The Phoenix-class Freetrader is the first in a new line of armed merchantmen to hit the market in the past three months, though their origins are shrouded in rumour and mystery. Peregrine Aerospace Technologies- a newly-formed subsidiary of the mercenary firm Professional Military Solutions Corporation (PMSC*)- is listed as the manufacturer, and this series of vessels are reputed to be coming off of the same shipyard floors as PMSC’s warships. However, PMSC CEO Michael Nash is not listed in any capacity on the board for Peregrine Aerospace, leading many to speculate that it will branch off into a separate, independent corporation entirely. Reports that two of Mr. Nash’s wives- Saedya Alnya’Dar, commander of the Namaran contingent within PMSC, and the infamous privateer Natasha Briggs- being the COO and CEO respectively of Peregrine Aerospace further confuse the matter.
Regardless of the origins of the vessels, no one can question their effectiveness. The Phoenix is built for a fight- indicative of the influence of Mrs. Briggs-Nash in the design- yet it is ostensibly a cargo hauler. Despite the substantial weaponry it carries, the Phoenix has a far larger cargo hold than any privateer in its class. Sporting a primary 270,000 cubic feet cargo bay measuring 120’ long by 50’ wide and 45’ high, nearly half of the vessel’s length- and two-thirds of its main hull mass- is comprised of cargo space. Few other light Freetraders can boast as much room.
The foreward third of the hull contains three decks- the ventral deck houses the crew quarters, which are surprisingly luxurious for a vessel this size, the mid-deck houses the infirmary, galley, entertainment lounge with a home-model threevee, and the access corridor to the bridge and cargo deck, and the upper deck contains the passenger quarters which- while small- are neither Spartan nor uncomfortable. The galley contains a conventional autochef and an actual stove/oven combination for those who prefer to cook their own food. The infirmary is also stocked with top-notch medical gear, containing two exam beds and a Jaccob-Saddler nanite regeneration trauma tank, worth a fortune by itself.
Weapons systems are far above and beyond any other Freetrader out there, and surpass those of many Privateers. A ventral dual light APPC turret is mirrored by a larger dual medium APPC turret, both with independent reactors housed in the interior of their mounting hardpoints. Outrigger weapons pods on the engine nacelles each contain an over/under medium AP lancer spinal and a heavy APPC spinal. Power for these comes from reactors housed in the same nacelle, breaking from the conventional approach of locating power plants deep within the bowels of the ship. The Peregrine also has a revolutionary reactor ejection system that will jettison a reactor on the verge of critical mass and thruster it away at an extremely high rate of speed, protecting the ship.
There are rumours that some Phoenix-class Freetraders are outfitted with missile batteries in the wings, however seeing as the engineering section is split between them, and the fact that the fuel tanks and the hydrogen ramscoops that feed them take up the remainder of the wings, this is highly unlikely. Many models are outfitted with “screamers”, however- reconfigured cluster munitions missiles that carry dozens of specialized ECM pods that each contain a form of Doppelgänger Unit mimicking the signature and holographic appearance of the Phoenix. These “screamers” are launched to cover an escape, firing off their ECM pods in multiple vectors to fool pursuers.
Armour is the downside of the Phoenix. While she is far more heavily armed than other Freetraders, she does not sport a much thicker skin, being only slightly tougher than other Freetraders in her class. This is the primary factor that separates this vessel from the privateer category. The Phoenix shows the influence of Mrs. Alnya’Dar-Nash, however, in that it is loaded to the gills with defensive and evasive ECM/ECCM, top-notch ENWO gear, and virtually unmatched maneuverability and speed provided by four propulsion dual-core gravitic drives, and four maneuvering-specific single-core gravitic drives in the wings. She may not be much of a tank, but she is one hell of a hard lady to hit.
(NASDAQ/NIKKEI: PMSC221, ISST: MERCPM44, currently running at 127cr a share, +37cr from last week due to the release of quarterly profits being substantially higher than projected)
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