Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
War Booty from White Death's Fleet
“The Stone Dog” – Union-Class Dropship
Type : Spheroid (Military)
Tonnage : 3500 tons
Length : 81.5m
Height : 78.0m
WIdth : 81.5m
Crew : 14 (7e, 3p – 4 Gunners) Passnegers – 12 Mech Pilots, 2 AeroFighter Pilots.
Skeleton Crew : Bridge 1p+1e; Engine 1e+1e
Bridge : 27 tons
Cargo Complement : .
Bay 1 : Mech Cubicles (12 Mechs) – 4 Doors : 600 tons
Bay 2 : Small Craft (2) – 2 Doors : 300 tons
Life Boats : 0
Escape Pods : 4
Armament : 3 PPCs, 6 LRM-20s, 6 AC/5s, 5 LLs, 12 MLs.
Ammunition : 9 tons of LRM ammo, 12 tons of AC/5 ammo.
Drive System : Star League V250 : 630 tons
Heat Sinks 27 + 63 : 27 tons
Thrust : 3
Overthrust : 5
Structural Integrity : 11
Fuel : 6 Thrust-Points (2.82 tons per Burn-Day) : 209 tons
First Introduced : 2708
Hull Laid Down : 2923
Armor Factor (16 points per ton) : 40 tons
Nose – 140 : PPC, 2 AC/5, 2 LRM-20, 2 ML
Right Side – 140 : PPC, 2 AC/5, 2 LRM-20, LL, 2 ML
Left Side – 140 : PPC, 2 AC/5, 2 LRM-20, LL, 2 ML
Fuselage – 160 : LL, 2 ML
Engine – 60 : LL, 2 ML
The Union-Class DropShip may be the most famous vessel in the Inner Sphere. Well-armed and armored, the Union is an extremely versatile ship. Though small enough for use in raids, it is powerful enough to be taken seriously in full-scale operations. The vessel is designed to transport a company of Mechs and their pilots to a planet, where they are either dropped into low orbit or are delivered directly to the surface.
The Union’s interior consists of three main sections. The lowermost section contains the DropShip’s V250 Interplanetary fusion drive, fuel tankage, weapons bays, loading door, Mech drop doors, and the ship’s enormous landing gear. Leading up from the loading door is a heavily reinforced ramp that spirals up around the outside of the engine core and leads into the lower Mech bay.
The middle section of the DropShip consists of two Mech bays. The lower Mech bay is cavernous, with walls lined with four Mech cubicles, doors leading to the two AeroFighter bays, entrances to the four drop-chutes, and storage for repair parts and ammunition. A set of plates cover the ramp entrance in the floor, making an airtight seal between the bay and the ramp area when closed. In the center of the ceiling is a large circular opening to the upper Mech bay.
Though a skilled pilot could use this opening to get his Mech into the upper bay, its real purpose is to provide access to the heavy lifting and repair equipment located in the upper bay. Normal passage between bays is by a heavy elevator located in the drop chute.
The upper Mech bay is also quite large. Ringing the walls are the remaining eight BattleMech cubicles and entrances to the four drop chutes. In the ceiling above the hole in the floor is a set of large general-purpose cranes. The hole in the floor of the upper Mech bay can be sealed by a pair of large steel doors sturdy enough to support the mass of the heaviest Mechs.
The Union’s flight control systems and the crew decks occupy the ship’s upper portions. The original design of the ship included a number of corridors ringing the double-coccupancy quarters, a comfortable lounge, roomy mess facilities, and ample storage space for personal equipment. Electrical and hydraulic problems eventually led to a complete remodelling of the DropShip’s interior on over half of the original vessels. Though the wealthiest operators were able to completely restore the original layout, most ships were re-equipped with more spartan quarters; a single bunkroom for both crew and MechWarriors, minimal lounge /mess hall, increased air circulation space, and strengthened containment bulkheads around the weapons bays and ammunition storage. For some reason, the life support systems added to these “upgrades” created a stale odor to the air within the ship. Because this would add to the expense of yet another refit to the ships, this characteristic smell remains on many of them. The Overlord-Class DropShip, designed and constructed using very similar engineering plans and parts, shares these same characteristics.
“The Stone Dog” is a fairly untouched example of a standard Union-Class DropShip, having seen few modifications or changes since its hull was laid down.
Launched as “The Constance” from Federated-Boeing’s shipyards on Galax, the vessel was placed under command of House Davion’s Islamabad March Militia. The Union spent several decades quietly hauling Mech replacements and transfers back and forth throughout the Crucis March, eventually suffering a near fatal rector leak due to faulty maintenance. The vessel was abandoned in 2963 to a skeleton crew in orbit of Montour, where it was designated surplus, paid-off and began to be stripped down for parts.
After a decade as a parts supply, the ship came into the hands of “The Dioscuri”, a mercenary unit in the pay of the Federated Suns, in lieu of some of its pay. Lacking DropShip support, the two regiments of the Dioscuri were attempting to get its scout forces DropShips and a replacement reactor was found and installed. The ship was slowly rebuilt and in 2975, it was placed back in service once more. Renamed “The Sterling Swiftblade”, the ship was able to deploy the unit’s scout forces and funnel Mechs between its assigned planets, effectively serving its original purposes in mercenary hands. The vessel was eventually traded back to the Islambad CMM for a company of replacement Mechs in 2992. The ship and its accompanying Merchant-Class JumpShip “The Promise” went missing in transit between Malagrotto and Csomad later that year, and was assumed destroyed.
In 2999, “The Sterling Swiftblade” reappeared accompanying the assault forces of the “Claim Jumpers”, White Death’s initial unit that attacked the Hochbaden system. While its history in the intervening years remains a mystery, the ship has since been piloted by lesser crews and has hauled various allied pirate forces as he rose to power on Dunkelheim. The ship was captured at the makeshift starport in Goldberg on Dunkelheim, during the final counter-offensive by TF29 to seize the city. The ship possessed a skeleton crew, and a number of civilian DropShip crew were hired to bolster its numbers, though it still lacks a full crew, particularly for its gunners. The ship is led by Commander Thomas Dallas, and his personal cadre of civilian officers, who oversee a number of former pirate junior engineers and other crew.
Taken under Iron Dingoes control through its salvage negotiations at the conclusion of their Contract – “Operation : Overlord”, this DropShip has been assigned to their auxiliary Mech company, * “The Dead Man’s Hand”. Renamed, it is now known as the “Stone Dog” in their service. Although the vessel is one of the original “un-stinky” models of the Union-Class DropShip, the vessel lacks certain abilities popular among Iron Dingoes vessels. Discussions to improve the vessel to hold a platoon of star marines never came to fruition, and the ship was never further modified.
The vessel next faced danger during the initial invasion of The District of Garcia, when rebels seized the ship with a company of infantry led by X – Sitara Hewitt – Deceased. Later defended by “Major” Charles Alder “The Voice” along with a lance of turn-coat Iron Dingoes, the ship was once more seized by marines from the Iron Dingoes own reserves (1st and 6th Marines Platoons, and backed by both the “Danger Girls” and the “Black Fire Brigade” Security Platoons), and halted from being stolen. Throughout, the mostly civilian crew proved their loyalty, sending communications intel and dragging their pre-flight preparations out as long as possible.
On _July 26th, 3020, The Stone Dog was sold-off to Davion interests in System – Outpost for a tidy sum of money. The intent was to use this cash to pay-off the loans the unit had taken to refurbish “The Factory”, and its personnel transferred over to “Victory’s Blood”, with its pilots and engineers acting as support for the young crew until the unit has need for another DropShip crew.