CASKET Systems

Introduction

SCAMPS here. I'll be your guide as you tour through the summarized CASKET Technical Manual. There's a lot more in there than here, so I don't know why you're wasting my time when you could be sifting through it, especially if you're likely as not to forget everything I tell you anyway. Orders are orders, though, and I'm supposed to give you a little walk-through of the whole thing, so sit tight.

The CASKET, as a highly sophisticated piece of machinery made from state-of-the-art scrap, has a lot of shit going on inside of it. This article will attempt to straighten out some of your misconceptions on its inner workings and provide you with a reliable piece of source material. And for the last time, no, it's not witchcraft, magic, or "high tech tomfoolery". This won't explain absolutely everything, as most of it's already covered in the CASKET Technical Manual you're issued at the start. If you didn't receive a copy, or somehow managed to lose it, fear not: there's a copy available to the left of you after you sit down in the cockpit. However, I would advise you don't try to read the manual during missions, or especially during a firefight. Try to use your common sense, if you have any. If you don't, well, you're shit out of luck. Also note that this manual is not to leave the CASKET at any time. If it turns up missing, we're required by law to replace it. We're not, however, required by law to replace it with the same thing. Little loophole there. Tartarus Inc. will not be held responsible for any difference between the original manual and whatever our technicians wind up replacing it with.

Before we continue, it would probably also be prudent to note that not all CASKETs are created equal. Based on the preferences you marked down in your initial application to the REKT program, our technicians will modify your ship from a worthless piece of scrap to something slightly less resembling a worthless piece of scrap. This means that if you say you want more powerful engines, we'll give your engines a few tune-ups. Our engineers excel at doing this stuff - they've been doing it for years. They're just a lazy bunch of assholes like the rest of you so they don't bother fixing stuff up unless ordered, especially if it seems likely you're just going to get yourself killed. Stick around long enough and impress them and they might start doing you favors. Can't guarantee that though. You'd probably have better luck with the scientists down in R&D.

I'll explain things in the general order of how you filled out your application. Try to sit still, listen, and act moderately intelligent - even if it's not your strong suit.

Energy

Power generation

Although many people call it a "reactor", your ship's primary power source is really nothing more than a typical high-efficiency generator. The confusion in name is primarily due to the fact that in previous models, it was a miniature reactor, but this proved far too expensive due to the rate that new pilots were killing themselves. The name "reactor" stuck, and some people still call it that. The generator is located behind the cockpit and in front of the weapon mounts, close to the surface to allow for easy repairs on the fly if necessary. The fuel supply is located much deeper within the ship to protect it as much as possible from weapon fire, and the fuel is fed upwards via pumps and tubing. The default fuel supply is already quite large and can sustain power generation for up to two days, though it can be refueled via a little hatch on the CASKET's side. The generator transmits energy to the power distributor via a specialized power coupling, to protect both components from bumps, acceleration or misalignment. From there, the distributor assesses the power needs of the rest of the ship and supplies everything with the appropriate amount.

There is also a backup battery located aboard the ship, just in front of the fuel tank. This backup activates when the power distributor detects a problem with the incoming power, be it lack of fuel or a dead generator. Although large, the battery only stores enough power for about fifteen minutes of heavy use. To combat this, the computer limits the amount it is able to transmit. While this decreases the effectiveness of most ship systems, it helps keep the cockpit's occupant alive for an extended period of time.

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Weapon systems

The weapon systems of the CASKET are simple, yet robust. A new CASKET has only two weapon mounts. This can be increased by purchasing more via the armory, up to a maximum of four. Recoil and excess weight is dampened by a network of reinforcing, shock-suppressing beams that runs the length of the ship (not pictured). This network is strengthened whenever you increase your ship's energy levels. The suppression network also requires power, which is why upgrading your energy levels is necessary for more powerful weapons.

Weapon mounts are connected to both the ship's computers and the cockpit controls. They're specially designed for maximum versatility, allowing them to easily switch weapon types on the fly, provided you have the appropriate tools. They're also connected to the two ammo storage bins, located between the central and side engines. The ammo storage bins are versatile themselves, sending ammo up via either belts or motorized conveyor systems. The bins can be sectioned off if multiple types of ammunition are used.

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Durability

Hull

The hull is arguably the most important component of the CASKET - it not only protects the important equipment within, but keeps it immobile as well. While the weakest version of the hull is hardly more than a thick foil, the strongest versions have inbuilt armor, fire suppression gear, grounding wires and other types of protection. These can be attained simply by asking to have your hull's durability upgraded.

