An introduction to the Transcendence Universe by contributors from the Unofficial Transcendence Forum.
Edited by El_FluffyDragon.
Don't know where you are or what to do? Well, neither do we, but we'll wildly guess about it anyway.
— OnStar Galactic Help System Manual
Welcome to the universe of Transcendence, where pirates, strange alien life forms and ancient forces of unknown origin clash. Making your way in Human Space is not as easy as the 3DVs make it seem, however. If you don't know a fuel rod from a high-flux MAG you better read this before you learn the hard way.
Once, long ago, ancient races built the stargates; great colossal structures that can move ships to other gates instantly. No other faster-than-light method of travel is known within Human Space.
First, you will pilot a Sapphire-class yacht around the backwater Commonwealth system of Eridani. A few outlaw camps scatter the region, but most are ill-equipped. You'll find most of these easy kills for your recoilless cannon and shields. Don't make the mistake underestimating your enemies in Transcendence, however. In the following systems you'll meet much more dangerous foes; alien craft that erode your armor, vastly powerful plasma cannons that can shred your ship to shrapnel, and malicious software that messes with your ship's computer.
This document will contain all the information you'll need to make your way through the first star system, Eridani. Beyond, you're on your own.
Maneuvering through space is a fairly simple and straightforward process. In our universe, flight through the cosmos is as easy as the push of a button..."
— Excerpt from A Treatise on Interstellar Navigation
Movement in the Transcendence universe depends almost exclusively on a set of four keys. The up arrow key activates the main engine thrust, propelling your ship in the direction the bow is pointing. There is very little friction in outer space, so your ship won't stop of it's own accord. You will keep traveling in the same direction at the same rate of speed, until something causes you not to, a la Newton. The left and right arrow keys turn your ship to the left and right.
If you wish to slow down or stop, you must execute a 180 degree turn, so that the front of your ship is pointing the way you've just come. At this point, using your main engines will slow you down. If you thrust for too long, you will start moving in the opposite direction.
Captain Jameson: "Fire the gun! Fire the gun!"
New Recruit: "How do I do that!?"
Captain Jameson: "Press the red button!"
New Recruit: 'Which red bu... "
— Last recorded transmission from the freighter Korolov. Sensor tapes recovered from the wreckage showed she had been destroyed by pirates.
Most citizens of the commonwealth are normal, law abiding people. But in backwater systems such as Eridani, Pirates and Outlaws find rich pickings. It will be necessary to defend yourself. Enemy ships show up on your Long Range Sensor screen as red dots. When you encounter an enemy ship, simply point the bow of your vessel towards the enemy and press the Ctrl key. It may be necessary to aim in front of the enemy if they are traveling at high speed. If you have more than one weapon installed, use the W key to switch between them.
After a while, you may acquire a missile launcher. These are fired by pressing the Shift key. Many missiles need to be aimed, but some of them are guided. If you have more than one type of missile compatible with your launcher in your cargo bay, you can switch between them using the Tab key.
The matter of docking is one of the more complicated aspects of space flight. Matching the rotation and speed of a station so that a docking port can connect is impossible for all but the most expert pilots. Luckily, advances have recently been made in computerized docking systems...
— Excerpt from A Treatise on Interstellar Navigation
Docking in transcendence is actually rather simple. Simply press the D key. There are three factors that affect it: Range to station, Station hostility, and available docking ports. You must be with in three ship lengths of the station for docking to work. If the station is an active enemy station, you cannot dock without first destroying it. If it is a friendly station that you've hit a few too many times with stray shots (or intentional ones), you cannot dock. Only if it is a friendly station or wreck can you proceed with docking. Lastly, if the station already has all it’s docking ports occupied by ships, docking is impossible. You will have to wait until a port is available.
System map? I don't need no stinking Starmap! I know this system like the back o' me hand!
— Reputed last words of the Captain of the Bootyfull. Last sighted Eridani System, 174 AS. Presumed lost.
Now that you've gotten the hang of maneuvering that pretty looking ship of yours, take a moment before you go haring off to make your fortune. Where are you gonna go?
