Category Archives: MUSHes

31 Days of OtherSpace No. 29: Game Over

“Please deactivate all electronic devices as we make our final descent into Seattle, Washington,” came the female flight attendant’s voice over the jet’s public address system.

Teena Fields, caught in mid-sentence in her latest dissertation on World War II battles in the Pacific Theater, sighed in disappointment. She had hoped to finish that section before landing. Now she probably wouldn’t get back to it until after meeting the town car at SeaTac, having dinner with her colleagues from the university, and checking in with Tommy and the kids back home in Atlanta.

“Going to be a late night,” she muttered, powering down the laptop and closing the lid.

The salesman to her right, who had introduced himself as Morris before Teena had hurtled herself headlong into the mid-20th Century Phillipines, was still poking away at a video game on his smartphone.

She leaned over and said, “We’re supposed to shut everything down.”

Morris huffed. “I’ve almost beaten this level,” he growled. Thumbs tapped on the screen.

Teena watched as a male flight attendant walked up the aisle, checking to make sure the instruction had been followed. “Better switch it off,” she whispered.

“Almost!” he hissed.

The historian rolled her eyes and just shook her head when she heard the inevitable: “Sir, you really need to turn that off. Now.”

“Goddammit!” Morris snapped, shaking the phone at the flight attendant. “You made me mess up! Now I have to start all–” The plane lurched. He didn’t have a very good grip on the phone. It went spiraling through the air, smacked against the back of Teena’s seat, and then slid down the aisle as the jet went into a screeching plunge.

Game over, she thought, before the blue glow engulfed her.

31 Days of OtherSpace No. 30: Underestimation

The massive flagship burned in a decaying orbit over a green-blue gas giant, making a slow death spiral toward the crushing gravity below.

Vard Bokren had imagined an end much like this. He just hadn’t expected it to come now at the hands of the little temperamental lizards that the late Zar’s loyalists had scraped up as allies.

The Star Stalker groaned in protest as the Medilidikke navigator tried to level off, to no avail.

Nall warships packed a stronger punch than Bokren had expected. He wouldn’t make the mistake of underestimating them again. Assuming he survived.

“Controls aren’t responding!” growled the panicked navigator.

Bokren gave a slow nod. “I’ll look into it.” He used his good hand to clutch a railing until he could pass through the bridge hatchway into the main corridor. Then he slammed a fist against an escape pod hatch access button. “From outside.”

He was about to duck into the pod when he heard a furious roar from the grizzled old orange-yellow Demarian: “Abandoning us?” Several felinoid refugees followed behind Imperator Stumppaw Sandwalker.

Bokren frowned. He wanted to simply say yes and disappear into the pod, shutting the hatch behind him before launching the pod and taking his chances beyond the reach of the gravity well. But they had made a deal. Like it or not, he might actually need Sandwalker to succeed with his own plans.

“Get in,” Bokren snarled.

31 Days of OtherSpace No. 31: New Client

“He’s awake,” the Llivori nurse said, giving the human a curious look. Whiskers flared from her snout as she considered him with beady black eyes. “You don’t look like family.”

“Oh, I’m not, but I am looking into this incident,” the stranger replied with an easy smile. He had curly black hair and stood about five-foot-eight. His friendly demeanor seemed to go a long way with her.

“An investigator, then, with the Vor Law Enforcement Agency?” she asked.

“I do have some questions, yes,” he hedged.

She returned his smile. “All right. Just a few minutes, though. His injuries are serious. We don’t want to overwhelm him.”

“As you say,” he agreed.

They found the patient in room 342. The name on the chart hanging on the wall: RIBAS SALEK. “No guard detail?” the human asked.

“Not since yesterday,” the nurse said. She then waddled off to see to another patient, leaving him to visit briefly with Salek.

The human frowned, then stepped into the room to find Ribas sitting up in bed, propped up by a pile of blue pillows. “Good to see you’re still among the living, Mr. Salek.”

“Have we met?” the wounded Llivori grumbled.

A smile from the human now. He plucked a small flexplas card from the pocket of his suit jacket and offered it to Ribas. “Jacob Gettleman, attorney. I’m available for retainer if you want to recover damages for what happened to you.”

“Are you even licensed to practice on Kamsho?” Ribas asked.

Gettleman grinned. “In Vor *and* Ope’mot. Outverser lawyers are in growing demand, oddly enough. Seems to put people at ease who might otherwise be worried about prejudice and political agendas.”

“Right,” the Llivori freighter captain growled. “Because everyone knows Outversers never get political or prejudiced.”

The lawyer shrugged. “I’m available if you need me, Mr. Salek. Keep the card. Call me if you want to get rich.”

OtherSpace: It’s not for everybody

Games like OtherSpace aren’t for everybody.

They require the sort of person who:

  • Likes to read.
  • Likes to write.
  • Likes to experiment with cause and effect.
  • Likes to fly by the seat of their pants, crafting dialogue in real-time.

It’s like a LARP – live action role-playing game – in that participants assume roles that evolve over time. It’s like a tabletop game in that the game’s staffers act as referees or “dungeon masters” for the participants. It’s like theater in that the participants are actors performing roles – sometimes dramatic, sometimes comedic, and sometimes tragic.

But LARPs may meet once a month or so. Tabletop gaming groups might get together once a week. Theater groups may put on one or two shows a season.

OtherSpace is online around the clock every day. Our participants come from all over the world. Events occur in real-time. One day in the real world equals one day in the game. When major story arcs are in progress, missing a few days might result in returning to find the universe fundamentally changed or, at the very least, embroiled in some kind of crisis that potentially affects where your character can travel. So, above all else, you’ll find that OtherSpace differs from all these other forms in that it requires a commitment of attention, creative effort, mental flexibility, patience, and time.

That makes it an acquired taste for a rather limited audience.

However, if you’re willing to make the commitment, it can pay off in the satisfaction of creating a memorable character who experiences epic space opera adventures while making friends with strangers from across the globe.