Author Topic: Jumpship RetroTech  (Read 3343 times)

Takiro

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Jumpship RetroTech
« on: 01 May 2011, 08:27:16 »
Still in search of a faster and cheaper way of fielding a Jumpship fleet in the 3050s since interstellar salvage fell through I hit on another when reading the new House Liao Handbook. On page 15 under the sidebar entitled the Liao Fleet a description of Franco's armada is given in comparison to modern craft - warships, jumpships, and dropships. His 2367 (24th century) interstellar flotilla is described as "Most JumpShips of the time were similar in design to modern WarShips; they had maneuvering drives that let them move in-system, as well as massive cargo bays and small craft bays, but the DropShip as we know it wasn’t developed and accepted until well into the 25th century."

Very interesting build on stuff we already know but it got me thinking about retrotech of sorts for Jumpships. The KF Core on modern ships is massive but it enables jumps of up to 30 light years in distance while the 1st Core on the TAS Pathfinder went only to 18 light years in distance. Now I know that normally equipment is refined into smaller more efficient models but with KF mechanics being so complex could modern 30 LY cores be larger than their 18 LY forerunners? If so how much? Apparently enough to have massive cargo bays and interplanetary engines included on earlier models. The drives like would be all that powerful like 1,2 or 2,3 at best maneuvering but structural reinforcement may have been necessary adding even more weight. And remember these ships are smaller than your Merchant, Invader, and Star Lord not to mention the Monolith.

So here is what I was thinking of purposing for Jumpship RetroTech - what about smaller 20 LY KF Drives? Clearly they would open up weight on Jumpships for other uses such as cargo, small craft, fighters, or weapons. Engines don't work as they would change it from a Jumpship into something else. Station keeping drives and minimal structural integrity go together so if you up the speed you need to up your structure. Still might make for a better Jolly Roger. Would they be able to transit as many Dropships - the KF field generated might not be as efficient as the 30 LY Core. 20 LY models would likely be cheaper, easier to maintain, and possibly faster to build.

So how about an introduction of Jumpship RetroTech?

cray

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #1 on: 01 May 2011, 08:30:06 »
Hasn't this been published? Or am I misremembering drafts and publications again?
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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #2 on: 01 May 2011, 08:32:14 »
It has. What he wants is the Aquilla from XTRO Primitives.
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Takiro

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #3 on: 01 May 2011, 16:58:38 »
Not really. Are there rules for building old jumpships with primitive KF Cores? In any event I'm talking about the use of a new more simple type of KF Core that resembles the old primitives. 20 Light Years in range. They'd be easier to build, cheaper but less efficient to 30 Light Year range.

Moonsword

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #4 on: 02 May 2011, 06:46:12 »
Not really. Are there rules for building old jumpships with primitive KF Cores? In any event I'm talking about the use of a new more simple type of KF Core that resembles the old primitives. 20 Light Years in range. They'd be easier to build, cheaper but less efficient to 30 Light Year range.

Those rules are to be published in the upcoming Interstellar Operations.  The primitive cores are not going to get a cost savings for losing efficiency, however.  The reason they and the compact core aren't used for normal operations is specifically that they're more expensive than what's now termed the standard core in economic terms, probably in both initial construction and operational costs.  The primitive cores went extinct in favor of the somewhat more advanced compact cores since they also didn't offer a competitive advantage in weight savings if you were inclined to pay a premium.  Their edge is probably that simpler technology bases can support production, but even that is speculative.

Takiro

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #5 on: 02 May 2011, 16:09:48 »
I look forward to such rules but the new simplified drives I'm proposing for modern use the Jihad if you like would exactly be primitive. Let me go through the drives I know of.

Primitive - The first KF Cores which were capable of 15 or more light years (varies from 18 - 22 LYs)
Standard - Modern jumpships use this massive device which transports it 30 LYs
Sub Compact - For Bug Eye and ultra small warships (see Tactical Operations) distance 30 LY
Compact - Modern warships utilize a smaller version of the standard core capable of 30 LYs
Jump Booster - Experimental device fitted on the SLS Manassas (Aegis) which gave the ship a 40 light year jump

My new proposal;

Simplified - With the destruction of Galax and Alarion engineers around the InnerSphere began to search for easier methods of KF Drive construction. Take a page from the RetroTech solutions sweeping the Sphere scientists were able to construct a simpler KF Core. Studying older primitive drives and new standard cores with the help of jumpship crews researchers discovered what was absolutely essential to its operations. This stripped down, bare bones device is smaller than the standard seen on modern jumpships and only capable of 20 Light Year Jumps. Easier to build it requires less sophisticated space facilities to construct and is cheaper than standard models as well. Generating a smaller KF Field vessels equipped with the new simplified drives cannot carry as many dropships as standard core jumpships. Simplified jumpships may mount 1 docking collar (dropship) for every 100,000 tons of the ship's mass.

