Friday, August 5, 2016

Sorry But ...

Sorry I missed Wendesday's post and I'm kinda shorting you today. I'll make it up to you folks Monday. I've been busy and August 10th should see my newest product released through Blue Max Studios. I'll let Raymond McVay tell you more at his leisure. On the home front I've had a couple family crises I'm dealing with (don't tell me dogs are not family I won't listen.)

Anyway here's a teaser for things to come. This is the culprit I'm working on now.

Here's a fat-ass merchant ship that prefers to hand off its cargo in orbit but of course needs to land now and then. It would be a standard hull in Cepheus Engine or MgT First Edition or a partially streamlined hull in CT. It has no business landing anywhere without a beacon, landing lights, and a level field. But of course sometimes it has to. To facilitate docking the original ship has a docking module stuck on the top.

Whether you have rockets, reactionless drives (boo!) or warp drive handwaving docking is a maneuver that gives pilots grey hairs early on. The docking module bears the brunt of it. It's easier and faster to replace a module than an airlock that requires welding a heat resistant hull.

Big companies usually stocked a few modules at starports so if their merchant ships called and were in a hurry or banged their module up they could just swap modules and be on their way to make that hot delivery by the contract deadline. Swap modules and jump the hell out.

As an aside the module also held 10 dTons of cargo for really fast transfer of priority deliveries. If you were lucky the shipment was throw pillows. If you were unlucky munitions but hey no pressure there.

Then some ship builder realized there were a bunch of these 'kegs' just dumped in starports awaiting repair or surplussed. He bought one, stuck a drive and power plant on it and voila! a 20 ton launch!

The damned things proved popular. They could aid in docking maneuvers since their little bitty engines had more fractional control than the bug ship engines. But wait there's more!

The 'caps' at both ends on the keg came off easily (for repairs ... not while docking that would be a bad thing masquerading as a design feature).

People began modding the modules. In the 'standard configuration this keg has the top module fitted with proper landing legs. It docks nose in the the ship and of course she can't be used to dock with this feature. If you expect to land her on rough terrain, say in the case of a delivery to a mining outpost on a rocky moon, they provide more stability than those stubby docking clamps. More modules will be forthcoming. Suggestions will be entertained. I'm pretty sure there's a market for a fuel scoop version with a streamlining module (I know it breaks the at-the-time-of-construction rule but I feel it's justified.) There will be other modules with waldos and power tools for salvage and mining.

In fact I may shelve the rest of the merchant I was working on to deal with this feisty little beast.