We’ve reached the first Patreon fundraising milestone, so I’ve uploaded the first OtherSpace clip show PDF featuring excerpts from RP scenes that took place between 1999 and 2002. You may see some familiar names in there! Clip Show No. 1 is available to all, but only patrons will have access to subsequent clip shows.
Just wanted to thank the folks who RPed with Panderyn (and Albert the station AI) during the Extra Life marathon. Specifically: Maxwell, Reynaldus, Tilsworth, Kinako, and Maurice. I had fun and I hope you did too! Plus, we raised $880 for kids at Duke Children’s Hospital. Huzzah! Donations are accepted until Dec. 31, BTW!
Through the window, the first construction shuttle can be seen angling away from the station on its way back to Earth after successfully attaching the medical pod.
Maurice sits at the large window. The Texan’s hat floats above his head. “God’s speed.” He murmurs.
“Attention, Ulm Station personnel,” states the voice of Omar Panderyn over the public address system. “I’m getting reports of power fluctuations in the couplings between the crew compartment and the medical bay. We’re going to postpone linkage with the military pod until this is sorted out.”
“We got a military pod..?” Maurice says this in his head of course. He isn’t an insane man speaking to himself and all… most days… as long as the Oak Ridge Boys aren’t playing. The Texan starts to move for said junction once his wits are about him.
“Initiating,” comes a digitized male voice from a nearby console.
“What are ya Initiating there guy?!” Maurice cries out as he flies towards junction. The big ole Texan tries to dodge and juke his way there. “Good thing Doc-chan is asleep…”
“I’m Albert,” the voice replies. “Artificial intelligence. I was uploaded to Ulm Station to provide assistance in management of the facilities.”
“Well… Al.. what seems to be our problem?” Maurice asks out loud. The Texan tries to catch himself on a door way. “Are we.. ya know.. fleshy types all gonna kick the bucket or ya all playin with these announcements?”
“I detect no significant problems aboard the station,” Albert answers. “I am in the process of rerouting power to balance the dispersion. The new equipment in the medical pod is a bit of a drain.”
“No shit! Doc-chan showed me things that broke the god damn Geneva Convention. Ya ask me this here homo-pathio…. whatever aint nearly as fun as ya run of the mill Homo-se…. How about them Dallas Cowboys in the World Football League?!” The Texan’s ‘stach twitches. “You got a rec room hidden anywhere?”
“Your dialect requires more rigorous filtering,” Albert states. “If I understand the inquiry correctly, Ulm Station does not, at present, include a recreation facility among its amenities.”
“That would be West Texas….. West Texas… aint a draw really.. or a… shit.. aint Mid American either…” Maurice seems to be deep in thought for a short time. “Label it under Maurice speak for now.” H offers in time. “I figured the station wouldn’t have anything fun at the moment. If ya are a big ole brain case.. ya tell me anything of value from the high and mighty’s ftl program? I might be a test chimp but I figure I deserve the basics.”
“I am awaiting input from Mr. Panderyn as to the appropriate clearance levels for all station personnel,” Albert states. “Until then, I am not permitted to release data contained within classified files.”
“Bondvillian-sama…” Maurice nods his head slightly. “That sounds just about right Al. What interesting things can ya tell me? Play Texas Hold em?”
“My programming does include a collection of holographic games of chance,” Albert confirms.
Maurice chuckles slightly. “Any booze reserve and drinking games included?”
“None that I am aware of,” Albert replies.
“That figures really.” Maurice replies with a small chuckle. “Well ya are a super computer and all… Given the current state of tech and application of said tech.. what is the current life span of a test pilot?”
“It depends on the pilot,” the AI replies.
Maurice nods his head. “Gonna figure you have my records and field reports… reports about me.” The Texan says. “I figure nothin about me life is secret from you.”
“Actually, I am awaiting upload of personnel records,” Albert states. “Mr. Panderyn is slumbering. He may upload the data during the morning shift. Would you like an analysis after that?”
Maurice’s ‘stache twitches and he nods his head. “Gotta make sure I am the right pilot and not the right pilot at the right time.” He murmurs. “Using the data you have at hand, what do you project our odds of making it past the light speed barrier?”
“Slim,” Albert replies. “Realistically, it is possible that a potentially viable theory may be developed aboard Ulm Station. It is largely impractical, however, to translate that into functioning technology with broad applications.”
“A fucking star drive isn’t going to make for toaster ovens.” Maurice shakes his head. “We get this to work it is going to be used for impractical stuff like banging sexy green men. Slim is better than… well spending the week end in Waco.”
“I have never spent a weekend in Waco,” Albert replies. “Thus, I lack a proper frame of reference to understand.”
“Waco is… it is the end of the world.” Maurice offers with a twitch of his moustache. “I suppose Plano is a little…… If mankind is limited to earth, the moon and Mars, how much longer can we exepect survive?”
“Mankind faced eradication while simply dwelling on Earth,” Albert states. “Colonizing Luna and Mars radically improved humanity’s chances for long-term survival on a cosmic scale. However, Sol must necessarily perish in the distant future. Remaining here is not a permanently viable solution. It is critical that humanity pursue a future beyond this star.”
Maurice lifts a brow at this answer and slowly nods his head. “We leave the nest or die..” He flicks his hat back and rubs his forehead. “That makes the whole of the world a lot easier doesn’t it? We just have to convince the remaining bigwigs. We grow beyond now or we strangle and die.”
“That seems accurate,” the AI responds.
