Apollyon Project Recruitment theme.
Black background with white text emerges.
“Humanity’s long, hard climb to the stars has been fraught by conflicts and challenges we’ve had to overcome to prove our worth..” “The frontiers of the far reaches of space beckon… .. But our foes are many. They are determined. And they are not human.” “In our modern times” “Leaders respond to these challenges with words.”
The black screen gradually is replaced by the curvature of a planetary body against a star as the fanfare roars up. A distinctly artificial, metallic shape emerges from the planet, the light from the star drawing hard contrasts on its edges.
“Words like…” “Plasma Vortex Accelerator.”
The camera frame now displays a generator powering up, then an enormous chamber rotating and finally slamming in a kick charge-like motion and finally, charged particles travelling down the ship’s hull above the camera frame, erupting into a blinding, blue plume of swirling material before fading to black.
“Missile Storm Carousel.”
The camera frame now shows a close-up of servos aligning a multi-tube launcher into position, only for the line to move down one, and the next launcher is also aligned by its servos and so on. The next frame shows the ship from afar, seemingly four conveyors emerging from its aft section on all four corners. There is visible movement on the conveyors, a blur of motion as the launchers move at an increasingly high speed. A brief pause.. and a flurry of missile plumes begins emerging at various angles at what must be a dozen per second.
“Thermal Beam Battery.”
The frame now shifts to the ship’s batteries, what appears to be nothing but a wall of cannon barrels now shifting, venting and finally moving apart to reveal an emergent battery, the lids flying open to reveal lenses which begin their firing sequence -ultra-violet beams running down the length of the battery.
A flash of light from the ship in the distance. A plume as a fast-moving object darts by the camera frame. The camera follows, panning to a moon in the direct trajectory of the plume. A visible separation reveals ten, smaller plumes that rapidly whizz off into different directions in a perfect spread pattern. The frame now changes to an on-the-surface camera feed, set up some distance away. A few seconds pass as bright flashes begin assaulting the senses, with familiar mushroom clouds emerging in the distance, as the shockwave eventually hits the camera and the feed cuts to black.
“...Words with authority.”
Fade from black, to a frame of two people standing on the observation deck, their backs framing the shot either side. In front of them, the view port opens to the view of the sun setting over the crescent horizon line of the planet below.
One of them takes a sip from their mug. “Moments like these remind me of what’s truly important in life.”
A moment later, the liquid in his mug shakes from a low rumble throughout the frame that quickly dissipates. A ripple of flashes beneath the view port and a choreographed cascade of shells form a line beneath as they shoot off into the distance, leaving a trail that catches the light of the setting sun.
The footage fades to black.
Finally, two lines of white text on a white background emerge.
“... There is strong... ... And then, there is Apollyon strong.”
The Apollyon is based around a central support structure that acts as a frame for the modular construction of self-enclosed sections that comprise the bridge, crew decks, gunnery, engineering and various multi-purpose bays that can be fitted for loading and unloading, supply storage or even fabrication facilities.
The ship is designed to be highly modular as well as capable of retrofitting itself to some degree while out in the field, while being able to operate independently of supply lines, capable of deploying scavenger craft via remote mobile substations that can freight the various bits of salvage they gather either by mining or scraping. At the heart of the ship lies its powerful, multi-core creation engine, filled to the brim with nanites that construct any piece of equipment, be it a tank, bunker, artillery round or craft -within seconds.
On the outset, the ship bristles with gun batteries, inset into decks of broadsides with a limited firing angle of 30 degrees and capable of an elevation of 18-25 degrees, depending on caliber. Overlooking these is a series of turreted guns, arranged into batteries of 7 on top and another 7 on the bottom of the chassis that take up a commanding position above and below the broadsides and are supplemented with an added small-caliber automated rotary turret for tracking fast-moving targets.
The ship’s chief weapon however is its spinal cannon: a terrifying combination of a gargantuan rail accelerator, housed inside a tube capable of projecting a plasma vortex. While the range of this vortex is minuscule in terms of ship-to-ship weaponry, it can be deployed to grisly effect against stationary targets such as space stations and when charged with an electromagnetic current, acts as an extension to the main rail accelerator of the ship, further enhancing the muzzle velocity of any ordnance fired through the cannon. Thanks to the creation engine, the ship can effortlessly fabricate, develop and assemble any type of ordnance its task requires.
