The ISS Jezebel is officially an independent trading ship. In reality she is one of the primo blockade runners throughout the Rimward territories. Her oversized engines combine with the Devil-may-care attitude to form an effective (if blunt) tool.
The ship is crewed by a mix of humans and Curoto. The latter are more naturally at home amongst the cramped spaces inside the ship; the human part of the crew are happy to take on the heavy lifting whilst the Curoto crawl around ventilation ducts.
She is noteworthy for having ran blockades previously deemed insurmountable; most famously against the European Union during the Pan-Eurasian War. This underdog spirit has led to a Robin Hood type mystique about the ship but the reality is much more plain – the Coalition paid more money.
The trick to her effectiveness lies not only in her oversized engines; her captain and crew revel in recklessness and ignore all recognised advice by exiting FTL jumps at full throttle. This manoeuvre can cause massive internal damage to a ship and yet gives a ‘running start’ to any blockade evasion and is incredibly difficult to predict.
The Ankur-class Corvette is a small capital ship fielded by the Asian Coalition. It was designed as a rapid reaction asset and escort ship and often acting as picket vessel for Mobile Defence Groups.
The Coalition spent most of the war against the Union harassing and staging hit-and-run offensives and counter-offensives with old and fragile vessels unable to go toe-to-toe with Union capital ships. The Ankur is a design suited to harassment but built to a modern, sturdy and reliable standard. It is the fastest mass produced human capital ship on record and has relative agility to match its straight-line speed. The majority of the armament is comprised of autocannons; basic and effective weaponry with a high rate of fire. Although not particularly effective against armour, the turreted autocannons are good all-round performers.
The Ankur was found to be particularly effective in the defence of the colony at Ermina III. The Wun’Tux aggressors were using Bastions to bring heavy fighter support in their raids; a tactic the established Coalition forces couldn’t easily counter. The first ‘lance’ of four Ankurs was rushed to this front and into combat against the Wun’Tux. Autocannons couldn’t penetrate durillium armour plating but were very effective against the external fighter racks of the Wun’Tux carriers. These four ships led hit-and-run raids against the Wun’Tux, targeting their fighter racks before retreating. This effectively neutralised half of the threat from the invading BroodClan and brought the offensive to a halt.
The ships are relatively expensive and lack the sturdy armour and substructures of comparable craft (i.e. the Bremen-class). They are especially vulnerable in drawn-out battles in which their speed and agility is negated.
“Your typical Widebrim is a stubborn son-of-a-bitch. If one comes after you in a Copperbill you better run – and fast. ‘cause that’s stubborn squared.” – Grank “Dispatch” Derrek, Blackmane Security.
On the surface of things, the Copperbill is a relic. It was produced at the end of the First Age as a courier to ferry valued cargo between Sol and the nearby star systems. The thousand or so models ended up in private hands and saw extensive service due to their reliability and thick armour plate. This latter quality made them resilient in the face of those out to take advantage of humans making a new life for themselves in the new colonies.
Technology moved on. The fusion pellet injection engine core went out of fashion, replaced by cleaner and smarter systems. Ships became faster and more efficient. But Jeram Tsveri, a Widebrim scout and adventurer, refused to let his go. It is rumoured he spent a week alone in space dock, taking his beloved Lamplark apart and putting her back together again with the most basic of tools. Whether fact or fiction, Jeram was catapulted into the public eye following his dramatic rescue of British Prince Charlotte, during which his ship docked with her stricken liner and withstood pirate attack as he took the Princess and her entourage.
This episode propelled the Copperbill to pulp fiction hero status. Several well known Widebrims scoured scrapyards and salvage docks looking for their own. And the ship was reborn. Each improvement made by a different individual was shared within the group. And so far from being a relic, the Copperbill became a constantly evolving gestalt idea from some of the most inventive and dangerous men and women in the known galaxy.
The Widebrims use the ship as a shuttle, a transport, a gunship and a roving home. In combat is a jack-of-all-trades, only easily countered by massed formations of nimble starfighters. It utilises forward firing cannons and rear mounted mine/countermeasure launchers to dispatch opponents and stays in the fight thanks to it’s ablative armour plates.
Modern ships of the same size and scale are easily crewed by one pilot and automated systems. The Widebrims’ legendary distrust of automation means each Copperbill needs a minimum of three crew to even get off the ground. Some consider this irrational, but the Widebrim results speak for themselves.
- Manufacturer: Vanguard Star Systems
- Length: 30m
- Crew: 2 pilots, 1 engineer
- 4 x Pulse Cannons (forward firing)
- 2 x Mine/Countermeasure Launchers (rear-mounted)
- FTL: Capable, mid-distance.
- Special: Ablative armour plates.