Showing posts from September, 2016


It was a happy time on  Zaonia (0104 C885655-5 Ag Ri 123). In fact the newspapers were calling this The Happy Times. why not? *They had created a system to prevent fraud locally. *They had established a banking system for heavy offworld investors who wished to secure certain funds and valuables away from prying eyes and sensors. *They began their own ship loans and financed a small fleet of subsidized merchants. *They had repelled an offworld invasion (though the leader was homegrown  and many polities claimed that didn't really count.) They had established small but thriving markets for their paper products. They made the subsector capital knuckle under and make good on their contracts and staved off a recession. They had established a safe haven for psionics and had a few hundred they vetted who were deemed loyal. Pretty good for an underpopulated and low tech backwater. The Tech Knights who ran the show sat back and had a cold one and some cigars. About a millio

War In the Niche

The planet Zaonia  (0104 C885655-5     Ag Ri         123) had managed to create a niche market on INERZE  (0202 B997A84-C 2    Hi In Cp    124). They succeeded in creating one for their paper products (notebooks!) and even a hemp slurry (make your own paper kits!) The hemp slurry was to make paper products cheaply on Inerze, however the laborers working with it discovered that it was food grade and it provided a cheap high. That and the slurry had hemp seeds in it. The hemp seeds were used to produce hemp plants locally. These were used to produce cigarettes (ironically rolled using stolen paper imported from Zaonia) and what at first became a new fad became a problem. The skimming of paper and slurry was of course theft and a loss of materials that were paid for and shipped. The stoned workers caused a fair share of accidents and loss of productivity. Imports of the slurry were stopped despite the Zaonians refining their process to filter the seeds from the slurry. The slurry stil

The Niche Market

Near Zaonia  (0104 C885655-5     Ag Ri         123) lies the planet INERZE  (0202 B997A84-C 2    Hi In Cp    124). Inerze is everything that Zaonia isn't. Overcrowded, high tech and governed by an extensive bureacracy that rarely accomplishes much. The tainted atmosphere is due to the people. Directly. Inerze has regular outbreaks of new viruses due to the crowded living conditions. Mostly they cause sniffles and headaches to the people who have evolved a truly scary immune system. This also makes them a threat to anyone from offworld. The ills they think nothing of can incapacitate or kill those without the proper antibodies. You would think a high population world like Inerze (usually spelled in capital letters) would be a ready market for a small agricultural world. But that is not the case. A transport fee of 1 cr. per kilogram ( 1000 cr. per ton) will make many staples more expensive than locally grown products (we're talking algae, yeast and fungi here, an acquired tast

Beach Day ... Saved!

Tivk huddled under a poncho. It was amazing how compact he could make himself. The tall lanky frame collapsing under its own weight to all appearances. "C'mon Tivk! It's a perfect day for a swim!" the Chief said waving for him to join them. "The water is contaminated," Tivk replied. "Your dustball planet has seas way more brackish than this!" Tivk glared from under his hood and over his sunglasses. It was a complex maneuver he'd mastered. "His homeworld's seas have potassium chloride in them. Sodium chloride irritates his skin," Doc answered not looking up from his book. "Hey Mr. Tivk, come out from under that tent and get some sun. I thought you were always cold. It's great weather for a tan," Jenn said from lookout. She was on guard for any local animals dumb enough to poison themselves with a mouthful of offworlder. "It is still too cold, and the sun is too energetic. And it would not tan me, it

The Might of Write

Besides all the so called legal banking business handled across borders and even worlds there are all manner of deals that no one in their right minds would ever call legal. Selling guns, bombs, and sex are all legal on some worlds, but none of these are legal on EVERY  world if you get my drift. But bad people need to keep records of their deals and sometimes even a transcript to indicate exactly what one or the other had said. At any decent tech level a transcript can cause you severe trouble. To make one a talk to text system is needed and the audio files of course can be examined for speech patterns, voice characteristics, probably even DNA by TL 15. Don't tell me that stuff gets wiped. It doesn't have to and then some punk has a shady deal to hold over your head. Note someone smart enough to make and secrete a copy of an audio file probably is smart enough to make several such copies and give them to various people for release upon their death. Enter the Zaonians yet a

The Hero's Worry List

Steps in the Evolution of a Hero (and what can go wrong) The Call to Adventure 1) The Call is collect 2) The Call is in another language ... why didn't you learn your native tongue?! 3) The Hero is out and lets the machine get it. Machine runs out to adventure! 4) The wrong person gets the Call 5) Call is from Cthulhu 6) Wrong person gets the call. Hilarity of a lethal nature ensues Meeting a Mentor 1) The Mentor is wanted. Hero turns them in. 2) The Mentor is scary looking/has a creepy voice/pointy spikes on his armor or speaks a different language 3) Mentor is a deadbeat with a number of bills and creditors hounding him (mentoring doesn't pay well 4) Mentor is late 5) Hero is early 6) The place of their fated meeting is a parking lot/market/drug den/shopping mall Crossing a Threshold 1) Hero trips and face plants 2) It's the wrong Threshold (Mentor: I never told you go THERE!) 3) Hero is lost once he's past the Threshold. 4) It's a trap. Get

