SC Lois McKendrick

The Lois McKendrick in Federated Freight livery.
SC Lois McKendrick

The 43,000 mt Lois McKendrick was built by the Manchester Main Yards in Durbana and launched 2233-05-17. The noted space-frame architects, Frengle & Worth, Ltd, provided a design optimized for clean lines, easy handling, and economical operation even at the edges of her performance envelope.

She has three main propulsion systems to allow great economy and flexibility in operation. Her Kiehl built solar sail and grav-keel generators provide excellent balance between mass acceleration and handling, giving the Lois McKendrick a spritely maneuverability for a ship of her size. For short-range maneuvering, she carries a pair of Dynamars Auxilliaries providing a low-mass power plant for critical docking maneuvers. In addition, her “mass forward” design pushes her center of gravity well forward of mid-line, even when fully loaded, giving extra leverage to the auxilliaries mounted in the stern. Finally, for inter-stellar travel she carries the reliable Mellon-Merc “Origami,” Oscar-class Burleson drive. The Origami gives the Lois McKendrick a jump range of three BUs fully loaded and four BU’s at half-capacity. For electrical power to keep all these drives well-fed, she carries four Verdad reactor/generators with Pravda voltage regulators. Lois McKendrick generates sufficient surplus capacity to make sure the ship stays in perfect trim when powered by any three — an important maintenance consideration that every chief engineer will appreciate.

In addition to her state-of-the-art power profile, Lois McKendrick is optimized for standard 12m cargo containers. Her cargo-spine can mount 72 standard-width, 36 double-width containers, or any combination of singles and doubles, which gives her a total rated capacity of 43,000 metric tons. The ability to mount a variety of containers even in the same section provides Lois McKendrick with exemplary flexibility over those vessels which can only mount one or the other.

Her crew will be comfortable as well with spacious berthing for 40 in two separate areas, each with its own sanitary facility, crew lockers, and recreational space. These berthing areas boast paired up-and-down bunks providing that critical extra space required for long voyages. These are head and shoulders above the three-up bunk arrangements common on older vessels and are a signature feature of the Frengle & Worth design. For the officers, Lois McKendrick provides six private staterooms in addition to the Captain’s Cabin in Officer Country. Junior officers used to sharing a stateroom will find the added privacy positively luxurious. But amenities don’t stop with berthing. Officers and crew alike will appreciate the 100m lap-track in Lois McKendrick’s fully provisioned gym. In addition to the track, a full complement of workout equipment, workout space, showers, and a sauna will keep everybody aboard in the best shape of their lives.

Last but not least, the Lois McKendrick’s bridge is outfitted with the best astronics, controls, and displays from vendors like Farrah Misho, Collins Communications, Arvo Systems, and Pinnacle. The comfortable stations and prominent bridge provide exemplary support for any operation whether it be container ops, docking, or transition. Your bridge crews will thank you with every evolution.

LOA: 216m
BOA: 24m
DW: 123,000 metric tons
Cargo: 43,000 metric tons, 72 12m containers

Kiehl Sail Generator, class m
Dynamars Auxilliary (2)
Mellon-Merc “Origami” Burleson Drive (class o, range 4)

Verdad Systems reactor/generators with Pravda regulators (4)

Crew Facilities:
Captains Cabin
Officer staterooms (6)
20-person berthing area (2)

Stores and tankage:
Food storage

  • Dry/canned 1000 cu m
  • Refridgerated 500 cu m
  • Frozen 10,000 cu m


  • 1000 cu m potable water
  • 2000 cu m gray water
  • 1000 cu m sludge

Liquid hydrogen

  • 4000 cu m reactor mass
  • 1000 cu m auxilliary fuel

Liquid oxygen

  • 2000 cu m auxilliary fuel
  • 1000 cu m auxilliary environmental

Liquid nitrogen

  • 100 cu m


  • 10 person evac pods (8)
  • 12m pinnace (1)

Side view
Bow, cargo,  and stern sections

36 Responses to SC Lois McKendrick

  1. Jeff says:

    Splendid tale! Well done… cannot wait for the sequel.

  2. Nate says:

    Coming soon to 🙂

  3. Roger Dennis says:

    I love the books, I was very surprised the full share book was so short, but my wife thinks i am crazy laughing all the time while listening to your books. The quarter share book reminds me of when i was a cook in the navy.

