The Infinity class exploration cruiser series of ships represent a new paradigm in timespace exploration. 650 meters long, 27 decks tall, a crew of 550 and facilities for another 6000 passengers; scientists, engineers, designers, colonists, and more. Three Infinity class ships have so far been built: Infinity, Insight, and Inspiration. The challenge wasn't designing them and building them in secret, it was finding the crew and specialists to man the ships before launching them through the Pegasus Rift.
To Infinity and Beyond
The Infinity Class was built for the purpose of carrying a large number of colonists along with the sundry technology and supplies through the Pegasus Rift and into an entirely new star system, circumventing the need for FTL travel. The trip is considered one way as scientists are not sure how long the rift will remain stable, so each ship is expected to be extremely durable with many redundant systems, as well as adequate supplies to function for many years with no support. Given the relatively short distances involved, the ships don't have massive engines, and while armed, their weaponry is minimal.
The command center of the ship, the bridge sits high on a tower overlooking the length of the ship. It has restricted access, is well armored (but extremely exposed in terms of ship to ship combat). All functions of the ship can be controlled from the bridge, allowing for the captain and bridge crew to maintain command of the ship in the event of a mutiny, sector hull breach, or catastrophic loss of crew. The Command AISC core and main terminal are located in the bridge section of the ship, forming it's own mechanical deck.
The Comm Tower
Located in the aft of the ship and mirroring the Bridge, the Comm Tower contains the ship's ansible and long range communications systems, as well as hosting most of the local node CogNet systems, linking the ship and crew back to civilization in the Sol system.
Gate Control System
The Gate Control System is the particle beam emitter and associated arcanotech devices that the ship needs to stimulate the Pegasus Rift, and to allow the ship to pass through the rift. Ships without such a system are not even able to detect the rift and are unable to interact with it. The GCS is linked to the bridge, the AISC, the Comm Tower, and the ship's power core.
The Ship has a dedicated Medical and Biogenics bay that doubles as the medical center for the ship. In case of emergencies it can function as a fully equipped four star hospital center, with a dozen med-pods and a Doctor L/AISC system. Normally it is a fully equipped scientific center. If needed, the bay has all the facilities and equipment needed to carry out cloning or rapid gestation and maturation of human embryos, and is expected to carry out that function to bolster the colony population.
The ship has a number of industrial bays where polyforges manufacture all of the components needed for the ship, or for the colony, including advanced technology items including terraforming equipment, most developed during the Utopia Initiative. The facilities can mass produce even weaponry and military hardware if authorized by the command staff of the ship, including naval grade weaponry for the ship itself. The only requirement is attaining the raw materials required for producing said armor and armaments.
The Infinity class has ample hangar space and can carry a large number of ships internally. Many of these support craft carry out important colonial functions, and require more space than the ship is able to provide. Given the manufacturing potential of the Infinity, these ships can be replaced, or increased in number as required.
Green Station - A glorified hydroponics platform, the green station is a food production center for the ship and colony. While limited to producing algeal based plant matter, it is a useful dietary supplement and easily modified for taste and texture. The station is readily expanded, and as the internal space is increased, the food it can produce is likewise increased. The modular design of the station allows for additional modules to be connected, until the original four armed 'starfish' is grown into a slowly rotating green pillar. These pillars can be anchored to asteroids, or even control dropped onto planetary surfaces to become new Green Towers.
Garbage Scow - most waste aboard the ship is readily recycled. What cannot be recycled is either incinerated in the power core, or is moved to the scow. The Trash satellite is a hazardous waste holding facility that once full can be aimed and fired off into deep space, or into the waiting inferno of the nearest star.
Resource Gathering - crewed by autons and auxons, resource stations locate and gather raw materials for the ship. Power Stations are built on top of radioactive deposits or are deployed solar capture stations, and the power is beamed to the ship when it is close enough to collect it. Mining and refinery stations are deployed in the same manner. The basic gatherer package takes about a week to build in the ship, and at launch, the Infinity has six already prepared to deploy, typically five raw materials, and one solar.
The Infinity has a number of megawatt point defense lasers, a hull mounted Trinity 300 kiloton Higgs cannon, and an integral barracks with dormant wojek police droids and combat droids. The ship can switch over to producing basic fighters, power armor, and light mecha if needed, but this is resource intensive and requires a steady flow of raw materials. The barracks and cloning systems can be linked, allowing for the ship to create its own combat clones for defensive purposes.
Carrying the name of the project, and the first of it's class, a large amount is riding on the Infinity. The ship has to complete it's mission. Anything less means the failure of the project, the loss of trillions of credits, entire corporations collapsing, and potentially the fate of mankind being trapped inside the Solar System, prisoners of a single star. Half the secrecy around the project is damage control for if it doesn't work, or the Ship explodes halfway through the Pegasus Rift, or the ship vanishes and doesn't arrive at the suspected destination. It's the reason for shell company after shell company, and the low key recruitment for the project.