Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Programmable Matter

Daniel presents his game tonight. He is excited, but is trying not to show it. I’ll go for the presentation, than I have to pick out my gun turrets. I still haven’t done that.

We have spent days touring the exhibits. The first day, after our dip in the green apple pool, we had so much energy that we were up 54 hours straight.

I had forgotten how breathtaking the pool was. It is surrounded by black snowflake obsidian cliffs and ledges. The obsidian is polished to a fine gloss from the Valarian’s traveling over it so many years. The cracks in the stone have neon green moss growing in them. The trees grow in clumps on the ridges above the pool. They have charcoal colored bark with twisted limbs. The limbs are so dense in spots that it really doesn’t make any difference that they have no leaves. It sure is amazing what you can create when you terra form your own world.

I wanted to see the working class competition of the dar-dolf breed. From there we wandered over to see the rest of the animal exhibit. I was tempted to purchase a mahserg like Fin’s pet. It was marked so cute with black rings around its eyes that went back on the sides if its head like overdone eye liner. Its tail was ringed and it had matching white ‘V’s’ on its chest and forehead. I love those huge black eyes they have. But, I thought better of it. I really don’t have time for a pet and the mahserg’s become very attached both physically and mentally to their owners. Having one is quite the commitment since they live so long.

We visited the gaming room to get the lay of the land. Toland and his brethren checked out the security and exits. They can be intense for androids.

While we were having something to eat the first day we saw a truly amazing sight. (Yes, Daniel has made it so the androids can eat. They have catch basins that fill and incinerators built in to do away with the stuff.) Back to the amazing sight…The Valarians are way beyond all of us technologically. They have programmable matter that is incredible. All their law enforcement officers are made of the stuff. Daniel and I were sitting in an open air cafĂ© when we saw some young Drifit kid running hell bent for Jupiter with a huge bag in his hand. He was doing his best to keep ahead of two officers chasing him. They were close on his tail. He ran by us with the intention of climbing the 10 foot fence behind us. He didn’t make it to the other side. The first Matter Officer fell to the ground, reforming into tiny balls, rolled and bounced his way through the fence and reformed into the officer again on the other side. The kid had one officer in front of him and one behind.

I turned to Daniel. “I don’t know why anyone would try to steal during GTD. Don’t they know about the security on Valaria?”

“Not everyone knows about the formability of programmable matter. They have no idea how malleable it is. We know there is no escaping it, try to climb a fence, it beats you to the other side, climb a tree, it turns into a snake and climbs right up after you, run as fast as you can, its legs turn to wheels and it runs you over. It is no wonder there is no crime on Valaria. Between the Matter Officers and the surveillance system on each tier you really can’t commit a crime without being caught.” Daniel took a sip from his souvenir Titan Tumbler.

“I think safety is great, but I would feel like I was living under Marshall law.”

“You have to realize they don’t know anything else,” Daniel said. “The Valarian’s that travel out of this world are a select bunch. The rest grew up with these restrictions.”

“More like having overseers,” I said under my breath as the Matter Officers and their captive walked by. “Creepy.” I took a bite of my rainbow pasta medley. I wasn’t going to give up on pestering Daniel about his program. “Speaking of which, I still don’t understand the necessity of our friends here.” I motioned toward the walmites with my folk. “No offense,” I said to Toland. He really hadn’t got in my way and was doing his best to be low key for a seven foot eight inch dude.

“No offense taken,” Toland said.

Daniel just kept sipping on his drink. “Tonight, you’ll see tonight,” he assured me.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Reprogramming

“Let’s take a ride out to your pool,” Daniel suggested.

“Don’t you want to see some of the show first?”

“Nope, I want to take a dip in that ‘green apple’ pool you’ve been going on about.” Daniel raised his eGO to his mouth and spoke, “TRANS – five, 2 human, 3 walhmite.” A red indicator light lit on the map showing where we were standing.

Within minutes a transport vehicle arrived. It was larger than most I had seen last time I was here, probably because Daniel had told dispatch we had 3 walhmites in tow. It was open cab since the day was so nice on this tier. Daniel located the pool on his holographic map. “Sector 9, Block 4, Green Pool,” he instructed the transport.

The TRANS pulled silently away from the curb. “TRANS - Top up,” Daniel requested.

“It’s such a nice day. Why don’t we leave it down,” I asked.

