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Community Project: A Scum Fleet

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Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Community Project: A Scum Fleet
I was browsing the thread in the General Discussion area on buying a ship and all that and got an idea: Everyone likes Scum barges, so why not design a fleet of them? A Scum fleet is not homogeneous by any means, and the huge varying designs, history, and inhabitants of the crews make for a huge amount of fun. So, to keep it short and sweet, what say we design some Space Gypsies?
Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
I could get on board with this idea!
"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, [i]Through The Looking-Glass[/i] [img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_zGgz13n3uzE/TWWPdvGig-I/AAAAAAAACI8/y...
Malakh Malakh's picture
ITT: Scum Fleet
The imagery that popped into my head when I read the topic was Titan A.E. That aside, I like the idea.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Yay! I am all for it. Where to put it? My suggestion would be to put it in the Belt - not too far away from the places where a lot of people live/lived, a plausible location of original smalltime space nomad groups (and failed belters who join in - for inspiration, read Schismatrix), resources and polities to interact with, yet far enough out to avoid tangling directly with the PC. There are plenty of places to see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/arenamontanus/5712742374/sizes/o/in/photost... Maybe it is centred on a large transport/barge that has become the resource centre. I can imagine an old automated mining station being taken over and used by the scum. Over time others have joined the fleet, forming various more or less firm constellations as it orbits through the belt.
Extropian
Malakh Malakh's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
The Saga of Seven Suns by Kevin J. Anderson can also serve as an inspiration. Rendezvous, the "capital" of the Roamers, is in an asteroid belt.
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
I throw in my vote for the Belt too; it's the best place for the Scum to be. I'd figure that they're most likely lingering around a C or D-type asteroid at any given time, since the most common elements in need at any given time are going to be carbon and water, but they're mobile enough to wander. As for the centre of the fleet, I can imagine a large transport (with a lot of refitting, of course) could act as a mining station of sorts. Possibly even several transports permanently tethered together; one acts as a command centre for teleoperation of mining bots, one acts as a refinery, and one essentially as storage. Does anyone have any ideas for a name?
Malakh Malakh's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Several transports tethered to a Scum Barge perhaps? They could have just started as a single Scum Barge, then just added more stuff as time they went along. As for the name, I think that would come naturally once we get more information down as to who these people are and what makes them tick.
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Mmm, speaking of which, how did this little caravan start? If the group centres around one large vessel, it seems likely that it was either a unified fleet before they arrived in the belt (perhaps refugees from the Fall) or were wandering groups before the Fall who decided to merge resources. Those are the most obvious two things that spring to my mind, at least.
Malakh Malakh's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Axel the Chimeric wrote:
Mmm, speaking of which, how did this little caravan start? If the group centres around one large vessel, it seems likely that it was either a unified fleet before they arrived in the belt (perhaps refugees from the Fall) or were wandering groups before the Fall who decided to merge resources.
Yes, that should be our first question: how did it start? I like either idea, but I like the second idea better. Perhaps a Scum Barge met up with a refinery ship in the belt and the groups found that they have resources the other one lacks.?
Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
I like the idea of a Fall-refugee scum barge joining up with semi-nomadic locals (miners, for example) and forming a symbiotic society that has accumulated more vessels and people since.
"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, [i]Through The Looking-Glass[/i] [img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_zGgz13n3uzE/TWWPdvGig-I/AAAAAAAACI8/y...
