Ulm Station crew finalists chosen

CAPE CANAVERAL, EARTH – Omar Panderyn, leader of the Ulm Station FTL platform project, announced five people who are finalists to join him in orbit by the end of the month. The finalists include:

  • Willard Tilsworth
  • Maxwell Cooke
  • Raynaldus Lionheart
  • Omoiyari Kinako
  • Rafael Santiago

The finalists are expected to undergo rigorous conditioning tests to make sure they’re capable of enduring extended stays in cramped quarters aboard the orbital outpost.

OtherSpace Fall Fundraiser 2014

It’s that time again – in just 60 days or so, our annual payment of about $200 will be due to Linode.com for hosting the game and website for jointhesaga.com.

I’ve updated the benefits for contributing to the MUSH on the website – any and all support is appreciated!

A portion of the proceeds above and beyond the $200 needed to cover server costs will be donated to the Duke Children’s Hospital as part of the Extra Life marathon on Oct. 25.

Raised $5 towards the $200 target.

OtherSpace Reboot: Room With a View, Part 1

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Omar Panderyn strides into the lounge, PDA in hand as he speaks to a human male – about college age. “Really, it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever read. It’s not just that the science is bad, although it is atrocious. But the central premise is that these aliens are using FTL drive technology as bait to capture people to use as warriors against a race of psionic alien spiders and these captives side *with* the spiders. How does that make sense? Find the galaxy’s biggest shoe and squish away, I say.”

Maxwell wanders into the bar, occasionally scribbling something on a scrap of paper as he goes, heading to the nearest stool.

Tilsworth makes his way into the lounge at a slow and steady pace, his cane tapping against the floor as he makes his way towards the bar. He does catch Omar’s words, though, and raises an eyebrow. Carried under his non-walking arm is a clipboard covered with well-scribbled paper.

Raynaldus walks into the lounge typing something on his pda, and then puts it away. Being here for the first time he looks around the lounge to find a bar or place to sit. He is to late to hear Omar’s words.

“Perhaps it’s just an allegory,” the young man replies to Omar. The older man scoffs, waves a hand, then pauses near a corner booth. He looks around the pub and announces over the low din: “Excuse me, folks. I’m Omar Panderyn. I’m in charge of hiring personnel for the orbital FTL project. If you’re interested, form a line at this booth. First come, first served. Be warned, though, if you’re claustrophobic at all, don’t even think about it. I need people who can tolerate the stress.” He settles into the booth, leaving the young man to field potential candidates.

Causing a slight scene where ever he goes, the Council member from Mars enters the Apollo Lounge, data pad in hand. He is accompanied by several aids, each trying to get the attention of the man for whatever it is they are trying to discuss. Santiago stops just inside the entranceway, handing the pad to one of his aids. After a brief exchange, the aids comply with whatever he said and find themselves a table where they talk amongst themselves. Santiago scans the lounge for an approprite place to sit.

Maxwell stops on his way to the bar at that announcement, and redirects himself towards yonder booth, pocketing his latest batch of scribbles on the way.

Tilsworth ponders this invitation a bit, and after a few moments of deciding, starts to make his way over towards where Omar has sat, though the younger folks headed there easily beat him for a place in line. Nevertheless, he settles in, re-adjusting his glasses on his nose.

Raynaldus hears the announcement and without much thought he confidently walks towards the booth where Omar has sat down. A smile is forming as he gets there and stands back in line. He grabs his pda again to check if he has all he needs for the conversation.

Omar Panderyn lets his eyes scan the pub as he waits for the candidates to line up. He soon takes note of the arriving member of the Stellar Consortium Council. His assistant is about to clear Maxwell to sit down when Omar interrupts and calls out: “Mr. Santiago. I really think you ought to be part of this project.” His tone is flinty. He places the PDA on the table in front of him. “Certainly after a Martian terrorist tried to spark a war between the Consortium and the Texas republic, the least you can do is join us in orbit for the betterment of Sol System.”

Kinako pads quietly into the lounge, finally out of scrubs and back into a more comfortable looking loosely-tailored suit. She cants her head, curiously, at the extra activity in the Lounge today. Spotting at least one familiar face, she makes a careful beeline towards Maxwell. “Kon’nichiwa, Mister Cooke-sir,” she murmurs, bowing slightly. “Ah, kindly tell me this excitement is not because of another threat?”

Flying under the radar is something Santiago never seems to get away with. Just this once, he thinks. But alas, he sighs and turns his attention to Omar. “While I am a staunch supporter of Mars citizens, I am not a support of terrorist activities.” He looks around at those in the room, than back at Omar, “I serve the Consortium in all things, and the betterment of our race is my number one concern. Be it Earth, Luna, or Mars born. The things that unite is are far greater than that which divides us. I shall join you.”