EM Drive Blues

We have thgis information on the radio frequency drive or EM drive or whatever you want to call it. 300 micro newtons are generated per kW of power. -or- 3.5 kW generates 1 newton of thrust A Scout ship has a thrust of 2000 tons or 2,000,000 kgs or 20,000,000 newtons This would require 70 million kilowatts or 70 gigawatts. If the EM drive worked (I'm not saying it DOES in the real world, Rocket Cat call off the hit.) Fusion reactions generate 3.5 x 10^14j from one kilogram H2 and H3 One kilo of fuel allows the Scout to thrust for (3.5 x 10^14)/(7 x 10^10) seconds One kilogram of fuel provides thrust for 5000 seconds or five turns. The two tons in the power plant will thus provide 2000 * 5000 = 10 million seconds of thrust or 10,000 turns or 11.57 days of thrust. There's stuff I didn't get into of course. Like fusion isn't 100% efficient. Let's say the EM drive has increased in efficiency to offset the losses due to the fusion plant's inefficie

The Bottom Line

Remember Zaonia (0104 C885655-5     Ag Ri         123), the little planet that could? Zaonia had instituted a system of handwriting analysis to prevent fraud in its starport . The planet had created a secure system of banking that its more populous and advanced neighbors envied and made use of. It even had a small fleet of free traders operating in its cluster. The Zaonians were secure. The dictator of Facesos, the ministers of Inerze, the recluse roboticists of Zerar were all customers of their banking system. Anyone invading and disrupting the security of their valuables would face their wrath. ThePrince Admiral of Facesos, the plague ministers of Inerze, the recluse roboticists of Zerar didn't give a deuce about the fate of Zaonia, just the security of their valuables. A change of power that did not endanger those valuables was no concern to them. So when a young technocrat, one who had spent much of his life offworld, decided to make a push for power he first assured tho

Check List for Accepting and Transporting Passengers

Check List for Accepting and Transporting Passengers 1) Interview passenger for security concerns. Ask if they are a pirate, hijacker or criminal. a) Run computer check of planetary database for records on passenger because a pirate, hijacker or criminal would lie. b) Check it again. They also hack computers. c) After running the security check accept deposit for those passing the check (optionally accept from those not passing.) d) Turn in people not passing the check you found warrants for. e) Send medical information and dietary needs to the steward. 2) Banking a) See if the deposit check bounced (maybe you only take cashier's checks or M.O. or gold coins) 3) Pre-Boarding a) Ready the staterooms for passengers remove extra fittings and bedding from cabins of high passage riders. b) Accept the passengers' luggage and run sensors over it searching for any obvious contraband or weapons. c) Turn in passengers with contraband (optionally SPLIT contraband w

The Bank Job

After putting a stop to fraud the Tech Knights of Zaonia (0104 C885655-5     Ag Ri         123) saw more opportunity for economic growth. In an interstellar polity that had all manner of cyber crime their security was an order better than most simply because it did not rely on computers. The First Bank of Zaonia worked on a system of handwriting. People who were recognized customers had their signatures filed and simply signed for things. That was the first level of security. The second level of security involved established handshakes, photos, mannerisms and yes passwords ... that were spoken to confirm identity. No hacker could break the system. Any impersonations would require a master forger, who was also expertly disguised, and managed to learn memorized passwords and recognition cues from the customer. That was a tall order for most. The subsector nobility noticed and began making deposits in the banks in the form of precious materials. Lock boxes were used to hold various s

We Don't Do Enslavement

Doc: Oh my gosh this is good. Cook you outdid yourself yet again. Riasi: These are ... burger veggies? Doc: Yes. And relax, you can eat them. They're infused with heme. Riasi: I'm relaxed. Doc: Whenever you get scared of something new you mix up your grammar. Besides this being an obligate carnivore is Lurran cultural identity, not biology. Otherwise how could you eat the buns your 'cheezburgrz' come on? Riasi: I don't up mix the grammar when I scared gots! And I don't says ‘cheezburgrz’ like that. I says cheezburgrrrrs. Doc: Sorry. Try it, honey kit. I tested it six different ways. Cook has reformulated it just for you. This could be a big deal for your people. Riasi: Nnnnnnngh. It's good. It's very good. Thank you Cook. Cook: I was worried for a minute. Doc: I wasn’t. You have as much schooling as I do. Cook: Well Doc, if you screw up you lose a patient. I could poison a whole crew. Riasi: More? Puhleeze? Doc: You’r

The Writing on the Hull

The planet  Zaonia (0104 C885655-5     Ag Ri         123) in the Vergant Subsector had a problem. It was a rich agricultural world and numerous traders stopped there to buy food for other less bountiful worlds. The problem was many of these traders had forged identities to hide the fact they were skipping on their bank payments. Worse some traders came representing companies well known and licensed by the Zaon nobility for offworld exporting. They refuelled using the companies' credit lines (and resupplied their ships) passed bad checks or paid with counterfeit credits and left never to be seen again. The banks that had mortgaged the ships that were skipping were not pleased. The companies that paid to be allowed to export goods from Zaonia were not pleased. The local merchants and starport authorities who were stiffed regularly were not pleased. the nobles who ruled based on their control and use of technology were made to look like idiots. High technology was just too goo

What's In the Locker?

As I've been doing ship deckplans I noticed something about a great many starships of fiction. Where the hell do they keep the toilets? All right I got past that and I don't want to write a post about it anyway. For some reason they don't even call them bathrooms or lavatories they're 'freshers. Another point often glossed over is where the heck do crewmen store their belongings? I loved the officers' staterooms in Star Trek's various eras (I can't call them cabins, the damn things were biggers than some places I lived) but there weren't any obvious closets. Did they just fabricate everything they needed? Did they have only what they needed in the few drawers I did see and store bigger items in the cargo deck? It was also peculiar in Next Gen era Trek that the only recreations facilities we ever see are the lounge and the holodeck. Yes. The holodeck could be a basketball court or bowling alley, but it takes up a lot of power and computing time th