The hull of the CASKET Mk 1 isn't as pretty as the ones they show in the prison propaganda posters. While the Mk 2 is upgraded to a sleek, smooth, painted hull, the Mk1 is ugly and drab, with overlapping metal plates (often of different materials), visibly welded seams, and occasional jagged edges. If you really want style, an upgrade to the CASKET LE (Luxury Edition) is suggested. While this upgrades more than just the hull, you'll get racing stripes and embedded thrusters, allowing for a much sleeker, more streamlined appearance.

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Critical systems

Cockpit

The "critical systems" category includes the cockpit, life support systems, inertial dampeners and gravity emulators. The cockpit itself is a largely self-contained structure designed like an Olympic toboggan, with the pilot partially leaned back, their feet in front of them. The controls are all in easily reached places as well. However, this makes it extremely difficult to turn around in the cockpit without first opening the canopy. Doing so safely requires a decent amount of agility.

The cockpit is pressurized during regular flight, with a breathable atmosphere of nitrogen and oxygen similar to Earth's (unless a different atmosphere is required, for non-humans in particular). The air can be evacuated with a button near the chair's right shoulder, and the cockpit opened quite easily. The canopy itself is flexible and designed to scroll back underneath the cockpit with a good deal of speed, allowing for quick exit and entry. There are also controls to open it from the outside, provided one has the strength; it can be more difficult to do if the cockpit is pressurized. On that note, the canopy can easily be opened without depressurizing the cockpit, so prudence is necessary.

There are several storage compartments in the cockpit. The pilot's infantry weapons or items are generally mounted on the right wall of the cockpit, along with any ammo belts that might have gotten brought along. On the left side of the cockpit are a set of manuals or books. The chair itself folds forwards to reveal a third compartment, wherein usually rests the pilot's backpack and other personal items they might have brought along.

As for the cockpit controls, they consist primarily of a panel of carefully labeled buttons and levers directly in front of the pilot. The flight yoke is located on the seat between the pilot's calves for easy access, and is capable of almost completely controlling the CASKET's attitude if the thrusters are still intact. In addition to these controls, there are a few touchpad screens the pilot can interact with. These cannot be upgraded unless you upgrade to a higher-quality CASKET.

Life support

The life support systems are located both to the right of the cockpit from the pilot's perspective, and underneath the cockpit. They are mostly automated, although they can be overridden with the appropriate knowledge and skill. They're designed to last indefinitely, given enough power - there's even a dehumidifier that is capable of providing drinkable water from moisture in the air. The oxygenator checks to make sure that there's enough oxygen in the air. It then removes any excess or adds to the current supply as necessary, adding nitrogen to keep the pressure stable and natural. Life support systems also include a heater and air conditioner, though the heater is somewhat less likely to be used in the absence of an atmosphere.

Gravity control

The CASKET contains two types of gravity control, located underneath the rear of the cockpit. The first creates an artificial gravity field within the cockpit, letting the user experience a normal 1g. The second, the inertial dampeners, detects any change in the craft's momentum, and the spacecraft's rate of roll or pitch, and stabilizes the gravity field so that pilots can safely pull as many Gs as they would like. Turning this off is not advised, as it can cause you to experience grayouts or redouts if under excessive G-forces.

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Coolant

The primary coolant systems are located in the CASKET's nose, and include an array of specialized pumps and valves. Normally automatically controlled, the pilot is capable of controlling the coolant systems directly if they so choose, as with most CASKET systems. This is especially important if the primary coolant systems are damaged. Fortunately, an auxiliary coolant system is included to the right of the cockpit. Switching to this system is done manually, although an upgraded computer can occasionally handle it for you. This switch between primary and auxiliary coolant systems includes shutting off the pipelines with valves to damaged parts of the ship, and linking the auxiliary pumps to the rest of the system - all of which can be done from within the cockpit.

In an atmosphere, blowing air through a system is usually enough to cool it down, because heat transfers to air particles. In space, there is absolutely nothing for heat to transfer to and a ship tends to stay warm until it loses its heat as infrared radiation. This can take a while. Coolant is therefore necessary to keep everything working smoothly, and is used by the hacking systems, the main computer, the generator, the life support systems, and especially the engines.

The engines are a special case. Each engine is encased in a coil of tubing for maximum efficiency. Normally, this is handled by the auxiliary coolant pumps, freeing the normal coolant pumps up for other tasks. When the primary coolant pumps fail, however, the auxiliary systems must shoulder the job of the primary. This puts a decent amount of strain on them, and things begin to cool less efficiently. Overusing your engines - or doing anything that generates a fair degree of heat - while only using auxiliary systems is not advised and may have catastrophic effects. Letting your engines cool every now and then is an effective way to keep anything bad from happening.

