The Skipper Missile was a Kilrathi type of missile discovered by the Terran Confederation during the Terran-Kilrathi War. Confederation specialists described it as a "Ultra-Long-Range Phased Photon-Cloak Torpedo". It is a strategic satellite weapon used for single-strike assaults on installations and capital ships.
The Skipper carries high-explosive, nuclear, radiation, antiradiation or exotic warheads.
Its most important characteristic is the ability to become invisible, by the means of a photon cloak which uses a linked array of 3 or more antigraviton emitters to route electromagnetic emissions (such as light) around it. The missile is not only invisible to the human eye (and all artificial electromagnetic sensors), but there is nor reflection or diffusion.
For practical reasons, however, the Skipper can't remain perpetually invisible:
- The cloak renders the Skipper invisible, but also it renders it blind. It must therefore decloak to update the target status (if it is a moving target) and correct its trajectory.
- The cloak captures heat and radiation within, preventing it to dissipate. In order to prevent shield overload, it must decloak to vent out the dissipated energy.
As a result, the Skipper becomes easily detected from distances up to hundreds thousand kms as blinking spots.
Furthermore, the Skipper is a long-range stealth weapon, and therefore slow by ballistic standards, vulnerable to countermeasures and interception.
Information about the development of such a weapon alerted the Terran Confederation Navy around 2646 and issued a Threat Report K459-C considering the development of the weapon as "potential" threat status. Based on intelligence analysis, the threat had been upgraded to "imminent" and in 2654 they issued another report distributed to all Command Personnel. The report notified that the phenomenon of blinking lights on a sensor should be considered a potential Skipper; in case of repetition (especially in the case it forms a rough line between the origin and the ship) they must be alerted, and starfighters be ready to intercept.
One such Skipper Missile was detected by Christopher Blair and Jeanette Deveraux on their way to Charybdis. The Skipper was moving against the already crippled TCS Tiger Claw. Knowing that one more hit will destroy the ship, Deveraux abandoned the mission to hunt it down, expecting a visual contact. Just 20 seconds before hitting the target, Deveraux shot its propulsion, but the debris, and then the shockwave hit her Rapier. Blair had to conclude the mission on his own.