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Author Topic: To the stars, the slow way. (Could use some more ladies?)  (Read 5830 times)

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Online ChrystalTopic starter

To the stars, the slow way. (Could use some more ladies?)
« on: May 21, 2011, 04:40:01 PM »
Greetings, Sexy sci-fi fans...

This is an idea based loosely on author C.J. Cherryh's "Downbelow" universe.

Before the discovery of Faster-Than-Light (FTL) travel, mankind headed for the stars the slow way.

The crew of a slower-than-light space craft, destined to spend the rest of their lives together. What relationships will form? What tensions will appear? Will they be able to work together as a crew or will internal bickering result in disaster? RP is to go in NC Human Freeform small groups. (And maybe I can get my first RP in big groups?)

This story assumes that certain advances in science have occurred but that we have not yet discovered FTL. Space ships travel through normal space and take years to get to their destinations. However due to something called "time dilation", the crew don't take that long to get there...

Physics lesson under the cut
If you're reading this you're either a scientist, a serious nerd (like me), or you are really interested in the RP. (Possibly all three?) If you're the former and you spot a glaring error in what follows, please PM me and we can discuss it!

So. A ship accelerates at 10 m/s2 - which is as near one Earth-normal gravity as makes no odds.

The speed of light in a vacuum (c) is 299,792,458 m/s. So to reach that speed will take 29,979,246 seconds. That is 499,654 minutes. Which is 8,327 hours. That's 346 days, which is just under a year.

So, the ship takes a year to reach c. Due to E=Mc2 (As an object nears the speed of light, as it's energy increases, so it's mass also increases, thus requiring more energy to keep it accelerating...) the ship can never actually reach the speed of light, but it can get close. As soon as the ship reaches optimum velocity (i.e. the point at which the fuel burned to increase the velocity is no longer worth the velocity gained), it would shut the engines off to save fuel and coast.

When it gets to a pre-calculated distance from it's destination, the ship would "roll over" - turn so it is flying backwards - and decelerate at the same rate. This deceleration should take exactly the same time as the acceleration.

Now, there is definitely a formula for calculating how far the ship will have travelled while accelerating, but it involves integral calculus and I can't remember how to do it, so I'm going to oversimplify it and say that in the year it is accelerating smoothly to c it has travelled half a light year, and it travels the same distance while decelerating. So, a journey of (say) 4 ly to Alpha Centauri would take just over five years. (A light year being the distance light travels in a year).

However, Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity states that the faster you travel, the slower time seems to go. As you approach c, so the passage of time approaches zero. Thus for the crew of the spaceship the three years spent almost at the speed of light would pass in an instant - possibly hours at most. The acceleration and deceleration would seem to take longer, but (again, using the same over-simplification) we can say that the year spent accelerating would pass in approximately six months, and the same for the year spent decelerating.

So, although the return journey takes ten years for everyone at home waiting, for the crew, it takes two years.

Interestingly, the same is true no matter the length of the journey. Regardless of whether it is two light years or a hundred light years, the crew perceive it as taking the same amount of time, because the time spent at near c does not pass for them.

That concludes the science bit...

To summarise all that for those not interested in the science behind it: whatever the distance between the start and end of the journey is in light years, the ship takes that many years plus one to get there, but the crew think it only took a year, regardless of how long it is!

Now to the plot:

We are not the first. There are a number of space stations in orbit around various stars. No planets have yet been discovered. And there is a flourishing interstellar trade in goods and services between the various colonies. The number of colonies is actually growing, and more ships are required to maintain the trade routes.

We are the crew of one of those new ships. The trade has been going for about a hundred and fifty years now. Long enough for ships to get to and from places fifty light years distant. So we know what to expect. We are leaving behind everyone we knew. By the time we get back, they will be old, or possibly dead, and we will be a few years older.

The ship is, (boringly enough) a merchant ship. Sure it has weapons, but they are minimal. The crew is civilian.

