Omen of Doom
Drops Pods are the second fastest way to reach the surface of a planet from orbit. The fastest being the near instantaneous travel of teleporters. Drop Pods have a completely different design objective to shuttles (or hybrid atmosphere/ space craft like the Thunderhawks). The Drop Pod’s sole purpose is to get its occupants (Space Marines) to the surface as fast as possible. A role in which it excels. Drop Pods do not land in a conventional sense, instead the slam into the ground at extreme speed. The technologies use to counter the force of impact, and what would be fatal damage to the occupants, are a jealously guarded secret of the Adeptus Mechanicus. These counter technologies are designed to save those within, but outside is a very different story: so powerful are these impacts that Drop Pods can be seen as much a weapon as a transport. Drop Pods are never used in peace time. They are far too dangerous and precious to the Adeptus Mechanicus. About the only faction within the Imperium that utilise them are the legendary Space Marines, and this means the Drop Pods have become synonymous with Space Marine assaults.
A Space Marine Drop Pod has a Cermet (Adamantium-13) superstructure with a ‘rivet and bond’ Ceraplate inner, and ablative Ceraous outer, panels. Its inner workings include several converted archaeotech devices born in antiquity during the Dark Age of Technology. The central core contains the massive capacitor-cells and fusion engines needed to drive the various Power Field technologies: these being the Power Canopy, Pulsed Power Field Emitter and Stasis Field.
The riders (never referred to as passengers) are seated in a circle with their backs to the central core. Space Marines have a hard-connect on their backpack power unit to secure them in place. During a drop the Marines will experience over 10G, only their dual hearts keeping their brains oxygenated, so they ready for action moments after impact.
This specialist Power Fields (similar to the power canopy in Rogue Trader Page: 124) are used to form aerodynamic surfaces. These field based surfaces are frictionless, and act as an ‘atmospheric penetrator’. As the Drops Pods plunge from the havens at speeds in excess of Mark 50, the power canopy slices through the air with ease, parting the atmosphere with its arcane power. Although the field is frictionless, the compression of air at such extreme hyper-sonic speeds stills generates massive amounts of heat. While nowhere near as high as if it were made of a solid material; it is high enough to give the Drop Pod is signature fire trail (Note: The NASA Shuttle comes in at a angle as gets pretty damn hot, however this is nothing like the Drop Pod which is akin to an express elevator to hell and drops straight down). Using regular materials would disintegrate under such ridiculous punishment and only the machinations of the Adeptus Mechanicus have the power to endure.
As the Drop Pod descends the Power Canopy distorts in shape to present a wider attack surface. This increases the heat generated and slows the Drop Pod. It takes several minutes to slow a Drop Pod from march 50 of orbit to just under march 2, on impact. This is how the Drop Pod gets it’s nick name ‘Hell’s Express’ as going from orbit to surface in a couple of minutes is one hell of a ride (even marines like it!).
Pulsed high-gain Power Field Emitter
The core of the drop pod is a massive pulsed hg PF emitter, designed to deliver a massive burst effect on near impact. The power field disrupts matter it passes through in a fashion similar to power-weapons, which weakens the chemical bonds between molecules, softening the material struck. In effect a solid material is temporally transformed into a liquid/ gas cushion that absorbs the energy of the impact. This affects virtually all mundane materials struck, even solid concrete will splash as a pyroclastic flow to set up solid as it falls back to the ground only seconds later.
Design note: The lower section is the emitter just behind the ablative heat shield, the central axis is one huge capacitor several meters tall and two/ three meters wide.
Drops pods smash into the ground at well over Mach 1 (often March 2), and even with the pulsed hg PF emitter anyone inside would be instantly killed in these supersonic impacts. A stasis field is used to ‘freeze’ everyone inside and protect the inner workings of the pod during the massive deceleration. Although referred to as a Stasis Field, such devices do not freeze time, instead the field directly stabilize and locks all the atoms of any object within its matrix.
Well before the final impact, the field is warmed up and used to offer a counter force to the deceleration of the drop. This allows marines to remain conscious and functional, even if they are pulling over 50 G on approach.
A falling drop pod looks similar to a meteorite strike, with a fire trail and the huge explosion on impact and wave of ejecta. If a person sees a falling drop pod could easily mistake such a spectacle for a meteorite. Drops Pods which strike buildings, even fortified buildings, will break through as if they were a massive cannon ball, and bury themselves deep within. The unusual penetrative power of a Drop Pod’s pulsed Power Field Emitter is often used by Marines to punch down into hidden bunkers and deploy within the heart of the enemies command centre. The explosive shock wave will clear out any enemies, neutralise any defence systems, mines or booby traps within the impact zone creating a ‘safe haven’.
All throughout the Imperium there are myths of comets and meteorites that herald the coming of the Angels of Death, the divine vengeance of the Immortal Deus-Emperor. None can stand before their might, all are swept away in a flood of blood, the world cleansed anew. Understandably the citizens of the Imperium deeply fear comets and meteorites. They offer prayers to the marines when comets are seen in the night sky, and all stand in awe wandering who will die by their hand. Meteorites are a different matter, and induce great fear, driving the population into hysterical mania. Many flagellate themselves openly in market squares, those deemed to be tainted by the rampaging mobs are dragged into the street and set on fire, and parent often sacrifice children on alters of stone. Huge pyres of burning bones torn from the bodies of sinners are offered to the Angels as appeasement. Within the Imperium, it is a mark of respect to offer at least two pyramids of burn offerings to the coming of the Marines.
Drop Pod Types
Teleporter Gate Enhancer
This specialist Drop Pod is used to enhance the remote gate of a teleporter to establish a stronger and more stable connection in warp turbulent areas. The enhancer doesn’t actually build the gate, just provide a target and ‘backer’ enhancement for the teleporter to create its remote gate. The Drop Pod gates can handle high traffic. There is also a variant based on the assault pod used in ship boarding actions.
Text – Multi-gun/ Sentry