Ship Shape

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Ship Shape

Post by Disembodied »

We take you inside the starships that keep the Co-operative stitched together.

(Further contributions on what it's like to live and work aboard other ships welcome)

We start - where else? - with that stalwart of the spaceways, the Python. Compared to many modern haulers she’s slow, ponderous, and lacking in cargo capacity. So why is she still ubiquitous across the Eight? Chief Golagros Ninefold gives us his opinion.
It’s the money, stupid, is what most people think. Sure, a Python is cheap, for her size and capacity. Less than half the price of a Boa, and a Boa really doesn’t outpoint a Python by much. And the blueprints are officially older than dirt, so the specifications are on file in every shipyard and manufactory from Laeden to Lequatdi. And they’re robust: oh my stars are they robust. Like a bottle of Old Dreadful, age just makes them stronger.

The secret is good design. Those Inerans know a thing or two about good design. In fact, I’d argue that in many ways the Python is the Perfect Ship. There are bigger ships; there are ships that are nimbler, faster, and more comfortable to live in. There are ships more fearsome, more dashing, more awe-inspiring and much more easy on the eye, but what a Python does, she does well.

Ask a dockhand: would you rather load a Python, or a Cobra III? The answer will be a Python, every time. The cargo racks are standard units, in a Python: each one takes five TCs and each one is easy to get at, and get into. (If you want to learn some exotic new obscenities, just cock your ear to a Cobra III’s rear when it’s being loaded, especially if it’s fitted with a cargo expansion: dock-jockeys just love tripping over those hilarious little zig-zag ledges with a grapple full of freight.) Thanks to the simple genius of a Python’s bay layout, you can flow loads in and out simultaneously: I’ve seen a Python drop seventy TCs and stack eighty, all in less time than it took the same crew to pack ten pods into a transport shuttle. On top of that, any cargo that’s been scooped gets neatly racked by a salvage system that can swallow just about anything without having to chew on it for a damn age (Cowell & MgRath, I’m looking at you!).

Ask an engineer: would you rather run maintenance on a Python, or on a Boa Cruiser? Again, the Python will be the professional’s choice. Battle damage aside, there’s not much that ever breaks on a Python, and there’s not much that does that can’t be clapped back together again with a spanner and some polycarbon bonding gel. Plus - speaking as a Leonedan, this is key - in a Python, it is actually possible to reach every essential part of the ship without being a triple-jointed midget. Not that you have to, too often: Pythons keep on going. It’s easier to stop a Riredi mountain slug than it is to stop a Python. I’ve seen Pythons pull in with one engine bleeding plasma, or with half the outer hull gone, or worse. I have, myself, ridden a Python with a crack right through its drive train. On any other class of ship the only solution would have been to get out and push, but the Python kept on rolling. This is, I suspect, why some people - coughJamesonscough - think that Pythons are mostly clapped-out junkers, because they never see any other ships around that are so beat up. But that, of course, is because any other ship that got hurt half as bad would have slipped its pinch-field and gone big bright bye-byes, way out in the deep. A Python will carry you home, if you let her.

Don’t expect anything by way of crew comfort, though: the quarters are cramped and the bunks are narrow and the galley can do stewed or boiled and very little else. A Python is a working ship, not a pleasure barge. I did hear once of a commander from Arxeza who claimed to have a swimming pool fitted - but it turned out to be his own berth, flooded, with a gravity plate welded to the far wall to keep the water in. If you kit your Python out with cabins, don’t expect to carry passengers with the least pretence of quality about them: folks who travel on board Pythons generally aren’t expecting white gloves and dinner at the Captain’s table. I’m not recommending that you hop a Python and look to tussle, either. If you’re on your ownsome, and a pack of bandits jump you, I advise you to shed your cargo and your honour rather than make any kind of fuss about it. The Python is a child of a better and a gentler age, and isn’t what I’d call spoiling for a ruckus. Which is not to say she’s easy meat: there are more than enough Blackdogs on the prowl to underline the truth of that.

And that’s my final point: the sheer versatility of this aged hauler has given rise to the Python Clipper, the Courier, the ET Special, and the Cruiser (although some would argue that this last variant is really another class entirely, it’s built on the same solid Python keel). What’s the reason? Because it works. That could be the Python’s motto - I won’t say epitaph, because she’s a long way from needing one - but you could paint this on the flanks of every Python going: It. Just. Works.
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Redspear »

Good idea and a great start too!