This RP will cover the first few days of the journey, as the ship accelerates out of the solar system I would love to think it was able to cover the whole year, but I'm more realistic that that....

People starting after the game starts will be assumed to have just come from somewhere else on the ship where they were alone - possibly their cabins. People leaving the game (hopefully there won't be any, but again, I'm realistic) will be NPCed until they can be removed from the "action" and replaced.

Crew list:


Role player name character name
Captain (GM) Chrystal Captain Amanda Richardson
First Officer (Assistant GM) Amazon Kim Langdon
Chief Engineer Question Mark Noel Carro
Navigator bigwad73 Thomas Jackson, Ph.D.
Purser
Available
Cargo Officer grovercjuk Mark Newman
Master At Arms BrokenCollar Jack 'Ripper' Larkin
First PilotNapanee Elina Netrebko
Chief Radio OperatorMarilyn Carry Kikuchi Makoto
Chief Cook TheHangedMan Harold "Harry" Valeth
Cheif Medic Angel FireAdrienne McCauley
Chief Steward
Available
Second Pilot RedEve Missy Molineux
Engineer's mate
Available
Assistant Steward
Available
Medical Assistant
Available
Cargo hand 1
Available
Cargo hand 2
Available
Passenger (Up to five)
Available


Character Sheet

Player Name:
Character Name:
Gender:
Age (Actual):
Age (Subjective): if character has previous experience aboard a star ship - not required!
Position wanted:
Personality:
History:
Appearance: Please replace the URL of the generic face with the URL of your character's image.


Code: [Select]
[b]Player Name:[/b]
[b]Character Name:[/b]
[b]Gender:[/b]
[b]Age (Actual):[/b]
[b]Age (Subjective):[/b] if character has previous experience aboard a star ship - not required!
[b]Position wanted:[/b]
[b]Personality:[/b]
[b]History:[/b]
[b]Appearance:[/b]
[img height=300]http://www.ganache.ca/katrina/images/thesis/after_f.gif[/img]

A note on pictures:

This game is NOT Star Trek The tech level would be closer to that of FireFly. (It is NOT FireFly, though). I'm not going to dictate people's characters, but I would prefer a slightly seedier sci-fi. If you want to be crisp and clean, that's up to you, but expect your crisp clean clothes to very quickly get covered in oil!

PLEASE PM character sheets to me for approval.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2011, 02:09:27 PM by Chrystal »

Offline bigwad73

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2011, 12:15:43 AM »
Count me in.  I'll work on a navigator/astrophysicist character.   ;D

Offline Caela

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2011, 10:44:56 PM »
This sounds like fun. Will work up a character sheet for you in the next day or so.

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2011, 03:26:23 PM »
Sweet. I look forward to getting both character sheets :)

Offline grovercjuk

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2011, 05:40:45 PM »
I can remember reading books about this type of travel probably the ones you mentioned. One scene struck me, during the trade negotiations the planetary trader introduced his ten year old son. Then when the ship returned that way the trader was long dead and   the son was an old man and yet to the crew only a few years had gone by.  The idea of that struck me at the time as being really weird, the star ship crew must become so detached.

Anyhow enough of the drivel, I will drop you a character if I may in the next day or two.

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2011, 05:47:41 PM »
Wonderful... :) The more the merrier!

Offline TheHangedMan

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Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2011, 06:41:27 PM »
U;m interested. Will work on a character in a bit. Slightly confused by what Age (subjective) is supposed to be.

Edit: Addendum:
Player Name: THM
Character Name:  Harold "Harry" Valeth
Gender: Male
Age (Actual): 24
Age (Subjective): 24
Position wanted: Cook
Personality: Generally a nice guy, but can be aloof and, occasionally, surly. Still, he often means well.  Eccentric.
History: Harold has always had two interests in his life: The stars, those celestial bodies that are mere dots of light in the night sky, and cooking.  He could have been an astronomer, or an astrophysicist, or something big and fancy like that...but honestly, his fascination with the stars was left as a mere hobby. The creation of meals was a strong calling to him, and their was pressure besides, as his father was a professional caterer.

