Friday, February 10, 2012

Open Friday: Who Are These Guys?

I'm going to be lazy and self-indulgent with today's Open Friday post (how is that different than usual, you may ask?). You see, just before the release of Thousand Suns in late December, I received proof copies of both the softcover and hardcover versions of the game. These proofs showed me that I needed to make a few small tweaks to the game before it was released for sale. I still have the proofs, sitting on my desk, and I was wondering aloud what I should do with them. My wife suggested that I give them away as prizes in a contest and so I shall.

Below you will find two images. They were both drawn by the always-awesome Mike Vilardi, with whom I've wanted to do a project for, literally, more than a decade. He did a number of pieces in the Thousand Suns rulebook and he's currently working on some pieces for upcoming supplements. One of the things he recently did was a series of sketches for pregenerated characters in an adventure for the game. I haven't yet gotten round to generating the characters, so that's when I had an idea: what if I present a couple of these sketches and ask readers to come up with descriptions of them, the two I like the best getting one of my proof copies of the game?

So, take a look at images below. Choose one (or both) and write up a brief description of the character: his or her name, occupation, personality, and background. Put your description in the comments. Don't worry about game mechanics or anything like that. I'll produce those after I've found two descriptions that I like. Remember that Thousand Suns is a science fiction RPG inspired by the imperial SF of the '50s, '60s, and '70s (and their contemporary descendants). It's neither hard sci-fi nor cartoonish space opera. Think Anderson, Chandler, and Piper, among others. You can make as many entries as you wish, but no single person will be able to win more than once.

I'll make my decision between now and February 16 based on originality, concision, and how closely the entries evoke the literary inspirations of the game. One winner will receive the hardcover and the other will receive the softcover, which being which determined by a 1D12 roll. Likewise, I'll credit the creator of the description in the upcoming adventure and send along a copy of it when it's released (probably during the summer). If anyone has any specific questions, put them in the comments, just like the descriptions. Please don't email them directly to me. I already have a backlog of emails I need to answer as it is.

Without further ado, here are the two images:
©2012 Mike Vilardi


©2012 Mike Vilardi

43 comments:

  1. Young woman in second picture:
    Chandra Lorigan, astronavigator of Urso Securities mercenary company. For a specialist working with mercenary crew she is quite soft spoken and level headed which is propably explained by her neo-laconian upbringing. She was raised in deep space station with almost total lack of simulated gravity which has consequence that she has to wear support braces when in enviroment with gravity.

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  2. At the age of three months Tinka One-Seven, in a fit of newborn pique, released a burst of psionic energy that paralyzed her Nerlan wet nurse below her second pair of mammaries. In order to avoid embarrassment, her parents paid off the nurse, and shuttled Tinka away, under heavy sedation, to the chapter-house of the Ordo Mens Mentis, a group of monks dedicated to the safe and responsible development of psychic ability.

    Now sixteen years old and fitted with the headpiece of an acolyte of the order, she has been sent out on her Rumspringa, to see the worlds and determine whether the monastic life will suit her, or if her destiny lies among the stars.

    Although quiet and reserved, she is a sixteen year old girl, and prone to intense curiosity and excitement when she encounters new things. She has been taught that all emotions are negative, though, and scourges herself nightly to purge herself of the heretical emotions (the Ordo Mens Mentis is a flagellant order).

    Currently unemployed, she is running out of money, but doesn't think she's quite ready to return to the Chapter-house, after all - the universe is huge, and she's only seen a small bit - if she's going to make a decision that will affect the rest of her life, shouldn't she see just a little bit more?

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  3. Upper Image:

    Ted Flotsam - 47, from Barker's World.

    That's what it says on the "Pretty Lady's" registration anyway. This Junker works the outer rings, weaving his two-man cutter through the debris fields with familiar ease. Most days his hold comes back nearly empty but two cycles past he pulled into port hauling the burned out hull of Fractal Extractor... a pretty payday once she was broken down.

    If he's really from Barker's World, that's news to anyone there. But they don't usually pour over CV's in the outer rings. And he's the quiet, hard working sort so no one gives him much mind.

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  4. Tal Koro, Spacer for Hire. Careful, tough, and unpretentious, Tal has seen a lot of action for a civilian. A survivor of two ship decompressions, he is haunted by the loss of his comrades and blames himself. He takes quiet pride in knowing his way around a ship and is opinionated about practical matters and fixing problems before they start. Tal isn't going to lose another ship or another crewmate.

    Wyal Neth, Diplomat. Attractive and energetic, Wyal's postive attitude is infectious -- even among other species. Her success in influencing others has contributed to her naivete and overconfidence despite her working environment of cynicism and duplicity. Wyal's grace and kindess impart an air of nobility belie her humble origins on a backwater planet.

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  5. PC # 1
    Karl Torquevaal
    Astro-Demolitions Expert (freelance)

    Decorated former member of the Imperial Astronavy Assault Corps, after mustering out Karl now works only for himself. Dismayed by the senseless loss of life he saw during his time in the Astronavy, Karl now uses his skills to dismantle and disarm explosives that litter the spaceways after battles or set by space bandits. Karl is an adrenaline junkie, like many in his line of work, and can always be found in situations like hanging off a catwalk upside over a neutron clusterbomb, or riding a maglink on a leaking photon torpedo. He is a no-nonsense master of his field, and brooks no dissent when it comes to his specialty. Although he commands high rates (and gets them if you don’t want an unfortunate fuel accident in your ship’s fission core), Karl always appears broke, and rumours have circulated that he is either giving his earnings to various galactic charities, or saving to buy his own planet. Or both.

