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Shadow Warcruisers

"The Machine says, 'Kill to Protect.' I am the Machine. We join. We fight." - "Blip" telepath Carolyn, 2260

Model: Shadow Battlecrab-class Warcruiser

Jump Point Capable: Yes; Hyperphase engine

Crew:  one "pilot"

Armament:

 These spider-like semi-sentient vessels are the primary capital-scale vessels used by the Shadows. Composed of organic technology, the Battlecruiser requires a sentient being to operate as its Core. The Core must be properly prepared for insertion. If it is not, the result is a confused, disoriented, and insane ship. Although merged with the ship, the Core can be removed with great difficulty and with permanent mental damage to the Core. The Core is neither pilot nor passenger; it is a ready-made thought matrix. An organic unit can process information faster than most computer systems and reacts faster when formulating strategy. It is much easier and faster to temper an existing brain than to manufacture a complex computer (a solution not unlike that used by the Ikarrans). Linking the Core and Vessel together is a telepathic connection augmented by cyberorganic implants. This connection also creates the mindscream reported by those few who have encountered them and survive. Although they require a sentient being as a Core, the Shadow vessels are extremely single-minded. Once they target a victim, they never stop, never slow down, never give up until that target is dead.

 In 2260, though arrangements with the Psi Corps, the Shadows hoped to augment their Core supply with telepaths. They hoped that using telepaths would strengthen the telepathic link between Core and Vessel, thus rendering the Battlecruiser immune to disruption from telepathic attack. Their supply of "blips" was hijacked, leaving the Shadows with a vulnerable fleet.

These war cruisers are two-tiered with the lower part housing an devastating Slicer Beam. The upper tier houses a wing of approximately seventy-five fighters, with a possible total complement of two-hundred fighters. The fighters are "spat out" in a spiked spheroid projectile at tremendous speed. Once near the assigned target, the sphere fragments and reforms into fifty to seventy-five fighter units. As for defensive systems, the Shadow Cruiser can absorb destructive energy, but at the cost of great pain.

 The skin of the Shadow Battlecruiser is a shimmering oily black substance able to withstand the rigors of space and hyperspace travel. The skin is extremely versatile; able to be in a rigid, flexible, or fluid state seemingly at will. This is the same substance that Shadow fighters and transports are made out of, and appears to bond easily with other vessels having similar "skin." While the organic armor is extremely resilient, the Shadow Cruisers are not invulnerable. Carbon-based lifeforms, not properly prepared, die immediately upon touching this substance. Several concentrated energy beams can sever a "spike" from the ship and large amounts of energy can destroy it. Additionally, being organic in design, damage to the ship acts as it would a living being (for example: severing a spine on the Shadow Vessel will put the Shadow vessel in shock or anger it, depending on its mental state and "personality."

 Instead of relying on jumpgates, Shadow vessels can phase into and out of realspace. In addition, their sensors appear to be sensitive enough to "see" into realspace from hyperspace.

 Although Shadow Cruisers have excellent stealth capabilities, their propulsion system disrupts the local hypserspace around their position and leaves a trail of unique neutrino emissions that can be detected by modern sensor systems. Although their technology can block such emissions, the Shadows care little about being detected. Any inquisitive ships are swiftly and lethally dealt with.

 During the last Shadow uprising one-thousand years ago (circa 1260 AD), several Battlecruisers were placed in storage on far-flung worlds; thus insuring that not all their vessels would be destroyed in the coming conflict with the First Ones. In 2253, a Shadow Battlecruiser was discovered 300 feet below the Martian surface on Syria Planum. After months of false leads on artifacts buried beneath the sands of Mars, the sonic probes of an Interplanetary Expeditions(IPX) team struck what they thought was paydirt. After repeated messages to Earth Central on the find, and getting no replies, they were suddenly ordered to pack up and move to their secondary base two miles away. Psi Corps personnel moved in to ready the site for the Shadows to reclaim their vessel. Another Battlecruiser arrived carrying a new Core. The birthing scream is both psychic and vocal and can be heard from over two miles away. The scientists were separated. Those that were not neutralized were transferred to far-away worlds.

 Another Battlecruiser was found in the Sol system in 2260. This time it was buried in the ice on Ganymede, a moon of Jupiter. The Psi Corps and IPX did not want to give this vessel up. Deciding to take it for their own uses, so that "they could be more like [the Shadows]," they installed their own unprepared Core. The resultant insane ship destroyed the Ganymede research station and was itself killed by the White Star.

IRL: Notes on the Entries

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