System Control Ship
A System Control Ship is a massive relativistic warship used for controlling or occupation of colonies or solar systems at interstellar distances.

Before the invention of the traversable wormhole, large empires like the Federation, the Eridanus League and the Early Conver Ambi were faced with the problem of enforcing their will on recalcitrant colonies of many light years distance. The result was the military equivalent of the Corporate Ship, the System Control Ship. A self-contained city and garrison, these mighty vessels were huge (length 500 to 800 meters, mass up to 2 million tonnes), astonishingly expensive, very heavily armed and defended, relativistic warships, crewed by a complement of hyperturing and subturing sentients, equipped with an efficient biosphere, partial self-repairing through nanotech and onboard utility drones, and capable of extended and prolonged independent operations across interstellar distances over many decades at a time. Only a few dozen system control ships were ever built, and only then by those empires with a strong enough industrial and economic base to be able to support such a burden. Nevertheless, the System Control Ship was a source of tremendous national pride.

The discovery of Reactionless Drive rendered these hulking behemoths near-obsolete almost overnight, and the invention of the StarGate meant that smaller, cheaper, more specialized vessels could easily be moved to any location very quickly. Nevertheless, many old System Control Ships continued to be used in reserve duties, for long-range fire support and as mobile fortresses, and for showing the flag at low and middle tech systems, for centuries to come.

With the increased political uncertainty and colonial fragmentation accompanying the fall of the Commonwealth of Empires and the rise of unpredictable new powers in the Outer Volumes, there has been a resurgence of interest in the System Control Ship among a number of imperial powers, most particularly the Negentropy Alliance. The Dominion uses a lightweight System Control Ship in conjunction with a Linelayer. The System Control Ship remains to look after things until the wormhole is enlarged to a sufficient size to permit regular ships.

The most enthusiastic proponent of this type of vessel however is the Laughter Hegemony. They use them as garrisons and network nodes in systems not yet fully integrated into the Hegemony, and them moving them to new systems while leaving the administration behind.

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 31 December 2001.