Tag Archives: Space Opera

[HOUSEKEEPING] Activity Recap: OtherSpace is back in action!

The Slack experiment is still relatively new, but so far it is proving to be a great success. Thus far, we’ve got more than 30 participants – a mix of long-time players, returning veterans, and newcomers. I’m optimistic about the future based on the activity so far. What’s been happening? Well, here’s a quick rundown of the major plot points:

  • Near Antimone, Kemetti the space whale snatched a cruise liner, ate it, and led three militaries on a chase that resulted in the Parallax and Consortium boiling up hostilities again.
  • On Demaria, Razorback and Bluefang got caught up in a plot to assassinate Consortium President Jeremiah Busby, which they helped foil (at great personal cost).
  • On Mars, someone kidnapped mogul Lawrence Plantagenet’s daughter during a desert field trip.

But I’ll also share a detailed list of links to logs, videos, and interesting posts related to OtherSpace since we re-launched with Slack in February 2017:

OtherSpace Audio Fiction (Patron content)

Busby Assassination Plot

Kemetti Chaos Plot

Mars Plantagenet Kidnapping Plot

Ungstir Activity

OtherSpace In-Game News

Negotiations end with Ungstir

NEW YORK CITY, EARTH – Consortium Council President Jeremiah Busby today ruled out further negotiations with Ungstiri emissaries considering that world’s membership in the Stellar Consortium.

“I heard what they had to say, but the fact is Ungstir just doesn’t have much to offer the Consortium,” Busby told CBN. “It’s a lot of take from them and not much give to us. They need a strong defense. How will they pay for it? Rocks? Fake vodka?”

Yuri Garian, one of the representatives from Ungstir, expressed disappointment in the outcome: “We came to Earth in the hopes of a fair deal. We leave feeling like we wasted our time.”

Storm, flood on Demaria leaves death and damage

ALHIRA, DEMARIA – At least 15 people are dead in the aftermath of a severe storm and flash flooding in Demaria’s capital overnight.

Among the dead were four rescue workers in a hovertruck that was struck by lightning as they responded to emergency calls on the city outskirts. Eight people died in flooding in homesteads along the edge of the Sand Mother Desert. Other victims included Demarian CBN journalists Whiteruff Highchase and Odin Wayfinder.

An unidentified Demarian saved a porter at the Azure Sky Hotel after he was pinned by debris after a vehicle struck a support column in front of the hotel.

Busby assassination plot reported

SAN ANGELES, EARTH – Stellar Consortium intelligence officials confirmed tonight that they’re investigating a plot against the life of President Jeremiah Busby. More information as it becomes available.

Heist remembered

NEW CHICAGO, EARTH – Today, the citizens of New Chicago solemnly remember last year ill-fated heist from the New Chicago Reserves. Out of the criminals partaking in the heist that cost the lives of ten security personnel, only three are believed to have escaped unharmed. Ring Leader Jozeph Golen, who reportedly suffered severe burns from an unexpected fire ignited during the heist attempt, remains at large, believed to still be in hiding on Earth. However, his current whereabouts are unknown.

Assassination plot leads to raised alert levels

SAN ANGELES, EARTH – Consortium security personnel are on heightened alert in the wake of reports that assassins may be trying to target President Jeremiah Busby.

Travelers venturing to Earth from other planets may encounter longer delays than usual at screening checkpoints after arrival. Officials also confirm that the Vanguard is stepping up patrols in the coming days to crack down on smuggling and piracy activity on and around Consortium worlds.

The president made a brief appearance in the lobby of the government’s headquarters building in San Angeles today to assure the public that he is safe and that he has full confidence in those sworn to protect him.

“Everybody who puts themselves out there like I do knows they’re wearing a target all the time, believe me,” Busby said. “Some of you vultures don’t shoot with lasers, though, right? You prefer news reports.”

Large creature snatches cruise liner near Antimone

VALSHO, ANTIMONE – A large sentient space creature has ensnared a Sivad-flagged cruise liner, the Avondale, from orbit around the planet Antimone.

The alien has threatened to consume the cruise ship and its 3,278 passengers and crew if Timonae officials don’t provide alternative sustenance.

Two other starliners, which are slated for mothballs, are being filled with sea water, fish, and smaller organisms that may provide nutrients required by the creature and win the freedom of the Avondale.

Sivadian government officials, meanwhile, are dispatching elements of their naval fleet to respond with force to what they see as a clear act of piracy and terrorism.

Liner’s fate uncertain after botched rescue

GRAND ENAJ, SIVAD – The cruise liner Avondale’s fate is unknown at this hour after a botched Sivadian Navy effort to free the vessel and its passengers from a space behemoth.