    Quote: “Which wire? Explosives haven’t used wires in centuries, numbskull. It’s all electron timers and proton circuits nowadays. And if you’re looking for a countdown clock, it’s already too late…”

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  6. PC # 2
    (name unpronounceable – goes by the name ‘Sal’)
    Mercenary Assassin for hire

    Who is Sal, where is she from, and is she even of humanspace? No one knows for sure. What we do know is that she has fought in many minor ground conflicts in the constant flare ups and power struggles during these waning days of the Empire Galactic, but never for money, always for legal grants of territory or equipment. Her gear and weapons are unlike anything seen on any known world, as are her abilities. Eyewitness accounts claim that she seems to know uncanny details about enemy forces and composition, and can anticipate enemy movements before they are taken. This ability applies only to herself, unfortunately, and several stories indicate her allies suffering damage and death meant for her. More disquieting tales relate how Sal has switched sides in the middle of a battle after negotiating with a cornered or defeated foe, and how both sides of conflicts in which she participates are always worse off due to her presence and activities. Strangely enough, there have never been any reports of Sal sleeping or eating, or witnesses of her arriving or leaving a locale. Disturbingly, any attempts to tail or trace her have met with failure or fatality, and a scholar of Imperial University attempting to record her transactions and analyze any pattern that may exist has recently disappeared…

    Quote: “No, not a dozen troopers. There are 14. Three concealed below the stairs with blasters at 2:15. Five with autorifles entrenched in the ruined tanker at 8:44. Two with Gauss snipers at 6:00 elevated in the clocktower at 22 metrons. Four in a synchro-tank with P-cannon parked behind the fallen dome at 12:00. You two take my rear flanks. The rest follow four on a side in a slow parallel crisscross formation. Take 3 magazines and 4 stunners each. Leave your packs. You won’t need them.”

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  7. Character #2:

    Jennisa Mavros

    Jennisa is the Robotics & AI Liaison Officer on the Terran Destroyer [i]Hercules[/i]. She oversees the programming and maintenance of the ship's warbots and the AI's that assist the crew in navigation and ship systems.

    She is quiet and reserved, preferring the company of machines over living beings. She has the logical and orderly thought patterns of an AI, making her very well-suited to interacting with them. She didn't hesitate for a moment in her decision to be fitted with a neural-computer interface, and hopes that in her lifetime technology will allow her consciousness to be transferred into a robot or computer entirely.

    The [i]Hercules[/i]' current mission affords her a high place in the chain of command: the ship sets out to make first contact for the Empire with the fabled machine civilization known only as "The Ascendancy"...

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  8. First thing that popped into my head upon seeing image #1:

    "Yeah, I know I look familiar, I was all over the news a few years ago. Yeah, I'm THAT guy. And before you ask your questions, here are the answers: YES, there were three pirate ships attacking the cargo hauler, that's not something the news guys made up. YES, I was completely unarmed. And YES, I got all twenty-three crewmen to safety. I'm no hero, I was just a guy who did his job, the way I'm trying to now. So if you don't mind? Those solar veins aren't gonna patch themselves..."

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  9. Name: Ike Vivaldi

    Occupation: Lifeform Control

    Personality: Taciturn and inventive, Vivaldi is more himself among non-sentient creatures of all stripes: whether dog, horse or inirot. He is also likely to relate more directly to sentient non-humans such as the tweel better than he can to his all-too-human supervisor, acquaintances or even his aged mother, upon whom he nonetheless dotes.

    Background: Vivaldi grew up on a colonial farm that went bust in the fallout of the Land-Trade Scandal, just as he was set to inherit the land that had been in his family for generations. With few options, and fewer friends, he tested and applied for work in Lifeform Control (colloquially, and mildly derisively, referred to as "Yog-catchers") where, to his surprise, he found his life's calling. Now dedicated to the safe collection, handling, kenneling and disposition of all varieties of "nuisance" lifeforms that affect starcraft in countless ways, Vivaldi is content, capable and exceedingly compassionate toward any creature smart enough to lack opinion or guile.

    [And yes, his name is a shameless, if subtle, nod back to the artist in the letter-mangling fashion of Edward Gorey or Erol Otus]

    Name: Piper Aibeem

    Occupation: Data Protocols

    Personality: Extremely intelligent but flighty, Aibeem is often five steps ahead of everybody around her, and two steps ahead of herself. Her ability to instantly grasp future potentials can be useful in planning strategy, but, without assistance, can backfire in tactics. She is obsessively interested in theoretical concepts of parallel spacetime, and new insights on the subject often strike her at the least appropriate times, at which point she is scarcely able to focus on the task at hand.

    Background: The daughter of a science collective, Aibeem's a computation junkie, genetically augmented from birth to accelerate her ability to adapt to and "humanize" artificial intelligence, integrating it for practical application in space travel and colonization. Her particular speciality is in intelligent propulsion/life support integration, devising new ways to more efficiently combine energy resources and life support processes, particularly oxygen generation, to reduce costs and extend the Empire.

