|Faction||Order of the Talon|
|Secondary Ability||Deploy/Pack up|
Engages clockwork autoloader, can fire rockets continuously/Becomes mobile
|Veterancy Upgrade(s)||• Searchlights (AA weapon jammer/paints surface units) (vet)|
• 20mm autocannons (elt)
• Altar of Light (her)
"The higher they soar, the further they fall..."
- - Anonymous Metatron captain
- Not a cloud in sight: Talon commanders rest assured; the Metatron excels at its job and is a highly efficient mobile air defence at sea.
- Saturation fire: By shutting down its engines, the Metatron can engage its clockwork autoloader and maintain an endless barrage of rockets. While a formidable deterrent to fast bombers and gunships, woe betide the heavy airships too slow to escape...
- Just some fireworks: Be warned; the Metatron does have a glaring weakness, namely its inability to engage surface targets. Metatrons are dedicated surface to air ships, and operate best in a mixed fleet.
According to official Allied records, the small, black warships with a comically oversized rack of rockets occasionally sighted on the world's oceans belong to an international paramilitary force dedicated to fighting the Mediterranean Syndicate. The marked resemblance of these craft to the Allies' own Hydrofoil design, Allied officials assure those curious, is a simple example of convergent design: a small, fast vessel intended to provide anti-air cover for larger vessels. Those same officials would be apoplectic if they knew the truth behind the Metatron Gunboat, one of the newest additions to the Order of the Talon, and one of the few truly modern designs in the Talon's arsenal.
Central and South America have long been a stronghold of the Catholic church, but a stronghold the Order of the Talon has paid little attention to over the centuries. The Talon's main operations, and those of its hated enemies, have been largely confined to Europe and North Africa, and thus the New World is still largely ignored by the Talon save as fertile recruiting grounds.
That changed shortly before outbreak of WWIII, when a civilian member of the Order living in the Dominican Republic presented his cell with the blueprints for a new Allied warship: a small, fast hydrofoil intended for anti-air work. This anonymous civilian had been a naval engineer on the project, and the unknowing progenitor of the Talon's new solution to aircraft at sea.
The design was, of course, subjected to numerous changes from the Talon shipwrights and forgemasters while adapting the vessel for service with the Talon, most notably returning to a conventional hull design rather than a hydrofoil, and replacing the diesel motor with a steam engine. However, the shipwrights were most impressed with the Icarus autocannon the Allies had employed, and set out to adapt the weapon's principle to something more powerful than mere 20mm rounds.
Eventually, they settled on resurrecting an old American design for mounting a rocket battery atop a tank, which the Americans had named the Calliope but the Talon rebranded the "Hyperios". By adding an intricate clockwork auto-loader and stuffing the small hull with more rockets than anyone would think the ship could carry, the hope was to achieve the same rate of fire as the hydrofoil's gun but with rockets instead.
Ultimately, it proved a partial success. The autoloader worked magnificently, and could manage an endless hail of rockets into the sky, but doing so demanded so much power that only by shutting down the ship's engines could the autoloader perform at full capacity. Talon shipwrights continue to experiment with the design today in hopes of correcting that flaw, but the Order's need for the ship's capabilities is pressing enough that the ship has entered service with the loader problem unsolved.
Christened the Metatron-class Gunboat, the ship performs much like its forebear and fulfils the same function in the Talon navy. At the captain's discretion, the Metatron can shut down its engines and divert all steam to the autoloader, allowing the ship to fill the skies with a relentless barrage of rockets.