Compiled by Cadet Jack McKirgan II
The keel of the Terra V was laid in the newly completed Mitsui/Ramco shipyardon Terra. There were a few in-construction changes made to the Terra Vbecause of technological breakthroughs and miniaturization of hithertobulky gravity generation equipment which not only provided crew comfortthat had been previously been available only to large warships. Becauseof the small size of the Terra V, the new gravity wave generators couldproduce a gravity-warp field around the ship which gave the Terra V thecapability for quick traverse of the solar system as well as extended interstellartravel, and even time travel, if necessary. The Space Patrol soon discoveredthat the delays in construction were well worth enduring. Rolled out onSeptember 16, 2950 A.D., The Terra V was christened by retiring commissionerKit Corry and ten days later the first shakedown cruise was flown by Mitsui/Ramco'schief test pilot, Serge Adamski who had just recovered from injuries sufferedfrom the destruction of the YC-19 deep space tug project which was sabotagedby the suspected agent of a competitor to the mining company for whichthe YC 19 was being developed.
Hull construction of the Terra V is by carbon micro-former/longeron methodwhich provides extreme rigidity as well as pressure protection. Externalhull plating is of valant-bonded Bucky aluminium/carbon/titanium alloywhich can provide extreme pressure and temperature protection and seamlesscovering in all areas except for those with mechanically operated functions.The natural color of the hull plating gives the surface a matt aluminum finishwith a tint of brown or pink reminiscent of platinum. The functional noseboom terminates into the front of the hull and incorporates a verticalstrake for additional support and vibration dampening in atmospheric flightconditions.
Additional vertical and horizontal stabilization and low speedlift is provided for by wings and a vertical fin which also contain buoyancychambers, emergency rafts and beacons, atmospheric missile bays, landinglights, traditional navigation lights and strobes and conduit passagesfor gas, plasma and circuitry. The vertical fin is mounted directly tothe uppermost longeron and the wings are mounted 90 degrees to the verticalfin onto the 90 degree longerons with bucky-carbon wing roots extendingthrough the fuselage to the opposite wing. These roots are non-obtrusiveby virtue of extending between decks just above the hold area. There areno control surfaces on the wings or tail, directional control being providedby XY axis thrusters located in the nose of the craft. These thrustersare effective in the atmosphere while the ship is operated in gravity wavepropulsion mode.
When under rocket thrust, the Terra V is directionallycontrolled by the conventionally gimbaled rocket motor. The rocket engineis an improved Plasma General R-1530-7 similar to those used in the largerearly model X-100 class battle cruisers. Using triple mixing chambers controllingthe thrust, the PG R1539-7 can maintain a hover in a light wind when usedwith the gravity wave generators or can propel the craft at over Mach 10in dense atmosphere for sustained periods. In space, the engine can producea constant 1 G acceleration for up to six Earth days reducing the needfor gravity wave propulsion on routine patrol/interdiction duties. Fuelcapacity and type is restricted information, but is rumored to be similarto that used in the gigantic military vessels of United Planets Solar Force.These fuels are believed to be so concentrated with potential energy thatonly 10% of the Terra V's volume is necessary to store the fuel supply.Fuel developer, Aries Chemical of Mars, is not in a position to divulgedetails, but press kits claim that the efficiency is obtained by progressivethermonuclear reaction in which lighter elements are converted to progressivelyheavier elements in infinitesimally small quantities and that the bulkof the "propellant" is actually only reactive mass that is expelledat extremely high rates as class 12 plasma which is not radioactive, nonpolluting and only affects the atmosphere in the immediate vicinity ofthe expulsion chamber. In some atmosphere compositions, such as on Venus,elements may react with the expelled plasma in such a way as to producea shock wave at the rear of the Terra V. For this reason, the wings andvertical fin of the Terra V are radiuses to act as the leading edge ofthis shock wave, allowing the Terra V to "surf' at very low fuel expenditurerates.
Because the mission of the Space Patrol is one of law enforcement, theTerra V is equipped for such duties. Criminals now have access to sophisticatedtransportation, weaponry and information and it is well known that thecriminal mind is not capable of acting within the normal parameters ofcivilization. Today's criminal is an egotist, bent on gathering power oversegments of civilized peoples. They are usually loners with a small collectionof henchmen dedicated to serving and supplying them. For this reason theSpace Patrol's vessels usually have no brig and suspects are shackled inthe living quarters of the ship. The Terra V, being smaller than previousclass ships, does suffer from cramped space when taking on additional crewor transporting suspects for trial and rehabilitation. In-space encounterswith disabled vehicles can be handled in a number of ways.
Storage of up to four EVA suits is provided in the air-lock access room for occasions where EVA is required. An extendable magnetic coupler tube is located on the port side forward area accessed through the gravity wave/hyperdriveroom. This is the recommended method of boarding a disabled craft, thetermination of the tube being made of an electro malleable alloy with aseal that conforms to the boarding hatch of almost any airlock. An additionalfeature is a cargo hold which is not large enough to completely enclosemost vessels, but can accommodate a large section which can be securedfor transport by magnetic/mechanical grapples. A small gravity wave projectorin the hold can be used to draw another vessel into the hold for docking.A retractable ladder in the open hold can also be used for boarding the Terra V while in a port or resting on a launch ramp.