The broadside armament of the Apollyon is a significantly large composition of 23 Heavy Modular Electromagnetic Coil Guns on each side of the vessel, totaling in 46 platforms that can be fired in any programmed sequence, delivering a tactical firing solution that creates a screen of hypervelocity slugs at short range, optimal being 8 kilometers, maximum effective range being 13 kilometers.
This assortment of broadsides is mostly used for crowd control against smaller vessels, a deterrent, against close range cruisers, corvettes and smaller battleships, and even small fast movers when switched to the right calibre, acting as point defence. But they truly show their effectiveness when coupled with the complement of short range wormhole buoys.
When a wormhole buoy is fired, most likely via its spinal cannon at long range, the buoy will generate a short range wormhole, its entry near one of the sides of the Apollyon, with its exit at the exact location of the buoy, near the enemy vessel. The Apollyon will be able fire its full broadside compliment into the wormhole, for the full firepower to exit at the other side and severely damaging the enemy.
The Modular Coil Guns themselves are just as their name describes, Modular. They can change their ammunition calibre, firing rate, and firing sequencing on the fly. The Coil Accelerator rails of the weapon system are designed with four separate arms built on a flat diagonal 45º pivot, allowing the barrel arms to move together and separate or conjoin simultaneously to fit larger or smaller calibre slugs, depending on the situation and the need. This heavily affects the fire rate, as safe measures are in place to prevent overheating and warping of the electromagnetic coils, but those can be overwritten if the situation requires the survival of the dreadnought over damaged broadsides.
Ammunition for these weapons varies and size and purpose, as well as availability.
40mm Hollow Fragmentation: Specifically designed for point defence against fast moving fighters, bombers, and drones that cross the ship’s broadside firing angle. These hollow slugs have cutouts along the length of the round, forcing then to split into sharp, stringy metal fragments after penetration, that shred through internal components, rapidly disabling any fast movers they hit.
40mm DU Anti-Armor: Point Defence ammunition designed for targeting Heavy Fighters, Bombers, and Boarding Vessels. The external slug itself is hollow, used to guide the Depleted Uranium rod down the barrel, where upon exit the slug segments and releases an aluminium sabot, which is destroyed upon impact where the DU rod penetrates the armor plating and internal components that are in its way.
80mm EM Disruptor: Anti Shield ammunition that is used against lower class support vessels such as Cruisers, Corvettes, and Battleships. The hollowed out slugs of the 80mm EM are equipped with EMP devices that trigger on impact. While alone they are insignificant, are incredibly taxing and draining on the shields of enemy vessels when fired in a continuous barrage, forcing the shield generator to either overload and go into emergency cooling, or temporarily lose its electromagnetic frequency, allowing other kinds of ammunition to pass through.
120mm Super Penetrator: Like the 40mm DU Anti-Armor, this slug is designed for sheer penetration of ship hull. It is practically unstoppable when a vessel that it’s speeding towards has no shields. It is designed with the purpose of causing targeted component damage as well as hull breaching to cause life support failure.
120mm SP Delayed Detonator: Same as the previous round, but with a twist. Using targeting telemetry and advanced timing mechanisms, the Uranium Jacket Rod is stuffed with white phosphorus that ignites a microsecond after hull penetration, causing devastating amounts of damage to internal compartments, such as crew inhabited areas to decrease the enemy vessel’s operational efficiency. These slugs can also be used against Capital Ship armor, allowing the stripping of enemy armor and exposing the hull to the Main Kinetic Batteries for maximum damage potential.
350mm Solid Slug: This is the Anti Capital ammunition used for damaging exposed hull plating and support structuring during broadside engagements. Due to the size of the round, the HMEC-Gs become fixed cannons with a slow, yet sequential fire rate. Each gun firing at 0.25 seconds after the one before it. These rounds are used for Alpha Strikes as well as finishing off damaged capital vessels, and must be fired in conjunction with the Main Kinetic Batteries for maximum effect.
