Chapter 2602: City Wall In Space
One of the most dangerous aspects about space battles was the lack of cover.
Unlike on the surface of a planet where hills, valleys, urban structures and man-made fortifications could easily provide combatants protection against attacks, in most parts of space there was nothing but vacuum.
These empty pockets of spacetime contained nothing aside from errant space dust and background radiation.
Suffice to say, it was impossible for mechs and ships to take cover behind infinitesimally small bits of matter and incorporeal light.
Aside from battles that took place in the orbit of a satellite or in the middle of an asteroid belt, a lot of battles devolved into straightforward slugfests.
With an extremely simple three-dimensional battlefield, there were only so many tactics that enemies could deploy.
One of the most problematic threats that a fleet could face was getting sieged by an onslaught of long-ranged attacks.
While kinetic weapons and other physical weapons tended to be horribly inaccurate due to the enormous ranges involved, the same did not necessarily apply directed energy weapons.
Positron weapons fired destructive beams of antimatter particles at relativistic speeds, which was pretty fast.
Laser weapons were even more ridiculous as their damage output traveled at the speed of light!
When a laser beam traversed 300,000,000 meters a second, it became viable to snipe at distant targets at such ranges!
In practice, the effective range of laser weapons and positron weapons was not that extreme.
The inherent manufacturing and design flaws of laser weapons and the instability of mechs as a firing platform meant that accuracy at such ranges simply couldn\'t be guaranteed.
Just a minute jerk or vibration could easily cause a laser beam to miss a target by several kilometers or even more.
The ever-present threat of getting attacked from extreme ranges also led to a vigorous development of ECM and interference technology.
Perhaps they weren\'t very effective at fooling the sensors of attackers up close, but their effect was quite good at such extreme distances!
Therefore, the effective range of distant sieging attacks was a lot shorter than everyone initially thought.
Yet even if all of these complicated factors basically made it impossible to snipe small and difficult-to-hit mechs from an extreme distance, ships were not as fortunate!
Ves thought about all of the non-combat sub-capital ships the Larkinson Clan had acquired.
These ranged from cargo haulers, logistical support vessels and even a handful of civilian passenger vessels that provided some of the comforts of ark ships to the clan\'s civilian population.
While they were cheap and fairly mobile, they were much larger than mechs.
That made them very easy targets to snipe from afar.
No matter how fast they could accelerate in space, their lumbering forms and the difficulty for ships to overcome their own inertia in order to change direction meant that they were relatively easy targets!
How could the Larkinson Clan defend against this kind of threat
This was what Vivian Tsai wanted to solve.
When we look at our current fleet composition, it is very much split in two. She explained as she summoned the familiar projection of their ship roster.
As you can see, we boast a good amount of combat carriers that can take a hefty beating, especially if they rotate their hulls in order to disperse incoming attacks over a wider surface area.
Our civilian ships are not as well-endowed.
Their relatively thin hulls mean that they can easily be carved apart even if they employ the same trick.
Ves sat back as he silently summoned Bygul and stroked the electronic cat\'s back.
The virtual avatar responded just like a real cat and squinted his eyes in pleasure.
I do admit that our civilian vessels are horribly vulnerable against sieging attacks. Ves remarked.
We\'ll probably try to obtain more robust vessels once we reach the Red Ocean, but that is years away.
That is one of the reasons why my team and I came up with the Gorgoneion concept.
Her wall configuration can form an oval-shaped curved wall that stretches at least three kilometers wide.
While this defensive configuration cannot provide complete protection for over a hundred ships, it is still good enough to provide critical cover for our most vulnerable and crucial starships.
In fact, you can even hide the Spirit of Bentheim behind the Gorgoneion!
Ves chuckled as he tickled Bygul\'s chin.
That won\'t be necessary.
Back when I ordered the ship, I specifically chose a ship class that possessed adequate defensive capabilities.
With her resilient structure, adequate hull armor and powerful shield generators, she can take care of herself.
It\'s best to let a ship like the Gorgoneion cover the more vulnerable ships of our fleet.
My thoughts exactly. Vivian gleamed with pride.
Adding the Gorgoneion to our fleet presents us with additional options that we did not have before.
While we can rely on the defenses of our combat carriers and the Spirit of Bentheim to withstand damage in battle, the value provided by the Gorgoneion in many battle situations is incomparable.
The Gorgoneion was but the first of many ship concepts she came up with that she had always dreamed of realizing.
Now that she had joined the Larkinson Clan, she eagerly wished to shape its fleet according to her own vision!
Ves did not mind Vivian\'s ambition.
As long as her ship designs were good enough, he had no qualms about adopting her work.
They still needed to make sense, though.
Setting up a giant wall in space is not enough, Miss Tsai.
The enemies the Gorgoneion is designed to face will not cease their attacks just because they have to drill through a giant wall.
We need to hit back at them.
What kind of facilities can this ship provide to our mechs
Well, just like the Spirit of Bentheim, the Gorgoneion boasts 80 bunkers when she is in her normal travel configuration.
I know it doesn\'t sound very impressive, but that is the limit of what I can add to her exterior without compromising her transformation capabilities.
The complex hull and internal layout needed to make the Gorgoneion transformable took up a lot of space that could have been devoted to additional bunkers.
To Ves, this was a shame because it meant that the Gorgoneion didn\'t possess as much teeth during ordinary travel.
