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Since time immemorial, mankind has looked to the stars. They've made myths and they've studied, wondering at the mysteries the universe holds. At the forefront of many minds was the question "Is there life out there?"
It was right on their doorstep.
They called it "The Great Lunar War". The Lunarians called it "The War of Gaian Aggression". A decade later, both sides were worn down. With their cities in ruins, they had no choice but to agree to a truce.
Five centuries have passed since that time. Faster-than-light travel has developed to a fairly reliable state, rendering space the new frontier. When pioneers and adventurers took to the stars, so too did pirates and smugglers. But most were just looking for a job, a chance at money.
While there are certainly a fair few larger than life figures and deeds, this isn't some grand tale of conquest.
This is a story about a particular crew. More specifically, it's about the...
>>55072 An absolutely critical position that cannot be filed by anyone else, yet at the same time has the lowest possible workload AND the highest chance of getting laid by hot alien space babes (after the captain, of course)?
You honestly expected us to avoid the Komachi Option?
I didn't get to vote because you called it before I even saw the thread. I would have gone for Salvage Expert, because loot for the loot god.
>>55082 I missed the vote too, but I'm okay with Comms Officer. It'll make a nice difference from the usual Captain/Weapons/Pilot/other popular and fancy position on a ship.
Also, I wouldn't say it's the lowest workload per se. It more of an extremely situational work load. We might be able to slack off most of the time, but when we are needed we'd better be prepared to work as hard as everyone else combined because our job will will have a major impact on everyone else's jobs (and lives).
Say we meet a race of five-dimensional borium-based space slugs. Does "kbljjlogalj liugsdldf" mean "Hello, we admire your fine ship and would love to know more about you.", or "WE SHALL EAT YOUR SPLEENS! PREPARE TO DIE, PUNY MEATLINGS!"?
It's kinda important to figure out the difference before they get fed up with waiting and just leave/start eating spleens.
Sorry to anyone who missed the vote. I'm not really sure about balancing update frequency with voting and I was worried about having a deadlock.
If you asked me why I would pick Communications, I'd have a hard time finding an answer. I suppose the pay's respectable enough, but not really higher than any other post. It certainly isn't the prestige. Captains and pilots get all of that. I'd go so far as to say that Comm. Officer is the least respected position on a typical ship.
To be honest, it's pretty clear why we get no respect. There aren't many people who understand what exactly we do. Most assume we just hail other craft and send out distress calls, both jobs that take minimal training. In reality, there's much more to it than that. If there's a message to be decoded or encrypted, it falls to me. I'm also the one in charge of information warfare. Hacked ships are pretty much dead in the water. Space. I have to keep that from happening to the ship I'm on and hopefully do it to our attackers.
My job can be very stressful during battle, but the day to day workload is fairly low. I appreciate the down time if I have someone to talk to. Otherwise, ships can get a little claustrophobic. I like my job if my coworkers are friendly, but then, most jobs work like that.
Okay, I say "my job", but I haven't actually been hired by anyone yet. I'm not military, so I didn't exactly have a job lined up for when I graduated the academy. My less than stellar performance in all my classes that weren't related to Communications probably didn't help in that regard.
It's been just over three months since then and I'm starting to doubt my chances of getting hired. Right now, I'm in the middle of a job application and I feel it isn't going well. The red haired woman looking over my qualifications is clearly unimpressed.
"And you've never been employed as a comms officer? At all?" she asks incredulously.
"No, every prospective employer wants someone with experience." How I'm supposed to get that with no one hiring me, I have no idea.
"I'm not sure you're what I'm looking for..." I expected as much. "but I'll give you a chance."
"You will? Oh thank you!" I really needed this. My savings are starting to run low.
"Hold on, you're not hired just yet. You need to prove yourself first."
"How about you go and meet some of my crew? If two or three of them are willing to take you on, you're hired. Consider it a test of your ability to communicate." she smirks with that.
"I think I can do that. Where are they and how much time do I have?" I'm willing to jump through a few hoops if it gets me a job.