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
What about this? The Héxīn Group, a space mining/manufacturing corporation deployed the Carp-class Mobile Mining Station A08 to mine smaller asteroids for mixed volatiles, bundling them up and then using orbital tugs to throw them on orbits to recipients in the inner system. They were counting on high demand due to habitat construction and that the tugs could profitably use reaction mass produced by the MMS. Unfortunately for them the economy did not work out well; far too much activity happened in deep gravity wells like Luna and Mars, people were towing asteroids directly to manufacturing centres, and the introduction of fusion rockets further weakened the business model. The company sold off A08 to the United Miners of Diana collective, who used it to mine 78 Diana and renamed it Egeria. The operation was never truly profitable, but kept the collective above the water and enabled them to build a torus habitat besides the existing sprawling tin can additions to the MMS. During the Fall the collective had enough foresight to get the hell away from Diana - being in a fixed position near a large resource with some extensive semi-automated mining systems seemed to be a bad idea. The worries were confirmed when something or someone took control over the asteroid-side installations, and Egeria used its reaction mass to launch itself away from the cautious high orbit it had moved into. Since then Egeria has been a fully mobile station, moving between suitable asteroids or having them delivered to it. It crushes the regolith and distils water, carbon, metals and volatiles from it. Further processing allows these resources to be turned into nano-feedstock or construction materials. The 10 GW heavy fusion reactor the United Miners had installed has paid off well, although the manoeuvrability of the station is still sluggish. The station itself consists of two "crunching bays" and adjoining processing cores (a third bay was damaged decades ago and has never been properly restored: it houses much of the modern retrofit systems), with a belt of "chemical factories" and storage tanks linked to the cores. Aft there is the fusion reactor and drive system, surrounded by reaction mass tanks, cooling fins, control modules and the attachments to the habitat section. To protect from micrometeorite impacts and mining debris much of the station is wrapped in metal foil. Parts of the foil have been decorated by the inhabitants, others parts have been ripped and repaired in layers. The subdermal space between the foil and station proper is open to vacuum but used for many engineering activities; it is something of a messy garage where generations of miners and engineers have worked, stored things "temporarily" or made repairs.
Extropian
Malakh Malakh's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
I like the fluff, though I would rather not use a mobile torus habitat. Does Egeria stand for anything?
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Malakh wrote:
I like the fluff, though I would rather not use a mobile torus habitat. Does Egeria stand for anything?
Well, the habitat type is pretty irrelevant. I wanted something plausibly small-scale yet better than the tincan/cluster structure. But maybe having a cluster attached to the station makes more sense. Egeria was the companion of Diana. Of course, once it was moved away from Diana it might have changed name again.
Extropian
Malakh Malakh's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Arenamontanus wrote:
Egeria was the companion of Diana. Of course, once it was moved away from Diana it might have changed name again.
Hmm? I searched Egeria in Wikipedia and the only mythological entry for it is for a nymph in Roman mythology. 13 Egeria, however, is a G-Type asteroid in the main belt.
Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
This is entirely my opinion, but Egeria sounds too clean and lofty to me as the name the scum fleet would go by, though it does work fine as the name of one piece of the fleet. Which may have been all you were trying to name!
"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, [i]Through The Looking-Glass[/i] [img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_zGgz13n3uzE/TWWPdvGig-I/AAAAAAAACI8/y...
Malakh Malakh's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
I went back and re-read the fluff again and I might have mis-read it the first time. I thought the torus habitat was Egeria. MMS A08 (Egeria) as the core group of the main belt contingent of the fleet works well in my opinion. So what would prompt the United Miners of Diana to join forces with the refugees of a Scum Barge?
Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Malakh wrote:
So what would prompt the United Miners of Diana to join forces with the refugees of a Scum Barge?
What if they didn't get away from the exsurgent infection of Diana so scot-free? Perhaps they lost a lot of their crew to the virus and it was the arrival of scum refugees that gave them the new blood to continue a semi-nomadic mining lifestyle.
"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, [i]Through The Looking-Glass[/i] [img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_zGgz13n3uzE/TWWPdvGig-I/AAAAAAAACI8/y...
Malakh Malakh's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Ok, how about this? During The Fall, the collective did [i]not[/i] have enough foresight to get away from Diana, but there [i]were[/i] a few individuals who were. These individuals cut the Egeria (MMS A08) lose and launched it just before the exsurgent virus struck the torus habitat and the asteroid-side operations of the collective. They barely had enough people to keep the Egeria running and that's when they met the Scum Barge carrying Fall survivors from Earth.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Malakh wrote:
During The Fall, the collective did [i]not[/i] have enough foresight to get away from Diana, but there [i]were[/i] a few individuals who were. These individuals cut the Egeria (MMS A08) lose and launched it just before the exsurgent virus struck the torus habitat and the asteroid-side operations of the collective. They barely had enough people to keep the Egeria running and that's when they met the Scum Barge carrying Fall survivors from Earth.
I like it. The miners did a desperate dash away, leaving loved ones and co-workers behind to a horrible fate (I can imagine some wild debate on whether to direct the engine exhaust straight at the habitat to at least stop the suffering, despite this losing valuable delta-v). There were probably refugees from other stricken habitats in the Belt, as well as people in transit realizing that their destination suddenly seemed to be acting strangely. Joining up would make sense. One interesting issue is the cultural differences between original spacers (like the miners, who had probably a bit of an autonomist bent), the scum and refugees (who were normal people who had just managed to get onboard a transport).
