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Spice Pony
#51 Old 19th Aug 2015 at 6:49 PM
Hey. Still can't be bothered to continue the discussion (I'll get to it), but as far as the whole naming dilemma goes, another possibility is for the Plumthorpe Files character to keep her name and the other character to be renamed Leocadia. Still a Roman name, and I think it was my original plan, anyway. You think that might be better? I'm leaning in that direction, myself.
Top Secret Researcher
Original Poster
#52 Old 20th Aug 2015 at 4:59 AM
Leocadia does sound better than Roshan, to me. Roshan sounds like it should be given to a villain.

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
Spice Pony
#53 Old 12th Sep 2015 at 2:04 AM
@hugbug993
Sorry I took so long. I'm still here, I swear.

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Originally Posted by hugbug993
Ah. I did dislike it for the same reasons, but I didn't really identify with it.


Well, as noted, I'm kind of a mess.

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Originally Posted by hugbug993
Pterosaur wings are not like birds'. They were quadrupeds. They used their wings as legs.


Yes, I know. So? If you took off the fingers as I was suggesting, you'd be left with something basically resembling a bird wing in terms of bone structure (other than the pteroid, I mean).


Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
The idea I had was that their planet didn't have an entirely stable rotation. The orbit is fine, but the planet tends to spin in random directions. One day, it could be doing a perfectly normal westward 24-hour rotation, and the next, the poles are pointing at the sun for a week straight. The planet is close to the galactic core (in the root of the Orion arm), so I was thinking that could make things wonky.


I'm not sure if that would work, but New Horizons' findings in the Pluto system suggest that you could definitely get a similar effect with objects orbiting a binary system with a certain mass ratio. Could their star have a companion?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Could also put Aquavians as the Stout, because they're the techy ones, and Canids as Mundane as they're the least technologically-inclined. That would put Sevalfer as High Men, but Sevalfer suck at being High Men and I don't want to put them in the traditional elf roles.


So what are the Aquavians like?




Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
I'm not going to continue the discussion on The Host, because that book, its sisters, and its hack author all disgust me and I don't want to have to go back into it for this. I'll go into Twilight and rip that thing apart, but I'm staying away from The Host.


Fine by me. I'm not sure why you brought it up to begin with. The Europans aren't really puppeteer parasites. They're more like… well, I was aiming for something mostly original, but as far as the mechanism of their control goes, it's more like the Thorian from Mass Effect. The actual creature stays in one place, but it controls its host(s) through biological implants.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Ah. I didn't really see the connection between that and the war, and I figured the beings that took the Makemake technology would have access to that, so that was why I asked.


Well, like I said, the Makemakeans went through a bunch of different phases of technological development. I don't think they used this FTL method for very long, due to the problems it created. I believe it was one of the last things they did before their disappearance.


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Originally Posted by hugbug993
Tachyon condensation fields as a means of propulsion?


My understanding is that it could work. If you could find a way to safely and temporarily turn the ship into a tachyon condensate, it would be a pretty effective FTL method. It's certainly less absurd than using actual tachyons in any way.



I had something interesting I wanted to talk about here, but I forget what it was and I want to get this response over with, anyway, so hopefully the discussion can start back up. Plus, my game just loaded. I apologise once more for my laziness.
Top Secret Researcher
Original Poster
#54 Old 12th Sep 2015 at 7:03 AM Last edited by hugbug993 : 12th Sep 2015 at 7:59 AM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
I'm not sure if that would work, but New Horizons' findings in the Pluto system suggest that you could definitely get a similar effect with objects orbiting a binary system with a certain mass ratio. Could their star have a companion?


Possibly. I do have another binary system which is important to the plot, so I'm not sure about adding another one in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
So what are the Aquavians like?


They would be the fish people/mermaids of the setting, though they're technically amphibians. They can breathe underwater and they have a secondary respiratory system to do that. They have gills on their chest, right above gaps in their collarbones, which go down to a second pair of lungs. The gills are actually closed at birth, in order to keep the embryonic fluids out of their chests, so they need to be held underwater for a while in order to pop them open.
They have webbed fingers and more splayed, flat feet. They don't have a lot of facial mobility, so they don't emote as much as humans do.

There's also an adaption that I added when I was younger, but am not sure about now. They're covered in sleek, large fins, from upper chest to ankles, in an overlapping pattern that resembles scales. They're able to puff them out in order to slow themselves down while swimming and to make themselves look bigger to predators, and on land they can flatten them out to resemble clothing. It's also possible for them to use that to hold something against their body when swimming. Sounds kind of stupid now.

They tend to lean towards biological technology, since they mainly live in underwater cities. There are a lot of stations on land that work in rougher technology, as they put it. That's where they developed the organic technology to begin with. Some areas have air and others have water, and it's entirely possible to live a lifetime only breathing one. Spaceships - especially their city-ships - are still covered in metal and/or ceramics, though.
The organic tech is mostly for underwater use - since it works better under the sea than metals do - or to modify the body, like healing nanobots.

The first ones shown in the series are actually a dystopian offshoot. The planet was originally a military listening station during the war, so there were people posted there in a hidden, underwater city while a human civilization was planted on top. They eventually lost contact with the main government and after a few decades, concluded that they were the only survivors. They took harsh measures to ensure that they kept the race going. A thousand years later, they became a tyrannical theocratic government that thrived on slavery and even deliberately disfigured infants in order to justify it. (It's not an analogue of any of the Abrahamic religions, either.)

Most of them, though, are pretty much the hippies of the galaxy. They're working on minimizing their impact on the worlds they live on, freeing people from annoying jobs by creating technological displacement, creating a culture of self-betterment, and even trying to be nice to everyone else. (That often fails, because everyone hates everyone else and there's only so much a person can take before snapping.)
Because they're more high-tech than the other races, they traded some technology that has become essential to most races in the galaxy, like universal translators, power plants, nanobots, spaceship power systems and propulsion (the latter of which was actually inherited from the precursors, who originally developed it) and lots of other things. They also built an off-switch into everything. They can pretty much turn off any of the tech they developed just by flying a spaceship within a few million miles and flicking a switch. That would be why they haven't been conquered yet, despite being the least aggressive race out there: their technology is too valuable and evolving much faster than anyone else's, so everyone else has to either live with the off-switch or have hopelessly outdated technology.

They're still not likely to conquer anyone else by force, since biological technology doesn't lend itself well to offensive action. I mean, you can make a virus that will wipe out all life on a planet, but you have to get close in order to use it. Everyone else is good enough with weapons for that to be highly unlikely - and some other experiments of that sort got loose, killed their creators, and terrorized the galaxy, which means that everyone, including the Aquavians, is scared of them - so the Aquavians are mostly defensive.

On the whole, they're pretty uninterested in galactic politics. Trading is great for luxuries and gaining materials, but the rest of it is of no use to them. They can physically neutralize most threats and bargaining for entire planets isn't necessary, since they can make deals with local governments to use the oceans - which nobody else really uses. That is a major disadvantage for them, since it means they don't have as much say in other matters.

They're allied with the main offshoot of the Sevalfer as well as most of the independent human groups.

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Originally Posted by ewenk7
Fine by me. I'm not sure why you brought it up to begin with.


Because a client's book got rejected by several different publishing houses because the love interest wasn't enough like a creepy, abusive stalker Edward. I'm not especially happy with Meyer on the best of days, but that hack has made the publishing industry inhospitable to people who can actually write.

