard of the ship. Torpedoes are almost always mounted to the prow of a ship due to them not needing to be pointed at the target. Most capital ships are studded with turret after turret mounted with defence turrets, small, almost infantry grade weapons designed to defend against fast moving fighters and torpedoes.


Shields

There are two types of shields, Tachyon and Neutron, each protect against different hazards.

Tachyon shields are predominantly used to protect against ballistics from enemy ships, they also offer limited protection from energy weapons, but these sap their energy quickly, and often result in discharged capacitors. Even the largest shield emitter has a maximum sphere it can enclose without risking integrity, therefore multiple shield “domes” are used to protect specific parts of larger ships, for instance you may have one port, starboard, fore, aft, ventral and dorsal. It is also not uncommon for Tachyon shields to be layered on larger ships to provide even more protection. Their effectiveness is directly related to the velocity of the projectile, therefore shells and missiles are stopped easily, while torpedoes can cruise right through.

Neutron shielding is used to protect against radiation and heat, and are different from Tachyon in that they actually create a physical barrier that is environmentally and hermetically sealed, but the size to which one can be projected is so small they are not used to protect the exterior of combat vessels. Instead they are usually used in specific location on mining vessels to protect against the heat caused by mining lasers, or to protect crews from environmental hazards. They are also used internally, usually automatically, to protect from failing or critical Vortex drives, and can also be put into place manually to stop hull breaches that bulk head doors can’t. The LED also makes extensive use of them at DeMorgan’s Castle penal colony.


Ship systems

Propulsion

Vortex Drives

Without the Vortex Drive space travel at the distances we now require would be all but impossible, taking far too many years to be effective. Through the wonders of the Vortex Drive we can now move hundreds of thousands of tons of material at speeds far in excess of the speed of light. Before the Great War in 2055, Japanese scientists had been working feverishly on the development of a propulsion system that would leave all known alternatives to history. Now the first published disclosure of this theoretical work has been uncovered.

But how does it work?

The key lies in the energy production capabilities of antimatter. Over the last 100 years the production of antimatter has been accelerated and optimized, and it is now possible to store in little cells or blocks. Utilizing the incredible energy of matter-antimatter interactions, the Vortex-Drive is able to manipulate the fabric of space-time, allowing for nearly instantaneous travel. The implementation of this technology in space cruisers means that we can reach the farthest reaches of our galaxy in a fraction of the time it would have taken using more archaic methods. The most recent version of the vortex drive, the Vortex 5, has a maximum velocity of 35c (that’s 35 times the speed of light).

Even with recent reductions in cost and size of Vortex drives, mounting one on anything smaller than a frigate or transport isn’t practical. Therefore smaller vessels, like shuttles and fighters require more efficient forms of propulsion.


Ion drive
The full name of an Ion drive is a Pulsed inductive Ion thruster (or PIITs). A PIIT uses perpendicular electric and magnetic fields to accelerate a propellant. A nozzle releases a puff of gas (usually argon) which spreads across a flat induction coil of wire about 1 meter across. A bank of capacitors releases a pulse of electric current lasting 10 microseconds into the coil, generating a radial magnetic field. This induces a circular electrical field in the gas, ionizing it and causing the ions to revolve in the opposite direction as the original pulse of current. Because their motion is perpendicular to the magnetic field, the ions are accelerated out into space producing forward momentum. The electrical charges required are produced via Plasma Coil power generators.

Unlike the older electrostatic ion thrusters, PIIT requires no electrodes (which are susceptible to erosion and therefore limited range) and its power can be scaled up simply by increasing the number of pulses per second.


Rocket Engines
Still used today, Rocket engines are cheap and easy to manufacture, working the same way as ever, a fuel is burnt and exhaust gases are expelled out the rear of the vessel. Inefficient and requiring a lot of fuel, these days less and less rocket engines are used, but it will be some time before they are phased out completely.


