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The Hydrans are an unusual species that live on the far side of the Klingon Empire, along the edge of the galaxy. They are enemies of the Klingons and Lyrans, and were conquered by those empires at one point, only to drive the invaders out decades later. Hydrans breathe methane and live on cold type-S gas giants on silicate continents floating on liquid methane oceans.
During the General War, when massive fleets could blow up an enemy cruiser with every volley, empires began using fighters as "attrition units" since they were too dangerous to ignore and too small to be worth a lot of firepower. By the end of the war, fighters had been replaced by advanced fighters, heavy fighters, then by gunboats. Gunboats were small starships, with a crew of about 30 on a hull that was less than 10% the size of a starship. Each gunboat had half of the firepower of a cruiser, but they operated in packs of six (four gunboats, a leader with extra systems, and a scout to find targets). A flotilla of six gunboats could wreck a cruiser in one battle pass and give a dreadnought a really bad day.
The Hellion patrol ship is a variant of the Harrier gunboat. In combat on the Lyran front, flotillas of Hellions are paired with Harrier flotillas. The Hellions knock down the expanding field generator fields and the Harriers close in for the kill. Records indicate that no more than 15% of gunboat production was ever dedicated to Hellions, although longer range meant a higher survival rate and the number in service approached 20%. However, mixed Harrier/Hellion flotillas were unknown.
In addition to the “normal” Hellions, this flotilla includes a leader, a scout, and a Valkyrie fi-con. Unlike many empires, the Hydrans frequently made a fi-con gunboat part of a flotilla.
This tree of gunboats is available in a variety of materials. Ships are unpainted, use standard flight stands available from many sources, and, while designed for gaming, make fine display pieces.