The creature captured the Avondale, demanding sustenance from the people of Antimone. The Timonae provided mothballed starships filled with sea water, fish, and other organisms to satisfy the beast. It seemed the crisis might be coming to an end. However, the arrival of the hostile fleet prompted the creature to steal away from Timonae space to locations unknown.

Prime Minister Regis Hollister of Sivad has ordered the fleet to track down and destroy the creature “by any means necessary and at any cost, so as not to place anyone else in further peril.”

AVONDALE DESTROYED, PM SEEKS AID

GRAND ENAJ, SIVAD – The massive creature that stole a Sivadian cruise liner apparently consumed the vessel.

Wreckage from the Avondale and some passenger remains have been recovered by elements of the Sivadian Navy. No survivors have been found thus far. All 3,567 passengers and crew are feared dead, according to officials close to the investigation.

“We are saddened by this turn of events,” said Prime Minister Regis Hollister. “This monstrous beast remains at large. It is threat to all spacefaring civilizations. The government of Sivad calls on its allies in the Stellar Consortium to lend their aid toward putting a stop to this creature’s rampage.” (edited)

CONSORTIUM PRESIDENT CALLS EMERGENCY MEETING

SAN ANGELES, EARTH – Jeremiah Busby, president of the Stellar Consortium Council, is calling an emergency meeting of the governing board in the wake of Sivad’s call for aid regarding the destruction of the cruise liner Avondale.

“Time is clearly of the essence if we’re going to make sure to limit further loss of life,” Busby told reporters at Consortium headquarters. (edited)

PREPARATIONS UNDERWAY FOR 1000TH BULL ANT RODEO

CANA CITY, NEMONUS – Hundreds of contestants have already signed up for this annual event held for Nemoni ant-punchers in the capitol city.
This year’s purse stands at 100,000 credits, with 50,000 going to the best rider, 30,000 to second, and 20,000 to third. Last year’s champion,
Milon “Ant Buster” Arndon, has already put in his bid to defend his title:

“Looks like a lively batch this year.” he said. “Anyone signin’ up better have their insurance paid up.”

The opening ceremony is scheduled to begin soon with the festivities kicking off with the annual ant chili cook off. Organizers have said to
come hungry, and come ready to watch some serious riding action!

Businessman’s daughter kidnapped, friend killed

BRADBURY DOME, MARS – Amalie Plantagenet, daughter of Martian business mogul Lawrence Plantagenet, has been kidnapped.

Officials report that she and a friend were separated from a college class on a field trip following a sandstorm. Their rover was damaged by the storm. Investigators found Amalie’s friend murdered. Sources also say they discovered a cave containing a message from an unknown party indicating that they had taken the young woman. It is unknown at this time whether it is a hostage/ransom situation as no demands have been publicly announced.

Consortium pledges military assistance

SAN ANGELES, EARTH – The Stellar Consortium Council this morning ordered the Vanguard’s Fifth Fleet to join the Sivadian Navy in the hunt for the creature that destroyed the civilian cruise liner Avondale.

General Charles Avocet, commander of the carrier vessel Versailles (flagship of the Fifth Fleet), said the Vanguard won’t rest until the monster is eliminated.

“We have the most advanced ships, the most advanced weapons at our disposal,” Avocet said. “With Sivad’s navy on our side, we cannot help but emerge victorious.”

New engineering orphanage opens on Ungstir

RESILIENCE, UNGSTIR PRIME – The Mika Tachyon Memorial Home for Orphans and Engineering Prodigies opened today.

Funded by an anonymous benefactor, the home is operated by an organization identified as the Mistakes Were Made Foundation. The headmaster, Ophelia Danov, told reporters that the facility is intended to foster orphaned children and wayward youths who show a proclivity for engineering of all kinds.

The home – named after the legendary Mika Tachyon who died in combat against the Nall during the Galaxy Galleria conflict – has room for about 100 children at present. Tuition, lodging, and medical care are all provided to the children free of charge.

Clawed Fist Fleet mobilizes near Line of Pain

Sources within the Consortium Intelligence Service at this hour report that dozens of Clawed Fist Fleet warships – including several fighter carriers – are moving toward the Line of Pain.

The Parallax border, marked by thousands of wrecked ships that have tried in vain to invade Nall territory, may be the next destination of the creature that consumed the Sivadian cruise liner Avondale, sources state.

It is possible that the beast may soon find itself trapped between the Nall and the combined fleets of the Vanguard and Sivadian Navy.

