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design by Eamon Watters
We close in on the man, the nametag on his suit becomes visible: Captain Johan Findley.
"Say friend, you seem to have troubles - want to talk about them?"
The Captain looks towards the camera. "Sure, and seein' that you're my 'friend', you won't mind buying me a drink - a triple whiskey."
The camera pans towards a waiter. "Waiter - 2 triple whiskeys."
The camera drops to the Captain's level. "So friend, why are you looking so glum?"
"My troubles are out on that field there, on Pad 92."
The camera zooms in on a Jayhawk far trader.
"No, not Pad 91, number 92!"
The camera zooms in on a Beowulf free trader.
"Ah my friend, I see your problem now. You've got yourself a starship, and nowhere to go, nowhere profitable that is. Have you tried collapsable tanks?"
The young Captain laughs. "Oh yes, I tried those. I was intending to jump to the Vezina-Lebherz main, lots of good trade there. Took off from Pad 92 there, after I spent the best part of a day setting up the collapsable tank I'd bought. Inflated it, pumped the insulating foam in between the inner and outer wall, checked for leaks. Then I took on a full load of fuel and made for Schall. Whoo, was that jump fun!"
"Oh yes. We were hardly an hour into jump when the fuel pump to the collapsable started malfunctioning from the overwork we were putting it through. It pumped the fuel from the collapsable into a real fuel tank where the fuel could be kept cool, then it pumped cooled fuel into the collapsable, and when that warmed up, the cycle was repeated. So we were left with LH in the collapsable, warming up nicely, the tank's skin being put under greater and greater pressure - pretty soon it'd spring a leak, the hold would be full of hydrogen - waiting for a spark!
So where was I? Ehhh...., yes, so we had to get rid of that hydrogen quick. We couldn't vent it, as the pump that serviced the collapsable was a right-off. We could have turned off the life support to the hold, but that mightn't work in time - and the temperature drop would have strained the life support to the rest of the ship. We were about to try that anyway, when Marco 'Medicine Man' Adltesun, our Spirian Steward cum Medic arrived in the hold with his bow and arrow - I kid you not!
To cut a long story short, we secured ourselves in engineering, Marco sighted on the tank through the iris valve to the hold, and let fly. That arrow sliced through the outer and inner walls of the collapsable in a flash, and then the hold was awash with hydrogen, both gaseous and liquid. We opened the cargo doors, and then slammed shut the iris valve to engineering. We increased the hydrogen concentration in jumpspace a bit we did, and saved our bacon to boot. Hah! There you have it, a critical engineering problem solved with a bow and arrow. Still, we were left with that insulating foam to clear up, it got everywhere!
When we emerged at Schall, we did what we always did, got a cargo load of quandto kelp extract and ran it back to Aubaine to sell to the pharaceuticals. Some times you can be lucky at Schall, there's a far trader in from the wilds with some low grade stuff for Auction, so you take it off his hands for a reasonable price, he runs for the wilds again, you head for Aubaine and Auction. Doesn't happen often.
So take my advice stranger - don't use collapasble tanks, they'll let you down sooner rather than later - and you could be a parsec from the nearest help."
"Well, that's some story. You seem to have no end of troubles though."
"Yup. I can trade at Aubaine, Schall or Phoebus, great markets, great choice - huh! The only thing that keeps me ticking over is that my ship, the Jenny, is also part of the Aubaine system defence reserve."
"Friend, what would you say if I told you that Kruytercorp could give your ship a cheap, safe 2 parsec range, with a minimal impact on your cargo capacity - with none of the risk or mess of collapsable tanks?"
"I'd say, you'd better not be joking - tell me more."
"Well at Kruytercorp we've been thinking about people like you. Between 40 to 50% of the entire Coalition's merchant shipping are jump 1 vessels, like the Petty and Beowulf classes. In the old era, these ships made the money - the Lebherz - Vezina main was a goldmine, as was the Baldur - Meadsk main, and smaller mains such as Buhle - Aurora also kept many ships in the black. But now, most of the profit generating worlds in these mains are dead, or mere shadows of their former selves. Some people think there is no profit in these mains - they're wrong. There's lots of money to be made in some mains, running relics from Rohit to Trybec, or food to Baldur from Xezor. But is it worth the risk moving from Oriflamme to Baldur, or from Aubaine to Rohit to make this money, using collapsable tanks?"
"Right. So Kruytercorp have produced the CargoTank conversion kit for merchants like you."
"CargoTank? Sounds like something the Marines might use!"
"Heh, well it's not an APC. What the CargoTank kit does is add cooling elements, collapsable baffles, insulation, and fuel pumps to a section of your hold. This section is sealed by a bulkhead, and provides enough fuel reserves for a 1 parsec jump."
"Hey, that'd cut my cargo carrying capacity!"
"Only when you've got to do 2 jumps to bridge a 2 parsec gap, like from Schall to Vezina."
