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Unexpected Class Intimidator
Facilitation of Diplomatic Exchange
Distributed Imperial Shipyards
Voidfleet liaison with Subversion Corps
Exact numbers difficult to gauge.
Cloudships, as the Tka call them, represent a paradigm shift in how starships are designed. Rather than a single self contained hull, cloudships use dozens of semi-independent modules linked together by force fields. Here more than anywhere else, the Tka's mastery of force field technology has given them an unparalleled edge. Modules can be added or subtracted at will, giving these craft enormous flexibility, and their distributed nature makes them hard to destroy, and even harder to damage as all modules are in constant motion during combat, dodging fire as a group.
The entire assembly is cloaked in a mono-permeable shield, stopping all frequencies of EM radiation from escaping, but allowing ones from outside entry. This field is semi-permeable, and will allow solid objects moving at slow speed through, however when hit with high velocity weapons fire it will act as a Whipple shield, the same goes for plasma bolts, whose containment fields will be disrupted.
During hyperspace travel, the ship travels as a single clump, all the modules having come together and joined to each other via geckotech surfaces, however one it emerges from hyper, the ship's will appear to inflate to an outside observer, it's occlusion field expanding as modules put more distance between themselves. The exact size of such bubbles depends on how many modules there are and what the ship is trying to accomplish, however one must note that there in an upper limit on the number of modules a ship can carry, any more and it becomes too cumbersome, with too many parts to juggle.
Despite it's formidable armament and defensive systems, the Intimidator is mainly a diplomatic tool, an ever so subtle and reserved reminder of the power and knowledge of the powers behind it to be used for times when gunboat diplomacy is required or when direct action in the best course. Whenever the mission allows it, there will be nothing left to even hint at what happened to the unfortunate party, comms traffic will be blotted out with judicious jamming, debris will be cleaned up or vaporized, and any traces of combat swiped under the doormat so to speak, giving the illusion of even more power through the sheer lack of data.
As such, Intimidators will more often that not use stealth infiltration probes and cyber warfare to first cripple the enemy and cut him off from it's peers before swallowing it whole into it's occlusion field, where it's disassembled, analyzed, and it's crew's memories processed and erased, if they're lucky, to awake on some planet in the middle of nowhere with no recollection of how they got there.
The fact is, that the Tka have only recently begun acting in a manner they believe overt, thus the Unexpected is still barely the suggestion of a rumor to a few select parties that have had the misfortune of crossing the Empire's path.
Tka ships always have more computational power than any analogue class from other galactic civilization, partially, this is because most Tka ships use digitized crews, and large amounts of computronium are necessary to keep their personalities running, but on military vessels and especially cloudships the problem is even more far reaching. At any one time, the ship must be running the crew's minds, taking care of all it's miscellaneous day to day tasks and so on, but in battle the amount of processing cycles required spike by nearly an order of magnitude.
Combat maneuvering requires constant rearrangement of a ship's interior, analysis and counter of electronic warfare and sensor data, running multiple combat simulations, synthesizing and prioritizing targeting data, and a million and one other equally critical tasks. As such, powerful distributed quantum computing systems linked by short range practically un-jammable FTL links are a requirement, rather than a luxury as they would be on a Human battleship.
All modules of a cloudship require a number of basic systems in order to function as a group. Inertial dampeners to decrease their effective mass, emergency inertia-less maneuvering drives, communication gear, backup naquadah cells and capacitors, and especially compression/tension field projectors which allow modules to orient themselves by pushing and pulling against others modules' fields.
All modules also have matter stream transceivers, used to share power between ship's systems (especially between the power-plants and weapons/hyper-drive modules), an electron rich substance in continually replenished in one container, while a positively charged one is replenished in another, with a circuit forming through the system's that need power.
Included within most modules are bio-mechanical maintenance systems and rudimentary damage control systems, including spare parts and matter storage.
The topmost skin of any module is typically coated with a super-absorbent material in the radio wavelength to make long range detection difficult, while the first layer directly underneath the armor is made up of a super-reflector material in the infra red wavelength, to prevent leakage of heat into the outer hull.
The tension/compression fields used to change the placement and orientation of the modules exist in an overabundance for such tasks for a reason: during battle, a module's extra fields can be used to scatter and deflect weapons fire that is in danger of hitting a module, turning what would have been direct hit into a glancing blow, breaching plasma packet containment to rid it of any concentrated power, and scattering PBCs over wider areas, making it easier for armor to deal with these hits.
