Artifacts

Artifacts

Sun Runner

GPMLC Sun Runner (Hull number 3934-RLC) is a Second Lunar Republic – era starship of the Garfish class. 

Garfish class general-purpose modular light cruisers (GPMLC) are small capital ships.  They make use of recovered Tirolian Zoralev powerplants, Zentran pulse-detonation thrusters, Terran frame-shift linear drive technology, and many other innovations.  The design originated in the height of the First Republic as part of the Standard Template, but was refined in the course of the Second.

The design is considered over-engined and under-gunned compared with other non-modular designs of the era.  It was intended for long hauls of exploration and cargo delivery rather than fleet combat, though with an appropriate mission module it could project respectable force. 

Some Republican commanders were known to have retired from fleet ratings to become the Lords of their own ships of this class.  The high speed and maneuverability, along with the ability to support lavish internal appointments, made some of this class of ship a prestigious thouroughbred rather than a workhorse.

The hull of the Garfish is modular.  Three modules (command, cargo, drive) combine, possibly with a fourth (mission) to complete the ship. 

The command section is the forward-most segment of the ship.  It contains the bridge deck, all living quarters, and some arrangement of cargo, social spaces, and service decks.  It has one capital class turret, slung beneath.  Six class 4 hardpoints face forward, usually bearing multifunction launchers.  These launchers have only small magazines, as the Garfish was not intended for long bombardments.  The launchers would often be loaded with probes or communication relay bouys for exploration missions. 

The cargo section straddles the midship.  The hull frame spar connecting the command and drive sections could be extended significantly (by replacement at a suitable dry dock) in order to expand the Garfish's cargo carrying capacity.  This was an unpopular modification, as lengthening the ship made its maneuverability sluggish.

In some cases, Garfish carried salvage or construction modules, divided between the cargo and mission sections.  Some deep-ranging pioneering missions were very successful using this type of configuration, but most commanders considered such duty a waste of the ship.

A more popular modification of the cargo "saddlebags" sections was to repurpose them with small-craft hangars or drone decks.  In some cases the sections would carry bolt-on additional storage bays, for long missions.  These were generally unarmored and depressurized "papoose" containers, to simplify the mounting and service capacity.

The drive section is dominated by the Zoralev power plant.  This, and its framework and attachments, takes up the majority of the volume of the drive section.  Aft of the Zoralev bay is the trio of pulse-detonation thrusters, each with a pair of gravito-magnetic thrust shaping vanes.  The shaping vanes are also used during fuel scooping, to drive ionized particles directly into the scoops.  During scooping, maneuverability is drastically reduced.

The ventral portion of the drive section is taken up by the mission module apparatus.  This constitutes a fully-functional Medium-class landing pad, plus additional utility feeds, cargo arms, magnetic reels, etc for managing a heavy load.  It can also dock larger craft and loads, without the ability to carry them.  The drive section may be mounted "upside down" if need be, to have the mission section be above the ship's ecliptic. 

Garfish built during the Second Republic added four small Class 1 hardpoints to the drive section for close-in defense against smaller attackers. 

Sun Runner is typical of a Garfish built during the Second Republic.  Her bridge deck retains the multiply redundant control systems typical of Republic design, and her drive section has hardpoints for defensive turrets.  Her hull is painted in a shade just slightly orange of yellow-gold, and has a slightly refractive effect in bright sunlight.  Bright red interrupted stripes run down the sides. 

Sun Runner has one triple-barrel capital class Neutron Projector.  She has six multifunction class 4 launchers (each with a 6-shot magazine).   She has four empty class 1 close defense hardpoints.  She carries no mission section. 

As found, her apartments and security features are all a shambles. 

She carries a social deck, though unlike most ships of her class, this is below (rather than above) the bridge deck.  The social deck extends wider than on most of her class, with a park (decayed, as found) along the center, space for clubs, lounges, events, and small shops along the sides, and an amphitheatre-style forward observation deck (below the sensors dome) convertible to a ballroom.

Iridium Daggerstar

This is a large (10 cm across) emblem of the Republic Fleets.  This type of emblem was once borne by Saints and Lords, as a counterfeit-resistant icon of rank and status.  When the Second Republic fell, the new Confederation wrote provision into its Constitution to recognize and welcome bearers of such relics.

It takes the form of an 8-pointed star.  One of the cardinal points extends double the distance of the other three.  Four minor points interlock between the cardinal ones.  The center of the star is mounted with an exquisite Whisper Stone, programmed as a data crystal with terapulses of encrypted authentication information and Standard Template programming.

A Daggerstar is abnormally heavy, even for its material content.  The Iridium Daggerstar found by the party weighs about 8kg.

Though it could be carried or worn, it was typically mounted into the bridge of a ship.  It has a molecular bonding back, which can grab to various surfaces made for it on Republic ships.  When mounted, it interfaces with the ship's computer, asserting authority and identity.  In this state, the Whisper Stone contributes a strangely calming quality to the light in the area, slightly altering the nearby spectra of light.

