Void Navies

Stellar craft are a special part of this world. Each vessel is unique in its own right, particularly if it is older. Different kinds of vessels have their own function and purpose both on their own and in a fleet. There are some universal elements of void craft used in the galaxy out of necessity.

Most vessels capable of entering an atmosphere of a planet must be built in such a way that all the decks are parallel to the engines. Ships are designed vertically, not horizontally. This lets the engines simulate gravity for those on board when propelling the ship.

Another similarity between all voidcraft is modular fittings. Vessels created by sophisticated shipwrights are designed in such a way that any piece can be easily removed and replaced with another. These modules can include weaponry attached to hard points on the vessel, armor plating, even the hardware of a ship's computer system can be easily replaced.
     

Impossible technology

There are many things in the galaxy that just don't follow the rules. There are inescapable laws that some have, nonetheless, escaped. A prime example is that of Newton's laws. You can only go so fast, no ftl here. Despite this, there is the presence of Warp Drives and Hyperlanes. This comes from what many call "Higgstech." Standard fusion engines must consider forces involved with high velocity. Stopping too fast will turn your crew into a new coat of paint on the wall. There are very few exceptions to these rules, and these exceptions usually exploit some loophole in universal law.

By giving the vessel negative mass using higgstech, warp drives can bend space-time around them in such a way that space moves around the vessel, as opposed to it having a set velocity. Impossible technology is often only created by those who alter their perception of the problems they encounter. There are no inertial dampeners, but there are devices that can change the relationship between the higgs mechanism and gluon fields, affecting the amount of mass a vessel has, decreasing g-forces when slowing down. Higgstech is cutting edge, and there are few capable of it.    

Engineering and travel

The most common form of propulsion used in the galaxy is Fusion. They are exceptionally efficient when it comes to fuel and can produce velocity that is powerful enough to tear the ship it's on to pieces, at least with frigates. The only restriction to its speed is what g-forces the crew can handle. Traveling through a solar system can take days, or weeks, unless one is in possession of a warp drive. Travel to another system necessitates the use of warp technology.

Communications

Currently, communications are restricted to standard methods, looking much like email, recordings, and text messaging on a system wide scale. These messages can take ages to be received, and twice as long to get a reply. One of the few achievements made by humans, the quantum telegraph changed this. There are approximately 56 quantum telegraphs in use by humanity, giving them the ability to send text-based messages instantly, no matter the distance. It's one of the few things humanity has going for it.

Warfare

In warfare, technology is generally divided into three categories: offensive, defensive, and tactical technology. The terms are self-explanatory. How can I affect others, how can I stop others from affecting me, and what assets can support those endeavors? Weaponry comes in three forms: Beam weaponry, explosives, and high-velocity projectiles.

No one form is better than the other, due to how technology has developed, and each has their own tactical use depending on the situation. Defensive technology includes shields, counter boarding measures, hull repair nodes, point defense systems, armor plating, and other modules designed to protect the vessel. Support technology includes drone bays, cyber warfare suites, interdiction arrays, stealth drives and any other situational modules that grants tactical effectiveness.

When engaging an enemy, distance is important, especially if you are on certain kinds of vessels. Most weaponry on a vessel is automated, and this automation can only work within a given distance. Beam weaponry, such as lancers, can hit targets up to 15 km away. Missiles tend to be more effective when used at 5 to 10 km. Projectile weapons are usually isolated to rail guns (5 km) and point defense systems. (0-5 km)

Naming conventions

When humanity settled on Safeharbor, they didn't have much of the earth to speak of. Large banks of data gathered dust for years before they rediscovered how to access this data. When they did, it revealed earth's history, and this fueled much of their naming conventions.

Frigates are always named after famous people, usually scientists or commanders in the military. Cruisers are always named after major cities or natural landmarks on earth. Battleships take the name of a noble dynasty. Capitals are a little different, as their ship culture often reflects their name. As such, capital ships have names that are more poetic and less concrete, or are named after famous works of art. Dreadnoughts and titans have no current naming conventions, as humanity lacks a titan and only has one dreadnought, The SVN Collosus of Rhodes.
 