Power

Every ship requires a way to power its many systems, from life support to Ion drives. Originally nuclear fission (the same method used in nuclear submarines of the 21st – 22nd centuries) was the best method to power ships, and is still used in older, smaller ships. But as ship systems grew, and range was increased a new method was required. This was found in Fusion with macroscopic regions of high energy plasma, this fusion comes from high effective temperatures produced by electrostatic acceleration of ions.

The plasma is stored in twin helix coils; these can be anything from the size of a test tube, to twice the height of a man. Although this power comes at a price, while magnetically contained the plasma coils are harmless, you could eat your dinner off of the containers. But if the containment fails, the temperature of the coils will rise exponentially, until they reach critical mass. Alone this is devastating, but when this happens on a ship fitted with a vortex drive, it can cause a melt-down style effect with the anti-matter matter reaction creating a mini big-bang.


Navigation


Navigating in space is done in much the same way as the ancient sailors of Earth used to, although on much grander scale. There are two methods, both of which are used on all ships.

First, all of known space is divided into sectors, each axis has a incremental naming system. The X axis (left to right when looking at the standard dominion map) is Alpha to Xi (Greek letters). The Y axis (up and down) is 1 to 6, and the Z Axis is A to G. All start at the top left corner. Now this system allows for any ship to relay where in space it is, but each of these sectors are still vast, and it would still be hard to find a ship or location smaller than a moon within them.

Therefore every ship has a navigation database on board, this contains within its memory every star, planet and moon constellation, and every mathematical equitation required to work out what each would look like from different angles. Once it can find at least three constellations it recognises it uses simple red-shift mathematics to determine distance, with this information it has an exact six figure co-ordinate using the constellations as reference points, this method is called the 3 star system.

For example, if you wanted to find a ship in distress, it would communicate to you two sets of co-ordinates, the first would be the sector (i.e. Gamma-3-D), once at the required sector you would use the second system to get an exact location. The co-ordinates used by the 3 star-system are large and hard to understand, they contain within them a reference number for each 3 constellations and the ships XYZ location from them.


S356.K456.M3567.34.26.12


The first three parts (S356, P456 and M3567) are the astral bodies, and the second three are the XYZ co-ordinates in AU.


Communication

People need to communicate at all times, be it the LED checking a freighters cargo manifest, or a corp. ordering new parts for a mining drill. Almost all communications are carried on Tachyon carrier signals. These allow for almost instantaneous communication over the most gigantic of distances.


Oxygen

Every ship contains tanks of pressurised Neox (blended Neon and Oxygen, also used in submarines and SCUBA systems). But if the Neox in the tanks where the only supply then space journeys would be very short, and require lots of re-supplying. Therefore ships have air-scrubbers, which recycle the air circulated. With air scrubbers the amount of breathable air on a ship that would normally last only months, can last for years.


Escape pods/Life Boats

Every ship has a form of escape mechanism by law, even if it is only a simple rebreather hood, there must be enough for each member of the crew (this law does not include penal transports). Larger more expensive ships usually have Life boats, which can almost be considered smaller vessels; these usually have all the necessary items to allow survival for as many survivors as it is rated for, for up to six months. There is also an increasing trend for them to have stasis units onboard; allowing survivors to enter hibernation like stasis that can last for many months, in fact the longest recorded survival was of 5 years and 3 months.


Fire

All ships have extensive Halon fire extinguishing systems throughout their decks. These are automatically set off in the event of the fire, and if possible the afflicted area/deck is closed off by Neutron force-fields or bulkhead doors.



Global Dominion Forces


Global Dominion Navy (GDN)


Many people argue the funds poured into global dominion navy are far in excess of what is required, that no other single force can muster anything near the massive fleets that the Dominion is capable of, and that it is simply there as a show of power. But the Dominion argues that prevention is better than a cure and many a trader feels more than safe with the knowledge that nothing short of a cruiser is but a transmission away.

Formed in 2155 to protect the growing human empire from raiders and pirates, and to transport FDC armies safely across the galaxy. Routed in tradition and history, many of the GDN’s ways hark back from the Navies of the 18th century.

