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Azantuus Mark 2 - U.T.M. Tactical Vessel . The Mark 1 never got past the prototype. On the Mark 1 shake down cruise, several design flaws and glaring weaknesses became apparent to the United Terran Military (U.T.M.) crew of the ship, Azantuus. Named for an old mythological deity of vengeance, the Azantuus hardly earned its namesake with a unimpressive weapons arsenal and sluggish sub-light speeds. The ship was not designed nor intended to be a 'core' military vessel, but it was still a military ship and thus needed adequate weapons. As it would just so happen, the designers of the Azantuus, which had no classification yet, paid close attention to the results of the shake down cruise and to the complaints of the experienced U.T.M. crew. The designers immediately went to the 'drawing board' and began to make changes to the Azantuus design. Those changes quickly evolved into major changes, then an almost completely new vessel. From the structure up, the Azantuus was redesigned and modified. The only thing that remained the same was the technology, the layout of the ship, and the power systems. Without realizing it, keeping the same power systems would prove to be a new flaw with the Mark 2 as more weapons and engines were added to the design to draw more power on an already limited power supply. Still, the shake down cruise of the Mark 2 was phenomenal. The Mark 2 was an impressive advancement over its predecessor. The crew had no complaints on the new design. As to the role of the Mark 2, the vessel has proven to be versatile enough that it will soon be considered a 'work horse' of the U.T.M. Space Fleet. The vessel, which falls in the Lancer size-class, has equipment and space enough to serve several support roles for military and diplomatic mission profiles. The versatility of the Azantuus class has impressed high command enough that they are considering putting the vessel into mass production. As by tradition, the first vessel of any class will take its name from its classification. Since this type of vessel has been dubbed the Azantuus class, so too will this, the first prototype of that class, be called the Azantuus. . The weapons systems of the Azantuus involve two types of weapons common in the U.T.M.: phased variance coherent energy beams (commonly called, phasers), and explosive energy warhead missiles (commonly referred to as torpedoes). The phasers on the Azantuus are Mark III phasers, which refers to their strength and their energy usage. There are two forward facing double cannon mounts which can be fired staccato or long beam. There are also three other identical phaser mounts set as turrets which can also fire long beam or staccato bursts. For the torpedoes, there is a forward and aft launcher that draw from the same magazine of micro-torpedoes. Standard torpedoes are used aboard capital ships; micro-torpedoes can be used aboard smaller vessels. There are two magazines, each magazine containing only two torpedoes, loaded into the launcher housing. This means that, at any time, the Azantuus only has four torpedoes. Extra micro-torpedo magazines, also containing only two torpedoes, are kept in the ship's cargo hold. As a magazine is emptied, the ship's gravity in the aft hull section is lowered, and a crew member then easily handles and loads another magazine into the launcher housing access panel in the roof of the second deck just forward of the engineering room. While this method may seem antiquated, the micro-torpedoes were not meant to be a primary weapon. The Azantuus is a light military vessel meant for missions other than front line military operations. It was not intended for fleet battles. If the crew of an Azantuus vessel encounter opposition that requires more firepower than the phaser mounts, then they are to retreat from the engagement. The micro-torpedoes are more of a last ditch or supplementary weapon. The micro-torpedoes used by the Azantuus come with various warheads. The black warheads are standard, variable yield setting, explosive energy warheads. The blue warheads are EMP energy warheads designed for disabling most other vessels; space vessels are always shielded against EMP energy, as this energy is commonly found with several natural space phenomenon and can disable a vessel with no shielding against this energy. However, the EMP torpedo delivers this energy through a kinetic impact designed to overload the protective shielding and thus disable enemy vessels to be boarded and captured. The red warheads are xenon warheads; these warheads use an experimental energy yield designed to drop or disrupt the shields of enemy vessels. Xenon warheads are often used in conjunction with either the phasers or with other torpedo warheads as enemy shields can stop phasers and other torpedoes from causing direct damage to the vessel; without shields, they are vulnerable. The yellow warheads are a new type of explosive that lacks radiation. This warhead is ideal for precise and surgical strikes on planetary surfaces or other targets in which an explosive warhead is required, yet the radiation after effects of a standard torpedo is not desired. The faster-than-light propulsion system of the Azantuus class uses the accurately termed "warp drive" system. The "warp" coils project a field at a fixed point directly ahead of the ship that distorts space/time in the same manner as a quantum singularity, or a black hole, except that this field does not puncture space/time nor cause damage to space/time. However, the effects are the same. The ship is then pulled into the singularity field; however, since the field is always projected at a fixed point ahead of the ship, the field moves forward as the ship is pulled forward into the field. Since the properties of space/time are distorted at the edge of the singularity field, the ship travels faster-than-light without any of the temporal penalties decribed by the ancient Earth scientist called Einstein. When the ship "drops out of warp", the field is disengaged and the ship is once again subject to the normal laws of physics of the universe. And, the ship must rely on standard ion propulsion engines to travel through space. The warp core requires a tremondous amount of power that a small fusion core capable of fitting aboard this craft could not provide. A small fusion core is used to power ship systems and weapons, but a separate power core utilizing the enormous power of energy crystals is used to provide the energy necessary to create a singularity field. When not in use, small amounts of power from the fusion core is fed into the warp reactor to build up a reserve of energy; this reserve of energy helps to slow degredation of the energy crystal which must be replaced after every 3,000 hours of warp travel. This, of course, gives the Azantuus a limited range from any starbase or home port. In this mindless conflict of various worlds and factions battling one another for domination over the galaxy, there are countless refugees of all races. From time to time, military assets are forced into humanitarian missions of helping these "little people". Seen here, the Azantuus is on the planet Omicron Seti 6, yet another planet caught in the middle of warring empires. The Azantuus, while not able to hold many persons, will be forced to fill nearly every space to haul as many refugees to another planet outside of the fighting. And of course, the crew has to load the cargo before they know how many refugees they can take on board. If you are wondering why the blonde girl is smiling, she is in shock. "I have fifty thousand space creds that's all yours, soldier, if you make sure I am aboard that ship!" "My hatchlings! Won't someone think of my hatchlings!" "Greewl snergle hafgarl, gregle snepf!" "Just you wait and see, I bet they only take the humans. Typical isn't it? I got eyes on top of my head and I bet they only take the blonde human women." Is that crewman taking a coffee break during an evacuation in the face of oncoming fighting? Yep, thank goodness we still have labor unions in the future. "My patient needs to be taken to a proper treatment center. He is cryo because he is suffering from an acute case of Spacial Bumitis" "Doc, every time we do an evacuation, we got some critical care patient in cryo, can he be treated?" "Yes, with the proper care..." "Yah, fine. If he can't, we leave him." "And Captain, make sure you also get that young blonde refugee aboard too." "Why, is she also a patient under your care?" "No, but I'd like her to be, rawr rawr." Not quite as cool as those interior cutaway books, but here is the overview of the interior. There are four bunks per room for the crew quarters, so all total this ship can accomodate 8 persons, with only four of those needed for crew members. That means that four troopers or passengers can be accomodated. And for VIPs or Ambassadors, the bunk beds can be ripped out for a nice fluffy feather mattress. Where is the bathroom, you ask? That will be installed Tuesday. The mini warp core, oooooohhhhh. Standing in front is Chief Engineer Branson, a disgruntled Irishman who carries a sneer for people he sees as incompetent. What would any small military squad be without a tough and reliable and experienced Sgt. who knows more than most generals and has been in the service longer than any of them? So here is Sgt Gorman, my little military cliche.

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