“I could rap that in a bow.” Maurice replies with a rueful chuckle. “How likely would it be that we ran into a habitial system.. or alien life in our first say… hundred tests of a real FTL?”
“Alien life, quite likely,” Albert says. “Sentient alien life with a developed civilization that warrants first contact – exceedingly slim.”
“I get ya. We are more than likely to meet a fern than orange Captain Kirk right?” Maurice replies. “Not suprise. Alien life of a level like us or higher… do we play idiots or assume the best in them? I don’t imagine a middle ground. We trust in ET or blow him off.”
“I am ill-equipped for matters of diplomacy,” the AI confesses.
Maurice’s stach twitches. “And several other things as well as I imagine.” He says. “I don’t imagine you can dispense gin or tonice either.” He adds. “How did you decide you were a male AI? They make you that way? Could you be a sassy lady if you wanted?”
“I was programmed with this voice and this personality,” Albert replies. “It is possible that I could be reprogrammed with different parameters.”
“Possible but not with my talent or lack thereof.” Maurice says with a small small. “What can you tell me of this military pod? Is there any danger of us needing to knife fight up here? Seems like an odd module for a peaceful station.”
“Uncertain,” the AI replies. “Power fluctuations are marginalized. Entering conservation mode for now. Thank you for your attention.”
“You too buddy. Let me know when I have to kiss my own ass away in the near future.” Maurice grins.
Omar Panderyn drifts into the lab, PDA in one hand, as he speaks into a commlink: “Acknowledged. Awaiting their arrival. Panderyn out.”
Maxwell looks up from his computer chair, something paused on screen momentarily. “Morning.”
“Morning,” the station chief replies with a smile. “What’s our status?”
Maxwell stretches a bit “Just reviewing the results of the simulation Tillsworth came up with.”
Omar Panderyn lifts an eyebrow. “Oh, really? Good news, I hope.”
Maxwell shrugs, resuming the playback. “Good’s always relative. It looks like it could get us past the FTL barrier, but only barely. And of course, there’s the issue of how to generate the field this idea requires. So, it’s a start.”
Omar Panderyn nods. “How apocalyptic is it likely to be? I’ve started to hear some rumblings from the zealots.”
Maxwell looks thoughtful for a moment “Well, it does seem to involve creating a small detached universe around the vessel. So there’s an outside chance of that displacing *this* universe. Definitely something to keep an eye on in simulations.”
Omar Panderyn frowns. “Creating a small detached universe. I’m really going to have to nuance that press release.”
Tilsworth floats into the lab in time to catch the last statement. A bit of a chuckle. “In layman’s terms… the technical description would be perhaps an isolated autonomous region created by a resonance energy field of variable power.” he says as he grabs onto a handle to steady himself. “The more power put into the field, the greater the ‘detachment’, and thus the greater reduction of what you could consider ‘friction’ with the normal universe. I have the formulas worked out in my clipboard if you’d like to peruse them.” he offers sincerely.
“Transmit them to my PDA, encrypted as usual,” Panderyn replies with a nod. “Sounds like you’re doing good work. How will you test the theory?”
Maxwell looks to Tilsworth, curious about the answer as well.
“A good question, young man, but one that I have given thought.” Tilsworth says, floating over to a terminal to bring up a display. On it appears his simulation. “Naturally a battery of simulated tests is in order to ensure there are no unforeseen parameters.” The screen then shifts to a block diagram of the theoretical components of such a system. “Once the theoreticals are sound, I propose that Mr. Maxwell and I put our brains together to design the physical components of the system. We then construct a small, unmanned probe which contains a prototype of the system.” He then floats back over to the two. “For security purposes, I would propose we do such a test from the very fringes of the asteroid belt… outside of prying eyes.” He, Panderyn, and Maxwell are in the lab having a discussion.
“The asteroid belt isn’t without prying eyes,” Panderyn replies. “Freighters come and go at all hours. If we want to go unbothered, perhaps it would be best to try our luck near, say, Mercury.”
Maxwell nods. “Well, quite.”
Tilsworth puts a hand to his chin. “Hmm.. yes… a good point…” he says.
Raynaldus drifts into the lab compartment. He looks around and quickly spots the group and heads over to them. “Hello everyone, how are things?”
“It seems like we’re on the road to a prototype device for testing,” Panderyn says. “That’s exceedingly good news. I’m also happy to report that the pods needed to expand Ulm Station into the next phase should be in orbit later today.”
Maxwell nods. “Kinako will be pleased to hear that. What’s coming up apart from a medical facility?”
“The medical facility is the primary pod we’re receiving today,” Panderyn says. “I’ve also agreed to accept a defense contingent on the recommendation of General Jensen. I’m not fond of mingling military and scientific endeavors, but given your progress, perhaps it’s best to ensure that we have a few trained soldiers aboard.”
“A sound precaution. I agree that military types tend to be rather… single minded… but I must admit to a lack of being able to do more than give someone a good tickling with my punches.” Tilsworth says with a sheepish shrug.
“What will these soldier have to defend us with?” Raynaldus asks. “Because other than the tools we have lying around or our hands and feet, I don’t see anything I could use to defend with.”
Maxwell shrugs “Long as they don’t mess up the equipment.”
“The Vanguard pod includes a small arsenal equipped with weapons that are suited for zero-g and atmosphere-sensitive environments,” Panderyn says. “I’m going to review a few reports and let Mr. Busby know about your potential breakthrough. Good work.” He starts drifting toward the main cabin.