The Omega Shadow Advanced Destroyer
The Omega Shadow is one of the most infamous but less known outcomes of the technical activities developed during the dictatorship of President Wiliam Morgan Clark: hastily assembled in a few months, when the Shadow War was yet over and the Earth Civil War was raging, this small class of ships was, literally, the last hope of victory for the Clark's regime, when large part of the EA fleet was neutral or joined the Liberation forces led by Capt. John Sheridan.
Against the superior strategic mobility of the liberation
forces, openly supported by the population of all the human
colonies, and against the tactical superiority given by the use
of the Whitestar class assault frigates, issued to the Rangers
(Anla'shok) and under the strategic command of Capt. John
Sheridan, supported by the strategic informations provided by the
Rangers and by the EFNI, the forces still liege to the Clark's
regime desperately needed something capable to give a
technological edge in the fightings, even in order to improve the
morale of the people, that frequently showed to prefere to join
the liberation forces or chose a neutralistic stance, instead of
"fighting to the death" for a government whose
legitimacy was debatable and whose behavior was day after day
more similar to the darkest dictatorships of the human history,
and more and more far from the ideals that shaped the Earth
Alliance and motivated the vast majority of the Earthforce
The Warlock destroyers, whose first batch of seven was under construction in the late period of the Civil War, were tormented by development and system integration troubles, particularly in the areas of the armor (shadow nanotechnologycal layer) and of the main computer and sensors networks, even these based upon recovered Shadow technology, directly managed by the EFRAD, but kept under the control of the Psi Corps.*(see note 1)
A further reason of delay was that EFNI agents participating to the Freedom Sabre operation against the Clark's regime, in the late June 2261 were able to infiltrate a Naval Commandos team in the Io shipyards, and this team was able to sabotage the bearings of the fuel feeding pumps on all the Warlocks under construction, and this delayed of months the inception in service of the new destroyers.
Even when the technical problems were partially solved and the
damages done by the EFNI Naval Commandos were repaired, and so
the Warlocks were, at least partially, combat ready, the ships
didn't became available to the Clark's forces: two weeks before
the end of the Civil war, on 20 November 2261, the EFNI Special
Operation Commandos S.O.C 2,4,5,10,11,12 and 14 conquered the
shipyard of Io, salvaged all the technical documentation of the
Warlock Project and took under control the ships
(E.A.S.Necromancer, Enchantress, Titans, Rihannon, Sorcerer,
Warlock and Sorceress) and the technical personnel of the
The operation, led by the actual chief of the EFNI, Admiral Daryl Cellini, was concluded with minimal bloodshed (the only victims were some Psi Cops and some agents of the Bureau 13 and of the Clark's Political Office, that tried an attempt of resistance before surrender), and the Warlocks were secured and carried in a safe base of the EFNI.
In the same shipyards, the EFNI commandos found traces of an unknown activity developed on a small number of Omega destroyers: the questioning of the technical personnel and of the prisoneers of the Bureau 13 and Psi Corps led to nothing: all the activities had been brought on under the deepest secrecy, and in a sort of "sealed compartment" of the Io Yards, and even the survived people of the Psi Corps and of the Bureau 13 were unaware of the activities, except for the fact that were involved Shadow technologies and was rumored the presence of non-humans in the area of the "advanced destroyers".
The whole area was found empty: whatever had been done there,
was over a couple of weeks before the "Freedom Knife"
operation, and neither the personnel involved nor materials or
other clues were there.
Regardless to the efforts of the EFNI an answer was not found until 30 November, when a White Star fleet, under the Command of Cdr.Susan Ivanova, fought against the "Advanced Destroyers" forces in sector 300. The eight "Shadomegas" were destroyed, but 12 of 20 Whitestars were lost, and all the surviving ones were damaged. The human losses were heavy on both sides. This failure to track, analyze and assess the "Shadomega" activity is the hardest mistake of the EFNI during the Civil War.
The battle of sector 300 was the only appearence of the "Shadomegas", and even if these ships were defeated, that short fight show all the power of the Shadow and Shadow derivated technology: the lesson was learned, and was applied, years later, in the Brightwarrior Project.
