The Ships of the Swarm

Though the size of the swarm fluctuates, it typically consists of 70–100 spacecraft of varying age and types. A few of the more notable ships are detailed here.

The crown jewel of the flotilla is The Stars Our Destination, named after the swarm itself. Originally a deep-space scientific analysis craft, her crew was all killed during the Fall when their life support malfunctioned. She was rediscovered six years ago by members of the Eat-Drink-Fuck collective when they found her drifting among the Martian Trojans. This is the third ship to bear the name The Stars Our Destination as the swarm is in the habit of taking the most impressive ship that they can find—and repair—and making it their flagship. In comparison to the rest of the flotilla, the Stars is by far the most luxurious of the craft, mostly due to the work her crew has put into making it so. The Eat-Drink-Fuck collective is responsible for keeping Stars running, but all members of the swarm are welcome there.

The two barges are the most noticeable ships in the swarm due to their immense size and shape and the fact that they are riots of colors, lighting up the depths of space with vibrant reds and yellows and greens. Neither truly qualifies as a ship, since they do not have the means for self-propulsion and must be towed.

Dayuejin was one of the spacecraft under construction at the HAL facility when the strike took over. Originally intended to be an asteroid miner, it was never completed, and the ship’s partial hull was instead transformed into living quarters for refugees from Earth. When the swarm departed from orbit, they took the structure with, pulling it with a mining tug. Since then, the barge’s infrastructure has grown with additional modules bolted on to the outside. Dayuejin is currently towed by Disco Inferno.

Three Sheets to the Wind had a similar illustrious start. The largest surviving segment of a torus destroyed during the Fall, this piece of infrastructure was rescued by scavengers working with the HAL strikers and converted into temporary zero-g living facilities. Like Dayuejin, it was towed from Earth orbit and has remained part of the swarm ever since. Three Sheets to the Wind is currently towed by Angry Pirate.

There are four aging cargo haulers that are part of the swarm. Each follows a standard design of a command module in front and propulsion module in the back, connected by a long spine along which are attached cargo containers of varying sizes. The haulers themselves are very bare bones, lacking all but the most rudimentary of systems, and are usually navigated by beta forks. These craft lack any sort of atmosphere or gravity, although pressure and air can be enabled if needed.

The flotilla’s cargo haulers carry all manner of goods. Sometimes they actually haul bulk goods as they were originally intended, but usually their holds are full of assorted junk and bric-à-brac collected from hundreds of habitats. Many cargo containers have been converted over for use as impromptu saloons, gambling houses, or dens of iniquity. Each cargo container tends to be handled by a separate collective, with decisions regarding use decided on a collective-by-collective basis. Like the main hauler, most of the cargo pods lack breathable atmosphere and pressure, nor are they spun for gravity. Those that run services will often install basic life support, though given the design of the cargo pods gravity is not possible.

Towing 18 cargo modules, this hauler features several cargo modules dedicated to gambling and vices,as well as one run as an open-entrance non-stop orgy pod.

This hauler holds 20 cargo modules. Several of the cargo collectives have ties to inner-system triads, and so they regularly carry contraband.

This hauler carries 23 cargo modules. Several have been converted into private living modules and
research labs.

Among the 17 cargo containers on this hauler are two that serve as theater and performance spaces, with regular circus, art show, and zero-g dancing events. Another serves as the swarm’s premier sports stadium, with an emphasis on micrograv ball sports and combat tournaments.

This inelegant hulking mass houses the heart and soul of the Stars swarm: their industrial nanofabrication facilities. The Thoughtcrime contains four cavernous cargo bays that each have a fabricator capable of producing finished goods or components as large as ten meters to a side. Two of these fabricators are housed in a rotating part of the ship, ideal for processes that require gravity. These fabricators are mostly used to manufacture repair parts for the fleet though they can also produce the autonomous kill vehicles (AKVs) the flotilla uses for defense at the rate of one per week if needed. The Thoughtcrime also constructs cheap cases and other
synthetic morphs for members of the fleet who need a shell. Because it is the primary manufacturer of bulk goods for the swarm, all salvage and scrap that the Boytoy and We Come To Probe You! collect is usually dumped into the Thoughtcrime’s bulk bays. This scrap is then sorted into heaps that litter the decks and bulkheads of the ship, leaving visitors with the impression they have arrived aboard a mobile scrap heap.

The Thoughtcrime is the primary hangout of Lena Andropov, the swarm’s chief engineer, and her crew of nanoengineers. Most of the crew favor synthetic shells for their work and for the ease of maintenance these types of bodies afford. While there are nearly two hundred of them aboard the ship, it can often feel empty due to the sheer size of the Thoughtcrime and the amount of junk laying around.

Cases and other synthetic morphs and equipment can be manufactured in a matter of hours, though the demands on the fabricators usually means there is a three day wait or longer. Lena and the other nanoengineers may be willing to bump someone in line if their @-rep or r-rep is significant and they make a convincing argument.

The main defense for the swarm is nearly three dozen autonomous kill vehicles: heavily armed and armored drones that spend most of their time latched on to other ships in the fleet or drifting on the edges of the flotilla looking for threats. Most of the AKVs are piloted by beta forks of various scum personnel that are regularly swapped out to reduce the amount of stress any AKV’s ego accumulates.

The AKVs look like pitted and scarred three and a half meter-long splinters of black metal. They are all sharp angles and armor plates, extruding weapon spars only when engaging an enemy. Unlike the rest of the fleet, the AKVs are not given distinctive markings or splashes of color. Unless a viewer knows what they are looking for, they are very hard to spot among the fleet.