Maxwell shakes his head at Kinako, looking excited “Ah, no. No threats today. Just some guy looking for folks interested in some orbital FTL project.”

Tilsworth waits patiently as Omar takes other folks in the line. In the meantime, he takes the opportunity to look at his well-used clipboard and scribble a few more notes.

Omar Panderyn crosses his arms as he considers Santiago’s words. “We’ll see. Wait at the end of the line.” He offers a faint smile, then nods to his aide, who informs Maxwell that he’s welcome to take a seat in the booth across from Panderyn.

The Councillor nods to the man, looking at the line and moves to the end of it. No preferential treatment here, clearly.

Raynaldus finishes going trough some files on his pda and puts it away again. He looks around at the people standing in line infront of him and behind him.

Maxwell slips into the indicated bit of booth. “Afternoon.”

“Best of fortune to you, then,” Kinako says, as Maxwell is invited to move forward. She also bows at the waist as the notices Tilsworth. “Ah, and a kon’nichiwa to you as well, Doctor Tilsworth-sir. Are you considering this, ah, orbital project?”

“Name and specialty?” Panderyn inquires of Maxwell, plucking his PDA off the table.

Tilsworth looks over to Kinako. “Indeed, my dear, the prospect sounds… intriguing. And perhaps my experience could prove useful.” he says with a smile.

Raynaldus smiles hearing Tilsworth’s words. “We all think our experiances are usefull in this project. Lets hope the gentleman in charge of picking the team will agree with us.” He says with a kind smile.

“Maxwell Cooke. Physics.”

Omar Panderyn nods at Maxwell. “Smallest space you’ve ever occupied?”

Kinako nods attentively before replying to Tilsworth. “Well, at most I am relieved it is not another catastrophe. We are, ah, as it were, still doing our best to clear the disharmony wreaked by the last untoward visitor. At least I am very much recognized as a doctor here at the port, and am actually able to assist in an official capacity. So you would be… presumably acting in some scientific capacity, if I recall? Regrettably I was not in the best of health when first we met, so please accept my apologies for forgetting your area of expertise.”

Tilsworth offers up another smile and pats Kinako on the shoulder. “No worries my dear, you are right that these past weeks have been quite a trying time.” he says, shifting his weight on his cane a bit. “My speciality is theoretical physics, but I have degrees in quite a few other areas… chemistry, being another of the offside disciplines.” His focus is shifted to Kinako for the moment while Omar interviews Maxwell.

Maxwell nods “Single occupancy college dorm that was three quarters full of books.”

“The correct answers would have been ‘mother’s womb’ or ‘test tube,’ if applicable,” Panderyn states flatly to Maxwell. “What experience do you have with transdimensional propulsion physics?”

Raynaldus listens to Tilsworth and Kinako talking while also trying to follow the conversation going on in the booth. His grey eyes can be seen switching from person to person depending on who is talking and piquing his interest the most.

Kinako inclines her head. “Then best of fortune to you as well, once your turn is called,” she says to Tilsworth. “Have you ever been, ah, in space? I have most certainly never departed this atmosphere. Is it… what is the word I am looking for, perilous?”

“Indeed… a trip to Mars in my youth on a research expedition to the plains around Olympus Mons.” Tilsworth says. “Perilous… perhaps. But no more than anything else we do in this life. The vessels of today are sturdier than those from my day, my dear, and a fair bit quicker… though not as quick as we’d like.”

Maxwell blinks a couple times “None that I’m aware of. Only just got my Masters, so field experience is… limited.”

Omar Panderyn clears his throat. “I see. Well. Transmit your resume to Crumpton there behind you and I’ll, ah, be in touch. If you’re a finalist, you’ll have to undergo a rigorous fitness test. Thank you. Next!” The aide, Crumpton, informs Raynaldus that he’s up next.

Raynaldus hears Omar call the next in line and seeing it’s himself Raynaldus walks over and when he’s standing acrose Omar he kindly offers a handshake. “Hello Sir, Raynaldus Lionheart is my name it’s nice to meet you.”

Maxwell slips out of the booth, poking at his pda briefly to send on the ole resume.

Omar Panderyn shakes the offered hand. “Afternoon, Ray. I’m Omar Panderyn.” He sets aside his PDA before asking, “What’s your specialty?”

