The USS Charleston, a Shreveport-class cruiser, witnesses a mysterious disturbance on the surface of Titan. Later investigation revealed neither Martians nor Germans, but a mysterious and deserted city made of glass.
Current hypotheses lean towards the explosion being some sort of self-destruct mechanism triggered by the emanations of the American ships gravity nullification engine. This may have been either to prevent capture of the city (and the secrets therein) or to serve as a sort of warning beacon for whoever was monitoring the site.
The mystery continues, and was the source of much speculation before more urgent matters pushed this aside.
The core events and coverage take place over about twenty to thirty years, but it was necessary to figure out a lot more of the timeline to get good answers for things.
Again I'm loving your colours and painterly-feel.
Survivability is really weird with these things. They're quite fragile compared to surface vessels of the same period fighting normal battles, but fire control sucks. The Martians used energy weapons in a nearly airless environment, so they had no cool tech to plunder on that front. The engines themselves are more durable than a boiler, and less prone to explode when they fail.
The upshot is that they're like aircraft in that speed, rather than armor, is the primary characteristic needed for survival.
and so great colors !
very impressive work
There's a lot of stories I'm trying to suggest indirectly, both on Earth and across a few other worlds.
Do you read the Expanse books?
I think you'd like them!
In terms of armament she's scarcely better than a gunboat. Her crew is quite small for her size, both due to life support limitations and the large interior volume her engines take up. As automated gun laying is just a twinkle in an engineer's eye at this point, this limits her armament as well.
So why is she rated as a cruiser then?
It's because if she were rated as a smaller vessel, her master would be a lieutenant. The cruiser rating was done artificially to ensure that only the most senior commanders got them as commands. This was done early to preserve the hegemony of the surface navy over the new forces, but later as a way of offering rapid advancement to offset extreme danger.
This...this is why we love your work. The little bits of background 'fluff text' that, while not essential to already fantastic pictures, make them just that touch more interesting. Bravo sir, bravo.