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  10. PC #1: Harrison "Harry" Berger

    Harry Berger has lived a colorful life. He started out as a grunt in the Imperial Army, but only lasted a few months before a dust-up with a senior officer resulted in a dishonorable discharge. Still wanting to serve the Empire, he enlisted in the Naval Academy by falsifying information on registration. It was here that Harry found his calling. He excellend at the more mundane technical aspects of startship engineering, and was a wizard at being able to jury-rig repairs in the middle of heated interstellar firefights. It was also during this time that Harry fell in love with the daughter of his commanding naval officer. They were married, and soon were raising a small family. Six months short of his mustering out, Harry had finally found happiness in both his professional and personal lives.

    Then, it all fell apart.

    On his last tour of duty, the ship he was attached to was assigned transport duty for a platoon of Imperial Marines. Sure enough, the platoon was commanded by the same commanding officer Harry had punched out years ago... except now, he was a general. A general with a long memory, and a grudge. Upon boarding, he discovered Harry, serving as ship's engineer. By the time the ship entered orbit above Vandia Prime three weeks later, Harry had been placed in the brig, charged with espionage, falsifying documents, and a raft of other charges, all initiated by the vengeful general. Regardless of Harry's stellar service record in the Navy, the fact that he had falsified his personal information to reenlist was all the general needed to make his accusations stick. Harry was stripped of his rank and pension. His wife took their family and left, after being pressured not to have anything to do with Harry, for fear of bringing down her father in the aftermath. Although the general pushed for execution as an enemy of the state, at the last minute, a sympathetic military tribunal commuted the death sentence. But, the damage was done. Harry had been disgraced, and stripped of everything, and everyone, he loved. He had been turned into a pariah in the Imperial Navy. No one would touch him. It was too risky.

    As a result, Harry now travels the spaceway as an itinerant ship's crewman. He was stripped of his engineering degree as a result of his lies, so it's all he can do now to get onboard a ship. Ultimately, any crew he joins quickly finds him to often be far more experienced than the engineers he serves under, and far more capable. This leads to paranoia and suspicion - why is someone so damn good working with the dregs? - which often leads to Harry being released after one mission. He wanders from starport to starport, trying to find another ship that will let him carry his weight, and hoping one day to be forgiven byu his ex-wife and children, who he hasn't seen in years.

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  11. Dude 1. Harlan Jarvis. Harlan is your average blue collar space worker. He makes his bones by busting his knuckles doing the grunt work that makes the future possible for everyone else. Harlan was once a part of a military organization when he was a young man and is still haunted by some tough decisions that he had to make which ultimately led to him abandoning his military career to turn a wrench on some rotting space station.
    The money's decent, if the conditions aren't, and he's learned a thing or two about inter-engine fermentation techniques, but something about the Black keeps calling to him. Maybe it's that somewhere out there he can find a way to redeem himself for his past mistakes, or maybe it's that deep down inside he knows he was always meant for something more than a two-bit mechanic on a shoestring hunk of junk.

    Dude #2 - Is an A.I. construct built inside an android body. It posses all the knowledge of the computer system that "spawned" it and has built a composite personality for itself based on the psychological information available on its parent computer network. While it has a personality and can believably interact with humans, it has no true identity of its own. The A.I. seeks out new experiences in a quest to determine its own morality and identity. It wants to grow and become a real "person".

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  13. The airlock hissed shut.
    O.C. Whelan slid to the floor while the crew of the Foundation surrounded him, trying to peer through his opaque helmet. He counted four young men, probably roboticists, a couple of older ones that looked combat-trained, and a single woman standing front and center, her eyes blazing with authority.
    "I am Tolaris Pohls," she said, not a shred of compassion in her voice. "I am the captain of this ship. Identify yourself."

    Whelan thought of his own ship, now a plasma-burnt wreck spiraling to nowhere. He reached around the back of his helmet, fingering the latch. He heard two atom blasts whine to life and ignored them. The helmet fell to the floor. The crew gasped.

    Pohls' eyes bulged. That face…in her mind she saw it, multiplied thousand fold — soldiers marching, ever onwards, marching over a burning homestead, marching over the bodies of her parents—
    "Whelan," he said. "O.C. Whelan. Currently captain of nothing."
    Certainly, she thought. It must be. There was gray at his temples, and stubble at his cheeks, but that face. It was unmistakable.

    "Quickly," she said. "O.C., what does it stand for?"
    Whelan sighed.
    "I think you know," he replied.
    A lump grew in Pohls' throat.
    "Original Copy," she whispered.
    "That's right."
    She fingered the neuronic whip at her side.
    "In my day you would have been vaporized on sight."
    Whelan finally met her gaze. He smirked.
    "In my day women weren't ship captains."

    (Deleted first to make a couple changes)

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  14. (Pic 1. Please forgive my crappy English):

    The Duke Johannes-Ilderin Sebastjan Khan, patriarch of the now-outlawed Nebreda-Pekkanen House, was always a rarity among the nobility of the Empire: a principled man. Educated in the rigid military tradition of imperial neo-bushido, Khan was always apart of the vicious political intrigue that Noble Houses engage in to achieve the Emperor's favor. Until it came to him.
    After his overwhelming victory in the Tewodros Systems Campaign some envious lips poured poison into the ear of the weak emperor, who ended up seeing the brilliant general as a threat th the throne. Khan, who had never doubted his loyalty to the Empire, was charged with treason. Thanks to his military record he was offered a choice: his execution and complete dissolution of the Nebreda-Pekkanen House ... or exile, with its capital ships, family and loyal troops, beyond the borders of the Empire.
    Khan made ​​his decision and now explores the Great Beyond with his small fleet of exiles, looking for a new home for the House while trying to avoid the imperial assassins and -who knows?- maybe find a new ally for his eventual revenge against the Empire.

