Jet Wasp class Corsair

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Jet Wasp class Corsair
Extreme Prize Crew Support
Type: PRP Privateer Vessel
Category ACS
Size 200 Tons
Hull Configuration Wedge Hull
Streamlining Streamlined Hull
Tech Level TL–15
Computer Model/9
Jump J-2
Maneuver 5 G
Hardpoints 2
Staterooms 2
Crew 4
    Officers 1
    Enlisted 3
High/Mid Passengers 0
Cargo 2.25 Tons
Fuel tank 0 Tons
Origin Mugheen't Sector
Manufacturer various
Year Operational 901
End of Service Examples still operate post-Collapse
Cost MCr177.55. MCr159.795 in quantity.
Architect fee Adrian Tymes
Quick Ship Profile PRP-BS52
Blueprint Yes
Illustration No
Also see Beowulf class Free Trader - Q-ship
Canon Published, fan design
Era Third Imperium
Reference EXTERNAL LINK: MGT Forums (for Jewel Wasp version)
Designed with Mongoose Traveller High Guard rules, but portable to other versions.

The Jet Wasp class Corsair is an armed starship that pretends to be an unarmed Beowulf class Free Trader.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

A TL-15 refit of a TL-12 Beowulf class Free Trader hull, Jet Wasps are designed to prey on lone small ships. Indistinguishable from a Beowulf at long range when its ion cannon ports are covered (unless it opens up its maneuver drive beyond 1 G, but even 2 G thrust is a common free trader modification), a Jet Wasp pretends to be just another merchant until there is no one but its prey to see. Then it doggedly pursues its victim, disables it once within ion cannon range, pulls up adjacent, locks onto the crew with its neural activity sensors, and fires the meson accelerator hidden within at each target until there is no more crew to resist. Once its target is thus pacified, it finally docks and transfers prize crew, which take over the ship and pilot it away.

Jet Wasps are favored by less honorable pirates and raiders, and see much use among vargr corsairs. It takes a certain homocidal mindset to execute a helpless crew, which is easier in like-minded company. This has been cited as the main reason for high rates of double occupancy, carrying a full 4 crew where a more mercantile ship of this nature might employ one person as pilot/astrogator and a second as engineer/gunner. The only thing saving this class from having "shoot on sight" orders issued against it is that such orders would inevitably lead to the misidentifcation and destruction of countless innocent turretless free traders, though there are "shoot on positive identification" orders. Even other pirates are known to destroy these ships upon learning of their presence, if only because repeated execution of non-pirate crews quickly attracts pirate hunters and bounties. Compounding the problem, Jet Wasp transponders are designed to be reprogrammed (rather than requiring the usual circumvention to do so), and are usually set to a false identity claiming to be a free trader, though this feature greatly limits the number of shipyards it can be built at (most frown on constructing easy-to-reprogram transponders).

As they pretend to be merchants, Jet Wasps are named and colored to fit in with local trends. Allegedly, the original Jewel Wasp (the predecessor class to the Jet Wasp) was constructed when bright, gem-like colorations were in vogue locally, and naming it after a predator that took control of its prey was irony on the vargr naval architect's part. Jet Wasps are most often seen in vargr hands, though the ability to kill meat eaters without having to smell them attracts certain militant k'kree who can adjust to cramped - for k'kree - conditions. K'kree Jet Wasps are crewed by a minimal herd of 4 - usually all unmarried males, although some Jet Wasps from the Lords of Thunder reportedly have 3 males and 1 female married to the leader of the herd, the female always in the Steward role.

Although Jet Wasps must either hunt in packs or prey on smaller ships, they can open fire at long range and close the range quickly. They must be careful throttling up their maneuver drive to the full 5 Gs, as that is substantially faster than the commercial ships they are disguised as, ruining their disguise before they can get close enough to be confused for free traders.

Jet Wasps are more dangerous to small merchant vessels, and less dangerous to any ship their sole ion cannon bay can not completely disable: even a 200 ton system defense boat can give a Jet Wasp a hard time. Their extended range ion cannons see them occasionally used by small navies (which might not be able to acquire a dedicated ion cannon ship), especially when capturing an enemy ship intact is of utmost importance. Large navies tend to avoid Jet Wasps due to their unsavory reputation, and their inability to support military-style redundant crewing.

The Jet Wasp class is dedicated to taking prize ships, which means it must carry some form of prize crew. Jet Wasps usually carry robotic ones, though some carry spare living crew to do the job. Either way, they need a nearby shipyard to deliver their prizes to, so they rarely operate more than a couple parsecs from their sponsoring base. This fact drives their classification as Privateer Vessels, as they are essentially privateers of that home base, whatever they call themselves. The primary exception are k'kree exterminators who do not care about taking prizes, but just use Jet Wasps to help commit acts of genocide - and even they are sponsored by a polity (the Lords of Thunder), as privateers are.

Image Repository[edit]

Not available at this time.

