Ghost USS Lexington (Blue Ghost):
Commodore Heather Truxtun had taken her small fleet to sea looking for a Ghost. Her fleet, if you could call it that, consisted of a single Aurora class scout cruiser and four Tempest class destroyers. For decades, there had been rumors around the Gulf of Mexico of a ship, probably a carrier, which would appear on the horizon but would simply disappear if approached. There had been several Coalition searches for the ship which had been sent out to look for the vessel. From intercepted Coalition communications, the Coalition seemed to be searching for the ship because they thought it might be an advanced carrier from the Old American Empire. If the information she had been able to intercept was correct, the ship was a relatively small carrier and had a similar configuration to larger carriers which the Coalition had been able to salvage from American naval bases. In addition to the Coalition, multiple other groups had searched for the Ghost Ship. None had better luck that the Coalition with finding the ship and several had never returned. There were several stories about what happened to the lost groups, from being swallowed by magic storms, to being eaten by sea monsters, to being destroyed by the Coalition. Heather thought that the Coalition was the most likely. After all, the northern Gulf of Mexico, as it was called in old charts, was heavily patrolled by the Coalition. It was a calculated risk to take her flagship, the Antares, and her techno-wizard escorts but she felt that she could find it. She felt something drawing her towards it.
Something had been tugging at her for several days. The other mages on her ships would catch the feeling of an unusual magic aura but they seemed to lose it almost as quickly as they caught it. Not her, there was something that drew to her which kept her going forward. She could feel it awake and asleep, what little sleep she could get in her excitement to find the ship. The aura, or whatever it was, felt like it was getting stronger. It could be just an illusion but when the others were able to detect it, it seemed to be getting stronger to them as well. As her techno-wizard ships go closer and closer to Coalition controlled waters, she became more and more worried. The Coalition would attack her ships on sight. She was confident of her ability to destroy a small Coalition force but she could not deal with hundreds of potential fighters making a long range missile strike. She knew that she would have to head away from Coalition controlled waters if she could not find the ship soon. Maybe just a little bit more.
Just about when she was about to decide to turn back, it appeared. One of the watch officers yelled and she grabbed he spyglasses and looked in the direction that he was pointing. On the horizon was the silhouette of s ship with a small superstructure and a large flat deck. The ship was very distinctive. She ordered he force to full speed to see if she could catch it before it disappeared again. If she could get near the ship, her flagship could probably tow the ship to safer waters. Her four Tempest destroyers went to full speed on their cyclone propulsion and her flagship quickly feel behind. Unlike previous reported encounter, the ship on the horizon did not seem to be disappearing. While it appeared to be dead in the water and had no wake, the distance between her ship and the phantom seemed to be closing far faster that her ship’s speed should alone. Maybe it was an optical illusion and maybe not.
As she got closer, she could see no signs of rust on the carrier and all the blue-grey paint looked like ship had just recently been repainted. All of the masts looked to be in as good as the ship’s hull. The ship was simply in amazing condition after being left unattended since the coming of the Rifts. It was incredible that the ship was even afloat after all this time. The whole ship glowed with magical energies, most likely that was what kept the old ship free from the ravages of time. The carrier was much smaller than the pictures which she had seen of the Coalition carriers but shared an angled flight deck with the Coalition carriers. It was not just a Coalition carrier in miniature, there were many differences when seen from up close. On the carrier's stack was the number sixteen.
Several hours had past and she had been steadily towing the old ship from where they would find it. Their speed was severely limited but they were steadily getting further from Coalition controlled waters. The ship could not really be called a derelict, it was in too good shape to use that name. It was completely abandoned with no sign of a crew. She had her own crew members exploring the ship using portable lights, everything onboard was dark. Even so, everything on the ship looked to be in operational condition and that the ship just needed power. They had tried to hook a power cable from her cruiser to the carrier but nothing had happed. It appeared that no power was getting to the ship. Several of her techno-wizards had tried to cast the spell of "See Aura" and tried using psychic "Object Read" on the ship and only got a confusing impression of different voices. They had found the name of the ship on the rear as well as on the builders plate. It had been called the "Lexington" and had been a War memorial before the coming of the Rifts. The ship had apparently been famous for its service during World War Two and had been a training carrier for many years before retiring. She did not know why but she felt that she had to step onboard the old carrier. She informed her second in command that she was going onboard.
