Friday, November 15, 2013

Ship Class 1-6

I had this idea for ships ranked by numeric class 1-6.

Anything over a class 3 ship in civilian hands is quite suspicious and likely to invite bothersome inspections by (name of cliche authoritarian space government). Many a speedy smuggler, aka "Hoppers", piloting a class 4 have been nabbed and had their ship and cargo seized. Therefore, most regular space jockeys stick to a class 3 or below. Average transports rarely exceed a class 2 and class 3s are reserved for freighters making intergalactic supply runs. These heavy haulers often dock at spaceports to swap cargo and carry on or return the way they came. It's not uncommon for a freighter crew to simply go where the work and fuel cells carry them, staying on the move and "shooting the stars" for as long as they can.

Regardless of a ship's class, all jump drives, aka "hel-cores", are powered by intense bursts of BBN. The regular engines all run on hydrogen fuel.

Hydrogen fuel is ideal for it's abundance and recycle-ability into water and algae, both of which can sustain the crew for months in the event of a jump drive breakdown. However, prolonged exposure combined with infrequent and/or shoddy maintenance can make metal quite brittle. Every pilot can tell you stories of a ship whose fuel cells shattered, released hydrogen into the ship's artificial atmo, and blew the whole crew to kingdom come. "Only a fool neglects his fuel" is an adage commonly heard in every corner of the galaxy.

Some larger ships can be modified to siphon hydrogen fuel from gas planets, but with the high cost of custom "H scoops" also comes the risk that the ships could be destroyed by the dangerous skimming. Skimming planets involves buzzing their atmosphere and pulling hydrogen into condensers, but doing so exposes the ships to other harmful effects, not the least of which being simple icing of the vents, thrusters, and other such mechanics. If a ship freezes up while skimming a large gas giant, it can easily be pulled into the core depths and crushed by the immense pressure.

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