I actually did try to reread The Host. I lasted 13 chapters. It was worse than I remembered, because the main characters are all COMPLETE AND UTTER MORONS WHO CAN ONLY SURVIVE BECAUSE EVERYONE ELSE IS EVEN DUMBER. I mean, seriously. They know that a human surviving inside a centiroach's head is a danger to all their people and they know that that complete moron is still kicking in there, but they won't do anything because the Queen of Centiroach says they can't take her out. The moron was willing to die to protect her abusive boyfriend (who sexually assaulted her the first time the met, which was apparently romantic) and her brother, but she decides to tell the roach inside her head exactly where they might be, because she is a complete moron. She should have been killed by the survivalists for obviously being infested, and she should have been followed by the Seeker, who is the only remotely likable character in the series. Queen Centiroach somehow eats 9 full meals and drinks several gallons of water in a day just to spite the moron, and then because they were both idiots, there's a cabin plopped down just so that they won't die of sheer incompetence. Never mind that the cabin shouldn't be there, but the knobs are falling off. That would mean that it hasn't been used for years, so none of the food in there should be edible. And then they meet the crazy survivalists. Only one of them has a gun. Survivalists tend to have several different guns apiece. And the one they do have is a double-barreled rifle. That is used for taking down massive game, like elephants. Why would he have only one gun and it's that? Not to mention that it's extremely loud, so firing it once in the desert would not only deafen everyone in the group, but it would be heard for miles around. And it's utterly stupid of them to not kill Meanderer. None of the centiroaches have ever tried to play the "I'm still in here" card? Because not doing so is completely stupid on their part, and a bunch of people who are paranoid about surviving shouldn't take the chance that they wouldn't. But no, we gotta protect the characters from their stupid mistakes so we can sit in a hole for over half the book.
And Meyer doesn't understand tactics. At all. If the centiroaches refuse to use weapons, then it doesn't matter how many there are. A small group of humans with guns and sufficient ammo - like those survivalists SHOULD be - can wipe out millions of unarmed people. Not to mention how seven Cullens are outnumbered by the three other vampires in the first book, or the complete idiocy of the "battle" in the final book.

And that's not even going into how horrible the characters are, from Wanderer deliberately trying to torture Melanie to Jared the Abuser, who sexually assaults an underage girl who's ten years younger than he is and then declares that she's not allowed to leave him.

Oh, and Meyer has outright stated that the aliens in the series are the good guys. Seriously, look up her Yahoo interview.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
The Europans aren't really puppeteer parasites. They're more like… well, I was aiming for something mostly original, but as far as the mechanism of their control goes, it's more like the Thorian from Mass Effect. The actual creature stays in one place, but it controls its host(s) through biological implants.


Makes sense. Are they capable of taking over another person's body if their own failed for whatever reason?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
My understanding is that it could work. If you could find a way to safely and temporarily turn the ship into a tachyon condensate, it would be a pretty effective FTL method. It's certainly less absurd than using actual tachyons in any way.


Took me a while to understand what you thought tachyon condensation was.
No, that wouldn't work. Tachyon condensation is when a tachyonic field is made stable at the lowest possible energy level. A tachyonic field is a quantum field with imaginary mass, not the hypothetical FTL particle. Magnetism, for example, is a tachyonic field, and so is the Higgs boson. They still have to obey the speed of light, so that's not going to help with FTL.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
I had something interesting I wanted to talk about here, but I forget what it was and I want to get this response over with, anyway, so hopefully the discussion can start back up. Plus, my game just loaded. I apologise once more for my laziness.


Not a problem.

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
Spice Pony
#55 Old 30th Dec 2015 at 3:58 AM
@hugbug993

Once again, sincerest apologies for the delay.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Possibly. I do have another binary system which is important to the plot, so I'm not sure about adding another one in.


Binaries aren't exactly rare, though. If you're really adverse to the idea, what's the context behind the other binary? Could it be a trinary or something, instead?



Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
There's also an adaption that I added when I was younger, but am not sure about now. They're covered in sleek, large fins, from upper chest to ankles, in an overlapping pattern that resembles scales. They're able to puff them out in order to slow themselves down while swimming and to make themselves look bigger to predators, and on land they can flatten them out to resemble clothing. It's also possible for them to use that to hold something against their body when swimming. Sounds kind of stupid now.


Eh, not that stupid. I've had stupider ideas. Wait until I tell you about some of the specifics in… shoot, I think I was calling it SC1b? The main character in that was originally conceived as being able to selectively turn parts or all of her skin into carbon nanofibre-based exoskeletal plating. She was envisioned as often using it in place of clothing, as well as in place of body armour, and possibly as a pressure suit (though in retrospect, that last one makes no sense, given that she'd still need to breathe).


Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
They tend to lean towards biological technology, since they mainly live in underwater cities. There are a lot of stations on land that work in rougher technology, as they put it. That's where they developed the organic technology to begin with. Some areas have air and others have water, and it's entirely possible to live a lifetime only breathing one. Spaceships - especially their city-ships - are still covered in metal and/or ceramics, though.
The organic tech is mostly for underwater use - since it works better under the sea than metals do - or to modify the body, like healing nanobots.


So do the ships have any organic interior elements?

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Originally Posted by hugbug993
and some other experiments of that sort got loose, killed their creators, and terrorized the galaxy, which means that everyone, including the Aquavians, is scared of them - so the Aquavians are mostly defensive.


Details?

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Originally Posted by hugbug993
[long Meyer rant]


I'm tempted to respond to this, or at least actually read it, but I'm not really in the state of mind for it right now, and in any case, it's questionably on-topic. I'm sure it would be an interesting discussion, but I think it's best left for another day. Suffice to say, whether or not it's justified, I really enjoyed The Host (the novel, anyway; the film adaptation is another matter), and talking about it in a negative manner stresses me out. Call it a guilty pleasure if you must, but I liked the book so much that it made me like the Puppeteer Parasite trope, after spending a lifetime hating it.

On a vaguely related note,




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Originally Posted by hugbug993
Makes sense. Are they capable of taking over another person's body if their own failed for whatever reason?


Their actual physical body? No. Their brain is not in any way replicated in the control zooids. In fact, this is a plot point at least once. That dead love interest I mentioned? She's actually Parvati's sibling, who at once point ends up having her aquarium tank jettisoned by accident into a star orbiting near the zero point of a pending supernova. Her huàshēn (how is that pronounced, by the way?) is safely aboard the ship, but there's pretty much nothing they can do but watch as she's slowly boiled alive.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Took me a while to understand what you thought tachyon condensation was.
No, that wouldn't work. Tachyon condensation is when a tachyonic field is made stable at the lowest possible energy level. A tachyonic field is a quantum field with imaginary mass, not the hypothetical FTL particle. Magnetism, for example, is a tachyonic field, and so is the Higgs boson. They still have to obey the speed of light, so that's not going to help with FTL.


I swear I read at least one thing explaining in detail what tachyon condensate-based FTL would look like. Either it was written by someone horribly mislead, or I've somehow confused it with the Alcubierre drive (how?).

I should say more, but I'm kind of anxious to get this post posted. I'll get into more next time.
Top Secret Researcher
Original Poster
#56 Old 30th Dec 2015 at 8:23 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Binaries aren't exactly rare, though. If you're really adverse to the idea, what's the context behind the other binary? Could it be a trinary or something, instead?


The one I have so far is home to the Aquavian outpost I talked about last post. Basically, they dragged a planet to a system known to have no rocky planets (mostly gas giants) and added a moon to it, and then pushed it into the most implausible orbit they could think of so that anyone watching it wouldn't realize that there's actually a planet there. That orbit is a figure 8 around both stars, and the moon likewise shifts rotation between the planet and the stars regularly. If I'm not mistaken, the way we currently find planets is by studying two things: the way the stars react to the planet's gravity, and by watching the shadows produced when a planet passes in front of the star. If the planet doesn't pass in front of the stars in a regular fashion, and the gravity doesn't affect the stars in a regular fashion during the average orbit of a planet that far away - because the orbit is twice as long and the moon splitting away also changes things - then it's difficult to tell that one actually is there. Of course, they could see the reflected light off the planet if it was ever at the right angle, but it was pretty much the best they could do to disguise the planet without making it completely unusable for surveillance, like an EM lockdown, or making it obvious that something had happened, like setting up a Dyson sphere to block off the light from the stars.

Plus, if the Sevalfer did notice that a planet had appeared, all they would find upon investigating was a planet with a colony of humans, since the outpost itself can hide.

Considering that adding all of that was an attempt to prevent my plot from getting derailed (it was originally the "moon switching" thing I needed to keep the moon colony out of contact with the planet until a specific time, and just breaking communications wouldn't work) when I found out how stupid the orbit scheme was, I don't much like the idea of solving all my problems with binary systems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Eh, not that stupid. I've had stupider ideas. Wait until I tell you about some of the specifics in… shoot, I think I was calling it SC1b? The main character in that was originally conceived as being able to selectively turn parts or all of her skin into carbon nanofibre-based exoskeletal plating. She was envisioned as often using it in place of clothing, as well as in place of body armour, and possibly as a pressure suit (though in retrospect, that last one makes no sense, given that she'd still need to breathe).


