|This article, Sanghelios-class Dreadnaught, was written by Ajax 013. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.|
The Sanghelios-class Dreadnaught is a a monstrous classification of warship, utilised by the Republic as their greatest weapon, and an instrument of their will. Originally built by their forefathers millennia earlier to battle the San'Shyuum's attempts to convert them, it now battles the descendants of their ancient foe, throwing the Covenant back to the darkness they came from.
The original Sanghelios-class Dreadnought was a final weapon of desperation, built in secret during the War Of Beginnings. Arbiter Gorre 'Refum, charged with fighting the San'Shyuum, and their Dreadnought, had grown desperate after numerous defeats to them, and began to construct a weapon of incomparable power. Using ancient secrets, pillaged from holy sites, and the greatest shipwrights, he began to construct a weapon in secret, hoping to use it to finally stop the San'Shyuum. Construction began in a location hidden far from prying eyes, known to none but a few trusted souls. The newest armour, the newest technology were used, but proved too complicated. It was taking far longer than expected to finish, and casualties mounted. The heresies involved in the construction of the ship also caused great consternation for those involved too.
However, it was all too late. The Council went above the Arbiter's head and sued for peace. With the the War ending before the ship could be finished, Arbiter Refum hid far from prying eyes. Everything related to the ship, all it's schematics, it's technologies, all of them, were hidden, and everything locked in the ship's database, using a biometric lock that meant only a Sangheili could unlock it's secrets.
Refum took the secret of it to his grave, and the ship was lost. Future generations considered it a myth, a legend, a fool's errand. When the Schism rocked Sangheili society, and their people were splintered by religious divisions, and the ambitions of warlords, the Swords of Sanghelios needed an advantage. Historian and Archaeologist, El'kas 'Vadum, thought it more than just a myth, and realised such a weapon could empower his allies in the Sword. He followed the trail of hints, clues, and half-scrawled directions. Eventually, after the Battle of Asderon, he secured a fractured star map that allowed him to find the ship. He and a small crew of Sword warriors journeyed to wilderness space at the edge of Sangheili territory and found it, hidden deep within a nebula. Exploring the unfinished hulk, they reactivated the ancient machine, and were confronted by a message left by Arbiter 'Refum.
- "If you have found this brother, and unlocked the secrets within, know that this was our last act of defiance. A fortress dedicated to spite and heresy. This was our one last curse against the San'Shyuum"
- ―Arbiter Refum
This small team reported their findings to the Arbiter, and Arbiter alone, and began on finishing the ancient work, bringing the ship back online. Unfortunately the ship was never finished by Created Crisis, and was not returned to operational capabilities until several years after, with Thel putting significant funds into bringing it back to it's glory.
Nearing completion, its information had finally leaked. A former Warlord of the Storm rallied a force of his loyalists, and a band of Kig-Yar pirates, and headed to the secret dock, hoping to capture the ship for himself. The Arbiter raced to it in his fastest warship, hoping to beat them there, and escape with it. With the ship mostly finished, Thel 'Vadam took the ship as his flagship. Reviewing the message from his predecessor, he named it Ancient Curse and flew it out of the nebula, directly into the enemy fleet. It opened the fight by immediately cutting the warlord's ship in two, and then proceeded to batter the fleet into submission, forcing them to flee. Rejoining his fleet, he now christened it as the head of the Sword's fleet. Returning to Sanghelios with his prize, he used the manufacturing information contained on the ship to finalize the construction of Ancient Curse and began to construct more, with hopes of them leading the Swords against their enemies. The ship was furnished with the newest technology used by the Swords, and two more were laid down, though they were take several years to finish.
The ship was designed in a time that predates modern Covenant aesthetics, a ship wholly alien to modern Sangheili. The ship is roughly T shaped, with a long thin prow, and at the rear of the ship this billows out into a winged section, holding the engines. bridge, the majority of the reactors and the crew complement.
The ship's forward prow is heavily armoured, and contains numerous defence batteries, making it a threat in a broadside engagement. Along the dorsal edge of the the prow of the ship is the channel for the main gun. ON the rearward structure it contains turreted weapon mounts, and numerous crew bays and hangars for carrying forces into battle.
When it comes to armament, the Sanghelios-class is a step beyond anything yet seen. It carries a mighty broadside of cannons, using 27 cannons on each broadside, each grouped into batteries of 3. These are supported by other plasma cannon batteries mounted around the gunwale and main hull, providing a heavy base of fire for any that come close. There's some 33 cannons here, some arranged into batteries of 3, others in turret mounted, allowing for a mixture of frightening fire power, and allowing it to focus fire quite easily.
