atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#4173: It snowed last night.

I woke up around 9:30 this morning. After hitting the can I went to the kitchen for a snack, and saw a light coating of fresh snow on the grass.

So this week is also not the first week of the year without snow.

Incidentally, I'm told that the Chicago area got about eighty inches of snow this winter, rather than sixty. That's six and a half feet.


* * *

I'm in the process of doing more work on the universe in which the stories about P.V. Piss-Poor Judgement will be set.

PPJ is an interstellar container ship built at a time when interstellar commerce is on the wane. It's one of a handful of ships designed to carry 32 containers; interstellar cargo is carried by small ships because it's just not economically viable to carry huge loads between star systems. Most interstellar trade is in luxury goods or rarities, not bulk cargo (such as grain, or ore, or what-have-you) and the bigger the ship, the more energy it takes to get it anywhere.

The economics of water-type ships in the real world is different; the more cargo a ship can carry, the more fuel-efficient it is, and the more cost-effective it is to run the thing. That's why shipbuilders have designed ships that are meant to carry as many cargo containers through the Panama Canal as is physically possible.

These spacecraft, however, must go to FTL drive (because no one wants to spend their entire life hauling one load of cargo to another planet) and that is what costs money. Bigger ship, bigger load, bigger singularity that your FTL drive has to generate in order for you to get where you're going in less than 50 years. There's a certain practical limit to how big you can make your singularity before you start having problems; and to make matters worse the power required to generate the thing goes up as the cube of the size, so there's no way to make a large ship carry enough cargo that it'll ever pay off.

Piss-Poor Judgement, with its 32-container capacity, is just at the knee of the asymptote, where it starts becoming prohibitively expensive. She was originally meant as a military cargo ship, but the military decided that if it needed more cargo shipped somewhere they could always just send another ship. She and the rest of her class hit the auction block, and our hero was one of the few people who bit--leaving several others of the same class to rot in a military graveyard.

He doesn't run the ship at full capacity--which keeps his costs down--and with only half his racks full the ship's got more legs than the average freighter. Which is good, because this is a universe in which space piracy is both possible and lucrative. (I purposely designed things that way. Heh.)

So I know all about the ship; the thing that needs fleshing out is the universe that surrounds it. So far I've been playing with worlds and working on generating a society. So far there's Criitow, and Garn, and Regis (hard G), and I have ideas (though not names) for a few others. Our hero will basically do all his business with Garn as his home base, so all his transactions are in Garn Trade Tokens. (But sometimes he has to do business in Regian Kopecks.)

Build a setting, and the stories will come out naturally. I have three or four ideas already.

* * *

Anyway, full day today, and a full one tomorrow, and I want to relax a bit before bed. Toodle pip!

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