A nod at the end, and Ryan turned and started back the way he'd come, Daena happily flitting sparkly-loops midair as they went. She was in a good mood. Daena usually was in a good mood. (Yes, Daena was his Other.) "I'll start at the beginning like you don't know anything about airships at all, probably easiest," he said. It probably was.
"First thing to know about airships is, whatever you do, unless you know what you're doing, don't, touch, the hydrocoils. Don't do it. Hydrocoils are relatively unstable, and can be exploded quite easily, not fun. The second thing to know is, all ships have a certain level of armoring ability, and a certain amount of standard-issue weaponry for their ship type, called a class. What class a ship is isn't really necessary for guys like us to know, since airships in the Dome more or less all function the same; they've got wires, hydrocoils, control boxes and panels, and they're in about the same shape. The bigger and more powerful an airship gets, the more complicated it may seem to become to repair and maintain, but it's really just an illusion. It's all the same shit, some just have more of that shit."
In simplest terms, at least.
"There are five classes of airship; the first is the light cruiser, which is a lightly armored, very sparsely weaponized ship designed for scouting or inanimate transport. The ship we're working on at the moment is a light cruiser. Above that, we've also got the cruiser, which is a stealth ship, mostly designed for high-speed maneuvering and cloaking. The weaponry on a cruiser is better than what a light cruiser's got, but the armoring is the same. Fighter class airships have way better armoring and shielding tech, and quite a number of cannons. Some use plasma powered cannons, but most use laser powered. The heavy flagship has nigh impenetrable shielding, but pretty much no weapons, and the dreadnought is the last shadow you'll ever see. Most dreadnoughts are armed to the teeth and only another dreadnought has the ability to easily break down a dreadnought's armoring. The good news is, it takes a lot in resources to build a truly impenetrable dreadnought, and the dreadnoughts we have now are not quite there yet. Plus, there are very few dreadnoughts in general. The Republic has one, the URS Charity, and the Outlanders have one, the Shal-Hazar. There are records of a third one somewhere in the Outlands, but we've never found it."
For his part, Ryan was starting to wonder if that was a rumor. One of those urban legend things. "So, this is the URS Firebrand." Ryan stopped, there, beside a particular airship, with half its side gone. Quite a number of wires were pulled out of it, all severed around halfway up. It kind of looked like a dead jellyfish, given it wasn't very large, either. Perhaps it'd host two people and some small cargo. "I've got the side panel pulled off, and what I'm doing at the moment is matching cable pieces together. We can reunite the two pieces of wire, if we can match the wires together, so compare the outer casing colors and the number of copper wires on the inside, and keep matching pieces together." That was child's play, something pretty easy to start with. You know, before they got to dealing with the plasma capsules they could explode the entire hangar with.