Tuesday, May 31, 2016

New Issue of Freelance Traveller #75

The new issue (May/June 2016) of Freelance Traveller is out, and chock full of Traveller goodness!  This issue is the second time they've published an article of mine! Check out their review of the Behind the Claw podcast as well.

The editor re-printed my recent post about Animal Encounters and why you should include them in your game. 

Issue 75 can be found here along with the full list of all their back issues.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Snowball Part Three

"What wrong?" Tarrant asked.

Marek blew out his cheeks. "I plotted Lady Caroline's new trajectory as part of the vector calculations but I just noticed where they're going.  They're heading in the direction of the system gas giant. They'll miss it but they’re already its gravity well. In about thirty-three minutes, they're going to tumble right into a Snowball."

"What's a Snowball?" Kate asked.  Marek re-activated the navigational hologram.  In front of the red dots marking Lady Caroline and Nth Degree was a huge expanse of dark blue marking the gas giant. Next to that was a smaller group. Marek zoomed in to focus on the cluster, which showed blue objects of varying shape and size.  "It's a point in space between a planet and a satellite where the two gravitational fields balance each other. Space debris like ice chunks and rocks tend to collect in them. This system's got one of the largest fields in the Empire.”

“So it's like an asteroid field?”

Monday, May 23, 2016

Snowball, Part Two

The story starts here.

A smooth soprano voice floated out of the comm pad.  "Anya here, Tarrant.  What's up?"

“Anya, we just received a Code 99. We’re the nearest ship. I need 110% on the maneuver drives, and I need it now."

Anya replied as if distress signals were a daily affair. "You got it, Tarrant.” She began at once to reprogram the engineering computer.

"How long, Anya?"

"Overdrive will be available in 144 seconds.  We can run it up past 110% but only for a few minutes, or we'll burn out the motivators.  At 110%, we should have close to an hour.  How far off is this ship?"

Tarrant relayed the question. “Marek, how long until we reach them?”

“They're at 1.324 million kilometers.  At 110%, we need thirty-four minutes to get to contact range. Tarrant, I've got your vector, feeding to your panel now."
The Nth Degree's thrusters glowed blue-white as the ship shot towards the helpless liner.  A few minutes later Dr. Jackson Selker, the chief engineer, arrived on the bridge.  After a career teaching Engineering theory, he bought the ship so he could take this extended sabbatical with his friends. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and tucked in his shirt as he spoke.  "Have you been able to contact them, Marek?  We'll need to know how bad they're hurt to plan any repair jobs."
"I've had only intermittent contact.  My guess is damage to the communications rig .  Hang on, I'll try to raise them again."   Marek tapped the comm panel. "Lady Caroline, this is Nth Degree.  Are you still receiving?"

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Snowball - a Traveller-inspired short story

I wrote this story a few years ago, and published it in a local writing e-zine. The zine is now defunct, so I'm presenting it here, in several installments.  It is set in my Traveller Universe, in the Talaveran Empire, Winter system.
The Winter system, at the edge of the Empire.


Part 1

The Gentry-class space liner Lady Caroline accelerated smoothly on its way, departing the planet Winter on course to the hyperspace limit from which it could safely jump the five light-years distance to the planet Dumas. The ship was small, as liners went in the space lanes of the Talaveran Empire. A long tube, rounded at either end, the Lady Caroline offered a selective passenger list and quiet comforts. Ships of her class were the choice of those who wanted to travel in comfort and not be disturbed.

Third Officer Ivan Dittmer made his way along the narrow access corridor that ran the length of Lady Caroline's port side. It was cramped but it was the quickest way to get to Engineering.  The basso hum of the fusion plant was louder here than in the passenger staterooms on the other side of the bulkhead but Dittmer preferred it to tiptoeing around staring at the ceiling to avoid upsetting the privacy-conscious passengers with unwanted eye contact.

He came to a section of the corridor where the ceiling was lower, as it passed underneath where one of the ship's lifeboats was housed.  As he ducked his head, Dittmer noticed a large tool case against the exterior bulkhead.  One of the maintenance crew must have left it here, he thought as he picked it up so that he could give it to the chief. Whoever owned the toolbox would get a stiff reprimand from the demanding engineer.