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Post #2 - The Slow Path to the Stars
« on: February 28, 2016, 07:53:04 PM »
The Khazari Chronicles

The Slow Path to the Stars

Translated by Dr Josephine Lyons, Professor of Xenohistory, University of New Hobart. 

All dates and units of measurements have been translated into Earth Standard for ease of convenience.    Names, where ever possible, have also been given human equivalents. 

There is a saying amongst the Khazari; The greatest hunter is the most patient.    Patience is a trait most highly prized by the Khazari, and yet in the days after the announcement of the discovery of the sacred thirteen elements, it was a trait most sorely tested.    It had fanned into flames the smouldering hopes of walking among the stars.    And yet time would be required.    Time to plan and to build. 

It took three months to design a pair of new engines capable of utilising the new fuel, under the guidance of the noted power and propulsion expert Anqasa Copperclaw.    Far more powerful than the old sources of fuel, the engines had to be designed to withstand the great forces put out by the new fuel without rupturing or exploding.    When at last they were complete, the designs were handed over to Chorqat Heavy Industries for fabrication when required.    Both had been designed as bulky commercial drives, one of size 25, the other of size 50.    Ships were designed around them; the Ironscale class Exploration Ship, the Ocean class Freighter and the Pilgrimage class Colony Ship which carried 500 passengers in quarters rather than the more advanced cryogenic pods. 

Ironscale class Exploration Ship

Ironscale class Exploration Ship    1 750 tons     22 Crew     54 BP      TCS 35  TH 2  EM 0
57 km/s     Armour 1-12     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
MSP 19    Max Repair 5 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 24 months    Spare Berths 0   

Chorqat Heavy Industries 2.  5 EP Commercial Conventional Engine (1)    Power 2.  5    Fuel Use 13.  26%    Signature 2.  5    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 10 000 Litres    Range 7.  7 billion km   (1571 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes

Pilgrimage class Colony Ship
Pilgrimage class Colony Ship    8 950 tons     235 Crew     334.  4 BP      TCS 179  TH 5  EM 0
27 km/s     Armour 1-38     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
MSP 23    Max Repair 5 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Spare Berths 0   
Passengers 500   

Chorqat Heavy Industries 5 EP Commercial Conventional Engine (1)    Power 5    Fuel Use 8.  84%    Signature 5    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 10 000 Litres    Range 2.  2 billion km   (942 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes

Ocean class Freighter
Ocean class Freighter    8 600 tons     37 Crew     88.  4 BP      TCS 172  TH 5  EM 0
29 km/s     Armour 1-37     Shields 0-0     Sensors 1/1/0/0     Damage Control Rating 1     PPV 0
MSP 6    Max Repair 5 MSP
Intended Deployment Time: 3 months    Spare Berths 1   
Cargo 5000   

Chorqat Heavy Industries 5 EP Commercial Conventional Engine (1)    Power 5    Fuel Use 8.  84%    Signature 5    Exp 5%
Fuel Capacity 10 000 Litres    Range 2.  4 billion km   (942 days at full power)

This design is classed as a Commercial Vessel for maintenance purposes

The yards were not yet large enough to accommodate such vessels and so the wait went on for almost a year until they were large enough to lay down the first Ironscale – Ironscale Prime.    Even as the ship was being built expansion of the yards continued.    Khazari labourers worked around the clock for 4 months to build the first ship and on 1st April 501, to much celebration, the Ironscale Prime was launched. 

To take command of the ship was a relative of the First Speaker, High Hunter Alaqan Bronzeclaw.    Adventurous to the point of taking risks, he was also a gifted leader due to his insightful understanding of those under him and his skilled oratory that could bring out the best in them. 

The crew, having planned while the ship was being built, took it out immediately, setting course for Vaskora, the third moon of Vashkut, 18.  4m kilometres away.    Travelling at speeds undreamed of by the Khazari, they covered the trip in just four days, and on 4th April, at 18:00 hours, Alaqan Bronzeclaw became the first Khazari to set foot on another celestial body, an event watched by most of Akhazar.    His words are etched in the memories of all Khazari. 

I walk here not for myself, and not alone, for I carry with me the hopes of all Khazari who have dreamed of this day, when we walk among the stars. 

For 4 weeks the crew of Ironscale Prime stayed upon Vaskora, researching, exploring the surface and jokingly laying out claims for where to build houses when the moon was colonised. 

When their time on Vaskora was done, Ironscale Prime headed not home but to the other moon of Vashkut that held the potential to be a colony, Qakora, only a five hour flight away. 

Another two weeks of exploration followed across Qakora but Alaqan Bronzeclaw and his crew were not yet done.    224M km away was the third planet of Khazarqa-C, Rakka Vor.    It possessed an unbreathable atmosphere of nitrogen and methane and was a frozen planet at -32.  8C, far too cold for the Khazari to live in.   Unlike the two moons, Rakka Vor possessed a hydrosphere.    Flight time to Rakka Vor was expected to be 45 and a half days

The arrival of Ironscale Prime after such a lengthy journey was another cause for celebration, with images of the crew walking across snowy wastes beamed back to Akhazar.    Akhazar itself was far too hot for snow to form and besides a few grainy images from satellites that had flown past Rakka Vor in the past no Khazari had seen let alone touched snow before. 