She cast the spell 'Fly as the Eagle' and flew to the flight deck of the carrier. As soon as she landed on the deck, a loud multi-toned whistle came from the previously dead speakers. She recognized it after a moment to be the sound of a bosuns pipe. Her ship did not use bosun pipes but she had heard recordings of them. Something changed, she could almost feel a pulse from the ship as if it was alive. She looked at the superstructure and thought that she could see smoke rising from the stack and she could see the radar dishes beginning to rotate as well. Lights also could be seen inside the ship. She did not know why but the ship had come alive with her touch.
Jack Sands was a new engineering crew member onboard the Lexington and was studying to before a techno-wizard. He had heard various ghost stories about the ship from other members of the ships crew but was not sure he believed it. Still, the old carrier was strange with systems rarely needing maintenance and when something needed maintenance, the part seemed to always be able to be found in the parts inventory even if he could have sworn that they were not there before. He was working from an old maintenance card which had yellowed from age and had so many grease stains that it was hard to read. It just was not working though, he simply could not get parts back together.
He heard a slight scuffing sound behind him and turned around. Behind him was a man dressed in a tan khaki uniform with as many grease stains as the old maintenance card. The mains face was extremely weatherbeaten but still appeared friendly. The man had a salt and pepper beard and graying hair. He thought he recognized the collar devices as being those of a chief petty officer but he did not recognize the old man. From the weatherbeaten man came, "What seems to be the problem, seaman?"
Jack was glad to have someone who might be able to help and replied, "Chief, I have been trying to get this back together. I have been trying to follow the directions on this maintenance card buy it does not seem to be working." The old chief held out his hand for the card and Jack handed him the faded card.
The man took the card and examined it carefully. He states, "This card is wrong, this is the right way to do it." He then proceeded to show the young crew member and within just a few minutes, the equipment was reassembled. The old man stepped back and Jack stepped up to look at what the old man had done.
When he looked up to thank the old chief, the man had disappeared. When jack left the compartment, he looked for his chief to let him know that the job was complete. He asked who the old chief was and his supervisor told him that there was no one onboard by that description. Maybe one of the crew was pulling a joke on him or maybe not. This ship was really spooky, far more than he ever realized.
The Lexington was one of a large number of Essex class carriers built during World War Two. A total of Twenty-Four Essex class carriers were built. The Essex class carriers formed the mainstay of United States World War II fast carrier forces and the American postwar carrier fleet. The design allowed the carrier to be modified to operate into the jet age. The Lexington herself was the second Essex class carrier commissioned and fought in many major battles during World War Two. The carrier was refitted several times and served faithfully after the war. She became a training carrier in 1969 and served in that role until she decommissioned. She was not decommissioned until 1991 and was the first carrier to have women serve onboard. She served for over forty years and was the last Essex class carrier in commissioned. After being decommissioned, she became a war memorial in Corpus Christi, Texas. There she sat until the coming of the Rifts. Several Essex class carriers were preserved as war memorials but she is only known Essex class to have survived the coming of the Rifts.
It was eventually discovered why the ship did not wake up until the captain came onboard. It was accidental but a study of her family history showed that she was a direct descendent of one of the previous Captains of the USS Lexington. It is believed that the ship will come alive at the hands of any descendent of the officers who commanded the Lexington in her over forty years of naval service. This has made the captain generally stay near the ship although it does not immediately shut down if the captain leaves. The ship seems to fade bit by bit. For every day she is not onboard, the ship seems to lose about ten percentage in speed and one system on the ship will fail. It can be the lights in a specific section, a radar system, one of the ships generators, a catapult, or one of the freezers. It is assumed that eventually everything on the ship would shut down again if the captain was to stay off the ship for a long enough period of time. As a result, she has been looking for another descendent of an original captain to act as her second in command. While she has found a few, she has not been able to find one with a naval background.
