Part 68: Ships Part 11 - RebelLet's Meet the Rebel Ships!
Rebel ships tend to just be better than their Federation counterparts. Faster, stronger, and with better weaponry. They've got a nicer paintjob and a neat control panel on top of that. To balance that out, they're hard to get and lack the brutal firepower that other factions' capital ships can have.
Rautherion Lightning Heavy Fighter
It mounts one more cannon than the stock Lightning, but is still far too short-ranged to be a threat to larger ships. It is very fast, however, and with the always-on afterburner it can be a major pain to any fighter pilot.
The unusual design of the Rautherion Lightning was destined to have its inner working probed by the famous ship designer Donald Chick. Due to the relative youth of the design, Donald has left it mostly untouched until the vehicles have had time to "shake down," preferring to augment rather than tweak. Thus it is that this machine is mostly as you'll find it off the production line, bar a few standard upgrades added to "round her out," as Donald puts it.
The Rebel Upgrade Thunderhead is a real beast. It's not as fast as the Pirate one, but for a speed tradeoff you get heavier armour, two wraith cannons, a medium blaster, and a railgun! The Thunderhead can take on pretty much any ship and deliver a beating. At half a million credits, however, it pales next to the similarly-priced Valkyries and Starbridges.
Once more Donald Chick has taken out his toolkit and hydrospanners to churn out a masterpiece of adaptive engineering. The Rebel Thunderhead, another triumph, isn't far removed from its antecedents, but fixes a few of the more glaring defects. While the engines have remained relatively unchanged, the Rebel Thunderhead features greater armor and shield protection for many of the more vital systems, making it a more useful craft for decisive strikes.
Porsche Valkyrie (Rebel Upgrade)
The Class V Rebel Valkyrie is one of the best variants, outmatched only by the Pirate Valkyrie with its ion cannons. They usually travel in packs, so the best way to deal with them is via EMP torpedoes or alone. It's deadly at a distance with heavy railguns and missiles, and maneuverable enough to be just as deadly up close. Don't take one on unless you can kill it fast.
Another of Donald Chick's efforts in starship redesign. In his younger days, Sir Donald had an old T7 model Valkyrie that he hotrodded in his spare time. Much of what went into that now legendary craft (the 'Lucalia' is still his personal ship) now provides the punch behind the next generation of Rebellion starships. The updated Valkyrie breathes new life into the design, adapting some of the micro-furnace technology from the Starbridge for its engines. Truly a triumph for Sir Donald and his crew.
Light Capital Class S-25 Starbridge
It's like the Valkyrie, except more deadly. Dual 200mm railguns on top of more armour, faster engines and a much more durable disabling threshold make it a pain to deal with. If you can't get the drop on it and kill it quickly, or dodge long-range railgun fire, run. The Mod E Starbridge is still better overall, however.
As always, the controversial Starbridge finds service in areas other than its intended use in commerce. The excellent (if expensive) Starbridge design has been adapted to the needs of the Rebellion by Donald Chick, ex-CEO of Sigma Shipyards. It has been decades since Sir Donald has put his hand to a set of hydrospanners, but he has taken his small team of craftsmen and churned out the best variant of the Starbridge yet.
Rebel IDA Frigate
Big armoured gun platforms. They usually try to fight at a distance in packs, sending out a dozen or more fighters to harass you. This, combined with their missile spam, can be devastatingly effective. The III-class variant is especially deadly, mounting 2 biorelay lasers. Take them out from a distance after dealing with the fighter complement, as all their heaviest weapons have a relatively short range. They're pretty poor freighters on top of that, with only 20-50 tons of space.
The IDA Frigate was the mainstay of the Colonial Council line before the collapse of the Gate system, and instrumental in the defense of the core worlds against the Aurorans. These ships were made to last; the spaceframe itself is compartmental and component-based, and, like the Leviathan, it is virtually indestructible. Once Donald Chick got his hands on it, he retrofitted it to be a fairly lethal weapons platform capable of projecting a fair amount of firepower deep into enemy territory.
E-41 Destroyer (Rebel Upgrade)
Don't mess with these ships. They're deadly at all ranges, carry heavy armour, and cloak whenever you spook them, making them missile- and beam-proof. The Super Heavy Destroyer Class is especially guilty of this. The Carrier class can carry up to 20 Rebel Vipers in 5 bays due to outfit shenanigans, though AI ships only carry 5. This just means that they launch almost immediately, while the destroyer cloaks. You will almost never see them in force during normal gameplay, however.
General 'Sundown' Smart has been pulling his hair out over the Rebellion's desperate lack of ships and manpower. He and Frandall recently had a breakthrough when they masterminded the theft of thirty E-41s from mothballs in orbit at the wreckers at Spacedock II. The ancient craft have proved difficult to improve, as such a large task is beyond Donald Chick and his small but dedicated group of shipwrights. They have had to be satisfied with gross tweaks to power output and shield strength, and have given the task of general refits to maintenance personnel.
It's fast, but the armour is poor, and the paucity of seeking missiles makes it very vulnerable at long range. Not too difficult to kill if you can get past their cloak. As for flying one, it's best suited for sneaky cloaked hit-and-run attacks, as charging in will eat away your shields very quickly. The money is better spent on capturing a high-class Starbridge or Valkyrie, personally.
The Polaris have long been sympathetic to the Rebel cause, recognizing the essential rightness of their struggle. Thus the Nil'kemorya have made the Dragon design available to the Rebellion ship technicians for adaptation to their purposes. Many dangerous freight runs are required to haul the sludge tanks full of etheric wake biotech skin material through the frontier between Polaris and Rebel space, but the efforts of many fine free-trader captains have given the Rebellion a technical edge on the Federation... for now.