Now a report from an old traveller by the name of Isgar on a ship he recalls very fondly.
There are faster ships, there are tougher ships. There are ones that are bigger, carry more missiles, or are just more manoeuvrable. There are even ships that outclass it in almost every department there is, but there's just something about the Krait that the others don't have.

The Krait isn't the oldest ship out there, not by a long shot, but since the Mamba came on the market, the Krait is no longer mass produced. The Mamba is a better ship in many ways, certainly faster and with a sleeker profile but if you asked any of the Krait owners I've met, they wouldn't trade. Maybe it's the classic wedge shaped profile, with the two forward facing prongs giving the impression of a visored medieval knight, lance pointing ahead, ready to charge. Some talk of the Krait construction holding up better under fire, with less plate stress at the nose and superior shield placement. What is true, and it surprises a great many, is that the Krait remains the more maneuverable of the two. It's also easy to underestimate the psychological impact one of these things delivers when it's bearing down on you, few other ships look so intimidating.

The bridge isn't very fancy, very much a case of function over form but it does have a simplicity to it that soon feels quite intuitive. Looking through the cockpit, whether toward the nose or either side gives a sense of protection and security that you seldom feel in narrower vessels. It's not like a being in a Fer-de-Lance where doors glide effortlessly into place, fittings are streamlined and having a quick sleep in the cockpit would mean you awake more refreshed than after a night spent in most hotels. No, not at all. The doors on a Krait make a satisfying 'clunk' as they secure themselves into place. The metal floor plates rattle noisily as you walk around what little space their is. Sleeping in the cockpit is likely to mean waking with half of the control deck impressed into your face. Seldom will you feel more secure however, surrounded by sturdy looking fittings within a large yet one man craft, it's like being one of those great shelled lizards that can withdraw their head and limbs into their body... you know the ones... oh what are they called... they have them on that place I've just come from... Too much hyperspace messes with your brain, I'm telling you.

For a ship marketed as a 'one man fighter' the Krait is huge. The original model could carry ten cargo pods, pretty impressive for a 'fighter'. You seldom see one with that kind of hold space these days but it retains it's impressive scale. A child of the 'lone wolf trader' age, it was never meant to be an escort, rather self sufficiency was the order if the day and the Krait lived up to that ideal better than most. It's one great Achilles heel in that regard was the lack of a hyperdrive, not an uncommon omission on smaller ships but for one this size, even back then, it seemed strange.

It's getting harder and harder to find parts for these ships and owners can expect maintenance costs to rocket at some point in the future. Seen by many as a poor man's fighter, this ship doesn't appear to have all that much going for it, but wait until you fly one. Very agile for its size, with a profile that truly rewards roll-based maneuvers. Although it couldn't be called fast any more, that lack of real speed just seems to heighten the sense that the ship is under your control - in the hands of an experienced pilot, it is a joy to behold.

Now a classic target for amateur 'ship spotters', the famous profile, graceful flight, dynamic styling and not inconsiderable bulk, make it a splendid and increasingly rare sight in the space lanes; the spectacle of one coming in to dock at a station seldom fails to turn heads. Several times I've seen engineering teams drop whatever they've been working on for a chance to tinker with one of these beauties. Beauty might seem like an odd term for something as robust as a Krait but engineers always did have their own particular sense of aesthetics and the Krait fits them very well. 'Simplicity is genius', so said someone or other and whoever designed the Krait must have been listening as it gets every single one of the basics right. Maybe it's the extra room on a vessel this size or the simple fact that the Krait isn't trying to be anything that it's not. Sure there's room for a hyperdrive but not having one means you can work on every major piece of kit this craft can carry and not have to remove anything more than a maintenance hatch to do so. That's increasingly rare these days. I've known a lot of engineers whose dream vessel is a Krait, simply because they can do almost all the work it could possibly need on it by themselves.

There are tales of Kraits out there with a forward laser mounted on each prong, causing even hardened pilots to flee and thank their stars that the Krait isn't the fastest. I've never seen that myself, but there are certainly stranger things throughout GalCop space, and Krait owners are often eccentric enough (and stubborn enough) to go to great lengths to customise their pride and joy. Military Shields are not unheard of on a Krait - show me a Mamba fitted with a set of those!

