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Plotbunny for sale - cheap
Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#51
Acyl - love your idea. Will you implement it and, if you do, mind if my character camps out there when he's not making runs?
Black Aeronaut Technologies Group
Aerospace Solutions for the discerning spacer
"To the commissary we should go," Yoda declared firmly. "News
of this kind a danish requires."



Yasuri Nanami is my number one waifu, if only because she would horribly murder all the others if they didn't shut up and toe the line.
"They did not care about all the other attempts wizards had made on the Lone Power through history; as far as a computer is concerned, there is no program that cannot be debugged, or at worst, rewritten."
-Diane Duane, High Wizardry
"If our friendship depends on things like space and time, we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once or twice?"
-Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
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hm
#52
"Tranquility Base, the Pinafore has landed."
--Roger, Pinafore the United States Coast Guard welcomes you to Port Luna.--
"Thanks, Mike, is the Marshall in port? I got some things to discuss with him," I said from the bridge of the SS Pinafore. The dear thing was a kludge and a half, based on a relatively small yacht that I'd purchased from a federal auction of captured drug dealer luxuries. I'd patched the Ferrari-sized hole amidships and threw some random components into something resembling a warp-drive configuration. After a liberal coating of Handwavium, or as I preferred to call it, Dingus MacGuffin, I had a spaceworthy ship capable of "making the Kessel run in 12 parsecs".... and relative comfort.
I also had state-of-the-kludge medical facilities on board, but that would best be described later.
-- Roger, Pinafore, Marshal Dylan is in port. Do you need him to come to you? --
"Yes, please," I replied as one of my passengers approached. I turned to her. "Yes, Mister Dobbs?"
The buxom catgirl blushed and adjusted her baggy coveralls. "My wife and I would like to thank you for rescuing us from those slavers."
I grimaced. "I wish that I'd chanced on them earlier, then I could have prevented your mishap. You do know that right now Handwavium Biomods are irreversible?"
"They are?" she asked and blinked her clear blue slitted eyes. Her ears drooped in despair. "But you..."
"Mine was voluntary, and I was able to direct the process," I replied. "Can we keep that a secret? Shapeshifters tend to make the mundanes nervous."
"Hey!" Dobbs objected.
"You may as well face it, Mister Dobbs, to most of the folks on Terra, you now count as one of the Fen," I said. "And they aren't aware of what 'Doctor Moreau' in the brig was able to accomplish. Many folks won't believe that you were transformed into that against your will."
"He's right, dear," Mrs. Dobbs purred from the stairwell to the enclosed deck. She slunk onto the bridge with the grace that her husband tried to hide. The only reason I could tell her from her Husband was the fact that she actually wore an outfit that flattered her new body.
--to be continued
''We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat
them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.''

-- James Nicoll
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Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#53
I am so tempted to write a bit where I run around with 3 androids and me hopped up on Handwavium to be a mad scientist.
Pro: MAD SCIENCE!
Con: I'm crazy(ier), and make random plots to take over the world,steal tokyo tower, or whatever else has grabed my intrest at that moment.
The acctual effect is actually more that I don't need sleep while I have caffeine, but my brain does get somewhat wrapped when I go without sleep for a while.
the Cast:
The Proffessor: Me, give to insane bouts of laughter, wanabe evil overlord.
Ryoko Asakura: Nice, easy going, friendly, smart. Has no problem with stabbing people. It is remarkable how often I turn around and find her behind me with a knife, if I didn't know better I would say she's trying to kill me. Hah ha, the kidder. She's the one that takes care of the mundane stuff, such as cooking, getting groceries, accting as my secretary, charming various suppliers into giving me a discount and so forth.
Miyu: Aloof and cool. she's our heavy combat unit. Yes she's also trying to kill me and I'm completly unaware of it.
Catty Nebulart: Of course one of my favorite androids is needed to round out this collection. Friendly but quiet, also somewhat misterious since the story would be told from the viewpoint of the other three.
Ryoko and Miyu are unaware that they share a goal and often foil each others plans.
Overall think of something like Pinky and the Brain if you would replace Pinky with 3 beutiful and competent Androids that are just pretending to be working for me, and replace Brain with someone whose goals change all the time instead of just trying to take over the world.
I can just imagine sending my androids out to steal a marble fountain (why? because I want to build the Sol Bianca and it's just not the same without a giant marble fountain.) and getting a comedy of errors started which somehow results in the police not arresting me.
Of course this could only work while I keep it funny which I doubt I can do, and I don't have the time for it anyway. I hate final project due dates.
E: "Did they... did they just endorse the combination of the JSDF and US Army by showing them as two lesbian lolicons moving in together and holding hands and talking about how 'intimate' they were?"
B: "Have you forgotten so soon? They're phasing out Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
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Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#54
Quote:
Acyl - love your idea. Will you implement it and, if you do, mind if my character camps out there when he's not making runs?
Sure. Heck, I'm certain the station's got actual rooms available, on a sorta budget motel basis... I mean, so many Fen fly ships converted from, y'know, cars and the like. So many folks don't have proper beds, or for that matter, toilets.
(Handwavium plumbing is one of the greatest applications, yo)
You gotta understand, he doesn't see himself as running a business. More of providing a public service. The charges are simply to cover operating costs. He's like that store owner who's, y'know, a gamer himself.
I'm fairly sure I'll write at least something using this idea, even if it's only a short. I love the ones that folks have already posted. I just need to sort out details, like...oh, the name of the man behind this thing. He's a quasi-SI, of course - I imagine many of our characters will be - but not entirely one. So.
Also gotta establish the station itself. His minio...er, crew...er, personnel, 'cause clearly he needs hired (or at least handwavium-animated) help. The actual physical design and size of the place...and so on. I'm not even sure how large it is, though...fairly so.
Heck, place needs a name. I'm tempted to just call it "The Floating Island" and be done with it, though. Sonic the Hedgehog reference, and an accurate description of how it looks. Buuuut, that lacks a certain something...perhaps a nickname, with something else. But I dunno.
I'm thinking he'd also own a ship of his own, though he wouldn't use it for galivanting round the solar system. Just a glorified delivery truck. Perhaps literally a delivery truck. Something which can do re-entry and boost out of atmosphere with relative ease. After all, if you're in the business of supplying other Fen, you've gotta keep your inventory stocked, right?
Of course, it'd also be relatively easy for him to call in favours if he needs cargo hauled.
So yeah, I'll do this. Just need to sort out the details.
And Ben, clearly one of the regulars. =)
-- Acyl
EDIT: And I have an idea for a story fic-fragment. Decent opening scene, anyway, just based on ruminations about the hired help. =P
-- Acyl
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Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#55
How about ...
The Floating Island was it's original name. Then people just started calling it The Island, and most of the time you knew what they meant. Then someone started using 'Gilligan's'. It stuck.
-Griever
When tact is required, use brute force. When force is required, use greater force.
When the greatest force is required, use your head. Surprise is everything. - The Book of Cataclysm
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Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#56
"I have to give you credit," I said absently as I rooted through the assorted, well, kibble that occupied the workshop's bench. "The whole kinetic weapon thing? Must have taken a while."
Honestly. Some people just can't be trusted with even the smallest amount of Handwavium.
"Damn you!" whined the skinny guy I'd tied to a handy structural beam. "Why did you have to interfere anyway? You're just as much a criminal as I am!"
I blinked. "Uh, not really. You made a bona fide threat to drop large rocks on several cities unless you got a billion dollars worth of nuclear power plant and this years' jailbait pop-tart delivered up here. Not quite on the same scale. I think I've got a couple of violations of the Civil Aviation Regs against me, but that's about it."
"Didn't the Russian Air Force try to shoot you down when you made re-entry last month?" he asked.
That much was in fact true. "That was a misunderstanding." I think so, anyway. I didn't exactly hang around to find out. Honestly, you make one course correction within a mile of a diplomatic flight and half the G7 nations put out warrants. If it wasn't for the occasional family gatherings and the occasional need for food or a shower, I wouldn't go dirtside at all and the Island should take care of these needs part of that, any week now.
"Besides," I added, "They've promised to drop all charges and unfreeze my bank accounts once I hand you over."
D for Drakensis

You're only young once, but immaturity is forever.
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Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#57
Foxboy - Tranquility base crewed by the US Coastgaurd!? Brilliant! ^_^ I feel sorry for that guy though...
CattyNebulart - Oooooohhh! I double-dog-dare you to do it now!
Acyl - Great! In regard to what Griever said, I think I'll just call it The Island for now.
Okay, I'm heading off to the train station. Suddenly got dragooned into babysitting my sibs in Chicago for a week, but hopefully I'll be able to make semi-regular postings from their house.