Space beast eludes capture, destruction at Line of Pain

NEAR PARALLAX SPACE – The combined forces of the Stellar Consortium Vanguard, the Sivadian Navy, and the Parallax Clawed Fist Fleet failed to capture or destroy the massive space creature that destroyed the cruise liner Avondale.

During the chaotic battle near the legendary Line of Pain, dozens of fighters and warships were damaged in the crossfire. The beast was badly wounded – and nearly impaled by a Sivadian carrier – before it slipped away using faster-than-light propulsion toward unexplored space.

The Sivadian destroyer Blackstone was among the ships lost in the fight. The Sivadian fleet commander, Plimpton St. John-Crowell, died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound after the beast escaped once more.

“I wish we could have taken the monster down, but it was much tougher than we anticipated,” said General Charles Avocet, Vanguard fleet commander. “If nothing else, I hope it got the message that it will not be welcome among our stars. Next time, I’ll bring more guns to the fight.” (edited)

Parallax decries violation of territory

NELSESUIN, NALHOM – Gris of Hatch Vril, Vox of the Parallax, railed today against Consortium military intrusions into Nall-held territory at the Line of Pain.

She provided sensor images that showed several fighters and warships of the Vanguard maneuvering on the Parallax side of the line marked by the wrecked hulls of starships that failed in the past to invade the realm of the Nall. This occurred during the battle against the space beast that destroyed the Avondale.

“This is a clear violation of the Alhira Accord, a peace treaty between the Parallax and the Consortium that has remained in effect for more than a decade,” Grisvril said in a prepared statement. “With this incident, that agreement is rendered null and void. No quarter will be granted to further incursions on our borders. All Parallax diplomatic personnel are hereby recalled to Nalhom. Consortium diplomatic personnel on Nalhom are granted three days to depart before they are seized and executed as enemies of the state.”

Consortium agent arrested after witness dies

SAN ANGELES, EARTH – Marlene Wilkes, an agent in the Consortium Intelligence Service, has been jailed and charged with the murder of a Demarian named Bluefang Rockstepper.

Rockstepper had been a witness to a plot to assassinate Consortium Council President Jeremiah Busby. Wilkes killed the Demarian before he could finish giving a statement to CIS senior official Robert Colclough aboard Galactix.

“We’re continuing to question Ms. Wilkes,” Colclough told reporters. “I can’t give any further details at this time. I can say that we have reason to believe the president no longer remains under immediate threat. However, we will keep pursuing leads until we can bring the individuals behind this conspiracy to justice.”

OtherSpace Audio Logs

Not Rapid, but Reliable

Two Vox Enter, One Vox Leaves

Lady Fate Looks Away

The Bigger They Are:

Housekeeping

From MUSH to Slack

About the MUSH

[OFFICIAL FICTION] Prologue: Grisvril

This scene kicks off the first collaborative storytelling effort with my favorite writing partner, Jeff Stanford, since…sometime in the late 20th Century. We’ve both been swamped with jobs and family life. Now we’re doing what we can to cater to our creative tendencies while still balancing those other important obligations. With this project, we’re leaping into the OtherSpace universe and sharing a story that’s predominantly about two key characters – a self-centered hacker named Simple Britain (my creation) and a female bounty hunter named Sam Diego (his creation). We’ll take turns pushing the story forward and, no doubt, try to mess with each other as we go.

Thanks for reading!


2650 C.E.

NELSESUIN, NALHOM (Capital of the Parallax)

The ruler of the Parallax, a reptiloid not much more than a meter tall, pressed the talons of her left foot against the pudgy human’s throat as he sprawled on the stone dais of her throne.

He squirmed. He winced. He wet himself.

Pungent. Her forked tongue twitched in distaste at the scent. The stain spread around the crotch of his pale gray jumpsuit until the fabric was saturated, and then came the small puddle. And the tears. The sobs. His hands rose shakily, plaintive. He shouted something desperate and whiny, clenching his eyes shut.

She would gut him if he stained the hem of her ceremonial robes.

Gris of Hatch Vril, Vox of the Parallax and the living vessel of the sun goddess Nalia, opened her fanged snout in unmasked amusement at the human. She didn’t understand his words. The gestures, though, she could not mistake. Weak creature. More pathetic than most of the humans she’d met. Certainly nothing like the warriors who had challenged the glorious Children of Nalia at the Line of Pain just a decade ago and fought the superior forces to a draw.

