One of the oldest sayings out there is “form follows function.” Most people take this to mean that function of an object is what defines its form. I’ve always taken it slightly differently: The function of an invention first defines the design. Later, as the object is better established, the design can move beyond the solely functional to include aesthetic considerations. You can see this evolution in a number of everyday objects. The first airplanes were ungainly, bulky, multi-winged contraptions. The first automobiles were boxy things, the very opposite of aerodynamic. The first personal aircars were some unholy hybrid of the worst of both designs. But things eventually changed. Airplane designers learned that two wings were enough. Car designers learned that sleek designs meant better fuel efficiency. And the wonders of anti-grav technology allowed much more personal preference into the aircar design process. First came the function of these devices, then came the aesthetic form to take them from purely functional things to, in their own ways, pieces of art.
The designs of spacecraft have gone through a similar transformation. Given the lack of air in space, aesthetics (which, in my experience, tends to equate to aerodynamics in most cases) often took a backseat to strapping on all the necessary equipment as cheaply as possible, especially in the first days of deep-space exploration. Aesthetics were a secondary concern, if they were considered at all. Indeed, in many ways, many of the older ships resembled contemporary Minmatar designs. Of course, the Minmatar these days seem to take a certain pride from the apparent haphazard designs, to the point that it has acquired its own special sense of aesthetics. Still, it can’t be denied that many of the original ship designs more closely resembled Minmatar designs to their current ones.
Between then and now, however, there was an awkward, almost adolescent phase of starship design. Designers seemed to believe that bigger was automatically better in every situation (an idea that has once again been in vogue as of late, it seems). Interestingly, not only did the empires design bigger classes of ships, they made old classes of ships bigger. At the time, these things made sense, as new technologies were being invented to supplement existing ship classes, but miniaturization hadn’t yet taken hold to make the size of those new technologies reasonable. It was an interesting design philosophy, and really only seemed to see its downfall once the Caldari and Gallente began experimenting with smaller ship designs once again during the Long War, forcing that miniaturization to take place. These days, you don’t really see examples of these monsters outside of museums. Most of them were salvaged for rather ample amounts of scrap metal. Every now and then, however, one of these monsters can be uncovered where it fell, such as the one in Traun. Reclamation, a ghost of times past, sits silently in its grave to this day. As Aura explains:
Once the Minmatar Rebellion spread into the Ani constellation the Nefantars pleaded with the Amarrians for help. The Amarrians responded by sending their largest battleship to the constellation, the Reclamation. At first, the huge ship along with its escort of support ships, swept through the constellation, destroying several squadrons of rebel forces. But only a week after its arrival, it was infiltrated by a Sebiestor saboteur and demolished. The destruction of the Reclamation signaled the end of the Amarrian initiative to eradicate the rebels in one blow, forcing them onto the defense.
Reclamation truly was a massive ship. Though billed (and classed) as a battleship, it would easily be comparable to today’s dreadnaughts or carriers. That’s not to say that it was as powerful as today’s dreadnaughts, of course. Indeed, it seemed to be the opposite of the recently announced ships from the various empire shipyards: a massive hull, with smaller class weaponry. At its prime, though, it must have truly been a sight to see. A massive ships, lasers screaming across the vast endlessness of space. Bringing death and destruction to all those who dare to defy the will of the Emperor. There is a reason that the Amarr Navy was feared for the longest time. Seeing this ship was like stepping back in history. And yet, it also shed some interesting light on history.
As Aura noted, Reclamation was sent in response to the Minmatar rebellion. Interestingly, however, while Reclamation may have actually been the largest battleship in the Amarr fleet, it certainly wasn’t the strongest. As I’ve noted previously, the Minmatar Rebellion started in response to the trouncing given to the famed Amarr Golden Fleet. That fleet was composed of the most advanced ships in the Amarr fleet: at that time, Abaddons and Apocalypses. These ships were among the first in the Amarr fleet responding to the miniaturization seen in the other navies. So while Reclamation may have been the largest battleship remaining in the Fleet, it certainly was not the most powerful. That suggests that the Amarr High Command had already decided which way the winds were blowing. One ship, even one as massive as Reclamation, could not possibly have been enough to turn the tide of the Rebellion. It was a showing of the flag, knowing that it would go down. The only question was where and how, and that was answered within a week of reaching deployment.
Regardless, today, all that remains of the Reclamation is a hulking wreck and the ghosts of the distant past. The Rebellion is long over, the Minmatar have established themselves as a legitimate nation, and all the sister ships of Reclamation have either been scrapped, been put into a museum, or sit in some space, adrift, like Reclamation herself. The only companions the wreck has today are those looking for a discreet place to meet and visitors like myself. The ship itself is a disaster: bits and pieces of the hull can be found throughout the area. Parts of the ship have detached. Departing from current Amarr design, the original hull apparently had a number of pods and bulges, most of which now float around the main hull like an awkward halo. In some respects, it was almost Gallente in nature, with random engine pods seemingly sprouting from the hull, though I doubt that the similarity was more than superficial. It was also odd to see an Amarr ship that didn’t glisten gold in the sun, but rather dully reflected the local star with a silverish sheen. I guess the golden hull was a bit too much form without much function.
- Attraction:Reclamation Wreck
- System: Traun
- Security Rating: 0.6
- Region: Metropolis
- Potential Hazards: If you’re below a -4 in security status, or -5 standing with the Minmatar, you’ll have to deal with some rather unpleasant policemen.
- Additional Notes: This also serves as a Minmatar COSMOS site.