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Often called "Archie" (after Archimedes, Merlin's pet owl) by its owner, Dan Dreiberg, the Owlship was the primary vehicle used by Dreiberg as the second Nite Owl. Resembling a giant owl's head, it had the power to fly, hover and submerge under water. It was outfitted with defensive and offensive weapons: For defense it had powerful "screechers" that emitted a high-pitched sound which could distract or pacify enemies and blowers that produced concealing fog (from dry ice). For offensive capability it had missiles, a flamethrower, water cannons, and an electrical weapon, the function of which is not depicted in the story. Archie also contained two "hoverbikes", small vehicles that could cover short distances. A draw-bridge with pop-up hand-railings could be extended out in front of the left side door. If the situation called for additional room in the cabin, Dreiberg could attach a steering column to the roof and control the ship from the exterior. For the movie, the screechers, blowers, and flamethrowers remain (and likely the missiles, but they are never used), but it has no hoverbikes, cannot be steered from the outside (or never needed to be), and instead of a water cannon, it had a machine gun.
During the events of Watchmen, Archie goes unused (Dreiberg having been in retirement since the passage of the Keene Act in 1977) until Chapter VII, when Dreiberg and Laurie Juspeczyk come out of retirement, subsequently rescuing the occupants of a burning tenement. The ship also plays a significant role in Dreiberg's plan to free Rorschach from prison. Later, Rorschach and Dreiberg travel to Antarctica in it to confront Adrian Veidt.
Though Archie was a formidable weapon in the Nite Owl's arsenal, it was susceptible to engine seizure when the engines were subjected to freezing ice. Shortly after finishing their investigation in New York City, where Archie was submerged in a river for several hours, the water contained in its housing freezes quickly upon arrival in Antarctica. The engines stall, forcing a crash landing. Nite Owl and Rorschach are forced to finish the journey on Dreiberg's hoverbikes.