"We're probably headed out in about eight hours. Our engineer is making some repairs at the moment and we're waiting on some cargo for a transport job. She and the medic are onboard the ship at the moment. The pilot should be enjoying some duty free alcohol at a bar and her copilot is likely nearby. One of the gunners will be buying some ammo, while the other is selling some salvage and looking for ship parts. Lastly, the navigator is likely at the biggest window on the station, enjoying the view."
"Where can I find you after I win some of them over?"
"I have some errands to run before we depart. If you succeed, we'll meet up in Hangar C when we're set to depart. Pack whatever you intend to bring. We won't be coming back here for a long time."
"One last thing, which ship is yours?"
"She's the really old surveyor that looks like a brick. Trust me, you'll know her when you see her. Now, if there's nothing else, I have some things I need to take care of."
"Thank you for giving me this chance. You won't regret it!"
I've seen several scifi-based stories here, but for the space opera ones they all seem to stall. Well hopefully this one won't.
Since this is a scifi story, any general ideas you can give us on technology and such? Is the tech here akin to Star Trek/Star Wars or more akin to Aliens/Battletech (much "harder" scifi you could say with no things like deflector shields or several-thousand G's of acceleration)?
What of things like FTL? Are there predefined rules and such for it because I do know many writers have often thought hard on FTL to allow for encounters or dramatic escapes without making it look like it was pulled from their behinds.
>>55124 Technology will be a mixture. Earth tech leans toward hard science while Lunar tech is much softer. Generally, Earth's ships have better firepower and are easily modified and repaired. Lunar ships are much more maneuverable and durable, but are practically impossible to repair. As for shielding, there are most certainly not prototypes being worked on that the general populace knows nothing about.
There are a few FTL travel methods, but generally you don't want to be near anything when you jump. The ship's engineer will be happy to explain a bit if you decide to ask her.
>>55126 "As for shielding", do you mean for Earth, Luna, or both?
And what of aliens? Are there alien nations out there in the black or are the aliens both Earth and Luna have run into merely just alien animals and plants?
I think it'd be interesting to have aliens because frankly they're alien. Lunarian culture, and youkai culture, are both ultimately derived from Earth. For all their differences, both evolved from something familiar, but not so with aliens I'd think.
>>55136 Both, though the Lunarians are a little farther along.
First Contact with intelligent aliens other than the Lunarians has not yet been made. Savage alien worlds have been discovered, but they aren't all necessarily hospitable to Earth or Lunar biology. From time to time, explorers come across what they believe to be the remains of dead civilizations, but nothing living or space-faring as of yet. Basically, don't assume you'll meet any aliens but don't assume you won't.
I think I'll meet the engineer first. Getting on her good side will massively simplify things. Engineers are extremely important to a ship's function and being on good terms with one tends to open doors, both figuratively and literally.
They also make terrible enemies. I offended an engineer once. I apologized after I figured out what was going on. It wasn't anything major, just a number of annoying or vaguely unsettling things. Alarm clock going off at random hours, snack machines not accepting my card, rattling noises in the walls and ceiling, that sort of thing. As soon as I apologized, the things stopped happening, even though he played dumb about it.
As is typical for most space stations, Hangar C is in a hard vacuum, albeit with a blast door to keep out debris. It would be impractical to repressurize the entire hangar every time a ship needed to dock or leave. While docked ships have tunnels leading to their built-in airlocks, any external repairs require a spacesuit.
The ship I'm looking for is easy enough to pick out through one of the viewports. It's big and blocky and resembles a few pictures of ships I've seen in history books. I can't tell what color it was supposed to be initially. It's scorched and soot covered, probably having gone through atmospheric reentry too many times without replacing the heat resistant paint. The surface is heavily pitted and dented. I honestly have no Idea what's holding it together. It actually looks worse than some wrecks I've seen.
Once I get over to the connecting tunnel attached to the ship, I notice a few more things. The ship's name has been severely abraded and I can only make out a few of the letters. It reads MA##D## UL##SE#. I have no idea what those words could be.
I try the external intercom, maybe someone inside will respond. "Excuse me, I've been sent to meet your crew. Is anyone in there?"
A voice crackles back in response, "Hello! Are you here with the parts shipment?"
"No, I'm trying to get hired as the Communications Officer. Your captain said I had to get approval from at least two crewmembers first."
There's about a minute-long period of silence.
"May I come aboard?" I ask finally.
