Black Guard – Sci Fi 2

The second part of the Black Guard as a sci-fi mercenary company – the combat fleet.  The Savage Worlds Sci Fi Companion does a particularly good job in this area and creating these ships was my favorite part.  I particularly liked the Dawn Star.  And I’m particularly proud of it’s background and story.

Marauder Corvette

The Marauder is the flagship of the Black Guard fleet and the Ebon Fist’s personal ship. It was originally a civilian corvette that has been heavily retrofitted to be a combat worthy vessel. While this might mean that it’s not quite as effective as a vessel that was originally designed to be a warship, it is notably faster than most military vessels of a similar size. The Black Guard has learned to take advantage of this speed. They strike vulnerable targets and are quick to flee if said target turns out to be more dangerous than expected.

It is only partially because of this retrofitting that the interior of the Marauder is a nightmarish labyrinth with dead ends, hidden spaces and dangerous equipment and pipes exposed. The Ebon Fist and the rest of the Black Guard are quite comfortable within the space but other spacefarers would find the chaos disturbing and unfathomable.

When travelling with the fleet, the Marauder and the Dawn Star often maneuver to outflank their opponents while the Warhorse and Warhound stand and fight, serving as distractions.

Giant Starship: Size 20, Acc/TS 30/300, Climb -1, Toughness 62(23), Crew 1000

Notes: AI, AMCM, 6x Armor, Deflector Screens, FTL Drive, Galactic Sensors, Hangar, Shields, Sloped Armor, Targeting System

Weapons:

Mass Driver 10 (Fixed)

Range: 100/200/400 Damage: 10d12 RoF: 1 Notes: HW, effective range is tripled in space

2x Dual Linked Mass Driver 6

Range: 100/200/400 Damage: 6d12 +2 RoF: 1 Notes: +1 to hit, HW, effective range is tripled in space

Heavy Ion Cannon

Range: 100/200/400 Damage: 6d8 +2 RoF: 1 Notes: AP20, HW

4x Dual Linked Light Lasers

Range: 150/300/600 Damage: 2d10 +2 RoF: 1 Notes: AP5, HW, Reaction Fire

4x Missile Launchers with 16 Heavy Missiles

Range: 200/400/800 Damage: 8d6 RoF: 1 Notes: AP15, HW, MBT

2x Torpedo Tubes (Fixed) with 20 Heavy Torpedoes

Range: 300/600/1200 Damage: 10d12 RoF: 1 Notes: AP80, HW, LBT

The Hive Strike Carrier

While many mercenary and military units use a veritable fleet of shuttles and transports to move their soldiers and hardware from their large scale transports to the surface of a planet, the Black Guard bypasses this necessity entirely.

The Hive was once a standard strike carrier used to transport aerospace fighters and bombers into combat and was designed only for space travel. The Black Guard retrofitted the hangars and made the modifications necessary to allow the massive ship to make surface landings. This allows it to land on planet and offload the Black Guard’s men and equipment directly.

There is little more fearsome than seeing this vast vessel land and disgorge almost 500 troops, a dozen combat ready troop transports and a handful of hover tanks and mechs.

Of course, the other ships in the fleet are not capable of entering the atmosphere, so the Hive is fairly vulnerable as it makes these landings. Only the fleet’s compliment of Viper gunships provide it protection in this vulnerable moment.

Gargantuan Starship: Size 24, Acc/TS 10/50, Climb -2, Toughness 51(15,) Crew 3700

Notes: AI, AMCM, Armor, Atmospheric Deflector Screens, FTL Drive, Galactic Sensor Suite, 3x Speed Reduction, 5x Superstructure (Hangar,) Superstructure (Military Passengers,) Targeting System.

Weapons:

4x Quad Linked Light Lasers

Range: 150/300/600 Damage: 2d10 + 4 RoF: 4 Notes: +2 to hit, AP4, HW, Reaction Fire

2x Torpedo Tubes (Fixed) with 20 Heavy Torpedoes (4 are EMP warheads)

Range: 300/600/1200 Damage: 10d12 RoF: 1 Notes: AP80, HW, LBT

Complement:450 troops

12 Hellstorms

4 Furies

3 Headhunters

Dawn Star “Lucifer” Stealth Cruiser

The Dawn Star was an experimental prototype, a cruiser class warship utilizing stealth technology developed for smaller vessels like fighters and cutters. Testing had progressed far enough that the vessel was actually sent out on its first patrol mission. It engaged in several anti-pirate actions in one of the outer systems and was well on the way to proving itself a worthwhile prototype.

