Sunday, February 22, 2015

Game Night @ DoK's
 
I'm stuck; I wanted to hang out @ DoK's last night. I was looking @ 'Heroine' and 'Reign'. Not sure I could pull off 'Heroine' but I'd love to play in somebody else's game… I originally wanted to do a One-Roll Stars & Worlds Game, but I never put it together.

Companies are kewl, like Groups with the FATE fractal. I want to use that, and I could run ORE some time. Spacecraft would be based on monsters, I guess. Actually, that's an idea for a living tech setting, especially, but not limited to, living starships!

Deal a Campaign- How many PCs? Number N*10 index cards, 1 to 10, plus 10 more, 1 to 10. Deal out eleven cards per player, so that, in theory, the PCs won't be overlapping each other's niches… I could write a program!

(Got lazy and put it to excel to roll me some virtual dice 8-)

PC #1 is 3x3, 3x10, and 2x4, with waste dice of 5, 6 and 7.

PC #2 is 4x5, 2x8 and waste dice of 2, 3, 4, 7 and 10.

PC #3 is 3x4, 2x3, 2x5 and 2x8 with waste dice of 6 and 10.

PC #4 is 2x2, 2x6, 2x9 and 2x10 with waste of 1, 4 and 8.

PC #5 is 4x6, 2x1, 2x4, and 2x5, with one waste die, 10.

PC #2 has four 5s, a 1st Mate and two 8s, a squad leader. PC #5 has four 6s, a Frontline Fighter who knows something of begging, trading and sailing. PC #1 has three 3s, a Traveling Bard, and three tens, a Minor Noble and dabbles at commerce. PC #3 has three 4s, a Canny Tradesman, sailor and squad leader. No. 4 is a Jack of all Trades, having some thieving, fighting, sorcery, and being a noble bastard.

3 PCs have a 10 waste die, but there are three charts to choose from, so they don't all have to be the same… 2 PCs have 7s and 2 have 4s, as well. Move through all three charts, from start to finish on the waste dice.

PC #4, the minor noble is the jack of all trades', PC #1's, half-brother. PC #2 has sailed with 3 and 5, wants a ship bad and is partners with the canny tradesman and the frontline fighter on a speculative venture… The minor noble has other people's money to invest, and a secret commission, perhaps, and some use of a thieving, fighting, spell-casting bastard half-brother.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Alien AlSiO 'Worms' 

The Galactic Zoo aliens take aluminosilicate space rocks apart with molecular nanotechnology and then put them together? Let's say it's the same as what we need to send a kilo to escape velocity- 8,000^2*2 = 128,000,000 J/kg is 128 W/mg. The 'Worm' model of Alien AlSiOMNT is a hexagonal cross-section of 7,500 elements, deposited, @ one million times per second, 1MHz, 133.333 layers per second. A 4,000 nm worm is 100 nm wide and 4,000 nm has a mining/depositing head at either end and replicates in 30 seconds. It mines faster than it lays down stuff, is 2.8 g/cc vs. 5.6 g/cc of AlSiO rock. A 'worm' butts up to a rock face and mines material at one end, 2 micrometers in 30 seconds while printing out another 4 micrometer worm at the other end, which whips around and finds an empty bit of rock to nosh on… 

Energy may be a choke point. One billion 'worms' mass 10^9*(1/10^7)^2*3/4*4/10^6*10^9*2.8 = 0.084 mg of AlSiOMNT, which has an energy cost of .084*128 = 10.8 W over 30 seconds. At 100 W/m^2 per second, we need 10.8/100/30 = 0.0036 m^2, or .0036*100^2 = 36 cm^2 of surface to provide the energy. One billon worms is 10^9*4,000*100/(10^9)^2*100^2 = 4.0 cm^2, an order of magnitude less, nearly 5 minutes. Actually, it's twice as bad, because we need to break the rock apart first, transport it a little way and print it into the 2nd worm, so call it 10 minutes for a worm to replicate, 6 times per hour.

