Often identified as "the disposable" or "tupperware fighters" or by a lengthy series of swearwords, the Nimbus is an indespensible part of the Gudersnipe arsenal that everyone hates.
An escort-class fighter, the Nimbus was first introduced during the Necromanic Wars of the early Third Age. Though little fighting occured in space during that war, they proved invaluable even in civilian use defending commercial traffic against pirates and rogue nations. The design was revised several times over the millenia, but the basic Nimbus changed little during the roughly 3700 year existence.
The Nimbus itself was designed to be disposable, with many components made either of plastic or ceramic (depending on the part) to save money spent on exotic metals. The fighter launched from a cradle mounted inside a presurized hanger, but typically had to be ditched in space with the pilot retrieved in a pressure suit. If conditions allowed, the fighter could be towed back into the hangar, dismantled, and reassembled in its launch cradle. The dismantling feature was deliberately added to allow the fighter to be retrieved and reused without any additional equipment. It required only standard tools and the ability to follow directions, and the entire craft broke down into parts small enough to be moved by four people.
Many pilots criticized the "break down" feature of the spacecraft for adding unneccessary weakness, but in reality the craft was dismantled along the same lines it was constructed. The fighter lacked the solid-body construction common in ships like the harpy because it was, at its core, designed to be cheap.
The Nimbus carried mounting rods for up to four missiles, but because of engine limitations the number it could carry varied depending on the type of ordnance. The standard fighter-to-fighter missile designed for the Gargoyle is popular, as aree kinetic missiles. Because of the increased weight, a Nimbus can only carry two N2 missiles. Though technically capable of carrying a torpedo (at severely reduced speed), the Nimbus launch cradle will not accomodate it.
The first generation Nimbuses were armed with compressed-energy weapons, but the cost of producing such weapons for a disposable craft was prohibitive, and the cheap solutions usually burned out after 12 shots at most. Chemical-based laser systems were experimented with, but held the same limitations.
For much of the Necromanic wars, the Nimbus carried railguns into battle. These were powerful and effective, but ammunition limitations and the inexperience of most Nimbus pilots made this a dangerous choice.
Finally, a type of plasma gatling gun was settled on. Though considered "more complex" than beam cannons, the plasma gatling system was cheaper to produce in bulk and required less technical know-how to service, making it the primary weapon of the Nimbus for most of it's desployment history.
The Nimbus is launched from a magnetic catapult installed in a cradle fit into any hangar large enough to accomodate it. A system of capacitors inside the cradle allows it to slowly charge without putting too much strain on the carrier. This is ideal for freighters which do not have the kind of power output seen on a warship.
The cradle system is completely modular, and after being perfected in A.Y. 3280, remained functionally identical until the Nimbus stopped being produced at the end of the Sixth Age.
One strong point of the Nimbus is its use of the ion vacuum drive for propulsion. This common, simple, and extremly solid engine gave the little fighter a top speed of 68 PSL and a reliability second to none.