That sounds pretty cool. It might work if her skin cells were altered to produce self-twisting nanofibers instead of actually become the exoskeleton, but it would probably be difficult to get rid of without chopping it off.

Actually, something like that might solve a problem that's come up. I've been thinking recently about some of the drawbacks of being a healer in my sci-fi universe, and I've concluded healing as it works in my universe would have some incredibly germy side effects. Giving the healers armor would reduce those side effects and giving them cellular armor would give them the ability to heal any damage which makes it more effective if they're dealing with something that can crack an exoskeleton. I was originally thinking something along the lines of chitin, but if there were a way to create cells which manufactured nanofibers and made them dense enough to work as body armor, then that would solve a few issues, like bulkiness.

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Originally Posted by ewenk7
So do the ships have any organic interior elements?


They do. In fact, while they're in the oceans, the interior grows out to cover the hard shell and protect it from the water, since both metal and ceramics tend to degrade in water (especially moving water). When the ship takes off, one of the first things it does is to pull the organic elements back in and then seal the place up.

It does mean that their cities consume a lot of energy to keep the organic parts alive, but they're pretty good with various forms of tidal power.

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Originally Posted by ewenk7
Details?


Well, there's the one that's definitely in the series itself - the one that's designed to eat all animal life on a planet's surface to intimidate their enemies. Individually, they're similar to white blood cells. As a group? They're capable of transmitting electricity through their flagella to communicate. In large enough amounts, they're capable of forming constructs similar to people brains, which gives them sapience, sort of. That intelligence is mainly focused around ways to eat, in theory. In colonies, they can stick together and alter their shape in order to perform tasks. One thing they can do is form themselves into a large humanoid shape so that they're more mobile and more capable of tearing people apart. Otherwise, they'd be roughly as terrifying as a rampaging white blood cell.

They also have some small counterparts, which are analogous to red blood cells. (I'm sure you can guess where I got the inspiration for this.) What they do is directly absorb oxygen and leftover nutrients and deliver them to the cells who aren't directly exposed to oxygen or food, and then remove the waste to the outside. It especially helps them when they're dormant underground to avoid the sun, since UV is one of their weaknesses, which was built in specifically so that they could kill themselves when their task was completed, without someone having to come in and do it manually.
They also tend to broadcast their location and plans telepathically, which was another modification added by the creators: they were created by Adonai, who were allied with Sevalfer, and those two were the only races with telepaths at the time. Because they send out a telepathic warning (which manifests as giving people the urge to flee from the planet) a while before they're deployed and also send regular updates on what they're planning once they've been deployed, it allows the Adonai and Sevalfer on the planet to get away before they get eaten. In theory.

So, while their creators did add in some weaknesses, they underestimated their creation's intelligence. They launched a few meteors with samples of the weapon and a system to deploy the weapon, and then sent them to targeted planets. The first one worked very well. All that was left was a planet of dying vegetation, empty cities, and quiet air. Except there was one detail that didn't quite work: once the planet was exterminated, the weapon overrode the instructions to kill themselves. The Adonai intended to send their military to capture the planet and stabilize the ecosystem with "clean" animals once everyone was dead, except that the weapon hid under the ground during the day - far below what they could detect - and then ate them all come nightfall. Eventually, the weapon did starve to death on all the planets it targeted, but by that time the ecosystem had collapsed without animals and most plant life died off, which lowered the breathable parts of the atmosphere and killed the rest of the vegetation.

To make matters worse, there were a few places that handled the weapon: one planet and two space stations to begin with. The weapon banded together to leave some of itself behind undetected on all three locations. Also, while they're programmed to send out warnings, they can only do that with adequate numbers. They did not leave adequate numbers, so they attacked with no warning. However, they did use stealth at first, meaning people and animals just started disappearing without a trace. Once people did figure out what was happening, they fled. The weapon let them flee and used that to move to other ships, planets, and stations, where it spread further. Eventually, every system was put on guard and told to destroy every incoming ship.

Then, between what happened to the first planet and what was going on with the Adonai, everyone else took countermeasures and destroyed most of the meteors. One more hit its target and killed the planet, but they were able to prevent it from spreading to any other planets by installing UV lights on every inch of their rescue ships. Plus, while the weapon was intelligent, it required time to learn. The ones sent out were a newer batch than the ones kept at home and spent most of the travel time in dormancy, so they didn't learn as much about tactics as the ones that crippled the Adonai. And that's what the weapon did: crippled them. With all their ships possibly compromised and unable to restock, they were barely able to fight. They were forced to surrender to the other side (Aquavians and Canids, mainly).

That was pretty much the end of the war. The Adonai and the Sevalfer were the major players on that side, and the surrender of the Adonai meant that everyone was focusing on the Sevalfer now. While they were more or less holding their own, the loss of their ally caused a lot of panic behind the lines (especially egged on by some opportunists), which meant that they rebelled, ousted the empress (the one who was trying to wreck her own side and also supported, financed, and encouraged the creation of the weapon), and the new empress surrendered because of popular demand. It would have been too much of a problem for the winning side to wipe out the losers - partly because the Sevalfer were still at full strength, and partly because the Adonai were doing a really good job of wiping themselves out - so everyone signed peace treaties, the Adonai eventually eradicated the weapon with help from the Aquavians, and everyone settled into unhappy diplomacy.

In short, it is not a good idea to experiment with sapient creatures in this universe.

Anyway, the weapon appears in the series because one of the meteors managed to hit the moon of the outpost described above. Since the planet had been recently added and altered the course of the suns, the meteor traveled much closer to the suns than the makers intended and got caught in the system. It went straight for the larger star, except the moon got too close and the meteor got caught in its gravity. It didn't have enough mass or speed to completely destroy the moon, so it just smashed in and the moon settled around it. There, the deployment system detected no animal life on the moon, so it went dormant. And then a bunch of people from the planet decided to colonize their moon and awoke the meteor. Things did not go well.

Was that enough details?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
I'm tempted to respond to this, or at least actually read it, but I'm not really in the state of mind for it right now, and in any case, it's questionably on-topic. I'm sure it would be an interesting discussion, but I think it's best left for another day. Suffice to say, whether or not it's justified, I really enjoyed The Host (the novel, anyway; the film adaptation is another matter), and talking about it in a negative manner stresses me out. Call it a guilty pleasure if you must, but I liked the book so much that it made me like the Puppeteer Parasite trope, after spending a lifetime hating it.


Fair enough.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Their actual physical body? No. Their brain is not in any way replicated in the control zooids. In fact, this is a plot point at least once. That dead love interest I mentioned? She's actually Parvati's sibling, who at once point ends up having her aquarium tank jettisoned by accident into a star orbiting near the zero point of a pending supernova. Her huàshēn (how is that pronounced, by the way?) is safely aboard the ship, but there's pretty much nothing they can do but watch as she's slowly boiled alive.


The diacritics are there to show the tone of the vowel. After doing some research, the à shows that it's a departing tone (gets lower as you say it) and the ē means it's a high level tone. With that in mind, I think it would be pronounced "hwa-shen", with the 'hwa' slowly fading away and the 'shen' stressed. It would be better to consult someone who actually speaks the language, though, since I don't know much about tones and I gave up searching the web for the full word's pronunciation when this very thread showed up on the second page.

For the main point, I said that wrong. Should have been "their huàshēn". Rephrasing, suppose there was a plot where someone needed the Europan's knowledge or expertise at something, which required them to be the one to actually do it, and their huàshēn had been destroyed. Would it be possible for someone to get the biological implants and have the Europan take over their body instead? Or would that require replacing the person's entire muscular system?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
I swear I read at least one thing explaining in detail what tachyon condensate-based FTL would look like. Either it was written by someone horribly mislead, or I've somehow confused it with the Alcubierre drive (how?).


It probably wouldn't be difficult for someone to confuse the 'tachyonic' part of the tachyonic condensate with the FTL particles, so I'm banking on the idea that someone horribly mislead wrote it. Or maybe someone did actually figure out how a tachyonic condensate would work with tachyons.

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
Spice Pony
#57 Old 31st Dec 2015 at 1:55 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
I don't much like the idea of solving all my problems with binary systems.