Thoughts?

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #6 on: 02 May 2011, 16:26:52 »
I look forward to such rules but the new simplified drives I'm proposing for modern use the Jihad if you like would exactly be primitive. Let me go through the drives I know of.

Primitive - The first KF Cores which were capable of 15 or more light years (varies from 18 - 22 LYs)
Standard - Modern jumpships use this massive device which transports it 30 LYs
Sub Compact - For Bug Eye and ultra small warships (see Tactical Operations) distance 30 LY
Compact - Modern warships utilize a smaller version of the standard core capable of 30 LYs
Jump Booster - Experimental device fitted on the SLS Manassas (Aegis) which gave the ship a 40 light year jump

My new proposal;

Simplified - With the destruction of Galax and Alarion engineers around the InnerSphere began to search for easier methods of KF Drive construction. Take a page from the RetroTech solutions sweeping the Sphere scientists were able to construct a simpler KF Core. Studying older primitive drives and new standard cores with the help of jumpship crews researchers discovered what was absolutely essential to its operations. This stripped down, bare bones device is smaller than the standard seen on modern jumpships and only capable of 20 Light Year Jumps. Easier to build it requires less sophisticated space facilities to construct and is cheaper than standard models as well. Generating a smaller KF Field vessels equipped with the new simplified drives cannot carry as many dropships as standard core jumpships. Simplified jumpships may mount 1 docking collar (dropship) for every 100,000 tons of the ship's mass.

Thoughts?

How much lighter are we talking about?

Gus

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #7 on: 02 May 2011, 17:03:14 »
The reason they and the compact core aren't used for normal operations is specifically that they're more expensive than what's now termed the standard core in economic terms, probably in both initial construction and operational costs. 

Agree with you regarding the compact core, but what is your source that primitive cores are more expensive than standard cores? Are you basing this on a post-jihad environment; that it would cost a lot to set up the infrastructure to build them?

Their edge is probably that simpler technology bases can support production, but even that is speculative.

Agree with you here. I think more than a few nations/entities/corporations wouldn't say no to a few Aquilas, if they can be built relatively easily. I even had a bad idea: pack one with guns. Even with low strategic mobility, it might be able to perform as an interesting in-system patrol craft. I'll wait until I see the rules before I say that this is a good idea or not, though!

Takiro

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #8 on: 02 May 2011, 17:14:05 »
That is the question DarthRads. Bigger than Primitive Drives as they travel slightly farther than the one featured on the Aquila but smaller than Standard Drives which they more likely to resemble. After all they can transport dropships via docking collars and have jump sails like modern jumpships. I would also say Simplified Drives are going to be bigger than Compact Drives seen on warships. But I'm open to reasonable suggestions on all aspects of this development. 

Moonsword

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #9 on: 03 May 2011, 05:39:16 »
Agree with you regarding the compact core, but what is your source that primitive cores are more expensive than standard cores? Are you basing this on a post-jihad environment; that it would cost a lot to set up the infrastructure to build them?

No, I'm basing that on comments in StratOps about K-F drive development and costs as well as the fact that we know genuine "civilian" compact core designs have never fared well economically once the modern JumpShip evolved in the 25th century.  (Sylvester fluff, TRO3057R.)  The only transport that really fared well at all - the Carrack - was built by the SLDF, who had more money and yards than anyone else.  The Clans just inherited them.  The infrastructure just makes things even worse since the infrastructure to build primitive cores is well and truly gone, so you're starting from scratch.

Agree with you here. I think more than a few nations/entities/corporations wouldn't say no to a few Aquilas, if they can be built relatively easily.

