Ship and Pilot: October 2951 issue

Thalstan

Space Marshal
Jun 5, 2016
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Thalstan
First Look: Origin 400i.

Origin is a brand that has tried for decades to entice people to spend their hard-earned credits on a concept: Luxury.


But what is Luxury? The dictionary would define it as “the state of great comfort and extravagant living”. We can certainly see examples of this in Origin’s line-up, with their 890 Jump, which is nothing short of a star cruising mega yacht, or even the 600i touring, a favorite of entertainers, athletes, and wanna-be trading moguls.


Yet for all the to-do that Origin has made of being king of the luxury world, they have also produced some “entry level” ships in their time as well. The 100 series, which seems nothing more than a fancy Aurora, and even the 300 series, which pretends to be an entry level ship for everything from cargo hauling to exploration to combat, yet falls behind those that do it for a living. Why is that? Could it be that they are trying to shoehorn luxury into areas where it doesn’t belong?


For years, Origin has made a big deal with regards to their “Connie Competitor” 600i. They talk about the style, the sophistication, and the performance, yet this is a ship that is nearly 30 meters longer than the standard Constellation, and just under 1.5 times the cost. Yet when you look at it, it carries more missiles, more guns, and more cargo than the 600i does currently, and it even has it’s own short range scout ship. Indeed, one only has to look at another major ship company, Crusader industries, to see that sometimes, function is it’s own form of luxury.


So vast are the differences between these ships “Connie Competitor” has almost become a meme….until October 9, 2951. On that date, Origin announced the long rumored 400i. This writer was given a look at one of the first production models, just hours after it went on the market.


Is this just another pretender to the luxury throne, is this truly a “Connie competitor” or is this just another meme waiting to happen?


After a few days of driving one around, I will have to say it’s the real deal. At 60m, it’s right about the same length as the Connie. It also makes use of multiple levels to give the ship a real sense of refinement that the Connie lacks. Instead of a cramped water closet, the rest facilities are open and spacious. There is enough room to actually move around it, not just enough room to store a courier box in. In addition, there are crew quarters. Yes, two will have to share, but it’s better than the 4 box bunks more appropriate to the freelancer than the Connie.


Everything about the 400i is finished, with great attention to detail. There are no major power cords/data cables snaking across the flight deck floor (yes, even in the Phoenix) Instead you will see the little details, like under bunk storage, a large weapons rack that’s big enough for even your most Tackleberry (see late 20th century audio/visual media, police comedy for more about that reference) like crewmate. There is also a table for 4 for dining, a docking collar attachment, a fast elevator (elevator speeds have been a constant complaint by Origin owners), room for a single Origin X-1 grav-lev bike, plus an additional 42 SCU of cargo,


On the other hand, is there a benefit so some of the things Origin has done? Is there a need for a climate-controlled avionics area? Other manufacturers seem to be able to install their avionics and other systems without the need for these space wasting areas that will also impede the ability to extract and repair/replace these devices when they need maintenance/repair. While there are a good number of door controls available, many are labeled…poorly. For instance, both the door from the entrance to the rest of the ship, and the entrance ramp itself are located on the same panel, and bother are labeled “door” Could they not have spent a little extra and labeled one “ramp”.


Indeed, the entrance steps is one of my bigger pet peeves. It uses up a lot of area. Area that could have been used as cargo space, while Origin has the elevator go down to pick up the crew. After all, that’s what happens on the 600 and 890.


Also, handling in atmosphere is very different from how it handles in space. Simply put, I would not recommend taking it into any atmosphere thicker than Yela’s While straight line acceleration is okay, roll, pitch, and yaw where all painfully heavy.


Overall, I would give the 400i a single thumb up. The attention to fit and finish is remarkable, and in space, it’s a nice little ship that is good for both solo cruising, and for bringing along a few friends. It’s one of those ships that fit the role of luxury, without being gaudy.
 
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