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story outlines and notes

Post by Destructionator » Fri Dec 24, 2010 9:22 am

SPACE MURDER SERIES

they won't necessarily be aired in this order and everything is open to revisions. But I've had a lot of ideas bouncing around and want to get them all typed up somewhere so I don't forget them, and might just discuss some of the concepts outside the actual story.

episode 1: a short story about murder in space

The series starts with the space cops investigating a dead body found in space. When leads come up as dead ends, they wonder: just how did that body get into space?

features:
Introductions
Fun facts on space habitats
Glimpses into everyday life
Immigration
Possibly a trial (I'm undecided still, will make up my mind as I write up to that point. I might cut it just for time; I've barely had time to write what I've already done.)

episode 2: war games

A warship involved in a starfleet war game somehow ended up using live laser fire. When the initial investigation suspects an inside man sabotaged it, two of our inspectors are called back to Starfleet to identify the culprit and determine why he or she did it before anything worse happens.

features:
(simulated) laser combat
a look into starfleet life

episode 3: manhunt

During a routine traffic stop, an officer is gunned down in broad daylight by a suspect in multiple previous murders and robberies, sparking a nation-wide manhunt for the cop killer. Their hunt is complicated by two strange facts though: when the fugitive shot the officer, he never drew a gun, and nobody has reported seeing his face outside these crimes. How is this possible? What legal complications will this bring?

features:
cybernetic implants
a legal battle over rights to the body
habitat surveillance techniques
hostages


(That legal battle might need some expansion. A lot of sci fi discussion on the internet seems to assume some things I just find weird. That in the future everyone will just consent to all kinds of weird things and that future laws will be perfectly inline with technology.

In this one, the suspect asserts that one of his cybernetic implants, an illegal weapon, cannot be forcibly removed by the state, as it would be an illegal invasion of his basic right to his personal privacy and decency. Can the government force him to undergo a very invasive surgical procedure to remove this deadly weapon? If no, how will they safely apprehend and hold him?

It's easy to say "well obviously the rights of his potential victims outweigh his right to be a selfish prude" but I don't see it nearly as black and white, and neither will the relevant laws and officials in-story, doubly so considering how closely A'millian culture holds concepts like modesty and privacy. They consider the forced extraction of just information to be unacceptable to the point that simple witness summons are generally unenforceable! Forced extraction of physical items from the body is surely at least as bad.

If you find such beliefs to be irrational, well, remember, people aren't always rational!)


episode 4: moar murder

A member of the cast meets his or her untimely demise and the surviving members of the team have to struggle with their inability to get involved in the investigation. Another relatively straightforward plot.

features:
a gun
internal politics of the royal inspector's office
brief look at religion


episode 5: emergency

A private spacecraft crashes into the hull of a habitat. We follow the attempts to rescue the people and the following investigation into why the accident happened. Was it due to negligence from the spacecraft manufacturer or was it simply a case of "shit happens"?

features:
a daring rescue by the space fire department
engineering analysises
corporations

episode 6: blackmail in the space army

An old friend from the army comes to one of our agents looking for help. He has gotten a promotion to a respectable post in the Space Fortress, but says he is being blackmailed by someone trying to force him to turn down the job. Worse yet, he claims he can't go through official channels since there's allegedly corruption at the highest levels of government conspiring against him. Are these claims legitimate, or has an old friend simply gone off the deep end?

features:
A space fighter cliffhanger
An investigation off the books, but nevertheless by the book
A look into how the space army operates
The mob
the "illegally raising an army" legal charge


episode 7: blackmail in the space army part two: murder in the space army

The conclusion to the previous episode includes reports to higher government to root out local corruption, but, one question still persists: who was pulling the strings of organized crime? Why did they go through all this trouble to control that post at the space fortress? When a person ends up dead inside the army base, it is clear that the case is not yet closed.

features:
Long range laser fire
A space trip
Our first look at planet A'millia in this series
Higher levels of government
Espionage
A high tech investigation inside the space fortress


(Actually I think it'll probably work fine as one episode, but I want the space fighter cliffhanger! Perhaps it will simply be before a commercial break.)


episode 8: murder?

While engaged in hot persuit of a suspect, an agent is forced to use her weapon, killing the suspect. We follow two investigations: one of the suspect (just because he is dead doesn't mean he's been convicted!), and one of the agent, as well as the personal story of her reaction to having taken a human life.

