ESCI Revelation

A flying monument to human endurance. A source of joy - and travails - for thousands amongst the starry cosmos. And, in spite of all which would come to pass, the pride of the ESCI and the Cobalt Protectorate.

The ESCI Revelation is a triumph of Evermornan engineering, scientific knowledge, and economic prowess. The Revelation is one of the largest colony-founding generation vessels ever constructed by the Evermorn Strategic Colony Initiative in their unending quest to preserve the human-descendant legacy by dispersement throughout the Sealed Kingdoms. The vessel represents a new hope for the Cobalt Protectorate in the face of threats like Aniki Labs and the Chitiquish Consortium.

Power Generation

While underway, the Revelation is powered by a combination of brayton cycle generators tied to the radiator panels covering the vessel's outer hull and MHD generators built into the exhaust nozzle. Once in orbit around its destination planet, the vessel will reorient to point its foreward windows towards the sun and extend large solar arrays.

Propulsion

The Revelation is moved through space by a multi-mode fusion propulsion bus. A massive fusion torus at the aft of the vessel fuses a deuterium/tritium mixture to achieve its initial velocity of a fraction of the speed of light; neutron radiation is captured by a lithium blanket to produce more fusion fuel. Once a sufficient cruising velocity is achieved, the vessel switches to ram-assisted inertial reaction (RAIR) mode. At these speeds, interstellar gas is ionized by powerful lasers at the front of the vessel and corralled by large electrostatic coils which are projected out ahead of the ship in a large cone. This gas is then further accelerated by a series of magnets at the core of the vessel until it collides with a set of boron targets, producing a clean fusion reaction and allowing further acceleration to the vessel's top cruising velocity of roughly one-third the speed of light. When approaching the target system, the vessel switches to collecting the interstellar gas for storage, slowing the vessel while also refuelling it. Finally, once near the target system, the Revelation reactivates its fusion torus and uses magnettic fields to redirect the exhaust forwards, providing braking thrust.

Weapons & Armament

As a vessel managed and protected by Cobalt Knights, the ESCI Revelation is extremely well-defended despite its class as a colonization generation ship. In addition to being able to use its forward gas ionization lasers as point defense weapons, the drive supports are festooned with reactor-pumped x-ray laser turrets. For more difficult-to-crack opponents, each cruiser and drone aboard (see Hangars & Docked Vessels) comes equipped with laser arrays and full complements of fusion shaped-charge missiles.

Armor and defense

Given that fuel efficiency is a primary concern for such far-reaching missions, the ESCI Revelation makes extensive use of low-mass or massless forms of defense against both environmental hazards and intentional military threats. Most of the vehicle's titanium and graphene-composite superstructure is encased in concentric layers of Whipple shielding, thoughout which run a dense network of resin-filled capillaries and drone-passible service tunnels to enable rapid self-repair. Computing and internal communication systems are distributed across a node network which spans the whole hull of the vessel, with multiple redundancy for every important system.
All of these structural and infrastructural elements are protected by strong electromagnetting shielding and laser point defenses (see Weapons & Armament) against threats external to the vehicle itself.   Each geodesic triangle of the inner habitable section is delineated with a high-roofed membrane which can be closed off from surrounding bubbles in the event of a hull breach; like the Revelation's other important resource stores, crew live and spend most of their time within separate general purpose module homes and offices within these membranes, providing an entire other set of barriers against decompression, contagion, and radiation. The important control and administrative elements of the vessel are located in a ring structure close to the well-protected core of the vessel, and as long as this section and at least 100 individuals survive any single event, the mission may still be completed in spite of catastrophic damage to the rest of the vessel.
GPM Cutaway by BCGR_Wurth
A general purpose module (GPM), as one might find aboard the ESCI Revelation, with three sides of the hexagonal water-inflatable hull removed. Each floor provides rougly 7' of headroom; colonists with small stature are preferred for this and mass (fuel conservation) reasons.


Communication Tools & Systems

Control of the vessel and any attendant drones is enabled through direct neural uplink jacks possessed by the command staff. An internal microwave and hard-line communications network allows HLAI, augmented animals (typically magpies), and any other individuals with cybernetics to report any important findings (i.e. maintenance issues) to command staff remotely. The Revelation uses directional radio antennae, microwave antennae, and laser communication arrays to communicate with any installations or vessels it might encounter. Because ESCI missions involve a degree of secrecy, the directional nature of these communications is important to prevent 'leaks.'

Sensors

Like most Evermornan vessels, the Revelation makes heavy use of LIDAR, gravity sensors, electromagnetic sensors, and multispectral scopes to observe its environment. Because its propulsion system relies on the precise manipulation and maintenance of magnetic fields to function, the Revelation's sensor suite is extremely sensitives to changes in the magnetic fields in local space. The sensor systems are designed to automatically compensate for the distortions caused by relativistic flight - blue shift to the front, red shift to the rear, time dilation, and so forth - but any crew members expected to work with the sensors are required to demonstrate an understanding the math involved with these phenomena before their readings will be trusted.

