System Defense Brick class Defense Drone

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System Defense Brick class Defense Drone
Wiki Navy.png
Dangerous in walls
Type: UDQ Militarized Utility Craft
Agility 0
Also see System Defense Boat
Architect Adrian Tymes
Blueprint Yes
Canon No. Unpublished, non-canon fan smallcraft design.
Cargo 0 Tons
Cost MCr15.236. MCr13.7124 in quantity.
Crew 0
Enlisted 0
Officers 0
EOS Examples still operate post-Collapse
Era Second Imperium
Hardpoints 0
Hull Buffered Planetoid Hull
Illustration No
IOC -2148
Jump J-0
Maneuver 7 G
Manufacturer various
Marines 0
Model Model/6
Origin Second Imperium
Passengers 0 High/Med 0 Low
QSP UDQ-1P70
Reference EXTERNAL LINK: MGT Forums
Size 10 Tons
Size-cat Smallcraft
Streamlining Unstreamlined Hull
Tech Level TL–12
USP UDQ-C1707P-MR
Designed with Mongoose Traveller High Guard rules, but portable to other versions.

The System Defense Brick class Defense Drone (often just called a "Brick") is a Militarized Utility Craft.

Description (Specifications)[edit]

An automated defense drone, a single System Defense Brick is best thought of as something that can fulfill minimum legal obligations to "defend" a system that will never be attacked. What would-be raiders should watch out for is a swarm, or "wall", of this type of drone. Minimal defense is commonly judged as 5 Bricks per attacking ship (for instance, if no more than 4 ships are expected to attack at once, at least 20 Bricks is preferred), though thousands of Bricks are commonly found defending large, well-established drone swarms.

Viewed from the outside, individual System Defense Bricks are the very epitome of buffered planetoid hulls: thick, rough, unhewn plantetoid exterior with one port for missiles to come out, a port on the other side to load missiles, and few enough other signs of not being just a rock unless one looks close - or sees it move. Internally, it is not much different; most of the fuel tank, for instance, is simply drilled into the planetoid and then walled off from other systems.

Any drone swarm set to expect trouble will have a number of extra missiles lying around, that other suitably equipped drones (such as Icepicks or Zip s) can reload into a Brick while the Brick is busy aiming and firing, getting around a Brick's limit of 4 missiles aboard at a time. Pirates used to being able to shoot down a few salvos then approaching can get disheartened, and their point defense crews fatigued enough to start missing, by several hours of sustained bombardment. A large enough wall of Bricks will load some of its number with fragmentation missiles to shoot down incoming missiles (reprogramming Mints for point defense has been explored, and found impractical without doubling - or more - a Mint's cost and substantially reducing its output volume), with the rest a mix of multi-warhead and standard (nuclear if the asteroids being mined have radioactive resources and the swarm is not near an inhabited world). The answer to a malfunctioning or suborned swarm is to use Particle Accelerators or similarly long ranged weapons (or, for large swarms, Spinal Weapons Mounts aimed at the general volume of space the swarm occupies), as are often found on proper warships.

When deployed separately from a drone swarm, Bricks' ammunition limits become more critical. Military planners have examined the situation and generally concluded that "fire all the missiles ASAP" is generally the right thing to do, if the Bricks are in serious danger of falling to enemy fire before they can finish doing so - but after that they have little further role until they are resupplied, except possibly electronic warfare against any incoming missiles.

Image Repository[edit]

Not available at this time.

General Description & Deck Plans[edit]

  1. Deck Plans for this vessel.
    1 drone deckplans.png

These plans also show data for the Fuelbag, Icepick, Mint, Quarter Hammer, and Zip classes.

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: 10 tons (standard). 140 cubic meters. Buffered Planetoid Hull.
  • Dimensions: Maximum - 6 m by 6 m by 6 m.
2. Crew Crew: no sophonts. Software provides virtual Pilot and virtual Gunner.
3. Performance Acceleration: 7-G maneuver drive installed.
4. Electronics Model/6.
5. Hardpoints Too small for hardpoints. 1 firmpoint.
6. Armament 1 Missile rack.
7. Defenses None. Usually reliant on intimidation in large numbers, or failing that, on destroying any hostiles before they can do much damage.
8. Craft None (besides itself). With no crew, vacc suits and Rescue Balls are not normally carried.
9. Fuel Treatment It is not equipped with a fuel purification plant or fuel scoops.
10. Cost MCr15.236. MCr13.7124 in quantity. (The architect's fees were amortized long ago.) Known to high precision after extensive manufacture by Quarter Hammers.
11. Construction Time 15 days standard, 11 in quantity. Quarter Hammers (which construct the majority of this type) build one at a time, and thus use the standard rate.
12. Remarks A heavily armored yet fast missile rack. Dangerous in swarms, which is where they tend to be.

History & Background (Dossier)[edit]

See Quarter Hammer class Construction Drone, which Bricks were created to defend.

When present among drones programmed to work with these defenders, System Defense Bricks are the only drones allowed to directly respond to outside communication. All other drones ignore all broadcasts, as well as all tightbeam communication from anything other than a known fellow swarm member (that sensors detect is not being blocked by another ship or object), so that any attempts to hack the swarm must go through Bricks' relatively paranoid security. This was of measurable help when Virus invaded, especially once Bricks were programmed to tell if other Bricks had been infected, and if so destroy the infected Brick and any non-drone ships in the vicinity. That said, those Bricks with sloppy security programming were no match, and many poorly guarded drone swarms turned into Virus havens for centuries. Even before Virus, the physical security from a Brick wall was such that most attempts to subvert or defeat a mining swarm started and ended with attempts to hack.

Many different models of Bricks have been produced over time. The version listed in this article is the most commonly encountered version in the Third Imperium.

Class Naming Practice/s & Peculiarities[edit]

Bricks are almost always known by numerical identifiers. Most are never individually addressed by anything other than the computer coordinating their drone swarm, and thus only nominally even have an identifier in any sophont language. As Bricks usually have the most complex computers in the swarm, and do not make full use of their bandwidth outside of engagement with known or suspected hostiles, Bricks' computers are often tasked with coordinating the swarm.

When speaking with sophonts, Bricks often act as if they are a hive mind, relaying the conversation from Brick to Brick if the contact moves or the speaking Brick moves away (or is destroyed), identifying themselves as the swarm they are a part of. Although this impression is not entirely accurate - the individual Bricks are independently processing the conversation, constantly communicating their evaluations of it to one another - it successfully conveys to most sophonts that the swarm should be dealt with as a single unit rather than trying to tell one drone one thing and another drone another, to take a specific thing that generation after generation of Hivers have thoroughly tested Bricks on over the centuries. The fact that Bricks coordinating a drone swarm just give each drone a number further reinforces this.

Although not intentionally programmed in by the original developers, it has been noticed that within any given swarm, missing drones' numbers will not be reused. Many people who discover this without context think it is a hint that Bricks might be borderline sophonts, but more rigorous examinations of Bricks' AIs have found no further evidence.

Selected Variant Types & Classes[edit]

Military Ship - Utility Craft - Drone:

References & Contributors (Sources)[edit]

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This article was copied or excerpted from the following copyrighted sources and used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author.

  1. Timothy B. Brown. Fighting Ships (Game Designers Workshop, 1981), 10.
  2. Timothy B. Brown. Fighting Ships (Game Designers Workshop, 1981), 10.