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Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Per Ardua Ad Astra Updates Thread
« on: February 17, 2021, 12:20:09 PM »
In 853 ab urbe condita (100 AD) a Roman trading mission to the Azores was blown hundreds of miles off course by a storm. The battered ships sighted a large, previously uncharted island and their crews made landfall in order to make much needed repairs. Along the coast, as they searched for suitable timber, they discovered a partially-flooded ruined city. Most of the buildings were constructed from a strange metallic substance and contained endless mysterious objects and devices. The leader of the trading expedition was Quintus Calidius Severus, a man of many parts; an ex-soldier as well as a merchant, scientist and engineer. Recognizing the potential for new knowledge, both for himself and the Empire, he ordered the cargo in his ships to be unloaded and replaced with artifacts from the ruined city, in particular as many undamaged books as could be found in those libraries still above the water. Even as his men toiled to load the new cargo, the island was shaken by several earthquakes and the water level rose steadily. Severus realised the island was slowly sliding beneath the sea and within a few weeks would be lost forever. Despite the growing concern of his crews that remaining in the alien city would lead to their deaths, he urged them onward until every ship was filled to overflowing.

Unsure of their location, Severus navigated due east until he reached the coast of Mauretania and then headed north until his ships passed through the Columnae Herculis into Mare Nostrum. Blessed by clement weather and a lack of pirates, his epic voyage ended safely at his estates near Neapolis, south of Roma. As soon as the precious cargo was unloaded, he organized a second expedition to return to the island. Despite months at sea, searching vast swathes of the Oceanus Atlanticus, he could find no sign that it ever existed. After returning home, he spent the next few years dedicating his considerable fortune and influence toward understanding the mystifying artifacts. He invited fellow scholars and engineers from across the Empire to join him in his quest and with glacial slowness they began to make progress.

Many of the devices were electronic in nature. Severus could have been doomed to failure as the Empire of 853 AUC had not even developed steam power. Fortune smiled on these early scientific pioneers both because many of the devices had built-in power sources and because a computer was eventually activated by accident. Realizing the importance of their discovery, Severus and his colleagues were able to access more computers, determine their function and gradually begin to understand the language and the computer interface. Sometimes months would pass without any advance in their knowledge but slowly and surely their expertise grew. The more they learned, the more the process of learning accelerated. Eventually, they translated books containing a partial history of the island city. Founded thousands of years before the Roman Empire, the city was the home of an ancient and advanced civilization. Guided by a scientific philosophy and a policy of isolating themselves from the barbaric cultures of the mainland, they developed many marvels of science and engineering. Eventually, they discovered certain properties of rare minerals, found deep below the surface of Terra, which allowed them access to the heavens. When a devastating earthquake laid waste to their island home, they departed for the stars.

Fifteen years after his return from the island, Severus demonstrated a working firearm for Emperor Trajan. The Emperor was so impressed that he granted Severus the title of Praetor, with responsibility for introducing the new knowledge across the Empire and equipping the Legions. With effectively unlimited funds, Praetor Quintus Calidius Severus formed a scientific and engineering bureaucracy that would outlive him and stand the test of time, guiding not just Emperor Trajan but Emperors Hadrian, Antoninus Pius and Marcus Aurelius. Roman Legions armed with rifles and machine guns slaughtered their enemies and the Empire quickly grew in size and power. The first aircraft appeared in 890 AUC, along with armoured vehicles, and the rate of expansion grew.  By 915 AUC, the Germanic tribes responsible for the Varian disaster, the Sarmatian tribes, the Parthian Empire, Arabia and the Kushan Empire had all been absorbed into the Roman Empire. In 925 AUC the Romans attacked the Han dynasty of China using mobile rocket artillery and jet aircraft, aided by satellite reconnaissance. The first moon landing took place in 940 AUC.

By 973 AUC, one hundred and twenty years after Praetor Quintus Calidius Severus made his now legendary discovery, the Empire's industrial and scientific strength had grown to match the capabilities of the ancient island realm. The whole world was under the rule of Emperor Titus Aurelius Antoninus, the eldest son of Marcus Aurelius. Titus Aurelius may not even have survived without the discoveries of Praetor Severus as he fell ill as a young child and was only saved due to the advances in medical knowledge. The new Emperor was fascinated by science and technology and determined to spread Roman dominion to the stars. Work began on developing technology for space exploration, constructing orbital shipyards and building a naval force. By 1000 AUC, at the dawn of a new millennium for the Empire, the first two Legio Astra were ready. At this point, the population of Terra was estimated at one billion.

Note: This history uses a mix of modern and ancient terms to convey the flavour of events, without requiring a knowledge of historical Latin from the reader

Roman Military Organization
The Empire was forged by its elite ground forces, with support provided by naval forces where necessary. That philosophy followed the Empire into space with the creation of the Legio Astra, or Star Legion, a combined arms formation based around ground forces, with naval forces providing transport and protection during transit.

