Here we go, an update at last!
First things first. I promised a video of the new Xin outpost, and here it is! This recon footage was captured by a spy ship lurking on the fringes of a remote cluster of stars where random sightings of strange and unindentified ships have been sporadically reported by merchant and private traffic. It's not long, but it seems to indicate that the newcomers have the ability to, according to the visual analysts and science experts, create stable black holes. Theoretically, these black holes do not rotate at extreme rates as is usually the case with naturally occuring ones. This would make is possible to actually transverse the event horizon without the spiral stretching that pulverizes any object getting too close to the black hole.
By what can be seen in the footage, this appears to be exactly the case...
The Last Stand Mod for Sins of a Solar Empire Videos & Audio - Mod DB
More about the Chimera: this ship is intended as a support vessel for Xin fleets. It is completely unarmed by itself, though it sports the thick armor and strong shields typical for Xin vessels. It can also deploy a number of specialized attack/defense drones - these are frigate-sized and accordingly powerful and difficult to destroy. However, they are completely dependant on their mothership and cannot operate on their own (i.e. hyperspace). The number of these drones increases as the ship gains overall experience. At high levels the Chimera should be able to put up quite a fight on its own.
Its main abilities are, however, tied purely with supporting the other capital ships and vessels in Xin fleets. The Chimera is the only Xin ship which can provide non-combat support. For example, it can provide shield boosting to replenish the powerful but slow-to-recharge barriers on other ships. It can also provide limited but constant repair service to any ships in its area of influence. Naturally, it can also colonize new world, just like the Seeder Pods.
But the most powerful and valuable ability the Chimera has, once the appropriate research has been completed, is the ability to deploy specialized graviton beacons. These minuscule structures serve as a housing to a dedicated Singularity Engine designed to entice the formation of a stable Black Hole. This in turn opens probably the fastest mode of travel possible, enabling the transportation of huge objects across great distances instantaneously. In Chimera's case, that object is the Sentinel Outpost.
The Sentinel is designed to be primarily a tactical tool; it cannot therefore be upgraded or modified as is the case with Starbases. It is, however, meant to be deployed in larger numbers. It can be deployed anywhere a Chimera can fly, including enemy sectors, though that may prove to be very difficult to pull off if there are any targets or threats nearby - failsafe mechanisms prevent the ship from deploying a very expensive but also very fragile beacon when the ship itself perceives danger. Should the beacon be deployed none the less, even a single stray shot would probably be enough to destroy it. Considering it takes almost thirty seconds to form a black hole of sufficient stability for the Sentinel to come through, releasing the beacon in a middle of a firefight is very unwise.
The outpost is heavily protected, and also very well armed, both with long-range capital electron rays simmilar to those seen on the Tyrant battleship as well as with scores of Xin Multipurpose Fighters, attack drones capable of acting in both anti-fighter and anti-ship roles.
The Multipurpose Fighter can be spotted in this comparison render next to the Impaler Drone.
The Sentinel can also make use of a number of abilities which serve to enhance the reach and (poor) flexibility of Xin fleets, or provide the same with the tools required to trap an enemy force and annihilate it. The most powerful of these is a wide-range interdiction field, preventing ships from phasing out. The second is the ability to act as a remote wormhole stabilizer node, same as those commonly built throughout Xin held space to accelerate otherwise slow interplanetary travels speeds of Xin ships. That way the sphere of influence of the dreaded Xin wormhole network can be strategically extended, a most useful tool in the hands of a cabale warlord.
This much for now, coming up next: Capital Shipyard and the formidable Wyrm Dreadnaught.