TW-SR-71 Black Ghost class Jet:


"I radioed "This is Coalition Interceptor JR-25 to unknown aircraft. You are in Coalition Air Space. You will slow down to below mach speed and you will be escorted to a landing. Any deviations from these orders and you will be destroyed" to an unidentified aircraft. It was black and had incredibly sleek lines like you might expect to see from a Triax fighter. It also kept fading in and out on my radar systems like it had some form of stealth. I received no reply and it seemed like the aircraft became almost ghost like. At the same time, the aircraft disappeared completely off my radar even though I was close enough to be able to burn through any form of stealth. Just a few seconds later the aircraft started accelerating at an incredible rate. My wing man and I brought our engine to absolute maximum but found ourselves being outpaced. The aircraft was already to fast for a missile shot and I had but one shot with my guns. I was able to get a good solid hit but the shot seemed to just go right through."

Transcript from Debriefing of Captain Roger Wright, CSAF


Kester looked with disdain at the man who had...literally...materialized in the seat across the table in front of him...Kester considered himself a nuts and bolts kind of man, who understood machines and people, but magic? He hated the damn dramatics associated with it as much as he hated the mages themselves...Always luring him to some sleazy, dank, dark, watering hole where he'd have to sit in some corner booth, and then this damn 'gick would pull some freak trick and scare him half to death! If it weren't for the fact he was at his rope's end about the current crisis, he'd tell the smug bastard and whoever he represented to go to hell!


But the trenchcoat-clad, turban-wearing little bugger very well might be holding his company’s future in his hands...Kester hated him even more, but showing it was bad business....


"Well, do you have it?" Kester grated.


"Do you have your half?"


"Five hundred thousand Lazlo-Bank credits, and the templates for the YG-34 microchips", Kester pushed over the small case.


The mage opened the case and clucked as he looked over the contents. "We agreed to the YG-37 'chips...not this '34 crap!"


" The YG-37's Coalition secret...I'd be in enough trouble copying the '34s. Take it or leave it. Now what have you got?"


The contact pulled a folder out of thin air(another damn showoff trick!), and opened it to reveal a series of glossies...all of them showing aerial views of a large, armed, ship at various points in the water, and several of the same vessel at dock.


"Your pirate's a busy boy...and he's definitely got big support", He pointed at one particular photo showing the craft at a quayside, being offloaded by strange spidery cranes...the detail on the photo was incredible, and Kester could even make out individuals on the dock...and he could tell they were inhuman....


"Azlum...your phantom raider's a privateer for the Big Eyeball himself.."


"ATLANTIS!? And what the hell do you expect me to do with this information? I need useful information!"


"Relax...pirate-boy may be getting guns from Spluggie, but he's a creature of habit...in this last one trip, we tracked him returning to the same place three times....once because he had engine trouble...." another aerial photograph appeared..."He's got a little home-hutch and harbor right HERE" a map unfolded in mid-air, a small blinking light highlighting a point."within a day's sailing of your favorite outlet..that explains how he's able to figure your shipping routes so easily...just drops a few watchers around here, and when he ses something he likes, he trails your ships until they're a decent stretch from his home, then he takes them...


"I figure with this info, you can cue your Deadboy buddies to your problems and they'll take care of them for you. We can provide you with the info on the defenses of the base, but that will cost you...the YG-37s."


"WHAT? Are you insane!?...And how the hell do I know that this is all truth! Photos from Atlantis? That's rich! For all I know, you've dummied all this up and if we go to this 'pirate cove' we'll find nothing!!. And you're asking for YG-37s for this? Get real, and quit wasting my time!"


"Thought you'd feel that way...take a look at this." Another sheaf of photos appeared...Kester glanced at them, then stared...it took him a moment to recognize them, but when he did he went pale...


There in almost blueprint detail was the layout of GAW's new Coalition shipyards...their supposedly secret facility laid out, and annotated in a photo-layout, every oh-so-cleverly camouflaged structure and defense post clearly marked and correctly designated...his pride and joy, bared for all to see.


"How the hell did you..."


"Same way we got the Atlantic pics...you paid for our services, you got results...we can work for other people too...Give us the YG-37s, and we'll give you the pirate's defense info, AND we wouldn't let the Coalition know you've been paying magick-users for security....and just MAYBE we won't put this up for sale to the Québécois or the Alliance..."