Kinako nods to Maxwell as he heads out of the impromptu interviewing booth. She pulls up their table’s menu and orders herself some tea. Her expression is moderately hopeful. “Ah, how did it go, Mister Maxwell-sir?” she asks, before turning back to Tilsworth. “I suppose that makes sense; air travel, after all, has advanced a great deal since its origin as well. Simply arriving here has produced its own perils, all of which have proven, ah…” Tapping her lip, she struggles for the correct word. “Possible to overcome? So far.”

Tilsworth nods. “Indeed. As I was just discussing with Mr. Maxwell here the other day, many challenges that seem insurmountable are just problems that have yet have the solution found. Where there is a will, there is a way.”

Maxwell nods to Kinako “I can’t say as I’m overly optimistic about this one. Mind if I have a seat?”

Raynaldus nods and sits down after Maxwell has left the booth. “In short it’s engineering. I started with working on weapons but soon found that to boring and started working on other mechanical devices like for example engines of different vehicles.”

“Okay,” Panderyn replies. “How long can you hold your breath?”

Kinako nods enthusiastically to Tilsworth. “Ahh, that is the very word I was looking for… surmountable? Is that an appropriate word?” She makes a gesture of welcome to Maxwell, frowning mildly in sympathy. “Of course you may join us. I have ordered some tea, but if you are hungry please do not feel as though you are being disrespectful if you eat. I will not eat for another half an hour. I am sorry that your interview has not filled you with confidence. I can not discern the words at this distance, and it would be impolite to eavesdrop, but that gentleman’s posturing and tone seem, ah… curt, perhaps? Gruff?”

“An accurate assessment, I would think my dear.” Tilsworth says. “Then again ambitious types are often that way… I must admit to a few lapses in the social niceties myself over my years.”

Maxwell nods as he takes a seat “Interviews are never fun. The lack of em was one of the nicest things about staying in school.” Half an eye at this point is on the menu, as he scrolls through idly.

Raynaldus thinks a bit. “I never counted or clocked it. But I’d say a minute or two, three. I learned a few techniques to be able to hold my breath longer but I never got around to test it. I learned it from my older brother and he could hold his breath for about 5 minutes i believe.”

“What’s the longest you’ve gone without taking a nice walk around the block?” Panderyn asks Raynaldus.

Kinako nods. “Ah, of course, I was not passing judgment, merely making an observation so that Mister Maxwell-sir might more objectively weigh the gentleman’s bearing and responses.”

Tilsworth nods. “Of course my dear, I understand.” he says with a smile. “From what I can hear of his questions he is definitely testing peoples ability to… what was the term…. ‘think outside the box?’”

Raynaldus smiles as he thinks a bit. “Probably a day or so. But if you’re talking about discomfort then I’d say I’ve had plenty of that during basic combat training. My drill sergeant seemed to take pleasure in making me yearn for the comforts of home and such.” He says with a grin.

“All right,” Panderyn says, nodding. “Transmit your resume to Crumpton. If you make the finalists, there’ll be a training period to determine your fitness for the job. Thanks.” He nods to Crumpton, who motions for Tillsworth to approach.

Maxwell eyes the menu for another moment before pressing something to summon a cup of tea.

“I see that my turn has come.” Tilsworth says. “I’ll speak with you later my dear. Enjoy your tea.” Taking up his cane, he makes his way over to Panderyn’s booth. “A good day to you sir. The name is Dr. Williard L. Tilsworth, Ph.D.” he says, switching his cane to his left hand to offer his right for a handshake.

Raynaldus nods kindly and then stands up making room for the next in line. As he has left the booth he grabs his pda and sends his resume as requested.

Kinako ponders, for a few moments, the mysteries of this ‘thinking outside of the box’ concept. She snaps back into focus as Tilsworth rises. “Best of fortune to you, Doctor!” she calls quietly after him.

Omar Panderyn shakes the offered hand. “Medical doctor?” he inquires of Tillsworth.

Maxwell stretches “Well, hopefully it goes better for him.”

“Theoretical physics, young man, with a dash of other disciplines on the side for good measure.” the old scientist says, adjusting his glasses on his face. “I did consider medical school back in the day, but I much preferred looking for the mysteries of the universe.” Tilsworth says with a smile.

Panderyn considers the scientist’s response, then says, “You’re part of a crew on a small orbital outpost that’s lost a significant portion of life support. The team includes you – a theoretical physicist – and a soldier, a medical doctor, a cargo manager, and an engineer. You’ll all die in four hours with current air supply. It’ll take six hours for rescue to arrive. The team can stretch that supply by a little more than two hours if they only have to support four people. Who do you kill?”

Kinako nods to Maxwell. “Yes, this seems to be something that he would very much like to accomplish, and he seems to be experienced in the particular field that would be helpful in this research?”

