BroodClan Kirios make their home in a string of colonies and holdings at the edge of human space. They are a new BroodClan under high pressure to grow; this pressure led to their unsuccessful attempt to starve out and conquer the Asian Coalition colony at Ermina III . Following their failure they quickly and retreated back behind their borders to prepare their next move.
The Bastion is inferior to the Clanship in speed, armour and weaponry and costs 1.5 times the price to construct. On the surface, it is a poor choice of investment. And yet in recent times it has been at the centre of several Wun’Tux military victories.
Wun’Tux BroodClans traditionally fought small-scale engagements with formations of their sturdy capital ships; they could only deploy Twinfangs from their largest, most valuable ships and saved such for large scale engagements (like their invasion of Illayko territory). Their fatal meeting with humankind changed all of that.
In the beginning, the old tactics of the Wun’Tux were enough – early human explorers were unable to breach the armour of their opponents with fighter or capital-ship weaponry. As technology and tactics advanced, new options presented themselves with rockets, missiles and other explosives – including those fitted to fightercraft. The majority of Wun’Tux raiding parties operated without fighter cover of their own and found themselves extremely vulnerable to human squadrons, first and foremost Americans out of Highpoint.
The Bastion was rushed into production by BroodClan Xylos. Xylos were one of the largest and most dangerous of the BroodClans but even they could not afford to have a carrier in every place at every moment. The Bastion was designed loosely around the frame of the Clanship but modernised and updated. The most important addition came to the craft’s aft; an external fighter rack.
In the most simple sense, the Bastion allows cheap deployment of fightercraft to smaller engagements. It helped to level the playing field against human forces and beyond. More enterprising BroodClans found increasingly intelligent uses for the ship, e.g. when BroodClan Soulfront used the ships to successfully destroy USS Ranger in a coordinated ambush.
The Bastion is a valuable addition to any Wun’Tux raiding party but has obvious flaws. It is slower to manovere and the crews are generally less battle-ready when compared to their Clanship counterparts. The Clanship has an impressive covering of durillium armour plate, even in percieved ‘weak’ areas; the Bastion has gaps in the armour plate, leaving it open to opportunistic damage. The biggest weakness is around the fighter racks – even minor damage can make the equipment un-usable and rob a roving Wun’Tux group of fighter cover until repair.
Certain corporations have accused the Dawn Chorus’ manufacturers of sanctioning piracy. The ‘Brig’-class of ship is somewhere between a freighter and a warship, leading to rampant popularity with pirates and other malcontents.
The triple-drive array is solid and hard working, the armour thick and durable. Like modern warships, the Dawn Chorus has weapons on the top and bottom of it’s hull. The main armament is a single-barrel plasma cannon with built-in targeting pulse, whilst the bottom of the vessel fields photon turrets. The keel and dorsal surfaces are also covered with fast-tracking flak turrets, giving not insignificant protection from fighters.
The Dawn Chorus is used legitimately by small corporations and independent traders on the Outer Rim, to get cargo from A-to-B without needing an expensive escort. It is used less legitimately by any pirates and raiders with enough cash to buy and maintain one. Unfortunately for said pirate captains, the ship needs a lot of loot to keep running. Bounties on Dawn Chorus captains ride high and are collected quickly, by other pirates or bounty hunters both.
Manufacturer: Dutch Defence Vehicle Systems
Role: Armed Merchantmen/Pirate
– 1 x Plasma Cannon [with targetting pulse generator]
– 2 x Photon Cannon [turreted]
– 3 x Flak Turrets [dorsal and keel]
Notable Vessels: ISS Kiwako: flic.kr/p/nZiNTT
Above: The USS Kittyhawk taking on supplies at an independent asteroid base
Strike Carriers often operate alone behind enemy lines for weeks at a time, gathering and acting on intelligence. The ‘Hawk had been laying low the shadow of a gas giant when its patrol fighters detected movement. Several Wun’Tux transport ships with a light escort appeared to have been pulled out of FTL travel at the edge of the system’s gravity well – a not uncommon occurrence when jump courses are plotted without due care and attention. They presented such a tempting target that it gave the US commander pause for thought.
