Image from Steve Bowers
A Grapeship approaches the vortex of the traversable wormhole from Arkab Prior A to Medius

Grapeships are the most common wormhole nexus passenger and cargo liners in the Inner Sphere and along the main wormhole routes. The ship consists of a "stem" onto which bulbous shuttles are attached (giving them their name due to their similarity to grape bunches).

The grapeships travel along fixed routes on a regular schedule. As they enter a system as a rule they exchange a few shuttles with the local terminal or other grapeships, and continue to the next wormhole. This maximises throughput and avoids having to dock at terminals in every system (often a slow process). Of course, delays and mishaps do occur, and many speak highly of the Negentropy Alliance where the grapeships always go on time.

wormhole 3
Image from Adam Getchell
The regions of space within a Traversable Wormhole
Note this diagram is not to scale; the Transition region extends for a distance of about 3 Astronomical units from the 'hole, while
the Throat may be only a few tens of metres in radius.
When passing through a smaller wormhole, grapeships may disassemble during transit, and each individual 'grape' will pass through in single file in order to reduce the cross-section of the ship. The maximum cross-section of the ship as it passes through is limited by tidal forces within the 'hole.

Grapeship 2
Image from Ron Bennett
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Development Notes
Text by Anders Sandberg

Initially published on 31 October 2001.