The Traveller Maintenance Blues

Date: Wed, 18 Jun 1997 10:24:19 -0400
To: Traveller(at)
From: Mark Urbin
Subject: Tech levels and shipyards

Richard Hough writes:
>Also, can a TL12 world perform the annual maintenance on a TL13+ ship?
>Not in my campaign. First of all, it doesn't seem realistic to me. Second,
>I like to have ships of different tech levels and lower-tech ships are just
>not practical unless you use this rule.

The call I've made on this is yes, but you probably don't want it.

Chief Yard Dog: "We've completed your annual maintenace. The old girl was in pretty good shape except for a few things. Nothing we couldn't handle."

Captain: "Problems? What kind of problems?"

CYD: "Well your heat exchanger on the fuel purifier was on it's last legs. Accident waiting to happen really. I didn't have the exact replacement model available, but my guys fitted in a comparable unit. You won't miss that tonne of cargo space anyway."

Captain: "'Tonne of cargo space'? By Klono's Brass Bustier! That's a merchant ship! What in the Nine Levels of Nirvania did you do to chew up a tonne of cargo space!?!"

CYD: "Well the model I had in stock is much larger than the one I had to remove. Then there was the incompatable cable links. Then we had to add a Phase II Stepdown Transformer to deal with the differences in the power systems. In order to get it all in, we had to cut down a section of wall between engineering and the cargo bay. We were going to build bulkheads around it, but the excess heat in the closed space would have exceeded the limits of your life support system. Rather than take the two months to rip out your life support and upgrade it, we just let the heat radiate into the cargo bay. It's big enough to disapate the heat."

Captain, now sputtering: "You cut a hole between my engine room and cargo bay! This is insane. I'm going to the Port Manager with this!"

CYD, shrugging: "Who do you think approved the work? You wouldn't have been approved for lift with that old unit. I tried to order in a replacement, but it's on backorder. At least six months to obtain one, if we're lucky. The docking fees for that time wouldn't be much more than the cost of these repairs, but you would have been grounded and not making money during that time."

The Captain looks at the hole in his cargo bay, and collection of machinery taking up valuable cargo space. The Captain starts to cry...

Bruce Johnson came up with the following bit. It was just too cool to leave out of this theme:

Captain to new crewmember:

"Well, the damn nic in the aft engineering workstation died a month ago, and since it's a 150 year old model, it's been hard to find we just do everything by hand...I know, I know, it's a pain, and someday we're gonna have to jump on less than 12 hours notice...I'll get _around_ to it, ok? Now go pound on the forward stab'rd ventilation controller, the damn relay's stuck closed again, and if that keeps upit's gonna be like an icebox in the passenger cabins again."

Once more Bruce Johnson pegs the issue:

Captain finds engineer hip deep in the Jump drive controller with an exceptionally old-looking piece of hardware in his hands.

Captain: "Good lord, Scottie! That's a jump tape reader! What is that antique doing on my jump drive??"

Engineer: "Well Captain, we cannae find the right components to rrepair the drive controller. Urgvark" he points to a crazed looking Vargr assistant engineer, "...found this in a antique shop. We're tying it into the saircuit right now."

C: "But how will we control it? I haven't seen a jump tape in my life that wasn't in a museum!"

E:"Well Captain, I have a writing head from a holocorder here, we can connect it to the main computer, and have it translate the control instructions from the astrogation program to the correct patterns that a jump tape would have. It should work, in theory, sah. " Shouts "OK Urgvark! Give me some power..."
SNAP Pop fsssssshhhhhh "Turn it off! Turn it off!"

E: Through the smoke..."Ahh captain, we're going ta need some morrre time..."

C: weeps.

Here is the manditory Ship's Still story:
On 3/21/2002 Ethan Henry submitted to the TML:


Captain: So, what've we got in the hold this jump?
Steward: Hmmm... [flips through manifest] groat skins, holoporn, Terran honey, the usual. Oh, and this chemical processing machinery.
Captain: Let me see that sheet... [reads paper]
Captain: Damn. It's a fully functional brewery.

[Captain his commo panel]

Captain: Murcheson! Meet me in cargo in 5!

[In the cargo hold]

Engineer: Well, based on this documentation it can crank up a batch in 4 and a half days.
Captain: How long to flush it?
Engineer: Oh, geez, I dunno... probably a day.
Captain: And these barrels are yeast, malt, sugar and what's this again?
Steward: Hops.
Captain: And are the consumables on the manifest?
Steward: No, I mean, they're in the plant docco, but they're not itemized on the manifest, no...

Captain: Boys, this is going to be one damn fine trip. Damn fine.

Glenn M. Goffin chimes in with this gem:

"You sold the old Ling air/raft and bought a Makhhidkarun?! What were you thinking about? It's going to break down in the middle of some godforsaken desert on Menorb and we'll have to fight our way through a manual written in Vilani and translated to Galanglic by a Bwap!! Plus, have you ever worked on the grav module of any Makhidkarun vehicle? The cables are exactly the length from one junction to the next, and next to impossible to attach. Bloody paste-eaters are so mean they begrudge you an extra 1/2 centimeter of wire!"

®1996. Traveller is a registered trademark of Far Future Enterprises.
All rights reserved. Portions of this material are © Copyright 1977 Far Future Enterprises.
Portions of original material © Copyright 1995 Mark Urbin, Glenn M. Goffin, Bruce Johnson, and Ethan Henry

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