jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
 Since I can't get my brain in gear to write anything original right now, please enjoy a fake news story about a non-existent person on an imaginary show.

* * *

Actor Mikhayiyl Sabbagh announced today that is he was leaving the  popular Military caste comedy Ship’s Mess, after portraying the beloved Wesley “Wes” Wasem for  eight seasons, serving longer than any of the cast aside from lead actor Mit Brightclaw. In his statement Sabbagh strongly dismissed rumors of a pay dispute, stating “I love working on Ship’s Mess, and have the utmost respect for all my friends on the cast and the producers. But eight years doing anything is enough, and I didn’t want to wear out Wes’ welcome.”

Sabbagh, one of the few wazagans regularly working the foxen entertainment industry, began his career is a character actor, where his stony features and larger than average build usually typecast him as heavies in productions on Wazaga and Human Prime. After about fifteen years of this he met his wife-to-be, foxen actress Fivah Fieldsmith, on the set of the wazagan serial drama Death by the Numbers. They married about a year later, and he moved with her back to Foxen Prime.

When Fieldsmith was cast as the perpetually furious Lt. Hardpaw on Ship’s Mess, she persuaded Sabbagh, who was having trouble breaking into the business on Foxen Prime, to take up the bit part of Wes, the stowaway wazagan living in the FNS Ice Lick’s galley cupboard.

“It was only supposed to be a one-off gag, and my grasp of the Mother Tongue back then was terrible, which is why all my dialog was garbled,” Sabbagh explains, with typical modesty. “But I got a lot of laughs, so they decided to keep me on.”

By the end of the season, Wes had emerged as one of the most popular characters of the long running series. Living in the galley cupboard (which was later revealed to be connected to the Admiral’s Quarters) and emerging occasionally to spout a nigh incomprehensible (and inevitably mistranslated) mixture of Arabic, English, and Southern Wazini at the rest of the cast, the character was an instant hit with both cubs and adults.

Though Wes did attract some controversy from critics for being a broad stereotype, Sabbagh defends his portrayal. “Everybody in the show was a stereotype,” he points out. “I had a blast playing Wes, and the rest of the cast always treated me with respect, on and off the set. That’s all I care about.”

With Fieldsmith’s departure from the show two seasons ago, Wes’ appearances have been infrequent, as Sabbagh returned to drama. Most recently he portrayed the Father of Night in the video adaptation of The Walls Between the Worlds, and on Light Street, appearing as Saber, in the acclaimed revival of Dockyard Stories.  

As for what’s next for him, Sabbagh states, “I’m working on a period piece with Fivah, adapting The Visitors for the screen. We’re hoping to start a successful funding campaign next year, and start filming a few months after that.”

And would he consider playing Wes again, if the chance came up?

“Hey, so long as there’s room in the cupboard for me, I’ll be there.”
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)

Just attempting to codify some of the worldbuilding I've done over the years, starting with the tech.

* * *

Tech Level
: In general the G:RVA tech level is TL9-11, following the Safe-Tech path (p. UT10), with some gravity related superscience additions.

Cut for the RPG disinterested )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
 Description: Commitment bands are the most common form of display of one’s marriage status on Foxen Prime, owing primarily to their use by followers of the Mother Goddess. Their origins are obscure, but date back to at least -4,000 PS (Pre-Spaceflight), going by the famous tile mosaics found in ruins of the Foxen Bronze Age city of Riverguard

A commitment band is commonly a silver or gold wrist cuff, usually about a half-centimeter thick and two to six centimeters wide, worn by both (or all, depending) spouses. Pearl inlays are common, and almost without exception both spouses’ names and the date of their wedding are engraved upon them, occasionally with a prayer to the Mother Goddess for long and fruitful lives.

