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This article is about the space station. For the company, see Hephaestus Mining and Metalworking, Unltd.

Spacecraft Registry
Foundry Hephaestus
Hephaestus crew patch.png
Hephaestus crew patch
Spacecraft Characteristics
Base HullTen acres of Alaskan soil, Portland/Handwavium cement substructure, Pseudo-organic pseudo-geodesic air shield
Drive TypeReactionless thrusters
Drive RatingMax velocity 0.001c
OwnerDwarven Mining & Metalsmithing Unltd.
Flag of RecordHSF-000 Hephaestus
Registry NumberHSF-000
LaunchedSeptember 20th, 2009
PurposeMining & Metalworking, Heavy Salvage & Repair, Engineering & Design
Primary CrewWire Geek (Notional Captain, Chief of Mining and Salvage)
Sparky (Chief of Operations)
"Doc" Raven (Chief of Repair and Maintenance)
Hermes (AI, Majordomo and Computer Core, De Facto Captain)
Operational StatusActive
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Hephaestus, in addition to being difficult to type in a hurry, is a (barely) mobile mining and engineering platform that normally resides in the Asteroid belt. The initial "Ten Acre Chunk", as well as the warehouses and processing facilities, have grown significantly since First Flight. As of the end of OGJ, Hephaestus would face significant damage if it was to enter a gravity well.

Operating as a strange cross between the Skunk Works and a Gypsy tinker, Hephaestus is quite possibly the best place in Fenspace to get a tricky engineering problem solved or bypassed, or to get something weird built, or just to order a few metric tonnes of 'waved steel[1]. Whereas the Rockhounds are producing livable structures out of asteroids, Hephaestus is producing bales and bins of bits and bobs.

Known Vehicle Quirks

  • Not Invented Here: Hephaestus is a center of design and engineering - but they tend to be hard to convince to do it any way but their own.
  • Wait, Dwarves?: The 'crew' of Hephaestus is composed of several dozen dwarves, short stocky miners and ironworkers par excellance. No-one knows where they came from, and neither Hermes nor WG admit to anything.
  • It's Cold.. Why is it Cold?: The original Flesh-and-Blood crew hails from Alaska, and keep the ambient at a comfortable 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Crabs, Purza, I'm so BORRRED: Energy production and AI core speed drop noticeably when there is no active production going on. Hermes wants to be doing stuff, but fortunately isn't too picky about whether it's reducing an asteroid, converting a battleship back into battle steel bar stock, or decorating for a bash.


  • Hephaestus is a semi-mobile mining and refinery platform.
  • Hephaestus is also one of the largest producers of raw Handwavium currently extant. Most of it is for internal consumption.
  • Hephaestus' most profitable product is Battle Steel, an iron-based Handwavium metal stock that sees common use throughout the Fenspace, and the cutting and welding tools for same.


I have to admit a shameful secret here. Most of the Hephaestus comm gear is flat-out stolen.

Once we had one of the Boys up and tested, in the fall of '09, me and the redoubtable Mr. Sparky cruised out to a few local cell sites and cleaned out the equipment.

Hermes was online by then, and while she has never quite approved of the way we got the gear, she's certainly able to work with it.

Wire Geek

The backbone of the Hephaestus local comm system is a trio of modified GSM cellular repeaters. Two of them are on either end of the complex, with antennas above and below the actual complex. The third is central, the actual hardware being tucked in next to Hermes' main core (at least the one she'll admit to), and the antennas being above and below the complex on powered mounts - these antennas are very directional, instead of the omni setups used elsewhere.

The remote stations, cars and suits and the like, are modified cell phones, with uprated transmission and reception capability, and very little functionality elsewhere. Hermes takes care of call routing, everyone else just makes the mouth-noises. Personal Area Networking was handled with Bluetooth, until the crew realized how badly it sucked. They're working on a wireless comm kit, but have had no success at this point.

The current 'suit of the art' is a modified Motorola L8 'MotoBlade' phone hooked into suit power. 'Ringtennas' around all four extremities, as well as the crown of the helmet, provide uninterrupted connectivity no matter the angle or position of the wearer. Speakers and a microphone in the helmet feed the phone's audio circuitry, completing the picture.

In V and the other shuttles, a modified Motorola M1200 Bag Phone takes care of business. Again, uprated receivers and transmitters help keep the connection alive, and 2 panel antennas and 4 'paint-on' flat antennas ensure that Hermes will stay hooked up no matter what part of the vehicle is pointed at her. Of note is V's adaptive coloration and stealth abilities, which can interfere or be interfered with by the telecom capability. Per this, V has control of her onboard comm, while the rest of the shuttles do not.

Hermes is also plugged into a rack of amateur band and commercial band radio gear, all modified. Most of it is Yaesu, with a lot of Motorola gear in the commercial bands. When all is said and done, there are several hundred pounds of 'waved copper (was going for room-temp superconductor, got a near-perfect shield) shielded feedlines pushing a LOT of antennas fore, aft, top and bottom, but Hermes ends up being able to 'see' in damn near everything from 'DC to Daylight'. The Boys and Millie also carry Yaesu amateur radios, modified and covering everything from 50mhz to 1ghz, for communicating with other 'Fen. V carries the same radio, but has control over whether the transmitter is physically connected to anything or not.

Hermes' effective frequency range for audio is from 900hz up to ~2ghz, with digital data capabilities at 800mhz (GSM) 900mhz (GSM), 1.8ghz (GSM), 1.9ghz (GSM), 2.4 ghz (Wi-fi), 2.5ghz (Wi-Max), 3.5 Ghz (Wi-Max), 5.8 ghz (Wi-fi, Wi-Max), as well as QAM and FSK/PSK modulated data at 6, 11, 13, 18, and 32 ghz frequencies. The GSM gear is Motorola, the Wifi and Wimax gear is Linksys, The microwave data gear is NEC.

Keeping Hermes connected to all this lot is a rack of Cisco (of course) switching gear, providing the fiber and copper Ethernet that feeds the Big Stuff. Most Ethernet links on Hermes are cat7 gigabit, though there are no current standards for 'waved Ethernet', nor are there speed tests.

Hephaestus internal addressing is IPv6, though she has an IPv4 gateway for old-school machines. Hephaestus can be found on the Internet, though none of the internet resources for the company are hosted from the platform.

While many of the drones on Hephaestus are GSM based, Hermes prefers the Wimax and Wifi drones, claiming they provide 'better latency' and 'less backtalk'.


Hephaestus is featured in the following stories:


  1. Battle Steel, from Hephaestus sales literature