As time went on, he grew curious about the other colonies out there. What recipes did they have? What ingredients did they use? How did they do things? Eventually, he couldn't stand it any longer. He simply had to know.

The problem, of course, was funding. Money. He was creative though, and he found a work around...why pay to go on a ship when he could get paid to provide a service, and get to where he wanted to be?
Appearance:
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 07:50:54 PM by TheHangedMan »

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2011, 12:41:14 PM »
Character is approved...

I guess I should explain:

Subjective Age vv Objective Age
This has to do with the concept of Time Dilation, explained in the "Science bit" in my first post.

Simply put, if you travel for ten years at near the speed of light, when you arrive you are only two years older than when you left.

Your "Objective age" is the current year minus the year you were born, so if it is 2263 (say), and you were born in 2201, your objective age is 62.

However, if you spent forty of those years in two twenty light-year journeys, your "Subjective age" - the age you look and feel is 26.

Does that make sense?

Offline TheHangedMan

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Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2011, 02:35:03 PM »
Yup. Pretty sure I get it, then. Since he's never been on a ship before, that means subjective age, at least for my character, will be equal to his actual age, correct?

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2011, 02:46:00 PM »
That is correct, yes.

Offline grovercjuk

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2011, 05:31:39 PM »
Right here we go hope this is OK and i have no idea why the picture will not show.
Player Name: Grovercjuk
Character Name: mark Newman
Gender: Male
Age (Actual):25
Age (Subjective): 25
Position wanted: Cargo Officer
Personality: Mark is friendly and easy going, some would say too easy going for his own good.

History: It was a fairly easy job being cargo officer on the Space Station Nova 12 orbiting Jupiter. Ships came from the stars and loaded/unloaded, ships came form the inner planets and did the same. Not the hardest of jobs or particularly the best paid but Mark was content enough.
           But then his friend Bob came to him with this easy score. A criminal gang where shipping illegal goods through the station. Bob knew the cargo pod barcode so all Mark had to do was swap it with an innocent cargo pod. The criminals did not get what they expected and him and Bob could sell the illegal themselves. Bob finally wore him down and Mark did it, only Bob was not at the meeting place and the pod was gone as it turned with Bob.
                 So Bob had shafted him and done a runner, eventually the criminals would work out what happened and Mark would be floating off the station.
But then again if he shipped out it would 20-40 years before he would be back and everything would be long forgotten. Suddenly finding a berth on a departing ship was a matter of urgency.


Appearance: Around six foot, slim with blue eyes and high brownish hair.

« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 05:39:46 PM by grovercjuk »

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2011, 12:16:20 PM »
Right here we go hope this is OK and i have no idea why the picture will not show.
Player Name: Grovercjuk
Character Name: mark Newman
Gender: Male
Age (Actual):25
Age (Subjective): 25
Position wanted: Cargo Officer
Personality: Mark is friendly and easy going, some would say too easy going for his own good.

History: It was a fairly easy job being cargo officer on the Space Station Nova 12 orbiting Jupiter. Ships came from the stars and loaded/unloaded, ships came form the inner planets and did the same. Not the hardest of jobs or particularly the best paid but Mark was content enough.
           But then his friend Bob came to him with this easy score. A criminal gang where shipping illegal goods through the station. Bob knew the cargo pod barcode so all Mark had to do was swap it with an innocent cargo pod. The criminals did not get what they expected and him and Bob could sell the illegal themselves. Bob finally wore him down and Mark did it, only Bob was not at the meeting place and the pod was gone as it turned with Bob.
                 So Bob had shafted him and done a runner, eventually the criminals would work out what happened and Mark would be floating off the station.
But then again if he shipped out it would 20-40 years before he would be back and everything would be long forgotten. Suddenly finding a berth on a departing ship was a matter of urgency.