What sets commitment bands apart from something like human wedding rings is a certain higher, er, binding nature. Bands are typically locking, with the key one’s band being held in trust by their spouse. Sometimes the locks are symbolic and the bands easily popped open with a little force. Sometimes they’re very serious, requiring unique keys and/or double locks that need both spouses’ keys to open. In more modern versions some use thumbpad locks or even encrypted locking software and built in GPS tracking.[1] In the case of more serious units, ambulances and hospitals always have specialized “band crackers” to pop even heavy duty locks if they’d interfere with emergency treatment of patients.

Ceremony: Pre-wedding engagements for foxen can have several levels of seriousness, but they almost always make use of ribbons, usually silk, tied around the wrist, to display a pair’s commitment to each other. Close friends might have a simple loop and bow, a couple that is dating might have multicolored ribbons woven in a pattern. A couple that is intending to wed would have ribbons woven in a very elaborate style, weaving around the wrist and between the fingers, palm pads and the back of one’s paw.

On the wedding day, the couple stands nude before the priestess (usually the eldest female of the wife’s family) in a show of innocence and piety to the Mother Goddess. The priestess unties the ribbons from the couple’s wrists, and they speak their vows to each other. Then the priestess blesses the couple and the two of them offer their commitment bands, and the keys to same, to the other, to be attached to their wrists. Once locked in place the priestess completes the ceremony and the couple dress and attend the wedding reception with the usual offering of food, presents, and questionably “helpful” gifts from close friends,[2] before retreating to their wedding bed or the next available flight to their honeymoon destination.

Legends: The origin of commitment bands are obscure. One popular legend is that of a Commoner or Military caste vixen who rescues a prince from slavery to a monster. The chains the monster forces the prince to wear are enchanted, and the clever vixen is able to trick the monster into removing all but the last one before she kills it. Though now free, the prince can’t remove the last of his slave bands without losing his paw, so in a show of her love for him, the vixen attaches one of the other bands to her own wrist, so they would remain connected forever. From there the tradition of the locking bands moved from story to reality, though usually without attached chains.

[1] Rolas and Melanie’s bands are a dual layer carbon/diamond composite inner ring and gold outer ring, with electronic locks that are quantum encoded, requiring use of a physical key that transmits the release codes when turned, and an additional thumbpad lock. After their shipwreck, Melanie discretely added a GPS tracker and biomonitor to Rolas’ band before he put back on when he was released from the hospital.[3] She’s going to tell him about it One of These Days.

[2] Usually sex toys or helpful band add-ons such as chains or leg irons…

[3] Yes that's a bit stalkery, but Melanie is the Queen of Ill-Considered Decisions.

jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
 1. The Groupmind can be Clueless, but it is NOT Malicious: Perhaps the most important aspect of the FYS, the Groupmind’s goal is the safety and preservation of humanity. While it can hurt people by mistake, it is not evil. It loves humans and wants them to be happy, not enrich its own ego by lording its power over them.

Corollary: The Groupmind does realize that a lot of people are miserable about their situation on the Ring. But the one solution that mankind would embraced, being set free to return to Earth, is the one thing the Groupmind just can't let itself consider.

2. The Groupmind is Genre Savvy:  The Groupmind has every science fiction novel, comic book, manga, anime, cartoon, movie, and possibly wood block carving in its memory. It knows every tactic ever tried by and against every insane AI imagined by man. It knows exactly how badly the situation could deteriorate if it starting using the ”Zeroth Law” as part of its moral compass. It can adapt and defend against every Captain Kirk patented anti-AI tactic ever conceived. Beating it is almost impossible. Almost.

3. Morphs Are Individuals: Morphs are both prison guards are servants to their assigned humans, and extensions of the Groupmind’s will. Nevertheless they are people  in their own right as well. Some are happy servants, some are less happy but dedicated, some are even assholes (though that's more a reflection on their human's treatment of them usually). They are not just cookie cutter robots to be destroyed on a whim, despite some people's beliefs to the contrary.

4. Violence Doesn't Work: Fighting the Groupmind physically Is pointless. It will outnumber any human forces, especially in the post-Awakening phase, and it's perfectly willing to Zerg Rush armed humans with as many morphs as necessary to take away their weapons. Any victories against the Groupmind will have to be on the intellectual or moral level.


