Monday, March 20, 2017

Notes on an Alternate Starships & Spacemen/ White Star Setting...

     Working on some some for  the FTL post are some notes for a new setting I've been working on:

The path of an officer in the Patrol Fleet begins at the Academy.  We will only discuss officers because there are no enlisted ratings in the Astronaut Corp.  An Astro begins their career at a Patrol Base nearest their homeworld or system.  This is often in orbit over their homeworld - or in the same orbit as their home station.  It is meant that no citizen of the League of Planets be too far from a Base and it’s attached Academy.
The Academy is a rather nebulous institution.  There is no main campus nor branches that may compete for the prestige of being The Academy - The Academy is an idea, spread among the stars along with the League and the Patrol Fleet itself.  There is no faculty, as a dedicated and separate group, that sit in their offices and ponder theory.  The underclasses are taught by the upperclasses, when not taught by computer, and the upperclasses by officers stationed at the Patrol Base or on the many, many ships in the Fleet.  The job of the Patrol and it’s Astronaut Corp is learned very much on the job.  It is different with Espos - the Espacier Corp learn at planetary and space based training camps the skills of soldiering.  Their officers - for there are enlisted ranks in the Espos - are taught what they cannot learn from Drill Instructors in the Patrol’s Academy system.
A cadet of the Patrol Fleet starts at the Base nearest home but will not stay there.  After two years of training and instructions often by other, more senior cadets, the underclass will transfer to a different Patrol Base, around another world as far from home as feasible.  This is part of the the most important training of the Patrol’s Astronauts in the view of the Planetary League: the cultivation of that cosmopolitan outlook that makes an Asto or Espo feel they are citizens of the League itself, not of an individual world, or even species.
The time in space transferring to a new Base Academy is far from idle.  The cadets travel by Battle Cruiser and Dreadnought and are given their first taste of life on a working ship of the Fleet.  These starships are not express liners - the Cadets may be months aboard ship, helping execute missions, do scientific research, and cross training in new specialities.  It is not unknown for a cadet on such a cruise to be breveted an officer by the end - especially during the War.  But even if the cadet arrives an Ensign to their new Base, they must finish their higher level training and help to educate the raw recruits that themselves are beginning their careers in the Patrol Fleet.
Another year or so of training and instruction by officers of the Patrol Base sees all Cadets commissioned or dismissed.  By now, the graduates have served with or at least met every major species in the League, learned at least one of their languages, and probably developed a taste for some other world’s music or food.  The Patrol encourages this - it is always easier to get leave on a world you’ve never visited than it is to one’s homeworld, barring family matters of course.
The newly minted Ensigns are then assigned to the Base’s staff - which includes the Base’s own flotilla of Frigates.  The Cruiser/Tender, rarely a front-line vessel anymore, becomes their first posting followed shortly by a stint on a Frigate.  Frigates may be commanded by Ensigns - the ones breveted during their Underclass cruise, anyway - and are nearly always crewed by officers no higher than rank than Sub-Lieutenant with perhaps a Lieutenant as Skipper while they wait for a Destroyer billet.  More often, the greenest Ensigns are stationed on the Cruiser, the more experienced and Sub-Lieutenants on the Frigates, and the Lieutenants serve as department heads on the Cruiser before moving on to the Destroyers or a true Cruiser of the Fleet.

The organization of the PATROL FLEET is telling. There are six major planetary civilizations (seven, counting Humans) and each of these are host to a Planetary Fleet.  Each of these fleets are made up predominantly of the native species.  The Martian Fleet is made up of Humans, the Banlishkoa Fleet of Talmachi, the Dramassi Fleet of Sloaak, and so on.  “Predominantly” means roughly 80% of each craft’s crew is made up of the natives .  
A Planetary Fleet is made up of a Dreadnought Squadron, two Battlecruiser Squadrons, four Cruiser Squadrons, and Eight Destroyer Squadrons.  It is based, predictably enough, at the largest Patrol Base in the home system of the fleet.
The Planetary Fleets are far from idle, however.  Not even the Batlecruisers or Dreadnoughts spend much time in port - the Fleets are almost constantly on the move between the major planets of the League.  The fleets make courtesy calls on the other founders’ planets, visit the colonies in their sphere of influence, and in general try to expose as many citizens of the Northern Lobe to as many different sophonts as possible.  And they, of course, patrol.
There are, in addition to the “big seven” fleets, Sixteen Numbered Fleets scattered around the four Quadrants of League space.  These are attached to the various numbered Patrol Bases, and are charged with patrolling and exploring the empty space within the Treaty Boundary.  Unlike the Planetary Fleets, the Numbered Fleets are fully integrated. Some ships in the Fleet have a predominant species, but this is a consideration of environment (it is easier to make an entire ship with consistent gravity and atmosphere).   In general, each six-vessel squadron has a ship featuring the ideal environment of one of the major species.
A Numbered Fleet consists of a Battlecruiser squadron, two Cruiser squadrons, four Destroyer Squadrons and eight Frigate squadrons.
In addition to these assets, the individual Patrol Bases have extra Frigates, organized into a Patrol squadron.  A Patrol Squadron includes two divisions of Frigates and a Cruiser/Tender.  Typically, one Division stays (relatively) close to the Patrol Base and engages in search and rescue work, fast response, and the routine transfer of personnel.  The tended division ranges farther afield, conducting planetary surveys, engaging in longer patrols, and conducting more specialized scientific research.

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