N-808-B-305 Gudersnipe School Ship Saratoga, Glorious Heritage-Class Light Destroyer.
The Saratoga was the last ship off the line of the Glorious Heratige-Class production run. Though 350 were initially ordered, the run was stopped at 305, making the N-808-B-305 the very last. Scheduled for destruction or use in munitions tests, the 305 hull was taken to Utopia Gregaria and eventually lost.
Some years later, the incomplete hull was found and assigned to Hunter Jusenkyou.
- 1 Service Life
- 2 Crew Compliment
- 3 Ship Sections
- 4 Ships Systems
- 4.1 Power Generator
- 4.2 Life Support
- 4.3 Shields
- 4.4 Engines
- 4.5 Weapons
- 4.6 After-Market Retrofits
- 5 Schematics
- 6 Name
- 7 Destruction
- 8 Trivia
- The Saratoga's keel was laid in A.Y. 6867 and a year after C.B.S. Glorious Heritage entered service. Over one hundred N808s had already entered service at that point, with nearly half lost in various accidents and mishaps.
- In A.Y. 6868 the order for the final fifty N-808-Bs was canceled. Only the first five in the run were anywhere near complete, with hull number 305 being at about 50%. The remaining forty-five hulls was scraped in-situ (most are listed as less than 1% complete, & it had been known since before the final run that it may be canceled midway, so project deadlines were not a huge priority. Nor was the typical fine craftsmanship).
- In late 6868, hulls 1-5 were taken to Utopia Gregaria to be used as targets in munitions testing. During the trip, hull 5 broke its tether. A support tug was able to nudge it into a stable orbit, but it did not arrive at the proving grounds.
- The hull sat in a 200-year eliptical orbit for the next five years. It was not officially tracked and had been mis-filed in the records, officially struck from the naval registry. In A.Y. 6873, changes in management and the general organizational structure of the facility prompted a handful of dock masters to retrieve the hull and move it to a spare berth. Most of the neccessary components to finish the ship had been waiting in a storage block, and with all the major systems in place, it seemed likely that the ship could be completed. A group formed called "The Last 800 Club" with the goal of completing the unfinished ship.
- Over the next decade, working mostly in their spare time, the Last 800 Club brought the Saratoga to 70% completion. A lot of components had been pilfered over the years, and the goal of completing the ship was finally deemed impossible. It was used as a training platform for EVA orientation, and eventually taken out of its berth. The club did not wish to see it destroyed (as it was again slated for munitions testing) and so made a few intentional mistakes on the paperwork, having it instead placed in the "trophy fleet" orbit, where it was once again lost.
As a Glorious Heritage design, the Saratoga was intended to carry a crew of 310: 160 for ships operations, and a Lancer regiment of 150. The ship is equipped with large egress ramps, and was intended to double as a troop transport and large-scale drop-ship (See: Life Support below).
However, since the vessel was never completed as specified, the crew arrangement was somewhat different. Generally, they operated with around 180 people onboard, though as few as 70 could easily manage the small ship. In particular, the Saratoga is famous for being one of the first Crimson Blade warships to have a designated "Science Officer" as part of the bridge crew, and to devote one station on the bridge to scientific functions.
Like most starships, the Saratoga is not neatly divided into levels. While almost the entire ship is accessible as a shirt-sleeve environment, the bulk of the internal volume is taken up by major components. Crew compartments largely fill in the space between
On Crimson Blade ships, the term "deck" is often used to refer to multiple, often disconnected sections of the ship by function, not location. So the "Command Deck" would refer to all of the ship's control centers, even though these are located in often disperate regions of the ship and require passing through multiple other "decks" to reach. This also means that, in the Saratoga's case, the gym and one of the bathrooms count as part of the Command Deck.