General Description & Deck Plans[edit]

  1. Deck Plans for this vessel.
    Jet wasp deckplans.png

Basic Ship Characteristics[edit]

Following the Imperial Navy and IISS Universal Ship Profile and data, additional information is presented in the format shown here. [1]

Basic Ship Characteristics [2]
No. Category Remarks
1. Tonnage / Hull Tonnage: 200 tons (standard). 2800 cubic meters. Airframe Wedge Hull.
  • Dimensions: maximum 39 meters long by 22.5 meters wide by 10 meters tall.
2. Crew Crew: 1 Pilot, 1 Astrogator, 1 Engineer, 1 Gunner (with an unoccupied crew using the meson accelerator once in position). In many cases, the actual crew is just 1 Pilot/meson Gunner/Captain and 1 Engineer/ion Gunner, one of them also the Astrogator; if anyone else is carried, they are Prize Crew the Jet Wasp can operate without.
3. Performance Acceleration: 5-G maneuver drive installed.
  • Jump: 2.
4. Electronics Model/9 ship computer.
5. Hardpoints 2 hardpoints.
6. Armament One ion cannon weapon bay, exit port concealable. One internally mounted small, very short range (by space combat standards) meson accelerator.
7. Defenses None, aside from disguise and (if discovered) speed.
8. Craft None. Vacc suits required for EVA (extra-vehicle activity). Rescue Balls for crew escape normally carried.
9. Fuel Treatment It is normally equipped with a fuel purification plant and fuel scoops.
10. Cost MCr177.55 standard (no architect's fees, those having been paid off before the Third Imperium learned of this ship class). MCr159.795 in quantity.
11. Construction Time 7 months standard, 5 in quantity. Rarely manufactured in quantity.
12. Remarks One of the highest body count, most vilified corsair designs in Charted Space. This is a ship of death. If you encounter one, run away or destroy it, as you will most likely not survive a surrender.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

The precise origin of this class is known, but forensic archaeology has been able to trace the first construction (specifically, the first conversion from an existing Beowulf hull) to mid-901 somewhere in Mugheen't Sector, well beyond the Third Imperium's borders. The first manufacture is suspected to have happened within the Mazaroegh Dominion, but as of 1105 this is unproven. Anyone traveling there to voice accusations should be careful, as some in the Dominion chafe at the blame while others eagerly take the credit.

The Jet Wasp is a revision of an earlier class, the Jewel Wasp, which had twice as many ion cannons in exchange for missing or lesser features, such as the drives (only Thrust-2 and Jump-1 on the Jewel Wasp, forcing it to crawl up to a victim) or the linkage system (new on the Jet Wasp, to help catch disabled prey floating in space). The Jewel Wasp's main issue was a loose internal mounting of its meson accelerator - an attempt to pack more firepower onto the same ship, since the accelerator, being internal, was not seen as needing a hardpoint. Experience demonstrated otherwise; in the worst cases, misfires killed the ship's crew instead of the intended target's.

Although the Jewel Wasp's designers were coming to the conclusion that the accelerator needed its own hardpoint, the inflection that drove the decision was the chance arrival of an exiled K'kree shipwright family. In exchange for protection and hospitality, the family redesigned the Jewel Wasp. The results proved successful and mildly popular, enough to cause design templates to spread through the Vargr Extents and (through a chain of progressively less blackballed exiles) to the Lords of Thunder.

The first Jet Wasp was painted jet black, claiming to hail from a world where not polluting the night sky on visible wavelengths was a concern. In a twist of fate, its very first raid happened to target a Jewel Wasp that was itself being tracked by a fighter squadron lurking in the nearby gas giant; the squadron waited for them to engage, then ambushed them both. Allegedly, moments later, a cruiser hostile to all three sides broke out of jumpspace directly overhead within long weapons range, causing all of the smaller ships to declare a temporary truce and attack the capital ship, the Jewel Wasp and Jet Wasp teaming up to disable the cruiser and execute its crew, then presenting it to the fighters in exchange for being allowed to leave in peace.

The Third Imperium has issued "shoot on confirmed identification" orders should a Jet Wasp ever appear within its borders. Exceptions are made for pocket empires purchasing it from an Imperial shipyard; during manufacture, the shipyard will communicate to nearby systems the expected time and route of the Jet Wasp's departure from Imperial space, with any significant deviations typically resulting in the ship's destruction. Further, the purchaser will be on file with the local Imperial Navy, and notified that using a Jet Wasp against the Third Imperium would be seen as an act of war. If that Jet Wasp (or, in most cases, any Jet Wasp) subsequently attacks Imperial ships - or, worse, Imperial worlds - in the area, and it is not easily provable this is some other Jet Wasp, the purchasing polity will soon be invaded and its government deposed, either replaced with a polity that no longer supports such measures or simply annexed into the Third Imperium. The Zhodani Consulate has similar opinions about this ship class, though they prefer to "reeducate" anyone who they catch thinking about using it against any Zhodani, in the Consulate or otherwise. Destroying Jet Wasps upon identification is one of the few things the Julian Protectorate and the Third Empire of Gashikan agree on. The pirates of the Trojan Reach Sector rarely use Jet Wasps, out of fear of reprisals from the Third Imperium and/or the Aslan Hierate.

