CRUISERS

 INTRODUCTION TO CRUISERS

Cruisers are by far the most numerous and varied craft in most space navies. One of the oldest designations, the term Cruiser refers to a large array of vessel types and sizes. Cruisers can be both general purpose and mission specific, with many capable of autonomously switching between the two extremes when needed. Cruisers are not as large or powerful as battleships or Dreadnoughts, but can often be as effective in military conflict. Cruiser are also highly varied in their abilities to explore and expand the boundaries of established governments. First contacts, stellar and planetary research as well as diplomatic negotiations are all well within the purveyance of cruiser class vessels. Cruisers can also easily switch to medical emergency mode, search and rescue and evacuation when needed. Most cruisers have a large science base, consisting of numerous sensor system, independent science labs and numerous on-board departments that specialize in a wide variety of space and planetary science. Cruisers often have a large engineering contingent, giving a cruiser unique forward capabilities while in deep space. Cruisers can maintain lengthy patrols and explore well beyond the boundaries of established boarder space. Cruisers are often well armed and very capable of defense and combat when necessary. Cruisers are the mainstay of the Romulan navy, and an expansive part of the Federation and Klingon navies.

ASSAULT CRUISER:

Primarily a Klingon designation, the Assault Cruiser is designed to continually engage it’s opponent for prolonged periods. Even among the Klingons - not known for their safety features or redundancy, the typical Assault Cruiser has numerous backup systems that can ensure weapon remain on line and the vessel can continue to fight even after taking heavy damage. Because of the number of redundant systems and extensive combat equipment, most Assault Cruisers have shorter range and are more expensive to build and maintain than other combat platforms.

 

BATTLECRUISER:

 When first introduced, the designation of Battlecruiser was considered the most controversial annotation for Star Fleet. But other governments and various conflicts soon cemented the use of these highly specialized large combat craft. Battlecruisers do not have the multi-project research capability of other exploration vessels, but do bring together many other aspects of standard cruisers into a surprisingly lethal package. Battlecruisers focus their abilities into a combat platform designed to engage both multi-vessel units or larger single combat vessels. Battlecruisers are often more heavily armed, but are more expensive to maintain.

 

COMMAND CRUISER:

Command Cruisers are designed to operate as mobile star-bases and tactical operations focal points during both emergency situations and times of conflict. Command Cruisers act as a flagship for medium to large fleets, often super ceding command of battleships or Dreadnoughts. Command Cruisers can coordinate the operations of nearly 100 (or more) other vessels, having specialized on-board command-and-control systems, tactical data systems, and on-board analysis systems that allow a front line commander to quickly assess the changing political and military situation for dozen of parsecs. Command Cruisers are able to coordinate large scale research operations as well, but have only a moderate research ability themselves. Most command Cruisers are equal or larger than heavy Cruisers, and have firepower equivalent to most Dreadnoughts. Command Cruisers do have a much shorter range, owing to the large number of extra crew members on-board, which often include intelligence operatives, special-forces personnel, military strategists, tactical engineering and analysis personnel and other specialized military or research personnel. Command Cruisers also have surprisingly extensive repair and medical systems, allowing them to act as a rescue vessels when necessary.

 

DIPLOMATIC CRUISER:

Perhaps the strangest of all cruiser designs, the Diplomatic Cruiser is a cross between Heavy Cruiser, Survey Cruiser and Command Cruisers. More than any other vessel, diplomatic cruisers have a very wide variety of crew specialties, including cultural analysis, intelligence operatives, military advisers, diplomatic specialists and political advisers. Most Diplomatic Cruisers are commanded by Commodores or Admirals and are sent to rendezvous with new races or worlds that currently have political or military trouble with their neighbors or require a mediation of trade and negotiation of treaties. Diplomatic Cruisers have a large number of oversized staterooms than can provide accommodations for any know atmosphere. They are also equipped with special conference rooms that can allow persons from different atmospheres to meet face to face. Diplomatic Cruisers have secure communications facilities, extensive medical support systems and a surprisingly powerful tactical suite, capable of aggressive defense when necessary. Diplomatic Cruisers are preferred for use as neutral ground during negotiations, and have a wide range or abilities to adapt to dangerous or unforeseen situations. Not quite as pliable as a heavy cruiser, Diplomatic Cruisers are none the less able to  conduct extensive first contact operations during their missions. Diplomatic cruiser do lack the research ability of other cruisers, using the space for meeting rooms, data interpreting facilities and extended guest quarters.

