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Onderneming-class Colony Transport

This article originally appeared in Issue #009 of the downloadable PDF magazine.

The Onderneming was a TL11 colony startup ship designed during the Interstellar Wars period. It was named by the Dutch architect who designed it (the name means Venture in English), though later crews and passengers often shortened it to simply ‘Onder’. While not the largest colonial class, its low cost and general versatility made it fairly ubiquitous anywhere the Terrans were eager for a foothold. After the first few Interstellar wars, ships like the Ondernemings were built during peacetime operations in the same manner as the wartime Victory Ships of old Terra, often with workers putting in volunteer ‘shifts’ two or three times a week at almost no pay to mass produce these early seedpods of humanity.

Convoys of up to 50 Ondernemings, plus escorts, could be encountered in stellar clusters distant from Earth, weaving through disputed or unclaimed systems, scooping, refining and moving on, sometimes even using deep-space refueling depots to bridge 3 parsec gaps. These flights of Ondernemings would travel to anything marginally life sustainable, pre-designated for colonization by venture capitalists, General Colonial Inc., or the Terran Confederation Navy, drop off anywhere from 44 to 2200 colonists, simple bases, supplies, vehicles, and head back for more.

The Ondernemings carried two sub-craft: a Chafer-class cargo shuttle, and a 30-ton ship’s boat.

Ships that were severely damaged on the way or at the colony endpoint would get converted into makeshift orbital transfer stations, orbital weather/traffic control satellite stations, or anything else the colonists could salvage and put to use, often with the ship’s original crew heading home on another ship of the convoy.

If a colony was off well-travelled trade routes, one or more of the Ondernemings on convoy would be assigned as permanent resupply ships, often constituting a world’s sole contact with the rest of humanity. Several early colonies were completely forgotten because of the later loss of these Ondernemings.

In areas where footholds had been established, Ondernemings were converted into liners for more conventional, subsidized colonial ‘buildup’, carrying at least one whole cargobay full of GenAssist cloning facility equipment for on-site rapid-growth, along with the personnel to set up or operate such machinery once it was delivered.

Much later in the period, older Ondernemings would be sold off to free traders and small, but growing, interstellar shipping and transport firms, gaining often outlandish ‘company’ paint jobs and even heraldry in some cases.

Author’s Note: The ship’s boat is the only thing that has not been statted out. Essentially, it works out to TL11 30ton ship’s boat, 3G, 30 passengers with 6 tons cargo, model 2/bis computers and costs MCr 29.3 as an established production model with the same sensors and comm system as the parent ship.

Editor's note: Clicking on the thumbnails below will display a larger version of the deckplan. Click on your browser's 'back' button to return to this page.  The data block for the Onderneming is on the plan sheet for deck 1; the data block for the Chafer shuttle is on the shuttle's plan sheet.