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USSF

USSF logo

The United Solarian Star Force (USSF) is the spaceborne warfare branch of the United Solarian Sovereignty. It is the smallest of the uniformed services in terms of manpower, but receives the largest influx of funding, often to the envy of the USMC. The USSF traces its origins to the First Bragulan War, when the small and scattered space forces of the original eleven colonies were forced to band together and cooperate to stem the tide of Bragulan warships. In those early days the USSF suffered heavy losses battling the spaceborne forces of the Bragulan Star Empire, and as a result the Star Force has developed an especially savage hatred for the Bragulans which endures to this very day.

The 35th century USSF maintains a sizable intergalactic presence, deploying throughout Wild Space and to foreign states to show the flag. It has the ability to project force throughout the galaxy, engage in forward areas during peacetime, and a network of well-mapped hyperlanes, hyperspace nexii and stargates allows the USSF to rapidly respond to regional crises, making it a keystone of Sovereignty foreign and defense policy.

The overall long-term strategies of the USSF are built around the principles of deterrence and retaliation. The first principle means that the high command must ensure the Sovereignty is seen to be strong enough to fight off any foe. The USSF therefore must be perceived to be mighty enough to ensure that it is not worth any rival's time to attack the holdings or territory of the Sovereignty. This also fits well with the Sovereignty's relative openness about its military strengths and equipment.

The second principle means that, if someone does attack the Sovereignty, then the USSF will hit back--hard. The Star Force is one hundred percent committed to maintaining the integrity of the Sovereignty's holdings and will do everything in its power to reclaim them. There are very few examples of anyone ever taking anything from the U.S.S. and holding it, intact or otherwise, and the USSF strives to keep it that way. For this reason its warships must remain capable of achieving dominance over any potential foe, in any circumstance. As a result, the USSF fields a wide range of warships, from agile scouts to multi-purpose cruisers and devastatingly powerful warships geared exclusively toward total warfare.

OrganizationEdit

The USSF does not operate strictly defined fleets, but rather fields ad-hoc taskforces that are formed, changed, and disbanded depending on the ever-changing demands of the galacto-strategic situation. Command of these taskforces is shared between a human commander (typically the highest ranking officer of the taskforce) and the Fleetmind, the group-consciousness formed by the taskforce's resident CIs. Each warship in the USSF has its own resident CompInt: these hyperturing intelligences can exchange information and reach decisions amongst themselves so quickly that by human standards they appear to think as one; hence the term 'Fleetmind'.

Likewise each CompInt within range of the Datasphere takes part in the Consensus, the overarching group-awareness of every Solarian warship. Although de jure the Consensus operates with a group of senior commanders at the USSF headquarters on Key West, it is de facto really the Consensus that by virtue of its vast processing power and ability to collate enormous amounts of tactical and strategic information at extreme speed makes the decisions that matter, with the senior commanders relegated to acting as a 'second opinion' fail-safe.

TechnologyEdit

Main Article: Technology of the Sovereignty
Murderous

The K-Zone method of planetary disposal.

The United Solarian Star Force has come a long way since the crude vessels with which it fought the First Bragulan War. In a matter of a few hundred years its spacecraft have gone from adapted freighter designs with bolt-on guns and jerry-rigged armor to purpose-built super-sleek multi-klick wacraft that utilize extremely advanced technology. This dramatic transformation was made possible almost exclusively through the wholesale adoption of reverse-engineered Apexai technology: almost all core technologies used today aboard USSF warships, from hyperfield generators to dark energy reactors, are clones from older designs the exiled Apexai brought with them. Although this has made the USSF from a typical dinky backwater militia with pretensions of grandeur into a galactic force to be reckoned with in absolute record time, it also has several drawbacks. Notably, the USSF to this day relies very heavily on Apexai engineers and CompInts to keep its ships going, with human physicists only now beginning to catch up on the theoretical foundations of the technologies involved. Star Force vessels also are still not up to spec with the ships the Apexai themselves took with them; even hundreds of years after their exile and having remained mostly static ever since Apexai technology remains decades, perhaps even centuries of breakneck technological development ahead of that of the Sovereignty. And finally and perhaps most importantly, some critics allege that the USSF has come to depend too much on its (perceived) technological edge, and has become too complacent fighting rag-tag Wild Space militias, its leading strategists lazily assuming its technology will always translate into a natural decisive advantage over potential enemies... Arguably the same fatal error the Apexai themselves made when they encountered the Bragulan Star Empire.

