The Andrast Dro’Sanla tug performs a function that it largely unique to the elenthnars. The elenthnars have two forms of FTL transit in active use. The first is Garrast-Viyroub Drive (or Dro’Garrast-Viyroub in the language of the Hegemony), named after the scientists that discovered it. It is similar in function to traditional Hyperdrive and is the standard FTL system.
The second, Dro’Sanla (literally “warp- field drive”), is a form of teleportation drive, which was developed after first contact with the United Concorde of Divine Realms three centuries ago. The UCDR’s magical teleportation was able to function through fixed Node Stations, teleporting between which effectively reduced the distance between the nodes to that between two neighbouring systems. The effect is akin to opening a wormhole, though which anything capable of broadcasting (teleporting) can utilise the node’s effect. The effect of the Node Stations was greatest closest to the nodes, but has a radius larger enough to allow vessels in nearby systems to use it at reduced efficacy.
The Dro’Sanla drive was developed to make use of that system. As both GVD and Dro’Sanla are mutually incompatible systems, a vessel that wishes to use both has to fit both systems separately. Thus, Dro’Sanla tugs were developed. These vessels carried normal GVD for regular flight, but large Dro’Sanla systems to allow them to teleport between nodes, carrying several non-Dro’Sanla-equipped vessels with them. As the effective distance between areas linked by node stations is very small, the Dro’Sanla do not require a high FTL transit speed. Current Hegemony Dro’Sanla speed is only about 71% of the GVD speed – but Dro’Sanla is very rarely used over any distance where transit speed is an issue, as the Dro’Sanla tugs simply ferry vessels between two node-linked regions.
In the last few decades, separate breakthroughs in both the Xyriat Hegemony and Wodef Enclave have allowed the elenthnars to finally begin to build their own node stations.
The Andrast is the current primary Dro’Sanla tug in use with the Hegemony navy. A cruiser-sized vessel, the Andrast is capable of carrying at maximum, up to roughly fifteen times its own load on Dro’Sanla drive, though only a little under four times at full efficiency. However, the short effective distance between node-linked areas mean that the low efficiency doesn’t usually matter.
The Andrast is very slow in sublight speed, minimally protected by point-defence and with relatively light shielding, as most of the bulk is taken up by the large Dro’Sanla. In addition to a regular towing array, it carries six tractor beam arrays spaced around the hull to lock on to vessels to tow. In addition, three reinforced bars, one dorsal and one either to side, each carry five reinforced lugs, which are designed for other vessels to latch onto with their own tractor beams, and thus increase the number of vessels the Andrast can carry at once. In practise, it is very rare to see all twenty-two towing points in use simultaneously, since the load limitation of carried vessels scales much faster than the number of utilised towing points.