Augmenting these are the Republic's own additions to the armament, the Heavy Plasma Cannon. There are 8 turret mounts, each carrying a pair of heavy cannons. These guns take time to charge up, but release a torrent of plasma torpedoes capable of gutting a warship. It has 8 on the upper surface, and 8 on the lower, and can focus almost all of them onto a frontal target.
Supporting these, it has over a hundred pulse laser turrets, used to ward off smaller warships hoping to exploit it's size. These guns are pinpricks against a larger target, but in numbers can cause significant damage. It also has hundreds of smaller point defence cannons, allowing the ship to throw up a wall of flak to defend itself in the event of attacks by fighters. These are especially focused close it it's main gun, engines, and ship bays.
It's primary ship-to-ship weapons are its trio of heavy energy projectors. Each is a powerful particle cannon capable of bisecting a cruiser without much thought. While energy intensive, the are deadly at range and up close. The ship mounts one on each side of the main hull with limited traverse, and a single one underneath it, mounted in line with it's own gravity well, allowing it bombard targets from orbit.
Its final weapon is the most feared. Named the particle lance, this cannon uses six energy projectors linked in a circle, surrounding a seventh in the centre. Before firing, the crew acquire a firing solution, focusing the weapon for maximum damage, all seven beams converging on a single point. The focused power of these weapons, focused on a single point, have two affects on enemy starships. The first is to create a focused beam that punches a hole clean through. The second is to vaporize armour so quickly that it exceeds the speed of sound, the armour violently exploding. Such shots are powerful enough to outright destroy most enemy capital ships, even might Assault Carriers. However, the weapon is so finely turned that as well as the long charge up period, it also has to focus on a target, a difficult measure if both the ship and it's prey are moving. It's also devastating against stationary orbital defences, and even more deadly against ground installations, razing whole continents.
The Act of Defiance could not be completed with a particle lance. Instead, the engineers built an extremely large and powerful ion cannon, modelled on smaller experiments. The weapon was incapable of destroying foes in a single hit, but it's focused beam could cause significant damage to a target, and cause massive electromagnetic fallout, stripping the shields of whole squadrons in a single firing.
Armour And Shielding
For the dreadnought's armour, no expense was spared. IF it was to deliver such punishment, it must be able to sustain it too. It was built on a massive alloyed frame, using super-forged alloys, tough enough to survive impacts, but also flexible enough to not snap when the ship moves. Onto this it's massive armour was built. The outer layer was originally made of layers of metallic alloys, but few armour pieces had been placed. This was instead replaced by nano-laminate armour fresh from Republic forges. This armour was thrice consecrated by priests, and inscribed with sigils to gift it strength. These were layered together, with sheets of super-tough ceramics in-between. This is reinforced by shock absorbing gel beds, that catch spalling and disperse the force of impact. Under this is it's environmental layer, using a pressure hull. This pressure hull maintains internal pressure and environmental settings, and has specialised layers of coating, protecting the crew against radiation. It is riddled with ancillaries carrying a liquid material under pressure. As soon as the pressure eases, such as when it flows into a hull break, it begins to foam into a hardened material, blocking hull breaches.
Due to it's massive size, it is more vulnerable that any ship to threat. To this measure, it's outer armour is augmented to reactive sheaths, using layers of light alloys that contain pockets filled with plasma. When penetrating by high velocity munitions, or plasma fire, these pockets ignite, creating a counter explosion. Cheap and expendable, these plates allow it to shrug off heavy attacks.
As thick as the armour is, it is still unable to stop super-massive attacks, such as heavy MAC rounds, on energy projector fire. To this end, it allows portions of the armour plate to float flexibly upon the frame, primary resting against massive Gravitational Buffers. These are modelled on the anti-gravity drives used on Covenant ground vehicles, and are mounted on shock absorbing armatures. When impacted, gravity fights back, reducing the impact and dispersing the force.
The ship uses a heavy shield to protect itself from harm, projecting a form fitting shield that allows it to protect itself without rendering itself vulnerable. The shielding is heavily reinforced, with multiple armoured emitters and redundancies in their systems so they cannot be easily felled.
Much of it's armour and shielding is focused on the long prow, protecting it's armour nose as it cuts through the enemies of the republic. There's also reinforcement around the firing trench for the particle lance, and around the gravity well and central tower where it mounts the guns and bridge.
