The Migrant Project
Perhaps it is something in the Human mental makeup that makes them want to spread throughout the stars. It is the human corporation Steam Industries that is behind the Migrant Project – its aim to develop a
jump-capable colony vessel that could carry with it enough people, animals and machinery to establish a colony world. In theory the vessel could then return home and restock itself before repeating the process.
Using this technique, Steam Industries is widely quoted as saying it can “increase its customer base exponentially.” The Kingfisher was the original colony vessel designed by the Migrant project, design and construction beginning in the wake of the free availability of Jump Engines. The ill-fated Kingfisher was critically damaged when it was attacked and boarded by the Irif, and the Migrant project suffered a major setback.
The Gilgamesh-A is the second attempt at a colony vessel, utilising some parts from the Kingfisher and a lot of the experience that came with designing and building of that ship. Named after the famed Hamak Jump-capable battleship it is a first of its kind and as much of a figurehead as a working vessel. Its crew in these first few months of active service is chosen as much for political correctness as for capability – the representation of the four races has been carefully considered, and in some cases the vessel’s crew has been picked for who shouted the loudest rather than who was the most skilled. The thinking is that the Gilgamesh-A will remain in service for many decades, and that over time the crew will change and improve in quality and experience.
While the crew of the Gilgamesh-A are employed and hired by Steam Corporation, they are not the only people on board. The Gilgamesh-A is also home to a large number of civilians. Some of these are the pilots of the variety of small shuttles, fighters and transports on board. Others are science teams, responsible for various pieces of equipment on board, or part of the survey team who examine any newly discovered world for the possibility of marking it for colonisation.
Along with these there is a small army of support staff – cooks, cleaners, maintenance technicians and providers of leisure services for off-duty crew. The Gilgamesh-A is practically a mobile village in space. With a vessel of the size of the Gilgamesh-A there are undoubtedly some aboard who don’t have the full clearance to be present. And of course there’s a small security detail employed by Steam Industries who make sure that these and other ne’er-do-wells are kept to a minimum.
Where the Sol colony ships were built of asteroids, hollowed out to fit their purpose, the Gilgamesh-A is built in a modular fashion, comprised of a frame to which modules have been added. The main spine of the vessel comprises of a spacious walkway and a number of transit cars which allow for speedy movement between the various modules of the ship. Engineering and power subsystems are kept to the rear of the vessel, and then a traveller would go past shuttle and fighter bays, cargo holding bays, general working areas and finally habitation modules on the way to the bridge at the front of the ship.
In total the Gilgamesh-A is 600m long, though the back 150m of that is comprised entirely of engine and Jump systems. Viewed from above it is almost as wide at some points as it is long where the habitation and general living areas are situated.
The shuttle and fighter bays aboard the Gilgamesh are highly automated in order to avoid some messy air-locking process which would slow down a fighter response in the case of combat. Shuttles and fighters are assigned to particular docking “pods” which employ sophisticated rail and pylon technology on the exterior of the Gilgamesh-A. On exiting the vessel, the crew of a particular vessel board from a central docking spine – kept in micro gravity for ease of movement – and are launched with their fighter along its docking rail. On rejoining the parent vessel the rail acts as a tether which pulls the fighter or shuttle back to its docking pod where the crew can disembark.
Life aboard the Gilgamesh-A
The Gilgamesh-A has been described as a “liner” rather than as a traditional spacecraft. There are no cramped quarters – all crew quarters are spacious by contrast (maybe the size of a bedsit) and are well-appointed with facilities. The quarters given to civilians aboard ship are only slightly less grandiose. Stowaways, obviously, find their own way.
While there is a command structure among the crew, this defaults down to a bureaucratic structure for the civilians aboard the ship – a crew member can ask the head of a section to talk to his/her staff and the order travels downward. In practice, a civilian follows the orders of a member of the crew simply because the security force is part of the crew and nobody wants to be consigned to quarters.
Habitats & Recreation
Designed to be equally habitable for each of the four races, the Gilgamesh-A has some features which are rarely seen aboard spaceships and more frequently aboard space stations. The first of these is the availability of Tarn quarters with the capability for “rain” and communal swimming pools. These pools contain purified water from the fuel tanks of the Gilgamesh-A, and the main ship’s water processing system is used to strip bacteria and debris from the water before it is passed from pool to storage tank. The water distribution system aboard the ship is similar in design to the air circulation system aboard other ships.
Certain areas of the ship are maintained in micro gravity for recreational purposes. The ship has a micro gravity sports court as well as a small micro gravity observation dome which houses nothing else and has been nicknamed “Lovers’ Lane.”
The Gilgamesh-A also houses a large solarium area. This is intended both as palliative care for civilians who are not used to living for large periods of time aboard ship, and also as a central location for socialising.
There is a bar aboard ship, but this is a fairly staid affair and tends to be avoided by the hardened drinkers aboard ship. Private parties in individuals’ quarters are where the real social scene aboard the ship is. And what large vessel would be complete without some engineer with his own still?