The navy falls under the direct command of the Global Dominion, with three Fleet Admirals, each with their own fleet at their command. Fleet Admiral Flint Parol is in command of all fleets within the Sol system, Fleet Admiral Samuel Jackoby is in command of sectors Alpha 1-A to Zeta 6-G, and Fleet Admiral Elizabeth Blake Eta 1-A to Xi 6-G. Under the Fleet Admirals are the Admirals, one under the command of Parol, three under each Jacoby and Blake. The Fleet Admirals each have their own flagship; the largest of these is the GDS Yukon, the largest ship in the Navy’s fleet and the only one of its class. It is currently under the command of Fleet Admiral Elizabeth Blake. Each admiral has his or her own ship, under the command of the admirals are a number of captains and commanders, each with their own ships. It is often not uncommon to give the command of a wing of destroyers or frigates to one Captain, with a Lieutenant-Commander in command of each individual ship, although, regardless of official rank, the most senior person on a ship is referred to as “Captain” officially, or “Skipper” usually by the their crew.

Each fleet (in-fact calling each a fleet is somewhat grandiose, but is the accepted term nonetheless) is in charge of defending it’s own sectors, therefore the fleets under Jakoby and Blake are the largest, with Parol’s fleet (Fleet Sol) only having to defend the inner Sol system, nevertheless, the commander of the Sol Fleet is considered to out rank the other two Fleet Admirals, although it is rare for any “pulling of rank”, to occur. The other two fleets, Libertia (Freedom, Liberty (under Jacoby)) and Equitas (justice, fairness, equality (under Blake)) see more in the way of combat, and are therefore more hardened, as such there is a certain animosity between the two outer fleets and that which is stationed on the innermost.

The navy works in very close relation with the FDC, anything larger than a mounted weapon has to be shipped to a theatre of war via GDN transports. Also in large-scale combat situations, ground support is lent to the FDC via GDN bombers and fighters, drop-ships ferry more troops, fresh supplies and ammunition to the lines, and take the wounded back. Also all GDN ships have a contingent of FDC marines onboard. Trained and equipped by the FDC, falling under ultimate FDC control, they also form the forefront of boarding parties and perform day to day security details on GDN ships.

The LED work more detached from the Navy, organising their own transports and escorts, although it isn’t unknown for the GDN to supply heavier escorts, and to help in deep space tracking of wanted criminals.

Space combat owes a lot to the old naval schooling of the late 16th to 19th centuries. Large ships mount the most lethal of their weaponry along the port and starboard, and therefore still fight much the same as the old “ships of the line”. A Battleship or Battle-Cruiser is a formidable vessel, bristling with guns and flight decks, seemingly invincible, able to crush whole planets with her wrath. But they need supporting by smaller vessels, some much more specialised than others, some built for only one purpose in mind.



Global Dominion Navy Classes

Emperor class battleship:
The largest of the fleet, the Emperor class battleship is a floating fortress; it is armed with multiple torpedo tubes mounted to the prow, and to the port and starboard it has a mass of gun decks. Keel and Dorsal mounted are positionable turrets, mounting lighter versions of the gundeck's weaponry, lighter defence turrets are mounted all over the hull, to attack fighters, bombers and incoming torpedoes, as well as a mass of flight decks capable of launching fighters, bombers, interceptors, and assault/drop ships studding her sides. At the moment only one Emperor Class is in service, and this is the GDS Yukon under the captaincy of Fleet Admiral Elizabeth Blake of the Equitas fleet. She is also the only ship with a vortex gate, which is of course only useable while the ship is stationary.

Overlord class Battlecruiser: The overlord is one step down from the Emperor class. It is built up pretty much the same as the Emperor class, but with a lower amount of guns. It also has a severely limited amount of flight decks, only being able to employ one squadron of interceptors. There are currently only two overlords in active service, the first of which, the GDS Iron Duke which is the flag ship of the Libertia fleet under Fleet Admiral Samuel Flint. The second is the GDS Wessex under the Captaincy of Admiral Wednesday, who is the second in command of the Sol fleet. There is a third overlord, the GDS Pacific, but it is currently undergoing a refit at the Titan Shipyards, when she is brought back into active service it is widely accepted she will join the Libertia fleet under the Captaincy of the newly promoted Admiral Jankins. There was a fourth Overlord class cruiser, the GDS York (renamed the MBS Armageddon circa. 2389), who, under the captaincy of Captain Diego Hauus, turned on the Dominion.

