Portable Low Passage

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steelbrok
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Portable Low Passage

Postby steelbrok » Tue May 05, 2020 9:26 am

Just wondering about more portable low berths.
Something that can be loaded into the cargo bay rather than being dedicated to a particular ship.
The advantage would be allowing berths to be moved from one ship to another for onward transport without the need to revive the passenger (even though the low berth survival rolls of classic Traveller seem to be no more)

For simplicity I would propose that such a low berth was a 1dte container. Much of the extra space being taken up by a reserve battery (the low berth would normally draw power from the ship's systems but also charges and then has the battery when ship's power isn't available)

They would count as freight for shipping costs.

(Incidentally is there errata for the passenger/freight table on page 207. The 6 parsec line multiples costs by 10+ from the 5 parsec line)
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Ursus Maior
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Re: Portable Low Passage

Postby Ursus Maior » Tue May 05, 2020 11:22 am

Neat idea! High Efficiency Batteries (TL12) hold 60 points of power per dton, while 10 low berths take 1 power point per round and emergency low berths take 1 power point for 4 berths. A portable system might be somewhere in between and less energy efficient since it's supposedly a single berth per container. Tonnage is 0.5 dtons per standard low berth and 1 dton for an emergency low berth that can hold 4 occupants, if absolutely necessary. So the lifesupport system of emergency berths seems to be quite a bit stronger, which would explain the higher energy comsumption. Also note that standard low berths can be duoble occupied, but this reduces the survival rates drastrically (DM-4 as per the Aslan Hkisyeleaa-class Slaver ship).

This all might boil down to single human being needing a quarter of a displacement ton for cryo berth in an absolute emergency, but more ergonomic set-ups (and thus more economic ones, because they reduce failure rates and hence loss of customers) will use 0.5 dtons for a power consumptions above 0.1 and below 0.25 power points per turn. Since efficiency for a single-berth set-up will be fairly low, 0.2 points of power per turn seems reasonable. That's twice the rate of fully efficiency-geared set-ups, but less than emergency berths. This would leave 0.5 dtons for a TL12 battery, delivering 30 points of power or energy for just about 3 hours. That should enable port crews to detach the containers, ferry them across port through customs and to the next ship, where they are re-attached.

Now to the next question: Is this a viable concept. I think, the form stated above is not one regularly used, no. The reasons being that low-berths how I understand them, are used by passengers that absolutely have to go somewhere, but cannot pay for normal means and choose to gamble their lives on some form of almost last-ditch chance. These biographical next (or: last) steps are rare and difficult to predict, making chains of passages and a logistical system for passengers rather unfeasible. The facts might simply be that the company that owns these containers has too much a hassle to keep track of them and deliver services, where they are needed as to offer them. These containers would be highly specialised and passenger 'streams' might not go equally in both directions or be necessary circular. That leaves the company to retrieve their own low-berth containers from a planet, where desperate souls and their means of travel aggregate.

Now, what I could see is that a company uses this for specialised forms of passengers, e. g. prisoners, forced labourers, indentured servants or outright slaves, or simply corporate low-wage labourers. In these cases, usually several individuals would have to be handled at the same time, allowing for more economic set-ups, e. g. 10 standard low berths and 5 dtons of batteries for a total of 30 hours of energy reserves, leaving ample time for lay-over. This would allow companies to move personnel efficiently and quickly between sites, even allowing for 'in-space transits' from ship to ship by cargo scoops or externally mounted containers.

The standard modular cutter could haul three of these containers at the same time, giving a cutter a capacity of 30 cryo-berthed passengers. Alternatively a 30 dton container could carry 25 dtons of cryo-berths (or 50 people) and hold 5 dtons of batteries for again 300 points of power that last 6 hours, still plenty enough time for lay-over. These 50 persons would make for a nice addition to any personnel needed for basic work, not only manual labour, but also e. g. mercenaries. Take your standard Type-C mercenary cruiser and imagine adding one (or even two) of these modules to bolster your reserves. Contracts would probably include a clause that these cold warriors are on reduced pay until defrosted, at which point they also receive a nice bonus (unless the process goes wrong). Of course, custom and colonial forces might use these containers to ferry prisoners from planetary prisons to off-world labour camps. Rura Penthe comes to mind.
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Reynard
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Re: Portable Low Passage

Postby Reynard » Tue May 05, 2020 11:30 am

Somehow treating people as unattended freight packed in a hold seems a step lower especially if more equipment, the humongous battery, is added at the same cost as an emplaced low berth. Something expensive is being removed as unnecessary such as monitoring systems. Part of the costs for emplaced low berths include the permanent power and interface connections.
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Re: Portable Low Passage

Postby Condottiere » Tue May 05, 2020 11:45 am

This is one of those technologies I find hard to extrapolate, having very little inkling how it works and I don't think there are enough examples in Traveller canon to really form an opinion.

