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Author Topic: Return of the Living JumpShip of the Month (Jan. 2014): Liberty Class  (Read 5201 times)

Giovanni Blasini

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Welcome to the return of the JumpShip of the Month articles!  Last time around, we visited the grandaddy of them all, the Aquilla class primitive JumpShip.  This time around, we're jumping forward in time to the next oldest historical ship, the Liberty class.

The Liberty class isn't the first JumpShip to carry a docking collar.  That distinction belongs to the BNS Olympus, an experimental JumpShip manufactured by Blue Nose Interstellar Technologies of Mars, which made its first jump, carrying the DCS Nimbus III (who knew that the Combine were Harry Potter fans?) on the its first jump in 2458.

Listed with an introduction date of 2461, the Liberty class was the first prouction class of  JumpShip to carry docking collars.  That said, Blue Nose Interstellar must have wanted to make sure there were no bugs in the system, because they didn't debut the Liberty to the Terran Hegemony public until eleven years after the successful test of the Olympus, in 2469.

The results were an instant hit:  Blue Nose sold out ten years worth of production in a month, and sold parts for KF booms and docking collars to seven other JumpShip and eleven DropShip manufacturers.  They'd use the money to expand, merge with six of their partner companies, and form Blue Nose Clipperships, which would go on to bring the Terran Hegemony and SLDF the Lola II, the Sovetskii Soyuz and the McKenna.

But what about the Liberty itself?  Well, it's a bit of a mixed bag, not really surprising for a ship that, really, is the first of its type.  At 203,000 tons, she's between the size of the later Invader and Tramp class ships but, unlike them, carried a full four docking collars.  It's worth noting that no length has been given for the Liberty, and she reuses the art for the Invader class, which is...odd.

Now's probably a good time for me to go over what, in my opinion, makes for a good JumpShip.  JumpShips are highly specialized units.  Unlike most Battletech units, JumpShips rarely have a role on a battlefield.  So, instead, we hae to lok at what they're designed to do:  jump between star systems.  By those standards, a standard-core JumpShip should have:

1.  Decent carrying capacity for her size.  The job of a JumpShip is to jump between star systems, carrying stuff from one star to another.  While JumpShips have cargo bays, the main way they do this is through their docking collars.
2.  Sufficient fuel bunkerage for emergencies.  Fuel on a JumpShip gets used for three things.  First, stationkeeping while sitting at a jump point and recharging.  Second, in the event of the failure of a jump sail, lacking a replacement sail, a JumpShip would need to charge her drive via fusion.  Third, if everything goes to hell in a handbasket, it's nice to have enough fuel to be able to make a planetside burn.
3.  Sufficient cargo for consumables and supplies.  JumpShips spend a bunch of time out in space, so having enough cargo to carry food for your crew and spare parts in the event you break something is seriously handy.

Now, with that in mind, how does the Liberty stack up?

With four docking collars, the Liberty can actually out-carry the smaller Invader and Merchant, and the larger Tramp.  Along with that, she has the requisite two small craft bays, allowing the crew to have a long-range shuttle and, perhaps, an assault shuttle for escort, since the Liberty has not a single weapon.  Four collars is near max for a ship the mass of the Liberty, so we'e got to give her good points for capacity.  Those collars also have docking arms attached (per the quirk, and similar to how the fluff described the Star Lord and Monolith), giving them bonuses to DropShips and small craft docking operations.  Definitely an A+ for carrying capacity:  nothing else her size can match her.

With 300 tons of fuel, the Liberty has the capacity to burn for nearly 76 days at her typical 0.1 Gs of thrust.  Amusingly, at that thrust, you'd need 28 days to get from Sol's standard jump points to Earth under thrust the whole time, which means that it's got plenty of fuel to cover that eventuality.  An emergency jump, though, would require 395.2 tons to complete, though, so we're a bit short here:  a Liberty class skipper would need to borrow fuel from her attached DropShips or, alternatively, use part of her cargo hold for extra fuel.  Being just shy of being able to power a jump on her own from her fusion reactors gives the Liberty a B+ in my book for fuel capacity.