Appearance: Around six foot, slim with blue eyes and high brownish hair.



Character is approved. The photo won't show here because you loaded it on Flickr, as copyrighted. E is public domain. Try uploading it to Eliwiki.

And I love his reason for wanting a berth on the ship although I expect he would not have mentioned that at the interview!

Offline bigwad73

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2011, 02:32:05 PM »
Player Name:  bigwad73
Character Name:  Thomas Jackson, Ph.D.
Gender:  Male
Age (Actual):  36
Age (Subjective):  36
Position wanted:  Navigator
Personality:  Academic, a bit stiff, but has an odd sense of humor
History:  Dr. Jackson was at the top of his career game.  Armed with a doctorate from Caltech in Astrophysics, he'd just gained a tenured position at a major university, a university that had long ago entered a partnership with several other universities around the world to build and operate the Lunar Farside Observatory, a huge complex of multi-wavelength telescopes on the back-side of the Moon, near it's equator.  He'd only been there for three years when a competitor charged him with plagurism, a charge that seemed to stem from a set of files that were found on his computer that belonged to the competitor.  Claiming no knowledge of how they got there didn't alleviate the situation, and he was censured by the board of the Observatory, essentially cutting him off from research opportunities. 

Thomas left the Observatory and signed on with a science vessel that was working on surveying Mars.  At least he was using his knowledge to further science.  And, it turned out, he was a pretty darn good astronavigator too.  He'd filled in when the main nav had come down with some sort of intestinal bug, getting the ship to their next objective, a path through the belt to do a remote survey of the larger moons of Jupiter.  After that, he and the nav had checked each other's work, and Thomas had become skilled at different navigation tasks, using the computer systems that aided navigators, and even picked up some of the lingo that navigators use.

Now, he's in between jobs, looking for some way to use his science background and his navigational abilities.  A freighter bound outsystem might be the perfect opportunity.  But... what if he discovers something interesting at a destination, something that he needs to stay to investigate?

Appearance:  Tall, thin-framed, fair complexion, blond hair and green eyes.  No soul patch and his hair is actually combed, however.

« Last Edit: May 30, 2011, 11:21:56 AM by bigwad73 »

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2011, 05:40:35 PM »
Bigwad, just a couple of things...

The Navigator of the ship is more than likely to have done at least one trip already as an apprentice. It's not essential, this is a new crew being put together after all, but you might want to think about giving him some interstellar travel time?

Second:

We are not the first. There are a number of space stations in orbit around various stars. No planets have yet been discovered. And there is a flourishing interstellar trade in goods and services between the various colonies. The number of colonies is actually growing, and more ships are required to maintain the trade routes.

Now, That highlighted statement is not necessarily in conflict with Dr Jackson's history. After all, discovery using telescopes and discovery by actually going there are two different things. I just want to be sure we are singing from the same song sheet.



Well as everyone is posting their character sheets here rather than PMing them, I guess I will do mine...

Player Name: Chrystal
Character Name: Captain Amanda Richardson
Gender: Female
Age (Actual): 73
Age (Subjective): 41
Position wanted: Captain
Personality: Overconfident, brusque and with a tendency to overreact, this hides a deep-seated fear of failure and a need to prove herself.
History:Amanda started out as a cargo hand on the Fresh Start II ploughing the Alpha Centaurii run. On the journey, she studied hard and when the pilot signed off to take ship going further out, Amanda had willingly accepted promotion, and flown the ship back. Her second run to the stars had been the six light year trip to Barnard's Star, aboard the Three Fates, this time as cargo officer. Again she took a different role on the return journey, as navigator. She stayed with the Three Fates for her third trip, now promoted to First Officer.