Besides Alien, and that seems to work faultlessly, and Dumarest, the OG.

A mobile casket is likely two sorts, Snow White or field surgery stretcher bearer; one's luxury and the other is ad hoc, possibly body bag.

If it's transferable, especially on large scale or mass transit, what seems more likely is that you have a bunch embedded in a ship module, where the entire module is transferred, rather than a single low berth.
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Re: Portable Low Passage

Postby Geir » Tue May 05, 2020 3:21 pm

steelbrok wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 9:26 am

(Incidentally is there errata for the passenger/freight table on page 207. The 6 parsec line multiples costs by 10+ from the 5 parsec line)
I think the 6 parsec cost was intentional, as ships capable of j-6 are very rare.
Incidentally, the variable cost for passages kind of throws a kink in the TAS benefit of a High Passage or the cash value thereof that's not directly addressed anywhere to my knowledge.
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Re: Portable Low Passage

Postby phavoc » Wed May 06, 2020 12:17 am

Nothing would prohibit such a thing. You'd probably see them in 2-3 Dtons for smaller sets of people. To be fair and account for the portability aspect, I would say you could fit 5 people in a 3Dton portable unit that also include it's local power supply which should be good for a few months at least with advanced battery tech. And, don't forget, there would be nothing prohibiting a ship from charging up said units while in jump. A ships fusion reactor would allow for a lot of incremental charging.
steelbrok
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Re: Portable Low Passage

Postby steelbrok » Wed May 06, 2020 7:18 am

phavoc wrote:
Wed May 06, 2020 12:17 am
Nothing would prohibit such a thing. You'd probably see them in 2-3 Dtons for smaller sets of people. To be fair and account for the portability aspect, I would say you could fit 5 people in a 3Dton portable unit that also include it's local power supply which should be good for a few months at least with advanced battery tech. And, don't forget, there would be nothing prohibiting a ship from charging up said units while in jump. A ships fusion reactor would allow for a lot of incremental charging.
Yes, I only intended the battery as a standby when ship's power wasn't available (but having a hefty safety margin)

I stuck to a 1dte unit for simplicity in calculating freight costs

(this came about because of the need to transport a dozen or so ihatei who tried their luck grabbing a farm on a low pop world and are being transported by first available ship elsewhere)
steelbrok
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Re: Portable Low Passage

Postby steelbrok » Wed May 06, 2020 7:19 am

Ursus Maior wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 11:22 am
Neat idea!
Thank you - and hanks for the analysis
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Re: Portable Low Passage

Postby Varulv » Wed May 27, 2020 9:42 pm

IMTU portable low berths are common. The fixed low berths are mounted on ships and this is the type that the PCs have interests in since they often have access to them (i.e. they have a small ship with a few passenger staterooms and a handful of standard low berths used for transporting paying passengers to the next star system).

The portable version is IMTU typically operated by large corporations who use them to transport passengers over longer distances, either in their own ships or with third party carriers, just as any other freight container. This concept was used in Agent of the Imperium, where the main character ended up deep in Zhodani territory (IIRC). I have never bothered with the technical detail since this is not something that the PCs operate or own. They might come in contact with them when transporting regular freight: A five ton freight lot to the next star system could be anything, a five ton container with fish or machine parts, or a five ton container with a bunch of frozen tourist on their way back from a garden planet. It doesn’t matter; the pay is still the same.

Curiosities: The PCs have travelled in this fashion a couple of times since it is a convenient way to move the campaign over long distances between sessions. One of the characters in our current campaign is a retired Imperial Marine who fought in the Fourth Frontier War, and on his way back from a mission his portable low berth was misplaced for 21 years. It made a great background story. The next time he used a low berth he woke up on Neon (Great Rift Adventure 3: Flatlined). Needless to say, he is very reluctant to use low berths now days. :D

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