class of Resource Collectors is an even older design than
the Mercy repair frigate. Apart from transport shuttles, the
Providence was the first design put into service for the
construction of the Mothership, and these ships helped to
break down the initial massive asteroids brought in from the
Belt, reducing them to useable resources. All resource
gathering is achieved by the use of a specialized
bow-mounted Phased Disassmbler Array, which breaks down the
target into its component atoms and draws them into the
Providence's huge storage bays. Once full, the Providence
then returns to the Mothership and docks at one of the
dermal ports to unload.
Since almost all conflicts revolve around control of deep
space asteroid and nebula fields, resource collection is one
of the most dangerous duties in the fleet--and yet, no
combat personnel crew any of these ships. Most of a
Collector's functions are automated or controlled from the
Mothership, so that only a skeleton crew of 4 engineers need
to be aboard in a troubleshooting capacity. Needless to say,
there are not many volunteers for this duty, and therefore
all support staff must spend one week of their 8-week duty
rotation aboard a Collector.
Because an unarmed Providence usually lives or dies by the
quality of its fighter escort, Providence crews have been
known to pool some of their recreational credits and pass
them on to fighter pilots that are especially reliable.
Since it is a rare pilot who is willing to forgo the glamour
of wracking up kills in order to stick close to a lumbering
Collector, Providence crews tend to show their appreciation
in order to keep such pilots requesting escort duty.