Express Boat (Xboat)

Logo of the IISS Communications Branch Rapid communication starships designed to make optimum use of jump technology in transmission of information within the Imperium.

The sheer size of the Imperium means that ordinary communications must depend on ships travelling along the main trade routes, making Regina ( Regina / Spinward Marches 1910) nearly 4 years out from the Imperial Core sector. The express boat (often abbreviated to xboat) system, cuts this by nearly 75%. Selected locations along major trade routes are established as sites for express boat stations , orbital facilities which service and refuel the xboats on their communications runs. Often an express boat tender serves as the station.

Express Boat Tender and Xboat (artist Jesse DeGraff, used with permission); click for larger image Xboats are jump-4 ships with no maneuver drive, crewed by single pilots. As an xboat arrives in a new system, it beams its recorded data to the express boat station , which then retransmits it to an xboat standing by to jump outsystem. The first ship is then refuelled, possibly the pilot is replaced, and it awaits the arrival of the next incoming boat.

Time between jumps is almost always under 4 hours, and the record is under 7 minutes, making the speed of the communication nearly the speed of jump; 4 parsecs per week. In practice, this speed is somewhat reduced because xboat routes do not follow straight lines, and that not all jumps are made at jump-4. Nonetheless, the system achieves approximately jump-2.6 per week.

The xboat system was established by Arbellatra in 624, and expanded to cover the entire Imperium by 718.

(SUPP-3, 1105; ADV-1, 1105; ADV-3, 1106; MT-ENCYC, 1120)

Return to Top of Page