Daniel just held is finger to lips to indicate silence. When the top was up he removed a large black button from behind his lapel and stuck it to the roof.

“That will take care of any of their surveillance. Let me see your eGO.”

I held my arm over to him. He put his eGO up against mine and started tapping away. The holographic imagine that I first saw as part of the tutorial on the bracelet appeared.

“Initiate eGO I.D.” Daniel said. “Additional voice activation.”

Toland leaned forward over the back of the seats Daniel and I were sitting in. “Toland,” he intoned in his deep voice.

“Return to operational mode,” Daniel told my eGO.

“Did you just give Toland the right to use my eGO?” I protested. “The Valarian’s will fine us big time for tampering with their gear.”

“Toland won’t use it unless he has to, but I want him to have access in case he needs it.” Daniel leaned back in his seat.

“What about what I want? Toland can use his own fricken eGO,” I hissed between my clinched teeth.

“It’s done 3su.” Daniel stretched and settled in to enjoy the ride.

“Then undo it you rotten little puke,” I cuffed him on the shoulder.

“Can’t,” he stated flatly not seeming to take offense from my name calling. “Anyway, it’s for your own good.”

“Tell me why?” I almost shouted. Daniel had been cryptic about this whole trip. I just couldn’t believe that his damn game was so revolutionary.

Daniel reached up, took the button off the ceiling and secured it behind his lapel again. “TRANS – top down.” He put his finger to his lips again for silence, leaned back in the warmth of the sun and closed his eyes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Reception

Daniel, the bodyguards and I were all in the reception room where the dissension tubes arrived on Valaria. Valarian’s were assisting us out of our suits and issuing us ear-bud translators. When we had them adjusted the receptionists secured our event bracelet, eGO, permanently to our arms. The eGO is waterproof and very durable. They are pre-programmed with your species language and alpha info. It is extremely important that you not lose it. Without your eGO there is no GTD celebration. Once secure, he/she (no telling between the two in their species) initiated the tutorial on it for us.

The eGO is very high tech. It does just about everything except cook you breakfast, but the way Daniel was playing with his I figured he would have it programmed to do that by the end of the day.

Among other things the eGO is your admission into all the events. One swipe and you can get all your purchased delivered to you ship. It contains the full schedule of events, maps and locations of your particular species’ restrooms and food preferences. The eGO is voice activated and programmed to work with your ear-bud so you can obtain directions to anyplace just by tapping the point on the map. And, for those of you who are more challenged when following directions there is a built in holographic map transport feature. Activate the feature and enlarge over the eGO and voila you get a “you are here” arrow. All you have to do is touch the point you want to go to and a transporter will show up to take you to your destination.

I was looking over Daniel’s shoulder trying to see what he was doing with his eGO. He had the schedule of events pulled up. “Looks like they scheduled me for cycle five in the evening to introduce the game.” That gave us about a week of playtime before he had to show up.

“Is that what you wanted?” I asked.

“Sure. It will give us time to look around a bit. See the sights. All I really have to do is show up and plug it in to the game system for distribution to the stations.” The game room at GTD was huge, really an exhibition hall – bank after bank of terminals with huggers for comfortable hours of play, plus flats for those just passing by and wanting to try something they saw over someone else’s shoulder. Each game program was fed into a server and could be accessed on all the systems. Heck, if you wanted you could just sit or stand and watch the enormous screen while everyone else played. Depending on the game and the players, sometimes that was like watching a good vid.

Each programmer that wanted to introduce a game reserved a time on the game room stage. The room was theirs exclusively for the allotted time. Once their time was up the players could stick with that game until the next introduction or go back to a previous game. The programmer laid out any pertinent details of the game. The folks frequenting the gaming room were there to play, not read manuals.

“Let’s get something to eat,” Daniel said. He tapped his eGO. “They’re serving tube eel in zone six.”

Tube eel, not my idea of something special.

“And look, there’s a ZuKor chocolatier right across the quad.”

Now that was more like it. I could choke tube eel down if it was followed by a chaser of ZuKor chocolate.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Preregistration

There are numerous advantages to preregistering for the GTD celebration. If you just show up, you get stuck on, or in orbit around, one of Valaria’s three moons. That means you have to catch a shuttle to the planet and there are no overnight accommodations on Valaria, so you either spend most of your time shuttling back and forth, or you try to see as much as you can for as long as you can. The grounds are open full time for the equivalent of about a month earth time. So if you choose to spend say, 72 hours sightseeing, you are so tired you are a walking zombie by the time you get back to your ship.

