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The Kuun-Lan is the second and more advanced of two Explorer-class vessels made by the Somtaaw during their limited access to the Mothership's construction facility. In contrast to the original Kushan Mothership, the Explorer-class vessel is fully capable of movement in every direction and can add on different modules for different functions. It can produce many vessels from strike craft to super-capital ships.
The Exodus taught the Hiigarans harsh lessons about the need to quickly adapt to the constantly changing demands of reality in space. While they were intended to be little more than deep space mining vessels, the Somtaaw designed the two Explorer ships to rapidly adapt to their situation through the use of modules.
The Faal-Corum versus the Kuun-LanEdit
The first Explorer-class vessel built was the Faal-Corum. While it is not stated directly, it is hinted that the Faal-Corum was given the best personnel available to Somtaaw at the time. However, even as the Faal-Corum was being built, Somtaaw engineers were already implementing lessons learned, and the second ship, the Kuun-Lan, would be far more versatile and modular.
The module that many Homeworld players would consider as an essential part of the Command ship, mainly because without the hangar module, Super Capital Ships like the Deacon-class Destroyer, Shaman-class Carrier, Chieftain Mk.3-class Ore Processor, and Archangel-class Dreadnought cannot be built, as these ships are built on an external surface under the module itself. The module also adds 22 support units on for the player to use to construct ships. The hangar module can also research the following technologies:
- Fighter Drive
- Advanced Fighter Drive
- Linking Technology
- Frigate Drive
- Advanced Frigate Drive
- Destroyer Drive
- Advanced Destroyer Drive
As stated, the Kuun-Lan is a modular ship. Needing to expand fleet capabilities, the Kuun-Lan jettisoned her primary ore container so that she'd have room to construct these four modules to research new technologies.
The Engineering Module is mainly for researching upgrades to existing ships, or technology that is required for a ship to function such as the afterburner for ramming frigates. This module costs 1000 Resource units to build and can research the following technologies:
- Holographic Emitter
- Support Systems
- Repair Systems
- Salvaging Ability
Building this module allowed the Kuun-Lan to research upgrades for its ships. The armor module developed a variety of armor, from simple strong plating to exploding plates that injure the attacker. Research was also done to develope and improve the force fields that the sentinel ships create. This module costs 1250 resource units to build and can research the following technologies:
- Armor Level 2
- Armor Level 3
- Force Field Level 1
- Force Field Level 2
- Force Field Level 3
This is where all the "toys" are researched. EMPs, explosives, ion cannons, and missile launchers are all researched here. The most significant research item here is Siege Cannon technology. This module costs 1500 resource units to build and can research the following technologies:
- Advanced Ion Cannon
- Missile Launcher
- Siege Cannon
- Energy Cannon
- EMP Weapon
- Quantum Explosive Charge
- Repulse Weapon
Advanced Engineering ModuleEdit
The Advanced Enginnering Module contains research that improves existing ship capablities, and allows the construction of microships. This module costs 1750 resource units to build and can research the following technologies:
- Microship Construction
- Repair Bots
- Phased Telemetry
- Advanced Sensors
- Infection Vaccine (Mulitplayer Only)
After the Beast Infection took over the lower decks and the Hangar of the Kuun-Lan, Support modules were designed to take the place of the lower decks to increase its support capacity. Support modules add room for more ship crews, added maintenance personnel and spare parts required to support larger fleets. The Kuun-Lan has space for 12 support modules, and a carrier has space for 6. Each support module adds 10 SU's to the fleet total.
The ultimate weapon in the Somtaaw fleet is the Command Ship-mounted Siege Cannon. It was obtained from a debris field in the Koreth’s Rift Sector and integrated into the Kuun-Lan, an ultimate proof of how modular and versatile the ship is.
While the cannon is an old device (possibly dating back to the battles between the ancient Hiigarans and the Bentusi in the First Time) it has been found in operable condition and Somtaaw Fleet Command, desperate to find means of stopping the beast, were quick to implement it for their advantage. The cannon's origin is unclear but many of its systems derive from basic Bentusi designs, giving rise to the aforementioned theory.
When first fired at the Beast Mothership, it overloaded and destroyed the plasma conduits powering it, while doing no permanent damage to the hostile vessel. Only with the help of the Bentusi could Somtaaw engineers adapt the cannon for repeated fire, and the Siege charges were fine-tuned to do maximum damage to Beast cells on detonation.
The siege shell it fires detonates in mid-space in an explosion that can vaporize any vessel smaller than a full mothership in a direct hit. Being caught in the blast can seriously damage any ship and will vaporize any ship smaller than a destroyer. The down side to the power of the Siege Cannon is the long recharge time between shots. Because it is an area effect weapon, any and all ships in the area of the blast will receive damage, including friendly ships. Although it has a considerable range, the Siege Cannon's shot will degenerate quickly, drastically reducing its damage at higher ranges.
- Range:90 km