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General Characteristics
C-564 Eclipse
C-564 Chargers just off the production line.

Manufacturer

Colt Stardrive Company

Model

C-564

Class

Light Cruiser

Length

158' (48m)

Height

52' (16m)

Width

96' (29m)

Roles

Transport, Freighter, Smuggling Vessel, Military Attack

The C-564 Charger Light Cruiser is a spaceship manufactured by Colt Stardrive Company based on the Jehdan planet of Tanthalas.  Designed by an eccentric scientist Filo Fry, it was sold to Colt who decided to use it as the template for a new class of medium sized vessels for private use.  Built on a sturdy frame, it was remarkable for offering a high degree of customization which made it immensely popular throughout the Known Universe.  While even Colt Industries does not have reliable records of how many have been made and sold, there are believed to be hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of Chargers found across the spaceways. Among spaceship enthusiasts, the Charger is regarded as a tank. Its speed and durability were originally sellpoints to merchants who wanted to be able to outrun pirates, but these very features made the Charger a popular ship with smugglers, underground racers and various other outlaws.

CharacteristicsEdit

Built from a design conceived by a self styled mad scientist, the ship which became the C-564 Charger was notable for its high efficiency and relatively cheap construction.  It was remarkably fast and durable, able to soak up a remarkable amount of damage and keep operating. After being purchased from Professor Fry by the starship manufacturer Colt Industries, it was used as a template and pushed into production to fulfill the need for a light transport vessel which could be configured to serve a wide variety of tasks.  Its high degree of modularization revolutionized the market for medium sized space ships and enabled it to be mass produced and arranged into new configurations without extensive retooling.

The ship's frame was designed to be sleek and appealing looking while possessing a good deal of interior space.  The Charger possesses a sloping central hull with two outrigger pods on either side which contain the sublight engines and two Flash Drive pods running along the bottom of the craft.  Two stabilizing fins rise from the engine pods.  On the bottom are two pods that contain the flash coils which generate the flash field which the ship uses for FTL travel.  The ship's bridge is in a blister which protrudes from the front of the top of the ship.  The Charger uses a tripod style landing gear with the front leg doubling as the ramp leading into the cargo bay area while the rear legs are folded around the Flash Pods.  The stock color of the Charger's hull was usually silver.

While its exterior was fairly consistent across the various versions, the interior of the C-564 could be configured for a wide array of purposes, including cargo freighter, passenger transport, science vessel, or military attack craft.  Most versions of the Charger had 3 decks with the Bridge and various ops facilities being found on the upper deck, crew quarters in the middle and the cargo bay and engine room being found on the lower deck.  Versions that were purposed specifically as cargo freighters often had the second deck removed completely and spartan crew quarters replacing the specialized facilities on Deck 1. 

While all models have bridges with multiple crew stations, the Charger dating back to the original one developed by Professor Fry was designed to only require a single pilot. The basic functions of each of the stations can be accessed from the helm. Like most spaceships in the modern Universe, the ship is steered by a wheel which can be pushed in or pulled back to descend or ascend respectively. Acceleration and deceleration are controlled by pedals at the base of the helm station. 

While rather large, the C-564 is within the range to be considered "street legal" on most planets and is permitted to fly on main skyways. As such, it was subject to standard laws regarding speed, lighting arrangements, etc. While military models are generally exempt, civilian models have headlights, tail lights and side blinkers. 

VersionsEdit

Many different configurations of the Charger were marketed to the public.  It is important to note that given its predominantly civilian use most versions of the Charger Class were not built with weapons.  Only the D variant which was marketed specifically to the military was made with weapon emplacements.  However, because of the Charger's modular design, it was very easy to take parts from the D variants and illegally modify the other variants with them. All versions are well known for their high speed and ease of maintenance.  Perhaps its most defining feature though was its durability and endurance which enable them to fly well past the point a lesser ship would have come apart.  It is said that Chargers are so rugged that even a complete idiot could keep one flying.

C-564Edit

The first run of the Charger was an exact replica of Professor Fry's original design.  It was made to be an all purpose craft with a large cargo bay, comfortable crew quarters and a large cargo bay.  Several decades after this model was produced more specialized versions followed.  This version was kept in production through the beginning of the A and B-Variants, but was eventually phased out when the C-Variant came online.  Very few of the original C-564's still fly, as most have been cannibalized for spare parts for later C-Classes.  However, there are some still maintained in private collections of individuals who collect and maintain classic space ships.

C-564AEdit

The A was purposed specifically as a cargo transport, but ironically is not typically used by shipping companies except for exceptionally large deliveries.  It was designed to run with a smaller crew and many of the facilities were removed to create more cargo storage.  The spartan crew facilities made these vessels enormously unpopular for long missions.  Also while the larger cargo bay allows for greater storage, it also lacks secure holding.