Armor is also important, the first layer consists of passive naqudadah laced diamond scales, where the naqudah absorbs EM radiation well while the diamondoid has a high melting point. Above this hull, as close as possible, is the hard shield, meant to intercept the energy that the other systems were unable to cope with. On top of the friction-less hard shield, an active armor layer made up of hundreds of balls of the same naqudah laced diamondoid material is contained by a manipulator field which can move them around the surface area of the module to have the greatest thickness between it and the most present threat rests. The manipulator field is also used to throw out pieces of this active defense that have been hit and melted, which causes them to stick to the others, forming a solid piece that is detrimental to armor flexibility and must be discarded or recycled when possible, to be replenished form the ship's matter stores. On top of that rests another layer of dense cold plasma armor contained by the same sort of field as the active solid armor layer, which scatters particle beams very effectively and can also be manipulated to have the greatest thickness in one direction.
Hyperdrive modules are designed to operate in tandem to propel a ship through hyper space. Due to the fact that there are more than one, a ship can escape battle even if it only has one working module left, preventing an enemy from trapping it with a lucky hit. During battle, the hyperdrive modules also use their powerful Artificial G/AG generators to deflect especially powerful weapons fire that the ship's fields are not up to the task of, especially lasers and other radiation based weaponry.
With recent infiltration of Earth's military, the replacement of the fleet's current generation of FTL drives with more powerful intergalactic capable models has become one of the top priorities of the Admiralty.
These main modules employ extensive subspace heat sinks to cool the reactor cores. The fuel used depends on conditions, and a ship that isn't expecting combat will typically run on a low grade reaction of liquid naqudah (keeping the amount of radiation into subspace low to avoid detection), converting the energies released by the breaking of it's exotic hyper-nuclear bonds directly into usable power by whatever mechanism everyone seems to use. During combat however, the standard liquid naqudah mix will be increasingly enriched with naqudriah, sacrificing safety and stealth for a more powerful reaction. Of interest, is that the power modules have the largest dedicated computing substrates, required to actively compensate for the instabilities of a naquadriah burn reaction.
With covert access to the Ancient Database, Voidfleet engineers have begun drawing up plans for wormhole based heat sinks that would allow clouldships unprecedented stealth, redirecting their thermal emissions back to home base, and allowing the direct import of energy via the same mechanism, however such equipment is bulky without the refined understanding of this technology, currently requiring a dedicated main module to generate a micro-gauge wormhole used to pass matter stream through. The strategic and tactical implications of mobile stargates are obviously immense.
Immensely overpowered inertia-less drives propel cloudships at accelerations no biological crew could withstand, typically these modules will naturally move towards the direction there are accelerating in, as tension fields are much more stable than compression fields, thus they will drag all the other modules along behind.
Exactly as the name implies, storage modules are storehouses of spare parts, munitions and feedstock (raw materials). In any given module, all of these things will be found in roughly equal amounts where possible in order to minimize the degradation in capabilities that would come from losing a module stocked with parts not found elsewhere in storage. These modules also project the cloudship's spherical blackout shield, knows as the occlusion field.
Certain storage modules are specialized towards maintain the ship's complement of Drones, and as such exchange a good bit of their on board storage capability for hangar spaces where the FTL strike craft can be maintained and repaired
Going back over Human mission reports, the Subversion Corps have found various reports of long term dematerialized storage, initial investigations of Wraith Dart based storage is promising and the Admiralty expects a quick shift to energy-state matter storage systems, greatly enhancing the flexibility (and impressive abilities) of the Unexpecteds.
House a plethora of biological growth vats, 3d printers and assorted micro, macro and nanotech manufacturing systems, including a fusion forge capable of matter transmutation. They are optimized for creating spare parts from 'seeds', or prefabricated exotic cores that require further buildup of more common materiel to be a fully functioning spare part. These autofacs are also able to manufacture from scratch more common parts, such as the ship's diamondoid armor.
Of note is the fact that Unexpecteds can manufacture their own amat, albeit a slow rate, through their weapons systems, as the same cyclotrons used to destroy their enemies can be easily adapted to atom-smashing.
Having said all that, it is still infinitely faster to simply stop by a world with a stargate and pick up spare parts and munitions directly from a supply depot.
