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design by Lewis Roberts
Nebula Award Entry
The Pathfinder is capable of Jump-2, but has sufficient fuel for an additional jump-1. (It actually has enough fuel capacity for two succesive Jump-2, but that would require that no gturns were spent, which is very difficult.)
The Pathfinder is built for life in the Wilds. It is armed with a potent 400 Mj laser lance. The lance should give the Pathfinder sufficient firepower to fight off the small armed traders normally fielded by TEDs and pirates. The ship does not neglect defense either. It has 30 decoys, a state of the art Electromagnetic Masking package and a 33 MW AEMS jammer. These defensive features account for a third of the price of the TL-12 equipment.
The Pathfinder is no stranger to the atmosphere. Its airframe construction give it maneuverability to evade surface to air missiles and hostile aircraft; a normal streamlined design would be a sitting duck. For ground missions, the ship comes with a Buster Weapon Carrier (RCEG pg 127) built on Lucifer. This gives the crew the ability to move out and explore the planet. The Pathfinder is equiped with a Squad Support Laser in case the natives turn hostile and a hot exit is required. The Laser is mounted in a belly remote turret and is controlled from the astrogator's console. The astrogator also operates the decoys and jammer, while the pilot operates the laser lance.
If a mission turns bad and the crew takes casualties, the Pathfinder carries an emergency low berth where four critically injured patients can be carried. A mechanical shop is also installed to manufacture any critical parts that might break down.
The Pathfinder has three tons of cargo space. This space is adjacent to the engineering section and machine shop. The cargo bay has power conduits and cable conduits installed. Also the hull surrounding the hold does not have any structural members. The design was done this way to allow the easy customization of the cargo hold. It could be coverted to a vehicle bay, a plasma cannon for ground support, additional sensors etc. For further room, the machine shop could be removed and the space utilized for something else. The hold is normally sectioned off from engineering by a metal roll up door.
Each Pathfinder uses three TL-15 standard computers and controls, and a 456 MW fusion power plant scavenged from a Lord Baltimore Yacht. This comes to 33.217 MCr of relic equipment per ship. If TL-12 computers are installed instead, the crew expands to 2 Manouver, 1 Electronics, 5 Engineers and 1 Command. Also two tons of cargo space have to be converted to workstations. The ship can not reasonably use a TL-12 power plant. KeeEEka Strongwall has managed to purchase the several salvaged Lord Baltimore Yachts, the Yachts are non-functioning, but the computers and controls are salvageable. The rest of the wrecks are currently being inventoried and the TL-15 parts will be available for custom upgrades. Inquiries to available parts and prices can be directed to the KeeEEka Strongwall sales office.
KeeEEka Strongwall can manufacture three Pathfinders with Exploration Pods for a total cost of 272.89 MCr and 99.651 MCr of relic parts.
Pathfinder Multimission Scout
|Displacement: 200 tons||Hull Armor: 30|
|Length: 19.25meters||Volume: 2800 m3|
|Price: 116.07 MCr||Target Size: S|
|Configuration: AF Disc||Tech Level: 12/15|
|Mass (Loaded/Unloaded): 2221 / 2174.5|
|400 MJ Laser Lance||10:1/16-50||20:1/8-25||40:1/4-13||80:1/2-6|
These pods can be used with either the Victrix Sloop or the Pathfinder Scout.
This is a fairly general pod, and it is the most commonly encountered. It can be used for a wide variety of missions ranging from pure research, to bootstrap missions to cold recoveries. It has 4 small staterooms to carry mission specialists. 16 tons of cargo for their equipment or recovered goods. For the more scientific missions it has a laboratory, a neutrino detector and a densitometer. It also has a minimal hanger for a standard Coalition Ragtop Airraft. (See RCEG pg 114). The pod requires 1.812MW of power, which is supplied from the main ship.
Cattle Car Pod
This pod can transport up to 90 individuals if they hotbunk. It also has room for ten tons of cargo. The pod is intended for transporting colonists or workers. Troops could be carried, but they would not arrive in peak fighting efficiency due to the cramped quarters. Also the pod only has 10 tons of cargo, which probably isn't enough for a military force.
This pod is intended to carry paying passengers or VIP between worlds. It has 10 small staterooms and 1 large stateroom. It also has 16 tons of cargo room. If High Passengers are carried, one or more stewards will be required. They would bunk with the rest of the crew in the main compartment.
This pod is intended for the carrying of bulk cargo. Its basically a big empty box. If the full cargo is carried, acceleration slips to 1.9 Gs.
This pod gives the ship a potent strike capability, though at a premium price. The three Master Fire Directors and their associated sensors make up almost all of the pod's purchase price. The pod has 5 launcher and reloaders and 25 missile cradles. This allows it to carry 30 ready missiles. The Pod requires a crew of four (1 missile gunner, and three MFD operators); these additional crew members requires the ship to have a commander for a total crew of 10. The pod has a single small stateroom, for a total of four on the ship. This forces two of the staterooms to be triple occupied, while the rest are double occupied. The pod also has 44 m3 of cargo space. The pod requires 1.20MW of power, which is supplied from the main ship.
Planetary Strike Pod
This pod gives the ship a planetary strike capaiblity for use in support of Coalition ground forces. The ship will usually be used in conjunction with other Coalition forces, as neither the Victrix nor the Wolverine can carry troops in addition to this pod. The Pod carries 10 launchers and mechanical reloaders for the Spruce-class of strike missiles (RCEG pg 109) and 55 reload cradles, for a total of 65 ready missiles. The has four workstation for missiliers and 30,000-km laser communicators for target designation. The four additional crew members forces the ship to have a commander for a total crew of 10. The pod has a single small stateroom, but the ship is still quite crowded. This forces two of the staterooms to be triple occupied, while the rest are double occupied. The pod also has 13.9 m3 of cargo. The pod requires 0.1605MW of power, which is supplied from the main ship.
TL-14 Meson Screen Pod
This pod is intended for assualts on planets with deep site meson guns. The pod provides a 15-MW TL-14 meson screen imported from the Hiver Federation, to protect the ship as it descends. The ship can then drop off troops to seize the target. The pod has 7 bunks to carry the troops. Depending on the mission requirments, upto 21 troops can be carried with hot bunking. Additional personal can be housed with the ship's crew in the staterooms. This is not the best thing for morale, but this pod is only used in dire circumstances, and only the best troops are selected for these missions. They are willing to put up with discomfort if it will help protect the Coalition. An alternative use of the pod, is for the pod carrying ship to be accompanied with another ship which carrries the bulk of the troops. The troops are transfereed to the pod in deep space beyond the range of the meson gun, and the pod carrying ship then makes the assualt. The pod also has room for 10 tons of cargo, which is intended for the goal of the smash and grab. The pod requires 15.6 MW of power from the main ship.
Smash and Grab Pod
This pod is intended for Smash and Grab missions against hostile forces. It has six staterooms for troops and a six ton minimal hanger, normally equiped with two TL-12 Ragtop Air Rafts (RCEG pg 114). The Air Rafts carry a total of 12 troops which results in the staterooms beind double occupied. The pod also has 15.9 tons of cargo room for equipment for the raid and to bring back the object of the raid.