When they were launched in EA2000, the fifty Arks of the great Empyraen expansion were the largest and most ambitious spacecraft ever constructed. They were also the very first specialist colonisation craft ever built by human or dwarf hands. From the newly expanding Selenar orbital ring, massive temporary gantries and construction docks extended out for miles. At the peak of construction, over a million men, women, and dwarves were at work. The light of their labours, it was said, could be seen from the surface of Gaia with the naked eye on a clear night.
Each massive Ark measured 15 kilometres in length, 5 km across the beam, and 7 km from 'keel to sail'. It is fitted with ten massive Helion EDX-1-C fusion engines, powered by the still experimental Hades Alpha-B macro-fusion reactor which allow a theoretical speed of up to 1/gamma 0.51 or up to 51% of the speed of light in 11-13 minutes of steady acceleration. The Arks carry no reflex field emitters or voidgate transponders as this technology had yet to be unlocked when they were launched, it would be 150 more years until the first interhelion human warships would be built. Though highly advanced and innovative for their time, Arks are whole orders of magnitude behind more the modern craft of the Kalshodar which, are themselves near to being relics.
One brilliant innovation in the construction of the Arks is what came to be known as the 'Spears of Phanes' or the vast terraforming engines which constitute a large portion of these vessels, seven giant launchers per side of each Ark. Surprisingly little data has been preserved about this technology which was said to be able to render 'slightly hostile to human life' worlds habitable within no longer than five Gaian years. Some darker murmurers say this is because the biomass used to terraform such worlds could easily come from whatever was already living there. Though thought a great advantage and great innovation at the time, the Spears of Phanes were soon realised to be potential weapons of mass destruction and, ashamed by what they had created, the dwarf scientists destroyed all records.
What records remain that once the Ark found a suitable planet or moon, it would achieve orbit and launch its cargo of Spears, all but the dense tungsten tip contained within their bulky 'carriers'. Technicians and pioneer colonists would follow shortly afterward and use the elements from those 'carriers' to construct habitat and mining facilities so that they could monitor and 'feed' the mysterious engines themselves, which had penetrated the very crust of the target world and therefore made excellent anchor sites.
Others state more innocently that the Spears of Phanes were genetic repositories for basic and complex Gaian lifeforms needed to make hostile worlds habitable and we believe that this is, in part true but that the rumours about how the pankosmia within them worked so quickly may have a basis in fact. That no dwarf will speak of this technology either publically or privately serves only to reinforce this possibility.
Part of the reason the Kalshodar are so keen to locate intact Arks may well be to ensure that Spear technology does not fall into the wrong hands.