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Introduced in 5400 A.D. by Horribilis Industries who won the contract for a new line of ships during the centennial ship upgrade, their entry into the cruiser category is the Guardian-class Cruiser to supplement their destroyer and battleship designs. Designed to primarily bring heavier firepower when the situation calls for it, the cruiser can effectively engage ships from small frigate types up to fellow cruiser types. It is armed with 24 medium dual beam laser cannons for anti-cruiser combat and 40 small dual beam laser cannons for use against frigates and destroyers. While not as fast as the Crusader-class Destroyer, the ship is still quite fast at sublight speeds with its 9 engines. In order to house everything in the hull without resorting to what was done involving the Crusader’s twin spikes, the forward section of the ship was elongated from the original design so that all of the systems including communications and sensors (which were housed in the Crusader’s twin spikes due to lack of available space) would fit. Alongside the shields, the armor of the Guardian is made of 800mm layered steel plates making it a tough ship to crack once enemies are able to get past the shields. This is further challenging once the armor repair nanobots go to work repairing damage to the armor. The roles of the Guardian are a bit more limited compared to the Crusader. While the ship can go on patrol duty, it usually is accompanied by a few Crusaders for additional support. They serve as command vessels for such roles. They also function as additional escort ships for the Paladin-class Battleships wherever those battleships are deployed. Because they are fewer in number compared to the Crusader (3:1 ratio of Crusaders to Guardians respectively), the lowest rank to command a cruiser will be Captain. In the past on rare occasions, a Commander will be given command of the ship but only if that Commander has an exceptional record and/or skill at commanding such a vessel. This has since changed after the introduction of the new Sentinel-Class Frigates after the Yintaka Conflict and the restructuring of the commanding officer requirements for ships. While they are fewer in number, they are still designated by their designation numbers rather than given names. While a Captain may allow the crew to nickname the ship for easier reference, this has only been allowed so far on half of the cruisers in the Republic fleet depending on the Captain and his/her position on nicknaming a ship. When allowed to have a nickname, however, the nickname cannot be used when referring the ship in official communications with higher ranking officers.