Builder and completion date: George W. Bush Memorial Station (Luna-L3), 124 A.T. Length: 189 meters Mass: 11,200 tons Propulsion: Fusion, one primary thruster with two sets of heavy maneuvering thrusters Range: Interplanetary only Armament: 50 'Starstrike' nuclear missiles; 24 'Bayonet' antimissile rockets; 2 neutral particle beam cannon; 2 antimissile defense lasers; 2 'Barbette' missile launchers in retract-mounts; plus two 'Rearguard' antiship missile launchers. Carries 2 heavy transatmospheric shuttles, 2 TAF (transatmospheric fighters, usually TAF-512) and 4-6 Utimechs (utility mecha).
Deployment and History
The USS Randolph was the first of a class of powerful (for the time) interplanetary cruisers built by the declining United States of North America to counter the increasingly aggressive occupation of the solar system by the United Republic of China, the Bharat Republic (India), and several powerful nationless corporations. Completed behind schedule and massively over-budget, the USS Randolph was the most powerful Human warship for over a decade. Her massive armament of nuclear missiles could threaten even hardened targets on planets, as well as any spaceship, domebase or station. The Chinese cruisers of the 'Ting Ju Chang' class built at Lin Tse-Hsu Station were thought to be a direct response to the Randolph class.
From its first shakedown cruise the Randolph had an active and illustrious career. While picking up crewmembers in Earth orbit the Randolph was directed to monitor the Indonesian invasion of New Zealand and shot down several ballistic missiles from the submarine Saliendra which came too close to American satellites. A month later the USS Randolph and a Brazilian frigate rescued the survivors from the supply transport "Barycenter" and got a warm reception from the public on Juno. But the Randolph's claim to fame was the Xibalba Incident in ESY 146, where the ship faced down a fleet attempting to intervene in that trans-Plutonian planetoid's attempt to break away from Eurasian Union control. The leader of the Xibalba Colony independence movement, Ivan Pieteras, heaped praise on Captain Moreno and crew of the USS Randolph for their daring action (although later it would be discovered that the United States Outer System Command on Chiron had ordered the Randolph to stand firm because of an interest in the Ares-Olympia Corporation's massive holdings on Xibalba and throughout the Kuiper belt, one of a series of scandals in the nearly-autonomous military bases of the outer solar system).
Obsolete and mothballed inside Phobos in ESY 186, the USS Randolph actually survived the demise of the Unites States of North America. After the mothball fleet was finally purchased by the Star Pilgrim Corporation, the various ships were gradually broken up for parts that, while old by military standards, were useful for assembling the civilian automated interstellar transports that would accompany the first wave of planned interstellar colonization missions. Many of the Randolph's systems found their way into the convoy that followed the huge colony ship "Utnapishtim-6" to Ross-128. There the transports were briefly used as barracks stations and finally scrapped. The hull of the Randolph itself was part of a historical museum at Phobos until that satellite was mined out, and later during the Nanoswarm chaos the remnants of the ship and the rest of the base were de-orbited over the Elysium spaceport by an anti-Vestan political group.