Still, in this case, I'd say it's the most reasonable possibility. You might consider it. You could easily add some further orbiting stars to either system if it makes you feel better. Multiple stars may very well be more common than single ones, anyway.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
That sounds pretty cool. It might work if her skin cells were altered to produce self-twisting nanofibers instead of actually become the exoskeleton, but it would probably be difficult to get rid of without chopping it off.


The idea was that she was a shapeshifter to begin with. Not that that really makes it any more plausible, come to think of it. She's a three-way hybrid between a human, a Perverter, and a Watcher.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Actually, something like that might solve a problem that's come up. I've been thinking recently about some of the drawbacks of being a healer in my sci-fi universe, and I've concluded healing as it works in my universe would have some incredibly germy side effects. Giving the healers armor would reduce those side effects and giving them cellular armor would give them the ability to heal any damage which makes it more effective if they're dealing with something that can crack an exoskeleton. I was originally thinking something along the lines of chitin, but if there were a way to create cells which manufactured nanofibers and made them dense enough to work as body armor, then that would solve a few issues, like bulkiness.


The thought came to mind in response to a thing I read about the problems with large arthropods. The biggest problem with human-sized organisms having exoskeletons is that chitin is really heavy, but then I got to thinking about carbon nanotubes, which are supposed to be really light. Heck, I'm not even convinced it couldn't happen naturally. Buckyballs are naturally occurring, aren't they?



Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993

Was that enough details?


Sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
The diacritics are there to show the tone of the vowel. After doing some research, the à shows that it's a departing tone (gets lower as you say it) and the ē means it's a high level tone. With that in mind, I think it would be pronounced "hwa-shen", with the 'hwa' slowly fading away and the 'shen' stressed. It would be better to consult someone who actually speaks the language, though, since I don't know much about tones and I gave up searching the web for the full word's pronunciation when this very thread showed up on the second page.


Thanks. In retrospect, I really should have known that; we discussed the use of diacritics in Chinese-English transliteration in one of my area studies courses this past year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
For the main point, I said that wrong. Should have been "their huàshēn". Rephrasing, suppose there was a plot where someone needed the Europan's knowledge or expertise at something, which required them to be the one to actually do it, and their huàshēn had been destroyed. Would it be possible for someone to get the biological implants and have the Europan take over their body instead? Or would that require replacing the person's entire muscular system?


Ah, yes. Trivially easy. These people used to (and probably still do, to a degree) control entire ecosystems at once. Sure, it'd require getting to the brain, but given that they're so adaptable they can hack into pretty much any biological system that is remotely biochemically close to them (barring things too small to host them), it wouldn't be too difficult. The biggest problem would be the host's immune system. In the water, the control zooids are pretty much everywhere, so it overwhelms the immune system. Most Europan macrobiota is evolved in symbiosis with them by necessity. In an artificial environment, it might be trickier, but it can still be done. Especially if one were to just jump into the aquarium tank. From what I can tell, the temperatures of the oceans of Europa aren't really that cold, even at the surface, and the Europans are abyssal.

So, any new work on story ideas lately?

I have a question, and given your knowledge of mythology, I thought you might be worth asking. Do Titans actually have any notable traits that distinguish them from humans in appearance? My knowledge of the Titanomachy is somewhat limited, and I'm honestly not sure. I plan to have Titans show up in one or more future Plumthorpe stories, but I'm not sure what they should actually be like. If nothing else comes up, I may just make them Neanderthals, since the context is Pleistocene Europe, but it'd be nice to have something that doesn't come across as me just making some crap up.

By the way, you suggested I expand the theme of sci-fi retellings of various myths? I had another idea along those lines. At various times, I've considered having the Inuit goddess Sedna appear as a character in one of my sci-fi stories. The idea was that she was an Inuit girl who was abducted at some point by the Makemakeans for use as an A.I. I'm not sure if I've discussed the specifics of Makemakean A.I.s before. I think I did, didn't I? Anyway, the idea is, Makemakean "artificial" intelligence actually involves tossing prisoners into nanotech devices called Lesser Shapers, which forcefully and painfully convert the victim into a computer with holographic projection capabilities, stripping them of their free will in the process. The avatars used are somewhere between the original species and Makemakean. In fact, this is where one of the two major traits of the Makemakeans' biology that I've actually settled on comes from. Makemakeans have elongated hands with gaps in the middle, in reference to the story describing Sedna as having been stabbed in the hands prior to her ascendance to godhood. How a trait like this would actually evolve, I don't know. Climbing, perhaps? Maybe it's a vestigial remnant of some other structure.

In any case, it might be fun to go back to that idea and tweak it more along these lines.
Top Secret Researcher
Original Poster
#58 Old 31st Dec 2015 at 5:30 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Still, in this case, I'd say it's the most reasonable possibility. You might consider it. You could easily add some further orbiting stars to either system if it makes you feel better. Multiple stars may very well be more common than single ones, anyway.


Still not entirely sure that would work, since if I establish that those are the effects of orbiting a binary+ system, people would question why it didn't happen with the outpost. The rotation of that is mostly stable.

And I'm not adding a new star to the outpost. I had enough trouble figuring out names that would work and running them back to PIE. The names of the stars translate to "older twin" and "younger twin" - and I was only able to do that because I left the dual form in the language I'm butchering from PIE. Adding in another one means redoing the whole thing and that means a ton of headaches.

On a side note, it's surprisingly hard to translate simple words like 'iron' into PIE. I expected it would be more difficult to do something like 'lemonade', but not simple metals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
The idea was that she was a shapeshifter to begin with. Not that that really makes it any more plausible, come to think of it. She's a three-way hybrid between a human, a Perverter, and a Watcher.


Ah, I think you mentioned this character before, though you didn't go into detail about her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
The thought came to mind in response to a thing I read about the problems with large arthropods. The biggest problem with human-sized organisms having exoskeletons is that chitin is really heavy, but then I got to thinking about carbon nanotubes, which are supposed to be really light. Heck, I'm not even convinced it couldn't happen naturally. Buckyballs are naturally occurring, aren't they?


Buckyballs are naturally found in fires. Therefore, your character should set herself on fire to form nanotubes.

But this is actually an interesting thought. Part of cellular waste is excess carbon, which is the reason we exhale carbon dioxide. They mix oxygen and glucose (C6-H12-O6) into water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and the rest goes to making ATP. So, part of the carbon goes to ATP, but the rest is carried away as waste product. If there were a way to get the cells to keep the carbon and oxygen separated - possibly by binding the carbon together and the oxygen together - then that means two things:
A. the cell would probably have a ready supply of oxygen
B. it would have more than enough carbon left over, which could provide the building blocks for nanotubes.

If the cells could be coaxed into directly excreting the carbon, then they would produce a direct layer of carbon, which could probably be persuaded to crystallize. The next problem would be turning them into nanotubes. All the methods needed to turn carbon into nanotubes - electrical arc discharge, lasers, plasma torches, CVD, and fires - require a lot of energy.

Lasers would probably be one of the harder methods to use, since it would require a specialized setup to make it quickly and it would be pretty inconvenient to use those in battle, unless your character can alter her cells to produce them (which might be possible as a highly concentrated bioluminescence?). Same issue with plasma torches. Catalyst methods usually require that they be grown on metal and mix with it. That would be fairly difficult in both cases, unless your character can grow metal under her skin.

Now, that leaves electricity and fire. The electricity might actually work in your character's case. The body naturally produces electricity. If your character can alter her cells to produce carbon, then altering the nerve cells to blast the carbon with electricity might actually work. I have no idea how she would learn to do that, or even think to, but it would be plausible for the purposes of a sci-fi series. This would also be fairly easy to implement in the armor case, since the suit would need electricity running through it in order for the healers to use their powers on it.
Fire, on the other hand, is not currently feasible because it doesn't produce nanotubes with enough uniformity. But if the flames were controlled enough to actually work, then can you imagine strolling into battle with your armor ablaze? That would be really cool, and it would discourage people from touching you. Of course, it would have the downside of being very hot, but the right ventilation could probably fix that. Might also damage the production cells, but they might be altered to become thermophiles with some different polymerases. Probably not hyperthermophiles, since those require sulfur and creating badass armor does not work when it smells like rotten eggs.