It's in many ways a mirror of episode four.

features:
counselor troi
religion again


episode 9: lost in space

A spacecraft has gone missing, with one of our vacationing agents aboard. What happened? How will they recover the ship and its passengers? Will things get ugly inside?

features:
space pirates
stealth in spaaace
international jurisdiction
delta-v restrictions


episode 10: coercion

In episode one, we saw hints that the royal inspector's office was best known for investigating other police organizations, but this is the first time we actually see that go down as we watch the agents look into accusations of excessive force. Puts the rights of the accused and the rights of the victim together - where is that balance in their society? What are the consequences of this?

features:
police deception
enhanced interrogation
the imperfection of the "gut"
the blue wall


episode 11: foreign affairs

When a Starfleet ship ventures too close to another nation, it is captured and its crew detained on charges of espionage. Is this legal under international law? What were they actually doing there anyway? How will they get those people home?

features:
international relations
space navigation
foreign courtroom drama
our first real look inside another country


episode 12: safety inspection

Two agents go undercover in a routine safety inspection of a chemical company. When one of them is nearly murdered on the streets during the job, is that related to the inspection, or was it a random mugging?

features:
more civilian life

(this might be the simplest of the plots. There's very little in this idea that's specific to space or the setting at all.)


episode 13: corporate murder

When a company's missile test results in the destruction of a rival company's space liner, murder is naturally the assumption, but is there any way to prove what really happened? Could it have actually been a mistake?

features:
a would-be megacorp
asteroid destruction (analysis wankers take note)
hacking

(Note: This is adapted from something I posted in one of the RPG discussion threads)
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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Somes J » Tue Dec 28, 2010 12:29 am

Destructionator wrote:That legal battle might need some expansion. A lot of sci fi discussion on the internet seems to assume some things I just find weird. That in the future everyone will just consent to all kinds of weird things and that future laws will be perfectly inline with technology.

In this one, the suspect asserts that one of his cybernetic implants, an illegal weapon, cannot be forcibly removed by the state, as it would be an illegal invasion of his basic right to his personal privacy and decency. Can the government force him to undergo a very invasive surgical procedure to remove this deadly weapon? If no, how will they safely apprehend and hold him?
This sounds totally awesome. I want to read it.
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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Mobius 1 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:15 am

While this as a whole is incredibly interesting, I agree with Jung in a way - I've always found the legal aspects of science fiction - be it hard or soft or anywhere in between - incredibly interesting. How does one determine the rights of an AI (a question, I suspect, that would depend in large part on the nature of their creation and original purpose)? If there's internet you can access through cybernetics, can you "crack" those cybernetics like you crack an iPhone's DRM? The possibilities are endless! Brain-hacking! Cloning alone (again, this depends on the nature of the verse's tech and how/if mind transferring is anywhere near possible) opens up a gigantically interesting can of worms. What are the particular rules in ASE and how are the laws laid down around those rules?
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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Destructionator » Tue Dec 28, 2010 7:39 am

Mobius 1 wrote:While this as a whole is incredibly interesting, I agree with Jung in a way - I've always found the legal aspects of science fiction - be it hard or soft or anywhere in between - incredibly interesting. How does one determine the rights of an AI (a question, I suspect, that would depend in large part on the nature of their creation and original purpose)?
Something that gets interesting there is rights a human would hold dear are just completely irrelevant to a machine, depending on what kind of machine it is, of course. Someone like TNG's Data is quite different than Knight Rider's KITT who is quite different than something like the abstract AI I put forth in the hard sf galactic empire thread.

Data is pretty much a human, both in form and function. It'd be simple and probably adequate to treat him just like one of us.

KITT is pretty human in interaction, but very different in form. What if he sued a business owner for refusing to let him inside?

You might say that's absurd, he's a car, of course he can't go inside. But in function, he's remarkably human. Should we let his physical 'disabilities' (I guess the word does fit literally) cut him off from aspects of society?

On the other hand, asking business owners to provide ramps is one thing. It's quite another to ensure their establishments are available to a sentient automobile.


If I were making a ruling there, I'd probably go for a compromise: allowing them full access is not realistic, but perhaps if an attendant were available on demand to bring goods to him, that'd be good enough. That way, he can still patronize the business almost equally (perhaps quite equally if there was also an online catalog available for him. Hell an online ordering and delivery service might make the attendant unnecessary) without placing an unreasonable burden on everyone else.

lol separate but equal. But I don't think that principle is necessarily wrong, especially not in such an extraordinary situation like we have here.


Now, in earlier drafts of the 'verse, these KITT scenarios did play a big role in one thing. Let me return to that in my next post.



The third case is quite alien. This AI's function is more like a traditional computer program than a human. What if the operator wants to shut down the computer? Is that murder? But when it powers back up, it will be exactly as it was... Or, perhaps more interestingly, what if it spawns a copy of itself to do a task, then deletes the spawn when it has completed? Is the computer guilty of murdering its clone?

This machine cannot feel physical nor emotional pain. Do traditional ethics apply to it at all?

I'd probably say no, so it has no rights. But there is a nasty problem there: you could say the same thing about Commander Data, but we probably all agree he should be treated as a human, morally.


Wow, that's a nasty problem. It might just come down to a simple rule: if this entity, or class of entities as a general rule, ask for a right, they should get it unless it is too much of a burden on everyone else. Let judges decide on a case by case basis.


