Bigger and Uglier


This supplement to the current edition of Naval Warships presents an update to the infamous Flapjack– and Flapjack II-class cavalry dropships. The Imperial Navy has recently adopted the Waffle-class vehicular dropship – also designated the Flapjack I (Block II) – as a phased replacement for the Flapjacks currently in service.

The Waffle resembles the older Flapjack in most ways, inasmuch as it too is based on the disk-type hull form, and makes use of a pair of laser-fusion nuclear-pulse drives to perform a high-velocity descent followed by a “suicide burn” deceleration. However, unlike the Flapjack, the Waffle does not land to disembark vehicles.

The main body of the Waffle, between the pusher plates, replaces the cylindrical garage of the Flapjack with a bunch-of-grapes packed between the central core and the sidewall armor. These “grapes” are the payload: tanks, IFVs, and chariots – any vehicle type equipped with a vector-control core – enclosed in a protective armor clamshell oversprayed with ablative foam.

As the Waffle performs its suicide burn, it dumps angular momentum from its core gyro, spinning the entire ship up. At the terminus of the suicide burn – typically no more than 2000′ above ground – the ship explosively discards the sidewall armor and severs the retaining structure which retains the “grapes”, causing them to be jettisoned along with a large swarm of decoys, chaff, and hunter-seeker antidefensive missiles.

At this point, the basic dropship structure is abandoned, and the vehicles, lightened by their vector-control cores, are scattered over a wide area, discarding their clamshell protection immediately before landing.

Thus, the Waffle eliminates the core disadvantage of the Flapjack, the requirement for rapid disembarkation and dispersal from a single landing site. Additionally, the psychological effect of a cloud of fireballs raining armies from the sky should not, in this author’s opinion, be underestimated.

– Naval Starships of the Associated Worlds, INI Press, Palaxias,
supplement to the 433rd ed.

To The Unknown God

Among the temples, fanes, and shrines to be found across Eliéra and its daughter worlds, special note should be made of the Alienage Temples. Authorized in 76 by the Speaker of Starlight, the Alienage Temples exist to provide a place for contemplation of and communion with eikones and spirits which have no formal presence in a region – with particular reference to genii loci and household gods – a need found increasingly with the acceleration of long-distance travel concomitant with the growth of the recently founded Empire.

Thus, the Alienage Temples are devoted to “all those fair spirits who attend upon the Celestial Spire, and by their light illuminate the paths to the Twilight City”. To avoid showing favor to any above all, they are traditionally built in a simple and little-adorned style, with stepped space beneath a central dome, and the shintai at their heart is also in the simplest possible form: a sphere, that most perfect shape, of pure white marble or clear glass, or a mirror of polished silver. While specifically favorable to none, such a shintai is believed to be accessible for any eikone or spirit’s descent and temporary inhabitation.

While originally devoted only to the Flamic Church, a decision of the House of Exemplars in 4220 (published as On Ecumenism) opened the Alienage Temples to devotees of foreign religions “which, too, reflect the light of the Flame¹”.

– The Sacred Ring: Holy Places of the Flame

  1. This should be taken as a limiting statement, not one of general ecumenism. Having some past experience with Entropic cults and other less savory beliefs, judgment on which foreign religions do reflect the light of the Flame is left to the House of Exemplars and the Enquiry After Truth. Queries regarding the status of any given religion, deity, or pantheon should be addressed to the latter.

Undistress (2)

IMS Sukórya’s Joy, Cerulean Ocean, 1340 Gradakhmath 4

At first, we thought it was a whale.

Looking back, you may not understand our mistake. We did have submarines in our time, after all; indeed, Joy had passed a pair leaving Kanatai Bay, at dock in the port of Sukórya. But those early submarines still looked like ships; lean, low-slung ships with a cut-down superstructure, but still ships, with bridges, deck guns, and the slashing shapes of their dazzle paintwork.

Joy was moving slowly south and east in the dawn light, under just enough power to keep steerage way. After the message we had received, the whole crew were on shift for the rendezvous in anticipation of whatever might happen next, and the passengers – from Sybarite to steerage – were lining the rails. (Passengers were not to be informed of our change in course, so naturally the entire ship had figured out something was going on over esklav and pastries.) And then she came, broaching about eight hundred yards off our port bow. A long dark shape in the mist, black and rubbery skin glistening, still awash but for its humped back.

It was big, bigger than any whale we’d seen or dreamed, but what else could it have been? Not the promised support, that was for certain.

Until I stepped out on the bridge wing and trained my glasses on the whale, only to spy men scrambling out of the “hump”. I confess it took me a few moments to realize that one of them was carrying a signal lamp.

…message repeats – esseldár’s champion to sukórya’s joy, mariatis, maintain course and speed and prepare to receive breeches buoy, commodore teresu will provide details in person…

Commodore Teresu?

– Tanis Ophris, second officer