  4. Nate says:

    Of the three, Full Share is the longest. When I finally get the last episode re-written, longest by a great deal.

  5. Lionsfire says:

    Awesome Nate! As delightful as Shipping News! You are a master, which I already knew…

  6. Jim says:

    Haven’t read/heard anything so good since Andre Norton’s Solar Queen books! Keep it up! (Please?)

  7. Handysmerf says:

    Wow this has to be my wife and my fav set of stories. We found them on podiobooks when there was ony the first 3 . just found the next two . there gos my download limit for this month lol
    Keep up the good work
    OH and I’ll be giving these book as in the dead tree ones to the relos for Xmas

  8. Tony Mitchell says:

    Just listened to all four books ,I want to thank you for taking the time to put this story to ink. What an incredible life to live on board these vessels ( I wish!!!)Very well written and well spoken ,I whole heartly enjoy the stories and was somewhat sad to see it end. Stay true to your calling and I look forward to hear more from you

  9. Nate says:

    Oh, it’s not over yet. 🙂

  10. Ron Edmister says:

    I spend about 4 hours a day driving and these books made the time truly pleasurable. I’m waiting patiently for the next in line of these great books. Thankyou

  11. Jen Kitchel says:

    Hey, Nate — I ADORE your books. I have listened to all four Share books and also South Coast and I cannot wait for the next one. Can I make one teensy request? The lead-off ads at the beginning of each chapter are much MUCH louder than your reading of the text. I have to keep shifting the volume around while I listen to several chapters in a row. BTW — I love your reading style so much I have also downloaded Time Crime, which was fun, but honestly (despite the renown of the author) not as good as your books. Keep up the fabu work!

  12. Russell Copp says:

    Your books have helped me survive the 4 hours plus commute that I make every day across London. Well and above all intelligently written, a joy. Thank you.

  13. Pingback: Sailing the Solar Winds « The Mosse

  14. wilma says:

    I found quarter Share on Amazon. Loved it When are you going to have the rest on kindle Hurry
    want to buy them all

  15. Nate says:

    I’m glad you liked it. Half Share will be available in October 🙂

  16. Nate|| says:

    Where is the gym?

  17. Nate says:

    In the forward nacelle on the boatdeck, which is the double-tall deck right in the mid line of the ship.

  18. Joan says:

    Quarter Share is a wonderful coming-of-age novel, and met my every expectation for great language, good plot and excellent technology. Enormously satisfying in print. Not sure if I can wait for the text version of Half Share — podiobooks, here I come!

  19. Hello,
    Just discovered your fiction within the last month and already through with the first three books despite my work load and study load. I am a paper model artist, you can see my work at – I would love to make a model of the Lois. I could host it on my site or give the whole ownership to you. This would be a fan work, not a commercial work… free to download, no profit to me. What say you?

  20. Nate says:

    There is a section of the forum established for Fan Art. Feel free to set up an account, lemme know that you did it, and I’ll approve it, then you can put it there.

  21. Doug says:

    I’m in the middle of Full Share right now. Having lots of fun.
    One thing I do not get about the ship. Why aren’t the decks turned by 90 degrees?
    It makes more sense to me, being a total geek, that the thrust should be pushing up under your feet. When the ship is underway I assume it ‘flies’ nose first. The propulsion is in the rear, like a torpedo. If the decks are stacked up along the same axes as the thrust, the acceleration would not need to be compensated by the gravity keel.
    I also assumed the ship would come into the planet tail first, decelerating all the way to the dock. Again, the deceleration would hold your feet to the deck, not push you to the nose of the ship.
    It is all fictional physics, but I’m just saying.

  22. Nate says:

    Actually the ship doesn’t ever get to a “planet.” It docks–nose first–at an orbital station. Various ships have various deck configurations but they’re all set longitudinally so that the deck of the ship matches the orientation of the deck in the orbital. With the advent of grav-plate decking, as long as there’s power in the ship, there’s gravity where you want it (and in the orientation you need).

    The propulsion is only sometimes in the stern, btw. Most of the time, the ship is being pulled along by its sails, not pushed along by the kickers.

  23. Dave says:

    I have the first 2 on my kindle. I enjoyed them very much! I know there is a time lag from printing and getting a book into e-book form but I am having trouble with the wait. Can you possibly build a fire under your publisher?

