A spaceship (also commonly known as a starship) is a vessel capable of interstellar travel between planets and galaxies. Spaceships are distinguished by their ability to operate in the vacuum in space. Nearly all spaceships are equipped with a Flash Drive which allows for faster than light travel.
Because ships fly by means of their repulsor fields nullifying the effects of gravity, their flight capabilities are not tied to aerodynamics. This allows spaceships to be of nearly any design imaginable. Designs are influenced more by a sense of aesthetics than any kind of functionality. Utility ships, for instance, are sometimes simple shapes whereas spaceships made for commercial or personal use will be made a bit more visually appealing. Military ships are made to look mean with oversized menacing features. Fast ships are made to look fast with narrow profiles or wings, fins or spoilers which serve no functional purpose.
As two characters were once overheard saying:
A: That ship's probably really fast.
B: How can you tell?
A: Because it looks like it goes really fast.
Thrust Drive Edit
Thrust Drives, or thrusters for short, are used by spaceships for sublight travel when they are moving about in a planet's gravity well or to travel within a single planetary system. While a ship's Gravisphere would create a field of anti-gravity that could move it around, it is the thrusters that give starships their incredible speed.
While they are incapable of faster than light travel, thrust drives were capable of substantial speed. The fastest recorded speed of a thrust drive was a quarter the speed of light.
Flash Drive Edit
Flash Drives are used when a ship needs to travel the vast distances between stars. When a ship is going to go faster than light speeds, a course is plotted into the navicomputer at which point a ship's autopilot will commonly take over. The Thrusters disengage and the flash field coils will charge up, creating the field effect which enables a ship to move at trans-light speeds. While Thrust Drives cannot go faster than light, Flash Drives can ONLY move at trans-light speeds. Trying to get one to travel at less than light speed will cause the Flash Field to fail and the Flash Drive to shut down.
Flash Drives are commonly classed with a number system where the higher number denotes the more powerful drive. Class 3 Drives and below are only capable of interstellar travel within a single galaxy while Class 4 and above are capable of traversing intergalactic distances in a reasonable amount of time. It is uncommon for privately owned or commercial ships to have anything higher than a class 5 Drive, but most of the greater military powers use ships with a Class 8 Drive. SENTINEL Peacekeeper Ships have Class 9 Drives.
The crew of a particular vessel depends greatly on its class. Smaller ships such as space pods, single man fighters, and private transports require only a single pilot. Larger ships up through freighters and light cruisers generally make use of larger crews, but can also be flown with a single pilot. Larger ships such as battlecruisers and capital ships typically require hundreds and in some cases thousands of crewmen.
Due to the threats of pirates and outlaws, most ships capable of interstellar travel are allowed small guns for self defense. It is a common problem across the Universe when spaceship owners will arm their ships past legal limits with a number of jammers installed to fool inspectors.
Military ships of course, are for more heavily armed and will have numerous laser cannon batteries and torpedo tubes.
Nearly all modern spacecraft use powerful force fields called Shields for protection against natural hazards or enemy attacks. Projected from Shield Emitters on a vessel's hull, the force field will envelop the ship completely. Shields generally follow the same path as the gravity field projected by a ship's gravisphere. Both matter and highly concentrated energy are deflected away or absorbed.
However, continuous or extremely powerful energy discharges (such as laser cannons) can progressively compromise force field integrity to the point of shield failure. When Shield Strength is brought to 0%, the vessel's hull is completely exposed. A special function of modern shields is they are able to regenerate over time if they are not subjected to any further attacks.
Spaceships come in a very wide variety of shapes and sizes. They are divided into Light, Medium, and Heavy classes. Light class ships are the only kind regarded as skyworthy or "street legal" ships. This means they are equipped and licensed to fly on the skyways of most planets. Skyworthy ships require specific configurations of lighting, signal lights and safety equipment.
Unlike Light Class Ships which can be manned by a single person, ships at the Medium and Heavy Class require large crews to operate. Medium and Heavy class ships are regarded as far too large to navigate the sky traffic of most planets are instead confined to pre-plotted shipping lanes when they enter a planet's atmosphere.
Space Pods - Small, single seat vessels, spherical in shape and about 5' in diameter. Space Pods are popular among outlaws who will trick them out and roam the spaceways in large gangs.