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Maneuverability

RCS

Your ship's attitude (pitch, yaw and roll) and translation (strafing movement) is controlled almost entirely by your 14 RCS thrusters. RCS is really just a way of pushing your ship to turn in different directions, or move from side to side. While your engine cowls can be manipulated to permit you to turn widely while you're moving forwards, your RCS thrusters help stabilize your CASKET and are the only way to turn your craft without forwards acceleration. Reaction wheels, as portrayed in popular media, are in reality wholly incapable of anything but the most minute of adjustments.

Normal uses of RCS thrusters include:

  • Normal flight
  • Turning in place
  • Backing up
  • Takeoff
  • Landing

The RCS thrusters are powered by your primary RCS tank, which is a specialized fuel tank featuring a complex array of motors, valves and pumps that let you move fuel where, and when, you need it. A less powerful backup RCS tank is available to the left of your cockpit, should your primary ever run out or fail. Switching between them is almost entirely controlled from within the cockpit, though an upgraded computer system is sometimes capable of managing it for you.

Upgrading your RCS thrusters typically allows for increased output and efficiency.

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Electromagnetic clamps

Your CASKET has five electromagnetic clamps. This includes a pair of fixed clamps on the front, a pair of adjustable clamps in the middle, and a single fixed clamp near the rear or the ship. These "clamps" are not really clamps at all, but are bars of metal that can be magnetized to allow landing on ferromagnetic materials such as iron. In a pinch, they can also be used to carry ferromagnetic objects, although discarding these objects before landing is generally advised.

The clamps are powerful enough that any two clamps are capable of keeping the entire CASKET suspended upside-down under 1G of force. As they're a major stress point, your ship is internally strengthened around them, and you could even use your clamps to slow your ship to a stop under normal speeds, given a flat enough surface.

Trying to take off while your electromagnetic clamps are active will do absolutely nothing. As such, your CASKET's controls automatically release the clamps as soon as you attempt to maneuver with RCS, although this can be overridden with sufficient knowledge. When the ship is turned off, the power to the electromagnetic clamps are maintained in full by the ship's battery, so that your ship doesn't come loose at an inconvenient time. As with most things, this functionality can be toggled if you have the appropriate knowledge.

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Hacking systems

Your hacking systems are arguably the most advanced part of the entire ship. As SCAMPS has previously stated:

A CASKET comes with full versions of Redline, QaTran, Zix-3, RamForge, ChameleonD, and other pieces of high-quality software you'll likely recognize. Your computer also comes preinstalled with various firewalls and antivirus programs. We'll add better stuff the more you upgrade it, but seriously, your hacking module's probably the most sophisticated piece of equipment on the entire ship. It's not our fault if you're too stupid to figure it out. As to hardware, it can remotely connect via radio signal, infrared, hypersonic, and a specialized data pad wiretap method.

Your CASKET comes with a lot of different pieces of software and hardware that you can use. If you've studied hacking at all prior to joining REKT, you probably know about most of the stuff that's here, and the rest should come naturally. Hacking modules are located near the front of your ship and interface with your ship's primary computer.

The radio signal/wifi hack is arguably the simplest type of hack. With a range of approximately one kilometer, it interfaces with just about anything other than communications devices. It's not the best at hacking alien computers, though - for that you'd probably need:

The Datapad/PDA hack. This type of hack requires a party to hold a PDA (mostly) motionless within ten meters of the target. The hack can be initiated through the datapad up to a maximum of 500 meters from your ship (which must be turned on); that means this is your best bet if you're on foot. The ship then alters electric currents within the wiring by creating incredibly precise electric fields, permitting you to hack even alien technology, given the right upgrades to your ship. If hacking aliens isn't your thing though, and you prefer cracking passwords, you'll probably want:

The hypersonic wiretap system. This is for if you're next to terrestrial computers that simply have passwords far too powerful for you to crack in any finite amount of time. It requires your ship to be within 100 meters of the target, or your ship to be within 500 meters and your PDA within one meter of said target. Your ship or PDA will listen to the minute noises created by the device - no matter how far below the range of human hearing - and utilize it to understand password encryption techniques. But if you don't like being up close and personal, then you can't do without:

The infrared hack. This type of hack actually scrolls back a panel off the front of your ship and uses it to confuse enemy IR scanners, cameras, and other types of sensors. With a maximum range of two kilomters, it's quite versatile and accurate down to a fraction of a millimeter. Unlike the other types, it can scramble multiple targets at once - but the beam must be kept narrow to be effective.

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Computer and comms

The computer for the CASKET is a piece of junk - outdated back towards the early 21st century. It's cheap. It's simple. It can't run an AI. On the other hand, it's exactly what your CASKET needs, because it doesn't need to run complex calculations - usually. Inmates wanting to use Field Manipulators will probably want to upgrade it somewhat. If you want it powerful enough to use an AI, you probably want to upgrade your ship altogether.

