A starberg is a large-scale spacecraft which has a hull primarily constructed of numerous blocks - or a single, monolithic block - of water ice bound in a protective outer skin. Many star carriers, cyclers, and lower-tech sleeper ships, including those which regularly make the journey between the Cobalt Protectorate Core and Periphery regions, are starbergs.
Starbergs typically enjoy a surfeit of extra thermal capacity and radiation protection as a result of their material composition; while water is not as efficient a thermal working fluid as some synthetic materials, such as silicon oil, starbergs make up for this with sheer volume. As such, many starbergs feature oversized fusion torus power plants which double as bimodal propulsion systems. One additional benefit of this arrangement is that the drive systems of a starberg can use some of the water ice as reaction mass, giving them surprisingly good thrust for such large vehicles. Swapping some of the ice near the ship's core with deuterated and tritiated variants can further extend mission endurance, as these can be cracked to release D-T fusion fuel.
Weapons & Armament
As with their reactors, the huge thermal capacity of starbergs make them ideal platforms for laser and particle beam weaponry.
Armor and defense
Starbergs are significantly more armor mass than actual habitation and cargo space. General Purpose Modules (GPM) used as ice blocks for this purpose provide exceptional protection from thermal, radiological, kinetic, and abrasive damage that might be accrued over the course of a long journey, as their double-sided walls are actually filled with a form of engineered graphene pykrete rather than simple water ice.
Hangars & docked vessels
Many starbergs are designed around large, hollow interiors and often take the shape of long cylinders with internal subdivisions, much in the manner of bamboo culms. Whether for combat, maintenance, or cargo handling purposes, these starbergs typically field fleets of drone and even shuttle or landing craft as required for their mission profiles.