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From the Ship Construction Manual ... These capital ships are used to protect a group of ships against larger enemy vessels. When used in this role, they are accompanied by destroyers. Cruisers also serve as research vessels. All contain extensive laboratory and computer facilities. They are deployed mainly in non-sensitive frontier areas following up scouting reports. They have medium to heavy armament and shields, and are generally capable of high warp speeds and medium to fast sub-light maneuverability.