Starships and Space Travel

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"Jean stayed at the helm of the Dauntless as it sailed soundless through the Star-Winds. A great unseen motion of gravity and sunlight from one of the great central stars that provided currents for the ship to catch with its great Solar-Sails. Even now the Dauntless was shifting through the Winds as it was being carried onward toward Erlik from a trade run in the Masardie Sector. Jean smiled as the great plasglass windows provided him a safe sight of what was in front of him. A deep hum from the internal AFD drive which powered the ships thrusts and spatial anchors continued as the ship was in sailing mode while moving at high speeds.


The Dauntless was almost looked like a galleon from old legends of the high seas of Elys, but was shaped in a more smoothed and squarish fashioned A raised section of the bridge sat upon a narrow long hull that then ended in a point. Gunports sat along the side to provide defense in case of attack by corsairs, and long plassteel cables connected to the four great sails that spread out in a large square pattern on either side of the front hull."

-Adventures of Jean Starwalker, Grand Star-Archive

Life in the Sea of Stars is filled with danger, adventure, and is constantly a gamble. High stakes are always applied in the vacuum of the Sea as it is far unlike anything Faerin, Enarodyric or even Arashic kind could fathom. Only the Shipborn and the Voidkin seemed to at home in the depths of the endless black abyss that is the Sea of Stars Those that ply the sea are often called Astraliners, taken from an old word of Elys to mean one who plies the stars.


Starships of Avalon

The configuration and design of ships found across the Known Space of the Avalon Cluster are quite varied and differentiated as a result of cultural diversity. But over time as three successive Imperial Dynasties have proven, even the most stubborn can come to understand the advantages of standardization. It is because of this standardization undertaken by the small by powerful guild known as the Artificers Guild, who are the most skilled ship builders in the known Stars. The Guild itself while not as powerful as the Wrights or the Meisters Guild still has come to define the basics of starship design throughout the Avalon Cluster (even the Gwagaruh adhere to it for reasons unknown).


Ship Classifications

See also: Active Ship Models

The Artificers Guild categorizes Starships into a series of general categories based upon weapons capability, size, general duties assigned to the ship in general. Ships are categorized into a series of configurations such as "Transport", "Strike Craft", and "Capital Craft". Generally these configurations are then split into a series of "Classes" which designate the general design and format of the ship itself. Much like the design of Chevalier ships follow certain formats and designs laid out by the Artificers Guild.


Transport Craft

Transport ships include large container cargo ships (often called Knarrs or Cogs for short) that can carry large loads of material with minium crew. Smaller transports also include small or large shuttles (generally holding a handful of persons and used for short range transport) to large transport liners which contain extra room for larger populations (such as trooper carriers or the Gwagaruh Nest-Ships). Transport craft in generally feature only minor weaponry such as defensive rail gun turrets or missile deterrents.


Strike Craft

Corvettes and fighters fall under the definition of "Strike Craft". This category generally refers to small quick ships that can only travel for limit spaces of time and often feature a small crew of no more than twenty. Gunships are the largest of the Strike Craft and are often used as heavy escort while corvettes and fighters are smaller attack craft. Scout ships and exploratory craft sometimes fall under this purview when they are heavily armored or used to probe enemy territory.


Capital Craft

Most combat vessels such as Frigates and Destroyers fall under the categorization of Capital Craft. Larger vessels such as "Ships-Of-The-Line" and Carriers often make up the large more complicated center of combat or patrol fleets. Most of these ships also allow for the transport of Chevalier Chariot vehicles and the carrying of Chevaliers themselves. Most Houses can afford a few Capital Craft with only the Great Houses having enough funds to keep more than a single fleet active at one time.


Starship Identification

Main article: Imperial identification Serial System

Starships across the Triad follow what is known as the Imperial Identification Serial System or IISS which expands to all large scale near independent ships and craft (such as Transport and Capital Craft and Chevaliers). This system was imposed by the Emperors of the Artur Dynasty as a means of tracking the powerful weaponized vehicles across the Triad. Most ships in the Triad apply a simplified serial number that incorporates the year of their production, the location of its production, and a letter indication the ships status in holding its name (sometimes a name is passed along over the years as ships are decommissioned or are lost).


