The multi-colored Spathi Eluder, formerly known as the Discriminator, remains the bulk of the Spathi fleet even 20 years after the War. Its construction, though seemingly chaotic, is carefully designed to mimic its crew's natural attributes: paranoia, elusiveness, and cowardice. From the outside, the Eluder consists of many bubble-shaped, solid-colored cabins joined together by smaller gray corridors. The intention of having so many large seemingly crew-filled projections is partly to obfuscate enemy into targeting the decoy cabins and to direct enemy fire away from the sections where the crew resides. However, in-game, enemy weapons incapacitate the same amount of crew no matter where the Eluder is damaged.
The Eluder is one of the fastest ships in our region of space. The rapid acceleration and turning rate of this ship led Human servicemen to nickname it the "space jitterbug" during the Ur-Quan Slave War.1 It is capable of an impressive maximum speed as well. The Eluder's powerful propulsion system is not intended for speeding into battle, but rather for speeding away from it. From this perspective, the Eluder performs admirably.
The Eluder's primary weapon consists of a repeating forward mounted gun2 which can fire off low impact projectiles over a short distance. This gun is widely considered to be inferior to the Eluder's other armament, but it does have advantages over it: The projectiles fire in rapid succession and travel at a high velocity, allowing them to hit targets the Spathi's secondary weapon might be ill-suited against. Each projectile inflicts one damage upon contact.
The secondary weapon epitomizes the Spathi approach to war. The Backwards Utilizing Tracking Torpedo (B.U.T.T.) is a medium range, low impact homing missile with moderate speed and maneuverability. Fired from the rear of the craft, B.U.T.T. missiles are the favored weapon of the Spathi military due to their effectiveness during evasion and retreat. Each missile inflicts two damage upon contact.
As with the Mycon Podship's plasmoid, this weapon can damage the Eluder if fired while the ship's aft is pointed directly away from the enemy ship. B.U.T.T. missiles can also occasionally strike and neutralize each other.
- The Eluder has fantastic durability and speed, but lacks in firepower. In addition to the ship's low impact weaponry, the Eluder's energy banks are small and slow to recover. These vessels are not at all suited for frontal assault due to these deficiencies. The defensive nature of this ship often leads to protracted engagements.
- This ship is at its best when it is running away from a pursuing enemy while lobbing torpedoes backward. Spathi torpedoes have a lower velocity and higher duration than the average projectile, making them more heavily influenced by the Relativity Effect. In practical terms this means that torpedoes are especially useful against pursuing enemies, while typically unable to reach retreating enemies. The tracking system on these torpedoes is not perfect, but tremendous mobility is required to outmaneuver them.
- Some adversaries will not pursue a Spathi Eluder at all. If their weapon range is longer, they won't need to. A tactic that often works well against slow enemies that will not pursue is to race ahead of the enemy ship and drop B.U.T.Ts in their flight path before they can veer away. Evasive enemies with high acceleration and turning speed are difficult to overtake, in which case the forward gun often works better.
- The Eluder is effective at taking down Slylandro Probes during the single player campaign. If the player carefully maintains distance, they can bombard the Probe with B.U.T.T. missiles until it is destroyed.
- The rumored Black Spathi Squadron Eluders are painted black with red stripes rather than the usual gaudy color scheme.
Notes and references
- 1Star Control manual, p. 24.
- 2This may be the weapon Commander Hayes refers to when he describes the Spathi as a "cowardly, mobile clam armed with a howitzer."