Stage class Far Trader
|Stage class Far Trader|
|Type: A2 Far Trader|
|Hull Configuration||Sphere Hull|
|Fuel tank||21 Tons|
|Quick Ship Profile||A2-AS22|
|Universal Ship Profile||A2-B1822S-E|
|Canon||Unpublished, fan design|
|Design System||Mongoose 2nd|
|Reference||Unpublished Fan design|
The Stage class is named for "rocket stages", a concept in pre-starflight space vehicles which can not quite reach orbit in one piece, so they shed pieces (mostly fuel tank) as they are used up. Likewise, Stage ships are intended to bootstrap some new crew into the traveller life, letting them amass a small fortune while keeping their initial mortgage low (a bit over 100,000 credits per month) and begin trading, thereby tying the Third Imperium's worlds that much closer together. Either the ship could be upgraded - for instance, replacing the single laser drill with a proper weapon - or profits from operation of the ship could be used to buy a larger ship.
A Stage is designed for low-cost production and operation. It has a flattened Sphere Hull, sitting on its engines when landed, with gravity in the direction of primary thrust. Almost all of the systems a crew will directly handle in flight are contained to a single deck. One pilot can operate the entire starship, though a Stage has life support for up to six (if the staterooms are double occupied), with three bridge stations and the possibility of hosting three more who do not need a bridge console (such as a gunner in the turret, a cargo master, an engineer, a steward, a medic, marines, and so on). Given the expected low skill level of typical Stage crews, the ship's computer has been given more bandwidth than absolutely necessary for a ship that just executes jump-2s, to enable it to run whatever software assistance the crew loads. This also allows the addition of software to improve the laser drill's accuracy and thus boost mining yields, but the software to do so typically costs a fair fraction of the Stage itself, so Stages do not come from the factory preloaded with this. Stages under mortgage are programmed to automatically send a message to their mortgage holders every time they enter and exit jump with a compressed ship's log (assuming there is a local starport with the right protocols, charging this message to the mortgage holder's account); while this can be disabled, it takes significant effort (and some risk of disabling the ship), so most Stage crews find it easier to just do whatever is necessary to pay the mortgage.
As with most Tramp Vessels, a Stage is capable of multiple missions but designed for cargo hauling. A Stage is entirely capable of belt mining profitably, even when mining low-value common ores. Some Stage crews get an initial bankroll this way before switching to speculative trading - which, while potentially much more profitable, requires a fair sum of credits to invest in cargo. No small number of crews have gone mercenary, using most of the cargo volume to store vehicles and heavy weapons, then selling their skills wherever their squad can get a ticket. Some Stages with 2 crew sharing 1 stateroom use the other staterooms for passenger service.
While the turret is designed to be replaced if desired, a Stage is ill-equipped for combat. Upgrading the weapon often requires adding batteries or a supplemental power plant, as the Stage's initial plant can barely sustain all non-jump drive systems at once, and jump dimming is required (albeit barely, if maneuver drive, fuel purification, and the turret are all shut down). Indeed, the fuel purification plant must normally be shut down for want of power when the laser drill is in use. A Stage has no armor, and it is almost always more practical to get a new ship than to bolt on protection. The laser drill is barely capable of point defense.
Not available at this time.
General Description & Deck Plans
- Deck Plans for this vessel.
Basic Ship Characteristics
|Basic Ship Characteristics |
|1.||Tonnage / Hull||Tonnage: 100 tons (standard). 1,400 cubic meters. Streamlined Sphere Hull.
|2.||Crew||Crew: Officially, 1 each Pilot, Astrogator, and Gunner, with additional life support for up to 3 non-crew (recorded as passengers). Varies widely in practice, dropping (or folding into another crew) the Astrogator and/or Gunner, and/or adding up to three of a Cargo Master, Engineer, Steward, and/or Medic.|
|3.||Performance||Acceleration: 2-G maneuver drive installed.