"Island ATC, this is the Bullet Boy Express, requesting permission for a one-hour layover. Purpose, to reprovision and hit the showers."
"Affirmative, Ben. Bring her in nice and easy, and none of that power-slide-landing shit. You still owe me for what happened last time."
"Gah. Yeah, no problem," I replied.
"You really got their nicker's in a bunch last time," said Gina once the connection had been cut. She sounded very much amused, a fact that I did not appreciate.
"Yeah, yeah," I muttered. Sure, I could threaten her, but then I wouldn't have an AI to help me out on these trips. She understood this, much to my detriment, and took every opportunity she could to rib me.
As promised, I landly in a safe and sane manner, the wheels of the well maintained looking (some may settle for rust buckets - I won't) silver Jetta barking softly as they hit the tarmac. As promised, I got showered, got some food stuffs and enough clothes for a week packed along with a fresh load of fuel, and then I was off for Phobos.
Black Aeronaut Technologies Group
Aerospace Solutions for the discerning spacer
"To the commissary we should go," Yoda declared firmly. "News
of this kind a danish requires."



Yasuri Nanami is my number one waifu, if only because she would horribly murder all the others if they didn't shut up and toe the line.
"They did not care about all the other attempts wizards had made on the Lone Power through history; as far as a computer is concerned, there is no program that cannot be debugged, or at worst, rewritten."
-Diane Duane, High Wizardry
"If our friendship depends on things like space and time, we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once or twice?"
-Richard Bach, Jonathan Livingston Seagull
Reply
Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#58
Quote:
Acyl - Great! In regard to what Griever said, I think I'll just call it The Island for now.
That's what I'm referring to it as, in the bit I've got scribbled down.
I like the Gilligan joke, but I've never seen the show.
(Which is an interesting thing; I've seen at least one episode of most classic sitcoms..."I Love Lucy", "Hogan's Heroes", and so on, 'cause my dad's into comedy. But I've never seen "Gilligan's Island".)
The omission means I can't joke accurately about it, see...though I'd need to use it as a gag of some sort, still. =)
*snickers in general at the posted bits, especially Foxboy's. That's just WRONG, dude, wrong wrongwrong.*
-- Acyl
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Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#59
First, have a picture of a Perfectly Ordinary Fenspace Station:
[Image: stylin.jpg]
(PS238 r0xx0rz j00r b0xx0rz, btw)
Next, have a bit more story. There are clues as to the nature of the good ship Explain Star in there. I wonder if you can figure them out. Wink

"Phobos Control, this is Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Zero Two Three Heavy, we are inbound from Saturn and are on Mars approach. Requesting orbital insertion window and a rendezvous path for docking at Phobos Station, over."

"Understood, Phobos Control. Let us know when the queue starts to move. Zero Two Three Heavy out."
The navicomp chimed as the ATC system fed us all the data we needed to make a safe orbital insertion. Mars always had a lot of traffic - being the closest thing to an inhabitable planet not under the 'danelaw, lots of people had homesteads or camping sites or whatnot on the surface, plus with the terraforming going on you had comet drops and all sorts of other inscrutable tasks going on - and with the Convention at Phobos, things had just gotten messier. We *could* have just bulldozed our way through that mess and gone straight in, the Star has the engine power and the navigational deflectors to do it, but that would be an unfathomable breach of Convention ettiquete.
Once the navicomp had digested our route data, I switched control over to the autopilot. "Okay Ptichka," I said to the console, "get us on our track and hold her steady. I'm going to get a drink, be back in five." The console chirped agreeably and I climbed out of my seat on my way down to the foredeck.
Climbing down from the flight deck I saw the rest of the crew hanging out, as per usual when we were in transit, in the foredeck lounge. The lounge is the only large common room on the ship (aside from the fight deck, but that's not the place to socialize) and as a result we tend to use it a lot. It's a bit cramped when we're running with a full crew, but considering half the Nation lives in converted cars I think we're pretty lucky.
The lounge is also the one place onboard that has a really good view of space. There are no windows - the only windows are in the windscreen up on the flight deck - but using cameras incorporated into the hull connected to the biggest, baddest plasma TV screens we could find and then mounted on the lounge walls pasted together with a bit of spare handwavium, we had a beautiful 270-degree view of whatever was going on outside. It was *almost* better than the real thing.
"What news from the front, O my captain?"
"I've got good news and bad news," I said as I hit the deck. "The good news is we're on track for Mars orbit, no hitches. The bad news is Phobos has heavy traffic, so we'll probably be stuck waiting to come in for a landing for the rest of the day."
That announcement brought a faint, but heartfelt, groan from everybody. Three weeks out at Saturn had made us appreciate the creature comforts of the inner system. The Explain Star is a lovely ship, but sooner or later you get tired of eating, drinking and bathing in nothing but handwavium recycle.
Our chief engineer shrugged philosophically. "Ah well," he said. "At least we'll get a chance to do some rubbernecking."
Which is what we set out to do. Or that's what they set out to do, anyway. I retrieved a root beer from the fridge and climbed back up to the flight deck to oversee the orbital insertion. Ptichka could've handled it without any input from me - that's what she was designed for - but as captain I figured that I should at least be there.
Initial insertion came off without a hitch. We'd started on Mars's night side, bounced our deflectors off the atmosphere for a second or two and settled into a nice looping orbit that would bring us into our parking spot in an hour or so. I sat in my comfortable pilot's chair, sipping on root beer and catching up on my reading while Ptichka did most of the hard work.
As we crossed over into the dayside I noticed we were starting to pick up more traffic. Cars, boats, planes and other cobbled-together spacecraft drifting around us. Through the hatch down to the lounge I could sort of hear the faint sound of snarky comments and laughter as the crew judged each craft on technical and aesthetic merits. I chuckled a bit and went back to my reading.
"HOLY SHIT!" The exclamation came from the lounge, jostling me out of book trance. The sound wasn't alarm, it was more... astonishment. I blinked and thumbed open the intercom.
"Something wrong down there?"
"Mal! Check it out, starboard near the planet!" That was Elena, our resident n00b and offical Person Who Remembers The Sense of Wonder. "I've never *seen* a ship that big before!"
Curious, I took a glance outside the window, looking in the general direction Elena had said.
I have to admit, I was surprised.
About five clicks away off our starboard wing, moving maybe a few feet per second faster than us (some part of my mind idly wondered what the hell Phobos ATC was doing, grouping us so close like that) so it drifted by majestically instead of flashing past in a blur, was the biggest by-Cthulhu starship I had ever seen.
The Explain Star is big as fen ships go, running 40 meters from nose to tail, 20 meters tall and a 25 meter wingspan. This thing had to be a good 150 meters long, with a 30 meter beam. In its previous life it must've been a container ship, with a long, flat foredeck and superstructure that looked like an office building glued to the stern. The old hull had been covered with what looked like armor plating, a forest of new and interesting antennae were mounted on the superstructure and best of all, there was a gigantic weapon mount of some kind attached to the forecastle.
"Look at that!" Elena shouted into the intercom as the megaship sailed past. "Isn't that something?"
"Yeah," I replied. "That is indeed something." I watched the ship go by in silence, looking for a name or registry number I could look up once we were docked at Phobos. I *had* to get the story out of this one. The ship's stern came into view, two huge impressive-looking engines flanking the superstructure, and between them I could just about make out the ship's name painted on the fantail:
WDF WAYWARD SON
SDF-17
---
Mr. Fnord
http://fnord.sandwich.net/
http://www.jihad.net/
Mr. Fnord interdimensional man of mystery

