Pilots in mercenary squadrons of the Nethersky have a broad range of fighters and weapons to choose from, some multi-role, others dedicated to being the best at a single mission. In this article, we consider some of the more popular fighters among mercenaries.
Almost as common as the Star Cavy, the Armadillo is built for squadrons on a budget who nonetheless need a dedicated attack fighter. The Armadillo fulfils this role well, and its pilots know a missile fired from their craft is just as effective as one launched from something far more expensive. The Armadillo remains durable and sprightly, even when carrying a relatively large payload. The use of dual mounts is common on Armadillos, giving great flexibility within any squadron.
Originally manufactured far away from Nethersky in the Catalunan Free Reaches by the alien Vinzini, the Palamira is typical of their technological prowess. Exceptionally durable, these raiders tend to last a long time, and so examples can even be found in Nethersky, still in combat-capable condition. However, the alien technology, while granting many benefits, is notoriously difficult and expensive to maintain. Though retraining is often required to get used to the control systems, the Palamira is regarded as a superior dogfighter.
An extremely fast fighter, the Serendipity was intended to be launched within minutes of an alert, race towards an approaching enemy, and destroy them before any attack could be launched. The craft does suffer in some areas for this dedicated approach but, in the interception mission, there are few finer fighters to be found.
Manufactured in its thousands under licence in a dozen different factories, the Star Cavy is a common site throughout the Reach and within the squadrons of many pocket empires. Designed and built to a strict budget, the Star Cavy is intended to be a cheap option for struggling squadrons, one without any glaring weaknesses, albeit with no outstanding strengths.
Intended as a direct competitor to the Star Cavy, the Talisman did not enjoy the widespread market or support available to its rival. Many Talismans were sold to squadrons with less than honest reputations or to mining corporations without the means to maintain them properly. Consequently, most Talismans are in poor shape and are often referred to as Junkers by fighter pilots.
One of the most powerful human-built fighters in space, the Vampyre was created with just one aim in mind – destroy as many enemy fighters as possible, in the shortest amount of time. Despite its large size, the powerful Tyr manufactured ion engines have enough thrust to hurl the craft round the tightest of turns, allowing it to hunt down and destroy its prey.
Eschewing speed for protection, the Warlord is nevertheless surprisingly agile and, when suitably equipped, can operate as a true weapons platform. Notoriously tough, it can be easily out-manoeuvred by dedicated fighters but excels at assaults on static targets and long-ranged engagements.