Whilst it remains a ship that could really do with a few upgrades for it to compete with the best in its class, for its biggest fans the Krait remains in a class all of its own.
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by ffutures »

And now a few words from Commander Turanga Leela, formerly captain of the Shiny Metal Ass, with one of the rarer ships of the spaceways, the DTT Planet Express:
The DTT Planet Express may seem an odd choice; small, no longer in production, a poor weapons platform, and falling into the odd gap between small courier / combat ships and freighters, where it's desperately hard to find cargo contracts. But it's cheap at 100K credits, very fast, nimble, and looks so silly that it's easy to underestimate it; D.T.T. Ship Builders Inc. somehow managed to come up with a design that could take extensive modification, up to and including Naval shields and energy units, without any hit on performance, and nobody (including the company's own accountants) can figure out how they did it for the price. Some conspiracy theorists suspect that the small production run was subsidised by Naval Intelligence, who wanted a few innocent-looking ships for special operations, and deliberately came up with something that looked totally impractical.

For general use the biggest snags are the weapon systems. The forward laser is placed so far above the centre line of the ship that it's easy to miss at long range, the rear laser is below the single exhaust, and placed so that it fires through the exhaust flare if fuel injectors are in use. The design is so stupid that the aforesaid conspiracy theorists think it's deliberate; they reason that there's probably a naval variant with lasers mounted in the oversized rear fins instead. There are no side mounts, and only four missiles can be carried.

Weapons apart, the Planet Express is a dream to fly provided you're competent and don't let its speed ambush you. It's regrettably easy to launch, accelerate to full speed, then realise that you are within seconds of ramming another ship or the navigation beacon. The typical launch profile is a burst of acceleration followed by a desperate 90-degree turn. The bridge is large for the ship's size, again suggesting a possible naval role, giving this ship it's odd beaked appearance.

Ignoring the naval rumours, most of these ships are in the fast mail / passenger business; commanders with good reputations may also attract lightweight valuable cargoes such as gems or precious metals, but it's very difficult to reach that level with a ship this small, since there are few cargoes that will fit. I spent nearly a year getting to that point with the few small loads that came my way, and for a while regularly ran two or three valuable cargoes plus mail, passengers, and the usual trade goods. Then I missed a delivery date, and the only way to build up my cargo reputation again was to strip out all of the cabins to make room for bigger loads. Go through this a few times and you realise that there have to be easier ways to earn a living; I made enough money to move on to a Boa Cruiser and never looked back. But if you aren't bothered about cargo contracts the Planet Express is an excellent choice for passengers and packages, and can out-run or out-fly nearly anything it's likely to meet.
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Redspear »

( I think I might just be staying on-topic here...)

From the archives of Top HyperGear, a report by Gennedy QuarkSun:
Some say, it runs on the tears of rival ship designers, and that in ship-spotters, it can induce spontaneous orgasms. It is, already, a legend, an icon, an enigma. The Asp Mk II is faster, the Cobra Mk III is tougher but the Fer de Lance is smooth. So smooth it could give lessons to smooth and not even bother charging. Even when you overtake one of these things, it just smiles at you... like you're a fool.

Everything about it is just delightful. The dashboard is made of Laenian walnut, the seats of Baerelian wolf leather, it's ergonomics adapt to the pilot like it knows your genetic code... which it does. The Living quarters are positively palatial. Even with The StOog pulling stunt moves like his life depended on it, here in the back you could be bathing in Gerelian Sloths milk and think you were still docked.

While it's true that it may cost more than the gross productivity of a poor industrial, it is worth every deci-credit. The three energy banks charge faster than a Keronian financial advisor. The viewscreen on the bridge adjusts so well to stellar glare that you hardly notice... the star. No, sorry, it just isn't there. Even when sunskimming with your fuel scoops... standard issue, and firing up the fuel injectors... standard issue, it barely gets above 'toasty' thanks to your standard issue heat shielding. You just don't want to leave this ship because, the truth is... you're far cooler when your in one.

The ship pulls the girls, the boys, the hermaphrodites and even the celibate. The female voice of the computer is so magnetic that I think I'm in love. I'm told that the male voice is even better, but I can't bear to turn off the female one - it would be like killing your dreams. You could drape the most gorgeous model on the body of this ship and hot-blooded members of the opposite sex would be telling them to get out of the way. It is, quite simply, perfect. And that's the problem...

After reports of early models falling into the hands of pirates, the speed of the standard model has been capped. It can still move but no longer like a greased Xaelian vicious monkey in the mating season. Engineers tell me that it breaks their hearts to see what's under the hood of one of these things and not be able to do anything about the GalCop Thrust Compensater that clings to the main drive unit like a Lethal Brandy drinker clings to his bottle. This ship is so finely tuned that many shipyards just don't have the facilities to service it properly, and when they do, it is painstaking work for the mechanics and agonising for the bank account.

