Magmatter Dreadnoughts

Extremely small but deadly warship constructed from magmatter

Magmatter Dreadnought
Image from Steve Bowers
A typical magdreadnaught is only 5cm in diameter
Dreadnaught is a common colloquial name given to a class of magmatter warcraft (more formally referred to as Magmatter Core Combat Vehicles or MCCVs) initially built and operated by the Low Archai (S4). Thousands of sightings have occurred throughout history, however, like the metric armaments of the High Archai, modosophonts have directly observed the deployment and use of Dreadnaughts comparatively few times. The majority of observations come from combat between PADO and the Amalgamation, although even then typically from extreme distances given the energetic nature of such battles.

Dreadnaughts come in a variety of designs and their inner workings are both a subject of speculation and godtech that modosophonts have no hope of unraveling. The most commonly observed model is a hollow sphere of magmatter 5cm across massing approximately 10 billion tonnes. Careful observation and some answers provided by higher level beings suggest that nearly 1% of a Dreadnaught's mass is given over to Q-batteries allowing for an astonishing store of >2e36 Joules, roughly equivalent to the mass-energy of a dwarf planet or the radiant output of a Sol-type star for two centuries. In some cases it is known that - in addition to their onboard energy store - Dreadnaughts carry swarms of nano-milli scale magmatter autonomous kill vehicles which can carry Q-battery warheads, conversion weapons, or micro-milli scale gamma ray lasers. It is suspected that some may carry magmatter seeds that can be dropped into stars to grow stellar-mounted weapons platforms, SAW-class autowars, or even more Dreadnaughts; however close up observation to confirm this has not yet been possible. In combat, Dreadnaughts may radiate large quantities of energy in the form of hard radiation, either as a weapon, a waste product, or both. Such radiation can be highly disruptive to modosophont systems (and biont bodies) at a range of light minutes. In addition, their surface gravity is approximately 1e6m/s^2. Consequently, Dreadnaughts are rarely kept near modosophont settled systems as just being in proximity is extremely dangerous.

The surface of a typical Dreadnought hull mounts six circular optical phased arrays, equally distributed to face in all directions. These arrays provide awesome destructive power as well as a secondary means of propulsion via photon emission. Capable of generating laser beams down to picometer wavelengths, they have extremely low divergence; at a distance of a light-year the spot diameter of such a beam is approximately 1,000 km. While their maximum output is theoretical, observations made during the containment effort against the Amalgamation recorded lasers with power ratings in the zettawatt (1e21W) range. If used as a photon rocket, peta-newtons of thrust are possible, allowing a Dreadnaught to accelerate at tens of kilometers per second squared.

In practice, Dreadnaughts have rarely been observed under thrust using photon propulsion. Their interior is host to a massive void mote array which acts as a Displacement Drive capable of accelerating the craft at many hundreds of standard gravities (over 1000 Gs according to one observer). Detonation effects in the vicinity of some particularly intense engagements have led many researchers to theorize that a Dreadnought's drive core can either be cannibalized to produce a Displacement Cannon system or that Dreadnoughts are occasionally fitted with Displacement Cannon when the needs of combat require it.

Dreadnaughts are a reminder to modosophonts not only of the awesome power of the Archai, but also that many of the major conflicts throughout history were likely trivial from their lofty perspectives. Should even the lowest Archai truly go to war, constructs such as Dreadnaughts could be deployed in the billions, and wreak havoc on a scale that could turn entire clusters into slowly cooling nebulae. However, it should never be forgotten that to the higher Archai Dreadnaughts are simple playthings, the weapons of primitive children in the face of the true power of metric armaments. Should a large-scale war ever occur with these weapons, it is possible the Terragen Sphere - or even the wider galaxy beyond - could cease to exist.

Magmatter Frigate
Image from Steve Bowers
A magmatter frigate is much smaller than a magmatter dreadnaught but still capable of extreme destruction. This example is about the size of a terragen pollen grain.
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Development Notes
Text by Dave, Ryan B (Rynn), Todd Drashner
Initially published on 17 September 2022.