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The Black Lance "Dragon" Fighter

The Dragon Heavy Fighter is a spacecraft that appears in the Wing Commander series. Its only appearance is in Wing Commander 4: The Price of Freedom.

Historical Background[]

The Dragon Heavy Fighter was developed after 2670 and it was the most advanced spacecraft to be developed since the F-103 Excalibur Heavy Fighter. It was created in secret by the Black Lance, an elite special forces unit led by Admiral Geoffrey Tolwyn of the Terran Confederation. However, the Dragon was created without the knowledge or approval of the Confed government and was therefore an illegal spacecraft. The fighter plays a vital role in the events of the game.

The Dragon had an arsenal of weapons. Its standard loadout was two Plasma Guns, two Tachyon Cannons, and sometimes two Fission Guns. It carried 4-6 Heatseekers and about 6 Friend or Foe missiles. It also was equipped with powerful mines. When the Dragons were sent out on special assignments, it would be equipped with a Flash-Pak and on one occasion, the Genselect Bioweapon. It had a maximum speed of 500 k/s, and with afterburners at full power, a speed of 1200 k/s. The craft was capable of jumping into hyperspace and always had a cloaking device.

The Dragon personified the cruel and merciless image of the Black Lance. During the Black Lance Conspiracy of 2673, the Dragon was used in raids against transports and capital ships from both the Terran Confederation and the Union of Border Worlds. The Black Lance were aiming to instigate war between the two sides so that they could remobilize the Terran Confederation's military and force it to build upon its already superior technology for future wars. The Dragon was involved in the worst attacks that occurred during the crisis. One notable attack involved a flight of five unmarked Dragons that attacked the TCS Amadeus, a Confed medical transport evacuating Confed refugees from the Hellespont System to the planet Megaron. The lead Dragon, flown by The Black Lance commander, Seether, destroyed the transport's three fighter escorts, and then used a Flash-Pak on the ship to trigger an inferno in the ship's interior. Nobody survived, and all other transport attacks ended with the same result.

The havoc wreaked by the Dragons caused huge tensions between the two sides, and the attack on the TCS Amadeus forced Confed to consider a declaration of war against the Border Worlds. Even after this, the Dragons continued to attack innocent lives. Many Confed citizens, who were not familiar with the Dragon, erroneously assumed that these unmarked vessels were from the Border Worlds, as the Black Lance hoped that they would do.

A mere few days before the Great Assembly on Earth was due to vote for war, the Black Lance did the unthinkable. A flight of Dragons led by Seether attacked FT957, a small Border Worlds colony in the Telamon System. They deployed the Genselect Bioweapon against the planet, which released nanobots that were programmed to compare one's DNA with the DNA standards the Black Lance had set for humanity. 90% of the colonists were slaughtered because their DNA did not satisfy the Black Lance, wiping out almost the whole colony and forcing the Border Worlds to abandon the system. The Dragons were unmarked, so no one could identify the pilots responsible. This act of genocide would have major effects on the Dragon's future.

Fortunately, all was not lost. Border Worlds forces on the BWS Intrepid, led by Colonel Christopher Blair, acquired a few Dragons when they seized a Black Lance transport in the Circe or Speradon Systems (This sequence of events is decided upon by the player). The Border Worlds pilots and engineers were astounded by the capabilities of these fighters, so Blair flew them in his later missions against the Black Lance. With them, he took numerous other Dragon pilots. Blair flew a Dragon to the Axius System where the attackers from Telamon were tracked down to. He found a massive enemy starbase which apparently served as the Black Lance's base of operations. He also found the weapons used on Telamon and the numerous transport attacks, and that the enemy had acquired the TCS Vesuvius, a new supercarrier. Finally, Blair discovered that Admiral Tolwyn was the Black Lance's leader, and he found out Tolwyn's grand scheme. After returning to the BWS Intrepid, Blair and his comrades raced to the Sol System, where Earth was about to declare war. Captain William Eisen assisted his old war mates on another carrier, and gave Blair the time he needed to launch a Flash-Pak into the hangar bay of the TCS Vesuvius, destroying the vessel. Blair then flew his Dragon to Earth, where he faced off with his rival Seether, who also was flying a Dragon. Blair manages to kill Seether, putting an end to his campaign of murder. Finally, Blair reveals Tolwyn's treachery to the Great Assembly, who reject the declaration of war against the Union of Border Worlds.

After the Black Lance Conspiracy was ended, the Dragons were decommissioned from future service by the Terran Confederation. Their commissioning and use were never approved by Confed. Furthermore the fact that the ship was equipped with its trademark red bussards and the fact that the fighter was used in most of the Black Lance's genocidal activities made them a symbol of evil, dooming their future. Even if the Dragon Heavy Fighter was kept in service, most of the existing ones were destroyed in combat with the Union of Border Worlds and it would have been too expensive to mass-produce entire squadrons of them.

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