Saturday, June 30, 2012

Life on Thor

Life on Thor is dramatically different than life on Earth and the early colonists were ill-prepared for the nature of the planet. Over time, they were able to adapt and build a society around the natural habitat on the planet and not only survive but thrive, but before they could reach that summit they had to adapt to the alien wildlife.

While Earth developed as a carbon-based planet relying on solar power to trigger energy production in plants, the staple for Thor's bio-sphere is actually biologically generated electricity. The large size of the planet is attributed to the dense central core, and the incredibly powerful electromagnetic fields it has produced over time. Pulling in several asteroids and other small debris during its formation gave the rocky sphere a greater circumference than your average mineral-based crust (and thus a heavier gravitational field). Metals and sodium were the primary elements in the soil pre-volcanic eruption, priming the whole world as a super-conductor. Due to the powerful forces beneath the surface, huge volcanoes released tons of ash and smoke into the developing atmosphere early on in the planets life, causing an extensive cloud cover and cutting off nearly 70% of the possible heat and light energy that might reach the planet from the star Chiron. Life would not be deterred however, and the early proto-plants and proto-animals adapted to the most readily available energy source: electricity.

The plants developed specialty cells and glands designed to absorb the ambient electricity from the air and soil and covert it to food via photosynthesis. These unique features developed in the root structure and leaves of the various plants, they absorbed salt to better conduct the electricity and emit oxygen to better assist the electrical currents traveling through the atmosphere. Over time many plants would develop signature vessels within it that would store the electricity (much like a plant on Earth might store water), to better "harvest" the natural electromagnetic field provided by the planet. Because of the natural electromagnetic field of the planet, the plant life has bloomed and taken over almost every surface of the planet.

The animal life adapted to the electrical nature of their world by developing organs and nerve structures to consume the bio-electromagnetism created by the plant life. The nerve endings on the carnivorousness animal life became highly specialized, able to channel and ignore the pain of most forms of electricity and store and absorb the electrical currents in glands and other specialty cells in the body. This stored electricity could then be used as a weapon, to increase muscle reflex and speed, mating rituals, regulate body temperature, etc. Herbivore life forms have specially adapted glands and organs which they use to produce their own bio-electrical charge, although this is a very weak form and not enough for the animal to survive on. They use the excess electricity they take from the plant-life as defensive structures, for mating rituals and the like. But they also use them to feed the plant life, to speed up blooming and growth of fruits and leaves, to charge the plant with extra energy for it to grow food faster. Thus, every life form on Thor is interconnected via the electrical field generated in the very core of the planet.

Those that survived the crash landing were faced with a difficult challenge. They did not have the technical skills, nor did they have much of the supplies and technological advancements that Apollo was granted. The remaining crew had to make do with what could be salvaged from the ship and simple survival training in the hostile new world. Due to the lack of knowledge and supplies available to the crew, their technological progress was behind that of Apollo. However, they did learn early on how to harness the various plants and animals on Thor for electricity, agriculture, farming and, later on, technological advancements.

The people of Thor split into 5 distinct sub-cultures. There are more than 20 various city-states along the super continent of Thor and its great Ocean, though several city-states share the same cultural lines (just different governing beliefs) amongst each other. The first group is the Thorians, they are the majority group represented on Thor. They feel they have escaped from bondage and the past of Earth and have a fresh start here on Thor and are determined to create a society with liberty and justice for all, free of the prejudices from Earth and free to start anew with clean slates. The next are those of the Natives, most of this group live in the woodlands and mostly untouched nature of Thor. These people believe that it is best to forget their old ways of technology and learn to live with the land. They use and adapt technologies that are eco-friendly and least impactful on the planet, the tree city of Eden is the model image of blending science with nature to create a home for both. The New Earthers stay primarily in the mountain ranges and great plains on Thor, they wish to bring everything that was Earth to this new planet. They subjugate and cage the powers of Thor, using them to fuel machines and (thanks to Apolloian traders) specialty bio-domes designed to replicate Earth's natural environment. The Fish Mongers are next, they spend most of their lives on floating cities and vessels along the great ocean of Thor. They are a free-spirited people, believing that each has a right to fulfill their own destiny and should be hampered by minimal laws. The only city on land claimed by them, Freeport, rests in the caverns of the great island Loki (the only other landmass on Thor and roughly the size of Texas). Last are the Walkers of the Way, a people who claim no city as their own. Traveling primarily along the deserts and plains of Thor, they are a Nomadic people who preach the religion of Spirit (that every planet has a spirit that is its guide and protector, and deserves respect and assistance in helping the planet). They travel between all the cities, healing both the land and people with their medical sciences.