General Makeup

Starships within the Avalon Cluster come in many different shapes and sizes. Almost all have a primary bridge where the captain is able to along with the Bridge Officers to maintain strict attention when traveling through space. Most bridges are split into tactical, operations, the helm, and general systems. Another key feature of most ships is the engineering room dedicated to the Aeonflux Drive cores and the systems that help to maintain structural integrity.

Most ships contain the following major sections:

  • The Bridge - An area located near the upper stern of the ships upper hull or near the bow. General specifications include a place for the central officer to sit (usually the captain). The bridge often includes a tactical station to direct the ship's weapons, a helm to steer the ship in general.
  • Engineering - Home to the central AFD power systems and the ships central computer core. Includes an isolated area for the central cluster of Aeonflux Drives that then are aligned to formulate into central "Cor" or Heart that can be directed via specialized controls. These can be used to then direct the thrusters to guide the ship through space.
  • Command Core - The command core is the second major aspect of engineering that forms the neural system of the ship itself. Generally terminals that can access the core are found throughout the ship are regular intervals.
  • Medical Bay - A place to store medical supplies and equipment, the medical bay is often found within the ship and space far enough away from engineering just in case a containment leak occurs with the AFD Cor.
  • Galley - A mixture of Mess Hall and general ship's kitchen it is located near the main cargo bay so that food can be prepared quickly and done in an efficient manner. The kitchen itself possesses a limited cooking array as power created by the Cor must be focused on life support and maintaining the artificial gravity of the ship itself.
  • Sleeping Quarters - Suites and cabins set aside for the crew and passengers. Most are designed with a bunk (up to three for crewman) and a place to store minor effects and clothing.
  • Carrier Hold - A section found on Carriers and Ships-Of-The-Line to store shuttles, surface to air gunships and even strike craft.
  • Armory - The primary location of the ship's on board arsenal and where the crew may fall back in case of a boarding party, often defended by heavy shielding and multiple system firewalls.

Corvettes and Fighters do not contain a majority of the sections found in other ships. They will often contain a cockpit, a AFD Cor and a secondary area for storage. Smaller frigates such as Gunships often contain all the above, but will often combine the Command Core and the Bridge into one location with engineering remaining separate.


Ship Technologies and Features

There are multiple major technologies either than propulsion that exist on Starships throughout the Triad and beyond. These include the general propulsion systems, the inertial breaks, artificial gravity systems, defensive systems and weapon systems. Most if not all of these are managed and maintained by the central VI (virtual intelligence) which is then overseen by the head Systems Officer. Some larger ships even have a localized "TALOS" Soulgiven operator which allows for more freedom for the running of ships systems.


Propulsion

See also: Speed and Travel Times

Primary means of traveling through space is split between the Solar-Sails and the AFD thrusters which allow maneuvering. When not riding the Star-Winds the Solar-Sails can be used to catch gravitional eddies for swift turns and for minor speed adjustments. However, most non-Wind based travel is centered around the used of central AFD engines which allow for a basic speed known as fusion-shift. This often allows for travel between inner and outer orbit in a relatively manageable time (it cannot be used in atmospheric situations).

Fusion-shift cannot be used during Sail-shift or when the Solar-Sails are unfurled and used to travel across a system or inter-system travel. The strain placed on the Sails by the AFD central rockets would cause a mass concentration of strain to the plasteel cabling that holds the sails in place. Most Transport and Capital Craft possess access to solar sails with only Corvettes being able to use them for Strike Craft (fighters rely solely on fusion-shift methods of propulsion).


Construction and Hull

The general construction of a Starship is dependent upon its general configuration and the form it takes. Most combat vessels especially Capital craft are shaped in a elongated stile either cylindrical or arrowhead in shape. The areas that fasten to the long plasteel cables that hold the Solar-Sails are often called the "Masts" as a reference to the old sailing ships of old. The areas for masters are generally mid-way along the four points of the hull. Three long cables extend outward from the Masts and before the bow of the ship. The Masts can extend and retract the mooring cables of the Solar-Sails as necessary allow the ship to unfurl and lash the sales as necessary.