The ship glows strongly in magical energy which the crew can tap. The ship seems to occasionally have a mind of its own and has been known to change course instead of where the helmsman is directing the ship. Case where the ship has done this includes when another ship is in distress and needs rescuing. The ship appears to have two major magical or supernatural abilities. The ship has the ability to become insubstantial. When insubstantial, the ship cannot be damaged by non-magical attacks and can pass through solid objects although the ship cannot "sail" on dry land. It can pass through bridges, other ships, through the sides of canal gates, and other similar objects. The ability to become intangible is incredibly useful against massive missile strikes as well. The other major ability of the ship is that it can become invisible. It appears that the enchantments can be activated by the will of the captain or the ship can decide to activate the enchantments on its own. Stories are also told of phantom crew members wandering around the old carried. There are stories about an old chief petty officer giving advice to crew members, a marine standing sentry, an old corpsman in the ship’s hospital, a few cocky aviators, and crew members appearing to do maintenance around the ship. There are a few stories of their captain talking to a man in an old captain's uniform who seems to disappear when anyone gets close. Some crew members have speculated that the old captain is the captain's direct ancestor. Sometimes sounds can be heard from the speakers on the ship including a variety of whistles and the ship’s sirens will go off on its own in a case of emergency.
The ship seems to run normally but it is believed that everything really runs by magic. The steam plant produces steam which powered the ship but does not appear to burn any fuel. The steam itself seems to be produced by magic. Top speed of the ship is around the same as it was when it was conventionally powered with a top speed around thirty knots. The old generators seem to produce enough power for all of the shipboard system but little more. Many of the ship’s systems seem to run themselves and do not need attending. These include the ship’s boilers, electrical generators, and internal phone system. The hull of the ship is stronger than one might expect from steel and appears to be almost as strong as that of ships made from high strength alloys and composites. The ship has the ability to repair itself when damaged. The ship just seems to heal itself with new material growing into damaged sections. The ship seems to require few repairs and the repair parts seem to always appear when needed even if there were not found on earlier inventories. Due to this, the crew requirements are greatly reduced compared to what it required during United States naval service. The ship only seems to require a crew of around five hundred compared to around fourteen hundred when it was a training carrier. In addition, the carrier embarks around four hundred crew members for the support of the air wing. Because of the reduced crew, the ship’s crew is far more comfortable than its was originally.
Any heavy weapons have to be externally powered such as by a fusion reactor built into the weapon system itself. Some new systems have been placed on the ship but are not permanently mounted. Whenever the crew has tried, the new system seem to fail within just a couple of days at best. New systems brought onboard by the crew include fusion generators, computers, new medical equipment, aircraft repair equipment, and defensive weapons. The ship has four defensive mounts fitted where the final four five inch gun mounts were removed from the carrier. These are two mounts which are combination short range missile launchers and telekinetic Gatling machine-guns and two mounts which are combination of the short range missile launchers with lightning blasters instead of a machine-gun. Each mount looks a bit like the gun mount on several pre-rifts air defense vehicles. In addition, the ship has a fireworks anti-missile system mounted along the sides of the ship. These help to confuse incoming missiles. The crew has tried to also add techno-wizard enchantments to the vessel but these have failed to work on the vessel.