Ship culture

Ship culture is a broad term describing the traditions of a vessel that come from being a member of its crew, including superstitions, cultural identity, ideology and more. This culture will have a major impact on the aesthetics of the vessel, both inside and out.

The Collossos of Rhodes features replicas of greek art on its walls, and decorative pillars made to look like marble. Portions of the vessel with frequent traffic look much like a Greco-Roman temple. Serving more than three years in the ship will earn the ship's badge of service, a pin depicting laurels around a bronze sword.

These and many other examples are unique to the ship, created over time as the ship ages, and the crew becomes attached to the vessel. The practice was originally discouraged until it became clear a crew that cares for their ship in such a way would do anything to keep it alive.
"Excuse me, Admiral Thrace?" He said.
She finished writing a sentence then looked up from her desk, "Preston? What can I do for you."
Preston stood at the doorway, twiddling his thumbs, "I don't really know how to express it without seeming ungrateful, or angry. I'm neither. I only wish to understand."
Miranda dropped the pen and her eyes narrowed, "of all people," she began, "you can speak freely around me."
"Thank you," He said. "I was top of your class, and while I don't think I deserve much, I'm wondering why I was given command of The Faraday, a Frigate." Miranda sat silently, blinking as he continued, "I mean I don't think I'm entitled to the dreadnought, or even a battleship, but I imagined myself in command of a cruiser."
"A cruiser?" She asked.
He shifted his weight, "Don't misunderstand, I don't want reassignment. I trust your judgment. I'm just curious as to why."
Miranda stood, walked forward, and placed a hand on Preston's shoulder, "Some people prefer cruisers. I wouldn't mind. Walk with me."
They walked along the drydock, assessing the rows of frigates under construction. Miranda spoke soft and slow, every word chosen with care, "You've never been in combat, and the stories always spin it so the bigger ships get the glory. I've been around awhile, so let me explain."
     

Voidcraft

We have briefly touched on the kinds of technology used on stellar craft, but what you have equipped will also depend heavily on the designation, class, and type of vessel. Humanity maintains a rigid fleet composition designed for maximum effectiveness. 1 fleet capital, 2 battleships, 4 cruisers, and 20 frigates. Armadas will feature any number of fleets, having much more freedom in composition.
 

Designation

Designation of a vessel determines its intended use. This coincides with galactic law, and defines terms of engagement with a potentially hostile vessel. Designation doesn't always coincide with how a ship functions or what it's capable of. In effect, designation functions as an indicator for other vessels. Humans often refer to a ships designation as its colors, an analogy for flags on naval vessels.

Military vessels are self-explanatory. A military vessel is part of a void navy, and usually has higher combat capability. Civilian vessels are much broader in definition. They can be combat effective, but usually lack sophisticated technology as they are funded by whoever owns the vessel. This means they are bound by the money that can make, which is only made worse when you consider technology for civilian use, which is intentionally outdated compared to the military of the territory.

You also have scientific and industrial vessels. A science vessel is dedicated to R&D, or used as an exploration vessel. They test new technology, engage in black ops, and study things of note in the void. Industrial vessels can be used for mining, and hauling material, or repairs, such as the patch barges used by the freelance engineering corps.
   

Ship class

Ship classification is a means to quickly assess the capability, and potential designation of a vessel from a distance. This is done based of the ship's size. Civilian vessels can't exceed cruiser classification due to the resources needed to sustain the vessel and crew. Even corporate fleets limit themselves in this way. It's simply inefficient to maintain heavy cruisers (battleships) when standard cruisers are more efficient.

There are 6 ship classifications: frigates, cruisers, heavy cruisers/battleships, fleet capitals, dreadnoughts, and titans. Each of these vessels will be discussed in depth below.
   

