Artemis Frigate + High Thrust Burner Drones


Edigar stood again in the halographic presentation room facing a similar set of admirals, military purchasers, ship architects and tactical analysts that he had met a few months ago with his fast cruiser concepts. This time at least Edigar was sure of their undivided attention, he was also quietly confident in the viability of his proposal. He was surprised at his own nervous excitement though. It had taken some time for him to come up with an effective droptank Jump 6 design for a frigate and Edigar recognized he was perhaps overly pleased with the concept and not reviewing it as rationally as he should.
There was the usual last minute seat finding and equipment searching then the Imperial Spacecraft Design Committee was ready. Chairing the event today was a vast bulk of a man, infamous for his booming voice and off-beat humor, with a string of naval victories to his credit as long as the Imperial sash he wore around his massive waist.
The vessel design was brought up on the screens, the databases displayed, and the review of the Artemis Frigate was underway.
Edigar immediately began with the craft’s obvious weakness. “That the frigate lacks offensive capability for its size is acknowledged. It is a prime element in the concept however that the Artemis is never expected to be a space superiority vessel on a ton per ton basis. The Artemis will have three main opponents:
Ships smaller than it where the commercial or political value makes use of the Artemis to hunt practical.
Ships far larger than the Artemis that she is searching for.
Ships of large tonnage, but older technology, that are being used for raiding purposes.
We see two key roles for the Artemis. In peace time the frigate will be a pursuit craft, a hunter of commerce raiders, intruders too large or elusive for system police forces to manage. In wartime the Artemis will be an exceptionally valuable scouting fleet element. Ever since man put to sea in military ships every Admiral has wished for more and better eyes for the fleet to see with. The Artemis is the bleeding edge of this fleet requirement.
You will note the large number of drones the ship employs. These are specialized high thrust burner designs. They allow the use of two tactics. One I term over-the-horizon engagements. You see this forward bow chaser sensor drone? It uses its high thrust burner to get ahead of the mother ship’s sensor limit and then cruises in front of the ship providing advance warning of potential targets. There are then a range of assault drones, similarly equipped with high thrust burners, that can then shoot ahead of the mother ship to engage a target. The entire engagement could be over even before the Artemis brings the target in range of its own long range capabilities, or the enemy aware of the source of attack. The other tactic I call ‘orca-pack’ engagements. Where the drones can be left to hunt on their own. The mother ship could show itself searching around a far gas giant, the target vessel blasts off from an inner system inhabited planet - and is duly ambushed by the waiting drones.
“You’ve been reading my memos!” came the thundering laugh. The big man had his pointer on the script ‘politically valuable’.
Questioning eyebrows were raised from the rest of the examining board.
“I’d said I’d happily give up a cruiser if someone could get the sector duke and the chairman of Estorada System Supplies off my back.”
“Wouldn’t stop them complaining even if you sent in something like an Artemis,” dryly remarked Admiral Crighton.
“Uh huh, but then I can honestly say I have done the very best I can. And then gently suggest that perhaps they should spend some of their money to solve their problem,” he finished with a beautific smile. “I’ll take five.”
“You can wait in line,” came a sotto whisper, the source unidentifiable.
The massive man simply grinned even wider.
“Flicker meson bay?” came a pointed question, the man now all brusk business.
“Already outdated and redundant on a line of battle ship agreed. Deadly against older ships, and for those cases where we don’t care too much about the pirates but would prefer to keep the cargo intact.” Edigar had his answer ready. “The Artemis is the only potential use of meson flicker weapons I can now think of,” Edigar admitted.
“Plenty of options to mix and match drones for the mission purpose,” noted Admiral Crighton. “I see what you’ve done here for the drone storage,” she continued. “One drone can be serviced in a bay while another is on an external clamp ready for instant release.” She paused. “What is this slinky!?”
