Tag Archives: Vizgwyr

[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] Rigel #exploration #storytelling #amwriting

The Rigel system is a navigational nightmare, devoid of any obvious signs of life (intelligent or otherwise) but plenty of potential for mineral resources. The system consists of five stars, all orbiting each other to a certain extent, with ten major orbital paths that occasionally swap stars. Sometimes, Rigel I orbits Rigel A, but then A swaps places with B or Rigel I moves into the orbital circuit of Rigel Ba.

The first world, Rigel I, is a small hot rockball with low interior heat, rare volcanoes, and a weak magnetic field that leaves the surface exposed to fierce solar radiation. It has no atmosphere. The terrain is hilly and rough. Exceedingly hot climate due to proximity to the supergiant stars. Not much in the way of resources, except for scarce deposits of gold and platinum, as well as rare deposits of industrial metals such as iron, tin, and copper.

The second world, Rigel II, is a Venus-sized hot rockball world with no atmosphere. The terrain is mostly steppes and plains. Metals are rare and the weak magnetic field allows radiation to cook the planet. It has ample deposits of the rare earth known as scandium (useful in alloys that can make starship production and other forms of metallic construction more economical).

The third planet, Rigel III, is an Earth-sized hot rockball world with high background radiation, frequent volcanoes and earthquakes, and extra heat due to internal radioactivity. Strong magnetic field helps contain a thin nitrogen atmosphere and generates a colorful aurora. Abundant deposits of rare earth scandium. Ample deposits of industrial metals such as iron, tin, copper, and zinc (for local use – not enough abundance for surplus). Barren desert terrain.

The fourth planet, Rigel IV, is a small hostile greenhouse world with a silicate composition similar to Pluto. Metals are very rare, as are volcanoes and earthquakes. Almost no internal heat. A weak magnetic field allows harmful radiation to scourge the surface and only manages to keep a trace “reducing” atmosphere of methane, carbon dioxide, and hydrogen. No mineral resources. Barren desert terrain.

The fifth planet, Rigel V, is a volatile Earth-sized world of volcanoes, earthquakes, and lethal heat due to internal radioactivity. The strong magnetic field allows for a dense, corrosive ammonia atmosphere with a colorful aurora. The hilly/rough terrain conceals ample supplies of gemstones for local use, plentiful scandium, abundant supplies of uranium and other radioactives, and lots of industrial metals such as iron, tin, and copper.  

The sixth planet, Rigel VI, is a small hostile greenhouse world with a thin nitrogen atmosphere and widespread marshes of liquid nitrogen. Ample supplies of the rare earth resource scandium.

The seventh planet, Rigel VII, is an Earth-sized hostile greenhouse world with a very thin but toxic nitrogen atmosphere. Barren desert terrain. No mineral resources of significant quantities.

The eighth planet, Rigel VIII, is a Venus-sized hot rockball world with a weak magnetic field that leaves the planet exposed to harmful radiation. It has only a trace atmosphere, and that’s composed mostly of deadly methane. Plains/steppes are the primary terrain.

The ninth planet, Rigel IX, is an Earth-sized hot rockball world with a corrosive chlorine atmosphere and terrain that’s mostly plains and steppes. No significant mineral deposits.

The tenth planet, Rigel X, is Mars-sized hot rockball world with rare volcanoes and a weak magnetic field that exposes the planet to damaging radiation. It has a trace hydrogen atmosphere. Terrain is mostly hilly and rough. No significant mineral deposits.

An asteroid belt rings the outskirts of the chaotic stellar dance within the Rigel system. (edited)

As Galactix arrives in system, he slows to sublight and begins a thorough scan of the various systems. After a few minutes of scanning, he studies the preliminary results. “My my… if there were ever a manifestation of the human concept of ‘hell’, this comes pretty close.”

Vizgwyr watches the system information displayed on a holovid in one of the starship’s observation vestibules. He gapes in dismay as he sees solar storms churning from at least three stars at once. “Be careful, yezyez. Very careful!”

“Indeed. Radiation shields are at maximum.” Galactix says. “No signs of life but I am picking up large mineral deposits on some of the worlds.”

“Valuable, yezyez,” the Lotorian muses. “Hard to get, though. What you think we do?”

“Difficult… but with proper equipment, they could be extracted.” Galactix says. “At a minimum we should lay a claim to these resources. If a base is established in this area, then this could provide construction resources.”

Vizgwyr tilts his head, scratching his snout. “Yezyez.” His tail lashes about. “Maybe I help design base! Gonna be tricky. Dangerous place, this.”