Despite all of this, piloting one of these things remains a joy beyond compare... unless that is, you've flown one of the original, uncapped models. Then it is a sad, sad recollection of a lost love.

The Fer de Lance... Heartbreaker.
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Redspear »

Blows off dust...

What's it like?

No.

Will it keep you alive is what you want to know and straight talking's what you want to hear.

So you want to hear it from someone who isn't afraid to tell it like it is... or at least that's how it would appear to this pilot's rather limited perception...

So, you've got some credits to spend. You've worked hard to get there and it's time to choose your ship. So be a real amphibian and pick like a winner and not some gonad deficiant mechanoid.

Cargo space? What for? Trading?... Don't be an accountant when you can be a real frog. Trade is for the afraid. Pay your bills with kills. There's plenty of pirates around, let them pay your way every time they're foolish enough to attack you. No, you don't want cargo space, you want engines. Speed, more speed and just enough room to cram in a hyperdrive.

Missiles? They run out unless you've got room for half a dozen. No, you're thinking like a trader (spits), you want one missile pylon and no more. Just enough for a mine if it all goes wrong and then all that space you've saved gives you more room for engines, more engines and generators. You want room for more mines do you? Well that's you thinking like a gutless tadpole. You need speed to get out cleanly, to control the fight. More pylons means more size means bigger target. Either that or less speed and if you think you want less speed then you're just not thinking straight.

Recharge rate, that's what you want, not some poxy side lasers that you have to slow down to aim with. Why be a sitting duck just to get off a few badly aimed shots at some miscreant who's got the good sense to point the front of his ship at you while he's firing? No. You want lasers fore and aft and that's yer lot. Any more is a just waste and makes you fly like a lobotomised newt.

And why do you want recharge rate? Well, I'll save myself the half a planetary cycle it'll take you to come up with the answer and tell you myself. You want firepower and lots of it. Firepower and shields. Both of those things will need charging and when you're up to your eyes in trouble, the faster the better. Speed again you see? You really are green, froglet...

What you need to get into that thick, wide-mouthed skull of yours is that it's about speed, speed, speed. The three 'S's! Fastest engines, fastest generators, fastest damaging lasers. Anything else and you're losing speed. Now pick a ship.

Fer-de-lance? You're wrong... Cobra Mk III? You're wrong AND stupid... You know what, I'll tell you myself. There's only one ship worth choosing and, I'm obviously doing you a favour here as you don't know your fore from your aft, I'll spell it out for you. Asp mark 2. It's that simple.

What's it like inside? You're thinking like someone who's never left an atmosphere. It's what it's like on the OUTSIDE that counts you fool! And what it's like on the outside is deadly. When were you last in water? Is your brain all dried out or something? No fancy interiors. Comfortable yes but not spacious because that means less engines and less generators and we know what that means don't we?... Yes, less SPEED! Took you long enough. You'd better wake up kid, cos not every pilot's as nice as me you know.

Military lasers, fore and aft when you can, and all the shields you can stick on it. Combine that with one of the fastest ships out there and you're in business. It's not a new design but folks got fancy in their thinking, forgot the three 'S's, they moved in other directions instead of forwards. So you'd better make sure you're thinking in the right direction or you'll end up on some colonial's menu!

Recharge is better when you've got the batteries to charge and five energy banks is more than that flying target that's the cobra mk III; just get above or below it and you can't miss. Five energy banks is nearly in freighter territory and the asp mk II charges faster than pretty much all of them. Five energy banks could keep even you alive, you clueless shuttle-droid! Asp... Mark... 2... Anything else and you're a flatulent toad.

My ship? No, it's a moray. Crashed the damn asp trying to dock it at half speed...
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Cholmondely »

Redspear wrote: Fri Feb 19, 2021 10:04 pm Blows off dust...

What's it like?

No.

Will it keep you alive is what you want to know and straight talking's what you want to hear.

So you want to hear it from someone who isn't afraid to tell it like it is... or at least that's how it would appear to this pilot's rather limited perception...

So, you've got some credits to spend. You've worked hard to get there and it's time to choose your ship. So be a real amphibian and pick like a winner and not some gonad deficiant mechanoid.

Cargo space? What for? Trading?... Don't be an accountant when you can be a real frog. Trade is for the afraid. Pay your bills with kills. There's plenty of pirates around, let them pay your way every time they're foolish enough to attack you. No, you don't want cargo space, you want engines. Speed, more speed and just enough room to cram in a hyperdrive.