"This...this...is BLACKMAIL!"


"No more than any of GAW's regular business ploys...and we think of it a just making sure we get everything our two parties agreed to....besides, this could be costing you A LOT more..."


"A...I'll see what I can do.."


"See that you do...and remember, we'll be watching..."


With that the contact vanished into the thin air again, leaving the pirate surveillance papers behind.


Kester hated mages, now he genuinely FEARED them...




Since the first report of the Black Ghost, there have been several Coalition encounters with these incredible aircraft. Each time these jets have been able to escape without damage and in many cases it appears that shots have gone right through the aircraft. The Coalition military leaders have issued a shoot on sigh order although it seems of little purpose and have been searching for where these aircraft are being constructed but have had no luck.


The Aircraft that has been stymying the Coalition fighters is known as the Black Ghost. There are actually only about half a dozen in existence and all are converted from the frames of Pre-Rifts SR-71 Blackbird spy planes. While only a comparatively small number of Blackbirds were constructed, their titanium frame and the fact that most were in museums gave them a reasonable chance of surviving the coming of the Rifts. Even so, there is a high demand for these aircraft and the designer is working on a way to construct them without using a pre-rifts SR-71 frame but so far the enchantments are not working as expected. Progress has been made using specially enchanted materials and he hopes to solve his problems within the next year. At the moment, it would appear that the Pre-Rifts aircraft structures have been affected by the coming of the Rifts in some way and can hold enchantments better.


The Black Ghost uses a combination of magic and technology and while only lightly armed, is quite capable and is one of the fastest aircraft on Rifts Earth. The aircraft is not constructed for combat and is designed for scouting and spying missions like the original Black Bird. Surprisingly, there have even been a few calls for non magical versions of this aircraft because of its great speed.


The Black Ghosts have been built in a similar fashion to the TW-AV8B and most consider that the builder of the Techno-Wizard SR-71 worked alongside the builder of the Merlins. The aircraft is not stripped as far down as the Harrier but the titanium skin is laced by enchanted silver and meteoric iron alloy and the frame is laced with smoky quartz crystals. The various enchantments make the frame an M.D.C. structure equal to many of the advanced alloys that many post Rifts aircraft are constructed from. Like the Merlin, all repairs must be of the same material as well and are twice as expensive as normal repairs are (can only be repaired by a techno-wizard as well). The aircraft takes no damage from fire or heat including mega damage and magical heat and fire. In addition, the aircraft retains decent stealth characteristics. The most interesting enchantment allows the Black Ghost to become intangible and not be affected by most normal weapons. As well, the aircraft can travel though solid objects and will glide downwards like a feather if the aircraft has no forward momentum. The ability to go intangible has saved a pilot once when his aircraft went into a flat spin. This slowed the aircrafts fall enough that he had time to restart his engines and get it onto a steady course. While intangible, the Black Ghost cannot attack but can still use all of its sensors.


The engines of the Black Ghost are purely technological and are as good as some of the most advanced engines built on Rifts Earth. It is believed that the engineer who designed the engines of the Black Ghost worked for Triax previously. These replace the original engines and are plasma fusion and give virtually unlimited range. They allow the jet to travel up to Mach 4.1 but is not capable of Vertical Take Off and Landing like many aircraft build after the coming of the Rifts and needs a large runaway to take off and land. When the aircraft is intangible, the aircraft can travel even fast than normal and has a top speed while intangible of Mach 6.2 due to a much reduced air resistance. Even so, the air brakes are special enchanted to be able to slow down the aircraft. The mach 6.2 top speed is the main method of escape for the techno-wizard spy plane. The aircraft must slow down to mach 4.1 before it foes back to being solid.


The YF-12 fighter, which was an experimental fighter version of the SR-71, was designed to be armed but weapons were not found to be practical and they were converted to standard SR-71 configuration. Still, the techno-wizard that built the Black Ghosts decided that adding some weapons to the aircraft would be a good idea but the Black Ghost still has only limited weapon systems. It has a single forward firing Ion cannon and bays for up eight medium range missiles, 16 short range missiles, or a mix of both in the ordnance bays. The black ghost has two small ordnance bays under the wings and one main bay underneath the fuselage. The Black Ghost has a magical chaff and flare system that is identical to the one carried in the Merlin and has the advantage over technological systems that it only needing to be recharged by three spells.