Roman Rank Structure
Consul
Magister Militum
Praetor
Legatus Legionis
Tribunus Militum
Primus
Centurion

A Legio Astra is led by a Legatus Legionis, who has overall command of the Legion’s ground and naval forces. The ground element is commanded by a Tribunus Militum with each Cohort led by a Primus. The latter rank was an evolution of the older Primus Pilus, or First Spear, who was the senior Centurion in an entire Legion. During the early history of the Empire, each Century of eighty Legionaries was commanded by a Centurion. Each Cohort of six Centuries was commanded by the senior Centurion in each Cohort, known as a Primus Pilus for the first Cohort and Pilus Prior for the other nine Cohorts. With the need to coordinate forces over a much larger battlespace, the senior Centurions were elevated to a formal rank, which eventually became the modern-day Primus. Smaller ground formations, sometimes still known as Centuries despite the variety in size, are usually commanded by Centurions.

Legio Astra: Ground Elements
1x Legio Astra HQ Cohort
2x Heavy Armour Cohort
4x Heavy Infantry Cohort
1x Artillery Cohort
2x Planetary Defence Cohort
6x Praetorian Assault Century
4x Anti-Armour Century
4x Auxilia Light Infantry
1x Auxilia Construction
1x Auxilia Geosurvey
1x Auxilia Xenoarchaeology

Heavy Armour Cohort (9,848 tons)
72x Trajan Heavy Grav Tank
24x Romulus Medium Grav Tank
1x Remus Command Grav Tank
12x Logistics Vehicle

Heavy Infantry Cohort (9,906 tons)
1200x Legionary (equipped with powered armour and personal weapons)
120x Aeneas Light Grav Tank
6x Ballista Heavy Anti-Tank Weapon
2x Signifier FFD
1x Cohort HQ
8x Logistics Vehicle

Legio Astra HQ Cohort
1x Legio Astra HQ (150k tons HQ)
150x Logistics Vehicle

Artillery Cohort (9,906 tons)
180x Scorpio Medium Howitzer
8x Logistics Vehicle
1x Cohort HQ

Planetary Defence Cohort (4,184 tons)
6x Onager 20cm Ultraviolet Laser
6x Hydra Planetary Defence Weapon
1x Cohort HQ

Anti-Armour Century (2433 tons)
36x Ballista Heavy Anti-Tank Weapon
4x Logistics Vehicle
1x Century HQ

Praetorian Assault Force (500 tons)
40x Praetorian (heavy powered armour, crew-served anti-personnel weapon, boarding capable)
2x Praetorian HQ

Auxilia – Light Infantry (4,949 tons)
960x Auxilia Light Infantry (equipped with light armour and personal weapons)
1x Auxilia HQ
2x Logistics Vehicle

Auxilia – Construction (9,590 tons)
30x Construction Vehicle
1x Cohort HQ

Auxilia – Geosurvey (4,385 tons)
20x Geosurvey Vehicle
1x Auxilia HQ

Auxilia – Xenoarchaeology (4,385 tons)
20x Xenoarchaeology Vehicle
1x Auxilia HQ

The naval elements of a Legio Astra are intended to identify potential targets for ground assault or boarding action, transport the ground elements of the Legio Astra to those targets, protect the ground forces during transit and provide support during the assault. A secondary task is to provide protection for any merchant shipping supporting the operations of the Legio Astra. The naval forces follow the same rank structure as the ground element, with a Tribunus Militum in command of the Legio Astra’s heavy cruiser. The assault ship, destroyers, escorts and geological survey ships are each commanded by a Primus, with Centurions commanding the troop ships, assault transports and replenishment vessels. The Auxilia Logisticae is a separate organization, which provides general logistical support for the Empire, rather than a specific Legio.

In the years leading up to the new millennium, the Empire’s scientists dedicated more research effort to ground forces than naval forces, so as the Empire took its first steps beyond near-Terra space there was some concern among naval officers regarding the numbers and capabilities of their warships. Debate had raged for many years regarding the possibility of alien life. Confronted with the evidence that the inhabitants of the lost island, now known as Atlantis, had departed into space, it seemed reasonable to conclude that life on other worlds might have achieved the same. However, the Consul in command of the Empire’s military forces, Quintus Novius Varus, believed that any alien life would most likely be confined to planetary surfaces and therefore would be crushed by the heavy armour and infantry of the Legio Astra. Consequently, the majority of the investment in naval forces was on troop transports, rather than warships capable of ship-to ship combat. If the assumptions regarding the potential for encountering alien warships proved to be incorrect, it was unlikely the Empire would prevail in deep space against any serious opponent.

Even with the focus on ground forces, there were some positives for naval development. Investment in weapon technology for ground forces had the side-benefit of providing ceramic composite armour and the Decius-Maximus 20cm Ultraviolet Laser for Roman warships, with the latter used to arm the Marcus Aurelius class heavy cruiser and the Aquila class destroyer. Active defences were more problematic. There was little interest in either missile warfare or fast-tracking turreted weapons due to the lack of application in ground combat. Given those limitations, the best that the Empire’s naval architects could produce was the Remus Kinetics RK-10 Railgun; a point-blank weapon intended for missile defence that used volume of fire to overcome its limited tracking speed. The Lancea class Escort mounted twelve RK-10s and represented the only line of defence against hostile missiles.