Like most Gudersnipe ships, the primary control center of the Saratoga is the main bridge. It utilized a extensive glass-cockpit system that allow most control functions to be duplicated on any capable terminal. The primary exception being helm control, which has only limited functionality if not accessed from a specially-designed interface (Cindy Kyte built her own, complete with gear shift, foot peddles, fuzzy dice, and more buttons than you can shake a stick at).
According to schematics, the Saratoga has a total of five command centers. The bridge and main engineering, as well as the Auxiliary Command Bridge (labeled "Sewage Tasting Room" on official documentation). Further, the ship has another room clearly marked Auxiliary Command Bridge on both official schematics and at the actual location. The room was meant to be a mock-up bridge, but was never completed, and is where the crew stores the ship's Christmas decorations. A final Backup Auxiliary Command Bridge appears on schematics, but the location is in fact a bathroom.
There are three functional helm stations onboard; on the primary and secondary bridge, as well as a "hot spare" kept connected to the system. According to regulations, the hot spare is kept in main engineering, both so that the engineering staff can carry out maintence, and so the ship can be easily controlled from there in an emergency. However, after several complaints from Cloud Carrington, Hunter ordered the unit moved, and Cindy re-located the station to the ship's gymnasium, where it is disguised as a weight-lifting machine. The crew has, on more than one occasion, operated the ship entirely from the gym.
The Battle Deck encompasses all three torpedo rooms, eight missile bays, weapons storage magazines, and even the weapons lockers.
Probably the largest deck, and the most poorly defined. It includes Main Engineering, seperate engine rooms for each of the ship's Ion Vacuum Drives, plus various other un-manned control spaces, all workshops, all parts storage, etc.
The Crew Deck includes all crew quarters and interconnecting passages, mess halls, recreational spaces (excluding the gym), and anywhere else specifically designated as "crew space".
The Saratoga was the very last N-808-B ever built, with production stopped while the ship was half-complete and not properly equipped for combat (only the frame, and several non-combat blue systems were complete). Various attempts were made over the years to finish her, but when the ship was finally assigned to Hunter Jusenkyou, she was still only 70% complete and missing several key-components.
Decades had passed and the correct parts were no longer available, so the newly-assigned crew scavenged components from all over the shipyard to complete her. Since most of the components were taken from much larger ships, this made the Saratoga heavily over-built.
The Saratoga is powered by a unique "Substance 361" generator, based on the more common Substance 360 generators used to provide emergency power. The exact nature of the generator is never fully explained, though Jason makes occasional reference to it "violating physics in uncomfortable ways" (though this may be due to his own education: he was considered a highly educated child genius before coming to Gudersnipe, but hailed from a planet that had discovered only ninety-nine elements).
The key difference between Substance 360 and 361 is its atomic density, with 361 considerably higher, thus allowing the core to produce more power and last longer. Both materials are produced in supercolliders and are contained within a chemical matrix of other materials. Though 361 is itself stable, the reaction that generates electricity also causes it to break down into less stable compounds, making the reactor core contaminated with radioactive by-products. A serious concern, as 361 does not itself generate heat, and the reactor is not actually exothermic in its power production method.
The extremely dense material is described as being able to "spin light" and produce an artificial gravity field. Some implications are that it actually produces power through a temporal field. Despite having been invented by the Saratoga's crew, its made clear that no one onboard actually understands all of the principles involved. Indeed, Substance 360 generators are considered "restricted technology" and only see wide deployment because, once expended, they cannot be reverse-engineered.
Mode of Operation
As near as anyone can tell, the generator is actually producing power at the sub-atomic level, breaking down elementary particles to release free electrons. The dense core contains Substance 361, which has enormous atomic mass. Substance 360 is known to have a neutron count of over 800 for the stable isotopes. 361 is not described in any available literature.
The core is an oblong cylinder supported at each end. It does not itself move, but creates a gravitational field around it and spins light. Electrons, being light, are able to escape the field and are caught by layers of conductive material around the core. This material also catches particles of contaminated materials from fissil byproducts, though these typically only escape when the core is inactive.