 

EXPLORATION CRUISER:

Exploration Cruisers are specifically designed to map and explore deep space. Although they posses the capability to conduct first contact and terrestrial investigations, their primary systems are dedicated to mapping solar systems, stars, comets and other deep space objects. Exploration Cruisers are often larger than standard cruisers, and have extended patrol capability, larger fuel reserve, and better crew accommodations. Most are used as scouts during times of conflict.

 

FAST CRUISER:

The Fast Cruiser is considered on of the most expensive main line production vessels, and yet fills a unique niche that is unparalleled in Fleet Operations. Like other fast classified vessels, fast cruisers have better maneuverability and higher warp speeds than standard cruisers, sacrificing internal space for the additional equipment necessary to help keep the engines in balance. Fast Cruisers help provide not only a high speed military response, but the ability to quickly move research and exploration equipment into an area that may be experiencing rapid changes. Surprisingly, most Fast Cruisers are used for just such a purpose, responding to ephemeral phenomenon that would normally have dissipated before the arrival of a standard science vessel. Fast Cruisers are also used for quick diplomatic response, allowing policy makers the ability to quickly respond to shifts in local governments. In their combat role, Fast Cruisers are employed in the periphery of fleets, able to maneuver with Destroyers and other lighter vessels, while maintaining the ability to quickly respond to gaps and other tactical dangers while in fleet maneuvers. When not actively employed in fleets, most Fast Cruisers are assigned to independent patrols near unexplored regions, able to respond to new threats when they appear. Most Fast Cruisers are well armed, despite the fact that internal space is at a premium. Front line Fast Cruisers are equipped for lengthy patrols, with excellent recreational facilities. Crew quarters and research facilities are often cramped, though, and many crew members are rotated out after lengthy missions. Only the Gorn seem to build roomy Fast Cruisers, most of which suffer maneuverability problems, yet maintain their above average top speeds. Fast Cruisers must employ several unique subsystems to help maintain their high speeds for extended periods of time. These systems often triple the basic cost of a fast cruiser. Fast Cruisers also employ special replicator and reclamation systems that help to extend their range. Despite these costs, Fast Cruisers are a popular command, and remain a potent tool for most governments.

 

HEAVY CRUISER:

A Heavy Cruiser is perhaps one of the most popular command assignments within most space faring navies. Heavy Cruisers are designed to maintain their exploration and research capabilities well beyond the boarders of known space. Heavy Cruisers can operate independently for up to 5 years at a time, and can call on a greater level of onboard resources than standard cruisers. Most Heavy Cruisers have a larger science department, larger engineering department and better command department, all owing to the independent nature of Heavy Cruiser operations. It is not uncommon for Heavy Cruisers to be used as front line battleships, command-and-control vessels, long-range explorers and multi-phenomena research platforms. Heavy Cruisers are the largest and most expensive main line standardized production vessels.

 

HUNTER-KILLER:

 A dangerous new classification, hunter-killers are  early always cruiser sized vessels designed to hunt and eliminate a specific type - and more often a specific class - of enemy vessel. Although this type of operation had been on ducted for many years, it was not until recently, when the Romulans began deploying hunter-killers to attack Klingon built Bird-Of-Prey vessels that the nomenclature became commonly used. Hunter-killer vessels focus all of their resources to defeating the know defenses of a given class of vessel, either with sheer firepower or other specialized systems to exploit weaknesses that have been discovered. Many hunter-killers are themselves captured and re-armed versions of the vessels they hunt. Hunter-killers operate with a wide range of latitude, but require a frightening support network tooperate efficiently. Because of the extensive combat systems onboard, most hunter-killers are all but useless for other missions, and must focus all their on-baord resources to attacking and defeating their prey. Hunter killers use special sensors, over-powered weapons, specialized munitions, and in some cases are equipped simply with extra armor to help them achieve theirobjectives. These systems often take up valuable cargo space, reduce or eliminate science stations, reduce crew accommodations and shorten the over-all range of most hunter-killers. Hunter-killers also increase construction costs by a tremendous amount, often costing twice what a standard cruiser would cost. Many also take extra damage while engaging their foe, burning out costly circuitry, over-loading computers and damaging shield systems. Despite the costs and shortcomings, hunter killers prove invaluable when used against their intended target, and are often as much a boost for morale as an effective combat craft.

