Ship Focus : Farseer Transporter
Type: Heavy Public Transport
Original manufacturer: USRE Shipyards.
Current pattern status: unclear (expired?)
Propulsion: Fusion drive.
FTL capable: yes.
Length : 2000 meters.
Payload : Up to 100,000,000 tons.
Crew : variable. (Often AI).
Passengers: up to 500.
Also known as the Old Ark, the Space Train.
Faster than light travel conserves relative momentum. As such, ships must match velocity with their target, which may take days or even weeks of thrust for a feeble drive. Thankfully, an entire ship class has been developed to carry other, smaller vessels towards other stars: the Farseer Transporter.
With a total length of 2000 meters, the "Old Ark" is the largest mass-produced vessel in existence. This massive size is due to the peculiar constraints of a vessel meant to carry other, smaller ships: half the length is dedicated to providing shielding from the ship's high power fusion drive, and the rest is a mobile spaceport, doubled with a vast cargo bay. The Farseer's design itself is conservative, and heavily inspired by pre-interstellar cruisers, up to the large dust shield that also serves as a second radiator array for the ship's overpowered navigation computer. The only non-standard part of the ship is the midsection water shield that isolates the capital-class geometry drive from cosmic rays, fusion radiation and other disturbances. Though this component is commonplace in FTL-capable vessels, it is generally small enough to be obscured by the rest of superstructure, and rarely stands out as it does on the Farseer. As they can spend months in the void to cover the thousands of lightyears between isolated human settlements, Farseers leverage their size to offer more accommodations than most other interstellar vessels: it is not rare to find gardens, pools and physical libraries on these ships.
The capabilities offered by the Farseer have birthed entire an economic model, with public transportation companies offering interstellar passage to sublight vessels on a regular basis in the Traverse and Communal Space. The Farseer in particular is the backbone of the Communal Transportation System that covers the Earth's stellar neighbourhood.
A little more than 500 Farseer have been manufactured, and while the majority of them serve as transports, it is not rare to see custom modifications enacted by deep space communes or Eloran qiths. The most notable of them include Farseer Transporters being reused as deep space relays, with their fusion drive removed and the midsection water shield supporting habitation rings and docking arms. A few "slowboater" Farseers have been observed in very compact systems like Trappist -- devoid of a geometry drive, they carry millions of tonnes of payload between moons and planets. Reports of q-ship Farseer are regularly made by observers in the Smyrnian Bubble. These sightings have never been confirmed, but the size of a Farseer would make it quite easy to store weapon systems aboard, where their thermal signature would be drowned by the navigation systems and fusion drive.
In popular culture, the Farseer has become a symbol of long-range travel and communal solidarity -- its very recognizable frame appears on the flag of qith Saïmour in the Traverse, as well as the emblems several deep space cooperatives. Aldebaran Blues, a very popular neo-noir detective show, starring an AI detective and their human companion, takes place entirely aboard a Farseer Transporter as it travels across human space.
Illustration made by Lilly Harper for Starmoth. She writes most excellent sci-fi prose on the Beacons in the Dark blog.
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