The NOVA, or "New Orbital Vehicle Assault" , is the primary defensive weapon of the Unified Republic of Stars against its enemies. It is built as part of the NOVA Program by the NOVA Group, a consortium of the largest space vehicle manufacturers within the Republican Star Cluster and assembled at the Yamanashi Skyplex orbiting the New Nipponese world of Yamanashi.
The NOVA began life as part of the NOVA Program initiated by the Republican Fleet soon after its creation in 2174 as a next generation battleship capable of serving for long periods along the Blue Line and repelling most UUHA invasion forces. It was to serve as the main frontline weapon against all foreign assaults.
The brainchild of Admirals Hugh Sims and Alexander MacGregor, the NOVA Program was the single largest undertaking yet of the young Republic. With an estimated price tag of CD$15.9 trillion for just the first twelve ships alone and the resources it would take to accomplish, it represented the full unification of the Republican worlds and a commitment to the common defense.
NOVA is actually a name in search of an acronym. Chosen because of its power, the words chosen to have the letters represent were chosen by a junior lieutenant within the Program's office to stand for "New Orbital Vehicle Assault" though it is rarely, if ever, referred to this and almost always just called NOVA unless trying to impress someone with knowledge of arcane and useless facts.
The NOVA was not actually designed by the Fleet but rather by the NOVA Group, a consortium of the major space vehicle manufacturers from a set of requirements handed to them by the Fleet. However, all the plans and blueprints are the property of the Fleet and classified at the highest levels. Even during construction, crews may only see the portion of the plans they are working on directly and how it may tie into the next immediate section.
When approval was given by the Republican Congress to move forward with the NOVA Program, the NOVA Group acted swiftly to bring their design into reality. The Yamanashi Skyplex was extended to handle the building of three of these massive vessels at once. Within three years, the first NOVA, the Woodcutter, was launched on February 16, 2177. By 2188 another fourteen had been completed and were on active duty for the Second Fleet division of the Republican Fleet.
The NOVA is the single largest manned spacecraft ever built and the most complex. Stretching over three hundred meters from bow to stern, it bristles with cannons along its dorsal capable of firing a range of shells at opponents during ship-to-ship engagements.
To keep the ship running day and night, the NOVA can sail with an astonishing 2,500 sailors, marines, and pilots, who typically work in three shifts.
To protect against ship-to-ship nuclear attacks, the outer hull of the NOVA is hardened with thick plates of reinforced steel. Also, to protect against the resulting radiation as well as standard interstellar radiation, a foot of water separates the inner and outer hulls. The electronics that comprise the systems of a NOVA are specially hardened against both nuclear caused and specially created EMP effects.
In case of a hull breach, the NOVA is equipped with section by section life-support systems that can operate in tandem or individually when necessary. As with the water between the hulls, it is contained within discrete sub-sections that are operated by automatic control systems, both to prevent human error and to ensure timely precautions.
The NOVA ships were also unique for their integration of tangled quantum particle communications systems as a part of their standard outfitting. Because quantum entanglement allows for two particles to react with one another instantaneously regardless of distances, the speed of light is able to be violated when transmitting data.
Whereas commercial spacecraft had multiple places they needed to communicate with and quantum entangled particle communication would not be practical, the NOVA ships of the line only needed to communicate back with the admiralty. Rather than wait the four years it would take standard radio wave to make their way back to Republican Airbase on Galileo, it was deemed important to have communications travel as fast as possible.
While NOVAs continued to carry standard radio wave communication systems for transmitting orders to their Razorback fighters and local ships, sometimes ship-to-ship communication between NOVAs patrolling the Blue Line on the same deployment still happened using entangled particle transmission back to Galileo and then out again if the distances between the two ships were sufficiently large.
The experiment with the first NOVAs deployed proved successful enough that all Republican Fleet ships were ordered to be retrofitted with the technology in 2181, thus speeding the overall communication times between the Fleet and its ships.
The commanders of the NOVAs, however, were still granted a wide latitude in their command, despite the ability to communicate quickly, because of their being at the front line and situational awareness.