FenWiki - Your One-Stop Shop for Fenspace Information

"I. Drink. Your. NERDRAGE!"
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the little engine that could, and would
#60

In most ways, the Uncertainty was everything I could have hoped for. Small, nimble, capable of going veryveryfast and with just enough space there to cram in basic amenities and a bit of cargo. Alright, so it got cramped sometimes, but it was a lot better than a sedan where that was concerned.
And sure, my little nest egg the periodic cuts from Hermes made up meant I could basically trade up for something bigger in a perfectly legal way, but the boat had a bit of sentimental value as well.
Unfortunately, it _was_ a boat, and as such it was a bit iffy to land when most landing docks in Fenspace were little more than glorified parking lots.
It was hard to wrangle an actual docking slip for something of the Uncertainty's size - they were mostly there if one of the big movers decided to come a-calling - and I didn't like to resort to blackmail and threatening to withhold Dew deliveries on people to do so. That was the other, arguably bigger, reason as to why I was in the process of pulling a docking-in-transit with one of the two hangar-cars the Express usually pulled along on pretty much any sort of job.
Mast and keel folded, the former telescoping down to a more manageable size, and after a few minutes worth of remembering just why I hated landings I had the converted pocket-cruiser and smallest existing energy-sail ship in Fenspace slipping into the hangar-car's Catcher's Mitt class smallcraft docking unit.
And no, I couldn't just let Trigon do it. I'm borderline insane, not suicidal. Yes, his docking skills suck that badly.
Why do I keep him?
Eh. There's no really easy answer to that. Maybe I'm a glutton for punishment, or it's just that he keeps me on my toes ... nah. See, Trigon's almost as much of an ass as I can be, with positively diagnosed megalomaniac tendencies - if you believe the net's gaggle of psych tests floating around - being the least of his malfunctions, but he's the best weapon I've ever run across. Nothing else that doesn't run on a mainframe a few dozen meters long and appropriately wide can just reach out and _take_ systems out from under other people. That makes dealing with his quirks more managable, though most of the time the deal isn't quite as clear-cut as I make it sound.
Not that I don't need to get the occasional bit of rest from my so called 'partner'.
I shucked the VR headset and shoved it back into its alcove, doing the same for the manual controls - a couple of jury rigged trackballs and assorted scavenged components from video game controllers - told Four-eyes not to burn anything down, and depressurized cabin space, stepping out onto the ship's aft deck a moment later.
I made sure to check that the reason why I was so leery of leaving him along with the ship was still locked down.
It was.
Good.
Then I was too preoccupied with somebody pinning my arms down ...
... oh, right.
I made a mental note to no do the hermit thing for so long next time, because it took me a moment to registed that it wasn't, in fact, an attack, but a hug.
We need a name for this thing.
Chronicles of Fenspace, anyone?
-Griever
When tact is required, use brute force. When force is required, use greater force.
When the greatest force is required, use your head. Surprise is everything. - The Book of Cataclysm
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Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#61
"Eric, you're not getting any more coffee."
I scowled at the machine, punching the button. Nothing happened. So I hit it again, this time holding it down with the palm of my hand, daring the appliance to defy me.
"Coffee," I growled, "ONE cup of coffee. Jeng kang kor meh?"
Nothing. Not a drop.
"I'm serious, Eric."
Taking a breath, I set my empty mug on the counter, and counted slowly to ten. Patience, patience. Patience was good. "Simon, you aren't allowed to override the life support systems."
"Your coffee machine isn't life support."
"The HELL it isn't," I grumbled.
"Eric..."
"My bladder," I said, "I can bloody well do what I want with it!"
I gave the appliance the evil eye, and pounded it hard. It shuddered slowly to life.
And, just as abruptly, the machine went dead. "Not the fluid," retorted Simon, "the caffeine. Any more and your heart will explode."
I grabbed the coffee maker and shook it. "They make wonderful replacements these days."
"You're not putting any more handwavium into your system."
"Why," I snapped, "worried is it? Scared lose your job?"
"Eric..."
"Alright, alright," I sighed, "no coffee. Can I at least have some water?"
"Water is fine," Simon stated, in that infuriatingly reasonable way of his.
"Se beh...THANK you."
I rinsed the mug out, filled it from the water jar, and then turned my attention back to the monitor wall across the room.
The monitor wall's an ego trip, really. It doesn't serve any terribly useful purpose. I've got more efficient ways of keeping track of things, and Simon catches everything I miss. But all the screens make the place look cool. Like a proper space station control room, instead of just, you know, a windowless office.
Everything seemed fine, for the moment. Except one of the security screens, the one that was supposed to be tracking the guys using Game Room Six. Either their Classic BattleTech campaign had gotten really out of hand in their simulation of arctic terrain...or the camera was on the fritz again.
Either that or the LCD itself...no. Definitely the camera, that's what it felt like. Bah. Third time in two weeks.
"Boss," said Simon, "your mind's wandering again."
"Yes," I replied, taking a sip, "I know."
"You should probably get some sleep."
"Yeah," I allowed, "but I'm NOT nodding off until wannabe-Swift is OFF my station. Not while he's working on THAT."
I pointed to the main viewer. It wasn't an LCD monitor, unlike the ones on the wall. It'd been an old plasma widescreen, once, part of a home cinema setup. Busted when I bought it, but a little bit of miracle goo fixed it right up. Aside from the random tendency to sprout holograms, it made for a great control room centrepiece...and the holos were more of a feature than a bug, really.
Normally, the big screen displayed a schematic of the Floating Island, in all its irregular blobby glory, with little icons and labels giving real-time updates of everything going on. Most of the data showed human traffic through the two converted warehouse buildings at the heart of the Island, and the "underground" basement space. There were other stats too, though. At a glance, I could see how many ships we had in parking orbit, how many were docked in the main concourse, how good business was at the Food Court...
That was normally, though. Right now, the screen showed something different.
I was watching the security feed from the small craft garage - specifically, one of the rented spaces. The berth was occupied by an old Audi Quattro up on jacks, wheels off and hood open...a disturbing blue light coming from the engine bay. The vehicle's owner was just barely visible: a pair of khaki-clad legs was sticking out from beneath the car-spaceship, one foot thumping spasmodically.
Simon appeared on the screen, superimposed over the camera view. He studied the scene for a moment or two, brows furrowing. "Thomas is an aeronautics engineer. He knows what he's doing."
"He's also the guy who taught me how to make napalm. When I was eight."
Simon blinked. "I haven't heard that story."
"Wonder why," I muttered, tilting my mug back and draining it. My throat suddenly felt dry.
Simon frowned. "But...in any case, how bad could it..."
"I'm still not sure how he managed to get that plutonium."
For a moment, I swore Simon's hair stood on end. Beard and everything. His virtual image blanched. "Huh?"
"Ha ni ah pa," I muttered, "you heard me."
"Plutonium."
"Yeah, I blame the Soviets," I said.
"Plutonium," Simon repeated.
"Mm-hm. He's got some theory about how it'd react with handwavium, and..."
"...he's putting it in his ship."
"Yeah."
Simon paused. "And why aren't you kicking him off the station?"
I shrugged. "He's family. Mom would be mad."
"She'd be mad if this station turned into Three Mile Island. With both of you on it."
"Yeah...but then it'd be Tom's fault."