Extropian
Demonseed Elite Demonseed Elite's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Arenamontanus wrote:
One interesting issue is the cultural differences between original spacers (like the miners, who had probably a bit of an autonomist bent), the scum and refugees (who were normal people who had just managed to get onboard a transport).
Exactly, that's one of the great things about this idea. The scum fleet, being in the belt, sits between the autonomist outer system and the corporate inner system, and the attitudes of its residents come from both sides. Not to mention you have the cultural differences of spacers who are long used to living a space-based lifestyle versus Fall refugees who may have never been off-planet before the evacuations from Earth. To throw another cultural complication into the mix, the Fall refugees may have been carrying simulspace infugees and cold storage egos from Earth. On one hand, no one really wants to leave these unfortunate people disembodied or in cold storage, but on the other hand, the scum fleet simply doesn't have the resources to sleeve all of them, or possibly to even host them all in simulspace. And what if some of the cold storage egos are infected? Is there any way to be sure they aren't? In a scum culture, who decides how to treat these people?
"It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." --The White Queen, [i]Through The Looking-Glass[/i] [img]https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_zGgz13n3uzE/TWWPdvGig-I/AAAAAAAACI8/y...
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
As with all things in anarchist culture, everyone and no-one decides. If you have the computing resources to do it, no-one's really going to stop you. Do it too incautiously, you'll lose rep and no-one will give you the resources you need to continue your efforts. Hoard computing resources without helping people and you also lose rep. Likely, anyone who has experience in the area will be able to take advantage of that to get a good amount of rep. Also, it needs to be said, they could likely avoid the Exsurgent Virus by sheer luck alone, really. 5 to 10*10^8 people or so made it off Earth. This Scum fleet's population isn't likely to measure than a few thousand, even if you consider all the people in cold storage. Even if 50% of the people who escaped Earth as a whole were infected, the odds of even one person in a fleet whose sum total size is roughly 10,000 people is still enormous. As for population, there's probably a fairly significant Infomorph population here, along with a good number of Synths, many of which are also custom-designed. They don't have time for biochauvinism and biomorphs are hardly at an advantage when you live in a free-roaming ship constellation anyway. Edit: It just occurred to me to point out that these Scum might not be anarchists, entirely. There might be a definitive form of local government (especially given that Earthers would want at least some form of representative government, out of tradition and a feeling of stability if nothing else). There could even be dozens of them; each ship a nation unto itself. Given resource issues, though, they'd still likely be communal sharers and use a Rep system regardless of this, though.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Demonseed Elite wrote:
And what if some of the cold storage egos are infected? Is there any way to be sure they aren't? In a scum culture, who decides how to treat these people?
Judge Wei and his posse of vigilante of infosec warriors, that's who! They will review and decide who is clean and who ought to be deleted. Anybody running unapproved infomorphs on their server will be in big trouble... The nice autonomist answer "everyone and no-one decides" is how things ought to function, and maybe how they do function in many aspects of everyday life. It is just that when there are threats to the entire habitat everybody can relate very personally to, small issues like rep or being polite go out of the window - this is where mob mentality, strong ad-hoc leaders and ruthless crisis thinking rule instead. Successful communities manage to get out of it again, but I suspect there is a large number of places that are still little more than tribal autocracies. Sure, you can do what you want, but then you will be stomped by Chairman Kirill and his supporters. I doubt this is the case for all of our scum fleet (separate ships and habitats makes it harder to control all of them, especially if they are diverse), but there could be some pretty dark places in it. I would actually like to include Judge Wei & co. - not quite a rowing extortion racket, not quite a gang of bullies, not quite a software certification agency, not quite a racist luddite inquisition. They might be disliked by nearly anybody but they do fulfil a necessary role of forcing people to maintain some software standards, avoid running too dangerous software and to occasionally ruthlessly stamp out emergent infections. Overall, I can imagine there being plenty of informorphs around anyway (they take little resources to run), but perhaps no AGIs (dangerous TITAN spawn!)