A recent sub-culture has sprung up within the last 75 years and is beginning to spread rapidly along the planet. Known as the Connectors, they are viewed with an air of distrust and apprehension by those of Thor (hatred and violence by those from Apollo) due to factors beyond their control. Genetic drift is bound to happen, and those known as the Connectors are seen as the first steps in an evolutionary jump for humanity on Thor. Born among any of the cultures, they have triggered a genome in their body that allows them to store and manipulate bio-electric fields much like the native creatures to Thor. Using a hyperactive chemical stimulant to increase the electric currant and voltage in their bodies, they have unlocked a limited telekinesis in which they can project their own living bio-electrical field, or draw upon the fields of other life forms around them. Rare, as they only have a 50% chance of passing on the genetic trait, they are a growing situation that one day Thor will need to address.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Chiron System

The Chiron System is a sparse place compared to other solar systems, often attributed to the density of the star and the high electromagnetic core of Thor. The System contains one medium sized star, a small rocky planet named Hermes, the terran sphere Thor with its single moon Apollo, the gas giant Hercul with its 12 moons, the gas giant Tiamat with its 5 multi-colored rings and finally the terran sphere Trinity with its 3 moons in altered elliptical orbits. There are only 2 meteors that regularly travel through the system, and unlike the Sol System is contains no asteroid belt.

Chiron is a medium sized star, with an intensely heated core. A higher than average core temperature fuels the star, leading to frequent solar flares and expulsion of comic gas into space. It also spins around the galactic core at an increased rate, the movement speed helping to increase the heat density of the star itself. Frequent solar storms have lead to a highly charged atmosphere in the planets within the Chiron System, as well as scorching and destroying any proto-planets that may have existed in a closer alignment in the early days of the system.

The first planet in the Chiron system is the planet Hermes. Orbiting incredibly close to Chiron, Hermes races around its star at a breakneck speed. One Hermes year is only 99.5 days, and temperature extremes can reach up to 2000F on the daylight side (Hermes has a 12 hour day) and plunging to 950F on the dark side. No moons, and deemed uninhabitable by Apollo scientists, it is the smallest planet in the Chiron System just a few miles in diameter less than Apollo.

The Third planet, Hercul, is a gas giant. Swirling with gold and amber gas storms all along the surface, the actual core of the planet is rumored to be no larger than Apollo itself. Severe and frequent gas storms rage across the surface, some which stop over the years others which have raged on since Apollo first gazed eyes on it. Hercul is ringed with twelve moons, the largest being Augean (with its volcano's spewing toxic clouds of gas and soot into the air) to the smallest being Cretan.

The Fourth planet, Tiamat, is another gas giant in orbit around Chiron. Tiamat's gas is a prismatic coloration, naturally a soft black but when reflecting the rays of Chiron is shimmers with color. Tiamat has no moons, Apollo theorizes it was once of the last planets to develop from the excess storms cast off of Hercul, but instead has five multicolored rings (red, blue, green, white and gold) which are all that remain of its original moons. The rings all spin incredibly fast, orbiting the planet similar to a moon, and it is gravity alone which keeps the rings from coliding into each other.

The fifth, and last planet, in the Chiron system is Trinity. It is a terran sphere, much like Thor and Hermes, and is shrouded in white coloration that seems to permeate the entire atmosphere. Apollo scientists are unsure if the white coloration is due from a gigantic ice sheet surrounding the planet or high density cloud and ozone cover. It has three proto-moons (not true spheres but most likely asteroids caught in orbit), orbiting in opposing elliptical patterns around the planet. It is the farthest away and thus the least is known planet in the whole system.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Welcome to Thor

Welcome to Thor, 2nd planet in the Chiron System. It has but one orbital satellite named Moon by the settlers of Thor, but now designated Apollo by its inhabitants.

In 2109, the nations of the Earth began their first grand colonization project. Scientists were dedicated to the cause and money invested in grand projects for future homes for mankind among the stars while the nations of the world raced to be the first to establish colonies inside of the Sol System and beyond. However, like in everything that involves governments, politics came into play. Human rights activists, environmentalists. religious zealots and isolationist all found common ground in wanting to deny these programs from occurring. Public relation nightmares all over the globe put an end to publicly visible plans for colonization, politicians and national figures more interested in protecting their seats of power than the future of mankind bowed out and removed support.