The aircraft carried on the Lexington are a hodgepodge of different types. One of the problems with the carrier is that is has a limited height hanger deck. The height is around 17.5 feet and many post Rifts aircraft cannot be stowed in the hanger. As well, one of the elevators was deactivated while still in service and does not operate. While the port side elevator is deactivated, the ship has an elevator on the starboard side behind the superstructure and centerline in the middle of the forward flight deck. The vast majority of aircraft are techno-wizard fighters. The carrier has a full two squadrons of magical Corsair fighters, a full squadron of techno-wizard hellcats, and one and a half squadrons of techno-wizard Avenger. A squadron of the Avengers are standard attack bomber models while three of the six remaining are airborne search aircraft and three are anti-submarine warfare models. In addition to the techno-wizard fighters, the carrier has a single squadron of Metalworks F-600 Sparrowhawk ultra-light fighters. While fundamentally conventional, each vehicle has additional techno-wizard addition to the fighters. For rescue and utility roles, the ship carries four helicopters. The captain is negotiating to purchase a half squadron of Ghostrider techno-wizard stealth fighters. So far only a small number of the fighters have been built and there are multiple interested parties. In addition to the aircraft carried, the carrier normally embarks one hundred and twenty mystic power armors.
Model Type: Modified CV-09 Essex class carrier
Vehicle Type: Ocean, Ghost Carrier
Ships Crew: 529 (28 officers, 25 chief petty officers, 476 enlisted [Ship seems to run itself])
Air Wing: 458 (100 Pilots, 20 flight deck officers, 338 enlisted)
Troops: 200 (120 pilots for Mystic Power Armors, 80 soldiers in body armor)
Robots, Power Armors, and Vehicles:
|120||Mystic Power Armors|
|24||TW-F4U-8S “Windrider” Corsair Techno-Wizard Fighter|
|12||TW-F6F-8HF “Hellfire” Hellcat Techno-Wizard Fighter|
|12||TW-TBM-5M Avenger Techno-Wizard Attack Bombers|
|3||TW-TBM-5S Avenger Techno-Wizard Submarine Warfare Aircraft|
|3||TW-TBM-5W Avenger Techno-Wizard Radar Picket Aircraft|
|12||M.I. F-600 Sparrowhawk Ultra-Light Fighter|
|4||Utility / rescue Helicopters|
M.D.C. by Location:
| C-11 Steam Catapults (2):||60 each|
| Mk 7 Arrester Cables (4):||25 each|
| Elevators (2):||125 each|
|Hanger Doors (1):||100 each|
| Flight Deck:||1,500|
|Combination Lightning Blaster / Missile Launcher (2):||200 each|
|Combination Gatling T.K. Machine-Gun / Missile Launcher (2):||200 each|
| SPS-40 2D Radar System:||100|
| Bridge / Command Tower:||800|
|Outer Hull (per 40 foot / 12.2 meter area):||80|
| Main Body:||5,200|
 If the catapults are destroyed, non-VTOL or STOL aircraft cannot be launched. If Arrester Cables are destroyed, non-VTOL or STOL aircraft cannot land until arrester cables are replaced.
 If all three elevators are destroyed, no aircraft can be moved from the hangers to the main flight deck
 If the flight decks are destroyed, only VTOL aircraft can be launched or land. VTOL aircraft are at -15% to piloting.
 Destruction of the SPS-40 radar system will eliminate the ship’s long range tracking ability. Backup systems exist but have the range of normal robot systems. Aircraft with radar systems can also compensate for the loss of the main radar system.
 If the Bridge / Tower is destroyed, the ship can still be piloted from engineering but with a -15% to piloting rolls.
 Destroying the main body causes the ship to lose structural integrity, causing the ship to sink. There are enough life preservers and inflatable life boats to accommodate everyone on the ship.
Note: The ship will regenerate at 20% of the hit locations M.D.C. per day, meaning all damage will be restored within 5 days of being damaged. Secondary systems such as the radar system, if damage or destroyed, the repair parts will be found within the ship’s stores. The point defense mounts are not original equipment and do not repair in this fashion.
Surface: 34.5 mph (30 knots/ 55.6 kph)
Maximum Effective Range: Effectively Unlimited, the engines appears to need no refueling and seems to run on magical energy. Ship carries about six months of supplies on board.