I'm probably being pessimistic about the energy cost and optimistic about the speed of assembly/disassembly, plus the feasibility of the aliens' AlSiOMNT, but that evens out. The real impossible thing is FTL… anyway, in the outer solar system, we'd expect them to power all this with fusion. Doubling six times per hour, 24/7, the 31 rings wouldn't take all that long to put together. A trillion 'worms' massing 84 grams (probably more like 84 tonnes! 8-) grows to 84*2^(6*24)/10^6 = 1E39 tonnes in 24 hours, when supplied with enough energy. Of course, it's physically impossible for something to grow that fast; 10^12*2^(6*24) = 2E55 worms need a rock face of 2E55*3/4/(10^7)^2/10^12 = 1E29 km^2, over 100 billion, *billion*, times the surface area of the Earth!

(12,760/3*1,000)^2/pi^11 = 6.15E7*10^3*31 = 1.91E12 tonnes, total.

1.91E12 tonnes divided by 84 grams is 1.91E12/84*10^6 = 2.27E16 fold increase, just over nine hours- 84/10^6*2^55 = 3.03E12 tonnes. That's a rock face of 10^12*2^55*3/4/(10^7)^2/10^12 = 270.2 m. km^2, which is a little over half the surface area of the Earth. Since the worms need to spread out over the surface of an Earth-sized body @ 12,760*pi/4 = 10,021.7 km over 600 seconds, or 10,021.7/600 = 16.7028 km/s, over twice orbital velocity, that is also unlikely.

Since three trillion tonnes is a rock 3.03E12/5.6 = 5.4107E11 m^3 in volume and a sphere (5.41E11*3/4/pi)^(1/3)*2 = 10,109.6 m across, 10,109.6/10^3 = 10.11 km. A mountain, in space, but not hard to find, or rip out of Ceres, Vesta or any random outer icy rock-ball moon like Saturn's' moon Phoebe. A couple of trillion tonnes is less than a tenth of a quarter of one percent of that moons' mass. The mass of 'worms' would probably have to physically bust up the rock to make for enough surface area to convert rock into stuff quickly, then launch it at the inner solar system. 

For doing stuff, or moving around, the worms link up in sheets 4-8 one millionths of a meter thick and slide past each other. One m/s per sheet would be a laminar flow 2 mm thick with a difference 250 m/s between top and bottom, .25 km/s, 150 km in the 10 minutes it takes to replicate one worm.

Get the mass in transit, with fuel, and build the ring on the way, do the course corrections and terminal maneuvering, where the ring swaps 10 tonnes/m^2 of off-world mass for Earth stuff, lifts it to orbit and sends it on the way to the Galactic Zoo. On arrival, the 'worms' zip the strip into a cylinder which laps itself about 300 times, adds end-cones, heating, lighting, additional atmo and water, and joins each sample of Earth to the rest of the structure which makes up the Galactic Zoo.

Plus whatever other things which its' unknown masters require…
Designing Aliens

I need to design aliens for my Relaxicon 2015 Game, 'Welcome to the Galactic Zoo!' I'm using Cortex, a simple game best suited to humanoid characters, but I want exotic, 'starfish', aliens, and I *will* have them. Therefore, times to establish some specifications…

These have little to do with anything, just my prejudices, I suppose. What I like and what I hate, really.

I like-
Tentacle horrors, because contrast
Centaurs
Radial symmetry
Also odd, asymmetric critters
Flying or gliding
Swimming and amphibious critters

I hate-
Humanoids and beast-people, I guess. A little. Maybe.
Pure villains or heroes
Aliens are not people in suits. Biology dictates behaviors, sapience over instinct but they come from somewhere
 
Size and mass- humans, generally, are 170 cm and 70 kg, 66" and 154#. Yes, those numbers are not all that meaningful and I came up with them on the fly; 100# weaklings and 300# slobs (err, don't look at me…). Short folk@ 4' and 7' giants. But this is a start. Half an order of magnitude bigger or smaller; 10^.5 = 3.1623 to 1/10^.5 = 0.3162. A centaur would be 1.5 to 2 times, a longer body, up to 3 times for a really stretched out one. For a human shape, height and width are 10^(1/6) = 1.4678*170 = 249.5 cm to 1/10^(1/6) = 0.6813*170 = 115.8 cm.
 
Mass variation within the species might be .5^.5 = 0.7071 to 2^.5 = 1.4142; 50 to 100 kg, 110# to 220#.

Shapes- oh, God, where to begin? Tall and thin like humans vs. short and squat (half as tall and 2^.5 = 1.4142 as wide). Radial might be short and squat, or not; it depends. I'll make the call when I design them.

