OSF-05 - Wasp's Nest
The second of three star fighters launched by the Oraki immediately after the war with the Word of Creation, the Wasp is a short-flight, non atmospheric fighter designed for heavy firepower and survivability.
The fifth of five candidates for the initial generation of Oraki star fighters, the Wasp was an order of magnitude more complex than it's immediate brethren, yet judged to have sufficient advantages, mostly in sheer firepower, to be worth production.
Consisting of a single central cylinder, surrounded by six interconnected nacelles laid in a hexagonal pattern, the Wasp at first appears to be an ungainly vessel, especially to eyes used to judging atmospheric craft, although a massive central thruster to the aft, and it's six secondary companions, one per nacelle promise ample acceleration, a promise born out readily. With the secondary engines being so far of center of mass, the ship is also surprisingly nimble. However, with the seven thrusters all fed from the central fuel tank, with only small emergency supplies within the nacelles, the Wasp's Nest burns through its' supply of reaction mass with astonishing alacrity, limiting it to service from carriers or in close defense of a space station. With an average of less than 60 minutes of full delta-v available, it is unable to perform deep patrols.
I seen it happen. We were getting close to that airless hell-hole they call home, warming up the bombs. I saw this strange hexagon of stars appear, popping up over the disc of the planet. That meant maybe six of him, sixteen of us. I liked them odds, until it opened fire. The first salvo tore us apart like a hot knife through butter - me? I ran. Wasn't worth the paycheck.
-Tseng Shang, mercenary.
Each nacelle, meanwhile, also bears a forwards facing heavy maser, each rotating through a 120 degree cone to permit a coordinated, combined assault on foes, either from the onboard systems, or fed through from a carrier or Baleful Eye. Yet, despite this firepower, this is listed as the secondary weapons system on the Nest. The star fighter also carries a complement of 'Wasp Venom' missiles - four on each nacelle, and twelve centrally, for a total of 36 missiles per vessel. Rather than a traditionally explosive ordinance, the shaped charge on this missile is not intended to deal damage directly, but rather, to boost the total velocity of a packed wad of depleted uranium mini-rods - a kind of hyper-velocity shotgun capable of correcting for its target's flight pattern.
Finally, in addition to the solid armor on the ship, the cockpit of the vessel is buried within a nacelle - Normally, this serves as concealment for the pilot - a good marksman cannot count on disabling a single nacelle to kill the pilot. Indistinguishable from the other nacelles, it is difficult to count on disabling the pilot, servicing as a form of protection - most weapons can only hit one of the linked sections of the ship. Technically, this location is not randomized, but each pilot tends to find his own preferred orientation, effectively making shooting at the nacelles a shell game.
The great majority of existing Nests are flown by Sanctuary Home forces - Insufficient production makes them rare in allied militaries and on the grey and black markets.
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? Responses (6)-6
I love the idea of the wasp venom missiles; so they are designed to get within a proximity of the target and explode in a shotgun style scatter? Really devastating!
I like these. Every Oraki merchantman should have one of these in a hold somewhere for shotgunning pirates.
Is there any particular reason the Oraki would not omit the pilot altogether? Given the very 'simple' environment of space combat, and the relatively low population of the Oraki, I would expect them to deploy drone fighters and save their numbers for command and control functions like the Eye.
First, Authorial style. Second, Friend-or-foe and attack/defense pattern identification in three dimensions with multiple seconds - to - minutes of detection delay means that combat is not-simple in a way that complicates AI decision making. Third, there's their ethics. Any AI smart enough to make the decisions is uncomfortably close to enslaving their own cousins...
Nice star fighter, I too like the wasp venom missiles and the write up in the merc's voice.
As for the AIs in combat maybe you get catch 22 there. Any AI as a smart as a human pilot isn't that much better than a human pilot and those smarter know better to participate in armed combat (a mainframe can get hurt that way) ;)