First Watch, 08:15 EST
Oh that door? No, no one goes in there. Nothing unseemly mind you, just a lot of equipment to get snagged on, and we don't have much use for it. Its the RUWTS (Roots) - Replenishment Under-Way Transfer System. The Ulysses is a transfer vessel.
What is a transfer vessel? What is a - you're kidding me right? OK, here is how it works. Oil fired ships burn fuel measured by the metric ton. Obviously - that is very expensive if you can even get the fuel. However, the world would kind of stop without international shipping, so we needed to find some alternate power sources.
Nuclear power has been used at sea for about a century - Oh hey, just about exactly now - the USS Nautilus went underway in 1955, commissioned in September I think. Where was I - right. Nuclear ships can maintain high speed, in all weather, for a long period of time - but that presents a few problems. To be economical - such vessels need to be at least the size of an aircraft carrier - which can rule out the use of a lot of ports and canals - and a lot of people don't like nuclear reactors parked near their cities.
Another option is "helicopter turbines" Basically, you fly these gyro-copter like kites behind the ship, they go up a few hundred meters, and use stead wind currents at altitude to produce electricity. They're a bit of a pain to maintain - and you can't use them much in bad weather - that tether and the power cord breaks - you're SOL.
Anyway, the idea basically came around to have large nuclear powered vessels moving back and forth across the ocean, transferring materials to smaller ships as the need came up. Not the most efficient or cheap way to handle things, but until adjustments to the whole system could be made to account for the problems of trading internationally without oil, it made do.
Those were some interesting times. Captain Morgan and Mister Walker actually served on this ship back then, though it was under German commission back then as the Von Manstien or something. They we're planning on eventually acquiring it and going into business or at least partnership on their own. Who would've expected aliens to make that happen de facto?
So anyway, that is basically a folding um what do they call those airliner docking things - and a conveyor belt for moving shipping containers.
Your welcome for the history, and the tour. Thank you for the company. The captain is really proud of his ship, and would have happily given you the tour himself, but they like getting rid of me when they can. I can't finish a conversation without going off topic onto the economics of constructing LOST SEC or politics of the arco project, or bringing up topics the officers don't want to broach.
Like what? Well, I've tried to for example come up with some alternatives to the government declaring they're back in power and nationalizing shipping. That is what the captain is hoping for. Others want to find an island and start our own base, or charter with one of the city states. 'Course there's been fistfights over which one. Mexico is kinda divided between federal districts and Owned states - I mean arguably they're running better than the USA, but its kind of like having a republican government where the congress is even divided between peoples representatives, drug kingpins, and corporations with private armies. Some of the really out there people want to sign on with some of the new pirate groups, like the Kola Collective Authority.
Nah, I don't know much about the KCA, just that its like the Baltic is once again ruled by vikings, just with cruise missiles and sidewall hovercraft this time. That book you're working on isn't going to take you there is it?
No kidding, you actually specifically raided a hospital for sea-sickness pills just so you could come aboard and do your research? Now that is dedication I can admire.We'll try to put you ashore soon then. One of the captain's big rules is no sea sickness - its hard enough to clean up after all these people. I mean the average ship has only ten to twenty crew - most things are automatic - so most of the population is squatters and improvised shelters in boxes - that is why I'm showing you up here and not bringing you to meet people. Well. I guess we can go to the main area for lunch and let you look around.
Oh wow, have we really spent that much time just standing here talking? Well. right this way then, over here leads towards the crew...