Tales of the Solar Patrol: Class of 2058
Ships of the Patrol
The world of Tales of the Solar Patrol is one where travel between planets is almost a century old and has become almost commonplace. Almost…because the bleak void of space can never be truly tamed or conquered. Thin walls of alloy and plastic are all that stand between a man and swift, certain death. A million parts – gears, tubes, pumps, coils, and switches – must be kept in perfect working order, or they will fail, turning a spaceship into nothing but a metal coffin, drifting forever in blackness.
Modern spaceships vary in detail but share general design trends. They are primarily cylindrical, with decks arranged along the long axis of the cylinder; the craft fly horizontally. Artificial gravity provides 1G of constant “downward” pull, unaffected by the ship’s motion, except during times of combat or stress.
Audie Murphy-Class Patrol Ship
The Murphy class is the backbone of the Solar Patrol, which has hundreds of these ships in service. Each ship is named after a soldier who was revered for his bravery and courage in battle, usually an enlisted man or a low-ranking officer. The Murphy-class ships have a crew of three to 10, depending on mission, with simple scout or border missions having the fewest and missions into known hostile space having the most. Solar Patrolmen are expected to be diverse enough in their skills that a small number can effectively run a ship under non-combat conditions. (They are also expected to make a good showing of themselves if non-combat conditions cease being so…)
The Murphy ships are assigned to all parts of the System, from mapping asteroids in the Trojans to rescuing stranded hunters on Venus to helping transfer freed Martians from the clutches of their psionic masters. They are small, agile, multipurpose ships that can be quickly fitted with specialized equipment to suit their current mission profile. Many have been in service since the 2020s, shortly after the Red Hive assault, and have been lovingly…maintained…by one engineer after another, each adding his own special touches that would drive the original designers insane if they knew about them. The typical model mounts two forward atomic guns and a spinal turret gun, as well as a powerful nega-barrier generator.
It can handle itself well in combat against most pirate vessels or raiders, but it needs support if it participates in warfare against larger ships.
The standard-issue lifeboat is found on every ship, save for the most decrepit or ancient. A lifeboat is not designed to reach a world, but to keep people alive until rescue can come, although it can land on planets if one happens to be near. This doesn’t come cheap, but given the long waits for rescue in deep space, it can be worth it.
A typical lifeboat has five cramped, low bunks; a small command center near the prow; and the best air, food, and water recycling systems 21st-century technology can provide, which can sustain existence for 100 man-days (one man for 100 days, two for 50 days, and so on). The tiny craft also includes an emergency radio beacon with a million-mile range, a small electron drive to propel the craft, and a simple infomat to assist with emergency mathematical calculations. There are few other utilities, as every erg of available power is used to keep the life-support gear functioning as long as possible.
Patton-Class Patrol Cruiser
The Patton class is typical of the Patrol’s heavy warships. It maintains only a small fleet of these, but it keeps them in top condition and staffed with the best crews, as they will be rushed to the front lines in any real war. Each is a sleek, slightly flattened cylinder, with the main body forming an aerodynamic surface enhanced by a broad delta wing and a large tailfin, which also mounts a turret. The Patton class is capable of landing on planetary surfaces, the largest vessel that can do so, allowing it to be retrofitted as a troop carrier if need be. The ship contains few luxuries. It is a warship from bow to stern and does not exist to ferry around VIPs or provide a plaything for some admiral. Despite the current state of peace, the ships are always kept in a ready condition and can launch into a fight in less than 15 minutes.
In battle, the ship is a terrifying combatant. Each wing mounts an atomic-gun turret. The ship also has a hyper-focused forward-firing gun in a fixed mount and a series of smaller turrets along the spine, intended to take out minor targets.