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design by Nick Bradbeer
The Cyclops was developed from the Eyeball series of recon drones. Intended for long-duration system survey work, it was entirely autonomous and capable of performing an extensive survey of a star system all by itself, without requiring service or refuelling. The drone carries fuel for forty four years of continuous operation, providing reaction mass may be topped up by gas giant scooping or ocean refuelling.
The Cyclops is designed to work alone. The normal method of operation for a scout service would be based around a carrier ship, say a converted Jayhawk Far Trader. This ship could carry ten Cyclops units in cargo space, and drop one drone in each of ten systems. By the time it had dropped off the tenth, the first has had ten weeks to complete a system survey, and may be picked up. The mothership has performed ten ten-week surveys in twenty weeks.
Alternatively, the drone may be dropped into a system and left for a period of years to perform detailed geological and biological surveys of all bodies present. While still within the drone's abilities, this is more risky since a single major malfunction stands to result in the loss of so much data.
In order to operate alone away from maintenance for so long, the Cyclops is able to self repair. Each of the two main computers contains the necessary information to maintain a drone, and in fact to manufacture spare parts if the correct materials are available. This provides, in effect, a bank of skills including Ship's Engineering, Gravitics, Electronics, Mechanics and so on. Memory limitations mean that only one such skill may be loaded into the brain at once, but the whole range is available. Duplication of all vital systems mean that any one malfunction, short of the reactor or the brain itself, can be repaired using alternate systems. It is this ability which allows the incredibly long lifetime away from human operation.
This robot was designed with the vehicle rules so it uses those for hit purposes and for movement rules.
Cyclops Deep Survey Drone