Black Angel
Combat specialized mini-ISO, also known as a Dark Angel or a Death Angel in various polities and at various periods in history. The exact nature and capabilities of the Black Angel are only vaguely known and are mostly inferred from anecdotal accounts of witnesses to though never from survivors of a Black Angel attack.
Black Angel
Image from Steve Bowers
Black Angel in deep Space

The central body of the Black Angel is an utterly non-reflective black sphere of what may be exotic matter, some 100 meters in diameter. The central sphere is believed by some to contain a godtech based mind estimated to be of at least SI:3 level (although it has also been speculated that the central sphere is entirely superfluous to the mental functioning of the black angel and merely serves as secondary weapons platform and psychological focusing point for any lower level minds forced to interact with the device). The outer hull of the sphere acts as a multi-frequency phased array capable of transmitting energy across the entire EM spectrum at a range of energies from weak radio broadcasts to multi-terrawatt lasers. Finally the outer hull of the central sphere seems to be capable of absorbing enormous amounts of electromagnetic energy with nearly 100% efficiency, greatly exceeding the abilities of even the most advanced solar collection systems. Rather than being a property of whatever material the hull is made of, the Black Angel seems to be able to turn the effect off and on at will.

Surrounding the central sphere and normally extending out to a distance of some 10,000 km in all directions is what at first appears to be a thin cloud of reflective dust or mist. In actuality this cloud, or 'halo' as it is usually called, is a gigantic array of reactionless drive void motes.

Each drive unit can operate independently or in concert with any or all of the others. Under the control of the central ISO mind, the halo units can array themselves to produce a variety of gravitational field effects and enormous tidal forces. In at least some cases there have been instances of halo units apparently operating as displacement cannon, allowing the angel to deliver nuclear level explosive strikes at just under the speed of light and with near infinite maneuverability. Finally, there are unconfirmed reports of occasions in which the presence of a Black Angel has also resulted in the appearance of secondary weapons, or even entire additional Black Angels from "thin air", the devices just seeming to appear from nowhere. This has led several researchers to speculate that some number of the void motes making up a Black Angel halo (perhaps even all of them) are actually full scale Void Drive vessels, each containing a wide array of useful devices that the Black Angel may deploy when required. Of course the cost of such deployment would be the permanent loss of the enclosing void bubble and a subsequent small reduction in the overall capacity of the Angel itself. But this may be deemed a necessary price to pay on those rare occasions when even a Black Angel may require additional capability or support.

A Black Angel can reconfigure its halo and central node to pass through most wormholes. It can redirect the path of a snowflake or rip a battlemoon to fragments. It can accelerate a pebble into a habitat-shattering kinetic bomb or decelerate a RKKS projectile to harmlessness. It can reach down to a planetary surface from orbit and lift a sophont into space or shatter the crust of a world.

The Black Angel is not associated with any particular polity or god. Rather, the basic design and a number of variants have been observed in use at those rare times and places when the archai choose to intervene directly, and especially militarily, in the affairs of Terragen civilization.

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Development Notes
Text by Todd DrashnerInitially published on 05 November 2003.