The Sunwrath-class battlecruiser is a vessel commissioned by the Draconid Imperium and first saw use in mid-2796 A.D. (ID.219506/CD.0006). A culmination of projects spanning five years, the Sunwrath was poised as a revolutionary new engine for the Imperium's efforts. Being half the size and 20% of the crew of a vessel of its class it is easy to confuse it with the crusiers in which it surpassed, equipped with terrifying new technologies developed within the Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth during the latter's first decade or so of existence.
The earliest known plans for the Sunwrath date back to the Second Borealis Galactic War, fearing a surge of attacks from vastly more powerful adversaries the Imperium prototyped a new kind of hyperspace weapon known as the "Riftfire cannon" capable of bypassing shields and armour by sending a payload though hyperspace.
The threat of The Junction and the Drakodominatus Tyranny triggered the need for new defense technology, leading to a surge in development in armour and regenerative hull plating. The umbrella project "Shining Glory" was spearheaded by an engineering partnership between the Alcanti Royal Academy, Alpenix University, Utopis Fleet Concern and Valle Astroengineering along with dozens of smaller R&D firms under the top-secret project that had the riftfire cannon at its heart aswell as hundreds of innovations made by reverse-engineering the technology once possessed by the Andromedan Grox Empire, claimed by the Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth during the Andromeda War.
The project involved a revolutionary rethink of design philosophy and logistics with the intent to create a more efficient, flexible, compact and powerful warship. It became apparent early in the project that the chassis of previous warships was no longer capable of being comparable with the new concept despite the famed redundancies of Imperial warship philosophy. With security provided by the Royal Intelligence Agency, the project was relatively unknown until the beginning phases of the fist prototype vessel.
Shining Glory was a working success by ID.219506 with the first hundred field-capable vessels produced within the month, and thousands more on order, expected to retire the venerated Battlemaster Class, their new weapons proving vastly effective over a continual period of testing.
As a battlecruiser being less than a kilometre long and staffed by a mere three hundred crew, the Sunwrath is considered very small by Imperial classification standards, having almost half the crew of a Starfury-class while being slightly larger and having less than one fifth the crew of a Battlemaster-class (considered a precursor) and under half the length. Due to the revolutionary designs however, as a whole, each Sunwrath possesses more than 1.5x the firepower and 3x the power availability of a single Battlmaster.
Each Sunwrath consists of one hundred decks stacked vertically from base to nose, with the nose being deck 1 and the base being deck 100. Under each second floor is a series of micro black hole that provides artificial gravity for the deck above and the deck below, requiring elevators to travel between each floor that compensate for the shift in orientation when traveling between floor layers without such a system in place. Each micro black hole is flattened into a disk, allowing for a plane of roughly 0.8G to emanate from each floor, prevented from evapourating by the ship's power grid along with a quantum replicator to which it sits within.
The command deck, located on deck 50, is unconventional for warships of its era. The navigator, rather than being a crewman at a console, is suspended in a virtual reality suite within a dome under the deck. Within this suite the navigator has a complete view of the universe around them, allowing to plot courses dynamically by selecting course, speed and direction using the revolutionary orientation system. Like all Imperial vessels the command deck itself has a captain's chair situated at the back with a walkway over a work trench that leads to a curved wall that exists as a single solid viewscreen, the projection is angled for the user so as to prevent image distortion from the curved surface.
The ship itself possesses eight hypermatter reactors cores located right down the ship from nose to base, seven reactors provide independent power supply to the shields while the eighth powers the propulsion systems and unused energy is used to power other systems. Smaller, redundant cores exist at strategic locations to provide further energy in emergencies. The use of hypermatter siphons allows for each Sunwrath to operate for immense periods of time without needing to resupply their energy stores as well as providing truly phenomenal and controlled energy outputs.
Crew quarters are located in the central and lower decks while officers' quarters are located on the upper decks, the officers' quarters being more luxurious and specifically designed to act as miniature apartment units, utilising collapsable furniture to maximise space efficiency. Crew quarters become more spartan as one reaches decks with higher numbers, with bunk hunits providing for crew housed in the lower 1/3rd of the ship. Each vessel contains four holosuites designed for a variety of individual and group activities along with full holographic suites built into officers' quarters to suit a variety of purposes. Quantum replicators act as both recyclers and on-board fabrication systems, situated in communal areas such as mess halls and vending units, supplied by a material stock within the ship's cargo holds.
To cope with the immense heat generation, dynamic heat capture and transmission systems are in place to funnel waste heat into hyperspace rifts where it is dumped in (such as through reactor "exhaust" portals or the Riftfire cannons' rift generators) 4D space, creating a minimal thermal signature on scans provided heat-capture systems are working optimally.
Sunwrath vessels are each equipped with an AI unit to minimise crew and assist in targeting, energy distribution and nanomachine control, kept in check by engineering teams in order to keep an eye out for faults. Of those AIs that exist, protocol has been established that crewmembers treat the AIs as one of the crew to prevent incident or misjudgement. Rumours abdound of some captains forming intimate bonds with their assigned AIs.
The Sunwrath-class serves as a test-bed for a piece of technology known as the Clairvoyance network. Constructed using a combination of technologies both developed within and dontated to the Imperium, the network serves as a new method for in-ship communication and ship-to-ship communication.