 

LIGHT CRUISER:

Light Cruisers are designed to provide the same research, exploration and scientific capability as their larger brethren. Light Cruisers often sacrifice range and onboard amenities to create sufficient room for research equipment. Light Cruisers are often better at focusing all their resources on a single project, due to their smaller size and more analogous crew. Light Cruisers do not have the speed associated with other cruiser classes, but are often more maneuverable. During military operations, Light Cruisers are used in conjunction with Destroyers and Escorts to target a single enemy vessel and engage it with fire support from larger vessels, such as heavy cruiser or Dreadnoughts. Light Cruisers are significantly less expensive to build and maintain, having a smaller crew and less expendables than their standard or heavy counterparts. Although not as heavily armed, most Light Cruisers have the same weapon systems as their larger cousins. This makes them them popular with cash strapped governments.

 

MEDICAL CRUISER:

Like other medical vessels, Medical Cruisers are designed to provide extensive medical facilities for very large groups of people. Most Medical Cruisers can take on hundreds of patients when necessary, and have sufficient supplies to operate in the field for several years. Differing from other medical vessels, Medical Cruisers dedicate nearly every on-board lab to medical treatment and research, with many Medical Cruisers having large civilian medical staff. Unlike Medical Frigates, Medical Cruisers have fewer trauma bays, but a greater number, of surgical wards. Medical Cruisers also have a greater number of non-humanoid surgical systems and a larger long-term care capability. Although able to take on a tremendous number of refugees, Medical Cruisers can not support them readily and must rely on other vessels for transportations of such groups. Medical Cruisers also have larger medicine production capability, and are able to transport or deliver mass quantities of rare medicines to other ships and planets.

 

MISSILE CRUISER:

Since the advent of space born missile weapons, including the photon torpedo, plasma torpedo and tactical missile, most races have fielded a cruiser dedicated to using these munitions as their main weapon. Many races have also learned the inherent advantages of a vessels that can launch, track and receive data from multiple space probes, giving many missile cruisers multiple role duty. Like other specialized cruisers, Missile Cruisers do not have the extensive onboard laboratories of larger or more research-intensive vessels, but do have the ability to gather, process and interpret details about both military and exploratory missions. Most Missile Cruisers have a highly varied crew from a number of services.

 

PATROL CRUISER:

A Patrol Cruiser is designed to maintain long patrols along hostile boarders and engage in intelligence gathering missions. Most Patrol Cruisers have sufficient resources to handle a single mass emergency, but must quickly be re-supplied, unlike standard cruisers. Patrol cruisers use shuttles, fighters and deep space probes to expand their sensor net. Patrol Cruisers also contain a larger than average crew recreation facility, due to the length of their patrols. Patrol Cruisers are usually not as speedy as other cruisers, but do have sufficient power to engage enemy capital warships. Patrol Cruisers often have larger cargo capacity than other patrol classified vessels, allowing them to support small squadrons of Corvettes or other short range vessels found in their area.

 

PENETRATION CRUISER:

A Penetration Cruiser is by far the most mission specific vessel ever produced. These sleek cruiser are designed to conduct their patrols in complete radio silence, crossing into enemy territory once war is declared. Penetration Cruisers are designed to attack and destroy a single vessel or base and move on to another target without engaging other forces. Most Penetration Cruisers are extremely maneuverable, fast and well armed, often employing phaser cannons and heavy torpedoes or other unique weapons concentrated in the forward firing arc. Penetration Cruisers can bring down the shield of even a large star base and fire a full spread of torpedoes and beam weapons within seconds. Current doctrine states that a Penetration Cruiser will conduct only one attack run and immediately go to warp, wether the attack was successful or not. Although unusual as a method of combat, the fast hit-and-run tactic can often be confusing for enemy forces, with just enough damage done to the target to force the redirection of defense forces to the area. Penetration Cruisers are difficult assignments for crew, though. With communication limited to once every 30 days, and extremely cramped interior spaces, Penetration Cruisers are still effective enough that most governments are planning on several new version of the powerful vessels. Penetration Cruisers have extremely powerful shields and high speed engines, often using oversized engines for their class. Penetration Cruisers, limited fields of fire do make them vulnerable in a nonpoint defense situation, but their heavy forward firepower does virtually guarantee severe damage to any vessel that comes under their guns. Despite their unique mission parameters, Penetration Cruisers are surprisingly inexpensive to build and maintain.

 

RECON CRUISER:

A recent addition to cruiser nomenclature, the Recon Cruiser is designed as a cruiser version of a scout. Most are charged with entering a hostile environment, gathering data quickly, and departing the area, often while under attack. Recon Cruisers are moderately armed, but often have drives equal to high speed or fast cruisers. Recon Cruisers also have oversized computer systems and larger intelligence interpreting crew compliments, allowing for the rapid processing of raw data for tactical transmission to others. Recon Cruisers have scientific capabilities equal to a light cruiser, and are employed in this role during times of peace.