“Yes… this might not be the ideal location for it, but if they want to establish an outpost in this sector, they’ll need materials.” Galactix says. “Perhaps we can use one of the probes to land on Rigel II and collect a scandium sample. That will help us to validate a claim.”

“Good plan,” Vizgwyr replies. “Hope it don’t break!”

“Indeed. I don’t have many to spare.” Galactix says. With that, one is loaded into Galactix’ launch tube and send speeding towards the planet. Its trajectory and telemetry display on the terminals through out him.

The probe approaches Rigel II and enters an orbital pattern prior to the final descent toward a suitable landing site. Unfortunately, its sensors are scrambled by a solar radiation burst. Effectively blinded, the probe AI opts against landing and instead struggles to return to the last coordinates of Galactix. That’s when another stormburst catches the probe and kills its propulsion management computer. Now inert, the probe drifts through the Rigellian hellscape.

“Well. I suppose that answers our question as to just how unstable this area is.” Galactix says. “Do you think you can increase the shielding in one of the probes against the solar radiation?”

Vizgwyr ponders. “Maybe, yezyez. Maybe! Gotta reroute power from something else.” He makes his way to one of the few remaining probes and examines the surface of it. “Could be we add extra plating to certain faces, then program good-timed twists and turns to deflect bursts. Always gotta keep sensor eyes covered, yezyez. Never facing bursts.”

“Indeed.. perhaps some sort of waveguide, polarized, so that the sensors can send and receive, but other forms of radiation are excluded.” Galactix says. “That, coupled with upgrades to navigation and the armor plating, could do the trick.”

The Lotorian bobs his snout. “All right! Yezyez! We do this!”

Some time later, Vizgwyr presents Galactix with the final design schematics of the improved probe. It is labeled: “STATICBREAKER.”

“Ahh, this should work nicely.” Galactix says.

“OK, OK, yezyez!” The Lotorian rubs his paws together. “Gonna get to work on the modifications. Won’t take long!”

The modified probe is loaded into Galactix’ launch system once again. A muffled ‘thwump’ and it heads out towards Rigel II. “Establishing telemetry link… let’s see what happens this time.”

The probe survives for longer this time and manages to begin a descent toward the surface of Rigel II. It’s able to gather data planetside for about six hours before the biggest Rigellian star rises above the horizon and pummels the sensors with brutal doses of radiation.

Vizgwyr checks the scan results. “Going to be tricky extracting resources, yezyez. Dangerous. Dangerous means expensive, yezyez.”

“Indeed. And expensive means there will be little interest in this area.” Galactix says with a hint of disappointment.

“Maybe not much legit commercial interest,” the Lotorian agrees. He taps a finger against the side of his snout. “Good place for dodgier elements to hole up, though.”

“My thoughts exactly.” Galactix says. “A potential area to avoid in the future if you want to keep your cargo intact.”

Vizgwyr sighs. “Can’t all be diamonds, can they, nonono?” He gives a shrug. “Well, guess we can at least warn other folks to steer clear. Rigel’s a nasty bit of work, yezyez.”

“Yes. I think we have learned all we can from this location. Perhaps it is time to move on to another system.” Galactix says.

“You want me to send a warning to the Consortium about this place, yezyez?” the Lotorian inquires. “Maybe they put big red letters on the map, say: VIZGWYR WAS HERE, YEZYEZ.”

Galactix chuckles. “Indeed, a warning is warranted. And if they don’t, at least in my star charts, it shall be so marked.”

[SLACK ROLEPLAYING LOG] #rp-exploration: Good Help

Following the announcement to begin exploration efforts, Galactix can’t resist the chance to flex his exploratory muscles once again and experience open space. Ensuring an adequate supply of fuel, he departs Sol, heading towards the galactic Southwest, and what lies beyond.

“Yezzyezz,” mutters the Lotorian known as Vizgwyr as he lopes down one of the long corridors aboard Galactix. He’s got a PDA in one hand and a battered satchel slung over his shoulder. “Excellent!”

“Welcome aboard.” Galactix voice says.

“Many thankzzz, big talky ship!” Vizgwyr replies, sliding to a stop outside his quarters. “Glad to be here, yezyez!”

“Glad to have you aboard.” Galactix says. “We are on our way, so if there is anything you might require, don’t hesitate to ask. We’re setting course for the Horsehead Nebula”

The Lotorian walks into his small bunk area, shoving his satchel below the cot where he’ll sleep. He ponders what Galactix said, then replies: “I’ve been wondering, yezzyezz. Why is it called Horsehead? I have seen images. What horse on Earth looks like that?”

“A very good question.” Galactix says. “Though from their history humans have a tendency to try to find images in almost anything. Though if I were to compare the shape to an actual creature, the “sea horse” seems to be more fitting.”

