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Clear Air Turbulence (or CAT) was a Hronish armoured-assault ship. It was used by Kraiklyn's Free Company in the early years of the Idiran-Culture War.[1]

Description[edit | edit source]

Structure[edit | edit source]

Clear Air Turbulence had a streamlined hull. It was 100 metres long, 20 metres wide, and 15 metres high, not including the ten metre high tail at the stern. The warp units were placed on either side of the hull in streamlined pods and connected by stubby wings. Thin sweptback flying pylons extended from the nose.[2]

Control systems[edit | edit source]

The computer was non-sentient during Kraiklyn's ownership.[1] Kraiklyn maintained control of the ship by an identity finger ring and voice recognition.[2]

Propulsion[edit | edit source]

Sprint fusion motors were mounted in the tail, with a lift engine in the nose for flight in atmospheres and gravity wells.[2]

By Kraiklyn's time the ship's warp units could safely make 1.4 standard light-years per day; Kraiklyn claimed they were capable of 1.2k c in an emergency.[2]

Tactical systems[edit | edit source]

In the service of Kraiklyn's Free Company, CAT was armed with a bow and a number of secondary lasers, effectors, and could drop ordnance on ground targets.[1]

History[edit | edit source]

Early History[edit | edit source]

Clear Air Turbulence was built during the later Hronish dynasties for ruggedness and reliability rather than performance. By the Idiran-Culture War it had seen centuries of service with dozens of owners.[1]

Kraiklyn's Free Company[edit | edit source]

Kraiklyn claimed to have won the ship in a Damage game just prior to the Idiran-Culture War. It became the base for Kraiklyn's Free Company.[1]

Sometime before the raid on the Temple of Light, the bow laser was destroyed after an attempt to alter its wavelength pattern.[1]

Mipp piloted CAT during the unsuccessful raid on the Temple of Light on Marjoin. The ship provided a diversion while the rest of the Company landed by shuttle.[1]

The ship then carried the Company to Vavatch Orbital. The Company intended to raid the Megaship Olmedreca for a replacement bow laser. CAT could not deliver the Company to the target. The Orbital had enough mass to make using warp units risky, and on fusion motors the Hub's automated defences would interpret the ship as a threat. The ship was left unmanned and the shuttle used instead. However, when the raid was aborted because Olmedreca crashed into an iceberg most of the Company was left stranded when the shuttle, piloted by a distraught Mipp, only rescued Horza.[2] Kraiklyn remotely ordered CAT to pick up the rest of the Company on its warp units. The ship made the pick up but damaged its warp units in the process.

The Ends of Invention[edit | edit source]

CAT made its way to Evanauth, where it docked with The Ends of Invention in Smallbay 27492 for repairs.[3] The Company managed to acquire a new bow laser and have it installed during repairs. Unaha-Closp was assigned to help repair the ship.[4]

Horza, masquerading as Kraiklyn, rejoined the ship as repairs were completed and ordered an immediate departure to escape the Culture agents pursuing him. However the agents disrupted the normal procedure. Instead of being towed out CAT made a self-powered exit through the GSV's interior causing property damage and personnel casualties.[4]

The ship was damaged during the escape and it became apparent it needed another thorough overhaul. Wubslin spent the journey from Vavatch to Schar's World effecting minimally effective repairs.[5]

Schar's World[edit | edit source]

The ship set down 200 metres from the Command System's entrance. CAT was left unmanned when the Company descended into the tunnels to capture a Culture Mind. If the ship's fusion motors had been functioning properly and its mass sensor had enough range, somebody may have stayed behind and helped the subterranean team track the Mind.[5] CAT's mass sensor was rigged into a portable unit by Wubslin and taken into the tunnels.[6]

Before leaving Horza programmed CAT's lasers to dissuade and then attack approaching persons whose suit did not identify them as part of the Company. The reprogramming also allowed anybody with just Kraiklyn's identity ring to assume control of the ship, instead of requiring audio identification as well. This meant if Horza was killed the Company could still escape the planet.[6]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 Consider Phlebas, chapter 4
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Consider Phlebas, chapter 5
  3. Consider Phlebas, chapter 7
  4. 4.0 4.1 Consider Phlebas, chapter 8
  5. 5.0 5.1 Consider Phlebas, chapter 9
  6. 6.0 6.1 Consider Phlebas, chapter 10
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