Actually, you'd be surprised about how useful they might find them.  Most entities need DropShip collars and an Aquila would need a Scout to haul a transport to unload it.  Sure, you could find uses, but it's not as useful as, say, a few Merchants would be for most people.  You'd also have to find parts and trained workers to maintain a maneuver drive that's not really much like modern JumpShip drives.  Building relatively easily isn't a situation you're likely to find in my opinion.

Simplified - With the destruction of Galax and Alarion engineers around the InnerSphere began to search for easier methods of KF Drive construction. Take a page from the RetroTech solutions sweeping the Sphere scientists were able to construct a simpler KF Core. Studying older primitive drives and new standard cores with the help of jumpship crews researchers discovered what was absolutely essential to its operations. This stripped down, bare bones device is smaller than the standard seen on modern jumpships and only capable of 20 Light Year Jumps. Easier to build it requires less sophisticated space facilities to construct and is cheaper than standard models as well. Generating a smaller KF Field vessels equipped with the new simplified drives cannot carry as many dropships as standard core jumpships. Simplified jumpships may mount 1 docking collar (dropship) for every 100,000 tons of the ship's mass.

Err, no.  The end result of that same basic thought process - stripping it down to the minimum necessary - is the standard core.  Go reread StratOps if you don't believe me.  Using more primitive parts (primitive and simple are not synonyms, and whatever you're doing, you're going to have to be able to build parts no one's ever used before) is counter-productive, getting you a drive that doesn't use standard parts (unlike the incredibly numerous handful of standard JumpShip classes, particularly the Invader and Merchant), is less capable, and in the long run, costs a hell of a lot more because you need more JumpShips to move DropShips even within its limited operating radius.  Factor that in and things get worse again.  It's likely not really going to get much cheaper out front, either, assuming it does it all, an assumption I do not agree with since the entire point of the standard core is to be cheap.  Given that it's going to take literally years and billions (if not tens of billions) of C-Bills, plus divert materials from expanding and repairing existing yard capacity that will give a much better economic return, I don't see this as viable.  That doesn't mean no one would try it, but I think the proposals would probably get rejected due to a cost-benefit analysis.  At best, some FWL splinter or Periphery state might find it useful, but they're the ones least likely to have the experts available to domestically bring an entirely new type of K-F drive and ship into production from first principles.

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #10 on: 03 May 2011, 21:16:34 »
Jump Boster would be a nice to have with a LF Battery!
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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #11 on: 03 May 2011, 21:33:54 »
Jump Boster would be a nice to have with a LF Battery!

See: WoB superjump.   ;D

...I like the idea of a simpler, less effective and shorter-ranged JumpShip for my AU - but I'm not sure the primitive core is workable, presented as is.  What else do we know about the development of 1st generation jump drives?

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A. Lurker

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #12 on: 03 May 2011, 22:50:02 »
Jump Boster would be a nice to have with a LF Battery!

"All hands, brace for jump! Helm, engage mechanical booster on my mark...NOW!"

<giant boot mounted on an extension to the JumpShip's aft winds up to give it just the right "kick"...>

:D

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #13 on: 03 May 2011, 23:16:20 »
"All hands, brace for jump! Helm, engage mechanical booster on my mark...NOW!"

<giant boot mounted on an extension to the JumpShip's aft winds up to give it just the right "kick"...>

:D

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #14 on: 04 May 2011, 04:33:39 »
...I like the idea of a simpler, less effective and shorter-ranged JumpShip for my AU - but I'm not sure the primitive core is workable, presented as is.  What else do we know about the development of 1st generation jump drives?

"Simpler" is unlikely for the reasons I described above.  The move for a simpler core is what made the standard core.  In an alternate universe, that may not hold up, but it's worth keeping in mind.

Here's a few things we know.  First, to make something clear, the thirty light-year limit was reached early in the 2200s, per StratOps.  The Aquila suffers from it since it was launched in 2148, but that feature was standardized over a century before the standard core started evolving.  It's also not really one that you can get around without some really exotic measures based on what we know about things like the two super-jump systems.  Energy storage and drive durability improvements around the same time got charging times from hydrogen down to what we're used to.

Second, the Aquila commits only 54% to things like internal structure, primitive core, maneuver drive, and minor items, exclusive of fuel, armor, crew/passengers/escape pods, weapons, storage, and small craft complement.  This means that the core size itself is actually within ~10% (probably closer) of the compact core on a similar modern design to allow room for the maneuver drive and other systems.