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  15. Dallas "Smudge" Decker, Tramp Pilot
    Dallas spent just enough time in the Marines to learn a bit of piloting and a good bit of ship maintenance and to see one too many comrades muster out the hard way. He spends most of his time running small cargo loads and passengers between worlds outside of official surveillance. He stays away from most people if he can help it, but he has a habit of picking up strays. His best friend is an old one-eared dog that he found a couple years ago in the cargo hold of his ship.

    Viscountess Irena Karasouk, Diplomat
    Irena has a taste for the most audacious (and occasionally ridiculous) high fashion. She attends closely to the most proper and prestigious social functions and conventions everywhere she travels. She appears to only be concerned with the most trivial aspects of life, leaving weighty or controversial matters to her attendants. All of this is a front, though. She is actually a keen student of interpersonal behavior and a fierce diplomat and negotiator. She uses her apparent flightiness to put her counterparts off guard and study them. Then she dictates the appropriate negotiating points to her staff. Only in the most dire circumstances will she drop her pretense in public.

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  16. #1

    A circa 2734 pictograph of Anson Haas, the noted ship pilot, veteran of the 3rd war with the Mantis. At the time of this pic, he was in the midst of his fourth divorce, and in desperation, had signed on to the crew of the tramp freighter Poor Nell. In a few scant months, they would find the Forerunner cache that would break our understanding of physics wide open, and Anson would pilot the first true hyper-spatial flight.

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  18. 1st picture:
    Arnoldus "Arnie" Keegan
    Arnie is not someone you seek out for his sunny personality, but the hard-driving dock worker from Galar Point is as good a starship fixer as you will find in the Seventy Systems. Folks say he trades his mechanical skills for passage all over the cluster, and it sure seems like he knows every kind of ship's system that's flying. (What 'ole Arnie doesn't want you to know is his connection to House Alaron, and what he is avoiding by travelling the starlanes.)

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  20. Tom Garabadi(Zero-G Rigger - Leadhand)

    I've been building jump gates for more than 20 years. It's dangerous work--and there is no room for cowboys out here on the rim.

    You want to know how to survive out here. Three things:

    Never take your eyes off your console, things can happen pretty fast out here and your controller can see a lot more than you can.

    Never stop talking. Your voice is your lifeline and so long as she can hear you your controller knows you're still breathing.

    If you've got a question then ask. There is no such thing as a stupid question.

    ---------------------------------

    Sarah Lentz(Zero G Controller)

    Thank You sir! It is an honour to serve in Corps. Yes sir, I have been fully briefed and I am ready to take my post. My ZeeGee is Torrence Brayden. He graduated from the Mechanical Engineering Faculty at TUNS with distinction -- acheiving an impressive D rating.

    Yes sir. His personal profile:

    He is 22 yrs old and was born in Glasglow on Terra Prime. He has no bond-partner,is heterosexual and has no known political bias. His parents were military both deceased. Casualties of the 1st wave.

    No Sir. That will not be an issue. Yes Sir!

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  21. Well, I had written up what I -thought- was something pretty cool for the first (male) character, but Jonesy up-thread has a WAY better take. My vote's for him. ;)

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  23. Erist Doranahov
    Veteran Cosmonaut and ship's captian,
    Former Mars Spacy Officer engaged in the employ of a privateer fleet.
    Erist has extensive navigational knowledge and experience which when put into practice as pilot earns him the appearance of being both bold and reckless. In actual fact Erist is canny and cautious. It is primarily those qualities of apprehension and anticipatory appraisal that have allowed him the length of life necessary to garner his talents. Cunning and expedience borne out of hard-earned skill allow him to entertain a buccaneer demeanor which is itself a pre-meditated strategic maneuver.


    Dola Ricasseur
    The Cyborg Jainassaries of the Saturnine Moons (Principally Titan)
    are Main body of the Regency Demeterenses Arma Terranea and are employable both as bodies of troops and individual guards by hire or purchase at the Regency's behest. Dola is one such soldier and since employable as a bodyguard she has had considerable defensive and tactical training. Her enhanced bio-mechanical physique makes her both exactingly agile as well as tensile and resilient. Consequently she excels at both close-quarters and guerilla fighting, either in melée or with ranged weaponry. Dola is a consummate professional and as a mercenary she will perform her duties to the utmost execution, regardless of their consequences or personal feelings.

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    1. I keep tweaking the thing, so I have left a chemtrail of deleted comments as I pull towards the Ionosphere, I hope that's okay ;P

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  24. Male image:

    Explorer, poet, savior, anarchist. All of these have been used to describe Jarvat Stranghorn. Good at many things, yet master of none, he has jumped across more worlds than there are rocks in the Outer Rim. Always one step ahead of his enemies, and usually two steps behind his next big score, he seems to always be in the thick of things when big events happen. He has explored more worlds than most people are even aware of, and has saved many of them from themselves, to the great anger of those who want such fame for themselves. One thing is certain, his enemies are frantically searching for a way to gain an extra step.



    Female image:

    Many worlds have legends; stories that tell how someone came to them and gave them a gift. On some, it is fire, on others, it is life itself. Among those who are right now out among the stars, visiting and bestowing gifts, is Leekat Sunshadow, the Lady of Light. She is the leader of a team of specialists who follow terraformers and nudge a world's life out into the open. There won't be any stories about her, since the life she beckons is barely sentient, but without her - and those like her - life would be a lot less common than it is. Yet, through all her travels, she remains humble and pragmatic, preferring to quietly go about her good work.

