The Aquarian Shipbuilding Corporation's Vortex is a rare but fearsome beast. Originally designed as a military blockade runner, it combines an excellent cargo carrying capacity with the speed and muscle to cope with most trouble it may encounter. With the cooling of the sector wars some of these ships have been demobilised and made available to the private market (with a few of their more lethal features removed, but many desirable ones still in place).
Having a military heritage, they won't feature in any glossy ship brochures or magazines of beautiful craft, but they have a heart of titanium and an ass of finest iron. They are all about function over form, and they combine a powerful punch, a heavy hauling ability and many advanced features which cannot be found in any other ship available on the civilian market.
- AI control - integral to each Vortex is its Military AI Construct, or MAC for short. This is the vessels co-pilot, supervisor and assistant. It oversees the automated systems, plus deals with running the general ship systems.
- Multibay cargo system - specifically designed for this ship (and the forerunner of the recent civilian Hyper Cargo system), the multibay essentially gives the ship five distinct cargo bays of 30t each. Whilst only one is "physically" present at a time, they can be switched both in-flight and whilst docked allowing their content to be accessed and items loaded or unloaded. Due to the specialised nature of their workings, neither the civilian Hyper Cargo system nor passenger berths are compatible with the system.
- Missile bays - the Vortex features five distinct missile bays, each with five pylons. These are switchable both in-flight and whilst docked, and the current one will be auto-switched to the next equipped bay by the MAC should all items in the current bay be expended.
- Regeneration - making use of the military grade version of the well-known ASC repair nanobots, under the supervision of the MAC the Vortex can regenerate most damage that may result from combat.
- Defense systems - from its military history, the Vortex features a missile defense screen in the form of a hull-mounted microwave cannon. Due to the difficulty in targetting and aiming this (especially whilst in combat), it is entirely controlled by the MAC. The system will also auto-link to the ships ECM systems if fitted, as a further line of defense.
- Reflective plating - designed as a counter-measure for target-locking systems, this can cause attacking vessels problems by disrupting their target lock onto the vessel.
- Regenerative fuel injection - the fuel injection systems are designed to capture any unburned fuel and return it to the ships tanks. As a result the ship can run under injection for much longer than similar craft.
- Emergency micro-jumping - if energy is drained to a critical level during combat (without destroying the ship completely) and if there is even a little fuel available, the MAC will attempt an in-system witchspace micro-jump to remove the ship from the immediate danger area.
These craft were not produced in large numbers, and many of those are either still in military service or have been lost to combat. But they do appear in civilian hands (as traders, bounty hunters or combinations of the two), plus they are sometimes used by Galcop security forces. It is also not unknown for privateers to use these formidable vessels when they can lay their hands on them.
Their normal price tag is around 2 million credits, and they usually only appear in the most high-tech (level 12+) systems. But then only extremely rarely...
The bay switching screen is accessed by going from the manifest screen to the marketplace screen (F5-F8 whilst docked, F5-F5-F8 whilst in flight). When docked the cargo bay screen is displayed by default, whilst in-flight the missile bay screen is instead (they can be reached from one another). To aid usability the time acceleration factor is used to flow things down whilst the screen is open in-flight.
The missile bays can also be cycled through by using the "select next missile bay" item on the equipment screen (to aid in rapidly equipping the bays). And if the final pylon is used whilst in-flight, the MAC will automatically select the next bay with equipment in it so leave the pilot to concentrate on combat and flying.
All other items are automatically handled by the MAC, and do not require any intervention from the Commander.
This OXP is not compatible with HyperCargo or the system part of Repair Bots.
It also slightly redefines the trunk passenger berth equipment to allow them to be blocked-out from fitting to the ship. This should not cause an issue, but is included here for information and reference.
- - = = Download Vortex OXP here = = - -
With thanks to the Commanders who test-pilotted her during the trials. If you could now delete the test package, and if you wish replace it with the release version above.
An example save game is included in the OXP for those who want to try before they start saving