There is a large variety of both inter and inner system ships in the NorthStar universe.
Due to the very high prices commanded, FTL drives are quite uncommon within Human space. Typically it requires either the resources of a Government or a large Corporation to obtain the funding for FTL drive purchase. Furthermore, the intricacies of the FTL drive require that nothing flies FTL without a badger on board as engineer.
Correspondingly, a large number of craft in NorthStar do not have FTL drives, being used for tasks like mining, inner system passenger transport, detailed surveying of newly developed systems, piracy patrol. It is analogous to all the tasks that electric cars are excellent for inner city but that you do not want to do cross country with limited battery range.
There are plenty of uses and duties for non–FTL ships in developed systems, while as you get further out into the scatter, "innies" get more and more rare.
Often though you will find an old FTL vessel, whose stardrive is hopeless junk, serving an in–system role in frontier systems.
There are a variety of Ferries and BattleWings dedicated to moving STL vessels FTL distances.
This is not a game about endlessly buying the biggest hugest ship until you are, once again, combat simming your way through the game.
If your ship is destroyed while the main character is not on board then, provided you have sufficient funds, you may be able to purchase another. Note that the price of even an old trading ship like the Northstar is such that they are usually only owned by Corporations and Governments.
Gravity Technology Edit
Any ship is not flying through and landing on any large body without some sort of gravity assist — and without gravity technology of some kind then any real acceleration is still a problem. If you have gravity technology of some kind then a 90 degree to the engine deck arrangement means you save a lot more mass on only 3 floor / ceiling arrangements than you would with dozens in a vertical configuration of smaller decks. Floor / ceiling support is more than just a simple insertion of mass and so one 4x4 ceiling/floor is more efficient than 2 2x2's. Especially in relatively small volumes.
When it comes to cargo handling, what would you like to have to move endless cargo in and out of? A 2 story warehouse or a tall thin office tower?
Every ship that flies is legally obligated to register with Earth Transport Authority (ETA), including military vessels and diplomatic envoys.
Every ship in the has a name painted on its hull, a black box recorder / distress beacon, a digital registration strip and papers. These three layers of ID identify the ship, and they are the core elements that are checked by any port official, docking authority, law enforcement or automated system that the ship may encounter.
If you want to change the name and registration of a vessel, you can take your paperwork in to a licensed office of the ETA, prove legal ownership of the vessel, and pay to have all of this altered to reflect the new name. It costs money, it takes time, and it will be just as expensive to change the name back if you don't like it.
There are other ways to change the name, registration and papers associated with your ship, but they are not legal and so they carry a certain amount of risk.
Painting a new name on your hull is a minor infraction / annoyance from the ETA's point of view, and will do nothing to change how you are hailed by anyone who is able to read your beacon / communications beam — like other ships, cops and people with a docking computer of any kind. You might be able to fool people whose idea of a "dock" is "a big enough field that the ship won't get hung up in tree branches".
Tampering with your black box and forging papers that change the name and registration of your ship is a more serious infraction. This is the sort of thing that will get you arrested, your cargo confiscated, and your ship impounded if you are caught — how badly that hurts you depends on why you broke the law, what you were carrying, and where you were going. Generally when you falsify your ID and papers, it's because you are trying to go somewhere that you shouldn't, or carry something you shouldn't, or pretending to be someone you aren't. The ETA doesn't care for that sort of thing.
There are always a few ships out there that are built from the ground up to fly unregistered. These are called "black ships", and they are very rare — it's extremely difficult to build an entire shipyard that the ETA knows nothing about. Only certain super secret clandestine military / spy organizations and very high–end criminal cartels generally own a black ship. The penalties for a civilian ship that attempts to fly black are brutal and catastrophic — the ship will not only be confiscated but destroyed, and the people will face long term imprisonment (in peace time) or death (in times of war).
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