Another consequence of the imbalance in research investment was the lack of progress in engine capabilities. Beyond the need to transport the ground forces of the Empire at a reasonable speed, there had been little historical appetite for propulsion research, which meant the best available technology was nuclear pulse. Warship design therefore used boosted engines that provided twenty-five percent more power than a standard engine but used seventy-five percent more fuel. For that reason, Imperial warship were relatively short-ranged and would rely on the Aeternitas class replenishment ships for any voyage of significant length.

In recent years, naval officers had argued that high speed might be required for troop transports to approach planets with hostile surface-to-orbit weapons, to avoid high casualties before landing, or to react quickly to defend future colonies that came under alien attack. That approach seemed to be bearing fruit with the start of research into better reactors, the prerequisite for improved nuclear pulse engines. The Emperor, Titus Aurelius Antoninus, had also recently instructed his senior military commanders to begin the exploration of interstellar space, in order to locate any alien races that might one day threaten Terra, which meant research into jump point theory was now a priority. Ultimately, whatever was encountered in the depths of space would drive the Empire’s future research strategy. The proponents of a naval-first approach hoped that the Empire would be given sufficient time to remedy the deficiencies in its combat forces if their concerns about alien warships proved to be correct.

Naval Elements per Legio Astra (Ship names are for Legio I followed by Legio II)
1x Marcus Aurelius class Heavy Cruiser: Marcus Aurelius, Trajan
1x Minerva class Assault Ship: Minerva, Aegis
3x Aquila class Destroyer: Aquila, Delphinus, Draco, Cygnus, Leonis, Monoceros
3x Lancea class Escort: Javelin, Lancea, Verutum, Hasta, Pilum, Spiculum
2x Plato class Geological Survey Vessel: Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Xenophon
6x Mars class Troop Transport
4x Juno class Troop Transport
2x Aeternitas class Replenishment Ship
6x Corvus class Assault Transport

Auxilia Logisticae
5x Ceres class Freighter (1x Cargo Hold)
3x Vesta class Colony Ship (100,000 capacity)
4x Hercules class Tug (63,000 tons)
5x Terra class Terraforming Station (3x Terraforming Module)
5x Saturn class Fuel Harvester Station (25x Harvester Module)

Marcus Aurelius class Heavy Cruiser      16,000 tons       496 Crew       2,347.1 BP       TCS 320    TH 1,200    EM 0
3750 km/s      Armour 9-56       Shields 0-0       HTK 97      Sensors 12/12/0/0      DCR 10      PPV 72
Maint Life 2.10 Years     MSP 962    AFR 195%    IFR 2.7%    1YR 291    5YR 4,364    Max Repair 300 MSP
Tribunus Militum    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Mercury-600B Nuclear Pulse Engine (2)    Power 1200    Fuel Use 57.05%    Signature 600    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 759,000 Litres    Range 15 billion km (46 days at full power)

Decius-Maximus 20cm Ultraviolet Laser (12)    Range 192,000km     TS: 3,750 km/s     Power 10-3.5    ROF 15       
Bellator-192B Laser Fire Control (3)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 3,750 km/s
R-14 Pebble Bed Reactor (3)     Total Power Output 42.6    Exp 5%

Marius-60 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 9240     Range 60.7m km    Resolution 110
TH-12 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 12     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  27.4m km
EM-12 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 12     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  27.4m km

Aquila class Destroyer      8,000 tons       252 Crew       1,153.3 BP       TCS 160    TH 600    EM 0
3750 km/s      Armour 6-35       Shields 0-0       HTK 54      Sensors 6/6/0/0      DCR 4      PPV 36
Maint Life 2.19 Years     MSP 360    AFR 128%    IFR 1.8%    1YR 101    5YR 1,512    Max Repair 150.00 MSP
Primus    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Mercury-300B Nuclear Pulse Engine (2)    Power 600.0    Fuel Use 80.69%    Signature 300.00    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 526,000 Litres    Range 14.7 billion km (45 days at full power)

Decius-Maximus 20cm Ultraviolet Laser (6)    Range 192,000km     TS: 3,750 km/s     Power 10-3.5    ROF 15       
Bellator-192B Laser Fire Control (2)     Max Range: 192,000 km   TS: 3,750 km/s
R-10 Pebble Bed Reactor (2)     Total Power Output 21.6    Exp 5%

Marius-40 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 4320     Range 40.9m km    Resolution 120
EM-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
TH-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Lancea class Escort      8,000 tons       245 Crew       960.2 BP       TCS 160    TH 600    EM 0
3750 km/s      Armour 6-35       Shields 0-0       HTK 47      Sensors 6/1/0/0      DCR 4      PPV 36
Maint Life 2.14 Years     MSP 300    AFR 128%    IFR 1.8%    1YR 88    5YR 1,314    Max Repair 150.00 MSP
Primus    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Mercury-300B Nuclear Pulse Engine (2)    Power 600.0    Fuel Use 80.69%    Signature 300.00    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 564,000 Litres    Range 15.7 billion km (48 days at full power)

