Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan, in which we must fervently believe, and upon which we must vigorously act. There is no other route to success.Pablo Picasso
Axiom Class Super Colony Ship
The Axiom, a class of spacecraft that was so immense that it needed to be constructed in orbit, was the UICSA's answer to the environmental decay and political strife caused by WWIII. Labeled as "the greatest achievement in human history, bar nothing", these epic ships were designed to carry 400,000 people to a new home beyond our solar system.
An Axiom-class vessel's colony pods are launched from orbit, descending to the planet's surface using its large heat-shield shell to protect the passengers and cargo - both from atmospheric entry temperatures and any caustic agents in the upper atmosphere. Upon arrival, the pod's machinery works alongside the designated engineering team members to thaw the passengers from cryonic sleep, unpack the cargo and break the shell apart into the first few structures (or at least into materials to construct said structures).
Within each pod is a Central Information Repository, a massive storage computer that functions as an archive for all of mankind's amassed knowledge, at least at the point of departure. Alongside this are a small fleet of modular transports (MULEs) and a handful of fabricators.
MULE - Multipurpose Utility, Logistics and Equipment vehicle
The MULE comes in light and heavy variants, and serves as an all-purpose vehicle with a modular design. Originally designed for military purpose, the MULE was adapted to colonial use mainly through the removal of armour and addition of an electric engine. The MULE can be powered up via connection to a power outlet of universal design, powered from a removable high-capacity battery, or charged using fold-out solar panels intrinsic to all designs.
The MULE's intended use is to have necessary modules designed and produced for it by the fabricators or more fixed fabrication facilities, though a number of basic designs and modules are pre-made. The following are a list of basic blueprints available (that is by no means exhaustive):
- Both light and heavy MULEs can function as construction vehicles, agricultural vehicles, cargo/personnel transports, mobile shelters, foldout solar panel arrays and sensor banks.
- Light MULEs can capitalise on their superior mobility and speed to function as effective scouting vehicles and rapid transports.
- Heavy MULEs use their larger chassis to support larger amounts of specialist equipment, and thus can be equipped with recyclers, mobile surgeries and medical facilities, armoured barricades and other simple fold-out structures.
The following is an example list of specialist vehicles requiring access to colony core computer systems:
- Mobile research vehicles
- Automated mining vehicles
- Weapon batteries or armoured assault vehicles
- Telecommunications relays
- Mobile drone hub
Light MULEs have greater mobility and battery life than their heavy counterparts, making them more flexible for general purpose, but heavy MULEs benefit from increased general functionality. Both types are all-terrain vehicles, and amphibious capability is available as a modular addition, giving the MULE unparalleled surface operational capacity. All MULE vehicles are built out of the simplest possible component parts, to allow maximal production from any MRFS or fixed fabrication facility.
New MULE designs can be created using any integrated design software, and uploaded to an MRFS or production computer for prototyping - the above examples are by no means the only designs available or possible. Highly-specialised MULEs were assumed to be created to suit evolving needs of colonies as infrastructure developed.
MRFS (Mobile Refiner and Fabricator Suite) a.k.a. "Fabricators"
The MRFS serves as a colony's basic engineering centre, allowing rapid production of useful items from little more than raw materials. A combination of advanced processing machinery and computer-aided design makes the MRFS possible, and its limited mobility allows it to be moved to appropriate locations and repurposed as necessary. Though the MRFS can fully-assemble small-scale objects like electronic circuitry, tools, and other similar items (given the right input resources), it cannot do so for larger or more complex items - manual assembly after the production process is often required.
The MRFS design blueprints aim to make any additional required assembly as simple as possible, and when deployed it can provide a number of useful built-in auxiliary functions such as workbenches, power supplies and more, as well as functioning as a central part of any construction yard or engineering facility. A bank of spare parts are also provided with each unit, allowing field repair while construction of replacement parts remains beyond production capacity. This is necessary for any colony during initial expansion, where lost construction time can prove life-threatening.
Main intended usage of the MRFS, beyond construction and fabrication, is to provide fully-mobile and adaptable infrastructure alongside MULEs. Though the MRFS is mobile, it cannot function whilst packed up (and thus movable). The MRFS is also substantially larger than a MULE, making it slower and much less manoeuvrable.