(I'll scan a picture eventually)
Named after the explorer who discovered the continent of North America, this vessel was one of the 13 colony ships who were sent away from Earth in 2145 to travel throught the vast regions of space, and ultimately colonize a planet. These vessels were sent in the direction of star systems with planets that were cool/warm enough to be habitable, in hopes of finding life(they would colonize regardless). Of the twelve colony ships, 7 were seemingly lost forever, but five of them have since been found; 2 adrift in space, with all crew dead(most likely killed by cosmic radiation, one was found hopelessly wrecked; it had crashed right into an asteroid too large for it's defences to do anything about (these ships carry several hydrogen bombs, which are launched at an asteroid to divert it's course), one of the colony ships was found crashed on a planet, but with some survivors, who started a small colony(see Hernando De Soto), and the last one was found heavily damaged, but with cabin pressure still intact, and the entire crew had been infected by the Parasites (see Marco Polo). The Columbus was one of the lucky ones however, and the crew members were the first to make contact with Jalopia, which at the time was in a large conflict with neighboring Zephias.
The design of most of the Twelve colony ships was similar, with only slight variations. The first crewmwmbers to leave earth on one of these colony ships would not ever see their destination, nor would their grandchildren or their great grandchildren. The journey to the system in which Jalopia and Zephias are located took 254 years. The engines only had to be activated once every 10 years, and only for a day at a time, since there is very little resistance in space.
The columbus was large enough to support a crew of 200 for a very long time. All waste is recycled in one form or another. Solid waste was used as fertilizer for the hydroponics facilities, Urine was purified into drinking water, and not even the dead were ejected; bodies were broken down and used for fertilizer as well. The Columbus even had a small chicken farm aboard, and the scraps from food were used to feed them. The chickens supplied sthe crew with a protein source other than the beans which were grown hydroponically. The Columbus actually had a small ore smelter on board, so that a passing asteroid or piece of space debris could be converted into metals which could be used in the manufacture of simple items. power was provided by solar generators that could turn the light of the stars into energy. The long "tail" of cargo containers behind the habitation section of the vessel held preserved food and other items. The preserved food was eaten once a week as a suppliment to the diet of vegetables and the occasional chicken or egg. The cargo containers were reached by a system of trams which carried items to the habitation section when needed.
The onboard activities were numerous, including a vurtual reality room which simulated Earth, a gym, a comunity center, a game room, several restaraunts and observation decks, and even a bowling alley and pool. Cabins were rather plain, consisting of two beds a closet, a tv screen which displayed onboard news, and a few other things. Bathrooms were located down the hall.
To control population, 80% of males aboard the ship were made sterile at birth, leaving only 20% of the population able to reproduce. Crewmembers were given their first job at the age of 14, after going to school to learn basic math and other subjects, but mainly how to operate things on the ship. If they showed exeptional skill at something, they were given an additional 4 years of schooling in that area. These people would have more advanced jobs than the rest of the crew. Jobs were chosen for people, but after three years of working, a new job was chosen based on their performance in their first one.