I am asked frequently what the Mercy’s Pledge actually looks like. You may have noticed that I don’t go into too much detail on the specifics, preferring instead to leave it up to the reader’s imagination. Also, it didn’t seem in character for anyone in Ardulum: First Don to expound upon the ship at length. It’s old, it’s falling apart, what is there to talk about?
There are some nuggets of information within the first book, however, that give a hint to its design. Mercy’s Pledge is an old Earth shuttle from around Yorden’s teenage years. First Don takes place in 2060, which means Yorden, in 2017, is a teenager, getting excited about space travel and where it could lead him.
The Pledge is said to have been fairly old even with Yorden encounters her for the first time, and signs on in his twenties for early interstellar transport. That leaves us with classic shuttle designs of the seventies–something that isn’t new tech at all and that no one would mind being taken up and reused for exploratory travel through wormholes.
But which one? The image linked above shows the US version shuttle and the Russian version. Although never really explored, careful readers will note that Yorden speaks Yiddish and has an implied Polish heritage. The Russian shuttle model I based my mental image on is indeed the Russian version pictured above…with some modifications.
The Pledge has also been heavily modified, the most prominent portion being the laser port that Nicholas uses to shoot down one of the Risalian ships early in First Don. There are also mentions of extra plating and severe breaks in the initial casing.
So what does the Pledge look like, some ninety years after it was first made? I worked with a graphic designer, the amazing Nick Naretto, to visualize what a 90 year old Pledge might look like. I didn’t just want a sketch, though, I wanted something to wear, something to commemorate the ship that saved Emn, gave a home to Neek and Nicholas, and that helped turn the tide in the Crippling War.
Here, then, is Mercy’s Pledge. She’s a little rough around the edges, more solder in some places than others, and she’s clearly past her prime, but hey, that grandfathered weapons port really comes in handy in a sudden dogfight! What do you think? Does she live up to your expectations?