Warship classesEdit

Bloodhound-class SpystarEdit

Spystars are small, stealthed vessels that trade most of their offensive capabilities for a heavy-duty ECM suites and scatterscreens that render them very nearly undetectable. The Bloodhound class is weirdly shaped and coated in layers of sensor absorbing and deflecting materials to such an extent that it is difficult to even look at the ship with the naked eye without one's gaze somehow just sliding off it. Once these ships activate their electronics and field systems they are for all practical intents and purposes impossible to detect without highly specialized equipment. Spystars serve as fleet pickets, long-range scouts, reconnaissance vehicles and infiltrators. A large number of Spystars are on permanent loan to the CEID intelligence agency.

Class Info:

  • Cost: 60p
  • Constructed: 60
  • Carrier capacity: 0

Gangster-class IOUEdit

IOUs (small)

Three IOUs over Glitter Band

Independent Offensive Units (IOUs) are the USSF's most modern warships and consist of little more than engines, weapons and the ship's CI core. They are unmanned and were originally designed with minor regional presence / show of force missions in mind, but their role has expanded until today IOUs are deployed as fleet screen, interceptor, light carrier, VIP transport, gunboat, fast picket, rapid offensive vehicle and so forth. Small, sleek and extremely manoeuverable, the Gangster-class IOU can easily outrun any other Star Force warship and is usually deployed in roving packs of three or more ships. The Gangster is highly modular and rapidly modifiable, which has lead to the formation of a vast number of subclasses configured for a bewildering variety of roles. Most commonly seen are the Outlaw, Bandit, Hooligan and Hatchetman subclasses.

Class Info:

  • Cost: 75p
  • Constructed: 300
  • Carrier capacity: 5 (50 fighters / 2 gunboats) (not available for all subclasses) (the rarely seen Hustler subclass features an extended hangar capable of holding 1 ultralight parasite)

Assailant-class StrikestarEdit

Strikestar 4

USS Intolerant on patrol

If asked to sketch a warship, any citizen of the Sovereignty will almost certainly produce a drawing that fits the Assailant to a T. These iconic dagger-shaped warships have kept the peace on the colonial fringe for nearly a century, long enough for them (and their crews) to garner a reputation comparable to the tough-but-fair gunslinger-sheriffs of the Old West. Although not the most modern ships by any stretch of the imagination, the Assailant class has been the subject of continuous rolling upgrades throughout its many decades in service and thus remains competitive with most warships of similar tonnage employed in its galactic neighborhood.

Each ship of the class is designed with an expeditionary role in mind, carrying a brigade of marines plus their ground equipment and aerospace support, as well as more than enough weapons power to deter (or blow up outright) most pirates and other armed stragglers. Because it is an older design the Assailant has far more space dedicated to missiles as well as far thicker belts of armor than is the standard for modern designs. The ageing design - remarkable also for being the last U.S.S. warcraft in service to feature an actual bridge tower - cannot take the most modern of hyperfield generators due to a lack of space, meaning the ship is slightly underprotected in that respect. However, a set of powerful engines means that if the Assailant runs into anything it cannot deal with on its own, it is fast enough to get away quick and call the cavalry.

Class Info:

  • Cost: 150p
  • Constructed: 46
  • Carrier capacity: 10p (100 fighters / 20 gunboats / 1 ultralight parasite) (a handful of Assailant class ships feature extended hangars capable of holding twice the number of deployable craft, at the expense of a tertiary weapons reactor battery and a corresponding decrease in direct firepower. These ships are used for relatively low-intensity Wild Space operations such as anti-piracy sweeps or Karlack bug-hunts.)

Atrocity-class WarstarEdit

Atrocity

USS Antares, coming out of hyper with all guns blazing

The Atrocity class was developed after the Battle of the Tannhauser Gate of the mid-34th century, when USS authorities believed a full-scale Bragulan invasion was imminent and a 'warship gap' was perceived to exist. In order to combat the ever-growing fleet of ever-larger Bragulan warships the USSF embarked on a crash program to develop a very large warcraft of its own. This class eventually became the Atrocity.

Because the driving force behind the development of the Atrocity was always to make it into a dedicated 'capship-killer' with only minimal emphasis placed on marine presence this warship looks markedly different from previous USSF ship classes. Instead of the traditional dagger-shape the Atrocity is a flying vertical brick wrapped in multiple layers of self-repairing armor and hyperfields. The multiple redundancies built into virtually every important system and heavy compartmentalization mean the ship is extremely survivable, whilst its outer surface is scattered with retractable blisters containing autolaser batteries. Several heavy missile bays are also included, although when the Atrocity was designed missiles were already beginning to fall out of favour with designers, and so it does not carry as many warheads as one might expect, instead focusing on even more energy weapons.