C-564BEdit

The B version was made as a passenger transport vessel.  It was often bought by Intergalactic Ferry Services to serve as local transports which would then link up a larger ship with an intergalactic drive which would transport the ships to another galaxy.

C-564CEdit

When the more specialized A and B variants proved unpopular, Colt decided to go back to formula with the design with the C-Variant.  The C was an upgrade of the original C-564 design, made with a similar layout but with vastly upgraded systems and more efficient engines.  However, the C-Variant's most popular feature was its increased degree of modularization.  It was very easy to alter the internal layout of the ship without compromising its structural integrity, and it was an easy matter to switch out obselete parts as newer, better parts became available for them.  This version was far and away the most popular, and probably 90% of the Charger's found throughout the Universe are C-variants.  The ship is so popular that it is still produced, though in far smaller numbers than years passed.  The C-Class is actually more popular among cargo couriers than the specifically purposed A-Variant since it possesses a sizable cargo bay while the various rooms on the middle deck can be used to further secure sensitive cargo.

C-564DEdit

The D was made specifically for the military and was given possessing advanced weapons and armor plating.  In addition to ablative plating bolted over its hull, it had more powerful shield generators than a standard Charger. The nose of the ship had two torpedo tubes hidden within of the front grill and two gun emplacements on either side. The front pods of the outriggers were replaced with a quad phase cannon battery giving it incredible firepower and the fins were removed completely to allow the laser turret on top of the ship an unrestricted field of fire. The C-564D was notoriously overpowered and had a problem with ripping itself apart when pushed.  Not many of these vessels still exist, but various parts of it sometimes found their way into C variants which were used by smugglers and pirates.

Famous Chargers Edit

The Lightning Express Ship

The "original" Charger was a custom ship invented by Professor Filo Fry and used to transport cargo to finance his experiments. It was often crewed by a trio of bumbling drifters he adopted and was at the center of many adventures. After his company went belly up he began selling his assets to recoup his losses. The Ship was sold to Colt Industries on Tanthalas where it served as the template for all successive Chargers, which got their name from the lightning bolt logo of Lightning Express. It was painted green.

Century Hawk

The ship was rescued from the junkyard by a hobbyist called Bailey, who was looking for a cheap starship that he could fix up. Having to essentially rebuild the ship from the ground up, he used a wide variety of parts spanning the production run of C-564's including many parts which were never designed for it. The result was that the ship now exceeded the standard specs for the model, but tended to be rather glitchy requiring constant reworking. Despite this, it was a labor of love for Bailey, and it was a sad day for him when he lost the Century Hawk gambling against a famous musician called Loggins. After winning the Hawk, Loggins used his considerable fortune to give the ship a complete overhaul. The ship served to ferry Loggins as a tour bus, ferrying him and his band from planet to planet. Unfortunately for the band, Loggins had an out of control gambling habit and he would lose the ship to a drifter named Duo. Duo and his best friend would remodel the ship extensively, installing many of its secret compartments and equipping it with weapons. Duo replaced the front of the ship with one scavenged from a C-564D Military model Charger giving it pulse cannon banks and torpedo tubes, as well as upgrading the Hawk's armor and shields. Duo used the ship as a smuggling vessel and blockade runner which thanks to all the upgrades it received it excelled at. As the Century Hawk the ship was given a white paint job with red racing stripes running down the middle of the ship from bow to stern.

General Ren

The General Ren belonged to a pair of outlaws called the Prince Brothers. The brothers were veterans of the Peril Rebellion, when the Jehdan province of Peril attempted to secede from the Great Jehdan Imperium. The brothers had fought on the side of the Rebellion and were great admirers of the Peril Army's Commander, General Ren who was executed after the War's end.  They would name the ship after him and use it as a smuggling and pirate vessel which they would use to harass Imperial Agents for years. During this time the ship was painted orange with the Perilian Rebel Flag (a blue X on a red field with a large white star in the middle) printed on top of the bridge. Also the number 69 was scrawled across both sides of the nose as this was the year that General Ren was executed.