...now I'm going to write a spambot that petitions the court for some random right every so often. My program is asking, it must be heard! But perhaps regular spam filters are enough to keep that out. Until they get a false positive and some real person is ignored.

Fucking lovely.
If there's internet you can access through cybernetics, can you "crack" those cybernetics like you crack an iPhone's DRM?
This one seems somewhat trivial - yes, as long as you only do it with your own private stuff. It'd be a pretty straightforward ownership/at your own risk/licensing debate. The same story could be told with a real life iphone.... unless I'm missing something big there.


Actually, it might tie into the same episode concept Jung quoted. Another part of that one (which isn't main to the plot; I might drop it when I finally write the thing) was this guy had some cybernetic bone changes. He could vary his face on demand enough to confuse facial recognition software as well as the casual onlooker; it was one of the things he did to remain a fugitive for so long. (And one of the complications in getting the search and arrest warrants: are they completely sure this is actually the guy caught on video earlier? He doesn't look the same to the judge... and they can't even prove he has the modifications without doing an x-ray or something like that, which in itself requires a search warrant to compel, so chicken and egg scenario. They might be able to lift fingerprints or DNA without a warrant - maybe, I'm undecided on this specific aspect of the law - but all they have to compare it against is a video of his face, so they are no good anyway.

This leads the detectives on a side quest to track down the cyber installer who did the work to testify the two faces are the same person, and the judge is still very reluctant. Doubly so since this guy has a family and they want to treat him as always armed and very dangerous... a high burden or proof is required there since sending tear gas and SWAT teams into some innocent guy's house with his family around is just bad bad bad bad. Those are extraordinary methods even if they have confirmed the person's identity and already have proof beyond a reasonable doubt of his guilt!)


Would the procedure be banned due to issues like this? Well, what about a legitimate use-case. One comes up in episode 1: the victim is a transsexual, which includes sculpting facial bones (as well other miracles; watch for the little clues as to advanced technology when I get around to posting the next couple parts). It's really not that much different in procedure and results. Is it right to screw over those people over the potential of criminals misusing it? Surely not.



OK, let's bring this full circle to the jailbreaked iphones. Suppose a compromise is to allow the procedure, but only to a set of logged outputs. The transsexuals can have the procedure done and they just have to update their official ID photo. Criminals can too with the same caveat. They can even get the face changing implants, as long as it is officially logged.


Now they alter the implant to take a new form that isn't on the ID photo. I didn't have a licensed professional do it, so those restrictions don't apply. It is all inside my own body with my own wholly owned equipment; surely I have the right to do with it as I please?

Maybe. I'd argue that yes, you do. As long as you update the official record. That's all very debatable though, since there'd be no way to prove it unless you committed a crime or something else to get you on the government radar anyway, to proactively look for such violations is surely a privacy violation. My photo ID law might be useless in practice.


Heh, good stuff, if I do say so myself.
Cloning alone (again, this depends on the nature of the verse's tech and how/if mind transferring is anywhere near possible) opens up a gigantically interesting can of worms.
Now, cloning really is simple. The clone is a distinct person from the moment it is conceived; treat it exactly the same way you treat any other baby.

A mind copy as it develops is probably analogous to aborting one "soul" and overwriting it with another. We can relate to that by applying the abortion concept directly.

A mind copy after it is developed is again the same thing, but substitute the word 'abortion' for 'murder'. Just treat the new thing like any other human.


Now what if it is fully grown physically, but has some kind of blank mental state? I still think that's analogous to an abortion scenario and we can apply the same reasoning from one to the other.


There's some new ground there about screwing up DNA evidence and such, but we already have to deal with that for natural clones - twins - and it is ok, so I don't think it will break anything.
What are the particular rules in ASE and how are the laws laid down around those rules?
With my conservative ASE-verse assumptions, cloning is literally a baby. They just take genetic material, implant it into a regular egg which is then implanted into a uterus so it can grow normally. Identical in every way, aside from conception itself, to any natural child.

For individual organs, they could be grown in the lab, but they are just a flesh sample, no brains nor behavior attached, so ethics need not apply. The only laws that would get involved are laboratory safety laws. Wear your safety googles when working with chemicals or be fined, that kind of thing.
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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Destructionator » Tue Dec 28, 2010 8:17 am

Somes J wrote:This sounds totally awesome. I want to read it.
It beats the living shit out of my first idea for a conclusion to that: a police sniper takes him down during a hostage crisis. BANG, game over. Boring!

One of the interesting things, that I alluded to in my last post, a lot of this would have to be argued before the actual arrest. By the time he is actually in custody, it is too late to decide if holding him can be made safe... an aspect of the ase legal system that might show up here is a court appointed defense attorney present before any suspect is made at all. He's the ever-present counterpart to the prosecutor, defending whomever the police are pointing fingers at now, even if those fingers are pointed behind closed doors.