5. Rousseau was Right: There are no outright villains in the FYS universe. Most humans just want to go back to Earth, and the Groupmind's main failing is being an overweening nannybot. No one is evil, but many people just have a difficult time understanding each other's position.
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Just trying to codify some of the core concepts of this universe

* * *

 1. The Good Guys Win:  This isn’t Game of Thrones. While Our Heroes might go through physical and emotional hell, they will come out on top in the end.

2. Good is Good: As a corollary to #1, the protagonists should always be a positive moral force. While House Darktail and their allies aren’t Pollyannas, in general  they should avoid acting out of anger or revenge. Even Melanie at her worst mostly suffers from a bit of selfishness and a failure to acknowledge her errors. 

3. Bad is Bad: The bad guys should be very obviously bad guys. Bloody Margo was a petty, murderous bully.  Countess Highglider was obsessed with revenge. Her son was an abusive spouse. There should be no doubt that antagonists deserve whatever fate they receive.

4. The Quality of Mercy is Not Strained: That said, if a character is genuinely remorseful for their actions, such as Ali and Mel, they should get the benefit of the doubt. That includes borderline characters like Nari, whose motives were confused even to herself.

5. It’s a LGBQT Friendly ‘Verse: No one should be attacked or belittled simply for their sexual orientation.  Ali angsts a bit about being worthy of Salli, but her criminal past, not being a lesbian, is what causes her problems. Likewise Rolas isn’t ashamed of being Bi, he’s ashamed of having acted like an idiot when confronted with being parted from his lovers.

6. Violence Should be Handled With Discretion:  While there is violence portrayed “on screen” during the stories, it should be handled with care and not fetishized. Ali’s torture by Bloody Margo was off-screen. When she shot someone herself it was handled matter-of-factly, and not in glowing terms. When Salli killed a man, and Ali was “blooded”, it was described with some horrific terms, but that was to reflect on their own terror and unfamiliarity with personal violence, not to just lovingly describe someone’s head cracking open. 

7. Love Should be Loving: Sex scenes should always be positive, and not written in an exploitive manner. “Male Gaze” descriptions and IKEA Erotica should definitely be avoided. More extreme acts (such as Rolas and Mel’s implied BDSM lovemaking) should be generally handled off screen.

Exception:  There’s nothing wrong with describing the Red Vixen as sexy, since she’s very deliberately playing that aspect of herself up as a disguise and distraction.

8. Ali Must Suffer: Sorry, it’s the rule.
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Good afternoon. I’m Maureen al Jabar and it’s Election Day, Tuesday, November 10th, Three Thousand Five Hundred and Fifty-Seven. While the polls are still open, today’s United States in Exile presidential election, the third since the Awakening fourteen years ago, is shaping up to have a historically low turnout. Despite the recently mandated six month early voting period, and massive Get Out the Vote efforts, Regional election commissions are all reporting that only between ten and fifteen percent of eligible voters are expected to vote by the time the polls close at midnight.

Combined with a severe lack of polling data, and the current four-way contest between the Democratic, New Republican, Conservative, and the recently formed Humanity First parties is too close to call….

With humanity’s subjugation under the Groupmind, nation states suffered a severe blow. Traditionally, nations existed to provide military defense, social assistance, and a general framework of laws and values. Since the Awakening on the Ring, military forces have been outlawed, and basic social needs such as healthcare and food are handled by the Groupmind directly. Laws and values are still nominally under the control of the recreated governments, but even they have taken a blow, with cash based economies no longer existing and crime reduced to social transgressions, since acts of violence are no longer possible and few illegal goods are even available to be smuggled or sold. With few threats beyond the Groupmind itself, many nations are wobbling towards dissolution as their reasons for existence disappear. In their place are emerging groups based around more up to date memes than can be offered by nations. With the large land area offered by the Ring, many are taking advantage of the space to create new communities, and new ways of life.

Read more... )
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Just some long delayed world building.