An older man with a hatchet face leaned forward. “I’ve created this space combat walker to be the foremost ship assault mechanical. A hostile you never want aboard. See the sidebar for the specifications.
There was a round of low murmurs.
“Kinetic delivery vehicles?”
“A technically correct name for suicide drones, Sir,” replied Edigar.
“Ah, that old can of worms.”
“The boarding tube?”
“It allows quick deployment of thrust enabled marines. It’s not a common feature because its use implies a breach has already been made in the enemy craft hull. In this case the breach could have been made by either a slinky, or one of these kinetic delivery vehicles. Regardless of the viability of getting a large collection of warheads to explode internally, ripping a ship’s structure apart, something like this decoy drone smashing into a hull at thrust level sixteen will make a hole. An Artemis frigate could then latch on and put three slinky lead squads of marines aboard in ten minutes. Pity the ship can’t take more of a pounding herself, but that’ll be a consideration for a heavy strike cruiser that’s on the drawing boards.”
“The wartime suite of sensor drones is impressive,” the big man commented reading through the drone descriptions. “That’ll be two forward, one each for top, bottom, left, right, the four points of the mother ship sensor sphere while cruising, and then the ultra-long range versions ranging where ever. Not bad. As you’ve noted along with a few extended range fighters sweeping within a day or so of the mother ship it all makes for considerable space volume coverage from a single spacecraft.”
A rumpled man at the rear sat scratching his chin. “Can’t you ever design something that’s, you know, inexpensive, Edigar?” was the exasperated complaint. “The Imperial budget can only stretch so far and if we want police frigates let’s build a bunch of lower tech vessels for wider system coverage. Or a fleet screen of small, cheap, sentry picket ships.
“A couple of those drones are reasonable value for money,” remarked Admiral Crighton. “The bow chaser sensor drones would be standard issue for every fleet.”
“There’s no value on effective reconnaissance, knowing where to send your trillion credit squadron is victory or defeat when hostilities breakout. I like them,” stated the big man. “Valuable in peace time. Irreplaceable in wartime. I mean irreplaceable. There’s not an admiral in this room who hasn’t been stuck in a starport and then been forced to jump a fleet blindly because we couldn’t afford to wait for fresh intelligence. This is an ideal, let’s say, fleet vanguard frigate. Let’s get the design in production and standardized so we can rapidly build more at need.”
“She’ll be a gorgeous vessel when built,” commented one of the naval architects. “Artemis is an appropriate name for the class – the beautiful hunter.”
“As I said, I’ll take the first one off the blocks,” remarked the big man.
“Excuse me Admiral, but I think not.”
Everyone turned to look at a small slim woman who had parked herself behind the main gathering. It was, to everyone’s surprise, Admiral Shatharon, head of the Scout Service who for some reason had invited herself to the Design Review meeting.
“I beg your pardon?” remarked the committee chairman.
“Yes, Admiral. The Scout Service is requisitioning the first three ships. Your political infighting can wait. I insist.”
There was nothing but blank astonishment at the remark. The Scout Service made do with whatever used delinquent scraps the Imperial Fleet thought fit to throw their way. That was how things were done, they didn’t insist on anything.
“Are we going to need to get special survey drones designed as well for her?” replied the big man, with only the slightest edge of sarcasm creeping around his jovial good humor. Though the implication was clear. You’re not going to use an advanced critical space fleet element to take pretty pictures of desolate planets are you?
“You’ll see. Let’s continue the conversation elsewhere.”
The committee chairman blinked for a moment, though the bon hommie attitude never faltered for an instant at this overruling of his prerogatives. Then he said, “As you wish. I declare the meeting closed. Edigar, it seems we’ll have to find another time to discuss the details. I’ll let you know.”
“Edigar, look to budget stealth jump drives into the first model,” Admiral Shatharon called back, already half way out the door.
“Yes, Ma’am.”
Artemis Frigate