Length: 889.1 feet (271.0 meters) waterline / 910 feet (277.4 meters) overall
Draft: 31.2 feet (9.5 meters)
Width: 103 feet (31.39 meters) waterline / 192 feet (58.5 meters) flight deck
Displacement: 29,783 tons standard and 42,113 tons fully loaded
Cargo: Can carry 5,000 tons of nonessential equipment and supplies. Each enlisted crew member has a small locker for personal items and uniforms. Ships officers have more space for personal items. Extra ammo, armor, troops, weapons, and engines take up most of the ship’s spaces.
Power System: Magic, systems seem to work as if run by magic
Market Cost: Not for Sale, price for the ship is impossible to estimate and might not work for anyone else
- Combination Lightning Blaster / Missile Launcher (2): Mounted
on the sides of the ship with the primary purpose of point defense. Like
other weapon systems on the ship, they are not actually part of the ship.
The mount combines a magical lightning blaster and short range missile
launchers. The systems also can also be used against other ships and ground
targets. The system has a 360 degree rotation and can elevate up to 90
degrees to fire at targets directly overhead. Each mount is controlled
by a separate gunner. The lightning blasters have a slightly better range
and have an effectively unlimited payload compared to hand held lightning
blaster. The Lightning Blasters need to be recharged once a month with
the spells of "Lightning Arc", "Energy Bolt", "Power Bolt" and 100 P.P.E.
Maximum Effective Range: Lightning Blasters: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).. Short Range Missiles: As per short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega-Damage: Lightning Blasters: 1D4x10+10 per electrical blaster. Short Range Missiles: As per short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Rate of Fire: Lightning Blasters: Equal to Gunner's Hand to Hand. Short Range Missiles: Can fire one at a time or in volleys of two or four.
Payload: Lightning Blasters: Unlimited, although the spells must be renewed every month whether the cannon have been used or not. Short Range Missiles: 24 short range missiles each.
- Combination Gatling T.K. Machine-Gun Blaster / Missile Launcher
(2): Mounted on the sides of the ship with the primary purpose of point
defense. Like other weapon systems on the ship, they are not actually part
of the ship. The mount combines a magical multi-barrel machine-gun and
short range missile launchers. The systems also can also be used against
other ships and ground targets. The system has a 360 degree rotation and
can elevate up to 90 degrees to fire at targets directly overhead. Each
mount is controlled by a separate gunner. This increases the weapon's damage
and instead of being reloaded, the cannon must be recharged by the spell
Telekinesis and 100 P.P.E. once per month. The cannon does full damage to
targets that are impervious to energy.
Maximum Effective Range: T.K. Machine-Gun: 4,000 feet (1,220 meters).. Short Range Missiles: As per short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Mega-Damage: T.K. Machine-Gun: 12D6. Short Range Missiles: As per short range missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
Rate of Fire: T.K. Machine-Gun: Equal to Gunner's Hand to Hand. Short Range Missiles: Can fire one at a time or in volleys of two or four.
Payload: T.K. Machine-Gun: Unlimited, although the spells must be renewed every month whether the cannon have been used or not. Short Range Missiles: 24 short range missiles each.
- “Fireworks” Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispenser (4): In many
ways this system is similar to technological versions of the Chaff/Flare
system. When the system fires, it looks like fireworks firing. The anti-missile
system works by combining three spells. The three spells are Fire Bolt,
Apparition, and Telekinesis. The physical effects of the system are similar
to the Triax Anti-Missile chaff but instead of being reloaded, it is recharged
by spells. Like other weapon systems on the ship, they are not actually
part of the ship.
- 01-35 - Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles
are all destroyed.
36-60 - Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
61-00 - No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
Duration: 1D4 melee rounds.
Payload: 10 Uses before being recharged. Each launcher is recharged by the spells Apparition (20 P.P.E.), Fire Bolt (7 P.P.E.), and Telekinesis (8 P.P.E.). The cost for all launchers to be recharged is 280 P.P.E. All launchers must be activated at the same time to operate correctly.