 

RESEARCH CRUISER:

 Research Cruisers are specifically designed to conduct intensified and detailed investigations on a single phenomenon. Unlike other cruisers, which keep their system separated, Research Cruisers integrate their onboard systems, allowing cross department data transfer and material analysis. This unique ability is not without it’s limits. Several Research Cruisers have been crippled when a single system became damaged/infected by a research subject. Although this has happened with other classes of starship, the inherent de-centralized nature of Research Cruisers does make them more prone to such accidents. None the less, most Research Cruisers are popular with science and exploration command personnel due to their ability to bring significant resources to bear on a single project. Research Cruisers maintain several equipment bays dedicated to specialized equipment and extra accomodations for civilians and researchers. Like Exploration Cruisers, Research Cruisers are used as scouts during times of conflict.

 

SPACE CONTROL VESSEL:

The basic premise of the space control ship was to enlarge the standard protocol and capabilities of a given heavy cruiser to allow a single platform to control and maintain a given sector away from primary and secondary support. When first employed, the space control vessel, which was essentially an enlarged heavy cruiser, were able to engage several hostile targets and maintain their military capability for months at a time. Space control vessels were equipped with enlarged hangar facilities, used to support large numbers of fighters and other light attack craft. Space control Vessels were also designed to support large numbers of troops, equal to most of the larger frigate class vessels. Extensive heavy firepower was maintained through the use of a multitude of various beam and torpedo weapons, and the space control vessel was though to be the ultimate in front line combat vessels. But both the Federation and Klingons, who fielded space control vessels first, quickly learned that the cost of these behemoth vessels was not reflected in the returns. Space control vessels were extremely fast for their size, often able to maintain speed with first response units as well as fast classified vessels. However, they were less maneuverable than other cruisers. The vessel could act as a command ship, mother ship for shuttles and fighters, and ground assault platform, but lacked support systems for exploration and other non-military activities. Federation designers quickly reduced the number of troops and added exploratory sub-systems. The Klingons simply accepted this drawback, and reduced their program over several years. Since these changes were introduced, the space control vessel has remained a useful platform for monitoring and controlling moderately dangerous sectors of space. Larger than a standard cruiser, the space control vessel is surprisingly inexpensive when compared to other specialized front line cruisers. None the less, it’s ability to function without support, and heavier weapon load is costly to maintain, and many space control vessels operate near supply posts when not on extended missions. Their military capability, coupled with their carrier capability has made them a popular command within the Klingon Empire. To date, only a few designs are used as space control vessels, and only the Klingons and Federation are known to field space control vessels.

STAR CRUISER:

The classification of Star Cruiser is a recent addition to Federation nomenclature, and is not see among other naval powers. Star Cruisers, like Heavy Cruiser and Research Cruisers, are designed to conduct deep space research and exploration. Star Cruisers are by far the most hearty of the deep space vessels, being specifically designed to operate at great distances from their home port or base of operation. Star Cruisers are often larger or faster than standard cruisers, yet are surprisingly cramped for their larger size. No other single vessels classification is as self sufficient as a Star Cruiser. Most are capable of replicating any onboard system, often several times over. Star Cruisers can send crew to the surface of most planets and convert or mine raw material to allow for the vessels to operate well beyond the boundaries of any government. Star Cruisers also have more redundancy and backup than most other vessels, with nearly every onboard system having a routable back-up. Star cruisers can conduct very lengthy research on multiple subjects simultaneously, and are equipped with a full exploration suite of on-board sensors and computer systems. Star Cruisers, while known for cramped quarters, are also know for their cutting edge recreation facilities. Star Cruisers, much like their heavy cruiser fore-fathers, operate independently of a planetary government, with Star Cruisers captains have a broad range of autonomy. Although inherently more dangerous, star cruiser commands have become nearly as popular as heavy cruiser commands. Star Cruisers are often significantly more expensive and resource intensive to construct.

 

STRIKE CRUISER:

 Strike Cruisers are designed to engage a specific target behind enemy lines. Like other cruisers, they have a science contingent and extended range. Strike Cruisers are often employed to engage a specific enemy squadron and can spend month in radio silence while on patrol. Strike Cruisers are also used to transport special forces personnel to a desired target. Strike Cruisers must employ special sensors and costly dampening equipment to achieve their stealthy goals, but prove well worth the cost when used during times of conflict.