"Sure, just give me a minute to reconnect the wiring on this engine."
I guess that answers the question of who I'm talking to. This is convenient.
A few minutes later, the engineer comes over the intercom again. "You might want to step back from the airlock."
Stepping back from the ship, I nearly jump out of my skin when the engineer shows up through the docking bay's exterior airlock.
"Sorry, did I startle you?"
"I thought you were going to come out of the ship! You were speaking to me over the intercom."
"I can see why you'd think that, but it was an external repair. Besides, apparently nothing works when the ship's main power is turned off. I had to modify it a bit to broadcast to my suit."
"This ship has seen better days, huh?"
"The power thing isn't technically a malfunction, but yeah, she definitely has. She's held together with tape, rust, and lots of love far as I can tell. Or stubbornness."
"So what's not working specifically?" Engineers love to talk about their jobs.
"Well, I haven't taken a look inside yet, but..."
"Oh, you're new as well?" It's good to know I'm not going to be the new kid everyone picks on.
"Today's my fourth day. So far I've patched a few vulnerabilities in the hull, unjammed the landing gear, fixed some crossed wiring in engines 1 and 3, and welded engine 2 back into place. Assuming the reactor is working, we'll be able to leave once we get more fuel rods for the reactor and whatever shipment we're supposed to deliver."
"Well that's good. You seem like a capable engineer. But I don't believe I caught your name."
Only now does she take off her helmet. Long dark hair spills out, coated in a sheen of sweat. She has bright, inquisitive red eyes and a sincere smile. I'd guess she's about nineteen if she were a human, but she's clearly not. For one thing, she's at least half a meter taller than me. More significantly, she has large wings encased by her spacesuit. The right one has a number of tools hanging from it via hooks in the suit. I wonder if they're natural or she's gene-spliced. I have the tact not to ask her about them. I know how awkward that can be better than most people.
"Utsuho Reiuji, but you can call me Okuu. My sisters always called me that for some reason." she says, offering her left hand.
"Kyouko Kasodani." I shake her hand. "There, now we're friends."
"Is that why people do the hand thing?"
"Uh... Traditionally, it's a show that you aren't carrying a weapon and mean no harm. But it's also traditionally the right hand."
Okuu looks at her right hand. She's still carrying a blowtorch from her work on the engines.
"I kinda messed that one up I guess. Should I try again?"
"Don't worry about it. Most people aren't going to complain about little details like that."
"Thanks. I think it would be nice to have you around on the ship." Alright! That makes one! I just have to convince at least one other person.
[X] - Pilot
[X] - Navigator
We'll get to know better the person flying the ship and the person showing where we're going.
Kyouko mentions gene-splicing and she's not really surprised or anything about the fact that Okuu isn't human so what is the state of affairs between youkai and Earth humans? And how prevalent is genetic engineering in your setting? Is it something many Earth humans and youkai do? What of the Lunarians do they practice it as well?
It's been 500 years since the Great Lunar War, so did youkai participate in it? Was Gensokyo ever created?
Is Earth under a unified government like in much of scifi or is humanity still divided up into multiple nations like in some scifi?
>>55180 >Since the roles correspond to their canon powers, I wonder if we can start figuring out the identities of the rest of the crew based on what power is similar to the role?
Salvage expert would be Nazrin, but the rest are either fuzzy or probably won't be power related. For example, the only character with medical related powers is Eirin, but her being in space makes no sense because she's hiding from the Lunarians. Who has powers related to piloting? Murasa's is sinking ships, not piloting them (would that make her the weapons specialist?). If the navigator also handles sensors, I'd say it's Momiji but otherwise I've got nothing.
If we started with the engineer because they can make things miserable for you in a lot of tiny little ways, let's also get a good relation with the one you go to when you are miserable.
