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Small, slow, and defenseless, the escape pod is a necessity for any medium to large ship. These vessels are lifesavers in the event of catastrophic accidents or attacks by overwhelming forces. Throughout history, innumerable naval personnel and civilian crews have reached safety only because they had a sufficient number of escape pods onboard.
Each escape pod can comfortably transport one passenger from doom to survival. A pod can also carry a limited amount of cargo, which may allow for vital information to be saved from destruction. Ideally, ejected pods are soon picked up by a friendly ship; if not, they have enough fuel for escapees to reach a nearby planet. Their lack of hyperdrive means that any pods lost in deep space will have to await a recovery vessel, but they do have comm systems, so even then many lives may be saved by the humble escape pod.