- SPS-40 2D Air Search Radar: Long range air search radar system. Radar system has a range of 180 nautical miles (207.3 miles / 333.6 km). Radar system can track up to 64 targets simultaneously. If radar is destroyed, secondary systems have a reduced range of range of 30 miles (48 km) and can identify and track up to 48 targets.
- E.S.M.: Radar Detector, Passively detects other radars being operated.
- Will of Its Own: The ship sometimes has a will of its own and carry out up to six actions in a twenty-four hours. This can include refusing to operate, change course, and activate the ship’s magical abilities. The ship can also make minor actions such as activating sensors, turning lights on, operating the ships speakers on its own without counting as an action. The ship seems most inclined towards heroic deeds such as defending others. In some cases, if its crew acts less than honorably, the vehicle may refuse their direction.
- Linked to the Captain: The ship will only operate correctly when the ship has a captain (or a crew member) who is a direct descendent of one of the previous captains before the ship was retired. The ship will not immediately shut down if the captain is not onboard but the ship seems to fade bit by bit. For every day that the captain is not onboard, the ship seems to lose about ten percentage in speed and one system on the ship will fail. Systems can include the lights in a specific section, a radar system, one of the ships generators, a catapult, one of the freezers, or virtually anything else as long it does not disable the ship. It is assumed that eventually everything on the ship would shut down again if the captain was to stay off the ship for a long enough period of time.
- Inexhaustible Propulsive Force: Range and fuel are not a problem; the craft seems able to go on forever, powered by a magical power source. The ship seems to also produce electricity to run all of the ship’s systems although does not provide enough power for energy weapons.
- Regenerates Damage: The ship will regenerate at 20% of the hit locations M.D.C. per day, meaning all damage will be restored within 5 days of being damaged. Secondary systems such as the radar system, if damage or destroyed, the repair parts will be found within the ship’s stores.
- Rejects Modern Components: The ship will not accept the addition of modern components and components will seem to fail within a few days. This does not include systems which are not permanent attached to the ship including computer systems.
- Natural P.P.E.: 800, The ship virtually fairly hum with magical energy. The energy regenerates at the rate of 80 P.P.E. per hour. Double P.P.E. and regeneration on ley lines and triple P.P.E. and regeneration at a Ley Line Nexus. Magical energy can be used by the ships crew for spell casting.
- Haunting Entities: Anyone attempting to do a Read Object, See Aura, or telepathic communication will feel the impression of multiple voices/presences, all attempting to communicate at once, and too numerous to make out individual distinctions or traits. Only the most general impressions can be made out in attempts to communicate with the vehicle's essence.
- Spiritual Advisor: The vision or voice of a former crew members of the vessel will occasionally appear to one or more of the present crew, and appear to assist them; pointing out how to operate something, advising them or warning the crew at a crucial moment of some threat. Presences on the ship include at least one former captain, a chief petty officer, several cocky fighter pilots, a marine standing sentry, and crew members appearing to do maintenance around the ship.
- Natural Invisibility: The ship is capable of assuming an invisible (Both Visually and on Radar) and perfectly silent state, even when running full out! The vehicle cannot engage in any sort of offensive action (such as firing a weapon) without dropping its invisibility. Can engage this ability 4 times per day with a duration of up to 60 minutes at a time. This can be performed by the ship itself or can be commanded by the captain of the ship.
- Natural Intangibility: The vehicle has the ability to become immaterial and intangible, and ghost through solid objects. Although it cannot sail on dry land, can pass through other ships, the sides of locks, and other solid objects. The ship cannot be harmed by normal weapons while intangible but can be effected by magic weapons and psionics. Conventional weapons cannot be used while the ship is intangible. Speed does not change while intangible. The ship appears to be ghostlike when it goes intangible and cannot be detected on radar. Can engage this ability 4 times per day for up to 30 minutes at a time. This can be performed by the ship itself or can be commanded by the captain of the ship.
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Special Credit to Talis D. Merrill (firstname.lastname@example.org) for many of the concepts and enchantments / powers for Ghost / Haunted vehicles.
Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).
Copyright © 2004, Kitsune. All rights reserved.