122 Anchors Aweigh
Once Zoey and 704 were back on the cruiser's bridge, Zoey gave 704 a quick rundown of how the cruiser would function in flight. She had designed the ship with the mindset that she would be making considerable modifications to the ship over time as she improved the design as needed. But at the moment, the flight system was a combination of Gravity Rune arrays that would control the weight of the cruiser, and a series of RCS thrusters placed around the cruiser's mass that provided lift and maneuverability.
These RCS thrusters were not your normal, chemical fuel powered affair. Zoey had done some tests and realized that she could use magic arrays to compress air, and subsequently force the compressed air through the RCS thruster nozzles, and thus removing the need for costly and inefficient chemical propulsion.
Of course there were other options, such as ion thrusters or the more advanced plasma thrusters, and even some that were beyond her understanding. But all of them were ridiculously costly to build and maintain, often with absurd power requirements, not to mention that her Aether Engineer talent could not fabricate most of the heavy elements required in their design.
This also was part of the reason why she was using Aether Crystals to provide the cruiser with power. She could have used some form of electric power generation or reactor, but when she had compared efficiency, reliability, and cost, Aether Crystal power was the winner in all categories.
In short, a magic powered compression array that forced air through a RCS nozzle was simple, efficient, and effective, all she needed at the moment. Sure, the air-powered system would not be able to produce the same amount of acceleration and force as a plasma based thruster, but for now it would be enough until she decided on an alternative.
It didn't take long for her to familiarize 704 with flight mechanics. Thanks to his new link with Zoey's interface, she was able to send him information as needed. Plus, the first flight was going to be basic, more of a hover really, just to test the Gravity Rune array network and the maneuvering thrusters.
Once they were prepared and 704 was up to speed, Zoey sat on the Captain's chair while 704 hovered nearby. Smiling with anticipation, Zoey input some commands into her interface, and activated the RCS thrusters alongside the Gravity Rune array.
As the systems activated, the left arm of the Captain's chair opened up and the control node emerged from within. The ship's controller was a palm sized grip shaped to Zoey's hand, suspended a few centimeters in the air by a Gravity Rune array. This grip would allow her to control directional movement, and the pitch, yaw, and roll of the ship, all with one hand.
As Zoey settled her hand onto the grip in preparation for takeoff, 704 said to her, "System preflight check complete. All Gravity Rune arrays operational. RCS thrusters online and compression ratio holding steady at 30:1. We are ready for takeoff Miss Zoey."
"Thank you 704, lets bring her up!" Zoey said with a grin.
She then lifted the control grip vertically, commanding the ship to lift off.
Outside the ship, the RCS thrusters on the bottom of the ship started to spool up with a hum of power and the hissing of air that quickly became a roar as the thrusters began to kick in. The Gravity Runes as well started to glow on the inside of the hull, modifying the weight of the huge cruiser so the thrusters could actually lift it off the ground.
Then, with a roar and flurry of windblown debris, the multi-thousand ton cruiser started to lift from the ground. On the bridge, Zoey was watching the monitor in front of her like a hawk for any alerts as the landing gear cleared the ground and the ship slowly gained altitude. One meter, two meters, three... slowly she raised the ship up until it hovered ten meters off the ground.
Then she released the control grip so the ship would settle into a hover, and checked the data on her monitor again. 704 had been acting as flight control and was still actively adjusting the Gravity Rune arrays and RCS thrusters in real time to keep the ship steady in the air.
With the way the Gravity Rune array worked on the cruiser, everything inside the ship was adjusted in weight along with the cruiser. Zoey was currently experiencing a low gravity environment that made her and the cruiser considerably lighter.
She still had some modifications to make to that array though. Just like the tablet that she had used to hold down the Church of Sun troops and leave the Scion standing, she could adjust the Gravity Rune array for the cruiser so it excluded anything within the parameters she set. That could come later though.
For now, everything Zoey could see was working flawlessly!
Zoey left her chair and moved to the window of the bridge to look outside. Aside from the distant sound of the thrusters, the bridge was fairly quiet. Zoey knew that once the inner hull was put in place, the sound of the RCS thrusters would not make it through.
She was now standing on the bridge of her own ship as it hovered in the air! The sense of accomplishment alone was enough to make her grin like a fool She could not wait to see Athena and Nito's face when she brought it out of the cube!
"Congratulations Miss Zoey. The launch was successful," 704 said as he floated up to her. "All systems appear to be working as intended."
"We're not done yet, we still have more to do," Zoey replied as she turned serious.
Getting caught up in the moment was fine, but like she had said, there was much to do. For the rest of the day, 704 and Zoey thoroughly tested the RCS thrusters of the cruiser in every way Zoey could think of. Extreme temperatures, weather testing, even small arms fire and explosions, everything was thrown at the thrusters. By the end, all they had done was cause some minor damage that was easily repairable.
Zoey was happy with the results, and finally decided to call it a day. She had to get back to the world outside. There was still a lot of work to be done on the cruiser, like installing the main propulsion engines, and completing the interior, but there would be time for that later.
For now it was back to Viridi and the town of Brumau.