By end of the 2040’s the last of the Contact Era cruisers had been reduced to reserve and Battle Fleet’s position as the only significant human space fleet was confirmed. At the same time that both the fleet’s cruiser and battleship construction programs were acknowledged as being in trouble. While the River Class cruisers suffered from some widely acknowledged flaws, mainly in terms of their combat capabilities, it had always been accepted that the design, construction and use of class would be a learning experience. Their follow ons, the Continental Class, were to be first true multi-role vessels, capable of undertaking combat and exploration roles to support the first wave of human expansion beyond Earth’s solar system. Unfortunately as the first ships the class came into service, it was clear that the Continentals were coming up short in most capacities.
The problem with the Continentals could be blames first and foremost at the door of an overambitious specification. Humanity had only obtained jump drive technology 15 years before and while progress had been startling, at the same there was no avoiding the fact that the Continentals were at best an expensive jack-of-all-trades. Some critics were already claiming that Battle Fleet risked becoming a fleet of samples.
The resignation of the entire Nicholls design board cleared the way for a new start. Helmed by Admiral Yu Mingyong the first step was to drop the concept of a ‘Universal Cruiser’, Battle Fleet’s first priority was as a military formation and as such Myths as they were to come to be known would be dedicated warships.
The Myths in many respects followed the pattern first established with the Rivers, with four turrets paired on the ventral and dorsal surfaces in a superfiring arrangement giving a total broadside of eight Mk VIII plasma cannons. There were however two major changes. The first was a reduction in both mass and physical dimensions – nearly a quarter less than the Continentals. With a smaller hull to protect, it was possible to increase the thickness of armour over the critical spaces, while the new McDonald Douglas KH77 engines gave a power to mass ratio twelve percent better than that of the Rivers and fifteen than that of the Continentals. Naturally certain compromises had to be made, crew habitability was reduced as were stores, all of which resulted in a lower radius of of operation.
The second change and the one that attracted the most attention upon the first public image releases were the two sponson mounted railguns. These were the first such weapons mounts to be used since the Contact War era Storm class and there were suggestions in some quarters that another pair of plasma cannons might have been more useful. But there fitting was the result of new tactical priorities. Railguns were now part of Battle Fleet’s emerging philosophy. With the Aèllr viewed as the main opponent, it was taken as a given that the fleet was always likely to be facing superior number of vessels that were at least technologically equal. Although the effective range of an individual railgun is short, the projectile can not be stopped by any practical scale of armour and concept of bracketing a target with fire from several ships was already being serious considered. Batches Two and Three of the class had their centrifuges extended to improve crew facilities, improvement in engine technology allowed Batch Three to receive additional spaced armour alongside the engineering spaces.
Beginning in 2040 the first of the Myths entered service and it became clear that the class met the objectives set for it. Annual fleet wargames of 2046 showed that the Myths clearly outmatched their predecessors, with one Myth proving to be as combat effective as 1.4 Continentals. Forming the bulk of the fleet’s battle line, the Myths have been primarily serving around Earth and the colonies on Landfall and Dryad.
To date only one ship of the class has seen action. In 2052 the Horus – a Batch One ship – was ambushed by two D class Tample cruisers while patrolling the outer planets of the Dryad system. Despite being caught by surprise at short range, Horus’s armour was able to absorb repeated hits. While her counter fire crippled one enemy cruiser and the other was destroyed outright by a direct hit from one of Horus’s railguns. After the battle Horus was able to remain on station for another month before withdrawing to Earth for repairs. This action was the last direct clash between Tample and Battle Fleet warships.
Construction of the Myth class has now been completed and they are expected to serve in the fleet until at least the 2080s.
Batch One Ships
Batch Two Ships
Batch Three Ships
Writer’s notes: The Myth Class is a design I’ve had in my head for a long time so actually coming up with the design was really more about the fine detail than the broad brush strokes. In my writing though, the poor old Myths only seem take the role of Redshirt, so here’s a spoiler for book three – I’m going to put at least one reoccurring character onto a Myth. Until next time folks.