While in operation, the core also has a layer of quark-gluon plasma, a byproduct of whatever process is producing electricity, which is contained in the gravitational field. In the event of a sudden shutdown, the plasma would likely cause serious damage to both the core and the surrounding electron absorbtion systems. To mitigate this, at one end of the reactor core is a containment chamber, separated by a force field. In that chamber is a vacuum; if the core is shut down, the field fails, and the plasma is rapidly "sucked" into the chamber (normal air pressure is maintained within the reactor vessel).
The generator is not run continuously, and routine "plasma clearings" are part of its operation. The actual amount of plasma in the core is very small, and would expand and cool to gasses and solids very quickly if not inertialy confined. A by-product of the core is these materials, which are highly radioactive. Once cooled, they are kept and stored, and eventually burned in the main engines. It's estimated that runoff from the reactor contributes to as much as 3% of the engine output.
The Achilles' heel of the original N-808-B design was always power. The space allotted in the hull parameters did not allow for a powerful enough Nugen Reactor to operate all of the ship's systems. The designers felt they could compensate for it by constructing a more efficient exothermic converter (a "steam engine"), but various flaws in system redundancy, vibration dampening, and general maintenance cycles meant that the generator was functionally never able to provide full output. Early operators described how "In combat, you need to fly, shoot, and shield. The [N808-B] could only ever do two of those things at a time".
The Saratoga had undergone final hull assembly without ever having had the large core of the Nugen Reactor installed. It also used a unique core size which was no longer being manufactured. Powering the ship with a traditional Nugen Reactor was a practical impossibility. So, the team had two goals in mind: create a reactor that could achieve the design requirements specified in the N808-B's documentation, and also break down into pieces small enough to fit through a doorway.
Any kind of pressure-vessel-based solution was immediately discarded. The crew would have been required to use countless small vessels, which both detracted from performance and had serious safety concerns. Hunter initially proposed using 360 generators, but Kendrick was responsible for leading the team, & preferred 361. A key advantage to the design was containment safety. While radioactive by products were a concern, pressure was not. The reactor actually had no internal moving parts, and while it was sealed in air-tight compartments, it had no limitations or restrictions on ambient operating pressure.
The design goal was to meet the basic ship requirements, but the finished prototype was easily 150% more powerful. This huge surplus was responsible for the Saratoga's improved preformance; once they'd worked out the full operational parameters of the design, they could get 2.5x required power steadily, and pulse the reactor (for brief periods) to over 4 times the ship's intended power output. This only occasionally had catastrophic effects.
The Saratoga's generator is officially certified as "extremely safe" by someone who didn't know how it worked. The lack of internal moving parts meant mechanical failures would be rare, and any kind of "in service failure" would cause little damage. The lack of pressurization made containment easy. Although the system concentrated considerable electrical energy in a single area, the inspection team felt the shielding in place was adequite. In all, the operation readyness certification listed the reactor as "Extremely safe, with a very low chance of a beyond design limit incident if maintained within published operational guidelines.".
Two problems are immediately evident with this declaration:
- Operational guidelines were written by Cindy, who had not worked on the project and was just volunteering to help.
- The Saratoga crew never operates anything within guidelines.
The first problem came about with normal use. As Substance 361 breaks down as part of the reactor's normal operation, it goes through phases of being fissile materials. These release radiation, as well as contaminated byproducts. Published safety guidlines indicate that the reactor vessel should be back-filled with inert gas such as xenon or nitrogen. However, with sub-atomic reactions going on, no gas is "inert", so the crew just fills the chamber with normal ship's atmosphere. While this isn't a problem from a reaction standpoint, it does post a problem with contamination. The guidelines would have very pure gasses used, not a generic hodgepodge of whatever. This leaves more material in the air to be contaminated by radioactive residue, as well as dangerous particles.