Maxwell nods “That’s a definite possibility.”

Tilsworth goes into an analysis sort of pose as he ponders this question. “A tough choice to be made in any circumstance, young man. But weighing the pure facts of the matter… the first would be myself. These old bones have lived long enough that death is not so frightening a proposition as some may find it. The second.. I would choose the soldier. Some may find that an odd choice, but the cargo manager is aware of the station’s configuration and abilities, as is the engineer, and can perhaps find ways to lengthen their survival. A doctor is assuredly of need in a survival crisis, and should be spared. Speaking purely on a theoretical basis, mind you.”

Raynaldus after his resume has been sent to Crumpton he walks over to Kinako and Maxwell. “Can I join your convertation?” He ask kindly looking to both.

“Ah, of course you may, Mister Lionheart-sir,” Kinako says, performing a seated bow and pausing to accept her tea as it arrives. “Kindly be seated. We are not at present having dinner but please do not feel as though it would be rude for you to eat. If you are hungry, please accept permission to look after yourself.”

“Hmm,” Panderyn says. “Good choices. If you survive the fitness program, we’ll just have to hope you never have to make that choice for real. Transmit your resume to Crumpton. Next!” The aide looks toward Santiago. “You’re up, sir.”

Tilsworth nods. “I look forward to the next time, Mr. Panderyn.” he says, taking his cane up again and standing up from the booth, heading back over to Kinako and Co’s table. As he does, his rarely used PDA in his inside lab coat pocket is used to transmit his credentials to Crumpton.

Raynaldus nods thankfully to the lady. “Thank you, and please feel free to call me Raynaldus Or Ray if the you prefer the shorter version, miss…?” He says and ends in a question hoping to learn her name.

Maxwell takes a sip of his tea that just arrived.

“Ah, Kinako, Omoiyari Kinako,” she replies, inclining her head to Raynaldus. “Welcome back, Mister Tilsworth-sir, I sincerely hope you are feeling confident about your interview. We were just about to have some tea before dinner. A good cup of green tea before a meal aids in digestion and assists in preventing overindulgences.”

Tilsworth eases himself into a seat at the table. “Splendid… I believe I shall have a cup myself. I believe as far as my talents, I am confident, but the physical requirements may be the troubling part. Granted I am in perfect working order as far as my health goes, but being as old as I creates its own physical limitations.”

Santiago, it turns out, got called away on official business while waiting for the meeting. The man that Crumpton *thinks* is Santiago is, in fact, an organist named Chester Fieldmont. He explains that he can play “Edelweiss” in zero-g, and could prove vital in managing morale in orbit. “I’ll think about it,” Panderyn says. “Send your resume to Crumpton.” He slips out of the booth and says, “Thank you for your time, everyone. I’ll be in touch within the next few days to arrange next steps.” He makes his way toward the exit, followed by his aide.

Gravity of the Situation

Tilsworth is situated upon a bench near the fountain, clipboard laying beside him, lost in reflection as he listens to the falling water.

Maxwell stretches a bit as he wanders in from the lounge, peering at some paper with assorted things scribbled on.

Tilsworth opens his eyes just in time to see Maxwell emerge from the lounge. “Good day young man. I see you prefer the pen to paper as well.” he says with a bit of a smile.

Maxwell chuckles “Afternoon. Well, digital methods have their place, but there’s something more satisfying about writing directly on paper.”

“Quite agreed. I feel that one’s creative abilities flow more smoothly with the course of a pen across paper.” Tilsworth says, the lines on his face stretching a bit as he smiles wider. “Of course the final destination of my findings is in my office computer, but I feel like an artist with his canvas, I must paint my ideas to fruition before they are boiled down to digits.”

Maxwell nods “Quite. Granted, the current work is more recreational than anything. So there’s no need to transfer these to a computer down the line.”

“Like any muscle, the ones of the creative persuasion atrophy without use.” the old doctor says. “What idea has sprung forth today?”

Maxwell smirks “Today I was attempting to prove that this hexagon is similar to that pentagon. Nonsense right out of the gate, but keeps the mind working.”

Tilsworth lets out a bit of a laugh. “Indeed. Sometimes one must give in to the absurd, but even a paradox can exercise the mind.”

Maxwell nods as he takes a seat “Even moreso when you don’t know it’s a paradox when you start.”

“Very true… sometimes a paradox is a problem that hasn’t yet had a solution found.” Tilsworth says. “It is keeping one’s mind open, and tuned to the potential of the universe rather than the known, that results in the breakthroughs that raise mankind ever higher.”

Maxwell stretches as he leans back against the bench “Very true.”

