by Max Barry

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The Galactic Republic of
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Galactic Republic of Alexzonya Starfleet - Strategic Weapons (IC Classified)

Strategic Weapons Systems

Project Gravekeeper
Status: Prototype
Classification: Secret (Full Program)
A second-strike weapon under development by Starfleet at Omega Station in conjunction with private sector partners, Gravekeeper is a Von Neumann based weapons system intended for use when the Galactic Republic of Alexzonya has been destroyed, or likely will be in the near future. The weapon is not launched at an enemy force, but is actually intended for deployment to uninhabited space. A module consisting of a nexus of AI Command and Control nodes and fabrication / resource collection systems, the Gravekeeper system automatically begins construction of a force of automated military forces under the command of the AI nexus. Its purpose is to fulfill directives established on deployment, but in lieu of those directives will act, to the Nexus' judgement, in the presumed interest of its creators and the Nexus itself. Gravekeeper is a long-overdue upgrade on the GRA's existing Gray Goo weapons (which had been declared deactivated and destroyed by the government but have been maintained in secret by the Clandestine Action Corps.), which are decades old and based on obsolete technology.

Project Hammerfall
Status: Initial Rate Production
Classification: Non-Classified (Program Existence), Secret (Program Details)
Project Hammerfall is the GRA's strategic-grade kinetic impact weapon initiative, an upgrade on the previous generation Relativistic Asteroid Collision Weapons (RAC-Ws). Rather than using one large, natural projectile, Hammerfall uses a smaller engineered projectile (which is still a several km across) designed to fragment on contact with the target. Accelerated to high c-frac velocities, the Hammerfall projectile is used to strike strategic targets in static orbits, such as planets. The Hammerfall projectile's fragmentation causes more widespread and consistent damage than the RAC-Ws that it replaces, as well as having improved performance against defensive shelters due to improved crust penetration. The main weakness of the Hammerfall projectile as a strategic weapon is still inconsistent coverage; while it wrecks a planet's biosphere for an extended period, the direct damage from the primary strike is still concentrated on one side of the planet, making it more suitable against unevenly-populated targets.

Project Firestorm
Status: In Service
Classification: Non-Classified (Program Existence), Secret (Program Details)
Project Firestorm munitions are atmospheric ignition devices deployed from the Firestorm-class Monitor or equivalent heavy spinal weapons. With multiple munitions deployed at various points in the atmosphere simultaneously, the Firestorm munition (often called a Nova Bomb) ignites the atmosphere of the planet, burning off a significant portion and totally destroying the surface. The main weakness of the Firestorm system is the coordination required for a complete burn; multiple capital ships at different approach angles must conduct a relatively delicate operation with precise timing, leaving the burn subject to disruption if all significant defensive forces have not be suppressed or destroyed. A botched or incomplete burn is still devastating to the planet and its biosphere, but will generally not result in the total annihilation and uninhabitablility of the world in the manner of a complete burn.

Relativistic Asteroid Collision Weapons (RAC-Ws)
Status: In Service
Classification: Non-Classified
An outmoded precursor to Project Hammerfall, the RAC-W mounts drive systems and FTL drives on collected large asteroids, usually a dozen or so kilometers in diameter, although as natural objects the exact composition and size varies somewhat. RAC-Ws are cheaper to construct than the Hammerfall projectiles by a significant margin, but take significantly longer to accelerate up to a high c-fractional velocity and are less resilient to defensive fire.

Gray Goo
Status: Officially Decommissioned, Secretly In Service
Classification: Secret (Full Program)
Gray Goo is a defunct GRA superweapon that uses self-replicating nanobots to entirely eat a planet or similar target. Vulnerable to large-scale EMP, thermal, and other forms of attack, the Gray Goo is more effective at combating enemies with lower levels of technology or general non-preparedness. The main advantage of Gray Goo is that, unlike a Firestorm munition, the Gray Goo delivery mechanism is based on the defunct Haywire Anti-Ship Missile and can be fired from a standard Longbow Missile Launcher, allowing them to be fired by Eclipse-class Covert Action Cruisers of the Clandestine Action Corps (which secretly continues to maintain the Gray Goo weapons despite public claims that the program has been dismantled).