  24. Nate says:

    sorry dave. it’s all we can do at the moment. between what *I* want to do in terms of writing new stuff for podcast release, and what Ridan can do as an independent small press, we’re up against a capacity problem. Swapping Ridan for a big-6 would probably mean much longer wait and more expensive books, so that’s not an option.

  25. Chuck says:

    I cannot find the fan art section in the forum. Would love to view it.

    How large are the solar sails

  26. The Captain says:

    You need an account to access the Kufiri Quadrant. Follow the instructions on the Forum to get one. 🙂

    Solar sails are a few thousand kilometers in diameter. To get a rough picture, think of a standard parachute canopy .. one of the big ones they use for tanks. Now imagine that it’s pulling a toothpick.

    They’re also invisible to the human eye, although a careful observer might spot the glow when certain kinds of radiation bend across the surface.

  27. Craig says:

    I’ve finished the books, and have been poking around the website.

    Being a rocketry fan, I thought I’d quickly chip in on this page, with the caveat that, yes, I know this is fiction, and that this website doesn’t necessarily mean anything with regards to the books. I further presume that ships’ “kicker” drives are fairly standard liquid hydrogen/liquid oxygen (“hydrolox”) rocket engines, that the “auxiliary fuel” entries above refer to the kickers’ propellants, that “reactor mass” is fuel for fusion reactors of some sort, and that kickers aren’t thermal nuclear engines using the “reactor mass” for propellant.

    The stoichiometric mixture ratio for oxygen/hydrogen combustion is 8:1 i.e. 8kg of oxygen to 1kg of hydrogen. For rocket engines, however, it turns out that maximum efficiency in terms of ‘bang for buck’ (i.e. Isp, or specific impulse) is around 4:1. This means there’s lots of extra hydrogen, which lowers the average mass of the rocket exhaust, which in turn increases the exhaust speed. The faster the exhaust speed, the more oomph (i.e. delta V, or change in velocity) you get from a given mass of propellant. Hydrolox is pretty much king-of-the-hill when it comes to chemical engines without getting into exotic/toxic chemicals like, say, fluorine.

    So the list above has LH2 storage of 1000 m³ and LOX storage of 2000 m³. If kickers are standard hydrolox engines, these are at best reversed.

    The issue is that liquid hydrogen has a truly miserable density: 70.85 kg/m³. This compares to liquid oxygen’s density of 1141 kg/m³.

    If hydrogen had 2000 m3 of volume, it would hold ~142,000 kg. For a (sub-optimal) stoichiometric burn, this matches well with the ~1,140,000 kg of LOX that 1000 m³ would hold: at a 8:1 ratio, 142,000 kg of LH2 needs ~1,136,000 kg of LOX to combust fully.

    For an optimal 4:1 mixture ratio, however, and keeping storage at 3000 m3, 2400 m³ of LH2 would mass ~170,000 kg, and 600 m³ of LOX would mass ~685,000 kg, which is just a bit above the ~680,000 kg LOX needed.

    On the plus side, such a modification would reduce the Lois’ wet mass a fair bit. 70.85 kg/m³ * 1000 m³ + 1141 kg/m³ * 2000 m³ = 70850kg + 2282000kg = 2,352,850 kg originally, versus 70.85 kg/m³ * 2400 m³ + 1141 kg/m³ * 600 m³ = 170040kg + 684600kg = 854,640 kg for a 3000 m3 4:1 mixture ratio configuration. This is a savings of around ~1,500,000 kg or 1,500 tonnes. 🙂

    BTW, for a 123,000 tonne rocket ship, with only 855 tonnes of prop, the engines really are just “kickers”. Assuming an Isp of 460 (i.e. high-end hydrolox), the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation gives roughly a delta V of 150 m/s — enough for a mild push to get you going very slowly, or a very slight evasion maneuver.

    Honestly, I’m not entirely certain that the “tugs” in your stories are practical with the size of ships like the Lois McKendrick and using chemical technology. They would, by necessity, be flying fuel tanks an appreciable fraction of the size of their charges. I’d suggest an ultra-high temperature nuclear thermal engine — they’d get an Isp 2.5 – 3x that of hydrolox and we can do it today (Google “NERVA rocket”). Basically, the reactor heats hydrogen very hot, then shoots it out the back — simple, for a given value of simple. Only thing stopping us today is that nuclear reactors have a miserable power to mass ratio, and also people tend to have issues with nuclear material flying over them in rockets that might explode. You’ve already got flying nukes, though, so that’s not an issue for you.