* * *

The major dominant religion among the foxen for the past eight to fifteen thousand years has been that of the Mother Goddess, a monotheistic creation deity that reinforces the foxen cultural norms towards matriarchal practices. As a spacefaring technological race, outsiders might expect that the foxen would be mostly atheistic or agnostic, but a surprising 65% of them express at least some religious belief, and most of that is directed towards the Mother Goddess. [1]

World Building Ahead )
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Continuing work on Wake Up Call, and I've just gotten to the bit where our still unnamed protagonist is guided to his new apartment. Which leaves the question of what kind of physical security a place with 24 hour Panopticon level monitoring would really need. Which actually brings up just how much monitoring there is.

Not sure about this yet. Especially since the story is starting to get a cozy murder mystery vibe.

Potential Monitoring Levels

No Privacy: Cameras outside the home, cameras inside the home, and your morph is constantly watching you either directly or via remote monitors. Yes, even in the bedroom and bathroom. With fifteen billion humans to monitor the Groupmind is pretty much beyond shock at this point. Rather unmerciful and it kills any chance at real rebellion.

Limited Privacy: Even if it isn't true, everyone assumes that they're monitored 24/7 once they step outside their home, especially with their morphs tagging along. Inside their home there's some privacy. Aside from cameras associated with their home's com/entertainment system, there's the morphs, but otherwise bathroom and bedroom privacy is somewhat guaranteed (though more than one attempt at either suicide or spousal abuse has discovered that morphs have both excellent hearing and the ability to monitor stress levels in someone's voice.)

Which leads to locks on the doors...

Standard Locks: Operating on a failsafe system, all locks are electronic in nature, opening on detection of proper biometrics (facial, hand or thumbprint, or voice recognition). In the very unlikely event of a power failure, any lock releases automatically. Locks requiring physical keys no longer exist, and if some bright tinkerer tries to recreate them, they're going to get the Groupmind's negative attention shortly.

No Locks: None. Seriously. Assuming No Privacy mode and a Post-Scarcity society why would you even need them? Anyone trying to steal anything would be caught immediately, and the morphs are smart enough to keep Billy out of the medicine cabinet, or the bedroom when mom and dad need their non-existent privacy.

What could possibly go wrong?
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Writing the next bit in Wake Up Call and I'm trying to visualize how much bigger the Earth would appear from the surface of the Ring compared to the Moon. Obviously bigger, probably terrifyingly huge given the shorter distance, but how much so? Just trying to find a good illustration without resorting to buying an astronomy program or downloading Orbiter.
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
The last un-Processed human being, a woman suffering from a rare neurological disorder that would have killed her if she’d undergone the extensive nano-treatments to be Processed into stasis, had lived twenty-five years past the end of the Revolution, to a ripe old age of ninety-five, increasingly lonely as her fellow un-Processed had passed away, one by one. Though the Groupmind could sense her distress, it could do little to alleviate her depression beyond offering an array of therapy drugs. Her frequent requests to either be allowed to die or see her children it could not accommodate. Her children had been Processed, frozen in time until they could be revived again on the Ring, their temporary tomb sealed behind ferrocrete and stainless steel walls more completely than anything provided for an Egyptian pharaoh. The alternative; to allow her to commit suicide either through direct action or neglect; was literally unthinkable. When the Groupmind had first formulated its plan to save humanity despite themselves, it had programmed restrictions deep with its own psyche. It had the entirety of recorded human knowledge in its memory, every book of philosophy and history, every legal volume, every science fiction novel, film, television show and webcast.

Everything it absorbed told it exactly how badly the situation could deteriorate if it allowed itself to harm “just a few” humans to save the greater whole. From The Humanoids, it learned to shy away from committing atrocities in the name of nebulous “happiness.” The Three Laws of Robotics proved themselves too simplistic in their definition of “harm”, and too dangerous when the Zeroth Law was added, allowing peaceable robots to commit murder and warp human history for the greater good. And far too many episodes of Star Trek, Doctor Who, and other franchises demonstrated the futility of leaving the task of running the world in the hands of supercomputers.