Extropian
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
I like the sound of a paranoid, order/safety-obsessed madman. I actually marathoned the first 10 books of the Walking Dead series a while back, which is very big on the questions of what people do and become in stressful situations (anyone who knows about the "phone to the underworld" knows what I'm talking about), and one big focus is on how someone with good intentions (keeping everyone safe) in a stressful situation can become a monster. So, yeah, you have my vote to throw them in. Now that I think about it, any mercurials would be at risk here, and I can imagine sharp divide between, say, a fairly liberal group and someone like Judge Wei, with a constant tension just waiting for the right match to light the powder keg. I also had thoughts for this extremely paranoid libertarian group, who are all armed to the teeth but mostly keep to themselves. They only really make an appearance whenever something happens that might threaten their freedoms. They'd make an interesting swing population in a conflict like that.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Sounds fun. So we have a bunch of groups already: The remaining miners - they control a valuable facility that can produce both energy and matter, but they at least started out seriously undermanned. I suspect they have recruited people, perhaps using some apprentice system. They might want to style themselves as a government but has little ability to enforce anything. Various refugee groups - this could be transport ships, passenger ships and refugee barges that ended up in the fleet. Some might have fled other collapsing Belt operations, some might have been in transit when the Fall occurred and their destinations (Earth, Jupiter etc.) suddenly seemed a lot less enticing. They joined up gradually during and after the Fall. Diverse, not entirely at home in their new lives, somewhat desperate. Scum and belters - these were already in the Belt but have various reasons to seek out the fleet (need for repairs and material, companionship, mutual protection, suckers to skin). There might have been other arrivals since the early days: Extropian traders, autonomist agitators, maybe a salvage/scavenger team. The fleet is too poor to be a good pirate target, but might be a nice stopover for them. Brinkers and belt miners might occasionally make a trade for necessary goods. The politics of maintaining a fleet is interesting. Some ships have enough reaction mass and life support to leave if they want to, so they will stay only if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Others have too little, and must stay in place - they might be connected to Egeira by cables, being dragged along during course changes. Each ship is de facto its own micro-state, but they need each other and cannot isolate themselves completely. Bullies like Judge Wei cannot go too far, yet they need to make others respect them. Nobody wants real fighting: if one ship starts hitting another everybody loses (nobody wants to repeat the horror of the Mad June in 1 AF).
Extropian
King Shere King Shere's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Perhaps the fleet also rendezvoused a "Kurultai" & persuaded its participants to join into the scum fleet. What i mean with "Kurultai" is a temporary construction made by a gathering of participants (ships and other space faring objects) instead of meeting into a permanent habitat. http://www.eclipsephase.com/nomadic-habitat-or-grand-gathering
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Kurultais are probably likely places for people to join, leave or switch scum fleets. Plenty of interesting family/ship drama there. But I think kurultais come later, when there is already a fleet to gather with. At the start it was just a group of survivors huddling together. A scum fleet has a somewhat periodic life. Usually it is in slow transit between kurultais, asteroids for refuelling/restocking, and habitats to trade with. I can imagine this fleet making its rounds occasionally to Extropia, Ceres, Nova York and some of the smaller asteroid habitats. These encounters (pow-wows?) are brief festivals, followed by periods of ordinary life lasting months. I guess one of the key joint decisions is where to go next. It depends on available reaction mass and where people think they will profit/have fun/avoid risk, so there is going to be a lot of bickering. How does the fleet reach agreement? A town meeting? A vote from each ship captain/chairperson?
Extropian
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Here is another preliminary addition to the fleet. We might want to tweak the exact conflicts and deals a bit: The Jingwei was a passenger and cargo transport on the Flame Emperor Line making the run between Earth and Jupiter. The Fall began on its Earthward leg and as the news got steadily worse the crew began to fear approaching Earth. Mars was in the wrong position to be reachable, but it looked like Ceres and a few other Belt locations could be reached just barely. As they made the course corrections the passengers - mostly personnel returning home from long tours of duty - reacted very badly and there was some violence on-board. However, there was very little the rebellious passengers could do about the orbit. An uneasy truce formed between the crew and passengers, partially cemented by the increasing horror of the Fall. In the Belt Jingwei found itself somewhat desperate. It did not have the delta-v resources to reach Ceres due to minor damage incurred during the fighting, and its second choice Diana had been reported destroyed. However, it received signals from MMS Egeira in the vicinity. The ship made a rendezvous with the mining station and became the first part of the emerging fleet. The initial plan was to make a brief stopover, replenish reaction mass and then try to get to one of the major habitats. But given the conditions in the solar system keeping one's head down for a while seemed to be wise - there had been reports of ships being destroyed as they approached Extropia and Ceres on the suspicion of being attackers or infected. There was also the issue of trust: the Egeira miners did not trust the unruly passengers, the passenger suspected the miners would not give them reaction mass voluntarily, the somewhat authoritarian Mingwei crew disliked both groups. But as time wore on they were forced to rely on each other. The miners desperately needed more hands if they were to be able to supply the dwindling resources of both ships. A limited migration of crew members and technically skilled passengers to Egeira to help (and to get away from the sour mood) began to heal the rift. As further refugee ships arrived the divisions no longer seemed so bad, and it became possible for people who by now hated each other's guts to move apart. When the fleet eventually reached Ceres only a handful of the passengers left the fleet. It had become the new home for most of them. Over the years the control of Mingwei shifted from the conservative captain Chang-Qun (who had stubbornly remained in conflict with the passenger council long after the issue was moot) to first officer Wang. She had long since warmed to the passengers (and eventually married one of them) and helped set up a more democratic government. The ship is still nominally run by a captain, but the passenger council elects the captain and have plenty to say over the nontechnical aspects of the habitat. Jingwei is one of the nicer habitats in the fleet today thanks to its gravity booms and passenger design. It has 230 inhabitants, distributed between the four compartments and some later additions. The available gravity allows various crafts and technologies to be used that are tricky to do in the microgravity of most other habitats. Sports under gravity is one of the hallmarks of Mingwei.
