The preview for the Laertes took a while because a) I have not figured out a bug that applies to its external primary weapons (they keep disappearing at some point) and b) I have not looked at the shine map which in turn makes them look like something Francisco Scaramanga would equip his personal craft with. (both you will see in the screenshots featured below).
The Laertes-class FighterThe Laertes without external primary weapons mounted
After the 2324 March Stalemate the PVE was faced with a difficult situation: While the conflict had been contained to a two key-systems (namely Beta Aquilae and Sirius) the rapid expansion policy of the GTA following the Antares Accords had left dozens of outposts in these very systems and more which were now separated from the Terran core worlds. The PVN entered the situation that they were legally bound to police and support these outpost, most of GTA had been maintaining these outposts at a loss to maintain their claims.
The Three Pillar Offensive of the 2322/23 had already pushed the ability of the Vasudan economy to its limits. The large scale militarization of civilian ships had killed the once booming interstellar trade and with it pushed several smaller colonies and outposts in Vega and Altair to the brink of collapse, as local economies based on ressource export struggled. On top of that, political will in the vasudan Parliament for the Fleet Modernisation Plan was still fragile after the Three Pillar Offensive had proven what commentors (both contemporary and current) called "a victory of tactics over technology".
Now allocating funds and personnel to police the aliens within their territory was close to political suicide for some, but the consequences of hostile action or inaction was deemed too risky - especially that the PVE had only been saved by the faltering political support for continued warfare after the Battle for Beta Aquilae 2321. Worse still, calling for support from the GTA would reveal just how unbalanced the situation in the PVE was and might even have risked the integrity of the Antares Accords, as the inability of the PVE could have been maliciously interpreted as unwillingness to comply with the treaty.
Help came from an unexpected direction: Many terran settlers were keenly aware that the GTA military and intelligence divisions had all but seized control over the public opinion back home. Turing the Antares Accords into a "stab in the back of the victorious troops" and fresh memory of the vasudan offensive the GTA Admiralty had turned the public that had stalled after the victory in Beta Aquilae to their side.
While the hard militarization of Earth society and Terran culture in general was still years in the future, key figures from the larger outposts in Capella and Epsilon Pegasi did not feel beholden to their ties to militarizing Earth. They contacted the PVE with plans that if the PVN would provide the ships for the task the Terran settlers would police and support themselves. Since Mekhu Enterprises had lost out on most of the defense contracts in favour of the Akheton Cooperation, Neema Applied Robotics and Sahr Cooperation, the company lobbied for the proposal from within hoping for fresh contracts - a move that paid off handsomely as the proposal was approved.
While Mekhu was prohibited from outfitting vasudan ship for Terran users on reasons of national security, they were allowed the manufacture a special line of ships for the Terrans to use. Even though these ships had severe limitations due to technical restrictions dictated by the PVN, the companies' engineers were able to make up for them with by building low cost units that were easily maintained. While models of transport class and beyond never gained a relevant market share, the Laertes-class single-person space-frame, introduced in 2326, became a smash hit.
In fact, it was so successful that when Mekhu Enterprises began it's collaboration with Triton Dynamics in 2335, the integration of Vasudan and Terran technologies was being tested on the Laertes-frame and the GTF Ulysses still shares a similar design.
Now that I have taken care of the fluff, on the details
The Laertes is based on PeterV's Bad Ulysses
. I made some slight alternations to the model to bring it in line with other player ships, most notably reducing the number of primary weapons it can mount to 1 while mainting the two original firepoints. The idea to use this model did not originate with me, so a special credit goes to ... someone, mostly likely Black Wolf, because he, like me, has been scouring the community for what could be good T-V era ships. (sadly I can't find the thread, so I can't tell for sure)The Laertes WITH external primary weapons mounted - please note external primary weapon models may be subject to change
As for the ship's stats and armament: they may still change a bit (mostly because I have not finished any mission that requires you to fly it) but Laertes is designed to perform below all military combat craft. Right now it has only 80 hitpoints (by comparison: the Manticore has 100, the Anubis has 160, the Nhu has 180), the maneuverability stats are slightly below the Anubis and it does not carry any countermeasures. The only reason it has an afterburner is for the cathartic effect of pressing the afterburner button when you are trying to go somewhere.A view at afterburner speed and armament - may still be subject to change, especially when it comes to the secondary weapons as those will be specialized on a per-mission-basis
As a primary weapon it can only mount the LL-4c Laser which is one of the worst possible weapons - Behold:
After 30 seconds:
While the exact weapon stats may be subject to change - in fact, a feature of weapon is not yet available because it requires a 3.7.3 build - this primary weapon is bad. While it is doing additional damage to subsystems it does hardly any damage to a ships hull. This is to represent that this weapon is at least a generation behind military-grade hardware.
The secondary weapons are all mission specific: e.g. the SAR version the Laertis may feature a limited use sealant system instead of missiles, so it can keep going even despite envoirmental dangers.
The Laertes is by all means intentionally designed to be bad. For one, it is put remind you that when you are flying a Laertes you are NOT a military pilot but just someone who needs to get from point A to point B. Secondly, this is to encourage you to seek other avenues of gameplay to succeed without upsetting balancing everywhere else - turning a GTSG Watchdog into a mortal enemy should encourage you to e.g. take advantage of an EMP-generator. Thirdly, Of Shivans and Men
is set in time periods during which you might not be invested in the fighting going on around you - a rebel who escaped the military dictatorship that the GTA eventually will become might not have a reason to fight with or against the PVN. It is not a very smart design choice, but I hope it remains one that can be understood.