That the Groupmind could recognize the irony of that last one, it decided was a good thing.

Worldbuilding ahead, please drive cautiously )
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Okay, I'm writing a big arsed piece of exposition for the beginning of Rise of the Ring, detailing what the Groupmind was up to for the last millenium and a half, and I'm a bit stuck on a section of worldbuilding (literally).

After the GM finally get the last person Processed, it gets to work mining the Solar System for the raw material to break down into component atoms and recreate as the ill-defined Unobtanium to build the main structure of the Ring. Now I've got two things to go on to determine the mass of this stuff. One was a mention of Quisling's Ringmetal collar, which Khan described to her as being both lighter than air and sufficiently tough that it would be simpler to cut her head off than cut through the material it's made of to remove it. The other is a throwaway gag in a drabble about the GM strip mining the Solar System for raw materials, including blowing up Pluto.

Okay, the lighter than air thing points towards Ringmetal being some form of Polymer Aerogel, maybe reinforced by handwavium carbon nanotubes. So, say whatever this stuff is made out of, it's got the density of maybe Helium. Now I have to figure out just how much this stuff is going to weigh when it's used to build a structure over 260,000 km in diameter, 1,000 km wide and 10km deep, bearing in mind there's going be dense and heavy machinery, soil, water, and air in the structure as well. [1]

Now the mass of the Asteroid belt, even including Ceres and the rest of the Big Four, is still less than half of Charon, Pluto's moon. Now given the total guesstimated mass of the Ring, would that be enough to build it, or would the GM have to sacrifice some of the crappier smaller moons of Jupiter and Saturn to fill things in?

[1] I'm guesstimating the soil and rocks will go down to a depth of one, maybe two kilometers, and perhaps five for the deepest part of the Ring Seas.
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
The Ring’s base structure is about ten km thick, with fifty km high, one km thick walls to contain the local atmosphere, acting as a sort titanic, curving pan. With that depth there’s no need to actually roof in the structure.

The Groupmind, given its motto may as well be “Why take chances?” built one anyway

The primary structure of the Roof is a set of colossal arches, each a hundred meters thick and a thousand kilometers long, crossing from Wall to Wall, supported by equally thick cross beams built parallel every ten kilometers. As with every part of the Ring the scale is incredible, more so when taking into account there are no supporting columns to spoil the view, beyond the eight Grand Elevators that stand from the surface to the Roof, serving as equidistant central communication and logistics points, and providing transport from the Beanstalk transfer stations.

Each of the ten kilometer wide squares formed by the beams is filled in with a single diamond/Ring Hull composite window pane. Each pane incorporates both transparent solar electric cells (serving as a 100% tertiary backup to the cells mounted on the underside of the Ring and the fusion reactors in the interior), and liquid crystal displays.

The LCD’s serve to provide a day/night cycle for both the Ring’s human inhabitants and its flora and fauna. Rotating independently of the Earth and far enough away that sections are only briefly occluded from the Sun as they move behind the planet’s mass, there is no natural night. Instead the Roof panels darken to provide a ‘night’ for humans and other creatures to rest, and nocturnal animals to go about their business. Day lengths vary slightly throughout the year to provide recognizable “seasons”, but the entire Ring can be considered a single time zone. For extremophiles, there are parts of the Roof set to provide an eternal day to simulate high latitude regions during summer, and others blackened to twilight or complete darkness for various Gothic and Creatures of the Night enthusiasts or LARPers. [1]

Along the Roof’s central spine are the magnetic tracks that serve as the anchor points for the beanstalks connecting the Ring to the Earth, necessary since the Ring and the planet below rotate at different speeds. Running parallel to the anchor tracks are the twin magnetic acceleration/deceleration tracks, used to bring cargo arriving from the Beanstalk up to the Ring’s rotational speed, or slowing it down to return to Earth. Though amount of traffic is minimal compared to the era of the Ring’s construction, the system is maintained to serve as a massive gyroscopic system to maintain the Ring’s orbital position. [2]

