Starship Cockpit and Controls

All Vuduri starships are designed the same way. They have two main modes of operation: atmospheric and space. The elements of control are:

  • A small rocker switch to toggle between modes
  • Dual joysticks, each 12 cm tall - their operation depends upon which mode: atmospheric or space
  • PPT controls - an outer wheel which controls the size of the tunnel and a pushbutton which controls the amount of negative energy

Any Vuduri craft which is capable of flight has a small set of wings. These are not for lift. That is provided by the Electro-Gravity pods. The wings are for control. They use flaps to roll the ship left or right, the same as an airplane. The joystick on the left is the throttle. With the right stick pulled back, pulling back on the left stick causes the ship to move forward faster. Pushing it forward halts the thrust. Pushing it all the way forward causes a braking action. Rotating clockwise or counterclockwise causes the ship to rotate about its center axis using trimjets regardless of its orientation, very handy for getting a ship upright. Rotation of right stick controls rolls the ship banks the ship and is more normal for flight control when oriented properly.

There is a button on top of the left joystick which can be used to fire the plasma thrusters, even within an atmosphere. It operates essentially as afterburners to explosively accelerate the ship. The button on the right stick is a throttle lock. Setting it would allow you to release the button on the left and continue at the desired acceleration or velocity.

The controls can also be used to hover the craft. You must leave the right stick upright. As mentioned before, rotating the left stick causes the trimjets to fire rotating the craft about its midpoint. When hovering, pulling back on the throttle causes the ship to rise up in the air. Pressing it forward causes it to descend. It sounds more complicated than it is. Rei found it very natural to control the ship within the atmosphere.

Flipping the small rocker switches the controls to space mode. The right stick becomes the primary mechanism for small changes in attitude or speed. Pushing it forward causes the rear trimjets to fire so the ship accelerates. Pulling it back causes the front trimjets to fire slowing you down. The left joystick controls the plasma thrusters. You press on the top button to activate them, it is a safety switch. As they are firing, pushing the left joystick forward causes you to move forward. You can use the throttle lock on the right to then release the left joystick. Pulling back on the left joystick simply throttles down the plasma thruster. There is no braking action. In space, to brake quickly, you must rotate the craft 180 degrees and fire the plasma thrusters in retro-mode. Otherwise you will have to rely upon the trimjets to slow you down.

FTL Travel using PPT Tunnels
For the PPT stardrive to operate, you must be at a complete standstill relative to the nearest gravitational point of reference. Most Vuduri just rotate their craft and use the plasma thrusters to bring them to a halt. They rotate the ship around, alter the width of the tunnel using the yellow ring if necessary (most ships have a tiny triangular indicator for the proper size for that ship) then punch the center button to project negative energy in front of the ship. The more negative energy, the deeper the tunnel and the faster the effective velocity. Once the tunnel is the proper size and depth, the ship (typically using the plasma thrusters) moves forward and through the tunnel.

To travel continuously at FTL speeds, you have to stop, create a tunnel, go through, turn around, stop, turn around, make another tunnel and so on. During their long journey between Tabit and Deucado, Rei finds this method of travel very tedious. Eventually, MINIMCOM figured out how to force project a continuous series of tunnels so there was no more stop, go, stop go. In the novel, The Ark Lords, OMCOM figures out how to apply the Casimir Effect to negative energy and invents the null-fold drive which is much, much faster.

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