- "Space is big. Really, really big. So big in fact, that we don't have the time to crawl across it like the Imperium or the Orks. If you want to invade a planet, you need to get there first, as fast as you can, and safe as you can. That is why the Merikebu is so damn good at it's job."
- —Marjani Igbinedion, Flotta Admeli of the Merikebu
The Merikebu is the naval branch of the Xai'athi military (now the Xai military). It is one of the largest naval forces in the galaxy, tasked with protecting the Solaris Federation, from pirates, xenos, and most importantly, the Imperium of Man. It utilizes Nodedrive technology for travel, superceding the Warp-drives in speed, accuracy, and most of all, safety. The usage of nodedrives has given the Merikebu the ability to reach any part of the galaxy, allowing it to strike at the heart of the Federation's enemies, and leave before counter-attack can be amassed. This makes the Merikebu one of deadliest naval forces in the galaxy in terms of speed, inititive, and reach.
The history of the Merikebu stretches back to the years of the Exodus, when the Xai'athi were forced to flee their homworld of Epsilon Eridani. The colony ships used by the Xai'athi were retrofitted with ancient Korocha Throwers (the equivalent to the Imperium's macrocannons), and equipped with the first nanite field array developed by the Federation. This new warships would become the precursor to the Mwangalizi-class battleships, which were the first of the Federation's large warships. The Merikebu was officially created in 613.M5, and the development of the Merikebu was thrown into full throttle. The early Merikebu still used the Xai'athi's experimental warp drives, which saved them on their old homeworld. The Federation military had these drives removed and disassembled, as they had been shown to be unstable. Thus, the Merikebu became a stellar fleet, confined to the borders of the Uhuru System. However, in 923.M5, the development of new warp drives, based on the same concept as the old experimental ones, were developed for the warships. The Xai'athi overcame the technological limits forced upon them with the aid of the Eldar that joined their federation, and the first boom-drives were created.
The boom-drive blasted a hole into realspace, and the cone it into the fabric of realspace, connected with another cone created at the target area, through which the ship would travel. The tube was rather small, and fleets traveling in these tubes, could only exit three at a time, severally limiting the Merikebu's ability to deploy multiple ships at a time in a war-zone. The boom-drive was inhanced over the centuries, allowing upwards to fifty ships to exit the Warp at once. Despite these advancements, the Xai'athi found themselves in trouble when it came to actually piloting the ships through the Warp. Probes sent into the Warp using boom-drives were lost, as their sophisticated computers and scanning systems meant little in the psychic realm of the Immaterium. Thus, the Xai'athi began searching for a way to overcome this obstacle, and found themselves requisitioning the aid of the Liulan. The Liulan had been genetically modified to make calculations faster than any known computer in the galaxy, and had the ability to focus on more than one thought at any given time, making them the perfect canidates for the first of the Merikebu's navigators.
The Liulan navigators were outfitted with advanced computing technology, enhancing their mental powers, and an optical device, known as a Kujua, was surgically inserted into their sockets, replacing their eyes. This new sub-breed of the Liulan, known as the Hánghǎi-jiā, were responsible for navigating the Xai'athi ships through the Warp. The Xai'athi knew of the perils of travalling through the Warp unprotected, and the Kukana Fields were developed to complement the Merikebu's new FTL drives and navigators. The first ships designed to make full use of these creations, were the Msafiri-class vessels, produced in late-M6. The Msafiri cruiser were developed and produced just in time for the Secord Ork Wars and the following Subjugation Wars, which only lasted for 4,000 years. The Xai'athi followed up on their recent creation, when they introduced the creation of the Madhubuti-class vessels in early-M7. These ships formed formed the core of the fledging Merikebu, supplementing the larger Mwangalizi-class battleships from the Exodus. The Xai'athi created small gunships to fill the gaps the Orks exploited during the Second Ork Wars, and created the Kilinda-class gunships, which were too small to be equipped with boom-drives of their own. Thus, the creation of the slave drive in M7 allowed the these smaller warships to be tugged through the Warp by the larger vessels.
Ship Types of the MerikebuEdit
The warships of the Federation are immense warships, ranging anywhere from 800 metres to 9 kilometres. The warships of the Merikebu are noted for the slender features, onyx-colored Sardonikium shell, and lack of visible hardpoints. Merikebu warships have no exterior bridge, no turrets, or idenifiable features, and have sharp edges, and a triangular or sharply angular build. This allows such warships to ram the enemy, and do so with little to any damage to itself. All ships produced for the Merikebu are first built with a nullium skeleton, and nishatium veins, after which the skeleton is lowered into a liquid sardonikium solution, in which the shell of the warship, along with all it's individual controls, devices, and weapons, are grown into the shell. The warship then rises out of the solution, and recieves a skeleton crew, who pilots the ship into high orbit, where it recieves a full complement of crew members, munitions, and command staff.
Dreadnoughts are the largest warships avaliable to the Merikebu, beastly warships the like of which have no equal save for the ancient craftworlds of the Eldar, and the hyper-advanced warships of the Necrons. Dreadnoughts have hundreds of Nanofields, Rayshields, and Ionic Barriers, and usually serve as the flagships of the Merikebu's Admiralis. Dreadnoughts are quite agile for their size, using interia fields that allowed these massive weapons of war to turn on a dime (figuretively speaking). Federation Dreadnoughts can hold anywhere from 10,000 to 2 million crewmen, depending on the task given to the warship. Do to the stretegical and national importance of these vessels, their usually contained within the Core Worlds of Solaris. This should not be taken as an advantage by the enemy, as the Xai'athi have thousands of these warships, the most potent of these are the Black Lotus-class dreadnoughts, each capable of destroying entire star systems unassisted. The Black Lotus dreadnoughts can carry entire invasion forces, and keep an entire sector under control. There are a reported ten thousand Black Lotus-class battleships in the Solaris Federation, though only one thousand of them are currently active.
Cruisers make up a fair majority of the Merikebu, and serve as the mainstay of the Solaris Federation's interstellar defenses. There are several cruiser classes, usually based on the same general hull design, but differing greatly in their tasks, weaponry, and defenses. A good example of a standard-built cruiser are the prolifect Imara-class and Usimkemee-class cruisers, which contain several Fusion Beam Arrays and EMP cannons, along with three neutronic torpedo tubes. These warships hold anywhere up to 3,000 to 28,000 crewmen, along with some 5,000 marines for boarding or land-based attacks. Such warships can built within the space of a few months to two or three years, and are the ship of choice for the technological backwards Frontier Region planets.
The Merikebu has made certain provisions toward the contruction and maintance of carriers, and expanding the fighter-bomber capacity of existing cruisers, battleships, and dreadnoughts for fighter-based combat. These ships carry small ships known popularly as starfighters, which operate in a variety of roles, such as sceening larger ships from direct enemy combatants, freeing the larger ships from combating these threats, and focusing on the enemy warships. Such warships like the Mwangalizi-class battleship and the Black Lotus-class dreadnought, can carry upwards to 1500 to 4000 fighters respectively.