The HMS Ark Royal XVI was the most famous ship of the Ark Royal Series. These ships come from the distant and ancient race of Z-Tel?, whose home planet shares its name. The Z-Tel are believed to be the original human race, who has been building these gargantuan ships since the discovery of space travel, to spread the human race throughout the galaxy. It is rumored that it was the ill-fated HMS Ark Royal II that crash-landed on Terra megacycles ago, and whose crew members were the original Terrans.|
The XVI was the oldest surviving Ark at the time of the Orbital Wars. It was a unique design in the Ark Royal series, in that it was designed to be reused. Whereas previous Ark Crews needed to demolish their Arks in order to reclaim the necessary resources to start a new civilization, the XVI was the first Ark where the propulsion core could be re-used to build a new Ark. Thus, after the new colony had grown to a substantial size, they would fill up the new Ark with a new group of colonists and the cycle would begin again. Due to unknown political reasons on Z-tel, this was the only Ark of its kind.
During the Orbital Wars, the XVI was owned by the Union. By that time, its colonizing function had been phased out and was being used as the space fleet headquarters for the Union. In fact, the official Union name for the ship was the Union Grand Master. The ship did not actually participate in any battles, due to the fact that the Union had declared a neutral stance in the conflict, but was used as the information and tracking center during the Wars.
[Ilona Bevan]? was stationed on the XVI during the Wars, and it was from there that she launched the [Union Reform Movement]?. In the years following the Orbital Wars, through [Practical Symbology]?, the numeral XVI became the insignia for the Movement.