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Throughout the Black Flag universe 'faster than light' space travel is accomplished by phasing into another 'layer' of space. This subspace layer is also known as 'worm space' because one is 'as blind as a worm' while travelling through it, but it is also about a thousand times more compact than realspace making interstellar travel approximately equivalent to travelling via ocean liners today. The phasing is accomplished by the means of multiple dumbbell-shaped subspace generators. These are bulky contraptions that take up much of the interstellar ships, leaving comparatively little room for passengers and freight. Because of the need to enclose the entire ship within the generator fields, ship hull shapes are determined largely by the generator configurations.
Although ships are driven by powerful antimatter engines they do not ever actually go the speed of light, or even get very close. In order to do so they would have to accelerate for at one gravity for nearly a year. Most trips take less than three months, and half of that time is spent decelerating. The engines are the one part of the a ship the Brotherhood does not have the capability of manufacturing themselves. Because they lack this ability they get their ships by stealing them from the Galactic Legal Alliance's Marines. The Tortuga Station sentinels were built using engines from spare shuttles stolen from pillaged space liners.
The Galactic Marines use six grades of ships. The ships are named with an adjective signifying their grade, followed by a female given name. The Black Flag ship the Penzance, for example is a Galactic Cruiser, and was originally named the Celestial Mary.
The secret of the Black Flag's success is the fact that they have discovered a layer of space even more compact than the 'wormspace' layer. They call it 'deepspace', and from it they can not only go much faster than other subspace travelers, but they can actually see into wormspace. So, when they take one of the Galactic Marine ships, they replace the generators with ones that can phase a ship into deepspace as well as wormspace before adding it to their fleet. They also install a 'dampening lance' which is a special generator field that is stretched so out so that it is very long and thin, and sticks out a considerable distance ahead of the ship. This field interferes with the regular subspace fields, causing them to disintegrate. As the lance is dumbbell shaped, just as all the other subspace fields, this means that using the lance causes the deploying ship's fields to disintegrate as well, and both ships immediately 'fall' into realspace.
Space ships are fully automated and can get by with much smaller crews than they actually have. (Freighters the size of a dreadnought often space with a crew of three.) Scut work is minimal and there is no need or desire for 'grunts', even on a military vessel. There is also little need for any 'duty stations' as most of the monitoring and operating that needs to be done can be done from anywhere in the vessel.