Ships and Vehicles

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The Codex
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Re: Ships and Vehicles

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GARDIAN

A ships' General ARea Defense Integration Anti-spacecraft Network (GARDIAN) consists of anti-missile/anti-fighter laser turrets on the exterior hull. Because these are under computer control, the gunnery control officer needs to do little beyond turn the system on and designate targets as hostile.

Since lasers move at light speed, they cannot be dodged by anything moving at non-relativistic speeds. Unless the beam is aimed poorly, it will always hit its target. In the early stages of a battle, the GARDIAN fire is 100% accurate. It is not 100% lethal, but it doesn't have to be. Damaged fighters must break off for repairs.

Lasers are limited by diffraction. The beams "spread out", decreasing the energy density (watts per m^2) the weapon can place on a target. Any high-powered laser is a short-ranged weapon.
GARDIAN networks have another limitation: heat. Weapons-grade lasers require "cool-down" time, during which heat is transferred to sinks or radiators. As lasers fire, heat builds within them, reducing damage, range, and accuracy.

Fighters attack in swarms. The first few WILL be hit by GARDIAN, but as the battle continues, the effects of laser overheat allow the attacks to press ever closer to the ship. Constant use will burn out the laser.

GARDIAN lasers typically operate in infrared frequencies. Shorter frequencies would offer superior stopping power and range, but degradation of focal arrays and mirrors would make them expensive to maintain, and most prefer mechanical reliability over leading-edge performance where lives are concerned. Salarians, however, use near-ultraviolet frequency lasers with six times the range, believing that having additional time to shoot down incoming missiles is more important.

Lasers are not blocked by the kinetic barriers of capital ships. However, the range of lasers limits their use to rare "knife fight"-range ship-to-ship combat.
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Re: Ships and Vehicles

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JAVELIN

The Javelin is an experimental close-assault weapon fitted on a handful of newer Alliance warships. It consists of a "rack" of two or more disposable disruptor torpedo tubes bolted or magnetically "slung" on to a ship’s exterior armored hull. The torpedoes are fired on converging trajectories, and detonate in a precisely timed sequence that allows the dark energy emitted by their warheads to resonate and thereby magnify the resulting space-time warp effects.

Like fighter launched torpedoes, Javelins are "cold-launched" for safety reasons, though they use a different approach. Resembling old-fashioned submarine torpedo tubes, Javelin torpedoes come packed in individual sealed tubes filled with compressed, inert gas. Opening the front of the tube causes escaping gases to push the torpedo into the vacuum, releasing a puff of crystals around the mouth of the tube. After completely clearing the tube, the torpedo ignites its thrusters.

Javelin mounts are most often fitted on swift frigates, which expect to enter "knife fight" torpedo ranges as a matter of course. Javelins may also be fitted on heavier ships during short range engagements, such as trans-relay assaults. They are particularly useful in this role for dreadnoughts, which cannot lay their main guns on close-range targets.

As missile weapons, Javelins are subject to highly accurate defensive GARDIAN fire. They must be launched in large numbers and at short range to have any chance of hitting their target at all.
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Re: Ships and Vehicles

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KASSA FABRICATIONS LOCUST

"The gun that killed two Presidents" is the infamous legacy of the Kassa Fabrications Model 12 Locust. Originally created for the Systems Alliance, who wanted a lightweight weapon for high-gravity worlds, the Locust was designed to overcome the limitations of traditional submachine guns at long range.

With bullet velocity of modern weapons already pushed to the limit, the Locust's designers sought a way to improve accuracy through reducing weapon kick. They created an internal "floating bed" that absorbs the gun's recoil with a minimal jarring of the gun frame itself. The barrel, magazine, chamber, and operating mechanism all move within this bed, which absorbs shock with springs and buffers. This creates a platform stable enough that the Locust can use auto-targeting software usually reserved for match-grade weapons.

The Locust's lethality on shielded targets has been amply demonstrated. In 2176, a Virginian patent clerk named Michael Moser Lang brought a Locust concealed in a shoulder-mounted video camera to a photo opportunity between Enrique Aguilar, President of the United North American States, and Chinese People's Federation premier Ying Xiong. At a distance of about 25 meters, Lang pierced the kinetic barriers covering the stage with the first burst, and when Xiong heroically tackled Aguilar to remove him from the line of fire, Lang's succeeding bursts went through the premier's body and fatally wounded both men.