There will be more ammunition types that we will encounter during missions, be it blueprints, purchasable, or discovered. Some of which may require a rebuild of the current HMEC-Gs.
Broadside Heavy Thermal Beams
To add to the large amount of the gimballed HMEC-Gs, along the center side chassis of the ship, are the main broadside Thermal Lenses. With 16 on each side of the chassis, these massive thermal weapons use Blue Laser technology to fire a powerful high energy laser beam towards the target melting armor and overloading shields with relative ease. It cannot be fired through wormholes however, as the wavelength of the beams loses its consistency and energy, creating nothing but a harmless light show at the other end of the wormhole. As an additional weakness, their range is relatively short, coming in at a measly 5 km.
Main Kinetic Batteries
The main batteries of this vessel are a group of 14 turrets (7 on top, 7 on bottom) known as the Recoilless Twin-Barrel Mass Accelerated Kinetic Artillery Turret 20 inch by 100 inch Mark III (RTBmaK-20”/100” Mk III), or also known among ship crew as the Dual-Thuackers because of the audible noise of the slug passing through the electromagnetically charged magnet barrels of the weapons as they fire. These mass accelerated turrets fire a massive 20x100 inch solid titanium artillery slug, which leaves the barrel of the turret at a whopping muzzle velocity of 10.5 km/s, causing incredible kinetic damage that surpasses that of many main anti-capital weapons, both human and known alien alike, as well as being one of the most accurate practical weapons currently in the field, rivaling dedicated long range vessels with an effective/accurate range of 50 km, and a maximum range of 75 km.
Due to the turret’s large design, they are likely to be easy targets during engagements, and as such are heavily armored, and are protected by one, much smaller, binary gatling point-defence turret, place on the top of the main battery, between the two mass accelerators.
Because of their heavy armor and added point-defence systems, these turrets have a long turret traversal, requiring any ship equipped with such weaponry to aim these turrets in advance prior to commencing any specific combat maneuver, as they would be too slow to target during an engagement.
To make up for that lack of turning speed, these turrets are equipped with hydraulic suspension, allowing them to both raise and lower them themselves from the hull, letting them avoid shooting other turrets or parts of the ship, lowering and raising themselves in accordance to the altitude of their sister turrets, creating a full 360º horizontal firing arc. This means that all 14 batteries can fire at the same target, should the ship be at the perfect broadside firing angle.
Ammunition for these weapons varies and size and purpose, as well as availability.
20x100 inch Solid Titanium Ultra Penetrator: A solid titanium slug designed to be fired at heavily armored capital vessels ranging from Battleship to Dreadnought class. While the slug’s incredible velocity is terrifying and impossible to avoid at medium-long ranges, it is relatively easy to stop with powerful shielding. Even if it can cause damage to the shields in question, it can be quite ineffective if the shields are frequenced for kinetic shock energy. For maximum damage potential, lowering or disabling enemy shielding is a priority.
20x100 inch Hollow Aluminium Target Marker: Used in conjunction with the ship’s torpedo and missile systems, this hollow aluminium shell houses a Thermal Designator equipped with micro-sublight pulse emitters placed facing backwards, to help the designator slow down right before hitting its target as the aluminium shell peels away after muzzle exit to prevent its destruction and stick itself onto the target’s hull once it is within a 15 km range of the target.
Once attached, they heat up to create a thermal signature that can be locked on to with homing missiles or torpedoes. Quite useful against thermally cloaked vessels. However, the designators are quite vulnerable, and can be destroyed by support craft if they are willing to sacrifice minor armor integrity of their mothership.
Chemical Propulsion Payloads
Among its already vast arsenal of weapons systems, its payloads of missiles and torpedoes are also within the versatile armament of the ship.
Radial Torpedo Silos
Positioned in a vertical circular pattern around the ship, these 8 silos can fire massive ion thruster-propelled warheads that are capable of delivering various types of payloads at long distances. These 35 meter long homing torpedoes are slow however, and very vulnerable to hostile fighter or drone interception without support.