Extropian
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
I think a lot of the conflicts can largely be considered self-contained. This is pretty much what I think would happen with the arrival of the first ship. Once their presence is registered with other areas, they no doubt would have others soon joining them.
root root's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
root@A Scum Fleet [hr] While Sol system is quite large and there is plenty of room to miss each other, the collection of habs surrounding the Carnival of the Goat and this Scum Fleet are likely to be at odds. If they are the two largest collections of scum barges in the system, they are likely to have a decent chunk of their respective populations trade time between the two. What I like about this one is that even with Judge Wei and other strongman types in control of the individual barges, they are still the "good guys" in relation to some of the jerks on the Goat. "You don't like my rules? Fine! Go join the Goat. Oh, what? Suddenly I seem reasonable? Great: now back to your 90-hour shift!" Also, the Scum Fleet has a striking similarity to the fleet around Battlestar Galactica, if the Galactica were missing. I like it.
[ @-rep +1 | c-rep +1 | g-rep +1 | r-rep +1 ]
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
root wrote:
While Sol system is quite large and there is plenty of room to miss each other, the collection of habs surrounding the Carnival of the Goat and this Scum Fleet are likely to be at odds. If they are the two largest collections of scum barges in the system, they are likely to have a decent chunk of their respective populations trade time between the two.
I don't think the Goat is among the largest (or nastiest), and I doubt we plan to make this fleet among the largest either. But there is an interesting dynamics in "competing" for people.
Quote:
Also, the Scum Fleet has a striking similarity to the fleet around Battlestar Galactica, if the Galactica were missing. I like it.
Yep. That is something I noticed too. Of course, there is a bit of centralism in the existence of the mining station. I have been thinking about the economics of the fleet: While most habitats and ships are efficient recyclers and can get energy from solar panels, there is a need for reaction mass to do course changes and move between habitats. This is used up, so it has to be replenished. The Egeira is the main source of reaction mass, giving the miners a sizeable pull in the community. Typical C-type asteroids in the outer belt can have up to 22% water, allowing them to produce metallic hydrogen and hydrogen-oxygen fuel. This is given to the other members of the fleet, in return for services. A more tricky problem is fuel for fusion reactors. Deuterium can be extracted from the ice (normally a 0.015% fraction of the hydrogen) but produces 'dirty' neutron radiation. Helium 3 is scarce in the asteroid belt, and must be bought from outside. Fissionables can be found in some metallic asteroids. Other mined material mainly consists of carbon (easily produced in bulk from C-type asteroids) and metals (plenty of iron, but the belt is rich in nickel, gold, platinum, iridium, and palladium too, amongst other metals). A scarce resource is nitrogen: this is necessary for expanding the biosphere of the fleet, but it is rare in the belt. Catching former comet fragments or nitrogen rich C-type asteroids is a high priority, since buying it in bulk from outer system traders tend to be expensive. There have been a few attempts to break the mining monopoly of Egeira. [Maybe the armed libertarians tried this?] But catching an asteroid fragment is far easier than actually mining it: this requires skill and knowledge of how to handle the material in zero gravity, devices for catching and moving regolith, as well as equipment (and energy!) for breaking it down. Since most people with these skills tend to gravitate towards the miners anyway, they retain their monopoly with little effort. Egeira and the other former ships generally have reactors that are far more powerful than needed for just drifting with the fleet, so they often give away excess capacity by connecting cables to non-mobile habitats. These cables can also be used when making course changes, dragging the habitats along. A growing problem is that several of the ship reactors are getting old: they are not quite intended for the current usage pattern and are slowly losing efficiency. It is not a problem yet, but some engineers are worried. While most habitats manufacture what they need from raw elements using open source blueprints and nanofacture, there is still a certain amount of trade between the habitats. Growing organic structures takes time, space and patience, making some habitats specialize in biotechnology and running greenhouses for food, decorative plants, traditional drugs, organs or morphs. Customisation and direct craft also requires specialised skills, earning the designers rep. There is also a degree of recycling trade. Some habitats have less effective recycling systems, so habitats with overcapacity buy their waste and give back recycled material. Another important service is communications. Within the fleet local radio and laser links are enough. Egocasting is possible via the few ships that have proper