First Glimpse

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Booted Vulture
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First Glimpse

Post by Booted Vulture » Thu Feb 16, 2017 11:03 pm

Of no specific setting and I think the influences must be quite obvious, but here is an extended edition of something I wrote for this SDN Challenge. With an extra 60 words I cut there.

First Glimpse

Commander Liam Harvey sat utterly straight in the passenger chair, even while the whine of the engine field propelling the shuttle felt like a nail being pushed into each temple. To react would hardly be in keeping with an officer’s dignity, especially not an officer being transported to his first command.

Gaining his command hardly at the same pomp and circumstance surrounding it as it would have had in the days of his ancestors, a simple e-mail notification from the Admiralty A.I. that he had been selected for command was slightly underwhelming, even if given that as the AI weighed thousands of metrics when making its decisions the appointment could be seen as much meritorious than in the old sea navies. Liam and friends had still celebrated his advancement in time-honoured fashion: ‘Wetting the swab’ with half a dozen bottles of alcohol from nearly as many worlds, so the newly-minted Commander could not resent his headache in the slightest.

The coxswain touched a button on his console and the display in front on the Commander’s display flickered into life, displaying a magnified view of the space ahead of their path, unasked but very welcome. Harvey wondered if there was grey hair concealed behind the man’s mirrored faceplate and how many fresh faced commanding officers the enlisted man had ferried to their command over the years.

The pitch of the engines wobbled a second before settling back down into its steady penetrating wail and a glance at the corner of the display showed they’d hit the halfway point and the pod was decelerating rather than accelerating towards their destination. Spithead sphere was the premier fitting-out location for the navy, half the vessels in the system were based there. In a volume centring on Spithead Station itself a jealous depot yard stuffed full of naval supplies, surrounded by a cloud of vessels clamouring for their needs, the more extensive the refits required the closer they were to the station, those more ready for space were further out with only the protective cloud of sensor buoys and gun-sats further out.

A vessel loomed up in the display. It was an old vessel and small. The clean white of its hull was mottled where newer hull panels were installed. One section was clearly rebuilt, interrupting the red strake a previous captain had painted it’s flank. All it’s weapons were inboard and covered with woefully small hatches. Harvey pitied the man assigned to it.

“Inbound shuttle, please identify,” the comm unit crackled with a transmission from the craft they were observing.

“Agile, incoming,” The pilot replied.

Harvey’s heart swelled with affection for the spacecraft. It was a classic design, and was clearly a vessel with a long and honourable battle-record. She was just short of the mass required to be a full Starship, but still with her three warp motors; she would have speed and endurance.

The sound of the engines died completely. There were a few short rumbling noises of the manoeuvring jets killing off the last trace of their momentum, bringing them to rest with the vessel and orientating them to the airlock. They hooked on with a loud clank.

Commander Liam Harvey, Captain of His Majesty’s Starsloop Agile grinned like a loon for the briefest second before the doors opened to the sound of the bosun’s whistle welcoming him to his command.
Ah Brother! It's been too long!

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Siege
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Re: First Glimpse

Post by Siege » Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:57 pm

:-D For England, for home, and for the prize!

You have my attention, sir. Interesting to see the AI can apparently weigh so many variables, but it's still dudes commanding ships. One wonders if that's traditional inertia or if there's some other reason.

If I could offer one suggestion: elements like Spithead and the Agile herself could perhaps do with a little more describing. Otherwise, carry on sir!
"Nick Fury. Old-school cold warrior. The original black ops hardcase. Long before I stepped off a C-130 at Da Nang, Fury and his team had set fire to half of Asia." - Frank Castle

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Booted Vulture
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Re: First Glimpse

