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Transports
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ID: 8257

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August 21, 2015, 1:58 am

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Carry-All

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Carry-All's are the go to military transports in the Cosmic Era

by The Carry-All

The Carry-All classification of ships is a levitation capable heavy lift vehicle. The basic concept was pioneered during the Second Dark Age with the re-emergence of zeppelins as cargo carriers. Being equipped with A-pods, the Carry-All is able to carry more, and move more quickly than the rigid airship. They can, and often are armed, and serve a variety of roles beyond military transport.

Purpose:

Prior to the implementation of the Carry-All, military equipment and personnel were moved either through traditional logistic methods such as rail systems, heavy cargo aircraft, and such, or through the use of aerial warships, and space capable craft. Both methods had their flaws, such as traditional methods having difficulty with non-compact mecha, and using space capable craft as cargo runners was expensive. The military needed a way to quickly and efficiently move it's hardware. The answer was found in a heavy lift vehicle being used in the EuroZone of the Atlantic Federation.

The Atreus Planetlifter was a small craft with a strong hull, large engines, and small everything else. The craft was used as a cargo mover, picking up and moving industrial mecha, large pieces of equipment, bulk goods, and even being used in rescue operations in the case of the Antares ferry accident. Rather than acting as a conventional cargo vehicle, the Planetlifter was open in design, and everything it carried was slung under it.

Design:

The typical Carry-All has a lay out much like an ant or other insect. The backbone of the ship is the main spar, which runs through the dorsal part of the hull. The arc reactor or fusion core is situated near the center of the spar for maintaining balance. The A-pods are attached outside of the main hull and a carry-all can have anywhere from two pods to sixteen. The size of the pods is relative to their lifting power, while the number is more a matter of stability. The control cabin and crew accommodations are in the front dorsal part of the ship. There are currently two approaches to handling cargo, the freighter and the lifter. Freighter style carry-alls have walls and floors and are loaded like any other ship or vehicle would be, and are more common. The lifter has no internal cargo, and the central spar is usually visible as lifters shed as much weight as possible to give themselves as much lifting power as possible. There are some truly gargantuan lifter style carry-alls in use, mostly be ship buildings and arco construction companies, which allow them to modularly assemble massive warships, freight ships, and the like in different locations.

There are certain limitations on most carry-all designs, which separates them out from conventional cargo haulers. Carry-Alls are not rated for high altitude and certainly not space operations. Maintaining pressurized hulls, reactor power required, and other various requirements of high altitude and space flight are not cheap, and most carry-alls are designed for the lowest possible cost per ton for moving equipment. Carry-Alls are also not fast. Rigid airships typically do not exceed 50 to 70 miles per hour, so the 200 to 300 miles per hour of a Carry-All is more than sufficient for most cargo. Military carry-alls are not much, if any, faster than this. When a military needs something moved faster than this, they are more than capable of using a high altitude aerospace vehicle or an aerial warship with low orbit capabilities, putting hardware on the ground almost anywhere on the globe in two to three hours. Finally, carry-alls are not combat vehicles. Even the armed and armored carry-alls are not rated for actual head on combat.

History:

The Carry-All can trace it's origins to the humble rigid airship. During the Second Dark age, these venerable craft made a reappearance. Being simple to build and relatively cheap to maintain, they were invaluable in maintaining trade and travel between cities as the national and international infrastructures collapsed. The new arcologies were built with facilities to moor these airships, and when technology advanced it was matter of fact that the new ships would use the old facilities, rather than have the tops of arcologies around the world rebuilt to suit something new. The anti-grav pod, or A-pod, revolutionized air travel, and made VTOL an almost basic feature of all aircraft. Conventional helicopters and later helocraft went into service, including large versions for cargo purposes. This circumvented the need for large and extensive airfields, but was still limited by the relatively small cargo capacity and efficiency of even the largest helicopters.

The Atreus Atlas and Planetlifter vehicles bridged a gap between dedicated spacecraft and 'hover' craft. Little more than cargo cradles with A-pods attached to them, the craft proved to be capable machines, and were faster than the rigid airships, while being easier to handle for arco skyport crews to handle. A single Planetlifter with it's 400 ton cargo capacity proved much easier on crews and loading personnel compared to the dozen or more helocraft previously required to move that much.

The Atlas would eventually be phased out of production, with the civilian passenger version being a colossal flop. The Planetlifter was eventually sub-licensed out to new manufacturers, allowing the industrial/cargo carry-all to become a relatively common sight. By the time the first military designed carry-alls were entering service, the Planetlifter III was entering service, and proving itself a powerful and valuable workhorse, able to carry 10,000 tons of cargo at top speed of 220 miles per hour, and maintain a 100mm stable hover (less than 100mm in movement from the vehicle per minute) almost indefinately.

