Vanguard Press Conference – April 20th, 2550

The holographic image resolves into that of an older man dressed in the uniform of a Vanguard officer standing behind a podium which bears the crest of the Vanguard. On either side are the Vanguard flag and the flag of the Solar Consortium. When he speaks, it is with a voice that is gruff and to the point. The superimposed information bar in the bottom right of the image gives his name as General William “Ironside” Jensen, Vanguard CinC.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Given the inaccurate statements of the CEO of Spark, Mr. Bob Busby, I felt the need to correct some of his assertions and provide a few of my own. Let me start with the simple fact that if it were not for the Vanguard, and the armed forces from which we descended, keeping the peace and fighting for the freedoms we cherish, the esteemed CEO of Spark would not have the right to run his damn mouth in the first place.”

Pausing for a minute to let that sink in, he continues: “The goal of the Vanguard has been the protection and furtherance of all mankind. That also includes taking the advances we have made in war and applying them to peacetime. Many of the grand inventions we take for granted today were honed and tempered in the military. The airplane went from a curiosity to a highly tuned machine that then went on to become the common mode of transport we use even today. Radio went from a laboratory experiment and amateur hobby to a vital communications tool that keeps this world connected, and the worlds beyond. Those advances were provided to the world to the benefit of mankind ever since.”

Permitting himself another pause, he then continues. “It is true we are pursuing an advance in the realm of faster than light travel. Frankly I do not see this as a race; I see it as several means to an end. I will, however, say this. Should the Vanguard succeed in creating such a device, it will be shared with the world and not used to line anyone’s pockets. That is all. Thank you ladies and gentlemen.”

IF/IT Talk – April 19, 2550: Bob Busby

The holographic image resolves into that of a man with shaggy blonde hair, wearing a tweed jacket over a Hawaiian floral print shirt. The INNOVATIONS FOR THE FUTURE/INNOVATIONS FOR TODAY logo glows red on the backdrop as Bob Busby, CEO of Spark, paces on the matte black stage.

“Answer a question for me, people. It’s a serious question. I know, I know, man, I’m supposed to be the one handing out the answers, right? But I just can’t wrap my brain around this one. Jeebus knows I’ve tried, right? Here’s my question: When’s the last time the military gave us something that was good news? When did the Vanguard ever hand the people of the Solar Consortium a brilliant piece of technology, something well-intentioned, something meant to advance us all into the future instead of maybe blowing us all back to the Kardashian Epoch? Okay, man, maybe I lied. I know the answer. Sue me. Never, man. Not once. But they talk a good line, don’t they? This whole Project Starshine, enlisting the best and brightest to chase the Sol System’s first functional faster-than-light drive, it sounds great on paper. And if they pull it off, man, I am telling you right here and now that it’ll be proprietary for the military and the rest of us, man, all the little people, we can [BLEEP] right the hell off, can’t we? Yeah, man. We can. But we won’t. Personally, I don’t think they can pull it off. But you and me, man, if we put our heads together, let me tell you right here, right now, we can tell Albert Einstein he was a better clerk than he was a traffic cop. So, let’s do it. Bring me your brains for Operation Fast Forward. Your ideas. My resources. Man, there’s nothing we can’t do. We’ll outrun rainbows.”

OtherSpace: Page One

When the MUSH got its start nearly 16 years ago, it was as if I’d dropped players into the middle of a novel in progress.

Yes, their characters were new and no one had previously collaborated on real-time scenes in this setting, but the universe that they helped bring to life already had a lived-in feeling to it. We had interstellar empires that spanned the western spiral arm of the Milky Way galaxy, faster-than-light travel, and a timeline full of historic events to get everyone off and running.

Now, we’re shaking the Etch-A-Sketch. We’ve hit rewind and erase on the DVR. We’re sanding through the patina, digging down through the layers upon layers of character interactions and plot twists that have carried the MUSH from 1998 to now. We’re going way, way back to the year 2550 – a hundred years before any of the events that started OtherSpace MUSH.

Welcome to Page One.

This time, we’ve only got one species to choose from: Human. Only one small patch of the Orion Arm to call home: Sol System. No FTL yet. No star-spanning empires. No pirate kings. No first contact with aliens. No colonization of worlds beyond our home system. It’s truly a clean slate for a new beginning to our story.

It’s a great opportunity for new players to get involved without the daunting thought of wading through a decade and a half of in-game history – or the sense that the big stories already have been told. After all, classic OtherSpace saw players faced with the price of alien-supplied FTL technology, an invasion that led to adventures across the multiverse and over the centuries in a colony ship, and a crisis that threatened to tear apart the fabric of reality and an evacuation to the Ancient Expanse and Comorro Station.

It’s also a fantastic chance for veteran players – perhaps especially those who joined within the last few years – to experience the OtherSpace adventure from a fresh perspective.

The official opening is June 28 – the official 16th anniversary of the MUSH. However, today I approved the first player-character for the reboot grid, which is already online for people who want to get an early start.

So, if you enjoy reading, writing, creative real-time collaboration, and space opera, you should download SimpleMU or MUSHClient (both for PC) and point them toward OtherSpace at port 1790.

Join the reboot!

Super simple reboot character creation

The new character creation process for rebooted OtherSpace will be non-linear. It’s conceivable that a player can enter just one room before submitting their biography for consideration and entering the grid on Earth, if approved.

Kudos to Coyote and Loki for the general idea, which is to give players less of a cattle chute and more of a simplified, elegant experience. From the main room, we’ll have additional exits that will let players explore other aspects of the game, if they want. But we’re moving away from the largely unnecessary hiking experience of prior character setup areas on the MUSH.

And since that main room is done and the first chunk of grid for Cape Canaveral is online (thanks, Colchek!), we’re going to start accepting new character concepts for Vanguard personnel and research nerds hired as contractors by the military. Consider this the “soft opening” of the OtherSpace reboot!

From the main OOC area, just go through CS to get started!

Tired of people using RP as a political weapon

When a political candidate’s favorite pastime is hunting down and killing animals with a rifle, no one bats an eye.

If a candidate participated in a fraternity in college, unless something criminal happened, we really don’t care.

Or maybe the candidate likes to re-enact famous battles of the U.S. Civil War? No big deal.

But if a candidate has the temerity to enjoy fantasy role-playing – either the live-action variety with costumes and boffer swords, tabletop imaginings or Internet-based experiences such as OtherSpace – suddenly it’s the stuff of giggly gossip.

In 2012, Colleen Lachowicz took flak from the GOP when she ran for Maine’s state Senate because of her affinity for World of Warcraft. And now, Jake Rush, a candidate of the GOP in Florida, comes under fire for LARPing as a vampire as part of the Mind’s Eye Society.

Enough is enough.

It doesn’t take Jim Morrison to know that People Are Strange. Everyone’s got some kind of hang-up.

Alexandra Petri probably put it best in her Washington Post blog about the whole affair:

“People are weird. And now the Internet has made this weirdness searchable. Where once your neighbors wondered why you toted that sword around, now thousands of people can peer at your obsession and declare it odd, never mind what they have open in the next window. Everyone has something open in the next window. If you think you don’t, you’re Anthony Weiner.”

That said: The big winner out of all this latest hoopla has to be the Mind’s Eye Society, with oodles of free publicity.

Maybe I should run for public office.

Can you imagine the negative campaign ads?

This candidate:

  • Threw numerous journalists out of skyscraper windows.
  • Boiled tiny people.
  • Killed a man with alien fish sperm.
  • Allowed a madman to destroy his own planet.
  • Ripped entire universes apart.

Clearly, not someone to be trusted, right?