|Apostle Bombard Ship|
|Faction||Order of the Talon|
|Unit Type||Capital Ship|
|Secondary Ability||Deploy/Pack Up|
|Veterancy Upgrade(s)||• Autocannon turret, rate of fire increases (vet)|
• Shells immobilise units in impact radius (elt)
• Coilgun main gun (her)
"The verdict has been passed. The sentence is death. There is no appeal."
- - Lord Admiral Newsome at the Skagerrak Incident
- Cannonisation: First things first: the Apostle mounts one of the biggest guns in the world. Apostles are armoured in layer upon layer of Talon Steel plating and their cannon is bigger than some enemy vessels. Freudian jokes aside, the "Oblivion" cannon is every bit as powerful as its size suggests.
- Too much gun: However, the Apostle must pack up to move. While in mobile mode, Apostles retain their massive armour but cannot defend themselves.
- Just don't miss: Beware. As powerful as the Apostle's cannon is, it is very slow to load and use against small, fast targets is highly inadvisable. The Apostle is a very specialized piece of hardware: it mounts a massive cannon and is supremely effective at blowing things up from long range, but at anything but that particular job, it cannot perform well.
- Blown to kingdom come: Foes of the Talon should also note that certain Apostles possess additional modifications that enhance their capabilities even further. Such modifications include an autocannon turret, improved loading mechanisms, and shells capable of temporarily stunning all units in the blast radius. There are also rumours that one or two Apostles have been fitted with experimental coilguns of monstrous destructive power...
Personal Testimony of Admiral H. Sulu Concerning the Leyte Gulf Incident
Sulu: Our first hint that something was about to happen came when the fleet's pickets identified a strange aircraft over the Gulf. Unlikely-looking aircraft were nothing new for the Empire by this time, but this one was like nothing in Imperial records. It resembled a helicopter, but was propelled by a bizarre device that resembled nothing so much as a corkcrew whirling in the air. I attempted to hail the aircraft from my flagship, but the craft did not respond. I was about to order the fleet's complement of sea-wings to surface and attack when the strange aircraft retreated. Rather than pursue the craft, I ordered the fleet to hold position while I contacted the Shogunate to inform them of the strange sighting.
I had just established contact with Officer Toyama when non-Imperial warships appeared. They were of a styling in Imperial records - black metal, and of designs both ornate and strangely archaic, but the Empire had never identified where these vessels came from or what organization they were apart of. I immediately ordered the fleet to alert status, but no sooner had I given the order than more vessels appeared. These were larger than any other ship of this unidentified force we had ever seen, the size of our own Shogun battleships, and I was about to order the fleet to battle stations when the ships dropped no less than four anchors into the water and deployed pontoons. At that point, I made the greatest mistake of my life: I assumed the ships did not have hostile intentions by their dropping anchor and ordered the fleet to stand down. We picked up a radio transmission from the black ships, in a language not programmed into my ship's database. Then they opened fire.
I have seen Soviet dreadnoughts at war. I was an observer at the Giga Fortress demonstrations. I have witnessed the Allies' proton collider as it rained destruction down upon Imperial positions. But never in my life have I beheld a weapon of such primal rage as these ships. Their weapons were not elaborate. They were no pieces of sophisticated high technology or energy weapons. They were simple, brutal ballistic weapons firing shells of such size I almost could not believe that naval vessels could fire them without capsizing. By the time I made the connection between their bombardment and their need to stabilize themselves before firing, half the fleet was burning. My own Shogun battleship had been disabled immediately. A shell struck just forward of the superstructure and blew the ship - and I remind you that this was one of the Empire's finest Shogun battleships - completely in half. My mighty vessel, sinking in two separate sections from one shell!
The order to abandon ship was a foregone conclusion. Some of the smaller vessels in the fleet had closed with the enemy armada and attempted to attack even as my flagship began to sink. Powerful as the strange battleships were, no weapon of that scale could be used on a fast-moving ship. Unfortunately, I saw that the battleships didn't need to. Their escorts hammered the smaller vessels relentlessly, and with the battleships burning and sinking from the first salvos of the black dreadnoughts, the Naginata cruisers were being methodically picked off by smaller ramming vessels and ungainly - but hellishly effective - armoured cruisers. Bizarre as the black armada looked, they had just humiliated an Imperial fleet. The strangest part, however, was that radio transmission. Toyama had translated it during the battle, and aboard my escape Yari, she told me what the black ships had announced to our fleet:
"This cancer has grown too invasive. The time for the scalpel is past. Bring forth the torch."
During the 19th century, the development of the ironclad warship and supremacy of steel had far-reaching consequences in naval warfare. Steel armour seemed to render conventional cannonballs obsolete, as so aptly demonstrated by the battle between the ironclads Monitor and Virginia during the First American Civil War. Mankind's innate capacity for destruction saw to it that this was not a problem for long, but there was a time when the question of offence against defence at sea seemed settled. Settled, save for one American with a vision. His name has since fallen out of popular memory, but the shipwrights of the Talon jokingly refer to him as Saint Praeco Eversionis - Herald of Destruction.
Whatever his real name, Praeco Eversionis proposed a weapon that would once and for all prove that armour could not stand against American firepower. Whether the resulting cannon design was intended as a phallic compensation device or not goes unrecorded by history, but he proposed a monstrous cannon with a barrel almost three feet in diameter, so large that only a massive warship at anchor could fire such a behemoth, and even then the recoil alone would be perilous, and the amount of powder required to lob a shell would be sufficient to supply a normal warship for a week. The United States Navy was suitably impressed before laughing Eversionis out of the room. All other factors aside, normal steel simply couldn't be used to forge such a cannon. On land, it might be possible, perhaps even mounting it on a railway car to provide some degree of mobility. Putting one to sea was absurd. Or so public history states.
Talon history tells a different story. According to the scrolls of the Order, the possibly mad architect was intercepted by Talon agents before he even left Washington D.C. They offered him the chance to bring his monstrous design to life, with a metal that could take the strain, provided he swear secrecy and service to the Lord God. Amidst the dry wording of the Order's history, an observant reader might gather that the man was a few sandwiches short of a picnic, but he nevertheless agreed. Talon Steel made the weapon possible, but it still wasn't too practical - only by deploying four separate anchors and two stabilization pontoons, and assembling the barrel piecemeal could the cannon be assembled, and even when rerouting all steam from the ship's engines, it took a long time to build up enough power to fire. Reloading the thing was a time-consuming, backbreaking effort even with a full crew, and the ship itself was an afterthought to give the cannon some degree of (limited) mobility.
And yet the design was a success: the "Oblivion" cannon of the Apostle Bombard Ship is perhaps the most powerful tactical weapon on Earth even today, rumoured to put even a shot from a proton collider to shame. The twentieth century did see the shells redesigned into rocket assisted projectiles capable of much greater range than the original design at the insistence of Master Shipwright Okamura, but personnel assigned to one of these behemoths still receive the same weapon their forebears did: a monstrous floating doom cannon with a capital ship strapped to it. The Talon provides lessons in American sign language for all sailors assigned to these ships and to the captains expected to command such vessels.
Fortunately for the Talon's enemies, the Talon could only ever afford to construct a handful of these ships, and even then they have not seen very much combat.