Lunar class cruiser: So named because it is designed to defend the inner Sol system. It can therefore sacrifice operational range for increased weaponry; taking advantage of being able to rely on it not having to travel far to get anywhere it needs to go. Slow and lumbering the Lunar class cruiser are rumoured to be harder to actually cripple than a battleship, but most enemy ships can attack and run, rearm and attack again. There are currently four Lunar class vessels in GD service, the GDS Glasgow, GDS Vigilant, GDS Invincible and the GDS Sword of Sol, all of which are part of the Sol Fleet.

Broadsword class cruiser: The backbone of the GDN, the Broadsword class makes up the main “ship of the line” contingent in any fleet. The Broadsword class' main attack power lies in its massive amounts of flight decks. It sacrifices a large amount of gundecks to be able to launch a much larger than normal amount of attack craft. It also has no torpedo tubes on the prow, instead it has a huge sensor array to help co-ordinate its fighters. There are six of them in service, the GDS Grant, GDS Nelson, GDS Vigilant, GDS Lion, GDS Belfast and the GDS Illustrious. The first three are part of Fleet Equitas, the next two being part of Fleet Libertia, and the Last part of the Sol Fleet.

Sword class light cruiser: The emphasis of the sword class is speed and manoeuvrability. Built from the ground up as hunter-killers they usually roam in packs of two. Armed with only a very light amount of gun decks and batteries, and no fighter squadrons, it's main power lies in it’s forward energy weapons. There are four Sword class in active service, the GDS Dauntless, GDS Angelic, GDS Silver Spear and the GDS Ironside, the first three being part of Fleet Libertia, and the last being part of Fleet Equitas.

Aegis class frigate: The Aegis class frigates are employed to defend the fleet and are the only ship to employ the "Wasp" AI piloted "swarm" drones. It has row upon row of launch tubes for these small ships, which due to not having to carry any life support system are exceedingly light and fast, and used to intercept incoming torpedoes and bombers. It also has a massive (in proportion to the ship) sensor/jamming array.

Pax class frigate: Used for deep patrols of the fringe territories, the Pax frigates usually work in two packs of four. Mounting two forward torpedo tubes and on each side a "pontoon" of forward fire weaponry.

Nova class frigate: The Nova class is a still not finalised prototype design. The idea behind its design is to employ a new breakthrough in fusion weapon technology. It mounts underneath it, running almost the whole length of its keel, a massive fusion cannon. Due to the amount of power systems required to run this new weapon system, it employs only a few other lighter turrets.

Javelin class destroyer: Used for, and named because of it, to intercept and take out smaller enemy ships that may become separated from an enemy fleet and to quickly reposition to take on incoming fighters. It mounts a lot of dorsal weapon batteries.

Pegasus class destroyer: The lightest of the two destroyers, its offensive arsenal is completely comprised of torpedo's, with only some defensive turrets.

Hammer class corvette: Used to intercept fighter squadrons, it mounts lots of fast, light turrets and guided interceptor missiles.

Bombers: The GDS Bomber squadrons comprise of three classes. The heavy 3 man (Pilot/Bomber and 2 defensive gunners) Rhino, lighter 2 man (Pilot/bomber and gunner) Bulldog and the 3 man (Pilot, Torpedo operator and defensive gunner) Swordfish torpedo bomber.

Fighters: The GDS Fighter squadrons comprise of fighters, interceptors and the new AI controlled drones. The Griffon heavy fighter has both forward fire ballistics and energy, and guided missiles; it also has dorsally mounted light cannon, which is enslaved to the pilot’s helmet. The Spitfire light fighter has forward fire energy weapons and guided missiles, while the Shade interceptor has only forward fire ballistic weaponry. There have also been reports of a new classified interceptor, which employs a type of vortex shielding, making it invisible to all sensors. The Wasp AI controlled drone, "swarmer", is controlled from it's mother ship, due to it not requiring any life support systems, it is VERY light, manoeuvrable and fast. Mounting forward firing energy weapons, it is also not uncommon for them to be used to ram torpedos to prematurely destroy them.