“He begs for his life,” said High Priestess Kithra of Hatch Kavir. The cleric had spent several years among the humans of the Stellar Consortium as an ambassador. During that time, she had become fluent in their Terran Standard language. The Vox had recalled all Nall diplomats from Consortium worlds and expelled humans from Nalhom and Lebal a few years ago – a move that had done much to increase tensions between the interstellar governments. Humans and the Nall never got along well after first contact and, of course, there’d been the war. But the presence of Parallax emissaries on Earth and human representatives on Nalhom at least gave the illusion of peace. Now nervous silence and uncertainty prevailed.

Kithrakavir stood to Grisvril’s left on the dais, clawed fingers laced together. She peered at the human through beady black eyes that glinted within the shadows of her dark-hooded vestments.

Two black-armored reptiloid warriors flanked the dais, unblinking as they observed the exchange, hands resting on the hilts of their thirsting blades. The males would not act against the prisoner unless the females demanded aid.

The Vox kept her foot on the man’s throat. No sense giving him a false sense of hope. She didn’t kill him just yet, though. He wanted to live – soaked, stinking of ammonia, imprisoned by the foes of his homeworld. It made no sense. Any self-respecting Nall caught in similar circumstances would take her own life or demand execution. Proof once more, it seemed, that humans were lesser creatures of dubious honor. She peered down her blunt snout, tilted her head, and asked: “Why?”

The fat man shook his head. More panicked gibbering. Grisvril turned to regard the priestess.

“If I may?” Kithrakavir said, waving the three digits of her green-fleshed hand at the weeping fat man on the floor. The Vox bobbed assent, but her razor-sharp talons kept a menacing vigil – the central claw bounced a little on his Adam’s apple as he gulped.

The priestess knelt beside the human. In his tongue, she said: “The Vox wants to know why she should not free you from the horrors of this life.”

The man’s eyes bulged. His mouth gaped. He shook his head, hands waving as he muttered something emphatic at Kithrakavir. She tilted her head up toward the waiting Vox. In Naliese, she said: “He seems not to welcome Nalia’s mercy at this time.”

He asked something else, voice trembling. The priestess snapped her fangs at him and raised a clawed finger to her snout, signaling silence.

Grisvril huffed through her nostrils. “Learn what you can, priestess,” the Vox commanded. She gave a cold stare to the trembling human beneath her foot. “If he disappoints, I will end it quickly.”

The cleric bobbed her snout in deference, then returned her attention to the prisoner. “Answer my questions without hesitation and without dissembling or you will die. Is this understood?”

He gave a frantic nod.

“What is your name?”

This much, the Vox could make out. Two words, mostly meaningless: “Simple Britain.”

“Our fleet found you on the wrong side of the Line of Pain aboard a hostile vessel,” the priestess continued. “Why?”

The man who called himself Simple Britain turned somber, his jaw set as he spoke.

Eye membranes flicked across the dark orbs recessed in Kithrakavir’s face as she considered the answer. She hissed another question in the alien tongue.

The human jabbered, looking from the priestess to Grisvril. He gave an urgent series of statements. Finally, he pointed at the Vox, eyes wide.

Another query from Kithrakavir, almost a whisper.

He gave an insistent reply. Not weeping anymore. Almost defiant.

The Nall cleric raised a hand, splaying her three fingers before turning her snout toward the Vox.

“What did he say?” Grisvril asked.

“The human was quite forthcoming,” Kithrakavir told the ruler in Naliese. “He came here to kill you.”

Continued in Chapter 1: Simple Britain

[REVIEW] Beam me back up, Scotty

spockphaser

I confess: I went into Star Trek Beyond ready to hate, hate, hate it.

I’m one of those people that didn’t like Star Trek Into Darkness, of course. So my expectations for this third outing of the rebooted Enterprise crew were inherently low.

But, another confession: I wanted to love, love, love it – because this franchise celebrates its 50th birthday in September, just like me.

Now I want to thank director Justin Lin and the cast and crew for a rip-roaring ride of a birthday present. Star Trek Beyond features dizzying space combat sequences, a relentless and motivated villain, and opportunities for every member of the crew (new and old) to act like heroes as they play to their strengths.

The most cringe-worthy moment of the movie – using Beastie Boys music as a weapon – also worked out as one of the most gratifying.

Can’t wait to see it again.

Informal Presentation

Busby wanders into the lab wearing wrap-around pink shades and a plaid bathrobe over shorts, flip-flops, and a T-shirt that reads “MA HUMPS.” He finds a chair at one of the holotables and settles into it with a happy sigh.

Tilsworth is meanwhile standing near the holotable, a large sheaf of papers on a clipboard beside him, the last few pages of which he is scanning into the table’s interface.

Maxwell comes strolling in, with a friendly nod to Busby and the good doc. “Evening. Scanner’s free of gremlins today, I hope?”