·         A gliding, tentacle horror with radial symmetry. A predator, tall and thin, skinny, hollow-'boned'?! Mass is 1/10^.5 = 0.3162*70 = 22.1 kg, or 22.1*2.205 = 48.7#. Height is 1/10^.5*2*2 = 1.2649*1.7 = 2.15 m, or 2.15*3.25 = 7', width is 1.2649*.5^.5 = 0.8944 times normal; (.07/1.7)^(1/3)*2 = 0.69*.8944 = 0.617 m. More resources for meat-eaters vs. omnivores like humans, evens out- 10^.5*1/10^.5 = 1.

·         A climbing centaur, long and short, which is 1/2 as tall and 2* as long as tall, short and stout. An arboreal omnivore? 1/10^.5^.5*70*2 = 78.7 kg, 1/10^.5^.5*1.7 = 0.956 m tall and .956*2 = 1.91 m long. Similar diet, larger mass on average is 70/78.7 = 0.8895, a billion less per planet, all other things being equal.

·         Humongous scavenger/grazer. Big and massive gentle asymmetric giants, 10^1.5*70 = 2,213.6 kg 2,213.6*2.205 = 4,881#, completely violating my suggestions above. Height is 1/10th as tall and 10^.5 = 3.1623 as wide for mass, so 10^1.5/10*1.7 = 5.4 meters and 10^1.5^.5*10^.5*.69 = 12.3 m wide… the big guy from my promo! 8-P Figure that that mass is fed on lower impact calories, twice as much lower quality, 10^.5*2 = 6.3 times an omnivore, 1/10^1.5*10^.5*2 = 0.2, one fifth the numbers per world or territory. Consumes mass/10^1.5/2 per day times 10^.5*2 = 6.3 for low-quality scavenge is 2,213.6/10 = 221.4 kg, 1/10th of its' mass per day.

·         Amphibious, seal/otter centaurs? Mermaids. Half as tall, length is twice as long but 2.5* down on their bellies or fully extended in the water. Mass is .5^1.5 human, .5^1.5*70 = 24.75 kg or 24.75*2.205 = 54.6#. Height is (.5^1.5*2.5)^(1/3)*1.7/2 = 0.82 m and length is .82*5 = 4.1 m. Predators who need .5^1.5*10^.5 = 1.118 as much in resources for food as humans, so just slightly lower (1/1.118 = 0.8945) population numbers.

Most of these species are about as numerous as humans, although the second to last is almost an order of magnitude less so. 

This isn't getting me anywhere with Cortex, though…

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Welcome to the Galactic Zoo!

What Everybody Knows-

Not much. For weeks there have been bright lights, then bright oval rings, in the night sky, so bright this morning that they were visible in the day-time. There has been panic and hysteria online and over the air-waves. Lies told boldly in news-conferences, we don't *not* know what is going on, of course, but it's alright and your government is taking care of it…

The world didn't end, not for most people, just for you.

You went about your business that morning, whether it was forting up or standing tall, stepping up, and doing your job in the face of fear and chaos. Wherever you were, suddenly white filaments dropped out of the sky and around you, vehicles, buildings… and into the ground. A fine mist sprayed down, clouds appeared in a cloudless sky, and the earth moved, heaved.

Then up you went, into the sky.

Those rings? Some kind of transport system. No UFOs, except, well, we didn't know what they were, no tractor beams and anal probes, though we did get screwed over and abducted. Along with our cars, our homes, our places of work… large chunks of them. A swath of Main Street, from half the library on the West-bound side to the whole drug store by King on the East-bound side, a farm, a used car lot, some railroad tracks with a coal-car, a tractor trailer with dry-goods for S-Mart (but no driver, lucky bastard).

All up into the sky with twice the weight we were accustomed to, let down slowly by soft filaments wrapping us like a precious bundle. You had just over an hour to freak out while the heaviness tilted sideways and then fell away. By the time the Earth was above us and thousands of miles away, we felt half as heavy.

Then nothing, free-falling away…

The aliens peeled your apple, strip-mined dozens of fifty-foot sections of the planet. As terrifying as it was for you, you wonder what it was like for them, on the ground, that two hours of impotence-

You saw at least one nuke go off, down there. God have mercy on them.