But, what the people of Earth didn't know...wouldn't hurt them.

A massive ship, the first of its kind, was built in bunkers and secret locations all across Earth. Codenamed ARC, it stood for Aerial Relocation Colonizer. Ungraded with the most up-to-date technology the combined minds of Earths most brilliant men could come up with, it was fitted with everything a population would need to survive on a new world and flourish. Chosen for the this secret mission were those deemed expendable (and also most likely to survive near-impossible situations), prisoners and other convicts from jails and prisons. Given the choice of certain death via lethal injection/life in prison or the chance at a brand new life...a crew of 500,000 were chosen. Health screens, professions trained and rechecked before the final number, 325,000, was reached.

The launch was perfect, the massive ship and its crew were disguised as a asteroid belt mining ship to the press, and scientists cheered as the new experimental NLS engine pushed it out of the solar system in a matter of hours. Communications with the systems were perfect, and they all celebrated their luck.

Celebrated a bit too early it seems.

As the ARC traveled through various identified solar system, a problem occurred. An unstable star had entered its final death face, and random luck had it expand and explode as the ARC passed by. Going super nova the plasma and fusion waves pushed off the star, reaching the ARC in a matter of seconds. The plasma waves ripped through the ship, destroying the communication arrays and scrambling the autopilot navigation system. On Earth they were too late to do anything at all. By the time the plasma wave hit their sensors, the ship had already disappeared. In the black reaches outside of the Sol System the ARC was lost...and forgotten by all who lived back on that world.

The ship cruised on, traveling the void. It kept going deeper and farther, traveling beyond what any man would come to know for centuries, its NLS engines pushing it to the edge of the galaxy and beyond. As all things are want to do, it eventually ran out of power. Scanning the new solar system it had arrived in, it found that the Moon orbiting the 2nd planet in this system was the most Earth-like. It began to emergency eject it's inhabitants, dropping off most of the supplies and those deemed critical to a colonies survival first, before an electromagnetic wave radiating of the main planet tore through the ship. It destroyed what little automatic computer flight AI's were remaining, and while a quarter of the crew was landing on the moon and beginning to awaken from stasis, 3/4 remained as the ship careened into the planet below. Saved by the last of the emergency power, those who had to survive on the planet faced a far different world than either were accustomed to.

It has been 525 years. The two societies regained the ability of space travel, and the resulting war that took place between the two great peoples nearly tore all life apart. An uneasy peace has been brokered, and in a joint effort the two governments have built together their first deep space probe, aimed at exploring the remainder of the Chiron System.

You are those first brave souls to leave the orbits of Thor and Apollo.

Good Luck.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I made a belt!

I did my first of leatherworking last night, it was a lot of fun! Philippe taught a class on the basics of leatherworking, at the end of it we had finished making our very own belt :). I learned a lot about leatherworking, the various tools and how leather goods are made! Here are some photos of my finished product.

According to Philippe, the buckle is actually period correct for the 14th century! The studs along the side were a more masculine touch, ad I'm happy with how the silver looks.

I think it looks really snazzy, and I'm always glad to have a more period attire for my garb!

I had a lot of fun doing the leatherworking, I'm considering looking more into it! I know my buddies Jake and Kaoru are investing more into it, I might play with their stuff to see if I like it :)

Monday, June 4, 2012

My first SCA meal: a review

This is another of (most likely) several more blog posts in result of TMT and everything that occurred there.

Let's start with a brief overview of what happened and how it went down -

Lunches sold:

The theme of the lunches for the weekend was cool and refreshing. On Saturday for 3 dollars you got a boxed lunch which contained half a banana, a dill pickle spear and a chicken caesar salad wrap (inside the wrap was chicken, salt, pepper, caesar dressing, spring mix greens, freshly shredded cheese and sprouts). The food could all be eaten chilled or cold, which was a plus for serving it in the hot Trimaris heat.

On Sunday the lunch was half a banana, a dill pickle spear or hard boiled egg (we were outselling far faster than we thought and had to use eggs to supplement the lack of pickles) and a BBQ pulled pork wrap (BBQ sauce, bacon, pulled rump pork, pork loin, fresh spinach leaves and freshly grated cheese).

Budget details:

Baroness Bebhin and I were given a budget of 75 per day for the fund-raising lunches, with a total of 150 to spend for the entire weekend. The chicken from Saturdays lunch was donated by Their Excellencies Darkwater as they had no need of it, and Baroness Bebhin herself donated the cost of the boxes for the lunch. These two donations really kept the price down, I would have been roughly 46 dollars over my budget had I had to pay the cost for both those items. The entirety of the over-budget would have been the box cost, something that I feel really drove the sale of the lunches.