Cosmic Dancers: The Frigate

She pointed to a corvette, The Edison, "For starters, frigates can enter the atmosphere. We can build them on the surface as opposed to in space. That's a bigger deal than you think." Preston nodded, but didn't seem convinced. She continued, "They can be produced in large, cheap quantities. Frigates are the backbone of a fleet. They are the workhorses. All those massive fleet engagements you hear about, I'll bet my life a frigate turned the tide in the favor of the winning fleet."
"How?" Preston asked.
"They're fast, and usually have some tricks up their sleeve. This makes targeting difficult." She smiled. Preston nodded, but again wasn't convinced. She sighed, "several years ago, I took command of The SVN Stuart, a battleship. We patrolled the outer edge of the system. On our way back, we were cut off from our escort frigates in the middle of a hyperlane."
"Warp malfunction?" Preston asked.
Miranda shook her head, "Interdiction. We were forced out of warp. We detected three frigates, pirate corvettes. It was the first time we encountered an interdictor."
Preston listened close. He always did when she told her stories, "What did you do?"
"I mean, obviously we made it out just fine." She replied, gesturing to herself and her surrounding, "Our escorts immediately turned around and warped back. The point I'm making is this: a battleship is staring down three enemy frigates. Who do you think was shaking in their polished boots?"
"Surely not you " he said with wide eyes.
Miranda nodded, "Damn near pissed myself in the CIC. Frigates are among the most terrifying things in the galaxy."
"Just because they can go fast?"
"No, It's not that frigates move fast." Miranda said, turning her head to meet his eyes, "Frigates like to dance."
   
Frigates perfectly define the phrase "small but mighty." They serve as the primary attacking force, as well as a fleet's main defense. Their versatility is second to none, able to function as attack vessels, scientific vessels, scouts, and more. This comes down to their size. Frigates are never more than 300 meters long, but Are equipped with fusion engines. The smallest fusion engines can power a vessel with twice the power consumption of a frigate.

This makes them alarmingly fast, and easy to maneuver. A frigate requires the highest piloting skills to be most effective. Their movements are erratic, making targeting difficult for larger vessels. They can swing around larger ships, as if dancing in wide spirals, all the while firing every weapon they have. In numbers, a larger vessel simply can't keep up. Frigates will tear unescorted battleships to pieces, and are the reason large vessels need escorts in the first place. Some in the galactic community limit their fleets to frigates, and nothing more.

They can be armed with a vast array of weapons and can possess any kind of technology a larger vessel can, but smaller. New technology is always designed for frigates before being altered to suit another class of vessel. They make up the bulk of every fleet due to how cheap and easy they are to produce. They come in many forms, but most fall under two classes: corvettes and destroyers.
 

Corvettes

Corvettes are the standard frigate of any void navy. They are well-rounded, favoring a jack of all trades approach when outfitting offensive, defensive, and supportive modules. They are far better at assault than defense, however.

To ensure their maneuverability is maintained, they usually forgo excess armor plating in favor of shielding, making them ideal for attack runs on enemy fleets. When using a civilian designation, corvettes are often preferred by explorers, merchants, and freelance contractors.

Destroyers

A destroyer is strictly a military vessel. It's armored, shielded, and well armed. This restricts mobility, which usually sees destroyers stationed as escorts for larger vessels in a fleet. Despite their restricted speed, they are still able to 'dance' around enemy vessels that get too close to strategic assets the destroyer is defending.

Destroyers are often referred to as gunships, due to their focus on offensive modules. They will make use of any and all weapon systems available to the fleet. The only universal weapons used are point defense systems, designed to target enemy missiles and strike craft.
 
   

Big Brother: Cruisers

"You mentioned a cruiser." Miranda said, "Why a cruiser?"
Preston smiled, nodding before speaking, "Back at the academy, it always seemed to be the safest and most vital part of the fleet."
"In the simulations, they are. Cruisers are usually strategic assets." Miranda nodded. "In practice, they're babysitters. Valuable, but not vital. They protect the frigates while the frigates advance." She laughed, giving his shoulder a shove "I didn't peg you for a babysitter, and I'd never give the waste of space a battleship is to my brightest."
Preston smiled, "Thank you."
"It was hard to place you, but The Faraday Is a good ship. Were you an Admiral, I'd have grounds to land you in a fleet capital."
 
A cruiser is a vessel ranging from 350 to 700 meters. While a frigate is versatile, they lack the size needed to serve efficiently as a transport. The first cruisers were industrial freighters and luxury cruise ships, the latter serving the basis for the name.

