The Tigermoth is a FTL-capable multi-role gunship produced by the Ephii in partnership with deHavilland, a human shipwright company. The fact that the ship is constructed away from the Core Worlds lowered costs and allowed the project to fly ‘under the radar’ of several rules and regulations usually applied to gunships, armed freighters and sub-corvettes.
The vessel is at home in atmosphere as well as hard vacuum; a rear-dorsal thruster suite enables short bursts of speed and agility on top of its regular respectable turn of speed. Agility is aided by a lightweight space-frame of folded-durillium and silver steel alloy; an expensive combination. The default model is fitted with the ‘puck’ a densely packed collection of electronic warfare, scanners and countermeasures. This piece of equipment can give veteran pilots an edge against older ships in opposition, even if they arrive in greater numbers.
The Tigermoth is an expensive vessel to own and operate; independent groups might prefer to purchase two of an older, less capable ship for the same price. Additionally, through unconscious bias or otherwise the controls are more suited to an Ephii navigator/gunner; superstitious crews prefer not to ship out with at least one Ephii member aboard.
It comes equipped with two underslung particle cannons, forward firing, as well as 4 hardpoints for missiles, fuel tanks or other equipment. Explosive-specialised Ephii captains often opt to mount mine launchers over forward firing munitions. This tactic can be devastating against slow moving and tactically stubborn targets, best evidenced by the exploits of the Obdurate Sin in defence of the Ephii colony world at Desii IV.
Desii IV hosted a human mining and processing installation in the Second Age; it was far off of the beaten track and this distance from the Core Worlds meant it avoided rules, regulations and worker’s rights in order to strip the planet bare of minerals and resources useful to industry. Years later and once the world had become closer to civilised space the crumbling installation was spotted by Ephii scouts who put down roots. The corporation had went bust years beforehand so the buildings were free game to the adaptable colonists. Within two years the colony had become a hub for artisans and their families; small businesses, factories and garages. Within three it had attracted the unwelcome attention of a young Wun’Tux BroodClan
Younger BroodClans tend to be the most ambitious and risk-taking; a scouting patrol so close to the human border was the act of a BroodMother eager for acclaim. The first contact came in the form of four Enforcers; these were able to shell the colony from afar and in the confusion Wun’Tux snatch squads were able to abduct fleeing civilians. The colony did not have a standing militia and at first was unable to mount any sort of response; only the quick thinking of a pair of demo-experts utilising ground-spike mounted rocket launchers were able to scare the Enforcers away. But the colonists knew they would be back, and in greater numbers.
An SOS brought a single Ephii transport; lightly armed and not equipped to evacuate the city. The civic leaders hastily assembled a makeshift defence force from whatever could be found in the workshops and forges. The ace-in-the-hole was the ISS Obdurate Sin, a only recently constructed Tigermoth gunship. It’s crew had been staying on planet awaiting live fire trials and ,with the promise of a hefty reward if successful, they were willing to help. A plan involving the remain explosives was concocted; a gutsy and audacious idea with the potential to give the Wun’Tux a very bloody nose.
The Wun’Tux returned three days after their first assault; the Enforcers were still showing signs of damage but the two Clanships were fully operational. The Ephii transport was playing possum, pretending it had become disabled just Sunward of the colony as it was trying to escape. Two Enforcers diverted to intercept, lured by the prospect of a transport full of slave labour and ripe for the taking. Only then did the ‘Sin emerge from it’s shadow, flanked by three snubfighters. The ‘Sin was able to use its high tech sensor-suite to fool the Wun’Tux and make these three small ships appear like thirty. In reality the Ephii snubfighters were too lightly armed to penetrate durillium armour but the trickery caused the attackers to panic.
The ‘Sin executed what looked to be an overconfident fly-by of the closest Enforcer before looping back to the main force. At first it seemed the gunnery sensors were off; several particle cannon bursts were inaccurate and the Wun’Tux formation became overconfident, positioning itself close together as to maximise zones of fire. Confusingly, the ‘Sin proceeded to buzz two more ships, flying dangerously close. Only when there was an explosion at the first pair of Enforcers did the Wun’Tux realise anything was amiss. On closer inspection, but all too late, they detected a pair of anti-sensor coated objects at extremely close range. A pair of explosions later and more chaos ensued; it was at this point the ‘Sin showed it’s true colours and struck with accurate and deadly particle cannon blasts. Cracks in the armour of the still spaceworthy ships allowed the fighters to finally do damage; the shellshocked Wun’Tux ships were soon routed.
One Clanship escaped and the BroodClan never returned; they returned to Wun’Tux space and – eager to avoid shame – reported back that Desii IV was a well defended world with a significant standing fleet. The Obdurate Sin and her crew were given freedom of the colony and regularly visit in between mercenary jobs. The victory popularised the Tigermoth as well as the stealth-coated mines designed by the Ephii sappers.