Caliban (Individual Merchant-class JumpShip)
Under the command of Bernard Cain, who owned shares in the ship and shouldered both its operating costs and profits together with the crew, the Caliban was impressed into service with the Lyran Commonwealth military on at least three occasions prior to the Fourth Succession War. At one point, the military governor of Bolan had requisitioned the Caliban to escape from a rebel mob with three DropShips loaded with his entourage and treasures; the civilian DropShips already docked with the Caliban were ordered to undock, and Bernard Cain subsequently ran afoul of his creditors, nearly losing his ship. He died of a heart attack at the age of fifty, thought by his daughter Mindy to be possibly a result of the Bolan incident (which happened when she was fifteen years old).
Mindy Cain inherited the ship and continued the business. Following the formation of the Federated Commonwealth, the Caliban under Mindy Cain was pressed into military service more than once, including ferrying FedCom troops from Hesperus II to Caledonia in 3057 that wound up fighting the Gray Death Legion there (implicitly elements of the 3rd Davion Guards). The meager compensation for that particular mission had been paid for in FedCom scrip, meaning it had to be spent inside the Federated Commonwealth unless she was prepared to accept high exchange fees.
On 9 May 3057, sixteen hours before being ready for jump again after recharging at the Gladius system's nadir jump point, the Caliban was hired for a steep price to accept the DropShips of the Gray Death Legion's third battalion, namely the Endeavor and implicitly also its sister ships, the Defiant and the Valiant, in a handover from the JumpShip Blue Star, to expedite their journey to Glengarry. The Caliban had recently been to Glengarry and had an up-to-date ephemeris for the system, which allowed them to jump in at a pirate jump point on 13 May and deploy the three DropShips.
Sometime between 17 November and 13 December 3057, the Caliban was seized by two DropShips from the Free Star Republic, the Ravager and the Lightning, while recharging in the Laiaka system, en route from Skye to Furillo carrying the DropShip Miranda. The Ravager fired a warning shot at the Caliban, and when Cain did not immediately signal her surrender as demanded, they shot again and hit one of the bow section's hydroponic domes with low power, causing no serious damage. After surrendering, the Caliban was requisitioned to move the Ravager and Lightning to the Hesperus system's zenith jump point. Here, it wound up in Grayson Carlyle's spiel on 21 December that ultimately resulted in the recapture of the Caliban and the recharge station from Free Star Republic forces when the Caliban ended up pointing its station keeping drive at the Olympus-class recharge station fifty kilometers distant and threatening to fire the drive (which would have equaled a very powerful weapon blast). It was the Caliban that then jumped to Furillo to inform the Lyran Alliance of the events at Hesperus and bring in loyal troops.
Mindy Cain subsequently asked to sign on with the Gray Death Legion, and Carlyle gladly accepted because his unit had no organic JumpShip support since parting ways with the Invidious "a year or two ago". (The Legion did in fact have JumpShips under contract, such as the Gray Skull, but those were apparently only loose associations for limited periods of time and not part of the unit proper.)
- As a Merchant-class vessel, the Caliban would normally have only two docking hardpoints available. However, in what seems to be an oversight on behalf of the author, in the novel Operation Excalibur the Caliban is shown to carry three DropShips to Glengarry, and three DropShips again at two different points in the narrative detailing its past. Although highly unlikely, it could thus be assumed that the Caliban was modified with a third hardpoint, presumably sacrificing its small craft bays and cargo capacity to free up the required tonnage.
- Operation Excalibur, ch. 6
- Operation Excalibur, ch. 2
- Operation Excalibur, ch. 18
- Operation Excalibur, chs. 22–26
- Operation Excalibur, Epilogue