Drop/Assault ships: The GDN has drop-ships designed to get troops from ships to the grounds, then stay and supply ground fire support, the line between FDC and GDN control over Drop ships is somewhat blurred, and although technically they are Navy property, only the most foolhardy captain will overrule a commanding officer on the ground’s requests. The Apache class drop-ship can hold 12 Troops or one small vehicle, it has a small troop capacity due to its extensive weapons systems, it has a chin mounted heavy assault cannon, and masses of forward fire air to ground missiles. To get troops to the ground a lot faster the GDS uses the Minotaur drop-ship, armed with nothing but a few anti-infantry turrets, the Minotaur can carry 40 infantry, 4 light or 2 heavy vehicles. The warthog assault boat is used for boarding manoeuvres where a hull breach is necessary. It is almost cuboid and has a large door in the front, it attaches it's self to the enemy hull and cuts a hole in the hull, then opens its door to disgorge its 20 marines.

Crew
The crew are the lifeblood of any ship, from gunners to engineers, from cooks to medics and doctors. A lot of the systems on board a ship today are automated, so where in the past a ship the size of the Yukon would require 600 or more personnel, only 180 are required. All crew on board are trained in the use of firearms, so that in the event of a boarding, engineers will swap their wrenches for shotguns. All ships also carry contingent of FDC marines, each is heavily armed and armoured, specially trained for ship combat, be it defending against boardings, or performing boarding of their own.

Harbours
The biggest Navy harbour is the Titan Shipyards, where all the larger of the GDN ships are constructed; there is also a smaller harbour at Ceres Delta.

Discipline

“God will judge your sins, after the officer of the watch is done with you.”

– Naval Saying

How harsh the discipline on a ship is pretty much down to how harsh the captain wishes to enforce the rules and laws. It is fully within the powers of the captain of a ship to order the execution of crew members, and while flogging was long since abandoned beatings from security personnel are not uncommon, there is little a captain won’t do if his ship is in jeopardy. Some crews work like a well oiled machine because they respect their captain and will do nothing against him, and other because they live in mortal fear of what the captain can do to them.



Mutiny and Treason
It is not completely unheard of for GDN captains to turn their back on the Dominion and take their ships with them, be it for political or ethical reason, or simply for personal gain. A famous navy saying goes “The President may rule the Dominion, but a Captain rules his ship”, meaning that a crew of a ship is loyal first and foremost to their captain, but then again, this is only to be expected after a crew goes into and out of the jaws of death with him. Although this rarely extends to the FDC stationed on board, they often change from ship to ship, and therefore feel little compassion towards a certain Captain. The last stand of the still GD Loyal FDC marines, against the traitor captain, Captain Diego Hauus is the stuff of legend. 20 marines holding out for 40 days against almost 200 MotB troopers, eventually the deck was depressurised and the marines sucked out into the vacuum of space.

Planetary Bombardment
Publicly, there have been two official planetary bombardments. One was a regular tactical nuke bombardment against Aurelia in response to a Brotherhood supported uprising, and the other was a viral strike against xenomorphs on New Haven. Planetary bombardment is exactly that, a ship or ships in orbit bombard a planet or parts of a planet until they are almost completely annihilated and incapable of having any survivors.

There are multiple methods of planetary bombardment, but they all have the same effect and it is only a matter of choosing the right tool for the right job. Tactical nuclear warheads, either in shell form from the broadsides of a ship, or as the payload of torpedoes is the main method. Using either of these platforms a multitude of other payloads can be delivered, from nuclear, biological or chemical.

It is widely agreed that the Global Dominion no longer has the political clout or iron will required to order a planetary bombardment of anything that would cause death and destruction to humans.