It's all fine when you can spot a green blip on your LRS. But what are you gonna do when you've got nothing on your LRS? A solar system is a pretty big place, its easy to get lost and have nothing in range for millions of klicks. You need something to help you plan your explorations.
Press the M key. It'll pop open the map for the current system. Your AI automatically maps all of the planets and asteroids in the systems, and shows you their orbits. On the lower right, you've got the name of the system
On the map, Starton Station and Starton Drydock show up as green blips. Typically, when you first enter a system, your map will be empty. Only the more developed Commonwealth Stations have navbeacons that your AI will automatically add to the map.
Hostile stations appear will appear as red blips.
Use the map to navigate your way through the system. Stations are usually orbiting planets. Your ship AI will automatically add any stations that you come across, it'll even add names to the stations, if you fly close enough to them.
With the discovery of the stargates, humans are able to travel faster than light. We have yet to replicate this technology and apply it to our starships drives. Until this is accomplished, compared to intersystem travel via the stargates, interplanetary travel will still be a monotonous thing.
— Excerpt from A Treatise on Interstellar Navigation
Now that you've got an idea about where you can go in the system. You'll quickly learn that space travel isn't all that its cracked up to be. What they don't show on the 3DVs is that it takes a long time to travel between planets. That's why every ship is equipped with a cryogenic suspension system.
Passengers are usually put into cryosleep coffins for the duration of the voyage. For the "luggage", it's a simple matter of boarding the ship and waking up a few subjective moments later at their destination.
Because pilots are supposed to watch out for uncharted hazards and pirate attacks, they are the only crew that aren't put into full cryosleep.
When you press the A key, the AI takes control and places the pilot into a shallow cryosleep. Subjective time passes quicker, but if something unexpected happens, the pilot can take immediate control of the ship. This is done by switching away from the map screen, firing weapons or maneuvering jets.
On the hush, hush.. although the egg heads and sawbones swear black and blue that there are no side affects from the shallow cryo, there's a huge trade in Tempus for the pilots and ex-pilots that reckon that shallow cryo effects don't stop once they get outta the cockpit.
Those cheapskates at the commonwealth always charge too much for fuel. I don't know what's going on but after I got that new turbo laser there seems to be less fuel. I bet they put some junk in the fuel hold just to make it seem like I had full fuel. And what's with the fuel going down if I am just sitting still doing nothing someone must of left a hole in there. Hmm, maybe one of these days I am just going to come in and take the fuel I find that they owe me. At least the pirates I killed yesterday had some fuel rods so I don't have to go back to the station for awhile.
Hello, sir and welcome to our showroom. We have many ship styles to choose from for the picky buyer.
All of our newer model ships come with auto use features. The system could handle anything from coating the hull to handling super computer data.
No, no, sir. We do not sell super computers here, I am just saying if you had one on your ship this system could handle the data.
Anyway, we do sell several accessories that the system does use. I could even give you a demonstration.
Please, come sit down in the chair and I will walk you though it.
Now press the U key. You are seeing several things the auto use system can handle.
Now, let's go over to the regenerating nanos and use them on the forward hull.
No, no, sir, those are not the nanos, that is a system map ROM.
No, sir, I don't think you are stupid, let me help to scroll through the items. Just hit the Up and/or Down arrow keys, like I am doing, and select the item. Then let's just go aft for our demonstration.
There, do you hear? That is the system coating the ship.
Now, you try. Just scroll over to the regenerating nanos.
Ok, good sir, notice how it is showing how many is in the hold? I like that feature a lot, myself. Saves me trips down to the cargo hold.
Now select it. The Enter key sir.
Ok, now it is asking where to put it. Let's put this batch on the port. Go down to port and select it with the Enter key.
See? So easy a child could use it.
SIR, that was uncalled for, I am calling security.
I just bought this missile launcher and now your telling me I need to buy more!
I don't care if it is cheap. What do you think I am made of money?
I saw that you just grabbed a random ROM out of that box. How do I know it is the correct one?
So how do you use this "targeting ROM"?