Apologies to the real-life source for Tom, who's only actually almost-electrocuted me once, and only nearly killed me twice with his car. Name's changed to protect the guilty. Of course, I doubt he'll ever read this. And I don't intend to show him.
Simon is an AI. He's linked to most of the Island's computers and electronics, making him well known to most of the Island's denizens. His name would be rather worrisome, except that his full name is actually Simon Peter...and his visual icon looks like the stereotypical movie image of one of Jesus' disciples.
Nobody knows why, except possibly Eric.
All of Eric's swearing, and some of his syntax, is in Hokkien. I lost the habit after finishing my military service, but I've always wanted to revive it for a character.
...no, my name isn't Eric. He's just a quasi-insert. >_o
-- Acyl
(I'll write more when I have free time...on Monday.)
-- Acyl
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Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#62
The opening to Haydn's symphony No. 94 is still as tranquil and unthreatening as when he wrote it 200 something years ago. Which is why, when I heard the first notes playing softly over the Sophistical Elenchi's sound system, instead of waking up I just snuggled deeper into my bunk.
Some part of my mind recognized the music, and it tried frantically to warn me. But it was a small part, and I'd been up late last night, or what past for it anyway. It became a moot point shortly as the symphony moved into the second movement and Ari' cranked the sound system's volume.
"I'm up, I'm up" I screamed as I shot upright, coming fully awake as the music slammed into my poor, unoffensive ears.
Ari' obligingly turned the volume down to managible levels and I lay back and tried to get my heart to calm. As I lay there I contempled my many mistakes, not the least of which was connecting my DVD player to the ship's computer system while I waited for the Handwavium to finish its job.
"I'm not going to be allowed to go back to sleep am I Ari'," I asked?
"No boss, you've had 10 hours of sleep already and you've still got a big list of things to get through today." Ari' replied in her best worst Radar O'Reilly immitation. "You did tell me to get you up and keep you from getting lazy."
I groaned and hauled myself out of the bunk. A shower would be just the thing to make me feel good about waking up and then, breakfast.
It was about an hour later when I climbed down into the Elenchi's cockpit and settled into the pilot's seat. "Alright Ari' did we get the latest download from the Island yet?"
She huffed and I heard the sound of papers being shuffled. "Yes, it came in about three hours ago. Usual junk, a couple of letters from Kale and Dru about the Exo-Armour Project. Apparently there's some legal trouble brewing for all those Gundam builders, and Kas wants to talk to you about the avionics code."
"Oh, and it looks like someone's called a Con. Or at least I think they have. Someone really needs to improve the pratical portion of the Japanese school system's English curiculum."
I laughed and pulled up the email on my PDA. By the time I'd finished reading it she had a course plotted and the Elenchi's two converted engines were spinning up.
Ari' could handle the piloting, so I climbed back up into the main compartment. Even after all this time the Elenchi was still barely half finished and I had work to do.
I'd sunk essentially every penny I could scrape up into buying a prototype airship from an ambitious but bankrupt aviation startup, which hadn't left me with a lot of resources to make it livable.
I'd managed to scrounge bits and pieces from various junk yards and my father's old friend's from the yacht club to make a livable interior inside the Handwavium reinforced envelope. But most of her 30 meter length was still empty space. I was still drawing up the plans for a hydroponic garden and waste water reclaimation, and the massive capacitor bank was only halfway done.
Of course that wouldn't matter that much until the solar panels finished growing. It might not have been the best idea to mix Handwavium with the photocells from an old calculator and the ivy cutting Jo' had given me, but do you have any idea what photovoltaics cost?
Anyway, I had lots of work to keep me busy while we travelled so I went hunting for my soldering iron.
--
Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the
grassy fields towards each other like two freight trains, one having
left York at 6.36pm travelling at 55mph, the other from Peterborough
at 4.19pm at a speed of 35mph.
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Re: the little engine that could, and would
#63

Things started spiralling into their current way, shape, and form back when the movers and shakers Earthside finally got their heads out of their asses and decided to try and stick arriving and departing Fen with extra tax.
HUD, already having to handle some work they/we were getting by subcontracting it to a fair number of Fen, and being closest to having an actual structure, took a fair bit of their flak.
In fact, Hermes finally did sign some random kipple worth of official looking paperwork to get the vultures off our backs, whereupon most of us took nom-de-guerre and legally divorced our former identities.
Then we gave the administrative collective the equivalent of the finger by proceeding to ignore the US and most of Europe, and moving the brunt of our Earthside storage space and business deals to Australia.
Half a year later business was back to normal, and the quality of beer we were delivering was a lot better than it had been before, but bulk orders were coming in more and more often.
It was the next big project. An upscaling, upgrading, or whatever you'd like to call it.
Plus, it was a way to get out of having to deal with the paperwork generated by the friendly, but still formalized relationship Hermes now had with the Aussie authorities.
So, myself and a few others went scouting ... or so the official story goes. Personally, I spent a week catching the highs and lows of Down Under - something I'd been meaning to do before, but had never really found the time to properly indulge in.
Inspiration struck when I'd hit North Williamstown.
Unfortunately, friendly as we were with the admins, we weren't _that_ friendly.
Fortunately, we did find out that while the Victorian Railways H220 displayed there was the only H class locomotive of its type that had entered service, it had been intially intended to be joined by two more of its type. Sadly, construction was never completed, and the parts had likely been scrapped.
It took us the better part of three months to raid assorted scrapyards, make inquiries, and put together a Handwaviumfab unit big enough to deal with assembly and eventual manufacture of parts missing. Fortunately, there was more than enough documentation to peruse, and we didn't actually have to put in a working engine ...
... and I had to stop Trigon from torching Botany Bay, but that's another story altogether. Let's just say that he gets bored easily.
In the end, re-construction was completed in record time - though maybe not so record, considering that four Fen were actually sweating bullets to make it happen. Me? I was, err, supervising! Yes, that's it.
What?
Yeah, well, their kung-fu was better than mine for dealing with the matter at hand. Personally, if it doesn't deal with force-fields or things going boom in a spectacular manner, I'm usually tempted to hand it off to someone else.
Anyway, we gave the whole thing its handwavium paintjob, hooked as much free Solid State 'wavetech as we had on hand into where the boiler would have been, had we actually managed to get a full one, called it a night, and proceeded over to Sydney to raid its Chinatown.
After a night that would eventually start the 'five Fen walk into a bar' joke franchise - and a morning on which I woke up to much screaming, because it was also the night of the infamous guacamole dip caper - and getting our collective shit together in the morning (one gender-change, one scalification, one human-fly/spiderman act, one split, and, well, me) we made our way back to the dockside warehouse space we'd rented.
The six of us - yeah, six. Turns out the guy who'd brought the guacamole got himself an Evil Twin. Or should that be Good Twin? Meh - promptly proceeded to jawdrop and stare.
No, not just because of the fact that you'd have to be insane to wear a long, black, and obviously winterweight coat in Australia in the summer.
Well, whatever debate there eventually would have been as to who'd crew the newest member of the HUD flotilla was pretty much eliminated there and then. We'd have called her Galaxy Express 999 regardless, but this sort of made it more ... right. If you get what I'm saying.
And even now, none of us had even the foggiest as to where she'd come from. Nor did we have any desire to ask. Hell, given that she's got some sort of symbiotic relationship with the 999 it's as likely as anything that all that handwavium in one place did a number on Reality. More of one than usual, at least.
"Katz."
Aaaand ... oh, hell.
Yeah, alright, the hug was nice. The frown that came after was worrying.
"Alright, what did I do this time?"
"Other than never calling?"
"Yes, other than never calling. You know I'm not a big fan of vidcom."
"Other than rarely even writing?"
"Err ..." I could have sworn I'd been keeping up with exchanges in that regard.
"People have been worried, you know? I actually needed to put together a storage buffer for your correspondence, because it keeps bouncing here for some reason."
I drew breath to defend myself before what she said registered. Wonderful. Well, that explains some things ...
"Damnit, Trigon!"
Yeah. I may be an ass, but I'd like to think I'm not that big an ass.
I promptly proceeded to beg, grovel, and explain myself.
"Well, you must be hungry," she finally said, cheerfully pretending to ignore the display. "Come, come. The kitchens just finished fixing a little something to tide us over until Phobos."
Whereupon Maetel proceeded to hook her arm around mine and direct me towards the dining cart.
-Griever

