Starships refer to the multitude of vessels used by both nearly all galactic superpowers, both by their governments and by the general public, to travel across space. The term starship is exclusive for vessels that possess the ability to leave the orbit of a planet. Starships come in a vast range of sizes, from small fighters, to supercarriers.
The very first starships appeared to humanity in 2020, when President Donald Trump first accepted the communication received from the First Many and invited them to meet in person in Nevada. Within weeks, humanity was allowed to board the starships of the First Many, and design plans were traded to them by the First Many. During the terraforming of the Sol System, Mars was selected to become the industrial capital of the system, and with that, many major vehicle manufacturers purchased and built large shipyards on the surface to provide ships to all in need of them.
Although the original estimates for even a small starship were originally beyond expensive, Alyssian drone technology allowed for much more cost effective prices. Drones were able to work 24/7, and a shipyard utilizing thousands of drones could build a Destroyer-class starship in weeks, instead of months or years. The average cost of a small starship, such as a Jackal Starcruiser, a Vector fighter, or Sierra shuttle, could cost an average of 250,000 credits, which was the average cost of a small helicopter in the Federation.
Most starships utilize a fusion engine to power and propel the ship, and most are not capable of warp. In the United Federation, vessels with warp capacity are heavily regulated, and all warp activities require a formal notice to space traffic control before activation. In most cases, a Warp Drive Operator's Certificate is required before the purchase of a warp-capable ship is allowed.
Many larger starships of Class D or higher are capable of faster-then-light travel, with some having greater reaches then others. Most interstellar (deep space) warp drives are restricted to commercial freight and government vessels, however, with the proper licensing, a private party can purchase and operate it, although the cost of FTL warp drives are extremely high. Smaller ships, such as Class A and B, do not come with FTL capacity, however they are able to be modified to be equipped with a warp drive, although again, the costs to completely modify a vessel and it's hull and power systems are extremely high.
Larger starships utilizing a warp drive achieve faster-then-light speeds by encasing the vessel in a containment field and accelerating that field across space. Smaller vessels theoretically can enter this field and warp along with the starship, although this comes with it's share of possible consequences. For one, most smaller starships are not able to withstand the physical stress that comes from the exiting of a warp field. Another flaw is that the smaller ships are forced to exit wherever the larger vessel exits. As such, most military and freight vessels alert nearby civilian vessels to the activation of their warp drives, and order that vacate the immediate vicinity of the vessel. Federation regulations have made it illegal to come within 5km of any commercial or military vessel that enter warp.
With the increase of civilian ships versus standard automobiles, the Federation introduced the Department of Aerospace Travel (DMT). The DMT regulates the licensing of all individuals that wish to purchase or utilize a flying vessel of any kind. Airplanes and helicopters are also regulated by the DMT's Historic Vessels Division.
Most civilian starships and vehicles are equipped with a multitude of communication systems and are tuned to DMT traffic control towers, who assist in automated flight and prevent midair collisions and incidents. The DMT also coordinates with the Self-Defense Force, who enforce regulations pertaining to civilian flights and ensure the safety of the public.
The licensing process is similar to the process of licensing for ground-based motor vehicles. Applicants are required to present valid proof of Federation citizenship, such as a birth certificate, and all licenses issued are planet specific, unless stated otherwise. This means an operators license on Earth is not valid on Mars, or Luna. This is due to the difference in atmospheric conditions, despite the terraforming and artificial atmosphere generators. License classes remain the same throughout the system:
Licensing to pilot in-atmosphere vessels. Pilots are not authorized to exit the atmosphere of the vessel's registered planet, regardless of vessel class. Pilots are authorized to operate Class A vessels, as we as Class B for private reasons. Pilots are not authorized to conduct transport business using Class B starships.
Licensing to pilot both A and B starships. Pilots are authorized to operate within the orbit of their planet, and an additional certificate allows for transit to the moons and space stations orbiting the planet. Class B pilots may utilize Class A and B starships for personal and business purposes. Most public transportation employees carry a Class B license. Class B are not authorized for operation in planetary space beyond a planet's orbit. Each planet's orbit differs, and must be confirmed through the local DMT office.
Class C is the basic level for an interstellar operators license. Class C allows for individuals to utilize large vessels for private and business operations. Class C holders are able to operate within planetary space, and are authorized to transport people and goods to other planets and moons. Transportation to other planets is regulated by the Federation Navy, and all routes and plans are required to be submitted to the Federation no later then two (2) days prior to departure, with a formal document indicating cargo and the identity of passengers aboard. Commercial pilots operating in a business capacity across planetary lines are subject to interception and search by Federation personnel.
It should be noted that Class C can receive a certification for FTL warp transit. Most certifications are reserved for business operators, and requires an 80 hour DMT approved "FTL Operators" Course.