Present operation in the Pegasus Galaxy are expected to yield working samples of Wraith bio-nanotechnology that will surely be used to increase the abilities of the shipborne growth vats along with the abilities of the module's internal maintenance systems.
These are irregularly shaped systems that make up the Unextpected's direct firepower, using a blend of kinetic and directed energy weapons as well as smart munitions for maximum tactical flexibility.
Particle Beam CannonsEdit
200m diameter cyclotrons using inertial dampening fields and steep artificial gravity gradients to overcome bermstraung radiation energy loss. These DEWs accelerate charged particle beams to near light-speed before neutralizing them through electron injection in the muzzle, capable of electromagneticall aperture-exit guidance, they are the primary medium range weapons of any Voidfleet ship. Ammunition varies depending on the situation, from simple protons to charged naqudah or (rarely) naqudriah nuclei which will undergo hyper-fission on impact with the target (a necessity against shielded enemies).
Helix Missile LaunchersEdit
Use fields to accelerate missiles towards the enemy. A roughly rectangular module with the missile tubes on each end spins about it's central axis so the exhaust from previously lunched missiles does not immediately blind the sensors of those behind them. Missiles are loaded via ring teleporter from the ship's stocks. 2.5 missiles/s/tube.
Field Mass DriversEdit
Longer and more sophisticated than the ones used by the Helix, many crews don't really see a use for them in combat, what with the ship's field being able to accelerate masses without a dedicated gun module. In the interests of tactical flexibility and in total compliance with the ship's mandate to impress (by say... punching a hole straight through an enemy ship once it's shields have been pummeled into oblivion) they are retained in small numbers.
Micro-modules are smaller (5x5x5m cubes) than main modules and house the ship's smaller systems: electronics, sensors and other miscellanea that for one reason or another are preferred to be separated during battle.
A aggregation of mutispectral sensors, including phased array AESA RADAR and LIDAR, X-Ray telescopes, subspace resonators, Superconducting Quantum Interference Devices (used to detect miniscule magnetic fields, such as those of a cloaked ship, at close range) and gravitometer laser emitters/receivers. Of special note is the fact that sensor modules mount atypically refined and well tuned inertia-less drives and inertial dampers due to the need to avoid any vibrations that would interfere with the functioning of the interferometer used to synthesize data in order to to increase the effective range and resolution of the existing sensors.
Note: Neutrino triangulators are mounted on main modules due to their bulk.
Mobile point defense turrets armed with a mixture of field mass drivers and plasma wavefront accelerator fed cyclotron particle beams/free electron lasers. These modules also serve as dedicated ECM platforms, supplementing the sensor modules' jamming systems. Sophisticated decoys are also housed in these modules, ready to be ejected at a moment's notice to confuse enemy weaponry that's gotten too close for comfort.
Naquadriah based hyper-drive module with advanced ECM, sensors, cloak, teleporter based reloading system and twin inertia-less drives defended by fields; once released they execute a short hyperspace jump to bring themselves into point blank range with the enemy, dialing up their ECM and evasive systems to full power while they're at it, and release a swarm of sub-munitions whose composition depends on the target. Possible sub-munitions include but are not limited to: amat catalyzed shaped (possibly naqudah enhanced) fusion charges, subspace disruptor charges, conventionally driven EMP, kinetic impactors, boarding probes, or ECM and decoy containers. Once these are released, it will execute a jump back into proximity of it's mother-ship to re-arm via matter stream, update it's pilot's backup and await further targets. The fact that a semi-expendable missile is in fact manned may strike most (including some Tka) as downright abhorrent, however the use of extensive backups ensures that even if destroyed, a pilot doe not in fact 'die', and constant (if somewhat spotty due tot jamming) links to the missiles ensure good continuity between backups. Nowehere else has the popular saying 'live forever and die often' been adopted with more enthusiastically than the Voidfleet Missile Pilot Corps, earning these soldiers a reputation as the most gun ho in the Imperial military (much to the chagrin of their Astry* cousins).
- Astry: Tka version of marines.
Notable Ships of the LineEdit
Exercise In Diplomacy
Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit
Dramatically Convenient Interruption
Not That Kind of Doctor
A Healthy Dose of Paranoia
I Promise This Won't Hurt a Bit
Deus Est Machina
A Sudden And Unfortunate Accident
I Didn't Know It Was Loaded
Color Coded For Your Convenience
I Deny Everything!
It Ran Into My Missile
Acceptable Collateral Damage