ETA:minor editsu

When tact is required, use brute force. When force is required, use greater force.
When the greatest force is required, use your head. Surprise is everything. - The Book of Cataclysm
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Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#64
blackaeronaut I blame you. (throws pokeball)
----
"MWAHAHAHA! Those FOOLS shall Tremble before the Power of SCIENCE!" Hollers my master at an unnecessary volume. He has been awake for over six weeks straight now, the insanity of choice this time seems to be usual monomania. I have no idea what he is working on this time, and frankly I don't care, as long as he is this focused on his work he won't notice me. As I sneak closer I do check that it doesn't look as if it's about to explode though, having learned that lesson from painful experience. Raising my combat knife I'm about to plunge it in his back when I hear the door open. Swiftly hiding the knife I turn around to see Miyu entering the room, carrying the bowl my master calls a coffee cup.
"Professor, your coffee is ready." Says Miyu in her precise, clipped voice.
"Hmm?"My master seemed to finally realize that there where other people in the room with him and takes his head out of the mess of wires he was working with. Unfortunately he doesn't release the wires leading into the engine and we all go flying to the rear bulkhead as the ship shudders and heaves under us. Of course I am the one getting coated with the scalding hot beverage, this is going to take forever to get out of my clothes. I glare at Miyu as she lands in a prefect crouch, while I'm on my ass and have the damn cup on my head.
"Whoops sorry about that., just a second." Says my master as he stands up end reaches for the open panel on the engine, fidels with something, and gravity promptly starts pointing in the right direction again, though this time I'm forewarned and land on my feet. My master though he should have known what was coming lies in an unconscious heap at my feet.
Sighing I lift him up and say "I'll bring him to the infirmary."
"No need I'll do it," says Miyu, helpful as ever, as she grabs his other side and starts to carry him too. "Why don't you go clean yourself up."
^_^
I barely managed to keep from glaring at Ryoko as we helped the Professor to the infirmary, wishing that blue haired goody two shoos would go away. First she wastes all my carefully poisoned coffee and now she refuses to leave us alone. Just one moment and I could punish him for taking me away from Alysa but she sticks with me until we reach the infirmary maintaining her cheerful demeanor the entire time, even though she is clearly worried about the Professor. Really it's just too hard to stay mad at the pseudo-girl, especially when she's wearing that oversized mug as a hat.
When we reached the infirmary Catty is already there, in a nurse outfit that I am sure didn't come with the ship. "I was expecting to see him in here when the gravity went crazy, what happened?"
"He was tinkering with the engines ranting about science as usual after the one week mark." Answerers Ryoko, "Well I have to take a shower and get this stuff of my clothes before it dries."
I hang around for a bit helping Catty check the Professor, though I already know she will be next to him while he is unconscious. She never leaves him alone when he sleeps either, my chance to assassinate him is gone until he wakes up again.
^_^
"Ouch, what blew up this time?" I asked as I came to with a pounding headache.
"Nothing, the artificial gravity went a little wonky though. Do you remember what you where working on?" Asks the sweet voice of Catty and I turn to look at her. Pink hair frames her delicate face with large golden eyes which sparkle with humor. Not for the first time I feel a sense of awe at what handwavium is able to accomplish, to bring to life a perfect creature such as this or the two others crewing this ship. Oh sure their basic frame was hand crafted by experts, built by a Japanese company specializing in life size dolls. The dolls had been just that, dolls, lifeless and uninteresting, but after I carefully molded handwavium into muscles and tucked a few select pieces of machinery here and there through their bodies they came alive. The first to be successfully animated with anything approaching human like intelligence. I was already been a mad scientist then, my intelligence enhanced to ludicrous levels by the handwavium, though back then I hadn't understood the price I would pay for enhancing myself like I had. I gave a mental snort, the insanity wasn't that bad, even if it had gotten him kicked off earth with a warning from NATO that if he ever tried to so much as re-enter the atmosphere he would be shot down. It also had gotten him the former royal yacht of Denmark, along with an unofficial thanks. Come to think of it that thanks what probably the only reason he hadn't been shot, just exiled. Focusing my drifting mind back to the question I was asked I tried to recall what I had been doing, I got a vague jumble of equations and four dimensional thrust vectors, and a couple of contradictory theories about how handwavium would react under certain conditions. I think all the theories where right though, which only stands to reason, I'm the greatest mad scientist in the universe! Shaking of my delusions of grandeur I answer the question.
"I was working on a subspace drive I think. The details are a little fuzzy, how long was I out? and for that matter how long was I working?"
"You where unconscious for two days, and before that working almost six weeks." She awn sered while holding out a very welcome cup of coffee.
"Thank you," I say as I accept the coffee. "Three week eh? Ouch, no wonder my head feels like it should explode if only to put me out of my misery. Anything I should take care of right away?" Ah caffeine, pure bliss.
"Your sister has a few of the usual questions on handwavium theory, but those could wait for a day or two. You have also been invited to speak at a Convention at Phobos, but we are to far out to reach it in time."
"When is the convention?"
"In three days, but we are still in orbit around Pluto. We didn't want to try using the engines until you checked them out."
"Well them time to see if what I was working on actually works. I think I finished it. I'd better check it though, I wouldn't want to get stranded in subspace."
"Oh I can think of plenty of ways to keep us entertained should that happen." Catty says with a smirk as she runs her hands along her side in a very suggestive manner. It is then that I notice for the first time what she's wearing and I can feel the blood rushing to my face and ... other areas.
"Gah, well I better go check up on the engines." I stammer out as I race out of the infirmary, garbing a lab coat as I do so. Lucky someone had dressed me in my pajamas, though considering I was the only male on board I didn't want to think of who had done it. Catty's amused laughter echoes down the hallway after me. I relax a bit, she was only teasing, and even if she wasn't it's hardly the sort of thing I should be running away from.
----
so what is up with the convention? More details on the ship as I can fill them in, but the ship, now named the 'Sol Bianca' was originally the 'HDMY Dannebrog' The royal yacht of the Danish Queen. The ship is desinged to be used as a hospital ship during wartime or other emergencies, and those medical facilities come in very usefull as mad science has a way of exploding. It doesn't look much like the royal yacht anymore due to various experiments and upgrades done to the ship. The ship is a gift from the royal family as I was kicked of earth following a long a convoluted story my character can only dimly recall. He hasn't stayed up for more than 3 months in a row since then.
The Professor as he is comenly known is widely aknowledged to be one of the leading experts when it comes to applying handwavium. Mundanes think he's great when he has slept recently, fen think it's when he hasn't slept in a while. Pyromaniacs think he's great when he hasn't slept in a month. His sister is one of the borderline people, she's still dirtside, studing handwavium and making fairly solid progress at replicating some it's most reproduceble effect using mundane tech without the quirks involved in using handwavium, and she expects to be able to build mundane antigrav in a decade or two.
So what is this convention all about?
Edit: Oh yeah, if anyone wants to borrow any of my characters feel free. I'll gladly help as needed but I am short on time right now.
E: "Did they... did they just endorse the combination of the JSDF and US Army by showing them as two lesbian lolicons moving in together and holding hands and talking about how 'intimate' they were?"
B: "Have you forgotten so soon? They're phasing out Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
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Re: ladies and gentlemen, we've got retro
#65
I'd go with "Fenspace Chronicles" or even just "Fenspace," myself.

