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    PROGRESS UPDATE POST #52



    Not much progress just yet on the fleet flagship revealed last time.

    But my two most sophisticated mining/salvaging ships went through an overhaul, bringing them up to a better shape than ever!


    IF YOU WANT ONE: Zircon-class Asteroid Miner
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    IF YOU WANT ONE: Brimstone-L7 Advanced Salvager
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    Low-effort finish on the flagship's nose section, recolored turrets, plus a group photo with the little guys above:
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    PROGRESS UPDATE POST #53



    The destroyer-class, flagship-role vessel of my fleet project is finished and published: download here.

    After having completed it, and in search for a good name for both it and the whole fleet, I realised that my plans included seven ships.

    So I went for naming the fleet after the Seven Sisters of Greek mythology, and chose to distribute their names among the ships so that the descending ranking of the ships by size/mass corresponds to the descending ranking, by apparent luminosity, of the stars in the Pleiades cluster (excluding Pleione and Atlas, the mythological parents of the Pleiades sisters):

    Destroyer Flagship = Asterope (brightest)​
    Freighter = Celaeno​
    Mass Transportation Craft = Taygeta​
    Frigate = Merope​
    Corvette = Maia​
    Miner = Electra​
    Fighter = Alcyone (dimmest)​

    None of the remainder are even started as of now, but each should be easier to build than this girl.


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    Recently, I was locked into circumstances boring enough to make me try writing up something random and cool.

    An old british heavy metal band, Saxon, once wrote an ode to a train, titled "Princess of the Night". I wrote a prose-form ode to a space freighter I once planned to build, named "Ulysses" (latinized variant of Odysseus; publicly used the name before, as a placeholder for something else, no connection between the two).

    It's an epic-style, non-narrative, dieselpunkish piece, which is probably overcomposed, and I can imagine that some parts might make it painfully obvious that English isn't my first language, but it is what it is.

    If someone knows of some sci-fi art that visually matches the level of glory of this fictional ship, as described herein, then please share, because I can't seem to picture it in my head :)



    Ulysses Mk1 — The Mountainous Space Freighter
    As decade after decade passed, Ulysses Mk1, that mighty old mountain range of metal, just kept on roaming the uncharted regions of the galaxy.

    Adrift in the unforgiving cold of interstellar space, lit only by the occasional faint emission nebula, it was equally true that no one could have stopped him, and no one cared to.

    Wandering across a zero-life-per-cubic-kiloparsec zone between two galactic spiral arms, his prime purpose was merely to find something—anything—with which he could negate his own brutally obvious purposelessness, and enjoy a taste of the fleeting, sweet illusion that is a sense of significance.

    As the cobweb-filled technological relic he was, he would have been seen as just another memento of long-past better times, by the outside world that never really heard of him.

    But for his onboard-born passengers, he was the only home they ever knew.



    For this old, mountainous freighter carried nothing else, but examples of sentience under the cover of his thickly armored hull: several little ghosts, who gave value internally to the otherwise forgotten machine that was Ulysses Mk1.

    They were the inhabitants of the belly of a mechanical whale, one so gargantuan that many lives were lived through within him without having a chance to see all of him. A skeleton crew of cyborgs, who made it their primary mission to keep alive the wisdom of how to keep Ulysses alive, by passing it on from generation to generation, most of whom had no idea that the world was anything more than a bubble of steel.

    Acceptant of their fate, these half-machines lived in perfect symbiosis with the vast machine, which sometimes felt to fall short of the criteria of being literally alive only by a narrow margin.

    The surprisingly flawless cooperation of its ancient machinery reminded of the intricate inner workings of a living organism. The intimidatingly loud clanking of its heavy, never-failing parts suggested a particularly strong will to maintain homeostasis.

    He had labyrinthine maintenance tunnels, like bowels. Behemoth pulsating pumps, reminiscent of a beating heart. Pipelines snaking everywhere, moving kilolitres of hot motor oil, like blood in vessels.

    Pistons the size of Sierran redwood, crashing into the cylinder walls with the force of tsunamis hitting the rockface of oceanic shores. Overpressure relief valves blowing out steam with the power of thunderstorms, sometimes producing a sound eerily similar to how gods sigh out of exhaustion.