Technology: Architecture and systems
The Omega Shadow is a standard Omega Destroyer with two main differences in respect to the standard EA destroyer: a layer of Shadow Armor and a weapon system in which the standard EA pulse-heavy particle cannons were replaced by Bosers. In both cases, the technology employed was not the human development of the Ancient technology, like the one used in the Warlock and in the Brightwarrior projects, it was instead the true and original Shadowtech, and it was applied with the direct involvement of the Drakhs, that in those months, while left to themselves by their Ancient masters, were in a "transition period", in which some of them were still bringing on the tasks that had been assigned to them by the Shadows, included the support and management of the Clark's regime and Psi Corps.
The outer aspect of the Shadomegas was characterised by the changeling, dark pattern of the Shadow armor, well known and easily recognizable to everyone that fought in the Shadow war and was so lucky to survive the contact with the enemy, but the commonnalities with the Shadow ships were made even clearer by the sinister presence of many "spines" grown on the surface of the human destroyers.
The spines of the true Shadow ships, like the battlecrabs,
provide to a multiplicity of tasks. In first, the spines allow to
enlarge the surface of the ship with small mass penalties, and
the shadow armour, due to its working principle (see again Shadow Armour)
works better when the layer has a large radiating surface. More,
inside the spines of a Shadow ship are placed the
gravimetric/tachyon shapers that make up the propulsion system,
hyperspace shifters and sensors.
The Spines on the Shadomegas are not part of such a refined biotechnologycal system: maybe the time was not enough, or, simply, the Drakhs were not capable to master this molteplicity of functions, but the spines on the Shadomegas acted simply as radiating surfaces for their nanotechnologycal bio-armour.
The other systems of the Shadomegas were the standard ones: propulsion, power generators, sensor and targeting equipment: this last was the improved SQ3R, hardened against the electronic warfare, and partially immune to the Minbari Stealth system: this was one of the main reasons of the heavy losses suffered by the attacking Whitestars, and, someway, even the most relevant weak point of the Shadomegas**(see note 2) .
Technology: Weapons - the Bosers
The weapons were another matter: in this case, simply, the
Drakhs placed some Boser concentrators inside the barrels of the
human cannons: the human artillery was literally stripped down of
everything but the mount and the external shield of the barrel,
and the Drakh weapons were directly fed by the original energy
systems of the human built heavy particle/plasma bolt cannons.
A Boser is a particle beam weapon that fires a beam of unstable antibosons: this beam has three effects on the target: the thermal/ablative effect of the kinetic energy of the particles, the matter/antimatter interaction of the antibosons with the matter of the target, and an interference effect with the atomic ties, that accelerates the sublimation of the matter. As a matter of fact, even if the terminal damage was still related to the peak power of the beam, so almost equal to the original heavy particle beams, the bosers used on the Shadomegas improved in a significant measure the piercing power of the main and, mostly, secondary artillery: while the main bow and stern heavy particle cannons of an Omega were always able to pierce through the hull of a Whitestar, the secondary beams in their original form were not powerful enough to pierce the armour of that ship, while the secondary bosers of the Shadomegas were well able to do the job, and were deadly against the Rangers ships.
Limits of the Bosers against Earth Alliance ships
Taken into account the impressive effectiveness shown by the hastily installed Bosers against the Whitestars, the obvious question is: how the Earth Alliance ships were able to fight back with such effectiveness against the Drakh Ships? How, for example and as said above, a basic Omega destroyer, or even an updated Nova Dreadnought was frequently more than a match for the impressive and more advanced Drakh Cruisers?