But it could possibly work in the realm of sci-fi if the hardness of the setting is lowered a little.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Sure.


Great. So there was nothing confusing or missing about that?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Thanks. In retrospect, I really should have known that; we discussed the use of diacritics in Chinese-English transliteration in one of my area studies courses this past year.


No problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Ah, yes. Trivially easy. These people used to (and probably still do, to a degree) control entire ecosystems at once. Sure, it'd require getting to the brain, but given that they're so adaptable they can hack into pretty much any biological system that is remotely biochemically close to them (barring things too small to host them), it wouldn't be too difficult. The biggest problem would be the host's immune system. In the water, the control zooids are pretty much everywhere, so it overwhelms the immune system. Most Europan macrobiota is evolved in symbiosis with them by necessity. In an artificial environment, it might be trickier, but it can still be done. Especially if one were to just jump into the aquarium tank. From what I can tell, the temperatures of the oceans of Europa aren't really that cold, even at the surface, and the Europans are abyssal.


Makes sense.

But wouldn't abyssal pressure in the tanks kill any human who jumped in if they weren't properly prepared for it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
So, any new work on story ideas lately?


Stories themselves, no. I've mainly been working on ideas within the stories, especially the sci-fi series since that's the one I'm writing (in theory, since I'm a little stuck). I've also been more inspired in that direction lately. For example, I got into TVTropes - specifically the Lethal Harmless Powers and similar tropes - and thought more deeply about how the healing powers in my sci-fi series would work. Hence my comments on the nanotubes idea.
I also thought about a possible story involving traditional superheroes instead of the one with just elemental powers, but that's still pretty vague.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
I have a question, and given your knowledge of mythology, I thought you might be worth asking. Do Titans actually have any notable traits that distinguish them from humans in appearance? My knowledge of the Titanomachy is somewhat limited, and I'm honestly not sure. I plan to have Titans show up in one or more future Plumthorpe stories, but I'm not sure what they should actually be like. If nothing else comes up, I may just make them Neanderthals, since the context is Pleistocene Europe, but it'd be nice to have something that doesn't come across as me just making some crap up.


Well, while they weren't talked about that much, the line between Titan and god is pretty fuzzy. For example, the children of Gaia and Uranus are considered Titans, but Pontus - a child of Gaia and possibly Aether - was a god and not a Titan. Then there's Eos, daughter of Hyperion, who was both a Titan and a god, but the daughters of Hyperion's sister Mnemosyne were goddesses - the Muses. I think Titans are basically just more primordial versions of the gods. It's possible that they were an earlier set of gods and the Greeks decided to create a new set of gods to replace the older ones, pulling some of the Titans through to the new pantheon and making them also gods.

So, judging by that, Titans are pretty similar to gods. As for the gods themselves, they were naturally more 'glorious' than humans, so much so that looking at all of it would kill a human. For instance, the story of Dionysus. Zeus kills Dionysus's mother by revealing all his glory to her, which means that he has to gestate Dionysus in his leg or something like that. Other than that, it did seem that people would immediately recognize them when they weren't actively hiding. There was one where Zeus and Hermes in disguise stopped by the house of an elderly couple. Once they dropped the disguises, the elderly couple knew who they were without any announcement. There was also the story of Psyche, where she recognized Eros just by looking at him. Things of that sort seem common.

Given all that, it's likely that the Titans would have some sort of glorious appearance that can vary in intensity, but they could disguise themselves as humans if they wanted to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
By the way, you suggested I expand the theme of sci-fi retellings of various myths? I had another idea along those lines. At various times, I've considered having the Inuit goddess Sedna appear as a character in one of my sci-fi stories. The idea was that she was an Inuit girl who was abducted at some point by the Makemakeans for use as an A.I. I'm not sure if I've discussed the specifics of Makemakean A.I.s before. I think I did, didn't I? Anyway, the idea is, Makemakean "artificial" intelligence actually involves tossing prisoners into nanotech devices called Lesser Shapers, which forcefully and painfully convert the victim into a computer with holographic projection capabilities, stripping them of their free will in the process. The avatars used are somewhere between the original species and Makemakean. In fact, this is where one of the two major traits of the Makemakeans' biology that I've actually settled on comes from. Makemakeans have elongated hands with gaps in the middle, in reference to the story describing Sedna as having been stabbed in the hands prior to her ascendance to godhood. How a trait like this would actually evolve, I don't know. Climbing, perhaps? Maybe it's a vestigial remnant of some other structure.

In any case, it might be fun to go back to that idea and tweak it more along these lines.


I thought her fingers were chopped off? If I remember correctly, in all versions at least part of her fingers were cut off - usually while she was hanging off the side of a boat - and the severed fingers became the animals of the ocean.

The Bird Groom versions of the story might be most relevant. That was the first one I heard, actually. She's either kidnapped or sold off in marriage to a bird spirit. When she realizes who she's married to, her father tries to rescue her. However, as they're escaping, the bird makes the seas churn and the father throws her off the boat in desperation. She clings to it and he chops her fingers off to break her hold, sending her to the bottom of the ocean where she becomes a goddess. (Though the first version I read was for kids and said that she fell off the boat and became a goddess. No mention of severed fingers.)

In fact, in most of the ones I read, she's purposefully drowned by her father, who chops off her fingers to keep her from clinging to the side of the boat. In some of them, she's a monster and in one, she's an orphan and the people of her village just decided to drown her. Still, the overarching theme does seem to indicate that the people in charge of her deliberately decided to get rid of her, so the story could be that she was sold to the Makemakeans by her village, whether because they didn't like her or because she was beautiful and they thought she would appease the Makemakeans more. Or both. She was considered pretty vengeful, which would indicate that she wasn't a paragon of kindness before going through all that.

So the question then is, why would the Inuit people know her appearance had changed? The best thing I can think of is that the computer she was turned into was used to set something up in the area. Since she's a sea goddess, she would probably have been doing something in the ocean. She was in charge of sea animals, so maybe she was used in something that would gather up the sea animals for the Makemakeans? Then, when the Makemakeans were forced to leave, she had to perform her basic function - gathering up animals for people - but part of her mind also remembered that she'd been sold into this by her people and she hated them for it.
I imagine that she would have eventually run out of power, so she could be found lying dormant somewhere in the north Atlantic. Or maybe she got swept away by the ocean currents to somewhere in the Pacific. Sped-up Upsweep sounds a lot like an emergency warning system.

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
Spice Pony
#59 Old 31st Dec 2015 at 8:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Still not entirely sure that would work, since if I establish that those are the effects of orbiting a binary+ system, people would question why it didn't happen with the outpost. The rotation of that is mostly stable.


It's a different kind of orbit, though, isn't it? With one, it's an orbit around the barycentre of the system, an in the other case, it's that crazy figure eight orbit… assuming you're still going with that? If you are, it's gonna need some kind of orbital correction system anyway, so if it really bothers you (it shouldn't), you could just include some kind of rotational correction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Ah, I think you mentioned this character before, though you didn't go into detail about her.


You know, I probably should. I've been holding off on discussing this story concept due to the fact that it's technically a sequel to the other one, but it has little enough to do with it that that really shouldn't be a problem. Particularly since it has problems, and I like it enough in general that I'd like to polish it up into usable condition. But before I do, I have an important question: Are you at all familiar with Starcraft, and whether or not you are, are you adverse to discussing spoilers from it? Because one of the problems I have with this story concept, as I've previously mentioned, is the similarity to certain plotlines from Starcraft II.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Fire, on the other hand, is not currently feasible because it doesn't produce nanotubes with enough uniformity. But if the flames were controlled enough to actually work, then can you imagine strolling into battle with your armor ablaze? That would be really cool, and it would discourage people from touching you.


That's almost hilariously perfect, actually. The character's name? Apocalypse "Callie" Ericson.

(To clarify, the Watchers use true names, something which they achieve by essentially reaching into the akash and pulling out the first name they can. Whatever they get is used, regardless of how terrible it might be, by tradition. Callie was named in this manner. In actuality, her name refers to an apocalypse in the traditional sense, a revelation, but by the time the series is set, the word has completely lost all association with that meaning, so no one realises that. Kind of a problem for her reputation, especially given the way the plot ends up going.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
But wouldn't abyssal pressure in the tanks kill any human who jumped in if they weren't properly prepared for it?