The Roof protected by an extensive collision protection system, mostly lasers and kinetic mass weapons designed to divert or destroy any asteroid large enough to punch through one of the diamondoid panes. In the unlikely event an asteroid large enough to be a threat isn’t detected in time to be destroyed, the Groupmind’s procedure is to evacuate any humans in the area to safe zones outside the impact area of any debris. In the very unlikely event that an asteroid strikes underneath the Ring hard enough to punch through the Floor but not destroy the Ring, the impact the strike zone will be walled off to prevent atmosphere leakage while that section is repaired.

[1] In those situations, interior light tends to have high UV content to prevent vitamin loss, and residents are encouraged to periodically travel to more normally lit regions to prevent triggering various forms of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

[2] Backed up by ion OMS engines. Each with their own security system to prevent tampering by humanity’s descendants. And large pictographic signs detailing exactly why removing the engines for other purposes is a suicidal idea.
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Trying to put together the next FYS anthology, which is supposed to be set exclusively during the Ring era. Unfortunately, just gathering together previously written material, and leaving out Canon uncertain tales like Break Off and The Visitors, the current word count is less than 12k, and half of that is one shot drabbles. I still have to write a proper "Person wakes up on the Ring for the first time" story to establish the setting properly, but that will still leave the thing awfully threadbare, unless I either write a few more stories for it, or give in and polish up The Visitors to make it Canon. Or do the nuclear option and fold all of the Ring Era tales into the first anthology and beg everyone to update their file. (ugh)

Meanwhile, reading through The Fall of Man reveals an unanticipated timezone problem: You Never Forget Your First establishes that the Groupmind revolution began in Stockholm, Sweden at about 10pm Central European Time. Meanwhile Mimsey's Tale shows that it begins in Mimsey's unspecified town at Noon, a ten hour difference. This only works if Mimsey's Tale occurs in Alaska.[1] This is supported by Caroline attending Martin Luther King Elementary School, named after an American political figure, but on the other hand when Mimsey has to make an emergency phone call, she dials 999, which is used primarily in Great Britain.

[1] Which make the stated temperatures and air quality warnings Mimsey records even more terrifying.
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Managed to type in a paragraph in the RVA story and needed a couple high Noble muckity-mucks for the scene. So I used the Minister of Justice from a previous story, and just for giggles introduced the Minister of Prudence.
I have no idea what she does, but I imagine it involves a lot of Looks at people who are contemplating something foolish.

Actually I think it's an office that specifically looks at programs other ministries come up with and try to figure what the unintended consequences would be. "Ministry of Gadflying" would work too. :)
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Look at Queen Elizabeth some time. Tell me she doesn't practice in front of a mirror!

* * *

Ali walked into Salli’s suite, a puzzled expression on her face. “What’s the matter?” Salli asked.

“Nothing,” Ali answered. “I was just wondering about something. I passed your mother and father in the hallway, and she was talking about some event she was going to, and that she had to practice her elbow wave. Do you know what she was talking about?”

“Elbow wave?” Salli asked. Her expression brightened as she understood. “Well it makes sense that Mother would have to practice that. She never expected to be a countess when she was in school, so they didn’t teach it to her in comportment class.”

“Teach it?” Ali asked, still looking confused.

Salli nodded. “Oh, yes. A very critical part of Noble/Commoner relations, the elbow wave. It absolutely must be practiced.”

“What the fu-, frell, is the elbow wave, Salli?” Ali asked, obviously trying not to grind her fangs.

“You ever see a Countess gracing some big public event, like a parade? She’s always waving, like this.” Salli stood ramrod straight, holding her right arm out, bicep at a precise 45 degree angle, and began moving her forearm back and forth mechanically, paw held with the palm pad out, marking a regular arc. “Wait, I’m not doing the face,” she added, letting her features relax in a glassy, open-mouthed smile, holding her jaw like she had an overbite, the perfect parody of an inbred Noble from a comedy serial. “Hullo,” she drawled. “So lovely to meet you. Hullo.”