On returning to Sol, Amanda saw that new ships were being built again and reluctantly said goodbye to her friends and loves on the Fates, knowing she would likely never see them again.  But the opportunity for her own command was too good to pass up. With her record and the glowing reference given to her by the captain of the Fates, she was pretty much guaranteed command of one of the newer, faster, higher capacity vessels being built for the longer runs direct from Earth to the newly opened stations further into the beyond.

Appearance:

« Last Edit: May 27, 2011, 05:44:15 PM by Chrystal »

Offline grovercjuk

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2011, 05:47:19 PM »
When you say no planets have been discovered, do you mean none at all or no human habitable ones?
After all if there where no planets what would the outer stations have to trade?

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2011, 06:43:43 PM »
Good point...

I think the general idea is that every star system has an accretion disc - the stuff of which planets are made.

Different stars have different absorption spectra. This we know. This means that they have different elements in differing quantities.

There may even be some totally undiscovered elements out there.

And Earth is running out. The Solar system is running out, too, as we use up the resources of the belt.

Plus, space exploration will attract the brightest and best to the new frontier. When geniuses breed the result is often more geniuses, and so inventions will (hopefully) abound. New ways of doing things, new technologies, new elements.

And yes, uninhabitable planets would be present. Smaller, moon-less gas giants, airless rock worlds, or worlds with atmospheres so caustic they would eat through an environment suit in minutes.

No alien life at all.... (yet).

Offline TheHangedMan

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Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2011, 12:03:09 AM »
Their could be means of extracting gasses, syphoning them off really, from gas giants. Robotic mining squads on more solid but unlivable planets, research stations doing highly advanced things that are extremely dangerous...and all of these places are likely to need to trade for essentials. Air to breathe (frozen blocks of oxygen are traded, maybe? Or just canisters...or plants or other things that can help offset oxygen use in an environment that doesn't have it), water to drink (Or maybe hydrating drugs though that's more SCIENCE! than science; I'm just throwing out some half baked ideas and seeing if anything's good), food to eat (whether that's some sort of nutritious mush ala Shadowrun's nutrisoy, or actual food, or just components for one of those food replicator things on Star Trek).


Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2011, 01:04:32 PM »
Right, that's a fifty dollar fine, Hanged... You said the "ST" words!

Just kidding... But as I said, this isn't Star Trek.

Food (frozen and dried). patented products like Coca ColaŽ that the manufacturers will not release the formula to. Livestock (in deep sleep). Specialist machine parts - again where the plans for construction are kept guarded by the manufacturer.

All these things can be exported from Earth.

Things earth imports could be rare and exotic minerals, new inventions, specialist parts that the manufacturers have shifted production of to places where they don't have to pay so much for the raw materials...

However, the actual content of the ship's cargo bay is not really important. Suffice to say there will be plenty of produce going in both directions. My hope is that we get to a point in the story where we get to off load what is in the holds. But my expectation is that we will get about two weeks out from Sol Station in the first 6 months of role play! (Anyone who thinks otherwise is far too ambitious and has never taken part in a play-by-post group game. Usually 1 week of real time = a couple of hours of game time).

Equally, there will be trade between the colony systems, of things one colony has and another needs. Also, remember that it is the ultimate goal of any colony to be free of its colonial rulers. Thus the colonies might be manufacturing ships of their own, and weapons. If anyone has read the books by Cherryh, they will know that the war that starts between Earth and "Union" is begun over trade tariffs, and Union wins by using cloning techniques that are illegal on earth, and also rejuvenation drugs that are equally illegal.

So, all this sort of black market trade is going on. Plus there are scientists working hard on trying to break the light barrier...

Anyway. Still hoping for a few more players...

Offline blackknight1239

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2011, 12:01:31 AM »
I want to post some interest, but I'm still work on my character idea. Either a passenger, or another cook (but with a low amount of players, that wouldn't be the best idea).

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2011, 01:54:15 AM »
Hi Blackknight.

