Help Me Pick New Logo Through 3 April 2016!
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Do you like Sci-Fi? While I finish up my next novel, I have started an online fiction series called Forbearance. Picking up from the canteen scene in Bellicose, we meet Keius Minjen, a postal marine, as he tries to survive the battle planet Guna to exact revenge and one day liberate his homeland.
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One of the earliest Soup-capable freighters built, first developed prior to the formation of the Terran Republic by a consortium of Imperial Core Worlds companies and government agencies called the Grup der Firebird.
The Firebird Class vessels are all based upon the same basic plan; a twelve hundred foot long and three hundred foot diameter tube with two “wings” protruding some three hundred feet from the main body. The bridge, crew quarters, engines and main drives are all located in the aft of the vessel.
The main hold of the vessel is divided into a five sections, four which are 170 feet long by 200 feet in diameter and one which is 360 feet long. For shipping goods which do not require atmosphere, these holds can be used at maximum capacity. Where atmosphere must be present, tanks have to be installed which can cut down storage space.
Crew Compartments and Bridge
The Firebirds have a crew capacity of thirty to forty, all housed in the aft of the ship. Early versions of the Firebirds were crowded, spartan affairs, but later versions could rob space from engineering due to smaller generators, engines and drives.
The bridge is also located here. Early Firebirds required at least seven people to operate the ship, but later versions, due to more powerful computers, could in fact be operated by one individual (and even that was generally more a requirement of various safety regulations, the A Is being perfectly capable of in-voyage operation).
Engineering is at the extreme aft of the vessel. The types of generators and drives have changed over time, and heavily modified Firebirds are rather notorious to maintain, with some sections accessible only from space.
A later addition to the Firebirds, the EVA docking area is located forward of the crew area. Early Firebirds that have been upgraded may have different configurations.
The earliest Firebirds were based upon a common slow-boat design used in the Corrigan System during the First Decline. The earliest Firebirds were, in fact, simply modified slower-than-light freighters that had been in use for centuries.
The Firebirds were the earliest workhorses of the Terran Republic and the Imperium, despite the fact that they were difficult vessels for technicians and engineers to maintain. With the development of the Parthas Class Vessels, the Firebirds went out of fashion and the Grup der Firebird was shut down and its patents voided.
Thus came the rebirth of the Firebird. Between the thousands of Firebird Class freighters still in operation and the numerous smaller shipyards who hired Grup der Firebird engineers and specialists, the Firebird remained for a few more centuries a common vessel on trade routes.
In the end, though, the vessels became more valuable as scrap, and with much better alternatives that could be maintained for much less money, the number of Firebirds has waned. Still, for a relatively small investment, a would-be trader or adventurer can pick one up, and providing he has a skilled and patient engineer, it will still serve as a mostly-functional ship.