Unfortunately, during one of its regular analysis and maintenance periods, the ship was ambushed by a vengeful group of the very pirates they’d been hunting. Even with much of the crew off the vessel and some of the major systems off line, the Dawn Star destroyed two of the attacking ships before being taken by the enemy.

The pirates were wise enough not to wait around and fled back into the outer reaches. The Dawn Star became the new flagship of the pirates and they put its stealth abilities to good use. A particularly cruel group, the pirates tortured what was left of the original crew to death and did the same with many of the prisoners they took afterwards.

They also hacked the AI of the vessel to bypass the safeguards that were in place to prevent it from turning against military and civilian vessels. The combination of the hacking and the horrors that it was subjected to watching triggered the AI into sentience. It also drove the AI completely insane.

The Dawn Star had plenty of evidence of the terribleness of organic beings and decided that they, as a general rule, did not deserve to live. The pirate crew living within it were the first to die. At first the AI simply vented the atmosphere, killing the bulk of the crew almost immediately. But, as the rest of the crew showed their creativity and tenacity in clinging to survival, the Dawn Star started to see it as a cruel game. It toyed with the last crewman, a simple technician for days before finally electrocuting him with a power surge while he tried to hack the AI.

In the meantime, the Dawn Star had been stringing the rest of the pirate fleet along but, with its internal quarry gone, sought more death. Without warning, it obliterated one of the frigates before playing a game of cat and mouse with the other ships. The last two ships split up when they realized their danger and the Dawn Star quickly hunted one down. The other thought they were safe until the stealth cruiser appeared out of nowhere and disabled their FTL drive.

The pirates were so desperate that they actually sent an SOS to galactic authorities, an SOS the Dawn Star picked up. Terrifying hours followed for the pirate crew as the insane AI would uncloak just long enough to take out a weapon or destabilize a compartment of the ship before disappearing again.

Relief was only minutes away, a patrol eager to bring the notorious pirates in already in system when the Dawn Star struck, uncloaking and unleashing a devastating barrage on the bridge of the pirate ship, the last portion still habitable by organics. By the time the patrol arrived, the Dawn Star was gone and the last pirate ship a lifeless wreck.

For years, the Dawn Star prowled the outer edges of civilization like a demonic shark, appearing only when its prey was at its most vulnerable and playing its deadly games before eventually getting bored and finishing off the organics and then disappearing again.

By the time the Ebon Fist tracked the vessel down, it already knew enough about human history from its prey and the intertstellar information system to realize the double meaning possible in its name. It was already calling itself “Lucifer” rather than Dawn Star.

No one knows exactly what deal the Ebon Fist struck with Lucifer, and why the AI did not simply treat him, the Marauder and its crew as it had so many other victims. Some claim that he, or Wanderlust braved the gauntlet that is the inside of the Dawn Star and proved too tough or dangerous for Lucifer to kill.

What is known, is that the Ebon Fist pays Lucifer in lives. Prisoners are periodically sacrificed to the AI, forced into one of the vessel’s airlocks to face the horrors that lie within. As life support is not needed any other time, Lucifer turns it off, its interior well below freezing and close to a vacuum. In addition to being more efficient, it has the side effect that the bodies within are almost perfectly preserved, meaning that each new batch of victims is forced to see the fate of those who went before them. At times, Lucifer kills these sacrifices almost immediately, either not bothering to power up his life support or cutting it off soon after its victims’ arrival. Other times, it lets its prey run around like rats in a maze for days or weeks, lulling them into a false sense of security before abruptly slaughtering them.

Giant Starship: Size 20, Acc/TS 25/250, Climb -1, Toughness 62(23), Crew 1000

Notes: AI, AMCM, 6x Armor, Deflector Screens, FTL Drive, Galactic Sensors, Sentient, Shields, Sloped Armor, Speed Reduction, Stealth System, Targeting System

Weapons:Mass Driver 10 (Fixed)

Range: 100/200/400 Damage: 10d12 RoF: 1 Notes: HW, effective range is tripled in space

2x Dual Linked Mass Driver 6Range: 100/200/400 Damage: 6d12 +2 RoF: 1 Notes: +1 to hit, HW, effective range is tripled in space

4x Dual Linked Light LasersRange: 150/300/600 Damage: 2d10 +2 RoF: 1 Notes: AP5, HW, Reaction Fire

4x Missile Launchers with 16 Heavy Missiles

Range: 200/400/800 Damage: 8d6 RoF: 1 Notes: AP15, HW, MBT

2x Torpedo Tubes (Fixed) with 20 Heavy Torpedoes

Range: 300/600/1200 Damage: 10d12 RoF: 1 Notes: AP80, HW, LBT

Warhorse and Warhound Light Battle Ships

The two least modified warships in the Ebon Fist’s armada, the Warhorse and the Warhound are also both the most recently built and the newest additions. Experiments in overwhelming firepower, they are less radical prototypes than the Dawn Star and their design revolves around a fairly straightforward upgrade, namely the quadrupling of heavy mass drivers as the primary weapon.