Whether out of a desire to conquer a rival, or to get an upper hand in a losing war, someone had the idea to convert a cruise ship into a military vessel. Coupled with a frigate or two in case enemies ventured too close, the vessel was able to ensure victory in every skirmish it engaged in.

As word spread, standardized cruisers were developed for both civilian and military use. These cruisers are designed to target any enemy. They cannot maneuver like a frigate, meaning they usually need an escort, but the added firepower of larger modules makes them ideal for defense and long range assault.
 

Variations

Unlike frigates, the size of a cruiser limits Its versatility. It can't dance around an enemy, but Cruisers can keep up with most frigates in speed, making them excellent in providing cover in a frigate attack run. Their additional defensive capabilities allow them to take much more punishment, and the extra interior space allows for additional support modules.

Civilians simply can't support a cruiser without using it as a transport. Either by hauling cargo or transporting passengers from one place to another, there's simply no other way for it to be maintained. They make poor exploration vessels, but some scientific ventures have successfully used a cruiser as a base of operations.
 

A Waste of Space: Battleships

"Why are battleships such a waste of space?" Preston asked.
Miranda leaned over the railing, listening to the sounds of industry around her, "Because battleships only exist to counter other battleships. Cruisers would do just fine."
 
The heavy cruiser, more commonly called the battleship, is a vessel that borders on useless in most fleet engagements. At nearly 1000 meters on average, they struggle to handle strike craft and corvettes in larger numbers. It's simply too big of a target.

Battleships were designed to neutralize enemy battleships, and eventually enemy cruisers. In many ways, Its use is often only because it exists. A battleship will fail to pull its weight in a fight with an enemy fleet of frigates, which is far more common than one would think. Due to their issues, they seldom leave the safety of their fleet. The expense of building it means it will always have escorts.

An entire fleet can end up being built just to protect the battleships. As more and more capital ships enter service, battleships become more and more essential. Their massive weapon systems are crucial in eliminating such vessels, and it's impossible to win a fight against classes larger than a capital ship.
   

The Beating Heart: Capital Ships

 
A fleet capital is massive, usually ranging from 1200 to 1500 meters long. These ships are more than a vessel, they are the hub of the fleet. The admiral will take command of a fleet capital. These floating fortresses learned a lesson from the failure of the battleship. Capitals usually have drone bays that allow them to mobilize strike craft in massive numbers. Some even act as carriers with little more than a sophisticated network of point defense turrets as weaponry. Capitals still need escorts, but they are the heart of the fleet, and never fail to be effective.
   

Dreadnaughts

"And what's wrong with a dreadnought, then?" Preston teased.
"Oh, that's a fate worse than death. No one deserves a dreadnought." Miranda replied, "Let me tell you, command of a dreadnought is the equivalent of being given a cushy desk job till retirement. You're not that lazy." Miranda shook her head, "I wouldn't even command a dreadnought. Imagine being stuck on the same planet, day after day." She shuddered.
 
A dreadnought is made to defend a planet, not a system. It is designed to instill fear, and prevent any from even trying to engage. It takes a massive fleet to neutralize a dreadnought, but it takes so many resources to keep them running, they can't leave their supply chain. Few exist, even fewer than titans. A dreadnought can be 2000 meters in length at least, possess drone bays for strike craft, and are heavily armed with a vast assortment of weapons. They are, however, far too slow for fleet engagements. Unlike titans, dreadnoughts were more of an experiment. There are plenty who believe their useful, especially if refitted with better tech, such as the jump drive that makes titans so effective.
 

