The Astra, announcing its presence with authority. First mentioned six years ago, Heirotus Corporate Security Starship 47-01 is the first in a series of mass produced dual-core BTS platforms based on technological advancements proven with the HX-47 Sabrosa. If the Sabrosa is equivalent to the Enterprise then the Astra would be equivalent to the Nimitz. If the Nimitz were six or seven times the size and capable of launching at least eleven vehicles simultaneously – eight fighters, shuttles or support craft from the forward tubes and three larger vehicles from the central flight deck.

Modeling work on the Astra began in March of 2009. I realized then I’d need it eventually, and at that point in time the plan was to have proceeded with Transitional Voices immediately after finishing the second edition of The Dualist with DCR being worked on “whenever,” so the need felt like “later in 2009.” I box modeled the base hull – the forward prongs, the engine section, the tower, the QAR, etc – then set it aside to work on other parts of ATC. For five years. When it came time to blow the dust off the model I was surprised to find out that unlike the Castores the geometry had aged well and was almost entirely useable as-is. While the Castores and Pod models built previously were thrown out and redone from scratch for this chapter, the Astra was evolved from its 2009 design into what you see here in roughly ten days. Unlike the Sabrosa it’s almost entirely geometry – color differentiation is achieved via shaders instead of texture maps, and all of the windows are geometry instead of textures. This means the Astra has three texture maps to the Sabrosa‘s ninety-nine.. What a difference eight years makes!

While the Astra is ultimately the Sabrosa redone with years of modeling experience, it does feature a couple of plot-specific details that intentionally differentiate it from its predecessor – bits it would have been added to the hull had I just cloned the Sabrosa and called it even. The negative space in the “wings” is very much Rule of Cool – a design cue from the Farscape Command Carrier. The Sabrosa likely uses that space for stores or possibly hydroponics. It’s designed for long deployments; the Astra was built to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

In unrelated news you can now buy Dead City Radio #1A, a special 40 page printing of Observer Effect and Whitehouse created for the Ceremony Reunion. It’s a limited edition so ORDER NOW if you want it for the holidays. Proceeds that don’t cover shipping and printing costs will go directly to rent or towards the trip I took to the ER on Friday, which is a thing I’ll likely talk about in more detail at some point in the future. I now have FRESH REFERENCE for the Sabrosa sick bay just in time for the Transitional Voices chapter four script I have yet to start working on. If you’ve got more money than you know what to do with and want more than a comic you can also commission me.

Here’s the short version of my little trip to the ER: I quit smoking and quit drinking in early 2013 and am now vastly more likely to die from the high blood pressure that has resulted from the removal of my stress coping mechanisms, as I have succeeded in removing all of the vices but none of the stress. FUCK YEAH BIOLOGY.

C’est la vie.

Next week: The last day of the month! The last page of the chapter!

Glossary Articles

  • Astra

    The Astra is the first production model Type 47 Heirotus Colonial Authority warship. A bigger, beefier, more lethal version of the Sabrosa, the Astra features longer range, heavier weaponry, a much larger flight deck...

  • GAC-5623.8

    A gas giant somewhere between Earth and civilization, utterly unremarkable save for the recently dispersed orbital body the Sabrosa smacked into at the untimely end of an otherwise textbook BTS jump.

  • Sabrosa

    Heirotus capital ship prototype 47 (HX-47) Sabrosa is the testbed for several technologies incorporated in the Type 47 class of Heirotus Colonial Authority warships, in mass production at the time of The Dualist. The...