Handwaving the Handwaving

 For a game often regarded as hard science based, Traveller has a bunch of things that fly in the face of physics as we know it. Psionic, Jump drives, Maneuver drives to name the major hand waves. Now hand waving is like telling lies. You should stay as close to the truth as you can and tell as few lies as you can, to remember them.

So I'm going to combine the Jump and Maneuver drives into one effect. Maneuver drives work off principles of Jump drive. To be specific, you need a jump grid to generate a Maneuver drive effect. Small craft use Reaction drives. This means long trips in system use something like a Scout with the Jump drive and fuel removed. Such a used ship would be about Mcr 20. The mortgage would be cr 80,000 a month (maybe less, the ship is very used. If it flies two missions a month hauling cargo that's about cr 10,000. Odds are with 2 gees you could fly three missions a month for Kcr 15 (assuming a freight rate of cr 100 per ton). A single pilot draws cr 6,000 a month so either these insystem junkers cost a lot less, the operations are heavily subsidized by the systems they serve or shipping in a system cost about the same as starship ftl rate.

Let's say a junker costs cr. 90,000 per month. It can make three runs a month with pilots rotating. that's 150 tons of cargo shipped at cr 600 per ton. It's possible such ships are either government or corporate owned to oversee their own offworld colonies, or bought outright by large Belter clans say. Generally an insystem shipping line will not be conducive to adventure. Characters could hire on for a trip or too. 

Even reaction drives are pretty good in Traveller though. Small craft could still service outer worlds, boosting and coasting for most of their course. 

Reaction drives somewhat blunt the effect of fighters as force multipliers. Now your super-Cooper sized death machine is going to need topping off and have to return to its mother ship every couple of turns. MgT says an R-drive uses 2.5% of its ship's  displacement per g accelerated for one hour. That's 10 turns in MgT combat and 3-4 tuns in CT. That's 15% of mass for you speedy little fighter to jet around at 6 gees for an hour. Fighting and evading will eat propellant fast. Now small craft will still work just fine for getting from orbit to ground. In fact, most small craft are made with crash couches limiting comfortable mission time to 12 hours or less. they still work for transfers between ships and boarding parties.

I feel people overstate the danger of a reaction drive craft docking with another ship or station. the drive plumes are fierce. However the magnetic fields shielding a ship from its drive effects can also be generated by a station say on at least part of its hull. Ships will only approach a shielded area or be cheerfully blown to bits. Within close range, a ship powers down its reactor or again BOOM. 

A reaction drive is a very different beast from a maneuver drive. This gives some justification for differentiating between pilot skill and ship's boat skill.

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    1. Yeah well somebody cornered the rp market on space future sex stuff. LOL. This is what I have left. 8)

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