The loss of the USS Ranger had happened only three months previously and was still fresh on people’s minds and the Kittyhawk’s commander was an enthusiastic proponent of the new tactics and ideas trained at Highpoint. She drew back her fighter patrols and initiated a wide-band jamming, disrupting human and Wun’Tux communication for hundreds of kilometres around. Nothing happened immediately, but within fifteen minutes a much larger fleet of Wun’Tux Clanships arrived – in attack formation. The Kittyhawk had forced them to show themselves, however, and the shoe was on the other foot.
The Wun’Tux ships positioned themselves to leave; to all intents and purposes appearing to believe their trap had failed. This left a hole in their formation; one the Kittyhawk gladly took advantage of. She left the shadow of the gas giant at full burn, fighters deployed and armed for bear. Scimitars from the ‘Checkmates‘ sliced through Wun’Tux Twinfangs whilst the Kittyhawk engaged targets of opportunity; scoring hits against the vulnerable hind quarters of warships and transport alike. She sewed chaos amongst the would-be ambush force and had escaped the gravity well with her fighter wings before they could react.
The incident was a great embarrassment to the would-be ambushers, BroodClan Soulfront. They had worked hard to gain the respect of the larger and more established BroodClans with novel tactics and strategy; to have an ambush fail so specatularly dealth their growing reputation a significant blow.
The USEF were left with questions of their own; how had the Wun’Tux known where the ship would be and how to plan such an ambush. Superstitious crewmen told stories of reptilian mind control but the more reasonable explanation was perhaps more worrying; Wun’Tux collaborators within the military itself.
The Chromedog is a modern model of hoversled capable of traversing all manner of terrain at high speed. This ability makes the ‘sled stand out in a crowd; it is at home racing atop of a range of terrain – from hard rock desert to undulating ocean. This important development came as sled pilots were challenging themselves with more and more difficult circuits; plotting deviously daring courses filled with environmental hazards. The older ‘sled designs couldn’t cut it against swamp zones, glacial areas and quicksand hairpins. The Chromedog was designed to excel on any terrain pilots could throw at it.
It was a Chromedog that first really challenged the fiendish Redthorn circuit set up on Iiori V; its ability to keep a constant speed across ice, water and rocky ground led to a time within a second of Redthorn’s personal best.
Although predominantly used as a racing craft, the elite special forces of the human factions (Second Sabre, the USEF, etc.) are known to use the craft as a fast transport. Its ability to move swiftly and not be bogged down by environmental conditions gives it an advantage over even atmospheric insertion craft.
Above: A ‘Chromedog’ model hoversled
The term ‘hoversled’ is usually applied to terrestrial vehicles powered by repulsorlifts, with no additional wheels, skids or other support. More commonly, it refers to heavily customised craft built for high speed racing and stunts.
Repulsor technology became prevalent during the Second Age of FTL travel; it was deployed to prevent crash-landings during colonisation and became a staple for all manner of colonists. It also allowed newly found settlements to transport heavy loads large distances more easily. Cheap repulsorlift technology made it into the hands of children, first in desktop toys and then in ‘hovercars’; cargo containers made able to hover in place. These children took to riding the contraptions down hills – the steeper the hill, the higher speeds they could attain.
As these children grew older, the designs grew more elaborate. New drives were added which could ‘push’ the craft forward, meaning speed without having to travel downhill. Colonists on New Riga were the first to race these craft around rudimentary courses; this created rivalries and led to the development of faster and more agile craft. It was on New Riga that the term ‘hoversled’ was coined; would-be sled racers from nearby human worlds tuned into pirate broadcasts from the planet to watch races and tournaments.
Hoversleds hit the big time from the end of the Third Age. Megacorporations began to take an interest in their production and maintenance; resulting in advanced models like the Chromedog. Even with modern technology and thought applied to their design, hoversleds remained dangerous and volatile craft to pilot. Most safety measures are eschewed in exchange for speed and horsepower; around 40% of sled pilots are estimated to suffer life-changing injury or death.
