Thursday, January 17, 2019

Full Thrust IJN "Chairman Takahashi" Command Superdreadnought Experimental Refit

Command Dreadnought "Chairman Takahashi" Experimental Refit
The Xeno War exposed humanity to multiple alien races within a short time span, each of which had their own unique technological base.  While there was great interest in the combat capabilities of these new technologies, most research was devoted to countering there effects as best as possible.  Few human powers made any real attempt to reverse engineer and duplicate enemy weapons during the conflict, seeing their time and effort better spent in refining proven human equipment and tactics.  There were some exceptions to this, most notably the Incorporated Japanese Naval R&D Command. 

The Japanese R&D branch had always been unusually willing to experiment with new technologies, sometimes to the detriment of actual combat effectiveness as incompletely tested systems were installed on service ships for final trials by fire.  The Japanese corporate government was also one of the few human powers that had significant communications with any of the alien powers.  While the Kra'Vak were unapproachable and the Sa'Vasku nearly incomprehensible, the Phalons (or at least some factions within the Conglomerate) were perfectly willing to negotiate material and tech exchanges.  Their traders were remarkably cutthroat in their dealings, but Incorporated Japan was no stranger to those sort of business dealings themselves and overall both sides seemed to benefit roughly equally throughout the War.

The Phalons were particularly interested in human screen technology, and also traded for samples of various starship missile systems.  IJN R&D received engineering specs and some material samples of Phalon weaponry in exchange.  While some of the material proved to be useless for each side, human engineers working with Phalon advisors did manage to "crack" the principles of the plasma bolt launcher well enough to create their own somewhat comparable version.  The first Japanese bolt launcher prototypes were absurdly bulky and had more limitations than the original alien tech, but they were also quite powerful.  The sheer size of the system would have eliminated any possibility of field testing the weapon - until the command dreadnought "Chairman Takahashi" was crippled by K-Gun fire off of Centaurus and limped home to Sol for repairs.

With the entire front half of the ship mangled almost beyond recognition there was some debate about whether to even repair the vessel.  R&D seized the opportunity to put forward a plan to use the Takahashi as a testbed for their newly-developed alien wonder weapon, replacing the wreckage of the hyperspace distortion cannon and other systems with the third of the plasma bolt prototypes (the first two having exceeded their service life during extensive testing by this point).  The Logistics & Repairs Division of the IJN agreed, in part because it meant much of the cost of the bringing the ship back into service would wind up coming from the R&D budget rather than their own. 

The dreadnought was out of action for nearly a year, during which time R&D engineers made major alterations to the ship's original design.  It was discovered that the ship's screen system interfered with plasma bolt formation and guidance, and the few intact emitters were removed accordingly.  Most of the ship's secondary and tertiary weaponry had also been wrecked, and rather than replace them R&D used the souped-up power generators required by the bolt launcher to massively enhance the ship's primary beam turrets.  Twin pulse torpedoes were installed as well, in part because their mass and volume coincidentally fit well in void space left after the bolt launcher was installed and the scrap of the HDC was removed.  The main visual difference between the ship's pre- and post-refit design was the extended spinal tube required by the massive bolt launcher.

The modifications to the ship's power grid also required the removal of some backup safety systems, a reconfiguration of several main structural members, and general reduction in systems stability despite added surge buffers and backup capacitors.  The final form of the Takahashi was very much a "big gun" ship with rather weak defenses for its size and poor close-in weaponry that required a heavier escort than its previous incarnation.  R&D was very happy when after action reports started coming in showing that their plasma bolt launcher was, if not perfect, very useful for breaking up targets flying in tight formation.  They were markedly less happy when the ship disintegrated in a power core explosion three months later after stopping a half-dozen heavy K-Gun rounds during the Siege of Sol.  To date no sister ship to the Chairman Takahashi has been produced, but the plans remain on file and are revisited each time a new command dreadnought hull is approved for construction.

TMF 252
NPV 838 / CPV 1221
Thrust 4
q 2 q
4 Fire Controls
1 Area Defense Fire Control q
1 Class 5 Expermimental Plasma Bolt Launcher (F)
2 Pulse Torpedoes (front 120 degrees) qq
6 Class 3 Beam Batteries (F/FS/FP/AS/AP)
qq (F/FP/AP) qq (F/FS/AS) qq
Hull 65 (17/16/16/16) - 13 crew units, one every 5th box

The two pulse torpedoes use a 120 degree forward firing arc, which is technically a house rules but ought to be self explanatory.  Star Fleet Battles vets would instantly recognize it as being an FA arc, or Starmada fans would know it as an AB arc.

The Experimental Plasma Bolt Launcher represents the best efforts to date to duplicate Phalon plasma tech with human equipment.  It functions exactly like the Phalon version from Fleet Book 2 with the following restrictions: 

1) Its firing arc is front 60 degrees only.
2) The bolt marker it creates cannot be placed within 6 MU of the launching ship.
3) You cannot mount screens (even inactive screens) on a ship with an Experimental Plasma Bolt Launcher.

FWIW, the Phalons have it even worse with the screen tech they traded for.  Not only does it not work any better with their PBLs, it also interferes with pulser fire.  

Note the massive disparity between the NPV and CPV for this ships.  This showcases how extremely large hulls can become prohibitively expensive, putting a soft cap on the size of superships.  Under CPV this ship pays an extra 383 for its base hull.  A 300 Mass ship would pay an extra 600, at which point you're really going to struggle to get full value out of it if your opponent sticks to swarms of smaller ships.  At least the Takahashi has a nice area of effect weapon for that sort of thing.