The Second Cold War ignited the longest and most expensive arms race in history. The resultant weaponization of space stretched out beyond the Moon. To protect their data, the superpowers cauterized their nets. To gain valuable launch real-estate, they occupied the nations of the equator. To prepare for the day of final reckoning, they poured their treasuries into weapon-systems the likes of which had never been seen…

Featured here are some of those weapons. This list is by no means comprehensive; we have contented ourselves with select ones that highlight significant features of the overall strategic landscape.

DE Platform Double-Decker Spaceplane Fleet Command Raft/Floating Fortress Mirror-sat Powered armor Orbital drop-ship Xaser

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U.S. National Security in the 21st Century


#1: DE Platform

DE Platform

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Name:Mark VII particle beam cannon/standard mounting-sat
Nation:United States
Operational as of:2093
Offensive systems:Particle beam
Defensive systems:Light armor (though not on gun itself). Hardened against EMP.
Mobility:Orbital thrusters
Comments:Sats capable of mounting heavy guns might be configured around DE (i.e., laser, particle beam, or microwave cannon) or KE (typically mass-drivers or very heavy KE gatlings). This particular illustration depicts a particle beam cannon; unlike those particle beams used in atmosphere, this one is neutral rather than charged, and can thus be expected to strike targets in vacuum only. Note that the relatively light shielding on this craft (and the fact that it's built around a single gun) mean that it'll be lucky to get off more than a single shot in a full-scale exchange (which is why thousands have been deployed).

#2: Double-Decker Spaceplane

X-130/Janus Spaceplane Combo

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Name:X-130/Janus spaceplane combo
Nation:United States
Operational as of:2088
Offensive systems: X-130
  • Vacuum-optimized DE cannon (chemical laser)
  • Homing rocket battery (x10 rockets)
  • 10 Omaha-class hypersonic missiles
  • 20 deep-bunker penetrators
  • Valkyrie machine-cannon (x2)
Defensive systems:ECM suites; armor; kinetic/infrared countermeasures.
  • X-130: Suborbital capabilities: interceptor-class scramjets, heavy booster rockets.
  • Janus: Thrust of X-130 and ship's own light rockets enable orbit. Rockets duplicate as orbital thrusters.
Comments:Two-stage-to-orbit configuration enables dual mission; X-130 can deploy hardware/weapons into orbit while swooping back upon the Earth to deploy additional munitions. However, the maturation of Omaha-class hypersonic missiles have diminished the need for larger spaceplanes. As of 2110, the X-130/Janus combo is primarily utilized for transport purposes rather than combat.

#3: Fleet Command-Sat


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Name:Montana (SpaceCom command station, situated at L2)
Nation:United States
Operational as of:2095
Offensive systems:
  • Heavy DE batteries (x20)
  • Rail gun batteries (x10)
  • Ship serves as "carrier" for numerous smaller defense vessels
Defensive systems:ECM, armor; can modularize into multiple self-sealing units.
Mobility:Space-based orbital thrusters (though this ship has never left L2 since its construction)
Comments:Surrounded by the U.S. Second Fleet, the Montana is the second-largest U.S. craft in existence: only the Nantucket at libration point L5 is larger.

#4: Raft/Floating Fortress

Mark VI Raft

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Name:Mark VI Raft
Nation:United States
Operational as of:2090
Offensive systems:
  • Heavy, medium, light DE batteries; capable of hitting targets in space and (via mirror-satellites) anywhere on Earth
  • Serves as mothership for underwater, surface, air vehicles; maintains two fully-equipped launch pads capable of supporting heavy space lift.
Defensive systems:DE can be repurposed against incoming attacks; in addition, the armor is so strong it could survive a direct hit from a tactical nuke.
Mobility:20 kilometers an hour; however, in practice, this ship remains immobile.
Comments:The inevitable response to weapons too fast to dodge was to make ships too big to sink. A single Raft possesses (and carries) the firepower of more than a hundred carrier groups of the early 21st century. Ten Rafts are currently operational: two in the North Atlantic, two in the South Atlantic, one in the Indian Ocean, three in the eastern Pacific, and two in the Arctic Ocean.

#5: Mirror-sat


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Name:DE redirector (aka "mirror-sat")
Nation:United States, Eurasian Coalition
Operational as of:Various iterations deployed by middle of 21st century
Offensive systems:None (but see Comments)
Defensive systems:Hardened against EMP
Mobility:Orbital thrusters allow for some evasive action against non-DE weaponry.
Comments:Both sides have deployed mirror-sats in substantial quantities at most orbital levels, thereby allowing lasers to "bounce" their light of the sats onto targets not otherwise reachable.

#6: Vacuum Assault Armor

Marauder Armour Suit (Mark IV Version)

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Name:Marauder power-armor (Mark IV version)
Nation:United States
Operational as of:2104
Offensive systems:
  • Multi-role primary guns
  • Bomb (grenade) rack (left shoulder)
  • Mini-gun (right shoulder)
Defensive systems:Infantry-centered ECM. Suit is fully insulated against chem, nuclear, EMP.
Mobility:Rockets possess fuel for more than thirty minutes of flight.
Comments: Larger than the more versatile suits employed by special-ops units, Marauder armor constitutes the standard heavy armor employed by assault troops in vacuum.

#7: Orbital drop-ship

Disrupter K

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Name:Disrupter K
Nation:Eurasian Coalition (Russian Bloc)
Operational as of:2087
Offensive systems:
  • Hypersonic missiles (x5)
  • DE battery optimized for both space and atmosphere (pulsed laser)
Defensive systems:Armor, EMP hardening, ECM suite
Comments:Ship optimized for deploying troops directly onto Earth-based targets. Also capable of fast orbital maneuvers. (The Eurasians used these ships in the ill-fated Elevator rescue mission conducted in tandem with the U.S.)

#8: Xaser


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Name:Advanced Orbital Weapons-Platform (aka "the Porcupine")
Nation:United States
Offensive systems:Xaser blast (see Comments)
Defensive systems:Armor, EMC suite. EMP hardened. Often rigged with a shroud to disguise their true nature.
Comments:Third-generation nuclear weapons: a xaser is a nuclear device surrounded by metal rods that channel a detonation's x-rays. Generally regarded as the single most lethal directed-energy weapon in existence.