Military Operations

The Atlantic Federation fielded the first military carry-alls, and currently maintain seven carry-all designs.The most common Federation carry-all is the ubiquitous Taurus. The Taurus has dozens of variants, but the most well known version is the mecha carrier. The Taurus-M carries a complement of 3-5 mecha and can deploy them from a low hover, or from an atmospheric drop. It has moderate armor and moderate firepower to defend itself, and is a staple of military entertainment shows. Other variants include a light freight model capable of hauling 600 tons of cargo, an open frame lifter that can move up to 900 tons of equipment in a sling under it, an infantry/power armor transport, and a coach class civilian air liner.

The Transom class carry-all is currently the most cost efficient transport in use by the Federation. It is not the largest, nor the most common, but in the cost per ton per mile calculation, it is the winner. Three times the size of the Taurus, the Transom can deliver a full mech platoon (10+ mecha) in the same manner at the Taurus, or carry up to 2100 tons of cargo. Transoms are heavily used by the logistics departments of most megacorps, and by the Federation military for it's high cost efficiency. The carry-all is disliked by it's crews, as the design is utilitarian, cramped, and uncomfortable, especially in light of the long hours that most Transoms run. The Transom-C gunship is a known and feared weapon in the Federation arsenal, as it can carry an impressive amount of weaponry with it's cargo capacity, and Transom-C's are commonly attached to military ground units that are not deemed important enough to field a supporting sky destroyer or frigate. Despite their high firepower, these are paper tigers and in actual ship to ship combat, are easily destroyed by actual destroyers and frigates.


The Warlord carry-all is the main combat carry-all of the Federation. The large vehicle can carry up to 30 or more mecha in it's cavernous holds, and the Overlord cargo version can carry over 10,000 tons of cargo. The only real variants of the Warlord are the Overlord cargo version, and the Warlord-C3, a mobile command and communications vehicle. The Warlord's profile is iconic to the Federation, and goes hand in hand with the Wolverine main battle mecha, and the Corsair III aerospace fighter in military iconography. Entertainment aside, very few Warlords are ever used to perform combat drops or evacuations, as the vehicle is large, a generous target, and slow compared to anything else in the air.


The Cambrai was built with a singular purpose, to deliver an infantry battalion to the ground, and remain in close support of this ground force. As such, the Cambrai is well armed and armored, which limits it's cargo capacity and ability to provide logistic support to it's battalion. The Cambrai is a newer design, and is being well received by the infantry forces. Prior to the Cambrai, the most common infantry support was a Transom-C gunship, or a modified ground assault Transom. The Cambrai has no real variants as it was purpose built for deploying infantry and power armor, and nothing else. Size wise, it is comparable to the Transom, but is faster, and more resilient.
The Avenger class carry-all is a purpose built craft, functioning as a pocket aircraft carrier. A fraction of the size of the mighty Federation class Battlestar, the Avenger carries a single squadron of aircraft, typically helocraft or electrojets. These secondary air assets are used in support roles, or as air support for secondary operations where an actual aerospace carrier is not called for. The Federation doesn't have a many Avengers in service, and most that have been built have been sold to other nations, megacorps, or private interests.

The Humpback is a commonly seen carry-all despite there not being all that many of them. The Humpback was designed for heavy lifting, and is a military cargo hauler. Moderately armored, it can carry 40,000 tons of cargo at just over 180 mph. Humpbacks are used for providing fleet support, moving cargo from bases to ships, and vise versa, as well as moving stupendously large objects such as mobile bases, marine boats, or the frames and components of aerial warships during construction, battlefield recovery, or scrapping operations.

The largest carry-all in the Federation arsenal is the actually impressive Oceanic type. There are only a handful of these in service, and almost all are owned by ship builders and megascale engineering firms. The current heavy lift record is held by Oceanic-6 (AFS Behemoth) by lifting the wreckage of the Amerikka Command warship USS Valley Forge, at a listed weight of 382,000 tons. (The Valley Forge was the grandiosely named and poorly armed Ark class floating fortress). Oceanics are largely used for spaceframe construction, moving seacologies, and other monumental operations.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The main strengths of the carry-all are cost, cost of operation, and logistic. The vehicles are relatively low tech outside of their A-pods. Being low tech, their maintenance requirements are low. Compared to ships that routinely transit between space and atmosphere, the cost of maintenance is pocket change. The logistic value of the the carry-all is the most important, as they allow for regular commerce, through the Planetlifter, CargoMaster, and a dozen other makes and models in use around the world, and in the case of Luna and Mars, other worlds. Military carry-alls are the armored carriers for infantry, mecha, and the other supplies that are needed, keeping actual warships doing warship things, and not spending time squatting down to load and unload supplies, personnel, and such.

