Last time the Octopus posted, we were looking at the early stages of an Eclipse Phase adventure. Let’s pick back up today with the next part of it, wherein we look at the ship itself. Unfortunately, finding a map for a cargo starship has proven beyond my Google-fu, so we’ll be laying it out in words.
The Evening Star is a cylindrical vessel 150 meters in lengths and 30 meters across, built with trilateral symmetry; designed to experience most of the trip either accelerating or decelerating, the whole thing is arranged into floors, each one occupying a ten-meter segment. The thirty meters in the middle are reserved for the crew of the vessel, with the medical bay currently occupied by the players insulated from the outer edge of the vessel by one of the massive water tanks. The sixty meters at the nose are reserved for the cargo bays, as are the thirty meters ‘below’ the habitation segments. The last thirty meters are reserved for the ship’s non-life-support systems, including the drive and the communication arrays.
The habitation segments have personal quarters arranged into sets of eight on each of the trilateral portions on the ‘top’ segment; on a normal trip with only twelve people, each of the crew essentially had a bedroom and a living room reserved for their own use. Each of these segments has a small galley attached, enough to let each person handle their meals in private if so desired; shared between two people the galleys were more than enough to let the crew essentially function with nothing more than professional overlap if they wanted.
The middle segment has the vessel’s water tanks arrange in six segments around the outer hull, These served as much as radiation shielding as water supply or emergency fuel, protecting the ship’s medical and resleeving facility from radiation along with the exercise room, the food stores for the crew, and a science lab for studies being done on the long haul. The resleeving facility is built to be able to grow new morphs as needed, keeping a stock of six healthy spare morphs aboard the ship during most hauls; the usual load was three splicers, two furies, and a sylph, the latter being designated for the captain at any given time.
The bottom segment housed entertainment facilities, including one room dedicated to a localized and isolated mesh network for people to use for communal VR experiences, including multiplayer games and for the purpose of briefing the crew when necessary. It also houses rows of lockers for personal effects not stored in a person’s rooms and the on-ship fabbing facilities; being a long-range cargo hauler that could be out for years at a time, the fabbers aboard the ship are quite thoroughly jailbroken, capable of fabbing up anything that the user has materials and schematics for.
Outside of this area, each cargo level is split into three bays, with mass arranged so that the thrust from the vessel’s three exhaust nozzles is distributed as evenly as possible across the ship’s framework. The three decks at the top and the three under the habitation area are generally reserved for radiation-resistant cargo – blocks of raw fabber material, raw ore, masses of cometary ice on the odd occasions that someone decides to haul back only part of a comet, and so on. The three bays directly above the crew section are reserved for more delicate cargo – anything easily damaged by radiation goes here, as does any organic life, whether stored in a support tube or left free to grow during the trip to the cargo’s destination.
The primary drive for the ship is a four-chamber ion drive that uses a small trickle of water from the tanks to propel the ship; the thrust is absolutely minimal, just enough to provide the ghost of gravity needed to provide orientation to the ship’s design without seriously hampering the crew climbing up and down the central shaft, and with no risk of stray objects dropping down the chamber with any significant danger. Hydrogen harvested by breaking the water down gets used to provide maneuvering jets when the ship reaches the halfway point of a given journey; over the course of a week, cargo would be strapped back down and personal items stowed, followed by a few hours spent carefully inverting the vessel before turning the ion drive back on.
This, of course, is the baseline design of the ship; anyone with an appropriate Hardware skill knows this, and the ship’s schematics can be pulled from the shipboard mesh. Of course, the degree to which reality deviates from the blueprint makes it somewhat less than reliable.
Next time, we’ll look at the physical changes that the Evening Star has suffered since it went missing, and touch on some of the horrific aspects of it.