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, both in top speed and acceleration, and has a turning radius an Arilou Lalee'lay would be jealous of — a fact that has led Human Cruiser captains to nickname them "space jitterbugs".1 Though agility would be a mighty boon for most brute force fighter ships, the Eluder is anything but brute... or a force... or even a fighter. The fact is that thrusters' primary use isn't for speeding into battle, but rather for speeding away from it (and from this perspective, the Eluder performs admirably).
The Eluder's main weaponry consists of a quick-firing, short-range, low-impact forward-firing missile that is great for sneak attacks, guerilla tactics, or just to finish off a severely-handicapped adversary (which are the only direct attacks a Spathi would consider). The missile is otherwise limited in its usefulness. Each hit kills one crew member.
The secondary weaponry epitomizes the essence of true Spathi-ness due to its ability to do the most damage while the Eluder is in full retreat. The Backwards Utilizing Tracking Torpedo (B.U.T.T.) is a medium-range, low-impact conventional space torpedo with a good guidance system and moderate speed and maneuverability. Fired from the rear of the craft, B.U.T.T. missiles do most of the dirty work in the dogfights as Eluders make their way away from the fray. Enemy captains foolish enough to think it can run down an Eluder usually end up learning a fatal lesson in space warfare. Each hit kills two crew members.
An Eluder is a coward’s ship: it is designed by a coward, built by cowards, and flown by cowards. There are only two types of Eluder captains: the living cowards, and the foolish dead. The living cowards never meet face-to-face with a foe. The Eluder must wear its enemy down little by little. A common and effective Spathi tactic is to show the enemy the Eluder's butt while firing B.U.T.T. missiles at them.
The Eluder is capable of wearing down the Ur-Quan Dreadnought easily. When facing (or running away from) a Kohr-Ah Marauder the Eluder can run away in a straight course, sidestepping spinning wheels and firing B.U.T.T.s, and if beyond B.U.T.T. range, make a complete circle (Turn+Acceleration) to allow the Eluder to get back in range before continuing in the former course. Slylandro Probes can be tricked into chasing the Eluder in a straight path, allowing B.U.T.T.s to be used at will. Mycon Podships have a hard time handling the Eluder, especially if you can force them to swallow their own Plasmoids. Additionally, VUX Intruders fall like flies before the Eluder, which can circle outside the Intruder's laser range and shower it with B.U.T.T.s.
Fast ships such as the Pkunk Fury and naturally the Chmmr Avatar whose ZapSats render the B.U.T.T.s completely useless and the pellet weapon nearly so. The Yehat Terminator provides for an interesting stalemate. The Terminator cannot catch the Eluder, and the Eluder cannot fire fast enough to breach the Terminator's shield.
There have been rumors that a few Eluders exist that are painted all black with red stripes. Legends of the Black Spathi Squadron have been passed down for generations and tell of a small band of courageous, brave Spathi rogues "dedicated to performing brave and hostile deeds". However, the credibility of this legend is dubious at best because even the most courageous Spathi in the known universe are a little short of being completely terrified.
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