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  25. He is Agamemnon Burzinski, owner and pilot of a one man 'singlehip', the "Louise". He will carry light cargo or a couple of passengers quickly but uncomfortably. He is an amateur archeologist and his primary business is investigating the relics of the past and selling them to antiquities dealers. Despite the potentially shady nature of his business, he is forthright and honest. Some old hands call him "Captain". When asked why, they shake their heads and say it's not their story to share.

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  26. She is Tessa Brun, computer specialist in the employ of an unnamed wealthy patron. To the public she is a member of his family and simply travelling the galaxy on his ticket for fun. Thus she plays the bit of a party girl. In reality she is a telepath acting as his 'eyes and ears' keeping tabs on his various interests and linking information on the motives and feelings of people of interest back to him.

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  27. He is... Major Mike Murphy of Star Command.

    Major Murphy (or Murph as his men call him behind his back) is a no-nonsense veteran of the Solar Wars, where he was a soldier in some of the key offensives against the Venusian rocketeer forces. Highly decorated during the Wars, his experience saw his rise through the ranks in the Earth Forces and lead to his being instrumental in the formation of Star Command, Earth's expeditionary force charged with exploring space and protecting Earth's interests and citizens throughout space, after the Wars. Despite his position and importance withing Star Command, Major Murphy is still hands on in matters and not above commadeering nearby soldiers for a direct approach to matters.

    She is...known only as Valeska.

    The smuggler known only as Valeska has been making a mockery out of the EarthGov's regulations and laws by smuggling contraband and individuals in and out of Earth space. This situation is exacerbated by her claims to be from the future and stranded in what is her past by a rogue time traveler, claims that infuriate officials within the EarthGov because their law-enforcement officers cannot disprove them or ascertain her true name or identity.

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  28. Dudette #2: Wealhþeow is known throughout the known universe as the Queen of Rock. Her singing talents have brought her fame and fortune beyond compare. What is not known is that her singing talents are actually synthesized beforehand and a voder deep within throat actually creates the patterns. Careful research by her handler/manager (Dude#1) finds the exact rhythm, tempo and octane particular to each world. Enrapturing each world in a powerful, personalized ecstasy.

    Her careful choice of instruments are closely aligned with the world's own traditions. She then proceeds to sing. Part of the condition of her concerts is that every bandwidth, frequency, channel is devoted to her. She virtually dominates all communication.

    What is her message? What is her song? Thousands come up with conflicting answers. Each world reports a different experience yet all report the feeling of elation after she performs her concert. It is as the universe suddenly stopped for a moment. What are her motives for doing so? Nobody knows? How has she mastered to voder to produce such feelings across entire worlds repeatedly? Nobody knows?

    What is known? Only carefully managed and massaged data comes out her publicity office. Her origins were humble. But she is determined to pay back all those who helped her to fame. Her net worth must be in the trillions yet lives quite modestly. For allegedly, the thousands of credits that she earns in concert sales goes back into registered charities helping those most needed on the worlds she visits. True, she gets large tax breaks that more amply pays for her luxury liner that she calls home when she is not spending her nights in a world's finest hotels, dining at the most exclusive restaurants, driving the finest vehicles. She is truly a superstar dwarfing the light of a Thousand Suns.

    Dude#1: Wealhþeow's handler/manager only known by his stage name - Grendel. He is a rough sort, the type of thug that has hung around one too many space bars. The one where when he enters into the room - silence falls. The type who would slit you open without a blink. Raised on Antebils IV, he was known there by local authorities to be a hood that nobody could touch. Anyone who came close usually ended up dead. Then one day, on the 3D-Vee he makes a public service announcement that he found faith in the redeemer and he has witnessed a miracle. From now on, he is stepping away from his former life, asked forgiveness for all his sins and was going to turn a new leaf. He boarded the next tramp trader and was not seen again on Antebils IV. Law Enforcers tried to dig through old case files mentioning him finding that they had all been purged clean.

    Now he is known by quadrillions as Grendel - Wealhþeow's handler/manager. He keeps the unwanted from coming near and the wanted must pay to be given access. Where the money goes? Nobody knows. How he met Wealhþeow? Nobody knows. What is the exact relationship between the two of them. Thousands of rumours but nobody knows.

    ============================================

    Now on Hroðgar Prime, Grendel is found unconscious outside Wealhþeow's hotel room. All doors and windows were locked. But Wealhþeow has somehow disappeared. The security cams reveal nothing. Grendel cannot remember anything.

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    1. ..heh...first post. Formatting wasn't correct.

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  30. <112.34.56789.32d6r> MadJynx7: Log512

    Prasdus7 is as interesting an IP as one would expect. Life origins @ 5.7%. [NOTE: Interstellar Phenomenon peaked at 7.5RSn +/- .07 RadioSynchronicity]

    Fe compound Pickup Tonnage: 8.34
    Ag compound Pickup Tonnage: 3.245
    Au compound Pickup Tonnage: 1.2347

    Damn. I've been magno-collectin' trash for 6 years, and I'll tell you what; no haul butcher than Prasdus7. There's an ole' sayin': Why polish the silver when you can buy more. Well, they can buy more, and I'll collect what they don't polish.