That's two sections not four...
“Slinky” Space Combat Walker

A slinky is space variant of the assault capsule (Military Vehicles pg 98) where the maw of the walker is mix of high power plasma drills and huge arc-field axes that can cut through spaceship armor at more than twice the rate of a breaching tube – 1 turn/5pts of armour. Half the size again of a one car garage, it is shaped like a long centipede so despite its bulk a slinky is still able to move with extraordinary rapidity along human sized passageways. It has little need to though as a slinky can cut through standard ship decking or bulkheads in seconds, taking a direct route through a ship to whatever it has been programmed to attack, its specialized software and sensor systems providing more than adequate information on how to optimize spacecraft assault. Arrival of a slinky onboard a vessel spells almost certain doom for the ship, a slinky can disable, disarm, destroy or de-crew a spacecraft within minutes. A single slinky is any service crew’s worst nightmare with the only positive in being instantly vaporized by a plasma torch after rounding a corner is that at least it was quick.
Slinky’s are used on grapple enabled vessels, where by a combination of thrusters and crawling along the grapple line they can swiftly board enemy ships that have been successfully targeted. Grapples are preferred to magnetic harpoons despite their shorter range due to the more sturdy nature of the grapple lines, though in fact there is little stopping a slinky from simply jetting over to an enemy ship once distances have closed and two ships are effectively in boarding mode.
Slinky’s come with a variety of antipersonnel weaponry, however their first target is inevitably a vital ship component, where the last message the ship captain may hear is a panicking junior officer’s scream, “there is an energy source aboard heading in the direction of the ship’s power plant!”
Knowledge of a Slinky is strictly classified by Imperial Decree.
(that is I haven’t got round to building it yet. *&^%$#@! Every time I do something I have to go out and get more books!)
Suggested Rules Addition

Jump Sniffers are a TL11 design and given the importance of jump tracing you would expect this technology to evolve. While I have kept the Artemis as canon I could suggest the following rule additions:
Jump Tracing Sensors: TL13, 2 tons, 1MCr. A sophisticated suite of residual radiation and space particle sensors that when used in conjunction with ship tracing rules move the difficult level one step easier.
Jump Tracing Lab: TL14. A ship lab that is dedicated to analyzing jump data. It costs 50% more than a standard lab for one person, 4 tons and 6 MCr, and allows the Space Science skill level to be added as a DM to all ship tracing rules. Ships will usually carry one scientist for this role.
Interesting. Needs more <CR> though! :)

From the looks of it you cut/pasted from a word processor into the webpage. You need to doublespace your original doc if you want them to come through. Or else create a pdf attachment.
Finished. Other posts are okay beyond this point.

Edit: didn't put my warning note in, my own fault. Thankfully made it though, heh. :p Give me a few minutes and I'll hopefully have the guts up Phavoc

Actually I like the way word docs come out in this forum. It's about the only one I know that you can just copy paste into. The bigger paragraph spacing just chews up thread space.

Edited Edit: Okay DONE. Jet-lagged to bits myself at the moment. I'll look to resize the Artemis later. And worry about typos down the track... :)

Edited edit of the edit: meh, seems like there is a hard size dictated by photobucket for Artemis. Still was able to up the contrast and it's a bit more legible.
Hopefully Mongoose might address the rules issues with regards the kinetic delivery vehicles. If we take the 10t of torpedo warheads that's in the Big Bang variant drone there if we simple count only the explosive power and only allow the KDV to have penetrated the hull (not done any damage itself) that would work out as 160 points of structural damage, which will take out a very big capital ship section. Obviously it may not be considered so straight forward but it's clearly a viable tactic in a number of ways, even as mentioned in the fluff, just to punch a hole in the hull for boarders to enter.

But I have to admit I like the vault design. And that may be the requisite for larger suicide drones, the warheads have to be highly and additionally armored within a vault-like build.
Well. That generated a lot of feedback. Edigar was obviously a little bit too pompously smug in his style. Down to bumping my own thread. :lol: So what's next, a battle tender examination or a cross over into a strike cruiser with some interesting add-ons specifically designed to counter heavy fighter waves? Hmmm...