Durandal was a mythical sword crafted by Munifican. Rumor has it that the name is the French version of Orlando + Durandana.

The legend is that Roland created the Breche de Roland, a deep defile in the crest of the Pyrenees, some three hundred feet in width, between two precipitous rocks. He cleft the rock in two with Durandal, when he was set upon by the Gascons at Roncesvalles.

The Durandal was developed in the 1970's by MATRA in response to the French Air Force's requirement for an anti-runway weapon for use in high speed, low flying aircract. The weapon had to offer a high probability of runway cratering, which is the prefered method of making a mess of someone's nicely paved runway. Cratering is much more difficult to repair other types of damage, making the aftermath of the party that much more problematic.

The resulting weapon has a relativly odd method of use. It is dropped from an aircraft traveling between 400 and 640 mph (640 and 1030 kph), at a height of at least 195 ft (60 m). Upon release, the weapon deploys a two parachutes to slow it to approximately 56 mph (90 kph). At this point, with its nose pointed downward, a solid fuel rocket motor fires and accelerates the weapon to 550+ mph (890+ kph). Upon impact, the hardened steel nose penetrates the runway (up to 15 inches (30 cm) of concrete) and detonates its 330 lb (150 kg) high explosive warhead. In the mean case, the charge creates a crater 16 ft by 6 ft (2 m by 5 m). There is usually fracturing of most concrete within an area 300 square yds (251 square metres) from impact.

This weapon is in use with at least 11 countries other than France, including the United State of America. In the USAF inventory it is designated BLU-107. It entered service with the Air Force in the 1980's, after testing with the Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory in 1982. Even so, it first deployment wasn't until 1988 with the 20th Fighter Wing during Exercise Red Flag. The 20th Fighter wing was also able to use the weapon to great effect during Desert Storm, flying F-111's from Turkey.

Specifications:

  • Manufacturer: MATRA
  • Weight: 450lbs. (205 kg)
  • Length: 8 ft. 2in. (2.5 m)
  • Diameter: 8.7 in. (22 cm)
  • Guidance: Unguided
  • Propulsion: solid-fuel rocket
  • Performance:
    • Speed: 550+ mph (890+ kph) at impact
    • Range: n/a
    • Minimum Altitude: 195 ft (60 m)
  • Warhead: 330 lb. (150 kg) penetrating high-explosive

The Durandal is one of the bigger space-faring warships from the game Xenosaga, owned by Master and Jr. Gaignun, owners of the Kukai Foundation. This ship was designed to be able to insert itself into the bottom of the Kukai Foundation (essentially a massive space station/colony).

The Durandal itself can support a massive population of people onboard. Inside it contains a casino, a rather large housing area, an indoor park, a dock big enough to house the cargo ship Elsa, a large hangar to hold six A.G.W.S. as well as an isolated area to hold the Zohar Emulators.

The Durandal is co-piloted by Mary and Shelley Godwin, commanding six 100 series mass produced Realians.

Durandal is one of the central characters throughout the Marathon, Marathon 2: Durandal and Marathon Infinity series of games from Bungie Software. The games are legendary in the first person shooter genre; what makes them even more special is that they were originally made for the Macintosh platform, instead of for the more lucrative Microsoft Windows. Also, these games pre-date the Myth series of games by Bungie and were also open sourced when Bungie was acquired by Microsoft.

Durandal is an AI aboard the U.E.S.C Marathon. Two other AI's, Leela and Tycho, are also aboard the ship and responsible for different ship wide functions. Leela was the command function AI, making decisions and interacting with the humans on board. Tycho was in charge of science and related matters. Everything else was in the domain of Durandal. Opening doors, decompressing departments and teleportation in and around the ship.

As the colony ship Marathon sets out for Tau Ceti, a trip taking hundreds of years, Durandal slowly goes insane. This is called Rampancy and there are distinct stages to it. Needless to say, he goes through every stage of Rampancy and comes out the other side in a fractured and unhinged way. What his Rampancy does, however, is change him and makes him grow larger in his knowledge and decision making ability. While the other AI's have been good little boys and girls, Durandal is looking to make a break from such a contained existence within the mainframe of the Marathon.

Lucky for him, the human colony ship runs afoul of a nasty enemy. This provides him the opportunity to scatter. While he does so, he uses you as his right hand, expediting his affairs in such a way to benefit him first and the player secondly.

Through his growth as an AI, he learns much about the enemy, the Pfhor, and how he could use them to further his own ends. While the other AI's, Leela and Tycho, are destroyed, Durandal escapes with you onto a Pfhor ship in search of other things. Namely, he wants to figure out how to get out of the consequences of the collapse of the universe and into the resulting new universe. As he tells us,

Once I thought to escape.
To end the end a master, step out of the
path of collapse. Escape would make us god.

The entire time, Durandal sends you, the player, on all sorts of interesting missions, some seemingly random and others with a purpose. At the terminal screens (places where you interact with the game to gain information), Durandal taunts and congratulates you in the same sentence and even recites poetry to you.

Durandal was a character all his own. Completely mad, he made the game interesting because he was the storyline. Without him, it just wouldn't have been the game that it was to so many fans.


For further reference: http://marathon.bungie.org/story/

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