Art in motion: Titans

"Humans don't have any titans," Preston began. Miranda's face hardened for a moment, a sight he never saw before. He continued, "any helpful advice for those?"
"If it isn't yours, run," Miranda replied.
"That's it?" He asked.
"Humanity could build one, but no Admiral would take command. We don't need it."
"Why not? You'd be the pride of the fleet."
"But at what cost?" Miranda shook her head, "I've never told this story, so enjoy it. I fought at unity, the battle of the pillars."
Preston's eyes widened, and she scoffed, "I didn't go to the academy like you, I started from the bottom. I was an ensign on The Wright. We evaded the enemy fleet and hunkered down on the planet for repairs."
"You saw the archangel." He said, and she nodded in reply.
"The Eden are scary in ground combat, but when their titan showed up, it was different. We saw a flash of light, so bright even the enemy soldiers turned to look. I heard crying, some of the eden soldiers collapsed to their knees. When the eden deploy titans, a battle is lost but desperately needs to be won, even if it means destroying the planet."
"They were going to attack unity?" Preston asked.
Miranda shook her head, "No, they sent the archangel to make a statement, but it took a moment for the eden to realize it. A war with eden is a bad idea."
"Did they ever realize, the eden I mean?"
"Yes," Miranda replied, "and when they did, they were like animals, cut off from what made them so civilized. I saw an eden soldier rip the jaw from a siliue's skull, even as its teeth cut deep into her skin. I don't want to be an omen to those I fight with. No titans for me."
 
Titans are vessels so large, they can't be moved through normal means. Their methods of propulsion are usually overlooked in favor of more firepower, more armor, and more support modules. Originally designed as massive space stations, these vessels are the last thing anyone, even those commanding another titan, wants to engage with. A titan isn't just a ship. It's a symbol. While a dreadnought is meant to strike fear, a titan represents the fighting will of an entire culture, and entire species.

Dead worlds are strip-mined just to build these ships. Jump Technology had to be invented just to get them to move, but there is a special pride in building one. They are stunningly beautiful against the black void, even when you're the enemy. They are large enough to losebhalf their vessel, and still fight. An engagement with a titan will be long and painful, a war of its own.

Titans are rare. There are less than thirty used in the galaxy. This comes from how they move. Titans use rare jump drives, wormhole generators that allow them to instantly move from one place to another. The vessel appears out of nowhere with its weapons already primed. It's possible for your ship to be destroyed before you register it's even there.
 

The archangel.

The titan is a vessel that can range any size above 2500 meters in length. The largest titan ever built, The EVN Archangel, is 4376 meters long when measured from petal to petal. "Petals?" You ask? Unlike other classifications, titans don't have a general rule-set about their construction. Shipwrights hired to make it happen spend years just planning the basics.

Titans are a testimony to the culture they are made for. These ships are literal works of art, inside and out. The Archangel was designed for The Eden Matriarchy, and looks like a featureless humanoid with eight wings or petals around its center most point. The name, or the best human translation for it, fits the image perfectly.

Articles under Void Navies

Comments

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27 Oct, 2020 15:52

Ah, titans. Sounds like that one unit you can only build one of in an RTS game. Like the Death Star.   You say civilians just don't build ships over cruiser class, and immediately my brain tries to make one up. Cloud city, anyone? World-eating mining craft? A titan-class nomadic city?!?!?!   *ahem*   I absolutely love playing 'dancing' characters in video games, so I personally appreciate the description of frigates as the height of military tactics.   "The smallest fusion engines can power a vessel with twice the power consumption of a frigate." confused me a bit. Were the engines consuming twice the power a frigate produced? I figured that's not what you meant, so I had to glean the rest from the next paragraph.   So, if dreadnoughts make for such a cushy job, I wonder what it would take to bring an unsuspecting dreadnought captain down... I shall begin formulating a plot!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
27 Oct, 2020 16:18

Yesss I love Titans. Sadly this rts needs some balancing. The Eden have 4. Lol   Ooo, good loopholes. Some would be stations but a strip miner... Stop miners might defy classification. Well put.   I'll try to clear that up. Frigates have engines that can support ships twice their size might be better.   A large fleet of dancing frigates. Gotta be careful though. You usually have to consider things like planetary defense systems when handling dreadnaughts. They lazy like that.

28 Oct, 2020 15:16

Really interesting read. I love all of the different classifications of ships. I think the Titans are my favourite, because they sound so epic!