>>55183 Some other possibilities if roles corresponds to powers/occupation:
Pilot/Co-pilot: Komachi (control of distance and also canonically works as a ferryman, especially fun if Shikieiki is the captain or pilot), Murasa could still be a pilot although she's more likely to be either weapons specialist or captain (her title is, after all, Captain Murasa)
Navigator: Aya, Hatate (both have powers relating to seeing things from far away, just like Momiji), Star Sapphire (able to sense people from far away), Renko Usami (ability to know current time and position by looking at the stars and the moon, so possibly just looking at space in general could work)
Weapons Specialist: Shou (discipe of a God of War)
Salvage Expert: Marisa (especially good at "salvaging" books), Rinnosuke (ability to identify things at a single glance)
Medic: Medicine, Yamame (powers to control poisons and diseases respectively. Both are useful for a medic), Toyosatomimi no Miko (if the medic is also a psychiatric counselor. The ability to listen to ten people at the same time could be really useful with a big crew.)
Those are the ones I could think off when I just read through the list of character powers/occupations on the wiki.
Calling it here for speaking with the Navigator. Update should be in a day or two.
>>55178 >state of affairs between youkai and Earth humans?
The Lunar War eased a lot of racial tension on the whole. They're mostly integrated at this point, having to depend on one another to survive in space.
With regards toward genetic health problems, gene engineering is nearly ubiquitous. It's also used to a much greater extent for the first few waves of colonists on less hospitable planets and for certain military projects. Lastly, designer children have become a thing among the rich and powerful.
The Lunarians had an enormous head start at genetic engineering, but tend to progress in a slow and steady fashion. Earth is much quicker about innovating, but have far less predictable results, including failure to manifest the desired traits, complications later in life, and a few catastrophic incidents.
>youkai and Gensokyo
Youkai were participants in the war, same as anyone else. I feel I should also mention that youkai are not explicitly supernatural or faith powered. They're natural creatures to roughly the same extent humans are. Also, I say "youkai", but they are identified by race such as "Tengu", much the same as a human might be "Hispanic".
Gensokyo is likely just another part of Japan here.
An elected body with members chosen by major nations and independent colonies that still have ties with Earth determines Earth's interplanetary policy. Individual countries are still autonomous, but most planetary colonies are headed by an appointed governor or corporate head.
>>55194 In regards to genetic engineering, how far ahead would you say the Lunarians are to Earth in it? And how far ahead are they in technology?
Since youkai here are natural creatures, is magic around in this setting? Are there examples of magitech or anything?
Since you've mentioned Earth's nations and colonies are semi-autonomous, but under a supranational government, what about Luna? Did the war change anything regarding Lunarian society and political structure?
What is Earth's relationship with its colonies like? In a lot of scifi, often the Earth-based faction, or nation where Earth is the capital, is often the oldest, richest, most powerful human nation around, but often there are other human nations around either from rebellions or just immigration, etc.?
In addition, have either Earth or Luna attempted the uplifting of animals?
Also is there any tech that Earth is better at compared to Luna? You already mentioned how Earth ships are like glass cannons, in that they have more firepower and are easier to repair/build, and that Lunarian ships are more durable and manueverable, but is there anything else in technology or magic or whatever that Earth is better at generally?
Still alive here, just got distracted by some things. Does anyone have any Science Fiction pieces they would recommend? I'm on a bit of a binge at the moment.
SPACE FACT: Saturn's moons are named after the Greek Titans, Saturn being Cronus, the leader of the titans. Saturn's closest moon is named Mimas.
"I should probably get back to work soon." Okuu says, "I hope you get the other crewmembers approval!"
"Thank you for the support!" I wave as I walk off.
Next I think I'll seek out the navigator. The captain said she would be at the place with the best view. That's easy enough to find.
My search leads me to one of the newer areas. Titan Station is about two centuries old, but this part was built maybe fifteen years ago. The added windows were supposed to help increase tourism as trade picked up. Of course, the atmosphere is nearly impossible to see through most days. It's pretty much just another failed corporate project, one that resulted in glaring structural weaknesses. Still, the view of space, particularly when the sun catches the atmosphere at just the right angle, is a thing of beauty.
While standing in the middle of the rather crowded observation deck, I suddenly realize something. I haven't got a clue what the navigator looks like. Nor, for that matter, anyone else on the crew. I forgot to ask. Go me.
I'll just have to figure something out. Let's see, anyone particularly interested in the view? Not very many people give it more than a glance. To be honest, I don't usually pay much attention to it either.
As I lean against the railing and look out into space, I suddenly realize just how far I am from home. I bet the mountains are beautiful this time of year...