“It is something I have followed all of my life.” Tilsworth replies. “And it is working towards my current project. I am close… so close to achieving a breakthrough.”

Maxwell nods “What barrier are you currently trying to get over, around, or through?”

“Anti-gravity… to date many have tried, but it is still a novelty… an intellectual puzzle, and few have truly put the effort into it to find why creating a stable field has eluded us for decades.” Tilsworth says. “I have been experimenting with it for the past 30 years, and my work has finally paid off. I believe I have found the secret, but there are tests… many tests left before I claim victory.”

Maxwell nods “An interesting concept, certainly. As long as it doesn’t get large enough to throw off planetary orbits and suchlike.”

“Indeed. My analysis of past attempts has shown that the key is the field coils. If they are not properly formulated and balanced, they require too much power to maintain a field and even one small shift in the power flow results in a cascading collapse.” the doctor says, picking up his clipboard. “I do not know about you, young man, but I would not want to be flying in my car when the only thing holding me above the ground is suddenly not there!”

Maxwell nods thoughtfully “Perhaps the cars should come equipped with parachutes. Or springs underneath. Just in case.”

“Indeed, but parachutes require a large amount of space in order to hold one big enough to be effective, and springs.. same situation, and even then they may not protect against a seriously high fall.” Tilsworth says. “No… the key is making a field stable and reliable. Reliable that even if main power is lost, an auxilliary power source can power it to get you to the ground the safe way instead of the fast way, that being freefall.”

Maxwell chuckles “Well, yes. All of the most amusing mechanical solutions to field failure are rather impracticle, sadly. Ah well.”

“Yes.. it is also the focus of another of my projects, that being a thruster system powerful enough to hold a car aloft in emergencies.” Tilsworth says. “I am close there to finding a fuel that can produce the needed thrust. The idea there being that if the field collapses, the thrusters can activate to slow a car’s descent, and settle it to the ground softly.”

Maxwell nods “Hope nobody’s on the ground when that happens. ”

Tilsworth chuckles. “Indeed, but even today that risk exists with jet aircraft. They have wings at least to provide lift to get them to the ground using the rushing air of freefall to slow them, but if anyone is on the ground when they land… well, I would not want to be them.”

Maxwell nods “Yes, but the odds of a poor pedestrian getting scorched seem higher with a car that’s trying to slow itself down, than a pedestrian getting nailed by a crashing jet liner.”

“Very true, but my goal is that the thrusters provide not only lift, but minimal guidance to choose a landing site. The fuel would only be enough to keep a car aloft for a few minutes at most, but that is enough to get to ground.” Tilsworth replies.

Maxwell nods “Might want to include some form of audio in there, so unaware pedestrians get some warning that a large thing is about to land in their general area.”

“Indeed…” Tilsworth replies. “That would be a good addition.”

Maxwell nods “Or really, whatever it takes to keep the folks on the ground safe. Something would have to be decided on as the standard.”

“Yes.. it is my hope that the era of the true flying car is soon upon us.” Tilsworth says. “Something all of our parents and grand parents and great grand parents before us expected to have back in 2000.” he says with a bit of a grin.

Maxwell chuckles “Yeah, but from what I hear, most of the drivers were a menace to everything on the road in those days. Imagine the carnage if those idiots had gotten to fly.”

Tilsworth laughs a for a moment at that. “Ahhh, yes… I think even today that tends to apply.” he says. “The advent of automatic license plate readers and scanners tend to discourage the majority, however.”

Maxwell nods “Well, that would certainly help the situation.”

“Indeed.. they tend to get you when you least expect it.” Tilsworth says, letting out a sigh. “I could have used that 200 credits…” he says, looking to Maxwell and giving a wink.

Maxwell smirks “Always the case, isn’t it?”

“Indeed, but I do try to keep it under control.” Tilsworth says, still grinning. “The NST bosses don’t like a lot of employee tickets coming across their desks.”

Maxwell chuckles “No, I’d imagine not. Even moreso when they’re paying you to drive.”

“Quite true. Well young man, I must return to my work. They aren’t paying me to enjoy the scenery.” Tilsworth says with a wink. Slowly he rises, grabbing his cane to get to his feet. “I’ve enjoyed our talk, I’m sure we shall have chances at further conversations in the coming days.”

Maxwell nods “Of course.”

 

Martian leaders deny terrorist connection

BRADBURY, MARS – Leaders of the Martian planetary government today denied any connection to the woman who unleashed an Ebola variant at Cape Canaveral.

“It does appear that she was from Bradbury and had no apparent connection to the young man who died on the Texas border,” said Louis Claymore, Martian chief of staff. “We’re not sure why she claimed otherwise.”