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by Franklin Cain
First of all, the X-Boats and Tenders had massive amounts of electronics (as befits a moile communications post). Thus, they were greatly susceptible to Virus infestation. In fact, a major avenue of Virus propagation was the X-Boat Network. Therefore, the majority of X-Boats and Tenders were casualties to Virus. But that still leaves us with a large number of X-Boats and a lesser number of Tenders to account for.
In the Post-Collapse universe, most X-Boats will be greatly valued as reserves of spare parts (just as the Covenant of Sufren is doing with the jump drives from its larger naval vessels). However, a pocket empire might maintain one or two X-Boats as a special high-jump courier. Tenders, on the other hand, will probably be used as fuel shuttles (with their hangar bay reconfigured as extra fuel tankage). While you consider the implications of this, let me bring up something else.
A major problem faced by the Reformation Coalition is the restriction on travel within the RC imposed by the astrography. For example, for a typical jump-2 ship (such as a far trader or a scout/courier) takes eight jumps to travel from Oriflamme to Spencer (see figure 1 below), crossing the RC border to do so, even though Spencer was only three parsecs away! If the same ship goes from Baldur to Helios, the trip involves four jumps, again crossnig the RC border, and again the destination was only three parsecs away. Going from Nike Nimbus to the RC Navy HQ at Aurora takes four jumps, once again crossing the RC border (but this time, our destination was four parsecs away). What does this have to do with relic X-Boat Tenders?
Suppose the RC Navy were to commission two squadrons (with one Tender [ Tanker version] each) to service deep-space refueling depots. One squadron ("Sahara Squadron") would be based out of Baldur and would service 0833 and 1034. The other ("Gobi Squadron") would be based out of Shenandoah and would service 0938 and 1137. From 0833, Sahara Squadron would connect Kruyter, Eos, Nike Nimbus, Enkidu, and Baldur (see figure 2 below); from 1034, Sahara Squadron would connect Baldur, Helios, Oriflamme, Spires, and Zloga. From 0938, Gobi Squadron would connect Aubaine, Phoebus, Spires, Lucifer, and Shenandoah; from 1137, Gobi Squadron would connect Oriflamme, Spires, Zloga, and Shenandoah. Also, within each squadron, both deep-space refueling locations would be within jump-2 distance of one another. Thus, someone wanting to go from Oriflamme to Eos could do so in just three jumps!
Initially, each deep-space refueling site would be built from the following Clipper Modules :
|Weeks||Sahara Squadron||Gobi Squadron|
|1-2||Return to Baldur and refuel.||Return to Shenandoah and refuel.|
|3-4||Sahara-1 jumps to 0833 and unloads fuel (Sahara-2, if available, would service 1034).||Gobi-1 jumps to 0938 and unloads fuel (Gobi-2, if available, would service 1137).|
|5-6||Return to Baldur and refuel.||Return to Shenandoah and refuel.|
|7-8||Sahara-1 jumps to 1034 and unloads fuel (Sahara-2, if available, would service 0833).||Gobi-1 jumps to 1137 and unloads fuel (Gobi-2, if available, would service 0938).|