The word Zeugma originates from the Greek language which literally means to join. In context the class was intended as the single vessel that would join the Commonwealth’s colonies making the great distances across the stars seem not so distant. Unlike other vessels in service the Zeugma was the first in all configurations to use entirely new parts from its inception. The aspect of the Zeugma using entirely new parts also means that it is the only vessel in the Commonwealth navy that sources all the raw materials, production and labor from within the commonwealth with no foreign sources. This fact alone makes every vessel of this class a source of national pride and has contributed to the unique naming convention of the CT-5-C Colony vessel configuration.
The Zeugma class in all configurations is noted to be reasonably quick, well protected and always devotes at least ten percent of its overall tonnage to its four multi-mission modules which grant the craft considerable versatility. The general differences between the classes center on armament and the presence of what is mounted where as well as the number of and position of mission modules. For instance the Destroyer models (CT-5-D) sport the Commonwealth’s AMP Torpedo systems in the bow and stern and duel primary DRAIL guns in the bow mounted in an omni-directional chamber mount all of which is supported by thick armor and forty defense DRAIL emplacements spread across the ship. The Long Range Exploration model (CT-5-B) in respects lacks the Torpedo systems and focuses on smaller caliber main guns in greater numbers supported with defensive missile systems and DRAIL defense emplacements. The long range exploration model often carries its four mission modules in doubled spars off the port and broadside where as the destroyer model carries the four pods in port, starboard, ventral and, dorsal positions. The reconnaissance Zeugma variant (CT-5-E) often carries two mission modules per spar which due to the extra weight is reinforced by an additional support ring. As expected the reconnaissance model is somewhat faster, bears more advanced sensors but a noticeably reduced and defense focused armament.
The flexibility of the Zeugma’s hull form allows for two of the most radical variants to the design, starting with the science configuration (CT-5-A) which as expected tends to operate as a non-combatant but is specialized for anti-stealth warfare and its anti-fighter/missile/torpedo capabilities in fleet actions. The special role of the science version requires additional modules and in trade the vessel is somewhat slower and additional but shorter length spars have been added to support mission modules in the bow of the vessel. Many have compared the change in silhouette in the CT-5-A to a hammerhead shark which has stuck.
In the most radical alteration to the hull form is the Colony vessel (CT-5-C) which more closely resembles the original design of the craft in that it lacks the ramming-bow design of all other models. The forward hull is tapered and rounded into something that more resembles a hollow tip bullet minus hollowed out tip. At the stern the Jump drive ring is twenty percent larger to accommodate the additional weight of the adjustments to the mission modules for this vessel. Unlike other vessels of the class, the CT-5-C bears self-deploying colonizing habitat modules which effectively allow the vessel to arrive in high orbit and land the colonists directly without landing the vessel. The six SDHM units each require a heavily reinforced spar and break-away cross supports to be stabilized properly in transit. Each module can land a total of 250 colonists with enough supplies to sustain a new colony for a year should something happen to its attendant starship. Additional support materials and shuttles are carried aboard the colony variant as could be expected with room for critical supplies for the colony’s given purpose. For instance should a colony be a mining colony additional cargo and materials are aboard the vessel just to support that objective. It is also common for vessels of this class to carry military support in the form of additional fighters, and military vehicles for deployment after initial landings and establishment. It is also not uncommon for a CT-5-C to return home displacing 30,000 tons or about half its normal weight without the SDHM’s included in displacement. It should be noted that Colony vessels are often named after the places they colonize and are stationed there and occasionally retrofitted into warships to protect their namesake colonies until the end of their service. The Saumur colony itself never had such a vessel however the first CT-5-C built was named “The Spirit of Saumur” in honor of the lost colonists during the initial colonization effort of Saumur. All CT-5-C type vessels bear a name that starts with ‘The Spirit of’ in honor of the naming tradition.
Vessels of Note:
The most well-known members of the Zeugma class of vessels come from three differing versions of the craft. The first would be the three vessels of Taskforce GR-56 under the command of Captain Tendaji Nuru, which comprised of the CSS Silene, Gaultheria and Epigaea. The three Vessels were credited with making first contact with the Coalition on January 8th 2054 on their second joint voyage to explore regions towards the galactic core. In a later voyage this same group minus the Gaultheria which was having FTL propulsion issues came across what would later be known as Belkov Station.