While the lack of pressure differential makes the risk of a core breach inconsequential(standard radiation containment protocols would protect the crew), the experimental nature of the design and the lack of understanding leads to several unknowns.
A serious concern is the possibility of a "flash" conversion in which the entire core would rapidly break down into other substances. If many of these were radioactive, it could lead to a catastrophic melt down. There is no ejection system and no safety systems in place for such a contingency. A related, more serious concern is a flash-conversion into weapons-grade fissile materials, which would cause the very definitely super-critical mass to detonate with a yield of several yotatons.
Then of course there are all of the various space-folding and temporal concerns associated with having a power source that, quote "does... something" with time.
To put it mildly, the operational readiness certification was handed out hastily.
The Substance 361 generator was much smaller than a standard Nugen reactor. This allowed for the installation of two complete, fully separate generators. Each one produces about 70% of the ship's required power, though with the reactor's full capability, powering the ship from one unit is easily possible. The primary point of failure is the power transfer system. Large amounts of energy are concentrated at the core, and while the reactor may be difficult to disable, the weak point is in the conduits.
Physically, the reactors are located directly bellow the main power buffer, with direct current super-conducting power lines to to the buffer. If needbe, one hundred percent of the reactors power can be dumped directly into the main buffer. Additionally, relay lines run to the N-space drive and the Python Reactor(a relay line differs from a direct line in that the power flow is interupted and switched at points, this is to provide momentary delay and better flow control)
A third "hot spare" reactor is connected to the same power distribution system as the port-side core and can be rapidly brought online. Additionally, a fourth cold spare core is kept in inventory, nearby the reactor assemblies.
The auxiliary power system consists of four standard Substance 360 generators capable of powering the ship for a total of forty days.
The Saratoga has particularly robust life support. According to standards put forth by the Foundation, triple-redundant systems must be able to support three times the intended crew compliment. For the Saratoga, this is 930. However, since the design was intended to double as a troop transport, the actual number is more like 3,000.
Further, smaller support ships are required to carry auxiliary systems that let them act as life boats for larger capitol ships. For short durations, the ship can keep up to ten thousand people breathing. This is actually less than regulation, but it was pointed out during the Saratoga's design trials that you physically could not FIT 10,000 souls aboard, even using every available inch of space within the pressurized compartments. So, massive C02 scrubbers exist for emergency use and the ventalation system is over-built. Suffocation is not likely.
It should also be noted that, even in the highly unlikely event of a complete and total systems failure, the volume of breathable air on the ship divided by the relatively small crew size means that even with the maximum planned compliment of 310, the crew would have three days of "Shuttle Breathing" before they would asphyxiate.
Among the changes made, the only shield generator the crew could find was designed for a ship three times the Saratoga's size. The crew fitted the generator and re-calibrated it for the Saratoga. The shield, while less power-efficient, proved far more effective in combat.
Shield power is ran off of the primary buffer instead of the combat buffer, due to increased power demands. The entire power sub-system had to be re-built, with much larger-capacity super conductors added to improve capability.
The Saratoga's main emitter is a standard dual-band type. Due to a mistake caused by missing schematics, the Saratoga went on its first few deployments without the requisite array of small backup emitters. See 'After-Market Retrofits' for how this problem was remedied.
The Saratoga uses Ion-Vacuum technology. The engines are speicifed to last for roughly half the ship's intended operational lifespan, which equates to 175,200 flight hours, or around twenty flight-years. This is less than the standard for Support-classed ships, which typically have an engine lifespan of at least thirty flight-years. However, the Saratoga, classes as a "light" destroyer, was meant to have a much less strenuous service career.