SURVEY CRUISER:

 This classification of vessels was first coined in the early 2250 by members of the Federation. Is has since been adopted by several empires, including the Romulans. Survey Cruisers are designed as basic data gathering platforms, capable of obtaining and cataloging a lengthy list of local conditions, space anomaly effects and even mapping asteroid fields individually. Survey Cruisers are best employed in gathering broad conditional data, and rarely have the detailed computer systems or sensors to analyze local phenomenon specifically. Duty aboard Survey Cruisers is extremely tedious in most navies, and requires dedicated science and research personnel. Missions assigned to Survey Cruisers often keep the vessels in a single general location for months or even years at a time, gathering lengthy details of every “square meter” of the surrounding space. Survey Cruisers are also used to gather data about new worlds, often observing planets that fall under the Prime Directive. Survey Cruisers can monitor

all communications, planetary movements and gather general detail about weather patterns, mining operations, construction materials and other “tedious” bits of information. More than any other class of vessel, Survey Cruisers are in constant contact with their home base and knowledge repositories, transmitting raw data and information on a nearly daily bases. Survey Cruisers also have the largest passenger compliment of any vessel, allowing for the inclusion of large numbers of scientists and research assistants to remain on board for extended periods.

 

TACTICAL CRUISER:

Tactical Cruisers are used primarily to coordinate multi prong front line attacks. Unlike a Command Cruiser, Tactical Cruisers can move with a rapid response force and have the ability to concentrate their combat power on a single target. Tactical Cruisers, like Battlecruisers, are limited on their research ability, but unlike Battlecruisers or Command Cruisers, Tactical Cruisers use a number of countermeasure systems to help hide their strategic importance in battle while still maintaining a multi-vectored attack approach. This unique ability keeps many Tactical Cruisers along hostile boarders in small to medium squadrons.

 

THROUGH DECK CRUISER:

Although the usefulness of fighters and armed shuttles has long since been debated, their advantage in numbers has continued to provide a niche in combat. Through-deck Cruisers were designed to provide small to medium numbers of fighter wings and shuttle squadrons, while maintaining a multi-capable   Through-deck Cruisers sacrifice speed or crew comfort to allow the room needed for the large hangar deck, which extends from one side, through the entire vessel. This open deck allows ships to land very quickly, unload passengers, re-arm, and even conduct minor repairs quickly, launching out the other end of the deck. Nearly two dozen unique systems are found on Through-Deck Cruisers. Some include multi-trajectory micro tractor beams, used to manipulate and move shuttles quickly. Specialized crew tracking sensors and 3 man transporters are also found on board, used to track all persons on the open deck and beam them back in case of an accident. The shields used to protect crew and prevent loss of pressure on the deck while open, are specially modulated to allow energy through, without the loss of gas pressure. This specialized system was installed on Through-Deck Cruiser after it was discovered that enemy fire could overload the standard force fields. Extra crew quarters for both pilots and repair crews are also found on board. Through-Deck Cruisers also maintain a moderate combat capability, comparable to most destroyers and cruisers.

 

TIMESLIP CRUISER:

Timeslip Cruisers are a very recent addition, with the only know versions belonging to Star Fleet. Time Slip Cruisers use specially designed engines to travel back in time and observe historical events. Few of these highly specialized cruisers are able to travel more than 100 years into the past or future with-out significant gravitational assistance. Service on-board these vesselsis very difficult, with a number of special computer protocols hard-wired into the ship, owing to the extremely dangerous aspects associated with time travel. Even ship captains can not change or tamper with the onboard security protocols without setting off a chain reaction that will utterly destroy the entire vessel and everything in it. Computer systems on-board Time Slip Cruisers do not contain equipment specifications, historical documents or technical data on combat or starship operations. Crew members serving on-board such cruiser must be totally self-sufficient in repairs and construction of on-board systems; and can not keep detailed logs or personal items, should the vessel be damaged or captured.  Time Slip Cruisers are often only outfitted with sufficient supplies for very short duration missions, and do not have sufficient on-board resource to conduct lengthy patrols and operations. Computer systems are very delicate and will automatically erase their core should anything tamper with the memory systems. Several vessels have lost their entire computer core to simple “static” discharges associated with operation. Only  onboard crew members know the precise formulas and calculations necessary for time travel.

 

TRANSPORT CRUISER:

Rarely used, Transport Cruisers are designed to load and off-load large strategic cargos and move them quickly from non-combat to combat zones in a secure fashion. Unlike freighters, Transport Cruisers can provide a much wider range of storage and security for moderately sized cargos. Transport Cruisers also provide direct laboratory and engineering access to the cargo bays, allowing connection of special equipment or storage systems that would otherwise be to large for a standard cruiser. This gives the Transport Cruiser a unique niche when large research projects are conducted. Transport Cruisers are often slower or less maneuverable than other cruisers, but are significantly better armed than freighter or escorts.

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