Roberts Space Industries

Transmission

General

ID:

16550

Comments:

223

Date:

May 25th 2018

Secure the Hercules starlifter for your fleet today

Journal of a volunteer

By: Ciera Brun

Operation Sword of Hope Dellin, Charon III, Charon system

2948-05-04

All through school I felt like I was missing something. I got pretty good grades, pretty bad hangovers, and learned a lot of theory – normal college stuff, but I longed for tangible action. To get out there in the universe and really make a difference, ya know? Be part of something bigger, I guess.

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After graduation, despite my parents’ protestation, I eschewed fine-tuning my resume in favor of volunteer opportunities.

After researching a bunch of causes, I settled on Empire’s Overlooked. They seemed to be doing good work where it was needed most, and I thought with them, I’d have a real shot at making an impact.

Well, I guess I got my wish. There I was, a fresh-faced volunteer, eagerly awaiting my first assignment, and it turns out to be Sword of Hope. We were given the option to pass, since the operation would take us into an active combat zone. But, how could I? This was the chance I’d always wanted.

Sword of Hope is a joint venture between EO and Crusader Industries, conceived to provide aid and supplies to locations on Charon III most embattled by its ongoing civil war.

Reading about it on the spectrum from the comfort of my apartment in Prime, this all seemed right up my alley, but as I neared the staging point with a dozen of my fellow volunteers, hours away from heading toward Charon, the “boring office job” my parents had pushed for wasn’t sounding so bad.

Arriving at Camp Murdoch,

an old naval base-turned-shipyard on Tangaroa, we were greeted by an EO volunteer coordinator named Deacon. He launched into a well-rehearsed spiel, but full disclosure, I wasn’t paying attention. I was more interested in the myriad of personnel and vehicles swirling around the airfield in a chaotically efficient ballet, as seemingly everything on the base was loaded up ramps, into the guts of these staggeringly gigantic ships– a fleet of Crusader Hercules.

They loomed over the tarmac,

with steady streams of tanks, buggies, forklifts, cargo of all sizes, rovers, drones, and trams full of supplies and personnel, flowing into their hulls. Even considering their size, it didn’t seem possible to fit so much into a ship, yet the parades marched on, with no end in sight. It wasn’t until Deacon put his hand on my shoulder and asked if I was okay, that I realized we were on a tram, joining the nearest parade. The Hercules was our ride.

That was five hours ago. Now, here I sit, writing this post from a cot nestled in the belly of the ship, well past the point of no return. My heart and mind firing with equal parts excitement and dread, all I can do is embrace the adventure. I’m out here now, like I always thought I wanted to be. And just maybe, I can really make a difference. But at this particular moment, I should probably get some sleep.

2948-05-07

Apologies for the brief absence. It’s just that being here on this M2 Hercules, being part of this mission, it’s all been a little distracting. Plus, I’ve never been on a flight this long before, and space travel really does a number on my inner clock. I hadn’t even realized it had been two days since my last post. In that time, I’ve explored every inch of this ship that I’m allowed to (and at least a few inches that I am not), met a lot of interesting people from all over the universe, and learned way more about the Hercules, and tactical lift/landing operations, than I could have ever imagined.

Image post 2
The Hercules are the heart and soul of Sword of Hope. Crusader's direct involvement has made the entire operation feasible.

The ship somehow seems even bigger when you’re inside of it. Our Hercules (which, according to the crew is nicknamed Mama Bird) has a tank and one of those off-road buggy things in its hull, in addition to the makeshift barracks that we volunteers currently call home. One crew member, a salty old navy vet named Abe, claims to have known a guy that fit three Auroras in an M2 hull. While that seems dubious, the sheer size and capacity of the ship interior is impressive, and I imagine almost limitless cargo configurations are possible, if you were to get creative with it. It’s obvious though, that the cargo bay wasn’t designed to accommodate personnel, and one of the other volunteers keeps wondering loudly why they couldn’t bring a starliner along for us. Abe says Charon III is no place for a starliner, and I’m inclined to believe him on that one.

I hate to cut this post short, but the sirens are going off. We’ll be breaking atmosphere on Charon any time now, and we’ve been running drills to make sure we’re ready if the ship takes live fire. This is all getting very real, very quickly, but being in the Mama Bird makes me feel safe and oddly enough, almost comfortable. I, for one, am happy to forego the amenities of a starliner for the apparent durability of the M2.

2948-05-09

Two days ago, not long after submitting my last post and taking part in live fire drills, I stood on the bridge of the Mama Bird, gazing out at the coterie of ships that comprised Operation Sword of Hope. Beside me was our pilot and my new friend, Everson Greenway, another retired navy man who had no shortage of patience or wild stories, one of which concerned the reason he’d come to take this gig.

