"Any sign of them yet?"
"No B'Aloh, and backup communications and sensors are working at optimal efficiency. Either they're out of range, they've given up on us, or both."
Kor'Vre'Tau'B'Aloh began to worry. She and her wing-mates had been flying continuously for nearly two rotaa now, and had still not been able to make contact with any search and rescue missions that had been sent to retrieve them. And as they would be long since considered overdue by now, there must surely have been some effort made.
B'Aloh sighed. Everything had gone wrong. This was supposed to be a simple manoeuvre exercise, performed while their parent Gal'eath was collecting information about an electromagnetic celestial phenomena nearby. Before she or any of her squadron knew it the phenomena had sent a surge of energy that had overloaded most of the systems on-board her Barracuda. And by the time the backup systems had come online, there was just her and her squadron, with no trace of the fleet to be found.
Looking back, B'Aloh began to wonder if the surge had truly been a freak occurrence. Could some other force have controlled and directed it? B'Aloh had seen enough of this galaxy to know that anything was possible. If it was, why was it done? Was it a weapon? If so who had employed it? The Gue'La? The Ar'Cea? The technology required for such a feat seemed out of the reach of the Be'gel, but perhaps they had salvaged it from somewhere else...
Perhaps the phenomena could even be some sort of creature, and the surge was a way of trapping prey. In either instance B'Aloh feared for the rest of the fleet, if they had been captured, or worse...
B'Aloh was taken out of her thoughts by a sudden sharp beeping noise. Examining her instrument panel showed that the sound was a warning that the Barracuda's life-support was approaching yellow level. The situation was now starting to get dire. The SX-06 Barracuda was a short-range interceptor, it was not intended for extended independent operations. Even if she and her squadron could find somewhere to land, which they would need to do soon, the emergency power-cell and supply cache in the Barracuda's cockpit pod could only sustain them for a kai'rotaa at most, and the fleet may never find them again if they were presumed dead.
"Kor'Vre!" One of B'Aloh's wing-mates chimed in over the comms, "I'm registering a beacon on the planet we're passing over! It's definitely Tau in origin, though it's faint and very sporadic. Looks like an old supply depot."
"I see it Kor'Ui. All units, there seems to be a friendly facility on the world below us. I'm ordering an emergency landing nearby it, there might be something there we can use to contact the fleet, or at least survive for a while. Transmitting co-ordinates of the beacon's source and the designated landing site, as well as optimal descent vectors. Check HUDs for confirmation. Good fortune, this could get rough."
B'Aloh checked the cockpit restraints, and brought her Barracuda into a dive... Hopefully that was a good first attempt at story-based background.
Welcome to the new year everyone! I apologise for the lack of activity, various events in real life, as well as a new-found addiction to Diablo III
, have left me with little time for the hobby. However, now I have found a break and have had time to put the new camera I got for Christmas to the test. I have also developed an inventive new solution to an old problem.
A while before I mentioned I had much difficulty mounting my BFG ships on my stands. The main problem is, due to strange weighting and large-ish stand-holes, the models do not sit level on their stands. This is easily fixed with some blue-tack on escorts (well, Orcas at least), but the capital ships have proven far more troublesome. My first attempts involved re-enforcing the stand poking-bit (that fits into the hole on the model) with green-stuff, but this proved ineffectual. It was then though, that I first came up with the bright idea of gluing four long metal pieces (made here using the ship's gun turret sprues) in place around the stand's top to provide a strong level base that the ship could rest on.
The result is an elegant solution I am calling the (patented) 'Kakapo Kross'(TM). You can see it here for yourself:
And here with the Merchant class starship placed on top:
It will only likely stabilize smaller capital ships like the Merchant, but it is nonetheless a definitive step forward in solving my BFG stand troubles! Now if only I can find a way to stabilize the Explorers...
Another exciting thing happened just today. A squadron of Barracudas, long thought lost in the warp (otherwise known as the vacuum cleaner dustbin), was miraculously discovered in amongst my bits-box. The pilots are currently being debriefed before their triumphant return to their carrier. I also thought they deserved to have some background written on the adventures they might have had, the first part of which can be seen above.