At one point, it is revealed that Cindy, having never read the ship's operations manuals (or, really, any manuals, for anything, ever, in her life), had configured the helm controls to run the engines at well past their design limits, including using War Emergency Power as the ship's standard cruising speed. As Cloud explains it: in the few short years they've had the ship, they've placed roughly 17,000,000 hours of wear on the engines (one second at W.E.P. is equivalent to ten hours of normal use). This equates to around 2,000 flight-years, or a 5,000-year service life. While extremely long service-lives are not unheard of, with proper maintenance it is not uncommon for ships to reach up to five times their intended operational lifespan. For the Saratoga, this would still mean 600 years and 12 engines-replacements. To reach the amount of flight-years predicted by Cloud, the ship should have burned through at least 100 sets of engines.
The discrepancy is later explained by the over-all robustness of the Ion-vacuum design, combined with modifications made by the crew. Ion-vacuum engines use electromagnets and have few moving parts, which were replaced very frequently as the ship suffered damage. The electromagnets themselves are relatively small, easy to replace, and include several layers of redundancy, while the bulk of the actual stress falls to the superconductors supplying them with power. These were mostly salvaged from much larger ships, and the entire power-system was excessively over-built. The actual output and duty-cycles for the engines, as specified by the manufacturer, were based on the Saratoga's original design, which speced a much smaller power plant and a generally less capable power supply system.
Another key-change was with the magnetic constrictors. Instead of using a part designed for regular use, they took one speced for use on FTL-tugs (small ships used to tow much larger vessels at faster-than-light speeds). The components have roughly ten times the capacity and tolerances, but cost around one hundred times more to produce. The Saratoga still burns through them at double the rate of most ships her size. Given that the constrictors, when used on FTL-tugs, are meant to last the lifetime of the tug, this is worrisome.
All of the crew's modifications effectively give the ship an engine system on par with that of a dreadnought. It can tow much larger vessels and exert high levels of delta-V, giving the ship an acceleration curve that has been described as "terrifying". The ship can "stunt" and preform maneuvers no vessel her size should be capable of.
Standard FTL Drive
The Saratoga's standard Python Reactor-driven propulsion systems are, at best, rudimentary. The original N8-8-B design called for a Fairview Model MS je22, which was obsolete at the time and designed for a ship three-quarters of the Saratoga's size. Most N808s leftfitting out with a slightly updated MS ne23, while due to corporate malfeasances, the Saratoga instead recieved a FarVuw BS id10t, a fact missed by both the original yard crew as well as the charitable group who attempted to finish the vessel. The ship's standard FTL drive was left stock and completed with spare parts scavenged from the junkyard. It is one of the few systems to which the crew did not make major upgrades or modifications (unless you count "cobbling bits of it together" as a modification). The drive has been known to break down and requires frequent, intensive maintenance.
Out Of Design Limit Incident
The Saratoga's photonic core suffered a breach. It is unclear exactly how it was repaired (fixing a breached photonic core is considered a technical impossibility), but the drive was never replaced.
Like nearly all school ships, the Saratoga is equipped with a Shoten Jump system, which at one point is modified for time travel (quite illegally). As with other ships, the Saratoga is not able to generate enough power by itself to use the drive over any great distance.
The Satyaran-designed Hyperspace window generator was kept in-tact, even though the system was never made to function properly. On a few occasions it was used to defeat various obstacles, and even eventually formed the basis for a weapons system.
The Saratoga also posses a device referred to as a slip-stream drive, though details are shoddy at best. Like the hyperspace window its known to be experimental and highly temperamental, possibly having never worked successfully at all.
Going by official specs, primary armaments of the N-808-B include:
- 10 Torpedo Tubes, 6 mounted forward and 4 mounted aft.
- 40 Offensive Missile Tubes mounted 0/90
- 20 Defensive Missile Tubes, also 0/90
- 4 Close-in beam cannons, fixed forward-facing
- 4 Long-range beam cannons, fixed forward-facing
- 8 Defensive Beam Cannons, track-mounted.
- 4 Drone Bays designed to launch hunter-killer drones.
- 4 Nimbus-Class Light Assault fighters.
This compliment was, of course, substantially augmented before and during the Saratoga's service.