"You look kinda down. Space making ya feel small and unimportant?" a girl says from beside me. I must've been too lost in thought to notice her come up to me.
"Nothing like that, just a little homesickness."
The girl is short, not quite coming up to my shoulder. Her hair is long and dark, with the bangs cut straight. Her skin is pale, a natural effect of living in space. She tilts her head back and to the side to get a better look at me.
While her honey-colored eyes are fixed on me, I can tell she's only giving me about half of her attention. I wave a hand in front of her face and she blinks as though she's just noticed me.
"So," the girl says, hoisting herself up onto the railing to be at eye-level with me, "what brings ya to Titan Station?"
"Job hunting, mostly. I'm currently trying to get hired on a ship as a Communications Officer. But to do that, I need to get approval from a few crew members."
"Not going well?"
"I have no idea what they look like. One of them should be around here somewhere."
"What's the ship name?"
"Um..." I'm doomed.
"You don't know? Shouldn't that, of all things, have come up during your job interview?"
"I've seen the ship, the name was just mostly worn off. It was MA-something. Two words."
"You didn't think to ask? You're kind of bad at this." the girl is clearly amused by my ineptitude.
"I know. Could you please stop making me feel worse?"
"Am I upsetting you?" she frowns.
"Sorry." she looks down, "I'm not really good with the talking with the people thing. Math and plotting navigation courses are much less confusing."
"You're a Navigator then?"
"So I am. Vega Sapphire, Navigator for the Matador Ulysses. But most people just call me Star."
"Nice to meet you. I'm Kyouko Kasodani." I politely offer my hand.
"Kasodani..." she scratches the back of her head, "I uh... oops."
"You uh, are kind of trying to join the crew I'm on. I didn't connect the dots because all I got was a name, not a picture."
"Well that's..." At least I'm not the only one who's horribly inept.
"Sorry about that."
"Can I get your support to let me join the crew?"
"Who do you already have support from?"
"Reiuji, your new engineer. You're the second person I've talked to."
"Sorry, I haven't really talked to her much yet. I've been told I'm not a very good judge of character on my own, so I'll only throw in my vote if one of the senior crewmembers does."
"Darn. Can you point me in the right direction for that?"
"The Doc and Teru, the pilot, have been on the crew for quite a while. One of them would work. Barring that, Nazrin's been with the crew as long as I have. We don't really talk much, but I'd trust her judgment."
>>55378 For games, specifically tabletop RPGs, there's stuff like GURPS Transhuman Space or Eclipse Phase that are both noted for hard science fiction. You can download pdf files of the rulebooks and other books through 4shared. You have to register but it's free and you can download stuff for free.
Some other hard scifi space opera books would be novels by Peter F. Hamilton such as the Night's Dawn Trilogy (http://www.e-reading.biz/bookbyauthor.php?author=19211). A word of warning about him: 1) Every book he's written for some reason always has to have a gratuitous sex scene, and 2) for the Night's Dawn trilogy, the ending is a complete, utter deus ex machina. It's a crappy ending. Also his protagonists are Mary Sueish/author stand-ins, I think. But still it combines hard science fiction and space opera well.
Finally there's the Succession series by Scott Westerfield. It's pretty good too, though I didn't care for the romance subplot thing in it. You can download it somewhere or you can buy the books from a bookstore or something.
Ah crap, reading your post again, I think some of what I listed doesn't really have a "used" look, though everything I've mentioned is still very hard scifi (with the, occasional, single exception of FTL travel). Still maybe you can glean ideas from what I've listed. In particular Risen Empire may be too high-tech. It is hard scifi because there's no FTL, thermodynamics is real, etc., but nanotech is really extensively used in stuff like uniforms. Weapons are also pretty advanced.
To give an example about nanotech here's a quote:
His full-dress uniform crawled out of its case like an army of marauding ants.
Lieutenant-Commander Laurent Zai suppressed a shudder and turned the lighting in his hotel room to full. The uniform reacted instantly, turning a reflective silver. Supposedly the garment could shift quickly enough to reflect a laser before it burned the wearer; the uniform was fully combat-rated. Now it looked like a horde of mercury droplets scattered roughly in the shape of a human. A little better.
