Covered In Bees


Operated by: Empire of the Star
Type: Drone Battleship, General Operations
Construction: Palaxias Fleet Yards

Length: 2.3 km
Beam (avg.): 0.8 km
Dry mass: 2,900,000 tons

Gravity-well capable: No.
Atmosphere capable: No.

Personnel: 1,294

  • 396 crewers
  • 514 flight operations
  • 384 espatiers
  • Thinker-class AI


  • Imperial Navy 3×3 “Neutrino Dawn” antimatter pion drive
  • Nucleodyne Thrust Applications 4×4 “Nova Pulse” fusion torch


  • Deuterium slush/metallic antideuterium
  • Deuterium/helium-3 slush blend

Cruising (sustainable) thrust: 5.6 standard gravities (5.2 Earth G)
Peak (unsustainable) thrust: 6.6 standard gravities (6.1 Earth G)
Maximum velocity: 0.3 c (rated, based on particle shielding, with flight deck doors closed)


  • 43,200 x AKVs (loadout varies by mission, typically Daggerfan-class)
  • Associated thrust packs and modular swapout payloads, by mission
  • 64 x “Buckler VI” point-defense supplementary drones, Artifice Armaments, ICC
  • 32 x “Rook” tactical observation platforms, Sy Astronautic Engineering Collective (with supplementary IN hardware)
  • 64 x general-duty modular drones (not counting flight operations hardware)


  • 3 x independent standard navigational sensor suite, Cilmínar Spaceworks
  • 6 x [classified] enhanced active/passive tactical sensory suite, Sy Astronautic Engineering Collective
  • Imperial Navy tactically-enhanced longscan

Weapons (Auxiliary):

  • 96 x “Slammer III” dual turreted mass drivers (local-space defense)
  • Artifice Armaments, ICC “Popcorn” point defense/CQB laser grid

Other systems:

  • 3 x Artifice Armaments, ICC cyclic kinetic barrier system
  • Biogenesis Technologies, ICC Mark VII regenerative life support (multiple independent systems)
  • 3 x Bright Shadow, ICC custom-build megaframe data system, plus multiple EC-1140 information furnaces for sectoral control
  • AKV repair facilities
  • 3 x Extropa Energy, ICC “Calviata” second-phase fusion reactors
  • 6 x Imperial Navy AKV tactical management suite
  • 3 x Imperial Navy DN-class vector-control core and associated technologies
  • 3 x Nanodynamics, ICC “Phage-a-Phage” immunity
  • 6 x modular swapout regions (large)
  • Systemic Integrated Technologies, ICC high-capacity thermal sinks and dual-mode radiative striping; 3 x deployable droplet heat radiators
  • Tactical bridge

Small craft:

  • 4 x Nelyn-class modular cutters
  • 2 x Ékalaman-class pinnace/shuttle (atmosphere capable)
  • 16 x Élyn-class microcutter
  • 32 x Adhaïc-class workpod

(You’ll notice the obvious similarities to the Leviathan-class dreadnought in systems installed, which should come as no surprise; these two came off the drawing board at roughly the same time. And if you’re wondering why a BB-sized carrier has a DN-sized vector-control core – well, you’ll note that the much more tightly packed supplies of, for example, bunkerage plus AKV bunkerage, plus the need to propel all those AKVs, make it mass significantly more than a Leviathan in practice. Carriers tend to be thus.)

The core hull of the Hurricane-class drone battleship (carrier) is divided into five segments: from bow to stern, the flight operations section, the AKV bunkerage, the command section, the bunkerage, and the propulsion bus, laid out tail-lander style. The flight operations section, by design, is a hexagonal prism, flat faces to dorsal and ventral, and the other ship segments follow this pattern.

Attached to this on the starboard side, extending to dorsal and ventral of the core hull, and running from 100 m ahead of the flight operations section (to give AKVs exit and entrance cover) back to cover the first 100 m of the bunkerage, is the starship’s “buckler”. The core hull of the Hurricane-class is relatively lightly armored for an IN vessel, since carriers are intended, doctrinally, to stay out of CQB and mass conservation supervenes. However, to provide protection against long-distance fire in the outer engagement envelope, as a less maneuverable ship class, the buckler – heavy armor plate connected to the core hull by shock-absorbing trusses – covers and extends slightly beyond the two starboard facets, providing additional protection for as long as the vessel maintains the proper attitude.

The flight operations section at the bow, taking up the first half-kilometer of the ship, is effectively a single large flight deck, opened to space by an armored spacetight door in the for’ard hull. (Unlike smaller flight decks, this region cannot be pressurized.) The 43,200 carried AKVs occupy hexagonal cells clustered on the inner hull to port, starboard, dorsal, and ventral from which they launch themselves, while a small conventional flight deck at the aft end of the section provides space for the Hurricane‘s small craft. The after hull of the flight operations sections is heavily armored, to provide what protection it can against a lucky shot penetrating the flight deck.