Large numbers of these warships are stationed at the forward naval bases at Hochbaden and Key West, from where they occasionally venture into Wild Space whenever something needs a good ass-kicking. Over the decade it has been in service, the Atrocity has proved it is a match for threats ranging from Bragulan warships to the most numerous of Karlack swarms.

Class Info:

  • Cost: 400p
  • Constructed: 20
  • Carrier capacity: 30p (300 fighters / 60 gunboats / 3 ultralight parasites)

Genocide-class DreadstarEdit

The very largest warship ever constructed by the USS, only a handful of Genocide-class Dreadstars has been built so far--but then, only very few threats could possibly require the intervention of such a humongous warship to deal with. Designed with some of the lessons of the Atrocity in mind, the Genocide class sees the return of the traditional dagger shape, if in a vastly larger form than ever implemented before by the USSF. The Dreadstar is a monster by any standard, enormous in every respect: size, mass, field strength, engine throughput, weapon power. It even carries large numbers of hyper- and mass missiles, not because the USSF particularly likes those weapons but because there was so much space to fill on the warship that by the end nobody knew what else to use it for but to add some more missile bays. The Genocide class dwarfs all other USSF vessels, and the appearance of a Genocide class warship in the battlespace can mean only one thing: that the Sovereignty means business.

Command of or indeed service aboard a Genocide class vessel is a highly prestigious honor that only the USSF's best, brightest and most reliable are selected for. These powerful warships can reduce entire fleets of lesser vessels to clouds of cooling debris, and lush cointinents to molten slag with trivial ease, thus necessitating great restraint on the part of their commanders, lest the improper application of the Genocide's titanic firepower cause enormous and unacceptable amounts of collateral damage. Because of this, and because the loss of a Dreadstar - hailed as all but invincible superweapons by Sovereignty propaganda - would be a PR disaster, ships of the class tend to only very rarely leave the USS core territories. There is only one exception to this rule: USS Murderous, is the command ship of Brigadier Flash Stalin and his 616th Interplanetary Patrol Group, the USSF flotilla that, through a combination of firepower and brazen intimidation, keeps the peace along the Wild Space frontier.

Class Info:

  • Cost: 600p
  • Constructed: 10 (Murderous, Villainous, Perilous, Inglorious, Dangerous, Nefarious, Infamous, Outrageous, Vicious, Treacherous)
  • Carrier capacity: 30p (300 fighters / 60 gunboats / 3 ultralight parasites)

Extinction-class Super DreadstarEdit

Painstakingly designed over a number of years, just to prove to the galaxy that the Sovereignty could match the very largest and most obscenely powerful warships ever seen in the entire galaxy, the Extinction-class is to be a unique, one-of-a-kind warship the likes of which have not been constructed in the Koprulu sector since the Imperium embarked on its mighty technological quest to build its Battle Barges and outrageously huge battleships. The plans for the Extinction-class - which has been dubbed a 'Super Dreadstar' by those who know of its existence by virtue of there being no real class available with which to otherwise refer to it - call for seventeen kilometers of armored hulk, powered and propelled by a series of superlatives that seems endless: the largest linked progression drive chain ever built by the Sovereignty, the most powerful dark energy reactors, the thickest and most absurdly redundant hyperfields, the largest calibers of autolasers, and no less than four prow-mounted Line Guns are to make USS Extinction a warship to rival any other... Unfortunately not just in size and weapons power, but also in costs, which are as obscenely high as its hull is long, so high in fact that even despite the Sovereignty being effectively post-scarcity many senators have balked at the costs. The biggest adversary of Project Triassic, as the construction of USS Extinction is called, is Senator Robert Space McNamara, who continues to call for the cancellation of the project citing both costs and the dramatic escalation this warship would purportedly entail in the Cold War with the Bragulan Star Empire. When asked what he thought of the Bragulan construction of the Byzon-class war planetoid, Senator McNamara reportedly fumbled for a moment, before producing a series of ancient-looking graph-filled reports produced by his office, alledgedly showing that Project Triassic is riddled with inefficiencies and should therefore be put on indefinite halt. Unfortunately for the Senator, the Star Force so far has enough supporters in the Senate to keep the Super Dreadstar construction underway.

