Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
The Starlight Seduction
Battered former pirate JumpShip of the Star Talons
The “Starlight Seduction” – Invader-Class Jumpship
Mass : 152,000 tons
Length : 505 m
Sail Diameter : 1024 m
Crew : 32 : 4 Officers, 19 Enlisted, 1 Gunner, 2 Small Craft Pilots, 8 Bay Personnel
Base Crew : 12 – 2p, 3e, 7se (Bridge – 1p,1se : Engine – 1e,1se)
Dropship Capacity : 3
Small Craft Complement : 2
Drive System : SelaSys KF Mark VIIa
Introduced : 2631
Hull Laid Down : 2907
Structural Integrity : 1
KF Drive Integrity : 4 : 145,000 tons
Energy Collector Sail Integrity : 4 : 65 tons
Station-Keeping Thrust : 0.1 Gs : 1836 tons
Fuel : Tons/Burn-Day : 19.76 : 50 tons
Docking Hard Points : 3
Small Craft Cubicles : 2
Small Craft Bay Doors : 2
Grav Decks : 1 (65m Diameter) : 100 tons
Bridge : 383 tons
Heat Sinks : 0 + 116
Escape Pods : 6
Life Boats : -
Bay 1 : Cargo (1 Door) : 286 tons
Bay 2 : 2 Small Craft (2 Doors) : 300 tons
Bay 3 : Cargo (1 Door) : 286 tons
Weapons Factor (2xPPC) : 14 tons
Armor Factor (6 points per ton) : 360 : 63 tons
Command Section :
Nose : 50 : -
Right Side : 45 : (Traditionally – PPC)
Left Side : 45 : (Traditionally – PPC)
Cargo Section :
Right Side : 60 : -
Left Side : 60 : -
Engine Section :
Right Side : 35 : -
Left Side : 35 : -
Station-Keeping Drive :30 : -
Note : Design Quirks – Difficult to Maintain, Fragile Fuel Tank, Hard to Pilot, Poor Targeting (Long), Poor Workmanship, Sensor Ghosts.
The Invader is the most common JumpShip operating in the Successor States. Designed to transport up to three DropShips, the cargo capacity of close to 1000 tons. Its availability and efficient design make it well-suited for both commercial operations and for large mercenary units. The Invader is also the JumpShip most commonly used by the regular armies of the Successor States.
An Invader masses roughly 152,000 tons and is 505 meters long. When fully deployed, the ship’s jump sail is just over a kilometer wide. Its appearance is similar to the familiar needle-like shape of many other JumpShips. Measuring 65 meters in diameter and 6 meters wide, is the centrifugal grav deck providing artificial gravity for off-duty and visiting personnel.
The Invader’s most notable feature is the pair of large domes mounted on either side of the command section. These large structures contain hydroponic gardens that provide fresh food and oxygen for the ship’s crew and yield surplus large enough to supply its DropShips and provide for storage and future use. Plant care is fully automated in about 70% of the remaining Invaders, while the remaining 30% require crew members attend to daily maintenance.
Though the hydroponics take up most of the space for these domed constructions, a portion is reserved for a meteor defense system. Originally employing a special set of long-range lasers that required extensive maintenance protocols, most now carry either a pair of PPCs or a pair of standard Large Lasers, identical to those used by BattleMechs in the field. Although the radar systems on many Invaders can no longer easily identify objects as small as a meteor, the PPCs or lasers are still useful in repelling boarding efforts.
Another feature of these domes, is their decks are oriented differently from the rest of the ship’s decks. To alleviate problems that might occur when the ship is under acceleration, the domes are mounted on large traversing arms. Before the ship’s station-keeping drives are fired-up, these arms swivel outwards, aligning the domes so that the decks run perpendicular to the line of acceleration.
Deep within the Invader’s command section is a large bridge filled with communication consoles, electronic plotting boards, and video display panels. The bridge makes the Invader a good choice for coordinating major merchant ship operations and task force missions.
Though designed to be operated by a staff of twelve, the bridge has stations for up to twenty people. A person could operate many of the automated systems alone, though many of its capabilities would be greatly reduced. At full capabilities, the bridge can maintain simultaneous communications with up to ten transmitting stations, monitor up to four planet-based battles, unit movements or combat fronts, and monitor a full-scale space battle.
Because of the heavy mechanics involved in positioning the Invader’s domes, the systems regularly break-down. This can be a problem if the booms are extended, because the hyperspace field generated by the K-F drive cannot enclose these structures when extended. In such cases, there is a good chance (30%+) that the drive will fail to activate, and in addition, jumping with the domes extended might sheer them in half. To resolve these problems, most crews simply leave the domes in their retracted position.
When the domes are retracted, the meteor defense systems only cover the ship’s rear-side arcs. Also, while the energy collector sail is deployed, the ship cannot fire them without hitting the sail from this position.
Though no Succession State has any notable concentration of Invader-Class JumpShips, reliable estimates indicate that approximately 46% of all JumpShips within the Inner Sphere are Invaders. Of these, Successor State armies operate nearly 51%, merchants own 32%, and mercenary companies operating within the Inner Sphere own 17%.
