Ask Admiral Vanaxilth (Continued)
Francois Lemay asks: Can drones just launched be involuntarily transferred if the drone-launching ship is placed in stasis on the impulse of drone launch?
ANSWER: I sent this one to Kommodore Ketrick who replied: Yes, per (F3.41). The fact that a ship guiding drones is placed into stasis is as much an involuntary release as if the ship were blown to Hades or any of a number of other involuntary release conditions occurs during a given impulse.
Francois Lemay asks: Let's say a Kzinti battlecruiser already has six drones on the map and launches four more. Can four of the drones on the map be involuntarily transferred to other ships or do four of the drones lose their tracking?
ANSWER: The Kzinti battlecruiser can only control six drones, so if it is already controlling six drones it cannot launch any drones, period. In order to launch four more drones, it would have to first release or transfer control of four of the six drones already on the map, during the 6B6 Seeking Weapon Control Step, which is prior to launch. This would be a voluntary release or transfer.
Francois Lemay asks: A Klingon C8 at Speed 31 has a Kzinti battlecruiser (Speed 20) in a tractor at Range 1; both are heading in the same direction. The battlecruiser also has a Speed 20 ECM drone following it. The C8's pseudo-speed is now 19 and battlecruiser's pseudo-speed is eight. It is Impulse #4 and Speed 8 and Speed 19 both move. The C8 moves forward. Does the battlecruiser's ECM drone move as well?
ANSWER: Yes, if the battlecruiser leaves its hex, the ECM drone will immediately speed up to 20 and seek the hex of the battlecruiser.
Follow-up question: On Impulse #5, the battlecruiser will move as required, will the ECM drone move again? If so, the Speed 20 ECM drone is basically moving at Speed 27.
ANSWER: Speed 20 moves on both Impulse #4 and Impulse #5, so the ECM drone will move both those impulses if it needs to in order to keep station with the battlecruiser. Now, if both ships keep moving the same direction, the ship will eventually leave the drone behind. However, it should be noted that the ability of an ECM drone to change speed, instantaneously, as many times as it needs to, can lead to it moving more hexes in a turn than its rated speed under certain circumstances.
Follow-up question: The battlecruiser has launched four Speed-20 drones at the C8 while tractored on Impulse #6. On Impulse #7, Speed 19 and Speed 20 move. The C8 can do a sideslip or even turn. How are the four launched drones handled? According to (G7.9433), the drones are carried along when the C8 moves whether it is a sideslip or turn. Do the drones then move or must they wait until Speed 20 is called for and not Speed 8 or 19?
ANSWER: The drones are carried along in the tractor tunnel when the C8 moves. They will move again, advancing along the tractor tunnel, when their movement is called for. They do not miss their move just because the tunnel moved.
Andrew Granger asks: I am still a little fuzzy on how labs are used for identifying drones. Can someone give me a quick example or short explanation?
ANSWER: In the Identify Seeking Weapons Step of stage 6B4 of the Sequence of Play, the player operating the labs elects to make the attempt. Because this is after the Operate Tractors Step, if the player wishes to tractor drones, he must do that without knowledge gained by seeking weapon identification on the same impulse.
The identifying player selects the drones he wishes to attempt to identify (G4.2), and assigns each drone a lab. He may make more than one attempt on any given drone (using separate labs), on the same or different impulses, to improve the odds of a successful identification. The player attempting the identification then rolls a die for each attempt. There are no modifiers to the die roll. If the roll is greater than the range to the target, the drone is identified (a drone at Range 1 would be identified on a two or higher). The procedure can be used at Range Zero, in which case it is automatically successful; however in this case the drone would have had to be targeted on something other than the ship doing the identification or it would have already been "identified" through more violent means.
A successful identification reveals the target of the drone, its frame type, all modules and armor installed, any damage it may have suffered, its endurance, and whether it has automaic terminal guidance. An identification of a shuttle will identify if it is seeking or manned; if seeking, what its target is, but not what it is carrying or even if it were a suicide shuttle or a scatter-pack shuttle. Identification of plasma torpedoes provides the least information of all, revealing only the target (but the warhead strength is always known). Labs cannot distinguish a pseudo-plasma from a real one, but will identify the target of a pseudo-plasma torpedo.
Each lab can only perform one action on each turn, so an identification attempt cannot be made the same turn the lab is being used for emergency damage repair, scientific research, or any other function. A lab can attempt to identify only a single seeking weapon each turn. There is also an eight-impulse delay between using the lab for identification and for other purposes on the next turn. However, each lab functions independently, so a Federation heavy cruiser, with eight labs, might use three for emergency damage repair, two for scientific research, and three to identify seeking weapons, all at once. The attempt does not require active fire control or a lock-on, but cannot be done while using erratic maneuvers or while cloaked.
Special sensors use a similar procedure, but can be used at extended range and do not use up as much lab capacity (G24.25). Because special sensors can also attract or jam drones, identification is better done by labs. However, sensors can make more attempts to identify than to jam or attract.