Yes I know you have to install ROMs I am asking after that.
R? Why 'R'? Why not 'T' for targeting? That doesn't make any sense.
Well, I am the customer. The customer is always right.
So how do I target enemies that are farther away?
What? Why can't I? I don't care about the stupid peon ships when the huge capital ship is firing on me.
ARG, nothing I can do since I already bought the missiles.
I will talk to my lawyer about getting this place shut down.
In the year 2098, the Kuiper Anomaly research mission discovered the first stargate. They inadvertently activated it with their transmission, and found themselves in the Centauri system. After several days, they figured out how to activate the gate again, and made it back to Sol. Further research missions failed to determine anything about how it worked but the fact that it did work. Eventually, a stargate leading out of the Centauri system was discovered, and galactic exploration was off and running...
— Excerpt from the foreword to A Treatise on Interstellar Navigation
The stargates are the primary means of travel between star systems. Indeed, they are the only known way to reach other stars without suffering the time dilating effects of relativity. Built by the ancient races, nothing is known about their inner workings. But the method of traveling through them is known. Simply fly to the stargate you wish to travel through, and press the G key when you are on top of it. You will appear a few moments later in the corresponding gate on the other end.
Your game will be saved each time you use a stargate.
When traveling the depths of space, it is necessary to have a safe haven; somewhere you can make repairs, refuel, and relax. In our civilization, Commonwealth Stations provide such a place...
— Excerpt from A Treatise on Interstellar Navigation
When you first start a game of Transcendence, you have all that you need for maybe one trip around the Eridani system. But after that, you will need a place to refuel, repair, and offload the spoils of victory. The Commonwealth Station provides all three of these things. There are three different sections to full sized Commonwealth stations: The commodities exchange, the Dock Services area, and the Central Plaza.
The commodities exchange is where you buy and sell weapons, ammo, armor, shields, devices and goods. If you want to sell off what you've accumulated, simply select sell items, then use either the previous item and next item buttons or the left and right arrow keys to select the item you want to sell. If the exchange will accept the item, the sell item button will become active. Click this, and type in the number of items you want to sell if prompted. Click sell items again, and the transaction is complete. When you have sold all that you want to, select done. The purchasing menu works in the same way. Note that you can only purchase an item when you have room for it in your cargo hold. When you have finished all your transactions, click done again to return to the main menu.
The dock services area allows you to refuel, repair or replace your ship’s armor, install devices, and remove devices. To refuel your ship, simply click refuel, then click refuel again after confirming the number of fuel rods you wish to add. To repair or replace your armor, click on the repair or replace armor button. Then use the previous and next buttons to select which armor segment you wish to work on. Once you have the proper segment selected, you have two options. You can either click on repair, or replace. Repair will restore your armor to full strength, for a cost. If your armor is too badly damaged, you will not be able to repair it. Replace will allow you to switch installed armor with any uninstalled segments in your cargo hold. This is the only option if your armor cannot be repaired. The price of replacing armor segments depends on the sophistication of the armor to be installed.
The install device screen allows you to install any devices (shields, weapons, drives) that you have in your cargo hold. Simply select the device you want to install, click install, check the price, and click install again. You can only have one shield generator installed on your ship at a time, so you will have to remove the old one first. To remove devices, the process is the same as in the install device screen.
The central plaza menu has two options: Trafalgar pub and Victorian Nightclub. In the Trafalgar pub, you can sit at the bar for five credits and get intelligence on the system, or general info about the game. As yet, the Victorian Nightclub option doesn't do anything of significance.
When you have finished all your business at the Commonwealth station, simply click the Undock button.
Commonwealth Dry Dock
So anyway, I showed up just as the pirates were preparing to dock with the wreck of the Korolov. I picked one off with my Tev9 blaster, but then they turned and started firing on me. My shields blocked most of the shots, and I was able to destroy another two Corsairs, but then my shields went, and I got peppered pretty badly by the only remaining ship, a Viking class. Another couple of shots finished him off, and I went to see if there were any survivors on the wreck. There weren't. I sent off a laser pulse to the station, and stayed on the scene until help arrived. Then I high-tailed it to the dry-dock for some pretty major repairs…
— From the deposition of Henry Charleston, eyewitness to the attack on the Korolov, during the investigation into the disaster.
