The Earthling Cruiser is a vessel of happenstance. Humanity was brought into the Ur-Quan Slave War with almost no preparation. It was only their long history of proliferation that allowed this vessel to be so effective in the battle against the Ur-Quan Hierarchy. A massive industrial base located at Detroit, Michigan, USA churned out vast numbers of Cruisers which for a time acted as the backbone of the Allied fleet.1 Upon Earth's defeat, the Ur-Quan destroyed all remaining Cruisers and every database used for their construction. A former production assistant of the Detroit shipyards, who later would serve as a maintenance engineer on the Earth Starbase, managed to stash away a few copies of the Cruiser's complete blueprint and keep them hidden during Humanity's enslavement. It was these blueprint disks that allowed the fledgling New Alliance to manufacture Cruisers prior to the liberation of Earth.
The Cruiser's acceleration and top speed leave much to be desired, however, the ship turns very quickly.
The Cruiser's primary armament earned humanity quick respect during the War. These long range "fire-and-forget" nuclear missiles were based on the Peacekeeper missiles of the Cold War. While these weapons are quite primitive by Ur-Quan standards, the number that were stored in Earth's Peace Vaults after Humanity's various wars nevertheless came as a pleasant surprise to the Alliance. Nuclear missiles can travel over a very long distance and correct their trajectory to follow enemy movement. Unless the weapon can be shot down or cunningly evaded, the power of the atom will be unleashed on the enemy ship. Each missile strike inflicts four damage.
The Cruiser's secondary armament is a short range point-defense laser system that is based on mid-1980s SDI "Star Wars" missile defense technology. It fires a laser at each enemy ship, projectile, asteroid, or other object within close proximity to the Earthling ship. The point-defense laser has a long cooldown, making it a poor choice for short range combat. It serves as more of a situational protective measure than a weapon. Each laser strike deals one damage.
- The Cruiser was made to fight at long range. It is a slow ship, but in most circumstances the limited mobility which it does possess should be used to maintain distance for as long as possible. The Leyland Gravity Whip can often be of tremendous help when stalling for time. The Cruiser's rapid turn rate allows it to Pillbox effectively. Pillboxing is most beneficial against high mobility, low firepower adversaries (the Spathi Eluder, for instance). It is otherwise better to be on the run if the opposing ship does not meet that description.
- A nuclear missile can potentially whirl back around and hit the Cruiser that launched it while seeking a hostile craft. Incoming friendly fire is fortunately quite rare and can be prevented by the point-defense laser. Aside from that, missiles do not require much aim or forethought to use effectively.
- The point-defense laser is useful for shooting down asteroids in the Cruiser's flight path. Because the Cruiser has such poor acceleration, it usually cannot afford to be knocked off course by one of these. The laser is also effective at wiping out subsidiary enemy craft and can provide some protection against smaller projectiles.
- If the point-defense laser and nuclear missile launcher are activated at the same time, a missile will launch without being shot at by the laser. However, the Cruiser's energy banks will drain as if both weapons had been used. The laser will shoot down outgoing missiles if activated immediately after a missile has launched.
- The point-defense laser will always consume four energy regardless of how many targets it fires upon.
- 1 - Star Control: Scenario description for "Target Earth" from the Genesis port.
"The Earthlings, at first a minor annoyance for the Hierarchy, have become an increasingly serious threat. Mass-produced Cruisers deployed from the Detroit ship yards have become the backbone of the Alliance fleet."