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Security Zeppelins are large airships appearing in BioShock Infinite. They are used by the Founders and the Vox Populi to bombard targets on the ground, as well as to establish local air superiority by attacking other airships. Unlike the ubiquitous gunships, they are rarely seen around Columbia. These large crafts utilize a Lutece Particle for lift and standard technologies for movement.

There seem to be at least three different classes of Security Zeppelin. A smallest version is roughly the same size as the First Lady and seems to be a militarized version of the many civilian Zeppelins seen when Booker first arrives in Columbia. This Zeppelin has a single deck with a large hatch in the floor possibly used to deploy Pods containing Motorized Patriots. At the front of the airship is a cabin that contains the ship's controls. The second class of Security Zeppelin is nearly twice the size of the smallest version and has at least two decks. The main deck has the ship's bridge at the front with a large open area in the middle. At the back is the craft's power plant which can be destroyed. Above the power plant is hatch leading to another deck, but there is no information on this area as the hatch is sealed. The last class, the Security Carrier, is considerably larger than the other classes and has docking bays able to hold up to four gunships. Little else is known of these crafts and there does not seem to be many of them. All classes of Security Zeppelin have engines mounted on small wings on either side of the craft. The smaller classes mount a total of two engines while the Security Carrier has a total of four. The two smaller classes of craft are able to carry a Barrage Automaton on their undersides. The middle class of Security Zeppelin can mount over twenty four Pods carrying Motorized Patriots on the underside of its gondola. It can be assumed that Security Zeppelins cannot mount a Barrage Automaton while carrying Pods.

GameplayEdit

Though Security Zeppelins are generally hostile to Booker, they lack the AI behavior associated with most NPC enemies and are more like a part of the terrain. Due to their sheer size and durability, firearms and other handheld weaponry are completely ineffective against most Zeppelins, occasionally requiring unorthodox methods to eliminate the threat.

BioShock InfiniteEdit

Main article: BioShock Infinite

The very first Security Zeppelin that Booker DeWitt will encounter is near the gateway to Monument Island. While proceeding through the interior of a clock tower, the structure is bombarded by the airship, turning parts of the masonry into rubble. Leaping out of the stricken building and onto the airship, Booker manages to eliminate most of the crew and commandeer the airship, which turned out to be a trap.

When Booker encounters his second Zeppelin while supporting the Vox uprising, he ends up having to bring it down by boarding it via the Sky-Line and then sabotaging the vessel's inner machinery by slicing the cables with his Sky-Hook.

The Security Carrier controled by the Vox is seen attacking Downtown Emporia and then leaves.

During the final conflict on board the Hand of the Prophet, a fleet of zeppelins controlled by the Vox Populi appear in the skies, and Booker can either use Songbird to attack them or board them himself and destroy their engines. Three zeppelins must be destroyed to end the final battle.

Burial at Sea - Episode 2Edit

Main article: Burial at Sea - Episode 2

In Burial at Sea - Episode 2 Elizabeth has the opportunity to sneak onboard a Vox controlled Security Zeppelin when she returns to Columbia. Once there she can search the main hold which is full of valuables looted by the Vox during the uprising.

GalleryEdit

Pre-Release and Concept ArtEdit

Common ZeppelinsEdit

Unique ZeppelinsEdit

Combat Zeppelin Edit

A class of zeppelin related to the Security Zeppelin is the Combat Zeppelin. This class of airship seem to be very rare in Columbia with only two examples seen by the player, the Hand of the Prophet and The OPS Zeal. And the OPS Zeal may not exist in the main storyline since it is seen only in the Clash in the Clouds DLC. The greatest difference between the Combat Zeppelins and all other zeppelins is their size. The Hand of the Prophet is hundreds of feet long and has multiple decks. Combat Zeppelins also have a different layout compared to other zeppelins used in Columbia. The area that would be considered the envelope (the large gas filled upper portion of the craft) on normal zeppelins is taken up by the zeppelin's systems. Everything from weapons to power plants to living quarters for the crew. Another major difference from real world zeppelins is the shape of the Combat Zeppelins. Columbia's Combat Zeppelins are very short with rather blunt ends, like that of a pill, rather than the long cylindrical shape seen in craft like the Hindenburg. One last difference is that there is a large deck on the top of the craft. This top deck area is not unlike the main deck of a ocean going ship.

The Hand of the Prophet Edit

The Hand of the Prophet, Comstock's Flagship is the largest zeppelin seen in the game and very likely the largest craft in Columbia. On each side of the craft are three wing like structures. It is doubtful that this wings give any lift and their main purpose seems to mount two large engines. These wings so not seem to have control surfaces on them though the large tail section at the stern does

Mounted on each side of the ship are ten very large caliber cannon mounted in a broadside configuration. Since these gun are not mounted in turrets they have almost no travers and at best a very limited elevation. These guns are never seen being used in the game. The only other weapons externally mounted on the Hand of the Prophet are four Gun Automaton, but these weapons seem more intended to fight attempted boarders rather than attacking enemy craft. For additional security two Rocket Automaton are mounted internally on an upper deck.