The dry dock is a very useful place: Not only is fuel cheaper here, but we can repair some armor types that those simpletons down in Commonwealth Dock Services are at a loss to fix. We also install and remove devices, and for a hefty fee can upgrade your reactor. It may be pricey, but the stuff you can put on a ship packin’ a 100MW reactor is worth it. Here’s a rundown of our services:
Refuel: This works the same way as the refuel option anywhere else, but the Dry Dock charges 20 credits, instead of 21 or 23 like those skinflints over at the Station charge.
Repair or Replace Armor: The controls are the same as at the Station, but we have better equipment and the brains to use it. Now, it’s nothing against those guys down in Dock Services, but they wouldn't know how to fix a segment of XMH armor. Sure, it’s experimental, but we work hard to keep up with the latest tech.
Install Device: Now I have to admit, we don't do this any better than those monkeys over at the station. But I still think that you'll get better, friendlier customer service over here.
Remove Device: Okay, so we don't do this any better than Commonwealth Dock Services, either, but heck, anybody can rip stuff out!
Upgrade Reactor: Now this, only we can do. So you've decided that your wimpy little 10 megawatts of reactor power aren't enough? Well, for the price of 10000 commonwealth credits, we can put in a 100MW reactor. Once you have one of these babies, you can run all sorts of weaponry and shields that would drain a 10 megawatt reactor dry. Your ship will run better and carry more fuel, too. Still feel inadequate? Well, for 50000 credits, we can take that 100MW reactor of yours and put in a whopping 1 Gigawatt reactor! This is the biggest, best, and most powerful reactor civilian money can buy! Your ship will hum, absolutely hum! I hear that some of those alien technologies that turn up every now and then need a reactor this size to run…
Everyone thinks it must be so exciting to work in space. In reality, it's just the same cubicles with a prettier window view...
Corporate enclaves are one of the most boring stations you'll ever see in your travels. If you really like being around the suits and ties, I think you picked the wrong career.
The whole stations are mass produced, so they're all identical no matter where you are. They're divided into three levels. The top level is the corporate level, full of the offices and cubicles. If you've got some luxury goods in your hold you can unload them here for a better price then the commonwealth stations will give you, but other then that I advise getting out of there as soon as possible.
The middle level is the residential level, where all the salarymen and their wives stay. There's nothing to do here, and they wont rent you a room, so I wouldn't even bother with this level.
The last level is the maintenance level, where all the life support and other utilities are. It's also usually home to a large population of drifters and drug addicts. Not much to see here, either, unless you want to hang out with that sort of crowd.
Now, for a limited time only, Commonwealth Residentials is accepting new tenants! The only requirements for leasing are citizenship in the commonwealth! Pets are allowed, but no animals taller than two meters, please! Conveniently located within shuttle distance of Eridani Station, this is an ideal home for Commonwealth employees! Inquire on frequency 962.843…
— Advertisement from the Commonwealth Times NewsHolo
Commonwealth Residentials is just that: a housing complex. The people here don't want to do any business with you, and there are no goods on the station, so there isn't much point in docking here.
Nav Beacons are very useful little things that put anything near them on the system map.
Sisters of Domina
So there I was, flying along in my freighter, transporting a group of Sisters to their monastery on the edge of the Eridani system, when my Long Range Sensors start beeping at me. I flip on the display screen, and there are eight corsair-class gunships and two viking class gunships headed straight for me, guns blazing. I fired my omni-laser, and managed to blast a couple of Corsairs out of the cosmos, but by then the others had managed to correct their aim. After half a dozen hits, my shield went down, and my rear armor started to take a pounding. Needless to say, I was worried. But not the sisters, oh no. They just sat there and started humming some sort of meditation chant or something. We kept taking hits, and the rear armor was about to go, but then the chanting rose to a peak and this blue, glowing light surrounded the ship. The laser shots from the pirates just vanished into it. I didn't know what was happening, but I decided to try and even the odds a bit while we were safe. But when I tried to fire my laser, it vanished into the blue light just the same as the pirate's shots. By then we were nearing the abbey, and the pirates broke off and retreated...
