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Dejah Thoris Departure

Dejah Thoris was almost complete when the Hesperians seized Phobos; her sister ship Thuvia was a just skeletal frame.  By the time Albert declared himself emperor a year later, Red Star Lines was nationalized, or had at least become another of the Emperor's wholly owned corporations. The maiden voyage of Dejah Thoris was a pageantry attended by full Imperial regalia, and many of the sixteen luxury suites perched on the outer rim of the A and B rings were occupied by the Emperor's favorites.

At her launch, she was the largest liner in operation, fully 365 meters long and rated for up to 1232 passengers and 240 crew.  Equipped with the finest Brent Class Four ion engines, she could maintain a steady two hundredth of a gravity acceleration -- fully compensated by the tilt in the floors of the rotating rings -- for a turnover voyage that would cross an astronomical unit in three weeks.  And she was overpowered for such a journey.  Running full out, she could maintain her impressive fuel efficiency and make that same crossing in a week.  But running at lunar gravity acceleration and reaching nearly 500kps at turnaround, she would be violating both the guidelines of comfort and of safety, for at that velocity, a pellet of space debris could pierce through the multiple-layered hull with ease.

Dejah Thoris left port the same day Isadore Harland, once majority stock holder in the Red Star Line, was executed for treason.  As the great ship departed out of Phobos and dropped low over Mars to gain velocity, many thought the timing was ominous.  But her maiden voyage to Venus passed without incident.  It would be three standard years to the day before disaster struck.

-- Bruce Wolff III, The Dejah Thoris Conspiracy,, Selene Free Press, 2530

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