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Firefly Class Midbulk Transport

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Name: Firefly
Craft: Firefly Class Midbulk Transport
Type: Medium Freighter
Scale: Starfighter
Length: 58.2 x 39 x 16.1 meters
Weight: 2,400 tons
Skill: Space Transports
Crew: 8; skeleton: 1/10
Passenger Capacity:
Cargo Capacity: 460 tons in hold #1; 220 tons in hold #2.
Consumables / Fuel Capacity:60 tons (600 hours)
Cost: 48,960
Maintenance Costs: 1,920 per year
Nav Computer: yes (intra-system only)
Maneuverability: 2D+2
Space: 4; Hard Burn: 6
Atmosphere: 280; 800 kmh; Hard Burn: 330; 950 kmh
Hull: 4D
Sensors

  • Passive: 10 / 0D+1
  • Scan: 20 / 0D+1
  • Search: 30 / 0D+2
  • Focus: 1 / 1D

Weapons - None

Complement:

Description: Caravel, outrigger, Douglas DC-3, Liberty Ship, UH-1 “Huey”—every great era of exploration and commerce has a signature vehicle, common as dirt and used for everything and anything. For the last great wave of colonization, the Firefly Class midbulk transport is that symbol.

The Firefly design was the brainchild of celestine architect, Jennifer Yamadera, of Beaumonde. She wanted to build a simple, cheap Everyman freighter for folk to use on the newly opened frontier worlds. By combining all the major power-using systems—gravitics, pulse drive, life support—into one big, elegant package, she cut down on production costs and developed the signature spinners-and-bulb engine layout that gives the class its name.

This design makes a Firefly Class one of the easiest ships of its size to maintain, and accounts for its popularity to this day. The only drawback is that all the main systems run together—if one goes, they all go (although there is auxiliary life support, and the g-field may take some hours to relax completely). Yamadera licensed her design to at least half-adozen different shipyards over the 34 years the Firefly stayed in production, and there were several copycats, as well.

The original Firefly was designated 01-K64, for model 01 and the year she first flew (2464). The “K” in the type class is a pun: “kei” is a Japanese word for “firefly.” More than 20,000 of the 01 model were constructed between 2464 and 2473. The design tended to shake badly in atmosphere, however, due to turbulent air from the forward fuselage being sucked into the engine pods.

A second model (02-K64) in 2468 tried to fix the problem by having the engine pods swing up instead of down, but that just caused her to be unstable on the ground, and the model was dropped after only a handful were launched. The solution—to extend the wings to move the engine pods about 2 feet outboard—was incorporated in the 03 model in 2469, and production continued until 2498. In all, more than 93,000 Firefly-class transports were constructed; maybe 40,000 are still in the air.

The ship’s layout is complicated by the systems package design. The bridge sits high and well forward on a gooseneck. The bridge includes stations for pilot, copilot, and flight mechanic on the main level, and for sensor/comms operator on tandem step-down in the nose. Aft of the bridge, in the gooseneck connecting to the main body, the crew quarters are located beneath the corridor leading to the common room. The common area itself dominates the top third of the ship’s midsection and includes a full galley, storage, and shower facilities. Further aft, behind the constriction caused by the external portion of the grav spinner, are the engine room and the internal portions of the combined drive—pulse, power, and life support.

The main (#1) cargo hold is located directly beneath the common room in the midsection. Catwalks lead to the port and starboard over-wing bays and down into the hold. In the most common version, the over-wing bays hold two 20-ton shuttles; in other designs these bays are plated over and converted to additional passenger or cargo space. The rest of the engine section surrounding the drive room was originally devoted to fuel tanks, but later modifications (made standard on the 03- K64) included a second cargo hold on the lowest level. This sometimes causes weight and balance problems with loading heavy cargo in the after hold.

The main hold opens through the forward airlock onto a cargo ramp, with a built-in postern hatch for personnel access while the ramp remains up. An additional hatch in the underbelly allows cargo to be slung into the hold at a hover. When the ship is on the ground, drive-protective skids and landing stabilizers make that hatch unusable.

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