Parelion Orbital Defender
Each one was like a star spilled from the waistpouch of a hunting goddess, divine and deadly. They whirled around Mercury, waiting for the word to kill.The Parelion is an unmanned orbital weapons platform deployed alongside and commanded by Caduceus, manufactured by Areoid Engineering . Because they are much cheaper than a space station and can be upgraded and replaced independently, they are considered an important part of the Defense of Mercury. Each Parelion is little more than a structural element with weapons, electronics, and propulsion strapped to it. The majority of each platform's lifespan is spent in power-saving mode. Once a firing command is transmitted from Caduceus, the designated Parelions activate, reorient, and fire their weapons before going dormant again. Typically, multiple Parelions are activated at a time to provide a greater "broadside", delivering a large amount of munitions in a short amount of time.
Weapons of the FutureMars has long been accused of secretly developing autonomous weapons with firepower that exceeds the scope of the Alliance of Nations disarmament policies. Suspected weapons tests were denied and explained away - until the need for such weapons of mass destruction materialized. Areoid Engineering argues that it is fortunate that such technology was available and mature, and is accused of trying to pass off this unethical act as a fait accompli.
Teething PainsNo new technology has been deployed without issue, and the Parelion is no different. The earliest Parelions had several problems such as overheating due to a poor choice of paint, fatal loss of control from weapons firing, systems locking up after long periods of inactivity, and paranoia over whether the onboard electronics were secretly sentient. The subsequent Block 2 model has fixed most of these problems, and thousands of successful launches have been conducted.
Modular PlatformsThere are several different variants of Parelion deployed around Mercury. The most common is the missile launcher that contains four to sixteen missiles that intercept, track, and destroy targets in space. Another variant launches cruise missiles which re-enter the atmosphere of Mercury to act as a supplement to the air force of Penumbra. Other variants have been trialed but have not seen as much success due to power or range limitations.