The majority of crew accommodations are within the center of the ship, surrounded by reinforced bulkheads so as to act as both an emergency shelter and lifeboat in the event of the destruction of the ship. Because of this, quarters are tight and consist of small bunks secured to the floor, ceiling, and walls if able. Stacked three high, one bunk room can contain 100 sailors. These rooms are co-ed, though typically men will take one side and women the other, however the toilet and shower shared by those within offer no such privacy. Each bunk has a locker at the end for the storage of personal items and uniforms, perhaps a few books, but little else.
Junior and mid-level officers of the ship have life slightly more comfortable. Typically sharing a small room with four individual bunks, they share shower and bathroom facilities with four other "pods" and are considerably less crowded. Still, while they have room for a few more possessions, they still cannot bring with them much at all.
Senior level officers, namely the ship's master and executive officer, have private quarters that serve the dual function of being their office. Therefore, except when they are sleeping, they have no more privacy than any other sailor on the ship with the constant in and out of crew and junior level officers. Still, because of the larger accommodations, they often furnish it to their own taste with sofas, chairs, and tables. By civilian standards though, the rooms still retain a very spartan appearance.
The one exception for crew quarters being in the center of the ship are that of the pilots. Even though every pilot is an officer, they maintain quarters near the flight decks organized by squadron and thus sleep forty to a room in much the same manner as the enlisted. The one exception is the CAG who has a private room like the senior officers but considerably smaller and also serves as his organizational office while aboard.
The ship has one galley, capable of serving five hundred sailors in a single sitting, thus the crew is rotated through in forty minute intervals. Because of the enormous size of the crew, the galley never closes and operates, like the rest of the ship, twenty-four hours.
Several recreational rooms exist throughout the crew quarters as well. Some contain little more than rows of couches and a large screen for video entertainment. Some function as gyms with treadmills and free weights. None have a set purpose and generally evolve into whatever the crew needs and is provided for by a small budget within the NOVAs overall operating cost.
The primary duty of the NOVA class ship the the interception and destruction of all enemy ships encountered during six-month patrols along the Blue Line to prevent enemy forces from entering any Republican star system. To this end, the NOVA is supplied with an excess of food and water provisions so as to endure these long periods in space. In theory, a NOVA can operate independently of resupply for up to two years.
NOVAs of the Second Fleet patrol common tack points in search of navigating enemy vessels. Its rules of engagement state that any vessel identified as belonging to an enemy with whom the Republic has had a violent encounter may be destroyed upon discovery, without warning. The NOVA is the only such vessel within the Republican Fleet which operates on a "shoot first" policy.
Beginning with the Ally Protection Act of 2279, a battle group of NOVAs was also tasked with the duty of protecting the Three Stars Federal Republic and operated under detached service beneath the Rear Admiral of Three-Star Federal Republic Detached Service or RATDS. This arrangement was ended following the Invasion of 2338 with the Republic desperately needing its ships back to patrol the Republican Star Cluster.
The first major engagement involving a NOVA took place during the Battle for the Republic in the Galileo System in 2192. Four NOVA class ships destroyed a UUHA invasion fleet of thirty battle cruisers and ten fighter carriers and destroyed them in a single day.
The NOVA was used again during the Invasion of 2338, but because of a series of heavy losses at the beginning, Admiral Meixiu Larsson used the massive ships as privateers rather than as ships of the line. The NOVA proved more than formidable against the small cruiser class ships of the UUHA and dozens were captured for use by the Republic. In the three final battles, the firepower of the NOVA proved to be the deciding factor in pushing the UUHA out of the Republican Star Cluster.
Most of the NOVAs engagements however, do not have names. They are skirmishes both small and large along the Blue Line. It is because of its effectiveness at stoping the enemy at the border that more desperate battles have not been fought within Republican space.
- ↑ The NOVA comes equipped with both a small projectile cannon for deterring close engagements with enemy fighter craft. Beyond this, it's larger projectile cannons may take either flack, flechete, or exploding shells for engagement with a wide range of different craft from either close range or at a distance.
- ↑ 160 fighter craft is the size of an entire Air Group of the Third Fleet and the NOVA remains the only mixed use ship capable of launching so many. The UUHA later developed a fighter carrier but besides limited ant-aircraft defensive weapons, it is not capable of defending itself from attack like the NOVA.
- ↑ This feature has proven to be a failure during the destruction of several NOVAs as the enemy typically goes ahead and destroys what remains as well and the "life boat" carries no weapons or armor plating against weapons.