100Mt Thermonuclear Warhead “Mega Boy”: Weighing in at 35 metric tons (without the Ion Booster body) and originally designed as an orbital bombardment solution to target cities, the Mega Boy is instead used as a long distance EMP during space combat with a gamma ray pulse radius of 130km. Due to the enormous blast radius, only one such torpedo should be fired, well away from inhabited planetary orbit, orbital stations, or friendly vessels. If a wormhole buoy should be used, it must be shutdown immediately upon wormhole exit, to prevent the gamma rays from blasting back into the mothership through the entrance wormhole.
Use of this payload in atmosphere, such as in orbital bombardment, can only be authorized by the consensus of the Colonial Fleet Grand Admiral, and the Colonial Union Counsel, as the weapon is classed under the Galactic Counsel War Ethics Committee as an XK-Class Doomsday Weapon. Its destructive capabilities in an atmospheric environment are catastrophic, with a Shockwave Radius of 190km, Thermal Heat Pulse Radius of 130km, with third-degree burns achievable at 180km, and a Gamma Ray Burst reaching upto 400-600km under the right atmospheric conditions.
10Mt Guided Cluster Warhead “Megaton Rainfall”: Specifically used in Tactical Orbital Bombardment, the small 1Mt yield of each of the 10 miniature guided missiles can cause precision damage in a wider area, targeting military installations, and orbital guns. A far more ethical weapon, and abundant enough. Its guidance system requires a Tactical Officer to set targeting trajectories to each of the ten missiles, per warhead launched, as without manned guidance, they are essentially dumb-fire.
“Scatter Laser”: A warhead vaguely resembling a pineapple with a high-intensity scanner and a single-fire singularity degeneration reactor on-board attached to the standard delivery rocket. Rather than the warhead detonating upon travelling to its target, it erupts into a spectacle of high intensity beams in the ultraviolet spectrum, flaring out and bending from the localised space-time distortion of the reactor kicking in. The result is a high amount of laser saturation across a wide area that the enemy only perceives as a gravity ripple -until it’s too late. Widely used against multitudes of small to medium craft as well as quickly clearing debris.
Missile Storm Carousel
A self-propelled ordnance launch system designed for one thing and one thing only: fire rate. The missiles are arrayed into a six-tube mag-rail launch apparatus which flings the missiles outward before their own propulsion kicks in. This launcher is then angled via high-performance hydraulics and servo motors resistant to deep space conditions and employs signals from the ordnance processing unit to accurately follow firing sequence instructions down to the millisecond.
Each of these launcher units then sits on a high-speed conveyor with dozens of their kind and upon priming and arming the system, the ship’s hull opens and the entire conveyor elevates and pivots outward from the ship. The conveyor is then revved up and once having picked up sufficient speed, the firing sequence begins: A signal is sent to each launcher to fire one of its six missile tubes, with its neighbouring launcher following suit and so on. The launchers travel down the conveyor at a high speed, firing each of their six barrels in perfect coordination, while the high-performance hydraulics continue to angle each launcher to present a maximum amount of effective firing vectors for the launchers as a whole. This highly complex set of instructions is impossible to carry out without advanced computations, non-stop sensor data to monitor strain on parts of the system but the results speak for themselves; the awe-inspiring sight of firing hundreds of missiles -in a span of seconds. The Apollyon is fitted with four such carousels.
Plasma Vortex Accelerator
The earliest version of a similar weapon worked on the principle of a contained point of highly compressed volatile energy, stabilised between many suspension fields that kept it locked in stasis while it charged, drawing power for the ship’s primary power source. Initially, weapons such as these used a style of wave motion dynamics to project this vast potential energy forward, triggered by compressing the chamber of the energy housing and driving it down the ship’s (usually spinal) barrel. This would result in the ejection of a highly destructive, wide killing beam that was capable of clearing a section of space and simply vaporising anything in its path. The weapon, however had a limited range, which made its deployment a risky tactical endeavour. Additionally, the crew had to be issued with protective gear against the shock and flash from a discharge.
On the other hand, mass accelerators that were spinally mounted on large ship classes had been around for as long as anyone can remember. Operating on a magnetic rail principle, these drive a slug down a barrel, continually speeding it up at a fraction of light speed to get it as close as possible to terminal velocity, as speed multiplies the final force released of any given mass on impact.