— Excerpt from Physical Manifestations of the Will of Domina
By Crom and Fossaman
I'm not one to preach. Whoever you choose to talk to when you're all alone in space is up to you. But I gotta tell ya, them Domina dames must be on ta somethin' there are lots of guys out here that have seen too many "things" happen.
Even if you don't believe in all that higher order beings and such, the abbeys that the Sisters have set up all over the place are a great place to put in for fuel or repairs if you're really hard up for cash. The Sisters have some really weird definitions about who the 'needy' are, in my experience, as long as you're flat broke, the Sisters will help you out with some fuel or repairs, or as long as you've made an appropriate donation.
What's appropriate? I don't really know, but I've tried chatting up that really hot looking Sister over by the bar. She said that it wasn't the exact amount of creds that you give, but how much the donation means to you. I guess what she's saying is that giving 10 creds when that's all you've got, means more than if you give em 1,000 creds after you've just made a killing hauling 'exotics' around the place.
If you're inclined to learn more about Domina, you could always go to one of the Abbeys and ask to go into the Sanctum. I've been in there a few times, but you've gotta convince the Sisters that you're a believer to get in. How? How else? An 'appropriate' donation. Between you and me, I've spent a few hours contemplating Domina, I had nothing better to do while they're fixing up my armor and refueling my ship.
You know what's weird? A one time, I coulda sworn that I heard this "Voice" you know... just in my head... I couldn't quite make out what it was trying to say, but afterwards I had this itch to go thru the stargate.
Do I believe in Domina? I dunno, but its better to be safe than sorry, ya know?
In 2400, the increasing levels of piracy resulted in the Korolov tragedy. The family and friends of the victims banded together to form a guild for the protection of merchant freighters and their crews.
— A Brief History of Korolov Shipping
Although you can make a living scavenging the wrecks, breaking even to pay for your fuel, hoping that you'll get that lucky break and stumble on a cache of luxury goods that you can make an obscene profit off.
There is another way to make a living. Korolov shipping is always looking to hire escorts for their freighters.
Korolov Shipping Company Stations are all equipped with dock facilities. Although, you will only be able to use the dock services once you become a guild member.
Membership in the guild is given through a trial by fire. You have to first successfully escort a freighter to its destination and back.
If you succeed in this mission, you then become a member of the escort guild and can access all the perks that come with membership in the guild. As you rise in the ranks, you will be trusted to protect freighters carrying more valuable cargo and people. Your pay raises as your reputation and rank as an escort grows.
Be wary, if you lose too many freighters to the pirates, you may lose your membership in the guild!
Between you and me, in recent years, I suspect that pirates have managed to infiltrate the guild. That's the only reason I have to explain how the pirates KNOW the route that the freighters take, and how they always manage to have more ships ready to ambush the more valuable cargos.
Ah well, that's what you get for having such an easy entrance exam.
Arms Dealers stations are corporate station's that sell high-quality weapons and ammunition. They will also upgrade your vessel with a new weapon, for a fee. Some Dealers also buy weapons and ammo. Arms Dealers are unarmed, but have heavy escorts, and are corporate stations, so a Corporate Cruiser will come to avenge them if you destroy one.
Armor dealers are corporate stations that sell high-quality armor and shields. They will also upgrade your vessel with a new shield generator, for a fee. Armor dealers are unarmed, but have heavy escorts, and are corporate stations, so a Corporate Cruiser will come to avenge them if you destroy one.
Tinkers are an unusual group. They take salvage and convert it into useful items. They also buy and sell damaged items. They can take several damaged items of the same kind and turn them into a new, functional item for a small fee. They can also convert raw materials into finished items, like ore into armor. I also once heard a rumor that they will make illegal or military equipment, if you provide them with the more difficult to obtain components.