Defensive armament on the Terra V is of three types:
The galley is also space-efficient with a fold-out table and benches. The lavatory is located along the bulkheadon the port side of the galley, making privacy unattainable and occasionallydisruptive to crews using the galley. Ration packs and supplements arethe only nutrition on board. Water and a variety of water-based beveragesare available and may be dispensed in hot or cold form as required. Immediatelybehind the galley is the life support locker. This area contains atmosphericscrubbers, recyclers, oxygen and nitrogen reserves and extra and emergencyair supplies for EVA suits. It also contains water reserves and recyclingequipment as well as additional rations. It has been noted that upon occasion,private stores of foodstuffs including cocoa, candy bars, breakfast cerealand reconstituted milk have been found stowed here.
The Gravity wave/Hyperdrive is the most protected area of the ship. No journalist, politician or entity other than crew and constructor has been allowed access. It is known that there are apparently at least two levelsof operation in this unit. The lowest level provides levitating counteractionsto planetary gravity and the upper level can provide drive speeds wellbeyond that of light. Rumors abound that the unit can exceed light speedby a factor of 10! If this is indeed the case, then time travel is indeedpossible or even probable if spaceport stories are to be believed. Thetechnology for this drive unit is based on the ancient 21st century Cochrandrives derived from alien artifacts found some sixty years earlier. Electro-magneticconduits allow small amounts of gravity wave energy to be piped to variousparts of the ship for redirection of thrust Gs to provide directional dampeningduring hard maneuvers, artificial gravity while in non-thrust cruisingand tractoring and towing operations. It is rumored that portions of thisenergy source can also dampen the physical effects of hyper drive acceleration,but that the levels of acceleration and deceleration can only be partiallycancelled and that the crew is subject to blackouts at these times, a particularlydangerous condition in space flight. A very small amount of energy producedby the gravity wave generators is also tapped to generate all electricalneeds of the Terra V. All electrical and electronic systems powered bythe gravity wave generator are protected by a redundancy factor of twoto three.
Operational History of the Terra V is a long and famous one. Replacing the previous Commander-in- Chief"s flagship Terra IV, which was damaged in June 2949, Terra V's launching was timely, indeed. Originally plannedto be the first in a new class of patrol ships, the Terra V remains theonly one of her type. Continued updating of the X-100 class ships has reducethe need for further examples. A smaller class of patrol ship is now beingdesigned under the prototype designation XR-C and refitting of the TerraV is also being considered. Among the retrofits considered are: new wingconfiguration with main wings at 120 degrees to the vertical fin, auxiliaryfins situated between the vertical fin and main wings (rumored to covera newly developed plasma drive to assist the main propulsion system), lengthenedfuselage to house the new plasma propulsion system, additional nav systems,enlarged cargo hold, redesigned nose boom and other refinements.
The Terra V was accepted as the personal patrol vessel of the newly promotedCommander-in-Chief of the Space Patrol, Commander Ed "Buzz" Corryon December 1, 2950. Commander Corry was not a bureaucrat, having servedwith distinction in the military with many decorations and commendationsfor valor. A true hero, Commander Corry entered Space Patrol service soonafter his his retirement from the Space Force and was promoted quicklywithout regard to his relationship with the Commissioner of the Space Patrol.Involved in every aspect of a patrolman's duties, he was promoted to therank of Commander on May 2, 2949 and again to Commander-in-Chief on August1, 2949. This last promotion was personally made by the Secretary Generalof the United Planets above the objections of Commissioner Kit Corry whofelt the promotion of his younger brother would be viewed as an act ofnepotism. Not one to be the desk-bound beaurocrat, Commander Corry wason Patrol more often than heading up administration duties. During thefirst six years of his administration, he and his hand picked teams arrestedno less than 150 felons and averted many disasters which could have wreakedhavoc throughout the galaxy. All of Commander Corry's exploits have beenmade possible by the unique capabilities of the Terra V.
The Terra V's home base is the Spaceport in Terra City on the man-madeplanet Terra, located at a resonant orbit between Earth and Mars. Formedby importation of asteroid and comet material, Terra's landscape is barrenof most plant and animal life save for a benign covering of lichens. Allplant, animal and human life is contained within the buildings of TerraCity on the equator and several mining outposts around the planetary basins.Short exposures to the surface are not harmful, but can be uncomfortable.Generally, exposures are made only when boarding a scrambled ship for emergencylaunch. Terra V's home berth is launch ramp three adjacent to Space Patrol'sHeadquarters building near the southern edge of Terra City. Personnel liaisonwith the United Planets Headquarters staff is usually made by taking themonorail system or staff vehicle along the high speed beltway to UnitedPlanets' complex in the center of Terra City. To this day, Terra V remainsat the ready to dispense law and order under throughout the galaxy andto bring offenders face to face with Justice.