Shuttles - A small craft used to transport personnel. All 3 Classes of Shuttle (I, II, and III) are recognized as skyworthy. Class I Shuttles are arguably the most common spaceships in the Universe due to the ease of their construction and comparatively low cost. However, because of their size they are unpopular for long trips across the Universe. Class III Shuttles are typically as large as light cruisers but with fewer facilities. Ships of this size are popular as yachts for affluent people.
Examples: Go Machine
Light Cruisers/Freighters - Typically on the larger end of skyworthy ships, Light cruisers and freighters are transport ships used to move freight or people. They come in probably the most wide variety of shapes and sizes of all space ship classes. While very few were designed for military use, most models were easily modified which made them popular with pirates and other outlaws. Private ownership of a light cruiser tends to attact a specific kind of individual, and the class is synonymous with drifters and other individuals who had no interest or ability in putting down roots. For many owners of Light Cruisers, the ship will often serve as their home.
Examples: Rocco II, SENTINEL Prowler
Tractors - Also called Haulers, these ships tow trailers full of cargo over vast distances. While tractors themselves are about the size of light cruisers, they typically pull long lines of cargo pods.
Corvettes - The smallest of the medium class warships, Corvettes often act as scout ships or escorts to larger vessels. Often have crews of roughly 50.
Examples: The Albatross
Frigates - Larger warships used for a wide variety of roles. Often have between 250-300 crew.
Battle Cruisers - Larger warships with heavy laser batteries and torpedo banks. Often have between 500-1200 crewmen.
Examples: Patrick III,
Space Liners - Liners are ships made to carry large amounts of freight or people.
Starferries - Ferries are ships that will transport smaller ships across intergalactic distances in relative comfort. While most light trips can travel interstellar distances with little trouble, most are not set up for comfortable or speedy travel across the vast distances between galaxies.
Capital Ships - The largest class of starship. Typically warships. Often have crews of 1000 - 5000+. Most states will have capital ships as the center of battlegroups surrounded by Medium vessels.
Examples: SENTINEL Peacekeeper
Heavy Liners - Massive ships used for the hauling of vast amounts of people or cargo.
Space Stations - Artificial structures kept in orbit or deep space. While many space stations are parked in stationary positions, most are able to move under their own power and can act as mother ships for smaller vessels. Many space stations can support millions of people.
Examples: Arkem, Providence, Antioch
Popular Manufacturers Edit
The unofficial center of spaceship construction is the planet Tanthalas in the Great Jehdan Imperium. Several of the companies which create the most popular ships found throughout the universe are based there. This is a list of the most famous.
Astro was founded by an engineer from one of the higher end companies who wanted to create affordable ships for the common man. Astro ships are noted for their simplicity of design and construction for the purposes of keeping cost down, and because of this there is a slight drop off in quality for Astro ships compared to many of the other companies. That said, they are easily modified and are popular with hobbyists.
Astro creates many of the most popular and commonly seen starships in the modern universe. Their main seller is the Astro Ranger followed by the Astro Corona. They created so called Muscle Ships like the Wild Cat to compete with Colt’s Lancer and Charger models. Their most popular seller is the Giant G-Series Light Freighters.
Colt Stardrive Company
Famous (or infamous) for their preoccupation with power, Colt ships are very popular with those who prize speed & durability (albeit at the cost of handling). Famous models made by Colt are the Colt Strike, Lancer, Charger, and their most popular ship, the Ramrod light freighter.
One of the older manufacturers, Mirai is known for their high performance Superships. Their ships are typically bought by the affluent as status symbols. Mirai’s most popular models are the Mirage, Oasis, and the Illusion. They also build the civilian model of the SENTINEL Prowler, the Mirai Eclipse.
This Stardrive Manufacturer tends to create more “sporty” ships, rarely building bigger than Class II Shuttles. Fieri ships sacrifice power for maneuverability and solid handling, but being lighter are still able to achieve good speed. For this reason Fieri ships are popular with underground racers. Among the best known of their models is the Fieri Stingray.
- When describing things to June, John likens spaceships to cars. Upon boarding the Rocco II she was surprised that the helm resembled a driver's seat in a standard car. While she initially thought this was a change John had made according to his tastes, she quickly discovered that nearly every other spaceship she went on had a similar arrangement.
- Tractors (occasionally called Haulers) are ships which commonly tow one or more trailers full of cargo across interstellar distances. Tractors are generally considered the high end for "street legal" classifications on most planets.