    Hey Lil' girl. Daddy's workin' hard. I know you ain't happy about me pickin' up garbage, but it's more than a job. I'm salvaging the fallen. Miss you, Lil' baby-doll. Daddy's gonna buy you a SythWan Mockin' bird. And if that Mockin bird don't cry, Daddy's gonna buy you diamond ring.


    --------------------------------------------------------

    <112.34.56789.82d7r> Devout42389543. Log 1234.

    Dear Gods, I write you in spite of my last confession. I have always prayed to the Western Star at Second Noon and humbled myself betwixt the Archer and His Las-blaster. Yet, I find myself solemn and bereft of all that Dark God Who Cries places before my apron.

    Despite my utmost devotion and meditative solitude, I must regret to decline my acceptance to the Crystal Nova Sisterhood. Though my heart hovers, it does not land. Forever forgive my transgressions.

    I regretfully take my leave of the Cult of the Stellar Virgin,

    Sister Mary D'Martine.

    Arnie, I can't think without you. Feel without you. Nor Love without you. Come back.

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    1. The last two mini-paragraphs of each section were meant to read as intercepted personal instant messages.

      Then, the entire piece was meant to wrap up with an explanation of the inquisitorial interception.

      The formatting of the entire piece I totally messed up, though I am confident I can improve.

      Delete
    2. PS- I am a professional Actor and Playwright. I can send you my credentials if necessary. I do voice-overs as well.

      Delete
  31. Male- Truane Sin Del. Captain in the Outland Regulators, an adhoc paramilitary group that safeguards the Frontier Zone. Laconic, disciplined, not a man to be trifled with. Rumored to have expelled the Hegemon of Star 13 out an airlock over " injudicious words".

    Female- Ishtara Theodox. Pirate Queen of the Far Expanse. Expert in alien life and culture, she often supplements her normal "mercantile" activities by brokering negotiations with aliens, or by acting as bounty hunter of fugitives in the Alien Zone. Intellectual, disarmingly charming, and skilled in three styles of unarmed combat.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Ok, here it goes:

    The man in a space suit is named Searl Darragh. He is an experienced Spacer, a Third Mate in the Merchant Fleet curently on an indefinite leave assignment working as a volunteer on an exploration vessel Starship Petkov. Having been an engineering student back on earth, he signed on as a common cargo handler in the Merchant Fleet to experience space and see other worlds. having unwittingly signed on a space tramp merchant vessel that was traversing the edges of deep space on a tour that lasted years, Searl quickly established himself as a capable enginering officer and a gifted welder quite nimble in any space suit or powered armot practically from the first time, Searl has finished his third extended tour (Three is a lucky number with him) and has amassed a small fortune in savings, particularly to an interrupted college frat boy of an engineering student, whose dorm drinking was rudely interrupted by spaceflight training. Having signed himself off on a diatant shore, Searl was drinking a Bahama Mama in a alien-themed Tiki Bar under an exotic greenish-pink skies, when he ran into skinny girl with spiked blue hair and inch thick glasses that scared off the other customers. Having been isolated in space for the better part of the decade, Searl jumped at his chance, found oput that she was a sorrority sister, and told her that she belonged to the sister sorority of his frat house. They struck a rapid friendship under the stressed ciecumstances of an alien resort, and Searl followed his new best friend onto her ship, flying research lab investigating black holes. Having befriended the rest of the crew and the scientists over beers at the ship BBQ, Searl was allowed to join his new friend with the inch thick specs in her cabin, and his talents as a jack of all trades, a welder, and an imaginative hull engineer became very useful very quickly, when he started doing theimpossible, installing custom sensors and other modifications in open vacuum to the ship's outer hull...

    ReplyDelete
  33. Makhe Stane. Engineer. Determined, wry, loyal. Tough as nails after learning in the rough and tumble environment of a cutting edge project in a gas giant atmosphere as a teenager. Always sought out the most challenging engineering commissions, which inevitably led to Makhe repeatedly becoming an unwilling adventurer. Has never killed a man and never wants to.

    Zinaida Zeitzoff. Aristrocrat-student. Stubborn, easily angered, transparent emotions. The dilettante scion of a dynasty of a Neo-Tzarist Russian colony; her skull was recently crushed in a rock climbing incident and she is wearing a portable autodoc prosthesis and she recovers. She has been prone to bouts of frustration, confusion, and erratic behavior as her cranium is being rebuilt.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Lower Image

    Colonel Beth'ny Sandival - Commander, 54th SpecOps Div.

    Current whereabouts: Unknown

    This 15-year-old photograph featuring then Cadet Sandival is the last known image of the Qwester Colony native. It is believed she was recruited into Special Operations during her first few months of enlistment and has since been involved in a significant number of anti-stability programs against enemies of the Colonies.

    Sandival's name has turned up in intercepted com traffic over the years, most recently during the Redwood Uprising. Now believed to be leading a division of "Shade Ops," she's earned her place of infamy among the Lunna, Hoof Offensive, and Augmented Triad among others.

    ReplyDelete
  35. C'mon spacers! You guys bred in a tube or somethin?!
    Everybody this side of the Shemm cluster knows who
    dees folks are....

    Jack Halloway:
    Ex Terran Federation Space Navy Captain.
    He's a reknown pilot,adventurer,explorer.
    One of the founding memebers of the Space Lancers.
    Boy he's saved the federations ass more times than i can count on a corvian spleen fish's back tail sceeves.
    One of the most famous incident was the ZaratHastura incident.
    Quotes:
    "Lord Kalvan you may have me outgunned,but i hold in my
    hand an Illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator,so your
    point is really moot.You and your men drop your blasters
    or we all go up in a cloud of vapor."