Only a week was spent upon Rakka Vor before Alaqan Bronzeclaw and his crewed headed back for Akhazar, arriving on August 1st 501, 4 months after departure, most of which was spent in to and from Rakka Vor. 

Ironscale Prime returned to a heroes welcome, its crew showered with awards, parades and accolades.    Alaqan Bronzeclaw himself received the Claw of Courage, the highest award that could be awarded out of combat. 

Alaqan and his crew had caught a bug though, a restlessness to get back out into space.    A month after returning home Ironscale Prime set out again, this time for much more distant destinations.    Daqan was the 10th moon of the 5th planet around Khazarqa D.    The planet, a massive super-jovian, generated a LP that linked up to Khazarqa-C, cutting the journey to a fraction of what it would be otherwise. 

The trip still took two months, arriving at another frozen world.    While it did possess an atmosphere, it was unbreathable as it contained no oxygen, being comprised of nitrogen, methane and ammonia in a fluid state.   

The stay on Daqan lasted almost 4 weeks before the valiant crew were once again off, headed for Khazarqa-B, via another LP point that linked the two suns.    Their target was the second planet of the system, known as Kalraqa. 

The journey was another long one, of two and a half months.    Kalrhaq differed from the previous planets visited as it possessed a breathable atmosphere.    While, at -31C, it was too cold, it was much easier to live on than any other celestial body around the four suns, requiring only about half as much infrastructure as the next easiest potential colonies. 

After 3 weeks on Kalrhaq, Ironscale Prime headed home, arriving after a 10 month journey that had once more captivated the Khazari. 

A period of quiet followed, one that lasted for two and a half years.    After prototyping large fuel tanks, some of the Khazari scientific community began to consider the prospect of living not on planets but on orbital habitats and began to research in that direction.    The Khazari military academy and university establishment expanded to allow for the training of more officers, administrators and scientists.    Forward planning for future colonial efforts, Khazari factories began to prefabricate infrastructure for offworld colonies, enough for a million Khazari to live on the nearby moons. 

Then, on October 30th, 504, a terrible day befell the Khazari. 


The newscaster paused halfway through a sentence, nodding with a serious cast to his face. 

“We have just had some breaking news,” he announced.    “Great Hunter Surtaksa Ironheart has called a conference on a matter of national importance.    We are crossing live now.  ”

The screen image changed, cutting to a group of Khazari military officers, all in full military uniform of black, silver and purple.    At the centre stood the tall figure of the Fleet HQ CO, Surtaska Ironheart, her iron hued scales edged with crimson. 

“Fellow Khazari, it is with the greatest of sorrow that I announce to you that this morning High Hunter Alaqan Bronzeclaw was killed in an accident.    One of our most distinguished officers,  High Hunter Bronzeclaw led us out to the stars and was training for another, more dangerous exploration mission.    It was during the course of this training that an equipment failure led to his death.    Our deepest sympathies go out to his family and clan but we vow this to you, that his death shall not be in vain.    We shall continue his mission of exploration and follow his adventurous spirit.  ”


Alaqan Bronzeclaw's death cast a deep pall over Akhazar with a state of mourning decreed.    An estimate ten million Khazari lined the streets of his funeral procession with tens of millions more watching through vidcasts.    His grief striken crew perfomred one last act for their fallen captain, taking his body aloft in Ironscale Prime and committing his body to the stars. 

It did not take long for tales of him to begin circulating and some there were who named him Saint Alaqan, the unofficial saint of the navy and of spacefarers.    Many a superstitious sailor claimed that there lives were saved by his intervention.    More so, in latter days, claims arose that his body found its way to the ancestral home of the Khazari before any other could find it. 

As promised, the Khazari did continue on.    The factories churned out infrastructure, the initial order of 200 being doubled and the shipyard slowly increased in size.    As the shipyards neared completion of their expansion, the factories turned to manufacturing the engines and passenger quarters to ease construction. 

By the start of 506, the shipyards had reached 9,000t capacity and retooling began, a process that would go on for half a year.    As this happened, another set back hit the Khazari with Kanaq Copperclaw, lead researcher on TN Tech, forced to retire due to severe medical problems.    Though she was not specialised in the field, Anqasa Copperclaw took over finishing up his work. 

Given the rather modular nature of the Ocean and Pilgrimage classes, they could both be built at the  same time without retooling.    First to be laid down was Ocean Prime, a freighter which would begin the process of ferrying infrastructure to the first Khazari colony. 

It launched almost 2 years to the day after Alaqan Bronzeclaw died, and even as it loaded up and began to set out the first Pilgrimage was laid down in the yards. 

It soon became readily apparent to the Khazari Conclave that they had made an error with the design of the freighter.    It was too slow.    Not only could it not reach Vaskora, the moon designated for use as the first Khazari colony, but it could not even return to Akhazar.    A rapid redesign of the to classes was ordered, with a 2nd engine added to each. 

Ocean Prime was forced into fancy manoeuvring to regain Akhazar's orbit, waiting for the moon to complete a full rotation before intercepting it.    In the meantime Pilgrimage Prime had been built but was left idle while the shipyard was once again expanded to accommodate the Mk II versions of both classes. 

On the 6th of January 507 the Khazari at last unlocked the secrets of the Sacred Thirteen Elements, an event met with great anticipation by all Khazari who had been following the process closely.    Now with the knowledge of elements, the Khazari could begin to plan for the future and the next step upon the slow path to the stars. 
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 09:51:36 PM by Corvus »