I could tell you that nobody needs them in the future, but I like spaceships so, unfortunately, we still do.

The challenge is, of course, is an original approach to the design philosophy. Even naming convention.  Why would they call their ships what they have?

In this book, many of the naming conventions are similar to what we (the Terrans) may typically use in English since Richard was taught some of these things on Earth (see the blog for him), and he hasn’t completed his education at home at the start of the novel.  Many of the people who staff his first ship (in command roles) are also from Earth.  They’re using what they know.

However, there is one term his cousin Tess (and later, Richard) use to describe the Tyberian flagship:

As they follow the bride and groom into the reception area, they take in the view this part of the flagship affords them of the planet. Ana looks up at the horizon of Alexandria, the star that shines its warmth on the planet peeking over the crest, the shadows on the planet below receding. “This is incredible,” she remarks. “How could a capitol ship afford to have such a view?”
Tess steps forward. “We’re actually still in the hanger. The main bay doors, where the battleships come in, are open.” She spreads her arms wide as she steps toward the view. “This is the first naval constellation we built for the future guardian of the crown.”
Maice steps forward. “This ship is large enough to have a battleship dock within it?”
Tess nods. “And six corvettes!” She walks slowly toward the center of the room. “Not counting the fighter squadrons.”

Ana, Tess & Maice

Richard’s flagship os referred to as a ‘Constellation.’  There are a couple of reasons:

-It is the basis of a fleet

The Maelstrom Constellation, as the quote ascribes, carries its complement of vessels within.  The ship provides the principle transit for the others.  In a later blog, I’ll try to explain my logic for this approach, since this does present some challenges to travel for these ships, or engaging in battle.  The one real advantage I will point to is that with one ship providing the majority of the flight, it means one ship is burning most of the fuel.  It also means the other vessels within are ready at a moments’ notice and could be prepped for a mission (possibly even a long-range assignment) at all times, without concern of refueling or topping off before departing.

In this scene, I was trying to decide where the opening would be for this ship on the Maelstrom.  I don’t remember where I thought it was at the time of writing (it was a while ago), but it would be easy to assume it was on the front of the ship.

Until you read the passage and think about how ships are often portrayed as orbiting a planet.  I’ve yet to see a ship pointing the nose of the ship at the planet itself.  It appears that the battleship makes a side exit from the ship.

From a combat standpoint, that would make the most sense, since maintaining a smaller forward profile toward an approaching threat (remember: there could still be several miles between the ship and the ‘threat,’ so pointing toward a threat, even with such a large ship, can still have an advantage). This would allow the deployed ships to train their main weapons on the threat as they emerge, and would help maintain a strong defensive/offensive posture.

I will admit I am not well versed on combat theory (not sure why you would think a teen would read The Art of War, when he wouldn’t read Lord of the Flies when it was required), so whether this ‘sound’ is up to you to decide.

-It’s REALLY BIG!

As I was trying to think of how the groupings for their fleets would be, I realized that ‘constellation’ could have a double meaning in this context.  The fleet group is a constellation since an actual space constellation is a particular grouping of stars.

BigdipISS
A portion of the Big Dipper, taken on the ISS

However, that grouping of stars isn’t without purpose.  They are ‘grouped’ that way to help make them recognizable as this specific group, as this can present an image in the mind that can be recalled quickly. That image is often what we think of when we point to a constellation.

The Maelstrom is a constellation in the same sense.  The collectives of ships that make up its fleet group are a ‘constellation,’ in that this is to what the Tyberian Military call their ship fleets.  But the Maelstrom is a Constellation, as a result of hosting said fleet.  The terms are used in this manner in the novel.

I should state that although the Tyberian Military calls this a ‘constellation,’ The Terran Government does have a designation for this type of vehicle, As Maice makes inquiry in the scene:

Maice shakes his head. “This isn’t merely a capitol ship. This is some kind of mobile battle platform.” He looks at Tess. “Who are you people at war with?”
Tess frowns. “Nobody. Why?”
“Why would your people need something like this if you are at peace?” Maice insists.
Tess folds her arms. “There are worlds on the other side of the unified territories that actively dispute our boundaries. While we would prefer a more peaceful alternative,” she sighs, “the K’Nough won’t have it any other way.”

The Terran equivalent would be the ‘Mobile Battle Platform,’ and much like a constellation, it also has several ships it ferries within.  In a later blog, I’ll touch on a few of the differences.  Next week, we will discuss one of the principle defenses used by the Tyberian Military, along with something readers will notice regarding all the ships in the Tyberian fleet.

 

(UPDATE 6-12-2018:  It appears my main computer is up!  However, it is also a clean slate, needing everything recovered to it.  So I don’t have complete access to everything, along with not getting the chance to complete my scheduled posts – like the one that got out prematurely today!  I’m hoping to get caught up in the coming week and have everything back to normal by the end of the month.  Thanks for your patience.)


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