Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
“Buenaventura” – Manatee-Class Dropship
Type : Civilian Spheroid
Use : Civilian Light Cargo Transport
Tech : Inner Sphere
Introduced : 2449
Mass : 1900 tons
Length : 37.0 m
Width : 35.0 m
Height : 31.5 m
Drive System : Starhauler V125 (Fusion)
Fuel : 135 tons
Tons/Burn-Day : 1.84
Safe Thrust : 4
Maximum Thrust : 6
Heat Sinks : 129
Structural Integrity : 10
Armor : Inner Sphere Standard (15 tons)
Fore : 80
Sides : 70
Aft : 60
Bay 1 : Cargo Bay (996 tons) – 1 Door
Crew : 10 (2e, 2p – 6 Gunners).
Base Crew : 4 – 2p, 2e (Bridge – 1p : Engine – 1e)
Escape Pods : 2
Life Boats : 0
Ammunition : None
Six (6) Large Lasers
Twelve (12) Medium Lasers
Notes : 140.72 Million Cs.
Overview : With the invention of the BattleMech, the face of warfare changed forever. As effective as this new weapon system was, however, it was only good if you could get it to the intended battlefield. The limiting factor for the military planners of the time was not how many Mechs they could build, but how to transport them from a system’s jump-point to the planet’s soil. Since they did not have any specialized ships, they really had no means of transportation. This was the first item to be remedied.
The Terran Hegemony Naval Department came up with an idea to take a cargo ship and convert it into a Mech hauler. They selected the Manatee for its compact size and robust systems. The ship was originally designed to drop onto planets whose atmospheres were less than hospitable. Needless to say, the ships would suit the needs of the ground forces in delivering their ground forces to the target.
Originally, the Manatee was originally designed to haul 1000 tons of cargo, with no armament. The ship’s cargo bays were all located in one large, open deck, which proved useful for servicing Mechs while still aboard ship, and allowed for the massive Mech gantries to be installed for transit. The bays were further redesigned to give each Mech its own access bay door, allowing quick deployment of its Mechs once grounded. The ship was then armed with energy weapons-systems to avoid ammunition storage and devote the remaining space to Mech spare parts and supplies.
The Manatee’s first deployment was against Davion forces on Kentares in 2449. Hegemony Mechs faced the Fourth Avalon Hussars, with the Hegemony contesting Davion ownership of the colony world. Initially, the battle went well against the Hussars, and the new Mech technology proved its worth.
As time wore on, however, the delivery vessel’s proved too lightly armed and armored thus vulnerable to attack. The Hussars exploited this by shooting many down. Due to this"flaw", the Manatee was discontinued as a viable DropShip design, though its basic form inspired the successful Confederate-Class DropShip. Despite the fact only a small fraction of the class were converted to the role of ’Mech carrier, the historical nature of this role has far out shadowed its more mundane and lengthy service life.
The “Bonaventure” is an aging cargo DropShip, never converted to military use. This vessel is, however, the primary transport interface vessel of The District of Garcia, and its economy is dependent upon it. The vessel was formerly owned, in its entirety, by the Dominica family, whose head was also the district’s governor. During May of 3021, the vessel and its crew fell into Iron Dingoes hands during their “liberation” of the district, and is now under their control.
The ship is piloted by Commander Maxwell Carter, who supports the Iron Dingoes efforts, as long as the vessel remains a cargo-carrier. The vessel carries a squad of Iron Dingoes marines as protection, and has recently deployed a pair of Worker Bee Freight Handlers, which have improved its operations a great deal.
The ship operates on a monthly rotation, spending a few days on Terramatrix, loading cargo, before making a short hop up to “The Factory”, where it transfers some cargo back and forth, before it begins the slow, steady 9-day burn up to the Zenith jump-point. Once there, it makes a rendezvous with any Iron Dingoes JumpShips at the Zenith, and then begins transferring goods and other materiel back and forth to specific ships and transports, before beginning the 9-day trip back down to Terramatrix once more. While there are sometimes transfer delays due to an overly late transport, the crew are able to maintain a fairly regimented travel routine that makes them an increasingly common (and popular) sight in the system.