Mormin E'rals is an unassuming figure. If you passed him in a crowd, you could mistake him for any Scyldari.
But Mormin E’rals is not any Scyldari - he holds two claims to fame. Aged 165, he is one of the oldest Scyldari pops alive, thanks to recent advances in genomic therapies. An engineer and shipwright by trade, he also is lauded as one of the most important contemporary figures in Scyldari society for his role in the Great Corvette Rush of 2142 - what is now commonly accepted as one of the most important events in Scyldari history.
In the run up to the 111st anniversary of the Great Corvette Rush of 2142, Xenonion News had an exclusive sit-down interview with Mormin to discuss his role in helping to launch the Scyldari Confederacy from a regional power to a key galactic player.
Mormin, thank you for your time. The Scyldari Confederacy is preparing to commemorate the 111th anniversary of the Great Corvette Rush. While every Scyldari knows about this important historical event, many non-natives will not. Can you tell us exactly what the Great Corvette Rush was?
It’s my pleasure, really. Gosh, now this takes me back quite a bit. 2142 was very early in Scyldari history, our species had only just ventured into space. We had claimed perhaps our sixth system, and all appeared to be going well. But then, guess what? Pirates.
Pirates, yes. Unfortunately, these ones weren’t water-bound. They’d taken to space too. Our mighty 1st Strike Armada had been tasked with taking them out… but we very quickly ran into a problem. The 1st Strike Armada consisted of three corvettes. The pirates had a flotilla of six corvettes.
Despite our deep investment into military research at the time, those pirate ships had some mean kinetic weapons. When our fleet faced them, lets just say Scyldari hulls got perforated.
The Scyldari fleet was lost?
Our three strong fleet got reduced to scrap faster than you could say “by worm, the Unbidden are here!”
The Board of Admiralty was fuming to say the least. And that’s not just because their office was located right next to the rocket testing facility. I and several other shipwrights working at our main spaceport got hauled in front of them.
They wanted the 1st Strike Armada back up and running in a month. A month! Back then, it took us four weeks to manufacture a single corvette. I know that sounds laughable now, but we simply didn’t have the manufacturing processes we have today. And that wasn’t even factoring in the expenses. One standard corvette cost nearly one hundred alloys. Our empire stores had four. Four. It wasn’t helped by the fact our economy was going into free-fall, with those darned pirates destroying every mining platform they came across.
We needed a solution and we needed it fast. And so the scene was set for one of the most ramshackle ideas I ever had.
What was that?
It came to me one night whilst I was jittery with too much zro and too little sleep. I was in a daze and thought to myself - what if we build our corvettes with only weapons? No armour, no shields, no thrusters. Just pure weaponry. Wouldn’t that cut the construction and alloy costs of the corvettes to near negligible levels?
I submitted the idea to the Board the very next day.
And they approved it?
I still remember the shock I felt when I saw the words “ship design approved” flash up on my haptic interface. They approved it. I was almost in a state of shock. I didn't think much of it then, but in retrospect they were probably starved out of ideas and desperate for any solutions to those damnable pirates.
Soon after that we got the order to produce as many corvettes as we could. That wasn't a good day. Normally ships were triple checked for faults before they left the shipyard, yet we couldn't even do that because our order was massive. By reducing the production cost, we’d be able to at least double the size of our last fleet. And that’s what they asked us to do.
It sounds like a staggering task.
Heh, yeah, it was. The pirates were running rampant. Unrest was rising. But stripping the corvettes of armour and shields really cut the shipyard’s workload. Those are usually the hard parts.
Every single day was spent labouring over those corvettes. Fabricating the materials and building those frames. We even loaded a new military tech on them, the unstable and untested fusion missiles
In the end, we had twelve of the most unreliable corvettes ever to grace the stars. We never did something on this scale before, and we were in such a rush that sometimes we forgot crucial details, like the gravity-plating a bunch of the ships.
Then the most challenging task came. Filling the ships with crew.
Oh? It couldn’t have been that hard, could it?
Seriously? Half of our home world was teetering on full revolt, pops weren’t showing up to work in the power plants and those few that did turn up had to pick up the slack.
We eventually managed to get a full complement of crew by offering a really competitive private health and dental insurance plan.
The launch was less than stellar though. Do you remember about the anti-grav-plating? Well, at least three of our Corvettes didn't have them. If you’ve ever seen a Scydarian do a zero-g backflip by accident, I highly recommend it.
But we didn't have time to worry about that, those pirates were heading toward us, fast.
The scene was set for a second battle.
And the stakes were higher than ever. In our home system. But the new and improved 1st Strike Armada was ready.
We knew we had the advantage this time - their fleets hadn’t changed since they first began ransacking our outer systems. We had adapted.
What happened next?
Our corvettes smashed right into them, some of them literally. Turns out we didn't get the fuel mix right.
But even though their autoguns shredded into our hulls, depressurizing many of them, the pirates were swarmed and surrounded. Thankfully the combat computers were able to react with fast enough precision to keep the missiles from hitting our own fleet.
It sounds like carnage.
It was a whirlpool of carnage. Even though we were losing ships fast, we had the numbers, our missiles punched through their hulls and sundered their armour.
It took some time to clear out the remaining pirate systems too, didn’t it?
It did. We had to build a whole bunch more corvettes, but once we knew the trick we could spam them out in no time. The mineral cost was relatively easy to replace, the crew… not so much. We ended up putting skeleton crews of commercial pilots on the corvettes. It was a moderate success.
When our ships breached the pirates system, I still remember their last couple of transmissions, it mainly involved a lot of vulgar language directed towards us.
However, we managed to scrap that damned base. In the end, we got those autoguns as well.
How did your idea turn the Scyldari Confederacy into the powerhouse it is today?
Well, once the Board and Fleet Command got in on what we were doing in the shipyards - they couldn’t get enough.
They ordered hundreds more corvettes. Above and beyond our fleet limit.
Then we discovered destroyers, cruisers… same principles. Strip out the costs, fill them with giant lasers.
Our fleet power quickly became overwhelming. So overwhelming in fact, that no-one dared threaten us or declare war on us again.
Since then we’ve been able to focus purely on science and econom— [beeping] — oh excuse me, I’m getting faxed.
Please, feel free to answer.
Let me see if I can read this as it comes through…. ‘Ultra-Sensitive….. Highly Confidential….. Scyldari Fleet Command …. Urgent transmission …. new order….. seventy two kinetic gunboats ….. no shields, no armour….. ‘ Heh. Sounds about right!
Right. Well I should get back to work.
Mormin E’rals, thank you for your time.
Mormin remains the chief shipwright across all Scyldari shipyards, and is revered among Scyldari fleet divisions as one of the most ingenious pops to have ever lived. At present he has no plans to retire, although he hopes soon to take up work in Scyldari’s Engineering Science Academy once his shipwright contract expires.