A cruiser is a ship capable of extended operations, not requiring regular resupply. Non-Military cruisers are heavy ships operated by megacorps, nations, and other interests, but are not armed.
Operated by governments, the ambassadorial cruiser is a large State ship and functions as a mobile sovereign piece of that nation. Command of the ship goes to the captain, but mission and operational command falls to the Ambassador assigned to the ship. The use of these ships allows for a government to move official personnel around as needed, bringing additional resources to bear. This can support diplomacy missions, function as a neutral ground on negotiation missions, and otherwise do all the things a Consulate or embassy would cover. It has the advantage of being mobile, and should violence erupt, it can easily gather it's crew, lift off, and whisk everyone aboard to safety.
The importance of the Ambassadorial cruiser has grown with the creation of colonies off of the Earth. The amount of time and resources required to build bureaucratic strongholds across the Solar system would be as expensive as it would be ridiculous. In light of highly dangerous Dimension Fatigue Events, it is easy for VIP and government officials to be 'life boated' away from the stricken location by one of these ships.
The AFS Watson is a well known Ambassadorial cruiser. The ship is just shy of 1000 meters in length, carries a secure Cognet node, and can carry up to 250 passengers in single occupancy comfort. The Watson has seen combat and was present for the first Amazonian War when the Venezuelan fleet launched an attack on New Themyscira. The ship presented itself as a shield for the Amazonian surface consulate and survived several direct hits. This cost the lives of several crewmen, but protected hundreds of civilian lives on the group. The Themysciran contingent did eventually mobilize, and prevented the Watson from being destroyed. After the fighting was concluded, the Atlantic Federation officially recognized the sovereignty of the island nation and signed agreements with it's leaders aboard the ship.
Corporate Cruisers are in many ways similar to Ambassadorial cruisers, functioning as mobile offices for megacorp officers and project workers. These ships are much more visible as they are more frequently used in advertising operations and promotional offers, most being flying billboards several hundred to over a thousand meters in length. It is not uncommon for liveried corporate cruisers to remain on station at sporting and recreational events just so they are caught in video streams and recordings.
Corporations can field private helocraft and aerospace craft, but these are small and limited in ability. Once a corporation reaches the point where they operate offworld and have space assets or have enough financial clout to afford and justify a cruiser, they are generally deemed to have become hypercorps. In all other aspects, corporate cruisers are the private sector's answer to ambassadorial cruisers.
The ISS Chrome is a well known cruiser. At 1300 meters long, she is impressive, and can accommodate over 500 passengers and crew. The ship has a full metallic chrome exterior, emblazoned with the corporate logo in electric pink. The Chrome is frequently associated with sports events, since Chrome is a routine sponsor. Half of the ship is devoted to advertising and commercial propaganda, while the other half is a floating hedonistic Chrome swilling boudoir nightclub sim studio.
A subspecies of the Corporate Cruiser, the Legate Cruiser is a flying law firm, complete with an Axiomatic L/AISC computer core, extensive virtual library, encrypted and heavily secured CogNet channels, and all the other features and amenities of a flying law office. There are not many of these ships, and those that exist are the property of hypercorp level law firms. These agencies administer to the hypercorps that handle offworld mining, spaceship and colony building, and the interests of the M12 collective.
Legate Cruisers are seen like massive vultures, only appearing when something bad has happened, or something or someone very important is under investigation. Everyone loves to hate lawyers, even in the Cosmic Era, so Legate Cruisers are dramatically more common in the entertainment feeds. They also tend to be larger, blacker, more ominous, and frequently full of doomsday weapons, armies of black suit mooks, and concealed sections. Everyone cheers when the valiant heroes blow the legate ship to pieces.
The ISS Landmark, of the Landmark class was the pioneer of the Legate cruisers. At 650 meters long it is considered a light cruiser, and can only accommodate 50 passengers, these passengers have full private residences, including a separate legal office for business work, and the amenities that a lawyer would want while traveling. The Landmark has a full service Inemuri Salon, a recreation deck with squash court, gymnasium, onboard pool, and other spa facilities. The ship has a full size CogNet node, and the services of the L/AISC Locke.
The CogNet is one of the most vital resources in the Cosmic Era, and the corporations that sustain it and the people and computers that keep it running, are always chasing after problems in the system. The Communications Cruiser, or C3 Ship, is their big hammer solution. The C3 ship houses a full detachment of tech support and technicians to handle any major problem that happens in the network. This is bolstered by the fact that each C3 ship has a specialized L/AISC computer core, and not one, but sometimes as many as a dozen CogNet nodes. These ships are most commonly used to reinforce areas that are straining under bandwidth load, such as major sporting events, or supporting heavy encryption used at conventions, and corporate level operations.
