Zheug class Fueling Shuttle
|Zheug class Fueling Shuttle|
Getting fuel fast.
|Type: UF Fuel Shuttle|
|Also see||Fuel Drone|
|Canon||No. Unpublished, non-canon fan smallcraft design.|
|Cost||MCr20.042. MCr18.0378 in quantity.|
|EOS||Examples still operate post-Collapse|
|Passengers||0 High/Med 0 Low|
|Designed with Mongoose Traveller High Guard rules, but portable to other versions.|
- It is a civilian ship and a Fuel Shuttle.
- While it is capable of operating as a drone or a Multipurpose Utility Craft, it is optimized for fueling operations.
Based on designs for Type UMS class Shuttle that were captured during the Second Frontier War, the Zheug (Gvegh for "ladle", also used for buckets that are dipped into wells, siphon pumps, and eventually for skimming equipment) is a combination of TL-13 upgrades and Vargr sensibilities. The primary upgrade is an equivalent of an UNREP system: articulated hoses and pipes to rapidly transfer material. A close second is the cargo bay, able to transform between fuel and cargo storage as needed. Behind that are the retractable thin wings, that give superior performance in atmosphere (such as while skimming fuel) then can fold away entirely to minimize the hangar space a Zheug takes up, and the laser drills that enable mining of ice and ore.
The UNREP system's most obvious use is to move fuel from the shuttle to a larger spaceship. However, that is not its only use:
- When skimming from a gas giant or water, the hoses actively suck in material, significantly accelerating acquisition of fuel.
- When mining ice or ore, the hoses move into position to intercept desired chunks of material the laser drills have blasted free.
- Being articulated, the hoses can act as very crude manipulator tentacles - unable to effectively use tools, but able to "exhale" anything in the cargo bay or collapsible tank (and, in atmosphere or underwater, "inhale" objects no more than about a meter in second-longest dimension). For instance, more than one Zheug has been used to spray paint large objects.
Of particular note is the ship's computer, which is able to handle all crew positions - and yet, there is a bridge with two crew stations. The craft is designed to be operated by Vargr of middle to low Charisma, such that the craft does all the work and the crew gets all the credit. The social importance of this, and the relief valve this gives to said low-ranking Vargr, is routinely underestimated by Imperial citizens with little concept of how Vargr societies work. Even when the Vargr acknowledge this, they claim the crew is there "in case something goes wrong".
Ice mining is typically slower than gas giant or water skimming (taking nearly a full day to deliver a full cargo load), so the capability is there as a backup. Ore mining is to give the shuttle something to do if hosted by a station, or by a ship which stays in a given system for a while, and generate a small additional income (typically contracting out to a local mining corporation, to mine some previously-surveyed asteroid). A Vargr who pilots a Zheug for such a run will almost always entrust the actual work to the ship's computer, but is still technically on duty and will be paid accordingly, which (among Imperial circles) has given Zheug piloting a reputation as one of the easiest jobs in Charted Space. That said, those who wish to be competent and professional about such a run will at least oversee the operation, making sure the laser drills do not overheat, scanning for gas pockets, and so on.
Not available at this time.
General Description & Deck Plans
- Deck Plans for this vessel.
Basic Ship Characteristics
|Basic Ship Characteristics |
|1.||Tonnage / Hull||Tonnage: 95 tons (standard). 1330 cubic meters. Airframe Wedge Hull.
|2.||Crew||Crew: 1 Pilot, 1 Gunner. The 3 laser drills are linked and designed to be operated by a single gunner in tandem. Software can replace either or both functions.|
|3.||Performance||Acceleration: 3-G maneuver drive installed.
|5.||Hardpoints||Too small for hardpoints. 3 firmpoints.|
|6.||Armament||3 firmpoint-mounted laser drills.|
|8.||Craft||None (besides itself). Vacc suits required for EVA (extra-vehicle activity). Rescue Balls for crew escape normally carried.|
|9.||Fuel Treatment||It is not equipped with a fuel purification plant, but it has fuel scoops.|
|10.||Cost||MCr20.042. MCr18.0378 in quantity. (The architect's fees were amortized long ago.)|
|11.||Construction Time||3 weeks standard, 2 in quantity.|
|12.||Remarks||An upgraded Type UMS class Shuttle, optimized for fueling.|
During the Second Frontier War, at one point (historical records are unclear exactly when and in which system this happened) a Vargr task force temporarily occupied an Imperial shipyard and decided to download all the designs they could as loot. After the war, said task force turned this data over to some friendly TL-13 naval architects, a few of whom took it as a personal challenge to do better than the Third Imperium. The Zheug was the most successful of their results.
As of 1105, the design can be encountered aboard many Vargr ships and stations that have a fuel purification plant but do not possess their own fuel scoops, and have space aboard to carry a shuttle, especially if the ship itself is at least TL-13. Zheugs are sometimes encountered aboard Zhodani, Julian, and coreward Imperial ships and stations (with the same other qualities) too. Similar designs can be seen elsewhere in Charted Space.
Class Naming Practice/s & Peculiarities
Ship Interior Details (Peculiarities): Unlike most shuttles, only the forward area (the airlock, access corridor, bridge, and ship's locker) are designed for routine crew access. Despite the presence of a bridge rather than a cockpit, this leads some crews to see themselves as akin to fighter pilots, especially those for whom piloting a Zheug is the closest they will get to flying a fighter.
It is common for only one Vargr to crew a Zheug. The second station is crewed if mining is expected, or to train junior crew members. Sometimes a senior Vargr will fly a run with a second crewmember; this is widely understood to be an excuse to have time alone (as each run typically takes a few hours), usually for private conversations (such as those it would be inconvenient to have where someone else might hear), though it has also been used for intimate encounters (given the lack of privacy on certain spaceships). Several dramas and comedies have been written about the rest of the crew confusing one for the other.
The rated cargo capacity includes the ship's locker and the collapsible fuel tank. In practice, only up to 74 tons of fuel or 73.26 tons of ore are delivered per trip, the remaining 0.4 tons used for a ship's locker with various survival equipment. There have been incidents where a Zheug dove into a somewhat hostile world's oceans, skimmed fuel while deploying one or both crewmembers with a significant amount of gear from the locker, then returned to its host ship with the world's population none the wiser until the agent(s) performed some mischief - and then did another run to retrieve the agent(s) before anyone on the world suspected this ploy.
Class Naming Practice/s: Like most smallcraft manufactured in large quantities, there is no class-wide rhyme or reason to the names attached to Zheugs. Many are not even named, or are named for the ship or station they are primarily used to fuel.
Selected Variant Types & Classes
- Type UF class Fuel Shuttle
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