Donovan Hock's collection contains two antique ivory-handled Locusts, modified to take thermal clips. A detachable data drive rests in the lining of the box, containing omni-tool specifications for fabricating copies. A quick trip to the extranet reveals one of the weapons has the same serial number as Lang's original. If it's a fake, it's extremely well-made.
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Re: Ships and Vehicles

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MASS ACCELERATORS

Mass accelerators propel solid metal slugs via electromagnetic attraction and repulsion. A slug lightened by a mass effect field can be accelerated to extremely high speeds, permitting previously unattainable projectile velocities.

The primary determinant of a mass accelerator's destructive power is length. The longer the barrel, the longer the slug can be accelerated, the higher the slug's final velocity, and therefore the greater its kinetic impact. Slugs are designed to squash or shatter on impact, increasing the energy they transfer to its target. Without collapsibility, slugs would punch through their targets while inflicting only minimal damage.

Rather than being mounted on the exterior, starship guns are housed inside hulls and visible only as gun portholes from outside.

A ship's main gun is a large spinal-mount weapon running 90% of the hull's length. While possessing destructive power equal to that of tactical nuclear weapons, main guns are difficult to aim. Because ships must be able to point their bows almost directly at their targets, main guns are best used for long-range "bombardment" fire.

Approximately 40% of the hull's width, broadside guns inflict less damage and can be mounted with greater numbers and more flexibility. The modern human Kilimanjaro-class dreadnoughts mount three decks with 26 broadside accelerators apiece for a total salvo weight of 78 slugs per side, firing once every two seconds.

However, mass accelerators produce recoil equal to their impact energy. While the mass effect fields suspending the rounds mitigate the recoil, recoil shock can still rattle crews and damage systems.
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Re: Ships and Vehicles

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RACHNI: HIVE WALKER

The vanguard of many planetary assaults during the Rachni Wars, the “Jemdat Umbalik” is the ultimate arbiter of rachni planetary superiority. Deployed by orbital drop from a carrying cruiser or dreadnought, the hive walker is, at seventy meters plus, a colossus: an angular fortress sitting atop four titanic legs, capable of bullying through defenses and infrastructure by sheer mass alone. Within its shell it carries entire platoons of soldiers, swarms of workers, and light and heavy armour. Mounted on its thickly-armored hull are accelerator cannons, missile bays, and superheavy main guns with rows of cooling vents radiating waste heat towards the rear.

Historically, the Jemdat Umbalik have been used to spearhead joint naval/planetary assaults and crush ground resistance operations, serving as the ultimate indicator that a rachni Swarm has come not only to raze and burn but to colonize and conquer. For this, they have achieved an almost mythical status, their presence asserted and disputed at some of the rachni’s greatest victories and defeats.
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RACHNI: SYKALID

The Sykalid is perhaps one of the most infamous pieces of rachni military technology. Derived from rachni genetics, it is a warbeast adapted to long periods of autonomous operation. Two meters tall when standing upright five meters long from end to end, the skykalid’s body is snakelike and draped in chitinous armor. It possesses heavy, muscular claws made for shearing through metal, and long, razor-tipped organic ribbons extend along its spine. Smaller limbs fold against the chest, and are capable of fine manipulation. Ignoring the accelerator weaponry that often brackets their jaws, sykalids are fearsome creatures in their own right. Effectively engineered and designed to live within rachni ships, sykalids serve crucial defensive and support roles as internal security on rachni vessels. However, their true potency lies in their application as psychological warfare assets and saboteurs.

During the Rachni War, prior to the advent of GARDIAN systems, rachni ships could launch waves of breaching pods, the sykalids within equipped with vacuum gear and tasked with burrowing through their target’s infrastructure. Moving through vents and access shafts, searching for and destroying crucial subsystems, and picking off isolated crewmembers, they served to cripple the ship for the rest of the rachni fleet. On planetary bodies, they would infest cities, dividing, hunting, and ambushing garrisons and defense forces. When needing to abandon their vessels and hide, the sykalid would spin armored chrysali for themselves.

Reintroduction of the sykalid and augmentation of rachni breaching pods with ablative material has raised concerns among intelligence officials and military advisors still wary of the rachni’s return to the galactic community.
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