The garment still moved, though. Its tiny elements tumbled over one another to probe the bedcover, sniffing to determine if it was Zai's skin. Losing interest when they decided it wasn't, they shifted aimlessly, or maybe with hidden purpose. Perhaps the uniform kept its shape through an equilibrium of these small adjustments and collisions.
Like ants, Zai thought again.
He decided to quit stalling and put the damn thing on.
There were more dignified ways to do this, but he hadn't attended enough full-dress occasions to become proficient at any of them. He turned his back to the bed, dropped his dressing gown, and fell backwards onto the writhing garment. He rotated his arms in their shoulder sockets and flailed his legs a little, as if making a small-winged angel in the snow. Then he closed his eyes and pretended not to feel the elements of the uniform, now discernibly and unpleasantly individual, crawling onto him.
When the sensation of motion had mostly stopped (he knew from experience that the uniform's minute adjustments of fit and tailoring were never entirely finished) he sat up and regarded himself in the hotel suite's large and gold-framed mirror.
The machines that composed the armor were now one continuous surface, the facets of their tiny backs splayed and linked, their overlapping plates shining in the bright roomlights like galvanized steel. The garment clung to Zai's skin closely. The lines of his muscular chest had been reproduced, and the scars on his shoulder and thighs concealed. The suction of the machines' little feet was barely perceptible. Overall, it felt like wearing a light mesh shirt and trousers. The draft through his open window mysteriously penetrated the armor, as if Zai were naked, regardless of what the mirror told him. The regulation codpiece he wore (thank the Emperor) was the only undergarment that dress-code regulations allowed. He wondered if an EMP or sudden software crash could kill the little machines, cause them to tumble from him like shards from a shattered mirror. Zai imagined a roomful of brass at a full-dress occasion suddenly denuded. He didn't smile at the thought.
"I think I'll go talk to this Nazrin. Which one is she?"
"The salvage expert. Grey-haired mouse girl with ruby eyes. She seems like the serious type, but she's weak to flattery and cute things. If you want to win her over, your best bet is showing interest in her work. It's mostly boring money stuff, but occasionally we pick up something interesting."
"Thank you for the advice."
"Best of luck to ya!"
My next heading is the parts markets located in the lower passageways. It's cramped down there, but having it on the same level as most of the hangars is convenient. It's a bit too warm as well.
Nazrin is harder to pick out than I would've thought. She's distinctive enough, but her hair and clothing almost blend in with the unpainted walls. I find her sifting through a bin of "gently used" old parts.
"You must be the new kid." she says, only halfway turning her head toward me. "Star sent word ahead."
"Yes, you must be"
"Nazrin. Just Nazrin. You'll be wanting my approval then?"
"Please. I really need this job."
"Well, seeing as you're communications and I'm salvage, we'll be working together a decent amount. Let's see if you can't get me a discount on these here parts."
As it turns out, "Crazy Larry", the man who runs the shop we're buying from, is a fairly good salesman. "Good" meaning excessively friendly and persistent, not trustworthy by any stretch. After an hour of haggling and assuring him that no, I don't need to buy a new warp drive, just some fuel cells for one, thanks I finally manage to get a thirty percent discount. That's a surprisingly large sum with the amount of parts we're buying.
"Well then, you aren't half bad. If you can make some good connections whenever we dock somewhere, we stand to get a good increase in profits. I'd say you're as good as hired." she grins at me. "Now, you aren't likely to get everyone else's support, but you probably have time to see one or two before we leave. But personally, I'd go grab my things so as not to keep everyone waiting when it's time to go."
 - Gather your things and venture forth.
 - Pilot and Copilot (a bar somewhere)
 - Weapons Specialist (buying guns)
 - Medic (aboard the ship)
>>55463 Dumping it all in one spot in a series of short, disconnected sentences like you did with Star's isn't great, but it's better than the nothing that Nazrin got. The Okuu one was better, seeing as you at least worked the first bit into her actions.
Also, nobody keeps both their body and face perfectly still while engaging in conversation. Expressions and body language can greatly shift the tone and meaning, particularly in a text-only medium.
We've gotten our job, now let's make a good first impression by being ready on time.
We will have time to talk to everyone else later. Space flight, just like any other mode of travel, takes time and is pretty boring most of the time.