Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
JumpShips of the Ryan Cartel
Cartel-Class IceShip – Ice Transport
Mass : 760,000 tons
Length : 750 m
Sail Diameter : 1650 m
Crew : 164 : 36 Officers, 65 Enlisted, 15 Gunners, 25 Medical Staff, 40 Small Craft Pilots, 20 Bay Personnel
Base Crew : 12 – 2p, 2e, 8se (Bridge – 1p,1se : Engine – 1e,1se)
Dropship Capacity : 1 (10,000 ton Internal DropShip Hangar Bay)
Small Craft Complement : 40
Drive System : 2/6 BIS StarBrand
Introduced : 2148
Hull Laid Down : N/A
Structural Integrity : 50
KF Drive Integrity : 16
Energy Collector Sail Integrity : 5
Station-Keeping Thrust : 0.2 Gs
Fuel : Tons/Burn-Day : 39.52 : 14,425 tons
Safe Thrust : 3 (5)
Maximum Thrust : 5 (8)
Docking Hard Points : 1 (10,000 ton Internal Bay)
Small Craft Cubicles : 40
Small Craft Bay Doors : 16
Grav Decks : 3 : (75m, 2×45m)
Bridge : -
Heat Sinks : 720 + 0
Escape Pods : 30
Life Boats : 30
Bay 1 : 4 Meteorite Grapplers (Port, Central)
Bay 2 : 20 Small Craft (Port – 6 Doors)
Bay 3 : 4 Meteorite Grapplers (Starboard, Central)
Bay 4 : 20 Small Craft (Starboard – 6 Doors)
Bay 5 : Unpressurized Repair Bay – Skeletal Frame (Top Central – 15,000 ton capacity)
Bay 6 : DropShip Docking Bay (Nose – 10,000 ton capacity)
Bay 7 : Mass Conveyor (Nose – 30,000 tons)
Bay 8 : Habitation Bays (Aft)
Bay 9 : Hydroponics Facility (10,000 tons – 1 Door)
Bay 10 : Water Refinery (5000 tons – 1 Door)
Bay 11 : Fuel Refinery (5000 tons – 1 Door)
Bay 12 : Cargo (44,433 tons – 1 Door)
Weapons Factor (Light Mass Driver – Mass Conveyor, 26xSLs, 4xMLs). Ammo – 10 Mass Driver Shots.
Armor Factor (8 points per ton) : Industrial Capital Armor : 720 tons
Nose : 65 : Light Mass Driver, 10xSLs
Right Side Fore : 50 : 2xMLs, 8xSLs
Left Side Fore : 50 : 2xMLs, 8xSLs
Aft : 65 : -
Right Side Aft : 50 : -
Left Side Aft : 50 : -
Overview : The Cartel-Class IceShip JumpShip was an early starship designed first as a means to bring massive kiloton chunks of ice to barren worlds in an effort to assist colonial efforts in these marginal systems. Traditionally, sixteen (16) of these JumpShips arranged themselves around several cubic kilometers of ice, usually over 5-billion tons, and coordinated their jumps together. The key to success in these efforts was that the K-F Drives of these ships “talked” to each other via kilometers of fiber-optic cable links, and were able to adjust their fields in anticipation of the other hyperspace fields and K-F cores of the fleet.
Though these ships did not have a perfect map of the icebergs they carried, the frozen water was quite homogeneous, so it was safe to use an approximation of its structure when the fields formed. Wrapped in cable netting and a sunshield because, more often than not, the iceberg was shattered through the jump, almost all of the precious water would make the trip in a semi-intact mass. The IceShips used modified K-F drive controllers and a unique, incredibly complex navigational computer, allowing the vessels to perform the stunt which normal JumpShips of that era (and even today) were/are unable to attempt.
It should be noted that the division between compact core and standard core JumpShips significantly post-dates the Cartel’s development – the earliest JumpShips, due to the lack of the features that define the modern standard JumpShip, were closer to WarShips in an overall design because of the necessity of powerful maneuver drives and large exterior cargo bays.
Cartel-Class IceShip during “Traction” operations
Capabilities : The Cartel has a unique K-F Drive Core which originally limited the vessel to 15 light-years per jump. The vessel design was quickly updated to more traditional jump engines as they became available, and are now massive pieces of fragile technology that occupy half the vessel’s mass. Although the ship’s jump engines are unique to it’s design, the drive system is also a formidably massive 228,000-ton 2/6 BIS StarBrand, which is capable of pushing the vessel at a respectable rate despite hauling more than ten times its own mass in raw space debris.
The ship design predated the modern DropShip by centuries as well as the solar sail and as such originally lacked both, relying on squadrons of Small Craft to convey its cargo from surface to orbit. As the concept of DropShips became common, an Internal DropShip Bay was built to facilitate supply and personnel transfers. Also, the first design change to the vessel was the use of a solar sail, retrofitted through collapsible booms deploying aft of the engines, similar to those in use by the WarShips of the early Succession Wars. The shuttles are stored as a pair of small craft bays that run along the flanks of the ship under the skeleton gantry of the central repair bay.
