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While the Mothership was initially designed to be a Colony Ship and general base of operations, the additional roles of flagship and mobile shipyard were forced upon it due to the power and hostility of races it encountered soon after departing from Kharak.
While vessels of this magnitude do not have particularly practical applications in regular space warfare, the invention of the hyperdrive makes the mobility of a large stationary object like the Mothership possible and the advances made in engineering allow capital ships to be produced in mere weeks. This makes a mobile shipyard very useful on the battlefield, constantly replenishing vessels lost in battle, reconstructing an entire squadron of fighters or a frigate in a very short amount of time.
Purpose and missionEdit
The Mothership was built in the years following the discovery of Khar-Toba, the first colony founded by the Kushan in the wake of their Exile from the world of Hiigara by the Taiidan Empire. Khar-Toba was a significant discovery, proving the existence of spaceships on Kharak's surface in prehistoric times (the existence of ships in the system had already been discovered in the form of debris fields). Further more, the Khar-Toba also contained within it a hyperspace core and other technological wonders, which allowed the Kushan to leap forward several centuries in scientific development, and the Guidestone, which provided the Kushan with the final proof that they were not natives to their world.
The Mothership was envisioned to use the map found on the Guidestone as a star chart, finding its way across the galaxy to the primordial home of the Kushan people. The intention was to colonize the world and to establish a permanent settlement there, so the Mothership was not only designed to serve as an exploratory vessel, but as a colony ship. It would be capable of carrying as many as 600,000 cryogenicly frozen Kushan in storage as well as a large crew of 50,000 to maintain the cryo trays and man the ship's various systems, including ship construction and mineral refinement, designed to supply the crew and to build or repair ships in case the Mothership Fleet was damaged.
In addition, there were many who believed the Mothership Fleet should be prepared for combat. Many high-ranking officers believed it was certainly possible that alien life existed. Thus, it was possible the journey from Kharak to Hiigara would not be a peaceful one, and a military would be needed to protect the Mothership Fleet in case it came under attack. For this reason several basic on-paper designs for warships were sent with the Mothership, along with a completed and ready-for-action Arrow-class Scout design. In addition, several new weapon systems were designed for the Mothership but never fully installed. Due to the tremendous technological development that went into the construction of the Mothership, the Arrow-class Scout was the largest combat ship available to the Mothership Fleet during the Exodus.
The construction of the Mothership was a grand undertaking, unlike anything before in the history of Kharak. The Mothership was constructed over a period of 60 years, 40 years after the discovery of Khar-Toba. Its construction first required the building of an immense space station and shipyard known simply as the Scaffold. This scaffold became the only moon that Kharak had ever known, easily visible in the night sky, traveling across the surface of the planet in the outer orbit. Within the Scaffold's clutches, the Mothership was born.
Several asteroid fields had to be cleared in order for the Mothership to be constructed, and their resources were towed to the Scaffold's refineries. There, processed by the Phased Disassembler Arrays and broken down into their base atomic substances, Kharak's debris fields became part of the pride and joy of the Kushan people. From these shattered remains, strong metal alloys were made to build the Mothership's hull. The design went through at least two stages before the Mothership was completed, but the basic idea held and the design was never changed significantly. One large hangar was built in the centre of the ship, accessible by two sides. Although its main purpose was to hold the cryo trays and hyperspace core, the hangar was also designed for the construction of ships from strike craft to capital ship class.
On Fleet Intelligence's insistence, a point-defense grid system was built along the Mothership's hull. The defense system was made up of mass driver turrets, based on new technology that used electromagnetic fields to propel projectiles in the vacuum of space. While this defense grid is useless against large ships, it can successfully defend against a fighter squadron. In addition, several warship designs passed through Fleet Intelligence and were accepted for possible construction, many of which were used later on during the Homeworld War.
The final and most important piece of the Mothership's construction was that of the central processor unit for the Mothership, a supercomputer that would cover several decks. At the time, even the Khar-Toba had not unveiled the necessary technology to construct a supercomputer of such magnitude. At the time, the only computer even close to that complex was the human brain, and not without serious alteration. It was hence that Karen S'jet, a neuroscientist and heir to the position of kiith'sa within Kiith S'jet, entered the picture. She proposed a bold new technology to merge machine and human brain tissue using experimental cybernetic technology. At the time this had never been tried before, but the procedure, seen as the only solution that did not require a complete redesign of the Mothership, was accepted. Much to the horror of Karan's family, she volunteered herself and refused to give up the technology if it was used on someone else.
Reluctantly, unsure of whether or not Karan could ever be removed, the Mothership's technicians wired Karan into the Hyperspace Core itself. In time, she was given command of the fleet and became Fleet Command, both leader and prophet for the Kushan during the events that followed the Mothership's hyper drive test.
Fate of the shipEdit
It is unknown precisely what happened to the original Mothership by the time of the Vaygr War, but by the Beast War, the Mothership's hyperspace core had been removed, along with Karan S'jet. The Mothership was converted into a large orbital shipyard with its main purpose being to build new super-capital vessels like the Explorer-class Deep Space Mining Vessel, Imperator-class Carrier, or the occasional Avatar-class Heavy Cruiser. It is quite possible that the Mothership was eventually scrapped to aid in the construction of the second Mothership, the Pride of Hiigara which took months compared to the 60 year construction of the original.
Discrepancies in specifications Edit
Mothership's in-game height is 2138.1 meters or approximately 2.1 kilometers. The Scaffold, that enclosed it during construction, is 1370.3 meters or approximately 1.3 kilometers. Game manual, however, disputes these values: Page 6 of Part 1: Historical + Technical Briefing states that Scaffold is 25.6 kilometers long (19.7 times larger). Assuming that the size ratio between Mothership and Scaffold is kept, the latter implies that the mothership should be 41.37 kilometers tall.
Homeworld manuals contain many other discrepancies; however, both the game and the manual maintain that the Mothership was built to house 600,000 of Karak population in cryogenic sleep. Assuming that each person is no taller than 1.5 meters, the flesh of this population alone amounts to 157,500 cubic meters, making the in-game sizes unrealistic.
- Many fans jokingly call the Mothership the "banana," referencing its elongated and curved shape. This is, for example, the origin of the title of DeepChrome's fan fiction, The Banana Chronicles.