Unlike other ships, Morphis colonies are required by all crew members who carry unique clusters that hold modifiable programming that identifies them with specific vessels. The implants created by these Morphis colonies allow each crew member to speak to one another as well as AI cores though neural implants constructed within hosts' brains, permitting full interfacing without the need of consoles.
On the command decks of each vessel are special command chairs that are built to boost the range and versatility of specific users, which are tied to these tasks. As such, the command crew technically become integrated into the ship's fabrics mentally. The captain - unlike other Morphis-posessing crew - can issue shipwide telepathic messages. Current control chairs include:
- Captain's chair - Permits crewide telepathic communication as well as communication with rest of command deck crew.
- Helm chair - Grants pilot a visual sense of all ship's navigation systems.
- Security chair - Allows user to see though the eyes of all security personnel.
- Comms chair - Permits ship-to-ship and ship-to-planet telepathy along with cross-platform software.
- Gunnery chair - Is fully aware of the status of all ship's weapons and countermeasures.
- Navigation chair - Mental connection to FTL drive as well as long-range sensors.
While it is only the newest-generation ships that posess this technology, the redundancy and adaptability of current Imperial models permit the possibility of older models being able to accept the hardware, but not before complete refits however.
The primary weapons of the Sunwrath is a set of six riftfire cannons situated at alternating points, four along each side of the hull to maximise length. The compactness means that while each gun cannot achieve the same overall velocity as in the older designs but compensated by more efficient rails, along with inertial dampeners to prevent the vessel from sliding sideways or turning from the angle of fire.
Each cannon fires a payload of antimatter explosive though a rift into hyperspace where the projectile travels. A transwarp generator allows the projectile to materialise in realspace once it has traveled for long enough. Each payload is designed to detonate when about to pass though the aperture, detonating the hypermatter within the rift and also kicking hypermatter forward out of the rift where it detonates due to being unable to contain its extra energy in 3D realspace. The riftfire is designed to open an aperture inside an enemy target, effectively bypassing armour and non-transdimensional shielding.
Along with these armaments, the class comes with ten hyperlasers arranged in two sets of five along the hull and twenty rail cannons that utilise a similar next-gen superconducting magnet to the riftfire cannons in order to more effectively penetrate armour and shielding than older vessels.
Like all warships, all Sunwrath vessels have six torpedo bays using modular warheads of Imperial design, allowing for on-the-fly changing to a different warhead depending on the situation. Nanomachine swarms installed into each array allow for easy field modification and repair, adjusting vessels to new designs without relying on external installation and adjusting firepower and energy flow dynamically within the heat of battle. The nanotechnology can also modify weapons to suit a different purpose such as converting one of the hyperlasers into a powerful ion cannon when needed.
The first line of defence on all Sunwrath-class vessels is a set of five non-phasic shield layers along with two transphasic shield layers each with a unique reactor core located along the ship's length and all of them spaced from each other at regular intervals. Below that and on the surface of the vessel is a series of nano-alloyed ceramic hull plates fitted with nanoforges at varying intervals. Stocks of material in each allows for nanomachine swarms to quickly repair abrasive damage when it occurs. Below the ceramic plating is a thin layer of refined Neutron-degenerate matter that acts as a backup skin should the plates be heavily damaged. Because NDM is one of the densest materials known, the plates can theoretically soak up all but the most intense impacts.
The frame of the ship consists of two layers; an alloyed titanium pipe and a shaft of monopolium suspended in a complete vaccum and shielded with a low-level non-phasic shield powered by mini reactors dotted throughout the ship, providing immense support in the event of collisions or shots and being highly resistant to being bent out of shape. The NDM skin is maintained by swarms of Picomachines that, due to being immensely small, can reconfigure single atoms to make them dense enough for use in repairs although so far it is a belief this engineered NDM is any better than a fresh hull plate.
Each Sunwrath is fitted with two varieties of FTL travel: A new-generation transwarp drive that relies on a completely different layout to standard Type-18 transwarp drives capable of reaching speeds of 0.85Mc while in hyperspace. Much of the new design is to incorporate a more efficient flow of heat and power allowing the new design to generate a hyperspace rift at 70% of the energy required of a standrd Type-18.
Also incorporated into the nose is a wormhole drive, a relative first for the Imperium and provided by technology sharing within the Andromedan Galactic Commonwealth and allowing it to completely bypass the restrictions posed on the gateway network that makes up the Imperium's arteries.
“I would be eager to see how our captains fare with these designs, a radical feat in engineering in such a short space of time!”
- - Lord-Admiral Larnus Vontarion
“I guess all that reverse-engineering during the great war really paid off. I am in awe.”
“a total wannabe of da Loron Sik Ship”
- - Kal'kuir
“A testament to the Draconis' skilled designs, and to the engineering of the Andromedans in general. This ship is indeed very interesting, and I believe we can learn from it.”
“Elegant and efficient, like the Imperium itself.”
“These things will hunt us as well? Oh my, danger!”
“I gotta get myself one of these. I wonder whether they do commissions. Or I could drink the whole engineering department under the table.”