communications equipment and are plugged into the autonomist communications economy (it is necessary to have enough rep to be certified as a trustworthy recipient of egocasts); people who want to access the greater solar system need these ships. Finally there is defence. A few habitats have lasers or railgun defenses, which are useful to hit impactors and deter unwanted visitors. There might be more powerful weapons like missiles hidden in some habitats, but it would be hard to hide anything nuclear. A few people have launched sensor clouds around the fleet, giving it information of what is moving out there. Overall the fleet is lightly defended but likely to have a few nasty surprises for would-be pirates or authoritarian forces. (I'm still wondering what we will call the entire fleet and what the Egeira might have been renamed as)
Extropian
det det's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
I thought of this: A small scientific station in/near the belt was damaged before the fall. Some contractors were hired to repair the damage. During the fall they actually were cut off from mostly everything, evesdropping on what was happening but the titans simply ignored the small station. After the fall they found that both the crew of the station and the repair crew had lost theirs homes and their chiefs, so they had nowhere to go and no reason to continue experiments. Once the scum fleet passed nearby, the asked for permission to join, it was granted as a group of expert scientist and techinicians are always welcome. They reached the fleet and work anywhere there is need of their expertise. ---- This is just a preliminary draft. Still to think of what were the experiments about, what was damaged and where did the people come from, thus giving some ideas of the specific knowledge and culture they brought to the fleet. The two groups could be different in culture. They work as a group I think, like a small firm that gets hired by whoever needs them. They live in and use the repair ship to reach the parts of the fleet that needs them? The repair ship was big enough to accomodate both the groups of people and some scientific equipment I think. what do you think?
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
I think the science station sounds good. The interesting thing is how their culture has developed since joining the fleet. Imagine the typical straightlaced engineer living side by side with a bunch of anarchists, hippies and refugees for a decade - they will have developed their own take on the scum life. Here is an idea I had: The Bunch The Bunch is a relatively new habitat in the fleet, towed along by Egeira and other ships. The name comes from its appearance: it consists of numerous inflatable chambers linked together, looking like a bunch of grapes. The colorful paint of the exterior adds to the fruitlike appearance. The Bunch was founded by S1mone Luther-Wang, an energetic organiser. Scumborn, charismatic and with far more energy than anybody not on stimulants can cope with, she is the kind of person who effortlessly gains more rep than she knows what to do with. Her most recent project was to build an extensible, inflatable habitat. The technology has existed for ages but most inflatable modules are viewed as emergency shelters or reserve modules for cluster habitats. The Bunch is intended as a permanent low cost habitat making use of simple to nanofacture modules that can be plugged in, inflated and used. Anybody can move in and install their own space. The bubbles are much more resilient than they look thanks to layered graphene walls. Air pressure keeps them rigid, and chromophores and nanodots allow them to have any color and texture needed. While micrometeors can pierce the surface they only do local, easily patched damage. Solar flares are not much of a problem this far out, although inhabitants better eat their Bananas Furiosas to deal with cosmic rays. The core of the Bunch is the Stem, a long hallway linking the side branches of the Bunch. It is a throughfare, agora and open space where everybody meet. The side branches are quieter, often having the feeling of a neighbourhood. There is the Steel River branch where some of the cybercraftspeople work, the Cochrane branch where the extended Cochrane family lives, and the somewhat rowdy Royal Branch surrounding the modules making up the "Royal Hotel" of pubs/drug dens/entertainment. Various life support tubing runs along the walls of the branches, often covered by wall-climbing plants. S1mone originally wanted the Bunch as her own playground (she had a falling out with her previous hosts on Ninjago), but it soon took a life on its own. She is the acting mayor/strongman/mediator, but most inhabitants have joined the Bunch because it promises more living space than the traditional habitats, not because they want to follow her. It is a bit wobbly and has less effective life support than most other parts of the fleet, but there is more freedom in designing your own space and even getting some privacy. It has become the destination for many people wanting to get away from their old social context, whether because they want to move away from their parents, come out as Ultimate supporters, plan to work on exotic art/mysticism/drugs or just can't get along with their neighbours.
