Earthforce Breaching Pod (Babylon Five):

This Ship has been the principal method for Earthforce to quickly insert small strike teams aboard enemy vessels. A early version of this vessel saw duty during the Dilgar War, and was very successful. During the Earth/Minbari war the pods were of very little consequence though, as the pods were neither maneuverable or armored enough to get close to Minbari warships. They were usually cut to ribbons by the Minbari fighters, and the one time the Minbari actually allowed a pod to attach itself to a Warcruisers hull, the crew found that the lasercutter was incapable of cutting through the hull. After this debacle, no pods were utilized for the rest of the war.

Nowadays New pods have been designed, using the engines and power supply of the Aurora Starfury. The last time in recent history that one of these pods was used in a armed conflict was during the battle of Euphrates, when a pod attempted to deliver a strike team into Babylon 5. The team would have occupied Operations, and opened the shuttlebay doors to let shuttles carrying more soldiers in. Although the pod successfully delivered the strike team into Babylon 5, the team itself never made it past the defenders. Many of the defenders were unarmored Narns, and they stopped the well armed strike team only by accepting great losses.

The Pod looks a bit like a Starfury with a very fat main body, and short stubby wings. In the front of the pod is a large airlock, ringed by a powerful laser cutter. Four short legs with powerful electromagnets are located around the airlock, and are used to anchor the pod to enemy vessels. The inside of the pod holds a strike team of fifteen man, and a pilot. The pilot has a small cockpit in which he sits, and the controls are just like that of a Starfury. The rest of the pods interior is given to a single large cargo hold, which holds fifteen marines and their equipment.

Because the pod is not very well armed (for all intends and purposes, the lasercutter is just a tool) and not terribly maneuverable, it is clad with Radar Absorbant Materials, and has some advanced stealth features (Treat as having an -40% of not being picked up on radar systems of Earth force tech level - Minbari, Centauri, and any of the other highly advanced races would have no penalties to detect the pod)

Although the pod has the drive and the controls from a starfury, it does not have its acceleration, nor its maneuverability and range. Because of this, the pod does not normally travel through jumpgates and hyperspace, as its limited range may very well get it stranded in between jumpgates, inside hyperspace. Without maneuvering power, the pod then is quickly sucked into the deeper layers of hyperspace, never to be seen again. The very few pod pilots who have performed this dangerous bit of travel are regarded by their peers as "The best damn pod pilots around, and also the craziest".

Listed is the formula to allow player and game masters to calculate the pods velocity and distance traveled:

Model Number: EA breaching pod MKII.
Vehicle Type: Quad Engine Assault Pod

Crew: One
Passengers: Fifteen

M.D.C. by Location:

Laser Cutter (1):120 
[1]Latching Legs(4):70 each
Engines (4):250 each
Reinforced Pilots Compartment:150
[1] Main Body:700

[1] destroying a leg means that there is a 25 % chance (cumulative) that the pod will be torn loose with every additional G of acceleration that the target makes (See also SPECIAL). Destroying all four legs will render the pod unable to latch onto the target.
[2] Depleting the M.D.C. of the main body will shut the aircraft down completely, rendering it useless.

Driving on Ground: Not Possible
Flying; In atmosphere: The Breaching Pod cannot operate within an atmosphere. If the Pod enters an atmosphere, it will crash.
Flying; Space: The pod does not have an effective top speed but is limited by acceleration. Pod can reach a top acceleration of 5 G but is normally limited to 2 Gs except in combat to conserve fuel.
Stardrive: The Pod does not have a jump drive but can use already formed jump points such as those formed by jump gates. While in hyperspace, the Pod can reach a maximum of 4 lightyears per hour. This means that the pod could theoretically cover the Galaxy in about 30 months (will need to refuel very often and the pods are not meant to operate very far from their homebase or ship). Pod is NOT meant to traverse hyperspace, due to its limited range.
Maximum Effective Range: The pod has enough fuel for 10 minutes at maximum performance. If pod is operating at less maximum performance, the pods range is vastly increased. The pod has 2 hours 40 minutes of endurance if operating at only 2 Gs and for every increase of 1 Gs, the fighter burns reaction mass twice as fast. Pod uses hydrogen for fuel for a fusion reactor. The pod can operate with engines on standby to increase fighters range.
Pod has supplies for pilot and passengers for 1 day.

Statistical Data:
Height: 20 feet (6 meters)
Length: 50 feet (15 meters)
Width: 61 feet (18.6 meters)
Weight: 33 tons (30 metric tons)
Power System: 3 Fusion Batteries (At maximum output, duration is 10 minutes)
Cargo: Minimal (Storage for small equipment).
Cost: 12 million to construct

Weapons Systems

  1. Laser Cutter (1): This weapon is meant to burn through the hull of a starship or a station very quickly. In order to achieve this, the designers gave it a huge output for a laser, at the cost of any long range capability. In a single round the laser lens assembly rotates a full 360 degrees to burn a circular hole in whatever material the Pod has been latched to. If the pod has been latched securely, the cutter will burn over exactly the same tract, each time it is activated. Standard practice for pod operations is to let the laser cutter fire into the hole it has created for one round after the hull has been breached, in order to make sure that enemies hiding in cover will indeed keep their heads down when the strike team disembarks.
    Mega Damage: 5D6x10 for a single 15 second long burn.
    Maximum Effective Range: 6.7 feet (2 meters) in an atmosphere and 666.7 feet (200 meters) in space.
    Rate of Fire: Once per round, cutting beam lasts entire round.
    Payload: Effectively Unlimited.

Special: The Pod latches unto the target by using powerful electromagnets and clamps located in the four "legs". Treat the latching onto a target as a standard docking maneuver. For every 1 G of acceleration of the target (be it simple accelerating or maneuvers), there is a cumulative 5 % chance that the pod will be torn loose from the target (roll again for each new round). If the target has already been breached, this will leave behind a gaping hole, though which air rushes out of the target. If the strike team has just left the pod, they may be among the debris being sucked out of the target by the escaping air....

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Technical information sourced partially from Babylon 5 Technical Manual!

Writeup by Mischa (E-Mail Mischa).

Rifts Conversion Copyright © 1998, Mischa. All rights reserved.