I'm undecided on a lot of the specifics of the legal system's implementation though, which is one reason why I'm not sure if I want to go through with trying to show a trial yet. On one hand, I like a lot about the American system (specifically the New York version) and know it fairly well, so I could draw details from it and be on relatively sturdy ground.

On the other hand, I don't want to be one of those lamers who just transplants a specific from today into fiction, maybe with minor tweaks to say LOOK ALIEN.


So I'm fairly torn there. I've settled on a number of things to transplant in, like the idea of search warrants signed by judges. But there's a lot more that I want to change for the sake of being different... but don't want to change just for the sake of being different. Will take much pondering.



Mang I should have went to bed two hours ago but one last thing then I'm gone, that other thing I promised before:
Now, in earlier drafts of the 'verse, these KITT scenarios did play a big role in one thing. Let me return to that in my next post.
I know I posted this on OZ so you might remember it, but it was the battlecruiser designed later in the timeline.

One of the things the project director (yay another job the author insert took in his long career!) had to decide was if to design an AI into the thing's core.


It is a warship. We're obviously asking it to go into battle. What if it decides to be a pacifist? Way to waste huge time on the project...

What if it resigns? Could the AI be cycled out like a human crew member, or does the whole billion dollar ship have to be retired? This was a big one in the original idea, though now I'm fairly certain it could just be dropped on a removable hard drive and a backup takes its place. But oh my the fun of dealing with spawning backups like that!

Speaking of retirement, does the bloody thing earn a military pension or life insurance? (Actually a moot point in the ase itself, since there are no military pensions: you just fall back onto the guaranteed income. Though here's a fun thing: would an AI be entitled to the guaranteed income payments? Man, that could break the government budget... all human children get it and it works out well enough, but human children also can't be mass produced in the way an AI could. Oh man and a minor child's GI payments go to the guardian. Could someone produce AIs that are ruled minor children and rake in millions from it? I smell a story! Guaranteed income fraud is a story I've run with before in my head. This would put a whole new twist on it - especially since it arguably isn't fraud at all!)

Ditto for paychecks, but that could written off by saying it pays for its own maintenance. Kinda bizarre side effects but probably manageable. It's actually somewhat hilarious to think of ships as free persons who must buy their own way though. LOL Mercenary warships! But anywho one person's salary is small next to the cost of running the thing anyway, so it could be absorbed into the budget.


What if the starship refuses an order? Does it have the right to a trial? Or a jury of its peers?! Oh my god, imagine a jury box packed with fucking space battleships! That's surreal. Of course, in practice, I'm sure the battleship AIs would just telecommute to the court room.

What if it violated the law? Does it take legal responsibility for it, or does that fall back on a human somewhere? It's a computer, it only did what it was told... the code that ran was checked in by programmer #12, let's prosecute him or at least take away his software engineering license. It's just a bunch of weird shit. Even if you could find some legal framework to hold the computer responsible, what about the victims? Would they buy into this pretty abstract argument? Or would they see as someone getting away with murder and/or negligence? Remember, with a warship, it might have to deal with other country's laws under its normal operation too!




In the end, the project director, while initially excited about the idea, ended up saying no, not because he feared Starfleet would rebel or anything silly like that, but just because the legal can of worms that would be opened if the machines were to assert the same rights any other officer has. Perhaps proper design and testing could eliminate the possibility, but so would just putting a human crew aboard, and it'd slash down the R&D costs considerably, since it is no longer breaking the new ground. (Ironically, the director was brought in because of his AI credentials - the initial plan had it as a big selling point. But oh well you can't win them all.)


Out of universe me is no longer so convinced by these arguments in this situation, but I still like having a crew on that particular class of ship so it probably always will, ai arguments be damned.
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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Siege » Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:55 pm

Destructionator wrote:What if he sued a business owner for refusing to let him inside?

You might say that's absurd, he's a car, of course he can't go inside. But in function, he's remarkably human. Should we let his physical 'disabilities' (I guess the word does fit literally) cut him off from aspects of society?
If he can't go inside, then he could hardly sue people for refusing to let him inside. Their store's inaccessability to his particular form is hardly something you can fault them for (unless it's mandated that all shops be accessable to all forms of sentience, which I hardly think will be the case). Now if we're talking about, say, a garage and the owner won't let him in, then I'd say he's free to sue to his heart's content. But it doesn't make much sense for KITT to sue a perfume shop when that shop doesn't have a door that'll allow him to fit -- it isn't a case of refusal so much as his own inability to make use of the facilities provided.
This AI's function is more like a traditional computer program than a human. What if the operator wants to shut down the computer? Is that murder? But when it powers back up, it will be exactly as it was...
It's not murder, or at least not in any way that actually matters. It seems closer to kidnapping in that you involuntarily rob someone of their freedom to do whatever they wish to do with their own time.
Or, perhaps more interestingly, what if it spawns a copy of itself to do a task, then deletes the spawn when it has completed? Is the computer guilty of murdering its clone?