Perhaps possessing a type of animating intelligence, Daggerstars are capable of recognizing and authenticating a commission or compact made to include it.

A Daggerstar was never mounted to appear to be "flying downward", with the long point upward.  According to tradition, it would be mounted "flying right", with the long point to the left, on any mission of combat, politics, diplomacy, industry, or renown.  It would be "flying up" for any mission of pure exploration or science.  It would be "flying left" for any recall or in response to tragedy or great loss.  Most Republic Lords, Saints, or the later Rogue Traders installed them "flying right" and came to leave them that way in anticipation of soon returning to their usual mission profile.

Cronus (Gargoyle of the Deep Temple of Sigfried A 7 1)

A Gargoyle rests deep in the base of a deep mineral excavation on Sigfried A 7 1.  It is codenamed as Cronus.

The excavation itself is sometimes called the Deep Temple, in recognition of its occupant.   The Deep Temple is protected and concealed by a magnetic monopole shield, a type of exotic magnetic field that blocks scanning, communication, and ionic radiation.  Sigfried A 7 1 is also a high-gravity moon, making approach of the Deep Temple dangerous and exhausting. 

Cronus is capable of rematerializing itself anywhere that the proper invocations and symbols are created.  It will stay for a brief while and then vanish, returning to the Deep Temple.  Wherever Cronus goes, it stabilizes and resets the connections between realspace and hyperspace.  This has the effect of repairing Artifacts and other phenomena connecting to dimensional pathways. 

In the case of a Zoralev powerplant, it seems to leave it in an initial state, possibly at risk of connecting with (and colliding through hyperspace with) another Zoralev in the same state.

Gargoyle of Nowhere

The most famous Gargoyle known by the Populux.  A fortunate few make the pilgrimage to Nowhere as the capstone to a lifetime of faith.

The Gargoyle is said to be a miraculous cure-all of spiritual ills.

Red Sheet / Red Book / Red Tome

These are holy writings inscribed or bound in the skin of one of the Saints of the First Republic.  They seem to be immune to the data corruption associated with the fall of the Second Republic.

Zoralev

According to legend, these are named for the Tirolian designer (or factory?) that produced them.  Even the hyperscience of the Second Republic could never duplicate them.   Some scholars speculate that the Tirolians themselves could only salvage and reuse them.

First aquired by the First Republic upon contact with the Zentran (themselves the once-servant race of the vanished Tirolian Mercantile League), they were incorporated into Terran ships in subsequent design iterations.

Zoralev power plants generate power by tapping into the theoretically limitless energies of collapsing cosmic-scale quantum states.  This formed a bridge between the two (or more) universe frames, and so also allowed a built-in mode of hyperspace travel. 

Space folding, the hyperspace travel of the Tirolians, proved to be unstable for ships of the Republics, and in any case folding didn't allow the in-system linear FTL travel desired by Republic crews.  Republic ship design therefore retained frameshift drive technology for linear and Witchspace travel. 

Some ships of the late Second Republic used the dimensional phenomena of their Zoralev power plants to generate unusual shield or weapon effects.

REACTION Blaster

This is the triple-barreled Large support blaster recovered from REACTION at the Kanethara Drydocks of Aldebaran Proper. 

REACTION Accelerator

This is the triple-barreled Class 4 plasma accelerator recovered from REACTION at the VLCA of Morgor.

Key to Jaconda

This is a large (4 cm) Whisper Stone in the form of a data crystal.  It is cylindrical (rather than hexagonal) and bound with three bands of platinum. 

It contains the information needed to reach Jaconda.   The glow within it is particularly energetic.

Whisper Stone

A Whisper Stone is a blue-green gem, usually of very high quality and fine facets.  It is flourescent under a variety of light conditions, and seems to glow faintly from an inner light even in totally dark conditions.

Whisper Stones are capable of communicating with one another anywhere within the same star system.  They don't appear to consume any energy to do so.  There is no detectable lag.  There is no detectable radio signal.  The Stones themselves may be programmed or paired.  They may hear and reproduce sound without any external apparatus (small ones in the form of tiny vibrations) and pictures with a simple apparatus of lens and aperture.  They may also interface with a Standard Template crystal dataport.

They are created and distributed solely by the communication guild, The Signal.  Small Whisper Stones are mounted in discreet jewelry for use by Nobles, Guilders, and their favored companions for secure communication.  Larger stones have no greater range, but a clearer sound and greater bandwidth for data, video, or even holographic communication.  These larger stones are mounted in ships or strongholds of the powerful.

The Signal remains mutely neutral in all matters except the security and saturation of communication technology.  They enforce the communications laws of the Senate, which in turn accepts their advice on the topic almost exclusively and unquestioningly.

Some people insist that they hear Whispers from unknown persons or entities in their Whisper Stones – in fact, this is the origin of their name.  The surest way to not hear a Whisper is to listen for one.

Artifacts

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