Class I is the highest level of license offered by the DMT. Class I requires the highest level of training, including an 80 hour FTL Operators Course, 8 hour Large Vessel Navigators course and at least 20 hours of flight time with a licensed instructor for each class of starship.
Types of Starships
Most starships could leave the orbit of their home planets, using a fusion engine to escape the gravity of said planet. Although the majority of active starships are owned and operated by the Federation military, a good number of starships are owned by private parties and companies, such as cruise and freight companies.
Civilian Class (Class A)
Working class starships are small vessels designed for private use. Many are used to transport citizens from point A to point B. Working starships have rapidly replaced motor vehicles, which has prompted a majority of car manufacturers to begin building starships to avoid being replaced. The largest manufacturers of civilian starships are Ford Intergalactic, General Aviation, and SpaceX Craftworks.
Shuttle Class (Class B)
Shuttle class starships are small vessels, larger then Class A, but large enough to transport a multitude of passengers. Most vessels with a passenger capacity of over 8 are classified as Class B, and additional licensing is required to own and operate these ships. Shuttle class vessels, like Class A, typically do not have warp capabilities, and are not recommended for "piggy backing", which is the process of utilizing the field generated by larger vessels entering faster-then-light travel.
Freighter Class (Class C)
Freighter class vessels are larger starships that are capable of interspace travel. Some Freighter class vessels are equipped with a FTL drive, although the ability to use it rests on the license level of it's operator. Freighter class ships require a 20 hour flight time with a licensed instructor due to their large size. Unlike Civilian and Shuttle class vessels, Freighter class vessels are not authorized to land in most public areas, and are required to land in public starports located throughout most major cities and areas. Freighter class vessels are mainly used by interplanetary transport companies to ship cargo or transport passengers to other planets. Frieghter class vessels can also be licensed to carry defensive equipment to prevent piracy, including EMP discharge systems and electronic counter-measures.
Freight vessels are able to utilize FTL warp drives if properly licensed and outfitted. Freighter vessels outside of planetary orbit fall under the jurisdiction of the Federation Navy and are subject to search at any time. All interplanetary travel requires the submission of a flight plan, cargo roster, and list of all crew and passengers two (2) days prior to departure.
Fighter Class (Class MF)
The fighter class starship is a small, offensive style ship used by the Marine Corps and the Navy to patrol and establish security in local sectors. An example of a fighter is the Vector. Most fighters are equipped with beam weaponry and short range missile systems and are geared for one to two passengers, including the pilot.
Destroyer Class (Class MD)
Class MD vessels are military ships with a wide range of defensive and offensive weaponry. Most of the Federation Navy Armada consists of Destroyers. Destroyers are run by a Navy Captain, First Officer, and a team of bridge officers. Although somewhat smaller then Freighter class ships, all destroyers are equipped with warp drives, allowing them to rapidly respond to anywhere they are needed in. Most destroyers are accompanied with a Carrier class vessel, and a deployment of Vector fighters as an escort. Destroyers are usually charged with enforcing travel regulations, and are the front line of the Navy's interceptor detail.
Carrier Class (Class MC)
Class MC vessels are large military starships that operate as mobile hangers for fighter and shuttle units. Most fleets have at least one or two carriers operating with them. Carriers have advanced warp drives installed, which allows them to create a large containment field, allowing fighters and shuttles assigned to them to 'piggy back' off of their warp field, although this is often reserved for emergency retreats or deployments. Most carriers will passively run a security detail of about ten fighters. Carriers are also usually accompanied with at least two destroyers, as their offensive capacity is not as effective as a destroyers.
Dreadnought Class (Class MDR)
Dreadnoughts are the second largest class of starship in the arsenal of the military. Equipped with heavy weapons and designed to combat hostile capital ships, dreadnoughts are the Federation's go-to for interstellar warfare. Dreadnoughts hold a small wing of fighters to provide small-craft security, and are typically equipped with small I-Class weapons, capable of orbital strikes to destroy heavily armored targets and locations. Dreadnoughts are the flagships of their assigned fleets, and are usually the operational starship of deployed Admirals.
Massive Class (Class MSV)
See main article: Massive-Class Starship
Massive Class vessels are the pride of the Federation Navy. They are the largest warships in the Navy, and have the highest level of offensive and defensive capacity. Massive class ships are the flagships of the Navy's armada, and are typically used for heavy warfare and offensive operations. Massive class starships operate in a fleet of destroyers and carriers, and are typically deployed to cover specific regions of the Sol System. The FNV Hyperion is the largest of the fleet, and is classified as a supercarrier, the only one of it's kind. Massive class starships are able to deploy a large squadron of fighters, as well as house and deploy entire battalions of troops via shuttles in hostile environments. Massive class starships typically try to avoid entering the atmosphere of planets, as the sheer size of them can cause large amounts of wind and force. A crashing Massive is also able to level entire cities, such as the sabotage of the FNV Starflit during the NANHI Crisis.