The hull and built of the ship comes in a series of layers based upon their purpose and design. This includes three primary layers of design; the defensive armor that is found on the exterior of the ship, the outer hull that is home to the maintenance corridors; and the inner hull used for habitation and work sections. Only the inner hull is pressurized with atmosphere at all times. The outer hull is shielded from stellar radiation, but remains pressurized as a means to conserve power. Sections of the outer hull are are always separated by hermetically sealed doors that prevent any foreign atmosphere, toxic irrants, or other foreign elements in general.

Sections of the outer hull are generally near a localized airlocks found at regular intervals across all decks. Within the inner hull occupants are usually able to travel in lifts go along the height of the ship itself. Most rooms are sealed with air tight doors that can be used to control ruptures in the hull itself or to isolate intruders.


Displays

Most consoles and terminals within a Starship are flat plasglass touch screens which can load a series of different programs. The central display for the ship itself is shown via a holographic image often projected from the center fo the bridge and can be used to view the long range sensors. The VI or the ships central intelligence then often communicates with the crew via the displays or selective holo projects. Most screns are reinforced with a clear plasteel plate which makes them hard to break or shatter unless hit by a massively concentrated impact. Some displays can even be activated and controlled via motion if motion cameras are installed within them.


Life Support

The active life support of a vessel is a mixture of water and air control systems along with heat. Most life support begins with the shielding build on the inner plating of the hull which allows the controlled atmosphere within the ship itself. The plating in addition to controlling the heat also protects those inside from radiation and the vacuum of space. There are multiple fail-safes installed upon all vessels that allow a ship to instantly shutter a broken bulk head or deal with an intense rupture of the hall. Life support in general runs on recycled air that often has a distinctly 'sanitized' smell to it. The water too is recycled which means it generally tasteless if not featuring a slight hint of metallic aftertaste because of the process of scrubbing and removing all pollutants.

One problem however with Life Support is its general limitations. Air must be eventually cleaned outside of the machines to replenish levels of oxygen, and water itself is still considered a expensive commodity especially in space. Many Starships who travel the Star-Winds in long journeys often incorporate plants, hydroponic gardens, and other organic means to maintain resources. It is not at all hard to buy frozen water sources or the chemicals to produce water from traveling merchants near the Marches or mine it from stray asteroids or planetoids.


Power

Engineering maintains a watch over the central AFD Cor and its energy output. Most energy needs for the vessel are filtered into secondary batteries to allow for focused supply to maintained for core ships systems (life support, weapons, sensors etc). In this regard personal use of power such as for cooking, personal use in quarters, or to charge central drives of smaller craft within (fighters, Chevaliers or ground vehicles). Most power options are controlled by the internal central batteries of the ship which can be assigned to allocate rations and access via either the bridge or Engineering. If the central Cor is affected by any adverse damage, or computer failure secondary and even tertiary systems will engage. These systems will generally activated within milliseconds of central power failure.

Lighting within a ship is generally done via localized sources set within the ceiling or the wall. Most Starships are programmed to display lighting only when someone is present, and to turn off lighting and other power uses when no one is nearby.


Offensive Systems

Weapon systems for a ship are generally controlled by the tactical stations on the bridge, or within the primary cockpit of a ship. Sometimes a secondary turrets will have individual aiming systems or even separate tactical stations. These exist as a means of allowing for pivoting control and for secondary tracking. Secondary turrets exist not for attack purposes primarily, but defensive. They are needed to take out incoming rockets, take downs smaller quicker craft, or destroy errant objects in space. Primary guns are generally semi-fixed (they can be aimed in along an x or y plane only which can require the ship to change its angle of movement) located along the broadside of the ship (in the cases of smaller ships they are located ear the wing or the front).

Main guns are found within gunports too as a means of shielding them during hits and from external threats. The constant threat bombardment from space debris generally from damaging internal systems. Weapon types for ships for cannons include rail guns which can shoot a variety of projectiles (explosive, corrosive, scatter bombs and heavy armor penetration). Some ships with greater power output are able to use heavy beam weapons which issue a large blast of focused heated laser light. These weapons however require significant cooling and can only be fired in lengthy intervals (at least a minute between firing).

Other offensive systems available to ships is that of torpedo bays and primary surface missile systems. These are often used for fast moving targets or to strike at atmospheric targets. Surface missiles are shielded for re-entry and can take more damage (sometimes they are used to strike targets which are near heated areas or may be using explosive shielding).


