Kzer-Za • Kohr-Ah
Second Doctrinal War
|Kzer-Za • Kohr-Ah|
|Path of Now and Forever|
Ur-Quan Hierarchy • Battle Thrall • Fallow Slave • Oath of Fealty Doctrinal Conflict
|Dreadnought • Marauder • Sa-Matra|
|Excruciator • Slave Shield • Talking Pet|
The Sa-Matra is the name given to the awesome Precursor Battleship discovered by the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za thousands of years ago. It is the very symbol of Ur-Quan dominance; a virtually invincible war machine that guarantees that the Ur-Quan species will never need know fear of anything.
During the era of the Dnyarri Slave Empire, among the numerous articles of Precursor technology gathered by the Ur-Quan scouts was one enormous Precursor battleship. When the Ur-Quan Slave Revolt began, one of the Ur-Quan's greatest victories was the successful seizure of this battleship by free Ur-Quan, who used it to devastating effect against remaining Dnyarri-controlled forces.
Afterwards, the psychologically traumatized Ur-Quan interpreted their possession of such a weapon as not only the key to their liberation but a sign of their destiny to never again be enslaved, by giving them ultimate power over the fate of other species. Thus, when the Ur-Quan divided into the factions of Kohr-Ah and Kzer-Za, each side claimed this weapon as their own. Naming it "Sa-Matra" (meaning "Great Prize") in the Ur-Quan language, the two factions entered ritualized combat, the winning side being promised possession of the ultimate weapon and therefore a decisive advantage in implementing their doctrine of control. In this initial battle the Kzer-Za proved victorious and were therefore free to use the Sa-Matra to enforce their Path of Now and Forever, which as a result received greater and longer propagation than the Kohr-Ah's Eternal Doctrine. However, their racial pride making them unwilling to totally override the beliefs and desires of their Ur-Quan brothers, the Kzer-Za agreed that, after the two races traveled their separate ways, when they met again this ritual war -- now known as the Doctrinal Conflict -- would be refought, and the Sa-Matra would go to the next winner.
Most recently, it was employed against the Alliance of Free Stars at the end of their war with the Ur-Quan Kzer-Za and their Hierarchy of Battle Thralls. Although up to that point the Alliance had been capable of holding Hierarchy forces at bay, the Sa-Matra proved to be a unanswerable weapon. It quickly broke the Chenjesu/Mmrnmhrm lines, incinerating conventional vessels at far beyond their own weapons' ranges; with the fall of those two races, the Alliance quickly surrendered.
Chenjesu strategists of the time wondered why the Kzer-Za did not use the Sa-Matra sooner. Given that it holds such symbolic, ritual significance for the Kzer-Za, they probably sought to minimize its use as a matter of respect and honor. They therefore only brought it into play to break the Alliance's most powerful defenses, the technologically precocious Broodhome ships, while refusing to dirty their hands with lower-level fighting, leaving that to their Thralls.
The Battle of the Sa-Matra
The second Doctrinal Conflict took place during the time of the Second War of the Alliance; in order to prevent further devastation and end Ur-Quan hegemony for all of history, the New Alliance of Free Stars undertook a desparate gambit to destroy the Sa-Matra and forever shatter the myth of destined Ur-Quan dominance. After several bold and clever missions gave them the intelligence they needed to locate the Sa-Matra, the Alliance was able to revive the power of the Dnyarri in the form of an augmented Talking Pet to penetrate the Ur-Quan defenses around the Sa-Matra. However, even the most powerful Alliance ships, the new Chmmr Avatar vessels, were unable to do more than defeat the Sa-Matra's escorts; luckily, the unmatched piloting skills of Pkunk and Yehat reinforcements, arriving at the last minute after the successful Yehat Revolution, proved effective at disabling the Sa-Matra's surface defenses.
This allowed the Alliance to deploy their own ultimate weapon: using the Precursor technology in their possession, they coupled the Vindicator's Precursor energy generation systems to the Utwig bomb, creating an antimatter bomb capable of destroying even the Sa-Matra's hardened superstructure. Ironically once the Sa-Matra's shields were down the Vindicator was able to penetrate it, making use of a docking bay that had specifically been designed for service vehicles like the Vindicator by the Precursors. The resulting blast not only destroyed much of the combined Ur-Quan fleet but also shattered their cultural understanding of themselves as a master species, sending them fleeing and demoralized to the Magellanic Clouds.
Physically the vessel was huge, almost the size of a small moon, with numerous weapons and defensive systems mounted on protuberances across the surface. Its armor was built by unknown Precursor methods and was extremely strong, strong enough to withstand impacts and energy blasts capable of vaporizing similar quantities of normal matter -- the Utwig bomb, a device created by the Precursors to destroy moons and rearrange planetary continents, was not powerful enough to destroy it without augmentation.
Deeming this insufficient protection against unknown weaponry or possible subterfuge, the Ur-Quan kept it safe when not in use by using their own technology to build a shell of magnetically fused asteroids around it, rendering the surface inaccessible to any attacker. It also made the Sa-Matra unable to use its main weapons from inside the shell, preventing any Ur-Quan from cheating and making use of it during the Doctrinal Conflict itself. The housings that controlled its defensive systems, however, protruded from the shell and continued to function.
The one weakness of defense was a single access port leading to a service docking area, installed by the Precursors and the only convenient means of accessing and controlling the Sa-Matra's systems, which the Ur-Quan were unable to cover with their asteroid shield. It was still protected by the Sa-Matra's defense mechanisms' energy shielding and its active defenders; however, for these mechanisms to be effective outside the asteroid armor, they had to protrude from it into the open, where they were vulnerable to attack from ships whose agility or resilience allowed them to survive the active defenses, like the Pkunk Fury and Yehat Terminator, the factor that led to the Sa-Matra's downfall.
The observed active defense systems consisted primarily of energy matrices given quasi-intelligent tracking capabilities that surrounded and defended the main ship. The ship's energy-projection systems were capable of regenerating these projectiles and the ship's main shielding as long as any of the projectors were active, and even with all projectors disabled, the projectiles were self-sustaining until disrupted by enemy fire. They consisted of two types, Repulsor Spheres, a mobile electromagnetic field that, upon contact with an enemy vessel, automatically dissipated itself into a powerful repulsive blast, and Plasma Destruction Toroids, a mobile field that collected environmental plasma and superheated it through rapid rotation, allowing it to directly damage enemy ships with heat and impact. These fields were delicate and a strong application of energy from enemy weapons could disrupt them, but their ability to quickly and effortlessly track enemy vessels and to be quickly regenerated by the Sa-Matra made them fearsome obstacles to invaders. The toroids, particularly, could maintain an active field of rotating plasma for quite some time directly within the structure of an enemy ship as long as no major force was released to disrupt it, and the Chenjesu reported it to be used with devastating effect as a long-range offensive weapon.
As for the Sa-Matra's main assault weapons, we were given little chance to observe them as they were only active within the asteroid shell itself. Comprising many different types of projectors and cannons, they inflicted massive damage upon the Vindicator even in the short time it took the Vindicator to dock with the Sa-Matra and detonate itself. What sketchy records we have of the Alliance's struggles against the Sa-Matra in the First War suggest it was more than the equal of any fleet in direct combat and could easily have lain waste to countless planetary surfaces.