Charon Pirate Cache
While transit from established colonies directly to the stargate is generally fairly safe, exploring the out of the way asteroids and planets of systems such as Eridani can be extremely dangerous, as one is likely to run across such dens of peril as Pirate Caches…”
— From the introduction to A Treatise on Interstellar Navigation
Charon Pirate Caches are by far the most common stations in the Eridani system. Orbiting around planets and asteroid fields, these cheap cylinder stations are armed with a laser cannon and guarded by two to four Corsair-class ships, and occasionally one or two Viking-class ships. They may contain anything from weapons to radioactive waste, to valuable goods.
Charon Pirate Outpost
A Charon Pirate Outpost is a more powerful version of the Charon Pirate Cache. Its weapon is a Turbolaser Cannon that can fire in all directions. But the risk is well worth it as it has more powerful items than the Outlaw Cache. There is even a small possibility of getting a Omni Particle Cannon.
"A Pirate steals from his suppliers, a smuggler just cheats them."
"That's a very fine distinction you've drawn there. However, it doesn't matter, all outlaws get will be spaced if they're found guilty."
— Transcript of the interrogation of M. Stackpole, TBW. Implicated as a participant in the attack on the Korolov.
Even outlaws need somewhere to call home.
Outlaws are don't typically stoop to piracy, but instead are running from the law for other unlawful indiscretions.
Outlaw camps are typically the cheap ubiquitous cylindrical stations that use centrifugal force to maintain internal gravity. They're lightly armored and don't mount any weaponry.
Typically, the camps are defended by a couple Zulu-class Gunships.
Because these outlaws are hiding from the law, you don't usually see them within the inner system, but since the stations are fragile, and designed to orbit in La Grange points around planets, you don't typically find the stations out in the middle of nowhere.
Corsair class gunships
Spacers are not known for long life spans. Corsair gunship pilots have the very shortest known human (or neo-human) life span...
— A Safety Guide for Star Travelers
Of all the enemies you will meet in Transcendence, Corsair class gunships are perhaps the weakest. Though relatively quick, they are armed with a single laser cannon and easily breakable titanium armor. They also have no shields, like most other pirate starships in the Eridani system. They are also very common, from Eridani to St. Katherine's star.
Pirates favor them because of their extremely low cost at shipyards (only a few thousand credits).
Corsair II class gunships
"Scratch one Corsair."
"Great shot! Looks like we lucked out this time, we're nearly there, and the pirates have only sent... Holy Domina! Where'd that missile come from?!?"
"I don't know, there's nothing on my screens except that group of Corsairs!"
"That missile can't have............."
— Salvaged flight data recorder from the wreck of the freighter Dai Phong Shou
Corsair II-class gunships are far deadlier than Corsair-class gunships. Because they are based on the same chassis, it is impossible to visually distinguish the two classes apart.
The deuce mounts a dual laser cannon as its primary weapons system, which immediately gives it twice as much fire power as its little brother. In addition to this, it also sports a NAMI Missile Launcher, making the Corsair deuce a fearsome foe.
In addition to an improved weapons package, the deuce also carries the same type of armor as Viking-class, as well as a set of class 1 deflector shields. Both of which gives the pilot an improved survivability profile.
Only the best Corsair pilots survive to be able to afford a deuce, making a Corsair-deuce a decidedly deadly opponent.
Viking class gunships
“Sir, we are coming up on the enemy encampment.”
“Very good. How many ships are there?”
“Four ships, sir.”
“No, sir, Viking-class”
“Viking-class, huh? This could get interesting…”
— Conversation recovered from the cockpit data recorder of the Ronin/A-class gunship Greenwich. The ship was lost in the ensuing battle with pirates.
The Viking-class gunship is one of the worst threats you will face in the Eridani system. One by itself is unlikely to harm you, but they often operate in tandem with Corsair-class gunships. They have the same max speed as your ship, but they can reach it more than twice as fast as you can. They turn slightly slower than you do. They are equipped with two segments of reactive armor, one fore and one aft. They are armed with a single turbolaser cannon. They often carry extra fuel in their cargo hold. They can be found at Charon Pirate Caches, Charon Pirate Outposts, during Korolov Shipping missions, and roaming the depths of space.
