The hanger resides in the upper most deck of the aft section. The entire area functions like an airlock when receiving or dispatching the ship's ancillary craft. The main portal is mounted to the ceiling of the vast chamber and two sets of articulated barrier open and close in the manner of an iris or shutter allowing craft to pass in and out. The top of the shutter doors constitutes the landing and launching area which is visible on the exterior of the ship. The landing pad is rimmed with landing beams that assist craft in making safe landings. These beams also hold the craft while the shutter is opening or closing. Similar beams are located in the hanger deck that elevate and lower craft from the landing area to the floor of the hanger deck. The floor of the hanger deck also incorporates a large portal on the floor leading to the vehicle bay.
Stored on the hanger deck are all the ship's ancillary craft. They are deposited in their craft berths prepped and ready for use on a moments notice. The most common sub-craft are the launches. These dependable craft shuttle passengers or small cargos. The launches interior can accommodate up to eight passengers or a comparable amount of cargo. Launches use a pair of phlogisten hyper thermal cylinders for power. These are mounted outside the main compartment for safety reasons and have been adapted to act as landing skids as well. When traveling through the Æther a launch uses standard steam pulse propulsion thrusters. When inside a planet's gravitational field Cavorite shutters are employed to counter act the pull of gravity. Launches are designed for operating in a variety of hostile environments. Their hulls can withstand pressures up to sixty atmospheres and are coated to resist heat, cold, electrical discharge and corrosive atmospheres at least for a time.
A pinnace is a larger version of the launch and possesses separate crew and cargo compartments. Although it's fuel and propulsion systems are larger and more robust they are correspondingly similar. Pinnaces can be outfitted with quarters in the cargo section for extended missions. Pinnaces have also been fitted with torpedo launchers but are limited to just two shots before expending all power.
Many Æther Fleet ships also include a frigate. The frigate is a no-frills workhorse designed to carry a detachable service module. These modules come in a variety of uses such as; troop transport modules, military field & communications modules, matter transmigrator modules, vehicle transport carriages, Scientific research modules, bomb bay modules, cargo container modules, residence or barracks modules, etc. Unlike its smaller cousins a frigate does include an active power source in a small Ætherine boiler. This power Core can over a period of time regenerate the phlogisten hyper thermal cylinders. Thus it can be used for extended missions away from its mother ship. This portable power station also allows the craft to be used for any planet side expeditions, research or autonomous missions. In an emergency the crew compartment of a frigate can detach from the rest of the craft and perform similarly to a launch.
Other craft located on the hanger deck may include, æther mules or recovery skids. These utilitarian craft are merely an æther maneuvering rig attached to a simple frame. They are most often used either as platforms and towing vehicles for making external repairs to a ship or as a platform to collect up æther Marines who were not able to successfully complete a boarding action.
The vehicle deck is located just below the hanger and is even larger in size. Here you will find vehicle storage for planetary craft, repair facilities for ship's craft, large system fabrication and storage, basically everything that needs a good measure of room. This area can be configured to act as an auditorium or even a small stadium for shipboard activities. The Marines frequently use the area for drill and training. The vehicle deck is held dear by the æther marines because just below the sectional floor decking are located the marines cold storage berths. These compartments also act as temporary grave sites for marines killed is service until they can be returned to Earth. On the vehicle deck spitting on the floor is considered a capital offense.