The Flagship refers to the Precursor vessel flown by The Captain in Star Control II. Despite its immense size by both Alliance and Hierarchy standards, The Flagship is actually a Precursor tugboat designed as a multi-purpose "workhorse".1 The ship itself is a framework to which a combination of separate enhancement modules can be attached. Along the spine of the ship are sixteen slots for mounting any of the variety of multi-function modules (those modules that house crew, provide storage space, supply energy, or are weapons), while navigation-related modules are mounted along the ship's outriggers. Because The Flagship is incapable of planetfall, it can also carry up to ten Planet Landers, which are useful for collecting resources (minerals and biological data) and artifacts from a planet's surface. Planet Lander missions are generally preceded by a thorough scan for minerals (using low-power deep-radar),2 large organisms (by detecting the substances they absorb and/or excrete)3 and energy sources, which usually indicate the presence of alien artifacts. While it is possible to configure The Flagship for combat, it also can support a escort fleet of up to twelve combat ships which can accompany and protect The Flagship as it travels through space.
The Flagship is also known as the Vindicator, the default name on the 3DO version of Star Control II, though the name can be changed during the game. The name SIS (an abbreviation for Super Integrated Starship) is also sometimes used; it is how the ship is referred to internally in the code, but never in the actual game or manuals.
Two types of modules affect The Flagship's maneuverability and speed: Turning Jets and Thrusters. Turning Jets allow the Flagship to rotate faster, a necessity for avoiding and out-maneuvering hostiles in combat or in open space. A maximum of eight pairs can be mounted on The Flagship's outriggers, each pair increasing the turn rate by two units. Thrusters affect both the acceleration and the top speed of The Flagship in regular space and in HyperSpace. Each pair of Thrusters (there are slots for eleven pairs) increases the maximum velocity by eight units. The Thrusters are absolutely essential for travel through HyperSpace where a ship will come to a halt if it does not constantly thrust. Note, however, that additional thrusters do not change the fuel cost for traveling through HyperSpace, but they do allow the ship to get to the destination more quickly.
As The Flagship is a modular vessel, its armament is completely dependent on how it has been outfitted. The armament configuration is usually guided by the necessities of the current mission. The Flagship can become a very powerful vessel in combat when augmented by advanced technology available from the Melnorme. Alternatively, it can rely on escort ships for protection.
The Flagship can mount three different kinds of primary weapons modules: the Ion-Bolt Gun, the Fusion Blaster, and the Hellbore Cannon, in order of increasing offensive power and energy drain. Only four slots, the front three and the rear slots, can accommodate a primary weapon module. The slot a weapon module is mounted in also determines the direction of fire. In the first slot a module will fire a single shot directly forward; in the second slot, two shots in a spread diagonally forward and to either side; in the third slot, two shots directly sideways to either side; and in the rear, one shot directly backwards. It is also possible to mount a combination of different types of weapon modules and mount multiple modules in different slots at the same time. However, mounting multiple weapon modules increases the drain on the ship's battery, making it necessary to manage the Flagship's energy supply and requirements to maintain combat effectiveness.
The Flagship's primary weapons system can be enhanced by the addition of Auto-Tracking Systems, which impart minor homing capabilities to the projectiles The Flagship fires. The addition of multiple such systems will increase this homing effect. The maximum homing effect can be achieved with three of these systems; mounting additional systems beyond this is useless. The tracking systems, when combined with judicious placement of weapon modules in specific slots, can allow The Flagship to deal massive amounts of damage with a single salvo.
The Flagship's optional secondary weapons system is a Point-Defense Laser similar in design to the one used on the Earthling Cruiser. Its strength can be enhanced by adding additional modules if desired. The mere presence of a point-defense system is enough to dissuade an Orz Nemesis or the Ur-Quan Dreadnought from launching their crew against The Flagship.
The Flagship was constructed by an abandoned Precursor factory on the planet Unzervalt. Construction inadvertently began in about when Jules Farnsworth initiated the factory's prime function — building starships. The initial stages of the construction occurred within the factory's cavern, with the The Flagship's spine being the first section built. Soon after this the construction transitioned outside the cavern, onto the planet's surface. Finally, after another ten years, construction halted prior to completion when the factory had exhausted all the available resources. Although the resulting vessel was capable of interstellar travel, it was a mere skeleton of a starship, equipped only with a Crew Pod, a Fuel Tank, a Storage Bay, a single Ion-Bolt, one Planet Lander, and two pairs each of Thrusters and Turning Jets. Because the starship's controls were designed for Precursors and not Humans, the Human colonists created an automated control system by removing central control computer of the factory from the cavern and installing it on the ship. This also required that the only person able to communicate with the computer, a young man who would become The Captain, accompany the small crew headed by Captain I. Burton.
As starship was approaching the edge of the Vela star system, it acquired its first escort vessel, the drifting and derelict Tobermoon. Since Burton was the only one capable of piloting the Tobermoon, command of the starship was given over to The Captain. The two ships then began the long trip through HyperSpace to Earth. However, the starship's passage through HyperSpace did not go unnoticed. An Ur-Quan Dreadnought detected the starship's HyperSpace trail, but although it lost the trail, the Dreadnough was able to follow the trail back to the Human colony on Unzervalt. Five days out from Sol the starship also had an encounter with a Slylandro Probe, which quickly homed in on the larger vessel. The Tobermoon was able to intercept the Probe, allowing the starship to escape into HyperSpace, but the cruiser was disabled and Burton was killed in the attack.
This starship becomes The Flagship of the New Alliance of Free Stars and is integral in that group's completion of its ultimate objective. Since the New Alliance lacks an actual fleet, The Flagship serves as the principal means of exploration, resource gathering, establishing diplomatic relations, and, on some occasions, intimidating enemy forces. As Commander Hayes notes, The Flagship represents "a 'stick' of awesome power" when dealing with alien races. However, as the Spathi are quick to point out, its primary flaw is that it remains one-of-a-kind. Sadly, it has to be sacrificed to destroy the Sa-Matra and thereby end the Ur-Quan threat, by delivering and providing additional power to the Chmmr-improved Utwig Bomb.
In the PC version The Flagship's engine was green unlike in 3DO/UQM version, where it is red. In Ur-Quan Masters the only screens where the engine is still green are the outfit screen and Starbase Commander Hayes' screen.
Notes and references
- 1From the 1998 IRC chat with Toys for Bob (Fwiffo is both Fred Ford and Paul Reiche III here):
- <_Stilgar> Fwiffo- what WAS the Mark II?
- <Fwiffo> The Mark II was a precursor cruiser as opposed to a precursor tug which is what you guys flew.
- <_Stilgar> Fwiffo- what WAS the Mark II?
- 2Star Control II manual, p. 39 (PC).
- 3Star Control II manual, p. 40 (PC) or pg. 15 (3DO).