The initial design called for a total of eight fixed, forward-facing beam cannons (not to be confused with the "Forward Facing Gun" found on many large dreadnaughts, small fixed cannons are very common on lighter ships wich cannot support turrets). The guns were placed in two 'banks' on either side of the ship, with two in each bank. The smaller, further-forward cannons were were set to a convergence point near the ship (hence "close in") with the further back cannons being configured for longer range. The guns were considered under-powered and obsolete even by the Nelson revision, but war-time constraints on supplies and the ship's lack-luster power capabilities limited what was available. The cannons, then, were planned only for post-war patrol duties, with the ship relying on torpedoes and missiles for most of is offensive capacity.
In the yard, the sub-systems to support these cannons were never installed, and the parts missing from inventory. Forced to improvise, the crew hand-built a scaled-up model of a point-defense Pulse Cannon. The second bank was later upgraded to Charged Particle Cannons. Charged particle weapons are significantly more powerful and offer far greater range than standard beam cannons. But instead of a contiguous beam, point-defense weapons fire many small pulses. In a point-defense scenario, this is meant to conserve power. In the case of the Saratoga, it allowed them to fire charged particles without over-stressing the gun Barrels. They did also assemble the necessary sub-systems to use the weapons as beam cannons by cannibalizing parts from other ships. Due to a missing portion of the schematics, they were forced to "improvise. As a result, the Saratoga's fire systems are modeled on a battle ship, and it can if necessary deliver a staged barrage.
Thus, the Saratoga has two main fire modes: all guns on a rapid-fire charged particle attack, or one cannon at a time each using the full-force of the ship's power.
The main guns are set on fixed, forward-facing hard-points. The ship also includes 10 Wave Cannons mounted on tracks, allowing for highly variable fields of fire. The N-808-B was the first ever fleet ship fitted with this sort of weapon, which had commonly been used aboard smaller, lighter craft as far back as the Succession Wars. The Nelson Revision would see these weapons fitted to every design.
Torpedoes and Missiles
Unlike most other weapons systems, these remained largely unchanged. The tubes were upgraded and modernized, and, unlike the initial design, can fire a wide array of projectiles. Initially, the ship was intended to carry only a single type of standard-issue, variable-yield torpedo and a single-type of single-yield N2 missile.
While no physical changes to the ship had to be made, Rian Wildfire added a sophsiticated selection system to the tactical station, allowing him to quickly order up a wide range of available weapons from the ship's arsenal, including variable-yield and multi-warhead missile systems.
The Saratoga has been stated to carry a total of 800 N2 missiles 64 torpedoes. Missiles are stored in a common magazine to be split between launch tubes. Torpedoes are split between fore and aft magazines.
The drones were not much used past the Saratoga's early deployments. The original drone-compliment was actually delivered and placed in the magazines, then left to rot (something which rather surprised the crew, since the drones were nuclear-armed). Exactly how and why this happened remains a mystery: regulations state that expendable weapons such as drones, missiles, etc., are not to be brought aboard until a ship has completed initial space-trials. The presence of drones in a bay on an unfinished ship is quite problematic.
The original generation of drone, while armed with very high-yield N1, was effectively useless as a weapon. N1 bombs lacked the destructive power required to take out most ships, hense drones were saw very little use. Though N2 was available at the time, the risk of a drone falling into enemy hands was considered far too great to risk the technology. Weight limits and materials availability confined hunter-killer drones to maximum payload of around 25 megatons. Considerable by any standards, but not very menacing when delivered by an N1(N2s explode with much greater pressure and velocity, making them considerably more destructive even at lower yields).
The Saratoga crew initially re-armed all of its drones with N2 warheads, upping the yield to a variable 40 to 400 megatons using 4 warheads. They also modified the units to accept a wide array of payloads, and even built several sensor kits (the drones were much more effective as probes than the ship's usual compliment).