An excellent point. The worst part is, I even addressed that in the one short story in the setting I actually wrote (for an assignment back in high school). Yeah, jumping in the tank wouldn't exactly work.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Stories themselves, no. I've mainly been working on ideas within the stories, especially the sci-fi series since that's the one I'm writing (in theory, since I'm a little stuck). I've also been more inspired in that direction lately. For example, I got into TVTropes - specifically the Lethal Harmless Powers and similar tropes - and thought more deeply about how the healing powers in my sci-fi series would work. Hence my comments on the nanotubes idea.


Anything I can help with? I hate to not contribute anything useful for you. If anything's on your mind, bring it up.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
I also thought about a possible story involving traditional superheroes instead of the one with just elemental powers, but that's still pretty vague.


Did I ever tell you about the idea I had along those lines? Just a seed of one, really. I was never interested enough to do anything with it. But I once considered a story where a bunch of teens got a whole array of superpowers, with a catch. Most of those superpowers are bizarre and/or specific to the point of being useless, such as the ability to change the colour of doorknobs (but only on Tuesdays), or complete mystical mastery over floor tiles. In addition, they'd each have one power that was actually useful, but really dangerous, such as an unpredictable transformation.

But the super hero genre has never interested me enough to go anywhere with that one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
[titans]


That's actually extremely useful. I'm already using
in a closely-related upcoming storyline, so I can easily tie this all together like that. Thanks.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
I thought her fingers were chopped off? If I remember correctly, in all versions at least part of her fingers were cut off - usually while she was hanging off the side of a boat - and the severed fingers became the animals of the ocean.


In most versions, either her fingers or her hands were chopped off. But the first version I read just sort of vaguely described her hands as having been stabbed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
The Bird Groom versions of the story might be most relevant.


I think that might actually be the only version I've read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
So the question then is, why would the Inuit people know her appearance had changed? The best thing I can think of is that the computer she was turned into was used to set something up in the area. Since she's a sea goddess, she would probably have been doing something in the ocean. She was in charge of sea animals, so maybe she was used in something that would gather up the sea animals for the Makemakeans? Then, when the Makemakeans were forced to leave, she had to perform her basic function - gathering up animals for people - but part of her mind also remembered that she'd been sold into this by her people and she hated them for it.
I imagine that she would have eventually run out of power, so she could be found lying dormant somewhere in the north Atlantic. Or maybe she got swept away by the ocean currents to somewhere in the Pacific. Sped-up Upsweep sounds a lot like an emergency warning system.


I like it! It makes more sense than what I had in mind. Originally, I came up with the character solely because I wanted characters in one story or another to encounter an A.I. on Sedna, and thought "hey, what if they actually encounter Sedna on Sedna?"
Top Secret Researcher
Original Poster
#60 Old 1st Jan 2016 at 1:27 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
It's a different kind of orbit, though, isn't it? With one, it's an orbit around the barycentre of the system, an in the other case, it's that crazy figure eight orbit… assuming you're still going with that? If you are, it's gonna need some kind of orbital correction system anyway, so if it really bothers you (it shouldn't), you could just include some kind of rotational correction.


I guess that could work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
You know, I probably should. I've been holding off on discussing this story concept due to the fact that it's technically a sequel to the other one, but it has little enough to do with it that that really shouldn't be a problem. Particularly since it has problems, and I like it enough in general that I'd like to polish it up into usable condition. But before I do, I have an important question: Are you at all familiar with Starcraft, and whether or not you are, are you adverse to discussing spoilers from it? Because one of the problems I have with this story concept, as I've previously mentioned, is the similarity to certain plotlines from Starcraft II.


Is that the game with the Zerg? If so, I've heard of it. I don't much mind spoilers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
That's almost hilariously perfect, actually. The character's name? Apocalypse "Callie" Ericson.

(To clarify, the Watchers use true names, something which they achieve by essentially reaching into the akash and pulling out the first name they can. Whatever they get is used, regardless of how terrible it might be, by tradition. Callie was named in this manner. In actuality, her name refers to an apocalypse in the traditional sense, a revelation, but by the time the series is set, the word has completely lost all association with that meaning, so no one realises that. Kind of a problem for her reputation, especially given the way the plot ends up going.)


If you do decide to go the fire route, there's something that could work.

There's a lot of theory on how dragons would be able to breathe fire if they existed. Basically, a fire is made of three things: oxygen, fuel, and a spark. Dragons have to breathe, so that provides oxygen. Fuel is also possible, since the body naturally produces flammable gasses. Leaving that aside, it would also be possible for her to alter her sweat to be flammable if she were capable of altering her cells in that way. And then for bonus points...
Now, that just leaves the spark. One of the earliest ways to create a fire was to produce friction with stones. Flint and steel is a good example. She could keep small samples of those in her body and produce muscles capable of rubbing them together. If she could do it right, then she would be able to just burst into flames while staring at someone. There are also lens-based methods, but those depend on having external light. There's also another possibility: steel wool burns when exposed to an electrical current. If she could add a thin spread-out lattice of steel wool between the cells that produce carbon, with a flammable layer of sweat, and she hooked the steel up to clusters of nerves designed to fire electricity at it, then she could literally set herself on fire with just a thought, assuming she were in an atmosphere with oxygen. Or on a planet where methane is the most common gas.

I was thinking something with a similar mechanism could work for Alaris's battle armor. That's pretty much the entire reason I devoted this much brainpower to it. When I was thinking through the implications of the setting's healing abilities, it occurred to me that using them in battle would probably be horrible. Basically, the abilities work by sending signals through the nervous system that tell cells to immediately perform mitosis. Healing is probably the most common application, but there are others. For one thing, all you're doing is telling cells to reproduce. There doesn't have to be an injury for you to do so. Since the signals can be sent to parts of other people's bodies, you can also create tumors. They wouldn't be malignant, but placing one in the wrong place can cut off bloodflow or disable a limb and putting one in the brain can kill any function you choose, depending on where you put it.
The biggest problem with those healing abilities in battle would be that they tell all cells in the area to split. That includes any bacteria that happen to be on the skin at the time of healing. While that can be useful at times (I have an idea for a scene which showcases some nastier uses of the healing ability), it is a problem if you have a break in the skin, which means that healed wounds would have a much higher risk of infection. Since it would be difficult to properly clean the wound in battle - especially since the healing ability will kick on automatically in the right conditions - the better option is not to get hit. When that isn't an option, there are also weapons that can do some pretty nasty things to most kinds of armor, like melting it or blasting chunks off of it, though most kinds can prevent the skin from getting hit - for one shot only. So in that case, the characters would probably want to have armor which can be healed, so that the healer won't get harmed at all. In order for that to happen, the armor would have to be made up of cells and have some form of electricity running through it to carry the healing signals.
Also, from what I read about nanofibers, they can be used to halt infections, though that might only apply to the metallic ones and not the ones made of nanotubes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Anything I can help with? I hate to not contribute anything useful for you. If anything's on your mind, bring it up.


Biggest problem right now is that I'm sort of stuck. There's one scene I want to write, but getting to it is kind of a pain. I could also use someone else to read my work and ensure that I'm not making any horrible mistakes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Did I ever tell you about the idea I had along those lines? Just a seed of one, really. I was never interested enough to do anything with it. But I once considered a story where a bunch of teens got a whole array of superpowers, with a catch. Most of those superpowers are bizarre and/or specific to the point of being useless, such as the ability to change the colour of doorknobs (but only on Tuesdays), or complete mystical mastery over floor tiles. In addition, they'd each have one power that was actually useful, but really dangerous, such as an unpredictable transformation.

But the super hero genre has never interested me enough to go anywhere with that one.


Something similar to that is actually what inspired the idea. Like I said, I was spending time on Lethal Harmless Powers, so I was thinking about some really bizarre or specific powers, but could be used in a pretty deadly or surprisingly useful way.

For instance, take the one with mastery over floor tiles. That could actually be fairly useful. If they're living in a setting where floor traps are not unheard of, then she would probably be able to use her abilities to find them before they're triggered. If she can move them with her mind, then she could yank them out from under anyone she wanted to. If she can change their material, even more can be done with that. Suppose she wanted to set a lab with concrete floor tiles on fire. She could replace them with wooden tiles with a flame-accelerant varnish. For that matter, if she can replace floor tiles while someone's standing on them, and she can also change the thickness, then it could be rather jarring for someone to suddenly drop a few centimeters. Or if she could make them thicker than any real floor would be, then she can use that to slam someone into the ceiling.