Remus Kinetics RK-10 Railgun (12x4)    Range 10,000km     TS: 3,750 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 10,000 km    ROF 5       
Bellator-48B Railgun Fire Control (4)     Max Range: 48,000 km   TS: 3,750 km/s
R-12 Pebble Bed Reactor (3)     Total Power Output 36.8    Exp 5%

Marius-8M Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 36     Range 8.3m km    MCR 746.3k km    Resolution 1
EM-1 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 1.2     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  8.7m km
TH-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Minerva class Assault Ship      16,000 tons       290 Crew       1,805.9 BP       TCS 320    TH 1,200    EM 0
3750 km/s      Armour 4-56       Shields 0-0       HTK 74      Sensors 6/0/0/0      DCR 11      PPV 0
Maint Life 1.78 Years     MSP 776    AFR 186%    IFR 2.6%    1YR 304    5YR 4,556    Max Repair 300 MSP
Hangar Deck Capacity 6,000 tons     
Primus    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Flight Crew Berths 120    Morale Check Required   

Mercury-600B Nuclear Pulse Engine (2)    Power 1200    Fuel Use 57.05%    Signature 600    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 828,000 Litres    Range 16.3 billion km (50 days at full power)

Marius-40 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 4320     Range 40.9m km    Resolution 120
TH-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Mars class Troop Transport      59,903 tons       466 Crew       2,209.5 BP       TCS 1,198    TH 2,400    EM 0
2003 km/s      Armour 4-136       Shields 0-0       HTK 142      Sensors 6/6/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 23    Max Repair 200 MSP
Troop Capacity 20,000 tons     Drop Capable    Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 3   
Centurion    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   

C240 Commercial Nuclear Pulse Engine (10)    Power 2400    Fuel Use 5.77%    Signature 240    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 750,000 Litres    Range 39 billion km (225 days at full power)

Marius-24 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 1440     Range 23.6m km    Resolution 120
EM-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
TH-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Juno class Troop Transport      12,151 tons       95 Crew       334.7 BP       TCS 243    TH 480    EM 0
1975 km/s      Armour 1-47       Shields 0-0       HTK 32      Sensors 1/1/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 17    Max Repair 80 MSP
Troop Capacity 5,000 tons     Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 1   
Centurion    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   

C240 Commercial Nuclear Pulse Engine (2)    Power 480    Fuel Use 5.77%    Signature 240    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 150,000 Litres    Range 38.5 billion km (225 days at full power)

Marius-7 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 144     Range 7.5m km    Resolution 120
EM-1 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 1.2     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  8.7m km
TH-1 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 1.2     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  8.7m km

Aeternitas class Replenishment Ship      17,875 tons       152 Crew       556.9 BP       TCS 357    TH 720    EM 0
2014 km/s      Armour 1-60       Shields 0-0       HTK 59      Sensors 6/6/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 6,019    Max Repair 60 MSP
Cargo Shuttle Multiplier 2   
Centurion    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   

C240 Commercial Nuclear Pulse Engine (3)    Power 720    Fuel Use 5.77%    Signature 240    Explosion 5%
Fuel Capacity 6,000,000 Litres    Range 1,046.5 billion km (6014 days at full power)
Refuelling Capability: 50,000 litres per hour     Complete Refuel 120 hours

Marius-24 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 1440     Range 23.6m km    Resolution 120
EM-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
TH-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Plato class Geological Survey Vessel      4,000 tons       87 Crew       585.5 BP       TCS 80    TH 180    EM 0
2250 km/s      Armour 1-22       Shields 0-0       HTK 25      Sensors 6/6/0/3      DCR 4      PPV 0
Maint Life 6.40 Years     MSP 366    AFR 32%    IFR 0.4%    1YR 15    5YR 231    Max Repair 100 MSP
Primus    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 60 months    Morale Check Required   

Mercury-180E Nuclear Pulse Engine (1)    Power 180.0    Fuel Use 22.50%    Signature 180.00    Explosion 7%
Fuel Capacity 792,000 Litres    Range 158.4 billion km (814 days at full power)

Marius-40 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 4320     Range 40.9m km    Resolution 120
TH-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
EM-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
Geological Survey Sensors (3)   3 Survey Points Per Hour

Corvus class Assault Transport      1,000 tons       23 Crew       91.7 BP       TCS 20    TH 122    EM 0
6082 km/s      Armour 1-8       Shields 0-0       HTK 4      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 0
Maint Life 0 Years     MSP 0    AFR 199%    IFR 2.8%    1YR 51    5YR 767    Max Repair 60.8 MSP
Troop Capacity 500 tons     Boarding Capable   
Centurion    Control Rating 1   
Intended Deployment Time: 0.3 days    Morale Check Required   

Mercury-120MB Nuclear Pulse Engine (1)    Power 121.6    Fuel Use 519.11%    Signature 121.6    Explosion 20%
Fuel Capacity 14,000 Litres    Range 0.49 billion km (22 hours at full power)
Marius-7 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 144     Range 7.5m km    Resolution 120

Game Setup
1 Player Race with one billion population
5 NPRs between 40 and 80 light years
All spoilers active except Swarm.









