The Generational Ships were colossal ships that were, by necessity, completely self-sustaining by providing food, air, water, power and even gravity for the occupants during transit. Each Generational Ship was designed to survive the transit of centuries between stars and galaxies, sheltering their occupants behind thick armour plating and electro-static shield generators in order to provide a safe environment.
|Tonnage (metric tonne)||12,451,000 to 12,740,000|
|Decks||174 to 211|
|Population||400,800 to 460,420|
|Length||25km to 35km|
They were powered by ion pulse drives that were in turn powered by multi-fuel generators designed to work with a multitude of harvest-able materials collected en route to their respective destinations. Although hydrogen was the most common fuel source, the power generators could burn virtually any material with various levels of pre-processing.
The pulse drives themselves work through creating a steady stream of ions which can be directed as necessary through a complex array of directional thrusters located throughout the structure - allowing for steady and predictable acceleration.
In addition to the main drives, they also mount several sets of mono-molecular solar sails to, in certain circumstances, aid in deceleration and acceleration using solar winds.
The Generational Ships were built to house between 400,800 and 460,420, depending upon the distance they were expected to travel. This ensured that a sizeable population of humans would remain viable for colonisation when they reached their respective destinations and to provide enough of a safety margin so that should the worst happen, there would be enough survivors to establish a sustainable population at their destination.
In addition to the human population, there were around ten thousand samples of cryo-frozen sperm and embryo cells taken along to prevent in-breeding and maintain the genetic diversity of those on-board, as well enough genetic material to breed various stock animals such as domestic cattle and livestock.
Power Generation and Fuel
The continual power needs of the ships were maintained by a bank of four to five hundred high-capacity power generators located throughout each ship. The generators themselves are of the multi-fuel variety and are able to consume a wide variety of fuels from hydrogen gas through to carbon particulates.
It is estimated that as much as 32% of the total fuel requirements for the journey was collected through specially designed ram scoops built into the frontal surfaces of each ship, although they were only ever intended to supply supplementary fuel sources without having to decelerate to harvest materials.
Most of the fuel for the journey came from the Bussard ram scoops which collected material during the voyage. A smaller percentage of the raw materials came from the flotilla of mining cutters whom sweep systems they pass through for anything of value.
The Generational Ships were maintained by a small army of highly trained competent staff and a further cadre of enhanced trainers to whom would teach the skills and knowledge to future generations due to the highlighted need to be continual training of the younger generations to replace the older generations whilst en route. To this end, each and every new birth on the Generational Ships were assigned a career path upon their 10th birthday based on their individual aptitudes and the needs of the vessels themselves - and their individual specific training was geared towards this ultimate career goal from then on.
Overall command was handled by a small subset of the bridge crew whom had overall authority over the ship, its populace and the support vessels. Ultimately command fell to the ship's Grand Overseer whom directly responsible for the overall mission and whom had final say over any and all matters across their fleet.
Support Fleet & External Duties
Each Generational Ship also boasts a collective flotilla of smaller support vessels, each designed for one purpose in mind from guard duties, early recon vessels and even mass haulage of mined materials.
The support vessels were manned by a minimumal crew and were seconded to the primary Generation Ship. They were frequently rotated out of mainline service and spent some time amongst the general populace of the Generational Ships to ensure they are rested and recuperated prior to being rotating out into the "External Duties" once more.
The Generational Ships were crafted and built to the same basic layout, although their eventual lengths were determined based on their expected time to arrival at their new home worlds - the longer the journey, the longer and larger the vessel.
Each Generational Ship had 3 to 6 biodomes within its armoured hull which rotated to generate enough gravity to present natural gravitational forces to the biodiversity living in the bio domes.
Each Biodome was typically created to give the inhabitants somewhere relaxing to go to, as well as provide a place for life stock to be reared and kept safely. Such life stock included cows, sheep, bees and a variety of other creatures imported from Old Earth which were deemed important enough to save and transport to other worlds.
All the Generational Ships had a small percentage of their external hull given over to supporting an attendant fleet, whether that be for retro-fitting fighters, transferring fuel and precious materials to cycling in and out of work crews.
They also maintained a small number of shuttle craft to ferry personnel around the fleet, and provided berths for deep-space Mechs which were tasked with the day to day maintenance and repairs required to keep the fleet operational.
The Dawson Hull
Each Generational Ship had a primary "Dawson Hull" which was kept spinning to generate artifical gravity for the majority of the ships inhabitents. The outside of the Dawson Hull contained all the heavier stockpiles and heavy equipment nessecary for the fleet and the outer skin was heavily reinforced, armoured and protected by high-powered shielding to protect against micro meteor strikes.
The inner edges of the Dawson Hull were given over to crop production, where the shallower gravity, it was found, produced improved crop yields rather than where the gravity generated by the spinning hulls was larger.
The space between the inner edges and the outer-hull is where the majority of the ships populace lived and worked on their assigned tasks.
Bussard Ram Scoop
Each Generational Ship was fitted with a Bussard Ram Scoop which allowed the vessel to collect material from the outskirts of gas giants as it travelled passed which fed directly into the processing plant located in the center of the ship.