Transportation within StarBase 118

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StarBase 118
Trojan-class SB118




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With a structure as large as StarBase 118, the moving of people from one area to another is a colossal task. This article will give a clearer understanding of transportation within StarBase 118.

Turbolifts

A vast, highly complex, network of turbolift shafts span the starbase, both vertically and horizontally, to enable officers and civilians alike quick access to all parts of the station. To utilize the least amount of energy in the movement of turbolifts, all shafts are depressurized, creating a vacuum.

Several classes of turbolift are available depending on the occupant's security clearance.

Type A, Cargo

Cargo lifts are used for large items, which do not necessarily need to be transported. Often this includes beaming-sensitive equipment, or simply large containers of delicate items. These lifts are approximately four meters in diameter, with an enlarged door opening. They travel only in special tubes, located in certain areas of the base.

Type B, Large Personnel

Large personnel lifts (or, express lifts) are designated for long-range distance traveling on the base. Approximately 75% of the base's lift-tubes are accessible to Type B cars. At 3.5 meters wide, they allow space for a bench, attached to the interior wall of the lift, as well as a central pole passengers can use to stabilize themselves with.

Type B cars move at a higher rate of speed than the Type C cars (mentioned below), and also receive higher priority in tube-access than Type C cars. As such, Type C cars will automatically be routed out of the travel path of a Type B, even if it means the Type C car must pause at a wait station. Type B only access certain decks of the base, which requires that some passengers access a Type C car from their current location, to an express lift's designated deck.

Type C, Standard Personnel

Standard personnel lifts are designated for short-range travel on the base, usually spanning less than 30% of the base's length. Standard lifts can access any lift tube (including Cargo lift tubes) by using a special device. If it is necessary for a standard lift to access an express tube, the lift will be routed to the location of the nearest lift-expander. Expanders act as a larger outer wall for the standard lift, while holding it inside a fitted compartment. Expanders increase the speed of the lift as well.

Notes on Habitation Dome/Commercial sector

The Commercial Dome is hollow, but turbolift traffic must still travel through. As such, a set of six transparent turbolift tubes extend from the top to the bottom of the dome. Four of the six core tubes are express-only, through which Type-B cars travel, without stopping, to lower or upper portions of the base. Two of the tubes service both express lifts, as well as Type-B lifts which travel between the Upper and Lower Wait Stations, explained below. The lifts which travel in these two tubes allocated for movement between the two wait stations on either side of the dome move into "loading bays" while in the wait stations. These loading bays are off the main "track" of the tube, and thus other express lifts can pass through the tubes while the lifts are being loaded and preparing to move to the opposite wait station. For even further efficiency, each tube actually has two loading bays, so that three lifts moving between the two wait stations can actually share each tube, while express lifts are also using the tubes! An animation detailing the movement of lifts within one tube is available.

Wait Stations

To reach the floor of the dome from any destination in the base, you must travel to the Lower Wait Station (LWS) below the dome, and utilize either the stairs, escalator, or a lift which only moves between the LWS and the floor of the dome. All express, Type-B lifts make only one stop near the dome -- either at the Upper Wait Station or the Lower Wait Station.

  • The Upper Wait Station (UWS) spans two decks, but does not encompass the entire floor area of both decks -- instead occupying an area surrounding the six core turbolift tubes. The upper deck of this wait station services local traffic arriving from the 75 decks above the dome. Upon arriving at the UWS, travelers disembark a local, Type-C lift, and utilize either the stairs, the escalator, or one of the Type-C lifts which only services the two decks of the wait station to go down to the lower deck of the wait station. Here, travelers will board a Type-B lift which will stop only at the Lower Wait Station before return to the UWS.
  • The Lower Wait Station (LWS) is only one deck, and services local traffic arriving from the 75 decks below the dome, as well as all express lifts for travelers seeking to reach the dome floor. Upon arriving at the LWS, travelers utilize the stairs, escalators, or one of the Type-C lifts which only service the wait station and the dome floor.

Route examples

Note that, in some cases, you may already be located on a deck with an express, Type-B loading station, in which case a Type-C (local) lift will not be required.