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Some of his buddies, retired servicemen turned freelance haulers like himself, were killed attempting to make a pickup

on Dellin a couple years back, and it had been a big wakeup call to Everson. The situation on Charon III had gotten really bad, with the Acheron military deeming any outside forces entering Dellin airspace a threat. The two states had been at war for ages, I remember reading about it in school, but Acheron had become steadily more aggressive over the last few years. Everson heard about Sword of Hope, and had experience flying Hercules in the navy. He wanted to help. He “had to” is how he put it. I love talking with Everson. I love his stories. But that one made me feel like a jerk. Like, who am I? Some post-grad that went to one too many rallies and gets off on annoying her parents? I’m on a mission with this veteran who has real harrowing stories of loss. Not to mention real applicable skills. It makes me question my motives, my character, and my entire life trajectory up to this moment. But Everson is a kind dude, and he keeps reassuring me that I’m here for a reason.

As I was contemplating exactly what that reason might be, Everson pointed out three more Hercules, A2 gunships, flying out ahead.

He said that I shouldn’t be scared by the drills, because if anything went down, those bad boys would take care of it before we were within firing range. As it turns out, he was mostly right.

Last night as we began preparing to enter the atmosphere of Charon III, the sirens went off.

But this time it wasn’t a drill. Foregoing our recent training, I snuck up to the cockpit for a better view of the action. Everson sort of rattled off this play-by-play that I only half understood, while the rest of his small crew scrambled to man the remote gun turrets that basically serve as our last hope and prayer. So to speak.

We were engaged as soon as we broke through, I think. It all seemed to be over in a matter of minutes, but again, my internal clock is all messed up. Acheron fighters were all over us, throwing their weight around and focusing most of their firepower on the A2s, while the beefy fighters on our side bobbed and weaved, taking pot shots at the Acheron ships and trying to draw them away. One bogie took the bait, and two more of their fighters were obliterated by the A2s themselves. Unfazed, the Hercules took the brunt of the Acheron assault, their multitude of turrets patiently locking on and pummeling their targets. The fighters dropped like flies, shrugged off by the massive A2s.

My stomach flipped as we pulled down closer, nearing our proposed landing site.

Acheron reinforcements swarmed out of canyons that veined the arid Dellin landscape. A couple of them got dangerously close to Mama Bird, and we did take some fire, but our turrets blasted one of the engaging fighters out of the sky, and an interceptor from our supporting entourage took care of the other. They didn’t even make a dent in our hull.

With the first wave of Acheron fighters cleared out, the A2s ahead of us pulled up. Everson got a call – we needed to vacate the landing zone. "Too hot", they kept saying.

By the time a frazzled Deacon found me in the cockpit and drug me back down to the cargo bay, we were out of harm’s way, and we remain safe, but on high alert. I have been forbidden to return to the bridge, but before I was so unceremoniously removed, Everson said not to worry. That the A2s would make sure we had a safe place to land. Evidently they’re packing bombs. Big ones.

Post 3 Image 2
An A2 crew preps the MORNING STAR massive ordnance aerial bomb rig.

2948-05-10

After that initial attack, it was quiet for what felt like a long time. Deacon told us to try and get some sleep but that clearly isn't happening. About an hour ago, the bombs started dropping.

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"the gunships pack a mean punch, with modular bomb configurations capable of clearing out potentially dangerous landing zones."

Up in the cockpit, watching everything unfold felt almost like watching a vid. Witnessing the fray firsthand somehow made it easier to swallow. Down here in what the coordinators have dubbed the “safe zone”, it’s absolutely terrifying.

We can’t see anything. The hull rumbles and tilts weirdly. Metal creaks and groans. The muffled blasts of those bombs can be heard over it all, I can only assume that the A2s are dropping their payloads in those canyons, flushing out any remaining Acheron lurkers. The idea is to procure a safe landing zone, but right now, nothing about this situation seems anything close to safe.

I think maybe we just took fire. Are we landing? Or are we hit? Deacon is yelling something. Gotta go.

---

Okay, I'm back. Those huge ramps just opened up at both ends of the ship, and the sunlight is blinding. It's day time evidently. Seems like we’ve successfully landed, but I can't tell what's outside. Crusader security types are coming up the ramps, shouting. Gonna have to cut this short again. Look for a new post soon. Hopefully.

2948-05-11

The last 24 hours have been a blur. The gunships had successfully secured a large swath of desert, including an ancient airfield, half claimed by the wastes, as our impromptu landing strip.

Post 5 image1

Even with the A2 bomb run clearing the way, Crusader security didn’t want to take any chances.

The area was an unknown, as we’d been forced far South of the original drop point. Our remaining fighters hovered and buzzed overhead, dogs protecting their flock from unseen danger. They rolled us off of the M2 en masse (it seems our barracks/the “safe zone” is actually a huge sledge) along with the tanks and rover. More vehicles were unloaded from the other Hercules that had landed nearby, many hauling little trains of supplies and/or personnel. There were ground troops trudging along too, of course, and our entire caravan snaked through the shadows of the Hercules, perched like massive prehistoric birds, watching over us. Protecting our endeavor from potential outside intervention.

