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"Ophan"-class Naval Gun Platform
IconTalon
Faction TalonLogoThumb Order of the Talon
Unit Type Ship
Designation Anti Ground/Anti Air
Prerequisites Temple
Secondary Ability Etheric Storm
Draws in enemy fire, reduces damage taken
Cost Unknown
Production Time Unknown
Veterancy Upgrade(s) • Flamethrower (vet)
• Anti-air rocket battery (elt)
• Speed increase in normal mode, further armour increase during Etheric Storm (her)
Dev. Status Conceptual
Country of Origin  Maltathumb Malta Redoubt
Forged by  Talon Shipwrights
Key Features  » Talon Steel plating (enough to construct a small building)
 » Talon Steel mirror array
 » Babbage Difference Core
 » 4x Clockwork Ballista (on rotating mounts)
 » Etheric Storm Generator

"*-- ** - **** ** *-* --- -* **** * *- *-* - *- -* -** ** *-* --- -* **-* ** *** -"

- Platform 001

Tactical Analysis Edit

  • Clad in Steel: Armoured in thick plates of Talon Steel, the Ophan Gun Platform is a squat, heavily armoured naval vessel, capable of resisting dozens of hits from enemy weaponry while its own weapons retaliate against foes.
  • Clockwork Weapons: Directed by the difference engines that control the ship, the Ophan possesses an array of weapons effective against both ground and air. Polished mirrors focus sunlight into concentrated, destructive beams of light, while the Ophan's clockwork ballistas can send a volley of projectiles through the fuselages of passing aircraft.
  • Magnetic Storm: Should the situation call for it, Ophans can be given an order to activate their Etheric Storm generators--powerful devices that draw enemy fire towards the Ophan and reduce the impact of the enemy weapon simultaneously, allowing the Ophan to draw fire away from more vulnerable ships.

Background Edit

Historically, most nations have experienced two problems assembling a powerful navy. One, the immense amount of resources it takes to construct and supply a warship relative to a land vehicle or infantry brigade. Two, ships demand significant manpower for not always significant results. The Order of the Talon is not immune to these factors, and so the Order has never had any significant naval presence until the last few decades. Galleys for transportation, certainly, but until recently the Order never had any great need for a naval arm. It is only recently that this has begun to change, thanks in no small part to new members of the Order who survived the recent world wars and saw that the Talon needed to adapt. Of the two problems with a navy, it was manpower that was the most pressing issue: material resources have never been a problem for the Talon, but manpower has, and most of its naval-inclined personnel had already begun training for service aboard the new patrol craft and battleships of the Order. And still, the Talon navy, although potent in its own right, lacked the mass to pose a viable threat to the armada of the Mediterranean Syndicate, much less the fleets of any other world power it might become necessary to engage.

The solution came from Masoko Okamura, a recently converted shipwright who brought with her years of experience at modern ship design. A brilliant naval architect already, she proposed the development of a new gunboat in the purest sense of the word: wasting no materials or space on a powerful engine, heavy armour, or even a crew, the design she drew was little more than a small steam engine strapped to a powerful cannon and shaped around a marginally ocean-worthy hull. Furthermore, the gun platform would use components as close to off-the-shelf as Talon traditions would allow, taking a Difference engine from a drone and a 250mm steam cannon from a Cataphract. The proposed design was slow. It was lightly armoured. And it offered potent naval fire support without demanding Talon lives.

Although suitable for war even from its initial concept, the gunboat saw further development before construction was authorised. No shipwright in the Order had ever attempted to mount such a large gun on such a small hull, and the trials were not only exceedingly entertaining for the less uptight shipwrights of the Order, but also clearly demonstrated that only with proper stabilization could the gun fire and not capsize. Worse, with the gun deployed, the ship was so violently unstable in anything but the calmest waters that actual sea trials were out of the question. However, the results were promising and the concept intriguing, so the shipwrights began further modifying the design in hopes of solving its problems.

To Okamura's surprise, the Council's orders were simple: make it bigger. And to the misfortune of anyone opposing the Talon, she succeeded admirably. The second generation gun platform bears very little resemblance to the first, being significantly larger and focused around a complex array of heavily polished Talon Steel mirrors. Used for a very different reason than normal here, the Ophan's primary weapon uses these mirrors and a series of focusing lenses to project a devastating ray of concentrated sunlight that can bore through the thickest of armor and melt lighter vehicles into puddles. Supplementing this awesome solar weapon are four clockwork ballistas mounted around the edges of the roughly circular weapon platform, guided by additional difference engines and each capable of rapidly launching spears to impale infantry or aircraft with remarkable efficiency.

Buried under layers of Talon Steel, the powerful generator keeping the gun platform running also has one final use on the battlefield. When carefully discharged along the outer ring of the platform, St. Elmo's Fire will dance across nearby vehicles and structures, and ball lightning will race through the skies. Known to the Order as an Etheric Storm, this puzzling phenomenon does have a practical use: fast-moving objects, such as bullets, and directed energy beams moving through the storm go astray, seemingly seeking out the eye of the electrical maelstrom even as the energies of the storm wreak havoc on the weapon itself and reduce the impact of what would otherwise be powerful weapons to mere annoyances.

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