"The Black Swan is an aging, yet robust and reliable design, capable of facing up against the pirates of today,"
- Unknown Merchant, 2720
"Why do you even fly that old rustbucket anyway?"
"Rustbucket?! I'd rather ten of these than ten of those new Pheasant-class frigates!"
- Hodgson and Jin discussing the Black Swan-class
The Black Swan-class Freighter is a merchant vessel design that was released in 2699, shortly before the Federation Civil War ended in 2700. In the years leading up to and following the end of the Federation Civil War, the civilian ship market burst open with new designs that were formerly military prototypes or designs on the drawing boards. The Black Swan-class Freighter was one of these. However, it was initially designed as a fast military cargo/courier vessel able to hold its own in a dogfight, but it was not accepted for that role since it was more costly than contemporary vessels. Those same design requirements made it, in Civilian eyes, a fast and strong cargo ship, yet still able to hold its own in a dogfight. this made it popular with civilian captains, especially those in pirate-infested regions of space. These vessels have been in production for over 20 years, and are still relatively popular among merchants and militias alike.
Design and DevelopmentEdit
The Black Swan-class was designed in response to S/R-31-504b, issued in 2697 by the Federation Navy for a fast Courier vessel, fast enough to outpace the Rebel Fleet, but with enough hull strength and weapon power to defeat any ship it crossed. However this requirement was redacted in 2698 as the Federation had found another vessel capable of doing the job.
Later use of the designEdit
In 2699, after most of the fighting in the Federation Civil War had ended, the ship found another role as a fast Civilian Freighter as pirate attacks on slower and lightly armed merchants increased due to the Federation's decimated, undermanned navy being spread thin after the war. The Black Swan-class Freighter was a vessel designed to be able to go toe-to-toe with the average Rebel Remnant ship and survive with minimal damage, and its hull and combat systems are stronger than an average merchant's as a result, and are on par with an average Civil War Federation Bomber's systems.
The freighter is highly versatile, being able to equip many different types of systems and weapons while still being able to power them. The 3 engines propel it forwards at higher speeds than an average merchant, and the spaceframe itself is relatively maneuverable for a ship of its size. One of its oft-praised points is its relatively easy maintenance, at least when compared to other ships of its size. However, the Black Swan-class is vulnerable to beam attacks, since all the systems are clustered relatively close together.
Since its entry into service in late 2699 as a simple merchant vessel, the Black Swan has distinguished itself from the other contemporary ships of the time, such as the Raptor-class, by showing itself to be the equivalent of contemporary frigates while still technically being a Merchant hull.
The Militias found the Black Swan-class a useful addition to their fleets. The Freighters were cheaper than contemporary frigates but similar in terms of capability. The first militia to buy them was the Militia of the Hestia system, which used the Freighters in a role similar to the role in which Frigates and Light Cruisers were used- craft which worked independently of the Fleet in scouting, fighting and courier roles. They found considerable sucess and with the right crew and equipment, could easily best the Rebel Rigger and Fighter classes in use by the Rebels, and overpower pirate vessels smaller or equal in size to it- and in sometimes even craft much bigger than it in the case of pirated Mantis Bombers.
Colonialist Loyalist Assosciation Militia Service Edit
The CLA Militia are known to possess some of these vessels, most of which have been captured by the rebels from hapless merchants who have entered their space and have had the unfortunate luck to have been seized by their forces. Often the biggest vessel in CLA Militia service, these are reserved specifically for high-ranking personnel or command officers who have the rank and some degree of skill to wield these vessels. Consider CLA Militia Black Swans a major threat when encountered, and approach with an appropriate degree of caution.
Sundown Service Edit
However, as technology progressed, Frigates slowly became larger and more powerful, until the Black Swan-class was thought of as a Sloop instead of a Frigate. However, progressive system upgrades ad weapon installation gave them abilities akin to that of a Corvette. As of yet, their base systems are unrivalled by any ships made for similar purposes, and the Black Swan-class remains an exemplary design which is used as a benchmark by which ships of similar purpose, such as corvettes and fast merchant vessels, are judged by.
The Black Swan has mostly been superseded by other designs within Militia fleets, but it is still used in less affluent sectors' militias as a Corvette type vessel- with better engines, shields and weapons than the Merchant variants, and with more equippable systems to boot. in some sectors' fleets, the Black Swan-class Freighters are the largest vessels in militia service.
There are many variants of the Black Swan with different systems equipped, but the four variants you will normally see are the generic freighter, the Arcadia Research and Development vessel, the Xuanzang Trading Company's Freighters, the Local Defence Militia Corvettes and the CLA militia command cruisers/corvettes. these differ from the base freighter in many different ways in room layout and weapon/system loadout. The Xuanzang Trading Company's freighters often have a human crew accompanied by a rock or mantis bodyguard, along with a large cargo teleporter at the gentre of the ship- which is can be used by the crew to board enemy vessels. The Arcadia R&D Company's science vessels are equipped with hacking but can also be equipped with drones, and the Civilian militia vessels have upgraded systems along with heavier weapons and in some cases even artillery. CLA Militia Command Cruisers often have upgraded sensors along with a larger crew complement and heavier interior and exterior defence capabilities- this may include upgraded doors and uprated shields, along with interior drones.
Anti- Black Swan TacticsEdit
The black swan is a relatively well-armed and maneuverable ship, with at least 20% evade even in early sectors. However, the Weapons, Shields, O2 and Engine systems are clustered relatively close together, and as such these ships are vulnerable to beam weapons. The best method of dealing with a hostile Black Swan is to batter the shields down with burst weapons such as lasers, and using a beam of some sort against the systems clustered around the stern of the ship- namely Oxygen, engines, Shields and Weapons. The ship's relatively high evade chance makes the usage of one-to-two-shot high-damage weapons such as Cruise Missiles and Heavy Lasers an illogical decision and a waste of damage output. Different Variants of this ship exist, and as sectors progress, the ships that you face will become more powerful- and this ship is no exception. These ships should be approached with caution and you should not engage one voluntarily unless you are sure that you can pull down all the shield bubbles- and then hopefully use a beam to disable the critical systems clustered around the stern.