The caravan had snaked outward,

as the M2s and C2s, loaded with the bulk of supplies, crew, and heavy artillery, had landed in the center of the strip. The A2s had landed in a diamond pattern around its perimeter, deploying buggies that I guess were scouts, or something, because they darted out into the dust instead of joining up with our growing parade. The gunships, and really all the Hercules, are basically portable fortresses, capable of deploying and defending their cargo with looming intimidation and well, a ton of guns. As I looked up at them, I remember feeling a little scared, but mostly just really relieved that they were on our side.

The caravan made it through a sketchy pass and got more or less back on course as originally planned. We made it to the village, our mission’s objective, at twilight. We were greeted enthusiastically and made to feel very much at home and appreciated. We unloaded and catalogued the majority of EO’s supplies, and were ordered to bed around midnight.

That was two hours ago.

Now, here I sit, writing this post from my cot, in this little Dellin border town. I can’t sleep, thinking of everything we’ve just been through, and anticipating everything still to come. The real work starts tomorrow, but I already know that I made the right choice coming here, because of the beaming faces of the people of this village, because of a rare smile/thumbs up from the security guys who lead our section of the caravan, because of kind old Everson, who told me a couple of days ago that it doesn’t matter why you help, but simply that you help. I’m out here, trying to make a difference. The true impact of this operation remains to be seen, but here with Empire's Overlooked and Crusader Industries, I feel that I really am part of something bigger.

Post 5 Image 2
The entire Sword of Hope supply caravan, including ground support, was delivered safely to the Dellin sands, thanks to the Hercules family of ships.
Operation Sword of Hope Dellin, Charon III, Charon system

Tell us your starlifter story

You've ridden shotgun with young volunteer Ciera on her adventure aboard the Crusader Hercules, but Operation Sword of Hope has only scratched the surface of this adaptable craft's potential. Crusader Industries wants to hear your starlifter stories. How might you utilize the Hercules to secure your status as a true starlift legend? Share your own experience, be it a military, civilian, or humanitarian aid operation, or something altogether less conventional, and compete to win a mighty M2 Hercules.

To enter, post your story on

*You can find the complete contest rules here
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Variant Factory Loadouts

  • Variant of the Crusader Hercules Starlifter
  • C2 Hercules
  • M2 Hercules
  • A2 Hercules
  • Cargo capacity
  • 624 SCU
  • 468 SCU
  • 234 SCU
  • Turrets
  • 2x remote turrets (S3) with 2x S3 guns each
  • 3x remote turrets (S3) with 2x S3 guns each
  • 3x remote turrets (S3) with 2x S3 guns each

    2x remote side turrets (S4) with 2x S4 ballistic Gatlings
  • Weapons
  • 2x S4 front fixed ballistic cannons
  • 2x S4 front fixed ballistic cannons
  • 2x S4 front fixed ballistic cannons

    2x S5 remote side ballistic cannons
  • Missiles
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • 4x S10 bombs

Get the facts

Learn more about the UEE's premier tactical starlifter.

Starlifter brochure

ABOUT THE SHIP CONCEPT PLEDGE

The Crusader Hercules is being offered for the first time as a limited ship concept pledge. This means that the ship design meets our specifications, but it is not yet ready to display in your Hangar or to fly in Star Citizen. The Warbond pledges shown here include Lifetime Insurance on the ship hull. In the future, the ship price may increase and Lifetime Insurance or any extras may not be available. 

If you are interested in adding one to your fleet, a quantity of Warbond Hercules hulls are available during this event. The Hercules will be available in the pledge store June 14th, 2018. You can also view a detailed schematic of this new ship in the Holo Viewer in the Tech Overview of the ship page.

As with every concept ship pledge, we will also be doing a Q&A post.

If you have additional questions, there will be a forum thread on Spectrum to take your questions. Make sure to vote for the questions you most want to see answered and we will be posting the dev’s responses next week. Look for the Comm-Link Schedule next week to find out when that post will go up. 

For more details visit the complete Crusader Hercules ship page.

Add the Crusader Hercules to your fleet

The entire Hercules family excels in numerous military, civilian, and humanitarian aid applications.

C2 Hercules - Standalone Ship
$360.00 USD
In stock more info Add to Cart
C2 Hercules Warbond - Standalone Ship
$300.00 USD
In stock more info Add to Cart
M2 Hercules - Standalone Ship
$480.00 USD
In stock more info Add to Cart
M2 Hercules Warbond - Add-Ons
$400.00 USD
In stock more info Add to Cart
A2 Hercules - Standalone Ship
$700.00 USD
In stock more info Add to Cart
A2 Hercules Warbond - Add-Ons
$600.00 USD
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