The “Starlight Seduction” is a somewhat newer JumpShip, barely over a century old, though you’d never know it to look at her. Her hull was laid down in 2907, at Chatham’s Stellar Trek shipyards in the Draconis Combine, and it served the Pesht Regulars for a number of decades. The Pesht military forces are known for receiving lesser-quality goods, Mechs and vessels, and this was also the case with the Starlight Seduction.
From its first decade, the ship had problems with its mechanics, life support and other important equipment. By 2932, the ship had lost control of its greenhouse booms, and many of its mechanical systems were failing as well. Chalking it up to a faulty series of servos sold to the shipyard from a suspect source, the entire ship was paid-off and sold to Samura Heavy Industries, a smaller corporation that sells its goods into the Outworlds Alliance and other border worlds. Primarily producing solar panels, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals, engine components and optical chips, the company figured it could turn over the ship’s problems easily, and with little expense, using their own production parts to replace key components.
They were wrong. A decade and several million in parts later, the ship continued to have problems. The agro-dome booms, in particular, refused to work, despite replacing its servos and most of its mechanics at least twice. By 2945, the company wrote the ship off itself, and parked it in a parts supply jump-point in the Tabayama system, where it had finally broken-down. It sat relatively forgotten for decades, and its reputation kept people from scavenging any other parts from it. Compounding its history, the hull suffered a severe meteor strike from a rogue meteor thrown into its orbit. The vessel was finally allowed to drift, and was expected to slip into its companion gas giant’s gravity and be destroyed.
In 2992, the ship disappeared, and the management of the salvage yard simply marked it as “…lost in space, due to meteor strike…”. The truth is, the yard’s commanding officer sold the ship as scrap to an unsuspecting third party, who managed to get the ship working enough to jump it into the Periphery. The thieves managed to get the ship to the black markets in the Systems Constellation – “The Outrim Void”, and in the Drellesarr system it was purchased cheaply by the nascent Star Talons, traded for a captured Queen-Class Passenger JumpShip, the “Interstellar Queen”. Though the Starlight Seduction had failing systems and proved somewhat dangerous, the possession of their own transport JumpShip allowed them to engage in a series of independent raids along the border of the Hyades Rim, in the region known locally as “The Triangle”. Raiding systems for local interface traders, shuttles and passenger liners, within a year they had amassed enough of a reputation to gain the attention of a local patron with deep pockets. This mysterious benefactor gave them a series of targets to attack in exchange for parts, gold and a handful of replacement personnel. They did well, striking two separate corporate JumpShips, seizing their cargoes and netting a large profit from both. During their third mission in the Triangle, they met * “The Iron Dingoes”, and the ship changed hands once more…
The Starlight Seduction is in bad shape. The vessel has lost its boom controls, and its battered greenhouses have been locked into a retracted position, its equipment salvaged and the domes left open to vacuum. Even its PPCs have been scavenged. The main KF-Drive has a definite bend in its hull between the boom controls and the main fuselage, and is patched with numerous random armor plates, the remains of its near fatal collision with a meteor while in mothballs. The remainder of the hull is a patchwork, and reminds one of a camp blanket, with scorches from previous battles, and massive scrapes marking at least two failed docking attempts. Efforts have been made to paint the hull at times, but used a variety of colors, resulting in a hodge-podge of highlights and shifting shades, one on top of the other. Blacks and reds seem to predominate, however. Its nose bears the blazing skull and crossed sabres logo of a Periphery Corsair, surprisingly well-painted in clear orange, black and white.
Its internal mechanical controls have continual issues, its hydrogen fuel tanks have proven prone to leaks, and its docking collars triple the time required to connect due to failure of its mechanical systems. Although the ship’s electronics operate well enough, even they have their own “sensor ghosts” and make targeting difficult for any weapons systems at the longer ranges. The ship’s computer has a series of viruses running throughout it, that doubles jump time calculations. In short, if JumpShips weren’t so rare, it’d be scrap long ago.
Her internal spaces were dominated by the debris of several hundred people residing throughout its corridors. Most of the pirates kept “domestics” (known as “Elsies” or “Labour Crews – LCs”)around for their entertainment and sport, and none had ever been assigned quarters, so every spare corner, crawl-space and nook had been occupied by humans leaving their mark within the ship’s hull. The cargo bays have since been cleaned out, and even the crew quarters are refreshingly livable once more, though they bear stains and battle-damage even the best cleanser in the world won’t remove fully. The stench of a decade of unwashed humanity has been mostly eliminated, though sometimes the ventilation sends an ancient, hidden odor across the nose of the unsuspecting…
The ship was traded to Von Lord of System – Dumassas, for a pair of destroyed Merchant-Class JumpShips, which the Iron Dingoes have salvaged and converted into one single, working JumpShip, “The Bloody Paw”. At present, the Starlight Seduction continues to act as that city-state’s primary off-world trade vessel.