Things you need to consider when buying a spaceship

Thinking of buying yourself a spaceship? Then there are some crucial things to consider, as taught to us by film and TV, that you may want to bear in mind...

Succeeding in convincing my wife to watch Firefly with me recently felt like a victory, and sure, she enjoyed it. But she would keep pointing out things that were not “realistic”. Not in a technological sense, but more behavioural. You’ll see her exact gripe a little later on, with lapses in judgement made by Jubal Early, but she did start me thinking about similar scenes in films and shows.

When it comes to buying your very own ship, you don’t want to make the silly mistakes that these people did, or you’re going to lose your ship, die, or maybe even get moaned at.

So, here are some useful tips for spaceship purchases that some weren’t wise or fortunate enough to follow…

Choose your software wisely

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This is not a dig at choosing the correct operating system, but more aimed at those who want to retain control of ships in their fleet.

If you even suspect someone has stolen one of your fighters, and you want to check who is, in fact, flying it as it docks with your mothership, it’d be nice to do some form of neutrino ID scan and verify it’s not Will Smith and that guy from Jurassic Park coming to mess your shit up.

If the only way you have of checking is looking through the glass, your security measures can be defeated by a blanket. You deserve to lose.

In short: if you can get a big spaceship with massive defences, you can get some decent software to run on it. Amazon has some good deals.

Check the controls

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If you’re at a friend’s house, and have Halo on, when it’s your turn, the first thing you do is check to see if the fool who had the controller before you was using some bizarre button setup or (horror) had the axes inverted.

You do this with Xbox games. Thus, take a second to do it with your new ship. Familiarise yourself before you go off on a top secret or highly important mission, else, risk looking a fool in front of your colleagues and family. And that’ll never do.

Make sure the engines are powerful enough

If you have to deal with a pesky rebel intrusion and your wingman is a moron, you’re going to get a bump. This may send you spinning off into space.

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One would hope, therefore, that your thrusters would be able to exert enough power to stop you spinning, and maybe get back to the fight.

It’s worth checking this before signing the hire purchase agreement.

Buy a new model

Sure, Ancient technology seems cool, and it’s lasted this long, but it invariably breaks. If it was at all reliable, all the boys and girls on Destiny could come home at the first sign of trouble, and maybe mount a rescue plan for Janeway and co.

If you see a discounted ancient ship, be aware that they break a lot and parts are not generally in stock. False economies, people. False economies.

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It also helps, incidentally, to buy off a reputable dealer, with a financial paper trail. Doing a dodgy deal in an intergalactic junkyard rarely goes well.

Don’t go looking for any colour other than a dirty grey

Bluntly, you’ve got no chance. Spaceships aren’t available in bright red, pink, yellow, green or a nice misty buff. It’s just the law. Best deal with it.

Fill her up

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Make sure that whatever fuel your ship takes, dilithium crystals, ZPM, nibbler poop, water, whatever, is plentiful. Or at least know where the nearest filling station is.

Getting stranded is embarrassing. Getting stranded in the middle of nowhere, with lots of people wanting to kill you, and an Esso station nowhere in sight? It might just be fatal…

Fit some cameras

The minds behind EVE Online came up with an elegant solution to monitoring the outside of your vessel: independent camera drones. If that’s too much of a hassle, take a leaf out of the British government’s book. Put a CCTV camera on any surface you find.

Being able to see the outside of your own ship is important. It allows you to check the discarded garbage for that lost fiver, for starters. And you might just notice all those people who want to kick your ass before they’re trying to board your ship, too.

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If the Imperial morons on the Star Destroyer in A New Hope had had some form of external viewpoint, Han Solo would be a lot less smug.

Be careful where you park your ship

Best example here? Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull. Moral of that film? If you have a spaceship, be careful where you park. For, if you’re doing some Niven-esque God Gambit, and you’ve got a whole continent of jungle simpletons venerating you, don’t let them build a temple over your ship.

For starters, it’s horribly inconvenient. But the main problem is that you run the risk of it all being discovered much later by an ageing archaeologist, who then ruins the memories of a whole generation as a consequence. That would be bad.

Also, on a side point, if you see someone fitting Shia LaBeouf’s description, it’s best to get far away.

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Fit a lock

It’s not a mistake Fett ever made, but he was never sent to capture a completely mental dancer who can kill you with her brain.

Either way, if you’re leaving your singleship via the airlock to board someone else’s boat, whether it’s to visit violence upon them or to have afternoon tea, it’s simple sense to lock it up. Otherwise someone, in this case, the aforementioned headcase, will go and steal it.

Silly Jubal. After all, central locking is hardly a new invention, is it?

And finally…

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If all else fails, and the budget is tight, then get one of those spaceships where hyperdrive/warp/whatever only works at the last possible second.

Never mind that there has been thousands of years of development. Every spaceship needs to have the tenacity of a rusty, second hand car that will only start when the bad guys are practically touching the rear bumper…

Leave your suggestions in the comments…!

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