The Icarus class starship was at one time the backbone of the Terran fleet, built in response to fears that the Ryl'Atti in the nearby Beta Centauri system intended to invade Earth. The Icarus class was the first full sized Terran starship to have a hyperspace engine installed. The technology of the time required that the antimatter reactor and hyperdrive system be installed in the detachable pod beneath the main hull on the weapon sail. The last Icarus class ship in active military service, the U.A.S. Hood BCSS-9, was decommissioned in 2201. In 2202, the construction plans of the Icarus were declassified by the Alliance government and sold to several starship construction firms. The Icarus is now seen plying the spacelanes as a light freighter over a century after the first ship saw service. It has also gained notoriety as a civilian battle cruiser. Since they are much cheaper and easier to outfit than most other battle capable ships, they have become the mainstay of many of the pirate factions inhabiting the spacelanes.
Icarus ships in history
The "Icarus" was the prototype for the Icarus Class Starship. It was named the ancient Greek mythic hero, who built wings and flew.
Conceived as early as 2067 and the end of the "Magellan" Probe series, a manned flight to Alpha Centauri took on greater importance as images of the Ryl' Atti were sent back by the "Magellan" and the probe was destroyed. Work then accelerated and the ship was equipped not only with heavier armor plating, but with mass driver weaponry and several thermonuclear missiles for defense. Additionally, the crew was supplemented by six Terran Star Service Marines and all of the crew, including scientists were given military training. (It is often theorized that the paranoia instilled by the training, led to much of the troubles on the colony of Centauria in later years.) In 2092, Colonel Charles Brown was assigned as Mission Commander. In 2096, the vessel is completed in Earth orbit and launched two years later, after shakedown cruises throughout the Solar System. It arrives in the Alpha Centauri-A system on February 9th, 2105. Initial plans were to establish both an orbital defense and defended ground outpost. Unfortunately, almost immediately upon arriving in orbit, all three life-support systems failed. Unable to repair them quickly, Colonel Brown ordered most of the crew to the surface in the landing shuttle. He, the thirty remaining crew on board, and the "Icarus" were never heard from again.
Theories abound. What is known is that the ship was no longer in orbit when the Ryl'Atti Defense Force's vessel sent to investigate arrived. No debris was found in space or on the planet surface, so the "Icarus" obviously left Centaurian orbit intact, but no one knows why.
Battle of Earth:
This one is to long to write here, but you can read the full account here: http://www.castlethornsoftware.com/wiki/index.php/Battle_of_Earth This particular story is very interesting, as it depicts a possible outcome of a real battle for earth.
Total Superstructure: 104,950 HDX
Weapons: MK-3 Lasers (2), Arcs: (1) Forward (1) Aft
Shields: ASG-B (6)
Sublight: Standard=0.62c, Flank=0.87c
Hyperspace: Standard=50,000c, Flank=61,000c
Combat Efficiency: 26.7 (On a scale of 0-100, but remember this is the basic specs. If you upgrade it with the best possible systems, the combat efficiency can be increased up to a 50. Some have gotten that number even higher with tweaking)
This is the best military grade ship a civilian can currently get. It can easily take on pirates or other civilian factions, but remember its over 100 years old. Don't be expecting gramps to come anywhere close to taking on one of the “real” military ships employed by the main factions. While that big shiny Ticonderoga is a tempting target, its going to be the last time you touch the tactical console on your ship if you try it.
Due to the current conflict with the Klinshayans, and tension with several other alien races, some civilians are getting worried about not getting enough Fleet protection. There has been several shipyards who have announced working on protypes for a new civilian battleship. While nothing much is known yet, we do know it will be very expensive, but with at least a starting combat efficiency of 60. But none of them has yet to show any real progress, so don't hold your breath unless Parliament decides to pass a stimulus package for those shipyards.
Oh, and one last thing. If you do decide to become a mercenary, and decide to use this ship, be careful with its weapons layout. While those mass drivers with thermonuclear warheads pack the biggest punch in the galaxy, they are very heavy, and you can only handle a couple of them. They also have no tracking system. So if you decide to go with a kinetic, or missile layout, make sure you have some friends in another ship set up for energy weapons. Kinetic and missiles do almost nothing against most shielding. On the other hand, if you go for a all energy layout, your going to be blown away before you ever disable the other ship. A balance between the three weapon types is hard to find, but it will improve your combat drastically if you do.