Showing posts from July, 2016

When Spaceships ARE Hotels

It happens sometimes that a wealthy couple will take high passage on a liner. While space travel still has limits in space and comfort, concessions are made for them. You don't make the Baron of Sung climb atop a bunk bed. You don't make Baroness Sung sleep separately. In that case you pull out all the stops and unveil ... the master suite. So some notes: are the rectangular frames on the walls paintings or displays? Yes. The term painting is archaic and instead the tech elite refer to 'savers. Roll the 'r' and draw out the 'e'. It sounds expensive. Orange and blue are the default wall and rug color scheme. If you don't like the colors they can be reset. The marble table is actually an interactive sand table allowing passengers to call up media games or productivity programs though most passengers have their own devices. There's not a lot of storage space, the king size captain's bed and the closet. The passengers have a 1 ton luggag

Likes and Dislikes

As I said before, writing aliens is hard. Either they'll be too bizarre to interact with us and therefore enigmas or they'll be to like us. For purposes of space opera some aliens will be able to interact with humans, some even in a friendly manner. But they are still aliens and roleplaying them is still a challenge. One way to remind people they are aliens is to give them preferences and dislikes that are alien. Following are some of the preferences for my aliens. Personal Transcript of Tivk Liberty Starbase Kiddiedrome L'Rre: You're not my father and I don't have to listen to you!(1) (1) L'Rre is testing how far she can abuse adults. Sadly this is universal among Polity children. The other races blame human kids for rubbing off on theirs. Mukh: She's got us there. Tivk: We are in effect loco parentis as your parents requested we look after you while they attempt reconciliation. According to Polity law you must listen to us. L'Rre: Pbbbbbbb

Unseen Complications

With all my writing about super powers for World War Two settings I somehow left invisibility out of the posts. Last night I was watching a great flick on the late show: Invisible Agent. The grandson of the Invisible Man uses his grandfather's formula to become a super agent for the Allies. Invisibility is a great power for a low power supers setting. You're not bulletproof or superstrong. In fact it has some limitations. Let's look at invisible men. In the original story Griffith used a serum and an electrical treatment to become invisible. Unfortunately he soon became unhinged and went on a rampage through a small village before ... well read the story. In the movie his grandson insists the serum only be used on him (no mention of the electrical effects -maybe Griffith concluded they were not needed after all or had an improved serum in reserve.) In the movie he suffers from mood swings and slight paranoia as well as bouts of 'feeling high' and sudden exhausti

After Hours

GCS Tesla Medical Section Chief: Hey Technical Officer, you’re looking good. Lt.: Oh hey Chief. Uh thanks for everyth … Chief: Nonsense. Nonsense. You had the situation under control. If the Exec wasn’t hung up on procedure she could have let you finished the job after you recovered your wits. Lt.: Well thanks anyway! What brings you here? <<Psssht>>> Doc: What are you doing in here you rabid over the hill gun bunny? Chief: None of your concern. Go back to your inventory. Here’s a tip, take your socks off for counting reeeeeeeeal high. Doc: Haha. Hey, I put some stickers on your space helmet’s visor so you’d stop bumping your nose on it Why are you here again? Chief: Someone has to look out for the Tech-O. You’re likely to use him in some mad scientist antics. Doc: I’ll give you a mad scientist if you aren’t out of here in ten minutes. Chief: What if I’m not? Doc: I’ll get Riasi to throw you out. Chief: You let your girl

Another Fine Mess

GCS Tesla Messhall Doc: First I would like to thank you all for volunteering some time for this survey. Riasi: Volunteer nothing! You promised me a foot rub when this was over. Helm: If she gets a foot rub, I want one. M’Ffe: I want a foot rub too. Doc: You’re married for God sakes! M’Ffe: Separated at the moment and Nok wouldn’t rub my feet if it could cure death and taxes. Riasi: Dolphin, that’s three foot rubs you owe us. Better clear your schedule. I get at least an hour. M’Ffe: Unless you want to continue this survey with the males. Helm: Kiyahkiyahahaha! Riasi: What is so funny. Helm: I don’t think Mr. Tivk would let the Doctor rub his feet. Wait, the Doctor and the Tivk are both males, right? I get confused with only two sexes. Riasi: Male. And beanpoles prefer having their ears stroked. Doc: Ladies! Please! Riasi: Three. Foot rubs. Sixty. Minutes. Each. Deal? Doc: … deal … Riasi: Make sure you trim your claws first.