Passenger would be good. Remember this is primarily a cargo vessel and passengers would basically share surplus crew accommodation. Passengers would be allowed onto the bridge provided they didn't touch anything (or anyone!).

I'm working on a design for the ship.

One important point I need to make in that regard. There is no such thing in this game as artificial gravity. (Again, this is not Star-Trek). HOWEVER, because the ship is accelerating constantly at 10m/s2, this gives the illusion of normal gravity. However, UP is FORWARD and DOWN is BACK.

If the engines go off for any reason, we have an instant return to zero gravity, with things floating around.

I don't realistically see this getting as far as the roll-over point, but if it does, there will be a few hours spent at zero gravity, while the crew set up the burns to change the ship's direction, then a few minutes of sea-sickness as the ship turns end-for-end, then a few more hours of zero gravity while they travel at near-light-speed to the deceleration point. At which point, DOWN becomes FORWARD and UP becomes BACK.

If you don't get that and want to play a character that has travelled before, PM me. If you are playing a character who is on their first trip to the stars, don't worry too much about it. I'll have the Captain explain as we go...

Offline bigwad73

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2011, 01:28:38 PM »
Okay, how about this.  The Lunar Farside telescopes have found worlds that -might- be Earthlike, but no robotic probes have reached them yet to report back.  Most of them are at least 15 to 20 LY away to start with, and that's just two or three.

Stations are in orbit of nearby red dwarf stars, like Wolf 359 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wolf_359, extracting ores, gasses, and other rare commodities from the planets and asteroids and other debris around the stars. 

And, I wouldn't say that there are undiscovered elements, to be a picky science-y person.  Rather, there are undiscovered compounds, forming under odd and possibly unique envioronmental conditions (radiation, high temperature or low, high pressure or low, or due to the presence of other unusual compounds as catalysts.  ("Normally, carbon forms into hex-shaped rings, but in the presence of high pressure, say near the core of this 5 Jupiter-mass gas giant, and high radiation, it forms into squares, which form much tighter bonds, and remain stable once they are out of the condition they form in.  That's what we're mining here at Valhalla, Captain.  Square carbon molecules, for eventual use as a kind of outer hull coating." 

Still thinking about my character...

Oh, and what about target number one and two on any search for nearby Earthlikes?  I'm speaking of Alpha Centauri A and B, by the way, the two closest stars after red dwarf Proxima Centauri (Alpha Cent. C)--stars which are, respectively, very Sun-like, and about 80% of the mass of the Sun and still pretty Sun-like?  They orbit fairly close to each other, but there may be a stable zone around each that would include at least a part of the Goldilocks Zone for each star.

Oh, and take that!  *smacks down a wiki page*  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_nearest_stars
« Last Edit: May 29, 2011, 01:33:12 PM by bigwad73 »

Offline bigwad73

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2011, 03:13:02 PM »
Feel free to ignore my blathering above.  It's pointless with regards to the RP we want to do...  :)

Offline grovercjuk

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2011, 03:16:40 PM »
So how many players do we have and are there any unfilled positions on the ship?

Online ChrystalTopic starter

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2011, 04:13:34 PM »
So far I have three and a half character sheets including my own... I have had interest expressed by four other players - two here, one by PM and one by IM, but so far none of them have submitted a character sheet and I don't count a player as being in the game until I have a character sheet that I have approved.

As for vacancies... I'm going to say that a maximum number of players I can cope with would be 15. There are 13 actual roles listed, but I don't really expect to fill them all, and several of them are open to more than one player character... Passengers and cargo hands, for example.

Players are, if they wish, allowed to create more that one character...

Offline BrokenCollar

Re: To the stars, the slow way.
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2011, 04:22:16 PM »
Very interested.

Just a couple of things. What is a 'purser'?

I was also wondering if there would be some kind of on board security? Mabye just one officer?

If not then mabye some kind of trading official, assigned to the ship to uphold new interstellar regulations?