    Dusty old mainframes ceaselessly emitted an unintelligible electrical whisper, as if they desperately wanted to say something, but constantly failed to learn the language. With the rare electric arc of lightning-bolt-wattage, roaring up with extreme rage, as if to say "Can't you hear that I am here?!"

    While the crew were not unlike the soldiers of an immune system, serving the good health of Ulysses.



    The relentless noise of his inner workings was the most beautiful of symphonies for them. They helped him with a glad heart, humbly admiring his eternal struggle that started geological epochs before any of them were born. For them, he was the greatest artifact from before living memory. The most sublime masterpiece of engineering.

    While tons of primordial rust dissolved in a sea of spilled engine lubricant made it clear that even he wasn't immune to entropy, the epic power of all of his moving parts made it seem as if some laws of nature conspired to keep him alive way beyond what's natural.

    His inhabitants marveled at his magnificence. They were in awe of his might. They worshipped him as a deity.

    Those of a more occult mindset believed that the ship's computer infrastructure contained one of those "Game of Life" simulations, which ran in the background, for centuries, until the vessel rose to some form of consciousness. It might have been that Ulysses really had a mind of its own, the emergence of which was just a means to the comparatively trivial end of maximizing computational capacity, through automatic self-programming.

    No one could tell whether or not that was the case. Perhaps it wasn't that this self-created artificial intelligence wasn't yet smart enough to communicate, but rather that the crew wasn't smart enough to recognize all the little signals, through his very limited channels, as attempts to initiate conversation.

    In any case, everyone was in deep respect of the stoic resilience and Sisyphean commitment with which he endured the harshness of outer space and just kept on moving with full steam.

    Their only goal: to contact any remnant of the original civilization that built their beloved Ulysses, of whom they knew only through fragments of data that survived in the starship's Engineering Manual... A civilization that was the best candidate as the organic progenitors of this race of cyborgs.



    A civilization from a planet called "Earth", which might have been long gone, for all they knew.
     
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    PROGRESS UPDATE POST #54



    Started working on the second largest vessel of my fleet project, the freighter.

    The images below show the results of the first two days of construction. As you can see, I aim to continue the first ship's clean, sleek, minimalistic, futuristic style throughout the whole fleet.

    Copy-pasting the flagship's engines really helped to kickstart the design process of this second ship. I used top-bottom symmetry on its rear part, so I still have to go along the bottom and change up a few things, to make it look more interesting.


    Also decided on the ship sizes, they will increase with 40m increments in length:
    Destroyer Flagship = Asterope (260m)
    Freighter = Celaeno (220m)
    Mass Transportation Craft = Taygeta (180m)
    Frigate = Merope (140m)
    Corvette = Maia (100m)
    Miner = Electra (60m)
    Fighter = Alcyone (20m)


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    PROGRESS UPDATE POST #55



    Just a little bit to go (designing cargo containers) and I'm done with the "Celaeno" freighter, exterior-wise.

    It has a dorsal AMS turret behind the bridge, and already functional USD airlocks on both sides.

    There's also a weapon output at the front for a just-in-case gun, but otherwise this ship will be unarmed, and will instead focus on serious active defense (strong shields and good mobility).

    Plans are to system each ship of this ambitious fleet in a way that makes sense with regards to their specific roles. If great firepower will be needed to defend this freighter when roaming through unsafe regions, its fighter/corvette/frigate escorts will help her out... Which I can't wait to start building, seeing how nicely this fleet established a style of its own.



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    PROGRESS UPDATE POST #56



    Something out of the ordinary this time, I suppose we might say.

    After finalizing the exterior of this freighter, by attaching the five cargo containers seen on the still images below, I decided to dedicate almost the whole nose section for more cargo space. A very large and detailed cargo bay was built, the port-side-only door of which introduced some asymmetry to the hull.

    11.png 12.png


    Construction of the rest of the interior followed swiftly, the results of which are shown in a quick tour in the spoilers below. Almost the entire interior is walked through in eight GIFs; each starts roughly where the previous ends.

    GIF interior tour:

    (No systems yet, because the still-incoming devbuilds that appeared after the current stable game version seem to have systems config changes, and anyway, I intend to publish this ship only in a fleet bundle once all ships are done, so it can wait. Next up: fighter and miner.)
     
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