Shipping and piracy
Shipping and Piracy In 2559.
- note, this page is a work in progress, and may be altered in the near future.*
Shipping in the year 2559 hasn’t changed much in the years since 2000, with the biggest change being the space it takes place in, which, now, is literally space. Following humanity’s expansion into space, and especially after the colonization of mars and invention of the Phoron engine, each of which saw a boom in the industry, Shipping has become an ever growing field of business, ranging from local transportation of goods to intergalactic transport from system to system, with a myriad of vessels designed for this purpose floating out among the cosmos. Among the multitude of companies, however, only one major name has arisen in the last hundred years that is known in nearly every system for the task, that being Hesphaistos industries, the number one cargo handling company in the galaxy.
Born of a merger between UPS and FedEx, Hesphaistos Industries has come to set the standards for intergalactic shipping systems, from docking systems for cargo barges, to trade routes, and even owning two of the largest cargo routing stations in the galaxy, one in Sol, and one in Tau Ceti, anyone who wants to get something shipped correctly goes with Hesphaistos Industries.
However, Hesphaistos only has a monopoly on the shipping industry in the core worlds, and a number of systems in middle space. In the rim worlds, especially in the most dangerous systems, such as Nyx, Era-Delphi, or Sigdus, most cargo transported from planet to planet is done so by independent, and often not so trustworthy private operations, though rare exceptions do exist, and many large corporations, such as Nanotrasen, choose to handle their own Cargo transportation whenever possible, to minimize the risk of theft.
Another concern, particularly in the poorly controlled Rim systems, are Space Pirates, an ever present threat even in some parts of the most heavily policed systems such as Sol. Typically consisting of small crews with only a handful of ships between them, though a few notable pirate fleets DO exist, Space Pirates are among the largest threats present for the crews of cargo, and really, any vessels traveling in space. As a general rule, most ships have at least two automatic turrets mounted on their hull, officially for blocking space debris that would otherwise damage vessels, but unofficially, the turrets are more often used to prevent Space Pirates who would otherwise find easy pickings among cargo vessels, from finding purchase aboard the vessel. Despite this, Pirates, especially in the rim systems, still manage to claim thousands of lives and billions in cargo every year, though how much they actually salvage as opposed to how much is simply reduced to debris is unknown.
On: Shipping Standards
As the industry leader in Shipping and Cargo handling, Hesphaistos Industries has established a number of industry standards, due in large part to it controlling the majority of cargo handling in the core systems, and among these include standards in docking mechanism designs and arrangments, sizes for cargo barges and freighters, among other things. Many of these standards have come to be used by most other large corporations, in part for the sake of ease and compatibility, and in part as a cost cutting measure, as many of these systems are cheap to reproduce after the extensive testing done by Hesphaistos industries, though proprietary systems do still exist in some locations.
Thanks to these standards, shipping in the current age has come to be as easy as it ever has been, with very few places being completely incompatible in receiving shipments, making it entirely possible to get even fresh produce from across the galaxy.
On: Cargo vessels
Despite the standardization of many systems in relation to the docking methods of ships with Hesphaistos Industries standards, Cargo vessels themselves tend to vary widely in design and size atleast for the most part, though constraints on size for some docks do require a certain respect be given in regards to things such as the overall width of the ship. As a Result of this, there are typically a few things that have been laid out as a standard in Cargo vessel design, though these are few, and typically, the list is as follows.
The Ship’s widest point must be level with the docking clamps, unless there is a possibility to extend a bridge. The Airlock docking clamps also fall into this unless a pressurized bridge is able to be extended and docked onto. This came about after a number of incidents where cargo was unable to be unloaded from vessels due to collisions with engine pods and other protruding mechanisms.
The Ship’s interior cargo space need not be taller than anything that can be fit through the doors. Arising as a result of practicality, this is a fairly obvious design rule, as nothing that can fit through the doors is taller than them when properly stowed.
The Ship must have standardizes lights on it’s hull, colored [READACTED] to reduce the chances of undesired docking occurring. The exact specifications of the light coloring, as well as blink timing is currently restricted to reduce the need to change them. Again.
Cameras will be mounted to allow for viewing of the alignment of ships to their docks, as a measure of practicality.
On: Shipping Stations
While most other companies don’t have dedicated facilities in position in space to accommodate for such, most major systems, including Sol, Tau Ceti, Nyx, and a few others, are served by a minor dedicated Hesphaistos Industries Cargo station, effectively serving the same purpose a dock on earth did in the 20th century, storing cargo in transit until it can be sent on it’s way, and allowing for Cargo ship crews to restock and refuel before going on their way to their next port, as well as serving a similar purpose for military ships in the system, often in exchange for protection from the ships in the event of attack.
Perhaps more interesting than these, however, are the approximately three mega stations, which account for roughly 75 % of the expenditures by Hesphaistos Industries every year, positioned between systems, which serve to route system to system traffic of all Hesphaistos Industries cargo shipments every year, as well as acting as a neutral ground between many of the more hostile corporations, including between Nanotrasen and the Science Syndicate. One of the very few places that hostilities will without fail be put on hold regardless of the situation, at least, to the point of non-violence, the Mega-stations are also marvels of engineering.
Typically large enough to dock a small fleet at any given time, and never without ships in space around them, the Mega stations, also called Hive Stations by some due to the busy and highly efficient design of parts of them, typically still offer a number of ammenities not found on most other stations, and unlike almost every other space faring vessel beside colony ships, many people live full time on the mega stations without succumbing to space madness.
Large enough that roads have been installed to accommodate vehicular traffic to get around, the Mega stations also typically feature full pressurization in all areas, excluding the solar arrays that provide auxiliary power, and many ammenities that would make it qualify, were it terrestrial, as a small city, including five star hotels, (for those occaisions important influential business men or even occasional ambassadors who needed neutral meeting places show up,) to libraries, stores, parks, and even swimming pools, (though these are only rarely used due to concerns in regards to gravity field losses while civilians are playing in bodies of water.) making Mega stations an interesting stop indeed. In fact, many large commercial transport companies, such as malspacia air and others, have either made aggreements with, or are in talks to get aggreements for their vessels to use the mega stations as changeover points and as a refueling station, for a fee.