    "you think that thing is vicious..have you met my ex wife?"

    "No Judy.We are not bringing that thing on board!"

    "yeah he was a quick learner in hands on diplomacy.I only
    had to bend one of his 8 appendages to let the girl go"

    Space marine to Jack Halloway:" hey whatzat thing..the Q
    36..space thingy..I've never heard of it?"

    Jack Halloway replies:" Neither has Lord Kalvan apparently.I bluffed him.

    Space Marine:" yeah..but..i found no references to that weapon in the Fed Archives."

    Jack Halloway:"Try looking under Terran History.
    cica 1950 AD.Loony Tunes."





    and the red headed girl....

    Judy Halloway.
    teenage daughter of Jack Halloway.A pint sized package of trouble.She was born on Altoona to Susan Halloway.
    Her dad and mom seperated shortly after her birth.She has
    her moms inqusitive nature,and will be a top notch scientist someday..mabye..shes got a lot of her dads adventuring instinct in her,wich leads her into some interesting situations.She is an avid galactic history bufand loves alien languages.
    She is currently under the wing of her father,as her mom
    has dissapeared on assignment for the Terran scientific division in the Gallor-clandrime region.
    Quotes:

    "I dunno.It appears to be an inspection plate.Its in old
    chim script.It either says atomic nebulizer or press button for bacon.Either way i say we poke the button"

    "DAD! QUIT CALLING ME YOUR LITTLE FUZZY WUZZY!!! IM 16!"

    "well if we lower the gravatic density compensators we should be able to save 8 parsecs off our route.We don't really need shields at light speed anyway right?"

    "You've kidnapped the wrong life form pal.Does the name Jack Halloway and the space Lancers mean anything to you?"

    "Hmmm..i think by the markings it goes this way up.If not
    everybody in 20 klicks is gonna know we put that on wrong

    ReplyDelete
  36. The girl wearing communication gear is named Gaulkin Frasier. She is the daughter of an ore space shipping magnate and a Calypso singer from the Caribbean. Whilst 7 months pregnant Gaulkin's mother abruptly left her man behind and fled back to the Islands, where she made sure that her daughter would be raised as a proper West Indian. When she was 15, Gaulkin went to visit UK and went to live with her father. She acknowledged his love gracefully, and let him put her through an exclusive British public school, her father's alma matter, but she insisted on keeping her own identity, speaking with an exaggerated West Indies accent to vex her British aunts and uncles. After graduating with top honors from the London School of Economics, Gaulkin was quickly accepted as a management trainee into her dear old father's ore shipping empire. Gaulkin proved to be highly capable trainee, who increased the company's revenue and made it into the ranks of the company executives. What Gaulkin noticed were the minute fluctuations in the price of ore delivered to refineries at the instant of the delivery. A fluctuation of one penny per ton made a big difference when at stake were Weightless Barges of ore delivering shipments of one million Rth Tns (Earth Tons equivalent) and more. Putting her operations research training to work, Gaulkin implemented optimal navigation routes for the company ore ships from distant asteroids and outer planets to the several refinery districts, scattered across the Solar system, most located near large Off World Starship build sites. Gaulkin also implemented a system of alerts and decision points for Captains to divert the ship on the moment's notice to the most profitable refinery of the moment. The exact details of her network communications have been patented and are a closely guarded trade secret. Gaulkin's father was quick to recognize his progeny's achievement and back her as the company officer. Her latest project is to build refinery ship, a small man made satellite really, and to get the shipping company directly involved in the rare metals trade. To oversee this project, her date gave her the use of his best and most luxurious starship yacht, Indomitable, which Gaulkin took immediate liking to and nicknamed it Insufferable. Gaulkin was well regarded by the ore ship captains, swayed over to her side by a system of bonuses for successful deliveries of ore to refineries, which Gaulkin implemented to reward the captains initiative and participation in her system of speculation. She accepted their half-joking salutes in stride and hijacked their half-mockery of her as their "Admiral". Gaulkin cut a dashing figure. Easily over six foot tall in her high heeled boots, she had a demanding voice and an imposing presence. Having been a life-long swimmer, cyclist, and later a polo-player, Gaulkin knew the power of her looks and was not afraid to use them. From a theater supply house she purchased a dark blue cape, which she had embroidered with the company logo. Next, she bought, borrowed, or stole an antique British Royal Navy officer's sword, which she retrofitted with a modern blade made from the best Damascus steel in the Japanese Tanto design. She simplified the hilt and gold-plated it, making it from a light-weight non-metallic alloy. Now the transformation was complete. Holding the court among her loyal followers and wearing the most expensive and the latest in communications gear, that was custom built for her with the creative input from the most happening fashion designers, Gaulkin used it to constantly talk to her crew, her staff and her computers. The transformation into the CEO heit apparent was complete.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Top Image

    Cmdr. Charleton "Char" Rawlings

    Reaching the stars was a dream of Char Rawlings from the time he was a boy. As soon as he was able, he sought work on spaceship, escaping a harsh family life and dim economic future. With no real skills, he took the lowest job available as security on the heavy freighter Rochester. After proving himself capable in several altercations with pirates, Ralings moved quickly up in rank in Colonial Security. In his spare time, he taught himself spacecraft piloting and navigation.

    When forced to bring his unit's force to bear on civilians during a riot on a remote world, Rawlings felt he had had enough. He resigned his commission and returned to The Rochester, this time as a Co-Pilot. He remained for several years, eventually taking command of the vessel when the previous commander retired.