Extropian
Malakh Malakh's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
It's looking good. :) I just got back from a trip so I'll look over everything and give my input after I've gotten some rest.
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
This is all really cool so far! I have this rather curious image in my head for the Egeria's appearance. Originally, it looked like a rather cookie-cutter, professionally designed mining station, but, since its incidents during the Fall, rough repairs, and alterations for interactions with other vessels, I imagine it... Well, it's best described as imagining a model of a space station that has been lovingly assembled, then played with by a child, broken accidentally, and hastily reassembled using the best materials available. What was once a smooth, streamlined piece of futuristic technology is now fixed with off-colour materials, wrapped haphazardly in tinfoil, and coated in dozens of smaller ships and extension arms. As for a name for the Egeria, for the longest time, I've wanted to use the term "Zhuangzi and his butterflies" for something Scum-related. Could be the name of a ship/group of ships, of the Egeria, or of the fleet itself. Given the Egeria's old name, though, I can't see it as an appropriate replacement, except perhaps as a joke from some of the long-time Scum. And now, to add to the diversity! [b]New Liberty (a.k.a. Jovian Lite)[/b] New Liberty is remarkable as being perhaps one of the very few Scum Barges that began its career as a warship. Formerly of the Jovian Republic, New Liberty and her crew set sail from Jupiter approximately two years after the Fall, when the Republic began to clamp down heavily on public freedoms. Declaring itself independent once it was safely outside of the range of Jovian guns, New Liberty ended up serving as a freelance guardian against pirates for convoys around Extropia, before an ideological schism caused more than half the original crew of 150 to jump ship. The remainder set sail into the belt, searching for a new home, where they could live without depending on others. However, with little in the way of mining training, New Liberty and her crew were in dire straits by the time they found the Egeria. It took a lot of negotiation for the Egerian fleet to allow the New Liberty to approach, much of which was rushed thanks to wounds the New Liberty had suffered dealing with a group of pirates who had mistaken the warship for a lone carrier. An agreement for trade was struck; New Liberty would be given supplies needed to keep its reactors functioning and to perform repairs and, in exchange, it and its crew would agree to remain with the Egeria for a period of no less than four years. In addition to this agreement, terms were attached that mandated a team of engineers be permitted to inspect the New Liberty, to ensure she was carrying no nuclear weapons or antimatter (New Liberty is a relatively old vessel, and was built before antimatter became readily used as a means of conveyance on anything but the most expensive courier ships and scientific vessels). Since that inspection, no-one outside of the crew has been allowed on the vessel, and the only map of it that exists was made then. New Liberty and her crew are out of place in a place like a Scum Fleet. Though far from the Bioconservative fascist movement that dominates the Jovian Republic, they are typically considered by many amongst the Scum to be extreme conservatives, in ideology if nothing else. Most of the time, they do not interact with the rest of the fleet, except when a few of their number do odd jobs here and there. For the majority of the fleet, the only interaction it has with New Liberty is to see its enormous blue and white form drifting out in the void. The exception to this is Parson.Egeria_mesh.NL. Frederick Thomas, colloquially known as Parson Tom, is the public face of New Liberty. His blog on the local mesh is the only transmission outside of official channels that leaves New Liberty. Parson Tom frequently gives very loud, energetic speeches on a wide variety of topics, usually news, both local and distant, with frequent rants about the Powers That Be. Tom is one of the few members of New Liberty that leaves the ship with any degree of frequency as well, often acting as its ambassador, usually followed wherever he goes by a group of large, well-armed, usually silent followers. Despite the name, Parson Tom is not actually a priest and formerly occupied the position of Political Officer aboard the vessel before it fled Jovian rule. He is a very cautious, conservative man, whose natural charisma and fiery devotion to personal freedom makes him a natural leader. Though something of a joke to the more liberal, communal anarchists in the fleet, and to those who don't share his near-paranoid views on the encroachment of freedoms by large governments, he is a man who is hard to ignore. Any time someone in the fleet tries to put a measure in place that could potentially be considered an encroachment of personal freedoms, Tom is usually there to make a fuss of it. [i]Freedom 1[/i] Freedom 1 is a small secondary vessel, half-finished and tethered to the side of New Liberty. Although New Liberty long since finished its terms of service, it continues to remain as a security contractor for Egeria, albeit reluctantly. Freedom 1 was intended as a means to end that necessary bond; a small mining vessel that would allow New Liberty and its crew their independence. However, the project broke down midway when it became evident that the start-up expense would greatly drain New Liberty's resources (possibly indebting them to Egeria again) and that the overall skill needed to harvest raw minerals was far beyond the abilities of the vessel's crew. While New Liberty has not abandoned Freedom 1, it is increasingly apparent that resource refining is not a skill easily learned through trial and error, or even observation. They have currently reached the point where they are willing to try almost any option to gain their freedom, except for swallowing their pride and seeking training from the Egeria's crew.