However, hunter-killer drones were long out of production by the time the Saratoga was commissioned, and replacing the complement was very difficult. In most cases, the crew had to hand-build the units in the ship's machine shops, so the stopped using them. The drone bays were also retrofit for mine deployment.
On most missions, the Saratoga carried the semi-disposable Nimbus fighter, but on later missions and whenever able, carried the Allapa Dismissive multi-engine vehicle. While somewhat limited as a star fighter, it was much more valuable as a multi-role assault craft.
During the Remus Star Cluster mission, the crew designed and built a powerful anti-proton cannon, the first such weapon of its type. Originally built to dig them out of trouble (the ship had become trapped within a deep fissure on an astroid), the device proved extremely effective as a weapon, though only at close range (an AP stream travels at only around 80 PSL, not much faster than the fastest sublight speeds of most ships). The weapon is typically not charged to more than 20%, with 20% easily able to annihilate most targets. However, the AP cannon has very high energy requirements and is extremely fragile.
In later missions, a second AP cannon was added and the system made more robust. The crew was eventually called upon to design a fleet-ready variant to be mounted on ships in the Gailen fleet revision.
Auxiliary Missile Systems
It's implied that the Saratoga might be carrying a Bedlam, though the ship's size and total armament would severely limit the fire power of such a system.
Hunter: "God bless the man who figured out you could scale up a belt-fed machine gun to the point where the bullets could be replaced by N2 missiles."
Cindy: "How do you know it was a man?"
Jason: "Let's be real: it was a man."
The Saratoga has also been outfitted with forward-mounted railguns, thought these are typically considered a "backup" armament. The projectiles fired are roughly a foot long and three inches across. According to the specifications of the system, they are made from depleted uranium. However, Cloud admits that, since ammunition has to be custom-tooled, they are usually made from plain old steel or "Really, whatever the hell we have lying around". Due to the speed of the projectiles, the impact of using other materials is negligible.
Rail guns offer a few important advantages. By firing solid projectiles, they generally bypass shields intended to scatter directed energy weapons. It also requires significantly less power to operate. The range is limited compared to beam cannons, restricted to first radius, but as a close-in weapon it is second to none.
The primary downside, of course, is ammunition. The Saratoga typically has enough ready slugs on hand for about twenty seconds of continuous fire.
The Saratoga used the original bladeth generator installed by the Satyarans for quite some time, before replacing it with a much less capable, but infinitely repairable Mark II. The prototype was significantly more sophisticated than the production models, but was made from all custome, hand-built components. This made it a huge chore to maintain, and sacrificing the additional capabilities were a reasonable trade for increased operational readiness.
The original system was capable of creating more than the single standard pre-programmed armor type used by the mass-produced model. With this, the Saratoga's crew has been able to create a wide array of armor-types for different situations. These include highly heat-reflective armor and a precursor to the cloaking device.
The Saratoga never fielded a Mark II or III, but was eventually fitted with the Mark III Special, which added back in all of the features removed from the Satyaran prototype.
Light Hawk Wings
The Saratoga's standard shield compliment initially called for one large emitter and eight smaller emitters to both augment and backup the main. The crew instead used a single large emitter that was three times more powerful than necessary, negating the need for augmentation. Initially, the backups were completely forgotten (See: "Schematics" for details).
During a refit, the crew was tasked with adding the missing backup emitters, and Jason suggested using tri-band shield generators. When it was brought to Jason's attention that there was no such thing, Jason suggested they invent tri-band emitters.
What came out of the team's effort was a device capable of creating deflectors, bubbles, and projected shields. Since the Foundation was not presently using projection-shield technology at the time, the Eighth Power was also required to re-invent that technology largely from scratch.
The finished product was really just a standard if better-designed dual-band emitter alongside a projection emitter in the same module. It used a variety of highly exotic compounds and called for a great deal of energy. Still, the crew opted to install sixteen instead of the eight called for in the design. Any four emitters should have been able to protect the ship, but with the new design, just two of them could provide full shielding for a limited time(equivalent to one-half the main shield, but adequite to protect the small vessel). Further, any one emitter could replace the navigational deflector.
