Booster Boats Vehicle in Cathedris | World Anvil

Cathedris Themesong

Booster Boats

Mid-ocean recharge

It's in your best interest to remain below deck during a boost.
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Emi, captain of the 'Electric Blue'
  Roughly 50% of modern vessels that sail Cathedris's seas are electric powered; for those making the long journey across the large oceans, that means spending a lot of cargo space on capacitors. Thankfully there's a solution: old and unused radio relay boats have been cobbled together with massive generators and capacitor banks, repurposed into a mad scientists dream vehicle that's capable of wirelessly discharging incredible amounts of energy into the power storage of any nearby boat needing a recharge.  

Prior Purpose

In the golden age of Radio before the advent of Simulrendology and instantaneous data transmission thanks to the Rendulgraph, large "Booster Boats" were employed as mobile radio relay stations. They'd be set out to drift in the middle of the oceans, boosting any radio signal that matched their set frequency across those massive bodies of water. When radio was phased out, the boats became essentially useless; until an idea to solve the unrelated problem of electric boat travel distance limits was proposed.  
These boats already had much of the infrastructure required in order to serve this new purpose. The radio relay technology had included the tall metal radio tower, as well as a fairly robust electrical system to support it. There was a small generator at the front of the ship, and the entire thing was wired for electricity from bow to stern.   Additionally, the decks and hulls of the Booster Boats were already heavily reinforced, strong enough to support the tall metal radio tower; as well as being capable of carrying a fair amount of additional weight from the capacitors and generator.

Statistics and Capabilities

Top Speed
15 knots
Time at Sea
14 days
 
Crew
10-12 people
Capacity
4 "boosts"
 
Generation
Faradic Oil fueled generator
Propulsion
Electric Propeller

 

Aeler's Generator

A recent invention, Aeler's engine, or in this case Aeler's generator, is an internal combustion engine that pumps flammable liquid, Faradic Oil, into a compression cylinder where it is detonated. This internal combustion creates a force that turns a shaft and generates electricity in a manner that's described as "frighteningly loud" and "confusingly inefficient".   Booster Boats use an especially large version of this device mounted in the bow end of the storage hold, but 1-2 occupant vehicles like Glacier Crawlers that are piloted in the mountains of Artazia make use of smaller, more portable versions of these regularly exploding engines.
Ever been caught in a thunderstorm with no where to hide? Yeah, it's like that.
But you're standing on a boat made of metal, in the middle of the damn ocean.
Emi, captain of the 'Electric Blue'

 

The "New Boost"

Most of the work done to upgrade these vessels into the new Booster Boats was in increasing the amount of power generation and storage contained in the ship. The generator was swapped out for the biggest Aeler's Engine that'd possibly fit within a given hull size, and the remainder of the hold was crammed full of row upon row of capacitor banks.   All of this was wired together into a massive circuit, leading up through the center of the deck, to the top of what used to be the relay tower. Here, it had been retrofitted with a massive discharge station, capable of shooting millions of volts of electricity into the air; it was far enough away that it'd only sometimes arc down and strike the metal hull of the Booster Boat, otherwise consistently transferring energy to the receiving tower of any recharging ship that came near.  
   
A triple layered reinforced steel hull, capable of lasting many long years before needing to be repaired or renewed. However, it rusts fairly quickly unless repeatedly treated with a rust-resisting paint. The hull is one of the few original pieces of a Booster Boat that requires no retrofitting or upgrading upon conversion to its new purpose.
What used to be a 'radio relay tower' is now the portion of a Booster Boat that has the most "upgrades" completed on it. Wires capable of carrying huge amounts of current now run to the top of it, where large metal spheres and diodes discharge the electricity into the air with enough power behind it to arc between boats and recharge the target vessel.
Before their conversion, most Booster Boats only carried enough capacitors to last them their own voyage, while powering the relay tower. Now, though, every available square foot of space inside the cargo hold has been converted to capacitor space -- save for a bit of room to walk around. Additionally, the wiring has been upgraded to a heavier gauge in order to support the greater amounts of electricity running through them.
Aeler's latest and greatest, the top of the line in massive industrial combustion generators. Generally, these generators are only used as back-up, for once the capacitor banks have dropped below 25% charge. Once the power storage is that low, the generator kicks on -- often described as a literal kick, as the entire boat shakes heavily when the machine begins to run.