However, if you preregister like Daniel did, months in advance, you get a lot of perks. You are assigned a dock within lower orbital space. With that dock you are assigned a number and the Valarians attach a dissention tube equipped with suits, helmets and programmable breathers. The tubes allow you to go and come as you please. A trip down is done in about 10 exhilarating minutes and the trip back up in just a little longer.

The tube is attached at one of the ship’s small access ports. You decompress the small room placed directly outside the port. When you open the port a number of breathers and suits, in the sizes you requested, are hung in the room. You program the breather for your species, don the suit and helmet and open the inner hatch to the tube platform. The platform keeps your rate of dissent to a non-catastrophic speed. You step in, put your back against the hugger on the wall of the tube, which naturally wraps itself comfortably around you, you slide the toes of your spacer boots under the hugger loops on the floor of the platform, once secure, all you have to do is release the platform and it is one exciting ride down into the planet. The tube works on compression for the trip back up, not nearly as much fun.

There are shopping advantages too with preregistration, always a plus for me. If you purchase something, you just give the clerk your dock number and it is delivered to your ship. No lugging around packages all day. Especially useful if you are in the market for something heavy, a new incinerator unit, prep unit or gun turrets.
And the main advantage is you have access to your ship. You have your own comfortable bed and food you are familiar with if you get tired of the exotic fare at the food courts. You can get the breather out of your nose and let it rest overnight. I have never been able to sleep very well on a breather. The night version is a full face model and I am too claustrophobic for that. The day version is just a nose apparatus, a bit uncomfortable but not so restrictive.

Daniel was so sure I would agree to bring him to GTD that he went so far as to register Ma-rye-a. We are going to have a great time. I can hardly wait!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Star Traveler Update - Valaria

Let me try to explain where the Valarian’s call home. Valaria was actually built.

We know that the Valarian’s originated somewhere else, but built this sphere eons ago. Now they call it home. They found a yellow hydrogen giant star with a carbon based planet nearby. They mined the carbon, manufactured enormous, lightweight, but extremely strong Galvasien panels and built the multi-tiered sphere that surrounds the yellow giant. 

Each tier is powered by thrusters on the outside of the sphere that create the centrifugal force to keep gravity equal within. Each level is terra formed. The spheres are graduated in size, the largest being at the equator, the smaller being at the poles. 

There are shuttle bays that have access to the inside to transport the inhabitants and their possessions from one level to another. Because the sphere is built around the star the Valarians have unlimited power. The panels act as solar collectors of the star’s energy. The sphere is about 180 million miles across; plenty big for the Valarians and any future population growth.

The sphere at the equator is for recreational use. It is not permanently inhabited. This is where they set up the GTD Celebration. Not only are there the exhibits and entertainment in display, but there are a number of terra formed wonders to enjoy.

The Valarian’s love water. They absorb nutrients from it and have many lakes that are treated with dufferent nutrients. For us humans, it is wonderful to swim in a crystal blue lake or a lovely aqua pool, but it is incredible to float in pink water that doesn’t let you sink and leaves you with a rosy glow afterward, both inside and out. There is a lime green pool that I particularly like. It is a bit of a walk to get to it, but worth every hour of it. There is a waterfall into it, lots of flowers and green around it. The water tastes like apples. After a swim and a mouth full from the falls, you could walk for days. You feel like you could wrestle an angry pit fighting dar-dolf and come out on top.

The Valarian’s mix the air on the equatorial level with elements adapted to the breathers they issue for the GTD Celebration. It is adaptable to most of the species that visit during that time - if it isn’t then you wear a lightweight tank. The Valarian’s will refill it at one of the numerous mixing stations on the equatorial level.

The Valaria’s make a major part of their income from hosting the celebration, conducting navigational classes and selling their software for activation of the NAV beacons.

Valaria can be entered by shuttle through the bays on each tier or by dissention tube from your ship at dock in orbit as Daniel and I plan to do.

If you'd like to get a heads-up on my latest book releases, sales, and freebies, make sure to sign up for my newsletter! And you don't have to worry about getting a bunch of junk - I only send it out when I really have something you might want to hear about.

* indicates required