The projection shields ended up being one of the most important aspects. Though they could only use them for a few minutes at a time(ten to fifteen, depending on power demands), sixteen separate shield projects in an over-arching formation rendered the ship immune to most conventional weapons. The crew had fused technology from ground-based projection shields with that of the space-based counterpart, allowing them to create graceful arcs and complex shapes. The only area of the ship not covered was the engine intakes and outlets, so only a very lucky shot could hit them.
Like most ships built by the Foundation, a full set of actual schematics(not the fictitious ones widely circulated) would be highly classified and available only to a small handful of individuals. The original design team, the yard commander, and the individual dock commanders on the production line. Construction teams would only have access to the blue prints that pertained to their specific sections, while the sub contractors who built the individual support systems would have had only the plans involving their components. Prints would have stopped just after their sections.
A full set of schematics would be accessible on both paper and computer form, in a highly secured room at the ship yard. The computers would be non-networked, official schematics are hand-delivered by special couriers. All tolled, less than two hundred people would ever have seen a realistic set of the ship's blueprints.
This caused some issues as, by the time Hunter and his crew inherited the ship, the actual schematics had been lost, along with most of the operations manual. A single, incomplete, and very precious set of schematics and manuals was found at Utopia Gregaria, and quickly destroyed by the crew(Cindy famously lost one of the most vital manauls, and attempted to replace it by writing it from memory. She had never read the original manual).
In the short story Against the Wind from The Road to War when Hunter is first told he will recieve a "Glorious Heritage-class" light destroyer, he comments that "I think I'll call her the Saratoga". Astute readers may notice that this is the name of Ryo's father's flagship in the Antelope Books.
During Retrospectus, the original Saratoga was destroyed, the crew being forced to abandon ship. This occurred in an alternate timeline, so the crew stole the Saratoga from THAT timeline and brought it back to the main. The ship was unofficially renamed the Saratoga Infinity, as it's archboard indicated. However, all internal insignia and computer systems retained the old Saratoga name. As such, the name Saratoga Infinity was only ever used when directly referencing the fact that it was a different ship.
Retrospecus is canonically the second to last Gudersnipe story, making the ship used in Line in the Sand the Saratoga Infinity(the "refit" referenced at the beginning of that story concerns a careful examination of the new ship), and all subsequent appearances of the Saratoga are actually the Infinity. It is important to note that the ships are functionally identicle, the alternate timeline version of Hunter had stopped using the Saratoga very shortly after his time at Gudersnipe.
- The Saratoga's Python Reactor(and by extension, probably most of it's FTL drive) is listed as a Fairview Model MS on the specifications. Upon examination, it was determined to actually be a "FarVuw Model BS", apparently a low-quality knockoff produced by a shady third-party. Records from the shipyard indicate that the Foundation was the victim of fraud, for which the perpetrators were dualy punished. Unfortunately, these records took some time to catch up to the Saratoga.
- While school ships are officially exempt from inspection(unlike regular-duty Crimson Blade vessels, the Saratoga did once undergo a routine check, apparently due to a clerical error. Reportedly, three members of the service inspection crew were later treated for post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Due to the engine modifications, when engaging all available augmentations of the Ion vacuum drive, plasma within the compression chamber reaches temperatures and pressures which undergo exotic stages. The creation of quark-gluon plasma has been recorded(on a hitherto unobserved scale, no less) as well as miniature, extremely short-lived black holes.
- During the Long Night, Joshua Jusenkyou modified the engines to do this on purpose; with the much higher-temperature plasma increasing over-all efficiency considerably, and allowed the ship to reach the unheard of rating of 85PSL+. Based on the Saratoga engine modifications, Joshua also created the Flux Drive.