Zulu class gunships
The Zulu class gunship. Armed with a recoilless cannon and ablative armor, its the best value for money escort ship you can buy! Come see your local UAS dealer today!
— United African States 3DV infomercial, AS 155
Manufactured by the now defunct UAS shipyards, the Zulu class gunship was designed as a freighter escort. Their ablative armor gave them an edge over the primarily laser armed pirates, while their recoilless cannon packs a harder wallop.
However, due to design decisions to order to keep costs down, the Zulu-class gunships were equipped with low thrust engines, making them slow and cumbersome compared to Viking-class ships.
The combination of sluggish handling and lack of shields meant that Zulu-class ships never became very popular. However, the sheer number of them manufactured before the UAS was forced into bankruptcy ensures that they will be a common sight as cheap guard ships for years to come.
Oromo class gunships
Outlaw camps and bases are usually guarded by multiple Zulu or Zulu II-class gunships. However, on occasion, a single Oromo-class gunship will be substituted. Overall, these are harder to defeat, being equipped with better weaponry…
— Excerpt from the Commonwealth Customs Manual for Field Officers
Oromo-class gunships may be nasty, but they aren't much worse than three or four Zulu-class gunships would be. In fact, they are just as easy to destroy. This is due to the fact that although larger, they are still equipped only with two plates of ablative armor. They are armed with a DK10 Arbalest cannon. They have similar maneuverability to their Zulu-class counterparts. They often have extra fuel stored in their holds. They can be found guarding outlaw camps and outlaw bases.
As soon as we detected the centauri raiding fleet, we sent an S.O.S. to the Commonwealth and crawled into the ventilation ducts. It was two weeks before a fleet from the local Commonwealth station came and chased them away. They ate all our food, they drank all the beer and wine; heck, they even ate the grade B grain. Afterwards, all we had to eat was their abominable rice. If that's really all they have to eat, no wonder they're always raiding us.
— Technician First Class Phelan Rainey, Commonwealth Colony Arcadia, in an interview with St. Katherine's Star Tri-Vee News
The Centauri? Yeah, I've run into them. They spout all this mumbo jumbo about confiscation and vassalage if you bother to listen to them, but they're just common thieves. They'll take everything you got and call you lucky for getting away with your life.
The Centauri raider is their main ship, and it's the one you really need to worry about. Any technician fresh out of the academies can tell you that the raiders are crude pieces of junk, barely any stronger then a Corsair gunship. But that's only on paper.
The raiders are tiny ships, you see, and fast. They'll get in close and let lose with their light recoilless cannons, and the next thing you hear is the hull breach alarm. The cannons might be "Light" but they make up for it with an unheard of rate of fire.
Sure, it only takes a few good shots to take one out, but good luck getting those shots to hit.. they'll be on you and riddling your aft with bullet holes before you can blink. I'd prefer to face a Viking any day. . . at least you can hit them.
Hornet class battlepods
Earth industries first developed the Hornet class battlepod in 2244 in a desperate attempt to stave off the Syrtian onslaught. Small, fast, maneuverable, and cheap, they seemed like a good idea, but weren’t. There were not enough skilled pilots to fly the tiny expendable craft. The strategy failed for much the same reasons that the old earth nation Japan’s kamikaze strategy during the Second World War failed. Earth industries was left with massive numbers of these ships, which they then proceeded to sell to any and all customers…
— Excerpt from the Commonwealth’s Modern History high school curriculum
The Hornet-class Battlepod is just as the Commonwealth’s educational system describes it: Small, fast, and cheap, with emphasis on the cheap. They can achieve speeds almost twice what your ship can, and can turn more than twice as fast. They are protected only by a single plate of titanium armor, and armed with a standard laser cannon. One or two hits usually destroys them. They are not found very frequently in the Eridani system, but you may run into one or two while traveling between planets. In later systems, the anarchists favor the Hornet-class, partly because it’s cheap, and partly because it is easy to fly.