Inertia has always been an impediment to maneuverability — and to the passengers' comfort. With most ships, if you have reached a certain speed, you have to pray that you will not suddenly stumble upon a superior enemy force, with no hope of braking and fleeing in time. It is not the case for the inertialess Arilou Lalee'lay Skiff — commonly known among the Humans as "flying saucers" —, capable of an immediate full stop and impervious to the effects of gravity. Piloted by the mischievous Arilou, the light blue Skiff is designed mainly for exploratory missions and boasts minimal offensive weaponry, but it has one envious quality: instant short range teleportation.
When not engaging in a HyperSpace Shunt, the Skiff flies, or rather glides, through TrueSpace at extremely fast speeds (though not as quickly as the nimble Spathi Eluder or Pkunk Fury). Its inertialess drive gives it the smallest turning radius in the galaxy — zero! — and of course the turning rate itself can't be beat. No inertia also means instant acceleration (and deceleration), as well as no gravitational effects from planetary objects or anything else for that matter!
The Skiff's main and only true weapon is a ventral 360-degree short range auto-aiming laser. Damage is minimal, killing only one crew member per hit, and technique and timing are crucial. However, a major drawback of the targeting system is that it tracks only the enemy ship and cannot be locked on another target.
Particular skillful captains are able to minimize the shortcomings of the limited weaponry with carefully-timed firing and dodging and cunning tactics.
The special ability of the Skiff is a short-range HyperSpace shunt transportation device allowing instantaneous teleportation. While extremely useful in making a quick exit from a heated sortie, the destination cannot be picked, and because of this undesirable results can occur, even materializing inside of a planetary object or another ship, which is instantly fatal. However, such catastrophic occurrences are extremely rare.
Due to the difficulty in winning a dogfight through brute force, Arilou captains have been forced to devise more clever methods of vanquishing foes. The following are three of the most commonly used tactics:
- Chain teleportation
- The Skiff is often not fast enough to flank an enemy conventionally, necessitating an alternative tactic. By teleporting repeatedly, the Skiff can eventually materialize behind an enemy, hit hard, and teleport out again. Unfortunately, this runs the risk of materializing inside the planet or an asteroid, which is instantly fatal.
- Gun and run
- Agility and speed are the two strongest attributes of the Skiff. Why not exploit them? Heading directly into enemy fire can be effective if the opponent's barrage is slow enough and the Skiff's captain is nimble enough. Once close enough to the enemy ship, even the directionally-challenged auto-aiming laser can do its job without missing. Leave enough fuel for a quick jump, and the Skiff is out of harm's way before the enemy can bring its weapons to bear. Unfortunately, the Skiff cannot take much incoming fire, making this tactic very risky against ships with good turning rates.
- Planetary ambush
- With no inertia, the Skiff is the only vehicle entirely immune to gravitational effects from nearby planets even when it is situated right next to it. Letting the bloodlust overcome an adversary's judgment, the perceptive Arilou captain can capitalize on such foolhardiness. Sitting on the far side of the planet as the enemy ship approaches, the opponent cannot simultaneously aim accurately and guide his ship to safe course (with some exceptions such as the Supox). Seizing such opportunities nets maximal damage to the opponent as he slingshots past the ambushing Skiff without ever having the ability to return accurate fire. This tactic is not recommended against ships with long-ranged weapons.
- Cyborg shimmy
- With the infinite dexterity of a computer, an expert Skiff captain can sometimes approach an enemy vessel in a direction that it can't fire. This feint requires split-second timing at the helm that no human could possibly match. It's even more devastating for the ship captain who can't quite catch his Arilou opponent off-guard.