    Cheers for the stories. 🙂

  28. Michael Martin says:

    You really need to go back and edit the earlier books regarding the size of the Lois.

    Quarter Share states: “At the far end of the main spine, a small white light, twenty kilometers out, marked the stern post.”

    So, in Quarter Share, the Lois is twenty kilometers long.

    Half Share states: “He took me down the length of the spine – the three meter diameter tube that connected the bow and stern sections of the ship – and we clicked off more sensor packages in there. It was five hundred and twenty-eight meters long and had eight airtight hatches along the way.”

    So, in Half Share, the Lois is five hundred and twenty-eight meters long, plus the lengths of the bow and stern sections of the ship. Lois is shrinking fast!

    Now, on this page, the Lois is only 216 meters long?

  29. The Captain says:

    The Lois is only 216 meters long.

    Any variations are due to Ridan’s insistence that I change the length in their editions.

    Which versions/editions are you seeing the discrepancies in? I thought I’d gotten the all returned to the correct numbers but in the hurry to get them re-released after getting my rights back, I might very easily have missed them.

  30. Michael Martin says:

    Ah, these are older Ridan ebook editions.

    So, did you also correct the weights and volume dimensions through-out the books? What I mean is, I cannot see THIS (see below) description as working with these smaller dimensions of 12 x 12 meter pie-shaped containers. Six hundred metric tons of cargo is going to be a little tough to cram into such a small area, unless it is a very dense cargo. Six hundred metric tons of mushrooms, for example, is NOT going to fit (volume-wise in ONE container

    “The empty container was a little game that the First Mate had been playing with Pip since we left Gugara. He had asked Pip to give his best recommendations for what to put in a hypothetical empty container based on a trade analysis of the pair of ports involved. Of course, what started out as a hypothetical empty container soon became six hundred metric tons of cargo that had contributed more than two hundred kilocreds to the ship’s profit pool.”

  31. The Captain says:

    A metric tonne is roughly one cubic meter of water. Water, while dense, isn’t the densest thing out there. The containers are rated at 600 metric tones — sort of like a twenty pound bag can hold twenty pounds. In actual volume, they’re slightly larger, coming in at just over 800 cubic meters, less a little for structural supports.

  32. Michael Martin says:

    The definition of a metric tonne is 1000 kilograms (roughly 2.2 pounds = 1 kilogram).

    I cannot see how they are going to be able to fit six hundred metric tons (600,000 kilograms) of dried mushrooms (very light and airy) into only one container.

    600,000 kilograms of dried mushrooms are probably going to take up more space (volume) than one container of the dimensions shown above.

  33. freddy says:

    A 123,000 metric tons ship and they worry about masalotments for the crew?
    i think volume would be a limiting factor.
    and mass would not really mater in space that would only affect the acceleration/deceleration of the ship

  34. Mark Christianson says:

    Freddy, every bit of mass added to the ship adds to the ‘dent’ in spacetime that it makes. That could, possibly, affect the calculations for where and when the Burleson drives can be activated and get the ship from where it is, to where the captain wants it to be. Granted, the mass that a crew member is allotted probably gets swallowed up in jump uncertainties, and on further consideration, I rather suspect that the size of the mass allotments for crew is more a CPJCT hoop to jump through, rather than an actual operational parameter that the typical navigator is going to calculate a jump with.

  35. Natalie Zybert says:

    I only found this series in Captain’s Share, originally read them through Amazon’s “unlimited” program, but loved them so much I bought them to reread them. Now I’m hooked and want to live in that future, because I’ve been there.

    The same with your “Hermit” series. I have studied plants and herbal remedies…am also a “crone” at 56 so I think I can qualify as a Captain.

    I can’t wait for your next book to come out…hoping that Ish and Natalya meet up and sparks fly. It would be nice if Al found some peace and we got more of a back story on Margaret Newmar and Chief Stevens- I’m sure they have books of their own as did Gundar (Odin~ A Light in The Dark). Pip et al could use some rounding out if you feel inclined….just sayin…you’ll never have to worry about inspiration when you have so many characters to play upon as background ….Sarah…the South Coast Shaman (female) who opposed tradition, left her abusive husband, found refuge on “Lois”…what happened to her? We know Cookie went to Port Newmar… & Captain Von Ickles is now working for Manchester, but what happened to Sarah & CC?

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