Defensive Systems

The primary defense of a starship is its armor. Armor is located in a series of layers on the outer shield are a mixture of layers. The outermost layer is generally made of a fine nano-lacquered film which can over time recoup damage to the ship itself. This is often known as the plasmatic armor and often requires raw materials for the nannites to rebuild lost sections (these are found in specially expelled packages launched via special pipelines located in the outer hall, the plasmatic armor then uses these to being the most basic of repairs). Underneath the plasmatic armor is then a thick layer of Grey Ada plating which absorbs and displaces the energy of incoming impacts. Underneath the that is then a thick reinforced layer of compartments with radiation shielding and interlocking caissons which can be flooded with coolant incase of fire or to deal with ruptures in space.

Any sort of hull breach is automatically sealed by the plasmatic armor if possible, but in cases of extreme duress the nanites that make up the plasm film may fail and force secondary breach systems to release a fine mist which will coagulate near the rupture in the hull itself. Weapon defense is generally provided by a series of small turrets located regularly across the hull of the ship. This is the first line of defense against incoming projectives and torpedos. These small cannons will release a spread of explosive counter charges, point defense shots, and concussive mines that can be used to decoy against enemy volleys.


Anti-Hacking Measures

Throughout most of the internal Ship Systems Command Core are defended by a series of programs that attempt to prevent hacking via external sources. These programs can be at times quite complicated and often spiral out subroutines that confuse and even harm hackers who might attempt to break the ships firewall defenses.


Communications and Sensors

Most if not all Avalonic Starships all possess a Sensor Array which can do multiple things such as detect radiation levels, location incoming ships within a set sphere of detection (long range is a few hundred klicks or usually no more than, short range is under a hundred klicks). Sensors can be brought up on displays across the ship with long range only being available in the Bridge or Engineering. Most Sensors arrays are found as small dishes which can retract from the outer hall into sensor ports (when retracted they lose all long range ability). Communication for most ships is conducted using Virtual Networks over the SysNet and having the information transferred using narrow-band laser emissions. Because a ship is constantly on the move there is a considerable lag time outside of the central network of the ship (lovingly called shlag or "SHIP LAG").

Internal ship systems which are overseen by the VI or a TALOS are generally charged with managing the series of communications required coordinate efforts across the ship and others. In many cases these internal communications are done in a basic chat system or sometimes in full dive VR interactions via the SysNet.


Navigation and the Helm

See also: Navigational Technology

The navigation systems of a Starship are reliant upon gravimetric sensors that are able to sense the changes in gravity wells across the Avalon Cluster. Most of these sensors also allow someone to sense the movement of Star light across the Triad and thus ride the Star-Winds themselves. More complicated sensors include the ones that track the movements of various spatial bodies. Other than the primary viewer, a major means of navigation was the proximity sensor, a display that allowed the pilot of the ship to detect down to the centimevre of how close the ship is near an object or distortion.

Throughout the Triad there are also a series of buoys and relays that allow individuals to locate particular locations within a given area. Most headings for travel are based upon the information provided using a ships SPS (Spatial Position Sensor).


Artificial Gravity

The artificial gravity systems are sometimes called the "Gravitas Field" and are generated as a strange reaction between the AFD Cor and the inertial breaks found across the ship itself. Both of these technologies thus create a lesser form of gravity than that of the worlds (about three quarters normal gravity) and can only be found in the inner hull (the outer decks lack gravity). The system itself generally operates quite well under most circumstances, but can face some problems during specific occasions. In cases of quick sudden turns or increased speeds (hard burn when the Thrusters are activated to increased the speed built to add to the Solar Sails).

When power gets low or secondary systems for power are engaged Artificial Gravity will in general disengage meaning that hand grips and restrains (a belt that can be attached to ports and links across the ship). If not restrained an individual can be hurt during drastic changes in course or drastic changes in speed. Most problems in gravity such as exiting atmosphere or gravity wells along with changes in course (not including drastic course changes or turns) are dealt with by Inertial Breaks. The breaks themselves decrease the shifts in gravity to manageable level (this can however still cause problems such as space sickness).