This machine cannot feel physical nor emotional pain. Do traditional ethics apply to it at all?
I don't think they do. Certainly traditional definitions of murder, manslaughter etc. break down when you're dealing with software entities that can copy themselves, reintegrate bits of code from their own spawns etc.
I'd probably say no, so it has no rights.
No traditional rights, you mean. However that doesn't necessarily mean it has no rights, period.
Actually, it might tie into the same episode concept Jung quoted. Another part of that one (which isn't main to the plot; I might drop it when I finally write the thing) was this guy had some cybernetic bone changes. He could vary his face on demand enough to confuse facial recognition software as well as the casual onlooker; it was one of the things he did to remain a fugitive for so long. (And one of the complications in getting the search and arrest warrants: are they completely sure this is actually the guy caught on video earlier? He doesn't look the same to the judge... and they can't even prove he has the modifications without doing an x-ray or something like that, which in itself requires a search warrant to compel, so chicken and egg scenario. They might be able to lift fingerprints or DNA without a warrant - maybe, I'm undecided on this specific aspect of the law - but all they have to compare it against is a video of his face, so they are no good anyway.
Why do they have to compare it to a video of his face? If it's his DNA, then it's his DNA. What does it matter if his face is the same or not? We can change faces today, although admittedly the procedures involve a lot of plastic surgery. I bet a DA worth his salt would be able to get a conviction today if the DNA was a match even if there were discrepancies in the video material. After all video can be edited... And even if the video did provide reasonable doubt, then at least the prosecution should be able to obtain permission for an X-Ray test or whatever based on DNA evidence. Unless this shape-changer dude comes completely out of the blue and nobody has ever seen technology like this before, which strikes me as an exceedingly unlikely scenario. After all, where the hell did this guy get this tech if nobody has ever seen it before?
Suppose a compromise is to allow the procedure, but only to a set of logged outputs. The transsexuals can have the procedure done and they just have to update their official ID photo. Criminals can too with the same caveat. They can even get the face changing implants, as long as it is officially logged.

Now they alter the implant to take a new form that isn't on the ID photo. I didn't have a licensed professional do it, so those restrictions don't apply. It is all inside my own body with my own wholly owned equipment; surely I have the right to do with it as I please?
Err, why would you be? You can't change your name on a whim either without going through official channels either, and names are even more abstract than your own face which is a physical attribute, so why should you be allowed to change your face as you please?
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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Destructionator » Wed Dec 29, 2010 7:51 pm

Siege wrote:If he can't go inside, then he could hardly sue people for refusing to let him inside.
Consider a human in a wheelchair. If there was a flight of stairs to get in, he'd be unable to get inside either, due to his own inability, but would have a case to sue over it (at least in the US, I have no idea about laws elsewhere. I've heard the American law toward disability is one of the most extensive in the world though, so maybe this is a unique thing to us.).

While it is pretty silly for a car to assert an analogy like that in court, it's something the legislature probably didn't even think possible when they drafted the law, so the wording might apply anyway.

It's not murder, or at least not in any way that actually matters. It seems closer to kidnapping in that you involuntarily rob someone of their freedom to do whatever they wish to do with their own time.
Hmm, indeed.
No traditional rights, you mean. However that doesn't necessarily mean it has no rights, period.
Right.
Why do they have to compare it to a video of his face? If it's his DNA, then it's his DNA. What does it matter if his face is the same or not?
In this specific situation, that's all they have to compare it against; there was no DNA recovered from the crime scene. And even if there was, he could just refuse the DNA test unless there was enough evidence to compel it - somehow, they'd have to tie the suspect to the video before doing a more extensive test.

(Perhaps the case is weak regardless of the fancy cybertech. I'll have to think it through. The current plan is they get a witness saying that yes, they guy they're looking at is the same guy he did the procedure on, and that matches the video. That's enough for the search. One thing leads to another and finally they'd hopefully compare his gun implant with the bullet at the scene to get the conclusive proof for conviction.)

Err, why would you be? You can't change your name on a whim either without going through official channels either, and names are even more abstract than your own face which is a physical attribute, so why should you be allowed to change your face as you please?
But you can change your name as long as you keep it private - if you always go by a new name and all your friends call you by it, you don't have to get the government involved. While your ID card and other official records keep your other name, you aren't required to use it in everyday private usage.

Hell, until fairly recently here in NYS / US, you could use alternative names in some semi-official ways too, like bank accounts. My father went by his middle name only for years with only the government and family knowing he even had another name (and even then, his voter registration signature, for example, still used the middle name only). Though, since the Patriot Act, he's had to switch everything to include the officially registered name - instead of going by "Donald", he's now "M. Donald" on bank records, etc.