  • Engineering Section (below the dome) to Command Center (above the dome)
    • Routing: Take a Type-C (local) lift to a Type-B (express) lift loading station. After requesting the Command Center as your destination, a Type-B (express) lift will arrive. This lift will travel through the central core shaft of the Commercial Dome and may stop at a limited number of loading stations before arriving at the Command Center lift loading station. You will then need to board a Type-C (local) lift to reach the upper decks of the Command Center, or walk up a few flights of stairs.
    • Lift changes: 2 changes for a total of 3 lifts.
    • Peak/non-peak travel time: 12 minutes / 6 minutes
  • Engineering Section (below the dome) to the Commercial Dome floor
    • Routing: Take a Type-C (local) lift to a Type-B (express) lift loading station. After requesting the Commercial Dome floor as your destination, a Type-B (express) lift will arrive. This lift will stop at the Lower Wait Station (LWS). Depending on your mobility, you can utilize the stairs, escalators, or wait for one of the Type-C lifts moving up one deck to the dome floor. Depending on what deck of the Engineering Section you are located on, it's possible you could instead take just a Type-C (local) lift.
    • Lift changes: 1 change for a total of 2 lifts.
    • Peak/non-peak travel time: 5 minutes / 4 minutes
  • Command Center to Habitat Dome floor
    • Routing: Take a Type-C (local) lift to the the Command Center lift loading station. After requesting the Commercial Dome floor as your destination, a Type-B (express) lift will arrive. This lift will travel through the central core shaft of the Commercial Dome and may stop at a limited number of loading stations before arriving at the Lower Wait Station. Then, depending on your mobility, utilize the stairs, escalators, or wait for one of the Type-C lifts moving up one deck to the Dome floor.
    • Lift changes: 1 change for a total of 2 lifts.
    • Peak/non-peak travel time: 14 minutes / 10 minutes

Travel Around the Dome

Because the dome is so large, travel from one area to another can be a longer walk than is practical. As such, the deck below the dome -- in addition to housing the LWS -- is also used for an elaborate subway system which utilizes small, on-call turbolift like vehicles.

Safety Precautions

With such long turbolift shafts, numerous safety precautions must be utilized to protect personnel from faulty systems.

Emergency Braking Systems

These brakes utilize entirely independent power systems, and, in the event of a power failure, slow the lift to a stop. Should the braking systems be malfunctioning, the expansion-bladder automatically engages. In the event that the emergency braking system is functioning below normal levels, the expansion-bladder system will also engage to assist in slowing the lift to a stop.

Expansion Bladder

The first measure of safety installed on all lifts and expansion cars, is called the expansion-bladder. (While named confusingly, this tool is not actually associated solely with expansion lifts, and is used on all sized lift cars).

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In normal functioning, small locks powered by the lift's main systems keep special compartments on the exterior of the lift closed. Should power fail, the spring-powered locks automatically disengage, opening compact compartments of densely-woven inflating bladders. These bladders also utilize the lift's power to not inflate, and thus when power fails, they expand and wedge between the lift, and the shaft wall. While not necessarily powerful enough to stop the lift quickly, they can slow the car's speed significantly over long distances, eventually causing it to stop due to lack of momentum. This system also accentuates the effects of the emergency braking systems.

Tethers

In normal functioning, small locks powered by the starbase's main systems keep special compartments in the turbolift shaft walls closed. Should power fail, the spring-powered locks automatically disengage, opening compartments which house strong hooks tethered to tightly bound coils of "gum"-like cord. (The cord stretches great distances, but does not have the same "bounce" as elastic.) The hooks -- again, spring loaded -- slide into the path of the turbolifts and catch corresponding eye-hooks. When a turbolift is "caught" by one of the hooks, the tethers pull strongly against the coils slowly pull the lift to a stop. The coiled cords can give up to 2km worth of "give," depending on the turbolift shaft they service, to give the lifts ample time to slow without injuring passengers of the lift.

Transporters

There are dozens of small transporter stations around the base, which makes moving people between certain areas quicker and easier. These transporter stations are usually manned by just one officer, and are for use by anyone. Each person who lives on the base has a limited number of transports per week, which helps keep the energy consumption by these transportation devices down to a manageable level. Site-to-site transports are only allowed by command staff of high enough clearance. All other personnel must utilize station-to-station transporting.