In later years the CSS Goshen under the command of Commodore Tau Duvalier would achieve some popularity during the blackout of the Belkov Automated trade station and the subsequent action thereafter. It should be said that the Goshen was built along with a short production run that lacked the ventral and dorsal mission pod spars as internals pace was freed up to carry the same multi-mission materials in the bow and stern. Additionally the Goshen was one of a few vessels of the class to sport a primary gun in the stern.
The CSS Spirit of Saumur, originally commanded by Admiral Sanaa Delaistre (KIA). The Spirit of Saumur was the flagship of the Commonwealth Navy between the years of 2043 and 2052. The Spirit up until the three year mission to colonize Galatia was the first CT-5-C in existence and by the time it began its return trip to Saumur the second which was named The Spirit of Galatia was headed outbound to deliver additional colonists and critical supplies to the new colony. The two ships would meet briefly as The Spirit of Galatia arrived and the two were in orbit over the new colony (Galatia) for three days before The Spirit of Saumur left high orbit. The trip consisted of five navigational jumps through space that was considered uncontested and was routinely patrolled by the Commonwealth navy. Upon arrival at the third jump point The Spirit of Saumur arrived unseen at the site of a major Hulegu attack, and was already receiving a weak distress call from nearby transfer station S-491. With no clear knowledge of the enemy’s disposition or numbers Admiral Delaistre ordered her ship forward and all crew to battle stations. At the time the CT-5-C class were armed but were not quite up to the capabilities of the newer Towhee class nor could they match the firepower of the up-gunned CN-4-F Fleet tankers. After all the CT-5-C was still mainly a colony vessel and the true destroyer models were not numerous enough to be very useful yet. Yet the Spirit of Saumur entered the fray to find that station S-491 was being boarded, and most of the defending Commonwealth vessels had been destroyed or were adrift and actively fighting off boarding parties. Four enemy vessels moved to engage The Spirit of Saumur Attempting to flank and overwhelm the vessel as it clearly was not a warship as the defenders had been. The Admiral was faced with three Hulegu attack ships and a heavy raider. The raider alone had enough firepower to outright destroy her vessel but the attack ships made the battle theoretically impossible to win.
The Admiral maneuvered her vessel to get two of the raiders to attack from behind while presenting the narrower frontal profile to the Heavy raider. As the damage to the stern mounted and things seemed at their worst the admiral ordered an emergency jump drive ring separation only to find on one of the ring-spars the explosive bolts were fused. Looking for an answer the Admiral ordered the jettisoning of an empty mission module without the usual rocket motor assistance. In the seconds before the Admiral was killed by a hit to the ships bridge, the Module tumbled free shattering the spar holding the jump drive ring in place. The ring itself still charged with energy and now unconfined by control parameters of the vessel fell into the faces of the two attack ships one was destroyed instantly on impact and the violent release of energy and shrapnel from the blast finished the second. The third, now pressing further attacks on the third attack vessel pressing attacks on the portside of The Spirit of Saumur could not pull away fast enough as the ship continued to turn it’s controls jammed due to bridge damage.
Moments later the 60,000 tons vessel simply ran the smaller attack ship over like a diseased dog in the street leaving the vessel so smashed all it could do is drift. Meanwhile the Hulegu Heavy raider’s crew seemed stunned as it continued its course for a few moments before trying to alter to avoid a collision. Moments later, The Spirit of Saumur Collided with the starboard and center engine clusters of the Hulegu Heavy raider taking the vessels propulsion clean off the vessel. The impact alone was enough to stop the Commonwealth vessel dead in her tracks the Hulegu vessel now incapacitated started to drift. The two equally crippled combatants sat within a perhaps a thousand kilometers of each other when commonwealth reinforcements arrived and the final threat of the Hulegu boarding parties and their crippled heavy raider were handled by a wave of fresh troops. Admiral Sanaa Delaistre was buried at Onyeka National Cemetary on Saumur. After the battle The Spirit of Saumur was towed to the Oluwaseyi Fleet Shipyards near Saumur. The Vessel was stripped, overhauled and put back into service a year later under the command of Captain Nkiru Christophe.
** Yes this is a joke the jump drive is incapable of longer jumps than the "unsafe" range.