The shipwright pointed at the projection of the wall configuration, causing over a hundred dots to light up in green.
Don\'t worry, though.
The story is different when she is in her wall configuration.
Through some clever mechanical shifts, the Gorgoneion is able to deploy additional bunkers, thereby offering excellent protection to up to 160 artillery mechs!
That sounds better.
Ves could scarcely imagine the sight of 160 Transcendent Punishers hunkered inside protective bunkers scattered across the surface of the wall.
The heavy artillery mechs outputted at least six times as much damage as a typical rifleman mech.
In practice, the actual damage output was even higher as the high firing rates and heavy caliber of heavy artillery mechs led to a qualitative improvement, especially if they were deployed in larger numbers!
That\'s not all. Vivian grinned and pointed at the openings or gun ports spread throughout the wall.
There are 400 gun ports where ranged mechs can fire their weapons while exposing just a fraction of their relatively fragile frames.
If that is not enough, you can place more than a thousand mechs at the crenellations at the edge of the wall configuration.
Due to the curved shape of the wall, these edge positions are best suited to deal against flanking attackers.
All in all, the Gorgoneion offered much better cover and firing positions to ranged mechs than the Spirit of Bentheim ever could.
This made sense since the former was a ship built for combat while the latter was just a factory ship with some self-defense capabilities.
Their roles were completely different.
The various benefits provided by the Gorgoneion already convinced Ves of the idea.
There were just a couple of caveats that caused him to pause.
How good is her mobility exactly He asked.
The Gorgoneion is a fleet carrier with a distinct emphasis towards defense.
In her travel configuration, her acceleration is a touch weaker than that of the Spirit of Bentheim.
While she actually possesses more powerful thrusters and such, her mass is significantly greater due to her greater tonnage.
However, I have made sure to keep her small enough to make sure her mobility is still adequate enough to keep up with the fleet.
While Ves was not entirely satisfied with that, he supposed there was little other choice for a ship of this kind.
The Gorgoneion was very different from the Antonio Cross.
The former was able to take a beating while the latter excelled at moving rapidly through space.
And her FTL capabilities
She has room for two FTL drives.
I\'m sorry to say that she cannot fit any third drive.
At a total length of 2.5 kilometers in her travel configuration, much of her internal volume is already taken up by her hull armor, her transformation components, her mech bays and so on.
Adding a third FTL drive into the mix will excessively reduce the other functions of the fleet carrier.
I doubt you want to reduce her mech capacity any further.
For a fleet carrier that is 2.5 kilometers long, a total capacity of just 500 mechs is on the lower end I think.
Vivian did not look ashamed at this.
To be fair, the Gorgoneion is not a pure fleet carrier like the Hemmington Cross.
She also performs the role of a defensive bulwark, and I think that our fleet could use that more than carrying a couple of hundred extra mechs.
You\'re right. Ves reluctantly nodded.
I\'m just disappointed that we won\'t be able to bring as much of our existing mechs from the Milky Way to the Red Ocean.
With fewer mechs at the start of our exploration in the dwarf galaxy, we will have to waste additional time, resources and effort to rebuild our mech lineup.
The shipwright tapped at the cargo holds of the Gorgoneion.
It\'s not as bad as you think, sir.
The mech capacity of the Gorgoneion is not exact.
You can squeeze a couple of dozen more mechs if you are willing to sacrifice some space elsewhere.
More importantly, mech capacity in this case refers to how many combat-ready machines the fleet carrier is able to carry.
If you don\'t care about making sure her mechs are able to deploy in a short amount of time, you can pack up all of the mechs and fill her mech stables, hangar bays and even cargo bays with containers filled with disassembled and compacted mechs.
If we do this, the Gorgoneion can hold up to double the amount of mechs!
That sounded a lot better.
Ves softened up a little.
It didn\'t matter if the mechs needed to be reassembled first before they were ready for battle.
He just wanted to bring as many mechs as possible to the Red Ocean.
Since the star systems that held the beyonder gates were heavily guarded by the Big Two, security was not an issue.
Neither the MTA nor the CFA allowed any dangerous elements to threaten the incredibly expensive beyonder gates!
As a result, the Larkinson Clan could safely pack up all of their mechs in order to make room for more.
This not only applied to the Gorgoneion, but also the Spirit of Bentheim and any other capital ship with cargo space!
I approve of the Gorgoneion. Ves smiled as Bygul turned his body around to present his belly for a rub.
I\'d like for you to flesh out this concept into a complete design.
Make sure to regularly consult Major Verle and some of the other stakeholders in the clan.
Adding a capital ship to our fleet is a big decision, so you need to make sure that you are able to sell the Gorgoneion to your fellow Larkinsons.
The final decision rests with me, but it would be nice if you have obtained broad support from the Larkinson Assembly.
I believe in the Gorgoneion design.
I will make sure the others will believe in her as well.
I have a suggestion for that.
Right now, the sketches of the Gorgoneion look a little plain.
You should spice up her appearance in order to increase her marketability.
You can do a lot with the surface of the Gorgoneion when she is in her wall configuration.
Vivian looked thoughtful.
You may be onto something, sir.
Oh, I almost forgot to ask.
How much does the Gorgoneion cost
If you want to equip her with 2 FTL drives at the start and equip her with adequate hull plating, then we will probably have to spend at least 3.2 trillion credits to commission a shipbuilding company to construct the Gorgoneion.
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