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GMX-397-05 Gundam Durandal

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By TurinuZ   |   Watch
Published: February 13, 2018
© 2018 - 2020 TurinuZ
Finished just before my birthday. Huzzah! Fair warning; wall of text incoming:

This is the GMX-397-05 Gundam Durandal, the fifth of twelve prototype mobile weapons known as Gundams. They are experimental platforms built to test acquired enemy technology, in hopes of reverse-engineering and turning it against the adversaries of the Commonwealth Space Forces. While it is the fifth to begin production it is the last to be finished, as it primarily serves as a technology test bed for the other eleven units. It is also only one of three units to not be destroyed in combat, as it was never actually deployed against the enemy. The selling point of the Gundams (at least for the fifth model and beyond) is their ability to utilize the enemy's photon technology; the breaking down and emission of photons for thrust, as well as solidifying photons (hard light/solid light). Photon technology, known as Ether, has become a cheap and viable means of producing light-weight weapons that even if destroyed can quickly reform, so long as the main ether generator is not destroyed. Because of this advancement, technology such as beam weapons haven't been thoroughly developed and primarily see use as large firing apertures on assault carriers in space. Unlike most Gundamverses, beam weaponry has not been downsized, though there was an attempt before the acquisition of photon technology in the form of weapons some of the early Gundams used.

You can see the Durandal depicted with its standard deployment armaments on Sketchfab here.

I've gone ahead and written up some in-universe notes of sorts.

Model Number: GMX-397-05
Code Name: Durandal
Unit Type: Gundam machine experimental general purpose unit
Manufacturer: Commonwealth Space Forces
Operator: Commonwealth Space Forces
Accommodations: Single-seat integrated support artificial intelligence user interface cockpit in mid-torso
Armor material: Truesteel plating on gundamite frame
Dimensions: Head height 20.1 meters
Weight: empty weight 62.5 metric tons
Powerplant: 2 x Ultra-compact g-reaction cores, located on back and in chest
Propulsion: Photon thrust emitter x many, located across body
Equipment and design features: Modular body frame; EM shielding; "Leif" Resen black-box AI core; ether generators x 2; external weapons latches
Fixed armaments: 2 x 75mm ether anti-air CIWS, located in head; 2 x ether cutter, located in arms; 2 x anti-armor anchor, located on hip armor
Optional armaments: 1 x XLRY399-BRT.2r4 blade rifle; 1 x XSUY399-ABST.1r9 ether pile shield; 1 x XHB-Y397-11-BZT.3r3 large beam bazooka; 2 x XMG-Y397-04-MGT1r6 ether machinegun; 1 x XBS-Y399-BST.2r8 type-2 ether saber; 2 x XBS-Y405-BST.3r5 type-3 ether saber

Technical and Historical Notes:

Manufactured as the fifth of twelve experimental mobile weapons known as Gundams, the Durandal functions as a general purpose test bed for various reverse-engineered equipment seized from destroyed Resen units, Vectors. While it's the fifth unit to begin production, it is the last unit to be completed and is considered the most well-rounded of the twelve. The Durandal would later be used as a basis for a new weapon, known as the mobile suit, which would go on to help the Commonwealth secure and defend its territory from the invading Resen forces. Following the successful development of the mobile suit, the Durandal was shipped off to the Ceres Cold Storage Facility, where it would be stored prior to future plans to dismantle the unit.

As a test bed unit, the Durandal was used to experiment with various Resen technologies before they were reproduced and equipped on other Gundams for further experimentation, making it a toy box of unknown technologies. As such, the unit is compatible with the majority of parts used by the other, more specialized Gundam units and to a degree can even seize and utilize hand-held Resen weaponry. As mobile suits are also derived from and use a similar frame to the Durandal, it is also capable of being outfitted with modern weapons and equipment. This makes the unit highly adaptable, capable of being outfitted to suit the needs of its pilot.

By ES0409, Resen forces engaging the Commonwealth Space Forces around Ceres strike at the facility in order to destroy or capture their stolen technology that had been housed there. During this time, the Durandal was re-outfitted and participated in the facility's defense; while performing admirably, the unit and an experimental ship on site, the Avalon, are forced to retreat following the Resen's successful efforts in securing the facility. As units built utilizing the remains of the Resen's advanced technologies, the Durandal and Avalon are pursued on their way to friendly territories in the Earth sphere while evading capture by the Resen.

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Some quick terminology; gundamite is this universe's equivalent of Gundanium or Gundarium. It is a highly dense colony of nano machines composed of multiple different metal alloys. Highly heat resistant and impact resistant. While Resen units such as Vectors are composed entirely of this material, as the Commonwealth stockpile is only from enemy units rarely acquired during battle, they have a small stockpile and it takes considerable time to reproduce. The majority of their stockpile went into the development of the Gundams. It is called Gundamite after the scientist who researched and implemented the material, Alice Gund.

Truesteel is a multi-layer nanolattice material composed of materials such as tungsten-carbide, cobalt and aerogels. It's durable and flexible, made possible due to Alice Gund's research into Gundamite, and serves as the armor plating material for most mobile suits produced today. Truesteel was a joke name suggested by one of the developers and it stuck.

I have no clue what a g-reaction core is but it sounded cool while I typed it so I kept it. Suffice to say the power supply of a gundam or mobile suit is not unlimited, and the cores need to be swapped out on occasion. While they're safe as they're in heavily shielded containers, the waste byproduct of the cores can be extremely hazardous and need to be disposed of in a proper manner. Once the containers are cleaned out, they can be refurbished for use in another mobile suit. So unless they're destroyed in battle, the Commonwealth has a steady supply of recyclable g-reaction cores for their mobile suits and mobile armors.

Ether weapons are essentially hard light weapons, like you'd see in some series like Halo. I guess you could also liken them to the Photon weaponry of Phantasy Star Online. They're composed of photons that have taken on the property of a solid. This is explained in-universe as a type of electromagnetic force binding the photons. As such, defenses are based around disrupting electromagnetic waves, such as shields giving off a slight electromagnetic wave pulse that can disrupt damage that can be caused by ether weapons. So instead of anti-beam shields, you have EM shields. Beam weapons can completely blow away photon weapons and defenses, but they're extremely large and expensive, with a slow rate of fire. Their development was eventually shelved in favor of the easier to produce and functional ether weaponry.
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RandommodeProfessional Digital Artist
Wow it's a work of art :)