If any ship in the fleet detects a threat, the AKVs will usually investigate in a group of at least six with all weapon systems powered up. In the event of an attack, the AKVs defend the swarm with maximum force, even going so far as to turn themselves into impromptu fusion warheads as a final strike measure.

Enhancements: 360-degree Vision, Enhanced Vision, Lidar, Heavy Combat Armor, Neurachem (Level 2),
Radar, Radar Absorbent (p. 149, Panopticon), Reduced Signature (p. 149, Panopticon), T-Ray Emitter

Weapons: 2 seeker launchers with 8 HEAP missiles, 1 seeker launcher with 2 EMP missiles, 2 automatic rifle railguns with 1,000 AP rounds

Skills: Kinetic Weapons 50, Perception 60, Pilot: Spacecraft 50, Seeker Weapons 40

Notes: A suicide attack using the fusion reactors inflicts AP –40, DV 15d10 + 100, no blast radius DV reduction for the first 100 meters, and radiation.

There are three mining tugs in the swarm. Each is capable of maintaining a fully automated mining operation on any sort of asteroid or iceteroid encountered to assist in the resupply of the flotilla’s raw materials. Tug crews tend to be as close as scum get to loners, since they will often be sent on resource gathering away from the rest of the swarm. They maintain a good reputation, however, due to the valuable services they provide the fleet.

The mining tugs are regularly tethered to either of the barges to provide them with necessary acceleration, deceleration, or course alterations. They can also provide this service to any other craft in the swarm that lose propulsion capabilities.

The Pirate was holed in a skirmish near Mars over a year ago. Rather than make the major repairs at the time, her crew opted to sleeve into vacuum-adapted morphs. They have since managed to repair most of the damage but the tug is still prone to losing pressure, is abysmally cold, and often lacks more than a few hours of breathable oxygen. Angry Pirate is currently assigned to tow Three Sheets to the Wind.

The Disco may be crewed by the most unusual members of the swarm, The Tenorios. Individual Zannis and the occasional spouse rotate out for duty on the Disco Inferno, which needs only a nominal crew. This tug is currently assigned to tow Dayuejin.

Eight Arms is crewed by a collective of six neooctopi, a neo-cetacean, and a human sleeved in a water-adapted biomorph. Most of the interior bulkheads of the ship are flooded and they rarely receive visitors. The tug is currently assigned to tow Montezuma’s Revenge, a living module with a wateradapted interior.

The “Rig” got its start as the old living habitats for the HAL aerospace facility. During the strike, they were fitted with upgraded propulsion systems and moved into a lower orbit for rescue operations. New sections were added on wherever they would fit to accommodate the influx of refugees. Additional rockets were strapped on to the ad-hoc LaFrance rig, enabling the structure to leave Earth orbit under its own power. Over time, even more sections and support elements have been bolted on to the Rig, many of them decorated with garish colors and murals on their exterior.

Inside the Rig, twisting spar corridors and floatways open into large air-filled gardens, work and support modules, or habitation chambers with pressure doors that lead to more twisting corridors and chambers. The Rig’s internal power plants and life support systems have undergone repeated upgrades to account for the new modules attached to them. Though it looks unsafe, the core infrastructure is sound. However, individual modules and floatways are subject to leaks and blowouts, so most inhabitants wear smart fabric vacsuits or make sure there is something nearby to grab in an emergency.

As the swarm travels through the solar system, they often encounter derelict habitats or spacecraft or are called upon to enact a rescue. This is where their salvage vessels shine. Each of the salvage craft has a wide variety of manipulator arms and probes used to pick through wreckage and space debris. They also have the most advanced sensors in the fleet outside of Stars and are often used for scanning of unidentified objects.

Boytoy’s crew is composed entirely of former Thai drag queens. Now radical gender liberationists, they all have modified sex switch biomods that allow for a finer degree of control over the various biological aspects of their sex. When they aren’t tearing apart wrecks or responding to distress calls, they’re usually busy throwing some of the best parties the swarm has to offer and blowing apart the remaining quaint notions of binary gender.

One of the original scum ships that joined with the strikers, the Probe’s crew features an eclectic mix of backgrounds. Most were vacworkers or hypercorp personnel who went AWOL before the Fall. The crew is heavily invested in morphological modifications. More than one distressed ship has mistaken the Probe crew’s extremely modified biomorphs for exsurgents or exhumans when they arrived to assist.

The flotilla carries with it seven shuttles for when they need to go into atmosphere, such as Mars or Venus, or when larger ships are not permitted too close to a habitat. The shuttles of the fleet are all SLOTVs (p. 349, Eclipse Phase) that use metallic hydrogen for propulsion. All seven of the shuttles are kept in good working condition and carry enough supplies to keep a crew of eight alive for a month, though they are not intended to be away from regular maintenance for that long. Usually two shuttles are docked with The Stars Our Destination, two are docked with the Thoughtcrime, one on each of the barges, one on the Rig, and one in storage on Abstinence Only.

Any member of the swarm can request use of the shuttles as a Moderate favor. However, the shuttles tend to be underused since most members of the fleet have little interest in leaving.

As the swarm is relatively spread out, travel between the ships is usually accomplished by way of EVA riders: small, unarmed, four-person craft that use metallic hydrogen propulsion and magnetic grapples to ferry crew between craft. These are improved versions of standard EVA sleds (p. 345, Eclipse Phase) and are specifically designed for passengers. The riders are little more than a seat and small cargo containers (each capable of holding up to 50 kg of material) on top of a metallic-hydrogen engine. The fleet maintains at least twenty riders and the Thoughtcrime can make additional riders in under a day. Rider operation falls under the Pilot: Spacecraft skill.

Ships of the swarm

The Ships of the Swarm

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