The weaknesses of the carry-all are similar. They are slow, poorly armed, poorly armored, and are often the most tempting targets in military or terrorist actions. Being cargo vehicles at heart, they are designed for efficiency and cargo capacity, not combat ability. Their ability to defend themselves against something with anti-ship capabilities is limited. Without a warship escort, aerospace fighter cover, or carrying mecha, they are most of the time, all but helpless in the face of an enemy.

The Ubiquitous Carry-All

In the Cosmic Era, the Carry-all is a very common sight. The vast majority are civilian vehicles, and are comparable to semi trucks up through container ships, and carry the economy of the world. The vehicle is, at the end of the day, a flight capable barge. They aren't glamorous, popular, or really even seen as interesting outside of a niche community (comparable to railroad enthusiasts) and the sight of a cargo hauler flying over a mile tall building isn't awe inspiring or breath taking in the Cosmic Era, it's just the 7AM Federation-Pacific heading for LAX.

In game terms, the carry-all is a way to give a group or interest a 'ship' without giving them an actual ship. It flies, it carries cargo, and it can go places in a reasonably fast time frame, especially the smaller models. It cannot fly into space, it's not actually fast, and if a group gets too pirate-y or rogue, even a powerful carry-all is no real match for an aerial destroyer or a dispatched aerospace squadron.




Additional Ideas (1)

sample scene

Major Reagan rubbed his eight-day old beard in frustration. The Kommand had obtained good intelligence about the movements of a Fed-Atlantic special operations team, but a snowstorm had delayed his units march through the mountains.

Usually, the weather in the Rocky Mountains played into his favor and it was infuriating to be on the other side of the table.

“Intelligence decays exponentially, I doubt we are going find anything. My scouts should be back shortly. KOMMAND, COUNTRY, GOD. Reagan out.” Reagan had been talking to a Kommand dispatch officer through a hardwired handset. The Kommand had run old style telephone cables underground all over their territory. If you knew where to find one, all you had to was dig a little hole, splice in and you had communication unsnooppable without a direct line.

The phone placed back into the hand of his unit’s Televiper, Reagan stepped out of the camouflaged command tent and looked down into the small alpine valley before him. The storm hadn’t hit this side of the mountain and everything was green and still. The tree cover in that relatively small space before him was so dense and the ground so uneven that he wasn’t afforded a direct line of sight to any space large enough to stash a Fed-A VTOL destroyer. Reagan was certain that even though the intelligence said it had been there eight days ago, it was gone now or worse air borne ready to drop cloak and strafe his ass.

Coming up the slope at Reagan’s feet was a form; indistinguishable in color from the surrounding rocks, tree trunks and evergreen needles. Reagan was not alarmed. The form was Sargent Polk a member of Lieutenant Nixon’s scouting platoon. The short enlisted man removed his veil like helmet to reveal a pasty baldhead glistening with sweat. “Kommand, Country, God” saluted the thirty some year old solider.

Reagan assumed that Polk’s presence meant that Nixon was still securing the former location of the Fed-A team looking for listening devices or sleeper bots. “Report Sargent, what did the Fed’s leave us this time.”

“We were ambushed Major, only Jefferson and I got out. We found their camp this morning spent, two hours observing, thought we went undetected, then started to head back. They chased us far as our sentry guns, turned away just before they got in range.”

Reagan smiled in spite of losing 26 good Merican men. He smiled because he would avenge them. He brought with him a new weapon, something the Fed-As would not suspect. Something that knock a Fed-A destroyer out existence with one shot. “What kind of unit is it. How were they armed?”