Rocco II (formerly the Red Jewel)

Famous as the ship of the outlaw group the Magnificent 7, the Rocco II has the distinction of being arguably the fastest ship in private ownership in all of Shiva. Originally part of a fleet of Chargers belonging to a trading company, it and its sister ships came into the possession of the notorious Lovelace family who painted them the House color of red. They significantly retrofitted these ships well beyond normal specifications so that they could act as smuggling ships and blockade runners. Under them all the ships bows were replaced with ones scavenged from D models so they had gun emplacements and torpedo tubes. One of these ships, the Red Jewel was captained by a drifter called Jaxx Barro. When she discovered that the cargo she was carrying was a group of Purran Slaves she let them go and absconded with the ship. This began the start of their long vendetta which resulted in the death of the villainous Duke Valentine of House Lovelace. Afterwards Barro became a notorious outlaw who terrorized the spaceways. One day Barro found a derelict SENTINEL Peace Keeper which she raided for its superior weapons and tech. She was eventually betrayed and seemingly murdered by her first mate, the Selikan Wylie who reorganized the Barro Gang as the Grinning Pirates. For 5 years he captained the Red Jewel until he ran afoul of John Nash who killed the Grinning Pirates and took possession of the ship. Renaming it the Rocco II after his father's black Dodge Charger, he would keep the red paint job, but painted a jolly roger on the nose with the words "ROCCO II" scribbled around it. John Nash would further upgrade and remodel the ship, completely retrofitting the interior according to his tastes using the money he inherited as the new Lord Naru. During the battle with Crash he would gather a crew who would turn the Universe upside down.

Lightning Bug

The Lightning Bug was found at a scrap yard where it would be bought by a veteran of the Jehdan Imperial Guard named Cal Vanhold. The Lightning Bug was painted silver with a black racing stripe down the middle.

Silver Bullet

This famous racing ship belonged to a man named Molson Coors who bought it as a generic cargo vessel. Coors owned a beverage company and the ship which he named the Silver Bullet after its stock paint job was used by him to make deliveries. In his spare time, Coors became entranced by the ship's speed and he would enter it in stock spaceship races. He became a fixture on the racing circuits throughout the eastern province of the Jehdan Empire. After a few years, Coors ended up selling the ship at the behest of his wife who wanted him to concentrate on his business.

Black Beauty

The Black Beauty was the ship of a fearsome mercenary squad called the Unfortunates.  It was owned by the group's captain Stallone who would use the ship to ferry his group of soldiers from job to job. He painted it jet black with white accents and renamed it the Black Beauty. It served the Unfortunates, for nearly a decade where it was subjected to constant abuse by Stallone's inept piloting and constantly being fired at. Despite being the ship of a group of mercenaries, the ship was never armed or given additional armor so that Stallone could maintain a cover as a merchant. Instead, he relied on the Charger's famous speed and the ingenuity of his team to get him out of sticky situations. After one botched mission, the Black Beauty was severely damaged. Unable to deploy the landing gear, Stallone was forced to make an emergency landing during which the ship was completely wrecked. While all of his men survived the crash, the ship itself would be sent to be scrapped.

Always Sunny

The Always Sunny was a yellow C-564C that was picked up by 3 friends called Mac, Day and Den. Den, Day and Mac pooled their money together to buy the ship with Mac and Den putting up the majority of the money. Day turned out to be a talented pilot and would often man the helm while Den's twin sister Dee would commonly be stuck with the worst tasks. The three were small time criminals and would use the ship in a series of misadventures. During this time the ship was painted yellow with orange accents. The ship would eventually be stolen by Den and Dee's father, Awful Frank. Under Awful Frank the ship would be involved in far more hardcore criminal activities. Unlike his son and daughter and their friends, Frank ran a rather substantial criminal empire which he administrated personally. Because of his caustic personality, he had many enemies and lived in constant fear of assassination. He would use the Always Sunny to stay one step ahead of his enemies. The ship was piloted by his only friend, a mute giant called Tanto and he commonly had a harem of prostitutes on the ship. He was eventually swindled out of the ship by his illegitimate son, Day, who would strand Awful Frank at Arkem Space Port completely penniless.

TriviaEdit

- The original Charger, the Lightning Express Ship created by Prof. Fry represented a work in progress that he adjusted over the course of his long life. In its first incarnation, the ship lacked fins and flash pods which gave it a very different silhouette. It served him as a mobile home and laboratory which he used to travel around the local system of Shin Shin York where he was originally from. As he accrued more money he made numerous upgrades to the ship, including large fins to make it "look cool" (though he would admit that the ship also housed numerous avionics and countermeasure systems) and he welded on two flash pods to the bottom to give the ship FTL capabilities.

- The best known C-564 is the Rocco II (formerly the Red Jewel) which serves as the mobile base of the Magnificent 7.  It should be noted though that the Rocco II has been modified FAR beyond the usual specs for the Charger Class and is capable of remarkably high performance.  During its time as a pirate ship, it was given armor plating, sensors, weapons, shields, and a power plant and flash drive scavenged from much larger ships.

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