gridlore: Old manual typewriter with a blank sheet of paper inserted. (Writing)
[personal profile] gridlore
As promised, a look at life aboard ships in the Task Force Singh (TFS) universe. This is mostly going to be about the naval ships that are the center of the book, but I'll branch out a bit. As usual, my inspiration comes from the great "Age of Battleships" era from the 1880s up through the First World War.

To begin with, life on a naval warship is going to be cramped. Warships are going to be filled to the gills with equipment, munitions, supplies, and all the machinery that is needed to complete the mission. On a battle wagon like the Carnivora-class battleship, you'll find large magazines of canisters for the big grasers. A cruiser that is dedicated to using Autonomous Attack Vehicles is going to have launch and recovery bays for the missiles, as well as spaces for their maintenance and reloading. The only large open spaces are likely to be the hangers for small craft.

Crew accommodations are going to be tight. While hot-bunking (two crewmen sharing the same bunk, a practice common in submarines) isn't going to be the usual practice, a navy rating will have little more than a bunk with a privacy screen and a small storage are to call his own. Communal facilities for eating, cleaning, and toilets are the standard. I'm picturing six-man rooms for the crew with a very small space for relaxation. Nobody joins the navy for the luxury! Senior NCOs and junior officers will bunk two to a room, with the more senior officer and top petty officers getting single occupancy staterooms. The captain gets an actual suite, with an office and a room for his personal valet.

Because of the ever-present threat of electrical equipment damage in hyperspace, ships will be over designed in terms of backups and ruggedness. Whenever possible, mechanical systems will be used in place of electrical ones. No automatic sliding doors here, instead you have heavy hatches on the bulkheads and manual doors where needed. And since a warped frame can lock a door shut, there will be numerous places where there will be no door at all, just a curtain is you need to block light.

Expect to find heavy fuse boxes and thick bundles of cables in every corridor. Every mission critical system is going to have multiple redundant control lines with a very efficient fault detection system. All crew will be trained in damage control and how to repair their duty stations. Even the cooks will be qualified in damage control for the kitchens and mess areas. After every emergence from hyperspace, it will be standard to do an immediate fault check on every part of the ship. This is also a sweep for anyone overcome by the terminus shock effect. A well-trained crew can clear their area of responsibility within minutes of emergence into real space.

On civilian ships, especially the high-end liners carrying well-paying passengers from star to star, things will be more open and less draconian. The crew might be stuffed into tiny cabins, but the passengers - those in first class, anyway - will enjoy large staterooms with every convenience, wide open promenades through parks and gardens under artificial sunlight, and wide options of food and entertainment along with lots of alcohol. Lots and lots of booze, it keeps them quiet. You'll still have crew who are cross trained in repair and the like, but nowhere near the level of a military ship will show.

The reality of the dangers of hyperspace, resulting in less automation than used today, means these ships will be over-crewed by our standards. Almost every rating position is going to have a few extra bodies above the actual requirement. Gun turrets will be crowded with crew feeding canisters into the breech and confirming a full seal before firing, the power and engineering spaces will be crawling with men constantly adjusting and fixing every valuable piece of equipment, and even the bridge and combat command center will be over staffed. When you can find upwards of 20% of your crew knocked out for minutes to hours by the terminus shock (which is totally the name of the second book, by the way) having too many crew becomes a literal lifesaver.

Now these ships aren't all big levers and hand-cranked wheels. There are plenty of electronics in use. You couldn't navigate without computers, and the firing of guns and communications demand high quality electronic gear. So the control spaces are going to look like any modern command center. It just that there's going to be a lot of lower-tech back up.
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gridlore: Doug looking off camera with a grin (Default)
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