Polk eyes sparked to life and slavia collected at the corners of his mouth as he started speaking rapidly, “They were wearing encounter suits, some had Mark 15 some had Mark 16s. Interestingly the Mark 16 was designed with an eye back towards the original Mk. I encounter suit. It was cheap, it was made of a single layer or reactive material, with some double layer reinforcement over vital areas and the boots and gauntlets were basic armored but non-reactive material, and the helmet supported minimal function beyond imaging, short range communication, and air filtration. The Mark 16 cost a fraction of what the Mark 14/15 cost and was an instant success among lower end operations. Professional security companies, corporate security companies, and other emergency responder organizations bough the suit in large numbers. They liked the protection, but didn't need the fancy gadgets or highfalutin styling. Street cops wore 16s, and it became synonymous with law enforcement, or the One-Six as referred to by officers. This is very different from the Mark 15. The Mark 15 is a slightly heavier version of the Mark 14, and retained many of it's features, and it had an improved thermoablative resistant material bringing it's laser and energy weapon resistance up to match improvements in laser and energy weapons. The Helmet, gauntlets, and boots are reinforced, and a utility belt/harness were added. The Mark 15 is commonly used by marines and other infantry not equipped with power armor suits, as the harness could be easily swapped out with heavier military equipment, and the SmartWire system and helmet targeting system worked with anything from civilian light pistols to infantry squad support weapons. The Mark 15 saw greater use on the Moon, Mars, and other non-terrestrial locations.”

Reagan started to thank the Sargent when the short awkward man began to relay another piece of information. “We also saw a UAC standard Multi-Role Power Armor Suit. The UAC Mk. 35 is the best example of the jack of all trades power armor suit. It has medium grade armor plating, and isn't designed for any single specific purpose. The Mk. 35 lacks integrated weaponry, and instead is supported by a large selection of bolt on equipment and oversized rifle style weapons for the suit wearer. The typical Mk. 35 mounts an over-under multi-weapon, typically a heavy automatic rifle and grenade launcher.”

“What of the Destroyer? Was there was just one Destroyer?”

“There was no Destroyer sir, six carry-alls.”

Reagan was shocked. Normally Fed-A teams were backed by destroyer, and before he could finish this thought Polk was already explaining just that fact. Reagan stated rhetorically. “Box humpers huh, ballsy move coming into our turf in slow moving cargo ships.” This was a mixed blessing. If there was a destroyer and he got here before it took off he could have knocked it down with the SilkWorm Quantum Cannon he hulled here. But with in Carry-alls they weren’t going to make a break for it. It was going to be fight or siege. Either way he was not sure…Reagan’s thought came to an end when he realized Polk was still talking.

“Carry-all aren’t that big a surprise sir. Not if you know UAC military history. The Atlantic Federation fielded the first military carry-alls, and currently maintain seven carry-all designs. The most common Federation carry-all is the ubiquitous Taurus. The Taurus has dozens of variants, but the most well known version is the mecha carrier. The Taurus-M carries a complement of 3-5 mecha and can deploy them from a low hover, or from an atmospheric drop. It has moderate armor and moderate firepower to defend itself, and is a staple of military entertainment shows. Other variants include a light freight model capable of hauling 600 tons of cargo, an open frame lifter that can move up to 900 tons of equipment in a sling under it, an infantry/power armor transport, and a coach class civilian air liner.

The Transom class carry-all is currently the most cost efficient transport in use by the Federation. It is not the largest, nor the most common, but in the cost per ton per mile calculation, it is the winner. Three times the size of the Taurus, the Transom can deliver a full mech platoon (10+ mecha) in the same manner at the Taurus, or carry up to 2100 tons of cargo. Transoms are heavily used by the logistics departments of most megacorps, and by the Federation military for it's high cost efficiency. The carry-all is disliked by it's crews, as the design is utilitarian, cramped, and uncomfortable, especially in light of the long hours that most Transoms run. The Transom-C gunship is a known and feared weapon in the Federation arsenal, as it can carry an impressive amount of weaponry with it's cargo capacity, and Transom-C's are commonly attached to military ground units that are not deemed important enough to field a supporting sky destroyer or frigate. Despite their high firepower, these are paper tigers and in actual ship to ship combat, are easily destroyed by actual destroyers and frigates.

The Warlord carry-all is the main combat carry-all of the Federation. The large vehicle can carry up to 30 or more mecha in it's cavernous holds, and the Overlord cargo version can carry over 10,000 tons of cargo. The only real variants of the Warlord are the Overlord cargo version, and the Warlord-C3, a mobile command and communications vehicle. The Warlord's profile is iconic to the Federation, and goes hand in hand with the Wolverine main battle mecha, and the Corsair III aerospace fighter in military iconography. Entertainment aside, very few Warlords are ever used to perform combat drops or evacuations, as the vehicle is large, a generous target, and slow compared to anything else in the air.

