Helioskimmer Vehicle in Excilior | World Anvil


The greatest ship that never was

hen she crashed onto Excilior, Cervia Polonosa was piloting a vessel known as a helioskimmer (or "skimmer", for short) for the Tallonai military. Compared to other vessels in the fleet, helioskimmers were not particularly impressive. They carried only light armament. They could only accommodate a single pilot. And as helio-class vessels, they did not possess the propulsion or life-support systems necessary to travel beyond a single star system. Cervia commented on several occasions that by the standards of her home world, her ship did not carry any technology that was especially advanced.
Technological Goldmine
But given that Excilior was a planet in an abjectly primeval state, the technology packed into her vessel could have arguably catapulted the savage residents several millennia into the future. Even given that the casterways being jettisoned to the planet's surface were, for the most part, poorly educated, and that they had no tools whatsoever with which to analyze the stranded ship, it's still assumed that, given enough time, the ancient cognoscenti could have used the vessel to jump start their world's entire technological understanding.
Lost Forever
Unfortunately, in one of the planet's cruelest twists of fate, Cervia's skimmer crashed into the Sister Seia, somewhere off the coast of modern-day Tumia. The disintegration of her vessel was so swift, and it took on water so quickly, that she had no opportunity to salvage even the smallest nugget of technological evidence from her downed bird. When she finally lurched upon the western shore of Islemanoton, she had nothing in her possession but a flimsy jumper designed to be worn under her flight suit. Her ship, her helmet, her personal accoutrements - everything that would normally identify her as a member of a technologically-advanced civilization - sank under the waves that day.
What Could Have Been
Cervia was fond of claiming that her helioskimmer, had it somehow survived the seaward impact, could have singlehandedly dragged this desolate world into the modern age, given enough time to study and dissect its contents. This is because helioskimmers were designed primarily for reconnaissance. As such, they were light on weaponry. But they were jam packed with a huge array of technical sensors. They deployed a sophisticated amalgamation of instruments designed to learn absolutely everything about the worlds she was "skimming". Although it's implausible to think that those early cognoscenti could have reverse-engineered all - or even most - of this technology, even if they could only manage to glean a couple of key insights, those insights could have triggered a butterfly effect of scientific discovery that may have allowed the planet to eventually catch up with the Absents - who have never made any attempt to provide any knowledge or assistance to the casterways below.

Search Attempts
We're searching for a disintegrating wreck. Even if we're lucky enough to find her, our reward shall be nothing but... a disintegrating wreck.
Larthia Hanunia, Tumian sea captain, 1119 AoE
or more than a thousand years, various societies launched extensive recovery missions for Cervia's mythical ship. They trawled the Sister Seia with anchors and fishing nets and anything else they could think to use. Many of these missions originated from Auld Cervia, but other nations would join the hunt after the dawn of the Age of Expansion. This wasn't merely scientific curiosity. Many leaders dreamed about the competitive advantage that could be gained for their countries if they were to become the Sole Owner of Advanced Technology.
Legend & Hyperbole
Unfortunately, many of the presumed benefits of such a discovery slid hopelessly into legend. For a time, respected cognoscenti and wide-eyed politicians claimed, with great fervor and certainty, that recovering the helioskimmer would allow them to wipe out their enemies, cure all disease, or even launch themselves back to meet the Absents. Near the end of the Age of Cervia, some residents of Auld Cervia couldn't help but smirk at the unfettered speculation. Whenever anything went wrong in their lives, they'd look to a friend with a wry smirk on their face and say something like, "Well, at least it will all be fixed once we finally find the helioskimmer."
The Final Hope
The last expedition with serious hopes of scientific advancement happened in 1119 AoE. The effort was no more fruitful than previous missions, and some of the wiser cognoscenti were starting to point out that, even if they were so lucky as to find the vessel, the chance that anything of value could be gleaned from it was slim or none. The warm salt waters of Sister Seia, churned constantly by violent razers, are not conducive to preservation. And anything they managed to dredge up from the floor of the sea would likely be so badly degraded that it would be nothing more than a museum piece by that time.   This did not bring an absolute end to helioskimmer expeditions. There have probably been more than 100 attempts since that time - all without any positive results. But most of the searches launched after 1119 AoE were done more from an archaeological perspective. Even to this day, many dream of finding Cervia's wreck. But the idea that it will fuel some spectacular technological advancement has long-since faded.