Freedom Defence Corp. (FDC)
As mentioned above, the FDC leaves most of the space-borne activities to the GDN, working with them where ground assaults, via space, are required. Although there are two exceptions to this, the first are drop-ships, while technically navy property, drop-ships are often co-ordinated to their targets by FDC ground troops and it is rare that a GDN official will pull rank and re-route them. The second are two giant transports, officially they are Arc class transports, but they are often referred to as “barges” due to their slow and lumbering speed. The GDS Trojan and GDS Minotaur fall under direct FDC command, and can each transport 750 troops easily, as well as equipment and crew. Relying on GDN support due to their speed and lack of weaponry they are never put into a position where they will come under heavy fire.



Law Enforcement Department (LDC)
The LED is much more detached from the Navy than the FDC are; after all they are a police enforcement agency, not military. While the large GDN ships are constructed by specialist contractors at the Titan ship yards, LED ships are often built by smaller contractors, like the Asian Coalition, at private yards. LED ships are specifically built for one of three roles, Penal Transport, Shipping lane policing, or Criminal Pursuit.



Classes
Thames class penal transport:
The little brother of the Arc class FDC transport. Large and cumbersome, capable of carrying 150 prisoners comfortably, although there have been reports of over 200 prisoners being crammed in. There are only two in service at the moment, and many argue due to Vortex technology they will soon be completely obsolete.

Arbite class cruiser: So called a cruiser due to it being a police enforcement vessel, no where near as large as an actual cruiser, they are more in keeping with the size of a corvette. Heavily used to enforce shipping lanes, and fighting increases in smuggling and illegal shipping, while they are formidably armed, they are not heavy combat vessels.

Spartan class cruiser: Older and slower than the Arbite, the Spartan is being slowly phased out by the newer Arbites, although they are still commonly found enforcing the LED’s laws in more far reaching patrol sectors.

Inquisitor class deep space pursuit: At the cutting edge of tracking/pursuit technology is the Inquisitor. Designed completely for the tracking and bringing into custody felons from the farthest reaches of space. Some argue that the gothic naming of the four vessels, harking back to the days of the Spanish Inquisition, is a sign of things to come, but other argue it is but a intimidating name in order to help their work. Armed with the latest in Ion disruption weapons, Concussion torpedoes and a tracking system the LED boast they can “Track a fly on Pax Prime, from Earth”, having an Inquisitor on your tail is the last thing a smuggler wants.



The Battle of Rigil 5

In 2384 the largest fleet of combined clan ships ever, under the command of a Brotherhood Harbinger by the name of Strauss, moved into position on the dark side of the fifth planet of the star Rigil. The ensuing battle was the largest single engagement of space combat vessels ever witness by mankind, and was also the closest the Dominion has ever come to loosing its flagship, the GDS Yukon.

Deciding to move quickly, President Falk ordered Fleet Equitas, at the time under the command of Heather Jackson, to engage them with the support of two Broadsword class cruisers from the Libertia Fleet. The fleet was to split into two segments, the first, commanded by Jackson, aboard the Yukon, was to take the larger part of the fleet and attack the clan ships head on. The second part, comprising of the two broadswords and one overlord, under the command of a promising new Admiral by the name of Elizabeth Blake, were to hide on the other side of Rigil 6, until the clan ships had moved to engage Jackson and then move around to flank them.

Unbeknownst to Jackson, the clan fleet contained the GDS Oceania, thought to have been lost five years prior, now renamed the BSS Agrippa, she was a heavily upgraded Overlord, utilising a lot of prototype weaponry, powerful enough to rival the Yukon.

