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Generation Gap

“So that’s our replacement?”

“Yep, I’m afraid so.”

“Ugly sucker, isn’t it.”

“Maybe, but its drives are a third more efficient than ours. There’s three times as much radiation shielding and its long term life support is rated for two-hundred fifty people. Plus, it’s got two detachable cargo bays, each rated for fifty-four TEUs.”


“Yeah, twenty-foot equivalent units – don’t ask me what that means, but it’s how they measure cargo. They can stash more in the hull and there’s lots of water shielding tanks under the outer disk hull.”

“Well, it looks like an ugly freighter. Doesn’t even have spin arms, they just spin the whole ship instead.”

“No moving parts that way – well, one. It does make docking a bitch, though.”

“That’s why that had to despin for us.”

“True, but it flies just fine without spinning. And look at those legs. It can land just about anywhere and we can’t even nudge up against a tiny rock without breaking something.”

“I hear it can even land on Earth if it had to.”

“Yeah, but it would have to go in on plasma afterburners, slow down to stationary velocity just above the atmosphere and ride the drive flame down. It would blow its whole fuel load, landing and taking off from Earth, but it could do it. It can go pretty much anywhere in the solar system.”

“What’s that? Radiator panels on the legs?”

“Yep, they’re a lot smaller than ours, even though their reactor can crank out two terawatts at full tilt.”

“Nasty. But I guess we’ll all be riding those things from now on.”

“Until the next better ship comes along, and the Star’s crew sits outside gawking at the new guys.”

- Off Oberon, October 25, 2087

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