Monday, March 13, 2017

Spells and Sliderules

Skipper was finishing up the laundry when to her great annoyance Beagley arrived with another basket. Seeing the broker begin to load another washer she sighed with relief and paid him no further notice until he was nearly done. She gaped as she saw him toss several plush toys that normally shared a station on the bridge with Sandoval as well as the navigator’s prized fluffy slippers and robe.


Utter fear froze the young woman to the spot a few crucial moments. She leapt for the machine with a strangled cry as it started up. Beagley was left with a crazed deckhand trying desperately and illogically to climb over him to get to the machine. Luch was already on the utility deck checking the freezer contents and first on the spot. He viewed this outburst much the same as a bad load of fuel in the reactor causing a neutron storm. He had time to get his affairs in order.


Sandoval was the last crew member present. It took her a few moments to process what had happened letting the other three make an escape with Skipper and Luch disagreeing over whether to take Beagley or use him as a diversion. Skipper won as she was concerned he would paint an unfair picture of her part in this desecration.


The crew very nearly ran down the Captain as he was returning to the ship with Celsie. The NBE being a sensitive creature took one mental scan and hurriedly fled to the safety of a flashlight in the damage control locker. Captain waved off the cries of alarm and begging he go with or at least get the hell out of their way.


“This is my ship! Ain’t no Second Tier Navigator no bigger’n a sack of fly crap gonna scare me! What in Rah’s name brought this on anyway?” he demanded adjusting his cap to look more official.


They told him.

“Pancake House!” Captain ordered. The rest of the crew tried to keep up with him.


***

There are a couple of salient points to dealing with navigators.

1) They're all superstitious.

2) They deny it.

3) You don't call them on their bullshit. Ever.

4) You don't screw with their rituals.

You can't blame them. They're as close to visualizing four dimensions as a human can. That'd twist anyone a little. Psychologically this is an attempt to impose order on cosmic forces they can comprehend only in a limited way. The guys who actually work on hyper engines are even more wack but I'm talking only navigators here.

A navigator is going to have their rituals. In Sandoval's case this is being in ensconced in pillows, a whole plush toy ecosystem and her beloved fluffy slippers. The washing schedule for these core implements is dependent on obscure portents and signs known only to her or the two week annual maintenance (so she can break them in before lifting ship).

Some people equate the skill of the navigator with the inconvenience and annoyance their little quirks entail. They whisper in hushed tones of the hidden course masters (capitalization optional), pathfinders so astute they could lay a course to take you around the universe but the rituals required would take longer than a human lifetime.

How much this actual affects a navigator is often called into question (when the navigator is not around). Some ideas:

1) Pure hoakum. This doesn't keep some from believing it with their whole heart and becoming very difficult if anyone interferes with their little customs.

2) Placebo - but not doing it causes a slight minus to the navigator's rolls.

3) It works! Performing the rituals required will put the navigator in a special frame of mind giving them a small plus to their rolls to avoid hazards and delays.

4) The navigator possesses enough mojo after performing their rituals to reduce travel time by 10%.

5) Performing the rituals required will put the navigator in a special frame of mind giving them a small plus to their rolls to avoid hazards and delays. Failing to perform the rituals will increase travel time by 10% (and possibly fuel use).

6) The real thing!! Performing the rites allows the navigator to access a cosmic font of wisdom and anticipate any dangers on the course they lay in! If you're playing with psionics a character might get a flash of a possible future development (these are seldom never good.)