The first shot was fired from a clan frigate at the GDS White Fang, a Pegasus class destroyer, crippling her instantly due to a malfunction with her shields. This led to an instant escalation, both sides trading broadsides, lances and missile barrages. The battle raged for many hours, Dominion ships dancing around clan ship, neither commander wanting to play their ace until the other had played theirs. The first move was by Jackson, moving the Yukon to engage a refitted super-heavy freighter that threatened to cripple the GDS Nelson, this was her first mistake, by turning herself diagonal to the Agrippa she gave Strauss the largest possible target; ordering another of his cruisers to break off and attack the Yukon as soon as her mistake was realised. Noticing her mistake but not being able to do enough to rectify it, Jackson ordered Blake to engage. Moving as quickly as she could Blake engaged the Clan fleet from the rear, but couldn’t risk moving in protection of the flagship. Some say Strauss’ short-sightedness in concentrating on taking out the Yukon, and not on winning the battle as a whole saved the Dominion forces. Instead of redeploying his forces to combat this new threat he continued in his quest of crippling the Yukon, eventually causing his defeat.

Noticing her distress, a young Captain by the name of Esquine moved his Pax class frigate, the GDS Incarnadine, between the Yukon and the Agrippa, shielding one flag ship from the wrath of the other. Knowing the position he had put his ship would mean certain destruction, and seeing no viable escape route, Esquine ordered his ship to full speed, aimed directly at the Agrippa. Survivors say that the Incarnadines impact on the Agrippa was blinding, one ship piercing like a spear through the gun-decks of the other. Even giving their size difference the Agrippa suffered catastrophic damage, both ships Vortex drives went critical, both ships were lost.

“I’ll be damned if I’ll let them take the Yukon. Just do me a favour and kill them all...if you can’t do that make the price of our lives a dear one...” – Last communication from Captain Esquine before ramming the Agrippa

“He must be insane...all guns! All ships! TARGET THE INCARNADINE!” – Last words of Harbinger Strauss before being rammed by the Incarnadine


Esquine’s sacrifice bought enough time for the Yukon to get her shield back to maximum capacity, and with the loss of their commander the clan fleet splintered and lost it’s cohesion. The fight only lasted another hour or so, and soon all the clan ships had been destroyed, crippled or had disengaged.

The Battle of Rigil 5 in the end cost the clans more than just a defeat at the hand of the Dominion and the loss of their ships. It gave the Dominion a perfect excuse to keep such a large and grandiose navy, where before it had seemed almost pointless. The engagement also saw attention turning to Admiral Elizabeth Blake, who would eventually become Fleet Admiral, replacing Jackson. The hulk of the Incarnadine and Agrippa has remained in orbit around Rigil 5, and is considered a military grave site. Visitors say parts of where the two ships impacted have been welded together so totally it is impossible to see where one ship ends and the other begins.



Non-GDS Forces


Clans


The clans have ever increasing space assets, their bases secreted on asteroids and moons just this side of the outer rim, it is impossible for the GD to deal with them all. There are three aspects to the clan fleet, the first are refitted commercial and industrial ships second are ex-GD ships, and the third are custom built vessels.

Refitted ships are simply that, civilian ships mounted with extra armour, guns, missiles and combat grade shields. From shuttles to freighters, you'd be surprised how much armour and how many guns can be bolted onto a ship that can carry a small asteroid's worth of minerals. They comprise the largest portion of the clan’s assets and no two are alike, the fitting of trophies and custom “tinkering” is a favourite hobby of many a clanner, but mainly the Mercs. Give a clean, brand new AE yacht to a Merc, and in three weeks time it’ll have guns welded to every available piece of metal and anti-GD slogans and war-paint logos daubed all over its hull. The Brotherhood and the Guardians are more conservative with their ships, but no one can argue that when you don’t have to conform to GD safety protocols, many vessels can be pushed much farther than their builder’s specifications, although at a cost.

Ex-Global Dominion ships make up the smallest part of the clan fleets, some stolen from ship yards, some captured during boarding, or some having mutinied and turned traitor. Their recapture are amongst some of the highest priorities to the Dominion, and many a Captain has devoted his life to the tracking down and imprisonment of a renegade Captain, usually to his own demise.

Custom built ships are almost solely the forte of the Brotherhood due to the large costs involved and the specialities required. The most famous of these are the Reaver class Shadow frigate. Light and fast, the Reaver is the epitome of hit and run ships. These ships are usually constructed in individual parts at separate locations and then “bolted” together later, so that is one site is discovered not everything is lost.