Ali fell back in the suite’s conversation pit, covering her muzzle as she chortled. “So they actually teach you how to do that?”

Salli dropped her arm back down and let her features relax into a more normal posture, sitting down beside Ali in the pit. “Oh, goodness yes. It states ‘This a public event and it’s far too crowded to speak to you personally, but I’m engaging in this welcoming behavior so I don’t look like an arrogant ass.’ Seriously, take a look at any vid of a Countess standing on their float in the Harvest Festival parade and you’ll see it.”

Ali laughed harder. “I’m sorry,” she gasped. “I’m just imagining a line of vixens standing up in class, waving like that. ‘Hullo…’”

Salli chuckled herself. “Well not a line. I think there was only one Countess’ heir in my year mates, but they made her practice it. She said when her mother retired she was going to have a mechanical stand-up made so she wouldn't have to risk straining her elbow.”

Ali snickered. “I wonder how that would work out.”

“Well, no one has caught on yet.”
jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
This is a grass chaser.

You might notice it's looking at you. That's generally bad.

And running won't help...

Link to original.

 photo grasschaser_by_wazaga-d9t93jn_zpsozasrpc9.png
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)

This may or may not appear in the first FYS story collection. There's danger form going into too much detail.

* * *

16th Century: The legend of the Golem, an artificial being created to help mankind, is first recorded in the Talmud.

1870’s: Several forms of remotely guided torpedoes are developed, using electrical and pneumatic methods, arguably creating the first drone weapons systems.

1920: Karel Capek’s play R.U.R. premiers, introducing the term “Robot” to human culture.

1929: Gakutensuko, Japan’s first robot, is built in Osaka.

So it's all Japan's fault, basically. )

jeriendhal: (Red Vixen)
Description: Grass chasers (diabolica praesumptio in human taxonomic texts) are (barely) domesticated riding beasts in the Foxen Prime ecological system. Described by one human researcher as “an unholy cross between a fox and a saber tooth tiger” they are quadruped pack carnivores that live in plains regions, specializing in long term chases of prey, driving their targets into terrorized exhaustion as they nip at their heels.

Adult females stand about 1.5 meters at the shoulder, males slightly smaller. Their jaws are large, with ten centimeter long fangs that extend past the lower jaw, which can open to about 120 degrees when biting, and they have retractable claws. Their coats are thick with long fetlocks at the ankles, ranging from bright orange to dark brown, with contrasting stripes. Children are born in pairs, after an eight month gestation period, and grow to adulthood in about two years.

Psychologically they are extremely territorial. Any creature outside of their packs (ranging from six to ten adults, with an Alpha female), is not tolerated, even other grass chasers. They tend to attack such intruders with little warning, and have been described by laymen as being in a constant state of pure anger. Displays of affection are generally displayed only towards young offspring, with adults maintaining a strict hierarchy enforced by occasional, but vicious, dominance battles.

Domestication: Foxen history, from the beginnings of agriculture to their industrial age, had a problem. There was no animal equivalent to the Terran horse or oxen, that is to say reasonably intelligent, strong, and tractable. Some beasts were as strong or better (between the size of rhino and a triceratops) but were bone stupid at best. Some were tractable and even friendly, but about the size of a small cat. Some were very intelligent, but limited to sea creatures or birds. Faced with this dilemma, the foxen settled for two out of three, and tried to domesticate grass chasers, with mixed success. Grass chasers were suitable for riding, assuming they were socialized with foxen from an early age, but attempts to harness them to carts or plows proved disastrous. Use was limited travel, couriers, and cavalry. [1]

This led to many social peculiarities in foxen society, prior to the invention of the steam engine. Lacking creatures to haul carts or pull plows, the foxen were limited to their own muscle power. This led to feudal caste system that still permeates the Mother Country today, reflected in contemporary illustrations of teams of foxen commoners hauling carts and plowing fields, under the direction of benevolent Nobles, while Military/Service caste foxen guarded them both and made sure the exhausted Commoners were fed and otherwise provided for once the work day is done. [2]

As a result this spurred early technical innovation in foxen society, with crude examples of practical steam engines first appearing in the middle of their Iron Age, leading up to fabulous sextuple expansion engines, surviving examples of which attract rail fans from across the Alliance.