The ship has very little in the way of armament, never being intended for actual combat. The ship utilizes an array of Small Lasers and Medium Lasers mounted along the ship’s nose and flanks with paired mounts. These weapons were intended to clear debris from the path of a Cartel-Class IceShip, as it maneuvered to grapple with a targeted asteroid. The vessel also bore a light mass driver, intended to be used to break-up larger asteroids into chunks the vessel could grapple and maneuver. This “weapon” also carried dedicated storage space for ten (10) appropriately sized chunks of rocky debris, that could be acquired on-site at the target’s location. The ship is also protected by massive load of 720 tons of capital-grade industrial armor, intended to protect the habitation areas from casual debris strikes.
The ship’s functions are broken into multiple bays, intended to be accessible during operations from all points on the ship. The vessel was intended to stay on-mission for long periods of time away from regular resupply, and could operate for a minimum of a year without outside contact, a valuable design for a ship to operate in the edges of humanity’s early colonial efforts. In addition to an internal water refinery and a fuel cracker for hydrogen fuel to lengthen its independence from outside supply sources, the vessel bore a massive 44,000 ton cargo bay, broken into numerous smaller 2000-ton sections intended to organize internal supplies for use month by month.
Internally, the vessel has very generous crew quarters, designed to keep them entertained and alive for long months of isolation. In addition to two separate mess halls (one for officers and pilots, and the other for the rest of the crew), there is a large medical facility with 25 staff and proper equipment to treat up to four emergency cases at any given time. The ship also has a massive 10,000-ton hydroponics facility to help treat air and water, and provide nutrient supplements to the crew. The bulk of the crew quarters are kept in two separate 45m-diameter grav decks, while the officer’s quarters and command deck is located on a large 75m deck along with the ship’s few passenger suites.
The vessel’s massive 2,000-ton harpoon-like meteor grapplers are used to skewer asteroids, comets, or meteorites and pull them close to the ship, allowing the skewered mass to be transported via its K-F drives. Though moving too slow to be useful in combat, as a mobile target would have ample time to move out of the way, against stationary targets like space stations, they could theoretically be used as a weapon. These grapplers are also used during “Traction Operations”, and the fiber-optics that connect the network of jumping vessels run along these cables, painting them in blue light from the constant series of communications running along them from ship’s computer to ship’s computer.
Cartel-Class engaged in mining operations
Deployment : Since the acquisition of the entire regular fleet of Cartel-Class IceShips by Curtiss Hydroponics, the vessels are almost exclusively deployed in the marginal systems of House Marik. Curtiss also maintains the manufacturing line of these vessels in a moth-balled state should they require replacements in their ice fleets. Some older vessels have been acquired by other corporations for their own purposes. Curtiss continues to operate the Ryan Iceship Division, with at least 51 of the fragile vessels still in operation.
Individual vessels can, however, be found working in isolated systems in most states, owned and operated by mining concerns, or shipyards as emergency repair vessels, or in hauling inactive jump-cores to repair a stranded JumpShip.
Ships of the Cartel-Class are often named after titans of ancient Terran mythology, in deference to their immense size, and ancient origins.
Variants : As fewer and fewer worlds relied on its service, the Ryan Cartel was nearly driven bankrupt. By _2668_ the remaining assets of the Cartel’s Iceship Division were purchased by Curtiss Hydroponics_, the League based manufacturer of the _TriFill Water Purification System. Conducted more out of pride than sound business practice, the Ryan Cartel would continue to lose millions of Star League Dollars a year before better management and cost-cutting measures stabilized its finances.
As the Star League teetered on the brink of collapse in the wake of the Amaris Coup, Curtiss began production of five new vessels for the Ryan Iceship Division, the first of their kind built in almost two centuries. The fortuitous acquisition of the Ryan Cartel helped the company to weather the maelstrom of the Succession Wars as the slide into LosTech again made construction of Iceships both increasingly vital and highly profitable.
As the vessels often spent months at a time operating in isolated asteroid belts and trojan points, the vessels were often deployed as the center of independent mining operations, increasingly so as the Ryan Cartel tried vainly to expand their economic base. Almost all Cartel-Class IceShips were equipped to operate as an emergency repair station for damaged DropShips, and often also used their central spine to haul in-active jump cores to stranded vessels. Increasingly, as the Succession Wars have worn on, the vessels became popular in Marik space as fleet repair ships for shipyards, and when ice fleets were broken-up, older Cartel-Class IceShips were typically sold-off to other corporations for that very use.
Less commonly, pirates have been known to acquire these vessels, often deploying captured vessels as the center of a flotilla as an auxiliary carrier, often converting the ship into a virtual floating city for independent operations away from regular systems. Although rarely found in the Periphery, they are the prized heart of any such criminal organization. Space is often made for bigger weapons-systems, though the vessel is still kept away from casual conflict. Living quarters are often improved at the expense of cargo and the integral refineries. Exact changes, however, depend on the whims of the new owners.