The Two Thousand Worlds does not officially directly employ Jet Wasps, their crews being a little too "insane" for mainstream society. However, it has few reservations about employing outsider K'kree (primarily from the Lords of Thunder) to perform exterminations as necessary, such as (to quote one extermination contract) "to find and finish off the last 10,000 individuals of a newly contacted minor race that refused to realize the threat their meat eating constituted, and who had the temerity to still have survivors after being asked to terminate themselves for the good of the Two Thousand Worlds" (not written in the contract: ...and after thunderball ortillery was subsequently unleashed on their billions-strong homeworld population). The Lords of Thunder do tolerate Jet Wasp crews, as they facilitate removing G'naak.

Although they mostly viewed as dishonorable in the Aslan Hierate, with most clans sharing the Imperium's "destroy upon positive identification" order, some aslan assassins are known to use Jet Wasps, announcing their attack just long enough in advance to let their targets warm up their weapons and fulfill the requirements of honor, then disabling their targets. One Jet Wasp has even been seen among the Hiver Federation in a "cultural education" role, apparently tasked with convincing certain minor races that pirates exist: disabling a ship of disbelievers, getting close, and if they still refuse to believe, picking off the crew one by one until the rest accept or run out. The Solomani Confederation officially disavows interest, but its agents have attempted to obtain Jet Wasp design files from k'kree shipyards with no success.

Class Naming Practice/s & Peculiarities[edit]

Ship Interior Details (Peculiarities): Having to externally look like a Beowulf puts constraints on the internal layout. It remains a 3-deck affair, with "wings" containing the fuel scoops on the middle deck, and landing gear in the same place. It is obviously modified, as many Tramp Vessels are, for instance moving the bridge to the top deck and placing part of the maneuver drive in front for better maneuverability. Someone checking its inbound jump flash carefully (or in a system that is 2 parsecs from the next-nearest mainworld) might deduce or suspect the jump drive has been upgraded to Jump-2. None of these are particularly uncommon modifications, even in combination.

What is not apparent is the center-deck-dominating ion cannon bays (the front end folded under a line of hatches designed to look like sensors when closed), the meson accelerator that is entirely hidden within the bottom deck, or the full power of the maneuver drives. Space is a bit limited on board, with most crew activity confined to the small upper deck - although the track around the meson accelerator and landing gear on the bottom deck is not just to facilitate maintenance and repair, but also to let crew jog around when they need exercise. What little crew-accessible space there is on the middle deck is, though, there to facilitate maintenance.

There are two airlocks, both on the bottom deck, one fore and one aft. Boarding actions are typically done via the rear airlock (surrounded by linkage mechanisms to hold a derelict in space); this is outside the arc of fire of a Jet Wasp's weapons, so as to encourage its crew to make sure they have eliminated all resistance on the target before boarding.

Jet Wasps are among the very few crewed K'kree ships not built around large common open spaces: a Saucer Hull does not look like a Beowulf, and most people assume a Beowulf-shaped ship can not be a K'kree ship. More importantly, few K'kree shipyards can produce TL-15 starships, so these must almost always be obtained (usually purchased) and converted, a process not amenable to major hull reshaping. K'kree Jet Wasps have no walls between the bridge, staterooms, commons, and cargo (replacing the staterooms, commons, and 2 of the 2.25 tons of cargo with a single living space for 4), remove the bridge's rear workstations and equipment (forcing the Engineer and Steward to work without bridge workstations;), remove the between-deck iris valves in favor of holes to make a single contiguous space, and have a much larger airlock. Even then, k'kree consider the design cramped, and often employ environmental simulators to give the illusion of a much greater space.

Class Naming Practice/s: The original "Jewel Wasp" was named after legends of a Terra parasitical insect that took control of its victims, laying its young inside to eat them upon hatching. "Jet Wasp" was "a jewel wasp better adapted to jet-black space". These terms were translated into Vilani, and from there to Irilitok; ironically, the translation came out to roughly the original Anglic pronunciation.

Individual ships are named in whatever language the local shipyard speaks. Between this and the highly varied ideologies of the class's builders, there is no class-wide commonality of names. Vargr Jet Wasps are named however local corsairs are named. K'kree Jet Wasps are often some sort of reference to a cleanser, vermin controller or control agent, or various words that could be translated as "Steward".

Human Jet Wasps tend to have names that make them sound like the mercantile vessels they appear to be. Vargr and k'kree Jet Wasps have these too, as fake names to be programmed into a transponder while luring prey, but human ones will often not have any other name.

Selected Variant Types & Classes[edit]

Paramilitary Vessel - Corsair Vessel - Privateer Vessels:

  1. Type PRP class Privateer
    1. Jet Wasp class Corsair
    2. Kom class Commerce Raider
    3. Slade Mark I class Frontier Raider
    4. Vengeance class Commerce Raider

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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