The Petronel was a lighthugger with aging, faulty Conjoiner drives, but also home to one of the more benevolent-minded Ultranaut crews, carrying refugees from Shiva-Parvati. During its flight to the nearest system, the Petronel was attacked in interstellar space by another lighthugger, the Cockatrice.
The two ships engaged in an escalating interstellar chase and exchanging fire at great ranges. The Cockatrice was eventually destroyed by accident, due to a piece of debris striking the ship while it was at very high velocities. The crew of the Petronel sent a search party to the wreck of the Cockatrice to search for survivors, finding only a female Conjoiner previously held captive by the Cockatrice's crew.
Known crew members Edit
- Rafe Van Ness (captain)
- Inigo Standish (shipmaster)
- various other Ultranauts
- Weather (rescued captive, guest)
Naming allussions Edit
A petronel is a 16th and 17th century matchlock or wheellock firearm, something of a compromise between a pistol and an arquebus. It's a precursor to cavalry carbines.
- Though not explicitly specified in the short story, its narrative implies that the Petronel is a ramliner, a lighthugger customised for carrying large numbers of reefersleep passengers ("sleepers").
- Inigo mentions that, along with him and captain Van Ness, the Petronel has some 25 active crew members in total.
- The ship is probably the only lighthugger in the series to be depicted doing a "broadside" firing manoeuvre as a method of defensive combat against another lighthugger, all the while both are taking part in a chase at interstellar speeds. Though not detailed, it is implied the Petronel shut off its main engines thrust temporarily (flying forward purely on momentum), used reaction control thrusters to change its position for the sake of a broadside at the enemy ship, then repositioned itself to the usual flight position and reengaged main thrust.
- Lighthugger - The principal interstellar spacecraft type used by humanity, the Petronel being one of many.