The strip was like an A-frame house with window-walls. Air inside, vacuum inches away, dirt 'under' our feet when the strip began to twist and spin sideways like David's sling. You felt light, but at least down was down again. The Sun and Earth went around once a minute or so. Twelve hours later, you sailed past the Moon, and kept going.

A day or two later you came up, fast, on a glowing circle. Watched it coming, growing for maybe an hour, then went through much too fast to see what was going on.

You weren't in the Solar System, any more.

They started to roll your strip of Earth up right away, but did that more slowly, thankfully, so you got to rubber-neck a little. Wherever you were, now, the sun was an orange-color and maybe twice as big as the Sun back home. There were many, many 'cocoons', maybe, cylinders with cones on either end, three times as long as they were wide, attached to branches on what looked, maybe, a little like a tree. After a moment you realized that each of them was turning slowly.

The leading end of your strip curled over and lapped itself, then your bit zipped up next to curled strip and there was a hundred feet of ground to the left, then fifty, a hundred, a hundred and fifty, then more, to the right. The sky turned on your left, and slowly that end of the cylinder was butted up into a cone…

The abducting, absconding, aliens rolled your bit of earth up into one of the spinning cocoons and lit it up with an artificial sun which crept from one end of the space to the other in twelve hours, and went out for twelve more before repeating at the original end… maybe somebody should tell them that that direction was North, Northwest, before.

Maybe you will.

Orbital Velocity = V = (9.82*12,760/2*1,000)^.5 = 7,915.3 m/s
Period = Circumference/Orbital Velocity = 12,760*pi/7.9153 = 5,064.46 seconds, 5,064.46/60 = 84.4 minutes.
84.4*(4/3)^1.5 = 129.9 minutes; half of that is just over an hour.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Build a World, Part Two

http://vincesalienzoo.blogspot.com/2015/01/build-world-world-isearth-like.html

Oh dear, I haven't even gotten to my campaign world yet… 

I owe myself a campaign world; two, for preference, a double planet, just like the Earth-Moon system. Something the mass of Mars smashed into proto-Terra and left a much smaller mass scattered in a ring which gathered itself into a moon, Luna.

So, little brother smacks into big brother, Little bro and Big bro. Lilbro is three-quarters of an Earth mass, and Bigbro is one and a quarter Earth mass, but keeps part of Lilbro; keep it simple and Lilbro is 2/3rds, Bigbro is twice that, 4/3rds. The bigger mass is denser, keeping more of the heavier elements, and the little one is lighter, the fifth root of mass?

Volume is mass/density, diameter is the cube root of volume and gravity diameter times density.

LB- (2/3)^(1/5) = 0.9221 E density, volume is 2/3/.9221 = 0.723, diameter is .723^(1/3) = 0.8975 E and gravity is .9221*.8975 = 0.8276 E gravity.

BB- (4/3)^(1/5) = 1.0592 E density, (4/3/1.0592)^(1/3) = 1.0797 E diameters, 1.0797*1.0592 = 1.1436 E gravity.

We can guess-timate the rest from hydrographic ratio, the proportion of the world's surface covered in water, and insolation, the amount of local sun light falling on the double world. Earth is roughly (1/2)^(1/2) =  0.7071 and 1 sol at one astronomical unit. Lilbro has (1/3)^(1/2) = 0.5774 HR and Bigbro has (2/3)^(1/2) = 0.8165 HR. Atmo is roughly based on HR and mass. Partial pressure of Oxygen is HR/3 averaged with one fifth or (.5772/3+1/5)/2 = 0.1962 for Lilbro and (.8165/3+1/5)/2 = 0.2361 for Bigbro. Inert gases, which mostly means Nitrogen, is the square of mass time .8 Bar (actually .79, but keep it simple, silly), or (2/3)^2*.8 = 0.3556 and (4/3)^2*.8 = 1.4222, respectively, so on average surface pressure for Lilbro is .1962+.3556 = 0.5518 Bar and for Bigbro it's .2361+1.4222 = 1.6583 Bar.

