Because everyone loves ships that can actually go to those twinkling lights in the sky.

Acceleration Couches - most will accommodate a range of humanoid shapes but weirder alien races must have custom-made couches. They are filled with a reactive gel which cushions the occupant against sudden impacts, with a thin hypoallergenic seat cover and straps/harnesses which can be easily fastened across a variety of physiologies. Controls are generally built into the armrests of acceleration couches, at least the most urgently required ones. This prevents the crew from being flung around the bridge due to high-G maneuvers or high-energy impacts on the ship.

Life Pod - the regulations of most space-going races require that starships carry sufficient life pods to evacuate their entire crew and passenger capacity, though profit-minded and unscrupulous traders might consider sacrificing them for extra cargo space. Life pods generally contain enough supplies and life support capacity for a week, with just enough thrust and fuel to (with careful piloting) make it to a sufficiently nearby world and mount simple distress beacons.

Cryopod - pods which can sustain cryogenically frozen individuals. They normally require significant medical intervention, but the more advanced cryopods contain sufficient automation to prepare recognized species for cryogenic suspension. They need minimal energy and replenishment of cryogenic media once freezing has occurred. Reviving someone from cryogenic suspension normally takes hours during which time they will be very weak.

In-System Drive - vague term describing a variety of propulsion systems which are adequate for getting a ship around the vicinity of a planet. In general, these systems are capable of getting a ship to some fraction of lightspeed, but traveling any significant distance within the system, let alone to another star, requires different technology.
Reaction Drive - the lowest tech in-system drive, these require propellant of some sort. Drives of this type range from rockets to ion accelerators and ramscoops to anti-matter combustion.
Reduced Inertia Drive - with the development of anti-gravity technology, reaction drives can be augmented with inertia reduction field generators that make the ship accelerate far more quickly than would otherwise be possible. They are still limited by available propellant and energy and by the speed of light.
Space Folding - the most advanced in-system drives, these straddle the line between in-system propulsion systems and interstellar-capable drive systems. They are capable of low multiples of the speed of light, but traveling between star systems would still take a prohibitively long time using these alone.

Hyperspace Drive - in order to travel between stars efficiently, ships must actually enter 'hyperspace', a conceptual space which maps the universe onto a much smaller one. Normal space cannot be seen from within hyperspace and vice versa, though approaching ships in hyperspace can be detected. Ships rely on special 'sails' to propel themselves within this medium. Dark matter is thick within hyperspace, flowing with eddies and tides that can carry ships quickly from one point to another. It can take days to travel between star systems using hyperspace, but better that than years or centuries.

Anti-grav Pods - relatively bulky jet-engine-sized modules. They provide lift in a strong gravity field and inertial dampening for starships out in open space, allowing their crew to survive under intense acceleration and maneuvers. Advanced anti-grav nodes allow ships to maintain gravity fields of variable strength. They cannot provide arbitrary thrust away from gravity wells.


TODO(lynx): what are we using for starship-to-starship weapons?

Guns - within planetary atmospheres that would attenuate lasers and other energy weapons, a variety of kinetic energy weapons make sense for anti-personnel and anti-missile use. In space, guns may be used for point-defense, but require either self-oxidizing propellants or rail accelerators.

Plasma Shields - these high-energy magnetic fields contain dense plasma which redirects or attenuates weapon fire passing through it. They are also used to deflect the heat generated by atmospheric entry. They are strongest against energy weapons, weakest against projectiles. One cannot fire through a shield; one must create temporary portholes in the shield through which weapons can fire.

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