Arriving too late to serve in the Minute War, the Hero Class of warships represented the pinnacle of military spacecraft design for the cold war that constituted the first half of the 23rd century. Largely autonomous, the class was one of the first to utilize a biologically-derived AI for command and control functions. This freed the type from dependence on increasingly vulnerable bases. This attribute was particularly useful for examples deployed to the Belt and Outer Marches.
The type was essentially built around a high-output fission drive and a pair of 80 meter long particle accelerators tuned to the drive. While no longer in production, fission drives were at one time very popular solutions when high sustained thrust was required. Unfortunately, the type ultimately became a solution to a problem that ceased to exist with the signing of the Armistice, i.e., defeating large armored warships in massed battle. This, combined with the political unpopularity of AI controlled warships saw them quickly mothballed.
A handful of these ships were to see a new lease on life when rebuilt as patrol vessels and the bow section radically reworked to accommodate a small human crew in a surplus pressure hull. Six of these ships were converted in this way, serving primarily to intercept smart mines, pirates, and generally be on the lookout for unpleasant surprises at the edge of human civilization. This was done for a number of years until the use of a full crew became uneconomical.
Ultimately, things came full circle as the Sapiency Acts were amended to award full legal personhood to biologically derived AIs and these vessels were recrewed once more.
Here we see the Roland investigating the aftermath of a pirate attack on an unmanned supply depot near the edge of the Belt. Culpability in these attacks was often hard to establish, as low level AIs or swarm systems were usually in immediate command of any attack. Puppeteers are as elusive as always.
Pencil, digitally colored.