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The Fleet Ship designs, strategies, and tactics.

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Old June 1st, 2019, 11:02 PM
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Default Cold Berths as Brigs

I am starting to work on designing some ships for my universe, and was thinking that the warships, Space Viking ships, and probably the Rim Scout ships will need brigs. However, if someone is in the brig, they are still using up oxygen, water, and food, along with other life support supplies. I am not sure if I want to have an unproductive member of the crew doing that, and then the idea hit me that a "cold berth" would be a great place to put such a crew member on "ice" for the duration of their confinement.

For survival, I might go with a bit higher probability than the normal 1 in 36 chance. Maybe have two 2D6 rolls, the first 12 indicating a drop of 1 in one of characteristics for a few weeks. The characteristics I am thinking of are the physical ones: strength, endurance, dexterity, and intelligence. Getting tossed in the brig might result in a drop in Social Standing too, come to think of it. Then if one double 6 shows up, roll again, and if another double 6 shows up, well then the crew member might just become a permanent casualty. The option would be simply toss them off the ship at the next port, regardless of how uninviting it may be.
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Old June 2nd, 2019, 04:27 AM
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What - you are removing the "Captain's prerogative" of using the airlock?
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Old June 2nd, 2019, 08:55 AM
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But would it count against time served? If, for instance, they were supposed to be in the brig for 6 weeks for their infraction, would 6 weeks in cold storage count as 6 weeks? For the one in the cold berth it would seem as no time had passed (depending on your views of cold berth).

Or, would that just be a handy storage option until you got to a base where they would then spend 6 real weeks in the brig?

Always bothered me: those SF shows where the prisoner is just put into cold storage for x years, then is considered time served when they wake up years later. They personally served no time. Unless there is some VR, but even then, they come out basically the same age as they went in but now with years of additional memory. Seems more a boon than a bane.
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Old June 2nd, 2019, 10:34 AM
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It's a good way to ensure that somebody doesn't cause anymore trouble. We once threw the surviving attempted hijackers into low berths, and called the authorities after the jump was done.

For transport to or from a prison, along the lines of Justice Alien and Prisoner Services or a Prisoner Transport vehicle, low berths make sense. The prisoner is restrained, and at significant risk. For the crew, it can be easier to move them as well.

In my experience, a sailor awarded restriction would do their normal job during the day, but couldn't leave the ship except under escort. For the most part, unless it's a serious crime in an isolated area, a frozen man in the brig doesn't make sense. I'd allow frozen until returned to port, with a review of the sentence there.
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Old June 2nd, 2019, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coliver988 View Post
But would it count against time served? If, for instance, they were supposed to be in the brig for 6 weeks for their infraction, would 6 weeks in cold storage count as 6 weeks? For the one in the cold berth it would seem as no time had passed (depending on your views of cold berth).

Or, would that just be a handy storage option until you got to a base where they would then spend 6 real weeks in the brig?

Always bothered me: those SF shows where the prisoner is just put into cold storage for x years, then is considered time served when they wake up years later. They personally served no time. Unless there is some VR, but even then, they come out basically the same age as they went in but now with years of additional memory. Seems more a boon than a bane.
I would not count it towards time served, as they are not doing anything constructive. Depending on what group kicks them out, they may simple be dumped on a planet with nothing but the gear that they own.
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Old June 2nd, 2019, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coliver988 View Post
But would it count against time served? If, for instance, they were supposed to be in the brig for 6 weeks for their infraction, would 6 weeks in cold storage count as 6 weeks? For the one in the cold berth it would seem as no time had passed (depending on your views of cold berth).

Or, would that just be a handy storage option until you got to a base where they would then spend 6 real weeks in the brig?

Always bothered me: those SF shows where the prisoner is just put into cold storage for x years, then is considered time served when they wake up years later. They personally served no time. Unless there is some VR, but even then, they come out basically the same age as they went in but now with years of additional memory. Seems more a boon than a bane.
This is the essential question. If you are putting someone in the brig as punishment (restriction of movement, poor food, regimentation, etc.) and as a corrective measure for screwing up or doing something criminal, then low berthing them is worthless.

If the crime was serious, I'd say air locking them or the equivalent would be more appropriate. For minor offenses, brig time where they're supervised and have to perform lots of menial tasks and be under constant supervision as well as regimentation would be better.
The only time I could see low berthing someone is when they're a perennial low level foul up / screw up who simply can't seem to do things right. This sort being low berthed until they can be discharged and tossed off the ship at some forlorn planet. That way they don't keep screwing up stuff but at the same time they're put in a safe place until they can be gotten rid of.

The other reason might be for prisoner transport. Freeze all the prisoners being transported. Makes for far fewer guards and other expenses like food and air. When they get to wherever they're going, unfreeze them and continue on with their punishment. I could see something like this being used to dump prisoners on a "prison" planet that's more like a penal colony where they are turned loose outside a secure compound and they can do whatever they want as the only people they're interacting with are other prisoners. Grow your own food, etc. That's kind of well beyond what a ship's brig would be handling however.
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Old June 3rd, 2019, 04:01 AM
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Sounds very much like what the British Empire would do shipping convicts to Planet Australia.
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Old June 3rd, 2019, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by kilemall View Post
Sounds very much like what the British Empire would do shipping convicts to Planet Australia.
Hardly the only colony that got prisoners. The Americas got their fair share earlier, most going to the more southern American colonies, Georgia in particular.
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Old June 3rd, 2019, 01:52 PM
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If Pres. Lincoln had had access to low berths, the US would have no one of African descent... it was the shipping costs (money and lives) that prevented him from deporting all slaves back to Africa.
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Old June 3rd, 2019, 02:20 PM
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If Pres. Lincoln had had access to low berths, the US would have no one of African descent... it was the shipping costs (money and lives) that prevented him from deporting all slaves back to Africa.
That and the South would have objected a tad strongly to any such action.
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