Additional & auxiliary systems

The Revelation's life support is provided by interlocking layers of closed ecological life support systems (CELSS), featuring extensive use of aquaponics, hydroponics, and more traditional farming practices augmented with genetically-engineered crops. The humble aglae tube is an ubiquitous sight, serving as a source of waste management, food, oxygen, and psychological comfort all in one neat little cylinder. The station is spun about its long axis, creating centrifugal gravity for all aboard and providing the impression that the whole of the spere section is a lush, pastoral valley sitting astride an equatorial river well-stocked with fish.   As the product of a technologically-advanced civilization and their allies, the ESCI Revelation is heavily automated, with extensive involvement of artificial intelligences and auto-factories in day-to-day ship operations. Similarly, the ship's intranet systems are well-stocked with resources to promote the artistic, cultural, educational, and professional development of the crew; many crew members become polymaths on their journey, able to take over for their fellows in different departments should the need arise. Every concievable resource is rigorously recycled, though the crew is afforded as much redundancy in this regard as permissible within fuel/mass considerations to make the 14 year journey more comfortable.

Hangars & docked vessels

The Revelation is equipped with two cruisers - the CKV Mercury Sable and LDF Sandharrow along with enough drones to equip the drone busses of each many times over - for use in on-orbit operations (asteroid resource mining, defense, etc.). It also carries two SSTO shuttles for embarking and disembarking. The Revelation features a fully automated drydock hangar to perform repair, refit, and shipbuilding services.

ESCI Revelation
A map of the ESCI Revelation's superstructure. Check the boxes in the layers tab at the top right for more details.
 

The Journey

The journey of the ESCI Revelation had an inauspicious start which saw it encountering an Aniki Labs parasite carrier from the Armoa System near the boundary of the Evermorn System. The Revelation's crew (especially Enzo Salt and his Avionics Department) managed to destroy this attacker, but not before unknowingly having the ship's systems infected wtih an antagonistic artificial intelligence.   Two years later, this intelligence would surreptitiously cause a series of ship-wide disasters, from allowing a micro-meteor to penetrate the ship's hull (killing almost 400 people) to taking control of the ship's HLAI platforms to orchestrate what initially appeared to be a coup by the androids. This was all done in service of Aniki Lab's true goal, which remained unknown until the ship arrived in the Falconer's Eye system.  
Before the Revelation could link up with the Dewhollow, they encountered a jettisoned GPM from the Dewhollow containing a single survivor - the alien artificial intelligence Lufthaus, which had grafted himself onto a stricken HLAI to ensure their mutual survival. The hybrid machine intelligence warned the crew of the Revelation that he had come from Dewhollow after discovering it had been overtaken by a mutiny orchestrated by holders of the Aniki ideology. The hostile artificial intelligence from earlier in the mission had been trying to soften up the crew of the Revelation so that they would make easy prey for shipjackers from the Dewhollow, who would then go about setting up the colony in the name of Aniki instead of Evermorn.
MPP.jpg
by BCGR_Wurth (background by Jeremy Thomas via Unsplash)
A modular pulse pistol of the sort wielded by the Cobalt Knights aboard the ESCI Revelation during the era of the Armoa Conflict.
  Armed with Lufthaus' forewarning, a team of Cobalt Knights from the Revelation boarded the Dewhollow under the pretence of peaceful contact and ignorance of the mutineers' plans. Instead, the Cobalt Knights sprung the trap, laying siege to the Dewhollow from the inside. Knight-Airman Salt captured the mutineer captain and siezed control of the vessel for Evermorn once more, holding the threat of de-orbiting the Dewhollow with all souls aboard over the head of any would-be mutinous holdouts. He would ultimately lose his arm to a pulse pistol wound. With the Dewhollow recaptured and her crew impressed for the crime of mutiny - as (now Acting Director of the Dewhollow) Salt didn't have the heart to execute his fellow colonists wholesale - the crew of the Revelation finally set about the hard work of colonizing the new world of Ibren.
Revelation Mission Colors by BCGR_Wurth
Designation
ESCI Revelation
Owning Organization
Rarity
Almost unique; sister ship of the ESCI Dewhollow
Beam
1800' (appendages retracted)
Length
3750' (appendages retracted)
Speed
0.33c (max. cruising velocity; 0.66c approx. Δv)
Complement / Crew
300 (Cobalt Knight mission control and service personnel, plus Great Clans' governing organs)
Cargo & Passenger Capacity
5,000 (max. population; Evermornan, Lepidosian, and HLAI platforms)
Vessel Size Comparison by BCGR_Wurth
The ESCI Revelation (center) in comparison with the CKV Mercury Sable (lower right) and ALV Pyre Dawn (bottom right).  