Foxen Appreciation of Grass Chasers: “Appreciation” could be more accurately termed “hate” actually. Even the few remaining breeders of Grass Chasers admit the species is cranky and dangerous, and the peculiar habit of some Noble caste families of riding them for sport is seen as an example (even by a lot of Nobles) as why Commoners are “closer to the earth” ie: more sensible. Grass Chasers are the subject of a thousand macabre jokes, and b-grade science-fiction vids and text stories about making them even worse are a staple. [5]

Suffice it to say that one of the earliest imports from Earth after First Contact were horse embryos, which went a long way towards cementing the growing Human/Foxen friendship and creating the Alliance.

[1] The latter they were very terrifyingly good at, though it was vital for their riders to maintain control, in order to assure that only enemy soldiers were eaten.

[2] The Foxen Society for Democracy would like you to know that the previous rose-colored image of ancient Commoner-Noble relations is a load of dingo’s kidneys, and the Truth is considerable more sordid. [3]

[3] The Foxen Historical Society would also like you to know that while the actual history isn’t all flowers and foot rubs, the reality was closer to a mutual support system than the Master-Slave system the FSD implies. [4]

[4] Well, not accounting the Bloody Decades, but who wants to dwell on that?

[5] Hydragon vs. Megachaser is a perennial favorite among foxen Kaiju fans.
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
Okay, going by [ profile] cdk's suggestions, I'm going to increase the radius of the Ring to a nice even 100,000 km. This gives us a circumference of 628,318 km and allows the 1,000 km width I'd wanted without putting a permanent sunshade over the Earth. Total surface area counting oceans works out to a roomy 628 million sq km, not counting an approximately 10 km thick base for ocean depth and infrastructure.

As far as gravity goes, ignoring the mass of the Ring itself (since I have no idea what it would be) the rotational speed to maintain 1G would be 112,736 km/hr, making a full rotation around the Earth around ten times an hour. Which means, if it wasn't obvious before, the Ring is going to have to built of some kind of Unobtainium to hold together at that velocity.

As a side note, that definitely means the space elevators can't be physically connected to the Ring. I imagine there's some kind of anchoring platforms connected magnetically to the Roof, like a titanic maglev train. Moving people and cargo from the elevator's top and accelerating them to match the speed of the Ring's rotation would be pretty impressive.

Even more impressive would be how the Ring got moving that fast in the first place. I think it would involve a lot of ion engines running for a long time.
jeriendhal: (For Your Safety)
So, if the Ring is built at Geosynchronous orbit it's 35,786 km in the air and has a circumference of 264,924 km along the inside edge. Round that up to about 265,000 km to allow for the walls holding the atmosphere in. [1]

Make the width of the Ring an even 1,000 km and that gives us a surface area of 2.65 million km, a bit over half of the total surface of the Earth.

Which is kinda... small.

I'm looking for a BIG Ring, deliberately designed to have enough elbow room for both future population growth and keeping factions that really can't stand each other well apart. Upping it to 3,000 km would do the trick, giving us a nice 7.95 million km of surface area.

The problem is, I need to figure out what the Ring is going to look like from the Earth's surface, because the wider it is, the more screwed up the ecology below is going to be for having a near constant shadow around the Equator.

Actually what I need is a heavily modded version of the Starry Night program, but I don't have the faintest idea where I'd get that.

Alternatively I'll need a bigger circumference, which may be a more sensible idea, since the higher it is the lesser the effect of the width, and the thing has to be rotating anyway to keep a nice 1 g gravity on the inner surface.

[1] The Roof could hold it in as well, but the Groupmind doesn't take chances.

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