The most dangerous circuit exists on the icy plains of Iiron V; it is an invite-only race administered by the unbeaten designer of the course, the old mercenary Redthorn.
The Iiron System lies on the edge of European Union territory. It’s fifth planet is (barely) suitable for human habitation and is gifted with enough valuable minerals and resources to warrant a small colony. The population is mostly of Scandinavian ancestry and have adapted to survive the cruel climate.
Above: Redthorn’s home and hoversled
The place is isolated and lacks any inherent excitement; these qualities led to Daniel Redthorn choosing the place for his eventual retirement. It was so separated from civilisation as to hide him from ex-targets and employees seeking bloody retribution, but after a while this led into boredom. Redthorn subsequently ordered a custom Blackbird hoversled and took to racing the high octane craft through the icy crevices and ravines to satisfy his thirst for risk and adventure.
Racing against himself and the elements eventually became monotonous, though. Redthorn began to send out messages to the best hoversled racers, inviting them to compete. The Iiron V course soon became known as the most difficult circuit in the known galaxy.
S.E.D.s (static explosive devices) can range from the most basic I.E.D. (improvised explosive device) all the way up to advanced and intelligent mines. The lion’s share of devices in use fall somewhere between these two extremes and have played a significant role in galactic warfare and politics.
Humans had all but abandoned use of mines before the Second Age of FTL travel. They almost forgot about the idea until a rude awakening when they ventured, accidentally, into Wun’Tux territory. Prospectors rushed to an asteroid belt and recorded a collection of strange, scrap-like objects littered throughout before a number of explosions engulfed them. The asteroid belt had been – unbeknownst to the humans – stripped clean by the reptilian race who then engaged in a style of ‘Scorched Earth’ never before seen by civilian miners.
Three more groups of prospectors were lost before it came to the attention of the American military who wrestled with a dilemma; the existence of the Wun’Tux was still a secret following the incident at Freya but they didn’t want to lose any more civilians to mine fields. The compromise involved blaming human pirates (although this didn’t stop the rumours amongst superstitious miners of secret military experiments or giant space monsters).
It wasn’t long before USEF scouts discovered one of these fields. They quickly found if they moved slowly enough and in small enough numbers the devices would not go off. Defusing them proved more difficult – an arduous task involving explosives specialists in vac-suits. The prospect of having to do so for every possible field of mines was logistically unviable – the military needed an easier, more efficient method.
The task was farmed out to the new military science (MilSci) staff at Highpoint. The most obvious way – controlled detonation – was untenable as the mines had a tendency to explode in a chain reaction and damage nearby resources. The Wun’Tux devices were unsophisticated and volatile; it was this lack of sophistication that would prove their undoing. American military scientists knew the reptiles must have had a way to activate the mines in the first place – apprentice scientists were given the repetitive task of bombarding the devices with all manner of radio, sensor and jamming waves and observing the effects. All of their attempts to jam using wide bands of frequencies failed, but after weeks of sleep-deprived experimenting the science teams found the ‘magic frequency’, a continuous, local broadcast of which would switch off the proximity sensors. These broadcast vanes were placed onto extended apertures – nicknamed ‘wings’ for their appearance – and tested on remotely piloted ships in live fields. They worked perfectly.
The technology proved cheap and effective; militaries built a number of specialist minesweepers but civilians were more likely to install the tech on any old capital-scale ship they could find. Thus the term ‘minesweeper’ became common.
De-constructing Wun’Tux mines gave the Highpoint Mil-Sci division food for thought, however, and they began to develop their own mines – more sophisticated and resistant to deactivation. These modern human mines are painted with sensor-absorbent coating and run on very little power, making them very difficult to detect. They are deployed at suspected jump and choke points as a deterrent to various interlopers.
Other species use S.E.D.s in various guises and mission profiles meaning minesweepers are a regular sight around the galaxy – both military ships and independent operators selling their services to the highest bidder.