“Got a memo from Omar, man,” Busby says, lacing his fingers together as he kicks a leg over an arm of his chair. “You’ve got good news, right? Lay it on me, man.”

Tilsworth chuckles to Maxwell. “I haven’t seen any cute furry animals or scaly green monsters, so I believe we are gremlin free.” he says, the last page scanned in as he starts up the holo-presentation. “I do hope it is good news in your eyes, Mr. Busby. Although we do not have a physical product yet, the theoretical components are well tested and proven at this point.”

Maxwell stretches a bit. “Good, good. Be a lousy time for normally reliable tech to go pear shaped.”

Busby smiles lazily. “Cool, man, cool. Okay, so explain the theory, man. But, y’know, pretend you’re explaining it to a dude who may or may not be tripping on a tasty batch of Lunar City hydro-chronic.”

Tilsworth adjusts his glasses a bit. “I’ll do my best, young man, but do please stop me if I start to ramble.” he says with a smile, and brings up the first page of the presentation. “The basic theory is that the energy field the unit generates serves the purpose of ‘detaching’ the ship and the space contained within the field from the rest of the universe. It is best envisioned as a ‘frictionless barrier’ that becomes a self-contained entity. Once this ‘bubble’ is floating free of the universe, the standard propulsion units of the ship can push this bubble as fast as the available power to the engines and the field permits. The more power to the field, the greater the ‘detachment’, and thus the less ‘friction’ encountered.”

Maxwell nods. “Some of the more religious folks are going to think we’re playing god by creating tiny universes at will.”

“Okay, okay,” the Spark CEO replies. “I don’t mind pissing off the zealots, man. I’ll eat that free advertising for breakfast. And a snack. Although what I really want is a fluffy meringue pie. Anyway. How can we fuck it up? Where does it go wrong? What’s the downside, man?”

“There is a potential, rather slim, that the newly created universe begins to exponentially increase in size to potentially replace this one. However as my young friend here has pointed out, at least we would be in charge of the new one.” Tilsworth says with a chuckle. “However, I must stress this is a very remote theoretical possibility and with sufficient auxillary systems and redundacies, it could likely be eliminated completely from the prototype unit.”

Maxwell nods. “It’s not an in charge situation I particularly want, really. Just an outside chance that we need to keep an eye on while figuring out the hardware.”

Busby nods. “So what do you need for testing?”

Tilsworth switches to the next page of the presentation. “Here are the basic components of the system. Power for the system is generated from a pair of fusion reactors. My current parameters utilize a pair of GE HydroGen Mark II fusion reactors with an output of 25 gigawatts each. The resulting high energy plasma generated by the reaction is fed into a Siemens CP-135 power conversion relay. The resulting focused plasma stream is fed through a pair of GE Magnafeed magnetic wave guides that feed two arrays each consisting of 25 Siemens RD-250 Radial Generator coils. With these physical components in the simulation, the drive can achieve 10 times the speed of light. I propose to construct the prototype unit we acquire these components as soon as possible for assembly into a test vehicle.”

Maxwell nods. “Should be a fun start, certainly.”

“All right, man,” Busby says. “Won’t be cheap, but, shit, nothin’ worth it ever is.”

Tilsworth nods. “In addition we would need four Honeywell MX-427 fusion rocket engines for the standard propulsion system of the vehicle. In addition to the standard construction materials to build the frame in which these components will be installed.” the old scientist says. “Once the vehicle is complete, we can transport it to a spot near Mercury’s orbit to be as far away from prying eyes as possible to the initial live tests. I have already met our test pilot and he appears quite capable, perhaps even eager.”

Busby headtilts. “Oh, yeah, well, man, we’re gonna need more than one test pilot, don’t ya think, man? I mean, seriously. Shit’s gonna go sideways.”

Maxwell nods. “Interesting fellow. Definitely eager for his part to come.”

“It is my sincere hope that we do not encounter serious adversity during the initial tests.” Tilsworth says. “However, planning for such an occurrence is a necessity, and I have some ideas for safety factors.”

“Okay, man,” Busby says, getting to his feet. He runs a hand through his hair, rubs the other on his stomach, and then says, “Good work. Let’s do this again when you’re ready to fling the monkey. I want pie, man.” He smacks his lips and wanders out of the lab. Apparently, the meeting is over.

Maxwell stretches a bit more. “Alright. Let’s get back upstairs soon as we can. Getting tired of all this pesky gravity.”

Tilsworth gathers up his papers. “Pie does sound rather good.” he observes. “YEs… I find I am leaning a bit too much on this cane now…”