The Surprise was a Kimagure Surprise-class pursuit cruiser that served with the Star League Defense Force as the SLS Surprise. Launched in 2756, the Surprise was extensively modified; the capital weapons in her nose had been replaced with a single Light Mass Driver, adding forty-three meters to the length of the ship compared to a standard Kimagure, along with a number of other modifications such as expanding the number of aerospace fighters transported to thirty six, a doubling of cargo space and an increase in structural and sail integrity. The production of the SLS Surprise was a direct result of the development of the Soyal-class heavy cruiser by Delhi WarShips and the Capellan Confederation. The Soyal was the first WarShip to mount a Mass Driver - in the case of the Soyal, a Medium Mass Driver - and the resulting ill-informed public outcry at the fielding of such a potentially powerful weapon without an SLDF equivalent led to the SLDF being pressured into testing Mass Drivers for themselves.
Having been selected as the test WarShip and refitted in the Titan Yards in a nine-month programme conducted under a security blackout, the Surprise - under the command of Captain Belinda Pace journeyed to conduct extensive trials were then at the uninhabited Periphery system three jumps from the Taurian Concordat. The trials were disappointing, with the Mass Driver proving to offer a minor increase in damage over existing naval weapons at the time, while also being subject to a considerably more restricted firing arc. The Light Mass Driver also caused a massive power drain when fired, blowing out a number of junction boxes throughout the ship as well as leaving the Surprise unable to fire any of the forward or broadside armament for several minutes. The structure of the Surprise also hadn't been adequately reinforced as the designers had underestimated the recoil generated by the Light Mass Drive; frames had warped as far back as twelve frames from the weapon mount, and crewmen throughout the ship had reported feeling a "disturbing shudder" throughout the ship, while seals had blown throughout the ship and damage control teams were kept busy repairing the damage. Captain Pace was critical of the damage inflicted, recording in her log that another shot would reduce the Surprise to rubble.
The problems reported by Captain Pace weren't enough to discourage the senior SLDF officers responsible for the programme, and the Surprise was recalled to the Titan Yards for a second redesign intended to reinforce her structure and power distribution, but the modifications were still being embodied when the Amaris Civil War erupted. With half of the ship disassembled in the shipyards as Stefan Amaris launched his coup, Captain Pace ordered the Surprise scuttled rather than see her fall into the hands of the Rim Worlds Republic. General Aleksandr Kerensky subsequently cancelled the Mass Driver programme in the 2770s, and work on Mass Drivers would be abandoned until the Word of Blake rediscovered the Deep Periphery test facilities of EC3057-J83 in the thirty-first century.
- Field Report: Capellan Confederation 2765, p. 21, "Soyal (Heavy Cruiser)"
- Experimental Technical Readout: Gunslingers, p. 15, "Kimagure Surprise"
- Interstellar Players 3: Interstellar Expeditions, p. 24, "Mundo Nublar"