The Artifact provided humanity with technical designs to build the exotic matter matrices used to safely store antimatter. The ship of the Theists was the first to adopt these engines and its general design was copied by each society sending colonists to join the Artifact.
These vessels are cylindrical in shape. Their exteriors are covered with heat radiators, communications systems, and sensor arrays. Their aft end contains powerful engines that annihilate hydrogen and anti-hydrogen to provide a maximum thrust of 0.05 standard gravities. This was maintained for a standard year (360 days) at the start of the voyage to accelerate to a velocity of 5% of light speed. The relativistic factor was 1.001, meaning that throughout a journey of 493 years, an additional 177 days have passed for observers in the Earth system.
In addition to the antimatter reaction, each ship has an aneutronic nuclear reactor located in its nose, providing electricity to power ship systems. Chemical rockets are used for maneuvering, spin-up, and spin-down.
The core of each ship holds an immense exotic matter matrix containing antimatter fuel, cryogenic tanks, transport shuttles, and reserve supplies. Three floors of habitable environment are wrapped around the core. Rotation along the ship’s axis provides centripetal force at a rate approximating one gravity, though the exact rate varies by vessel and by floor.
Each fleet uses a type of shuttle common to the region of its manufacture. Each Collective vessel has a single shuttle stored in its nose that consists of a habitation section and counterweight which can be spun at 3 revolutions per minute to provide half a standard gravity for passengers once the central pillar telescopes out to its full length of 100 meters.
The Empire stores shuttles on the front rim of its vessels. This allows them to drop launch at approximately 9.8 meters per second without firing thrusters close to their parent vessel. The shuttles of the Empire are rugged constructions capable of military applications. Their utilitarian interiors and lack of artificial gravity are not comfortable for passengers.
The Theist vessel had two shuttles when it launched. These shuttles were large but not designed to provide artificial gravity. When a cryogenic tank rupture caused a fuel shortage, the Theists reclaimed fuel from their shuttles and detached them so they would not expend hydrogen decelerating their mass at the conclusion of the voyage. At the time of Gabriel’s arrival, the Theist vessel has two empty shuttle docks located in its rear section.