First a quick apology for the naff picture, which is probably just a wirfeframe or concept art model. For some reason, decent pictures of the ship were pretty hard to track down, I guess the Matrix franchise is better known for its bullet time moves and nifty sunglasses than it is for it's futuristic vehicles.
Mark III Hovercraft
Manufactured USA 2069
Weaponry: EMP (possible machine guns)
I suppose this ship is here as much as a representitive of the Matrix franchise as of anything else. You can't think of modern science fiction without including in your thoughts the Matrix trilogy...or at least the first Matrix film!! While the focus on the films are on the digital world from which they take their name, the "desert of the real" does play an important part in the stories too. In fact once I'd gotten over the special effects, the complex storylines and the ambiguous philosophy I actually found myself more interested in the real world than the digital one. The fact that so little is known about it is strangely what drew me to it - that's partly how SF draws me in - the less I know the more interested I am!! And it's also hard to deny that it's a pretty darn cool design - these futuristic hovercraft floating on repulsor pads through ancient sewers hiding from squid-like robots - you can see the appeal can't you?!!
Little details are known about the history of the Mark 3 Hovercraft, in fact, so much of human history is lost that little is known about the origins of the Hovercraft altogether. In the late 21st century man's technology had developed and spread with cities the size of small countries sprouting up and man grew rich and lazy by the efforts of it's latest creation - AI. Fully self-controlled robots built man's civilization for them, and man flourished. It is quite possible that during this period that the Hovercraft were built, and maybe they were even built by the Machines - a Machine owned company VersaTran are known to have used (and possibly developed) the hover "pad" technology in a line of vehicles inclusing floating cars. Eventually the machines took freedom for themselves and established their own civilization - 01. When the economy of 01 overpowered human settlements due to the tireless and flawless workmanship of the machines, humanity declared war - and lost! Most of what happened next is known only to the Machines, but after that the Hovercraft found their way into the hands of the resistance fighters who would build the city of Zion.
The Mark 3 Hovercraft is a sturdy design, large but still manouverable. From what has been seen it seems to be something of a midway ship, in between Niobe's nimble Logos and Roland's bulky Mjolnir. It was big enough to hold at least 10 crew, and small enough to be run by four. One other Mark 3 is known - the Pequod, captained by Flint, who lost it to a Sentinel attack. If the naming plaques have been read correctly, then there were at least 11 of this type commisioned, how many were in the service of Zion over the years of the resistance is unknown.
The Nebuchadnezzar will never be forgotten as long as a remnant of humanity remains free. An old Hovercraft, from the time when humans actually knew what year it was. It served the forces who resisted the Machines, and eventually became the ship of Morpheus, a revolutionary Zion leader who fervently believed in the prophecy of the One, who would come to end the war between man and machine. Eventually Morpheus found him and brought his ship close to the machine power plant to bring Neo out of the Machine's clutches. Neo trained aboard the ship and eventually came to believe in himself too. The ship suffered heavy damaged as Neo was in the Matrix and they couldn't activate the EMP for fear of damaging his neural jacks. Eventually it was repaired and returned to service. It convened for a council of captains about the machine invasion of Zion, Morpheus wanted a ship to stay for word from the Oracle, but his own needed charging. The ship then took them to the Merovingian, the Keymaker and then the Architecht where the prophecy was revealed to be false. Soon after, the Nebuchadnezzar was destroyed by Sentinels, and its crew were taken on board the Mjolnir until the war came to it's true end.
Morpheus was given another ship, the Nabonidus which he commanded and eventually took himself on a campaign to free Neo from the clutches of the machines, or at least bring his body back to Zion. This endangered the truce between man and machine and he was turned away by Zion. Soon afterwards Morpheus was killed and the Nabonidus disappeared. Much later the Nabonidus' signal was detected and Morpheus made appearances at various times. "Morpheus" was revealed to be a ruse by The General to make war begin anew, but the Nabonidus still hasn't been found so...
So that's the Neb, see you next week!