Third, the standard core is, given that figure, ~50% more efficient per ton because it can move DropShips.  A primitive core had to have internal space because it can't move DropShips, but a standard core can move a little over twice its tonnage in Behemoths on the collars.  In operational practice, given the scarcity of Behemoths, this isn't fully realized, but the potential efficiency is there.  This is where the real difference is.  Removing the K-F boom system will simplify the core enormously because the docking collar are what drive cost and (apparently) complexity within core types but you've also just shot yourself in the foot as far as normal shipping procedures go, requiring specialized procedures and longer JumpShip loiter times, which are going to drive operational costs through the roof because even if the same hull can move the same amount, you would need more non-collar hulls to move the same amount of cargo in the same amount of time.

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #15 on: 07 May 2011, 15:11:13 »
REmember that for some technologies, the older versions aren't cheaper, aren't more reliable, and in fact are inferior in everyway.

It'd be like trying to get an ME-262 engine as a cheaper version of modern engines-- it isn't, not when you account for inflaction, and it breaks if you look crosseyed at it, and falls apart after 20 hours of flight time.

If the primitive jump cores were campetiative, in any way, they'd probably still be around-- the fact that they aren't indicates that they were as much, or more difficult to build and maintain as the newer cores, just as expensive, etc, and so there was no downside to melting them down for materials to put in the new KF drives.

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #16 on: 09 May 2011, 12:37:54 »
^ the voice of reason.

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #17 on: 12 May 2011, 05:17:53 »
"All hands, brace for jump! Helm, engage mechanical booster on my mark...NOW!"

<giant boot mounted on an extension to the JumpShip's aft winds up to give it just the right "kick"...>

:D
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FedComGirl

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #18 on: 19 May 2011, 02:20:09 »
I think the primitive jumpships are going to be built more like warships than jumpships since they have to travel from the planet to the jump point and back again.

I'm not sure about the price or their complexity. They're probably just as expensive and complex just in a different way. I think they'd be a little less expensive though as there's no K-F Boom and the computers don't have to be as powerful to calculate longer jumps. Those things are of course what made the primitive k-f drives extinct. They couldn't carry as much as far or unload and load as fast. Of course being able to actually travel to the planet is a plus. They'd need more maintenance though which is a drawback.

Think of them like cars. A car built 20-30 years ago, or more, isn't all that different in capabilities, than a car built today.  The big difference is in maintenance and possibly mileage.  Older cars are simpler but require more maintenance. Repairs are less expensive though, providing the parts are available. Newer cars are a lot more complex, require less maintenance but are more expensive to fix. You're replacing a less expensive part more often versus replacing a more expensive part more rarely. In the end the cost evens out. At least as long as parts are available. If they're not its going to get expensive no matter how old the car is.

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #19 on: 19 May 2011, 02:38:41 »
I got the Proliferation Cycle through the re-release on BattleCorps. In the Draconis Combine story, I noted the Trader-class JumpShip is mentioned (at least two named vessels) as of 2461.
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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #20 on: 19 May 2011, 04:32:54 »
I don't think the older jump cores were unreliable, there is mention that some are still in use in the Periphery. The reason the primitives aren't used often anymore is because of the "paradigm shift" of using DropShips and docking collars, making transportation much more efficient.


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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #21 on: 22 May 2011, 03:12:40 »
I vaguely recall someone (probably Cray, possibly in SO itself) pointing out that compact cores came first, and standard cores evolved as Moonsword mentioned above (i.e. as a more economic refinement of the technology).  Also as Moonsword pointed out, if you're looking for cheap, just omit the docking collars (the main cost driver).  Don't underestimate the strategic mobility of "station keeping" drives, either.  Even a tenth of a G of continuous thrust is still useful on that scale.

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #22 on: 22 May 2011, 03:42:45 »
I vaguely recall someone (probably Cray, possibly in SO itself) pointing out that compact cores came first, and standard cores evolved as Moonsword mentioned above (i.e. as a more economic refinement of the technology).  Also as Moonsword pointed out, if you're looking for cheap, just omit the docking collars (the main cost driver).  Don't underestimate the strategic mobility of "station keeping" drives, either.  Even a tenth of a G of continuous thrust is still useful on that scale.

In one of the StratOps fluff sections, yes. Page 123, "JumpShip History".