Class Info:

  • Cost: 1250p
  • Constructed: 1 (Extinction, construction finished in 3403; outfitting finished in 3404)
  • Carrier capacity: 250p (2,500 fighters / 500 gunboats / 25 ultralight parasites)

Parasite CraftEdit

Star Force warships usually carry a number of so-called parasite craft, small vessels capable only of sublight travel (frequently very rapid sublight travel, but only sublight travel). These ships serve a number of purposes: they ferry small groups of marines toward vessels about to be boarded, they can transport persons to other ships or to planetary surfaces, they act as sentry drones, sensor platforms, fighter craft or gunboats. All parasite craft are crewless, that is to say unmanned and run by CI much like the Independent Offensive Units. These small craft can be either directed by a warship's main CompInt, or they can function independently, although individual computational intelligences mounted in parasite craft are not sapient the way primary shipminds and other major CIs are.

SunhawkEdit

The Sunhawk is an unmanned version of the SI-60H Goshawk interface gunship used by the United Solarian Marine Corps. The Sunhawk retains its orbital interface capability and is typically used as a shuttle to transfer small numbers of USSF or USMC personnel to a planetary surface or to other craft in the vicinity of the launching vessel. It retains a pair of microlaser blisters but is not intended as a direct-action craft, and will typically be assigned a pair of Shrikes or Starlings as escorts especially when ferrying VIPs. The Sunhawk has a pair of internal missile bays just like the Goshawk, but Star Force never uses this capability; USSF personnel sometimes use these spaces to smuggle contraband between ships or to a surface.

ShrikeEdit

The Shrike is the standard fighter-interceptor of the USSF, an effective interdiction vehicle typically deployed to screen against enemy small craft or as a sensor platform in case its mothership for some reason does not want to engage its own active sensors. To function in this capacity the Shrike is fitted with a very powerful (for its chassis size) TADAR array. Like all USSF strike craft it does not use missiles, and is instead fitted with four forward-facing microlaser cannons and (much to the short-lived surprise of many Bragulan starpilots) one rearward-facing microlaser. The Shrike is technically capable of entering a planetary atmosphere, but does not perform at all well there. Typically atmospheric missions launched from craft lacking the more advanced Starling are therefore assigned to USMC fighters such as the S/A-222 White Shark or the F-188C Peregrine.

StarlingEdit

The more modern of the two primary parasite warcraft carried by USSF capital vessels, the Starling is amongst Star Force personnel more commonly known by its nickname "Chromebird". Appearing as if made entirely out of chromed metal, the skin of the Starling is in fact a poly-mimetic, near frictionless hyper-alloy with a limited capability to change the form and streamlining of the craft, as well as spreading to damaged areas and nano-technologically repairing them on the fly. The Starling is faster than the older Shrike, but has only entered service on a limited basis. Typically ships can expect to carry one Starling for every five Shrikes.

Equipped with strong hyperfields, microlaser cannons fired from retractable blisters, a powerful dark energy reactor and most importantly a miniaturized Heim Drive, the Starling is both vastly more powerful and tactically manoeuverable than its predecessor, and capable of running missions against enemy starfighters as well as gunboats and missiles. Like all parasite warcraft the Starling can be remotely controlled directly by a shipmind, but when it is not, its computers are inhabited by its own, predatory but sub-sapient intelligence.

[Author's note: Although the Starling is treated like a fighter, it is in fact a gunboat in terms of cost.]

Starling BEdit

Rumored to exist as an experimental model, or in limited service with CEID's 'black squadrons', the Starling B is supposedly a variant of the regular Starling modified for maximum stealth, possibly fitted with its own scatterscreen generator and other low-observability features.

StilettoEdit

The Stiletto is a larger parasite drone capable of conducting extended long-range operations away from larger Star Force vessels. It is equipped with its own hyperdrive and a CI core containing a template cloned off the main awareness of the warship aboard which the parasite is stationed. The Stiletto does feature a small crew space that can be used by organics but usually ships of this class operate alone, in which case the interior is completely depressurized. Starships of this class are typically used to monitor remote regions of space for longer periods of time, or to perform independent reconnaissance sweeps during Star Force patrols of Wild Space areas. In case of combat they are never deployed directly against enemy warships, but rather will be used to whittle away swarms of enemy fighters or missiles, thus decreasing the workload of the ship to which the Stiletto is attached.

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