At the bottom of the ship is a large docking area for Gunships. This docking bay makes it easy for personnel and cargo to be transported to and from the ship. All over the hull of the ship are Sky-Lines that hold drop pods for Motorized Patriots. There are two Pod Launching Bays used to control the dropping of the pods, one at the bow ship and the other at the stern.

Mounted on the top deck towards the stern is the ship’s superstructure which contains bridge, Comstock’s quarters and office and a sanctuary. The bridge is mounted very high in the superstructure and has looks down on the top deck and the ship's power core. Atop the superstructure on top deck are crows nests, sky-lines and walkways. Scattered throughout the interior of the ship are storage areas, work shops for the assembly of Motorized Patriots and ship maintenance, sleeping quarters for the crew, ammunition magazines and machinery spaces. More detailed information on the ship's internal structure can be found on the level Hand of the Prophet.

The Hand of the Prophet is constructed mostly of wood and steel. While the hull is metal, many decks and internal walls are wooden or have wooden sections. Despite being a warship the Hand of the Prophet does not seem to be well armored and the power core is exposed to enemy attack. In many places, the hull is only a few inches thick, if that. There is no reliable way to estimate how heavy the Hand of the Prophet is, but it certainly masses several thousand tons, possibly over ten thousand ton. This makes it similar in weight to a heavy cruiser of the time period.

The Hand of the Prophet’s main purpose is to act as Comstock’s flagship and mobile command center. But it can also act as a flying carrier for Gunships and it can ensemble and drop large numbers of pods containing Motorized Patriots. The heavy guns mounted on the sides of the ship appear to be intended for the bombardment of surface targets, not attacking airborne targets. The lack of armor would seem to point towards the Hand of the Prophet not being a front line warship, but a command ship with the capability of attacking and destroying ground targets thought direct bombardment or the deploying Motorized Patriots. Heavier armor may not have been deemed necessary since there are few weapons that could fire on the ship because of it’s altitude.

The OPS Zeal Edit

The amount of information on this ship is very limited as we see only the top portion of the ship while it docked in Finkton and it could still be under construction. The shape of the OPS Zeal is similar to that of the Hand of the Prophet. However the Zeal is a smaller craft and differs in it’s design in a number of respects.

On each side of the Zeal is a single wing with a large engine mounted on it. This engine is similar to the ones used on the Hand of the Prophet. Like the Columbia flagship, the Zeal has a large top deck with the ships superstructure mounted to the rear of the vessel. Near the center of the top deck is a large island with a pair of Fright Hooks on it. Given that this island blocks much of the view forward from the bridge, the top portion of this island may be there to help with the ships construction. Unlike the Hand of the Prophet the Zeal does not seem to have skylines mounted on it’s hull.

The known armament of the Zeal is mounted on the top deck or on the superstructure. The ship’s main guns are mounted in four turrets, two to a side, who’s firing arcs are to the side of the ship. None of these turrets can fire straight ahead or to the rear. In each of the turrets are two very large caliber guns. These turrets are too small to be manned, so they certainly have an automated loading systems. The turrets are either controlled remotely or there is an automaton that aims and fires the guns. All turrets have a large antenna like structure on them, but its purpose is unknown.

In addition to the main guns there are four smaller turrets, two to each side that mount smaller guns. Two of these turrets are mounted near the front of the ship slightly below the level of the top deck. These are mid sized gun smaller than main guns and could be in the 4 to 5 inch range. The last pair of turrets are mounted on either side of the bridge. The caliber of guns are the smallest of all and seem to be between 20 and 40 millimeter. Like the main gun turrets these secondary turrets are too small to be manned by a human being.

Given the size of the Zeal and the inability to see the entire ship in normal game play, it is very likely that there are additional weapon system and or a docking bay for gunboats. We can see that no weapons are mounted on the side of the ship as they are with the Hand of the Prophet though. The Zeal seems to be more heavily armored than the Hand of the Prophet, but it is hard to know for sure since we cannot get below decks. The hull of the Zeal is made of riveted steel, but like most navel ships of the area the decks are made of wood. While smaller than the Hand of the Prophet, the Zeal should still easily mass over one thousand tons when fully loaded.

Given the known armament of the Zeal it is likely this ship was meant to attack and destroy other zeppelins. Given the lack of knowledge on the ship's other armaments there is the possibility it has the capability to attack ground targets as well.

Behind the ScenesEdit

  • The Zeppelin was invented and pioneered by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin[1] in the early 20th century. The Zeppelins were first outlined in the 19th century and were first flown in 1910 as the world's first passenger airline service, named DELAG[2].
  • Demo material centered on the Vox Populi features a Vox-controlled Zeppelin with a shiny outer envelope and graffiti on the side that says, "Our voice will be heard!"
    • In the released game, the outer envelope appears to have a matte surface, while Vox-controlled Zeppelins are wrapped in wide bands of red cloth as a means of identification.
  • In early demos of BioShock Infinite, it seemed they had a more unscripted role in the game, this is removed from the game except for in the ending sequence on the Hand of The Prophet, where there can be multiple options of sandboxy gameplay to dispose of the Zeppelins.


ReferencesEdit

  1. Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin on Wikipedia.
  2. DELAG on Wikipedia.

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