Far Trader

The Empress Marava class Far Trader


The basic ship involved in free trade is called the free trader. Variations on
the basic ship have resulted in variations in the name. The subsidized merchant,
partly because of its size, and partly because of its subsidy, is called the fat trader.
Some well equipped high-G traders employed beyond the Imperial border are called
fast traders.

The type A2 far trader derives its name from its jump capability: its
drives are capable of jump-2, twice what the standard free trader can do.
The far trader can be encountered anywhere in the Imperium. It ranges far and
wide, and deals with every world it finds. Even amber zones and red zones are
not considered off limits by its captains, provided there is profit to be made and the
risk of being caught is slight.

Using the type 200 hull, the far trader is capable of 1-G
acceleration and jump-2. Fuel tankage is 50 tons, and the ship incorporates fuel
scoops for gas giant skimming. The bridge is standard and has a computer Modelllbis
installed. Two tons of fire control support the ship's two turrets. The ship has
ten staterooms (three for the crew; seven for the passengers) and four low berths. A
single airlraft is carried for various ship duties. The ship itself is streamlined for
atmospheric landings. Cargo capacity is 61 tons.

The far trader costs MCr66.175 to construct. The price includes architect's
fees and design plan costs, but does not include weaponry to be added later.

Interior Details: The far trader is constructed on a two level system. Cargo,
bridge, and some drives are on the lower level; passengers, fuel, and power plant
are on the upper level.
The bridge occupies the forward port section of the lower deck. Its two control
positions are surrounded by transparent screens allowing a view of forward and
above. Note that the lower level extends farther forward than the upper level.
Behind the bridge proper is the computer room (2) and a spare stateroom. When
fewer than seven passengers are carried, this stateroom is used for the crew on duty;
otherwise, it holds a single passenger. A common area (5) is used for passenger
reception, after which they use the lift shaft to the upper passenger deck. In flight,
the common area is a crew lounge.
The forward starboard section of the lower deck is crew quarters. The spacious
captain's cabin (22) has transparent screens along one wall and above as a skylight.
Bordering the three cabins is the life support equipment and atmosphere recyclers.
Between the crew quarters and the bridge is the forward cargo loading ramp.
Although this ramp and door is not equipped with an air lock, it does allow a
straight vehicle approach for cargo loading on hospitable worlds.
The upper level forward is the passenger deck. Six passenger staterooms line the
outer bulkheads while a large central area (26) provides recreational facilities and a
galley. The grav plate floor fields for individual staterooms and for sections of the
common area may be adjusted from 0.1 to 2.0 G, depending on the preferences of
individual passengers. Centered above the cargo loading ramp is the ship's airlraft,
with easy access and launch from inside the ship.
The center of the ship is occupied by the 61 ton cargo bay. Reinforced deckplanking and strategically placed tie-downs make the bay capable of handling
modular cargo containers, palletized shipments, or individually packaged items and
bulky mechanisms. Above the cargo bay is the ship's 50 ton fuel tankage.
To both port and starboard on the lower level, corridors run the length of the
ship, connecting the forward control areas with the aft drive rooms. Each corridor
provides access to the ship's turrets, to a cargo air lock, and to the fuel scoop and
purification mechanisms. The port corridor provides access to the ship's four low
berths. These low berths were originally intended for carrying livestock in the 100
to 400 kilogram range. For this reason, the berths are close to the port cargo lock,
and the entire area can be sealed off with hatches and doors in the event that an
animal gets loose. The starboard corridor provides access to the ship's locker, which
contains the ship's armory, survival equipment, cold weather clothing, and other
essential materials.
Aft, the drive rooms contain the ship's jump and maneuver drives, with the
power plant mounted transversely on the upper deck.

Weaponry: The ship's two weapons turrets provide tremendous potential for
armament in the event that the ship should require it. The standard weapon mix for
the ship is two dual laser turrets. Gaining favor, however, among free traders is
a homogeneous mix consisting of one laser, one missile rack, and one sandcaster
in each turret. The result is a set of weapons that can respond to many different
threats and penetrate the defenses of several different types of targets.

The AirIRaft: The ship's airlraft is a standard vehicle intended to provide
the means to run small errands on planet while the ship is in port loading and
unloading cargo. Massing four tons, the airlraft is an anti-gravity vehicle capable of
lifting four tons, including passengers and cargo. It can achieve 100 kph as a cruise
speed, with occasional bursts to 150 kph. In extreme situations, the craft can
achieve sub-orbital flight, but this performance requires approximately six hours.
All passengers would be required to wear vacc suits, as the airlraf: is open and
not pressurized.
The airlraft operates off capacitors charged from the ship's main power plant.
One charge is sufficient for about one week or about 10,000 kilometers of cruising.
Recharges take about two hours; since they use energy from the ship they are
essentially free.

Peculiarities: The design of the far trader has ship security in mind, and so
all passengers are segregated onto a passenger deck. Their access to the bridge and
to other areas of the ship is limited. Unfortunately, when a seventh passenger
is carried, he or she is berthed adjacent to the bridge. Original specifications did not
envision more than six passengers, but the profit motive has led to them being

Costs and Revenues: The monthly payments for a ship of this type amount to
Cr275,729. Further expenses for crew salaries, life support, maintenance, and
berthing fees amount to Cr60,714 per month, assuming a jump every two weeks.
Fuel is free for the skimming, but would add another Cr5000 per jump when its
purchase is required. This type of merchant can gross approximately Cr242,OOO
per month, assuming a full manifest of middle and low passengers and a full cargo
bay at Cr1000 per ton of cargo. Obviously, even with a full load, this ship would be
unable to make its payments; it could conceivably come close to breaking even if
the crew went on shares and salaries were foregone.

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