|7.||Defenses||1 turret-mounted laser drill.|
|8.||Craft||None. Vacc suits required for EVA (extra-vehicle activity). Rescue Balls for crew escape normally carried.|
|9.||Fuel Treatment||It is equipped with a fuel purification plant and fuel scoops.|
|10.||Cost||MCr26.015 standard. MCr23.4315 in quantity. (The architect's fees were donated, to assist the spread of this design.)|
|11.||Construction Time||4 weeks standard, 3 in quantity.|
|12.||Remarks||An extremely low-cost ship, designed for new captains and crews.|
History & Background
Marketing literature claims that Cleon I himself was the primary architect. Historical studies suggest that, while the Stage class was designed around the Fusion Plus power generators that Cleon I had a hand in developing, most of the naval architect work was likely done by his colleagues. That said, the Stage class (both the plans, and assistance in manufacturing them) was certainly used by Cleon I and some of his successors as one of several applications of Fusion Plus to help expand the Third Imperium. Further, there are blueprints with his signature, suggesting that Cleon I at least reviewed and approved the design at some point, and there is no definitive evidence that he did not do more.
One might think that trying to use the laser drill for piracy would get crews laughed at and arrested, and that this would be obvious, but one should keep in mind that Stages are meant for inexperienced captains and crews, which explains the number of unsuccessful would-be pirates piloting Stages. Fortunately, having extremely limited force available, their efforts rarely get far. There is historical documentation of Cleon I saying that weeding out such crews before they get their hands on anything dangerous is another function of the Stage design.
The Stage design has been somewhat obsoleted over time. As of 1105, it is more common for a new merchant captain to start with a ship of 200 tons or more. However, new manufacture still happens on occasion, and existing Stages keep being handed down from old crews (trading up or retiring) to new. Old Stages have inevitably been customized, trading in a paid-off mortgage for higher maintenance - but "higher" is a relative term. Even a decrepit, centuries-old Stage usually has an annual maintenance comparable to a brand new Beowulf class Free Trader, and is far more affordable.
Class Naming Practice/s & Peculiarities
Ship Interior Details: The decks are both numbered (starting from the deck furthest from the maneuver drives) and named. In order, they are:
- "Top" (sometimes "Gun", especially if the laser drill has been replaced by a Kinetic Energy Weapon)
- "Land" (short for "Landing Gear")
A single central shaft connects the four decks, with the sole airlock extending up into the cargo deck so the crew can not accidentally trap themselves by loading cargo blocking the shaft. The cargo deck's shaft has a fixed iris valve for access; the other three decks have a rotatable shaft covering, allowing access from any angle. All Stages come from the factory with ladder rungs in the side of this shaft; many models have a powered lift platform (which can be folded away when ladder access is desired) as well.
Aside from the airlock, the only access is via a door to the cargo bay, located directly below the bridge so someone on the bridge can oversee cargo handling operations. With the cargo bay door open (retracting to the sides), a ramp can be extended up to 12 meters long - allowing it to reach the ground at an angle of 30 degrees or higher, or usable horizontally as a bridge. On most Stages, the ramp is actually four 1.5 meter wide ramps side by side, providing redundancy (and continued access) should part of the ramp break. (Allegedly, this is an improvement inspired by the results of a firefight at the ramp that one of the first Stage crews got into. Popular legend notwithstanding, there is no solid evidence that Cleon I was part of this firefight, or even in the same system at the time.) The ship's landing gear gives a 3 meter clearance below the bottom deck; the central shaft's ladder (and lift, if present) can extend this far down (closing off the top of the airlock when the bottom is open), as well as up into the turret.
By default, a Stage is laid out for three crew, one per stateroom (each with a bed, a fresher, a clothing locker, and a comfortable sofa that can fit 2 - or, barely, 1 lying down - as well as storage and decor along the walls). To hold less crew, simply seal off the unused staterooms. To hold four to six, simply unfold one to three of the beds into bunks. That is what the manual claims, though more extensive customization is inevitably performed.
Class Naming Practice/s: Given their typical customers, Stages are known for base and low poetry names, though a few have some flair. Theatrical allegories are common ("Stage Left" among Solomani crews, or "Stage Up" among Vilani), as are names of famous spaceships. This does cause a lot of repeat names, but it is rare for two Stages in the same system to share the same name; when they do, the last few digits of their registration numbers are commonly appended for as long as necessary (usually until one of them leaves the system or reaches a starport). Many Stages are simply named for whatever the captain was thinking of when acquiring the starship.
Selected Variant Types & Classes
25 Representative Far Trader (A2) Classes
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|This ship was designed using Mongoose 2nd ship design rules.|