After many trials and iterations, our own Plasma Vortex Accelerator is final culmination of the marriage of these two concepts: a large spinal accelerator, running almost the entire length of the Apollyon, housed within another barrel, which uses an energy field as rifling and when engaged, will project a wave motion plume as a tube or as the name aptly implies -a vortex that can be electromagnetically charged to effectively act as a rail extension for the main mass accelerator. Powerful shielding arrays along the length of the four protruding forecastles framing the system are required to contain and direct the back blast away from the rest of the ship, not unlike a muzzle break. The vortex twists and turns, transferring its own rotation as rifling to the shot as well as effectively becoming a giant drill. The results are as grisly as one can imagine.
Launch Facilities and Hangars
The Apollyon is fitted with a total of eight quick-launch accelerator tubes, capable of servicing any craft up to a heavy fighter or bomber class. These are arrayed along the same axis the spinal accelerator is, as they use the same energy, though to a lesser degree. These launch tubes are arranged in groups of two, one up-right, one upside-down to conserve space, grouped into each of the four corners to the port and starboard of the spinal accelerator, pointing forward. The Apollyon also has two large launch hangars, one above and one below the accelerator.
As for craft recovery, the Apollyon’s aft has a section between its protruding engine blocks that has several force fields arrayed to manipulate craft to the desired positions. Dedicated arrester drones will be driven out to tag the craft and bring it in safely. A large bay will open, from where the processing is done. This bay is also fitted with a high-performance scanner that can analyse anything brought to the ship before disassembling it to enable it for mass production.
Many Dreadnoughts are expected to come fitted with a shielding system of some sort. The Apollyon is no exception. However, the Apollyon sacrifices the space a fully enclosed shield array would occupy for additional firepower and uses drones flying closely in formation with the ship to project a unified shield in a single direction. This then allows the Apollyon to angle itself to rotate its facing while the shield is always kept facing the enemy.
Nanite Creation Engine
The primary feature of the Dreadnought, beside its obvious complement of gun batteries and -what primarily justifies such a ship- is it being capable of housing the NCE or Nanite Creation Engine. Humanity has used nanotechnology for some time: tiny machines, invisible to the naked eye but enormously powerful in great numbers when working in a coordinated swarm.
Each individual machine has tiny manipulators that it can move matter with, one atom at a time. Given enough time, these can build anything, atom by atom. Millions of such machines could sit unnoticed in the crevices of your hand - Billions could construct a fully functional tank from dirt and scrap in a matter of weeks and the untold numbers of machines within the bowels of a Creation Engine can create virtually anything from supplies, munitions, vehicles, weapons the crew may need -within seconds.
Physically, the NCE is an enormous dome, so large in fact that many may confuse it with a ship’s reactor. It is for this reason that only Dreadnought-class vessels and bespoke supply ships are capable of supporting one of these monumental pieces of equipment. The dome has several outlets connecting to it both above and below, and is situated close to the central axis of the ship, near the ship’s main power source. A NCE is quite the power hog, as it drives each and every machine via a wireless transfer of energy which each nanite is then capable of transferring to its neighbours in the swarm. This is then used to implement basic behaviour programming within the machines.
Nanites travel into the outlets, which are effectively part of the ship’s accelerator grid, and these machines can cover vast distances quickly, arriving at any of the ship’s several replication stations and assembly bays, ready to perform their task. The Creation Engine pulses power to these machines which travels down the line of the swarm, each individual transferring excesses of power to all its neighbours and with it, updates in the programming code to relay new orders as necessary. This process is governed by the ship AI and is a cycle which repeats hundreds of times per millisecond. The end result is a pulsating, inter-connected assembly grid, powered and governed by a central core that is the beating heart of the ship’s production facilities -and the reason why every Dreadnought is essentially capable of operating independently of any supply lines, adapting to tactical and strategic needs, even to a degree of field retrofitting itself.