The great limits of the bosers is that they are extremely sensitive to both the field projectors of the interceptors Mk2 and Mk3 and to the E-Web***(see note 3): this is the main reason of the relatively poor performances of the the Drakh Ships against our own: a Drakh cruiser has a nominal firepower at the same level of a Sharlin, but while the antimatter beams used by the Minbari were only slightly affected by the E-Web, and the interceptors Mk1 were unable to track the beam emitter and disrupt the incoming beam due to the Minbari stealth technology, the Drakh ships have not a "stealth" system, and so both their weapons and their own hulls were fully subject to the effect of the human defensive (E-Web and interceptors) and offensive weapons: they were made to close the distances against the EA ships and fight them point blank, taking the punishment and trying to get through the fire barrage of our warships: and to fight point blank an human ship is not and was never a wise tactic. Seems strange, but indeed was this specific limit of the Bosers that hampered the Drakh attack against the human race, and allowed us to survive long enough to reorganize and rebuild our forces, and fight back them until the Victory.
Performances and conclusions
The Shadomegas had good performances in their only operational
use, against the Whitestars of the Rangers: while having the same
not exceptional mobility of the Basic Omega, their Shadow armor
was a significant improvement in terms of passive defence: the
matching of this sophisticated technology with the effective
Carbonat armor and the overall sturdyness and damage tolerance of
the human destroyers made of the Shadomegas an extremely hard
target: a Whitestar can develop an impressive firepower, but this
was barely enough against the Shadomegas, and was needed the
continuous and concentrated fire of four or five Whitestars for
30-40 seconds to destroy it, while a single, well placed
discharge of the Shadomega bosers was enough to destroy a
Whitestar. For the sake of discussion, this means that from some
points of view, and only in terms of passive devence, a Shadomega
is a target harder than a medium battlecrab: a battlecrab is
instantly paralyzed by the hit of an heavy particle beam, like
the main beam of a whitestar, due to the interference of the
energy flow along the armor with the propulsive and cognitive
function of the Shadow ship, while a Shadomega is immune to this
phenomenon, and can reply hit after hit until it is incapacitated
or destroyed through cumulative damage.
In fact the hard fought victory of the Rangers against the Advanced Destroyers Force in sector 300 was essentially owed to the speed and manoeuverability of the Whitestars, and to the tactical skill of the crews and of Cdr.Susan Ivanova, that nearly paid with life hers bravery.
A paragon: Shadomega Vs. Omega Brightwarrior
With the Omega Epsilon "Brightwarrior" (see Brightwarrior
Project - Omega Epsilon), Earthforce has actually issued a
class of ships that has many external and conceptual similarities
with the infamous Shadomegas, and is frequently confused with it:
while the two classes can seem almost equal to a non-trained
glance, in fact the differences are many and significant.
The EA nanotechnologycal armor does not develop "spines", has a firmware instead of a genome, is based upon liquid crystals and nanite-built nanotubes, not upon semi-organic nanites, is less strong (and less dangerous to handle) than the original Shadow armor, even if a thicker layer equalizes the performances, so an Omega Brightwarrior is at least as sturdy as a Shadomega.
The true differences between the two ships is in the equipment: the Shadomega, inside, is a standard Omega, while the Brightwarrior has 1.5 times the engine thrust and more than 2.3 times the power available in the grid, and the dual role antimatter beam/ion bolters used, integrated by missile tubes, a Q-pulse laser and a railgun are well superior, both in hitting and piercing power to the yet impressive battery of bosers of the Shadomegas, as vastly superior is the range of target acquisition and the accuracy of the fire, thanks to the integrated EGAD-IOWT sensor suite.
Honestly, must be added that the Omega Brightwarrior is
superior in respect to the Shadomega in systemistic and equipment
terms, but it is even the outcme of years of organized research,
development, design and engineering, while the shadomegas were
hastily put togethere in a couple of months, and were yet a very
dangerous opponent for ships as powerful and effective as the
Whitestars. Operationally, the Omega Epsilon Brightwarrior have
proven themselves against the Drakhs since the early 2276,
gaining a vast superiority against the most common classes of
Drakh units, while the standard Omega was well on a parity level
against the Drakh Cruisers.