Offline Steve Walmsley (OP)

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Re: Per Ardua Ad Astra Updates Thread
« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2021, 05:18:39 AM »
The early priorities for the Empire were a geological survey of Sol, the development of jump drives, creation of additional Legio Astra and improvements in engine technology. The geological survey was generally disappointing, with two exceptions; the survey vessel Socrates discovered thirty-one million tons of accessibility 1.0 Sorium in the atmosphere of Uranus, which provided the Empire with a long-term fuel source, while her sister ship Plato discovered the remnants of an alien outpost on Mars, along with a large ancient construct. A survey and subsequent excavation of the ruins revealed a dozen recoverable mines and factories, along with several million litres of fuel and a ground force construction complex. The ancient construct was a facility dedicated to biological research that would almost double the effectiveness of biological research on the planet. A colony was established on Mars for this purpose.

Research into Jump point theory was completed in October 1000 AUC, leading to a number of subsequent projects to develop jump drives and gravitational survey sensors. The Empire’s shipwrights planned to design and build a destroyer-sized, jump-capable gravitational survey vessel, but that would require several years to develop the required components. In the short-term, a small 500-ton survey craft was designed that could be built in factories on the surface of Terra. The four units of the Siren class were slow and equipped with only a single gravitational sensor, but that was sufficient to complete the gravitational survey of Sol by the end of 1002 AUC, resulting in the discovery of four jump points. Two were relatively close to Terra, the first within fifty million kilometres of Sol and the second in the asteroid belt. A third was located on the orbit of Neptune and the fourth was a billion kilometres further out at the opposite side of the system.

Siren class Gravitational Survey Craft      500 tons       13 Crew       126.9 BP       TCS 10    TH 6    EM 0
576 km/s      Armour 1-5       Shields 0-0       HTK 4      Sensors 0/0/1/0      DCR 0      PPV 0
Maint Life 4.44 Years     MSP 39    AFR 8%    IFR 0.1%    1YR 3    5YR 48    Max Repair 100 MSP
Centurion    Control Rating 1   
Intended Deployment Time: 36 months    Morale Check Required   

Mercury-6E Nuclear Pulse Engine (1)    Power 5.8    Fuel Use 64.40%    Signature 5.76    Explosion 6%
Fuel Capacity 104,000 Litres    Range 58.1 billion km (1168 days at full power)
Gravitational Survey Sensors (1)   1 Survey Points Per Hour

Exploration of the jump points required jump-capable ships, or at least access to a jump drive at the jump point. As retooling shipyards and building new ships would take several years, two jump capable space station designs were created, the Terminus-M and Terminus-C, which were equipped with military and commercial jump drives respectively. The stations were built in Terra orbit using construction factories, then towed to the jump points by Hercules class tugs.

Terminus - M class Jump Tender Station      2,006 tons       80 Crew       206.7 BP       TCS 40    TH 0    EM 0
1 km/s    JR 3-50      No Armour       Shields 0-0     HTK 13      Sensors 6/6/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 64    Max Repair 128 MSP
Primus    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   

Magnus-Marcellus M-800 Military Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 8000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3
Marius-24 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 1440     Range 23.6m km    Resolution 120
EM-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
TH-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Terminus - C class Jump Tender Station      20,809 tons       97 Crew       281 BP       TCS 416    TH 0    EM 0
1 km/s    JR 2-25(C)      No Armour       Shields 0-0     HTK 15      Sensors 6/6/0/0      DCR 1      PPV 0
MSP 8    Max Repair 195.6 MSP
Primus    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months   

Magnus-Marcellus C-760 Commercial Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 76000 tons    Distance 25k km     Squadron Size 2
Marius-24 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 1440     Range 23.6m km    Resolution 120
EM-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
TH-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

Before the discovery of the Atlantean technology, Greek scientists and natural philosophers were dominant within the Empire’s academic community. That early dominance is reflected in the naming conventions used for the Empire’s survey ships. While the subsequent growth in scientific knowledge reduced the influence of the Greeks in overall terms, they still produced the most accomplished astronomers in the Empire. The early Greeks identified forty-eight constellations, although they were limited by the area of the night sky visible from the northern hemisphere. As Roman explorers, well protected by Roman Legions, ventured to the far corners of the world, a more complete map of the sky was established. The vast improvements in astronomical equipment simultaneously allowed the identification of many more stars. As a result, the list of constellations grew to the modern number of eighty-eight.

As a consequence of the Greek influence, the naming of most stars followed a hybrid Greco-Roman nomenclature; a Greek letter followed by genitive form of the parent constellation's Latin name. This resulted in names such as Alpha Centauri or Tau Ceti. A smaller number of stars were given historical names that did not follow this convention, either because it was a star that was prominent in the night sky and was named before the official nomenclature was introduced, or was notable in some other way, such as Proxima due to its status as the closest star to Sol. Other stars were subsequently renamed as a result of their significance in modern exploration. For example, the first jump point exploration led to a red dwarf star known as Psi Ursae Majoris, which was renamed as Caesar’s Star due to its historical significance.