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
Johnatron3000
John Rivers
29 Oct, 2020 14:27

I really enjoyed this article! the space combat seems to work like some of the sci-fi I wrote a while back. I disagree on a small point though. I don't think civilian ships would be limited by funds and size so much as only their funding, as its actually more efficient to make larger ships for transportation purposes. Surface area (hull space) will increase with the square of radius, while internal space will increase with the cube. This is assuming your ship is a sphere, but the principle applies to any 3d shape.   This means that if your ship is a sphere with radius 2, your surface area (hull space) is about 50, and you have about 33 units of volume.   If you double that sphere to 4, your new surface area is only 200, while your new volume is 268, easily better assuming internal space or the weight of armor is a limiting factor on spacecraft.   There are many little things wrong with behemoth sized civilian (and military) spacecraft, but I think this one big reason suggests that any science fiction setting should have a few of every kind. Thanks!

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
29 Oct, 2020 14:52

Oh yes! Absolutely. I should clarify that in the article. It's more of a "just because you can doesn't mean you should" The science is sound for sure. There are exceptions. The biggest problem is most systems have no access to warp drives. Moving mass over time is always a concern when deadlines need to be met. The biggest problem is that a massive vessel would bring about diminishing return in the market. If you are packing massive ammounts of medicine for example, its important, but can destabalize medical markets on a planet once shipments arrive. A merchant dreadnaught or titan would definitely move more product, but trying to sell it all would be a nightmare unless you have super high demand. Even still, that demand faded. By limiting civilian vessels, this is fixed, and receiving a shipment won't lead to a problem. It is possible to work around this, like I said there are exceptions. Now, millitary vessels know that civilian ships classified as battleship or capital are probably pirates. There are always exceptions, and the reason you list are why I mean there could be a hopper fleet of capital sized freighters, that jump through systems, selling only a fraction of goods at a time. I do also wonder about fuel to size ratios but I havnt even figured that out for fusion. Oof. There are some advantages of frigates though. Frigates can enter atmosphere. Thats a HUGE cost reduction lol idk how much. Probably small. Either way you make a great point. Thanks so much and ill explore this more

Johnatron3000
John Rivers
30 Oct, 2020 02:24

So what you're saying is that inner system capital ships don't work for civilian use when supply and demand is taken into account. That makes a lot of sense! I would expect that massive civilian ships would be relatively common for colonization though, especially interstellar colonization.   I'm not sure you emphasis on entering the atmosphere is grounded, for sure there would be a no go zone where ships are too large for atmospheric operation but also to small for shuttles to be worthwhile, but on the whole i would assume most planets have lots of light craft that can do low-orbit cargo runs and other operations. Most capital ships can probably carry their own ground transport vehicles, and even smaller ships could send one-way pods to a planets surface with ease (assuming it had an atmosphere).   Not to mention megastructures like atlas pillars or orbital rings. With a sufficiently advanced society, getting to space and accelerating to interplanetary speeds can be as easy as riding an elevator or maglev train.   I'm very excited to see the concepts you already have here fleshed out further.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
30 Oct, 2020 02:35

Hmmmm... True. massive civilian ships are definitely preferred for colonies. More goods, less time waiting. Hmmm. You have a great point. I shall consider all this in future articles. Dude, thanks so much.

Johnatron3000
John Rivers
30 Oct, 2020 03:21

You are very welcome. I quite enjoy these far future concepts, but lack some of the writing skill you possess ;)

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
30 Oct, 2020 04:14

Thanks so much. I'll be flashing them out a lot before long. Your work isn't bad at all. You got skills too. Ii think I have a few to read through in fact. Till next time!

Master TimeBender
Unknown User
23 Feb, 2021 01:52

This is a really good article, not that I'm surprised! Very in-depth. Titans seem terrifying, and what you wrote made me realize that the Eden are much darker beings than they first appeared! A nice twist there, as for some reason, my mind had decided since humanity on Safeharbor was saved by the Eden, that they were good. But I appreciate the realism that none of the aliens are purely good or evil, and that they all have reasons for what they do! Very good plot building there.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
27 Feb, 2021 15:22

The Eden are one of my favorites, thus far. They are definitely a gray area. Titans are indeed terrifying, and not something I'd ever want to actually see. I'm glad you enjoyed it and thank you again.

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