If fate had decided that we were only to get the helioskimmer or Cervia Polonosa - but not both - then there is little doubt that we came out ahead.
Nadia Falino, Poglian cognoscenti, 828 AoE
n nearly 4,000 years, no one has ever recovered a single shred of evidence pointing to the long-lost helioskimmer. This abject failure has led some modern cognoscenti to go so far as to question Cervia's claim that she crashed onto the planet. After all, she supposedly went down close enough to Islemanoton that she was able to swim ashore. This would seem to indicate that her ship wasn't too far off the coast and that it should've come to rest in relatively-shallow waters. Furthermore, her "convenient" story accounted for the fact that she was never able to demonstrate a single piece of tangible proof that she originated from an alien military expedition. Some have even suggested that she may have arrived on Excilior via dropship - just like everybody else.
Conspiracies & Speculation
Most dismiss this skepticism. There is no evidence that anyone on the planet spoke Tallonari before her arrival. This doesn't prove that she couldn't have arrived via excilation, but it seems fantastic that she'd be the only casterway over more than 4,000 years that arrived speaking this language natively.   And then there is the more obvious evidence that no other arrival - over the entire history of excilation - has ever been female. Cognoscenti have hypothesized that she was sent, as the first-and-only female, in a deliberate attempt to "seed" this world. This implies that the Absents sent her on purpose and they knew exactly what they were doing. Although it's probably impossible to disprove this theory, it's also utterly impossible to prove - at least until someone manages to actually meet an Absent.   Finally, it's been pointed out that even if a one-person vessel were to sink in "shallow" waters, relatively "close" to the coast of Islemanoton, it's still perfectly feasible that said vessel may never be seen again. The seafaring technologies of Excilior are still relatively primitive. They have no means by which to intelligently scan the bottom of the sea. Every retrieval expedition throughout time has amounted to little more than a desperate trawl through an area that is determined by nothing more than an educated guess.
Out to Sea
With this in mind, a cognoscenti study performed in 3666 AoG concluded that the undercurrents present on the seafloor off western Islemanoton would probably have dragged such a wreck out to much deeper waters. Assuming that there's even anything identifiable left of the vessel, the argument has been made that those scant remains may be resting many hundreds of kilometers out to sea farther than anyone had previously searched.


Quad tensor thrusters

Weapons & Armament

1 ionic blaster
2 heat pulsors

Armor and defense


Communication Tools & Systems

Short-wave mothership uplink
Tachyon homing device


Air pollution sensor
Airspeed indictor
Angular rate sensor
Atmospheric analyzer
Atomic force micrometer
Attitude indicator
Bourdon gauge
Cryogenic particles detector
Doppler radar
Electrochemical gas sensor
Electro-optical sensor
Faraday sensor
Flex sensor
Flow sensor
Fluxgate compass
Free fall sensor
Ground-penetrating radar
Impact sensor
Inertial navigation system
Infrared sensor
Infrared thermometer
Ionization gauge
Level sensor
Magnetic resonance imager
MHD sensor
Millimeter wave scanner
Motion detector
Neutron detector
Occupancy sensor
Pressure sensor
Proximity sensor
Radio directional analyzer
Range imager
Rotary encoder
Shock detector
Thermoluminescent dosimeter
Tilt sensor
Torque sensor
Ultrasonic sensor
Yaw-rate sensor
Mach 2 (in atmospheric conditions)
Complement / Crew
Cargo & Passenger Capacity


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