If her powers are dependent on her perception, then even more could be done with that if she's paired with someone who can manipulate gravity. If she can manipulate the tiles of anything she considers to be the floor - whether it's actually a floor or not - then someone with control of gravity could alter the gravity around her so that she considers the wall or the ceiling to be the floor. From there, she could wreck any tiles in part of a building.

For what you could do with changing the color of doorknobs, I have no idea. Closest I can think of is that a door's lock typically matches the color and the material of its key, and they're often made from the same material as the doorknob. So theoretically, if he could force the color of the doorknob to match any key with that color, then that would give him the ability to open any door. Still, that's quite a stretch. I must congratulate you, since that's the least useful superpower I ever heard of, even without the Tuesday restriction. It would be hilarious to have the character in question imagine a situation in which that power was useful.

"This bomb to destroy the world is set to go off in three minutes, at exactly 12:01 AM! The only possible way to stop it is to change the color of this metal thing right here!"
"That's not a metal thing, that's a doorknob!"
"Tuesday Doorknob Man? Can you fix this?"
"Of course I can! Today is Monday, which means that 12:01 AM tomorrow is a Tuesday! As soon as the clock changes to midnight, I will be fully able to change the color of that doorknob!"
"Oh no, the clock on the bomb is fast! You'll only have five seconds to change the color of the doorknob! Can you do it, Tuesday Doorknob Man? Can you save us all?"
"Yes. I. Can."

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
In most versions, either her fingers or her hands were chopped off. But the first version I read just sort of vaguely described her hands as having been stabbed.


Ah. Are you going to keep the long hands with holes in the middle, then?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
I like it! It makes more sense than what I had in mind. Originally, I came up with the character solely because I wanted characters in one story or another to encounter an A.I. on Sedna, and thought "hey, what if they actually encounter Sedna on Sedna?"


Thanks.

So in that case, what would the plot be? They wake her up and she starts going on a rampage and terrorizing sea creatures until someone gives her some therapy?

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
Spice Pony
#61 Old 1st Jan 2016 at 4:14 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
I guess that could work.


I really don't even think it's necessary, though. It's an entirely different type of orbit. Maybe I'm wrong. It's hard to know, since an orbit like that wouldn't normally be stable to begin with.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Is that the game with the Zerg? If so, I've heard of it. I don't much mind spoilers.


Yeah. Okay, just checking.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
[more armour logistics]


Thanks. That could work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Biggest problem right now is that I'm sort of stuck. There's one scene I want to write, but getting to it is kind of a pain. I could also use someone else to read my work and ensure that I'm not making any horrible mistakes.


If you want, I suppose I could. Oh shoot, I just remembered that my mom sent me one of her books half a month ago to edit. I completely forgot, what with everything that was going on. Thanks for reminding me.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
For instance, take the one with mastery over floor tiles. That could actually be fairly useful. If they're living in a setting where floor traps are not unheard of, then she would probably be able to use her abilities to find them before they're triggered. If she can move them with her mind, then she could yank them out from under anyone she wanted to. If she can change their material, even more can be done with that. Suppose she wanted to set a lab with concrete floor tiles on fire. She could replace them with wooden tiles with a flame-accelerant varnish. For that matter, if she can replace floor tiles while someone's standing on them, and she can also change the thickness, then it could be rather jarring for someone to suddenly drop a few centimeters. Or if she could make them thicker than any real floor would be, then she can use that to slam someone into the ceiling.


Might've actually been a he, in that case, oddly enough. Normally, though, that is a safe assumption with my work.
I hadn't considered those particular variations, but I did consider that one might manage a scene in some kind of structure with huge floor tiles, allowing them to be used as weapons or something to ride on.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
For what you could do with changing the color of doorknobs, I have no idea. Closest I can think of is that a door's lock typically matches the color and the material of its key, and they're often made from the same material as the doorknob. So theoretically, if he could force the color of the doorknob to match any key with that color, then that would give him the ability to open any door. Still, that's quite a stretch. I must congratulate you, since that's the least useful superpower I ever heard of, even without the Tuesday restriction. It would be hilarious to have the character in question imagine a situation in which that power was useful.


All I've been able to manage is some kind of secret code sent over a long period of time. You know, something like using each colour to represent a different letter or something.

Obviously, I did manage to use the vague idea to a degree in my super hero stuff. I had great fun concocting a scenario where Door Man's utterly useless non-door-related powerset came in handy. Although it did end up resulting in his being forced to bring horrific radioactive genocide to an entire species.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Ah. Are you going to keep the long hands with holes in the middle, then?


Probably. I've come to be rather attached to such a weird idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
So in that case, what would the plot be? They wake her up and she starts going on a rampage and terrorizing sea creatures until someone gives her some therapy?


I have no idea, honestly. Most of the context behind the idea wound up scrapped or shelved. I mainly just kept the backstory details that indirectly resulted.
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#62 Old 1st Jan 2016 at 5:30 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
That's the backstory. The earliest possible point to begin the story proper is here. At this point, the biggest concern would seem to be more a clichéd plot than a resemblance to anything specific, which is why I've considered that starting more in media res might be wise. But there is a twist that makes things a lot more interesting in my opinion, but which also gives the fespa a suspicious resemblance to the zerg (which, admittedly, is intentional; the story concept started out of my playing with what I saw as missed opportunities in Starcraft II). But I'll discuss that in another post.


So does that mean that


Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
If you want, I suppose I could. Oh shoot, I just remembered that my mom sent me one of her books half a month ago to edit. I completely forgot, what with everything that was going on. Thanks for reminding me.


I'm not entirely sure how to send it. I don't want to put it up publicly on a site without protection and I can't send files through PM. Maybe it would be a good idea to have a separate, private group for story sharing? That way it's not public, but we can still take a look at each others' work.

In any case, I'd like to finish a few more chapters before putting it up, because the fifth chapter is the point where the story really shifts. Could still post it before that's done, though, since it'd take a year at my current rate to finish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Might've actually been a he, in that case, oddly enough. Normally, though, that is a safe assumption with my work.
I hadn't considered those particular variations, but I did consider that one might manage a scene in some kind of structure with huge floor tiles, allowing them to be used as weapons or something to ride on.


You'd be surprised at how some powers can be used in a creative fashion. I recall that when I was reading Worm, someone posted a comment asking about superhero classifications and where that would put a superhero whose sole power was to create the illusion of text on any surface. The author answered the question, and then commented that he would make that hero into an assassin named Eulogy, who stalked his victims and drove them insane by making them see visions of their own suicide notes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
All I've been able to manage is some kind of secret code sent over a long period of time. You know, something like using each colour to represent a different letter or something.


That would actually be pretty clever, but difficult to manage. Why would it have to take a while, though? Can he only change one doorknob once per Tuesday?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Obviously, I did manage to use the vague idea to a degree in my super hero stuff. I had great fun concocting a scenario where Door Man's utterly useless non-door-related powerset came in handy. Although it did end up resulting in his being forced to bring horrific radioactive genocide to an entire species.


Okay, I definitely want to hear about that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
I have no idea, honestly. Most of the context behind the idea wound up scrapped or shelved. I mainly just kept the backstory details that indirectly resulted.


With the character as I outlined earlier, I think there are a few possible plots:

1. Taming the Tortured. The protagonists find her and wake her up out of curiosity - or she gets woken up accidentally - but she's rather upset about everything that has happened so she goes on a rampage. This ends in her either dying or getting therapy. Or maybe the Europans do something and give her a human body again.
2. The MacGuffin Keeper. Something about the device is necessary to the protagonists so they find her and hunt her down. Then she wakes up and is pissed, so they have to deal with her in order to get the MacGuffin, with similar results as 1.
3. Legal Proceedings. The Makemakeans come around and demand Sedna back for whatever reason. Could be the same as 2. So they either have to give Sedna back or try and fight it in a way that won't cause all-out war, such as claiming that Sedna is an Earth human and should be treated as such. That would probably work best if the Makemakeans aren't direct enemies of the SU.