Objectives

The ESCI Revelation was built to ferry a group of 1,500 Evermornan, Lepidosian, and HLAI passengers (along with any children they may have together along the way) to the planet Ibren in the Falconer's Eye System. This is a roughly fourteen year (observed time) journey covering roughly four light years of space. Once in-system, the ESCI Revelation is to encounter its sister ship, the predominently Evermornan and Feldean ESCI Dewhollow, already in system. Together, the two vessels and their now-hybridized crew would send a portion of their number down to the surface of Ibren - along with numerous general purpose modules full of colony construction supplies - to establish permanent habitation on the planet. The colony is to remain undetected by any external faction (especially chitiquish of any description) for as long as possible - ideally a minimum of 100 years or five generations. Finally, in the far future, the population of Ibren is to establish a new ESCI shipyard in system to send new vessels to adjacent systems, prepetuating the human and human-adjacent peoples in lieu of extinction-level events or hostile alien actions.  
CK Crest, ESCI Honors by BCGR_Wurth
 

Mission Control

The ESCI Revelation is operated using a mission control model, with each facet of ship operations overseen by its own department. Appointment to these departments and the command hierarchy within these departments is handled as meritocratically as possible. When one wrong move can spell a prolonged death in the void of space for thousands, the Cobalt Knights have reasoned, then there can be no room for favoritism, idealism, or graft. Both ESCI and Cobalt Knight regulations stipulate that one is absolutely responsible for the consequences of their actions, with negligence or malfeasance which endangers the crew being subject to punishments up to and includng execution via ISRU reactor (colloquially known as being "thrown in the chipper"). Crucially, while alcohol 'comes with the territory' with regards to Protectorate culture, inebriation is no defense against prosecution in this regard.  
Midori screenshot.png
by Hero Forge
Midori Milan (later Salt), Lepidosian pop sensation and current head of the Entertainment and Shipboard Culture Department aboard the ESCI Revelation. While the necessity is not immedately apparent, entertainment and ties to one's host culture are absolutely crucial aboard generation ships, as feelings of boredom, isolation, and confinement can lead to psychological problems (especially among Lepi) and civil unrest - all of which can spell doom for the mission.  

Why a Generation Ship?

The Armoa Incident saw Aniki Labs siezing control of the ESCI's first attempt at a seed ship, provoking the Armoa Conflict which has been going on for almost 50 years by the time of the Revelation's launch. While HLAI are not generally vulnerable to hacking - being complex artificial intelligences and their own system administrators, and, thus, having the ability to easily disrupt any unwanted connections - the systems around them are vulnerable. This has made the ESCI wary of any command structure which does not have significant human redundancy, including seed ships and sleeper ships. The simple economics of interstellar travel being what they are, this has left the organization with only one option - slow, but reliable, vessels crewed by living, competent crew who can react on a moment's notice to any dangers the ship might face in transit.  
by Hero Forge
Knight-Airman Enzo Salt on the eve of the siege to retake the ESCI Dewhollow from Aniki-aligned Feldean mutineers.

Articles under ESCI Revelation



Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth (background by Beat Schuler via Unsplash)

Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
15 Sep, 2021 12:29

Very cool and well thought out article! You described everything very cleary and it great detail such as the propulsion. The features of the ship also make sense with the eye on redundancy, which is important to have on a long journey.   The images and especially the map are great! It seems you put a lot of thought into this :)

Feel free to check out my latest challenge article the Avaronian Empire if you want to see what I am up to!
21 Sep, 2021 20:04

Thanks! I may have mentioned it in one my of monthly updates, but this setting is probably one of the ones I've meant to explore for the longest. Getting access to WA and getting experience with writing other stuff has finally given me the opportunity to turn it into something, which I'm super-stoked for.

Come check out The Manifold Sky: Five-Dimensional Dieselpunk Action   My Current challenge article - Upper Late Arcopel - is now live!
21 Sep, 2021 17:41

Very well thought out and I like the map. Good job also on the justification for generation ship vs seed ship. The only thing that throws me off a little is usually a generation ship is so named because it takes at least one, but usually several generations to reach its destination, but it is implied in the article that the same Enzo Salt that is responsible for heroics at both the beginning and end of the journey.

As always, it would be appreciated if you would stop by my challenge article The Storm Giant Empire and leave some feedback.   If you are looking for things to read from summer camp there is also my Summer Camp 2022 Reading Challenge.. Happy worldbuilding.
21 Sep, 2021 20:01

Thanks!   It's not addressed here, but the Revelation is meant to be one of the test-beds for longer duration missions (i.e. deep into other parts of the Sealed Kingdoms region). It does have the mission endurance to move on should, for some reason, the planet prove less than optimal despite preliminary surveys. In any case, many of the first generations of colonists will have to reside aboard to provide on-orbit support while sending volunteers down to the surface for colony construction and the like.

Come check out The Manifold Sky: Five-Dimensional Dieselpunk Action   My Current challenge article - Upper Late Arcopel - is now live!
Sage George Sanders
George Sanders
1 Oct, 2021 20:08

I liked the summary the objective section gave. Some of the larger sections (propulsion, armor, additional & auxiliary systems) were hard to gather all their details from - there is a lot in there. I like the layered map!

Read about the ancient history of the Anhult Wildlands in my Challenge article, Echoes of the Past.

Submit articles for Lavani to read by leaving a comment on her Reading List!
2 Oct, 2021 06:32

Thanks! Once the challenge is done I'll probably expand on these for clarity - I was really starting to run up against the word count limit.

Come check out The Manifold Sky: Five-Dimensional Dieselpunk Action   My Current challenge article - Upper Late Arcopel - is now live!