At the time of it's original construction, the ship was fitted with what was then cutting-edge. However, the Republic made substantial effort to upgrade them to modern standards.
The ship's main sensor is a massive network of high-impulse RADARS, designed for all round view. These are divided either into fire control, radars, mounted close to weapon systems to function as a targeting sensor, or as a long range sensor for navigation and target detection. These RADAR types are referred to as 'Auspex' sensors, as used in the Covenant. These have an excellent image resolution and high range, giving them the edge in any gunfight.
In addition to it's RADAR sensors, it also has a number of optical and thermal sensors. These are usually mounted in clusters, with short range sensors being used to detect and track targets, and longer ranged telescopes to pick up and track targets at range, being especially useful for picking out threats and engaging them.
Lastly, it possess an uncommon design of sensor, only repeated on the Judgement-class Man O' War. This sensor relies on creating a stable slipspace anomaly on the ship, and maintained in a controlled fashion. These constantly scans within slipspace for gravitational fluctuations, something obvious in slipspace thanks to it's peculiar physics, but not so in real-space. Using this, it can accurately track ships over massive distances, and even ascertain their class and compliment. While the Judgement-class only has the one, the Sanghelios-class has four, giving it incredible accuracy across long distances, and all-round threat tracking. However, as incredible as these sensors are, they require constant maintenance, and must be routinely tuned.
Reactors and Engines
Befitting their role, the Sanghelios-class carries a sizeable complement with it, with a strong mixture of air-power and warriors. In it's role as a fleet command ship, it carries a sizeable number of fighters and bombers for space engagements.
The backbone of this complement is it's main fighter squadrons, with 10 squadrons of Seraph-class Fighters, and 10 squadrons of Tengu-class fighters. The Seraph serves as interceptor and escort, and while it has limited range, its excellent on both offence and defence against other craft. The Tengu is a high-power multi-role fighter, excelling at interception roles, and at interdiction, striking at enemy starships. It's used to strike a variety of targets with impunity.
In support of these, it has 8 squadrons of Ophan-class Heavy Fighters. Long range fighters, they have their own on-board slipspace drive and possess an abundance of weapons allowing it to attack starships as well as defending crafts, with enough armour and shielding to punch through. As a final threat, it has a number of I-113 Archangel interdictor squadrons. These have a short-range slipspace drive and are designed to assault enemy starships with a heavy payload of bombs.
For ground operations, the ship carries a entire legion, and their respective armour, aircraft, and supplies. Housed aboard the ship, it has all the facilities to rearm, resupply and deploy them, with launch bays for dropships, and bays to fire drop pods, with numerous Type-55 IBC single man pods, and Type-55 SBC 4 man pods. IT also has a number of T-54 MDC for mass deploying troops. At the rear of the ship it has an open bay, similar to the Venerator-class Assault Carrier, allowing smaller vessels to dock. It can dock a total of four Templar-class Corvettes at a time, allowing for resupply and repair. These ships can then protect their mothership, and deploy forces to the ground.
The complement on each Sanghelios-class differs slightly from the next. For instance, on board the Ancient Curse, it houses the Falrok Legion, roughly translated as 'honour bound', a name derived from the closest a guardians and companions of Arbiters past. They also go by the name of 'Arbiter's Own', and form one of the most elite legions in the Republic.
Ships of the Line
- Ancient Curse: The first of the class, and mightiest ship in the Republic fleet. It's arrival is heralded by the Arbiter's enemies with despair and fear, as the ship has claimed countless foes. The flagship of the Republic, and ancient beyond measure, the ship is praised by the Republic.
- Merciless Fate: The second ship to be finished. While the Curse was fitted with a Forerunner reactor, the Merciless Fate instead was fitted with a power plant of Sangheili design, which while less efficient allowed it to be as deadly. The ship was commanded by R'Tas Vadum during his years as a Fleet Master second only to the Arbiter.
- Act of Defiance: The last to be finished, construction was delayed by material shortages, and the components needed to create the particle lance were unavailable. To expedite the creation of the ship, it used sub-reactors modelled on Forerunner design, improving the efficiency of it's main reactor, and it used sensor arrays salvaged from a Forerunner vessel. Instead of the Particle Lance, it instead used a weapon of Sangheili design, using a focused Ion Weapon, which while not as deadly proved, it proved to be much more pernicious.