Missiles? They run out unless you've got room for half a dozen. No, you're thinking like a trader (spits), you want one missile pylon and no more. Just enough for a mine if it all goes wrong and then all that space you've saved gives you more room for engines, more engines and generators. You want room for more mines do you? Well that's you thinking like a gutless tadpole. You need speed to get out cleanly, to control the fight. More pylons means more size means bigger target. Either that or less speed and if you think you want less speed then you're just not thinking straight.

Recharge rate, that's what you want, not some poxy side lasers that you have to slow down to aim with. Why be a sitting duck just to get off a few badly aimed shots at some miscreant who's got the good sense to point the front of his ship at you while he's firing? No. You want lasers fore and aft and that's yer lot. Any more is a just waste and makes you fly like a lobotomised newt.

And why do you want recharge rate? Well, I'll save myself the half a planetary cycle it'll take you to come up with the answer and tell you myself. You want firepower and lots of it. Firepower and shields. Both of those things will need charging and when you're up to your eyes in trouble, the faster the better. Speed again you see? You really are green, froglet...

What you need to get into that thick, wide-mouthed skull of yours is that it's about speed, speed, speed. The three 'S's! Fastest engines, fastest generators, fastest damaging lasers. Anything else and you're losing speed. Now pick a ship.

Fer-de-lance? You're wrong... Cobra Mk III? You're wrong AND stupid... You know what, I'll tell you myself. There's only one ship worth choosing and, I'm obviously doing you a favour here as you don't know your fore from your aft, I'll spell it out for you. Asp mark 2. It's that simple.

What's it like inside? You're thinking like someone who's never left an atmosphere. It's what it's like on the OUTSIDE that counts you fool! And what it's like on the outside is deadly. When were you last in water? Is your brain all dried out or something? No fancy interiors. Comfortable yes but not spacious because that means less engines and less generators and we know what that means don't we?... Yes, less SPEED! Took you long enough. You'd better wake up kid, cos not every pilot's as nice as me you know.

Military lasers, fore and aft when you can, and all the shields you can stick on it. Combine that with one of the fastest ships out there and you're in business. It's not a new design but folks got fancy in their thinking, forgot the three 'S's, they moved in other directions instead of forwards. So you'd better make sure you're thinking in the right direction or you'll end up on some colonial's menu!

Recharge is better when you've got the batteries to charge and five energy banks is more than that flying target that's the cobra mk III; just get above or below it and you can't miss. Five energy banks is nearly in freighter territory and the asp mk II charges faster than pretty much all of them. Five energy banks could keep even you alive, you clueless shuttle-droid! Asp... Mark... 2... Anything else and you're a flatulent toad.

My ship? No, it's a moray. Crashed the damn asp trying to dock it at half speed...
Just put up a wiki page for it.

Who is the reviewer?
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Redspear »

Cholmondely wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:46 pm Just put up a wiki page for it.

Who is the reviewer?
Er... Boffrey Geycott :mrgreen:
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Cholmondely »

Redspear wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 10:29 pm
Cholmondely wrote: Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:46 pm Just put up a wiki page for it.

Who is the reviewer?
Er... Boffrey Geycott :mrgreen:
Great! Any more information about him? (for the Rough Guide to the Asp wiki page).
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Redspear »

Straight talking, no nonsense (and no diplomacy either), veteran pilot.

Some disagreement about his true skill rating but considers himself good enough to debate the best and (to his credit) has certainly 'been around the block'.

Claims to hail from the planet Westrid and that he's currently under consideration for GLY certification (Galcop Legends of Yestercycle). Perhaps they're just waiting for his formal retirement...
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Cholmondely »

These 5 are now up on the wiki and linked in as part of the Rough Guide:

Asp Mark II (Rough Guide)‎‎
DTT Planet Express (Rough Guide)‎
Fer-de-Lance (Rough Guide)‎
Krait (Rough Guide)‎
Python (Rough Guide)‎