Caesar’s Star, which lay beyond Sol’s second jump point, had nine planets, including one gas giant with four million tons of accessibility 1.0 Sorium and a second with two hundred million tons of accessibility 0.9 Sorium. The most interesting survey report was from the second planet, a Mars-sized terrestrial world with a thin nitrogen atmosphere, extensive ice sheets and a surface temperature of -125C. The planet had one point five million tons of accessibility 0.7 Duranium, plus larger and higher accessibility deposits of Neutronium and Corundium and minor deposits of three other minerals. The small settlement of New Pompeii was established, with the long-term intention of terraforming the planet and creating a mining colony.

Caesar’s Star II Survey Report
Duranium:   1,492,992   0.70
Neutronium:   2,458,624   0.80
Mercassium:   4,596,736   0.30
Vendarite:   692,224   0.10
Uridium:   200,704   0.10
Corundium:   4,596,736   0.90

The innermost jump point led to Beta Andromedae, a planetless red dwarf. Beyond jump point three was Proxima, which had four unremarkable planets and thirty-seven moons. The outermost jump point, five point five billion kilometres from Terra connected to Alpha Sagittarii, a small M4-V red dwarf with three planets. The only point of interest was a comet with a hundred thousand tons of accessibility 1.0 Duranium, plus several other minerals. With a diameter of eighty-two kilometres it had potential for orbital mining, once that technology was developed.

Alpha Sagittarii Comet #3 Survey Report
Duranium:   100,467   1.00
Tritanium:   133,798   1.00
Mercassium:   59,033   0.60
Vendarite:   46,344   0.70
Sorium:   18,593   0.60

The Empire was constrained in the early years of interstellar exploration by two factors; a lack of Duranium and an economic crisis. There were many demands on Duranium, including the construction of new ships for Legio Astra III and Legio Astra IV, the associated upgrading and retooling of shipyards and the production of maintenance supplies. There was even greater pressure on the economy with the expansion of the Legio Astra, construction of new installations and the effort to develop new technologies. Therefore, the priority for the Empire’s construction factories was to increase the number of mines and financial centres.

By October 1002 AUC, Legio Astra III was at full strength, with all ground forces trained and ships constructed. As Legio Astra I and II were assigned to explore beyond Caesars Star and Beta Andromedae respectively, Legio Astra III established the colony of Castra Neapolis on the second planet of Alpha Sagittarii to act as a forward base. The planet had ice sheets but no atmosphere or mineral resources, so the colony would serve primarily as a military outpost. With three Legio Astra in service and two more planned in the medium term, a naming convention based on their early exploration focus was introduced to give Legio a more definable identify.

Legio Astra I Augustus
Legio Astra II Andromedae
Legio Astra III Sagittarii

The first warship with improved nuclear pulse engines, a Lancea II class escort, was launched on March 17th 1004 AUC and assigned to the newly forming Legio Astra IV. The only differences between the new warship and the original Lancea were the Mercury-360B Nuclear Pulse Engine, which had a twenty percent boost compared to twenty-five percent for the older Mercury-300B, and upgraded fire controls to match the new speed of 4500 km/s. The existing ships would not be upgraded until Ion technology was available.

Lancea II class Escort      8,000 tons       241 Crew       1,029 BP       TCS 160    TH 720    EM 0
4500 km/s      Armour 6-35       Shields 0-0       HTK 47      Sensors 6/1/0/0      DCR 4      PPV 36
Maint Life 2.02 Years     MSP 321    AFR 128%    IFR 1.8%    1YR 104    5YR 1,566    Max Repair 180 MSP
Primus    Control Rating 2   BRG   AUX   
Intended Deployment Time: 12 months    Morale Check Required   

Mercury-360B Nuclear Pulse Engine (2)    Power 720    Fuel Use 72.86%    Signature 360    Explosion 12%
Fuel Capacity 582,000 Litres    Range 18 billion km (46 days at full power)

Remus Kinetics RK-10 Railgun (12x4)    Range 10,000km     TS: 4,500 km/s     Power 3-3     RM 10,000 km    ROF 5       
Bellator-48C Railgun Fire Control (4)     Max Range: 48,000 km   TS: 4,600 km/s     79 58 38 17 0 0 0 0 0 0
R-12 Pebble Bed Reactor (3)     Total Power Output 36.8    Exp 5%

Marius-8M Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 36     Range 8.3m km    MCR 746.3k km    Resolution 1
EM-1 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 1.2     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  8.7m km
TH-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km

The first two Hipparchus class jump-capable Gravitational Survey Vessels Hipparchus and Apollonius were also launched in March 1004 AUC and assigned to Legio Astra I Augustus. The Hipparchus class represented a substantial leap in capability compared to the older Plato class Geological Survey Vessels and the tiny Siren class survey craft. While their primary role was as a jump-capable gravitational survey ship, they had a single geological survey sensor for maximum flexibility. Some consideration was given to making the Hipparchus a balanced hybrid with equal capability in both geological and gravitational survey. However, with six Platos already in service the geological survey role was deemed a secondary priority.