The Cambrai was built with a singular purpose, to deliver an infantry battalion to the ground, and remain in close support of this ground force. As such, the Cambrai is well armed and armored, which limits it's cargo capacity and ability to provide logistic support to it's battalion. The Cambrai is a newer design, and is being well received by the infantry forces. Prior to the Cambrai, the most common infantry support was a Transom-C gunship, or a modified ground assault Transom. The Cambrai has no real variants as it was purpose built for deploying infantry and power armor, and nothing else. Size wise, it is comparable to the Transom, but is faster, and more resilient.The Avenger class carry-all is a purpose built craft, functioning as a pocket aircraft carrier. A fraction of the size of the mighty Federation class Battlestar, the Avenger carries a single squadron of aircraft, typically helocraft or electrojets. These secondary air assets are used in support roles, or as air support for secondary operations where an actual aerospace carrier is not called for. The Federation doesn't have a many Avengers in service, and most that have been built have been sold to other nations, megacorps, or private interests.

The Humpback is a commonly seen carry-all despite there not being all that many of them. The Humpback was designed for heavy lifting, and is a military cargo hauler. Moderately armored, it can carry 40,000 tons of cargo at just over 180 mph. Humpbacks are used for providing fleet support, moving cargo from bases to ships, and vise versa, as well as moving stupendously large objects such as mobile bases, marine boats, or the frames and components of aerial warships during construction, battlefield recovery, or scrapping operations.

The largest carry-all in the Federation arsenal is the actually impressive Oceanic type. There are only a handful of these in service, and almost all are owned by ship builders and megascale engineering firms. The current heavy lift record is held by Oceanic-6 (AFS Behemoth) by lifting the wreckage of the Amerikka Command warship USS Valley Forge, at a listed weight of 382,000 tons. (The Valley Forge was the grandiosely named and poorly armed Ark class floating fortress). Oceanics are largely used for spaceframe construction, moving seacologies, and other monumental operations.”

Polk then started in on explaining the history of the Ark class transports.

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2015-09-02 08:57 PM » Link: [8257#94843|text]
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Comments ( 9 )
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Voted Aramax
September 1, 2015, 8:59
0xp
4/5 prob would go for a higher vote but without a combat role these craft are almost but not quite fluff. Linited use in gaming also gets it a slightly lower vote(pretty much just usable asa "victim" in need of rescue) Prob should have been attached to a more usefull sub. That being said there is a lot of room for rping potential in this and does fillin the CE nicely
Scrasamax
September 1, 2015, 10:22
0xp
This sub actually actually came from a need in my novel. The military unit needed to be cut off long enough to make it vulnerable, but it had a support ship, a destroyer. An ice storm and terrorists are a minor concern to such a vessel, but reducing it from a flying destroyer to a handful of transport and gunship carry alls made more things to blow up, and easier things to blow up.
axlerowes
September 2, 2015, 20:56
0xp

Really? Is one of the characters in your imaginary military unit a socially awkward know-it-all who is going to lecture the other characters about the history all the minutia they encounter? Thus necessitating that all these facts about the broad strokes of economics and the second life of zepplins be written out before you could assemble the scene.

Scrasamax
September 3, 2015, 3:40
1xp
Do you want a serious answer, do you want me to just agree with you, or would you like the sarcastic answer?
valadaar
September 3, 2015, 12:58
0xp
Its source material, not exposition. It can be dry and technical and detailed. In his comment above he never said this text would ever show up in the actual novel - its just stuff to keep his own head straight on his final product.

For that matter, the entire idea could end up on the cutting room floor, but that doesn't mean its useful for him to put here to fill out his universe.

axlerowes
September 3, 2015, 14:11
0xp


I would say it is useful to world building. No I get it Scras likes inhuman facts described with hand of God certainty. Nothing wrong with that, but this just a very large footnote. So I tease. Agree with max, could have been folded into another sub or a story could have been folded into this or Scras could nut up and start stating up his sourcebook. That would increase the "play with me" factor of the posts. But don't misunderstand me, as to the post itself I think it is a solid write up. Useful stuff. Another niche filled.

Also, yeah it can be dry but Scras is a writer first who has spent years studying art and literature. He has more on his menu than toast.

Voted axlerowes
September 2, 2015, 21:02
0xp
Another niche filled.

Could have spruced it up about with a little more slice of life imagery and less broad economic and historical strokes. Or telling the characters how to get one.

Even the old Battletech manuals gave you a little story in the combat history section of the units.
Scrasamax
September 3, 2015, 3:41
0xp
Are you looking to buy, or just kicking the lateral stabilizers?
axlerowes
September 3, 2015, 7:40
0xp
I could see the freelance carry-all manager (pilot) being a fun character and having an interesting perspective on your world.


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