    Rawling's simple life in the cargo business has come to an abrupt end as, on the brink of galactic conflict, the Rochester has been called into service as a privateer...

    ReplyDelete
  38. In a flash of insanity, this hit me tonight. A story for the first picture, with apologies to Gordon Lightfoot:


    Sam Bradshaw's Lament

    The legend lives on from port Chippewa on down
    of the trade route they called "Gitche Gumee."
    The stars, it is said, never give up their dead
    when the routes of the jumpspace turn ugly.
    With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
    than the Starship Fitzgerald weighed empty,
    that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
    when the "Pirates of Yavanna" came calling.

    The ship was the pride of the Azizos side
    coming back from some mine on Maruki.
    As the big freighters go, it was bigger than most
    with a crew and good captain well seasoned,
    concluding some terms with a couple of steel firms
    when they left fully loaded for San Charon.
    And later that night when the ship's klaxon rang,
    could it be the pirate's wrath they'd been fearin'?

    The strain in the engine made a tattle-tale sound
    and a voice on the radio came hailing.
    And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too
    'twas the witch of Yavanna come stealin'.
    The captain refused and inspired the crew
    as the pirates commenced their attackin'.
    A blast destroyed a main, as he fought through pain
    to save a young man from the vacuum.

    When reprieve finally came the old doc came on deck sayin'.
    "Captain, it's too rough t'save ya."
    At seven P.M. a main hatchway blew in; he said,
    "Captain, it's bin good t'know ya!"
    The captain wired in he had borders comin' in
    and ordered the good crew from peril.
    And later that night as the boats drift outta sight
    came the loss of the Starship Fitzgerald.

    Does any one know where the love of God goes
    when ambush turns minutes to hours?
    The searchers all say they'd have made Hathor Bay
    if they'd put fifteen more leagues behind 'er.
    They might have split up or they might have been captured;
    they may have broke hard and took vaccum.
    But all that remains is the young man once saved
    by a captain whose ghost it still haunts him.

    New Iapetus rolls, Monocerotis sings
    in the rooms of her ice-cavern mansions.
    Old Azizos steams like a young man's dreams;
    the moons and bays are for sportsmen.
    And farther on down Karajina Prime
    takes in what Mara V can send her,
    And the iron boats go as the pilots all know
    with the Pirates of Yavanna remembered.

    In a musty old bar sits a man on his own,
    as withered as space fare can make one.
    And each week he cries as he drinks twenty-nine times
    to each man on the good ship Fitzgerald.
    The legend he tells on from port Chippewa on down
    of the trade route they called "Gitche Gumee."
    "The stars," he said, "never give up their dead
    when the Pirates of Yavanna come calling!"

    ReplyDelete
  39. After a night's sleep, I made some modifications to the above adding a bit more story, and would like to replace it. Please feel free to edit out the original.


    Sam Bradshaw's Lament

    The legend lives on from port Chippewa on down
    of the trade route they called "Gitche Gumee."
    The stars, it is said, never give up their dead
    when the routes of the jumpspace turn ugly.
    With a load of iron ore twenty-six thousand tons more
    than the Starship Fitzgerald weighed empty,
    that good ship and true was a bone to be chewed
    when the "Pirates of Yavanna" came calling.

    A lad joined the crew, bright young shiny and new
    seeking to make his fame and fortune.
    Without many years, he had no learned fears
    and ignored the crew and captain's learned warnin's.
    They concluded some terms with a couple of steel firms
    as they left fully loaded for San Charon.
    And later that night when the ship's klaxon rang,
    could it be the pirate's wrath they'd been fearin'?

    The strain in the engine made a tattle-tale sound
    and a voice on the radio came hailing.
    And ev'ry man knew, as the captain did too
    'twas the witch of Yavanna come stealin'.
    The captain refused and he bolstered the crew
    as the pirates commenced their attackin'.
    A blast destroyed a main, as he fought through pain
    to save the young lad from the vacuum.

    When reprieve finally came the young lad crossed the deck sayin'.
    "Captain, it's too rough t'save ya."
    At seven P.M. a main hatchway blew in; he said,
    "Captain, it's bin good t'know ya!"
    The captain wired in he had borders comin' in
    and ordered the good crew from peril.
    And later that night as the lad's boat drifted outta sight
    came the loss of the Starship Fitzgerald.

    Does any one know where the love of God goes
    when ambush turns minutes to hours?
    The lad drifted for days till he made Hathor Bay
    but never saw another crew member.
    They might have split up or they might have been captured;
    they may have broke hard and took vaccum.
    But all that remains is the young man once saved
    by a captain whose ghost haunts his dreams.

    New Iapetus rolls, Monocerotis sings
    in the rooms of her ice-cavern mansions.
    Old Azizos steams like a young man's dreams;
    the moons and bays are for sportsmen.
    And farther on down Karajina Prime
    takes in what Mara V can send her,
    And the trading boats go as the pilots all know
    with the Pirates of Yavanna remembered.

    In a musty old bar sits a man on his own,
    as withered as space fare can make one.
    And each week he cries as he drinks twenty-nine times
    to each man on the good ship Fitzgerald.
    The legend he tells on from port Chippewa on down
    of the trade route they called "Gitche Gumee."
    "The stars," he said, "never give up their dead
    when the Pirates of Yavanna come calling!"

    ReplyDelete

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