Ace of Spades
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|Ace of Spades|
Mariner-class transport ship (modified transport ship)
Shaw-Fujikawa Translight Engine (upgraded)
The Ace of Spades, also called the Ace, is a modified Mariner-class transport ship captained by Rion Forge. The ship was named after the ace of spades playing card Rion's father used to attach to his left shoulder pauldron.
Rion Forge acquired the Ace of Spades sometime soon after she became the captain of another cargo ship, the Hakon, in 2551. Ever since she took it over, she made her own modifications to it so that by January of 2557, she considered it to have been "seven years in the making".[note 1] The crew of the Ace made a name for themselves as salvagers operating out of New Tyne, Venezia and scoring finds all along the Via Casilina Trade Route. In July of 2556, the crew vacationed on Sundown, and by December of that same year, it fell into one of its largest paydays ever. Rion personally participated in a four-way bidding war for a small piece of a Forerunner navigational databoard at a small bazaar on Komoya. In January of the new year, the crew returned to Venezia after having been gone for six weeks. The ship was docked on E-level of a hangar bay of the New Tyne Airfield while Rion, Lessa, and the newest hire, Kip Silas, journeyed into the city. There, they received intel on a crashed ship on a moon in the Ectanus 45 system known as Eiro, which they left for straightaway. The ship turned out to be the remains of the UNSC Roman Blue, a Halcyon-class light cruiser. While the crew was on the Roman Blue, it was suddenly fired upon. Being the furthest away, Rion told the others to take off without her and that she would send a signal when she was clear. Despite the initial hesitation the rest of the crew agreed and made their way to the ship, promptly taking off and remaining hidden from the aggressors.
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Search for the Librarian
After attempting to buy a Forerunner Luminary, the Ace of Spades and her crew were captured by the ONI prowler UNSC Taurokado. The ship was thoroughly searched and Little Bit, all of the crew's personal belongings, and salvage stripped from it. ONI forced Rion Forge to order the Forerunner AI to cooperate with them before dumping the ship and crew with basically nothing.
Using information hacked from the prowler, the crew decided to investigate a distress call from Geranos-a in order to force ONI to negotiate and return their salvage. On the planet, they found the wreckage of the UNSC Rubicon and 343 Guilty Spark, now inhabiting an armiger body. Escaping the arrival of ONI, Spark hijacked the ship and set course for the Etran Harborage to use the Ace of Spades to continue his search for the Librarian. After witnessing a UNSC fleet nuking the debris field, Spark convinced the crew to work with him and took the ship to Triniel to get an upgrade seed to vastly upgrade the capabilities of the Ace of Spades. From the untouched world, the crew was able to loot a treasure trove worth of salvage, but were disquieted by the fact that the planet was essentially a planet-wide tomb from the time of the Forerunner-Flood war.
With the Ace of Spades upgraded, the crew set up a meeting with ONI, utilizing the bounty placed by Gek 'Lhar where they promised to trade Spark for everything ONI stole from them and all of Little Bit's projections and video files. Though ONI tried to betray the deal, the intervention of Spark and Ace of Spades upgrades allowed them to escape with everything they came for. The crew then kept their deal with Spark, taking him to Mount Kilimanjaro on Earth where Spark met with a personality imprint of the Librarian, who helped Spark to see that the crew of the Ace of Spades were the friends he was looking for. Spark helped the crew to escape from the facility and remote-piloted the Ace of Spades to pick them up.
A new path
After the encounter with ONI, the Ace of Spades hid out on Earth for a week. There, the crew held a funeral for John Forge, who Spark revealed died destroying the Etran Harborage. Spark offered his services as the Ace of Spades' new shipboard AI while the crew pondered what to do with ONI still after them due to Spark and Gek 'Lhar's bounty still upon their heads. With Spark to help them and Little Bit's projections, the crew decided to continue their search for the UNSC Spirit of Fire and recognized that after that, they now had the luxury of choice with everything the Triniel loot would get them and the upgraded ship allowing them to go places and do things that they never could before.
The Ace of Spades is a decent-sized ship, but it isn't huge on crew space. Most of her volume is reserved for cargo. There are five crew quarters, the captain's quarters, a mess/lounger combo with an observation deck, a med bay with eight cryotubes, and a small attached gym with showers. Everything else is storage space, support systems, and engineering. Aside from preparing for the next job, Rion uses all her credits on the ship, making several additions over the years. Early on, the staging bay was converted to a locker room and was equipped with an array of gear for virtually any type of known weather and terrain. The staging bay is connected to an airlock that leads to the hangar. Additions include an advanced passive-sensor array, a military-grade slipspace drive, two-pivoting fusion engines on each wing, six thrusters, a sensor-baffling-suite, and souped-up navigation and communication systems that Niko could use his technical expertise with. Ace's hull also was covered with black ablative coating at one point that gave it a dark edge and provides it with stealth capability. The coating requires regular maintenance, though it is rare that it requires consistent refinishing. When the ship is on the ground, a ramp leads into its cargo hold. From within the hold, stairs take one up to the second level, where a catwalk places one in a perfect position for performing maintenance on the track system. The mess hall/lounger holds a food dispenser and a table and chairs. Rion has a small desk in her quarters. Landing gear can be engaged.
Due to a Forerunner upgrade seed designed and installed by 343 Guilty Spark, the ship has received many upgrades. The outer appearance is not at all changed, but instead has its existing materials strengthened by hard light bonding. Quantum and hard light filaments intertwine with the ship's existing systems, all directed by smart upgrade code written by Spark to create a custom integration between Forerunner technology and the ship's original specifications and technology. As a result, the upgrades are limited by the ship's human design. The fully integrated Forerunner technologies include stealth capability, upgraded weapons, comm and navigational systems kept within the framework of human operating functional capability. The biggest upgrade is to the ship's slipspace drive: a combination of the Ace of Spades existing drive, Forerunner translight technology and a flake of Forerunner crystal make the ship far faster than any regular human ship. These upgrades allowed it to take off into slipspace faster than an ONI prowler could react or track and to escape from Earth undetected by the entire Home Fleet.
- Spark — Forerunner ancilla, formerly a hamanune; current shipboard AI
- Rion Forge — Captain
- Lessa — Pilot
- Niko — Technology expert
- Ram Chalva
- Cade McDonough — Military expert; killed by Gek 'Lhar in January 2557
- Little Bit — Forerunner ancilla; taken into ONI custody
- Tesh — Engineer
- Kip Silas — Engineer and ship expert; expelled from the ship in March 2557 after his cover as ONI agent was discovered by Little Bit.
List of appearances
- At most, Rion could have only worked on the ship for around six years, meaning that it was likely having work done on it by its previous owner.