Booster Boat Image 1.webp

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Cost of Business

Booster Boats don't float around the open ocean discharging their massive stores of energy for free, or for just anyone; each boat upon the water is contracted by a specific government or shipping agency to only recharge specific boats that have been cleared for access. If any unknown vessel approaches and it's not waving the proper flag in the proper configuration, the Booster Boat will withhold its charge and not serve it to this new ship.  

Risk on open seas

This does not stop from some more unsavory vessels from attempting to force the Booster Boat to recharge them, however. Modern day pirates of Cathedris's oceans are sometimes found attacking these recharging ships, trying to secure as much electricity as they can before hiding somewhere else upon the vast ocean.   Booster Boats are not without their own defenses, though. While generally the crew aboard the boat will have guns and weaponry that they'll employ to repel any would be raiders and keep enemy boats at a distance, they also have one more trick that they're able to call upon should the situation become increasingly dire: overcharging.   This incredibly dangerous maneuver includes rapidly unloading every single bit of electricity a Booster Boat is currently storing, in as rapid a manner as possible. Tens of millions of volts of electricity vaporize the air around the top of the discharge tower as power courses around it, lashing out at whatever conductive material happens to be too close. Unless the captain is truly mad, an overcharge is only done in a last ditch effort to save themselves, as the event has roughly a 50/50 chance of destroying the enemy ship, or destroying them both.

Reliably Unreliable

  Due to the nature of the technology and extreme amounts of electricity being transferred, Booster Boats are prone to failure. For the most part the results are not catastrophic; thanks to minor safety precautions, any faulty recharge usually just results in blown fuses and melted breakers, of which every electric boat carries multiple backup parts for.    
It's said that 1 in 4 recharges from a Booster Boat result in failure. Well, I'm proud to say that aboard my ship, we've gotten it down to 1 in 6.
Emi, captain of the 'Electric Blue'
 
It's a sad sight to see, a fellow Booster Boat that's been burnt out from the inside. Happens for a variety of reasons; overcharging gone wrong, catastrophic failure in one or more of the capacitors, or even just bad luck during a routine discharge. Either way, most of the ship melts and fuses together, burns incredibly brightly, and sinks.
Emi, captain of the 'Electric Blue'
 



Cover image: Photobash by Stormbril, with base images by Artists in image description

Comments

Author's Notes

Wooden table background from Tim Mossholder on Unsplash


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Jul 28, 2023 09:03 by Bart Weergang

I really like this idea and how you worked it out!

Aug 8, 2023 15:47 by Stormbril

Thank you Jacob! I was hoping you'd enjoy this good and totally safe boat :D

Jul 28, 2023 21:01 by Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull

I am proud that the more risk-taking version of me is doing well on the Electric Blue. :D These ships sound absolutely terrifying but I love them.

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Aug 8, 2023 15:48 by Stormbril

Emi is out there living the best life aboard the *very scary* Electric Blue :D   Thank you! <3

Aug 21, 2023 20:15 by Alex the Creatrix

A very creative way to re-purpose old technology, and also quite terrifying.

Alex the Creatrix Star Witch & Cosmic Ambassador to the Galaxy of Kantostara
Aug 21, 2023 23:00 by Stormbril
Dec 4, 2023 04:33 by Reanna R

Ooh, I love the ingenuity behind these boats! They're so...cool! Like...boats + electricity on an open sea - how can it go wrong (haha)?   In all honesty, it's too bad that the booster boats are so dangerous. If I could, I might just take my chances with the Electric Blue, though.

May your worldbuilding hammer always fall true! Also, check out the world of the Skydwellers for lots of aerial adventures.
Jan 3, 2024 22:26 by Stormbril

Surely nothing at all could possibly go wrong with that combination! nothing at allll

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