Immediately behind the flight operations section is the AKV bunkerage section, which houses fuel and propellant, along with ammunition and other consumables, for the carried AKVs, permitting refueling and rearming. This is the most protected area of the ship, as AKV fuel and ammunition tends to be highly volatile.

The command section, the primary habitable area of the starship, is a relatively small area sandwiched between the AKV bunkerage and the carrier’s own bunkerage, also protected behind the buckler, and housing both the starship’s own operations and the majority of the outsize flight operations department. From dorsal and ventral, sensor towers extend beyond the buckler, allowing line-of-sight sensing and communications with the battlespace without exposing the core hull.

(As a side note, the Hurricane-class, like most large carriers, is an example of the IN’s dual command system. The starship itself is commanded by a Flight Commander, ranked Captain [O-7], from the line branch, while the AKV wings are commanded by a Group Captain, an equivalent rank. Overall command of both is held by a Mission Commander, ranked Commodore [O-8].)

Aft of these, a conventional bunkerage section and propulsion bus, equipped with droplet radiators for primary cooling, fills out the remaining length of the vessel.

Scattered about the length of the vessel is the same heavy-duty (“Popcorn”) point-defense grid used on the Leviathan-class dreadnought, along with 96 small turreted mass drivers – similar to those used on lighter IN classes – for heavier local-space defense.

(They are not intended as offensive weapons; the carrier has 43,200 of those in its AKVs, and would-be Flight Commanders who can’t resist the urge to take their ships into close-quarters battle are redirected towards frigates, destroyers, and other roles where such is (a) tactically useful and (b) much less likely to get one either cashiered for gross incompetence or relieved of command by an XO for whom it is not a good day to die.)


19 thoughts on “Covered In Bees

  1. Do the drives have to fire off-axis to compensate for the mass of the buckler, or is the rest of the ship laid out to be mass-heavy to port to balance it out? Also, does it have both fusion and antimatter pion drives to allow a choice between high thrust (with fusion) and high exhaust velocity and delta-v (with antimatter pion)?

    • On the first, both. Well, not so much fire off-axis as are located somewhat off-axis to compensate for what the mass adjustment does not.

      On the second, the fusions – at the outer edge of the drive cluster – also provide additional maneuverability in terms of vectoring, and mean that running out of antimatter doesn’t leave it dead in space, which is important because refining He3 and deuterium in situ is a lot easier than refining antimatter.

  2. Don’t suppose I could assume that the Invictus is a supercarrier of this general outline give or take an order of magnitude, with many deckloads of admiralty sandwiched between command and engineering?

  3. One would hope that a tendency towards putting a ship up close and personal with the enemy would be identified long before someone was promoted to Flight Commander in the first place, since lighter ships are commanded by lower ranks here. The Commanding Officer still gets the courtesy-title of Captain, though, with any ground-forces O3 captains get a social promotion to ‘Major’ and any naval O6 Captains get called ‘Commodore’ while onboard.

    There is only EVER one ‘Captain’ onboard, and that’s the Boss of the Boat.

    • They organize things a little differently in the IN, as you might expect given the language designers’ distaste for ambiguity. There, “Flight Commander” (see: here) is exclusively a position, that of the boss of the boat, and “Captain” is strictly a rank title for IN O-7s in branches other than Flight Ops, which has “Group Captain” instead. And the ground forces don’t have a “Captain” rank, per the table of ranks: here.

      In the case of these carriers, the Flight Commander is entirely in charge of the carrier; but the information load is far too heavy to expect them to also manage the operations of 43,000 AKVs. So they have their own operations, and an on-board mission commander to coordinate the big picture, treating the carrier plus its AKVs as essentially a squadron in its own right.

      • Yeah, the naval captain rank versus naval captain position versus ground captain rank leads to quite a bit of amusement in the USN, too. It manages to confuse Marines that haven’t had a sea tour yet!

        US Space Force is probably going to get saddled with the USAF’s rank structure, up until we get 20+ people in starship crews (and probably not until we lose a full starship due to a personnel issue that any Navy has had sorted out for a thousand years but no Air Force has ever had to deal with).

  4. It is interesting that there appears to be no equivalent of a catapult or other carrier mounted boost system for the AKVs, given that preserving as much as possible of their delta-V would seem to be a valuable design goal. One could conceivably use the point defenses as a beam or pellet-stream propulsion system, but that might be a little clunky given that they’d be optimized for, y’know, point defense. The vector control system would work too, but for that irritating inefficiency thing…

      • Right, but a launch system capable of boosting an AKV to a userful velocity would be difficult to distinguish from a large mass driver, which isn’t something I see on the armament list.

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