"Exosphere in six hours, sweetie."
Don't get me wrong: I love Earth. It's the atmosphere I have problems with.
Okay, we need it to live, but it's a big pain in the ass when you're trying to get anywhere. Antigrav engines are efficient, cheap, and fast... but get down to Earth and you lose the "fast."
If you don't want to make a spectacle of yourself (not to mention overstress heat shields, assuming your kitbash even has any), it's a good idea to slow right down when you hit the outer atmosphere. That means nearly 700 miles of air, traversed at a reasonable 100 mph... so the trip from Luna to the exobase can take as little as twenty minutes, followed by maybe seven or eight hours of air time.
And the same in reverse on the way up.
Is it any wonder that spacefen only make the trip when we have to?
"All quiet on the skyward front, hon. No traffic problems anticipated, our course is clear."
But a cargo of the latest in gene-modded plants for the Martian terraforming effort means enough profit to qualify as necessary, so here we were, outbound again. Six hours until I could safely crank the drive up to speed.
The first thing you'd notice about my ship... well, let's skip to the second: her name. I'd thought to name her Masakazu after Japan's #1 or 2 "good girl" mangaka, and got most of the way through painting the name when it occurred to me that (a) you don't name ships and so forth after living people, and (b) Japanese culture doesn't hold with naming ships for any kind of person, dead or otherwise. Bad karma, coming after me. On top of the superstitions associated with rechristening a ship to begin with, that kind of tsuris I did not need.
So I stepped back to consider my options, got a look at just how much of the name I'd already painted, and fell over laughing. Shortly thereafter, I registered her as the SSX Masaka.
"Systems are green across the board, hull's tight, we're all good! Break time, nya!"
Back to the first thing. It's a reconditioned wet-navy ship, same as a lot of the kludges and kitbashes you see these days... but what sets her apart from the crowd is her hull. I'm pretty sure the Masaka is the only starship in human space made of cement.
All right, concrete. The point is, back in WW1 the Navy decided to try and save some precious steel by building ship hulls out of poured rock. Around a dozen were made, and one of them -- the oil tanker S.S. Palo Alto -- wound up docked to the Seacliff Beach wharf just outside my dirtside stomping grounds. She survived a few years as a floating amusement center, but time and tide turned her into a shattered wreck fit only for photo opportunities.
Never sat right with me, so when the opportunity arose I took out a loan on the shell, had it put back together and refitted, and then applied miracle goo wherever it might do some good. 435 feet of spaceworthy bulk freighter, no problem. Finding a crew was the tricky bit, especially as the Masaka stubbornly refused to develop an AI. But then... then I met them.
"All checks complete, all alarms set. Masaka is secure for autopilot, I repeat, secure for autopilot."
"Autopilot is go. Stand down, girls, another good job."
"Gee, Felice, what'll we do for the next six hours?"
"The same thing we do every liftoff, Solstice: try to dehydrate Billy!"
"Um, girls..."
"I'll get his legs! Eurydice, Solstice, tickle 'im into submission!"
"Oh goody, nya!"
...The really tricky bit will be surviving my crew's affections. But I've got plans.
Muahaha.
--Sam
"Egad! Too much anatomy!"
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Soap Bubble
#66

There's no other ship in the Solar System like Moondance.
I say this not out of pride of ownership but as a simple fact. For one thing, I'm fairly sure it's the only one of any size that was handbuilt from scratch rather than kludged from something more mundane.
It started, for me, when I was attending a science fiction convention. Yes, that one.
Why, yes. I was. Word of advice: never get drunk with fen. You never know what you'll end up regretting once you're sober.
Actually, that was the first and last time I ever drank at all.
It has its ups and downs. It's a lot easier to feel good about myself - which's no small thing, considering how much of a problem I had with depression - but I attract more attention than I used to and spend three days a month almost bedridden, like clockwork.
Being short is a pain in the ass, though.
About ten inches.
I had the hair before, actually, though I was taller and it's grown a bit since then. I used to bind it off at about mid-thigh, rather than just past my knees.
It took a few months, but wasn't painful at all, actually. I'd always been willing to admit that guys could be, mmm, interesting, but the mechanics of taking that anywhere when I was one myself bothered me.
That does not go there, thank you.
I'm not answering that. Stacy's life is already more than complicated enough, thank you very much.
No, I do not care to elaborate.
Thank you.
Look, I'll be the first to admit that quarantining us was the smart and responsible thing to do. None of us had a significant problem with that. But treating us like convicted child molesters or mass murderers was a bit fucking much! Damn straight we ran.
It was the scariest three months of my life.
See, even leaving aside the whole 'hunted by the Danelaw' aspect, we had no more clue what to make of handwavium than anyone else did. It could violate the laws of physics and biology, it could grow and breed, there were times when it'd seem to make an independant decision, like it really did have a mind of its own...
And we had no clue what it wanted.
I was asleep that shift; you and your readers already know as much about it as I do.
Ah, yes, the ship. Sit back, mister, I love to talk about it.
The first thing about it is that I always intended it to be as big as it is now. But, I knew I could never afford something that size, either in time or materials. So, I figured out my design - there was and is a lot of information about homemade geodesics on the web, particularly for the Burning Man festival - and built the parts of it that are now the north and south poles out from the very center until they were each just a little too low under the peak for me to stand up straight.
Then I got in touch with a bunch of people and told them what I was doing, and they helped me flip one over and set the other on top of it. Fixed them together, added a perimeter ring, then sealed it off.
I added landing gear, then the engine from Stace's car - she was one of the crazy ones that tried that at the very beginning - as a prime mover, some basic instruments, and the very minimum of living arrangements, and we had our very own flying saucer.
Because it was cool.
More seriously, we'd noticed even that early that a ship's mass and its maximum speed were related as or more closely than how much power it had.
Yes, mass. And a giant tent made out of copper piping, tinfoil, and something near-enough to varnish is a lot lighter than even a small car - no matter how much more free space it has inside.
Dude, one of the guys we knew forgot to replace the broken window he'd covered using a trash bag. Structural integrity didn't worry me.
Yeah, that was more of a leap of faith than's usually my style, but by that point... I'd started to trust the 'waveium. Not its judgement or such, but its intentions.
Of course I gave it a real hull eventually. And a real skeleton and a real life-support system, too. Trust isn't the same as blind trust.
Scalping NASA?! Look, I wanted the same wage as the rest of their hourly contractors. They were the ones who insisted on the danger pay.
No, no, no. Whoever told you that was a fucking liar. I left because they tried to fucking arrest me. I was studying for the damned liscense, I was damned well playing the game.
No, I don't blame anyone at NASA for that disaster. At the time I didn't think any of them knew about it, and once I found out differently, I knew that they'd found out too late to do more than protest.
I can't really take credit for the spandex space suit. I got the idea from something that I'd read about how conventional types held the human body in with an envelope of air, and how it should be possible to accomplish the same task with an envelope of fabric.
So I bought a wet suit and 'waved it, and asked NASA to borrow one of their vaccum chambers to test it safe-like.
Explosive decompression is a myth, actually, and anyway the thing worked perfectly.
Nowadays I've got the Moondance up to her full size and I'm running interplanetary cargoes. It takes a while, but I have a lot of time to read and not too many people bothering me, and I'm living with the best girlfriend on the planet.
You, too. And, if you or your bosses need anything else for that story, get in touch, hey? 'Night!
Ah, peace.
Can I help you?
Uh-huh.
My own, actually.
Well, for starters, stop staring at my boobs. Yes, they really are that huge. No, you can't feel.
Thanks. Now go away, please.
Jerk.