Hipparchus class Gravitational Survey Vessel      8,000 tons      211 Crew      1,062.3 BP      TCS 160    TH 420    EM 0
2625 km/s    JR 3-50      Armour 1-35       Shields 0-0       HTK 51      Sensors 6/6/3/1      DCR 10      PPV 0
Maint Life 5.29 Years     MSP 830    AFR 51%    IFR 0.7%    1YR 50    5YR 743    Max Repair 157.5 MSP
Primus    Control Rating 1   BRG   
Intended Deployment Time: 48 months    Morale Check Required   
Magnus-Marcellus M-800 Military Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 8000 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 3

Mercury-420E Improved Nuclear Pulse Engine (1)    Power 420    Fuel Use 16.47%    Signature 420    Explosion 7%
Fuel Capacity 851,000 Litres    Range 116.3 billion km (512 days at full power)

Marius-40 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 4320     Range 40.9m km    Resolution 120
TH-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
EM-6 Passive Sensor (1)     Sensitivity 6     Detect Sig Strength 1000:  19.4m km
Gravitational Survey Sensors (3)   3 Survey Points Per Hour
Geological Survey Sensors (1)   1 Survey Points Per Hour

Hipparchus and Apollonius completed the survey of Caesar’s star that had been started by a pair of Siren class survey craft, before moving into the planetless Theta Ceti system. From there they split up to investigate two outward jump points, with Hipparchus following a chain of planetless systems starting with Alpha Leonis and Apollonius discovering Beta Antilae and Delta Lacertae before entering a jump point that led to the Proxima system, which lay beyond Sol’s outermost jump point. Delta Lacertae, a red dwarf with five planets, included a planet with a gravity and atmosphere almost identical to Earth’s. However, the temperature was -110C and the survey results were disappointing. As the planet was tide-locked, the colony cost was 0.84. The settlement of Colonia Brundisium was established when the system appeared to be an ideal forward location for a base. However, the subsequent link to Proxima and the lack of any outward jump points has reduced the importance of the colony. Proxima itself had two outward jump points, leading to the systems of Omega Ceti and Archimedes’ Star, which became the main focus of Legio Astra I Augustus.

Delta Lacertae III Survey Report
Duranium:   17,523,200   0.10
Corbomite:   61,465,600   0.10
Mercassium:   5,760,000   0.10
Vendarite:   46,240,000   0.10
Uridium:   25,600   0.10
Neutronium:   25,401,600   0.10

The second pair of Hipparchus class ships, Archimedes and Aristarchus, were launched on August 14th 1005 AUC and assigned to Legio Astra II Andromedae, which was exploring beyond Sol’s innermost jump point, starting with the planetless system of Beta Andromeda. A single outward jump point led to Alpha Normae, a planetless crossroad system with three outward jump points. By May 1007 AUC, nine further systems had been found in the three chains beyond Alpha Normae, one of which dead-ended after two systems. The main focus was on Epsilon Ursae Majoris, a newly discovered binary system with twelve planets, one of which was a super-terrestrial world 30,000 km in diameter with a thick nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere and small oceans. The surface was a tropical 30C and covered by forested rift valleys. Unfortunately, the gravity, pressure and oxygen content were all above human tolerance.

Research into Ion Engine technology was completed in January 1005 AUC, resulting in upgraded warship designs, plus a new Hipparchus II class survey ship. The design upgrades, which increased warship speed to 5625 km/s, also included new beam fire control technology but otherwise remained the same as the original designs. By this point, Legio Astra IV had its full order of battle, including improved nuclear pulse versions of warships. Therefore, the focus for the Imperial Shipyards was on refitting the warships of the first three Legio Astra.

The first pair of Hipparchus II class ships were named Pythagoras and Eratosthenes and assigned to Legio Astra III Sagittarii, focused on Alpha Sagittarii and the other systems beyond Sol’s third jump point. Alpha Sagittarii had two outward jump points, leading to Sirius and Sigma Cancri. The former was still being surveyed in May 1007 AUC. A geological survey of the latter revealed a dormant ancient construct on the first of six planets. The Auxilia Xenoarchaeology formation of Legio Astra III was transported to the planet to investigate and the small settlement of Colonia Antium was established. Sigma Cancri had a single outward jump point leading to the unremarkable trinary system of Beta Aquarii.

The Empire had two civilian shipping lines; Gaius Interplanetary and Flavius Container Services. Until 1006 AUC, both concentrated entirely on the Martian colony, increasing it to a population of eighteen million. A biological research station had been established on the surface, with three research facilities in operation. The first stabilised jump point connection, established between Sol and Caesar’s Star in January 1006, opened up New Pompeii to civilian trade, with Alpha Sagittarii and the Castra Neapolis colony following later in the year.



On May 6th 1007 AUC, the Plato class geological survey ship Xenophon, part of Legio Astra II Andromedae, was in the early stages of a survey of Epsilon Ursae Majoris. The system was five transits from Sol via Beta Andromedae, Alpha Normae, Mu Cephei and Xi Trianguli Australis. The jump point to the latter system was located just one hundred and eighty million kilometres from the orange K7-V primary, so Xenophon surveyed the fifth planet than headed sunward as the first four planets were all on the far side of the star. The Hipparchus class survey ship Archimedes and a Siren class survey craft were also in the system. As Xenophon moved inside the orbit of the innermost planet, twenty-five million kilometres from the star, she detected strong active sensor emissions from an alien ship close to Epsilon Ursae Majoris II, the super-terrestrial world with the thick nitrogen – oxygen atmosphere.