“Something tells me it won’t look much like any kind of horse, the closer we get, yezyez,” Vizgwyr muses. He settles onto his cot. Tugs the satchel out from below. Starts rummaging through his meager belongings. “If help you need, just shout, yezyez. Like to earn my keep.”

“Very true. It is, after all, simply a gas cloud in space.” Galactix says.

Vizgwyr finds something that looks like an ancient vacuum tube – the kind of gadget that might be found in one of the old cabinet-style televisions. He cradles it in his slender-fingered hands. “What you think we find out there?”

“A question with potentially infinite answers.” Galactix says. “At a minimum, we may find worlds suitable to colonize. We may meet races and civilizations as of yet unknown to us. Space phenomena that have never been observed before. And given that vile creature that eats ships, potentially hazards we have not even conceived of.”

“Oh, that big chew-chew thing. Very bad, yez-yez,” the Lotorian agrees. He turns the tube over in his hand. “So, what you need doing? Things broken need fixing?”

“At the moment my systems are fully operational, however before we departed I acquired several sensor probes and a used shuttlecraft in case they are needed once we reach our intended destinations.” Galactix says. “They are, however, notably second hand, and likely in need of repair. Would you be able to go over them and ensure they are in working order?”

“Yez-yez!” Vizgwyr tucks the tube back into the satchel and hops to his feet, tail sweeping back and forth. “I do this!”

“Very good. You should find all the materials and tools if you require them.” Galactix says. “They are in the hangar bay secured in berths one and two.”

The Lotorian capers down the corridor toward the hangar bay. “Must get to work, yez-yez!”

The transit to the nebula is long and tedious, at least from Galactix’ point of view. Hour upon hour of hurtling through space at relativistic speeds, sensors watching for errant space debris and other hazards. This monotony, however, is broken by a warning alarm flashing on Galactix’ bridge. In an instant, his consciousness focuses on the warning, and a sense of urgency overcomes him. His voice echoes from above where Vizgwyr is working. “Mr. Vizgwyr, a situation is arising in my engineering section that I will need assistance with. My sensors are indicating that a oscillation is beginning within my propulsion field that will soon lead to an imbalance. We must find the source soon or the drive will become unstable.”

The Lotorian gathers up his tools, stuffs them haphazardly into his satchel, and then scampers down the corridor. “On the way! On the way! Yezyezyez! On the…” His voice trails off as he reaches a junction of five corridors. “Which way?!”

“Turn left, take the turbolift down two decks, turn right,   turn left, and take the blast doors.” Galactix says.

Vizgwyr follows the given directions. Eventually he finds himself in the engineering section. “Ok! Where thing need fixing?”

The room pulses with power flowing from the central main reactor to the Spindrive propulsion units on either side. From these, conduits carry the field energy to the nacelles outside the ship. The starboard one pulses regularly, but the port side is pulsing irregularly. “The portside unit is showing an irregularity in the field coils. They may be out of adjustment.” Galactix says.

Vizgwyr hauls his tools to the portside unit and peruses the system, conducting his own analysis to confirm the findings of Galactix. Assuming the findings are confirmed, he’ll look for the best method of adjusting the field coils.

The analysis shows that several of the coils are out of adjustment by up to 12 microns. Not enough to cause collapse of the propulsion field as of yet, but there are indications others are continuing to slip out of adjustment. If they reach a misalignment of 20 microns, the field will become dangerously unstable.

“Oh, not good, not good, no-noz,” the Lotorian says, making a tsk sound as he rummages through the satchel in search of the proper tool. “Realignment not take long.”

“I have engaged the safety interlocks.” Galactix says.

Vizgwyr bobs his snout, then sets to work on the repair. “How often you get standard maintenance?” the Lotorian inquires while fiddling with the settings.

“Not as often as I would like.” Galactix replies. “My repair nanites can handle damage, but situations such as this still require a ‘personal touch’ so to speak.”

“Gonna be important, we out for long time,” the Lotorian chides. His work continues.

“Difficult without an active crew.” Galactix says. “Though I am most appreciative of your assistance.”

“Glad to help, yezyez,” Vizgwyr replies. “Gonna get you set straight! No time!”

“Very good. We are still steady on course, We should be arriving within the next two days.” Galactix says.

The Lotorian finishes his work on Galactix. “Ready to go, yezyez! Not too shabby. How you like? Feel good, yezyez?”

“Ahh.. much better. The field is back within operational limits.” Galactix says. “In fact there is an 8.9 percent increase in efficiency.”

“Excellent! Glad to help, yezyez,” Vizgwyr replies with a smile.
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