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The Broken Commonwealth (Chapter Cover Art)

Chapter 25 - The Broken Commonwealth[]

Snark orbit, Sithers-Deen Repair Yard
Kowloon Star System
Lyran Commonwealth

Eva Von Jankmon-Deen02  floated over the haphazard assembly frame looking at 'her baby'.  The daughter of a daughter of a woman who emigrated to the Rocks in despair after the Abjuration of nearly a Galaxy of Jade Falcon troops. In her grandmother's time, she would have been chosen for the Scientist Caste.  As it was, she grew up among people for whom ships literally were the only lifeline and planets were something to be avoided as dangerous uncontrolled environments. Filled with toxins and hazards, exposed to radiation, and cultivators of disease and conflict.

Not that there was no conflict among Rockjacks and their cousins. Just that it wasn't the same sort of insanity that infested the populations of planets.

For all that, she was a patriot in her own mind.  Kowloon was her HOME after all. The System, not the planet, but even so, Sharon Ngo was her Duchess, and Kowloon's heritage was as close to her heart, as her mother's Von Jankmon heritage.

The ship under construction was not supposed to be possible, much less exist.  The core was forged in a slightly different braiding pattern, using a slightly altered alloy structure.  Testing (and by testing we mean 'generations of improvising to keep old ships running in the belts') broke down to a series of equations that differed from those handed down by Terra to her colonists.

The braiding would allow standard 30 light year jumps, and the mass and volume were little different from that of a 'compact' jump core.  The only difference was that this one was extruded and forged slightly differently. By using a slightly different alloy and braiding structure. It would be more resistant to temperature fluctuation, easier to cool, and require less refrigerated gas to keep it operating. It would be right around 2 percent more efficient to charge.  Theoretically with a longer life between refits, and a faster uptake from LF battery capacitors.

Shortage drives innovation.  The core was laid down first, and it was bigger than the cores of the mothball cutters from the plague  era quarantine fleet.  Weapons would be difficult to obtain without being noticed.  Her Grace had quietly agreed to fund the project, as a preparation for oncoming chaos, but it would take at least two more years to finish...

LCS Duchess Elizabeth Ngo
Sampan IV-Class Heavy Cutter
Gibbs Star System, Lyran Commonwealth
Late 3146

The Sampan IV prototype wasn't anything like its antecedents, except in the name and origin.  Nominally, she displaced several times the volume of hydrogen that the Sampan II or Sampan III cutters displaced, and in terms of mass. She was closer to a destroyer than she had any right to be.

The main battery consisted of a multi-cell VLS missile array along the port and starboard hull sides, with the secondary batteries being essentially light naval gauss rifles installed in ring-turrets, giving the ship 360 degree coverage from each end, for a total of eight of the big weapons, with point-defense cannons mounted in extensible boom turrets.

Landmark Class Destroyer (Under Thrust with Lyran Emblem)

Sampan IV-Class Heavy Cutter / Light Corvette

Using the ship's full battery of weapons, it could hammer with the power of a cruiser twice its mass, but only to one arc at a time.  The compromises dipped into the power distribution/cooling arrays, relying on 'single' heat sinks that were less efficient, but more compact, than Clan doubles.  A lot of the ship's systems mass was sunken into electronic warfare, communication, and extensive sensor systems to provide the targeting and coordination for this 'squadron leader' design to best serve in a flagship role, allowing the Coast Guards (and now the LCN) to conduct 'wall of battle' with inferior, smaller, less numerous designs...which is good, since production of modern warships has been stalled until 3046, and the LCN Fleet is essentially a collection of near-museum pieces supplemented by assault dropships and vain hopes.

The LCS Duchess Elizabeth Ngo wasn't just an innovation. She was a collection of innovations culled from abandoned concepts dating back centuries. All wrapped around a jump core designed to be compact and cheap.

Admiral Sharon Ngo didn't choose a Mjolnir or Fox class as her flag vessel, because those would be more useful on the front lines.  She chose the buggy prototype, because it wasn't as formidable as the rest of the capital grade vessels. Also because she understood what it was for in a way that a regular LCN officer would not.

"Emergence waves detected." reported RTO

She leaned back sucking electrolyte water from a spigot in her helmet, "Here it comes ladies and gentlemen."

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