ETA: Revised version, for continuity, plausibility, and other assorted tees.
Stacy the person is fairly normal. What her body ended up modded into belongs in hentai manga.
Flying saucers are cool. Personally, I think spherical ships are cooler, which is the entire reason I conceived of that thing in the first place.
Ja, -n

===============================================
"Puripuri puripuri... Bang!"
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some issues
#67
I'm seeing a conflict, here.
Actually, a few conflicts/issues.
First: an easy one: we need a consensus on how long it takes to go from orbit to the surface and back. "grumble grumble seven hours each way" and "I spent a lot of money on this really interesting thing, and now I'm one of the few who can make it in under a day" just don't mesh.
Second: more difficult. We've established that most fen just soup up the family car and roll. This fits in well with the genre. We've discussed the unpleasantnesses associated with this means of transport. Various people have come up with significanly larger hulls, and waxed rhapsodic about the monetary benefits of being able to run really large loads. The difficulty is this: handwavium is relatively easy to produce in bulk. It takes some time to grow the stuff, but it doesn't take much money, and a lot of fen tend to be long-road thinkers. It's also tremendously magical in that "no fuel costs" sort of way, and provides a livable seal all by itself. Cargo containers are *cheap*. "Thing with space inside" is not expensive, as far as ground economies go, and having space to stretch out in once in the solar system at large, is precious indeed. So... why are all of these people dinking around in tiny, cramped spaces?
My thought would be to have default speeds of handwavium vehicles in a pretty clear inverse curve with size. You can get more space, but it'll take longer to get there. If you happen to get a special drive along with the rest of your devices, it can bend that to a degree, but should have its own disadvantages. This has the avantage that "big ships go slow, small ships go fast" is a genre trope already.
Alternately/additionally, play up the bio side (or maybe that's just what they want you to think). Handwavium generally needs a degree of direct personal attention to thrive. If your ship has too much of the stuff (often by dint of being too big) then the amount of time it takes to run around and keep all of it happy starts getting to be severe.
Third thing: So far, the major industry up in orbit seems to be... transport, to people in orbit. We need exportable stuff, too. Admittedly, we've seen a spot of bounty hunting, some astronomy, and a bit of satellite lift/maintenance, but it looks like most of the folks who hit the skies are going up there to *live* - and they're still consuming earthstuffs, in the form of food and hardtech for upgrading. They're going to need some sort of industry up there, or something like it, and if we're going to be supporting a significant population of transport types (and that's the niche that almost everyone is going ot think of first) then they're going to need a lot of it, emplaced at various points around the solar system that don't move all that well.
suggestions:
- asteroid mining: as soon as someone says "we need an industry", this is going to be the first thing through the minds of at least 80% of the fen. Many people will be trying it, and some will likely succeed. They may not succeed well enough to be worth sending much of it down the gravity well to sell on the open market (except for the points when you luck into platinum or something) but they might well succeed well enough to be worth setting up orbital smelters for. Given the likelihood of lucking into that *particular* effect again, though, those orbital smelters are going to be a precious resource indeed.
- satellite frobbing: lift, recovery, repair, sabotage, running stand-in duty in times of immediate need, and so on. A fair amount of opportunity here.
- various scientific applications: an excellent justification for Emplaced Industry that can then require transport work
- telecommuting
- tourism: However obnoxiously long it takes to get up and back, I gurantee you there's people who spend more time to see less. A well-mannered team with a nice, reliable, classy means of transport and large viewing spaces could make a *lot* of money here. Of course, there would be a fair number of mundane tourism companies that tried to get in on this one, but tourism tends to dump money into the local economy anyway.
Incidentally, we've been writing some stuff (the basics, really: hull-sealing, getting to orbit, tooling around the solar system, and a degree of environmental) as if it's not just totally reliable, but almost totally quirk-free. Part of the point of handwavium to me was the stage after you get your vehicle of choice, after you breed up your appropriately-sized block of the stuff, after you apply thing B to thing A, but before you actually can use it, where you figure out what bizarre little details there are that you're just going to have to live with/compensate for. That's one of the major things that keeps space in the hands of the Fen, rather than the wage-slaves.
Feel free to ignore me, if you want to, but it seemed to me that these were things that needed fixing - or at least consideration
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hem, haw
#68
My little slice of fiction hasn't gotten to the Quirks yet, but the name of the ship is indicative of some of them. And I figure: Basic Spaceworthiness is something that the first fen figured out how to do reliably.
Vis-a-vis vehicles versus cargo containers... PArt of the quirkiness of handwavium. Plus vehicles automatically have the mental image of "It will take me where I want to go" that is important to fen-stage tinkering. After all, what fires your imagination more: a black 1983 Pontiac Trans-Am with a very intricate entertainment system or a metal box 4 m x 4 m x 12 m? That may bring the "kludge" factor back into it.
You can't just lob the gunk onto a cargo container and get anything more than a spaceworthy [i.e., Vacuumproof] box. You have to do SOMETHING to it. Weld the cab from a Kenworth to the front and add pylons that look like they do something so that the input from the creator will spark the Handwavium to do whatever it is it does. Scribe "runic circuitry" all over it with a soldering gun and apply the handwavium to them.
A plywood Millenium Falcon is more likely to work than a Plywood Borg Cube.... unless the Fen building it go crazy kitbashing the thing...
And, in re jobs... Yes, I see the Pinafore as intended for tourism jobs but somehow keeps doing the bounty hunting/medical thing. Her main cabin is VERY well-appointed.... except for the patched bullet holes from the previous owner. Her captain got her cheap for a reason, after all.
''We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat
them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.''

-- James Nicoll
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Re: some issues
#69
*first difficulty snipped*
The angle I was playing for Moondance's 'fast transit' ability was that the reason for the longer, 'standard' time was that the handwavium applied along the 'outer hull' of more normal craft sort of dried out and went away when you heated it beyond a certain point.
At the start, the thing was a giant tent that floated along - with its cargo - entirely on the basis of handwaving; heck, it was held together by it.
And that last bit gives me the heebie-jeebies, and would have changed the instant the cash to reinforce it became available.
So now you've got a giant floating golf ball. As the owner becomes able to afford them, it gains things like a mundane life support system, an actual pressure hull, federally certified avionics, and all those other security blankets - the handwavium becomes more and more concerned with propulsion, and pretty soon the only place it's needed is in the engine room.
So now what's stopping you from going fast? (In atmospheric terms - for interplanetary work, the thing's still a slug) Well, a lack of insulation and the fact that the outer hull will still melt... but that's soluble, too.
So, it was a whole evolutionary process - when the handwavium was needed everywhere, the entire ship was simple enough to make keeping track of it doable. When that changed, though, the complicated parts didn't need handwaved - that was the point of changing them. By the time the heat-armor is added, it's almost entirely a mundane ship... by certain standards of mundane, anyway.
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Part of the point of handwavium to me was the stage after you get your vehicle of choice, after you breed up your appropriately-sized block of the stuff, after you apply thing B to thing A, but before you actually can use it, where you figure out what bizarre little details there are that you're just going to have to live with/compensate for. That's one of the major things that keeps space in the hands of the Fen, rather than the wage-slaves.
Point. My suggestion regarding this, though, would be that individual people cannot determine their own quirks. The GM, or the rest of the community, get to inflict them.
Ja, -n

===============================================
"Puripuri puripuri... Bang!"
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Re: some issues
#70
The principal quirk I had in mind for the Masaka is simply that its central computer does not appear to have become an AI of any stripe, despite deliberate attempts to awaken it... but Billy "Danger Will" Robinson and his mates can't be entirely certain that it hasn't. Odd things happen aboard.
I'm open to whatever other effects you feel like slapping on handwavium-reinforced concrete, though. [Image: smile.gif]
We've got half light speed as the upper limit for in-system travel (does the Limit apply to other stars, or is it oddly only Sol?); if that applies to small vehicles, cars or Winnebagos, what should the big guys' speed be? A tenth light, or less?
Of course, the bigger you are the slower you may want to go. Tearing around at relativistic velocity in something huge and unsteerable = badness. By the originally proposed max speeds the Masaka could make it from Luna to upper atmosphere in maybe eighteen seconds, but anyone dumb enough to try that deserves what he gets.

