This is looking terrific - I'm really hoping it won't lose its sleek purposefulness being freckled with portals and escape pods.
I've become increasingly concerned about that myself. The Citizen
and I are just beginning to hash out surface details, windows, panel lines, escape pods, etc, but I would like to find a way to reduce the usual "clutter" and maintain more of TMP-era sleekness.
Well, there's nothing that says that "escape pods must be under yellow hatches," is there? In fact, there's very little COMPELLING reason to have them in any location which is visible from outside of the ship.
There are plenty of ways of providing "escape capability" for the ship. Anything from using lots of shuttlecraft, to having little "torpedo tube coffins" with hybernation support, to having rooms of the ship itself (complete with their local hull skinning) slip out. I know you don't get to decide every detail of this ship, but if it IS going to have escape pods in the conventional sense, maybe you can try having multiple pods which launch from a single hatch (sort of a "subway cars launching on rails" concept?).