Post by Booted Vulture » Wed Feb 22, 2017 11:57 pm

Siege wrote:
Tue Feb 21, 2017 4:57 pm
:-D For England, for home, and for the prize!
If only I'd borrowed the name as well. Then, Surprise would be on my side.
You have my attention, sir. Interesting to see the AI can apparently weigh so many variables, but it's still dudes commanding ships. One wonders if that's traditional inertia or if there's some other reason.
This is where the quick thing for the challenge breaks down. I'm thinking the AI computers could be too massive for a space going vessel. Or else perhaps they react badly to the warp fields used for FTL?
If I could offer one suggestion: elements like Spithead and the Agile herself could perhaps do with a little more describing. Otherwise, carry on sir!
The word count scuppered me there but basically Spithead is all there. There's not much need for docking bays fully enclosing starships in space. There's just a central station with all the supplies and basing for techies/work tugs and then all the ships orbit that. The one's that need the most work are closest in so supplies and workers can flow most easier between them. The other just orbit inside the defense perimeter while waiting for supplies/personnel/orders.

Agile herself, I'm thinking is like Matt Jefferies idea of a ship. Absolutely everything the crew could need to service is inside the ship, or rather can be yanked inside it when needed. So she looks rather plain from the outside. Picturing something cylindrical or lozenge shaped. The outboard elements would be the warp nacelles; with three mounted equally on the back of the ship so they all have line of sight on both of the others. You only need two running, the third is there so they can rotate the pairs in use and cruise for longer.
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Siege
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Re: First Glimpse

Post by Siege » Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:50 pm

Ah, right, a word count limit. I'd missed that on the first read-through, but that would explain the minimalist prose :-).
Booted Vulture wrote:This is where the quick thing for the challenge breaks down. I'm thinking the AI computers could be too massive for a space going vessel. Or else perhaps they react badly to the warp fields used for FTL?
Either of those would work for an explanation. Alternatively perhaps AI are very, very good at sifting through vast volumes of data and compiling them into different piles of more relevant data, but they're not particularly agile and they're not particularly imaginative - sort of like the ship computers in Star Trek, maybe. So they're just not well suited to combat situations or really anything that requires quick responses in a fast-moving decision cycle.
"Nick Fury. Old-school cold warrior. The original black ops hardcase. Long before I stepped off a C-130 at Da Nang, Fury and his team had set fire to half of Asia." - Frank Castle

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wellis
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Re: First Glimpse

Post by wellis » Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:57 pm

Planning on writing more stuff in this verse? Because it looks interesting.

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Booted Vulture
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Re: First Glimpse

Post by Booted Vulture » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:48 am

wellis wrote:
Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:57 pm
Planning on writing more stuff in this verse? Because it looks interesting.


Thanks. I might if get inspired and find something appropriately hornblower/aubrey/ramage to write for it.
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wellis
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Re: First Glimpse

Post by wellis » Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:34 am

Booted Vulture wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:48 am
wellis wrote:
Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:57 pm
Planning on writing more stuff in this verse? Because it looks interesting.
Thanks. I might if get inspired and find something appropriately hornblower/aubrey/ramage to write for it.
Hmm how Hornblower or Aurbrey or Ramage would you have it be? Would such homages be reflected even in weapons and combat like with David Drake's Lieutenant Leary series or David Weber's Honor Harrington series?

What kind of accelerations would you imagine for ships in this setting? What kind of technologies? The guy sitting in the chair implies artificial gravity but the pod hitting the halfway point and starting to decelerate implies Newtonian physics. Sounds kind of like Babylon 5 or Mass Effect in that sense. :D

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speaker-to-trolls
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Re: First Glimpse

Post by speaker-to-trolls » Tue Apr 25, 2017 5:46 pm

Booted Vulture wrote:
Siege wrote: You have my attention, sir. Interesting to see the AI can apparently weigh so many variables, but it's still dudes commanding ships. One wonders if that's traditional inertia or if there's some other reason.
This is where the quick thing for the challenge breaks down. I'm thinking the AI computers could be too massive for a space going vessel. Or else perhaps they react badly to the warp fields used by FTL ships.
I think the second of those is the most interesting option. It makes for a big division between the big developed systems and the outlying planets and means that the guys out Star Trekking are all following the orders of completely ineffable commanders who can never come and inspect things personally,I see lots of room for drama in such a setup.
"Little monuments may be completed by their first architects, but great ones; true ones leave their copestones to posterity. God keep me from completing anything."

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