Cargo is also a B+.  In addition to the two small craft mentioned earlier, the Liberty carries 566.5 tons of cargo in her hold.  That gives her plenty of mass to carry a spare jump sail, which masses 57.5 tons, an extra 100-150 tons of fuel for emergencies, a modicum of other spare parts, and food/consumables for her crew, who go through 3-5 tons of food a day (3 tons for the 67 crew and passengers in standard quarters at 200 man-days/ton, and 2 tons for the 10 bay personnel at 20 man-days/ton, assuming that the shuttle crew doesn't come out of the standard crew/passengers).  So, save some of the steerage quarters for your shuttle crews, carry 300 tons of food, 57.5 tons for a spare sail, and another 120 tons of fuel, and ou've still got around 87.5 tons of cargo left over - not too different from, say, the the LF-equipped version of the Hunter.  Overall, not as good as some of the other JumpShips, but not far off.

So, there's a lot good about the Liberty class.  That said, there's also some bad.  One additional quirk on the Liberty indicate she was difficult to maintain.  That was enough to, eventually, put her out of production in 2550, with the ship picking up the Obsolete quirk by 2570, despite what's described as many updates to the design.  Crew accomodations also stunk on ice.  Officers had 7-ton quarters equivalent to enlisted/second-class on other ships, while enlisted and passengers were stuck with steerage quarters.  While this saved weight (97 tons for just the crew), it probably didn't make for a very happy crew, especially when competing designs like the Merchant and, presumably, Leviathan, had better accomodations.  In the end, these factors probably helped contribute to the decision to stop producing the Liberty.

It's not immediately clear what replaced the Liberty.  The Merchant class, which we'll be covering next time, came out halfway through its production run, but carried half the DropShips.  The Star Lord, which finally eclipsed the Liberty, came out 41 years after the earlier ship ceased production.  There's the Leviathan class JumpShip, but that's always been described as a rare beast

Perhaps, in the end, nothing directly replaced the Liberty.  Her success was such that there were presumably vast numbers of ships plying the spacelanes well after the introduction of the Star Lord, the ship that, art aside, the Liberty most resembles.  That means that, while obsolete, there could easily still be Liberty class ships out there in the 31st and 32nd Century, plying their trade and, of course, giving your own personal unit another potential ride.  The reuse of the Invader art even gives you a handy miniature you can use.

So, what do you think of the Liberty?
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FedSunsBorn

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Nice writeup as always.  O0

But where was this ship mentioned again? I'm drawing a blank... [blank]
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Colt Ward

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Nice enough . . . I honestly wonder about the difficult to maintain trait since we know age of design/production is not generally the problem in the BTU.  With a higher DS count than similar sized ships and limited fuel supply I would not really see it drifting out to the Periphery.

Of course, I do wonder for those longer haulers if that 97t of cargo savings was really worth it?  You know somewhere a owner/operator/family crew increased the living space.
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Trace Coburn

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Nice writeup as always.  O0

But where was this ship mentioned again? I'm drawing a blank... [blank]
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David CGB

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Nice enough . . . I honestly wonder about the difficult to maintain trait since we know age of design/production is not generally the problem in the BTU.  With a higher DS count than similar sized ships and limited fuel supply I would not really see it drifting out to the Periphery.

Of course, I do wonder for those longer haulers if that 97t of cargo savings was really worth it?  You know somewhere a owner/operator/family crew increased the living space.
Agreed who knows if they are built in secret....
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Giovanni Blasini

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Nice enough . . . I honestly wonder about the difficult to maintain trait since we know age of design/production is not generally the problem in the BTU.  With a higher DS count than similar sized ships and limited fuel supply I would not really see it drifting out to the Periphery.

Of course, I do wonder for those longer haulers if that 97t of cargo savings was really worth it?  You know somewhere a owner/operator/family crew increased the living space.

Amusingly, when you factor in fuel mass plus cargo mass, the Liberty is ahead of the Merchant, Invader and Star Lord classes.  If you're just looking at fuel, it got at least three times as much as any of those ships.  In the case of the Invader, it's more like six times as much.
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FedSunsBorn

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  XTRO: Primitives III.  Also where you’ll find the stats and write-up for the Primitive TDR-1C Thunderbolt, incidentally.  ;)

Ah, thank you. Looks like I will finally have to add Primitives II and III to my list.
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DaveMac

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Nice one matey

I could see somebody making an updated version thats easier to maintain given its dropship capacity

Maybe a bit more automation to give the crew more space for example
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Wrangler

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Splendid write up, Giovanni Blasini!