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Third thing: So far, the major industry up in orbit seems to be... transport, to people in orbit. We need exportable stuff, too. Admittedly, we've seen a spot of bounty hunting, some astronomy, and a bit of satellite lift/maintenance, but it looks like most of the folks who hit the skies are going up there to *live* - and they're still consuming earthstuffs, in the form of food and hardtech for upgrading. They're going to need some sort of industry up there, or something like it, and if we're going to be supporting a significant population of transport types (and that's the niche that almost everyone is going ot think of first) then they're going to need a lot of it, emplaced at various points around the solar system that don't move all that well.
The late great Brian Daley said it best: "In fact, if you've got your own starship, the only way you can be poor is by trying real hard."
Of course, he was talking about life in the Third Breath -- in that setting, a new and super-fast FTL drive had just begun to radically revitalize interstellar commerce after a thousand years of somewhat slower expansions and dark ages. There were enough long-separated colonies and species that almost anything a breakabout (spacer) could pick up could be sold at a profit somewhere else, so starships tended to be crammed to the gills with all manner of cargo.
We're not quite there yet. ^.^
Still working on what Danger Will's primary Earthbound cargo should be. I'm thinking massive amounts of water, delivered to India and other countries in desperate need. Not sure if it should be possible to gather it the way I'm thinking, though... could it be extracted from the gas giants' atmospheres? Is there enough oxygen there?
--Sam
"He's gonna EAT it!"
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transferred
#71
transferred
D for Drakensis

You're only young once, but immaturity is forever.
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Re: some issues
#72
The Yamato's location is well known. It's in 300 meters of water and in at least two pieces, but will that really stop anyone? [Image: smile.gif]
--Sam
"A pirate must live a pirate's life. And this is the way of life we have chosen."
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Re: some issues
#73
oh - and one minor thing I forgot.
So, you've got the island. It's an enormous chunk of ground with internal handwaved gravity, some sealed warehouses, and a bunch of space dug out below. It's got parking lots up top for folks to land on. The cars are human-habitable, the buildings aer human-habitable... but I don't see how the space in between is human-habitable. How do you traverse the gap and/or mate environments? SUVs are not generally fitted with standardized airlocks.
(note that this isn't actually particularly *about* the Island per se - it's a concern for *any* exchange of people between wavetech vehicles.)
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Re: some issues
#74
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First: an easy one: we need a consensus on how long it takes to go from orbit to the surface and back. "grumble grumble seven hours each way" and "I spent a lot of money on this really interesting thing, and now I'm one of the few who can make it in under a day" just don't mesh.
yeah we need some agreement on that. Particularly since if the limit is 80 AU and 10 hours out you need to be going about lightspeed to reach it.
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My thought would be to have default speeds of handwavium vehicles in a pretty clear inverse curve with size. You can get more space, but it'll take longer to get there. If you happen to get a special drive along with the rest of your devices, it can bend that to a degree, but should have its own disadvantages. This has the avantage that "big ships go slow, small ships go fast" is a genre trope already.
I like this idea.
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Incidentally, we've been writing some stuff (the basics, really: hull-sealing, getting to orbit, tooling around the solar system, and a degree of environmental) as if it's not just totally reliable, but almost totally quirk-free. Part of the point of handwavium to me was the stage after you get your vehicle of choice, after you breed up your appropriately-sized block of the stuff, after you apply thing B to thing A, but before you actually can use it, where you figure out what bizarre little details there are that you're just going to have to live with/compensate for. That's one of the major things that keeps space in the hands of the Fen, rather than the wage-slaves.
Yeah, I'm definitly guilty of that one as well, though in my case it's more because I haven't thought of good quirks yet, nor would the viewpoint of people who have been living with it emphazise it too much. Still I would welcome suggestions for quirks, I can think of a few but I need more for something the size of the Sol Bianca. Though I think the androids are quirky enough.
One potential thing to fix this is that Handwavium is illegal groundside, due to possible health risks/whatever which puts transport in a dificult position.
Another is that somke of the quirks appear in the owners/operators, not just the vehicle. You are afterall breathing Handwavium dust, drinking water processed and possibly contaminated by the stuff, etc ect.
Combine the two and make Handwavium illegal groundside except for at specific spaceports (not that this will stop the fen, and the damn stuff is spreading all the time, luckily most use it to go into space so the problem is self-solving), and definitly make it illegal for corperations to own/use it for any purpose but research, but allow them to hire fen to do whatever they want done in space.
Then the problem will be mostly self-solving.
E: "Did they... did they just endorse the combination of the JSDF and US Army by showing them as two lesbian lolicons moving in together and holding hands and talking about how 'intimate' they were?"
B: "Have you forgotten so soon? They're phasing out Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
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Re: some issues
#75
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So, you've got the island. It's an enormous chunk of ground with internal handwaved gravity, some sealed warehouses, and a bunch of space dug out below. It's got parking lots up top for folks to land on. The cars are human-habitable, the buildings aer human-habitable... but I don't see how the space in between is human-habitable. How do you traverse the gap and/or mate environments? SUVs are not generally fitted with standardized airlocks.
I've thought about that. I can't really go into a detailed reply, since I need to leave for the airport in about...20 minutes.
But in brief, here's what I thought up for the Island.
There's three ways you can land and disembark. One applies to large vessels, and it hasn't exactly been used yet, since there aren't very many big ships around. Yet. One of Eric's crew rigged up a docking tube in a fit of enthusiasm - the "universal connector" at the ship end is really a big suction ring, it simply fits OVER whatever airlock the ship has.
Then there's the two ways, if you're flying something small. If you've got some sort of spacesuit or airlock, you can park on the Island's surface for free, get out, and walk in.

If you don't have a spacesuit or any way to go extravehicular, you need to taxi along the Island's surface - or fly low or something, depending on how you land and move - then head into one of the big hangar bays with a vehicular-scale airlock.
There's a parking charge, though the rates follow a complex and Byzantine scale depending on a) how large your ship is, b) the duration of your stay, c) if you're a regular, and d) how much Island ATC likes you. No, it's not fair, but Simon (the station's AI), has intervened on at least one case where a fan was grossly overcharged...simply 'cause he flamed a forum thread started by an Island staffer.
Bay One is topside, occupying about half of Module B (the biggest warehouse block). It's essentially a parking garage. Module B doesn't have that many conversions for human habitation. It's sealed, but it's still definitely a warehouse - but that's fine. Parking space. And good for conventions and such. There's probably other uses for lots of big open pressurised area that I haven't thought of yet.
Bay Two is attached to Module A (the smaller of the two main blocks, essentially a shopping mall/motel). That one's meant for deliveries - "official use only".
Bay Three is downside, along the belly of the Island, with direct access to the various "underground" bits that have been hollowed out. When Eric lifted the place, he and his collaborators went down as far as they could go. A lot of Fen like that one, because it really feels like flying into a station or asteroid or something.
As a side note, there's a decent amount of aboveground structure aside from the warehouse blocks. Original bits of road and surface parking lots. Some of the Island surface has also been taken over by new construction - there's a couple of domed-over hydroponic gardens and the like.
Then there's solar panels, so on.
I'll probably elaborate on this more, but the Island's big. I haven't decided how large yet - my grasp of proportions and math is notoriously bad. I have a vague idea, but not sure how that translates in real terms.
(Well, I did advanced math courses in high school, and did well. I hated them, though, but back when I was entertaining vague thoughts of a computing or engineering degree. Nowadays I avoid numbers far as possible.)
Anyway, though...the disruption the Island caused when lifting, and the hole in the landscape it left behind... probably the only reason why Eric and his original crew aren't in more trouble with Mundane authorities was, well, they boosted from a developing nation. Haven't decided which one...but they had to buy the property, after all. So, it made sense to, y'know, go further afield where land was cheaper...
-- Acyl
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