C3 ships are very distinctive looking. Where other cruisers have a blended warship/yacht look, the C3 ship bristles with domes and dishes, and large sections are open trusses and scaffolding. The entire ship is a minimalist work, and the superstructure functions like a giant kilometer long antenna.
There are almost no known or famous C3 ships. Most do not even have names, and are instead just known by a number tag, such as the Federation's M series, of which there are 33 in service (M01 through M33).
Classified Ops - there are a small number of C3 ships that are in service to various intelligence agencies and cyber security agencies that use the communications capabilities of the ship to gather data, broadcast propaganda, and engage in cyber war ops. These are known as Cypher cruisers in inside circles, and are the 'black helicopters' of the Cosmic Era.
These large ships are common sights. They are smaller than cargo ships and heavy haulers, but are often much more powerful. The ships are mobile mech yards for industrial mecha as well as functioning as sky cranes, heavy lift vehicles, and the secure CIC for major construction projects. Where modular barracks aren't used for construction crews, these ships can accommodate several hundred workers in relative comfort. These ships are used for moving massive things and also double as 'sky tugs' and have been used to move warships during the construction process, sections of raft cities, pre-fab modules for seacologies, or hauling away the rock that is excavated when digging out a geofront.
There are variations on the cruiser. This is a very large catch all category which includes floating foundries, mobile concrete yards, and any other mobilized version of a factory, processing center, or pop up operation. Each ship has a central purpose, be it ice mining, turning salvaged scrap into usable material, processing chemical waste, extruding pre-fab pieces for heavy construction, or each churning out robots, war machines, or whatever else is needed.
Benthic Production has a large number of Deep Core Construction Ships. These construction cruisers carry enough raw materials and polyforges to pump out pre-fab modules and then drop them in place while mecha fit everything together. This allows the corp to quickly and efficiently build seacologies and undersea habitats. The Deep Core series cruiser is remarkable because the 1800 meter long ship is fully capable of submerging itself underwater, and continuing support operations as deep as 2500 meters.
There are only a handful of these large cruisers in service and they are considered irreplaceable. The ships are the fusion of a full service medical hospital and a high mobility hull. Unlike traditional medical complexes, the medical cruiser shows up completely empty, and often at or near the scene of a disaster or outbreak. (By contrast most modern hospitals operate at near 95% capacity, empty beds don't make money, and this is why after a disaster, victims are farmed out to other facilities. With less than 5% open space, it is easy to swamp even a large facility). The average cruiser has multiple emergency and operating rooms, a full medical staff, and generally between 100 and 400 accommodations for patients. The ship can deploy mobile hospital variants of the Pre-Con Tactical Base, further expanding their ability to treat the injured. After a major incident, a ground level triage center will sort out the wounded. Those who are minimal to moderate can be handled in the pre-con facility, while those who are in serious or critical condition can quickly bounced up to the medical cruiser.
Hospital and Medical cruisers enjoy neutrality protections, and it is considered an act of utter and unforgivable barbarity to attack or attempt to damage one of these ships. The captains of these ships have an established history and precedent of ignoring borders, sanctions, and other treaties in the course of carrying out their duties.
The AFS Nightingale is a well known humanitarian ship, and has been in service for close to a century. It's accommodations are small, six operating theatres, one ER triage center, and 96 infirmary beds, plus facilities for diagnostics and support for it's crew and medical staff of 55. While aging, the ship has been refitting six times, and in the last refit, it was given equipment to mount two pre-con medical bases, boosting it's infirmary space to 300.
Author's Note: Cargo ships, Cruise (ala Carnival, Royal Caribbean) ships, military ships, and large pleasure craft (mega yachts) are not covered under the Non-Military cruiser category.
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This was a fun bit of detail.
I take it these guys do atmospheric flight? And how quickly are they moving between planets?
Not so much flight as hovering via a-pods, but yes. They can move between planets in matter of days or weeks, but this is as much a function of where the planets are at the time of the flight as much as it is how fast they are.
I can see there being travel seasons, you travel to Mars on the 2-3 months when Earth is swinging around and is on the same side of the Solar system as the red planet, bingo for Jupiter. For points further out you are going to be waiting for the right alignment of the middle planets to slingshot around them, or use them as wayfare or refuel and reprovision points.
Generally the inner system is a matter of a few days, Mars and Jupiter a few weeks, and points further out are a month or more away
Another good addition to the Cosmic Era lore.