XLepelin “Kratos” class SuperLifter


The discovery of how to produce inert (or “noble”) hydrogen was a turning point in mass transportation. Having been tried and found tragically wanting centuries before, it was now finally possible to exploit large-scale dirigibles in safety. The designs went from strength to strength, and cheap mass transportation was within reach of everyone. Following the usual laws of economy of scale, ever-larger Xepelins were to be seen over every city carrying people, food and cargo to their destination at a stately pace.

Words cannot describe the awesome size of the largest XXLepelins which were produced just before the early stages of the Great War. Originally designed for peaceful purposes, the lesser sized XLepelin’s primary role was simply that of cargo transport, much like the cargo ships travelling the oceans. Aptly named the SuperLifters, their somewhat ponderous speed was more than compensated by the stunning amount of weight these vehicles were able to transport. Once fully loaded and aloft, SuperLifter crews could expect a journey literally around the world, sometimes spending several months without setting foot on land.

Of course, with the outbreak of war, XLepelins (and XXLepelins) were immediately drafted into battle to fight alongside the speedier Xepelins. Initially used as troop and heavy weaponry transports, it was also soon learned that XLepelins had a surprising capacity for damage absorption. In fact, it was something of a shock to many well-defended towns to find that their anti-aircraft battery was little more than a nuisance to the XLepelins passing overhead. Massive, non-flammable and easy to repair in-flight, what appeared to be an easy target was in fact a frustratingly un-killable affront to enemy forces, gliding overhead and directly over enemy territory with aplomb.

Exploiting this fact, it was a short time before the first battle-ready XLepelins were gliding out of their silos. In keeping with their monumental size, XLepelins were outfitted with seven 5 metre Mach 2 ejector pump cannon in a radial arrangement. Not content with this devastating arsenal, the addition of a gigantic articulated titanium scythe doubled as a weapon not only of physical damage, but psychological intimidation also. Simply dragging the scythe through a busy thoroughfare was enough to cow many cities into surrender. A single XLepelin moored at a strategic point could win a battle with zero collateral damage.

Individual airships were bestowed by their eventual victims with such fearful names as ‘My Omen’, ‘Death Cloud’ and ‘Eternal Portent of our Anathema’, but collectively they were more commonly known simply as ‘Exers’. It is not certain whether this was in reference to the crafts powers of extermination or simply because of the X in the Xepelin name. Many enemy territories were X’ed (i.e. crossed or scratched) completely out of the landscape by these horrific machines. Like a gigantic bloated insect feeding on it’s hapless prey, witnessing a skilled scythe operator at work was a fascinating yet truly repellent spectacle.

Ultimately of course, the XLepelin was shown to have an Achilles heel, and its role in direct combat was dramatically reversed when…

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