On Saturday, of the 75 dollars set aside for me I only spent 70. On Sunday, of the 75 dollars set aside for me I only spent 52. In total I came in 28 dollars under budget. Since we used Kingdom funds to provide the starter for the lunch, the Kingdom asked us to pay back the cost for the lunch (which was totally fair). After paying back the 122 dollars spent, we generated a profit of 310 dollars in our fundraising lunch.

So with the start of the meal, we had done really good. The food cost was down, we were able to repay the Kingdom and we made a wonderful profit :)

Things that went well:

1) Providing the lunch in multiple locations really helped. By having the lunch down where the fighting was, I was able to sell meals to those who where at either side of the camp. This was a fantastic idea that was really only available to me because I had packed the lunches in box form. As well, having it down next to water point allowed me to not have to invest in specific drinks because they were provided a mere 6 feet away. I later moved the lunch to the next area of fighting on Sunday, I did a bit worse than Saturday but that was due to weather and not interest.

2) The boxes were the gang-buster hit of the lunch, and I cannot state that enough. The portability and lack of needed feast gear made this lunch a big hit, people could eat it on the go and were not nailed down to one specific spot just to eat. All the trash fit nicely into the boxes, and the boxes were cardboard so there was no guilt about just throwing them in the trash. It was also great advertzing, I would see people eating the lunch from the box while standing in merchants row/artisans row and people asked where to get it.

3) Working with the Feast crew to build the lunches was a great idea. Using the chicken Baron Herman wasn't planning on using saved cost, as well as the pork and spinach on Sunday with Sasha. This was a great save of money, and a great use of food product from both the feast teams. Baron Herman had a bulk of extra chicken, pork and spinach leaves and being able to use them instead of having them go to waste is just good news for everyone.

4) The price was cheaper than anything else on site, at 3 dollars I was able to attract my buyers simply because I was more affordable to those on a tight budget. The cheapest food item beyond that was 2 hot dogs at My Island Food Cart at 4 dollars, and for three dollars I was the budget price point for an entire meal.

5) The food choices seemed well aimed at the audience, cool foods to help settle the stomach against the heat of the day was a big win/win. No complaints against the noms, with the random exception of those with food allergies.

6) Wrapping each item individually was also a big win/win. People with allergy concerns were happy when I informed them that certain food items were wrapped to prevent any food-born allergy issues. The few food allergy concerns I had were mostly brushed away once I had told them about the individual wrap.

Things that went poorly:

1) I did not calculate those who would need lunch for "free" in my planning. I gave lunches to Their Majesty's both days and Their Highness's on Sunday, but reservations and gate also came and took lunches as well. I'd say I lost 15 lunches to freebies, which put me under the 75 lunches a day I had planned to sell. To improve next time, I need to count in the number of lunches I'll need to give away as a part of my lunch planning.

2) I did not doublecheck with the Autocrat on lunch times for Saturday. I was thankfully way ahead of the game that day, but because of Crown Lyst issues the lunches were requested to be sold an hour earlier. I was able to get the lunches sold at the time requested, but had I checked in earlier with him I could have been less frazzled in those last moments on Saturday. To improve next time, I sould keep a better check in with both the site Herald and the Autocrat.

3) I did not follow-up with a few people who volunteered to help as much as I should have. I ended up having to do a number of things myself before the event that others had promised to figure out, if I had checked in with them more regularly I could have noticed the problem earlier and been far less rushed the day of. To improve next time, I need to make sure to follow-up with people who have volunteered to help and assist. If they are unable/forget to to something to help I need to be ready to handle it myself if needed.

4) I need to relax a bit, yeesh! I had drawn maps and diagrams of the kitchen, organized my entire lunch set-up on 15 minute increments. Doing such (and being forced to do a large amout by msyelf in advance that i wasn't expecting to) made me a bit clingy, and I micro-managed a bit too much. Thankfully I had both Baroness Jehannette and Baroness Bebhin as well as Lady Squeaky to remind me of things I had forgotten/not thought of in my intense focus of the moment. To improve for next time, I need to relax more and let things go with the flow and trust my allies and volunteer helpers. I have a feeling that will get easier with time, as I become more comfortable with cooking.

All in all, this was an amazing experience! Something that really juiced up my desires to work on cooking in the SCA, and ramped up my interest in it all over again :)