This was a surprisingly quick image. For decades I've wanted to do an image of the MacArthur and Lenin dropping into Murcheson's Eye from "The Mote In God's Eye". So here it is.... at least a quick "version 1.0". They may have had their Alderson Drive Fields up during this whole leg of the journey - I don't recall - but if they did, I claim artistic license as this is more fun to look at that two pitch black watermelons in space.
MacArthur mode by Paul Lloyd with optimization by Atra-Hasis. The "Lenin" is actually Bazze's ramjet, flipped on its back, squished in the z-axis and stretched in the x-axis (oh man, I just destroyed the magic again...). 2D-3D composite with Photoshop custom background. DAZ Studio render.
From "Building the Mote in God's Eye" by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, collected in "N-Space" and "A Step Farther Out":
Long ago we acquired a commercial model called “The Explorer Ship Leif Ericsson,” a plastic spaceship of intriguing design. It is shaped something like a flattened pint whiskey bottle with a long neck. The “Leif Ericsson,” alas, was killed by general lack of interest in spacecraft by model buyers; a ghost of it is still marketed in hideous glow-in-the-dark color as some kind of flying saucer.
It’s often easier to take a detailed construct and work within its limits than it is to have too much flexibility. For fun we tried to make the Leif Ericsson work as a model for an Empire naval vessel. The exercise proved instructive.
First, the model is of a big ship, and is of the wrong shape ever to be carried aboard another vessel. Second, it had fins, only useful for atmosphere flight: what purpose would be served in having atmosphere capabilities on a large ship?
This dictated the class of ship: it must be a cruiser or battlecruiser. Battleships and dreadnaughts wouldn’t ever land, and would be cylindrical or spherical to reduce surface area. Our ship was too large to be a destroyer (an expendable ship almost never employed on missions except as part of a flotilla). Cruisers and battlecruisers can be sent on independent missions.
MacArthur, a General Class Battlecruiser, began to emerge. She can enter atmosphere, but rarely does so, except when long independent assignments force her to seek fuel on her own. She can do this in either of two ways: go to a supply source, or fly into the hydrogen-rich atmosphere of a gas giant and scoop. There were scoops on the model, as it happens.
She has a large pair of doors in her hull, and a spacious compartment inside: obviously a hangar deck for carrying auxiliary craft. Hangar deck is also the only large compartment in her, and therefore would be the normal place of assembly for the crew when she isn’t under battle conditions.
The tower on the model looked useless, and was almost ignored, until it occurred to us that on long missions not under acceleration it would be useful to have a high-gravity area. The ship is a bit thin to have much gravity in the “neck” without spinning her far more rapidly than you’d like; but with the tower, the forward area gets normal gravity without excessive spin rates.
And on, and so forth. In the novel, Lenin was designed from scratch; and of course we did have to make some modifications in Leif Ericsson before she could become INSS MacArthur; but it’s surprising just how much detail you can work up through having to live with the limits of a model.