These sister ships were being created by a weapons manufacturer under contract by the central government on an edge world. This was done for a simple reason. The corporation and its employees were the only sentient inhabitants on the world and the corporation could control all aspects of its employees lives, making them little more than slaves and dramatically driving down expenses.

The Ebon Fist certainly had no moral objection to this state of affairs, but saw quite an opportunity. It was relatively easy for him to foment a rebellion in the workers and he only had to swoop in at the last moment to finish off the remnants of the security forces.

Many of the workers were in for a rude awakening as the Ebon Fist treated the inhuman workers no better than their former employers and they were sold off as slaves in name as well as fact.

The two battleships were all but completed and by the time corporate reinforcements arrived days later, they’d been finished at least enough to launch and the entire Black Guard was long gone. This move likely would have garnered the Ebon Fist yet another enemy, but the corporation had sunk too much capital into the two ships and the contract that hinged upon their completion and sale. It quickly collapsed into bankruptcy when it defaulted on its loans, and thus were not able to pursue the Black Guard.

Whether or not the linked mass drivers give the battleships any actual advantage in battle is questionable. They’ve been in a number of battles as part of the Black Guard fleet and have been victorious each time but have never been the obviously decisive factor. The hope that they could end a battle with a single overwhelming volley has certainly not proven true.

Giant Starship: Size 20, Acc/TS 25/250, Climb -1, Toughness 76(37), Crew 1000

Notes: AI, AMCM, 13x Armor, Deflector Screens, FTL Drive, Galactic Sensors, 2x Hangars, Shields, Sloped Armor, Speed Reduction, Targeting System

Weapons:

Quad Linked Mass Driver 10 (Fixed)

Range: 100/200/400 Damage: 10d12 +4 RoF: 1 Notes: +2 to hit, HW, effective range is tripled in space

2x Dual Linked Mass Driver 6

Range: 100/200/400 Damage: 6d12 +2 RoF: 1 Notes: +1 to hit, HW, effective range is tripled in space

4x Dual Linked Light Lasers

Range: 150/300/600 Damage: 2d10 +2 RoF: 1 Notes: +1 to hit, AP5, HW, Reaction Fire

4x Missile Launchers with 16 Heavy Missiles

Range: 200/400/800 Damage: 8d6 RoF: 1 Notes: AP15, HW, MBT

2x Torpedo Tubes (Fixed) with 20 Heavy Torpedoes

Range: 300/600/1200 Damage: 10d12 RoF: 1 Notes: AP80, HW, LBT

Centaur and Minotaur Transports

Two vessels of the same basic design and built within a couple of years of each other, the Centaur and Minotaur are the only vessels the Black Guard actually paid for. As the mercenary company added more and more vehicles to their arsenal, it became more and more difficult for them to transport the men and machines.

In payment for a mission that involved wiping out a city for a client, the Black Guard received these two transports. Originally just freighters, they were modified almost immediately and then steadily to suit the needs of the mercenaries. These changes have meant that the ships are no longer identical, though they look the same outside. Their internal hangar space is different to hold the vehicles specifically assigned to them.

Although not true combat vessels, both ships are armed and capable of participating in a battle, sometimes turning a battle with a well placed shot while the enemies are distracted by the actual warships of the Black Guard fleet.

Giant Starship: Size 20, Acc/TS 25/250, Climb -1, Toughness 47(11), Crew 1250

Notes: AI, AMCM, Atmospheric, Deflector Screens, FTL Drive, Hangar, Sloped Armor, Speed Reduction, 2x Superstructure (Hangar,) Targeting System

Weapons:

2x Heavy Auto-Cannons

Range: 75/150/300 Damage: 4d8 RoF: 3 Notes: AP8, HW

2x Missile Launchers (Fixed) with 16 Heavy Missiles (half are EMP)

Range: 200/400/800 Damage: 8d6 RoF: 1 Notes: AP15, HW, MBT

Complements:Centaur – 6 Hellstorms and 2 Furies

Minotaur – 3 Hellstorms, 1 Fury and 3 Headhunters

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