They were not designed for combat, and they normally operated within volumes of space already subjugated by the Yuuzhan Vong, or else they were sent to harvest slaves from a target world after combat vessels had destroyed the defending forces.
Like most of the Yuuzhan Vong's spacegoing craft, slaveships had tough yorik coral hulls, and their dovin basals could project defensive shield voids; but they lacked offensive weaponry of their own, and they usually traveled with escorts, typically with a flight of four coralskipper to a single transport, although the two slaveships deployed at N'zoth were guarded by two full squadrons of skips and a blastboat analog.
The absence of weapons emplacements was not the only way that these transports lacked the full capabilities of front-line combat warships: as with all Yuuzhan Vong vessels, their dovin basals numbed the nerves in small areas of their living hulls around them, but in keeping with their status as support ships, it was not considered worthwhile equipping slaveships with the special nerve biots used to monitor these areas aboard true warships, and it was possible for a boarding party to exploit this weakness and enter the hull undetected at these points.
Inside the hull, most of the habitable space was given over to prison holds where captives would be restrained by blorash jelly, with only a small guard detail and flight crew: like many Yuuzhan Vong capital ships they could be flown with relative ease by a single pilot.
At least two types of slaveships were used during the Yuuzhan Vong War. The first, which was already in use during the temporary truce with the New Republic that ended at the Battle of Yag'Dhul, was roughly lozenge-shaped, around 500 meters long.
It had the capacity for more than two hundred slaves and docking points for four escort coralskippers plus a fifth plane held back in reserve, but the crew was minimal, with a typical flight crew of just two, and a few squads of warriors to keep the slaves under control.
One of the earliest known uses of slaveships was during the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of Artorias where a large number of Artorian prisoners, including Kaye and Nina Galfridian of the Artorian royal family, were captured and forced inside the slaveships.
Later, after the Battle of Ebaq, a new type of slaveship was encountered: an immense balloon-like sphere with five massive tentacles hanging from the rear; the tentacles would suck up prisoners from the surface of a planet and convey them to the slave holds.
These newer slaveships were deployed at Barab I, N'zoth, Galantos, and during the invasion of the Imperial Remnant, and were designed to strip entire planetary populations, with estimated capacity of hundreds of thousands according to Captain Todra Mayn, so that they could be shaped into armies of slave warriors for the Yuuzhan Vong.
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- Invasion: Rescues 1
- Invasion: Rescues 2
- Emissary of the Void (First appearance)
- The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic I: Remnant (First appearance of a new huge variant)
- The New Jedi Order: Force Heretic III: Reunion (Mentioned only)
- Dark Nest I: The Joiner King