The Ur-Quan Kzer-Za Dreadnought is the mainstay of the Hierarchy fleet. A fully-crewed Dreadnought can crush most other spacecraft with ease. The Dreadnought also doubles as a planetary siege unit; the ship is capable of punching through stationary fortifications, destroying large structures on and beneath a planet's surface, and subduing alien worlds without support. Only the Kohr-Ah Marauder, Chmmr Avatar and The Flagship match the Dreadnought in sheer size. The massive structure of the Dreadnought is reinforced with special Eterna-tech metal seen in other examples of Ur-Quan technology.1 Should a Dreadnought be disabled, the ship will self-destruct to prevent other species from reverse-engineering Ur-Quan technology. Most sources indicate that Ur-Quan Dreadnoughts have only a single Ur-Quan on board because of their intense intraspecies territoriality. All other crew members are believed to be battle thralls forced to work on board the Dreadnought.2 Due to the unique Ur-Quan physiology, the ceilings of a Dreadnought's interior are covered with roped webbing which allow an Ur-Quan captain to loom over its controls and slaves while clinging to the ceiling with its back claws.
The Dreadnought is not a fast or nimble ship. Its strength lies in its enormous firepower and considerable crew capacity.
The Dreadnought's fusion blaster is a devastating weapon. Its rate of sustainable fire is high, yet many adversaries can be wiped out with only one or two fusion blasts. The energy consumption of this weapon is significant, yet manageable due to the Dreadnought's plentiful energy banks. This weapon is limited somewhat by the Dreadnought's slow turning rate. Fusion blast velocity is relatively slow compared to other weapon systems, causing them to be somewhat inaccurate.
An Ur-Quan captain can also send out pairs of small, one-man fighters armed with lasers to harass the enemy. A swarm of these can team up to puncture an enemy ship's hull in seconds. Each fighter has only a limited supply of life support and fuel and must return to the Dreadnought after its brief sortie. Fighters are not affected by gravity. If they encounter a planet they will 'scoot' around it in short choppy motions (in Star Control I they die). Encounters with asteroids will kill fighters.
The word "finesse" is not present in a Dreadnought captain's vocabulary. Victory is nominally achieved through liberal application of superior firepower. The relatively high firing rate of the main weapon lends itself to this strategy quite nicely, but the Dreadnought's sub-optimal turning rate can complicate things. Fighters vary in effectiveness depending upon what they are deployed against and are usually ideal against slow targets. Be wary, for some ships are equipped with weapon systems which can easily shoot down any number of fighters.
Notes and references
- 1From the Lander report when investigating and unsuccessfully attempting to open the Syreen Vault.
- 2From the Star Control manual, pg. 19, and the Star Control II manual, pg. 66 (PC).