With the stand issue solved (for now), and a fancy new camera, I can finally write up the next part in my Ships of the Kor'vattra series. Vessels of the Kor'vattra Part 3: Il'fannor
The I'lfannor or Merchant class of starship has never had a particularly lucky life. In recent times it has been largely replaced in the fleets of most first sphere septs by the faster and more modern Emissary class, which fulfils much of the same roles, however despite this the Il'fannor nonetheless remains a common site in Tau space, especially on the fringes of the empire, where many colonies have yet to receive any Emissaries, or the spare parts and other resources needed to maintain them. In more remote areas such as these, the Il'fannor's versatility and reliability ensure that it is a much valued asset and that Il'fannors are fondly thought of by the Kor'vre that captain them.
The Il'fannor began life as an intended replacement to the larger Gal'leath, which was proving too expensive to produce in the face of wide-scale war with the Orks. The Il'fannor's drives were able to match and even exceed the Gal'leath's in speed, while being small enough to mount in a more compact and economical hull.
The new Il'fannors however ended up working alongside the Gal'leaths, often providing advancing under the cover of attack craft launched from the Gal'leaths, until they were in optimal range of the enemy. The cheaper cost of maintaining them however meant they quickly supplanted the Gal'leath as the backbone of the Tau military fleets. This cheaper cost, as well as the versatility offered by the modular system used by Kor'vattra ships, also resulted in a plethora of variants of the Il'fannor, including escort carriers, heavy gun-boats, Ion cannon platforms, and the famous missile cruiser variant.
Unfortunately despite it's strengths the Il'fannor was not as adept at warfare as a dedicated warship, and like the Gal'leath before it, conflict proved to mark the end of the Il'fannor's life as a ship-of-the-line. Rather than Orks however, the Il'fannor's fate was sealed by a new enemy: humanity.
When the Damocles Gulf Crusade rolled into Tau space, the Il'fannor flotillas were swept aside by the formations of the Imperial Navy, in no small part due to the light hull plating and extremely fragile internal structure of early Il'fannors, and resources were shifted from Il'fannor variant production to the development of the Lar'shi and Kir'quath classes. Today, the only Il'fannor variant loadout remaining in service is the 'interdictor' variant, with twin ion cannons in place of it's gravitic hooks. Data and design features from the missile carrier Il'fannor variant would however be later used by the Fio on Bork'an to produce the gravitic-launcher armed Bork'an variant Gal'leath.
Today, the Il'fannor mostly serves as a cargo hauler, though it is not uncommon to see Il'fannor class starships acting in similar roles to the class's 'bigger brother' the Gal'leath, such as hospital ships, science vessels, mining ships and even colony transports. The Il'fannor was designed from the start as a ship that could function in combat however, and so the Il'fannor also sees action in fleet engagements, often providing additional close-in firepower for Gal'leaths, or protecting freight convoys. The fact that Il'fannors are used as both freighters and warships also allows them to function as effective 'Q-ships', appearing as defenceless transports before surprising bandits with their considerable firepower.
An interesting note is that the Il'fannor's weapon placement means that, unlike Imperial cruisers, most of it's firepower is concentrated towards the front of the ship. This means that in battle Il'fannors will tend to 'strafe' their targets, as opposed to the 'orbit' attack favoured by most Imperial cruiser classes.
One of the most important tasks of the Il'fannor however is trade. Il'fannors are often used when making contact and trading with alien races and Gue'la rogue traders, and ships acting in this role will often develop a wealth of secrets, often becoming honeycombed with secret compartments and hidden weapons caches. Such features can prove invaluable in the event that the ship is boarded, and so Fire Caste Shipboard Security Cadres assigned to such Il'fannors will often spend much time exploring and learning about any such features of their vessel, as well as memorising their location.
Despite the misfortunes the Il'fannor has had throughout it's lifetime, and it's growing rarity in the fleets of most major septs, the Il'fannor continues to be a welcome site throughout Tau space, weather it is a cargo transport, trading vessel, or warship.
Again, I am sorry if there is any difficulties with the images. The new layout of photobucket is unknown to me, and so I am not sure if I have resized them all properly.
EDIT: Yep, definitely certain I have not upon inspection of the post. Unfortunately I do not know how to get the images any smaller on the new photobucket page.