The aircraft's sensors, like all other systems, are a combination of magical systems and technology. The aircraft has powerful conventional radar and other sensor system but has the spell “See the Invisible” allowing the aircraft to detect invisible targets as well. In addition, the aircraft has all the features of a robot vehicle (with the exception of loud speaker and microphone) and has a radar detection system and an infrared sensor system.


Model Number: TW-SR-71 Black Ghost
Vehicle Type: Double Engine Supersonic Spy Plane
Crew: 2 (pilot and sensor operator)


M.D.C. by Location:

Main Fuselage Ordnance Bay (1):100
Secondary Wing Ordnance Bays (2):60 each
[1] Wings (2):250 each
[2] Elevators (2):90 each
[2] Rudders (2):90 each
[3] Landing Gear (3):30 each
Cockpit:250
[4] Engines (2):220 each
[5] Main Body:580


Notes:
[1] Destroying a wing will cause the plane to crash
[2] Destruction of the fighter’s rudder or one elevator will still allow the fighter to be controlled by the varying of power levels of the engines but the aircraft has a penalty of -10 to dodge, and a -30% penalty to all piloting rolls. Destruction of both of the elevators will leave the plane uncontrollable and pilot & crew must eject to survive.
[3] All indicated hit locations are small and/or difficult targets to hit. An attacker must make a called shot and has a -3 penalty as well.
[4] The destruction of one engine will reduce the fighter’s top speed by half and give the pilot a -2 penalty to dodge as well as giving a 10% penalty to piloting. Destruction of both engines will cause the aircraft to crash. Pilot may attempt an emergency landing or pilot can choose to eject.
[5] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the aircraft down completely, rendering it useless and causing it to crash if in flight. The aircraft takes no damage from fire or heat due to enchantments (Including magical and mega damage heat and fire.


Speed:
Driving on Ground (Taxiing): Only possible for take offs and landings as well as for parking and storage. Speed is 40 mph (64 kph) when traveling and not on take off or landing.
Flying: Unlike the Merlin, The Black Ghosts engines are pure technological in origin. The Black Ghost uses two powerful plasma fusion thrusters. go up to a maximum speed of Mach 4.1 (3,040.0 mph/4,892.3 kph) while solid and Mach 6.2 (4,597.0 mph/ 7,398.2 kph) while Intangible. The aircraft must slow down to Mach 4.1 before becoming solid or piloting is at -20% while at that speed. Its cruise speed is up to Mach 3.0 (2,224.4 mph/ 3,579.8 kph) and has a maximum altitude is about 25 miles (132,600 feet/ 40,200 meters). Due to the fact that all ordnance is carried in internal bays, the aircrafts performance reduction when fully loaded is negligible.
Maximum Effective Range: Effectively Unlimited. Unlike most Coalition and other governments fighters, the Black Ghost does not overheat and can run indefinitely


Statistical Data:
Height 18 feet 6 inches (5.64 meters)
Wingspan: 55 feet 7 inches (16.94 meters)
Length: 107 feet 5 inches (32.74 meters)
Weight: 50.0 tons (45.36 metric tons) without missiles
Power System: Nuclear, Should have an average lifespan of 20 years
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment), does not missile bays.
Black Market Cost: 150 million credits.


Weapon Systems:

