Right, final major update 4 oxp's in one. Read the readme after unzipping
"Piss one of those things off the last thing your going to see is a sea of plasma green" Sector chief besieged navy sector station 4-994.
There are many rare things in the 8 galaxies, the natural phenomena and then the sentient made from monuments to orbital grave yards. There are one or two oddities that fall into both categories, the Caduceus being one of them.
It is believed (according to several well read yet unofficial dossiers) that the Caduceus was the brain child of Udian Foraga Shulth, the youngest (and arguably most talented) son of the bio-maniac Mirias Shulth. Whilst several thousand books, personal testimonies, holo-recordings and overly sentimental documentaries have been penned as to the exploits of his father. Little is known about the informative years of Udian (most official records having been lost in the first great shard bio-purge). He does surface as a young adult embroiled in the new genesis war as something of an unlikely hero. Saving several sub-core trading systems from the gene-menace through the unlikely unification of celltec and nano-mechanics.
One of the few quotes directly attributable to Udian is also probably the most telling: "I don't build ships, I birth them. They are my children and like any good father I watch over them." Indeed most traders, pirates (who survive) or military personnel who happen to see a Caduceus, concur that there is something distinctly biological about its construction. They tend to be encountered cross station side of industrial planets, dropping in and out of the atmosphere delivering god knows what, to god knows where, for god knows who.
Few cast iron facts are known about these ships capabilities outside military circles, although this hasn't stopped the intergalactic rumor mill from churning, fueled by chance encounters and the odd station landing. Whilst sifting through this mass of conjecture, has been likened to digging through boobian bug guts looking for a nega-mass gem stone, certain "facts" appear more widely independently replicated and therefore believable.
It would appear that these ships tend to be above average in most respects, lower top end in most categories. A speed 0.5 shy of half light, quickish turning circles, pitch and yaw, good shields and an apparent ability (as reported by station engineers) to successfully utilize a patch work quilt of non standard upgrades. So far 10 separate ships have been documented;
Arc Of Radiance
Apex Of Reason
Shard Of Destiny
Point Of Action (destroyed)
Edge Of Infinity
Circle Of Time
Crucible Of Destruction
Vortex Of Hate
Annulus Of Deceit
Digon Of Truth
Leaked military records recently reported at least one Caduceus has been confirmed destroyed (see above). This event occurred several cycles ago during a fierce Thargoid insurgency. It appears that the battle not only engaged the military, but also many reservists and privateers who were caught in the cross fire. Details are sketchy (the documents are heavily censored) but the battle appears to have taken place some where along the outer edge of galaxy 4. The ship in question seems to have purposefully maneuvered in between several invading warships then proceeded to deliver a barrage of devastating broadsides, to both ships simultaneously. A tactic repeated several times until it was eventually overwhelmed by robot fighters. Although not pivotal to the subsequent rout of the invading fleet, the Caduceus's actions "significantly influenced the tempo of the battle" (Vice Admiral Mineemer).
The real eye opener for the military was the subsequent annihilation of the remaining Thargoid ships involved in the conflict 5 days later, and the complete sterilization of all Thargoid held worlds within a 15 light year radius of the fleet. This count included two heavily defended system hatcheries.
Dispatches from Naval HQ indicates it is involved in "sporadic but ongoing negotiations" with the Shulth family regarding the acquisition of hyper-biomechancial ship building technology and any other advanced tech which may help secure victory in the on-going war. It is extremely rare to find one of these ships not in the hands of a Shulth or one of their associates. Still these ships occasionally appear for sale, always stripped down and curiously enough never in the hands of pirates.
Given the multi-generational reputation of its pilots and masters, the mere reporting of a Caduceus in system has been known to empty orbit stations soft-bars of pirate informants, hackers and one shot cargo ejectors. Oh and if you see a ship bay on station that appears to be empty but the dock manifest indicates it's paid for three times over, best not try and park in it eh?
Max speed:0.44 LM
Energy banks: 8
Energy recharge rate: 5.8 (very good)
Gun mounts: fore aft. 6 broadside mounted low yield plasma cannons.
hyperspace capable: yes
available to player: yes
base price: 1200000
File fixes 21-01-09
flightspeed adjusted from 5.1 to 4.4
conditions code rechecked.
Text file back story adjusted.
Hud preference removed.
shader moved and effects layer rebuilt.
shipyard.plist issues resolved.
File fixes 30-01-09
ship views expanded upon. Adding some more close ups, cinematics and centring the exisiting views.
Turrets tweaked to be non-smooth (a turret should look like a turret, not a gynecological examination device).
lower res texture version.
Final checking of special uber-caduceus "hammer of sorrow" to be added as a seperate "optional" extra with the exisiting oxp.
Cmdr Wyvern for helping fix my broken ass code
another_commander for helping fix my broken ass shader code
Eric Walch from pointing out how to trouble shoot code so I don't end up accidentally publishing another beta.