Figure that The Brothers' Star (Theebs?)  is a slightly more common and smaller K class, .75^.5 = 0.866 Solar masses and .866^4.5 = 0.5234 Sols worth of insolation, but the Brothers get one sol at .5234^.5 = 0.7235 A.U.s Greenhouse effect is different for each; Earth experiences a 20 degree Celsius/Kelvin GE at one bar and other factors, so, all other things being equal (roughly), Lilbro has a 20*.5518 = 11.036 C greenhouse, for ~6 C mean surface temperature, and Bigbro has a 20*1.4222 = 28.444 C greenhouse effect or ~23 C, and it's fairly warm even at the poles, but down-right steamy at the equator.

Potentially, all of the land area is arable land, good for farming and living on, but in fact only a third of the Earth's surface is, half of land area times HR, by the way. If the same holds true for Lilbro, that would be (1-.5772)*.5772/2 = 0.122 of diamter^2 time 510.4 m. km^2 on Earth, or .8975^2*510.4 = 411.13*.122 = 50.16 of 411.1 m. km^2. and (1-.8165)*.8165/2 = 0.0749, .0749*1.0797^2*510.4 = 44.5 of 595 m. km^2. More likely, Lilbro is mostly permafrost and Bigbro may have none, but large portions of the equator are 'steam-forest', too hot and humid for Humans, probably perfect for some other species to come along and claim…

Lilbro has half as much arable land as it could, with limited terraforming to warm it up, and Bigbro has two-thirds the arable land it would otherwise have, and an equal portion of land more suitable to another species. Bigbrotians are stronger and faster than Lilbrotians, on average, and live shorter lives by a noticeable margin. Their homeworld is bigger and meaner, with thicker soupy atmo, more energetic weather, more oceans, islands miniature continents, micro-climes and micro-ecolgies. Lilbro is land on one hemisphere and ocean on the other, the lower, nearer, face. Stuff divides in Near and Far…
 
The double world is half as far apart as Terra-Luna and mass twice as much together, for a sidereal period of .5^1.5/2*27.6 = 4.879 days or 4.879*24 = 117.096 hours. The local year is .7235^1.5/.866*365.25 = 259.5554 days, so the local month is 259.5554/(259.5554/4.879-1) = 4.9725 days or 4.9725*24 = 119.34 hours and there are 52.1985 of them in a local year. This works out to a 119.34/2 = 59 hour, 40.2 minute day followed by an equally long night, so analogue 60/60/60 clocks which zero out @ 59 hours, 40 minutes and 12 seconds are often used on The Brothers.

Sunday, January 25, 2015


I people-watch and eavesdrop; it's an occupational hazard of a writer and, well, I'm an introvert, I observe the world. I used to say I was a stranded alien grad student, but that's stopped being funny.
 
I over-heard a snatch of conversation and started asking myself the questions- who, what, when and where, how and why? The answer to 'Why?' is often multiple guess, a Rorschach test for the soul.
 
"A truck jack-knifed and was sliding towards them, nowhere to go… he turned his car so that he took the impact, spared his wife and daughter, and shielded the cars behind him. No one else died. "
 
"He did that on purpose?!"
 
"*I* think so."
 
"What was his name?"
 
"Why? You don't believe me?!"
 
"Because, when somebody does something like that- I *hate* sports analogies, but when somebody 'takes one for the team,' they need to be remembered. 'Shines the name.'"
 
"Reinforce the meme?"
 
"Meme, shmeme. The tribe has needs, the debt which we owe back to our families and people has no bottom to it. You pay and you pay gladly, cheerfully, with a smile on your lips and a song in your heart."
Work in Progress
 
W3 Story- 3K to 9K words, aiming for 6,000 words.
The stories must be related to, inspired by, or set in a Western setting, whether on Earth, in a fantasy world, or on another planet. Let your imagination run free figuring out what dangers the frontier folk might face from magic or science (or both!).
 
The gathering darkness was a peaceful quietus upon the range. Here and there an orange-furred beef mooed loneliness and kicked up its' hooves to rejoin the herd, over two hundred strong and headed down-river, ultimately to By-The-Sea.
 
The hands had just begun eating; beef stew with carrots, peas and caramelized onions, plus biscuits and apple pie for desert. The Double C fed its' ranch-hands well and worked them twice as hard as any other outfit, or so they said in the North Country. Which was only half true. There were an awful lot of bright, ambitious young kids who wanted to work for the Captain.
 
