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Modular Cargo Barge B
A Variation of an inter system modular cargo barge in common usage.
Caption
ARMAMENT:
None
*Some Owners May retrofit Point Defense systems and light cannons.

COMPLIMENT:
5-15 Depending on model and variant, typically civilian crewed often with high turn over rates. The Crew compartments are usually bunks and billets, very reminiscent of the cramped quarters on merchant fishing and tramp cargo vessels of the 20th century. All crew share lavatory facilities, and shower facilities. Each crewman is allotted enough space for one foot locker of personnel effects and clothing. A single galley serves the vessel, and often doubles as the recreation room when not serving meals. The vessels rarely maintain launches or Shuttles, and are reliant on Hard Dock or Manual EVA for loading and unloading of personnel, supplies, or cargo. A few Construction and Utility A.P.U.s are maintained for in-flight maintenance purposes and some cargo transfer. Facilities and accommodations are limited on these vessels as the intended deployment was for a few days at a time - however it is become almost commonplace for owners and operators to push these barges and the crews relentlessly for weeks at a time, often with only a 24 to 48 hour turnaround for refueling and resupplying between runs. While there are old spacers that may have been with a ship or a captain for years, these long rotations and close living conditions can often be hard on the uninitiated. As a result, cargo barges often have to replace several crew with each port. Fortunately there is no shortage of potential crew who may not otherwise be able to afford the expense of space travel and are willing to trade labor for passage.


HISTORY:
There is no shortage of demand for small cargo transport vessels to ferry supplies of all shapes and sizes between orbitals, planets, or ships in system. Such small cargo vessels come in a large variety of shapes and c;asses, some specialized for specific uses and cargos.The Hercules Shipyards Modular Transports have managed to steadily gain increasing favor among crews, captains, and cargo lines in the market - so much so that they have spawned numerous knock offs and imitators from rival manufacturers. The Hercules Modular Cargo Barges are durable, inexpensive, and easily retrofitted for multiple uses.
The "B" variation of the Hercules Modular Transport is one of the most heavily used bulk cargo transports seen in use in stellar systems along with the "C" Variant. As with the "A" variant, the "B" Variant primarily features two hard-docked cargo containers, and four external mounted racks of "no-frills" storage/transport bins (that is to say not pressurized or climate controlled) it also features 2 external mixed-use modules that can either be used for cargo transport or retrofitted for a variety of passenger, crew, laboratory, or workshop modules. The notable difference of the "B" variant are the six, reinforced, independently pressurized modules hard mounted along the dorsal spinal axis. These Modules are configurable for use as secure storage, or transport of highly perishable contents such as bio samples, or with the right modules, high security lockers. The Pods themselves feature additional shielding against stellar radiation, and heavier plating and reinforcement against intentional attempts to penetrate or damage them (i.e weapons fire), and could likely survive the destruction of the ship itself. Each of these heavy modules features a dual lock system that can double as an air lock - and in the event of catastrophic damage to the ship these modules can be rapid jettisoned for later recovery. These reinforced modules can physically survive nearly indefinitely adrift in space, but have no independent oxygen or life support so once jettisoned are limited to whatever ambient air and heat are in the modules at the time (about an hour's worth at best). These added hardened cargo pods have made the "B" variant a popular choice for transporting valuable cargos between system stations and colonies. The "B" variant has also become quite popular with research expeditions who can set up laboratories in the workshop modules and store volatile or important experiments and samples in the hardened modules. On the downside, this has also made the "B" variant a prime target for raiders, pirates, and rogues - though not as much a problem on the inner worlds and core systems, a significant threat in the Reach.
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