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #23 on: 22 May 2011, 03:45:59 »
As has already been said in this thread, the big variable that determines what gets built is cost.  Standard core jumpships and dropships were simply cheaper to build and operate than the original version.

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #24 on: 22 May 2011, 04:56:36 »
I don't think the older jump cores were unreliable, there is mention that some are still in use in the Periphery.

Where is that mentioned?  I've never seen anything implying that.  The Aquillas were in use in the Periphery as late as the Reunification War, certainly, but nothing about current day use.

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #25 on: 22 May 2011, 14:48:49 »
Would something like the Aquilla be like the Pirate vessels in fluff? Remember in the Cameron fluff, those vessels were able to manoeuver and had weapons that could threaten a warship when operating in numbers and I can't imagine Pirates having true compact core vessels.

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #26 on: 22 May 2011, 17:53:41 »
Another questoin is: is the 15 LY limit on older drives something that can be repaired by a software patch, or is it inherent to the actual structure of the drive?

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #27 on: 22 May 2011, 20:12:36 »
Would something like the Aquilla be like the Pirate vessels in fluff? Remember in the Cameron fluff, those vessels were able to manoeuver and had weapons that could threaten a warship when operating in numbers and I can't imagine Pirates having true compact core vessels.

Functionally, an Aquilla is a compact core design that doesn't have any collars and is limited to 15 light-years per jump.  All you're really doing is slowing them down and forcing them to burn some extra hydrogen before they get to go "Arr, matey!"

You need to reread the fluff, though.  The Saint Joan wasn't overwhelmed in terms of combat power and there's nothing to suggest those were necessarily WarShips (which, for construction purposes, an Aquilla is a much closer match to than what we'd normally call a JumpShip).  Her power systems completely failed which left her unable to fire back.

Another questoin is: is the 15 LY limit on older drives something that can be repaired by a software patch, or is it inherent to the actual structure of the drive?

It's not just a software problem, it's part of the basic technology.

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #28 on: 23 May 2011, 01:52:10 »

You need to reread the fluff, though.  The Saint Joan wasn't overwhelmed in terms of combat power and there's nothing to suggest those were necessarily WarShips (which, for construction purposes, an Aquilla is a much closer match to than what we'd normally call a JumpShip).  Her power systems completely failed which left her unable to fire back.



I'm well aware of that, My point was that it is unlikely that Pirates would be using ComCore WarShips and that DropShips would be so much cannon fodder for true WarShip, yet Piracy was a Problem in the SL-era...so what were they using? A Semi-Compact JumpShip with a few Cap Weapons could be the answer.

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Re: Jumpship RetroTech
« Reply #29 on: 23 May 2011, 06:46:57 »
I'm well aware of that, My point was that it is unlikely that Pirates would be using ComCore WarShips and that DropShips would be so much cannon fodder for true WarShip, yet Piracy was a Problem in the SL-era...so what were they using? A Semi-Compact JumpShip with a few Cap Weapons could be the answer.

The primitive core you're looking at is, in terms of size, a compact core, not a standard core, and not some sort of "semi-compact" core.  It may not be exactly the same size but it's very close.  They may have been using something from the development path of the standard core design but that's not going to look like an Aquilla and is a couple of centuries removed from it technologically.  It's not going to have the jump limitation problem, for instance, since the feature that let people work along those lines doesn't evolve until well after K-F technology had reached the modern plateau of 30 light-years.

And yes, "pirates" did, in fact, have real, honest-to-Kerensky WarShips sometimes (Houses having shadow wars, accounting irregularities like the ones TRO3057R references a few places), whether the ones engaging the Saint Joan did or not.  My point there was the results were such we just don't know whether this group did or if they were really that suicidal to try it.  Overall, even then, raiders were not that likely to have WarShips.  Occasionally, they certainly would, but they didn't need them.  No one had the WarShips to assign one to every convoy, every JumpShip wandering around as a tramp freighter, defending every podunk little backwater colony.  Piracy was riskier business, sure, but there's no need for them to be constantly operating out of what are de facto major combatants.  Could they have sometimes been using ancient, rickety old Aquillas, centuries past their sell-by date?  Sure.  But a lot of the time, a converted Mule could do plenty of work by itself.
« Last Edit: 23 May 2011, 06:48:29 by Moonsword »