Ships of Renown

MBS Armageddon (formerly the GDS York)

“I hold Captain Diego Hauus in the highest esteem, he is a born naval leader, and he would have made Fleet Admiral...but I guess sometimes a man has to do what he thinks is right, no matter how misguided he may be.” – Attributed to Fleet Admiral Jackoby

In the year 2389 during a small engagement with Brotherhood ships the GDS York under the captaincy of Captain Diego Hauus, and the GDS Penzance under Captain Marcus DeMargo were severed from the GDN communication network. Feared lost the GDS Belfast was sent to search for survivors. What she found was the wreckage of the GDS Penzance and the GDS York in the shadow of an asteroid. When captain of the Belfast hailed the York he was told by Hauus to simply turn back, and to not make the same mistake DeMargo had, telling him that the survivors of the Penzance were onboard and would be released as soon as the York was sure no one was perusing them. Knowing the skill and talent of Hauus, and knowing what happened to the Penzance, a ship of equal class to the York, the captain of the Belfast decided to pull out and not risk her smaller ship. Hauus, true to his word, released the hostage crew of the Penzance and sent a message to the GD as to where they could be located.

Since then the GDS York has been renamed the MBS Armageddon, and is the closest thing the clans have to a flagship.


MBS Hades Hive (aka The Hulk)

“If you see the Hulk on your scopes during an engagement shoot at it with all you have, because if those bastards get on board, it’s all over.” – Anon

The MBS Hades Hive is nothing more than a giant transport vessel, originally used to transport CMG miners and their massive mining vehicles from asteroid to asteroid. It now has a much darker use, working like a tick it attaches it’s self and cuts holes into the target ship then disgorging its 700 or so close combat specialist mercenaries.


BSS Styx

“We are not creatures of shadow, but it serves us well as an ally in battle, and as a refuge to rest” – Damien Locke - Adept of the Styx

The Brotherhood ship “Styx” is a captured Inquisitor class deep space pursuit vessel, it is ironic how a vessel designed to catch criminals, is so good at evading the enforcers. Putting its vast sensor array to work tracking freighters and transports the BSS Styx performs lightning raids, hiding in the shadow of a moon or asteroid, and pouncing on her prey.


Corporations

The corps usually look outside for offensive/defensive ships, be it passively through the Global Dominion, or actively from outside contractors. They therefore concentrate their fund into research, transport and mining vessels. Research vessels with row after row of antennae and dishes, probes of all kinds, and landers for collecting samples from the surfaces of planets, often operating for long times away from civilisation. Corp cargo freighters and mineral transports are huge, often as large as a capital ship, carrying millions of tons of cargo long distances, the larger the ship the more profit. Mining ships use powerful lasers and blasters to cut large chunks off of asteroids, then use gigantic manipulators to move them into waiting cargo ships, or land on moons and planets and start deep drilling operations.

Many corporation executives own their own pleasure launches, known as yachts, these vessels are the height of comfort and pleasure. Of course it isn’t unknown for many executives to take advantage of the slack laws imposed upon them, and to smuggle contraband aboard their private launches.



Pirates, Raiders and Smugglers

The GD would like to lump all the “undesirables” together, but no one can deny that the clans do have a higher goal, while pirates and raiders rarely do. Usually working completely alone with no faction affiliation they are usually dealt with swiftly by Dominion forces, or by tangling with the wrong clans. Nevertheless they do pose a real threat to corporation shipments, and with a noticeable lack of dependable GD protection, more and more corps look to outside contractors to protect them from this threat.

Smugglers on the other hand may or may not be independent, while the MotB’s thirst for battle usually comes top of their agenda; many a Merc has had a successful smuggling operation. BoS too, how else would they get their drugs to Berlin? Smuggling is rife within the Dominion, be it narcotics, illegal arms or other items that the Dominion in their wisdom have decided to embargo, someone has the capability and incentive to bring it to the masses. The GD blame the recent spread of xenomorphs on unchecked and illegal transporting of infected goods.
 
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