|Unit Type||Capital Ship|
Appears as enemy ship
|Heroic Upgrade||Longinus Cannon|
"Because I do it with a little ship only, I am called a thief. You, doing it with a great navy, are called an Emperor."
- - According to legend, the answer a pirate gave to Alexander the Great on why he dared terrorize the seas.
- Trigun threat: The Terramerene is a converted merchant vessel, and ranks as the heaviest ship among the Syndicate's naval forces. It is armed with a triple railgun battery, allowing it to unleash destruction on foes of the Syndicate.
- One of them: As a converted merchant vessel, the Terramerene can conceal its triple railgun battery and disguise itself as an enemy ship, allowing it to cruise past enemy patrols unnoticed.
- Merchant vessel, nonetheless: Though it may be a formidable bombardment vessel, capable of unleashing untold destruction, the Longinus is completely helpless against aircraft and submarines. Therefore, a competent Syndicate commander will make sure to escort the Terramerene with other ships.
- Like a Thunderbolt: Those captains most loyal to the Syndicate have been granted the chance to use the still experimental Longinus Cannon in battle, a weapon which launches projectiles high into the atmosphere before letting them fall back to the surface. The resulting impact is incredibly destructive, transferring a massive amount of kinetic energy to the target.
The Syndicate armada is not a fully staffed navy. They do not have countless reserves of available combat ships, and they cannot win a fair fight with the enemy if the need arose. What they do have is a profitable business practice. The conditions in the Armada are horrible, the bosses are all unreasonable, and the food is nightmarishly prepared, but despite all the ills of the career, the men and women aboard these makeshift warships cannot afford to lose their lives for the sake of a petty war. Armed merchantman is a term that has come to mean a merchant ship equipped with guns, usually for defensive purposes, either by design or after the fact. In the days of sail, piracy and privateers, many merchant ships would be routinely armed, especially those engaging in long distance and high value trade. In more modern times, auxiliary cruisers were used offensively to disrupt trade during both the First and Second World Wars.
Terramerene Gunboats are retrofitted merchant vessels that were once used as oil tankers, but was refitted for naval duty when it was found that the highly efficient dual hull was resilient to naval harassment. To this end the corporation has begun the modification of its simple and uniform surfaces to attach a real time integrated display over the exterior. The bridge and much of the necessary control systems have been moved to the centre of the ship where they are best protected and much of the storage space has been filled with the latest in military hardware. A pair of concealable rail gun turrets can deploy at a moment’s notice and bombard targets from behind defensive lines or from the safety of Syndicate Marinas.
Despite the obvious strengths of railgun-based weaponry - their range and penetrating power, to name but a few examples, railguns don't actually pack enough of a punch to fell individual targets efficiently - all that energy in the railgun needle goes into penetration instead of impact. Unless a railgun round could shoot through multiple targets, all that extra energy was wasted.
Project Longinus was conceived to attempt to rectify this problem, gathering some of the Syndicate's best brains in the field of railgun weaponry. In order to change the railgun projectile's emphasis on penetration to blunt impact force, the shape of the projectile needed to be changed from a needle to a much blunter, wider projectile. And a blunter and wider projectile translated to a less aerodynamic and thus slower projectile. Which meant more energy needed to accelerate it to higher velocities. But even with all that power, it sometimes still took multiple rounds to fully demolish a tank - and the recoil from firing those rounds more often than none damaged the railgun mounting. A recoil management system powerful enough to mitigate the effects would also be too expensive. Simply put, it was inefficient.
Then a new member joined the Longinus team - one who had previously been working on a mass driver. The answer to Project Longinus's dilemma was so simple - fire the projectile high up into the atmosphere with a railgun, then let it fall back to the surface and use gravitational force to slam itself into a target. This would ensure maximum damage since it was hitting the usually weaker top part of the target instead of the front or side, and would transfer a significantly larger proportion of its kinetic energy to the target - plus, the railgun could be fired directly upwards while recoiling downwards, allowing the chassis to absorb the recoil energy and transfer it to the ground. The Longinus team immediately went back to work. One month later, Project Longinus produced the first Atmospheric Reentry Blunt Impact Shell (A.R.B.I.S).
The ARBIS would be launched at an extremely high inclination from a specially modified railgun with a much wider bore than normal. After being fired high up into the atmosphere, the round would begin to fall back to the surface, its position kept tracked of by the targeting computer of its launch unit. The ARBIS would make course corrections with its thrusters on the way down, using trajectory calculations relayed from the targeting computer. Given the speed and power of the Syndicate's computers, the ARBIS would possess incredible accuracy, in addition to an impressive range.
Now the problem was with finding a chassis that could support the Longinus Cannon. Land based chassis couldn't do that - all attempts to do so ended up with the chassis in question recoiled into the ground. Also, no airframe could possibly withstand the heavy recoil. Hence, the decision was made to mount the Longinus Cannon on a ship, making use of buoyancy to mitigate the recoil. The Terramerene Gunboat was the prime candidate for the weapon. Only the most loyal Terramerene captains are allowed to mount the Longinus Cannon though, as the cannon is actually still experimental. Plus, lesser captains have been known to overturn Terramerenes while firing the Longinus Cannon due to lack of experience in handling the weapon's recoil.