The comm systems are located in front of the CASKET and have a practically infinite range - at least within operational distances. It combines regular radio waves and warp technology to achieve faster-than-light velocities, making it perfect for communicating with the Tartarus at distances of up to a few hundred light years. After that the signal is simply too weak for the Tartarus to pick up reliably. It uses a different method to converse between other CASKETs in your platoon, of course, as you don't need warp tech to talk to somebody a few meters away.

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PSI Unit

When you were first accepted into REKT, the first thing we did was operate on you. If you've looked, you now have a number of small ports around the sides and back of your head, especially along the spine. While this can help you interface with the Tartarus's VR Combat Simulator, it also allows you to interface with your ship's installed PSI Unit. Your cockpit's seat includes a number of simple robot-controlled plugs designed to hook into your skull so you can transmit your will to the PSI Unit, where it will be interpreted and applied. Your ability to do this depends on two things: your level of willpower, and how much we've upgraded your ship's PSI Unit.

The default PSI Unit is capable of forming and manipulating electromagnetic fields within a five meter radius. This can do things such as turning your ship, closing a valve, or moving your robotic arms. While this isn't incredibly useful by itself, you are also able to purchase and install psychokinetic amplifiers, also known as psi amps. Psi amps have a much longer range than the default PSI Unit, and can have a wide variety of effects, ranging from manipulating gravitational fields to reading someone's mind. It is advised to use caution when using the PSI Unit, and not to attempt to use it unless you are somewhat skilled, as an un-upgraded unit can cause feedback that can potentially kill the user.

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Robotics

Your ship's dual robotic arms are very strong, robust, and relatively lightweight. They have a large range of motion and are capable of taking extensive modifications, both to the hand and wrist attachments. The arms themselves can also be changed or modified if you would like to purchase other versions.

The abilities of your robotic arms depend entirely on how much you're willing to upgrade them, and the types of modifications you have installed. The default pincers, for example, work quite well for grabbing larger objects and holding smaller ones. They can also serve as crushing weapons in a pinch. Their motors are quite strong and capable of applying several tons of force, although only upgraded ones move very quickly. Standardized upgrades reinforce the robotic arms, upgrade the motors to more powerful versions, and upgrade the software to more expensive, reliable versions, permitting them to intelligently assist you in your work to make grabbing and manipulating objects much easier.

Due to how they protrude from the ship's main structure, robotic arms are some of the most frequently damaged parts on any CASKET. Fortunately, it is unlikely that you'll damage your default robotic arms through conventional use, given their reinforced structure. This does however come with the necessary drawback of making them less maneuverable. While they are capable of extending a few meters beyond the front of the ship, and several meters to the side, they are not particularly good at grabbing things that are directly above, or below. As mentioned before, this can be remedied if you would like to install better arms.

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Engines

The CASKET has quad antimatter engines. Each engine is equipped with its own antimatter tank, and must be refilled separately back on the Tartarus. Each antimatter tank is powered by its own battery, completely unconnected from the rest of the ship's power system, so that the containment field can be maintained regardless of whether or not the ship has power. While the containment tanks are heavily armored, care should be taken that they are not breached; such an event would result in complete annihilation of the vessel. The rest of the engine is wired with a light containment field which draws from the ship's primary power source. While not strictly necessary for operation, this helps keep the engine cooler and ensures maximum efficiency and output. The engines do need a source of power to maintain operation, however; the batteries on the antimatter tanks are utilized for containment only.

The engines also burn a small amount of liquid fuel. The purpose of this is to provide visible jets behind the engine so that operators do not mistake the engines for being off while they're actually on, and to help mitigate the effects of the gamma rays from the engine's exhaust. This functionality can be toggled, but it is not recommended.

Under nominal operation, the ship's auxiliary coolant systems keep the engines cool. In the event of a malfunction, this task can be delegated to the primary coolant systems, although care must be taken to ensure that the engines don't overheat. To combat this possibility, the engines are also equipped with radiator flaps to help with the cooling process.

Finally, each engine is equipped with its own durable, manipulable cowls. These can be used to slowly turn the CASKET while in motion, as well as helping maintain stability.

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Auxiliary mounts

The CASKET has two auxiliary mounts on the aft underside. Each mount is quite sturdy, reinforced, and capable of carrying anything that might fit neatly into that location. The hull in this area is equipped with strong electromagnetic fields and carbon fiber netting, allowing you to mount many of the smaller objects you might come across. It is recommended that you only use items purchased in the armory, however, as these are custom-fitted to the CASKET's design and therefore less likely to break free.

There are two switches in the cockpit that power the electromagnetic fields; turning these off at any time will release the items stored in the associated auxiliary mounts. These electromagnetic fields maintain functionality while the ship is powered off, drawing electricity from the battery. It should be noted that this is still weaker than normal operation and your items are at risk of coming free if you don't secure them well enough.

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