Those are pretty much the broad strokes of the possible plots, though I've probably missed some.

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
Spice Pony
#63 Old 1st Jan 2016 at 8:50 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
So does that mean that


Not quite, but good guess.



Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
I'm not entirely sure how to send it. I don't want to put it up publicly on a site without protection and I can't send files through PM. Maybe it would be a good idea to have a separate, private group for story sharing? That way it's not public, but we can still take a look at each others' work.

In any case, I'd like to finish a few more chapters before putting it up, because the fifth chapter is the point where the story really shifts. Could still post it before that's done, though, since it'd take a year at my current rate to finish.


If you like, I could message you with my email address. Either way. In any case, let me know when you're ready.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
That would actually be pretty clever, but difficult to manage. Why would it have to take a while, though? Can he only change one doorknob once per Tuesday?


I was figuring that if something like that was needed, stealth would be required, limiting it to certain times of day. Not necessarily, though, I guess.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Okay, I definitely want to hear about that.


To clarify, this was Door Man, from the Riverview thing, not the doorknob guy, who wasn't really that developed, though he was probably an inspiration. I thought I hinted at this in the story itself, but I guess I chickened out on being that blatant in having a heroic character commit genocide (it'll probably be stated outright eventually, as I plan on having him hook up with Incompetent Girl, and I'm sure she'd find that sexy. Then again, trying to date him might get him killed if she's the one doing it.).

Door Man's main powers other than summoning doors are talking to sea spiders and sea scorpions during certain phases of the moon, and transmuting boron into ununoctium. He wound up on an alternate Earth inhabited by sapient sea spider and sea scorpions. The planet had so many moons that he had no problem communicating with the natives, allowing him to broker peace between them. But then the planet was attacked by a giant fleet of boron-nitrogen-based aliens, and he was forced to kill them all by converting all the boron in their bodies into ununoctium. He probably caused massive amounts of environmental damage in the process, as the planet's oceans likely ended up littered with radioactive shipwrecks. Not really his best moment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
2. The MacGuffin Keeper.


Probably the best approach. She could have data on the locations of the Bimini Rift weapons installations.
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#64 Old 1st Jan 2016 at 9:48 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7




This is mostly just speculating on what I would do if I were in that situation. There are probably some parts of the universe that I don't know about that would affect how that turns out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
If you like, I could message you with my email address. Either way. In any case, let me know when you're ready.


Will do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
But then the planet was attacked by a giant fleet of boron-nitrogen-based aliens, and he was forced to kill them all by converting all the boron in their bodies into ununoctium. He probably caused massive amounts of environmental damage in the process, as the planet's oceans likely ended up littered with radioactive shipwrecks. Not really his best moment.


Why would that cause radioactive litter, though? If the ships were in a stable orbit - which is probably more than sufficient to kill everyone by bombing the surface and uses less energy than maintaining an unstable orbit - then they wouldn't have crashed. Maybe some small fighter ships would crash, but those would probably be fairly localized issues.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
Probably the best approach. She could have data on the locations of the Bimini Rift weapons installations.


That makes sense.

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
Spice Pony
#65 Old 3rd Jan 2016 at 5:03 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
Why would that cause radioactive litter, though? If the ships were in a stable orbit - which is probably more than sufficient to kill everyone by bombing the surface and uses less energy than maintaining an unstable orbit - then they wouldn't have crashed. Maybe some small fighter ships would crash, but those would probably be fairly localized issues.


To be fair, they weren't trying to kill everyone on the planet; they were attacking the planet itself. But the point stands. Honestly, I was just going off what I pictured in my head, which was the ships hovering in the troposphere for some unimaginable reason.
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#66 Old 3rd Jan 2016 at 10:13 AM Last edited by hugbug993 : 3rd Jan 2016 at 10:46 AM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7


That makes sense.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7




Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
To be fair, they weren't trying to kill everyone on the planet; they were attacking the planet itself. But the point stands. Honestly, I was just going off what I pictured in my head, which was the ships hovering in the troposphere for some unimaginable reason.


In that case, wouldn't they want to be further from the planet in order to not get hit by flying chunks of planet when they destroy it?

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
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#67 Old 19th Jan 2016 at 9:16 PM
Sorry for the double post, but I had a few story ideas of varying complexity. Not really sure what to do with them.

First, a character/setting idea.



I'm thinking that the overall plot might be a problem on the "good guys'" side, not necessarily something happening from the "evil" side. While there might be some vaguely justified reasons for thinking that particular faction is evil, I don't want it to be that everyone from that side is bad - maybe not even anyone.

Second, a couple ideas for a different world.



What I really want to do with this one is to create something that resembles all the 'chosen one defeats evil tyrant' stories but really isn't one, partly by making the tyrant/big bad something out of the Evil Overlord list (both the original and all the spinoffs on TVTropes). Possibly a reconstruction of the genre.

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
Spice Pony
#68 Old 26th Jan 2016 at 1:35 AM
I wanted to post the whole thing at once, but I just kind of ran out of time for the day, and most of tomorrow, and I don't want to have to go to lengths to preserve what I've written. So here's my response to the first post. I'll get to the other next time, and then, if you want to continue the discussion, I actually wanted to ask your advice on the mess I've made of the Scumthorpe thing I'm working on.

I am really sorry for my delays. Honestly, while at first I just wasn't interested in the discussion, what kept me away, in addition to my illness, was a general sense of panic at the prospect of reading your reply. The sense of dread stresses me out far more than actually reading criticism ever could. Your criticism is helpful, but I'm always panicking that I'll say something mind-bogglingly stupid, pretty much in any social situation.

I understand if you don't want to continue this conversation, but if you do, I'll be back in a day or so when I'm not booked solid with school.

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#69 Old 26th Jan 2016 at 4:01 AM Last edited by hugbug993 : 26th Jan 2016 at 8:05 PM.

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Spice Pony
#70 Old 27th Jan 2016 at 5:54 AM
Thanks for the patience.

I'm pretty sure there was at least some amount of some kind of failure in communication going on there, doubtless alongside some genuine issues, but I don't have the energy or desire at the moment to read it all and decipher it. (It's worth noting that I had some concerns myself, which was part of why I wanted to discuss it.) If we ever come back to that discussion, I'll see what you had to say, but right now, I'm so apathetic my stomach hurts. Oh, wait. That's actually me still being sick. Getting really tired of this stupid illness. Still apathetic, though.




Actually, that last one reminds me of an idea I had last night for a character. Could be fun, except I'm not that interested in putting it into its own plot, and I'm not seeing a way to neatly fit it into any of my currently ongoing plots, although I could see it working for the superhero thing.



Anyway, if you don't mind, my current writing project has become a mess.



I'll get to those excerpts you posted in the other group soon. I have less time now that I'm back in school, but I'll put it on my list of things to do. You want detailed feedback via a word doc, or just general thoughts?
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#71 Old 28th Jan 2016 at 3:14 AM








Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
I'll get to those excerpts you posted in the other group soon. I have less time now that I'm back in school, but I'll put it on my list of things to do. You want detailed feedback via a word doc, or just general thoughts?


I would prefer detailed feedback, but it depends on what you're feeling up to. Or maybe just general feedback and then I can ask about some of the things you say.

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
Spice Pony
#72 Old 29th Jan 2016 at 1:32 AM







Quote:
Originally Posted by hugbug993
I would prefer detailed feedback, but it depends on what you're feeling up to. Or maybe just general feedback and then I can ask about some of the things you say.


That's actually easier for me. That's how I'm editing my mother's work (or will, once I get to it—I'm not really on top of things right now), so I'll just do the same in your case. I'll keep you updated on the progress on the word doc as I go.
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#73 Old 29th Jan 2016 at 7:27 AM Last edited by hugbug993 : 29th Jan 2016 at 7:37 AM.




Quote:
Originally Posted by ewenk7
That's actually easier for me. That's how I'm editing my mother's work (or will, once I get to it—I'm not really on top of things right now), so I'll just do the same in your case. I'll keep you updated on the progress on the word doc as I go.


Okay. Thank you.

My MTS writing group, The Story Board
Spice Pony
#74 Old 30th Jan 2016 at 5:02 AM
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#75 Old 30th Jan 2016 at 1:56 PM

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