"I don't follow you - I'll have a fuel tank in part of my hold"
"Not when you reach Vezina. The tank can then carry Cargo. The Baffles fold back to cover the cooling elements, and the Tank is accessed by a small cargo hatch , which swings out to the side on rails so as not to interfere with the cargo in the rest of your hold. Before you land on Vezina, you could even scoop fuel at one of her Gas Giants, and sell a CargoTanks worth of refined fuel at Vezina Down!"
"Sounds great - how much?"
" For your ship, 75,000 credits - but the Coalition will give you 5 years to pay. What do you say?"
"Sign me up now, Friend!"
Jump-1 consumes 280m3 fuel. Total fuel tankage 980m3 fuel.
Cargo: 806.8m3 - 280m3 Cargo Tank = 526.8m3.
Cargo Tank internal volume 279.9m3, mass 0.575 ton, cost 75kCr.
Jump-1 consumes 560m3 fuel. Total fuel tankage 2060m3 fuel.
Cargo: 1306.4m3 - 560m3 Cargo Tank = 746.4m3.
Cargo Tank internal volume 559.8m3, mass 1.55 ton, cost 152kCr.
Jump-1 consumes 105m3 fuel. Total fuel tankage 710m3 fuel.
Cargo: 161.8m3 - 105m3 Cargo Tank = 56.8m3.
Cargo Tank internal volume 104.96m3, mass 0.45 ton, cost 21kCr.
Jump-1 consumes 210m3 fuel. Total fuel tankage 1020m3 fuel.
Cargo: 743.8m3 - 210m3 Cargo Tank = 533.8m3.
Cargo Tank internal volume 209.95m3, mass 0.525 ton, cost 75kCr.
So far the workings read:
Calc volume required, read off hull size table.
Multiply MV off hull size table by 1.2 (box MVM)
Multiply L off hull size table by 1.25 (Tank length)
Tank is made of TL-10 Crystaliron. Normal ISV is multiplied by a factor Cm, which represents the fact that the bulkheads that form the cargo hold also form part of the walls of the cargo tank. The only new material needed is that to seal off the CT from the rest of the cargo hold. Cm varies from ship to ship, according to the dimensions of the cargo hold.
Cm Moraine/Beowulf. appr. 1/6, as only one new wall needs to be added to seal the cargo tank.
Cm Scout/Courier appr. 1/10, as the cargo hold is long and narrow.
Cm Petty Class appr. 1/3, as the CT must be placed in the centre of the cargo hold, requiring 2 new walls and 2 access doors to the CT.
Cm Jayhawk, as Beowulf.
ISV = (Mv x MVM x Gmax x Cm)/ 8 (14 if on Aubaine)
ISM = (ISV x Mass value of CT material - 10 (15 if on Aubaine))
ISP = (ISV x material price - 0.009 MCr (0.014 Mcr Aubaine))
Cargo Tank calculation includes Insulation, baffles, pumps etc. so the calculation is complete. The ISV will subtract from the cargo tank capacity a bit, but this is so small it can be ignored.
Coalition merchants with J-1 ships will be able to move to the parts of the RC most in need of their services, e.g. the Trybec-Vezina area or the Baldur- Meadsk main. Eventually, as the RC expands its borders, ships on recovery mission into the wilds can discharge their cargos on worlds farther from the RC core, say Meadsk or Lebherz for example, reducing the turn around time for missions into the wilds. This may not appeal to independant ship operators, but corporations and the RC would favour this as an efficient utilization of resources.
There are many Jump-1 mains near the RC, the Promise main, the Montezuma-Possin-Thorell main, the Shenk main, and the Muller-Drilla main are a few. Free Traders, and amenable Guild ships that are trapped in these unprofitable mains could be given the CT conversion, possibly by an Aurora Clipper specially outfitted for the task. The conversion would be given on the understanding that they become RC merchant ships and return with the clipper to work in the RC, aiding the RC economy. Eventually such traders will be permitted to return to their homeworlds and trade in hi-tech RC cargos. The setup for this could provide an excellent adventure for RC players, contacting Free Traders and Guild Crews, setting up the rendezvous, guarding against double crosses, patroling the rendezvous system and protecting the clipper as it works on the ships. Vigilance would be required - a resourceful Guild captain could try and smuggle troops onto the clipper to try and capture it.
As a plot device the CT is valuable. One of the PC's could be shifting cargo in the CT when the hatch is closed. As she turns to the hatch the refrigeration elements gurgle as they come to life.....
CT conversion packages could also be offered to friendly governments, like Teldora and Lancer, to extend their economic sphere. This could be given as a sweetner in a diplomatic deal.
The extra fuel tankage could also prove handy on approach to a dangerous world, e.g Keipes. A ship on entering the system would scoop enough fuel to fill its tanks and CT, leaving enough fuel when it approached the mainworld to make an immediate outsystem jump if necessary.
In most ships it would be a minor task for Kruytercorp officials to convert the hold into 2 cargo tanks. This would leave a Jayhawk Far Trader with the capacity for three sucessive J-2's - a capacity which would be valuable in reconnoitering Virus infested systems, such as Arvid, Mitchell and Darainne, prior to RC strikes. The RC could sponsor the conversion of such a ship, as long as the PC's occasionally mounted Virus recces for them in the wilds.