The Liberty a is an interesting vessel, specially its one of the missing links between Primitive JumpShip and common JumpShips used in the later eras.

I would imagine the Difficult to Maintain quirk was slapped in there speed up the ship's demise when it came to replacing her in canon with classic line-up of JumpShips.  The ship itself without looking at the Design Quirks, appears to be nearly superior ship to its successors except for creature comforts and needed supplies for fuel and cargo for operations.  Having four docking collars certainly can't hurt this ships being better ship over the primitive JumpShips.  It has a longer range than the Primtive/WarShip-like JumpShips and with the Jump Sail, it range is certainly better than over taxing your starship's Fusion Reactor.
 

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Sami Jumppanen

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And since that writeup doesn't mention if any of those ships might still be around i would imagine it to belong to someone who has the business near some repairyard and just can't afford to replace the ship so they resort on keeping the relic running despite the expense. Repairyards tend to be transportation hubs so there should still be enough jobs to keep one of those ships in operation even if they don't dare to go far from the yard.

Wrangler

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Re: Return of the Living JumpShip of the Month (Jan. 2014): Liberty Class
« Reply #10 on: 01 February 2014, 11:54:38 »
And since that writeup doesn't mention if any of those ships might still be around i would imagine it to belong to someone who has the business near some repairyard and just can't afford to replace the ship so they resort on keeping the relic running despite the expense. Repairyards tend to be transportation hubs so there should still be enough jobs to keep one of those ships in operation even if they don't dare to go far from the yard.
'
Supposelly, the Liberty still lingers in the outer frigins of the Battletech universe.  If design quirks from the advanced rules were to be applied to canon as state of existences. These ships wouldn't exist, but its not impossible to think the Liberty still exists as frankinstein-cobbled-together ships with other ship's part holding thing together somewhere.

Liberty can exist if you want to in your own campaign, no one stopping you. If you want stay in canon, its super-duper-rare if not almost-unique if Battletech had system of how often you run into a typical design.
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Giovanni Blasini

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Re: Return of the Living JumpShip of the Month (Jan. 2014): Liberty Class
« Reply #11 on: 01 February 2014, 15:36:43 »
I would imagine the Liberty to be extremely rare by the Succession Wars, when no yard has been making it since the mid-26th Century, and its own quirks would have discouraged shipping conglomerates from continuing to field it during the Star League era, when newer ships were more comfortable, and had a steady stream of parts.
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nerd

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Re: Return of the Living JumpShip of the Month (Jan. 2014): Liberty Class
« Reply #12 on: 01 February 2014, 15:47:01 »
Hmm. Old ships still going on out in the fringes despite a lack of spare parts?

Sounds like some old World War II ships that are still in commission. They will keep going until they can't be repaired.
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Jaim Magnus

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Re: Return of the Living JumpShip of the Month (Jan. 2014): Liberty Class
« Reply #13 on: 24 February 2014, 22:11:29 »
The Liberty class isn't the first JumpShip to carry a docking collar.  That distinction belongs to the BNS Olympus, an experimental JumpShip manufactured by Blue Nose Interstellar Technologies of Mars, which made its first jump, carrying the DCS Nimbus III (who knew that the Combine were Harry Potter fans?) on the its first jump in 2458.

More likely Star Trek or Futurama fans. ;)

Nice writeup!
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chanman

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Re: Return of the Living JumpShip of the Month (Jan. 2014): Liberty Class
« Reply #14 on: 25 February 2014, 23:00:38 »
I bet they called 'em Liberty because that's what the crews were always ready for

Wrangler

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Re: Return of the Living JumpShip of the Month (Jan. 2014): Liberty Class
« Reply #15 on: 26 February 2014, 09:54:26 »
I bet they called 'em Liberty because that's what the crews were always ready for
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glitterboy2098

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given the name and conditions aboard, i suspect the liberty class was inspired by the Liberty Ship's of WW2.