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design by Chris Lloyd
These are dangerous times, particularly beyond the borders of the Coalition, so the Iguana has been designed to survive, even at the cost of its cargo. The Iguana's first line of defense against any would be attackers is its standard sandcaster turret, and laser barbette capable of giving almost all similarly sized ships second thoughts. If that doesn't prove sufficient then the Iguana is still capable of turning tail and running. Since the Iguana's cargo is held externally, in two large fifty displacement ton cargo modules specifically designed to fit the Iguana, these can be dropped to improve the performance characteristics of the ship, doubling its acceleration and improving its jump capability to allow a three parsec jump, or an emergency one parsec jump on less than one hundred litres of fuel.
Another advantage the Iguana has over its competition is its flexability. Since the individual captain can determine the type of modules he purchases for his ship he can decide whether to make it a pure cargo hauler, or a passenger liner, or a mix of the two. The modules can also be used to make loading and unloading the ship faster, since they each contain contra-grav lifters, and enough batteries to maintain the contra-grav, life support and artifical gravity for over an hour, they can easily be moved about the starport to positions where they are easier to unload. It would even be possible for a group of Free traders to form a cooperative and purchase several extra modules allowing even more rapid turn around times.
It should be noted that we recommend that no captain ever use a module from an unrecognised source. Whilst we have made every effort to prevent Virus infection from a compromised module, the designers will take no responsibility for any captain who accepts a module which has been infected by Virus. The anti-virus methods employed to prevent this kind of infection can basically be split into three sections, voluntary conection, limited connection, and isolation. The first ensures that no connection can be made between the ship and the modules until a switch has been thrown on both sides. This will then connect the module to a disposable "canary" until the ship's switch is thrown again. The second is a very limited protocol on the limited connections between the ship. If any variance is detected on either the power, or contra-grav control line, these connections will be broken off. The third guard is that both these connections are isolated inside the ship, in particular the power connection is to a small self contained 21MW fusion plant.
The only problem with using the Iguana in the replacement ship scheme is its relative cost, but this could be offset fairly easily by retaining part ownership of the ship when exchanging it. A fifteen to twenty percent share would probably not be seen as too excessive by most Free traders bringing in old ships for new, and would bring immediate material gain to the Coalition.
The Iguana is fairly uninteresting to look at, a blunt nose slopes back to a slightly rounded box, about nine meters wide and high, and almost eighteen meters long, disturbed only by the large indented rectangles the modules sit in. Under the nose is the entrance to the small vehicle bay, whilst above it is the cockpit. Behind the vehicle bay is the ships internal fuel tanks, and above that the crew quaters, and the cross corridor which connects to the two hatches the modules connect to. Further back the barbette sits mounted on the centre line of the ship and dorsally mounted. Just behind that is the ventrally mounted sandcaster, and behind these the engine room. Finally, between the jump drive and the engines themselves, below the engine room is an airlock, exiting the port side of the ship.
The modules themselves vary little in their appearance, being themselves slightly rounded boxes, a little over seven meters square and fourteen meters long, and with a hatch centrally on each side, and one underneath to allow for later designs to carry them piggy back. The only difference is the modules designed to carry cargo have a large cargo hatch at one end, and those designed to carry passengers have an airlock. Which end this is, is up to the captain when he connects the module.
It is virtually impossible for the ship to collect modules again after they have been dropped, however it is possible for a ship with grapples, or a large enough hanger to recover them.
A larger version is currently being designed with a main body of two hundred tons, and able to connect to four of the modules, to exchange for the ex-subsidised merchants and liners still in use. However this project had been put on hold whilst finishing the Iguana. Further details will be forthcoming.
A second version that's still at the concept stage is of a 'Lancer varient of the main body with upgraded weapons, sensors, and maneuverability, that could be sold to 'Lancers and used for covert missions. These ships would look essentially identical to the Iguana (or the larger version if it's decided the Iguana isn't large enough), and could even use the same modules, and thus appear as a normal trader. With this in mind all the modules have internal bracing to allow up to 3G maneuvering.
Iguana Far Trader
|Displacement: 200 (100) tons||Hull Armor: 30|
|Length: 17.35 meters||Volume: 2800 m3|
|Price: 72.5 MCr + Modules||Target Size: S|
|Configuration: SL Box||Tech Level: 12|
|Mass (Loaded/Unloaded): 1350.4 / 1308.6 + Modules|