Looking at the list, it seems that we need a review of the Cobra Mk III since it is the ship that a beginner starts out with. I don't quite think that I've the skills for it. There are one or two remarks in the Python review which may be relevant:
Ask a dockhand: would you rather load a Python, or a Cobra III? The answer will be a Python, every time. The cargo racks are standard units, in a Python: each one takes five TCs and each one is easy to get at, and get into. (If you want to learn some exotic new obscenities, just cock your ear to a Cobra III’s rear when it’s being loaded, especially if it’s fitted with a cargo expansion: dock-jockeys just love tripping over those hilarious little zig-zag ledges with a grapple full of freight.) Thanks to the simple genius of a Python’s bay layout, you can flow loads in and out simultaneously: I’ve seen a Python drop seventy TCs and stack eighty, all in less time than it took the same crew to pack ten pods into a transport shuttle. On top of that, any cargo that’s been scooped gets neatly racked by a salvage system that can swallow just about anything without having to chew on it for a damn age (Cowell & MgRath, I’m looking at you!).
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Redspear »

Cholmondely wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:42 am Looking at the list, it seems that we need a review of the Cobra Mk III since it is the ship that a beginner starts out with. I don't quite think that I've the skills for it. There are one or two remarks in the Python review which may be relevant:
Tried to respect Disembodied's text and also to adopt a more restrained approach than has been the case for some of my postings in this thread. With it being the default starting ship I thought a more representative than artistic 'review' might be appropriate.

See what you think...

Cobra Mark III. The name alone is evocative. One of the most deadly of serpents from old Earth (or so they say), with its distinctive hood-like shape, Cowell & McGrath's finest is an engineering marvel.

You want speed? It's got you covered. At 0.35 LM the mk III can shift like nobodies business and leave most fighters in its considerable wake.

You want cargo? No problem. A standard 20TC capacity that can be extended to 35 TC makes it a serviceable freighter. It might not ship as much as the Pythons of this galaxy but with its superior speed and manoeuvrability it'll get there quicker and likely with less repair costs.

How about firepower? Fore, aft, port, starboard, the Mk III is ready for whatever you can afford. Granted, the stock pulse laser doesn't appear to live up to the rest of the ship but that speed and cargo capacity means that a pilot will soon be in the market for an upgrade. Until then, four missile pylons are not to be sniffed at and make an affordable defence before a pilot can afford an ECM system.

Sounds great so far but will it be let down by its generators. Again, and somewhat amazingly, the answer is no it won't. Four energy banks may not be outstanding for a vessel of this size (and it's bigger than you might think) but combined with such a high recharge rate they really are formidable. Being expandable with an extra energy unit means recovery from incoming fire can be impressive.

So what we have here is a ship that appears to score well in all departments. Not only can it be employed in any role, be it fighter, miner, trader, courier, passenger transport or scavenger, but it can also excel in all of them. For a lone pilot it's hard to wish for a better ship and once you look at the price you'll likely be convinced that there isn't a better purchase.

Critics will points to the bare bones equipment installed (or more accurately 'not installed') in the 'off the line' models but what the mark III grants you is potential. It has the ability to install almost every piece of equipment that you might find along with the generators to power them. You need to see the Mk III as an investment and the only way you're going to get one so cheap is to have it be but a shadow of what it could become.

Like the jack-of-all-trades that it is, it doesn't typically arrive all neat and tidy. Every pocket has either been filled or assigned to accommodate all kinds of kit and utility. Repairs on a fully equipped vessel are jobs assigned to low ranking mechanics whenever possible on account of the work that has to be done just to access the relevant areas. Only reluctantly will one of the senior engineers take on such a task and then strictly when it's for a piece of tech that an apprentice couldn't be trusted with.

Many will complain that it takes an age to load and unload, that the fuel scoop is exposed to impact damage or that the cockpit becomes cramped when all the navigation enhancements are installed but your typical Cobra pilot just doesn't care. This ship's dressed for survival, in any environment and under any circumstance, not for a parade or dinner party. If you want luxury, install a passenger cabin; it's got room for quite a few of those by the way...

Maybe that's why so many mk III pilots are 'lone-wolf' types. Sure, the cockpit has two seats but most only have one occupant. Who wants a co-pilot in a cramped cockpit anyway (or at least in a fully specc'd one)?

For your typical Mk III owner it's a case of their partner being their ship and that partner offering all they could ever need. An all-rounder that can in many cases compete with more specialised vessels, this is a choice for the more cunning of pilots, those who can see its potential and are prepared to bide their time until their seemingly fast but otherwise unimpressive cargo hauler becomes truly formidable.