But even now, there's no prohibition on nicknames, etc.
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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Siege » Wed Dec 29, 2010 10:57 pm

Destructionator wrote:Consider a human in a wheelchair. If there was a flight of stairs to get in, he'd be unable to get inside either, due to his own inability, but would have a case to sue over it (at least in the US, I have no idea about laws elsewhere. I've heard the American law toward disability is one of the most extensive in the world though, so maybe this is a unique thing to us.).
I believe it is; or at least I don't think the law quite allows you to sue any business that happens to have a flight of stairs and no wheel chair lift over here. Even if it did though there's a degree of reasonability involved surely -- if the guy was a thirty-foot battle robot, would he be able to sue the business for not being large enough for him to fit through the front door? And if so, don't you think that law would be changed right quick the first time a thirty-foot battle robot sued a random shop owner?
But you can change your name as long as you keep it private - if you always go by a new name and all your friends call you by it, you don't have to get the government involved. While your ID card and other official records keep your other name, you aren't required to use it in everyday private usage.
That doesn't really address my point -- why would or should you be permitted to change your face at your leisure without any kind of official registration to go along with it? Surely I shouldn't be allowed to just change the way I look at a whim without any kind of oversight because that'd allow me to, say, rob a bank looking like my neighbor Jim Bob McGee. Just like I shouldn't be able to change my name to his at a whim in order to register a creditcard in the name of Jim Bob McGee. It would be entirely unworkable.
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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Destructionator » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:14 pm

Siege wrote:Even if it did though there's a degree of reasonability involved surely -- if the guy was a thirty-foot battle robot, would he be able to sue the business for not being large enough for him to fit through the front door?
Yes, even under the American law, if the cost of retrofitting an existing structure puts undue burden on the business, they can get an exception.

I imagine it would be the same in sci fi. Allowing a car to get in is unreasonably expensive (I figure the worst they'd get is a compromise position, like allowing online ordering by the AI). If it did go to court, KITT would probably lose, and if he won, the lawmakers would surely get to work on it very quickly.


So we're pretty much on the same page. Still, it'd make for a fun story idea to document the first time someone tried!
That doesn't really address my point -- why would or should you be permitted to change your face at your leisure without any kind of official registration to go along with it?
Ah, I see. Yes, good point, so we agree here too.
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Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Destructionator » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:59 am

Here's another one that just came to mind:

In deep space, a Starfleet ship comes across a craft in distress. The captain decides to ignore them, citing insufficient time, oxygen and propellant to take the survivors home. The way he reports it, his decision was: the people in distress dies, or he attempts a rescue and everybody dies. He chose the lesser evil.

But, innocent people are dead. An investigation has to be launched. Will the inspectors agree with the captain's report? Was he negligent? Or was he actually evil?

The other ship might be foreign too, adding a political (and possibly an allegedly racist) twist into the fold.

omfg the opening title: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjMzEijgD98

now I just need a situation where a fighter pilot can save the day too....


Anyway.

features:

Technical discussion of space flight. Just how close are they cutting those supplies? How difficult is it to do an interception at random with another space craft? On LibArc, Stofsk, frigidmagi and I were recently talking about prisoners of war in space. Is it technically feasible to take prisoners in a space battle? (The answer surely depends on the setting, of course.)

Character fights: the senior field agent (the self insert) is a Starfleet guy himself who's seen his share of space disasters, from both sides. Will he empathize with the captain? Or with the victims? The real character question though is which side Leila Sulysi will take. I think either side could fit... now I'm gonna be pondering this all night.



I find this idea to be one of the most interesting of them! The self insert doesn't get angry very often, and when he does, it usually doesn't impact professional work. This scenario has the potential to different in that area. (also conveniently giving me an excuse to write some exposition on backstory yay)

But it's bed time.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Siege » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:18 pm

This situation strikes me as similar to the one submarines were in back when they first became usable, widely deployed weapons of war. The way I understand it, before widespread submarine combat a warship would blow up another warship and when the battle was over circle around and try and pick up any survivors so they don't freeze to death or die of hunger or thirst and so on. This was the decent thing to do. But then submarines come around, and when a sub sinks a cruiser it doesn't have space to house any survivors because it is, you know, a small metal cigar with a tiny crew and a really small deck that's got waves coming over it all the time even when it's not outright submerged.

So there was a big kerfuffle about how submarine combat was ungentlemanly and the people that participated in it were craven pirates of the worst kind and how submariners should all be tried for war crimes for daring to leave those brave sailors to die of exposure on the high seas and so forth... But of course submarines were way to useful to abandon as a weapon of war so eventually people learned to deal with the fact that no, submarines can't take on POWs even if the captain were to be so inclined because, you know, no space and no crew to keep an eye on the prisoners, so tough luck for the dudes getting torpedoed into Davy Jones' Locker.
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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Destructionator » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:32 pm

That's a really good point.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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Re: story outlines and notes

Post by Destructionator » Sun Jan 01, 2012 8:34 am

I don't remember if I wrote this one up or not (the same ideas can come and go from my brain for years), but another idea that has to do with guns and shit is one where self-insert actually gets shot at for the first time.... and pretty much freezes up.