Traveller and Star Wars have been around for about forty years, Star Trek even longer. All of them have had a pervasive effect on how people view spacecraft. Traveller in particular has a long and storied history of starships. We all know a ship's cabin is four squares by two squares and can hold two people. It has a sliding door from playing Snapshot and AHL. This sort of skirts spaceships as hotel trope (check it out on Troperville but be careful, it eats time.) Accommodations are important of course. They hold the characters but they come in a variety of forms on surface ships. While merchant crews and civilians are expecting a modicum of privacy Scouts and Navy crews may not be so lucky. Instead of cabins with redundant life support, sanitation and electrical systems crew might have bunks they sleep in and use the rest of their cabin space for off duty facilities they can all share. After all modern submarines have about 10 cubic meters per crewman and they stay at sea for

Damn Control!

GCS Tesla Outer Hull Exec:  <<<Pfffffst How's it coming?>>> Lieutenant: Meh. Exec: <<< Could you explain that in layman's terms please? >>> Lt.: It's proceeding but slowly Ma'am. Exec: <<< Thank you. >>> Lt.: Is the Captain still angry? Exec: <<< Technical Officer, the next time you give the Captain an estimate on repairs I suggest you add 100% or so to it. And yes! He said (I quote), "He LIED to me. Tell that son of a mother if he doesn't fix this before he sets a foot on deck he'll be a peg legged technical officer!" >>> Lt.: So he's running hot but within safe operating limits? Exec: <<< ... fix the damned greeble. Is the suit working? >>> Lt: If it wasn't I'd be dead? Exec: <<< Aside from keeping you alive!! >>> Lt.: Mr. Tivk did a fine job. I can pull my arm in when I have to scratch my ... nose! A little d

Flipping the Ship

No flipping the ship is not an aerobatic maneuver in this case. There are a lot of old ships out there. People get eaten by space wasps or careless patching a leak or they misjump and the low berths are ... finicky. Sometimes they even muster out and set out for some backwater where people think 'outer space' refers to a foyer of the local lord's castle. The Scouts put a lot of the older ships on detached duty meaning someone else can worry about its maintenance and provide some recon for free until you need it. Some ships are so old or banged up that even 'bot can tell they're rattling death traps or flying dungeons you'd never dream of sticking a retiree with. Add to that free traders' freighters from captains who could make their payments or had their ships seized for a variety of reasons. There are a bunch of old ships out there. they are often sold at a steep discount from banks and other institutions who either already made their money or are simpl

Where No Woman Has Gone Before

I got heavily into Sketch Up this weekend and began second draft of my first big project: a small Scout ship. When you start something like that you quickly realize there is not a lot of room for sundries and luggage. I start watching those tiny house shows my wife is into and find a fre ideas for creating a cozy environment that doesn't channel voices ordering you to jump out an airtlock. Proud of my accomplishment I call the wife over for her opinion. She has a very discerning eye for design. She looks and I start explaining the different compartments and fittings and she cuts me off. "Where's the bathroom," she asks. "Uhm ... bathroom?" I wittily replies. Back to the drawing board. Gotta love my wife.

Promotional Tour

Liberty Starbase: Formal Dining Area GAIA: Heeheehee. Lieutenant Pending: It’s not funny! Everytime I get a promotion the damn transcripting system glitches on me. GAIA: What does it matter to you? Lt. Pending: YOU laugh your head off every time I say something. GAIA: … Lt. Pending: You’re trying not to laugh now! You should be working on fixing this … killer meme! GAIA: Hee … I haven’t got my wifi link restored yet. The Admiral is putting a word into Fleet that I really am a good ‘bot. Lt. Pending.: Well I hope she hurries up. GAIA: Aye aye Lt. Pending! Lt. Pending: Oh shut up. GAIA: Heeheehee. Liberty Starbase: Dining Room Foyer Ulla-Korsa: I thought I would walk these decks as a conqueror. Strange to come in peace. Admiral: The Videni may be attacking the Kingdoms and the Polity soon enough. If it’s war you want you’ll get it. Ulla-Korsa: I don’t want war. Admiral: I never expected to hear you, as a warrior, say that. No