* NOTE 1 - The Shadow technologies in human hands have followed at least four paths:
** NOTE 2 - After the Earth-Minbari war, one of the main reasons of the military defeat of the human forces, as well known, was identified in the poor performances of the EA targeting systems, unable to lock on the enemy ships and fighters. A first and effective solution, even if limited to the fighters, was the introduction of the improvements of the PIP-1 and 2 programs (see Aurora Starfury), while the technology of the warships targeting systems followed two ways: the one pursued by the Earth Ministery of Defence, that ordered and applied a series of progressive improvements in the radar scanners of the artillery pieces, and the one followed by the EFNI technical division, that evolved in the "Deep Eyes" (2263) project and later produced the effective EGAD-IOWT sensor suite, that has shown, even in its ancestral form used on the Hyperion N's and Nova N's to positively lock on targets impervious to the standard EA targeting scanners.
The progressive improvements in the standard schemes of scanners of the EA ships brought significant improvements: in the late 2250's, the EA ships equipped with the new hardware and the improved software had at least partially overcome the problem of the "stealth" system, but while a very significant improvement, it was always a "partially", with all the limits of the case; neverthless, this partiallly effective system enabled the EA ships to achieve frequent positive locks-on against the Whitestars, while the Orpheus optical tracker used on the Thunderbolts and on the Badger Starfuries was immune to the Minbari stealth system
*** NOTE 3
- The Vorlons use some type of shielding, energetic field based,
that is higly effective against the Bosers, even against the
extremely powerful ones used by the Shadow battlecrabs.
From the fragmentary information EFNI was able to collect, and from the analisys of the footages of the battles of sector 91 (Brakiri Space) and of Coriana 6, was possible to understand that, while appearently less sophisticated, the Vorlon warships were way more than a match for their Shadow counterparts: for example, a Vorlon Cruiser of the model usually seen is single handedly capable to fight and defeat without taking significant damages at least three or four battlecrabs: thanks to his shielding and his adaptive bio-armor, the Vorlon unit can be damaged only after a significant quantity of direct hits, while a battlecrab is immediately incapacitated by the beam of a Vorlon Cruiser's quantum discharge cannon, and definitively destroyed after less than 1-1.5 seconds of continuous fire. This, incidentally, brings the power output of the Vorlon Cruiser's main weapon in the range of the 15,000 to 30,000 terawatts.
The nature of the Vorlon shielding is unknown: a reasonable hypothesis is that the whole ship is surrounded by a powerful electromagnetic field, eventually working with a basic principle similar to the E-Web, but tuned (or adapted) to oppose the high frequencies of the Boser particles: this someway made it less effective aginst the Pulse weapons. A further and extremely powerful disruptive effect is possibly obtained through a manipulation of the gravitic field generated by the quantum singularity of the cannon.
We can guess that this combination of superior defence, superior overall thoughness of the ships, more powerful power generators and more effective weapons enabled the Vorlons to fight effectively against the Shadows along the ages, even if strategically outnumbered in proportions that could be guessed in up to 10-20 to 1.
Class: Avanced Omega or Shadomega
Length: 1,754.2 meters
Mass: 38.4 million metric tons
Acceleration: 2.35 g
Fighters: 36* SA-32 A Lockheed Thunderbolt Starfury .
4*Westinghouse "Vulcan-VII" Fusion Reactors.
4*Beagle-Bryant BB9K plasma engines.
2*Lockheed-Mitchell M51e6 Jump engines.
6* Heavy Boser concentrators (two fwd turret mounted, four rear firing).*
2* Westinghouse HPM1 "Mjolnir" Heavy Plasma Mortars.
12* Medium Boser concentrators (side turret mounted).**
12*Raytheon "Matador III"missiles, 2*launching tubes.(not embarked in the battle of sector 300)
8 to 12 meter armored hull (Multi-layer CARBONAT V ™ composite armour.
0.4 to 0.8 meter layer of Shadow bionanotechnlogical armor.
16*Interceptor Mk. II Defense Grid Projectors with E-Web Mk.II
Notes on the weapons:
|Weapon||Power/energy||Calibre (beam)||Rate of Fire||Piercing power|
|*||Heavy Boser concentrator||1300 Terawatts||4 meters||discharges of 1-1.5 seconds, up to 1 discharge each 4 seconds.||55 meters steel|
|**||Medium Boser concentrator||210 Terawatts||1.2 meters||continuous.||45 meters steel|
The "Shadomega" Advanced Destroyer - 2261