This goes at some point after the episode where his partner shoots and kills someone. In that one, he says he has never had to use his gun, and something that's been coming to my mind in a lot of these situations is the idea that much of this is just because the situation never came up.

When something does actually happen though, people can respond in different ways, often surprising themselves in the process.


Anyway, this character can handle various space disasters pretty well. When something exploded on his first real space flight ruining the mission, he was able to recover both the immediate and long term situation, getting a note in his record that he can stay calm yet act quick in a crisis. Later, when his spacecraft is fired upon, again, he's able to handle it.

But, then some punk on the street starts shooting, and it's quite different. This time, he can feel the bullets whizzing by. He has the presence to takes cover and draw his gun, but can't bring himself to actually move any other way than shaking in fear.

Luckily, his partner was nearby, and was able to apprehend the shooter fairly quickly. Nobody was seriously injured.


Then, comes the discussion of what happened there, and eventually, despite fears that it might lead to a job change and the fact that his partner being willing to cover for him (she didn't know all the details anyway, being on the other side of the street and focusing on the gunman; saying "he was pinned down" is generally true), is convinced by his friend to tell the boss the whole story. Indeed, the job change possibility actually helps do the convincing too, internally...... if they reassign him, that's a good guarantee that it won't happen again, and it's justified because they are giving the order, so he's not quitting over it....

But, this means the event is on record. It doesn't get him fired or transferred though. They just chalk it up as a learning experience, and that's pretty much the end of it.


Well, it does come up again, when applying for another Starfleet mission many years later. This mission involves ground work too, with potentially hostile people - it is exploring the lost cluster (aka my SG-1 ripoff).

First off, he'd prefer to just avoid that situation entirely! What's the best way to avoid being shot at? Not getting back into the military is surely a good start, or, at the very least, staying on the ship. But, Leila has a way of convincing him to get into a lot of things he wouldn't do by himself, especially when it involves moar science and wonderous curiosity.


Secondly though is the selection committee. Someone who doesn't like the idea of killing and doesn't like the idea of being shot at probably isn't the ideal candidate for an SG team, where shit is likely to happen. I haven't thought this out in detail yet (though the conclusion is set - the adventures must happen!)




Aaaaaaaaaaaannnnnnnnnyyyyyyyyyyyyyyway.



All this character experience thing has led me to revising the timeline a little again, this time from his perspective moreso than any kind of big event. I want a lot of these "firsts" to be back where it is less likely, to have a kind of growth arc thingy.

But, this is what I have so far, for the big but personal picture:


indetermined youth jobs. there's def some amateur astronomy in there but nothing professional of any sort.

then joins the royal knights, does a variety of jobs including some weather relief and street policing. Stuff happens, but nothing particularly violent.

the war breaks out and he's sent to clean things up. biggest fear thing yet, but there's no enemy by the time he gets there, so no fighting. Does rescue some civilian prisoners (and later adopts one of the orphans) and sees a small amount of some pretty fucked up shit. btw fun fact: this sequence was inspired many many years ago by Final Fantasy 7: the flashback where Cloud and Sepiroth go to the mako reactor in his hometown and there's that fucked up Jenova shit going on there. I've tweaked it a lot since then, but there's still elements that trace directly to this.

collectively, the two jobs above form "my time as a street cop" and "when I was in the army" stories, and he almost always talks about good or mundane stuff; he'll talk about the time his unit shoveled out some baron in the blizzard of '79 over and over again, but rarely discusses the mission in the war aside from a brief mention of how he met his adopted daughter.


starfleet job #1 comes very shortly after this. the reason he joined the military in the first place was to get setup for starfleet. the mission was to fly escort for a transport that brings evicted settlers back home, a three month or so round trip. Shit goes wrong and he handles it, impressing the mission commander - one of the king's in-laws, a connection that opens doors down the line, and on this mission, he meets Leila, and they'd quickly become bffs.