The alien was moving at 5225 km/s, slower than the latest Imperial designs but much faster than the majority of the current warships and more than twice as fast as Xenophon. Xenophon reversed course to move back to the jump point and hailed the alien ship, which set an intercept course. Thirty minutes after contact, Xenophon detected five inbound thermal contacts moving at 29,433 km. Moments later she was struck by missiles with strength-6 warheads. The survey ship survived the attack but suffered extensive internal damage, including the loss of her single engine. Twenty-five minutes later, a larger salvo of ten missiles arrived and the 4000-ton survey ship was blown to pieces. An alien ship picked up the survivors from their life pods.

Archimedes and the Siren class survey craft both abandoned the gravitational survey and headed for the jump point to Xi Trianguli Australis. Both arrived without interference and without detecting any alien ships. Archimedes travelled through Xi Trianguli Australis and Mu Cephei to Alpha Normae, where she could raise the alarm by relaying a message via a Terminus class jump station on the Beta Andromeda jump point. The commander of Legio Astra II Andromedae was Legatus Legionis Flavius Vesuvius Maximus, who had a character to match his name. His anger at the destruction of one of his ships would not find immediate release however. His superior, Consul Quintus Novius Varus, supreme commander of the Roman legions, forbade any immediate response until more information was available. In addition, the Legio’s three Aquila class destroyers were undergoing a refit and the three Lancea class escorts all had nuclear pulse engines and were therefore much slower than the alien warship. The cruiser Trajan and the assault ship Aegis had already been refitted.

Consul Varus accepted that his prior belief that any aliens would be confined to planetary surfaces was obviously incorrect and he did not intend to compound that error by sending out-of-date warships into an unknown situation. He also noted the forested rift valleys on the suspected alien planet, which would provide a significant advantage to the defenders when Legio Astra II Andromedae eventually landed on the surface. His infamous ancestor Publius Quinctilius Varus had lost three Legions in the forests of Germania and Varus was keen to avoid a repeat of that disaster.

The Legio Astra did not possess a dedicated scout ship design, especially one that could withstand missile attack or approach a defended world. Therefore Varus ordered his shipwrights to find a short-term alternative. The solution was the Veritas class Scout, a 500-ton jump-capable design equipped with box launchers for four newly-designed Speculator Reconnaissance Drones. The Veritas would be able to jump into Epsilon Ursae Majoris and launch drones at the inner planets, without exposing itself to attack. It could also be built quickly without the need to retool a shipyard.

Veritas class Scout      500 tons       6 Crew       52.1 BP       TCS 10    TH 25    EM 0
2502 km/s    JR 1-50      Armour 1-5       Shields 0-0       HTK 3      Sensors 0/0/0/0      DCR 0      PPV 3.6
Maint Life 2.95 Years     MSP 25    AFR 100%    IFR 1.4%    1YR 4    5YR 64    Max Repair 12.5 MSP
Magazine 24   
Centurion    Control Rating 1   
Intended Deployment Time: 6 months    Morale Check Required   

Magnus-Marcellus M-50S Military Jump Drive     Max Ship Size 500 tons    Distance 50k km     Squadron Size 1

Mercury-25 Ion Drive (1)    Power 25    Fuel Use 156.52%    Signature 25    Explosion 10%
Fuel Capacity 64,000 Litres    Range 14.7 billion km (68 days at full power)

Box Launcher (4)     Missile Size: 6    Hangar Reload 122 minutes    MF Reload 20 hours
Drone Guidance System (1)     Range 18.7m km    Resolution 100
Speculator Reconnaissance Drone (4)    Speed: 5,467 km/s    End: 5.2d     Range: 2,452.6m km    WH: 0    Size: 6    TH: 18/10/5

Marius-7 Active Search Sensor (1)     GPS 144     Range 7.5m km    Resolution 120


The first Veritas was completed on August 13th 1007 AUC and officially assigned to Legio Astra II Andromedae. The small scout, with its eleven man crew under the command of Centurion Servius Rufus Hilarius, immediately set out for Epsilon Ursae Majoris, arriving in the system in early September. The second planet was well within the range of the Speculator Reconnaissance Drone, so Centurion Hilarius ordered a launch from the scout’s position on the jump point. Six hours later the drone moved into active sensor range of the planet and detected four ships in orbit; an 18,371-ton Conqueror, a 9,176-ton Enforcer, a 9,176-ton Vindicator and a 9,155-ton Dictator. The latter ship was the one detected by Xenophon before she was attacked. A strength-1 detonation destroyed the drone one point eight million kilometres from the planet. The scout slipped out of the system and headed homeward to report.

Even though the alien force was relatively small, there was no way to know if that was the entire alien fleet, or a scouting squadron for a much larger Empire. Consul Varus ordered Legatus Legionis Maximus to wait for his ships to be refitted to the latest technology and then mount a reconnaissance in force into Epsilon Ursae Majoris.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2021, 07:24:26 AM by Steve Walmsley »