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Trilobite

A quarian drone design.

Vehicle Classification

Rapid Response Drone

Description

In Khelish, 'Rannoch' means walled garden. Named for the significance that shade took in the quarian's cultural development, with the planet reclaimed, the quarians became obsessed with propping up those walls. Cultural protection zones were declared over millions and millions of square kilometers of the planet, covering land, sea, and air. But for ten thousand BRCP (Bureau of Rannoch Cultural Protection) members responsible for keeping these grounds safe from illicit tourists or would-be tomb raiders, millions of square kilometers becomes an insurmountable barrier of scale to overcome. Conveniences like tracking satellites and orbital security checkpoints seek to mitigate these concerns, but they don't act to effectively contain or respond to zone breaches when they occur.

Enter the Vzn-2 Shanaa, named so after the once-popular domestic pet in pre-Morning War quarian culture. The Shanaa is designed to extensively survey for and quickly respond to would-be trespassers. Controlled autonomously by a limited virtual intelligence, Shanaa are deployed to patrol at high-altitude indefinitely - passively tracking the ground for potential threats via an incredibly high-resolution LADAR scanning suite and an uplink to the orbital distributed information satellites hanging overhead. When the Shanaa has identified a potential trespasser (matched against encoded profiles of most sapient species), it swiftly cross-checks for the 'identification beacon' mandatory to any cleared to enter a cultural protection zone. If none is found, then the drone flags the target to a standing operator and awaits further instruction.

Once the operator confirms the flag and takes control, the Shanaa is flown down to confront the trespasser - illuminating them under a harsh spotlight and training its' only armament, a small chin-mounted arc stunner meant to deter most offenders from attempting to escape. It’s equipped with a light kinetic barrier in the event of hostile response, though it’s proven unnecessary in the time of its’ operation.

Since its development, the Shanaa has become ubiquitous on the planet - access to Rannoch's ancient factory forges and geth manufacturing methods has made production of the relatively uncomplicated Shanaa straightforward. The BRCP maintains a little over three-hundred of these drones, administrated by a team of three dozen operators. So ubiquitous, that a few wary citizens have begun to see the cultural protection zones as a pretense for government intelligence gathering via the Shanaa's highly sensitive surveillance gear. Most of this is brushed off as conspiratorial whispers, as rarely do these drones fly over civilized areas, but it is nonetheless aggravatingly persistent - no less stoked by the quarian military's recent licensing of the Shanaa's chassis for decidedly less singular purposes.

Rebranded the 'Vzn-2R Optryx', the military variant of the Shanaa is largely unchanged from its' more ubiquitous counterpart - the biggest distinction being the mass accelerator installed in place of the original's arc stunner. The Optryx is largely intended for fly-by reconnaissance, or aerial imaging - feeding information seamlessly towards a pre-existing orbital communication network - though its' endurance and unspecific chassis design has made many quarian would-be commanders curious to see its' limits - many see favourable application as a search and recovery beacon, or as an emergency supply runner.

Half a meter in height, one meter in width, and two meters in length, the drone resembles an oversized Terran trilobite more than anything - somewhat at odds with its' name, the Shanaa being a mammal more akin to a Terran bat than anything else.

Tampering with a Vzn-2 Shanaa is punishable by at least three years of reclamation labour.

Notes

Plans initially accommodated a beam uplink and liquid-crystal-state drive capable of accommodating a geth intelligence, though were quietly scrapped - the purported design concerns were over the complexity and expense in the liquid-crystal membrane capable of hosting a geth process.

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