32.00mm x 95.00mm x 36.71mm
The Midnight D Drain Dreadnought was a test-bed for the Aotrs experimental Drain Cannon, work on which started in 2325. The Drain Cannon is a hybrid technological/magic weapon that drains all forms energy from a target. This includes electrical, thermal, life-force and even the energy within atomic bonds. A target struck by a Drain Cannon eventually reaches the point its atoms and molecules cease to hold together and the structure physically decoheres – though typically it (and the unfortunate crew) will have ceased to be combat effective long before that point. Like many of the Aotrs more exotic weapons, the Drain Cannon is an extension of similar function spells at low level.
At this stage, the new technology is currently best suited for a support role against larger vessels or specialised targets, debilitating a target, though not in the same way an ionising weapon would. While an ionising weapon can disable a vessel for capture, a Drain Cannon deals too much damage for use for that purpose in its current form.
At first the Midnight D was confined to a single vessel, the LSS Shadowdrain, which completely replacing the coldbeam armament with drain cannon batteries. After over a decade of testing, the Drain Cannon was been deemed to be at an operational status, and several more Midnight Ds have been constructed. Once at operational status, the refinements to the drain cannon reduced the original mass of the systems. Because of the greater cost of producing the Drain Cannons, the excess mass and power was added to the Midnight D’s shield generators, increasing them by over 30%. All Midnight D Dreadnoughts produced aside from the Shadowdrain itself have been to the 2345 Midnight Upgrade standard, only coming online in the past eighteen months; the Shadowdrain has itself only just completed its own refit in the past six months.
The small number of Midnight D Dreadnoughts will allow the weapon to be appraised more thoroughly in deployment, and if the proves to be viable, further research will be conducted. Such would include scaling back the weapon to fighter, ground and personal weapon scales over the next few decades or perhaps fine-tuning of the energy drain type which would eventually allow it to supplant ionising weapons by doing that job while also retaining a use as a direct weapon. It is likely that, given the prior progression of Aotrs technology, than in a generation or two’s time, if it does prove valuable enough, the system will become an entirely technological one. If it does not prove valuable enough in the field the Drain Cannon is likely to be confined to very specialist usages and eventually mothballed until needed, added to the Aotrs’ bag of tricks accumulated over the centuries, joining such not-quite-failed weapons as the Negative Energy Burst cannons and the Flensing Beam.
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