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Space Travel

This page covers the logistics of travelling in space. Anyone may know the information on this page, but it is assumed that characters with General Piloting are all aware of the information presented here. The key things to be aware of are:

  • Jumping between systems (shown as hexes on the Space Map uses up 1 unit of Deimium Fuel per jump (it therefore takes 2 units to jump to a system and back again).
  • Travelling within systems requires piloting and engines.
  • Entering atmospheres requires strong enough hulls.
  • Space-walks are dangerous.

Travelling in space is a non-trivial task. It takes time to master and can go wrong if you don't know what you're doing. Anyone who undergoes any sort of pilot training, however, will be familiar with the key elements of space travel enough to successfully jump a ship between systems, fly the ship in space within that system, and to enter and leave the gravitational pull of a planet.

Those familiar with Space Travel will also be aware of objects that may be found in space, as well as how to exit a starship to perform a space walk or other Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA).

Between Systems: Faster Than Light Jumps

Travel between Solar Systems requires the most expensive and most technologically advanced piece of equipment in the known world: the Black Box Faster Than Light Jump Drive, so named due to the nigh incomprehensible nature of its interior workings1). The Black Box FTL Jump Drive is installed on every ship that survived the destruction of Earth2) and its operation is mostly computerised: so long as the ship attempting to jump is in a fit state to jump and is carrying no more than 3 units of Deimium FTL Jump Drive Fuel (with the exception of The Princess).

  1. Navigation. The FTL Jump Drive is given a valid set of coordinates selected from the navigational computer (coordinates to a position within an adjacent system that would not land the ship within a celestial body such as a star or a planet) and the Jump Drive Computer determines how to perform the jump for the ship within seconds.
  2. Spooling. The FTL Jump Drive begins to extract one unit of Deimium FTL Jump Drive Fuel from storage and, after the ship's computer confirms there are no more than 3 units of Fuel in total aboard the ship, begins to spool up in order to become ready to jump. The spool time of a ship varies depending on the size of its ship (consult your owner's manual for this time) and during this time the drive will be highly radioactive and should not be interacted with. It is not possible to initiate docking with a ship that is spooling up3)
  3. Jumping. Once spooled up, the FTL Jump Drive will immediately transport the entire ship from its current location to its destination, consuming the FTL Fuel and its container from the Cargo Bay.
  4. Cooldown. Upon arrival, the FTL Jump Drive is incredibly hot for a short period of time while it cools down. During this time, another jump cannot be made immediately and the drive should not be interacted with. The amount of time it takes to cool down the FTL Jump Drive is usually equivalent to the time it takes to spool it up.

It is worth noting that units of Deimium Fuel, usually stored in 2m x 2m cubes, can be moved and transported even between ships in the same system without a problem, but only the Princess and a similar (but rather shinier) ship in the Salvation Fleet have so far been made capable of jumping with more than 3 of them in storage: without the appropriate compartmentalisation that these ships have, large quantites of Deimium undergoing an FTL jump together have a tendency to resonate… unpleasantly. The Princess is therefore relied on to regularly dispense units to all other ships.

Within Systems: Photonic Impulse Engines

Space travel within systems, or indeed at any speed that is below Light Speed, is managed by the pilot of a starship using the Photonic Impulse Engines of the ship. These engines do not require additional refuelling but rather charge their batteries from the solar power of even distant suns and are fully recharged by the radiation spat out by their own ship during a successful FTL Jump.

Navigating and Piloting a starship within solar systems is a complicated job, and requires at least General Piloting or a functioning Advanced Autopilot to be able to achieve without risking ripping the entire ship apart, as well as an engine capable of making interplanetary trips.

With a capable engine and competent pilot, travelling between planets takes between hours and minutes depending on the distances involve and the speed of the engine (consult your owner's manual). This is, however, the easy part of piloting. The harder part comes from avoiding obstacles.

There are many things that may require avoiding in a star system: planets, asteroids, comets, other ships, missiles hurtling toward you… a competent pilot should be able to avoid the larger ones of these at reasonable speeds, but navigating asteroid fields or avoiding fire in an intense dogfight requires better skill.

Transporting between ships in a fleet is a somewhat simpler job and can be achieved with a ship's basic autopilot and stock engines if needs be. Even those without ships can pretty easily get a lift if need be. It is not necessary to leave the security of a ship to transfer to another since all ships in the Fleet are capable of docking with each other.

Landing and Docking

The final crucial part of space travel is landing. Certain celestial bodies, such as planets, asteroids and comets, as well as ships that are equipped with hangars, can be landed on with General Piloting and a functioning ship. Other bodies, such as stars and gas giants, cannot be landed on.

Bodies with atmospheres take their toll on the hulls of ships that attempt to enter and exit them. As such, a certain level of hull integrity is necessary to enter and exit atmospheres (as detailed in your owner's manual). If this integrity is not there, the ship will simply disintegrate as it enters the atmosphere.

Within an atmosphere, it is possible to continue flying a ship (though with the full effect of gravity and the atmosphere it is a task that requires additional training) but most intend to land the ship. With General Piloting, it is possible to land an undamaged ship successfully and in a condition to take off again. Without this, landing may be possible, but it is highly likely to damage the ship!

It is also impossible to dock two ships together – transportation between the two ships will occur simply through the entrance through the adjoining cargo bay doors. Again, this requires General Piloting or an Advanced Autopilot to achieve.

Spacewalks: Extra-Vehicular Activity

Most starships are equipped with spacesuits that would allow the wearer to survive in the vacuum of space. It is possible for those wearing these suits to exit most starships through airlocks and explore the immediate area around the ship. This is often to perform maintenance on the exterior of the ship or to investigate small celestial bodies such as asteroids and comets. There are, of course, many dangers associated with this, including but not limited to:

  • Being knocked away from a ship into the emptiness of space
  • Tears in space suits leading to depressurisation
  • Running out of oxygen
  • Radiation from prolonged exposure to nearby stars
  • Giant space monsters

It is not necessary to perform a space walk to transfer between ships in the same system provided both are cooperating and happy to dock with each other.

Likely Objects in Space

Space is, for the most part, empty. Where it is not, we find star systems, and where we find star systems we find a whole manner of interesting phenomena. Anyone with a degree of experience with space travel may be familiar with the following objects and their associated problems:

  • Asteroid Fields present a danger to ships without a competent pilot. Flying a starship into a large rock at high speed usually ends with the rock winning.
  • Black Holes have a high gravitational pull and suck in anything within a certain range. Nobody knows what happens inside a Black Hole for certain, but scientists agree that it is probably not a good idea to find out. It is not considered possible to safely FTL Jump out of a Black Hole.
  • Comets are icy, but usually home to many rare minerals.
  • Gas Giants are incredibly large planets entirely formed of gas. They are uninhabitable but are a good source of useful gases such as hydrogen and helium.
  • Nebulae are enormous clusters of dust, gases and other debris that span hundreds of light years. They disrupt communications and radio signals but are also incredibly beautiful.
  • Supernovas are exploding stars. Avoid where possible.
1) Incomprehensible except to the highly restricted government department which was responsible for its creation
2) though previously they had not been used to jump more than once away from Earth and back
3) The exception to this being the Princess, which due to its immensely long spool time is in fact safe to dock with and refuel from for the first 12 hours of its spool cycle before it begins Spooling In Earnest
space_travel.txt · Last modified: 2016/04/29 06:46 by gm_tom