Not only that, but the NCE is also the AI’s primary means of interacting with the physical world. Whenever the ship and crew discovers something to be analysed, it is scanned and broken down into core components, after which it becomes available for replication and R&D. This turns a Dreadnought into more than a mere instrument of destruction -but a machine able to venture into a battlefield, learn, adapt and overcome.
ERB ‘Wormhole’ Generator
A recent development, the Einstein-Rosen Bridge Generator functions with the fashion detailed in its name. Using the Einstein-Rosen Principle, it generates a Singularity, heavy enough to pull the other side of the universe towards it, opening a burrow between the universe itself.
A Wormhole generated during the experimental stages of the first prototype. As shown in the image, a distorted image of the other side is visible around the bubble.
Due to the sheer mass of the singularity involved, and its inevitable collapse into a Wormhole, the time-dilation effects, while only momentary, are quite severe. What is mere seconds for us during the period of Wormhole Generation, is several hours relative to the Galactic Cycle. Wormholes are highly unstable, as they are purely negative Energy and Mass. Adding positive mass, such as our Dreadnought-Class, would cause the Wormhole to collapse on top of the ship, making the Negative Energy Enveloper an absolute necessity to use the ERB system safely.
Negative Energy Enveloper
In order to prevent the Wormhole from collapsing upon entry, and ultimately crushing the ship with the very weight of the Space-Time Continuum, the Generator is equipped with an NE2, a Negative Energy Enveloper. Energy and Mass being two sides of the same coin, energy is as capable of bending Space-Time as mass. This device, using the applied Casimir Effect, creates a Negative Energy Envelope around the the ship itself, creating an overall energy wavelength that is below zero, allowing the ship to pass through the wormhole for just long enough before the Wormhole collapses. This process makes our Dreadnought impossible to pursue via standard FTL means. Due to the general inaccuracy of Wormholes, this impedes pursuing our ship in FTL drastically.
Travel through the Wormhole tends to be instantaneous to our perception, but for others outside the influence of said time-dilation, it could be between 1-2 weeks. Wormhole travel distance spans between 50-100 light years.
Tactical Wormhole Buoys
These buoys, which are essentially disposable Micro-Distance Wormhole Generators or MDWG, are launched in pairs of two from the Radial Torpedo Silos but may also be fired from the Vortex Accelerator. Equipped with Ion Thrusters on the bottom of the main body, the two buoys can quickly traverse large distances and reach their designated destinations, in order to collapse in on themselves to generate an accurate wormhole between the Apollyon and the intended target. Due to the nature of Wormholes, it is a two-way hole, meaning that if the intended target is a ship, and their captain is savvy, the Apollyon can also be targeted through said hole.
Deployment of the buoys requires highly precise telemetry data to determine which direction it will be facing upon being deployed for both the entry and the egress vectors, requiring calculations not possible without an on-board AI, especially when firing the buoys in mass the way the Apollyon is capable of. The Micro-Wormhole lasts up to a minute, but may be collapsed sooner by a short-range microwave burst from the Apollyon.
The Slip-Manifold is the current standard for Interstellar travel between star systems, and significantly more accurate than the Wormhole Generator. Allowing for travel for anywhere between 0-and 25 light years, the Manifold will slip the ship into a sub-space layer below our universe, sending the ship to the nearest Gravity Well in a dead straight line. The onboard navigational computer uses complex mathematical equations and Star Map data to calculate the exact exit space, for accurate and convenient travel.
For a ship the size of the Apollyon, charging the manifold would take approximately 30 seconds before the 5 second slip sequence begins. Time-Dilation is minimal, travel within our perception varies between 10-20 seconds, while to outside observers, it is approximately 1 to 24 hours, depending on distance between the A and B star systems.
Lightspeed Accelerator - Impulse Drive
The Impulse Drive is the oldest of FTL techs, while not necessarily faster than light, it can reach the speed of the light by physically accelerating the ship with an instantaneous sub-space impulse, temporarily slipping the ship in sub-space, and using the shorter sub-dimensional distance as a slingshot. The Apollyon have be steered and maneuvered via this drive while in Impulse, allowing the ship to easily position itself into the orbit of a target planet before even needing to exit Impulse speeds. Time-Dilation effects are practically non-existent, only a few seconds in difference.