When a Cobra Mk III shows up on your scanner, perhaps more so than for any other ship, you'd better be ready for anything and precisely because there's a good chance they will be.
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Malacandra »

A swarthy-skinned loner space captain who gave his name only as “Nescio Nomen” had this to say:
For every purpose there is a ship, and for every ship there is a purpose. If you wanted speed and firepower, you should have bought an Asp; if you wanted to haul cargo, then a Python or a Boa or even an Anaconda according to the depth of your account. But there are some who want to see not only the void between the stars, but every inch of a planet where life can survive – on land, in the air, even in the depths of the sea.

Sometimes you would like to ship cargo through channels that GalCop does not approve and that a Coriolis Station does not service. That does not make your customer a criminal, nor even a rebel – though perhaps a political undesirable. Sometimes it even makes him only an inconvenient indigenous species, and you may find that your sympathies lie with them rather than with the planetary rulers.

Or then again, you may be above such concerns, and wish only to go wherever inventive ingenuity can make it possible, and see everything that can be seen. For that you need a true triphibian – for space, for the air, and for the ocean. And you begin with the last of these. The vacuum of space is a trivial hazard, and atmospheric friction a mere detail, considered against the need for a hull with the integrity to endure an environment formerly considered the preserve of specialist science vessels. When you have a ship that can endure almost uncounted tons of pressure on every square metre of its surface, you know it will never let you down when exposed to the trifling differential imposed by a mere lack of air outside.

Then, while your cargo space may be smaller than some, you have enough to ship a few tons of essentials, to say nothing of more compact consignments. Also, you can equip yourself with more weaponry than some would credit, and shields to the highest specifications, and whatever energy units the powers that be might grant you access to, and in short, if you cannot outrun or outfight everything, you can make yourself about as unpleasant as you would ever need to, should the need arise –

Or you can turn your back on the whole silly business and take an extended sojourn up to ten kilometres below the waves, simply for the pleasure of seeing what perhaps no-one else in two thousand worlds has ever seen; and to your voyages of many light-years across the galaxy, you can add one of perhaps eighty thousand kilometres in the depths, such as my Ship of Pearl has made. And for that there is only one sensible choice:

When a spaceship is free to go under the sea, that’s a Moray.
"Sidewinder Precision Pro" and other Oolite fiction is now available for Amazon Kindle at a bargain price.

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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Cholmondely »

Redspear wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 1:53 pm
Cholmondely wrote: Mon Feb 22, 2021 10:42 am Looking at the list, it seems that we need a review of the Cobra Mk III since it is the ship that a beginner starts out with. I don't quite think that I've the skills for it. There are one or two remarks in the Python review which may be relevant:
Tried to respect Disembodied's text and also to adopt a more restrained approach than has been the case for some of my postings in this thread. With it being the default starting ship I thought a more representative than artistic 'review' might be appropriate.

See what you think...

Cobra Mark III. The name alone is evocative. One of the most deadly of serpents from old Earth (or so they say), with its distinctive hood-like shape, Cowell & McGrath's finest is an engineering marvel.

You want speed? It's got you covered. At 0.35 LM the mk III can shift like nobodies business and leave most fighters in its considerable wake.

You want cargo? No problem. A standard 20TC capacity that can be extended to 35 TC makes it a serviceable freighter. It might not ship as much as the Pythons of this galaxy but with its superior speed and manoeuvrability it'll get there quicker and likely with less repair costs.

How about firepower? Fore, aft, port, starboard, the Mk III is ready for whatever you can afford. Granted, the stock pulse laser doesn't appear to live up to the rest of the ship but that speed and cargo capacity means that a pilot will soon be in the market for an upgrade. Until then, four missile pylons are not to be sniffed at and make an affordable defence before a pilot can afford an ECM system.

Sounds great so far but will it be let down by its generators. Again, and somewhat amazingly, the answer is no it won't. Four energy banks may not be outstanding for a vessel of this size (and it's bigger than you might think) but combined with such a high recharge rate they really are formidable. Being expandable with an extra energy unit means recovery from incoming fire can be impressive.

So what we have here is a ship that appears to score well in all departments. Not only can it be employed in any role, be it fighter, miner, trader, courier, passenger transport or scavenger, but it can also excel in all of them. For a lone pilot it's hard to wish for a better ship and once you look at the price you'll likely be convinced that there isn't a better purchase.

Critics will points to the bare bones equipment installed (or more accurately 'not installed') in the 'off the line' models but what the mark III grants you is potential. It has the ability to install almost every piece of equipment that you might find along with the generators to power them. You need to see the Mk III as an investment and the only way you're going to get one so cheap is to have it be but a shadow of what it could become.

