NationStates Jolt Archive

the ships of the smoke ring milita

04-02-2004, 20:55
research log entry:
it's always cold here. i know they need a huge expanse of land to build the space port. but couldn't they have picked a warmer place. (*) mind you the aurouas are nice. i heard that it is becuase of the way that the magnetic motors(**) torque the planetary magentic fields. but that is not why i am here. it is learn about the culture of the sailors, and how it relates to the cultures of the ancient mariners.

i'm an anthropologist, or at least i will be. the research that i'm conducting will build my doctoral thesis. that research has led me here. if i can gather enough information perhaps i can write something on the nature of the stories that the sailors tell.

research log entry:
i guess i don't look too much like a sailor. but then i hope i don't. there is something odd, scary almost about the eyes of some of them. eyes that seem to have seen death too many times. marcus talked about it once, his eyes sometimes have the same look. there is one though, an oldtimer. his eyes have that look of death, but still they look human. i asked the bar tender about him. she told me that he has been sailing since the first ship. that he has sailed with the best. that up until recently there wasn't a class of ship he hadn't sailed on.

it was at about this time that someone bumped into the oldtime. the younger sailor spilt his beer. the oldtimer turned around. it looked like there was going to be a fight and the oldtimer would end up on the short end of it. one of the sailor's compainions came up and whispered something into the sailor's ear, and then looked warily at the oldtimer. the sailro backed down. the oldtimer turned back to the bar. perhaps i can get some good research out of him. "a good an explanation as any," the bartender told me. she seemed to have an idea of what i was thinking of doing. i'll have to come back tomorrow after having gotten some more information on him.

author's note, mine not the character's
* - the best available space for the space port is on the northern most subcontinent. the harsh climate and its island nature provide a natural barrier against invasive species.
** - the magentic motors push against both induced magentic feilds in the bedrock and related strata. they allow for the lauching of large craft without the damaging effects of plasma or related thrusters.
13-02-2004, 04:11
a blue light shines through the bar windows. it has been filtered down from intense and harsh to a soft glow. the light is effect of the magnetic motors of eight tugs braking 300 kilotonnes of nickel-iron rock and bulk cargo to a soft landing.

"i sailed those a couple of times." the oldtimer takes a drink of his beer. "they leave the sails and systems up in orbit, and just drop that down. get about five runs before the rock is too badly cracked to repair again. they spend the next couple of weeks stapling and patching the cracks in one of those.

"use them too long and they'll come apart in space. had that happen once. must have torqued or something coming out of the matrix. the rock shattered. spilt grain across a cubic kilometre of space. took out two thirds of our sails, started seams in the liveable spaces, and nearly breached the fusion core. damn near didn't make it back from that one." he takes a hard drink on his beer.

"why not build a suitable hull? surely it would last long than the five runs," i ask.

"and it would, i've seen some hulls that i sailed on still in action. but it would cost too much to build. it turns out it is cheaper to melt a rock with some water in it under some fusion jets. you spin it to get coverage by the jets. and the shape and size follow once the water boils. the sails and systems are the expensive parts. they get bolted on and reused for each trip. the stuff that they haul has a prety thin margin. they would never pay off the cost of a hull of equivalent tonnage."