Part 64: Ships Part 07 - FreightersLet's Meet the Freighters!
Cheap, small and extremely vulnerable. Not much to say about them aside from the fact that you cannot fly them.
The Cargo Drone is an inter-ship and in-system cargo transportation droid. It has a very simple Lebowickz-Huffman neural net, little turning ability and absolutely no shields. In war-torn systems these inoffensive craft are usually the first to be scrapped in a big firefight... not because they are deliberately targeted, but because one stray shot will total them.
Terrapin Light Freighter
One step up from a shuttle. They're slow, mostly unarmoured, and are about as threatening as a bad cough. 125 tons of cargo can still turn a nice profit, however.
The aptly named Terrapin is the mainstay of the Federation's small traders. While ugly as sin, and about as fast as its namesake, the Terrapin carries one whole standard cargo pod segment. This huge cargo capacity for such a small vessel makes it a ripe target for pirates and Auroran raiders. They usually travel in "gaggles" with hired escorts, but sometimes a lone trader on his last monetary legs will try to journey alone.
Sigma Shipyards Beta Model Pegasus Transport
The outer ring stays still while the middle rotates around for a rather unique looking ship. Hard to fly for the exact same reason. It holds 1000 tons and typically comes with a heavy blaster turret - enough to pose a threat.
In the war against the Vell-os, many of the old cargo carriers were wrecked beyond repair, and the shipping houses whose livelihood depended on them faced financial ruin. A solution was found by a young engineer named Eyeya Soyahc, who realized that a Leviathan was too big to be destroyed utterly. Thus he organized teams to salvage the enormous cargo rings from the floating hulks. These rings were repaired and retrofitted with engines. The design was such a commercial success that it was adopted in its own right, and is now manufactured by many worlds.
Old Earth Model Leviathan Transport
The granddaddy of all freighters. Note the little modular cargo bays - each one is what constitutes the majority of a Terrapin's entire body. 4000 tons makes them extremely profitable, necessary since they're the most expensive ship in the game. Unfortunately, you can only free up about 225 tons of space for weapons and they're still extremely slow and unarmoured. Cool engines though. Owning one of these lets you fly Large Bulk Deliveries, missions which pay hundreds of thousands of credits at a time.
The Leviathan is probably the biggest ship you will ever see. There are only a few hundred of these giant freighters in existence, for two reasons. Firstly, only the biggest corporations could afford them, and secondly, the actual ship itself takes 20 years to build. Most Leviathans are actually close to 600 years old. Many were even active while the gate system was still operational, and have been handed down through the generations, from hereditary ship's master to ship's master. Most were retrofitted with jump engines when the technology became available.
Old Earth IDA Frigate
A lot of people really love this ship, and it's easy to see why - strong enough to dish out and receive a lot of pain, decently maneuverable and carries a lot of cargo. I personally feel that cargo is what captured Manticores hold for you instead.
The IDA Frigate was the mainstay of the Colonial Council line before the collapse of the Gate system, and instrumental in the defense of the core worlds against the Aurorans. These ships were made to last; the spaceframe itself is compartmental and component-based, and, like the Leviathan, it is virtually indestructible. Don't count on this protecting you on the bridge, though. Bad shields, good armor and brutal Impact Drive Assemblies (hence IDA) are all trademarks of this keel.
Sigma Shipyards Echo Class Star Liner
A very unique-looking ship, it has a ton of energy and decent shielding and speed. It's a good candidate for a warship. Owning one gives access to Chartered flights, basically one-way passenger deliveries. Passengers are boarded by the ton.
Interstellar tourism took off when the Hypergate system was instituted (particularly from Earth, which benefits from quick and easy transport from surface to orbit via the Kane Band). The mainstay of the industry is a fleet of vessels bearing a remarkable resemblance to the luxury liners of pre-Band times. A typical complement of crew and passengers is about three hundred. The ships themselves are speedy through hyperspace, and have mild shielding for protection against asteroids and to enable them to get close to some of the more spectacular phenomena.