Like the jack-of-all-trades that it is, it doesn't typically arrive all neat and tidy. Every pocket has either been filled or assigned to accommodate all kinds of kit and utility. Repairs on a fully equipped vessel are jobs assigned to low ranking mechanics whenever possible on account of the work that has to be done just to access the relevant areas. Only reluctantly will one of the senior engineers take on such a task and then strictly when it's for a piece of tech that an apprentice couldn't be trusted with.

Many will complain that it takes an age to load and unload, that the fuel scoop is exposed to impact damage or that the cockpit becomes cramped when all the navigation enhancements are installed but your typical Cobra pilot just doesn't care. This ship's dressed for survival, in any environment and under any circumstance, not for a parade or dinner party. If you want luxury, install a passenger cabin; it's got room for quite a few of those by the way...

Maybe that's why so many mk III pilots are 'lone-wolf' types. Sure, the cockpit has two seats but most only have one occupant. Who wants a co-pilot in a cramped cockpit anyway (or at least in a fully specc'd one)?

For your typical Mk III owner it's a case of their partner being their ship and that partner offering all they could ever need. An all-rounder that can in many cases compete with more specialised vessels, this is a choice for the more cunning of pilots, those who can see its potential and are prepared to bide their time until their seemingly fast but otherwise unimpressive cargo hauler becomes truly formidable.

When a Cobra Mk III shows up on your scanner, perhaps more so than for any other ship, you'd better be ready for anything and precisely because there's a good chance they will be.
Brilliant! Thank you!
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Re: Ship Shape

Post by Cholmondely »

Malacandra wrote: Sun Mar 07, 2021 4:24 pm A swarthy-skinned loner space captain who gave his name only as “Nescio Nomen” had this to say:
For every purpose there is a ship, and for every ship there is a purpose. If you wanted speed and firepower, you should have bought an Asp; if you wanted to haul cargo, then a Python or a Boa or even an Anaconda according to the depth of your account. But there are some who want to see not only the void between the stars, but every inch of a planet where life can survive – on land, in the air, even in the depths of the sea.

Sometimes you would like to ship cargo through channels that GalCop does not approve and that a Coriolis Station does not service. That does not make your customer a criminal, nor even a rebel – though perhaps a political undesirable. Sometimes it even makes him only an inconvenient indigenous species, and you may find that your sympathies lie with them rather than with the planetary rulers.

Or then again, you may be above such concerns, and wish only to go wherever inventive ingenuity can make it possible, and see everything that can be seen. For that you need a true triphibian – for space, for the air, and for the ocean. And you begin with the last of these. The vacuum of space is a trivial hazard, and atmospheric friction a mere detail, considered against the need for a hull with the integrity to endure an environment formerly considered the preserve of specialist science vessels. When you have a ship that can endure almost uncounted tons of pressure on every square metre of its surface, you know it will never let you down when exposed to the trifling differential imposed by a mere lack of air outside.

Then, while your cargo space may be smaller than some, you have enough to ship a few tons of essentials, to say nothing of more compact consignments. Also, you can equip yourself with more weaponry than some would credit, and shields to the highest specifications, and whatever energy units the powers that be might grant you access to, and in short, if you cannot outrun or outfight everything, you can make yourself about as unpleasant as you would ever need to, should the need arise –

Or you can turn your back on the whole silly business and take an extended sojourn up to ten kilometres below the waves, simply for the pleasure of seeing what perhaps no-one else in two thousand worlds has ever seen; and to your voyages of many light-years across the galaxy, you can add one of perhaps eighty thousand kilometres in the depths, such as my Ship of Pearl has made. And for that there is only one sensible choice:

When a spaceship is free to go under the sea, that’s a Moray.
Welcome back.

And thanks for the addition to the collection!

I'm hoping to transmogrify the first chunk of your Ships That Pass In The Night into a Ship's Library Book. This week's new project.
Denizen of the Dark and Dismal Deserts of Digebiti.

Milo wrote Dancing the Gavotte
Malacandra
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Joined: Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:12 pm

Re: Ship Shape

Post by Malacandra »

I'm hoping to transmogrify the first chunk of your Ships That Pass In The Night into a Ship's Library Book. This week's new project.
With my enthusiastic approval! 8) Thank you.
"Sidewinder Precision Pro" and other Oolite fiction is now available for Amazon Kindle at a bargain price.

Sidewinder Precision Pro ||Claymore Mine ||The Russian Creed ||One Jump Ahead

All titles also available in paperback.
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