March 18th 2016
The Esperia Blade is a Vanduul design produced by Esperia for military use. The Blade will be available as a concept sale from March 18, 2016 to March 28, 2016. Originally designed as an aggressor for Squadron 42, this Blade sale will allow it to be adapted for human flight in Star Citizen! The Blade is the Vanduul armada’s lightest fighter, focusing on maneuverability over shields and weapons. The Blade is the first concept ship of 2016 and the only additional
Vanduul ship currently being adapted for human flight. Watch for more concept ships from familiar manufacturers starting next month!
With over a quarter-millennia of recorded encounters, the Vanduul Blade is both one of the first of the species’ spacecraft encountered by the United Empire of Earth and one of the most common. A dedicated light fighter and skirmisher, earlier models of the Blade took part in the first raids on Human colonies in Orion. Although aspects of the design have been upgraded over the decades (and like all Vanduul ships, vary slightly from clan to clan) the modern variant has retained an extremely similar silhouette with improved control surfaces and more modern weapons attachment points. Tens of thousands of individual Blades have been destroyed over more than two centuries, and countless others have been tracked by Naval intelligence.
While the Blade’s more advanced cousins, the Scythe and its offshoots, have become iconic symbols of present-day Vanduul terror, the light fighter remains a hugely important supporting element of the Vanduul frontline fleet. The most notable feature of the Blade is its shifting wingspan, which ‘cuts’ between a streamlined travel mode and a more expansive battle mode. When in travel mode, the Blade lacks significant offensive punch but improves its direct speed and maneuverability; when in attack mode, the pilot has access to three forward-firing gun positions and a pair of missile racks.
For some decades, United Empire of Earth aggressor squadrons have operated replica Blade fighters produced under exclusive contract by Esperia, Inc. These spacecraft, produced in great quantity, have been used to train generations of fighter pilots for Vanduul engagements. Today, Esperia manufactures Scythe and Glaive clones for training and testing purposes, with most former Blades having been returned to the manufacturer for storage and disassembly. The so-called “Esperia Boneyard” (location classified) contains hundreds upon hundreds of used examples in varying states of disassembly. In the wake of the recent attack on Uriel, many of the Blade trade-ins produced in the past decade are being outfitted for frontier defense use, part of an extremely controversial program aimed at better-arming those threatened by alien attack.
This ship is being offered for the first time as a limited concept sale. This means that the ship design meets our specifications, but it is not yet ready to display in your Hangar or to fly in Star Citizen. The sale includes Lifetime Insurance on the ship hull and a pair of decorative items for your Hangar. A future patch will add a poster and then once the in-game model is finished, you will also be given an in-game scale ship model! In the future, the ship price will increase and the offer will not include Lifetime Insurance or these extras. Until the Blade is available in-game, owners will be granted a Vanduul Scythe loaner ship.
There will also be two Q&A posts next week: one on Wednesday and another on Friday. You can post your questions about the Esperia Vanduul Blade here.
Remember: we are offering this pledge ship to help fund Star Citizen’s development. The ship itself and all decorative ‘flair’ items will also be available to acquire in the finished game world. The goal is to make additional ships available that give players a different experience rather than a particular advantage when the persistent universe launches.
Vanduul light fighters, designated 'Blade', are often used as scouts and first wave assault crafts. Over the decades of conflict, they have been increasingly used to take out comm arrays and early warning systems. They have also served well as skirmisher units as their speed allows them to chase down ships attempting to flee. If engaged, expect the Blade to utilize its speed and agility to wear down your defenses.
The text below is the same content included in the ‘news story’ images above. We are including the raw text here to assist backers who might have difficulty viewing the images, and those who wish to copy the text for their own reference.
Ship manufacturer vows to turn the enemy’s own weapons against the alien threat
KUTARAM, Terra, March 18, 2946 (Spectrum Link) – The recent horrific Vanduul attack on Uriel left thousands of Humans dead and missing, bringing fear to the heart of the Empire. With the Navy fighting bravely on the front, concerned civilians are looking to their own safety at home.
Effective immediately, Esperia, Inc., known for their accurate xeno-reproductions, will be making available their entire warehouse stock of ‘Blade-class’ aggressor fighters available for purchase by qualified members of the general public.
“The Vanduul War is not some distant threat,” Esperia CEO Charlotte Hussion stated, “to paraphrase Admiral Bishop: it is at our door. Vega. Now Oberon. Who knows what system could be struck next? Citizens and civilians need to be able to protect themselves against the Vanduul, and they need to be able to do it now before it’s too late. I am thrilled that Esperia has the ability to facilitate this important effort. These Blade light fighters are not only effective defensive tools, but more importantly, they are ready and available for purchase today.”
With the Empire’s safety and well-being in mind, Esperia will be selling the Blade at a steep discount, and have promised that a large percentage of every sale will be donated to the UEEN Veteran Relief Fund.
“With every purchase, Blade owners are not only helping to protecting themselves, they are helping to protect the brave starmen that are fighting for our way of life. Esperia may not have the resources of some of our competitors, but we have identified a very special situation where we can benefit the whole Empire… and give those Vanduul monsters a black eye or two in the process.”
The current crop of Blade spacecraft available were manufactured between 2930 and 2940 under a lease agreement with the United Empire of Earth’s military. Per Esperia’s Naval contract, Blade have been returned to Esperia’s care as more advanced aggressor designs are manufactured at a 1:1 basis. While each of these Blades is already a veteran of Humanity’s war on the Vanduul, each has been restored to factory settings and features a full manufacturer’s guarantee.
Classified as a light combat fighter, Vanduul Blade are thought to exist in great numbers due to their more simplistic design and the more limited weaponry they mount when compared to craft such as the Scythe, Glaive and Void. For further information on the design, please see the series of declassified UEE naval review images attached to this press release.
Esperia, Inc. is the Empire’s only dedicated manufacturer of wholly alien-designed spacecraft whose technical crews are the best in the galaxy at decrypting and piecing together xeno-technology. The company has provided half a dozen aggressor spacecraft models for UEE use, with manufacturing runs from several dozen to several thousand depending on need. In addition, Esperia’s line of exquisitely reconstructed Tevarin ships, like the Prowler, are lauded the Empire over by exacting connoisseurs and collectors.
Director of Communications
CL#446/99/A ROOM L
Kutaram, Terra, Terra
OPINION: PEOPLE PLAYING WITH BLADES ARE GOING TO GET HURT
By Donald Wilfong, Editorial Board
Replica Vanduul Blade fighters provided at cost to certified frontier pilots? It seems like a win-win situation for all parties involved: much needed weapons for those under the Vanduul knife and a massive public relations victory for Esperia, Inc. Not so fast.
Arming unqualified civilians does not make the frontier safer. If these Blades aren’t wanted by the Navy then they should be melted down for raw material resources and not sold to unqualified private operators. Esperia tried this before, making surplus Glaive ships available to extremely qualified pilots… and look what happened (See 10.22.2945 article ‘Civilian Killed Flying Glaive’). Sure, some of those pilots went on to hit back at the enemy… but a whole lot of others ended up killed at the hands of incredibly complex spacecraft with a natural bullseye on them. If these new Blade pilots don’t get themselves killed during flight orientation, they’re going to be prime targets for both enemy vengeance raids AND friendly ships that panic at the sight of their silhouette. Even the Traffic Safety Board warns of this risk. What good is a defense that is going to get you killed in the process? The truth might hurt, but it’s as clear as day: not everyone should own a Vanduul warship.”