“Hey,” Jason whistled, accentuating the E. “That’s an old Constitution Class!”
“Constitution?” Rian blinked. “I didn’t think the Foundation had those.”
“Constitution-class starship, dummy,” Jason smacked him on the back of the head. “Constitution was a revolutionary class of ship introduced during the Kamian Succession Wars—the first ever successful multi-roll warship.”
“Neat,” Kendrick raised his camera and took a picture.
“The design was unbelievable,” Jason explained as they drifted past. “Look at those engine nacelles, that was the first-ever non-circular version of the ion-vacuum drive. It was almost iconoclastic at the time, but the engine was successful and fast, those things flanked at sixty PSL!
“The hangar deck is actually open all the way through, the launch cradles for harpies can retract into the floor. It was designed that way so they could service up to three corvettes. It was a tight squeeze, but it could do it alongside a full wing of Harpies—that ship was basically an entire mini battle group!”
“So why’s it rotting in a forgotten corner of the shipyard?” Rian asked.
“Well… the problem with multi-roll is not being particularly good at any,” Jason sighed. “It could carry twelve hawks, or eight harpies, or four gargoyles, and serve is home base for three corvettes; all while functioning as a cruiser, but compared to the big dedicated carries that could launch upwards of sixty-four harpies, it wasn’t much of a strike weapon. It had fantastic endurance, though; those things went further afield than any other capital-class ship. Only the bigger scout-ships went further, and they were basically limited to observation.
“Ok, you see those big wing-like things along the sides? Those are projection-shield emitters; Constitution-class used only projection shields! There’s four projectors on each side designed to overlap, any one can protect half the ship! They could loose three on each side and still be protected, but that’s not the best part: they didn’t have to lower shields to launch and retrieve fighters. Big, bubble-shielded carriers need to lower shields—that’s basically why the harpy was invented, to allow launches from further away from combat.
“But the Constitution could survive in a very high-threat environment thanks to it’s shields. As a result, its eight-harpy compliment could fly more sorties and be rearmed faster. It was really an impressive piece of work.”
“Again: why the forget-me-rotting?” Rian gestured.
“Every Constitution-class in the fleet was decommissioned almost as soon as hostilities ended,” Jason explained. “I guess they just really weren’t useful outside of a combat setting. Or maybe they were just too good—in the entire four-hundred-year run those babies were in commission, not a single one was lost as a direct result of enemy action. Every last one they deployed limped or crawled home eventually, but a lot of them had to be decommissioned simply because battle damage was to severe. The rest were consigned to the ghost fleet.”