Humans had brought horses and cattle, chickens and ducks, and also small furry escape artists, to this world which was so like Earth…
 
"Run, Rabbit! Run!" a young cowboy cried, as one got spooked by cloven bovine hooves and raced away from danger.
 
"Run, Forrest, run!" one of the Uncles added, and the rest of the Ancients laughed along with him. The young hands had to have it explained, but Bruce Clinkenbeard knew the reference well. 'Forrest Gump' was his father's favorite movie, and Bruce wondered about what that said about him. He and his Uncle George's favorite movie was 'The Princess Bride'. What did that say about the two of them?
 
The sweet smell of an orange being peeled and- yes, eaten, he distinctly heard the sound of lips smacking loudly, interrupted his thoughts. Bruce looked around and saw the city woman, the Ma's factor, Ma Chenhau, sitting a camp chair by the fire, almost at his elbow. She smacked her lips again and smiled.
 
"Did you bring enough to share?"
 
"With you, perhaps. Last two, out of the three bushels I brought up-river to bribe the natives."
 
"And how's that working out for you?"
 
"Reasonably well." She held out an orange and he took it. "Nobody turns down an orange in the North Country."
 
"Thanks, I think. Have you eaten? Cookie will be annoyed with you, if you turn your nose up at chow."
 
"The line was long, and I didn't see you. Aren't you going eat?"
 
Bruce shrugged. "The hands come first."
 
The woman nodded. "Why, exactly?"
 
"Is this a quiz? You take after the people who take care of you."
 
Cookie had other ideas, and showed up a moment later trailing a couple of young hands loaded down with plates and glasses.
 
"…and they'll look after you, too. You shouldn't have, Cookie."
 
"Just seein' ta the guest and figured she din' wanna eat alone, and she ain't gonna!"
 
"Thanks, Cookie. I greatly appreciate this."
 
Cookie beamed and the two cowpokes both tried to hand their bowls of stew to the Ma factor. Bruce accepted second place with good grace and a wry smile. It suited him, brought out the laughter lines. The men, teenagers, really, stood there a beat and each tried to out-wait the other into leaving first.
 
"Thanks, boys…" Chenhau purred at their backs.
 
"Foresee a much enhanced and embroidered tale of this."
 
"Then we'll all be happy." She suddenly giggled and almost lost a mouthful. "I overheard-"
 
"Yes?"
 
"'She's awful purdy' one of these kids said to another, I swear he hasn't had to shave yet, and his buddy was saying, "Easy on the eyes and-" when they both saw me and shut it down."
 
"The Princess has minions in my midst, a fifth column in my camp…"
 
"You see me as a princess?"
 
"Yes. A working princess, but a Ma, nobility, the elite of By-The-Sea, new Shanghai."
 
"My name means 'Spring Flower'."
 
"I know. I'm a round-eye, but not a barbarian."
 
"And, hm, noble-"
 
"We're not nobility-"
 
"I said 'noble'. Your grandmother, the Captain, is a Scots-Irish Captain General, the last one we'll have from the old American Empire-" she giggled at the look on his face. "C'mon, that's how the General, my grandfather, always put it. He's People's Liberation Army Space Navy, through and through."
 
Bruce shrugged. "She's a preacher's kid who went down to the sea, to Annapolis, then the aliens blew her up and didn't quite kill her. Clever apes reverse engineered alien tech from that day of dragons after they fought over us in orbit and went away for half a generation. Gave her a new eye which tried to kill her, too. Failed. Went up to the sky and out into the deep black. The Dragons call her 'Teacher Cee', say she taught them lessons in space warfare, costly lessons in blood and steel, fusion-fire and cometary-ice. Tried to kill her some more…"
 
"You're… quite the poet, aren't you?"
 
Bruce flushed and looked away. "Pretty words don't mean much. This an age of iron, gun-powder, steam… we're an accidental colony, peoples and species which don't get along or outright hate each other, and for good reason."
 
The 'Ma Princess' studied him, took a bite of her cooling stew, and thereafter tucked into it, stealing a considering glance at the 'noble prince' from time to time. 

The Ancients are soldiers and spacers stranded in the accidental colony, and mostly unmarried bachelors, the Uncles. The young hands are sons and grandsons of the few women in the task force, such as Captain Clinkenbeard, USAFSV Corpus Christi.