(btw, she worked in a children's hospital before joining starfleet)

after the mission, the two of them go to inactive reserve status (if you will; i haven't hammered out all the details of this but basically they can call him up or he can just randomly show up with no daily obligation)

his family adopts one of the war orphans (the way this works is he adopted her, but in amillian society, the whole extended family often lives together for a good three generations, sometimes more, and if you're any part of the family you're all of it. but brothers, sisters, and cousins are all kinda the same thing in practice there. parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, again all a kind of similar group. while there's still nuclear family subgroupings, the distinction between them is less than we're used to from an American perspective. I believe the Chinese live sorta like this, but tbh I don't know much about anything outside myself.

but anyway bottom line is a single guy did the adopting, but it's not just the two of them. she's just a new member of the greater family.)



and at the same time he and leila hit up the motherfucking college ass shit for their first doctorates together.

the college years have been a part of the timeline for a long time, but have almost no stories to them, little nor big. the only one that's there is the graduating class has a whopping eight people in it, and they're pretty excited to call each other "doctor" when it's all done. but college is p. lame.


then they go into research for a while, at different locations. he does artificial intelligence/systems automation at the royal academy and she goes up to the space station and a little time at the moon base to look at space molecules or whatever a chemist with a biology and medicine background would do up there.

the stories that fit in here are the weekend trips up and down he takes to space to visit her, pretty much every week. he also commutes to w0rk from the family home; the daughter is coming up on her teen years, oh my. but she's a good kid. anyway lots of travel in this time.

but this has a good chunk of space tourism and one more story to tell: after being up in space for a full year, leila came back down... and promptly misjudged a jump and broke her leg. fucking full gravity.




meanwhile though, things are starting to go to hell in space, and efforts switch to fixing it up. this is a multi-year process culminating in starfleet job #2. shortly after the daughter grows up, time for adam&leila to leave for space again, and this is a long mission: stabilize the deteriorating situation with SCIENCE previously, this was fixing up after WW3 and global warming and all kinds of other earth shit you could read about in stardestroyer.net's doom and gloom threads, but now without FTL, there's no earth, so the specifics have to change. I haven't decided on all this yet. The requirement is it needs to be major, it needs to be widespread, and it needs to be fixed with a combination of science and compassion. But the specifics aren't terribly important for the timeline; regardless, I'm keeping the idea in here.

this is the restoration years, and has a lot of triumphant stories, because the mission is a complete success, although it took a long time.

it includes the singing mob story, and the we starved ourselves to help you and people appreciated that story, the everyone gathered around to see the new baby story, and we didn't save you, we just helped you help yourself things. lots of stuff.

in the bigger picture, this is where the a'millian star empire really took root; they aren't just a little country on a little snowy island on the planet anymore. They have whole habitats of humans in space looking up to them too.



again they go off starfleet active duty and spend some time at home.


now comes one of the little revisions I talked about earlier. it used to be that SPACE MURDER - the royal inspector years - was quite a bit later, but I think I actually want to put it somewhere around here.

this would put ti before the construction of some of the bigger space fortresses and a lot of the habitat so it might take some minor revisions, but I like it here cuz:

a) it's earlier in the character's life, so it can have those firsts I opened the post with

and

b) it's earlier in the country's life, so I can put in more growing pains than it had, and maybe talk about cultural shifts and literally watching the country grow


But it just generally makes new situations more believable. No, the law hasn't covered all that yet because the law is still quite young itself. Everybody's great grandfather is an immigrant since the country wasn't around back then!


So, while it doesn't have all the familiar stuff well established to blab about, seeing it take shape may be more interesting than blabbing about it anyway, and besides, it is still late enough that much of it is established, just not fully. A middle ground of sorts.


But they go to live out in the colonies for a while and go back to their more practical older jobs (though with a new twist) rather than the newer research jobs. Technically, they are still doctors of science, but that takes a major back seat.

so this is all about formation. formation of the next growth of the characters and the country alike.



Next up is back to starfleet, back to science - the lost habitat exploration. By this time, they are both starfleet lieutenants.



wow I'm running out of time. Gotta pick up the pace.



now an undefined period of probably home time again


college mk II - they again go together to get moar doctorates, this time in physics and geology to be more valuable to starfleet's deep space science section


the starship trip drops in here, moved up in the timeline from before. they visit the outer star. i posted a thingymapoper on libarc and sdn that kinda played with this; quasi canon shits
http://board.libriumarcana.com/viewtopi ... 6&p=137393

the most important life thing that happens on this trip though is adam&leila finally decide to get formally married, which happens right after the mission

he's supposed ot be wearing his super fancy uniform there which previously meant a fancy promotion was had, as a prelude to getting into politics for a while. i don't think that works well with the timeline shuffled like this. i want to keep that marriage picture in my mind as valid though. might need tweaking.


then is a home period again, and at some point around here, the second war breaks out.





I'm out of steam for now, and ran out of time 90 minutes ago, so let's leave it here tonight. I do like moving all these items up though for a lot of reasons.

You'll notice there are no hard dates. This spreads over about 120 years though, a long time. But that's cutting out about a century of establishment and swapping the order of some events so will be tons of fun when I get to revising those details!


Anyway bed time.
His Certifiable Geniusness, Adam D. Ruppe (My 'verse)
Marle: Lucca! You're amazing!
Lucca: Ain't it the truth! ... Oh, um...I mean...
Marle: Enough with the false modesty! You have a real gift! I would trade my royal ancestry for your genius in a heartbeat!

"I still really hate those pompous assholes who quote themselves in their sigs." -- Me

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