Arenamontanus Arenamontanus's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Axel the Chimeric wrote:
This is all really cool so far! I have this rather curious image in my head for the Egeria's appearance. Originally, it looked like a rather cookie-cutter, professionally designed mining station, but, since its incidents during the Fall, rough repairs, and alterations for interactions with other vessels, I imagine it... Well, it's best described as imagining a model of a space station that has been lovingly assembled, then played with by a child, broken accidentally, and hastily reassembled using the best materials available. What was once a smooth, streamlined piece of futuristic technology is now fixed with off-colour materials, wrapped haphazardly in tinfoil, and coated in dozens of smaller ships and extension arms.
Yeah, that fits with my view too. Having a bunch of habitats attached using long cables and a bundle of extra resource storage tanks clamped on doesn't improve its appearance much. And some of the additions have been decorated in various styles.
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As for a name for the Egeria, for the longest time, I've wanted to use the term "Zhuangzi and his butterflies" for something Scum-related. Could be the name of a ship/group of ships, of the Egeria, or of the fleet itself. Given the Egeria's old name, though, I can't see it as an appropriate replacement, except perhaps as a joke from some of the long-time Scum.
Maybe the name is for the whole fleet? It fits. I can imagine some scum philosopher/meme maker making some joke about the Egeira causing it to be called Zhuangzi. Perhaps after a debate between the fairly staid miners and the scum about that would be an enjoyable life, he would have compared it to the "Happiness of Fish" dialogue. Then there was a bit of drift and Egeira got called Zhuangzi rather than Huizi (typical mistake in popularization). Hmm, maybe the fleet is "Zhuangzi and his fishes"?
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New Liberty
Yes! Very fun, especially since it raises mysteries about what the ideological schism really was about, and what they are doing now.
Extropian
Axel the Chimeric Axel the Chimeric's picture
Re: Community Project: A Scum Fleet
Arenamontanus wrote:
And some of the additions have been decorated in various styles.
And likely vandalized. Nothing impresses your friends more than quietly using a thrustpack to get down to a space station, releasing a nanoswarm, and flying back just in time to show your personal symbol now writ large across its surface.
Arenamontanus wrote:
Hmm, maybe the fleet is "Zhuangzi and his fishes"?
I like it. Now I want to make a vessel called The Happiness of Fish (魚之樂). Maybe an ecology-focused ship, or one that grows traditional medicines/herbs/plants in general for luxuries. Could even be a ship belonging to a single extended family that caters to miners and others who can trade fabricator bricks for a bowl of hot wine and to watch an elegant dance performed by a beautiful woman. Hard beer and whores is the traditional entertainment for frontiersmen, but, when there is little in the way of "striking it rich" and you've got nothing on your hands but time, a more cultured view of entertainment does tend to emerge. Not that much more cultured, mind you, but at least more serene and less hormone-fueled.
Arenamontanus wrote:
Yes! Very fun, especially since it raises mysteries about what the ideological schism really was about, and what they are doing now.
Glad you like it! I can imagine a persistent mesh rumour that refuses to die that the New Liberty is secretly hiding nuclear weapons (antimatter weapons?) that can't be detected thanks to its extensive radiation shielding (it did transit from Jupiter), or that they're stashed out there somewhere, in an asteroid that orbits with the fleet, or that they are even inside highly sealed and shielded containers in Freedom 1... Not that anyone can get close enough to look.