Project: Millenial Rain
Project: Millenial Rain is a secret military project under development by the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy. In short, Project: Millenial Rain (the only known existing model of which is pseudonymously identified in Navigator's Guild logs as the airship RACV Peening Moonlight,) is a form of hyper-velocity fire-for-effect artillery system which can be launched from the relative safety of a targeted cube's inflection layer.
BackgroundThe name "Millenial Rain" is an oblique refference to the theory that that Ventral A Volcanic Event Remnant caused mass extinctions in the Manifold Sky; molten debris cast out of the affected region rained down on other regions, causing forest fires and general destruction. As Iuxat (the language of the Rostran peoples) features a senary counting system, the term 'millenia,' meaning 1000 years in Iuxataba positional notation, refers to a 6000 year period in decimal notation. While Project: Millenial Rain is nominally a secret military program, hints regarding some sort of 'orbital artillery' being under development have been intentionally leaked by the RAC intelligence apparatus to dissuade anyone considering fighting a war against the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy.
Because of the additional mass of its weapon system, the RACV Peening Moonlight features upgraded engines and an increased number of internal lifting gas balloonets at the expense of crew and cargo capacity. Otherwise, from the outside, the airship is indistinguishable from a standard Rostrax Aerostat & Aerodyne heavy cargo hauler, technically making the RACV Peening Moonlight a Q-ship.
Weapons & Armament
The outermost layer of the RACV Peening Moonlight's lifting envelope serves as camouflage for the vehicle's true cargo: a skin-spanning honeycomb of launch tubes, each containing a tungsten-jacketed, lead-core kinetic impactor rigged with an airspeed-triggered solid fuel rocket. To use the Millenial Rain weapon system, the Peening Moonlight first initiates a roll to create centripetal acceleration for the projectiles contained within it. When the dual custody locks in the combat information center are activated - an act requiring coded clearance from the high-ranking Rostran Archipelago Confederacy Marine Forces officials in charge of the project - separator devices punch the projectiles through the false outer skin of the envelope with just enough speed to eject them from the vehicle. By remaining only on one side of the inflection layer, the crew of the Peening Moonlight may choose which layer will face the brunt of the weapon system's destructive power. The delay also allows the vessel to make an escape before they can be detected and intercepted. Over the course of several minutes, the inherent instability of the projectiles' positions in the inflection layer will cause each to begin falling towards the cube layer(s) below. Small stabilization fins towards the rear and a weight bias towards the front of each projectile causes it to turn point-down, reducing drag. When the airspeed gauge within a given projectile indicates that the projectile has reached terminal velocity or when an integrated timer reaches a set time, the solid fuel rocket is triggered to further increase the projectile's speed. Because of a slight difference in launch time and arc, the projectiles arrive at random points on the terrain at different times, making responding to a Millenial Rain attack extremely difficult. Just before impact, some of the projectiles detonate as a result of a secondary explosive charge, shotgunning the surface with a rain of hot tungsten and molten lead; others punch deep into the ground before shattering and releasing internal flechettes, damaging concealed bunkers and underground utility lines. The large amounts of energy imparted on the projectiles by their fall from orbit and subsequent acceleration makes the projectiles highly penetrating. Each such projectile carries kinetic energy equivalent to several tons of TNT by the time it reaches its target, and the Peening Moonlight can carry more than one hundred of them at a time. Millenial Rain projectile impacts cause severe damage to permanent ground structures, but are somewhat less effective against mobile maritime assets - an intentional oversight implemented by weapons designers hailing from the (traditionally seafaring) Rostran peoples. Successive Millenial Rain attacks can effectively scour a cube layer of enemy fortifications and infrastructure.
Communication Tools & Systems
The RACV Peening Moonlight features an expanded communications antenna and a dieseltech computer system used for encrypted communications with RAC military command staff.