  1. Ion Cannon: Under the nose is a relatively long ranged Ion Cannon. The weapon is quite powerful and effective. It is used in emergency against other aircraft. It is believed by the Coalition that the ion cannon may have been copied from Triax.
    Maximum Effective Range: 6,000 feet (1,828.8 meters)
    Mega Damage: 2D4x10 per blast
    Rate of Fire: Equal to combined hand to hand attacks of pilot.
    Payload: Unlimited
  2. Main Ordnance Bay: The aircraft has one ordnance bays at the bottom of the mid-fuselage. Unlike the bays of many other aircraft, this bay was only designed to carry missiles. Ordnance may be carried at the rate of two short range missile for one medium range missile.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies by medium or short missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: Varies by medium or short missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Ordnance is dropped or fired one at a time or in volleys of two or four but must be the same size (all light or medium).
    Payload: 8 short range missile or 4 medium range missiles. Ordnance can be mixed. >
  3. Secondary Ordnance Bays (2): The aircraft has two ordnance bays between the fuselage and the powerful engines. Unlike the bays of many other aircraft, these were only designed to carry missiles. Ordnance may be carried at the rate of two short range missile for one medium range missile.
    Maximum Effective Range: Varies by medium or short missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Mega Damage: Varies by medium or short missile type (See revised bomb and missile tables for details.)
    Rate of Fire: Ordnance is dropped or fired one at a time or in volleys of two or four but must be the same size (all light or medium).
    Payload: 4 short range missile or 2 medium range missiles each bay. Ordnance can be mixed.
  4. Magical “Fireworks” Anti-Missile Chaff/Flare Dispenser (1): In many ways this system is similar to technological versions of the Chaff/Flare system. 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 identical to the Triax Anti-Missile chaff but instead of being reloaded, it is recharged by spells.
    Effect:
      01-50 Enemy missile or missile volley detonates in chaff cloud - Missiles are all destroyed.
      51-75 Enemy missile or missile volley loses track of real target and veers away in wrong direction (May lock onto another target.)
      76-00 No effect, enemy missile or missile volley is still on target.
    Also note that the chaff cloud will also blind flying monsters that fly through cloud. They will suffer the following penalties: reduce melee attacks/actions, combat bonuses, and speed by half. Duration: 1D4 melee rounds.
    Payload: 10 Uses before being recharged. The dispenser is recharged by the spells Apparition (20 P.P.E.), Fire Bolt (7 P.P.E.), and Telekinesis (8 P.P.E.).
  5. Magical Intangibility Field: Very unusual enchantment that give the aircraft the ability to become intangible or be unaffected by most normal attacks. While intangible, the fighter is only affected by magical and psionic attacks. The aircraft can actually pass through solid objects and will glide slowly to the ground instead of crashing if it has no forward velocity. The aircrafts speed is greatly boosted (Mach 6.2) and can glide for vast distances while intangible. The aircraft must slow down to Mach 4.1 before becoming solid or piloting is at -20% while at that speed. While systems on the aircraft all work, weapon systems cannot be used to attack targets that are solid. Sensor systems work on the aircraft itself but the Black Ghost is undetectable by radar and the engine noise is reduces to a small fraction of normal.
    Duration: 30 minutes and can be activated up to three times per day
  6. Techno-Wizard Modifications: The Black Ghost has the following techno-wizard modifications built into the aircraft. These require P.P.E. or I.S.P. from the pilot.
    Special Features:
      Shadow Meld (10th Level) - 10 P.P.E. or 20 I.S.P.
      Impervious to Energy (10th Level) - 20 P.P.E. or 40 I.S.P.
      Invisibility-Superior (10th Level) - 20 P.P.E. or 40 I.S.P..


Special Equipment:
The TW SR-71 has all the standard features of a standard fighter (same as standard robot minus loudspeaker and microphone) plus these special features listed. The special equipment is a combination of both magic and technology. The Black Ghost can record up to 72 hours of data coming from all sensor systems.




[ Altarain TM, Bandito Arms TM, Brodkil TM, Chipwell Armaments TM, Coalition States TM, Cyber-Knight TM, Federation of Magic TM, Free Quebec TM, Golden Age Weaponsmiths TM, Horune TM, Iron Heart Armaments TM, Kankoran TM, Kittani TM, Kydian TM, Larsen’s Brigade TM, M.D.C. TM, Mechanoids TM, Mega-Damage TM, Megaversal Legion TM, Millennium Tree TM, Mutants in Orbit TM, Naruni Enterprises TM, Naut’Yll, New Navy TM, New Sovietskiy TM, NGR TM, Nog Heng TM, Northern Gun TM, Phase World TM, Psyscape TM, Rifter TM, SAMAS TM, S.D.C. TM, Shemarrian TM, Splugorth TM, Stormspire TM, Sunaj TM, Tolkeen TM, Triax TM, Wellington Industries TM, Wilk’s Laser Technologies TM, Xiticix TM, and Zaayr TM are trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]

[ Beyond the Supernatural®, Heroes Unlimited®, Nightbane®, Ninjas & Superspies®, Palladium Fantasy®, and Rifts® are registered trademarks owned by Kevin Siembieda and Palladium Books Inc. ]


Second story by Talis D. Merrill (taalismn@pop.tiac.net).


Writeup by Kitsune (E-Mail Kitsune).


Copyright © 2005, Kitsune. All rights reserved.



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