Chapter 30

Conmer straightened his tie, then loosened it up a bit. It was always hard to hit that sweet spot where he looked amazing, but still gave off that “I’m not even trying” vibe. He took a deep breath. No more stalling, if he didn’t walk out the door in exactly three seconds it would become obvious he was going out of his way to prepare.
The TS Long Con’s lower port bow door slid open with a hiss, revealing an enormous repair bay. To Conmer’s left and a few meters behind the ship there was a large energy field airlock, about 52 by 42 meters – just enough space for an Alliance flagship to fit through. The whole place made Conmer’s 5,000 ton ship feel small.
A rosearn woman in her mid 30s approached. She was dressed in a mechanic’s jumpsuit, zipped down to just above her stomach with a t-shirt underneath. Her copper brown hair was tied back in a neat ponytail, and her naturally penetrating gaze was sharpened by a pair of sturdy glasses. By all appearances a competent mechanic, but the confidently aggressive way she held herself suggested her position was won through tactical intelligence rather than mechanical knowledge. It was likely that her role was primarily one of administration and contract negotiation. “So, I take it you’re the captain of this mess?” It was clear from the way her eyes moved that the woman was judging Conmer, which was more than understandable: a male, openly holding a position of power, with a crew full of arlvere – it was enough to make any sane rosearn run screaming from the inevitable disaster. “My name is Treyhan.”
Treyhan clearly had a prideful and naturally dominant personality. An overly courteous tone would probably be the best course of action. “A pleasure to make your acquaintance. My name is Conmer.” Something about Treyhan’s gaze started to bother Conmer. She was clearly judging him for something other than simple assumptions. Perhaps his crew had done something to offend? Maybe they hadn’t followed proper landing procedure? He’d run the bridge crew through the process a dozen times, but it was possible it still hadn’t penetrated their thick skulls. “I apologize for my crew’s blatant disregard of landing procedure, they’re used to planets with an atmosphere.”
“…A poor gambler blames her cards.” Well, that confirmed it. Conmer needed to have a nice long chat with his crew about oxygen safety regulations, and why they couldn’t just toss the blasted ship down and throw open all the airlocks. “Now, if you could please get your monkey off the ceiling…”
“Very funny, but even Manri couldn’t-” An enraged monkey screech came from above Conmer, followed by a sticky candy bar wrapped hitting him on the head. “How. How, and why.”
“Probably found a support beam and got a grip on its rivets or something. As for the why…” Renz strolled out of the Long Con. “The rosearn architectural style is literally inspired by ancient human prisons. 600,000 cubic meters of open space and it still somehow feels cramped in here.” He turned to Treyhan. “Engine’s in total shutdown. It should remain completely stable indefinitely. Unless you try and turn it on, in which case it will destroy this entire planet. So… don’t do that.” He started to walk toward the repair bay’s exit. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to use my newfound spare time to go for a walk and get piss drunk at all the local bars.”
“I would strongly advise against that.” Treyhan gestured for Renz to stop. “Rosearn bars serve a… different product from the rest of the galaxy, so unless you find paranoid fits relaxing…”
“Your advice is received and appreciated.” Renz made a full u-turn, and headed back for the ship. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to use my newfound spare time to take a nap in my room and get piss drunk off my secret reserves.”


A note from the author ninja:

(Sorry today’s chapter is late, there was a power outage.)

Before you ask, no, rosearn do not find paranoid fits relaxing. However, rosearn have a certain amount of resistance to the drink that’s been built up over the generations, and they’re naturally paranoid to begin with – so the experience isn’t as stressful for them. Finally, as said two chapters ago “a rosearn is safest when they know they’re in danger.” Members of the rosearn species feel safe not when they think there is no danger, but when they think there is danger – but they’re prepared for it. So, after a half-hour fit full of paranoid delusions and careful scheming, they usually feel a lot better about life.

Moving on, let’s talk about spaceships. First up, I should point out that energy field airlocks are rather expensive to build and maintain. As such, they are usually only available in high-traffic areas. This usually isn’t a problem since most colonies have been terraformed, but rosearn never terraform their colonies. (The reason why isn’t important.)

Next thing to know about spaceships is how big they are. The TS Long Con is a stolen Alliance transport ship (which is probably making Treyhan really nervous), which are mostly used for transporting weapons and troops. It’s 123.7 meters long, 16.6 meters deep, has a beam of 20.6 meters, crews approximately 800 human descendants, and weighs about 5,000 metric tons. An Alliance flagship is 275 meters long, 36.8 meters deep, has a beam of 46 meters, crews approximately 11,000 human descendants, and weighs about 60,000 metric tons. The standard Alliance battleship is 266.4 meters long, 35.6 meters deep, has a beam of 44.5 meters, and crews approximately 10,000 human descendants. Small Alliance battleships (used for daily patrols and minor incidents) crew only about 2,000, and industrial frigates (used by corporations to transport goods between planets) crew only 1,000.

I would’ve told you this size and weight for all the ships, but there was a lot of math involved in figuring this stuff out and keeping it realistic – and it just wasn’t worth it to calculate types of ship that may never even show up.

Oh, and before I go: The ships in diversity use three different types of FTL to get from planet to planet, but I’ll tell you about that later.

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